What if My Mother or Father Dies Before We Resolve our Relationship



resolving with parents before they die

though the road may be hard there is light..


 What if My Mother or Father Dies Before We Resolve our Relationship?

“I used to worry that my mother or father might die before we ever have any kind of understanding or resolution between us. As I grew in understanding about the truth and got to the bottom root of all the dysfunction, I was set free from that fear.” ~ Darlene Ouimet

It is one thing for me to worry that my parents might die, but it is a whole other insulting thing when people ask me how I will FEEL if my parents die and they ask it as a judgement question; a judgement against me. It’s all in the voice infliction; the tone they use and I used to react to that tone in the way that I reacted to it when I was a kid. That tone was meant to snap me back to compliant and ‘respectful’ and it worked on me. My “guilt, shame and self-blame button” was very sensitized.

 People share with me all the time how folks throw the following statement and question at them; “your father/mother is getting old and is in poor health, how are you going to feel if he/she dies?”  My response to this question is; “what does his or her health have to do with the reason that I don’t communicate with my parents?”  My parents had their whole lives to make a positive difference when it came to me. They made their choices, and apparently through the grid of how these type of statements are meant to be taken, my parents choices are acceptable but my choice NOT to put up with abusive and disrespectful disregarding treatment is NOT acceptable? That is insane.  It’s like people are so brainwashed by this whole thing that they don’t even realize how stupid it sounds to be told to accept abuse/neglect/disrespect just because ‘they’ are ‘family’.

I wonder why no one ever asks parents estranged from their kids “how are you going to feel if your son or daughter dies?” Judging by the way my parents act, they won’t feel anything.  

There are laws in place to protect children from some of the things that happened to me. Why are my parents exempt from those laws? Why is it up to me to put their minds at ease as they get closer to their final days on this earth? If I will reap what I sow, why does that saying not apply to them?

When people say “Your mother is getting old; she is sick, what if she dies?” I still fail to see what her health has to do with any of this. That question is a rabbit trail leading nowhere. Do they mean that my mother is old so I should let ‘bygones be bygones’ and forget all about it? What does one have to do with the other? What does the fact that my parents are getting older have to do with any of this? What about ME? What about what happened to me? Why doesn’t that matter? That is what I am addressing now. That is why I don’t see them; because I finally understood that I mattered ~ even if I only mattered to me. I finally mattered enough that I stood up to the way that they treated me and said “no more”.  And they refused to validate that there was ever a problem and they took the stand that the only problem was me, just as they always did. There was no place for my voice but none the less I HAVE a voice; and I have a choice too.

People will say ~”Your parents are getting old, you should give them a break”. Why doesn`t anyone ever ask my parents when they are going to give ME a break?  I understand that my parents are not admitting to anyone the reason WHY I don’t see them, or why I drew a boundary in the first place, so I can understand people not telling my parents that they should make the effort everyone thinks that I should make, but I don’t understand why people stick up for them and try to shame me, when I HAVE legitimate reasons for not seeing them. This sick and dysfunctional family system has its roots in the universal and widely accepted belief that PARENTS have rights that their children DON’T have.

Most of the time people don’t even care to hear the reasons adult children have for not seeing their parents; they just tell these adult children they are wrong. They automatically defend the parents without even hearing or caring about the reason behind the broken relationship. That is offensive.

It is dismissive and discounting. It is even more offensive when the reasons for not seeing parents ARE revealed and people still judge the adult child to be the one in the wrong. That is what this “what if your parents die” question is about. It is about parental rights and entitlement ~ something that YOU as their child don’t have in a dysfunctional family system.  People are so afraid that if they ‘hear you’ and validate your reasons for not having relationship with your parents, or for going no contact, that they might have to think about the dysfunctional relationships they have with their parents or even worse, with their grown kids. So often parents equate regarding their children as equally valuable with giving up their power and control over them. (and If giving up their power and control in favor of embracing equal value is something that they are not willing to consider doing, they insist on going down rabbit holes and changing the subject, always turning it back on the child, rather than giving their child a chance to be heard.)

Why do the controlling and abusive people have all the ‘human rights?’ When am I going to have the right to be treated with respect? What about me? It’s time that we stopped seeing the question “what about me” as selfish and self-centered! Why are these abusive and disrespectful people MORE valid than I am? When am I going to be VALID? And the answer to that question for me was “WHEN I DECIDED THAT I AM”

Something I had to realize and a big part of my healing process was that I am valid and that I have rights too. And I have the right to be treated with love and respect.  If my parents are getting old or if either of them is sick, that doesn’t change the fact that I have rights and it doesn’t change the facts about the way that I was treated by them in the past. They are not sorry. They don’t acknowledge the abuse. They never wanted to change or tried to change. So why is it up to me to be there for them when they were never there for me? (and although I am well aware that they fed and clothed me, they housed me, they took care of my physical needs, SO WHAT?? They decided to have a baby, legally that is the least that they HAVE to do.)  This whole subject is just another great example of the power differential between parents and children and however ‘socially acceptable’ it is, it is still wrong. I have equal value even if I am the only one in the world who sees that truth.

Just because so many people including my family don’t validate my equality, doesn’t mean I am wrong about it or that I don’t in fact have it. I do; we all do.  Each of us, every single human being has equal value.  I am not the one who is wrong for deciding that I was finally going to validate MY equal rights and value.

If my parents die before there is any resolution followed by reconciliation it isn’t because I didn’t try. I tried my whole life.

Please share your thoughts, feelings and fears around this subject of what if my parents die before there is resolution. The most common questions asked in this website and through private email are about the connection between healing and dysfunctional family issues. I answer several of them in the free guide available for download in the top right side bar here.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

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This article is linked to related posts, they are highlighted and in bold print.

Other Related posts ~ Emotionally unavailable Father the Message of Passive Abuse

Abusers who blame Victims and the People who support them

Categories : Family



The “they’re old and they shouldn’t have any stresses now” is the line my sisters use on me. Except forty years ago it was, “Dad works so hard, be quiet and don’t cause him stress.” Then it was “he has heart palpitations don’t upset him.” Then it was “he’s entering his golden years, he should enjoy them.” Now it’s “he’s frail and will die soon, you really should just put it all behind you.” For each decade, there’s a narrative about why the child should concede to the negligent or offhanded behavior of the parents. It’s sickening. And then, when one of them does die, the rest of the FOO will scapegoat us, the ones who’ve spoken out, for “depriving them” of the relationship during the last years of their lives. Even though our parents won’t take a single step toward us. Seems universal in Narc FOO systems.


“If my parents die before there is any resolution followed by reconciliation it isn’t because I didn’t try. I tried my whole life.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO TRUE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I completely agree … I feel like if my parents (and the handful of other relatives who follow their lead) were to fully admit their behavior is wrong, express genuine sorrow over the pain it has caused, and then work to correct it and not repeat it – then we COULD reconcile our differences … but the fact that they act like nothing is wrong with THEM – and that they feel the ONLY REAL problem is me (because I don’t just accept them as they are, and because I no longer allow myself to be treated hatefully) – its just not going to get better that way …. you just can’t fix a broken relationship if only one side is doing all the work. You can’t change things without MAKING changes. I have finally decided to stop expending energy (physical and emotional) trying to ‘fix’ our relationship – it is what it is. Oh well. I can honestly say that I HAVE TRIED wholeheartedly to mend the relationship – to get the issues out in the open, to talk about why things aren’t working – and outline the steps needed to make it ok. But, no amount of my efforts has led to any improvement. My family (my husband, my kids, and my dear friends) is more deserving of my time and energy – my precious time that I could be spending with the ones who enrich my life, I am not going to waste it any more by going in circles trying to improve something with individuals who refuse to face reality and take the needed steps to improve our relationship. It is NOT just MY job. My time/energy/love is valuable – and I am no longer giving it to ones who don’t value me.

Thank you for your post – I have the years of many guilt trips/manipulations echoing in my head every time I decline an invitation to do things with my FOO. It is a helpful reminder that I HAVE done everything I can to make it ok, (and not ‘ok’ in the twisted sense of – give them whatever they want at tremendous cost to me just so they’ll stop whining. What I mean by ‘ok’ is that we all would be able to have loving respectful relationships with one another.) It is THEY that REFUSE to work on our relationship (not even a little bit. Why should they? It’s “Not their fault”.). So, because I’ve done all I PERSONALLY can to actually resolve the ISSUES, the guilt now rests ENTIRELY on their shoulders now. My refusing to do things with them socially is just a side effect of THEIR poor behavior and THEIR refusal to work on our relationship. It is not because I am “Bad” – it is because they are.

(Side note: I hope you have a relaxing trip! I am proud of you for taking the needed time for yourself and your family! Self care can be a hard thing to do. Especially when you’ve been taught for years that it’s selfish to do anything for yourself … -I literally have to talk myself into taking care of my own needs- Thanks for setting a great example in being balanced!)



Hi Caliban’s Sister
Ya I still hear that today all over the world. Don’t upset them. My mothers husband constantly warned me (and asked my husband to warn me) that my mother was fragile.
Freedom today is not caring about what they belive and not believing that I caused ANY problems or deprivation or any of that other crap that was heaped on me.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene and everybody,
Isnt this so well written and true.Only this afternoon and on Saturday I have been talking to two friends about my parents, mother 86 and father 90 regarding their lives.I have kept myself from visiting either and have not spoken to them since 4th Feb this year.People in the past have said BUT what if they die you will feel terrible and never forgive yourself for not being there for them.Well I have been there for them all my life trying to please them.Ok I might feel terrible if they die which could be sooner rather than later but so what.This site has made me realise what a great part of my life has been wasted. Trying to PLEASE THEM. If I am beside myself with grief so be it.They have broken my heart ALL my life.Now with help of this site EFB I am finally standing up for myself and feeling so much better.My father has phoned me on Saturday and I have not replied.People who do not know the full circumstances will judge me harshly and friends who are important to me will, not because they would agree with what Darlene has written.I hope you all understand my way of writing please excuse me if the grammar is not correct.Thanks to all who read xx


Hi Kera
Excellent comments! You sound empowered with the truth!
(and I will have an excellent vacation! I am really lookig forward to getting away)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Wendy
This has evolved for me over time. I went through a stage where I was very aware that I would grieve (AGAIN) for the final lost hope; because death more final than anything else! But I have grieved so much ~ my whole life in fact, grieved for the fantasy parents that I didn’t ever have. I feel like that part is in the past and now I feel ‘more sorry for them that they could not have what I have found because they didn’t want to face what I faced. They could have had this freedom and wholeness too. They could have had real life and real love in relationship.
And I feel sorry for them; they missed out too. They rejected my simple desire for equal value. They decided not to get to know me. (and I am pretty cool!) Their loss is huge.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I have to admit that I wonder what I will feel when they die. I wonder if anyone will even, bother to tell me. If they do tell me, I wonder how I will respond to them or should respond to them. What I think about and wonder about in regard to my parents and our broken relationship, is bad enough. I don’t need anyone rubbing my face in it. It was hard enough to stand up for myself and stick with it, when it came to my FOO. I don’t need someone or anyone, challenging that hard decision. To tell you the truth, I don’t care what people think about it anymore. They haven’t walked in my shoes or been where I’ve been. They don’t know what they are talking about and they don’t know the number of times when I was close to death and my parents weren’t around or interested. They don’t know the number of times my parent’s irresponsibility resuted in bringing me close to death. They don’t know that I never had a true parent/child relationship with the people who brought me into the world because they were too irresponsible to be parents. They expected me to take care of them and when I failed, I wasn’t good for anything, in their eyes. I didn’t break our relationship, I couldn’t, it was never established. I wanted that relationship and was willing to put the work in to build that relationship but they weren’t. I can’t make them want or do what they don’t want and what they don’t want to do. I’m not the problem and anyone who refuses to see that, has problems too. Problems that don’t involve me.



Hi Darlene,
This is one of your very best articles! My parents–(The Man and The Woman)—are now both 85 and 80 years old respectively and not in the best of health! They were both old when I was born and I’m like 40 years old now. I am still very,very hurt whenever I have tried to talk to past “friends” who insist that there is something wrong with me since I have low contact with The Man & The Woman and they’re so concernced with these elderly’ health issues.

What about my health, finances,and social needs? I am NOT a bad person and I have been a victim forever and I have VERY Low Contact with FOO! At times, I still have problems crying and sleeping due to fear of the next phone call, very low minor visits from them…etc. Why can’t mainstream culture just accept death as a part of the cycle of life? I cannot and will not feel sorry for someone near death being that they are a VERY elderly person. They have lived their life and please give me a chance to live mine! The Man is an Atheist and The Woman is a confused Catholic and of course very mean,angry people!

I like to think of my FOO as just like those characters in the popular vampire movies–(Twilight,etc)-and they just don’t want/nor cant’ die! How incredibly selfish that they want to live forever! All they do is whine and complain about being ‘the poor old,people’—yes, the ones who nearly destroyed my life. In my mind, they’re both ‘dead’ and I’m only waiting for the official,final outcome. Thanks….Blessed Be!


My father died when I was 24 and I did not care. In fact, I thought it would probably improve my life. It actually did a bit.

It’s been 25 years and I still don’t care that he died without us resolving our relationship. As I married, raised children, grew in understanding of what it is like to be an adult, and what it must have been like for him, I still haven’t cared. He died at age 44. I am 51, I have 7 years more experience in life than he ever had. I know all about him I ever needed to know–and I still don’t care.

I loved him desperately as a little kid. I wanted him desperately to love me. He did not. He let me know it. About age 16 I gave up and disliked him. Had he reformed, maybe we could have had something worthwhile, but he didn’t. By age 22 I didn’t even dislike him anymore. He was a nothing to me. When he died, my first thought was, “Well, this is going to be interesting”.

I’ve never missed him. I never cared that he didn’t walk me down the isle. I don’t give a flying frick frack that he never met my sons. He wasn’t a very nice person, he didn’t try, he rolled his car driving drunk. He wasn’t missed by anyone except his mother. (he left my mother a very nice insurance policy and the opportunity to find a better marriage, which she did). He’s a name on a tombstone no one goes to visit. I don’t think there are any mementos of his life around any more. He is never discussed. No one has warm reminiscences of him. No one has horrifying ones either. He was just unremarkably unpleasant. His death made it easy for people to avoid him.

I never felt terrible. Never regretted I didn’t try harder. And don’t mourn what could have been. I am confident that if I do my healing work it will be the same for my mother.

What happens when they die? A lot of times if they were horrible, you feel relief. If you have already mourned what could have been, you won’t care. And if you have toxic parents, you have to mourn that the what-could-have-been at some point, and it can be done before they die.

If they have never offered anything good to your life, there’s nothing to miss. If your life is better without them in it, their death won’t matter.

Do these people who try to tell you how you are going to feel when your toxic parents die without your involvement and relationship resolution ever think of how you would feel if you stayed involved and your parent died without still resolving your relationship? If the relationship wasn’t resolved in 50 years, what makes anyone think it will be resolved in 60 years?

These people are just not thinking, or worse are part of the problem.

It’s like the people who say: They are too old to change. Or That’s just they way they are.

My mother once told me that she’s just too old to deal with problems any more. Her mother had gotten to that point when she was too tired to deal with problems, and my mother at age 69 informed me that she was now at that stage herself.

Pissed me off. I told her, ‘if you are too old to deal with problems any more, don’t create them’. (my grandmother, btw, was talking about dealing with other people’s drama, there were none in her life at that point).

You are too old to deal with problems: fine, don’t create them. Oh, and while you are at it, tell it to the IRS: I’m too old to cope with taxes. And tell it to the doctor: Sorry, I’m 70, I’m too old to deal with the problems of cancer. I should be exempt; I just too old.

Good luck with that.

Frankly, the truth is, most of us probably won’t care when our parents die if we’ve done the what-could-have-been mourning. If we haven’t, we’ll probably do it at the time of their death–and we will be in the same boat as people with wonderful parents who are mourning their loss. We all end up mourning our parents one way or another whatever kind of parents we have. It’s just a rite a passage in life.

A lot of times you read this on those ‘pity me, I’m estranged from my child and don’t know why because I’m so wonderful’ websites. They are going to be sorry when I’m dead. And then when it occurs to them that maybe their kids aren’t going to be sorry when they are dead, they bring in money: they’re going to be sorry when they find out I’ve cut them out of any inheritance.

It’s one of those unacknowledged truths in life: some people are not mourned or missed when they die. My father was not. And my mother will not be either. It’s the risk you take when you devalue people: a lot of times they turn around and devalue you as well.


Hi Pam W.
Thank you for your willingness to be part of this conversation when I take some time off this week!

When I realized that I no longer cared what people thought anymore I realized that I had a bigger chunk of freedom than I ever dreamed anyone could have. It was such huge growth for me! This was a result of seeing the actual bottom line truth about this whole situation. There is NOTHING more I can do without returning to treating myself the exact same way that they treated me. For me this was about living for me or dying for them. And I chose me!
Love your comments, great insight as always
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Yvonne
I feel sad for my parents but I feel victorious for me! They ‘almost’ destroyed my life but I took it back! I rose out of the prison and flew into a new life on new wings. This is my hope for everyone! I hear you about the sleep problems and the crying and all of that. I went through the anxiety of the next phone call, but eventually I got stronger and they had less effect! Hang in there! There really was freedom on the other side when I stuck to this new way of seeing things.
Hugs, Darlene


Wow, I only got through about half of this and it brought back some memories.

Since my parents are in their fifties and not sick old yet, I don’t get this question often (and I assume the people I choose to surround myself by now understand my situation well enough to not ask such an insulting thing!).

However, the first phone call I ever had with my father where I actually stood up to him, this came up.
This past Sept., starting university, I was no longer financially dependent on him, so the big difference was I said my peace, and DIDN’T call back with “I’m sorry I’m sorry”. I always meant what I said over the years, but this time I was allowed to mean it.

He knew I wasn’t in contact with my mother, and said “What if your mother dies?”. It really never even occurred to me that this was perhaps a guilt trip- I am actually not sure to this day if it was. But I just responded “Well, if she dies you can tell my aunt and she can tell my other aunt and I will find out that way.” I was very calm. The truth is my parents do not nurture me in pain or sickness (though they encourage it), so I do not owe them that. Period.

Of course he was not used to me not reacting in fear or panic, so he threatened to take away health insurance (which I later figured out he can’t even do unless he takes his whole family off the plan so that was just a plain lie to frighten me- and he doesn’t pay those bills routinely anyway, my aunt does). Then he guilt tripped me about ‘paying for half my college’ and ‘giving me everything I’d ever asked for- I just ‘never’ took his money’. Really? When I was hopping around in a single flip flop in March, when I was hungry for a year, when I was freezing cold, when health care and college were not even a possibility in my mind, I ‘never took his money’? REALLY?

Well, luckily my aunt let me give him back the money, as I did not know that he was paying half. Last time he offered to help me pay for school there were so many strings attached, I ended up living in my car because I wasn’t able to pass stats (even with tutoring and talking to teachers and trying my best). He has all these vague undetectable neglectful ways of making sure I do not get educated- mostly impossible strings attached. I passed my other classes, despite the fact I couldn’t take care of myself. He didn’t care, he just wanted a reason for me to come back crawling to him, begging for scraps. It is appalling.

I suppose right now for me the more common guilt trip is a ‘well, if I had a daughter who won’t/refuses to see her mother….’, and the tone of voice that goes along. Well, what ‘if’ you had a mother who was so abusive you routinely put yourself in harm’s way if and only if you communicated with her….? Then what? Well, I chose not to visit them. I did not deny them basic human rights like free will, food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and so on. I did not gaslight them. I did not call them names so they would ‘obey’ me. There is a huge difference. Again, Darlene makes a great point in that what our parents did was AGAINST THE LAW. It was a violation of human rights. A decision to not visit someone is never against the law.

When I was 20, I ‘took’ all his money- when I didn’t. Now I ‘never take his money’- when it’s not offered.


My father died alone 500 miles away from his former home, after no contact (his choice) for seven years. My parents had divorced when I was 33, but I maintained a good-quality and friendly relationship with him. After a few years he moved out of state; we had occasional good visits, and lots of long letters with news articles, pictures, etc. BUT, year by year, alcohol became his priority. Contact between us became sparse and one-sided. I sure missed him, my “buddy.”

He started asking for money, and I sent him some, though his income was adequate. Couldn’t say no to My Dad. But then the day came when I said no, and he cut off all contact with me and everyone else “back home.” Textbook symptom of advanced alcoholism. I continued to send holiday and birthday cards (no email back then), hoping for some response. None. So I stopped setting myself up for more hurt, and stopped contact. One more father’s day card wasn’t going to make him “come back.” It was like burying him in a way, I needed to think of him as “gone,” and as time went on I felt ok with it.

After seven years of zero contact, the authorities notified us that Dad, age 69, had died alone in his little apartment. When going through his few belongings, my brother and I found high school portraits of us, …. and … all the cards and letters we had sent to him. ALL UNOPENED.

This was 20 yrs ago. Looking back, though there was no reconciliation, and the resolution “was what it was,” I’m still ok with my decision not to engage in further contact with my dad.
The point on subject is about my decision to say no to him, knowing he was in bad shape, but knowing too, that in his deteriorated condition he was using our past good relationship to manipulate me, with no positive ending in sight. As Darlene said, he had his chances to make things better with me – he knew I loved him, but he chose to retreat instead. Yeah, it hurt. But I’m not beating myself up for letting him go, though I am sad for the way his life ended.

“Mom” is more complicated! I am presently (my post Mar24 on “Toxic mother/daughter” thread) struggling with the contact/no contact issue with my elderly mother, and taking one day at a time with that, gathering strength from EFB. thanks, EFB.


Hi All,

Kalispell, really powerful comment and that is so timely and relevant to what is going on in my life right now. Your story gave me a lot of strength. I will read it over and over again.

I am NC with my mother. My divorced parents have new partners who are also controlling and abusive and they have driven a wedge between me and my parents by their abusive behaviour. My parents will happily allow their partner to abuse me and will do nothing to stop it or show any protectiveness or loyalty towards me. I am at the bottom of the pecking order in their eyes. When I tried to defend myself I was accused of jealousy, or of trying to split up their relationship which is lies.

My father went into the hospital to have an operation 3 weeks ago and he did not make any effort to contact me until after the operation. He spoke to me for 30 seconds and could not get off the phone quick enough He quickly said he will come and see me.He did not say what the operation was for and I have heard nothing from him since.

He has deliberately cut me out and pushed me away. I have tried to have a relationship with this cold, unloving, distant man all of my life and given everything I had and he has always pushed me away. The only time he has ever shown an interest in my life is when I have had success in my career and he has wanted money from me. I had already decided to walk away from this fake relationship in December. This is a recent development that has helped me make up my mind that my decision to walk away is the right one for me.

My father’s illness could have been an opportunity for us to resolve our relationship. Instead he chose to push me away like he has all of my life. He chose to not contact me.I was not to visit him in hospital. He is recuperating at his wife’s family home and he has said he will come and see me, but that is all on his terms, in his time and I am not considered as important, or relevant in his life at all. He would rather die with me away than call for his daughter to be around him. He emigrated abroad 14 years ago and got on the plane and didn’t come say goodbye. He got my sister to ring me and say dad said bye. He didn’t want to call you as he would get upset. He got on the plane in the sun with his young girlfriend. When he married her I didn’t get an invite to the wedding and he told me a couple of years after they married.

Now that he has humiliated me over and over and kept me away and his wife and her family are around his beside. I have been treated as though I am nothing and I am not his daughter. His wife has told me that her sisters daughter is his other daughter and my father and her sister’s daughter get on so well and talk and go swimming together in their pool and how she has noticed that he doesn’t have that kind of relationship with me. My father’s wife told me that her sister’s son and her sister’s daughter say my father has been more of a father to them than their own father. My own father has not been a father to me, my brother or my sister EVER.

If anything when this selfish man dies I will no longer feel pushed out, or rejected, or pushed away, or blanked, or humiliated, or pushed to the bottom of the pecking order. I will probably have a sense of relief that this dysfunctional dance is finally over and that I no longer have people tormenting me over the lack of a relationship I have with him and can no longer brag about how wonderful their relationship is with him. The one thing these screwed up controllers cant control is death itself.

I expect when he dies I will not be involved in planning his funeral, I will be left nothing when he dies, I will probably not be contacted to be told he is dead.If I am contacted it will be by my aunt who they will contact (maybe).

Sorry for the rant, I have been struggling today with the sense of injustice and the fact that I need to channel my anger into something positive. EFB is so positive and healing for me.

Have a lovely rest darlene and I hope you and your family have a wonderful time on your vacation. God bless you and your loved ones. Your story is an inspiration and you truly deserve all the happiness and love in your life. Thank you as always.


For part of my childhood I grew up in a home where one parent was an alcoholic (my father) and unfortunately was exposed in real time to this type of behavior. My father when I was young moved back to his home country and I went to visit and stay with him for about 7 months and that was when I was 16 years old. I was hoping and praying at that time that my mother would had gotten his life together and cut back on his drinking. At that time, no such luck! Not having my father in my life, for a good majority of my life, unfortunately had a impact on me mentally. I then made the decision to go and visit him again and this time as an adult in 199/2000 for about one month nearly. I was quite pleased to see he had changed his life ‘big time’ and there was no longer abuse of alcohol. I kept in touch with him and a fairly regular basis every few months I would call him. I however when I went to visit him in 1999/2000 – we called it truce. I chose then to not spend anymore time in my life HATING him for his actions in the past and also for neglecting me most of my life. I just could not go on and on in life feeling this way towards him, as I was also become aware that he had allot in his own life that he was dealing with… He has since passed away September 28, 2010. It did not affect me too largely his passing, as we ere not close – though I was a bit sad.

Now the parent (mother) that single handedly and as a sole supporting parent on government assistance with three children and health issues of her own – well I now know she did the best with what she had. Unfortunate for me, I had some challenges mentally and emotionally when I was a child. Up to about 16 years ago, I was blaming my mother most of my life for things being so rough in my life and when I ended up being forced to live away from home and again not by mother’s choice. However, taking all of this into consideration, I have yes been very dependent on my mother a good majority of my life. No matter how I treated her, she was always there for me as much as things in her life would allow for her to be.

I do know what it is also like to be asked how I would feel if my parents passed away. I have been asked this countless times over my life. Well, sadly my mother passed away Christmas Day this year (December 25 2012). It hit me very hard! I have had moments and many moments where I have asked myself – why I was so hard on her in previous years – she may have had times in my life where she got me upset and where she’d be angry for some reason or another…

I honestly believe, no matter how close or not one is to a parent – it is the most ‘difficult challenge’ anybody could ever face – the loss of a parent!!


I think my reaction to either of my parents death will be relief, maybe some happiness. Like others, I’ve already done a lot of mourning for the kind of childhood I deserved and should have had. For some reason the lyrics “Ding Dong the witch is dead” is playing in a loop in my head!!!

When I get the news, I won’t be letting people know or going to the funeral; they don’t deserve any acknowledgement from me.

There will be some fallout from my brothers and sisters when I don’t appear at the funeral, but I want them to know how I really feel, a giant “F%$# you!!!


Kalispell, I love your comments!

I hear people say this all the time. Personally, I would be glad if my parents died; the sooner the better, so at least they won’t be able to physically, sexually, or emotionally abuse any more children. I don’t believe in practicing revisionist history just because someone is dead. I saw that in my own family after my grandmother died; everyone ignored her nastiness and all the terrible things she did to her children in order to paint this idealized version of her. I’m not going to do that.

The most vital, formative part of our lives is when we are young children and our brains are still forming. During that period my parents were horrifically abusive, and that’s that. They had their chance, they blew it. And the fact is, my parents didn’t make exceptions for me when I was sick, when who knows what could have happened to me (like when I was homeless for a brief period and my mother turned up her nose at helping me.) My mother drove drunk with me in the car when I was five years old; I could have died. So why should I give them better treatment then they gave me? I’m not going to, I don’t want to reconcile with them, they are poison.

If my cutting them off doesn’t resolve our “relationship” then I’ll see to it that they spend their last days in jail.


I have reframed things in my life. My “parents” were my Maternal grandparents who raised and who I call “my mom and dad”.

My biological parents have walked out of my life and abandoned me. It took me a long while to come to terms with them and who they are. Teenage parents. In summary, deep down they did not want me and resented having me around. I was accused of destroying their lives. I suffered through years of physical, mental and emotional abuse.

My “dad” had to step in many times to see that I was properly cared for and looked after because my bio mother was not going to do it. Both my mom and dad were my shelter from the abuse and I was free to be who I am. I was never free to be me around my bio parents.

I have deep gratitude for my mom and dad who were there for me> I don’t know how I would have survived without them. What they have done for me in my life, spoke huge messages to me saying that I am worthy and important.

In regards to my bio parents – they chose to abandon me and storm out of my life – blaming me for ruining their lives at such a young age and scapegoating me. To them, I was never an obligation – just a nuisance who shouldn’t be around. That inconvenienced them to no end.

My “mom and dad” passed away back in the 1990s and in my life, there feels like a huge gaping hole. I miss them terribly. I find it difficult not having family around. I owe them a lot in thanks for saving me.

Both my Biological Parents live 10 minutes away from me. They have nothing to do with me or my own family. They can’t be bothered to be around or in contact. Both are getting up there in age. To be perfectly honest, when they die, I probably won’t hear about it. I may see it in the online paper. There will be nothing left for me but stuff left for their “good” and favored kids. I won’t mourn of miss them. Because I came to terms with them, I did my very best and they walked away. It was their choice to go.

I count my blessings that I am free from being abused further. I am free from only being tolerated. I no longer have the role of scapegoat or the black sheep of the family. I can’t focus on my bio parents or the past and realized that things have run it’s course. Even through they had an extremely negative impact in my life, which I have been in therapy over 20 years now – I just wish them well and send happiness their way. No use in cursing them. Even though they gave me life, I am not holding an obligations towards them or their families. I just prefer to wipe the slate clean and get on with life. Nothing holding me back.

I just remember the sacrifices that my “Mom and Dad” made for me when I was a child and all the good times……where I can be who I was back then and hopefully heal and return back to myself today.

I hope that wasn’t confusing…….


This resonates with me..both of mine have passed, and it was more of a relief. But while both my mother and father (divorced many years) were dying, they were still trying to make me look bad. My mother still mustered an ounce of energy to still try and stick it to me. I know people wondered why I wasn’t there taking care of her. I know people, who were her friends, and therefore, had gotten the usual litany of “what a horrible daughter she has”…they knew her public face. My father ignored me, and til the day he died was still spewing how he didn’t think I was his child, which pissed his brother off, as well as cousins who were still in contact. None of their friends knew what we children went through.

Guilt implies you’ve done something wrong. I have nothing to feel guilt for when it comes to them.


LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE DARLENE~~~~~~~ALL of it!! Woooo hooooo!!!! I’m doing the snoopy dance!!!


Unconsciously, I knew I was going to get worse if I stayed in my country of origin, close to my parents and my family. I made the decision to leave and build a new life for myself across the ocean. I didn’t feel safe anymore there, so I left and found a new home. Fast forwarding 24 years later, after realizing what happened to me was actually abuse and my parents were at its source, I put some boundaries in place about 4 months ago. As expected, they’re trying to manipulate their way back into my life. It’s utterly disgusting how subtle it is being done. How, by being forceful at first didn’t work, they are now trying kindness. Emailing me pictures of themselves looking absolutely pitiful. As if my sensitivity would take over.
I remember them telling me that they are old now and they need their children around them. WHY!!!! Why all of the sudden it’s ok to have us around? They don’t care about me! I used to call them every Sunday. For what? To reassure them. Now my father is sending me emails telling me that my mom is going into a deep depression because she hasn’t heard from me and so she is worried to death. What the hell??? My sister, who, by the way, never calls me, called me yesterday and told me that she doesn’t know what to tell them anymore. That I need to call them to let them know I’m ok. They’re older, mom is suffering. I felt anger rising. However, I calmly told my sister that none of this is her business and if she felt guilty about it, it wasn’t because of me.
I have to think about me and how I need to grow now that I am an adult and I am safe. I don’t need them anymore. They bring me down, they’re toxic, they are the parents of my mental illness. I am breaking free, finally, from oppression and vicious narcissists. I refuse to feed their ego anymore. I am on my journey to self fulfillment and what I have learned so far is that they were ALL wrong about me.


I was just pondering this very thing today. I have children and love my children and value my children. But my parents did not value me, my opinion, or my accomplishments, I was just there. Although my Nrents are healthy now, and I have only been NC with them for coming up on a year I have already heard I must forgive my mother for this past event. My siblings don’t even know all that she said in the conversation, yet it’s automatic that I must forgive. I feel so stupid for letting this go on this long. I wish I had ended it all when my kids were small. But I didn’t have the one REALLY BAD THING that crossed the line, it was just little things over and over and over.I so wanted for my kids to have a relationship with their grandparents. I fell for the guilt. Now that I know she hates me and it will never get better, I wonder if I will feel pain when they pass. How can I love my father when all of these years he covered for her not loving me? I am not ready to forgive yet again and it won’t change anything if I forgive this latest event. It will just happen again. They never ask for forgiveness or apologize. (That’s my job according to all of their flying monkeys anyway.) No one cares what she’s done, but I have to protect myself at this point. Darlene’s post was really spot on again….


My parents always turned things around, they kicked me out when I was 11/12 and told people I ran away. There was daily terror and beatings but they told the world I was impossible and I abused them as a kid. Since a couple of years they feel very sorry for themselves that they are getting old. They see themselves as superior and prefect, and getting old and sick is for all the other loosers, they just enjoy when people look bad old or sick. But to them it’s an injustice and I hear the “poor us, we are getting old” (they always, always speak in WE or US, that’s sick, I have never ever succeeded to speak to my dad in person, because even when being alone with him he refuses to accept my YOU as for him, and they never use I because there is no person behind it, there is only WE, the evil team).
Since I moved out and have NC they didn’t stop the smearcampaign and the profiling now is ; poor us, we are near dying and that crazy horrible daughter takes our grandchild from us.
People know they have tried to take my daughter away from me, in the most sneakiest, lowest possible way, but they forget about that, or were talked in to the “it’s because we worry she is a bad mother” story. Now they tell people they are near dying lol, but they are the healthiest people around taking care of themselves as no one can beat them to it.
And yes, now that you mention it, i didn’t even think about it because I’m so programmed to not think about myself, but all those people never asked themselves how I felt. They never asked themselves or asked me how my daughter was doing after getting out of this “war”. The only things I heard were “your poor parents are getting old” , ” it’s time to grow up” , “you’ll regret this when it will be too late”. I have been trying for my whole life and it nearly killed me, even after moving out I let them in again for another trip to hell, the last bite of the snake that vacinated me. For a while I was thinking that maybe there was a hope that they would get a moment of regret and truth and finally acceptation, but I’m realistic and I think i’ll get the final blow even after they’ll be gone. As usual they will have planned it.


Hi Darlene and all,

Thank you for writing this. For me, this is a perfect follow up to the “Was my Mother a Cougar” article! I posted on that one too (#40). I actually had a conversation with my therapist about this very issue last week. I started realizing that my mother was a toxic force in my life and I started distancing myself from her, finding that I could function better with more distance from her. I felt guilty for doing that and then I started reading your articles and they have totally validated what I’ve been feeling and why.

I have had a couple of my mother’s friends contact me and tell me how my mother is getting older and that I should let her be more a part of my life, etc, etc. I totally blasted those people with the whole “you have no idea what you are talking about” and “until you walk in my shoes, don’t judge” lecture. I ended up having to give them some details (I’ve posted a lot of them in posts on your articles) before they would back down. Truthfully, I think my mother knowingly reached out to them, hoping they would reach out to me and it backfired on her.

When I was talking to my therapist, I said that I had a problem with trust. She immediately corrected me and said that I don’t have a problem with trust; my mother has a problem with being trustworthy. I was telling my therapist that other people have asked me if I will tell my mother why I’ve chosen to distance myself from her and she said ‘oh, I think she knows why’ and it occurred to me that she’s probably right.

The conversation I had with my therapist was almost word for word a duplicate of this article with the exception of the my mother’s trustworthines. I still do not understand it all – why people think it’s ok for us to carry the guilt and shame and not the abusers. I am slowly releasing those feelings but they’ve gotten a strong hold over the years so it’s not like a faucet, you just turn off and everything’s ‘ok’.

Again, thank you for all your writings.


My mother’s never acknowledged the abuse; in fact, when called on it, she’s defended her actions by blaming me. I try to see her as little as possible, though she resents having to pay someone else to be her caregiver instead of me. (I was her caregiver for two and a half years before I couldn’t take it anymore.) Her take on things is that she went above and beyond providing a home for me. She gave me a “bill” describing what all she bought me and paid for me. My take is that if every rage attack, every name she called me, every time she could have said something nice but said something derogatory instead had a price, I would be ahead.

The relationship ball is in her court, but she’s never hit it back to me. She’s never expressed any but the most superficial interest in me or my children. She’s only given me advice like, “If your daughter’s eating too slowly, when you and her siblings finish, you should all yell at her until she finishes.” (There’s what my childhood was like, yeah.) So I know not to tell her anything.

I don’t have a whole lot of people coming down on me because I won’t see her as often as they think I should, because they know her rages too.

How will I feel when she dies? Nothing. I’ve already mourned never having a relationship with her, and there’s nothing left to mourn.


Thanks Darlene…this posting is so validating. Wow, there are so many people who have the same problem. 🙁 I would never wish the kind of pain I have endured on anyone else, but it is good to know I am no longer alone. Others have experienced the hurtfulness I have, as sad as it is.

I have heard that same question leveled at me as well. Dad is also in poor health. However, my dad couldn’t care less what’s going on with me, my husband, or even my kids. The only time I have heard from him is if he needs something from me. He has never once been concerned about my life….nothing, not even my safety! The message that I am not important has come across loud & clear. Funny that it’s taken me a lot of years to really understand it.

Dad has made his bed. If he really wants to change it, then he must do the necessary work to make a relationship with me…he has to take the next step. I’m not going to be his doormat anymore. I am not backing down. Why should I? I had been forced to do things for them out of obligation for years since it was somehow an infant’s fault that they adopted me (what I heard for years growing up…I managed to twist their arms into being stuck with me). I never quite understood how a helpless baby could do that since babies have no strength physically or the presence of mind to manipulate. It was a stupid argument. It worked when I was a child (major guilt complex), but I can see the flaws in their logic now. They made a choice that they were unhappy with, & I paid the ultimate price for their mistake. It’s theirs to own…not mine. I used to do anything he required…whenever he called, no request was too small. I would drop everything, & I even gave up employment to assist him. I gave him stuff, I helped him out when he was needy. Yet, looking back on my life, whenever I needed him, no matter how desperate things became for me, he was never available…too busy, or he had some other lame excuse.

My life is far more peaceful than it’s ever been. I do not require a father figure anymore. In fact, quite a few years ago, he told me that as I got closer to my teen years, I didn’t need him at that point. I was blown away by his thoughtlessness. What child doesn’t desire their father’s love, acceptance, or even a kind word or two? Who says a pre-teen or teenage doesn’t desire a loving, caring parent? This is also a twisted statement. Children do need guidance. In fact, they never really outgrow that need. Isn’t it ironic that lately people have tried to guilt me into a relationship with someone who wasn’t there for me when I sure could have used his support? He’s not going to change. I think he is still waiting for me to go crawling back. In all my years, we have never had any kind of a normal relationship. I was forced to raise myself, since he & mom couldn’t be bothered. I well remember the loneliness I experienced as a child, teen, young adult, etc because they were always too busy to be bothered with a child & her childish yearnings. It pained me to know that other kids had loving parents, & I longed for that too. Well, all I can say is that the days of thinking perhaps he’ll get it & want a relationship are gone. It’s ok. I have gotten along without him for most of my life. I don’t need someone in my life who can only be bothered when he needs something. That is not a relationship, that’s called using someone for their gain at the other person’s expense. It’s simply too expensive for me to go there anymore. It used to make me sad, when I would think about all the possibilities. But it really doesn’t concern me now, because I know it doesn’t bother my dad.

Thank you Darlene! I feel so much better having read this today. Have a wonderful & well deserved vacation!



Reading this was a wake up for me, I am neither abused or an abuser. My husband was raised by an abuser mother and is a recovering alcoholic, my 27 year old daughter is very abusive herself, and also a substance abuser. I have been on NC with her for nearly a year. I really miss her and want to resume a relationship, but reading all of this tells me it will never work. I feel very confused.


Hi Linda
Welcome to Emerging from Broken.
There is always hope when both people are willing to work it out. I don’t know why you think something about this article communicates that it will never work but if you would like to explain it, I would be glad to respond.


Hi KathyA
I totally understand and relate to what you have shared and thank you for sharing your exp. ( I am glad that you find strength here too)
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sharon
Welcome to EFB ~ That is how I feel now too ~ I have nothing to feel guilty about, I didn’t do anything wrong.
Something I have leared is that guilt is not something that I chose, it is something that was taught to me. I had to learn how I adopted guilt in the first place so that I could reject it.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Catherine
Welcome to EFB ~ Wow, you have been through a lot with all that. Thank you for sharing, I am glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lisa,
I love what your therapist said when she said you don’t have a problem with trust, your mother has a problem with trustworthyness! Love that!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Susan
Well that is awesome~ love the snoopy dance!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Charmaine
I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Emma
Thank you for sharing. I can really relate to your comments.
Hugs, Darlene

I get what you are sharing; sometimes the manipulation is a little different before the parents are elderly!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Daisy
I have a lot of ‘wizard of oz’ analogies and I get what you are saying. (when I started to stand up to abuse and abusers I started realizing that they were like the witch who when sprinkled with water started screaming “I’m melting, I’m melting”… standing against their misuse of power nearly KILLS them!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Caden
Some parents should be in prison. Some don’t even deserve the comfort of prison, and that is just the truth. I totally get what you are saying.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Becky
Wow, that is so awesome that your parents (grandparents) were so wonderful to you! That is LOVE.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


My mother uses this line all the time – “Me and your daddy are getting old and not in good health. We’re not gonna live forever and don’t you think you should make things right before we die? How are you gonna feel if we die before you work things out with(forgive) us? Don’t let that happen.”

I agree – I had to set some boundaries and make things right for me. I don’t want to ease back into the manipulation and controlling conditions provided compliance and a close relationship with them. They don’t understand boundaries – give an inch and they will take a mile.

Furthermore, the parents think it is my duty to “make” my grown children forgive them and come back into the fold. They want their grandchildren to come back to the family compound and live according to the elder’s dogma,propaganda, and convictions. I say my children are grown and make their own decisions. It is not my job to convince them to put an end to the boundaries they have established towards their grandparents. If the grandchildren don’t feel the need in their lives to forgive the abuses by the grandparents, I am not going to give them a guilt trip about it.


Hi Celine
It was so key for me to realize what you said ~ That they were wrong about me!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Melody
Who gets to say you MUST do something?
About Forgiveness ~ it really doesn’t work when the abusers have not even validated that there WAS abuse. Forgiveness is not nearly as hard when the perps actually understand what they did and are actually sorry for it.
Thanks for sharing! Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene! That was awesome! I just wanted to stand on the top of my rooftop and yell out AMEN! I couldn’t have expressed this any better and once again your timing of this is amazing. I had already made a comment on facebook but I just find it amazing that when I had the courage to send my Dad a goodbye letter, I find all this loving support waiting for me. This web site and my spiritual mentorship have become my new family. I feel a little raw right now because I just sent a goodbye letter to my Dad. Like you, I have spent my whole life trying to have relationship with my parents…begging is what it felt more like. It’s when you start asking yourself the right questions that true healing begins. My dad was more difficult for me because he manipulated in a more kinder, gentler way. He made it about understanding where someone else is coming from and empathy for the other person. I agree that this is a good quality however when did it ever apply to “me”. I swear that I was invisible. What I truly find amazing is how these dysfunctional patterns continue down from generation to generation until someone finally steps up and starts questioning the way things are. I am the pattern breaker in my family and I’m not very liked that’s for sure. I realized that if I want to be true to myself and write my book I will need to cut them off. I knew without a doubt that I would feel like a child again and doubt myself for expressing how I truly feel. This book of mine is going to get out there or I will die trying. I am so done with all this bs and I’ve learned that “I” am the only person that can break out of it for myself. Even though I feel raw, I also feel empowered.I’ve actually walked away from my mom’s family as well even though I do love them all. I am tired of being asked how my mom is doing and I know that they will see me as the bad daughter abandoning her. With the belief system I have about the after life I’m not too concerned. This journey is all about learning lessons and even though sometimes I think this game sucks big time, I know there is a bigger reason why everything is happening. This is what I have learned to put my faith in. If I have gained anything from this journey, it’s to develop my faith in the Universe and the power within myself. Thank you Darlene for being so incredibly awesome! You go Girl, Love ya!


Hi January
YES ~ what you said “Dad has made his bed. If he really wants to change it, then he must do the necessary work to make a relationship with me…he has to take the next step.” that is the entire point! Thank you for your share. I am not sure why it is so dang hard for so many to understand ‘mutual respect’ but wow, that is a huge problem in our world!
Hugs, Darlene

I get what you are saying! This is EXACTLY what I am talking about! Thank you so much
hugs, Darlene


Hi Teresa
That is the whole problem, there is no mutual love OR respect in that set up. In that system you will only have value and the ability to think for yourself when THEY die. There is no living until then? That system doesn’t work.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, it was never hard for me to go NC, that was to save my sanity, what was hard was the guilt and fear I felt. I had a little girl stuck inside me for 50 years who was sure it wasn’t safe out there in the world.

EFB has been instrumental in my understanding of who’s responsible for how I saw myself and the world around me. Once I got to a place where thoughts of my FOO didn’t trigger the guilt, fear and shame anymore, being me is great!! Life has became a pleasure and I’m a happy person.

Your reference to the witch in the Wizard of Oz sums it up. Now they no longer have any power over me and I can see them for the pathetic individuals they are!!!


Hi Lora
When I came out of the fog about all this, in my minds eye I saw myself on the floor like a dog, begging them for scraps. Feeling that way… today it just floors me! I was a kid and then a young woman and then an adult with kids of my own and I was still begging everyone for scraps, just a little attention, a little validation, just something to let me know that I was alive and valued in some small way by someone, but no…. they really liked me like that. I took my life back though and I have never looked back with any temptation to go back to what was before.
Hugs, Darlene


sorry, forgot to wish you a great holiday with your family…thank you


YES me too. That is exactly what I felt too, and what I just wrote to Lora, about feeling like I was begging them for scraps because I thought I HAD to. I thought they were my only hope!
Hugs, Darlene


Oh my goodness! I know I’ve already commented on this post, but I just had to share this …. Just a few weeks ago I got this letter from my mother … (packed to the brim with guilt trips, manipulations, etc. trying to convince me to just let things ‘go back to the way they were’ – rather than as they are now, where I have for months now – seriously limited my contact -and my children’s contact – with them due to their hurtful speech and abuse tactics) And in the middle of that letter she said:

“”” Seeing my parents age is sad. If they should die, I want them to know how thankful I am for what they have done for me. I want them to know they are needed and appreciated. Including them in our plans is one way your father and I have tried to do this. I was hoping you and your family would do the same for us from time to time. Only if we give our parents the honor they deserve can we expect God’s blessing.”””” –

The way she pats herself on the back for being such a ‘good daughter’ to her parents, and simultaneously point out that I am not living up to my daughterly responsibilities (according to her) … its pretty typical of her style of communicating … All the while, she’s just blatantly ignoring the fact that the ONLY reason she doesn’t get ‘included in our plans’ is because she is abusive. Unrepentantly, unfailingly abusive. Sheesh, even in her letter to try and convince me to ‘change my ways’ she is covertly abusive towards me (and even judging my relationship with God)- while putting herself on a pedestal … The multi-tasking these people do in their manipulative communication is amazing. …

As I’d said before – I tried to remedy our relationship by having an adult conversation about it with her (actually, been trying that my WHOLE life … I’ve just finally decided that the ball is in her court and it actually has been the whole time – I can’t be the only one doing the work for this ‘relationship”. I can’t do it for her. So I’m dropping it and moving on…. I think she is missing me fighting so hard for our ‘relationship’ .(‘dance for me my little puppet! prove how much you value me! jump through my hoops! muh-hahaha!’). It turns out, there was nothing to fight for to begin with. The ‘relationship’ was crap to start with) Loved how you said you felt like you were ‘begging for scraps” !! I feel the same way. Like through words and actions, my whole life I was just begging them – “please, just give me something, ANYthing to let me know that I matter!”

Anyway – This post is SO timely for what I am dealing with now! Thank you again Darlene!
Best wishes to all!



I have had to step back from all the work I’ve been doing on my relationship with my parents as well. Kera, your comments resonate strongly with me. This article also says a lot of what I have experienced too. I don’t understand how I can be expected to be close to people who can’t handle honesty or who try to manipulate me. There is too much denial with my parents to be real with them, and I won’t settle for just being nice anymore. It isn’t comfortable nor fair on anyone to have a pretend relationship. I, too, find it hard to have my relationship with God judged by my parents, but my standing with God is not up to my parents. The shock I’ve seen in response to such a comment shows my parents believe they have the right to judge me. They do not. Honoring parents does not equal accepting their control or judgement of me.


mky/Melody Y,

Thank you for sharing! It is always helpful for me to hear of others who have similar experiences! Somehow its easier to acknowledge my own story, when I see that I’m not alone or “just being dramatic” …

Wow … when you said that your parents “can’t handle honesty”, that is SO true with my FOO! (and it’s not even the mean hateful stuff they dish out … it’s just a calm explanation of why their behavior is causing pain – they can’t handle that kind of bursting of their perfection image they have of themselves) And when you said that there is “Too much denial … to be real with them” !!! I have always been drawn to people who are just down-to-earth/tell-it-like-it-is people … and that’s because of my being seriously repulsed by the denial my FOO is living in! Our relationship never was based on truth and honesty – it was just, as you put it, a “pretend relationship” … all for the outward appearance of a ‘unified and happy/perfect family’ – regardless of the true condition of its members. I just got tired of putting on a fake smile so they could feel good about themselves – while I was privately crumbling away (and wanting to die) …

Like Darlene has brought up several times on EFB – these abusive individuals have GOT to be reading from a different dictionary … they have their definitions all screwed up! (love,respect,honor … etc.) Its been very eye opening to see this – its been SUCH a help in the healing process! 🙂




I am so sorry to hear about that. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to be on your own at such a devastatingly young age. That is criminal, what your parents did to you.

I think it is interesting that you mention the ‘team’ of nacissistic/abusive parents. My parents too, were a team. I remember asking my father if I could have a separate relationship with him and my mother after moving out and he basically said no. He literally did not understand that concept! How nuts is that! But he does not see himself as separate from anyone- we are all extensions to feed off of. He insists everyone has the same opinion about me as he does even after I have asked them directly and they deny it. To him, everyone is him.

He didn’t want to talk to me if I didn’t talk to my mother and kiss up to her, take her abuse first. It was weird. Most of his conversations center around her, and it’s one thing to love your wife, but to not have a sense of individuality and autonomy- is weird. Creepy, they are creepy people.

I still cannot explain why this is, but it seems common (perhaps two are stronger than one? if anyone has any insight?)

Anyways, thanks for sharing. I know how terrifying it feels to be out on your own long before you are ready- its crazy making when we grow up being unprotected by the only people who are meant to protect us.


I have been thinking about this for a while now.
I remember not shedding a drop of tear when my dad died.
And since i am no longer much in touch with my mom i dont know how i will react to her death.
Maybe i wont attend her cremation or i would just keep a distance
Since anyway i she is emotionally dead for me.
There is no bond or attachment with her.
I dont seek her forgiveness or any validation from her.
All i seek is a closure


Hi Darlene. Tanks so much for the reply! Here’s the thing, I am not sure that we are both committed to ‘working on it’. She blames everyone else for the stuff that happens to her. She has spent some time in jail and is kind of ‘out on the lam’. I was sort of willing to pick a point to start and go from there until I read all the posts about leaving the past in the past. As I said, there has been NC, except for a few texts from her begging to have her ‘mommy’ back. The last time I saw her, she was drunk, had stolen from us, and had lied about her whereabouts for the previous 6 months. She has lost her home, husband and everything. She is staying with a relative who believes that she only needs space.
Thanks so much for the help and comments!


Sharon (19)

“Guilt implies you’ve done something wrong. I have nothing to feel guilt for when it comes to them.”

WOW – I have printed this quote of yours out and stuck it on my door – it’s sooo powerful to me. I am always feeling guilty about going no contact but there’s a small voice inside trying to shout that I’ve got nothing to feel guilty about. Think I’m going to use your quote as a mantra until that little voice deafens me!


Your examples in your most recent share are so perfect. Those are the ultimate manipulations ~ I started to realize that those kinds of statements were huge lies. My mother always said that she loved her mother no matter what her mother did. I remember when it dawned on me that that wasn’t love and that what her mother did certainly wasn’t love either. I also read the bible enough to know how it is twisted by people for the purpose of control. Jesus was the original messenger of equal value for all people and when I say that to manipulative people they just shut up. What can they say? 🙂 How dare soemone think that they can use God/heaven/christ/ in that way! It is almost comical to me today because I know what they are trying to do and if they believed in any of the stuff they preach at others, they would be terrified of the results they are creating in their own lives!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi MKY/Melody
Exactly ~ it is not up to your parents. They don’t have the right to define your relationship with GOD. The thing that I saw take the wind out of peoples sails is when I BELIEVED that they didn’t have that right. Then they knew the jig was up and that they lost their power over me. Everything that I have come to believe, and all the lies that I have set back to the truth, have been the foundation of my freedom and wholeness.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Piya
I understand what you are saying. Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


You go WendyMac *snapping*… LOL

Piya, I would consider seeking acceptance, instead of closure. Closure would imply you are still trying to fix something. Acceptance would imply, you’ve accepted what was, that you could never change it.

Darlene, I love your page, thank you. It’s sad we are all on this path, but at least we can encourage each other.


Have a wonderful and restful vacation, Darlene! Sounds lovely!


I went no-contact 13 years before she died … her “revenge” was to re-write her will 2 months before she died which excluded me, but included her “ex-son-in-law” (yes, the man I divorced 3 years prior) … … … “blood-money”

I have my soul and sanity intact!


Can someone please tell me what FOO means? Thank you 🙂


Hi Madison
FOO is “family of origin”.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Ruth
This reminds me of how important it is for some people to be ‘right’ and to make those defininging “I will show you” statements. “how dare you stand up to me” also coes to mine.
But all that really matters is that ou have your soul and sanity intact!!!!!!!!!!!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Light,
Thanks! I am officially gone tomorrow!


I left school at 15 so I could get a job an “escape” from my parents. I finally achieved this at 17 and moved to another town 30kms away.

I tried to go NC at various times in my 20’s by not giving them my address, but eventually they’d turn up on my doorstep for a “visit”, usually on a Sunday morning when my housemates and I were trying to sleep after a big Saturday night. They’d just pretend it was a normal visit, I was never asked why I hadn’t been in touch…so bizarre.

I realised then that they felt they were entitled to be in my life, that they owned me and I was their property, and they could treat me in any way they liked.

Does anyone else relate to feeling like their parents property?


Hi Daisy, in post #58 you wrote: “Does anyone else relate to feeling like their parents property?”

Yes I have! My parents actually told me as a child that I was bought & paid for, & I owed them big time. I had to do exactly what they wanted when the demands were made. Ironic to learn about slavery in school & to hear that it was abolished about 100 years before my birth. Sadly, that did not apply to me…I was “kept” & used much the same way as slaves were for centuries. They told me they were obligated to keep me, even though I was more trouble than I was worth. They did officially adopt me, & money was exchanged in 1962. I found out about 10 years ago, that I really wasn’t worth that much…they spent in total about $500.00 US dollars for me. Sadly, I have never been able to do enough to repay them either outright or even by working off my debt. “Mom” is gone now, much to my relief. I dunno if “dad” is still alive or not. Last I heard he was not well. I have gone NC. I am not sorry about it, I don’t have to worry about him saying something offensive to me. All I want is peace. Life has enough issues without extra drama.


I think it has been about two years that I have not had any contact with my parents….and just today I was thinking about how I felt about that. Easter is approaching, and holidays and birthdays trigger “family” thoughts. I realized that I feel nothing but relief that I have not had any contact with either of them…and I still feel immense relief. I have thought many times about if they died, and I still feel a bit of guilt that I still feel this way…but I have had wishes that they would die for many many years. The longer I have been experiencing more and more healing this last year or so, the less I feel that them dying would be the ultimate freedom and relief for me, but I do still occasionally find myself thinking that way . It is a wonderful freedom all on its own to not have them in my life. I still find myself missing my dad from time to time….I always wanted so badly to have a special, close, warm relationship with him, but that never happened….he was at first an abuser, and then in later years he always took my “mom’s” side on standing against me. He was always emotionally unavailable. I had to realize that he simply was not going to love me or like me or relate to me in any ways that would be close and healthy love. So…the part in my heart that loves him isnt dead, but I refuse to have a relationship like we did my entire life…it is a total relief to not have him in my life…and if he died there really isnt any true loss for ME in reality. I enjoy the freedom of being able to detach emotionally these days and to realize these truths. I only wish that I had reached this place of healing and understanding in my 20’s and not wasted so much of my life being stuck! Wonderful blog!


Yes Daisy #58, my mother considered us chattel (slaves). She had us to fulfill her needs. She was always shocked when someone else didn’t consider their children chattel.


This topic is something I have had to work through a little at a time. My mother is in her 70’s and I have no expectations that things will be resolved between us prior to her death (or mine). My father died when I was 15 and there were no issues resolved prior to his death. Both situations have been painful to work through.

As an adult I moved over 1000 miles away from my FOO because of the abuse and dysfunction yet couldn’t / wouldn’t detach emotionally for years thereafter. I have worried about someone dying and me feeling guilty that I stopped putting forth all the effort in the relationship.

I’ll start with my mother. As a child I was rejected, neglected, & disrespected by her (to name of few). I was mocked and humiliated by her in front of others until I felt lower than all other humans. She acted like she was doing me a favor by allowing my to remain in the family despite the fact of how embarrassing it was for her to have me around. My job was to provide the narcissist with whatever she wanted / needed / demanded at the time. I havn’t been home in 9 years but have remained cordial over the phone. It would probably be a funeral that would prompt a return. If I did return my mothers siblings would not be supportive of me emotionally. They would try to make me feel guilty that I did not come home more often and it made my mother feel bad. And her sisters would tell me how much older I look; that I have gained weight since they’ve seen me last; all the horrible things my mother told them about me, etc. So maybe I won’t return to a funeral after all.

My father died when I was 15. He lived alone and the cause of death was suicide (gun-shot to the head). There was no real relationship betweeen us prior to his death. I was always afraid of him. When he wasn’t drinking he was a “dry-drunk.” In the years since I have had all sorts of emotional trials / tribulations and wanted answers from my father so I could get closure emotionally. Sometimes I pretend like he is alive in the “spirit” form and I ask him why he did / said the things he did to me. I pretend like he tells me exactly what I want to hear: I am so sorry. I took out my frustrations on you and you did not deserve it. I hope you can forgive me and I promise to never hurt you again. I love you and did not treat you the way you deserve to be treated. I am so sorry. I feel terrible for what I did and how it has affected you. I am so proud of you.” I sometimes feel like I am glad that I didn’t have to deal with any more psychological issues with my father than what I did until the age of 15.

One more thing – my mother-in-law lives only 30 minutes from my husband and I. She is a full-blown Narcissist and has made numerous snide, condescending, and cruel comments to me about all sorts of things to include parenting, cooking, the clothes I wear etc. I started telling my husband years ago I did not want to go to her house or be around her. My co-dependent husband said, “She is going to be dead pretty soon and we will feel horrible for not spending more time with her” (he will feel horrible). That was 15 years ago. He also told me 15 years ago that she may have “early dementia” so can’t be held responsible for what she says. She is still alive and dementia free. My husband has come full circle and is now completely away of his mothers behavior. We have worked out an arrangment where she will come over for Easter and my husband can visit her while I stay busy in another room most of the time.

I used to have a greedy fear that if I went No-Contact with my mother or mother-in-law that I would be cut out of any will and / or life-insurance policy (and my spouse / children would be cut out too). So that kept me kissing up and shutting up for a long time. I have gotten past that now and it is a relief to not have to worry about it.


This was one powerful article as my younger sister and I are dealing with this issue. Our dear Mom who was a saint passed in2001. Growing up she did her best to shield us from our monster father. We walked on eggshells and he was always stirring the pot. He is a high functioning abusive alcoholic. He had a successful business and was always a good provider, financially. That’s it! When it came to showing respect to my Mom, sister and me, it just didn’t happen. Since I was dependant on them, I shut my mouth. Once I got a full time job, that’s when I started standing up to him and my Mom was always playing mediator. When my Mom was battling her illness, she asked him for some help and he said, “I wish you were f—ing dead.” How do you forgive that and then watch him cozy up with another woman? That was one of many nasty things he did to her and I can’t forgive or forget that. I will also remember what she said to a priest on her death bed when asked why she didn’t leave. She said, ‘Because he would’ve hunted me down like an animal!” UGH,! Not only was he nasty, he was very controlling and verbally and emotionally abusive. After Mom passed, I tried to forgive and develop a relationship with him but he was more interested in “having a life”. He was lying to my sister and me about everything and of course I saw right through it and would stand up to him. It’s been 6 years since I’ve been to our family home and I’ve only seen him once in that time. He showed up at my house and I kicked him out. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he lied about moving a woman into the family home and then going and marrying her behind our backs, not that we’d attend. As it turns out, she lied to him that she was only married 2 times when in fact it was 4 marriages. That scum he is with will start lies to cause fights and he calls my sister up and gets her all upset. He doesn’t believe anything we’ve told him. She also lied to him that she had breast cancer. I researched her on the web and had it confirmed by a PI. I am so incredibly hurt and full of anger and rage that its affected my sleep and now I’m having gastrointestinal problems. I have depression and anxiety that has been exasperated because of all of this craziness. My sister and I feel like orphans since we don’t have any aunts and uncles to lean on for advice. My Mom’s sis died the year after her and my father and his sister haven’t spoken in over 30 yrs. I’ve gotten so angry with some that say he has a ‘right to have a life”. My reply was, Didnt my Mom?”
That makes me want to spit fire. I’ve told a few that until they’ve walked in my shoes, don’t tell me how I should feel or believe.
All of this dysfunction has done a number on me. Someone told my sister that we are damaged goods. That was horrible and if i ever see her, I might have my say with her. I’ve been in counseling, done ACOA, Al-anon and now at my wits end. I feel the only peace I will have is when he’s dead but then I have to deal with the “bought whore” since she’s in the family home at the beach that is supposed to go to my sister and me. I truly believe that she is a sociopath. So, needless to say, I don’t have any regret for cutting the ties but I won’t lie, I mourn for a father that I could have a nice relationship with and do things with. I tried to have a relationship with by spending the summer at our family home at the beach where he lives but he was at me about my weight, exercise and anything he could find fault with. I ended up telling him off, packing up my car and not going back. Today, he called my sister to say that he wants to talk with just her and me when he returns from wintering in FLA. his words to her are, “life is short and I don’t want to talk about the past..” Another words, in his mind, I don’t want to be held accountable for all of the pain and hurt that I’ve caused. Lets just sweep it under the rug and forget it ever happened and go on and accept my new wife. My words to him are … You destroyed our family, denied us of a healthy father daughter relAtionship because you don’t think you need help and would not fix your wrongdoings so “rot in hell”. God help you should you get sick because the whore won’t be there to care for you. She’ll throw you in a nursing home and then have a party on your money. . I know I’m rambling but I’m frustrated and the prayers aren’t working. I sure hope that there are better days ahead because I know that I deserve better and have been a good obedient daughter over the years.


Hi January, sorry to hear you were treated like that.

And they wonder why as children we act out when they treat us as though we have no feelings. $500 dollars for a child, wow, I don’t know what to say to that, except my daughter brought a cat 2 years ago for AUD$900. No wonder you walked away. I agree, life’s too short for all that crap.

Hi Sharon, sorry to hear you were treated that way too. I wasn’t aware I so conditioned till I left home and saw other poeple’s normal. Made me realize how abormal my FOO’s normal was.


Nat, it always amazes me how many parents get to be middle aged….usually around their 50’s…that I have known to neglect, abuse, and use their children….and then they suddenly become aware of how old THEY are getting and it scares them into trying to make sure they don’t grow old alone. Not talking about the past certainly let’s them off the hook so that they can soak up allof the love and care and concern of the children ….and it gets to remain all about THEM! My father remarried after my mother died of cancer when I was young, and he chose to put his new wife first….and then their children together. He made a choice to always side with her over me ….my entire life….and the times we had alone were nothing special…he just didn’t want her around us so that there was nothing said that she would become ticked over and give him he’ll for it later. We tried to talk but we didn’t have any foundation of trust and equal respect between us, and he was emotionally unavailable to connect. I wasn’t allowed to say certain things to her or he would get on me because she was angry. I finally had enough even though I wanted a relationship and cut them off. I thought having any kind of relationship was better than none, but it wore my health down and emotionally it was too exhausting . I feel for you and send you peace and comfort tonight! I may not understand or relate with everything you wrote, but I do understand and feel for you about how difficult and stressful it all is!


Thanks you Darlene.

Hello Diane.. I understand the feeling of wanting my mom to die as well. I feel so bad saying that, but I only felt like that as a child. My personal issue is with my mother and her only. I have a great supportive dad, my parents seperated when I was young, due to my mothers behavior. Her behavior is clear to my family, they have difficulty dealing with her as well, however some still encourage me to have a relationship with her.

I have made it clear to them, if that is something I want that is something I will do, but only if that is something I want. They like to make me feel guilty because she relys so much on people to do things for her, not because she cant or is incapable, but because she is lazy and does not want to work for anything.

Like Daisy said as a child, my duties were to clean up her mess, her boyfriends mess, who ever she was dating at the time, and just be her maid. and if the dishes were not put away by the end of the night or the floor clean I would be punished, and the punishment was not going to see my dad, grandmother, etc, this happened often, as to the fact I still had to do well in school or else that would result in more punishments. My grandmother use to say I have never met anyone who was on punishment more. I always felt like nothing growing up. and i felt that if she died I would finally break free and have peace, now I am an adult and away from her, i feel her death with take away all hope we will repair our situation, however i do not forsee or even want the relationship repaired while she is alive.

Whenever asked about emergency contact…life insurance policy etc. i find it sad I cant even put my own mother. I want her to not have any access to my life or health, I dont even trust she would keep me alive if she had the chance. my mother dispises me because I have choosen to take a stand in my life. Then on the other hand she praises me and says how great I am. How much she loves me. I get so confused. My grandmother who I adore, both grandmothers were like mothers to me, which I think someone else said as well, often says your mother does love her children. and i use to agree.. but now i dont.

when you love someone you treat them well, and when you find you are not capable of doing so because mentally you can not get yourself together, then the love you have should push you to get help. I have no kids at this time and I pray by the time I do i can be better than my mother was and still is. The love I have for them already is making me get the help i need. I get sad at times thinking about the person I could have turned out to be had I not had to grown up and be treated like a unwanted individual. I am working hard as an adult just to be normal. I deal with anxiety and low self esteem, because my house was never calm, you never knew what would set her off.

Id work hard for money as a teen and if she needed it to pay her bills because she did not work, she would just take it, take it to go shopping etc. i was accepted into an honors school and she halfway made sure I got there, which almost led to me having to repeat a grade, not because I wasnt smart, but because my mother either was too mad to take me to school or was too lazy, or better yet wasnt even home from the night before. And if I was upset about that, i was made to clean all day, no tv nothing. Nothing I ever did was right.

Last year she became livid with me because I felt she was spending to much time with her man of the month and not taking care of her children, who are young and were left alone for days, and she went on a rant of saying how she wished i was never born, and she could get rid of me, and if she died she didnt want me at her funeral.. the more time goes by the more I think that just might happen.


Im Sorry Janurary that you had to deal with that… I’m unsure of the right words to say but I am glad you are here to share your story with us. Hopefully through everything we can help each other one comment at a time 🙂 You are worth so much more than 500.


Gee I’m a rant tonight.. I was just reading Survival Mode and an Alternate View of Narcissism. And I am so glad to have read that, because as I stated before I was called selfish and felt that I was the person who did not care for others, most of my life, which led to me overcompensating and always putting others before me and in the reverse way not thinking of others. I just had to two points I wanted to get off my chest.

I realized recently that due to other people seeing the way my mother treated me, they too treated me the same, minimal amount of family and a couple of my mother’s friends. It was so easy to be the target of those people because she had no respect for me. and she did little to correct their behavior. I think in part of looking bad, by arguing with them. Then other times she would stand up for me, if it was the day she wanted to be a mother. I also saw those same people treat others nice. I could never imagine why people hated me, but as I got older I realized they too had issues and saw a target not me.

Second point or just statement I wanted to say, was I remember one incident where my mother told me, by law all I am required to do is feed you and keep a house of your head. they don’t state what I have to feed you, you can eat sandwiches and canned food for all I care. She made this statement, because she had been gone the whole day and decided to come home at 10pm to which I had not fed my siblings dinner and put them to bed, mind you I was only 14 years old.


I love how honest this post + comments are! I have been wondering, is it socially appropriate to hate your parents? It seems like a lot of people here might? And have every right to. When I finally allowed myself to get angry at my father, I realized, I actually hate him. Not sure if this is something to work through, if it’s ok, all I know is, it is how I feel right now. I HATE him. Period.

What people never seem to think about is why and where we ‘hate’ our parents. Most people I assume would judge such a statement. It’s like, where did that hate come from? I’ve been reading up on a lot of African American literature, as so much of it is so spot on when it comes to importance of human rights and the insidiousness of abuse. Like January said, I think so much of this IS like slavery, because kids, like slaves are not viewed/treated as human beings with RIGHTS.

In the Biography of Malcolm X, he explains his anger as “the hate that hate produced” which I think sums it up perfectly. When I look back on most of my father’s actions and words towards me, they are fueled by hatred. I responded to his hatred. I did not create my own hatred of him out of thin air. I think that is so key. I tried, and tried, and forgave and forgave, but his hate kept rushing in like this waterfall. I couldn’t do it anymore. Finally, when I realized what was actually done to me, instead of living in denial, I realized how much I genuinely despise him. Not sure if this will ever go away, and truthfully I am far safer hating him, than loving him. His version of ‘love’ is a trap for scapegoating, that is all it is. Whenever I wonder if I love him/he loves me, I know I’m in deep trouble.


GDW, I don’t think I hate my parents, but I do despise them. I think you have every right to feel what you feel, and if it’s hate, then it is what it is. I think the strong emotions can give you the energy to stand up and say enough is enough, I’m not going to take it any more.

Learning to accept my feelings, instead of repressing them, allowed me to heal from the damage done to me. Put the responsiblity where it belongs…

Now I’m more at the stage of being able to let it go, I don’t want to give any more of my precious energy to it. I don’t think they’re worth it.


Hi Daisy, thank you, and same to you. We are better, and didn’t deserve that.

GDW, I did at one time. Now, I don’t feel hate, and certainly didn’t love them. Indifference is the only word that comes to mind.


Thanks for your comments guys! I am healing! I can actually feel it. It’s so great. And I know I wouldn’t be able to do it without the fabulous support of this group of people. 🙂


My Father did die before he had a chance to resolve on his side (which I doubt he would try to do). I tried on my side to the end when I finally told him I couldn’t do it any more.

At first when I got the phone call, I was shocked. I cried because I did love him. After that initial cry I never cried again. I lied to people and told them I felt numb. Everyone else was crying and bawling at his funeral. All I could do was wonder if there was something wrong with me because I felt immense relief and release because of his death. I know it was because I had already mourned the loss of the relationship and grieved long before he did die. I had already let go.

My Mother is alive still and still off in her own demented world. She calls me or texts me time to time and all I say is hi and I’m ok. I never elaborate. She drops hints and wanting to move in with me and wanting to visit (all of which are for attention and not the actual act). I tell her no. I have also mourned for a relationship that will never exist. Often that makes me sad. I imagine I’ll feel similar at her death compared to my Father.

I can’t imagine my life with them in it any more.


Darlene…Another post that hits home for me and many others I’m sure.

My mother is now 70 years old and I’ve basically gone no contact since just after Christmas after listening to my intuition and not reacting to her narcissistic antics which resulted in her cutting me off.

I did write to her about a month ago when I felt down and received some closure as instead of showing some compassion towards me; I got more blame, etc. However; this time I spoke up very honestly in my final reply to her. I explained that I didn’t blame her but needed to focus own my own healing, etc and that she definitely has NPD (where and how it originates / manifests, etc and that she could Google it if she wanted to. I also let her know that I too had some narc-traits but would make sure I dealt with them, etc.

I still worry about how bad I will feel if she dies, etc…but not so much that it’s on my mind constantly. I find I’m thinking about her less and less. But that said; it was my daughter’s 18th birthday last week and my 51st also. I didn’t expect anything from her but it saddened me that she didn’t bother with her grand-daughter either. That’s just downright mean! I feel guilty because I actually hate her in many ways; especially when she takes it out on my kids too that have done nothing to her whatsoever!

I totally agree with the fact that as daughters going no contact; it appears we have no rights regarding taking acre of our own needs if that means cutting the abuser out of our lives for good. That’s definitely not fair.

Again thanks Darlene…each day is getting easier I think and I am finally starting to focus on my own needs and getting back into my own freelance work, etc…following MY own dreams. 🙂

Dianne 🙂


Yes I can so identify. I do feel hate for my NM. I guess because with what happened this past spring she must hate me and my daughter for threatening to not come to my daughter’s wedding. So emotionally I was responding to her obvious hatred of me by hating in return. That was the first time I’de ever felt such loath for her. I always tried to give her a get out of jail free card, because I was raised right. It’s not nice for a person to hate their mother. So then I branched out to the thought of her actually passing on. While talking to my daughter she was the one to say to me, “Mom if Grandma were to die would you even be sad?” My mouth dropped open because it was so true I know I’ll feel emotion, but it will not be profuse sadness. She hated me and made it clear. It’s such a tough pill to swallow. But I’m not alone in this, there are so many others with a NM like mine it’s scary. Peace all…Darlene have fun on your holiday!


Kudos to Darlene and all the commenters on EFB! This is a HARD road and not a FUN road, but it sure is the BEST road to be on: THE ROAD TO RECOVERY! What a great place to feel totally validated that one is doing what one needs to do for yourself. I feel better and better all the time. Thanks again.



I love the Malcolm X quote. I will save it! Thank you very much!


Hi Daisy, I think a lot of parents think of their children as property and that’s the problem. Children should be thought of as human beings, individuals, with unique purposes of their own. Children are people not property.



Diane, It is wonderful to be free of being abused and to quit striving for something that never existed and will never be. It’s wonderful to claim that freedom for ourselves and to know that no one has to die, in order for us to heal.:0)



OnMyWay, I relate to what you’ve written because I was caught up in a cycle of thinking I had to resolve my relationship with my parents, in order to get well. The truth is, I could have died before that took place and that would be a terrible trajedy. Living my life wanting what my parents are incapable of giving and hoping they would see the light and do their own inner work, was depending on a hope that was never going to happen and it isn’t wrong to be happy about no longer living in a cloud of abuse.



Nat, It isn’t hard to see why some people want to stay drunk all of the time. If they ever had to sober up and take a hard look at themselves, well, they’d have more to reckon with than they have the guts to handle. You sound like you have the guts to handle the truth and I want to encourage you to stick with it. I know it hurts but the truth does set us free from living a life of being abused. I’m glad you have yourself and your sister. Don’t give up on the prayers. God hates abuse and understands the anger we have when we are facing the truth because God has that same kind of anger toward abuse. That anger is a blessing that gives us courage and helps us press forward through the pain and get to the freedom that lies on the other side.



Madison, I wouldn’t want to have a relationship with your mother either. It sounds like it wouldn’t be safe. I know her personality type well and I know what it is like to grow up being treated as a less-than and then being treated the same by others. The good news is we don’t have to wait for our parents to die to find freedom and a healthier unerstanding of who we are and how we relate to others. It’s more than okay for you to want to be free from your mother’s abuse and do what is necessary to be treated as equal. You are equal in value to all others and getting yourself free of being abused is the right thing to do.



GDW, It is natural to hate an enemy and when parents act in enemity toward their children, it is a natural defense for feelings of hatred to well-up. As you said, you feel safer hating him than loving him. It’s important to make ourselves safe from abusers. I think when we’ve been able to take our lives back, fully the hate will probably subside because it isn’t necessary anymore for keeping us safe. We can’t help our feellings, they come of their own will. We are responsible for how we act on them and if we understand their rightful purpose, we can use even the negative emotions for our benefit, without causing further destruction.



Jessie, My parents have hurt me so much in my life that I found myself going numb in their presence and a lot of the time, I just feel nothing one way or the other toward them. I think I would go crazy for sure if I felt all the pain they’ve caused me and never acknowledged. I think they feel that emotional numbness toward everyone so, I don’t feel guilty for using it as a way to protect myself from people who have no empathy.



Diane, People who have good parents done equate the word parent with abuser, as we do. They don’t know what they are talking about because they didn’t grow up under abuse. Others don’t want to face the truth about their families and they don’t want us to threaten their system of denial with the truth. Maybe we should use the word abuser in the place of mother and father. Maybe then they might understand.



I think what’s interesting (and horrible) is how society polices our feelings, so that it’s not “acceptable” to “hate” a parent. We’re not allowed by society to outgrow our families of origin, when they stunt our emotional growth or keep us trapped in old roles that no longer fit us. It’s as if we have to stay in the same status relative to them (beneath, below, keeping our feelings to ourselves) that we were in when we lived with them as children and teens. But after decades of being on our own, especially when they haven’t been loving, why is it considered a crime to feel that we’ve outgrown the relationship with our parents? When parents are truly loving, treat us as people with equal worth to themselves, this is never an issue. But for those of us with narcissistic parents, that’s never been the case and never will be. It simply HAS to be acceptable for us to decide for ourselves what’s best for us. I’ve been cut out of my mother’s will–after I’d forgiven her for dozens of major boundary trespasses over the years, plus endless passive aggression and triangulation, she did something that for me was the last nail in the zombie-relationship coffin. She never acknowledges what she’s done. She shame dumps, reverses, and blames me for our problems. My sisters, and my father, enable her and support her in this. The outcome? I’ve had enough. Period. And anyone with a rational mind would understand this. But society insists we must remain “children” forever.


Thanks to everyone who has said kind words to me here. Wow! It’s really healing to hear that I am not crazy as my parents always stated. Thank you all, I feel so validated. And Darlene, you are a Godsend for me as well as everyone else to has stumbled across your blogs. Thank you for creating a place for us to heal. Your words are amazing! Enjoy your vacation, it is well deserved! Sorry, this is kind of long. It’s part vent, rant, & insight. Hope you all don’t mind.

Why do some parents think that their children owe them something? Whether it’s money, a relationship, or care, it doesn’t matter. I have never liked rewarding bad behavior, but in society today, that’s what we do. It’s always the person at the restaurant who complains about the service, food, or something else that causes management to comp the complaining customer. People throw a tantrum, & they get rewarded for their effort. I don’t know if it’s possible to undo the damage done, but I think that’s where the heart of our society’s dysfunction lies…rewarding people when they make a scene. Kids who do well in school or college are rewarded, why does it stop there??? Tantrums are part of a young child’s personality. It’s normal & expected. However, some children grow into spoiled adults who have never evolved away from the terrible twos. My parents are a great example of that…when they threw a fit, I gave in to their demands just to shut them up. My first husband did the same thing. And what did I do? I caved in just to stop his misbehaving. How many others here have done something similar? We’ve been trained to act like robots, catering to the inner two year old’s desires. Children are supposed to be able to rely on parents & other elders to provide guidance, care, as well as well as a child’s basic needs. Children should not have to sacrifice their young lives to parent the parents, or cater to their whims. Isn’t it sad that there are so many of us out there who have done just that? And when we stand up for ourselves, what message do we receive? A full on temper tantrum by an adult because we said no to their demands. There is something wrong with that picture. And yet, as children, so many of us had needs that went ignored, or worse, our parents took out their anger & frustration on our young bodies & minds, making us responsible for their moods or discomfort. What a mess! And people have the nerve to question our sanity? Please! Darlene is so right…we all deserve to be respected. We would not willingly hang out with people who made it clear they didn’t like us. We’d move on. Yet we continue to cling to the idea that our FOO will someday change. As if all that needs to happen is some switch to be flicked on or off in their brains. It took me 50 years to realize dad is never going to change his ways. If I refuse to cooperate & give in to his demands, he will continue to punish me. Thinking that I am going to cave in. The problem is, I have grown up, I have matured, & I see his thinly veiled attempts to control & dictate what I do. I think half a century is long enough. It’s not my fault that he is dysfunctional & there is nothing I can do to fix him. There is only one person I can change, & that is me. If he wants a relationship, then he must make the effort. I would be willing to meet him halfway, but I will not reach out to the unreachable. I will not beg!

As far as the hatred…I have hated both my parents for what they did & for what they did not provide. Mom passed away a few years ago, & I am at peace now. She cannot hurt me further by throwing out insults & accusations in front of others. I don’t miss her temper tantrums one bit! Her tongue was sharp & her voice was like broken glass. I cringed any time she beckoned me.

Dad may be still alive. I don’t really hate him anymore, but I certainly don’t like him. He has friends, but they have never seen the side of him I have. Friends for both my parents have been a revolving door over the years. I suppose that once that N supply leaves, they’d look for new targets. Nothing has changed since mom died. I know the abuse he is capable of, even if others choose not to see though his facade. They think that knowing him for a few years makes them the expert on his behavior, as if 50 years of being around him have made me come to some false conclusions. I know him in a way that others haven’t or will. He is not a pleasant person, & I would never choose him as an acquaintance, let alone a friend or family member.

I do resent him though. I resent not having a good childhood. I resent the abuse which led to fear, anxiety, & probably PTSD symptoms that will be my constant companions for the rest of my life. I resent that they both mistreated me for a choice they made. Instead of handling it in an adult manner because I didn’t turn out to be the child they desired (each of them had a different idea & neither of them were satisfied with my appearance, gender, or personality), they chose to be childish & place blame solely on me. I know I am not a perfect person…I have many quirks & am sure that I annoyed both mom & dad over the years. I was not a clone of them. They couldn’t even see that I was a product of 2 other people, & of course we are going to be different. As much as I realize that life isn’t fair, I am angry that I was shortchanged over most of my life thinking that surely they’ll see that I am not as bad as they claim. Obviously, that has never happened. Mom died thinking her last words to me saying she loved me would make up for all the years of abuse & anger she heaped on me. She thought wrong. What I wanted was an apology that she & dad put me through Hell. I know now that the apology is never going to happen. Dad is still so caught up in his make-believe world where I am evil that he cannot change. That is his problem, it’s not mine to own anymore. I know the truth.

I do have a wonderful adopted family through my church, & I have a great hubby, & my kids. What do I need with an old, feeble-minded man who is so self-centered & evil, he cannot change his ways? I don’t. I got the nicest compliment from one of the church members this morning…he too is from a dysfunctional family, & knows how hard it is to cope. He said I no longer need my FOO, I have a new family in Christ, & they all love me. Plus I have people here for support too. 🙂 God has brought me to a safe place. Took me a long time to get here, but I am so glad to find you all!

As far as the lack of value placed on me by my FOO. I always thought that I cost them much more than the $500.00 that they paid. Finding out the real price, I felt insulted. All the years I spent trying to repay the money they said I owed them for being a defective child, lost time & lost energy I could have devoted on so many other things. For what? Just to keep me under their thumbs? The way they spoke about it, just the adoption fees were well into the thousands of dollars, plus the additional cost of raising a child. I think dad still feels I owe him something. Truth is, I don’t owe him anything. I know it’s never going to happen, but the one thing I would love to receive from him is an apology. But that would mean admitting wrong doing, & I know that will never happen. I am learning to be content knowing that I was not as horrible a creature as I was made out to be. That I do deserve support & love even with my quirks. I am learning to like me, & be content. When I am in need of a father figure, God is there waiting eagerly to hear from me. He doesn’t accuse me of being bad, even if I don’t always live up to His expectations.


I’m thinking about the previous words and thoughts about “hate.” Hmmm.. it seems that hate is something that requires a sort of energy, or effort of thought. And it does not feel good. It feels more like anger to me, which produces all sorts of gut responses – the inner shaking, queasiness, anxiety, sadness, etc. I can’t count how many times I’ve said to my husband, “I HATE my mother!” But now I’m working on moving away from hate and anger – to INDIFFERENCE. Ahh, that would feel good. I’ve done the hate thing,
and yes, GDW,
hate is “safer” than love – you build a wall around yourself. I sometimes tell myself, “I am MARBLE – beautiful, admired, but hard and COLD.” When I picture myself as marble, like a beautiful statue, I can respond to a nasty moment in a, shall I say, “more dignified” and detached way. Works sometimes in the short run, but I’m still working on reaching a state of indifference when what they say to me doesn’t pull triggers. I get so angry at myself for reacting predictably.
So I wonder how many people we know who talk about their great families, are actually going through this love/hate/anger thing but continue to do what our culture has scripted for us by constantly bombarding us with “Family is the most important thing!”


My dad was very narcissistic. By the time that I was 12 years old , I had no use for him. I was 38 when he died. Our relationship was never put back together (his choice, not mine.) By the time that He died. I had accepted life as it was. I tried for 20 years to build a relationship with my mom. To no avail. In the end it was their choice.


Caliban’s Sister, As the parent of adult children, I’ve noticed that the people my age who become estranged from their children are the ones who can grow with their children and allow their relationship with them to adapt and change. When parents become frozen in time (even if they aren’t overtly, abusive)their children will grow up and leave them out of their lives. It’s important to treat adult children as adults, respect their choices, and give them support. Trying to control adult chldren can only kill the relationship.



Hi January, God is who I look to instead of my parents too and if I hadn’t made that choice, I would still be as confused as I was at the end of my teens. I wasn’t given the guidance and protection I needed to be able to grow up as a healthy, functioning human being. My parents never grew up either so, how could they meet my needs? They depended on my grandparents and when they used up everything they took from them, they started depending on me. Now that they have no control over my life, I feel pity for them but I also, know I can’t make them grow up and be responsible for themselves or behave like parents instead of helpless children. When I realized that, it was the beginning of freedom from their abuse. Like you, I believe that anything I owed them has been paid in full. If they would treat me with respect, I would be happy to give them much more than I owe but I owe myself respect and I won’t give away my dignity to meet their demands. It isn’t loving or honorable behavior to enable two-year-old temper tantrums.



Kathy A, You’re right that hatred can be self-damaging if we never are able to move out of that feeling. It isn’t healthy to be stuck in hatred but it does have a purpose in helping us defend ourselves from our enemies. When it comes to parents, we don’t want to think they are our enemies but feelings of hatred are our hearts telling us the truth when it comes to abusive parents. They don’t have their child’s best interests at heart and it isn’t safe to be in their presence. It is embracing the truth, that our feelings of hatred are trying to make us accept, that sets us free from being abused by people we are taught should love us, no matter what. It is that same truth and the emotional health that comes from accepting it into our lives, that helps us move forward from a place of hatred to a place where we can keep ourselves safe and begin to view things rationally. I am glad to be safe from my parent’s abuse and no longer feel hatred for them. It is good to be at peace.



jeffry brown, You are wise to see it as their choice. So many of us take on the responsibility of trying to get our parents to make the right choice, when it isn’t our responsibility at all. That’s what is so wrong about people telling child abuse survivors to stay in a relationship when those parents will never make the choice to treat their child with respect. There is no reason to wait for death to set us free from being abused.



I do believe that we are all in different places emotionally as the process goes on. Saying that I feel some hate I think is normal, it’s how I feel right now. I am in no way telling anyone else to feel that way. I also am not stuck in hate, because I am too new with NC to be. How can anyone know what to feel in a situation like this when we didn’t ask for it to happen to us in the first place? That alone makes it a very uncomfortable place to be since it was out of our control to begin with. I just have to move forward and that’s why I’ve shared my feeling here. Peace all.


My dad used that line on me quite a few years ago now, wanting me to hurry up and resolve my issues with my mom (in fact it had only been about a year since I had a breakdown and first had the courage to say anything to my mom about my issues). His parents died when he was 30 before he was ever able to “resolve” his issues with them (though “confront his parents” would actually be the better, more accurate way to put it). He was projecting his own guilt on me and admitted it years later when I brought it up, but seemed to pass it off like it was nothing, just some careless thing he’d said, which was super aggravating to me because that guilt and pressure had followed me around for quite a long time. I no longer feel the guilt in any of this, however. All I asked was that they recognize and denounce the behaviour that would have killed me had I not had outside support and broken free. They never even denied my assertion that I’d be dead (whether they truly believe or understand it or not, I have no idea and don’t really care) but no, they never denied it. Given that their actions/inactions could’ve KILLED me, even if indirectly and through their blindness, the notion that they might die without us having resolved anything is void to me. It’s on them. They know what they have to do if they want a relationship.

Something I used to fear—that I might CAUSE their death by confronting them. My dad, a heart attack; my mom, suicide via “car accident.” Well, I now realize I’m not that “important” and of course I’m not responsible for their well-being and how they deal with the truth. THEY, however, were responsible to me as I was growing up and like I said, I fully believe I’d be dead if not for others… But it just shows how backwards things always were, me always being/feeling responsible for their wellbeing even when they would not, could not look after mine. Well not anymore!!!

It’s actually my birthday today and I feel fantastic! Happy to be alive, glad to have been born. (Of course I wouldn’t be here if not for my parents, so I can tip my hat for that and some other stuff, as I go on my way, with no guilt for their failure to take responsibility and be adaptive). I definitely feel like this is going to be a great, new year for me, and all I feel right now is relief to be on my own. It’s been a good day, a rarity for birthdays, that’s for sure. It’s unreal, I have to pinch myself, remind myself that it’s okay now, that I don’t have to live in judgment, guilt, fear, shame, etc., because it’s all gone now. I’m me and being me, being free to be me and to find out who “me” is from today to tomorrow and the next, is amazing. Truly.

Love to all, A


Darlene, Pam and everyone,

These points are so well explained Darlene. Thank you. I will use some of your words in future conversations in the unfortunate event that I’m forced to defend my stance.

I got an Easter card from my mother in the mail today. UGH!! I am currently in a state of confusion about my next steps. It’s been suggested that I cannot possibly know the motives of my mother, be it good, or bad. Assumptions were also mentioned. If I assume that her motive for sucking up to my sisters lately were impure, I could be wrong. It was suggested that perhaps I’ve filled in the blanks so to speak, with ugliness that might not be there. UGH!


I know I’m not explaining this exactly how I’d like to, or making clear points. I’m struggling to make sense of things today, so writing is not very articulate.

To get to the point, I’ve often thought if my mother died, I could live out my days in peace and happiness.



AH!!! I was just thinking how nice it was that I hadn’t got a email or card from my parents for my b-day, but then I just got one, wishing me love and joy and about how I’m always in their hearts and minds…. I made my boundaries clear to them… Anyway, I decided to write back. THis is what I said:

“Please do not contact me unless for the reason I have already specified. All that I experience reading this are feelings of upset, anger, anxiety and turmoil, not what I want to feel on my birthday. I don’t actually believe that you love me, not in a real way, because from real love spurs real action. This is but smoke and mirrors to me, words without true meaning. I wish you well on your individual journeys, but again, please do not contact me unless you have something real to offer.”

So there we go. Now to get myself back to what I was feeling before!!!


Melody, I agree. I also, know that our feelings aren’t controlable. They just come in response to the events in our life. I spent a good deal of my life trying to choke down my feelings and deny them. That resulted in emotional storms building that I couldn’t control very well. It helped me to analyze why we have certain emotional responses and what purpose they are meant to serve. I learned to use my emotional responses to help me heal instead, of stuffing them down only, to have them come out at inappropriate times and cause more damage. I think it is more damaging to pretend to love what we hate than to acknowledge that we feel hatred when our well-being is under threat.



Happy Birthday Alaina,
I am totally there with you. I can only wish that your pts will read the truth in your words.

Mimi, I’m there with you too. Confused about next steps!



Thanks so much Pam, agreed!


Alaina! Happy birthday! I’m glad it is such an important birthday and one that marks emotional health, happiness, and freedom! I loved reading the last part of your comment.

People who put the preassure on us to ‘resolve’ our relationship with parents who were abusive and never acknowledged the damage they caused or felt sorry for it, are asking what can’t be done. One person can’t resolve a relationship. That takes two. If we’ve done all we can do on our half, there is nothing left to be done. It’s time to walk away and live a better kind of life.



GDW, I agree with you. I do hate my parents, and I’m not ashamed of that. I express my healthy, justified hate and anger towards my parents and all similar abusers, and I have no goal of stopping. My parent’s behavior towards me was driven by hatred of a different kind–they hated children and young adults. They held deep prejudices against me, labeling and defining me in horrible ways for no reason. They didn’t express hatred towards their parents, schoolteachers, etc–the people who actually hurt them and ruined their lives. They took all of that out on me instead, and that is what made it wrong. If people expressed their genuine, justified hatred and anger at the people who actually hurt them instead of repressing it, turning it onto themselves or scapegoats, we would have a much better world.

I can really relate to what you share about your father and college. My parents also manipulated and blind-sided me several times–offering me financial help while I was in school, then withdrawing it or using that fact to give them power to abuse me all the more. Your father sounds terrible, and I hate what he did to you, too.



Mimi, What I learned is that when my family did something to make me feel confused, that is what they were trying to do. Confusing me was a good way to make me doubt myself and my perspective of the reality. I don’t know your mom, Mimi but you do. I think you know exactly, what is happening and why these things are being said to you. No matter what you decide, don’t stop trusting yourself.



Pam #98
Wow! I never looked at “emotions” as having a purpose! Except to make us look like a$$es. Being taught that having emotional outbursts meant that we needed to seriously “deal with” our issues has always sounded like head-shit, and easier said than done. Looking at them as messages from the real self, the real me trying to get out, is interesting! I’m going to mull this over, and thank you!


Caden, I agree that we do more damage when we repress our true feelings. We should control how we act out our emotions but trying to deny them never works. Everyone should hate abuse. It is right to hate abuse.



Kathy, You’re welcome.:0)It made a huge difference for me.



Happy Happy Birthday to you. You sound so positive and confident! Good for YOU!

Peace and Love,


Happy Birthday, Alaina! Love what you wrote back to your parents! Awesome!




Wow, this is a great topic!
You know, I have said that I have forgiven my father, he has changed his behavior towards me, but I feel it was conditional, that he could have a relationship with me now that I am “successful” in my career. Not a floundering embarassment, which was my 20’s to him , probably.
I don’t see him stepping forward to have any kind of a relationship, as an individual.
On the other hand,he always has my sister’s back, despite her neglecting her duties as a mother and a spouse, from what I can see. Sticking up for her, when she does not care properly for her son and has enabled her hubby, who just got released from jail for OUI x 4. Bailing her out financially. Just thinks the sun rises and sets on her. But she and my mother have been on a ruthless campaign against me, painting me as this mean and bad person, since I was a very small child.
So him not making an effort, and my mother and sister conspiring not to let me get close to him, physically or emotionally seems to be an issue. But I don’t try as hard, b/c I’m tired of having to try, to prove myself. I dont feel the need to!! So, I am still confused as to how I will feel when he passes.
One thing I am glad for, though, is that I have greatly distanced myself from my mother, b/c if he does pass first, I will not be subject to the emotional blackmail and bull crap from my mother. I wont be manipulated by her manuveurs. That will be my sisters’ job! For so long, my mother used me, to give her health care advice, and also created a further wedge between my sisters and myself, by making me privy to health care issues, and denying them any knowledge of what was going on (minor issues, from what I have had knowledge of). So, one AGAIN, I was the bad person, the heartless one, withholding info abt my mothers health from my sisters. How dare I? Who did I think I was? Due to my trying to respect my mothers wishes, which was actually a manipulation on her part, my little sister actually made a dramatic speech over the phone, throwing me out of her life, and her childrens life. I didnt really know her children, anyways.
So, yeah, they can have alllllll of that fun….
When she dies, I will have mixed feelings. There will be peace from her and her evilness and destructive ways, going to the grave, but there is still that little part of me, that thinks, I was wrong, I should have tried harder. Actually, I know it is b/c at a young age, she figured out I was not going to play her game, so she villanized me. Butmy feelings are different from what I can know, can rationalize….
I know that if she goes last,I will send my attorney to the reading of the will, as I am sure she will cut me out. (my father has made it so everything is destributed evenly, they say). I would not give her the last chance to kick my in the backside, from the grave. I am blessed to be able to put money away for my future. I can take care of myself, and have a normal man, not a drunk or a layabout, like my sisters have, that cares for me.
It is sick for me to compare my life to my sisters, but it just seems if you looked from the outside, why would it be me that is still always scapegoated?
Thanks for listening to my disjointed rambling here!
Darlene, thank you again for a thought provoking post. i hope you have a funa nd restful vacation with your famiy!!


Just woke up from yet another nightmare. But realized, when I compete with my sisters, i am being just the person my mother programmed me to be. My mother also recently told me, she despised her sister so much, she just stopped speaking to her. The were girls, and my mother would just pass by her in the house, as if she werent there. She herself was filled with bitter resentment, as a young woman. (her sister received attention and privledge that she never did).
My nightmare, I Was part of a group that was interviewing a man, who was a survivor of poor living conditions in his home. The heat was off, and people were freezing todeath and also succumbing to trauma injuries. He had been stepping over bodies and skeletal remains of people. He said his mind blocked them out and he hadnt seen them for months, it was how he survived. The man looked like my brother


Pam, I agree.

Alaina, my mother also sent me many ‘happy birthday’ messages after I cut off contact and told her I didn’t want to hear from her anymore. What is happy or loving about violating someone’s boundaries? Nothing. I had a much better time on all days when I didn’t receive this conceit from her. It’s great that you stood up for yourself, you have the right to enjoy your holidays in peace without their interference.



Your story is somewhat similar to mine. I only have one sister. Our mother passed away in 1999. Our father is 82 and not in great health. After mother died, he went to live about 2 miles from my sister’s family. She was always the golden child since her birth, and has remained so even when he became ill in 2006 and I spent the whole year driving back and forth(6 hours each way) taking care of him because she could not? I will say would not. My wonderful husband offered up our home for him to live in and so I could care for him: taking him to all the doctor appointments, etc. He just used us. He didn’t try to have a relationship with us. He just did not care. Long story short, it took him 5 years to finally decide he wanted to go back up to my sister and her family. Of course he is not in their home. He is in assisted living. I don’t know exactly what transpired between them, and how the decision was made to go back “home”, but I am glad he is out of here.

So, he just thought that things were going to go back to “status quo”. I let that go on for about six months. Then I just turned to my gut and asked myself: “is this what I want?” “Does this feel good or right for me?” The word NO came back really strong. The first thing I did was not send him a Father’s Day card or call him on Father’s Day. That was a BIG SIGNAL to him. He knows I don’t ever forget that kind of stuff. So he calls me. Interesting. Then I just did not call him anymore. Then about five months after I don’t call him anymore; I just stop taking his calls. I don’t answer my phones. It takes him 3 months to decide that maybe he better find out from my husband what the heck is going on. He calls my husband at work and my husband tells him I don’t want to talk to him anymore. My spouse explains my position and gives him examples of how my father never tried to have a relationship with me even while we cared for him in our home. He gave his usual lame ass excuses. Stuff that makes no logical sense to anyone but him. My husband calls me and tells me what happened. We discuss if I should write to him and tell him my reasons and thoughts of why I don’t want contact. But in the final analysis: you can’t fix stupid, so why waste my energy and aggravate myself more by trying to explain to him what I already told him ad nausea for the years he lived in my home? He tried to call one more time. I don’t think he will call me again, but you never know!

In telling this story Janie, I guess I am telling you to “watch out”. For these types of parents, they don’t know or understand how to care for someone unconditionally. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck….it’s a duck. I was also the scape goat, the goofy and crazy one, the one that is wrong about people in my family because gosh darn it they love me so much. They will say that one minute…..then the next minute treat you like a piece of crap. My mother, father, and sister all did this to me. I was always ganged up on; so I took my ball and went home. I have people in my life that love me for me. I’m done playing with my FOO.

I also compared myself to my sister and what she did to get the “seal of approval”. I know I made choices like dropping out of college, marrying a half-Japanese man, and not having children that did not put me on the “fast track” for being liked by my parents, but truly why should that be? I am a good person who is kind and compassionate. I have a 32 year marriage to a fine man who has always loved and cared for me. He has always been a good provider. So good that for the last 12 years I stay home on our little hobby farm and care for our animal family. So what is wrong with that? Nothing.

Janie, I too have nightmares, but now when I wake up from a FOO dream it is not bothersome to my mind. If it is interesting enough; I may record it in a journal. Otherwise, I acknowledge it and then it fades from my memory. My mother and my grandmother did not get along with their sisters either. I wish we could have stopped the poison in this generation, but it was not to be. I will not stand to be abused by any one. Especially my little sister who is still acts like a spoiled little child at age 47, and is raising 2 spoiled children of her own.

Janie, I wish you good luck on your journey with your family. I wish we could have an explanation for all these bad behaviors besides it is the behaviors of bad people. There are just some bad folks out there, and they may not be physical abusers. It is hard to come to terms that one has been mentally abused for years, and blamed oneself for it because we were not good enough or tried hard enough. Enough is enough.



Janie, When manipulation is woven all through the fabric of our families, as it is in mine and sounds like it is in yours, it makes the simplist things more complicated. I don’t miss being a part of that constant and continual lying. I don’t miss thos puppet strings constatly, tugging.

Dreams can be an amazing source in insight. Often in my dreams, I see what I won’t allow my conscious mind to see.



Thank you to all of you who have written these posts. I feel validated and not so alone in my issues.

I had an idea about one thing I can do when this issue creeps up in my mind. I am going to ask myself: If my mother died and cut me out of whatever little inheritance she may have today – how would I be spending my days? If it has already happened than I can go ahead and process whatever emotions, grief, etc. that I think would come up. This will free me up to put 100% into MY emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being & recovery. I have spent many years putting energy into relationships that were one-sided, dysfunctional and abusive. I can also go ahead and process through my mother’s relatives and my siblings trying to shame / guilt me for not being a co-dependent doormat to my mother after she passes. Since it has already happened in my mind and I have coped with it emotionally, it / when it does happen I will be O.K.


What these parents do is play the divide and conquer game amongst their children. It’s a horrible game. It’s all a part of their master manipulation.


Thanks for all the birthday wishes and support, guys! This place is awesome! So great to have friends here…

Caden, you’re right, it’s not loving at all. I always felt like I had to put up with their apparent “loving” behaviour, that I could stand up for the stuff that was clearly negative but how could I call out “loving” behaviour? Now, I get it.

About hate, I can definitely say that I always hated and still hate my parents’, particularly my mom’s, “love.” All those flowery, lovey-dovey b-day and xmas cards I received from them for the 2 & 1/2 years that I was cut off before trying to sort things out with them, felt horrible. I dreaded it. They really don’t love me, they just try to possess and use me. I have this image of a butterfly being tacked down and encased in glass. That’s how their love makes me feel, pinned down and suffocated, beating my wings and head against glass trying to get out. Their love is sooooo sick and sickening. It makes me feel nauseous remembering all the times I felt I had to submit to being cornered into giving hugs…. I am capable of feeling compassion for them but only from a distance and never, ever in the face of their “love.” I could vomit. Their love is seriously toxic, smothering, needy, blood-sucking…

Anyway, I am hoping my message gets through and they will never again go against that boundary because it really does suck to get that on special days. I don’t want my birthday to ever be about them anymore. It’s about me. It’s the one day of the year that is especially about me. I feel such relief to put an end to all this BS. The only way I will ever have a relationship with them is if they become whole, healthy human beings.

Thanks again everyone!


Thank you Pam!


Hello Alaina, in your comment you mentioned being cornered into giving hugs..I remember growing up and not wanting to hug my mother or tell her i love her. It felt odd because there was not a lot of love there, on and off throughout my adult hood I did not mind it much. However recently I have decided once again that I do not want her to be a major part of my life so HUGS are definitely a no go. I say all of that to say this one particular incident my mother was upset because i would no longer be her slave or servant..and started to get tearful because she is going through a lot and needs my help(story of my life) and i stood there and just looked at her, (her request were once mandatory duties of mine living with her, they only became request because I moved out and started sticking up for myself) she made a comment of how I wasn’t holding her in her time of tearfulness to which I replied because I dont want to, and I left. It felt so good to see past the manipulation


Hi Yvonne,
What you wrote in(8) reminds me of my mother who is in a CH.She is 87yrs her birthday was 2 wks ago i didnt bother to visit. The carers who look after her have often said how lovely she is.I have never answered them just looked blank at them. My father is 90yrs and he always says that he WILL live until he is well into his 100s. So arrogant,who does he think he is? This will I hope make you smile,but I dont wish them dead but to live forever and never lose their minds. For me that would be the ultimate punishment for all their wrong doings and believe me there are many. I cannot understand why two people have chidren and then treat them so appaulingly.My mother had three with him and he I believe had others else where.The sad thing when they die will be the tears of my sister and probably me (but I hope not)because they have not enjoyed their lives they are too dam miserable, so why the hell my father wants to live into his 100s God only knows. They both exist and thats it. I dont know anybody of my age who still has both parents.They are both in good health but dont enjoy anything apart from my mother who enjoys the visits he makes to her,yet he put her there because he was bored with her at home. He never wanted her. She has always put him before her children and turned a blind eye to what was going on.God has chosen the two most miserable people to continue to live and I hope he prolongs it,and lets their memories haunt them forever. Thats my rant over.Thanks all and have a good Easter if you celebrate it.Wendy am xxx



Very interesting point regarding hating children. My father himself always said that his dad told him he ‘didn’t like kids’. I acknowledge that now my father is responsible for his behavoir, but still, who says that to a kid. I do think it was his excuse for kicking him out at 16 (just like me!). Its so creepy, he used to have regrets, and feel guilty, but at a certain point he went from saying “Wow, what happened to you is just like what happened to me” and “Wow, your attitude towards men might have something to do with me” all the way to “It’s too bad that happened because of so and so/me/fate/life decisions” in cases where he clearly had a lot of responsibility.

I think hating children is a jump off point for abuse. If you don’t like them, it’s their fault. Everything can be excused, because you don’t like THEM. It’s awful.

I also think my father carried this attitude for hating ‘weakness’ – the correct word escapes me (maybe people who ask for help, people who admit to being human, people in distress. He actually speaks with disgust about even his patients (he’s a doctor). I remember he used to laugh about this ‘funny story’ he would come home and tell us, about this guy who would wander into the ER asking for a ‘sammich’. Like it was so funny. That’s a human being with a basic need! He just distains, brushes off, laughs at needs. Yet he likes to be the hero, powerful, in control. It’s like he likes to save them while simultaneously hating them. Apparently there is a word for this process, but I forget what it is.

“They didn’t express hatred towards their parents, schoolteachers, etc–the people who actually hurt them and ruined their lives. They took all of that out on me instead, and that is what made it wrong. If people expressed their genuine, justified hatred and anger at the people who actually hurt them instead of repressing it, turning it onto themselves or scapegoats, we would have a much better world.”

I think this is so insightful. My father sort of ‘gave up’ on fighting those with more power. But his anger was still there. I also think it’s true- if people took out their anger on the people who actually hurt them, instead of scapegoats/self it would be better.

NO ONE I speak to seems to agree with this last sentence I quoted from you. Not even people who agree he’s abusive, I should stay away, I need to heal, etc. I wonder why. Sometimes fighting back can be so healing. I’ve done a lot of it myself recently, but I am not anymore, because everyone seems to think it’s ‘wrong’ or ‘out of control’. Oh really? Standing up for myself is out of control? What about the person who was out of control in the first place? Do I just have to live with that fear and vicitimzation forever?

It’s cowardly. It’s easy to take out your anger on someone who is weaker. Taking out your anger on your abuser? Empowering, often looked down on, and not easy.

Great great insights! The bravery of your words is very inspiring to me- people who take a stand on what is right are so important to this world!

Thanks for your support and insight. It is really helpful. I’m one of the younger members on this board and I get the sense you are as well so that’s cool.


Also to everyone else:

I’m gonna respond to others in a bit! Thanks for your supportive words! I just had to get this all out first!
Currently recovering from wisdom teeth removal so might be slower to respond than normal!



Hi Madison,
I think these mothers don’t know who the mother is and who the child. In my life, I was also filling the holes in my parents’ relationship, as my mom was not getting her emotional needs met from my dad, so she got them met from me. It was about sucking love from me—who I was as my own entity was arbitrary. I know that because now that I’m not willing to have a relationship unless she recognizes me, she seems to be willing to let go of the relationship. She doesn’t really want to know me as I am, just use me to feed her self-esteem and need for love (unless she wishes to prove me otherwise)…. My grandma, her mom, is the same as far as I can see, which is the way it goes. I can even see how I could’ve ended up like that because that’s how this stuff works. But for me, awareness makes me want to do everything in my power to change; whereas my mom seems to just want to shut her eyes and ears. She doesn’t like the image of her I’ve presented and doesn’t want it to be true. I think someone who loves you, though, is willing to face the truth no matter how painful and how ugly, if for no other reason than because it’s the truth!

I’m impressed by your actions with your mom, holding your stand like that. We’re not meant to be treated like this and it doesn’t help them either to get away with it. So… yay! Yay for us and everyone here fighting for freedom, wholeness and good health!


Hey Caden-

I was just thinking- you talk about getting angry at people you hate, and how healing it is.
What are your thoughts on people who retaliate/don’t listen/block you out/insist on having the last word?
Isn’t this more re-abuse than healing? Are you talking about the initial standing up to someone, seeing them for who they are that we should do?

Because I have gotten angry at my father, and he does all of the above. As a result, I am not healed, I am holding in so much angry, and I really do not want it to come out on other innocent people. But he is like a vindictive brick wall, when it comes to expressing what I am now learning are VALID emotions!!!!!

I’d love to hear your take…


I wonder why people tend to judge those who haven’t had good parenting. Is it because they are obnoxious know-it-alls and that they make the assumption that if they grew up in loving homes, then everyone must have shared a similar experience?

Why are so many people so dense?

I heard today from a woman who has worked many years in the field of domestic abuse, and she said that the one thing she consistently hears from women who’ve been in a domestic abuse situation is that they don’t feel heard, and that they feel very judged. Judged by most everyone……by mental health professionals……by their own family members…….by their friends…… judges and lawyers and others working in the legal system…….and even by pastors and members of their church congregations.

And I wonder, “Why?” Why are victims blamed? Oh, people may not actually come out and say, “I blame you because you stayed with your husband,” or “I blame you because you don’t have a relationship with your parents,” but they sure do know how to get that message across to us, don’t they? If 90% of all communication is non-verbal, then we definitely pick up on the tone of voice, the raised eyebrow, the slight disgust on the face. There are myriad methods for conveying one’s judgment to another person.

I think some people automatically blame children, and I have no idea why that’s the case. I don’t automatically assume that if someone tells me that they have no relationship with a parent or sibling that it is that person’s fault. But then, I come from a family which was neglectful and abusive, so I have an understanding of what it feels like to try and try and try and try, over and over and over, to have a loving relationship with narcissists and other abusive types of family members, and to still be treated in a reprehensible, abusive way.

But it shouldn’t matter. One shouldn’t have to have come from an abusive home in order to refrain from judging another person harshly.

Alaina, how I absolutely, positively know just how you feel. I read your post #122, and I had a similar experience with my mother. She still to this very day doesn’t know me. Not at all. Yet, she talks about herself constantly and I (along with everyone else in the entire world) know her favorite colors, music, TV shows, actors, decorating styles, food……because she will tell you…..not once or twice, but many, many times!

But she knows nothing about me. Nothing except that I love crossword puzzles and that I have some talent as an artist. Other than that, she knows nothing. And she never asks me anything about myself. Ever. And, she never has!

She sucked me emotionally dry, too, just as you say your mother did. My mother only views me as an object, as someone to be her confidante, sounding board, taxi cab driver, babysitter for her kids, money lender, etc………she doesn’t see me as a human being who has feelings and thoughts and dreams and who has health issues. She only sees me as extension, as someone put upon earth to help HER, to do her bidding. If I can serve no function for her, then I am persona non grata. It’s as though I don’t exist. No wonder I have struggled my entire with being able to connect to myself……she never connected to me. Ever.

It’s tough. I have many, many resentments and hurts from years of being treated as if I don’t matter.

You and I deserve better, Alaina. I struggle. But at least I am not like her!


Hi Marore,

You hit on so many points! I don’t know what gives people the right to judge either, but judge they do & lay blame. I just got off the phone with my 2 daughters (young adults now) & we were talking about the very same things.

I grew up in a home where I was mostly ignored unless one of them perceived me at doing something wrong. Then there was the abuse. In all my years, neither of my parents could ever see me for who I was…my likes, interests, etc. It was always what was in their best interest, or what they wanted to do, etc. To this very day, my dad has no clue who I am. I really don’t matter much to him. I know all about his favorite color, what foods he likes, etc. He has never bothered to learn any of those things about me. Nor has he learned those things about my kids. Even worse, is that my girls’ father is exactly the same!

He ended up with full custody of them to punish me. Only he did the real damage to his own flesh & blood. Both of them hate him. Both of them want little to do with him anymore. They can barely tolerate his behavior. Both of my girls know I tried to give them a better life, but he couldn’t stand it, & took it away from them.

My kids are my only real family. They are coming back to me. It’s been a long painful process but we are finally starting to reconnect. They see exactly what their dad is…both have told me separately that when they are free of him, they are finished with him & his family as well (for the same reasons). The one bad thing is that his family loves to gossip & I guess ever since I left him, they have had much fodder to discuss. I know that they all blame me for everything. It’s ok…that’s their opinion. Everyone has one….I know the facts!


Thank you so much for this post.


Thanks for the kind words and understanding. This is a wonderful blog and very cathartic. I feel as many do….who gives people the right to judge why we cut the ties from our parents. They didnt walk in our shoes. We aren’t their property as my father thinks. I’ve hated my father for a very long time and saw these nasty abusive behaviors along time ago. I knew that this would all come to a head once Mom passed. Never did I think that at 72 yrs old he would allow some bimbo to pressure him into marriage and give up his daughters and two grandchildren. He doesn’t dare call me up and lash out anymore but still continues to do it to my sisters and then calls her names and gets abusive when she doesn’t agree with him. He recently called her telling her that he and the bimbo weren’t getting along and he may be coming home from FLA alone and the next he called her to say “well everyone has their fights.” She is manipulating him and he’s so sick that he can’t see it. Then I think that he’s getting his karma for the way he abused my Mom, sister and I.
One piece of advice that I could give to those whose siblings are siding with the abusive parents is…step back, bite your tongue and let them find out for themselves. I had to step back from my sister, allow her to have a relationship with my father since she thought I was the “problem”. Once I removed myself from the situation, bit my tongue and had no contact with my father then she became the whipping post and she followed in my footsteps. He’s tried to divide and conquer us, a few times was successful but she eventually caught on to his sick game. Now he knows that he can’t break the tie that binds us. Since its been 6 yrs., I don’t want to reconcile because I’ve realized that he’s not going to change. He still wants what he wants on his terms. It’s always been his way or the highway. I’m done with that. I realized I don’t deserve abuse and will not put myself in a situation that could potentially be abusive. If someone is abusive to me, I will now stand up for myself and let them know its not acceptable. It has taken along time to get here since I was the girl who was picked on, rejected by peers and I kept going back to gain their acceptance. Now I see I was reanacting my relationship with my father. I even married a guy like my father and shortly into the marriage, I realized I made a mistake so I asked him to leave and he wanted this his way so I filed for divorce and have no regrets. I am happy single doing my own thing and having no one to answer to.


Happy B Day Alaina ! mine was the 21st .Didnt get a card from FOO and didnt expect one. My aunt died that day and I didnt even get an email. Found out from a concerned friend. They always act out to hurt me whenever they get an opportunity to disregard me. Who needs that sort of person in their life? Not
me any more. Equal respect is unknown in regards to me where my FOO is concerned. I wont live that way anymore.


Ditto #124 with my Mom. Same exact thing. I could have written your post.


Hi Marore, There’s a lot of talk about equality but there is very little equality in our society. I think people feel safer blaming victims and looking down on them instead, of abusers. People side with whoever seems to be in control. The pecking order is very deeply, ingrained in our culture.



Andria, thanks for sharing your story! Yes, it sounds like you are lacking in the unconditional love department as well from the parents. I’m sorry for your experiences of that. You gave your all in caring for your father, and it was not appreciated. It hurts when you give from the heart, and it is tossed away. It is funny, the GC’s never seem to do that, and THEIR love and care for the parents are very conditional, which the parents accept. Imagine if you had put your Dad in a home? The wrath that would have befallen you? However, when your sister does it, no one questions it.
You made adult choices, regarding what is best for your life, and can not feel your parents acceptance, as what you did is inot in their narrow fram of acceptance.
But this is being a normal adult weighing the pros and cons for yourself, and making a decision as to what is best for you at the time. Why cant these dysfunctional famiies accept this?

Hi Pam, thanks for your comment, it hits right on! I am trying to plan a party for my Dad’s 86th birthday, which my mother has hi-jacked, and told me today, she has not invited half of the guests yet, as “there is so much going on right now. I wil ask them after Easter.”. Which makes no sense to me. Everything is convoluted in this dysfunctional system, especially with her at the helm.

I am okay, keeping my distance, and keeping myself emotionally at a distance and protected from the abusive ones. I feel there is enough good in my relationship with my father, my brothers, and their children. I will work around the others, and not allow them to treat me with disrespect.

Thanks, everybody, for the feedback! You are wonderful, and I am so greatful for this safe place to communicate!


GDW, I can relate to what you say about your father–there was also a point where mine stopped condemning what his own parents did to him and started using it as a justification for hurting me in the same way. That is sick. Anyway, I’m glad you appreciated my comments.

I’m not currently in contact with any of these people that I hate–I’m sure if I was they would continue their malicious games. When I initially cut off my family, I sent my mother and sister letters and then blocked their email addresses so that I wouldn’t receive any response, since this was the end of the line after many efforts on my part. I actually had to give up completing my senior year of college five years ago, because the funding was totally contingent on my mother, and she was so greedy and toxic that I simply couldn’t go on living with her in my life. But that was an extremely difficult decision to make.

Likewise when I recently confronted all of my relatives about incest, I sent the messages with no return address. That gave me closure and protection from re traumatization. I was retraumatized by my sister, but that was back when I was being very nice to her, trying to work things out and talk about how abusive our parents were. When I no longer had anything invested, I could see how empty and petty she really was. These people were extremely verbally abusive to me all my life and didn’t allow me to respond to them, so it , so felt good to me to really have my say once and for all, and then leave it.

On a day to day basis, I usually express my anger through some form of writing therapy that allows me to work through what is making me angry, or in discussing it with people who will understand and validate me in the same way that I validate myself. It is very important for me to avoid people that automatically defend all parents without question and imply that it is wrong for me say how disgusting they were. But at the same time, I know I need to keep talking about it, somewhere. We do have a right to stand up for ourselves. Some people advocate writing angry letters to our abusers without mailing them, but in my case I felt the need to actually send some of them in order to conquer my fears and move forward.

take care,


Caden, Confronting my family was an important part of my healing too. I needed to see how they responded to what I said to them because it showed me exactly, how deep their disregard for me is. It also, helped me with my anger because it was aimed at the true target and cause of my anger, instead of building up and causing me to blow up at an inappropriate time, because something or someone triggered me. I used my anger to give me the courage to confront them and leave the guilt and shame they piled on me, on their door-step. In that way, my anger helped me to heal. It also, keeps me from back-pedaling, feeling sorry for everyone, and falling back in line with their sick family system.

All the steps you are taking are very healthy and morally right. I commend you on your bravery and fortitude.



Hello, Caden……I read your post last night and I was very moved.

I think that your writing to the family and expressing yourself was so brilliant. I wish that I could do that myself. I also think you are very wise in not allowing them any access to make cruel rebuttals to you (which they most likely would attempt to do) by blocking their email addresses and by not including return addresses on their letters.

I, too, avoid people who give parents carte blanche to treat their children in any way they deem fit. I am pretty sick of the way others blame us survivors while excusing the abuse of our parents and family members.

It sounds as if you have reached a place of peace and serenity now that you’ve gone no contact. I am so happy for you, Caden. Good for you. You deserve that.

I was often told to write letters and not mail them, too. But I just can’t seem to do that. It’s not enough, if you know what I mean. I’ve been thinking about writing letters this past year but every time I sit down to do it, I get overwhelmed by all that I want to say. There’s so much pain from the abuse and neglect, I don’t even know where to start.

You don’t have to give any specifics, but would you mind sharing in a general way what you actually discussed in your letter? Did you express specific instances of abuse and what that abuse did to you? Or did you tell them how you felt? I only ask because I am at a loss as to how go about this herculean task. I want to do it…..but I need some type of structure or jumping-off point.

I want to conquer my fears and move forward, too. Thank you for sharing that.



Hi, Pam…….you say that you confronted your family, also.

Was it in person or by letter?

Was it a lengthy letter? I am very curious how other people approach the confronting of family members. I want to do it, but I don’t even know how to begin.

I think sometimes that it would be the beginning of my “real” life.

Thank you,



Thank you for your kind words. My husband and I were just trying to do the right thing vis a vis my father. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, and this is part of the journey. I wish you the best in everything Janie.

What Pam said in post #131 stuck a chord with me: “how deep their disregard for me is.” This is the really painful part for me, but now I am free of them. I have told myself I must never take them back. They don’t want me anyway. They showed me that over and over.



Marore (#133)

I agree – it is a difficult subject to approach – and they are difficult PEOPLE to approach. So, that just makes it even more difficult.

In my case – I did not write a letter addressing specific circumstances. I chose not to be specific because that would only lend to them doing as they usually do – going on about how I’d ‘remembered that experience wrongly” or that -in that instance – they had “meant well and” I was “just being too sensitive.” or ‘they were only trying to help’ … I no longer wished to have my valid feelings and pain pushed aside because they weren’t willing to face the facts. I’d been trying to be specific with them my entire life – about what has hurt and how things could have been done differently to avoid causing pain. But, I would get the same responses – every.single.time. –

Because of that, my letter addressed things in a more general way. (i.e. ‘Regardless of the ‘intent’ behind your words and actions – hurtful words and actions cause pain. Period. It is just that simple. So, because your style of communicating and interacting causes serious pain, I’ve decided to limit the amount of time my family and I will be spending around you. This doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It just means that I must protect myself and my family from harmful influences.” … etc. There was more to it than that – but that was the route I went. Regardless of what I wrote, of course, she found some way to take it to a crazy level. (I wished we didn’t live in the same town so that I could go Caden’s route and just sever ALL contact – my letter being the final word in the mess.)

But, I had a plan in place for the fall – out … That way, regardless of how many times my relatives tried to ‘get things back to how they were’ … my response was – and continues to be the same. (Its like you have to talk to her/them like they’re a toddler!) “I understand you’d like us to change our family’s decision to better suit YOUR needs. But, my priority is MY family’s needs and well-being. Therefore we are standing 100% by our decisions. This is not up for discussion.” And that’s when I walk away.

(Or, when I’ve felt especially catty I’ve responded with “Hmm, I know – it’s tough – {sarcasm} but actions have consequences. And that’s what you’re dealing with right now. Our family had NO CHOICE but to respond based on your actions, and now you’re not liking the consequences. But, -tsk- that’s just a part of being an adult.” And then I immediately walk away, again.)

Hopefully we’ll sell our house soon! Then I will be living 3 hours from here and I won’t have to deal with these confrontations on a weekly basis! UGH! Crazy people!

Best wishes to all,



Thank you for your kindness, Marore. No, we definitely didn’t deserve this. It’s funny about favourite colours. My mom always called them “her” colours, so if she liked something, she’d say, “those are my colours.” It’s just how she’d express herself but I found it irritating, as though the colours themselves belonged to her! If you liked it, too, it was like she was sharing it with you… but just remember first they were hers! That was the covert message she always sent, unconsciously, through her behaviour. About EVERYTHING!! It was like that with people, too. My brother was her son first; my dad, her husband; my cousins, her nieces and nephews; my aunts and uncles… you get the picture. In truth, when I challenged these messages by trying to have real relationships with these people, opening myself up, etc., I found that that wasn’t really true (with my dad and brother, yes, but with the others, no—they have wills of their own and are capable of being equally one AND the other).


Marore, I started with confronting myself. That led me to understanding that I was sexually abused and that it wasn’t all my fault, as I had believed all of my life. This led me to constructing personal boundaries. At that time, I was taking care of my parents and my troubled nephew. I was very sick and my youngest son was having a lot of trouble. I didn’t know where I ended and others began. I’d been raised to view myself as responsible for everyone and considered it my job to prevent bad things from happening, as well as take responsibility for anything that went wrong. I hadn’t even considered asking my siblings for help with my parents. I had cared for them for 11 years and during that time, they did many things to undermine my husband and I with our children and it didn’t help me at all for my kids to see how my family treated me and watch me just accept that treatment. So, confronting them began with my asking my siblings to take a turn with my parent’s care or help in some other way because honestly, I was too sick to do it anymore. Neither of them wanted to do this. They wanted me back in my place taking care of our parents, all alone. Instead of saying they didn’t want to take care of them, my sister and husband began manipulating me by saying that I had a root of bitterness that was the source of all the problems in our family. So, I decided I had to confront that ‘root of bitterness’ (at that point, I didn’t see what my sister was doing as manipulation, I had a hard time seeing that because it was so much a part of how my family system worked). My parents knew what was happening when I was sexually abused but they didn’t do anything and at that time, I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I didn’t understand it until I was almost fifty. So, I chose this incident to confront my parents on because that abuse was the most devestating and my family also, used my guilt about it to control me. I wrote them a letter and I sent copies to my siblings. No one said anything at all. Then when they did, it was aimed at keeping me in my place and fulfilling the role I was assigned. I continued to try and reach them. I had the idea in my head that I couldn’t heal from the sexual abuse if they never acknowledged it so, I tried off and on, for five years to get them to understand. A lot was in writing but some in person too. I did manage to get my sister to take a turn with caring for my parents (it would have been much better if she’d been honest and we could have done something different for my parents that was less of a burden on both of us but my sister wouldn’t admit that she didn’t want to care for them, it was a total mess). I haven’t seen any of them since my parents moved out six years ago. Because of Darlene, I finally understood that I didn’t need them to validate what happened to me, in order to heal. However, I also, learned that I didn’t want to be in a relationship where I wasn’t respected. I wrote one final letter stating that if they wanted a relationship with me, they had to treat me with respect and that would have to start with them acknowledging the sexual abuse and also, acknowledging that my parents were guilty of criminal child neglect when they knew where I was, what was happening to me, and did nothing to intervene. They refused to do that and I haven’t spoken to them in almost two years, now.

It hurt a lot to put myself out there and then have them reject me, in much the same way they rejected me when I was being sexually abused and they let it happen. I didn’t just lose my parents, I lost my entire FOO. No one wanted to know my side of the story and it was that way when I ran away from home as a teenager, too. It was all about how I hurt my mother but no-one ever dug into the reasons why I was so desperate to run away in the first place.When they threw me away this time, the mourning process was painful, but I’m happier now to be free of the emotional and psychological abuse. After I drew that boundary and stuck with it, I worked on a lot of issues in my childhood and came to understand myself much differently than what all the abuse taught me about myself. So…over a period of five years, I got no further with my parents and sister than to try to get them to acknowledge the sexual abuse. I was never able to confront them about all the abuse that led up to that point in my life but that’s okay, because now I understand all of it, how it misshaped my view of myself and others, and I am healed of so much that I never had any hope to heal. I have self-acceptance and dignity now.I’m not depressed and anxious anymore. I wouldn’t trade any of that just so I could have my family back in my life. My relationship with my kids is greatly improved and they’re much happier without my parents influence in their life. They were hurt by my family’s treatment of me as a less-than and felt themselves regarded that way simply, because they were my children. It really is amazing how much better things are now than they were a couple of years ago.

I tried to cover a lot of ground in this comment. I hope it isn’t so condensed that it is confusing. I don’t think it is necessary for every survivor to go no contact, in order to heal. I didn’t want to lose my family but when I embraced the truth of my life, that is the place where the truth led me.Whenever I doubt myself, I go back over those events and I know that I did the right thing. It was right for me to stand up for myself and reclaim my dignity. I have no control over how they responded to the truth. There’s no way I will allow anyone to make me feel guilty and take blame for breaking my family apart, because I didn’t do that. My parents did and they broke our family a long time ago. Everyone was trying to pretend that we were a normal family but the truth revealed the dysfunction. After that revelation, there was no going back to denial.I don’t think all survivors have to do exactly the same things I did to get well but what all survivors do have to do is find the truth and embrace it. There is no healing without the truth.



Thanks Pam and Marore, Confronting my family recently was very healing and also brought a lot of new things up which means more opportunities to move forward and discover myself and my past.

Marore, The ‘goodbye’ letters that I wrote to my mother and sister many years ago were very long, and let my feelings run free as I recounted all of their emotional abuse and how much their behavior had hurt me. I brought up many memories and said the things that I wasn’t able to say at the time.

In the letters that I wrote confronting my family about incest, I gave general details but highlighted two of the most vivid (and emblamatic) memories I’ve uncovered over the past year in graphic detail. Those two scenes laid bare the usual methods that my parents (and my grandparents as well) used to sexually abuse my siblings and I in their bedroom. Though they all may very likely choose to live in denial, I know that giving these details could be an opportunity for someone else to remember and acknowledge what happened, and perhaps protect the next generation (the children of my siblings and cousins) from the same abuse.

So I had a basic template, and then crafted it into many individual letters, confronting each person on how their abuse, denial, or abandonment had hurt me and what role they played in the sick incest family dynamic. I also used the letters to stand my ground, tell them that I know what they did to me, that I’m not afraid and while I’m not going to disclose my location, I’m not hiding from them anymore and I’m going to be public about what happened to me. I said that if they wanted to make threats against me as they did in the past, they better be ready to face criminal charges, because the status quo is never coming back.

That was very empowering, and while I imagine I will hear from them someday, at least I’ve had this space to build strength for my own healing without their victim blaming and denial coming into play. They can keep that to themselves.

take care,


Caden, The more I read of your story, the more my heart breaks for you. I know how hard it is to talk about sexual abuse but it so needs to be talked about. I appreciate all the hard work and honesty you have put into your healing and I also, very much appreciate your courage in talking openly and matter-of-factly about the crimes of abuse committed against you. People need to know exactly what sexual abuse does to kids and what it takes to overcome the damage. People have to be better educated if we are ever, as a society, to do a better job of protecting children.



I have been NC with my mother, father and grandmother for about a year.
As a child, I grew to believe families provided physical and emotional well being and that it was my fault that I was not being physically and emotionally cared for by them. I believed that they did care for me, and it was my fault that their care had been withdrawn. I experienced their ‘death’ many years ago, which was in fact the death of my being cared for properly, and have been mourning that death for most of my life.

Recently, I started thinking more and more about how good it feels to have them out of my life and be free from their opinions and abuse. My anger seems to have lifted, and I am experiencing joy and health in my life and relationships. It’s as if the natural joy of childhood that started to grow into a healthy and self confident person before being chopped down by abuse, has come back in a radiant glory. I am optimistic about my relationships, and confident drawing healthy boundaries. I am a better, thankful mother, and have brought peace and happiness to my partner and close friends. It’s as if the past year of freedom to make my own decisions unencumbered by selfish and angry little people, has given my the strength to dry my tears of sadness and live again.

My parents physical death is unimportant to me. If they died today, it would not make me sad. In fact, I would probably even more at peace for the end of their tortured lives.


Anna, It makes me happy to hear you express your new-found peace and freedom. I too, am enjoying getting to know who I am apart from how I was defined by the abuse in my family. It’s amazing.:0)



Caden, Kera, Morare, Pam, everyone really,

It’s good to read all of the ways you’ve sent out letters and what it was you each specifically needed to achieve.

Kera, I loved your responses to people and walking away. So simple and direct. I also appreciated how you worded your letter to family. I might have to put those words in my back pocket.

Caden and Pam, I am like you. I have specific things I want to bring up. I have not written an official letter of no contact. I have only responded to my mother’s ploys to get me to crumble. They started out sickening sweet. Over the course of a year, they got increasingly more ugly, blaming me for being angry, and telling me when I was ready to have a conversation like an adult, my mother would be ready. Incidentally, like an adult means not calling her on her BS. She said she’s very ready to listen, but, in the same letter she stated she would in no way own the idea that she bullied me. She would only be ready to listen when I was ready to have “adult” conversations.

Subsequently, when I didn’t crumble, I held my ground about lies she told that were destructive to relationships, she upped the ante. She then called in her counselor and her husband to do her work. They both came after me in email in the same weekend. Her counselor’s ideas were at least slathered in some sort of false sense of concern for me. Her husband came out and told me not to contact her anymore, that I was to go through him from now on. My pleasure!! Funny thing is, I hadn’t contacted her in the first place. I had just refused to listen to her constant skirting around the lies she told. These lies were designed to destroy relationships, and I don’t take that lightly.

I have mulled over the idea for several months, of writing a letter to mother and listing many of the things that were/are most painful. I have yet to do it because like you said Morare, a herculean task. I know that one day I will write to her. I will not feel complete until I’ve told her that I know what she did was wrong. It would be a relief to me to make sure she knows I KNOW it was wrong and she can no longer brainwash me into thinking it was okay, or that it didn’t happen at all. I have a burning desire to make sure she knows I know.

I have appreciated everyone’s post, and my heart goes out to the hurting group here.



Re: 103.
I wish I could say it was a family member who made these confusing suggestions to me. It was not. It was an outsider. Makes it perhaps even more confusing.

I have been wondering how other people feel about emotions with respect to our ability to control them. I read what you wrote about controlling them and then they come back to haunt in some way. (loosely quoted). This describes my life. I have seethed at times when there is anything in my immediate surroundings which takes me to that cold dark place of being the outcast, or called out openly in front of people, or whispered about, or looked down on, etc, etc. I have felt like exploding when a coworker accused me of not responding to a fire alarm, which was a lie. I wanted to turn her inside out verbally. I hate these reactions. I hate that these emotions still reside somewhere deep inside. I wonder how long before I will get the poison out completely. I feel like a big part of it has been released, and I haven’t been in a place where I felt like erupting for a few years now. I wonder how I’d respond now? Hopefully I could remind myself it’s more about the abuser than it is about me. I hope!!

This outsider really did cause confusion, but, I’m sorting it out I think. I don’t want to refuse responsibility, if I need to own something. That is my mother’s way, and I don’t want that at all.

I have jumped to wrong conclusions recently. I had too much going on in my head and with the state of my family, I give very little wiggle room. I assumed a few things that were not true. I don’t want to go into full detail on all of it, because I wrote about it in another post. I do want to say that if my thoughts are what got me into painful feelings, I want to know I’m doing that so I can stop. If given enough time alone, my thoughts can really run away from me. I don’t want to lose sight of the truth by any means. I do want to do whatever it takes to calm my mind. If I’ve jumped to conclusions or made an incorrect assumption, it is liberating in a way. I don’t have to grapple with the negativity and pain that my thoughts have conjured up. I hope this makes sense. There is sort of a fine line between what I can create in my head, and the proof of history. History often repeats itself, so, if I have jumped to a conclusion, I suppose there’s a reason for it.

Love to you Pam, and thank you for responding.


Hello, Pam, Caden, Alaina, Mimi, Kera, and Anna…..

I just wanted to say that when I have more time to sit down later this evening and read through your posts more thoughtfully, I would like to respond to you personally.

I did get to read them quickly, and there’s so much wisdom and insight, and so many good ideas about how to go no contact by letter, that I want to spend more going back through your posts.

But I wanted to be sure that you knew that I was appreciative and that I am very grateful for your sharing and your support.



Mimi, Standing firm on what I know is truth was so unfamiliar to me in the beginning, that I know I didn’t handle everything in the best way. Those first few personal boundaries I set, were probably, not set in the most discrete way. However, I did make a concentrated effort to try to do what was right and not just react on my feelings. It’s very hard to do what is right in the face of lies and manipulation and the confusion that those things are meant to cause. What I’ve learned is to trust myself because no one else knows my situation or history the way I do. I’m the one who has to live with the decisions I make so, it is important for me to make choices I can live with. Freedom requires responsibility and freedom is worth it to me, to take that responsibility.



Hi Karen,
Thanks for the birthday wishes and a Happy Belated Birthday to you, too! Nope, I definitely have no more room for people who disregard me, either. If people can’t treat me with respect and equality, then I don’t want them in my life. Why should I, or anyone, put up with that?!? There is no legitimate reason.

Hi Marore,
I know I’ve written bits and pieces of my latest confrontation with my parents but I thought I’d write out my whole history. The first time I wrote my mom a letter was 8 years ago, not long after I had a breakdown (at 22). I did this at someone else’s suggestion and encouragement. I’m sure I would not even have thought of it, otherwise. I was a very compliant, good daughter, who never did anything to rebel at all in my life. I just got crushed until I broke. I consider myself lucky to be alive and am grateful for whatever gave me the resilience to save myself. My mother had no idea what was coming because she genuinely had herself convinced that our relationship was really good and that she was a fantastic mother (despite all inconsistencies to say otherwise, not only to show it wasn’t good but also that deep down she knew it wasn’t good, etc). Anyway, I was very raw and emotionally/mentally sick. I did, however, speak directly to specific things and nothing I have said in subsequent confrontation has really been out of the scope of what I first brought up way back when. My mom’s initial response to me was full of the predictable responses, although she would acknowledge certain things. But in summation, my first confrontation went nowhere, though it was a good and necessary start at separating myself from her. I started a masters degree and was in the middle of trying to deal with all my emotions, physically getting myself out of the family home, etc. I eventually moved provinces. In the meantime, there were lots of tactics that were very difficult to deal with, that were really pulling me under.

I did get apologies before I moved. But nothing really changed on a fundamental level. The power dynamics were all the same. My relationship with them was still a constant source of emotional turmoil, anxiety, wanting to cut myself, that sort of thing. I was incapable of living a real life. I wrote another letter and then cut off contact maybe 2 months later. This was 5 years after my first letter. I basically cut off because I knew the relationship was a hindrance to my ability to work through my problems. In addition to wanting to hurt myself, I was haunted by an incident in the year after my breakdown when I had a sudden urge to hurt a little girl I was tutoring who was touching my hair. I knew that I had to do (or continue to do) whatever the heck I’d have to do to get better so that I could live a full life and not be a danger to myself and/or others. Cutting off was hard and messy, though I tried to explain that I was doing it for my health. I felt guilty, even though I knew I was doing the right thing for myself. I had a very hard time holding onto what was done to me, the abuse/neglect, because my experience was covert and it was entirely emotional. I’d have it and then it would slip through my fingers again. Taken as individual events, nothing was very bad. What I knew mostly were the effects and that’s what I based my decision on.

I stayed NC for 2 & 1/2 years. I became stronger, learned more, found EFB (though I also had an excellent therapist before as well). I tried again. In my latest confrontation, I’d say the major difference from the past was that I could hold firm. I had a goal in mind, rather than just bringing up the issues. I knew my needs and boundaries (although it was a work in progress, not all at once). In terms of what I wrote, the crucial difference was that I needed to explain how everything connected, not to speak about a bunch of issues, but to connect how one issue piled on top of another and how that led me to my breakdown, as well as making a pretty clear picture of my mom’s motivation in knowingly keeping me a victim so that she could continue to have her needs met and how because she chose to sweep warning signs under the carpet, I nearly died. You cannot factually prove motivation, so it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. The reason why I felt I had to do this was because for me, I needed to show the dysfunctional system at work. I could not simply speak of isolated incidents because it could then be passed off/excused as some mere parenting mistakes that had disastrous effects or else unfortunate learned behaviour from her own dysfunctional upbringing (which she wants to believe she has overcome), instead of a live and kicking sickness of her own, where she was sacrificing my wellbeing for her own personal gain. In the end, what I said was obviously not good enough for her to face the truth, but it was enough for ME to now know the truth of what happened, so that I can be free and have no guilt in walking away. I focussed primarily on things leading to my breakdown but also mentioned that nothing really changed afterwards despite them knowing that my emotional state was a result of their treatment of me (and mentioned one or two things). If they ever acknowledged the pre-breakdown stuff, there’d be at least a few more things to talk about after that, but the truth is if they were capable of acknowledging the pre-breakdown stuff, everything else would I’m sure flow freely from them because that would mean they were wrestling their way through the dysfunction and be seeing it for themselves, without me having to say anything. (That’s what ticked me off to begin with in this confrontation—given our past history, the letters I’d written, and 2 & 1/2 years to think about things and do counselling on their own or whatever, I’d have hoped that they would have “got it” without me having to instigate anything). (I say “they” but I only spoke about my mom—my dad wrote me an angry response to my initial beginning email, which I stood up to, but then 3 months passed and he never wrote back, so I never did get into anything with him that I hadn’t before I cut off the first time. I did write a letter to confront him, his passive abuse, his siding against me and pushing me on my mom, etc., but it was for myself and not him. I felt that he didn’t “deserve” it. These letters were a way to see if we could have a relationship. By not responding to me, I felt that he had made his choice, so I wasn’t about to send an email saying this is what I need you to acknowledge if you want a relationship with me. If he ever wants a relationship with me, he will have to come and ask what he needs to do to make that work because he’s the one who has done me wrong and not the other way around (which by his angry letter he made clear he felt that I had done them wrong).

Anyway, I’ve written a lot here! I hope it adds to what others wrote…. It was good for me to write this, just for me but I hope too that might give something for others. It’s all so fresh right now for me. I’m glad to be here. It’s a good place.



I can’t believe it,I FINALLY have a place to speak! I don’t even know where to start, Ive spent 41 years feeling my way through a dark, lonely,often terrifying room,with only voices echoing in “You need to forgive, your mother did the best she could, she was a young mom” “you need to forgive your father, he is obviously sick” “You need to let go of the anger and bitterness,shes still your mother”…… Every single time I say “what about ME and my broken heart?” Im just scuffed at and shamed for even thinking of ME!! My mother was 17 years old when she had me and the entire time she wanted an abortion but her sister would talk her out of it. I remember sitting in my 8th grade class and a teacher asking each of us, what is something you wish you could change,you can only pick one thing”…when it was my turn to speak I stood up and said “I wish I could have somehow let my mother abort me when she wanted to,I wish her wish, could have come true”… could have heard a pin drop in that room…. She was a drunk Jehovah witness for the first few years of my life so I wasn’t just picked on, ridiculed by and kept of society but at home it was just as bad and worse! My mother told me often and repeatedly through the years about how she never wanted me and explained what an abortion was when I was 4 years old, she HATED me for being born and had no problems telling me. She picked on my feet, my ears, my tiny little body, she hated that I was not fat like her an my other half sister whom she treated like gold….I was starved literally, while they fed their fat faces.I was so thin I couldnt fit into clothes or shoes at any regular store so I was just a burden more and more and abused relentlessly. When the teachers or a parent called protective services on her she always snaked her way out of things and made me look like the crazy one! After failed suicide attempts and living completely out of control by the time I was 13 years old she just threw me away completely.She said my REAL father was picking me up in a couple days and that I needed to pack one bag only and get the F*** out! I was so excited to know that there was someone else that could be waiting to love me and even though I was terrified to meet this stranger called “dad” I was more hopeful of finally being loved…..well it turns out he loved little girls alright and raped me until I was 17 1/2 years old and I ran away for good.When I ran away before that I would get picked up eventually and taken back to him but I knew when I was 18 no one could ever make me go back.Everyone I told the abuse to didn’t believe me, my dad would say oh shes just mental from being abused by her mother” and they all believes him because they knew how severe the abuse was with her….even after failed suicide attempts again living with my dad and abortions caused by him getting me pregnant,no one believed me.Now a days all it takes is a stern look from a parent to a child in a shopping mall and protective services are knocking down the door! Im glad for that, maybe children are actually being saved from terror that otherwise would go undiscovered. Ive tried therapy and many therapist sit bawling as I tell what I have survived so obviously THAT didnt help me, it was nice I guess to have empathy but they never had answers on how I can heal all this damage! Religion says forgive, bittered or unabused people say, “forget”….why cant I just HEAL? Why cant someone help me HEAL right where I sit, in pain, broken and mourning parents I needed and still need today!Yeah, why is is wrong that I wish I had a mom and dad??? My son is now 20 years old and will never have grandparents, or aunties! My half sisters, every singe one of them have thrown me,us, away like trash. I have been bed ridden for 4 years now with brain tumors and late stage lyme disease, it would take a real miracle for me to survive,,,I remember thinking ” my family will love me now, Im dying, they will change and just love me” Not even close, I was asked by my mother after I told her my diagnoses and fate, to never bother her or them again”…My sisters said “we dont want to be in the middle,leave us alone too” They sneak and speak to my son on Facebook sometimes, my mother thinks its hilarious my son speaks to her, she feels as though she is right and I am wrong that I just exaggerate how bad things were,and thats obvious or my son wouldnt speak to her if she was so awful.. she tell my son that I was the problem because I was an unruly teenager and pregnant by the time I was 13 years old. Does ANYONE ask my mother WHY I was like that?? Of course not! I will always be the piece of sh** daughter who should have respect for my mother because she did keep me. LOL Anyway, Ive made this as short as I can, I dont want to sound like a “woes me” but I feel I am safe to FEEL here on this board and I had to speak because I was finally given a chance to be HEARD, I thank you for that!I hope I can figure out how to mend this heart of mine, if I die with all this crap trapped in my mind,heart and soul, then my parents won!!! Every single day I try and understand them and why and how could they do this to me, I dont want these thoughts anymore, I dont want to care! The truth is Im a care giver, I help people and animals the best I can right from my bed! Im nursing a baby bird back to health as I write this. so when you have this kind of heart, its impossible to not care, Ive tried,and that is the torture that continues and why my body can’t heal from these diseases,Im sure of it. God bless you all, each one of you are precious and important! May you find your saving grace and be free from it all. xox Phoenix


Every time someone asked me that question, part of me squirmed, part of me defiantly thought, “I don’t care!” I know now that I truly don’t care. Even when I tell people that my mother told me that she had me as “she needed someone in her life to love HER unconditionally.” It doesn’t matter to them. They tell me she’s the only mother I have. I want to say, “So? I didn’t choose her. I didn’t choose to be born. She chose to have me. She chose to take on the responsibility of having a child.” I know it wouldn’t make any difference, so I keep my mouth shut and when possible avoid those people in the future. IF she died tomorrow, my first thought would probably be how much time do we have to move her personal effects before the management at her apartment wanted to get in there and check it out before renting it to someone else? I read through some of the comments after reading the blog and realized one more reason I don’t speak to my mother. More than once she’s insisted on celebrating my birthday, even when I told her I didn’t want to. The irony in this is that several years ago she recommended a book titled, “Boundaries” to me. It’s about setting boundaries, but she still doesn’t respect mine. Not even my parental boundaries regarding my child. My biological father died last year and the saddest part of his death was knowing that we’d never be able to repair the relationship. At the same time I was angry that he refused to even acknowledge what he’d done to hurt me. I know it’s his loss, but I wish things had been different. At this point in my life; I figure, I’ve done what I could. Thank you for sharing your stories and for reading mine.


Pam, Mimi, and Alaina, I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s story and perspective on this subject, so I’m glad you all shared too.

Pam, I really appreciate you saying so, thank you. Sexual abuse does need to be talked about, not just hidden away, so I’m really glad I can do that, not only because doing so is saving my life. I can really relate to what you said about the fact that no one in your family even bothered to ask your side of the issue–they just saw you as the problem and that was the end of it. I know horrible that automatic judgement and rejection is. That attitude was a constant in my life from the beginning–I was the youngest and everyone put themselves above me, so if there was a problem they talked amongst themselves how it was my fault (while I was out of the room) and never even tried to discuss it with me. That situation is really unworkable, and it’s so great that you took a stand for yourself and didn’t continue caring for the parents who failed and disrespected you.

Mimi, it’s so ironic that your mother says she wants you to talk to her “like an adult.” When in fact it sounds like she just wants you back in the role of her compliant child, never questioning or ‘talking back’ to her. That shouldn’t be the role of children, let alone adults. My sister said similar things–that “you’re obviously not ready to talk about our childhood,” because I was and am very critical of the way the family treated us, and I rejected her claiming that I was “whiny.” She thought that I would be “ready” if I threw my authentic childhood experience under the bus in order to empathize with our parents. I said no thanks.

And I understand how big a step it is to write these letters. When I wrote confronting my family about the emotional abuse, it sent all the nerves in my body tingling in this powerful rush as I spoke truth to all of the terrible things they had said and done to me (I didn’t sleep for two days after writing the first one to my mother, it was so powerful.) Breaking the taboo in order to confront my family about the incest was much more difficult. I had to write slowly, starting and stopping every few weeks as I would start uncontrollably shaking in fear each time I sat down to write. I had to work up to finally finishing and then sending. But in all of these cases, the effects were so rewarding, despite if not because of the intensity of what I was doing.

take care,


Oh and Kera, I like your more ‘catty’ response–I’m sure if I lived near my ex-family they walked up to me on the street all the time I would be the same way.


I’m also enjoying reading people’s letter-writing experiences. Mimi, I totally agree with what Caden said in his post. My mom also did the same sort of thing recently, not wanting to discuss the “details” until “we” felt safe and there was mutual trust (that was a covert slam against my emails, which she obviously thought weren’t compassionate, though they were—I’m not perfect but I always try to be balanced and considerate of where people are coming from, even when my emotions are running high/crazy). She also said she didn’t want to do things via email but rather counselling where we could work through things in a “loving and forward-looking” way. I hate that. My mom knew how difficult it would be for me to be in a room, alone or even with a therapist or anyone, talking about these issues because I told her this many times, but what I also really resented was the feeling that I’d be going to counselling with her for the sole purpose of needing to get someone else (a therapist) to explain to her that I’m worth listening to. I think that’s crap. My letters were very well written and she could have taken them in to discuss with her own therapist, but the fact is she had her own agenda about how we should move forward (i.e. not talk about specific things, just have me accept a general apology and then move forward on how to work a future relationship, but that wasn’t what I needed and that’s the point—this whole process should be about what the child needs, regardless of what the parents thinks or wants, because it was the child who was done wrong.)

Caden, I also relate to what you wrote about your siblings. I’m also the youngest (though there are only two of us) and my brother did the same thing. I wrote him a long email just before I cut off contact. His response was to assure me that he’d always be my brother but something about needing time to take in what I said. That was it. In the end, he came to his conclusions from whatever my parents said to him. I’m sure I could explain things to him better now than I did back in the letter I wrote but the thing is, he never bothered to ask questions or anything. Any time I tried to speak about our childhood, he was pretty much just waiting for me to finish, to overcome my issues. It felt patronizing, like he was this superior person being “patient” and “caring” by allowing me to talk, but he would never talk about his own experience. There was no willingness to express any of his own vulnerability. He’s an elementary school teacher and I felt my relationship in that context, like I was one of his kids puzzling over, say, a math question, which he, as the teacher, so much older and wiser, knew the answer to and was waiting for me to work it out. He just wanted me to accept the past, realize that I’d “interpreted” everything wrong and that my misinterpretation was what caused me all the pain and difficulty in my life; in his mind, if I just realized that it was all a “misinterpretation,” then I’d be set free. (Those weren’t his words but that was the idea.) The last communication I had with him (about a month ago) I spoke to him about how I’d hoped I would’ve acted if I’d had a sibling I found out had a breakdown and so many years of struggling, etc. He said he’d always be my brother, but we clearly have very different definitions of the word “brother” and that’s what I spoke to. While I don’t believe siblings have a responsibility to each other the way parents do, if he wants a sister, he needs to be a brother and for me a brother is someone capable of looking at my past and saying, “that’s horrible that they treated you that way, you didn’t deserve it and I’m sorry you’ve suffered so much as a result.” Right now all he’s capable of saying is “I’m sorry you’ve suffered so much.” (And then all his others thoughts, feelings, and judgements he just keeps to himself, because, you know, he’s just so wise and tolerant, knows that he can only control what he does with his life and that I have to make my own decisions—i.e. mistakes—in life.) He’s a very busy guy right now and needed time to digest what I said, but I’m pretty sure it’s over. He has his priorities and I’m about 99% sure making time to figure out what actually happened to his little sister and really looking into if maybe there is something amiss about our family is low on his list. So, while he says he’ll always be my brother, the truth is he never was and he likely never will be. Though he’s a grown man and I’m disappointed, I don’t really blame him so much—I blame the dysfunction that he clearly is completely ignorant about. I won’t have relationships, though, that undermine my value and truth. As my older brother, he ought to be proud of me, all the work I’ve done, and genuinely be sorry for not having been there for me, supporting me through all this. He ought to be fighting, too, against the dysfunction that nearly killed me. That’s what an older brother means to me, but that’s not his definition of the word. It’s too bad because if he gave me a shot, I’m sure I’d be a darn good little sister.


When I said I wrote my brother a long email before I cut off contact, I meant before I cut off contact with our parents, not with him.


Alaina, My experience with my siblings is very simular. My siblings can’t remember very much of their childhood, which I believe is dissociative amnesia. This method of dealing with the past was recomended to me,by them. It is what my parents want, for everything to be forgotten and to never be held accountable for the damage they are responsible for. There was the definite undertone that to do so would be honoring my parents. That’s really the crux of the issue, I had to remain dysfunctional, or even become more dysfunctional, to remain in that family system. I wanted to be healthy and I couldn’t do so and remain a part of that system. When I became less dysfunctional, the break in relationship was inevitible.



Pam, that’s exactly it! Thank you! I, too, know that this is inevitable. The situation is impossible. He has a young family—a one-year-old son and wanting another child at some point, both of them working teachers with other things going on in life. If he is ever going to look at and question our family system, it certainly won’t be now. He can’t or doesn’t want to remember things either. When I once tried to talk about our uncle’s suicide and told him how I remembered noticing that our uncle had been sad one of the last times we’d seen him, my brother’s reply was that he could barely remember his own feelings, let alone someone else’s and he wasn’t willing to talk about it. I thought that was strange. While certainly our uncle might not have meant as much to him as he did to me, there’s no doubt that the guy was very involved for much of our childhood, that my brother loved him and by all means should have had at least some memories around such a tragic and sudden death when he was a 10 year-old boy. Anything negative to do with our childhood he doesn’t want to talk about, though. It’s what you said about honouring our parents. It’s like if he gives any leeway whatsoever to any of that stuff, he’s feeding the devil, or something, like I might pull him under. He can give me no credence to what I say. It’s a threat to the way he’s dealt with life, certainly. So, yeah, I already know it’s over and that’s fine. I’ve done a lot of grieving over that and losing my nephew already, just in anticipation. I want to be free and I want to be healthy, so if that’s the way the cookie crumbles, so be it…. Thank you, though, for your comments! It always helps to have the validation and mirror in someone else’s experience as well. Happy Easter! xo, A


Alaina, thinking about your brother. He may be dealing with it the only way he knows how. Men are taught, not to have feelings about things, to “suck it up.” We women are the ones who talk about feelings more. Men are taught to ‘fix things.’ He may have stuffed them deep. Maybe even knowing, if he let an ounce out, he would blow. If he keeps busy with work and family, it probably makes it easier to table those feelings. My brother passed away at 27, and I know he tried with our parents. My sister started drinking and doing drugs at 13, I was 8. That was her escape from all of it. She died a few years ago at the age of 50. Still drinking and smoking pot until the day she died. I finally reached a breaking point in the last year. When I walked into therapy, one of the first things said to me is “what took you so long, how did you make it this far?” I think, like your brother, I stayed busy and tabled those feelings for another day. It may take a while, but stand strong for you, heal for you. So when that day comes, and he is ready to face it, you will be a place to help him, because you will have healed. Blessings to all.


Thanks Marore, Mimi, and Caden … 🙂

Marore – I’m looking forward to hearing more about how you’ve decided to handle your situation … it is a very stressful to stand up for one’s self – (be it in person, by letter, or otherwise), but – like you said … “I think sometimes that it would be the beginning of my “real” life.” That is EXACTLY how I feel – now that I’ve drawn the line, am without their influence, and am becoming healthy … its like I get a second chance at how things SHOULD be in a normal life … I hope you continue to muscle your way through the tough stuff – it DOES get better! 🙂



I let this fear and shame influence my decision to keep my mother in my life. It was a mistake. It only empowered the abuse and then it got much worse, and was carried on by my siblings after she died. Now that she has been dead since Christmas 2011 I realize I actually feel no different toward her than I did the many years she abandoned me during my life. The only difference is that now I have grieved what I never had, and can enjoy my life knowing I’ll never have that “daughter guilt” hanging over my head again. She had 40 years to build a relationship with me. She molested and beat me and sent me away from every human being who ever cared about me so no one else could raise me. Why should I be the one to feel ashamed?


Hi Sharon,
Thank you for your comments and support. I’m sorry for the loss of your siblings.
My brother does have the tendency to cut off his feelings and I do know that he must have buried pain. Though to be honest my brother is the one who can cry in public and be more mushy than I. I was the one who got the “don’t cry” talk. The thing is, although he grew up with the same parents and carries the dysfunction automatically, his experience is different. As far as I (and others in my extended family) can tell, he’s been able to live the life he wanted. It wasn’t the same for him. My mom developed a dependency on me, used me to meet her emotional needs. The family works as a matriarch and certainly everyone serves her and that does damage to my brother automatically but I think he’s also had a freedom I have not had. To give an example, while he was free to travel around the world for many years, my parents were getting upset with me for going to the dentist or getting my haircut without letting them know. I was my mom’s “baby girl” she always wanted and she had definitive ideas of what she wanted our relationship to be. I’m not saying it didn’t negatively affect my brother or that he doesn’t carry pain—I know he does—but I have to say your words about me being in a place to help him in the future touched a real nerve, though I know your intentions were totally pure. In the past he has done almost nothing to show that he cares about the fact that I almost died. He expressed how he thought it was wrong that I cut off contact with our parents, no matter my explanation that I did it for my health, that the relationship caused me to want to cut myself. He has in no way helped me. He has no clue what my emotional experience has been like, nor ever tried to understand, though I have repeatedly reached out. He bullied me as a child, not terribly and not all the time, but he certainly wasn’t very nice and it definitely negatively affected my self-esteem. (I got the “don’t cry” talk after I was upset that he hurt me and my mom told me to ignore him and that crying doesn’t do anything, so I should just stop it.) After recent communication, he has apologized for basically not taking my pain seriously and says he “truly feels sorry for me” but he seems completely unaware of the real dysfunction in the family, or that he carries any of it. He had a life I never had. He had friends and girlfriends, the capacity to go out and get the life he wanted. I did not have these things. I could not have them. All that I had was my mother who was using me, sucking me dry, and no ability to get help because I had to be a good, quiet little girl, doing what my mom wanted and what my dad encourage me to keep doing, making me feel like I was bad just for wanting to move out of the house, live my own life, have relationships with other people, be open about my experience. None of this, nor my brother’s ignorance, is his fault but I guess I’m just not in a place to accept the idea that he was as much a victim as I and he’s just dealing with it the way he can and maybe someday when he’s ready, I’ll be able to help him. One day, if he ever recognizes the truth and wants a relationship with me, I will accept him into my life and hope that we will be able to have an equality-based relationship but the thing is, he has wielded power over me, expecting me to meet the family’s expectations, etc., guilt-tripping me the same as my parents have, so it’s quite difficult to take in the idea of me helping him out. I was struggling to survive and while I know from others that when he found out, he was concerned, he did nothing to actually show me he cared. I was my mom’s emotional caretaker because she wouldn’t take care of herself and my dad was emotionally unavailable to her. My brother did not have to deal with this and he doesn’t know the depth of our mother’s dysfunction and depression. My mom was suicidal when she was pregnant with me but having me is what kept her alive, and this essentially was my job my whole life—to keep her happy so she didn’t kill herself. My mom always had to paint herself out to be happy, having overcome her dysfunctional upbringing and while I don’t doubt that my brother knows my mom wasn’t all that happy, I am certain that he has no clue the depth of what was going on and how much was put on me. While certainly he had to placate her, the responsibility for her pain that was put on me was not put on him in the same way. The same with my dad—he took care of the practical things and I’m doubtful he has any real notion of what was put on me… and they don’t want to listen because my mom is in charge and they will follow her and whatever she thinks…. Anyway, sorry for this rant but, yeah, your words definitely touched a nerve. I know your intentions and motivation were all good and that my previous comments didn’t have all the info. And thank you for your words about standing strong and healing for me. I just had to get this out. My blessings to you as well. It must have been very difficult to lose both your siblings. I tabled my emotions as well, felt very little, just a dull low-level depression and the background desire to die until I was 22 and had a breakdown. I had an aunt who understood right away what was going on and swept in to help, thank goodness, and for that and all the work I’ve done, my breakdown has slowly become my breakthrough and my break out of the chains and into freedom… and so I’m grateful for that. If my brother ever comes to me, wanting a relationship and with an open heart to the truth, I will be here, gladly, with love and understanding. I am glad that you survived and are here now, breaking free.
xo, Alaina.


You never cease to amaze me Darkene :-).
THANK YOU THANK YOU for putting this stuff up there.
I had an elderly friend die not so long ago & voiced my RELIEF of not having to put up with their negativity cos it weight me down SO MUCH as did the manipulation a.
about 2 minutes layer I thought “that’s HER projecting stuff at me cis she KNOWS I’m just being honest & when she dies I will be voicing that at least one time my RELIEF OF THE NEVER ENDING NEGATIVES & Put Diwns & Control & Manipulations.. I NEVER could even IMAGINE the RELIEF I felt .. SO much so Zi didn’t hardly she a year & stil haven’t…. Because like with my mother- I’ve done an INSANE ANOUNT OF THINGS to try HELP them..
Yet NONE of it was actually my responsibility – yet they Both have manipulated my genuine care for horrible SRLFISH GAIN & very VERY OFTEN at my expense Physically Mentally Emotionally & Financially.
So who the hell Wouldn’t Feel EXTREME RELIEF!
Also it’s guilt driven my mother snapped me re Dont Speak Ill if the DEAD… I showed an insane amount of respect for my dead friend & my mother – but like TRUST – YA GOTTA EARN RESPECT.
I’m going to SHARE this article on my Facebook page in the hope it FREES OTHERS


Leslea Tash
I really appreciate your words … that you “can enjoy my life knowing I’ll never have that “daughter guilt” hanging over my head again. She had 40 years to build a relationship with me. She molested and beat me and sent me away from every human being who ever cared about me so no one else could raise me. Why should I be the one to feel ashamed?”

It is SO true! Amazing/shocking how we can be abused for years and yet -in the eyes of many- it somehow becomes OUR fault that the relationship isn’t working now! It was NEVER ‘working’ – we just finally grew strong enough to stand up and say it! (through words or actions) You are right, you are not the one who should ‘feel ashamed’ … the guilt being placed on the victim is just further abuse … Good for you for realizing that! I am happy you are free from ‘daughter guilt’ … (I’m still working on prying myself free of that one – especially since ones in my FOO are regularly working hard at ‘guilting’ me in to returning to my former abusers. But, I am refusing to accept guilt over something I’m not guilty of.)



Oh Alaina, I am so sorry. I get the picture more clearly now. My mother did the same thing. My brother, was the golden child also. That explains why he has a different recollection than you do. For that matter, may never see it your way. {hugs}. I was the scapegoat, the one she could use to build herself up. Ironically, my mother was also in a mental institution when she was pregnant with me. Luckily, she had the fortitude to hide, and spit out the medication while they weren’t looking. I think that is the only time EVER, she protected me. That was the time they would give people thalidomide (sp?), where babies were being born without arms and legs, etc. So scratch my first idea there, but stick to the second, you and I will get healthy and strong for ourselves, irregardless of who will join us on our journey.


Sharon, thank you so much for hearing me! I appreciate it. You know, actually, my brother wasn’t the golden child. He’d have a pretty good case against me for being “the favourite,” at least for a good chunk of time… My mom always wanted a girl. She was over-protective and possessive, wouldn’t let me go, used me as a confidante, that sort of thing…. I suppose since my breakdown I’ve become the scapegoat and I guess that’s made my brother the golden child. But more like, if you’re feeding the system, you’re good and if not, you’re… whatever… I don’t know. I have no idea how they label me now—-misguided, maybe. She hated me for a period of time when I was a young child because I had a will of my own but obviously I couldn’t keep that up and became extremely compliant and as I got older and into my teens, she decided that I was neglected and turned me into her best friend, more or less. It’s all fickle and arbitrary, all subject to her whim. Anyway, I think you are probably right that my brother may never see things the way I do. My feeling is that it would take a crisis of some sort in his own life and I’m certainly not going to wish or wait for that. So I guess I’ll just wish him and his family well and be on my merry way. He can judge me for the rest of his days if he so wishes but I will have no more of it… I do like your second idea, though. Yes, let’s do that! Thanks again for hearing me. xo,A


I know this is random, but I’m wondering: does anyone here get exhausted from standing up for yourselves? I mean, I know that it’s better than the other option (being a doormat). But I get so tired, I feel like I’m fighting even when I’m not, even when all I’m doing is standing on my own two feet, its so unfamiliar.
Does this ever go away? Can anyone relate?


GDW, all the time. I guess, until we learn to balance the middle road, it will be tiring. I am in it too. I am told it gets easier. I have to trust that.



I just wanted to tell you that in the recent past I have found it took an enormous amount of energy standing up for myself all the time. I don’t feel this way anymore. I am no expert, and certainly only beginning to get my life back. Still, I want you to know that I no longer find it fact, I find it (for the most part) immensely fulfilling.

What has changed, is that I am more confident and because of it I don’t get as many ‘attacks’ from others. I think people think twice now. Also, my perceptions have changed…I no longer perceive almost everything other people do as personal, so I don’t have to defend myself whereas in the past I took everything so personally (I still do but not nearly as much.

Oh, and these changes I believe have all come about because I went NC with my parents et al. and some time has passed…the space gave me a new perspective. I got some breathing room, and it made all the difference.

I hope this helps.
🙂 Anna


OH GOD YES!!!!!! I am told it goes away once you get to the other side and that quite possibly you’ll experience more energy than you ever have or at least than you have for a long, long time. (If I’m to judge from one person I know who has gone through this process, then it’s definitely true because she’s in her sixties and she has the energy of someone half her age.) I feel less weighed down than I used to, but yeah, I still get exhausted. I’ve spent a lot of time fighting people and standing up for myself in imaginary conversations in my mind. It’s a bit ridiculous but at the same time I was working through things I needed to work through. And even when not “in conversation,” I think this is going on at a subconscious level. In my sleep, for example—I rarely remember my dreams but when I wake up, I can tell I’ve been there and can be tired from the sleep. I remember Darlene talking about how exhausting it is, as well, in some post, and how much more energy she now has… so have faith! We’ll get there!


My step son is going through this right now. He’s 12 and will have nothing to do with his mother because of how she behaves and treats him. My job is to support, nurture, encourage and love him; nothing else. She thinks I have to “make” him see her. She doesn’t accept that I will help him do what he feels is right for him. Yes, she gave birth to him. Yes, for 8 years she sheltered and clothed him. In the last 12 years she has done everything she can to break his spirit and make him submit to her will. Good on him for saying “No”. He’s intelligent, respectful, happy and well adjusted now. He used to suffer severe anxiety just hearing her voice on the phone. I’m so proud of who he is today. He’s so very successful because she’s NOT in his life. She tries to tell him the sand thing: “What if I die?” He doesn’t care. I can’t blame him.


Leslea, You shouldn’t feel ashamed, at all. That’s what people who try to make us feel guilty don’t get. Just because our parents brought us into the world, they sure as heck don’t have the authority to take us out of the world, so too speak.:0/ They don’t have the right to abuse their children at will and have their children meekly submit to their abuse. People need to think about what they are saying…



Alaina, I tried several times to get my sister to understand that my childhood wasn’t like hers even though, we grew up in the same house. We were all assigned roles and mine was family scape-goat. My sister and brother were both golden children. None of us were recognized as individuals, with lives and purposes of our own. We were expected to serve our parents by fulfilling our roles. They still view us in the same way and I don’t think they know any of their children beyond what we can do for them. I know my siblings were damaged too but they can’t admit that because they are to reflect what my parents like about themselves. I don’t know that my siblings will ever want to find their way out of those roles. They’ve both created families with the same type of dysfunction, by assigning roles to their children. It would take a lot for them to acknowledge that they are damaged and make the drastic changes required to relate to others in a healthier way. They like the coping mechanisms they’ve developed and believe in them to the point of recommending them to me. I feel for them, love them, and miss them but I don’t have much hope for them to break ‘out of the fog’, as Darlene puts it.



Sharon, I also, have only one memory of my mother doing anything to protect me. My mother scape-goated me more than my dad and in fact, my mother was often, scape-goated by my dad. When my dad became sick and weak, my mother would scape-goat him. Anything but accept responsibility for anything!



GDW, when I was processing a long of emotions about the past, I used to “crash” regularly, usually for days at a time. I felt so exhausted that I’d spend a few days in bed with headaches and nausea.

I’m happy to say it did eventually pass and nowadays I have heaps of energy. Keep going, it’s worth it!!


GDW, Yes, I get tired of it and I react by only wanting to be with the few people I know that I don’t have to constantly, defend my integrity. We live in a boundariless society and few people understand equal treatement and common respect. Abuse is rampant.



Anna, Thanks for sharing that. I know I’m doing better than I was a year ago. When I first started setting boundaries and maintaining them, it felt so clumsy. I have gotten much better at it and I don’t think like I used to think. I’m still in a transition period though, when it comes to adding more people to my life. I’m slow to put myself out there.



Hi Pam. Yes, nothing was ever my mothers fault, according to her. My parents split when I was 2. All I remember is their screaming matches whenever they would pass us kids off. My father was no better. Never a nice word passed his lips. He did it all, and better than everyone. He used to call me up drunk wondering who my father was. He was a piece of work. Cancer took away his voice, so then he would just write letters full of vitriol. I went NC with him several years before he died.


Hi Pam,

It’s good news that you recognize you are in transition and are not fully comfortable with boundaries. To me it means you don’t want to stay where you are. It means you know what you have to get better. It means you are striving for a better life and making it happen for yourself.

What happened with my parents, was that I realized if I put up the boundaries I should and tell them what I would and would not accept, that they would throw me away just like they had done since I was a little girl. So, I decided to take my power back and not give them one last drama to feed off. Now, of course people will reject me at times when I set boundaries…but I see it as just a normal part of life. I also backed off because I knew my mother in particular could not handle the truth and probably go insane…I don’t want to be responsible for bringing it to her. I honestly feel like its best if she just lives out her delusion until her eventual death one day. And it’s weird…I have been mourning my mother my whole life and just don’t even find it sad anymore.

My brother is a different story. He too would drop me in a flash. Although I have not gone NC with him I want too….but he is different. I have not mourned the loss of my brother nearly to the same extent. I thought he was going to be OK. Instead, it turns out he has become nearly as bad as the rest of them. I hope one day soon I can be free of the sadness and just let go. It’s so hard though, I loved him so much my little brother. I miss him dearly, and the death of his beautiful spirit is extremely painful. I miss him with all my heart. I hate it that I got out but he got trapped.


Anna, I like having boundaries but I still have to be mindful to set them. I want new friends to like me because I’m Me and not because of what I will do for them. I’ve also, lost a lot of old relationships and I’m wary of losing the few I have left. Underneath it all, I have a feeling that others will abandon me the way my family did but I also, know that I’m better off alone, with boundaries, that being used and abused by people. I guess in the end, it is a new way to live and it just takes time for it to feel natural. Every day, I become a little more sure of myself.:0)



#147, thank you for your insight. I have had times of indiscretion too. I think there was a period of time that I wanted to reach out and be heard. I haven’t been as discreet on FB as I wish I’d been now. There are times when the energy of needing to shout, overrode the desire for nearly anything else. I responded on FB to a group for ACONs. Initially, I didn’t even think about everyone being able to see it. Then, when I realized they could, I wrote some things I hoped my sisters would see about enabling. I don’t know if they did. In hindsight, I’m not sure I should have done that. But, I also don’t care a whole lot either at this point. What’s done is done.

Phoenix, wow, I’m so sorry about your pain and your illness. I’m happy you came here to share. It is so helpful to have a place to go where people understand and have compassion for our pain. Bless you for caring for a baby bird. How sweet! Your voice is important, and so is your story. I hope to read more from you, if you feel inclined.

GDW, absolutely it’s exhausting. Sometimes, I don’t know if my mind will ever quit. When I first discovered the truth about my mother, almost two years ago, I remember I would lay down for a nap and wake up 8 hours later. I could then go to bed and sleep all night. (forgive the repeat of information; I’ve written this somewhere else here too). I don’t need naps anymore for the most part, although I can still get exhausted if there is something going on in the present, with say, my siblings. It IS exhausting. I have been in the midst of mind stirring events with one sibling lately, and I’ve been more tired, but nothing like it used to be when I began this whole process. You will get your energy back I think. I hope.

Caden, in response to my mother saying she will talk when I can have adult conversations, and do it without anger…. so telling really. I see that for what it is. An attempt to make me rethink my own personality and character flaws; to heap responsibility on me before the conversation even takes place; to make sure I’m IN my place before we converse. To force me to back down before I even get a chance to be heard. When I think of her saying that, it makes me angry. And, that in itself makes me angry too. The fact that if I go there in my mind and draw up those words she said, I can still feel anger. Sheesh. I wonder if that will subside after I write to her. I appreciate you sharing how you approached writing. I too have blocked every mode of contact from my mother, her counselor, and her husband. I did that back when they all emailed me in one weekend. My mother still has my phone number, but, she doesn’t text/call, so I’ve left it the same. I applaud your bravery and courage, and I always get something from what you write. Thank you.

Alaina and everyone,
I have those conversations in my mind a lot too. Especially lately, with my siblings. Before the recent interactions with my sister, I was waking up every single morning going over in my mind what I want to say to my mother. EVERY day. I know I will write to her. I don’t know when, but I will.

I am also the youngest, and the scapegoat. My oldest sister is the golden child, and she was pretty mean when we were kids. My middle sister calls herself the invisible one. I believe she’s telling the truth too. Lately, she’s been very visible because my mother realizes I’m not going to cave. So, she’s appealed to my middle sister and her kids more than she ever has in my lifetime. I wonder why my sister is so eager to accept that. I think it would make me feel a little slighted, but, perhaps she’s just happy to be finally noticed.

I have appreciated the conversations here so much lately. My mood is definitely improved over last week. I don’t know if it’s because my sisters both reached out over easter, or just what. I wish I could feel this well and balanced all the time. Injuries, whether something I dreamed up, or REAL, always tend to put me in that dark place. I think I did jump to the wrong conclusion about my sister seeing the car accident on FB. However, I’m thinking clearly enough now to realize I had no reason to think otherwise. In history, I’ve written to siblings/mother and gotten nothing at all in return. And, my sister who I thought blew off the car accident, has been treating me pretty crappy the last 3 months. My mind ran away with me a little bit, but, I think there was a logical reason for it. I was taking the blame in my head, when really, if I look at the recent interactions with us, and the history of my family, I can be a little easier on myself for jumping to conclusions.

A really big thank you to everyone!!

Peace and Hope,


Hello Pam and everybody,
Just trying to catch up. After not contacting my parents since 4th Feb after a sort of “show down” with my father on the telephone whilst I was with my mother at her Care Home, he makes contact today. I didnt know it was him or I wouldnt have answered.He wanted to know why I have not visited my mother who misses me!I told him how I am always disregarded belittled abused+++how one of his neighbours told me my mother has always called me a liar+++.Of course he denied everything. He would and always has.I could feel myself getting emotional but managed to hold myself together.I said at my age (of course it applies at any age)that I am seeing to myself first and not putting up with his tongue which is covered with razer blades and drawing pins any longer,when he doesnt get his way.I felt he has a guilty conscience and we both knew what I was talking about although I wasnt brave enough to say the details.My mother was in the back ground saying,” please come to see me”.I told him that I have never done anything in my life for them to bad mouth me or be ashamed of. Under the circumstances of what has happened to me in my life caused bt their lack of care I dont know what stopped me from ending it all.Once I got a rope and cried and sobbed not brave enough.Now my parents are very old perhaps I can see that yet again I will give in and visit.I told my father today that it is such a waste that they have shut me out so much and that they dont actually know me but only what they want me to be,to cover up their past behaviour.My mother will have had a face like a jar of worms because she has no visitors only my father.It must be driving him demented with me not taking my turn. Thanks EFB for letting spill all this out.Wendy AM.



In your post #177, I understand how you feel about friends liking you for you and not what you can do for them. I had to give up some friendships from user-type people. If the few you have left are true friends and good non-user type folk; I don’t think you really need to worry about losing them. I am happy for you that you are becoming a bit more sure of yourself every day. Once we know that we can’t stand to be used and abused; we can never go back to that model.

Thanks for stepping in for Darlene and carrying on the conversation. Love, Andria


I am so happy I read this article. I may print it out and save it for when the time comes. It’s my biggest concern. I haven’t read all the comments, but when I read Lisa A’s comment, I thought maybe I had written it myself! Although my alcoholic father is still alive, but yep, he wants to be alone. Parents also divorced after 32 years. I thought dad was the biggest problem parent, but noooo. After he left it was clear mom has some serious issues. I am on toxic mom website, which lead me to this. I love that I can comment on here an no one can see it. It’s so validating to see how many others have been through the exact same thing. When my mother dies, I don’t think I will even go to the funeral, because I know I will just be attacked by family members. What would be the point to go? My kids knew her for awhile, it was her hurting them that finally made me go NC. I guess I will do what is best for my sons when she passes.


Lisa L, Alcoholism is called a family disease because everyone in the family ends up being effected by it. As a child of alcoholics, I also, know that the drinking is just a symptom of deeper problems. As a child, I thought everything would be better if my parents stopped drinking but that is when the deeper issues became visible. I don’t see myself attending my parent’s funerals either. I have already mourned the loss and a funeral would be redundant.



I’ve wanted to comment on this for quite a while, but, during the spring break, I got the bloody flu again. So, I’ll try this again. Here is my perspective on what happens if your parent dies before there is any chance at resolution. Originally I learned about NPD in 2000. The very first book I read was by Nancy Hodgekiss, Why is it always about you? She has a section in the back of her book specifically about this topic. And pretty much, true to what she had stated, Narc’s will tend to dig in their heels and an illness or realisation of life coming to an end only causes the Narc to up the ante’. My mother did exactly that, her being diagnosed with cancer, stage 4, caused her to ramp up her attempts at getting what she felt she was owed. I really thought/wished that she would realise how caring and really ‘good’ her kids were. I thought/hoped that she would spend time on how to fix, ammend, convey to us how much we meant to her, how much she loved us, how much she had been really proud that we were her kids. Sadly, NO. Towards the end, there was a time when I was in her shower, before I had cleared out her home, I was crying hysterically in the shower, just thinking about all the turnmoil and stress that was and had occurred. ANd this feeling of calm came over me when I had this realisation that how she had ALWAYS lived her life is how she was going to die, and she, true to her nature, Narcissism, did exactly that. She was selfish in her death. ANd, in helping her to pass, she took far more than she ever gave. I am glad that in the previous months I had decided and came to fully understand that she was incapable and would not ever be the mother I had so wanted and deserved my whole life. When she passed, I have not shed a tear, my sisters, they have shed them for me. There was no funeral, her ashes are with my sister. There is no sense of urgency to fulfil her wishes.
I rememeber reading a email from a Dr. Martinez,( another therapist that specialises in adult children of Narcs) she had told me that it was perfectly normal for me NOT to feel a sense of loss. If a child had grown up not having reciprocal love with one’s parent, then, when that parent passes, it’s not uncommon for that same grown child to not have feelings that one would normally have with the passing of a loved parent. And in forcing one’s feelings is just unnatural.
I really wonder what I will do in the passing of my step excuse father. I really want to go and spray paint his headstone, “Molester, alcoholic, wife and child beater”. I’m still working on these issues.


Hi Raven, I really relate to this:”I had decided and came to fully understand that she was incapable and would not ever be the mother I had so wanted and deserved my whole life.” Your words could be my words because I’ve had the same experience. I think what keeps me from hating my parents is the understanding that they aren’t capable of the kind of giving that being a parent requires. What has changed is that I don’t beat myself up trying to be a daughter to them. Doing that only, hurt me and did nothing to improve their condition. It isn’t possible to ever give enough to fill the black hole inside of them. If it were to ever change, they would have to do the work to change it. I can’t and I no longer try. Most of the people I know who’ve lost their parents tell me that we are never too old to feel like an orphan when our parents pass but in many ways, I’ve been an orphan most of my life. I don’t think their physical death will change anything for me. I have no real hope of their being any true reconciliation and I have peace because I know I tried everything to make that happen but I failed because I couldn’t do their part. Healing for me, has included a lot of letting go of things that aren’t mine to control and my parent’s emotional health is one of those things. I’ve also, let go of the desire to have real parents in my life. It hurts less to acknowledge the truth about my relationship with my parents than to continually, be reaching for something that isn’t there.



Eloquently said Pam. Healing and reparenting is one of the toughest things to do. Especially since, having to come to terms with realising a loss, and then trying to figure out how to actually start to change for the better. I too agree with what Darlene said and so many here have said, it seems a lot easier to blame the victim than the perpetrator. I sit and wonder why do so many people resort to doing this instead of helping the one that’s been hurt move onward and upward. I often think about the walking wounded, all these people who have grown up with parent’s who had no business being parent’s. Anyone can father or give birth to a child, but it’s the actions and the time put in after the birth that counts. And, this doesn’t have to be the actual biological parent. And, actions always speak louder than words. I really think that this is the true root of evil, money isn’t it, it’s just another symptom…. Can you imagine what a totally different world this would be if there were more kindness and understanding. I sometimes think about a sea of children, and no one really knows what so many of them are going through… imagine that some of them have the answer to cure cancer, fix hunger, etc., But, we will never know because some of them are so lost. I guess, it’s part of human frailty and inadequancy. Just hurts and sucks that it’s so prevalent. Thanks for replying and filling in while Darlene is away, your comments are spot on!!


You’re welcome, Raven. When I read your comments, I feel we have a lot of common experience. I think people side with the abuser because they are afraid. It’s easier to kick the person who is down. It’s woven all through our culture. I think the Bible reads that ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’ and loving money equates to loving power. People are fearful and want power for protection but the things people do to get money and power, causes them to lose their humanity. The more a person abuses others, the less human they become. As long as people live in fear and pursuit of power, there will be abuse. If people would turn to loving other people instead of money and the power it brings, the world would be a paradise. Such a simple answer but so hard to implement.




Yesterday I became aware of a book about trauma and its effects.

I was reading the book review, and something the author said made a huge impact on my understanding of why people choose to side with perpetrators and not with abuse victims.

All of my life, I’d have to say that I’ve struggled, trying desperately to understand why most people refuse to speak up and say something whenever they witness a child being abused in public. I also could never make sense of why my mother and siblings called my story of sexual abuse a lie. I wasn’t protected…..I wasn’t believed……in fact, just the opposite. I’ve been mocked, belittled, scorned, ridiculed, criticized, and bullied…..all by my own mother and family members! And why? BECAUSE I TOLD THE TRUTH, that’s why.

Well, to get back to the author’s quote. What she said has completely taken away my confusion. She said that people choose to side with the perpetrator because…..(and I think this is pretty profound)……..THE PERPETRATOR REQUIRES NOTHING EXCEPT SILENCE AND INACTION.

And that simple statement was my big “AHA!!” moment. Finally, after all of these years of my trying to figure out and make sense of the cowardice of the human race, why people choose not to get involved, to “make waves,” to “rock the boat”……..I now understand.

Because choosing the side of the perpetrator requires nothing from them. Absolutely nothing.

Whereas choosing the side of the victim requires something. It may require speaking up, looking “foolish,” risking wrath of others, filing a complaint, calling CPS, going to court, invoking the wrath and ridicule of other people. It might mean that you have to be involved in conflict, that you may have to take a stand, stand alone, be courageous.

And that explains it all to me.

The majority of people choose not to take up for us victims because, for whatever reason, they do not wish to take action.

Well, I’m not one of those people. I never have been.

Guess I need to be prepared to be laughed at, ridiculed, mocked, criticized, and belittled the rest of my life, then. Because I will always, always, always take a stand for victims.

Now, having said that, I’m finally reaching a place in my life in which I am going to take a stand for me, for myself…..

Choosing to agree with and to side with perpetrators requires nothing and no action. Choosing to side with and to stand up for victims requires something from us.

I have a newfound respect for myself and for all people who choose to speak up and to do everything they can in order to rally for victims.



Hi, Pam….

I grew up in an alcoholic home, too.

When my abusive stepfather got older, and after divorcing my mother and marrying his third wife, he finally got sober. I think he did so by attending a 12-step group.

But, strangely, his personality didn’t change. He still was basically a jerk.



Hello, all……

Wow. I have reading about Complex PTSD and trauma bonding. It’s as though the authors are writing about me personally and that they have some type of hidden access to my thoughts and to my heart.

I took a “Trauma Bond” test, and scored a 25. It was suggested that if you score above an 11, then you need some therapeutic help in order to wade through the morass of it all. I agree that I could really use a therapist at the moment, but I’ve had both good and bad experiences. (As some of us here may have had, as well.)

If I do go back into therapy, this time I’ll interview them before I make a decision. I definitely would like a therapist trained in dealing with child abuse and trauma.

Anyway, I am getting a sense of what trauma bonding is all about. What I consider “normal,” I’m discovering really isn’t healthy. That’s because of the way I grew up in chaos, discord, cruelty, and betrayal. All of those were chronic conditions in my household. Sad, but true……

I have to say that for me personally, I’ve never struggled with a bigger battle than that of dealing with with my background of abuse. It’s a daily battle and struggle. Some days I feel victorious, and on others I feel pretty tired and defeated.

But I won’t give up. I will always keep fighting. Until my dying breath, I will fight for my own life and for the lives of abused children and adults everywhere.

Thank you, all of you, for sharing so openly and freely. I gain strength and insight, and I learn, from each of you. We are in this battle together. Thank you, Darlene, and thank you, Pam, for your willingness to be real and authentic, for sharing with us, for caring, for moving forward. We are all warriors. Each and every one…..



Phoenix and Marore: I enjoyed both your posts (and everybody else,too!) I know we all share the same themes sadly over and over again. I think what hurt the most in my life is dealing with others’ judgements and saying like “I should be over this by now” and “Your mom was doing the best that she could,etc….)These mothers always have a choice–(namely birth control,adoption..) and no one is really forcing them to get pregnant,raise a child,etc. It seems like the poor and dysfunctional women are always the ones who have kids and why I don’t know? I know that abused kids get NOTHING and their abuser always get all the sympathy and attention. Society does tend to identify with abusers, playground bullies, and ones with “power”.

It’s also sad but I have lost a few “friends” too. If I tried to talk about my FOO privately then they would side with guess who? Somehow it was my fault as child for my abuse issues and these people are “old”! I don’t get what being “old” has to do with getting off as an abuser.

There was a time back in junior high when I was going through both sides of abuse–home and school. I thought of running away or worse. I remember actually going to a school counseling session with the school bully,with our respective parents,and again being ridiculed. This “counselor” made a remark saying that I was like the “odd chicken in the yard who deserved to get picked on!” It finally ended through a series of events–(long story)–but there are people who admire rude,angry people with “power”. Many times these Narcs enjoy tormenting innocent people just because they can. I can remember as a child going out to public places and ‘The Woman’ liked to embarrass others and always had to make a scene in restaurants, and grocery stores….I believe she felt like others ‘admired’ her?

Then there was nothing worse than having my reputation slanderered by both ‘the man’ and ‘the woman’. Once I went on a trip with ‘the man’ to visit his mid-west relatives out of state for a week. I overheard part of the conversation by ‘the man’ where he was basically saying that “my daughter just can’t get along with her mother at all–implying that I was an evil brat!) Mind you I was a very clean-cut teen with no major issues with drug,alcohol,teen pregnancy, etc and an honors student as well! This went on for a long time–(slandering my reputation)—but oddly there was no real substance behind it! I guess what I’m trying to say is although my FOO tried to destroy me in many ways over and over again, I’m still here! I’m a survivor and so much happier in my present adult life than as a child and teen!

I wish everyone lots of love and light on this site! Blessed Be!


Hi Marore,
Yes, I believe it is as simple as that book says. It takes risk and courage to do what’s right and nothing to do nothing. Much easier to convince the victim that they are wrong—we are all set up to believe it is our fault anyway because of the natural authority of parents. Some people have thought that my dad is a saint to put up with my mom’s meanness toward him but I see it differently, as cowardice and dependency. If he were to stand up for me, he’d risk my mom’s wrath and the loss of her so-called love; the same if he were to stand up for himself. It is also to do with brainwashing. My dad is the son of a preacher and I believe that he learned that if he didn’t obey his father, then God wouldn’t love him. He could never win his father’s approval and believed that his true self was itself a sin. At one point in the past (a few years ago) my dad recognized that he had married a woman stand-in for his father and in fact in one of the letters I wrote my mom, my dad took the names out, swapped them with the names of his dad and brother, and showed how my letter to my mom was the unwritten letter to his own father. (To be honest, it ticked me off. I felt like he was usurping my letter and thought that he should write his own darn letter to his dad, who cares if the man is dead.) The crazy thing of it, though, is that despite this awareness, he still remained the same, still turned around and stabbed me in the back when I took real action to stand up for myself (it was apparently okay for me to write a letter but not to implement it—I was allowed to momentarily stand up for myself, but then I was to go back to accepting things as they were). And his latest communication with me was basically about what a bad daughter I am, so I’ve thrown my hands up to any hope that he’d actually change. He has a serious dependency on my mom and I’m sure that until he deals with his unfinished business with his father, he will remain this way. Just because there is a reason why he is the way he is, however, does not mean that I have to put up with the cruel messages that he sends me by his incapacity to stand up against abuse. He is a grown man capable of making choices. He could write that unwritten letter if he really wanted to. He could do the work. I will not shield him, nor anyone else, from the truth and the consequences of the truth.


There was a time I actually stood up against my mom’s behaviour toward my dad. I defended him! But then he’d get angry at me like I was the abusive one—for defending him!!! I love him deep down but he is really messed up and I can’t fix him. He has to do that himself. It’s the same with my mom, essentially. She is the victim of her mom. But again, I can’t enlighten these people. I can’t do their work for them. I’ve written them my truth and that is all I can do. I’m sure they are angered by my words but in fact standing up for myself is a gift. To myself most of all but also to them. Maybe one day they will see that.


Marore, What you quoted makes so much sense and fits with what I’ve observed, people who are afraid can react by being cowards and refrain from making any choice that requires action. I’m afraid every time I open my mouth about child abuse, I think we all are, but we aren’t cowards.

I think that substance abusers who never get help for the underlying issues that cause their addiction, they really don’t change other than stopping drinking. There’s a lot more to self-abuse through substances than just stopping drinking or drugging.



All, From my experience with my FOO, I believe they are comfortable within their coping mechanisms and have no desire to change. My confronting problems in my childhood and in our relationships, puts them in the position of having to deal with issues they would rather ignore. I was always told that I was too sensitive but the truth is that they don’t feel very much at all. They really don’t care about each other or me. It’s easier for them to carry the pretense of family rather than putting in the work it takes to really be a family.



I totally concur, Pam. It is the same for my family and I believe for all dysfunctional families. In addition to not caring about each other or me, they also don’t care about themselves, their true selves, only feeding on whatever gratifies their needs/image, etc. I do not envy them. Each day they are drinking poison. I’m happy because I’m spitting it out, every last drop. I don’t need their ways. I really wish you could just shake some sense into them—because it really isn’t that terrible, the pain they avoid at all cost. I mean sometimes it’s really, really tough, but there’s hope in this route, where there is none in the other. Also the pain created by avoiding the pain seems like it might be worse in the long run. At least I think it was for me, though it takes a long time, a lot of dedication and drive before the truth really starts cracking through and before you even understand that there is a truth that will crack through. It is certainly worth it, however. The view on the other side, that I’m slowly seeing emerge, I know is beyond anything else in the world. Just got to keep putting one foot in front of the other and we’ll manage it, no matter the costs, because, as Darlene told me, freedom is priceless and I know that is true, so I will pay whatever the cost to get there. xox, A


Hi Everyone
I am back from my vacation! Wow, this post has a great discussion going on!

Welcome to all the first time commenters on this post! It is great to have you here and thank you for sharing!

Thanks to Pam for “hosting” this discussion for me while I was gone. One of the first things that made a difference for me was when I finally felt heard by someone else; I try hard to re-create that on this blog but it is very hard to keep up. I appreciate you for doing that for me this past week Pam!

I will post a new article as soon as I have one ready! Love to all!
Hugs, Darlene


I have to post to Marore, this quote: “Well, to get back to the author’s quote. What she said has completely taken away my confusion. She said that people choose to side with the perpetrator because…..(and I think this is pretty profound)……..THE PERPETRATOR REQUIRES NOTHING EXCEPT SILENCE AND INACTION.” is huge. I went online and looked up what had been stated. My goodness, this statement is huge. Thanks so much for posting this. It makes so much sense.

Welcome back Darlene. Pam did an awesome job!!


Hi Darlene, Glad your back and I hope you had a great time! I’m glad to help out in return for what you and your work have done for me.:0)



I love that quote from the book. It’s so true. It’s becoming more apparent to me that many people choose the easier route. The route that feeds the monster. Inaction, and silence. I too, am neither of those things. I’ve sort of always rooted for the underdog. Thanks for sharing that bit of wisdom from the book.

My Foo seems to be the same. Ignorance is bliss. Except for me…. it’s not for me. It’s painful and I have never really been able to operate in a pretentious way ~ tension everywhere, but, let’s not talk about it because then it would have to be addressed on some level. It just doesn’t work for me. I’m not completely over the bridge, but, each new occurance brings reality and light to the process. I have to be thankful for that.

Welcome back, and I hope your trip has left you restored and rested.



March 16, not even 3 wks ago, I found EFB and made my committment to go “almost” NC with mom. And I don’t know if she has even noticed. I was never an addict, but this must be like the “one day at a time” process. Mom had a medical emergency this week (she lives in another state) which prompted family phone calls and emails. I was as cautious and non-emotional as possible, but somehow I still got put in my place again when mom and stepdad withheld important info from me, and my gut reaction is “devastated” – why didn’t they tell me, blah blah. I feel like I have to go back to square one. My brother’s wife suggested I call mom just to let her know I’m thinking about her. My brother went “almost” NC w/mom years ago, but I kept up the efforts to “make things better.” And his wife, who knows everything I go thru w/mom, has worked overtime for decades to keep a fake relationship going on. She does all the talking for my brother, and she takes all the s*** from mom. Even tho she understands why my brother went almost NC, she doesn’t want me to do the same thing. I think it’s because she will be the only one left in the Bubble, and she is one who will not deal with “issues.” EFB assures me I am not alone, sigh.


Hey Guys:

FIrst of all, I want to apologize for how long this is. It’s a complicated situation to write about, and I felt that by editing it, it would be much harder to understand the situation. I also felt that coming here was the right thing to do. I didn’t want to write it- but I am really feeling pretty desperate for answers, and I have looked to so many people including professionals, family, friends, I am still plagued by this problem.
A lot of this is embarrassing and painful to say- but I want to get better, I want to be better.
Thank you to anyone listening and/or reading!

I am wondering if I can get some advice on something.
I’ve gotten such clarity from so many people on this post about the situation (and, as usual, with more clarity, also comes more confusion and questions!).

A lot of what is being said about putting an end to things, getting closure, etc makes so much sense.

Getting out anger at the abusers and not others, sending angry letters with no return address, not letting abusers contact, and then

Pam’s comment to Caden (#133) below was also helpful to read:
“Caden, Confronting my family was an important part of my healing too. I needed to see how they responded to what I said to them because it showed me exactly, how deep their disregard for me is. It also, helped me with my anger because it was aimed at the true target and cause of my anger, instead of building up and causing me to blow up at an inappropriate time, because something or someone triggered me. I used my anger to give me the courage to confront them and leave the guilt and shame they piled on me, on their door-step. In that way, my anger helped me to heal.”

I feel like this was precisely what helped me to let go of the extreme fear, and anger of my father. It seems to be falling away. I think it goes 1-FEAR—-2-ANGER/HATE—-3-INDIFFERENCE/SAFETY. And with my father the more clear I get the closer I get to the last category! But during the times of confrotation, it was mostly a mix of fear and anger.

However, as I am remaking my life, and my ecosystem, it is not my present that haunts me, frightens me or makes me feel unsafe. It is my past- the people in it, the events, the places. It all feels like it’s happening right now. Everything should be ok, but I constantly feel terrified.

I talked on this website awhile back about a therapist who was extremely abusive. Upon reflection, the only thing I can surmise is that she genuinely enjoyed screwing with me since I was not a job or romantic rival, and did and said nothing that would offend or hurt someone when she decided to bully me.
After trying to ‘work things out’ with her, and realizing she had no intention of reconciling, I got some good advice from a friend to leave an angry v-mail once and for all.

The power games are haunting me- and still being played. I have nightmares about her. Panic attacks whenever I am reminded of a blonde lady, mean therapist, etc. I think about this person contantly and feel like I’m being mentally stalked and violated. I was stalked by the man who molested me, and though no one I talk to takes it seriously, this feels the exact same, and I do have good intuition.

I am very very scared. I am actually afraid I am going to act out because I am so tired of being afraid and I need to get this anger/need to legitimately protect myself out of my system. I cannot live in fear of this abusive person and will not and I am scared I will have to do something drastic.

The problem is she will not leave me alone. Though she was in the wrong and all she has to do is listen, she will not. The games continue and if this goes to court, or things get violent, it will never end. I don’t feel safe, ever. I literally said on the message “Do not contact me. I am blocking you from my email, I am changing my phone number, and my aunt will intercept any mail sent to her address.” I was very clear about boundaries. But she sent a letter (my aunt said it was possibly with a check?- she was incredibly creepy and gamey regarding money on a number of occassions too so I can only take this as her continuing to play and needing to ‘win’ and be ‘right’). Aside from my father, I have not recalled anyone so willfully abusive, someone who will take so much energy to prove they are entitled to abuse and that others like me have no rights and deserve it (how that is justified I don’t even want to know).

My aunt did not recognize her name, and forwarded it to me, I didn’t open it, but knowing it was sent, with some weird money that she did not owe me (what she would do is say I didn’t have to pay, then bill me, then when I sent a check, she didn’t cash it, now she’s sending me a check?- but to me money is not peace of mind when it is tied to making abuse ok). I know some people will see this money thing as her being nice and making a peace offering, but the truth is, if she really was sorry she would apologize and if she did offer, she would let it be when I decided I did or did not want to pay (instead of punishing me for not paying even when offered, and then punishing me for paying, but not cashing it to show what a ‘good’ person she is, while still not offering to let me talk).

I am so scared and I don’t know what to do. I am thinking about getting a restraining order, but truthfully I don’t know if that would make me feel better.

How am I suppossed to express myself? I called her at first (before the angry message) and was overly nice (like when she was abusive- so it was reabuse in a way) then the second time I contacted her I just said a simple, “I am not interested in figuiring you out, I just want to express myself” after that she called, but didn’t leave a message. She made me wait. Then I called back- nothing. That was after she’d agreed to meet with me. I think it really offended her that I wasn’t willing to cowtow. But I’m not who I was before so my relationship to abusive people is different now. I don’t lap up abuse and apologize to OTHERS for abusing ME. Like Darlene says, I am interested in where the responsiblity lies. And in this situation, seeing this lady outside of the office, in town lead me to a drinking, drug, shopping, binge, eventually I was recommended to go to PHP (partial hospitalization program). One of the people in my PHP said, “You almost died from this woman”. And that is the truth. But I am still dying. It keeps me in a state of terror.

So I called her, left the angry message, at the advice of my friend, and that was when I received the mail.

What can I do, aside from going to court, or doing something angry, reckless, and stupid?
I feel like the fact that she is driving me crazy, and knows she is, she will keep pushing me until I act out and I look crazy.

This happened with my parents when I was 20. I had had only nonfat milk and brown rice in my apartment for a week. I was picking blackberries on the side of the freeway. I wanted to stop shoplifting food and I wasn’t able to find work and my foodstamps hadn’t gone through. I went to my mother and asked if I could have some food and told her I wanted to stop shoplifting. She said no. She looked at me like I was a violent criminal, and evil person. I was hungry, and crying, and desperate and scared and alone, but somehow she was the victim, in her big house. I never understood when she said she was afraid of me, always so afraid. No wonder I thought I was bad and evil! She reacted like she’d seen the devil whenever she saw me. Now I know it was herself she was afraid of. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s still so hard to see that, even now. Anyways, I ended up keying their car, and throwing a dish through the garage window. I did feel better afterwards, and I am glad I didn’t take out anything on an innocent victim, but now I’m scared of damaging property or something because I have been so disregarded.
This woman seems more interested in abusing me than my father. He has largely given up, because of my aunt. I have this awful feeling this will go to court.

How on earth do I reconcile such feelings and fear?

I told her I wasn’t going to come in, and could I just have a glass of orange juice? I was crying. She said, no, you are manipulating.

So I am not interested in giving this woman the satisfaction of being out of control in that way, of pushing me to the edge.

In response to Caden’s post #32- wow, I tend to think of myself as a somewhat complex thinker, but that is such powerful prose and it obviously comes from a lot of life experience. I think what you (and I) have been able to do with out families is what I want to do with this woman.

“I’m not currently in contact with any of these people that I hate–I’m sure if I was they would continue their malicious games.” Yes! But what about when they are still haunting you in your head because they continue to harass you after you’ve asked not to be harassed, and after you try to stand up for yourself they block you out/laugh at you/insult your character/dismiss you?

“When I initially cut off my family, I sent my mother and sister letters and then blocked their email addresses so that I wouldn’t receive any response, since this was the end of the line after many efforts on my part.” Yes I cut her off. I was EXTREMELY surprised that she would go through the sheer effort to continue to willfully seek me out and do what I’d specifically asked her not to do. Unfortunately, the address I had on my checks is my aunt’s- she is not changing it. She must have looked at my checks. The mail go to me- I feel hunted. And it brings me back to a time I was so powerless that I didn’t even have the self confidence to use my actual address, as I was always moving, and doing what others said (now I use my own address more and more).

“Likewise when I recently confronted all of my relatives about incest, I sent the messages with no return address. That gave me closure and protection from re traumatization.” Yes! This is what I’m looking for. Every move I make feels like one towards retraumatization, not empowerment. Yet I know that the only way for me to heal is not to ‘let it go’ it is to confront, which validates my self esteem, inner strength and ultimately, my value.

“These people were extremely verbally abusive to me all my life and didn’t allow me to respond to them, so it , so felt good to me to really have my say once and for all, and then leave it.” Makes total sense. You deserve that. I think all victims of abuse deserve that. I just don’t know how to get there now. If I avoid her, I’m haunted, if I confront, I’m retraumatized.

“On a day to day basis, I usually express my anger through some form of writing therapy that allows me to work through what is making me angry, or in discussing it with people who will understand and validate me in the same way that I validate myself. It is very important for me to avoid people that automatically defend all parents without question and imply that it is wrong for me say how disgusting they were. But at the same time, I know I need to keep talking about it, somewhere.”
I do want to try this.

“We do have a right to stand up for ourselves. Some people advocate writing angry letters to our abusers without mailing them, but in my case I felt the need to actually send some of them in order to conquer my fears and move forward.” I agree with this. I do feel that I need to take (constructive) action in order to move forward. I am stuck. I cannot be a victim, and I cannot act recklessly, as I would likely become abusive and at the same time revictimize myself if I did that.



Sadly, my mother’s death was the resolution for me. After moving 3000 miles away, I thought she’d finally “get it” and start valuing me. It didn’t change a thing.. She kept trying to run my life from long distance. I had finally “got it” myself and realized that I needed to cut her out of my life, but I was still struggling with that internally. Her death, three months after my move, ended that struggle and set me free. A year and a half later, I don’t miss her and can openly state that she was not a good person without fear of reprisal.


Kathy A (#201)

A lot of what you said sounds so much like what I struggle with … as much as I feel it’s important that I’ve gone ‘almost’ NC with the abusive ones in my FOO, its still hard when I find out from other people big news about relatives that I would have otherwise been privy to. (I just found out that my grandpa needs heart surgery, but the doctors won’t be able to operate on him, due to his other health problems, he can’t have surgery. So, things aren’t looking good.) I guess its just part of me wishing they cared enough about me to tell me when something big like that comes up. Instead, its like they use this information as a way of punishing. (i.e. “if you were nicer to us again {compliant} then you wouldn’t have this important information withheld from you.”) Its like, even when they aren’t physically present, they still find a way to be abusive and unloving. It feels like, by their keeping these things from me, they are just telling me I’m worthless. I’ve had to just accept that this is how things have to be, if I’m going be able to do what I need to do to get better – and then protect myself and my children. They will continue to guilt and manipulate – and all that will do is prove even further why it is healthier for me to stay away.

When you said that your brother’s wife suggested you call your mom “just to let her know you’re thinking about her” … that sounds SO much like the way my FOO talks! (“you should do ___ to show this person that you feel ___” – but I DON’T feel ___ they just want me to feel that way. I’m not going to lie to make them feel better about themselves.) Also, my mom used to send out ‘test’ text messages … saying “I love you” to all her kids. Not because she wanted us all to know that she loved us … but (as she later said) “I wanted to see which of my kids loved me enough to text me back … and only two of my kids responded! HMPH! Imagine how BAD that made me feel!” Yup, I didn’t respond … That’s because, if I actually AM thinking of an individual and want to tell them, or if I want to write to express my genuine love – it will not be something I say only because I was made to feel like I “HAD” to. That’s not genuine. That’s messed up. (Its like they can’t even hear themselves speaking. I wanted to say “what about how your kids feel when they realize that, once again, the ONLY reason you said ‘i love you’ was because you wanted THEM to validate YOUR worth? … SO messed up.”) Like you said, it’s just a “Fake relationship”. Were it not filled with so much pain, it’d just be emptiness …

You truly are not alone … this is a great community to help you find constructive ways out of abusive relationships.

Wishing you the best!



GDW, are you seeing a therapist now? If not, please try again. I have known other people go through a few before they find the right one, me included. I understand the anger you have. One thing I have learned, is you cannot ‘get them to see.’ They do not want to see. They do not see things on our level. They think they are ‘normal’. Heaping the blame for everything on to you, is their agenda. Learning how to stand strong for you is imperative. You know your truth, whether anyone else wants to know your truth or not is not what is important. It’s validating if and when they do believe you, and lift a huge emotional burden. The important thing is trusting yourself, your feelings, your power. Irregardless of what others think of you. I know the last year my mother was alive, people kept calling me, because they thought I could do something about it. They thought I could tell her to take her meds and she would. I told them that they would have a better chance of convincing her, that she would listen to them before she would listen to me. So when your family calls you, politely listen, and let it go in one ear and out the other. Or, even better, if you have caller i.d., don’t answer. If you do not want messages, leave the answering machine off. A therapist will help you learn your triggers and how not to be triggered. A mother who won’t give her child food, is horrible. I am so sorry she did that to you. You didn’t deserve that. Take Care.


Kera #204, I agree, my family did that too. Wanted me to call and show concern. The broader picture is, they want the victim to eat poop to ‘keep the family together.’ They do not understand how damaging a concept to our personal psyche that is…


Some of your previous posts have been ones I have re-read; we must have a lot in common. Thank you for #204. Even when you “know” you are on the right track, it helps to hear it from someone else who goes through the same things. I accept that my brother and wife are in LaLa Land, and that’s where they want to be. As others have said too, when you pull back and no one notices or when info is withheld from you, it just reinforces your decision to stay out of it. But it still hurts, and I guess it takes a loooooong time to reach a state of indifference.
Thanks friend.


I read your post and I feel for you. I’ve been caught up in situations not like this exactly but where my mind is being haunted by someone in this fashion. What I’m reading is that you need and want to take your power back.

In circumstances like these, for me, though I was caught up in the present, and yes, there was a present issue, what it was really about was the past and that I simply went in circles trying to solve the present when it was the past I needed to address. Nothing I did to try to make things better with the present person did anything to help my obsession/rumination/anxiety because it wasn’t about the present person. It was me trying to solve the past in the present with another person who became a stand-in for my parent. It was through continuing to work my process that the present person also started to lose their power over me and I got a handle on how to deal with things in the present (sometimes the present issue just slipped away).

I know that in my experience when I kept going back to assert myself, or get my power back, I ended up in a spiral and re-traumatising myself. I look back now and know that it was by addressing and really working my process re:my past that I was able to get my power back in the present and move forward in my life, so that the present person became smaller and smaller in my mind.

I hope this helps. (I might be misreading what’s going on, though, so if I am, I apologize.)
hugs, Alaina


Your request for help is going to be met with empathy, as most of us here have expressed being overwhelmed by “people” issues. You want answers, and you want them now. You have several things going on that are “haunting” you, but you can only deal with one at a time. BREATHE. Be calm, try to let your mind rest on the most basic thing that is bothering you now. I’m not a therapist, but I know one thing, and that is that you cannot effectively deal with a problem when your mind is going in all directions. Good advice for myself, too. Keep talking and/or writing because it does help sort things out.
take care.


GDW, My mother once sent me a check, during the period when I wasn’t talking to her but had not officially cut off contact yet. It was part of her manipulative games (though I cashed it anyway, because I could use the money and didn’t care what she thought she was doing.) So I don’t think your psycho ex-therapist was being nice. She needs to respect your boundaries and back off, not escalate this further by contacting you against your wishes. I hope that’s her last interaction with you, I know that my abusers were never going to change.

But our emotions do belong to us, and I don’t repress myself based on an expectation of someone else being ‘satisfied’ or not. That’s irrelevant when it comes to me having a genuine relationship with myself and validating myself. It’s natural to get angry if someone hurts us.

It’s terrible that no one in your life is validating you about how abusive this person is. I also had some bad experiences with therapists, and that’s why today I’m healing without one; which is not a bad thing. Being stalked by the person who molested you as a child must have been horrifying. Was that ever resolved, if you don’t mind my asking? It’s completely understandable that this situation would bring up many of those same feelings. Usually when I get really worked up about something that happens presently, I can do a writing exercise where I go back to the corresponding events in my childhood and find the links and messages, and eventually in that process I calm down.

take care,


Therapists must abide by laws that are set in place by the “board” they are under. You can report her to her governing board. She must be registered as a therapist in your state, and that will tell you what her governing board is. (and I am guessing that is what she is worried about; ~ I would not put anything in writing to her, but document everything that has happened in your report if you choose to proceed with a report. And do not engage with her at all. You don’t have to. She is a professional who appears not to be behaving in a professional fassion. This is not like a parent, this is someone whom you hired to help you who was abusive. big difference.
Hope this helps. As far as how you get through it emotionally, for me, validating myself in truth, knowing that I was harmed and not that I was doing harm, all of that went a long ways towards getting some of these people out of my head.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene you are so right again in this article! People, family and church members would question me about why I don’t know what is going on with my parents. I am on very low contact with them (mother is narcissist and father the enabler) . This low contact has really saved my sanity. I haven’t had no contact with them, but my mother called me today on the phone to complain about a relative and how she found out she is in the hospital. They live in the same city together. She then openly admitted, this family doesn’t communicate. In that one sentence, I saw how she meant the family doesn’t communicate to her. She wasn’t concerned for the family member, she was concerned that she looked bad in front of certain people for not knowing what is going on in her family. Yet, she would not admit, that she herself is part of the failed communication.

The parentification of a child, which I experienced growing up still plays on today. Even surrounding adults will jump on that band wagon. What you don’t talk to your mother? What she doesn’t visit? What? Never is the why asked? You just want to shake these people and say, hey, if it were semi normal and not abusive don’t you think the family would behave normally? Don’t you think if the family had a normal communication system, the norm for the white picket fence happiness would be in place in that family?

People think, things are dysfunctional for no reason. We are brought up in society to respect our elders, take care of them. People are still people regardless of age and regardless of disability. Unless they are senile, there is no excuse for bad behavior.


Narcissistic society IS popular thought, which are the offensive things people say and do that we describe on EFB.


Hi Jenelle
Yes, and the longer that I do this work, the more clearly that I see that this expectation that “children are responsible” for the communication and success of the relationship with paretns is about the people who have that expectation. When people react to the fact that some people have drawn boundaries with parents, it is about thier own fears and the judgement about it is really about themselves. (ie: what if my kids do that to me?? what if I should have stood up to my parents and what would happen if I do!!) It is really all about staying in that sick system of power under someone else (vs. having equal value with all others) and the belief that it is the safest way, when it truth it is the most exhausting way to live.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


I’ve wondered (feared) on and off for most of my life how I would react if one or both of my parents died. Like how would I manage to fake expressing an appropriate amount of grief so that other people wouldn’t notice I was secretly relieved and judge me as some kind of horrible monster. How would I live with the guilt I knew I would feel for the rest of my life because I didn’t do enough to make things better. Because even though I “know” in my head their abuse was never my fault, I can’t help but “feel” in my heart that I was to blame for how bad things got. How could I manage getting out of going to the funeral, because why should I pay a bunch of money on travel expenses and lost income to fly out and deal with the rest of my shitty dysfunctional family (who either have no idea or are in denial of the abuse) telling me how sorry they are for my loss and how bad I must be feeling about losing my parent(s).

On the night of September 19, 2004, I came home late from a concert and there were a ton of anxious messages on the answering machine. (Yeah, answering machine. I was a cell phone holdout for a long time). They didn’t leave details but told me I must call home right away, and I just knew something really bad happened to someone in my immediate family. I hoped it was my mom (couldn’t be my dad, he had left some of the messages). I never imagined it would be my 26 year old younger brother. Killed in a freak car accident.

I wish it had been my mom. Or my dad. Or anyone else. My brother was the only one in my life I could talk to, who believed me, who understood the emotional mindfuck we went through from our parents and how much it dehumanized and damaged us. He was my witness. I was his witness. After college I moved 1500 miles away and after years of distance from my parents (very low contact) I started to heal, little by little. My brother was still at living home, struggling to finish college, not yet ready to live on his own because the abuse they dished out didn’t allow him to function that way. I hoped once he broke free we would grow closer and help each other heal. I dreamed of us living in the same city, being roommates to save on rent, getting jobs, finding friends and going out, maybe getting in relationships and going on double dates, helping each other grow stronger day by day until we could finally learn how to be happy. No matter how much I can’t stand my parents, it’s an awful, evil feeling to truly wish someone were dead to take another’s place.

My brother’s death was shocking and tragic, and a total wake up call. For a couple of years my parents were actually getting better because I think they were starting to “wake up” a little. But then they slipped right back to their familiar patterns of alcoholism and codependency. My dad got caught drunk on the job (at a factory!) and was escorted from the building. He failed to complete rehab (didn’t even try from what I hear), and a year later he almost died because a steady diet of gin and little else worsened his diverticulitis and he ended up getting rushed to the hospital with a perforated colon and septic blood. I can’t believe the bastard didn’t die. Even the doctors were amazed he survived. I wouldn’t be surprised if his will to live came from a spiteful wish to keep making my mother’s life miserable, because now she has to take care of a nasty, mean invalid drunk with early onset dementia from his alcohol-pickled brain.

My dad’s near death was extremely triggering for me. I expected to feel relief. Instead, I experienced an intense feeling of grief and vivid flashbacks of painful memories and feelings from my broken childhood. I didn’t grieve for his death, but for the good relationship I never had with my dad (and mom), and for the loss of my potential because I’ve spent so much energy struggling against the consequences of my destroyed self-esteem and unhealthy coping mechanisms, instead of becoming who I was supposed to be.

I wonder what it will be like when one of my parents dies for real.

If anything good came from that grief, it’s that I’m now in the stage of full blown anger over my destroyed childhood. I’m getting it out. And I love EFB for empowering me to do that! The grief and anger led me to do a lot of searching and I found some great resources including EFB, and also a brilliant therapist to work with. Even my therapist remarked at our last meeting that a little anger could be good for me. Way ahead of you, doc!


I wonder, is it necessary to find a therapist to help me remember hidden trauma, and also, to feel the anger and rage of being in such a traumatic and abusive home? How does one really get it out?
I remember we had moved from one duty station (we’re military) to another. I went in search of a therapist, (Previously, I had seen a therapist and psychiatrist for 5 years continually, after having a break down and wanting to die.)
This new therapist, in our new state wanted to diagnose me as bipolar, because, apparently my answer to, “have you ever felt as if you had so much energy you became exhausted?” I answered yes, because with my old therapist and psychiatrist, I was put on prozac and thyroid medicine. For the first time in my life, and the fact that we actually were stationed somewhere (After 4 years) that there were places to go, and things to do. I accomplished so much.
My gut reaction to this new therapist was, that she was so wrong and crazy to diagnose me in 30 minutes. I called my old therapist/psychiatrist and they told me to run the hell away from this dingaling!! I have never felt really good, my life has been a series of neutral and lows. Mostly lows. I really don’t know how to get my anger out…. I can get angry when I see someone else being hurt or treated badly, I can stand up for them, I just suck at doing it for myself, or when I try, it backfires. How does one really, truly, and fully identify and release the anger? I am numb, and have been so for so long. Why do I have it for others, but not for myself? Always the care taker, never taken care of? I find it hard to be happy as well. I was taught neutral, no highs or lows, I’m stuck.


Steph, I understand how you feel. My brother died in an accident at the age of 27 and I was 20. It was in 1984 and I got messages that I needed to get to my mothers house. I came up the stairs, and my mother was sitting there flanked by her sisters, she looked right at me and said, “it should have been you or your sister, your brother didn’t deserve to die.” My sister has since passed, so I am technically an adult orphan. When my mother passed, I was left to step in and take care of everything, because I was the only one left. So I had a wake. Which allowed for ‘happy memories’ and therefore, no morose people. Which also allowed me to not have to ‘fake it.’

Raven, get a therapist. It took me a few tries to find the one that really fits. It is difficult to deal with the anger, that is what I have been doing the last several months. Alive or dead, your abuser is not going to give you the repair or resolution we all long for. A good one will teach you how to feel empowered in healing and letting go of the anger.


Hello Raven,
You do not need to look for another therapist,just writing your concerns and problems on this site is all the therapy you need. Raven I have been working for a psychiatrist for the last 12 months(PT)and believe me half of what they say is common sense its just that common sense isnt common! My employer is nothing but a shit who is that far up her own backside she needs a step ladder to get down. She is in business just for the money and doesnt give a dam. They will rope you in for more tablets and visits than is necessary it is a business. Just my opinion.
I can relate to your last few sentences about standing up for others I am the same but useless for myself.Maybe it is because we have been brain washed into believing that everybody including all the shits in the world are more important than us,and when youve been shit on all your life its a known fact that shit sticks!! BUT you have great support from Darlene and co.and it will start to improve.You will get better, remember you will. Hope this is of help.Take care.x


Hi Raven

I hope this link will be helpfull to you to find a good therapist.

All the best.


Hi Steph
I am so sorry for your loss re your brother.
I can really relate to your comments. I just deleted my first comment to you because I got your comment mixed up with Ravens comment ~ sorry about that. I can relate to being triggered by a near death. I of course don’t know how I will feel if one of my parents die, but I have certainly grieved the loss of not having them be who I needed them to be in my life growing up. This process for me has been about filling those voids they didn’t fill and anger was hard for me, but wow, embracing it made a big difference.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Raven
I didn’t have to remember all of it, just enough for me to figure out what my false belief system was. As for the rest, I had to learn to take care of me. To fill in the missing things from childhood. This was such a big part of my recovery; learning the self care and self love that was not taught to me or modeled for me. I embrace all the healing stages today, (anger was the toughest one for me) because they all lead me to greater wholeness and truth. We have a right to feel and to be but I did have to learn how. I did this in many ways, so many of which are written in these pages. I hope you can find the un-stuck point. Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Re your comment to Raven “get a therapist” ~ While a therapist may be the answer for you, it is not the answer for everyone. I ask that the commenters here don’t give that kind of advice as we do not know what is best for everyone. Many people recover using many different methods and assistance in healing besides therapy. There are many many reasons that some people choose not to have a therapist and it is not for us to say what is best for them.
Hugs, Darlene


sorry, won’t happen again…it really has helped me, I meant no disrespect.


I know your intention was good. 🙂 Therapy helps lots of people, but it harms many too. It works best here when people make their own decisions. I am not advocating one way or the other; I got a lot of help through therapy but I was damaged plenty through therapy too and so I remain neutral. One thing that I know for sure though is that I was never encouraged to think for myself and this process is about learning to do that. That is a huge reason I support NOT advising anyone of what to do. 🙂
If you want to share about how therapy has helped you, that if fine with me! I am not against that at all.
Hugs, Darlene


I understand where you are coming from, Thank you. I would never set out to intentially harm someone. I never had anyone to go to. I found such an awesome one, my enthusiasm is where my comment came from. She is loving and kind, and firm. She has validated my hurt, and is helping me work through the pain, not an easy task. It’s exhausting. She is teaching me how to be strong for me when no one else has. How to develop boundaries where I have never had them, which helps me feel empowered. I am still in process. Coming from immense pain and hurt, I don’t know how I would have done it otherwise.


I wish with all my heart that everyone could have a therapist like that! I am thrilled for you that you have found such a treasure! Thank you for sharing your hope!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene, I think for me my father’s near death brought a lot of grief and anger to the surface that needed to get out. I thought I was doing okay for a while before that happened, but really what I had been doing was pushing things deeper and not dealing. I realize I was not ready before because survival mode can make it unsafe to heal. But I needed to get the rage and grief out before I was ready to deal with the pain of healing..

Re: getting a therapist. I don’t think a therapist is right for everyone because there are plenty out there who quite frankly aren’t prepared to deal with adults who were traumatized by their families in childhood. Society is in denial of abuse, and the education system that trains psychologists can be inadequate or seeks to stuff people in convenient boxes with nice catchy labels. It’s also really expensive! If I had money in my early 20s I would have started long ago. Then again I might have found one that didn’t work for me, which I think could have messed me up worse.

I was ready for a therapist because I was ready to stop ignoring my gut and use it to help find someone I like and trust. I think I was lucky to find her. I’m into yoga and her gravitation toward eastern approaches and the mind/body connection appealed to me. We work together, instead of me showing up at her office to vent and cry every week while she jots down notes and analyzes me like an experiment. She also has 20+ years of experience so she’s learned from her mistakes and successes as a professional.


Hi Sharon,
What your mother said about your brother not deserving to die and it should of ben you or your sister, is so wrong on so many levels. Im so sorry that happened to you. Not only were you grieving your brothers death, but you were then told you did not deserve to be alive.

I think when people expect us, the children of abusers, to make amends, they are basically saying that it is our responsibility to make other people happy at our own expense. But when did my parents ever make me ‘happy’ at their own expense? Successful parenting involves many sacrifices for the well being of the children at the expense of the parents wishes and desires. Our parents did not sacrifice as they should have. They often, if not always, put their own desires ahead of our needs, and our overall need grow into confident and well adjusted adults was not met. Then again, not everyone abuses their children and in fact probably don’t realize what it’s like. I think often times people’s expect children to resolve things because they did do their parenting jobs adequately and don’t think that a parent could have done anything so horrific to their children because they would not themselves. If our parents had met our basic needs, to give them comfort in their old age by at least trying to resolve any past grievances, would probably not be at our expense but rather to our benefit.



Hi Guys-
Thanks for your comments! Fantastic as always! 🙂

Hi Caden!

Would it be ok to respond to your last post via email?
If that works, I can post my email so that you don’t have to put yours up on the site


If I do this, and post my email, would you be able to delete that post so it doesn’t stay on here indefinitely?



GDW, sure you can send me your response. If you click on my name it will lead you to my blog which has a ‘contact me’ link on the sidebar that you can use to email me. There’s no need to post your address here.

take care,


Steph, I was really moved by your post, thanks for sharing. I’m so sorry you lost your brother like that. That dream about being really close to each other and healing together-I had a similar one, but with my older sister. What I found when I had moved out of my parents house and I lived in the same city as her was that she was so invested in empathizing with our parents and taking their side that it was never going to happen. She was abusive and toxic to me, and really didn’t want that ‘family’ I had in mind with the two of us. So I had to leave what bond we once shared behind and just focus on myself. What I had with her was so much stronger then with my parents, since I actually deeply loved her at one point. But today, I see how profoundly she betrayed me, and I’ve grieved as much as I ever will for that relationship between us that she destroyed.


So… What if a parent has acknowledged that they were abusive, has apologized, and has drastically changed their ways… BUT you still feel they are narcissistic, focused primarily on themselves, and you just wish you could be free of having to think about them or interact with them? You feel they are not truly capable of being your friend, or of truly caring about you, more than they care about themselves?

Try to go through the motions? Conjure up emotions that aren’t there? Fake affection and affectation

My mom called, today, to let me know that her condition is terminal. Maybe soon, maybe a few years. And I just don’t have it in me, to care. I am in contact with her, but the relationship is very superficial.


Hello Darlene,
Many apologises to you if my comments to Raven were wrong and inapropriate.(218).The help from this site (just reading)is therapy for me. Since Christmas I have moved on from being the doormat and whipping boy I am so used to being although I do still get very emotional at sometimes the slightest thing.I now get quite a buzz when I say no to people who have always taken me for granted.
I have visited my parents and they both know that I am not being manipulated anymore.I am doing what is best for my husband and me plus our pets.Reading some of Karens replies in the past have also been of great help.What has shocked me the most is how many people are out there in the same situations. I believe from what I have heard that it is one in six who have been abused.Sorry again Darlene if I got carried away with my reply to Raven.xx

Bronwyn - South Africa
April 6th, 2013 at 6:03 am

Thanks for this insight. So many people attempt to inflict guilt on someone who is no longer in contact with their parents. Someone who has suffered enough abuse. However – no-one has seen/witnessed such abuse. And, in fact, can’t understand why you feel the way you do about your parents. As far as many of my family are concerned, my mother is a wonderful Christian lady. They haven’t a clue what goes on! And I no longer have to justify my behaviour. I refuse to have any contact with her. That is it. It is my choice. And it is working for me – a day at a time.

When people say to me: “You will miss your mother when she is gone”. My reply is always: “I hope so.”

Inside I have a feeling I will be somewhat relieved and somewhat sad. I think that is normal.

Today, I am grateful that I have nothing to do with her. She is an evil monster and quite frankly I know this to be the truth.

The program that I belong to teaches me that the truth will set me free.

It has.

I send my love to one and all. Bronwyn in a sunny but cool Scottburgh, South Africa.


Hi Hannah
I decided that I don’t ‘need permission’ to make choices based on what is judged ‘acceptable’ by other people. I am not interested in having coffee with the man who molested me when I was a teenager just because he might be sorry. I would not hang out with him. I have embraced being true to myself. There are days that I wonder if I would want to have a relationship with my mother even if she was seriously remorseful about the things she did to me… I wonder ‘why’ I might want to hang out with her after all those years of being devalued by her and I can’t answer that question yet. Sometimes I conclude that I do not want any relationship with her and sometimes I decide that I don’t know for sure. One thing I am sure of is that I would HAVE to believe that she recognizes how much damage she did. If I suspected that she was being manipulative again it would be game over in ANY case!
Thanks for sharing this very important point.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Wendy am
Don’t worry about it. I am just trying to encourage that each of us be allowed to make our own decisions on this. It is okay to have a personal opinion and just because some people disagree does not always make your opinion wrong ~ but that isn’t what I am talking about here; what I want to communicate is simply that each of us can make our own decisions and we need to learn how to do that.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Bronwyn
Yes, that is YOUR choice and you are entitled to it! I can relate to what you are saying here, thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene! Welcome back! I hope you had a great holiday! I was thinking about your comments to Hannah about why you would want a relationship with your mother if she ever came around. What I think about is that “you’re not worth it” message. I let my mom know that it was impossible for me to have a relationship with her unless she faced the truth that I presented to her, but she wouldn’t or couldn’t face it. If she ever does become enlightened, I will know that it wasn’t because of me. Losing me would not have been the catalyst/crisis that had her face the truth because that time has already passed. So, if she ever comes around, in essence, the fact that I wasn’t worth it still remains true, that something else made it worth it, you see? So I can imagine a scenario where we reach some kind of closure, where she might truly understand what happen, be remorseful and apologize fully, and where I would accept that apology, but what basis would there be for anything beyond that? Sometimes life throws opportunities, so that there might be some other reason, some other purpose that I might want to have a relationship with her, like a particular kind of relationship that’s ABOUT something, but if it was just out of the blue and just about normal life, chitchatting, mother-daughter relationship, no, I can’t see it—because what’s going to undo that message she sent that when push came to shove, when everything was on the line, I wasn’t worth it? Sometimes my mom was a good mom. But my mom was a good mom when it suited her to be a good mom. If there’s to be a relationship, it can’t just be because it, for whatever, suddenly now suits her to recognize the truth. I’d accept the apology and would probably be glad for the experience of it, but I feel like there’d have to be some other factor thrown into the mix for there to be anything else there in terms of a real relationship…. you know what I mean? Just my thoughts for now anyway. Maybe I’ll think differently down the road… but I’d be surprised…. Right now, it seems to me that if we went beyond to have relationship, it’d be me doing her a favour, being a generous daughter, and there’s something icky to me about that, something where I feel like I’d be playing the superior person, some level of falseness to it. I think I’d just have better things to do with my time on this planet. I’d be glad for the apology and would hope that she’d build meaning in her life separate from me. I could be happy for her but, yes, I think our lives are more than likely to be separate from now on. (If I got the apology, I could and would do the end-of-life stuff, though—that’s the kind of thing I meant when I said if there was a reason or purpose beyond just the normal hanging-out relationship)….


No, my mother’s apology was not a manipulation; I know, because she drastically modiefied her behavior after that point. That was the “proof in the pudding”. I often think she doesn’t realize the extent of what she did to us kids, but she might not be able to live with herself with such a realization, anyway. The mental torment of realizing you were a monster, might be too much for anyone to bear.

I guess I just keep doing what I’ve been doing, having surface interaction with her, then seething afterward. I made a choice to forgive, but I’m still angry with her. Even when I think I’m all past it, the next hospitalization brings another wave of anger for me. I’m beginning to realize that, as long as she’s alive, I will feel angry on some level. I don’t know whether her eventual death will bring a relief from that, or not. But once she is gone, I think that I personally will feel better, if I have treated her with as much kindness as I could muster. Not saying it’s for everyone, but I think this is my best path to personal healing.

Part of it, is that I cared for her as a subservient young person (note the word, subservient… ie, not of my own free will) when she was dying, 25 yrs ago or so. In that case, she recovered due to medical intervention. This time, she is tired of all the surgeries and procedures, and states she would rather die than endure it all, again. Which is understandable, that is her perogative at this time in her life.

But it triggers loads of unpleasant memories of a time period of caring for her and being very controlled by her, at the same time. The memories are causing anxiety attacks, and I don’t know for how long they will continue to be triggered and I will be reliving those painful memories, as I watch her slowly, slowly die.

Thank you for opportunity to discuss what probably seems unthinkable to some, that of feeling angry with a parent for a prolonged illness, not within their control.


Hi everyone. Sorry if my comnents dont fit the topic of
discussion, but….ive had an emotional day and I feel safe here. Ive been having flashbacks today and ive been crying alot and feeling lost. My kids are visiting their dad this week. end and I really miss them alot. Thank God theyll be home tomorrow. Thanks for listening, im feeling a little better now.


Hello, I just wanted to say thank you Darlene and everyone for such positive and heartfelt words. I wasn’t upset or disappointed in what anyone has said. I think EFB is such a wonderful place where we don’t have to explain and the people here UNDERSTAND. Here, we can discuss and see different points of view, in a safe nonconfrontational setting. I have found that this is such a good place to find compassion and possible answers, different ways to view things. This, is priceless.
I hope everyone had a good weekend, and I am so grateful for this site and all of us here. 🙂


darlene, i agree with you when you said “they fed and clothed me, they housed me, they took care of my physical needs, SO WHAT?? They decided to have a baby, legally that is the least that they HAVE to do.”

it has taken me a long time to figure out that for myself. it was my parent’s legal responsibility to do exactly that.. and they can only be thanked for respecting that law allow.

they broke other laws… the one that covers child abuse. do i need to thank them for that one.

my parents also had a legal and moral obligation to me was to love and care and respect me……and they failed so miserably.

i read someone say on this website a few months ago that whenever people tried to guilt her into reconciling with her parents before they died, she would respond by questioning her parents guilt of not wanting to reconcile with their daughter before they died.

there are always two sides of a story…..and too many people want to place blame and guilt on children.

we didn’t ask to be born…….but now that we are on this earth, we all deserve equal treatment, because in the eyes of god, we are the same.

love and peace to all.


Thanks Caden! That’s cool you have a blog. I have so much to really noodle through- and I’m sure you have a life! :)- that at this point I would likely just be rambling and wasting your time.

It’s great to know that if I do gather some coherant thoughts, I can contact you!

Take care as well,


Darlene, thank you for your website. Your article today helped me form the message I needed to tell my mother today. Once again I let her into my life without any apologise or recognition from her for any of her wrong doing against me.

Again, I was punished by her in recent days.

I let my mother into my life again too easily……that was her message that I had no boundaries.

Today, with your help, I have told my mother no more chances. I will not beg her anymore to understand and recognise that I am her daughter. Why do I need to remind her……when she forgot me that day I was born.

I did not ask to be born. I did not ask to be born female. And yet, I have been punished for those two things all my life…..because I am nothing more than a slave who was placed on this earth to please and serve her, my father and my brothers. As a slave, I had no rights to love and care and respect. Like a slave, I was punished every time I dared to beg for anything….because that is what slaves do. Beg and plead.

I have no value in her eyes…..and I have to stop trying to turn her into something she has never been. My mother.


I agree wholeheartedly! When I attempt to speak up and share my feelings, thoughts, cares and concerns about by family that doesn’t support the family and it’s ongoing toxic dynamic..I hear the same communicated mantra back at me from them, “it’s just more of Ronnie’s, ‘psycho babble’..”!

I have come to the realization for a little over a year now that, no contact is the best contact with all of my blood family except my older brother, his children and ex-wife.

I found out in Jan. 2013 that my mother had Stage 3 cancer and I lost her Feb. 19, 2013. A month and a half was just not enough time to share much of anything with her, but your comment hit home about, ‘If my parents die before there is any resolution followed by reconciliation it isn’t because I didn’t try. I tried my whole life.’

I anticipate that my father will go soon as well and after my recent attempts to reach out to him to share my concerns about his new living conditions (my Dad is still living in their small two bedroom house and now my younger brother, who is diagnosed with schizophrenia, his mentally disabled wife and their young daughter have ended up moving in with him) it just ended up with me being verbally mocked and being accused of just wanting to just take things from the house, I’ve just been to numb with negative past memories of my childhood to check up on him further. :/

Thank you Darlene <3, for sharing your own wonderful and truthful, 'psycho babble' with me! It has helped tremendously to know that I'm not the only one who has lived with the continued frustration of unresolvable family issues and that there is hope and peace in knowing that I do have the power in the end, to resolve those issues by finally allowing myself to move forward and giving energy and time to the things/people in my life that mirror equal caring and value back! 😀


This is my take on it. If abusive parents don’t show any respect for their child, why then should their child respect them? I hate the repeated saying that is deeply imbedded into society that everyone should automatically and obediently “respect their parents.” Never is it considered that the parents don’t deserve the respect.


Hi Alaina
I feel much better for having had some time off with my family and it is good to be back too!
LOVE your comments here! I totally relate to the thoughts you are expressing. It was always about ‘her’ and when I finally decided that I had to take care of me, the whole truth revealed was ‘icky’ and not something easy to just resolve.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Amy
Thanks for sharing, glad you are feeling better!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Raven
I am really glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Ginger
Thank you for sharing your pain and the truth about that pain; I totally understand.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ronnie
Welcome to EFB it is great to have you here! Finding a new way to look at things, a truthful way and an equally respectful way for all parties involved (not just for them) has gone miles towards my freedom and wholeness!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Tornados
Yes, that is what this is all about. It is time for the children of these parents (at the very least) to see this through new eyes. Mutual respect is the only way to have a healthy relationship.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone
I just published the new post~ this one is about Narcissism vs. Narcissistic. There was a reason that I was so interested in diagnosing my mother but it was keeping me stuck. I hope you will share your thoughts on the new post! “Narcissism vs Narcissistic re mother daughter relationship problems”
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks, Darlene! I’m glad you could take that time for you and your family! (And Pam did an awesome job of keeping up with all the comments, too!!)
I’ve been really thinking about things since my last comment and I’m really starting to feel like I have to close the door on relationship with my family for good—not necessarily so they know, but just to close it in my own heart. I understand why many would keep it open, should their family ever become healthy, but looking at my own circumstances and what has happened in my communication with them in the last 5-6 months, I feel like it’s probably necessary that I shut the door for good for my own self-respect, overall health and value. In my emails to my mom (but sent to my parents’ joint account, so I’m sure my dad also read them), I mapped out exactly how it is that because of her behaviour (actions and inactions), I came extremely close to death and would have, I’m sure, died had it not been for outside support. In my mind, this should have made any mother “crack.” To be shown how you could’ve killed your child and not fall totally apart over that. That’s why I was scared she might kill herself—because I thought being shown the truth like this would have to make her crack and there was no way I could know, would she breakdown and kill herself or would she breakdown and take responsibility, apologize and save the relationship. But neither happened and that says a lot. To have it all mapped out in front of you, how you could’ve killed your kid and then be given a second chance at relationship, regardless, but instead you choose to keep your eyes shut and lose the relationship. We talk about choice, how they have a choice, and they do, but the choice would come out of emotion, which I now realize probably doesn’t even exist. It just doesn’t make any sense otherwise. Because so much of what happened to me was covert and it was so much about the compounding of one thing on top of another, nothing really really terrible (the whole being worse than the sum of the parts), I could excuse a lot or give her leeway, but now having explained how it all worked together to nearly kill me, there’s no leeway left. I just don’t know how, given all this, I could leave that door open. I’d be glad for a real apology and to know of their own healing, but beyond that, I feel like it sends a damaging message to myself to allow that door to remain open. We’re talking about my life/death here—it should’ve made the entire family system crumble. But it hasn’t. It is still totally intact. (I believe my nephew is my replacement of sorts—before, my mom was “born to be a mom” and it was always her dream to have a “baby girl” and now it’s all about being grandparents. This way they can try again to find their meaning and have their self-esteem secured without having to do any real work to change things and face the pain. From what I can tell, my mom has pretty much embraced the notion that she failed with me but that’s kind of where it ends. It’s like I’m a lost cause…) Anyway, yes, I’m really thinking it’s probably for the best that I close the door for good. I feel like that ship has sailed, you know? It’ll always be that I wasn’t worth it, that if they come around, it had to take something more than losing me and also being faced with how I almost died because of their dysfunction. I think that’s WAY more than enough. I don’t know how I can leave room in my belief system (in regards to my self-worth) for that kind of (lack of) response on their part.


I have come to this conclusion myself many times sometimes I only let it go for a few minutes and come back to it right away. How can I return to relationship with people who made it so clear that I didn’t matter? Why would I want to? What would have to change? How can my own mother not care enough to try? But the truth is very clear. Actions (or lack of any action) speak very loud. But I am worth it to me. I am worth taking care of me and standing up for me. I deserve more than what they gave me and as long as I know that, I can live fully. I can be me. I can embrace life and know that I am worthy. They don’t get to define me otherwise. (ever again)
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


I totally agree. I was forgotten the day I was born too. As a matter of fact I was born among strangers. My mother was drugged unconscious (thats what was done in the 50’s), my father having dropped her at the steps of the hospital, never came back . Neither set of grandparents were there, nor her sisters. So I have always been alone.
I was raised to be her servant. Always begging to be noticed. I stayed in that mentality until a year ago. I am 59 so many many years of constant put downs and abuse. I found EFB and realized that I am not going to exist in that role anymore.
She has my golden child brother to serve her now. They are emotional vampires who live off others, although now they only have each other.
She was planning to live near me and have me assume her care now that she is 82 and becoming physically unable to do anything. And I was actually going to do it! Until I woke up and saw the truth. Getting away from their toxic treatment of me was the best thing Ive ever done for myself. No guilt. I lived in their prison of abuse for 40 years. I deserve to live whats left of my life away from them.
I dont think I will ever be “normal” but at least I wont be beaten up by their abuse anymore.
Hugs Karen


Way to go Karen! BTW, nobody is “normal” in this world us humans made. I wish you the best in your journey!

Hugs, Andria


Congrats Karen!
From what I’ve read and heard in person, the abuse does not end when the caregiving starts…..

Begging to be noticed sucks…I feel the same way. As if I’ve been begging for love (and therefore must’ve not deserved it). What crap. We all deserve to be loved.

Go you!!!



Hi Everyone,
I have published a new article and this one is about ‘crying’ and the difficulties that so many survivors have with crying. I am big on the messages that lived at the roots of all my struggles and last week I made a deeper discovery about crying and my deeper feelings about it. You can read the post and comment here: “Difficulty Crying or Feeling Ashamed or Afraid of Crying”
Hugs, Darlene


I have found these comments to be very interesting. My dad is dying. I have spent my life since my early twenties dealing with the ramifications of my dads, cheating and then my moms decision to divorce him. My mother knew what my dad was and when i became old enough, she used me as well as my siblings to try and control my dad and his actions. My father was always a very controlling person, making choices for his family without any consideration for their emotional needs. My parents seperation and then divorce devastated our family and still 29 years later, most of us deal with their continuing manipulation. There has been so much drama in our lives—parent drama!

My father was very passionate yet at a moments notice would turn and become verbally abusive and angry. my mother lived a life of depresion, hysteria and emotional manipulation of others to get my dad to cooperate.

My parents never let go of their anger towards each other. I was the caretaker and set aside a lot of my personal time and energy trying to be helpful and resolve the many issues between my parents and then between my parents and the rest of my siblings. I have also been responsible for their economic support throughout the years. It’s not that i wanted to be in charge, it’s that my parents gave me no choice. Since, i was a child the instilled in me the idea that i had to take care of my siblings and when my parents divorced, my dad insisted that i would have to take care of my mom. They demanded that as the oldest it was my responsibility.

I have separated myself from each of my parents for years at a time….when I could no longer handle the emotional pressure and stress they put me through. Yet, I felt that I had to reconcile with them, because I did not want to live out my life , after their deaths, feeling that had not done the right thing by them.

My father remarried and .left the area and his family to star a new life with the woman that made rejection of my mother and his family final. Through those years he wasted money, made some poor business decisions and 10 years later, Because of those decisions, I found him at my door asking me to help him put things together so that he could continue making an income. I became responsible once again for his earnings. I bought his business and he insisted on an arrangement that all professionals(attorney, CPA), told me was a deal with the devil. Neverthe less, I made the deal because I loved my dad and knew that he was devastated over his financial position and I felt that it was my responsibility.

Since then, my relationship with my dad has been full of great moments of connections and violent outbursts when I did not see eye to eye with him, made business decisions that he did not agree with. Even when I would say, that he sold me the business, he would not admit to that, still telling friends and aquaintences that he still owned the business.

So much to say, my head is spinning. Anyway, where am I now… He is dying, and instead of spending time with me, sharing what we can, spending quality time with the grandchildren, which he saw seldom sees, his only thoughts with and about me are how I am going to make it possible for his second wife to make an income, since he never planned for her future.

And stupid me, I’m ready to help him because I feel an obligation and want him to die peacefully and want to do what I feel is right so that I too have peace in knowing that I am not causing hurt to another.

So recently, my conversations with this dying man are steered to his past, his mistakes, how he feels wronged by my mother , the negativity of the past, what he feels he did for his family regardless of what or how we feel. He wants to point out my errors , my childrens errors … his view blah..blah..blah..

I have tried to keep a pleasant give and take with him. Reminding him that we are human and make mistakes and that like he, I dont need to be reminded of how we have failed one another. The past is full of stuff that our family does not need to conjure up at this time. I want to enjoy the last moments together appreciating what positive things we have had together.

So when I don’t agree…..I am now responsible for making him feel depressed and ill and accelerating his death journey. And I have been told that this process is all about him and no one else or their feelings matter.
Really? That is how it’s been all my life! He can’t even set aside his selfishness to leave us with a loving impression.

Well, I’m done. I’m not putting myself out there to be beaten down. I have peace of mind that I have gone over and above the call of duty when it comes to my parents and my siblings. I believe I have the ultimate toxic family. My siblings just shut down when they were young and very few of them have anything positive to say about their life with my parents.

I have worked hard to instill in my children a love of each other, a compassion for people that are not as lucky as we are, an understanding that they have the right to choose what and how they want to live and that although i may not toally agree, with some of their choices, it is their life and I will always respect their rights to be individual. I have also,told them that I will always be ther for them if they need me but I will to interfere. Most importantly, my spouse and i have told them that We will not burden them for anything other than love and family unity.

I pray that we all follow through so as to not have to experience what I have been through.

My dad will die and I will most probably not be at his bedside.

And for the first time in my 50 years, I will be okay with that.


Hi Art
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Thank you for sharing this difficult situation. When you used the term “call of duty” I found myself thinking that yes, I lived that way all my life too, believing that being a daughter called for a certain duty and never questioning what responsibility THEY had to me or if they fulfilled it. I realized one day that I was spending more time trying to figure out how I would feel if they died before I was ‘the daughter that I ‘should’ be’ then I was trying to see the truth about what was wrong in our relationship and that I had a right to want to be treated with equal respect and consideration. When I started to validate my own hurt, I saw the hope in breaking this cycle with my own children.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hello Art

I am so glad you found Darlene’s EFB. Yes, the duty bound folks and the people that have a sense of responsibility have a really difficult time when stuff like your experiences go down. Darlene’s response to you speaks of what most of us here have felt and dealt with in our relationships with our families.

It still amazes me how selfish people can be to the very ones who are putting all they have got into the relationship and helping them to the nth degree….and it is never enough. It is all about them.

I am glad that you are not “putting yourself out there to be beaten down” anymore. When you give your account of this story to some people they may tell you how sad it is for you. Well, it would truly be a sad story if you had not woken up and decided that you are not taking it any more.

Best of luck to you and your spouse and children. It sounds like you are on the right path.



Art – wow. I just want you to know there are people like me out here reading new posts, knowing there are insights to be gained from all. I’ve read and re-read your story, and it brings up feelings of admiration and empathy for you. Your family is lucky to have you whether they know it or not. I too have been a duty-bound family member but for my own sanity I have backed off more and more each year, till now, when the most I can bear to do is send token gifts on holidays. Like you, I have this underlying “conscience” of not wanting to cause more hurt. Best to you during your difficult time.


Hi Art,

Welcome to a bit of sanity in an otherwise crazy world. I too always felt obligated to both my parents. I don’t have siblings, & was adopted soon after birth. Somehow my adoption turned into slavery. Their explanation was that they “paid a lot of money” for me so I was personally obligated to do whatever they demanded. I rarely ever questioned their motives, being the dutiful daughter who thought I was doing both the right thing & out of obligation as pay back.

Fast forward to middle age. I am now 51. Dad is alive but not well, cancer among other health issues. I too have decided to draw the line. Mom is not around as she passed away a few years ago. I thought she was the worst of the two, however I have come to see dad in a new light. He is psychopathic in nature, only cares about himself, & doesn’t seem to understand why I want no part in his madness. I’ve had enough of his abuse & cut him off last year after several rounds of insults.

I feel more an orphan than anything else. For the most part, my parents left me alone even as a young child quite a bit, unless they needed either a scape goat or punching bag. I was left to my own defenses. I should not have to feel obligated to a man who rarely ever had time for me. He made every excuse in the book as to why he couldn’t spend time with me. No more! I have my own life. If he wants to change, he knows how to reach me, but he also will need to pony up a boatload of apologies for the abuse he & mom brought on me over the years, as a child (back to infancy) well into middle age. I doubt he’ll do it since it means he’d have to admit fault & wrong doing & it’s far easier for him to blame me for all his woes. I have tried my best to help him, but my suggestions always landed on deaf ears. If I said anything, they always took offense.

Sometimes we just need to walk away, lest we lose any semblance of sanity ourselves. We deserve peace & serenity, not constant turmoil, confusion, or questioning ourselves because of the crazy demands or accusations by self-centered parents.

Best of luck!



So good to know that I am not alone and that there are others out there who know and understand how painful and difficult it is to go through these feelings and issues..

God bless all of you who have shared within this thread!



Art, the experience you wrote about is very similar to mine. I got tired of my father calling me up drunk, “wondering who your father is.” I got tired of it and went no contact. He developed cancer a second time and died from it, alone with his second wife. He was a hateful cruel man. I always figure 2 go rounds with cancer was from his karma. I only found out later, how his FOO thought of him, that he was a complete ass. It was cathartic. My mother was a sadistic narcissist, who even while dying still had the energy to stick it to me and gaslight me to friends and family. I only went there once in the last year, and what does she say to me? “What are you doing here? You don’t need to be here”…My sister started doing drugs/alcohol at 13 and didn’t stop til the day she died at the age of 50. Her coping mechanism. My brother died in an accident at the age of 27. So sad to grow old without my siblings. The damage the parents caused is/was horrific. I have been in therapy for the last year, and making great strides. They tell me I am strong, I don’t know that I am convinced of that yet. But am trying for my childrens sake to make sure the cycle stops. Blessings to all us, for making it through the chaos to ’emerge’ to a better life. It’s never too late. I am 49, and the things I have heard in therapy, “how did you make it this far, what took you so long” and also, that statistically speaking, I should be an addict, institutionalized, suicidal or dead, and I am none of those, so I guess I astonish the therapist. So hang in there, and we can all make it together. So sad we’ve all went through it, but good to know that someone understands us. Because I know when I tried to get someone to listen to me, most people, who have no clue, think we are exaggerating.


Hi All!
My new post is published and it really relates to this one and to the comments on this one. It is called ~ “Honor your mother and father; is drawing a boundary a sin” ~ hope you will visit there and perhaps leave a comment!



My 72 year old mother has a rather strange reaction to news of a Chris Brown/Rhianna reconciliation. Extreme anger at Rhianna professing how stupid she is. This is strange one because my mother was never a fan of their music or any popular music or musical celeberiites, two because I survived an abusive relationship with an extremely manipulative narcissist.

My ex and I have a son with autism. Initially I tried to hold on fearing no one else would love our son like we could. Eventually I realized nothing I did caused the abuse and nothing I tried would heal my ex. That was resolved for me years ago. Poor Rhianna isn’t there yet. Poor stupid Rhianna.

Mom’s anger seems to imply that it is Rhianna’s fault. The fact that she even noticed news about celeberiites she wouldn’t recognize if she saw them in a McDonalds would be strange, but I am sure that it isn’t Rhianna who deserves what she gets. It’s me, and I deserve it from her. That I ever let anyone else take control of that abuse was treason. How dare I do that? How dare I even let anyone notice I exist outside of her control?

I guess you could say that hurts me. The lack of concern for my welfare. The blaming of me for choosing another abuser. I know she will be gone someday, and I know she will never understand who I am and how she hurt me. That she doesn’t even care is the part that will hurt the most. Like I don’t matter enough to the one who created me, therefore I am not important to the universe.

Well, I have read that Tchiacovsky hated the Nutcracker Sweet, Stephen King tried to throw “Carrie” out in the trash, Jon Bon Jovi didn’t want to put “Livin on a Prayer” on the album, and Rhianna can out sing Chris Brown any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Maybe the creator isn’t the best judge of his own creations. Not that Brown created her, but you get where I’m going with this.

Last year for Mother’s Day, I bought her a refidgerator magnet from Whole Foods. It said, “I am, because you are”. This year I did not get her anything. It sounds cruel, but this is how I see it; I owe her my life. She created me and I survived the elements thanks to her. My son and I exist and have certain traits she has such as a love for art and popcorn. She is to thank for that. I can’t make her acknowledge we matter and exist outside of what she did for us. I can’t make her not try to set emotional fires. I am because she is. When she is gone, I will be because she was. I love her, but I can’t fix it. It’s ok, Rhianna. You can let him go. It’s not your fault.


“If my parents die before there is any resolution followed by reconciliation it isn’t because I didn’t try. I tried my whole life.”
Darlene thank you for confirming this. I MUST remind myself daily that I am no longer in communication with my mother because of how she’s treated me my whole life. I have been warned by a few family members of how ‘wrong’ I am for not speaking to my mother and taking my kids to see her. I care so deeply about people in general & overcoming the fear and guilt of this possible reality has seemed to be too much for me to handle. I will start seeing a psychologist on Friday. Reading this post definitely helped me. Thanks as always.


Wow! I have so much to say! There is so much wisdom in these posts. I’m still trying to read them all, but it’ll take a while. I’m responding to earlier posts…

Darlene, THANKS AGAIN! I often thought, “Well, what about me? Don’t MY feelings count? What about MY health? Doesn’t it matter?” I’d also worry if I were selfish for even muttering the word MY. The healing process is so convoluted! But I’m so grateful that there was that spark deep inside me that noticed something amiss. Of course, I wish I noticed it sooner.

An earlier post noted something about having a different role at different times: golden child, later scapegoat. That was my situation. I wasn’t golden, but I was “perfect.” Good grades, pleasant disposition. I can’t say golden because I didn’t think I had the immunity of my half siblings. I felt I needed to be perfectly diplomatic. That was my role. I was the peacekeeper. As the youngest, I felt I had less of a claim to the family. Being the youngest, however, led to an inevitable transition. At some point, I was the only child in the home. And gradually but not at al subtlety, I was described as the problem child. Eventually, I was a huge problem. As an adult I was described as having rage issues because I began to speak up. I often think it saved me that I was the youngest. I experienced the least damage back when I was ignored. Maybe my ability to see things that my brother doesn’t yet see has everything to do with my under-the-radar years.


I am the only daughter of a Malignant Narcissistic Mother,and an Enabling father. I was the scapegoat, with only one other sibling, the GC son. After 45 years, I went No Contact. Without going into the details of my ordeal, it is enough to say that all of them belong in jail from the abuse and criminal offenses commited against me.

After I went NC, the Smear Campaign, that was going on for decades without my knowledge, came to light. I was shunned my the extended family for the same “rightous” reasons: “Their old. How can you do this to them.” “You’ve broken their hearts.” Your parents only wanted and did the very best for you. How can you treat them like that?” and my personal favorite, ” Everything they ever said about you right. You’re selfish and self-centered. There’s something wrong with you” Projection, transferral and out and out lying ( the hallmark of my mother) came center stage.

But, this post is about what happens when they die before a resolution is reached. From my experience – it never happened and never could. My mother kept the charade going right up to her last breath. Then the Enabler and GC son picked up the banner and carried on like good little flying monkeys. But, they had to. They were too deeply enmeshed and involved themselves. Admitting to others, nevermind themselves, that they were a huge part of the abuse and fabrications would expose them – and that could NEVER happen. Not only that, but if I was brought back into the sick fold, the inheritence, (everything was left to the GC), would be compromised. I found out I was cut out of the will 2 decades before my mothers actual death. I never knew while I continued to be the one who did ALL the caring.

My mother died and I knew nothing about it for 4 months. People who I WAS in contact with knew, but were obliged not to tell me. I cut them out of my life as well. My father is very old and more than probably will die very shortly, too. I expect the same thing. He went along with everything NM and GC did to me, being the go-to physical abuser at their command, and even had the nerve to admit to me he knew what “they were doing to me, but couldn’t do anything about it – he had to watch out for himself.” Some help he was. The last time he was told to go into action, and did, I was 46 years old. To this day, I have no idea why he dislocated my shoulder. I don’t know what imaginary infraction I supposedly commited. But, I was still being treated as ” a nothing and nobody” – something they drilled into me from the time I was a little girl. When NM told him to go into action, I was there for a visit, a woman with children, owned my own home and 2 businesses, and made a success of myself. NM and GC couldn’t stand that! I couldn’t be “as good as” or “better” than them. I had to be kept in “my place” – the one far beneath them. That was IT! I’m sorry now I didn’t call the police. I should have. Instead, I left and never looked back.

When you come from a dysfunctional, narcissistic family, it will NEVER change. They will never apologize, never ask for forgiveness, and never attempt to absolve themselves. They will go to their graves content in the knowledge that they did their best to destroy you while protecting their false image to the world. That’s how they lived their lives – that’s how they go to death.

Going No Contact means just that – No Contact. They have been out of my life for 12 years now. Sorry, but if they die, they die. It thankfully, has no effect on my life anymore.


I am 44 both of my parents are in the 70’s and my dad hasn’t long left. I am not going to go in to the abuse as a child against me and my siblings but this abuse followed me emotionally into adult life and to this day. I am stronger and tougher about MY RIGHTS than my siblings, my parents don’t deserve RESPECT for have borne fed and clothed me, that is a given. They have never, especially my father admitted or faced their wrong doings. Now part of me feels guilty that if he dies and there isn’t some sort of reconciliation it will haunt me for the rest of my life….On the other hand he has never made any effort to be serious, listen, communicate, show emotion, empathy or regret. Thanks for this article, it gives me a little piece of mind. I am about to be a father for the first time and must channel the energy wasted on my family onto my new family

Dawna-Llyn Marshall
June 22nd, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I often day dream about coming across a car accident that my father has been involved in or him having a heart attack in a parking lot, and he’s lying on the ground looking up at me as he gasps for breath. We look into each others eyes and then he watches me stand there watching him take his last breath … and as the gazing continues, I have a big smile on my face. Sometimes in this daydream, as we’re looking into each others eyes, I’ll dial a number on my phone and of course he’s be thinking I’m calling 911 and instead I order a pizza.
Then there are other times when I have the same daydreams and i choose to ‘go the Jesus route’ and provide him with the help he needs. As a Christian I have to admit that I’m still a slave to my flesh.
If I ever find myself in either of those scenarios I know one thing is for sure … Hawaiian is my favourite pizza.


Hi Dawna
Welcome to EFB ~ I understand why we end up having day dreams like this one. 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Dawna-Llyn,

It is always good to have a sense of humor about things. Even when they are truly painful life situations. Enjoy your pizza!



Hi all!
Dawna, I appreciated your story about pizza. Funny!!

I have had a situation arise in my family. I come from a blended family with five kids. My mother had me and my two sisters. She married a man 30 years ago with a son and daughter.

On Father’s Day, my step brother hung himself from a tree in a church yard 3 blocks from his home he shared with his wife. He has two daughters from a previous marriage.

I have been no contact with my mother for I’d say over a year. She has sent special event cards, but, I’ve not sent anything for birthdays or Mother’s/Father’s day, and only a card at Christmas.

My sister texted me on Father’s Day this year and said our step brother had hung himself. I felt moved to call my mom. So, I did. She was tearful, and she was nice. As if nothing had ever happened.

I’m probably crazy, but, my heart ached for her and my stepdad. I thought my feelings for them were gone. I hurt for my stepbrother too. I am disturbed by the pain he was in, and the silence of that pain. I didn’t love his company that much. I am still bothered that he was hurting silently.

I offered my help to my mother on the phone. I got a little teary too and told her that I didn’t care what had happened in the recent past, that I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone. I meant it.

Tomorrow comes the visitation, and the first time I’ll see my mother and stepdad for well over a year. I am a little overwhelmed at the thought of seeing my stepbrother in a casket, and seeing my family, particularly my mom and stepdad. I have prayed a lot for peace for everyone, and for things to not be strained and uneasy. I feel some sort of peace from those prayers. I’m not really looking forward to it, but, at the same time, I think this is the end of the silence between my mother and I. I might have to learn how to navigate our relationship as a new normal. I have always known I would write her and tell her what I think about our past. Maybe now it will be less cutting. I have to get it out before we move forward.

I fear that this opened door will cause her to come rushing in. I fear she will be up to her old games. I fear I’ll cave.

Before we hung up on Father’s Day, she said she loved me. It’s not easy for her to say that, and she seldom has in my life. I felt comfortable saying it back to her. That surprises me too.

The next few days will be ummmm, I don’t know what. Maybe weird? I’m afraid, and a little relieved. I wonder what will unfold. I wonder how to handle things from here forward. I will work on staying in the moment to ward off unsavory thoughts.

Peace and Love to everyone, and thank you for listening!


@Mimi, I am going NC with my mom. I predict that something like what you describe will probably happen to make me have to talk to her again, but it will be wayyyyy in the future. I feel for you.


Thank you for your comment. I hope it isn’t a suicide that brings you back into the company of your mother. I knew one day I’d have to face my mom again, when my grandma passes away. I thought that would be a few years down the road. Who knew my brother would hang himself and force this reunion. It’s come way earlier than I expected, but, that’s okay. No time to worry much. I’m still in shock that he took his life. I was the crazy one according to mother. My brother sort of trumped me on that one. So sad!
Xoxo, Mimi


It was the funniest thing … the replies that I got from the thread from this article and another one on this website all went to my junk mail. Anyways, I’m sitting there reading him all these comments as he was dishing out supper that he decided to treat me to. Guess what I was eating as I was reading the comments … thats right – Hawaiian Pizza!!! LOL. I wonder if that means that the other part of my day dream came to pass?

So sorry about your brother Mimi, the pain he must have been in must have been over whelming … I’ve been in similar pain before and I can understand why some people take that route. I hope you and his family all get lots of support in your times of need.


Thank you Dawna. Death is so different when it’s a decided fate. Sooooo different. I’ve never known anyone who committed suicide before. I can’t describe the horrible feelings. I wasn’t close to him, but, my thoughts have not left the idea that he must have been in agony. I really can’t believe it.

I have been in similar pain myself Dawna. Boy has this experience made me realize,that’s not a good answer. Thankfully when I was in those darkest of times, I still had the presence of mind to realize I didn’t really want death, I only wanted the pain to stop. Death seemed like it might be the only way that could happen at the time, but something kept me holding on.

That’s funny about you eating pizza of all things. I got a smile out of that.

Peace and Hope,


Hi Mimi
Wow. I am so sorry for your loss. I totally understand what you are going through now too. I have often wondered what if anything could/might happen in my own family that would effect a change in the existing relationships. It is scary.
Thanks for sharing, I wish you all the love in the world!
hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much for your support and love. Things are going okay so far. The burial is today. It will be a strange day.


I guess I will be relieved if my biological dad passes away but wouldn’t know what to do with FOO and their reactions. I think they will find that an excuse to abuse me more because in their heads I am the one who is guilty.

This actually reminds me the whole lot of them are nutters, the biological dad and his siblings. His sister, especially feels she is entitled to abuse me as she is the elder( even though I am 34 yrs now).

Sometimes I just want to hit them all hard, bloody hard until they stop doing what they are doing. Nut cases.

As for now, I am biding my time until I get my health back in order and move out.


Hi Sahitha
Welcome to EFB ~ It was so important for me to realize this too, (that ‘in their heads I was the problem’) but deeper than that I had to realize that I wasn’t. I had to validate the damage that was done to me in order to heal from it.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I’m re-reading this section because I am struggling with this.

It’s all in the voice infliction; the tone they use and I used to react to that tone in the way that I reacted to it when I was a kid. That tone was meant to snap me back to compliant and ‘respectful’ and it worked on me. My “guilt, shame and self-blame button” was very sensitized.

So was mine! I do have musical talent and because of this, I’m very sensitive to voice changes. Sometimes I detect it on a sub-conscious level but I’m not aware I detect it. I was so frustrated with Mom as a child, but I couldn’t put words to what that frustration was. I kept “acting out” things without knowing why. I didn’t figure it out until I was 45 that it was her voice. I wanted Mom to talk to me in ADULT voice, not “mommy” voice. Talking to me in ADULT voice would give me validation. Talking to me in “mommy voice” keeps me in my “kid” place. My sister says Mom STILL talks to her in mommy voice. Apparently my sister doesn’t have an issue with it.

People share with me all the time how folks throw the following statement and question at them; “your father/mother is getting old and is in poor health, how are you going to feel if he/she dies?”

I always found the “how would you feel if” question to be totally illogical! “Um, since I haven’t experienced that, I cannot ascertain how I would feel….” The first time I tried that answer, I got “lectured” about how I “should” feel. Thus began my downward spiral to “faking it.” If mom’s voice had such and such a “tone” I was “supposed” to act like I felt thus and so……. And my entire childhood was faked, and mom says that’s not her fault….. I “faked it” through relationships because I learned to put “pre-recorded tapes” in my head. Ok, a guy likes me, so thusly I am supposed to feel a certain way and act a certain way…… And having a guy actually LIKE me was SO MUCH VALIDATION! And from reading the blog, I learned how my efforts to get my Mom’s love were repeated with the losers I dated…….


You are brilliant. You just articulated a significant part of my mommy issues. I never could find the words for this. I do okay with the “mommy voice” if I can keep her at a distance. Then I can be empathetic, and it doesn’t bother me. But lately, we are intertwined. She is in her last 10 years, and needs assistance. She hates asking. She hates admitting any loss of capability that led her to require my [competent] help. She hates relinquishing her role of knowing better than me. I imagine that must be scary.

I hate that she used me to validate her worth rather than allow me to be a person. If I needed her, she had an important job. I had to play scapegoat, a role I hated. I had to be dependent, or I was forced into “fuck up” role which filled me with undeserved guilt. Now I don’t know whether to let her have that, after all she doesn’t have many years left, or demand that she allow me to be who I am.

I somewhat resent helping because any help that was given to me was orchestrated to either keep me dependent, or make me feel guilty. At times help was actually a Trojan horse. “Yes, I will watch your autistic son for an hour a day after school during the week, but I charge $700 a month. If you live here with me, I will do it for free.”

So now I am filled with resentment. I would be fine helping her, but so tired of playing the child. I just want to be me. I can’t help it that she used her children to define her. I wish she would just be herself and allow us to have an authentic relationship. My son is 18 now, I am learning to let him go, so he doesn’t suffer like this. I adored caring for him, but he wants to be an adult, so it’s time for me to figure out who I am without him.


My mother was and still is emotionally abusive which is enhanced by her old age.I know when she dies I will cry but more for what could have been rather than what was.


Hi Pat
Welcome to EFB ~ yes, it is so sad that these woman could not actually love. I Have found that being for me what they could not be for me, has helped more than anything else.
Hugs, Darlene


From @Jen:

I hate that she used me to validate her worth rather than allow me to be a person. If I needed her, she had an important job.

JEN! You just helped me! Bingo! That’s exactly what my mom did! Mom begged me to attend a family reunion, using the excuse that “they” wanted to see me. So, I attend, and “they” don’t even say two words to me. Yep, “they” really wanted to see me. It’s more like…… Mom needed “they” to see her with her children cuz it scored some points with “they” or something.

I wish she would just be herself and allow us to have an authentic relationship.

That’s what I want! Mom can’t do it. I’m glad you are allowing your child to learn who he is. My sisters have done the same thing.

@Pat, I’m glad you will be able to cry for something and I understand what you are saying. I already know I will not cry.


Its taken me two years to get to the place I am now (mentally speaking).
Deep down I am terrified of my mothers death, as it will be her final swan song.
All of my life I have lived with the fear of death, (she made her self anorexic) she is now 76 and I am 51.
Ironically I had my eyes opened when I started to become a therapist myself. First I became a reiki healer, then I started to take exams to become a councillor. Sometimes I feel so dumb that I had the wool pulled over my eyes, sometimes I wonder which is more terrifying, living a life of denial or knowing the truth.
My dad left me and my brother when we where only two and four, and never saw him again. I tried to get in touch with him but he did not really want to know me.
My mother used us as pawns in a very bitter divorce, she never even told me he had left, or that my grandparents had died. Apparently my nan was dying and wanted to see us.My mother refused to take me to see her. My life has been littered with rejection and untruths. My mother always said “it was to protect you”.
Even after 46 years of her divorce she still talks about my dad as though he has just left.
When I confronted her about her relationship with me and why she always pushed me away.She said that I had his “seed”.
Anyway I found the courage to confront the whole family, all of them at some point had used me in some dealings because I was so trusting and gullible.
But the sad thing is I could see myself becoming like them, but not now, I do not want anything to do with them, they have done some very cruel things that could have put my own family in jeopardy. All they turned around and said to me…is that I needed help for my outburst.
My mother took me to see a therapist when I was about 8..what a joke, all she said was that your mum “loves you” my mum does not know the meaning of the word. Sad thing is I grew up thinking that abuse was love. I knew no different.

Love and reiki hugs to you all.


Hi Tracey-

I know how you feel about having the wool pulled over your eyes. Please don’t feel dumb about that any more. I think many of us have felt that way because we are supposed to trust the people that are supposed to love us. I can only answer for myself that I don’t like living in denial. I like knowing the truth, but have had to learn that many only live a life of denial when it comes to these matters. No matter how much of your truth you tell them; they will cling to denial like a life saver. They cannot break free.

It seems that you are breaking free. That is wonderful that you confronted them. Of course they would say to you; that you needed help for your outburst. You put something out there that they didn’t want to hear. Their denial dial was turned way up, but you overrode the volume. That was way too real.

Best of luck to you. This is a difficult road to travel. I think it is worth it. Reiki hugs to you too.



Hello Darlene,

Thank you so much for this article. It goes directly to heart of what I am experiencing this moment. This is the pain I struggle with right now. My mother is now sick and dying and I’m expected to be there for her when she was never there for me? My sister recently asked that I try to contain my anger “at mom” when I’m around my nephew because he “loves” grandma and it will hurt his feelings if he sees me angry at her? Then my sister said you do realize that “ma” was mistreated too that’s why she did what she did to you. So what? That still didn’t give her the right or excuse to do the things she did.

I asked my sister the same question you just answered. My mother is the woman who forced me to take care of her (financially once I was old enough to work) and her feelings my entire life (I’m 47) and now that she’s sick and dying I’m supposed to let bygones be bygones? This was a mean and nasty woman, who never considered my feelings — I was always the problem. She battered me, mistreated me and NEVER once said I’m sorry about anything. She squandered her life and I’m expected to care about her suffering? What about my suffering? I’ve been suicidal most of my life because of the intense pain that I suffered at the hand of this woman. She denies any of the things that I’ve told her.

Mother has gotten to the point where she won’t eat unless someone feeds her. At first I tried to feed her and do what I could but I was so consumed with rage at the fact that I am still being forced to care for her right up until her end that I had to leave. I found myself wanting to smash her face in.

The guilt I feel is overwhelming. I am glad that someone somewhere at least understands what I’m going through.

Thank you.


Hi Tracie
Welcome to EFB ~ Today when I remember how much I believed that by covering up for my mother and her abusive attitudes etc. I was doing something for my kids ~ I shudder. OMGosh, she was treating them the same, communicating to them that they too were ‘less valuable than her’. yuck!
I totally understand what you are sharing here. One day I realized that ‘guilt’ was a feeling that had also been taught to me and it was another tactic that I had to see the truth about. It is a process and it isn’t easy but there is freedom when we are willing to see the truth about the damage ~ and this is about the damage; for once it is about you and not about her.
Hugs, Darlene


I had to reply to Tracie. My situation eerily echoes yours. My mom too was a horrible, selfish woman. My mom’s ideology on life was, “If I don’t get involved, if I don’t know, then I can’t be held accountable, much less help. So then because I don’t know, I can’t help, so don’t ask me! She lived this way her whole life, she died this way as well. She, the last 3 years of her life, developed ovarian cancer and subsequently died. My whole life, I mothered her, she demanded it, she expected it. I existed only to help her with her issues and problems. I stood in front of her while my stepdad was beating her, she never once stood in between the beatings my stepdad afflicted onto me. There were even times she egged on my stepdad.

She was forced to go to the doctors to see why her tummy had swollen so huge. She expected me and my siblings to take responsibility for her not taking care of herself. She had opportunities to purchase life insurance and never did. She said she had, and we know she didn’t. She expected us to all take care of her because we owed her. She was then given the diagnosis of Ovarian cancer, she used this for all it’s worth. She was defiant in her reasoning as to why all of us HAD to do what she asked. She was more tyrannical, more spoilt, more demanding. The October before she died, she didn’t hold back one bit. She seemed to ramp up her efforts. She didn’t know I was coming to visit to help her. The abuse was uncontrollable. Normally, she would hide it and make sure no one was around. This time, it was as if she just couldn’t help herself. She then continued to hurt everyone in her path. I felt somewhat relief and sadness that other people could see her behavior and sadness because I knew, as I’d always known that she would never change. I decided then to disconnect. I had to let go of my wish that she would ever be a caring, loving, unconditional human being. I remember her lying in her bed, just after her taking her meds and as she was falling asleep, I sat and talked with her about all of the pain I had felt with her. I have no idea if she even heard me. The point was, I told her, I have to let go. WHen she died later in the spring, I was able to see a human being dying of cancer. She was a broken woman. I was able to connect, from one human being to another. I wasn’t her daughter anymore and she wasn’t my mother. I was just another human being comforting a dying old woman. I am sad and still very angry that she could have left me with the most precious gift, something that didn’t cost a lot of money, no horrendous amount of time. Just a few words of I am sorry and I have always loved you. I know I had said those words to my mom so many times. SOmetimes in hope of her, possibly saying them back to me. Bottom line is this, I had to let go of my wish. I had to release it, because holding onto it was going to kill me. It was death to me. I am sorry you are going through this. I am so sorry that there isn’t a less painful way for you to go through this. I had exhausted everything but what I had finally decided to do. It was all I had left. Basically, it came to me sinking or swimming, As a family friend had said to me, “…She’s got her one way ticket, she’s going to die no matter what, don’t let her take you as well. Life is for the living, let it go.” Good luck Tracie. Thanks Darlene for your kind words and heartfelt truth.


Darlene and Raven,

Thank you Darlene and Raven. Finding this website is like coming home after so many years spent drowning in a sea of pain with no apparent the end sight.

My goal is to heal and to help others who’ve shared this nightmare become free.

I forever remain committed.


Thanks for sharing. That is a powerful story.
Hugs, Darlene

That’s awesome Tracie!
hugs, Darlene


Mom is in 80’s. She’s in good health (last I knew…..) but you never know, people could “go” at the drop of a hat. She’s probably in better health not dealing with me.

I really want to resolve things and have a decent relationship with her before…… the inevitable….. but I guess I have to accept what Darlene says. Darlene is right about what she says.

I’m really feeling alone right now. I’ve never had a problem with being alone, being single all my life. But this is the first time I’ve really felt “alone and left.” I have friends, but they are scattered.

And I’m also struggling with “is my mom really that bad a person?” YES SHE IS! I have exposed her for what she really is. (A Star Trek shape shifter posing as a human, and if I used my photon phaser, I will strip the human and expose the real…..) As I look back on my life, I notice that I kept trying to “expose” the truth in different ways. Like…. the PWE-SHUS family photos mom insisted on. I kept trying to stand in a way that “separated” myself from my family. I was aware I was doing it, but couldn’t figure out why. Then, one Sunday morning when my family’s church was having communion, the pastor decided… instead of a “line up” he would do a “table.” The table had X number of spots (six???). I kept trying to position myself in line so that, “oh darn, I won’t be able to sit with my family, guess I have to wait for the next table…..” The pastor noticed I was doing this, and flat out winsisted that I sit with my family. Can’t blame the pastor, he didn’t know what was going on.

There were many incidents like this. I’m sure if my Mom would have actually asked why I was “acting out,” I would have said, “I don’t know.” (Cuz I really didn’t know…..)

There are many ways I’m lucky, but the lack o


Flying fingers, the post got posted before I finished.

The lack of love doesn’t make up for the “ways I’m lucky.” The lack of love caused me not to know what real love was in relationships. In the last “rejected” letter I got back from Mom, she wrote that I had no idea what real love was. Of course I don’t! WHO WAS MY EXAMPLE?

I’m still struggling with trying to see her as a bad person. The Star Trek reference helps………


DXS, your mother telling you that you don’t know how to love is projection. She is projecting her feelings on to you, and then blaming you for them. Refuse to carry her baggage. (do you know the quote, ‘love doesn’t hurt you. A person that doesn’t know how to love hurts you. Don’t get it twisted’ or the one that say ‘you don’t love her, you don’t destroy people you love’). If you see a letter in the mail from her, write “refused, return to sender” and pop it back in the mail box. These people have a great need for public image, hence the family photo’s, or the mother who wants to give you a kiss in public, when in private her face is contorted in anger. Tell the minister the truth. Most I have dealt with, do not believe in personality disorders, the church tends to believe someone ‘chooses’ to be evil. If this will make you feel any better, we would go to dinner at the ‘ministers’ house, and while saying good-byes, my mother talking to his wife, I was around 8 years old, he would be French kissing me, and running his hand up the inside of my thigh. I remember as a child thinking, please see what he is doing. I realize as an adult, they didn’t care. Because I would have saw someone doing that to my 8 year old daughter while I was standing only feet away. I would have hurt them badly.

Start reading all you can on narcissism. It is not YOU. It is THEM. You were trained to comply and carry the baggage. You have to let that baggage go. There is nothing you can do or say that will change them. They are so seriously disordered. Focus on your life, your opinions. Let the opinions of her, and others like hers, be what they are, opinions, you do not have to accept them as fact. Also, check into PTSD and see if you have it. Many of us do, due to the trauma. So you can be good to you.

Hang in there. We all (here) are on the same journey. Some new, some old, many still processing. There are lot’s of online forums for survivors of narcissistic abuse. All willing to help each other. Take your power back and be good to you.


I was struggling with that thinking before my step brother’s suicide. “Is my mom really that bad?”

I am thankful to have the opportunity to see it again at the funeral and in the days after with her thank you card. Here is where I stand now ~ I don’t know what defines “that bad”, I only know it hurts me deeply still, to be treated poorly by her. I was in tears for two days after the thank you note. I don’t know if I was overreacting in the eyes of others, and I don’t care. I think I have to embrace my natural responses to such injuries, do the work to heal, forget all hope, remember this event, and proceed forward with thick skin. Whomever doesn’t like it can lump it. It was my last straw. I don’t intend to go through anything like it again. Whatever happens, happens. I will not make effort, and I will not have expectations. And, anyone who doesn’t like my approach can kiss my ass. Apologies for the directness, but, I’m being honest. It’s how I feel. I’m done suffering any kind of injury at the hands of her. WHATEVER I have to do to maintain this stance, is exactly what I’ll do. Whether that means I overreact, or that she’s really not that bad….. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is I’m at the most high place of self preservation. I hope this makes sense. I had weakened over the past few years; thought maybe she’d come around with a suicide, etc. I was wrong, and I won’t forget it. If suicide makes no impact, nothing will. Just wanted to share my thoughts on it. Hope you’re well.



@Mimi and @Sharon, thank you for your comments. I’m still trying to “appear cheerful” even though I’m depressed. Kind of hard…..


This has really touched me. I am the daughter of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder Mother. It’s just that she doesn’t know it yet. I have been practicing the “No Contact” precaution for the past 4 months. I have been less stressed, aggitated, nervous, ect….but I have had hard days as well. The last time I spoke to my mother she told me to go to hell and lose her contact information. To never contact her again. So I did. I finally reached that boundary in my heart where I have decided – I can’t go back.

After our conversation, my mother preceeded to rant her woes to anyone who would listen. Friends, family, whoever would listen. I have not heard one word from any of my close-knit family since. I have spoken to my brother twice through this ordeal. I’m almost positive that all have blamed me without ever questioning my side. I go about my daily life with my head held high. I am a good person. I am down-to-earth, opinionated, kind, and smart. Almost all of the things my mother is not. She hates me for that. She has hated me since I was old enough to figure her out. Her grandios self-importance, her beatings and cursings when I didn’t do something she wanted me to, her shameless requests for me to let her use / borrow / have, anything that was mine, because “I owed her”. I saw that early on, but didn’t have a name for it until this week when I began digging for reasons for our dysfunctional relationship. I am still hurt deeply. If I dwell on the specifics too long, I begin to cry. It breaks my heart that I will never have the mother that my girlfriends had. The kind, protective, nurturing mother that we all need to thrive and become well-rounded adults. I have dealt with depression & anxiety for my entire teenage/adult life. I am a thirty five year old mother of three. I do not practice any method of parenting that my mother used.

I encourage my children to be their own individual self. They are full of life and aren’t afraid to show their emotions. I grab them & squeeze them at every chance & tell them how much mommy loves them. My mother was never affectionate, so this has been a hard thing for me to do with my own. I am constantly reminding myself – praise them, praise them, tell them how much they are loved. They need that. I need that too.



Hi Ashley
Welcome to EFB ~ I can relate to your comments. It really is heartbreaking to realize that this woman who was your mother, acted this way with such disregard and carelessness. 🙁
I can also relate to the way you encourage your children! It was also hard for me as I had not had that affection either, but I was able to show my children a different mother than the one that I had and this paid off big time! (2 of my children are adults and one is in late teens now)
Hugs, Darlene


I found this website a few days ago. Holy Moley. I am feeling more and more liberated every day after reading through many of the blog posts and comments.

I am from a very large extended family. Dad had 9 siblings and mom had 8. There were lots of cousins, aunts and uncles. Mom had 4 kids and 5 grandchildren. She was an angry, bitter and anxious woman. My mother died a year and a half ago at the age of 79. She was in a nursing home for her final year. My sister, who lived 4 miles away never went to see her. During that entire time she had one visit from one of her sisters and a niece. Her grandson stopped in occasionally. That was it. No one went to see her. It boggles my mind that someone from such a large extended family had no friends or family members visit her. When she died on Christmas Eve, I got the call. Lucky me. Arrangements were made via phone by my brother for the body to be picked up and cremated. That was it. No funeral, no announcement, no condolences from anyone. Nothing.

For many years prior to that I had no contact with mom. Except for the final year. I occasionally talked to her on the phone but it was difficult because she had dementia. Years ago I told her if she wanted to continue our relationship that I no longer wanted to hear about everything wrong with her life and the people in it. I felt like a whipping post for many years and gave her thousands of dollars to help with all her problems that only seemed to get worse. She stopped calling me when I told her how I wanted things to be when we talked. My husband wanted me to cut off all ties with my family. I started to get physically sick because of the turmoil from the thought of cutting ties. After all it was my mother. Family. Blood. Maybe I was wrong. Everyone has issues. Look for the good in others. Bla bla bla.

So now it has been over a year since she died and the only regret I have is that I didn’t cut ties 35 years ago when she kicked me out of the house when I was still in high school. I busted my ass for that woman my whole life. I lived to want to make her happy. An impossibility and a long story of unrequited love because it was all my fault.



Hi Sandy
Welcome to EFB!
When I drew boundaries with my parents I began to come out of a sort of ‘fog’ that I didn’t know I had been in. This often works the same when a dysfunctional parent passes. I suddenly realized how much I had missed of my life and at the same time realized how much I didn’t miss the dysfunction! Recovery for me was about facing that damage you speak of in your last sentence and re-wiring the belief system that had developed for me because of it. There is hope!
Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Sandy,

I hear you about regrets. I also come from a large extended family and lived to serve my mother and grandmother. Long story I won’t get into, but I have to say my parents threw me out as a young teen also..I had nowhere to go…and over the years threw me out again several times while they ‘enjoyed’ life with cousins and other extended family. They threw me away many many times emotionally.

I intuitively knew that if I said or did certain things I would be cut off from others. When I lived with my brother after my divorce, he threw me out after a couple of weeks because I came loudly down the stairs and almost woke his baby. He yelled at me and told me I had to find another place, and even yelled about how I had been there six months. I continued talking to him until recently, after years of being there for his wedding, birthdays, holidays etc., and me alone with my own new baby, he just stopped calling.

And very recently, I also told a friend something that was bothering me about her behavior. She has not called in a month.

I think we should not be afraid to say what is on our mind (within reason) and be who we are as long as we are not trying to hurt others.

I too wasted a lot of time with people who dumped me at the drop of a hat. No more. I can’t do anything about the family I was born into, but I can certainly have better friends.

Still, I feel pretty haggard and worn down. I feel like they got the best of me and then threw me away like an old rag.


This is the most that I’ve seen written on this topic, and I’ve been searching for it, probably because you’ve written it so plainly and touchingly.

I searched this out because my estranged mother died a year ago. What you’ve written about the chiding that you get about an un-repairable relationship is so true and I really felt abused when people said to me, “How are you going to feel when she dies,” about a mother that was abusive. I am truly resolved that there was no way to fix things, I harbor no guilt about my role and I know that there was nothing that I could do that would have been healthy for me to do.

Once again, I completely agree that people that try and guilt you into an unhealthy relationship with a parent are wrong, and they don’t understand that it’s not some simple argument that caused the rift. But I feel that I must tell you about how I did feel…

I was completely shocked by the amount of grief and primal pain that I felt when she died. The shock about how I felt made it even harder to deal with. Memories of the good parts of our relationship came back and I felt a bit guilty until people that love me and remembered reminded me of why things were how they were. I am still untangling my complicated feelings a year and a half later.

Please understand that I am not writing this to guilt you into forgiving an abusive parent. Just know that death might not be an ending and despite how hard I’ve tried not to relive things, it has been a very hard thing to deal with. People ask if I was close with my mother and I reply saying that I was not, but that makes things more complicated.


Hi Lindsay
Welcome to EFB! ~ thank you for sharing your exp. with this difficult subject. I totally understand how a death of an estranged parent could bring up the feelings that you talk about here.
Hugs, Darlene


Oh wow!!! I have been asked that very question about “what if she dies?”, you should call her. This coming from the very people who were critical of me taking the abuse for as long as I did. My response was very similar to yours. “What if I die?”, what then, “Will she feel anyway or not”. Probably not. I have come to the fact that I am on my own, me and God. She doesn’t care, and if for some reason resolution comes it won’t be by her. It will be between me, myself,and I and God. She is not capable of resolving anything she can’t admit to. Truth be told I asked myself tht question in the beginning of this total seperation. I came to this answer “She just does (die)”. She will just be died. That sounds mean but true. It is what it is. I will mourn but not for her but for the turmoil, hell, lose of love, regrets, and missed opportunities. I know I have a lot of healing to do, but she is not involved and is not capable of it.


Thank you so much, Darlene, for this post and its powerful message.

I know I’m still seen as ‘the problem’ and, whilst I’m estranged from my two sisters and very little contact with my brother, I do still see my parents.

Their behaviour towards me has softened in recent times because they’re becoming frail and I’m the one who lives locally, and because I don’t stick around when they become abusive.

I haven’t, however, had the conversation with them about the whole family’s abuse of me and the long-term, damaging effect its had on my life – I am still riddled with self-doubt and feel a very marginal, isolated figure.

I wonder if in not having this conversation with them, I am betraying myself and on a deep level hampering the healing I’ve been working over twenty years for. They can’t change what they did. No-one can. Nor am I interested in ‘making them feel bad’ or retaliating. It’s just whether some things need to be said to free any energy of pretence and keeping up appearances.


Hi Kate
For me it wasn’t so much confronting them as it was about standing up for me. It was about giving myself the validation that I had never had, and it was about me hearing me. These were the things that set me free.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks very much, Darlene.
I guess it was reading Marianne Williamson’s book, A Return to Love that made me wonder. She states ‘It’s become popular these days to blame practically everything on our parents. We figure it’s because of them our self-esteem is low. If only they’d been different we’d be brimming with self-love. But if you take a close look at how our parents treated us, whatever abuse they gave us was often mild compared to the way we abuse ourselves today….They might have been mean, but we’re vicious.’

Very best wishes


Wow Kate… that is a pretty brutal quote!
The way that I feel about it is that blame was a stepping stone to freedom for me. The blame had to be placed where it belonged (which was not on ME when I was only a child and a victim of the events and people) and once I finally validated the damage and myself, I no longer felt as though I was ‘blaming’ but rather truth telling and no longer protecting the perpetrators or their choices*. This blog isn’t about stuff like the fact that I got grounded for not doing my homework or anything related to love based parenting stuff, it’s about parents who abuse their power and the title of parent and discount children, defending the damage that they are actually doing.
(* ie; my mothers choice to believe and defend her boyfriend when he sexually abused me and her choice to blame it on me which caused me to have to absorb the shock and betrayal of that and then figure out how to live with it and the resulting terror I lived with knowing that I wasn’t safe and would not be kept safe)
Thanks for that quote… 🙂 It gave me a reason to defend the cause!
hugs, Darlene


Yes, I’m with you Darlene. I’d thought, and still think that our parents set the tone for our self-perception – for good or ill. Not that we can’t change any negative stuff, or that we need to blame people who really didn’t know any better, but that creating a healthy foundation for healing starts with a recognition and clear statement of how it felt to be a child in a dysfunctional household and the effects of that experience.

I’ve done a lot of research on this over many years, and yours is the first website I’ve found that really addresses this truth. I’m so grateful to you, and wish you every possible success with promoting the cause!
Every best wish


Kate, I have confronted my elderly mother, it got me denial, “it’s in the past, why are you punishing me for the past,” etc…….

Trouble is, I’m not punishing her for the one or two times she forgot to pick me up at X:o’clock from whatever…… It’s about the denial of my emotions. I’m only allowed to feel what SHE thought I “should” feel.


Kate, we are vicious to ourselves because we were taught to not love and respect ourselves. Marianne Williamson seems to be bunching those who struggle with self entitlement with those of us who struggle with self worth. There’s a big difference! Clearly her book was written to reflect her pompous opinion(s) rather than seek the systemic dysfunction that metastasizes within many families.


Hi Dawna-Llyn,

Excellent comment! I completely agree with you! I am not a fan of Marianne Williamson, nor am I a ‘New Age’ person, but a strong and proud Neo-Pagan Goddess Worshipper—(Druid/Wicca). I recall reading an article/blog? on the internet many years ago about Marianne Williamson where they depicted her as a cold-hearted, phony, and rude woman. Someone allegedly overheard her saying to one of her entourage behind closed doors regarding some difficulties with her show scheduling, “You’re F—ing with my livelihood.” I have NEVER cared for much of the New Age leaders since MOST of them are nothing more than pop-occultists, having very little psychic development and magical training. They only want the money and couldn’t care less about others! Blessed Be!


My mother turned 79 today. It’s the first year I have not acknowledged her birthday. I have been thinking
Of her all day and feeling sad. Sad for me, sad for her, sad for her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I have dealt with her abuse my entire life. I finally walked away when she hatefully told me I never loved her and no matter what I said I couldn’t convince her I do.
So what happens when she dies and this isn’t settled?. There is nothing to settle. I can’t force her to believe I love her. What a horrible thing to say to someone. It cut me to the core and the hurt will remain forever. My brother and his grown family have come to my defense only to be met with the same hateful treatment. How will I feel when she is gone? I have no idea but I do know that I never deserved to be treated in this manner, no one does. She has taught me how NOT to treat my family. Because of my mother, I am finding what real love feels like and it feels nothing like the treatment I received from her. That hurtful sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that spreads thru my body until my eyes fill with tears is finally gone. The stress of saying, doing the wrong thing or falling short is also gone. But still today I am sad, it shouldn’t be like this.


Yes Kathleen tis sad and should not be like this, but alas … it is … and it blows – big time! Intellectually we all know that its them and not us but emotionally we all ask ourselves the same question, “Why was I not enough? Why am I still not enough? What is it about me that makes me so unworthy of being loved by my parents?”. The logical answer, for me anyways, doesn’t dull the pain.


Thanks somuch for this! I am the sister of a woman who abused my physically, mentally and sexually while growing up. She tortured her children. And yes, what she did qualifies as torture under the Geneva Convention We finally quit speaking to her more than a decade ago. I have gotten the “But what if she dies!” comments more than once from different people. I have finally come to the statement “If she dies, I will be sad, but it doesn’t change things.” No one would tell a person who’s partner battered them this! But because she’s family, I am supposed to suck it up? I don’t think so. And one other thing. I loved my father. But I didn’t get to speak to him the last few months of his life. I was sad. I mourned. Life went on. With my sister, the only thing I will be sad about was that she COULD have gotten help, but chose not to do so.


Hi Deb M
Welcome to EFB!
Exactly! If an abusive family member dies it doesn’t change a thing about the truth.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much for this. I grew up being verbally and mentally abused by the woman who adopted me. My adopted dad died when I was 16 after a six year illness. She used to tell me all the time how my biological family threw me away and she picked me. If she picked me and wanted a child so bad why could she have not given me the life I deserved. By that I mean food, clothing, respect, etc.
My mother and I have not spoken in 3 1/2 years. in October I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. When my sister told her, she flat out said i was doing it for attention. she did not believe it until she saw a pic of me after chemo. She wanted to contact me, but my oncologist talked about how I needed only positive influences to be able to survive so I said no.
August 31st on my vacation, God impressed on my heart to forgive her after 44 years. I did. I started to imagine a new relationship I might have if I saw her. On September 4th I received a call that mother died in a horrible car wreck. I went to be with my sister. I felt numb about her death. In going through her stuff to find a picture for the newspaper my sister found a letter addressed to me from mother, it said that I was the one who was hateful and I should never come to her funeral or step foot near her grave. Wow even being dead she still knew how to hurt me. The hardest part was hearing all her friends say what a wonderful woman she was.
My sister never came to terms with the abuse, never forgave her much less confronted her like I did. I pray that some day she will find peace.
This writing above, made me feel like someone finally understood. Thank you.


I am so sorry Kimberly. My first thought, was how horrendously awful for a so-called mother to treat her child the way she treated you. And to use such words, (my step-father is similar to your step- mother) My real mum when she passed away, basically ignored me, condemned me when she was cognizant and I too felt the same way as you. I totally understand and empathise with the fact that even when dead, they somehow have way to ‘reaching’ out to do one last act of pain. But, in reality, this act has been going on for so long, it’s really all that they know. It is hard not to allow it to hurt you. It’s been a little over two years. And for me, the pain has mellowed. I am so glad that you did confront her and hold her to her actions. You stood strong in yourself. Know that you have strength.


Hi Everyone!
I just published a NEW article. This one is about anger and how I discovered the roots of why I had difficulty expressing or even feeling anger. It is about how we learn to view emotions and can be applied to any emotion.
Here it is: “Are you having difficulty with Anger?”
Link ~
Looking forward to the new conversation!
hugs, Darlene


This post just shouted out at me. Both my parents are dead now. My father dies 5yrs ago. It was right after that that I began to fall apart. What a coincidence. It was not safe for me to start to heal until he had gone. His narcissistic behaviour had overshadowed my lilfe, my validity my whole life. I had made previous attempts to heal, but the lack of support at home meant that I effectively got nowhere.
Once he had gone I had all the space in the world to fall apart, to get help from all sorts of people and services that I had been warned to stay away from – because of the shame it would cause (my parents).
By the time my father developed his final illness I was at the stage where I was looking forward to his death…. I knew I would be liberated at last.
He died shortly before my birthday, on a weekend before a public holiday, which delayed the funeral – until the day of my birthday. The other remaining members of my family thought I was made for arranging it for that day – I thought it was marvellous. FINALLY he had given me something that I wanted!
I have never regretted it for one second… the next few years were really hard, so painful, as I journeyed through to my healing – but I am there now… no longer merely surviving, I am thriving, and life is worth living for the first time.


Libby, Congratulations! I am glad you decided to have the funeral on your birthday. It was a final farewell to all the hurt in your life imposed by him. It was in a sense a “RE-Birth day”!

It has been a month since my mother’s death. It is hard to speak to my sister about it. She posts on facebook how hard it is not to have our mother around. It hurts me because I feel like she is discounting our pains and scars as children and what we went through. However, I know she is dealing with it as best she can. I can only imagine how I would be right now, had I not stood up for myself three years ago and walked away or turned all forgiveness of her over to God four days before her death.
I know that right now, other than dealing with my physical illness from cancer, I am at my best. I am not saying I am glad she is dead, I just know she is is no longer where she can hurt me or try too. Its done, over with. I do have very sad feelings for her husband because they were married 21 years. I know he loved her so and is lonely.
I do think hard somethings though because being a Christian and knowing what I know about the Bible, I look at the life she led. Many people thought she was a Christian because that is what she said. Growing up she curse you and stabb you while holding a Bible. At her funeral so many family members made the statement that she was now in Heaven with my daddy. I find that really hard to believe. But I amuse myself by wondering how long mom’s wait was at St. Peter’s gate???


I just received an email from my brother regarding this very subject. My mother is the cause of my distancing myself from her and my father never protected us. He would always tell us that she was our mother and that we should respect her. After we left our family home, things got worse for him and he had to deal with her narcissistic behaviour on his own. He has dementia now and my brother wants be to be accountable and visit my Dad. I can’t and my husband and children are behind me but it hurts that he doesn’t understand. I never had a voice in my family and I never will. This time is no different. I am so sad.


Hi Nadia,
Welcome to EFB ~ It is very sad and grieving is a big part of the healing process. It takes time. Hang in there; you have found the right website.
hugs, Darlene


I wonder if anyone here ever feels guilty for not feeling guilty … Let me explain….I have no regrets for walking out of my mothers house that day last Auguust. This had happened too many times before and I was done. Her mind games, her guilt trips, her false accusations, and her self centred attitude, was too much for me to handle anymore.
My poor father just stood there. He has dementia and didn’t really react because that part of his brain doesn’t really work anymore. My daughter was in tears. She is my third child and the third child that had to witness one of my mothers tantrums. I begged her to tell me what I did wrong. I begged her to tell me what my family ever did wrong.
She could not answer and she had no where to go….she usually hangs up on me or walks out of my house. This time I was in her home and refused to leave until she answered my question. She just yelled, so I left. My poor daughter was in tears and my Dad walked out and said goodbye. That was that. I wrote a letter asking for boundaries to be set and she replied ….the reply had nothing to do with the letter but she made sure to be the victim in her reply….I wrote back again and told her that I did not want contact with her. I need closure …especially now that I know!that my brother is not happy with my decision and doesn’t understand. I feel like I am going to bust out of my skin today…I am shaking and I feel stuck…BUT …I don’t want to go back there…I can’t….I love my husband and children to much to do that to them and to myself. If I did not meet my husband 30 years ago, I would not be living here…I probably would have moved to another province. I can’t be part of them anymore.


it is ok not to go back there. And it is ok not to feel guilty for not going back. You have to stand up for yourself. It was very painful the first time I stood up for myself I was 19. then she found me about 4 years later and it started all over again. I tried to make it work but the abuse was just as bad and she denied ever abusing me. So three and a half years ago I walked out and never called her again. I had to for my daughters. She had hurt them too. I did not want them to go through what I went through. When she died in August my 18 year old posed the question if anyone would think ill of her for not going to the funeral. I told her it was her decision and no one else. She did not have a relationship with my mother, my mother did not include her in her life at all. Here is my email if ever you need to vent:


Thank you for this last entry. My father died and the family did not let me know. I found out on the internet. My three brothers made it impossible to communicate with my parents. Would not pass the phone to them would threaten them that they would leave if they talked to me. So I sent flowers to my mother, sent cards, tried to call after my father’s death…the brother and his new wife would not let my mother talk to me. Living in another city it was impossible. Dysfunction, sexual abuse and alcoholic father equaled a lot of counselling and healing. Now my father died and I face no family contact because of my brothers wanting me out of the picture. Why I don’t know. My mother will eventually die and I will never be able to talk to her to tell her that I love her despite all of the rejection. So I cry sometimes but I then pick myself up and carry on. My husband always says their loss and better to not have contact as he does not want me to suffer…still it would be nice to be able to ask why she would do this to me. I have a genetic disease and needed to talk to her about a very serious decision about surgery. Needing some history and advise before I made a decision. My controlling brother would not let me talk to her. It is a form of elder abuse…isolation and there is nothing I can do about it. So estrangement is not always about the black sheep … it sometimes is about sibling control over a parent.


[…] to feel responsible for the failure in the relationship. Her comment was about her new realizations since the passing of her mother. I could deeply relate to her realization that she wanted to be missed. It was particularly […]


If they die, oh well. I plan on writing an obituary about them and have no intentions of resolving anything. My parents made it clear how “they were the best parents,” “we had everything,” “people loved us,” etc tons of lies! So, my parents said we are just making up lies blah blah. What is there to resolve? They said they didn’t do anything wrong, so why even be their “child?”


Kalispell (#9),

You said it all, and you figured it out so young.

My dad was a terrible parent. Growing up I was his favorite and though that gave me confidence in myself, I could see that he was needlessly harsh and self centered and that something was wrong with his personality. Eventually he was determined to be a sociopath.

He was such an ass his whole life and I remember fervently wishing he’d die at times, but it seemed like he was going to live forever. I often wondered if I’d be sad when he died. When it finally happened 9/10/13 I didn’t feel anything at all.

I have been heartbroken over deaths of pets and favorite aunts and uncles and even a young actress that I don’t know, so I know that I am capable of grief.

I look forward to the relief that N-mummy’s passing will provide and suspect I won’t feel anything on that one either.


Madison @ 68,

You sound like a loving and intelligent person and I hope things are better for you!

My mom treated me like Cinderella too. The older I got and the harder I tried the meaner she was to me. When I was 38 a counselor suggested that I might feel better if I gave up on my mother. She said “people like that don’t get better–the get worse as they get older”. At the time I was shocked and said I couldn’t give up because “she’s my MOTHER!”

I kept trying for eight more years; my mother just got meaner and more rejecting. I became more depressed and focused on “fixing” things instead of living my life.

At 46 I finally gave up. It is twelve years later and I feel better every year. This year I had to also cut myself off from the two relatives who repeat her lies to me and let me know that they believe her and think I’m a rotten person for “abandoning” her.

My dad was always a jerk too but since I’d felt more of kinship with him growing up I visited him several times before he died last year. Each visit was a huge disappointment–a complete waste of time, money and energy. What struck me on each visit was how awful he was and how the memory of that had faded (there was anywhere from 2 to 15 years between visits). I was surprised to realize that I’d gotten used to being treated decently and not like trash. I’d begun to heal away from him.

I always knew something was wrong with my parents and family. I wish I’d figured it out sooner because I wasted 40 years and thousands of dollars trying to fix a hopeless dynamic.

As someone pointed out somewhere on EFB–your body and mind naturally begin to heal, especially when the offending factor is reduced or removed. Reading quality books and blogs and talking to supportive people help so much too.

You are not ruined because of your upbringing. You can make lemonade from the lemons you got and create a good life for yourself.

You must be young if you’ve got siblings at home; you’re starting to figure this out early. Yay!

Go for it!


“She said “people like that don’t get better–the get worse as they get older””

Agreed. Parents had enough time when they were younger to make things right and they chose not to, like I told my therapist ‘why are we still trying to place on hope on abusive people when they don’t want to change?’


I have a very ironic experience around this very topic. My Mom and and a good amount of those that listen to her regularly tell me this very thing although the shunning nd estrangement comes from them. There have been six parents that my Mom and I both know where the parents outlived their adult children in the last three years. All of them were people I was lilies to and known by Mom and me — four were relatives. Last year my cousin (6 months older than me) passed away unexpectantly. We were very close growing up. When she passed away I immediately went to my aunt’s house (my Mom’s sister) to show a pic of the sunset that happened at the precise time my cousin passed away and to offer my condolences (1.5 hours after my cousin had died). My aunt and cousin acted cordial and normal to me until my Mom appeared from the other room. To my shocked astonishment the minute my Mom walked in the room my aunt and cousin (the deceased’s mother and sister) turned on me with a vengeance asking why was I such a horrible daughter and that my Mom was an angel and that I would be so sorry and guilty when she dies. I was dumbfounded and later even more horrified realizing that instead if grieving their daughter/sister who (my age) had JUST died, they decided to make it about my Mom and whatever one-sided story she’s been feeding them. Perspective and any kind of appropriateness or objectivity is lost on my family. Thankfully the funeral home called so I could make a hasty exit. Even so, the majority of the funeral service centered around the sunset I told them about and they even used the picture I gave them.


Darn spellcheck – not “lillies” to but “close to”. Also, to clarify the visit and the funeral services were several days apart. Also “of, not “if”.


Hi Lori
Welcome to EFB
Thanks for sharing ~ This is such a horrible and yet typical thing that goes on!! You have found the right site!
p.s. there have been some problems with the server here lately and your comment came in during that week (so that might be why so few comments) but everything is resolved now.
hugs, Darlene


In the case of an abuser, you don’t have good memories. All you have is bad memories. So why dredge them up? How are you going to feel sitting at the funeral, plastering a fake smile on your face, thanking people for coming, and trying to think of something nice to say about your abuser without feeling like a liar and a total hypocrite? Are you going to sit there, wanting to scream out the truth, but biting your tongue, lest people think you’re just as bitter and crazy as your abuser always said you were? If the deceased wasn’t an abuser or a sociopath, you wouldn’t have this problem. You could go to their funeral, grieve normally, thank people sincerely, and tell the truth about what a wonderful person they were and how much they will be missed. But with an abuser, let’s face it, they were not a good person, and they probably won’t be missed at all.


I love you to bits Darlene, <3, reading this reminded me about the decision i made in therapy to cut all ties from all family members, i escaped the toxic mess we were all in. The first thing I said in therapy was 'i wish all these people would just go away and leave me alone', the energy from the elephant in the room was destroying me slowly but surely, but when i cut ties a year after i said those words to my therapist, my first thought was 'what if they die?' to which my therapist replied 'people die all the time'. I just looked at her but she was right, they do, what if I die before them/ Will they come running to me to admit covering up the truth? you can bet they wont! so why should i feel guilty? but guilt is something we are so ingrained in carrying…it is very hard to shake off, ….but THEY feel NO guilt so now my attitude is WHY THE HELL SHOULD I, I DID NOTHING WRONG! I broke all ties in November 2013 and you should see how peaceful it is in my home, I am alone with my kids and we are bonding, because I am not focused on being 'good' for them, smiling and putting up with their criticism and telling me how to raise my kids, sorry for the rant i could write a book on it, thanks for posting yet another great and relevant topic, i have so much respect and admiration for you xxxx


I certainly needed this one. Thank you once again.


This is my biggest fear yet I already know by now she will die and nothing will be resolved. One time after I try to commit suicide and I was able to confront ger and tell her JUST A LITTLE of the hurt and damage after all the abuse from her she replied “I don’t know what I did to you but well, forgive me”! REALLY???? She won’t even acknowledge anything! And I know for a fact she knows how much she hurt me in every aspect she did! I think that will be her last knife struck! She will finish me emotionally before she die.


I fear that day will come and I don’t know how I will react, I know my family will hate me if I do not react the way I am expected. That is another reason I know she will do the ultimate struck! I am very afraid of that day. I really hope I die first!


Whilst my dysfunctional family, especially my mother, seem nowhere near as bad as some I have read of, they have nonetheless “walked” from my life 3 times – each time expecting me to “hold out the olive branch” for maintaining a relationship. On the 3rd and final occasion I felt that my efforts to “behave” and maintain the relationship would only continue their pattern of emotional/psychological abuse and by returning to them and “ignoring” their poor behaviour I would actually be condoning their behaviour and sending them the message “you can continue to treat me like shit because you’ve raised me to believe blood is thicker than water / families stick together etc” . So I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my parents (now in their 70s) will die without there being any reconciliation as I expect my mother has already twisted past events to her viewpoint and will have told all prepared to listen that I’m the dreadful daughter who has abandoned them after “all they’ve done for me” … same old same old … and the sad part being that she probably believes her own lies. In my mind I do have SOME happy memories of days with my family, particularly with my father BUT I have a lot of unhappy ones too and to have a relationship with them now would only create more unhappy memories so I’ll stick with the few good ones I’ve got. I feel it’s almost the “last taboo” to admit openly that one doesn’t like one’s family, but I’ve learned to defend myself and recognise my mother was probably doing the best she could, but that doesn’t mean I have to condone her behaviour by rushing to her side when she succumbs to illness. When she dies I’ll be sad for what could’ve been but “it is what it is” and not everyone is blessed with a loving family. As I said to a friend recently, “Think of all the mad/unstable/dysfunctional people you read about in the world … and then realise they are ALL related to someone … and in my case, SOME of them are related to me!” She laughed and so should we.


Two of the four parents who abused me are now dead. I am glad they are. I have no feeling for them because of what they did to me. The other two are still alive. My real mother is one I talk to on occasion but I am not permitted to bring up the past with her anymore. Every time I do, she is all into playing the blame game and putting it all back on me. In order not to deal with it I just do not bring it up anymore. The step father I do not know where he is but from last I heard he was out of jail now. I do not care where he is nor do I wish to relocate him ever again. They all said I was the crazy one all the time. I was the mental basket case. I wonder if they ever realized it was THEM who made me the way I am.


Hi Sealady
Welcome to EFB ~ (Are you directing your comments/questions at me?? If so I have resolved this issue within myself.) As for this question for most people, it isn’t that easy when having lived under the brainwashing of abuse which communicates that the person in the wrong is always the ‘victim’. If I have misunderstood, and your comments are strictly about how YOU feel, then yes, I get it. 🙂
Thanks for sharing,
hugs Darlene


Hi Melody,
I am glad this resonated with you!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Marie
Thank you! I totally relate to what you are saying too. Part of this for me was the brainwashing that I was not capable to make the right decision, so I was scared to make a decision! It was in making the decision that actually helped lift the fog enough for me to SEE the truth about needing to make the decision in the first place. 🙂
Might have to read that one twice! LOL
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Nancy
Welcome to Emerging from broken,
There came the day when I realized that I hoped I would one day LIVE. And I was so shut down prior to seeing the truth about all this. There came a point in the healing process, when I saw the truth; they will say what they say, they will do what they do and they will believe what they want, just like they always have. And I don’t care anymore. I had to take my life back regardless of all the lies they live in and pass around to people that in most cases also didn’t give a crap about. I actually had nothing to lose. 🙂
What your mother said to you at such a vulnerable time is really nasty and very dismissive. She made it all about her. That was the kind of stuff that helped me see the truth about what I was really dealing with.
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Jacqui
Welcome to EFB ~ What happened to you is no less difficult or abusive as what happened to me or anyone else.
I can laugh today but I had to realize it wasn’t funny at all before I could laugh in a way that didn’t discount me the same way they always did. I think that I might feel sad when they die because as you say, that will be the end of any shred of hope that things could ever be different but for the most part, I am very clear about why I had to draw this boundary. 🙂
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Hi W4L
Thanks for sharing, and yes I agree, I wasn’t born that way!
hugs, Darlene


When my mother died a couple years ago, alone, in a nursing home, far away from me, I was the one who got the call. On Christmas Eve. It had been fifteen years since I saw her last. I was only sad because now there was no hope of ever having a Mom. I didn’t cry when she died. I felt nothing.

It has taken a lot of work to rewire my brain circuits. To teach myself to love Me. To convince myself how cool I am. To applaud my successes. To appreciate my failures and learn from them instead of putting myself down and calling me a loser. To know I can handle things. To make decisions without hearing that “voice” tell me I don’t know what I am doing.

As I work on my inner voices, what is happening is the snowball effect. It was hard to get the new Me rolling in the beginning but now it’s a piece of cake and getting easier and easier. Those old icky shadows are still there but they are teeny tiny and insignificant.

Now if my siblings would leave me alone…


And another thing…

When I began to rewire my brain circuits a startling awful pattern showed itself. Most of my relationships were one sided. I mean, I was the giver and doer. I was dancing as fast as I could to make sure the other person “liked” me. When I stopped, they stopped coming around or calling. When I started again, they were there taking whatever I gave.

After seeing this pattern, I stopped doing in all my relationships. Only two, maybe three, stayed the course and are now healthy give and take.

Just wanted to throw that out there. So many of us are busting our asses for people in our lives that really don’t give a shit about us. Because that is what we learned to do as children.


Hi Sandy
I can relate! In my case I first began to notice that many of my ‘friends’ took me for granted and took advantage of me. I didn’t realize that it was a carry over of my childhood etc. When I started coming out of the fog, the first person that I realized treated me like I was nothing, was my father in law. Then my mother… then I began to see a huge pattern when I realized how I viewed myself because of my childhood. Freedom is devine! I have a life now and I live it!

Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


I have no words…I thought I was alone. After seeing all these posts I am in tears. So many like me, with the same story. God Bless us ALL..
Thank you


Hi Diane
Welcome to Emerging from Broken.
You are certainly not alone! Sadly, there are millions of us! 🙁 There is so much hope and healing here though. Glad you are here, thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Darlene – THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for writing this piece! It was just what I needed to soothe my soul right at this moment. Wow! Only someone who has lived this can truly understand — though my husband has gotten enough experience with them in the last 4 years that he really does understand.
Thank you for reiterating that it is OK to feel this way.



Only we survivors of abuse give it such serious consideration and spend time agonizing over it. It’s hard to overcome a lifetime of brainwashing and guilt, and reprogram ourselves, but we have to put our own welfare and safety first. 🙂


This is what iv been waiting for my parents died last yr within 6 mths of each other i went to one funeral feelin i had to guilt etc …. Cudnt go to the other and since then ( even tho i cut both out for 20 yrs previous ) i hav felt immense pressure guilt from family but mainly myself thanku iv never written on one of these comment things bfore either but do read everyones posts 🙂


Hi Jennifer
Welcome to EFB
It was a great day for me when I realized that not only did I have a right to feel the way that I did, but there was a reason for it too! Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Annoymous
Welcome to EFB or at least to the ‘commenting part’ of it. 🙂
This whole thing is a huge issue. I stressed over it for years before I sorted out the truth about everything.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Everybody dies. Mortality does not award entitlement to avoid consequences of harming another human, just as having a biological relationship doesn’t either.


My Parents did die! My mother had been an alcoholic as far as I can remember. We had a stormy relationship but it started to get better as I got older. I blamed her for not protecting me but realized two things, that she did her own sort of abuse with me and the second was I couldn’t blame her too much because I saw how she was acting out in her own life for what she had been put through growing up. She was placed in a nasty foster home at the age of five. Her foster mother was very mean to her. She left when she was 18. She later came in contact with her mother but never really got close to her. I did realize the compassion I had for her until I had children of my own. When I was 36 and she was 56 she died of two ruptured brain anyuerisms. I never got to talk with her about the abuse from my father and why she didn’t do anything about it. I have so many unanswered questions that will never get answered.
My father abused me in several ways but the most damaging was he sexually molested me from a baby right into high school and I couldn’t do a thing about it. When I was 18 I told my mother but she refused to believe it. They were still married. I didn’t get away from them, At 19 I was date raped and found out late that I was pregnant. I had the baby, I didn’t give him up and I am so glad, he is the best thing that has ever happened for me but here I was 20 with a baby and no place to go but to live with my parents. I got us out when I was 25 when I got married. My parents eventually divorced. My mother and I never talked about what my father did to me. He was in my life until I was 40 years old. My marriage had turned out to be an abusive one as well in every form of abuse. I didn’t know how to get out. When the kids were grown and in college my husband got even worse. One day it gilt to where I couldn’t take it anymore and had a major suicide attempt. When I was in the hospital my father came and I got the guts to throw him out. I never talked to him again. I started seeing a therapist and i wrote two letters to my father to give me an apology for what he did but he refused both times. With them help of the therapist I finally got the courage to leave my husband. I have been divorced now for 6 years. My father died unexpectedly a year and a half ago. He died a nasty death, by aspirating on his own vomit. I a day or two later ended up back the in psych ward fit was about my 6th time since my suicide attempt, anyways I didn’t go to the funeral services. I was in the hospital but I wouldn’t have went anyways. My brother and family were so pissed off at me. In my dream world I imagined by me not being there told everyone that he really did abuse me, but I don’t think thats what happened. my brother and I are now talking again and he tells me he loves me. I never got the apology I wanted and needed and never will. You never know when your parents are going to die. I am glad my father is gone but I miss my mother and miss never taking the time to ask all the questions I needed to ask.


Right now, I look forward to the day that I get to dance on that travesty of a mothers grave and spit on it. Tempted to relieve myself on it as well. Maybe burn all of the flowers around her grave. Yeah, I’m still very angry and that’s ok 🙂 It feels good. Honestly though I haven’t given this much thought. I am too angry and fantasizing about my mother dying a horrible death to give a rats ass about her dying. I’ve burned her alive twice now in therapy. Right now the only thing I have to say to my mother is “why aren’t you dead yet?” And if that doesn’t change then I don’t care. That women deserves nothing from me, not even the fecal matter I would like to deposit on her grave. So, obviously I still get pretty angry when people ask me this.

I’ve noticed in people who pose the question “what are you going to do when your parents die” a big truckload of denial in their own relationships with their parents. They like to take the superior stance and think they are better people for maintaining a bad relationship with their parents. They are masters of excuses to stay inside their delusion. I usually change the subject and try to remind myself that this is another case of someone projecting their own crazy onto me. It’s not about me when I am asked this question, it is about the person asking.

Big hugs to all my fellow survivors!


Hi Laurie
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Yes that is very true; for me it wasn’t quite that simple in the beginning of sorting all this out. I was brainwashed into thinking that parental entitlement DID matter. Glad that I know today that it has nothing to do with actual love. 🙂
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Dotty
Welcome to EFB ~ I am glad that you are here; there is a lot of information, acceptance and comfort here. We try to look at things through new eyes, in a new way and that is where our new found freedom comes from. I don’t have any of my questions answered ~ but the good news is that the answers to those questions are not the path to overcoming all this! It was looking at the truth about the damage that it caused, and validating that there WAS damage, that worked for me.
Please share often,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Dotty – I too had many unanswered questions that I would’ve liked answers to HOWEVER I truly believe my mother (who is still alive) would just lie to suit her own version of events … and if by some miracle she didn’t lie or deny then I still wouldn’t know the truth as it would be hard to spot the truth from her lies these days. So I find it easier to just move forward and understand that “answers” or “explanations” wouldn’t really address anything for me and I’m happy with that as my future doesn’t require me hearing what she might think I want to hear OR what she thinks would hurt me or “guilt” me further so I no longer dwell on them.


Both my parents abused me – sexually, physically and emotionally. I never received any love or affection and was constantly told I am useless and worthless. They both fit into the diagnostic category of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. We as a society have been brainwashed to believe that adults and parents are always right. The more we speak out about the reality of abuse the better, so that these myths and delusions can be challenged and the truth become known. Some parents are abusive and abuse does exist!

Thank you for writing this and sharing Darlene, your posts are helping many and society as a whole. Yes no-one wants to talk about abuse or believe it’s real, but it most certainly is!

I have also found it helpful to read The Light’s House website about toxic and abusive parents.


You’re the best Darlene. So many can relate to your thoughts because so many people have bad parents. Really when is this world going to wise up about the crucial importance of parenting? As soon as this world rids itself of parental arrogance, and parents become more humble about their errors and mistakes and start taking action to change patterns of behavior that are passed on from generation to generation, everything will get better simply because poor parenting causes permanent damage to children that adversely affects them throughout their entire, resulting in failures, homelessness, chemical dependency, crime, violence, and more abuse. It’s a cycle and very few have the ability to stop it because our society is so conditioned to always “respect your parents” and to accept their mental illnesses and disorders simply because they bore us. The reality is that it is very easy to make a child, but it is extremely difficult to raise a child without any permanent damage that will cause problems for them in their adulthood and the rest of their life. The reason for that is because we as parents don’t fix our own problems and they manifest themselves onto our children naturally and easily. Even the smallest degree of error can permanently harm a child and cause them struggle and pain for the rest of their life.


Hi Charmaine and Karen T. ~ Welcome to EFB

Charmaine ~ I am so sorry that happened to you (and so many others!) yes, the more we talk about this, the more the brainwashing is revealed. 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen
Well said and thank you for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

marquis (female)
March 30th, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Karen T,

I agree with your comment. Parents shouldn’t be put on some kind of pedestal because they are parents and that’s what is wrong with children these days as they still don’t have a voice yet the unfit parents are always right. Right about what exactly? Something I’ve been asking for a long time. I always hear people say if your parents are old and senile and they say snide comments is “because they are elderly and have Alzheimer’s disease which is why they say stuff they don’t mean or realize.” That’s a load of crap, if they were like that long before they had any serious mental health issues, then having such and such illness doesn’t prevent/stop someone from being abusive – a huge misconception people believe!

“The reason for that is because we as parents don’t fix our own problems and they manifest themselves onto our children naturally and easily. Even the smallest degree of error can permanently harm a child and cause them struggle and pain for the rest of their life.”

Agreed. If a lot more mental health professionals, the ones who study children and families, should come out and really say what’s happening in families and what will happen x amount of generations down the line with abuse and family secrets. If they did, watch how the population would flip and be yelling and screaming. It seems like the field has an agenda not to tell the population the truth about shaming, guilt, etc the real truth about parenting and shaming how this all affect the children since nobody “isn’t ready to hear that yet, so let’s keep feeding the public what they want to hear.” Said that to my ex therapist quiet as a mouse, but I don’t think she liked that comment at all lol.


The world would be a better place if people were to speak up more about a lot of things actually, like child sexual abuse. I tried to report a real and dangerous pedophile who was molesting my nephews and I was shocked and appalled how mistreated I was by law enforcement, Social Services, and the courts. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that nobody reports suspicions of child sexual abuse and those poor kids are trapped in a living hell for the rest of their lives. The people who care enough to report are actually mistreated and victimized along with the victim! Not only that but how many of you have seen a parent do something that you considered abusive or even harmful to their child? A lot of us have but we could never say anything without getting attacked, ostracized, condemned, or lose friends and/or relatives. That’s what I mean about the sigma placed on children that their parents should always be respected and never blamed. That inherent ideal is turning out to be disastrous and only helps, hides, and protects abusers. Also the “politically correct” revolution did nothing but take away freedom of speech.


Karen, you’re right. I even tried telling an aunt and got the “are you sure?” Really, someone works up the guts to tell, and you are minimized. Then you don’t want to tell anyone else for fear they won’t believe you.


I am 52 years old and the day my mother died I felt relief for her. She was abused horribly by her mother and then had her first child died. She never really recovered from either thing. I so agree with this article!!! My siblings can’t stand me and see me as nothing less then a pig, a liar, and just plain nasty. Nothing like being lonely in a room full of people!!! My parents did have their whole lives to settle this and I was the one blamed. Some how it should be me to fix the problems. I didn’t create the problems they did. I sure got labeled with them. I also have been told by family that all families are dysfunctional and basically get over it. No I am not going to be the scapegoat for my dysfunctional family. I am not going to be the one that “gets over it” at least not in the way my family would like to see me too. I will most likely will never see these people again. I could go on with a list of abusive experiences from my family. I choose to deal with the issues rather then “get over it”…I couldn’t “get over it” until I finally made the decision to do just that. I deserved to “get over it” and I have to say our society is sure judgmental of people struggling to repair their lives from abusive parenting..It isn’t and wasn’t just the abuse but the continual grieving process…Had to grieve my parents then grieve my siblings then grieve the whole bundle of other things…like how to make and keep friends, what to say and what not to say to acquaintances, how to handle intimacy, how to raise my own kids, plus the mi rad of other things trust, forgiveness, fear of being alone, worthiness, and had to re-raise and reinvent myself constantly while others in my age group were at the beach while I spent my money on therapy, others were getting married while I was in therapy…etc..Oh and then there is the joy of going out in public seeing other people with their parents while you know that your parents would just assume you drop over dead. I always always always held out hope for my siblings. My siblings turned out to be a wasted effort on my part. I remember having an offer to be adopted by someone else and said, “No” because of my siblings. I hoped and prayed..but not anymore. I am done…I feel like I will always have some anger and resentment toward them. I think my sister tried to do some nice things for me but their came a point when it was to late. She was to late…I just couldn’t live in that anymore. I had to let go of all of it. My sister does things for herself and she should. I don’t know what she has been through. I do know that my mother had meetings about me when I was little and when my siblings were little as well. They were programed to hate me from the start all subconscious now. That is fine now and I don’t care. Once I strengthened my faith I learned to forgive and move on. I never was without a parent…I always had God. Do abusive parents do nice things..sure they do but when the abuse out weighs the good or charity (lets call it what it is) then good riddance….I hope my siblings live well and are friends with each other the rest of their lives…They don’t get it and when you can hurt a good soul with a kind heart you can hurt anything. I chose not to conform. I won’t conform and I am not alone. We have a huge cultural issue here but unfortunately our society focuses on money. We don’t deal with our cultural issues and we have a huge number of people who are depressed, anxious, and suicidal as a result. I am a nurse and I have held many hands and prayed with many through the years…30 years this year…I hope I held one that changed their ways admitted their wrongs and moved toward the direction of loving and caring for the children they gave birth too. Oh and as for but they gave birth to me thing…Don’t care…your sexual habits are your own damn business. If I figured all this out and I am genetically made up of your materials guess what you could have figured it out too. In the meantime I will forever be the family pig, the idiot, the slob, the nothing that my parents gave birth too. So be it…If I don’t have to have these people in my life it is totally worth it…


You are the strong and brave one Kelly. Only special people like you have the ability to stop, or at least alleviate, the cycles of mental illness and abuse/neglect that are almost always passed on to the next generation. You are the minority that is for sure and I am proud of you for standing up for what is right because it is not easy to do that.
Money is the motivating factor for most things in this world and there is no money to be gained from protecting children from abuse or neglect. Children are too easy to silence. In fact because of parental arrogance it would be nothing but a battle and a waste of money to invest in trying to change parenting attitudes, styles, and behaviors, even though to me it is the most important job there is.
I recently visited a group on Facebook for parents of estranged adult children. I couldn’t take it anymore after reading the posts and comments from all those mentally ill parents. The parents did nothing but blame, shame, and condemn their children and they all said that it was all the fault of their child. I tried to talk some sense into them by telling them that their child’s pain is real and that the child probably has good reasons to be estranged from their parent but I was then kicked out of the group.
The denial of parents is something like I have never seen before. It’s so chronic, it’s so powerful, and it’s so excessively inherent. It’s almost as if people are born with arrogance and ego about their perfect parenting which is far from perfect, but I know that it is more environmental and our society fuels and creates that arrogance. For instance the drugging of children is so common today but realistically children act out their pain and their behavior is almost always a result of their environment. When children are drugged it is simply to pacify the parents, the parents who are usually causing the bad behavior in the first place but will never admit it. Most of the time if you were to take that child out of their environment (home life) their behavior improves dramatically but most parents would never allow that and doctors are afraid to accuse a parent of being the problem because the parent would then sue them or slander and defame them. The extreme blindness and ignorance are the barriers keeping bad parents from becoming better parents, and the children suffer for it for the rest of their lives. Lack of knowledge is a big issue too and those who are against change will never read a book or take a class about how to deal with their own issues so everyone else around them must suffer, including their children. Most times I see more care and concern taken about dogs and their owners than about children and their parents. I am shocked every day how complacent and ignorant our world is about parenting and the sheer importance of it. Nobody realizes that the prisons are full of people who were not raised right, people whose parents made many crucial parenting mistakes. Chemical dependency treatment centers are full of people who were not raised right by their parents or guardian. Most adult mental health issues are due to childhood trauma, abuse, or neglect. Just think about how our world would drastically and quickly change if people took parenting more seriously. There are serious abusers who are allowed to not only have children but are also allowed to keep them, which guarantees that they will raise a child that will become a burden to society with mental illness. Teenagers raising children is another problem. Young people are not equipped to be good parents and there is no doubt about that fact, but you will find many in society who say that a teenage mother is a good mother, or that they did a good job when they were a teenage mother. There is no way that a teenager can be a good parent when their own brains are not even fully developed yet. Not only that but their lives are not conducive to being a good parent no matter how hard they try. Parenting in this world is not treated with caution like everything else is and that is a shame.


Hi Kelly
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I can relate and I understand what you are writing about here. Life is so much better now!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone,
Just wanted to bring your awareness to a new post on the home page today! Guest Author Carrie shares the grief over being ignored by her family of origin when she drew her boundary. This post is beautifully written and so full of emotional honesty. I hope you will share your thoughts with Carrie ~ here is the link: Self Love and Navigating the Waters of Grief by Carrie H
Hugs, Darlene


Karen T (368),

I totally agree with you. I have been saying that for years and yea, I lost friends in high school after speaking about my abusive parents. I’ve had people tell me that “what they are doing is not abusive, it’s just parents trying to give you tough love.” There’s a huge difference between abuse and giving a person tough love.

“That inherent ideal is turning out to be disastrous and only helps, hides, and protects abusers. Also the “politically correct” revolution did nothing but take away freedom of speech.”

Agreed, been saying that for years. It’s all about protecting the abusers and shaming the victim(s). There’s a lot of people who don’t agree with this like my ex therapist (who got offended), she said the victim has a moral responsibility to make themselves change and I told her people have a moral responsibility to not allow abuse to happen whether it’s in the home, at work, at school, etc. She didn’t have too much to say to that but she did say ‘that’s a victim’s attitude.’ Really?!? That’s why I lost friends because my views weren’t “part of society’s views.”

I told people ‘why do I still have to be silenced?’ Sad, I want to make a new set of friends and I don’t wanna talk about my “parents” anymore. I shouldn’t have to give someone a dark story and besides nobody never wanted to hear about it anyway, so why bother asking me? Like I told my ex therapist, not everybody is on good terms with their families. So, we have to be careful about asking a person about their family.

Karen T (371)
What does everybody think of child abuse organizations? So, those parents on that FB page were in denial and it’s their kids’ fault? I wonder if my parents were part of that group lol. Believe me, there are people out there who feel it is a child’s fault yet ask them how would they feel if someone did that to them when they were kids? Look, at how many mouths will shut!

I agree with your post. We can have better resources to make bad parents to good like you were syaing, seems like this country profits off of abused people and put a phoney face out there saying ‘we would like to help these poor, abusive parents,’ they don’t seem to do shit for them. I am on this site called in a Family group where I have been harassed a lot. Everybody on there said they went through similar things that the other users have went through yet they talk shit about you. I told people in there how I don’t have the right answers for why I didn’t do this or that, but I was honest about my feelings/experiences and omg, that wasn’t good enough. I told them you sound like your abusive parents or whoever raised you, that was a flame war! I’ve been kicked out of groups similar to dailystrength for a long time nobody in those groups wanted to hear the truth yet they all came there for the truth!

Even the ones who went through abuse are just as bad as their abusive families and I noticed that real quick. I agree about the people in prison and a lot of them are screwed up because of how they were raised growing up that is very true. Long ago, i saw how a shrink did a study on that to prove it yet people disagreed with him. I told my ex therapist who is a mom ‘who suffers the most in the end? The children since their lives have been ****** up by their families/parents, so in the end, it is the families not preventing the abuse from happening. This is about holding someone accountable for their actions and if a mother didn’t feed her kids at all because she didn’t want to, who’s freakin fault is it??’ She is a mom didn’t like that at all. I told her ‘I do blame my parents for not providing the needs for us growing up and they didn’t provide the needs, nurturing, etc that they should have given something you just agreed with me on and now you’re saying you shouldn’t blame your parents. So, is it my fault that I didn’t have those needs? Are you saying I should have went out there, gotten a job at 8 yrs old, and been the breadwinner? Hell, might as well if that could have “legally” happen!!’ Oooh, that woman was furious when I got through with her! Nothing she said actually made sense, it should have made more sense she is a mom herself!

There’s a lot of bad parenting out there and people don’t say anything. I mean, I hear people say some things about it but won’t stop it. I told people our society has gotten used to poor mistreatment this goes all the way back to slavery and keeping other people oppressed due to a lot of different issues. Yep, a lot of people shut it after that! About the denial of parents being powerful, I agree as nobody didn’t care to listen to me as a child growing up because “the parents are always right even if they abuse you,” is the message I got from idiot adults back then.

They told me “I was too intelligent for a child to have this adult-like thinking and a child who thought like an adult needs to go back to being a child.” Excuse me, is the children are seen not heard bs coming back?? I am highly intelligent, I knew everything of what was going on at home as I saw it happening on a daily basis. Seems like too many adults were threaten by me (the child back then) for thinking and speaking on their level. Too many children are being threaten by their families or others for speaking out. My ex therapist said we are not dusting anything under the rug, ummm yea, you are! I heard the sympathy towards my parents than me and I told my boyfriend never again will I waste my time stepping foot into any mental health’s office (was suppose to been tested for ADD/ADHD never happen).

Yea, children have this “bad behavior” is lashing out or acting out their pain like you said. I always tell people remember the movie Chucky and Jason vs Freddy? They were abused and the reason for their killings were the result of people mistreating them. If you ask any child why they are acting like this, it will go back to their home environment always does! About the doctor being suspicious of child abuse, that is true how they fear being “sued” when they are doing their job and are suppose to report abuse. Same thing goes with teachers, they are suppose to say something whereas mine didn’t. I take that back, very of them actually did ask me what is my home life like and told them it’s like walking into hell on a daily basis. They just looked at me and didn’t like language, well it’s true, but they never bothered to look into it just “love your parents, etc.” These idiot parents will sue at any cost just to keep the doctors, social workers, teachers, etc their mouths shut!

It seems like CPS, doctors, family court, etc are “bought and paid for by abusive people.” Why? because they seem to dance to their tunes, hey, they did with my parents which is why the state of NY didn’t take my siblings before I was born. When I was in high school, the cops said my mom is normal. Anybody can fake normal! They didn’t do a thorough good on my parents as they didn’t press the right buttons. They only came once to my house and never returned.

“Lack of knowledge is a big issue too and those who are against change will never read a book or take a class about how to deal with their own issues so everyone else around them must suffer, including their children.”

Agreed. There are parenting books, even though, parents have to develop their own parenting styles. It’s sad there used to be a time long time ago, where kids (the daughters mostly) were taught how to care for the younger siblings like a mom figure at least she had some sense as to how to take of kids so when she has her own kids in the future, she already has basic training. Today, nobody isn’t sitting down with kids about teen pregnancy.

“Teenagers raising children is another problem. Young people are not equipped to be good parents and there is no doubt about that fact, but you will find many in society who say that a teenage mother is a good mother, or that they did a good job when they were a teenage mother. There is no way that a teenager can be a good parent when their own brains are not even fully developed yet. Not only that but their lives are not conducive to being a good parent no matter how hard they try. Parenting in this world is not treated with caution like everything else is and that is a shame.”

I remember teen girls said ‘in the old, old days, teen girls were getting married young with kids. Back then, people weren’t living past 40! I don’t know any teen or young woman who is mature enough to have/raise a baby. You see it all the time with teens with kids in the news how they are abusive, neglectful, etc and the states allowed the teens to make a choice to keep the baby or not as it used to be the parents who made the choices, but they lost power and it was given to the teens. This is why people should have over 29 years old at least the brain is more mature! A teen is still a kid, a minor, a child raising another child really?!? When I was a teen, hell no I didn’t want to be a teen mom certainly not in this abusive, hoarded environment!

I was smart about it but I had girls tell me how I don’t have kids back when I was 18-23 years old. They had kids, miserable, no man in their lives, etc. Listen to these teen girls as to why they want a baby is because they ain’t getting love at home so a baby is like a doll that they can love and it will love them back, really?!? Aren’t these girls over the stage of “playing with dolls?” I stopped playing with them when I turned 10 yrs old. It seems to me these teen girls are still in their “little girl stages” like 5, 6, 8 years old and their brains should be in teenage mode getting ready for adulthood soon. Oh wait, nobody dares say that in public because that would be shushed so fast it wouldn’t be funny!!! It will make people upset, they will be offended, that just proves nobody wants to hear the truth about anything which is why the mental health field can tell people what they want to hear about the human mind.

I do agree how people place care into other issues that goes on and not enough with families. This society is very ignorant about every issue which we have buried under the sand, the beach, the rocks, whatever! We refuse to deal or fix these problems and we are so worried about some group over here being offended, so what! They say children are a gift, but how is that when parenting isn’t taking seriously like you said, Karen? Having a dog, kitten, rabbit, etc are wonderful to have as friends/pets, but what about the serious responsibilities that come with it? We hardly ever ask that question in this world. Like someone I remember said bad responsibility = good responsibility while good responsibility = bad. Just like people still can’t distinguish the difference between good and evil where good is bad and evil is good. My ex therapist didn’t like that too much, well she needs to look way outside the box!


That “victim mentality” trend has been extremely suppressive and harmful as well. I know many people, including supposed experts and professionals, who got hooked on that unproductive ideal that someone who has a “victim attitude” or who is caught up in “victim” ways of thinking should be ashamed of it. What the heck?!!! Are there no boundaries for victims? Where and when do people draw the line when it comes to trying to find reasons to further shame and blame a victim!!! Offenders are the ones who start that crap because they don’t want to hear it. Now it’s to the point that a victim cannot even claim to be a victim without further being punished! That attitude about victims not being able to complain or blame was developed by people who are selfish and probably mentally ill.


It is narcissistic and unrealistic for a person who is not a “victim” to tell a real “victim” how they should handle it, how they should think or feel, or how they should behave because of it. That’s nothing but an oxymoron, just like parents who blame their kids for not being exactly who they want them to be. They raised them with dysfunction and then they blame them when they have it. 🙁


Right on, Karen T !

marquis (female)
April 1st, 2014 at 12:12 am

Karen T,

I remember long ago when people had this “victim attitude,” that some people were actually helping them and others were doing things for the victims. I remember those arguments on tv how “the victims need to learn to stand on their own two feet and being babied by people.” I felt offended by my ex therapist telling me ‘I shouldn’t have this victim mentality, that’s just another way of staying a victim instead of fixing your own life.’ I got really mad saying ‘I have a right to feel the way I do and if people like you don’t like it, then ***** off and go sit down somewhere!’ Yep, that became heated between ex therapist and I aka with her being miss know it all!

She said victims can’t move past their issues if they can’t focus on themselves and I said ‘victims can’t move on as long as you have your tongue up the abusers’ asses and put them on a pedestal, hey, the abusers will always be right and the victims always wrong, right? How do you expect people to start brand new when you are not holding the abusers accountable for anything?’ She didn’t like that at all, felt I was using “excuses to justify my reasonings.” I don’t need excuses I have life experience that backs up everything I’ve said and all I hear from her mouth is her rigid experience from college!

I agree with your response Karen, your 2nd response. I told that to a lot of people including ex therapist which she partially agreed and still said ‘but the victim has to do their job,’ what job?!?

“Now it’s to the point that a victim cannot even claim to be a victim without further being punished! That attitude about victims not being able to complain or blame was developed by people who are selfish and probably mentally ill.”

Man, I have said this to people a lot in the past and oooh were they hot and heated! My ex therapist was hot and heated when I said this to her in her office several times and told her ‘why are you always so offended? is this triggering something in your past (never got an answer)? You seem to be always offended by what I have to say and it doesn’t seem to fit your ideologies as I am not offended! Do you need to see someone?’ You wanna talk about confrontational? Yep, pretty confrontational with her and people in the past when I said that.

I always told these kinds of people, “seems like you still got pent up issues from the past whereas someone told you you can’t have any feelings and be hurt by whoever that person; so you are gonna do it to me or someone else! Basically, if I can’t feel anything emotionally neither can you.” Ooh, I got a lot of people so freakin upset and told them ‘stop me if I am “wrong!” Instead of trying to point out what I am “so wrong about,” I had more name calling than anything else!

Funny, all they said “how you just wanna be confrontational,” and told these fools “I am not the one who has the hard time with the truth and isn’t filled with dogma; I am not the one who is offended and doesn’t fear anything like I have something to hide.” Yep, after that, lots of people shut it!


Those stupid types of “trends” are counterproductive yet people run with it. Those people are followers not leaders. For instance the “stop bullying” campaign is another oxymoron. Children act out their pain and aggression. A child’s pain and aggression is almost always due to poor parenting or an abusive/neglectful home life. The “bullies” are nothing but damaged, hurt, and scared children but they are treated as if they are common criminals and should be stoned to death. It’s so sad and shameful to see adults treating children like that, and teaching OTHER children to label and ostracize bullies rather than helping them. Every day I am ashamed of the idiot and ignorant adults running this world.


I come from a large family where my father passed when were very young. My mother was ill-equipped to raise all of us w/o incident. There have been multiple squabbles, fights and times of no communications…almost too many to mention.
For the past 6+ years, my mother and three of my siblings do not speak with my mother for various reasons. It started with one sibling and when another took the side of the sibling, they were ex-communicated. I can see my sibling’s side in all of it and have tried to tell my mother to make peace with them. My other siblings have taken the usual stance of, “They will be sorry when she passes if they don’t make peace with her”.
Quite frankly, I don’t see them ‘making peace’. It’s a two-way street…too much time has passed and too many hurt feelings have gone cold. I can totally empathize with your feelings and don’t think we should be giving a ‘pass’ to the senior citizen because they have seniority rights.
I hope that some day there will be a moment where they ‘agree to disagree’, but my faith in that fades.


Families that get along and operate well together is credited to the matriarch or patriarch, therefore when a family doesn’t run smoothly it is because the matriarch or patriarch are not doing what is necessary to keep the family mentally and emotionally healthy. It’s similar to running a business. If the manager does a poor job the business will suffer and fail. If the manager does a good job then the business will thrive and succeed. Good managers/leaders are very important to the health and well being of a family and a business, and if you are not healthy and well yourself than you cannot be a good manager of others. I noticed that with both my mother’s family and my father’s family that once the matriarch died, the family fell apart, therefore indicating that it was them who kept everything together. So I think that the way a family operates rests on the shoulders of the parents who are suppose to be the leaders and the role models, especially considering the power that they have and the inherent “seniority trump card” that they often use.

marquis (female)
April 3rd, 2014 at 10:02 pm

I agree about the business analogy and how it operates, same way for a family. I tried to explain that to my ex therapist and omg, it went over her head like a lot of things I told her went over her head as she couldn’t get past thinking outside the box! My mom uses her “seniority trump card” all the time and I am like what is that suppose to mean? Oh wait, my parents didn’t wanna be called senior citizens! Ex therapist couldn’t get how that’s a power control, omg, was I counseling her too??

Interesting, my boyfriend told me last week that he believed after WW2 and the baby boomers were born that the communication went out the door and it kept doing that for generations thus our parents/grandparents can’t relate to their children/grandchildren as they “still want to pass on the things to us that we don’t want.” Our parents/grandparents still live behind the times and I believe this is why there’s so many miscommunication and nobody speaking to one another anymore. Most young people like me want to move forward, what happened back then is done and over it! If the families don’t wanna try to get healthy, then it will always continue to fall apart.


It’s really scary to constantly hear about “ex-therapists” that were wrong or inappropriate with their advice. I have read articles, blogs, and even books that indicate that mental health counseling/therapy can sometimes be harmful, and I have to agree, but that leaves millions of people with inflictions to fend for themselves. In fact when it comes to mental health, which is extremely delicate and tricky, wouldn’t you think that even greater care should be taken when it comes to mental health? I have gone to therapists/counselors who didn’t even have a basic knowledge of a particular mental illness/disorder/dysfunction. I knew more about it than they did. And then of course there are mental health counselors/therapists who have their own mental disorders/dysfunctions that inadvertently and naturally manifest themselves onto their patients. I once read about a psychiatrist who had to go to his own psychiatrist when triggered during a therapy session with one of his patients. My husband and I went to a marriage counselor who wouldn’t stop saying that we wanted to divorce when neither one of us had mentioned it.

But, I have heard a psychiatrist (an actual doctor) who said that it is wrong to stop seeing a counselor/therapist simply because they said something that you didn’t like or something that you didn’t want to hear. So even those experts/professionals in the mental health field enable other not-so-good therapists to provide poor service to those who desperately need good service. Realistically and logically there are going to be good and bad mental health therapists and to deny that shows ignorance. Not only that but simple and minor personality traits can cause a patient to feel uncomfortable opening up to a particular therapist/counselor.

I do understand what the psychiatrist was trying to say though. Many people with mental health disorders refuse to listen to logic or reason and are often forced to go to a therapist or they go to a therapist simply to tell them that they are right. Narcissists are actually the most difficult to treat because they naturally cannot be wrong and they have no desire to change. Not only that but narcissists are considered a “liability” to a therapist because narcissists and sociopaths will try to harm a psychiatrists reputation by defaming them if they don’t tell them what they want to hear. A narcissist or sociopath could ruin the reputation of a good psychiatrist and ultimately ruin their business and livelihood. But at the same time my mother took me to a therapist/counselor when I was in high school and the therapist told her that she was in the wrong and she never took me back. That is another problem; parents blaming their kids when they should be pointing the finger at themselves. If a psychiatrist, social worker, school counselor, or doctor tries to tell a parent that the reason their child is bullying or acting out in school is because of their parenting, that parent will explode with anger and denial and will usually insist on drugging the child, which leaves some doctors with no other choice but to place the child on Adderall or Riddlin in an effort to pacify the parents. It’s much easier to silence a child than it is to silence a parent.

I think what the psychiatrist was trying to say is that most people who are stuck in any type or degree of mental health crisis will often be told in therapy something that they don’t want to hear, or something that they don’t understand, or something that makes them uncomfortable. When that happens the patient may simply go to a different therapist and most therapists/counselors don’t want to be constantly losing patients because they would go out of business. Therefore they probably bite their tongue at times when they maybe should not, in an effort to keep the patient coming to therapy. It’s a slippery slope and things are not changing or getting better for the mentally ill or for abused/neglected children.

marquis (female)
April 4th, 2014 at 9:45 pm

I agree. I was gonna quit therapy within 6 months simply the woman was spouting shit that wasn’t true nor did it fit anything about my parents. She kept using since she is a mom ‘your parents did you a favor,’ I told her you have parental arrogance same with marital arrogance – ohh she didn’t like that at all! The woman clearly said how her background is in abuse and trauma, hell, I knew way more than her always reminded her and quoted a lot of things about abuse and the stuff I came to conclusions on from my own experience which was dismissed because it didn’t come from college and is just another perception!

After therapy was over, I was free and was still angry about how I was ridiculed, humiliated, and couldn’t stand how arrogant that woman is because “she is a mom and married.” Told her I don’t give a damn that your so married with x amount of kids, what does that have to do with me? She didn’t like how I was jabbing the MHF saying how a lot of them are so broken and need to use their own life experiences to help their own clients and not be using that DSM-IV Bible of theirs which has nothing but disorders anyway!

“It’s a slippery slope and things are not changing or getting better for the mentally ill or for abused/neglected children.”

Agreed. I told that to my ex therapist getting huffy about how I know quite a bit of that when I never worked in the field and told her not her to find the info or seeing it yourself if a person has been to therapy a number of times! She is so clueless about life, it was mostly arguing than anything else. I don’t need to argue about what happen in my life, it is fact! I told her ‘you are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. So, if you want to think my parents are saints, fine, but remember this: you were not there when I was growing up. If you feel they are saints, then you know nothing about narcissism, control, and manipulation you may wanna go back and hit the books on those.’ Oh, she was pissed! I said ‘admit it, you have a very hard time trying to convince on anything and it’s hard because I read a ton of info about these particular subjects. Did you think I was gonna be a client not knowing anything and for you to “brainwash me” more to your ideologies all because you simply disagree with mine?’ Complete silence!


I grew up in a very violent home with a mother who had mental illness. Physical abuse, emotional abuse, highly narcissistic … It was bad, and no one ever knew the truth. There have been times in my life where I have been able to have communication with them as an adult, but not without them being manipulative and divisive to the point of trying to destroy our sibling relationships. Once they started trying to emotionally and verbally abuse my kids, I stopped it all. Sadly, my mother died during that time, and now my father has decided to mirror the past 40 years of Hell onto me and my family. No one on the outside knows the truth, and he has been making sure of it by spreading lies. Sometimes you think just stopping communication will help, but in my case the abuse has carried on by taking it to all outside family members with his lies. I realize I don’t have to let it bother me, but it’s hard when you’d like to have a relationship with the outside family members. It’s a shame they believe him. I don’t know how someone can turn on their own children like this. The good thing, my children will not have to grow up like this praise God, and I am starting to find healing from all that was done.


My parents abused, neglected and dumped me in a home. I was forgotten. My parents are dead and I’m in my mid 40’s and people are still throwing stones at me.


The type of people who would throw stones at you are not worth your time or your thoughts. Just because they are family doesn’t mean that they are good people who would have your back. My family did me so wrong that I would rather have never known them. It’s best to surround yourself with people who you can trust and put the “stone throwers” in your past where they belong. 🙂

marquis (female)
April 9th, 2014 at 11:34 am

I agree not worth the time or energy. I still have people casting stones at me and they should mind their own damn biz! It has nothing to do with their lives what I say or do about “my parents,” clearly has nothing to do with anybody. Am I really disturbing their “fictitious white picket fence, the good old American family traditions?” If so, oh well, may be it’s time for them to start living in reality vs fantasy!

“Sadly, my mother died during that time, and now my father has decided to mirror the past 40 years of Hell onto me and my family. No one on the outside knows the truth, and he has been making sure of it by spreading lies.”

Agreed. My sister don’t even talk to my mom anymore yet my mom can’t keep her name out of her mouth! Every thing that goes wrong, it’s my sisters’ fault! Brother doesn’t talk to my mom either, he did send a bday card and this “Mom’s day,” he will send her flowers and that is about it. Sorry, she doesn’t deserve shit on “mom’s day.” Lack of parents makes sure outsiders don’t know the truth, if they did know the truth, I am the one who is always lying yet I am sometimes lucky if they can see a lie real quick and turn against my lack of parents.

“Just because they are family doesn’t mean that they are good people who would have your back. My family did me so wrong that I would rather have never known them.”

Agreed!! Been saying that for years! Trust is earn within family, friends, relationships, work relationships, doctor-patient relationships, etc. Just because a group of people share the same DNA doesn’t give automatic entitlement of trust, love, caring, nurturing, understanding, etc! Huge misconception and ego boosting that people have about family operation.

I’ve been telling people for years that my parents never had my back only when shit occurred to them or when they felt like it. It’s about these stupid “narcissistic negotiation games,” that they play where they contemplate your needs and they have to come up with the idea if you needed xyz or not. Who plays with someone’s needs?!? Something people could never quite understand, I find it very hard to explain, tired of explaining it, and now don’t care to explain it anymore.

I think one time my mom had to tell a teacher off (on the phone not in person) about how I was feeling but it didn’t feel genuine as I got blamed for it. We didn’t have a sit down, real discussion about why this teacher long ago did what she did to me and I was left alone about it being told ‘people are jerks deal with it, just deal with it!’ It’s always “just deal with it or suck it up and deal with it,” how does that help anybody? Pushing it under the rug! I always had to defend myself at schools which didn’t help me any.

Ohh, the day will come soon where I can no longer remember “those people” like in my old dreams. It showed I was happy and my parents didn’t even exist in my life.


I’ve often had a hard time knowing how I feel and wondered how it would be when my absolutely awful parents die. There were several shorter estrangements, then final ones from both divorced parents as I reached my 40’s and 50’s.

Last fall I had an intuition that my dad had died, so I checked the internet and up popped his obituary–he’d died four days before. I felt nothing at all, but was insulted to learn that my brother, to whom I’m supposedly close, had known that day but didn’t bother to let me know.

My dad had been estranged for years from his three kids, brother, two nephews and every other person he’d ever known. His wife had been there for thirty years, but he’d spent the last few years threatening to leave her. I’d wondered to her how anyone could need a man bad enough to put up with him, but believe that she was just as nuts as he and was holding tight so she could inherit everything.

He was cremated and disposed of without ceremony, flowers or visitors. He’d known that something was wrong with him but didn’t know what. I know that he had antisocial personality disorder as had his mother, brother and nephew.

A couple of years ago my cousin called to tell me that my mom was crossing railroad tracks in her car when it was hit by a train. I felt nothing–not happy, not sad–just neutral. My cousin went on to say that my mom hadn’t been hurt, and tried to shame me into calling her though I’d been estranged for 12 years and counting.

Today I got a letter from my brother, included with pictures of my mother and the rest of my immediate dysfunctional family. I’d been fine when I went to the post office, but when I read this letter and saw the pictures I felt spooked, unsafe, lonely and unhappy. This must be what “triggering” means!

Both of my parents had/have personality disorders and their inability to function rationally ruined the whole family. I tried to remain close to a cousin and my brother when I terminated contact with my parents but find that neither listen to me, understand me or have my back. Sadly, my parents brainwashed them both and I’m better off without them too.

It breaks my heart to read your stories but it’s comforting to know that there are others who understand. I wish you all the best!



I’m sorry that your brother’s letter made you feel the way it did. It is so difficult to go thru all this. I hope you start feeling better soon.



I also felt nothing when my dad died 14yrs ago, he was a tyrant who would strip me and my brother naked, oil us, split the 1m cane, oil the cane, split it into quarters heat it on a fire and beat us up daily at 5pm when he returns from work. He caused my late mum so much distress, beat her legs with an iron rod and made her mad. This happened during my childhood years. As teenagers he separated all of us me, my two brothers (aged 12yrs and 5yrs then) into separate children’s homes. My mum lived in the streets. All of us lived together when I was 21yrs old but we were total strangers. I worked and studied and only came home to sleep. His abuse never ceased, called me prostitute, demanded that I pay rent (on top of giving him 3 quarter of my part-time salary), would tear my books and beat me up. A year later I left the house to get married to a man as cruel as my father.

I never felt anyting when my dad died. I felt deep sorrow when my mum died a month earlier than my dad. The reason being, I always wanted to rescue her from her misery and I couldn’t. Now, I’ve no contact with my dysfunctional family nor my in-laws. I don’t know how to resolve the issues I had with my late parents.


Hi Mary
Oh my gosh that is horrific! I am so sorry that you were treated in such a brutal and inhuman way.
There is lots of info in this site with ideas and examples of how I resolved the issues that I had. I hope you will read more,
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene.


Abusers could live 1000 years and still be toxic.The problem here is how they die. If they commit suicide, the victim is permanently damaged.The law should force mentally ill people to go to the doctor.Authorities should be allowed to come into the house and take them to a clinic by force.Thus, the victim can be free.Otherwise, the victim may live in fear of hearing the dreaded news anytime:’you have caused the death of your own parents.


Laura, there are so many mentally ill adults living amongst us that if they put a law into effect that forced mentally ill people to go to the doctor there would be a shortage of doctors. One time when I was in a courtroom assisting a lawyer with an involuntary commitment, the social worker told me that 1 in 6 adults has some form of diagnosable mental illness resulting from unresolved childhood trauma. There are currently laws against child abuse and neglect (which incidentally causes mental illness) but no one does anything about child abuse/neglect. Adults are selfish and ignorant and it is far easier to silence a child than it is to silence an adult. Friends, neighbors, relatives, teachers, co-workers, etc. all look away when they see or suspect any form of child abuse or neglect to any degree. Courts sweep it under the rug and prefer to ignore the epidemic as well. Also, with regards to child sexual abuse, which is the worst form of child abuse, without actual video there is never enough tangible evidence to prosecute or convict an offender. In those cases it is always the child’s word against the offender’s and the offender usually wins. That’s the case with all child abuse/neglect. When the victim tries to expose the abuse they are shunned, ostracized, and not believed by their own families and friends. The matriarch or patriarch are so powerful in families that they easily silence everyone so that the mental illness and dysfunctions are passed on from generation to generation. The way that our society treats parenting and child abuse/neglect is appalling and disgusting. In fact I saw a scientific study that proved that we react more harshly towards animal abuse/neglect than we do about child abuse/neglect. That’s embarrassing and extremely counterproductive for preventing mental illness.

The problems start in the home with parenting and that’s the only place where they will end. The inherent ideal in this country is that everyone has a right to bear a child (even if you are mentally ill and are a danger to children) and to raise their child how they wish without interference, and parents flex those muscles every day. The main reason why so many children in this country are drugged is simply to pacify the parents, not to help the child. The hands of doctors are tied because if they even suggest that a child’s bad behavior or acting out is the result of parenting mistakes the parents will raise a huge stink and even threaten to sue. Abusive and neglectful parents bring their child to a doctor and ask the doctor to fix their child’s bad behavior yet they hide their contribution to the child’s bad behavior. It is very easy for parents to hide their bad parenting. Children act out their pain and when they do there is definitely something wrong with their environment and/or home-life. If you think about it even the smallest parenting errors cause serious and permanent damage to a child’s psyche for the rest of their life. Some parents will call their child “dumb” every day yet consider themselves a perfect parent, and everyone around them considers them a perfect parent. Some parents lock their children in the basement or provide them with no food while they live their lives like model citizens. Child abuse/neglect is a very hidden epidemic and it is ignored by everyone, and that is the travesty, and that is what causes all of our problems in society because abused and/or neglected children often grow up to become burdens to society simply because of the preventable mental illness that their parents caused them. Most abused/neglected children grow up to have mental health issues, and mental illness is the reason for chemical dependency, homelessness, alcoholism, violence, crime, murder, etc. It’s so clear once you see the pattern and the cycle that it astounds me how everyone is so blind to the importance of good parenting. Good parenting is crucial and key to improving our world and preventing mental illness, yet parents are NEVER held accountable or responsible. Parents have WAY too many rights and children have no rights. Period.


Love your comments Nancy ~ Thanks for sharing

Many victims are blamed for everything including the death of their parents. And the damage from being blamed heals when the victim sees the lies for what they are. That is what healing is really about.
hugs, Darlene


Here is an example of how ignorant and actually stupid that society is about parent’s responsibilities. In WI there was a young mother who was knowingly dating a convicted child abuser (he had beaten a child to the point that the child had to be hospitalized and he spent time in prison for it.) This young mother left her young child alone with this ex convict and he killed her child, yet the mother didn’t even get a slap on the hand or a lecture. She walked away scot-free from any responsibility. That is insanity.

Also look at Dottie Sandusky, Jerry Sandusky’s wife, who lived for two decades knowing that her husband molested children, hearing the cries for help from her downstairs, adopting children for him to molest, yet nothing was ever mentioned about her responsibility. She should be in prison right along with her husband Jerry but she is living her life as if she did absolutely nothing wrong, and no one says anything about it. Not to mention the fact that people actually witnessed the sexual abuse and did and said nothing about it, which is typical because society makes it extremely difficult to stand up and do the right thing when it comes to child abuse/neglect.

There was a grandmother in Minnesota who was hooking up with a pedophile priest who was legally banned from being around any children. The priest was put in a special facility where they housed priests who were proven to be abusive to children. This priest was considered a sex offender yet the grandmother saw nothing wrong with marrying this man and allowing him to be around all 10 of her grandchildren. The State actually had to step in and tell the idiot grandmother that the priest was not allowed to be around children, much like a registered sex offender. The grandmother didn’t care and wanted to be with the priest anyway. There are many women who are needy and desperate like that and they technically give their children/grandchildren to sex offenders on a silver platter. There are thousands and thousands of cases where mothers/grandmothers looked away or actually allowed a pedophile to molest their children simply because they want security, money, companionship, or even drugs sometimes. There are actual cases where mothers allowed someone to molest their child in exchange for drugs. They should be legally prosecuted and put in jail for that but nobody even tells them that they did anything wrong.

I myself worked on a case where a seemingly normal lady with a steady job, friends, and active in her community, was married to a sheriff who molested her daughter for 6 years. The details were gruesome and the sheriff did to her young daughter sexual things that even I have never done in my life. The woman was so desperate to keep a man in her life that she ignored the abuse, even when her daughter came up pregnant and the sheriff told the idiot mother that her daughter must have used his towel that he used for ejaculating and that is how she got pregnant. How ridiculous is that? Not only that but the mother allowed the sheriff to sleep with her little girl! In what world is that mother’s behavior not negligent, careless, irresponsible, selfish, and criminal? That is the world that we live and I will never be silent about seeing such disgusting parenting.

There are millions of similar cases where the parent, specifically the mother, is coddled and babied rather than punished and held responsible for the bad things that happened to their children who were their responsibility and in their care. Society protects mothers, and yet mothers are the first and last line of defense for a child, and therefore they should be held to a much higher standard but they are not. In fact mothers are held to a low standard and that is a big problem and contributor to child abuse/neglect.


To Nancy T
Are you saying i’m mentally ill for being abused as a child?Are you questioning my sanity?YES,I need to recover, but from hurt, not from mental illness.All my life, i’ve been tormented by my parents calling me mentally ill.And now you are saying the same thing.I just can’t tolerate it from anyone.Darlene was abused and so were all of us who are on this site.Yet, many of us have loving NORMAL families.You can’t say that we are all ill, due to “unresolved childhood trauma”, as you yourself put it. these are your exact words.


I’m saying that yes, you may have mental illness from your horrible childhood and it would be surprising if you did not. I was never hit or sexually abused, but I have mental illness from my childhood/upbringing. Mild emotional neglect can cause a child to have permanent mental health issues that last a lifetime. A child doesn’t have to be hit or sexually abused to be raised wrong. My parents didn’t mean to hurt me like they did because it was all that they knew. Parenting is inherent. You parent just like you were parented, or just like you were taught, and you don’t know anything different. My parents had mental illness therefore they weren’t perfect parents and made many mistakes, therefore passing on their mental illness to me and my brother and sister.

This is another problem. People are ignorant, unaware, angry, and defensive about mental illness and it has such a bad stigma. If people could recognize their own mental illness than they would be less apt to pass it onto their children but most people with mental illness don’t even realize that they have anything wrong with them. They simply blame themselves. Some people were labeled “bad”, “difficult”, “problems”, or “hyper” as children when in reality they were somehow abused and/or neglected to some degree at home, by their parents. Most people don’t even realize that they have mental illness, or they don’t know how to identify it. I would be willing to bet that you could find some form of mental dysfunction in almost everyone; depression, anxiety, OCD, bi-polar, verbally or physically abusive, and even compulsive lying and narcissism are symptoms of mental illness. Just think of how easy it is to mess up a child, and most parents make crucial mistakes that cause some form of permanent harm or damage to their child, even if that small mistake is something like being overprotective. Some parents cling to their child in an unhealthy way yet they appear to be excellent parents even though they are messing up their child’s psyche. So as you see parental mistakes can vary from mild to severe, but they all cause permanent traits in the child that could very well adversely affect everything in his/her adult life.

Shaping the brain, psyche, and mentality of a human being is very tricky and difficult and a child’s entire personality is formed by the time they are 25 years old. Then when they are not overachievers people tell them things like “you can change” or “it’s your choice to be the way you are” when in reality those with mental illness or dysfunction spend their entire adult lives trying to muddle through life making the same mistakes over and over again, sometimes never fully understanding the mental health issues that they may have, and sometimes realizing it way later in life.


And your defensiveness and anger about the realistic possibility of you having any form of mental illness does harm to any quest to prevent child abuse and mental illness. You shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed because your parents messed you up. You shouldn’t deny having mental illness simply because of embarrassment because it will not help anyone in the future. We need change quickly and badly and there are millions of children who right now need our help, not our ignorance. Are you saying that I am bad for having mental illness because my parents mentally and emotionally abused and neglected me? Are you saying that I should be embarrassed and ashamed because I have mental illness that is not my fault in any way? That is how you are acting and that hurts those with mental illness.

It’s really the luck of the draw. It’s not your fault that you were born into dysfunction and it’s not any child’s fault that they were born into abuse or neglect. But when they are born into abuse and/or neglect, which happens every day at a high rate, then they are stuck there to left to fend for themselves because our society doesn’t help those kids unless the abuser nearly kills them, or does kill them. And as you can see from your own reaction, society’s attitude about those children who were abused and/or neglected having mental illness is harmful and counterproductive. What do you expect when a child is abused/neglected? It is a miracle when one turns out to be healthy and productive, an absolute miracle. We should logically and realistically expect abused/neglected children to have mental illness and we should HELP THEM so that they don’t pass it on to their own children.


So Darlene herself is mentally ill and abuses her children, in your oppinion.You say”you parent just like you were parented and you don’t know anything different.Some of the people on this site are mothers too.Are they abusive?What do you think they feel when they read your comments?Do you abuse your children?Stop labelling people and makind diagnostics.All of us here are trying to emerge from hurt.If hurt were a mental illness,I would have killed somebody by now.I thought this site was abuse-free.
Darlene,do you think all of us here are mentally ill?Do you agree with Nancy?


I think you are completely misunderstanding Nancy. she isn’t being abusive at all and I don’t see where she has labeled you in any way.

I did have mental illness as a result of the dysfunctional childhood that I had. This site is about how I recovered from it and how I stopped the cycle of abuse.

I am going to catch up on all the comments here now.

hugs, Darlene


I thought you saw yourself as a normal woman and mother.Nancy is saying that all victims of abuse don’t know how to parent because they didn’t have a model.Don’t you feel she is talking about you too?


As I said Laura,
I think you are misunderstanding what she is saying or at least I am not hearing her comments the way that you are.

I didn’t know how to parent the way that I do now when I first became a parent. I had the wrong example of love and although I knew that a lot of what happened to me was really wrong and I did not repeat it with my kids, I still passed on the false definition of love when they were young and I had to fix that.
hugs, Darlene


After reading all of your posts, I can see how I have been giving up my life for people who really could care less what happens to me. When I think of completely letting go, the only thing I can truly come up with is I would let go of constant pain. No one calls me, no one visits me, no one sends me a card, I have always done this for everyone and have slowly stopped. I used to feel sorry for them, now I feel sorry for me, as when I have needed some one no one is ever there. I’m just starting to hate them. They seem like fake people. My dad died a few years ago, and I was always there for him, when he was never there for me my whole life, ever not once for nothing. And the only thing I feel is stupid for not taking better care of myself.


What you need to do cat is to take care of yourself and not worry so much about being there for others who don’t deserve your kindness or your attention. It sounds to me like you have been doing for others who haven’t given you the same consideration or care in return, and those are bad and unhealthy relationships. Choose to be around people who will treat you right and who will be there for you when you need them. Just because they are family doesn’t mean that they are automatically good and kind people. I have people in my life who are not related by blood but they feel like family to me, and I know people who are blood relatives but they are evil and I don’t ever want anything to do with them. I get frustrated when people stick by family simply because they are family, and not because they are healthy for their lives. The tighter the family the easier that dysfunction is hidden and passed on from generation to generation.

I was alone for a very long time after family feuds and it made me realize that I can only depend on myself for my happiness and I should not allow myself to be affected by the inappropriate reactions or behavior of other people. I realized that I was surrounding myself with people who weren’t good for me and who didn’t really care about me. I was choosing the wrong people to be in a relationship with and it made me realize that it was MY choice to do so. That is when I permanently estranged myself from family members who were hurtful and harmful to my happiness. I realized that I was wasting time being with people who would stab me in the back or who I could never trust. Life is short and I don’t want to waste any more time being unhappy. We come into this world alone and we leave this world alone. Therefore it is important that we learn how to be happy alone. 🙂


Hi Cat
I felt stupid at first too. I was really angry at myself because when I came out of the fog it all seemed so logical and I couldn’t believe that I didn’t see it earlier. But then I realized that I was treating myself the same way that “they” treated me. I tried to comfort myself by validating that I was trying my hardest to find the love that was missing in my life and I had been compliant etc. due to the brainwashing. And today I don’t have to live with that false belief anymore. That was the beginning of my new life. 🙂
Thanks for sharing. Yay for slowly stopping!
hugs, Darlene


I have published a new post on the homepage ~ It is called “When Dad Enables Mom in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship” and it is about when a parent discounts the needs of their daughter (or son) by standing up for the other parent. Carrie H. Shares more of her story in this new post.
Hope to see you there!
hugs, Darlene



Been there. Done that. Now I know better.


I’m grateful I found this site.
Thank you for all of your insight and encouragement. It’s almost too much to read all at once.
Getting to the other side is a journey without an end. I’m 60 and there’s hardly a day that goes by that I’m not fighting off the evils that linger. I have accepted that I will never be free of them, but still dream of something magical that will.
While my father was still lucid while dieing of Alzhiemers, I confronted him one last time, and asked for an explanation and his regret and apology for a childhood of physical abuse, and an entire lifetime of emotional abuse. He refused. Then he died.
My mother withheld love, affection and support my entire life. When she was 89yrs she packed two suitcases and left for Europe without saying goodbye to anyone. THAT was 4 years ago. I don’t know if she’s alive or not. I wrote her a letter of forgiveness after the first year. It freed me up a little, but the damage is too deep to heal. The wounds inflicted by both of them seep into every part of my life. I put fresh bandaids on them everyday. And I fight through the pain. It’s tough, but at least there is no new pain.


To Cat~ I’m going through ( went through) the same thing. I understand. It’s REALLY hard. I don’t have an answer, but I can tell you that it is possible to get from day to day. And some days have surprises of happiness for you. Hang on, Cat!



I like what you said: “it is a journey without an end.” I went NC with my FOO because like you said, “there is no new pain.”


Hi I was abused phsically mentaly sexualy by parents calld names half wit fuckd up aminal stupid no good mostly by mother hd bout hundred fights in school calld names by pupil and teachers dknocked 4-5 tes by fatheri drank weed killer I took 26 tablets hd a outer body experience wasnt my time lived in belfast seenachine guns rpcket launchers hd more street fights gt in fight with bad bad peolpe i hd to leave just turnd 19 tried to talk to mother for 25 yrs just ignored me i came hme put new kitchen in calld me more names fuckd half anmal 11 times she hd cancer i done hse up i l knew she didnt have long she was riddled with cancer she come an give me a kiss and hug i went over kiss on cheek a big bloke o said our ignorance os greater than urs and push er arms way up in air turnd back and didnt look back she couldnt look me on eyes dying recently ce to lool after father after stroke he suffered 3 terrible yrs i told him ething why i ignored all ther bdays xmas ething i came back to look after him my mate said he wont dpne that im a better man thats wot my father said to excuse writing gt tears in eyes ime


Hi Greg,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken and thank you for sharing with us. Thank you for sharing some of your story and your pain with us. I am glad you are here, you are not alone,
hugs, Darlene


Amazing how I ended up on this site. I was looking up the definition of being the black sheep of the family which I am still uncertain as to whether or not I am. Anyhow, have not spoken or seen both my parents in 12 years now because the main reason they want nothing to do with my 10 year common-law boyfriend since both he and my Dad and a falling. Both my brothers and I were raised with conditional love, no praise, self-esteem, negativity, etc. I always had unhealthy relationships with men and since this rupture happened, I have been in the best relationship ever because they are no longer interfering nor having an opportunity to provide negativity or nasty comments. I always felt guilty for having no inner feelings for them, well, how can I as they are strangers to me and over the years, consequences do have actions. At times, I wondered how am I going to deal with them being sick down the road or on their death bed and the funerals etc. as I do not intend to be around. Reading this article and everyone’s comments I am walking away with “I AM LOVED, I DO MATTER AND I AM NOT GOING TO MISS OUT LIKE THEY HAVE; THEY DON’T DESERVE MY POSITIVE LOVING ENERGY. I FINALLY GOT IT, NO MORE SORROW.”
Am so grateful for having found this website as it encouraged me and answered some of my questions.


I will feel relieved. The days of guilt are long gone. I used to love them.


Hi All,
Just when I think I am doing ok doing things my way my father still tries to have his say and tries to dictate to me what I have to do.
I am 65 yrs soon. My mother 86yrs in Care Home my father choice he had enough of her. He and her have abused me all my life and now seem to think I owe them something …like visit my mother regulary.
He finally last Christmas Eve after he had a drink told me I am nothing to them and when they die I will have nothing from them. It did hurt but I had known for years but drink got the better of him and he actually said it to me witnessed by my husband.My precious sister lives far away but when she is home I am not required. Sick.
Earlier this year an ex employer asked to go back to work for them, I accepted and am thrilled to be working more than ever.However I do get tired and my job involves lots of driving but I am able to pick and choose how and when I do my hours. I feel it was the icing on the cake to be asked back. It does take my mind off the past abuse. My husband worries that I am working too much but he is pleased if I am.
I am not the retiring type and to go to sewing club or whatever is not me.
Since the begining of the year my father would ring my mobile his way of saying a visit is due he hangs up and never leaves a message. He cant accept that I am working long hours enjoying my job. They have always called me a liar whatever I say or do.About two weeks ago and probably two weeks prior to those calls I have not jumped to attention. I just dont feel like visiting. The last time I went to see my mother was about the 10thJune being the anniversary of my late brothers death when I also took flowers to his grave.One Christmas father my took my wreath off the grave and threw it in the bin because I disobeyed him over something trivial.
To day on my way home from work my mob bussed that father had called and I heard him say phew she busy she cant take the called. The dope doesnt realise it will be the recorded message. So this is the third time I have disobeyed. Then shorly after the Care Home rang and said that my mother is very upset because I have not visited. I explained that I do work nearly everyday and they were surprised and said they thought I had retired. That is what he will have told them. He again painting me black. My husband was home when I arrived they had also rang him he also explained . The phone than rang again it was the Care home asking to speak to my mother. She said she is worried because I have not been to see her.Again I explained that I work as much as ever and like her get tired. They dont make me feel like visiting. My father came on the phone and again I explained and said I will go when I have time. He said all he interested in is my mother and not me or my work or anything to do with me apart from my duty.
I am sorry this is so long winded but it is helping me to clear my head, I feel another migraine coming on. A friend rang shortly after who is very caring and I was fortunate to be able to speak with her. She says I will never forgive myself for not visiting if anything happens to them. She knows the history.I truly have not withheld visiting as a punishment but I have a home and animals as well as my husband. I am not a mean cruel wicked person but some way I seem to be portrayed as something wrotten. If anybody had not fallen asleep whilst reading this may I apologise.I feel really miserable and all I am doing is my work and trying to be happy…..Help please Wendy am


Wendy AM, in reading your message417, the thing that struck me the most was all the blame that is flying around. You say that your Dad says you disobeyed. Are you told this whenever you don’t comply to his wishes? I of course am not there and therefore not directly seeing what is going on, but I can tell you that my mother was a master at using blame and guilt to get me to comply through my childhood and many years into adulthood. Now that my fog is lifting I can see clearly how the guilt/ blame technique worked in getting my mother her way. She knew I feared the rejection she would give to me if I didn’t do what she wanted. She would freeze me out for hours days or even years. I couldn’t handle the rejection. It made me feel unloved, worthless and discarded. And so I almost always complied, and mother had me where she wanted me. But what was the price tag for me? Did she treat me any better when I gave in? Maybe momentarily, but it never lasted long. Did she treat me better, love me more? NO! Did she stop making demands on me? No, she increased them and they became more difficult and unreasonable.
In the end Wendy, I was giving up all of my wishes! my time and my energy and giving and giving one sidedly! getting nothing in return. I was groomed to think this was my one cared if the demands were hard on me or drained me. It was all self centered. And it didn’t get me more love.
So Wendy, I hope this was helpful in giving you some ideas to think about regarding parental expectations, demands and especially the guilt/ blame game. Ask yourself how reasonable others’ expectations of you are. No person should have to wear themselves out meeting someone else’s demands. You have your husband, home, job and pets which I know can keep you very very busy as Ive done all that myself. And if you wanted to take some time just to do something for yourself, heck, you deserve it Wendy so I hope you do it.


Thank you Amber for your reply. I am sat here worn out worrying.You have written exactly as it is for me.
Yes, blamed whenever I do not comply or mind read what is expected of me.The fear of rejection is a torture and yet like you no matter how much I do it is never enough.If I try to speak up for myself to my father he mocks me.I dare not write what my husband says of all this.They have no respect for me or anyone who cares about me.They never ask about my lovely little poodle or my cat who is slowly dying he is 15yrs my horse nothing absolutely nothing. If I went on holiday they are not interested. What has upset me even more is that my father has now involved the Care Home who probably believe what he says about me but deep down I know he will be raging mad.I really wish it would all end. Sometimes I am doing ok then he sets it off again.He is a horrible wicked cruel person and like I have said before he really should be in prison for what he has done to his children and goodness knows who else.Amber your reply is a great help I am printing it off to keep in my bag. Thank you Wendy am


Wendy, I’m so glad it was helpful! And very flattered that you are keeping it in your bag. There is something very validating to me from all of this. That being said, I know my mother would tighten the net if she had any inkling that I might be breaking away from her control. This could take the form of complaining and spreading her version of things ( not an accurate one for sure!) to other relatives or upping the ante with more severe consequences to me. When my son was born she wanted to come and stay at my house with her never-wanting- to- get- a – job husband who also was very loud and up at all hours blasting theTV. She also wanted me to hostess Christmas dinner during that visit two weeks after giving birth. When I said no I can’t have them stay with me,and this was when I was a week from giving birth, she went into a rage and hung up on me. Imagine being that insensitive and inconsiderate to someone days away from having her first baby?and she didn’t care. It was all about her needs and her selfish husbands.
I am not even sure why she wanted to come in then because in the years to come she showed almost no interest in her grand children or in mylife. Bless if course she needs something and then she tried to guilt me into flying three thousand miles to helper out with things like doctor visits. Things they have aides to help with at her assisted living place. She just wanted to make me dance in circles for her. She loved to watch whileI do the work.
All these things were truth leaks and as I come out of the fogIsee how lopsided our relationship was. I no longer accept the guilt and shameI used to absorb from her. She is gone now, but this stuff doesn’t just go away with her passing. I still have to do the work to undo her damage I responded to your post before because Isaw familiar patterns and Imglad it was helpful. Wishing you healing, Amber


Amber, Thank you again. You are good at explaining, better than me. Christmas was another job which landed on me. Everything had to look perfect to outsiders yet HE was an absolute demon. He should really be in prison yet I am too afraid to speak out to the police, because again what would people think and if I wasnt believed I would kill myself. My mother now says what a good daughter I am but nobody else visits only HIM. My sister who is 46yr live abroad but they have her as next of kin.Like your mother when I got married the 1st time I was 20yrs and the first thing she said was dont expect them to do any babysitting. As it happened I never had children but two abortions I was too afraid of my husband. He took over where my parents left off. He never knew about the abortions I just went into hospital and then came home. He was just as big a thug as my father. Amber everything you write it is as if you have access to my mind.
My second husband some years ago fell off the barn roof and is lucky to be alive. At the time they had one of my cats kittens. They had it for probably 6 yrs and it did give them pleasure. BUT at the time of my husbands accident the cat so they say was ill. They rang me the day after the accident and said that they no longer wanted to have the cat and to collect it there and then or they would take it to the vets to be put to sleep. Well I couldnt go on their command and rang them a couple of hours later.Yes the vets had it.
What have never known is the vet bought my old house and I knew her through business, so I rang her. Yes they had taken the cat to be put to sleep and no there was nothing wrong with it. I told her the story. She said that they were most obnoxious people she has ever met and was so so shocked to hear they were my parents. I was ashamed to have to admit the truth. They charged them full price to put the cat to sleep and found the cat a new home, and he lived many years. I was sworn to secrecy because of what she did, but it a few years ago, now I have spoken out. My father loathes me yet says it is my duty to visit and more he demands it now makes more determined not to go yet my mother misses out.However she deserves it really she never ever did anything for us. Sorry to go on, it is helps to write it down. Thank you again and anybody who reads this. Wendy am


Wendy, you need to completely and totally estrange yourself from both of your parents. If you do not remove them from your life totally and completely it is nearly impossible for you to be happy or healthy. Just because they are your parents DOES NOT MEAN that you must do as they say, and it does not mean that you must be in their life. Just because they are your parents doesn’t mean that you are required to put up with their abuse for the rest of your life. All experts in psychology advise to stay far away from narcissists/sociopaths because they will not and cannot change. That theory should apply all people, including relatives, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, etc. If someone continually mistreats and/or abuses you then they should not be allowed to be around you at all whatsoever. Surround yourself with mentally healthy people and it will help you to recover, heal, and become healthier. If you continue to be involved with your parents in any way they will always adversely affect you. It is liberating getting out from underneath abusers. I have been estranged from both of my parents for over 6 years now and I feel so much better. Like Amber said “the fog cleared” once you are outside the abuse looking in. Your parents treatment of you is pure abuse and it is clear that they have very serious mental health problems. Your parents have serious mental health issues, issues that will not be changed at their ages especially. Often times with mental illness like your parents have, YOU are their fuel. Without having you to pick on, to abuse, to hurt, to manipulate, they will run out of that fuel and most often those with such serious mental illness will try to find someone else to use as their fuel. You are their punching bag and they need you for that, so please choose to stop being their punching bag. 🙂


Wendy it never stops amazing me how parents who refuse to help us out with things like watching their grandchildren once in a while to give us a much needed break will then guilt trip us in their old age. They tell us what our ” duty ” is to them, but where were they when we needed them? They have this sense of entitlement that it’s a one way street only, and they are at the receiving end while we are expected to break our necks giving.
That’s awful about what they did about the cat and the timing was especially atrocious. How could they expect you to get the cat right after your husband fell off a roof? It seems like they try to make things ashard as they can for us. My mother was the same way. I have a mildly handicapped daughter and not many people I can depend on to help me out. My mother lives 3000 miles away and she wanted me to rush out there whenever she had a doctors appointment and she did not want me to ask my two brothers to help out. She also wanted me to handle her estate. I told her it would be very difficult and why can’t she ask my brother who lived in the same state as her. No, she wanted me to do it and didn’t want anyone to help me. She always wanted all the work to fall on me. I had to put my foot down on that one. I can’t be flying back and forth to take care of her stuff and having yo bring my daughter along too. Finally right before she passed my brother convinced her to let him do her estate since he was much closer to where she lived. She would listen to him, but never to me.
Just like you Wendy, I got sick of the one way street and my mothers massive sense of entitlement.


Wendy am,

I am so sorry for the way your parents treat you. They are not good people. I am particularly disturbed by the story of the cat. I am an animal lover. Your parents plan for the cat was just pure evil. I was happy to hear how the cat was saved. I wish you the best Wendy.


No offense anyone so please don’t take this the wrong way, but I once recently saw a study on Science Digest that indicated that most people react more strongly to animal abuse than to child abuse. Since reading that study I paid closer attention to people’s reactions to child abuse vs. animal abuse and I now see it all the time where people are far more inclined to react strongly about animal abuse than child abuse. I have seen firsthand that society has become desensitized to child abuse and accustomed to ignoring it. It’s so sad. 🙁


I am a huge animal lover as well. My dogs sleep underneath the covers with me in bed. 🙂 They are like my children. I feed the neighborhood animals, chipmunks, and birds and I cried my eyes out when I accidentally ran over a squirrel on the road. lol. I have always been like that and I cringed when my neighbor put her cat down simply because it always pooped on one of her beds or when my aunt (a farmer’s wife) says to just shoot a problem rabbit eating the gardens.


I am amazed by the number of parents who have this sense of lifetime ownership over their adult kids, especially with daughters.

Newsflash to parents: An offspring is not a possession, as a child or an adult.

marquis (female)
July 22nd, 2014 at 8:59 pm

I agree with Amber. It’s funny, my mom always say ‘you can’t control your adult kids, they will make their own decisions.’ So, why do you interfere in what “your children” are wanting to do as adults? Why does your selfish feelings have to get in our way of happiness, health, jobs, etc?


Hello Amber Karen T and Andria,
Thank you all for your kind honest replies they are a great help. Yesterday I felt rubbish crying whilst reading them. Things got worse when my husband came home. He played me a message from his mobile. My father had tried ringing him to tell him that we had better get visiting my mother,BUT he left his own mob on whilst talking to my mother so my husband heard what he had been saying. My father doesnt get it if we are in bad reception area the automatic voice comes on. So HE was ranting and raving and mocking us to the staff at the Care Home. Saying they(us) think they are so important yet she (me) does nothing all day and cant even visit her mother. Then in the recording HE says he is getting in touch with the POLICE to report us for not visiting. LOL the idiot.
HE then says to all who could hear that he is seeing to himself and advises mother to do the same. SO nothing has changed THEY have always put themselves first. HE continues not knowing that his mob is on, to rubbish us even further to the staff. It went on for about 15mins. My husband was blazing which made me more upset.I calmed down and rang the Care Home and spoke to the Matron explaining all saying that with what has happened and HIM making more demands it makes me feel all the more reluctant not to visit because HE will have won again. Matron said my mother was wailing saying she was ill so they got the doctor yet again. Nothing wrong just wants attention that was yesterday.Now the Care Home are in the picture and I have her support it makes me feel stronger.
You are right they do like making things difficult they must get a sadistic kick out of it. I was chatting to a friend earlier we have been friends for 60 yrs and she was abused by her father. We agreed that loving parents dont make demands on their children and are happy for them. They dont expect to be put first . All my friends parents wanted only the best for them and helped as much as possible and in return they are loved. Surely it is so unnatural not to be supportive to your children.

Karen T,
Yes we are animal lovers our poodle has his bed next to ours.
It is strange and I hate to say this but I seem to get more upset over cruelty to animals than children. In the papers the other day someone had used a cross-bow on a swan and a horse. In a pet shop the other week they had pythons in tiny boxes so I spoke up and they said the snakes liked it like that. I reported them to RSPCA. Yet I dont report my father. He is just as cruel. I will just tell you all what he gave me a few years ago for my birthday. Two leather gloves both right handed.Yes. They were spares off his artificial arm. He said that I could use them for gardening. He is sick.At the time it upset me.
Thank you all again for replying. Take care Wendy AM


Thank you for this. I thought all this time that I was utterly alone. This article helped give me back logic and reason. What about me? Exactly the question I have been wanting to ask. Thank you again. I will share my story one day about my abusive father. Love, Rene


I just had to say goodbye to my mom! She moved to another state to be close to here sisters. Her & I have always had a difficult mother daughter relationship. I love her more than words can say! She has cancer. She is in remission but she is very tired! Due to our poor relationship over many years I havnt seen or spoke to her in several years until the evening before she left. We talked and reconciled hugged and asked eachother for forgiveness. After she left this hudge amount of guilt and pain came upon me I was not expecting! I miss her and have so much regret for not settling our differences sooner. She is gone now and I can’t get back the lost time! I’m in more pain now than I was ever before !!! I was scarred of my moms illness and couldn’t handle seeing her sick!!! The pain was more than I could bare! I selfishly ran away to escape having to watch her be I’ll! I have such regret and shame for how I handled my pain! How will I ever be able to forgive myself? I’m so so sorry!



I am so sorry that you have so much pain right now. Please don’t be so hard on yourself. There were reasons that you did not talk or see your mother. Her cancer does not change any of these reasons. You made a reconciliation before she left. You can be thankful for that. It is not only you that bears a burden. Your mother bears some of the burden as well.

I don’t know the circumstances, but it sounds like you could not have a relationship with your mother because it was painful. That is understandable. You should not shame yourself for how you felt at the time. If you could not handle it that is okay. Please forgive yourself.


Hi Connie
I understand your pain. If you reconciled and hugged, perhaps you can have that wonderful relationship now? You say that you had a difficult mother daughter relationship, is it fair to put the entire burden of that on yourself? Maybe you can mend things more over then phone, and through understanding, you can give yourself a bit of a break.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone ~ I published a new post today!
If you have ever felt like your family doesn’t (or didn’t) see you, read this: “What about Me? When your Family Disregards you”.
See you there!
hugs, Darlene


Hello all,
My mother recently died of cancer. I did not speak with her or see her at the end even though she had reached out through my cousins (I’m an only child) and asked for her grandson (one and only grandson) and myself . Her siblings and other relatives were aware of her condition but none of them went to see her or attended her funeral. I’m not going into the details as to why my son and other family lost all interest in speaking with her or seeing her many years ago, but I do want to share a little of my story with others who have had dysfunctional relationships with a parent.
To begin, I lost my dad when I was 20 years old. My parents had been divorced since I was ten. I was at his side and was his caretaker until the end; I was able to do this by moving him close to me while I was in college. We left nothing unsaid and I consider him to have been a very positive influence during the short time I had him on earth.
Throughout my life I’ve had many abusive experiences involving my mother. After I moved out at 22 and got married we never had a “good” relationship time period that lasted over 1-2 years. Every time we had a fallout, time would go by and I would always be the one extending the olive branch. Almost like clockwork–she would do hurtful things to me. She never hit me; all of the abuse was verbal and in her actions.
I am very close to the rest of the family (obviously excluding my cousins). We do family things together and everyone was very supportive of my decision.
I am now in emotional turmoil–should I have gone to see her/called her? Who would have been there? The sick old woman or the cruel ‘I don’t know how I could have given birth to someone like you’ woman? One thing I do know is that those who were there got the suffering sick old woman with the ‘heartless only daughter who won’t reach out to her dying mother’ person.
Hopefully this too will heal with the passing of time. Right now it’s a raw pain that is in my heart. The last time we spoke was around two years ago. She treated me so shamefully bad that I vowed not to go through another reconcilement ever again. It seems after all, that reaching out for me on her death bed knowing that I was ‘done’, was her last act of cruelty toward me.


Hi Rose
Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~ thank you for sharing this.
My mother is in her 80’s and I think about this subject often. I can understand the pain you are in. I can see why you see that even in death she managed to hurt you again with her victim story. I would feel the same way.

It always comforts me to know the truth about why we don’t have contact in the first place. The pain for me is that my mother doesn’t want to have a relationship with me unless she can treat me as less (valuable) than she is. It is all about her. I sometimes think that when she dies I will realize that same pain only it will be final. If my mother reaches out to me through others, I am going to ask them to get her to tell my “why now?” The thing I have realized about these types of parents is that they will say anything (to others) in order for themselves to look better but I know the truth about what went on. Knowing that helps a lot.

Hugs to you and I am glad that you are here!


Thank you so much for your kind words. Hugs right back at ya 🙂

My issues with my mother varied. I can tell you a lot of it had to do with her trying to control my life but the real hurt was in her actions. Now that I have an adult son, I look back at some of the things she did and I can only shake my head in disbelief. My aunt said something to me yesterday that really hit home. She said “I was expecting her to treat the rest of us the way she did, but I really didn’t expect that she would treat you that way”.
For the record, I am by no means perfect. However, I can say that I was never a trouble child or adult, no drugs, no crimes; I paid my college tuition and made my way through life never needing any financial help from anyone. I could not understand why my mother always found fault (real or imaginary) in virtually everything I did that didn’t involve pleasing her.
This forum has been very cathartic for me and I appreciate the privilege of posting here.


Thank you for sharing. The experience-sharing lets us know that we are not alone. My own parents are both sociopathic and have cut all ties to everyone in their own families. I endured years of threats, physical abuse, as well as various forms of control and manipulation, before I changed my number and cut ties for good. Both parents have exaggerated their health as a means to manipulate, and neither has
accepted me for how I am: liberal-left, metrosexual, multicultural, atheistic and in an interracial relationship of 1.5 years (my estrangement with my parents, South Carolina transplants, has been for 1.3 years – the math
there is telling). They are both dead to me but right before I changed my number a few months ago, they tried to get back in touch with me, saying “we will always love you” in one text and “we pray you get the help you need” in the next. my only remaining concern is that in the event I die before them, they would be considered my next of kin and they might conduct a Catholic funeral. I have left the church officially, which has been documented in writing by the church.



I am in the process of pulling away from my toxic parents but I feel such guilt and shame, even though I know it is the only way for me to
have any peace of mind. I am aged 60 and never married, mostly
because of how depressed I have always felt – I have always been the scapegoat in the family setup.

I will honestly feel relieved when my parents die – my brothers are
still under my parents thumb, probably because they don’t want to be cut out of my parent’s wills, and that is probably what will happen
to me, but I would rather be poor and have peace of mind.

I have just said I am not going home for Christmas, and it feels right.


I was and is the scapegoat too Vivienne. I recently learned that it has finally been identified as child abuse when a parent makes it obvious that they have “favorites” and “scapegoats”. I always identified “favoritism” and “scapegoating” and even as a child I knew that it was wrong and harmful. Any type of logical thinking can see that. I now see that this illness/dysfunction/disorder is being passed on to the next generations as well and my father is playing favorites and scapegoats with his grandchildren and my sister is with her children. As with all mental illnesses, dysfunctions, and disorders they are always passed on to children. Those are the cycles that must be broken and it takes special people to break those cemented cycles. Usually the “scapegoat” is the one who is forced to stand up to mentally ill parents because they have nothing to lose by doing so. They are already the “black sheep” of the family so they don’t care what the rest of the family thinks or says. I call those people the “strong link” in the family because the “weak links” are the ones who go along with the dysfunctions and pass them onto their own children. It takes immense strength and courage to stand up to family mental illness, dysfunctions, and disorders because parents don’t want to face or admit to it. That is because of inherent parental arrogance which is in all parents. One of the biggest traits that parents lack is humbleness.

It’s painful at first but after several years now I am much happier without my parents painful influence and constant animosity. I have been estranged from both of my parents for 6 tears now and it gets easier every day. I have given them the chance to make it right and they cannot and do not know how to do that so for now they will stay out of my life. That is their choice. My children estranged from me for a short time and I didn’t have the same reaction as most parents simply because I was the target of parental alienation. When a parent is targeted with parental alienation tactics they are put underneath a microscope and their every fault or mistake is exploited, focused on, and advertised. I am forthright about my own mental health issues and I am transparent about my mistakes and flaws, unlike most people. My parents, like most, see themselves as perfect parents even though they are far from it. Humbleness about their own issues would make them much better parents.


The “will” is another tool that bad and mentally ill parents use to manipulate. My father talked about my grandma’s “will” for my entire life and from the time that I was young he would tell me that I was “in” his will or “out” of his will based on my behavior. I would argue and argue with him, even when I was a young child, that his will mattered nothing to me. To this day he is obsessed with his will and with my grandma’s will. A person who will bend over for money is not a person with good character and I agree with you that I would rather be poor and have my dignity than to compromise my morals to have money. It is clear and obvious to everyone around those types of people that their focus is on greed and deep down that isn’t impressive to anyone.


Hi BeHappy,

The subject of wills brings to mind how my father handled things. My father is obsessed with money like your father, but expressed it differently. My father never trusted my husband and I. He had to move into our house because my sister and brother-in-law would not take care of him. They lived 2 miles from him. We lived 300 miles from him. He lived with us several years with my sister still having power of attorney and being the executor of his will. Finally we explained to him that we NEEDED to have power of attorney because we were the ones who were dealing with him. He changed it begrudgingly. Then later I spoke to him about having me as the executor of his will. My husband had to tell him, “honor the daughter who is caring for you!” Finally he caved. He also told me that my sister was upset that she was no longer the executor. BFD. I guess she wasn’t upset when he had to move to another state to be taken care of. I won’t get into why he left our home, but after 5 years he did. He moved back to be near my sister again in an assisted living facility. He very quickly changed my sister back to power of attorney and executor. I was not surprised, but I was intrigued about how fast he did it. It was just another nail in the coffin of our relationship.

The first three years he was in our home, he paid us very little for expenses. Our lives revolved around his needs. We told him during year four that he would have to pay more. We were running out of money at the end of the month. Well he hemmed and hawed and finally paid. He would still complain to me about it often. He said he was going to run out of money. We told him if he runs out of money we would still care for him and pay for his food, etc. He worked for a big company so he had a pension and good benefits. But low and behold when he decided to move into assisted living; he had enough money to pay that even when it was more than what we were getting from him. I confronted him on more than one occasion about how he didn’t want to give us any money for expenses because he was worried about how much he was going to be able to leave my sister and her family. He never admitted it, but I knew he was worried about that.

Perhaps I am in the will. Last copy I received I was in it. It does not matter. There were so many ways that my father showed me that I was lesser than my sister. It hurt at the time being shown how ill regarded my husband and I were even after giving him a place in our home.


I understand what you are saying here, you tried your whole life. You can save your self to be sane and not disfunctional. They made a choice and why must a person keep rewarding bad behavior or chasing after it for acceptance.


Have any of your parents ever sent something to your kids? How did you handle it?

We have not spoken to my husband’s parents for about a year. When he divorced his ex-wife, “Sue”, they told him they did not believe in divorce and that they did not care why, he should not get a divorce. (They did not have a relationship with Sue at the time.)

Since the divorce, they have spent more time with Sue each year than they spent while they were married. They make it a point to include her in holidays (would make an excuse to not see us for the holiday because they were going to Sue’s). When my husband told his mother how hurtful she was, she told him he was going to have to live with it and if she never saw him again she wouldn’t care, and if she has to choose between him and Sue she chooses Sue.

My husband wanted to still try to have a relationship with his parents, but there was a big blow-up last year. My fault, I’ll admit: my husband was out of town so my in-laws came to help me with my 8-week-old twins at my stepson’s play. I walked away from my seat and when I came back, Sue was settled in to sit with my in-laws so I moved my seat. When my mother-in-law asked if I was mad at her, I told her yes because she knows we do not have a good relationship with Sue and I wasn’t going to sit with her, bit they were welcome to. After the play, my in-laws followed me to my car, yelling, ending with my father-in-law calling me a whore.

They have not spoken to us but sent Christmas gifts to our twins. I don’t feel right taking them, because the twins don’t know who they are and I don’t expect they ever will. Is there a tactful way to return them?


Hi Amanda,

They called you a whore. Have you considered why you want to be tactful with them? Or why you should even make the effort to return the suits. You have twin babies-is that not enough work in itself that you should have to put more effort into a painful situation?

Their behaviour is so unfortunate. I hope you can stop engaging them in their stupid ways.
I’m sorry this is happening to you. Hugs.


Hi Amanda,
your in-laws sound very toxic.

Returning the gifts would put you back in their orbit. If they arrive in the mail, you could consider marking them refused and popping them back in the mail. The other option would be to donate them to a good cause.

For your children’s sake, it sounds like staying no contact with them would be wise. They sound like the type of people who would not only try and smear you to your own children, but it also sounds like they have absolutely no boundaries by yelling at you and calling you names in front of them.

I’m sorry that happened to you. It may be better that it happened sooner than later though, since your children are still young and there isn’t a huge (emotional) investment. Take Care.


Amanda your in laws sound like control freaks! First of all, if THEY don’t believe in divorce fine, they can stay married through thick and thin, but their beliefs should not be forced on your husband. What he does is his business, not theirs, and if he decided he wanted to divorce Sue that is his chouce to make. I get the sneaky feeling that Sue being around your in laws so much is part of their control act. Since they didn’t have much of a relationship with her before the divorce, it appears to me from what you wrote that their new friendship with Sue is based on their annoyance about the divorce. Your husband didn’t cave in to a THEIR beliefs so they are going to coddle Sue right in your faces.
I hope you aren’t taking all the blame for what happened at the play last year. Since they knew you and Sue don’t get along they could have handled the situation much better; that is, if they WANTED to. The could have given you a heads up that Sue was coming, they could have told Sue that you were with them and had gotten up from your seat and that it would be better for all if Sue took a different seat. But they didn’t do it and I suspect that maybe they wanted to watch the drama play out when you returned to your seat. Their yelling and your father in laws comment were totally out of line. I see plenty of blame that they should be owning.
I wonder if they sent the twins those gifts to stir up contact? My inkling if I was in that situation would be to give no response at all. No return, no note, no phone call and let them think what they may. But of course I am not there and don’t see the whole situation as you do so you and your husband need to decide what is best for you two and your kids. Best of luck!


Amanda, I agree with Amber, this is a control issue and your in-laws are mentally ill. There is nothing that you can do about that and the best thing that you can do for the best interest of your family is to stay away from them because you will never be able to change their behavior….or them, and you don’t want your children to experience any pain or influence from their bad behavior.

I have in-laws that are even worse and I can now see the “control” issues a mile away. My mother-in-law actually invited my husband’s ex-girlfriend to my husband’s sister’s wedding without even asking my husband’s sister or discussing it with my husband. It took me years and years to see through my in-laws devious, cunning, manipulative, and controlling acts because I had never seen or experienced it before. I was raised in an environment where people simply blurted out what they thought and they communicated openly and honestly. My husband’s entire family is extremely passive aggressive and that’s tricky to deal with. To this day I cannot trust anything that any of them says because they were all raised to lie and manipulate to get their way and they don’t simply ask or communicate like normally healthy people would. This family (my husband has 4 siblings) was all trained to “hail” the parents (simply because these parents need their children to fill them up inside, they are unhappy otherwise) and my husband and his siblings were brainwashed in extreme ways into thinking that their parents are “perfect” and that they (the children) will never be loved or happy without their parents. These parents (my in-laws) even make their own children’s birthdays about themselves and if their grown adult child doesn’t invite their parents over for their (the child’s) birthday than they (the parents) don’t send them (their child) anything for their birthday and insist that they must see them in order to get a birthday gift from their own parents.

It would take me days to tell you the mind manipulation and disturbing control tactics that my in-laws constantly use and I wish that I could teach everyone how to identify such mental illness sooner than I did because my husband’s parents have caused serious problems in our relationship since the day that we met until this day 19 years later and I have suffered a great deal because of their mental issues. I read books about “enmeshment” which is very serious in my husband’s family and also passive aggressive, two ailments that didn’t afflict anyone that I have ever known before therefore I didn’t recognize it until it was too late.

There are ways to deal with these types of people so for your husband’s sake try to do some research, reading, or learning about the subject. Your in-laws are suffering from mental issues that stem from their need for others to make them feel better. They “need” to use your husband’s ex to make themselves feel better inside and they “need” to mistreat you to make themselves feel better inside. In my case my in-laws “need” to control and order around children or they don’t feel superior or good about themselves. It is clear that they cannot stand each other and I have read that in marriages like that they often turn to their children to fill that void and that creates very unhealthy relationships with those children and causes mental dysfunctions in those children. Those types of people have extremely low self esteem and my mother-in-law has “narcissistic personality disorder” which is nearly impossible to cure or fix. You need to make their (your in-laws) internal problems/issues their own and try your hardest not to let it affect your own life or the lives of your children because this type of stuff is almost always passed on to the next generations. It’s the only way because with tight-knit families it is impossible to change their dynamic, a dynamic that has been cemented in their family for decades.


Hi Amanda
What is tacky about returning a gift given the situation? Think about this from the truth view. Who is in the wrong here. The gifts sound like a manipulative thing. I don’t think returning them even requires an explanation.
Hugs Darlene


Darlene, Anna, Sharon, Amber, and BeHappy: Thanks for the replies and advice. It’s a good feeling to find out we’re not “bad” people, and other people have been there and still going through the same heartache.

The gifts they sent were gift cards, sent in cards with no return address. If it were my parents, I would have written the return address in and marked them “Return to Sender” – since they are my husband’s parents, I gave him the cards and let him decide. (I think there was a part of him hoping there would be an apology in them.)

I like the idea of giving them to charity, but I just don’t want to accept anything from them. I don’t want them to feel we “owe” them a conversation or a visit because of 2 $25 Target gift cards.

I realize we are going to run into them at every school function for my stepsons because “Sue” will invite them. I was hoping sending the gift cards back with a gentle reminder they chose Sue to be their family would let them know we are happier without them in our lives, but I didn’t even think about the gifts being a lever to get re-involved with us. (And if/when we return them, will that start another round of calls and whatnot?) Maybe I’ll return them after this year’s school play….


Hi Amanda
Personally I would “ignore” them and everything they do. If you see them in a public place just be as minimally civil as you can and avoid (but not blank) them if you can. Smiling politely at them often sends them into confusion too 😀

If it helps, remember THEY chose to send the gifts to you (for whatever reason) and what you choose to do with them NOW is none of their business. If they want to use “sending gifts” as a way to say you “owe them” then remember they would do this anyway. These sort of people will use anything and everything you say or do and then twist it to fit their own agenda. The old cliche of “you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t” is a very good one to remember. Their focus is to “engage you” in any kind of contact so they can then exhibit a “power” over you either by snubbing you in public, yelling at you, showing favouritism etc. If you refuse to be sucked into their “games” then they have no power. I certainly wouldn’t go to the effort of returning the “gifts” as this gives them something called “significance” as they would KNOW they have forced you to “do something” which was instigated by them and as already mentioned, they will twist what you do to “fit” their agenda and what they tell others.

When talking with people who have had no first hand experience of people like this I try to get them to understand by saying, “you cannot discuss anything “logically” with an illogical person”. Most “right thinking” people find this difficult to comprehend as they have learned the social etiquette that these people choose to ignore so cannot understand WHY a person would act in such a way – and that is when the “right thinking people” can begin to think that “perhaps you have done something to deserve this behaviour and there is some truth in their accusations”. It is a very hard situation to be in and often I just give up trying to explain to those more fortunate than I, who have never had to deal with dysfunctional family members. There is a certain level of understanding they just can’t reach.

And to finish on another “saying” that I often remind myself of when having to deal with difficult people …… “Never wrestle with a pig … you both get dirty AND the pig enjoys it!!!”
I’m sure you can see the analogy.

At the end of the day YOU need to be able to live with your behaviour and not feel bad about yourself SO I would suggest you do what YOU feel happy with regarding the gifts i.e. give them to others or use them for the children, and keep in mind it was NOT your choice to receive them but it IS YOUR CHOICE what you do with them NOW. Ask yourself, if they came from a good friend, what would you do with them then? Just because they’ve come from some of life’s parasites shouldn’t be your focus. YOU didn’t choose this situation but YOU can now choose how to be positive about it.

Good luck with your choices 😀


Very good advice Jaqui. I love the “never wrestle with a pig….”. lol. I have never heard that one before. I just want to add that there are very few people in this world who don’t have to deal with dysfunctional family members because there isn’t a family in existence that doesn’t have at least one or two that are dysfunctional or mentally ill. I feel that is another huge misconception that our society has is that most families are healthy when most are not. Factually some are just better at hiding their problems and issues. Even the families that appear to be perfect are most certainly not and I have personally seen the hidden truths that can be found deep inside families that on the outside appear to be healthy and happy but are on the inside disturbed and demented.


I get the “double whammy.” I get the “how will you feel when they die” (Um, can’t answer that, as I can’t predict the future… DUH! but if the present is any indication, I don’t think I will feel anything at all……)

But, since I’m childless/childfree, depending which term one uses, I get the “you don’t know what it’s like because you didn’t have kids.”

Maybe, but I, at least knew myself to know not to have kids, it wouldn’t have been right for me. I like being the “village” when it comes to kids.



My mother and I settled our differences on Mar. 9, 2011. She died. I felt relief. I didn’t have to deal with her anymore, even though I had been extremely low contact with her. I didn’t have to deal with people bugging me to “get her to _______” fill in the blank, take her medicine, listen to her doctors, get her to, get her to. Or the ultimate, “but she’s your mother” …. Yeah well, she was also my abuser.

The overwhelming aspect of it was, the rest of my FOO had already passed away and the whole aspect was left on my shoulders. Settling her estate, obituary, memorial service. All was very sterile for me. I hired a minister and let him do most of the talking. Friends got up and spoke. I spoke, but with a humorous style. I came from a very small town. Everyone knew everyone. I know people knew she was a little loony.

But the ultimate point. Relief.

I still have her ashes out in my garage. I have no idea what to do with them. As I don’t have any loving feelings to do something respectful with them. So, here they sit.

One thing I said to people a couple of times when they said, “but she’s your mother” and my reply was, “yeah, too bad she didn’t act like one.”

Take care of you.


Wow, your words are so powerful Sharon. I wonder if more parents would take better care with their parenting after reading your comment above. I know that I would not my legacy to be what you have inside your heart or inside your garage. It makes me want to be a better mother/parent so that I am loved, appreciated, missed, and respected. Abusers/neglecters aren’t respectable. Sorry for your pain Sharon, but now you can take a big breath and try to enjoy and be happy every minute for the rest of your life. That dark shadow is gone. My dark shadow (my evil mother) moved across the entire country from me and that helped my life a lot.


I can relate a bit to DXS, too.

Though I’m only in my mid-twenties, I know that I would be an unfit mother. I think that healing from my emotional scars and discovering new things about myself is more important than caring for a smaller, younger person.

Besides, there are so many risks with caring for a child, such as expenses. What if I lose a source of income, and have to find a way to care for both of us?

It’s bad enough that I’m currently staying with a dysfunctional mother because I thought she changed when I moved in after running into financial hard times only to realize she hadn’t. I can’t imagine her babysitting my child as I’m away or her telling me how to raise him/her. She’s too toxic for me, and she would be for my child, too.

I’m too much of an emotional train wreck to be a good mother. Funny, how I’m treated badly, and then told to get therapy by the same person without her making amends and apologies. Oh, I can’t wait to move out.


I commend those of you who have the strength, intelligence, and common sense to not have children if you know that you will not be a good parent. Parenting is definitely not taken seriously enough in this world and your choice to not have children shows that you take parenting seriously. So often that is not the case. So often those with mental illness or dysfunction have children in an effort to fill some type of need or empty feeling, or even to trap or keep a man, but once they have children they realize that the children didn’t heal or fill their emptiness and that it was a mistake, but it’s too late. In fact I know people who had children so that they could feel better about themselves. They now use their children as their ego fillers or as a means to make them feel superior. Without their children they would be nothing and they know that. I would estimate that half of all parents have children for all the wrong reasons which would explain the child abuse/neglect epidemic.


Thanks everyone for the thoughts on the gifts.

Getting back to the point of this article (and I forgot to mention it originally) is I’m nervous about what we will do regarding my (step)sons my in-laws die. The boys are currently 15 and 13, so in a few years they will be adults and be able to make their own decision, but… what if it happens before then?

Do we tell them when we find out or wait until after the funeral? Does my husband take them? (His ex most certainly will, as she will be playing the part of “daughter”.) Do we say we don’t want them going because my husband does not consider them his parents?

My biggest fear is the boys will resent our decision, whatever it is. My in-laws have only really shown an interest in the boys since their divorce, so it’s not like there has been a close relationship there, but they are still their grandparents.

(Over the last 4 years, the boys have primarily seen their grandparents with the ex – dinner at her house once a month, “pre-Thanksgiving” dinner, Easter, and Mother’s Day. Before the divorce, they saw each other at Christmas and maybe Easter or Thanksgiving.)

How do you handle things with your kids if you haven’t repaired your relationship with your parents before they die?


Nasty in-laws wouldn’t hesitate to try to poison your child(rens) minds and may use it to try to get the upper hand on you. If they are mentally ill in any way or to any degree I wouldn’t want them around my children because they can have a bad influence on them or even pass on some of their dysfunctional thinking or behaving. Children learn and mimic behaviors easily and quickly. Your in-laws may prey on their youth and vulnerability and try to brainwash them into blaming you for the estrangement. You wouldn’t want the boys to resent you and that may happen if your in-laws have any opportunity to influence them.


About Darlene’s main point in this post:

I think it could be very dangerous to stick by a parent one doesn’t love, regardless of his/her health or age. This could drive the adult child to either do something to the parent that would be regrettable later, or the adult child might end up engaging in self-harm.

I am work extremely hard to move out and distance myself from my mother. I know I will get some backlash from my older siblings since this isn’t the first time I estranged myself from the family and I’ll still be staying in the same twin-city area for a while, but I feel that I’ve been giving my family too many chances only to be duped over and over again.

My mother has been in poor health since I was a kid (and probably even longer, I’m not sure), but her health and age doesn’t absolve her from being accountable for how she treated (and still) treats me. Why would she want to have someone in her life who doesn’t love her anyway? This doesn’t help either of us. I don’t want anything to happen to her, but I feel there is so much I can take before the ticking time bomb inside me explodes and I might end up hurting her or myself.

That’s the good thing about having siblings, even if they’re the enabling golden children. They can care for her if our mother reaches to a point where she can no longer care for herself. I just find it aggravating when they guilt-trip or bully me into having a relationship (as if those tactics would work) with her. Sometimes I wonder since they are emotionally closer to her than I am, why don’t they either move here to the twin-city area or have her live with one of them? Problem solved.

Sometimes I have guilty feelings doing this (for the second time), but I know in my head, tolerating family members I don’t love because I don’t have anyone else isn’t doing me any favors. As an adult, I’m free to reach out to other support systems.


I have separated myself from my entire family about 3 ago. I was the Scapegoat. My mother, sister, and bother in law blamed me for everything. I first had a fall out with my mother. We stopped speaking. My sister and bother-in-law decided to get involved and it became 3 against 1. I grew up caring for my mother. She drank and was abusive(I forgave her many years ago for all that). My mother and I did everything together but, her love was for my sister who never gave her the time of day. When she began having health issues she threw me under the bus. Gave my sister and bother in law all the power to make all her decisions. I felt hurt and left out. I want to add my mother and her mother did not talk for 30 years. I mother did to me what her mother did to her. It was always so easy for my mother to spend a year or two and not speak to me. Yet, she could never go a day without speaking with my sister. I believe my sister realized in her 60’s she did not have a relationship with my mother so was happy when my mother and I did not speak. My sister is like my mother. my sister cheated on her husband for years like my mother cheated on my father who is now dead but never gave me and my sister the time of day. Moving right along, I said to my family good bye and good luck. If I am contacted when my mother dies, I will probably just say I’m sorry for your lost. why would I go to a funeral. I was not respected and loved my entire life because I was too busy trying to make all these terrible people love me. I am not married, I have few friends. I’m 61 and devoted most of my life to my mother who used and disrespected me. I blame most of this on me. I let it happen, however, they thought the emotional abuse would last forever. I am getting through all this alone. Its tough, I have no other family but, I’ve been in therapy for years(maybe 25).I need and will get through it. I just read this website. I’m on the right track, I’ve related to each of your stories, God Bless each of yo


I’m estranged from my father, mother and sister. While I still love them, I’ve learned that it’s best to love them from afar. I tried my chumpiest, co-dependent best to have relationships with all of them and the end result was always the same. As long as I was willing to work like a mule for scraps of affection, accept responsibility for their actions and fix things for them, then we could have a “relationship” that was completely on their terms. They’d call me, when they felt like it or if they needed something. This was not good for me, so I tried different levels of contact. I learned that if I left ANY room in my life for contact, they’d try to take advantage of me.

I went no-contact with my dad over 10 years ago. My sister did me a favor and shut me out of her life not too long after that. I’ve recently gone NC with my mom, after finding out that all these years she’d been lying to me about her sobriety. She’d been lying because I have kids and she knew I wouldn’t tolerate an ounce of abuse or mistreatment near them. So she lied. When she slipped up while putting the full-court press on me to let her move in with us, she blamed me for her drinking and abuse! She was trying to relieve some stress, yanno. I went NC after that. She called me after a year, trying to pretend like everything was OK. She needed a favor (she wanted me to defraud the Federal government on her behalf) and she acted so breezy and casual about it. That’s when I knew: this person never changed and never will. She just became a better liar. Am I sad I have no immediate family? Yes. But they aren’t healthy people and they don’t belong in my life.

To be honest, I feel adrift. I wish I had healthier relationships but I don’t know how to do that. I try my best, and I have a few relatives who love and care about me. I have a few friendships, but I long for a best friend. I long for real friendships, where we care and support each other. I’m working on it. It’s hard for me to open up to people in real life, maintain friendships or sometimes even pick good people. I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m giving it my best shot. I feel so awkward. I’m doing my best to pour on love, nurture and respect onto myself. I have some confidence that if I just keep going, I’ll have those friendships. I’ll probably make a lot of mistakes along the way, but nobody’s perfect. Thanks for reading this and letting me share.


Dawn and Debbie: I’m surprised you can still feel love. I feel nothing. But I am seeing how the relationships in my family caused the issues in my romantic relationships.


Hi Debbie
Welcome to EFB ~ you have found the right website! I have been there and I came out the other side and I have written over 400 articles (all with discussions) about how I did that! I am glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Dawn
Welcome to EFB ~ This website is about how I learned to have healthy relationships by seeing exactly what unhealthy was. There is tons of info here.
Glad you found us,
hugs, Darlene


I truly am broken. My Mother died 3 weeks ago and we had not spoken for a year & had a very strained relationship for the past 3 or 4 years. I attended her funeral & I was shocked at how heart broken I was. Over 800 people attended her funeral and spoke of what a wonderful person she was. But she wasn’t wonderful to me. She tried to control me with her money or lack of affection for most of my life.

Her public persona was one of a child advocate, yet as a child she left me many anytime in unsafe situations. Unfortunately, I still carry the scar’s today from my childhood abuse. She remained somewhat in contact with the family member and even had them into her home. 4 years ago my Sister died ( my only ally) and I went off the deep end. Started taking every drug under the sun, that my shrink would write me. Long story short I got a DUI which was more embarrassment then she could take. This was the final straw between her & I.

I became a walking Zombie for over a year. I have 2 children and thank god my husband was there to take care of them but I put them threw hell. She viewed me as a horrible Mother and a failure. Am I? Everything I hate about her, maybe I did the same to my children? I Thank god my children were never hurt or abused, but what kind of Mother checks out for a year?

I have no relationship with bio Dad & have a half brother and step father who I spoke to for first time in a year at funeral. Today, I learned she had changed her life insurance to my brother & step Dad. Controlling me from the grave with money. I am truly shocked she left my kids nothing, she was extremely close with them. She was a bad Mother but a great grandmother. All these years I bit my tongue because she was so good to my children.

How do I find Peace and move on? I am not finding it easy. I wish I had never heard she died. Am I crazy?


Hi Drue. I am wondering how I will feel when it’s my mom’s time. I think that I will feel NOTHING. But I could be surprised. Sorry about the “money control.” I know how that feels.


Hi Drue,
Welcome to EFB ~ your question is not one that can be answered in one comment but there are over 450 articles (all with discussions) available to read here in this website about how I moved on and found peace. And my ebook (in the right side bar) is also a very popular account of how I built the foundation for a new life and came out of the fog that comes with this whole thing.
Thank you for sharing. You have found the right place and you are not alone here.
hugs, Darlene


I’m not sure how I would feel when the time comes for my mother to leave this Earth. She already has health issues (which she had since I was a child, maybe longer) but she’s not bedridden or has dementia.

I think that in a sense, I would mourn. Not because I would miss her, but because she never became the mother I hoped she would be. I don’t think I would attend her funeral. That seems hypocritical. I have a feeling, though, that my older siblings would probably blame me somehow since they’re unquestionably loyal to her and already don’t approve of my lack of a relationship with her.

Well, it’s something that I will have to face in about the next 10-20 years: maybe sooner, maybe later. All I know is that it’s not going to be easy.


S1988, I feel (or don’t know how I feel) the same way. Next 10 years, I’ll have to deal with it. My siblings would be angry if I didn’t attend, but their anger wouldn’t be about whether or not I attended, it would be about, “not being there to help with the funeral.” Maybe I could help with the arrangements but make up some excuse to not attend.


Thank you all for having the courage to live in truth. I wrote the above article as I’m currently grappling with my schizophrenic mother’s entry into palliative care/hospice. To say she was abusive is an understatement. I’ve been through decades of treatment to salvage the splintered parts of me. Part of my restoration necessitated removing myself completely from my family. I’ve devoted myself to facilitating treatment for trauma survivors. I feel healed and blessed on many levels. I beat the odds. Yet the recent correspondence with my aggressive bullying sister and the prospect of seeing my mother- who has devolved into an inconceivable state, destabilized me. I had to break off any further contact with my sister. That helped me tremendously with getting grounded. My ‘witnesses’ have opened the door to my choosing what is best for me. In fact they veer towards my protecting myself by not going as it will re traumatize me and there is absolutely no hope for any sort of meaningful dialogue or restitution. Yet the ‘bad person’ indoctrination is so insidious. I dread the thought of seeing her and I judge mysel even though I know I have every right to maintain my emotional and psychological safety. Finding this site reinforces for me our lonely brave plight, with these difficult choices that few can comprehend. God Speed- S

Dawna-Llyn Marshall
March 27th, 2015 at 7:03 am

Hi Sheri,
Reading your comment was like reading my own as I too have an aging schizophrenic mother. She comes from a totally dysfunctional family but knows no different and chooses to remain their scapegoat. In turn, this same family tried to cultivate me as the next ‘up and coming scapegoat’ but I wasn’t applying for the role they had written for me. I’ve had to stay away from my mom as she’s gone off her meds and prefers to stay off them, regardless how it affects me. I’ve had to deal with her illness all my life and I just cannot do so any longer. Our mental health laws, in Ontario Canada, give absolute control to the ill person and had me running in circles to try to help her to no avail. The guilt I feel is indescribable but I cannot cope with her illness as it affects my health greatly. I completely understand your pain.


Thank you for your compassion and identification. I find myself paralyzed with visiting my mother and so i am trusting my instincts and protecting myself. When I stepped away from her over 7 years ago it was in the aftermath of her having been homeless and in the shelter system. I and my sister went to the supreme court to get a mental health petition in the hopes of having her hospitalized when/if she was found. She refused to go the hospital with me and bolted…dissapearing for months. This sort of upheaval was standard, but I was at a breaking point. When I visited her in the shelter I mandated that she be on meds and referred to supervised housing for any sort of relationship to continue. In spite of a harrowing life with her in which her violent psychotic behavior almost took my life and necessitated years of medical and psychiatric treatment, I was willing to go forward. The breaking point was surprisingly not rooted in her ‘schizophrenia’ as much as a malevolent aspect to her (what my therapist believes is her cluster b/personality disordered stuff) in which she would selectively go into psychotic reverie to shut me up, punish me, and shut me down. When I finally woke up to this insidious maneuvering and what it had done to me and was doing to me I confronted her. At this point she was medicated and stabilized in supervised housing. She denied it and put it on me in this saccharin “you mean the world to me” overture. I had it and walked away defeated but liberated. I owned the truth. Apparently over the years she fell through the cracks (again) and left supervised housing, went off meds and never took care of the intermittent bouts of skin cancer that required laser surgery. Now she has gaping holes in her face. Her ear has fallen off and her eye. She looks like a monster. I am actually heartbroken for her but afraid of her and afraid to see her. My sister is on this insane mission for restitution. I have pulled away from her. I am just trying to wrap my head around this and keep my life sane and simple. I have worked so very hard for that and have sacrificed so much. I keep thinking how fascinating is that my pain, my shouldering life alone is completely lost on my mother and sister…as it was on my father. I am just the selfish one who turned her back on her family. There is no context. Anyway…have an appointment to run to. I am very grateful for this forum and the support offered here. Sempre pax- Sheri


The most important thing that we can do as human beings is to be better parents than ours were. That will help to slowly eliminate mental illnesses, disorders, and dysfunctions in the next generations. These mental afflictions are passed on from generation to generation simply because of the family’s silence and learned acceptance of it. Almost all of our psyche was formed by our home life, our childhood, our upbringing. A child’s mind is like clay being formed at the hands of their parents/caregivers who spend the most amount of time with the child, and most parents raise their children just like they were raised. What astonishes me is the level of parental arrogance that every single parent has. Humbleness about parenting is completely lacking in our society. Parents don’t admit to mistakes or errors and many times they cannot even identify them. Parents are always screaming and crying about their “rights” while they are harming their children. Every parent alive thinks that they are the best or perfect parent which is nothing but a delusion. I have yet to see even one parent NOT do or say something that permanently harms their child’s psyche. I see serious, harmful, and often times egregious behavior of parents every day. It’s so sad to see the look in a child’s eyes after their parent did or said something that will permanently hurt and harm them, and this happens in the nicest and most normal looking families. There are crucial parenting mistakes made every single day in every single household and that’s ridiculously sad. Everyone is afraid to stand up to a parent and rightly so. Our society was built on the oxymoron of “always respect your parents” yet “respect must be earned.” Our poor children. 🙁


Hi Sheri
I saw this powerful quote this week and it really reminded me of so much of what we are talking about here. I decided along the way that whatever others think isn’t about me. It has been easier said than done but I had to keep looking at the logic to it. If it were my neighbour who was treating me like that, no one would expect me to stick around and cater to his or her needs but when it was my family it seems that most of the world insists that no law applies. I knew that I could never break the cycle if I kept going along with the insanity and since I have 3 children of my own, I HAD to break the cycle. Here is the quote from my friend Christina who just published her new book.

“It’s generally accepted that you have to stand up to bullies or they won’t back down, but when the bully is in your family, you’re expected to ‘let it go.’ There’s especially a social taboo associated with standing up to parents. Part of turning a blind eye to parental abuse comes from denying that parents are capable of causing harm to their children and from excusing abusive acts by claiming it was in the name of love and ‘for your own good.’ Overlooking harm done by parents is a way to cope with the pain of their betrayal. Refusing to face the pain leads to being victimized again, which adds more pain. Inside or outside of the family, ignoring bullies doesn’t stop them.” The Rescued Soul by Christina Enevoldsen

Thank you for sharing here Sheri. My heart goes out to you ~ what a horrific situation.
Also, I read your article and it is really great. Thanks for sharing that too.

Hugs, Darlene

Dawna-Llyn Marshall
March 27th, 2015 at 8:28 am

I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes as a single parent of 3 boys and was by no means perfect. I’ve atoned for my mistakes and asked for forgiveness and have always tried to be a better parent than my own. I’m confident that I did a much better job than what I was shown and have broken the cycle of abuse that’s cultivates over the generations. The awareness of mental illness today is very prevalent and seems to be more understood and recognized.


That is an awesome quote Darlene.
And Dawna-Llyn, you should be so proud of yourself. It is extremely difficult to stop cycles of mental illness and most cannot do it, and those who do are often ostracized or condemned by the other “bullies” or weak followers in the family. What the bullies and weak followers don’t realize is that the ones who stand up to the abuse, dysfunction, disorders, and inappropriate behavior are the noble, strong, intelligent, and special people who will break an extremely harmful and damaging trend in the family and cause a ripple of positive change that will last for generations to come. Those who stand up to bully families that are full of mental dysfunction are actually heroes and there is no doubt about it.


Yes, and SinderP it is so important for those of us to validate ourselves for doing that regardless of what the world says and what our families say. My family hated that I would not get back in that box I had been in all my life. They didn’t want me to be me, they wanted me to be the obedient compliant mouse with no mind of her own, that they had groomed me to be. They had no motivation to change after all, things had been going the way that they wanted. I stirred the pot. At the end of the day, I don’t miss it.

That is awesome! Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Dawna-Llyn Marshall
March 27th, 2015 at 9:33 am

Sounds like all 3 of us have risen beyond our families’ expectations of ourselves. I work from a very basic premise: if I’m not good enough to eat at the same table with the family, don’t expect me to help with the dishes.


“Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig enjoys it.” 😉


All of the wisdom here has brought me to tears as I grapple with my the recent events that have opened up core wounds. Moving in the direction of acknowledging our pain…the pain that is so often minimized and outright disregarded is such a critical piece in all of this. I ask myself repeatedly why my mother’s suffering absolves her of the abuse and damage she left me to contend with? Why is my suffering so obsolete to the masses as the daughter who beat the odds? It brings up such a profound impotence and outrage in me. So my being well…my having worked 3 decades to salvage my Self mandates me to step into the firing squad again? I feel like a battered woman being told to stand by her man. Only I’ve been the battered child. Truth is I have cried for my mother since I was a child. I also hated her..and hated myself. Who cried for me other than the witnesses I’ve found along the way? Those were the people who helped me save myself. Not my family. They would have killed me if I let them. I relate to what is shared here about being hated for not complying with the sick mandates, the evil expectations disguised as nobility and caring.

I posted the wonderful quote from your friend’s book Darlene on my FB page. I’d like to share a poem that has always moved me…and the film as well. Such a beautiful homage to the abused child. XO

Who will cry for the little boy?
By Antwone Fisher

who will cry for the little boy?
Lost and all alone.
Who will cry for the little boy?
Abandoned without his own?

Who will cry for the little boy?
He cried himself to sleep.
Who will cry for the little boy?
He never had for keeps.

Who will cry for the little boy?
He walked the burning sand
Who will cry for the little boy?
The boy inside the man.

Who will cry for the little boy?
Who knows well hurt and pain
Who will cry for the little boy?
He died again and again.

Who will cry for the little boy?
A good boy he tried to be
Who will cry for the little boy?
Who cries inside of me


How profound and true to compare expecting a battered woman to stand by her abusive husband to children being required to always stand by and respect an abusive and/or neglectful parent(s). It is indeed the same thing. There are so many things about our society that are so backwards, so counterproductive.


This is such a good article – I hadn’t come across it yet in looking through the entries, but it seems to be good timing for me. This is exactly how my mother is trying to manipulate me back into her life. I am very low contact with her because I still have a relationship with my dad. She has been experiencing health problems the last couple years – has had a pacemaker put in and it was upgraded earlier this year. She has an anuerysm she has to have repaired and during her cat scan last month, they noticed something else – so she had a procedure a week ago. They injected her with a dye to see the veins and arteries around her intestines. She had sent me an email about it – telling me she might not make it because of her pacemaker and they had to do the procedure a certain way, and that she told my other sisters and one brother that she wanted to donate her kidneys to a cousin who is on dialysis. I wasn’t sure how to feel – I wasn’t sure what was truthful and what was her drama – she has cried wolf with her health many times before causing stress and worry. I talked to her the week before her procedure and asked if she had contacted her cousin or talked to her doctors about the kidney thing – because why tell me? She has to arrange for stuff like that – I got a “not yet” and a string of excuses why she hadn’t done that yet, but her procedure was soon, these things take time I’m sure – testing and compatibility and all that…the sister that I do talk to (who still talks to my mom regularly) had no idea…. And I googled her procedure and the “special” way she said they had to do the procedure because of her heart problems is the standard way to perform the procedure. So while I realize every procedure is risky, I figured this was more of her manipulation – trying to lure me back in. I did stress and worry, she just doesn’t know it – but I felt disappointed after the fact that I fell for it again and I let her control my emotions.

Dawna-Llyn Marshall
March 27th, 2015 at 2:20 pm

Because of my mom’s illness I was scapegoated by her family and my alcoholic father’s family, including my two half sisters (I am the only child of my mom’s). I haven’t spoken to anyone from my father’s family in nearly 20 yrs however unbeknownst to me I accepted a friendship request from a young girl on FB. I never gave this person a second thought. Not realizing who she was, I used FB as a diary about my childhood. I thought that the ‘don’t publish’ button meant only I could see my postings. Well my young niece told my half sisters and former step mother what she read and they all start publicly attacking me, even after they realized it wasn’t intentional. It was so apparent to me how messed up this family still was but most memorable was what I concluded about my 13 year old niece, whom I’d never knew. This young girl’s enthusiasm and lingo she used for attacking me sounded so familiar to me and that is because – she, being biracial in a completely Caucasian family is now their scapegoat, due to her being the different one in the family. For once, she wanted to feel as equal as those around her, even if it meant it happening at the expense of another person. Very, very sad. I’m so glad I escaped that nightmare


The day I realized how abused I was by my mother, my feelings for her just about evaporated instantaneously, however I do still worry about how I will feel when she dies (she is 86). Mostly because I feel like any chance I have, no matter how remote, for her to show me some kind of motherly love, will then be totally gone. It will be a sad day for me. I will indeed mourn the fact that I never had a mother who truly loved me. : (


I just got a text from my adoptive father. He asks what he and my mother could have done that was so bad. He says that they are getting old. He says they want to talk to me. It’s finally my turn to decide what I want, and for today adoptive did until I decide otherwise the answer is no. I don’t have to justify or explain. No thanks. It’s always about them. I am not even that angry anymore. I have just detached from the role I have been expected to play since I was a tiny baby. It feels good. I don’t even feel smug…I feel free to choose. And that is what I want for my kids. To be free to live and free to choose. I love being their mother and want the best for them as they see fit. I am always here. And if they reject me for a while I will let them know I am always here…even when they are mad at me


Connie, My mom is same age as yours. I’ve already mourned the loss of a mother who couldn’t love me. So when it’s her “time,” I’ll probably feel nothing. I will attend, when it’s time, her funeral, but only to help out my sisters, as I feel I should do that. But I’ll feel NOTHING.

But you will have to do what is right for you and feels right for you.


my father died in 2010 with no resolution. My mother will most likely pass this year and refuses to acknowledge that the sexual abuse are things thar were as they were and that ‘they were not that bad’. There will never be resolution & I have to accept that. I have come to terms but that is the way it is and I must come to terms within me that it was all valid and I have stated to my mother that I will not have it invalidated or devalued. The best that will come out of this whole mess, and I must move on and grow away from it and become an integrated grown up woman, is realizing that I MUST LEARN to love myself and that I AM a worthy person, within ME. MY VALIDATION.



Wow, I wish I had a mother like you. In my mother’s mind, she owns me and I’m expected to obey her no matter how old I am. Thank goodness I no longer live with her.

I have that belief, too. Offspring should be treated like wild animals. This statement may sound a little strange, but let me clarify. When non-human animals reach a certain age, they leave their families, never to see them again. As far as I know, parent-worship doesn’t seem to exist in the animal kingdom.


I feel like I had the chance to resolve my relationship with my dad before he passed away. I believe that he actually did love me, but was really lost when it came to expressing it. I think my mother managed to convince him that I was something bad when I really wasn’t, but in the end, I think he saw through most of it. I could get through to him sometimes.

My dad has been gone for 3 years now. My mom is still alive, and the family dysfunction started breaking records a year after he was gone. I’ve been No Contact with my family for about a year now, some of them longer, some of them a little shorter. I feel like I’ve recognized that my mom in particular was never the mom that I needed and I’ve grieved for the mother I should have had. I really feel like there is nothing that I can do to bring resolution to the relationship because that would require participation by both of us. I guess I see it as over now. Trying to make a relationship out of it now would just mean I’d have to wait for my own healing until she dies. She’s 82, I’m almost 59. I don’t want to wait anymore.


As for the funeral, my siblings have been cruel or cold in their own ways and I wouldn’t want to have to deal with them at a funeral. I won’t be there.


I am in a similar position.Parents are 84 and 86 and unable to speak the truth about the past. At this point, I think the shell they have built up around them is too tough to crack. If it would crack, their whole world would be exposed to them at once, and it would be too much for them to bear. Our minds protect us from things we cannot handle, and I think that is what has happened to them. The reality is too difficult for them to admit.


I’m reviewing all the posts here to remind myself that I’m not alone with this impasse. I’m trying to distance as my schizophrenic narcissistic mother remains in palliative care and my sister plays out her compensation fantasy by going into full throttle fix it mode. I have been estranged from them all. Father passed while I was overseas. I felt indifferent. I pulled away from corresponding with my sister to get grounded and define my own path. An email from her just came in and I felt my body jolt from fear. Truth is I fear all of them. I don’t want to see my mother and her overtures (communicated through my sister) of how she would love to see me, catalyze both guilt and outrage in me. I am trying to remain realistic and not succumb to being her object- her vessel. I am not seen and while the years of harrowing abuse and neglect are to be denied, what bothers me most is the expectation that I continue pretending in the here and now.Pretend there is a connection that doesn’t exist. Get sucked right back into the lunacy of denial and delusion. I don’t want to pretend.I don’t want to see her. It is tragic what her life has been and the way she is dying. Yet there is nothing real between us. I cry for her, but as I previously wrote my pain and suffering are obsolete to her. I soldiered through on my own and future upheavals on my life will never (and have never) involved any sort of maternal or paternal comfort. I don’t exist other than as a narcissistic extension. Yet ‘she would love to see me’. The re-entry into the delusional sick world of my family after 3 decades of working on myself through all sorts of therapy makes me viscerally recoil in horror. Yet something pulls at me and I can’t quite name it.


They had no motivation to change after all, things had been going the way that they wanted. I stirred the pot.

And that is what I did. Stirred a pot they didn’t want stirred.

I’m feeling a bit blue. My mom’s birthday is this weekend. I am not calling her or visiting her. I bought her a gift card, but I’m going to wait, send it a week late from a town she won’t expect me to be in, and not even sign it. I don’t know why, but something in my gut said to do at least that. That way, she will wonder which “friend” sent it, and she will just think they were absent minded and forgot to sign it. I guess I’m more interested in the fact that she will call every friend she knows trying to figure out who sent it. There is it. My “reason.” The reason for the gut feeling. Call it what you want.

Dawna-Llyn Marshall
March 28th, 2015 at 7:27 pm

You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It’s been my experience that whenever I gave my mom another chance, within 5 mins of being in her presence, I’ve realized it was a mistake and I have to go back to square one. As soon as I walk through the door, the look on her face says “I’ve won the battle again”. Intellectually we know we can’t go back and why we can’t go back but emotionally we cannot reconcile as easily. They aren’t our mothers, they are the shells of our mothers…. our relationship is with their disease, not with their souls. They’re gone, our mothers have been for a long time… and it’s not our fault, but it would be so much easier to understand if it were our faults because then we would have someone to blame.


In my mother’s mind, she owns me and I’m expected to obey her no matter how old I am.

Kind of like…. my mom thinks she can say anything she wants to me and if she hurts my feelings, it’s like, “I didn’t mean it, dear, you know I don’t mean any harm…..” But if I hurt HER feelings, I hear about it! I get called “too sensitive” if my feelings get hurt, but if hers get hurt…….”

One way, like Darlene said.

Hobie, my Dad was kind of like yours. And, the dysfunction in my family came out a year after he died, but he’s been gone for more than 25 years. I didn’t realize I had a grudge against my Dad until I was in a Dairy Queen and saw a father with his kids and I burst into tears. There’s a long story behind this, I saw this really good thing in a Dairy Queen and it took me back to my childhood and how I DIDN’T get that good thing I saw in the Dairy Queen. A year ago, I went to my father’s grave and buried a letter beneath the grass telling him how angry I was.

Hobie, age-wise, you and I are in the same boat, your age and mine and our mom’s age, well, my mom is a few years older, but it’s close enough.

I’m at the point where if she happens to “pass” and I don’t get resolution, I don’t care, but I guess part of me still hopes.

Our minds protect us from things we cannot handle, and I think that is what has happened to them. The reality is too difficult for them to admit.

This is what I have concluded about my mother. Something happened in her childhood she doesn’t want to face. I got her to admit something…. and I think there is more.


I wept when I read your post. Thank you. I know in the very core of my being that I only know my mother’s disease. I am lured by the illusion of there being a real person with a soul, but I know I have never had a mother. In fact I was born in a mental hospital and cared for by a nurse. In a tragic way I suppose I am looking for some sort of agency…some sort of power to mitigate the feelings of helplessness. Feeling guilty strangely does assign some ‘meaning’ to this place of limbo. My sister is running on empty taking charge, in denial and caught up in her own fantasies of making things right. I don’t want to go back to square one by caving in to their pressure that I show up. I need to finally let go..not just of my mother through death, but of the hold she’s had on me all my life.

Dawna-Llyn Marshall
March 28th, 2015 at 7:58 pm

I can’t let go, I’ve just learned to live with it and I’ve learned to manage the waves of anxiety that permeate my conscience.


Dawna-Llyn, Although I did break away from all of them years ago the resurgence of anxiety and obligatory compliance has resurfaced with my sister and mother imploring me to engage. I don’t want to live in a state of traumatic activation and I am seeing that I cannot put myself in their presence in any way, without that happening. It comes down to me or them. I blocked my sister from contacting me. Today I am in my outrage that these expectations of dutiful daughter are being thrust upon me.

Dawna-Llyn Marshall
March 29th, 2015 at 9:37 am

Do you know someone you can send in your place or have the funds to hire someone to help out your sister for a few hours a week?


My mother is hospitalized in a palliative care unit and will eventually be transferred to hospice. My sister insists on being the conservator. I contacted NAMI and the hospital social worker assigned to my mother’s case about 3rd party assignment of s conservator- such as a treatment facility, given my mother’s schizophrenia. Sister was outraged. Wants some $$ apparently our mother has. Needs control. Hates me for addressing her addictions and need for treatment. This is a long standing issue steeped in denial and care taking as means to take charge and manage grief and rage. It’s very comes. I spent my life with PSA, getting psych evals, dealing with evictions, homelessness and mental health petitions. I am done. I don’t honestly feel my sister is in full reality about our mother’s illness. In fact she raged at me for telling the shelter social worker to only offer our mother supervised housing. Did felt she could live independently. Look how that worked out.


Hi Sheri and Dawna-Llyn
Dawna-Lynn ~ I really discourage suggestions or directives (like the one you posted about sending funds to hire someone to help in Sheri’s place) on this site because they actually land on the side of the already misplaced guilt. All of us have been told what to do for a very long time and told that our decisions are somehow wrong for so long that we don’t have a ton of confidence as it is when we make a decision for ourselves so I think it is so much more supportive to not makes those sorts of suggestions.

What a nightmare! I totally support you in the way you are handling it. I understand that no one likes it because it doesn’t suit them and in my experience abusive controlling and manipulative people raise a big fuss if they don’t get things the way they want so the way that suits them will never suit you. Sounds like you have tried everything in the past and now you are looking out for yourself. Good for you!
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene. I do appreciate the support Dawna-Llyn. Having spent the majority of my life trying to help those who aren’t interested in helping themselves, and who in fact despise me for committing to my healing has contributed to my instinctual refusal to engage. There is no one, and never has been a family member to mirror my reality. My deviation from their rules is a cardinal sin, and I have paid the price. This is very difficult for me to hold my ground knowing my mother is dying. Yet memories of her wishing me dead haunt me. I was unwanted and unloved. Her overtures of love are rhetoric. Still it’s always confusing when someone tells you they love you while they beat you and neglect you. It’s the only template to go by. I know better now. I have to listen to what my instincts are telling me. The irony in all of this is that I devoted decades to trying to heal and understand my mother. No one has offered that to me- even at my invitation. I cannot take on her suffering anymore. I can only pray for her and attend to myself.

Dawna-Llyn Marshall
March 29th, 2015 at 4:13 pm

I understand.


Hi Sheri
Very well said! There is a freedom that grows stronger when we finally realize that what they give us isn’t love. I got my life back when I finally started to see the truth and then started to take care of myself. It IS love to draw these boundaries; love for them and for ourselves. (Love doesn’t tolerate people hurting other people).
Hugs, Darlene


Very true Darlene. Thank you for the vote of confidence. 🙂 I think your words, “love doesn’t tolerate people hurting other people” will become my mantra. The basic fundamental truth is that it will re-traumatize me have further contact with my sister and/or my mother. I am activated by the bullying, the aggression, and the way I ‘disappear’ in my mothers presence. I simply have learned to not exist in my relationship with her. It’s like a Pavlovian response. In spite of all the heinous abuse and neglect I endured throughout my childhood and adult life, I was willing to accept that there would never be any sort of ownership on my parents end. However there was a point in my therapy process where I could no longer allow them to continue abusing me in the present. When I finally woke up to the way my mother deliberately used her psychosis to block me out and punish me (ie- this was when she was stabilized on meds and in supportive housing) I confronted this issue with her. She denied ‘ignoring’ me, apologizing for my thinking she did. A big mind fuck that I could no longer reconcile. I am to be maternal spousified receptacle for her. My needs to be seen and understood are irrelevant. I am sorry she is dying this way, albeit she refused to comply with her treatment for the millionth time. She will die without one of her daughters there. Her redemption is with herself and God. We all die. I can’t predict what my death will look like. I will take with me my losses, just as my mother will, and those who are genuinely bonded to me will be there in person or spirit. Unfortunately with my mother there is only a bond through suffering.


This was a very good article. It is challenging to deal with an aging or ill parent even when the relationship is good. It is hell when the relationship was dysfunctional. I spent the past year taking care of my mother who first had a massive sepsis and then was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I took care of her more out of duty and for fear of regret. It was a challenging and horrible time. My grandmother who I loved dearly accepted health challenges the best she could. We knew things had went back for her when she stopped being able to take care of herself. My mother however (her daughter) decided that she wanted to be babied through her illness. She picked and chose what doctor’s advice she would follow. Her demands were endless and some things quite ridiculous in fact. Her narcissistic tendencies seemed to magnify and she did not care how much she could make those around her uncomfortable. There were things for a long while that she was capable of doing for herself, that she would ask you to do just for the attention. For example, “I need this out of the fridge”, she would ask, even though she was planted right in front of it and could easily turn around to get it for herself. Best one was “could you change this channel on the remote?”, and the remote was right in front of her. She nitpicked everything I did and checked up again and again to the point of me either a) ignoring her, or b) saying look if you do not trust me, then I will get someone else for you. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner under her supervision and that was nasty. Anything I cooked, she criticized. Her illness made her unable to tolerate solid foods and that was heck for a person who prided herself in her cooking. My cooking always had something wrong. Her “golden child” (my brother)had since moved away and was coming back to town more often, but still I bore the brunt of her care. The emotional costs have been extreme. For a year it was a black cloud over my head. I typically had dealt with my mother by keeping a fair distance, and suddenly I was calling her once or twice a day. Her behaviour and comments would often induce anxiety. Like many narcissists she was difficult to family, but had many friends who adored her. Fortunately many of them did help and I will always appreciate that. They thought that I did a good job too…that was nice to hear. Some knew that things were difficult. I sacrificed so much and I do not believe it made things better or our relationship closer. When Mom first got ill, she would say “I would do the same for you”, and I never would believe that because she had resented caring for my father and barely helped with my grandmother. She was always so self absorbed, worrying more about cancelling gatherings with her friends, rather than my Dad having a massive transient ischemic attack. I had to give up a dream vacation, because of the unpredictability of her illness and me being primary caregiver. The stress and uproar in my life resulted in me being put on high blood pressure meds. Hopefully I can come off of those soon. Three weeks after she passed away, I got really sick with bronchitis and sinusitis. The stress comes out in so many ways. I have been seeing a psychologist and that has helped. I have not gotten to a point where I miss my mother or feel the loss. If anything her passing stirred up the missing of my father and grandmother. It has been a lot of loss over 5 years. There is so much more I could tell–the failure of the hospital services etc and how hard I worked to get help for her when needed. I guess that the take home point from this story is that there is no winning when it comes to caregiving. You may regret not doing so (or not), but in the end only you can do what works best for yourself. Sometimes the best thing is to protect yourself. Illness can bring out the best in people, but often it can bring out the worst and there is a cost. Take care.



I am so sorry for what you have gone through. I hope you feel better and better all the time, and you get off of high blood pressure meds.

I have experience taking care of 3 family members. My mother-in-law, my father-in-law, and my father. Only my father is still alive. I did all of this out of “duty”. All the circumstances were different, but none of it was good. I just looked at it like a job I didn’t like. My father never appreciated what we did for him for six years. He is now in assisted living near my sister the golden child.

I won’t go into much more of the whole story. I have written about it in previous posts. I knew that I would not grieve my in laws dying. When my mother died in 1999 I did not know what to expect. She was not a good mother and she never liked the choices I made in my life. I am strong willed so we argued. I had one brief time while I was at work a few months after she died and I cried a little. But that was it. I know when my dad dies it will probably be much of the same. I don’t get along with my sister; so I won’t be at his funeral. Lucky for me they all live in another state.

I agree the best thing to do is protect yourself. I have finally learned to do this. I don’t get along with my sister-in-law. Unluckily she lives 10 miles from my home. She moved here 12 years ago with her father so my husband and I could help her care for their ill father. I have told my husband adamantly over and over that I am not going to help her with anything. She made it clear to my husband and I that she strongly dislikes me. I am not going to do stuff for someone who treats me badly.

I understand the feeling of the black cloud over your head. My husband and I dealt with our families by staying away. Then we were dealing with them on a daily basis. Your mom sounds like she was working hard to be a real pain in the ass during her last year. I’m sure you did a good job of taking care of her. I am glad that her friends told you that your were doing a good job.

I know the feeling of sacrifice and how it doesn’t make the relationship better or closer. I am sorry you missed out on your dream vacation. I hope you have taken it or get another chance to go. All the best to you.


I hope I don’t get stuck in a situation where I would have to take care of my mother if she hits a point where she can’t care for herself anymore. I already have a lot of resentment towards her and caring for someone that one dislikes isn’t good for either of us.

Besides, I have no idea how to take care of another person. (This is one of the reasons I’m not a parent, but at least there are parenting books. I’m not aware of adult caring books since illnesses can vary.)

There’s the perk of having siblings, particularly “golden” siblings, though. My brother is an LPN, and is the one who can do no wrong. The healthcare field requires an emotional healthy personality, and my brother is far from that. I’m not sure how he can have a career taking care of sick, vulnerable people while bullying his wife and sons in his household. He and my sister worships our mother so the job of caring for her can go to them. I’ll be in real trouble if I were an only child. If I was, I’d probably go the nursing home route.



I love your article on grief resolution. It really spoke to me. Your writing is very eloquent. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.


My grandma was a caring and giving person. She was always very religious and always tried to do what was right and moral. In her own home she personally cared for and nursed many elderly women to their deaths and she did so with compassion and kindness. She didn’t have to take those women into her home and care for them but she did and she would do anything to help someone in need. In the end she got the same in return. When she was dying at the age of 92 she was well cared for and was surrounded by loving people who looked out for her comfort, best interest, and welfare. You get what you give. The problem with narcissists is that they are too mentally incapacitated (insane) to realize that someday when they need their diaper changed they won’t get it done as quickly as someone would who was good to others, which narcissists are not.

While it shocks and astounds me to hear all of these stories about adults who were and continue to be abused and neglected by a parent who they are currently caring for, it doesn’t surprise me because I know how much power and control that many parents work very hard to create with regards to their children. In fact the most mentally ill parents are dependent on their children for everything, including being the fuel for their narcissism. I know parents who are so afraid of not having their adult children to manipulate and control that they will do anything to keep them close. They are so empty inside that without their children they are nothing and they panic as if they are in need of a drug. But why do you continue to even give your narcissistic abusive parents any care or attention at the expense of your own health and mental well being, especially since they mistreated you for your entire life? You are sacrificing your own health and well being for someone who continues to abuse you? What will you gain from that? You will gain absolutely nothing except for more pain, heartache, and cost to your health because if an abuser hasn’t changed by then he/she never will change.

I hear many of you talk about the “golden child”. Well why don’t you let the “golden child” worry about and care for your abusive parent? You 100% don’t owe them anything. The parent trap keeps children in these harmful situations because of guilt but this must stop. Just because someone is your parent does not mean that you owe them anything. Respect must be earned.

It’s so sad to see grown adults holding on to the slightest hope of their crazy parent(s) treating them right and/or loving them. It reminds me of the sexual abuse survivors who so desperately want an apology from the person who sexually abused them as children, or they desperately need to see or feel some type of remorse from the offender, but those are completely unrealistic expectations that the offender is and always will be incapable of providing their victims, just like parents described above. Just because a parent is sick and dying doesn’t mean that you owe them anything and the “golden children”, not the abused children, should be the ones caring for and worrying about them. Just because they are your parent doesn’t mean that they should automatically get your love and your life.


Andria- Thank you 🙂 It means a great deal that my words and thoughts can offer support to another.
SinderP- Amen !! And the truth be told!


I have had to face this reality with both of my parents because they are both deceased, as of July 2013!

I had a long distance relationship with my dad, and though I loved him from a distance, I was glad that I didn’t know him as a child and did not grow up with him in my life. I found out in conversations with a recently connected cousin that my father was stranger than I knew. I feel sorry for my two half-sisters who were raised by his parents and grew up knowing him.
My grieving process for him was pretty mild though sad. I mainly grieved for the father that I never had and the father that he could have never been.
My mother was a longer and more complicated story. As with you, Darlene, I spent most of my life trying to gain her love. It was a fruitless endeavor, but I was caught in the web of trauma bonding and codependence. It took me about 14 months of profound grieving after she died to truly free myself from her. I was surprised at how long and how deeply I grieved for her.
I vacillated between deep sadness, anger, and guilt for many of those months. I had been judged for the unsuccessful relationship with my mom by family, friends of family, and strangers for my entire life. They all had placed the blame on me and had felt free to tell me their unsolicited opinions. It was only after her death that I realized that these messages and feelings of guilt and responsibility were deeply rooted in me. I went back and forth between the anguish of accepting responsibility to gradually recognizing the lies and refusing to take full responsibility for the relationship.
There were many things that I regret that I did, but what I finally realized was that I had spent my entire life trying to make it better at the expense of my own happiness. And, that if she had made a fraction of the effort that I made, we could have had a wonderful relationship. I would have been willing to accept small efforts had they been made in sincerity.
Everyone will have their own personal experience with grief when the time comes. Be prepared for anything because grief is powerful and can literally kill you. There is no way of deciding in advance how it will play out, you just have to handle it as it comes.
The most valuable advice that I believe that I can give, which I learned from my experience, is to continue to examine any thoughts of guilt… where they originated and if they are true. Deciding on the share of responsibility that was really yours is the key to defending the lies. Making piece with what happened in the relationship is the resolution of the grieving process for me!



There is much you wrote which spoke to me on a deep level today. I find myself mentally exhausted and grappling with a low grade depression by my mother’s pending death, even though through the support of this forum and very select people in my life, I have chosen to not engage with her or my sister. I have been estranged from both of them for many years as I was from my father. I was not in his life when he passed. The damage control with all of them is just too debilitating and the history of relentless abuse cautioned me to not put myself in front of the firing squad, as I had so many times before.

You wrote how you grieved the “fruitless endeavor”. That brings up deep pain in me. My mother is schizophrenic and had some insidious cluster b features. I always looked for the ‘person’ in her…the humanity…the Self who could see me and relate to me. some sort of common ground. Another woman at this forum who shared a similar history brilliantly wrote that there was only the disease. That is the greatest loss for me. I do grieve for her tragic life in spite of everything, but I also grieve for the futility of that delusional pursuit. There never was a bond and there never will be, not even in death when one is probably the most lucid. I suppose that is an element of the trauma bond…to convince oneself that the tormenter is more accessible, more reachable in some way.

As you point out, in spite of it all there are the judgments. Somehow I should make it ‘right’. Lunacy I know, but such a common cultural value. Naturally I was hated and scapegoated for saving myself and that factors in as well. But the guilt is subsiding and now I am just left with the truth of my impotence and my painful past of having to flee from my family if I was to have any chance at life. That loss is always with me and completely lost on my family. I am simply bad and wrong.

You also wrote, “if she had made a fraction of the effort that I made, we could have had a wonderful relationship. I would have been willing to accept small efforts had they been made in sincerity.” I could never aim for anything wonderful with my family, but I made concerted efforts to invite them into treatment, to address the abuse, to request a change with their behaviors so we could have some modicum of decency. At the end of the day those efforts just resulted in being told I was making things up or that I was horrible for having boundaries and standards. I tried. Much of the grief is how little effort was made for me. Once my mother declined being discharged from a mental hospital because she feared killing my sister and I. I thought this was so noble! In hindsight it is sad to see what I defined as effort on her part. I needed to believe she cared about me. That she didn’t want to kill me perversely came to mean love.

Anyway- I will end here and thank you for your wisdom and the encouragement to tease out the guilt. That is certainly a part of this process of healing for me.

Kind regards,


Sheri, You are welcome. I am sorry to hear about your sad relationship with your mom and family, as well. And, thank you for sharing your insights. I was also the scapegoat and any attempts to get through to any of them was met with distrust and ridicule. How dare I point to them and say that something was wrong with the family! It is as if they were all one organism that I am not attached to. They defended the most outrageous acts of treachery and cruelty.
Now that my mom is departed, I dare not say anything about her to them, because they would defend her and tear me apart like savage wolves. The sickness of my family is so glaringly obvious that people all over their neighborhood and the county should be able to detect it! I mean, for Pete’s sake, my stepsister lived with her dad for 57 years and with my mom for 40 years, her entire marriage to my stepsister’s father. It would seem pretty obvious that there was a ‘failure to launch’ issue there. But, they went on playing the charade of ‘everything is fine here’ despite obvious issues. It is so painful to mourn the family that could have been if one or two members had not been mentally ill. That was the issue that had to be covered and defended.
Sheri, though we are the ones who live with the pain, we are also the ones who are finding freedom. There is something to be gained within the greatest loss. I hope that it will lead us to a fulfillment like we have never known.

Best wishes,


I watch a lot of youtube videos about narcissists, narcissistic parents and how narcissistic grandparents corrupt their grandchildren and their grandchildren’s relationships with their parents. Very informative and helps me keep perspective.



Well, it finally happened. Less than a month ago, my mother passed….we had not spoken for quite a while. The damage has been done and will live on, unfortunately. I have been vilified to my children, their children, my sister, and anyone else who would listen. I am not even allowed to see her will but it would be interesting to see what she gave to them. I have gone over to her and her husband’s house to relieve him of her stuff. I am only doing this to be nice to him…he was her accomplice and believed everything she told him, bet seems like a nice man otherwise. Of course, he would be made to sleep in the car if he stood up to her. This is painful to be talking about her after she is passed, but no one believed me when I said that she treated me differently than the others (is this common?)
I have to remember that the torment is over, but at the price of being estranged by everyone who she touched.


Hi Julie,

I am so sorry for the pain you are going through and have been through. I am sorry that you have been vilified to family and anyone else who would listen to your mother’s stories. The death of the person does not automatically make all the pain go away as you know.

I was the scapegoat in my FOO and my husband’s FOO. I was treated differently and less than in both families. I was already well groomed to be the scapegoat when I joined with my husband’s family at age 22. Unfortunately from what I have read on EFB and other things on the internet this kind of treatment appears to be common.

I found out after my mother the head honcho died; the system that she set up was alive and quite viable. I thought I could change my status in my FOO, but I could not no matter how much I gave and did for my family. I don’t know why my family did not like me. They “loved” me and said as much, but they never showed that they truly loved me or liked me. I was ganged up on and told how I was wrong so many times. They thought I had to keep coming back for more because they were my family and you don’t turn away from family.


Dear Julie,

Stop trying to win over the haters,
You’re not the jackass whisperer.
~Scott Stratten



Yes,I lived this a year ago and finding this site did help me. No one can really understand anyone else’s strange, weird, awful, abusive family totally. In that we are somewhat alone. Most people have semi normal families, and for those that come from strange or awful and most certainly crazy broken ones, we can’t even speak about our lives. The shame, the way that no one can possibly understand-my husband has a strange family and an often cruel one,but not anything close to mine.
My mother died without my knowing at 83. We had been estranged for about 3 years, due to the fact that she never put me first and was with my father for sixty years-a cruel selfish man that never saw his grandchildren, didn’t go to my wedding and of course, didn’t tell me when my mother was sick with cancer, and didn’t tell me she died. I had to find it out by searching on line-3 months after she died-I had a feeling- from the funeral home obituary – one sentence. She had no funeral. There were no goodbyes. Why she chose to spend her life with a man that abused her, I cannot understand. It was hard because it was never physical (except for what she said happened before I was born when she talked of leaving him as I begged her to leave him when I was a teenager-“He will track us down and hurt us, Jenny.” Later she denied she ever said this as she denied talking about dreaming about “what ifs” he didn’t come home from a trip) She told me he told her to not come to visit me and her grandchildren once after the last time she visited. I got fed up right before she was turning 80-she had never been sick-and told her I would never be with a man that would keep me from my children. I never heard from her again except for one Christmas card with nothing on it but mom and dad. IF I had known she was sick, I would have visited and taken on seeing my horrible father though it had been twenty years. He called her names, and me names and yelled and screamed and basically was of the belief that if your kid was 18 and alive, parenting was DONE. No more money, time, no more love. He wasn’t capable of much love anyway, he told me once in my life, the day I left home-leaving so I wouldn’t be left as they were selling the house after I graduated. Oh yeah, my mother set me down and told me I needed to find a job and move out the spring BEFORE I graduated high school. Luckily, the house didn’t sell that quickly. They lived the next 20 some years in a trailer with no phone and I could only write letters. I was on my own. Luckily, I am an only child and no one else was born to these wretched people.
But of course, I loved my mother and I was fortunate she was loving to me as a child. I would have helped her if I had known she was sick. But all I wanted was one thing to come from her-to reach out and she never did. So she died, not alone but with the only person that was real to her, in my opinion, her jailer. Some people chain themselves. She lived in Yuma, Arizona and I know she hated the heat. They didn’t even have central air but crappy air conditioners. She gave her life to this man for nothing and sacrificed knowing her grandchildren.
We held a ceremony for her and I wrote a letter and read it so my children would understand me better-they have no memory of her as they were so small the last time she visited.
It took me a good year to reconcile all of this and forgive her and most importantly forgive myself. I spent my childhood and truly most of my adult hood hoping to save her. We can only save ourselves. That is the lesson. After writing this down, I realize what courage I have had to have to live this lonely and sad life, and still have a normal family. Life is amazing but it took me until my fifties. Forgive yourself. Every child loves their parents unconditionally, of that I am convinced. It is like air. Parents, I am afraid, can love less. It is just not possible the other way.


*Sigh* I was watching a TV program until my Dad decided to take charge and switch to a program of his choice. Why this situation? Because it just goes to show that if he is still doing that, then there’s no point in fixing this relationship anymore. Here’s my letter to you Dad or ex-Dad:

Father, it has been a while since I last uttered the word with such deep meaning
A word of which I used to call out in joy, when I knew and loved the person to whom I was leaning
The person who lifted my spirit in the times I needed a shoulder to cry on, or an abundance of support
Only to slowly realise that he was also the same person, whose pain has led me to build a fort
The fort that will help to conceal what is left of my sanity, which in the long run would be crucial for the sake of my humanity

Father, I have given my all to try and understand, as to why there were times where you felt the need to reprimand
Do not take it against me if my feelings of love will eventually falter, for I am exhausted of being that person that you always feel the need to “alter”
Hope fills my mind every single day, that perhaps you will wake up and realise which words you have to say
That you are sorry for everything and are willing to change, even if the past up until now continues to be well within my range

Father, if we never get a chance to fix your mistake, do remember that I have put a lot on stake
I no longer feel an urging desire to finish this game, the one in which it will take more than one to see to it that forgiveness and happiness between us will once again be in fame
Goodbye is the word, of which I fear to ever utter, to the man who I once loved yet also made me stutter
But if that is the only way in which all of this can finally go away, then I wholeheartedly bid farewell to you my supporter, my carer and my best friend, as a way of finally releasing all of yesterday

Father, the man who I loved and looked up to all my life, just happened to also be the person whom I have constantly lost due to a strife


Hi Carlos
It is great to see you diving right in and sharing so much! I am sorry that I can’t answer each comment; I am out of the country at the moment and will be back in about a week and a half.
Keep sharing. Hugs Darlene


I had been no-contact with my “father” for almost 3 years when he died. A multitude of reasons, far too many to list. In that no-contact period, so many people told me I ‘ought to’ make contact with him, even a phone call would be better than nothing. Better for who? If I had made the telephone call, I would have been sworn at and called names, then told where to go (as rudely as possible). ‘But he’s still your father’. So that makes his behaviour ok? Not in my eyes. ‘At least send him a card at Christmas and for his birthday’. Even though he never sent me cards despite knowing where I lived. By telling me to make an effort, the message I was getting that my “father” was right to treat me the way he did, and I was wrong to be upset/offended by his actions; after all he was justified in his words and actions-he was my father. So I went no-contact with those who sent that message.

Anyway, he died; I got a text message from my cousin. By this time I lived 4 hours away so my cousin dealt with the formalities. Would I have done it if I had been nearer? I’m not sure. I would have considered it, but I can’t say what my decision would have been.

So his council house needed clearing out. Again I left it to my cousin. She lived in the next town so it was easy for her; in any case there was nothing in that house I wanted. Should I have gone? I don’t think so. The funeral was arranged, the date, time and place communicated to me by text message. I didn’t go. I figured that if my “father” didn’t want to know when he was alive, he wouldn’t want to know when he was dead. Should I have gone? According to a lot of people, yes. Because ‘he was your father’ and ‘you should show some respect’. Why? He didn’t earn my respect. ‘But he’s dead’. How will my attending the funeral change that? Do you think he’d have come back to life if I’d turned up to that dingy crematorium?

To this day my choices leading up to and following his death are condemned by a lot of people. All on my no-contact list now. I ‘should have’ made an effort; I ‘ought to’ have attended the funeral, it was ‘my responsibility’ to sort the paperwork and clear the house. To those people who are no-contact-listed, nothing else matters. Not that he hated me, abused me, belittled me, degraded me, devalued me; not that he wanted nothing to do with me even before I went no-contact; not that I went no-contact as an act of self-preservation. He was my “father”; therefore I was wrong.

Even though I no longer have any contact with these people, I still have to live with the after-effects. I can choose to see their words and actions as things that reflect themselves. I can recognise my choices as valid and appropriate. What I cannot do is go back in time and change them. These things were said and done; I can’t un-say or undo them. Even if it were possible for them to be changed, I’m not the one that could do it as the words and actions were not mine. And I have to live with that knowledge.


Oh, Amy, most people have ZERO idea what it is to have parents that aren’t really parents. Parents that aren’t normal, and have never acted like parents to you. Add insult to injury we aren’t allowed to really say our own experience. I lied for years about my parents because it of course, looks bad on me. “Your an only child and your parents don’t even care to see or call you?” “Your own father didn’t go to your wedding and never cared to meet his grandchildren”. Yes,that was my reality. It hurts like hell. And when you dare to sever contact you have crossed some invisible taboo. That bible thing, I suppose. There are many that do not earn their honor. You protected yourself. In the end we have to be our OWN parents. We had parents but not like the adverts tell us and those lucky ones around us did. For many a parent dying is a tragedy, for us, it is the second death. They died long ago when they were unable to love us. Loving counts more than breathing in and out and in. That is not enough to make a parent.


My father died. We have had a real bad relationship. And i have no good memories at all. I feel bad for him eventhough he didnt really care to make us happy. Have we ever done something nice as a family? No. Everything we were forced to do is live under his rules. He did not care to give us an average normal teen life. I developed a eating disorder. U know why?
Because food was all he gave me. I got so fat, i will always have the stretch marks as a reminder.
And did he think about my birthday? I dont remember no “happy birtday”
Me on the other hand, I tried really hard. I thought about him. I worried about him my whole life. Every single day i was worried he would get a heart attack. He had a heart disease.
And guess what. I moved. He got sick super fast. I was informing family members.
And less than a week later he died.
I cannot explain how much that hurts. It was my worst nightmare.
I informed familily members about his death.
And guess what i have to hear from a familily member: u will never see him again. Now u know how it is like to have no father.

O my god. I dont know how to respond without cursing. It is like someone thinking they know everything and blaming it on the victim. They blame it on me that my dads and my relationship was bad.
This is the worst thing possible u can say to a person who has lost the father and the chance to ever have a loving father in life.
U know what. I wish the same thing to that person to happen. Now that it has happened to me i am not afraid of karma that if i wish bad to others that it will come back to me.
I wish her family member to die whom she wanted to have a good relationship with but never will! Thats the only thing that could bring justice. I am so bitter since then.
I am so hurt by people.
I am dissapointed. I feel bad for my dad , he died too early. He hasnt enjoyed his own life too. Just like us all who are left now.
We all have done wrong things. But it was up to the adult parents to try to change.
How can a kid be a good kid when it has bad parents? Sorry father and mother, but u have done a lot wrong and thats why i live at the other end of the world and will probably see none of u again til the final day comes.


17 years ago my emotionally, physically, verbally abusive, manipulative parents estranged themselves from me & their 2 grandsons over a supposed slight my husband made that ‘disrespected’ my father. The same father who used, abused & cheated on my mother (once even w/an incestuous affair w/his niece!), the father who didn’t provide for us, causing us to be evicted and having to move & change schools more times than I can remember, the father who always made himself the priority looking like a million bucks while the rest of us looked like orphans w/barely enough food to get by, the father who beat my brother and me down verbally & physically, making us believe we were less than zero, and the enabling mother who always made excuses for him rather than leave for our and her own best interests. These are the parents who through guilt & manipulation made me feel like I was responsible to care for them as an adult, putting my life on hold out of some whacked out belief that I needed to work hard to give them the life they didn’t give me. I was finally going to be the good girl!! Then they would finally love and appreciate me, and to some superficial degree they did, until finally, in my early 30’s I met someone truly special and had the nerve to leave, causing their lifestyle to suffer due to the loss of their meal ticket: me. Through the years they found fault where there was none & tried everything to destroy my marriage. Whatever hubby and I did for them was never enough, and rather than be happy when life became easier for me & my family, they were bitter & envious, and somehow felt they were cheated because my kids and hubby were now my priority, not them, although I still did much for them. After all they did to my only sibling, my brother and me, I still forgave & tried to please them. My brother died at 38, a lost alcoholic, who only wanted a dad who cared and valued him- he never lived to see that day-Hubby & I took care of the final arrangements cleaning out what little savings we had only to find 2 wks later my dad (who plead poverty) had money put away to buy a big screen TV and pay HIS car insurance-SO much more important than taking care of YOUR son’s final needs. During the 17 year estrangement I tried twice to reconcile, but always was given conditions that would omit my husband, who did nothing but take good care of me & our sons. A year after the last attempt, my oldest son went to see them & found all our photos removed and replaced with some strange woman & her kids. He never went back. Fast forward to Dec. 2015, curious if they still lived where I last knew, I Googled their names only to find an obituary for my mother that she died 9/2015 written by the woman whose pictures replaced mine, and who helped exploit the chasm created by my hateful parents. I was in shock- NOBODY even told me my mother was sick, no less dead!!! I looked up this woman as we found out my dad no longer was at the last address I had- She met us wearing MY Grandmother’s jewelry!!! The Grandmother who loved ME dearly and was the one woman my brother and I could always count on!! She told me she felt like my sister, really??? I don’t think so!! She is/was nobody to me other than a woman who works in a field enabling her to come in contact with many elderly people, allowing her to prey on the ones with either no family, or estranged ones to exploit. She showed me the wills drawn up the year after my last attempt at reconciliation- I was specifically disinherited, replaced by her, and ultimately ALL the sentimental belongings of MY ancestral loved ones my parents had were now in HER possession- someone the ones who loved ME knew nothing of & would be turning over in their graves to see receiving anything. The one thing she didn’t want to receive was my dad, who she promptly neglected upon my mother’s death, leaving him to be found near death in their apt, I later found out. I can only assume she had hopes he would also soon die, as she made sure 2 days prior to my mother’s death (on her deathbed) to have them sign, appointing her durable power of attorney for both of them. They didn’t have much, but they DID have life insurance. Too bad for her, a neighbor found him and he survived. But she didn’t waste the opportunity while he was in a convalescent home being re-nourished & re-hydrated to clean out my parents apt and avail herself of all their belongings she chose to keep, discarding the rest. Upon his recovery, she promptly threw him into a board and care, telling him it was just for a little while. Imagine his surprise when he went to his old apartment, unlocked the door and found it completely emptied of everything. There’s some irony in that by doing their best to be vindictive and hurtful to me, the woman they replaced me with and trusted to the end is the same one who finally was the one who out-manipulated them, causing their hate-filled plan to backfire. I’m still emotionally devastated that my parents could (and did!) do what they did to me, one last act of abuse beyond the grave, and for what did I do to deserve so much hate and contempt?? And now, despite it all, I’m feeling guilty about my dad’s situation, but know in my head he is too toxic to bring back into my life. All of this is haunting me, and reopening wounds I thought had been healed, only to be ripped open yet again. 🙁


Thank-you for writing that my mother died this morning we had an estranged relationship and without going into details, I’m on a trip right now with my daughters and grandchildren who adore me, so I feel the circle of dysfunction that I lived with during my childhood and most of my adulthood with my parents has finally been broken. I now can live my life in peace.


Hi Lisa
Thanks for sharing. I am glad that you feel peace around this. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


Please can someone help me, my heart is shattered into pieces!

I am in my 40’s and a single mum to a 6 year old son.

My dad died nearly 14 years ago (we had a good relationship).

My mother lives 5 minutes away but we’ve never had a good relationship. Growing up I always had good food in my tummy, clean clothes on my back and a warm comfy bed BUT I never had the love from my mother. If I ever hurt myself or had a tummy ache etc she would not comfort me, I longed for a hug, I never got it and only when I was in my 20’s did I find out that she used to write all my ‘ailments’ in a book, I was just a list of annoyances to her. After my dad died my sister (who lives 3 hours away) wouldn’t talk to me and my mother would invite my sister, husband and their 3 kids over and not include me (even at Christmas I sat at home sobbing on my own). I was single and had no children then and I was lost and lonely. Over the years she has always favoured my sister. 6 month ago she upset me and my son so much I decided enough was enough, she had upset me my whole life and now the pattern was happening with my son, I decided to cut all contact with her.

Over the years I’ve tried to discuss my feelings with her but she just avoids the subject or gets very defensive with me.

6 months ago I told her that she needs to acknowledge the hurt she has caused, she didn’t contact me again until today.

She emailed saying she’s selling her house and moving (only 15 minutes away). I am gutted, that was the house my dad loved but I realise that it’s wrong of me to feel like this over a house.

What hurts the most is the fact that 6 months have passed and she still will not acknowledge the pain in my heart.

I hope this makes sense.

How do I get over this, she doesn’t value my feelings and she doesn’t even want to make amends if only for my son!

Am I right to have no contact, my head is so confused

I really hope someone will read this and help, thanks


Hi Michelle,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken. There isn’t a quickie answer to these questions. Only you can decide if no contact is the right answer, but if you read more of these posts or get my e-book (on the right side bar) you might find a lot of insights for yourself and find some of the answers you are searching for.
The answer for me was not in being heard or validated by my parents. The answer has been about me hearing myself and validating my right to feel, to be, and to know that I didn’t deserve what was dished out to me.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, thank you so much for replying!

I’ve read so many of your posts and you make so much sense.

I guess I’ve always longed for a happy and loving relationship with my mother but when she told me a few years ago that we have never bonded I should have realised then that I couldn’t change her. My gut feeling is that if I am back in contact with her the cycle won’t ever end and I will be allowing her to continue to hurt me and my son AGAIN.

I need to be strong, I can do this, thank you

Hugs back x


My mother got upset at me on Christmas 2014. We had a disagreement where my self-centered brother tried to ruin the plans mom and I made. Mom said she was on board with our plans, but when she came to my house, my brother started manipulating and she started giving into him (even though she told me she would not let him ruin our plans). I got upset, but I eventually resolved things with her and my brother, and we all had a nice Christmas. My mom didn’t tell me she disagreed with me and how I handled the Christmas situation. Behind my back, she told all of my siblings that she was upset at me. I didn’t find out until 8 months later when my mom finally admitted that she had been mad at me for 8 months. Anyway, this represented a life long pattern where she never protected me from being bullied by my brother. She used to say he was her “Golden” child, and she kept him out of trouble because he used to get into fights and had some legal issues. Approximately, 7 months ago (Aug. 2015) when I asked her if she was saying things about me to my siblings, she admitted she was mad at me since Christmas 2014, and she hung up on me. I didn’t call her back. She has hung up on me in the past, and I have always called her back, but not this time. My mom is not even trying to reach out to me. She acts passive, but I think she has always maintained control by withholding her love. She has hung up on my sister too (several times in the past). My sister always calls her back. She is on speaking terms with her. Anyway, my siblings will not hear my side of the story. But they will allow her to complain about me for hours. I never had a voice when I lived at home, and I still don’t (when I interact with family of origin). I think I was always the scapegoat, but I didn’t know it. I’m still the scapegoat, but at least I am safe. I don’t know if this problem can be resolved. I am afraid to contact my mom because it might send the wrong message, and therefore, things might not change. If she contacts me, I will respond. But she won’t. It hurts, but I am staying strong and doing my best to heal myself. I have support from my husband, in-laws and friends. My relationships with them are healthy and balanced. Thanks for listening.


Michelle, I just read your post. It sounds a lot like mine. When your mom e-mailed you recently, she didn’t even talk about the issues. To me, that is concerning. She probably hasn’t changed, but you can decide whatever you want to do — very limited superficial contact or no contact. What would you advice your son to do, if he was a grown up and going through this situation with your mom? Would you tell him to keep a safe distance, cards/ email only, no contact??? Your safety and well-being is most important. Hang in there :).


Hi Denise
Welcome to EFB ~ I think you have found the right place to read and share,
Hugs, Darlene


I Totally understand your feeling.. although i still have both of my parents, our relationship is not that good. We are quite distant to each other. I used to stay in my room n barely talk to them. I am afraid that i might have regrets if they die.i did everything i could but they never appreciate my effort ? ppl should understand tht its not tht we didnt do anything to solve the problems with our parents. They just wont accept our help. Its suffocating!?


Both my parents aren’t dead yet but i felt a strong urge to have a peaceful relationship with them. I spent most of my time in my room n get lost in my own world. Our family is not a happy one with lack of affection n love for one another. All my other siblings r married n m left alone under their control. A bit of a restriction is fine but i wish they could understand me n allow me to do wht i want. They r getting old(60) n m quite young . I know that parents love thier children unconditionally but i never did get love and affection when i was a kid. So i am quite distant with them.. barely talking to them. I want to help then out but they always deny my effort n said hurtful things at times. I dont want to live with guilt wheb they die but why r they making things difficult? I jus want to help n is tht too much to ask? I m done trying so i shut myself upm its so suffocating cuz there arent any1 to listen to this sort of prob. I feel suicidal at times but i dont have enough guts to do. The only thing tht keep me sane is by faking tht i m happy with my life and everything is fine. But i dont know how long i will be able to keep up until compelety gone insane. In order to get away from these probs, i want to travel far away but a part of me feel bad for my parents. I dont want to be a bad daughter tht regrets only after her parents die.


My father is a hard-working guy who devoted his life in work only. He didnt pay attend to us when we were young so i did not have much memories with him. N my mom is so fussy n has heart attack. She cannot handle any stress n is a very weak woman. She loves me but she would control me a lot n say really hurtful things even if i want to go out with my girl bff. This family is in chaos. Me n my siblings r not close to each other too. So i learn to set boundaries around myself. This situation wont change will it? ? i feel so alone n lost. I know my parents r going through hard time with finace now n be stressful about it. But why must i suffer? I conceal my feelings for my whole life. N still i have to? Plz give me freedom n let’s create some memories until u guys r still alive. Why do u want me to live with guilt after ur death?! Frankly speaking, I hope i dont feel guilty or sad at ur funerals bcoz i did everything i could but u guys dont accept. N m going to try to distant from u guys more so tht i wont get hurt. I need to learn to fight alone to face life so m going to numb my feelings once n for all. The point is .. is my logic bad? Should i really do tht to my parents??


Hi Rose,
Welcome to Emerging from broken,
I had to take a look at what I thought “a bad daughter” actually was. I looked at what the role of parents actually is as well. And I looked at what “love” really is too in order to sort all of this out. I have collected the foundation of how I did this in my e-book available here in the site.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone
I have just published a New Post on the blog for Mothers Day 2016. It is called “Mothers Day is Hard when the Mother shows no Love” click the title or visit the home page.
This has some motive exposure in it!
Hugs, Darlene


Dear Everyone,
I have lived this dreaded pain. My Dad died a few years ago. I was not told he was in the hospital for 3 weeks and My Mom as always was controlling the whole game. That is what it was to her. Even in death she tried to stick it to me. I then was invites to the funeral. NOT! They played games here too. They told me it would not be for 2 weeks due to every ones schedule. Then, i called to reaffirm dates and they told me he was gone and I didn’t need to come. We all voted you out. i was like ok….this makes sense….NOT! I am the clean cut child and they have alcohol, abusive, and drug issues….It old them never to call me again no matter who dies. They all were in on this game with Dad’s death and i was abused as a child. I am through. Guess who won? ME! I never wanted to see anyone dead anyway….I loved them,,,,they never loved me….my life is dreamy and happy anyway….God is good. Just clime only good people and don’t even mention the rest.That is not any ones business anyway. Say your parents passed and your an only child or claim 1 or 2 siblings that are good to you. Change your name to something you love and go out there and win! xoxoxo


My dad was a sociopath–the most awful person I have ever known. When he died a few years ago I felt nothing.

My mother is a narcissist and I’ve been no contact with her for about 16 years. Because she’s 90 and I’ve been going through a transition I recently considered reconciling as I could use some family in my life.

Thank goodness I first re-read this column and its 500+ comments because it reminded what I went through with them and that going back would only cause me more damage. These cruel people do not change and that fact can fade in my memory with time and distance.

Thank you for telling your stories–they yank at my heart. I hope each of you are safe and feeling better now.


Standing up to abusers, as one reader puts it, is terrifying at first but your self confidence does go up. I’m beginning to think I’m not helpless and dependent on others validation and approval like I have been for 32 years. I’ve used some very choice words to tell my cousin’s and uncle’s how I really feel over email and facebook IM. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if my family got to see how much of a potty mouth I’ve been. This has been eating at me for too long. They haven’t responded back yet so I have to find a way to get them on the phone. If my cousin does respond it probably means that he cares. Whatever happens I’m sure I’ll get to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly in return. I do feel alot calmer these days since expressing myself.

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