When Children are not Regarded as Actual People


causes of low self esteem

I was thinking about the attitude that so much of society has when it comes to children; that children don’t really have rights.  That they don’t have a right to have an opinion because it is believed by so many that they don’t’ really “know” anything yet so they are not given a voice. It is believed that they don’t even have real feelings OR a right to their feelings… (think about how children are commonly disciplined) that they don’t deserve respect; think about how they are treated and spoken to by most adults and often bullied and threatened by teachers.  It isn’t that children don’t need guidance and ground rules, but it is the WAY that it is done that is such a big problem as though they NEED to be disciplined and to know their place ~ or they might become crazed malfunctioning members of society. When this is the attitude that children are regarded with, they are actually disregarded as people. They are “devalued” meaning that they are defined by the actions of others as having “less value”.

Did you know that historically, it was believed that parents needed to get total mastery over their children right away or the children would run all over them and end up being the ones with all the control over the parents.  Parenting authorities wrote volumes about how to “break their spirits” so that children would never question the authority of a parent.  It was believed that children had no memory prior to the age of five years old, so it was believed that no damage would be done to the child if harmful means were used to gain this control.  I often wonder how much of this attitude has been carried over into present day belief systems and parenting ways.

Have you thought about what actually happens to these children who are not regarded as PEOPLE with equal value? I mean did you ever think that maybe this is the root of the reason that we have so much struggle with depression and low self esteem issues in our society? Why do so many people, including some teachers and parents believe that these disregarded disrespected children will become well adjusted adults?

How would that even be possible? How can someone go from NOT being valued or regarded as a person with equal rights, to suddenly accepting responsibility and living up to the expectations of the very people who originally determined that they didn’t have equal (if any) value?

What about that expression “Children should be seen and not heard”?

Or should I say Children should NOT be seen OR heard.  Perhaps, (the adults who regard children in this way believe that) children should be sequestered until they are around twenty years old, and then they should emerge into society, fully responsible, fully functioning, and fully in charge of their own lives, self esteem, confident that they can make a difference in the world and a contribution to society.

Does that make sense to you? It seems to me to be the way that children are regarded when it comes to adults. That first they are raised being defined as “less than everyone else” and then expected to be fully functional, together, ready to get married and have children of their own!

Children have rights as PEOPLE. I was a child who wasn’t regarded as a valid person. I didn’t have a voice. I didn’t have a stamp of approval. I was pushed away, hushed, threatened, violated, beaten, betrayed and it was communicated to me in so many ways that I didn’t matter. I was not a valid part of the big picture. I was not really necessary to the overall success of the family dynamic.  I had my first serious depression when I was ten years old. (There is a reason for that!) No one thought about what caused it. It was “just the way I was”.  I tried harder and harder. AND then, when I “grew up” I was reprimanded and judged for my difficulties with life, for my choices in men, and basically just for the way that I “turned out”.

BUT how did the adults in this dysfunctional society think I would turn out when I was not valued or validated as a child in the first place? And the answer to that question is that they didn’t THINK at all.  I was only a child after all, what was there to think about? AND that is my point.

Don’t those adults remember what it felt like to be that same kid who was treated like they didn’t really matter? Don’t they remember the shame, the humiliation, the loneliness and the confusion? Don’t they realize where their own low self esteem came from in the first place? I guess not. But this cycle has to stop and all the bullying programs in the world are not going to stop the bullying unless the adults realize that they are the ones teaching (by example) the bullying to the kids.

Children are PEOPLE. And I am speaking for all of us who were ALSO once children.  Young people have EQUAL value to everyone else. (I am not talking about equal authority; I am strictly talking about value.)  Children need love and nurturing so they can love and nurture. They need to be respected so that they learn to respect. Kids need to be validated and to be heard so that they can grow in self esteem and confidence.  Children need to be taught by example how they should treat others. It has to be modeled by the adults!

When people are disregarded we learn to disregard. Some learn to disregard others, some of us disregard ourselves, some people learn to do both.  When the message is “you don’t matter” the results are not going to be high self esteem.

What messages did you get as a child and how did they impact YOUR life.  Can you see that those messages were in fact lies? What beliefs about yourself developed as a result of those false messages about your value? Please share.

Busting through the FOG ~ there is freedom on the other side!

Darlene Ouimet

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

Related Posts ~ when leave well enough alone involves crimes against children

Adult Victims of Child Abuse still need to be Heard

Damaging Labels and Dysfunctional family histroy

Little Lies accepted as Truth




Categories : Self Esteem



As far back as I can remember,my sperm donor pushed me away,ignored me,never made me feel like I mattered,made me feel like I am a mistake to him.When I was 16 I wanted to kill myself.I told my teacher this because for most of my life,I was never happy,I didn’t have any friends,I was bulled everyday in school.I just wanted to end that pain.My teacher called my mother,my mother told my sperm donor.He said he didn’t believe it and just ignored me.My mother got me into counseling,the sperm donor never got involved.I was diagnosed with depression.I made the decision to go on meds.The sperm donor actually told me that he didn’t believe in any kind of meds except the one he was taking for high blood pressure.But if I felt it helped well,he guessed that was alright.I really felt valued when he said that!Then he blamed my mother for me going on the meds,saying she just went along with my counselor.But he never even tried to get involved.Me and my mother saw a psychologist,my counselor and a couple other doctors about meds.One of the things my sperm donor used to say to me and my brother was do as I say and not as I do.That’s not fair at all.Whenever I tried to talk to him,he never listened because he gambled and that was more important.The times he was home,all he did was go on the computer and play poker with his gambler friend.It was like I wasn’t even there.I was invisible to him.And I always tried my hardest to please him,to make him notice me but nothing ever worked.He just didn’t care about me.


Hi Shane,
Yes, that is exactly what I am talking about in this post. When kids are treated like this, they end up having depressions, going on meds, needing therapy, and then these abusers actually blame us for needing help! Crazy system, but we have a chance of having full life and freedom when we realize where all this struggle started and realize that it is about them! This is not about you Shane… this is HIS problem.
Hugs, Darlene


Another great post Darlene, and history bears the testimony that there is an impact upon people when multiple generations are faced with the devaluing of abuse and are unable to learn how to parent. But many can learn their value, they can learn to parent because they seek those who have those skills to teach them.

Personally, when I look back upon the two generations past that I have knowledge of I can see how the impacts of their choices and actions towards children caused, in part, the childhood I had. I say ‘in part’ because most of what we are dealt as children is the active and thought out choice of an adult who was supposed to protect us. No amount of blame on the past, their parents or any situation removes that responsibility for their choice.

I’m going to be 40 this summer and even up to a few months ago I was being pressured to let ‘someone who knows better’ do my deciding and thinking on things! REALLY? So far I’ve done a not bad job, by the Grace of God, healing and building a life.

Children have an amazing capacity to love and to remember, even if they don’t really understand what they are remembering. I know from my own son, who when given a chance, will express the need for his own boundaries like we’ve modeled for him. When I remember the times when I was crushed in spirit, discouraged in word and action and left alone looking into the crowd for someone who was there for me (and seeing no one) I makes me almost ill.

That someone could devalue such a precious gift to the point of being an object, a possession, and then to choose to care more for actual objects like golf, a house or a truck is familiar but also deeply beyond my ability to actually understand. I’ve experienced it, lived through and survived it, but I cannot understand it.

With the mental games of my grandparents, the outright abuse and cruelty of them and the abuse and games of my family I feel blessed to even be here. When I see someone devaluing a child I want to tell them to stop. I have tried to defuse things when they happen around me. I’ve seen adult children still so devalued that they accept any attention as good, and they allow their parents to still control and abuse them.

I am not an object, you are not, no one is. We are people with rights, with feelings, with memories, and with a chance we can make different choices and we can choose to break the cycle. We can break through the fog, shatter the glass cage and actually breathe again, sometimes for the first time!

Thanks for the post Darlene, and for your words to each commentor. You bless us and encourage us. And you’ve inspired me to write more poetry again and that’s wonderful! (especially since I was told to do something that was ‘better’ because poets are sad sick people who die young and their money gets stolen, same as artists and anything else I aspired to! The joke is on them…ha!)…


I grew up in a household like that.Both of my parents used to tell me I had no rights and no voice.They made comments like,”this is my house,if you don’t like it then leave.” I was 12-13 at the time,where was I supposed to go? My mother actually read my diary when I was at school.She confronted me about it and punished me because I wrote my feelings about how she treated me.When I was 9 yrs old,my uncle molested me.I told my mother,she told my uncle to leave before my father got home.She protected my abuser instead of me.When I was in my 30’s,my uncle died.I didn’t care but my mother felt I should have grieved.So she told me I wanted the abuse to happen,I was asking for it,it was my fault. I broke the cycle.Both of my sons know they can talk to me whenever they want.I listen to them,I actually take the time to hear what they are saying.The house we live in is our home,even though my older son has moved out.They have always had rights.I was so determined to not raise my children in a house like the one I grew up in.I think I succeeded because I have a close r/s with both of them.


i’v recently stood up to my mother for the way i was raised, her reaction was un desirable to say the least. i feel i’ll probarbly never have closure on most of these issues as i feel i need her participation in this (which i will never get) her whole life any problems too big are swept under the carpet, good old denial aye!.

Recovery for me seems un reachable at this point, but i’m sure that’s exactly what my mother would want! – to take me down with her.


this is so classic!

“The sperm donor actually told me that he didn’t believe in any kind of meds except the one he was taking for high blood pressure.”

In other words, “If I HAVE to talk to you, I will, but you better know how priviledged you are to hear what I have to say. I don’t believe in anyone except myself.”


there is the proof, isn’t it?
“I think I succeeded because I have a close r/s with both of them.”


but you stood up to your mom, so that is good for you?



There is so much about this post that hits home. home in my heart.. I was definitely a child with no voice. . I was a child with no name. i wasn’t called my name but bad names.. and things like worst mistake.

No one ever gave me any chance to talk . I had no rights but the “right to remain silent” “anything I said could and would be used against me” next time the razor strap fell or next time the paddle cracked..

THe hardest part about all the beatings was we werent suppose to cry . we were suppose to have tears. and me crybaby par excellance was always getting extra because i couldnt always keep my tears in.

I learned from my ‘place’ in the family that all I was .. was someones punching bag. someones toy..someones person to blame for everything wrong that happened in the family..

I was also bad in eyes of the church.. i was not suppoe to expose the family secrets that was bad . because i was bad at home ..bad at church .. i also felt afraid of god..

I developed into a little child that felt worthless and an adult whose little child inside was never allowed to cry or talk or play.

I have all the wrong beliefs still stuck inside me and am needing all the good beliefs to be put there..instead.. I feel i have so much work to do inside i may never get it all done.. that too. is part of my feeling worthless and incapable of succeeding..since mom told me i would always be a failure .. .nothing good would come from me. .. i am her worst mistake

I am working though against what is in me to feel am trying to say good things to me.and trying to be nicer to me but many times i fail.. its easier to fall back to what we have known




As a former child and caretaker of a mother with a severe mental illness (she had schizophrenia) I struggle to regard myself as a victim of child abuse. Emotional and verbal and psychological abuse is at least for me deeper and more profound than physical, and it wasnt just her but the ‘abuse’ was inter-generational. There was manipulation and forced silence

I think what adds to the hurt is that my mother was also being verabally, emotionally and psychologically abused by not only family but social services and VA. And as caretaker, you put yourself last, so I was busy trying to be an advocate for her needs while dealing headfirst with her deamons

I remember when i was no longer a child, but nevertheless living in a very vulnerable and dangerous state, my mother said “no matter how I treat you, you will always love me” It was like I was speechless..who was this monster and why would she said. Some may say that it was the mental illness talking not her and thats hard to accept, in fact it sounds deeply insulting. I know my mother is incredibly sick and I know now at least that mental illness is incredibly complex and that we are not our illness, we are more than. However, all that said, I wonder where the accountability lies. She was my victim and my devil. I was her sacrificial lamb and her savior. I was the one who she could hurt time and time again. Somehow she never had the balls to stand up to her own mother and sisters..she never stood up to those who turned her into a walking imbicile. But me, I never yelled or hit her. I never insulted her. I stayed determined to treat her like a human being, even when the world treated her like a fucking dog.

Its been a long, suffering process to be a child without love. Its been a long, suffering process to make sense of what my self worth was. I was taught so many lies; I was taught obiedience, to show no emotion and to be constantly giving, making no mistakes and somehow not being visible to the world. At age 30 I am trying still to be disobidient, critical, emotional, and giving to myself first before others. I am at age 30 working on being self nurturing and tearing down some of the stigma surrounding mental illness. I know that my past has value, if to give people what was never given to me, and that is a harsh and devastating truth about dysfunctional mothers and families


Oh I want to say, I am learning at snails pace to take my rage and turn it as some sort of energy. Things come up for me and I feel my own sickness which is in its own dysfunction and the growing shame I feel of no longer being able to care for others as I feel as I should. I guess as I learn to slowly forgive and value and nurture myself, it will be easier for me to give back.

But an empty well can not feed a village…


Joy, I can relate to so much of what you have said and my heart goes out to you. I too was beaten “until I stopped crying” and it was something I could never understand.

I was also raised in the church and the hypocrisy of that has been a hard thing for me to deal with later in life. In my case, people in the church knew what was happening but didn’t say anything and left me feeling alone and worthless. I was adopted and I too was my parent’s worst mistake – they regretted adopting me and would tell me so. I felt like a dog they wished they could have taken back.

Lots of therapy and eliminating them from my life (my adoptive mother was the active abuser and my adoptive father enabled her) has helped me make strides in getting those voices out of my head and helped me heal.


HI CarolLee my pastor told me to be quiet about the abuse.. neighbors never spoke up either. .so i understand hyprocrisy so well only then i didnt know it was hyprocrsy. i really believed i was suppose to suffer in silence. I hope . though I can get through all the un-brainwashing. I want to be whole.


Hi Shanyn
I was around 43 when I realized that I still sought permission from my husband, my mother and my in laws. Well I could list more…. but when I realized what had happened to me, and began the healing process, I got stronger and one day I just TOOK MY POWER BACK. I felt scared and empowered all at the same time. I continue to get stronger and I have learned so much from the past, and from each thing I go through now. And yes, there is no reason or excuse for the choices they made!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Diane,
Welcome to EFB!
I was told that same thing ~ If you don’t like it then leave. (and when I was a teen my mother said “then get out” oh and lets don’t forget “you can go and live with your father” (but he said no) ugg.
I gasped when i read your comments. YES this is such abuse. I am disgusted with what happened to you and how you were so badly invalidated. ( I was also blamed for being abused) I am so glad that you are here. Thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Nikki
Welcome ~ I always thought that I needed my mother to participate so that I could recover, but she never did and I recovered! This site is all about how I did that. I have closure, freedom, wholeness and no more depressions etc. You can recover, and you are in the right place!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Celeste Blue
Welcome! ~ OH MY !! my mother said stuff like that too.. and she constantly reminded me how her own mother was a mean horrible woman, but she always LOVED her mother no matter what. One day I said ” well I wouldn’t have loved her”. I didn’t realize how much my mother had become like her mother when I said that, but my response was a beginning.
In order to recover, it is mostly important to realize that I was abused. (without any excuses to the abuser) so while I understand that your mother may have truly been severely ill, that doesn’t change the face that you lived in a less then nurturing way as a child. I had to validate myself without excusing anyone for any reason. I had to find the truth about what happened to me, and grow from there no matter if the abuser is sick or not. I had to heal before I could really love and give anything back.. but I didn’t see that for a long time. (as yo say an empty well cannot feed a village. So it is time to fill the well. 🙂
I am really glad to have you here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Joy
It will come. You are on the road my dear, although you may not see it yet. Seeing all the lies and the mean hateful ways you were treated, is the beginning of emerging.
Please keep sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Corolee
Welcome to EFB. When a church knows about abuse and don’t say anything, the person who is being mistreated is defined as not worthy once again. So that definition tags on to the original definition and we see it as “proof” that everyone can’t be wrong. But the truth is that everyone WAS wrong.
Glad to have you here, thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for your kind words of hope darlene 🙂 i’m think i’m just feeling a bit defeated because i haven’t really had a reaction yet. it’s the waiting that drives me crazy, not knowing what she will do but knowing that she is fully capable of hurting me alot, it’s the lack of control (I HAVE) over the way she can make me feel about myself, it’s like i don’t want her to have that power over me but she just does, i worry about how bad i will feel if she dies and i didn’t try just one more time to kiss n make up, mabey it’s because she has used her will against me before saying that she wouldn’t want to hurt me by making someone else a signator (or whatever it is) on her will instead of me, that she didn’t want to embarrass me, do you ever worry about stuff like that? i see how bitter she is and i don’t understand it, i’m scared to be bitter like her



My mother was/is the product of abuse. Our relationship has always been very hard for me. Half of the time she treated me the way a loving mother would and the other half of the time I was “too much for her to deal with.” Or she was “too stressed out to look at me.” The tricky bit is that she actually cares about me and loves me but didn’t know how to be a mom or understand what she was doing to me and my siblings, since she had never been shown kindness or love or even respect.

When she was stressed out or frusterated by events in her life she didn’t have the time for us. If she thought we were noisy we became ungrateful and selfish keeping her from the work she needed to do. If we cried or were upset there were the beatings till we stopped. A few times I had asked what I had done wrong she would just yell about how awful a child I was. It my my fault she was unhappy or having a hard time at work and I need to make her happy. My worth to her in those times was to placate her and if I couldn’t I was punished.
My favorite is when she’d be so angry she’d tell me she’d leave my father and it would be my fault.

Now that I’m older we have something more akin to a normal mother-daughter relationship both of us have done a lot growing and healing. I’m just now realizing how abuse is still affecting my life. I constantly catch myself doing things to placate people when they are angry as if its my fault. As if I’m the one who is the cause or they’re rage.

I’m glad I found this website it’s been a window into self discovery


Hi Darlene

Seems its overwhelming right now..I hear it’s all going to change..I hope it does .. I know i have to see myself better so bad things stop happening to me.. I think sometimes I don’t try to fight them any more because I feel i must deserve th bad somehow..Though I dont know why I would deserve mistreatment.. I feel well if I didnt why does bad things continue to happen.. I have been trying to sort through this type of falk talking all day yesterday.. If what is happening .. ie bad.. what I am presented by life is mistreatment..maybe i am bad or deserving of it. ..See whats going on . am so mixed up in my thought and lots of big clouds in my mind. .and though i don’t know or see clearly what I truly deserve.. I have no problem seeing that everyone else deserves better..



Isn’t that how society views people who are deemed “weak”? Do people view the mentally ill as “people”? I don’t think so. Children and those with mental health concerns are viewed with less (or maybe no) rights. They are expected to be controlled and manipulated. And when don’t turn out well, it’s their fault. But who started the abuse in the first place?

I think the other way is true too. I’ve had people telling me that I should have understood why my parents “neglected” me when I was a child, and hence it was MY fault that I got depressed. In this case, too much was expected of me. How could I have understood as a three year old?


I agree with so much of what you say in this post. I was aware enough by the time I had my daughter in my 30s to make sure that she had a voice and a sense of power and she has turned out to be a fine young woman. Now I have to try and do the same for me as finally at 55 Im dealing with my own issues on a deeper level. I realize I neglected my own true needs by focusing on my daughter , the men in my life ( tho both marriages broke down) and looking after birth family ( which included a father who molested me throughout my childhood) My daughter has left the nest, my parents have died and now Im getting flashbacks etc to abuse and havent been able to work, socialize etc. Thankfully I have a good therapist but progress is so painfully slow. I cant seem to break the bond with my most recent partner even though he broke up with me and I seem to be addicted to trying to win his love- on some level I may be trying through him to win the fatherly love and validation I never had as a child. Part of me knows i have to focus on my self, self nurture, self love but I dont know where to start. I recognise Ive been grieving past, childhood, relationships etc but want to start building a new life . Im worn out with writing journal, affirmations therapy and thinking I should find answers . It might be different for those of us who live on our own. Inside I feel 14 years old again and marooned and yet want a way of belonging in the world. Could you say how specifically you took youre power back- how you got out of feeling stuck . Was it purely by asserting youreself with youre mother and youre husband or were there other steps you took to gain inner confidence and a sense of connection and direction ? I cant seem to find the switch to trigger hope ,focus and motivation and seem to be in no mans land for ever.


Hi Elise,
Welcome to EFB ~ I could have written what you wrote about your relationship with your mother. I was so busy feeling sorry for her, that I never looked at what it did to me. I had to separate the two things. I had to take a look at the damage it caused me, and heal from that. I had a very similar upbringing to her, but I made different choices with my kids.. so why did I have to keep understanding her? (that was one of the thoughts I asked myself along the journey) You don’t have to hate your mother in order to heal, you just have to take a look at the damage and the belief system that is still operating deep in you because of the way that you were raised. This post tells so much. (and again, I could have written the whole thing about 5 years ago)
I am really glad that you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Nikki
I totally understand what you are saying ~ I worried about that same stuff. (but now I am free) The roots of it for me was STILL in HER. That everything I worried about was really about her. I finally realized that I had to put myself first and HEAL in order to live. Just keep reading! It takes time for some of this stuff to really absorb.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Jasmine,
Yes, this is how society views people who are deemed week. The word invalid is the same for invalid (invalidated) as it is for invalid (the sick and infirmed) ~ isn’t that interesting??
I could answer your question about who started it in the first place, but it would take me hours to write it out.. and in the end, would it change anything or heal anyone? It never helped me to know any of that stuff. The bottom line always seems to be that power is misused to control others. That it is all about power and control and we live in a pecking order system instead of an equal value based system. We can only change that as individuals and hope that there is a ripple effect in the world.

About being told that you should have understood your parents… half the problem that we are dealing with here ist that we were told all sorts of conflicting information and we try to believe all of it. it gets really messed up in our minds.
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene

Hi Layla
I can’t explain in a comment or even in one blog post how I recovered, but this whole blog is about how I did and there are a few hundred posts! (there is an e-book on the way this summer that will make it easier to navigate) I didn’t take my power back by asserting myself at all, I took it back by realizing that I didn’t deserve to be treated the way that I had always been treated. I realized through doing all the work to discover my belief system, where those lies were killing me. I never drew boundaries with mother or husband until I realized that I deserved BETTER, and that I did indeed have equal value. The thing is Layla, that this is a process and it really does take time. And being lost etc. is part of the process, but YOU ARE on the road if you realize it or not. I can hear it in your comments. So hang in here!
Hugs, Darlene



I am a few years behind you, but I can imagine your pain, and I identify with feeling swamped from the challenge to just survive and comver the basics.

(Flashed back to my ex husband having to buy ALL of Joy Wilt Berry’s books for children, five years before we had any children, and he didn’t want any anyway! one of these books explained how to teach a child to avoid being sexaully molested–of course it would be a STRANGER doing the molesting–now there is the biggest LIE of all–he had to spend $200 random purchase at the county fair)

I am feeling that sensation this week, that the losses are so great and all we see sometimes, that how do we move forward or even know we are moving forward?

It is so hard when your bond with your recent partner is legitimate and (possibly) illegitimate. We were made for intimacy, so the longing is natural whether there is “work” for you to do with your past or not.


I remember being silent; having no voice. Ever. About anything.

I also remember the few times I attempted to have a voice and say I didn’t like the way I was being treated. I was punished. I was raised to let others have their way with me. I was conditioned to tolerate violations of my body, my feelings, my thoughts. I was brainwashed to believe that I had NO power over my own life, my own experiences and that there was no use in fighting the inevitable. I was raised to believe and engage with the world in the context of watching for subtle signals then plotting and planning to not rock the boat, do whatever I had to do to keep the peace or make others happy. I was taught I was a thing not a person. I existed on the same plane as the cows that were butchered and the horses that stood outside in the frigid midwest ice storms with ice encasing their manes and icicles forming from their nostrils. I was taught to tolerate and accept that I got nothing because I was nothing.

My “dad” taught me a few things.

“Susie; you don’t deserve anything nice”

Me: I’m trying my best, dad.

Dad: well you’ll have to try harder Susie; your best is not good enough

Me: Dad, stop grabbing my ass and my boobs

Dad: But it feels so good Susie.

Me: dad; he’s hitting me (husband)

Dad: you’re being too hard on him

I knew that something was amiss – but I’d been taught that the thing that was wrong….was me.

Learning to value myself after a lifetime of being conditioned by my parents, my siblings (who were more cruel that our parents and still are), the church, 2 abusive husbands (one the pedophile that lured me away with the promise of taking care of me when I was just 16) another church, 12 step programs (sorry Patricia; I know they were a good source for you but the ones I found were less than helpful and full of horny mean men and jealous bitchy women) then finally the mental health system that CONFIRMED what everyone else had told me – that I was just plain broken from the inside out….

Well – I’m realizing and seeing that this is a world problem not just a family problem.

and I always wondered too….if I was so “sick” why wasn’t I treated better and cared for?

And – why would anyone – especially pastors and mental health providers – expect me to be anything other than I was?

Today – I’m thankful for this message that is beginning to make its way around the world that its the abusive culture that is creating this and its when we ALL face our own past, pain and demons that we will become the change we want to see in the world.


Hi Susan KS,
Ditto for me!
This is very well said. I was raised in a very similar way. The details were different but the message was the same. Healing involves realizing that we ARE people and that other people don’t get to decide that we are not. Other people don’t get to decide how much value we have. Other people don’t get to decide my usefulness. I am not an object. I am a person with just as much value and worth as anyone else. The messages that we got, are all lies that have rooted themselves very firmly in our brains, and they need to be converted to the truth. The only way for that to happen is to realize what those lies are. That is when the healing begins. There is so much brainwashing that needs to be undone. A new kind of washing my brains was necessary because they were filled with lies told to me by others who had motives that were never in my best interest.
So I had to learn to live with my best interest in mind and that is how I finally found self love. And in finding self love, I have been able to make a change in my marriage and with my own kids. Now I have this network, and I contribute to positive change in the world with it. There is a ripple effect that happens when we begin to embrace the real truth and let go of the false teachings that have overpowered our lives and our self esteem.
(there is my rant for the day! LOL)
Thanks for sharing Susan!
Hugs, Darlene


I was never seen as a child and I was muted the day I was born. Children do remember before the age of 5. I remember the first week I was born. Both parents tried to kill me. Impossible to remember? No! I have seen Doctors and all of them have told me it is possible to even remember being in the womb. I believe you are right Darlene. Children are people too. They may be small but the should have a voice and they should be made to feel that they matter. They need love not discipline. There is a time and a place for everything but Discipline should be a last resort. Most children act out because the need something but are not yet old enough to understand what they need. It is up to the parents to meet their needs. I was left alone to try and meet my own needs and failed horribly. Damage was the consequence for unloving, uncaring, selfish parents. thanks Darlene great post ?


The rights of children into full personhood has been evolving slowly as all other segments of society are legislated and recognised as having rights and are considered legitimate and valued members. It is strange to accept that human rights are subject to change and must be scantioned by law. The fight to maintain and protect gains in human rights is an ongoing process that demands contant effort and diligent awareness from members of a society. It is through the brave and fearless voices of those that have suffered that any progress is made, shifting believes and views of it’s most ignorant members, elevating societies awareness by pursuing through legislative means the protection of the most vulnerable members. It is most incredible that empathy is not a common human bond shared and understood by all! Those that have an awareness and intuitively understand the complexities of human nature tirelessly strive to lend their voice and speakout for those that have none. Each new generation fights for new gains of human rights along the evolutionary step ladder! I myself lend my voice to raise awareness of child and youth mental health issues. Every voice counts to bring about change!


I can’t remember how many times my high spirits got squashed as a child. It got to the point where even my low spirits got squashed, so I concluded no spirits was better… It’s terrible to do this to a child and it can happen as simply as an adult not assisting a child to complete something they want to do, and therefore denying it’s ‘importance’; all sorts of adults often do that, and they make excuses as they’re doing it about why it can’t be done, or is unimportant and a kid’s face falls and the adult’s say it’s not the end of the world, but actually what just happened was a huge invalidation that said that child was not important enough, that his or her purpose wasn’t equal to the adults. When that happens again and again it’s so damaging. And yet when a kid is included, given a sense of self by being able to ‘help’ or being trusted with having the capacity to learn and do things, a totally normal confidence develops. So many kids are stunted, corralled and battered by their so called caregiver’s own fears and desires. If a child survives that and simply survives to grow into an adult that can be an achievement. How we function then, if we’ve been left to fend for ourselves or denied or own potential, ends up I guess, on how well we can parent ourselves, post-dysfunctional parenting.


Hi Nicole
I totally agree with you. When we are left to meet our own needs we do fail horribly because we were never taught HOW.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Cowanmagee
I think the bottom line (down through the ages) had been that people with power see equality and equal value as having to give up their power. They don’t like that idea. When children are raised in a pecking order system, (the one with the most power wins) then they learn that system. Some become better victims, (trying harder and harder to please, believing that one day “if they please” they will find that love they are longing for. Others (first victims always) become abusers and controllers. Some become both depending who the are aiming at.
I’m glad that we are fighting to make a difference ~ busting holes in the lies and exposing truth!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Louise
Exactly. We have to learn what the actual dysfunction WAS before we can go on to re parent ourselves in a healthy nurturing way or we do repeat the cycle with ourselves. We treat ourselves the way that we were always treated.
So we can parent ourselves well, post-dysfunctional parenting… IF we realize where it all went wrong in the first place.
Hugs, Darlene


As a child, I was not valued or given much choice in anything. Mom used a lot of psychology on us to “control” us, not that any of us had behavioral issues mind you. We were very exceptional children. Mom used to call us into her bedroom and sit us down at the end of her bed, on the floor, while she yelled and shouted at us for things that we really didn’t understand. Sometimes, we were called to witness her on a cup-throughing rant. She’s rant and rage at us children while throughing coffee cups at the wall or floor and after she was done breaking all the cups, she made s clean up all of the glass. I never felt like a person growing up…and still have issues with this.


Darlene thanks so much for youre comments- and thanks to Susan and all the others too. Reading over this post again and all the comments- I actually think I understand- the pennys dropped ! – and I can see its certain beliefs that have been keeping me stuck. What Im also understanding is that no wonder I/we are isolated/vulnerable at times as we are actually pioneers of a new mindset. Thank heaven for this website and for all the support you give x


Hi Chris
Thank you for sharing another aspect devaluing control ~ that must have been very frightening for you. How could anyone feel like a ‘person’ when all this was aimed at you as a child.
This is a great addition to the post,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Layla,
Thank you for sharing your insights! That is awesome and YES that is exactly what happens!
Hugs, Darlene


wow that rings so many bells and echos my stance on how children are raised by inadequate parents raised by another set of inadequate parents. i had to look into my family history for an assignment and on 1 side i could only find back to my grandparents, on the other side i traced it back to strict salvation army victorians who raised a whole generation of male abusers, who then went on to infect the own childrens lives etc. im so glad i have the awareness to see that historically children have been seen as objects or burdens depending on the wealth of the parents. these days it is still as hidden as it was in the victorian times though there have been many changes in law and policy. till the way families are allowed by their neighbours to abuse a child change it seems hard to see how thigns will ever change on the wider picture. im just glad i managed to break most of the cycle and the bits i havent i am working on sorting out


I know I feel because of how I was brought up . that I find it hard to see that I have value now. I really don’t take the time to care about me. because all my life, I have lived in a belief system that said do for others but not for yourself, that its good to forget myself ..deny myself.

I find it hard to accept praise said to me since as a child mom never had any kind words for me. .she called me bad nastry words. I hear things people say to me ..that are praise.. and don’t see them as for me.. since no one ever spoke nicely before.

I have no confidence that I can do anythng . .i am always expecting to fall apart.. because that is what mom drilled into me; that everything i do will fail. that I am not capable of doing anything right.

Right now .. at this moment .. everything around me is so foggy… I sure hope things clear up soon. That I can see beyond all the bad things people had said for so long.

If it would have stopped as a child it would be so much easier to heal..but some just feel that its their life calling to keep reminding me how bad I am.

I must close my door to all them . and cut the phone off. Just hate that I wouldnt have to do that but I have to because they wont talk nice to me.



Wow! Darlene, you really hit the nail on the head with this comment: “We have to learn what the actual dysfunction WAS before we can go on to re parent ourselves in a healthy nurturing way. . . ”

This is probably the most valuable lesson I’ve learned reading through everyone’s post — that I have to dig deep, deeper, deepest to get to the root of the problem. Over and over I’ve tried to fix stuff on the surface of my life, thinking that I just cut my hair, lost a few pounds, studied more, tried harder. . . So much of what I tried to fix was simply a symptom of an overlooked deeper truth that was glossed over, stomped on, ridiculed — whatever — as a child.

I can’t begin to imagine how things could have been different in my family as a child, I was pushed and pulled in too many directions to ever have any clear guidance. Certainly my parents’ flawed truths were no help. However, I am in awe of the parenting skills my children have developed and use with their children. They do tell me it is in a small part because I always talked to them like people who had thoughts worth considering and questions deserving answers — watching them interact with their kids gives me a lot of joy (and makes me wish I wasn’t so far away from them right now).

Thank you for this space, Darlene. Thank you everyone. . . you’re all like Miracle Gro — pouring a little of what’s needed most into this parched pot — just watch me grow!!!


when children are not regarded as real people, they grow up to be still disregarded by the same people

A truth leak: i told my dad how my landlord had talked to me, (he was a man my dad’s age and someone he knows,so I thought how awkward it felt, but maybe my dad would have good insight)anyway, the landlord was totally nasty to me and needlessly so, and he reminded me of how my dad talks to me. So when I told my dad what the landlord had said, he immediately went into this whiney voice and said, “Oh, THAT kind of talk, you just ignore that stuff, don’t pay any attention to it.” THAT is what I do to him now, wish I would have learned that sooner!


Hi Carol
I believe that the world will change when the victims heal. That includes all of us here, we can change the world with our understanding ~ and there is a ripple effect! We will make a difference, learning to value kids makes a difference. Healing is that false belief system, so that we can teach others and model real love and real relationship as we go forward!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy,
One of the most important things I learned in recovery was to “not engage” which means exactly what you just said; no contact, even to not answer the phone. Good for you!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ultralite
That is my process; that is how it worked for me. Had to learn what was wrong, before I could fix it. Brainwashing tends to make people unaware of the actual truth, so I had lots of work to do.
It has not been so much for me to learn how it could have been different, as it was to learn that it never should have been the way that it was, and that it wasn’t MY fault. Finding out what I believed because of the treatment, that was the key.
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kate
exactly, yes.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Another thing my sperm donor always told me whenever I failed at something was that I never tried.But I did,I tried my hardest all the time.But he would never help me or teach me to get better.He always said he never had the time.But it was ok for him to go from job to job.He never stayed at one place for very long.He told me that if he wasn’t happy at a job then he wasn’t going to stay there.He didn’t try to stick it out and sell cars,he didn’t try his best.He just quit!!Last year he quit a job after 2 weeks.How is that ok for him to quit and he always has an excuse but he was so disgusted by me and accused me of not trying?


My mother used to call me squirt and today I realized how much I hate that.


My mother would constantly tell her friends that I was a b*tch to her.I think I was 10 yrs old the first time I heard her say that.Yes,she always made sure to say that in front of me.A few months ago,we got into an argument about my haircolor.I’m a brunette,always have been but my mother insists I was a blonde.She can’t even remember my haircolor?!!That hurt worse than her blaming me for her brother sexually molesting me!



What i have also noticed that because i was not allowed to speak up or have a say as a child…I find it hard not to speak up for myself now. I have been programmed to just “take it” take whatever nonsense, hurt, ugly and keep my mouth shut.

I feel I become victimized over and over and taken advantage of only because I wont speak up .. In me, I still freeze when being mistreated…Though people who hurt me are different..deep down I think it’s the voice and threats of mom that are the spark behind my inaction or lack of reaction.

I am afraid to say anything because when I spoke up as a child i as slapped, beat, thrown in hot baths or made to kneel in a corner all night.

Its so very hard to get all my fears unprogrammed.. and sometimes I think they keep me from taking the help that is really good for me. ..am afraid.. if i let out all my hurts that something bad will happen. Though I dont recognized it as my little child in me being afraid.. I believe it is.

I am afraid to change to allow myself to heal. because deep down am afraid of my mom and her power..though she is miles away.

THere are things that are traumatizing in one’s life: being thrown in hot water, being smothered with a pillow.. till unconcince, being stuck with scissors to my neck.. these were traumatizing and I don’t understand why they were done to me as a kid. The beatings .. they were bad too but they were daily

I have nightmares about these things. I worry that I wont get unprogrammed that I will always be afraid.



Joy: I know just what you’re saying. The training we received as kids is so ingrained in us: “i was not allowed to speak up or have a say as a child…I find it hard not to speak up for myself now. I have been programmed to just “take it” take whatever nonsense, hurt, ugly and keep my mouth shut.”

My boss has gone on vacation. Yesterday some emergent work came in that I am not authorized to do, have no clue how to do it. I was able to find something similar that might have worked, so for the least worrisome part of the project, I completed it as best I could and sent it to the supervisor to review. Never heard back. Later yesterday afternoon, more urgent, emergent stuff starts coming directly to me — I don’t have a clue. I call the head office for help. They tell me just do the best I can. I can’t reach a supervisor to save my life.

It’s taken every ounce of courage I have to call the head office to find some help, and all I can get is a customer service person who tells me do the best I can. I go from headache to migraine to puking all night.

I’m sitting here by the phone in terror. . . I desperately need this job. I’m dreading every minute of today’s work day. It’s like I’m a little kid again, cringing, waiting for that belt to land. When the phone rings, it’s bound to be someone just like my mom reminding one more time what an incompetent, worthless idiot I am.

* * *

I have managed to send the supervisor an email explaining what happened. I also told them that the lack of a back up plan for an urgent/emergent situation and lack of support made me physically ill overnight. That may be all the energy I have to speak out today. So, I have managed to do some little positive thing but

Oh, my aching head. Oh, my heaving stomach. Oh, the lies we’ve been led to believe. People in the workplace don’t realize how they perpetuate the trauma in the lives of those they depend on for their livelihood. They treat their pets better than they treat their employees. . .



I so understand .. i know it having to speak about hurts..reminds me of standing before mom.. saying get that fckn mouth over here . .you want more to cry about

I have therapy through skype because my therapist is a distance ..i havent told her this but it scares me to death to open up to her .. telling her brings back my mean mom who told me dont you dare open your mouth again.

I drink 2 glasses of water before therapy and when I am opening up am crying inside me. I am so unuse to being able to speak. inside am that little girl who think am going to get it for speaking up for asking questions.

Seems like everything I have done in life never lent to me learning how to be confident or feel worthy to speak. ..all jobs i chose were quiet away from the crowd jobs.

I feel i may sabotage my own healing because am so very afraid. even now as i write things that happen that am afraid of .inside that little girl is just waiting for mom to come around the corner with the razor strap for me opening up and telling someone what is going on.

Our family had this hyprocritical appearance in churhc. mom made us do all the volunteer stuff in church..read sing help the nuns. .so we appeared to be the holy family while at home she was blistering my axx every night and sending me off to school with bloody lips and noses..

School and the system after while just let me down .. everyone who would and should have helped me looked the other way so they would not have to help me..



today i am stuck in a bad space and all my tears are falling
I want to go to my safe place but memories keep calling
I try to break away from them but they are holding tight
I am weakening ever quickly I have no strength to fight

I see again the slashes and i can feel again the pain
The sound of the water running makes tears fall like rain
Why can I not be stronger why must these things trigger so
One by one the past hurts are putting on their show



i know how u mean about the abusive employers..because i never healed from my child trauma i never tried to protect myself and had my own workplace trauma with an abusive employer..i so hope . .you will not stay in a bad work place..i was frozen for 8 months in my bad place i was so hurt.. the boss took over my life ..told me when to sleep, drink eat. ..told me when i coudl buy stuff and he said so many bad things to me. that I was frightened stiff.. i hope you dont ever stay in a bad work place..

I am such a double mess ..messed up from being a child abuse s/a survivor and from being mentally, emotionaly , psychologically abuse from a boss in 2009

i get so discouraged.



I know what you mean by trauma in childhood nad MORE trauma in adulthood, the kind that you can’t get away from, and it goes on and on. any simple pleaure that you can find can help, just to take the strain away for a while. I relied heavily on my piano and singing during those years. No one can take that away from me.

The fact that you can call it what it is IS progress and means that you are getting stronger!


Hi Kate,

I wish I had a keyboard as I love to play and i love to sing. .right now things are not so accessible . I do write poetry..sometimes it reflects my inner struggles..other times my great love for the Universe.. I so love all of nature. If I could pitch me a tent in a forest ,I would be happy.

I know am a mess and I know i need to block off a nice space that only those that can help my healing can enter. I have to build me better boundaries as the ones I have our not so stable and cut out all those people who are not going to encourage me to heal.

For so long I felt I dont deserve healng or good things I had been brainwashed to believe this by many people and the old belief system.
I am thinking now i do deserve better than I have been getting and I dont have to be a doormat or punchingbag.

I have so much unlearning but I have good people in my life .. a very wise T and this healing place and all you good people. I hope healing will happen.



No one here is going to tell you that what he did or said was okay!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Diane,
All that kind of stuff (your mother saying you were a B*tch. ) causes so much damage. Oh and the hair colour thing!! That brings up a few memories for me as well! That is really awful that she can’t remember your hair colour. I have a few posts in here about my mother accusing me of being the cause of sexual abuse too. UGGG and I tried to actually accept that maybe it was my fault and tried so hard to figure out what the heck I was doing to cause it!
Thanks for sharing.

Hi Joy,
The beginning of healing for me was realizing the stuff that you are writing about now!
Hugs Darlene


Hi Ultralite
I totally relate to your story with your boss. I was the same way too. And this childhood conditioning happens in SO many areas… like I couldn’t figure out why I was so afraid to take my kids to the dr. when they were sick and it would make me sick just making the appointment! I realize now that it was because I was always WRONG all my life, and my fear was that the Dr. was going to say “why the heck do you think you needed to bring the kids to the dr? There is nothing wrong with them! You are such a stupid mother” Oh and every so often that happened, which made my fears worse!
The truth about what is happening at your work Ultra, is that what they are doing to you is wrong. Very wrong. And you are the one paying for it. (so as you say, just like the child situation) and now you are waiting to get punished for what you didn’t actually do! (because you have been wronged) just like the child situations. This is a great example of how the belief system works. That is what we are trying to figure out so that we can bust out of it.
Let us know how you are doing. Hang in there! this is not your fault. You are being used and taken advantage of. That is the truth of it.
Hugs, Darlene

Great ideas!

and Joy I agree with Kate, you are making progress! You are not alone when it comes to having the fear that you won’t recover… I had that and everyone I know either has it still or had it before depending on where they are at in the process of healing. Thanks for sharing another poem!
Hang in here!
Hugs, Darlene


When I became single with four children, I had a hard time working, as I had been at home for years. My counselor (friend by phone, but certified counselor) kept talking and listening to my struggles and finally after about three years, I realized that she was repeating one theme, that I had to stand up for myself and defend myself and speak for myself, OHH!!! WOW!!! I was raised to NEVER do that. this was HARD, but i finally got it. I can’t believe how long I had to listen to her talk about my daily struggles and then it FINALLY dawned on me. I am not saying this is your situation, i am saying that what you wrote brought this back to mind from my life.



Thank you again : Happy Birthday again.. I am glad am not alone in my feelings. do get discouraged but its part of the process you are saying so I wont worry about my discouragement..thank you hope your day is blessed with good things.


it’s exaclty what I can say. I was never allowed to stand up for myself.. and seems everything I ever did never allowed me to have a voice. .it strange to think I have a right to speak up . and I think I surprise myself if i even do so in writing. which is easier than speaking up for myself outloud.. I know if I dont stand up for me no one else will. There are many who are against me too many



My mother would brag about me to her friends and stand up for me against racist teachers and members of the church and then behind closed doors scream at me how much of a failure I was and how terrible of a daughter I was and I was overreacting and they were all right about me. She would value me in front of others and then take it all away. I grew up with the belief that she must have been lying because she didn’t want to look like a bad mother. That I made her look like a bad mother. I never understood if she loved me or hated me.

When she brought my ill grandmother to come and live with us (that woman was horrid). She would defend me against her own mother and then take it back. My grandmother believed because I was a girl I was useless. I could do nothing right and when my brother stole money from her it was my fault. To my grandmother I shouldn’t speak. I shouldn’t play. I should dress proper and clean. And I could never clean to her liking. She would even play my mother and I against each other to ensure I would be punished.

It creates 2 warring voices in me. One that tells me I am a person. I deserve love and kindness and another that constantly tells me I’m not good enough and I am worthless as a person.



I love to play and sing as well. I don’t have a keyboard either but sometimes I take time to myself and sing out my frustrations where no one can hear or judge. I don’t have just one space set aside I have many. Sometimes out at the park when no one is around. Its just setting aside time just for you.

Acknowledging these things and writing them is healing. You’ve already started the process. 🙂


Yes, I think you nailed it when you said that your mother wanted to be the one to give and to take away. She could give you value and she could take it away. THAT is a lie. All abuse is based on a lie.
Finding the lie is a good thing.


Hi Elise

Sounds like your mother and my mother liked to appear good but were really rotten inside.. I am so upset that you had to experience this too Elise. I hear you.. about two voices.. I hated the pretense..

My church found out things..as I tried to tell someone what was happening and I was told I was displeasing god and i should go pray for forgiveness . .I wasn’t to talk of famly stuff.. that i can’t be a saint unless i suffer.

Sometimes it was so obvious we had been through battle with our darkened eyes.. but mom always said I was clumsy ..always running into things..falling so .bruises and cuts were my fault..

The pastor knew but he looked away and told me that god was displeased by my complaining. 🙁

I know you are not a terrible daughter, Elise, I feel you are a very good and loving person.

So thankful Elise, for your kind words.



Another thing my sperm donor likes to say is that I don’t have a mind of my own or I can’t think for myself and my mother brainwashed me.That’s the same as saying I’m stupid but he probably would say it’s not. I know now that his girlfriend can’t think for herself,she doesn’t have a mind of her own and he brainwashed her.Because everything she wrote to me and my mother is what we told her about him.She just repeated it back to us. Him and his girlfriend make up all these excuses and will never admit to anything.When you ask them something,they both avoid and ignore it.The sperm donor tries to make me believe he cares about me,but his actions have proved he doesn’t.You know,I’ve been telling people that my father is dead?I was doing so good until I found out that he is still living with his stupid girlfriend,15 min away from me.Now my anger is back.I just want to forget about them both,go on to college and live a normal life without my sperm donor around.Is that so much to ask for? He’s the one who abused me and made me feel not worthy enough.Why do people like that get away with this?


Great post as always – I’m slowly beginning to recognise the messages I received as a child and that I’ve long believed to be the gospel truth. I’m also slowly beginning to recognise those messages to not be true and that those beliefs about myself are actually founded upon lies. It’s a long slow laborious process but I’ve begun!!


Hi Joy
Yes, it is ALL part of the process! (thank you for the birthday wishes! I am having a lovely day!)

Hi Elise,
OUCH! My mother sometimes did that too. What Kate pointed out if very valid … abusers want to control everything.. it is almost they are making the statement “I will tell you how to feel, I will tell you if you are good enough and not good enough… etc” And that is why I so often say that they don’t get to define me anymore.
AND it sounds like we had a very similar grandmother. (About the 2 warring voices, I call what you describe as a conflicting belief system, and those are tricky to resolve, but it is doable!)
Thanks for sharing.

Hi Fi
This is awesome Fi!! This is fantastic, thank you for sharing. IT is a long slow process, but it seems like the beginning is the longest part. When I started to really recognize the lies, my healing picked up speed!
Hugs!! Darlene


Hi Joy
Yes, it is ALL part of the process! (thank you for the birthday wishes! I am having a lovely day!)

Hi Elise,
OUCH! My mother sometimes did that too. What Kate pointed out if very valid … abusers want to control everything.. it is almost they are making the statement “I will tell you how to feel, I will tell you if you are good enough and not good enough… etc” And that is why I so often say that they don’t get to define me anymore.
AND it sounds like we had a very similar grandmother. (About the 2 warring voices, I call what you describe as a conflicting belief system, and those are tricky to resolve, but it is doable!)
Thanks for sharing.

Hi Fi
This is awesome Fi!! This is fantastic, thank you for sharing. IT is a long slow process, but it seems like the beginning is the longest part. When I started to really recognize the lies, my healing picked up speed!
Hugs!! Darlene



And now I am rendered speechless….WOW, well put my friend!!! You are such an awesome child advocate…I love that….

I’m taking a deep breath….ok, I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said so eloquently….

I struggle with being equal to this day…I ride the rollercoaster and unfortunately so does my family…I am working on me day by day…my mother and father were terribly messed up by their parents but neither were strong enough to stand up and make a change…I am..
I am stopping the cycle with me….my daughter may get some residue but it will be nothing like my existence….I already tell her I love her all the time and do my best to remain calm when she ticks me off…she is five after all, it is her job to push and test….I love her to pieces…she is so wonderful and I try and nurture that beauty on a daily basis….

I hate the way I have talked to my daughter at times and I hate the way I hear people talk to kids….they belittle them and make them feel like crap….it is horrible….they just need patience and kindness….any skill you want them to have, HAS TO BE MODELED…you said that Darlene..and that resonates heavily in my soul….I saw nothing but crap…it’s amazing I am not shooting up heroin….but I chose everyday to do the best I can….and from what I can tell it’s a hell of alot better than where I came from.

hugs to all.



My grandmother had a very hard life she underwent trauma in germany during ww2 that she never recovered from. She was a very unhappy woman who dealt with it by making everyone around her miserable. My mother brought her into our household to help take care of her. I think she hoped in doing so that my grandmother would finally accept her and love her. I got to watch my mother try SO hard.

When I got older I stood up to my mom, my dad was overseas so he wasn’t there to protect me. (My brother and dad pulled my mom off me when she’d really start beating me) it was bad. The fight lasted all day and at the end she was shocked and confused. A week later she apologised for being such a horrible mother and began to try in earnest to be a good mom. I think she had her epiphany. At the time I was the only one of 3 who was talking with her. I moved out but still was there. She was still controlling my life but it wasn’t as bad.

When my dad had another 6 month tour overseas I decided to move back in and help her out. (She’s really co-dependent on my dad. Thank God he was never abusive to me or her) big mistake. At first it was fine bu then she couldn’t cope with the stress of my dad gone and her job using her and took it out on me. 23 years old and not allowed to leave the house except for work and she hounded me at my job. I had a breaking point and ended up moving out of state with a week to plan it.

At first she was raging but she actually gave me the money to start over. I think she realised we needed to be away from eachother.

Its so strange we are taught to forgive and forget. I forgive her but I can’t forget and I’m learning that her actions and my survival techniques are making it hard for me to enjoy the wonderful new life I have now.

Wow I had no intention of telling all of this but once is started I couldn’t stop.


thanks so much to all you people out there who have been brave enough to share your stories, I am new here, still scared to share my own story as my recovery has only just begun, but have been bought to tears associating and connecting with your words like they came from my own childhood or my own heart, so thank you! I shall continue to read and be inspired and empowered and sometime soon I may even be able to share a few things of my own. Power to you all and thank you so much Darlene for offering this wonderful free service to us all, you truly are an inspiration


Again a wonderful subject my parents of course thought we should all be seen and not heard but they were abusive so that would have been the norm my mom put us to bed at 6pm so she could have time for herself and my father even as we were old 6 pm we were to not get up .I have come across this in normal families also My husbands family and all of there children have always done this to the kids which caused a lot of strife for me because My kids were HEARD I made sure of that I have always acknowledged there feelings and have gotten into many arguments over the years with my husband and inlaws but I would never change a thing I now have four adult children that have self esteem and our youngest is 10 and she has the most .They have always been heard and they didn’t need to act out to get that I hope they start teaching parents to value there children I mean I think that should be something talked about at a Drs visit or something because there are still people who are good parents except for this one really big flaw!


According to my Grandmother I was “born that way” and I ruined my parents marriage at age 10. They decided to get married because my Mother got pregnant with me on purpose to trap my Father. I have heard this from both sides of the family. I have heard a lot of things from both sides of the family and how they think and how I “am”. Personally I don’t care anymore. I’m going to be in their minds however they decide to think of me, may as well give them something to think about.

Everyone says that my husband won’t make it in the military. So far he’s been in a year and is working his way up.



It saddens me that members of the church would take something so beautiful as God’s word and twist it to give them an excuse for inaction. I’m truly sorry this happened to you. God would never be displeased by “complaining.” He is there to comfort and listen and no one, not even a pastor has the right to say otherwise.

Somehow through my experiences I’ve held on to my faith.
I think the belief that he has never given me more than I can handle and when it hit that
point when it felt like there was nothing, absolutely nothing, someone I didn’t even know saved me.

I apologise if I got too preachy. Pastors and church members who act like that infuriate me. It really is using his word as an excuse for inaction.

Many many hugs


I was raised as a catholic and just can’t step foot in a church now.Growing up,I was forced to go to church.My mother would drop me off and go back home to sleep.I asked why I had to go when she didn’t.Her answer was…”my parents forced me,so now it’s your turn.”I was 9 yrs old,sitting in church listening to the priest tell me that everything I did,every bad thought I had was a sin and I was going to burn in hell.When my mother picked me up she would ask me if I confessed all my sins.It was horrible because she would give me third degree.When my children were born I didn’t hurry to get them baptized which bugged my mother.She kept telling me that they need to be baptized to wash away their sins so if they die they’ll go to heaven.Just what a new mother wants to hear,huh?



I will never go to a church again either. My mother also forced me to go. I find too many people who actually hinder my worship and progress. I found a friend in one of the Pastors who had what congregation members would have thought ‘radical’ ideas. (My church was VERY old fashioned) I find I am able to practice my faith out in nature. A hiking trip up into the mountains or walk along the beach. Its so terrible that people do an say those kinds of things. Your mother telling you that your babies will essentially go to hell is awful!! No mother deserves to hear that!


You were to be sure and confess ALL your sins weekly, but somehow baptism was supposed to wash away sins as well? Am I the only one who finds this inconcistent?
I guess the message there is to keep going to church every week to see what they want you to do next? You never really know, otherwise, they wouldn’t have a following or an income.


Hi Jenny
This is awesome, I hear your conviction Jenny ! I decided when my kids were born the same thing. I would never repeat the cycle I grew up in.
Thanks for being here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Elise,
Thank you for sharing this. I have written a few things about the forgive issue. I have rather strong opinions about that whole saying being used in an abusive way, like so much else, but this blog is really about realizing what our belief system is because of the ways that we were treated so that we can realize the conclusions we came to about ourselves as a result of that treatment, were wrong. That is the key to healing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Nikki
Great to have you here. Please share as you are ready, you don’t have to push yourself. Sometimes just the reading is overwhelming at first.
Thanks for being here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Charlotte
Yes, I agree, there are many parents who overlook this one important thing. To regard children as individuals with some basic human needs.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jes
Welcome to EFB
This whole blog has a lot to do with what you just shared. The things that are “said” to us that define us as being a certain way and since we are so young, we believe all of it. And we carry those beliefs into our adulthood. For me it wasn’t about not caring anymore so much as it was about changing those beliefs back to the truth so that I could be free to be me.
Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Diane
This is exactly what I am talking about! WOW. Thank you for sharing this snapshot..
hugs, Darlene


This post and the comments following has got me to thinking about where all of this ‘stuff’ comes from. My family were pioneers. Their lives were difficult and often painful. I think the daily grind of just trying to survive gave them very little time for emotional issues or even time to think about how their actions affected their children. I think their lives would probably also cause them to view God as hard and exacting. I think that view of God has been passed down through traditional methods of disciplining children. This isn’t an excuse for the treatment that I received as a child but it is on reason. There is a big difference between reasons and excuses. If we know the reason, we can take action to change. Excuses cover and hope to let the issue slide.


Hi Pam!
Yes, I realize all of that is also very true. In my life today, I try not to lose sight of how I overcame all of the struggles that I had as a result of my childhood which led to all the future struggles in adulthood. The goal here is not to find the reasons why, (because they don’t change anything) but to find the belief systems that developed as a result of that treatment. Knowing the reasons always led me down a rabbit trail of feeling sorry for the people who undermined my existence. I can look at the reasons today, but I don’t give them any credit when it comes to changing my belief system about me.
Remembering this has helped me tremendously.

p.s. Pam and everyone ~ I will be publishing Pam’s guest post later on today. This is her second part continuing from last weeks very successful post about human objectification.
hugs, Darlene


@ Joy,

I totally understand your confusion….that is what the dysfunction does to you to keep you in that awful place….I am sorry you are in that spot…I have been there many times and it is a lonely spot…but remember you are not alone….I understand….I was molested for I don’t know how many years as a child by my step grandfather…all hazy…and I went on to men who treated me horribly….until my daughter was sexually abused by her father….it has been a horrible ride, somedays I just want to quit but then, if I quit who will pay for it? I will…she will…and we deserve better than that….and you do too….be patient with you….big hugs….


@Jenny yes. you hit the nail on the head..dysfunction keeps me in this awful place.. I wish I was stronger. .I sometimes do what I shouldn’t do. .Sometimes let my guard down and for that time that one time I do . i have to go through so much torment and anguish.

I don’t know exactly how many times I was sexually hurt before they took us away.. but I know now more than twice as i am seeing in my memory different things which are very painful. .there are a couple years I cannot remember at all. From the time they took us till the time i was in 4th grade is all fuzzy to me too. I do remember very vividly the beatings ..the baths.. the time mom put the pillow over me . the time she put the scissors in my neck ..the first time she and bro did those things. those are clear as day and make me wince yet to recall them.. but the other things . are only pieces. that are coming up . and they scare me.

I am so glad jenny you havent quit and hope you never do. I have no desire to quit. .i have been through too much to give up . .i have the desire to become something . I want to help people some day I do little things now but really want to work with people who are marginalized in some way ..be it through disabilities or minorities.. I think giving back what one receives is a good way to live ones life..don’t you?



I think you are an amazingly hopeful person despite what you’ve been through. I believe that you will live your dream and bring to many what your name implies. Your tender heart gives me joy every time I read one of your posts. It is a treasure.




Thank you am sometimes not in the hopeful spirit .. those moments I have to run for my safeplace that my “T” taught me of. .Or run for the youtube videos but run I do . I don’t like to stay too long in the memories by myself. I think it’s best to confront them with my T as they scare me.

I appreciate your kind words, Pam, I so hope that my dreams come true .. I really am happiest when I can do for others.. its makes me happy to help others.




Yes, I already have a job helping others and it is very rewarding…it makes me happy to be able to help. That is the common thread I see amongst survivors is we want to bring joy into this world…not anymore pain…we have had enough of that…I feel hopeful that this world is a better place because of people like you Joy….take care 🙂



We all need a hiding place. Even people who weren’t abused have other issues that give them a need to withdraw and deal. I think people who have lived a life of being abused have had so much death and destruction in our lives that it gives us a clear longing for life and wellbeing. A desire to give what we didn’t experience. It is a way for us to fulfill our own longing. A way to drown out some of the cruelty we have experienced.

I see progess in you, Joy. You seem much stronger this week.



No excuses for bad behavior here. I just like to examine the reasons why certain traditions develop. I want to know if there is any value in them or if they should be trashed. People too often accept traditional ways of doing things just because they are tradition.



I agree with blind acceptance of anything. It is so easy to live a life simply being a spectator of all the rituals that go on around us, sunday rituals, entertainment rituals, holiday rituals, and how many of these are truly HAPPY times,??

I saw the most disgusting thing to me today. My father, who couldn’t STAND to be photographed by his family members is photographed with my mom at an engagement party for a single mom from his church. He told me many times how he admired this single widowed mother for really doing the tough job of raising her kids after their dad died. What that REALLY meant was that she did the tough job of staying in their church after her husband died, the church that ostrasized her former husband, the church that declared her former husband “unsaved”…because he didn’t join their church…so he dies and his wealthy wife gets to contiunue to stay home in the same home and be a mom, all the while I lose my husband in a divorce, lose my home, community, have to work without job skills after being a stay-home-educator for many years, SHE also gets to go to school to get job skills, I am struggling, being belittled by my parents the whole time while they admire her. My parents’ reponse to me new husband was completely negative to us and behind my back, while they attend ENGAGEMENT party for this other mother and my dad just BEAMS for the camera, something he would never do for his own family. And that “happy couple” getting married?? THEY don’t even look happy in the photos. You couldn’t BE happy in that church unless you were part of the founding family, OR worshipped them!


But we looked happy and were happy in our wedding photos from three years ago. We had a private wedding. NO parents allowed. No one allowed except my kids. No planning or coordinating or criticizing, etc.

I called my dad the morning of my wedding and let him know that we were getting married that day. My kids couldn’t keep it quiet, so they probably already knew and my mother drove her car out to the house where my fiance had spent the night (at a friends’ house) to spy on us that morning. I went out to pick him up, and as we were leaving the driveway, on the two-lane highway, I see this semi-truck slam on his brakes and lay on the horn while he tries to avoid hitting the car in front of him, which is driven by my mother!

So we called, and we went out for about five minutes to tell them we were getting married and left from there for the courthouse. My dad wanted to know if the mayor of our county was marrying us, as the mayor is my cousin. I said that I was never again going to attempt to coordinate other peoples’ lives with my plans, including wedding plans. He said that he thought that was very wise. Oh please! Get me a bucket so I can puke.

And all my life i have had digestion issues around the foods we eat, we eat themn as if it were a ritual, potlucks, holidays, whatever is popular, etc., but they are bad for my tummy, so I have tried various diets all my life, and I get ridiculed. Yeah, so these are just some of the “rituals” that I have shed in my life.


the true nature of hell for me, in this life, is something that Darlene said the other day. We were told many conlficting things and we try (tried) to believe them all.


I’ve shed many as well. It is interesting to note that the Pharasees also said that they were sons of God as they were not born by fout ornication. We see many of those types of “sons of God” also. today. They have never left us. The true son of God is the one who lives out his father’s wishes out of love for him and not out of any false human elevation. The real deal is not a religeous bafoon, he is simply humble and truthful That is why I love him and pray for the rest while keeping a safe distance.;0)



Pam I agree that hiding place is a must and I am going there more and more. I am so so very grateful to my “T” for helping me learn to go there .. to use is as a place to go when the memories are too intense and chasing me so.

I know I must deal with the memories even if I leave them outside me .. as they wont let me go. They are challenging me to to answer to think. and I really don’t know what to think. I dont have answers. I dont know why . I just simply dont



Darlene, you posted this when my computer was in the shop last week and I just found it in my unopened emails tonight. You could be describing my childhood too. This was posted the same day that my first guest blog article was posted over at SASSU – Sexual Assault Survivors Standing. The post was called “Incest: Protect Your Children by Patricia Singleton.”


In this post, I talked about the first incest experience that I remember at age 11. Then I ended the post with a list of 10 things that I was taught as a child that would have protected me from the incest if I had known those 10 things. I wasn’t taught those things because as a child, I had no value to the adults in my life. I was taught that only adults had power or control and that I had to do whatever I was told just because they were adults. Those beliefs left me wide open for being abused. I didn’t know that I had any rights, much less the right to say no to an adult. An adult could do anything that he/she wanted to do to me because I had no value. I had no power as a child. This post needs a Trigger Warning because of the memory that I wrote about in the beginning. I have never written about my experiences in this kind of detail. I think that this guest post and a second one that I wrote a few days later for another blogger is why I felt so raw emotionally on Father’s Day.


Dear Patricia (and Dear Anyone Else who didn’t know they had the right to say NO to abuse),

When I was 12, I also did not know that I had the right to say NO to any adult, especially not to my parents. I was 12 when my dad grabbed me and said, “I don’t care if it’s wrong, I love you any way,” then kissed me long and hard on the mouth.” Then he said, “Don’t tell your mother.”

I didn’t know what sex was, when I was 12. I had lived a very sheltered life, we didn’t even have a tv, because of my parents’ super strict religion. I didn’t understand why my dad would say that loving me was wrong. I didn’t understand why he kissed me so hard and long on the mouth. And I didn’t understand why he told me not to tell my mother. But I obeyed him; I did not tell her. He was the head of our house, he was the sole breadwinner, and he was also the preacher of our very strict church. My dad taught from the pulpit that the man was the head of the house and that the wife must submit to him as unto the Lord, and that children must obey and honor their father and mother… and the father came first. So, I did not what my dad told me to do, I did not tell.

If my father had taken the sexual abuse further at that time in my life, I have no doubt that I would have done whatever he wanted me to do, and I also have no doubt that I would have kept it secret, because I had been groomed all of my life, by my parents, but especially by my dad, to do whatever he told me to do, immediately and without question. I had been taught all of my life that Lynda had no rights whatsoever.

HOWEVER… by the time my father tried to take his sexual abuse of me further, he had been thoroughly discredited in the family, in the church, in our town, and in my eyes. You see, it was not long after my dad’s sick sexual kiss, that he came so close to killing my mother, I actually thought she was dead. My father was arrested, and then put in a psychiatric ward, where he stayed for a long time. He was fired from his job at the electric company, he was banned from his church, and my mother filed for divorce.

I had been a witness to my dad’s violent attack on my mother. I no longer trusted him. In fact, according to the religion that my parents had raised me in, my dad was considered by those in our church to be possessed by demons… his pychiatrist diagnosed his problem as Multiple Personality Disorder, which is called Dissociative Identity Disorder, today.

I was 13, when my dad tried to molest me the second time. By that time, I knew what sex was. My dad had been out of the psychiatric hospital for a few months. My parents’ divorce had become final, and my dad had remarried, almost immediately, the head nurse of the psych ward where he had been a patient for so long. Highly unethical.

According to the terms of the divorce, our dad would come over to our house to visit the 5 of us kids, every Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon. Sometimes he would bring his new wife, and often he didn’t.

One Sunday he came without his wife. He spent most of the day sitting at the kitchen table drinking beer and talking with my mother, not visiting with us kids. I was doing my homework in the bedroom I shared with my much-younger twin sisters. As the evening got laterr, I decided to take my bath to get a head start on getting ready for school the next day. I went into the bathroom and was filling the tub with water. I got undressed and was about to step into the tub, when my dad knocked on the locked bathroom door. “I’m leaving now, Lynda, and I just wanted to say good-bye,” he said through the door. I said, “OK, just a second,” and I grabbed up my dress that I had taken off, it was the type that buttons all the way down the front. I put it on and, instead of buttoning it up, I held it closed in front of me, sort of wrapped around me, so that nothing would show ~ at least, I don’t think anything was showing. I was a shy girl, and wouldn’t have wanted to show any cleavage, that was totally banned by the religion I was brought up in.

While holding my dress closed in front of my chest, I opened the bathroom door just a crack, wide enough so that my dad could give me his customary good-bye peck on the cheek.

When my dad saw me with my dress wrapped around me, he got a creepy turned-on look on his face, and he reached inside the front of my dress, and grabbed my left breast. I immediately shut the door on his hand, not hard, but hard enough so that I could pull myself away from him. He bellowed in rage as he pulled his hand out of the door. As soon as his hand was clear of the door, I slammed and locked it.

I know that I would never have done that, if my dad had still been “my dad,” if he still been the head of the house, the authority over my mother and over all of us kids, and the preacher in our church. If my dad had never been so thoroughly discredited by everyone in my world by the time I was 13, I would not have known that he could NOT to do me whatever he wanted to do.

When I was 15 and in a mental institution, and my 40-something-year-old psychiatrist tried to molest me, I fought him off, and then I told the nurses on him. The only reason I knew that I had the right to say NO to him, was because two other patients on my ward had already warned me about that doctor trying to rape them. Otherwise, in my love-starved, 15-year-old ignorance, I have no doubt that I would have welcomed his sexual advances, thinking that he was doing it “because he loved me.”

But, I knew that he was doing sexual things to other women, too, so I knew he wasn’t singling me out as his “special love.” PLUS, and here is the biggie…. that doctor was divorced when he was first my psychiatrist, and because he was very handsome and had a gentle soothing voice, I had a big crush on him, and considered him “fair game,” because he was single. (I think this was before I knew he was sexually molesting other patients.) But, about a month before his first attempt at molesting me, he told me he had just gotten remarried “to a beautiful, wonderful woman.” My fantasy-crush on him was dashed. And so, when he hypnotized me and tried to moelst me, I fought him off.

Frankly, in my 15-year-old fanatsy world, believing in the fairy tales I had grown up on, of a Prince Charming coming to rescue the damsel in distress, wanting and needing love so desperately, and wanting and needing to be “saved” from the horrible insane asylum… if my psychiatrist had not just recently “broken my heart” by announcing that he was newly remarried to “a lovely woman,” I am sure that I would NOT have fought off his advances. I would have believed that he had the right to do whatever he wanted to me, because he was the adult and the doctor and I was the child and the patient, and I have no doubt that I would have believed that he was doing sexual things to me because he had fallen in love with me.

It has belatedly occured to me that, for those survivors who did not fight off their abusers/rapists when they were young, my story of how I fought off my dad when I was 13, and later at age 15 tried to fight off my psychiatrist, who then had to drug me unconscious with the truth serum, sodium penthothal, in order to rape me, my story may make some women feel bad because they didn’t fight. I never meant for my story to make anyone feel bad in any way, and I hope that my explanation of why and how I had come to the point where I could fight off my dad and my psychiatrist, may help take some of that hurt away.

I repeat: IF my dad had not come within a hair of killing my mother, and then been arrested for it, and then put in a mental ward, and believed by everyone in our family and social circle to be either insane, or demon possessed…. IF my dad had still been the “man in charge of the family….” it would never have occurred to me, at age 13, to refuse to allow him to fondle my breast, or anything else.

Furthermor, IF the handsome 40-something psychiatrist that I initially had a crush on, hadn’t shattered my silly romantic young-girl fantasies by getting remarried, AND if I hadn’t already been told by a couple of other women patients that they were having a sexual relationship with that very same doctor, then I most certainly would have naively welcomed his sexual advances, believing that he was “making love” with me, because he was “falling in love” with me. I was just young and ignorant enough to have believed that a 40-something psychiatrist, who had grown children in their 20s, would be able to fall in love with his 15-year-old mental patient, and it would be fine and good. But the fact that I knew I wasn’t his “one and only true love,” caused me to fight him off.

I very sorry, Patricia, and anyone else who may have felt bad when they read about my rape experience, I am very sorry if the fact that I fought off my abusers to the best of my ability, until I was drugged and couldn’t fight anymore, I am very very sorry if that made anyone else feel bad because they didn’t fight, or try to say no.

It didn’t even occur to me until I read your comment #86, Patricia, that I needed to explain how and why I was able to fight, when ordinarily, at that young of an age, after a lifetime of being taught that I had no rights and no value, in ordinary circumstances, I have no doubt that I would NOT have known that I could, or should, fight or even say NO to my abusers.

In Truth, Peace, and Love,


Susan Kingsley-Smith, you said in comment #25 that you had problems with 12 step programs, you wrote “sorry Patricia; I know they were a good source for you but the ones I found were less than helpful and full of horny mean men and jealous bitchy women” ~~

ME, TOO, that was exactly what I experienced in 12 step programs, “horny mean men and jealous bitchy women.”

HOWEVER… in the early years of my going to 12-step programs, I did NOT have any problems with “horny mean men and jealous bitchy women.” I was married in those early years, to my now-ex husband, and he accompanied me to nearly all of the 12-step meetings I went to, during our marriage. So the horny mean men left me alone, and the women had no reason to be jealous and bitchy, because I was not “competition.”

It was when that marriage ended, and I stepped up my 12-step meeting attendance, thinking I needed the extra support to get me through that very painful time… that was when the “horny mean men” and the “jealous bitchy women” just about drove me completely out of what little mind I had left!

So, in hindsight, it seems to me that the women who do well in 12-step programs, are married or otherwise unavailable to the horny mean men, and therefore no competition for the jealous bitchy women.

That’s been my experience, anyway.

Another thing about the 12 step programs that definitely HURT, rather than HELPED, me was the emphasis on “admitting that I am POWERLESS,” and taking a moral inventory of all of my “CHARACTER DEFECTS.”

I grew up being told all of my life that I was nothing but one big DEFECT, and taught that I had NO POWER. It was only when I began to take back my power over my own life, refused to define myself as being full of DEFECTS, and focused instead on my great God-given STRENGTHS, my INHERENT WORTH and EQUAL VALUE, that I finally began to HEAL.


oops, I forgot to click the notify me box


Hi Lynda!
Great comments! I realized the same thing about the 12 programs; not the fault of the program but it really hurt me too to spend all my energy on acceptance of powerlessness (when as you say I never HAD any power!!) I did my step 4 with the emphasis on being accountable ~ for all the abuse that happened to me! That didn’t help me one bit! It helped me to try to keep on accepting abusive behaviour that I didn’t know was even abusive yet!
Thank you for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Boy Lynda and Darlene; you BOTH hit the nail on the head for me about these programs. And yes; its not the program its the people in them who abuse. But geez – Darlene I struggled with the SAME issues! Being told I was powerless and that all of my problems were because I was defective!

Today I would know when to leave a group that was being abusive or had unhealthy social dynmics going on but back then when I really really needed someone to show me the way – I couldn’t find one person who had anything I wanted in the groups I visited (and I visited plenty for a long time).

Thankfully though! We have created a new kind of group where those who WERE helped by these programs, like Patricia, can share their learned wisdom and we can support and validate one another as we reclaim the power that was taken from us.

Whew! So glad we are all here!



I have written about this in early posts Susan. I should do an updated one. I want to make sure that I am not trashing 12 step when I am only attempting to expose the damage that was done there by often well meaning people. I also looked for sponsors that treated me just like abuseers did. Either I did it their way or I could get a new sponsor. Those kind of people were who I was familiar with. So I guess I gravitated towards them. Oh and male sponsors who wanted to sleep with me. (that was familiar too, that I was only good for one thing and the belief that men would not want to help me ~ they just wanted to bed me) I had to learn all this stuff in order to change it. In 12 step, I mostly just tried to find the proof that it really was my fault and was encouraged to do so. ugggg…
having said that, like Patricia, I too found some really great things to begin my recovery with, but that beginning (although some great stuff that I learned) for me was not the key to freedom and wholeness.


I have to agree that children are treated like 2nd class citizens, very often on a par with pets even. You make a very strong case for that too.

I had some things to add, but seeing as you had so many comments, I don’t suppose mine would be any more helpful. However, I have started a blog myself recently touching on this area of life and thought it might be of interest for you. I am a guest blogger hence the two links. I’m new to WordPress, so still working out how things work.




on this September 13th it will have been 3 years since I spoke to my mother and father- the most liberating decision I have ever made in my life, but I’m still trying to recognise myself as a person. I’m certainly not healed yet, but I’m trying!


Hi Candice
Trying is the main thing. I finally recognized and embraced my true self when I was able to expose all the lies that I believed about myslef due to toxic relationships and how my belief system was formed by those people. That is what this site is about! Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Patrick
Welcome to emerging from broken. Just a little tip; if you want to attract people to your blog, it is better to add your thoughts here. If people like what you are saying here, they will visit your blog too! (and my blog only allows one link at at time, if more then one link is posted, the post will be held in moderation or will go into spam. ) All comments make a difference! You never know what someone else needs to hear.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, thanks for the tip.. Still learning blog etiquette, so thanks awfully for your comments.. 🙂


[…] they liked to show us off.) Even as a very small child, I hated that. I felt demeaned, like a lesser person. And these things I felt before age 10! I remember having to try to figure out how to handle things […]


[…] I began to invalidate my own physical and emotional pain. […]


I came across this article today, because after reading your most recent article, it made me think….why is this family dysfunction thing so prevelant in our society….So I did that Google search thing you told me about by putting “whey are children devalued in our society, emerging from broken” and this was the article that came up. I relate to all of it 100%.
I wonder if you ever heard of a website called “Break the Cycle” It is run by a retired psychiatrist, it’s absolutely free and there are no ads of any kind (much like this site is). Anyway, I’ve been poking around on that site as well and there is alot of good stuff there. The Dr.’s whole premise for putting his website for people to use freely is because he saw so much family dysfunction in his 35 years of practice that he realizes it eventually leads to most if not all of what is wrong in our culture. The site is set up like an online course. However, to complete the whole course would probably take several months up to a year. It is quite extensive. He also has many videos because he realizes some people just won’t read. I think it’s an interesting website. Check it out, and if you agree, feel free to share it. Here’s the web address: http://www.sfhelp.org/


Hi Connie
I went to the site but I don’t have time to delve into yet. Since I have never heard of this site before so I can’t endorse it until I have time to look farther. At a glance it looks like he is talking about what I am talking about, but I can’t find the solution stuff and that is the most important part of this.

Just to clarify, the site author is a retired social worker, not a Dr. or psychiatrist. It is great that you have found something that is helping you!

Hugs, Darlene
p.s. something that may also interest you is the work of Pete Walker MFT.


Oh this post is so true. In my family it was “children and fish have no voice” and my mum would ask me to leave the room if any adults were visiting when I was a child (mostly famlily as my mum didn’t really invite anyone over and my dads mates were not welcomed). On top of that there was this how very crippling “you are the way you are and nothing can be done about it”… So not true!
I have very much chabged over the past couple of years and becoming more and more aware. I have relised that the main message I got from home was that I didn’t deserve love because there was nothing good about me (this was validated by contstant critisism, at times justified although not the way it was delivered, but mostly unjustified) and that’s why for a long time I put up with disrespect received from others, bullying and horrible abusive relationships but now the time has come to stop it. I have managed to terminate a long and abusive relationship with a very controling person who abviously was just “looking out for me and wanted me to be happy”, bla, bla, bla…
What does get me still is the fact that my older sister is still very much it her visious circle and repeats the behaviour of our parents even though she does not seem to be aware of that at all. She’s 9 years older then me and still in touch with our parents (mainly I think cos she still relies on them for various things) even though she seemed to have gone through much more abuse than I did. Guess my partents were much more strict with her and left me to my own devices as I was their second child. It really pains me that she cannot see that as she also has a child who she desrespects, shouts at and calls names. I can’t quite believe that she would do that after what she had gone through and still going, but guess they have done more damage to her to be able to see what exactly she is doing… I’m sure she believes her parenting is good, but then this is what I’m sure my parents believe in too. The fact that they don’t have a clue how to raise or even just treat children is another matter but it has made the healing process for me easier – even though I used to think my parents hated me, I now know that they were doing they best. I know my parents love me in their weird and twisted way, I don’t feel it at all, but at least now I know this. I also know that they don’t understand love and don’t know how to feel it or show it. They just repeat what they learned at home with not even one thought about it. Sad, but I cannot do muc about it, just accept and move on. I now know I’m not the person I thought I was so just trying to work out now. I can now also see that my parents also thought me some useful skills that have massively helped me in my life and try to concentrate more on positives and not like my parents thought me – negatives only. It really helps! Meditation is also great in many ways like releasing bad emotions. Not easy for me to get meditating but when I do its so worth it – gives me so much strenght, hope and positive energy. Helps me learn how to love myself so eventually I will be able to go out there and be with someone I can love. Cat wait. I think the fact that we here shows we have come a long way. The fact that we are discussing our experiences so openly shows that even more. Each journey starts with one step – we have taken a lot and we are not going to give up!!


Hi Monka
Welcome to EFB
It was so important for me to face the damage they caused before I tried to understand where they were coming from. One has not much to do with the other when it came to my personal healing. In my case my parents didn’t do their best and I know that because of the way they hid what they were doing from other people.
Thanks for sharing, Its wonderful that you have the insights that you have!
Hugs, Darlene


“Children need to be taught by example how they should treat others. It has to be modeled by the adults! ”

No kidding! I always got the “Do as I say, not as I do” crap. Um….. if YOU don’t hold yourself to that standard why should I be held to it?

Plus, maybe I was being too literal, but my mom would phrase things as “optional” then punish you if you said no. “Would you like to do the dishes?” ME, hearing that doing the dishes doesn’t seem to be mandatory, reply, “NO.” (followed by punishment for disobeying…..) Technically, I DID NOT DISOBEY! She phrased it as “optional.” I once asked her why she did that. She said, “people work harder if they think they have a choice.” Um…. I saw through her game. THERE WAS NO CHOICE, ONLY THE APPEARANCE OF ONE! When I confronted her with that, then it was, “well, I don’t know how to give orders.” Um….. is that MY fault? Am I supposed to carry around this “UNIVERSAL DECODER BOOK” to decode what she says versus what she means? If she had phrased it as a requirement, I would have obeyed. But she phrased it as “optional.” Actually, this is what Deborah Tannen discusses in two of her books, and female managers, who have been “culturally conditioned” to phrase things as a question, often confuse male subordinates, who don’t perceive an “order” from something phrased as a “question.”

Thus, I learned that even if things are phrased as “optional,” actually saying “no” was never an option. Mousie in a maze trying to avoid getting shocked…….. Thus, I learned to say what she wanted to hear, and not what I felt, and thus began the “phony relationship.”


A story I remember. When I was a child, and even a teen, my Mom had this high school girl working for her in the summer, doing housekeeping and whatever. I noticed that Mom talked “differently” to this high school girl than she did to me. Even when I was 12! This high school girl was really into movies. So I tuned in to the movies this high school girl liked, and then I tell Mom “Hey, [such and such a movie that the high school girl liked] is on TV, may I watch it?” Mom would say “yes” but her reaction was STILL not what I wanted…… I kept feeling frustrated but didn’t know why. I just figured it out four years ago (and I’m in my 50’s!) what my frustration was. It was mom’s VOICE. Mom would talk to the high school girl in her “adult” voice, yet she would talk to me in “mommy” voice. I wanted her to talk to me in “adult” voice. But at the time, I didn’t realize that was what was frustrating me. And I was unable to tell her what I wanted. This is an example of the “I cannot connect to my emotions” thing. And an example of “children don’t count no matter how old they are.”


Gosh! all of these comments bring to my mind so many instances where I was made to feel small and was treated like a non-person. Not only was I treated in this manner, but so was my father and most of my brothers. Recently, my grandmother passed and so did my mother, both in the same year. This passing has brought up some issues that my family has been discussing. This same issue of not being treated like a person with feelings, thoughts, hopes, dreams, desires, goals, et al. is now being talked about and manifested in most of our households now. Prior to 2012 we never talked about anything of substance. some of us were manipulated in horrible ways by mother. we were turned against each other in the most sinister of ways. we were made to believe in lies about our family such as we were “perfect” and the “model” family, yet behind closed doors rage lived.

I was told, after seeking professional counseling as an adult, that I was crazy by my mother.

Me (in the kitchen): Mom, I am going to see a therapist because I have been dealing with problems that I cannot explain.

Mom: I always knew that you were crazy…

(she then turned and walked away)

I cannot tell you all how many times that I considered killing myself for feeling hopeless and utterly worthless. I was never validated by this woman. Never comforted by her, and I don’t even have one memory of being held by her…not one folks.

I was there with my brother when she passed away…I was always there for her. A couple of months prior to her passing away, she actually told me “I can’t believe that it was you who stood by me”. WOW!!!


Chris, I feel for ya. Our families have the issues but WE are the ones in therapy, so ipso facto we are the ones who are crazy, let’s them off the hook.

As for me, I just want to “feel” something for my mother. I feel nothing. ZERO. Don’t hate her, don’t feel love for her. ZERO.


Well, Darlene, as usual you are hitting the nail on the head. DEVALUED….wow, one word that could not describe my childhood better (not to mention just about every other child on the planet). I often refer to the way I was treated as a child as being a “piece of furniture” in my home. Meaning the furniture got about as much attention as I did. Being the 9th of 13 children, my mother kept pumping the kids out in order to keep my father in her life. My older sisters often tell me that the small children and babies in the home were never tucked into bed at night and normally there were several toddlers in the home that would cry themselves to sleep night after night. I’m often amazed none of my siblings have committed suicide, although there have been many attempts…2 by me.
If my mother would have been raising her children in today’s world more than likely she would have lost custody of them. I often liken my childhood to that of a child who grew up in a poorly staffed, inadequate orphanage. There was no attention given to the children, food was hard to come by at times and the children where just highly disregarded as human beings. I don’t ever remember my mother telling me she loved me, tucking me into bed, or even one time telling me she was proud of me for getting a good report card (I got straight A’s my entire school career). Makes me shutter today when I realize just how abused and neglected me and my siblings were….but you want to know the sickest part? I never even realized how severe the abuse was till I was in my 50’s! That is because my mother had become masterful at making her kids feel whatever she was feeling even into their adult lives. Out of her 13 children, 2 are now dead, 3 have finally figured out how abusive and dysfunctional the family system is and have removed themselves from futher contact, and 8 are still wallowing in the dyfunction, and most of them have severe additions and personality disorders. All I can do is pray for them…I certainly can’t reason with them. I feel blessed I made it out….even though it took me half my life and heartache words cannot adequately describe, I am finally starting to emerge from broken. Love to all who visit these pages!


Hi Chris
This is such a huge thing! I HAD to validate all the things that happened to me that had never been validated so that I could finally validate me. All the trauma stamped a big “invalid” on my heart and the only thing that removed that stamp was the work that I did to undo the lies that put it there.
Thanks for sharing, I hear you.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Connie,
Thank you for sharing your hope!
Hugs, Darlene


From Darlene: What messages did you get as a child and how did they impact YOUR life. Can you see that those messages were in fact lies? What beliefs about yourself developed as a result of those false messages about your value? Please share.
1. My feelings don’t matter, only mother’s feelings matter and I’m supposed to “feel” the same way.

How it impacted my life: When ever I would ask an “authority” person for something (like a supervisor), I would always preface it with, “It’s not that important (even if it WAS to me), but I would appreciate it if……” And then I would observe co-workers who would ask for (what to me was) trivial stuff (ok, I don’t have the right to judge…) and say, “It’s IMPORTANT!” And I would wonder how they had the guts to say “It’s IMPORTANT” for (what to me was) a trivial thing? Ok, the fact that I’m even making a judgement statement about something being trivial……

2. “NO” was never an option.

Mom would phrase things as “optional” (as in, “would you like to sweep the floor?”) and punish you for saying “no.” I won’t say much more, as I put more details on this in another comment.

How it impacted my life: People don’t like you when you say No, so you are never allowed to say no.

3. Don’t EVER EVER EVER hurt Mom’s feelings. (But if she hurts my feelings, I get, “you misunderstood, I didn’t mean it that way…..”, again the “it’s my fault.”)

How it impacted my life: I learned to “say what she wanted to hear” which created a “phony” relationship based on lies. The first time I blew up at her I was in my mid 30’s. She had no idea I was holding this all in, but she didn’t want to hear it after she found out. She wanted to continue the phoniness, but of course she will deny that up and down and insist that I be “real.” This also impacted my life because I transferred this behavior to boyfriends. Say what they want to hear so they will never break up with me.


Good work, thanks for sharing. 🙂 It was by looking at the way the ‘rules’ were set out for me (but didn’t apply to her) that began the process of understanding why I felt and operated the way that I did. I asked myself “Is it right that in order to be “loved” or “safe” that I need to say only what she wants to hear? Is it right that I don’t matter? And the answer was NO it isn’t right or fair or LOVE. And it was when I realized that by their actions I had been rejected all my life, that I no longer feared their rejection.
Hugs, Darlene


What about that expression “Children should be seen and not heard”?
Or should I say Children should NOT be seen OR heard. Perhaps, (the adults who regard children in this way believe that) children should be sequestered until they are around twenty years old, and then they should emerge into society, fully responsible, fully functioning, and fully in charge of their own lives, self esteem, confident that they can make a difference in the world and a contribution to society.

I ’emerged’ a complete mess because of this upbringing- I was very very naive and believed everything people said to me which left me open to abuse and that is exactly what happened, because I was a ‘nobody’ that is how others treated me and how i treated myself- I did not matter- my needs meant nada- anytime i tried to speak i was silenced- my opinions were null and void- trying to voice the abuse, rape, uncle who was abusing me- none if it was validated- it fell on deaf ears- the abusers were much more important than my feeble voice- well I have found my voice now and boy am I using it!!
”How can someone go from NOT being valued or regarded as a person with equal rights, to suddenly accepting responsibility and living up to the expectations of the very people who originally determined that they didn’t have equal (if any) value?”this is SO true Darlene, thank you for making sense of something i struggled so hard to understand- i used to be hushed and silenced when i tried to ask for help- i was even nicknamed by my father as ‘Marie ‘want”, I remember writing him a letter when i was a teenager and he underlined the words ‘I’ in every sentence and called me a selfish person because it was all about ‘me’. That letter was written because they did not listen to me when i tried to ask for help. For years i struggled to use the word ‘I’ in a sentence because of him highlighting it, but now through counselling that word has not become taboo for me anymore. You have no idea (or maybe you do by now) how much your website is helping me to write my feelings and say things i have always kept in my head. Raising kids to have no voice is the ultimate form of abuse….. xxx


What about that expression “Children should be seen and not heard”?

My mom used to “jokingly” say this during my childhood. I didn’t think she was serious.

During a recent conversation where I did a “Law and Order SVU interrogation” of her regarding childhood issues and I backed her in a corner, she blurted this out. I WAS FLOORED! I didn’t realize she actually bought into that crap!

But my mom used to use “joking” as a way to cover up that she was uncomfortable about something. She would say to me, “Can’t you take a joke, I like to tease people….” No, she is NOT a “tease.” One of my cousins is a “tease” it’s her integral personality. But it’s not part of mom’s personality. Teasing is not her style. It’s just a “cover up.” I finally told her, “You use ‘teasing’ as a cover when you are uncomfortable.” She stopped the teasing on me, but now she says, “I have to walk on eggshells around you.” well, guess what mom, I walked on eggshells my whole life around YOU!


Hi Everyone!!! The e-book ~ MY BOOK!! “Emerging from Broken ~ The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” is finally almost ready to publish!! One of the big things left to do is collect the endorsements. And how better to get them then ask for them from YOU ~ my readers and the commenters here on the website!! Please help me by sharing the impact that this website has had on you on my new post here:
Thanks everyone, hugs, Darlene


This comment is about a family that was in my neighborhood when I was growing up. I grew up in a very dysfunctional neighborhood, not eccentric, dysfunctional. I did have experiences with this family, as related below, but this comment is somewhat more about the children of that family.

When I was around eight or nine in the neighborhood I grew up in there was a family that lived in a house that was within view of my parent’s house. That family had two boys, both around my age, and one daughter. I would think the daughter was around two or three years old and her name was Dawn. I do remember that the father was around some but I don’t recall that he was around much, and he was probably in his thirties. At my young age I didn’t (and still don’t) know anything about the inner workings of that family, or the parent’s backgrounds.

One night, maybe between nine and ten o’clock, the oldest boy of that family ran over to my parent’s house to get my dad. What had happened is that the father of that family had barricaded himself in the house and had his daughter Dawn with him. He was, for all intents and purposes, holding his daughter hostage, and he was intoxicated.

I can still remember seeing the police cars in the street in front of that family’s house with their spotlights aimed on the house. And I can still remember seeing that man standing inside the house, in front of a window, holding his daughter Dawn in front of his chest. And I can still vaguely remember the look of astonishment on young Dawn’s face as she looked out of that window. I couldn’t imagine what her young eyes and mind were seeing or thinking. I was only around eight or nine watching this happen.

I don’t know the age of the oldest boy of that family (Buddy), but he couldn’t have been much older than me, but he was heavier (fatter). Me and him used to get in fights and he always won. His favorite thing was to tackle me to the ground and sit on my back and then grab my chin with both hands and pull my head back toward him. I’m lucky he didn’t damage my neck. I think he liked watching wrestling and learned that “move” from there.

One day me, Buddy (the oldest boy of that family), and his mother were standing outside in front of their front door, and again I was only around eight or nine years old, and I must have said something that pissed his mother off because the next thing I know she said to her son (Buddy), “Get him!”, meaning me (I put that “Get him!” in quotes because I remember exactly what she said). And there I go running from Buddy and he tackles me fairly quickly, sits on my back and pulls my head and neck back toward him.

I think Buddy and his family moved out of the neighborhood when I was around ten and I never saw any of them again.

When I was twenty-four I crossed paths with someone that had been in that neighborhood during the time period mentioned above (beginning of the 1970’s) and he offered up the information that at some time in the past Buddy had died of a heroin overdose. I never learned what became of Dawn or the other brother.

And since learning at twenty-four that Buddy had died of a heroin overdose, I have at various times caught myself thinking about Buddy, and those early days, and have asked God, and sometimes not even to God, but just saying out loud in a questioning way, What chance did Buddy have?.

I mean he and his siblings came from a very dysfunctional family. And when I thought in the last few years about his mother saying “Get him!”, in reference to me, I thought here was a boy (Buddy) that wanted his mother’s love and approval so much, that when she said “Get him!”, he didn’t hesitate. She said “Get him!” as if she were giving orders to a dog.

And their dad. Here was a man that was so starved for attention that he was willing to endanger and traumatize his own family and especially that young girl.


I had mentioned in one earlier comment that I had left on Darlene’s site that when I was in my mid twenties that I had checked out a book from the library that was on How to be a Man. The reason I did that is because when I was growing up there weren’t any adult role models that I could learn from really. If there were any adult role models around me I wasn’t aware of them, or not around them for long enough of a time to learn anything. My dad didn’t drink alcohol and that is good but other than that my dad had his own junk he was reacting to.

The only role models I really had growing up were movie actors (John Wayne, James Cagney, etc.) and maybe characters I had read about in books. I remember when I was in around nineth or tenth grade a teacher said something to me and I fired back a line that I had heard either John Wayne or Clint Eastwood say in a movie that I had seen the previous weekend.


I wasn’t allowed to feel bad when I stuffed up or when my abusers stuffed up. One time I broke the ceramic rod of the propeller in our aquarium’s canister filter and I was devastated (The filter has barely spent a week in our home and a part was already broken). Anyway when Dad (him again?) and I cleaned the said filter, I was like I really don’t feel like touching that particular part anymore (the propeller and ceramic rod) as it’s too fragile and I might break it again. The goody two shoes suddenly snapped and said: “Seriously, get over that time, stop being so negative! Continue to do that and you will not expose yourself to the bright ideas, you will just continuously drown in negativity!” Um excuse me, where did that outburst come from? Was I wrong to decide to be careful by choosing not to touch that particular part again? To me I wasn’t being pessimistic, I was just merely pointing out that a piece of the filter was fragile and that I was willing not to touch it anymore if it meant that I wasn’t going to break a second ceramic rod and result in us having to source out an alternative (which btw is a huge pain in the ass). Funny enough though my Dad who is “Mr. Positive” always feels the need to bag me out when I am negative, when he clearly exhibits the same range of emotions as I whenever he is driving with Mom (I don’t like driving when Mom’s around either to but I don’t start spreading Get over it speeches to those who feel bad). Oh right I understand now, I am not entitled to feel anything, but my Dad does. Mom snapped at your shit driving? Get over it Dad, move on, or you’ll constantly drown in negativity!


As my father made it a point in my life to always be a person to whom I can run to for help, I sought for his assistance in complicated situations. However whenever I wanted to do something on my own or I ask him to show how a certain thing is done, he would just brush off my initiative to be independent and be like: “Dad will take care of it son.”

Not only was my independence thwarted, I also had to endure side comments like: “Jeez Carl, that is such an easy thing to do on your own, why did you have to call me?”
or “You and your sister will have your own kids too one day, and you need to be responsible.” (Heaven forbid for my children to ever come across you)

So the price to ask for assistance is a lack of confidence in doing certain things as well as being told that you will not have any worth in the future. Add to the fact that the efforts will be hurled towards you, when you decide to stand up for yourself.

Today I am slowly taking charge of my own life, though it will take a while to rebuild myself from all of the “stones” that have piled up on me within my 22 years of existence. I need help with my computer? Google it or take it to a technician. I need a father? I will parent myself in the way that I should have been parented (I am not going to conform to that saying: People don’t get what they want, but what they deserve). If I were to need certain people’s help, I will go to those who will trust that I can do what is needed once I am shown the necessary requirements.

I am not stupid nor am I worthless. I believe I can spread my wings without those people who have constantly torched them to bits, everytime I decided to “be me”

If that is a “sin” then it really is no longer my problem if their perceptions in life is as shallow as their personalities.

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