You Reap What You Sow ~ What about Child Abuse


Darlene Ouimet

Yesterday I suddenly thought about how abusive this statement is when I think about it through the eyes of myself as a child! You reap what you sow, you get what you deserve. I was raised with this expression. I was raised to believe that whatever was in my life or NOT in my life was my fault. That if I had problems in my relationships with people then it was because I cultivated incorrectly and I had sown bad seed.  I was willing to take that responsibility because I had been taught that it was all up to me in the first place.  I believed that I deserved to be picked on because I thought I was dislikeable. I believed that if I could be likeable, that people would treat me differently. I thought that my mother would be happier if I was more what she wanted as a daughter. I thought my father would pay attention to me, that he would SEE me if I was different. I thought that I was doing something wrong. I thought that I would be loved when I figured out what others wanted. I thought it was all up to me and the seeds that I had sown.

When I was in my early twenties seeking some sort of life for myself I was never really happy, and it seemed like relationships were such a struggle, I believed that it was because “you reap what you sow” and once again I believed that it was me. I accepted that all relationship success was up to me. I accepted that all relationship failure was my fault. I believed as I had always believed as a child, that I had to try harder. If there was a problem, then it was within me.

And as a child I seemed to attract a lot of abuse. I had accepted that as my fault then too.

I don’t think that children have much choice in what they sow.  Did I sow the seeds of deserving abuse? Did I do something to bring that on myself? Was I sexually abused because I had “sown bad seed?” Was I neglected because I had not sown the right seeds? I believed that I deserved the strap that I endured many times; I was told that I deserved it. I was literally brainwashed to accept that I had brought all abuse on myself. And I certainly believed that I did.  You reap what you sow.

Because of this type of conditioning I received as a child as adult, I took this statement out of the context that it was intended to be said in.

One of my boyfriends was violent.  I believed that I was provoking him somehow.  I tried to be sweet and compliant so that he would not get mad at me, but when I look back my mistake was in taking the blame and responsibility for his temper. I thought that I reap what I sow… so I must have sown the seeds that triggered his temper. Just like I believed that I had sown the seeds that caused my mother to have such a temper. 

When I was 17, I had a boyfriend with a serious drinking problem; I thought that I should be able to fill whatever void was in him so that he didn’t “need to drink”.  I felt that his drinking problem reflected my failure. He got violent too and although I was deathly afraid of him, I was sure that I could help him by loving him. That if only I could sow the seeds of love, he would calm down. I left him out of fear but I still felt that the failure of our relationship was my fault.  

Several married men hit on me before I was 20 years old. I honestly believed that I had done something to attract that. I was willing to accept the blame for their behaviour. I must have done “something” to reap what was sown.

In my early twenties I had a boyfriend who cheated on me with other women.  I was devastated to realize that this was going on, but I was way more disappointed in myself then I was in him.  I believed that I had done something wrong for him to feel the “need” to have sex with other women.  I believed that I could to learn to love and accept him enough that he wouldn’t “have” to do that anymore.

People were very happy to let me take all this responsibility. Abusers will always blame someone else for their actions.  And my mother would use this expression “you reap what you sow” to remind me that whatever was wrong in my life, must have been caused from some seed I had sown in the first place.

This was a way of life for me. I constantly searched for the seed I had sown. I constantly looked for what I had done wrong to CAUSE someone to treat me with disrespect and disregard.  My definition of love was very wrong but I had never been taught anything different. I had been taught to be accountable for things that were not my fault. The saying “you reap what you sow” was like confirmation to me that it really was something I had done to deserve the grief and mistreatment in my life.

There is a bridge between childhood and adulthood that many survivors never cross. We go from being abused to being held accountable for all our results in life. In this case I abused myself with the statement “you reap what you sow” more than others abused me with it. Accepting the blame for my results as a child paved the way for others to come along and inflict more pain on me and get me to take the blame for it too.   

The first time I connected that “it was my own fault” was when my mother’s boyfriend came into my room in the night when I was just a young teenager and he molested me. He was trying to get into bed with me when he was caught and stopped by my aunt who was visiting us and sleeping in the next room. My mother denied that it happened. She tried to convince me that I had misunderstood his intentions. She said he was drunk; he didn’t realize what he was doing. 

But it was her final statements that did the most damage. She said “well Darlene, you do have a crush on him” in other words “You reap what you sow”

Please add your voice to these thoughts of mine. Were you conditioned to believe that you reap what you sow, in a negative way such as this?

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

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For related articles visit the blue links in bold print throughout this post.

This expression “you reap what you sow: comes from the bible verse Galatians 6:7 take note: It says “a man” not “a child”. Taken out of context, this verse is used to abuse.  

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Categories : Self Esteem



Darlene, The answer is yes, I was. I don’t remember those words being used often but I was certainly conditioned to accept blame for everything that went wrong and to also think that I was responsible to fix whatever was wrong for others. My conditioning was more from watching my parent’s relationship and the way my dad expected my mom to take responsibility for what he did wrong and she did. Then she would turn and dump it on me. The one saying I remember most was, “You made your bed, now lay in it!” That is what it was like after I was sexually abused. I’d lost my virginity and there was no hope for me. My bed was made and I had to lay in it and get what I deserved. It filled me with rage that I didn’t understand or I did understand with my heart but not with my head.



This article speaks to the heart of many of us who are dealing with the aftermath of NPD abuse as well, some of us have childhood wounds as well that we are trying to overcome.

In reading your article I was reminded of how when I would come home with some complaint of an offense or hurt someone else caused, getting kicked or hit by another child, instead of being protected, nurtured, validated and supported, I was always asked: “What did you do?” As if somehow I brought it upon myself…

This laid the blue print for life to take blame.

Thank you so much for your voice and for sharing…I am sharing it with my group…



Hi Pam
I don’t remember those words (your reap what you sow” directed “at me” until I got older. But I had heard them. I heard the “you made your bed now lay in it” too. Pretty much the same saying. Once I got to a certain age, I applied those things to myself; it was a natural progression from taking the blame for being disregarded as a child; it was natural for me to keep taking the blame on myself. People tell others to “pull your socks up, get over it” and this was all part of the same problem for me. I believed that something was wrong with me because I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t make them love me.
I can relate to what you have said here too. You didn’t deserve any of that. None of us did.
Thanks for adding your voice!
Hugs, Darlene

I think this speaks to the heart of anyone who suffered ANY kind of abuse. What you describe here is the way so many children are dealt with. (I wrote a post on that topic it is so common) And all of this DOES lay that foundation.. draws the blueprint as you say. (love that)
Thank you for being here and for sharing EFB with your group!
Hugs, Darlene


I can relate to this BIG TIME. Have you ever felt not good enough? Have you ever dealt with abandonment issues? Lately I feel so lost….


Hi Janie,
Welcome to emerging from broken.. I write about overcoming those deep feelings of “not good enough” and abandonment issues. You will love this website.
Hugs, Darlene


you said…”We go from being abused to being held accountable for all our results in life”

i had/still have many evil/mean people in my life ,i remember, i run away from another abusive ex, he would give/allow me to use drugs with him and whenever i was high ,he would torture me by showing me ropes, gun and tell me if i watched movies where women were killed and chopped into pieces, i was punched and slapped, i remember i got into drugs because i wanted to get numb on how i was sexually tAKEN and resulted for me doing drugs to cope up for that painful thing that happened to me, but it led me to more abuses from other people because i was vulnerable and punishing myself , i suffered guilt for not standing up for that so i resorted to self harms…then, these same people’s circle who took me,punished me more when i finally stood up for myself,these people told me, how would i solve my new problems if my other/older problems was not solved by me? it made me mad because they were the same people who did those abuses and blackmailed me more by using people i love to control me more, so when things led me to more chaos, they would critisize me more on how i handle my life after i left the first abuser..which they are protecting until now.
i am many years stranged to some members of my circle because i told them ,first things first..if talking about accountable..then they should be the first people to be accountable for me because until now, the man who took my body/innocence is enjoying his life with them, while me i am here, suffering all the consequences…G


“i am many years stranged “(above)
This should be “estranged”..G


Hi Darlene,

I am constantly amazed how much what you say I can say .. verbatum.. I am so sorry you went through all that bad stuff..

I know I was also brainwashed to believe I got what I deserved and I think that phrase ” you reap what you sow” also pains me as i often asked myself and god : what did i do to have all this happen to me.

Mom’s response was I should never had been born. It was my fault for coming out. I should have died in her womb ..and because I didnt I am cursed. Never wanted because of how i was conceived .. I was and am a constant reminder of what she did to have me..

She told me I would never amount to anything . that anything I would do would fail and you know.. so far most everything I have done has failed ..

I attract bad people into my life and I dont want to but it happens. .I refuse to accept i want those such people in my life. I simply cannot seem to stop people from hurting me. .Even though I have been broken and rebroken. i keep hoping that people will change..

That is my big big problem . I turn the other cheek like the bible says..go the extra mile and in the end I cannot even get up again.

I trust people are who they say they are.. I give to others ..everyone the benefit of the doubt.. because you reap what you so. and I end up hurt every time.

I am so blind so stupid that I cannot see people who will hurt me. I try and try but I think because in me I would never imagine doing the things people end up doing to me that I don’t expect them to do such things..

I get very discouraged as I want to stop being abused and stop being someone that others take advantage of but i am not very strong and not very wise..

I was very grounded in the bible.. “the measure you measure will be measured out to you” . I have tried to be the kind of person the bible says to be. and seem
people take advantage and walk all over such people.

How does one heal and live the values the bible teaches.. I don’t want to stop believing. what has been in me since I was little but am confused by the results.

DO we have to be broken people to be godly people?



Hi Darlene

The phrase my mother used all the time was “you made your bed, now lie in it.” It had the same result of making me feel like everything was my fault, my responsibility.


Just recently my son (13 years old) had an opportunity to confront his father about traumatic experiences with the aide of his counselor. The validation of his feelings and the harm that he experienced, he was finally able to express to his father, brought about his sudden and significant emotional steps towards the healing progress.
A remarkable change that has allowed him to regain his sense of inner strength and confidence to openly express himself without fear of being silenced.
To fully appreciate that a generational cycle of emotional abuse has been broken, provides for me a sense of relative relief that the pain and suffering that i endured while married to my sons father would not be fully experienced by my child and he would not grow up to repeat and continue the cycle of abuse.
Although I could not prevent nor completely shield him from all possible abuse by divorcing his father and being able to provide him with a safe haven, continued court ordered visitation ensured that my full protection of him was not possible.
I have come to appreciate the constant struggle that one faces once the pain of emotional abuse is understood, this internal pain at times feels so draining, yet to feel such pain is to acknowledge and confirm that the abuse was and is a real identifiable personal experience that cannot be denied.
My sons father although has listened to his sons voice, does not have the emotional capacity to comprehend such pain as he as been severly damaged and desensitized himself through his own childhood abuse by his family of origin, learning to deny and invalid thus perpetuating and repeating the generational cycle of abuse and passing it on to his son.
My hope is that by providing for my son every advantage and opportunity his father was not given, I have altered and ended this families generational cycle of abuse.


Darlene, As usual, I read one of your posts and then it settles in and I have a deeper reaction than initially. As an adult, I have struggled with feelings of actually being what my parents sowed. My family used to give me such a hard time about being depressed, anxious, and angry. It was my parents that caused me to first develop these problems and that is the worst of being a neglected or abused child is that we grow into the abuse and neglect and it becomes a part of who we are. Then we struggle all of our lives to overcome the damage. It isn’t much different than a birth defect. You want to talk about anger? I feel very angry about that this morning and also very angry at my family for denigrating me for becoming what they taught me to be. Layers, upon layers of cruelty. Wouldn’t it be something if they actually had enough compassion to realize their mistakes and the excruciating pain that they caused and said they were sorry so that I truly could forgive them and see them receive that forgiveness? It sure would be something if they took back some of that misplaced responsibility that they heaped upon me. I’m not holding my breath and I’m done being the garden in which they sow their seeds of cruelty. There’s nothing else that I can do; but there will always be something inside of me that wishes my parents would really BE parents and do their part to make things right.


Joy, You’ve been taught those values with a twist of control over you. It is different to read and understand those values with a healthy point of view. There’s nothing wrong with the values and spiritual principles of the Bible. The problem is with the way they are traditionally taught. If it weren’t for the Bible, I would have died in some back ally long ago. God doesn’t abuse, human beings do.




I read the bible 3 times daily and pretty much from cover to cover several times. I was majoring in Theology before I started to change.. With many studies in the bible. I do know that there are many things that makes you stand and wonder.. When the bible was written “women” didnt even count when there was a count. .they were not allowed to attend the synagogue or preach. They were to keep their heads covered etc. Lots of things have changed since scripture was written.

I do know that Jesus said “give to the one who asks, if someone presses you for one mile, go two, to the one who asks for your tunic ..give your coat as well. ”

“if anyone would follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me”

They are very clear scriptures and honestlly I dont see where there is wrong in putting others before oneself. I have found in so doing. ..blessings come .. maybe not earthly blessings but heavenly ones.

I have been lost for some time .. these past two years.. but I do know I dont want to be separated from God or take out of me what makes me “me” and that is I love people and I love to help people and I will go the extra mile and sometimes people get hurt when they stick their neck out for others.. Jesus was nailed to the cross because he loved us so much.. he died for everyone so whats wrong with a little suffering for everyone?



I too have lived with the thinking that if my parents feel that way then everyone will and until my husband i seemed to seek out abusive men. I have known for quite sometime that i needed to break away from my mother and the hope that she will ever be the mother i have needed. I mailed the letter on Monday and this is what it says.

Dear Mom

I have always known that your love for my father has always outweighed your love for me. Yet to this day I would do anything in the world if it meant I would get even a piece of the love you have for him. I have always felt like an outsider looking in at the two of you. As a child it was very painful for me and at first I tried to be the “perfect” child.. good grades.. Did my chores.. Was quiet and respectful. When that didn’t seem to work I then went to the other extreme of failing school, getting in fights back talking. I don’t understand why instead of helping to see what the big problems were you just completely shut me out. I was crying out for help. I remember what happened to me as a child. I can also remember begging you not to take me back to this place and how much I did not want to “play house” There were several occasions at age 5 that I begged you, but you chose not to hear the fear in my voice. It is also after this that I had my first dissociative episode due to the fact I had no one to talk to I disappeared inside myself and became withdrawn, quiet, shy. I can now connect the dots as to why I was not interested in the joyful things most children my age were. I was such a lonely child, and in turn grew up to be someone that did not confide easily and did not try to be “me” I have been whomever those closest to me needed me to be. The second episode was after my rape, though those memories came back after a couple years the effects were the same. I began to act out more, failing, it is also the time in which I began to get migraines everyday. The migraines you said I was “faking” or “weak” because they were so debilitating.

Once things were at the worst, I became obsessive with knowing how you and dad talked about me, to the point that I would stay up late at night and listen to you talk about me though you believed I was in bed. I knew I was broken, but could not understand how your love seemed conditional and once I had “proved to you that I was a useless screwup” you just stopped caring completely. To this day I believe that I am not worthy of anyones love. If your own parents don’t love you how can anyone? All I have ever wanted is your love and for you to be my mother, I have always felt like I was competing with Dad to get even a little bit of your affection, though when he came home I was shut out in the cold again. The saddest thing of all is that I still get my hopes up just to be disappointed again when you don’t call. I know how messed up our family is and I can see now that putting all your love into Dad has been your way to hold on to your sanity. For a long time I was angry because all of my friends had loving nurturing parents and I always felt alone. I still wish that you hadn’t had me mostly because I don’t understand why you did. I have been able to gain enough reflection to believe that you do have some love for me in the best way you can, but you will never be able to love me as a mother should or be there for me the way mothers are. And even though I know that and can understand it it still devastates me. You would think at almost 26 years old I could accept that which I cannot change but I cant,. Because you are my mother, because I have so much love for you that has never been returned. You have never been there for me when I have truly needed you, you have never been by my side during the hardest of my times and though I have been blessed with many that love me all I have ever really needed was you my Mother, and though I have tried to be there for you, you wont even let me be there for you during your bad times. My father will never have the deep love for you as I do or would do as much as I would if I knew it would work simply because a childs love for their mother is unconditional and unwavering.. You have never let me close enough to show you my love. You cant know how easy it is for you to hurt me, you don’t even mean to but by not calling or being active in my life it hurts me everyday and I shed a lot of tears. The times that you and I have talked and I have confided in you it was so easy. Then you promise not to be a stranger and I get my hopes up just for you to never call back. I feel bad because Skylar and Danielle don’t know what to say or do for me because they can’t understand it. They are close to their mothers and cannot see why you wouldn’t want to be close to me, I tell them it is because im not worthy of your love or your affection for me as a mother, I am a screw-up and failure and that I mess up everything that I touch. I have spent so long convincing myself that that was the truth that as much as I love Aidan and Skylar I still believe they would be better off without me.

I have to let you go. As hard as I try I know I can never accept what I get from you without pinning my hopes on more, and believe me I feel so much pain as I write this because I have spent my life living on the hope that you will one day be the mother I need. I hope that maybe one day once I have a better sense of self and have dealt with all the things that have gotten me to this place. I hope you can read this and understand, I know that you will probably shut it out of your mind, but I had to tell you how I have always felt. For a long time it was anger, but now it is only sadness. I will always love you.


In church I found all kinds of statements to use against myself…it was the place to connect all your previous abusive messages in your head, add twisted statements from scripture/practical sermon illustrations, and even congregational memory verses, etc., and never be able to dig yourself out!


I don’t even think adults who are in domestic violence centered relationships are guilty. I think the guy who DOES it ought to at LEAST get a mentioned credit in the matter.
I work with victims of domestic violence and see them every single week. I’m a paramedic. I clean up what their abusers start.
I’m certainly going to be against child abuse if I don’t like domestic violence of an adult on another adult.
Domestic violence upsets me more than it used to, b/c I know two people who were murdered during a domestic violence dispute. One of them was 5 months pregnant with a baby she had just named Alexandra Jordan a week before she, and her baby, were killed.
He even buried them. There’s no way in HELL he’d ever get me to believe he loved them, like he said in court.


Joy, I always take comfort in knowing that nothing can separate me from God, not even my own confusion. There have been a lot of cultural changes since the scriptures were written but a lot hasn’t changed either. People are still the same. To me, Jesus didn’t suffer as a helpless victim. There were many times when people wanted to hurt Him and He took actions to avoid it. He also asked God to take the cross from Him but He went through with it because that is what God sent Him to earth to do. He suffered from a position of power with the goal of achieving ultimate good. That is very different from allowing people to mistreat us just because it makes them feel good.–My rule of thumb is that if a traditional teaching causes me to have to lie in order to keep it or it flies in the face of good mental health, then I question that teaching will all that is in me and I dig into the scripture until I find the truth. To be honest, I read little theology because it is an interpretation of that which I’m able to read and arrive at my own view of. When I read the Bible, I’m looking for truth for myself and not for what the Bible says to someone else.–If I endure suffering for someone else, it is not as their victim because I believe, if I allow them to abuse me then I am contributing to their sin, if I suffer it is in over-looking small hurts that I know they don’t intend as I wait for them to heal. If they hurt me in some large way,it is my duty to speak up and remove myself from their abuse. The Bible is a tool and people pick it up and use it in many different ways. Not all of them for good. Have you seen the movie, “The Book Of Eli”?


Kate, was that something that came more from church or home or both?



It was my past belief that suffering at the hands of others with patience may change their hearts and bring them to God. .I know people say “you are not a saint” but .. anyone who goes to heaven is a saint and anyone who wants to go to heaven is a saint in the making. .I know some of the ideas placed in my head may be wrong . I never suffered things because I thought it was making someone “feel good” but because I felt that by suffering it patiently .. in time would change the person’s heart..only thing . the only person who changed was me. the monsters became bigger monsters.. because they saw me suffering and not getting away as an avenue to apply more abuse.. I have the desire to do the right and in me I desire that others turn to the right as well but my lack of knowing just how .. has led me to be victimized.. I also tend to freeze before mean people. I don’t know how to take a shouting person . .an angry person.. I freeze up as that triggers something else in me. it sends me back to my moms presence where shouting and screaming and anger preceded .. some physical abuse..

I am so afraid to speak up .. and fear . .and mixed up religious ideas are all messed up as one in my head so I have to sort them out..

I dont want to be a victim that helps evil people become more evil..



Hi G,
I had to let go of those people; they continued to make me feel very bad about myself. They continued to affirm that I was less valuable then the people who abused me. I had to let go so that I could get strong enough to validate myself. I found that when I was not around that constant “not good enough, and them blaming me stuff” I was able to sort out the truth so much faster and easier. The ones that I let go of are not going to change, so I had to let go so that I could heal. Today my validation comes from within myself. I know the truth, they can’t hurt me anymore.
I am so glad you are here! Thanks for your comments
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy,
I put the bible teaching and all my bible knowledge on hold for over 2 or 3 years when I began this journey. I had to heal. This is just the way that I did it. I knew in my heart that God was encouraging me because there was so much brainwashing and false teaching that was in my way. That is why I am not preachy on my page in anyway. If I had gone for support somewhere that preached Jesus is the only way, I never would have recovered.
It took time for me to sort all this out. To come out of the fog of all the lies (including the “biblical ones” that really had been USED to control me. but for me, I had to put it on hold. God didn’t mind ~ look what came out of it!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Fi,
Yes, you made your bed now lie in it is the same expression! I heard that one too!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Cowanmagee
Excellent comments! Thank you for sharing. You make many excellent truth filled points. I agree with you that it is very healing to be heard in a safe place.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam,
Well I am glad you came back! This is what I view as the proper use of anger! You should be angry! It was when I began to feel and acknowledge that kind of anger that my healing moved to a new level. I still remember things in new ways that make me angry ~ it just doesn’t last so long anymore but it is still very healing. I hear your wish for parents. Somedays I feel that… but most days I don’t anymore. I still feel the pain of that kind of rejection… and I know (I am pretty sure) that they blame it on me however I also know that they are wrong. I love your expression “done being in the garden in which they sow their sees of cruelty” That is excellent
Hugs, Darlene


I want to just add one more thing about the bible. I too studied it extensively and when I was in the fog of false teaching and with my OLD belief system, I didn’t see the truth everywhere in the bible either. It was as though my “grid” that I looked through was tainted with all the other false teachings… but when I came out of that fog, all my bible study was still there, and it was easy for me to see where others had used it to control and manipulate me and others. I saw the true truth in the teachings, but only after I began to see all the other lies that I had accepted as truth first.

Hi Sarah,
Thank you for sharing your letter to you mom with me and with the other readers here.
I felt your pain and your letter is so heartfelt and beautifully expressed. I am so sorry that all this happened to you, a little girl who only wanted love. I can so relate to that too.
Thank you Sarah,
Love, Darlene

Hi Kate,
Me too.. it was quite a thing for me to sort out and undo. The bible teachings were taught way out of whack using guilt and shame and more “not good enough”, to make everyone spin and comply. ugg.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Vicki,
Of course adults who are being hit in domestic violence situations are not at fault! I think the person who does it should be charged!
Hugs, Darlene


HI Darlene

Thats what I am going to do for now. too. I need to sort myself out before I try to understand the bible.. I believe like you that GOd understands..just like I believe God understands that I don’t try to be in any particular church.. somehow I believe everyone is a little church themselves.. Namaste 😉


Darlene, That is why I think that it is important to remember that mental health and spiritual health are two seperate things but they do interlock with each other. Becoming a spiritual person saved my life and I did change many habits but I also needed psychology to give me a deeper understanding of human behavior. I’ve thought about what you’ve said about setting your faith aside and wondered if I was even able to do that but I think by seperating the two has having different functions, that maybe I have done what you did. I’m more confident in my faith than in my knowledge of psychology. When I offer comfort to others, I tend to go with what has given comfort and hope to me. The benefit of psychology that I have experienced is on a different level. I want to be both a mentally healthy and sprititually healthy individual and I think both are necessary for abundant living. I am also very much for people putting in the work required to come to their own understanding in everything not just faith. We set ourselves up to be victims when we accept all of what anyone says without question. I do express a strong faith point of view on my own blog but that is because I am strong in my own point of view. I offer it so that people may be able to take what they need from it but I also, very much want people to throw away what isn’t helpful to them. If everyone were meant to be a christian, then everyone would be, I guess. I am and some are not, and in my thinking, niether of us should be diminished because of that. Some people will want to throw away everything I say and I’m perfectly fine with! I’m still going to speak my truth and be who I am. I’m not out to make clones of me. One is enough!


Joy, I thought I could change others also and I developed that idea because of the neglect and abuse I suffered as a child. My parents heaped so much of their responsibility on me that I grew up feeling that I was responsible for everything. That did translate into my faith for awhile, also but I didn’t fully understand the spiritual teaching because my psychology wasn’t healthy. I was unable to put the spiritual teaching of “dying to self” or self-sacrifice into healthy practice. I understand it differently now. I never wanted to make it easy for someone to do evil either but I did sometimes, because I accepted their mistreatment of me. I can’t be responsible for anything others do but I can take responsibility for my own wrong-doing and I’m better off for it. Abuse and neglect blurred those lines for me. There were also people in my family who wanted to use my faith as a way to control me and they intentionally, twisted teachings in a way to give themselves control over me. It didn’t have anything to do with God,it was just them doing what they do. It is only been in the last few years that I have gained a better understanding.

I only share what I did that I think enabled others to hurt me and how I corrected that in an effort to share what might help another as well as, express my own pain because it is good for me to talk about how I was hurt. I never mean it to say that is what another does or that my way to overcome is the only way. I am happy to find others on the path to healing that I’m also on but I also know that we are all individuals and we are all at different levels of healing. There are simularities with all of us but there are differences too. I would never want to transplant my own ideas into another because that would totally change who they are. I do believe we can learn from each other when we are honest about who we are as well as, what has happened to us. That’s all I’m ever trying to do.


So well put …but could even be taken out of context with adults as well! Could be used against an abused to keep her where she is…


OMG how this hits home. How can a child abandoned in this way? But we all havebeen in some way. My father NEVER stepped up to his responsibilities as a father, to protect me from harm by others. My mother said” you made your own bed, so you must lie in it” when I was hurting as a young adult and she didn’t approve of me. The education auithorities held ME responsible for my abuse at school by THEIR employees and refused to place me ina different school – and abanadoned me, threw me to the lions – basically giveing my abusers permission to carry on – “you reap what you sow” How can this be? How did those adults square away their consciences for their behaviour? How did they reap what they sowed? WHat could I possibly have swoed in order to “deserve” this treatment/neglect?? And where was God???
I have no religious faith in the sense of belonging to a congregation – they cannot explain or justify my life’s experiences to me in any way that validates ME. For me, religion is as morally bankrupt as the adults who should have protected me and promoted my best interests . I don’t accept that and never will. I have my own sense of spirituality, interms of the wonder of life – but I don’t accept the notion of a higher authority – authority never did anything for me.


Hi Pam and all other readers interested in this thread and my thoughts about faith and spiritual abuse;
This is such a huge topic for me and it is really important to me that my readers understand where I am coming from on this one. I could write volumes about my spiritual life and how it has changed over the years but not this year. My mental health and my spiritual health were not separate for a very long time; It was important for me to realize that. My whole life was a mess and I had to recover in all areas. It was a process for me to be able to even view them as separate. I want to be clear that I didn’t give up my faith or even set it aside; I set all the God stuff aside while I healed. I set aside ALL the stuff I had been taught while I sifted through all the lies I had been taught and so many went hand in hand with everything. My spiritual life was grounded to some degree with all the other lies. I write mostly about how my belief system formed and how false beliefs piggyback on other false beliefs. I believe that God/Christ was behind all my healing, just like I believe that doing EFB is my gift and I am living in my purpose. I have always been strong in my faith even when my understanding of it was wrong. I don’t express that strongly here because I have a deep understanding of how much damage it would do esp. when I look at how far I have come and I have come full circle. The way it seems to me is that people take it by example (when we live it) far easier then they take it by me telling them about it. Its hard to explain. I have had people shocked when I tell them that I follow the teachings of Christ because they have this idea that all Christians are evil and dangerous. Then I have people who tell me that I am an angel sent from God. I would rather be known just by my love than by any other label. People throw away what isn’t helpful to them when they are ready. That has little to do with me and I don’t want to get in the way of that. That is just me and the way that I carry the message. I am picky about it because of the damage so many live with regarding spiritual abuse and not for any other reason.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Holli
Welcome to Emerging from Broken. Yes this IS taken out of context with Adults as well and is used all the time against other adults.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Libby
I understand what you are saying. That is how I feel too, that I was just abandoned…. and that doing nothing is the same as giving permission to carry on. You did nothing to deserve this, none of us did. Taking my life back had a lot to do with knowing that with all my heart.
Hugs, Darlene


I loved this post. I’m only just beginning to see how when someone else is angry it’s not automatically entirely because of me or something I’ve done…
I’m realising I can stand back a bit and say ‘This bit here is your stuff and that be there is my stuff’ And I apologise for what I’ve done that deserves an apologise but i won’t go any further taking blame for more than I’ve done.
In fact I’ve begun to feel angry myself towards others behaviour that HAS been rude or unjust when I’ve realised they seem to be deflecting onto others or me or whatever and perhaps because its the first time I’ve been able to see past it being ALL my fault and realise there has been and injustice on their behalf. I’m really done with that, with taking it. There’s only so much a person can do their best, you can’t do better than your best and to be knocked when that’s what you’ve been doing is really harsh.
Also I’ve noticed lots of folks point out your inadequacies and not your strengths, but I know for sure I have done some really good things and that’s the truth of it. Especially a sign is that I’m tired out from trying so hard!

And often when I think about things that haven’t worked right, there’s usually a reason, sometimes a few reasons, often there might even have been an accident and there’s nothing you can do about those things it’s just life.
Then I’ve noticed how people interpret things according to what’s in their heads about how they’re perceived and nothing at all like the truth and they will react or respond accordingly (like in a defensive or offensive way).

Also I’ve felt a few times how I’d love to go back on my doorstep refuge in the quiet with noone there but somehow I carry that round with me a bit inside these days. It’s like that ‘equality’ of never being less than or more than anyone IS a real boundary… Just because you might not have any place to live, or whatever doesn’t mean you’re less than anyone else.
All these things are starting to come clear in my head. It’s really hard and I feel like I have to trust a lot it will come clear but somehow clinging to the truth is very protective. I’m not a bad person, I don’t do bad things, or intentionally cause harm or any of those things so I don’t deserve to be treated like that. I don’t and shouldn’t have to ‘take’ any of the backlash from other folk’s own frustrations.

I’m beginning to realise I have the power to just walk away, then where would they be with their ‘plans’ for me, and all the drama that might go with them. I figure we’re only human we can only give what we can, and only have so much time in a day in which to do so.

Often I’m completely confused by people’s anger or why they’re upset at me suddenly out the blue, but sometimes I know that’s because I really have a big grey area in terms of folk’s need for space and privacy and other times it’s because I simply don’t know what I’ve done and have slipped into defensive mode already and assumed the role of ‘it’s my fault’ and scapegoat.

Sometimes I wonder whose fault it would be when all the scapegoats have run out…


Thanks for that, Darlene. I also hate spiritual abuse. I agree with everything you wrote. Healing is setting every misconception I’ve been taught aside to find the truth for myself.


Oh, Darlene … once again, I can so relate to this. I HATE that saying applied to children, especially in abusive situations – talk about confusing the child even more!! I teach my children that there are consequences for their actions, but in no way do I say or imply that they deserve it. As children, this ‘reap what you sew” holds them to self blame for things they should never be blamed for.

Children don’t deserve being manipulated, controlled, degraded, molested, etc. It’s a tough thing to unlearn – that ‘you deserve every wicked thing done to you.’

Great post, Darlene!


I forgot to mention, that my mother used this same saying with me. Another one I hate that she’d use on me was, “Don’t point a finger at someone because when you do, you have three pointing back at you.” ARRGGHHHH!!


Hi Darlene, I relate to many of these versions of abuse & neglect. I wasnt brought up in an christian home. But beig the eldest of the daughters, as young as 7, I use to get: Your a smart girl/at times hore, you never do anything without a reason.!” so, I was never given permission to make mistakes, or be silly & play freely as a child. I use to take responsiblity for the family failing system, misfortune that fell apoun our home, or my siblings. Instead of sleeping, i use to stay awake trying find ways to make my father less angry, ways to put a smile on my sisters faces, ways to feel free, and read self-help books at an early age as 12 years old. In my 3os now, even after wonderful healing & restoration through my christian faith. I could not understand why I was not comfortable in confrontation with loves ones, despite my confidence & spiritual wisdom. The holy spirit led me to an article, the writer an abused victim, recommended a book “home comming: reclaiming & championing your inner child” by John Bradshaw. This book has really helped me acknowledge, the way my wounded inner child was contaiminating my life. Through even the husband i chose to marry. After completing, the mediations of all stages of my childhood stages, – I really thought I was done with the grieving process after many years of couselling etc. but this book has really helped my inner child, find peace, answers and is slowly emerging into an wonderChild! New creativity has bloomed, Ive written an poem regarding this breakthrough, and I hope it blessed many:)


I was brought up going to church, reading the bible, etc. by my father, my mother never stepped foot in a church as an adult. She didn’t believe in any of it… however, she was very good at pointing things out to me, as not very christian, if i didn’t want to do the dishes in that moment, or if i told my sister i didn’t not want to play with her etc. I was always to put others before myself, in my family, myself and my father were the only ones though, that were to act this way… i was also the only child made to go to church… because, apparently, i was the one who “needed to learn how to behave” i have over the years, tried to do right, tried to go to church, tried studying the bible, tried it all.. the last church i went to was years ago, while i was with my abusive partner… the church knew it was happening, but would be told that as i grew in my love of Christ, my partner (who did not go to church) would see the light in me, stop abusing me, as well as, my light would lead him to christ and the church.. and as the years wore on, i was reminded, that it was my fault, as i did not love god enough, i didn’t grow in the light enough, i needed to try harder, etc. when i left my partner, i also left the church…


Your reap what you sow, you made your bed,now lie in it, you only get what you deserve… All words i heard so many times, from my mother, yes, from myself even more so as the years wore on.. I believed, i deserved all the beatings, all the hurtful words, all the sexual abuses and pains, as if there wasn’t something so inherently wrong with me, then it wouldn’t be happening.. I just have to learn to be good.. i just have to learn to keep my mouth shut, i just have to do better, and all this will stop.. I truly felt, at times, i was put on this earth, to take the abuse, because there was something that i just wasn’t learning, something i was just too stupid to understand.. I just could never measure up to what everyone else already measured to… Thank you Darlene, and every other person on this site.. as i read your words, i feel less alone, as i can finally see others have fought the same fight with others yes, but more importantly, fought the fight with themselves, and are finally, finally winning the fight as we begin to learn, that it is not us that are wrong, it is the people that taught us all this, the people that hurt us, are the ones that are wrong.. the ones that taught us we were unworthy, that are the unworthy ones…


I can’t deny that I like those phrases when it pertains to the abusive person. B/c, if I think they’re NOT going to get what they deserve, I’d never be able to live with what happened.
I never thought Osama bin Laden would get what was coming to him, and I can’t really say I was saddened by what DID happen. It’s what I wish would happen to my A. Rosemary, b/c she threatened to “beat the shit” out of me for telling what my mom, her sister, did.
That’s so damn barbaric, that I’ve lost every feeling of even wanting to try to be civil to her.
People have told me to pray for her, and I only did it once. But after I realized that she’s apparently going to be this way for the rest of her life, threatening people with physical violence for talking, I decided I never want to see or talk to her again.


Hi Louise,
Seeing past that you have always accepted that it was all your fault.. that is awesome! That was one very huge wall for me. I had to realize over and over again that it was not always MY fault. I had to look at things from many angles. I even looked at things the way that the accusers looked at me. This was a process, but breaking through it was major.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Rise
Thanks! I am careful about the way I communicate to my kids too.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kelly
You highlight some important things with your comments; The way that your mother communicated to you reminds me of how abuse and control works. One of the things that really helped me was seeing that “they” didn’t follow their own teachings. It was all put on me. I had to realize that all those “teachings” from everywhere, were ALL wrong. I am good enough not by what I do. Those are all the lies they used to control me and that included people in many many places, jobs, churches, school and relatives through out my life.
Thanks for sharing this Kelly! I love your comments as they remind me exactly how it was and the insanity that I used to live in too.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Tiffany
Welcome to EFB
I can totally relate to this post! I think that many other readers will too. Thank you for sharing with us.
Hugs, Darlene


ME TOO!! son is 17, pray for a good counselor!

It was both home and church, but church is the “approval of society” in a child’s mind, and perhaps in everyone’s mind, for accepting abusive, devaluing treatment in other settings, home, etc.


Kate, I know that is something I can’t fully understand because I have only viewed it through the eyes of an adult. I’m sorry that happened to you. I’ve had run ins with spiritually abusive people but I never viewed the church as authority so they didn’t have the same power over me that a helpless child can feel. The things you say help me with my sons.


How does what I say help with your sons? I am curious because you brought it up and because I need help with my son right now.


Kate, My kids were very hurt in church. My oldest went to a Bible college and that is one decision that I really kick myself over because of the way he was treated there. Because my youngest felt rejected by the church, he rebelled against it and it made him suseptible to being manipulated by a group of satanists who were a lot older than he was. He met them in college which he began to attend at 16. He once told me that we were hanging around with the wrong people so he decided to, also. It was a horrible time for all of us. We’re all still healing and your perspective as a child in church helps me understand better how they feel.–All this talk made me concerned that maybe they felt like I had abused them spiritually, or that maybe I had. I had an opportunity to talk to both of them together so I asked and to my relief, they laughed at me, then hugged me and we all cried. I know they will heal and they do know that I really don’t care if they go to church and that whatever they decide about God won’t affect how I love them. It just makes me sad and I want my boys to be able to take back what abusive people took from them, their faith. Really, I don’t think it is gone but they have buried it all down deep. It is ironic because I thought I was giving them something that was much better than what I had.

I raised two boys, they grew up to be good men. I don’t know if I have experience with your particular problem but I care and I know what it is like to hurt for your children. I’m here to talk to, Kate.



Boy, your story sounds familiar. I was molested by my step father. he would always tell me before he molested me that I was ugly and he was doing me a favor. When I told on him…my mother took me to the police and after being questioned in a cold dark room they said their was nothing they can do. So for years after that my mother and I had to try and keep him from coming back. He broke the door down several times and all the police would do was take him back home so he would just come back later. Later I would get into High School and become raped and sexually assaulted. The guy who raped me in HS told me I was pretty before he did it. That night on the way home, I thought then if I am too pretty now I want to be ugly again. I then got married to an abuser who would always say I don’t hit girls. But, the verbal and mental abuse was worse then the blows he tried to throw at me. The words you are worthless still run through my head big. The damage these abusive people do are bad. I know these people were abused themselves and think it is normal to act this way in order to be loved. All they really do is to suck the life out of good people. Just to let you all know you are not alone. We all must break the cycle of abuse.


Hi Samantha,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I am so sorry that you have been through all this! The world is such a mess.
About what you shared, this is what I am talking about here; the brainwashing that goes along with the abuse. I had to take a good look at what my belief system had become and how, so that I could overcome those beliefs about myself. The voices in my head telling me that I was worthless no longer have that power.
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


I am overwhelmed. My youngest is 16, just totalled his step-dad’s car two weeks ago. The next week, my almost 18yo son ran away from his dad’s and came back telling unblievable stories, and we got him back in school and now on to counseling. My 19yo daughter is now moving in with me in two weeks from far away. Yes, i had three children in less than three years, and they are all on my plate right now. I was just starting to think I shoud get more education or a job, and now I want to go back to bed sometimes. Plus, our moving turck is unloading here tomorrow after we finally sold our home from 1,000 miles away in this housing market. My new husband didn’t want ot force us to move since my kids had been through so much prior to our marriage, and he could travel back and forth.


My oldest is a senior in college and on a good track. I feel guilty because i always felt like i gave him more and better time in our home school, etc.,

reading emotional vampires by bernstein, and just read last night that a narcissist and a paranoid (which would be my parents and my tendancy) make for a nasty combination and I feel worse for my kids now, but it is good to learn so that I can undo my behavior, as in, stop some of that stuff


I do not know how to even begin to explain to you how much you, this site has come to mean to me, in such a short amount of time… I can’t even describe to you, the feeling of shock,albeit a good shock, but a shock nontheless.. when i come on see that firstly, you responded to me!! secondly, that your response was one of understanding, tenderness and validation!! Basically a positive response. It is a shock each and every time, as each time, i don’t expect to get a response from you,that i am not worthy enough first off for you to read what i wrote, nevermind respond to it.. each time, when i first see that you have responded to what i have said, i usually expect it to be a negative response.. a response telling me that i am stupid, that what i have said is wrong, or completely off base. Each time it takes me a minute or two to even read what you wrote, or read anything anyone wrote addressed to me, out of fear of what i will read. Each time i am pleasantly surprised… I hope that i, at some point, can come back here and not be filled with fear, or be shocked with what i read.
So, Darlene, people on the site, Thank you so much for being YOU!!.


September 14th, 2011 at 8:10 am
Darlene, As usual, I read one of your posts and then it settles in and I have a deeper reaction than initially. As an adult, I have struggled with feelings of actually being what my parents sowed. My family used to give me such a hard time about being depressed, anxious, and angry. It was my parents that caused me to first develop these problems and that is the worst of being a neglected or abused child is that we grow into the abuse and neglect and it becomes a part of who we are. Then we struggle all of our lives to overcome the damage. It isn’t much different than a birth defect. You want to talk about anger? I feel very angry about that this morning and also very angry at my family for denigrating me for becoming what they taught me to be. Layers, upon layers of cruelty. Wouldn’t it be something if they actually had enough compassion to realize their mistakes and the excruciating pain that they caused and said they were sorry so that I truly could forgive them and see them receive that forgiveness? It sure would be something if they took back some of that misplaced responsibility that they heaped upon me. I’m not holding my breath and I’m done being the garden in which they sow their seeds of cruelty. There’s nothing else that I can do; but there will always be something inside of me that wishes my parents would really BE parents and do their part to make things right.

Oh, my gosh! Thanks, Pam, for writing this. I’ve been struggling with this very issue regarding my pastor and his wife. I’ve been struggling with a way to express my rage and just couldn’t seem to find the words. It seemed like your post spoke the words that were in my heart. You don’t know how much it helped me.


Kate, I always thought that when my kids got to the ages that yours are now that I would be done with parenting them but boy, was I wrong! The early adult years were the hardest years to get my kids through. So many things came to a head and we also had more than our share of tradjedies then. Part of it was me being on psycho tropic meds and out of it, making bad decisions but a lot of underlying promblems emerged also. I think you are doing the best you can. The thing with young boys is when they hurt they don’t know how to express it verbally(I think many men are also this way)so they act out physically in all kinds of destructive ways. If they don’t have some kind of anchor, there’s no telling what they may get into. I think as parents, we have to stay solid so they have a landmark when the seas get choppy. It’s hard because it is the time when we are letting go of them, also. I’m glad your son is in counseling. We had a good family counselor also and my kids and my husband and I still go see him sometimes. It helps but there is no quick fix but if you hang in there, keep doing the right things, (no matter what they say to you), I think you will see fruit from your efforts down the road. Don’t beat yourself up. All loving parents make mistakes and what makes them different from abusive parents is the love and the willingness to say,”I’m sorry.” My children like it best when I am an open book to them.

My children gave me a good example of the anchor analogy when we had our discussion about spiritual abuse. They told me that I am the reason that they still half believe in God and when my faith wavers, it frightens them. I was dumbfounded but also encouraged. They went on to talk about some of the kids they’ve known who didn’t have a working, loving relationship with their parents and how bad they feel for them now even though, they were confused about it and saw those same kids as clamorous when they were younger. Sticking to what I knew was true and loving them through everything they’ve gone through has proved to be of more value than preventing any hard lesson they’ve had to learn. It is so hard when we’ve loved and protected our kids to turn them lose into the world because the world sure doesn’t love them like we do but all of us have had to go through it. Your children are beginning their rite of passage into adulthood.

I also did alot of reading at that time. I had to understand the diachotomy of the family I was raised in so that I could handle what was happening to the family I created in a healthier way. It was uber painful. When I first started reading about narcissistic families, there were times that I would literaly throw up because of the truth that it revealed to me. I couldn’t take too much of it at once but I needed to read it, face it, understand it, and begin to do things differently. Narcissism is so contagious. I had many learned narcissistic behaviors and points of view and I worried that I was one but the difference was that I realy wanted to get better and be a whole person. Truly malignant narcissists don’t, they think everyone else should be like them. That is when my self confrontation journey began that has ended with my confronting and accepting the truth about my past, and then in confronting my family of origin. The amazing thing about my journey the last few years is how my kids have encouraged me through it. They wanted me to break with my family and not allow them to mistreat me anymore, more than I wanted it myself. It has meant so much to them and they are so happy to have me without the control of a family that never valued me. They felt so much of that devaluation also and I was so unaware of it. I was used to being treated that way and couldn’t see it, they only experienced that devaluing from my family and could see the difference. Freeing myself is also halping them to become more free. It has been a very painful process but one that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

Hang in there,Kate. Better days are ahead.



Robin, I’m always happy when my words help someone. When those words come out of my greatest pains and they turn that pain to healing another, they also do much to heal me.



Thanks so much for sharing from your journey. your children are oler than mine. Can’t wait for some of those revelations coming from the children!!


Kate, You’re welcome. They will come. Love them and keep steady…



Hi Kelly
Thank you so much for your lovely comments and validation. I know how I healed and I know what worked for me ~ so I am trying to do that for others, to sort of assist or recreate how I found my freedom.
I know the feelings that you talk about, I had them too. You are doing great Kelly!
Hugs, Darlene

Everyone ~
I just published a new post by our very own Pam Witzemann. In this new blog post, Pam writes about how she learned to SELF ABUSE and it is a powerful post.

You can read her new guest post here: How I learned to Self Abuse by Pam Witzemann


Such an accurate description of what I felt my whole life. And sure as an adult I can have some level of control, but the fact is the only thing I know how to do now is what I was taught to do as a child. I was taught as a child that I was a useless piece of shit and not worthy of anything. I never learnt to have relationships with anyone at all. Then when I am lonely and have all manner of problems the response of the service system is to tell me to think positively and to go and join some groups to make friends. I can only think positively if I have something positive to think about and I can only make friends if I know how to, and that is something you are taught as a child and I was not taught those skills, I was taught how to be abused.


Hi bjcirceleb
Welcome to emerging from broken. This site is about how I learned to overcome the messages and abuse from my childhood. I learned to re-parent myself and today I am a fully functioning member of society. There is a very big community of others too, who share their journeys and self discoveries and healing here too.
So glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


@Darlene my computer battery is melted and we are waiting for anew one so I have not been on but I wanted to read this! I fully agree with what you are saying! Cant post long but just wanted to say that.
This is a mind set that has infected the culture. Bottom line I believe it stems from the illusion that we are God, that we control life! That idea is delusional! Thanks for posting the truth!


[…] try our hardest to understand why someone would treat us that way and when we have been told that we get what we deserve or that everything that happens to us is our own fault, we look for what we did to cause it. If this […]
This is the link to my new post! Hugs, Darlene


Hello – I wanted to tell you how i came to this blog and what it did in my life. I volunteer at a christian after school program and teach kids 4-6th grade. I was planning to teach LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR from Galatians 5:14. In reading further, I found “A man reaps what he sows.” in Gal 6:7 and thought it would be a good way to illustrate, if you want love, sow love…right?…. How NAIVE of me! (Thanks to finding this blog.) As I read your descriptions of how this scripture gets twisted and used to harm gentle spirits, I just lay on the floor and wept for the hurt and became outraged at the lies!!! I realized, God was allowing me to feel just an ounce of what He feels on the subject! Thank you so much for sharing your stories, and know that they diverted a well meaning teacher from planting an idea that could be used against other kids! I basically looked into each of their eyes and told them, “YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW OTHER PEOPLE BEHAVE, EVER!” We are only responsible for how we behave. Anger and meanness are a choice, just like love and gentleness are choices!

I thank God for Emerging from Broken and I pray for wholeness, that can only come from knowing the healer.

Doing my best to serve Jesus,


Thank you so much for sharing this with me! It is comments like yours that inspire me to keep going and keep writing. I feel validated for my work and my efforts here!
Thank you so much for listening to your heart and taking that action with those kids too! This is really amazing and wonderful and I am thrilled and blessed to have been a part of it!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] can read the post here: “You Reap what you Sow ~ what about Child Abuse?” Here is the comment from […]


I had it all. Emotional, Sexual and Physical abuse. Both parents degenerates. Father and brother pedophiles and beaters and mother a lunatic and a tyrant and a child beater. I wonder how I survived. I thought I was all alone in this. As time has gone on I see there are many like me. But that is the way of abuse…to isolate the target. When I was 18 and my mother did not by law have to give me food I was rolled out the front door unfit for work or love. A long lonely blue hell. Because I believed that I wasn’t worth a dime I did not leave the social geography into which I was born. Met the dwellers who beat wives and all the other treachers. I was often told I was only alive because the pill had not been invented…1950… and how dare I sneak into a womb! So many cruel words my ears have heard that my soul is littered. I am a 60 year old woman now and I have long ago released my tormentors to the infinite. But the pain of memory still comes to me at night when I dream. I was born to a place with no love. My only parent was my make-believe God and my only savior was Time.


Hi Dendera

Just wanted to say hi & so sorry to hear about all the pain you were forced to suffer.

I think you have a very lyrical way of writing – your words evoked many pictures in my mind as I read your post. (It stood out even more from being a short post and still managing to do that).

I hope that (apart from the painful dreams) you’re in a better place today

wishing you peace



Hi Dendera
Welcome to emerging from broken,
Wow. Thank you for sharing here. You are not alone. This site is about how I overcame all the belief system that went with all of it. I rarely have those haunting dreams anymore either.
I am so glad that you have released your tormentors to the infinite.
Please share as often as you like,
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you all for the kind words. Makes my ground sweeter.


It might be helpful to remember that our parents were fed this hardline bullcrap as well. One thing about Alice Miller’s work is that you can see history and how the bad discipline was carried through. I was made from Germans and these phrases were just what was drilled into my mother’s head and her mother’s head. My mother has poor self-esteem and judges herself ridiculously at times and thus that’s the box I am supposed to fit into as well. It’s not an excuse for them, but that is their map. Another problem is, their mapping just does not fit into today’s world; they rely on that, instead of re-evaluating who you are in today’s world and expectations. I’m not making excuses for them because they could have given more thought to their words and actions, but this code of life is a carry-over from what was done two hundred years ago. Their brains were misshapen, like they mis-shaped us. I think the kids who ignored their parents early on, had it right. My mistake was believing my parents really had some wisdom instead of German mind warping.


Hi Kim M.
I have read most of Alice Millers work this past year or two and I have great respect for it.
I have written quite a bit about the roots of all this and that my parents had the same crap delevered into their belief systems too. (my parents are not german) My work is also about the history except that I find it most helpful to focus on the damage and not the way it gets past down.(I don’t think it is helpful to remember that most parents were fed this crap too until our own damage has been validated and faced is what I am trying to say) There is very little solution in understanding where it all comes from.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Your article is right on target; these are things where I still find myself entangled.
In fact.. the one excuse I use sometimes still is this; it is MUCH easier to just accept the blame and say defuse the situation. I am still doing this. It IS my fault…
I’ve heard those statements about reaping and sowing from way young.
It’s pretty appalling.. but to stand up for me is damn hard. I’ve been attacked by my in-laws when just a young married gal,living with them..But before that it was what happened within my family all of the time.. blaming, mockery, “teasing”, counter attack..I’ve gotten to a place where it seems much easier to just let go and let the blame fall..trouble is.. I have retreated inside; so far inside I don’t mingle well with anyone. Relationships are mostly a non-entity.. way too threatening.
It is either retreat, or tremble with rage which scares me.But this is definitely a description of what really went on at home… wherever that was.


Darlene: I do find it helpful to know how they came to say and do these things & it helped me realize that they are not going to change. It helped me realize that there is a tape going on in that head and it is not a thinking head. It helped me separate from my mom and realize that I do not have to think that way and I can be my own person. I don’t want to wallow in the past hurt; I do want to have a defense for the future, and now that I know they were force fed junk into their heads and these are rules and views that do not really reflect me, I can see that the past was just a by-product of that and so will what comes out of her mouth next. I have found it very helpful to understand how this atrocity of humanity was made and it helps to discredit my parents and now my perspective about them is much better, therefore my perspective is also better about other people. I don’t put people on pedestals anymore — I did that because I was always lacking in love from my parents and I idealized everyone. Now I know that people are just people subjected to their upbringings and they bring that into every relationship. I can see much clearer now. It’s up to them to examine themselves and get a clearer head; it’s up to them to treat me well. It’s not my problem anymore. It’s only my problem if I accept bad treatment. And now I recognize bad treatment too. I hope this clarifies my position.


Hi Vivian
When I changed my belief system about myself by facing all this stuff I got so strong on the inside that people seemed to be able to see it. My inlaws and my family backed off and stopped treating me like that. (well they backed all the way off and stopped even seeing me, but I didn’t have to put up with their abuse anymore so it was good) I sometimes think that they go so scared of being confronted for what they had done that they RAN like heck to get away!
In the end I realize that it was actually harder to take the blame when it didn’t belong on me because it messed me up so much!
It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t deserve it and the truth about that set me free!
Thanks for sharing Viv, great to see you!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kim,
I find the cycle very interesting to understand also. I was not discounting that at all.
I understand completly what you are saying and I agree! Thanks for sharing again!
Hugs, Darlene


Your post made me realize what I have been trying to understand for YEARS!!!! I’ve been saying that I feel disconnected within myself. I didn’t know how to explain it because I felt it but had no clue as to why or the reason for it. I just had a light bulb moment. I am a child and an adult at the same time. The two of me cannot connect with each other or one doesn’t want to let the other one in. I’m scared to death to accept this abused child into my adult life. I’m an adult now, I should know better. After all, that’s the message I heard over and over growing up. You’re 7 years old that’s the age of reason, you should know better. Hearing that made me think, OMG!!!! That means I’m different, I’m not getting whatever everybody my age is. Every time I went up a grade at school, I heard, “you know, next year is serious now. No more playing around”. As if I played around all the time. I stayed back many times. That of course made me the oldest one in the class. Therefore I was the teachers perfect target. “You’re such and such age? You’re repeating this grade and you STILL don’t get it? What is it gonna take Celine? Me writing on your fingers so you can remember the next time?” All that while the kids booed and made fun of this old freak of nature tha I was. My parents told me that I deserved it. I didn’t work hard enough, I was lazy. I learned to reject myself because everything that was happening to me was MY FAULT. I was compared to my brother and sisters who did good at school. I was a good tennis player but it didn’t count. No one ever came to see me play. I had to take the city bus to practice. My mother’s way to get out of it? “You’re old enough to take care if yourself. Besides, if you really love tennis you’ll find a way to get to your lessons on your own”.
Funny how I was left to basically raise myself based on my maturity level. At 2 and a half years old I must’ve been “old enough” to care for myself and expected to handle various situations on my own. After all, I could walk, eat and go potty ALL BY MYSELF.


D – i took it one step further and instead of it being “what i did was wrong” it was that I WAS BAD…not what i did but my whole being was BAD…therefore because i am bad i do bad things or bad things happen to me…i learned that i was BAD very early on and nothing ever changed my belief. No amount of support or love or memorizing positive thoughts changed how i felt about myself. I was bad to the core and thats how i have lived my whole life. Even tho the bible says that everything God created was good i thought he must have made a mistake with me. When i heard over and over again “whats wrong with you, why cant you do anything right.” or “you’re a bloody fool” or “you’re so stupid”…or “you will never amount to anything.”…those were the messages i heard constantly…they totally drowned out the “i love you” messages because it was always – “i love you BUT”….fill in the blank…i felt so much shame and guilt especially after i was molested…i dissociated because i could not bear the pain. Plus i had to keep my mother alive and meet all her needs…it was all consuming for me…what a life ! Thanks for sharing !



Hi Dave
Ya, you are not alone on this one! That is the conclusion most survivors of abuse come to. The good news is that by finding the roots of all this, it can be overcome!
Hugs, Darlene


New Post on Emerging from Broken, you reap what you sow but what about dysfunctional family christmas stuff??

[…] are “taught” that we get what we deserve, and that we ‘reap what we sow’ but it is amazing how that same teaching is not applied to abusive, disrespectful or unloving […]


yes, big time


Hi Darlene! This is an incredible mirror for me and it awakens a lot of memories.

What I have come to realize and what makes life so much simpler for me is there are really only two powers at work on this planet. Love and fear. Fear is all about destroying and/or devouring another person for it’s own personal power and glory and love is all about nourishing a soul until it blooms into it’s fullest potential.

I’ve come to realize that I was raised by people who’s belief systems were deeply rooted in fear. Anything in this world can be used with fear or love. A toaster’s purpose is for toasting bread, so if a person uses that toaster to bash someone in the head with, should we now ban using toasters because they can be used as a weapon? Personally I feel the bible has been used in the same way. Fear based people use the bible as another form of control and manipulation to get people to do what “they” want them to do so “they” will be the only ones to benefit from it.

Personally I’ve never felt drawn to the bible because the messages are not clearly written in a way that connects with my own inner truth. It’s just another resource for people to tap into like the many other books out there. Personal experience holds more truth for me than anything else. My biggest mistakes in life came from believing in others value systems instead of my own. When I was a child I was at the mercy of my parents and care givers beliefs until I was old enough to create my own. Unfortunately I got so messed up it’s taken me a long time to figure out what my own beliefs really were or are.

I gain more insights from listening to all of your stories of healing and growing than what any other religion ever could give me and believe me I explored some churches but never felt I was given what I really needed. This world is full of resources and I personally believe in free will to choose what feels right for each individual.

Isn’t that what life is really all about…exploring, experiencing and learning who we really are and enjoying all the pleasures life has to offer? Well this is what I believe now, it’s none of my business anymore what the “world” thinks is best for me, the “world” has failed me on so many levels to the point that I just wanted to check out completely.

It’s only until recently that I have finally experienced a freedom I never felt before, the freedom to create a life that is personally designed for and by me. I now get to choose who and what I want in my life. I feel like a completely new person with all the healing work I have received and a huge thank you goes out to you Darlene for sharing your insights. They have been like little seeds that are blossoming into flowers in my soul’s garden.

All those old fearful messages that were passed down from generation to generation are drifting away because I choose not to engage with them anymore. I finally know who I really am and I now realize it’s my responsibility to keep fear as far away from me as possible. I have all the tools and skills I need now to take loving care of myself.

Thank you all so much for sharing, you make this world worth living in. Namaste!


I just got called “selfish ” on a phone and someone hung up on me

How nice

That someone is my ex now aka “friend”-not a friend anymore

I was whining here yesterday how I should have taken the job I was offered 3 months ago. Somehow he convinced that because his situation is so great now I can keep looking for a more satisfying and better paid jon for “As long as I wasnt”.
My intuition was telling you: he screwed you over so many time with money, just wait and see, if youstay he will soon say “sorry I did not know it would take that long, I’m out of money”.
As always he is my “summer boy”. Somehow we always end up toegther on summer.
This time I was supposed to be smarter.
There we go.
After one abusive relathionship I had to fall into another.
D. has never been abusive to me verbally, always complimenting, sween and charming, great sense of humor. But every time I let him to my life he damages in some way in terms of my career or money. HE always talks me in or out of something. Than apologizes say “he meant well” and it is not his fault and it was ong time ago etc
He mant well?? This is my lfie we are talking about
IS he mentally retarded or is it me?
Than he gets angry that I dare to be angry and there we go…calls me “Selfish”
Oh yeah I always think only about myself

You know what I did? Once I got out of the super damaging relationship with HFA, I thought to myself…D was not THAT bad….AT least he was not this and that. None of them was better….they were both equally bad.
what is it? Why do jeopardize my own future because subconsciously I just need someone to hug me, love me etc?
He was the first one who gave me loving, hugging etc
Why do I need to burn myself so bad to remember?
God I am trying to get that job back, wish me luck
This is bad bad bad

God please help me


He keeps telling me that he soemtimes thinks I have a plit personality because I keep coming back to me and than leaving
wow….I wonder why
God I just ruined another part fo my life for an idiot I have experience with
I did not want to go into the relationship with him, I knew how it was going to end up, it was supposed to be a friendship until I leave
why did I let him convince me knowing I was heading for disaster?


I now officially have no one in my life except for my older friend/mentor and a few friendly acquaintances


Sorry I didn’t read before I posted 🙂

That someone is my ex now aka “friend”-not a friend anymore. I was whining here yesterday how I should have taken the job I was offered 3 months ago. Somehow he convinced me that because his situation was so great I could keep on looking for a more satisfying and better paid job for “As long as I wanted”. My intuition was telling me: he screwed you over so many time with money, just wait and see, if you stay he will say “sorry I did not know it would take that long, I’m out of money”. As always he is my “summer boy”. Somehow we always end up together in the summer. This time I was supposed to be smarter. There we go. After one abusive relathionship I had to fall into another. D. has never been abusive to me verbally, always complimenting, sweet and charming, great sense of humor.NO ONE has ever been so nice to me. I mean oter guys I wad dating sure yes they were, but he seemed to be relly interested in me and caring. But every time I let him to my life he damages it in some way in terms of my career or money. HE always talks me in or out of something. Than apologizes and says “he meant well” and it is not his fault and it was some time ago etc He meant well?? This is my lfie we are talking about IS he mentally retarded or is it me? Than he gets angry that I dare to be angry and there we go…calls me “Selfish” Oh yeah I always think only about myself You know what I did? Once I got out of the super damaging relationship with HFA, I thought to myself…D was not THAT bad….AT least he was not this and that. None of them was better….they were both equally bad. what is it? Why do jeopardize my own future because subconsciously I just need someone to hug me, love me etc? He was the first one who gave me love, hugging etc Why do I need to burn myself so bad to remember? God I am trying to get that job back, wish me luck This is bad bad bad
I sometimes think life is one huge test, you keep getting the same lesson until we learn, sometimes the “participants” will be the same, sometimes different. Until we learn…


sorry I should not post here….totally different topic.
Sorry for that guys
Darlene we thank you for another excellent text!


Sandra, you forgot… “You’re dwelling in the past….” or “you are imagining things.” Those are what I get. Oh no, I’m not allowed to be angry just because the other person never apologized for their behavior toward me……..

I get called a “psycho” by guys for getting angry… Apparently I’m supposed to be thrilled to death that a guy even likes me, therefore, I’m not allowed to get angry at him or any of his crap. Gee, sounds familiar…. OH YEAH, that’s how it is with my mom!

I was thinking of parents….. how they set up “expectations” for a child, and if you don’t “fit” those expectations, you aren’t loved. And yet I’m not “allowed” to have “expectations” for myself.

Darlene, I’m shocked at the “after all, you DO have a crush on him….” What a way to pass the blame and discount what *rea


flying fingers. I meant to say, “What a way to pass the blame and discount what *really* happened…..”


Sandra, the “selfish” thing rung a bell with me. My mother would call me selfish when I was doing something that was good for me that wasn’t beneficial to her. I am a person in my own right; I didn’t exist to serve her. So I am suspicious when a person uses the word “selfish” and automatically wonder if they have an ulterior motive. To me, my mother using that word was manipulative, and the person was trying to stop me fom doing something because it didn’t benefit them. So who really was the selfish one?

I’ve also found that when people throw a negative label on you, they are trying to undermine and manipulate you.(re: your message number 78 Sandra ). I’m seeing red flags all over the place.


Hi Lora!
Thanks for all your encouragement. I really appreciate it 🙂
And as always I love your comments and insights; thank you for sharing them here with us!
Hugs, Darlene



I know! I would never dare to call someone selfish, unless there is a good reason for that. It is a very strong word
Yes I am soo selfish because I do not to be with someone who wants to be with me. Isn’t that selfish?
It was always like that….I know it is hard to believe that someone can force you into a relationship.
I got fooled by the same person for the 3rd time I think
So I guess that makes me a fool doesn’t it?
I knew how it was going to end up, i knew I was just anxious before going abroad, and he saw that! Those God damn vampires, they see your fear, you are lost
I am sick to my stomach
When does it end
Ok all the vampires are finally out for good from my life
So maybe now?
Job, please!


There is no way in hell than women like us who are broken, will be able to form normal relationships without putting the pieces back together….
This is liek an Eureka moment
All my life I have been like a magnet for people who wanted to “help me” but they also wanted to have me entirely for themselves, my needs were not important.
Why would I fall:
1. Someone is there for me 24/7
2. Someone si telling me how much they love me, and I am so great and they would do ANYTHING for me
3. They hate it when I succeed. If they see I am about to succeed, they will do anything to stop me. Because than…gasp! I might not need them

God… it so hard to get somewhere in terms of career when you are “broken” yourself and you have no emotional support from at least 1 mentally healthy person.



Oh yeah!
and also:”you know how bad your memory is”!!!!

I might not have a super great memory (ppl with any kind of trauma learn how to erase memories which unfortunatelly doesn’t do us ay favor in the long run apparently, because once you forget you can get fooled again)
but if I do remember something, hey, don’t tell me it did not take place.
Also, another good one:
“I did not mean that”
“It came out wrong”
“You got me wrong”
“YOu misinterpreting my words”


In my family any mis-steps, mistakes, anything bad that happened to me was my fault. It was the proof that I was “bad”. I started out bad, made bad choices and this was bad.
But I wasn’t. And I couldn’t prove it to my family no matter what I did or how good I was, or how hard I tried. My badness was the “seed” to all my issues and problems.
They were not accountable for anything, after all they had fed and clothed me. We lived a middle class life in a middle class house. They paid for my schooling. What did I do? I paid them back
by making bad choices.
According to my Narc, dysfunctional, violent, abusive, non loving family it was all me.
I turned out bad and worthless. I sowed the seeds to my problems completely because of my
Hmmm, the actual facts show otherwise. But that doesnt matter. Only what they judge matters,
to them any way.
I know now it was all a lie. I am no contact and the happier for it because of this blog.
I send my hopes, prayers and support to all who are suffering as I did. Thank you again Darlene.


That hits the spot for me and many of us. “Blame and shame are the name of the game for abusers.”
My mom recently died and I was with her to the very end. I spent the last 7 hours alone with my dying mother. She is the one that always told me that everything was ‘my fault’. I spent my time with her lavishing her with my love and compassion. I could only be kind to her in her great suffering.
My sorrow now is mostly for the relationship that we could of had but were never able to have. The gulf between us that was created by abuse was too wide for me to cross. But, I tried to the very end to reach across and give her the love from me that she was never able to receive.
Now, I struggle to find peace in my heart. How I wish that it could have been different!

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