Abusers who Blame Victims and the People who Support Them


Abusive manipulative people

I can’t believe how many abusers, controllers, and manipulative people present themselves as the victim. This is so normal that it is usually accepted without question in our society! These controlling and manipulative people tell everyone that some horrible thing has been done to them and no one questions them about where it started. But when a child of any age tries to communicate harm done to them, especially if the harm was done by family or parents, so many people defend the abusive/manipulative parent or family member and completely discount and dismiss the offended child! It’s crazy to me how many people defend these toxic people and discount the actual victim of this disrespectful and abusive treatment ~ BEFORE they even hear the whole story. Being invalidated in this way contributes to the distress of children and adult children in such a huge way.

I have been thinking a lot about this subject this week and interestingly enough some great examples have come in through the comments;

Because there is so much information in this comment, I am going to put my comments in green throughout “G’s” comments. Here is what G. shared:

 “Though I don’t remember it, my parents tell me I banged my head against a wall and smashed a mirror over my head when I was 14 (I remember that one). It was awful, because my mother would come in my room to torment me when I was already sad, and then I would react this way after she finally felt like she’d taken all of her negative emotions on me and crushed me enough.

Darlene says: “It sounds like your mother burdened you with her negative emotions so much that you reacted in a self-harming way. This is very common when a child has been brainwashed to believe that ‘she or he’ is the problem. They blame themselves just like the parents blame them and then they self-punish.”

  My father would close the door with the creepiest calmness if he ever heard crying my crying annoyed him, but didn’t affect him.

Darlene says: “And then the father adds to the damage by shutting the child out; closing the door is further punishment and defines the child as being unworthy of comfort. This shutting out also defines the child ‘the problem’ and invalidates the reason for the crying as if there IS no reason for the crying but that the problem IS the crying. This is very difficult for a child to comprehend and forces a child to find survival techniques”.

They used this as a reason to medicate me and then as an excuse to have me forcibly removed from my home and locked up for almost a year.

Darlene says: “They used that event as something YOU did in your distress to PROVE that you were the problem which then justifies their actions. As you say in this paragraph, he never took responsibility for HIS inaction when it came to parenting and never considered that perhaps it was what they were doing and not doing that was the real cause of the problem.”

 I mean, two years later! My father paid a lot of money to not have to parent me and still guilts me about how much he spent. As if that traumatic event was something I ever would have chosen on my own! It messed me up a lot. He never took responsibility for not parenting, let alone look at the fact their behavior might have been a reason for my distress (I am at my most stable with NC so that’s proof enough for me!). It’s always my fault. That is something I am really dealing with and trying so hard to challenge.

Darlene says: “And see how these parents see themselves as the ‘victims’ in these situations?  A child is NEVER a burden; it is the responsibility of the parent to take care of the child’s needs in every way. When a parent communicates that a child was a burden in this way, the child BELIEVES they are a burden. One of the hardest things I had to work through was un-doing the brainwashing that my mother was a victim of my behaviour and see what HER behaviour communicated to me about me and her feelings about me. Realizing how much I had assumed the blame for everything and seeing the truth that the blame did not belong to me, was a huge pathway to healing”. 

  I was so ashamed. They blamed me for getting ‘sent away’ in a ‘letter of accountability’ so I had to read about the smashing mirror thing to a group of people I didn’t know, some of whom were bullies. Parents’ only reasons were the mirror thing and a single joyride I took with my sister for 20 minutes in town.

Darlene says: “In my recovery I realized that there were a couple of things that that I had done that I applied to myself as “proof” that they were right about me. Like you there were not many but it doesn’t take much when a child has been defined as “the problem.”

Now he guilt trips me, “If your mother really didn’t love you, why did she spend hours in your room, trying to make you feel better?” Really, really? If she was trying to make me feel better, I would have felt the intent, but she had her own issues that she had to (and still tries to, though we are NC) today. It was always about making her feel better at MY expense, never the other way around.

Darlene says: “This is an important realization. I had to take a long look at what the role of the parent was supposed to be so I could come out of the fog about where I believed that I had failed in the dysfunctional family relationships. I was a child and I had NO responsibility as that child to assist in any way with an adults emotional issues. ”

So many other examples of how she didn’t love me- involving neglect/emotional abuse- I still have this awful feeling of having to prove myself. They are intent everything bad in their lives is my fault. Last time I spoke with her she said, “Everything is good in my life except you’re not in it” while simultaneously bawling and cutting me off. Every boundary I tried to set on that call was disregarded. Of course she mattered, poor her, but I was nothing. Even when I don’t talk to her or communicate, I am the reason for her unhappiness. How sick is that? And family members guilt me “If my daughter didn’t talk to me”….

Darlene says: This is how it is done. They refuse to see any part in the dysfunction of the relationship with their own child. They use guilt and shame, we are groomed with guilt and shame until we don’t question it anymore. My mother used to tell me that she was going to have a breakdown if I kept talking about my feelings. She could tear me down but if I tried to communicate my side of it, she cut me off. I didn’t deserve a say. And for many years I accepted or tried to accept that but my depressions got worse as I got older. Today I see a direct relationship between the way that I was disregarded and those constant depressions.”

I have an aunt and her boyfriend’s family whom are people who understand the concept of love and respect. So when I contrast their behavior and my own parents, I poke so many holes through the “We love you/it’s all your fault” logic.

Darlene says: “I had to learn the real definition of the word “Love”. I had to look up the laws when it comes to children and children’s rights. I had to look at the government definition of child neglect. Through doing all these things I came to see the truth that set me free ~ I was not the problem. I was the injured and discounted party”. 

 I spent the holidays with them last Christmas- best holidays I’ve had in 10 years. Why is that now?? Even if they hadn’t invited me, I would have been happier alone in my apartment.

Sorry this is so long! Wow, what a great community this is. I can no longer live in the dark, I never will again. G”  Thank you so much G for your great examples of the real root of the problem. 

I also received a comment from a reader who expressed to her Dr. her difficulty with people who automatically defend her mother;  Read what this commenter had to say and what her Dr. advised:

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

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

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

Darlene says: “It makes me crazy when I read about stuff like this! This woman told HER doctor about what was causing her stress and he told her that SHE was the problem and that SHE should seek help and consider going on medication! Why is it so accepted that our ‘parents’ have all these ‘human rights’ that WE don’t have??  What this doctor did is so devaluing, so discounting of HIS PATIENTS feelings and concerns. He doesn’t even know the mother or the circumstances in this situation! How could he possibly know the details of why this woman needs support when it comes to her mother?  He told her that she SHOULD take care of her parents and even that it is expected of her to do so! And what makes this so disgusting is that in my experience, children NEVER are right. Not when they are kids, not when they are teens, young adults or older adults.  In our society, in almost ALL society, No matter what age children are, when it comes to parents, the parents are always right. This is devaluing. This is defining to the child or adult child; it defines the child as ‘wrong’. It assigns the blame to the wrong party, validates the perpetrator of the abuse or mistreatment and serves to perpetuate and continue the cycle of abuse and dysfunctional family dynamics.  But it NEVER serves the child or validates them as a person with needs, feelings and human rights.

Here is one more example from my own life; I remember telling my mother when I was an adult, that when I was a teenager I stole my clothes because she didn’t give me any money to buy them. She immediately turned this around to make the story about HER, bringing up all her crap about all the sacrifices she made for us kids and then she finds something like ‘this’ out. She said things like “well…you think you know your kids…” but she never once addressed, admitted or validated WHY I was stealing clothing. She skipped right over that part of the story and made this disappointing information about her, her difficult life and her pain.

Please share your thoughts and examples with us in the comment form. Please remember that you may use any name you wish here; only the name you use in the comment form will be seen by other readers. Your email address is not published. Your privacy is important to me.

Food for thought on the journey to wholeness!

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


108 response to "Abusers who Blame Victims and the People who Support Them"

  1. By: GDW Posted: 3rd March

    I guess what I’m referring to is some of the techniques I’ve read/heard about:
    rolfing, Alexander Technique, Primal Scream Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, hypnosis, neurofeedback.
    Are any of these things techniques you have found personally effective, or others you worked with have?
    I’m not sure if they are a waste of time/money, could make things worse, or what I need, or which one.
    I am just at my wits end, I can’t live like this, it is not life.

    Pharmaceuticals have not helped, and I have done a very slight amount of somatic work, with no relief.

    Anyone else who has any insight or experiences with physical relief, I would be so grateful.

    Thanks so much and apologies for the length of all this.


  2. By: GDW Posted: 3rd March

    Hi Anna-

    Thanks for your comments. Everything you say makes total sense.


    What I’m wondering is, do the physical symptoms ever go away? And if so, how long does it take? Ever since I’ve become aware of what has happened, I have also become aware of the fact that I am shaking all the time. From when I wake up in the morning, until I go to sleep, my body is shaking, my fists are clenched, and my teeth are gritting. Though I don’t have any illnesses from the abuse (as a child and teen I can trace back loads of psychosomatic health problems), I am basically a walking tremor. I can’t even smile because my jaw is so locked. How can a person possibly function with this level of fear?

    It’s terrifying, and makes socializing very hard, and holding down a job impossible. I am scared that with these symptoms, also the possibility of bullying is more likely as my fear is so obvious.

    I guess that, while I feel safer knowing who my parents are, the physical feeling of danger is always with me. Do you have clients like this, or did you experience something like this, and how/what changed?
    I’m also feeling hopeless and overwhelmed. There are a lot of therapists out there, and a lot of different ‘body therapies’ out there. I’m scared to commit, and afraid that no one can really help me (I’ve been through a lot of therapy) with the physical aspect. While some of my realizations are new, I am in no better shape physically.



    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd March

      Hi GDW
      For me the symptoms went away. I do not know how long it takes for eveyrone. Everyone is different. I have had clients who worked through this stuff in 6 months. It took me longer than that but I had a different kind of help.
      For me I alwasy relate that the process worked ‘backwards’. It was through seeing the damage and the messages that I got from that damage about ME, and then truning those lies back to the truth about me ~ re-parenting myself where I had not been parented which led to healing my broken self esteem; that is what worked for me. I have written 350 articles on this site on different realizations I have had and different aspects of this healing. It takes time for all of it to come together.

      As far as your questions about different therapy practices, I have no knowledge or exp. with any of the ones you mention here. I focus on and advocate for causal therpay (the root cause of the problem or what caused the problem in the first place, why was the coping method necessary in the first place) and if you can find a therapist who is willing to work with you on that, that might help a lot. 🙂

      I tried a zillion things before I looked at the root causes and I was stuck in this horror until I found a way to go to the roots, dig up that rotten foundation, and replace it with truth. I built my new life from there and that is what I teach now. 🙂
      Hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Anna Posted: 2nd March

    The abusive parent, like the functional parent may for example take their child to soccer practice, dress his/her child in new clothes, and get the latest electronics for the household etc..(and numerous other activities that ‘look’ like good parenting). It’s all about intention though. While the healthy parent struggles to provide richness and health for their child’s, the unhealthy abusive one is using certain activities and behaviors as ‘proof’ that they are a good parent, and in doing so teaches his/her child how to be an abuser as well. For anyone to put this distorted view down, triggers them to claims of victimization. For parents who are really doing the work and not deluding themselves, well, what can I say? To keep it simple, in a healthy parent any ‘attack’ on his or her parenting is accepted without claiming victim status, as just a normal part of life. People are critical, especially when it comes to child rearing. If someone has something to say, the healthy parent accepts that people are entitled to their own opinions.

    All parents make mistakes. The difference is that healthy, well adjusted parents learn from their mistakes AND take action to prevent those same mistakes again. Unhealthy parents on the other hand, do not learn and make the necessary changes. In fact the unhealthy parent may even admit their mistake but continue to make the same mistake over and over doing serious damage to their child. And if they are making the same mistake over and over, they are sending the message that it is not in their control. It follows, that if they have no control over learning and doing better, then it is not their fault and they naturally are the victim. And this is a key point…the abuser really is a victim! The difference is that unlike in childhood where it was out of their control, they are self victimizing. In a very real way, they never grew up. And so the cycle continues.

    It’s up to adults to take responsibility and treat our children healthfully, because they don’t know how.

  4. By: SMD Posted: 1st March

    Since the frantic call from my sister a few weeks ago, where upon she blamed me for my mom being broken up and directed hurtful words towards me. I’m “mean”, “distorted”, “not getting the right help”,”we had a loving family growing up” & blah blah blah….I have not heard from her…Thank God!!..Peace…What a stressful Foo I have & it has made me sick with worry & sadness for years. My point is, I’m not crushed, as I would have been in the past. I do feel anger,sadness & irritability about what happened. I don’t believe anything she said, so I’m not doubting myself, which is a change from the past. I have not spoken to anyone in my foo, since this call from my bully sister. I wake up some morning worried about my mom’s pain, like I’ve been conditioned to & replaying those hurtful things my sister said to me. I know my feelings have been triggered & I’m able to turn my thoughts around most days. It’s just that I think I’m grieving the loss of a loving foo. I am triggered by real loving families and the good times they have together. I’ve created that with my kids & I’m living my life with less stress & more happiness. I’m not expecting foo to change nor am I trying anymore. I’m done processing this crap, yet the feelings of hurt/rejection run deep!! I know in my heart & mind that I deserve better 🙂

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd March

      Hi SMD-Sonia
      YAY for not believing her accusations! That is wonderful growth. Yay for learning to turn those thoughts around. That was how I did it and it takes time. It is hard and grieving is part of it. Rejection hurts like hell but like you said, you didn’t deserve it and you know you deserve better. Thanks for the update!
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Anna Posted: 1st March

    Hi Darlene;

    Thank you for giving me an outlet today. And thank you for all the hard work you do in responding so thoughtfully to people.

    Can you tell me more about how you came to see clearly that ‘rules’ don’t apply to abusers?


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd March

      Hi Anna
      This entire website is about how I did that. There are hundreds of articles available to you!
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Anna Posted: 1st March

    Hi GDW,
    So basically you could not function normally, and then when they were abusive, they would turn around and tell you the you were the ones abusing them because they were getting a divorce because of you. This despite the obvious fact that parents are responsible for ensuring that their children function normally and not the other way around.

    How terrifying a child to experience such a thing. You deserved strong and loving parents, and you got that. I’m sorry that you suffered.


  7. By: GDW Posted: 1st March


    He sounds exactly like my parents, specifically my mother. The pattern of harassment to the point of being unable to function, waiting for a reaction, and then screaming self righteously, “You’re abusing me!” when you’re the one in power, abusing your power.

    My sister and I used to lock our doors in the morning, we started skipping school from the stress, and we’d fake being asleep to avoid harassment. And yet, my mother and father were “Thinking about getting a divorce because of you”. I really wish this kind of behavior was outlawed, and enforced. It is so cruel, and makes me nauseated.

    Thanks for sharing- it helps to know we are not alone.


  8. By: Anna Posted: 1st March

    My bf who became a heroine addict at 21, grew up in a household where his single mother was a victim of abuse herself and suffered from PTSD. She woke up every morning raging her son.
    Fast forward to our relationship, and her son now weeks up every morning the same way. Granted he tries and has gotten better, but still unable to participate in the world because he starts the day negative and angry. He has had a huge negative impact on my life. He become so verbally abusive to the point where I cannot function properly myself. He has woken up and thrown my nursing textbooks across the room because he doesn’t agree with the way that I’m approaching my homework. He insists that it’s no big deal that he gets up late and that he’s trying, and yet, every few days or so wake up in a rage. Let’s start my day off in the most horrific way. I cannot function in a professional setting…I have explained this to him and he interested that on one hand it’s no big deal, and on the other hand that he will stop.

    This morning, I Started grinding coffee in a blender. It took 10 seconds. He woke up and came in the room and started screaming at me about how many times he has had to tell me to shut the door. He had been asleep for 10 hours and is off work today. When I Said how many times have I asked you not to yell at me in the morning, he responded with a comment about how I had yelled at him in the past. I said seriously, I forgot to shut the door….. you are screaming at me because you woke up. He continued to protest and get angry that I had left the door open. Then it got ugly. I was so angry that he would compare a simple mistake to his dishes morning attack which are holding me back from being positive and optimistic in life and my career. He continued about the door. He continued that it was no big deal that it is okay now and then if he wakes up miserable but it’s not now and then…. and it’s not simply forgetting to close the door. The point if this is that I became angry and told him to shut up. I think he was looking for me to get angry so that he could do what he always does, which is to turn around and say that I am the one. He kept telling me to look at my own behavior and how enraged I am. I told him to shut up and leave me alone I have someplace to go, I told him I need a clear head to work in the real world.
    Then he told me that I was the abuser. He told me that he was sick of it and that I needed to learn to control my anger. Imagine that! Someone very angry instigating another person so that they look better, and then telling them that they are the problem! He woke up raging at me and before I left the house told me that it was actually myself that was the angry abusive one. I want him to leave but unfortunately think that I am the one who is going to have to leave. He is just too far gone.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st March

      That is the typical pattern. The ‘rules’ don’t apply to abusive people. When I started to see this clearly I was able to finally stand up to it.
      Thank you for sharing.
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th February

    Everyone ~ I have just published a new post about Passive Abuse and how the message I got from passive abuse was the same as the message I got from more obvious abuse. I use my father as an example. (the only reason I don’t share much about my father is because there isn’t much to share; he didn’t bother himself with me too much; and that is passive abuse) I look forward to the comments on the new post;
    Here is the link ~ “Emotionally Unavailable Father; The message of passive abuse”
    Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Amy Howell Posted: 25th February

    THANK YOU so much for writing this Darlene!
    This is why I am estranged from my mother. Every time I tried to talk to he about something she did or said that hurt me, she would ignore me and give an example from my childhood of what a good mom she thinks she was. She is in complete denial and refuses to admit that she did abything wrong.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th February

      Hi Amy
      I am working on a post for next week about this subject. It’s a slippery one and very hard for the victim to transcend!
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Light Posted: 24th February


    It sounds like you are working on changing therapists. I know I wouldn’t be able to withstand hearing the kinds of things she is saying, even if other things were good with her.

    I too have struggled with loneliness. It sounds cliche, but I found that making friends really helps. At the same time, it can be hard to find people that “click” but for me there is value in just being out and socializing. Even with my close friends though, I am cautious about what I say about family because I don’t want to hear hurtful responses from them. And I have, which can be so disappointing.

    Finally, I got my first kitty companion. What a difference having a pet makes! Really, really helps with the loneliness. Would that be an option for you?

  12. By: GDW Posted: 23rd February

    Hi Darlene-

    Thanks for the feedback. It was helpful to hear the mention about personal experience, and yes I do see there is a big difference between a slight crossover and telling someone else’s story entirely.

    I don’t know if I in some way offended you or if I am misreading? I am certainly not claiming to have your experience or training. I noticed that you mentioned the fact it was professional a few times. I suppose my blog may be more of a journal type (though I’ve been through so much therapy its hard to tell sometimes). It is helpful, for me to be able to exchange stories and hope. I am starting to see yes, healing is possible, and after learning how common it is both online and off, I agree, it is not talked about much. This feels intuitively like what I should do now- write and be honest about my life.

    Hi Light-

    Thanks for that. One of the recent posts I read was about you and your fear of standing up to your family, and fear of being alone. I just wanted to say, there is nothing worse than that fear. And after you stand up to them and they reject you, which is often the case, you realize you were alone all the time. Even when you were with them. If they didn’t respect you, didn’t see you as a human being, they didn’t really SEE you. You might as well have not been there, if that makes sense. Sometimes I think “I am so alone” and then I think, “Wait, I was alone and disregarded when I was in the same room as they were, in the same car! They didn’t respond to hunger, crying, etc…” They only took notice of you when it would benefit them, like you were a servant or something. So all you are doing is removing people who suck the life out of you.
    (this next part is partly related to this but also a question, and about where I’m at, so keep reading!)

    To anyone who may be reading:

    Right now I am at a very lonely point. I have stood up to a number of people, and having told the truth, I do feel better about myself. However, I have isolated myself. I have isolated myself from people who are abusive, or enablers, but that is most of the people who were in my life. I am not sure how to act. Who to be. All I know is who I won’t be (a victim) and what I won’t put up with (abuse, because I can recognize it now).
    It’s terrifying. There are times that I think I can’t do it alone, though I have been more stable than I ever was with FOO and others who did not respect me. I have not spent a decent amount of time with anyone in weeks, been all by myself. I even took a break from my therapist, because it was extremely triggering to listen to her try to convince me that “my parents really loved me”. She is a wonderful kind woman, who has primarily very good advice, but these ideas are like poison for me. I am just starting to form my own opinions, and cannot afford to be doubting/arguing with an authority figure on my parents intentions. I have to help me, and see the truth. No one understands what I’m going through, I don’t know who to go to for help, without being grossly invalidated, even by those with good intent, and high intelligence.

    The fact that most people do not see things the way I do, “they did the best they could”/”are you sure they did that”/”what was your part” etc just makes getting triggered a daily occurrance, and dealing with people is too exhausting. It’s not healthy to avoid people, but buying into a false belief system isn’t either.

    What should I do?
    I don’t know where any of you are from but if anyone knows of any good therapists in the Bay Area, I would be so grateful!



    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th February

      Hi GDW
      Sorry for the misunderstanding and no you did not offend me in any way. What I mean is that writing this blog for me is not cathartic; I don’t write it as part of my healing process. I don’t write from “my pain” here. I was very intentional when I started this website but the kind of blog and reason for your blog is different than mine. It may be helpful for you to include stuff about your sister if you are writing yours for you as part of your healing process. I kept an offline journal and included all kinds of stuff about my siblings when I was going through my process and it was so helpful for me to write that stuff out. I don’t know how I would have done it if it were a blog that might be seen by them. I don’t think that I could have written with the freedom I wanted to if there was a chance it may have been seen, but that is just me. I hope this helps explain.

      I found myself in a very lonely place when I stood up to everyone too. That is such a hard place to be in. A note about the therapist that is sticking up for your parents… she might be a kind woman but telling you that is NOT kind; it is invalidating. Most therapists offer a short phone time to see if you would be a good fit. It might work well to ask the next one what his or her stand is on dealing with abusive parents before you start the process with them. Being asked “what was your part in it” stuff is exactly that old system that we are trying to escape!
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Light Posted: 22nd February

    GDW – I know you weren’t directing your last two entries to me, but I just wanted to tell you that your posts about your experiences sadden me, and make me angry with the people who did this to you and your sister. I wish you all the strength in the world to overcome your past, and I hope positive good people come into your life. —Light

  14. By: GDW Posted: 22nd February

    Hi Darlene,

    I have started blogging recently. I included the things my parents did to my sister in my first post. A part of me feels bad, and a part of me feels like this information needs to get out there- the things that were done to her were horrific and for literally no reason. The things my parents did to my sister make up about half of the abuse- there is just so much. Is this disrespectful though? I have no problem talking about me, or my parents, what do you think? What about when things were done to us collectively? It seems more ok to say “my sister and I” than just a story about her. I hate editing myself, but am considering taking it down. Hmmm…

    You seem to understand the concept of respect quite well. What is your philosophy? I feel like I might feel guilty that her info is out there, or I’d feel guilty for not having the information out there to others who can relate, she might get angry…

    It really would make me sick to think this info could get out there and won’t. Like when my father kicked her down the stairs, locked her outside to sleep outside, etc. Those are clear factual examples of what is a wrong way to treat a child and it helps validate me that yes, these are dangerous, malicious people. Also I feel like if they read my blog and just see me ‘whining’, they will say I’m a drama queen, annoying, lying, etc. But if they are reminded of the things they did to her, that bother me deeply, that are things I just witnessed, it’s harder to say, “G is just feeling sorry for herself”. Hmmmm….


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 23rd February

      Hi GDW
      I don’t include stories about my siblings as far as our childhoods go and what happened when “they” were children but that is my personal choice. I try to keep this about my personal exp. although sometimes there is a slight crossover. This is also a professional blog and I don’t write this like a journal type blog. I started writing after I started to work professionally in this field because I have such a passion for sharing the message that healing is possible and because I realized how few people talk about abusive families. Having said that, only you can make this personal decision.
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: GDW Posted: 22nd February


    This is so true. I remember being taken against my will to see a rape counselor after a horrible year living in squalor and hunger. It may have looked ‘kind’ but my father took me against my will. Also, the rape counselor was one of his co-workers so I was I believe, a pawn once again.
    While he appeared to be helping me, he also told me that “At least you learned your lesson” after I told him I was afraid to be in public (stalking by the guy who molested me) so…how much did he really care about how I felt?
    He is now getting a promotion, does loads of volunteer work with this woman (all very public events in a small community so he looks like a good guy), and appeared on TV with Miss America. He used me, but instead of saying, “thanks for being my pawn” he continued to blame and villify me for his problems! All while saying “I’m great/I don’t have to go to therapy” And at the same time, gossiping with the rape counselor about me (it got back to me), refusing to support me emotionally or financially to go to college, making an appointment and talking to my psychiatrist (against the law), gossiping about me to my therapist with whom I had had a good relationship, trying to get me put into a mental hospital (they wouldn’t admit me because I wasn’t unstable enough), breaking promises he made explicitly to me and my aunt regarding finances so that I once more had to live with unsafe people. I would be with some creep right now no doubt if not for my aunt helping me with college (though he won’t help, I couldn’t get financial aid because he makes so much money).

    Ugh! It makes me sick.
    It seems like he will go to any lengths to turn people who had a) previously liked me or b) say they like me behind his back, but side with him when they feel it benefits them.
    He seems to especially be interested in cutting off my support systems, gossiping to the people I need most.

    This information really does need to get out!

  16. By: Lisa Posted: 20th February

    Hello Darlene,
    I haven’t yet read through all the information you have shared here, but I want to thank you for posting. I’ve been subject to several abusive relationships—All vastly different—which have left me broken and wrecked in every facet of life. How these relationships developed and the “whys” of course I have been investigating. Although I had different reasons for continuing with them to a certain point, in most cases I was compelled after I left by their actions and continued unwelcome influence. They continue to confuse which is usually what lands us in the cycle of an abusive relationship—questioning our intuition versus judgement in a state of self-doubt. It’s how they control. What isn’t so often addressed I have found is how abusers collude and use others to continue to abuse and exert their destructive power on their target nor how a community responds incorrectly to abuse. There needs to be more public awareness of how to deal with someone who suffers at the hands of abusers. In my case all blamed me and all believed whatever he or she said no matter how outlandish or unfounded while knowing the damage that was done to me physically, financially, socially. Society blames the victim more often than not—It’s easier. Thanks again. And also for the platform to discuss the subject.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st February

      Hi Lisa
      Welcome to efb!
      There is a ton of information in this site. The solution is not in understanding the abusers so I don’t focus my work on that although I have written about it in this site. The solution for me was in seeing how I got sucked into it and then learning to stand up to it which only happened when I understood how my self esteem was damaged in the first place. All blamed me too which was one of the lies that I had so much trouble from childhood NOT believing. This whole site is about how I learned to see things through a different grid, stood up for myself and found freedom and wholeness. 🙂
      Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Darlene

  17. By: Mimi Posted: 19th February

    Darlene and Pam,
    Thank you Pam. I’ve missed you too. Thank you both for responding. What you write is profound Pam. The careful balance in what is within our control, and what is not for us to control. After wading through the crap and coming out of the fog, seeing things the way they really are…. that’s when wisdom begins to come. Not a minute before. When I was processing all the stuff about my mother, I couldn’t learn anything. I was incapacitated for months. After getting to a place of acceptance, now, I am able to learn.

    Recently, I have been babysitting for a girl who is just out of prison and living in a home that I have been supporting for quite some time. It came to my attention that this young girl needs someone to keep her 1 year old child while she attends college. She went straight from prison into the local community college. I felt the nudge to help her. In keeping this little boy, I have observed him and his needs, and myself and what my needs were at his tender age, and what my beliefs are now that I’ve been nearly two years into the discovery of my mother’s dysfunction. I can look at this precious boy and realize that when he cries, he generally has a basic need. When he puts his arms up for me to hold him, it’s an honor. It’s not just my responsiblity to keep him safe. I am part of the formation of his tender little mind and heart. I don’t think I could take it this seriously when I was under my mother’s beliefs. It’s my responsibility to help him feel safe and secure in his surroundings. It’s my responsiblity to teach him. I’m not saying this is what his mommy has put on me. I’m saying this baby is in my care, and in order to help him not be fearful, or uncomfortable, or neglected, and to help him develop trust and affection, I am a part of this. On some deeply buried level, it feels like I’m giving him what I missed, and in doing so, I’m reparenting myself. I can look at him and realize needs I never knew a 1 year old has before. I can try to connect with him because he’s a tiny human….. rather than buy into the age old approach that they are spoiled by affection, they are to be seen and not heard, they are just a little figure in the house that deserves to be treated like a fixture. Something the adults step around, keep walking and ignore. I feel blessed by this opportunity to observe a 1 year old. Doing so has helped me, perhaps as much as I am helping him and his mother. I am in awe of what his needs truly are. It makes me realize perhaps my mother never observed me, ever. It’s said that nobody knows us like our mother. Nothing is further from the truth in my case. My mother doesn’t have a clue who I am, or what I’m about. She believes what she’s told me about myself, and that’s how she would describe me. Not by observing who I really am…even at the age of 1 year. She told me she could never imagine me being a nurse and was surprised that I was a success. If she’d observed me when I was a very young girl, she might have seen it coming. I was a caregiver even back then.

    Anyhow, I appreciate you both being honest in the struggles you faced with your own children, and overcoming them. As Dr. Phil says, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. I acknowledge my wrong approaches at times. I am free to embrace my responsibility to change, and to repair any damage I did along the way.

    With Love,

  18. By: GDW Posted: 19th February

    I am feeling so positive when I hear things like this. I am far from the end of my journey- but far from the beginning. To get where you are would be divine- and I’m gonna get there! 🙂

  19. By: carol Posted: 19th February

    i have worked hard to be able to say and believe what was posted in green. has taken me a long time and still get really bad days but things are getting there slowly

  20. By: Julie Posted: 18th February

    Hi, this is the first time I am writing. My dad was murdered on his way to work. So my mom was left with 3 kids, which I know was hard. But she was so resentful about being left with the kids. She worked all the time and told u she preferred to be t work rather than with us. By 7 yrs old, I had to cook the dinner. It became a total free for all. We were all Under 10 yrs without any supervision or encouragement. Her rages were completely unpredictable. We always hid when her car came in the driveway. If you said no to anything, she would lock you out of the house all night, no coat, nothing. I started to learn to sneak back in hough the basement window. My older brother was very abusive so she left me to deal with him. No surprise that i don’t deal well with raging people during my career.when I was 8, she sent me o camp because she wanted to take classes for work. She did work hard but it was her main source of Satisfaction. I broke my ankle and when the camp called, she said “how stupid of you” , its not my fault you did simethin so stupid! and left me there for a month. Dirty clothes, not enough food, and she became a hoarder so by the 6th grade I was living in 4 feet of junk and told to ignore it. She came home and went right to bed. I was completely isolated and we 3 kids raised ourselves and all got as far away as possible. My 2 older brothers won full scholarships to Harvard, but she still criticized them. I got accepted but no cholarship so I became the “slacker” and “loser” in the family. She wanted me o stay him an go to Community College because I was too stupid to win a cholarship, was a slut an wouldbprobablybget pregnant and embarrass her more. I did get away, got thru an Ivy Masters program, had 2 books published, lived overseas for 5 years, learned 2 languages fluently, became a VP at a Fortune 50 company by 34 yrs. why did I need that woman’s approval so badly? And I continued to take care of her and the verbal and emotional abuse continued. She died 3 years ago and told me that I was a big failure because I wasn’t married and for all the other things. I have never been able to tell many people about this and the men have run the other way if I said even small stuff. All while she died in2 tons of trash. Now 2 years after her death, my brothers have both told me that I’m a failure and have slowing been cutting me out of all family events. not even a call when i broke my back in 2009. i paid for their kids college educations! How stupid do I feel? I always acted like this didn’t matter, I would get through. But now what happens when you are alone and resentful? I have tried 4 years of therapy but he keeps on focusing on awareness. How do I move to the next stage? I’m 46 yrs old and the road ahead doesn’t look pleasant. I’ve run out of denial juice. And my friends tell me, what you, you can handle anything! Ha! I only handle their problems, not mine. Any suggestions are welcomed.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 20th February

      Hi Julie
      What a horrific childhood that you had. I understand and relate to what you are sharing here. Something that really helped me move forward with this was realizing how wrong they were/are. I had been defined this way my whole life and I didn’t realize that they were wrong/ their judgements are not true and are really about them. In this site I have written the ways that I moved forward ito healing. Awareness is not what helped me, looking at the damage that was caused to me in my childhood validating myself where I had never been validated and seeing things through a more truthful grid is what helped me. This is a process that takes some time. I hope that you will consider continuing to read the things that I have written about the process of healing.
      Hugs, Darlene

  21. By: Charmaine Posted: 18th February

    I thank GOD every day that I was raised by a parent, yes a single mother (raising 3 girls on her) that did not believe she needed to use strict disciplinary methods in order to keep us in line and neither did she believe in controlling us to the stage that many parents did when I was young, neither did she spank, slap us across the face, grab us by the ear or humiliate us in public as I see so many parents do with their children today. All three of us turned out relatively okay, other than my being born with a mental illness – my mother believed in talking to us trying to make us understand our wrong doings and not speaking above us or shouting and screaming at us to make us understand.

    This is my way of trying to get through to kids today. Even as a mom.. I do not believe in speaking above the child just because I the mom, or make them feel I am better than them and the one with authority so they have no choice but to listen. BECAUSE quite frankly, whether we are a parent, authority figure, older or whatever, we are not better than the kids and can often be worse than them..

    I feel the best way to get kids to listen or want to listen to you these days – is let them know you do not feel they are lesser than you and you are willing to talk to them at their own level, calmly and rationally discuss the issue at hand, even ask them how they would see this behavior coming from someone else, let them know how whatever behavior is unacceptable. If there is to be punishment, maybe ask them what the punishment should be <<< more meant for an older child. But for the younger ones just speak to them and let them know what they did or the behavior is not nice and how it made you feel, I feel most young kids will feel something just from this discussion.

    But by screaming, yelling at them and spanking them is only going to want to make a parent or authority figure want to challenge the parent or act out more.

    My mother use to have this saying, you can go allot further with 'honey than you can with sugar'.

    *Just a side note: just giving my own opinion on some of the comments above.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st February

      Hi Charmaine
      I just realized that I did not answer your comment; my blog must have had a glitch in it; I realized today that I have not been getting notifications for this particular post!
      I agree that yelling and screaming at kids is not the way to have great relationships with them! I think that there needs to be a LOT of calm communication between parents and children and that children need to be allowed to have a voice when it comes to this too if there is going to be successful parenting!
      Thanks for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

  22. By: GDW Posted: 17th February

    Hi Darlene,

    Could you remind me what article this comment is originally from? I am interested in seeing follow up comments, but can’t seem to find it and I forgot to subscribe!


  23. By: Connie Posted: 15th February

    Love the format you used here. Very nice to read with so many perspectives encapsulated nicely. You might want to keep it in mind when compiling your book. Very Nice.
    And as always, I can identify with each and every comment made in the above article…uncanny.

    Thanks Darlene,

  24. By: Ginger Posted: 15th February

    This topic stirs up so many memories. I remember when I was little, my grandfather had come over to visit. My parents started another one of their arguments (which always started but nothing of importance). My father, as per usual, became violent towards my mother. He dragged her into the bedroom…..as it was his habit to do it behind closed doors….as if we couldn’t hear or imagine what was going on.

    I remember looking to my grandfather for help. I remember also feeling embarrassed…..because he was exposed to our dirty family secret. My grandfather surprised me by just walking out. He didn’t say a word. He just left. He abandoned me and pretended that our dirty family secret didn’t exist.

    I remember another time when I was being abused by my mother, I just lost it. I ran to my bedroom which was at the front of the house, opened up the window and started screaming. My mother had chased me into the room and she was still smacking me but I just kept screaming as loudly as I could…..but noone came.

    Even from a young age, I knew that our neighbours could hear the craziness coming from our house……but noone ever intervened. I often wonder how much heartache and dysfunction could have been avoided for me and my brothers if someone had bothered to care.

    Gosh – health professionals…..they’re like people. The good ones are so rare. I got lucky the second time around.

    The first one had me so confused. I was still an absolute mess from my nervous breakdown. It took me months to reveal to her about my childhood……and it actually only happened because my children were distressed about spending time with my parents. After my nervous breakdown, my children would go over about once or twice a week. Over time, my children would complain about going over.

    I hate to admit but it took me a while to understand why they were distressed….my parents had become so use to my children being around, they started acting as though my children were part of the furniture….and fight and scream around my babies. My poor babies have never previously been exposed to their madness. I confronted my parents and I was told that they could do whatever they liked in their own house and would not be told how to behave.

    I told my parents they could do whatever they liked. They could kill themselves if that is what they wanted……but not while they cared for my children.

    I stopped my children from visiting my parents for months. They have since started seeing their grandparents again (whom they love – they are still too young to understand) – however visits are always supervised by either myself or another trusted family member.

    Anyway, I told my psychologist about my run in with my crazy parents and she said that I was wrong to be so disrespectful towards my parents. She reminded me that my parents were old and despite their faults, they obviously loved their family…….and I was punishing them by not letting them see my children. Her suggestion was that if my parents argued, I should teach my children to laugh it off…and I should do the same.

    This same therapist also advised me that if I loved my husband, I should accept him and his choices. This was after I had discovered my husband was cheating and was a sex addict. She claimed that there was nothing wrong with him…..but how I viewed the situation.

    My conversations with her were so crazy that I doubted myself. I would come away from the sessions feeling horrible and sad. I didn’t understand my feelings. If my therapist told me that I was wrong, perhaps I was….but why then did I always come away from those sessions feeling so bad.

    One day, I woke up. It took months to recover (not completely) from my nervous breakdown…..but I remember one day I started feeling better and stronger.

    On this day, I was scheduled to see my therapist…..but the day was different from the other times I had seen her. On the this day, I started screaming. Just like I did when I was a child begging for someone to come and help.

    The best thing that my crazy therapist did was to refer me to a Mental Health Clinic. And that is how I found my second therapist……and she helped save me and my husband.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 15th February

      Wow Ginger
      You had a very distructive therapist! There are a few articles in this site about that kind of abuse! Alice Miller (books) has some great information about therapists like this and how they are coming from thier own dysfunction. T=
      Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  25. By: kate Posted: 15th February

    medical doctor gets money for psychiatric referral

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