Are You Exhausted from Trying to Be Stronger than You Feel?


beautyI saw a quote that said, “I’m exhausted from trying to be stronger than I feel.” And it really hit me; we live in a world that teaches things like “fake it till you make it” and “love heals all wounds” but the truth is that those lovely little phrases didn’t work for me. Pretending that I was fine and “believing” that LOVE would heal all wounds when the people who had done the wounding were telling me to “get over it” and “stop making such a big deal out of nothing” didn’t assist with the pain that I was in. It wasn’t until I realized what love really is that I was able to understand how love could heal my wounds. It wasn’t until I acknowledged where the exhaustion came from and how the wounds got there in the first place that I found healing.

I was exhausted too. I was exhausted from trying to be happy and from trying to be grateful for a life that seemed to be getting harder and harder. I was exhausted from being who other people wanted and expected me to be. I was exhausted from always trying harder and exhausted because nothing I did ever being enough.

I was exhausted because nobody heard me and because nobody cared that I was exhausted.

And I just couldn’t understand it. I believed that I might be the only person in the world that didn’t know how to make simple “gratitude” work for me; although I was practicing gratitude, it wasn’t working. I felt defeated. I felt stifled. I felt oppressed, I was weary and plain down to the bone tired. 

I believed that I had nothing to be unhappy about. And that made me feel guilty and ashamed of myself. I believed that I was living my dream; great husband, three amazing kids, ~ living on a huge farm/ranch with my own horses and the best dog in the world.

But I wasn’t happy. I was exhausted. 

I was 44 years old and heading into my 4th major depression since my first child was born. I was doing all the things I was told to do ~ I was getting outside every day, I was doing a little exercise, I was practicing gratitude, reading self help books, I was really trying but I kept falling down and getting back up was getting harder and harder.

I had been trying to be stronger than I felt for most of my life.

Trying to be grateful,

Trying to “let go” and “move on”

Trying to “Live and Let live”

Trying to “be me”

Trying to forgive people that denied they had ever done anything wrong. Trying to accept the blame for things that were never my fault, never my responsibility or my doing.

Trying and trying and trying… I was exhausted from trying.

Today I live in peace and harmony. I haven’t had a depression for over 10 years. I am excited to jump out of bed every morning and see what the day has in store for me. I love my work as a professional coach helping others find the freedom and wholeness that I found, teaching and sharing the ways that I found it. My kids are all grown up and have moved out of the house; they are all at different stages of beginning their adult lives but they come home often and there is a lot of laughter, love and celebration when they are home. We have real relationships based on mutual respect and equal value. My husband and have a partnership that is rarely experienced in a marriage spanning over 25 years.

So what happened? How did I get from exhausted to excited? How did I rebuild that missing bridge? How did I recover my self-esteem? How did I finally move forward in order to let go?

It turned out that I had been trying to put the cart before the horse.

I found a way to look at the roots of where the broken began. I looked at the truth about how I had been falsely defined by the actions and inactions of others. I realized that I had been objectified from a young age and it had been communicated to me though the careless actions and inactions of people that my purpose in life was to serve the needs of others. My actual needs were invalidated. I had been brainwashed to see myself as not enough, not worthy, not loveable because seeing myself that way enabled controlling and manipulative people to get what they wanted from me. I was exhausted because (as I was taught to do) I kept trying harder and it was never enough. I was exhausted from trying to prove that I WAS worthy, and that I WAS a good person, and while I believed that my heart was misunderstood, I was brainwashed to also believe that something was wrong with me.

I found a way to look at what happened to me. How did the depressions start? I realized my depressions were a way for me to shut down. They were like a fuzzy blanket of protection; a coping method just like the way that I dissociated was a coping method. Just like addiction is a coping method. And after years of coping I was running out of the will to cope. I was running out of the energy to keep trying. I was giving up on the road to conquering because I didn’t think there was actually a way to achieve it.

But there is a way. There is hope. And I found success! 

Finding a new way to see things enabled me to validate myself in all the areas and events that I had been invalidated. I found a new way to see myself. I found a new way to see my struggles and finally stated; “no wonder I was depressed! No wonder I was sinking! No wonder I felt like I was losing the fight!”

Because as long as I saw myself the way that I had been brainwashed to see myself, I WAS losing the fight! And the only way that I finally saw myself through the grid of truth about me was when I saw how I came to believe that I was not enough, that something was wrong with me, that I was somehow defective, that I was unworthy of love and that I was powerless and had no choice.

The TRUTH is that I HAVE a choice and when I saw myself through the lens of what happened to me, instead of through the lens of what is wrong with me, I was able to take my choice back.

I took my power back. I took my life back and I got ME back!

I have energy to spare today and I am free of the oppression that held me back for so very long.

And You can have this too!!

I started this website over 6 and a half years ago and today there are over 450 full articles about how I took my life back with comments in the discussions totaling almost 42,000! Thousands of people have read my e-book (see the side bar here) and I have received thousands of thank you notes. I have worked one on one (see the coaching and consults info page) with hundreds of people all over the world helping them find what I have found. I am driven by my passion to tell others this amazing discover that I made. If you are able, please help me spread this message of hope and healing by sharing through the social media buttons and please feel free to comment.

Join me on the Journey to Freedom!

Darlene Ouimet

Are you aware my of my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you and you would like to find out “HOW” I broke out of the oppression I lived in, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. I’ve received hundreds of thank you notes from people that have bought my book. Get yours here for 9.97 through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

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Categories : Freedom & Wholeness



Fantastic article Darlene,

I was tired of people expecting me to smile 24/7, when really inside I was a mess but no one had a clue, and they didn’t care.

Cheers Hope xx


Hey thanks Hope!
I think that some didn’t WANT to have a clue ~ they would have had to face the problem so it was so much easier not to notice. For others it worked for them not to notice OR care. The more I go forward the more I understand why these people are the way they are… so sad that they have to live in such a shut down manner in order to survive. The awesome thing is that WE don’t have to be shut down with them anymore. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


I can relate to this… pretending that everything was fine, and I’m realizing that since I spent so long trying to be what others wanted me to be, that I haven’t a clue any more about who I am and what I like. Even worse, when I was told to do an activity in which I had to identify my feelings 3 times a day, I couldn’t even figure out what I was feeling.

Looks like I have a lot of work to do. I’m glad to know now that there are others around who understand.


I understand the exhaustion. And the frustration. It is very tiresome to try to get people who don’t care about you to see you the way you want them to. It’s like bumping into a brick wall over and over again, trying to find the opening that will get you through it, but it never happens. It won’t happen with certain people. No matter how hard you try to prove that you are not the way they defined you as, they will not change. I’ve put so much energy into trying harder with certain people, and with no positive results. No wonder it’s exhausting. So much energy expenditure with nothing coming out if it. The truth is, they are never gonna see me differently. They like the old system so they are gonna resist any possibility of changing it. It WORKS for them, but not for me. I need to stop trying with them and focus my energies elsewhere; like on me and my needs. That’s where there is the possibility that something good can happen! Thank as always Darlene for keeping that candle of hope burning!


Thanks Darlene. It is a comfort to see this today. I woke up this morning with major anxiety. I am supposed to go to a funeral service for my aunt today. I cannot go. I would have to face a lot of people who will look at me with judgement because I am not in contact with my Parents. I cannot face that.
My mother created this whole mess. Her emotional abuse and narcisstic behaviour sucked up every ounce of self esteem I could have ever had growing up.
I need to let go of the people and things that are holding me back from the rest of my life. I am 52 years old. I cannot live the rest of this life in fear.
I want to pack up and go far away. Away from relatives especially. I have so many feelings right now. Guilt, for not going to the funeral service, Fear of facing my extended family, Anger at my mother who emotionally abused me, Disappointmemt in myself for not being strong enough,Fear of what my future holds, Confusion because I don’t know what to do next. I’m tired of all this.
I’m so tired of this.


Another exhausting situation is dealing with people who give you the silent treatment. What is the best way too handle those jerks?


Hi Elsa
That’s what I found too; that I didn’t even know who I was anymore and I didn’t know what my feelings were. I was actually afraid that if I identified a ‘feeling’ it might be the wrong feeling. What a mess. But the good news is that I no longer have any of those issues! I have my feelings back and I have ME back!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Amber
Yes exactly. I got my energy back when I stopped applying it is hopeless places. (and when I focused on the truth and healing I realized that if there was a chance that they might want to ‘see me’ it was a much better chance if I stood up to the dysfunction.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Nadia
Going to funerals is one of the hardest things! It’s okay if you can’t go.
My heart goes out to you.
Hugs, Darlene


When people ignore me I hold my head up high and keep the smile on my face. I am fine with their silence. I have realized that these people play all kinds of games and they have never noticed that I am not playing anymore.
Hugs, Darlene


I can totally relate to the exhaustion. And it’s funny (not haha funny) how the healing/self-help quotes can become just another added component. Sometimes I feel like society grades you on how much you embody the ideals of strength, self-esteem, self-empowerment, etc., like this horrible paradox that you can only be granted worth (and thereby have any self-esteem) if you already have self-esteem and everything you do exudes it to the world visibly. Heaven forbid you’re cranky (let alone depressed), ate junk food instead of vegetables, did something dysfunctional and “needy,” were timid, weak, passive (or assertive in a way they didn’t like), needed help (or said no to another person’s idea of help that they think you need), failed to be zen when faced with jerks, were unhappy when there was a reason to be unhappy. If you’re allowed to be unhappy, it’s amazing how much easier it is to actually be happy. Of course you want all that stuff (empowerment, self-esteem, etc.) but it’s really more of a by-product of the choices you make, which may go totally unappreciated, may be completely messy, totally un-zen, but got you to where you need to be. Then you’re happy to be alive. Then you might exude some of those traits that apparently give you value (but then who the heck cares because you just realized you always had value, no matter what). Of course in that world you have to fake it till you make it because you can’t be part of the club otherwise. It’s interesting how much it seems set up to benefit people with power, to keep the status quo and victim blame in a sense, even if many of the people who push this stuff are well-meaning, if brainwashed.

Amber, I relate to the silent treatment exhaustion. I’ve decided to not get mad at those people anymore because it always ended up with more silence, then me questioning myself, apologizing, explaining myself. It’s often a power thing and if I get them to come back around, even apologize for “their part” somehow it’s like nothing was accomplished and I feel like I’m again a dysfunctional person who hasn’t accomplished all the things I’ve accomplished in my life. I feel like I’ve gone back to square one and who am I kidding, pretending to be in any way “healed” or whatever, when if I just didn’t react, I could avoid all that junk. So I’ve decided to opt for what Darlene suggests and I think I’ll be more and more okay with however they decide to behave. It’s definitely triggering, though, because it’s so much in common with feeling invisible with family, emotional neglect, etc. I think if someone gives you the silent treatment who you’re close to and have always had a good relationship with, you can also just ask is everything alright? I haven’t heard from you in a while… and see how that goes (even if you get the sense you’re being given a silent treatment, you can go in asking the question as if you’re totally ignorant, like maybe something happened that has nothing to do with you, but if they keep up their silence from that point, that’s when I’ll disengage from now on, for sure. Also, sometimes I wonder if people disengage because they’ve come to conclusions about me that are not necessarily true and maybe if I said hey, what’s up? and we addressed it, the problem could get solved if we’re both reasonable. I say that because sometimes I do and say things I later disagree with and don’t think are representative of how I really think/feel and would change if given a do-over, and sometimes it’s little things, but could maybe be enough for another person to decide that’s who I am, but that’s also their decision, whether they’re going to fix me down as the kind of person who won’t hear them out, you know? Also, like I’m not worth it. So… well, then maybe they’re not worth it, or at the very least the relationship isn’t worth it, since none of this is particularly “personal,” just everyone’s “issues” in conflict, or whatever.


Elsa, I can so relate to your post. I feel exactly the same way. I have no idea who I am or what I like, and am slowly trying to figure all this out! It’s hard when you have lived your whole life trying to be who others want you to be.

Amber, I used to get so much anxiety when my family would give me the silent treatment and then I would do whatever it took to try and get them to talk to me again. I still get hurt feelings big time, but I don’t chase after them anymore. I have a sister who does that all the time, she will be done with me and I wont hear from her for months! It’s so hurtful – and then she tries to buy her way back into my life. I just heard from her yesterday after not hearing from her for 2-1/2 months, trying to get me to go to a show with her and give me a printer. I said no thanks, but it was with some anxiety because I figured I’d have to deal with a temper tantrum from her. Last year she tried to make a grand gesture after not hearing from her all summer and I said no thank you, she went off on me, this time she just said ok. I just get tired of her treatment of me, I’m deserving of mutual respect, but my family can’t give that to me.


I don’t even know where to start. I’ve always thought I was the only one who felt like that. You took the thoughts and put them out on the page and I was like, I’m NOT the only one that thinks like that? There’s a real reason I’m tired and it isn’t me?

I’ve done a lot of healing over the years. But I’m just beginning to realize, thanks to you, how I was groomed from birth to believe I was the problem. Dad used to come home drunk from work and yell at me, “You were born! It’s all your fault!” I was in my crib when he started doing that. I had to apologize for being alive once I was old enough to walk.

He taught me I could avoid getting beat in two ways. One was, I could tell him all the ways I was a bad person. The other would be to pull his zipper down and get to work. That training started early too.

I never talk about what happened to me. I figure no one needs to hear it. I never told my therapist the worst things because she would cry. I figured she couldn’t handle it so I kept quiet. I’ve kept some things secret for over 40 years. I am only now starting to write some of them down to set myself free. I am getting too old to be carrying them!


I was just thinking today how tired I am. Excavating all of this old junk is just exhausting, and I find that when I try to force my way through, I get even more exhausted. Thank you so much for posting this Darlene! This is just the validation I needed today.


I have been feeling bone weary exhausted….didn’t know why. Getting much much worse. Experiencing health issues because of everything, I just feel a bundle of nerves, hopeless. I can’t see a way out. Everyone I’ve spoken to says its a very omplex situation. Worst part is….I just can’t win. Every time I turn around theres something else. Irs all my fault but I deserve nothing.
I don’t look forward to mornings. Was just thinking that today….I wish I was someone who leapt out of bed happy to greet the day. Instead its, I wonder what will be flung my way today. I need help. Now my stomachisn’t working right. I am under way too much stress. I just can’t win.


I’ve been bone weary all my adult life. The impact on my health in the present because of the past, is emense and dibilitating to say the least. Yet I keep trying to feel better about myself, dragging myself to keep doing the things I don’t have the energy for, because if I don’t I won’t do anything. It gets old being this tired all the time.


Post #12
I read your post and cried for you too. We all need someone to cry for us and be outraged at the abuse, neglect and outright touture we went through as small children. We did not ask to be born nor did we deserve what we received. That’s what Emerging From Broken does: gives people a place to vent their feelings and issues and receive support and validation.
Sometimes I wonder if I was always hypersensitive to others emotions, imagery . . .. Or if it was a result of my childhood neglect/abuse. I myself never told anyone because no one cared. I never saw a therapist, that would inconvenience my Mother. We kids were trophies to be trotted out and admired and quickly pushed aside for more adult talk. What my parents taught me was to stay out of striking/grabbing distance, and to run very fast at the first hint of an attack.
Currently I’m in a very good situation, living with my identical twin sister. We are both divorced with grown children who are out of the house. I retired from the military with a pension and disability check so I’m financially independent and don’t have to work. We travel and do as we please and have good times together. However, I’m still sad a lot and tired too. I started reading EFB four years ago and have never made a post because I have some weird fear of stalkers.
I’ve done a lot of work on myself mentally over these four years and feel more stable most of the time. I’ve adopted a more positive attitude and don’t watch the fear mongering news nor do I allow people to talk doom and gloom in my presence. If people talk bad about someone else I end the conversation with a “God bless them” and some (usually humorous) statement to justify/excuse their behavior. I keep telling myself that feeling sad and tired is OK and it will be better tomorrow or the next day. I get different daily inspirational quotes via email and one said that we are all born happy and fulfilled. It is our thoughts (fear/despair) that keep getting in the way of us realizing it.

God bless all who end up here on EFB. I am praying that we can all have some peaceful times ahead.



Oh, Darlene !

The first part of this blog could have been written by ME too !

Congratulations on rescuing yourself.

And THANK YOU for using your experience to help the rest of us who are struggling with the same issues.

Peace, Love and Blessings!


“when I saw myself through the lens of what happened to me, instead of through the lens of what is wrong with me.” Darlene, this simple validation is denied to so many people. If you can’t forgive, there is something wrong with you. If you can’t forget, there is something wrong with you. If you can’t move on, something is wrong with you. So many are crying out for validation, that what was done to them was wrong, and they have a right to be angry about it. Thank you so much for being brave and sharing your story and your understandings about the effects of abuse. You’re amazing!


Alaina and HeatherN, messages 10 and 11; thank you both for your response to my comment on silent treatment. This is something I have endured from former friends as well as my mother. My mother used silence to manipulate people, and I’ve seen her do this to relatives numerous times over the years, usually for some minor issue. Shedid this to me when I was a child, and I remember the feelings I had, including misplaced guilt on myself, shame, fear of abandonment to name a few. I coped by withdrawing, making myself invisible so I wouldn’t risk doing some small thing that might upset her, or even have her manufacture some perceived offense that she could attribute to me. WhenI grew up, she would try the manipulate me through guilt to get me to do things for her, some being very unreasonable things. I’m f I refused….you guessed it…,silent treatment! She once asked me for an amount of money which would have wiped out what we had been saving for my sons education. When I said ” no”, one of the reasons being that I knew she would never pay it back, she gave me the silent treatment and disappeared from my life for three years. ( which actually I found some benefits in that no contact period!).
With the friends that suddenly began giving the silent treatment ( there was no disagreement leading up to this) I did attempt to start a conversation with them to find out why, but was met with such rudeness and unwillingness to discuss anything that I will not try again. Im thinking that it’s THEIR dysfunction, because a healthy minded person would want to get things on the table to try to resolve the issue. Actually, I don’t think they want to resolve anything, because they might have to face some of their own shortcomings. Alaina, yes, I agree that when people act this way today that it brings up those memories of my mother and her guilt tripping and silent treatments from my childhood.
I like Darlene’s advice in comment 9 and will be holding my head high when I run into people who ignore me.


Thank you for another great article.
About 9 years ago I told my older brother I was going to confront my mother about the horrible things she did to me as a young teen and young adult. And for protecting my father that molested me as a child. His response was……….What will that accomplish? What???
His response should have been a big hug and “Good for you!” “I am here for you” “You can do this” It was almost as if he was trying to protect her, even after he had confronted her on numerous times about his childhood. I was very confused. Ultimately, the confrontation did not happen because my sister, best friend passed away the weekend before the confrontation was to take place. I was devastated.
My mother moved 700 miles away after several years of her putting me down, putting my children down and me confronting her with the fact she knew what “he” was doing to us kids and she did nothing but protect him. So I wrote a letter last year, explaining she would no long treat me as she had in the past. She would not attend my High School Graduation, bridal shower and 2 baby showers. She simply refused. As of today she has not acknowledged the letter.
“He” died last spring. His obituary listed me as his daughter. I emailed the funeral home and insisted my name be removed from his obituary. Withing 10 minutes I received an email back from the funeral home explaining my name was removed immediately. They were very sympathetic to the situation and were more than willing to accomodate. I wanted nothing to do with this man even during his death. It was a very positive thing to have my name removed from his obituary.


Hi Alaina

As always, I love the way you put things..
Sometimes I just have to decide that I don’t care what everyone else is choosing to act like. Something happened to me through that whole thing with my husbands father passing. There was just something about interacting with all those people at the funeral ~ seeing just how dysfunctional it all way, realizing that some people were disgusted with the way his sister did the eulogy and that we were not alone in our reaction to the shame bombs. Seeing how pathetic these people are that I used to feel so inferior to… it was amazing to really know that I am not the problem and at the same time know that nothing will ever change unless they wake up. I am not waiting for that to happen, nor does my happiness or worth depend on anything they choose to do or not do ~ which today I will identify as ‘freedom’.
Ahhh it’s a great feeling! Thanks for sharing

Hugs, Darlene


Hi HeatherN
Yes we all deserve mutual respect ~ and the more that I thought about it, the more I realized that I am not asking for much!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sharon,
Welcome to EFB! I am glad that you are able to share. Talking about this stuff (even writing about it) enabled me to realize that this stuff happened to me and it was wrong. I am really glad you are here and sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi callynt
Yes it is exhausting doing this work! I was exhausted when I surrendered to the healing and then exhausted from the process of healing! I totally get that! The energy came back though.. and when it did it came back in abundance.. as though it had been stored up and waiting! Grateful for that today!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Roxey
Welcome to EFB ~ one of the first things that I had to realize was that it was NOT all my fault. And to the statement “I just can’t win” I added “I just can’t win with them”. We all deserve love. Thank you for sharing. Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Carol
Good to hear from you. Sorry you are feeling so tried.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Anna
Welcome to Commenting on EFB!! Glad to have your shares!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Frances
Thank you!!! Hugs, Darlene

Hi Teresa,
Yes, I agree and this is such huge problem. And sometimes I think about WHO those messages come from ~ it only works for them for us to be shamed or judged for our feelings/issues. It works for them to make us feel ‘wrong’ and invalid. It worked for me to reject what works for them! LOL
Hugs, Darlene


Hi M.
OH yes that is such a freeking common response!!! (I should write an article about that statement!!!)
I love what you wrote SHOULD have been his response. That would have been a loving response!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


This article came at a perfect time!
We are all so tired of having to prove that what happened to us was true. The people that hurt us physically, mentally and emotionally have not owned up to their actions and refuse to hold themselves accountable for their destructive behaviour. I have lived most of my 52 years in a fog. My mother was the cause of “what happened to me”
I had to walk away last year and with the support of my husband and children, I am on a journey of healing.
It’s not easy and it’s a bit messy, but I am determined to do it. Unfortunately, life gets in the way and you have to decide what is best for you, even if it means hurting or offending others. Since last year there have been occasions where I would have had to be in the same room as my mother and I did not attend those things. I don’t care what it is….Wedding, funeral, family get togethers are a very scary place for me right now. If I know there is a slight chance that she will be there, I do not go. I have offended a lot of people this year but I cannot let that get to me. I
My mothers sister passed away a few months ago and I had to pay my respects to the family. Luckily I had a couple of family members who understand my situation and texted me to let me know when my mother left the funeral home.
After the actual funeral service I received a text from my mother telling me not to cry Crocodile Tears when she or my Dad passes away and not to come to the funeral. She was upset because I didn’t pay my respects to her for the loss of her sister. I didn’t because I knew that would an opportunity for her to play the victim and then open up her ugly bag of tricks to guilt me and manipulate me etc. I never want to see or talk to her again. Now, my Dads sister in law has passed and did not go at all. I feel really bad but my Dads family is very very ITALIAN and demand respect no matter what and I know they all have their opinions of me. I feel bad for my Dad but he has no clue what’s going on because of his Dementia. I’m tired of pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m a 52 year old wife and mother of 3 wonderful kids who I adore. I love with chronic depression and my mother mentally and emotionally abused me all my life. She was never loving, or supportive, affectionate or kind. I was never good enough for her or for my brother. They were a dynamic duo of abuse. I told me husband yesterday that I want my circle to be small and in the circle is my me and my hubby, my kids, some extended family from both sides, some select friends. That’s all I can handle. I’m exhausted trying to be what people what me to be. I am who I am and I need to mend my broken spirit.


Darlene you have done it again. Good article! ANd yes, this is EXACTLY how I felt. Exhausted from trying to FORCE feel what people expected.

I have learned a lot from your blog and it’s helped me understand and heal.


Nadia, #27

Just tell your family’s/friends that you don’t do funerals anymore. Send some cards and flowers and call it done. The dead don’t care if you were there or not and the living are not a part of your life anymore. My Mother told the relatives that my mental health is too delicate to attend funerals so in this instance I’ll agree and use it to my advantage. My rules now are I do what I want when I want because I pay my bills they don’t.

#6,#10 the silent treatment
I’m an extreme introvert and used to glory in the silent treatment. No one trying to get in your head, twist your words or make you second guess what really happened. It is refreshing and revitalizing to go days without talking to another person. Just one person in my head ME! My Narcissist exhusband would ignore me for days and he would get furious because I just got happier the less he talked. He thought he was punishing my by denying me his glorious presence and wonderful conversation. When actually I thought he was understanding me and giving me space to recharge and relax.

One thing about coming out of the fog is finding out who you are; not what other people say you are.

My favorite introvert quote: don’t threaten me with a good time.


Darlene, You hit the nail on the head! I saw the same thing in my life and just gave up trying to meet any societal or psychological “expectations” or “obligations”. I realized acknowledging the truth was the only way out for me, be it ugly or beautiful. People don’t want to hear the ugly truth about your life experiences (including some counselors/therapists I’ve been to). For some reason they seem to think it’s going to mess up THEIR day; or that you are doing it wrong to look palatable. Some even think if you acknowledge the ugly truth and speak it, somehow some demon is going to manifest it in yours and their life (superstitious, me thinks). How? I don’t see it that way: If people tell me any issues they are having that are honest, I realize that I’m not living inside them so it’s easy to listen and move about in my own life. If it brings up my issues in me, then I guess it’s time for me to look closer.

Anyway, I make no bones about speaking my mind, but also willing to see it from others’ perspectives, and investigate the truth and facts of what they are saying. Keeping it open, but not malicious.


Thanks Darlene, you give me hope.
Success breeds success!

Hi Amber #6
When I got the silent treatment from anyone I got desperate to be seen or heard so I did stupid things for a tiny bit of attention, and that’s when I got into real trouble with myself. I said and did things to please others, when really I should have done what Darlene said and just hold my head up high and walk thru life with pride and a smile on my face. I wasted so much energy on distressing situations.

I got the silent treatment a lot from large groups of people, especially when they wanted me to be their servant, so they became plain rude to me to make sure I comply to their every whim. So now I avoid being in these groups altogether.

I also get the silent treatment from my NM and now I love the NC period too. And when she calls me, when she needs me, I act like normal and say NO to anything she needs. Such an improvement on my side. I do not bow down to her anymore, and it really feels good. Now I need to learn to do the same to other people. A real tiring road ahead.

HeatherN #11
My sister was my biggest problem too. She has been silent for 1 year now for a fight I had with our parents, that had nothing to do with her. She posts things on facebook so I can see them and make the first move to talk to her but I refuse. I am not going to chase her anymore. She doesn’t bring anything positive to my life anyway, she really drags me down (in every sense).

Sharon #12
I am so sorry!

I did a test on facebook the last few days putting up different photos to see who responds (from my partner’s side). When I put up a photo of him, he got at least 20-30 comments. As soon as I put a photo with him and I, not one person commented. I got so depressed thinking what I have done to them when they haven’t even given me a minute to get to know me. I really don’t know how to feel, all I know is that I feel so left out and alone and none of them care an ounce.

Nadia #27
My Father’s brother died during the time of NC with him too. My NM said I had to call him to comfort him and I purposely didn’t, just to see what they would do to me. The answer is…nothing! What was I scared of and what did I think they could do to me, I have no idea. I just love the fact that I don’t have to do anything she tells me anymore.

My NM is so pushy she made her sister sign away her inheritance from their Mother, to please their other siblings that live overseas. This meant that my sister and I will NEVER inherit anything that my Grandmother or Aunts/Uncles would have given us. So I am glad I will never hold my breath to inherit anything from my FOO. I have seen what she has done years ago to make sure we (the cousins, my sister and I) never inherit anything from anyone. Such a sick persons mentality.

My Father sold his inheritance (from his parents) to his brother so my sister and I cannot claim it too. My Father also demanded I pay his taxes on an investment property he owns as he claimed I would inherit it.

Anna #29
I love the silence too, especially when the person giving it to me thinks that I am depressed, when I am not. I hate when my NM pushes and pushes and pushes me to feel a certain way. I live in my own house and I’m old enough to have my own thoughts and feelings, so I intend to own them as soon as my fog is lifted.

Cheers, Hope xx


Anna #29, I have always been a quiet person, and I could be in a group, big or small, and not say much at all. The larger the group, the more likely I will be a listener rather than a talker. That’s just my personal comfort zone. I could also be quiet at home sometimes. Maybe I am just thinking about things or just wanting some personal space. I don’t consider my quietness as being the silent treatment for one main reason. In my way of thinking, the silent treatment is done as a way of punishing or hurting someone. Or maybe to manipulate someone. My mother did this to me when she didn’t get her way and I felt really devalued from her giving me the silent treatment, and I believe that was what she intended for me to feel. So, anyway I look at my quietness, which is part of my personality, as being in a different category than the silent treatment. It is not meant to hurt, harm or manipulate; it’s just my style!

Hope # 31, oh yes, I have done my share of desperate things when getting the silent treatment. I caved into my mother a lot and just gave her what she wanted. I was a child, and I realize now that I really didn’t have a choice then. Any other action than compliance would have led to further punishment. As I got older I coped with silent treatment in a dysfunctional way many times. I was desperate to break the person out of the silent treatment to the point where I would plead, give in, cry….you name it. I remember when I was about 19 I was dating a guy who seemed to really care for me. He invited me to college homecoming, which was a series of events that lasted over a four day period. Starting on the first night, he hardly spoke to me. I was pretty shocked because this was a sudden turnaround from just a few days before. I just sat there in stunned silence during a musical event we were at, not because I wanted to give him the silent treatment back, but because I was so surprised by the turn of events, I didn’t know what to say, and I think in some ways I thought I deserved that kind of treatment ( thanks Mom for the training!) I still went to the events the next three nights with this guy and had a miserable time. He barely spoke to me, until one of his friends told him he was acting like an ass, and only then did he take me aside and tell me he wasn’t interested in persueing the relationship. I put up with FOUR nights of his crap!! If I could go back all those years and have a ” do over” I would know ck his sorry butt to the curb on the first night! I don’t have to take that nonsense from anyone, but at the time, My self worth was so low that I actually felt that I deserved that Awful treatment and didn’t even protest it. Well, atleast it proves to myself that I have gone a long long way since that miserable weekend! I am gla,d to hear that you are standing up to your mother Hope! The word “no” is a great word for both of us to have in our vocabulary, right up front where we can pull it out and use it often! Best of luck to you, you are doing well! ??


Hi Amber,
Thank you so much for your kind words. What an awful person you had to deal with for 4 days. I had my fair share of ass’s, except mine lasted years. What you described was exactly what I accepted from every boyfriend I had and every friendship, relative and FOO till a year ago.
I am doing a lot better than I was a year ago but I feel I have sooooo much to learn. I feel like a pendulum, if I am not swaying on the side of desperation for attention I go the other side and I sway on the side of saying ‘no’ too much. I have no idea what my balance is yet. I feel so clueless at times. Just winging it. Since I was well trained to never question other people’s bad intentions by my NM too, like you. I accepted pretty much any bad treatment any twisted abuser dished out.

I always got so jealous of people around me or on TV that claimed “I thank my parents for being my biggest supporters”. I will never be able to say that as mine have always made sure I never succeed. And if by any chance I did succeed in anything my NM would claim “She got it from me” or “It was pure luck”. Who thinks like that? I am the opposite, I wanted my sister, my parents and friends to succeed.

Cheers, Hope xx


Hope, #33, you’re welcome! It is always nice to feel that something I wrote on here was helpful to someone else! I know the feeling of envying others who had or have parents that lived and encouraged them in life. I saw it at one of my best friend’s house. She used to invite me to sleep over a lot. And I remember going surprised that her family all talked to each other at the table, and the parents knew all about what each of their three kids was doing at school and other activities. My parents would never ask, but would get mad if I came home with a test grade or report card grade that they didn’t think was good enough. My best friend’s parents knew things like what boy I had a crush on, which my parents had no interest in knowing. They referred to me as their second daughter, which gave me more of a sense of belonging there than at home.

I put up with bad treatment from classmates when I was a child, and then later on at college, work and in the neighborhood. I was bullied by a supervisor who targeted me and made it difficult to do my job even with all the hard effort I put in to it. She turned my assistants against me by doing all these nice little extra things for them, and they soon stopped doing a lot of things they were supposed to be doing to assist me. I was on my own without the help I was supposed to be getting from support staff. My self esteem plummeted that year and it only recovered when I left that job and got another one where people were cooperative and did their jobs and Where I was finally appreciated. I remember when I told my new boss a little about my old job, she said ” their loss, our gain!” Finally I was appreciated for the hard work I did!

As for dating, I gave one example in my message 32 of the awful treatment I put up with just to have a boyfriend. I had several other bad experiences as well, and I believe that at the heart of all this bad stuff was that they picked up on how little I valued myself. One guy I dated for a year would criticize my clothes, tell me I was too skinny, he made fun of my teeth, and even told me I would never find anyone else if I broke up with him. I believed that too! I stayed with him because I was taught that if I didn’t have a boyfriend, something was wrong with me. This creep was also badmouthing me behind my back and dating other girls. He made up some nasty rumors about me that the spread all over the place. When I finally got the courage to get out of this bad relationship because he did something so egregious that I finally decided I had to get out, he reminded me that no one else would ever put up with me so I was making a big mistake by leaving him. That was on a Sunday night. By Wednesday, another guy invited me to go to a party, and that Friday, just five days after the break up, I went on a date with this new guy. So much for no one else ever wanting me!

As far as saying NO goes, I am getting better at it, but still have a big fear of confrontation, especially facing another person’s anger when I say no. I had some really bad experiences with my mother when I got up the courage to stand up to her. Her favorite tactic was to toss people out of her life when she got angry with them. I was tossed out for three years for not ” lending” her the money we were saving for our sons college. I knew she would never pay it back, and her husband was a freeloader who would rather sponge off other people than get a job. I’ve also dealt with other people who got angry and verbally abusive when I said no. One of my proudest achievements was holding my ground against a woman and her husband who both got nasty when I gave them a NO answer. I was shaking when I was talking to them on the phone but held my ground. It was one of the most challenging things I ever did because I was trained to cave in especially to raised voices, name calling and anger, All of which I was getting from them. I had to MAKE myself just do it. I was exhausted ( just like Darkene describes in this article) after I was done, and shaking, but I knew it was a giant step forward. It CAN be done! Keep going forward, Hope! We both can do it!


Hey DXS, how are you?? It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here but I still remember the encouragement and support I’ve received from you on here over the years. Take care and be well, from your paper- erasing pal, Amber!


Hey Darlene! it’s been a long time since I’ve commented on your page and since then I have grown a lot. Sometimes I need to stop and honor how far I have come on my healing journey and like your article says, I feel exhausted.

I feel exhausted because I wonder what I have to be grateful for when I think of what I had to let go of to get here. I let go of my family and friends I no longer feel a connection too. I let go of activities that were destructive to my mind and body. I let go of so much all I was left with is this hollow version of myself.

But then something shifted, I realized I have become the creator of the person I would like to be. I am a masterpiece in progress and will be until I leave this physical world

I am grateful for my persistence when I wanted to give up. I’m grateful for a willingness to examine my wounds and find resources that will help me heal. I’m grateful for all the healers out there who share their healing processes so I can learn from them. I’m grateful that I can make better choices because I have better resources to support me. I’m grateful that I can use my experiences to support others who struggle. I’m grateful that I care enough about myself to let go of what does not serve me and be open to what will.

I’m 52 now and sometimes I feel like a child just beginning in this world, only the world I am part of now is a loving one. Before I could accept who I was I needed to accept the family I was born into and why I became the person I was. I was raised in fear and fear has it’s own way of doing things. Fear kept me small and doubting myself and my own intuition. Fear kept me from expressing my true feelings. Fear kept me from being my authentic self. I was living in fear because as a child what other options did I have. I adapted to my environment to survive, but in the process I became a version of myself that I hated.

I picked up the baton of self hate, just like my mother taught me to do and I made horrible choices from that place. Forgiving myself has been the most difficult part of my journey because I know if I was treated better I would have been a better version of myself. I can’t change all the events that brought me to this place I am now, all I can do is focus on the person I am because of it all.

I like me now and in time I will grow to love myself in a deeper way as I continue on my chosen path. Healing is not a black and white process, it’s many, many shades of grey and that’s what helps me stay focused. Fear turns humans into haters and having to accept that everyone is at their own level of healing gives me permission to detach with love and allow them their own process. It’s not my job to save the world, but if my experience touches another so in way that helps them keep going then yes all my efforts are worth it.

I saw a quote on face book that said “addiction is the opposite of connection” and it struck a chord in me, that’s what my longing for inside is, a connection with my own soul and once that connection is made, it’s easier to connect with others on the same level. I’m not proud of a lot of things I did in the name of connection, but as I learn better I do better. That’s all any of us can do and I’m learning to pay it forward as my confidence in myself grows.

Thank you so much Darlene for being one of those people who took my hand and lifted me up to get to know a better version of myself. I honor you my sister, keep up the awesome work you do!


So many great posts here. I understand what happened and how it happened. I want to join in on the journey to freedom!


Thank you Anna and thank you Hope.
This forum has helped me through so much.
Thank you Darlene for all you do.


Hi Amber,
You are so lucky to have had the support from another family. I was the opposite, everywhere I went they all treated me worse than what my FOO did to me. The thing that hurt me the most was that my NM would purposely be extremely nice to my friends when they would come over.
I once went over my Aunts house to stay with my cousins and I remember her rubbing in my face by saying “I love my kids” and I said to her “My mother has never said that to us(my sister and I)”. I could see the smug smile on her face, with satisfaction (as she is NPD too).

You mentioned jobs, I have too many stories to tell about those but one that goes round and around in my head was when I went to my first job in my industry 20 years ago, they owed me half my pay after 6 months of work so my father took me to pick it up and instead of him supporting me and helping me get my pay he felt sorry for them, as they flooded and shut down. So they all decided to give me a gift instead. I was mortified.

Another one, more recently, was when I started my own business with a partner and we worked from her garage. My parents would rock up, knowing full well that we were working, all dressed up to the nines and announce “We are here for your BBQ”. So I would be left with a huge order to do for some fantastic customers which I had to finish on my own till really late. They sabotaged every client and I just couldn’t keep going, even though it was a success.

I get the anger from people when they I say NO too, but I would rather hold my head up high through a huge fight and stick to my guns than get trampled on for the rest of my life.

Hi Andria and your welcome Nadia.

I just had half a good and half a really bad week but at least when my NM rang I was so bored of her and her games. She purposely did the “bum call” and let me listen to her fight with my father. She did it twice before calling me and talking normal, thinking I would be interested in their life. The fights they had growing up were normal/daily (hence why I am an instigator) so I purposely ignored her game.

Hi lor,
I have wanted to give up on a daily basis but something inside keeps pushing me to keep moving forward.

I have a question to anyone who has the answer. Am I a bad person if I give the silent treatment to someone close to me after that person has pushed my buttons? Sometimes I just have nothing left in the tank and just want to be silent to prove a point. Is that the same as what a narcissist does? Am I a N?

Cheers, Hope xx


Hope, in response to your question about whether you are a bad person if you give the silent treatment after a person pushes your buttons……sometimes when someone close to me pushes my buttons I take a time out from them. I do this to think things over and regroup, and I do it for ME! I don’t put a ” time out” in the same category as silent treatment because I think of silent treatment as a deliberate punishment inflicted on another person to hurt that person. The motive there is different, and the motive is to cause pain. A time out from someone who pushes my buttons is based on doing self care ( motive) and not to deliberately inflict hurt. Sometimes I need that time to decide how I want to respond and also do it with a clear head, then I decide when I feel ready to approach that person for a dialog. Now that doesn’t mean that the other person won’t get upset if I take a time out; they might, but again, my intention is not to try to cause upset. when I do talk to the person about the issue, it gives me the chance to get my feelings out and also to see if they own up to what they did. If a person continued to push my buttons even after knowing it upset me, then time to consider going low or no contact. Again, this is for self care as opposed to deliberately trying to hurt someone. Remember, it’s about the motive, whether it is for self care or to punish someone.


Hi all,

for me, it is the anger I have in me (“anger issue”) I cannot make get over from the abuse.
I had fallen sick past weeks, probably also caused by my anxiety and anger the past and also some frustration from now). I had no power, anger was blocked. Several days ago, I heard a noice in the garden, I knew it was the neigbourg, I knew he was stealing a wooden branch (I caught him already before, ther had been quarrels for generations..and mainly they had done some unright). My family abused me, but they were not capable to stop the little there and here stealings from neighbours. I hear my mother talking a lot about the neighbours -what all bad they did. This time, I could have not hold myself. I run out, even when sick, I started to yell at him, his mother-in-law came in to help him. I am partially aware that I overdid it (but only little bit).I was offened by them, (things like “go to therapy”) -which is their style, they cannot have any idea about my PTDS, at least I think. I fighted back -sometimes things like “shut up, you bitch” -which I actually think was the only thing that helped. It reminds me my grandmother when I had to defend myself as a child against her abuse.
I am aware that my image is disturbed in the village. I cannot be viewed nice anymore, but as a furie. (I don´t know the people as I never lived here unless for childhood, but they know me). My mother started to destabilise me little, but basically she was happy that someone cleaned for her. I started to feel fear of some repercussion from the neighbourhs, feeling soo ashamed…
I was told all my life to shut my anger down, not to protect (because I am wrong anyway, others are right, whatever they say about me or they do, it was fine), the image of a woman that is not polite (hysterical one) is not a good one in the culture.
I heard that yes, the true cause is deeper than some neighbour…
I´d be told today that a stolen wooden is not a big deal, I would think that I have my PTDS anger attack (which was possible),
but I have to start somewhere. The fact someone was moving the wooden branch from the property (even it is not mine, but I live here) made me angry. I allowed myself to act, to protect. I did not let myself being shamed in the moment with their tricks (which for sure, my family used, too, and many others..)…I did not looked at what it is wrong with me, with my anger, with my need to stand up for myself.
In the past, I would have tried to be indulgent with them, I was afraid to go out (because, it is not my property, because I am not good at arguing…whatever).
If I let the shame/guilt, fear pass and don´t make myself down by it, I feel empowered. I don´t feel exhausted. I won my fight (my mother or grandmother would have never approved such a behavior and I´d feel blocked by their jugdement for my anger).I slept better.
I feel actually proud of myself. I want to celebrate myself for my braveness 🙂


I forgot to say that my NM was really sarcastic to me on the phone and she never gives up correcting me on little things I may say in a different way to her, it completely frustrates me and all I do is laugh at myself(I do this nervous laugh) instead of sticking up for myself and saying, “tough, that’s the way I say it (or do it)”, but I didn’t. I don’t know what spell she has put me under to freeze up when we talk. And the funny thing is that I know she does this even before she does it. Anything I tell her she twists it or questions me if I am correct and I still doubt myself. I just want to stop falling into her trap and then I might stop falling into other people’s traps. I am so slow at thinking when I talk to her and my responses come a day late. It feels like a time warp. She really nit-picks at my bad short term memory and uses it against me. Growing up I was really bad at retaining facts due to so much stress put on me at home, I had to teach myself how be more organized in my head and in my life, so I borrowed my sisters University book called “Time Management” and it has been my bible for most of my life. It was one of those books that changed my life and put me on the right path. Since no one was willing to help, I was going to do the work on my own. Just like this blog has changed my life for the better too. Yet I still feel so small when I talk to my FOO or other people. Is there a book I can read to learn some tips?

I read in an other article here that people with dysfunctional families tend to have coping methods by using drugs, alcohol or becoming a nymph. I was all of them. I needed attention and I got it the wrong way, from the wrong people. I thought I was surrounded by people that cared about me. If it wasn’t anorexia, sport and exercise, over-reacting, dramatic relationships, it was substance abuse (and most of the time it was all of them together). It just never ended, till now. I was running from my FOO. I miss the fun I had, I don’t miss the anxiety that came the day after. Now, where I live there is no night life and no bad influences. I felt I never grew up, I didn’t have the guidance to do it so I was stagnant in my personal growth. I sometimes even hate the way I write (and speak, and look), I am still so self-conscious. I don’t want to be.

Someone wrote about musical instruments and I remembered learning the piano at an older age than most kids did and I wasn’t very good at reading music but anything that was shown to me I was fantastic at. My NM didn’t want me to play anymore as she saw it gave too much joy to me, my sister and cousins. I stopped from all her complaining. Just like I stopped doing anything else I loved doing. That is why I have started bike riding again, and I love it.

I was always obsessed with music and still am, and every time I hear the songs from my youth they trigger good and bad memories. I hope I never stop listening to them. My sister went silent even though she was the one that showed me her love of music. Our NM silenced her.

I also used to be very good at swimming, running, high jump and long jump all through school. I remember my Principle asked me if I wanted to go to the State Games and I said NO coz I knew my family would just embarrass me by not supporting me or helping financially. I saw this when my NM made me throw out all my medals. I have kept only 3 ribbons. Makes me sad to look at them. My NM has this thing about throwing anything that reminds her of me or my successes and talents. And I cannot take any of them back.

And growing up I had to teach myself to Read, to do the Times Tables, to read the Clock, to Ride a Bike, to Cook, to do Self Maintenance and many, many more things. I think by neglecting me, my NM thought I would crash and burn (which I did in a way) but I have sort of risen above all the difficulties and probably that’s why I am so independent, I have had to rely on myself my whole life. It obviously backfired on my NM as it was NOT the outcome she wanted. Every time she calls me she thinks I am going to give up on life or my relationship. I feel her anticipation but it won’t happen for her benefit (if it ever does happen, crossing fingers it never does). And I have promised myself I will never go back to live with them ever again. I owe myself at least that much, if nothing else.


Hi Amber,
Thank you so much for clarifying the difference between self care and hurting someone intentionally. It was exactly as you said it, after the ‘time out’ period I had, there was a good discussion and now things have cleared up on that issue.
Cheers, Hope xx


Hope, #43, I am glad that your ” time out” period led to a good discussion afterward, and that the issue was cleared up. Sometimes I just need a little time to think and clear my mind and then I can get in to a better and less emotional talk with the person I have the issue with. I don’t like feeling rushed into talking about something if Im not ready because I didn’t have a chance to think things through. It’s hard to get some people to understand why I need this time to think. Unlike others, I can’t always react on the spot in real time.


Thank you for this article – I am exactly at this exhausted place right now and I can’t seem to find the hope that I’m going to find a way out. I feel like I’m screaming for people to see how tired I am of fighting this battle, but I just keep getting the “but your life is so good, you should just be grateful” speech. Or the “Just think happy thoughts instead of sad ones” talk. I am in therapy and I’ve been given lots of tools to use to try to overcome this trauma/depression/anxiety, I just can’t seem to find the will to use them right now. I know it will get better eventually though, and it’s encouraging to see I’m not the only one who has been exhausted like this, so thanks again for sharing this.


exactly where i find myself

after 32 moves – as ill as i ve never been which means every breath is a struggle and i ve spent my lif eondoors and mostly in bed for three years

i ve given up on hope at one point – the trauma, the stress kept creeping up, i couldn t find a way to get toxic people out of my life and whenever i reached out for help more suffering seemed to await in whatever form

to the point where i just started expecting this

by now everyone is gone – and only this week i realised that a lot of cards on my wall are actually from the same family that told me i was not really ill for at least ten years now, and the same family that would say things as – well our aunt is at least really ill, she s got the flu, so stop messing around and go and cookk for her –

it became more and more clear that i was jus tnot allowed to be ill, not allowed to hurt, no tallowed to have lived through what i ve livd through cause then they ll all ahd to face my mother for who she was and the dad for what he was and them for them –

it took til today to get rid of people on my facebook list taht i though tof was as sweet and kind and to realise it s not what they were – th eone was always pushin herself through suffering neglecting everything pretneding to be happy and ignoring me mostly and the other one ignored me for four years at least and now started to ask questions about A. a facebook friend who is an alter in the system we all live in (DID)

it ss only now i ve let go of all of them and stopped taking any calls from family tha twould usually be or kind bu thten manipulate m einto seeing my mother again stating i m a bad daughter or yell fo rhaving had seizures -whatever –
i stopped taking these calls of other friends – the one that only calls when drunk, the one that only calls to ask money the one that only texts to scream that what i live through is unseen and i m alone –

it s gotten quiet – no more friends – only random carers –

and i feel exhaustedd – so tired of my tired – it was hard to continue preparing for this move given all that s happened and is goin on on so many levels

but as a system we seem to have worked thorugh some things that held us back –

if the exhaustion came from proving to those people tha ti was worht it – if that s really true for us as wel

i do hope new energy emerges

cause i m so tired

and to start another move for the so manieth time is quite…..

a challenge……



I am so sorry for your illness and for the abuse you have gotten from family. My wish for you is that you will get the new energy that you need. I hope you can get your move done as easily as possible. I will be thinking of you.



Congrats on being brave! I am glad you slept better and felt proud of yourself! When people don’t treat you well it is easy to become angry. And when you get the same treatment from them day in and day out it can be maddening. Be gentle with yourself, and try not to judge yourself…..I know how hard that can be.


Hi Ann
I have written a lot in this website about the very things you are mentioning! You are not alone and I hope that you will find hope here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Maja
I hope you will keep reading. The hope I found was not in the usual ‘tools’ that I had been given but those tools became useful after I realized the root of the actual problem.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi All,
I am exhausted in NOT having loving, supportive parents and being taught to NOT love and respect myself, in turn NOT having many horrible experiences in my life. I am exhausted in people judging me who don’t know me or who PREDICT they know me or push me aside regardless. I am also exhausted in not being sure of myself even when I know what I want.

I don’t know why I have been a dreamer my whole life and I always had this image in my head of myself at an older age being really successful in every event I went thru. The opposite happened…always. I was so disappointed and never pulled myself together to try harder, I gave up. Exactly what I was taught to do, just like my NM had done in her life (the same thing HER mother did in her life).
Cheers, Hope xx


*oops, NOT having horrible experiences should be “having horrible experiences”. I sent the message before proof reading it.


I’m wondering if I should write a note to my NM and ask her to go with me to counseling to try and have a relationship. I’ve been No contact 1 1/2 years.
I’m tired of the guilty feelings, the sadness, and wondering what to do.

I think I am going to talk with my counselor before deciding to send a note to her.

Deep down I don’t think she will respond positively to my request, but if I don’t try and then leave the “ball in her court” how will I know?

I’m also afraid of how I will handle her rejection of my idea of counseling for us, and perhaps more negative words, that will cause me more pain and depression.

I’m tired mentally from this nagging at me.


Hi d ch
You have to do what seems best for you to do. (what you can live with)
My mother actually mentioned to me to go to counselling with her ~ of course I said YES and I even know how we could do it even though we were in two different cities.. but she never mentioned that again! The rejection thing is a biggie but how I looked at it was that I had already been rejected so much, what was a little more??
Keep us posted on the outcome! maybe she will agree!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene, I need to start going to counseling again before I do decide to contact her about counseling with me.

I feel I should let her know what I want for us, yet feel like a scared child afraid of her or afraid of her wanting to punish me for being No Contact for so long.

Years ago she rejected me for almost a year because I moved out on my own.
It hurt so much, and we worked at the same location.

Yet when she called me to go meet her new boyfriend, I was there within 2 hours. No apology from her, and I did not dare mention her rejection of me. I went running to her like a puppy that waited for attention.


I’ve already come so far in my healing… Thank you Darlene!

I’m coming up on some tough issues this week, and feeling like I’m slipping.

I was sexually abused by the son of my parent’s best friend’s, from the ages of 8-10. It took me 5 years to get the courage to tell my mother. Her response? We will not discuss this again. This will kill (her friend). And we didn’t. Not for another 30+ years. Not until her friend died. She wouldn’t quite admit that she didn’t believe me, but said she “just thought it happened once”. She never told my father either.

They (parents) are on their way to a week long celebration in a luxury beach house, celebrating the wedding of my abusers daughter. They will all be living in the same house together for a week, celebrating life, love, and new beginnings. I have not spoke to them in almost 9 months, and I believe this will have sealed the deal.


And btw… my entire family has known my “secret” for 3 years now, including my father. It’s tough, watching everyone wish them safe travels and “have fun”.

Am I wrong to feel like this is the ultimate betrayal?

I cannot even wrap my head around the idea of parents enjoying a week long celebration IN THE SAME HOUSE, with the man that sexually abused their daughter.


Hi Summer Breeze,
What you are going through is really awful and I am so sorry for that. I understand how hard it is to live around people that admire abusers, everyone has done that around me too my whole life and no matter how hard I try to escape it, it always pops up somewhere just to remind me how awful MY upbringing was. Keep strong and hold your ground, that is the best you can do for yourself. Remember, you need to think of your needs first from now on.
Cheers Hope xx


Thank you Hope, for your encouraging words!


Women Of History ?@WomenofHistory

Once you’ve accepted your flaws no one can use them against you.


d ch,
A hard lesson to learn, but well said.


Hope, I know, I’m not there yet, but know we all as humans have flaws.
Some choose to focus on others to hurt them or manipulate them.

They never admit their own flaws. Sad but true!


Hi d ch,
I definitely am not there yet either and I feel so self conscious about my flaws especially when others point them out to me.

People like that need a reality check.

I went to a self heeling seminar last week and one lady got so angry at me for not having kids at my age she made it clear with her awful questions and made a really BIG deal in front of her peers. I am still not at the place where I can say to a stranger: “My life and my choices are NONE of your business”. Just coz she was unhappy with her life doesn’t mean I have to be unhappy with mine.

Good luck with your heeling, mine feels never-ending.




Lol the heeling healing is never ending….always some ignorant uncaring a$$ wounding and hurting.

The tounge is a small but mighty instrument.
Power to do damage or good.


Thanks so much for this. I am almost 60 and my brothers told everyone at thief children s weddings how wild I was as a teen. My mom died when I was 12. I was left alone. Untrue rumours were spread. They always put me down,then they were jealous when I got attention. My brothers and stepmmom wanted me gone. I left and came to usa. They are now still saying nasty things about me,spending my aunt’s money. Which was also for me. They love to make me feel guilty. They are always angry at me. Come to US and don’t visit. My self-esteem is down the tubes but I am determined to rise up and redeem myself. Thanks for your courage.


@Alaina…that was beautifully stated! Sometimes the self-help quotes are annoying because it’s easier said than done.

@Darlene…I really needed this. I broke down the other night in front of my husband.
Trying to be strong all the time is draining. Having to fake a smile, never show my true feelings, and be “normal” is hard.

I wish I could be where you are now in terms of self-esteem and happiness. I know it took you a long time to finally achieve that. I was doing well a couple of years ago and now I’m back down the hole of despair.
I can also relate to what you said about trying to forgive people who hurt you, even if they deny it and they aren’t sorry.

My abusive ex died this year and I still have mixed emotions. On the one hand, there is no point in me still being mad at him.
On the other hand, I still feel intense rage over things that happened years ago.
I’m still angry with people who damaged me…the fact that they could move on like it never happened.


Last week was a very difficult week. A lot of changes going on. My eldest has moved out West and my youngest has moved away for University. Thank God I have one more that is still home! Hubby and I are on each other’s nerves.
A lot of changes going on and I am having a hard time coping, my anxiety has never been this bad.
There have been two deaths in our family, on my moms side and my dads side. That caused a lot of anxiety because I was so afraid of having to talk to any family member on either side. I managed to be there for the first funeral and avoided my mother at all costs. It was exhausting and so I did not attend the other funeral. I felt bad but I could not face anyone or anything that might throw me off the edge. I want to move away. I want to run away. I want to press Stop And Restart.
Yesterday I decided to start reading your Book Darlene. I’ve read the first two Chapters over and over again but I wasn’t ready to do the work.
I’m so tired of being tired and I’m lost right now. I don’t know what to do now. Kids are grown, and my life has nothing else right now. Hubby has his own issues to deal with and I am stuck.
So, I’m going to read the first two Chapters again. When I get to the 10 necessary changes, I’m going to take one at a time until I know I am ready to move on to the next change. I have no one to turn to anymore but myself.


Hi Nadia,
I am so sorry for the way things are going in your life with your children and the deaths. Try to take things one at a time, I find a bit of self talk helps in these tough times. Good luck xx


Thank You Hope. It helps to know that I am not alone. I just feel frozen. I have no motivation and I’m scared of what my future holds. I imagine what I would LIKE to have in my future, but Im not confident or strong enough to make it happen. I do know, however, that this feeling will pass and that I will keep trying. I just hope this EPISODE doesn’t last much longer.


Hi Nadia,
You are so welcome and you certainly are not alone. I know all of us here go through our ups and downs. It’s the real rough patches that make our lives difficult due to not learning the right formula as kids to deal with these times. I find that I take each situation by giving myself the time to think how I want to deal with it and NOT how I was taught to deal with it. Also, things come in three’s (for me), and then the tornado dissipates. I’m not sure if I am helpful at all as I am still sooooooo far away from healing myself, but I know exactly how you are feeling and what you are going through. I still can’t believe how much mess I am in due to my NM, and how many times I have to pick myself up from all the chaos she causes in my life (it is a lot worse than I can write on here). So, from one bruised soul to another, I wish you the best of luck healing your inner self.
Cheers Hope xx


Dear Darlene ~~

Thank you.

I’m so happy to hear your story.

For you.

And it gives me hope.

I am really struggling with hope right now.

In many ways I understand in my brain everything you are talking about. I understand cognitively. I know I need to set boundaries, to go after what I want, to create a new story. But it feels like too much. I have been trying to work on all these issues. But I’m exhausted from that.

I still suffer from PTSD symptoms (trouble sleeping, nightmares, panic, etc)… On top of that, feeling like I need to recreate all of my relationships and myself. It’s too much.

I do all the healthy things too. Exercise every day, eat well, try to sleep well. But I can’t get the relationship stuff right. With myself. With others. I try in therapy. I feel like that relationship isn’t working either. The therapist before that, I felt like wasn’t treating me respectfully either.

I’ve been trying for so long. I am 31. I just lost my partner. I have no family support. I am afraid to overburden my friends with my struggles. It’s too much.


Hi L
Welcome to EFB ~ I hope that you will continue to read the articles and the comments in this site. There is so much insight. For me I had to learn to look at things differently. (through a more truthful lens than the one I had been brainwashed to see things through) I was not able to set boundaries before I saw how I came to believe I didn’t deserve to have them.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Everybody,

Once again another great article by Darlene. I can’t believe just how exhausted I am from trying to be strong. I can’t believe just how strong I was as a little girl growing up in a family home filled with total and complete chaos. Then I tried so hard to be such a strong teenage girl. Finally, I grew up and put one foot in front of the other in order to get out, but it has never been an easy path.

I realize now how tired I am of everything. The most horrible expression in the English language is, “I’m trying to be happy.” The translation being that you are not happy whatsoever and you are only pretending to be happy to socially please others. Recently, I have come to the conclusion that I am NOT happy living here for the past seven years in the major city. Every religious holiday that comes along(Druid/Wicca), I cannot celebrate with the groups in the park for a big public festival since I’m not there. I am missing out too much and just terribly unhappy. Of course I have other hobbies and sport to keep myself busy but it’s not the same. Nothing here is the same as my former town (2 1/2 hour drive away)and it’s almost as if I moved far away to a different state, but not! Then I ask myself why I moved here to begin with and it was about a job opportunity, but that’s not the real reason. I moved to get away from my abusive parents and cousin!

Since my father died last year things have changed. I must deal with my crazy NMom and NCousin who both live together in mom’s house. She is not doing well health-wise and will soon end up living in a nursing care home. The thought struck me that I am a grownup and my NMom will pass away. When she does end up in a nursing care home, then it’s all downhill for NMom. I am almost free from these people! I have made up my mind that I will move back home to my former town! For once in my life I feel free and alive! If I’m truly not happy living in the major city and all my friends are back in the other town then why not move back? I am not a slave to my house or job or this city! I have no kids or pets. I have actually changed my online profile with the dating club saying that I am moving back to my former town and seeking a relationship there!

I know that the nasty people who don’t understand abuse victims would laugh at me and call me a loser but I’m not. I don’t regret any of my life choices since I chose to protect myself. When I took the new job and moved over seven years ago, it was the highest and best plan for me. Thank the Gods that I was not there in the hospital when my father died! My crazy NMom would have blamed me for my father’s death although it was his time being 87 years old. I did not attend my father’s service (full military veteran memorial service—with his name on the wall) and I felt safe. My excuse was the driving distance, plus I didn’t have the means to buy new tires for my car at the time.

The issue that I have with trying to protect myself has been one of becoming too overprotected and building walls to keep people out. Sometimes when you have too much protection—(I moved to get away from it all)—then there are walls that keep out the good, too. I miss my old circle of friends everyday and my new acquaintances here are not the same. I think of all the excessive damage in my life caused by my parents, including almost losing childhood friends due to them not understanding the crazy scenes by my NMom. No one could understand my deep pain of being an outsider and wanting to fit in. In my adult life, once again I had to put part of my social life on hold due to moving to the major city, same state. How much can these parents rob from me? I tell myself that this nightmare will end soon. There is a rainbow coming up for me and I will move back home to my former city. Even basic Law of Attraction work states that it’s easier to attract financial abundance, a good social life, and better health when you are truly happy. No one attracts good when they are “trying to be happy” or “trying to be strong”. Thanks for reading.

Blessed be,



Hi Adria (comment 48) !

Thank you for your support on the anger issue.
It has been some time and I must say that anger is a good thing.
It helps me with PTDS. When I manage to pass over some border with the anger, I feel much better afterwards.
The neighbourghs don´t show up when I am there, they had not stolen anything since that time.Even the NM has some kind of “respect”
(I guess fear) of mine.
In the meantime when things do not work that well with the PTDS, I try not to forget to be gentle and fine with myself.
I am not an evil or a hysterical bitch when I am angry at people who had hurt me, hurting me…
I don´t need to be that strong “not to be angry”.

Hi L,

I am sorry.
I also have the PTDS. Don´t give up. It is 100% possible to heal.
I read the blog “healmyptds”…maybe it could be some help to you.
Me, I had a therapist who particularly drawed me into the PTDS.
I found first here that I am not making it up when some mental health professionals do not help, even the opposite.
Please share if you know any source of information on PTDS.

this sounds good to me that you did not attend the service of your father and felt safe !
One can come some other time to his grave.


Hi Kristina,

Thank you so much. It seems as if our lives are more confusing than what I call the ‘average’ people. My excuse for not attending my father’s service was that I could not afford to buy the new tires needed for my car and was not driving a long distance. I believe that I did the right thing.

I don’t like to place labels on me or others, but when I was younger I might have had a bit of PTSD, but don’t know. I was insulted and verbally attacked by nasty people and authority figures for being “too emotional” and always “on edge”. I know that I’m a polite person and called “shy” by others. When I was an older college student (1995-2000) anytime that I had to speak with my instructor it was hard. Sometimes I just wanted to look down at the floor or gaze at a picture behind the person, but not make direct eye contact. I could never trust anyone, ever. Often I would hang at a cafe to study and be surrounded by people, but never engage in conversation. It was enough work just being surrounded by people, and I had boundaries and could not talk. If I had to talk directly to an authority figure, I almost wanted to cry. I had sleep issues and nightmares, too. But I was grateful to be an older student since for the first time in my adult life, I had my own studio apartment where I lived alone without roommates. Everyday when I returned home, I tossed a pillow on the living room floor, played music lightly in the background, and turned on a timer for two hours just so I could pound my fists into this pillow and have a good cry! It felt great to have such a release! Yes, I have healed myself in a rather unorthodox manner through books, websites, youtube channels, minor counseling, spiritual groups and self-understanding by psychics/astrologers/mediums…

There are times when I feel good but then sometimes not good. Lately, I have had serious sleeping issues. I have past memories of my father and they are all unhappy, embarrassing, or angry. I am working hard on my own to heal and clear these issues. My routine consists of reading a good book or listening to music to help me sleep.

It’s odd since my NMom is still living but I only deal with occasional phone calls from her. She was my abuser and father had issues too, but a lesser extent than mom. It seems like the finality of death brings up more stuff in people. Once my NMom ends up in a nursing care home—like next year—then she is on her way out. In my mind I know that I am safe but I still don’t feel safe from them. Will I ever truly feel safe from parents? The only thing I can do now is keep really busy and always doing something with my hands like crafts or reading or music at home. I moved to get away from parents and I terribly miss my friends. Since my abusive NMom will be gone soon, then there is no excuse for me NOT moving back home! I will be very happy!

The holidays are coming up and I know that many abuse victims become more depressed. Maybe I’m just weird, but I actually enjoy the holiday season. I really have no family anymore, but I enjoy walking through the mall and going to local events here. It’s the only time of the year where the focus is on thinking of those less fortunate people. I am grateful for all that I have and things could be worse in every way. I do things like cookie baking for a local charity…I know that New Years is around the corner and there is hope for a better year. I have made up my mind to move next year so lots of big things will happen then.

Stay strong!

Blessed Be,



Mom contacted me via facebook messaging. She is back on FB now
(I have been NC since March 2015)

she thanked me for my love, then said she wanted to go for lunch sometime. said if she doesnt hear from me by Thanksgiving, she wishes my husband and I happy Thanksgiving.

I replied,”Thank You, I hope we can begin to work on having a good relationship. Call me if you want to.”

She is also in touch with my brother on FB. My brother disapproves of my NC with Mother, says it affects his relationship with me. I told him it should’nt, we are adults and can keep our conversations about us, not her. Well, he does not want me to contact him too often, wants to take it slow. I am respecting his wishes.

I am going to be very cautious and take time to talk with her via phone before any face to face contact. If she does call me.

I plan to suggest us going to a family therapist if she does call me.
I will also bring up forgiveness and boundries.

Dont know how this will play out.

I hope she will not post shit about me on FB.
I am not allowing her to post on my timeline.


d ch

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!


Great article, Darlene!


Well NM has not contacted me yet. she sent me a friend request on Facebook, which I haven’t accepted. I don’t want her posting crap on my Timeline. I don’t share personal issues on FB, and I know she will be busy telling everyone her problems with me.
I sent her another FB message.

Hope to hear from you soon. Late afternoon, early evening best time to call me.
I’d like to talk before deciding to see you.
please don’t be upset if you get my voicemail. I will return your call as soon as I can.

I do love you and hope we can talk about how to have a good relationship.


Well she NM did call. I told her we need to talk about how we have hurt each other. She told me a few things I have done, and I apologized, and offered a few explanations about the situations.

When I mentioned a few things she has done, she did not remember.
I said, why would I make up things like this?
She said well if I have done thus and so, I am sorry.
I said I forgive you.

I told her if we are going to be talking or seeing each other,
I want respect as an adult, no yelling and expecting me to do everything she wants, no criticising, no putting me down, no prying in my business, no accusations from my past real or perceived offenses.

I brought up how she keeps reminding me of something from when I was 15, and told my dad about my mom missing him, and being so messed up about him leaving home. (she says he told his lawyer she was an unfit mother) She has never forgiven me for talking to him.
I told her what he did or said was out of my control, and he never explained to her what I told him when he asked how she was.

Anyway I told her I don’t want to be accused or hear about it again, she was not walking in my shoes as a teenager seeing her mother and family in such turmoil and sadness.

I said let’s take it slow, and work on how we will respect each other and love. I hope we can continue to at least talk on the phone, and maybe next month I will see her (with my husband) on her birthday


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Safe Travels!


Hi d ch
Thats great! I hope it goes well 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hey Darlene! great article and as usual you nailed it all on the head. My active healing journey started when I was 30 and I’m 53 now, and let me say for the record, I sure hope what I have done makes a difference to someone or something because it has been hell on earth.

What I know for sure is I jumped into a shit show (self hate into terror), not a family. Your work has helped me understand that nothing that happened to me was about me, it was about people who had no right to be bringing children into this world when they had as many issues as they had. I hope my family learned what they needed too because it came at high price to my self worth.

Maybe I am grateful to people like you who helped me sort my shit out, but I have to say I am not grateful that I was invited into my families lives. I discovered I was born into a family of liars, cheaters and manipulators and this left me with a very wounded soul who believed she should never have been born. Sometimes when I have a tough day, I wish I would have died as a child and spared myself going through what I had to feel somewhat like a normal person.

Learning to find my joy has been so challenging because I feel like my ancestors are sucking me into their misery. Sometimes I feel like I could be a form of birth control for those who are considering having children. I feel angry when I look around and see mothers who use their children as toys, weapons and fillers for their miserable lives. I realize how harsh this all sounds and yet I feel the need to purge it out of my body.

No child deserves to experience what most of us have and I sincerely hope that in time, with the help of people like you, this world will become a more loving atmosphere to raise children in. I know there are good parents out there, I just wish there were not so many that are not. The ripple affect from child abuse is profound, all you have to do is look around to see that.

Thank you for a platform to express myself with honesty; its what has given me the relief I need to acknowledge that what happened to me/us was unacceptable and thank god for all of us for showing this world what the affects are.

It’s sad to me that people like us who endured the horrors end up being the remedy for others. This is what keeps me moving forward because I believe we are all worth all this love and healing. My heart goes out to all of us and I can sincerely say thank you to all of you for doing your own work. You make it worth it for me to move forward because I am honored to be a part of this kind of family.

Well that’s my rant for today, it feels like I was guided here today to heal a part of me that still holds anger and hurt. I know I am a better version of myself and yes I do feel tired of putting in so much effort. I have a loving partner who I see as my reward for all my own healing. He taught me what unconditional love really feels like.

Thank you Darlene and the Emerging from Broken family, for always being a safe place for me to grow in. Namaste!


Hi everyone and Darlene, I have a question for you lovely people. When you were young (or maybe even now) were any of you forced by adults in your life to view them as perfect? Were you punished or harshly rejected if you questioned the adult/s or criticised them or implied they made some sort of mistake? This has been an issue for me because I still tend to see most people around me as perfect and so find it hard to connect with others as I feel inadequate in comparison. Any thoughts?


So tired of being tired. One of the real problems is my parents; I’ve tried so hard all my life to please them. Came to the conclusion that it’s never gonna happen.


Yes. But let me back up a bit before addressing “being forced by adults in your life to view them as perfect.”

We are born hard wired to bond with our primary takers; that’s just science. By the time we are around 2 or 3, we understand without their protection we would not survive, our dependence upon them is absolute and our need for love, interaction, comfort etc. is so total the brain actually requires these kinds of interactions to allow many vital neural pathways to develop within the brain and limbic system-to actually potentiate them. So there’s this reciprocity between our “hard wiring” potential/need and the environment into which we are born-and particularly who we are born to: Cold, highly critical, addicts, mentally whacked, rejecting etc. parents do not make for a loving, safe, developmentally proactive environment for an infant or a little one. OK, done with that part of “huh…how come” fill in the blank ex: how come it took me so long to see this historically fraught relationship with my parent as not an inherent confirmation of my “badness,” “being too sensitive,” etc. but a reflection of THEIR “parenting.”

When we are children, our parents are gods. They know everything. They are so much bigger, so much more powerful than we are and because we have no way to critically examine or compare our experiences, feelings, thoughts etc. we believe *just as they are our universe, our mirrors, so are WE to them.* So if a problem develops it’s because of us. We are pre-disposed to believe them without question. The process of placing a human being in a self-imposed prison begins with our burgeoning awareness secondary to their patterns of critical, isolating, etc. interactions. These reinforce our deeply held beliefs we are, well, somehow fatally flawed. We need to try harder, do something different somehow so mommy won’t cry, get mad, stop acknowledging me, hit me, withhold love, approval, acceptance because those will result in annihilation. We are inadequate because if we were “enough” they would love us as much as we love them and not continually or unpredictably withdraw that which we so desperately crave-and need.

Terrorizing and terrifying your children into compliance isn’t a “parenting style” so much as a recipe to ensure that child even into adult life will never become critical or questioning of their “overlords.” Their disproportionate responses (waaayyy over the top-the “punishment” does *not* “fit the crime”) to our just being typical kids doing typical kid things is predictably unpredictable. It is every bit as horrifying as being ignored or treated with indifference: Both are extremely rejecting kinds of behaviors, shaming and blaming us for what, failing to “kid” or “child” the “right way?” Doesn’t that sound crazy?! It is. How can a child subject to this pattern of behavior ever feel adequate? How we respond to this type of “parenting” is as unique as we are: Our accommodations to these kinds of environments/people are just that. We are trying to “be good enough.” We are erasing the little bit of “us” that intrudes on this instilled belief system and deveoping adaptive responses that while not exactly great are a reflection that we are doing everything we can with the Tools we have available. And little ones don’t have many resources-nor should they. We become way too old way too young. Welcome to the only cohort that apparently “grows down” instead of “up” because as soon as we begin to even gently question, to act with automony and to recognize the onus for the development of this relationship resides with the parent-not the child-prepare for a disproportionate beat down. Guess what is a typical parental response, BTW?! “I know I WASN’T PEERRFFEECTTTT!” (Waaaa-and wtf, who said anything about “perfect?!”)

Additionally, you are subject now to a constant bombardment of Image Management through a myriad of sources particularly social media. Does anyone ever publically post a serious mistake or gaffe they made? A less than photoshopped to oblivion picture of themselves, what they had for their “fabulous lunch” or any indication their life is anything but right on track and nearly perfect?<Interject a bit of false humility to further their presentation of self. So there's more reinforcement for a bad case of the "good enoughs."
So there's my long winded welcome to the world Darlene and so many of us have struggled with and still do-but with our eyes wide open and requiring some "visual adjustments." 😉


Hi Sea and Sky
I would wager a guess that 95% percent of the thousands of people that have commented on this site can validate that this is something we can relate to.
My e-book might shed some light on how to break out of that mindset.
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Johnny
Thanks for sharing. You have found the right place for insight on this subject!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Lora!
Great to hear from you and thank you for all your encouragement and validation on the work that I do here.
Hugs, Darlene


Tundra Woman, thank you for your thoughtful and detailed reply! You are absolutely correct that social media exacerbates the feelings of inadequacy.

Another thing that goes along with this type of relationship/parenting is that you only seem to get love or positive attention when you make yourself small and weak and compliant and/or take all blame and guilt upon yourself. That doesn’t set one up for healthy relationships down the line…


Hi all,
I haven’t been on your website in awhile Darlene because I noticed you stopped posting new blogs!! Are you ever coming back?! I notice you are currently commenting tho. Nice to see people are still communicating with each other leaving comments. That is really cool. I just happened to check it out here today hoping to see new blog posts…because I’m fighting dark thoughts and don’t know how to continue living.

I’m all alone except for my husband and dog. Husband is gone a lot due to busy work schedule. I have no family. My entire FOO are my abusers. I’ve been no contact since dec 23rd 2014. The few friends I had before no contact choose my abusers. I actually managed to make a new friend recently, but sadly she is very busy and I never see her..let alone get to talk to her even on the phone. We met through volunteer work.

All I do is try to get thru everyday…..everyday is a battle. I’m so tired of being alone. I have CPTSD. I tell my beloved husband his love is not enough to take away my pain…but oh how I wish it was. The pain of the past 32 years of my life as well as the current pain of terminal isolation….not to mention the hundreds of extended family memebers, friends of “the family”, the two friends I had before no contact..all choose my abusers.

I do everything I can to stay sane and keep going. I volunteer, I have a care taker job, I’ve tried all kinds of therapy (don’t get me started on america’s psychiatric community!!!!!) but i still feel the same.

Can anyone relate to what I wrote? I would love to hear from you. I have never met someone who understands me or can relate to me. The only time a person can relate to me are the angels I’ve corresponded with on this website. Thank you Darlene. Your website saved my life. Sincerely Megan


Megan I’m so sorry that you are feeling this way. You are not alone. We may all have different stories to tell about the toxic people in our lives, but in the end it’s all the same. We feel alone, and we feel like no one believes our side of the story. Some days are worse than others. Today doesn’t sound like a good day for you. I felt alone today as well. I went no contact with my family over a year ago and my sibling has been saying the baddest things about me. It’s hard to ignore the accusations and name calling. No matter how hard I’ve tried to explain why I had to walk away, the worse he treats me verbally. I can be in a crowd of people sometimes, and feel like I’m alone in the world. I feel different. I feel inferior and I feel like I don’t belong. The only thing I can say is to hang on the people that love and care about you. It’s the quality, not the quantity that is important. I hope u have a better day tomorrow,



Thank you ????


Nadia, sorry for the question marks. You can’t post emojis whoops! Those are suppose to be heart and peace signs emojis


I’m not sure if this is the right place to talk about this but I’m going to take a chance. I’m worried about using Facebook because I don’t want anyone tto see it and then report it to my family.
My Father is in Hospital with pnemonia. He is at a stage in his Dementia where swallowing is difficult. I received this news from a relative BTW. I visited my Dad in the Fall at the nursing hom he was at. I hadn’t seen him in a year so it was difficult to see him at first and to realize that he didn’t know who I was. When I left, I was happy to have seen him and I felt at Peace. I received a letter from my brother in late January, telling me to step up and be there for my mother. He still hasn’t accepted the fact that I had to walk away. I spent my whole life trying to make,this woman happy and in the end it was never enough. I had a nervous breakdown the last time we spoke and I haven’t spoken to her since then. I have tried so hard to explain this to my brother but he refuses to understand and continues to bully me, and use his accusations and name calling to get to me. I use email to communicate with him because I am afraid to see him in person. I know it’s sounds childish and immature but I am afraid of him and my mother. They are emotional bully’s and they have no sense of accountability for anything they have ever done wrong. They just look at what I have done wrong.
I sent out an email to my mother and brother stating that I knew my Dad was in hospital. I went on to say that I wish things had been different and that I tried but it was never enough etc… now that I look back it may not have been good timing but my emotions got the better of me. I didn’t get a response from my mother but my brother emailed me back, telling me off. I agree that the timing may have been off but the rest of what he said was uncalled for.
So, I bought a card and sent it to my mother, apologizing if the email upset her and that Imwished her and my Dad well, despite the estrangement. I asked for forgiveness twice in the card. I also mentioned that I was not a bad person. I am a person with a mental illness, trying to work thru it.
This is my dilemma. It am going over this in my head a million times and I keep questioning it. I want so desperately to write another email, even though I know that it will not make things better. I had to walk away. I couldn’t do it anymore, NOTHING I did was enough and I was not strong enough to put up with it any longer. Am I weak? Am I bad? Am I a coward? Am I selfish? Maybe I’m all of these, but I do know that I am also a wife and mother who had to walk away for the sake of her husband and kids and to save me from losing my mind.


Hi Megan and Nadia,

What you both posted resonates with me. I know that by going NC with family was the right thing to do, but I still question sometimes what my role was in the whole mess. I know I am a descent person and kind. I realize I am asking questions that have no answer to them. Even if I asked my family what the deal was-why was I treated badly when I felt I did nothing bad; I would most likely not be given an answer at all or I would be told a lie. It was never about me. It was always about them.


Hi Andria. You are right about that. It is always about they are not willing to see both sides of the story. They are not willing to hold themselves accountable for anything they may have contributed to the demise of the relationship. They only see their side. Hang in there Andria.



Wow so much I want to say. I wish I could just give you my cell. I don’t have fb. I completely understand being afraid of people associated with your FOO (family of origin) stalking you and reporting back to them…or your foo themselves reading this and unleashing their wrath on you. For me it goes beyond just verbal/emotional/psychological abuse. I’m afraid for my life. My mother, father will physically hurt me and or kill me and the middle child brother would probably beat with his bare hands if he happened to run into me on the street or show up at my door. They want me dead because I refuse to cover up, dumb done all the heinous evil things they’ve said and done to me since the day I was born. I’m done taking there bleep. They never should have had children. They did because and I quote “that’s what you do”. They are both pure evil. Even tho I’ve been NC for a little over two yrs that is still difficult for me to type bc my reality is so unbelievable and hard to accept…I don’t have and never had real parents..and never will. My mother is a raging alcoholic/addict, narsicisit, never wanted me, as I grew hated me more and more/jealous of me because I’m everything she’s not and will never be. My father is a rageholic, lunatic, emotional/mentally several times physically abusive, neglect both of them neglected me..for my mom it was from birth, my dad from the time I was a toddler.

I am so sorry incredibly sorry your parents and brother have emotionally abused you your whole life. I’m just writing from my heart and would be hugging you as I say the following!!!! Emotional abuse is just as bad as any other kind of abuse. Abuse is abuse. Abuse of any kind is evil, unacceptable, no excuse for it, and you didn’t deserve it!!!! You are not wrong. I’m sensing reading your words that you most likely have complex ptsd, which is a mental disorder BUT you have it because of them. They made you crazy. You were not born bad or crazy or with CPTSD for that matter. That’s one of the most gut wrenching parts of having this bleeping thing is it’s not your fault, your abusers did this to you.

It also sounds like you are clearly still dealing with going NC. Like you said, unfortunate timing with your dad falling ill trying to navigate your new abuse free life. My heart really hurts for you and I’m so sorry your going thru this. You are doing the right thing. Keep being strong!!! You are breaking the cycle. For yourself, your children, and the sake of your marriage. Not many people do it or can do it. Keep being a truth teller. Evil hates truth tellers. I’m feeling better today but only bc I’m too tired from this horrid new job lol ugh!! The schedule really sucks. Maybe there’s another way we can communicate besides here. Hugs!!! Megan


Thank You Megan. Please be safe . I’m not worried about being physically hurt, I just can’t handle the harsh accusations that I am selfish, dramatic, etc. My Dad was not verbally abusive and neither was my brother, until about 20 years ago. I don’t even know what I can call my mother. Toxic, narcissist, self centred. All I know is that I was never enough for her and that when I would try to confront her about it, she would throw accusations at me and spin around everything I said. My poor sweet Dad loved my mother and endured her behaviour. He tried so hard to make her happy but it was never enough. I Wanted it to work. I hate that my kids don’t have a relationship with their Grandmother anymore or their Uncle. I had to protect myself this time. I couldn’t go back and try again. I had no more fight left in me.
Sorry for venting. It’s been a rough week.
Wishing you all the best Megan. Take care of yourself.


Thanks for the supportive words Nadia.

Nadia and Megan,

I am sorry for what you all are going through. It is tough being NC. Like Megan said, “not many people do it or can do it.” We should congratulate ourselves for being strong enough to go NC for our mental health. I understand that somedays it does not feel like we are strong. But please know that you are both very strong women with a steely determination. That is how I see it from here. Take good care ladies.


I started drinking and using at 12yrs old, as soon as I could, just to deal with being abandoned by my father when I was 7 and getting beat by my cop brother till I was 14. I would do my best to stay gone from my house. At 15 1/2 and the first time I got picked up by the police, I was declared incorrigible, became a ward of the court and had to emancipate. I had my 16th and 17th b-days in juvenile hall waiting for a 9 month group home program. I didn’t get released till the day I turned 18. I drank on and off throughout the years, always trying to quit and stay quit. I’m 46 and still struggling. My family treats me like a loser, that chose my own path like they had nothing to do with it. I have loved them regardless of everything and have always been loving to them and their children. When people get sick and are dying in my family it’s me who takes care of them gladly because that’s what families do. I have no kids and never wanted them. I didn’t want to bring anyone else in the world and screw them up. My question is how are you supposed to love yourself enough to get clean and sober and stay that way alone?

Jeanne Polehonki
March 20th, 2017 at 3:26 pm

Well I just got a cold call from my mom telling me that she is going back to al-anon so she can deal with “things”. Things being me I’m sure. Well, she’ll get all the validation she’s done nothing wrong, that it’s all me. Lovely.



My heart goes out to you. I understand about being the wrong one. I have been the wrong one in my FOO my whole life. I am sorry about your substance problem. All I know is try to find some supportive people any way that you can. You know you have to love yourself. That is one of the first steps.


I am crying as I read this short story. I live in the darkness of depression and have from as long as I remember. I am not young any more and I have gotten to a place where hope is fleeting and my reality seems to be without purpose and bereft of joy.

I am weary and to use a term mentioned; the ‘fatigue’ is overwhelming at times. Maybe this is a place where I can find my way again.



I hope you got a bit of a release from crying. I understand the darkness of depression. I am sorry that you cannot remember a time that you were not depressed. I am looking for joy in my life as well.

I have found some healing here at EFB. I hope you can do the same.


Hi Becky
Welcome to EFB ~ There is so much info here for you to choose from to support you on your journey! I have been where you are and there are over 450 articles here in this website (all with comments/discussions with others) about HOW I found my way. (and there is also my e-book available here too)
Glad you are here! Thanks for sharing and hang in there!
hugs, Darlene


I just came across your website and thank you so much for all the information and support you give.
I have struggled all my life with abusive parents (especially verbally and especially my mother, but sometimes they were also physical abusive).
I grew up in an unaffectionate family, where my parents never hugged or kissed me and my siblings (my mother just hugged and kissed my little brother, but it was more to prove that she possessed him, never to show any real feeling).
Since I was the elder child my parents supposed that I had to help them to take care of my brother and sister, although I was still a child (when my brother was born I was 11, and with my sister I was just 4).
Obviously I also had to be a model student, but nothing was ever enough.
No matter how good I was (either at school and at home) my mother would have told me that I was bad, that I didn’t help her, that my grades weren’t enough good. Many time she called me in many names and my father was always supporting her, telling me that I had to put more efforts in what I did.
I helped at home, I took care of my siblings also by doing things I wasn’t supposed to do (like taking them to the cinema or help them with their homeworks). I cleaned my clothes and my room and helped my mother in many houseworks but she kept saying I was bad, sometimes she just called me an asshole and when I pointed out that I suffer from that attitude she just said that I was pathetic, emotional, and I wanted to act the prima donna.
Because of this I had many problems having friends but when I told my parents they told me each time that it was other children’s fault, as well as they said that my teachers were mean (although now I see that wasn’t true).
By 12 I was already depressed and if it wasn’t for the movies I watched when they were out I wouldn’t be here by now. I’m now a successful film director, which for my parents (especially my mother) is not a real job.
I have been very depressed many times in my life and when I was teenager I started becoming anorexic and threat my parents to kill myself. Honestly even today that I’m married with a wonderful man and I have two beautiful children, I think that I’d just want to die not to have to deal with my parents anymore.
In all this story, my father just acted as the one who didn’t want to see what my mother did (for instance she once tried to suffocated me and shouted she hated me and my father told me to apologize to my mother, because I had provoked her). He also just wanted to control everyone’s life, so it was quite convenient for him that me and my siblings had a low self-esteem.
Even today my parents try to control my life. They have done good things also, but every time it’s like if the good things were just a pretext to keep me under their control.
Last summer I gave born to my twins and since I got pregnant my parents got actually mad. I live in another country with my husband and 6 years ago my parents helped us to buy a small apartment. Since I got pregnant it became clear that we needed a bigger house and immediately they asked us to give back a big sum they had given us to buy our first flat, although at that time they had said they didn’t need that money and we could keep it (they are quite wealthy so they actually didn’t need it). This house thing has been a total nightmare, since I spent the pregnancy having 2-3-4 calls a day from my father asking me for that money. We struggled to find a loan to repay them all the money while we were buying the new house.
After that, my father, who works in construction, decided he would have done all the works in my new apartment but decided not to hire anyone and to do the job by himself and with the help of my husband without even asking if we agreed. He called my husband and me in many names during that period (that was just after our babies birth), just because we didn’t want to do in his way. Our needs and desires counted nothing and now we are remaking all the works because everything was made very bad and we just wasted money.
In that period our children were also in intensive care unit, but that wasn’t important for my parents, since we just had to focus in the house works. When the children came home and we actually needed help they just left.
In february we went to see them, after months of asking to see the children in their house (we are just one hour away by flight), and we spent 12 horrible days at their house. My mother yelled in front of the children many times, because she couldn’t stand people coming home to see the children, especially my grandmother. We could never leave them with the children, although they had said that we would have taken care of them. Basically we lost days of work (we are both freelancers) to show them the children when they wanted to see them but they never even had a walk with them (in 12 days my mother never left the house, not even to go to the grocery).
So we decided that it’s not possible to come there again with the children. After the last time my mother yelled in front of the children, I told my father that I was responsible of my children’s life and I couldn’t allow anyone to yell in front of them. One the children was so scared that each time he saw my mom he cried.
My father at first said he understood but then it was like it never happened.
Ten days ago they called and said that they want to take the children to their place for a month on the next summer and obviously we said no. So two days ago we had a terrible fight after I tried to seek help of my sister and she just showed my messages to my father. My husband tried to speak to my father and my father insulted and yelled at him. My father said that if I feel depressed it’s not possible that it comes from them, that my husband is turning me against them and that I have mental problems.
He then wrote me I disappointed he was and that I was creating problems and they never created problems. I was ungrateful and I didn’t want them to see the children (although they can come every time they want, we have repeated this many times).
My mother then sent me an e-mail saying that she yells because she is tired (she doesn’t work and she has no one to take care of) and in any case that I don’t see how much she did for me, that it’s not good seeing a therapist as I’m doing since she tells me what I want to hear… So in the end she said she just was a much present mom and that maybe this was the problem. I answered calmly saying that I just wanted more affection and I don’t want my children to feel as I felt as a child and a teenager.
I never got a reply.
I honestly don’t want to call them and I’d just wanted they made me live my life. There’s a big part of me that feels the guilt of all this. This part says that I had to be nicer, that’s my fault, but I know that it’s just because they have manipulated me so much and they wanted me to fail in my life, just to keep controlling me. I know they are toxic parents and I’m so sorry not to be supported by my siblings who don’t see anything of what I see, or at least pretend not to see.
My husband says I shouldn’t call them anymore, I don’t know what to expect. I’m afraid to call them, since I will be insulted and they will make me feel guilty and I don’t think I did anything wrong. I just wanted them to fix their problems before I went to visit them again. I know they will never see a therapist, but I can’t do much about that. It’s a shame they wasted the opportunity to have a relationship with me.



Your story is quite common with those who have emotionally and mentally abusive parents. I’m so sorry for what you’ve experienced, but again, you’re not alone…if that helps at all. My family’s mandate was to not upset my mother. So your father’s response to her behavior is not a surprise. These people don’t consider the awful behavior perpetrated by the abusers. They just think the people are being provoked in some way.

I don’t blame you for wanting to cut or limit contact. It’s not my business, but I don’t think you should leave your children in their care. They will treat them the same as they have treated you.


I found your blog about 6 years ago. It was after I moved 1/2 a country away from all my family with my husband and children. Your blog made me feel strength to give responsibility back to the people that made me responsible for things I had no business or ability being responsible for as a kid.

It’s kind of weird, but I went to get your blog link for a friend that’s transforming and your blog post is here. It’s weird but whenever I come back here, your subject seems to be exactly what I need to hear.

Six years after my first visit here and my career is finally starting. In the subject I love and I KNOW I’m great in.

Thank you Darlene. You really have no idea how much you’ve been a shining light for me and how much it’s really helped me to find my way. Keep shining bright!

Much love! <3

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