Are you Having Difficulty with the Emotion of Anger?



I learned that anger was deadly...

I learned that anger was deadly…

Recently I read a quote about anger and how everyone should embrace it and all the reasons that anger is useful. I agree that anger is useful and that anger is often justified, but I had a pretty big problem with feeling any anger and expressing it was out of the question. I had to look at WHY I had that issue in the first place before I understood that anger was useful to me in any way at all.

First of all I looked at my experiences with anger.

When my mother was angry she hit. Picture a small child (me) being hit with a belt by someone who was three times my size and three times my weight. I was powerless. When I think about how I would feel today if I were beaten by a stranger in a dark alley, I am sure that I would fear for my life. I am sure that as a child I also feared for my life when I was being beaten with a leather strap by a raging adult who was over 3 times my size.

I learned that angry people were dangerous. I learned that anger is dangerous.  I learned that angry people do scary things and that angry people can inflict huge amounts of pain.  

It is logical to understand that I was focused on trying to make sure that my mother didn’t get angry. Since I was powerless, I believed that the only thing I could do to avoid getting hit was try to make sure she didn’t ‘get angry’.

I had also been reprimanded for my own emotions. I had been taught that even if I had an “unhappy face” I was unappealing and somehow unworthy. I was not supposed to be sad; I was reprimanded for not being happy and for not smiling.

Sometimes when I was happy and playing with my brothers I was criticized and punished for being too loud. These mixed messages were really confusing. I didn’t have a clear idea of why I was ‘in trouble’ at any given time.

I learned that the expression of my emotions was more about her mood than it was about mine and therefore my only option was to accept that the only way that I could hope to avoid punishment was to figure out how to make sure that I didn’t upset her or make her angry.

“I” was more about her than I was about me.

As a teenager I recall my mother being impatient with me when I was in a good mood. And deep down I feared that my good mood might trigger my mother’s anger. And I NEVER wanted to do anything that might trigger her anger. How does one learn how to ‘be’ under those circumstances?

Having these mixed and conflicting messages about anger is confusing and causes a kind of spin around the emotion of anger itself. There is ‘a truth’ at the bottom of this whole thing and I had to get to that truth in order to feel the emotion of anger without fearing the emotion of anger. I had to find the truth about how anger was perpetrated against me in order to feel and validate that I was justified in being angry but that feeling or being angry didn’t put me or someone else) in danger like it did when I was a child.

There is not one time in my childhood that I recall ‘feeling’ angry and I don’t recall ever trying to express the emotion of anger. It was by looking at the reason at the root of that fact that I was able to finally feel anger for the years of life that had been taken from me. I was able to feel and to BE angry for the way I had been discounted, falsely defined, dismissed and unheard. I was able to feel anger that I missed out on having loving nurturing parents. I was able to feel anger for the abuse that I suffered at the hands of adults. I was able to validate my pain on a deeper level when I realized that I had a right to be angry.  

My experience with Anger is that it anger was taken out on me; as with all dysfunctional family system teachings, I learned that what is acceptable for some is not acceptable for others. I believed that anger belonged to nasty, abusive, scary people. Anger didn’t belong to me for 2 reasons; one, I wasn’t nasty, abusive or scary and I thought that NOT being or feeling anger proved it. And two, I was not allowed to have my own feelings OR the right to have my own emotions and as a child I didn’t even consider that I was allowed to have them.

I was also taught that hitting other people in the adult world was called ‘assault’ and assault is against the law. For some reason I never thought that being beaten as a child was against the law… and that was yet another mixed message.


~I was taught to accept their actions and their anger as ‘normal’ and even right. Anger was “their right” but over the years I learned that anger was not my right. I didn’t believe that I had any right to feel the emotion of anger.

~Couple that with the fact that I was deeply afraid of anger and I didn’t want to BE anything like the people who had perpetrated their anger onto me.

~I associated anger with being hurt both physically and emotionally. I didn’t want to hurt anyone the way that I was hurt and since I associated anger with that hurt, I didn’t permit myself to have that emotion.

In order to heal from trauma and the resulting depressions and issues, I had to sort this out. I had to see the truth and the false about anger. I had to understand what I associated anger with and what it meant to me because of what I was taught about it and all the mixed messages that I had received about it. I had to see the danger I faced as a child because of anger expressed by others and how I learned to survive it.

As an adult I had to take my rights back. As an adult and through healing from trauma and abuse I took my right to FEEL and have emotions back. Healing as an adult, I took my right to be treated with respect and equal value back. As an adult I found my rights to have boundaries and put them in place.

Today I live as an adult but I had to validate all the pain and dysfunction I suffered as a child before I could be who I am today. Today I understand that I have a right to be angry and that there is such a thing as justifiable anger.

Today I KNOW that ‘their anger’ was not my fault and was not caused by me, nor is it my responsibility to carry the burden of responsibility for someone else’s mood or their actions.

NOTE: when I finally validated my right to anger, when I finally expressed my anger at what had happened to me ~ the physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional neglect and abuse  ~ I no longer felt angry. Although I was afraid that if I allowed anger to rear it’s ugly head I would be trapped in anger forever, that never happened!

Please share your thoughts about anger or any other emotion that was shut down. You may use any name you wish in the comment form. 

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There is freedom on the other side…

Darlene Ouimet

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Categories : Therapy



Very powerful post Darlene. As a child I was also taught I had no right to feel anything, and if I expressed any feeling that wasn’t consistent with what my mother wanted me to feel at the moment, then it was turned back on me in condescending rebukes. Yet also, yes, if I was in a really good mood as a teen it could make my mother jealous and she would try to destroy it with her negative, cynical remarks.

The dominant emotion in my childhood was not anger–it was sadness, self-loathing. I too had to tiptoe around my mother’s unstable moods, try to predict and adapt to them when in fact they were so volatile and insane that that it is impossible, and I am no one’s mood ring. I was beaten for slamming doors as a child, but of course my parents slammed things all the time. And then sometimes I didn’t really slam a door, but was accused of it anyways. In any case, I was also afraid of anger from watching the abusive people in my family act out their psychotic rages on me.

Finally expressing that anger, against my abusive mother most of all really unlocked something in my body and helped make me whole again. Letting it run it’s natural course has worked for me; I’m not afraid of my own anger and I know that I don’t have to suppress it because of some outside clock. Learning that I can speak up today, directly in the moment when things happen also makes few scenarios for becoming angry about the present. Being silenced as a child when I tried to express normal levels of emotion, while others freely expressed extreme emotions was very unbalancing, but I’m getting my own balance back based on what I need and my self-knowledge, not what anyone else thinks.


wow. another great post Darlene

Funny how I just realized I am not capable of feeling anger
I can be either super happy or drawning in sorrow.
Oh I forgot I am also very good friends with fear.
Anger, nope I have never been angry
Wow. Actually. I. have. never.felt. angry
Though I have had tons of reasons
I am always careful not to MAKE OTHER PEOPLE angry


which might also be the reason why I cannot scream
I was in a quaite dangerous situation this past Jan (abusive bf), I froze, I could not scream


All the anger that I feel is preventing me from allowing anything else in. How do you let go of those feelings


Hi Jenn
Welcome to EFB ~ I have written a ton about the ‘how part’ within the pages of this website! I hope you will look through some of it. I was able to ‘let go’ of some of the feelings when I validated them ~ Learning to validate myself was HUGE!
hugs, Darlene


This hits so close to home! From the belt, to the fear and powerlessness, this could be my story too. And I also did not allow myself to have this emotion, though my parents expressed it freely and in a painful and fearsome way.
I never showed anger and just buried it deep inside. I buried it when I got taken advantage of, unjustly accused of things, and bullied by others. Somehow, they all had the right o their anger but I didn’t, no matter how unfairly I was being treated.
This article sheds light on why I thought the way I did, not only about anger but other emotions too. If I was sad or upset, my mother told the rest of the family to ignore my “mood”. How invalidating is that?? If something nice happened to me as a teenager, my mother would get annoyed and twist it around o sound like I was being selfish.
I survived others anger by being as invisible as possible and not making any waves. I swallowed my feelings due yo my fear. I have much to sort out on this topic. Thanks for a great article!


Hi Sandra
Yes, I had this same difficulty with Anger and in fact anger was one of the LAST emotions that I faced, empowered myself for and embraced. 🙂
hugs, Darlene

Hi Caden
Awesome comments! Yes. I can relate!
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Amber
OH YES ~ the “mood” thing!
I believed with all my heart that I was ‘moody’ without cause! I had so much sorting out to do on that whole subject!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


“I believed that anger belonged to nasty, abusive, scary people. Anger didn’t belong to me for 2 reasons; one, I wasn’t nasty, abusive or scary and I thought that NOT being or feeling anger proved it”.

I SO did not want to be like my mother that I became TWICE a super submissive gf. I did not need to do that to “prove” I was nothing like her. Because I AM nothing like her. I am kind, generous, optimistic, funny, I actually listen to other people. And feeling angry or being able to say no if I am uncomfortable about something, does not prove otherwise.

Wow….so easy yet so complicated…
The unconscious life of our mind is unbelievable


now… do you deal with the other kind of anger….the one we keep inside, the one we often time deny….because if we admit to feeling it, we admit to being victims….and no one wants to be a victim….it screams “weak” right…

I am angry that I COULD HAVE had a different life, that someone broke me, ruined my potential, influenced my destiny.
We are all born with talents, destined to do great things, none of us was MEANT to struggle with clinical depression at the age of 16 cause by an abusive mother, none of us was meant to struggle with further abuse, whether verbal, physical sexual, all of the above, none of us was meant to suffer from PTSD…etc…etc. No, these things did NOT make me “Stronger”. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger…BS
No… not everything happens for a reason. No it was not meant to be.

HOW DO YOU LET GO of lost chances, lost potential, lost years maybe?
How? God damn it! We are talking about OUR LIVES here!!!


My mother called me again and I let it go to voicemail. I ended up feeling crap for most of the day, then I felt angry that she was once and again steamrolling (or trying to) over my request for space and my NC. I get angry now pretty freely in private, all by myself. What I find very hard though is communicating with anyone when I am. i clam up. I feel like I would love to start yelling but I don’t want to make a scene or look crazy or like my concerns aren’t legitimate. Because that’s what inevitably would happen if I lost it. The other person would use my anger against me. Instead I get angry alone and then take measures. Distance or end the relationship. No talking about concerns because as soon as the mustard rises I can’t communicate.

Anger was one of my “forbidden” emotions as a kid and I was told by my mother that my temper was so bad I couldn’t get even a little bit angry because it would escalate and “go too far”. So momster succeeded in making me afraid of my own legitimate feelings. Other feelings I was not supposed to have – or rather, not supposed to show, were disappointment, lack of enthusiasm, generalized boredom. Sadness got me sent to my room. Momster did not seem to curtail her own emotions and her anger was something she expressed. At other times she would be simmering under the surface and I could feel it by the way she did the dishes or drove the car. I think most of her slaps came from anger and not from any desire for “discipline”. It was all about who was boss. So I could get slapped or not, not depending on what I actually done but how angry she was and whether I “talked back”. It was, I guess, about “respect” of some kind for her authority. I have none. The other type of “respect” is foreign to our relationship.

Later on, it seems momster got on some New Age bandwagon because she would tell me that I “chose” to feel the way I did (in other words my anger and disappointment was down to me and nothing she had anything to do with).

I’m still angry at my family but it’s not as consuming as it was. It was if I went for years with anger as my basic state. It can get exhausting. People kept telling me that I had to let go of all that anger towards my mother, or that I “couldn’t” carry all that anger towards her forever. One, I most certainly can! But two, like anything else in this process it can’t be rushed or put on anyone else’s agenda. When people were telling me that I had to let go of the anger towards my mother, it was as if they were saying (as usual) that I had to be the one to change, that my mother was at no fault and that all would be well if I just stopped being angry at her. She wouldn’t have to do anything, nor admit to anything and we could have the relationship she deserved. Nothing for me, even if the suggestions were made “for your own good and peace of mind”.



I too have struggled with the emotion of anger over the years. Growing up, my father was a very angry man – fueled by alcohol. We dreaded him coming home from the club because we knew he would find something to be angry about. We never knew what to expect. His anger often became violent towards our mother and that was scary. I have two distinct memories of Dad chasing mum around the room with a knife (hence the pic in this post is very apt) when I was somewhere between the ages of 5-7 and then later in teenage years I woke during the night to find him again holding a knife to her. I was frozen with fear. I turned around and went back to bed without saying a word. Dad’s anger was terrifying and paralysing. I soon became a very angry teenager myself and in my early teens my anger morphed into something demonic – very scary! I swore I would never be like my father, it turned out I didn’t need alcohol to be angry. I even found myself holding a knife at my boyfriend on one instance. I realised I had a problem with my anger. I didn’t know how to express it in a healthy way – I had never been taught that but I knew I had to change. I finally surrendered it to God when he showed me a young couple fighting outside my shop one day. The girl was barrelling into her boyfriend. Her anger towards him was cruel and hateful. I saw myself in her and realised how ugly it was. I asked God to help me, I didn’t want to be this way anymore. I ended up receiving a lot of prayer and deliverance and the sting certainly went out of my anger – I noticed the difference significantly. However, I still wasn’t told HOW to express my anger in a healthy way. I hadn’t acknowledged how angry I was with my father my mother and my sister. At my abuser. So I internalised it. I stuffed it down with food. At this point I had no conscious memory of the sexual abuse taking place. Eventually I crashed into depression and fatigue. I am still learning to express my anger. Sometimes I get it right. Sometimes I don’t. I’m angry because I am not good enough for those around me. I am a failure at pleasing everyone 100 per cent of the time. So I eat. I am only just discovering this about myself. I am punishing myself because I can’t punish my dad, my mum, my sister, my abuser. I am beginning to acknowledge and release my anger, but I am still scared of it. I’m scared of how it will look….and how will I know that I’ve truly dealt with it. Oh yes, my father also hit/assaulted me in my early twenties – I ran to my sister and boyfriend but didn’t call the police. My mother had successfully passed on the message that it was okay to be treated the way he had treated her. She deserved it. She was naughty and needed punishing. I also was unable to be free and loud as a child. Now as an adult I’m as loud as I can be. I’m not sure where to end my post. One last thing, when I stuff up, break something, crash the truck into the tree, I expect my partner to growl at me. He never does but I feel that I deserve it. I’m not used to being treated as an adult as an equal. I am learning self-control to take a breath before I react to think through what I am going to say first. Most of all, I apologise to my step-children when I stuff up. Something my father never did. I acknowledge their feelings. Something my father never did. I am honest about my feelings. Something my father never did. I am changing I am different I am learning.


You know what makes me angry? All my family has such a strong sense of social justice. You can take all the ideas that you talk about here on this blog, make it sociological instead of individual, put it safely overseas or back in history and they’ll understand the use of anger, the triumph of standing up and standing firm, how all change rests upon this–that the oppressed rise up and say no more. And they’ll also understand how those who stand by and do nothing contribute to the system… and yet, somehow, this doesn’t translate… my anger apparently has nothing to do with me standing up for my rights. Rather, it’s a reflection of what? my instability? that I’m not over my struggles with my past? I’m supposed to be better than my anger. I had a conversation with my dad about 4 years ago now. He was talking about the desaparecidos in Argentina, about visiting an art gallery there and talking to an artist about the continued impact of those years on present day, the effect of silencing and the need to speak and the use of art as a means of healing and a way to communicate between people, to bridge gaps. Now, I would have loved this kind of conversation in years passed because this is the kind of thing that inspires me, this is where we make meaning of ourselves and our lives, connects people to move beyond, but when we had this conversation, it was totally hollow to me, like we were trying to ignite something that was already dead between us, that could have been but never was, that we were just going through the motions, because this is when I understood that all these beliefs about human rights that my dad holds, he holds for others but not for me. I do not know when I became less than human. At birth? or sometime later when I developed a voice? Or before that, when I was simply a dream growing inside my mom, instead of a person… And it makes no sense that people think we’re crazy that we rail against injustice and indifference. It makes no sense that it’s seen as wiser and superior to just hold your own thoughts to yourself and accept a reality that would swallow you whole. It makes no sense whatsoever. No change has ever resulted from such a thing as far as I know. How could it? What I figure, all freedoms that have been attained in society through history come from harnessing rightful anger and putting it to use. We’re all the same and deserve the same. I don’t know what’s so dangerous about my voice that it would have to be squashed when all I want is equality, truth and freedom, as much for the people who have oppressed me as for myself because I know they’ve been oppressed just the same as I. But there’s no doing anything there… move on to a bigger arena than my family stage because while they may not want to hear me, the world is much bigger than them. It’s much bigger than me, too, but every voice speaking truth adds onto the next and the next.


I was also silenced as a child when I tried to express normal emotions while others routinely
raged and screamed and punished and guilted. Exactly as you said Caden.

For the rest of my life that silencing
became my trigger.
It caused a deep seated anger beginning at a young age.
I was called “in a mood” and as far as my mother was concerned it
was for no reason.
I was just a bad child.
I had to sit in a corner each time
I got in a mood.
I was not allowed to express this so held that terrible rage inside.
Each time it resulted in self harm
destroying any item I treasured …
then I felt relief. To a ten year old the relief feeling was confusing.

Other feelings were not allowed.
I had a child I gave up for adoption while living at home age 18. I was not allowed to have feelings or express that distress in any way.
The adoption interviewer expressed amazement at my
calm, unemotional, demeanor.

That I was forced by both fear and obedience to be unemotional about something so very personal
as giving up a child is beyond
dysfunction to my current thinking.
I wasnt a person to my parents.

My anger was very destructive to me and in 40 years I could not figure out why I was this way.

Unfair treatment, trauma, those scarey flat tires, nasty belittling behavior. All of these trigger me.

Because my husband also treats me the exact same way, getting
angry with me if I show or express feelings (he is uncomfortable with) when I am in distress over
something, This anger inside has been present all my life.
I have self harmed to express feelings never being able to figure out why.

My anger has always been hidden.
Its an aspect of myself I could never fully control and was not
allowed to express.

Since I discovered all this info, I
have made great progress. Ive
got it under control. But I am sickened by what my parents did to me.
Sandra, you said it. I could have had a different life. They crushed me and damaged me.

My mother whom I am NC with keeps trying to reconnect. She
will not get one more minute of my life. I have no problem being angry now at the person who did so much damage to me.


Hi Darlene! well expressed and I can totally relate to everything you said.

I am learning daily how layered emotions are and how much I have suppressed it throughout my life. I would over react to a situation and realize afterwards that it was over the top and then beat myself up for not expressing it appropriately. Or I would just stuff it deep inside until I felt numb which would lead to self medicating. I had creative ways of expressing my anger which unfortunately only led to more trouble for me.

Today I am learning to own my anger and give it a voice. What I find the most effective is to verbally express how I am feeling and what I am angry about. I self talk through my feelings and once I feel complete I sit in silence and that’s when my insights or memories will flow through me. That’s when I really understand where my true hurt comes from. I find the more I educate and heal myself the more self care I am able to give myself. I was afraid of my own anger because I have witnessed myself have volatile episodes in certain situations I got myself into, usually a very toxic relationship. These were those moments that helped me realize I needed help and that I was becoming just like my mother.

I am so proud of myself today for all my efforts to heal, grow and appreciate who I really am. This healing work is layered and I will be a work in progress until the day I die because I realize I will always be growing as a spirit. I no longer have to live in fear and let others destroy my soul. I am the creator of my own reality and I feel more grateful everyday for all the love and beauty all around me.

I’m not afraid of my anger anymore because I understand it better and I know it has something of value to share with me. I’m learning to appreciate and value life in a way I never experienced before and I feel humbled.

Thank you all for sharing your stories and allowing yourselves to be vulnerable with safe people. It really makes a difference when you know only love will be there waiting for you. Namaste to you all



I can definitely understand how that would affect you and I feel sorry for what sounds like a very painful conclusion to have reached. Perhaps “luckily” my family is more “establishment-leaning” than interested in any kind of social justice so there’s no way I could feel very confused about them, although my father had a rebellious streak. But he also bought into the whole “head of the family” thing which I completely despise. Another reason I don’t want to get married is that I want no-one to treat me as less than them ever again. I am also unfavorable towards social hierarchies and I hate when that is judged by other people to be a bad thing or if they suggest I must have “issues” because of it. I despise sexism and would like to turn the “elites” out on their ears.


Thanks, Alice. I used to have this boiling anger when my mom was doing charity work (I assume she still does), trying to help kids in an AIDS orphanage in Kenya, but I couldn’t even admit how angry I was because I felt so guilty for being angry. This was happening not long after my breakdown and I was struggling to hold onto myself and also trying to address my issues with her but not really being heard. Now I understand my anger perfectly well—-I was her daughter dying in front of her eyes, who cares if it wasn’t physical, if it wasn’t a 3rd world country, etc… Now I understand that it isn’t mutually exclusive—that me being angry didn’t mean that I didn’t think those kids weren’t worth caring about. I remember around this time my dad saying that misery was a luxury. I have no idea if he meant it for me but it certainly felt that way, and that’s how I took it, that I had a privileged life and my depression, my breakdown, the horrible mental and emotional experiences I was going through, wanting to self-harm, trying to keep myself from being in places where I might “accidentally” kill myself—all this was a luxury… and I believed it. I felt like wanting people to care about me was like I was condoning genocide.


Right, the setup that you can’t possibly have anything to complain about BECAUSE the starving kids in Africa is such a dishonest one that I get angry just thinking about it. I’ve noticed a version of this in the media where a story will be told for no real purpose other than to let you know you never had it so good, even if what you do have could be a hell of a lot better. And it does nothing for the starving people in the process.

It sounds like your mother and father had to operate some real self-deception too in order to not see that their own child was suffering before them. I recall my mother telling me she didn’t realise, that she had acted “unintentionally” and I was incensed because I had spent YEARS telling her what was going on for me but to her that was “disobedience” and so many unwanted emotions to be quashed.


Yes, Alaina and Alice, just because you live in a house, have food to eat and go to school, that doesn’t mean you have a good life. These 3 things were always thrown in my face as a child. They were the proof that my parents used that we lived in a happy normal home.

Recently my mother has reiterated that because my father did not come home from work til 10PM we were protected from his abuse. Not so, it was like a concentration camp, the rules and behavior so rigidly enforced. Weekends he was in a screaming rage. Violent throwing things, screaming.
Anything he was unhappy about got taken out on us.
But in her deluded mind my brother and I were unaffected because he wasn’t at the supper table at night.
We had it good.
She has also implied that my angry moods as a child were just learned behavior.
I think its interesting that she never noticed that my anger was turned inward. It was never
expressed outward.


Karen that is terrible! I am having a hard time understanding the reluctance of some of these parents to listen to the point of view of the others involved and instead this insistence on *telling* them how they felt or how things were. I mean I can understand desire to self-protect but to do so to their kids’ detriment just seems like cruelty.


Agreed, Karen, Alice and Alaina! Yes I had a roof over my head and enough to eat, but I was emotionally starving. I learned early to stay out of my mother’s way, just like Darlene because there was the threat of the strap, which she used unmercifully sometimes. Or the flying hands that came at my face one after the other, several times. Or sometimes it would be a verbal put down, or being told I was ugly, awkward, sloppy. Etc. I learned to stuff my feelings down. Not just anger, which I certainly was not entitled to as a child. But sadness, fear, even happiness had to be suppressed. If I was feeling good and laughing I was told I was a silly girl. It became my survival mode to stuff it all down and stay out of the way, including not asking for things I needed for school. In elementary school I put together my own costume for a school play rather than asking my mother because she would feel put out and get angry. I erased my schoolwork that was done in pencil on loose leaf paper rather than tell my mother I ran out of it, and brought a napkin to use as a smock in kindergarten rather than ask my mother for one. Better to risk the teacher’s wrath than my mothers…at least the teacher wasn’t going to hit. So, good life because I was fed and had a place to live? I don’t think so!


I’m with you, Alice. I got the unintentional thing, too, and the same problems continuing even after I spoke up, not to mention the blame put back on me for the years when I didn’t speak up, as if it was my fault that I didn’t have a voice, and a total denial that I was trained to be “fine” when to me the very way I was treated (the guilt trips and conformity tactics) when I finally did speak up is itself proof that I was very much trained… sometimes I think more damage was done in my attempt to have them hear the original damage than the actual original damage… but I guess it was always there in waiting.

I can’t compete with the suffering and atrocities of the world, or how much worse something “could have been,” because of course I will lose. But why not deal with the reality as it is/was? If it’s costing you your relationship with your child and has caused her real damage, then that’s enough, it doesn’t have to be worse. You put aside all other stories, including your own, to listen to the one in front of you, because your child matters. She is enough of a reason.

I’m really sorry, Karen, that your mom would say things like that. It’s so sick, serves no real purpose other than keeping everything exactly the same, as damaging as it ever was and what for? Of course we want to move on to better things, as much as they do—I mean who wants to be stuck in this?—but this is not how you do it. It’s a total sinking ship. You either get off or you drown is how I feel.


I’m sorry you went through all that, Amber. And no, life wasn’t good just because you were fed and had a roof over your head. You were treated terribly. And whatever the cause of a child’s pain, it doesn’t matter, it’s worth looking at, it’s worth caring about… if you’re that child’s parent, it should go without saying.


Thank you, Alaina! It’s good to talk about this on here and helpful to get the validation from others that it’s worth caring about. Because I held it all in, many had no idea what was going on Inside me, so that caring never came from others. Hugs, Amber


I’m new to your website and this is the first time I’ve posted to the group. Just want to say how thankful I am for your site, Darlene and for all the members in the group.
This post is very powerful. Like so many other responses, this has been a very challenging area in my life. As a child, I learned to hide even wetting the bed. I knew it would make my mother really angry. And, that she would start cussing and calling me names, if I had to wake her up for help after an accident…..
I too, learned that anger was a scary thing, that I wasn’t supposed to let my mother know how I truly felt around her and it was best to just be self-sufficient in many cases. I was determined to never act like her and did not want to be at all like my mother. I would feel really sad and would withdraw.

Loved your paragraph: “As an adult I had to take my rights back. As an adult and through healing from trauma and abuse I took my right to FEEL and have emotions back. Healing as an adult, I took my right to be treated with respect and equal value back. As an adult I found my rights to have boundaries and put them in place.” Thank you, I am going to print this out & keep in daily view!!!


I work on my emotions through therapeutuic breathwork with a practitioner, Bobbie. I learned and did not realize that not only are my feelings shut down, but my body is shut down. That shut down feeling when you are actually in fear or a scary situation and you hold your breath or breath shallow, so nobody hears you. I still am very, very scared of my anger or sad feelings. I can feel what I think is “normal’ anger when day-to-day things happen. (i.e. If “I feel” my husband does not do what “I expect”). Emphasis on the “I.” I think we take out the anger on those that truly love us, because of unresolved issues from our parents. As my Breathwork Practitioner put it…we take out the sins of our father on others. However, to really let it all out, I am very scared. I just can’t do it. We are working on it. I will breath fine, but when Bobbie starts to talk about my childhood, my breath goes shallow and I go to another thought that is happy. I just can’t do it. I don’t know what will happen. Will I have have another panic attack? will I hurt somebody (which I’ve never done)? Will I explode? What would I do with it if I get really, really angry? I am sad and scared.


I can really relate to all of you commenting on this topic.
Amber, my father was the raging Narcissist, my mother his docile co-dependent victim.
She also was entirely emotionally absent for me. Never a hug or “it will be OK.”
Nothing. Later when I started to speak up as an adult about this. She told me it was me. I was unhugable and distant as a child. She turned all of it around and blamed it on my being an unapproachable child.

I read an interesting article on this. A very young child (2 or 3) that is constantly rebuffed learns that when closeness to the mother (hugging, touching, kissing) is not acceptable to that mother,
they must adapt their actions to what is acceptable to her else take the chance of being completely rejected.
Thus they will sit near the mother but not touch her. Later if hugged, they will push away because they have already learned not to hug or be hugged.

The last time we discussed this I said well maybe I wiggled away when I was 2, but what about
when I was 10, 25, 50? She had no answer.
Amber I was also told I was no good etc. I know she slapped me when she could catch me.
Its absolutely nasty behavior. And for years, and years I put it all aside (as I was taught to) and thought it was me.
Its still awful, but very good to put the blame where it belongs. It does not make up for all those lost years but knowing what happened has been amazingly helpful. As is being part of this site.


Karen, I felt anger when I read that your mother told you ( when you were grown up) that it was you, that you were unapproachable and I huggable and distant as a child! WHAT?? It’s your fault?? No way. What is wrong with people who withhold love and affection and caring from their kids and then expect them to grow up emotionally sound? My mother asked why I never stood up to people as a teen and young adult. Did she think these traits would magically appear in me when I had no guidance from her and no affection or caring. Did she have any idea that I didn’t stand up to people because I was trained by her to hide my feelings because of her angry outbursts? And by then I believed that my feelings weren’t as important as other people’s? And that I believed that I myself wasn’t important? Thanks to her devaluing me and taking her anger out on me and hating that I was a girl and putting me down verbally too. THAT is where it came from. Not from me, and no way did anything your mother said about you being distant and unapproachable come from you either Karen. Whew! I needed to let that out after reading your post Karen as it hit a raw nerve in me, having gone through similar stuff.


Welcome Shelley to Emerging from Broken
I can relate to the self punishing stuff ~ I did that in many ways too. What I found out was that I was actually blaming me ~ deep down I saw the abuse as my failure to prevent being treated that way due to my belief that if I had been ‘what they wanted’ they would not have treated me that way and I would not have been rejected and objectified. Finding out that it was never my fault has gone a long way towards finding my freedom and wholeness.
Glad you are here, thank you for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Lily
Welcome to EFB ~ We are so focused on hiding and thinking about what they want and what they need that we forget ourselves completely and like them we discount our own needs. Then we grow up doing it! We think having NO needs will make everyone happier! Such a sad lie… I’m glad you are here, Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


~ I am LOVING this conversation! I have so much I want to say but I’ve run out of time! Please keep it going and I am going to try to jump in later on ~ possibly tomorrow. These comments are SO great, powerful and profound!
Hugs, Darlene


Amber, I totally echo what you said to Karen. That stuff gets me so riled up. I hate even entering into it, though; it reminds me of writing useless letters to my parents, banging my head against a brick wall, trying to explain myself over and over again. It’s not hard to understand—it’s cause and effect, but they want to erase the cause and blame the effect.

You can’t run a marathon if your leg is broken… but who/what did the breaking and who was supposed to take you to the doctor and care for you and who now is shaming you for not running that marathon?!?!


Amber, your comment in #28 was something I can relate to so much! Aside from “teaching by her actions” my mother didn’t actually teach me anything of any interpersonal usefulness – maybe how to make no-bake cookies – I remember that. You can forget any hair and make-up or anything “girly”. Oh, and how to set tables and behave at table. Not how to deal with being picked on, or any kind of process for how to soothe my hurt feelings, or how to ask for what I needed or how to resolve conflict (other than making sure she got her way and if I wanted mine I would have to be very underhanded and find a way of getting it without involving anyone).

My aunt was also critical of my lack of “thinking” and “business-social” skills – I hadn’t realised I was supposed to come out of childhood with an MBA. And did she teach me any of the skills I lacked in her opinion? No. Like you said Amber, they were supposed to spring forth from me fully formed. Never mind that my more ‘natural’ talents weren’t anything the family wanted to see me cultivate. When I think of it, it’s so insane. No wonder I loved “Catch 22”.


Hi Alaina, my parents are both deceased, so I am past the point of trying to get them to understand how I was affected by my upbringing. But even if they were here, I don’t know that they would have “gotten” what I would be trying to tell them. I can imagine my mother brushing it off and either saying “Don’t be silly”. Or “you’re too sensitive” or that I should forget the past. It would be a way of brushing the problem aside and not having to deal with it. And it would be very frustrating to me. I really believe in what Darlene says about facing the damage that was caused rather than trying to get some kind of justice by getting people to see what they did wrong. If they don’t want to face it they are never going to. Since my parents, my mother in particular, are no longer here the only route I can go is working on me by understanding the effects everything had on me and that I was not at fault. And I have healed a lot without either of them bring around. At times I think the healing might be easier because my mother can’t invalidate me anymore, at least not with any new stuff. There is of course lots of old stuff to still work through. The way she made me feel about myself outlived her! But I’m determined to overcome it!


Me, too! I’m determined. I’ve given up on looking for validation from my parents—it’s not coming. It’s just the subject matter of being blamed for the effects of abuse is enough to sometimes get me sucked into a vortex of angry/frustrated explanations in imaginary conversations with other people in my own mind! I have to say to myself, It’s okay, Alaina, I believe you, don’t worry, you don’t have to do this anymore, you’re free now. Sad, yes, disappointed, yes, but free. I have faith that I’ll be able to shed what needs to be shed. I’ve come too far to get stuck now.


Alice, same here. My mother didn’t teach me the social graces, but yelled at me and punished me when I did stuff like cut several pieces of meat instead of one at a time in a restaurant. I learned nothing about dealing with kids who bullied me, but got yelled at for not standing up to them! Hey Mom, I was suppressed at home when you were hitting me and not allowed to have any feelings about it, and I’m supposed to know how to handle the neighborhood bullies?? No conflict resolution skills or skills to benefit me on the job, either.
I got punished for many things I was supposed to know without having been taught. As a young girl I got a ride home from the swimming pool from a neighbor and got punished for not thanking her. Well guess what? My mother never taught me the first thing about manners, even simple things like always thank someone who does something for you. I was just supposed to automatically know these things.


Alaina, the most important validation for you is going to come from you just as mine will come from me. I never trusted my own feelings and opinions because of having been invalidated so much from others. But now I’m listening to my own voice. If I don’t like something someone else did or said I don’t need to run to my friends and ask how they would feel if that was done or said to them. I ask myself how I feel about it and tell myself that I can trust my feelings, opinions and decisions. It feels a little strange but it also feels good.


I can’t believe this is happening


Sandra, can’t believe that what is happening? Are you okay?



I am Angry ! I want to get this out of my chest.

Angry with the some of the staff here who kept asking me intruding questions on my background, passport, money I paid to get this and that, etc ,…. It is Endless.

I live in a backpackers at the moment in my own home country because I have gone NC with my family for now.
Whilst I find my feet, I am getting harassed by a lot of locals (staff here are all locals) asking me all sorts of personal questions to get under my skin, and eavesdropping my conversation. In fact, they pass information about me around and I get one staff at least every day asking me those questions.

And no matter how I try to avoid them, they still manage to sneak those questions in when we deal with “official” stuff like paying my deposit, changing rooms, etc.

It is so rude.

I guess some of them are jealous ?

One of them (Mr G) kept passing nasty remarks and did some nasty things. Like pushing my food on the dining table and offering it to another tourist. Then he instructed me to make more food for that tourist, because he was trying to impress the latter.

On another occasion, I asked Mr G who happened to be on duty at the reception, for information on a particular travel route. Barely having just asked, he retorted, “BUT YOU LIVE HERE BEFORE, right ???”

I guess what he meant was I hold a local passport and live in the hostel. But is this not common around the world in the backpackers ?

Just yesterday, he asked me to guess his age, but I don’t want to talk to him. SO I declined. He kept pushing and pushing the point, trying to force me to guess his age. So I evaded the question with “15-50!”
He started accusing me of being dishonest.

But I have told him many times, that I am not interested in knowing n I don’t want to answer that question.

I shared this with 2 of my other male room mates and they were flabbergasted with his attitude as a servic staff. one of them said, because “you are beautiful girl, and they they get envious and want to know all about you ?”

Is that right ? Taunting me with those questions. how do these questions feed their jealousy ?

When I get jealous of someone, all I want to do is to get away from that person ! Not ask them questions !

With some research, I found out why people are nosey, They intrude to find out information about others to formulate a picture of that person. After forming a picture of that person, they would seek to put that other person down to make themselves feel better.

If that person is passive, he or she would just put the other person down to feel better.
If that person is aggressive, he or she would upstage the other person for the same ultimate goal of feeling better.


I did some research on the web.
Found out there are umpteen comments from tourists about locals from my home country as being rude and nosey.

Al their accounts echo my experience in the last 3 weeks of having arrived home.

I am so ashamed of my local culture.

why are they or rather we, so rude ?

I am have been conditioned somewhat when I was growing up here, but now that I had been away and returned, the whole thing is overwhelming. I did not realise how rude the people environment is until now.


I hate my home country.


Oh Boy….let’s see here…do I have a problem with anger? Well, yes, as a matter of fact I do…only it’s not a problem with expressing anger, it’s a problem with expressing it waaaayyyy too often and inappropriately most of the time. This is how I first realized that I needed to get help. My journey started only about 9 months ago, but I have done a ton of reading and have been in therapy and in treatment for Complex post traumatic stress (EMDR). I was completely and utterly ignored as a child, and watched as my younger brother and older sister where held up as “better than me.” I was never told that I was loved; I was barely ever spoken to at all.
Bottom line, I guess the emotion I have a hard time with is hurt or sadness. Because that is how it felt to be ignored through my entire childhood. I learned that hurt feelings and sadness were not met with support and love, but with only total invalidation of my very existence.
I am more aware of these things now more than ever, and I have and will continue to tell people when I feel hurt by their behavior or actions toward me. I want to heal so badly, and I just keeping taking it one day at a time. Some days I feel broken beyond repair, and other days there is sometimes a glimmer of hope…
Great article as always Darlene! Thank you.


Connie, comment 43, I completely understand the “being ignored” thing. In my case I was the only girl and not equal to my brothers especially in my mother’s eyes. My father suppressed me as much as possible and kept me from doing things, making me feel that the world is an unsafe place. However, while you say you express anger too much, I withdrew within myself holding everything in. I didn’t feel I had a right to feelings most especially anger. Neither way is good; excessive anger or withdrawal. Sounds like you are on your way Connie. Best of luck!



Thanks for the concern…wow I did not expect that, I just wanted to get it out

Well….what can I not believe?
I cannot believe this is happening. Despite my childhood I have been managing my life quite well so far. Surprisingly well. At least that’s what I was thinking. Thanks to my “family” (I will spare the details) or my nervous breakdown rather, last year, I have been unemployed for almost a year now, my sister refused to help me in any way (forget about the money. Mental Support? “I have my own problems!!”), if I go n/c with all 3 of them (momster, my dad and my sister) they will call missing persons so basically I do not have a choice, I have to send stupid holiday cards to my sister to avoid problems.
Damn it, I refuse to be a victim, I keep on trying and I know eventually I will be back to my old self but for now I feel like a loser.


@ ArtistB
YOu remind me of myself when I was 18-21. I wonder which country you are from 🙂
People are asking you questions because they think you are a run away. Just do not trust anyone and do what you have to do. Be friendly though! If you are nice, all smiles and charming than no one is going to think you are a run away. Look “girly” at that backpackers place but once you move out, if you have to travel, dress like a tomboy.
Outside of the capital, my home country is not the safest in the world, whenever I was back here and forced to take a train, I would wear jeans, a baseball cap, a sweatshirt, nothing flattering. Remember you are on your own, and you are your own best friend, until your situation is stable (you have a plan, your own place to live not a hostel) you need to be super careful. But probably I do not need to tell you about it 🙂


@ Artist B

I used to think that way too 🙂 I don’t anymore
Now whenever I am abroad (most of the time) I act like an ambassador of my country. I really do like it, especially the city I am from, I like to see how it is booming now. I really do like so many things about my country, I just can’t live here. People here have a good life. Maybe it is me who is not meant to live here….because I am different and because the country and the language remind me of my childhood experiences.
I might be wrong but I think this is you case as well.
We do so many things subconsciously….. I used to hate my home country because my brain qualified it as one giant trauma.


@ Artist B

Be nice to Mr G. Believe it or not he is your friend not your enemy.
Whenever you stay at places like that, be friendly. Do not act like a rebelious college kid because this is what he is going to think of you.

If he is trying to make a conversation with you, make you guess his age whatever, than do it. Nothing wrong with that. Give him 1 min of your time, it costs you nothing but can make a difference. People generally want to feel important, recognized, acknowledged. YOu are nice to Mr G today, tomorrow you can get a discount/ free meal/ free security guidane/ a room to yourself/ free locker/etc (yes all these things actually can happen).

Joke your way through!

He is wondering how come you are in his hostel if you are a local- flash your teeth and tell him you are writing an assignment about your country from a tourist point of you, ask him if you can take a photo of him, make a short interview whatever.

People want to be noticed. Customers want to feel like they are “regulars”, people in customer service on the other hand want to be acknowledged for their work. Simple rule. Make friends not enemies. You have enough enemies in your family. You never know who is going to help you along.

I hope this helps, I do not want to sound like an old auntie who has no clue about anything. I have been there and I am still learning.


I’ll add my voice to those of Sandra and AristB. My “home country” really isn’t one for me and just reminds me of the old difficulties. I still find the people there dismissive, the women gossipy, the men absolutely sexist and the food terrible. One time I went back and was so criticized for not living there anymore. I left again with great relief and pleasure. I don’t think I would handle “repatriation” very well.



No, they r asking questions because they are trying to get under my skin.

I asked many of the kinder locals here and all of them confirmed that. It is not what you had experienced. It is something very local here.

But thanks for sharing.


I am friendly. I am not trying to make enemies of any one,

In fact most people here said I am over friendly.


Here, as in my home country.

You are entitled to defer of course !


I am 41. Not 18 – 21


Feels like I am told what to do again.



Why do your say that I am acting like a rebellious college kid ?



I wish I never came back. By coming back, I got myself stuck here for 3 years. Imagine or not I was literally stuck, I got myself back in depression, in another spisode of anorexia, and on top of that I was forced by my sister ( who also lives abroad) to get back in touch with our mother.
I got a good job offer here and that’s how it happened. If I had a crystal ball back than, I would have taken even a Mc job over the potentially luctative and glamorous position I was offered here.

My personality changed completely. From a woman I was, I became a little firghtened girl with panic attacks unable to function without a loser guy by her side.
I forgot who I was
Now I am learning again

Ihave noticed….whener I am by myself I can do wonders
Whenever I let some loser guy to my life, he not only manages to ruin what I have just built but also disable all my further actions
How many more wasted chances??


I am all nice, charming and friendly every day to every one in this hostel.

The is also nothing I want to change or consider changing with my dressing.

Wat you had shared does not resonate with me at all.

I had made many conversations with Mr G. In fact, the people in my hostel who knew him all told me they know him, it was very rude, and warned me to stay my distance after my friendliness with him.

So I think you are giving me wrong advice. In fact, why should you be giving me advice on what to do ? Because you are presuming that your situation applies, but it does not.

No, you have not “been there”. I think that Aunty voice inside you speaking to me comes from the abuse that you receive from others. It makes me feel horrible!


I do appreciate people sharing their experience, but not telling me what I do or presuming that they instructions work for me.


@Artist B

I had to laugh! 😀 😀

Oh my God….I am such an idiot, I am sorry 😀


I tell you what Mr G did just.

Last night he was looking for help around the hostel. I volunteered to help him.

Today, he walked past me giving me a strange face and ignoring me with an attitude.

Are you telling me to still bow down further and be his door mat ? I am happy to stay my distance rather.


I do not have any other comment 😀


I wrote #61 before I saw your last comment (#60)


Never mind 🙂
Let bygones be bygones.


I am still laughing at myself 🙂

I am sooooo f**** experience, am I? 😀


Now you are making me laugh !:-)

On the positive side, the people you have met aren’t as rude as my country men !!

Says so much about my country ! (I know it is a terrible presumption here because there all rude and kind people everywhere. Well I a, ranting!)


Now I have a riddle! I wonder what country you are from



Easy to guess.

It is all over the Internet. Globally, travellers are complaining about my country. I can’t agree more.


@Artist B

I have not read every single post of yours 😛

I reckon….China or Central/ Latin America
since this is where the locals are super nosy 🙂



I rather keep u guessing ! Lol


C’mon 🙂 At least tell me if I’m on the right track? In terms of the continent… Central/ Latin America??


Ok I’ll leave you alone 🙂 We all have a right to remain anonymous here and that’s the beauty of it. It does not matter who is from where, we are all connected in a way


Wait I know! Nosy is one thing….you said rude! You said your folks are considered to be rude. People in Lating America (we are talking cliches now naturally) are nosy but open and super friendly.
Now…rude…hmm…..according to Forbes must be either French or Russian! 🙂


Not just rude, my dear.

malicious because they compete to get ahead al the time. They’d (most of them) would do anything to get ahead. AKA dog-eat-dog local culture.


Hmm I could say that about people from my country as well, especially women. Corporate world here vs corporate world anywhere in western parts of the world —-> HUGE difference
I am from Eastern Europe. Looks like you might be too. Am I right or wrong?


I am from Singapore.


You are a sweetie pie, Sandra. Not at all like your counterparts. Keep it up. 🙂


What?! I was planning to move to Singapore! Cleanest place in the world, great weather, great food, super NICE PEOPLE!
Tourists love your country except for one little detail….you get killed for littering and smoking pot 😀
You guys have some pretty harsh law


This is so funny. i wonder what Darlene or the rest is going to make out of this

Cleanest place in the world (…hmmm just about)
Great weather ( yes, except the humidity)
Great food (YES!!)
Super NICE people…. (NOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!!)

And I am a lawyer.


I am going to bed soon. Nice chatting with you. Good night.


Sandra and ArtistB
I had to jump in here! I have worked one on one over phone and on Skype with people from 8 different countries now and this blog is read in 148 countries. It is so interesting to discover that there are not huge differences in the dysfunctional family system or in the complaints/issues people have with other people. The details might be different but the damage is the same and culture (this was what surprised me so much) has little to do with it! It all comes down to the ‘pecking order system’ in our societies and the misuse of power and control.
p.s. about the beginning conversation where you were advising ArtistB ~ Sandra, please don’t give advice to anyone or tell them how to act etc. It’s dangerous when you don’t’ actually know what is going on. Thanks. 🙂


@Artis B
The same to you 🙂


Very true! We all are very similar.
I think cultural background plays little to no role here. We are all indeed one global village. Also the best proof is the fact that several friends of mine (we are all the same age & the same nationality) come from very loving and caring families. I had the pleasure to meet their parents.

As for giving unwanted advice….sorry about that. this is the 2nd time I am doing it here. I guess it happens to me when I feel angry and powerful at the same time. If I am so almighty, why is my life such a mess, right? 🙂



It is amazing how all of us here were forced to follow the same pattern of behavior. Although it was us who were the victims, we were made to believe we posessed qualities that actually describe abusers, such as: selfish, rebelious/ angry/ “fresh”, evil, difficult, etc, etc

@Artist B:
Just a thought….it hit me just now…. the way you describe “your” people is the same way we all could describe our families….nice and friendly for outsiders/ strangers (in this case tourists), completely different for family members (in this case the locals).


Here’s a question. I have been going back and facing both the physical and emotional damage that was done to me. Both of course were a result of parental anger gone wild. I am actually having an easier time getting past the physical damage. I was literally shaking the other night when I relived it, but afterward, I felt better, and I no longer feel worried that something like that can reoccur. Maybe that is the answer to my own question of why it is easier to get past the physical as opposed to emotional damage.
Although my mother is no longer around to pas snarky demeaning comments to me, I still fear that other people will. I still fear that people will walk all over me, and I am having a harder time forgetting past hurtful comments than physical hurts. Why is it so much harder to get past the emotional pain?


Hi Amber

I dunno… But I think humans are wired that way ?
I read somewhere that the greatest pains a human carry are usually deep wounding of false guilt and shame.



Scars are good. They remind you that the past actually did happen.

– said the main character (an abused kid turned psycho killer) in the movie The Red Dragon

Very true.


Which is why I sometimes think I’d rather be abused physically not so severely emotionally and verbally
Than you never forget and nobody can twist the truth because it is out there, visible, no one can deny it.


Artist B, thank you for your response to my comment number 84. I’m thinking that the answer is at least in part that there is no one in my life that would physically harm me so it is not a threat but there are still people in my life that may hurt me emotionally and I don’t feel fully ready to handle them yet.

Sandra, the only good thing I can see about scars is that they could be vehicles to addressing the past by getting to the root of the problem. I would hope that they fade after that. But if they fester and lead to destructive and harmful behavior, I don’t see any good in that.


Agreed. what I meant were visible physical scars
(the main character in the movie I mentioned, if I can recall properly, had some scars from the heavy beating)
They say emotional scars even though invisible are harder to heal

Of course by saying the above I did not mean that I’d like to have visible scars, you know what I mean I think


To Caden from September 24th,

I love your reference to an “outside clock”. That really hit me when I read that because it strikes a whole other conversation – no pun intended! It makes me think of what my “outside clock” was and is like today. Thanks so much for that. Very original as far as I am aware…:)


Hi Amber
I have done a lot of work around the question about emotional pain. (remember too that all abuse has it’s roots in emotional and psychological abuse. The grooming process itself has its foundation there too) and there are many parts to the answers, one of which is that other abuse is legally liable and easier to identify/ define as abusive. It’s pretty horrific to face that some people didn’t care about you at all and the proof of that is in their actions.
hugs, Darlene


Oh my god, I can’t believe Darlene has another post! And oh my god it’s hitting me hard!

Expressing anger was NOT ALLOWED in my family, at least not from the kids (but it was ok from Mom). More “one way” stuff.

And, this article is hitting on why I’m afraid of feeling happy. I have noticed that whenever I feel really happy, “on top of the world” stuff, something happens and I fall splat flat on my face. (Example: When I was working, I would feel really good about something I did at work, only to have the supervisor rip it apart the next day.) I don’t like that sudden change. So, I keep myself neutral, so that if something bad happens, I don’t “fall” very far.

AAACCKKKK! Darlene, this post caught me by surprise! But it’s a good one.


From Amber:

I never showed anger and just buried it deep inside. I buried it when I got taken advantage of, unjustly accused of things, and bullied by others. Somehow, they all had the right o their anger but I didn’t, no matter how unfairly I was being treated.

BINGO! How come everyone else gets to be angry and I don’t? Why am I not allowed? How come I get called a psycho if I get angry?


DXS, won’t it be great when we get to the stage where when we do something we are feeling wonderful about, and we have enough confidence in our self validation that another mean or sour person can’t spoil it for us? That is one of my goals. BTW, I had a supervisor years ago who thought that nothing I did was right. And I started believing it. She was a lot like my mother so I was easily undermined by her. Looking back, I can see through all her gas lighting.


Darlene, thanks for your response. I think that for me, I am getting over the physical abuse easier because I have acknowledged it and let myself feel the fear, and also, there is no one in my life now that would do that to me. I acknowledged that the threat is no longer valid. But there is still the fear of the emotional/ psychological part because while I am coming out of the fog about what happened, I don’t feel strong enough to set and maintain certain boundaries. I guess that comes later on. I do feel much better inside than even a few months ago, as I peel away the layers of the “onion” of my past.


DXS. Comment 93, that is what we are both working toward; being able to reclaim our right to feel our emotions! Having been denied that makes me mad too! Hugs, Amber.


Hi Darlene @ 82

Thanks. What you wrote feels right and makes sense.

I am wondering why it happened twice. I don’t see it happen to the posts written by others or may be I missed them. I don’t want to let it happen again because I felt confused. I wanna feel safe writing on this forum, being able to write freely without fear of being mislabeled as a rebellious young kid.

Is it got to do with the way I write, such that it attracts others to feel “powerful and angry” towards me ?


I was out with a room mate yesterday. Found out from him that Mr G is in cahoots with Mr X who is sexually harassing many (most) of the female staff at my hostel. Mr X has been harassing female guests as well.

Room mate was treated badly by staff, too and has left the hostel. I definitely hope to be leaving next week to protect myself.


@Sandra- Anger about your family stealing your future, I feel you. Grew up being promised that whatever college I could qualify to go to that a way would be found to send me. Reality- used lack of money as a guise to try and keep me close to home to control me. Mother wouldn’t help me apply for scholarships, wouldnt allow me to apply for financial aid. I should have gone to an ivy league or other elite school. Was only allowed to apply to the local university because I owed her a degree. I was going to be required to live at home and only eat, sleep and study. I owed her a return on her investment of raising me.. I think she delusionally thought I was going to pay her way in life. What really happened? I moved out two weeks after I graduated from high school and am stuck doing my degree online in my mid 30s.

Mother still made my life hell until she died two years ago, three months after I finally escaped to the other coast (where she was still attempting to control me from 3000 miles away).


I really have a hard time when people comment on my “anger”. Except it’s not the kind that blasts out. It’s the kind that people consider me to be “holding” onto and I really have no idea what they’re even talking about. Wouldn’t anyone be angry if they were treated the way I was? Yes, why should some people be allowed it as an emotion and others not? Or if I dare mention my family life I get a “Ah, see now that explains things”. As if it were my fault I dislike certain types of treatment. Then I am criticized for being “closed” or “reactive”. It drives me absolutely nuts (which of course only serves to compound the criticism). So I have to pretend in these situations that none of it bothers me at all. But in private it really gets to me. Really makes me angry.


Hi Alice

Your words echo my experience.

Not sure if what I am about to share would offend any one, but I feel led to share this:

By and by, I am learning to revisit “pockets” of my life where anger is held and allowing it to come out.

I find it so helpful when I learnt to stand up for myself more and more. I am thankful for this website because it is at this forum that i learnt there is value in standing up to abuse.

When I face the wrong done to me (rather than deny it) by journaling, speaking up, etc. I feel better and stronger after that.

Sometimes, when I tried I redress the injustice done to me in the heat of the moment, the result was not good though ! But when I stuff it all inside, it is no good either. It festers. I am still a long way away from arriving !


WOW! The Belt on my Bare butt while I held my ankles. If I moved or started to cry I got beat more. Mom stood back and watched…I was a least 8yrs. old. What a message to give an 8 yr. old… my bare butt to my father while my mother watched….Punishment? Oh, love the lick of soap…what wa the point…Big complcated word that most people don’t understand…I us the word HATE…too easily…no one unsedstands…it is a hard word…Maybe I need to just say It pissed me off…I don’t think so.. they taught me to hate..them! I really never have had friends…I do no know how…I have in a sense been alone all my life…My father would always say “you made your bed now liew in it until I went to the state hospital (lockup) and he made himself my gardian…My Mother and Father are dead but I feel thw BELT everyday…Crying myself to sleep… I have no one to hold to share together laughs and tears…to give the love away that I was able to keep…I cae and am sensative…my syblings call me gulbile…Why?

Are you Having Difficulty with the Emotion of Anger? :: Emerging From Broken


Anger! I never hear I love you…How is school (I am 57…and can finely let myself be free) No am a problem…Crazy to my nephews and nieces…I do not drive…and my little sister calls a conversation she says she ix trying to be helpful while I cannot stop crying and I am stuck in her car…I get home to cry by myself…call her and tell her and tell her about herself…in the car I cannot move…I do not understand…she married a rich guy who I loved, my 1st brother-in-law. he took his life last year. She do not seem to be grateful, I do not envy her. But why does she do it. after years of disability I am in college and she has a CONVERSATION on why I have no right to be there! Yes I am angry, Yes I bottle enough to sell…no one wants to buy…so I sit…cry alone…and give her my anger. why can’t she just love? I love her and all of my sisters and brothers…but I hurt her so I am nothing.


I’m trying to get caught up with posts on this topic.

Alice (I can relate to your issues!), post #11, I’m just shaking my head and going “WTF?”



in need of an advice

I have decided o cut myself off from my sister this time around and for good.
Which means that I will now be officialy estranged from my entire” family”.
Now….there is a risk that mommy dearest in order to humiliate me, will make my sister call a missing persons organisation.
For real. They used to threaten me they would do that when I was younger (though already legal). In order to stay “Safe”, I remained in contact w/ my sister.
Now due to the last year events, I am unable to even look at my sister. I want all of these 3 psychopaths out of my life.
How do I prevent them from notifying a missing persons organisation?
I know this may sound silly to some of you but I am dead serious now


T. Lynn-

I am so sorry….you are hurting. I understand about the anger. Also about being the crazy one. The one with “issues”. Hang in there.



Thanks for your input…seems every time I things begin looking up my dead Father mocks me and my sister has now taken his place. I keep fighting, but in the news last night when the senate and congress are all screwed up. My family thinks that I am wasting the governments money and all I want is to work. I am still the rug but I am the one walking on eggshells. I have so much I can give others, things I never had but I can care, love, have empathy but I hate it at night when I go to sleep and walk up…


every time I visi EFB I am more and more amazed
how our sories resemble one another so much
being labeled the black sheep for no reason, the crazy one, the difficult one etc
Usually one person in the family who has the power will pick the victim and than manipulate the rest of the family into this way of thinking


every time I visi EFB I am more and more amazed
how our sories resemble one another so much
being labeled the black sheep for no reason, the crazy one, the difficult one etc
Usually one person in the family who has the power will pick the victim and than manipulate the rest of the family into this way of thinking

Sometimes I dream tha I will one day be able to set up a foundation for abused kids, especially those not “visibly” abused who suffer in silence, believing no one is ever going o believe them that they lawyer mommy or doctor daddy treat them like shit, curse, call names etc


god damn it…the t key 🙂


the next 3 days will be very imporant to me
please keep your fingers crossed
I need some good energy coming from positive people


Wow, Sandra!! I could really relate to what you had to say in #107!!!

Am keeping my fingers, toes and everything else crossed for you and sending positive energy your way:)

As far as the “black sheep” goes, the “difficult one, etc.” I REALLY hear you and I feel so ANGRY, to this day, that when I felt safe enough to start expressing myself and being me – I was shot down immediately and herded away from the others by my manipulative mother (the victim) like a lone wolf who is chased off from the rest of the pack! To this day I love dogs, lol! And yes, I will sleep with them if it means I can be who I am. I hope they remember the old saying, “Let sleeping dogs lay”. Yes. I am Angry! And Yes, do not Awaken me at this point in time. My anger is the reason I have gained 20 pounds in 6 months! My anger is soothed by food and my anger is raw and repulsive to me and I cannot look at it just yet…

Thanks Darlene. You always come out with such timely articles. And I have so much anger to bear… At least I am not alone. Let me please allow myself to feel that anger so that I may go on with the rest of my days… Bless everyone on here who is not allowed to be heard. I am so thankful I am not alone!


thank you Pauline …

and you are not alone!!!



This article on anger is so wonderful. I have always been afraid to express my anger. I am afraid of the outcome. As a child my nightmares would never let me scream. I opened my mouth and no words would come out.

Now I start screaming and my husband has to awaken me from the most horrible nightmares. They are never about the sexual abuse and never about my father. They are always about my mother.

Ever since attending my father’s funeral, my nightmares revolve around the things people tell me my mother is saying. Now, it seems, that entire part of my family is saying that since my father died, I should have closure now! Are they kidding? They don’t seem to understand that my mother caused the worst damage.

Everyone seems to think 64 years of psychological and emotional torture should go away with the snap of my fingers. They don’t seem to understand that putting me in a room alone with my mother would catastrophic for both of us. She would be dead and I would end up in prison.

I think they all want closure for themselves, that if I could just let it go, their lives would be perfect. Who are they kidding? It was not me that stole jewelry and drugs at my father’s funeral. It was my drug addict sister. And with drama queen mother continually stirring the pot things are just getting worse and worse.

I am so angry at them still trying to make me the buffer in this family. My mother and sister especially seem to think that they can convince my husband to turn against me…that he loves them SO much he will believe what they say. Because he was nice to some of them in the beginning, they seem to think he will take their side now.

Little do they know that if he and my sons had their way, we would have not seen any of them from the day we got married. My sons don’t acknowledge that my family even exists any more. My husband has always said that it is the two of us who are married. They can say all the nice things they might think about him, he would be happy not ever having known any of them.

Hugs to all,


Linda, about closure, in my case both of my parents are now gone. But that didn’t just wipe away the effects from the way I was raised. So people who think death means closure don’t know what they are talking about, in my experience. Linda, the people who keep giving you advice did not walk a day in your shoes. If they didn’t live it, and didn’t see it, then who are they to advise you what to do?
I’m glad you have a good support system with your husband and sons.

I’ve been doing a lot of my own thinking on anger. Mine was stuffed down. My mother often wondered why I had so many upset stomachs as a kid. I think the answer to that is staring me in the face. Unexpressed anger stuffed down. I’ve decided I’m not going to stuff it anymore. So what’s to happen? Someone else might get angry? I’m tired of being held hostage by that. My mother controlled me for years that way as did others. I am not planning to go into a rage when I feel angry. That’s what my mother did. Instead I am going to state exactly how I feel, and then (this is still hard for me) try to hold my ground..


Hello DXS! The other thing that happens is that I don’t get angry when I ‘ought’ to and so random people can say random shit to me and I’ll come away wondering why I feel crappy and then later realise what happened. I just allowed them to diss me for two hours and didn’t notice what was going on.


Your journey is so eloquently written…how long have you been writing? Your words seem to be my struggle… My thoughts…my hopes…I am a writer because that is how I that little girl of 8….but no one but myself has read any of my book…from 1960 to now..I think they are helpful if I could get the courage to share as you have…what should I do to move into the next phase?


Alice I’m often not able yo respond to that type of stuff on the spot either. But I found there is an in between that is comfortable for me for the stage I’m currently at. Okay so I didn’t give the right response on the spot, nor do I have to keep my feelings inside. I have tried hoping back at a later time yo talk to the person and tell them how I feel. This fave me time to calm down and Aldo think how I wanted to respond. I did this several times at work and for the most part got good results.


Sorry about the spellcheck on the above message! But I think it’s still understandable!


Wow Alice, I can really relate to what you are saying here!! It used to be so frustrating for me because I had started speaking up for myself but at times like you mentioned, I would not get the chance to speak up because I would not realize what had really happened until a couple hours later?! I would think about what had happened until I was half crazy but usually if I then tried to bring it up to that person on the next occasion, they would act like nothing had happened and usually totally dismiss my feelings. I would feel so “crappy” like you say and think damn, I am really going to have to catch it the next time it happens!! I really do not understand why this happens to me and is nice to know I am not alone. However, having said that, since I am away from my mother and her family I do not have this sort of thing happen really. I have had it happen with certain others in my life though, who I also believe to be manipulative. So is it me or is it really them?! Crazy making stuff!!


Hi Amber, good for you. I have rarely spoken up after the fact and when I have it hasn’t gone well at all. I figure that’s as much of a litmus test for the relationship as any. I know the person I have in mind at present would take exception to me discussing it with her and I don’t want to listen to her justifications for doing it either.


Hi Gracellyn
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I have been writing for about 4 years ~ I never considered myself to be “a writer”. When I found the solution to all the depressions etc. that I had struggled with for so long, I wanted to tell the world and that is why I started this blog and my coaching program. I do this more out of my passion for telling the truth. I was ready to write publically when I knew in my heart that it was them that were in the wrong and not me and that I had been groomed to blame myself. I was ready to write when I embraced the truth and realized that keeping their secrets was not helping me nor was it love for them and that telling the truth was NOT going to put me in any danger that I could not deal with. (the danger that I mostly feared from them was mostly rejection (but in truth I had already been rejected by them) or it was legally liable which also became willing to deal with)
hugs, Darlene


Pauline, I think it is them, yes. It’s why I find it pointless to engage afterwards because they would justify themselves by blaming me and I’m not interested in yet another setup where I let them define me and then they top it by judging their own definition of me. Instead I look at the definition and decide whether I agree or not. There are any number of “reasons” that people can come up with. I look out for the ones that are based on things I can’t change, like being female, from a certain place, looking a certain way etc.


““I” was more about her than I was about me.”

Oh, so powerful!!! I feel like you and I were raised in the same home! I know the feeling. I wasn’t allowed to be happy. If I was happy, I would be punished in some way.

I have blocked out all the systematic, ritualistic belt spankings. Some day I will face them, I know, but only one thing at a time. I have a feeling, based on my digging, that he would spank me for being happy. He took away all my toys that I loved. He said I left them lying around. He wouldn’t let me play games or eat french fries. Anything I loved, he was sure to remove from my life.

He (my stepfather) made me pick-up-the-leaves every day. It was so painful. I couldn’t enjoy being part of the family. They got rid of me by giving me, a 5 year old little girl, the overwhelming, long-suffering job of picking up the leaves. It would take me hours to do the whole yard. Hours. It was the most lonely, empty times of my life. Picking up leaves only to go inside a little later for a belt spanking. It really hurt!!! Inside and out. I wonder if I’ll ever recover. Lord willing. One day at a time.


Anger. It seethes under the surface. I try to catch it, but it’s really hard. We’ve been taught as a culture not to be angry, those of us who are women. Anger is supposedly a bad thing. Express anger as a child? FORGET IT!

Anger must be expressed, just like any other emotion. If it’s not expressed directly and for the root reason, it will be expressed. Anger will not be denied. You’ll just express it in obtuse ways. (not sure why that word came out) What I’m saying is, your anger will come out in one way or another.

A few years ago, my therapist at the time looked at me and said, “you seem angry.” I’ve never had anyone tell me that before, and I felt as if she was stereotyping me from books she’d read about people with my symptoms that I described. I couldn’t receive it. I didn’t take it well, in fact, I was pissed that she said I was pissed.

I’M NOT ANGRY I quipped to myself the following week. WHAT DOES SHE MEAN, I’M ANGRY? WHO DOES SHE THINK SHE IS SAYING I’M ANGRY? Ha ha, looking back, I was mad as hell.

Those who are expressing their anger, I feel are closer on the road to recovery than those who are still in the victimization and sadness only stage. Anger is powerful! Anger is your backbone! Anger is your strength! It’s only bad when it’s misdirected. Anger is only bad when you’ve allowed yourself to be compromised and not taken measures to protect your own person and your own heart. Anger is only bad when it’s denied.

Anger is an emotion that is a guidance and a protector. When we are hurt there is always anger. Anger goes with mistreatment. Anger is a friend of shame. Where pain, shame are anger is there too. It’s all jumbled together and you can’t feel one as well without the other. Fascinating, that anger.

I know I have anger still, like a boiling caldron. I try to pick up on it and ask myself, “What are you really mad about?” But the anger, like someone said in the comments, debilitates me. It makes me shut down and shut people out. Anger keeps me alone and I am angry about that.

It’s not about screaming, although screaming may be good too–but it’s more about facing and acknowledging the anger that helps it release. Anger is saying, I’ve been hurt, that’s not right! If we reparent ourselves and give a voice to our anger and our right to be treated respectfully, I think it helps.

Anger is beneath the pain, entwined with shame. We need to feel it all to be healed, complete, released and free. Tis true.


Hey LadyBug Song:)

I loved this piece you wrote. Particularly when you stated, “Anger keeps me alone and I am angry about that”. Wow, I could really relate to that!! Take care…


Hi everyone!
This is directly related to this topic of difficulties with anger but it also has some other stuff that I think we’ve discussed before.

Any ideas why someone would seem to “enjoy” telling me I am being judged negatively by others? This same person seems to like bringing up difficulties I have told her about in the past (my mistake for doing so since she made herself out to be a kind/considerate person at first).

I gave her ideas a lot of consideration but it turns out no-one is really judging me apart from her but she seemed to enjoy giving me the impression I was in a difficult position (and all along pretending to be sympathetic to it at the same time). It has made me angry at her and yet I don’t want to “call her on it” since it would be so complicated (an actual conflict could put me in a difficult position). So here’s a situation where I’m angry but can’t do anything that wouldn’t make things worse for me. Thank you for any ideas.




All pieces fit perfectly together, don’t they?
I think they do it to make themselves feel more powerful and naturally to make you feel like crap. And stupid on top of that, because how come you didn’t know XYZ said this or that about you?

hmmm ….my mom and my sister would always tell me how “other are definitely thinking this or that of me”..


Yeah, Pauline. I don’t feel it as anger. My anger feels like a frozen block of ice that’s on fire at the same time. Yeah. Like a frozen block of ice in a vat of boiling hot grease that never melts and never turns to ashes. It’s a little like hell on earth.

It doesn’t feel like “anger” per say. It feels like numbness, shut down, nothing, emptiness. I only know it’s anger because I know myself so well. It took a lot of mindfulness to recognize the frozen burning anger that resides beneath the surface. Wow! It’s shameful to even bring the word ANGER up. It’s like to talk about it calls it forth.

I know this anger keeps me isolated. It’s like my attachment system was ruined by the rejection of my childhood. It was melted, burned beyond recognition. The bridge to others was burned and I’m trapped inside myself.

I love myself, thank God, but every day I am reminded that there is something missing. My heart aches to get outside and be inside the heart of someone else. Not in an unhealthy way, just normal. I dunno.


Hi Darlene and all,
This is not about anger but the death of a chapter in my life, yes anger of course occurred, but now I’m at peace
I don’t know if you recall me, I posted a few times and announced on you’re blog soon after she died(my mom.) You were kind to comment from time to time, TY.
I did not attend her service, my siblings were in NT up till her death; my bro refused to discuss anything & I believe they did not want me there. I have moments of guilt but maintain peace. No, it is not the way I wanted it to end, but the way they wanted it to end, mom and siblings refused to see me prior; would not allow any truth- full contact.
Good news, though I am very stressed financially appealing for disability; I will be receiving a small inheritance. This is because of my father who passed 5 years prior. She could not change the will, but gave my other siblings things and money before her death.
I have peace; have not had a nightmare since she passed. I have forgiven her and my dreams reflect it. If my family, others were offended by my not being present for her service; I cannot feel responsible. I did what I needed to do and did not have the option to leave when I chose or would have most likely attended.

I am expressing this to you because you wonder how you will be when your folks pass. I am surprised by the outcome for myself. I did not want the NC; they chose it, yet with my family I am always wrong, in their eyes; you understand this statement as others’ here relate too.
I want and intend to send a donation when I get the funds; it won’t be substantial but know it will help some as you continue to help others, thanks for all you do. (I sent this through personal email but it would not send)

Most likely it will be a personal ck. cannot remember my pay pal account. Let me know how thank you again or will use C.C.

Blessings to all,



I feel like I am becoming a grown up just now.
Even though I had to look for ways to support myself financially from an early age, that did not speed up the process of becoming “A serious adult”
I made so many dumb mistakes, I was so focused on survining, just clutching to surving.
I keep blaming myself even though I know it is not true. Because taking the blame off of my shoulders does not enable me to travel back to my pst.
I feel like I am delayed. When I was 18 all the way until pretty much now, I was looking for a mentor figure, a mother, someone willing to “adopt me”. Especially when I was 18, 19, 20. I was not interested in partying. Even though there were lots of guys who wanted to date me,,, Inside I was a kid looking for parents. On top of that I have always looked min 5 years younger so when I was 18 everyone thought I was 23 or something. And no, I am not mentally delayed. I actually have a very rich inner life. Which is also the reason why I have never been interested in guys my age, to me they were just a bunch of kids.

Another thing…I have been so used to dreaming, living with my future plans, trying to find happiness in minor daily things, such as sunny weather or a good meal that when things all of a sudden started going really well for me last year, all at once, I panicked, I got so scared, I was in disbelief, I screwed up.

Someone up there showered me with so many gifts (in my opinion that is, I was overwhelmed) last year, I could not calm myself down, my mind was in a panic mode, things could not possibly go well, couldn’t they?

I do not want to sound like a loser…but lately…I have been wasting so much time indulging myself in thinking what things I might have done differently or rather what would my life be like if I got a chance to pick different parents… wonderful would it be to have an opportunity to utilise my talents, my potential, to be who I believe I was meant to me, to go to college, to never have to experience the hell of depression, that numb feeling, the emptiness, the inability to lift yourself up, to get out of bed, ….what would it be like to feel secure….to know from the beginning all the things I am learning just now about myself and the world.

Sometimes I am so sad…so sad that I hd to experience all these things at such a young age.
On the outside I am cocky nd confident but also diplomatic, polite, well mannered. No one would have believed if they found out about my past.

I see careless “kids” only 2 years younger than me, finishing their colleges, unis, starting their internships, some of them still in love with their sweat pants, hoodies etc. Carrying around their Macs, ipods, iphones, all kinds of books, everything bought by their parents…and not necessarily wealthy people, but normal regular folks who know that it is their job to send their kid to college, to provide for them.

My mother succeeded. I am a rebel child.
She is this well meaning ex wifey of a locally well known doc.
Their kid is a rebel, did not even want to go to college, does nto want to be in touch with their parents now, what a bad bad daughter.


Sandra, I don’t know if you will find this helpful or not. Is my intent even to help or just to identify? I dunno. I’ll put it here with no real hopes. What I do know is I have hated knowing that my life could have gone a different, better way. I have hated knowing that many (if not most) of my choices have not been made freely (even the ones I thought my most rebellious) but in reaction to everything I lived through. Hell, even my goddam job is a reflection of the worst of my upbringing. And so? Shall I also beat myself up for that? Here is the place where I feel it becomes even more crucial to treat oneself well. Alright, so I have a serious aversion to ‘authority’ of any kind. Alright, my purest professional expression is getting under things to the truth of them. Alright, I cannot bear an instance of the hypocrite that passes for a mature adult. Alright, I refuse submission of any kind, even the kind some men find attractive. Alright, I often feel like a lonely animal in the midst of others. Alright, I believe people or ideas too readily. Alright, if someone is kind to me I cave in. And so? Shall I beat myself for all of these? I can’t anymore.



“Alright, I believe people or ideas too readily. Alright, if someone is kind to me I cave in. ”

Same thing
Which is weird
After what we have been through, we should be the “safest” the most untrusting people in the world
I keep working on myself but the inner naivete does not want to move out

I feel like I can accomplish anything only when I am single, when I do not get attached to anyone. Once I do, I become this gummi bear….yeah let’s just move to an island and hug and do nothing and pay our bills with our love


Hi Le’ah
I will send you a private email. If for some reason you don’t get it, try to contact me again through the contact form here and I will email you that way. Thank you for considering giving a donation! They always help!
When I realized the absolute truth about the way things are in dysfunctional families I was at first shocked. (It was not me who chose to go no contact either, but they will always say it was. What actually happened is that I didn’t bend anymore and so they withdrew. Several years have gone by now and I am no longer surprised by this outcome. 🙂 (because I understand it now) They took my boundary as an unacceptable statement of individuality. They also decided that my boundary was my withdrawal so that they could absolve themselves of any responsibility. They can view it however they wish, but I am at peace with the truth. 🙂 )
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Alice
Re your comments #131
YES ~ I found that it was in the painful places of understanding that I had to learn to treat myself right. (and still continue to learn that!) I had to take a look at the dysfunction to remind myself that it WAS dysfunction. I also had to learn to “live in the world” with that dysfunction but I don’t have to submit myself to it. That ‘balance’ took some time and practice! 🙂
Love your comments!
hugs, Darlene


I love rain….brings changes…usually….washes away old problems

All of my love to you

Sitting in a hostel far away from ALL of THEM
virtually with no money
but so happy
and full of hope

I sometimes wonder though…does everything happen in the right timing? Could I have done something earlier, 3 months ago, 5 months ago?
I was painfully aware of my setbacks, problems, yet again I made another final circle. Did I have to? DId I have to delay my departure, change my plans yet again, feel the paralyzing fear, hook up with my old for the 10th time? I did it to myself thi time.
Now I feel the fear but do what I have to do regardless….as if someone was guiding me….it feels good
For the first time in my life I talk to myelf through fear..

I do not want to sound like a crazy person because I am the one who always claims: “that did not need to happen” etc
What do you guys believe?
IS there such thing as pre destiny? Do you believe that we do certain things when we are ready, that there is no way to speed things up.
I stress all the time, but in reality “it” came to my just like that. I finally felt peacful. I finally found courage.


You sound like you are doing well Sandra, this is good news:)
I have no idea about destiny, what I do have is a better understanding of how things get to be a certain way if I stare down the reality of my experiences and thoughts about them. I think life itself has a drive to undo the harms that were done. I don’t think there is a way to speed it up but perhaps there are ways to stop slowing it down. The exhortions to “Honor” your parents slow it down. Societal expectations slow it down. Insisting people “forgive” before the conditions are in place to make that possible slow it down. It happens when people want results without doing or allowing whatever conditions are necessary to be in place before they can happen. We can do things with language that don’t reflect reality in any way. You can point to a seed and call it a flower all you want but that won’t make it one any faster.


For me, I was able to express anger but it was not validated or heard- it simply was ignored and i was told to leave/shut up/that I had a big mouth. I never understood what my mother meant when she said ‘i had a big mouth.’ Now that i look back on it I see that she saw me as in a power struggle over her; as though my anger at being treated badly was some sort of one-upmanship over her. But I often expressed my anger but my mother never wanted to hear it, she would send me to my room, where I would cry in anger.
I’m not sure this is considered an emotion that I repressed as a child, but I would have to say that what I repressed was the idea that I had a personal self with an individual future and goals, and an individual life ahead of me. Instead I believed my soul purpose in my life was to be there for my parents and help their way of life run along smoothly: something like a pet. I never formed any concern about my future or goals or what I wanted out of life. All of my concerns on my mind were about my parents and their household needs, such as cleaning or looking after my younger sister. When the time came for me to enter college as was expected of me, I had no clues of what to study. I went into a panic because I realized that now I had to live for myself, have interest in myself, create my own life, and I was never even taught to be concerned about myself. So I never had any dreams or imaginations of paths I might want to try in life. So I really panicked and basically got really stuck. All of my peers were able to graduate and move on in their life but I could never find out what I wanted or what I needed or what to do with myself. It is because I focused so much on them and their needs that it is like re-learning how to live all over again just for me to have concern for myself, for my needs and my care. I hope this fits in to the discussion when it comes to repressing emotions, although this is really abt repressing the idea of a personal self, as much as I can describe it.


Julie, that’s some great consideration of this issue. If anger does have a “function” would it not be to protect the self of the person (whatever stage of development they are at). Punishing someone for their anger may be punishing them for being a person when all that some parents want is for their kids to be “better” versions of themselves (of course the irony is that the parents may not even be selves to kick off with for were they so they would not feel threatened and angry by their child’s self.)
I am sorry you were so mistreated by your family. I feel as if they did something similar with me but I just kept fighting. And so I ended up defined by the fight and still not entirely myself. I was pretty clear on what I wanted to do for studies when I was a kid but that got nixed.


Hi Everyone
I am getting a lot of comments through email that are not being posted on the blog itself ~ please remember that if you hit the reply button when you get a new comment notification, the comment only comes to my admin address for efb. The other readers don’t see it. You can cut and paste your comment from your email into the blog if you wish them to be public.
hugs, Darlene


I am absolutely terrified of myself when i get angry, and its not a typical angry reaction, I go into this full on rage were I feel I could actually hurt someone. I’ve had a lot of emotional and physical trauma Horrid things were done, I’ve accepted those things and there was nothing I could do too prevent it. I’ve been medicated,extensive amounts of therapy. When this rage occurs I see myself in the back of my mind there is a slight fraction of me that pulls me away before I do anything stupid. I feel like a monster without any source of remorse. I am a very caring and loving person.


I grew up with an insanely angry mother. She had reason to be angry because she was brutalized by her father (and mother), in every way possible. Being raped was her first memory as a child. I am not condoning her anger either, but I do understand it, and I did forgive her. She died young (60’s), from self abuse with alcohol and cigarettes. She also took down my father, with her negative, angry, mostly verbal abuse, (he was an alcoholic too). My younger brother was a very sensitive boy and after our parents died he took his own life. (My brothers anger was explosive as well). As a child I used to lie in my bed with my face in the pillow and scream! I wasn’t aloud to show or feel anger, so I hid it. I used to pull my hair out in bunches too. I wasn’t aloud to feel happy either. I wasn’t suppose to feel at all. It was a very confusing childhood. When I hit my 20’s and started my own family that’s when my anger started to come out. Watch out! It was intense. I verbally bashed my husband (ex), just like my mom did. My first born got an earful too and I wanted her to be ‘perfect.’ I absolutely hated myself for the way I was acting. I was a mess. I started counselling, reading every self-help book I could get my hands on. I went to Alanon. I took anger management and assertiveness training. I learnt to re-parent myself, love myself and I am blessed with the most beautiful family ever. Some days I still struggle, everyone does, but when angry emotions come over me, I’ve learnt it’s natural, I take a deep breath, I can handle them and I except them. I don’t go bashing others because of them. I am almost 50 now and my life is better than ever and I know I’ve come along way. I started to repeat patterns but then I repaired them. I stopped the pattern of abuse in my family and I know my children will have happy lives, and there is no better gift than that. All you people struggling, please don’t give up, keep working on yourselves, love yourselves. You are so worth it! With LOVE!! (Which I taught myself). Hugs and blessings.


People you have to realize that anger is from the limbic brain, it is right there with fear and is an ancient survival emotion meant to get us to survive. Before our brain developed the cortex, the thinking part, we relied solely on the limbic system, the anger and fear part. Therefore anger is much older in our system than thinking is. Anger is way down under the brain at your brain stem, whereas thinking is around the top of the brain. We share this stem and limbic system with animals. That is why it would be detrimental to judge or attack ourselves for having anger. Do not question whether you are a good person or not, if you have anger! That is something society and our parents teach us to do- to judge ourselves for having anger. It is important to recognize what it is saying to you then to express it in as respectable way as possible, that is what the anger is there for- to provide you motivational energy. Of course since flight or flight is occurring, less blood is getting to the brain and your thinking abilities are cut off, we are truly only in our limbic brains, but that is to be seen for what it is, just a self protection system built into your brain. It is not something we should be judging ourselves for.


Julie post 137: I can totally relate to what you wrote. I didn’t have much of a personal self with goals and dreams. I did a lot of avoiding my parents; I would walk quietly from one room as they walked into another (downstairs was a loop design) thereby avoiding them. I felt sad and angry and frustrated most of the time. I spent a lot of time on my bed in my room. There was an atmosphere of quiet desperation. I didn’t join extracurricular activities, nor was I encouraged to. At any given time, I had one or two friends. I think I was traumatized and it was all I could do to cope with that, coupled with parents who didn’t really encourage me to express myself, learn about myself.

There seemed to be a lot of order and rules (often unspoken) in our house. The days revolved around my parents schedules and needs. I think my role was to fit in. Seeing me as an individual, and encouraging my individuality was probably seen as “work”…it was best if I didn’t “make waves” and just went with the program.

I also pulled my hair out when I was four. It’s one of my earliest memories.

When it came time to decide where to go to college, I was lost. I remember sitting in the living room with that big book that lists colleges in alphabetical order, leafing through it, having no idea how to choose. I didn’t have the critical thinking skills or the knowledge of HOW to choose a school.

As for anger, I repressed a lot of it. But as I became a teen, then into my 20s and later, I was angry a lot. It came out as irritability and impatience. There was no real way to talk about the deeper feelings (hurt, fear at sexual abuse by fa., alcohol, emotional neglect). My siblings didn’t like that I was angry with my parents and they pulled away from me too.

It’s only in the past few years that I have come more into my own: learning about my sense of style, my likes and dislikes, being able to face life head on instead of shrinking inside.


Light, (143), wow! I felt as if I was reading my own story here! I understand what you are saying so well, and the feelings because my situation was so similar. I stayed out of my parents’ way and most of my home time was spent in my room staying out of their way so I wouldn’t anger or annoy them. I was lonely. I had one or two good friends in elementary school, but I think most kids thought I was odd because I was so withdrawn and also my mother didn’t care if I was clean or dressed nicely. I did join a couple of extra curricular activities like chorus and Girl Scouts though and at least doing a couple of things I enjoyed.

But for the most part my individuality was squished and I wasn’t sure what my wants and needs were because I accepted the mould that my parents put me through as being who I was. Only it didn’t fit.

Light, like you I was just supposed to fit in with what was convenient for them and what they wanted me to be. My adventurous side was squashed very early. Only recently, decades later, is it resurfacing and I’m realizing that that’s the real Me. I spent years just going along with everything and wondering what feels so wrong about it.

I can relate to the college decision thing. In my case I was basically told it had to be a state school and I was pushed into an education major. I never felt I had a choice in any other field. But even choosing the school from a list of state schools was hard because I had never been encouraged to make decisions, but then expected at 17 to automatically know how to do that. What?? When parents tell you your whole life who you are instead of letting you be yourself, how do they expect you to be able to suddenly make decisions?

As for any anger I just stuffed it inside along with other emotions I wasn’t permitted to express. It came out as upset stomachs and even hyperventilating. But fortunately, like you, Light, I have been learning who I really am and also to express myself better.


Pauline (Post 119), I get it. It takes me up to 48 hours later to realize I’ve been “manipulated” and when I bring it up, I get dismissed, and when this goes on for years, and I bring it up now I’m “Dwelling in the past.” Because my mom cannot recognize that SHE is the one with issues. No, I’m the one with issues from her viewpoint, only because I don’t do things the way SHE would have done.

Alice (post 120) you verbalized exactly what I feel, but had been unable to verbalize.

LadyBug (Post 123) where you quoted this: ““I” was more about her than I was about me.” Ok, I couldn’t find who said it first, I know you were quoting someone else, but WOW WOW WOW, that’s my situation. My mom wanted me to be this “other” person. And as for the rest of your post, yes, it sounds like they just wanted you “out of the way.” I’m sorry for you.

Alice (post 126), people who do that are “Snipers.” You basically “call them out on it” by redirecting their comments. Ok, that is the advice given for when it happens in the working world, but when it’s personal, I’m not sure how to deal with it. Sometimes when people say “others are thinking this of you” what they are really doing is projecting their own thoughts on to the “others” so they are blameless.

Sandra (post 127), same thing about your mom and sisters. They are “projecting” their own thoughts.

Le’ah (post 129), glad to hear you will get something.

Sandra (post 130), I can relate a bit to what you said. when I went away from my family as a kid (like summer camp or something), I NEVER EVER “missed” anyone. It was more like, “Oh boy, I’m here and not THERE!” And having to go back home sucked to me.



….almost there 🙂

“I think life itself has a drive to undo the harms that were done”

I love how you put it.
I think I believe that too.
when I look back at my life I see that
hopefully it happens this time yet again


I smiled when you commented that you didn’t know where the quote ” “I” was more about her than I was about me.” came from; it originated right here ~ lol ~ I said it in the body of the article. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


(embarrassed…..) ok, it’s been awhile since I read the article. I thought she was quoting someone else’s comment. Just re-read your article.


DXS, i do wonder to what extent this is unconscious on this person’s part. The other thing I’m learning is that if I have an “issue” around something in particular, people can pick up on it unconsciously and do heinous stuff as a result. Whether this more active part is conscious or not is a good question. I think it probably isn’t – given the outrage that results if I call them on it. For that deeply hidden thing reflects damage that was done to them. I think calling them on it might be a kind thing to do as it brings their scars up for cleaning out but it hurts and no-one wants that.

The flipside is that I wonder what heinous things I do unconsciously, the fact of it being unconscious means I don’t know.

Sandra, my take is that life will keep on keeping on at its thing. This is the point at which some amount of “faith” kicks in and I’m not talking about the conceptual religious kind but the kind that religions try to explain and can’t haha.


Alice, I think you got it! It is unconscious. “They know not what they do.” My mom says, “let me know if I do something wrong” but when you do, she denies denies denies and gets upset. In Deborah Tannen’s books, she had a phrase for it: “pro forma.” Everything my mom says is “pro forma.” She doesn’t mean any of it. She doesn’t say what she means and she doesn’t mean what she says.


DXS, well the other thing is that your mother “shouldn’t” in the first place be using you as a proxy for a check on her own responsability for the way she treats you. That’s a typical abuser “you made me do it” kind of thought-process. I think.


I learned that the expression of my emotions was more about her mood than it was about mine and therefore my only option was to accept that the only way that I could hope to avoid punishment was to figure out how to make sure that I didn’t upset her or make her angry.

“I” was more about her than I was about me. – See more at:

Wow, i could so identify with this, Darlene. My nmoms moods dominated the household. If she woke up angry, we walked on eggshells. She woud slam things around, stamp her feet. I can still recall the sharp sound of her high heels on the floor, as she stormed through the house. Pulling down curtains because it was too hot inside. Slamming me against the wall when she didnt like something I said. Shaking me. Slapping me. Sometimes she would just slam things around, like dishes, and be dramatic in her actions, and not say anything. But the message was clear. “Mom” was angry, and it was probably your fault! She hated any form of self expression, singing, dancing, playing an instrument. She would scream at you to stop it! What a freaking joy-killer she was! Her whole issue was jealousy over her siblings, and never being the apple of her parents eye, like the sister she despised. And still does.The sister who was prettier, talented and encouraged to perform. Dysfunctional? Probably. My concern as a child? Nope.
It was funny, the last time I saw her with my father, she made a big point to speak fondly of her sister, whom she had just recently spoken to. She doesnt realize that I knew it had been over a year since she spoke to her. Did not attend her sister’s husbands funeral this past year. Then she made it a point to tell how she sat with my other aunt, her SIL, at a family function. The aunt she also despises becuase she is pretty, and she believes her to flirt with my Dad. The women she told me was trying to break up her marriage, when I was a child. The aunt (and uncle, my Dad’s brother) whom she REFUSED to invite to my Dad’s birthday party, then tried to make it look like MY fault. I did not take the rap for her, and exposed her deception.
Back to anger. I do find that it hits me at what I deem to be inappropriate times. Sometimes I over-react. I have difficulty trusting other women, as I spent my childhood being set up and knocked down by this small minded and bitter woman. My first instinct is to distruct, self-protect, and maybe respond with anger.
It is comforting and crazy-making to have a golden child SO. He can point out where I over-react, and always sees the good in people. But it bothers me that he does not understand where I am coming from. He could not possibly know. It was just a whole different ballgame!

DXS, I so identified when you said this: “She doesn’t mean any of it. She doesn’t say what she means and she doesn’t mean what she says”.
Exactly! They have uttered falsehoods for so long, I doubt they really know what they are feeling. Or if they even feel anything at all. Besides anger, bitterness, meanspiritedness. And all the while, with a deceptively gentle voice (at this stage of the game), and a smile on their lips. For it is all a game.


I recently got custody of my son back after his father made up a bunch of lies, got a bunch of fake witnesses and basically tried to destroy me. He is angry, and took our most recent exchange as an opportunity to yell at me in front of our son in public. As we approached him to do the exchange, he started snapping pics as some type of evidence (even though court is over). My son was proud on his 2 wheel bike for the first time, and thought daddy was taking pics of him riding…then the verbal assault began (and he is 6’8 gets in my face and looks down at me pointing before taking our son away hastily as if taking his property back in anger). Every few months on fact, he does this. Children’s services does nothing.

My reaction, as usual, is to smile and make light of his anger in front of our son.

How can I help him my son more…he is showing so much anger and frustration since this sick bastard is entitled to 14 days and nights with him. I have to surrender my son to this animal, and I know he’s being bullied but there’s nothing I can do it seems.

What can I say and do for my son to help with his anger. I would really appreciate any advice.


Hi Anna
This is such a difficult situation, not one that is easily discussed on a blog post. I wish I could help but this is one of those complicated things. I would advise you to seek one on one advice perhaps from a shelter or local health unit. I will say this; If at all possible, don’t ‘cover up’ for your husbands behaviour. Think about the message that you send to your son with your own actions and reactions too.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene,

I am in so much pain over this it’s just heart-wrenching.



Hi Anna, I just want to say I am sorry you are going through this. Darlene seems to have some good advice for you. Hugs too, Light


After almost 39 years of putting on a happy face and allowing the missiles of insults fly right past me, pretending they didn’t hurt or harm me, I decided I was done. I was done with that way of life. That one singular day changed the entire structure of a family that had been perfectly happy just living right on the surface, with it’s meaningless exchanges of pleasantries. As a family, we are now completely unrecognizable.
We were all good… long as we didn’t take offense, as long as we just acted like we didn’t hear the hurtful things being said. The little daggers of insults (and fists) over a long period of time, that increased significantly from 11 yrs old into adulthood and had almost completely broken me down. I had my own family now. And now I was putting a stop to it. And what was my crime you may ask? Simple. I was born. I was happy. I had friends and I liked people. I excelled at school, was athletic and always busy. No-one was there to cheer me on and I was ok with that. I did it for me. I knew that other kids had much more support, but I made excuses (even though I knew they were lame). I covered for them. I covered for them all the way into adulthood. It didn’t feel good. I had wished they were there. But I accepted it and continued to drive forward.
The physical and emotional abuse from my older sister has been there all my life. I didn’t know anything else and I had parents that were unemotionally equipped, or just too lazy to intervene. I never understood why she was, well, so hateful towards me. With no parent involvement, I was able to get through this time period with lots of sports and just about anything that would keep me away from home. It seemed to work as best as it could. But not always. There were nights I just didn’t want to come back home. Never knowing what was waiting for me. My anxiety peaked on the car rides home. Friends were valuable to me. Still are. Into adulthood, I started to realize that this probably wasn’t normal…especially because my friends were scared of her. I was too, but just wanted her to like me.
I’ve set my boundaries with my sister… which is no contact. I would have to spend an entire day to explain this one… but bottom line, she brings her shade into my life and just makes me feel bad. I’ve now had to set boundaries with the the woman (my mother) who did nothing to stop her abusive and manipulative behavior, yet at the same time does everything she can for this person. This person, this daughter who has zero respect for our family and has brought nothing but sadness and stress into our family. My mother choses her. Not the 2 daughters who are always there for her and do the right thing, but the one who never shows up to family gatherings,,,tells you she may, or may not come, dumps the kids off and isn’t interested in this family. She’s the constant victim. I don’t get it. Very hard to understand.


Hi Chelsea,
Welcome to emerging from broken.
When it comes to setting boundaries, there is no need to justify or explain. I used to agonize over why the nastier people in the family got the most attention and “love” and today I realize that it all has to do with the main controller or abuser. The good thing is that there is no solution (for you) in understanding this dysfunctional system; there is no solution in understanding your mother OR your sister. (there is a ton of stuff in this website about the solution!)
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Thank you, Darlene! This is my new “go to” place for some healing. It’s nice to know you aren’t alone.


I just got your reply to Light through the admin setting in the back end. (Everyone) Please make sure that when you comment you don’t hit the reply to the email notification but that you come back to the site to reply. If you hit the email reply it goes somewhere else and no one sees it! hugs, Darlene


Sorry about that Darlene.

Thank you for acknowledging me 🙂
I think acknowledgement is something most if us here have gotten very little of.



Looks like you have scapegoat vs golden child going on. Substitute your sister for my brother and its the same dynamic. I too finally said no more. My brother would be verbally abusive to me as a guest in my own home in front of my husband. Hes gotten bolder over the years because of his strong feeling of entitlement. When I stood up for myself I was shamed, blamed and made fun of.
To him, I’m just a crazy person, too emotional when I say anything in my own defense.
Its just him and my mother and his son now. They are alone and they like it that way.
To them, everyone else is bad, less than, wrong, etc. They are judge and jury. They determine your worth according to them and how you can serve their needs, other than that you are garbage.
I beat myself up over that treatment for years, hurt, trying to be “better” so they would accept me. I finally saw that they never will. I have stepped away. I finally realized its not me, it was never me, it was just abuse.


how many episodes of depression can a man survive in a life time and still keep going?


Who are you referring to Sandra? I don’t know the answer but am hoping you are not talking about yourself because I don’t really know what to do being far away. I’ve been having different kinds of it for years. I now make a distinction between different types of it. There’s the kind that feels almost “clinical” (it has a “burned out” feel to it) and for me usually stems from overwork or too much stress, but other things like lack of protein have been found (by me) to be a factor so it’s as “physical” as otherwise. There’s the kind that comes on because I’ve been taking what other people have been doing and saying too seriously. Or I’m seriously upset but don’t want to look at why. Not all depressions are equal by any means.
You have a lot on your plate (from what I’ve read). Would it help to elaborate here?


Darlene, I relate very closely to what you have written. One of the most useful things I have learned in recovery is that Anger is not the same as Rage. I learned that anger is a response to threatened or broken boundaries. I found that to be very true for me. I found that king of “anger” to be very useful because whenever I feel that emotion, I examine what’s happening, and there is always a threatened of broken boundary. Actually, I found it quite amazing the I am wonderfully made in this way. I learned that from Dr. Ralph Earle, founder of PCS in Scottsdale, AZ.



thank you for your interest…that is so kind of you.
yes I am referring to myself but no worries I am (I think) a warrior, I am not planning a suicide.

I had a major clinical depression through entire high school, the one when you cannot lift yourself up and get out of bed, the one when you stare at a wall for 5 hrs and don’t even realize how much time has passed by.

I had another one this year, no as bad as the one when I was a kid. I am getting myself out of it, I am older more experienced and I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. It has been a year.

I know what lifts my spirit normally: jogging, and salmon 🙂 (omega acids). I have been instinctively following a diet that you can really classify but it works for me: I am basically a fish eating vegan, however silly it may sound. (I have a lactose (serious) and gluten (mild) intolerance and I have not been eating any meat other than fish since childhood. I do not mind others eating meat though I never try to “make” someone give it up).
It is very hard though once you find yourself in the dark basement called depression. Planning a meal is the last thing on my mind and forcing myself to get out is so hard. I know this makes things even worse but it is just hard.


Also, I noticed that because of my past and my HSP nature on top of it, I really need routine in my life. I guess comparing to other people, my body is super delicate. Stress, any imbalance gets me off the track.
What about you? How do you cope?


Good to hear you’re looking after yourself:)
It really depends on the cause. If it’s that overwork thing I will let myself stay in bed and sleep and hang out and do nothing without any guilt (that has taken a bit of effort) I do hit the omega oils too:) If it’s other people being idiots I have to make an effort to see it’s them and not me but also what I might be doing (or not) as a result. If I’m seriously upset but avoiding it, only one option is to look it in the face and admit and let myself feel. The way I differentiate them is that they feel different to me. Like I said one feels “clinical” like I could be thinking anything at all but the pain and heaviness is there anyway. Main trigger for that one is overwork/overstress. I agree it’s a balance!


In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People by George K. Simon

I highly recommend


Well, haven’t read in a few days. I’m trying to wean myself from being addicted to this blog! But that’s not a bad thing! I am taking what I have learned from other’s experiences and from Darlene writes to learn more about myself.

But what bothers me is…. Currently I’m “date free.” (Just trying to put a positive spin on it.) I’m fine with that. When I’m “Date free” I tend to feel on top of the world and nobody can mess with me. But the minute I start dating someone, the old patterns come back and I start “needing the validation.” Just like what BaggageReclaim blog said. You pick partners based on family dynamics. That is my big fear. I like being “date free” as I don’t have to deal with the “needing validation” thing. Still haven’t spoken to my Mom in six months. But I’m starting to be fine with it.


DXS, I’m in the process of reading a book about dating/relationship insecurity. It has the terrible name of “If this is love why do I feel so insecure” haha. I think yes that people do pick each other based on their earlier dynamics but it’s worth learning how to unpick them too:) I’m just about to go NC with a guy I was dating who has been doing the whole “hot n cold” routine for months. I’ve been mirroring him back but I’m starting to realise that whatever our respective dynamics make for, it doesn’t matter because in this case neither of us have enough whatever it takes to get anything off the ground. And that’s fine. So in some respects I have compassion for him but don’t want to give up my own “power” in the situation either – which is exactly how I view dating. Another power game until everyone can chill out and have some compassion and mutual respect.


Alice, BINGO! I view dating as a “power” thing, too! I hate it. I see other women have all this “power” over men, yet men seem to overpower and overtake me.


DXS, I so wish I didn’t see it that way but for whatever reasons – could it be the expectations that I submit to the authority of whoever “loves” me? I’ve always considered it that way. I suppose it doesn’t help either that we live in a world where women are effectively called to submit to men either. I can’t feel love for someone who believes this is right, much like I can’t feel love for someone who only wants me the way they want me and not the way I am. It’s almost as if I figured out ages ago that mariage and kids would be a pretty raw deal. My mother did make a point of showing how much of an inconvenience we were. We were also just expected to fit in with whatever our parents’ lives were, no real mention of us having our own – except perhaps in passing to the trouble we gave them by being “willfull” (and especially for me, this willfullness was to be “broken” at all costs – I heard my grandmother say it).

So why oh why would I want to go anywhere near a “traditional” relationship in which I am once again expected to submit? Answer is I don’t, but it’s hellova difficult when you also want and need affection and all that:(


I am angry. I don’t know why I am still angry. I know why I was angry, but not why I am still angry. Does it ever go away, this anger at childhood injustices? I mean, it’s over. The person can’t really hurt me, anymore. I want to be free, both of this burden, and of the criticism that comes of expressing it.


I have spent my whole life knowing that there are feelings I am not allowed to have. Happiness, sadness, and anger. I and my siblings had to be neutral. No highs or lows. Paste. I have also learned that anger that has not been given a release or an outlet, turns into depression. Funny though, my middle sibling was allowed to be angry. She was also punished for being overly angry, raging. My youngest sibling was allowed to be sad. So much so, that it became her crutch. We were told to pity her because she was sad. I got depression, severe depression. Wow!! wonderful consolation prizes. My middle sibling is bipolar now and my youngest has OCD and anxiety issues.
I often think about how sad and angry I am, if I were to stand at the edge of a cliff and scream my heart out, I don’t think it would ever help. I’d just be raw inside and out.


Hi Everyone
I am so sorry that I have not been able to keep up with answering the comments anymore and I also wish I could answer all the questions but keep reading, there are so many answers here within the pages of my posts and the comments from everyone.)

I wanted to mention that I published a new article called “The Grooming Process of Discrediting Children and the Cycle of Abuse”
here is the link:

There is a good discussion started there!
hugs, Darlene


Hello, I rely on this page for some relief/understanding. I share so much of what so many of you feel above. I have anger and sadness to not getting the childhood I should have had. I should have had a mother that loved me and showed it. Now, she constantly demands things of me and my husband, but she has yet to have ever helped me.


Also, I will mention that I am in my late forties, the oldest of 3 sisters, and guardian of my disabled youngest sister (since my mother is of no help to anyone and my dear father passed away – perhaps from being spent from doing everything his whole life for my mom, even if to our determent).
My siblings and I are all in therapy and have all been on medication. We have lacked direction and comfort throughout our lives.


Hi Kris, I understand what you are dealing with. My mother was cold and unloving towards me too and I feel I missed so much growing up and also as an adult when she picked up and moved far away and showed little interest in me or her two grandchildren. But when she got older and her health started yo decline, all of a sudden she started guilt tripping me that it is a daughters duty to do this and that for her. She couldn’t be bothered doing a mothers duty. Why should I have to do a daughters duty to someone who didn’t act like a mother should? I can see you are going through some similar things Kris.


My perverted, violent, self-centered ‘father’ is now in his 90’s. I cut him out of my life and my son’s life roughly 20 year ago. During the first 5 years I continued receive hateful letters from my father disowning me and insulting my pre-school age son as well as my nephews. (He even managed to buy a ‘Hate Greeting Card’).

Over the course of my entire life I must have burned or shredded 100+ letters most expressing his declarations & accusations based on his delusional view of me and the world. Ever since I disconnected from my father my siblings (2 brothers) pressure me to call him or send birthday & Father’s Day cards. They approach me angrily or sobbing certain that I’m going to die alone and regret not packing up my son and driving 1400 miles round trip to see this delusional pervert for no other reason than that we DNA in common. Having not engaged with my Father I have spared myself 20 years of added misery and PROTECTED MY INNOCENT SON. Severing communication with that monster was the beginning of a chain of healthy decisions for us in spite of the guilt my brothers have heaped on top of me. I’m convinced the inner strength I’ve developed attracted the wonderful man I eventually married in 2010.

Just to shut up my brothers I have sent very generic Father’s Day card – same for birthday. Five years ago, I sent off newspaper clippings of my son playing hockey which ultimately my father “destroyed” because he was certain I sent it to make him jealous. Anything provokes hatred from this man.

I don’t want to be a “bigger person” or “a fine Christian” by returning to pet the growling dog that is guaranteed to sink it’s teeth into your skin. Instead I’ve invested myself in good friends who understand and invented reasons not to be available to relatives on holidays. After telling my brothers I have or my son has stomach-flu or were committed to travel plans for 5-10 Christmas(s) in a row it finally sunk in not to expect us.

Recently a 25 year old nephew on my ex-husband’s side of the family lost his mother to COPD. So now my son and I have brought that him together with his wife and baby into our routine forming a new circle of loved ones who need and respect each other. But protecting this sanctuary which is my life now isn’t without interruption because until my parents (both in 90’s) pass away my brothers will continue to suffocate me and my son with GUILT. Its as if it gives them strength to live. Anyone’s thoughts??? I’d love to hear them.

God Bless!

Sue in MN


Gosh. I can’t believe you have put into words what I have experienced my entire life. If I am too ‘happy’ – she gets mad at me. If I am too serious, she criticizes me. Just the other day she told me what I jerk (not her exact word) I was for being happy when I come home from work, when SHE has to be home and doesn’t feel well. She said I come home happy and ‘expect’ her to be happy.

When I am serious or seem depressed, she also gets angry. I walk on eggshells not knowing what mood to have.


Hi Missy
Welcome to EFB ~ It helped me when I started to look at if I was treated the way I was expected to treat them. When I realized that there were different rules applied to me, I began to realize the dysfunction.
Glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene


I can’t begin to express how alone I don’t feel after reading this.
As a child, the only emotion I was allowed to express was that of emotions my Mother approved of. Shall I say…”fake” emotions. So I wouldn’t trigger the constant anger she had. It seemed as if no matter what emotion I tried to express, she’d burst out in anger anyways. Everything was imperfect to her…which is the exact reason why I am the way I am today. I’m still utterly quiet, but I must say, growing up mute, and unexpressive…I have come along way because I realize that she was in the wrong and I was not. It’s only healing from here in and out.

Thank you so much for your posts!


Hi Tab
Yes she was so very wrong! I am glad you are here.
Welcome to Emerging from Broken,
hugs, Darlene


You posted on your FB that Actions always prove, why words mean nothing.

I had to chuckle when I read it…as it is one of my mother’s favorite sayings to justify her verbal abuse. After all she was giving me home and shelter when I was a kid, I had food, toys and clothes….such ACTIONS speak volumes don’t they. SO this is what matters to her not the emotional and verbal abuse, the screaming, the cursing, the name calling she was serving me daily.


Darlene, thank you thank you, thank you so much. I can’t believe I just today found your page. Your thoughts about anger are so spot-on. As a child, I too was beaten by my mom for the slightest thing, if I had a sad face, she’d reprimand me because I “always was feeling sorry for myself” and if I was too happy I was “being foolish and didn’t know how good I had it.” She used to complain about my dirty hair, force-wash it in a mean way in the kitchen sink with her sharp fingernails and her anger, and then angrily brush out the kinks. When she’d hit what she called a “rat’s nest” she’d become even MORE angry and begin beating me about the face and head with the hard hair-brush. Do you know, to this day I hate barbers and hair dressers and I cut my own hair as a 44 year old man. I’m afraid of the damage they can do if they get “angry” and take it out on me. It’s so irrational! Anger is a serious issue- you are so right about an adult being violent and angry and physically abusive- the child has nowhere to hide. Even an adult in a dark alley can call the police, but a child really doesn’t have that option either. Thank you again for your post. I am so grateful.


Kellan, my heart goes out to you. Sorry about what you went through, my mother was similar but not quite as harsh. At the moment, Im having trouble with a great deal of guilt over any anger or happiness I have. Peace to you,


Darlene, you are so good at breaking down your thoughts and feelings and developing an understanding of where it all started – e.g. in this example about anger, but it could be any topic on EFB.

How do you do that? I try to break it down and just get confused…..I think I am overwhelmed, especially since the holidays. I can identify my feelings, but I’ve had so many mixed messages over the years from my FOO (yes the love me, no they don’t; yes they care, no, they reject), coupled with my own anger, outbursts, and less than stellar behavior, etc. I feel like I am contributing to the dysfunction. Maybe the key is validation? Perhaps I am not validating myself enough, in fact I doubt myself often and feel ashamed when my behavior feeds into the dysfunction.

Tonight I “vented” to my mother about my sibling. I also requested an apology from her for something, that I thought she underreacted to a medical issue I’m having, and told her what a counselor once said about how she could verbally support me. She was talking about how every family has problems. I agreed but also said that it was a matter of degree and I told her that I thought the dysfunction in our family was on the high end of the continuum. Non of this went over very well. It was a lot, I can see. It was building up inside me for quite some time. She felt criticized and off-balance. Feeling “off balance” by someone is something I’ve read on this site and others as concerning – it leaves me feeling like I am the one causing harm. She is quite elderly and these kinds of conversations take a physical toll on her; she tells me that and I can see it. I ended up feeling guilty, yet I felt better after venting.


P.S. “Venting” wasn’t yelling. It was speaking in an emotional way and telling her I was stressed out.


Thanks for the article, by reading all this, i started to think about my upbringing. I was raised by a father that could not handle emotions. He never allowed me to cry, or he got mad. So, I cannot remember to have ever expressed anger! I still find it hard to express myself. I am not very open to anybody. Thanks for reading…
(in my 50’s now)


I don’t have any problems feeling anger have guilt over it but tend to put up with way too much from people, seem unbothered and then eventually explode or dump the person forever. I’m working on assertion, which would nip the building anger in the bud.

I do remember my mother shaming me for being so angry that I pulled down a shelf of books when she got rid of my cat when I was gone for the weekend. The cat was litter trained and didn’t scratch or have bad habits; the problem was that my “mother” was jealous because I was 16, tall, slim and cute. Home life was awful and I was miserable; the cat was the only good thing in my life and she wanted to hurt me. Whenever I consider the possibility of seeing her again I think of this episode and remember how rotten she is.


I’m sorry that happened to you Davina. What a horrible thing for her to do. I wouldn’t know how to get past something like that.


Wow seems like so many share a similar story.

I too am battling with suppressed emotions and understanding that I do have a right to be angry. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to break out of the unhealthy environment yet even as an adult. Although, I am more vocal now. I was also emotionally and sexually abused. Told off for laughing. Called a cry baby when I cried. I didn’t understand how to deal with my feelings.

When my sister committed suicide I was told not to talk to any one about it. Over and over again I was emotionally abandoned by my family and still am. I’m inthe process of recovering from PTSD. Wish me luck 🙂


Hi Jai
Welcome to EFB! I think you have found the right site ~ there is a ton of info here about how I and others have learned to take our lives back and find our voices and rights.
hugs, Darlene

marquis (female)
March 2nd, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Powerful and wonderful blog! My ex therapist said anger is a secondary emotion. The problem is nobody sits down and speaks about anger what is acceptable and what isn’t in HEALTHY situations. Why don’t we speak about healthy situations in this world? We hear more about dysfunctional relationships like that is the new healthy relationships, that’s how it is portrayed in the media!

“I was able to feel and to BE angry for the way I had been discounted, falsely defined, dismissed and unheard. I was able to feel anger that I missed out on having loving nurturing parents. I was able to feel anger for the abuse that I suffered at the hands of adults. I was able to validate my pain on a deeper level when I realized that I had a right to be angry.”

Agreed. Growing up, we weren’t allowed to have opinions or to have emotions, my sister told off my parents every chance she got! Having a voice was not acceptable because “the parents have the voice, whatever they say goes, children should know their place, and if you don’t like it then leave!” This is why our parents’ generation didn’t stand up to the false definitions/beliefs back then and expect a decade later of their children/grandchildren to behave like them!

I was never heard growing up and still ain’t heard now. People can’t understand when you are unheard, you tend to grow up with problems not all people but some do and I am one of them. I was told ‘lots of people are never heard, we were never heard when we were slaves. So, suck it up!’ That’s coming from my mom always uses slavery as a source of argument and a way to make her point known like she knows EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING and we are ALWAYS wrong! That’s all she can use as a form of argument is slavery – explains right there how she has zero life experience which my ex therapist sat there looking stupid and disagreed with that, but she couldn’t provide her own reasonings!

“I learned that the expression of my emotions was more about her mood than it was about mine and therefore my only option was to accept that the only way that I could hope to avoid punishment was to figure out how to make sure that I didn’t upset her or make her angry.
“I” was more about her than I was about me.
As a teenager I recall my mother being impatient with me when I was in a good mood. And deep down I feared that my good mood might trigger my mother’s anger. And I NEVER wanted to do anything that might trigger her anger. How does one learn how to ‘be’ under those circumstances?
Having these mixed and conflicting messages about anger is confusing and causes a kind of spin around the emotion of anger itself. There is ‘a truth’ at the bottom of this whole thing and I had to get to that truth in order to feel the emotion of anger without fearing the emotion of anger. I had to find the truth about how anger was perpetrated against me in order to feel and validate that I was justified in being angry but that feeling or being angry didn’t put me or someone else) in danger like it did when I was a child.”

Agreed. I couldn’t seem to be happy with an accomplishment and that ruined my mom’s “miserable mood.” It’s like excuse me, for having a happy day. All my life, I couldn’t seem to have a happy day. It’s like ‘what’s a happy day? What does that look like?’ When someone would ask me about my day, I get defensive. This is something I have spoken to my ex therapist and explained why it’s defensive because my own parents never cared about my day and someone else asking must mean they want to take something from me and run with it.

About doing things not to get my mom angry (dad as well). This is what I tried to explain to my boyfriend about I did a lot of things to cut the time down with something I am doing just so I could “get stuff from my parents,” and cut my schedule down to take my mom to the store because why do I need to be in an argument? Well, 3-4 months ago, I explained this to my ex therapist. Boyfriend said in the session that “your mom (dad too) needs to understand priorities as everybody has priorities in life and your mother needs to be told that. Just because your not working right now (this was before I got the job) that you don’t have priorities; your priorities is finding a job, going to see a job counselor, etc. What priorities does your mom have? She has never bothered to keep a job, she relies on social security from your dad’s income, etc.” I told them how dad, brother, and I just did these things so my mom would shut up and stop screaming at us. Why does it always have to result in an argument? My mom claims she is so grown, she has responsibilities (which she said don’t apply to her or my dad) to ask questions about what are my plans for this day or week and plan accordingly (they never plan accordingly always last minute).

My ex therapist said ‘well, anything you say results in an argument.’ I am like ‘who is the one that said my mom is so lonely and needs someone to fulfill her inner child?!?’ It’s true anything you say does result in an argument which is ridiculous even if it is something that’s innocent! So, we just did it so she wouldn’t yell at us it was like saying no wasn’t an option. I guess you can say our option was either do it and not get yelled at or don’t do it and be prepared to fight verbally aka fight or flight mode.

My parents are just full of anger, nothing but angry people. My mom said how my grandma would just yell; probably where she gets it from shouldn’t excuse the fact she does the same things to us that her mom did (not sure about her dad same cycle with us, we know a lot about her drama but nothing about my dad’s life). You can’t ask them a simple question without them jumping down your throat, omg! My ex therapist and I talked about that how I would get jumpy and snippy at questions all because I learned it from who? There ya go! She said they are innocent questions and said so, why do my parents jump down my throat when I ask a simple question? It puts me or anybody into a bad mood.

When people ask me something about them, yea, I get snippy I don’t feel they need to know – do they need to know? Ex therapist said ‘so, you dictate to people what they can and can’t ask?’ I said ‘yea, I do. Who wants to hear a dark past? Nobody wants to hear that, although, it’s a true story – everybody has a story. People wanna hear happy stories not dark ones, so why do these people need to know about that part? They tell me I am hiding something about myself, well duh, if I speak about the dark past look at how many people don’t wanna talk to me and that’s happened too many times!’

So yea, I got some info from ex therapist and the women’s center on anger issues. I am very quick to anger and throwing a fit that’s the fight I had to do with my parents – calmness doesn’t exist in my family never did. Ex therapist is having me to speak to my boyfriend calmly whenever I get upset and find that difficult because that is something I never did with anyone, it was the usual cursing, yelling, screaming, and threatening. I gave an example to my ex therapist how a gang member uses threats to get what he or she wants done, in corporate America, look at how many bullies are there!

How do you expect me to manage my emotions/anger when I am still living at home, the same fools who have anger issues? She told me I can choose to stay or leave whenever they make me upset and come back later. My sister was different from that, she did leave but always secluded herself in her room with her music just like what I do. I have nowhere else to go in the house! My mom is good for going in our rooms still yelling/arguing about something stupid or something that was over 10 minutes ago. If you’re done, why are you still in my ears?!?

“My experience with Anger is that it anger was taken out on me; as with all dysfunctional family system teachings, I learned that what is acceptable for some is not acceptable for others. I believed that anger belonged to nasty, abusive, scary people. Anger didn’t belong to me for 2 reasons; one, I wasn’t nasty, abusive or scary and I thought that NOT being or feeling anger proved it. And two, I was not allowed to have my own feelings OR the right to have my own emotions and as a child I didn’t even consider that I was allowed to have them.”

True, I do agree. Being angry at someone with good reasons was considered “wrong” to my parents because “you have no right to be angry at anyone, suck it up and deal with it!” So, it does feel like do I have a legitimate reason to be angry? I had past friends who felt I didn’t have a right to be angry at them when in actuality I had a good reason to be angry at them and they sounded like my parents of ‘suck it up and deal with it life sucks!’ God forbid, you made them angry – oh look out! You have to apologize to them fast because if you don’t you are considered “selfish.”

I find it hard to be calm, collective, etc when I try to speak to my boyfriend about why he upset me because it always comes out with me yelling or raising my voice – I did it a couple weeks ago, he got me upset.

This article is very good highly recommend for everybody

I am also afraid of being angry at people because it ends up with me bringing the rage out of me like I am fighting with my parents. I want to be able to be angry for good reasons and explain why I am angry not be told I don’t have a right. Hmm, I have been trying to manage my emotions using aromatherapy. I do have tendencies to bottle up my emotions, that’s what I had to do and still do at home because blowing up was my mom’s way of “calling the cops on me to have me arrested,” which she almost did in 2010 after she insulted my boyfriend I did lose it came super close to beating her to a pulp. Cops made me leave the house for a week to cool off, why couldn’t she leave? I know they would tell me she’s the mom and pays the bills – she don’t pay jack shit she has no job no assets!

It’s also difficult for me to not let things bother me because when it happens or I get angry, I get anxiety and knots in my stomach – is this even normal? If I get angry, I shouldn’t be having anxiety or knots. I can see having knots or anxiety if I say something I regret, did something, or something can pose a threat towards me.


I don’t know that I ever had a problem with feeling anger. I do know that I shelter my hurting self and this comes from having only myself as my protector. I don’t like feeling angry nor being angry but I do allow myself the process, it’s important that I do. Privately in my safety I experience it. It’s much painful at times but I find myself stronger as I give myself permission to feel.

Hurting and Stuck
March 12th, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Wish I could get through the anger. I feel it more recently than ever before. I have to keep pushing it down. There is so much fear that comes with the anger. Even now as an adult, I am not able to show others anger. They can hurt me, and I will try to fix the relationship so that no one is upset with me. So then I get hurt over and over, and just keep burying the anger. It comes out in tears that I have to hide. When will I be able to protect myself from being hurt? I didn’t protect myself then and still not protecting myself now. Why does it matter what others think of me, they can’t think any worse of me than I do of myself? How long before I get to have my own feelings? How long before I get to be happy? How long before I can stop reliving the past and living in a paralyzing fear? How long before I matter?


Hurting and Stuck, I chime in a lot on here especially when I read someone’s experience that has similarities to my own. And yours sure does! First, I am sorry that you are hurting and fearful. You came to a great website to talk about all of this. Have you been doing a lot of work trying to sort things out? I ask because I felt my anger rise as I started to sort my past out. But I realize that my anger is justifiable; I have right to be angry over neglect, verbal abuse, being hit by a belt, called names, being put down and made to feel worthless.

I also had a great deal of difficulty handling anger through childhood and adulthood. Like you I would just stuff it down Inside of me. A lot of it was because I held a false belief that others had the right to express their feelings but I didn’t. It started in childhood, when anger wasn’t allowed but sadness, and even happiness (I would be told I was acting silly or some other put down if I showed too much joy) wasn’t allowed. So I learned to stuff everything in. Meanwhile the hypocrites who didn’t think I had the right to feelings would give themselves free reign with theirs. I also became a people pleaser. Even when someone was clearly wrong I couldn’t stand having anyone mad at me so I would do whatever I could to fix things. But it was very one sided. Things were fixed for the other person but when did anyone ever care if I was happy? It just became known that I was a giver and my feelings ( which I rarely expressed) were of no interest to others. So people would be pacified because they got their way, but I never got mine, nor did I get respect. And stuffing down anger made me very anxious and sometimes manifested in physical symptoms. Not a good way to exist!
I don’t know if you are new here, but I can tell you that after 10 months of reading articles on here and reading comments and getting involved in the discussions that I learned a lot about my past and my feelings and where a lot of the false beliefs I held came from. I know where feelings of worthlessness came from. I know why I fear showing anger ( it was met by punishment and rejection and no effort was made by others to find out what I was upset about, and therefore I got no help in figuring out what to do either anger to handle it constructively)and I am getting to the stage now where I realize that certain things like stuffing anger were used as a survival thing in childhood, but the likelihood of meeting up with the same consequences I had then is much less likely in adulthood and I have more resources for dealing with whatever comes up as an adult. That being said, I admit that I still sometimes feel the same fear and it still holds me back, but less than before. So realizing where things come from is a first step, realizing false beliefs, and then figuring what the actual truth is. Even after figuring out the truth about bring worthy and having the same rights to feelings as others do, the hardest part for me is relearning how yo deal with various situations ( what to say when someone is insulting, how to verbalized my feeling etc.) I just have to make myself do these things to get past the old fears.

Hurting and Stuck, I hope this was helpful. I know you can do this! Come on here, it’s a great group and you will get lots of encouragement. And to answer your question ” How long before I matter?” You matter right now, and you always have mattered.


Things were fixed for the other person but when did anyone ever care if I was happy?

“But dear, we just want you to be HAP-PY!”

(Universal Decoder Book Translation: “We want you to be happy the way WE think you should be happy, not the way YOU think you should be happy.”)

I threw this one out at my Mom a few years ago. Funny thing. She didn’t deny it. Didn’t confirm it, but didn’t deny it either.

Amber, I relate to your people pleaser thing. Everyone else is allowed their feelings, but I’m not.


OH, and another thing. When you express that your feelings are hurt over something, you get, “oh we were just joking…… you need to learn to take that….” I got that from Mom all the time.


Hi DXS! We were allowed to be happy only if it didn’t interfere with what someone else wanted! And I can definitely relate to the “can’t take a joke thing”. I have a friend that still pulls this. She ‘ll say something hurtful and throw all the blame and responsibility on to me by acting innocent and like Im too sensitive. But she is wrong!! She is ditching her accountability and twisting it to throw the blame my way. I used to accept this atrocious behavior but now I am finally starting to challenge it.


I used to accept this atrocious behavior but now I am finally starting to challenge it.

Amber, YAY!!!! I still have to force myself to make this very necessary effort.

Some news for me. After a year of N/C, my mom called me today and gave me the beginning of the apology that I need from her. It wasn’t totally what I want, but I acknowledged her effort, yet made it clear I expect more. I’m praying……..


DXS, hi! Maybe the NC got your Mom thinking about things. Please keep in touch about how things are going.

I have to force myself to stand up for myself too. I’m really just getting started. I know my voice gets shaky and my heart starts beating rapidly when I try to stick up for myself. I’m still fearful. Do you experience this too?

marquis (female)
March 16th, 2014 at 3:57 pm

I agree with reply #200. Old friends used to do that to me all the time which was hard to distinguish if they were really joking or they were using the joke to cover up the mean crap they said towards me. People treated me and still do like I don’t have any feelings that I “need their permission” to even have feelings and having feelings ended up losing friends – same mistreatment I get at home.

My parents will never give us an official, sincere, honest apology. Why would a narc do that anyway? My ex therapist felt like it could happen later on in life, I said too little too late – that’s many more years of not being parents to your own children and even more hatred towards them too. She didn’t like that comment, but oh well. When I stand up for myself, I get a shaky voice and anxiety in my body. Sometimes I shake, I have been wondering: if I am so used to yelling to defend myself or getting in someone’s face like no problem if I don’t know them, why am I having problems standing up to someone close to me and getting anxiety?


Your site and insight are so refreshing. I’m angry that my daughter and grandson suffered abuse. I’m angry that no one would help or do anything to stop it. I’m angry that my grandson was snatched two years ago, and we are blocked from any contact with him. I’m angry that courts are so corrupt that they routinely aid and abet abusers. Mostly, I’m angry that many so-called support groups frown on anger or any dissent from their ‘forgive doctrine’ that implies there is something wrong with anger and that forgiveness will fix your anger and allow you to feel happiness. I’m angry that these same groups label survivors who don’t follow their doctrine with abusive labels like fool and bitter.
I gravitated to your posts because you understand the right to be angry and how anger is a necessary process to healing. I don’t ever recall you posting statements calling followers fools and other deragatory labels.
I’ve unfollowed the judgmental preachy posts that are upsetting rather than consoling. I don’t appreciate my feelings being discounted and my right to choose my way to healing being invalidated with must forgive doctrine.
Thank you for providing an alternative, lest people who refuse indoctrination would have to settle for alienation.
I’m not a fool. I’m not bitter. I am going through the stages of grief, and anger is a part of my healing. I have a right to grieve in my own way and in my own time without judgment. That’s all.


Hi Wanakeeh hill
Welcome to emerging from broken!
Well said! Thank you for posting and I hope you will share here often!
hugs, Darlene


There’s a huge difference between someone who made a mistake and an abuser. The first one admits he was wrong and is willing to sincerely appologise. The abuser blames the victim, not taking responsibility for anything;zero maturity level.How can you forgive if there was no appology in the first place?That would mean i can do whatever i want and get away with it.Can you forgive a murderer or a rapist?


I’m using my real name here. I have dealt with the full force of almost deadly anger…and your quote under your picture is spot-on. Anger can be very deadly. I was told for years that I had “No right” to be angry…or to even express it. Yet my anger stemmed from multiple sources…childhood abuse that was never spoken of, hidden and never validated…to a hunting I was blamed for and overcame. But when I was angry I was told to not feel it…ever. To “let it go” and be calm at all times. To do otherwise was unheard of. I lived with that belief for months and years until finally I was able to realize that I had RIGHT to be as angry as I was and even more, to FEEL it and EXPRESS it in the right ways. These days I am a lot less angry…although deep down it lurks. But I deal with it in less harmful ways and try my best to keep it from becoming deadly. So yes I understand what your post is saying here….and I am glad to hear that you overcame it. 🙂


Hi Lisa
Welcome to EFB ~ I also had to look at exactly what I was angry about. Once I really thought about the truth of it all, I had a huge right to be angry. It is so validating to feel what I feel and not have to shut my feelings off anymore. Since I have faced my rights and taken my choices back, I rarely get angry!
Thanks for sharing, glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Anger became my coping friend during my entire life… But it became a strange emotion after figuring out what had happened during my entire life, MNPD then into an abusive marriage with another NPD with a MNPD.. They didn’t like me or my daughter and made it known at every single corner..
I’d been getting physically sick and depressed for quite some time before I was rushed in to emergency surgery.
I absolutely know the difference between coping anger and the anger you feel at injustices. I spent one day with my daughter, two grand babes, my sister and me. All that day every single feeling and I felt them all but couldn’t say anything (No Release) to anyone, like I always do, well I learned such an interesting lesson, if you don’t find a nice healthy way to release the feelings they stay in your body and cause havoc, oh was I sick the next day.. But at least I know why and how to fix it.. All those balled up feelings/emotions made me Angry just because I couldn’t do anything in the moment to not have any of them they just came with everything I heard or saw. Because of the daughter who has made me into an “acquaintance” and not a mom, her mom, I can’t say anything in the moment.
This was very eye opening… Healthy release of emotions/feelings, without hurting other people. All my life I’ve dealt with emotions/feelings in the same automatic way, store and get sick/depressed it’s sad…
I got pretty darned angry after we got home had a fight with myself, wrote down almost everything I felt, got mad some more, wrote some more, got angry again, wrote some more, this went on for a couple of hours until I was so tired I couldn’t fight the truth about the way I was getting sick, it made me so darned tired, this truth…


Hi Kelly
Great comments!
About the truth in relation to being tired, I totally relate. it was like unlearning everything and then relearning everything! it was exhausting but so so worth it. (I am happy to say that I am not tired anymore!)
hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene,
It’s nice to know that the tired will eventually go away!
I want to promote a Very Good Book on Your Site and I really hope you don’t mind but it’s very helpful! “Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect” by Jonice Webb, PhD with Christine Musello, PsyD. This is the only book which addresses all of the things we as emotionally abused Adults didn’t get Emotionally when we were Children and how to get it back when you’re an Adult. I can’t say enough about this book, it’s almost everything you need to do to fix emotional absences/omissions.
I wanted to promote the book here because if you’re a mom and you think you may be doing the same things to your children this book will help you and your children at the same time.
For the Adults it’s the cats meow, at helping change your course in life!


Has anyone on here been so afraid of being angry you bury it? It takes a lot to get me angry; usually it morphs into depression pretty quickly. I watched how both my parents used anger and I learned at a very early age that it can be dangerous. I need to learn to embrace it instead of suppressing it, but in a constructive way. How do you release your anger?


Hi Darlene

I want to thank you for this wonderful resource – and community you have created. I am commenting on an older post – but it has such resonance. I have a very dysfunctional relationship with my mother – and it saddens me that it has taken me so long – I am now 43 to even really start actually accepting that I do have a voice – and can actually articulate and set my own boundaries. (3 months ago after my mother contacted estranged father’s family – who I have never known, nor had any contact with – I have had one conversation with her as an adult – and as a child – the only reference I knew was he deserted us. I was very upset because I felt it was not her place to do this without first contacting me – or consulting me as to how I may feel about the situation. She did not know my fathers family, nor did she know if they even knew of my existence. When I raised this with her – and said it was not her place, and that she should have consulted me – she blatantly refused to even acknowledge my position. It was a very strange situation- as it was a turning point – and I was the most angry I have ever been in my life. It may seem really petty relaying it…But it symbolised to me what has characterised our dynamic – her inability to hear or acknowledge me or my concerns – or to even reflect that I was feeling extremely unhappy about her behaviour. It was quite terrifying – and really shook me to my core – I was on the phone thank goodness – but it was almost like a primal scream. I was done, tired, spent, I felt enough was enough.

Afterwards I wrote quite a few letters really trying to articulate how I felt and what I wanted – I never sent them. For the first time I also really had a look at my life – I am a designer and created a time line and accompanying emotional journey – where I tried to actually articulate what I felt at these times – I got so angry, and so sad – that as a grown woman, and a mother myself – and I felt that her own story is the only one that has ever been acknowledged…and for the first time I actually felt some real sorrow – different from self pity (which I have relied on way too much) but real sadness, and anger and frustration – and so angry at my inability to get past this stuff for so long, and all the trouble I have made for myself. I feel like I am missing some real life skills – real communication skills – how to actually express anger – and receive another’s anger without feeling like the world is going to end…

Throughout our relationship I have felt the brunt of her extreme rages – massively terrifying for me – and so public…I find it so tiring to even think back on the stuff. I have lived a lot of my relationship in fear of her reactions – and have been manipulated by this fear. It was exhausting – and doubly confusing because it was all encased in this guise of new age doctrines( not meaning to offend any one at all) and social justice – she is social worker for high risk prisoners. So I always knew about how amazing she was.

But I had no voice – her behaviour or actions were never in question…but I felt either invisible, or bad – a bad seed. I have never been able to actually ask for things, or even say what I want. I don’t know what I want. I feel absolute and extreme guilt for asking for what I want from my husband. I have been living with this absolute pit of unexpressed rage. I have had chronic depression, and been in an out of therapy for about 15 years. Honestly I feel like I have largely shut down. I’m pretty incapable of intimacy – when I feel under threat I absolutely retreat.

I don’t actually remember alot of my childhood. I remember being in trouble for being moody and sulky, manipulative, hyper, and regurgitating my food from being nervous ( I know it’s disgusting..but I found it really comforting)… She was a hippy and we travelled constantly as a young child from country to country – very alternative life style – so a “cool” free thinker..hmmm..

I am really angry that I have wasted so much of my life on this, anger is my bedfellow.

I have felt relief at finally letting go, and much sadness. I know that having no contact is the only way I can sort this stuff out. It is not about punishing. It is about survival. How do you break through that core of anger and start to feel honestly?


Hi Elie
Welcome to EFB~ I totally understand what you are writing about here. I had a difficulty with both anger and then grief. First, you have a right to FEEL anger and then sorrow over the ways that you have been disregarded. Be careful ~ two times in your post here you said something indicating that you are angry with yourself. This is very common and it is because we have been trained to blame ourselves but it is very important that you validate your right to this anger in order for it to resolve. Your anger AT HER is justified. (this is a little more complicated than I am writing it here, but it would take too long to write it all out. I do consults internationally if you would like to talk to me, see my coaching and consults info page)
hugs, Darlene


Hi Elie,
We have every single right in the world to be angry mad upset at a female who should never have had children in the first place. They have children because “that’s the thing to do” but we are not Objects to be abused and misused. We didn’t ask to be born to people who have no conscience or concept of Love or empathy. We didn’t ask to be abused, manipulated or to play in narcissist games, we were just born. All of the stuff that they didn’t do for you when you were a child are things that you have to learn now, difficult but not impossible. All of the stuff that they did to you, be angry or whatever, but when you have compassion, empathy, and Love you can choose to change the negative emotions, and there are tonnes when you have an MNPD, to positive emotions like “Tolerant or maybe even FREE”, which are positive emotions and can be applied to these people instead of the negative ones which cause internal conflict and physical illnesses.. There are so many emotions that I knew the word but didn’t know the feeling, now I know the feelings because that is what Anger Hides, the true feelings that you can’t really name but know they are distinct individual feelings with names. We are Allowed to FEEL and be HAPPY however we can do it. No Contact (NC) has allowed me to become Free from my past of pain and emerge into a new beginning. AND MY BIGGEST REGRET IN LIFE IS THAT I LET MY MNPD HAVE ACCESS TO MY DAUGHTER & GRAND BABES, I’m not proud of this but this is the product of being thrown out like trash by my MNPD into the arms of another narcissist & 20 year marriage. I never had the time to delve into my problems with depression and anxiety until I had a major meltdown after my father passed away three yrs ago and I couldn’t muster the strength to get out of my depression or bed. And then Came these sites just like divine intervention or the energy of the universe or whatever you want to call it, which led me to read and read and read, I haven’t stopped yet and have no intention to stop. and every time I need to have information on a subject it seems to be right there at my finger tips. I am finding this Journey just amazing. And RIGHT for ME!
I want to be what I was meant to be Caring, Empathetic, and Loving!


Thanks Darlene,
I will actually take a look at your consultations. it’s really an interesting resource you have here – and something quite unique. I have found that so much of this information online is really pre-occupied with labelling the dysfunctional behaviour as a narcissistic mother …but for me it isn’t that cut and dry..and this has actually been really counter productive. As I really do believe my mother is a damaged person – but not a narcissist absolute..and as you mention in some of your other posts and responses actually trying to understand her behaviour and label it as an illness is not as helpful as working on oneself ( I think this is what you meant anyway..)…It’s that cycle of feeling such empathy for her pain – which is absolutely real. Then at the same time being so confused and angry – and childish – and stuck in my processing.

But I find myself obsessing for answers – and again really looking at things from her perspective too much, which was continuing that dialogue..and not really helping I think. It’s like being stuck emotional mud.

Thank you for taking the time to respond and I will be in touch. It is inspiring to read that you managed to heal yourself and develop some healthy ways of relating to others as well as to your self.

It’s amazing to read the really insightful conversations that people engage with here. It’s so supportive, and I actually am inspired.

I’m sick of this sailing at half mast – and perpetuating this self loathing through my own behaviour and thoughts.


@ Kelly

Thank you so much for your amazing response – I took a real look at some of the other comments you have made. This in particular resonated:

“Healthy release of emotions/feelings, without hurting other people. All my life I’ve dealt with emotions/feelings in the same automatic way, store and get sick/depressed it’s sad…”

You spoke of that day and coming home and fighting with yourself…This is something I struggle with continuously. Have you found a way to effectively manage those feelings?

I also have been depressed, and anxious for as long as I can remember, but those feelings seem to be perpetuated by the fact I feel almost incapable of expressing myself ( apart from creatively – if this were not part of my life – I think – and not to be overly dramatic – I would be a complete basket case). How do you learn to let the feelings out? I have this pattern of behaving in ways that sometimes reflect how I was treated …and it fills me with such disgust…not towards my children – but they are only young and I worry what happens when they are teenagers – and pushing boundaries – and I don’t want to be that person… who is wounded…and behaving like a rage monster – mortally wounded by a perceived slight – so self obsessed.

My husband is a good man – but if I am truthful – I have lost respect for him – because if he loves me. I honestly think he must be a bit of a dope – that he must be stupid, or I could do better because if he loves me – he must be really the bottom of the barrel…When in reality he is a wonderful person- really. But who could love someone when they have seen what I am like at my most depressed. Unable to get out of bed – shower – insomnia – angry at the world – resentful – and so sad – no intimacy – and so self obsessed…I want to leave ME.

For many years now I have really been trying to implement really healthy communication practices – but I feel like a fraud – because deep down there is that hollow pit of shame – and self loathing. Whatever practice I put into place – I can still feel it.

Have you figured out how to actually do this without – feeling awkward/ or making others feel awkward or weirded out/ or just flubbing it.

Does it go away?


Elie, one of the most confusing and hardest things for me in this process was that I have always felt sorry for my mother because I know she had a miserable childhood, with lots of neglect and emotional deprivation. Feeling bad for her wasn’t a problem in and of itself, except for the fact that it got in the way of my own needs. She was mean and abusive towards me. I was her scapegoat. And because I felt sorry for her for her own bad childhood, I excused a lot of her behavior towards me away. I have children of my own, but I do not mistreat them. I only recently saw the contradiction between my behavior towards my kids, and my mothers towards me. In my mind she got a free pass to treat me however she wanted because of her bad childhood, yet I would not treat my own kids this way.

I have now put aside focusing on my mothers bad childhood, because, as I said, it gets in my way and excuses inexcusable behavior. My recent realization is that no matter what happened to her she had no right to turn around and mistreat an innocent young child.

The other part of your story that I really relate to is where you said you are unable to express your feelings. Elie, I was that way for a long long time, and even now have difficulty if I need to talk about something negative with a person. I traced these fears back to my mother who basically wanted me to be invisible with no feelings or needs and to stay out of her way. I couldn’t ask for things or express opinions as this cause bring on punishment of some sorts, or ridicule, or if she was in a bad mood, the answer would be an automatic NO. I learned to stuff feelings and needs and wants deep down inside of me so I wouldn’t upset her. I felt I had no rights to these things because they upset my mother.

I had to learn to express feelings in a safe venue. It came closely. Journal writing was a good beginning place. Somewhere safe where I could express things and let feelings out. I could talk to people who I really trusted. There aren’t too many that I talk about the kinds of things I say on here to. My brother is one person I can really talk to and he can relate to all the Mom stuff, though we both know I got it much worse because of my mothers hatred towards females. I think you have to find safe places to start expressing yourself, and you actually did express yourself very well on here! I think the shame you feel must have roots in the way you were trained to feel as a kid. I had, and still sometimes feel guilt and shame for things that I really shouldn’t; things where the shame really should be owned by someone else who would rather pass it along than take responsibility.


When I became a parent I swore I would be a better parent than mine had been. I was going to be a good mom. And, I always believed I was good to my children.

I see today that I was just as abusive to my children as my parents had been to me. I never saw myself as being abusive but today I can see that I was.

My youngest daughter has always been angry. I always wondered why she hated me. Her two older sisters didn’t hate me. Her anger towards me scared me. My inability to control her behaviours scared me. When she became a teenager, I was afraid to go to sleep at night. I felt abused by her angry actions towards me and I feared she would kill me while I slept.

Her two older sisters validated that I was being abused by her. I needed to believe this. The “professionals” I called to help us also told me I was doing everything right. I needed to believe this too.

Anger has always scared me whether it was someone else’s or mine. My youngest daughter is still very angry with me. Our relationship has always been toxic. I always blamed her and she blamed me.

I know today (because of the self-help work I’ve done for me) that in all my “dealings” with her that I sent her the message “that she was the problem.” I always thought I was showing her that her behaviours were the problem. I have done a great deal of damage to my youngest child.

I want to help her today. I want to give her the opportunity to tell me everything. We have both agreed to have a talk. I told her I am willing to listen and I am. But I am afraid.

I am still so afraid of her anger towards me. Not physically but emotionally. I know I was abusive, I can say this to myself but I don’t know how I will react to hearing her say it.

I recall many memories of trying to “correct her behaviours” and can see how abusive they were. And just as I used to make excuses for my parents I have made excuses for me. I don’t want to react to her with excuses. But I also don’t want to not react. She has always claimed me to be cold, having no emotions and I can see why she sees me this way.

I also don’t want to show anger at her words or cry. I don’t want to act or react in any way that might impede her need to express herself. I have done enough damage to her, I don’t want to do anymore.

I always said that I was never able to parent her properly because she wouldn’t let me. And everyone agreed with me. Everyone saw everything as being her fault. She had nobody. Everyone was on my side. Even friends who would side with her eventually turned on her.

I am responsible for all of this. It was my responsibility to give her what she needed and I didn’t. I want to give her what she needs from me now.

But I don’t know how to do it. I am so afraid that I may try to turn our talk into something that helps her to see me, understand me, forgive me. My guilt is so strong.

This talk isn’t suppose to be about me. It’s suppose to be about her finally being able to tell me how I abused her. Yet, in reading what I have already said here, I can see that I am making it all about me.

My need to protect myself is still so strong in me. My abusive childhood taught me that nobody was going to protect me. I had to do that, alone, with no help, no guidance. And my daughter has had to do this for herself too.

I am afraid that both of us will be in self-protection mode during this talk. And I fear that if this first talk goes badly there may not be another one.

I tried once as an adult to talk to my abusive parents. It was a disaster and I never tried again. I don’t want that to happen with me and my daughter. And I am assuming she doesn’t either.

I can find lots of helpful information for adult-children of abusers but I can’t find any information for the abusive mom who wants to help the child she abused.

Facing the abuse that was inflicted on me was scary. Facing the abuse I have inflicted on my child is even scarier for me. I don’t want either of us to be afraid when we talk.

Is there anyone out there who is the adult-child who has talked to their abusive parents and is there any abusive parents who have talked to their children. My daughter and I need your help.

Any guidance from you would be appreciated. How did you approach the talks? What was helpful and what was damaging?


I think my biggest issue with being angry is that I prohibited myself from feeling such emotion in “full force.”
In TV shows, I hear people comfort the abused by saying: “Be angry at the things they did, not them.” Of course they would say that, because this is TV where some of the people who did something bad, will feel extremely guilty and will thus try to earn their abused love one’s trust and respect again. But in the real world, this isn’t always the case. My issue was the fact that I wanted to do both. I wanted to be angry at the sins and the sinners.

But that glimmer of hope inside of me, hindered me from going “full force” because I thought that if my anger was only geared towards the sin and I chose to continue seeing the good in my abusers then things will be okay.

Ha that worked out quite well now didn’t it? NOT! They may have said sorry for some of the things they have done, but the fact that they are still not willing to share trust, respect and love in equal portions, goes to show that those apologies were not really sincere.

When I stopped fooling myself that
there will even be a slight inch of sincerity within those apologies, I eventually made peace with what I wanted to feel. I am angry at the sins of the past, the present, the future and most of all I am also angry at the ones who have done them or continue to do them.

When you’ve decided that change is in your agenda and that you’ve realised that it’s been long overdue for you to do your share of the work, then get back to me. If that time doesn’t come, well then tough. Not having any of your tears, only to have me in tears again anymore.


Yes, I totally relate, I am still reclaiming anger and redefining it for myself.


I felt a no was never heard, so it seemed neverending –

why was a simple word not enough to make them stop –

why did I have to become a road rager to the point they became scared of me – which just ended in me becoming scared of myself in the process

as it s not what I wanted to be or do –

yet simple words didn t seem to work – what would –

in care this was however repeated –
whan in a hospital you would calmly ask what you wanted they always said no – if you however were to the point of a genuine meltdown and unable to communicate clearly and calmly, THEN there was help, meds or …. I felt still unheard and unable to handle boundaries and make them work too

it seemed people would walk over them til I d burst in yelling and then they d run off – and I d feel like running too

been told it s cause it s all i ve known i atract easily people in my life
who too will not respect boundaries –

and that people who do respect them exist, as in, if a simple no is not enough, it never will be and you can simply end the contact

which as a child was impossible

whenever I ran off – people would kindly bring me back home –

but been told – now you can say no – and if it doesn t work leave the situaton or make the situation dissolve in so many other ways

it still saddens me cause it made me believe i was like them after all, exactly the same –

which is not true – but things get so confusing


I can very much relate to your inability to feel or express anger and how it can make you feel trapped. As a small boy of 6 through 11 there might be times when I did something that set my mother off and I would get smacked in the face repeatedly. If / when I put my hands up to protect myself, my mother would tell me that she would smack me more sometimes so hard that I felt my survival was threatened. Hence I learned a very early and unfortunate lesson that if I tried to defend myself I would get it worse. Later in life, the experience of getting hurt more if I tried to defend myself often left me feeling paralyzed emotionally and reluctant to defend / advocate for myself if I felt I was being treated unfairly.

Much as you described, a big part of my behavior at an early age was making sure I did not doing anything to set my mother off. My I was really all about her. This behavior has carried forward especially in my professional life especially as it relates to dealing with people in positions of authority or power over me. I often find myself feeling trapped or stuck about saying or doing the wrong thing to avoid “setting them off” or causing them to get angry at me which may result in retribution, perhaps with the possibility of terminating my employment, ie, me.

I also found that as a child and later as an adult if I did doing something wrong or make a mistake on an exam or in sports or at work, it was much easier to get an stay angry at myself because it is easier to direct the anger inward vs outward. There is no risk of retaliation – however, it has set me up for a lose lose situation.

In my current employment I find myself being angry with my supervisor who brought me into my job because of my expertise and skills and willingness to make tough decisions. Yet whenever I have tried, she has refused to back the actions and the organization is paying a price.

While I feel a great deal of anger I feel myself almost immobilized in my ability to express them to her out of fear that they will set her off and when she gets angry, I will ultimately suffer.

I have returned to therapy with an EMDR practitioner to deal with these issues. However, your description of your experiences, struggle and success in dealing with and expressing your anger give me much optisimism.

Thank you very much


Hi Jim
Welcome to EFB ~ I hope that this body of work blends nicely with your EMDR work. Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

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