Archive for Mother Daughter

Mothers Day can be a rough time for survivors of dysfunctional family relationships. The key to overcoming all the emotional baggage that comes up with the pain of mothers day has been to take a look at what that pain is where that pain originated.

We are told from a young age that our parents know best. We are told and convinced that they love us and are doing their best and that they always do what is best for us. We are taught that they are right. The problem is that when we are dismissed, devalued or discounted by these same parents we don’t know how to reconcile those two polar opposite teachings. On the one hand, we have been brainwashed (convinced) to believe that that there is nothing as beautiful as a mothers love. On the other hand we are hurt by the dismissal of our mothers. Our pain has been minimized; we have been told that we exaggerate, that we outright lie, that we are too sensitive, that we are crazy, that we are don’t remember what “really happened”.

These are deflection tactics motivated by the need to cover up the truth. Mothers will jump straight to saying that we are ungrateful. “After all I have done for you, this is how you treat me!”

My mother would say; “Oh Darlene, you think you are so hard done by!” I never once thought about what that meant, I just felt the burn of shame for being ‘that daughter’… the daughter that thought her own mother was selfish. That daughter that thought her own mother was unloving and shame on me, for not understanding how hard it had been for my poor mother. I felt guilty for feeling frustrated. After all, my mother went through a lot in her life. And the whole world teaches that there is nothing as strong and protective as a mothers love.

The whole world teaches that a mother does the best she can.

A loving mother does her very best.

So I had to take a look at what a loving mother is. What does love do? What does love look like?

Does love ignore? Does love dismiss? Does love turn a blind eye to a child’s fear or to a child’s feelings? Is a parent entitled to follow different rules when it comes to love?

Is it possible that just maybe not all mothers are ‘loving’?  Read More→

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EFB door 2For the past few years I have not thought about myself as a daughter on “Mother’s day”, I have thought of myself as a mother instead. When I used to think of myself as a daughter the purpose of mother’s day was to celebrate someone who constantly reminded me that I was not the daughter that she wanted. I celebrated someone who treated me like I was lacking in some ways. I celebrated someone who seemed to be exasperated with me and communicated to me that I was somewhat of a pain in her butt. I celebrated my mother even though she blamed me for more things than I care to list in this post and I celebrated a mother who caused me untold grief. (Well actually, it was untold until 6 or 7 years ago. Now I have told…)

Mother’s day in the past was a time of great anxiety for me. It was difficult to decide ‘how’ to celebrate my mother; what kind of card, what kind of gift and what if she didn’t ‘like them’ and what if she didn’t show any appreciation and what if she made that ‘disappointed face’ which crushed my soul and spirit so many times on previous Mother’s days and on other gift and card giving holidays. I had so much anxiety over the fear of ‘that face’.

Mother’s day in the past was about celebrating someone who hurt me. It doesn’t make much sense to me today when I put it that way but back then I never thought about it that way. I was in the deep fog of conditional love, brainwashed to believe that mother is god and that parent entitlement rules over all else, no matter what… Read More→

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Blog pic 1My Mother Blamed Me for her Disgraceful Behavior

I was lying in bed the other morning and this phrase “when mothers blame others” kept running through my mind as though some unknown source was whispering at me to write about it. I agreed that it would make a catchy title but I questioned why it was running through my head in the first place.

And then I laughed!

This idea is so prevalent that it’s a wonder it isn’t in my head all the time. Survivors of dysfunctional mother daughter relationships can’t escape the constant reminder that some mothers will blame anyone and everyone as long as they don’t have to look at their own actions. It is still frustrating to me that no matter what proof I had, no matter how many times I tried to explain the situation, no matter how much I defended myself, my mother blamed me OR she blamed something or someone else for HER decisions and behavior.

And although this problem is more widely discussed when it is the adult daughter who is targeted and blamed, this happens very often with adults sons as well. This isn’t exclusive to mothers who blame daughters, but very often fathers blame daughters and or sons as well. Sometimes ALL the children in the family are blamed and defined as “the problem” and sometimes only one or two of them are singled out and blamed and defined as “the problem” in the family.

Many adult children of Narcissistic mothers know this all too well and although my mother is not a true narcissist (because she has total control over her actions), she fits the narcissistic mother pattern of not taking responsibility for her own actions that have ultimately led to the failure of our relationship. Most importantly for the purpose of this article is the fact that the results have been the same with my mother and I as they are with others who do have more typically narcissistic mothers.

When children (of any age) are blamed and labeled as the problem, a burden or “less important’ than the parents, the damage to the self-esteem and overall emotional wellbeing of the child is substantial!

And the treatment and tactics used by the parents are so typical that it is almost as though there is secret manual that these mothers (parents) subscribe to. A manual endorsing that parents have the right to do this stuff and act this way with their children without any consequences to themselves! 

The children of these mothers, MEN and WOMAN who have been blamed as children for the ways in which we have been treated, are blamed as adults as well; Read More→

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book photo 16 robinI received the following request from a reader through the contact page here in the Emerging from Broken website.

“I was reading on your FB page about a post you had written about a year ago. It was about a “narcissistic mother” that demanded honor from her daughter. But I have a question for you; what about a mother that has truly been hurt by her children? I am one such mother. I have been “there” for my children countless times. I have emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially supported them in anything they wanted and wanted to do in their lives. I have told them all of their lives that I love them and believe they have the power to do and be anything they set their minds to. As a result they have thrown insults back at me and called me names. To this end they have basically abandoned me telling me I am worthless and a burden. I am a little upset that you seem to take the side of the child in most of your posts without balance. I would like to see you post that there is balance in all things. Signed, Hurt Mother who loves her children endlessly and doesn’t understand.”

First of all, I would like to qualify that in my work here in Emerging from Broken I am not advocating or empowering grown children to rise up and abuse their parents. I am not in favor of abuse of any kind. I am not supporting revenge on parents and I am NOT advocating or recommending that grown children go ‘no contact’ with their parents which I believe is an individual choice that each person has the right to make. Emerging from Broken and my work here represents the concept of equal value for all human beings and it’s about learning what love is through the truth about equal value, which in dysfunctional families is grossly misunderstood. What I am trying to do with my articles, speaking etc. is EXPOSE the TRUTH about relationships that are out of balance such as where the entitlement of parents rules over everyone or where the rules in love and relationship that apply to the children (even grown children) are not the same for the children as they are for the parents. EVERYONE has a choice about continuing or discontinuing in relationship. I am advocating for and empowering people to make those choices through looking at the truth through understanding equal value and the true definition of love.   

The first part of her question is Read More→

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My Flowers

My Flowers

Yesterday someone asked me for guidance on the “dreaded mother’s day card purchase”. Flashbacks of trying to find just the right card went zipping through my mind. I remember reading dozens of them trying to find something that my Mother would like, but that didn’t make me feel like a liar. I wanted to make her happy and I wanted approval but I also wanted to feel good about myself. Joke cards were fun, but my mother didn’t appreciate them at all. Mushy cards that said “thank you for being the most wonderful mother in the world… for always taking care of all my needs, for putting yourself last” and all that other stuff wasn’t truthful. Not getting a card was even more risky than buying a less than perfect card. Thinking about that whole dreaded mother’s day card shopping nightmare resulted in the following thoughts;

This week in honor of Mother’s day, don’t forget to acknowledge the Mother that YOU have been to yourself. I am talking about everyone who has survived any kind of family dysfunction, emotional neglect or psychological abuse. I am talking to everyone who lived in a violent home, and to everyone who was spiritually abused and told that even God is disappointed in you. I am reaching out to every human being who was taught to believe that they were less valuable than any other human being and to anyone who felt shame that was not theirs to bear, and to every individual who came to the conclusion that if actions speak louder than words, my mother didn’t love me. I am referring to everyone, man or woman, who has persisted in moving forward in spite of the baggage and false beliefs left over from child abuse that we have tried and tried to ditch although this has always been so much easier said than done.

I remember feeling horrified and even panicky at the point in my process of emotional healing when I realized that I was going to have to be the one that had to Read More→

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abusive family

The Lies are a Heavy Burden

I get nasty emails from upset mothers who think I am a spoiled trouble maker whining about some fictional terrible upbringing and discounting my right to tell my own story. The truth about what I am really doing is all right here in writing. I started Emerging from Broken because I wanted to heal the world. That may have been a lofty goal but I sincerely wanted to make a difference in the lives of other hurting adult children of dysfunctional, controlling and manipulating families. I wanted to bust through the false messages about ourselves that so many of us were struggling to accept instead of to reject.

I remember my mother saying to me that she didn’t know what she did to ‘deserve’ a daughter like me. (She may have used different words like “I don’t know what I did to deserve ‘this’ but the message was the same and it’s the message that does the damage. ) She said it as a judgment; she said it with exhaustion, despair and frustration as though she was at the end of her rope, exasperated by my actions and my attitudes; exasperated with me. And I felt so bad that I was such a disappointment to her. In the past I never questioned that it was me, I just tried harder to be the daughter that she ‘deserved’ and the daughter that would make her proud and maybe the daughter that would be good enough for her to finally love. Really I just wanted her to love and approve of me.

But when I came out of the fog I had been groomed to be in for most of my life, and started to question my beliefs about myself and the blame I placed on myself, I looked at her statement through new eyes. I started looking into just what she/they did to deserve the trouble she had in her relationship with me. I started to look at the details of the message her actions communicated to me about me.

Emerging from Broken (this website) isn’t about blaming blameless parents for the mistakes that they made. It isn’t about being mad because when I was a teenager my mom didn’t let me go to the school dance or because I got grounded for smoking. It isn’t about not getting my own way and not being allowed to use her car when I was learning to drive, it’s about being told in all kinds of verbal and non-verbal ways that Read More→

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carla's hawaii 117Dear Mom;

If you read my blog as the daughter YOU were, instead of as the mother you ARE, can you honestly tell me that you would not completely relate to what I am saying? If I wasn’t YOUR daughter, (if I was your next door neighbor), I know you would be a fan. 

My mother always said a lot of things that indicated that I was the problem ~ her problem. Those types of things that she said were a big part of the grooming process in the cycle of abuse. Grooming a child to believe that the child is the problem and communicating that publically serves several purposes one of which is that it discredits the child to other family members and friends of the family way before the child ever tries to stand up to abusive treatment which serves to insure that the abuser will never be questioned by other people. It is important for the controlling or abusive person to discredit the child in case the child ever tells or exposes the truth about the dysfunction in the family. Another purpose for grooming the child to believe he or she is the problem is that it also causes the child to spend more time questioning themselves than they ever would spend questioning the treatment that they have been groomed to accept as ‘normal’ treatment. In other words this type of grooming insures that all eyes are always on the child and never on the parent or adult involved.

The truth is that my mother comes from a dysfunctional family herself and she comes from an abusive family as well so she herself went through this same grooming process. She learned to discount me from the same grooming process that she learned her own value from. I don’t mention that to excuse her, but to show the cycle of abuse. The only way to stop the cycle is to expose it and to stand up to it. I stood up to it and Read More→

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Poster creation by Judy Baxter

Poster creation by Judy Baxter

“They say “But she is your Mother!” and I respond “Yes, and I am her Daughter”.  Darlene Ouimet

I have found so much freedom in realizing that I don’t have to explain or justify my decision to draw boundaries with my parents or with anyone else, to anyone. I don’t have to help people ‘understand it’. I don’t have to defend myself or prove myself. There is a reason that some people don’t accept my decision to disengage from my parents and family. There is a reason that this offends certain people but the reason may not be what you think it is. It certainly isn’t what I originally thought it was.

Throughout the comments in this website, and on the Emerging from Broken Facebook page, people often share the belief that people who haven’t ‘been there’ or haven’t walked a mile in these shoes don’t understand what we are talking about when it comes to having parents who are unsupportive, disrespectful abusive or dysfunctional. For a long time I agreed but I have come to realize that this conclusion isn’t as accurate as I used to think it was.

I have discovered that people who have or have had loving parents actually do understand what I am talking about; it is the people still stuck in defending their own abusive /discounting parents that fight the hardest against what I am saying. It’s actually makes sense that it is that way too; People who KNOW what love really is don’t think my mother and her actions regarding me were very loving; they don’t think that the way she treated me had any foundation in her love for me. People who had parents who modeled real love, recognize the truth about what love is. And they don’t stand up for neglect, disrespectful actions, discounting actions, corporal punishment, emotional abuse, verbal abuse or any other type of communication from parents that is less than love.

People who know what love really is and experienced that love from their parents, don’t think my father’s neglect and disinterest in me was loving OR normal. They don’t think he did the best he could. The reaction that I get from people who actually WERE loved by their parents is understanding and empathy rather than the judgment and criticism that we so often hear. Statements such as “but they are your parents” or “I’m sure your parents did the best they could” are not flung in my face by people who know what loving parents really are.  Since I have come out of the fog about the whole dysfunctional family system I have met people who have a whole different reaction to my story; I have met people who say things like Read More→

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sailboat

“Putting up with abuse or abusive treatment is not love for the abuser. It is not love for the self. It has nothing to do with love at all. Finding out what LOVE really is went miles towards my recovery” ~ Darlene Ouimet

Long before I ever ‘emerged from broken’ I had this burning question about the obligation involved in loving my parents. I had been told/warned that it was a sin if I didn’t honor them, and I had honor and love all mixed up. I didn’t really understand what either word actually meant since I had never been taught the true meaning of those words. My real question was more about my right to ‘stand up to them’ and since I believed that standing up to them was not a loving action, that standing up to them was going against them which meant “noncompliance” I believed that love was putting up with unacceptable treatment.

Each year around Mother’s Day, I re-visit my belief system and the longings that I had in the past, the judgments that I made on myself and the roots of where they came from; In order to find out what love really is, I had to realize what it was not. I had to realize how I had been taught what love was and realize that that teaching was false and not based on truth or the true definition of love at all.

I had been told that love was the answer but I had not been taught what LOVE actually was. So I took my false belief about love and what I ‘thought’ it was, and I applied that false definition of ‘love’ to everyone in my life.

I believed that loving abusive people like my mother, until they could love themselves was equal to having a higher purpose. I believed that I was ‘the better person’ because I could take the abuse, mistreatment or disrespect and that would communicate that I could love unconditionally. I believed that accepting devaluing treatment in some way ‘proved’ my value; even if it only proved it to God. 

The truth is that putting up with the abuse, disrespect and devaluing treatment only served to validate the way they treated me. It communicated my permission for them to treat me like dirt. How can that be love?  Sometimes I wonder if deep down they were laughing at me. I wonder if they ever thought “What an idiot this girl is! No matter how nasty I am to her she keeps coming back for more; no matter how I treat her she ‘LOVES’ me!”

I don’t think my acceptance of abuse did anything to serve any kind of higher purpose once I entered into adulthood; I think it served to communicate that these people (like my mother) had rights that I didn’t have which is really what abuse is; compliance to abusive treatment communicates to the abuser that Read More→

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Narcissism vs. Narcissistic in dysfunctional mother daughterNarcissism vs. Narcissistic in Mother Daughter Relationship Problems

Someone on the EFB facebook page wrote (in a comment to someone else) that I say that my mother is a narcissist and that she was mentally ill. I have never actually said that. I have said that my mother has narcissistic tendencies. I don’t actually think that my mother is a narcissist OR that she is mentally ill. (I don’t give much weight to the way the ‘mentally ill’ diagnosis is used in our society. I recovered by realizing that my depressions were a result of ‘what happened to me’ and that they had become an ineffective coping method for me.) Having said that, my mother suffers from depressions and she has for years and for the most part she has behaved towards me in a way that communicated that she thinks that she is more important than I am. She is disrespectful when it comes to me and she reacts to me in narcissistic ways communicating that my needs are not as valid as hers.

Her actions towards me are very discounting but that doesn’t make her a narcissist. Those things don’t make my mother a narcissist simply because she isn’t the same way with everyone. If my mother is a narcissist, there is a lot of evidence that she is able to control it. At best I might say that when it comes to the way my mother regards ME, she leans toward narcissistic tendencies.

A true mental health disorder is not controllable. People who have a true disorder can’t turn it on and turn it off. They can’t convince other people that they are wonderful and then in the privacy of home treat their own children like dirt. It doesn’t work that way. True narcissists are not Read More→

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