Christmas Feelings when Family Rejects You and the Truth about Love


carla mexico marketThis time of year is particularly difficult for survivors of dysfunctional family dynamics and abusive relationships. When the world appears to be celebrating the joys of warm family love and the longing to be together, it’s hard not to feel the pain of not being loved unconditionally especially if that includes the members of your own family of origin.

A commenter on the emerging from broken blog said something this week that struck me as one of the hardest things about having lived in a dysfunctional family where relationship and love were taught and modeled the wrong way. When love and acceptance is communicated in a false way, the resulting damage can inhibit our self-esteem from growing in a healthy and positive way and cause us to feel responsible for the failure in the relationship. Her comment was about her new realizations since the passing of her mother. I could deeply relate to her realization that she wanted to be missed. It was particularly devastating to me when I realized that I wasn’t missed. The truth was that if I wasn’t going to comply and function in the relationships in the way that I was taught and groomed to, then I was dis-missed. A huge part of the healing process for me was in the process of understanding how this ‘dismissal’ was not my fault but rather it was related to my strength and a sign of healing and taking my life back from those who believed that they owned me.

Here is the comment from this precious reader:

 “I was estranged from my mother for 15 years or so and she died last month. It is sad knowing she is gone, but it has allowed the passing of a deep rooted sense of hope of reconciliation from her that was never going to happen, and the realization that I wanted to be missed. It is hard to shake the shame of rejection by those from whom we expect unconditional love and that parental bond that can find superhuman strength when needed! If our family won’t love us, how do we convince others that we are worthy without the need to justify ourselves at deeper levels than words?”

I remember feeling this same way and having those same questions. That if my own family didn’t ‘love me’ how could anyone love me? I wondered who would or could love me. I remembered that I thought it was up to me to convince others, including my own family that I was worth loving. But the truth is that I didn’t believe it myself. After living so long in the dysfunctional family system where love was proved by compliance and obedience and love was proved by acceptance of whatever treatment was dished out, I didn’t know that I was worth it. I didn’t realize that I needed to embrace the truth that the ways their actions defined me, were false. They were wrong! What they taught me about me was all lies. I didn’t need to convince anyone that I was worth loving; I needed to convince myself.

The process of ‘emerging from broken’ was and continues to be a process where through looking at how my self-esteem had become so low in the first place, I was able to see the lies I believed about me and when I saw clearly that they were actually not true, I was able to overturn them. I had to expose these lies to myself in order to realize that my understanding of love was wrong because love had not been shown to me. Love isn’t something that I need to convince someone to do but because that is the ‘love’ I had learned growing up, that kind of ‘love’ was all I knew about.  

I carried a deep shame that my family didn’t want to be with me during holidays or at other significant times in my life. I have not spent a Christmas with my mother since I was 15. I have not spent Christmas with my father since I was 18. I believed it was my fault and was because of choices that I made which caused my parents not to want to see me.

I never considered that neither of my parents ever tried to see me for Christmas either. I was raised to believe that the relationship I had with everyone was up to me. I completely believed that the success or failure of my relationships was always up to me. I never understood that it takes two, that there are two sides to every relationship even though I used that expression (it takes two) as frequently as anyone else used it. I didn’t live it. I lived accepting that everything was up to me. I lived accepting that all failure, all rejection, all dysfunction was my fault. And so I lived trying harder and became more and more distressed and unhappy, because I (falsely) believed that I failed again and again.  I (falsely) believed that I could find the magic key that would make me become lovable and I kept trying.

But the key was within me all along. They key was seeing things through the grid of truth instead of through the grid of lies that I accepted about me. The truth was that I was addicted to proving myself and my worth instead of believing I had it in the first place.

Why did I believe that the shame was mine? It is so obvious to me now. It is so clear to me how I came to believe that I deserved to be rejected. And if I believed I deserved rejection, of course I also believed that the shame of it was mine. So the real key was in searching for and finding the truth about me. Was I a failure? If so, what made me a failure? I looked at the roots and the messages that I had been given. I looked at the details and sorted through the wreckage and finally realized that I did NOT bring this on myself. It was never me. I was too young when it all started for it to have been something that I did or deserved. When I looked at the details I realized that the acceptance and the rejection was inconsistent. I couldn’t win. It was never in the plan for me to know my value! It worked better for them if I didn’t know my value or worth.

Just as there are a lot of layers to the way false messages, abuse, neglect and the way our self-esteem is formed in the first place, there are a lot of layers to overcoming all those lies and false definitions too. If there was one simple answer, I wouldn’t have so many articles in this website! Looking at the details of those messages went miles towards my success in taking my life back from them and the unsticking the labels they applied to me.

It really helped me to understand that my family and the way that they regarded me, didn’t define me. The fact that they didn’t, wouldn’t or even if they just plain couldn’t love me was NOT about me, it was about them. I don’t have to convince anyone that I am worthy or lovable. I am. I just am. I was born lovable. I was born worthy. It wasn’t something I did that changed that truth. That truth never changed; what happened was that I was taught love wrong.  It was when I convinced myself (through embracing the truth) that I was lovable and worthy, that everything changed and that I began to heal from the damage those lies caused.

This year is harder for me because for the first time in my life as a mother, one of my children isn’t going to be home for the holidays. But I know the truth about this and the truth is always the key. My mother’s version of understanding is not part of the truth. I have discarded those old definitions of love and the way I was taught to prove my love in favor of the truth about what love really is. My daughter isn’t away from home this year because she doesn’t love me. It isn’t because I did something that caused her to reject me. It isn’t because I failed in the relationship. It isn’t a punishment. It doesn’t define me or our relationship. The truth is that my daughter is loved enough to know that she has choices for her own life and she has been empowered to make her own choices. She knows she is loved and she knows she is missed and she knows that no one is angry with her because she is away this year. And I know this truth too.

Learning what love really is has been one of the most important parts of the healing process for me and the easiest way to learn that is to clearly see what love isn’t. Love isn’t about convincing anyone of my value. Love isn’t about obligation or compliance. Love isn’t about doing what other people want if it isn’t best for them or you.

Each Christmas / Holiday season gets better for me. With each year that passes I am more settled and able to comprehend my value more deeply. With each year of living in wholeness and truth, my self-esteem becomes healthier; my relationships become richer and more loving, my smile becomes brighter and my life becomes more meaningful.  I don’t ‘prove my love’ by jumping through flaming hoops anymore. The false definition of love no longer rules my choices.

Wishing everyone a discovery of the real Truth,

There is freedom on the other side of broken;

Darlene Ouimet

My book “Emerging from Broken ~ The beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” is now available on the upper right side bar here in the website.

P.S. For Coaching ~ NOTE~ I have a waiting list at this time. If you wish to join my wait list, please see the info page before contacting me. Thanks!

Related posts ~ Dysfunctional Family Christmas and giving the Wrong gift:

Dysfunctional Family Christmas and Being Alone

Categories : Family



I so loved reading the part where you acknowledged that not having your child there for the holidays is NOT about rejection or punishment, but because she knows the love you have for her to respect her choice to live her life, for her, not for you. True parental love knows that the child will one day fly away to live life and provides them the spring board and wings to do so. It is the selfish dysfunctional parent that promotes a dependance that is expected to last through eternity…or at least until they don’t need you any more, which is what seems to happen in so many cases when an adult child tries to assert thier individual personhood toward a dysfunctional parent.


Hi JMarie
YES! and it isn’t easy especially since I was not raised with the truth about what love is! I have to have this whole inside my head conversation half the time with myself but it is so worth it to break this horrific cycle of family dysfunction and the false definition of love. Because I grew up with such a terrible false definition of love, I sometimes have to remind myself on the down days that love is not proven by my children clinging to me or ‘needing me’ for every little thing. It isn’t proven by them putting me before themselves or before their own hopes and dreams. Love from me is expressed in my willingness to support and empower them to grow into their own lives. And our love is mutual, so the new system must be working! Life is good!
hugs, Darlene


Thank you for this really moving and enlightening article, Darlene. I haven’t spent Christmas with my family for almost ten years. But even when I was in contact with my parents after moving out, I was never invited back home; it was made clear I wasn’t welcome so the impetus really wasn’t on me there. But I realize that even after I cut them out of my life I still kept around that relationship model. I replaced my abusive parents and siblings with other people who also rejected me; and just like with my family I fantasized about ways that I would prove and show and ‘make’ those people like me after all. Being told I was a failure and that ‘it was all my fault’ has haunted me for so long and in so many ways. And you’re right, it comes off in layers, not all at once.

It’s much easier to move on from individual people then it is to move on from the cycles that say you have no self-worth. Of course these ‘friends’ weren’t right to mistreat me in the first place, and since their behavior is about them, it isn’t up to me to change it. So I’ve been letting go of the idea of running in circles with the same people or trying to ‘prove myself.’ I also received the dysfunctional family version of “it takes two” where all the problems are the fault of the child and I wasn’t “trying hard enough” with my parents. But that’s nonsense, as a child I was very accepting and just wanted kindness and love; they didn’t give it, and they’re never going to but I don’t need them today. I don’t need my family and I don’t need anyone who thinks I’m nothing either.


This article is a statement
defining my exact relationship with
my dysfunctional family. As soon as I stood up to the mistreatment I was “dismissed”. To them I will always be the crazy one.
I believed it for 58 years.
I can’t say I ever missed a loving family because I was always trying harder to please, to be “better” more normal, to hide my true self because I was unacceptable. They were always in command, ever judging my thoughts, words, choices.
I learned to not expect
love, acceptance, or approval. I
never had it. Had never experienced it. I would deny my own accomplishments and skills as trivial. I
was in that spin so deep, so convinced of my shortcomings, so
brainwashed, I never questioned
that it wasnt me. It was insideous.

It worked better for “them” if I did not know my worth.
Wow that statement really stood out.
I was shown by the age of 9 that my worth was in service to them.
My thoughts, goals, choices could only mirror theirs.
My special individuality was crushed. The emotional trauma this caused followed me through out my life.
I have emerged finally on the other side of broken. I have left them behind. Understanding finally the truth of what happened to me was instrumental in my healing. It takes time. I still have a great deal of anger towards my mother who was my chief abuser.
But a clear understanding of my
dysfunctional upbringing has helped me to see where I need to change my behavior. Rewire my thinking. Change my coping. (Boy thats a hard one! ) Recognize my triggers.
Where I was always told I was weak, I find I am strong. I think she was afraid I would discover this.
Thank you Darlene for opening my eyes.


As always a very moving article. Holidays are exceptionally difficult as I have gone NC fot the past 4 years. My longtime friends are distanced as well in location and emotion also, making things hard. To top things off, I have ended a 3 year long relationship with a passive alcoholic pot-head.
The problem is I can’t physically leave this residence as I am not financially able. So I’m stuck here in an emotionally distant passive aggressive household.

I was adopted so I believe I have deep rooted abandonment issues, however, by breaking free of dysfunctional people I find myself utterly alone annd isolated. I have 2 of my children with me but often desire love and appreciation at the most basic
level . I am 45 years old and feel stu
ck emotionally.


I would like to add-Karen and Caden,
I really relate to your posts. I share a similar story and hope your Holidays
are peaceful xo


I needed to read this today. I have hated the holiday season for most of my life. My father ruined it as a kid, my mother aided and abetted him in doing so and now as an adult, she still continues the drama every year. I presented my new terms for our relationship this past summer and like most of us here, she chose not to accept them and let me walk away. I’m learning to deal with this most of the time but the holidays make it especially hard. As you said, the happy, lovely, wonderfully warm glow of a family and it’s love is literally plastered on every window and in every song. With one week left to Christmas, I haven’t even heard from my mother, not that I expected to. I too, wish that I were missed. But the truth is, that I’m not. I was never and never will be. If anything, I’m still seen as the family ‘problem’, even when I’m nowhere near to even BE a ‘problem’. I’m making HER life and holidays miserable because I’m not around. But it isn’t like she’s banging down my door and I’m refusing to talk to her. She wants what she’s always wanted from me and that is compliance and control. She doens’t want love. She doesn’t want respect. Mostly, because she doesn’t know the meaning of either.

My journey is not over. While I may know that what she does and how she treats me is wrong, I’ve been groomed my entire life to believe the lies she told me. Every so often, they creep back in. I recently started dating someone and when I catch myself drifting off in thought about how much I like him, I also catch myself thinking: ‘what does he want with ME?, I’m so broken, I’m not loveable. If I were, my own family would love me and they don’t. He could do better. He only likes me because he doesn’t know me yet’. I need to start believing that I am someone worth knowing and that I am someone worth loving.

It’s hard to explain that you don’t talk to your family any time of the year but it’s even harder at the holidays and when you’ve got someone new in your life. It’s just a natural topic of conversation this time of year. I try to dance around it as best I can and I know I don’t have to validate myself or my decisions to anyone. But it doesn’t stop the questions or the sideways glances when I say the truth. The best I could offer anyone as to the reason for my decision is that she’s emotionally and psychologically abusive. I say ‘if I told you that every time I saw her, she was hitting me in the stomach or punching me in the face, would you still question my decision? Would you insist that I see her?’ This is usually enough to satisfy most people for the time being at least. Everyone thinks they can ‘fix’ you. I know they mean well when they suggest that I reconicle with her but I can’t help but get annoyed in thinking: ‘don’t you think I have TRIED that?! This isn’t ‘reconcilable’. This isn’t an argument over whether to serve turkey or steak’. This is about my giving in to a way of life that is costly and painful to ME! There is only one way to have a relationship with her and it is HER way. The sad truth is that HER WAY is more important than HER DAUGHTER. That’s what she has said in not accepting my terms. I heard the message loud and clear. I’ve been hearing it my whole life. This time, I chose not to accept it. I choose me, even if she doesn’t choose me.

Caden, I really related to your last paragraph. It really is so much easier to let go of individual hurtful people than long-engrained ideals and ways of thinking. And I like the layer analogy. It’s a sloughing off process for sure.

Wishing you all peace,



I am on both sides of this I feel like the rejected child and the rejected/rejector mother.
I grew up in a household very much like the one described in this blog, abusive both physically and mentally she(mother) still does what ever manipulation and mental games she can. My daughter decided 3 yrs ago to leave home stealing from me and my son, drinking and using pot and God knows what else because I ask her not to see someone quickly after getting out of a 3 yr relationship. Of course she was 18 and knows more than anyone. My child even stole my wedding rings then took out $19,000 in credit cards in my name and maxed them out. I have heard from her maybe 10 times on the past 3 years, it’s always an argument or demand for something. I refuse to let this man she has decided to live with on my home because he also stole from our family. If he isn’t allowed in she won’t come and so she doesn’t have a relationship with me. I have a younger child I don’t want the drugs and other bad influence around. And my mother of course stays right in the middle keeping the pot stirred up, I feel like I have to cut everyone out of my life to protect myself emotionally more than financially. Holidays are hard because I miss the person my daughter used to be, but in the words of my son that person, the person she used to be is long dead.


Well, in my case my mother would sit by my side, day and night, and she’d breathe for me if I could – so my case is quite different from what you guys report. It feels like an attempt at sucking the life out of me. And, probably unsurprisingly, her health is better than mine. She never had a headache in her life, for example (I don’t know anybody who never had a headache apart from my mum and dad). I had them since I was 8.

Christmas at home was always a sad event (dad drunk, grandmother bitter as any other day, and mother fussing over dinner… myself feeling anxious about my dad arriving drunk. No matter how much I want to forget and move on, it never works. Every Christmas I wait for magic (yes, like in the movies… just something) to happen that it’ll make it all better, but it doesn’t.


Thanks for talking about this subject. I have been struggling mightily with all these conflicting emotions: from feeling unworthy and rejected to feeling guilty for finally saying “Enough!” to the abuse and ever impossible hoops to jump through. Thank you for pointing out it takes 2 to make a relationship work. It seems that I was the only one trying make a relationship work with my parents for a very long time. Once I was able to look back and see how much work I was doing, to how little of themselves they were willing to put out, and the toxic guilt I’ve been holding on to finally released. Happy Holidays to all, may we all have peace!


This is my first Christmas I will be entirely on my own.

For me, the realization is in understanding that they’d rather miss me than know me. I held a role in my family that kept the emotional balance of things. I disrupted this balance by having a breakdown and by standing up for myself. It’ll never be the same but it’s obviously easier to find other things/people/narratives (i.e. lies) to use to try to restore balance than to deal with reality as it is. Of course the me they miss isn’t me. I have this ridiculous image of standing beside a coatrack and they’re hugging and talking to the coatrack, telling it how much they love and missed it, thinking it’s me, and I’m saying no, I’m here, right here. I get so frustrated, I trash the coatrack, take it to the curb for the garbage truck to take away but they just stand there, yearning after the coatrack, hoping maybe someone will come and deliver a new one. And they’re so sincere in their yearning. And how terrible of me to try to make myself known, to thrust my existence upon them. They want to be the understanding, compassionate people who have pity on this stranger who would do such a terrible thing as trash their coatrack, but, god, it’s hard because not only has this stranger trashed their beloved coatrack, she has the audacity to actually want attention and love… and not only that but she’s angry! Who is this person!!! It’s easier to pity me and whatever “happened to me” that would make me do something so heinous when I’m not actually in the room.

I bought a piano as an xmas present for myself. It’s coming tomorrow and I’m pretty excited. I have no idea how I’m going to feel on xmas day. Sad, relieved, joyful… I don’t know. But I’m glad that I don’t have to put on a happy face.

Thank you, Darlene.


Well…..I so needed this. It is exactly how I have felt for years. Years of dreading the holidays, spending time with my family looking at the clock trying to figure out what time I could leave. I basically called out my mom’s bad behavior two years ago and we didn’t talk for 6 months. She came to me asking me to put this behind us yet there was no apology on her part. After Christmas that year, my sister picked up the torch of no contact and refused to include me in anything based on me finally addressing the dysfunction in our family. This past November before thanksgiving, my husband tried to build a bridge and get us all together. It almost happened. However, my narc aunt started repeating things that I thought I had shared in confidence with my cousin and she twisted statements and labeled my name on them so Thanksgiving got destroyed even though it was still pleasant not having family drama “physically” around. So now for the holidays my mom once again is choosing to attend my dysfunctional sisters house rejecting me once again and not including me or my husband in the holidays. Reading this article just solidifies more that their form of love is wrong and manipulative. However, many layers are trying to come to the surface in order to heal. It will take a long time because those old fears and labels are still in me. I will always have to continue to direct them away from me when I am triggered. My husband is still trying to figure out this and doesn’t understand. It makes him angry with my mom for doing this to us again. He will get it more and more in time. At least now I can enjoy Christmas with some dear friends and I won’t be looking at the clock trying to figure out when I can leave. I hope you all find peace.


Thank you Darlene for all your words of wisdom. I have been through so much all because of me being born. I did not asked to come here, and if I had the choice I would have exchanged my family for someone else. I was asked to come and look after my father who is in stage 3 cancer. He paid for the bus ticket for me to get to him and the whole time I’ve been here it’s been like it was when I was little total rejection, pure hatred, and lot’s of hurting insults. I know what your thinking and that is to go back home. Believe or not he is the lesser of the two evils, I was planning on leaving my home town because I was tired of the pain of rejection from my mother and all her followers (you know the ones who sit and watched when she and my sister would abuse me in every way possible and they act like nothing happened and that I should not say anything just take what ever I had coming to me) One of my siblings had the audacity to write on facebook to my mom that she was her favorite. Now my mom responded to the question by striking another conversation up instead. Which spoke volumes to me. My mother was so violently abusive to me when I was a child and would put me out in the streets at 13 years old. I for gave and my father, it’s just once I get back on my feet I know I will do better living down here where my so called father resides. Because I wont be dealing with him much longer. Then I will move on with what’s left of my broken life. But I don’t think that that would be possible had I not started to read your blogs on the facebook. You truly have helped me to see that they are the “PROBLEM” and always have been.Most of the time when my father starts in on me his family acts like he did nothing wrong, but when I don’t want to participate in his bs they want to try to tell me that I’m wrong. But when they push too much I will push back and like the cowards that they are they leave me alone (for a while). I don’t know sometimes whether I’m coming or going. I’m so numb that I cant even tell if my heart is just been blown to smithereens or not. All I know is I’m hoping for a peace of mind and some healing. I don’t have nobody, I have been alone for so long that I really don’t think that I actually know how to have a real relationship anymore. Probably wouldn’t know how to trust anybody anymore. My whole life seems to be a mistake. This will be the saddest Christmas for me. :


Dear Loveless,

Please don’t think your life is a mistake. I am sorry that this is your saddest Christmas, but you can see by your choice of the word “saddest” that you are seeing that things can get better!

I believe all of us here would have “exchanged” our families for another. That is why we are here on EFB trying to sort things out and learning about the how and the why of what happened to us in our families.

I understand feeling the obligation of “caretaker” for sick parents. I did this for both of my in-laws, and we had my ailing father in our home for five years. Just because these people need your help it does not mean they will like you better or treat you nicer because you are there taking care of them. Some of them truly think you “owe it to them” for many many reasons.

I also understand being rejected by my family and my husband’s family. None of them have ever liked me and they never will AND it was nothing that I did to them. I know they don’t even realize how much they don’t like me; but I KNOW because I have felt the rejection over and over again.

I have been no contact with my sister for 3 years and my father for a year. We are low contact with my sister-in-law. My husband talks to her when she calls. She lives near us, but we don’t try to get together with her anymore.

I also understand not knowing if you are coming or going. These are sick people shoving their sickness onto you. That is why I had to leave everyone behind. You cannot win in this system of theirs because they will NEVER let you win. You will always be wrong no matter what you do because for some reason they NEED you to be wrong. They have not blown your heart to smithereens because you are stronger than they are because now you know that they are the problem….not you.

I have been reading a lot about scapegoating and I have realized that was my “role” in my family and in my husband’s family. If I wanted to fit in with them I had to “play nice” and take my abuse like a good girl. Like you have seen with your family, if you push back they seem to back off, but they will come to get you again! From my experience this will never change. I had to really assess my situation. I came to the realization that I don’t need my family if all I get is negativity and abuse. While my father lived with us, I talked to him about everything I felt with the family dynamic until I was blue in the face and really pissed off. He could not have cared less. We were glad when he finally decided to leave.

Please know that it gets better. Christmas was always a sad time for me since being an adult and knowing that my family didn’t care for me. Last year was my saddest because I had made the move to let my dad go. He may try to contact me. It doesn’t matter what he does. I know he is just going through the motions that society taught him. He really does not care.

I wish you peace of mind and healing. Like Darlene says, there are layers and layers to be pealed off. It takes time and there are many turns and it is not easy at all. Please have hope in yourself and know your life is not a mistake. You can still trust people. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

I like to quote a line from the movie “As Good as it Gets”. In the movie, a rag-tag group of folks get together to make a “family”. Jack Nicholson says at one point: “we’re not the kind of people who have picnics with potato salad. This is as good as it gets.” I have felt this way all of my adult life. There are lots of us out here that have not been invited to the “picnic” and never will be, and that is okay.

Many blessings to you. I am glad you found EFB.



Hi Caden
That’s what I did too; replaced the dysfunctional relationship model with more dysfunctional relationships. 🙁 I had a LOT of cleaning up to do when I came out of the fog!
I love what you said about moving on from individuals was easier than moving on and away from the cycles! That is so true!
thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen,
It was really hard for me to accept that it worked better for them if I didn’t know my worth ~ I didn’t first see that truth in my own family but through the relationship that my husband had with his father. It was much more obvious with my father in law and through looking at the way he operated, I was able to see the similarities to the more subtle ways other controllers operated and realized that the only difference was between overt and covert tactics. 🙁
I know that these controllers are terrified that we might discover our brains and our strength and this is because our purpose in their lives is to prove their self worth to them by jumping through their flaming hoops. 🙁
Isn’t freedom wonderful??!!
hugs, Darlene


I have a memory of my Mother opening a Christmas present from my Father. He put a ring in a small ring box and then put that box in a bigger one and so on….I was so excited to see her reaction on Christmas morning….her reaction was not what I expected….she was not happy with the ring and made my Dad feel terrible…..she didn’t realize how hurt she made my Dad feel and how confused and embarrassed I was to have a Mother who would react in such a way. It was always this way and although we never went without during the Holidays, it was always a very stressful time because I tried so hard to get her the perfect gift and make her Happy..never happened.
To this day, I always tell my husband that. I would rather live in a cardboard box and have him and the kids in my life, than live with my family, who had everything but were never happy.


Hi Dee
My heart goes out to you! I know how difficult this must be for you. I am so glad you are here,
thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kelly A
I should write a whole article about that longing to be missed. I think for me it was the final ‘proof’ that my mother didn’t care. Even though I set the boundary, even though felt better without the constant put downs etc. it was really devastating that she didn’t even try to resolve our relationship. It was as though she was saying, “you are not worth it Darlene”. and I had to fight to keep that lie from taking root because it was the lie that I was trying so hard to UN ROOT in the first place.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Shary
Thanks for sharing. I understand how tough this is when the mess is on both side in your life. I wish you personal healing so that you can make the difference to the younger ones. There is a reason that this is called a cycle of abuse ~ if it isn’t stopped it keeps going from generation to generation. Since I started to heal from the childhood I had, the ripple effect has been amazing.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Elise
Yes it does take two but in our dysfunctional society we are taught from a young age that parents have entitlement that other people don’t have and the truth is that isn’t true. When I looked at why that might be true, it didn’t make any sense to me. Love isn’t anywhere in that relationship model. Yay for that toxic guilt being released!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone.

Thank you Darlene for writing this article. I found it very comforting to read and it gave me confirmation that my decision to live without family abuse in my life is really ok and acceptable, even though it goes against the christmas taboo of family togetherness.

Its so emotionally healing to get another perspective. A true perspective and on how things really are at christmas time with abusive families.

I have not spent christmas day with my father since I was twelve years old and I am 44. I have not had a happy christmas with family without drama since I was around 5 years old.

This year will be the first year of having no contact with any family member. No cousins, no aunts, no siblings, no parents. I walked away from family including extended family this year after struggling with them and their unloving/dismissive/rejecting behaviour for years.

On christmas day I am celebrating my freedom of no longer having to put myself in a position of begging for crumbs and scraps from their table. Luckily I have a roof over my head and plenty of food and will prepare my own delicious banquet for me and my pets to enjoy and celebrate a new life and era. By doing this alone gives me the space and focus to connect with myself and nurture myself and spend time not having to explain to others why I am not with my mother/father/siblings. It gives me the space to just enjoy the time with me and treat myself, its going to be a warm, loving day because I am committed to making it the happiest christmas ever!!

Thanks to Darlene and everyone here who have inspired me and taught me through the telling of their own experiences, to see how the shame, humiliation, fear, and pressure and blame is not ours to ever feel responsible for.


Hi Alaina
What you have written is a profound snap shot of the way it is. (I HOPE EVERYONE WILL READ YOUR COMMENTS)
“the truth is that they would rather miss me than know me” ~ so true! and of course as you say, the you they miss isn’t actually you.
Congrats on your new piano! What an amazing Christmas gift to yourself! Congrats on your boundary and on the self respect and self love that you have made a claim to as well!
hugs and love, Darlene


Hi Kelly
Yes exactly ~ the key for me has been to see how those labels got there, and how they were not true about me. It was in looking at the details of the past that I was able to catch up with what I missed and begin to live in the present ~ rejecting those false definitions of me and accepting the true ones. I re-defined me in a way and although I never felt like I had had a chance to be ‘the original me’ doing this work led me to believe that I found the original me and I embrace me now. Its a great feeling even though the price seemed high at the time. (it was worth it! )
and yay for enjoying Christmas!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Loveless
Welcome to Emerging from Broken,
They are the problem and realizing that is the beginning. Coming out of the fog is very hard so be gentle with yourself. I was numb too but I finally thawed out and began to live again through embracing the truth. There is anger, sadness, and a whole whack of other emotions but they are all about life and recovery!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Andria,
Awesome comments to Loveless and I hope everyone reads them!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Emma
YES I love your opening line “and it gave me confirmation that my decision to live without family abuse in my life is really ok and acceptable, even though it goes against the christmas taboo of family togetherness.” Exactly; why would it not be okay to say no to abuse just because it is family abuse?

I love that you are celebrating your freedom! That is so worth celebrating!
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Alaina, I love your analogy; I know that sort of projection, and their inability to accept anything other then their own image and design of you. My own ‘family’ would also rather whitewash every boundary I’ve set and everything I’ve said in order to ‘pity’ me from afar, to let silence gradually re-establish the status quo and feed their denial. My mother also said she missed me in unwanted messages, but I don’t know what exactly she missed; definitely nothing other then the selfish exploitative feelings she felt when around me, since my mother didn’t know me, see me or even want to. It is so insane when they make you some sort of possession of theirs and complain if you deviate from that overlay. But having myself is so worth it, so much better then suffering in their fake world. I hope you enjoy your piano and your freedom over time.



Another great article Darlene! This part really hit home for me “remembered that I thought it was up to me to convince others, including my own family that I was worth loving” and I’ve been doing that my whole life, even after having left.
This Christmas I am going away on a vacation one because I really need one and two to avoid the whole “pity invitation” thing. I can’t say how it’s possible for “well-meaning” “friends” to make me feel like a loser but they’ve managed well in the past (and these have often been the same who will trot out the “after all I’ve done for you” excuse if you call them on their abuse). But how sad to have to run away at this season becase of that.

What I have managed to do is tell a couple of people I’ve never met before that I am spending Christmas on a vacation and not with my family because I am estranged. I’ve said the word a few times without any feelings about it at all. It is after all the way things are. I was quite proud of myself for that:)

For Christmas I would like to get over the remaining negative patterns from my training. There are still so many, like Caden says, they come off in layers.

Wishing all on EFB the best:)


wow, timely.

I’m feeling my usual Christmas depression. Took me years to figure out what the “triger” was. The trigger is the less than perfect family situation. Chrismas was always phony to me.

My birthday is soon. Although it’s been 9 months since I have spoken to my mom, I’m guessing she will try to call me on my birthday under some “ruse” of wanting to tell me happy birthday despite the fact that I have told her I no longer care about birthdays. Since SHE cares about birthdays, she is going to call under some “ruse” that I would want a call because she can’t fathom that I don’t give a crap about birthdays. I hope she does not call.

I just want to get past Christmas.


From Karen:

I can’t say I ever missed a loving family because I was always trying harder to please, to be “better” more normal, to hide my true self because I was unacceptable. They were always in command, ever judging my thoughts, words, choices

What? How could you think that? They weren’t judging you. You misinterpreted!


I know how you feel.


From Alaina:

For me, the realization is in understanding that they’d rather miss me than know me.

No, they don’t want to know YOU. They want to know the image they wanted you to be, what you are SUPPOSED to be. That is my case.


From Nadia:

To this day, I always tell my husband that. I would rather live in a cardboard box and have him and the kids in my life, than live with my family, who had everything but were never happy.

I can totally relate to this.


Once again I have found comfort from this site. With my mother passing in September and her little brother 2 months later, our family is trying to heal(or their definition of heal). One of my uncles contacted me and had a few statements for me that have left me set back. He made the statement he did not understand why I was not ‘apart of the family’ for 3 and half years other than my mother told the entire family that I had chosen to ‘dump’ my adoptive family and only be apart of my adoptive family. He then started to lecture me on how I was the ‘chosen one’ How the entire family chose to love me even though I was not biologically theirs. Then left to remind me how my adopted sister has been their since birth so she is my real sister not my biological sister. My adopted sister and I have the best relationship ever we dont distinguish between adopted or biological. We grew close due to the abuse we suffered at the mouth and hands of our mother. I see my biological family once a year if I am lucky. I so want to put him in his place, but I do not think it is right of me to tell him his sister was an abuser while he is deep in mourning of loosing her. This will be my fourth year of Christmas without seeing her. It has not mattered to me that she is dead. This year is just like the past three years. No different, except that she is no longer around to hurt me.


I don’t think they miss me at all. I was always a second hand human for them, the whole family. I am the youngest one of 5 are we are several years apart, so they always acted like I don’t really belonged with them. I feel the same, I don’t want to belong to them anymore. Now, I realize why I hanged there for so long, not able to cut the string after so much abuse: it was because I thought if I grew older, they would give me more value and maybe miss me. I grew up and that never happened. Only when money was involved they came around like hyenas. It hurts to be an outcast of one’s family of origin, but it hurts more, it actually kills to hang around them waiting for some sort of “love” they would relentlessly give. Thank God I have my own small family now, whom they also rejected, but who cares? we love each other.


Happy upcoming birthday DXS:) Mine was a couple of weeks ago and momster did exactly that, tried to get in touch under the guise of HER deciding it was an important birthday. We’re still ‘NC’ but she seems to be able to violate that whenever. I’ve stopped expecting her to respect it.

So while I relate to “I don’t do birthdays” I have to say that I don’t do the birthdays where they become an excuse once again for her (or other people for that matter) to tell me how important my birthday is (or not), or how old I should look or act, or whether I’m correctly conforming to my age (usually not:)). So that kind of birthday I definitely don’t do. But this year I am doing mine the way I want, and it’s happening over many days. Some celebration yes and also time to take care of things I haven’t focused on, tie up loose ends, really think about how to do certain things differently. This has involved me sitting in cafes writing, or talking with the people that ARE helpful around some of things I want to work on/sort out. I also bought myself things I liked (rather than receive shitty presents that just show how much people don’t know me). And that was surprisingly difficult.


Hi Nadia
What a terrible thing for a child to witness ~ I can imagine your excitement as you waited for your mother to open that gift, and the shock of her reaction. I know that it took me awhile to overcome the anxiety I had over receiving and giving gifts because of my own mothers reactions to our gifts to her.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Alice
Fantastic that you are doing what you want/need to do this year at Christmas time!
The more that I told people the truth about my plans, the more confident that I felt about telling. Today nobody even looks at me funny when I say that we (Jim and I) do not see either of our families of origin for Christmas. The confidence that I have about not seeing them seems to communicate the saneness of it or something. It took a few years for me to arrive at this place ~ all part of the journey. Every year gets better!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Great blog! I have ended up NC with family for several years now, and have also weeded out relationships that I now can see resemble the ones I had with family members in order to heal and value myself and my own life. Holidays actually are much happier each year that goes by because of it. I do miss having extended family…there is an emptiness because of that….but I dont miss the family I had at all. I feel relieved that they are gone, and anytime I begin to wonder if I have done the right thing for myself, I consider what it would be like to be involved again…and it is too scary to entertain those thoughts because I was trapped and very sad.
My daughter has gone off to college and begun to have her own life and the transition has been bittersweet. I can imagine that it will be very difficult the first holiday that my daughter wants to spend it away from us! I have so recently felt so happy with my life and our little family and weeding out the negative relationships that it would be heart wrenching to not see my daughter over Christmas! Peace and comfort to you Darlene!!!!
One thing I have noticed over the last few years is how peaceful my holidays and life are now. It was strange not to have chaos and the roller coaster of emotions and I didnt really know how I was “supposed” to feel, but now I realize how much I value peace and quiet and the natural ups and downs of life. I find I am able to cope with life much better now. Little, insignificant things used to be made into mountains and were treated like they were life or death situations. Now the holidays and everyday life ebbs and flows in much healthier and peaceful ways.
I wish everyone here Happy Holidays…even if we have to recreate them for ourselves and do for ourselves what noone else would. 🙂


I can relate to the whole Christmas and depression thing! I hated Christmas; so much anxiety, so much fear, so much self loathing because I believed that the problem was me and that my company would at the very least be missed if only I were lovable. Getting to the bottom of all this false belief system stuff has set me free to love and look forward to Christmas. I am excited to give gifts, to have the fancy meal, to BE with the people that I love and the ones that love me! I finally understand the true spirit of the season and that is one of the many bonuses of doing this work. Even if you only have a glimmer of hope, hold on to that glimmer and nurture it. This process takes a bit of time.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kimberly
It sounds like your uncle is just as abusive as anyone else. What a horrible thing to say to someone! This has nothing to do with his grief. I am glad that have freedom from the pain your mother caused you.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Liz
YES ~ excellent comments. I actually left when I was 19 and had very little contact until I got married when I was 28 and I guess I thought everything would be different because I was going to be settled down and then have children. I believed it with all my heart, but I was wrong. And that is okay today too!
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi FinallyFree
YES I too have noticed the huge difference in the way the holidays are so peaceful now!
Something that I was thinking about this morning (in relation to this wonderful “peace”) was the way that the anxiety over giving the wrong gift made me nearly sick to my stomach and I was remembering also that I was terrified of having the wrong reaction TO a gift that I received too. Those things were all part of that dysfunctional belief system that had formed in me, and getting rid of that belief system has been the most amazing thing!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I have three grown daughters in their late 20’s and I have a pretty good relationship with all of them. Not perfect…..but real, honest,not phony. I never pulled rank and put myself on a maternal pedestal with them, nor did I ever feel I deserved respect and admiration just because I gave birth to them.
I’m not sure how this happened because of my own cold dysfunctional relationship with my own mother and her mother’s madness before her.

I wanted to share something a therapist told me….”in every generation a catalyst for change happens…you were that catalyst, thus breaking the mold by somehow not repeating the abuse, in fact doing the opposite.” This message to me was the greatest gift.

My daughters will come into town for xmas, they will visit their grandmother (my mother). I will not be there with them for the first time. I told them they are all adults and they are free to have their own relationship with grandma separate from me. I explained the best I could why I have to cut myself off at this time in my life and they understand. I am so relieved to not have to be in that tiny living room with them and my mother and the psychological stress and tension that always caused me. They are old enough to know now that I have a different relationship with her as I was raised by her, they were not. My middle daughter graduates as Psychologist in May…..she specializes in women’s issues. We have had many talks about family dynamics, etc. But this is why it works with my daughters
as opposed to my own mother….we are all down to earth honest, able to laugh at ourselves, call each other out on our foibles, no games or egos destroy our relationships….unlike with my own mother.

Just wanted to share this with you all, I’ve been full circle with mother/daughter dynamics.

Thank you, Darline for such a great article and to everyone’s comments, you are all lifesavers!


Hitch, I think it is wonderful that you said to your daughters that they are all adults and free to decide their own relationship with their grandmother.
My mother did not have a good relationship with her parents. She would be off and on as far as speaking to them. This went on during my teens and even into early twenties. She jerked me around like a yo yo demanding that I don’t have a relationship with them during the times she cut them off and that it was okay for me to speak to them when she was speaking to them. She would rage at me and then give me the silent treatment if I dared to call them if she was in the off cycle with them. She pulled the same crap with my aunt and uncle too. This caused me a lot of anxiety and I remember hyperventilating shortly after we all visited my grandparents and there was another argument.
I did not have a good relationship with my mother, but I find with these other relatives. Looking back, it was cruel for my mother to try to cut me off from people I related to well. It was also manipulative. She was using me and my brothers as a vehicle of punishment with our relatives, cutting us off from them when she was angry with them because she knew it would hurt them. And she didn’t give a crap if it also hurt her own kids. Looking back, I can see the dynamics and dysfunction so clearly now. The fog has dissipated!


Thank you Darlene.
It has taken a lot of strength for me to go no contact with my mother. This is the second time I am trying this but this time I have included my family. I really appreciate this article because now I have a better understanding of what this is that I am feeling and going through. Thank you everyone who has shared and I will continue to follow up and read more. This has really helped me.


Darlene. What a very insightful post. My issue with my family is that they decided not to communicate or be a part off my life for 30 years and now they have expressed an interest to re-establish a relationship. I always thought that this estrangement was my fault and only recently have come to see that it was not my fault. However when I ask them why it took this long for them to reach out the answer I get is they were trying to respect my desire for distance. Again it is my fault and it is very confusing.


Hi Darlene and all,
Thank you for what you have written. I cant believe how it describes my life of trying and giving all the time.For near twelve months I have gained strength from what you and everybody writes but unfortunately I slip back now and again.Excuse me if I am repeating myself with what I write.
Just over a week ago my deranged father told me because I did not go to visit my mother in a care home on Christmas Day last year he is not going this Christmas because it is my turn and he is not paying for a taxi. What he means is that my husband and I will have to take him to see her in our car. Yes we are the free taxi service. It entails several journeys of back and to taking about five hours driving. Yes we have done it in the past. Well on Friday I called to see him and asked him what his Christmas plans were.He repeated that it was my turn and said that it is my mother who will have no visitors and I answered yes and it is your wife. He slammed his hand down on the table (he is 91)and said he is not paying £20 for a taxi but we can do it for free.The thing is that it is all show just for Christmas Day.I have offered to cook a meal for him and take it to his house on Christmas Eve when we go to see my mother and asked what time would be convenient for him for us to call.No answer.Then he laughed that mocking laugh he has used all my life.Believe me had a got a machine gun I might have used it.So I left and went to the care home to see my mother.She pretended not to recognise me but at the same time said that my ex husband (who physically abused and mocked me all my married life)had been to see her and how lovely he was. I reminded her about the beatings ++++ that he gave me and she said with her carers listening that he has always been very nice with them and has not upset them in anyway.She even used to tell him when I was married that I needed a good hiding to put me in my place.So I said perhaps HE would like to take his turn being taxi service for the day.
I didnt stay long just two more wasted journeys and came back home in yet again more tears. After all these years I am 64 now and still keep slipping back to how they want me.My husband who loathes them and I are doing what we want to this year and have put our Christmas tree up and our fairy lights have been on outside for weeks.
Here is the good news. On Friday night I bought Leona Lewis CD Christmas with Love. We like the first song One More Sleep so I turned it up loud and danced round singing along with it.Well we laughed and I said to hubby do you think I sound as good as Leona and with a dead pan face said “Yes go for it I think you could make it”. Well we cracked up laughing our heads off.Still keeping cheerful. Glad of any feed back. Happy Christmas to all .Wendy am. xx


Hi Wendy,
Just wondering, why you would waste your time on a woman who abused you and encouraged others to abuse you? And endure the hatefulness and manipulation of the old man?
It sounds like you have a perfectly wonderful family in your husband! Why not continue the party from Friday night, right through the holiday season, and experience the joy and connectedness of your home?
We are not supposed to give advice here. But I’m just asking……..



The only time I see my parents and sister is at Christmas when they “bless” us with their presence. They totally overcompensate and buy tons of presents and send big gift card at my birthday as if that makes up for their absence. Recently my father came to town to visit my grandmother(she and I are next door neighbors) but he left about 15 minutes before I was to get home. I haven’t spoken to them in months. It has taken me a very long time to accept the apology I’ve never gotten.I have decided that by being mad at people who can’t give me a common courtesy allows them to live rent free in my brain and its high time I found some better tenants!


Thanks, Darlene, for posting this to help us all get through the holidays. I have been low contact for a few months now and I don’t miss the chaos at all. Yesterday I went to my sibling’s home at her request to put together some gift baskets for the staff at the assisted living where our Mom is living now. She very pointedly told me that my Mom’s occupational therapy will be concluding and she said, “we will all have to coordinate so that we can make sure Mom gets her shower.” I just looked at her and did not say a word because I have already communicated to my siblings my unwillingness to go on a schedule with them now after they refused to cooperate with my requests to do this for the past three years. She then said, ” you know, you don’t have to actually assist her in the shower, you just have to stand by to make sure she is OK.” I just looked at her and said “Can you hand me that ribbon?” It is almost comical now because I think they are truly befuddled by my new behavior, because I honestly don’t care anymore. I spent so much time and energy trying to get them to like me, and treat me well, and jumping constantly through their hoops, and after this most recent episode in September, I just cannot dredge up any real feeling at all. It is almost like that other me who was willing to do all of that is another person altogether. I hate, though, feeling like I have to steel myself for every encounter. One really powerful tool that I have utilized with great success is just simply giving myself some time to respond to any request from them. There is really not much a person can say when you tell them you need to get back to them after you think about the request or check your schedule. Anyway, carry on, all you EFBers! Have a happy Christmas anyway, in spite of all of this.


Thanks, Darlene, for posting this to help us all get through the holidays. I have been low contact for a few months now and I don’t miss the chaos at all. Yesterday I went to my sibling’s home at her request to put together some gift baskets for the staff at the assisted living where our Mom is living now. She very pointedly told me that my Mom’s occupational therapy will be concluding and she said, “we will all have to coordinate so that we can make sure Mom gets her shower.” I just looked at her and did not say a word because I have already communicated to my siblings my unwillingness to go on a schedule with them now after they refused to cooperate with my requests to do this for the past three years. She then said, ” you know, you don’t have to actually assist her in the shower, you just have to stand by to make sure she is OK.” I just looked at her and said “Can you hand me that ribbon?” It is almost comical now because I think they are truly befuddled by my new behavior, because I honestly don’t care anymore. I spent so much time and energy trying to get them to like me, and treat me well, and jumping constantly through their hoops, and after this most recent episode in September, I just cannot dredge up any real feeling at all. It is almost like that other me who was willing to do all of that is another person altogether. I hate, though, feeling like I have to steel myself for every encounter. One really powerful tool that I have utilized with great success is just simply giving myself some time to respond to any request from them. There is really not much a person can say when you tell them you need to get back to them after you think about the request or check your schedule. Anyway, carry on, all you EFBers! Have a happy Christmas anyway, in spite of all of this.


Today I received momster’s Xmas card.

She sits each year with piles of these and counts them as a measure of something. How many people exchange or do not is important to her. Whether she gets one or not from certain people is important to her.

It reminds me of Facebook, counting ‘friends’ even if these are people you never see and have not in years and even if every card is signed the same, with nothing in them aside from a name.

In mine this year she had also written “I hope to see you sometime in 2014” and my first mental reaction was “And what will you do to me if I don’t?” Because “I hope” in my momster’s mouth doesn’t mean “hope” – it means “You’d better” or “I expect it and if you do not conform then there will be a problem for you”. I immediately started thinking of a rational excuse for why I would not be seeing her in 2014 but then I recall, I’m NC. Duh. She’s the one who is pretending this is not the case.

Wendy, it makes me angry that anyone would enlist the memory of a someone who beat you to undermine you. For that alone I have gone NC with another relative who told me my request for an apology from her husband who had threatened me was a threat to their marriage.

No, I think being married to someone who can get handy with contending objects when they get upset is the real risk but I agreed I would never ask for an apology again and that I would not be seeing either of them again as a consequence.


From Alice:

So while I relate to “I don’t do birthdays” I have to say that I don’t do the birthdays where they become an excuse once again for her (or other people for that matter) to tell me how important my birthday is (or not), or how old I should look or act, or whether I’m correctly conforming to my age (usually not:)).

When I was about to turn 50, I knew mom would try to “plan” something (after all, this is an “important” birthday you know….) So, I called her up and said NO PARTY! I WANT NOTHING!

Her: “oh, but you MUST have a party.”
Me: “why?”
Her: “Because we want to give you a party.”
Me: “Who is this party for?”
Her: “It’s for you.”
Me: “explain to me how it’s “for” me when I DON’T WANT A PARTY!”

That ended it.

See? My mom is a “if everyone is doing it, I must do it, regardless of whether or not I actually think I even like it……”



Gawd, Alice, your mom sounds like mine. Phrasing things as “optional” but “no” is not an “option.” It’s all about “pretense.” Make sure things “look” a certain way.


On my bd in may before I went no contact my mother bought me 12 miniture cupcakes which she ate most of them, a card and some hand lotion. She was just after she received a 250,000 inheritance. I think she spent about 10 bucks on me.


DXS, YES! This is her, exactly! Is there a cave somewhere in hell where these people are spawned and thrown upon the world??

I’m joking but the thing is that being brought up this way has huge consequences for one’s own and others’ well-being. My friend told me the other day that he thought that one of the reasons I had such difficulty realising when other people were actually being mean to me was because I had been trained to take it, stuff my feelings and shut up. So I’ll come away from an interaction feeling like crap and not realise it’s because the other person has spent part or most of the time putting me down. And then I wonder why I keep getting into weird abusive “friendships”. The reason is the same!


Oh Hitch, yours is also the queen of shitty presents? I got a lot of really bad “craft” gifts on bdays for a while. It was because she was buying to “support local artists” – to look good basically.

Every year as a kid I would spend most (if not all) the money I had on getting my parents things they really wanted. It made me so happy to see them happy. Why didn’t it make her happy to see me happy? If ever I let my disappointment at the gift show, she would get angry with me. One year she bought something for me WITH me contributing half and the year after she took it back – because it was “hers”. When I visited for the funeral last year she asked me if I wanted it. More than 15 years later!!?? WTF?


My friend told me the other day that he thought that one of the reasons I had such difficulty realising when other people were actually being mean to me was because I had been trained to take it, stuff my feelings and shut up. So I’ll come away from an interaction feeling like crap and not realise it’s because the other person has spent part or most of the time putting me down. And then I wonder why I keep getting into weird abusive “friendships”.

I think the above also contributes to my “delayed” reaction on things. It takes me 48 hours sometimes longer to realize someone has pi**ed me off. By the time I try to address it, the person no longer remembers exactly what happened. And my mom used this to her advantage. “If you can’t address it at the time just forget it and move on.” She just doesn’t “get it” and she can’t fathom that I have this issue of “delayed reactions.” I have tried explaining it to her. But if it it’s not something she experiences, then it’s obviously “wrong” and “my imagination.” Like everyone in the whole wide world is a carbon copy of her….


Alice,….yes and speaking of funerals……when my sister died my mom had her cremated (it’s cheaper you know) and had her buried…but was too cheap to buy her a headstone or marker..I think she got the cheapest marker you can get, a piece of paper under plastic..and didnt call me to go with her to pick up my sister’s ashes…she called my brother’s wife…that still hurts me to this day. My sister and I were extremely close. She also kept everything of my sister’s as her own personal property. I’ll never forget two days after we found my sister’s body my mom sat at her kitchen table wolfing down a dagwood sandwich reading the paper as if nothing had happened. I didn’t understand this behavior then, but it’s all coming together now.


one other thing…my mom insisted no death notice in paper because she was embarrassed and ashamed that someone she knew might see it…my sister died of a drug overdose and of course this made my mother look bad.


DXS – right, this is a dishonest move and she knows (at some level) what she’s doing. Anyway, there’s also an argument for NOT addressing things in the heat of the moment. For me it allows me time to understand why exactly the thing has pissed me off and ensure my response is “the right thing” (to the extent I can) and not some knee-jerk reaction.

Of course the momster trick to that one is to respond that things did not happen the way I remembered them and that I must be misunderstanding or misremembering or misperceiving and that furthermore that is my fault. “That’s JUST the way you see it Alice, that’s YOUR CHOICE”.


Hitch, so sorry to hear about your sister and the way your mom dealt with it.


Just realised that sounded not the way I wanted it to Hitch. I meant the way she dealt with your sister’s funeral, headstone and announcenment. Sorry!


Oh my goodness… Alaina! I love your BELOVED COATRACK analogy. You captured my heart with that one. Thank you for sharing.


I think I’ve finally made my peace with being NC with my family. What a good point about breaking the cycle, though. I still have one lingering friendship from that unhealthy time in my life. You’d think it’d be easier to break with my friend than it was with my mother. I have no issue with confrontation in general, but I hold back with this friend thinking our friendship will just fade soon enough. But no. About twice a year I’m at some important milestone being introduced as the best friend. It’s strange to me. She’s not abusive like my mother, but those judgmental and controlling elements are there. I think, “I don’t put up with this kind of thing anymore,” but somehow I do. It seems to have something to do with pity, but that helps no one. She’s not very open, so I feel I know very little about her. How have I acquired this sense of obligation without the intimacy? Or maybe it has nothing to do with her. Is it wrong to cut off from a person just because they remind you of a time you’re tired of remembering? Aak, why do I think it ‘s wrong to not be with people I don’t like? This is my contradictory brain. How to fully break this cycle?


I only recently discovered your site and Facebook page via a friend recommendation. I want to thank you, Darlene, for posting frequently during the holiday season. Your posts have been a source of much comfort. I’ve been nc with my father for almost 4 years, yet we live a mere 8 minutes from each other. I came here after my son was born in hopes of being closer to family and it all went downhill from there.

When he flew into one of his typical rages 4 years ago and threw me out of his house I felt relieved to not have to suffer his verbal abuse any longer. Unfortunately, the verbal assaults play over and over in my head until depression sets in, as well as resignation over feeling stuck for the rest of my life.

It’s just my son and I–with no other family around. I have no partner, because as has been mentioned here: If my own father can dismiss me so callously and despise me, then how can anyone else ever love me? It’s very difficult to see Facebook postings of my half-brother and sister doing all the family things that I should be included in as well. But my father doesn’t hate them, only me. I’m the failure, the disappointment, the black sheep.

I had hoped these feelings of inadequacy would get better as I got older (I’m in my mid-40s), but so far they haven’t. In fact, they’ve only gotten worse. So thank you again for being there with encouraging words for those of us teetering on the brink of despair.


Hi Hitch!
Thanks for sharing your victories in breaking the cycle! That is awesome!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen T
Thanks for sharing, I am glad that you are finding some understanding and comfort here!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Stanley
Yes, as usual they ‘say’ that it is your fault. What I started to look at is if that is the truth? Is it true that it is your fault? Is it true that they were trying to respect your desire for distance. Or is that a manipulative statement? If there is truth in any of it, (for instance that you did ask for distance) then what has to be addressed is why you had a need for distance in the first place. Those were the kinds of questions I asked myself in order to try to see through the confusion.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Wendy am and Janie
Wendy ~ Slipping back is part of the overall process. I saw the truth about my mother while I was still trying to get her to notice me and show some sort of love for me. I have written articles here about some of the fog lifting for me years before I stood up for myself in any huge way. It takes time for us to make the big decisions when it comes to these boundaries. I think it has a lot to do with the brainwashing we have been groomed with mixed with the hope that one day things will be different. Thank you for sharing your story and your dancing!

Janie, in my experience, it was when I was allowed to be right where I was, to express exactly what I was doing/accepting without being questioned, that I saw it more clearly. That is part of the magic here. 🙂 I was empowered to make my own decisions about how to deal with abusive controlling ppl in my life in my own time and when I was really ready. I know it is often easy to see the injustice in someone else’s relationships, but it was up to me to see the injustices in mine before I drew my boundaries. When I work one on one with a client, I don’t ask them why they put up with something, I let them come to their own conclusions because that is where all the healing power is!
I know your heart is in the right place,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Cariena
I am not sure what you mean by ‘accept the apology you’ve never gotten’:)
It was through validating the damage that I was able to stop being mad but I had to validate that I had an actual right to be mad first. I had to validate it for myself. That was how I got them out of my brain!
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene


Hi Jane
This is great! This is exactly what happens when we begin to take our lives and our own power back! And it did feel like “the other me” was the one who put up with all that. Just like I came to realize that it was the NEW me or the ORIGINAL ME that didn’t take it anymore.
Good for you, thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Malina
For me it was all about finding out the roots of all of it. I had to do a lot of digging down to see those roots that had been set in place in childhood but realizing the things that I actually believed about myself (things that were lies) has been the key to healthy relationships today!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Tiffany

It was through looking at the damage the past treatment caused to me that I was able to break that playing over and over again in my head thing. Your own father not loving you is a huge part of the root of that damage. I had to see that his inability to love and his dismissive actions weren’t about me. The key to the freedom in the present is in the past. I hope you will read more of the articles here. I write a lot about how I came out of the fog and discovered my false belief system which was a direct result of the damage.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Janie
Thank you for your reply.You are of course quite right in what you say.I think it is because all my life I have been brainwashed into believing that I am no good and STILL keep trying to get the love from them that I never had.The same thing happens with friends who over the years I have allowed them to treat me cheap because that is how I was used by my father when my mother knew exactly what was going on.Like I said before we are not care home visiting Christmas Day but are going the evening before.
Today my mind tormented me and I went again all those miles to see my mother. Yes can you believe. A strange thing happened when she saw me she started to cry and for the first time in my memory reached out and held my hand.Never ever has she touched me unless to give me a pair of stinging legs just for breathing.She told me that he had telephoned my sisters ex in laws asking how they were. It just doesn’t make sense. I cant get it through my head as to why would he telephone asking how they were, when my sister was treated like rubbish by them and their son, who has been divorced years.He seems to want everything to look perfect when in fact it is the opposite.One of the carers has today told me that my father is now going on Christmas Day to the home and is having a meal with my mother.Thank you again, I just keep thinking it is me at fault but of course it is them. Thank you for asking the question it helps. Wendy am x


Thank you Darlene,
I am trying really hard to move on.It is helpful reading replies from others and one day I will come across as strong.This time last year I was a hopeless mental mess,but I am getting there.Thank you all for the support. Wendy am xx


Wendy am
You are so welcome. 🙂
In my eyes, you already come across strong. You are IN the process. That takes guts, that takes courage that most of us never thought we had. Getting there shows strength! Celebrate you my friend!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Tiffany,

Yes, it is very tough to be the black sheep and to be hated. It is not fun having all that nastiness play over and over in your head. I know because this has happened to me too. Hopefully your feelings of inadequacy and being stuck will get better as you read more here at EFB. May I also suggest Googling “scapegoating and black sheep in families”. I have found this very helpful in my healing. So many people go thru this it is unbelievable. It is a very common dynamic in families. For some reason they need to blame someone for the way they feel. You are not a failure or a disappointment. You are just the one that got blamed. It sucks. All we can do is change the way we feel about ourselves. Best of luck to you Tiffany.



Hi Wendy, I guess when I asked the question, I was trying to be encouraging, and happ y you had someone good and strong in your life, too! I like the compromise you made, of going to visit her Christmas Eve, and having your own day on Christmas. That sounds healthy. As long as it feels right to you, that is great!
Probably asking you that question, I was asking myself as well. I do backslide too. It is all so hard to sort out, especially as your parents get older and mor helpless.
I am actually having the Cristmas dilemma myself. My father asked me to come to their house on Christmas, but that would mean seeing my hateful sisters and crazy mean mother. However, he is 86, and not mean like the others. I am thinking of a Christmas Eve compromise as well. For my Dad and me, not anything to do with my mother. She might be there, but it would not be her I was going for.
All of our situations seem ver difficult. I think about how unfair it is, the ones who are abused, neglected , vilified and scapegoated , must suffer more, as they do work to become free! Jeesh!


Hi Janie,
It is encouraging to have a reply when you feel your are thinking your brains out and wondering what you did wrong.My husband tells me to stop worrying but it is difficult.
I think Christmas Eve is good idea because the care home will be quiet so we can talk without the noise. And maybe you can also talk quietly with your dad with out any mean sisters earwigging in.I hope you do not mind me mentioning but I noticed how you use dad but mother instead of mum. It seems so cold when it is father and mother but warmth when using mum and dad.My parents are mother and father to me.I would feel uncomfortable saying anything else apart from some unprintable words.My father is so regimental and formal I feel like a neighbour when I visit which is not often and he never lets me get passed the kitchen.Good luck with what you decide to do I hope it goes well and thank you again.Wendy am x


Hi Everybody,

Sorry, but my computer has been acting flaky lately. Another wonderful article by Darlene….I just had to share my ultimate childhood story regarding my Narc mom and dysfunctional family that I simply call “The Christmas Story” :

When I was growing up, my Narc. mother always got what she wanted and she decided that she wanted a brand new, luxury house. Mind you, we lived on on one income,since she didn’t work, but whatever Mommie Dearest wanted she got! (We moved to a foreign country living and working abroad for three years after the house was built in order to pay it off, but that’s another story….)

To make a long story short, I believe that I had just turned 11 years old, about 1979, so I was an older child at the time, but still a child. It was a new neighborhood and the house was very big, with a view of the Puget Sound (Seattle) and walking distance to the beach, on a big property with woods behind the house. I had no friends in the neighborhood and I was missing my old friends. It’s so hard to make friends when your family is totally wacked out and you try so awfully hard to keep everything quiet.

Christmas was coming and my mom of course had to decorate the entire house from top to bottom, and money was no object. I remember that there was a ten foot Christmas tree in the living room, in front of the large, modern windows, where you could see the view of the water. My mother had expensive taste both inside and out. The final piece was having her holiday party for just “a few couples” which turned out to be dozens of people. She ordered and the dining room table was filled with sandwiches, desserts, various dishes, and in the center was her famous heavy, silverplated punch bowl! Since I was the daughter living in the house, I was also expected to “help” her, translation being that I was the maid and kitchen help for this party.

After her big holiday party, I remember her coming into my bedroom and she made a big announcement. Guess what? Now, we were the “poor” people because they had spent so much on building a brand new house and they just had to show it off with a fabulous party, sort of a monument to herself. So, she came into my room saying that this year there would be NO Christmas presents! That’s right since we were now the “poor” people according to her and that I needed to grow up since I was becoming like a big girl now! She left and I slammed my bedroom door in shock and crying. I told myself that I would live and maybe next year things would be better. I was angry since I knew that she was a controlling Narc. liar and if she could afford a big, expensive party, then they could afford to buy a few Christmas presents for a child. I kept wishing that I was back in my old neighborhood where at least I was accepted by the girls and they could understand me.

I looked in my closet and I came up with an idea. These new girls had never been to my bedroom. I found a gently used sweater from last year, a doll, and a couple of books and these would become my “pretend” Christmas presents! I felt so overjoyed that I had once again outsmarted my own mother! This would become a contiual theme in my life growing up.

This Christmas was significant to me since it surprisingly had a happy ending. My only good family member, father’s first cousin, came over to our house for Christmas. It was my Cousin Dean who brought me Christmas presents like a Sears toy chemistry set, a doll, and I remember most of all a beautiful book on Literature. My Cousin Dean, a former school teacher, wrote a beautiful dedication to me in the book with “I hope you become a great writer someday”. It was my Cousin Dean who saved the day and not my parents–or Santa Claus! LOL! I appreciated everything that he did for me because it wasn’t about receiving toys or gifts. Like the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts! He encouraged my future education and he was the only family member who truly believed in me.

I have never forgotten that Christmas. No matter what happens there is always a resourceful solution to any obstacle. I learned not to panic or give up with these difficult family epsisodes in the future. I would always find my way and know that there are people who care. You are never alone. Don’t give up. You will find the light to guide you.

Thanks Darlene for all your support. I wish all a very Merry Yule and Merry Christmas!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne )0(


Thanks Darlene! You are a guiding shepherdess and a guiding light!


I recognize this year that I will “ruin” my family’s Christmas by showing up as well as by not showing up. I’ve been told that if I’m not “happy” I will bring everyone down. I don’t want that responsibility! It makes it really difficult to be “happy” when everyone is measuring and judging me waiting for the mask to break.

I’ve decided that since they’re going to me upset with me either way, I may as well take the easy option. How does anyone even know what they’re feeling if they have to look “right” all the time?

I suspect I may actually be happy if I don’t have to worry about who’s watching…


Yvonne, WHOA! At least you were creative about “pretend” Christmas presents.

I’ve just given up on Christmas. too phony to me.


My sister does not come to visit for Xmas or Easter (the last time she did was in 2010 for Xmas and before that I do not know). For some reasons she does visit momster ( I am sorry for financial reasons) but comes to literally collect the money in May/June or November.
So momster as always is all by herself.
LAst year I went to stay with here on Xmas first time in years and regreted tremendously. I was crying. She made me feel like trash. It was right after I got laid off. She topped it off with things like “why don’t you f*** off”, “I almost got a heart attack when you were not speaking to me for 3 years” (guilt trips and digging out the past), “I like being by myself I do not even know why you are here” etc
If people from work, other people who know me saw how she puts me down the would be like wtf?

Anyways I am back to n/c for good. With my sister I decided most likely cards only. I cannot trust her and this year I discovered who she truly was. The peace of mind is back. All of a sudden peace and quiet. No phone calls, no yelling, no cruelty etc. I am just asking myself on and on: what the hell happened to you last year? what were you thinking? I am embarrassed for myself, for letting them treat me like that for the first time, for sacrificing sth for that, for not being the “Rebel” they hate so much, for the humiliation, where did my pride and dignity go? all the traits they hate so much in me?
Despite the fact that I virtually have no family, I do like Xmas. (my narc mother isolated us from all the extended family, she would not allow my father to meet with his own mother and brothers and take us to visit them. I know that he is back in touch with his folks after he divorced her 12 years ago). I never liked Jan and February 🙂 All the fun is over, it is just cold. But I always loved December 🙂 This year we don’t have any snow yet so it is quite warm the lights are on and I don’t know…it’s just one morning you wake up and you can smell it in the air, oh Xmas is here. I’m drinking my freshly roasted coffee in my tiny little studio and I think I’m ok. I am actually ok. Life is so short, every day is different and should be spent with people who do not make us miserable and especially on Xmas.
What happened to me last year happened I will not undo it. But for the first time in almost a year I am not looking back, I’m thinking about the future. I hope I can keep that up. Happy Holidays everyone!


Also don’t laugh but I realized what I have been doing the last 3 year I was low contact w/ my mother. Whenever I went over to see her I would always dress down not to piss her off (although than she was poking fun at me saying: is this how you dress to work? No mom I wear a sweatshirt and sneakers on weekends not to work, how hard is that?), I would put my hair up (I know she always hated my hair, this is sth I have always like about myself, I have good thick long hair).
God damn it! Screw that! I should have been doing the opposite, going there dressed up as that gives us women power. I know I act differently and my posture is different when I am in heels. As Marilyn Monroe once said: “Give a girl the right pair of shoes….” 🙂


btw reagrding gifts:
2010 was the last time I spent xmas w/ my sister and my mom
My gifts to them: bught especially in Japan awesome shampoo and conditioner sets, not available in Europe or in the US.
Their gifts: (I am not expecting them to do the same, just to let you know): a hottie from a drugstore, a lipbalm (drugstore brand), a body balm (drugstore brand, my sister knows that I hate fragrant cosmetics and also I cannot use them b/c of my sensitive and allergy prone skin so I got a wicked pink jelly like thing called “raspberry body butter” which smell made me almost vomit, manufactured by some mysterious brand (it looked more like a part of one of those pretend make- up sets for little girls made in china) and a notebook (that I actually did like).
Ta- da! Merry F*** Xmas 🙂 Enjoy.
Back than I was moved I got anything and thought “well it is not her fault”. NOw I know it is bs. It is one of the ways to humiliate or to show how much they do not care. They know my manners would not allow me to complain or show disappointment. Today I know it is one of the ways to make you feel like a fool. I asked myself a question: would I do that,? no. It takes me hours or days to buy a gift for sb I like. I want it to be unusual, different, within the right price range, and most of all that person should like it, how about that?
I have been a vegetarian since childhood, maybe my sister should get me a mince meat maker? 😀


when will I start meeting normal people? 🙂
My ex bf with whom I am friends now b/c I really do not have anyone and I know that I can count on him when sth happens (for instance 3 days ago, I was abroad and my credit card was blocked and I could not check in to my hotel. Who helped me? He did. In an instance. He is a great friend but I do not recommend him as a boyfriend. I do not knwo how that works. He will bail you out of jail, but as a bf he will drive you nuts, he will pick up on little things just to start a fight, besides apparently his sister is the woman of his life).
When we were living in Germany, I got nothing for V-Day from him. I bought him a present and for the first time he totally ignored this holiday. V-day decorations in every single store and he goes: “oh I did not know they celebrated v-day in Germany”. and he was dead serious. I meant of course he knew they did he just wanted to be mean. (Hello this is germany we ar enot in a middle of sahara). Besides, even if they did not, why would not we celebrate it? If we move to the Middle East, is he going to forget all of a sudden about every single holiday we normally celebrate just because they don’t have it? I just do not know why. We were living at his sister’s place for a while and that was one of the main reasons which drove us to a split actually. His sister who is jelous about him apparently often times would say: everyone always thinks (she lives in a small town) that D. is my bf and you are our nanny haha. And my than bf would not say a word. He was treating me like shit back than as if I stopped existing all of a sudden b/c his sister was there. And really he was acting like her husband, all the times with her kids etc (she is NOT a single mom). Any explanation?
I guess maybe when I finally start respecting myself in 100proc, some respectful people will enter my life? Someone here, I think it was Yvonne mentioned how we are used to just sucking things up and letting ppl treat us like doormats. IT has to really get to a boiling point otherwise we just keep on accepting. We don’t want to come across as oversensitive right? 🙂


Sometimes I wonder: people must sense somehow my dorrmat syndrome even though I am working hard on myself.
I am 26 years old. I am a grown up. Regardless, I often times get things I would never say to someone I hardly know. Critisising my diet (I am a fish eating vegetarian), my clothes( you need to wear more color).
The thing is I am a grown up how come I don’t tell you: hey no my diet is not limited, it is your as you don’t eat anything except for meat.
And it’s funny how all these years my mother and my sister would say: yeah cause you only want to be praised, you can’t take any critisism. (when in reality it is them who can’t take a joke etc). IT is crazy. I remember even when I was a kid and I wanted (pointlessly) to find some comfort in telling my mom what some kid said to me at school, it would always be my fault. And he/she was right (was her answer). YOu are …….. it is true. Beside you are over sensitive and can’t take any critisism. Drives me crazy.


Sandra, it doesnt matter how old you get with dysfunctional family because the pattern stays the same ( i am 54)…I am looked up and down, then there will be a comment about my body, my hair, my clothes, etc. and it will be disguised as “i was just joking” or “don’t be so sensitive” In my family with my mother and father this was the message…If you look good, you are good. No wonder I obsess with my looks, think people are looking at me disapproving, judging me etc. It doesnt matter what was going in your personal/professional life, if you could show up looking good…then all was right with their world. When my sister was at the height of her alcoholism and drug use, she could show at xmas with a cute outfit, her hair done and makeup etc. This is how my mom would dismiss that her daughter had any problems, after all how could my sister look good and not have a good life too? For a couple of hours anyone can hide depression, erase dark circles, have a few drinks, act merry and everything is ok, right? And then you go home and fall apart again. But us “kids” did this as an unspoken rule to show up and not do anything upsetting, make them feel good about us, Stay in denial. I tried even as an adult to share some exciting news with my mother but this is how she destroyed it…when happily married years ago, i would tell my mom when i was expecting a baby, and my mom would destroy the moment by telling me,anything could happen,are you sure, you might have a miscarriage, the dr.s made a mistake, etc. Mom, we are buying a house! “Don’t get too excited, have you signed all the papers? The deal might fall thru” “How do you know you bought a good house”? “Are you sure you got a good deal”? Etc, Etc. Debbie Downer will destroy you every time.



omg exactly
i’m thinking wait a sec how do i react when sb is sharing good news with me. well I do not care what company it is, if sb says it is their dream joba nd they are excited than I am too. I congratulate! And than I might ask about details but only as much as the other person wants to reveal.

It is not just the fact that she is a Debbie Downer she will also laugh at you. You dream job is THAT? haha.
YOu only think you are going to get a raise after 6 months. And what if they fire you? (that’s my fave one. They just hired me and she is already thinking what if they fire me?). So what is your job about? Oh that’s difficult. And you like THAT? I am sure they lied to you. This cannot be the salary they would give other people. I am sure they just found sb as naive as you to take it.
Even if one day I become a CEO she will belittle me and make comments. BUT behind my back as it turns out she is actually praising me (after all I succeeded because I am HER daughter!)


my friend said to me: (when I was l/c with her, now I am back to n/c FOR GOOD)but you know she is insane and what she says it not true. YOu should not even think about all the things she has been telling you.
Oh really? Easier said than done. Even if you know that certain things are nto true and sb is trying to push your buttons, it still pisses you off! I realized in my case there is no other way than n.c.

btw: my sister’s friend got pregnant and told her mother after the baby was born 🙂 She lives abroad and visits once twice a year so it was very easy to hide it 🙂 Idon’t know what the deal is but sth must be off over there too…i know that the girl’s sister (I presume the golden child) was outraged 🙂 That story cracked me up. I love that she hid that. And I don’t blame her. When you are pregnant you don’t want idiots upsetting you. I would do the same.


Yes Sandra, I forgot about the laugh…my mother would inappropriately chuckle at just about everything i said. That was another way for her to dismiss reality and make light of the situation and not have to take you seriously. Another observation…….no matter what you experienced or had been through or what happened, etc., she would top it with a even better story and there was absolutely nothing you could have experienced in your life that she hadnt already. She had “been there done that” and she sees herself now as a wise old sage full of wisdom and “self-help” soundbites. A few years ago, I was with my three daughters and my mother out to dinner, and no matter what my daughters shared with her, she topped it, had already done it, remembered doing it, etc. My daughters and I started looking at each other, communicating with eye contact and kicking each other under the table as we all realized what was happening. But of course nobody called her out, because we didnt want to hurt her feelings or embarrass her. Sigh….


Sandra, I also relate to having “doormat” written across my forehead. What I have to remind myself is that I am not a doormat. I’m a kind person who doesn’t go around giving other people shit and judging them for random things they choose to do in or with their lives.

I’ve also been told I “can’t take criticism” but is that really what is being given? or is really what is being given a bunch of crap for things the person dealing it out has (mostly likely) done themselves? Some days I lose all hope of ever meeting good people. I didn’t say “normal” because if you look at what the norm is…it’s exactly this BS


@ hitch

omg same here. in reality the old b*** has never been anywhere and is deattached from reality. ohhhhhhhhh pisses me off co much.
I wonder if she could be that “brave” around other people who actually have a clue about certain things in life.

Plus I can’t imagine that she is like that towards your daughters as well. I mean if I ever get the honor to be sb’s mother or grandmother I would be like: “tell me this tell me that, I can’t wait to hear what happened”. IT’s like wtf? YOu are a grandmother, show some curiosity and support! It is as if they never grew up, as if they were little mean girls trapped in an adult’s body, they don’t want to share and it has to be always about them. It’s so tiring.


and about other people…especially women can be so hateful!
I think we shared that in the past already, that we actually have one thing in common: apart from EFB, we actuallys stay away from women 😀

My ex female friend the only one I ever had and who entered my life only for a very brief moment before it turned out she was just like others, used to treat me like a kid. Just for the record: she called it quits not me. This is actually interesting: One time she started crying and she goes: listen I keep telling you all this shit as if my my life was great but the truth is it’s not. This is what I have been working on in therapy, I NEED to help others because than I feel better about myself. You know what: you are doing so well by yourself, I should be actually the one learning form you and not the other way around. Why do you let me treat you like that?( she actually said that!) Why do you let me and other people say things like that to you, tell you what you should or should not do.
TO be honest I was shocked and I do appreciate her honesty. After that evening I emailed her. I could sense though that that was it from her side. She must have been super embarrassed. She emailed me very briefly wishing me well in life. It was a very weird frienship however you want to call it but at least she was honest.
The truth is yeah whatever I told her she would critisize it making me feel dumb. I was 25 She was 34 and she did not even know me that well! And she was this oh-I went through therapy and read a bunch of crappy cheesy self- help books-and you have not- so listen to me you idiot, that kind of person 🙂
My biggest mistake is that I tend to be to trusting and to open. At least I used to be. HEart on a sleeve. Which I cannot understand. Coming from the kind of family I do, I should be totally opposite. And here I am in general like a puppy, loving people. Don’t get me wrong it’s not like I am running around telling people about my life, no! But I do make “friends” easily, and they don’t last obviously, because I rush into them. In general I discovered that I have been allowing people to treat me like shit really. Where did my self respect go? I feel bad because of that. BOundaries! HEllo? I shoudl be like, you laugh at my plans, you tell me what to do, guess what I am not sharing any news with you at all or until they are solid. Or excuse me, I am 25 and not 18 there are certain things I like and dislike, I am not a dog who can eat left overs, can please respect that and not tell me how difficult I am and that it’s definitely because I want to be “even skinnier””. Guess what I cannot eat bread and pasta b/c of gluten and yes and on top of that I am a vegetarian by choice. Now are you going to give chocolate cake to a diabetic and than tell him he is difficult and his diet is limited (oh really? ever heard of rice? cheese? tofu? how about vegetables? buckwheat maybe?). Why do you invite me overnight, why do you want me to be your guest if you cannot respect me enough?
whatever happend to manners and common sense? anyone?


@Sandra, isn’t it interesting when people say “but YOU have to be the person to tell me if/when I’m going too far” and I want to say “Because what? You’re incapable of deciding that for yourself?”

Well in this case you’re talking about, it seems so. I’m not talking about subtle eccentricities that they might land upon through sheer ignorance and accident either. I’m talking about the blatant stuff.

So often these same people ARE quite capable of not doing it because there are often very good examples of them NOT doing or saying similar BS to other people. I got very good at observing people because I wanted to see if they were doing whatever it was “with everybody” or whether it was “just with me”. In some cases the news was bad. It WAS just with me:(

I called it out recently again to someone who was doing exactly that and the other person actually admitted they didn’t do the same with other people and then made some comments about us having a “relationship” that somehow in their mind allowed it. Well no, just because we have a relationship or even a friendship doesn’t give you any more right to insult me, judge and criticize than someone that walked off the street.

Maybe a kinder way of saying things when the person has this “need to fix” issue and consistently goes overboard with it (but it comes from a kind place) would be something along the lines of “Rest assured I’ll ask for your help when I need it.” ?


Alice, Sandra, yeah, these people don’t want to own ANY of the responsibility so you have to be the one to tell them they went too far. Another advantage for them is that if they don’t like your reaction, they get to have more stuff to criticize. Pathetic! Alice, I like your “I’ll ask for help if I need it” who needs unsolicited advice, especially when it appears to be given in a put-down way, probably just to feed the advising persons diminished ego.


Sandra, I am so happy for you that you are 26 and you are getting better now! Good for you! Look at all the time you have ahead of you to be free of all of this garbage!! I am almost 50 years old and I am just now getting a clue about all the years of craziness that I accepted in the name of “love”. I didn’t even know what love was!! A couple of recent experiences that I will share:

A friend of mine who works at another site recently came to do some training with me. I was walking over to a shelf in our office to get some reference materials and she said, “Girlfriend, how much weight have you lost?” I shrugged and said “About 12 pounds.” She said “Honey, we need to go shopping because those pants are sagging on you.” I’ve been working out (swimming, Wendy!) and just the decreased stress of having less contact with “them” has made my eating much more realistic lately. I went out and bought some new pants. They are 3 sizes less than the ones I was wearing that day!!! I have thrown out so many clothes recently that are torn or stained or I just don’t like because I’m starting to appreciate myself just a little bit more.

Today I phoned my Mom while I was sitting in Christmas shopping traffic. We were just talking and she asked if I have any time off work next week. I responded “just Christmas Day” She said “Well, they’ll be OK” It took me a second, and really 3 months ago I wouldn’t have even noticed this. The “they” she was referring to are my sons, who are teenagers and who are completely fine and have plenty of friends with whom I am sure they would rather spend time anyway. That one little statement just packs so much punch: “You don’t exist” “You are leaving your kids alone at home while you work” “I don’t care if you are tired at the holidays and didn’t get any time off.” It is so, so subtle the ways they make you feel bad about yourself.

Now, I don’t have to take my anger out on unsuspecting strangers, which I am sure is a big benefit to the world! Yesterday I went to Costco and ordered some Christmas cards. They were to be ready today. I went there to pick them up and my order had been lost. There was a time when I most likely would have raged at the poor person working there. Today, I just said, “Well, it’s not your fault that I waited so late to get my Christmas cards, but since I did go ahead and pay for them yesterday, what do you think we can do about it?” Thankfully, I had the flash drive with the photo I’d selected in my purse. She said, “I’ll just make them again right now for you.” So I finished up some last minute shopping, relaxed and people watched for a few minutes, and now I’m getting ready to do my cards. No need to take all that hate out on everyone, right?

Have a good weekend, everyone. Look for just one positive encounter– total stranger, dog, star up in the sky, it doesn’t matter. Pets are the best– total non judgment!


Sorry guys… I need to vent.

First of all, I am a “little” annoyed at myself for still feeling annoyed at things that don’t change.

Every SINGLE Christmas she scorns Christmas. In the next breath she’ll start “panicking” about what to give my husband. She starts flapping her wings around me and following me around the house. I already told her that just because we exchange presents I don’t want her to feel she also has to take part in the gift giving. (My parents ruined Christmas for me and instead of trying to repair that, my mum insists that it should remained ruined. But as my husband likes Christmas, I am determined not to ruin it for him because OF Ebaneezer Scrooge).

What stings me the most is that in reality she doesn’t know me well enough and/or cannot be bothered to make an effort. And by effort, I don’t mean a monetary present or even material. It could be offering to stay with our dog for one day, so we could have a break (acknowledging that we need a break would be fantastic… how many times have we got up in the early hours of the morning to take her to catch buses for holidays and pick her up?).

Then she refuses to buy my husband any decent present which makes it so embarrassing – she’ll get a pair of socks, for example, and that’s it. The present is just so SHE feels better. And even then, she expects me to go out and buy it. Today he received the equivalent of $20 to get scratch cards (the money obsession).

My husband, in return, gets upset that my mother never gives me anything other than money. To her own admission, she wouldn’t know what to get me. How sad is that? I’d prefer to receive a $2 mug, a scarf or a box of chocolate (things I love, as opposed to cash… it feels so soulless). All my friends know what I am into, but not my mother.

I don’t even know last time she arranged a birthday cake for me. She expected me to do it all the time (and we’d also have to arrange hers).

We simply refuse to be like her. Maybe we should just exchange gifts and exclude her. Maybe we should not get her a birthday cake. Just today my husband was the one suggesting that we had a look at a bookshop to pick a present for her. If we did not care, we’d go in and pick something at random, but we look until we find something that she’s likely to enjoy reading.

WHY ON EARTH DO WE CARE? (I am so annoyed at myself)

I think we still feel that we owe her, whereas she feels she owes us absolutely nothing for living with us for TEN YEARS (she did not live here for free, I have to say that).

Yet, in reality, no amount of money could give me back what my husband and I lost in the past decade for having her with us. Absolutely NO AMOUNT OF MONEY.

My friends who have adult children give them and their spouses hundreds at Christmas, PLUS meaningful Christmas presents (as it’s customary around here). This does not mean they are happy families. It means that they respect their differences.

Sorry for the ramble…


exactly….how come nobody has to tell me that I am going to far? How come I don’t have a need to give people unwanted advice or critisize their choices/plans etc. How come I am happy to help but def do not come running around trying to RESCUE people from their “wrong choices”?
Are we in kindergarden?
We all make mistakes and learn through our lives. What makes these people think that they somehow know better than I do? And what if I am right? And probably I am b/c guess what nobody knows me and my needs better than I do. I am not 5. I will keep on making mistakes in life but I do not need anyone tryting to “prevent” me from doing that. I would rather make my own mistakes than have sb control my life, thank you very much. That very same ex gf I wrote about in my previosu post said nce to me: “so if I see that you are making a mistake do you just want me to kepp quiet and watch?”. Good question. It is all about common sense. It depends. If you see me trying to cross on a red light, by all means yes pls do pull my back. But if it is about my career choices, boyfriends etc, let me do my thing. If I am not complaining than I must be doing sth right. If I am or I need help trust me I will let you know, I might even ask you for advice. Other than that, can you pls just shut the f*** up and enjoy my victories? Or maybe…wait…maybe that is the problem? YOu do not want me to be happy? Misery loves company I forgot.


Thanks 🙂 Though I am pissed at myself sometimes that I have been blind that long. These are the things your parents should teach you, warn you about. But how could they? After all they were the ones I had to fear the most…


Hey Suzy-

No need to apologize for a vent or a ramble here! I can say to you: been there, done that, got the t-shirt! Some parents think you owe them. They will let you do and do for them, and they really will show no “real” appreciation. It is expected of you.

Don’t be hard on yourself about being annoyed. This is a VERY ANNOYING SITUATION and you don’t have any control on what your mother will do or say. You and your husband care because you are caring people…after all not everyone would take care of their mother like you all have done.

I understand this very well because we had my father living with us. And yes you will not get the time back or anything else you have lost by her living with you. What I have learned from my experience is that we cannot expect people to do things for us because we would do these things for them. You and your husband are not like your mother. You sound like you are glad for that. Another thing I learned was that if a parent is not interested in you or yours, no amount of care or chauffeuring or concierge service will make them care to learn what you are about.

I know how absolutely infuriating this can be! You know this will never change, and it is very hard to laugh and make fun of the situation because this is your life you are talking about! It’s like your space is invaded by an alien that is not that friendly.

I hope you have some friends that are understanding and will listen to you tell your stories about your mother. This is a very tough situation, but it sounds like you still have your sanity. I thought I was going to lose mine a couple of times.

It is good that she does not live with you for free, but the cost to you is very high. It is upsetting to realize that you don’t particularly like your parent. I thought I like my dad okay until he lived with us.

I also had some other issues going on with my sister who is the favorite….that caused a lot of problems between my father and myself. Are you an only child or will your sibling not pick up any of the slack in caring for mother?

In the end, all I can say is I totally understand what you are going through Suzy. It is a rough scene and no one wants to kick their parent out of the house. But would it be wrong to wish for a Christmas miracle and she would leave of her own accord? LOL

I hope for the best for you and your husband. I also hope that she is nice to the dog.



@Amber and ALice

About “letting them know they have gone too far”…this reminds me of the good o’ “nobody can hurt you unless you let them” rule

It is like saying that the victim provoked the rape herself b/c she was wearing a “Slutty” outfit. Same way of thinking to me.
How about think before you open your mouth.
but yes unfortunatelly the sad truth is, there are plenty of people who will if you allow them, destroy you. They will keep on trying you, they will want to see how far they can go before you do/say sth. All of us here on EFM have ppl like that in their life unfortunatelly.


Isnt that the truth….why why why is it always ME who “has a bad attitude” or “is being difficult” or “has issues” or “is stubborn” or “has personality problems”, they sit back and wait for YOU to come around again and start interacting with them..they wait for you to realize YOU were wrong and it must be UP TO YOU to rebuild and fix the relationship. And if they are estranged from you, it’s because they have the unfortunate burden of having a difficult adult child.


So many good comments on being the person held responsible for others’ actions. @Sandra, yes it very much does remind me of the rape blaming – and I wonder if the fact that women so often seem caught in dangerous situations also stems from this poisonous upbringing? Especially ironic since mothers seem to be the principal perpetrators, it’s as if it can’t be put into question because “feminism”.

Hitch, I think they do it because it works. And here’s how I think I’m “letting” them know they can do it. It can be as small as me saying “It’s ok, it doesn’t matter” when someone apologizes for being rude. I’m learning not to say that and instead say nothing, or just “ok”.

@Suzy, I think EFB is the right place to vent:)


Yes, i’ve always been the one to say it’s ok, it doesnt matter, always concerned with others feelings before my own. I don’t think I have ever heard my mother apologize, the best she can do is…”I know you’re mad but I said it out of concern” or “it needed to be said, you just don’t want to hear it” or “i’m using tough love” in other words she is never to blame for her meanness, you are to blame for being too sensitive and not learning from her wisdom……..argh lol


Hitch, mine too! I have rarely heard “I’m sorry” And when I have it has always been followed by “but”. Or “Sorry IF you chose to see it that way”. I think that has to be her best. She’s big on the idea I choose to feel a certain way. (But I “make” her angry, hmmm.)

And then this nonpology is followed by a string of whatever self-justifying nonsense she can come up with. “It was the done thing” or “things were difficult”, much later it was “your father was sick”. Different excuses my whole life.

She should have worked for government! “Mistakes were made” haha. I mean I’m joking about it but this is stuff she did all my life. She was still doing it when I was still trying to get her to see how she had hurt me. That’s why I cut her off. Because she stuck with her same old excuses and expected me to keep coming back for more. I couldn’t take any more.

I still have dreams of her suddenly coming to her senses on her death bed and apologizing for everything but then I read things about the “key” to healing being to rid myself of this dream. Or that the “key” is forgiveness, or some other thing. I have no idea what the key is.


The closer it gets to Christmas the more depressed I am getting. All I can do to keep from crying. I hate Christmas. Because of the phoniness of my family (well, my mom).

I don’t care about presents any more. I don’t want them. I just wish my mom would be real and stop the phony stuff.


From Sandra

when happily married years ago, i would tell my mom when i was expecting a baby, and my mom would destroy the moment by telling me,anything could happen,are you sure, you might have a miscarriage, the dr.s made a mistake, etc. Mom, we are buying a house! “Don’t get too excited, have you signed all the papers? The deal might fall thru” “How do you know you bought a good house”? “Are you sure you got a good deal”?

How can you get upset at that? She is just expressing her opinion.


My mom does that to me, too. Like I can’t make an adult decision….


Excuse me, it was HITCH not Sandra that I quoted.


It is not just the fact that she is a Debbie Downer she will also laugh at you. You dream job is THAT? haha.
YOu only think you are going to get a raise after 6 months. And what if they fire you? (that’s my fave one. They just hired me and she is already thinking what if they fire me?). So what is your job about? Oh that’s difficult. And you like THAT? I am sure they lied to you. This cannot be the salary they would give other people. I am sure they just found sb as naive as you to take it.

My mom is more covert. She doesn’t directly reply. It’s more about her reaction. Whether she says plain old “oh” or “OH WOWSIES!” If I’m not working for the whoop de ding ABC company that her best friend’s daughter/son is working for, I just get “oh. Are you sure you will like that?” with the judgemental tone.


Hitch (post #98), I am in the exact same boat. All my life Mom said that I “needed to see someone [professional] because of all my issues.”

SHE is the one with issues! She refuses to see them.


@Andria post 96

Thank you so much for your words and understanding. Thankfully, I do have friends who understand. In the end, it transpired that even my mum’s friends understood. Twice I answered phone calls for my mother when she wasn’t home. Two of her best friends told me “Live YOUR LIFE” – one took the chance that my mother wasn’t home to say more supportive words to me and to say she’d had talk with my mother. She tries very hard to keep her mask on but as years go by I think it’s becoming more difficult.

Luckily, she no longer lives here full-time. She’s sticking to that and I am grateful for that.


Last night I was tossing and turning all night. I listened to a couple of podcasts by one of my favourite authors/life coach and mum issues came up a couple of times. She said that some parents are so mean that sometimes the best thing to do is to go NC; she also acknowledges that society expects that, because parents gave birth to us they are loving and perfect, but that it’s not the case. And in the case of evil parents the betrayal is such (because they’re the ones that are meant to protect us and love us) that it’s difficult not to let that spoil other areas of our life. She talked about a woman whose business was suffering but then improved almost overnight after she went NC with her toxic mother. The woman had to go into therapy to help her through this decision. Then years later she rang the life coach again saying her business had problems again and, coincidentally, she had allowed her mother back into her life.

I have such issues around money that I know stem from my mother. No wonder I keep sabotaging my financial situation. I can never have fun with money. There is always her voice inside my head voicing disapproval. I don’t care for accumulating or for spending. Yet, I want money for financial independence.


Christmas is such a tough time. I feel my body and mind relax only 2 January. Until then it’s a big of a struggle. Big hug to you. DXS 🙁

My mother also feels she is entitled to express hurt and anger by having over the top tantrums, but I am not allowed to feel hurt by her comments. In fact, if I say, even if tactfully, that I feel hurt that will send her into tantrum mode. “You’re too sensitive”, “I said it for your own good”, “So now I’M the bad guy?”.

Anyway… it’s all so tiring.


I am cleaning the clutter in my life…
SOme of you might remember from my posts a 60 year old female friend I have. I met her when I was 14, she was back than my tutor. It has been a special friendship though I knew we were not equal despite the age. And that what hurt me sometimes, she would be saying sometimes how i was her ” daughter” but was treating me more like a friend which I cannot be totally because of the age difference and because I wanted her to be some kind of a mentor to me. Anyways all those years we would be calling each other mailing I would come and visit her every now and than. She can be very difficult either my or nobody’s way but I would always suck it up.
This past year she helped me tremndously after Igot out of a very toxic relationship and borrowed me some money. Ever since I feel like she has been using me. For the last 6 months she was calling me every day sometimes twice a day to complain about her family and her back pain. For a long time I would take it. Than I would be like, I can’t talk now, I am just about to go….etc. I felt guilty and obligated b/c I still owe her the money (the deadline is June 2014). Once I answered her email (nothing important) with a 2 day delay and I got another one suggesting that pretty much that I am running away with her money. That was very painful. The fact that she would even suspect such thign!!!! also quite recently I stayed with her for a couple of days for the first time ever and it was a horror. Holy sh*** if she was my mother, she would be a controlling, apodictic narcist! Minus the yelling that my mother is serving. She just says everything in a flat calm voice. Super negative, she started telling things she would maybe never dare to say in the past she allowed herself to critisize my entire life, all my choices, whatever I said would be like “I don’t think you should be etc”.

2 weeks ago I lost it! I wrote a confirmation that I borrowed XYZ amount of money from her and I am obligated to return it by the end of June 2014, attached a scan of my ID and emailed it to her along with a letter describing my feelings. First reaction: predictable. I just got one line from her saying: I will not bother you with my calls ever again, rest assured. I told her to read my email again once she is less emotional.
A week later we spoke on the phone. She actually did apologize, she said she pulled out her phone bills and was embarrassed about the frequency fo her calls 🙂 Her explanation: well you know you said that now “if I need you and if I need to call I can call you anytime.” 🙂 Duh.How old are you 5? It is like saying: you are welcome in my house anytime. It does not mean that I want you coming over every day. I have my own life too. I mean she is 60! Where are her manners? HEr common sense? How can you be so selfish? She apologized and I did too, but she suggested naturally that b/c of my stuation I became too sensitive and she “forgives me”. GOd damn it! At this point, I do not care, at least she does not call me anymore 🙂
What do you guys think about that? TO be honest I am considering moving slowly further and further away from her, low contact, cards. I cannot explain to you how much better I feel once I don’t have to listen to her whining on the phone every day. I told her I am too young for that 😀
Literally she is acting like another little girl trapped in an adult body’s. I have done some thingking… Our relationship: It was always and me remembering her bday (I forgot once, she reminded me the next day saying what a wonderful bday she had somewhere), she never remembers mine (not that I care but be consequent), always me buying gifts for her, I never got anythign from her in so many years. She wants to be my mentor? Fine. Than start acting like one. She should be my support and not the other way around, especially during the time when I have so much stuff going on. She goes: it is always like that. PEople want help from me, but when I need help everyone runs away.
Ok I feel you but 1. why do you put me in the same box with everyone? 1. If you are not whole you cannot give, you cannot be a mentor.
And she lives with her mother that she hates!Also I believe she is usper jelous about other people in mylife b/c she can’s take the center stage which means I cannot be honest with her and which means she is sick.
Can you imagine a 26 year old getting daily 20 min calls from a 60 year old complaining about her mother?
Or whenever I visited her, I was forced to watch all her 4000 pictures from her most recent trip (she travels a lot) ok 10 is enough. Than she would be showing me all the new clothes she bought. IF I were her age and was aspiring to be somebody’s mother figure I would be like: Ok so tell me what’s going on in your world? HOw’s work? Where do you work? what do you do? etc etc. I would make this relationship more about the young person I am “mentoring” or whatever and not about me.
Such mmeeting was always done when she wanted it to be done. So she is done talking about herself, ok you can go.
Or I want to interrupt b/c I have a train to catch, no you will catch another one, there are still 3568 pictures left.

HOw could I be so blind? she is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing.
Another narcisst! In a way even worse than my mother. My mother acts like a psycho, would curse and yell at you so you just do not want to be near her. I see that if she had kids (she has none) she would be one of those controlling everyday calling mothers, never happy with the people her kids are dating, nothing is ever right. Jeeeez!
I mean what do you think? Am I oversensitive this time?


Also, I do not know how that happened. In the past I would not be telling her evrything about my life. I would see her 2-3 times a year, call and email once a month, it depends. It started with my crisis and it got blown out of proportion. I wish I knew….how careful one must be.
I should have been more careful who I ask for an opion, who I ask for help, etc. She basically entered my life totally. I opened the door a little bit and she just got in somehow. Idon’t get. I am trying to picture the situation. Sb is asking me for help, needs to talk. Ok we do this and that’s it. And now I wait for that person to call me up and say “ok the situation is under control, thanks for help how are you?” and back to status quo. I am not calling that person every day asking :”and how are you? do you have a job already?”> dude you asked me that yesterday, nothing has changed in the last 24 hrs, trust me, once it does, i will be the first one to inform insensitive. plus now i know it was just an opportunity, a starting line, a chance to call and babble about her problems. And she somehow gave herself a permission to ask about everything, to critisize everything I do.
so angry


I feel my strenght back again guess what but only b/c the “helpers” are out 🙂 how ironic?
I mean the one that I described yesterday called it quits and actually admitted who she truly was, the “mentor” is still in but very much on hold, low contact, no calls finally, my sister l/c, my mother is out for good again, but she does nto count.
What is wrong with people? Everything was perfectly fine with my life in 2012. All of a sudden I shared one thing with them and they are trying to “Change me” help me etc. Ugh!!! And that’s how they ruined a year of my life. That is why I got into even more trouble and ended up really in need of a help. EIther women are terrible “helpers” or I just have not been lucky with them. The worst thing is you cannot control your own emotions some times, when you are very weak than “they” will win unfortunatelly b/c you set no boundaries. I hope I will never ever be in such situation ever again. When I feel weak emotionally, all the boundaries gone, people can just really do whatever they want with me.
I feel my inner strenght again but as I said it happened only after all the rabbits got off my field and ran back to their holes 🙂
It’s like finally wow: peace of mind. Such relationships are so draining.
For me a lesson def learnt, the hard way but oh well:
Be very careful how much you reveal and who you share your problems with.
I know I know it should be obvious.
I think the reason why some people are looking for sb to rescue is b/c than they feel just so much better about their own lives, they feel more important


DXS…wow same debbie downer mom…my mom will read a story about someone who after a life of crime or drugs or what have you..turned their life around…she will then go on and on about how great that person is and look what they did with their life after so much adversity! In other words a person who just got of jail or beat an addiction was now a better stronger person than her daughter who never broke any laws or did drugs…but I don’t have a “come back” story like those people! Also she will read one of those one in a million stories about someone who beat all odds and is now a multi millionaire after their horrible childhood or accident or whatever…and then use this to discount and dismiss my life and my personal problems as if they are silly and don’t count for nothing…..after all look at so and so in this story look what they did!!! what’s your excuse!!!

And if you ever bring up any negative childhood memories, she denies them all, or if cornered says…..”so what, nobody has a perfect childhood, that’s no excuse for your failures, that’s a cop out!!!”


Suzy and Sandra, I don’t think anybody should feel bad about venting here! Venting really helps sometimes. Sandra, you said “they will win b/c you set no boundaries.” Bingo!! I have been on this journey for almost 7 years now and the first thing I experienced, at Christmas time with my husband’s family, was this terrible clarity and the certain knowledge that my mother in law really did hate me and that nothing was ever, ever going to change as long as I continued to let her into my life. I was awake all night on Christmas Eve, although I’d hosted (perfectly, of course) my husband’s family on Christmas Eve and was due to host my entire 25-30 member family the next day. I told my husband “I’ve been with you for 20 years and I’ve never asked you to choose, but now I’m telling you: choose. It’s me or them. She is targeting my kids.” I told my husband I would take the kids and disappear. I don’t think he believed me, but I would have done anything to keep my children from her toxic spew. Since then, it’s been a lot of reading from various resources and a lot of praying and a lot of discussing these situations with friends who have similar circumstances. It’s been the slowly dawning realization that my own FOO is essentially the same way my husband’s family is. We are only as good as what we’ve done for them lately.

This is roller coaster ride of epic proportions and the holidays make it feel like you are on that big downward drop where your stomach gets left behind. I was so relieved to find this site. The other day I actually went out to a couple of other sites about recovery from abuse and of course, I found the 12 steps and the insistence that I can only heal if I forgive them. That has never rung true for me and I’m so glad Darlene can see that. Setting boundaries and standing up for your own truth is the way to go, I’m certain of that now. And allowing yourself to actually feel your feelings and get all the way to the other side of a feeling which is pretty scary sometimes.

I know there’s going to be backsliding and I also get really annoyed at myself when I let it seep in and ruin times with my husband and my kids. But I am getting better at that.

I think you stay in each stage of this healing journey as long as you need to stay in it. I’d be interested to hear Darlene’s thoughts on that. The important thing is to be kind to yourself. Anybody who has taken the time to read this site has at least started on the healing journey, don’t you think? We need to give ourselves props for that, at least!!

BTW, my Mom does the same thing with the job thing “What is it that you do again?” “I hope you don’t get fired!” It is annoying!!


I have a question for some of this blog’s readers. I have been in semi-estrangement, low contact with my family for over four years. Mine is a case of being the family scapegoat since I was six years old, when my parents nearly divorced when my father had an affair with his office assistant at the company he owned. He was forced to take back my mother since she was expecting their fifth child. I am the second born, of a family consisting of 3 daughters followed by two sons. I remember a happy early childhood until my parents reunited. My father didn’t necessarily want to take back his family as he was deeply in love with another woman, his employee. He couldn’t fire her either because she could expose him in the community, though it was actually quite well exposed anyway. He continued to have affairs, not known how many, until he was exposed yet again when he was in his mid-fifties. So many of the stories on this blog are identical to mine. I came to the realization that I had to go in low-contact a few years ago. I had developed some really chronic pain problems (one person talked about it, interstitial cystitis) and being with them and the level of condescending behavior, ridicule, etc. spun me into a flare every time I saw them. In addition, we were all part of a religious community (5,000 of the very lucky chosen ones out of the whole world who would see heaven) and I left that community as well, so in a nutshell, I left my entire world behind, most of my social contacts, etc.

I have noticed that as I have rebuilt my world, my social contacts, developed new friends, etc. that there has been one or two occasions that my mother has sought out people with whom she knows I have new connections with, once driving to a store to meet a newer friend she knew I had spent time with! It was a shock to find out from her that “your mother had been by” when my mother lives over 1 hour away and the store is in the middle of nowhere! Despite that she never called me, or wrote me, or replied to any of my correspondence with her. When I was a young girl, and when I rejected her treatment of me, she used to tell me, “If your friends knew what you were really like, none of them would like you.”

And here I am, in my 40’s, and trying to figure out why she is seeking out connections in my new life. Is she trying to isolate me?


Jane, what a brilliant post! Yes, I was getting myself worked up again over what specifically was “necessary to heal” and you have expressed it perfectly. I was thinking very pointedly about my mother’s death (it’s nowhere near) and, well, I found this which speaks exactly to this socially prescribed 12-step mentality. I think I was getting worried that I wouldn’t get it right if she dies without apologizing (which she probably won’t) but what a huge burden to place on her also!

I know it’s not seasonal. I know at this time of year I’m “supposed” to put all thoughts other than the cheerful, seasonally-appropriate ones aside but like you said, you stay where you are for as long as it takes.

DXS, ah, the infallible all-knowing career and life-coach momster! Here’s where I start feeling “superior” to her professionally so I can defend myself against her dragging me down.

I can’t just say “Hey, stop bringing me down” (because I know the answer would be “You choose to bring yourself down”) I actually have to spend mental-time taking HER career-path into consideration so I can justify mine as “better”. And so I mentally diss her job as BS. I have no respect for her job. I picture her doing it with all the dysfunction of her mothering of me. Riding around the countryside in a stupid van telling people who have no choice but to earn minimum wage what to do.

The last thing my mother knew about what I did was that I “went to university”.


In my experience, it is because she wants to control you. I used to get sores my mouth every time I had to see my husband’s family. I usually drink too much while with my family.

I don’t know about the isolation? I’m interested to hear what people think.


Hi Eira
Welcome to emerging from broken.
Whatever that your mother is doing, it doesn’t sound like it is about love. I think you will find some insight in reading this website.
Glad you are here and thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene



You know I feel like in my case n/c w/ my mother and sister or low contact w/ mys ister is the only way to go. I tried setting boundaries, I tried speaking up for myself. Than my sister just rolls her eyes on me (yes she actually does that, she is 32 and has a habit of rolling her eyes whenever she does not like sth which is often, like a little mean girl. I guess she has no clue how unattractive that looks ahaha) and says: “okaaaay, Jesus!”, “what happened to you” and teh classis “you are so sensitive” (drives me nuts, meanwhile don’t ever try to joke about anything related to her life. btw: I would never do this anyways it’s not my style, I’m just saying). SO bottom line: there is no normal conversation with them.

You know this year was a huge eye opener for me. I wanted to believe that my sister was the only one left. I knew she was on the same team with momster but still I was hping she wanted to maintain a relationship with both of us and actually felt bad she had to be in this difficult in between position. I finally saw what an empty jelous woman she is…and a materialistc liar, and that she has always been informing momster about every single thing i ever told her in confidential. YOu knw we are very different people but I acctepted her for who she was even though if I had her character I actually had reasons to make fun of her and not the other way around. It is unbelievable…if people who know me ever saw the way I am being treated by my family, they would not have believed. Everyone thinks my parents must be “So proud of me”.
I am drinking a glass of red wine, listening to jazz and thinking what 2014 might bring. Form now one I am not telling my sister anything, she will be just one person I should send a standard card for Xmas.
If that’s what she wants, fine.


this year it just hit me …i still can’t believe how much I let my family disrespect, and 2 of my ex bf. I guess until it hits you or until you fall flat on your face, you will keep on meeting all the wrong people, like a magnet, potential abusers, people who treat you like a 5 year old.
I know that it is also b/c I was born with a certain kind of personality. I was not lucky with my family but on top of that I am sb who would never talk back, i hate fighting, all I want is peace and quiet really 🙂
I don’t believe in astrology too much but I was reading the predictions for 2014 and turns out according to the Chinese I am a “rabbit”. Omg! It is so me 🙂


Hitch, and All
And the thing about being shut down about childhood memories is that saying things like “so what, nobody has a perfect childhood, that’s no excuse for your failures, that’s a cop out!!!” is dismissive and abusive which is exactly what we are talking about. It used to drive me crazy that ‘everyone’ else was wonderful but nothing I did was good enough. I finally know that none of that is about ME ~ the way that I was regarded was about making sure that I stayed compliant and kept trying harder to jump through their hoops, because THAT is what made them feel better about their own pathetic lives.

Great conversation everyone!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Suzy
Ramble on! It is in telling the story, that I found a way to validate myself in all of this. It was in ‘hearing myself’ and realizing that some things are really wrong and really bad and some things that happened to me were legally liable etc. that I was able to move forward and begin to heal. I was able to put this behind me because I looked at it and validated ME.
The reason that I felt that I owed her, was because she taught me that I did. And just because I learned that, doesn’t’ make it true!
I spent a lot of time angry at myself before I got angry at them.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hobie (re comment number 77)
Something that helped me a LOT in the later stages of drawing my boundaries with family is knowing that no matter what ~ I would be wrong. So if I was never right or never good enough anyway, then what would I be missing if I wasn’t there. (just criticism) They are going to say what they say no matter what I do or don’t do. I don’t miss any of that.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Yvonne
Just catching up on the comments here today and read your story about your cousin Dean that year your mom cancelled presents. Thanks for sharing that happy ending!
hugs! Darlene

Yvonne’s story brings up a memory for me; One year my brother and I were grocery shopping with mom and she was hiding the stocking stuffer candy under a scarf in the basket. I guess one or both of us peeked or something (why the hell were we even there if she was Christmas shopping) and we got our stockings taken away that year and the worst part of it was that we NEVER got them back. We never had candy or Christmas stockings again. That was one punishment that went on and on and strangely enough (considering that it was minor compared to other things that happened) it is one of the really painful memories for me. I think it is because in that case I had actually done something that I believed deserved a punishment and so it was like “proof” that I was a bad child. At least I see things the right way today. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Tiffany I just read your post today. Its hard to come to terms with the fact that they dont love you. It hurts really hurts. But its not you and never was. I finally looked at it from the side of truth. I was never what they said I was. It was a lie for gain. Their gain.
I was smart and strong and brave and fun and full of life. What are you? In truth?
Not what they said. They lied. To you. To themselves. To others. Believe in you. Thats whats real.


My mother is now in assisted living. She gave me as an emergency contact even though Ive been NC for 2 years and she knows it and why. When I discovered this because they sent me an xmas card ? ??
I called and said take me off her contacts. Boy I got judgement from the administrator. She said she knew me and had met me? And a good luck to me like I was some pathetic loser who didnt know what I was doing.
Grrrrr. Boy it pissed me off. My mother is a supreme manipulator and it was done to rattle my cage.
Not to worry though I see whats going on. Nope. Not
getting sucked back in. Ever.


Yup Darlene anything I ever did that they didnt like or felt was “wrong” even if they didnt know what they were talking about was PROOF of my badness and that I was a defective person. I believed them and thought I was less than for years. What loving person would do that to a child? I see the ugliness now. Like a monster behind a smiling mask. I keep that mental picture when dealing with abusive behavior now.


Thanks Yvonne and Darlene for sharing these memories. It reminds me of something that happened to me. When I was 15 or 16 my mother just gave me her credit card and said to buy all of my presents online. She refused to pick out gifts for me from that point on, not because I was so hard to figure out but because she was disinterested in who I was as a person. And when she handed me her credit card she shouted at me “Your father hasn’t been working for the last two months so don’t buy too much!” I listened to her and then on Christmas day she exclaimed to me, “I thought you would have gotten more stuff!” and when I reminded her of what she said to me she put on a show of dramatically denying that it had ever happened.

This memory has always pained me a great deal; after my childhood filled with neglect and being shamed whenever I asked for something, being told it was my fault that I was deprived was devastating, and tarnished all of my childhood Christmas memories with one kick. Despite the fact that clearly my mother was being disingenuous and using the vague, undefined term ‘too much’ served her purposes very well, I believed it was my fault at the time and by my mother’s manipulative words she devalued me and everything I did get that year as worthless and insignificant. Did I really have to be shamed for asking for things, wanting things, and then also for not “getting more” things when I supposedly had the chance? There was no way to win, no end to the criticism and no way to get my basic needs met because my parents didn’t want to meet them; not because I did or didn’t do or said or didn’t say something. Trying to keep that in mind today despite all the mind-games my parents played has not been easy.


I wonder if anyone else has this problem, too: My entire life my father has equated success with achievement and money. His opinion is if you’re not a doctor or a lawyer or a business owner, you’re a nobody. Nothing I ever did was good enough for him and he expressed that loud and clear.

I don’t judge my friends based on what they do for a living, but when it comes to myself it’s another story. I feel like if I were really successful at something a) My father would have approved of me, and b) My self-esteem would be better.

His view of the world is ingrained in me ie: You’re nothing unless you’re successful at something, and I can’t help but think this is the attitude of the world in general. It matters so much what one does for a living and because I succeed at nothing, I’m worth nothing.

Like I said, it matters not to me what someone else does, only that they’re a good person, but when it comes to me I’m embarrassed to even date because I’m ashamed of my life.(I’m a single mother/struggling writer living in a mobile home who has had to apply for state assistance when my company went out of business.)I believe that right there is what caused my father to flip out on me and throw me out of his house. He feels my college education was completely wasted. Sadly, so do I. I don’t know how to get his beliefs out of my head, because they were screamed at me by him my entire life.


My mother also feels she is entitled to express hurt and anger by having over the top tantrums, but I am not allowed to feel hurt by her comments. In fact, if I say, even if tactfully, that I feel hurt that will send her into tantrum mode. “You’re too sensitive”, “I said it for your own good”, “So now I’M the bad guy?”.

Sandra, are you my sister, too? Lordy! My mom does that. She is allowed all her “sensitivity” but I’m not.

Thanks for the hugs. I recover by January 2, too.


Lordy, excuse me, the above comment came from Suzy, not Sandra!



I totally relate to all you said.


Keep writing Tiffany. I wish you all the success because YOU deserve it. I’m just finishing writing a novel, and even though I do not believe in myself, I came to a stage in my life where this is all I’ve got. And guess what… there IS a narcissistic mother in the story, which is risky as I can imagine that people with normal childhoods are going to take instant dislike to the main character for turning her back on her mother.



One of the quotes posted on you FB says:
“When I achieve being good enough for my own self than it does not matter what others think of me”
So how do you explain this: last year I got a job at my dream company. I was extatic. Nobody shared my enthusiasm. @ of my “friends” were focused on the low salary part (it is super hard to get to this industry and let alone this company, when you get an internship you are happy, I got a job straign away, a contract with no trial period, for the first year the money is awful but after than it just keeps getting better and better), and all of a sudden my family’s opinionstarted to matter. No matter how mich I explained to them my choice (why was I doing it in the first place, I never have in the past…), they were still looking at me like I was crazy. And guess what I quit. I quit a job in a company where all the grads would want to work. Now I am trying hard to get back in, what was I thinking?
So how do you explain that? I should have been so proud of myself, no one and nothing able to stop and all of a sudden there is no one around I can celebrate my victory….was I that childish and immature? Was I so easy to convince to change my mind?


Eira, I have been thinking more about what you said about your family isolating you overnight and I am remembering that when we first moved back to our hometown after living far away for about 10 years, we were literally enveloped by my family. Every social activity we had was with them. I have intentionally built a different, more supportive network over the past few years. I think you might be onto something with the isolation thing. I had sort of forgotten what that felt like to feel like they were pretty crappy and mean, but they were all I had. Have a good day everyone!


It has nothing to do with childish or immature. This isn’t about self blame or about personality, it’s about being influenced by people who don’t actually have your best interests at heart. I couldn’t be proud of myself when I had been groomed to look to others for any scrap of approval. It was like my existence could only be validated if they said so.
I am not sure what your question is; are you asking me to explain how the quote applies to you because it appears to me that you answered the question in the body of your comment.
Hugs, Darlene


To All-

It is tough to realize that your parents find no “worth” in you for whatever reasons. It makes you think poorly of yourself. And even when you think you feel good about yourself it can pop up again!

It is very freeing to stop caring what other people think about you and comparing yourself to how others seem to be doing. This is very hard, but I believe this is what we all need to strive for.

I also believe that everyone here on EFB is a sensitive person in a family of less than sensitive people. That is a struggle to deal with and some of us have just stopped struggling and cut our losses and have gone NC.

I wish everyone a peaceful holiday!



Darlene, thank you for your reply.
I guess what I was asking was: how come I got a gift, a chance, I was overjoyed, my dream came true, and I dropped it b/c all of a sudden “they” started to matter or even worse there was actually no one around I could share my joy with. As if being happy was not enough. I do not really know what I am expecting you to say. I guess b/c you are so experienced, I was hoping you would give me some kind of an answer. I guess this is it: I kept looking for SCRAPS of any kind of approval.


Sandra, I get it but i’m not sure how to explain it. It was like a guilt or betrayal you felt to your sick family because your life was improving and you had the audacity to be happy….so you self sabotaged to bring back the sick status quo…


I made so many bad choices in my life in an attempt not to hurt my parents, and yet, as you all know and experienced, it never worked. It was never quite enough.

I lost myself in the process of trying to be a good daughter. And the irony is, even if I’d been successful, it’d not mean they’d get to know ME and appreciate who I was. It’d simply mean I could be used as a talking point. It’d not mean that I could start showing my feelings, or that I’d be the daughter they wanted… but if I had money and success, well, that would give me some “social” value.

It’s quite violent to look back and know that my instinct about what I should have done: leave home to England, skip university and find a job and then, perhaps, once I got to know who I was and what I wanted I’d have gone to college FOR ME, not for THEM. I’d not have got married so young either, even though at present, my relationship with my husband is great.

I know in my heart I’d have saved myself years of grief, walking in the wrong direction, fighting against myself and my truth. It’s just nuts. The illusion is such that you keep going when every bit of you screams not to do so.


When my self worth was in the toilet, I operated from that point. I had this huge problem with seeking validation from the same people that invalidated me. Since they had ‘defined my worth’ in the first place for some reason I believed that they were the only one’s who could re-define it. And I tried and tried to prove to them that I was NOT as bad as the way they defined me. So when I had an accomplishment that they didn’t validate, or they communicated wasn’t that great, it was like a huge blow to me because to me it was more proof that I was still not enough. Looking at the truth about all this is what finally worked.
Hugs, Darlene


@Sandra, oh my, you quit a dream job because of your family’s criticism. Doubting yourself. I’m sorry that happened to you. Darlene’s reply was right on. They made your choice be about them and how you “look” to them.

@Suzy, when I got my first great job (in my college major), my parents wanted to do a newspaper announcement (small town paper, no big deal). I felt like I had to “hyperbolize it” a bit to make it sound like “a whooppe ding deal.” I didn’t want it in the paper in the first place because I didn’t care. But I wasn’t able to express that at the time, so instead, I “hyperbolized” it to make it sound like something “whooppee doo.”


I guess that is the only explanation. There is no other way a whole and emotionally healthy individual would get sucked into such craziness the way I did last year. If I were where i am today that would def. not have happened. Thank you for your response, I appreciate it.


So when I had an accomplishment that they didn’t validate, or they communicated wasn’t that great, it was like a huge blow to me because to me it was more proof that I was still not enough.

Darlene! You are so sensitive! You mis-interpreted! They never meant that……

Yeah, that’s the same crap I got. When I was in my 20’s, I saw a psychologist who concluded that my parents “invalidated” me. At the time, I thought it was psycho babble. But now I realize that psychologist was right.

How come making an issue of your feelings makes you “Sensitive?” Oh yeah. It’s because you are SUPPOSED to feel a “certain way” and if you feel differently, you are “sensitive.” I bet if you put my Mom in a room full of people like me, then SHE will be the “sensitive” one.

Having feelings that don’t fit your immediate circle of people does NOT mean you are “sensitive.” You just don’t fit that “circle.” But put someone from your circle in a room full of people like you, and THEN who is the “sensitive” one?

I have spent Christmas alone before and had no problems. But this year, it’s all I can do to put on a happy face. I have a small part time job and I think that’s why I’m having all the issues. I have to put on a “happy” face because of Christmas when I hate Christmas.


I actually think being sensitive is a good thing. And the more I read about sensitive people the more I appreciate our sensitivity. Unfortunately it means that we have to be on guard because we can be taken advantage of very quickly.

My mother calls herself a very emotional person, and she thinks it’s positive (wtf? – how can not being able to regulate one’s emotions be positive?)

In my view, a lot of us sensitive will get hurt easily but we don’t throw tantrums like a 5 year old – which are really ways to manipulate and control.


It helps to hear everyone’s story. It makes me feel I’m not so alone.

@Andria–You hit the nail on the head when you described (me) as a sensitive person in a family of less than sensitive people. Every time my father got in my face to scream at me, I’d be in such shock (since it usually came out of the blue) that I’d start crying–which only served to infuriate him more because it was a sign of weakness. My half-sister was always able to come back at him with reasonable, thought-provoking responses whenever he started to lose it, and he’d back down, but I was never able to think that fast on my feet so I’d turn into a blubbering idiot, instead.

@ Suzy–There’s a saying for writers: “Careful or you’ll end up in one of my novels.” It’s very cathartic to write about people you’ve had issues with. I include traits of my exes in my novels. As long as you change it enough so you can’t be sued–haha. Don’t ever write for an audience, because you have no way of knowing what will resonate with people. Always write for yourself and what you would like to read.


Tiffany, I’m sensitive too and would often have the shocked reaction you described. It would happen if someone yelled at me, or accused me, wrongly, of doing something or if they insulted me or called me a nasty name. I often wondered if I was shocked each time because their behavior was so different than the way I act towards people. I’m looking into these things even deeper now, especially since coming to EFB 7 months ago. Now I’m seeing some elements of what Darlene describes on her blog. I learned to feel unworthy from the way I was treated. I never felt I had the right to come back at someone who was rude or raised their voices to me or called me a name because I felt less worthy than them. They had these rights that I never dreamed I also had. I was giving them respect but never thinking that I deserved it too. I was sensitive to their feelings but never expected it in return. I talked to people in a respectful tone of voice but didn’t question why they would yell at me. Because I felt unworthy and “less than” them. Now I’m seeing that I had accepted this big lie all my life. I’m not inferior to them. BI was born with equal value and there isn’t anything wrong with me. Now the task I have ahead of me ( and it isn’t easy) is doing the re wiring with the truth. I deserve respect. I deserve to be spoken to, but not talked down to. I deserve to be treated as an equal. I do have people in my life who do treat me as I deserve. But It looks like there are others that will have to be let go.


I totally agree about your comments about “sensitive.” It’s about unwanted emotion. I think if you felt the “right” emotions deeply, they’d appreciate having a sensitive child. But you don’t, so it’s a burden… and in fact, what bothers them is just that you feel it, not even that you feel it deeply. So it isn’t even about being sensitive. What they want is that you have no emotion, no response. They want to have the freedom of hurting you without the consequence of you being hurt. They want you to adjust to them. I agree with Suzy, though, that it’s a positive. Being sensitive, in my opinion, means that you feel the truth around you; they will twist that around so you distrust your emotions, shame you, have you feeling that you shouldn’t feel, that you’re wrong to feel. You pick up on things they want to deny and you put it in their face. Often it seems that people use the word “sensitive” to mean something a couple steps away from “crazy. ” I.e. feeling things that aren’t there. I have applied this to myself in the past, discrediting what I know is true by saying that I was just being sensitive. But it isn’t true. It’s just another control tactic, another way to poke holes in what you know is true, make it your problem, instead of theirs…

To Malina, Darlene and Caden, thank you for your responses to my earlier comment. I’ve been crazy busy at work and haven’t had time but it was nice to read that my words had resonance. THank you.

I’m reaching a point now where I’m not caring so much that my words have no resonance with my family. It’s something wrong with them, not with me, if they are so detached from reality that they can’t feel the truth when it’s right there… It’s taken so long to realize that I’m not the “crazy” one. As long as they have you thinking that, they have the control—they get to define reality. No one wants to be deemed “crazy” or “sensitive” as the word might be… to me it’s any word that tries to outcast you in some way, to say you’re not normal unless you feel/think/act this way and not that way… it’s incredibly powerful as a control tactic because every person wants to fit in and be accepted for who they are… so by calling you sensitive or crazy in this way, whatever terminology they use, not only do they discredit your feelings and the truth you know but they make you out to be abnormal. And of course we’ve been taught that love is all about obedience and assimilation, so the last thing you want to be is abnormal.


Alaina, the “abnormal” and “too sensitive” seems to be all about throwing the dysfunctionality off themselves and on to the scapegoat. It’s all about avoiding facing their own shortcomings. Making someone else look bad so the focus isn’t on them and their faults.


I still have dreams of her suddenly coming to her senses on her death bed and apologizing for everything but then I read things about the “key” to healing being to rid myself of this dream. Or that the “key” is forgiveness, or some other thing. I have no idea what the key is.

Alice, me too. My mom says, “I apologized, what more do you want?” Her “apology” was just jibber jabber with no remorse. I want her to feel remorse, not just say the words.


It would happen if someone yelled at me, or accused me, wrongly, of doing something or if they insulted me or called me a nasty name. I often wondered if I was shocked each time because their behavior was so different than the way I act towards people. I’m looking into these things even deeper now, especially since coming to EFB 7 months ago. Now I’m seeing some elements of what Darlene describes on her blog. I learned to feel unworthy from the way I was treated. I never felt I had the right to come back at someone who was rude or raised their voices to me or called me a name because I felt less worthy than them. They had these rights that I never dreamed I also had.

Amber, yes, I agree. Mom gets to raise her voice at me, but I’m not allowed to raise my voice to her. “respect” means she gets to say anything she wants and I’m just supposed to suck it up and say, “yes Mother dearest….you’re so wonderful….”


I totally agree about your comments about “sensitive.” It’s about unwanted emotion. I think if you felt the “right” emotions deeply, they’d appreciate having a sensitive child. But you don’t, so it’s a burden… and in fact, what bothers them is just that you feel it, not even that you feel it deeply. So it isn’t even about being sensitive. What they want is that you have no emotion, no response. They want to have the freedom of hurting you without the consequence of you being hurt. They want you to adjust to them. I agree with Suzy, though, that it’s a positive. Being sensitive, in my opinion, means that you feel the truth around you; they will twist that around so you distrust your emotions, shame you, have you feeling that you shouldn’t feel, that you’re wrong to feel. You pick up on things they want to deny and you put it in their face. Often it seems that people use the word “sensitive” to mean something a couple steps away from “crazy. ” I.e. feeling things that aren’t there. I have applied this to myself in the past, discrediting what I know is true by saying that I was just being sensitive. But it isn’t true. It’s just another control tactic, another way to poke holes in what you know is true, make it your problem, instead of theirs…

Alaina, I think you hit it right on the head. Yes, I agree with Suzy that being sensitive is a good thing, but I also agree with how you put it, and you managed to combine my thought with Suzy’s and make them both one complete thought.


And Amber (#146), you come in with another thought that ties up everything in a nice little bow. Bingo! Love it!


RE: message 150, thank you DSX! 🙂 🙂


Amber (146), absolutely… And it’s so weird to realize how I went from being the good daughter to the scapegoat. It has zero to do with me. I think about it and know that at core, I’m the same person. They didn’t know me any which way. How fickle it all is. Now knowing this, I don’t care about being loved by them. If I can go from being the good daughter, and loved as such, to the scapegoat, abandoned and rejected, simply because I shone a light on their own problems/dysfunctions, then why should I care about being “loved” by them? It’s meaningless to me. It’s just not love. I think the control they have over you starts to wear off more and more as you realize that. You’re so in need and in want of love (everyone is, as human beings, I mean) but the more you realize there’s no love there, the more you let go, the more the control fades and the more you can see and acknowledge the truth.


Thanks, DXS!


What I’m thinking is why would I care to be loved by people who could so thoroughly reject me, not as a result of anything I did but rather as a result of what I suffered? I would not choose to have such people in my life, even if I could “handle it” emotionally. Why should I?


I’m really tired of going over this in my head and yet, I seem unable to let go.

Every Christmas the rejection was too much to bear. My dad would not turn up for Christmas Eve dinner or would always arrive late and he’d be drunk and depressed. He’s never been a violent drunk, more like a depressive drunk. There was an edge to him but not explicit aggressiveness.

It’s impossible for a child not to wonder “why am I not enough”, “why can’t I make him happy”, “why doesn’t he want to be with us”. Because then, you never think it’s them. You’re just too young to realise they’re the ones at fault and this where damage is done.

And then, when I disappointed them, they’d come up with the lines “I gave you life, respect me”. Really? Gave me life? Perhaps they mean they activated the mechanics that starts the process of creating a new life, but I don’t think anyone can really make a baby (i.e. organs, body shape, mindset, etc). Because if they could indeed make a human being (mind and body), they’d not have chosen me. This is the harsh reality.


Darlene thank you SO much for providing this. My mother has hated me since the day I was conceived. I was the Lie-Baby. Everything about me, from my conception, my biological father, all of it, the circumstances of my entire existence, my mother has felt the need to lie about in order to protect herself from her own stupid, selfish history. All of what I’ve read here, the abuse, the emotional distancing, the PTSD, the Parental Alienation Syndrome, all of it is mine too. I got married for the first time last week at the age of 44, not a single card or congratulations, of course. I cut off all ties to my mother last month and listed to her every grievance, every abuse, every scandal she had lain at my feet and how she sacrificed me at the altar of her own ideas of what it means to be “successful.” I still have scars (literally) on my body and as part of my healing, I shaved my head bald so I could see, with my own eyes, the scars and show them to my wife. I am sorry for everyone, the stress, of the holiday season. I too am having difficulty dealing with the sadness of it. My sisters (half sisters but beautiful and wonderful and I love them so much) both professed a desire to always be in my life, however they both stood me up for dinner dates this week. I feel so sad. I can’t even explain it. I just feel sad and wonder why. The answer, maybe is that there is no “why.” It just is the end result of having a parent who blames innocent others for their own bad choices. I obviously can’t get into a lifetime of betrayals, lies, abuses, all of it here, but I wanted to add one more “aye!” to the pile and offer one more story of similarity, of brotherhood or sisterhood, and to say that none of you are alone. I’m here too, struggling with it just like you all are. And at age 44 I’m still asking why.


Congratulations on your marriage! 🙂

I’m so sorry about all you’re going through, though. 🙁

My wish for everyone here is that we all stop feeling guilty, unworthy and unloved, so we can feel free of this “heaviness” and finally feel at peace and happy.


Hello Kellan,
You have found a great site here. Loads of help. Congratulations on your marriage and may your have happiness forever. I am 64 yrs and still struggling with all the rubbish in my head,however I found this site a year ago and now slowly sorting things out.
My father started a couple of weeks ago to lay seeds for messing Christmas for us yet again.He gets some kind of sadistic kick having us drive all over the place on Christmas Day. I have had enough of being Dial A Ride. He rang me this morning to tell me that his doctor had telephoned him to ask him how he is. I knew he was lying when his voice started to talk in hushed tones. What doctor telephones someone for a chat. Never. Not at our practice that is for sure they are all mega busy. Take care Kellan.We are all here just write if you need help.
Enjoy the Christmas break to all. Wendy am xxx


Suzy and Wendy am, thanks for the kind words of support! You wouldn’t believe how that little thing just made my day. This time of year is hard for a lot of people, maybe even most people. For those of us who have had to sever ties with people who are supposed to love us, it’s just a very difficult time. Here’s to January 2, the day that I (and my new wife) have declared to be Freedom Day, since it’s after the holidays and well into the true “New Year.” Take care all. I’m so glad we have each others’ support. Thank you most of all to Darlene for giving us a place where we don’t feel so alone and outcast and abnormal.


Today is my birthday. My two siblings sent me email wishes. Not a word from my mom.

I had a good birthday. Went out with friends.


Happy Birthday, DXS


HAppy B-day DXS!!!!!!!


God damn it movie theaters are closed today where I am now 🙁
Ok I’ll go tomorrow.
TOnite: wine and a movie at home



But now you don’t have to dislike Xmas anymore. Look, you have someone who loves you so much, your wfie. YOu do have someone to celebrate Xmas with.
YOu do not need your extended family or your burth parents to have Xmas Eve. My 2 nicest Xmases I have had so far in life were the ones I spent w/ my than bf. Just the 2 of us. We also had a tree, a nice dinner, presents and we stayed home. It makes me literally sick that I would have to go and spend Xmas w/ either my father and his wife I never met or momster just to be on Xmas w/ my “Family”.


Happy Birthday DXS. I wish you a year of healing, and may you find that happiness you deserve. I’m glad you went out with friends to celebrate. Surrounding yourself with good people is soothing and healing.


Happy Birthday! The first birthday that I didn’t hear from my mother was hard, even though I was the one who drew the boundary and told her that unless she was willing to have a mutually respectful relationship with me, we weren’t going to have a relationship. It was hard because it was such a statement from her that she was not going to seek any kind of relationship with me at all. But the next year was a lot easier and the more I realized that this was all about her and it didn’t define me one bit.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kellan
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Thank you so much for sharing some of your story. Sounds like you have found the right website. This is about healing through first facing the damage and the results of that damage. It is about validating ourselves where we had been invalidated for so long.
I took my life back and the way that I did it is within the pages of this website. Understanding ‘why’ is not a big part of the solution. Even if you did understand why, you would still have to heal. It was when I set the ‘why’ questions aside that a whole other layer of understanding came forward for me.
Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


DXS, I wish you a very happy Birthday! I truly do. Darlene, thank you again, for the kind and thoughtful words of understanding. I was supposed to have dinner with one of my sisters the other night, and it was so depressing- basically she did a drive-by dinner. She was late (over an hour) and it was late at night (after 8 pm), conversation was dominated by her dominating boyfriend, virtually no conversation between the two of us siblings (half siblings to be correct), and I felt so depressed afterwards all i could do was cry. It was awful, I can’t even put my finger on why. Then my other sibling (half-sister) was supposed to (promised!) stop by my house on their way back up from visiting my mom and everyone else for an early Christmas, we had our house decorated for them, we had toys for the kids, we had lights, candles, fun food, gifts for everyone to open, Darlene we were so excited for someone to finally visit the home I own and have owned for over 10 years. Nobody in my family has ever visited, despite repeated invitations. They drive right by on their way to visit other family, within a half hour’s reach and still they’ve never visited us. So, I was so happy that her family was coming by. Of course it never happened. She texted me on Facebook that she’d like to meet us for supper on their way through the major highway (30 miles away). I was so distraught, crying like some stupid kid again. All of it, the preparations, the excitement, I shouldn’t have let it get to me but for once it felt so good to not be the cynic, and I felt for the first time that the lights, the Christmas music, all of it applied to me too, and I was feeling that warm glow of family just because they were going to visit. I got myself together, told her to forget it, and don’t even try to come up to my house because the roads are icy. In fact, it’s too cold to try anymore. And I boxed up the gifts and mailed them to her, Unfriended her and blocked her, her husband and my other sister from Facebook as well. The toxicity of mom, the spreading of it to my half-sisters, their nonchalant way of just breezing around like I don’t matter at all, my time doesn’t matter, my gifts, nothing. I’m finally done with all of it. And they all had kept it a secret from mom, of course, that they were having any contact with me at all. So it’s for the best. I feel like I can finally move on in a healthy way even though I miss dearly the thought of family visiting my house. I don’t know why- it was a silly dream to have but it meant so much to me. So starting in January, I am going to start making a conscious effort to cultivate real friendships here, and I’m going to start inviting people over for pizza and soda pop regularly, just so that I will maybe feel like I have community. I will no longer be the secret kept from mom. I can just be who I am, independent of them. I am going to be the best person I can be and not ever show the callous disregard for others that was shown to me. Thank you Darlene. You have truly helped me get through this most difficult season.


Notice a lot of Happy Birthdays to DXS and I wanted to join in! I was looking for the initial indication that it was your birthday, but I couldn’t find it. I suspect it’s a day or two late, but I wanted you to wish you a happy birthday too. I hope you see through the wishes that a lot of people are glad that you were born.


Happy Birthday DXS! :)Not sure what day it was (might have missed that post) but joining in with the rest.

I hope everyone is hanging in there OK. I’ve been more anxious and panicky than normal so I had to resort to tranquilizers. Yesterday my mother said she was going to buy me a pajama for Christmas, and socks for my husband. Yay! Yet, the silly moo here, offered to go with her so she’d shut up, as hubby was passing by the shopping area and could drop us off by car. (All this following a LOT of nagging about having to give us a present).

So I went into the shop. Picked something out of the rack that I really didn’t care for. Picked the socks. Queued up for her and paid. The shop was mega busy. I hate crowds. We got stuck in traffic coming out of the parking lot and my anxiety hit the roof and spilled into today. Not anger at her, but anger at me.

Now the presents are wrapped so we can open them later. I wonder if I have to say “Oh, PJ’s… I’d never guess”. And socks for my husband? Just what he wanted.



I am sorry for how you were treated by your sisters. I know how much this hurts. Good for you to begin cultivating friendships. It will be better to build your own community.


Sorry about the friggin’ insanity with the socks. Don’t be angry with yourself. Give yourself a break and forgive yourself for how you feel, act, etc. You know your mother triggers all this with you plus the energy of all those people you had to deal with in the shop, the traffic, and just the fact that the media tells us that this is the most wonderful time of year! Hang in there!



I forgot to thank you. Thanks for reading and you reply.
I guess that’s what happened. Self sabotage.
Of course now I know that do not want me to be happy and successful. Oh God now. The scapegoat needs to have the place we have given to her. It is enough WRONG that despite all the odds she has been doing well.
This is so messed up. I could survive it somehow if not the fact that that decision had a domino effect on my life and the aftermath is still happening. I am getting out of it thought.


It’s the most wooooonderful time of theee year! Sing along 😀

Sorry guys I need to fool around a bit 🙂
I read my magazines, ate my guacamole, drank some wine and I guess I will go to bed. That would be it for my Xmas Eve. Good night ladies and gents 🙂


To all my friends on EFB, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014 filled with healing and all good things. I discovered EFB on May of this year, and it has been the most helpful and healing of anything I have ever read in the area of childhood abuse. While I still have a long way to go, I have also come a long way in getting to the truth about the damage, my feelings and starting on the road to healing. Special thanks to Darlene for all you have done. You have created an awesome community here and a safe place to share things that have never been given a voice before. Have a beautiful and blessed Christmas Darlene and a wonderful New Year.


Thank you everyone, for sharing your stories. I am 38 and for the first time ever am spending Christmas on my own. I have usually spent it with my sister and parents, but have been doing MAJOR therapy and inner child work, and decided I would not join them this year.

I have been struggling with so much guilt about not joining them the past few weeks. But they have not contacted me at all, so it is almost as if they do not care. But I know a little better, because their favorite thing to do is complain about family members who are not present. I am bracing myself a bit, because I must call them today, Christmas Day.

Reading about all your stories has helped me, because it is so tempting to feel sorry for myself for spending the holiday only with my two cats. I do not make friends easily and my romantic relationships have all been extremely unhealthy codependent situations. So I have no one at the moment, after walking away from very toxic people in 2013. I realise now that my situation – my current highly isolated life – is a direct result of childhood physical and emotional abuse and neglect and eventually sexual abuse too. When my parents were not discounting me and making me feel guilty for being born or existing, they were terrorizing me with shouting and beatings. But more often than that, I was simply ignored and left to fend for myself – finding food, dealing with bullies and sexual predators, etc.

Every year I have gone to my parents for Christmas, trying so hard to be the good daughter and hoping to prove that I somehow had value to these people. Instead I would come home to insults about my appearance – my clothes, my hair, my weight – and then listen to my parents (mum especially) as they get drunker and drunker, and rehash every mistake or stupid thing I have ever done, and also all the good things they ever did for me! (Their version of history is astoundingly different than mine!)

But this year I lied and said I had to work, when the truth is, I just can’t take it anymore. I can’t pretend to enjoy myself (which is the only acceptable reaction, otherwise I’m spoiling things for everyone), and I can’t ignore their abusive comments. Being with my cats is so much better!

But I am also experiencing grief, tons of grief over the family support and love that I want, but now realise I never will have. :(. I am trying to avoid social media, and all the happy families on Facebook. So thank you everyone gor being so honest. I do not feel as alone, knowing so many are in the same boat that I am. 🙂


pk, you are not alone, i want to say that your post has helped me immensely on this difficult day. thank you


Hi PK,

Merry Christmas. So glad you are having an abuse-free holiday…by the way, you don’t “have to call them” today! Just read this excerpt from one of Darlene’s posts; When I ‘don’t engage’ today it means that I don’t bother trying to convince them anymore. I don’t try to prove my worth anymore. I don’t have to because I know my worth. Those are the biggest differences. I stood up for me when I no longer cared about the consequences of doing so. Their rejection of me, that rejection I had feared so long, did not originate from when I stood up to them or when they walked away from me, it started many years before that. – See more at:

Watch a spy movie or something with action! And know that there are so many of us survivors out here feeling the same thing you are today.


Xmas Day2:
ah just came back from a chocolaterie where I treated myself to a Xmas brunch 🙂 In my own very lovely company 🙂 And a group of tourists from Japan who could not give less sh*** about Xmas and thatw as awesome.

Than turns out my lonely awesome abuse free Xmas will be even better as a friend of mine who is Jewish will be joining me tonight and we are booking ourselves hotel rooms. Yay for sauna and a swimming pool! 🙂


I don’t know how this will sit- but I wanted to share with you an event that happened last night that I believe sums up my entire family experience: My sisters (half-sisters) all went to our mother’s home for Christmas Eve. Of course I have not been there in over a decade, because of the abuse that was always heaped upon me and the guilt I was driven to for the most egregious act of being hated by mom, (smile) but whatever. Anyway, my sisters went for Christmas Eve and my brother-in-law sent me an email this morning telling me that everyone was “corralled” into the basement living room while mom literally ran around like a crazed loon, blaming my youngest sister for the fact that I disowned mom! Seriously, all of these people drove for hours on bad, icy roads to visit this crazy loon of a woman, and she spends the evening crying hysterically, bringing ME up, and then blaming the youngest for MY disownment of her! Amazing. Apparently it was such a stressful night, hardly any food was eaten (in silence) and so she then ranted that nobody appreciated all of her hard work in cooking, and then came the tears and the tantrum again. Why do they put up with this? Can’t someone help this crazy woman? They did all spend the night, but according to him, nobody really slept. The next morning it was a bunch of tired, worn out siblings packing their things, saying shallow good-byes and sinking into the sanctity and safety of the drive home, the peace of the drive home. So, it really isn’t about US. It is all about the sickness of the people who abuse others. Darlene thank you for providing this place for us. Cheers to all, hang in there, we are the ones who found a path out and we should celebrate that.


You’re amazing for being so brave to make a decision that supports your best interests – not to engage with your family at Christmas. It takes guts and you’ve done it.

@ Sandra
So glad for you that you are, after all, not only going to a hotel but have a friend joining you. I love it.

What a night your family had! If they’re miserable they want to drag everyone else with them.

I don’t like Christmas because of the painful memories but I decided I can either make an effort or ruin it for everybody else, in this case, my husband. So I do my very best because he’s not responsible for what I went through and he has his own stuff to deal with, with his parents.


I hate the Xmas season. It seems all around people are surrounded by a loving family and I am not. My family chose not to support me through a major medical event and we have been estranged since.

It makes me sad that others are having a similar experience to me.

This article helps though. Thanks for putting it into words.


Lisa, I also hate Christmas. Although I did go to a very nice church service last night.

I’m glad to not be around my family, but I’m feeling down for not being somewhere “fun.” The place I work had a very nice dinner last night.

The main reason I hate Christmas is my mom’s “covert” stuff. When I was a kid, she told me, “when you grow up, you can make your OWN decisions.” (I mis understood, apparently she really meant, “As long as you do what your Dad and Mom would do.”) Anyway, my mom has a “thing” about “minimum required stays.” She expects you to stay at least X nights when you visit her. (And in another post, I mentioned the rage I caused when I had the AUDACITY to rent a car instead of letting her pick me up from the airport…..) When I used to fly to visit, I could use the excuse, “sorry, could only stay two nights to get the cheap fares” (which wasn’t entirely true, but I got away with it.) When it got to a point where I could drive, I had to make up the most AMAZING excuses for staying LESS than “minimum required stays.” When my mom doesn’t like a decision I have made, she is “covert” about it. She plays these little games where she makes a big fuss in front of everyone and manipulates the situation to make it “appear” as though I had “consulted” her on my decision to stay less than minimum required stay and that she “approved” it. And when she does this, she expects you to go along with it as though you are clueless to the back story. When you go against the “game” and call her out on it, she gets mad for you “dis-respecting” her. I call it being dis-respectful of me! She can’t take reality so she has to manipulate the situation to appear different than what it was.

Other people may say what’s the big deal just go along with it, but I hate these “covert” games! Why can’t she just deal with reality?


Thank you all for the birthday wishes. Felt good to go out with friends.


Kellan, you weren’t there so your your mom had to find another scapegoat. wow. I’m sorry for that.


My name says it all,
The only thing I “feel” anymore is complete numbness or depression. I have been completely rejected by my family and my husbands family. I have even contemplated leaving this planet, but I don’t want to do that to my son. Lately I have done the only thing I know how to do in order to protect myself, I flip my switch. If you hurt me, I flip the switch that allows me to care for you. People have said, oh you still care for “them” deep down. But I don’t, I can’t allow myself to care anymore. The only thing I have in my life that I truly care about is my son, whom I know I can’t cling to or it will push him away. And my dog and cat. My husband has played the emotional game way too long, and refuses to defend me to his mother,” because she may write him out of her will.” Funny, I thought I was supposed to mean more than anything someone could leave him, switch flipped. When I flip my switch I don’t wish these people any ill will or wish them dead, I just can’t or won’t have anything else to do with them emotionally or physically. My husband lives in another part of the house, his choice not mine, this happened before his mother decided she hated me and before I had lost my ability to trust him. So when my son leaves home in the nearer than I would like future! I will be utterly alone. He and the animals are the only light in this world for me.


Oh, one more thing. Back when I was working full time, if I took, say, two weeks off at Christmas, it was “assumed” that I would plan to spend the whole two weeks visiting my family. Using any part of that time off for just ME was totally idiotic! Why should I need time to myself? No reason for that! Therefore, being limited by plane tickets was a way around it, but I still got the “covert” crap by mom for my AUDACITY to only spend a very short time with FOO. But when I could drive there easily, then it took AMAZING excuses, but still mom would do the “covert” crap to make it “appear” that she had “approved” my decision to cut the time short.


“if my own family didn’t ‘love me’ how could anyone love me? ” Oh, how I resonate with this. I’ve talked myself into believing exactly this most of my life, and as such have isolated myself from everyone and everything – now to talk myself out of it! Merry Christmas everyone 🙂


Reading this article and others on the website, as well as your encouraging comments has helped me immensely through my current estrangement from my mother. I think every time I go through an estrangement with her, it gets better and better. I feel stronger and more free every time. Especially as I understand more and more. And not just in my head, but in my heart and soul. This year, I had to reaffirm some boundaries with my mother, once again. She has said sorry in the past, but I think the dynamic between us is so broken there will never be any true understanding. And I’m tired of giving up my personhood to have her in my life. She chose to ignore me when I laid down my boundaries (I will admit, I just sent an email, but it was all the effort I was willing to give this time). She tried to get an in with the kids by dropping presents off for them. I said no. It is my choice at this point. I’m choosing not to let her in so easily, not to lay down and let things be the way they were. And it feels good to take the power and put it where it belongs. To have choice. I’m not sitting here pining away for her, wishing she would be the mother she isn’t, wishing she would see the error of her ways and take responsibility for the havoc and damage she has wreaked on my life. Which is what I’ve done in the past. I’m choosing to let her sit with her negativity, I take no responsibility for her. I finally realize that I have no obligation to her. THat I have what I need right here in my home. Real love. Love that takes responsibility for actions. That’s what I want for my children and my self. To be responsible only for my lot and no one elses. And to really see each other, relish this time in the here and now… not be lost and disturbed by Christmases and events past. Not anymore. =)


Truthfully, I didn’t have an issue with my family not loving me. The issue was……. They loved me as long as I “pretended” to be thise “other” person. “To thine own self be true” was my mom’s favorite quote. I guess I misunderstood. “Be true to what Dad and Mom want you to be” was actually what she meant.

Thus, I lived this “double life.”


DXS! Your last post, about “Be true to what Dad and Mom want you to be” is so real. That just cut to the heart of it in my opinion. Your observation was so right on.


Jamie, when your mom said “sorry” was it heartfelt or was it just “jibber jabber?” My mom has said “sorry” but it was not heartfelt, it was just “jibber jabber” in the hopes that I will back down and forget the issues.


JustPlainNumb: wow, $$$ issues. I wish Darlene would write about it because any $$$ issue really intertwines itself with your soul to the point where it’s hard to go NC. And that’s how you are “controlled.” But I do understand why she can’t write about it at this point. However, if she set up a short term email address for people to send her ideas, I think there are enough people on here that can give her enough ideas to write about.


Kellan, yeppers! My mom just wants me to get “past” all this. She doesn’t realize this is YEARS AND YEARS of being some “other” person. And she wonders why I don’t trust people. It’s like she thinks I can flip a switch and be ok and she can flip a switch and be ok. NO!


In my case, I think my mom was just humoring me so she could have access to my kids. I have a feeling, though I’m no therapist, that my mother is in a state of limited self awareness due to very deeply entrenched denial. She is unable to take responsibility for her actions. She has back tracked the entire year since her apology, feeling compelled to set me straight and protect her pride in little bits and pieces… rewriting the story to paint herself in a better light. She’s unable to take responsibility for even the smallest, most common infraction (like spilling something that I let her borrow). I can understand the burden of guilt that she carries must be really heavy, and I don’t expect her to change history. But she could validate me and let me have my story in the now. But that’s the whole point between she and I. She didn’t want me, even told me I ought to be grateful that she didn’t abort me. She’s been abusive in her own right not withstanding the abuse that I endured and she denied and allowed. I’ve really stuffed all these little acidic, hateful things she does and says away. And I might have continued on just letting her get away with her delusions. But, she has shown signs of feeling threatened by my daughter. Who is now the same age as I was when she started attacking me. And I won’t allow that to happen. My kids have really helped me to learn the value of my own personhood through me just knowing and seeing their value. I’m learning to be brave for their sake and mine in turn.
I realize this is a long response, but it’s been on my mind. It seems I get fixated at times and can’t stop thinking about her and our problems. It’s a loose end I can’t fix. And won’t fix now, but it still hurts sometimes. But I know I can’t fix it. SO I am resolved.


I have gone a few years without fighting with my mom..until this Christmas Eve. She wanted to spend xmas with my family, but didn’t come out and say it. Instead she created a long-winded argument where many painful things from my childhood came up and of course..she had the chance to tell me very hurtful things about the person she thinks I am today. I have broken many painful cycles in my family. I went to college, married a good partner, do everything in my power to protect my children from sexual and physical abuse. The ironic thing is rather than my family being happy for me, they keep insisting that I am hateful and angry. It is so frustrating when loved ones can’t see patterns, can’t admit the negative things or ways they have contributed to their children’s lives and can’t even acknowledge your memories or what you remember as truth. I am at the point where I feel very sad for my mom. But, I feel totally disconnected from her and have no desire to continue a relationship with her or anyone else in my extended family. Sometimes I feel so inhumane for not feeling those feelings of obligation and unconditional love that everyone else beams about. I feel like i have been very hurt in my life and I have reached a point where I want it to stop and if the only way I can make it stop is to cut off ties with family…why do I feel so inhumane?



that my mother is in a state of limited self awareness due to very deeply entrenched denial. She is unable to take responsibility for her actions.

Although I didn’t get the deep abuse you got, my mom is the same way! In fact, one time I “backed her into a corner” and got her to admit she does not think she should be held responsible for her actions or what she says. I was shocked when I heard her say this!


It’s your extended family and mother that are inhumane in their dehumanizing ways. You’ve chosen to affirm yourself and that is threatening to them because it means you won’t allow them relate to you the way they’re used to, through abuse. There is nothing wrong with you. You have the right, we have the right to be who we are and live by our values. I know it’s frustrating that they can’t see it, too; but it’s not your responsibility to change or fix them (thankfully, right?) I know how you feel, I’ve been feeling more free and positive this time around rather than feel guilty, but then I have moments when I feel guilty for not feeling more guilty. =0 There’s a post somewhere around here, or maybe it’s something Darlene posted on facebook about guilt covering the pain of abandonment. Which is yet another thing I really needed to hear. Puts it in perspective.


It’s such a simple concept, and I am just learning it myself. Taking responsibility, owning whats mine and only what is mine. It’s a coping mechanism, part of the denial, part of the hiding from the pain. But I’ve found it’s so much easier to deal with life when one faces up to reality, feels the feelings, then lets them go… I spent far too much of my life marinating in denial and in turn the very feelings I was trying to avoid. But I know now that feelings don’t define me and as Darlene says, cannot hurt me. I can be aware of them, feel them, validate them, and let them go. Same for my actions. This is so important to me right now. I’m focused on teaching my kids this concept, I know there is some back tracking that is happening, as it’s something that’s just come into consciousness for me. You’re mom is hiding from something, but you don’t have to try to fix her. It really is her problem, it sucks that you have to deal with her, though.


Phew! Christmas is over!!!


Simona, hear hear! I have always hated Christmas but this year was the worst! I have never had a problem with being alone, but this year was the first year I FELT alone. Now that it’s Dec 26, the bad feelings are going away.


I mostly get updates in the early hours of the morning so I catch up with a lot when I first wake up. A lot of what was said in the last comments I relate to. i.e. no genuine apologies, denial of what was and is, judgemental towards others ways of being while being very tolerant with herself, and so on.

Today she’s in hyper mode. She has pseudo-diabetes. Talks about it all day, then eats sweets, then takes a 2 minute walk around the neighbourhood to burn extra sugar (!), has been helping her cousin bash their children, etc.

Lots of unhappy people that I know of this Christmas. Most, unfortunately, don’t yet see that their parents are the root of their problems.

I still have financial enmeshment with my mother but hubby and I talked about it and we’re going to make do with what we have. Wish us luck with it, as we’re a little nervous (if it fails and we need help, she wins). I need to cut this cord and 2014 seems a good year to do it.


Just one thing, I read somewhere that someone’s husband was scared of standing up to his mum because of inheritance (I can’t find the comment above now).

Luckily (depending on perspective), in my country it’s not possible to write children off a will.


Suzy, praying for you for cutting the financial enmeshment. Good luck! As you say, she wins!

I don’t need my financial enmeshment, but I have to jump through too many legal hoops to cut it. I don’t want to say too much.


Apologies if this is really long and hopefully its related to this article (it seems like it is). I haven’t been on this website in quite some time, but have always appreciated the support and wisdom from everyone involved. 🙂

This year was an incredibly difficult holiday SEASON. I guess as everyone knows its not just the day of Christmas but the number of holidays, when people are talking about their families, etc that makes you feel left out.

Right around when the season began I was starting finals in school. I am a bit, not much, older than the average college student, frankly due to a lot of family trauma and missed opportunities (that my siblings received) despite the fact that my father is wealthy. I really broke down. I had a paper due that was 35% of my grade and I had been living off of coffee. In truth, I’d been hungry for about 6 months, and its crazy to me, that as a college student with a rich family, I’d have to live with that. Even stranger I’m less angry and more accepting (not a good thing IMO but i’ll get to that later).

Anyways, I broke down because I was hungry and under pressure to keep my loans (even though they don’t feed me, just pay for tuition). My aunt, who is the ‘less abusive’ as some would say, or maybe just simply self interested, not even abusive, is a woman who financially supported me through my first year of college, and then just stopped.

Anyways, I was hungry, wanted to pass in school, and didn’t have my usual support. In the past, I was always so grateful for my aunt because both financially and emotionally, she was the reason I didn’t have to take the abuse, brainwashing, lies, hypocrisy, and second class status within my family. But I didn’t have that this year. I WENT HOME, yes HOME to that hellhole filled with trauma and memories of hatred directed at me for no legitimate reason, for frankly nothing other than a meal to get me through finals. It was a 8 hour drive each way, and I didn’t stay even 24 hours. In fact I almost left two hours after arriving, but I knew I was too sleep deprived to make it especially in snow-ish conditions.


I told them I never would have imagined they would apologize. Well, I should have known it was too good to be true. Due to rising tuition rates, the horrible economy, and the necessity for me to get an education so I can provide for myself, I have to stay in school.

I’ve looked at other jobs that are hours away, the jobs aren’t there- unless I drop out of school and relocate. By the time I go back, tuition will be even higher.

The thing is, when my aunt was helping me, college gave me freedom, and dignity that I didn’t have as a waitress, or under my parents’ thumb.

But now every time I talk to them, I feel some kind of historical amnesia, brainwashing, self-hatred. My dignity is being taken away literally piece by piece every time I talk to them. Even when I am completely cordial, they find a way to dig at me. The treatment is the same.

To top it off, after all the work I’ve done, independently, and on this site, and with a GOOD therapist, my mother is saying things like “Gillian, please stop telling the truth!” and “You need to forgive” and “Stop talking about history”

History and truth are the only things that got me healed, now I feel broken again. And she’s made it clear that a stipulation that she and my father help pay for things like food/rent/etc is that I forgive, forget history, stop telling the truth, hand over my dignity, go back to where I was at 16, and emerge broken, instead of FROM broken. She wants me broken, and she knows I need her. I never thought that being in a good college, at 24, would have to feel so humiliating. I spent christmas alone, because meeting with my father gave me literal physical symptoms, some of the things he said were appalling. One of them was “I expect people to treat me better and when they don’t I get mad” (referring to how doctors are treated like Gods). He said “we never treated you like a doormat” and of course, he kept referring to how ‘people don’t like me’ (?) because I ‘remind them of their mother (double ??). I wonder if I remind him of HIS mother.

Anyways. It was quite disappointing. I am not really functioning right now, and I despise that about myself right now, because I thought, and I HAD come so far, but now I feel like I’m prostituting myself for their money, and their are so many psychological strings attached. On top of that, they hardly ever keep their financial promises, so I never know when the day will randomly come that I have to drop out of school. Mostly it breaks my heart how they really love the other two. My mother’s excuse this AM for not helping me in the past with college was that my sister took out loans- but I did too! All of the arguments really have no merit. So it makes it really personal and hateful. And then I start to hate myself.

Again, I’m sorry this is so long, but I have always felt so supported here, and people can be so judgemental about family around the holidays- and it is very isolating.



Yes, many of the posts resonate with the way I feel. To repeat what Suzy wrote: no apologies, denials, judgmental behaviors, the list could go on.

It would be nice if people could have over night transformations like Ebenezer Scrooge. That would be a Christmas miracle! I am glad Christmas is over. For me, New Year’s does not have that heavy feeling Christmas holds.

Take care all! Andria


Jamie, I believe you when you say my mom is hiding something. A long time ago, I got her to blabber a tidbit about something awful that happened to her, but since then she has denied and says NOTHING bad happened. I think it’s the tip of the iceberg. And I think it contributes to why she puts on rose colored glasses and lives in denial. And maybe I don’t have to fix her, but I want an honest to goodness acknowledgement of wrong and an honest to goodness apology. But why should I expect that? Everything with her is about “appearance.”

“We have a close knit family and don’t you dare do anything to violate that appearance.”

When we took family pictures when I was a kid, I always made sure my body language in the picture somehow “separated” me from them. I knew I was rebelling against something, but didn’t know what, until know. I was rebelling against the “appearance” thing.


Hi Darlene,

Also to comment on the specific phrasing “choices that I made” -that really struck a bell with me. My father often uses that as ammunition, and my mother does so indirectly. We are taught that things either that we have not done, or were out of our control, constitute ‘choices that we made’ so that we ‘deserve’ the bad treatment. I personally didn’t just arrive to this conclusion, it was drilled into my head over and over. I was TOLD it was my fault. Frankly, I’m not sure it was even implied, so much as stated as fact.

Thank you Darlene, for reminding me we do not always make these choices, and that as children we NEVER deserve consequences for things we did not do/have control over. I know what you say is true, but I’m not sure I feel it yet.



Like we’ve both stated in the past, our stories are so similar. One income, non-working mommy gets whatever she wants, and then, after the money is gone from vacations, houses, (oh! and this year I learned her seeing a plastic surgeon apparently comes before me eating enough! fantastic!). Also she gets random classes paid for though she hasn’t worked for almost 40 years while I am struggling for a degree at a school I busted my *** to get into.
And my father who makes enough money for anyone I talk to to call him ‘rich’ is always crying about poverty. How poor he is. So don’t anyone dare ask for a coat in winter, or food for lunch. He has a tennis match!
When confronted I get a dead stare. I think they love to see me in poverty. I could not believe how much more beautiful the house was, how much more food was in the fridge (they used to go out to eat and leave us leftovers- with an empty fridge for us) when I saw the house AFTER the kids moved out. Boy are they living it up. Now that we don’t see it everyday, they can be more blatant about their wealth without having to risk questioning (I thought you were poor daddy?) or the (gasp!) possibility of having to share.

I’m so sorry Yvonne. Someone very important to me once said, “Greed kills”. I don’t know if she meant it literally or figuratively, but I think it’s a literal statement. It takes souls, it takes lives. I’m sorry your parents are so greedy. It’s really such a disgusting attribute.


I know when my mother discovers we’ve stopped using her money towards expenses she’ll flip. But last year we also had this chat and she begged (yes, begged) that we used her money. In the end I said “please be aware that we will because you’re saying that, not because we cannot make it.” But I bet she’ll say this conversation did not exist and that she’s helping us because we’re a charity case. This time we’ll just do it.

I have to say that this: people can change. My husband is the proof of that. He escaped his own dysfunctional family and landed flat on his face and got stuck with mine. As a coping mechanism he chose alcohol, the very thing that poisoned my childhood.

For the past 3 years he pulled himself together and he’s still by my side (I’d not be by my side with this crazy mother I have). He’s given me three years, so far, of not having to deal with alcohol (the longest period in my life – when my dad died and my mother moved in, my husband started to drink).

I always believed that if my parents had not loved me enough to change, then why would my husband do it? But he did. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but it’d have been nice to have experienced the same peace with my parents. As I unwrapped the presents he carefully chose for me this Christmas I finally realized that he knows me (and it’s not about the presents, the real treasure is someone knowing what scents you like, for example).

I’m really scared of losing him. We’ve been through hell with our parents and together, but we came out the other side, hand in hand.

People can change. It takes a lot of work. My husband is still in therapy. I am scared that when our dog, that we love so much, we’ll be thrown back into hell. I don’t know if I can take it.

Just thoughts that came to my head… fear and gratitude, all in one.


*I meant when our dog passes


I posted this on the “Grooming” post but maybe it’s a better fit here:

Just got back from Christmas with my FOO. It was an extended seven day gathering with different people different days. I was one of the main cooks – exhausting. The first few days were fun, then my brother and his family arrived (the one who never responded to my heartfelt letter telling him that I don’t feel his understanding in the face of my sexual abuse). Then my other sibling did her ignoring thing when I spoke to her. When I was doing some prep work for the main dish for the Christmas meal everyone was in the next room (dining room) playing a game…not one person asked me if I wanted to join in. I was furious and hurt. Later I realized that I could have simply left, just turned the burners off and left, and let them cook. If I had thought of it I probably would have. Now I regret I didn’t walk into the room and tell them I would have appreciated being included. Not that it matters anyway.

A friend tonight told me it seems like I am “Cinderella” in the family…..

Furious and down and exhausted.

How would any of you handle being in the kitchen, and everyone else is in the next room organizing and playing a game, and not ONE person comes in to see if you can join them?


This has been a very informative post. I like the part where Darlene says, it take two. It does take two to have a relationship. The other person has to genuinely invest something of their authentic self for it to be real. How many times have we given, with both hands open, to be scoffed at, and rejected? We, or I, as I should just speak for me, are constantly given parts of ourselves, to have them tossed aside. Disregarded, as they don’t fit the FOO warped picture of you. They have no place in the FOO book of fractured fairy tales.
But it takes two, as well, for the dysfunction to continue, IMHO. Through disengaging, I have learned not to feed the fire. And in those times, like the holidays, or social events when one must re-engage, for me it is like watching a wounded lion, rear back and roar. Standing back, you know the sick beast is dying, and you wonder, how long will it live? You don’t try and save it, cause, well, it just tried to eat you, and approaching it risks harm to yourself. And those you love. The lion could be dying from exposure, to the elements of truth. He is not getting fed enough to sustain him. Perhaps you struck a defensive blow, and he is bleeding, out of his side. Nothing to bind up his wounds. The cubs can’t help, they are used to being fed prey by this beast. Oh, what a sad little snapshot.
Can you tell I’ve had no sleep yet?
So, I attempted to have an abbreviated visit, with my parents, at the end of Christmas Day. This would avoid the unpleasantness of contact with my two dysfunctional, abusive sisters. Well, no such luck. My spouse and I even arrived late, hoping we would miss them. And there they were. Turns out, nmom, had insisted they stay, and even made the children wait all day, to open gifts, till i got there. No, it wasn’t done in the spirit of inclusiveness. Remember the discussions about being the Christmas gift, or Birthday gift Aunt? And the dilemma, of being expected to produce a gift, for children you don’t even know, who aren’t allowed to know anything about you except for the negativity their wretched mothers spew about you? So, last year, I chose to give a Christmas to a struggling young family, instead of engaging in the meaningless, one sided gift giving. Nmom ranted and dug for answers as to why I had been so mean and thoughtless to her grandchildren.
So, I think that was part of the game. Embarrass me during the gift giving, as she assumed I would have nothing. It would be a glaring statement about what a bad person I was. Well, joke was on her, folks! After discussing with my partner, we decided to leave a little something for the kids at ngrandma’s house for them. I had tried to time it so we wouldn’t see them, cause they come with their nasty mothers, but, let them know I/we at least think of them, and wish them a Merry Christmas. So, foiled once again, nmom! Didn’t come empty handed, like you had counted on!
As you can imagine, right off the bat, there was trouble. I was hugging my Dad, when we came in. I had to bend over to hug him in a chair. And before I could fully arise, I was almost struck in the face by an enormous, green velour stomach, belonging to oldest nsis. Oh, she was going to give me a big, Merry Xmas bear hug! So, not having rehearsed my encounter with these two, as I had been taken by surprise, I acted instinctively, and sidestepped her. She tried again, and again I disengaged. Well, she was just so incredulous! Imagine, me, not wanting to accept this magnanimous gesture! This vile woman talks crap about me and tries to poison any interaction or friendship I have had with the extended family. She has her 8 yr old son terrified of me. Yeah, no. I can’t even fake it, and I just don’t want to.
So, the other nsis had been out running an errand, or whatever, and the moment she arrived, big nsis scurried to the kitchen, and along with nmom, they discussed the situation. Oh, you would have loved what came next! They all entered the sitting room, sat in a row. Like they were regal beings. An nsis each flanking the nmom, in a show of force. An air of protection, bc, since I have gotten into the habit of calling nmom out on her lies, they try to flip it as I am the abuser! Because I had engaged in my right to not engage in forced physical contact, oh, they would present a united front against me, I tell ya. Hah!
Next, for a gift, we were given a framed photo of my Dad and nmom, for a gift. The pictures were wrapped, and stacked under the tree. Everyone else got a copy. Then, the last wrapped one was sitting there. And it had no tag on it. Others had their tags taped on, to nsis, from Dad and nmom. Not the one meant for me. That was moms not so subtle way of dissing me. I wouldn’t take the “gift”, had fun with it. Telling the designated Santa, I can’t open that! What if it’s someone else gift? Nmom: oh!!! The tag must have fallen off!!! Nope. Even my SO caught that, how the others were securely taped on. The irony of it? The photo is taken, from a trip I SENT THEM ON!! Somewhere that my Dad likes. Lol. And I commented very loudly on this to my SO. Oh, look! That’s the trip WE sent them on.
So, the two nsis’s retreated to the kitchen, and started tearing through the pies. The younger nsis, who had her stomach stapled, is finding a way to eat around it, as all her weight seems to be going back on. My SO commented how older nsis seemed to be in a trance, not hearing her children call her, as she stuffed herself with pie. Guess they are not so happy as they like to present! Stuffing down whatever resentments and bitterness, I couldn’t care less.
It is so nice to have a partner who sees it all. And he is very well-spoken, so he can rise to the occasion if need be. I haven’t put him, or myself through this, for a while, only did it bc my Dad is aging, and I wanted to see him. nmom knows this, and wanted to make it as miserable as possible, to discourage further attempts.
But they r the ones who r miserable. They can’t manipulate me with their children. They sooo wanted me to be the puppy dog with my nose pressed against the window. Instead, I’ve got a wonderful guy, great friends, rewarding work, and a 4.0 in pursuit of my Masters degree. Riding high, witches! Over and out. Sorry you didn’t get the glorious life you were told you deserved. It’s a funny thing. You’ve got to work for it……that’s the nice part about no one handing anything to you, as was done for you, nsis’s……
Wow! What a little vent I went off on. Thanks for listening.


I bought a magazine and there was this letter from the editor- in- chief wishing Hapy Holidays to all the readers etc. It was as if written for me. SO glad I bought it.

It said: “Nobody wants to be alone especially on Christimas. This is something everybody fears. But if you are alone this year try to find a blessing in it. Loneliness always happens for a reason and is always temporary. It comes for a reason, comes to show you something, teach you something, bring the best out of you. Don’t worry, when the right time comes, Loneliness will leave you and go find somebody else who needs it”
So true…. I finally got comfortable with my loneliness. Very recently though. Maybe the last 2 weeks I feel more stable and balanced. It hit me! Eureka!It is like with dieting, before you learn how to eat right, you need to detox your body, get rid of the toxins. Before you are ready to meet the right people in your life, you need to detox your life, perhaps like in my case I had to remove a majority of people from my life, an abusive ex bf pretending to be my friend, an abusive mother (finally for good) and a sister, none of them willing to respect me and treat me equally. I am no longer willing to agree for a compromise that is not a compromise, I am no longer willing to accept being less than. Either what I deserve or nothing/nobody. And I deserve the best. I am smart, attractive intelligent, kind. I AM NOT selfish and oversensitive.
Loneliness already visited me once in the past. I stopped speaking with my “family” for 2,5 years. What a difference in quality of living. (money was not an issue as I was a typical Cindarella exluded from having an access to any material goods). It was when I was 17-18. And than great things started to happen. But I was not yet ready for what I am ready now. Than I just longed for freedom, I was running away. I don’t run anymore, I don’t hide, I don’t have to. This is me and I am proud of who I am. Why would I hide and run? I think I know why loneliness has visited me again. I will host her for as long as I have to. I am no longer clinging to the wrong people, throwing my Loneliness out of the door (she has kept on coming back for the last 1,5 years until I finally accepted her, seeing that for now I really had no choice, either her or a company of all the wrong people) accepting disrespect, acting pathetic, accepting them playing with my life just because I fear loneliness. That is disrespecting myself. And nobody will ever respect me if I allow such behavior, in other words if I do not respect myself, my privacy, my choices. I did not read it anywhere, as cheesy as it may sound. It came to me this morning and I just wanted to share my thoughts with you guys.


Here we all are wondering why our families treated us badly. Left us out. Made us feel less than. Cinderella has been mentioned a couple of times.

I don’t have the answer for myself or anyone. Yes, I can figure out a few reasons why. But for the big picture: I haven’t got a clue. So I have to start to let go of the how and the why. I don’t know what goes on in other’s heads. But the ones that treat others badly are just people. People that I don’t need in my life if they won’t treat me well or give me the respect that everyone deserves. They don’t care about me so I stop caring about them.

I am glad Christmas is over. I look forward to a new year. I have less people in my life than a couple of years ago, but they really were not a part of my life. I just thought they were. Take care everyone.



When I read the post about the woman losing her mother “It is sad knowing she is gone, but it has allowed the passing of a deep rooted sense of hope of reconciliation from her that was never going to happen…” This is my older sister, our dad never loved her–per our mom, he rejected her at birth, she was 44 years old when he died, leaving her with no chance to ever be loved by him. I came along 16 months after her and he was a harsh man but he did show love for me which made her pain so much worse, we have no reason why he did this to his eldest daughter.


Ann, that is so heartbreaking! So much damage is done when a child is unloved by a parent. And it must be compounded immensely if the parent simultaneously shows love towards another child. I don’t think my situation was as extreme as your sisters, but I know the pain of the boys being given love and affection that my mother did not give to her one female child; me! I have come far enough in my healing to realize that my mother’s inability to love one child was not about anything I did or how worthy a person I am. It is due to something very lacking in her. And it has been a relief and freeing to realize this. I hope your sister will be able to find healing and someday understand that this is not about her at all.


NorthernEve, I could almost have written your post! I too, have an nMom and two Nsisters. They, too, behave in such a way you describe. I pretty much cut them off a few years ago, and I have also withdrawn from extended family because they interfere with any support I would get from others, and it always works. I have been in the process of disengaging. Recently, I even received an email from my Nsister’s 15 year old daughter telling me off. I told her that there were two sides to every story, and that I wouldn’t tell her mine unless she is 30 years old and she asks, because young people deserve to grow up feeling support and loved by all members of the families and shouldn’t be drawn into family problems. Because of this, my sister had my 15 year old dropped and blocked from my Facebook account. I told my sisters recently that they and my mom don’t have the power to hurt me anymore. It’s almost true. I told them that I have built another life and that they are free to tell their children, extended family members, members of our ethnic/religious community anything they wish about me from here on out, because I am no longer much engaged with them. This prompted them to begin including me in the family events they have excluded me from in the last few years. Out of desperation to infiltrate my new life, my mother has also sought out friend/acquaintances from my new life, even traveling an hour out of her way to pop up at a store someone I know owns. I know what they tell them. It’s sort of pitiful. They hint I am not mentally well, and they use loving tones to let them know that they don’t know why Eira always has it so hard, nothing works out for her, and how much they have “helped” me. The truth is, “Eira” is not mentally ill, has no mental health rx except for some mild anxiety, owns her own home, raised a child on her own, has held a job with the same company for 17 years, is a published writer on the side, and is married to a very handsome, well-educated, and successful man. My sisters are two stay-at-home moms with many children and I feel they are also successful as well. They have bullied me my whole life. Every accomplishment I have ever had they seek to tear down. Recently, I’ve had writings regarding a secret ancestral identity that occurs in my family that most immigrants to North America tried to hide. I’ve participated in research projects, have been thanked in a book foreward, have been asked to give lectures and been published in this field. It is not my only hobby, but its the one my brother likes to rib me on every time he sees me, though he was actually at one point interested in our family connections. Because its been something I have been recognized for, he has to demean and diminish it. This is a 37 year old man, divorced, with one child who lives in another country whom he does not support or even paternally acknowledge, and who lives at home with our parents. I had my mother and brother here for Christmas Eve dinner, and several times he offered nonsequitors that had to do with my avocation area of study in order to make it clear he was devaluing my work. I would ignore him or point out some painting I had on my wall that dealt with an entirely different subject. I started to tell my mother about a book I was reading, and my brother started again on my “obsession” and made it all about that. (The book had nothing to do with that, but I answered, “No, its not about the _______ people, its about a 50 year old man who has no goals in life and he lives in his mom’s basement and the only social outlet he has is when his friends come over to play Dungeons & Dragons. My brother sputtered. “I’m not 50 years old.” True, I said, “you’re 37, and furthermore, Mom and Dad don’t even have a basement. But if we’re going to start poking at people’s hobbies, we should all take our turns, and you’re turn is up now.”

He promptly moved away from me from the sofa with a glare, and he did not bring up the subject again. When he does, I have some zingers for him.

In the past, it never occurred to me to try to be street smart, to put people down. I still don’t like to as it goes against my very nature. Instead, I would scold people and cry…it made me so sad to be put down like I have always been.

I feel a bit sad that I cannot be my true self. I had always wished to have a family, but really, my own integrity is the most important thing to me. I am by nature, a loving and accepting person. It is a bit sad that I have had to resort to loving my own family a lot less in order to be around them. I no longer crave or need their acceptance. It should have been rightly given to me as a child. It was my right to be loved and to be treated well. My mother should not have scapegoated me or allowed my siblings to abuse me. My dad should not have beaten me either. I may be physically present, cooking like Cinderella, but they will no longer get the kind of love I once had to offer. It is their loss.


I want to be your friend. You are intelligent and so so wise. I commend you on putting yourself first. You have to be. I have suffered many of the same things you have. I remember my mother made me take secretarial courses in college because “you will never be anything more than that”. I got into property management and I remember the first time I managed a multi-million dollar property and was making $40k a year as a single mom I called her to tell her the good news. She changed the subject with out blinking an eye.
Now with her death several months ago, I am going home tomorrow to see my family. My sister is the only one who was ever on my side because she was abused mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually as well. My uncle told me the other day that when I went 3 and a half years without speaking to her, she told the entire family that I had dropped all of them (my adoptive family since I was 5 months old)in exchange for my biological family (i have known since I was 16). Now they think I am an ungrateful, selfish person. I was given a lecture how my sister is and always has been my sister. My sister and I have an amazing relationship. I even helped her find her biological family. We did this just to see who we were. I also did it to see if the home I was born into treated people the way my adoptive family did. I could not imagine the State welfare making a mistake with whom they put me. I don’t know if I would have been better off. But I do have a relationship with them. Its not as close as me and my sister, but I do love and care for them.
So in a few days I will be walking into her home where I found a letter after her death telling me to never come around after she dies. No pictures of my children or grandchild up in her home. I will be welcomed with a family who does not know the truth. I don’t feel that it is right to tell them after only a few months after her death. I know it needs to be done but not yet sure how.
Love to you my friend.


@Nothern Eve
I like yor story! I was smiling while reading it.
See my only problem was that I was lacking the peace and calmness to just watch them. I was n/c when I was 18-21 and than l/c but always (as I realize now) acting like a hurt kid (thus giving them more power): crying, explaining myself, running away and shutting the door etc. Biggest mistake: I still trusted my nsister. That was a huge mistake. I found out so many things this past year (her lies, her getting everything, me- nada) I finally opened my eyes. Too bad it cost me my job. B/c in the meantime I all of a sudden started craving a relationship w/ them, trying to please them at all costs. I became a pupper on strings, how idiotic and pathetic really. Now I am back to n/c. I know both my sister and mother are not someone who deserves to be called family. I have not yet decided in regards to my sister. I know it might be silly but sometimes I picture a little revenge in my head, once I am back on my feet. A meeting with her, now since I am fully aware of her games, seeing her jelousy. I am not sure if it is worth it, we’ll see.


Wow, Eira! You sound as if you are coming from such a position of strength. I think you have found one of the secrets of success to arise from such a familial situation. You empowered yourself to pick and choose the interactions with the family members you wanted. (or at least the ones you can endure)
That is annoying and hurtful, that your brother is constantly sniping at you like that. It sounds like he is envious of your knowledge and success at writing. Your accomplishments in this field seem to bring you to an expert status, actually. Wow, the whole family must be seething over that! (that is funny, him getting defensive over the comparison to the basement-dweller!)
I find the same with my FOO. Only a narrow list of hobbies would be accepted. Usually the ones my brothers excelled at (so nmom could gloat and be told how wonderful her sons were). Girls were not supposed to have any interests at all. That was competition for nmom. She wasn’t having it. She spent more than a little time, as a matter of fact, the other night, telling my SO about her skating lessons, 70 years ago, as a child. LOL
I can’t believe your mother goes so far out of her way to discredit you, and poison others against you. You sound like a well-accomplished person, with a happy and healthy life. Why does that bother them so?
Hah,I have a 15 year old niece as well. Interestingly, whenever the triumvirate gathered in the kitchen, my niece would disengage and leave the room. How sad, your sister blocked you from her on facebook. My mother blocked my niece from me on facebook. Then I was accused by my nsis, of “blocking my own niece on facebook”! (always my fault. No one is ever responsible for their actions)She is quite the tech-savvy octogenarian!
But, I can hope for a relationship with them as adults. I think it has been a situation of overkill, all the poison they try to pump their kids up with, regarding their wicked aunt. For some reason, my niece seems to be “getting it”.
Funny, I do some genealogy research as well. Suddenly, it has become a competition, with some of these other family members doing research, as well. We had a book published about one of the family branches, and my sister gave a copy of it to my brother’s GF, who actually has the most experience with tracing ancestry. But, she was giving a “leg up” to her, to prove I was not good at this pursuit.
It feels good to disengage, and have power over my life. It feels good not to need them!
Does it hurt sometimes, that I don’t have a real FOO? Sure. But it is what it is, as they say. I have some family members who I have a very good relationship with. And that is wonderful. To see my mother, at this late age, still try to defeat me, bring me down, hurt me, is actually pretty disgusting.
We actually became engaged over Christmas! Our wedding will be small, as it is neither’s first. The nsisters aren’t invited! While I was out walking today, I actually was thinking about the little guest list. I really do believe I am going to give each of my guests and my BF’s family a small statement to reply back to my mother, when she starts to tear me down, on this special day. Unfortunately, if I want my Dad there, she comes with the package. Most everyone that will be there will know my mother’s history of abuse and treachery. And I just thought, how cool it would be, when she, like, say, brought up my poor choice in my first husband (which is what she immediately did when I told her we were engaged), or some fairy tale about my instability or hatefulness, that she would be met with a canned statement, the same one from everybody. Then she would have no choice but to sit down, shut up, and let us have and enjoy our day. Wouldn’t that be nice?


Sandra, I prayed for you especially in church on Christmas Eve. I have been thinking of you a lot and sending good thoughts your way. I felt bad that you were alone on Christmas. That is pretty powerful that you found that letter! I don’t believe that things like that are accidents. Even after everything that has happened I still believe good will prevail in the end. It’s a New Year right around the corner, which is encouraging, I think. take care!


Your post really touched me. I don’t know what to say… Thank you!!
All my best wishes to you and may the New Year bring you happiness and peace.


Kimberly, wow, your mother thinks she has the power to control from the grave! Like she will dictate your behavior, and who you are to interact with, when she is gone. That’s incredible! I am so glad you have your sister, your bio family, and after you have yor chance to set the record straight, other family members. It’s kind of like, well, I needed to be legitimized in life with the role of “mother”, and you helped me fulfill that. Now, since I am gone, you are no longer needed, and are dismissed. Don’t they have incredibly warped ideas? You may be surprised as to who was “on to her”. Celebrate your beautiful family, your kids and grandchild, and the great mother you are.

Sandra, yes, I tried to fold myself up and insert myself into my designated little spot in the FOO too. It didn’t work for me, either. Because the playing field was never level. The rules were never fair. My FOOs game was always set up, for my little nsis to “win”, as she entered into the agreement with my nmom, at a young age, to take on all the characteristics my nmom found desire able, wished she had herself. Married the exact type of man my mother wished she had married (who was a drunk, it turns out). I was to play the role of my nmom’s sister, who always intimidated nmom, and she always wished she could kick in the teeth. My accomplishments were downplayed, as well. Congrats to you, on your success in your career, by the way! The nice part about success we achieve, is that we surely achieve it ourselves. Nothing was ever handed to us. So, once again, good job, and congrats, Sandra!
I think we approach them in a spirit of goodwill, while they have their agenda, and we really are just objects to them…..
I like what Darlene says about mutual respect being present in our relationships. It is necessary!


I know there are plenty of cheesy “inspirational quotes” out there on the web but sometimes it is just what the doctor ordered 🙂 And this one I found beautiful:

God is about to put a period, where the devil tried to put a comma. He is about to end somethings that the devil tried to continue in your life.


So, I attempted to have an abbreviated visit, with my parents, at the end of Christmas Day.

How in the heck did you attempt an “abbreviated” visit? That’s my mom’s issue. She tries to impose “minimum required stays.” If you don’t stay for the “minimum required stay” she thinks it looks weird and people will wonder stuff. (Nobody gives a crap and nobody is paying attention!) I have to come up with AMAZING excuses to leave before “minimum required stay.”


My mood has greatly improved since Christmas is over. WHOO HOO!


On the job part: I either must have not been clear in one of my posts or you misunderstood but that’s ok. I got an awesome one last year but it was during the time I temporary lost my mind….. I quit b/c that’s what Mommy Dearest wanted (today I know she must have been so freaked out about a potential success comin my way). I am doing everything to get back on my feet. I was behavion totally unline myself. Hopefully 2014 will bring some positive changes. Later on she said: so why did you listen to me? It is your life and your choices. (I was acting liek a little kid almost asking her for a permission, I do not know what got into me).


@Northern Eve, I think we could almost have the same family. My mother, too, values her sons much more than her daughters. In fact, she has crippled them from really growing by making them co-dependent and not having to face consequences for their poor choices. Thus, the 37-year-old son living in their basement, smirking at the accomplishments of others–having never graduated from college, or held a good job, or supported his child–and yet, he can poke fun at me.

I married and had a child while I was in college. When my graduated my son was two years old, and it had been a very big struggle. The “family story” was that my husband was such a nice, kindly guy, and I was a bitch because I expected certain things. The truth was, I was also really co-dependent. I had to make sure my husband was up and got to work on time because he was like a teenager. He sometimes did not come home until very late and I did not know where he was. Once he even got a ticket for loitering in a place of high prostitution. He frequently over-drafted the little money we had in the bank. We were so poor and had nothing, yet were expected to buy expensive Christmas gifts in name drawings for this family, and when I tried to get out of it, was told I was greedy, and even selfish. They adored my first husband. He began to have affairs, once with a co-worker, and then a woman he met online, and then another woman he met online, for whom he left me. I was told that it was said that they felt sorry for him and felt like he almost had to do this because I was such a bad life. The man never had to do childcare, or clean the apartment, or do anything on his own. The worst I can say is that I frequently scolded him for overdrafting our bank account. After he left and moved in and married the other woman, who harassed me via email at my job, and called me at my home, my nmother even in front of me invited him to bring his new wife, and former mistress, over for a visit so she could meet her and her children! My ex eventually left her for another woman, and left that woman for another woman, and has another woman on the side. He rarely sees his son teenage son and this Christmas went by with no contact with his only child! And yet, they still post Facebook photos of the “good old days” when my first husband was still part of the family because “he was so nice.”

Speaking of not recognizing any accomplishments, reminds me of my graduation from college. I graduated magna cum laude! I was so pleased, and had invited my mother repeatedly to come to my graduation ceremony which was only a little more than an hour from her home. “I have no interest in attending your graduation” she told me, more than once. I so craved that I would be recognized. So I went behind her back and called my father at work, explaining that mom didn’t want to come, but because it was he who encouraged me to go back to school and earn my degree, would he? Of course. So when the graduation day came, they both appear, my mom because she could not bear to be left behind. I had planned a dinner at a local sit-down restaurant, but my mom insisted we go to a local truck stop/greasy spoon. That’s what we did. I wanted to host a graduation party later, with my friends and relatives, but I gave it up because mom said that even though my graduation was important to me, no one else cared about it enough to come.

A year later my mother graduated from a short-term vocational training program. She insisted we all attend her graduation ceremony, and insisted that we have a party and that she needed presents. “How is that any different than what I wanted to do a year ago?” I asked. “You’re not 50 years old and you haven’t raised five children” she replied. Oh. Oh, and my Nsis, who graduated the year or two before that, gloated that the university I graduated from was not as prestigious as hers.

I understand that my parents have helped me, and several times financially, though no more and in some cases, much less than the others, but I think its the only ones they bring up, to silence me if I protest disrespectful treatment. I feel like my dad is often silently on my side. But what I find ironic, is that when I have been beat down with nothing and have extreme hardship, my mother seems to give sympathy and relish in that role. It’s my success they cannot handle.

When my husband was unemployed for two years, after moving to marry me, my mother thought that he had married me so he could live off of me because he was a lazy kind of guy. How many lazy kinds of guys have two master’s degrees and a PhD in Math! Not many. The problem was he moved here during the worst economy since the Great Depression.

@Kimberly, it is hard to believe your mother thinks she can dictate your relations with your relatives from beyond the grave! That is an entirely new one, even for me! Don’t be surprised if some of your extended family know exactly how she has treated you. People are often cowards, and while she was alive, they likely didn’t want to confront her. Now that she is gone, I doubt they want to break the taboo of speaking ill of the dead.

I found out after I “unenmeshed” with my immediate family and extended family that the way I was treated WAS a topic of discussion among my extended family. I connected with a cousin, who said growing up, her mother (my uncle’s wife) had sometimes mentioned it how I was demeaned and put down. And some relatives’ relatives who I connected with, by chance, had told me that people had been talking about it for years. No one ever stuck their neck out for me, however. Or confronted my nmom and nsisters or nbrother. Being I belong to a very unique and small ethno-religious community that functions like a small village, one can often find out things that circle back.

However, no one is going to risk their position in their own family by defending me.

I waited for four decades for someone to come and save me, but when it came down to it, I had to save myself! Cutting myself off, and pursuing and finding success in my own passions and interests built my self-esteem back up. Being married to a man who is very strong and who does not seek friendships with my family and is both physically and mentally imposing they scarcely dare to be anything less than respectful in his presence (I never go anywhere around them without him) also helps. He’s not going to call anyone on anything, or pick fights, they just KNOW there’s a limit they cannot cross, except for my fool brother.

PS Kimberly, happy to be your friend!

Hang in there people! There is light on the other side. Believe in yourself, and don’t play those “old tapes” in your head of how others have defined you. When you seek out new friendships, try not to tell people how you’ve been victimized, either, because I found out the hard way that those you tell of your past will be the first people who will shove you under the bus given their first opportunity!

Be strong!


This article is so deep and I am still in awe that I am not the only person in this world of pain! I did not receive a Christmas card or gift from my mother this year and I am left to the assuming aspect of our relationship that it is because I am being punished for not acknowledging her card and gift last year. That is when I had broke away from the injustice she showers me with. My sons received half of the amount of gift she gave to her other grandson and this is another thing I am yet to “think about”, in her mind! How does a person really break free and how does God feel about you leaving your mother? These questions way very heavy on my heart and mind and God wants me to forgive which I thought I have done however the anger just wells up inside me when I feel her hunting me even when she is not present. Is this some evil sixth sense or something because I know when she is up to no good without being told! I look around my husbands family while they were here and they are clueless of the demise and I envy them because they can be themselves and carry a genuine smile. Hiding this sort of pain is not easy it is darn right tormenting! I take the pain and hide a lot because no one especially my children should never have to endure such heartache and the cycle has to be broken. I know I am going to heaven not only because Jesus told me so but also because I have already lived hell on earth.

Darlene you have done a very great thing for so many with this page! I cannot express my thanks to you enough for bringing the “truth” to each and every one of us! May God bless you real good!!!


Hi Sandra! Yes, I did not get the part where you left your job. Sorry! So, your mother made you feel so conflicted that you left your job? Am I reading that right? And then chastised you for leaving it, after she encouraged you to? Ok. That was pretty manipulative of her, could not stand. To see you do well! That’s pretty lousy. I’m sorry to hear that.
I find if I look at relationships through the looking glass of mutual respect, like Darlene did, the truth is very revealing! Even this Christmas, when I took on the air of someone who deserves mutual respect, and someone who is an individual who is free to make their own decisions, it sent the abusive ones into a tailspin. I don’t expect, or want, to have a meaning ful relationship with any of this three, but letting them know I hold them to the standard of mutual respect, really throws them for a loop. I choose not to be a cog in their dysfunctional system. Their opinions and manipulations don’t matter to me, because I have my own life. Yes, they scurry, because they have no more chips to play. And I am at peace with that.
Do not beat yourself up over leaving the job. I’m a firm believer, that you will be in the right place, at the right time, for the best employment. Please enjoy the rest of the holidays, and take care of you! You are worth it.


Hi GDW (204)

So sorry for all your holiday issues. At least it’s over for another year. I don’t know exactly what to tell you since I’m not in your shoes. I read your post and I see a lot of myself in your situation—the me of like twenty years ago! I get the gut feeling that you can graduate from college but it’s like the final battle between you and your parents.

When I was younger I tried to be a traditional college student. It’s complicated but my Narc. mother wanted my father to retire and move to Arizona. Believe it or not, I was seeing a therapist in high school and I can recall her saying to my mom in a family counseling session, “Mrs. G—I understand that both you and your husband have retirement plans but what about your daughter?” My narc. Mom would evade the question and change the subject. I was only viewed as a live-in maid for their big luxury house. My parents basically trapped me into moving with them, while implying that it was the only way they would pay for my college at a state university. Mind you at the time I was still a state resident and I begged and cried that I could remain in my home state and attend college there and not move. I became seriously depressed and gained weight. After the move, I also had a serious suicide attempt where I almost died but I was taken to the hospital in time.

So I lived in this new town for like ten years, since the costs of living were cheap, being known as a town mainly for retired people and college students. It’s a town for the rich and the poor, without much of a middle class, and everyone has a story in this casual southwestern city. I tried some college and due to chaos and family trauma I dropped out. For me at that time, it was the right thing to do. Then, I worked like a dog at two, one time even three part time customer service jobs in food service. I bought a very used broken down car and took the city bus to my jobs. I moved to a boarding house (near university )to rent a room with housemates. Then I hit upon the bright idea of getting a PO box for my mail—privacy from roommates and a stable address in case I had to move again. My most precious posessions were kept in two locked, black footlocker trunks, plus a few extra boxes in my car. Was I happy? No, not really but I was safe and I had my freedom.

In my late twenties, I became a “returning student” at the university and graduated with good grades at age 32. Did my life magically change overnight? No, but I was able to go forward in life with small steps to get where I am now.

I don’t know what to tell you, but finances are always harder for a single woman. At my age I am considering more college in a couple of years. I don’t hate men and thankfully I am not a victim of incest with lots of men issues. For most women, their success comes from a combination of both job and married relationship. I’m not giving up on men and I’m on a couple of dating websites. I know that the severe physical beatings, verbal abuse, mental cruelty, power games, and Narc. selfishness of my parents nearly destroyed me when I was younger, but I was stronger and survived. There is NO love that I feel for either one of my parents and I could write a book on my past. We now have extremely LC–(low contact)—and I wished that I could have done things differently when I was younger to now have the NC–(no contact). They are both elderly, in their eighties, without a lot of time left.

It sounds like a lot of your college issues center on money. I don’t know your situation exactly and I wish I could help. I will tell you that the only way I earned my B.A. degree was by taking out high student loans, working at part time jobs, and living in a very cheap town in a very cheap apartment (with double bolts on my front door), and I ate a simple diet of oatmeal, peanut butter sandwiches, bagged fruit, brown rice and beans and canned goods on sale.

I just wanted to say that there are many online resources to help you. I personally have a good friend who is a single parent mom and she is not too proud to visit a local Vineyard Church food pantry twice a month. They don’t shame people and their foods are a higher quality than the local community food banks (donations from local grocery stores.) If you feel bad about taking charity then tell yourself that it’s only temporary and you can pay them back with a thank you card and money order in the future. There are Kindle books on about extreme frugal living such as “The Shoestring Girl” by Annie Jean Brewer, “Living on $8,000 a Year”, etc…..I know that there are websites that you can google for extreme living situations for college students like you. They can live decently and quietly by sleeping in their car, taking a gym class on campus in order to use the gym showers, and the rest of their life is normal with job, class, and library studying. If you were in a boyfriend situation, then you would not have to be officially living together, but just enough to stay overnight and shower, without his parents catching on.

I don’t know what to say but it seems that you must be pro-active and come up with some kind of a survival plan really soon. Years ago, I made the mistake of not having a good plan and I had to run away to a woman’s shelter before my mom threw me out. Yes, I was the live-in maid and a nice, quiet person but she still wanted me out!

Have you considered a plan for that transitional period between graduation and getting your ideal career/place? Before I moved here to Phoenix, I heard of a unique living situation through a spiritual group that wanted someone to live in their guesthouse FOR FREE, in exchange for caring for a disabled person in the main house– just part time hours. (Several years ago and now I own my own house!) It’s so easy now with the internet. You could place ads on Craig’s List for becoming a “house sitter”. Just say that you’re a non-smoker, with no pets,and a recent college grad. with references. Could you become a live-in companion to an elderly lady where you have your own bedroom in the house and food in exchange for driving her to doctor’s visits and errands? You could look into finding an agency where you could become a live-in nanny to children in an upper-class family and be paid! I had a girlfriend who went to live in Santa Fe, New Mexico after college graduation and she basically joined a community of local artisans where she could live quite cheap and they make stained glass. Anyway, life is choice and these survival situations are not your whole life but rather a safe place to get away from your parents for awhile and get your head together. Then you can save your money and keep applying for your real career jobs and rental place.

It’s so hard these days, and I have a few friends who are adults in their thirties and forties and they are only working at 30 hours week jobs! They are college grads with experience and that’s all they can get right now. I feel sorry for the younger adults who must go back home to living with their parents since they can’t get FT employment right away. If their families are too dysfunctional than they MUST find a creative alternative to living at home!

I am not pushing religion, but the spiritual always helps people.
If you were metaphysical like me, then I would suggest that you look into help like seeing a pro.astrologer for analyzing your natal chart, and future relocational charts. They can also do synastry(chart comparison between you and a parent) Perhaps a session with a well-known local psychic reader would be good.

I always tell my non-Pagan friends that simply having quiet periods of meditation is very relaxing. You can turn every negative thought into a positive affirmation and visualization. Don’t keep saying to yourself that, “I don’t know where to go”, or “I don’t have a safe place to live”, or “I don’t have enough money to live on”, or “I’m scared of the future” etc…..when you can turn it around. Make every negative statement into a positive affirmation and repeat daily. Say that “I now have a safe and wonderful new place to live—for free”, “I have abundant financial resources”, “New and wonderful opportunites come to me easily and effortlessly”, “I am divinely guided at all times”, “My future is bright”…..Then you can spend just ten minutes a day visualizing and feeling your wonderful new future. See and feel yourself with more than enough money to live, a new place to live, and graduating. See yourself walking in your graduation ceremony in your cap and gown. Essential law of attraction does work for attracting new situations, but not for changing other people or radically changing yourself. If you’re a Christian or any other religious faith, even spending a lot of time in reflective prayer can give answers.

Hang in there and don’t quit! There is always a creative solution to the money and living arrangement issues! Happy New Year 2014!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne )0(


Eira, what you say about your brothers really sheds light on my one brother. He was the most talented and intelligent in the family. Yet, nmom found a way to emasculate him. He never went to college, has a menial job, and is at her beck and call. Like a dog on a shelf. I am the only he that grieves the loss of what he cold have been, at his 57 years of age. Not that we are human doings instead of human beings, but still.
I can’t even believe your mother dissed your awesome achievement, then followed up with her own lesser one, which should be recognized in a grandiose manner, only suitable for a mother of five! Clearly, she was feeling her importance was not being recognized, by the standards of her time, a mother of give ( coincidently, same with my nmom, mother of five). Then your sister, throwing her prestigious school into the mix. Excuse me for saying, but it is like they want to take a dump on anything we accomplish. Sorry for being so base there. But that is what it feels like. However, you are recognized as an important contributor to your side area of study in genealogy. Your peers recognize and validate the knowledge you have, and the work you have done. Can they say the same? I think not.
I read somewhere, if you are the scapegoated child, the FOO had only few responses to your partner. If they clearly can’t argue their “goodness”, to farm over them and vilify you. And if the spouse is functioning poorly, put the blame onto you, and put the partner up on a pedestal. Clearly, they chose the second with your ex. It is such a mind-blower! My ex, we were both POS. My current, and I hope, life partner, he is crime de la crime, and I am yet again chopped liver. If only they knew what he really thinks of them and sees. He is much too polite and polished to reveal his hand.
Christmas night, at my parents, older nsis was trying to bond w my father over the older artists playing on the satellite radio. She was like, Oh, Guy! Can you check who the artist us on the radio? Is is Glenn a Miller? I wanted to say, get up off your arse and check yourself. He is not here to do your bidding. But he could read. Across the space, with his 20/20 vision. Lol. She is just like nmom.


“Yes, they scurry, because they have no more chips to play.”

Remove the chips! That’s what I did with my family. I removed them all. The last chip was with my own child. Fortunately, my child refused to play. They had a 70th birthday party for my dad a few months ago, and tried to invite him without inviting me. They did the same on Thanksgiving. He didn’t protest, but wouldn’t attend if they were not inviting me. He ignored the invites.

@Yvonne–yes! yes! yes! Positive affirmations. Repeat what you’re doing well. Even if you don’t at first believe them!


@ Taz “How does a person really break free and how does God feel about you leaving your mother? These questions way very heavy on my heart and mind and God wants me to forgive which I thought I have done however the anger just wells up inside me when I feel her hunting me even when she is not present.”

I evoke the writing of Alice Miller in the book “The Body Never Lies.” She speaks about child abuse and the Biblical edict of honoring your mother and father.

But honoring your parents and allowing emotional and spiritual abuse are two different things.

Growing up, whenever I protested against the physical and emotional abuse my parents directed, to some degree on all their children, and especially on me, my mother effectively silenced me by quoting this Biblical passage. I was indeed, a believer, right? How could I go against the Bible and tell my parents they were abusive? I couldn’t and so I was silenced.

This was a very insidious form of spiritual abuse. How could I be a good believer, yet question my own parents or worse, CRITICISE them to their face?

So I started to read the Bible myself, and found a passage from Colossians 3:21: Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

I too, in counseling, had difficulty with going no-contact, and low-contact with my parents while I sorted out my own identity, who I was, and where I wanted to be in this life. I did not forbid my child from seeing or participating with the family things, and attended family functions only when I felt strong enough to face them in my truth (and when I was invited). Sometimes that was only four times a year. My therapist, a Christian herself, said that challenging your parents’ perception of you is NOT dishonoring them. Asking them to discuss your relationship with them, or disagreeing with them is also not dishonoring.

I did nice things for my parents from time to time. I sent them things I thought they would enjoy. Sometimes I planned small outings with them when I was up to it. When my mom said mean things, I later let her know it was not acceptable. I sent her a very short list (only four topics) that I asked her to no longer bring up to me. Usually, that precipitated her cutting me off for several months, and as she discussed them with siblings, they cut me off too afterward! How dare Eira ask Mom not to discuss Eira’s weight problems! Or her acne scars! Or that she no longer attends our variety of church services! Or that she requires Mom not to discuss Eira in front of Johan (her child) or Gunnar (her stepchild!)

I honored my parents in the way I could, from the distance I could. I sometimes sent them Mothers’ or Fathers’ Day presents. Once I invited them to join us on part of our vacation. But most importantly, I honored them in my prayers. I prayed for their highest good, and I prayed that they could forgive me before I died. I prayed that if my parents’ if they ever saw or acknowledged the addiction that wrecked their marriage and harmed ALL their children and led to my scapegoating, that they could somehow forgive themselves. My siblings, who participate in scapegoating me, did so because they still NEED to have a mother and a father. They need to see them as good people. They cannot bear to see Mom and Dad as abusive, so its more bearable to say that its all Eira’s fault. My mom used to say “this family could be happy if it wasn’t for you, Eira.” Not true. I was just the one who was speaking out on the dysfunction and exposing it, and asking for equal treatment. They knew I could blow the lid of the façade of the perfect family, and so they needed to also damage my reputation to extended family and outsiders.

I will never let them back into that place in my heart they used to occupy. But I wish them all well. I give them to God and ask for His infinite mercy.

Living well is the best revenge!


@Northern Eve
Pretty much but it was even more complicated. I could write a book about what happenedin 2012…. 🙁


Eira: My mom quoted the “honor your parents” thing too. Also, I have never heard my mom say she loved her mom. She loved her father, but I have never heard her say she loved her mom. When she talks about her mom, it’s always phrased as “duty.”

My grandma loved having grandkids, she always took us to town where she lived just to show us off. However, I strongly feel that if B/C would have been more available back then, I don’t think Grandma would have had children.

I think my mom took this “duty” thing so seriously that she expected “payback” from her kids and when we aren’t showing this “payback,” she is upset. I’m just speculating.


There have been so many stories of pain and betrayal that I can’t really comment on everything I read, other than to say I am so sorry. Everyone should have loving parents. Life is hard enough for everybody, but not having a solid, functional family, can scar people for life. Unfortunately, many times, those that were scarred are quite happy to pass on the pain to the next generation and I cannot wrap my head around this.

@DXS 236

I was completely brainwashed by religion. I was quite open to it as well, in the sense that I loved reading the bible for kids. That, together with my mother’s misuse of religion did a lot of damage. The irony is, my mother had never read the bible. Yet, she was quite happy to speak on behalf of God when she wanted to punish me. The horror I felt was too much. I had horrific nightmares. Instead of hating my mother for her ways, I felt unworthy and scared of what God would do to me. I had nightmares, I denied myself water as a sacrifice to redeem my sins and I was terrified of the devil.

After my mother made me believe, directly and indirectly, that God was disappointed in me, I decided I was beyond salvation and I wasn’t sure, after a while, I cared for God either. I stopped going to church on Sundays and guess what… soon after my mother stopped going, too!!!! What use was religion to her when her daughter no longer cared for God??

Then there was a gap in my life when there was only a void. I had some moments when I had glimpses of who was to blame for my lack of self-worth, but it never lasted. Until recent years, in the end, I always turned the blame on me.

When I was 16 I had an argument with a then friend who was bullying me, but who’d lied to her mother saying I was the one saying awful things to her. The thing was, I was the chubby kid, so she picked on me for being fat and told me I should kill myself. I never told my parents this because I did not feel safe to tell her. But my friend told her mother lies. Her mother came to tell me off, to our own house, and my mother never stood up for me. I stopped talking to this girl but my mother kept on greeting her and her family.

My whole family was dysfunctional. I did not have caring grandparents, quite the opposite. My grandmother openly resented my very existence but my mother never stood up for me because she feared her own mother. Yet, I did stand up to my grandmother and our relationship was always non-existent. Just being on the same room as her was unbearable for me. I feel betrayed because I gave my mother support and stood up for her against her own mother. Now, I find that she forgot all that happened, as if her mother was perfect. She recoils in horror if I try to mention things as they were. She doesn’t want me to tarnish the memory of the dead. I often feel that in order to become a good daughter I just need to die. All those people who caused her grief and pain are now missed, and perfect…


Suzy, i can relate to vicious peers in childhood and not being believed by “adults”. In fourth grade me and a girl in my class brought our Barbue dolls to school. She asked to borrow one of the doll outfits promising to bring it back the next day. She didn’t bring it back and I asked several times with no results. She started to ignore me. So one day I went with my younger brother to her house and told her mother what happened and asked for the clothes back. Her mother brought me up to the girls room with her daughter and asked me to show her what outfit it was. When I did, the mother lied to my face saying that she had bought it for her daughter and that I was lying. She made me feel two feet tall and I felt guilt and shame even though I had done nothing wrong. How could this woman defend her daughter when she had to have known she never bought those clothes for her. When my brother and I left the girl followed me outside and rallied the other kids on the block to call me all sorts of mean names. Like I needed that right after what happened with her lying mother.

There were a few things going on here. I wondered over the years why the mother lied that day. If my child had something that belonged to someone else, I would tell them they need to return it. As an adult, I wonder if she was In denial that her darling daughter had held on to something that didn’t belong to her for months and had no intention of doing the right thing and returning it. Maybe mother couldn’t face that. The girl knew she did something wrong because she wouldn’t make rye contact with me after that. Why I felt guilt and shame was a mystery to me. I didn’t do anything wrong and I had the right to ask for the clothes back. But I still felt guilt and shame when the mother accused me of lying.

Then seven months ago I started reading EFB. Guilt and shame had been familiar companions to me my whole life. It was easier for me to suck it up and take the blame, even when the other person was clearly in the wrong. If I took the blame at home, mom would be happier with me than if I didn’t. Maybe she would stop yelling and hitting. Maybe, just maybe this would be the time that she would start liking me better?

I also felt I had less rights than others. I wasn’t worth as much, after all. And if an adult said that I was wrong, well then, don’t they know better than me? So even though my classmate borrowed doll clothes with no intention of returning them, in some way I must have felt she had more of a right to them than I did, especially after her mother reinforced it by blaming and shaming me.

So Suzy I know how things can get twisted around and I feel bad about what happened to you with that girl lying and of course he mother believing her and telling you off, just like my classmates mother did. And as a kid, there was no way to win for either of us.


I forgot: I did not get any Xmas wishes (no call, no text) from my mother this year. she did send me some money to my account though.
I do not care. FOr me it is over, truly over and this time for good.
It kind of hurts though, b/c I know that as a mother no matter what I would send a text message at least, I would call and leave a message if no one answered. I would tell my sister to send me the wishes.
But of course that will never happen. B/c she would need to be a different person. What do I expect anyways? We are talking about the person who last year when I called her for Xmas she basically told me to f*** off and that she prefers to watch TV by herself. Just to call me a day before Xmas saying how much food she bought and acting surprised I was not coming and how could I not visit my “old mother even on Xmas”…



I found it interesting that she put money on your account. Both my parents and my husband’s parents seem to believe that giving money makes them proper parents and therefore no else is required of them.


as for the money, I know why she does it okay…..
until I am still 26 she will be sending me some money whenever she thinks I deserved it. As she said many times she even showed it to my father, she has “documented” every single penny she has spent on me since and here I do not know either since they divorced (I was 14) or since I left home when I was 18. She has piles of bank statements printed out at home….


So sorry you had a similar experience. I have more where my mother did not stand up for me. The real reason was that she did not want any conflict with anybody as she was highly regarded. She knew I was not a liar – I was too God fearing for that. But she tends to think, to this day, when it suits her, that I am “confused”. Someone is, clearly.


Hey all… speaking of mean parents and money control issues….during my darkest hour going thru a divorce my mother told me that she COULD help me out financially but she didnt want to make me WEAK. Once again cruelty disguised as caring behavior.


Money = “my house my rules.” I accused my mom of that, only to have her deny it since I was a “grown” woman. However, twice she has used the “money issue” to hold something over my head. Best one can do is to live your life as though you don’t need it. If you get it, but don’t become dependent on it. That’s exactly what my mom wants!



I am thinking about you too. Yvonne’s post 231 covers a lot of ideas and so well said. I really feel for you – you remind me of me in some ways a few decades ago. College was really hard to get through financially though not as hard as what you are describing. My boyfriend at the time suggested I cut off my parent’s offer of money because of all the dysfunction and take out loans. That’s what I did. Every situation is different however.

Maybe your financial aid department or counseling dept. might have some ideas if you tell them you are HUNGRY. Or your towns social services department. You absolutely shouldn’t have to go hungry. Now I’m getting worked up on behalf of the young people in this country trying to make it!

One thing I did when I went back to graduate school was pick a school that had a great tuition benefit as part of employment, worked there for a year, then started school and had so much of it paid through the benefits program. Schools can really vary on this.

I also went to the library for several weekends, researched many scholarships (especially the obscure ones) and looked at how many scholarships were given compared to the # of applicants. I only applied to the organizations where I had a very good chance (~ 1/3 or 1/4). Though I was never told this, I have the feeling that I had the most scholarships of all my classmates.

I am sorry for what you are going through and how difficult it is. I too had parents who had wealth but were really tight with their money. I can feel your pain and wish I could say something to make your situation better. Perhaps there are other people and organizations out there that can help you.


P.S. to GDW: Or maybe even the school health department? You shouldn’t have to go hungry!! I know I’m not supposed to give suggestions, I just hate to see you hungry. How can you possibly have a stable peace of mind and attend to your studies if you’re hungry.


Trying to not be taken in by thoughts of my mother. It almost seems like my own mind is trying to work against me, but I know it’s just force of habit. I keep getting lulled into this false idea, this illusion of comfort where my mom is in my life. But, it’s more like a feeling of procession. Like I have this person, who, like a trinket sits on a shelf and claims the title of mother. But it is just a hollow statuette, there is nothing inside her. Not for me, at least. And I think, well… she’s not really hurting me anymore, not in any tangible way. But she does by her very definition of me. By imposing who she thinks I am on me. And imposing her cowardly version of past events. It’s as if she can’t stand the idea that I am a self actuating, self propelling human being; not her mad science experiment gone wrong. I have to keep reminding myself that she, at this point in time, is poison to my spirit. Not only am I striving to be safe, I want to be whole. And even if the most terrible things she did to me were when I was young and at my absolute most vulnerable, they are the sick roots of our current dynamics. One of her defenses is that can you bring ups something that isn’t more than 20 years old. Most people would have let this relationship go so long ago, but I was trained to be loyal, to blindly follow, to pine for her. The way young girls pine for their secret crush… Brainwashed by family lore of a strong, smart women above reproach. I waited and waited and waited for her to wake up, to see me, to be here with me. But she won’t ever do it. What I thought was faith and hope was just delusion when I’ve been given so much information contrary… she has given it to me. Over and over again. “I don’t see you, I don’t love you, you are worthless to me.” It’s an active process, not allowing my mind to be lulled back into that delusion. Literally just like software that I have keeping to exit out of. Life is too short to wait for low lifes who have no value for you, even if they are your own mother.


Ugh I have been feeling angry recently. I have this weird thing, that for the first time in my life, I do not know how to describe it….I am making a step back and looking at myself, at other people in my life, at my life so far in general, from the outside.
It is good but I wish Iit came to me earlier.
I am sooo angry. I am thinking about certain events but looking at them as a third person, I feel like in a giant aquarium.
And for the first time I feel angry. Not depressed or sad or happy and condnfident for the outside world. I feel furious. If I could I would go back ad smack very single person that hurt me, that humiliated me. I never had that before. The only thing I could do was freezing, forgetting and moving on, and next and next, and another situation, and freezing again and next (obviously b/c I was not doing any reflection).
Also I am pissed at people who say oh you can think about the past when you are 60 now you just have to keep pushing forward! Oh really? Well that is what I have been doing so far it just looked like backpeda
I was pushing forward but standing still, danicng in circles, all over again, same scenario different actors, or sometimes the same actors all over. So how am I supposed to keep moving if I am making the same mistake b/c so far this is the first time I have stopped and done some thinking.


I guess I should have posted someplace else not under “Xmas…”
Sorry guys

Darlene’s post today on FB was all I needed, thank you

“I came to understand that one of the keys to freedom and wholeness is in realizing why we “didn’t know better” when we “should have known better”. ‘Why’ we seemed to do things even as adults that made us feel so bad about ourselves and ‘why’ we chose to do them even when we knew deep down that we would likely come to regret it. Facing the damage and the belief system caused by that damage answered those “why” questions and the truth set me free” Darlene Ouimet

This is it, I keep being furious with myself doing LOTS of self talk, why did I do this, why did I do that, why did I allow this and that to happen, it was so simple, was I mentally delayed, temporary retarded, how could I possibly do this and that, act so helplesssly in such and such situation, allow such what I now know DISRESPECT towards myself.
I am angry for myself, because my behavior has been so far very self destructive. I would not want my friend to go through situations I went through. I would be like: hey pal, get out of there! What are you doing? etc etc
Well it may seem simple today but only b/c I know so much more



I do relate to what you say. I still get very angry at myself – sometimes consciously and, I suspect, many times (if not all the time) unconsciously. I do say things to myself like you mention “was I a retard or something for accepting x and y?”.

But now, as I type I remember why I allowed… because my grandmother used to threaten killing herself, my dad had endless bouts of depression and would hint at suicide too, my mother was a feeble woman except when she had rage attacks when she’d turn into a monster. I remember feeling that if I rocked the boat, I’d be responsible for someone’s death.

My grandmother cursed me several times. Several.


Suzy and Sandra, I too had a hard time with this. And sometimes still get mad at myself for things I did, or if I didn’t speak up. But I am beginning to understand what Darlene is saying. As a child, we didn’t have any choice but to accept these things and we couldn’t do anything about them. These people had power over us and we depended on them for our care. It was an unequal playing field. There was no way we could win and the consequences of speaking up or going against them had the potential to be devastating. Going against my mother meant getting hit and/ or verbally bashed with words that shattered my self esteem. Even her silent treatments gave me the message that I wasn’t worth being bothered with.n and she still used the silent treatment and throwing me out of her life when I disagreed with her as an adult. Of course she didn’t have the same power once I grew up but she had enough of an influence to still be able to hurt me.

Guilt and shame were used a lot too. I was made to feel that whatever was wrong was my fault. Sometimes I had done something that was wrong, but usually I was very compliant and was being blamed for something that I wasn’t at fault for. It became hard to tell the difference as to what blame I really owned and what I didn’t. I still to this day have a tendency to feel guilt and shame when falsely blamed because I had been so conditioned to do that. It feels strange to look at a situation and to realize that I am not to blame for it and my guilt is unwarranted. Guilt and shame are often still my first reaction. I will take responsibility if I am at fault, but I sure hope it gets easier to stop feeling guilt and shame when I am not at fault. Thanks for listening. It felt good to vent on this.



I understand how you feel when you said, “whatever was wrong was my fault.” I even used to say that to my husband: “you can blame me for everything.” I was joking around but I truly meant it deep down because that is how I was treated in my FOO. My husband never did blame me for everything, but if he was a nasty person he would have done just that.

I still feel a bit sad that I have gone NC with my family, but there really was nothing else to do. I could not go back to feeling those yucky feelings when talking to them or visiting with them. It is much better than last Christmas and I know it will get better and better. I hope to stop thinking about it so much, but this too will happen. I wish all a great 2014!



Happy belated birthday DXS!
I just got back from a vacation over Christmas and it was so great I am doing it again next year.
On it I met lots of people who were doing the same thing, being AWAY from their rotten families. We didn’t talk about it much but acknowledged it was going on and that we were there because of it. For the first Christmas in years I didn’t feel like a loser who other people have to take pity on and invite to dinner:)

Momster sent me a social media connection request wishing me a merry christmas in capitals and a voicemail which sounds as if she was pretending we were still in touch more for herself really. I just thought, how sad she has to keep this up, denying to herself that her only daughter is NC. No other family members were in touch. I am relieved about this. I’ve been reading all the new posts and such great insight everyone has. On the way home I read a book about a family who mistreats their daughters and several paragraphs stuck out at me but especially this idea that everytime the daughter tried to have a self she was called “selfish” but she was just trying to have a self. Had the airline not had us squeezed in like they did I would have fallen off my seat!
In the airplane I felt cold and asked for a blanket. The hostess took a long time getting me one so I did something I don’t think I would have dared in the past, I asked her a second time. She made a few excuses about why she couldn’t get to it earlier and again when she brought it to me. I didn’t feel a shred of guilt about asking for something I needed. This has to be a goddamn first! Although I did have an inner voice that told me I should have smiled more when I asked. Geez, this family is the gift that keeps on giving!


Hi Alice. Good for you for asking for the blanket a second time. And I love your humor about the “gift that keeps on giving”.

Your post has inspired me. I was reluctant to go on a vacation at Christmas….what if I spend all that money and am depressed and in turmoil the whole time?…..but hearing your experience makes me hopeful.

If you were with a (non-identifying) club or group or online organization, would you be willing to say which one? I am looking for some kind of organized vacation for next year.

Thank you! Maybe going away would be the absolute best thing for me next year. I had a crappy second half of Christmas and it’s taking me several days to recover. I wrote about it over on “The Grooming Process of Discrediting Children” and it took hold over there.


P.S. “Non-identifying” meaning you wouldn’t be identified to protect your privacy. But the name of the organization would be much appreciated if you are comfortable!


Hi Light!

I went to a place that hosts retreats – yoga and stuff. I’m not a yoga head but those places can be cool to hang out in. I can’t say specifically which one in public but if you are in touch with Darlene, maybe we can find a way to pass the info on. It wasn’t an organized trip, I just went myself but found lots of people travelling by themselves too there. I wouldn’t have gone to a big resort as those often have large family vacations at them for Xmas. Same for cruises. I think otherwise, picking an activity you like and looking for a semi-organized thing could be good, small places. Tripadvisor has a “solo travellers” search option and there are also websites/blogs that specialize in solo and female traveller destinations. I will go read your post. I’m sorry it was a bad time again. I’ve had so many of those. This trip hasn’t needed a second one to get over it!


Hi Light! The place is so small I guess I would still be identifiable if I gave the name but maybe via Darlene if we are both in touch with her?


Darlene and Alice:

That sounds good Alice. Darlene has my email address – Darlene would you be willing to pass along the name of the organization Alice gives you to me via email? Thank you in advance if you are OK with that.


If anyone else has some experience with going on vacation over the holidays I’d be very interested in hearing more.


Hi Alice!
Great to hear you had a good time on Xmas.
A getaway is sth I would have done if I planned ahead.

Anyways, just out of curiosity, did I get you right: are you n/c with your entire family? Just asking b/c I am planning to do so. I mean my “family” has only been my immediate family as momster isolated our father and us from any extended family. My father has been out of the picture for a long time, than momster in and out, now out for good. With my sister I am l/c, and I am trying to decided whether I should be just sending her cards or go n/c completely. If I had to be really honest with myself, I would go n/c, after all the things that I found out this year, it is just impossible for me to meet up with her and pretend I can have a conversation with her over coffee (even a meaningless one). So if you could please share a bit (or remind me, perhaps you already mentioned that in your previous posts, I must have missed that). I would like to hear from sb who went n/c with an entire “family”.


ugh….I have been reading LOTS of quotes lately.
Everynow and than I will come across a really great one, a really accurate one, a really adequate, or super funny or exceptionally wise.

But sometimes I will come across a quote that will just make me angry. Regardless who said it. It could be one of the wisest people ever, a Nobel prize winner, a Pulitzer prize winner….
When I read about the POWER OF LOVE and loving your enemies and turning your enemies into friends etc….
It makes me want to vomit
How about I just keep on living my life peacfully and avoid having enemies in the only healthy for me way by not being int ouch with them.


Hi Sandra!

Yes, I am NC with the whole lot but it’s a bit different for each. I didn’t see a lot of my extended family growing up and haven’t had any contact with them by myself since I left home. I can’t say that momster intentionally cut them off from me, I think she just wasn’t very involved with them herself. When I did meet my cousins, I thought they were great. And an aunt was very kind to me the few times I stayed there as a teenager. We haven’t kept in touch. I feel they would be “on my mother’s side” of things if I did. Part of me wishes they would get in touch to find out my side of the situation. They haven’t so far and I haven’t either.

My brother and I have swicherooed over the years between scapegoat and golden child and he is currently the latter and I am the former. But I think I only got that label when I started questioning things and refusing to go along with the mistreatment and the criticism and do my “duty” as daughter. I was asking for recognition of the mistreatment (I know I know, I didn’t realise that was a dumb thing to imagine possible) and some expression of remorse.

I can’t say that momster set us siblings against each other either. We just never got on well. I had to take care of him when he was small. When he got older he hit me or rushed at me in a fury occasionally. Sometimes I provoked him but I keep wondering if that is ever an excuse? Maybe for a kid it is but one time as an adult he took it too far and I just missed being seriously injured. My mother made excuses for him. He eventually sent me a text saying “sorry but”. I went “official” NC with him after that although we had been NC in practice for long before.

After that, momster often tried to orchestrate ‘meetings’ that would put us both in the (uncomfortable for me) situation of having to have us together “as a family” (as she would put it). What a charade.

The other female relative, I’ve mentioned her elsewhere and the why of the NC already. So yes, I’m NC with them all for various reasons/following specific incidents. Momster is the only one who seems to be refusing it. The other female relative likely imagines she is punishing me by not being in touch, I feel I know her well enough to say that:)

I think momster is doing the calling thing to “keep up appearances” or in the hope that if she keeps getting in touch as if nothing ever happened then all will go back to the way it was (this has worked before) and I will slide docilely into being hers again. Because that’s what it is about, her belonging. Her “thing”.


but I surely do like this one 🙂

Where I come from, family’s defined as those who don’t screw you over a paycheck. Blood makes no difference. If you can trust them with your life and know that they’ll be there come whatever hell rains down, then they’re your family.”
? Sherrilyn Kenyon, Born of Shadows



I like that quote too….”they’ll be there come whatever hell rains down.” Forgive and forget: nice mantra, but it does not work for me. I will not go back for more mistreatment.


Guilt and shame were used a lot too. I was made to feel that whatever was wrong was my fault.

whenever something went wrong on a team I was working with when I used to work full time, I would immediately assume somehow it was MY fault.

Now I know why. My mom, who can’t take responsibility for her own actions, always found a way to make it my fault.


Alice, thanks! My mom sent me a birthday card. Surprised she did that when I sent her a nasty letter earlier.

Alice, yay for you, repeating your request. You are just as important as others on that plane.

Light, I haven’t spent Christmas with my FOO since 2006. I just did what I wanted. Sometimes I was home, sometimes I was out in my RV. Currently, I’m in my RV. So, it’s like being on vacation. However, if you want to do what you please on Christmas, the first time you do it, you will get flack!

My mom is a “do what everyone else does” person. If you dare to go in a different direction, you get flack. Even if there is nothing wrong with what you are doing.

I believe I made a conscious decision at age 12 to never marry. However, I was surprised that my mom never said a thing about me not marrying. She was just neutral, neither encouraging, nor discouraging. Then, a few years ago, my sister revealed to me that mom doesn’t like it if I have a boyfriend. I was shocked! So, I backed my mom into a corner and did a “Law and Order SVU interrogation” on her, and she confessed, “you pay more attention to me when you don’t have a boyfriend.” SO! My decision, MY DECISION, was somehow made to be about her.

I still believe I made my OWN decision to not marry, and didn’t do it to please her. And, I’m currently not dating anyone, and I’m ok with that. My attitude is…. if it’s meant for me to have a guy, one will show up. I don’t go looking for them.

And as for “you pay more attention to me….” well, I’ve been N/C for nine months except to write her one nasty letter in response to her sending me phony “thinking of you” cards. So there!


Ihate that one too. I don’t think about it, I try not to think about it to keep living but that is something very different than forgetting.
I sort of forgave and forgot. And that brought me to the mess I am in right now. (I got sucked back in). YOu cannot forget b/c you will keep on making the same mistake.
I can’t stand all this love your enemy kidn of crap. WTF?



thanks for you reply.
Do they have your current phone number/ address etc?
See I am at such stage in my life that I keep on moving around.
If I now change my phone number and my email address, my sister will not know where I am. So that would actually be like n/c wow forever and ever.
Unless she sends me a message via Linkedin. I guess nowadays if you want to find sb you will. Unless you cannot be found online, you are not listed on any company’s website, you don’t have a Linkedin account etc.
So I am wondering… should I officialy go n/c and disappear or go n/c and leave her with my email address saying “if you are ever ready to have a respectful relationship w/ me drop me line. But only if you are ready. DO not contact me in case of any emergencies regarding momster etc erc.



YES! I am the same. I always step forward and take blame. Even as as kid I used to confess to the priest and say I was the one who was bad to my grandmother.

To this day, at work or in daily life, I will step forward and assume blame. I find that in workplace most people try to push blame to other people. I’m not better than anybody else, I am just very well trained to take blame, I guess. Of course, nowadays, I no longer take it unless I have indeed done something wrong.

Today I had two triggers.

One was finding out our neighbour’s elderly mother committed suicide by throwing herself out the window (something my grandmother would threaten when I was a kid and this would scare me). So, finding this, made me sick. The mother was elderly and in care, that’s all I heard.

The other trigger was hearing the new Pope talking about elderly abuse in the family.

Immediately both situations felt like a punch in the stomach and the search for the blame in me.

I went to Google after a while, wondering, and looked for official pages (.org)on child abuse and elderly abuse. “Luckily” (luck…) it only confirmed I was a victim of child abuse by my grandmother, mother and father (it even included on that list making the child watch pet abuse, which to me was the worst).

As for elderly mistreatment, I don’t meet the criteria. I don’t verbally abuse my mother, I yelled at her last year once, I believe, because I lost it due to her lying and turning me against my husband openly, and I take care of her finances and never stole. Luckily this resource acknowledges that many times it’s difficult for the carer to look after a parent who was once abusive and may still be so. I am happy the information is out there.

I’m still surprised how many times I still wonder if it’s me…


The truth is when I went n/c w/ my parents when I was 18 I also wanted to go n/c w/ my sister. But I wanted to have at least her…I don’t know. Which was a mistake…..
but probably not knowing all the things I know now, I would have got sucked back in at some point anyways….guilt……
anyways I want to go n/c w/ her entirely
(think hally berry and her sister)
but this is grand….for some reasons I always prefered to keep my rose colored glasses whenever I thought of her. It is just….it is lying to myself. She does not even be in touch with me really. It has always been me writing first, making effort, she made a fool out of me so many times….I have the answer, I guess I am just a bit afraid of how “final” this will be.


Dee –

How did your Christmas go? I can relate to your situation. I am older, one of my best friends is not local, and I need to leave my living situation due to dysfunction. I am not NC with FOO, but will be going even lower contact. I want to take the plunge and not spend Christmas with my FOO next year.

I am sorry it is so hard.


Sandra, yes they all have my address and phone and email and they are on Linkedin (momster is retired and has one connection haha) I already decided that I wasn’t going to go into hiding or change all my numbers which I need for work just because of them. It’s their call to make use or not of what is publicly available. I have however used blocking filters on email and telephone. As far as I am concerned I’ve made my part in NC clear. My mom is the only one who is refusing to get it.

Before NC I did tell her I had conditions for a continuing relationship. The very first was to give me space after my father’s death and not to contact me until I wished it. I told her I would be in touch when I was ready. I didn’t put a timeline on it but momster hasn’t even been able to respect this first request. That of itself told me that she would likely never respect me enough to have anywhere near a mutual relationship. She said “But we’ve always respected you”. She has also told me that she has “always” loved me, supported me, had my best interests at heart – all the things I have told her I felt she and the family did not by their actions. By this time you know the refrain “that’s just the way you see it Alice, that’s your choice” and it’s also (partly) why I hate those New Age BS quotes with the heart of a killer:)

I think the request for a mutual relationship has to be what you really want. If what you really want is to never see them again then that is what you want. I think pretending otherwise is fraught. Of course things change so that’s why I opted for “give me space” rather than “I never want to hear from you again”. Anyway, given how she is unable to give space, I am taking it. I also fear the finality of it but I am not very sure why at this point. I suppose if I knew I would be able to take a position either way. However, with each call I do not answer I feel something stronger.


Alice thanks for your answer. This is sth I need to think about.
Def there is no need to hide. Esp that nowadays it is impossible b/c of work.


Yes, Alice and Light ~
I can pass the name of the place along.
Hugs, Darlene


Great! Thanks so much Darlene!


Thank you very much Darlene! I hope you had a nice holiday. I was interested to read how you were doing with your daughter being away this year.


Hi All,

So many great posts to read—trying to catch up–will comment soon! Thanks.


For GDW (update):


I was just thinking more about your situation and I’m sorry for everything. I don’t know exactly what is going on with all of the details of your situation, but your food issues concerned me.

I was talking to my single parent mom friend and she told me that you might qualify for your state EBT/SNAP program, also known as food stamps. I’m not sure about your situation, but if you’re a lower income person, FT student and working at only a PT job, then you may qualify for the full monthly amount. You can apply online at the SNAP/DES state website and then you get called/emailed? for an interview by phone or in person. They will want copies of your rent, and utilities statements. They will want to ask for numbers so have copies of everything. If you don’t qualify for the full amount, then they could possibly give you a partial amount. The worst thing that could happen is that they could say no! You then get the EBT card by mail, which is good for all grocery stores and you can view your account balance online. You must renew every six months. Again, this is not your entire life, but just a temporary transition that you are going through, so please don’t be so hard on yourself!

I was like you years ago and I lived and survived and I know that you can to! PLEASE DO NOT DROP OUT OF COLLEGE—yes, I know we’re not supposed to tell others how to live on this site, but you are in a survival situation and it’s not about psychological counseling. You wrote that you have the tuition money, but is it more of a concern for basic food and shelter? PLEASE check out your local community food bank and google for local church food pantries—totally free and confidential. Also, check out weekly campus clubs since some groups are VERY potluck and you can go to more than one! You might also temporarily try joining a Protestant church since they usually have a weekly or monthly potluck Sunday after the church service and the church ladies can really cook! LOL!

I don’t know if you live in either a dorm or in a roommate apt.? but it sounds like you NEED to have a backup plan ASAP!!! You can place an ad on Craig’s List for being a live-in companion for an elderly lady with room, board, and small salary, etc. You’re not working as a nurse or a health care worker, just as a companion who can drive her car for errands, doctor’s visits, and shopping. Now with cell phones and the internet on a laptop computer, you can communicate with anyone quickly to find jobs and all the resources you need.

I very highly recommend getting a PO box. If you do decide to go no contact or very low contact with your FOO and parents, then there is the option of letters through the PO box, and cell phone number, without them knowing your home address to find you! (It’s cheap like only $30/year? at a US post office). A PO box is great for privacy from roommates for getting important letters and packages. If you must move frequently, even a friend can collect your mail and forward it.

I’m not sure about your food/cooking arrangements where you live but even with the food stamps, you can buy cheap snacks to live on like a box of granola bars, yogurts, bagged fruit, cheese and crackers, drinks, small ready-made salads and sandwiches from the grocery store deli, but not hot prepared foods like rotisserie chicken. If you only have a small dorm fridge–(I don’t know what you’ve got)—it’s possible to shop every other day to keep a few of these foods in a dorm fridge. There are great used cookbooks on regarding college cooking, and budget cooking. Many ingredients can be purchased from the “99 Cent Only” store or dollar stores, along with the cheapest grocery store in your town like the Walmart store. The recipes are all cheap, fast, and easy such as omelettes, spaghetti, easy casseroles–(can be baked and frozen)—baked stuffed potatoes
Mexican burritos & tacos…

Check out these used books:

The Healthy College Cookbook

The $5 a Meal College Cookbook: Good Cheap Food When You Need To Eat By Parkinson

The Everything College Cookbook: 300 Hassle-Free Recipes For Students On The Go

The Poverty Cookbook by Emily Waters *VERY GOOD* (I own this one)

Budget Meals by Better Homes and Gardens

Betty Crocker Money Saving Meals

Dinners on a Dime by Gooseberry Patch

Betty Crocker Bisquick Impossibly Easy Pies— *A PERSONAL FAVORITE–with homemade quiche recipes—all made from Bisquick*

You should be able to easily find a living arrangement like the elder care companion job in either a small college town, or a major city. Again, it’s only a suggestion and I’m not telling anyone how to live. I just read an internet article about how a young male college student bought a van for $1500 and lived in it! Of course, he can take a shower in the local gym, with a membership card, and use his campus dining card, or just buy a few snacks for simple meals. There is the local laundrymat for the dirty laundry. Most of his days are spent working, and studying in the library and taking classes. His van is mainly for sleeping. You don’t have to go that low if you plan ASAP to find a place.

Also regarding PT jobs, you can work the online sites like “Cloudburst”? I’m not sure but search the names for online work if you’re interested. You basically email them a resume, fill out an online application, and have a paypal account–(easy to get). You can do a few hours of online work like writing or typing and earn money. Then you get a direct deposit to your paypal account. Have you considered applying at the temp agencies? It’s not always clerical work and sometimes they will hire for temp. odd jobs. I knew someone who got hired for a two week job only around Valentine’s Day and the job was making a simple corsage for several hours for a florist shop. You get paid by direct deposit to your checking account. You may be able to work around a class schedule. The best part of temp jobs is that you aren’t locked into a regular ongoing PT job, but you can work when you want to given your schedule. You can refuse a job too, if you have a final exam week coming up.

Whatever happens it seems like you must learn how to travel extremely light with your personal belongings—-and no furniture, unless you can afford a studio apartment. Like I wrote, back when I was younger with all the problems like you, I owned two black footlocker trunks–(with combination locks)—-to protect my most precious belongings, and only a few more boxes with clothes, towels, a few pots & pans/kitchenware, cosmetics, and books. I could easily pack them in my car without needing a second car trip to move. In my bedroom, I only had a nice double futon mattress (with no frame) on the floor (which could fit in my car to move)–a nice throw on the futon mattress, and a large framed poster on the wall. I had tremendous freedom by loading up my car and not having boxes to ship by UPS.

Light had a comment about applying for scholarships. You can certainly apply and maybe consider staying longer in college for a masters degree? (Yes, very big decision) if you had a good financial package. Who knows? But your only job right now is to finish what you start and graduate. I know that you can find a place and food!

I think that students worry too much about these student loans. I personally have a large student loan debt, having been an older student putting myself through college. Yes, it was worth it. I may be making a small monthly payment for years—(check out IBR payment plan—Income Based Repayment) You can actually make a small payment for like twenty five years as a small percentage of what you earn. You reapply each year and it’s not hard. After this twenty five year period, kind of like having a long home mortgage, then the remaining balance is forgiven! But you have to settle with the IRS —basically a few thousand dollars for taxes but very realistic! Again, long term student loans are NOT like a death sentence. Because I was single and and an older student at the time, I did what I had to and I don’t regret anything. I have a decent job now and my life is NOT over yet. Please understand that you are just as worthy as anyone else in receiving help.

So sorry about Christmas. Know that it’s not anything that you can do to change them. In the future, if you need more support, you might consider joining a weekly support group like Al-Anon—(for those of us who grew up living with the crazy ones), or CoDependents Anonymous–(mainly for abuse victims), those traditional support groups where you sit in a circle and talk and don’t give out your real name. I enjoy EFB, but you are young and some real live human support might be good for you—I don’t know—but only after you graduate.

I think that your real Christmas present this year was the gift of clarity. You can’t change your parents’ personalities or treatment towards you. It feels like in the future that you will have less contact with them and more connection with a significant life partner and circle of great friends, than with your FOO. Please keep going forward in life and don’t give up. Sorry this is long once again but I thought to close with a quote I found online:

Someday everything will make perfect sense. So, for now,
laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep
reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.

Blessed Be,

Yvonne )0(


Oh man it just hit me! this is so childish yet simple.
I never had this prolem at school but I just realized that last year I was acting like sb who desperately wants to fit in and be freinds with the so- called popural girls even though she is bullied by them and the truth is they will be just pushing her to fo more and more stuff, usually not moral, not good just so that they can see how far she will go and in the end she will just lose her dignity but will never be “honored” with their friendship anyways.


Ok…reading horoscopes for 2014. No I am not crazy just for fun 🙂
Ok guys out curiosity, I wonder how many of you here are “rabbits”, “sheeps” and “pigs” 🙂 (chinese astrology). I am “a rabbit”. Supposedly these are the gentle signs and they often are victims of abuse (never abusers themselves). Ha! What is your chinese sign?
Happy 2014! HOpe you all have fun tomorrow, regardless whether w/ friends, alone, at a party or at home.


Hi All
Some of the comments on this post inspired my new post just published on the front page ~ Lonely Holidays and the Lie that “you reap what you sow”
Here is the link ~
Hope you enjoy it,
Hugs, Darlene


Ah, yes…the dreaded family holidays. I’ve dreaded them for the past few years but this year has been especially hard and just thinking about them gave me anxiety and a feeling of dread. My dad was the one that abused as a child and my mom walked in on the abuse one night, turned around and left the house. She never spoke of it, stopped it, or acknowledged what she knew what going on. Then she divorced my dad and left me and both my siblings with our dad. I finally confronted her at the beginning of 2013 with what she did and how I felt. Of course, I’m sure all of you can guess how THAT went. She still to this day has not even acknowledged the email, my feelings or anything. BUT, she has repeatedly complained and cried to my brother about everything in the email. Long story short, my brother (who has always been my best friend) has now disowned me for not only attacking mom who is innocent but because I refuse to shut up about childhood sexual abuse.
So….after much soul searching and processing through things this year, I decided that I would make it through the dreaded, dysfunctional family holidays and then – cut the strings and set myself free. This past Friday, I blocked my brother on FB (he’d already unfriended me) and I deleted and blocked my mom. It felt like an elephant had been lifted from my chest. I am headed into 2014 living a life for ME, written by ME and by my truths. I’ve decided that I will no longer feel obliged to attend family gatherings even though I still have 2 siblings that are part of my life. I refuse to subject myself to any of this anymore.


Sandra, this is for you:) I’m a cow:)


Haha! Thanks! 🙂
a cow in other sources in called an ox, and a chicken- a rooster

Ok still makes sense apparently, an ox and a dog are also easy going folks 🙂
They are just more likely to say enough is enough quicker than say a rabbit who will first sh*** his pants and than run away 😀 (me)
Oh dear… I can’t believe I’m writing this on Darlene’s page 🙂


Lori, Thank you for sharing your story. I am in a similar place as you. I have a mother who was in denial for decades, and siblings who sided with her against me. I currently have a brother who just simply didn’t respond to my heartfelt letter where I described that I didn’t feel his love and understanding. It is so very painful, I know.

Got through the holidays but this may be my last time. It was so unpleasant to be in the room with people who don’t really notice or care about me. I no longer feel obligated to attend so that’s good. When I got home I actually was having physical symptoms…I thought I was going to pass out.

Alice over on Darlene’s post about “The Grooming Process” went away on a retreat this past Christmas and had a wonderful and healing time. I may do that.



I understand how unpleasant it is to be in a room with people who don’t care about you. It is good to listen to your body. Your body does not lie to you. I’m glad that you did not pass out and hurt yourself.

Like Lori, one realizes that you don’t have to subject yourself to this kind of treatment anymore. You have to live for you. It is not a selfish thing. It is a survival thing. It feels good not to have the anxiety and dreadfulness weighing your soul down.


Hi everyone,

Wouldnt it be lovely if someone ran retreats at christmas time which were designed to cater for adult children of abusive parents/dysfunctional families and the retreats were a place to go at christmas time. To make a place for all those who have been rejected by their FOO. To find a place where they fit in and are accepted and to celebrate their freedom at the retreat which is open christmas eve, christmas day and boxing day.

Somehow I think that they would be over-filled with thousands of people who choose to not be around people who are so toxic.


What a great idea Emma. Swap stories and laugh and cry. I’m sure you are correct that the retreats would be over-filled with waiting lists!


It is good to listen to your body. Your body does not lie to you.

Interesting. Years back, when Mom wanted “family get togethers” I would “suddenly” come down with a stomach ache. After awhile, she noticed that I was doing this. Well, I would think one would want to say, “why do you not want to be with us” but instead of asking that question (which would point back to her), she made it be about me.


I read somewhere that “criminals” cause only 2% of the world’s misery, and that it’s our families, the other 98% that cause the most of our human pain. It’s not the stranger most likely to cause you harm, the most harm is under our own roofs with our own flesh and blood.


Yes, this is the first year I’ve had these particular physical symptoms of stress. This past year is the first year I’ve had heart palpitations, and a feeling like I’m going to pass out, often when I’ve had painful family interactions. The other night after Christmas I was on the phone inquiring about a place to live, and had to steady myself because waves of almost fainting were coming over me.

I’ve been thinking about this. I know as we get older we get aches and pains and become less resilient physically, but now I am thinking that we (a collective “we”) may lose some EMOTIONAL resiliency. My body doesn’t seem to hold up to the pain like it used to.

I totally agree with the sentiment that the body doesn’t lie.


Hi Andria,

Thank you for your comment!! A place where those who are rejected are accepted with warmth and support. Yay! the phrase “but its your mum” would be completely banned!!!

Light, I have noticed how much my body has physical sensations which is directly related to how I have felt emotionally. I wonder if it is because for so many years I didn’t know how I felt because I was numb and in the fog, then when I finally started validating my true feelings, sudenly my body sprung into action now that it is no longer being repressed and squashed down.

Its quite a shock for me that my body really does tell me if I am in a negative environment or not and whenever I leave a place I can almost feel the energy that I have absorbed in my body and the emotions that relate to my experience of that environment. Its quite an intense feeling sometimes, especially if the environment is a negative one.

I never ever had this growing up, it is only now I am in my forties that I can feel so much more, so I totally agree with you that our bodies get more sensitive as we get older.

I wonder is it how we should have always felt since childhood, but couldn’t due to being invalidated and told not to think or feel, unless they were the thoughts and feelings that we were told to feel. Or is it that we are learning to balance out the emotions we feel after being squashed down for so long, like a sort of healing process.


@ Light & Emma

I am a firm believer that the stress our FOO put us through affect our bodies in serious ways.

In recent years I found the work of Mona Lisa Schultz who advocates this. I suffer from low back pain and she says that’s lack of support. Families are supposed to make us feel safe and “hold our back”, and when they don’t, we have issues in this area. I always have done.

If I get seriously nervous or upset, I feel as if my legs are throbbing and my body tenses so much, it’s very uncomfortable.

Palpitations have been an issue several times. At one point they were that strong it was like being kicked from inside my heart cavity. It’d make me feel faint (looking back I am surprised this didn’t kill me). But I’ve been tested several times and cardiologist said it was something in the “electrical” part of the heart, probably stress related.

They come and go, depending on stress levels. Palpitations always need to be checked by a doctor, just in case.

I have some blood values that are off the charts – Protein C reactive – and the doctors keep scratching their heads after running all sorts of tests. This means there is inflammation somewhere in my body (anger causing inflammation, perhaps? Can’t tell them that). On my mother’s insistence I went to see this “healer” and he said that my nervous system was “destroyed”. He also said (without seeing my hip) that I took a hard fall that damaged it. I said “no, I didn’t” (I was determined not to believe a word from this guy because he talked nuts).

I get home and tell my mother and she went very quiet. Long story short, she confessed I threw myself out of the pram (there was a bar and I went over the bar and onto the floor – I now joke it was an early suicide attempt). Anyway, I asked my mother why was I not taken to hospital. She said she started to make accusations towards my dad and there was a shouting match, I stopped crying so I was never checked. Sounds about right.

My right hip sticks out in a strange way. So, now I know.

Also, growing up I found a lump under my arm and later on my eyelid (huge). I was never taken to the doctor until I asked, maybe a year later, and after suffering in silence thinking I had cancer and was dying.


Hi Suzy,

Yes I do agree how the stress we are put through affects us in our physical, emotional and mental bodies too.

Thats so awful that you had lumps that went unchecked. I hope that you now take good care of yourself to make up for that lack of care.

I am learning how to feel comfortable now and to get used to having no drama now that my FOO are no longer around me.

I had rashes on my arms which are now gone and my hair is growing much thicker and softer, so have already noticed physical symptoms.

I think headaches are a direct result of them literally kicking me in the head and giving me mental pain. My headaches have also stopped.

The last thing I am working on is the pains I get in my heart which I relate that to “heart break” so I am sure these pains will be replaced by a warm glow and peace now that I am no longer around them.

I wish you good health too suzy.



I am so sorry that you suffered physical abuse. It makes me really angry that parents got away with that in the past (and am sure, still do). In my opinion, children should be able to prosecute them, no matter how many years have passed. People can sue each other for far less than that nowadays. And if it had been a neighbour doing that to you, you’d be able to take them to court without question.

Several times I was a witness to the physical violence my friends endured. It was considered normal and acceptable, but I cannot wrap my head around this. My mother was never hit, so in turn, she never hit me. She was verbally abused, so that’s what she carried on.

I have intermittent pains in heart area. Sometimes feels like a thin needle being stuck in, something it feels more like a dagger. But, again, I had all sorts of tests done to the heart and it doesn’t show anything (physical anyway). I hope you’ve been tested?


Hi Suzy,

Thank you for your comments. I re read my last comment and I meant my family were kicking me in the head mentally rather than physically. I should not have used the word literally. So sorry, I should have worded it differently.

I have not been tested as I am giving myself time to see if the pain subsides as I think it is an emotional pain. It feels like knives and also “bruised.

Generally my body is strong and I am very lucky that it is, considering. I enjoy my space and that gives me energy to recharge myself. If I am away from people I physically feel much better and stronger.


January 1st 2014: This is my very first comment on EFM this year.
I hope this year brings you all much deserved happiness, peace of mind and emotional health.
Darlene thank you for EFM and may 2014 give you even more patience and strenght to keep up with us 🙂


@ Emma

No worries. Pleased that you did not have to endure such extreme violence. English is not my first language, so it might have been me not reading it properly (missing the subtleties of speech). 🙂

@ Sandra
thanks for your wishes you. Same to you, Darlene and everyone here.


[…] Christmas Feelings when Family Rejects You and the Truth about Love. “This time of year is particularly difficult for survivors of dysfunctional family dynamics and abusive relationships. When the world appears to be celebrating the joys of warm family love and the longing to be together, it’s hard not to feel the pain of not being loved unconditionally especially if that includes the members of your own family of origin.” […]


New Post on EFB ~ […] As a young adult I dreaded Christmas as it was a reminder of my lacking and longing for love. Christmas was lonely. Some years it was […]


I just got an e-mail from my brother he totally blasted me in a very cruel and horrible way. He has disowned me… He was very cruel in the e-mail, really mean… so, I e-mailed my other brothers and well as usual they didn’t want to get in the middle of it… I told them I didn’t want them to do anything, just needed some support.. my brother had just disowned, should I throw a party…

We have an Uncle who could not attend his own daughters funeral because of things that happened… this family is toxic, no one will talk about anything…

He didn’t even have the guts to tell he was mad at me, we always talked and I thought we were close… I know I have issues and am working on them, but would never be that cruel to someone.

Well, I no longer have a family… But, did I really to begin with, think I will hold a funeral it is the only way I can survive I have too much other stuff going on, just don’t need this right now…

I am close to that edge… but, will stay where I am not worth this, I deserve better, oh who am I kidding… it is never easy when this happens… but, I have a few things going on and can’t worry about his toxic e-mail…

it is interesting how families can be so important and how we have been brain washed to believe there is something wrong with us if we are not the Brady Bunch, yes their issues were solved in a half hour. ours will or may not solved in a lifetime…

He has done his damage and for me I will not be his punching bag…

This world is full of people waiting to bite with their toxic fangs, why does family have to be a part of that, we can’t help what family we are born into, but we can work to make it better, not turn you back…

Yes, I am going back and worth, talking to myself and trying to make myself believe this, trying is the key…

No wonder I kept looking to be adopted by another family… Let’s not talk about that or this, but hey we will it bring to remind you of the bad things you did or to embarrass you in front of others…

Well, take my heart a few more times and stomp on it, you can’t feel, you can’t love…

Sorry, if I seem out of it, I am been crying and hurting so bad right now and don’t know what to do or how to handle this mess…

thanks for reading…


Hello Darlene and all,
Please allow me to get my Christmas ordeal off my chest. I really thought I had managed and now today on Valentines Day my father is sticking the knife in again.
I will try not to be long winded.
Christmas 2012 my husband and I said to my parents we were spending the day at home which we did and enjoyed on our own.My husband is 69 yrs and works very hard and I am 64yrs and also do a part time job which is tiring but we are not sit about do nothing people.We called to see my parents over Christmas and did a cooked meal for my father. Mother is in a care home.
Now to Christmas 2013. My father rang earlier in December to say because we did not go last Christmas Day 2012 he was not going 2013 it it his turn to not go. I replied that we were also not going Christmas Day but would see mother the night before and call on him later with a cooked Christmas dinner and pudding +++ He 90++. Still a s..t.My sister lives UAE and my brother died 1966. We were all sexually
mentally ++ abused.
So Christmas Eve we went to mothers care home arriving at 3.15pm with her presents.I always ring father when I am with her so that she can say her hellos to him.I often ring her family in Austria so she speak with them. When I gave the mobile to mother HE said if we dont get to his house before 4.00Pm he would not answer the door.So we left to suit him. He has always been a bully thug and peodo,and having a false arm usually helps when he strikes out.
We got to his house and went in with his presents and food. His face was like a jar of worms. I suggested he offered my husband a glass of whisky but he refused saying he had put the bottle away.My husband loathes him but has put up with it for me.
He then looked at me with disgust and said (although I already knew My solicitor is a friend )that no matter what I give I will not get anything from their will.This is Christmas Eve and then he said he was going to the home the next day after all and was eating there with my mother. So all that cooking that I did was a waste of effort.
I have not contacted him since and stayed away from the care home. I thought I was doing ok but two weeks ago he rang and said my mother was not well and was upset with me not visiting.So I went the next day and the staff said it was for attention. She then accused me of being a trouble maker and that I should always do as he says then everything would be ok. He has to be in control at all times but is so charming to others. They think what a lovely old man.
Well I have not been for two weeks again .Today I have some texts from my sister to say he has changed his land line number and doesnt want me to have his new number.Remember it is Valentines Day. So I rang the Care home and asked them for it and they said that he has given instructions that he doesnt want me to know his number.It is all very hurtful and his nasty evil ways never stop.My sister is appaulled ,she has the number.For him to exclude me and tell me was his last ammunition or so I thought and now this. All they have ever done is rubbish my name and blame me for whatever and yet all I have ever done is acts of kindness.Yet they expect me to visit her and take my turn. My princess sister is not such a princess and looks after their accounts.Anything else is my department.HELP please I can feel tears popping up and have been so good to myself up to now in not letting him get to me since Christmas 2013.
If any of you loose the will to live after reading this sermon I am sorry.
A reply would be appreciated although I know what to do.My husband and I have had a lovely meal tonight. Thank you friends. Wendy AM. xxx


I guess I’m perplexed as to why you even did what you did and put yourself thru this…..did you really think your parents behavior would be any different this time around? Was it guilt? Obligation? because they are old? My personal opinion is to cut all ties and you and your husband live out the rest of your lives in peace and serenity.


Hi Wendy AM
Thank you for sharing your pain. My goodness, it really is horrible how long this stuff goes on. The only thing that made a difference for me was when I looked at everything the way it really was, and stood up for me. I stopped feeling obligated to people that never felt my needs were important and I started to think in terms of loving myself where they never had. That changed everything!
I know that might not be very comforting to you, but what I found is that I could not get over the pain in my life until I took a good look at where it was coming from.
love and hugs, Darlene


Hi Hitch,
Please keep your comments within the scope of understanding and support. It works so much better when people share what worked for them in their own situation, than when people make judgements and then tell others what to do. I was never allowed to think for myself in the past and a huge part of my recovery was to believe that I could start doing that. 🙂 When someone is in that much pain, it doesn’t help to ask them why they are at fault and what were they thinking. It just heaps on more pain.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Lynn
Welcome to EFB
I understand the pain you are in and you ARE worth so much better treatment. 🙂 I hope you will keep reading the articles here. There is so much information about how I broke free from the toxic family situation that I was in.
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene.
You are so right when you say about needs being unimportant. I do try to switch off from my parents and since Christmas have actually been happier without putting them first.What is so galling is that they never ever consider us.It is all about them. Its like a cat and mouse game with my father.He has to be in control at all times.It is just so tiring.
Thank you again .Wendy AM


Normally when I am away from my family of origin I am good . Recently I have had to stay by my sister because I broke my foot . Most people would equate her allowing me to stay with her loving me ; and even i am confused that the two things are not the same. I have heard it said that you can give without loving, but that you can’t love without giving. I get a meal, I get a bed to sleep on I even have access to internet and a television . Why doesn’t It feel the love. My sister and my mom together they were very abusive to me . I can’t recount all the ways in which they have been . I just feel the hate , its thick and it torments. I have this fantasy lately that one day soon I can just walk into kindness , far away from them, just leave and never look back, just walk into peace. I wish for a place where I can forget the betrayals and be free from the torment .I have been angry at God lately. The broken foot does not pain me half as much as the coldness or the subtle hostility . I am not angry with God for having broken my leg. I am angry because he knows that I did not need to be in this toxic environment and he allowed it to happen. Its my fault really , If I had identified my family as the enemy earlier I would have set my self up in a way that I did not have to depend on them or be exposed to them in a situation like this. Its all my fault.


My father has betrayed me so deeply. i have migrated to Canada and he and my mum are supposed to follow. The sister who I am staying with treated them very poorly last time they were here, so i told them that we could move in together . Lately my father , mother and my abusive sister are ” tight” through some skillful manipulation on her part . Once they are “tight” its like I don’t exist . They are coming back to Canada and I am just feeling as though I can’t stand to be around them , especially my father. Its as if my spirit is shouting enough , I can’t take it no more.I really don’t want to be around those people. Its just too toxic .


Wendy am-

Yes, there are those family members who don’t consider you and it is all about them. I experienced this and finally had enough. For some you can give and give and they will just take and take.


I am sorry to hear of your situation. I was also abused by my sister and mother together. You can definitely feel the loathing and hate. Don’t blame yourself for not identifying this toxic environment earlier. You go into it not thinking a lot about it because it is family and it is supposed to be “safe”. It took me decades to realize just how deep the toxicity and dysfunction was in my FOO. I am 55 years old and went totally NC a bit over a year ago. I understand feeling like you don’t exist in your family. You need to do what feels right for you. I will tell you it is not easy to go NC, but perhaps your spirit would appreciate it.


I hosted my parents for Christmas Eve dinner, along with my divorced brother and his newish girlfriend. My other brother was out of state where he lives and my two scapegoating sisters were with their in-laws. It was hilarious, in a way. My scapegoating mother for once behaved and was very careful not to say anything negative. My brother made several strange nonsequitors, usually about some ethnic decorations, collections, and books I have in my home, interrupting conversations trying to draw attention to my Scandinavian hobbies and interests in a way that was patronizing and disruptive. Then I made a remark that I was about ready to redecorate my house and take up an interest in NASCAR race memorabilia instead, or a whiskey jug collection. He continued to make nonsequitors about my hobbies, and I finally just said that I was also considering taking up Dungeons and Dragons and Magic, the Gathering playing and I was looking for a set of friends who I could spend one weekend a month in role playing games instead. Boy, that hit it where it hurt with him, and he angrily hopped up and left the room and flashed me dirty looks all evening. Every time he did, I got the giggles, and ironically, his girlfriend must have understood my game, because she and I would break into giggles every now and again by his drama. Hmmmmm, she hasn’t been around long but she already “gets” it. For once, my mom did not throw me under the bus, but I am sure she did later in telling the story to my sisters who weren’t there.

As it turns out, I was spot on. I found out from a friend who is close to one of my cousins who is close to my brother…that he is the new family scapegoat, he is beside himself actually, and very close to withdrawing from the family, only he now lives with my parents because he is suffering financially after a divorce. My mother pretty much scolds him into going to church, and even after she succeeds in getting him there, finds it not good enough, saying, “It’s not just that he is there, he also has to BELIEVE,” and she is not sure if he is believing strongly enough. It is about the same kind of abuse they leveled on me, using God and Faith as a weapon to control and abuse people. Now I understand his behavior at my home, he was desperate as he began nearly at once trying to get me back into the scapegoating role as he is desperate to leave it. When I would not rise to the bait, and leveled it back to him in a way that did not betray hurt, but in a logical and cool manner, the next time I saw him he was trying to woo me back into the family again, so he doesn’t have to be a scapegoat any longer.

I am so happy to be out of the dysfunctional family. Even when I am there, I am not really there, I do not love them like I used to and I don’t yearn for them as a family any longer.


Hello Andria,
Thank you for your reply.It is a comfort.

Kimlyn 307 308,
I am sorry to hear about your foot and problems with your family.You have written your story so well, but its sad.It is strange that when we are faced with hostility from family or anybody even when they smile we get a gut feeling that it is not genuine.Some people used to say I was too sensitive but I knew I wasn’t wanted it is such a shame that I didnt twig earlier that they are the problem.Such a lot time has been wasted trying to please family who do not deserve my love.All my life I was forced to believe it was me but it isnt.I have spent my life looking for approval with the wrong people.That tightness you mentioned that family have, I can feel it right now it almost strangles me .Such a good use of the word.My mother cannot cant cope with my father speaking to me because of course she never protected me form his sexual advances and left him to it.The problem she has is she didnt know if I enjoyed it or if I was better.My hair was naturally blonde when young, but she used to dye it red because she said it looked better.
Even to this day mother is jealous if I am in their company and my father speaks to me.
Late on yesterday my father rang me to say he had changed his landline number.Yet only on Friday he had given strict instructions to the nurses at my mothers care home that they must NOT let me know the number.This is what is really sick, as my father was speaking to me my mother was in the background telling him to tell me that she has a sore bottom.SICK.
I do hope you situation and foot improves. Take care and thank you again Wendy Am x


Wendy AM..
My father’s parents treated my mother like garbage for 25 yrs. Awful awful behavior and my father never stood up for her, not once. He sided with them and added more abuse. He was very NPD and their only “Golden” child. They were nasty, spiteful people who didn’t even give Christmas presents to their only 2 grandchildren.
When they got very old (mid eighties) nana refused a nursing home, saying it was my mothers duty to take care of her. My mother said no.
It was unbelievable that after their bad treatment of her for years, they were so entitled, so selfish,
that they believed she owed them her obedience. Crazy people think like that. They think they are gods and others live to serve them. Since they are family this gives them the “right” to order,
abuse, threaten and otherwise hurt us because they think they “own” us. We their children and grand children are never to be freed of this ownership.
My father and mother also owned me, using guilt to prove the ownership.
But its wrong. They are wrong.
Their ownership hurt me over and over because it made me less than, always less than.
I don’t know where my grandparents are buried and I don’t want to know. Surprisingly I don’t feel guilty about that. They rejected everyone as not good enough, and after a while everyone just walked away.


I am also no contact with my mother and brother. Its been 10 years since my abusive father died. I always saw him as the primary abuser and he was (to my mother). When he died I thought oh..its over finally, but it wasn’t. I was still used and invalidated, put down, called crazy, the works.
I was like what?? whats going on here? Then I finally saw that my mother was my abuser and her golden child son is so entitled in his thinking that he just jumped on board against me.

I was stunned. I have the whole picture now and have been NC for over 2 years. Its hard, but a healthy choice for me. I HAVE to concentrate on straightening out my thinking. I was in such a spin with them. Literally. The crazier they treat you the crazier you feel. Add to that them telling you its you and I just had to stop. They had me so convinced it was me, always me.

They are alone now as both of them don’t trust anyone. Neither are they functional people.
So it will be interesting to see how they end up, clinging as they are to each other, bemoaning
the world that is to blame for all their problems.


Karen R, I know firsthand the sense of entitlement about adult children taking card of elderly parents. My father in law acted like we were out of line if we asked them to babysit, and did it sparingly. They told us if we got a dog they were not available to ever help even though they lived just a couple of miles away, and even though we had taken care of their dog when they went on vacation. If we were at a family event and my young kids were very energetic and my mother in law stepped in to give me a hand, he would tell her to sit down and let me watch my own kids. She was a sweet woman but completely dominated by him. Of course he let us know that he expected us yo care for him in his old age. Don’t know how that would have played out because he passed away in his late 60s, but I resents his sense of entitlement when he wasn’t willing to help us out.

My mother was an uninterested parent and both physically and emotionally abusive. She had no interest in my life and decided to move across country just as I was starting to plan my wedding. It was of no interest yo her, and looking back, I think she may have actually resented that this was an event where the focus would be on me and not on her. She showed no interest in her two grandchildren and was of no help to me in any way with my special needs child. But when she got older she started spouting off about how it was my duty as the daughter yo take care of her. Not my brothers’ duty, but mine alone and she thought I should be flying back and forth cross country to do this. I told her I could assist her with things during my once a year visit, but she needed to rely on the assisted living transportation to her doctor visits. We even offered to get her an aide. Bushes gave me a hard time and whined that I should be doing the doctor visits. Are you kidding me??

I held my ground about only assisting during my once a year visits. She has now passed away. But it still app all’s me how she wasn’t there for me as a child or an adult and yet felt she was entitled to all this care from me. Completely one sided relationship!


Hi Karen R,
Thank you for your reply. I never cease to be amazed at how many people have and are suffering over family torment. In your reply you wrote They being wrong which is right. What makes me smile is my fathers favourite saying is ITS ALL WRONG.Its when things are not going his way.He has set up some rules which alter to whatever he thinks they should be when it suits.The rules are in his head so if we dont live up to his expectations then we had better watch out. Years ago he told me because I am the oldest it is my responsibility to take care of them when they are old.Yet I am still wondering when they are going to help me never never never.I wasnt even allowed to do my home work from school.My sister and I have said that we should have engraved on his tomb stone “ITS ALL WRONG”.Thank you again Wendy am.


WendyAM, sounds like another one way street. They expect us to take care of them, but if we need help… way! My mother was sort of like your father. With her, the current “rule” depended on whatever mood she was in. So we never knew what to expect, and, yes, watch out if she was in a bad mood!


To Emma re the idea about a place at xmas for adult children of dysfuncitonal families that have rejected them for standing up against abuse!. Exactly what is needed as then we would be around those that really understood as it can be so hard still to not get a bit sad when participating in other families who are loving enough to open up to us for xmas yet it is still with a bit of sadness for us. Not jealous that they have a family just a touch of sadness that it isn’t poss like that for us so then if we were all at the same xmas then we would be around those the same way as us it would be a very nice xmas like that i think. One thing that i have noticed is that now i recognise love and feel it so strong and hopefully i give love the right way as well better than before i remembered/realised & rejected the abuse ‘love’


I love your work! I have never been supported by anyone in my extended family system (my step-sister and her husband) in my support of younger women in that family who opened up to me in their later years. The memories of abuse and neglect as well had plagued them all their lives. I listened enough to encourage them to seek professional counseling and to take their grief and great losses outside of the family system for the help so needed. They each wanted to be embraced and validated for bitterness they knew for so long and so well. They wanted to be loved by their parents who abused them. Now those parents have have labeled them “crazy” and me as well now. They have written letters of disowning these daughters and me as well for listening and driven us all away forever. I have forwarded your articles and quotes to my nieces and now they say they will get in touch with you. Bless you for helping the “victims” of very ill parents and sick parenting systems..


Hi Anonomous
Welcome to EFB ~ so glad that you enjoy my posts and thank you for your encouragements!!
hugs, Darlene


Re comments Jaimee no 247 …Trying to not be taken in by thoughts of my mother. It almost seems like my own mind is trying to work against me, but I know it’s just force of habit. I keep getting lulled into this false idea, this illusion of comfort where my mom is in my life. But, it’s more like a feeling of procession. Like I have this person, who, like a trinket sits on a shelf and claims the title of mother. But it is just a hollow statuette, there is nothing inside her. Not for me, at least……
Jaimee you have summed it up as it is for me too 101%!!!!! only ones such as us forsaken by our own mothers as such can know this feeling but we are very strong people becuase of this reason


There is so much insight and wisdom in this post, it makes my head spin! Thank you, for verbalizing (so well) many of the things I have lived with; struggled with and continue to try to conquer.


Hi Denise B.
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
There are hundreds more articles here too! hugs, Darlene


Glad someone brought this one back up. When I moved back to my home state (after living 3,000 miles away for years), I started having Christmas depression. I couldn’t figure out why. I didn’t think ANY of the “triggers” applied to me. But one of them did. Dysfunctional family. Which I didn’t want to admit to having.

When I lived 3,000 miles away, I kept the Christmas visits “short” as in, fly in on Dec 24, fly out Dec 26. This upset my Mom as to why I won’t stay “longer.” I claimed it was “gotta get around the blackout dates for cheap fares.” It was basically 48 hours of misery (for me), and then back home to my own world where I would forget about it for another 363 days.

Now I live in my home state, and finally I told my family I despise Christmas and would not accept any presents. They have complied with my request. I spend Christmas alone, or maybe I have a job, but at least Christmas is on MY terms and I’m not dealing with the dysfunctional stuff where everyone is pretending to be happy.


“I was estranged from my mother for 15 years or so and she died last month. It is sad knowing she is gone, but it has allowed the passing of a deep rooted sense of hope of reconciliation from her that was never going to happen, and the realization that I wanted to be missed. It is hard to shake the shame of rejection by those from whom we expect unconditional love and that parental bond that can find superhuman strength when needed! If our family won’t love us, how do we convince others that we are worthy without the need to justify ourselves at deeper levels than words?”

How true are these words. My Mom just had cancer cells removed from her leg. Thusly, I’m “supposed” to suck it up and become a “compliant suck up” for her. I won’t do it. I hope the doctors got all the cancer out, but if she ends up dying without giving me the love and treatment that I need from her, then I will know she never loved me. Mom did everything that “society expected” of her. That is exactly how it felt, no matter how much it benefited me. I just never felt “loved.” I just wanted to feel loved.

If she dies I will feel sad, but not because I “miss” her. I will feel sad knowing I wasn’t worth her trying to give me real love, not the “faked, pretended all for appearance” stuff.


Today I realized I am frightened of claiming my personal power. I am frightened of going LC or NC with certain family members (I have been doing so this past year) and what that means. What ripple effects will happen through the rest of the family – will other family members reject me if I go LC with my sibling (their parent)? What does that mean for MY life ahead?

It’s really come to a head with gift-giving. How do I give to some and not to others? And some I don’t really want to give to but how can I not give to them, yet give to their parent? Should I just suck it up and do it, and be inauthentic to myself. Or just bring a big tin of cookies and leave it at that?

Definitely more anxious as the holidays approach. Are others here going through similar feelings? I actually don’t know if I’m even invited.


Light! ME ME ME ME ME!!!! (raising hand……)

Although my siblings are upset with me for the issues with my mom, I decided my beef is with my Mom and not my siblings. So, I decided to give to my siblings and kids, but not to Mom. I wrote my Mom a letter and told her I wasn’t giving her a present this year as I did not feel right about it. I haven’t heard back.

Back story. when i was a kid, my mom always did the, “you don’t have to give me anything for my birthday (christmas, whatever).” Well, one time I was really upset at her and decided to “test” her on this. I didn’t get her a birthday present. Well, she got really mad and said, “I guess you made your point.”

Yet, she continues to do the “you don’t have to get me anything” crap. Ok, I’m “testing” it again! Just to make a point.

You mention “ripple effects.” I am scared of “ripple effects.” Some serious ones. Some I’m prepared to deal with if they happen, some I’m not, and there may be some I haven’t even thought of.

I’m not doing Christmas so I don’t care about whether I’m “invited.” I stopped doing Christmas years ago and my family finally accepted it. Except I still give gifts, but I don’t accept any gifts.

Speaking of “personal power,” I just had a conversation on the phone with one of my siblings who said, “If you make comments about Mom I’ll ream you out.” I said, “And I will ream you back.” Which lead to a big argument about “why are you trying to change yourself?” Oh, I get it. I’m not allowed to defend myself. I’m supposed to continue to be the quiet wuss you always knew so you could continue to make threats and “scare” me. No, not any more!


Hi Light – it was a good idea for you to post here. Thanks for doing that!

I understand your question of gifts because I’ve struggled with that for most of the past year or two. I came to some conclusions with my own situation that may or may not suit your situation.

I’ve learned that in my situation, there’s no place for someone to be neutral. Some of my family tried to do that, and it really just compounded the original problem because people who want to be neutral have to avoid addressing the problem, which is exactly what the problem was to begin with.

The destruction of my family began when I was looking for support, compassion and understanding from my mother & siblings. They all determined that they weren’t interested in my problems, and one was particularly vicious in their response to me. And one by one the rest of the family fell in line. They all want me to forget what was said, but it was true anyway. And I know it wasn’t. It was just cruel.

I didn’t attend the family gathering, but I had gifts for everyone last year. It didn’t change anything. As time passed, some of the family members who tried to maintain contact, or at least not avoid contact became tense as the initial fracture wasn’t repaired.

This year, I’ve determined that I’m not going to give any gifts to anyone at all, including my grandchildren. It seems wrong to step over parents in the hope of a relationship with grandchildren. They all have step-parents and other grandparents to make them feel loved, so why try to give them something when they don’t really know who I am anymore?

I never liked shopping anyway, but being in the stores and seeing toys this time of year just sucks.

ON the more positive side, I have found people who understand what I’m going through and are willing to listen and be empathetic and encouraging. I’ve found people who seem willing and capable of showing me love that my family has never been able to show me. I am very grateful for them, especially ones that are willing to share their family and traditions with my husband and me.

I guess these friends are where I see my future. I don’t expect that the people who are close to me now will always be close to me. There are new friends among them, and old friends who became better friends as my heart was broken by my family. So I expect that there will probably always be opportunities for new friends and shifts in relationships as time passes.



DXS – Your first line is funny: ME, ME, ME…..!! Haha. Thank you for sharing your story and responding. Years ago one of my siblings told me out of the blue that he “appreciates if there isn’t a scene”…in other words I should keep myself in line. By the way, I typically don’t “make a scene” . I don’t like that he was trying to control me so he could stay in his happy place denial bubble.

Hobie – Thank you as well for sharing your story. I really like what you said about those who try to stay neutral – I never thought about it that way yet you are so right:

“…people who want to be neutral have to avoid addressing the problem, which is exactly what the problem was to begin with.”

I am sorry about your grandchildren. That sounds like such a heartache. I’ve been trying to figure out how to maintain a relationship with young-adult-aged nieces and nephews, while disengaging with their parent (my sibling) but I don’t know if it’s possible. They’ll be friendly to me when I see them, but we don’t seem to have a relationship outside of just happening to visit when we are both at the same place. It is not intentional.

I’m glad you’ve found some loving friends in your life.


Oh, the jolly time of year is here again. I feel like I just had Christmas 4 months ago. It shall be celebrated once again with my chinchilla and her tiny stocking. For the third year in a row it will not be with my sister and mother. The last 2 Christmases I made the trek to my sister’s place I was basically ignored all day, watching tv or surfing on the computer by myself. My sister and her husband took half hour long smoke breaks in a spare room. Once Mom was picked up from the home and arrived, she was entertained with their constant presence and cat videos, the smoke breaks were brief and in-and-out.

We sat at the dinner table, Mom asked about a pill in front of her. My sister said, “That’s your vitamin Mom, I know ALL the medication you’re supposed to take”. I looked at my sister, I’d asked her 6 months before what meds Mom was taking, she never sent me the info. Mom was doted on, never left alone for a second, my 55 year old sister called her Mommy at one point, I’d never heard her say that before. I couldn’t wait to get on my train and go home.

A few days later I emailed my sister, I told her in a very non-aggressive way how I felt ignored at Christmas, no reply back. As Christmas approached the next year I mentioned my concerns again, and again no reply. I spoke to her on the phone about a possible visit, she told me she didn’t care if I came, she just didn’t want me to be alone. I didn’t go back. Why would I visit someone who doesn’t care I’m there? I didn’t realize at the time my sister only wanted me there to make it nice for Mom.

My sister did come down to see me a few weeks before Christmas that year. The day she left she asked if I had got Mom anything for Christmas. I said no, she asked if she could buy something in my name, say it was from me. I was irritated but said yes. I couldn’t place why the request bothered me so much. Later I understood it was because my sister was interfering, and showing far more care for Mom’s feelings than mine. Although I don’t have any plans for Christmas, and don’t like the thought of being alone, that is preferable to me than seeing my family.


Doren – your description of the last Christmas you were with your sister sounded like you were actually alone anyway. I actually enjoy my own company when I’m alone. When I’m alone among people, it’s a whole different story.

My daughter did the “smoke breaks” thing the last time I was with her. That was so thoughtless.


I’ve been trying to figure out how to maintain a relationship with young-adult-aged nieces and nephews, while disengaging with their parent (my sibling) but I don’t know if it’s possible.

Light, that is where I am at. I live kind of far away from my siblings, so I don’t get to see nieces and nephews. I gave up maintaining relationships. They are grown.


Light, I have made a preliminary decision about next year. Can’t fix this year, gifts already sent.

If the situation is still the same, I’m sending NO gifts. I can’t let my siblings get in the middle, so I will have to exclude them from gifts. This also means I’m excluding the children, but the children are all grown, I don’t talk to them much, so I don’t see a big deal.


Thanks for commenting DXS. What made you decide to do it differently next year? Did you regret it once the packages were in the mail?


Did you regret it once the packages were in the mail?

YES! I’m also excluding birthdays, too. NO GIFTS FOR ANYONE as long as I’m NC.


I’m lucky I live in the country now and not exposed to piped Christmas music from mid-November on. I can’t get in to Christmas, it used to be the most grievous time of the year. When I was a child it was always chaotic, 2 weeks stuck with over the top dramatic hostile people sucked! I tried to make them special for my kids, but I married a narciccist who made the holidays hell and bad memories for my children sadly. I don’t have anxiety because I’m far enough away to not worry about being looked up by my siblings, I’m just empty. I see people joyous and in the spirit but I don’t feel it, though I did take our dog to walk the Xmas parade, it was more for him then me, he likes to be the center of attention. lol My grandkids are all far away in another province, I’m sure if they were here to celebrate I’d feel different. Christmas is just a time to get through and over with for me.


Yes, I totally agree with this post, holiday seasons are always tough for me, filled with triggers I got from abusive and dysfunctional family. It’s extremely difficult for me to be emotional strong while all flashbacks reminded me how unworthy, useless and unlovable in my so-called biological related people.

It’s very sad and I can resonate with many comments here left by other readers, many self-destructive behaviors are occurred during this tough time. It’s so scare and lonely to be around with people, everywhere is filled with joys, celebrations and harmony, except me, who feel kind of awkward in this kind of environment.

So scare that I started the emotional eating disorder and depressed since weeks ago, still struggling day to day to get over all the emotions. Many years I have been dreaming there should have some kind of shelters or protection systems for victims/survivors as this is the most terrify/lonely/saddest time for those who still struggling from healing.

Yes, I was raised in extremely dysfunctional family, where I was treated as a scapegoat and never can do things right. All the emotional, physical and sexual abuse destroy all my self-esteem, trust to people. It’s so tough to survive in abusive relationship while re-build all the right value at the same time. Many people think if there’s anyone betrayed/unloved by family, it should be that victim’s responsibility, he/she must do something wrong so family don’t like that person.

Or they may think you should forgive no matter what your family did to you, otherwise that still your fault to get angry with your family. All these so-called comforters made the situation getting worse, that’s why there are so many victims shuttled down their emotions or don’t say a word about the abusive relationship because it’s hard to find supporters.

Since I was young, I knew something was wrong in the family, that’s why I never want to follow and fight for the rights. But the more I stand up, the more I got bitten up and many rumors were created about me. I don’t have any support or any channel to say what I feel. I might win the so-called “justice” inside me, but the journey is brutal and extremely lonely.

Every festival, reunions, family meetings, even my own birthdays…I was completely kicked out. While everyone is cheering, laughing and enjoying, I used to be the only one who cried so miserably about the treatment. My dad makes it very clear that if I don’t follow his rules, my life can never be nice at home. He gather all the family members to betray me and spread rumors about how bad/shame I should feel.

Though I feel bad during this time, but this blog more or less give me energy and insights to live for. More work need to be done on healing journey, from time to time I do question myself as a sentence in this blog :“if my own family don’t love me, how could anyone?”. Holidays never easy for me.


Hi Vivian
It took a while for me to realize in the depths of my own heart that their rejection of me was not about me, but was indeed about them. That is one of the biggest reasons that I write this blog. It was very painful when I started to stand up and they pushed even harder; I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t worth the effort in their view but they were dead wrong. I AM worth it! (and today I don’t miss a thing about them)
Thank you for sharing, I am sorry that happened to you as well,
hugs Darlene

Hi Mary
This website is all about how I got my joy back. I hope that you will find some comfort here with us.
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


One of the things that bothers me is being missed– to clarify even more, that the person who they miss isn’t the person I am. Or, I guess I should say, I am not the person I once was and who they shaped. I am growing and changing…or trying to. They do miss me. But they miss someone who doesn’t exist. Maybe someone who never did, except in their minds. They don’t know me at all. And they have no desire to know me. I hate that this realization holds me in from letting anyone know me…myself included, though not for lack of trying. I am just still so afraid. I try not to be. But I’m scared of things I can’t even name. I don’t like to even be called by name…being named makes me nervous. Being called out in that way. So, nameless, how can I be known. I guess I don’t mind that they miss that person I may have been at some point. I wish they knew who I was…or could know. I think it hurts that I feel the only way I can have a relationship with them is to be the person they miss. And it’s hard to figure out whether I should be that person to keep the relationship or whether to become…


Excellent post!! Here is how I put it and what I hear you saying;
The only way that they will want to be in relationship with me is if I am NOT ME.
This isn’t love. They don’t even want to KNOW me…
How can that even work? (and that is the point isn’t it? It doesn’t actually work. so sad..:( )
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene



Any relationship that requires that I be someone other than myself is not a relationship worth having. It’s been a painful road. I’ve just learned that I’ll never really succeed in being what they want me to be, so there’s no point in denying myself for approval I’ll never win.

Darlene is right.



Hi Gin,
Very well written in fact brilliant. Wendy AM


For me, they don’t want to accept ALL of me. I am welcome as long as I follow the family rules and don’t have negative feelings regarding the sexual abuse and especially my mother’s limited response to it. If I accept their rules, it means I have to be someone I am not. They want what they consider the “good parts” of me but don’t want to hear about or deal with anything else. Oh yes, they “love” me even though they blame and abandon me.

Therefore my choices are that I invalidate myself, or they invalidate me. Either way I am invalidated, rejected and abandoned. I guess ultimately it’s better that they invalidate me rather than me invalidating me.


There is also this undercurrent of disrespect. If they respected my feelings, and genuinely liked me, wouldn’t they be just a little humbled and concerned about our deteriorating relationship? Wouldn’t they try to say something to at least meet me halfway (though I do believe I deserve all the way)?


Received a note from my mother telling me the calendar of who is coming to visit her when over the holidays. Visits stretch out over several days with people coming and going. There are only a few nieces and nephews I’d genuinely like to see, but they are stopping by on their way to somewhere else and they wouldn’t go out of their way to see me…only visit if I happen to be there and even then it’s not quality time. It’s like they are the show and I(we) are the audience. Very little attention or interest in my life. This is fine sometimes, but it’s every time.

So anxious about whether or not to visit, and the gift-giving.


About all the family requirements at christmas, I think it’s worth looking into the costs to yourself when you’re doing all these things. Being with family shouldn’t feel like you’ve betrayed yourself, hurt yourself. If a half-way point still consists in doing damage to your well-being, then it is probably not a half-way point; it is quite likely much less than the least you deserve.



I understand how you feel. “Very little attention or interest in my life. This is fine sometimes, but it’s every time.” I have also felt the ‘undercurrent of disrespect’. No concern for the deteriorating relationship. Of course it is my fault. I had to bring up the fact that there was a problem in the relationship or lack of one.

I can see how you can be anxious about what to do about visiting or gifting. I sent a card to my father and no gift. I don’t send anything at all to my sister and her family. She has treated me so awfully that I just don’t want to deal with her anymore. Her husband and kids don’t care about us. We never made a blip on their radar screen. My husband and I barely made a blip on my father’s radar. It’s just the way it is.


Andria and Alaina – thank you for commenting. I know you and others understand. I’ve been doing some enjoyable things to get through the holidays…bought a small tree, holiday music, cookies, giving to others. It’s going to be OK (at least that’s what I’m telling myself!).


As my husband said, they owe you (meaning siblings), they know what they did and unless they come here on their knees and are genuinely contrite…but as we both know that will never happen. He said what they did to you was wrong, they are evil. All he’s ever seen out of my family is arrogance and pride and perversion. They don’t know what love is. They should have been there for you when you were ill, he said,instead they almost buried you with their actions. Instead they try to put the guilt on you, you don’t owe them anything! He is so right, I shouldn’t give them any mind. I get into a funk leading up to Christmas but it seems a day or so before something kicks in and I make the cookies and cook up a good Christmas meal for the two of us. It might not be real exciting but at least it is drama free.for me that is. Since Mom died, the rest of the siblings splintered up as I knew they would, Mom left it that way. She graced the golden girl and boy and left them well off and the other two didn’t get even half as much, so there is a lot of resentment between them. Now they are trying to make up for it by enticing my grown children to still be a part of family get togethers. One day my children will tell them like it is, they are outspoken. They need to get it over and done with so they can have closure and let go too, they will in time, but it’s difficult for them. They are still in shock realizing how hateful the Grandma they thought they knew and adored left things so ugly. She excluded them and me after promising them they would be set the last time she saw them and that she was leaving me x amount, she even showed them a ledger. (one that my siblings said never existed. Mom was a book keeper and documented every penny spent long as I’ve known her) They can’t beleive she lied like that. (We feel she didn’t lie deep down and that the siblings have been deceptive all the way) They didn’t deserve being taken down with me, they loved her. They feel like she spit in their face too. (If Mom didn’t lie and they orchestrated this, God help them) So it’s a weird time of year for all of us, but as my son said, he has the power to write his own story, I’m so proud of him for saying that. We are all healing and emotionally coming back together. It is hard for my sons especially, my daughter was always aware and not drawn in, but my sons were used and manipulated against me for a number of years, they’ve realize now how and why they were used and it doesn’t sit right. My siblings revealed their true nature by the will and what happened, they did my family a big favor, it brought the painful reality home so we could all start to really heal. As I tell them, look to the heads, their grandparents, they left this legacy. For the siblings to follow their will to the letter means they are following the directive of evil. I said unless my siblings can admit my parents were wrong and going along with all the things they did against me were wrong, it can never get right, With money involved that day isn’t likely to come. It is time for truths, it just is, for all our sakes.


Hi Light,
I’m glad you’re doing good things for yourself! I’ve got to get on that myself! 🙂
If sweeping something under the carpet works for everyone except one, then it doesn’t work. That’s a fact. Everyone matters.

I guess to sum up where I ended up with family, it’s that if it’s their need to keep things under the carpet but my EQUAL need to have it up in the light, then the only (unfortunate) answer is to get out from under the carpet (because it was ME under the carpet of course), which means leaving them behind. Even though it’s a bad situation, I know it was the right choice for me. I wasn’t wrong or bad to make it; I was just pushed up between a rock and a hard place. Wanting to live in the truth is reasonable and good. Plus I don’t want to take part in destroying me anymore.

Take care!


“I don’t ‘prove my love’ by jumping through flaming hoops any more.” This line resonated with me. All of my interactions felt like walking a tight rope or jumping through flaming hoops. They saw it as being a good, compliant daughter. I saw it as torture, but believed it was my duty to do so. Thank you for sharing your journey. It has helped me in going through mine.


Hi Julie
Welcome to EFB ~ Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


I was watching news and they gave tips for handling holiday blues. Travel (yes), start new traditions (yes), Reconnect with family (HELL NO!)

That last suggestion is the last thing we want to do. If we “reconnect” we get sucked into the old family dynamics because no one wants to see you be “different” than what they remember. It upsets things.

I find I’m happier spending Christmas alone or with close friends.


Julie, loved your comment. Yeppers, it’s your DUTY to be the person WE want you to be, not who YOU want to be…… As for the “you can count on family,” That is a load of crap.

“Family” is all about the unified “we.” If you don’t agree with the “we” you are ostracized. Or in my case, “We put up with you, but we secretly laugh at you behind your back and we ‘tease’ you because we love you.” NO, It’s not teasing, it’s HURTFUL!



You’re so right! You said: “Family” is all about the unified “we.” If you don’t agree with the “we” you are ostracized. Or in my case, “We put up with you, but we secretly laugh at you behind your back and we ‘tease’ you because we love you.” NO, It’s not teasing, it’s HURTFUL!”‘

I didn’t agree with the “we” and I’ve been made to pay dearly for it too. The cruelty and the pain that it’s caused does not faze them in the least. If I didn’t pretend that our sperm donor was a fine upstanding man/dad then I was rejected, ignored, disregarded and made to be the “negative” and hateful sibling. They were judge, jury, and executioner and I wasn’t even given a fair hearing. So, no contact with the one brother and sister from now on. They’re are so totally blind to the fact that they are just continuing the generational sin of rejecting, abandoning, and abusive neglect that our so-called father began. He made it so normal to them, although they wouldn’t have like it if it happened to them, that it was simple for them to carry out the same sentence he dished out to me when he chose to replace me with the step-monster/sister. It’s sad how emotional abuse gets so normalized in dysfunctional families that it fogs up what normal conscience we may have been born with. For my sister, I think it gives her the feeling of “power” she has never felt in her life. She can have her god/daddy. If that’s the best she can do, I feel very sorry for her.


The more I think about my earlier post, the more I think I couldn’t be at all. It isn’t that I couldn’t be who they wanted. There wasn’t a me that could be right for them. I only would have been right if I hadn’t existed. But they ‘needed’ me to exist. I have been the one that has kept with the wish of not existing. Sad today. Difficult counseling meeting last night. When you spend a long time not feeling and it starts to catch you, it’s pretty horrible. There was–there is–no way for me to win with them. And I have believed that meant there was no way I could ‘win’ either.



Sorry to hear that you had a difficult counseling meeting last night. It is hard to start feeling the things you don’t want to feel. It hurts. I understand how there is no way to win with your family. That’s how I felt with my family. I also felt that I could not “win” either. I was an outsider. I could not “win” a place in their group.



Ah Christmas, the time in which gift giving, bloating ourselves in numerous delicacies and celebrating the birthday of Jesus are just some of the things that most families preoccupy themselves with in this festive season.

But in dear old Carlos’ family, Christmas comes with an added bonus in the form of his “loving” family dishing out gifts in the form of insults, of which he is expected to take as words of encouragement and understand as actions that they did for the sake of his greater good. Merry
Christmas to me then! 😀 When I was 16, I received an Ipad (A Chinese replica) for Christmas in 2010. Because I was overweight back then, dear old “sexy” maternal grandmother decides to throw in a comment in front of the entire fambam going: “Haha Carlos your gift is as big as you! Hahaha”

Thanks nan! 😀 6 yrs later you’re still angling your body when you take photos so that your “fans” on Facebook can see how “sexy” you’ve become (*Grabs barf bag and vomits at the thought of calling her sexy for the third time*)

That situation was enough to give an indication as to what kind of person she is in my life and the kind of relationship we have. Heck I didn’t even embrace her on the first day of 2016 after the countdown on New Year’s Eve, after she said that my degree was worthless a few weeks back. New year, new life my foot!


Thank you for this post. It is so hard to get to the place you describe you have now achieved! It is so difficult to accept and understand that it was not our fault our family rejected us.

I’m also glad you mentioned Christmas. While I still see what’s left of my dysfunctional family (mom, brother, sister-in-law and niece) it constantly brings up feelings of sadness, rejection and abandonment.

Just this week my brother (who, for the most part, has gone “low contact” with my mom and I) decreed in an email that he’s decided that this year we change our gift giving. Ever since I can remember, gift giving at Christmas has been “my thing”. I take great joy in it and I am good at it. I look at gift giving as a way to express my love and affection for someone. I also believe gift giving is a way you can demonstrate you understand and know the person you care about. I always try to gift them with items that will make them happy or bring a smile to their face. I spend time thinking about what those gifts would be. So, I tend to be very generous with my gifts. But I don’t and never have expected that level of gift giving to be reciprocated. I simply love to experience the job of making others I care about happy.

So in this email, my brother is essentially taking that joy away from me…which is hurtful in itself since he even acknowledges how important this practice is for me. He tried to justify his care for a change in gift giving (essentially he wants everyone to supply a list of 1-2 things and that’s it). He simply can’t be bothered to spend any time thinking of what my mom and I would like. He asserted I should, instead, donate to charities (which I do) and buy for two small children in his wife’s extended family (also which I do). Of course, he has no problem buying plenty of gifts for his own wife and daughter.

I am devastated and hurt on many levels. First, that he disrespected me by not even discussing this with me, but instead issuing an email dictate. Second, that he doesn’t care that he is taking from me a real joy I have around the holiday. Third, that he can’t be bothered to spend any time thinking about a present for me or my mom. Fourth, that he instead focuses on his joy about spending Thanksgiving and Christmas Day with his wife’s large extended family.

The problem is that now, regardless of whether I go along with this or not (and I immediately told him I don’t agree), my Christmas is destroyed. I know the truth now….that he simply values and cares about my mom and I so little that he can’t even be bothered to think about Christmas gifts for us. I know the truth now that he cares so little about me that he will disrespect me and willingly take away the thing that gives me joy at Christmas. I also know the truth that he cares nothing about the tradition of my family (his biological family) of which there are very few. Since childhood, my N mom and co-dependent dad always made a huge deal out of Christmas. It was their way of showing us they cared even though there was a lot of dysfunction involved and there was very little communication in the family.

So now I’m faced with a dilemma. How can I have any relationship at all with him when I now know he cares so little about me? What is the point of attending his Christmas Day gathering (where attendees would be comprised of all of his wife’s extended family; I would be the only person from his family)? My mother is an N and all she cares about is my N sister who she spends Christmas Day with. Literally, the only holiday my family spends together in a year (mom, me, brother and his wife and daughter) is Christmas Eve. That’s it. Why would I even want to now invest in gift giving when he has made his position clear?

I guess I’m having trouble accepting that I really have no family…and that no member of my family cares about me. It is difficult to let go of…especially since it leaves me entirely alone while they have others in their lives. Even worse, he’s making me out to be the unreasonable one. When I responded to his suggestion saying that this hurt me, he got angry and told me there is absolutely no reason to be hurt, that this just makes sense (for HIM, but not for me!!!!)

Any advice?

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