Christmas With, or Freedom from, Dysfunctional Families


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2012

I have been sick for almost 2 weeks which has been very bad timing for the Emerging from Broken website as the holidays are the busiest time of year for comments and private emails. I have been unable to answer them all this year. By the time I began to recover from the illness I had, I only had a couple of days to get ready for Christmas!

So this post is going to be short!

There is this familiar note that I get about Christmas with dysfunctional families: The message that people try to tell me, but really they are only trying to convince themselves, is that we are powerless and that we have no choice when it comes to what we want.  I am told that “they” (controlling, manipulative and abusive parents) are ‘alone’ and it would not be fair (to them) if we don’t visit on Christmas day, and what I hear in that message is that our happiness and that of our own children’s happiness should be sacrificed in order to make these abusers happy.  I am not sure where the truth about “love” is, in that.  

We are “taught” that we get what we deserve, and that we ‘reap what we sow’ but it is amazing how that same teaching is not applied to abusive, disrespectful or unloving parents. How did they get to be exempt from reaping what they sowed, or from getting what they deserved?

If my mother is alone this year, it is not from anything that I did against her. It was because I finally saw the truth; that I did not deserve to be treated the way that she treated me. I gave her a choice; she could stop treating me that way OR stop having a relationship with me. She chose no relationship.

I got a comment today on an old Christmas post preaching love and forgiveness and using all the ‘guilt and shame’ tactics that I write about all the time here in EFB. The writer reminded me that our children are watching us. This was a comment written to indicate that I am being a bad example to my children because of the way that I live my life today.

My children were watching me when I was being disrespected, disregarded and walked all over for years before I stood up to the abusers in my life. My children watched me accept treatment that I never deserved for one second. They saw me accept nasty comments, degrading treatment, they saw me serve and serve and serve while I accepted that treatment too. I didn’t know that I had a choice and without meaning to,  I taught them that they didn’t have a choice either. They saw me put myself last. They saw me discount myself and if silence is consent, they saw me agree with the way that everyone treated me; like I was the least important person in the world.  

Thank God they are watching me now! I have spent the last 6 or 7 years trying to undo the false message of ‘love’ that I taught them for so many years of their young lives.

The only judgemental comments that I get from readers are about the way that I write about my mother and father. People preach forgiveness and acceptance. This website is about recovering from the damage that abuse and trauma caused by validating that it happened in the first place. It is about seeing guilt and shame for the abuse tactics that they are, and it is about learning the REAL and TRUE definition of love. Obligation has no place in that definition of love and the definition of real love is a two way street.

I receive comments weekly from people who describe horrific abuse and usually with ongoing emotional abuse and they add, “Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents”.  People pour out their pain over the ways that they have been disregarded and discounted, physically, emotionally and often sexually abused by their parents, but want to make sure that I know they ‘love’ the people who did this to them and continue to do so much harm to them.  I want to say “WHY do you love them? How do you love them, what does that mean?”. I want to ask them what they think “love” is.  Because acceptance of abuse is not what I have come to understand love is.  And it was in seeing abuse for what it really is, that set me free from the consequences of it. (depression, trauma, nightmares, dissociative behaviour, addictions etc.)

And to the people who preach that what I am writing about here is against the message of Christ, I invite them to open their eyes to what the message of Christ really is. Christ was the original teacher of ‘equal value’.  Christ does not teach acceptance of abuse in any way whatsoever; not from parents or from anyone else.

This holiday season I wish you truth. I wish you real love in the true definition of love which in a nutshell is the definition of ‘best’. Love is doing what is best for the one loved. I encourage you to think about this from BOTH sides. It is not best for me to accept abuse from anyone. It is not best for the abuser to have no consequences for their actions. It is not best for my children to witness a dysfunctional family system as an example of love because that is not love and really only encourages the cycle of abuse to continue.  

Have a wonderful Christmas. This is a difficult time for so many; Celebrate hope. Celebrate you and the hope that is in you. Celebrate that there IS hope. I am thinking about you! Please share your thoughts.  

Hugs and Love, Darlene

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing


Related Christmas Posts;

Dysfunctional Family Christmas and Being Alone

Dysfunctional Family Christmas and giving the wrong gift 

Christmas in Recovery from Emotional Abuse



Categories : Family



You wrote:<>>

Darlene – thank you, thank you, THANK YOU so much for these words! This is my saving grace – that my children are watching. They watched for several decades, and became extensions of me and scapegoats themselves – subservient to the grandchildren of the golden child, walked over, bullied, mocked and taunted, manipulated, raged at, threatened, expected to serve as I had served for years. I have been NC with my toxic family of origin for 18 months, and I know there is nothing that could induce me to go back. But even if there was, I know my kids would speak up and stop me. Thank goodness they have seen and experienced health these last 18 months. You give me hope. I can’t wait until the day I can say it’s been 6 or 7 years of health for me, too.

Thank you my dear sister. I wish you the happiest of holidays!!!!


Hi Lolo
Thank you! I appreciate your supportive comments!
Have a great holiday season!
hugs, Darlene


This is the first Christmas in my life that I have not had conflicting feelings and thoughts. I also do not feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster..with really “high” highs and really “low” lows….all depending on family and outward circumstances. This year I almost feel a bit strange because I dont! I dont really know the right words to describe how I feel except to say that I feel peaceful and content. Happy also, but I have so many of the other feelings. I cut my family off two years ago and I felt happiness and relief those years…but I also felt deeply conflicted with guilt and shame and anger and pain etc.

The reason…and the only reason…that I have only good feelings this year is because of this blog and these posts. I found out the truth and I discovered what HEALTHY love and emotions and family are. I weeded out the damage and the pain here. I wish I had been able to see as clearly the truth many many years ago so that I could have enjoyed many more Christmases with my daughter and husband in a healthier way, but I am so grateful NOW. And Darlene…I send you much affection and hugs and thanks! I am glad that you are feeling better and am so sorry you were sick! Merry Christmas to my EFB friends…and I wish you truth and freedom and healthy love too!! I know it is painful for many and I wish for you comfort and peace.


Darlene wrote: “We are “taught” that we get what we deserve, and that we ‘reap what we sow’ but it is amazing how that same teaching is not applied to abusive, disrespectful or unloving parents. How did they get to be exempt from reaping what they sowed, or from getting what they deserved?”

Amen! I used to wrack my brain about what had I done to “deserve” the incredible punishments and constant rejection I received. And other new-agers would decide that it was my “karma” that I was reaping, as a child in this life! Or that my “soul had chosen to be abused this way: you choose your parents!” and all that other nonsense that didn’t help me a bit, but made things worse.

This Christmas I was rejected by my mother’s side of the family, and even though she’s dead, I can see so much of her behavior in some of these abusive members who were word-for-word as described in one of Darlene’s other posts. Thank God I had read it (I think it was “when family says mean things” or something like that) or I might have been ready to jump off a bridge.

Instead I gave myself my own Christmas Gift of coming to NYC, seeing lots of old friends, and recording the piano… something else my mother convinced me I was no good at, because I “used the pedal too much,” and didn’t read music like she did and play in sharp staccato bursts like she did, reading off her classical music sheets.

Oh My Goodness… she must have been jealous of that, too, because I didn’t need sheet music to play; it just came pouring out of me like wind and rain and the Silver Stream that our soul can enter into, to the depths and the heavens above…

The recording studio owner convinced me, showed me, insisted that I had a “real gift” because I DIDN’T NEED TO READ MUSIC. He said “You don’t know how many people wish they could do what you do naturally” and I said, “But no, you can ask my mother, she will tell you I don’t play correctly and I don’t read music and I change the way the song is written and more…” and he just snorted and said, Well, she couldn’t do what you do, now could she?”

Wow. Ms. “Concert Pianist” who played one concert that I know of at my school when I was in 5th grade. Then she taught piano lessons for a year or so when I was 14 years old. But she had a very expensive piano and all the kids played. The one thing good that she did is that she didn’t make us practice. But she ruined any confidence I had in myself when it came to playing the piano, as she had to be the “only one” who was the “concert pianist.” And I played all over the world!

Thank God this is all over and gone.

Now I give myself the gift of these miraculous piano recordings and playing, which is truly sent from the heavens above. I am 62 years old, and it’s not too late yet! This is the most incredible thing of all. We can start to change at any time. ANYTIME. And the time is NOW.

I call this one of the “Gifts of Estrangement.”

And I am sure there are plenty more. If I had stayed around under her thumb, constantly trying to please, I would have had NOTHING OF MY OWN, nothing to be proud of, nothing to accomplish, except trying to get someone who didn’t love me and didn’t want me around and didn’t want any competition, even from her own child, and now I AM FREE.

I wish I had done this sooner, as my own child learned to mistreat and disrespect me, from seeing everyone else do it to me, including my husband, his father. And now he disrespects women in turn. It’s heartbreaking, but that’s not my fault either. I “love him from a distance” and put us all in God’s Hands.

And whenever we decide to choose well for Our Selves, God will give us that helping hand. The Divine is always present and looking for us, as we are looking for it. Inspiration is everywhere, in every burning bush and flower and stone.

This is the best Christmas I can remember having in years, and I don’t miss them at all. I thank God they rejected me as I could never have done it on my own. And now I belong to ME.

Not a bad place to be!


I love this post Darlene! I remember at the end of a film I saw as a child, ‘Drop Dead Fred,’ the main character left her abusive, controlling mother for good. As she walked out of the door, her mother exclaimed “But I’ll be lonely,” and she replied, “find a friend!” It occurs to me that many of us survivors wind up making our own families out of close friends that truly love and respect us. But abusers don’t have to do that, they assume they can rely on guilting and obligating blood-relatives into maintaining empty ties. It definitely is their fault if our abusive parents have alienated us, and/or made no close friends that they can spend the holidays or other parts of their lives with.

I know that I can’t tolerate my mother’s toxic and hollow definition of love, so I expelled it. It was a few days after christmas six years ago that I cut her off for good, and it makes the holiday season all the happier for that anniversary. And I care about my happiness, not hers. She failed to take care of me as a child, she can certainly be left to care for herself now.

Happy Holidays to everyone,


Diane in #3 wrote: “The reason…and the only reason…that I have only good feelings this year is because of this blog and these posts.”

Yes! I feel exactly the same way. Validation, inspiration and education all at once. I can hardly believe it. FREE AT LAST!


I personally do not believe forgiveness is necessary for one to move on. There are many therapists that would agree with this. At the same time, I actually consider myself a very forgiving person. I can’t think of anyone in my life that I wouldn’t be able to forgive if and only if 1) they were truly sorry for what they had done and 2) they were actively seeking to fix their behavior and not repeat it. The two really go hand in hand. Since that will not happen in my case, I have no qualms with not forgiving. If at some point I feel empathy for my mother and her being a mentally ill person, I will have moved on to the next stage. But that is not forgiveness. It is acceptance and letting go and moving forward. It will be for me, not for her if /when that happens. But I don’t think one needs to forget, forgive, like or love the person. When we let go of the hatred, we do that for us. I’m not there yet. Truthfully, I still hate my mother. But I don’t have a time line on any of this, so right now I’m ok with my anger.

Uh, after that rant it may sound odd to say this, but Merry Christmas everyone. (said sort of sheepishly)


Hello Darlene and everyone else. I am new to EFB and am so glad to have found this site. I just wanted to say thank you to Darlene and all the other contributors and commenters. You are helping others, myself included, more than you could ever know. I can only imagine how many lives have been improved that you aren’t even aware of because they have never posted, which is why I decided to step out of the shadows and publicly declare my appreciation.
Merry Christmas to all, Dawny


Michelle wrote in #7: about her “rant.” Had to laugh out loud at that one! One paragraph does not equal a “rant” in my book.

I will make four or five posts and do not consider that a rant* if I am making important points and not ridiculous repetitions of nonsensical, illogical vitriolic thinking. Thank you Michelle, for your perceptive views about the fact that we do not need to “forgive” others to “move on.”

And yes, I also agree that it is important to let oneself “hate” another who has hurt you and then we again can move on. Especially once we feel the anger and the hurt and we don’t retaliate, we can really LET GO. And bid them “adieu.”

As one person put it “let them go their merry way,” and give them wide berth while we go ours. Happily and in Peace. What more can we ask for and what more do we need?

* * * * *

* definition of “rant:”

Speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way.
A spell of ranting; a tirade.

More info – Wikipedia – – – Merriam-Webster
rant – definition of rant by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and …
To speak or write in an angry or violent manner; rave. To utter or express with violence or extravagance: a dictator who ranted his vitriol onto a captive …


I am sick and tired of the “forgive and forget” mantra…..I have been “dissed” and abused for the last time. This Christmas I am spending it with my new husband of 2 years and the rest of the “family” can go….well you know 🙂


Great post, thanks Darlene! Hopefully you are feeling better or will be soon. I spent Christmas Eve with my girlfriends family and we had a really great time. Tomorrow I will literally probably read a book in my pajamas. Haha! So many times I made myself do what my family was doing because I felt pressured to – it was a “have to.” This is my third year of doing whatever I want to do and it freaking rocks! And Jesus loves me too lol.


Just what I needed to read tonight! It’s Christmas Eve here & this is the annual Christmas Eve Dinner at my parent’s house. I took a strong stance and stopped going there 5 years ago. I was worried about what they would think of me, when I set that boundary. I’m able to look at my time away thru their eyes now & it’s clear that my FOO perceives me as the one who’s holding a grude, the unhappy one, & basically it’s my fault. Well, the truth is they made their chose by how they have devalued, mistreated & ignored me, when I needed their support & love. I don’t see them worrying about me & what I think. It’s not best for me or my kids to accept abuse or neglect. I’ve started my own tradition with Christmas Eve at home with my husband and kids.


Like Michelle I do not believe I have to forgive, let alone forget, I have compassion for the pain that my parents experienced – but they failed me in so many ways, as did other adults. They never changed their behaviours, and forgiveness would only have let them off the hook…
We are not seeing any family this Christmas – and its going to be wonderful. We are going to do the things that we enjoy, want to do and feel nourished by. Our families do not do that for us. We have walked our dogs – and I am now heading back to the bedroom to get back into my pyjamas for the rest of the day. So there!!!
Love and Light to all


Thank you Catherine. You are right. I don’t think many people here would consider my statement a rant. In fact, the only people that would consider it a rant are those I don’t forgive. That’s me still learning and growing. Thanks for pointing it out to me!

I want to add something about family here on this day where many people feel strong feelings. Sometimes those feelings are sad because a desire for closeness to family doesn’t cease just because we don’t have it with our own family. I realize many of us describe family as family of origin (foo) and family of choice (foc), and in our minds we sometimes separate the two, one as true blood family and one as friends, husband, dog, whatever. However, as a student of genealogy, I am going to add that most of us are more closely connected than we think. Although we most times do not know the connection, as it is usually lost by 3rd generation or sooner, I would estimate that many (most?) posting on this forum are a 3rd, 4th, or 5th cousin. Perhaps even closer. And they say all humans are connected to eachother by being at least (I’m pretty sure) 15th cousins. If it’s not exactly 15, it is close to that number. So, just because we had no choice when we were children as to which family we shared a roof with, does not mean we do not have that choice as adults.


Darlene Thank you, this post has brought healing tears to me. Lots of love and blessings to you.


Perhaps we love who we wished they were…and we often reap what we DON’T SOW. Glad that you are feeling better. You are a such an inspiring person and I am so thankful for you and your posts. If the naysayers would read all your blogs they would realize the truth of ’emerging from broken’ and the good that you do.


Hi Darlene,
I often notice that one major component of this abuse cycle is overlooked. Especially, with regards to children feeling powerless or obligated. However, I am sure you wont disagree and I know you have at times spoken about it.
It is society. As children or even adult children we are criticised and told we are ungrateful, unnecessarily cruel and that our parents do love us and therefore we are being unfair and should tolerate and accept our parents for who they are.
I was once even dragged into a coordinators office and told exactly all that. Only to walk out thinking that the teacher would regret speaking to my father as of course he would harass them also.
Why didn’t anyone confront him about molesting one of my friends? Why didn’t an authoritative figure at least tell me that although my mother would be fined for allowing unauthorised work when she pressed charges that I still had rights?
He got away with it.
It wasn’t my fault and not all my mothers fault.
Things are different now. If the same things happened he would be prosecuted regardless of my mothers decision.
Every Christmas he messages me telling me how much he loves me and implies I have the problem.
I don’t change my number because then he manipulates someone else into giving it to him or sees it as an opportunity to create havoc IE report me missing or pranks call me.
Even now I feel abandoned by society. I have no records or proof of anything AS I WAS A CHILD.Anyone who has children should want society to deal with these people.
Essentially, my final option is to not react, be careful who I trust and just try to avoid him. Hence left feeling alone and ostracised and unable to enact any other consequences for him as SOCIETY and THE LAW let me down.
Lucky for me he is a nut and shows it quickly when people try to help him.
However, I still get NO support from anyone except for a counsellor.
How is this right? How is it fair?


Hi Darlene,
I am glad to hear you are feeling better! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well! Thank you so much for this post. It is very freeing, not to Feel I have to make an appearance, at the old homestead. Why? If you wanted a relationship with a daughter, you would work at it. You would respect me, appreciate me, value me. An honest give and take. All year long. I refuse to be trotted out, twice a year, for a fake family gathering, in which folks will disrespect me, speak disparrangingly about me, often in front of me, devalue my accomplishments, and try to goad me to feel envious of the golden childrens BS lives. Talking up their pathetic and dishonorable existances. All set with that.
Possibly, my mother will have some secondary gains, crying some fake tears, over her neglectful daughter (me), and how she doesnt understand, or deserve my shoddy treatment. Projection, to the nth degree!!!
They can just find another pony, or scape goat, to trot out. It’s not going to be me!

@ Julie, #10 “I am sick and tired of the “forgive and forget” mantra…..I have been “dissed” and abused for the last time”. Yes! That is awesome! So true. It is beautiful in its simplicity: if we dont show, they are very, very limited in what they can do. We can chose to have happy holidays with real loved ones! We make experience collateral damage, as they try to bad mouth us to other relatives, but I am getting to the place where, if they side with the dysfunction, they can keep it. It is so freeing to think about letting it all go………..
@ Free, #17, You are right. It is troublesome, that society pushes forgiveness, and some judge us for not making ammends with our abusers. I can see why you are watching who you trust, as the judgements can have adverse effects on our careers, social life and even our scholastic paths. I am glad you have a supportive counselor! I am sorry your father was abusive and your mother was nonsupportive as well. I love your chosen name! I hope we are all getting a little closer to that state!

Wishing you All the joy of the season,


This is my first post on this blog.

As the husband of an abused wife, this blog has helped me to better understand her feelings and why she has the hurts carried around for so long.

Pam Witzemann’s articles the last couple of weeks are POWERFUL. They are worth thousands of dollars in psycho therapy 🙂 Darlene’s articles and postings are tempered with love, understanding and wisdom.

There have been just a few friends over the years, maybe only one I can think of, that has been telling her the TRUTH of it all. In the last few years she is coming to an understanding that it was OK to have the feelings to start with, and it was more OK to sever relationships with people who were abusing her, both inside and outside our family.

She’s not there yet, neither am I, but we’ve been on this journey now for almost 41 years, and she is as mentally healthy as I’ve seen her. Like many of us that blog here, her life’s story could be another Tolstoy novel. She has effectively cut all of her family from her life, having received nothing but grief for the last four decades. She has had to, so she could heal.

We are strong believers as Christians, but even people of faith can be “friends of Job” at times, and as Darlene and other contributors have so aptly put, we should tell these people that we don’t accept their condemnation. In fact the Christian Bible states quite emphatically that there is NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ….(Romans 8:1) If you read most of Romans chapter 7, you hear Paul discuss why the Law cannot save us, and who would know better than the Apostle Paul, what the Law says?

These so called friends (and family) want us to recognize why we are in the pickle they see us in. Sometimes we don’t know there is quicksand under our feet; the ground feels plenty solid. But given enough time and words from these people. we can start to believe that the ground is getting soft, and as much as I don’t want to accept it, the fact remains unchanged that sometimes, these family members and friends WANT us to sink up to our necks.

Why? Because their own pitiful shortcomings seem to be smaller when they can get us to wallow in mire along with them. Misery loves company.

Faith is simply believing in something outside of ourselves that is an agent for good in our lives. Faith leads to hope; without it we suffer from hopelessness. Hopelessness leads to so many negative consequences.

We need to hang onto the truth and not believe the lies, regardless of how loud and how often those lies are broadcast. The TRUTH is ALWAYS true. Half truths and lies are never “the TRUTH”.

Often it seems that people want to imprint us with their hurts, feelings, and most of all to “understand” them; understand why they hurt others and themselves, both physically and mentally. To continue forgiving them for harpooning us once again.

Well, it’s not OK for our psyche to get caught up in those feelings. Yes we can strive to understand so that we can be understood, but to hurting people, often in their mind this understanding requires that we take on their hurts, their abuse, their mental and physical bruises.

Humans are not capable of doing that, nor or we asked to do that even in the extreme. The strongest person emotionally still has an Achilles heel. No one is invulnerable.

True compassion does not require that we allow ourselves to be crucified for a family member or friend. We are the ones that establish our rules for socialization with others, especially our family members. As I’ve read on this blog and as I am in total agreement with, WE MUST NOT allow ourselves to stay in the doldrums of static feelings. Sorry for the nautical analogy, but eventually all of that negative energy that comes into our sails will rip them apart.

I went through three years of psycho analysis and therapy, and am now on a “maintenance” program. One of the best analogies I learned in therapy was the picture of our feelings, emotions and thoughts being like passengers on a bus. We should normally be driving the bus with little to no distraction, but often one of our passengers will rear their ugly head and start with the barbed comments, belittling, tearing down and waging war with our emotions. If we allow anger, or bitterness, or resentment, or any negative emotion to take control of the bus, and start driving, we end up in the back of the bus and have to hold on for dear life just to ride along.

No, it’s not easy, but it’s easier to fight each battle as it occurs, rather than to allow the enemy of our mind to build up a battalion of ugly monsters that try to tear away at our very soul. We will still sometimes get weary of the battle, but that’s when we need to go to comrades in arms who really do understand what we’re going through, and who can just listen and help us to talk our way through the maze.

No one needs our sympathy. We can at times feel quite sorry for ourselves without any additional help. Empathy is a good thing but not everyone has walked in our shoes and really knows what we’re going though. We can though always be compassionate, even when those who love us, or say they love us, hurt us. It’s OK to say, “I know what you’re saying, but you’re WRONG and let me tell you why I think you don’t have it right!” Don’t get the Webster’s definition of “compassion” mixed up with the practical application of the trait.

That feeling of sympathy, that wants to jump in and “fix” or alleviate the issue, problem, hurt, etc. is usually not something the person needs. If a person is hungry or thirsty or has other physical needs, we should be compassionate to the point of helping them to get food, water and some comfort. But that is NOT fixing the problem. Why are they hungry?

Short of alleviating a person’s immediate need for food and shelter, those of us who are wired for reconciliation and compromise will start trying to feed those other “needs”, that emotional baggage that we all carry around with us at times. Sometimes we need to leave the “fixing” to true professionals, and not just the credentialed ones, but those soldiers, like Darlene, who have been in the battle, and who have come out alive.

It boils down to just a couple of key concepts IMHO. All of this rubbish we wallow around in leads to one killer emotion, and that is GUILT. Guilt is an extremely powerful emotion, maybe the strongest of the emotions. That’s the main link in the chain that needs to be broken. Guilt is something the emotional attacker wants us to feel, either consciously or subconsciously. Unfortunately people WANT us to feel guilty. We’re conditioned for guilt from an early age.

Go back to my bus analogy; who is driving your bus right now? The ghost of Christmas past? The unfulfilled desires for being truly loved and accepted by those the closest to us?

I need to wrap this up, so I’ll leave it at this and would love to hear ya’lls comments. I’m not a psychiatrist but I’ve had mental health problems most of my life, and as an academic I’ve done a lot of reading and research.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite comedian’s closing comments from his show, The Red Green Show. This crazy Canadian ends his show with this; “So until next time, remember to keep your stick on the ice. We’re all here pulling for you.”

Blessings on this Christmas Day


OK, so I just made a Christmas phone call to my parents. I have a pretty good relationship with my Dad, so I dont want to totally shut him out. And I first got my mother on the line, and there were the little barbs. Talking about how my brother slept over last night, and was still there (she made it very clear to me, that I could not sleep over in the past, for work, or once when I had to much to drink at a party–told me to go to my friends house, since I liked her so much (resentful of my friend, the voice of reason), made it clear that my brother from out of state had sent all the children money (I didnt gift my sisters kids this year, was having some conflicting feelings– like I did not want to be just a christmas gift aunt, allowed no relationship with them, it felt demeaning to me),she started to go on a rant about my sisters SIL, how she was trying to “take over” my sisters house, and giving examples, then saying to me, would you like it, if someone did that to you? This is the sister who totally ignores and does not seek treatment for my nephews developmental delay or learning disabilities, and left him home with her husband, knowing he was a day drinker, driving him in the car–my BIL just finished 6 months in the pen for drinking and driving x 4. Her house is very, very dirty, and not fit for a child, that she would stab her SIL in the back while she tried to help her clean and organize while hubby was in jail is despicable to me, yet predictable of this sicko, my sister.
So I said to my mother, “You know, I’m just not going to comment on that. “Sister” has made some very poor choices over the past few years, ignoring her son’s health and development issues, leaving him in the care of a drinker, and I dont respect her decisions. That someone would try to help her, and she would be unappreciative, is not my concern. Actually, I couldnt care less. Next subject, mother?” My mother actually laughed at that. Maybe she enjoyed the animosity, but I was not going to agree that helpful, maybe overly helpful, who knows, SIL was meddlesome or a bad person. I do know the facts of how my sister has sherked her responsibilities as a mother and a guardian, neglectful, and I dont care to know anything about her cry baby shenanigans.

So, I went on to have a delightful conversation with my brother, who is so dear to me, and my father, as well.

I dont know if I handled that well, but I am not going to play any games, or get into any drama. I spoke my mind honestly, and tried to avoid getting drawn in.



Michelle wrote in #14: “Thank you Catherine. You are right. I don’t think many people here would consider my statement a rant. In fact, the only people that would consider it a rant are those I don’t forgive. That’s me still learning and growing. Thanks for pointing it out to me!”

Yes, my dear, glad I could help out! I had to laugh, because if anyone writes what might be considered a “rant,” that would be me! But I don’t consider it that even from me!

Nowadays, everyone I know seems to be using the word “rant” whenever they express their true feelings, and I don’t know how this word has so quickly entered our current language. Since when is talking about how someone feels a “rant?” So glad you could see it too and consider it “learning and growing.” Me, too.

I’m sure that plenty of people would say I go on “rants” because I talk and write a LOT, but I grew up in school and loved education and writing papers and researching them, so I don’t consider putting it all out there (or “in there”) ranting at all. I consider it being complete!

Normally I would write out all this mess at once and then go back and edit and organize, which I obviously don’t do here, but that’s how I begin… getting it all out and down on paper and then working with it. But it has to be OUT and in WRITING to begin – you have to start somewhere and words are the building blocks we use instead of sticks and stones.

Although you can be sure there’s plenty that would disagree with me! What I want to learn is how to edit my work and my words, but as I learn to get it all out the editing is starting to come naturally. That’s what I want and I won’t quit until I’m done. As I have said many times, I have been loud about what I went through and how I feel about it, and I’m about to get louder!” I will NEVER SHUT UP until I’m through – as truth and justice brings order and an end to pain, tranquility is foretold and peace will reign once again.

Just like the recognition of the Jews in the concentration camps, so will we build our houses and tell our stories of darkness and light.

* * * *

However, about editing my story, my husband, who was an English / Journalism major in college can take 3 pages of my writing and reduce it to 3 paragraphs and say the same thing! So I am more of a “novelist” than a newspaper reporter, because I don’t know how to be brief, but I want to learn how to do both.

And as I learn how to become a better, more clear and concise writer, I am learning how to identify and express my emotions in the very same way. Clearly and concisely, and if someone doesn’t want to read or listen to them, fine. “Turn the page.” I am determined to get my story out, out of myself and onto the page, into the clearing and out of the woods. I’ve been on an “archaeological dig” for many years now, and I’ve been”digging graves” in the mountains and deserts for quite some time. But there are treasures to find there, among the dust and bones. And we are unearthing our diamonds and pearls and will soon have enough to string a necklace that will be made of stars.

* * * * *

Happy New Year!

* * * * *

PS: I LOVED what you said about “genealogy” and everyone is at least a 15th cousin. I’m going to look this up, as I have a lot of friends of Irish descent, as I am, and I feel so close to them… they are “real family” to me, even though I may have met them when I was 10 years or 50, it didn’t seem to make any difference at all. So now I’m going to see if we are truly joined on some kind of FAMILY TREE. Wouldn’t that be grand?*

And the group of relatives (“family”) we happened to be born into, that we don’t fit into, could have been an errant branch that can be pruned. For the health of the tree. Cut off infected branches and cut out the deadwood to replenish the whole. Words of wisdom from one gardener to another.

*Where can I begin to look up this kind of genealogy? For example, the Irish Merricks (me) and the Dolans (my oldest and closest best friend and her mother, who was my 5th grade teacher in San Antonio TX). Where to begin? This idea is just fascinating to me.


Michelle, had to repeat what you wrote:

“In fact, the only people that would consider it a rant are those I don’t forgive.”

LOL – ain’t this the truth? Thanks for making my day!


Just an observation. When I talk to my brother and Dad, I feel love and acceptance. When I talk to my mother, it feels like generals going to battle. Every move strategic, nothing genuine or natural!



Janie wrote: “When I talk to my mother, it feels like generals going to battle.”

And you know what? It IS. You nailed it with this one! And I just spent a week visiting with a family where I only knew the daughter, and watched the mother work her over in every possible subtle and not-so-subtle way, and then direct hits. And then guess what? She started in on me! If I hadn’t read this site first, I would have taken it personal and been really, really miserable. Instead, it just made me feel “half bad,” and I simply resolved to not stay there again.

Paying for a hotel is better than a free trashing (“thrashing”) no matter what the cost! No wonder my friend is so screwed up over her mother and the treatment by her… and I got to see my own mother “in action” as these two might have been twins. Started out nice and sweet and all lovey-dovey, and then the veneer wore thin. *Almost* scary, but this time due to the discussions here, I was more able to “see it as it is,” and NOT try to fix it, or smooth things over, or try to change it, or get involved in any way. I simply said “Thank you very much and have a nice Christmas and visit sometime…”

I saw that I was being treated as “one of the family,” and usually this would have been the HOOK for me. Hook line and sinker. But not this time. And as much as I wanted (and STILL want) them to “like me,” I realized that if she didn’t like her own daughter, and had some kind of need to put her down, why would a stranger like me be any different at all? So I said adios and bid her adieu.

First time I was ever able to do that with a clear heart and a clean conscience. It wasn’t my fault and it wasn’t my problem and they could go their own merry way. And I would go mine. And I did! Had a very good time up until the last day when she was finally able to get to me, but even that I could see it for what it is, and it wasn’t a fatal blow; just a wound to the heart.

But it WASN’T ME. It was HER. And the way SHE TREATS PEOPLE, for whatever reason, she needs to put people down and control everyone around her. But I could leave. As a free spirit, and I did. What a change. This wouldn’t have happened a year ago. Probably not even a few months ago. How wonderful when these people don’t have control over us, and we can let them behave any way they want to, and not feel the need to get them to “treat us differently” or “behave differently,” but just be themselves and go their merry way.

And so shall we. Amen! The times they do seem to be a’changing… all over the world. And it all starts within. Hallelujah, and God bless the world and everything in it. Gracias, Dios. Gracias amigas! Sing our praises on high!


I made it through Christmas without seeing my family. I agree with you Darlene and others my family has used my Christian faith against me for years and that’s not what being a Christian is about. My abusive family tells me to forgive and forget and keep coming back for more abuse well not anymore! I’ll forgive you but I am not going to keep coming around so you can abuse me some more. My sister brought me a gift along with gifts from my family at my mother-in-laws house.(My sister is married to my husband’s half-brother) I asked her why they couldn’t bring their gifts for me themselves? She said that they thought I wouldn’t take them. Well nobody wants to come to my house and say their sorry and wish me a Merry Christmas. My family for years has made my sister like the messenger for the family to me. For example my grandmother doesn’t’ call me to tell me that she is having Thanksgiving at her house and blank time. My sister has to call me to tell me. I don’t know why this is like this but it has been this way ever since I could remember. I have a cell phone so I don’t know why no one would call me for information. Anyways, so I asked her if (older) she and my oldest sister went to our mothers for Christmas. She told me that she did and I got upset. I asked her why is she willing to go around a mother who let our father molest me for years and physically abuse me. (This man molested my older sister when she was 5 then went to prison for 7 years and my mother got back with him. When he came back he beat my older sister bad. He began molesting me and soon began to beat me as well. He didn’t molest the middle sister or beat her. I don’t know why. My oldest sister still goes around the family. Crazy right!) This is a slap in the face every time you go around our family. She said she can’t just stop talking to our mother. I said fine then moms sick, granny, papa, older sister, and you. I can’t make myself be around these abusive people anymore regardless if they are my family. I don’t have an obligation to uphold to any of them. Where were they when I was being molested? Who held up their obligation to me? When I told my mother, both sisters that I was being molested, all at different times, no one helped me. Eight years of my life living in hell and somehow I owe them an obligation. I have been out of that house for six years and that’s how long it took me to finally understand that they all were wrong. So I dropped the conversation and went back in the house. Later when I got home I opened my sister’s gift. It was a pair of pink gloves she had knitted and a poem she wrote.

In the forest we would go, running wild and untamed. There we found magic glittering wonder, a place only children know. Holding hands, singing songs, we two sisters will always be in the forest where children dream. And nothing is what it seems.

What the heck is that supposed to mean? Is this a mind screw or am I reading too much into this. I think it’s kind of creepy. I have an idea of what it means to me but I wanted to know what someone else’s perspective was. What is she meaning by nothing is what it seems? Is this meaning what I went through and how we were both made to keep it a secret? Or is she trying to call me crazy and say nothing is as it seems? Craziness I just can’t trust anything my family says.


Wow, Dawn! Good for you, for not going back for any more abuse! What a nightmare, that your mother let the abuser back into your homes and lives. And then did not protect you, knowing what he was capable of. I am so glad you are healing, and understanding how wrong they all are! Good for you, keeping distance from all the sickness and denial!

Your sister and the poem, I remember an article Pam wrote, or a response, in which she talked about the Golden Children needing to live in denial, or chosing to. I notice this with my S.O. He is the G.C. for sure. We had something upsetting happen on our recent trip, and he told me he was going to put it out of his mind. It would be like it had never happened. And so it has been. He has not dealt with his Dad’s death, 3 years ago. I may say something like, that makes me sad, it makes me think about your Dad, and he will say, I cant think about that now. I have things to do, and children to raise. I cant go there. It kills me,as I may sometimes see a very powerful emotion try to come up, and surface, and he squelches it immediately and gets into physical movement. I get so sad for him, knowing the burden he carries inside…….
I wonder if it is the same with your sister. She is focusing on the magic of childhood and your bond as sisters, and just cant see or wont see, the ugliness that dwelt in your home.
I am so gad you have the ability to deal with the truth and sort it all out!



Dawn, my heart went out to you when I read your story just now. I think you have been amazingly brave to stand your ground and not go back into the head games of your family. It struck me when I read about your family using your sister to be the “go-between” with messages and gifts, that it is another way to side step responsibility on their part…and it is totally about control. I could be wrong about that , but that is what it seemed to me. As for the knitted pink gloves from your sister, I guess it is hard to understand because it is all “coded”. Does she usually make a gift for you herself or usually purchase something? And does the color pink have any significance to you? The poem sounds like some sort of coded message since it is Christmas and she knows how you feel. If you didnt understand what she was trying to say by the gift and poem, and you are left guessing….it must not be speaking to you in a direct way. Does she usually play head games with you? In my family, they were masters at not communicating directly…once I wasnt told about two deaths in the family of relatives because “you didnt call us”. And once I didnt call them on my birthday to see what they had planned for me …and they sent me a card in the mail telling me that they left my cake outside for the trashman… and the list goes on and on with the attempts to control me…and also to get back at me for trying to become independent of them and their abuse. I believe they deliberately did these kind of things to hurt me! Bring me back into the the family dysfunction the only ways and means they knew how.
You sound so clear and like you are seeing things for what they really are! I am amazed at how you have been able to see through the games this year!

I am so sorry that you were abused..and that noone helped you! I am also sorry that ppl use christianity…that whole forgiveness line…on you to try to bring you back into the family dysfunction…to force you to conform back again and comply. It sounds like you have really begun to stick up for YOURSELF …YAY!…and that it is shaking up your family! Hugs and comfort to you!! 🙂


You are on track about that wierd/strange poem…Who says that?!!…The message it sends me is that she has accepted that you as sisters are stuck in a fantasy land. Well, that’s what she chooses not you. I believe you want a real relationship because I can relate to all that you said about them not really being there for you, when you needed them the most. No mutual relationship there just like my FOO. I could of wrote your comment #25. It’s crazy making & drama.

I can relate to all you said in comment #20, especially when you said, you did not want to be the “Christmas gift Aunt”…Exactly! I have been this for years 7 last year my brother ended that last year, by ignoring my kids & I during Christmas, no card & unfriended on fb, after I spoke the truth to him about his lousy behavior. No apology just cut me off…Anyway, I was not expecting any card or gift this year and I waivered between sending a card myself. I decided not to send anything, then out of the blue, he sent a card & now he is giving my mom the kid’s presents, when she decides to visit me. What??!!…This is a mind screw!…The worst comes out in their need to Control!!…I want to have no contact now. I called my mom Christmas evening to see what day she can come by, since she had already accepted my invite to dinner, which I had to cancel due to my dtr being very sick….She left it up in the air (Control, then now, she is the “messenger” for my brother & sister by supposedly bringing gifts from them, whenever that may be. Wow!!…I thought I was taking control of myself by having my parents & sister at my house, however it got turned around by them!…It’s a complicated mess!!!..I don’t feel I need to grapple with my mom about a mutual day to get together for the Holidays….I’m tempted to message them & tell them to send it in the mail. My mom actually said, I don’t know what you want…send the gifts in the mail, before she made herself unavailable. Damn it!…She knows what I want for her & my dad to see my kids. I already told my 14 yr old, that grandma not available on a mutual day. She is working, yet all I asked was for my parents to come by for 2 hours for dinner & presents. Now, I’m being triangulated again with my brother & sister. It’s insane!!…I’m angry & frustrated. Not crushed just annoyance. This would be the time to cut them out!!…Anyone’s opinion to this comment would be appreciated. It’s hard to be in the midst of the crazy making games….I’m looking for a mutual & equal relationship & I may have to hit them with a brick about that in a message….


Just came across your blog today.

On the theme of Christmas:
My (controlling) mother bought me a really expensive food processor for Christmas. I genuinely wish she hadn’t bought it for me. Not because I won’t use it, but because I’ve learnt to avoid accepting gifts from her as they inevitably come with millions of strings attached.

I’ll always remember a few years ago my mother bought me a beautiful red duffle coat quite out of the blue. I tried it on and she said I looked lovely. I thought it suited me too. I looked like little red riding hood. It was perfect. I was really happy because I don’t usually receive gifts from her (because obviously she provides the food, puts a roof over our head, gave birth to us, etc). Anyway, the red coat made me feel really special. It felt like we were really getting on well; mother and daughter. Within a week, all that had changed. In her usual way she started making attempts to control my life; but when I wasn’t compliant she started threatening to take back the coat. Suddenly I was made to feel really guilty that I’d accepted the gift, and she used it as evidence of “all the things I’ve done for you, and you’re so ungrateful”. I felt so guilty wearing that coat.

The food processor is definitely going to come back to haunt me..


Addition to coomment #28, To add to the mess my mom is physically sick & still continuing to work. She complained about making christmas Eve dinner for my brother & sister. I’m just a dumping ground for her garbage. I also have an appt tomorrow with my Dr because I believe I got my dtr’s upper respiratory infection. UUGGHH! Taking it day by day. Focusing on taking care of me & my daughter today…..


Jim in #19 says it all:

Jim, December 25th, 2012 at 8:34 pm

“As the husband of an abused wife, this blog has helped me to better understand her feelings and why she has the hurts carried around for so long. Pam Witzemann’s articles [and Darlene’s] the last couple of weeks are POWERFUL. They are worth thousands of dollars in psycho therapy 🙂 Darlene’s articles and postings are tempered with love, understanding and wisdom.”

* * * * *

This spells BOOK!

Plus the person who said her therapist printed out 36 pages for her to read (or something like that).

Darlene, what would we do without you and this site? You are our “Melody Beattie for the Broken Hearted.” You have changed my life; how about yours? It’s time for your memoir!


Jim #19: This is one of the best posts I have ever read here! Thank you so much. I’m printing this and pinning it on my wall!

True compassion does not require that we allow ourselves to be crucified for a family member or friend. We are the ones that establish our rules for socialization with others, especially our family members. As I’ve read on this blog and as I am in total agreement with, WE MUST NOT allow ourselves to stay in the doldrums of static feelings. Sorry for the nautical analogy, but eventually all of that negative energy that comes into our sails will rip them apart.

I went through three years of psycho analysis and therapy, and am now on a “maintenance” program. One of the best analogies I learned in therapy was the picture of our feelings, emotions and thoughts being like passengers on a bus. We should normally be driving the bus with little to no distraction, but often one of our passengers will rear their ugly head and start with the barbed comments, belittling, tearing down and waging war with our emotions. If we allow anger, or bitterness, or resentment, or any negative emotion to take control of the bus, and start driving, we end up in the back of the bus and have to hold on for dear life just to ride along. ”

Gracias, amigo, and to Darlene and everyone else here. What would we do without you?

I hope everyone contributes to maintain this site. It costs $200.00 per month in expenses, not counting the 8 hours a day Darlene contributes to maintaining it. I hope many will see fit to donate $5.00 or $10.00 per month to keep the site running, or a one-time donation of $20.00 or more. I think this would make a really good Christmas present for someone, or a New Years present too.

I would hate to see this site become an unmanageable burden for one person to maintain alone. It’ too valuable for that!


Dawn #25: Your sister’s poem:

* * * * *

“In the forest we would go, running wild and untamed. There we found magic glittering wonder, a place only children know. Holding hands, singing songs, we two sisters will always be in the forest where children dream. And nothing is what it seems.”

* * * * *

I think it’s her apology to you, and saying that she can’t face reality in her real life but she knows that the outward look is “not what it seems.” My sisters live in a fantasy world too because I believe they too were molested all their young lives just like I was. But I was the only one who fought back, and finally got out. Saved my own life. Not one family member lifted a finger to help me, but the judge who believed me but couldn’t jail my father at the time.

This poem speaks to me about what life was like when you both were young and free, and life WAS “like it seemed,” before the craziness set in. It speaks to me of the deep and abiding love that two sisters can have for each other, and always will. It speaks to me of profoundness of truth and beauty in the forest, of the songs of light and love, the place where angels sing.

I think it’s an incredible poem. Ask her what it means. I’m dying to know. And good for you for not giving in to the family craziness. You “didn’t drink the Koolaid!”


Thank you for this Darlene.


Thanks for the link to gift giving!…No Strings attached is how I look at it as the giver and I’m convinced my FOO have motives with strings attached. They can look like the better person by saying they gave my kids presents. However, their motives are not genuine. It’s for show just like the phony XMas card they sent me….show boating their vacation in Portugal….I’m not less than in any way… It’s a no win situation, since I don’t have a lot to spend and they see that as not worthy or caring enough….There is no price tag to a gift in my book….With my FOO there is….Esp when my mom tells me $10.00 isn’t enough for my three nephews..She said,”What can you get with that?”….Well, it’s that or homemade gifts….Told her I’m on a tight budget….She backed down with the truth, however, it’s surface crap with her. It’s life to me! I have gifts without strings attached & I’m not going to be used/manipulated in gift giving.


I love my mother and she’s one of my childhood abusers. Even to this day she will try to use words of condemnation towards me. She has no respect for me, but I do her. I respect her as a human being and I do care for her as my mother. I have no desire to have a mother daughter relationship with her. I’m not holding on to hopes and prayers that one day such a thing will be. I love her but I don’t want her. I don’t trust her, don’t believe in her. I come to love her through my own way and it’s for my healing and sanity. I’ve helped my mother overcome two strokes and breast cancer because I wanted to. It wasn’t out of obligation nor any delusional idea. There was a time where I did hope for that relationship but through the process of healing I’ve let go. I was with mother at a holiday family gathering recently and from across the room I noticed she was having problems securing her shoes. I waited and watched her, no one else seem to see what was happening with her. She gave up with a sigh of disappointment. I walked over to her, knelt and fixed her shoes to her feet to her liking. I hesitated, I don’t like being in close space with mother because of what granny did to me. But as I knelt I received another level of power. Power over the past and healing that sets me free. For me Darlene that’s love working. No I don’t desire to be in a relationship with her but I do want to be able to have a heart to serve her whenever the emergency calls for….I hope you had a good Christmas and may the coming new year bring to you an abundance of joy, peace, and fulfillment..God Bless you Darlene and your family


Janie #26 yes I believe she is my parents G.C. and my oldest sister is my grandparents G.C. I agree I think she is trying to hold on to what childhood magic we had and doesn’t want to see the ugly truth.
Diane #27 I never thought that what they were doing was about control but now that makes since! I guess to put me in my place and make me want the family. I think she just knitted the gloves for me to give me a gift possibly no meaning. I thought the same thing “The poem sounds like some sort of coded message since it is Christmas and she knows how you feel.” And yes she does play head games sort of like my mom does to me. Yes all of my family members have black belts at not saying directly what they mean but cutting your heart deep at the same time. I really started to see clearly when I started college and realized in classes especially psychology that my family is not normal. I am seeing more clearly than ever before but I still have to work on some things. You’re totally right they want to keep me in the dysfunction but I am not complying anymore. I have held on to secrets for so long and I can’t anymore.
Sonia #28 that’s what I thought she was saying that we are in the fantasy land together and she wants me to stay with her. I completely agree with you I want a real relationship not a fantasy filled with more secrets, denial, and manipulation. I have been reading on trauma bonding a lot and this clearly makes since of our relationship as well as other relationships in my life.
Catherine Todd # 34 I don’t know maybe it could be an apology but a piece of me feels like this is a manipulation of some kind. I have been talking with her this holiday due to some things my Grandmother recently said to me and I just feel like the poem is a double entendre.


Thank you everyone for sharing your stories. Im sorry for what you all have been through. God bless you, everyone.


Dawn, why don’t you ask your sister what the poem means, and let us know? I for one am dying to know. And what’s the problem with pink gloves? Not cold where you live? This is just wild. Reading all this makes me so glad that my family has rejected me completely as I could never have cut them off as I always wanted “resolution” and even after 20 to 30 years of silence and estrangement, now that I’ve come back into contact with them during my mother’s cancer and death, it’s just as awful as before, but WORSE if I may dare to say so. In fact completely worse, because now I am speaking the truth and asking “too many questions” about their behavior through all this and I won’t shut up!

So Dawn, let us know if you find out anything. The notion of Trauma Bonding is also relevant, but it doesn’t mean I have to STAY “bonded.”

I had a wonderful Christmas in New York City playing and recording the piano and seeing old friends and it was the best time, and it all came about because I was rejected from visiting “family” that I was AFRAID to visit in the first place. So now I am learning to Listen to My Self.

Gracias Dios! Small favors and large… more of the “Gifts of Estrangement.”


Catherine! I used to do most of my genealogy research. There is a fee, but I believe they still offer a free trial period. There are also great books at the library and some libraries have free access to some genealogy websites that usually charge money. Do you know when your family came over to America? There are all kinds of interesting things that get uncovered with genealogy research, some of which can sometimes help to explain why mom/dad were nutso. But I find the fact of our being interelated the most fascinating. And how quickly families loose touch (many times created by an initial rift) and then don’t even know they are family. Some of your best friends may indeed be 2nd cousins to you. Good luck with your research.


Hi Darlene,

This article is brilliant it absolutely resonates with me. I have been doing the same myself, fighting this battle within myself with regards to my own family. Pushing aside my horrific childhood and ignoring the anxiety and PTSD aside and feeling obliged to love and stay loyal to my family. I think alot of it has to do with the fact that we are in a society where it is constantly drummed in to us from an early age that ” Family are the most important people in the world” My father was a violent alcoholic so the majority of christmas’s had been horrific in the past. We would manage to get away and end up in a women’s hostel, however he would find us and we would end up back home. Than for the first night, we would be sat in 1 room terrified ALL night as he got blind drunk smashing things up terrorizing us while lecturing how family was the most important thing in the world, and never tell anybody we were in a hostel or people would laugh at us….WTF ..are you kidding me.My mother was even worse and yet she never drank, so I dont know what her excuse is.

I cut contact with all of them in May this year so this was my first Christmas without any contact. I spent it with friends and people that I love. However it also bought up alot of sadness and strong emotions, which I allowed myself to feel :(. I was proud of myself until yesterday I checked my email and I received a passive agressive email from my brother, which upset me. Basically telling me how dissapointed he was in me,how I was was going downhill, was bitter and angry amongst other hurtful things. And he hoped I had moved forward and to stop using the “so called sexual abuse as an excuse. To go back home and the family will help me to move forward..arghhhhhhh are you kidding me…

2years I have been coming to terms with alot of childhood stuff and finally letting sink the devastating affects my childhood and their unspeakable cruelty. Even now I am at a loss for words as to how ANY human being could treat anybody like that,let alone defenseless children. Having confronted by parents letting them know that I was aware that my Dad had sexually abused me and his brothers, also the cruelty I had endured in their hands. I cut them out of my life!!!!!! 2years of pure grief and heartbreak and unbelievble pain,triggers ,flashbacks.. Im tiny I was not aware I could hold so much pain in me. This Christmas was supposed to be a turning point in my recovery and how far I have come. Not one of them helped or even wanted to know. I got called many things and not one of those nasty things was words of help!!! I rest my case. So I had a minor setback yesterday after reading his email.

They can choose to live in Denial I CHOOSE not to. They can pretend like they have always done I CHOOSE not to.Their is always an excuse for the parents he has a disease he is an alcholic he cant help himself, we need to help him. He choose to sodomize his own daughter but hey lets ignore that and pretend it never happened. Lets still hang out and pretend that we are a happy family. They had horrible pasts ,terrible childhoods blah blah blah.zzzzzzzz. Now they are too old we cant say anything to them. Quiet frankly I am sick of the excuses . I was psychically,mentally,emotionally,sexually and spiritually abused, tormented beat up with the bible AND I had to quote the Chapter of love..Had GOD rammed down my throat however I HAD to be greatful for all they did to me.

I have had enough they were ADULTS they made their choices and not one of those choices even considered the body,mind or feelings of the little girl. If they were alcoholics they choose to drink so it is their responsibility. Every decision they made they had free will, and unfortunaly they CHOOSE ALL the wrong ones.

I dont love them I have never loved them, I felt obliged as a good little girl to do so in the past. Today in my life I choose to accept those feelings that frankly I have never loved them and I no longer feel obliged to. The things that have been helping and assisting me firstly is myself, my therapist websites like this and Over Coming Sexual abuse . I have relied on both the websites these past 2 years and can not thank you enough Darlene for the hard work and honest insights. They have helped to step out of denial and start accepting what is right in front of me. Its painful some days I wonder how I even get out of bed and go to work.

It makes me sad that my life was nearly destroyed to the very core by people who gave birth to me and were supposed to love and protect me,like they ripped my heart out and spat it on the sidewalk. The truth is I NEEDED protecting from them, the world was/is a safe place my childhood home was hell on earth.

Thanks Darlene – For 2years I have been popping on to the website and it has been helpful and heartbreaking at the same time. I would like to make a donation however I dont have a credit card. If you can please provide alternative details that would be great. I am greatful that you choose to stand up and speak out loud

Wishing you a Bigger Brighter Happier 2013
Love Always



Hi Dawny,
Welcome to EFB !!
Thank you so much for your note!
Hugs, Darlene

Anger was a necessary part of this journey for me. I had avoided that emotion for many years but it was not serving me to squish it and lie to myself that I was not angry. I was angry and had a right to be angry and sitting with that anger for a time went miles towards validating me. There were many stages in this process and I am so glad that I went through all of them!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Julie,
I got a smile out of your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Awesome ~ and Jesus loves ME too!
Hugs, Darlene


YES ~ they made their choice! Realizing that was part of the truth that set me free!
Hugs, Darlene

Your day sounds lovely!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Judy,
Thank you for your note!!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Heather
Healing tears are the best kind! Thank you for your note!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Free
Welcome to EFB
I am so sorry that he got away with it. This type of thing continues today all over the world. I believe that only healing will make the biggest difference. Healing is what resolved my feelings of abandonment too. I became to myself what was missing in my life from others. I am glad you are here, Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Janie,
Yay for knowing that they can find anohter pony! Thanks for your note! I am feeling better and I am having a wonderful christmas!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jim
Welcome to EFB
Persoal healing is the answer. Glad you are here, thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Dawn
Your comments are such a great exapmle of the ‘sick system’ that we have lived in and where so many of us come from. Odd things that don’t make sense, and those kinds of things just kept me guessing and spinning in the fog. The whole forgiveness thing is such a huge manipulation! When someone asks for forgiveness but refuses to change or usually they refuse to even aknowledge that they did anything wrong in the first place, the request is invalid.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Caden
It all comes down to the false def of love. For me that was one of the biggest keys in this whole thing; understanding that what I was taught was LOVE was not love! It is one of the most powerful tools that I use in my coaching practice too.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Diane
And to add to what I just wrote to Caden, finding out about what healthy love and emotions and family are! HUGE stuff when it comes to healing!
Thanks for your comments Diane and your kind words!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Catherine!
What an awesome gift to yourself; a trip to N.Y. and all that you have shared about that!
I love your ending “and now I belong to me” ~ awesome!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi RebeccaN
Welcome to EFB ~
Something that I learned in this process is that it doesn’t matter what THEY think about when they give a gift to me. I can accept it as a gift. I can reject any idea of ‘strings attached’ or obligation. I don’t have to agree with whatever they decide is attached to the gift at all. Coming out of that ‘spin’ was huge for me. This is a huge subject, (one that I might write about myself eventually)
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Amy
You are so welcome, thanks for your comments,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Will
This is a lovely story about your mothers shoes. She is lucky. As for love; I agree that it is love to stand up to abuse. It is not loving to allow it, not love for me or for the abuser. It was so powerful for me to learn that lesson.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sanita!
There is NO excuse for what they did or for how they acted but for me it has been healing from the damage that has made the biggest difference. Learning that when the family is unhealthy and abusive, then family is not ‘all important’ has been huge for me. That was such a huge lie that ruled my life. You are right; you DID need to be protected from them. I spent YEARS trying to understand them and make excuses for them and when I began to see the truth and start to validate me, and the damage caused to me, I recovered from all my issues in a few short years!
Thank you for sharing and for your lovely comments and aknowledgement of what I am doing here.
I just sent you a private email with my mailing address; Thank you so much for considering giving a donation to EFB!
Hugs, Darlene


Michelle #41: Thanks! I actually did find online and I’ll give it a try. Although I’m not really sure now if I need more “family” in my life!

Sanita #42 wrote: “And he hoped I had moved forward and to stop using the “so called sexual abuse as an excuse…” I can’t believe it! That’s almost word for word what I got from my cousin who “loves me” but believes I have “serious issues I SHOULD HAVE resolved by now” and he is a licensed psychologist! He wrote even more cruel things, of course ending with “how much he loved me” and when I copied some of the more outrageous things he said (accused me of) he then said I “cherry picked the few statements he made so I could use those words “to feel bad about myself.”

Hah! I reminded him that HE WROTE THOSE WORDS, not me, and that I DID NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT MYSELF but was surprised to find out that he apparently did…” and blah blah blah, but I stood up for myself for the very first time. The very FIRST TIME in my life!

The twist was that I was being “disinvited” to visit for Christmas with the other side of my family, as three people didn’t think I should come because I had told my uncle, who was hosting the event, and had invited me, that I was afraid to come because I had visited for the first time in 25 years and was called the “black sheep” by an abusive, “formerly” alcoholic cousin who hadn’t seen me in years.

People went crazy. How dare I say this hurt! GET OVER IT! You are crazy! You are 62 years old and how can you still be hanging on to things like this! He was JUST KIDDING! What is wrong with you! You need to change! And the best one “you have SERIOUS ISSUES YOU HAVE REFUSED TO DEAL WITH” and ‘THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN CHANGE YOU IS YOU AND YOU BETTER GET TO CHANGING!”

And this is what I “wanted” to walk into, to spend CHRISTMAS WITH.

Thank God they rejected me!

I would never have had the strength. But I did make the effort and now I know that it was “all my mother’s fault.” She was a product of this whole entire sick family system, of “recovered” alcoholics and prescription pill addicts and rageaholics and megalomaniacs and narcissist borderlines and most of all, judgmental, angry, hostile and abusive individuals.

Sanita, your story could have been mine, practically word-for-word. Just change the “2 years” to “20 years” and you’ve got it! It’s so good that you are “getting it” now! When I started going through all this there was no internet and practically no support. Thank God times have changed!

As far as “family” goes, apparently they have all heard “the gossip” about my being sexually abused and now that I’m 62 and have tried to re-establish some kind of relationship with “family” they all “want to know what happened” and as soon as I say what happened, I am immediately told “there’s therapy for that” and “you should be over it by now” and “why are you still bringing it up” and yadayadayada. I say “You asked me, and I answered. What makes you think I’m not in therapy, and I didn’t bring up anything, you did.”

When they still go after me, I say “I am proud of my life and what I have accomplished. I am not an alcoholic, a drug addict or a suicide. This is what happens to many women who experience what I went through.”

I then say I have accomplished a great deal in my life in spite of everything that did happen to me and my life speaks for itself. You asked me and I told you “what happened,” and there’s really nothing more to talk about.”

And then I END THE CONVERSATION and let it (THEM) go.

My uncle, who started this whole flame-throwing contest about my potential Christmas visit, just emailed me saying what a “nice Christmas visit he had with his daughter (who was one of the three that vehemently opposed my visiting) and “hoped I had a nice Christmas too” – as if nothing had happened and I should have somehow been able to “enjoy myself and have a nice Christmas” in spite of being completely rejected and receiving the most hateful emails from three of his own children and his own harsh judgmental email telling ME TO CHANGE –

I tell you, these people are really, really sick. I can’t even begin to describe the depth of their illness. It’s like a sick and twisted deep dark pool with severed heads buried in mud, entombed in the twisted locks among calcified branches and bones.

And me, I escaped their torturous vines dragging me down, drowning drowning in the deep dark pool and I swam with all my might and burst foreward into the light. And breathed the deep clean air. Air that breathes with light and love, and I live with the devils and demons no more. They have no power over me, with their cruel and hurtful words. They have no power over me offering their “gifts” full of judgment and pain. They have no power over me in their all-encompassing offers of open arms and family, when they don’t know what LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE MEANS.

They all come from the same poisoned FAMILY TREE.

Of course they “want us back.” We are truth-tellers! And they cannot bear the shame. The shame of their own lack of action, their bad actions, their own selfishness and cruelty and the knowledge that their family is not perfect. As they themselves think they should be.

We all know better. We don’t have to be perfect, and we can say SORRY for the wrongs we have done. We can have our apologies be ACCEPTED for misunderstandings, and we can alter our own behavior to ensure that we do not hurt others again. WE CAN CHANGE. And they can’t, or won’t, and it doesn’t matter anymore.

“Can’t or won’t” can go it’s own way. It’s not coming near me ever again. I have no room in my life for mean, hostile, angry people who point the finger of blame.

There is not one person on this site that doesn’t know what I am talking about. And thank God these people rejected me. By NOT GOING THERE I had the best Christmas ever… and the present I could have given myself: the present of getting to “BE WITH ME.”

Not a bad place to be in!

Once I quit pointing the finger of blame… at myself!


There are so many good comments here and so much to divulge and absorb, I won’t comment on the rest as I will be busy reading and learning from everyone here. But there’s surely a whole huge story to tell: it’s the story of love that is emerging, and the ability and the right to say NO. No more meanness, no more cruelty, no more judgment and blame. I can hand those “gifts” back to the person who gave it, unopened, as “return to sender.” And I don’t need to feel guilty or angry or afraid, or even sad about it.

All I have to do is “give it back” and close the book and end that chapter of my life. A new world awaits, with adventures to begin!

God bless the world and everything in it, and keep me from those who would cause harm. There is no hurt on earth that Heaven cannot heal.

“The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.” Dear God please show me The Way.



Here! Here! Finally, someone with the voice of reason at Christmas time. The most manipulative time of year, I find. We are guilted (is this a word lol?! into buying gifts we cannot afford, if we choose to buy into this – No pun intended… We are guilted into suffering through so-called family dinners where tension fills the air, or booze but worse with both. The fighting and/or silence, etc., etc. We are guilted into believing that Christmas is a time of peace as we stress ourselves out, running around in the cold trying to find just the right gift that usually ends up being returned for something the person really liked. Well I, for one, have chosen to no longer buy into this guilted season and instead, for years now, have enjoyed a peaceful time of reflection and grace. God Bless You All for having CHOSEN your own path to happiness and peace:)


Hello! This is the first Christmas when I have not called anyone in my “family” One of my daughters called me. Since I am the only daughter (I have a younger sister) who has achieved, paid for my own mistakes, stayed sober, goes to church, etc. , the others (Mom and sister) dispise me. My sister, unfortunately is a drunk, prescription drug addict, been in trouble with the law….you get the picture, she is being left everything in our mother’s will and has been made executor. My sister once told me that Mom would have done more for me if I had been a drug addict too….how sick is that? I won’t enable my two grown daughters in their choices and raise my grandchildren, so, I am hated. I am officially done with all of them. I DO wish my children and grandchildren well, however, they live very far away and have made very unfortunate choices in lifestyles…the older is a prostitute and drug addict. My Mother has always tried to make me responsible for their lives and I bought into the guilt far too often! I am now 62, remarried after my former husband of 27 years left me. By the way THAT was my fault too according to my mother. “It takes two to tango” Talk about kicking a person when they are down!….
I want to live a peaceful guilt free life and have a chance to do so. It is so sad when your family wants you down in the pits with them and cannot wish you well! I love this site because I have so long felt alone and restrained in talking about this and have felt so bad about my family (of origin). I consider myself in group therapy! Love and best wishes to all!


Darlene, I just saw your response:

Hi Catherine!
What an awesome gift to yourself; a trip to N.Y. and all that you have shared about that!
I love your ending “and now I belong to me” ~ awesome!
Hugs, Darlene

I forgot I even wrote that! It’s going up on my wall.

“Now I belong to me.”

Thank you so much! Doesn’t feel that way today, but “this too shall pass.” It’s hard to let go and it takes time, but then one day, whooossshhh… away we fly!


Julie #55: Wow. What a family, and your sister being left as executor of the estate and will. Wow. I am speechless. But you are well rid of them. God takes care of us all and we don’t need “Greeks bearing gifts” or the Trojan Horses they leave outside our city walls to enter in with their viruses and small pox that brings only negativity, death and destruction.

I too agree that this site is “group therapy.”

I would also suggest that we all ‘PASS THE BASKET” and everyone contribute at least $2.00 per week or $10.00 per month to keep the meetings going! Darlene is paying $200.00 per month out of her own pocket to keep this site going, and working 6 to 8 hours per day on it as moderator and keeping things running smoothly, for free.

The least we can do is contribute to this group as we would be doing any other place.


Can people kick in $10.00 each to help start the New Year off right?



Can you send me your e-mail address regarding a way to send you a donation. I’m unable to use my paypal account. I’m so grateful for all your support & wisdom. I have more to say about my Foo’s recent manipulation & control, yet I’ll save that for another post. Let’s just say, I finally asked for an equal & mutual relationship and they are still fighting for control. I’m sitting with my feelings right now, after unfriending them on FB. It’s taken me years to get to this point of breaking contact. I will follow-up with a new comment, after I’ve processed my feelings & thoughts regarding their recent rejection. Right now I’m angry & shaking a bit!!


Darlene, can you post your ANNUAL FUNDRAISING information, with credit card, PayPal or mailing address on the right side of these pages? Plus request $2.00, $10, $20, $100 as monthly or one-time donation right there in the box.

What would we do without you and this site? Changed EVERYTHING for me, in such a short time.

I AM STRONG NOW! For the very first time!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and this discussion is the best one yet. First time I’ve not cried real tears at Christmas. Instead I am, for the first time, “full of joy” because I was willingly away from those people who made me so miserable! I was with people who CARED!

Love to all… Catherine Todd


SMD wrote #58: ” I finally asked for an equal & mutual relationship and they are still fighting for control.”

Perfectly put, as that is what this whole thing comes down to. “Fighting for control.” And it’s so simple to take the reigns of one’s own life. Not easy, but simple.


It’s all mental and emotional now. We are legally emancipated; we are no longer servants or slaves to family, husband, children or friends. I just have to get through my head!


God save us all. The whole wide world is waiting and I will be a part of it. On my own terms that benefit ME. My Self. And I.

Praise be! I COUNT TO.


Catherine Todd #40 I will call her and ask tomorrow and update what she says. I’ll try to stay open minded and trusting.

Sanita #42 I’m sorry for everything you have went through. I have had similar things go on in my life. I know that I am supposed to express my anger appropriately but I’m not sure how because it gets so overwhelming sometimes? I just want to go to my family’s house and scream at them and cry. When I do let myself feel these emotions over my family I feel like I don’t know how to handle my emotions almost like I am on a roller coaster of emotions that I can’t stop once it starts. Do you or anyone else have any tips on how to get this under control?
That was hurtful of your brother to say and he defiantly doesn’t understand how you feel. My Grandmother recently said some harsh stuff to me and I felt like I was just going to die from her words. I think it’s because they don’t understand or don’t want to understand.

Hi Darlene, Thank you so much for this website and all of your stories and advice. This website has helped in just the few days I have been on here. I feel like I have hope now. I showed my husband this website and he was so happy that I could start talking about my past with people. You really are a blessing. Thank you so much for helping me.


Dawn #61: Yes, ask her what it means and be sure to let us know! I don’t tell myself I have to be “open and trusting” when I ask questions. I just ask because I want the answer, and then I decide if it seems like an honest truthful answer that can be trusted, or not. If not, I just toss it in the trash with the rest of the pack of lies I’ve been fed. If it’s something open, honest and truthful, I might – MIGHT – have something I can work with. We can work with.

So far, very little if any progress has been made with ANY family member and the 1% of progress I did make with one youngest sister isn’t worth it because even that ended on a suspicious and hostile note. The “truth” doesn’t matter to her, because she “knows I will use it to damage the abuser!” So what was done to me and the damage she, the abuser and my whole family did to me all these 62 years DOESN’T MATTER IN THE LEAST because I will “use it to damage him.”

She is flat out stating that she will protect the abuser at all costs. She even said she believed me (when that wasn’t the issue), but now I am to blame for something she “believes I WILL do.”

I just can’t win, but I gave it my best shot. And she is married to a pastor who is in charge of a church and a “flock.” She holds Bible classes for the children in the Methodist church!

But I can say I “gave it my best shot” and I can bury all innocent and naive unrealistic dreams along with the rest of the unrealized and unrecognizable dreams I have had about having a “positive and loving relationship” with these people: these severely damaged, hostile, angry, untruthful, unkind or unreliable individuals. So many “uns” here. Over and done and “undone” and over and out.

It doesn’t even matter “why” anymore. Can’t, won’t, unable, alright. Fine. Go away and I’m fine with it. FINE.

I call this the “digging graves” part. Then comes the stringing of diamonds and pearls” that were unearthed in the “digging” part. That comes next. One more of the “Gifts of Estrangement.”

More about that later.

Dawn, you also asked how to handle these emotions. I don’t handle mine at all, they handle me! They are a tiger that I’m hanging on to for dear life, or I’m on the back of a runaway horse who has taken off across the desert, heading for God knows where… and I’m hanging on for dear life, saddle slipping, bit flying, head bobbing, feet slipping out of stirrups, tail streaming out in the wind straight as an arrow as we fly across the sand, hands gripping the reigns for dear life… and then I remember to BREATHE and to PRAY!

And I write and write and write as if my life depends on it and IT DOES. I write it all out here and there and everywhere until the feelings subside and I haven’t taken a drink or a drug in 30 or 40 years, and I often wonder Why? When everyone else I know seems to do this all the time, and then I remember why I can’t and I won’t and I’m not like them, and I’m not a drug addict or an alcoholic and hey, I’m not even a suicide! Why? Because I LET IT ALL OUT.

And I don’t send it to them. I leave it here at your feet, or on my blog (both open and closed) or in emails or to friends or to myself in my journal or quote books, but I get it all out. And I begin to see the pattern and know that these emotions WILL SUBSIDE. Once the rage and hurty and horror is absolutely and truly OUT, I can finally rest and the tears will come and I can sleep once again. Sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes it takes all night, but I “go with the flow” until it over and done with.

And when I can write this story on the piano, using the musical language of words, I am telling my tale with the white and the black keys which know no language and therefore know all of them. Music is universal and moves us so many ways. And I play and play and play until that blessed hour when inspiration and peace and tranquility comes, and I know I have crossed that desert on that big black roan, that gorgeous Arabian horse so wild and free, and I too have crossed the ocean and gone down with the ship and come out on the other side.

And we both learn to live together, in the wild and now tamed, but still real and free. That’s “emotions” to me.

The best book I ever read said “The Spiritual world is a world of emotion,” and peace is the emotion we are all looking for. I never forgot that. The world of emotion and how do we get there? Patience, Pardon and Prayer, and I add in Practice for me. Practice Patience, Pardon and Prayer, but first I have to let the wild things free. Then I can finally come home to rest and so can they.

Amen. Dear God please show us The Way.


Pauline, great title you came up with for Xmas: “The guilted season!” LOL and oh-so-true. No more for me and sounds like no more for you. Good going!

Julie in #55 wrote:

“My sister, unfortunately is a drunk, prescription drug addict, been in trouble with the law….you get the picture, she is being left everything in our mother’s will and has been made executor. My sister once told me that Mom would have done more for me if I had been a drug addict too….how sick is that?”

I have been thinking about your story all day. Sick is the right word for it, and the fact that you are “hated” for NOT BEING LIKE THEM.

I wonder if that is why my sisters “hate” me so much, too? Because I AM NOTHING LIKE THEM AND I NEVER WILL BE.

My life speaks for itself, I have always told them, and it doesn’t matter “what they believe” or even what they think about me. I was so sad for many years, 30 years to be exact, but God forbid I should ever have to be like them or even be in the same room as them – that is never going to happen, unless fundamental changes take place, and they have made it perfectly clear that they don’t care to.

Fine. I have finally accepted that and I gave my Self a present under my own mental Christmas tree. To be around kind people and people who CARE. And there are plenty out there, if I can just learn to avoid the ones who don’t and don’t try to change them and don’t try to make them understand and don’t try to make them love me when they just DON’T. They never did and they never will and now all I have to do is learn to “love my Self.”

I never knew what that meant, and I still don’t… but I can learn to give my self what it wants, which is kind words and a supportive environment, and that I am doing for My Self right now. My Self deserves peace and tranquility, as hard as I work, and when I’m not around the chaos these negatives bring, I find I am really at rest. What more can we ask for, what more do we need? Real friendship and dare I say “love” may follow, once I have found peace. Just by getting the miseries and frustrations BROUGHT BY OTHERS out of my life. It’s a gift I don’t have to open, and I can hand them their package back!

Being on this site is one of the biggest ones, and moving out and away from the unsupportive environment I find myself in right now, and figuring out what would make me the happiest to do with the limited resources I have… that’s where the fun part comes in! And this is another one of the Gifts of Estrangement.

To have the time and energy to be good to Me. Then the rest will follow I believe.

Dear God please show me The Way.


Darlene, I had a wonderful Christmas with my children this year. I even heard my sons talking about how nice our Christmases are now without all the comparisons and put-downs that used to make up our holidays when we go together with my FOO. I’m constantly, amazed at the trickle-down affect of my decisions for my personal mental health. I have no regrets. I can’t say I have no pain because I still do but it is pain worth bearing.

I’m glad you’re feeling better.It isn’t the same without you so, take good care of you.:0)



To Pam: My decision for not being with my FOO is recent, but already I feel better for making it! Best wishes to you…I know how you feel.
Catherine Todd: I too would like to make a donation to this site….and Darlene…how do I do this? Thanks and best wishes to you and yours.


Hi Sonia and Julie
I sent each of you an email with my snail mail address. If Paypal (the donate button on the right side bar) is not an option for you, then sending a donation through the mail is the only other way at this time.
Thanks so much for considering making a donation!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Pam!
My kids talk about that too! There is a HUGE ripple effect when we stand up to dysfunction! I get judged harshly for standing up to my parents, but if parents refuse to regard others with equal respect and love, it is the only way for the cycle of abuse to be broken. My kids have learned the true meaning of love and respect and it isn’t about ‘elders’.
I have no regrets either!!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Dawn
You are very welcome and thank you for your note. I am glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

It was when I asked my mother for mutual respect that she closed the door on me. Such a simple thing one would think. I look forward to your update when you have processed your feelings.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Julie
That is wonderful that you are feeling so positive about being here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pauline
I too love your expression “no longer part of the guilted season”. (and I think guilted IS a word!)
Welcome to emerging from broken!
Hugs, Darlene


You know, despite my recent little rant on here after speaking to my mother on Christmas, I can see where I have processed some of my anger, and have reached more of an “acceptance” level. Not accepting their meanness and bad behavior, but an acceptance that I will always be the target, and will never have that family love from my FOO. And that is okay. It frees me, to be with people who really do love and care about me!
The more control I take over my interactions, the more distance I put between myself and the mean FOO member’s, the better I feel. I feel in charge of my own life, not a victim, who responds and defends myself from bad treatment. They can no longer work over my “inner child”, because it is the protective adult, the one I needed that they could not, or would not be, who “meets them at the door”. I am that protective adult!



Wow!…Sounds like your in the same place I’m at with emotional healing. What a journey!….Mean FOO alright and I’m disengaging more & more and letting go of the outcome. I’ve been telling myself that I need to shield myself and I’m doing just that. I can go through the motions with FOO, without the emotional pain I once felt. I certainly feel better from a distance though. I’ve had to go through the motions of contact with FOO for my kids, however, there can be no real emotional attachment to my family. They are incapable of real love, which involves equal & mutual communication. I’m not overextending myself nor investing my emotions anymore. What a big step for me…My Foo has presents for my kids, yet are making it difficult to get together and exchange presents. So, my mom wants me to come get my children’s presents. I’m inclined to do this last thing for my kids. They deserve the presents. Just don’t want any emotional upheaval in this situation & there already has been with the triangulation. So, if I do decide to go to mom’s house, it will be treated like a business transaction. Fb is not the way to communicate either, it’s indirect. Having an emotional day today and physically sick, so my strength is down. I’m going to avoid any added stress today. Nice to see your doing well & protecting yourself!!



Thank-you Darlene!


Hi Darlene,
Thank you again for your words and the work it helps to complete in others. I will ck. into paypal and contribute. I appreciate your personal response and that you guided me back to here.
I have connected with your readers and understand your words;
God’s vs mans forgiveness.
As I read the insights and pain others have experienced it is giving me peace and hope in what needs to be done in my life.

I have attempted severing my family abuse at least 15 times in my life, there is no time like the present.

Like you, I have not done the rejecting.
Thanks again Darlene for your patience and support and to help me understand.

Hugs and blessings to you,


i just wrote a long post about the fight I just had with my mom tonight & it’s lost. I’m upset because I’m in a lot of pain and finished sobbing & throwing up after this interaction. My mom called to tell me she will be working this weekend & all next week, so she will not be able to see my kids for the Holiday. This was after I sent out a message to her about wanting an equal & mutual relationship. She has presents for my kids & told me to come pick them up, this is after I had invited her for dinner at my house (overextending myself) for my kids again. Well, I gave in & said, I’ll bring over the presents & pick up the ones she has for my kids. It was about her Control again!!…She wanted to know, What time? & call ahead and she wasn’t even going to be there…She didn’t hold back and said, she didn’t know what I was talking about, when I said I was done with being used & rejected. I’m not rejecting you. Then, a can of worms was opened about the past. I blurted out I was molested at 12 in her house…She said, I’m in a fantasy world…I said I was getting flashbacks & it happened…”Why didn’t you tell me?”…You came to me about everything else. I said, I was ashamed & thought I would be blamed…She said, “I would of killed him”…My God this is a lot to handle!!…Then, said I knew you were depressed and got you help for “5 years” as a child. I was in a fog about that and she said she was told I had a “hormonal imbalance”…I said, “I was traumatized”…Well, “you got to get over it”. I said,”I don’t blame myself anymore i was a child then, she said, “Don’t blame me!”…I got you help…I remember pressing for help then. I knew something was ver wrong. I actually, told her i guess I was protecting her since I knew her past traumas. She sounded upset and I said, this is too painful for me and I can’t do this anymore…Bye!…She let me go and there was no comfort after my painful confession!!…I became physically sick over this….There is no going back now, the cat is out of the bag and I realize she is not going to change. My husband feels bad for me but believes I opened the door for her mistreatment. I’m not to blame for her behavior, yet I realize I have to not disengage with no contact now! It’s just so painful for me. I’m sure I’ll have to shield myself from their ongoing rejection. I’m done holding on!! (((((Tears))))



Thanks to Julie and others for making donations to keep the site running… what would we do without it?

Darlene, can you permanently post your mailing address on the right side of the page along with the PayPal donate button?

Let’s have an annual Fundraising push starting January 1st to raise an estimated $5,000.00 per year required for this site (and that does NOT include any administrative staff).

$200 per month for the website x 12 = $2,400.00 for the year, and then a tiny bit extra for administrative costs. What would that be? An extra $200.00 per month 20 hrs. a month, one afternoon a week for a very part-time person? So about $5,000.00 per year total.

So if 500 people kicked in $10.00 each expenses would be covered for one year. Very inexpensive “club membership.” I think it could even be $20.00 per year for “membership” or $2.00 per month, and that would pay an administrative person one day a week for some of the help required. Of course, access would always be free for those in need and unable to pay.How does that sound, Darlene? How about doing a post on Annual Fundraising and Membership efforts? A female Rotary Club, if you will.

How many people use this site? My donations are the best Christmas present I have ever given myself and to everyone else here, and my birthday is coming up… so my birthday present is your birthday present as well!

Thank you Darlene and everyone who contributes to this site, financially and by participating. Changed my life and I’m sure it’s changed yours, too. God Bless!


SMD #71 wrote: ” I can go through the motions with FOO, without the emotional pain I once felt. I certainly feel better from a distance though. I’ve had to go through the motions of contact with FOO for my kids, however, there can be no real emotional attachment to my family. They are incapable of real love, which involves equal & mutual communication.”

Good grief! And this is supposed to be CHRISTMAS! A DAY OF GIVING AND SHARING AND CARING AND LOVING! Thank God my family rejected me outright and I don’t have to go through any of this. Best present they could have given me! I have been “RELEASED FROM MY CONTRACT” and released from further obligation to any of them. THANK GOD. I can now “rest in peace.”

I would like to see an article on “What is Love?”

SMD wrote: “real love, which involves equal & mutual communication.”

I’d like to see an actual LIST of what IS love and what ISN’T. I have always had this disagreement with my sister(s) about “what is love” for as long as I can remember. They would say (back when they / we were still speaking, years ago) “Well, Mom / Dad would do this / that for us,” and I would say “but that is NOT love!” “Oh yes it is!” “Oh no it’s not! It’s control, it’s not love!” and round and round we’d go.

I don’t know what love is. I have no earthly idea. And I’d like to find out.

* * * * *

“Take Me Home”
Joe Cocker
Songwriters: John Joseph Capek, Marc Jordan, Stephen A. Kipner

Maybe we’re standing on the threshold
With our eyes open wide
Let the river keep on flowing
We can reach the other side
Caught in this endless revolution
Under helicopter skies
To lose becomes unthinkable
And to win is the only road now

There’s a bridge over the water
I can see it like a rainbow
If you love me I’ll be waiting
Take me home to the other side

All the men and all the women
Who sacrifice their love
Never taste what we took for granted
No they don’t know love at all
Some of them broken some of them wounded
And so cynical from the pain
I was quiet as a grave yard
Till you heard me caling out your name

There’s a bridge over the water
I can see it like a rainbow
If you love me I’ll be waiting
Take me home to the other side

Life was victorious
Now it can’t be denied
We’ll stand together
Cause love is on our side

There’s a bridge over the water
I can see it like a rainbow
If you love me I’ll be waiting
Take me home to the other side

* * * * *



SMD #71 wrote: ” I can go through the motions with FOO, without the emotional pain I once felt. I certainly feel better from a distance though. I’ve had to go through the motions of contact with FOO for my kids, however, there can be no real emotional attachment to my family. They are incapable of real love, which involves equal & mutual communication.”

Good grief! And this is supposed to be CHRISTMAS! A DAY OF GIVING AND SHARING AND CARING AND LOVING! Thank God my family rejected me outright and I don’t have to go through any of this. Best present they could have given me! I have been “RELEASED FROM MY CONTRACT” and released from further obligation to any of them. THANK GOD. I can now “rest in peace.”

I would like to see an article on “What is Love?”

SMD wrote: “real love, which involves equal & mutual communication.”

I’d like to see an actual LIST of what IS love and what ISN’T. I have always had this disagreement with my sister(s) about “what is love” for as long as I can remember. They would say (back when they / we were still speaking, years ago) “Well, Mom / Dad would do this / that for us,” and I would say “but that is NOT love!” “Oh yes it is!” “Oh no it’s not! It’s control, it’s not love!” and round and round we’d go.

I don’t know what love is; I have no earthly idea. I’d like to find out. I will be waiting. Like a rainbow, home to the other side.

* * * * *

“Take Me Home”
Joe Cocker
Songwriters: John Joseph Capek, Marc Jordan, Stephen A. Kipner

Maybe we’re standing on the threshold
With our eyes open wide
Let the river keep on flowing
We can reach the other side
Caught in this endless revolution
Under helicopter skies
To lose becomes unthinkable
And to win is the only road now

There’s a bridge over the water
I can see it like a rainbow
If you love me I’ll be waiting
Take me home to the other side

All the men and all the women
Who sacrifice their love
Never taste what we took for granted
No they don’t know love at all
Some of them broken some of them wounded
And so cynical from the pain
I was quiet as a grave yard
Till you heard me calling out your name

There’s a bridge over the water
I can see it like a rainbow
If you love me I’ll be waiting
Take me home to the other side

Life was victorious
Now it can’t be denied
We’ll stand together
Cause love is on our side

There’s a bridge over the water
I can see it like a rainbow
If you love me I’ll be waiting
Take me home to the other side

* * * * *



Sonia, (hugs). I’m so sorry you were shamed and rejected by your mother today. That she would be so insensitive, selfish and rude in the face of you opening up to her is horrible. The whole “I got you help…” thing is exactly what my mother tried to tell me…she could have helped you herself by preventing you from being sexually abused in her house as opposed to hiring a therapist in order to make herself feel better about it all and lord it over you later.

The way she’s baiting, manipulating, and trying to control you via these presents for your kids is despicable. In the last days of my relationships with my mother, she did the same thing, latched onto any little tie between us that she could use to twist me around in order to maintain her position. If she really cared that much about your kids she wouldn’t be playing these games, it sounds like the presents are a symbol of her power and her ability to keep up appearances about being a ‘good grandmother’ but it’s not real.

Take care,


Sonia, you were in no way to blame for how your talk went with your mother. Just like when you were a little girl, you weren’t to blame for any of it then either. I think you took a huge risk to try again to connect with your mother, and I am impressed with your kind and loving heart. I think you were amazingly open and honest, and you didn’t hold back with her or try to spare her feelings…but you were very bold in sticking up for YOU. It is a good thing that you can recognize the games used to control you now. You really are coming out of the fog. I am truly so sorry that you were badly hurt and jerked around, and sick from the interaction…BUT…I still was cheering you on that you didn’t back down with some of the main issues that damaged you! What a huge step to take in letting it out there to your mother!! I send you hugs and comfort!! 🙂


Judy #16 wrote: “Perhaps we love who we wished they were…and we often reap what we DON’T SOW.”

Exactly, and so well put! I always wondered about that. Sometimes we reap WHAT THEY SOW, or throw over the fence into our fields. Or perhaps the seeds have blown in from neighboring fields, like dust or ash, or insects carrying disease and death to our crops we depend on, or the underground roots of creeping poisonous ivy that grows unnoticed until the wild wet rains of Spring. Then it’s time to get out the garden gloves and spade, get down on our knees, and get to work tilling the soil!

Goodness, like freedom,, requires ever-vigilance and attentiveness, as said by Thomas Jefferson:

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

If we want a beautiful garden, we must work in it a little bit every day. We must work in OUR GARDEN, not theirs! The winds may blow in dust and dirt and unwanted weeds, and all the illnesses of the world, but we have the antidote and the spirit to overcome it all. This I know and this I believe. I have seen it happen over and over again, even to me. This is how I have survived. It’s the grace of God that never fails.

I look to the heavens to take care of us, not the devils here on earth. And heaven will. There is no hurt on earth that Heaven cannot heal.

“The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”
Dear God, please show us The Way.


Sonia #74, I know just how you feel.

I’m 62 years old and still being attacked for “telling” that my father molested me, starting when I was three years old! (At least that’s the earliest memory I have of this). Of course, he probably started the day I was born. Everyone on both sides of my family has heard about this, even though I only told my parents and one sister and one cousin over a 30 year period.

They all now blame me and said “You’re 62 years old and you should have gotten over this by now! You have serious issues you need to address! You need therapy and we don’t want you here until you get the help you need” (i.e. learn to shut up about it when asked, I suppose). This, when all I did was ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS about “what happened way back then.” I never bring it up but I won’t lie about it when someone does.

I guess I was supposed to lie and say “Oh, nothing happened,” or “it was nothing I couldn’t handle,” or “nothing of importance,” or “of course I will come to a family reunion or Christmas and sit down at the table with the abuser that raped me, molested me in my sleep, beat me, tried to kill me and tried to ruin my life when I called the police and told the police I was a slut and a whore who was sleeping with all the boys at school (when none of this was true), and the bruise marks on my neck were from him trying to strangle me, not from “hickeys from boys at school…”

Oh these people are SICK. But you know what? They didn’t win and I’M STILL HERE! So who has the laugh last now? I’M STILL HERE. Alive and kicking, and I’m loud about it and about to get louder. And there’s nothing any of them can do about it, no matter how hard they try. So there! LOL!

Oh, these people are so sick they all deserve to be imprisoned with a huge heavy rock rolled in front of the cafe. They should all be in jail. Instead, I have jailed myself all these years blaming myself for what these evil ones have done. I blamed myself! And they have practiced “honor killings” on me ever since, but it didn’t work. I didn’t die, even though I was programmed to self-destruct. Don’t you know how mad that must make all of them!

I laugh at the thought now, and I can picture that one day just like Rumpelstiltskin they will all turn round and round and POP with rage! And they will all disappear… and I will remain, in the forested wood with birds singing and flowers all around… I will have survived. And I do, every single day. They can’t hurt me anymore. The only thing that can hurt me is my wishing for them to be different than they are. My dreams of “what might have been” and “how can I change them and make them love me and see that I was right and I was telling the truth, and I meant no harm and please don’t hate me and love me like family should…”

I finally found out in my final conversation with my youngest sister that even though she “believes me” I am now accused that I will “damage the abuser” with the truth, so she won’t speak on record. She, a pastor’s wife, will PROTECT CRIMINAL ACTION INVOLVING CHILD ABUSE and continue to cover it up and try to destroy me. A pastor’s wife in charge of children in a church! This is just unbelievable, and despicable to the nth degree. But this final conversation did “set me free.” For when someone does admit to the truth but doesn’t CARE about the truth, and has NO MORAL COMPASS that I can agree with, then there’s nothing more to talk about. I will go North and they will go South and never the twain shall meet. So I am free, as painful as that will be. I did my best and made my best effort and yes, it failed, but not from lack of trying.

It takes two to want to have a relationship built on truth and trust and they DO NOT WANT THIS so I will bid them adieu. They can go their merry way, as merry as it must be… and I will go mine. Finally I am set free, from unfulfilled wants, needs and desires that will never come true from these people, these people of the night. These people of the Lie. I will move in light and love and I will find where that resides. Dear God please show me The Way.

The truth is that we deserve to be protected from evil doers like them. The Devil is a Liar and so are they. We were the good children and they were the bad, not the other way around.

So there! God bless and keep the faith… cry and scream all you need to; I did it for years, but “this too shall pass” and God sends angels with soft white angels wings to love us and support us and see us through. We shan’t sink in our little boats no matter how turbulent the waters become, because God comes on waves of Spirit and comes in the Divine. Truth and Beauty and Justice does prevail. And we are well on our way.

Keep writing! We are all here for you and for each other – and thank God for this site and the internet!

“The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”
Dear God, please show us The Way.


SMD #74: “There is no going back now, the cat is out of the bag and I realize she is not going to change. My husband feels bad for me but believes I opened the door for her mistreatment. I’m not to blame for her behavior, yet I realize I have to not disengage with no contact now! It’s just so painful for me. I’m sure I’ll have to shield myself from their ongoing rejection. I’m done holding on!! (((((Tears))))”

True, so true. And my husband said the same thing to me! But we have to try our best and then when it fails on their end, we know there is nothing more we can do, and we can finally let them go. And we can enter into the Great Unknown, with the angels by our side. And as you put it so well:

“There is no going back now, the cat is out of the bag and I realize she is not going to change.”

Amen. And now we are FREE. God bless and keep writing! Thank God for this site.

Thank you Darlene, for this website, which is the best Christmas Gift I have ever received. I made another small donation today, even though I can only afford a little bit at a time. It feels so good to be able to actively contribute to my healing by helping everyone else, even if it’s just paying for a few days of internet charges. God bless and Merry Christmas!

It’s the first time in many, many years I can actually say this. And it’s all due to the wonderful people here on Emerging From Broken. What a better way to put it I can’t imagine. Love, Catherine


Last post for the night (I promise!):


To all of you who could see the storms that have buffeted me,
and the hurricanes that have passed over:
my little boat was drenched but I did not drown.

Here is what I found, in the wreckage thrown up on the shore:

“I have been ‘hanging by a thread’ but I found out today

I am made of spiders thread; fine as silk but strong as steel.

Somehow the hurricane has passed and I have survived.

This has been one hell of a year. But I’m still here.”

God is good and takes care of us all. I am grateful for all favors, large and small.


Hi Janie
Wow, your comment is aweseome! That is how I felt too. My family has a choice, just like I do. Realizing that they were not interested in making any kind of different choice when came to me was painful, but in the end it was part of the truth that set me free to make MY choice.
Thanks for sharing your victory and insight!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Susan
It is so important to realize ‘who’ has done the rejecting. I felt like everytime I even said “no” I was ‘rejecting someone’ but that was not the truth at all. This is all rooted in the brainwashing that begins when we are so young. (a lot of my earlier work goes into detail about how the brainwashing/grooming that results in self blame, happens.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sonia
(I HATE it when that happens; when I write a whole post out and it gets deleted somehow!! ugg.)

Your story about your mom makes my heart ache. It reminds me of the last time I spoke to my own mother. It reminds me of so many of the heartbreaking stories that we read right here about parents who flip the blame anywhere but on them, who defend themselves but are not willing to HEAR what we NEED to say, to just sit with us and hear our pain. To comfort and console and just be there for us. That is the ultimate pain for me. My mother is so busy making sure that none of this is her fault she can’t even be a mother. I am so sorry that this happened to you but hopefully it will help in the end.
(and being told that you opened the door for her is not helpful either as it still places blame on YOU, perhaps you could explain to your husband that you need him to support you in a more understanding way)
Hugs, Darlene


If you do a google search on “what is love emerging from broken” you will get a list of links for what I have written about that. In fact you can do that for anything you are wondering if I have written about.

About fundraising; I really appreciate your passion to help me with fundraising but I would rather that you don’t publish a bunch of request on my behalf here in the comments. I don’t think it helps and I think what will happen is that people will stop reading your comments. Also I am not going to publish my home address on the internet ~ that is just not smart. (besides, I have sent it to at least 15 people but I have only ever recieved one donation in the mail.) Fundraising is not the answer, at least not for now; I am going to get my ebook done and that will help and I am going to have to cut down on my comments as that is where all my time goes.
Again, thank you so much for your efforts, I know that your heart is in the right place!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Erin
Welcome to emerging from broken!
hugs, Darlene


Yes…I told my husband I need his support too and he just doesn’t want me to continue being rejected. He made the analogy about being an alcoholic and going back to the bottle (my Foo) and that is destructive for me. I know it’s poison but I keep going back to drink it. It is a trauma bond & I know it’s strong!…This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I am going no contact with my parents, yet what to do about the gifts I have for them and my brother & sister’s kids???…I’m in a position now, that by cutting my parents off, then I lose contact with my sister’s kids too. The part that hurts the most is my mom is never going to be there to comfort & console me. She is not capable & it’s about protecting herself from being blamed. I’m surely not the one to blame. I’m stuck on the gifts for my sister’s kids….they left their gifts with my mom too & she holds them all!!!….What do I do now???…The gifts shouldn’t matter now because it’s about control not love at this point. I’m not going there to pick them up now, it’s too painful for me. Yet, I can send mine with no strings attached like I wanted to do…Should I contact my sister & try to get together without my mom? I want to give her a chance but don’t want to be rejected yet again….She is not easy to contact either- does not answer her phone or call back, so I’ve had to go through her husband’s cell or fb. My family has set it up to be excluded. Yet, my mom will say I exclude myself. This is so hurtful!!..I can’t bring myself to reach out even to my sister this time. She has her own issues that she is avoiding & I know it goes deeper to something in childhood too. So, I’m leaning towards sending all my gifts my mail & be done with it. Let go with no strings attached!! Easy to say but having a hard time doing…..


Ah then I understand your husands concern. It makes sense when you put it that way, doesn’t it? I hear your confusion and conflict when it comes to your family and the gifts and you sisters kids. The thing is though that I also hear that your sister makes it almost impossible for you to contact her and by your own admission, your family has set you up to be excluded. What does that tell you? how does that make you feel? (and yes they blame that on you, but that is where the lie is in all this; ALL abusers/controllers will shift the blame, and they are good at it) I think sending your gifts is a great idea!
Hugs, Darlene


I feel for you. Being excluded from everything important in my family was very hurtful. It
made me feel so unwanted, damaged, and as always bad. My FOO worked very hard to make sure I always knew I was less important than everyone else. It caused me years of unrelenting anguish
that I felt it was my fault. My brother (GC) has fully taken my mother’s side and has nothing to do with us. It is in his self interest to do it. (theres a lot of money at stake) He is 53 and very aware of his choice to exclude and hurt me. I’ve stopped trying to be a good sister. I’ve stopped trying to “be there” for him or my mother.
I feel somewhat guilty over this but see that they are not giving me a second thought, other
than “Karen’s being crazy again.” (That thought totally winds me up and makes me want to defend myself, when I don’t need too, but its my old way of thinking) Both of them have hurt me over and over. I have read my story repeated word for word by many others. I have stopped trying with my FOO and I am working on not caring what they think.
I think sending your gifts is a good way to go.
My family always used Christmas to punish. To me punishment, abuse and Christmas are
intertwined. I put on a cheery face to others but count the days each year til its over. Sounds
like your Mom likes everyone dancing at the end of her strings.

I discovered my Mom was hospitalized for pneumonia and is in a rehab center. She’s 81.
A friend told me she met another friend at the hairdresser and that is how she found out.
I am NC. I felt surprise, then concern then a tiny bit of guilt. No doubt I am the “bad guy”
for not traveling 1300 mi and taking care of Mom so she can go home. Oh no. I will never
go back there. She was abusive to me for over 50 years, she would abuse me today if I was there. She will never stop or see me as anything but a useful servant. I won’t let them draw me
back and use my emotions against me. They know me. They know just how to use me. I
won’t give them the chance.
Just my thoughts. Best wishes- Karen


My exclusion went so far as to not be informed when my grandmother died. I was 24 at the time,
married with a child and living in FL. My parents felt that I might react inappropriately and want to
return to New England for her funeral. So after 2 weeks had passed it was finally mentioned in a phone call. They held me in such low esteem. They were deciding for me as usual. It was so hurtful.


For me, it was the first christmas without family and it is wonderful.
A feeling of freedom. To avoid being alone the 24th, I went to a party with people I didn’t know but with whom I felt so much better and so much connected than anyone in my family!
No need to pretend, to silence my feelings, it was so great!

I understood my mother, grandmother and sister can’t help me but I can help me.

I am no contact for good now. And it hurts less than seeing us.


“seeing them” instead of seeing us.


Darlene & Diane,
I wrote another long comment & it’s gone again!!…UUGGHH…I can’t catch a break today!!…You won’t believe the rest of this saga. My mom left a message on my machine saying, she will be home tomorrow, so come by for the presents. She sounded broken up & ready to cry. I have to admit that I felt sorry for her and wanted to believe that she is really making a genuine effort. I’ve been teary eyed over this ever since. Yet my instincts tell me it’s about control again…It’s crazy making at it’s worst!! I was going to go there today, while she was working, however, I remained strong by staying away. Now, she wants us there???!!!WTH…She is holding the strings again and I’m going to look like the bad guy again. It really doesn’t matter what they think anymore!…Nothing about our relationship is mutual. I have to stop worrying about being the bad guy, when I know that I’m far from that. I’ve tried to fix our relationship & have anguished over it. I will not respond to her message. I plan to send my gifts by mail on Monday with no strings attached….I need to stay strong & believe in myself…Thanks for all the validation. I sure need the reassurance today….(((Tears)))…I have to stop worrying sick over them!! My heart says one thing & my mind says another. I hate the Spin of anxiety & confusion!! I need to invest my energy in myself & my kids…This cycle has to stop and it sure looks like I will have to be the one to do it. It takes strength to Let Go of the pain. Please Lord help me to Let Go!


Aurele #93:

“I understood my mother, grandmother and sister can’t help me but I can help me.”

What a wonderful sentence to write and oh-so-true. Reading through all these tales of heartbreak and woe for what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of the year, a HOLI-DAY, a HOLY DAY, makes me just wonder what has our materialistic culture come to?

I can’t imagine people torturing each other and beating each other up with gifts with strings, control, rejection, blame and abuse and all the rest that we all have experienced here. Especially on CHRISTMAS DAY. This is the antithesis of what this most special day is supposed to mean. Some people need to go back to church or go somewhere to learn what Christmas is supposed to be about. But until they do, I don’t have to be around them. I don’t go to biker bars or wrestling matches or cage-fighting matches; I don’t hang out with drug addicts or alcoholics who are sloshed in their cups, so why should I spend time with cruel vicious people at CHRISTMAS TIME?

No, better to spend the HOLY DAYS helping at the homeless shelter, which I have done other years, or an old folks home, or somewhere with people who appreciate good and gentle company and might have interesting stories to tell about “the old days.” I actually taught a gardening class at a senior center and heard about the old man’s father taking him in a boat out to Kitty Hawk in NC to see the Wright Brothers fly the very first airplane!

There are so many more interesting and fun and loving things to do than go around mean and heartless people at any time of the year, and especially at the holidays which are supposed to bring so much cheer. I choose love instead of hate; I choose joy instead of pain. I choose to go with people that are nice and kind or just stay with my self, which isn’t such a bad place to be!

So I am sad but oh so relieved that my family rejected me and did not want me to come. I had been no contact for over twenty years and came back via email and phone when my mother was dying from cancer, and she refused to see me on her death bed, as apparently my sisters did not want me there (and neither did she because I “told” on her husband and what he had been doing to me when I was young) and you know what? I had real peace for those 20 years.

I was sad and lonely all these years, at so many holidays and “family days” when everyone around me was always getting together with family and “why couldn’t I?” But after I finally did have contact, these toxic people almost killed me with hate mail and all the rest. It is still going on. All these years nothing had changed; it had only gotten worse!

And I had been wondering “what I did wrong” and “what I could do different ” all these time. Just torturing myself! Now I see, after my own experiences, trying my best, and reading about everyone else’s story here, that NO CONTACT is the only way for me to go, when it comes to picking up poisonous spiders and rattle snakes.

It’s sad but true and my own mother was a copperhead. Lovely to look but watch out when she would strike. But bite she would when you would least expect it, and I would almost die from the poisonous attack, but I kept coming back for more. It was my mother, and I wanted her to love me! Surely I couldn’t be such a bad child that my own mother wouldn’t love me! It must be “my fault,” everyone always said “Well, what did you do? !!!” As if a little child could have “done” ANYTHING to warrant such behavior. And now, to the rest of the family, she is a saint and the “beatification process” has begun.

Well, let them lay her to rest anyway they want. Hitler had his supporters and still does to this day. I choose another life and another God, and my God is not a God of War. My God is a God of Peace, and I will continue to work for that end. Peace within myself if nowhere else, and then I will be able to carry that peace within me wherever I am.

In the old days, I would do ANYTHING for my mother to love me, but I would not lie for her and allow her and my father to kill my spirit and destroy my personality or character. I have a moral compass, unlike the others. Theirs was plucked out of them or never allowed to develop. But I have mine. And I can read “North” even if I can’t see the path ahead of me. I can put one foot in front of the other and I can read the signs by moonlight and moss on the trees. And the signs all point “Home,” that home inside of me. Home is Heaven when we can but see.

No, I couldn’t and wouldn’t allow them to sap my strength and turn me into a puppet clone like all the rest, made of wood with an empty head. They all “drank the Koolaid” as Ice-T has said on Law and Order: SVU. I think about that a lot.

THEY drank the Koolaid, not me.

So I am alive, and alone, and free. To find my own way in this world, and my world is full of caring and sharing and no one has to fight for anything in my world. It’s freely given and I am learning to receive in return.

Thank you God for showing me The Way.

As SMD said, now for the last step: Please help me Lord to Learn to Let Go! Amen.


SMD: If you are losing your work online, try writing in a wordprocessor first on your computer’s hard drive and save it, then copy and paste it here. I do that with anything important as that has happened to me! Plus you have a nice journal entry to keep for later on, to see how much progress is being made. It’s a slow road but it’s a sure one, and with Patience, Pardon and Prayer, we will all get there. And I add in one more for me: PRACTICE. Practice all the time. Meditation and Prayer. Amen. Happy Holidays – Happy Holy Days!


Darlene, I won’t mention fundraising or donations again, but I will wait with great anticipation for your e-book and let me know if you want any help with any of it. I have formatted documents for many years, so am ready to volunteer at any time. Thanks for all that you do… CT


Sonia, reading your words is like reading my words/thoughts when I was going through it too! I am SO sorry that you are in pain and confusion….and it isnt your fault at all! I admire your courage and that you are sticking up for yourself this week in ways that you never felt that you could before! YAY! I know exactly the feelings pulling you in many directions…the confusion, anger, pain, disbelief, guilt, stress etc etc…and it does take a toll on our health and quality of OUR lives when we are experiencing such a wild range of ups and downs and back and forth.
As for you being the “bad guy”…it simply isnt truth! I think that in dysfunctional relationships, it isnt easy to see clearly , but there always seems to me to be a “black sheep” or “fall guy” or “bad guy”. I am sorry that you were the one stuck with that label…but that label has nothing to do with YOU…it has to do with THEM. That is the most painful thing to realize in some ways because it is another layer peeled away and when I started seeing it, I got really angry! I wish I could send you a hug! I just want to validate everything you have written….you are definitely of sound mind to see what you are seeing this week and you definitely are helping YOU and YOUR life by not allowing the manipulation! hugs and comfort to you Sonia!!!! 🙂


Hi Sonia
It doesn’t matter what “it looks like” re your fear of looking like the ‘bad guy’. This is about self love and self validation. I had to HEAR me, I had to believe that what I suspected was happening was actually happening. I had to make a decision about the way I wanted to ‘do relationship’ and my own self value. I became like a detective in my own heart and I examined what was true with a magnifying glass. What was me ~ NOT what they said about me, but what was really me.

These people are masters at creating fog and keeping others in the spin. They are masters at making sure that it deflecting the blame off themselves. They will stop at nothing to do that. When I drew a boundary and their usual tactic didn’t work anymore, they changed the tactic. What seemed to matter the most was that they didn’t lose control over me, but **I** didn’t matter at all. I had to matter to me.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Aurele!
YES ~ YOU can help YOU. Awesome,
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Your comments reminded me about a few things; We are taught that Christmas is a warm and fuzzy time of family celebration, love and warmth etc. and since I was also taught that any kind of ‘problem’ is eventually blamed on me, I tried harder at Christmas. I didn’t want to be the one to wreck all that love and warmth. But Christmas ended up just feeling like pressure. It was too hard to be perfect. Emotions were always too high and the pressure made me feel sick. My mother must have felt it too, because she was always all wound up and I am sure that I was reacting to her and my fear of her when she got wound up.
I finally love Christmas because I am away from all that bull shit pressure and the reason for the season is no longer about perfection but it is actually about being with the ones that I love and who love me and not about the perfect gift and the perfect meal or any kind of perfection at all! (and my christmas under this umbrella WAS perfect!)
Hugs, Darlene


Karen, I wanted to comment on your words in #91. I REALLY appreciated what you wrote. I especially related to your feelings and thoughts in your last paragraph about your elderly mother being hospitalized and you not being contacted…but knowing full well what is being said about you…but sticking to your resolve in not letting ppl draw you back into the crap. I admire you so much for sticking up for YOU and YOUR choices to keep that out of your life. I used to dread the day my parents would become elderly and then have health issues that I used to feel would “require” me to help them….and then I KNEW it would never be good enough. That I would be stuck in a position that I never signed up for and that I never wanted to take on and that I felt very little love or liking to do. I knew I wasnt liked or wanted….but I also knew that because I was the only daughter that it would fall on me to be the responsible one…and it used to drive me crazy even when I was younger. I cannot tell you the relief that I feel that I do not have that pressure! That probably sounds mean…and maybe for some ppl it would be mean, but for me it is a total relief and joy to be FREE from them and their dislike and pressures. I used to feel sad and guilty because they are growing old and weaker and that brings out the compassion in me, BUT I also realize that for ME ….like YOU…it is much healthier in all kinds of ways for me to not be there for them or with them anymore. I dont know if you feel or understand that same sense of relief? In any case, I send you peace and comfort and validation for your choices with your mother! 🙂


Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post continuing with this topic of dysufunctional family. Sonia, although I wrote this post over a week ago, you mentioned feeling like the ‘bad guy’ and I made a few edits to reflect more of that situation.
Here is the link: “Dysfunctional family and holidays ~ When you feel like the bad guy”
I’m looking forward to the conversation there. This one has a focus on my in-laws instead of on my parents.
Hugs! Darlene


Hello Everyone!!

I have enjoyed reading the comments about how everyone’s Christmas’s went.

I remember last year was my first Christmas without my family of origin. I was like you….. I had NO IDEA it could be so calm and that I could have fun with other people. Congrats on breaking away!! I’m glad you had a good Christmas.

A few weeks before Christmas, my mom’s counselor reached me on FB, and told me my mom had been in the hospital the week prior. I discussed it with my sisters who had some email/text correspondence with mother during that week, and concluded that if she was indeed in the hospital, it couldn’t have been for more than 24 hours. I didn’t respond to my mother’s counselor. She was really sticking her nose in where it wasn’t welcome. I don’t know what I have to do to get through to this woman. A Master’s in counseling (of some sort), and she cannot figure out how an abused person or persons (my sisters as well) feel when it’s time to walk away from abuse, lies, and manipulation. It’s as if she’s never even known someone who washed their hands of abuse.

I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this. When circumstances make us physically ill, it’s one of the most authentic signs, in my opinion. I’m really sorry you’re going through this at all, but, even moreso because this is supposed to be a time of giving and loving unconditionally. (as another writer posted). Many times, my gut can tell me the truth, even if I don’t feel ready to accept. I remember the first time I read an article on narcissistic mothers (I think it was even before coming here), and my mother fit nearly every criteria, I was also sick. It’s true that our bodies cannot lie. The horrible dreams I had about her. These things were proof to me that even if I couldn’t get my heart around it quite yet, I still knew it was true in my mind. I’m thinking of you Sonia!! Much peace sent your way!!

I love these posts, thank you!! They come at a time when ironically, the season of love and giving is upon us, yet we hurt. So sad these people who don’t know what love is about, nor giving, etc. Thanks Darlene.

I had a super good Christmas, with my second year away from FOO. My heart has been easily molded into a truly loving stepmom, and I completely enjoyed the time I had with my stepkids. I am ashamed to say they were second in my mind, coming only after my FOO for so many years. Not anymore, and I can only hope if they sensed it, they can forgive and let me make up the lost love to them. They truly are my family now, and I’m so thankful for them. I’m even more thankful that I found EFB when I did. I needed to know my priorities were screwed up ~ my FOO had to come second. Thankfully, this wasn’t a very painful process, to sort of realign my loyalties. It hurt to let go of my FOO of course, but, it was fairly easy to give my heart to new people, ones who appreciate it.

Love and peace to everyone,


Hi Mimi!
Thanks for this update! How wonderful to read about your christmas with your step kids and the transformation in your life this year!
Thanks so much for sharing it here! This is the kind of post that makes it all worth it!
Hugs, Darlene


Loved reading through so many heartening stories and so much progress being made, and so many PEACEFUL holidays with PEACEFUL PEOPLE. I just came from another real Christmas get-together with friends that are like “family” and I tell you, the difference is practically miraculous to behold. And all we have to do is learn when to say “yes” and when to say “no.” And when to say “when.” Amen!


Thank you everyone for your kind comments. What you said is so true Diane. Yup I do feel relief.
I am SO much better NC.
Before I was so anguished by their treatment of me that I was in depression, isolating, angry,
self harming, feeling like a totally worthless person. When the exact opposite was the truth. I was helpful, kind, compassionate and giving constantly to my mother and brother. Being everything they needed and wanted. Running in circles to please them. Now I am villanized as the uncaring (crazy) daughter because I have stepped away. I see that this is the normal pattern for the abusers.
And I am OK now. I don’t feel that horrible self hate anymore. I’m looking forward now to 2013.


I called my sister and asked her what the poem meant. She said it was to remind me of our childhood. There was a dirt mound near our trailer that we would pretend was a castle and we would play in the woods that surrounded us. She said that “nothing is what it seems” was about our imagination turning us into princesses.

I felt really happy when she told me this. We started to talk and she was trying to tell me about Christmas at our Moms. I told her that I didn’t want to hear about it because it hurts. She said “Well don’t worry it wasn’t that good anyways.” I guess she said that to make me feel better. This made me ask her the same question I always do. “Why do you go around our mother when you know it hurts me?” She said “I just can’t not see our mother.” I said “Yes you can look at what she had done to me and is still doing.” So she tells me to call Mom and that she talked to her and that Mom is ready to admit and listen to me. I laughed but a part of me believed her which is why I called my mother later. I know stupid right! We continued our conversation which turned into a scream fest on the phone. I told her that our older sister, Mom, and grandparents are abusive to me. She asked me why our older sister was abusive. This question made me so infuriated that I could have jumped through the phone and smacked her.

When I was still living at home I told my older sister when she was visiting us that I was molested. She was married and had been out of the hell hole for 2 years so a part of me thought she would help me. When I told her she attacked me. She started to beat me and I ran out of the house into the yard with her chasing me while my other sister followed us screaming for her to stop, our mother just sat on the couch not caring. My older sister never explained to me why she did this to me and never apologized for it either, which made me feel even guiltier. This is just the start of abusive behavior that she has done. I don’t want to write a book but my sister on the phone says back to this memory “Well, she is just crazier than you Dawn. You have to excuse her on some things.” First off she is saying that I am crazy! I am not crazy. You mean because of my abuse that I am crazy. This really set me off. The conversation turned into to kids on the phone doing the back and forth thing with me screaming about their abuse behavior and her taking up for them. I ended with I love my nieces and nephews and would love to be around them but I don’t want to be around you if you are going to continue to be around my abusers. She tells me that my older sister’s kids are very closer to hers and that the two girls call each other sister. I started to cry and said what about my future kids. Because I don’t have kids I guess I am just excluded from both of your lives. I guess that my future kids don’t matter.

All in all I called my mother later and the conversation went exactly the way I thought with me telling her that she isn’t a mother and never was. I have been my mother my whole life. She keeps the check book from 2006 when I graduated high school and said I can show you how I paid for your senior pictures, cap and gown, prom dress, and year book now you want to say I wasn’t a Mother. I said ya while my boyfriend paid for everything else! You wouldn’t buy me food, toilet paper, shampoo, etc(basic needs). If I had not met my boyfriend who is my husband now at the age of 15 I would have starved to death. You didn’t even buy me clothes. He helped me get a job, car, driver license, everything. Then when I graduated I got a full scholarship and I told you to please get (my father) out. She wouldn’t do it. I lived there six months after I graduated and then one night my father was telling me “Get back to your whole bitch”, trying to start a fight, while laughing because he was high, my mother just sat there like always, I went off on her telling her again what I had so many times, I was brave this time because I had my boyfriend with me. She went to her bed room and got a gun came back to the living room and pointed it at me then she put it to her head. She said if you don’t stop I’m going to kill myself. (She had done this to me my whole life. Threatening suicide so I’ll shut up) I told her do it I don’t’ care anymore, kill yourself. She dropped the gun and I got it. I gave it to my boyfriend then my mother ran out of the house got in her car and left. My father looked at me and said, “Look what you did now she is gone.” He took the gun from us even though I didn’t want to because I feared he would kill us but he didn’t. He unloaded the gun and me and boyfriend went to my room. I moved out shortly after and both I and husband were in college and we worked full-time. I couldn’t keep my scholarship unless I went fulltime but couldn’t because I to work fulltime. ? I worked hard on my homework to get a good GPA. No one told me to do my homework or helped me I just wanted to so I could have a better live than what I had so far. I told this story to my mom and said now you want to throw a stupid check book at my face. What about my loans that would be there if it were not for you. So on and so on I just hung up on her.

Why can’t the only family member that I really want to be around just stop seeing these abusive family members? Am I being selfish by asking her to stop seeing them? I told her to pick me or the family and she said that she can’t answer that because it was wrong of me to ask that. I don’t see how it is wrong. I told her that it hurts my feeling when she is in close relationships with them like she doesn’t care about all the things they have done to me and don’t even feel the need to apologize for their wrong doing. I just feel lost. Every time I break down and call this sister it opens a can of worms that spread like poison through me. I love her so much and her kids. She told me that the eldest nephew looked out the window and saw a black car and started to yell that Aunt Dawn was here but it wasn’t me. He was sad after that. This makes me feel so bad.

Sorry for writing so much I really tried to condense this down. I feel so crappy after talking to them. I just think I shouldn’t talk to them at all because it really puts me down. I don’t like feeling like this. Sorry to everybody else on here who is going through hurtful situations as well. My heart goes out to all of you and may peace be with you during stormy times.


Hi Dawn
Never worry about how much you write. Write what you need to write, for you.
Something that struck me in your comments was that thing your sister said that you had to excuse your other sister because she is crazy. (and I understand about the insult that she said “crazier than you”) but my brother said to me a while back that my parents are “old” and not going to change and I said “SO WHAT?” We are talking about the damage here. We are trying to heal from the damage and if that damage is excused two things happen; one is that we are invalidated which is the root of all of this in the first place, and two, WHY do they get to be excused for whatever reason? If there is a killer shark in the shallow water, people are advised NOT to go in the water. We don’t excuse the shark and ignore the danger. We count.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Your right so what. I do feel invalidated and so what about whatever excuse they have. I love the shark analogy this really makes since in my head. Thank you for clarity and truth I needed this. I was beginning to feel selfish but I’m not selfish or crazy.


Wow. Does this take me back to every conversation or attempt I ever made with so many of my family members, whether I “screamed” at them or not. Talk about CRAZY MAKING! And I too loved Darlene’s analogy:

“If there is a killer shark in the shallow water, people are advised NOT to go in the water. We don’t excuse the shark and ignore the danger. We count [too].”

And that’s what these people are. The gun to the head scenario is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) all the way. It runs in my family along with Narcissism, alcoholism, prescription pill addiction and all the rest. I swear, these family scenarios all of us are describing could be on Jerry Springer.


After reading what goes on in “families of origin,” I will NEVER cry myself to sleep again, because I had to be “alone.” Being with THEM is a “fate worse than death.” They all come from the poisoned tree. It’s sad when it’s nieces and nephews, but they are fruit from the same tree. I have to accept that these people will never be a part of my life, because they have bee poisoned against me, all because I got away.

It’s heartbreaking but true. I keep having this image of Dorothy in the Wicked Witch’s castle, with those horrible flying monkeys all around, and somehow I get away. Me and my little dog Toto, too!


It is amazing how many times the wizard of oz analogy comes to my mind in all this. When a controller/abuser/manipulative person starts to realize they are losing their control over someone, you can almost see the fear, the horror, and I see the wicked witch of the west screaming “I’m melting, I’m melting”. Their identity is in thier power over others. That is where their self esteem lives. It is sick, but if no one sets a boundary, they don’t have to change.
Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene


LOL It really does sound like a Jerry Springer show. My Mother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder but yes I can see how she has Borderline Personality Disorder, and is Narcissistic. I think this runs in the family because my older sister acts Narcissistic and the other well I’m not sure but she did try to kill herself once ending in the ER. I’m sure I probably have something as well maybe I’ll go to a therapist one day.

I remember when I was talking to my Mother and I called her to talk about a fight I had with my hubby. She told me to act like I was going to kill myself in order to get my way. When she told me this I knew that that’s what she does to me. I told her that is manipulative and wrong. She came back with a laugh and said it works every time. Maybe I should go on Jerry Springer just for fun or Dr. Phil.

Thank you both Darlene and Catherine I sometimes get confused that their behavior is wrong and that I am right for leaving that crazy family(FOO). I have never seen that memory like that before. She really was the wicked witch of the west, mind blown right now, melting. She did all that to put me in my place and keep control over me. A part of me felt like that was it but I guess I didn’t really want to admit that to myself.


Dawn, I *almost* gasped in horror, reading “It works every time.” The only thing stopping me was growing up with my beloved grandmother who DID try to kill herself many times but I only witnessed it once. I was “the golden child” with her who could do no wrong. On the other hand, I was “the hated child” with my own mother (her daughter) who could do no right.

I am amazed at Darlene’s explanation of the Wicked Witch of the West, and when the witch was losing control “I’m melting, I’m melting!” I wonder how much MORE there is in this story, besides “coming home to Auntie Em” and “home” is in your own backyard. There must be a lot more to the story and I hope that Darlene writes a whole discussion about this one.

Dawn, I know how you feel about “not wanting to admit this to yourself.” I didn’t forever, because as long as I believed (as I was told) that everything WAS “my fault” then heck, I could “fix things” because I was ready and willing to CHANGE! I would, and did, try EVERYTHING, BUT NOTHING WORKED. That’s why I believed I was a failure my whole entire life, in spite of being very successful at so many things. They told me I was a failure and I believed I was a failure because hey, if your own mother doesn’t love you and actually hates you, then what difference do all the accolades in the world mean?

This whole family lie that we’ve been raised to believe in and buy into and keep going is like the happy housewives of the fifties, when they were cooped up in their suburban prisons with screaming kids and dirty houses to clean, and keeping their floors “clean enough to eat off of.”

I’ll never forget when I finally told someone who came to my house that “I don’t eat off my floors. I eat off my plates and they are kept clean.” You should have seen the look on her face! Sacrilege!

I also said I had plenty of other things to do that “keep my floor clean enough to eat off of,” like going to college and working while raising a child! These people were crazy then and they are crazy now.

Our culture destroys families with their myths and their lies. People need to be responsible for themselves and how they act. We don’t “bring it on ourselves.” They do it to us! And we have every right to STAY AWAY.

End of story. Abusers don’t need “motivation” to change. That assumes that they CAN change. And even if they learn to put on a happy face, they will turn on you in an instant. Does a rattlesnake “change?”

LOL. Think about the Indian story about taking in a poor frozen rattlesnake into his teepee and caring for it and bringing it back to life, giving it milk and being kind and gentle with it, and then when the snake is all better he turns around and bites his savior. “Why did you bite me and kill me when I was so good to you?” Because that is my nature! I am a poisonous snake!

Our culture is America is based on so many lies. We weren’t raised with stories and parables about how things really are. We are fed a constant daily diet of how things should have been and could have been and we are at fault and yadayadyayda just like when women were raped and “their skirt was too short.”

I for one am sick of it and I won’t buy into any more of it. I tried my best for years and years and there is no changing mental illness, especially that of the cruelty kind. I’m done and over and out and I have a peaceful life when those poisonous spiders and pit vipers are out of my life. It’s a miracle that I even survived. Let them bite and snap at each other. Alligators, all. I don’t have to be there. I won’t be “fresh meat” thrown into the alligator pond!


Dawn, if your mother has been diagnosed as BiPolar, then that should “say it all.” You are dealing with real mental illness and that is simply not going to change. Even if others want to hold us responsbile for other people’s behavior, we aren’t and we can’t. So what does that tell you? It doesn’t matter if she’s Borderline or Narcissist or a mix of all three. It’s still mental illness and you have to protect yourself and your family. Crazy is crazy and you can’t change it. I have very vicious siblings who are just like my mother and I believe it is genetic. And thank God I wasn’t exposed to it as long as the others (I got away when I was 16 years old, so I had much less exposure and wasn’t subject to their “rules” for as long as the others) but I still have to fight a lot of the same symptoms in myself, all the time. But fight I do. I won’t give in and I won’t “be like them” and I’m NOT “like them” and I work on changing my behavior and reactions all the time. Unlike the others. And that says it all.

Adios to the crazy ones. I let them live in their world and I live in mine, and I won’t allow their Trojan Horses to enter into my walls ever again. I learned this last time after 20 years of peace. All they have done is wage war just as my mother taught them to do, even on her death bed. This was her legacy to me, and I hope she goes straight to hell with it and all the others. There, I said it!

I will be free.


Last year was the first year in 50 years I did not go home for Christmas. That decision came hard after a ‘meltdown’ and trip to my Psychologist. I felt so liberated.

I agreed to get together with them this year. It is to happen tomorrow. My turmoil has started after a conversation with my Mom. It was an hour later before I realized I was upset because she didn’t respect my wants and wishes, nor that of my partner.

I’m gritting my teeth and will take lots of calm tablets. I don’t drink over it any more, but seek other solutions. I’m thankful I found this website when I needed it.


Hi Terri
Something that really helped me was giving myself permission to change my mind. I had that same delayed reaction for the first while in my healing process and when I saw the truth about what was going on (that I was not actually being heard or respected), I decided that it was a bad idea to open myself up to more of what I was trying to stand up to. It is okay to change your mind.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone
I just published a new post that continues on with/from the discussion on this one. This new one is called “Punishment as a Control Tactic in Abusive Family Systems”
I look forward to the conversation on it!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone!
There is a new post on the homepage that has to do with this conversation. It is about when the phrase ‘what goes around comes around’ is used in an abusive way to foster FEAR of the future in the adult child. (a mother tried to post an abusive comment to all the readers who post here about thier mom problems)


Hi Darlene.
I believe that toxic people can make you feel ill. They need to know about the stress they are causing.
Once you learn who the users are. Also, to reply to their selfishness. Via assertiveness, then recovery has started.
Thereby, others know what your viewpoint is. So, they will not be surprised if you keep a little distance. Simultaneously, maintain ties.


Hi all,

I must say that I do take offense at the usage of labels to villify people. I have been diagnosed as Borderline and not quite sure if this is accurate, as the therapist labeled most of her clients as Borderline, but I digress. It’s also been called to my attention that Borderline is just another word for PTSD by some professionals—so labels to me are pretty much useless in addition to offensive. I do feel dehumanized to be borderline, as opposed to me. All therapists seem to have different diagnoses anyway. My current therapist does not believe in labels- we’re all human. I feel the same. But we can decide how to treat people. I think using an illness to explain another’s or your own behavior confuses the issue.

I treat people with respect, that is huge for me, and I hope to someday expect equal respect back. My family actually uses this diagnosis to humiliate and abuse me. It is a put down, and a perfect excuse for why anything and everything in their lives is wrong (even if I am not involved it it). If my mother screams at me and I react, I’m borderline- her responsibility is absolved.
So while I can empathize and get angry at someone who does not respect people (we all deserve respect)
labels can be hurtful and innacurrate. They were actually invented for insurance purposes. I do not go by labels, I have met some unbelievably compassionate “crazy” people- bipolar, borderline, etc who were scapegoats of their families, and some undiagnosed and therefore “sane” in their minds, people who are absolute monsters.

Just my 2 cents…


I am not a fan of any diagnosis on either side of this whole thing; I don’t like to diagnose abusers, OR victims. Breakdowns start because we have been traumatized or neglected ~ the diagnosis does not do anything to help move towards a solution. As you say, many people use diagnosis against others! They use it as the proof against others. Victims use diagnosis of perps to excuse them or make excuses for them believing that if they can ‘understand’ the abuser, then it isn’t personal that they abused them, however, the solution for healing is in facing and validating the damage that was caused. So really it doesn’t matter what is ‘wrong’ with the abuser.
Thanks for sharing ~ you make great points in your comments!
Hugs Darlene


Thanks Darlene!

Your support is soooo great!

Yes, I do agree- it seems like ‘trying to understand’ is a form of denial. Like if only you knew how they struggle, and their past, and diagnosis, etc it would be ok for them to abuse us, and it didn’t really happen, it wasn’t really them, but the disease/their past, etc. It happened. Period. And the person did it. The person abused us. That is what is so hard and scary to come to and it can be circular to try to understand why. I find myself doing this often—but what I come to understand again and again is we can’t change people- and I deserve respect!

Something I just realized is victims can internalize their diagnosis as being the reasons why they are inherantly and uncontrollably ‘bad’ while at the same time excusing abusers with the percieved diagnosis for why ‘deep down they are really good people’ —letting them get away with their behavior and continue to carry the shame. There is always a way to turn it around which is why I so appreciate your advice of looking at the actual behavior, the root, and the power dynamics (ie does one person have the ability to put you in survival mode by controlling resources- boss, husband, parents/can they control whether your basic human rights are met or not)? Then that person has more power, and responsibilty and blaming the victim is just convienient, lazy on their part. As well as a sign they won’t change.
If they don’t take responsibility, they don’t take responsibility. That is wrong.


Sorry about typos lol.



I realized I forgot to ‘subscribe’ to my comments (I have to re-comment to subscribe)!


When I lived 3,000 miles away, I would always fly in on Christmas eve, and leave on 12/26. I “blamed” airline blackout periods for cheap fares. The real truth was I didn’t want to be there any longer than I had to be. And they can’t pressure me to change my airline schedule because fees are stiff for doing that.

When I moved closer to where I grew up, then I started getting Christmas depression. It would start right before Thanksgiving, and end on New Year’s. I figured out what it was. Since I now lived “closer to everyone” I was SUPPOSED to “stay longer” when I visited. I had to fight for excuses to leave.

I have now decided I just don’t do Christmas. I asked my family to stop sending me presents. I don’t want them. I am much happier, but I still have other issues with my Mom.


Just want to say, I like the way you get your OWN little icon when you post. That way you can tell the difference between two posters that might have the same name.


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