Christmas With, or Freedom from, Dysfunctional Families

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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

 

 

128 response to "Christmas With, or Freedom from, Dysfunctional Families"

  1. By: SMD Posted: 29th December

    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!
    Sonia

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th December

      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

  2. By: Aurele Posted: 29th December

    “seeing them” instead of seeing us.

  3. By: Aurele Posted: 29th December

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th December

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

  4. By: Karen Ranes Posted: 29th December

    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.

  5. By: Karen Ranes Posted: 29th December

    Sonia:
    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

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th December

      Karen
      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

  6. By: SMD Posted: 29th December

    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…..
    Sonia

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th December

      Sonia
      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

  7. By: Catherine Todd Posted: 29th December

    Last post for the night (I promise!):

    Storms

    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.

  8. By: Catherine Todd Posted: 29th December

    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

  9. By: Catherine Todd Posted: 29th December

    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.

  10. By: Catherine Todd Posted: 28th December

    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.

  11. By: Diane Posted: 28th December

    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!! 🙂

  12. By: Caden Posted: 28th December

    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,
    -Caden.

  13. By: Catherine Todd Posted: 28th December

    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

    * * * * *

    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKt1qCekdyo

  14. By: Catherine Todd Posted: 28th December

    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

    * * * * *

    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKt1qCekdyo

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th December

      Catherine
      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

  15. By: Catherine Todd Posted: 28th December

    FUNDRAISING DONATIONS:

    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!

  16. By: SMD Posted: 28th December

    Darlene,
    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))))
    Sonia

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th December

      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

  17. By: Susan Posted: 28th December

    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,
    Susan

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th December

      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

  18. By: Erin Posted: 28th December

    Thank-you Darlene!

  19. By: SMD Posted: 28th December

    Janie,
    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!!
    Sonia

    Sonia

  20. By: Janie Posted: 28th December

    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!

    Janie

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th December

      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

  21. By: Julie Posted: 28th December

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th December

      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

  22. By: Pam Posted: 27th December

    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)

    Love,
    Pam

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th December

      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

  23. By: Catherine Todd Posted: 27th December

    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.

  24. By: Catherine Todd Posted: 27th December

    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.

  25. By: Dawn Posted: 27th December

    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.

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