Connecting the Dots about Passive Abuse and the Truth about Lazy


emotionally unavailable fatherDeep in my subconscious mind (my belief system) I have always thought that taking some leisure time was the same as being lazy. When I started to learn how to do self-care, that little “feeling” constantly whispering to me that I was being lazy began to get stronger. I found that when I took time off to just kick around, read a book or watch a movie, deep down I would reprimand myself. I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it for a very long time.

If I was spending my leisure time with my kids are with another person I was not so hard on myself because I knew that was important to the relationships that I have with them, but if I was just doing something to rejuvenate ME, I got a little restless. I really noticed my conflict with this when my oldest two children moved out of the house to attend school this fall.

Because we are selling the farm/ranch I had spent the summer cleaning, packing, sorting, purging and organizing 30 years worth of accumulated stuff and as a result of all that hard work I feel really caught up on everything. I feel really good about having done all of this but emotionally it took a toll on me. It has been an emotional roller coaster to decide to let go of this life here and on top of that to have two kids move out of the house! Add that to the level of emotion that I invest in this website and with my clients and I found I needed some extra time for myself this past few months.

BUT when I took that time I realized that my self-talk was whispering some judgemental things to me.  I was hearing words like lazy and unproductive barely under the surface of my subconscious mind.

Within minutes of reading my clients homework, I get a glimpse of what is operating under the surface in their belief systems but when it comes to me it takes a little more work because I am up against MY OWN belief system.  And since our belief systems form in the first place as a way to help us survive, sometimes they are not easy to crack into.

I was journaling about this whole thing and as I was experiencing a deeper realization that when I take time off I feel guilty about it, I suddenly heard my mother’s voice talking about my father.

This is where it gets complicated.  My father, as I have talked about in other posts was emotionally unavailable. He was a passive abusive father and husband. He abused by his passive ‘whatever’ kind of attitude towards everything. My mother used to say that the house could be burning down and my father would sit in the middle of it playing his guitar and ignoring the emergency. As an adult today I can see why she said that. My mother could not get my father to do anything or even to ‘react to anything’ and I remember as a child thinking my mother was a nag with her constant pleas and complaints about my father and to my father but today I realize that my father’s attitude towards my mother left her feeling unimportant, unsupported, dismissed and devalued. In truth, my mother didn’t really have a husband.  My passively abusive father never let my mother have any impact on him and the success of a relationship, the whole basis of equality has so much to do with both people in the relationship having some impact.

So every time my father sat watching sports, (not engaging with anyone else and being emotionally unavailable and passively abusive) and every time my father zoned out playing his guitar (not engaging with anyone else and being emotionally unavailable and passively abusive) while my mother had to do numerous chores and fix things in the house by herself, I knew that these were the things that my mother was referring to when she called my father “lazy”. It was his leisure time. It was his interests that excluded the rest of the world that caused my mother so much emotional pain!

It is important to note here that my mother never actually called me “lazy” in the way that I call myself lazy. What I did however is I transferred her frustration with my father and her definition of lazy and applied it to myself.  Logically I know that I am not lazy but emotionally and somewhere deep in my belief system, I made the false connection and now I had this false definition of lazy; that taking some leisure time equals being lazy and being lazy always results in letting someone else down. And letting someone down THAT WAY would be passive abuse and the last thing I would EVER be would be any kind of ABUSER!

Boom it hit me like a ton of bricks!  Although I have been really good at taking leisure time for myself, I still had this niggling doubt about doing it. By realizing what was at the root of this niggling doubt, I was able to realize that I had my wires crossed about this whole word “lazy” when it came to me and that I related it to passive abuse.

This realization solved a bit more of the puzzle for me. Several times in my life I have pushed myself so hard that I got sick sometimes even to the point of being bedridden.  At the root of those times was my belief that being lazy would let others down and I could never let anyone down because my survival mode and victim mentality ‘survived’ by never letting anyone down! Clarity on this issue makes self-care a whole lot easier!

Please share your thoughts on how this may have worked in your own life. Have you ever heard a judgement about someone in your life and believe it to be a true judgement and a good definition of “a behaviour” and then apply it to yourself completely out of context? Seeing this kind of thing and sorting out where you have applied a true definition of a word ‘falsely’ to yourself is a little more complicated type of detective work but it is a huge relief when the understanding emerges!

P.S. I am enjoying my leisure time a whole lot more these days!

Exposing truth, one snapshot at a time;    

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken bookThe Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” 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 posts are in bold print; just click on the bold print within the body of the article.  This post is also related to an emotional unavailable father : “The Deception of an Emotionally Unavailable Father” 

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Categories : Freedom & Wholeness



Yes Darlene, I had a similar experience. I worked very hard at a job, and took care of household stuff and
a child. The job was so stressful I had to give notice.
(I was to the point of timing bathroom breaks to be productive)
At the same time I was dealing with recovery from foot surgery. I needed time off for physical and emotional recovery but would not allow myself to be so lazy. I found a full time job with more responsibility. The resulting panic attacks caused me to quit after 2 weeks.

I have always had to be perfect, in control with no weaknesses or excuses allowed. My childhood upbringing allowed for no slacking off ever. I felt I “had to” continue with my punishing routine. My husband finally convinced me that it was OK to give myself a break. That the world would not stop turning if I took time to heal. Which I did. 6 months later I had worked thru many emotional “shoulds” and let them go. I was able to go back to the workplace without the compulsive feeling that if I couldn’t do everything for everyone I was lazy.


I can relate to this so much. My mom was always like this with my dad—constantly nagging him about everything he should be doing, wasn’t doing, wasn’t doing “right,” etc. Though, actually with my dad, he did a lot of stuff around the house. It was very equal in the chore department. But it was never enough for my mom. She was in a major car accident when I was four that left her with serious back pain and jaw problems. Sometimes when she was in these foul martyr modes, she’d start doing excessive cleaning stuff, which of course made her back much worse, which made her mood much worse and on and on. The truth is, like your mom, mine had something reasonable to complain about as well—the emotional unavailability. Sometimes she’d say things about it but mostly her nagging and belittling, etc., concentrated all on more practical things, daily life things about which she often seemed to find him completely incompetent. I translated all these things to myself. They weren’t true about me but they were also not even true about my dad (although I’m sure he still believes it—I’m sure he still believes he couldn’t survive without her to tell him how to do everything… though perhaps it’s lessening now as he has an out-of-town job as of the last couple years). The dumb thing is with a wife constantly berating you for every little thing, it’s not really a conducive environment for emotional expressiveness… so, yes, he was emotionally unavailable to her and I think she took her frustration out on him by nagging him about all this other crap, which wasn’t really the problem but then cemented the unlikelihood of her getting what she actually wanted, needed, and rightly deserved out of a marriage partner…. Which is where I entered in and what she used me for for 10 years until I had a nervous breakdown. (I’m sure it’s the reason she swept things under the carpet and ignored warning signs about my emotional health; though it was impossible for me to meet her emotional needs, I was definitely providing her something of what she wasn’t getting from my father and in a very basic way that depended on my depression, my silence, compliance, etc.)….

As for the result of all my mom’s nagging on my dad and how it translated to me… I’m prone to procrastination, to not bother doing things in part as a rebellion against that stupid voice but also because of the feeling that no matter what, it won’t be good enough. (But of course whatever my dad did was never good enough—because it was never even ABOUT whatever she was getting mad about). So I’ve lost a lot of time in a sort of stressful inertia, where I feel like I could’ve been spending the entire day scrubbing floors when really I was just spending the entire day doing nothing but fighting the idea of scrubbing floors (metaphorically speaking). I can get SO EXHAUSTED doing absolutely nothing, it’s ridiculous. The funny thing is now when I clean and do other chores, I find myself actually enjoying it and that I end up with more energy and I really don’t care whether or not it meets anyone else’s standards, and I end up thinking to myself, “Why have I been procrastinating doing this for so long?” This goes for many, many things and not just household chores. Actually it goes for pretty much everything I do in my life.

Thanks so much for sharing this!


I can totally relate to the false belief of the word “lazy”. Even though, I worked hard at my jobs, paying the big bills & caring for my children, with no support from my husband. He has worked 2nd shift, since our kids were babies. At the same time, I was struggling with anxiety & depression, which I was getting treatment for, but continued working a demanding full-time job. I realize my emotional burn out was understandable given that, I had limited support & was not taking care of me. My boss being a Bully was the last Straw for me, so I left to take care of myself.
My childhood beliefs did not allow me leisure time. If I stayed in and read a good book or write, I was reprimanded with by my dad, that I was going to “rot”, if I didn’t get outside & get some fresh air. That is totally false & ridiculous. I was enjoying my down time, without school work. I continued to push myself through college & demanding jobs, with the belief that if I took time for myself, I was “giving up”…my dad who was also emotionally unavailable & abusive, would say, “we don’t want you to be a quitter”, when I knew my limits. I didn’t have a choice by their standards. I was far from lazy. Yet, again my depressions were also used as proof that I was lazy. I had a lot of shoulds too, that kept me driven to the point of driving myself into the ground. I learned that willful & driven behavior from both my parents, although my dad always had his hobbies & interests. He was held up in the garage restoring cars to perfection, instead of building a relationship with me. That is selfish. The word lazy applies to my parents, not doing their emotional work.



Hi all,

Oh boy, what can I say? Once again, a post that completely resonates with me. My father could never do enough to please my mom. He worked approx 80 hours a week driving heavy goods lorries, yet was constantly critised and accused of being lazy. The only time he ever went out socially without mom was to his firms Xmas party, and she made his life hell for weeks after. He would come home after being on the road, sometimes for several days and fall asleep on the sofa. She would shout at him to wake up, she could never bear anyone sleeping around her, it was as if she felt the sleeping person was abandoning her by retreating into their own private world. I definitely internalised the message that if I wasnt “doing” then I would make someone angry. This had catastophic results in my life. I became a perfectionist, a workaholic, a bulimic who was addicted to exercise. Yet at the same time, I was terrified to outshine anyone, to be too successful or happy in case I upset someone. It was as if I was balanced on a tightrope, scared to be seen as lazy and unproductive, but frightened to be seen as “getting too big for my boots”. The pressure I put myself under was unbelievable. I am still doing it to a lesser extent, so this post is timely for me and will result in me doing some more “digging”. Am off to find a shovel!

Love Sylvia x



Yes, like yours, my dad should have been building a relationship with me, instead of enabling my nut-bag of a mom, obsessing over cars, and somehow – finding enough time to smoke 100 cigarettes a day, a habit which eventually took him outa here when I was only 14.


I too have looked for extra responsibility to take on. Its as if I am forever waiting for a pat on the back that never comes.


I so know what you mean about the rebellion issue, I have done that too, but in a way that sort of punishes ME! A way that sabotages good stuff for myself!

Darlene – thanks again for providing this safe place for us.

Love Sylvia x


Would this be like realizing how awful my mother is and in turn being overly paranoid that I am just like her? She always projects herself onto me.


yes, learning to separate myself from others and discover my own identity!


This article resonnated in me.

For me, I too have difficulties to take some leisure time.
3 years ago I fell ill so I am obliged now to take care of myself. I can’t work anymore because of my health and there are a lot of thougts who are tormenting me about having no activity.

My father never let me have a rest.
He put extreme pressure on my shoulders.
He projected himself in me all the time and that was totally crazy.
He was totally crazy. He called me lazy really often.

He asked me to performe wery well at school while at the same time, abused me each day. (son of a b****!!)

When I entered highschool, I couldn’t be the perfect student anymore, it was too much for me. And he started to hate me activily so, my results became worse and he punished me for that calling me lazy because for him I was a bad student who didn’t worked enough hard.

And today, I feel huge strong feeling of guilt about doing nothing and not having a job.
But if I can’t work today it was his fault and only his fault because due to his mistreatment, I am totally exhausted of life.

He failed with me, he was pitiful with me and he was the only failure, not me.

Thank you Darlene for this article.


Hi Alaina,

I can very relate with what you said about the state of anxiety you were due to your mom’s attitude.

It’s the same for me, I procrastinate very often and do important things at the last minute. I have a lot of prblem to make the least little decision, I have the feeling that my whatever choice I choose, it won’t be the good one.
In my family, it was my crazy dad who always critized my mother for daily things, for example, I remember his didain towards her meals who were never good enough for him. He exploited her while she has a very hard time working as an auxilly-nurse while he
I remember that I have a huge fear when I was a teenager to looks like to my mother who was so neglected and hated by my father.
My looser father used me to fulfill his emotionnal needs too and to take the role my mother wouln’t fulfull as a partner.

I have a huge fear to desappoint him, and when it is arrived, because my body couldn’t bear this extreme pressure, he started to hate me as a thank you for all the hard work I have done for him.

I totally identified myself with his critizes and I thought that I was a looser because I failed to make my father be proud of me.
I thought I was a complete looser and crazy because he used my rebellion and nervous break down (at 16) as a defective attitude.
But now, today I know he was totally wrong and he was the one absolutely crazy, lazy, the one who desappointed me.

Thank you for listening this.


Sorry, I haven’t finished my sentence : “He exploited her while she had a very hard time working as an auxilly-nurse while he was having good time, doing some hobbies very often and worked much less than my mother”.


Our culture promotes identity confusion. While we on the one hand worship and only dream of being like those who are easily admired, we also tend to accept the identities of those who easliy dominate. Hence we get lost in the negative roles that others play in our lives, assuming our faults from them, seeking comfort in the lingering fantasy of being one who is easily admired.

Somewhere in the “middle” and yet beyond it all is the
finding and living out of our true selves; that is the challenge of a lifetime.


I don’t work right now. Since I have worked since I was 15 I feel
like a slacker. Even though I handle everything at home, there is a
feeling that I am a leech living off my husband because I don’t work
to bring in income. Because of this I dont buy clothes or anything personal
anymore. I don’t feel deserving of “extras” if Im not bring in $$.


Hi Karen
Excellent commets! yes that is exactly what I am talking about!
Hugs Darlene

Hi Alaina
It took me almost 2 years in the process to see how much harm my fathers emotional unavailablity had affected my mother. My mother was MY biggest problem but my father was hers. (after her own mother) and it took me even longer to see the truth about the harm my fathers unavailability had hurt me and contributed to my overall issues and damage.
I totally relate to your last paragraph too, in my own life! That has been something that got in my way so much even when it came to this website. Excellent comments thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sonia
YES exactly! OMGosh these are such great examples! (from everyone!)
Thanks for sharing! Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sylvia
Your examples also are exactly what I am talking about. This is some great ‘digging’ you are doing here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Alice,
My biggest fear was that I would become like my mom and then the fear that I HAD become like her. She loved to say, “I know you don’t want to hear this but you are so much like me” and I would die a little. I told myself I wasn’t but I didn’t believe myself! I had to look at all that too in the process of healing and finding out what the foundation was built on (lies).
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Aurele
Yes, and the key is to find out what the lies were that you believed so that you can ‘undo’ them and replace them with the truth!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sylvia,
What you said about being the perfectionist and then at the same time having to check yourself not to “outshine” anybody reminded me of some of my self-censorship issues one of my counsellors picked up on 5 years ago or so. I was quite slow to speak—part of it was natural, that I’d learned to repress and suppress my thoughts and feelings for so long that it took a while for my thoughts to reach the surface. But the other part was me actively running through my thoughts, considering and discarding what I was going to say. He asked what my criteria was and my answer was to not say anything too stupid or too smart. The “too stupid” is easy—in a family when you say (or do) something stupid, it becomes part of the family lore to be dragged out and laughed about at family gatherings (I think this is common practice among most families, not even just dysfunctional ones but the impact is much less when you know and can feel that there’s unconditional love). The “too smart” was more precisely “too perceptive”. Of course being too perceptive could get you into big trouble—belonging to the family meant blinding yourself to the things you knew and could see happening right in front of you.

You’re so right about how the rebellious thing punishes and sabotages us. It’s definitely something I have to work on. The adult in me understands this full well; it’s working with the child and parent in me, that’s the issue. The second discipline and structure come up, the child in me wants to shirk it off—hide or rebel—from the angry, overly critical parental voice she has been used to all her life. It’s particularly a problem with something that’s up to my own self-motivation/self-discipline, where there’s no real outside deadline or criteria. I know I end up feeling so much better when I keep on top of things. In the end, on top of the stressful inertia is the end result of being overwhelmed with everything I put off that I still want to get done and feeling crappy about myself for my inability and failure (which of course just cements the critical parent voice). The answer is simple—the adult me knows—but it’s a matter of putting it in practice. Maybe I should get on that, stop procrastinating. 😉

Aurele, I’m so sorry about how your dad treated you. It’s so good that you can see now that he was the one who was wrong, not you, that you are not at fault. It feels sometimes like small consolation against the lasting pain of the experience… but Darlene is right that it is the key to undo the lies and replace them with the truth, so that your (our) future can be something different—something brighter, happier and lighter. I can relate about the nervous breakdown thing, though I think my family just didn’t take it seriously. I was never hospitalized but I’m sure I could’ve been (I just stayed with some relatives for about a month, doing basically nothing, hardly able to eat, just throwing up for a week from pure stress). After that happened, I started to try to bring up all my issues with them, and all they could hear were my “criticisms” and not the deep pain I was in, and of course they didn’t like my “criticisms” (it brought them pain, not to mention anger), so a lot was turned back on me and my “personality,” etc.

Darlene, thanks for the comments! Yes, my mom was totally the same as yours—my dad second only to her mother… Though, since my breakdown and stopping myself from playing my old family role, the dynamics have changed and I went right up there on the list of her problems (although right now I think she’s in a kind of blissful ignorance, thinking I’ve come back to the family and the past is wiped clean… there will be a crash someday, when fantasy and reality meet, something I can’t protect her from, since all choices have consequences and I can’t keep protecting people from the impact of the choices they’ve made, whether they were passive or active)…. And, as I said to Sylvia, I’ve just got to get on top of this procrastination thing—there’s so much I want to do with my life and rebelling against that voice by doing nothing is only doing ME harm, just like she said. Thanks again!


In my case, my mother was definitely not a victim of my father. She had more leisure time then he did, and she seemed to repress him, as he was much more outgoing and talkative if she wasn’t in the room (she would interrupt anything that wasn’t about her and become jealous of any familial relationship that didn’t include her–unless he was raging, then she didn’t mind.) She was an emotional vampire, the more ‘available’ you were, the more she took, from everyone without being willing to listen to what others had to say or care about their feelings and needs. Yet, she acted like I was the problem, that I had unreasonable and endless, boundless emotional needs that no one could ever possibly meet. I internalized that for a long time, and believed it was true even though I don’t really have my ex-mother’s complexes. My needs aren’t that nebulous or impossible, they are often quite simple.

My mother was very big on projection though, she didn’t recognize me and my siblings as individuals, but just blurred the lines between us. Many times I was screamed at for supposedly (but really not) having the bad qualities of my siblings or not having the ‘good’ qualities of theirs (or even like, not going to the same college my sister did, etc.) So it’s kind of difficult to pin down anything else.


Hi Caden
So much of the behaviour of the abusers makes no sense! I had to find out what I believed about ME because of the way they talked about everyone and every thing. The whole key for me was in realizing how they and the abuse defined me however in this post I realized that I also defined myself by the way my mother defined someone else. so complicated!! 🙂 thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene



I love all of your insight!

Yes, I can think of at least one judgment which I “adopted” as my own, without my even realizing it. In my family, you are never permitted to be sick, or to express any vulnerability whatsoever. If you do, you are mocked, belittled, verbally assaulted, laughed at, and invalidated.

Now, no one ever really came out and said anything about it so much as they criticized and mocked other people who were ill. An example of this is how my crazy father would invalidate and contemptuously put down his third wife because she had fibromyalgia. He considered himself such an “expert” on ALL matters (yep, a true know-it-all!!), that he amazingly could “diagnose” people from a distance…..and without even having a medical degree!! Isn’t that outrageous??

As a child, I observed him laughing at and mocking women especially, and he was very often inappropriate, discussing their menstrual period in mixed company or some other ridiculously stupid thing. It was excruciatingly embarrassing for me once I hit puberty, as you can imagine.

But watching him and my mother laugh at and talk maliciously about friends and relatives behind their backs made me very wary of ever all permitting myself to admit when I was sick. To this very day, I have to become very ill before I am able to even recognize it!

Rationally, I understand that people can become sick. I know that. But in my deepest heart, in the core belief system that I carry around with me, I think I have some deep messages that to be sick is to be a “flake,” a “malingerer,” a “sissy,” a “weakling.” All of those come from my parents’ judgments, I know.

I have to work so hard to take care of myself, Darlene. I’m still not very good at it. My husband is usually the person who recognizes when I am ill, not me. He even has to help me to see when I’m feeling over-stressed or exhausted. It’s as if I haven’t got the ability to feel my own body, or to recognize my needs.

So, yes, I can see clearly that I will need to continue working on this belief, as well as numerous other beliefs.

And it is much more clear to me now how we survivors have been brainwashed to believe many lies.

The lie: You are not permitted to be sick, to see a doctor, to discuss your illness, or to take care of yourself.

The truth: You can be sick, you can see a doctor, you can treat your illness, you can discuss your illness, and you can take care of yourself……all without shame.



Hello Darlene,
I have the opposite problem, my mother always called me lazy. she compared me with my two older sisters who had gone through a lot and helped her with a bunch of chores I didn’t have to do. When I look bakc at the chores I had, I was certainly no lazy, I did a lot, a lot, not as much as them (they had to take care of me, cook for 7 people, I had to take care of the house, cook for 4 and then 3, etc) But, now I am married, my husband is retired and much older than me. I am young (35) quit my job last year, and since then I do nothing, not even clean the house or exercise. I only cook and clean the kitchen (not dishes)I feel happy at times, but I feel terrible at times to. This is like a long vacation (got sick last year: hypothyroidism which makes me slow) So,I feel I am a useless person, but I don’t wish to do much. My parents denied me to study Art. I got some classes for a year (teacher said I am one of the few with talent) I dropped of to go to the USA. I couldn’t continue after I returned coz I had to work to survive. Now that I have the time, the money and the interest, I am not able to go for it. I feel paralyzed, I feel to old to accomplish anything, I feel still very angry against my parents, I feel guilty, I feel awful. Please help me to see what is wrong? Why I can’t continue on, why do I sabotage myself? Why I am so lazy? there is a great mental barrier, I can’t even see it or touch it and I don’t know how to turn it down.
Thank you very much.


Hi Marore,
I can really relate to the sick thing—not because my family made fun of those who were sick but because it was such a point of pride to be sick and suffering and still be fully functioning. The implication, I guess, being that if you took time out for yourself and cared for yourself, you were weak. Or else you had to be in a really, really bad way to be deserving. My mom lived with chronic pain and basically held court in the pain department. Nothing you had could compare to the pain she had and she was always busy, busy, busy, and often making things worse for herself. I remember how stressed I’d get as a kid if I was sick, trying to assess whether I was sick enough to be at home, feeling guilty for even thinking about it, even if I had a bad fever. Or even if I had the stomach flu and stayed home, if I hadn’t thrown up very recently, I’d start to feel guilty and wonder if I should go back to school. When I had a nervous breakdown, I remember thinking compared to my mom and everything that happened to her, I didn’t have a right to complain. It got to the point where I was literally unable to function. Whatever was happening to me emotionally and mentally I had no control over, but I actually equated that experience to “complaining.” Giving myself up as “unwell” because the emotions were so uncontrollable I was scared I was going to end up dead if I kept going trying to hold myself together, was a “crime” in my mind. And in a way, it was a sort of crime because I had broken a major unspoken rule in my family—that I was, no matter what, always supposed to be “okay”. Saying no, I was not okay, I was never okay (or at least not in a long, long time) is what saved my life and was the beginning of this whole process to becoming really, honestly okay (and hopefully better than okay). You are bang on about the lie and the truth. Best, Alaina


Hi Marore
This is exactly how my husband was raised. (In my family I actually got taken care of when I was sick which led to the problem of me ‘wanting to be sick’ because I felt it was the only time I was cared for!) but then I married a man who had been raised to believe that sick equals useless and our belief systems clashed!
When I was clear about the lie I had accepted about me, I was able to overturn it! Keep going
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Liz
I can relate to how you feel about the things you shared about doing the things that you were interested in at one time. I was exactly like that. Once I worked through all my belief system stuff everything changed! My interest in living came back and now I have lots of interests agian! The great mental barrier for me was totally about the stuff that was in my way!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi! I think this is such an excellent and interesting article! I just popped in the see what has been going on here and love this conversation topic. After reading all of the comments, it strikes me how many mixed messages about expectations we all received from the one who abused, neglected and devalued us. The main message I think I received was that I was to never listen to my own feelings or what my physical body was “telling” me….but to only listen to my parents. If I ever did try to listen to myself , it was never right or good enough anyway, so just don’t bother even trying to self care! I think that to controlling abusers, I was lazy ….but THEY are NEVER lazy…and if they choose to take a lot of time to take careof their needs or wants, the message was always loud and clear that they deserved it…and had somehow worked harder than anyone else for it. Growing up with totally confusing messages created so much guilt about taking any kind of time for myself . Throw in perfectionist tendencies, and some injuries from a major car crash that still hinder me physically……and being surrounded by women in my family…my husbands family….friends….and many other women who had to work to help support their family while I was a stay at home wife and mother……it didn’t ease the confusion or guilt or feelings like I was lazy!
I actually don’t feel that way at all these days! My one daughter just turned 18 and we are proud of how she has turned out…..and I have more free time in my day than I ever imagined. And I am LOVING it. The reason why I love it is only because of coming out of the fog more and more. I don’t know how many months it has been since my major break through, but I keep having mini ones frequently, and I actually ….for the first time in my entire life…am doing a lot in the area of self care and becoming aware of what to do and how to do it so that I feel good about ME. I don’t care about all of those ridiculous lazy messages anymore and when they try to become a loud voice in my thoughts, I shut them up because I know I DO deserve this happiness now….and I can’t be happy unless my needs are being met for becoming more and more healthy….and that includes having as much fun as I possibly can and balancing that with my responsibilities…which now I am refusing to carry alone. I was such a doormat because I had been squashed like a bug, but now I am equal with my husband and I make sure that I am equal to EVERYONE to the best of my ability, and it feels absolutely wonderful. I sometimes get to feeling the exact same old depressing, worthless thoughts, like I mentioned, but I work on being in tune with my feelings lime I never did before and I can now recognize that those particular feelings mean that I either let myself be treated a certain unfair way, or I am neglecting myself, so I immediately set about trying to figure out what to do to balance it out again. I AM lazy when it comes to exercising regularly. I was, and then I felt lazy and have made excuses ever since. I have really begun to realize how rebellious I have been feeling about exercising, and I realize after reading this article that I need to unravel the “why” about that. I know I need to, and I even want it to become a healthy lifestyle choice and be committed. I think what I am really learning these last six or eight months is how hard I have been on myself. I never saw that so clearly before because I never could and all of the mixed messages pressured me so much! Now I feel like there is something unraveling inside of me….that super tight knot that was so anxious and afraid and uncertain from all of the mixed messages, and now that I am learning to trust myself more and more, and things are becoming more equal in my relationships, I can now myself relax and not be so severe with myself….and figure out even more truths, if that makes sense? I also don’t see procrastination as such a lazy thing either…in fact, it seems to me that creative ppl tend to procrastinate more than most….it goes with the free spirit and thinking processes of creative people….it is much more difficult to do for them. My daughter is one of these, and I have always thought it valuable and vital and important that she be left alone to dream and think and process for major lengths of time…..she thrives on that, and then when she needs to buckle down and do something, she has always been willing and done well. I think so many children of abusers label their children as lazy who are simply creative!


Hi Alaina,

My father was suffering too, he had severe injuries from two accidents.
And he made clear too that we had nothing compared to his own suffering.
I remember he desperately hoped, in vain, my mother realize and totally recognize his suffering.

And you know what ? I have also chronic joint pain which are a result of a car accident and for a long time, I had the feeling that anybody could understand my suffering.
And for a long time, I was waiting for a validation from my mother.
Fortunately, today I don’t expect others recognize my suffering anymore.



Hi Diane,
I really appreciate what you wrote and I also totally see your point about procrastination. I think for me personally the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I did a creative writing degree and one of my profs said of me, “She’s really good but she goes off into space and gets stuck there.” I should say he was (and still is) a big supporter of mine and also totally saw the value in going off into space, but he also definitely had a point. That is exactly what I did—in writing and in life. To an extent processing of any kind is going to take however long it’s going to take, but I think there are definite things you can do to facilitate the movement between going out in space and coming back down to work. I think that’s the point I’m at now. I think discipline, structure and routine have a very real and absolutely necessary place in the life of any creative person. I know that I have spent (wasted) a lot of time rebelling against discipline, etc., just because of the stifling nature of it as seen/experienced in my family. There’s definitely a balance, a middle ground, I think, that you have to find freedom within a structure, so long as it is big and flexible enough to sustain and encourage you forward. Those are my thoughts, anyway. I did really appreciate what you added to the topic, though, because you definitely have a point. This same prof I spoke of also would say that he was “working” when lying on the couch or going for a walk—and that is true. There is a point in the process where you have to do that and that it IS work. So thanks for reminding me of that, too, because sometimes I forget that and get mad myself for wasting time, when maybe I’m not always wasting time… I am happy that you are doing well and continuing to have more breakthroughs. It’s good to see everyone here who is “walking the walk.” Take care, Alaina


Hi Aurele,

I’m really sorry for your chronic pain.

Certainly I would not want to live with the pain my mom lives with. I hate being in physical pain and whenever I am, I do think about her and what she has to live with. But I also know that my feeling for her doesn’t change anything and that she has often done things to sabotage herself or not take her pain seriously enough, though she expects others to take it seriously and care for it/her. I’ve also seen that though I have not experienced chronic physical pain, I have experienced chronic emotional pain. It’s like a contract you sign to live in the family system. Everyone in pain and everyone bound up in trying to please and ease the pain of the one who is using and abusing and causing you the pain, so that no one heals. But unlike them, I am ready to take my pain seriously, to do whatever needs to be done to recognize my own suffering and care for myself, even if my family judges it and won’t do the same—either for me or for themselves. I am glad to different from them. And I’m glad you don’t need your mother’s validation anymore, that you can recognize your own suffering, too, and can make decisions for yourself based on that. It’s hard because of the guilt and anxiety but the more I walk down this path, the more sure-footed I become and the more the guilt and anxiety lessen (there are peaks and valleys, but generally speaking they are lessening). Take care.


Alaina..what you discussed in #22 is so true for me. Illness or injury was not addressed in my family. In
fact it was pointedly ignored. You were not allowed to be needy in any way and this included care of an injury. That was considered a need. I had to be self-sufficient at a very early age. By self-sufficient I mean
to keep all my needs to myself. Not ask for anything. Having physical or emotional needs was equated with
being bad.
Later in my 30’s when I had my breakdown it was “proof” to my family that I was indeed defective and weak.
After that the emotional abuse ramped up. I have stepped away from all that now but it did leave a mark.


Alaina….hi! I agree with you about that middle ground, and appreciate so much that you understood what I meant! :). My daughter always had the structure and discipline, but it wasn’t made into a big deal…..like my own upbringing by controlling parents was. I think nowadays that it is the people who are into the power trips of controlling their children who make the hugest deal out of punishments, discipline and they are the ones who use “lazy” to manipulate and hurt their children or others. I have to agree with you and your prof…..laying around thinking, and pondering and dreaming on ideas for future writings, future projects, and future plans is not wasting time or being lazy….it truly is a valuable part of the creative process! I think it is a wonderful gift to be creative and you are soooo blessed! If your family couldn’t or didn’t appreciate it….or you….or value those things within you and your personality, that is definitely their loss! As for discipline and feeling like you are wasting your time….you actually are wasting your time….in my thoughts….if you are wasting your gift and talent!


Hi Diane
It’s great to hear from you! This point that you highlight about how ‘they’ were never wrong for doing whatever they needed or wanted because “they deserved it” is HUGE and so important because exactly as you say, the attitude they communicate is that I am not worth it. My mother was so good at that! and I had no choice but to believe it too! I was stealing my jeans when I was 13/14 because of this whole thing.

I love the way that you see procrastination! I LOVE that! It makes sense and it supports that creative process too.
Thanks for sharing! You have made some great points in your post!
Hugs, Darlene


Alaina ~ I just read a few more of these comments and I am really enjoying this discussion about lazy\ procrastination and creativity! I too spent a whack of time rebelling about so much even just in my mind. (and I did almost everything the opposite of my mother even if her way was good, I was so scared to be anything like her). I would sneak book time not so much as a child but in my marriage because my husband worked so hard I didn’t want to get caught taking a break and then call myself lazy etc.
There is a lot of food for thought in this thread!
Hugs, Darlene


I also enjoy very much this discussion :).


Thanks Diane! I’m glad you understood what I meant, too! Strangely my family always supported my writing EXCEPT (and this is big) they had no idea what I wrote ABOUT. I’ve had all sorts of issues around this; it totally mirrors my relationship with my family and with myself. For example, when I was hiding and destroying my writing, I was hiding and destroying myself. I always felt that my family was on one side and my writing on the other and I had to choose. What I’m starting to understand is that it isn’t that I’m going to choose my writing and then find out whether or not this is true (i.e. whether or not they will reject me), but that choosing my writing IS rejecting them in and of itself. I’ve been in a stage of wanting to prove myself, to get acknowledgment for the past from my family, or conversely, rebelling and saying to myself, “I don’t care, I don’t have to prove myself, why should I? You should see me yourself.” Which is true… they should see me, I’m their daughter—but I think that’s at the base of a lot of my procrastination (with my writing anyway), moving from one end to the other, when really it’s just time to move aside from all this entirely. I want to write, not for the sake of getting love and attention but to communicate, to be a part of the conversation, to connect and give what is actually there inside me already… because you are right that I absolutely am wasting my time if I’m wasting my gift and talent. And now that I can see things, I don’t want to regret anything just because of… fear, I guess, of being off on my own, deciding what’s what for myself. Anyway, thanks so much for your thoughts!

Hi Karen,
I know what you mean by things leaving a mark. I feel that way, too, for what happened after my breakdown 8 years ago. Getting back in touch with my family after 2&1/2 years, if nothing else, has made that past clearer to me. I can’t imagine trusting them now. It would take a whole lot of work on their part and they certainly aren’t volunteering… which I guess says everything I need to know. I do think it’s better to know than not know but yes, you’re right about it leaving a mark. You can still move on, still find happiness and health with the life you have, the life you make for yourself, but even as you leave the pain behind, the mark will still be there—how could it not. Sometimes I feel too old to be 30 and hope that life doesn’t have too much more pain in store for me (although other parts of me feel to young to be 30, as well). The consolation to all this is that I know that I am alive, in contrast to when I was younger and could not feel so much more than a low. I’ve known pain that I really wish I didn’t know and certainly wouldn’t wish on anybody else, but given that this is my life, this is what happened, I’d rather know, have felt the pain and be left with the mark, than be lost in that fog Darlene talks about. At least there’s freedom here, a chance at happiness, health, real love, wholeness, etc.

Darlene, I was just journaling today, telling myself “You are not your mother.” I know I’m not, it’s a fact, and I don’t have to rebel to prove it anymore (I mean even just in my mind, as you said). My mom definitely has some good traits—planning and organizing and generally getting things done… After all, she likes to be “in charge” and there are good aspects to that. I suspect my mom keeps herself very busy so she can avoid spending time with herself and really looking at things and feeling what there is to feel, but I said to myself, “Alaina, you don’t have that problem. You know how to spend time with yourself, how to look at things and feel things. There’s no danger in taking action.” No matter what, I’ll always measure it out, look at it, feel it. We all have our blind spots, even when living in the truth, but if I commit myself to doing more in my life (and I’m not just speaking of procrastination with writing but with anything), it doesn’t mean I’m avoiding things or in denial or restless in my own skin. It could just mean that I’m alive and, you know, living….!!! 😉


Darlene…I read your comments and two words stuck out to me…”steal” and “sneak”. I think they stuck out to me because I used to steal and sneak as a child and even an adult….because I didnt feel worthy of receiving anything…and because people just usually didnt offer things or time or affection or healthy attention etc etc. As a child, I was seldom allowed to eat sweets unless they were doled out in controlled amounts. I am sure some of that was a good thing, but as a child who was strictly controlled on most things, the sweets were something that I craved more than almost anything and I never felt I had enough. We were locked out of the house in summer for hours for my “mom’s” naps and I would go to the local store and sneak and steal candy! I was terrified but it didnt stop me. As I got older, I was sneaking and stealing food….from the kitchen. I stole out of classmates lunches in 3rd grade…and even as a married adult, I would buy sweet treats and hide them in the house and sneak them out later so my husband wouldnt find out and be horrified…or want some! I know that even with time, I would sneak that when we were first married out of guilt because I was home with the baby and my husband was hard at work. I can relate with that so much! I used to steal my brother’s money out of his dresser drawer as a teen…and he was so sweet to me he would literally beg me just to ask him…not to steal it. I would feel guilty, but I was afraid to ask for what I wanted or needed from anyone! I did not feel worthy and I seem to have learned early on that it didnt matter to most people…even my husband…if I wanted or needed something…so I learned to sneak or steal it! I learned and healed more and more over the last 9-10 years or so of marriage how to stop most of feeling the guilt or sneaking, but I am not even ashamed to say that I still sneak sweets from time to time …but this time I do it because I dont want my family to pounce on them! lol. I dont struggle with feeling that guilt for receiving any more….and it is becoming more and more that way ….the more healed and out of the fog I have become and am becoming! I dont feel entitled or grateful for any crumbs that happen to be thrown my way like I used to either. I just feel good about it now. I am happy to receive and happy to give and when I sneak the sweets…I am happy about that too! lol. I think it was for survival as a child and before I had understanding and healing. Very interesting to think about those words!


I know I am commenting a lot, but I didn’t realize all of the things that would be swirling in my mind from this article…..and one of them all day long has been tearing apart the word “lazy” , and how it applies to my life….and how i believed I was rebellious in some ways against exercising. However, as I have thought about this , I am beginning to see that I am actually immobilized by the fear of failure! I had not realized how much I actually rebel against doing certain things in my life because I am scared to try and scared to fail. I think being criticized and abused and made fun of etc etc by my parents …along with very little training and zero encouragement….along with those mixed messages….made me afraid to try and to fail in specific areas of my life! It really hit me today that I am rebelling on exercising regularly because my expectations are far too harsh and unrealistic….that black and white thinking….and if I start, I KNOW I can’t meet them, so I would fail….again. It is a cycle for me. I am going to keep trying to figure this out!


I totally relate to what you have shared about the sneak steal stuff. Oh I have so much I could write about this! perhaps in a new post!
Hugs, Darlene


OH and Diane ~ ditto for the fear of failure which for me is much more about the fear of being proven to be an “imposter” and that it will be discovered that everyone was ‘right about me’ that I really AM worthless.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I would love to read your thoughts about sneaking and stealing! It would be very interesting! I cant relate about feeling an “imposter” but my dad actually had a huge fear of sucess…even though he was extremely sucessful. He used to buy motivational tapes and books about it. I think with some ppl, it can go hand in hand…the fear of failure which is actually …like my father…the fear of suceeding….it was almost as though if he suceeded, he didnt feel worthy of that. He didnt feel worthy of praise and being as intelligent as he was. I think he never felt like he “fit in” or might have felt a bit like an imposter too. He was raised by society parents and I can trace back some of my dad’s anger issues and abuse issues , and lack of empathy, etc. This same thing passed down to one of my brothers for sure, and he has spun his wheels for most of his life …almost a self fulfilling thing. I dont know if this is what you are referring to about feeling like an imposter…and I am sorry if I misunderstood! I guess I still have the tendency to look at ppl who have been gifted, have such abilities to impact people around them and feel so happy for them that it is difficult to understand the fear of sucess! I was so trampled in my self esteem that I used to never feel like I had a self, and I really am enjoying my SELF for the very first real time in my life. I only understand the fear of failure…to try and then have to give it up. I am working on that, and getting more and more enlightened about it! you really have me thinking this last couple of days!!! 🙂


Hey all,
Within that same line of thinking, I cannot and do not ask for help often. (Except from my husband.) In general we do things on our own, due to not having to owe anyone then. He is the scapegoat on his side also. Almost like I’m not worthy of being helped, or too proud. It’s sort of like having a chip on your shoulder , “I’ll do it myself” attitude. I’m sure it is because of how I was treated as a child. My sibs got Nmom’s love and help, and that includes pity also. No matter what happened to me in my life it was not worthy of pity. My mother and father would always respond, that’s nothing, so and so had this happen to them! A long lost cousin, or great aunt or someone always had it worse than me. I got used to never expecting sympathy or pity, because it never came. I also have trouble with compliments or praise, I generally try to deflect it away. Other people relish praise, I try but then get very uncomfortable when I get it. I truly need to work on letting people help me and accepting praise! Thanks for the thought provoking posts! Peace all.


Hi Everyone!
I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. Valuable information for me in the post and in the comments.

I am a little confused about whether my mom actually called me lazy, or if she just referred to it or insinuated, etc. She is crafty in her ways. She could convince me of something without ever using the “word”, then she could always come back later and say in an angry fit, “I NEVER said that!” This kind of manipulation and crazy making is particularly heinous and confusing for a kid. She would also say I lied about something, then when I’d follow that up with her calling me a liar, she would always respond with, “I did NOT call you a liar”!! On that I feel like, “HUUHHHHHHH?” The really sick part is I believed her BS. I excused her of saying things like that on the basis that the word might have never came from her mouth. I think these specific types of messages and twisted BS have really caused me problems with trusting my own inner voice. Making decisions is a nightmare. In addition, she convinced me that I consistently made poor decisions and was basically incapable of making mature and worthy decisions on any level.

The procrastination subject was particularly interesting to read about because I have not generally been a procrastinator, it seems like with age, I’ve become one. It was so refreshing to read these perspectives. I too will sit and ponder something for quite some time. Part of that is because I’m afraid to make the wrong decision (creatively) and will have to do it all over again, and part of it is that the idea hasn’t come full circle yet. My planning is incomplete. I have been pondering this particular part of our yard (in terms of landscaping) for 5 years, lol!! I have been so stumped by it. I still fail to come up with an idea that I think will make me happy after implementation.

I have been gone a lot and unable to read much, or write much. My husband and I took some great vacations. He is about to begin training for a year, so we took back to back vacations. Anyhow, I’ve missed staying caught up here and reading your work Darlene, as well as everyone’s insights. Now that we’re home, I’m floundering a little. Indecision about career paths. At 44 I still don’t know what I want to do!! Funny, my mother started ribbing me about figuring out what I’m going to do with my life at age 11-12 I think. AND, of course it was all to say, “you better get it figured out, your sister knew when she was 9.” Imagine that…. what a loser I was to not know my life’s path at 12 years old. My sister also decided all on her own to get baptized at age 9. Imagine the horror when, at 27, I still hadn’t committed. Several years of complaining toward that end too.

I’ve been angry at mother lately. I saw her about a week ago coming out of a store. I don’t know if she saw me, but, I just kept walking like I didn’t know she was there. The anger I’m experiencing is a direct result of replaying her words or judgments in my mind, and wishing I could point out how little sense she’s making, or call her out on some of the insults from years ago. Stand UP for myself. I know this life I’ve lived has put a little spark in me that imparts anger when I’m not allowed to defend myself. It hasn’t ever left me, even though in my intellect, I know defending myself against people of my mother’s mentality is futile.

It’s great to be back at EFB and the insights on this post are amazing!!

Love and Peace,


Hi Melody
These are excellent comments about getting used to being rejected when you needed help which led to never asking for help. I had to replace my belief that I was not worthy of getting help with the truth that I am worthy of all good things including having equality value based relationships. Having trouble with compliments and praise had its roots in only having ever gotten them from someone with a motive that was based in something that had nothing to do with love for me.
Thanks for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mimi
I had such a problem embracing my anger. I tried to avoid it for SO long but when I finally saw it as justified, so much changed for me. I got mad at all those things I was seeing too. I got angry about how much of my life had been wasted by being depressed and swamped/bogged down by the manifestations of the abuse and not being valued. I found out that while it may have been futile to defend myself to her and to ‘them’ (although sometimes it helps to say it to them for YOU and not for them to hear it) it was extreemly helpful for me to defend myself to ME. It was part of taking my life back. It was part of self validation and reparenting. It was a big part of recovery for me!
I am so happy that you are back! I missed you a lot!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for your comment. I am getting there when it comes to experiencing justifiable anger. I still, at times, have that embedded teaching that anger is wrong and I’m a brutal angry person. My work for the coming days will be embracing any anger that arises. And, sorting through it. My fear is, I might never get over it, which is a reason I still try to avoid it too, or beat myself up for it.

It is worth noting that, I am still in the process of weening myself from an antidepressant. I think even the strongest most sane person on the planet could get symptoms from that. Usually, about 4-5 days into a reduction, I have about a 24 hour period (give or take) in which I’m hopeless, tearful, and a little angry. My last post was during that timeframe. I feel better now that I’m over the hump. I am taking the weening thing incredibly slowly. Even though it’s slow, I am at half of what I was taking about 6 months ago and I don’t mind stretching it out, so long as the symptoms are minimized. I find that after my brain adjusts, I’m okay. I’m still looking forward to being drug free! (I should post an update on Pam’s post).

Here’s to defending myself…. in my thoughts!! Thank you Darlene!

Peace and Love,


Mimi….my heart goes out to you! All of your comments have been about how much and how hard you have been trying to heal in all ways in your life. I think it is amazing that you are cutting back on the depression meds….and very courageous. I never took them, but have friends who have fought like crazy to get off of them or to balance the dosage, and I have witnessed how difficult of a process it has been for them. One girlfriend had the issues with anger too, but in her life it was because she had frustrated pain….she didnt know how to deal with all of the pain in her past. She learned some healthier coping skills and really worked to heal…and I have to say that she has a much freer and happier life than she did back then…in a major way! It is amazing! I wanted to comment on this to just let you know that I send you hugs and support and hopefully encouragement right now!!! Here is to defending yourself for yourself!!!! 🙂 Diane


Thank you so much for reaching out. It means so much to have support from people who understand.

I’m much better than I was a few days ago. My brain will go through a variety of little things as it gets acclimated to a new dose. I am fine for the most part (with the reductions). I started taking this several years ago for something in my life that was causing stress (can’t even remember what it was). My only excuse for still being on it is, I was scared to get off of it. I know it can be grueling. I know that because I’ve missed doses before, and I get the same effect. Consequently, I’ve never looked forward to the day I’d have to muscle through it. It’s not too bad as long as I take it slow, and let my head adjust between reductions.

I’ve had some new health struggles as well. Nothing serious. High cholesterol, and triglycerides. The doctor wants me to go on a statin drug which I’m pretty apprehensive about. Blood sugar has been high as well. Kind of a bummer, but, thankful for nothing more serious.

Thanks again Diane!! Your post meant a lot to me!!



One of the biggest reasons that I was so afraid to take anit depressants again was because of the withdrawal I went through the last time I took them! (and I guess it was a good thing because if was the begginning of my searching for another way to deal with the whole thing and that led to me doing what I share here in this site now!)
It took me a long time that last time to get off them and to stop feeling the leftover effects of them. Thanks for the update Mimi!
Hugs, Darlene


Mimi….It is such a good thing that you are staying on top of your overall health and you know what is going on in your body as you go through it! I know it might feel slow to get off of the anti depressants and then to have to turn around and deal with other health issues, but I think you really are very brave to tackle this right now! You are learning to be gentle with yourself, and to really care for yourself in these ways. More virtual hugs and peace, comfort and caring sent to you now!!!! Diane


This is a great post! I am constantly pushing myself. This past week, my back “went out” again. I am in the last 4 weeks of a very intense class, my last one, and had over booked myself at work, trying to earn money for a trip. I tried to work a few days, but my back locked up. I worked last on monday night, when I had discovered when I went to work that evening, that I had also signed up for the night shift, then forgot. It was very slow, yet the charge nurse would not release me till 3 a.m., and I walked around,my back in a spasm, wanting to cry, with “this is not fair!” running through my head!
So, the doctor put me out until saturday. So, I thought, well, I will work on my project for school. Strangely, my internet service went out, so, I could not work on my paper. I could not watch my political shows on the Roku, b/c that was out as well! LOL, forced to take a rest! And I did feel guilty, thinking I would mess up school, throw it all away, lose my job, etc. My guy brought me a big bouquet of flowers, and I thought, I dont deserve these!
So, interestingly enough, I was talking to my mother on the phone this morning, and she had to ask me 3 times, “what class are you taking again? Why are you taking it?” I explained to her, my whole plan, how I was 4 weeks away from completed my BSN,and had a 4.0 average, and planned to start my masters degree in the fall. And why I was getting my masters degree. And the whole time she was making a strange noise, like “mmmhhh”, kind of in her throat. Could not say “good job”, or anything complementary. She said “well, you certainly have your plate full” and “well, at least you have a plan….” meaning: you will never get your masters degree! (I did counter with: four more weeks and I am done with my first part of the plan)
I told her how part of why I wanted to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner was to help veterans, who are returning with PTSD and such. She then tells a story about how someone she goes to the gym with, works at the VA, and the ward she takes care of is all just sick homeless men, dirty, etc. I explain to her, that I would be working with the vets hopefully in a theraputic environment, prescribing medications, etc. And she was making that noise again “mmhhh, mhhhh, mhhhh”. And I pushed on, telling her how I had work hard to keep my grades as high as possible, so I could get into the Masters degree program of my choice. And she said, “Oh!! Like yhe civil servants exam!” Yeah.no. It was very clear that she did not want to hear about my plans or achievements, even more so when some clicking went on, on her end of the line, then the line went dead. And if the phone’s not ringing back, its probably my NMom, lol. It hurts, but I can laugh about it, as it is so predictable.
I dont need to get another degree. I have a great paying job. But it is not worthwhile, and I want to help people in a way that matters to me. I guess my mother doesn’t want to hear about that…………



OMG! I can so relate it makes me cry. My Dad used lazy like it was his primary language. No matter what I did I was always lazy and did everything half-assed, which by his standard was unacceptable. Now in my fifties and married over 28 years I’ve come to realize my parents were both narissitic people. Nothing was ever done right in our house. I have spent a better part of my adult life trying to prove to them I am a hard worker, responsible and I am not lazy. My father was a public figure in our town and highly respected only I wish he would have given more to us kids during our growing years then to our town. We could never do anything right. Several years ago I was diagnosed with cancer and although I worked when I could during my treatments both my parent’s thought I was babying myself too much and maybe I didn’t need all that sleep. What? Really? I even gave them books my doctor gave me on what to expect and they questioned the books, saying maybe that won’t happen to you. Then and now I still questions an afternoon nap as being lazy, but, I do it anyway.


CONGRATULATIONS ~ EXCELLENT work. You should be very proud of yourself. And, that’s all I wanted to say. (wanted to shower you in support and praise, since your mother failed to do so)!



So familiar!! No naps in our house growing up either. And, no sleeping in. My mother ruled with an iron fist. It was crazy. Even though she took a 20 minute nap every afternoon. PFT. I think it was about a year ago, when my mother and I were still on speaking terms, I remember being in a little turmoil about taking a nap in my own house, at the age of 43, because I thought she might show up or call. She’d mentioned it earlier or something. I was stressing myself out and trying to make it appear like I hadn’t been napping. I can’t remember the details of it, but, I do remember suddenly thinking, “what the heck am I doing, I’m a grown woman, and I do not live under her direction and haven’t for years”! It’s alarming how deep those ridiculous messages reside in our minds. It’s alarming when the realization hits that it’s crazy to still live under those rules. I had allowed her to be CEO of my life. Not any more!! I don’t care if I’m called lazy now. If I need to sleep, there’s generally a reason, and it doesn’t matter now who says what about it. I love a nice nap!!

Peace and love,


Janie, the first thought I had as I was reading your comment is that your mother comes across as a woman who feels threatened and jealous of your plans and achievements. The way she deliberately did not understand you or know your plans…and she was unable to even bring herself to express any pride or give you encouragement…in fact, she was trying to make sure that you knew she could care less. But she did care! When ppl act bored with good news it is clearly a sign that they are unhappy in themselves and in my personal experience, they end up coming across jealous and narcissistic. I feel for you for having your own mother behave in such a childish and hurtful way! Your heart for wanting to help people and the valuable education you are going for is a beautiful thing and I am happy for you and wish you the best!! I hope your back feels much better quickly and you don’t suffer too much….and that all the rest of what has gone crazy in your world recently becomes peaceful again for you!! Diane 🙂


Cathy, I am so sorry that you have gone through cancer with little to no compassion and empathy from your own parents! I felt a twinge of anger hit me when i read about your parents responses to you about napping. I think you must be right! Only narcissistic, selfish people would treat their own child who is fighting through cancer that way. It makes me think that you must have been neglected and devalued your entire life for them to respond to you this way with such a serious illness…..and I am so sorry about that! I think people who judge others….especially their children for something like taking a nap are REALLY miserable on the inside. I am glad to hear that you take a nap when YOU feel you want or need one. Resting is healthy, not lazy. It is always interesting to me to hear of these different ways ppl try to control others….such as naps are being “lazy”. It seems like the controller or abuser is sooo miserable themselves that they actually feed off of making someone else just as miserable! So backwards and unhealthy of the. Peace and comfort and joy….and lots of rest and naps to you!! Diane


I agree with your post to Janie. Janie, it’s so reminiscent of how a conversation like that would be with my mother. And, Diane, you’re right. I can see, hear, and feel the envy in those conversations with her. I stopped telling my mother good OR bad news, even before the full truth came out about her. She couldn’t be happy for me, congratulate me, or offer support/praise in any way. I think because, since everything is always about her, it made her feel like a failure in some ridiculous way. Who competes with their own children? Sheesh, that seems so elementary to me and completely ridiculous!! I’ve learned it IS about her, not me. I can look at her competing with her friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and realize it’s HER problem, not mine. I know she must be miserable in that constant state of envy. It seems like to me that people like her must be in constant thought and mental unrest, trying to figure out how to outdo others. How to shine the most in the midst of a crowd of people, have bigger, better, more expensive jewelry, cars, homes. That’s my mother. I suppose it’s okay to be that way…. until it reaches your children.

On the flipside, although she could never boost me in any way, she would be thrilled to use my success or failure to garner attention for her own benefit. Soaking up all the glory or pity for MY success or failures. For these reasons, even if we were on speaking terms, she’s no longer privy to my private life. The last mistake I made in this realm was telling her my husband had an affair early last year. She told a handful of people, within minutes of finding out. And, she ADMITTED it. She thought she had a viable excuse for sharing that with at least 7-8 people, so she had no shame in telling me she did it. Then, on the heels of that, she would vehemently claim she can be trusted and even came out and said, “you know you can trust me, I never tell anyone anything you (and your sisters) tell me in confidence”. Bahahaha!! HUH??? Okay, I bet I didn’t tell her to keep it a secret, my husband’s affair, so therefore it was a free for all. But, isn’t that something that’s private enough you wouldn’t give any thought to whether it’s acceptable to share that private information in your own daughter’s life?? Wouldn’t you just instinctly KNOW it’s off limits. It wasn’t HER story to tell. But, again, she made it all about her and cried to her friends, coworkers, prayer group. My husband and I know most of those people.

Thanks for sharing Janie, and thanks again for your love and support Diane!!



Thank you Mimi and Diane and most of all thank you Darlene for this wonderful website.

FINALLY..for the firt time in my life I know I am not alone.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart~


Hi Janie
It was conversations just like this one you had with your mother that helped me see the truth about our relationship and how dysfunctional and one sided it really was. And that is the stuff I don’t miss!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Cathy,
Welcome (again) to emerging from broken! It was ‘crazy’ when I realized how much of my life I had spent trying to PROVE that I was worthy to my own family! There is something really wrong with that picture! Realizing how dysfunctional that system was helped me move forward in leaps and bounds with getting my self esteem back!
Glad you are here, thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Your comments about naps reminded me of something; when I was a kid I had to have naps long after I didn’t need them anymore and I also remember having to go to bed at night so early that I couldn’t get to sleep. But then when I got older my mother had huge judgements about sleeping stuff too! It was all about control. (when I was a kid it was all about getting rid of me) ~ My mother woke me up one time when my son was about 5 months old and my husband took him out so I could sleep in for once while we were visiting my mother and I had been up all night with the baby! And she woke me up saying “don’t you think youve been in bed long enough?” good grief! When I told her that I had been up all night with the baby she said something about ‘being in her house and living by her rules’ ~ I should have known then it was hopeless!
Hugs, Darlene


Mimi, I can totally relate to so much of what you wrote about your mother and the way she basically used you to meet whatever her “need” seemed to be at the time….if it was to make her look better and/or more “powerful” by spreading YOUR heartbreak about your husband and gossiping, or to make her look somehow like the perfect mother because YOU accomplished something wonderful. My “mom” was THE family gossip and after I became a little older and had had my confidences twisted and thrown into my face enough times, I learned to try to never tell her anything important about my life. What I marvel at now is that I tried so hard back then to connect with her that I would periodically go back and and tell her important or private things in the hopes that we could bond somehow. I was desperate for her love at that time. Of course, it was always twisted around and gossiped about. As for competing…I dont understand that either unless our parents were stunted and immature! I have ended up calling that part of their “head games” with me. My father always liked to one-up me when I would purchase something for our home. The one that sticks out is when years ago I bought a rotisserie and told him. It was a gift for my husband and my dad began to question me all about its size. I wasnt sure what size it was! Then he went on to tell me that he had bought one and his was the much larger size…larger than mine and could hold MORE. It was so weird, but typical. Those kind of things happened off and on no matter how old we all became! So…I dont fully understand except that it seems to go hand in hand with abuser/controller/narcissistic type people and family units. The good thing is that i have learned that I dont have to understand to be free. 🙂


Knowing there is different circuitry among people; Tribal, Collective and Individual, can be a great help in understanding why people can be so centered in themselves. My circuitry is Individual. It’s like I have a busy signal in my mind and I’m so intent and caught up in my thoughts that it can seem I’m self centered. But what I really am isn’t self centered, because I often think of others. It’s not always abuse when people can focus on a task, in fact, it’s a good thing to have a few people around who can do this. It’s just that one can get upset when they have one for a parent.

It’s true that a person with Collective circuitry would make a better parent in that they strive to make everyone comfortable. But a person with Individual circuitry is like the song “God Bless the Child,” because they have their own way of entertaining themselves and keeping busy without the need of others.

I hope you get what I’m trying to say. Because to try to force and Individual to be Collective would be like torture. They just aren’t wired for that.

In the future the feeling of having to get married and have a family may pass, as it is now the appeal for a life like that is still quite strong and everyone feels like they should do this.

Where would we be without people like Thomas Edison focusing on creating a working lightbulb over more than 10,000 tries? Do you think he paid attention to his children? Not a lot I think, but one would be reluctant to call him abusive.


Anna, I truly did not understand at all what you were trying to express because I was unfamiliar with your terms. I looked them up and now I have a much better understanding. The thing that stuck out to me was your last paragragh about TE and the question of him taking care of his children…and being reluctant to call him abusive. Your comment doesnt really appear to have much, if anything , to do with this article and topic. Respectfully, it does seem that you are trying to convince readers that people in this world are lucky to have YOU as an individual to lead ….and that it is okay not to pay attention to children….as though however wired we are as individuals gives us that “excuse” , so to speak. That YOU are not self centered but that people can get upset if they have someone like YOU as a parent. I hope I have misunderstood this and if I have I am truly sorry , because this message you have written seems like you are trying to justify your behaviors somehow ….when this is a website that ppl who truly have been abused, neglected and rejected are struggling to heal and make sense of what happened in to them. Please explain if I have misread and misunderstood you? Thank you!!!


Hi Anna
The goal is not to understand other people because that never helps overcome the damage we are talking about. The goal is to heal from the damage. I don’t care how other people are wired. The law is not set up to care how people are wired either. Trying to understand abusive and neglectful people and making excuses for them is what kept me stuck in depression for so long.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi, just wanted to say thanks for addressing these strange, but relevant matters. Today I received the results from an online scale/survey – on personality. Pricked my memory – things said to me in childhod which molded (could almost say ‘cemented’) my behaviors… I’ll go back to the other posting on “I’ll give you something to cry about” to get into more meaty comments.


Hi Kate K.
Welcome to EFB!! I will answer your comment on the other post!
Hugs, Darlene


Well, I have to be honest and say that your post was very confusing to me, Anna.

I don’t deny at all that people have unique personalities. But the neglect and abuse of a child are extremely serious issues in our society. Thomas Edison may very well have been a very attentive parent, for all I know. But what has that got to do with anything really?

No matter what one’s personality type or his/her “circuitry,” a parent’s responsibility is to provide a healthy, nurturing environment in which children have the opportunity to grow up without fear, to reach important developmental milestones, and to feel validated, wanted, heard, seen, and loved.

And that’s the least they can do.

There are no excuses for a parent’s being abusive or neglectful.

I have zero tolerance toward adults who harm children……no matter what the “reason” or “excuse.”

Sorry if I sound angry, but in truth, making excuses for child abusers does make me angry.


Marore, that was so well said!


All that competition orchestrated by our parents is totally confusing to me. I have experienced so much of that with my mother. I didn’t even notice (although, in retrospect I had hints, I just thought, no, not my mother) how competitive she was with me. So many times she bought cars, boats, different homes, etc. Usually about the 3 month mark after me. And ALWAYS bigger, better…. or so she thought. Her husband isn’t that bright and when we moved into the house we’re in, he actually said, “your mother is jealous”. He tried to add a humorous spin on it, but, the message was still there. I find it sickening. She’s been accustomed to me being the less fortunate one. The poorest one in the family. I was single the longest. She couldn’t really deal with it when she couldn’t feel above me in the financial arena. CRAZY!!

Thanks for the comments Diane!!


Anna is a one hit wonder?? I’ve noticed a trend on this website. It seems like sometimes people from distant circumstances come in, spew a new direction or light on things, and then disappear. My thinking is, why do they even bother using up their time on that? Do they think their one comment is going to completely change the path of the work being done here? Change your mind Darlene? Why do they waste their time? Seems they oftentimes don’t even bother to respond to questions posed to them. Hmmmm, perhaps they just don’t get it.

Only my perspective!


Hi Mimi
About ‘Anna’ I often think that people are not really talking to me or to ‘us’ when they comment on here but they are trying to convince themselves that they are not in the situation that they are in fact in. I made tons of excuses for the abusive selfish people in my life because I was so scared of the truth ~ that maybe I didn’t matter that much to them. So.. I made excuses for people. But it was when I shoved all that aside and started to see the damage that it caused me, instead of the damage about them, ~ that is when I began to heal.
Hugs! Darlene


That makes perfect sense. I was happy to see others’ comments after hers. I was thinking, “Is it me, or does this not make much sense?” Thomas Edison??? Who knows what went on within the confines of his home. That’s a truly ignorant statement. Abuse doesn’t have a “look”. That is frustrating to me, because if we were judged by looks alone, no one would ever believe what my mother did behind closed doors. Honestly, many people still DON’T believe she has malicious intentions. Only the people who know her intimately, my sisters, her sister, her brother, and my dad ~ we all know exactly what she’s about. Her brother hasn’t spoken to her in 10 years. So, because Thomas Edison gave 10,000 attempts at creating the light bulb is little indication (if any) of how he reared his children. Thanks for your response Darlene.

Peace and Love,


Well said about Thomas Edison, “Who knows what went on within the confines of his home”…I was thinking the same..the association she made was that a genius like Thomas Edison is wired differently & that is some indication of his parenting. What?!!..Strange…I don’t understand the logic or motive in her comment. Just more excuses for abuse!


Hi Mimi and Sonia (SMD)
Something I have learned along the way is that parents can be busy and still be good parents! Its all about the love vs the discounting and devaluing. Its about the damage caused. I didn’t address the Thomas Edison stuff becasue as you both said, how the hell would we know anything about how he parented! (I don’t even know if he WAS a parent) I see those kinds of comments as rabbit trails designed to pull the focus off the subject we are on.
Like Mimi said, appearances don’t really count for much. The truth about how it really was (and not careing who believes it or not) is what we are dealing with.
I am glad we are having this discussion. I have 2 blog posts in the works about this kind of thing. (just been too busy lately to edit them so I can get them published!)
Hugs, Darlene


Hello all,

I haven’t been able to get much computer time lately, but I have been active in trying to get a little deeper in my healing. This thread has been very helpful. Last night I re-read a few specific posts that have clarified some issues for me.

Aurele, when you said that the failure was HIS, not yours, that really hit home. I had to just sit for a few minutes and let it sink in!

Alaina, your point about being “too smart” really meaning “too perceptive” was also very helpful. I have found this not only in the family system but also in many social and work situations. Your posts in general reveal a depth of insight that is really great.

I have a somewhat painful confession. Some time ago I posted about how I felt that Dave had discounted and invalidated my feelings in a thread when I was talking about my relationship with my brother. I honestly believed this to be true, but when I went back to read those comments I saw that I had not assessed this accurately. Dave actually gave me a thoughtful nuanced reply. DAVE, if you read this now, I am saying that I was wrong, and my message to you may have been hurtful. I see now that I went off on a tangent due to my own issues.

So now I am working on understanding what triggered this whole tangent. I’m not getting anything specific. One thought that keeps coming to me is that I seem to be blocking myself from going too far into my past. I seem to focus on my teenage years and the relationship with my stepmother. Although this was very damaging in and of itself, I know intellectually that there had to be problems earlier on. I have realized that my father was responsible for bringing her into my life and not standing up for me or protecting me from her, and even tried to convince me that she “cared” about me. HE hurt me MORE than she did, even just by deciding that this hurtful woman would make a great mother for us! Just realizing how he did this shows me that he was capable of great emotional neglect.

I realized that even before he married her, he didn’t really love me, he “sentimentalized” me. I think he sees children as cute objects, and although he seems kind, there is no depth of understanding or real connection. I’ve also seen how both he and my stepmother have expressed their anxiety-ridden neediness and called this love that we should be grateful for. I remember the day, when they first married, when they asked my brother and I to call her “mother.” They had such needy intense expressions on their faces. When we said yes, they sort of sighed with relief. So now we were in a position when we were forced into considering someone a mother, without any real SUBSTANCE to this relationship.

I have a lot of thoughts about this time in my life and have written a lot about it in my journal, but the point is I haven’t really been able to get deeper into even earlier traumas. The memories are few. All I know is that I was raised by people who seemed kind and friendly, but really didn’t get it. My mind just doesn’t seem to want to go there. A man who was capable of betraying me so profoundly to my stepmother, whose motivation was mostly his own comfort and not my well-being, is someone who didn’t really have my best interests in mind FROM THE START.

I’ve got some work to do.



Hi Sophia,

Thanks for your comments.

I could relate to what you wrote about your father and step-mother’s neediness and his betrayal by pushing you to her. My experience with my parents was very similar. It’s impossible for me to know how much power my mom alone would have wielded over me if not for it being doubled up by my dad (or perhaps not how much power but for how long I would endure it).

What you wrote about earlier memories and looking deeper got me thinking of my own experiences. I think for me the trauma and abuse was very much accumulative—that what I experienced in my young childhood lodged itself, uncorrected, somewhere in my psyche and went on to impact me over time as they accumulated with ever more experiences, usually somehow along the same line, creating the whole “system” which would eventually totally break my spirit… In some cases it’s been exceptionally helpful to single out individual moments and dissect them the way Darlene does—to see the messages they taught me about myself. Other times it can be like going down a rabbit hole and losing sight of the big picture. In my teens my mom said that she used to take her anger out on me for no reason when I was a young child (she wasn’t taking accountability, though; she was just analyzing herself and telling someone this in my presence, not apologizing, not stopping to wonder about the impact she might have had, not telling me I deserved better, etc., which in itself was damaging because she was very much communicating to me the idea that it did not matter if she had taken her anger out on me, what was important was her and what was going on with her, and the fact that she really could do anything she wanted to anyone or at any cost). Anyway, I have no specific recollection of times like these when she apparently took her anger out on me. What I retain is a feeling that she was mean and never knowing what would make her mad. I don’t think that I “blocked” the individual instances out of my memory or anything like that. I think the impact and feeling stayed with me and the moments themselves were forgotten because individually maybe they weren’t important (as events) and that’s just how memory works. And actually if I were to isolate my young childhood, on the whole I’d say I was a happy, active little kid—partly because I had other people in my life who had a positive impact on my life (who over the years eventually disappeared through death or whatever else) and partly because, as I said, I think the abuse I went through was very accumulative and took some time before the whole system got its hold on me. I think possibly my uncle’s suicide when I was seven, almost eight, sort of opened way for the real detriment of the family dysfunction to start taking real effect on me—before that, it was like I was holding a special antidote… Anyway, I went off on a bit of a tangent there but those were just the thoughts that came to mind about my own experiences and looking for memories. Good luck to you and take care.


Hi Sophia
I hit lots of walls in my healing process.. I just kept trying to push through. My fear of facing the truma was often in the way but with persistence I was able to get there.
Hang in there!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you! I have a huge aversion to the word lazy. It is abusive and mean and used to stereotype people. Also, a lot of people have been called lazy when they have learning disabilities and were working possibly the hardest of all.


Hi Barb
Welcome to EFB
Yes, this is true.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for the welcome, Darlene!


My mother used to call me a lazy p the bed every morning cause it was always so hard fir me to wake up…u would sleep deep and p the bed…for quite some time.


Hello again, and Thanks again to all of the wonderful healing messages here. Especially thanks to you Darlene. Tonight I wanted to write about something about my past childhood trauma I’ve been thinking about for the last few days.
As I examined my childhood being the 9th born of 13 children, I know for a fact I was never held or bonded with my Mom. Some of the things my Mom tells me about my infancy is like she is telling a cherished family memory, and it has only been recently that I realize these are not cherished family memories, but really neglect and abuse stories. She likes to relate the fact that when I was 4 months old and needed her appendix out, no one wanted to take me while she was in the hospital, so she sent me with one of my aunts that I had never seen before and that ended up killing herself about a year after she had taken care of me for my Mom. So basically she left her newborn baby with a mentally unstable woman. There’s another story where she tells me when I was only months old she left me laying on a blanket in the yard and was distracted by her other 10 children to the point where the sun shifted and I was badly sunburned. She tells me these things like they are so funny to her….and I’ve been buying that for years. But you know what, deep down inside I always knew I was not alright with these stories. They are stories of neglect. Putting 2+2 together it has not been difficult to understand how severely neglected I was not only as an infant, but as a small child, a teenager and then by my many dysfunctional siblings well into my adulthood….until just recently really. My Mom repeats a story about me being a teenager in the 70’s and one time when I refused to do the dishes and using the vernacular of the times I said, “Hey Mom, doing housework is not my bag.”…..I was 14 years old. I can’t tell you the number of times my mother has told that story, like it was some big meaningful event in her life. It was a teenage girl being a teenaged girl….I don’t think it’s funny at all. We went on vacation as a family this summer to the ocean. One evening we all strolled to the beach and I was wearing a vintage hand embroidered kaftan. She knows I am very self conscious about my weight (I’ve gained 80 lbs in the 5 years since my divorce), but she kept making jokes about the kaftan I was wearing and saying if an Indian man came along he’d think I was his bride and take me away….I thought it was really dry and un-humorous. I really think she was just trying to say I looked like I was wearing a tent basically. I made me extremely uncomfortable during the vacation and the 16 times she has retold the story when I was around….I don’t find it funny at all, but she laughs like it was the funniest thing she ever heard. I really don’t get it.
Re-examining events in my childhood and adult hood and acknowledging them for what they really are, abuse and neglect, instead of some sort of family folk lore is helping me to put my current issues with my life more into perspective. I only hope that I can complete this process and become whole again.
On a positive note, I saw my grandson’s today and squeezed them, cuddled them and asked them about their worlds of school, playing and the interesting little people that they are. I love them so.
God bless all of you that come to these pages, and God bless you Darlene. You certainly are a valuable human being who is an asset to the world through your writings and good works. May God shine his light down upon you and all of us. Amen.


Hi Connie
Yes, they are stories of neglect. It was huge for me to realize that kind of truth. And also very painful.
The story of public humilation at the hands of your mother; that is abuse too. When someone is made the butt of a ‘joke’ that is hurtful to them, that is never love based.
For me all the healing came through seeing these lies and the ways I was treated through a new grid of truth. There is hope, and hope was my first key.
Hugs, Darlene


[…] basis of equality has so much to do with both people in the relationship having some impact. More: Connecting the Dots about Passive Abuse and the Truth about Lazy :: Emerging From Broken __________________ ChristianDM is my online identity here. I am a psycho-spiritual atheist. My […]


I remember me not sweating the small stuff as a child and was sure where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I excelled in academics but was never overly competitive and took things in a stride.

My biological father thought that was laziness and he often commented behind my back. That hurt me most as he pretended to be nice to my face. I would have preferred if he dealt with me face to face instead of bitching to my mother. I do not know, something about all this gave me an eery feeling. I could not put my finger on it as a child but it hurt me. Now I understand it’s passive aggressive behaviour.

I also now recognise that he was projecting his laziness onto me. He regretted that he chose not to do well at University and had often projected that onto me. Some of his friends too gave freely their opinion. I would get cross with such people because they behaved as if they knew everything just because they were adults and I was a child.


I remember not sweating the small stuff as a child and was sure where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I excelled at academics but was never overly competitive and took things in my own stride.

My biological father thought that was laziness and he often commented behind my back. That hurt me most as he pretended to be nice to my face. I would have preferred if he dealt with me face to face instead of b****ing to my mother. I do not know, something about all this gave me an eery feeling. I could not put my finger on it as a child but it hurt me. Now I understand it’s passive aggressive behaviour.

I also now recognise that he was projecting his laziness onto me. He himself admitted that he neglected his University education. His friends too gave their free opinion that I was lazy because I did not overtly express competitive behaviour. Those idiots had no idea that every child is different and therefore they have to understand them first in order to be able to give any advice or support. And My God! they were teachers!! What a bunch of twats!

I am sorry I got carried away in this post and actually quite p***ed off with those incompetent fools who pretended they knew everything because they were adults and I was a child.


What if what is going on is the opposite? My parents are very selfish and both very lazy to the point they have no relationships with anyone including their own family members? It is just me and my brother and they put zero effort into a relationship with both of us, unless there is a financial “need”, there is no interest in even speaking to us. They don’t even speak to their siblings and both sides their parents are deceased. I really am at a loss as to how I “get them” to try, or want to. I know logically I can’t, but internally I feel I’m not doing enough. I write emails, I send texts, I leave phone messages and I get zero response. It seems to get the worst during holidays, with their unresponsiveness! My mother quoted saying “I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving, I don’t even want to think about it”. I don’t even understand what that means!!!Does anyone else have this kind of relationship with both parents? Where both parents basically want to live in a hole until they are dead?


Wow, this article really hit home with me. I worked full-time for 25 years, and my husband also worked hard for 35 years before he died of cancer 7 years ago. I kept working for 5 more years, but after a small business venture failed, I decided to not go back to work and stay at home with my young son and live off the SS death benefits, plus a small pension and some rental income. This meant learning to live frugally for the first time in my adult life and it was a huge adjustment the first year! But we are making it work and we have everything we need and then some.

However, I keep having these niggling thoughts that I’m being LAZY because I don’t have a job… thinking that I should be out there working because I’m still so young (I’m 50.) Now where is this coming from? I’m beginning to think I got the message from my TM that anybody who lives off any kind of assistance is mooching or freeloading, and for sure they’re being LAZY if they don’t ALSO get out and work, even if they don’t need more money. I don’t consciously remember her ever saying this, but it got ingrained in me somehow. Perhaps it was the way she talked about other people when I was little; I subconsciously “agreed” to her value system, even if I don’t even remember learning it.

Your article helped me realize where these shaming thoughts about laziness likely originated. And now I can recognize them immediately and counteract with the TRUTH, which is that my not working outside the home is allowing me to spend so much more quality time raising my son. It’s not laziness and I’m certainly not letting anybody down! Quite the opposite, it is helping me raise my son better by, for example, not leaving him alone after school or in the care of others. I don’t have the big energy drain of a full time job now, so my energy is spent on our little family instead. Which seems like a much better investment!

Thanks again, very enlightening!


Darlene, I was just looking into passive behavior and found this post on your site. It is the first time I have heard the term ‘passive abusive’ and it hits the nail on the head for some of what I am experiencing. Going on into the rest of this post – I am also struggling with trying to please others and feel I don’t deserve a break until I complete everything ‘on my list’, lest I be lazy or ineffective, all the while the passive ones around me contribute to that list. Or perhaps it is my perception. Regardless, your post and these comments just allowed me more insight. Thank you.


Appreciate this!


This is sooo true….I am currently is this type of relationship….have been for 33 years….OMG…how do I get out? 🙁


Hi Lynn
Welcome to EFB~ Keep reading, there is a ton of info here in this site. (and my book available for download through the right side bar is about how my eyes were opened and it how, through that clarity that I found my answers.)
hugs, Darlene


I know this is an old post but it really hits home. I grew up being called “lazy” by my abusive stepfather and others, despite being worked like a dog. I was treated like Cinderella but considered “lazy”.
I have been unemployed now for a few years for reasons too complicated to explain.
There are certain people who (like Deb Miller shared in her post) believe that being unemployed equates to being “lazy”. My husband has some friends who often made judgmental comments to me about the fact that I didn’t have a job.
All the while ignoring that while I might not do work which produces money/income, I do a LOT of other things like cleaning, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, errands, etc…and it is often grueling work for a person that has chronic fatigue.

Once after my husband and I had a disagreement a few years ago, he made a comment about how if somebody doesn’t have a job they are a “moocher”. It was clearly a shot at me. I often feel guilty, like maybe I AM lazy. But you know what? I know that isn’t true. I put effort into anything I do.
My stepfather would often call me lazy while I was busy mopping floors, doing dishes, scrubbing toilets, doing homework, etc…he NEVER acknowledged my hard work when it came to anything.
All I ever heard was that I was lazy and spoiled and that my life was one big party.
The truth was that I was treated like a slave in my own home. I was overworked, mistreated, rarely allowed to have a normal life like most young people.
I went on occasional dates but I was generally busting my ass at school and at home, yet my stepfather would not stop attacking me.

I also remember one time when I was about 16 and on a trip with my mother and stepfather, something that he rarely allowed because he didn’t see me as part of the family…I was just a little slave. I said something about being thankful that I was finally allowed to come on vacation with them, hoping that maybe he would soften his attitude toward me.
He simply looked at me and said in his typical contempt-filled way: “YOU are not on vacation, Melinda. Vacations are for people who earn them and deserve them. WE work so it is OUR vacation, not yours”.

That pretty much said it all. There was no acknowledgment of my helping with chores at home, my efforts in school, my trying to be respectful of him despite his treatment of me, nothing.
Nope…it was THEIR vacation and I had to remember my “place”. And because he wanted to cast me in this role of a lazy person who did absolutely nothing to help or contribute, it was made clear that I couldn’t even enjoy a trip.
Because he wanted me to feel that I wasn’t deserving of a few carefree moments, even as a kid.

Now I’m just trying to say EFF it if somebody wants to consider me lazy; I know that I’m not.
These days I need to do self-care because it will keep me from losing my mind.
It’s not being lazy if I need to do things that soothe my soul and provide comfort or nourishment. That could mean trying to sleep more because I have bad insomnia and don’t sleep enough; that could mean drinking herbal tea; that could mean taking a walk or listening to music I love.
I’ve spent years trying to do and be what others want. So now, yeah, maybe I AM “lazy” and sometimes there is no shame in it.


Thank you for sharing, Melinda!

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