Covering up for Emotional and Psychological Abuse

Abuse recovery
freedom is on the other side

I had this idea, well a belief actually, that my parents didn’t actually know that they were doing anything wrong with the way that they emotionally abused me. My father was extremely neglectful. He wasn’t interested in me or in my life. My mother constantly criticized me and humiliated me and stated in so many ways that I or my thoughts were not valid. I made excuses for them as a way to cope with it.  Emotional and psychological abuse is a tough thing to set straight in the belief system because for one thing, it isn’t legally liable, but I had to put the blame for emotional abuse where it belonged, the same as I did for physical and sexual abuse which WAS legally liable. All abuse has its origin in psychological abuse first.

At the very base of the lie, is the lie that abusers don’t really know what they are doing.  In order to survive, we create this “lie” to comfort ourselves; assuring ourselves that our abusers don’t realize that they are doing damage. (like they don’t know any better)  We can convince ourselves as adults that our parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and close family friends, (or ANYONE for that matter) don’t remember what they did. (as though they were in some trance while they were doing it) We question our memories. We doubt ourselves. We doubt that what we remember happened at all or that at least it didn’t happen the WAY we remember. But where do those doubts come from in the first place? Do they come from the fact that we were invalidated before we had those doubts? Even if we were invalidated about something other than the abuse itself? I think so)

So here is what I was thinking; If they didn’t know that they were doing something wrong, then why OR how do we get so good at not telling? Why did I have this “feeling” which was really knowledge, that it would be disloyal and even dangerous to tell? 

If serial killers didn’t know what they were doing, if they were really “out of their minds” and didn’t really know right from wrong the way that I was sure my abusers were, then why did they go to such great lengths to cover up the crime? Why wear gloves? Why dispose of the body and the weapon? If they don’t know right from wrong, then there would be no secrecy.

And why teach children to keep the secret? Why blame the children? Why do abusers go to such lengths to brainwash children into believing that without them they will die? Why convince the child that there is nothing wrong with what is going on? That it is for their own good, or that it is deserved punishment, also for their own betterment. Why convince children that they are to blame, and then tell them ~ convince them (in so many ways, not always with words) not to tell?

Have you seen an adult beat a kid black, blue and bloody in public? Not often I bet. Do adults molest or rape children right out in public, at the shopping mall for instance? If they don’t know it is wrong, then why don’t they do it in public? Why the big cover up?

I was in my forties when I told my mother that she could no longer “remind me” that it was my fault that her boyfriend came into my room when I was barely 14 years old.  If my mother didn’t know it was wrong to accuse me of deliberately attracting him into my bedroom, then why didn’t she accuse me of that publically?

And why didn’t I tell her a long time ago to stop throwing that LIE in my face? ( answer: because of the power she had over me and because I believed that if she rejected me I would die)   

One lie is built on a second lie and the layers go on and on ~ they become thick; the truth becomes cloudy, murky, masked ~ harder and harder to find, harder to remember, harder to acknowledge.  It was vital for me to start looking at the lies, and realize~ acknowledge TO MYSELF~ that they were LIES.

Please share your thoughts, feelings, and your truth.

Busting through the fog, one layer at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

P.S. Note: If your family decides to believe you (about abuse) then they have to make some choices. They have to make some new decisions and even take some action. If they don’t want to make those choices, then the choice they make is NOT to believe you. That is about them, not about you. Being believed does not change anything about the truth of what happened. Never forget that.

When people didn’t believe me, I doubted myself even more. Sticking to my guns and standing firm on my boundary is the only way that I can prove that I BELIEVE ME. ~ Darlene Ouimet

Related posts ~ Unfriending my Abuser by Patty Hite



This is so very true and spot on, Darlene! Great work once again =)


Hi Michele,
Welcome to the blog. So happy to have you here. Thanks for the compliment!
Hugs, Darlene


I think we had this discussion in some earlier blog post discussions and this is one aspect of abuse that has always bothered me: Did they/ do they realize what they say or said was abusive or was it all unconscious?

I have had counsellors tell me the things my family have said and done regarding me WAS unconscious on their part. My response was and is- If it is unconscious, then confronting and trying to talk with them brings it to a ‘conscious’ level, and telling them that it is hurtful, theoretically should END the garbage, if they care.

So I DID discuss and confront, and tell them that it hurt when they said these things etc. Well, it made thing even worse.

It was almost as if they blamed ME for MAKING them say and do the hurtful things they themselves said and did, as if I had forced them to be uncaring or hurtful because of the way I ‘was’.But they didn’t ‘mean any harm’ by it..and I was just being silly or even displaying even more ‘mental illness’ to be upset with them….Right. It confused me even more.

It was a ‘catch 22’ situation for me in my family. No matter what, I was going to in the wrong, even wrong about my feelings about how I was treated.This was kind of like a mental maze to run around in, with no real validation, and no way to get away from my label of ‘the family problem’. I was locked into the role, trapped in it as long as I stayed around for the abuse. And it was abuse.

As I have stated here before, my family even endured the stalking behavior of a man my mother was friends with. Because of her vulnerabilities after a head injury, I do not blame her for her participation in it, but it was no less dangerous, for her as well as for my then very young daughter and myself.

Also because of her previous head injury mom was extremely paranoid of me, believed I was trying to ‘put her away’and this stalker was going to put me in my place, in mom’s distorted view.Mom had felt the same way years earlier about my dad, that he was trying to put her in a mental institution. I don’t believe this was true about him. This occurred 30 years before mom had the same belief about me, so her paranoia was not CAUSED by her head injury, but it exacerbated her existing feelings about me.

My sister prevented my daughter and I from having a safe place to go to get away from this man, and she refused to talk with mom with me about the whole thing. She refused to address mom’s irrational bekliefs about me, and instead encouraged her in her paranoia; sympathizing with mom regarding me…

At the same time my sister was not even concerned about mom’s obvious irationality and vulnerability, nor did she assist me in getting mom to dr. appointments for follow up after the head injury, which mom refused to go to; nor did she try to protect mom from this man. The reason? She was afraid mom would get mad at her and cut her out of the will.

So no, I don’t believe the abuse was unconscious. The jury is still out on my mom, but in reading snippets of her journal, written 5 years before her head injury, mom was extremely hostile towards me; attributing many attitudes and feelings to me that I simply did not hold.

I am glad it is ‘over’. I would not wish my family situation on anyone.

Thanks for these blog posts, Darlene; they help so much in assisting me with the evaluations that I have always had a hard time with.


This blog came about at the right time for me. This past week as my husband and I were visiting with my family my sister and I were able to talk at great length about the abuse I went through at the hands of my dad. I am the oldest of 3 my sister is the middle child. After talking with her I realize how foggy my memory is because she remembers a lot more than i do…she witnessed most all of the physical abuse and she was telling me that she and our mom was talking about it and she told my mom that dad instigated most all of it. What she meant by that is he would make up reasons to beat me.
One time I remember him telling me to bark like a dog in front of the family or else get a whipping I choose the whipping.

I had forgotten how it was to deal with him until this past week when he used his ball cap to beat their small dog in the head to make her stop barking in which I was already trying to soothe the dog before he started in on her. Needless to say he won’t be doing it again he and I got into it and I told him how stupid that was for him to do that and the rest of the family stood behind me on that …

This brought back all those deep emotions and I find myself even more tired with this life


best thing you can do is stay away from abusive family if you have a choice.. cut them out from your life..i no what you mean about the fog..


And Darlene,
You bring up that vital point about whether abusers ever beat their kids black and blue in front of others, or whether they abused anyone in view of others is right on: Of course not- abuse happens in secret, and then its the abused’s words against the abuser’s as to whether it happened.

This alone says it is not unconsciously done; they know what they are doing; they know it would not be approved of or condoned by ANYONE if it were known about by others. The secrecy and the hiding and lying about abuse plainly indicates the abusers know and knew very well it was wrong and hurtful, AND they did it anyway; No one made them; they chose to do it.

Even my mother, with her vulnerabilities caused by her previous head injuries in 97, had a pre existing dislike/ hatred/ hostility towards me that she hid from most other people, from 1975, when she believed I sided with my dad in a divorce situation.

I’m having to put these things in some semblance in my mind to move on with my life. I am searching for the truth, as much as I can, about my family, and trying to be as fair as I can to everyone involved.

I’ve been too easy maybe in retrospect on my mother, because she is dead now.What I uncovered is that she had an intense dislike of me as stated in her journals, for many years even before her head injury in 97.

What conclusions I have reached are scary for me. It appears that it would have been preferable, in my family’s eyes, for me to have totally self destructed years ago. I think I knew too many family secrets. In lieu of total self dectruction, my family settled on just hobbling me mentally, so that no matter what occurred no one would ever listen to me or my version of ANY subsequent events.

The last 15 years were full of very odd destructive situations in my family that I didn’t create or cause, but had the responsibility, but not the ability, to deal with.The people that did cause these situations denied having anything at all to do with them,did not help in resolving them, and treated me as if I were nuts.

The people that may not have actually caused the situations but knew about them also chose not to help after I asked for their help and support;Now I finally realize WHY they didn’t help in resolving them. It was to their benefit that these things occurred.My counselor at the time kept asking me if I was dealing with a cult if I knew!?I didn’t know and will never know.

It puts a whole new light on how I see my family. I don’t understand them but I sure as heck don’t want anything further to do with the remaining adult family members.

And if I am wrong about them, its up to THEM to make explanations from here on out- NOT my job to go running to them again asking for explanations. By their silence the last 2 years they have essentially answered any questions I might ever have asked.


I grew up in a home where abuse is ‘normal’ behaviour even though the I as a child ‘knew’ it didn’t feel right, it all felt wrong.

For instance, my earliest memory of being sexually abused on my grandpa’s knee was in a room where there were 5 other grown ups witnessing it. I remember feeling this doesn’t feel right, something’s not right about this and wanted to jump off his knee and scream ‘bad gramps’. But when all the other grown ups in the room were acting like nothing was wrong and that was normal behaviour it confused me – that maybe I got it all wrong and it wasn’t wrong – but yet that 3-year old knew it felt wrong and shouldn’t be happening.

I caused so much confusion for me and I blamed myself for getting it wrong and for being compliant and allowing it to happen. BUT it was the grownups in the room who allowed it to happen and in so doing not only colluded but made it impossible for me to say it didn’t feel right, because even if it didn’t feel right it must be right because no one’s doing anything or saying anything about it.

My mother constantly criticised me, humiliated me and put me down. Everything about me was wrong in her eyes and she seemed to get such a kick out of humiliating, controlling and terrorising me.

My father justified his raping of me by saying ‘all daddies do this with their little girls’ and ‘I’m just getting you ready for marriage’. So it’s being spun as ‘normal behaviour’ – a lie. But at the same time ‘it was our little secret’ which over time became ‘don’t dare to tell you won’t be believed, they’ll think you’re a dirty little liar, a dirty little whore’. But as a child it felt all wrong and I knew shouldn’t be happening but being told it was ‘normal’ behaviour, well just more confusion.

Being told not to tell, being threatened what would happen if I did tell. To be told you wouldn’t be believed if you did tell. But yet this behaviour was also being spun as being alright and normal.

Talk about mixed messages. Mixed messages that kept me confused and silent.

As you say layer upon layer of lies, threats, collusion, a fog of fear and confusion.

It’s very hard to trust your own memories, feelings, intuition and so on when all that’s happened.

It’s only very recently that I’ve begun to look at all this and begin to acknowledge as you say Darlene, to myself, the lies and to realise I was right all along. It was wrong and should never have happened. I can trust my memories, feelings and intuition. I was right and they were wrong.

As you say that is so vital and such a turning point to see the lies for what they are and were.

This is a great post Darlene!!


PS: When I tried to talk with my sibling about some things going on- back when I believed she was my best friend- she acted like she was sumpathetic, somewhat supportive, and then took the things I told her, distorted them, and spread the word among her friends that I was abusive to our mother,abusive to her, just jealous of her( because she was healthy and normal),had demons, were generationally cursed-( this was for her charismatic friends)

She told non charismatic people(teachers we both knew) in my daughter’s school community that my daughter, my mom, and I were all dangerously depressed,that I was mean to mom, and my daughter, that I had mental problems as well as some physical problems she had no right to discuss with my daughter’s teachers, and basically contaminated every area of our lives here. She lives 2 hours away yet she spread this garbage among mutual friends and in MY community where I and my daughter had to live and exist.

So every area I was likely to be in, everyone I was likely to come in contact with people my dister and I both knew, she had covered.

It has been essentisl for me to remove myself from the potential presence of anyone my sister, mother, and I know in common- that was alot of people.It has been one of my goals to simply start over regarding people from my past because of this. I have no desire to go around asking anyone if my sister or mom had said this or that, but for several years that was the dilemna I faced.I knew it would make me look nuts for sure if I did that. I kept my mouth shut but as soon as I was able I detached from anyone and everyone we ever knew in common.

There is only one person, my mom’s friend of 60 years, who put the pieces together and filled in some blank spots after mom died, who I stay in touch with. When she is gone they are all gone.

For me the simplest but most bizarre explanation of what happened in my family seems to fit. It would have been more convenient for them if I were dead, or totally disabled mentally. Hard stuff to face but I’m going to finally admit to myself that almost everything they did concerning me in the last several years would have pushed most people totally over the edge. I am grateful for denial in my case. It saved my life at that time.


Hi Elizabeth,
I think that we have to tell ourselves that they don’t realize it… but it really makes NO sense to believe that. I think where we get mixed up is because all of us do certain things accidently, like not listen to our children when they are talking, or throw away something important… without thinking about it.. Just some unconscious thing. BUT constant devaluing; putting someone else down constantly, controlling, having the double standard in the definition of love, all that stuff.. how can that be unconscious for that long? My mother did/said a lot of things to me that she never did /said in public. This tells me that she was well aware of what people would have thought of her if she had done/said them in public. (I should also mention that my mother did say some sick stuff in public.. which just tells me how SICK she is)
My mother in law made a huge big deal in front of other people about how much time she spent with our kids. (but it was a lie) It used to confuse me. but today I realize that this was her way of covering up the truth; that she didn’t spend much time with our kids but she didn’t want anyone to know what kind of grandmother she was (totally controlled by her husband) so she made stuff up. This works both ways. People can lie about good stuff AND bad stuff.
No matter what I did, I also was wrong. But my mother said that to me all the time too. She said “I can’t win” “nothing I ever do is good enough for you”. So who was right?? Me or Her? See how complicated this gets. (I just thought of a new blog post! LOL) Those statements got me back fighting for approval again.
By the way Elizabeth, your comments help me also. They help me remember things, and help me to continue to articulate important points about the journey to healing, so thank you for being here and for sharing the details like you do!
Hugs, Darlene,

Hi Nikki
This is a brutal story Nikki. I have seen/heard about parents (and partners) who entice someone else to “deserve a lickin”. This is all about the abuser getting his or her order restored. It is about a need to overpower and dominate someone else, and it is about the need to be “better” or higher and more important then everyone else. Part of the kick for them is if you take it. In other words picture the question like this; If I do this to you, will you still love me? What about this? How bout if I beat you for no reason? How bout if I break your leg? it is like they are proving to themselves and to you that YOU will submit to them NO MATTER WHAT because they are god, more powerful, more important etc… and in doing so they diminish us.
I know it is exhausting Nikki, but freedom is on the other side of this work. Knowing the truth and realizing how unfair it was to me, is such a big part of what set me free from my depressions etc. Hang in there my friend. I know it is very hard.
Love Darlene

Hi Sally,
Welcome to the blog! Glad to have you here,
Pleease feel free to share as much as you wish. We have somewhat of a community going on.
Hugs, Darlene


I didn’t know that I was taking out my anger over my son Tim getting to be spontaneous and free-spirited when I wasn’t able to be that as a child.
I also thought I was doing the “right” thing by making him “obey” me.
I certainly took responsibility for the damage done to him and his brother and sister in a sideways way when I realized it. That much I’m clear about, a person can own what they did and seek to make amends for it.
A painful part of this is that I don’t thing Tim has really connected with the source of his own anger so is hurting his life by his anger now.


Hi Fi,
I was thinking about this when I wrote the post, about kids that are actually abused in public! Sounds like your grandpa had a lot of sick people under his sick spell to be able to do that without anyone standing up to him or saving you. Wow… that is really horrible and as you say, terribly confusing. And often times the abuse is done in front of other family, because they are all used to it and live in the same sick system. I want to highlight this for the sake of other readers: You have defined MANY layers here in this comment. Each point could be looked at because all of them are as you say, conflicting and confusing. But you are putting it all together. That is what I did too, how one thing I was told conflicted with another thing I was told, which helped me realize what happened to me and to my mind and how my belief system formed all messed up and full of holes. It was when I finally believed me and when I believed my memories MORE than I questioned them, (because there was some back and forth) that I started to get stronger.. but that is all part of the process.
You are doing great Fi! Thank you so much for sharing these comments and these difficult and horrific parts of your life.
Hugs, Darlene

I tread lightly answering this, but, remember that your sister grew up in the same sick system, whether or not she was the primary target, so she most likely stuck up for your mother so she didn’t become the target! She knew what you were going though, how they had painted you ~ and siblings will do almost anything to avoid that happening to them, including selling you down the river. More of the sick family dynamic. People spread all this crap because they think it makes them look better. (at least I am not as sick as HER… that kind of thing) I suspect that you were somewhat of a scapegoat in your family. I have seen when someone such as yourself stands up, draws boundaries that are not respected, so they leave the family and then someone else in the family gets kicked around. (because like I said to Nikki, they need to have their order restored)
Thanks for all your comments and for sharing so much Elizabeth. This is so important for everyone!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Warren
I was sick to my stomach when I realized what I was doing to my family..I so didn’t want to be a “bad guy” I caused so much anxiety for my family no one could think straight or relax around me. The pressures I put on my son in sports were appauling looking back now. Those same pressures hurt my girls so much also. I was thinking I was just being a good “DAD” Man was I wrong!!! I caused alot of dammage. I am trying to use my power now to empower instead of disempowering everyone. I know that I caused alot of the belief system that my kids have learned. It is possible for a person to realize that they have been wrong and need to change. I was raising my kids and treating my wife (which happens to be Darlene, the author of this blog) the way that I was raised. Every once in a while the after effects of the damage I caused still pop up and I have to stay aware and not blame my family for reacting to me once in a while. Recovery and helaing is a process. Our relationships continue to mend.
Good for you for changing.
Jimmy B.


Hi Warren,
Welcome to my blog. It is unusual to have a man comment that has realized what you have realized and it is so encouraging to have you here! (you might be interested in the blog post that was written a while back by my 18 year old son who wrote a post about the emotional abuse and recovery process with his father, (my husband Jimmy B. who has also commented here today) here is the link to that;
“My teenage son’s point of view ~ Unintentional teachings from his Father”Maybe Tim would like to read this blog too?
I am glad you are here, thanks for your comment,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jimmy,
I love it when you chime in. (for the readers who do not know; Jimmy B. is my husband and our marriage almost ended because of emotional abuse) I sometimes worry that people reading my blog think that standing up for yourself means that we have to give up our relationships, forgetting that it is a two way street that each person involved has a choice. (we have no control over what the other person decides) I am glad that you decided to realize your part in the destruction and that you wanted to do the work necessary for our family to become strong, healthy and equally valuable.
Thanks so much for sharing today!
Love Darlene


Great note … and love your post script! This is what I faced with my family four months ago. Once I came forth with the full truth of my mother’s abuse, they all backed away and reacted as though I was lying. Processing this, I came to the realization that they choose not to believe the truth, they choose not to believe me. And I get it – who wants to believe that this woman, my father’s ex-wife and my siblings’ mother, is this terrible, evil person at the core – and the only one who knows the real her is me.

Life has been easier without them in my life. No more walking on egg shells, enduring their looks of ‘just get over it.’ They do not understand because of my mother’s NPD – that there is no way ever that she could be in my life again. If it means not having the rest of my family in my life as well, then so be it. :o)


Here is a situation where it appears the parents did not understand the damage they were causing. Or did they? …and they didn’t care. It was public.

I am envisioning this child making excuses and covering up for her parents already.


Darlene, and everyone who comments here, this blog and the posts and the comments that follow inspire me and encourage me so much. Thank you…

This post brought up good and bad ‘stuff’ for me. The good that encourages me is that I can encourage my son to set boundaries with my parents, to have him feel comfortable and safe enough to talk about things. To realize I can BREAK their cycle after generations of bullies, abusers, addicts and of course controllers.

The bad stuff, which on a healing path, is stuff I get out, look at and work on so it’s not bad in a healing sense is how tangled up their own spin doctoring makes things. “They didn’t know better” or “they were doing the best they could for the times” and the classic “their families didn’t teach them different”. One that really gets me , “that’s just the way I am” – oh? REALLY? Nice permission slip there…you get to be that way because you want to. But that only applies to you – no one else. Hmmmmmm…

I remember being told, threatened and bullied as a child to never, ever speak to anyone about what went on in our family. We had to look and act a certain way, we had to always be wearing public faces. You had to rat out your sibling or you both paid the price. You could ‘ask for it’ and then get it in spades. The day my Dad stopped hitting me with a belt was the day I stopped crying, stopped responding to it at all. I used to panic with the fear, the anticipation, of it and those foot steps on the stairs were pain and fear. “for your own good” or “someone has to knock some sense into you”.

Even on my healing path, when helping a young friend get away from her abusive family, brought me smack into the middle of her Mother’s spin doctoring. I was shocked when she phoned to make sure I understood her reasoning, “sometimes you have to hold someone down and beat sense into them” and that I wasn’t to believe her daughter because “she makes stuff up all the time to make me look bad”…oh? REALLY?

Jimmy and Warren – as Dads knowing your power with your children is something so important and I’m so happy to see both your comments here.

Nikki – your story just resonated with me, the brutality against you and the dog. Hugs you.

Fi, Elizabeth, and everyone else – thank you for sharing and through your sharing helping me on my own healing journey.

Bright blessings!


Hi Paulette,
In my family I have come to believe that the fear is what kept everyone from believing me. They just can’t face the consequences of believing me. They are still afraid to stand up for themselves the same way that I was afraid to stand up for myself. Everyone saw me get rejected for standing up. Maybe that is too big of a price to pay for many people? I don’t know. All I know is like you, life is easier now; I don’t miss any of it. If that means that I have a different definition of family then I used to have.. well that is okay with me. All I asked for was equal value. That was all I wanted; not some huge apology, not some retribution, just equal value. But the truth is that I was not/ am not equally valuable in their eyes, so they said no. and that is about them. Not about me.
So glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Margie,
I read the article, and the part about “what is going on behind closed doors” is what really hit me! Thanks for sharing that. =)
My mother did certain things in public too, like she told men that I was on the pill (if they wanted to sleep with me) when I was only 16 and 17 years old. Well she did it when I was 19 too and that time to my own first cousin!) and I don’t know if she really did know that was wrong. She was really sick that way. I guess that I am talking about the more blatantly legally liable stuff like hitting and molesting/raping in public (in front of strangers). My mom might not have known some stuff was wrong, but she sure did other stuff that was hidden from the public eye. I think many abusers hide some stuff and not other stuff but WE as recovering adults need to realize that so often abusers DO know that what they are doing is very wrong.
Thanks for sharing this post!!!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Shanyn, I was threatened never ever to speak outside of the family of what went on inside the family. I know that one oh so well. I remember how we wore the ‘happy family disguise’ when out in public, at church etc. I hated that. I so wanted people to realise all was not as it seemed, that it was all a charade and life was just horrific. But instead we smiled and put on a great act. It’s very hard, even now, to break those vows of silence I took.

I remember the footsteps on the stairs, the stopping outside the bedroom door. My heart skipping a beat and praying ‘please no’, turning over in bed pretending to be asleep while all the time my heart was beating out of my chest. The light coming in from the landing as the door opened and closed. I stopped crying from a tiny age, I learned very early on that if I cried it was made worse. By the time I was 8 they could do literally anything they chose to me without me reacting. I shut down completely to survive.

But now I’m opening up and beginning to feel free for the first time in my life. It’s scary and vulnerable but exciting too. It is an honour and a privilege to be on this journey and to be able to share it with this wonderful community, each of us helping and encouraging each other on.


i made excuses for my mother and stepfather for years. because not thinking their was a valid reason for everything was too much to bear. in the process of that, i tried EVERYTHING humanely possible to have a happy family. i also had pressure from my siblings to continue on and ‘deal with things, get over the past’. well no-one wants to be labelled trouble-maker. my mother even went as far to tell me that i was the only problem remaining in hers and his life. that was such a crock, dont worry i never fell for that.

today myself and my siblings have zero contact with him and her. i am so glad they finally saw the light.
it came out a little while ago that my mother had seduced a 12year old boy when she was 26. that particular affair went on for a few years, until my mother met my stepfather. this was not the only young guy mum had sex with, but he was the youngest. her excuse? ‘i was sex crazy back then’. and i never excused it in my mind but i still felt sorry for her. it wasn’t until my therapist pointed out that if she was sex mad then why not find someone her own age?? then the penny dropped for me.
to find out she did that after all this time really disturbs me. i am just so disgusted. today she is one sick woman.she has bi-polar (another excuse for having sex with young boys??? I THINK NOT.) she has tried to suicide 3 times (3 times to my current knowledge.) and as a result of the many drugs and exorbitant amounts of alcohol her brain is pretty much fried.

at the end of the day we all make decisions good or bad in our life, and all decisions have consequences.

‘you reap what you sow’

consequently her life is crap, and mine is getting better all the time. as long as i stay the hell away from them…


Jimmy, it’s refreshing to hear some of your story and hear with such clarity your ownership of what happened. It certainly was painful going through it I’d guess from my experience. My wife and I could write a book. There are just so many layers to what happened in our lives growing up and our recovery together in our marriage and how that bred healthiness into our 4 kids lives.
I’m also thankful that through all of this that now my kids talk to me about everything and I mean everything. This is mainly because they know I will help them come to their answers not mine.
Like you I am still open to making amends however the kids may think I need to. With two of the kids I told them that maybe they needed to be angry with me and I got what I asked for!!! in spades, but it was what was needed for their recovery.
I will suggest that Tim read this but he seems to be ok with where he is at in life. And who am I to say otherwise, I guess.

Darlene, thanks for having this blog, I’m happy I found it and thanks for what you do.


I lived around my fathers next rage, he controlled everyone with his rage. As a child it was scary. I was the invisible one, it is like I did not exist. My mother once said to me, that I lived in my own world, of course I did. From the emotional and sexual abuse, my world was safer. I never thought that my father was the abuser, when I would talk to him about someone sexually abusing me , he would invalidate it and say he did not remember anyone doing it. I did some work with a woman and the memory of my father abusing me came very clearly in one session. When i finally spoke up, it was denied and I was told that he would not ever do that. My family and even my wife all said that it was not true. It’s funny, the one who I thought would not have done it, was the one. After all of the lies and abuse, he still feels he was the ideal parent. I have had no contact with my own family for years, and it will remain that way.


It’s interesting what great lengths an individual or family will go to, so they can protect themselves or the institution. While the abused are treated as if they have committed the wrong. It’s all so damn crazy !


Everyone here has contributed so much by sharing. I am grateful to be able to look at things, get out of the fog, bit by bit, and to go back to the beginning, in order to find out why, as Darlene says, I always doubted my own perception and drew the wrong conclusions about myself.Each person’s posts has helped me immensely understand some processes and to have compassion for those who are swirling around in non understanding of how they got where they are.Also I’m learning to climb out of that mess.

I hope my family has a good life. I really do.I feel better when I don’t think about them.They are too ‘hot’ for me to handle.Its a moot point anyway. I spent alot of years worrying about them, years I didn’t understand that I should have been worrying about ME.

The inability to understand someone else’s pain; the inability to empathize, even when you don’t understand everything; the inability, or unwillingness to STOP causing pain to others, to STOP saying and doing things that most people are aware are hurtful, the inability to see things from someone else’s viewpoint when they are hurting, isn’t neccessarily a component of everyone in a dysfunctional home.

Even as confused as I was at times I never told lies about my family, or tried destroy their credibility with people,or told people to not pay any attention to them, when they said something. I am not a saint or even a sterling character.I am cranky and opinionated. I just didn’t do these things, because I loved my family, and I didn’t want to do things that would hurt them.I thought my sister was tops.I was worried to death about them at differnt times. They had their bad times too over the years.

What I am saying is dysfunction CAN cause people to do and say things that are destructive to others and it MAY be unintentional.In spite of everything,though, unless you are brainwashed, or coerced in some way, no one is forced to abuse anyone else, particularly after they are a grown person, no matter how screwed up the family is.

They wouldn’t treat their co workers this way-hopefully- because they know its called abuse and harrassment in our culture. Most people know the difference in right and wrong. This all alludes to what you discuss in your posts, Darlene.

The choice to not go along with the flow, and ‘scapegoat’ or harm someone else might be a hard one,a brave one, but there is still a choice there, ordinarily.

If I am in my 40’s, or 50’s -or 30’s-and I am still going along with the ‘fam’s’ program, or my church’s ‘program’ and beating up on someone else, in various ways, things are not likely to change in my mind or character. Assumptions are somewhat dangerous, but I’m taking a leap here. Therefore I don’t expect changes from any of the people who did what they did to me. TO ME. TO MY DAUGHTER.I didn’t ‘allow’ it. It was done.

I would not risk my peace of mind anymore to be around folks who abused me- or anyone else- knowingly or UNknowingly, accidentally or unconsciouly either.Whatever. Maybe I am a simplistic thinker- probably- but when I look back at the utter garbage that was undertaken in some effort for other people to have control of the situations I was in, I am really stunned. It wasn’t just a few incidents either; it was a loooong time.

When you draw a boundary, its your own. It has to be for you alone. It may be one of the first things you ever allowed yourself that IS your own. If that boundary seems too wide, or too distancing, then thats part of the process. If you never want to see the person again, then that is your boundary.If you want to change that boundary later, then that is your right.

I had some boundaries but they were ignored, sidestepped around and the boundaries were crossed in secret alot of times.I get to enforce boundaries that finslly work for me, now.

In the past I felt parts of my life were opened up for people I didn’t even know, and had no reason to trust, to view and judge.And they were not even accurate views.My choices were taken from me- about alot of things.My life was like shattered stuff all over the place.I felt like I had no more dignity, if that makes any sense.

So I encourage people to create safe spaces in their lives for themselves.If it means certain people cannot be in your life then it means certain people cannot be in your life. Feeling unsafe emotionally and any other way, is the worst feeling ever.

Thanks again for the chance to read so many others’ experiences and thoughts.Fi, Shanyn, Patty, Michelle, Susan, Christina and Jimmy and so many others have helped me tremendously.


For me that was a hard read. I am saddened by facing these truths.I remember when I said to myself what my rapist said this is good for you not so much that saying so made it right or good but made me think he did not know what he did to me was so hurtfull. I see myself making the same excuses for my wife who is abusive to me mentaly and physicaly. I hold my reponses because of my CSA I hold untill she gets all my rage from the Csa and holding the new abuse in. then the message to my wife is not delivered well thus also not effective.Therapy is helping a lot and so is this emerging from broken
I cannot express how much gratitude I have for Darlene and my tears are a testament to that.


You know, in spite of gaining a lot of awareness, this topic is one sticking point. My abusive ex is still insisting that he doesn’t know what he is doing wrong. There have been moments where he has shown his true colors and let it slip that he did know what he was doing, and that the abuse was intentional, in order to punish me or shut me up. And he admitted as much in an abusers program.

But at other times, it seems he really doesn’t understand because he will read and re-read all the materials he has been given in the program or during therapy. Or he writes them on post-it notes to remind himself. That really threw me off and I thought he was really trying. But his behavior wouldn’t change and when I would point it out, he would justify each action and say it wasn’t intended to hurt, and he would even swear by God that he wasn’t criticizing, or pouting, or being rude, etc.

The other thing that confuses me (and I am not questioning your conclusions and your experience) is that he doesn’t hide it. For example, he shows his emails to others because he doesn’t believe they are abusive. Or he will tell others of what he is thinking or doing, believing that they will support him. He actually cried to the therapist during one joint session of how he felt rejected because I denied him sex when he was trying to assault me. Now why would you reveal that unless you really thought you were the victim?

I am not excusing his behavior. I am just confused as to whether he is one of the cases where the person is so thick he can’t see it and what is abusive to others is normal to him. He is either a really good actor or he is genuinely trying his hardest and can’t see where he has gone wrong. He also said he was proving that he wanted to change by showing his emails to his therapist (whom I do not see anymore) but I know that that therapist, while very credentialed, doesn’t get abuse. So this therapist will probably say to him that he is doing very well and probably just has an unforgiving and hurt wife.

Ditto about my family of origin. Not excusing them, but their behavior was the norm for their culture and their generation and they never hid the abuse, or the beatings, or the cruel remarks. They actually thought they did a good job and just happened to be unlucky enough to have ungrateful kids who are now finding fault with them.


Hi Shanyn,
I can really relate to your comments. “knock some sense into you” and then “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” WHAT?? That one always killed me. It was a big no win.
Thanks for being here!

Hi Michelle,
I agree with you ~ it was too much to comprehend that my father didn’t care and my mother actually thought that I was after her boyfriends ETC. on and on and on. so I made excuses too. My mom is one sick woman too. The older she got the more she struggled with her depressions etc. In a way that is why I dug so deep into this work, because I didn’t want to end up like her, getting sicker and sicker because of my un dealt with crap. I will never regret my decision.
Thanks for sharing,

Hi Jim
These are terrible things for a child to go through and and live with. Being invalidated and never heard makes it worse, like a re-abuse. I had a very hard time with not being believed. I got stuck there for a long time but today I know I did not make anything up, and I validate me. I know the truth, and so do they. (although they won’t admit it ~ that is not my problem and it doesn’t control me anymore) I am really glad that you are here Jim. AND yes it is all so crazy! This whole cover-up thing at the expense of someone else. It made me feel like I never mattered, and the truth about that is that I didn’t.
Thank you for sharing this part of your story with us.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Elizabeth
Once again you make great points and expand even more on this topic. Thank you so much for the highlights you added here. It really is hard to comprehend that people ~ our own families ~ people who were supposed to love us, disregarded us in these ways, and kept at it too… kept chipping away at whatever little self esteem we might have had left, but realizing it happened and when I stopped fighting the reality of it, I really did begin to get stronger.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Edward,
Yes, they make us think that they don’t realize how wrong or hurtful it is and somehow we end up making excuses for them… but that is how we cope with it because we are children. (and we cope the same way as adults BECAUSE we learned this coping method as children. I am really glad that you are here Ward and thank you for your lovely encouragement too.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Krissy,
I remember this one time that my husband and I were with another couple who were also in “marriage recovery” and we were talking about all kinds of “abuse and control” things and then the guys somehow started admitting to each other about how they thought really nasty things in regards to how they regarded us. One admitted thinking “Oh just shut up you cow” or “oh no here she goes again, the bitch” and they both agreed that they thought that way. Myself and the other wife were stunned. This discussion turned into admissions of other things too, and admissions that both men were aware of many manipulative and controlling tactics that they used to get their way.
Here is how I came to look at the emotional abuse stuff. If I told my husband how hurtful etc. that it was, and he kept doing it or kept defending himself ~ then that was his unwillingness to move forward in the healing process of our marriage; he was discounting me again. He tried to play dumb all the time, because really if you think about it, what motivation did HE have to stop manipulating me? He had things the way he wanted them. It was all about him. (but as you know, since he is part of this blog, he did eventually stop) There came a time when I didn’t CARE if he understood what he was doing OR not! I told if he didn’t figure it out then I was done.

Having said that, as I posted in some of the other comments, there were things that I am SURE people do that they are not aware they are doing is harmful, but myself as a victim made excuses for these people that only hurt me.
When I stopped trying to figure all of “them” out and just drew my boundaries and stuck to them, that is when I got WAY way more recovered. That was the key ~ I had to stop trying to understand them and concentrate on validating me. (something very foreign to victims of any kind of abuse)
Thanks for your excellent comments. I could write a whole other blog post about the points you bring up here!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Darlene Ouimet, patriciasinglet. patriciasinglet said: RT @DarleneOuimet: Covering up for Emotional and Psychological Abuse Making excuses for abusers ~ […]


Darlene, Your great ending with your husband is exactly what I was hoping for. And my ex was warned that if the verbal abuse didn’t stop (physical had ceased) I was out of there. He said he really wanted to know so he wouldn’t end up on the streets. And even now, he says he hates what has happened and would do anything to have us back, and can’t understand it. He has taken my emails and asked others to explain it because he says he can’t understand what I go on about! He doesn’t understand words like “issues”, “deal with stuff”, “invalidate” – all the words that are used in blogs like yours! He used to say it was all too deep and he was a simple man. Yet he is an incredibly intelligent man, but not in the area of inter and intra personal relationships. He has a string of failed relationships and apologizes profusely, but doesn’t understand enough not to lose new relationships.

I guess what you are saying is that deep down they know what they are doing and it is mind-twisting to try to understand why they do it. Personally I don’t want to waste any more time wondering. Maybe I’ll never know. But I wonder if your husband has a blog that addresses men like what he was!


Hi Krissy
The thing is that some guys try to get other people to AGREE with them (garnering support for themselves) because if they can do that, that it is still YOU. (eg; showing your emails etc) so if it is you, then you have to accept it because it isn’t him! And if he can convince you that he doesn’t know what you are talking about, then he “can’t” change, he is innocent…. same old thing. Why can’t he hear you? That is what I told Jim. He always wanted to make it about him. Jim verbally tried to prove it wasn’t him either.. tried to blame EVERYTHING on me…. because he didn’t want to change. But, too bad. I said enough and like I said before, I told him he better figure out what the heck he was doing wrong. I gave him examples back (like if the shoe were on the other foot type thing ~ he didn’t like that) In the end, he did see it. It was a hard process.

I like what Liz posted on my facebook thread for this post:

Liz wrote: “Even if someone else does not see their behaviour towards you as abusive, if you tell them ‘please stop; that is hurtful to me’ and it continues then that is ABUSIVE. People don’t have to ‘understand’ why something is hurtful in order to comply with your request that they stop saying/doing things that are hurtful etc…If they respect and care for you most times they will comply. That’s where the real test is.”
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

Thank you for this post! I think there are other reasons something might not occur in public than just because the other person knew the action/words were wrong; but I wanted to say that whether it is truth or lie, “they didn’t mean to do it and that makes it okay” is one of the hardest and most hurtful things I’ve had to work on dispelling so far.

For me, I’ve always painted my mother as the ‘good guy’ and my father as the ‘bad guy’. His abuses were always more visible, more tangible, and he himself more physically distant; that made it easier to see him as the ‘bad guy’. Easier, but still not easy.

My mother, on the other hand, probably (most of the time) really doesn’t know what she’s doing is causing so much damage. I sincerely doubt that’s her intention. I hid behind that for a long time. “She doesn’t mean to be hurtful,” was the excuse I gave for every comment that had me crying in bed; “she was just trying to be a good mum” became my mantra every time I mentioned something from my childhood and someone said “that’s abusive”. I felt like the fact that she didn’t MEAN it, meant I wasn’t allowed to be upset about it; I wasn’t allowed to suffer damage from it.

I feel the same, interestingly enough, about physical injuries caused by others. If I am standing there and you walk past, accidentally treading on my foot, and apologise, if it hurts me, then I will feel guilty about that because you didn’t mean it.

I’m still learning that something not done deliberately to hurt is allowed to still hurt me; it’s a long lesson. 😉 The truth is, no matter what the intentions were, if there’s hurt that happens, that’s not okay. Sometimes how we can deal with that hurt might be different depending on the intentions behind the action, but if it is hurtful, it is NOT OKAY, deliberate OR accidental.

Lastly, Fi, can I just say thank you to you in particular, for your comments on here? As I read Darlene’s post, I was thinking of my own situations where the abuse happens in public. I was a little afraid to speak up, though, in case it was me in the wrong, given that it happened in front of others; but your courage in commenting allowed me to see past that.

While I can’t speak for others, I suspect that the much of the abuse I endured publicly doesn’t indicate that my abusers any less knew what they were doing was wrong – just that they knew it was SAFE for them to do that to me. It frightens me to realise that because up until this point I’ve always been able to say that my mother wasn’t choosing to turn a blind eye – she was just absent at those times (my parents separated when I was really young) — but the last few times, she and my brothers have been standing RIGHT THERE as he stood there and molested me. And still, she forces contact with him.


Hi Chrysalis
Thank you for expanding even more on this topic! You highlight important things also!

When I was writing that post I was thinking about the families where abuse was in front of everyone, because of the “safe to abuse in front of” ….system etc… I should have clarified better. Obviously many of us were abused in public! I was referring to a public place more like a shopping mall.

As far as the good guy and the bad guy stuff, I can totally relate to that too! But eventually I realized that there are no levels of abuse. I always tell people that the abuse they suffered was no less then what anyone else suffered, and that applies to abusers too. There just weren’t a lot of “good guys” in life. My mom was the bad guy and my dad the good guy, but really my dad stood by and let it all happen so what was so great about him? My dad is a passive abuser. That doesn’t make him any better to me today.

I appreciate the rest of your comments too!
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Chrysalis, thanks for your comment, I’m honoured that something I shared enabled you to find the courage to comment.

You’re absolutely right anything – any words or actions – that hurt or are abusive in any way, whether deliberate or accidental are absolutely wrong and absolutely not okay. There is so much collusion and protectionism between abusers, especially in family situations which allows it to happen, to go unchallenged, to be ‘normalised’.

I’m glad you’ve found the courage to begin to speak about the lies and how they confused and damaged you. It’s so hard to get past them and see the lies for what they are.

I know I so often felt as a child I must be wrong, or I’m misinterpreting this because other grownups witnessed the abuse and did and said nothing. But I knew as a child it didn’t feel right but was so confused because the grownups around me acted as if it was ok. But it wasn’t ok. Once I was able to begin to say what happened wasn’t ok, it wasn’t right, it wasn’t ‘normal’ I began to see how it wasn’t actually about me but about them. When I realised I was right as a child and I’m right as an adult because I know what my memories and feelings are and there can be no denying the reality of them it helped address some of those confusing mixed messages and turn them on their head.


I cut contact with my family fully when I was 30 which was in 1993. It brought me much peace but to get to that point things had to get so bad. Once I made the decision it was freedom all the way! Then they ended up slandering me on the international news in 2002. They got paid off but would have done it for free in order to keep their own denial and sickness going. I can’t believe I ever had them in my life by choice to begin with. I am safer now both emotionally and physically.Then I have been under legal counsel not to have contact with them. That is how dangerous they are.
One thing I have found out that abusers of all kinds get people to support them in their denial and dysfunction. When they have money they get attorney’s and other professionals to help them abuse others. It is just reality. However I can choose not to a part of the sickness. I have and I am free!


The picture you used for this post is beautiful. Did you take it?
Sorry to hear about how denial and lies impacted your life. That is so common with any type of abuse. We live in a world of such dysfunction. I honestly don’t believe their is a family out there that isn’t dysfunctional in some way.


Hi Pinky
Yes this is true. Abusers of all kinds do garner support. It can be predictable in some cases. I have worked with women who’s husbands phoned all their friends saying she was having an affair just to get them on his side before she left him and meanwhile arranging to have all the money in the bank moved. (all because he realizes that the wife is about to stand up to him and he won’t have it) This sneaky stuff happens with parents too. He is just one other aspect of the lust for power and control that some people have.
Thanks for being here, thanks for choosing healing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Erin,
Welcome to my blog!
My daughter took this picture. It is the view of the sunset on our land where we live in Southern Alberta. I love the colours in it! She also took the picture that I use for my header graphic; a view from our kitchen windows. I am very blessed to live surrounded by such beauty and peace.

I think that dysfunction is rampant in our world too. The cycle repeats and becomes normalized; people slide deeper into the fog of false definitions of love and respect. BUT there is hope! There is healing and recovery and there are ways to relearn and together, we can stop the cycle of abuse. I am familiar with your work (Erin’s Law) and I admire your passion. Together, people like you and I and so many others who are passionate about an aspect of healing, we are making a difference.
Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene


Reading this post again, I have to concur that abusers know exactly what they’re doing. They have to or they wouldn’t go to great lengths to cover it up or hide it! My mother would often humiliate me and degrade me in public, but in private it was WAY over the top. I suppose that is why my family sides with her – they never saw what she did to me in private and so would be my word against hers that anything happened. However, I’m not the one who lies, she does. I remember once where my one sister was talking to a mutual friend of hers and my mothers. This other lady was telling my sister something my mother said to which my sister responded, “She’s lying.” This lady was flabbergasted. This lady also went to my mother and confronted her saying that her kid said this. My mother then asked my sister if she said that she lies. My sister confessed, “Yes.” And my mother replies, “Yeah, so I lie – so what?!” …. ???? … someone who responds like that knows exactly what they are doing. My mother’s actions toward me always reflected hatred – and I guess its easier to show hate than to come right out and say it as saying it would make you look heartless. My mother thinks its okay for her to behave this way and because we, the kids, were taught to never question our parent – she gets away with it. Furthermore my siblings seem to think that its okay for their mother to embarrass them in public – since when would this be okay???? But it does explain then why they say to me, “Just get over it.” This is not healthy behaviour! And like I said, my siblings have no idea the callous abuse I put up with when it was just my mother and I alone. Having had nothing to do with any of my family for the last four months has been …. wonderful.


Hi Paulette,
I can relate to this too. The whole double standard thing. My mother, (and many others) lived by a different set of rules then the ones they demanded that I live under. There was certain humiliation that my mother put me through in public too. But there were other things that she never would have made public because she knew. And what she knew best of all was how to protect herself from looking bad. (although looking back on that I have a different opinion of that now too. I guess it depends on the “health grid” of the person she was saying certain things in front of. ) And YES, we the kids, are taught that we are not to question our parents. My mother used to say to me “you know Darlene, no matter how mean and nasty my mother was, I still loved her” WHAT???? and yes, that meant that I should “love” my mother according to her definition of love, too. But you know there is a whole other way to look at that: was my mother admitting to being mean and nasty??? LOL Just sayin….

Thanks for sharing Paulette! I appreciate all your comments and contributions to this blog!
Hugs, Darlene


I can so relate to the double standard thing. That describes my mother’s control of the behaviour and activities of the household so well.

She was always right. She always had justifications dripping off her tongue for everything that happened. Her justifications always showed her in the best of light and me in the worst.

Mean, evil, calculating, cold, deliberate, nasty, sadistic, cruel, self seeking are the main words I would use to describe her in the home. But outside the home she was warm, witty, charming and always plausible. An accomplished liar and actress who was always deliberate and calculating in all she did and said.


I was 7 when my “dad” had married our “babysitter” an as it was prior to them hitching up…. she didn’t like me because I was a “bad seed” she’d say. I guess my “bad seed” showed only to her though because every other babysitter my “dad” had for us before her…we got along. So here I am 7 years old, lost my real “mom” and gained a “step mom” who said now that she married my “dad”…. I had to call her “mom”. I didn’t like that at all, because #1. She wasn’t my “mom” #2. She use to be my babysitter and I had to call her Ms. “J” (name protected)…and #3. She already showed us how mean she was as a babysitter, I was afraid to find out what she was like now that she was my “step mom”. To explain a bit about my new “mom”…let me back up to when she was our babysitter….

Our “dad” would need his “fix” in certain areas of his life so he’d dump us off on any one who’d want to get paid “his way” and he so happen to come cross this woman when he’d be at the bars. She’d “eye” him and he here you know…all that yuck stuff grown-ups like. He eventually asked her out to our house to baby-sit for him and of course, she did. She had 3 kids of her own who lived with her, she’d been divorced already and she was looking for someone to help her with her kids, just as my “dad” apparently was. Anyway they hooked up and she became our babysitter. I went from being whipped, stripped, pawned, raped, used and sexually abused to now having the crap beat out of me, and more. If I had to go to the bathroom, I had to beg to go and if I said one thing she didn’t like…I ate a knuckle sandwich swallowed down by a tooth or two or my face would become her punching bag so. I learned quickly to say “mom”.

My “dad” and this babysitter soon began to really enjoy each other’s company on a daily basis. Either he’d take us to her house or she’d come to ours, and this went on for a while. Then my “dad” started leaving us with her for a few hours at first, then…. a whole afternoon…until finally he’d leave us for days at a time with this woman. I guess she got use to it because she always told my “dad” what angels he had…then when he’d leave us for days, she’d let us know how grateful we should be that she even offered to watch us by telling us what a no good of a “father” we had and how he’d pay for leaving us with her all the time, etc.etc. Well, this babysitter was “ok” to begin with, but soon after she started dating my “dad”…. she changed. We had some of the most gruesome rules you could imagine for one thing, another…. she treated us different that her kids and I thought, being young here…. you’re not suppose to show favoritism. My babysitter was also beginning to be very mean to me and I didn’t like her no more. She would come in the room and just start yelling and cussing at us…grab us by the back of our hair and yank me to my feet…. sometimes hard enough to where I would actually lift off the floor. I think she liked pulling my hair more than actually spanking me at the time. Ya…our babysitter had the right to hit us, spank us when she felt we deserved it…with whatever she had available to do it with. This woman would do anything she wanted, to us but wouldn’t do it to her own.

I soon developed a “bedwetting” problem with this babysitter…funny thing though, with every other one we ever had, I never wet my bed…but with this one, I did. When she’d come get me up in the mornings, she’d see the wet spot and go crazy! I couldn’t help it, I was just a child and I wasn’t allowed to use the bathroom after 8 pm, don’t hit me please! My babysitter would get so mad that she would hit me in my head several times before she’d move on down my body with her blows. When she got done yelling at hitting me, she’d then grab the back of my hair, snatch me up out of bed still yelling, still hitting…then she’d do the most horrifying thing…she would smother my face hard, in my bed, in my “pee”, and rub it back and forth, all the while yelling “does it feel good”…”does it smell good you little piss ant”…still snatching the back of my hair in all this. She eventually stopped doing her “way of handling”, and threw me to the ground but promised to “plug me up” so I wouldn’t wet my bed again. I learned after several of these “episodes”…not to wet my bed because this lady did as she said she would. As sadistic as it sounds…she found a way to plug me up…for the next few nights when I would sleep, she’d come in and viciously wake me by snatching me out of bed and dragging me to the bathroom constantly yelling how “bad” I was and how she was going to “fix” me. Once we were in the bathroom, my babysitter would strip my clothes, whip me with a closed fist, then put me and scream at me not to move. She’d then begin to run the water, slowly at first, then a little harder…until it was full blast and I wasn’t allowed to move. “This’ll teach you!” she’d say, then she’d tell me it would sure cure me from “peeing” the bed, “it’s for your own good” she’d say…as she “messed” with me…her hand first, then the faucet…hairbrush, curling iron, plunger handle, and more all the while yelling at me to stop fighting because if I kept fighting it, she’d make it worse. I was fighting to breathe more because the water kept rising and she didn’t care! The more she did, the more I’d squirm and fight, the more I fought, the more angry she’d become and the more angry, the more it’d hurt. It helped me not wet the bed, I was too afraid to even “pee” a drop…by the time she was done…I was scarred for life.

After I had “learned” not to wet my bed…my “dad’ began having me sit on his lap again. I use to wonder why this kind of behavior he’d do and always be “nice” about it…when I saw it made him smile, it made me smile too, I didn’t know I was doing something wrong until one day when the “babysitter” walked by and slapped me off his lap. My “dad” got mad and got up, walking and started yelling at her for hitting me, I thought…. but then she’d get in one of her rages and start yelling back at him on how “the little slut” just loved the feeling of his shaft and what she meant by that, I had no clue. Then she and my “dad” would make up and she’d kick me in my side on their way to the bedroom. I didn’t know then, that this was the reaction I deserved by obeying my “dad” and doing what he asked of me. I didn’t know what I had done wrong nor why I got kicked, was I knew I was a bad kid. She didn’t like me and she let me know, she told me she wished I was never born, how she could “send me away” and all kinds of things. I didn’t like crying so much only to be hit for being a “baby” or being hit for doing something I didn’t know I was doing. I soon understood why my “dad” loved it when he’d put me on his lap and that was just the beginning of a nightmare that lasted for a long time.

My life had already been doomed since before conception. My parents didn’t want me, especially my “dad” …he would get so angry and yell at us how he couldn’t afford another stupid kid to feed and how he didn’t like having to be there when he could of been in the bars, how we weren’t worth nothing but the trouble we were born with and how we had ruined his life and on and on…so much that it sunk in, finally. I knew I was no good, I knew I would never be loved no matter how much I showed them I loved them, I knew I’d never amount to nothing, I was born a nobody and would stay one so my life was a life to get use to…ad I tried to do my best to do just that. I tried to please my “mom” and “dad” by doing everything they wanted or by coloring a pretty picture for them, only to have it ripped up and thrown in the trash but I kept trying to please them, everyone, anyone who would come to our house…I would make them happy by doing anything they asked no matter what…I was only 7 and I wanted them to love me, not hurt me.

By the time school was ending, I had already failed. I didn’t try any more after my “mom” had left and this “babysitter” started taking over. I was dreading the day she’d move in with us and at the same time trying to stay out of her aim of fire. I wasn’t good at that but I gave it my best shot always. Reports cards come home and yep, I had failed 2nd grade. I didn’t care no more, would you if your mother had all of a sudden “died”, never to come home again…or so I was told. My “dad’ wasn’t to happy with me though and he made me go get his belt. Not the soft one no, but the one that had holes with metal rings in it and he sat me down and began to talk to me on how bad it was to be a stupid girl but worse to show it by failing. I hadn’t been the only one who failed no but I guess being the “scapegoat” of everyone, I was taught the lesson. I got whipped so bad, I couldn’t sit down, then to make matters worse, I moved and my “dad” didn’t like us moving when he was punishing us, he shot out his arm with that belt towards me and it hit me square in the back, wrapped round to my face. I wore a huge buckle mark on my cheek for weeks and my “dad” said I shouldn’t have moved and he never would have missed his target. It was a good thing school was out because I wasn’t allowed to go to school if I had “marks” on me, my “dad,” said so. I stood in the corner after my whipping like I was told to, but I think I was forgotten because before I knew it, I woke up on the floor, and when I saw I wasn’t standing up straight like my “daddy” had told me to do, I realized I must of fell asleep. Later on, as I stood in that corner, my “dad” came to check on me then told me to come over and sit on his lap…I began to walk over to him and then I remembered what the “babysitter” said and I didn’t want to then but “dad” pulled me on over on him and he talked to me in his soft voice and began to hold my hands saying he was sorry. He then began to softly rub my arms with one hand as the other hand began to find it’s way down my leg and what he did next made me cry. Once done, I would be told to hush before he did it again and when I couldn’t, he’d take me to the closet, shove me in and lock the door behind me, then walk away.


You had a brutal childhood. I am so sorry that this happened to you. It takes a lot of courage to share this kind of thing with others as you have.
The things that happened to you were wrong. There is no way that you deserved any of it. What they did to you was sick and illegal.
I wish I could say something to comfort you now but please know that you did not do anything wrong.
Hugs, Darlene


Some of these stories make my mother look like Mary Poppins! I don’t know how some people survive. And you are right on Darlene-the abusers know full well what they are doing. My mother acted all sugar in public. People even called her the Charming Miss… They had the advantage of course. They didn’t live with her. But-yea…abusers don’t beat the little chitluns in public do they? You don’t find the abusers screaming like maniacs on the street…that behavior is reserved for home. In truth the abusers are not maniacs because madness is an affliction. They are cold-blooded, clever and evil. One time my older sister was threatened by “Mother” that she would be taken to juvenile hall. And sister replied…”You do that and I will tell everyone about what goes on here!” “Mother” froze. Now I wonder why she didn’t carry through on her threat? Hmmmm…I bet that she knew EXACTLY what she was doing and probably enjoyed it-confident that she could get away with it. In fact “Mother” never bothered my older sister much. My older sister was tough and could fight back. I was the chosen one. Little. Afraid. Weepy. Prime target for an ogre.


Some of these stories make MY mother look like Mary Poppins. That is part of it though. My mother constantly told me that it was all in my mind… not using that saying but the constant “oh you think you have it so bad” type of stuff.
I was all excited one day because I had been asked to do a content edit on a book written by a therapist and I gushed to my mother that I was going to write a book too. She threatened to sue me! It took me a while (the awareness came in stages on this one) to even ask myself what the hell she thougth she could sue me for? and WHY she thought the book was about her, but eventually I realized it for the truth leak of FEAR that it was; she thought I was going to tell the things she did that SHE knew that were wrong.
I was prime target too… my mother just picked different manipulations for everyone though..
Hugs, Darlene
thank you!!!



Some of these stories make MY mother look like Mary Poppins.

I did not have it as bad as some of you, I am very sorry for what has happened to all of you here.

My mother was fake in public, all smiley and happy and acting, but she was a differen person at home.

She always told me I am a ‘matyr’ whenever I tried to complain about the fact that she treated me like a servant from the age of about 5 made me do all the housework, cleaning, organising, everything in the house.

I hate how both my mom and dad were charming in public and strangers and people who do not know them all think they are okay and nice, but in reality they are complete psychos who emotionally and psychologically tortured their children to badly that both of my brothers are on drugs and will never, ever be okay because they are in denial and can’t face this.

I am slowly healing, its been about 2 years since I have realised all of this and started to deal with it, it will take more time.

All my love to everyone here, I hope everyone here can learn to love themselves and see how none of these things were our fault.

All my love to you all,
Anon girl



Hi Anon Girl
Some of these stories make my mother look (almost) like Mary Poppins too, but abuse is abuse. It is the damage that it causes that is the problem and what needs to be healed. (did you know that almost all victims of abuse even torture will believe that it wasn’t “that bad”. It is a coping method to see it that way)
Thanks for sharing, and YAY for healing!!
Hugs, Darlene


Abuse sucks. It really does. I post my comments but then afterwards I feel stupid. I ask myself why, why did I do that for and once again made a fool of myself? I feel like I always say the wrong thing or my words don’t match what I really wanted to convey. And what if my comments have nothing to do with the subject being discussed but somehow it triggered another issue that I suddenly need to express? Being told and taught to emprison your soul without a possibility of parole placed me on death row for as long as I can remember. Death is always in the back of my mind. I don’t want to be the last woman standing. I HAVE to die first. My life doesn’t depend on me, my life is being dictated by others. I agree with everyone by fear of being rejected if I don’t.
When I hear my parents say to me (we don’t understand why you don’t call us anymore. You know, we’re getting older, we need our children around us more than ever) ok so lets erase the past and take it from here just because you don’t want to die feeling guilty. Once again, I’m being dismissed. It’s not about me, it’s about THEM and their immediate selfish, distorted, perverted, fake needs. I refuse to feed those needs anymore in my own expense. They’re toxic and they try to continue to inject their poison into my brain. Only now I won’t let them bite. I have found my antidote, my body and soul are fighting back.


Hi Celine
Yes abuse does suck. I know that a lot of people feel the same way about commenting. In fact this site has 2000 to 2300 readers a day and only an average of 33 comments a day which indicates that a lot of people don’t comment at all. (which is fine) One of the great things about commenting even if it makes you feel insecure is that YOU get to feel those feelings and can examine them more deeply. For me the more the fog lifted, the more clarity I got, the easier it got for me to articulate my responses without feeling guilty or anything like that.
YAY for finding your antidote! Please continue to share whatever you like, and it matters not if it is off topic or not! Sharing is for YOU.
hugs, Darlene


I am so glad I pushed myself to write my comment and I am so grateful to you for validating all of us on our journey to healing. You don’t even know how much better I feel. My anxiety went down instantly after reading your response. Being treated with kindness, understanding and care is so foreign to me that when it happens it makes me cry. I have to remind myself that it is ok and stop looking for what feels familiar (ie, abuse). It is moments like this that I have to stop resisting and tell myself Celine, you deserve it. Take it in and stay in the moment. By going on your website everyday I keep my hope alive even if it’s extremely faint. I’m not alone. I’m not crazy. I knew it all along. Finally at 43 years old I can be reborn again.


I am really glad that you feel heard here. The first step for me was when someone really heard me ~ I was in my 40’s at the time too. I try to re-create that here so thank you for what you have said. Celine YOU DO deserve it! We all do.
When I came through this process and realized when I was actually on the ‘other side of broken’ for the first time in my life I think I understood what “re-born” meant!
Hugs, Darlene


I just spit out my tea when I read this (from an earlier post) “I was all excited one day because I had been asked to do a content edit on a book written by a therapist and I gushed to my mother that I was going to write a book too. She threatened to sue me! It took me a while (the awareness came in stages on this one) to even ask myself what the hell she thought she could sue me for? and WHY she thought the book was about her, but eventually I realized it for the truth leak of FEAR that it was; she thought I was going to tell the things she did that SHE knew that were wrong.”

I have a similar story that I’ve used to explain just how absurd my mother can be. In therapy, I had been given the task of writing my autobiography. I was kind of excited at the prospect and told my mom & sister about the project. My mother freaked out and yelled that I couldn’t do that because it wasn’t my story, it was hers!! Then proceeded to berate me until I was adequately shamed. I was so shocked and confused. How could MY autobiography not be MY story? Talk about an admission that you have done terrible and shameful things. It’s not even like I was sending it to be published. It was a project about ME for MY therapy! (BTW, I haven’t written anything since that day & that was 20 years ago.) One thing for sure, I never, ever thought I’d see/hear something like this anywhere else!

Your site continues to put a voice to things I’ve never said out loud. Most of the time, I feel like I could have written the post myself, it so closely matches what I’ve been through. The wonderful conversations here have helped to validate my experiences — and understand when I don’t need to. Even more importantly, I see every day that I am not alone. THANK YOU!!!!!!


Hi Tracey
When I first started public motivational speaking in seminars, I was shocked by how many people related to what I was saying. Time after time people almost everyone in the seminar would say they never thought anyone else felt that way or that happened to them too. People responded with such….. relief; relief that they were not actually the only ones! (that is what inspired me to start this website in the first place)
There have been some big things that I realized as the ‘fog’ lifted and this was one of them. If she had nothing to hide, what the hell causes that reaction to me saying I was going to write a book???
Glad you are here
Hugs, Darlene


HI, I called my mom on her denial not right away but when I was able to understand what was going on and I was still fairly young. I said do you not believe me because it is inconvenient to believe me? She said pretty much! Then she started calling me a liar and crazy and went into a deeper level of denial. All of your posts just validate my experiences and the experiences of others.


Gosh this rings so true, my mother has outright lied and disowned me because I believed my version of my childhood over hers. It took me years to be able to challenge her about this and she plainly didn’t want the narrative of her life being changed by me, even if I was correct and she could be proven to be wrong.
Years of talking therapy has helped me see how I had been trained to take the blame for situations beyond my control, how I had been trained to carry the guilt that wasn’t mine to carry and the feelings that I would never be good enough or loveable for her.
Finding this blog several years ago really helped me get to grips with untangling the guilt and control issues. In fact Darlene, you helped me see a way of letting go and keep what sanity I had intact. Removing the blinkers and retraining my thought processes takes time, a lot of time, but with perseverance and being kinder to myself has given me the opportunity to heal from the incideousness that emotional abuse leaves behind.

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