Dealing with People Who Talk Down to Me


demeaning and demanding peopleI reached a point in my adult life where I found myself wondering why some people who seemed to be so nice to other people, were not so nice to me.  I realized as I grew in this process of emotional healing that it had a lot to do with my own inner value. It was as though people could “see” how much I would put up with. My worth, before I emerged from broken had a lot to do with what I could do for others. I thought that my value was in what I had to offer. A lot of people took advantage of me and used me. I did a lot of service work but wasn’t really appreciated for it. I tried not to do if for the appreciation, but when people treated me like I didn’t matter, it really hurt me. I bent over backwards to “be good enough to deserve acceptance.”

I had to learn to value myself ~ enough to call them on it. I had to realize that they were wrong to treat me that way and if I let it go, they were likely to keep doing it. I had to care enough about me to reject that kind of treatment. I had to realize that when people talk down to me, it doesn’t define me as beneath them.  On the other hand I also had to learn that when people fall all over themselves to be with me, that doesn’t define me as worthy either. That was the false definition of love and acceptance that I had to come to understand in this process of emotional healing.

This was a huge part of my recovery process.

First I had to own my anger at this injustice towards me as a person.  I had to own my equality and believe in myself. Instead of constantly asking myself what was wrong with me and searching my heart for how I could be worthy of love and respect, I started to ask myself why people felt they had permission to treat me as less valuable or less important than they were.

The truth those thoughts led to enabled me to start asking those people who were discounting me questions about why they behaved the way they did towards me.

Years ago I would fantasize about talking to them the way that they talked to me. I imagined myself rising up and using all my sarcastic voice infliction, sneering down at them or rolling my eyes at them and disregarding them the same way that they disregarded me. I would “show them” how it felt. But that is not me. I hated that I didn’t know HOW to make them treat me as an equally valuable person.

I had to learn to stop seeing myself through their eyes.

Instead of scheming up ways of showing them how it feels when someone talks like that or ways to get revenge, I started to ask questions that seemed to shock them.  I say things like “why are you talking to me that way as though I am “nothing”?  I ask “why are you talking to me as though I have no feelings?” or I say “why are you speaking to me as though I am beneath you?”or one of my favourites;  “why are you talking to me like I am stupid?” No one ever has an answer. But they stop. They don’t know what to say. They are usually in shock because I point out their behaviour. Sometimes it is just a matter of letting them know that I know what they are doing. They are not fooling me anymore and they are not manipulating me anymore. I am not going to be regarded as beneath anyone. 

In the past I was afraid to make those kinds of statements (in the form of questions) because I was afraid that my feelings were wrong. I thought that maybe I was misunderstanding the intention of the person doing the mistreating. I thought I was “exaggerating”; I thought they must be right ~ that in truth maybe I really was nothing. I believed that I was less than other people. I had no understanding of equal value or equality for all people. I thought everyone else was deserving, but that something was wrong with me. I thought that it was my own fault (not that I could figure out WHY it was my fault) that people looked down on me.

When I married my husband his sister constantly talked down to me. For years she went out of her way to put me down whenever he wasn’t in the same room as us. When the kids were born she included my mothering ideas in her constant putdowns and sneering judgements of me. I found it SO frustrating but what could I do? I had no idea that I could point it out to her. It never occurred to me. And it didn’t occur to me because I was pretty sure that I must be wrong. I was sure that it was ME and it didn’t dawn on me that it might be HER or that she was proving herself to be a mean spirited woman. I didn’t realize that I was not the problem, and as I have written so often in the past, I had been convinced all my life that I was the problem… so I didn’t have the guts, OR the conviction  about where the truth lay, to say anything.  I took it. I tried harder to get her to like me!

When I first considered asking these kinds of questions, I thought that I was being a b-word. I really thought that sticking up for myself was mean and nasty and that I was presenting myself as mean and nasty if I confronted anyone with a statement like that. I was afraid that if I were to say any form of  “I don’t have to take your nasty attitude” that they would say “what a b-word you are”.  I had it really mixed up. 

But I got stronger. I grew in my understanding of the misuse of power and control. My self esteem began to recover.  I did not deserve that treatment from anyone. I am not stupid and I don’t have to allow people to treat me or to speak to me like I am stupid. The way they regarded me was about them and that isn’t my problem.  One of my fears was that they wouldn’t like me if I stood up to them. But by their actions and regard for me, they already didn’t like me enough to respect me. Another of my fears was that they would leave me, but they had never been with me. Relationship of any kind with them was conditional. My fears were misplaced and when I saw the truth, those overwhelming fears began to diminish. If they walked out of my life, and many of them have, what was I going to miss? 

Now that I know the truth, I can speak it. Now that I know the truth I don’t have to take that crap.  Now that I know the truth, few people ever say anything nasty to me anymore anyway.

My boundary is drawn in my heart.  It comes from the knowledge of my own worth.

And my life is so much healthier! 

Please share your thoughts and feelings.

A snapshot of truth on the journey to emotional healing

Darlene Ouimet

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

Categories : Self Esteem



Hi Darlene, A friend and I were just discussing this today. We focused on the need for compliments from others to feel good about one’s self. In talking to her, I realized that I am less dependent upon what others think of me but sometimes, I slip backward and start wondering what I’ve done wrong. I put myself in the center by thinking that I must alter myself somehow. I used to think I was treating others the way I wanted to be treated but now I know I had a wrong definition of that action. I don’t like to be around people who put themselves at the center of the world and I don’t like people changing themselves for me. It makes me suspicious and makes me wonder what they are up to. I don’t enjoy being around needy people that continually, need emotional support expressed to them. I am now beginning to see that my good feelings about me should come from God and myself and not from family, friends, or aquaintances. I don’t need aproval from others to be able to enjoy something I have accomplished. If it pleases my God and me, that is enough. I do continue to want to love others as I love myself and that treatment can be summed up in one word, respect.

I’ve lost relationships too when I started to change and could no longer tolerate relationships in which I was disrespected. It hurts and I still have days when I wonder if I did the right thing but then I remember the level of disrespect that was shown to me by people who should love me and I see that there is no other choice than the one I made. I did the right thing and my family didn’t…it’s my sister’s birthday today and one of those days that cause me to doubt. However, I’m healthier now and my doubt is quickly replaced with the surety that can only come from self-respect.



I get interupeted all the time when I am speaking to someone, as if what they had to say to the person I am talking to is more important than what I am discussing with them. I really need to jump in and ask one of those kinds of questions or say “excuse me, we were talking…” I gotta run but I’ll be back to comment in more detail.


That is a great topic and a hard one! I seem to attract friends who like to use sarcasm as their means of being rude and laughing it off. I’m learning to come right out and confront it when it happens but it’s not always easy. You gave some great food for thought.

Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God


Hi Sojourner
At first I would get exasperated when I started to stand up for myself about this particular one and I would say ” LISTEN to me”.. or “YOU ARE NOT listening to me…” But I learned to say “excuse me, you cut me off’… or “I wasn’t finished yet” and my kids say it now to each other now too… I hate to admit it but they sometimes have to say it even to me! LOL (but it is all good. We are all learning real loving relationship!)
Looking forward to your comments when you come back!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mel
Ya I had huge problems with the Sarcasm card… it is a tough one. And when ppl. laugh off ANYTHING abusive it is hard. I have said to people, “well I don’t see why that is funny, and then pointed out that it is only funny to them, and it is at my expense. ” it is all a matter of realizing “the truth about the situation” and then saying it. Not as easy as it sound…. I hear you!
Hugs, Darlene


I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now, Darlene, and I’m finally feeling brave enough to comment (unfortunately under a pseudonym, but it’s a start).

“In the past I was afraid to make those kinds of statements (in the form of questions) because I was afraid that my feelings were wrong. I thought that maybe I was misunderstanding the intention of the person doing the mistreating. I thought I was “exaggerating”; I thought they must be right ~ that in truth maybe I really was nothing.”

Reading this blog gets very strange for me sometimes because of how closely some of your experiences mirror my own, and this bit’s no exception. I’ve come to realize that I brushed off a lot of my past abuse using this logic. It was part rationalization for these people treating me the way they did (“Oh, they don’t REALIZE they’re hurting me”; “I’m just too sensitive”; etc.), but I was also blatantly told by several of my abusers that I was overreacting or misinterpreting the situation on those rare occasions when I did try to stand up for myself. It’s hard to trust your own instincts when so many of the people around you tell you they’re wrong.

I’m at a point where I’m starting to stand up for myself, but I’m finding it extremely challenging. I’m still afraid of coming off as a jacka**, even when I’m certain that I’m being treated unfairly, and my nearly non-existent self-esteem doesn’t help matters. I’m constantly fighting the habit to keep everyone around me happy just to maintain “peace”.

There is progress being made, but it’s going slower than I want it to. Reading your blog and the comments that follow is encouraging, though, because they show me that the things I’m struggling with are things that CAN be overcome. I just have to find a way that works for me… however long that takes. 😛


Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~the comment side of things!
Yes, I was constantly told that I was too sensitive or “jeeze, can’t you take a joke?” and stuff like that. But I stopped caring about their opinions about MY reactions. They just plain didn’t respect me and it was very obvious. I totally relate to what you posted here today. For me I realize now that I was afraid that they would think I was a dumb dumb or a Jacka… but they were already treating me like one! That was the part that I didn’t quite come out of the fog on. People treated me like I was stupid, or like I was a b. or like I was unimportant or whatever. They “inferred” these things by the ways they treated me. Some times it is that they rolled their eyes at what I said, or they would sigh loudly, in exasperation… and If I said “what?” they said “what???” Like they had no clue what I was refering to… so I started getting clear and they shut up ~ which for me was as good as a confession! LOL
Great to have you here!
Hugs, Darlene


JK, I was always told that I exagerated, was too sensitive, anything that put the blame back on me. I was amazed at how common it is when I started reading this blog, also. Now I know that it is a manipulative tool that many controling, abusive people use. That is what makes this blog important to me. I find the validation I need to be able to sort through all of the lies about myself that I swallowed hook, line, and sinker.


Darlene, I’ve thought about this some more and I realize that when certain people talked down to me, I didn’t just react by thinking I’d said or did something wrong. I would change myself in an attempt at trying to please that person who thought they were better than me and I agreed with them. I thought they were better than me and I should change myself to fit their standard. I did this to the point of creating another person and then playing that role. Inside, I just always felt empty (it is hard to express)with no set identity of my own. I was who ever the important persons in my life wanted me to be. Now I’m in this process of trying to examine all of the women I’ve been and deciphering what was really me from the role I portrayed. It embarrasses me that I was so unaware of what I was doing. It is also hard to gather all of the pieces of myself together. Sometimes, I exhaust myself by trying to do all of things I’ve done at different times in my life. I’m understanding that I can’t be all of those people. They aren’t the sum of me but the things they all have in common are? I’m a little lost in this…



Darlene..what a powerful blog..

you said: “i had to learn to value myself Wow I have to learn this too .. in me is so ingrained that i was the “worst mistake’ I have really adopted that “worst mistake” mentality..If I am the worst mistake then really I don’t exist.. am no value.. I could go through life and people could care less either way..that’s the mentality I was given… .. Now I am realizing that I am not the worst mistake and that I shouldnt let people talk down to me: throw all the blame on me for things going wrong. .when I know it’s not my fault at all. This triggers me back to home. taking the blame for all the problems at home. I was so easy to dump the blame on because I was quiet..I didnt fight back. I was the odd born ..

You also said, ” i had to own my anger at the injustice towards me” this really hits me during this time of my life. .I have been see sawing over the whole let down of the week before. FIrst I was blaming me. I spent nights crying and crying. I went through every email trying to see any hint that the let down was coming. I found nothing. I read through my emails to see how I failed .but could not find any. then my feeling of guilt began to feel more like anger.. I had done all i was supose to .I surrendered over to a person all my trust and secrets and money.. They told me they cared.. that they are different from other people who hurt me : they would never do that .. let me down so harshly . they did. so now am dealing with my upset. .

I have all I can not to post on every website and forum the name of the person who hurt me and say stay away from that person..so hurt I am by what they done. I have been so tempted. I have so many times thougth of posting other things I come to know but then the calm center inside my heart started calling and telling me to shut up . So now am so confused. .why am i so confused..why can’t i be angry that I had been hurt so badly by such a professional person who was suppose to help me?

“Finally you said: ” had to learn to stop seeing myself through their eyes” this is so hard for me because part of who i am is adapting to every person i meet..Right now . .i have a very bad view of me.. since my last experience.. has left me feeling small, hopeless, slow. but am i really that way?Just because have not yet met all the goals fast enough ..does not mean i’m bad..does that mean a person gives up on me because am more a turtle then a hare.. ..? must isee myself hopeless because the professional saw me that way? I don’t have to see me that way. It’s hard being let down.. being pushed around all my life because people see me as someone to let their anger and frusration on but I dont have to become what others want .. just have to be me. and I am trying hard to find myself.

love and hugs and much gratitude..



I so related to this article. In the past year (I’m 54) I began to take what I call the “I’m not taking your s*@t anymore” attitude with rude, narcissistic types.

An Indian man rudely stepped right in front of me while I was in line at a store as if I didn’t exist. I loudly said, so everyone could hear me, “Did you not see me standing here in line because I’m quite certain that I’m not invisible.” He begrudgingly, and quite sheepishly, “allowed” me to resume my position in front of him in line. I could see that everyone around felt very uncomfortable with my “I’m not taking your s*@t anymore” attitude, and I so didn’t give a s”@t. I felt liberated.

Rude, obnoxious, narcissists no longer get a pass from me no matter how pretty, how rich, if they have power over me, or have something that I “think” I need. I would rather live in my car and bathe in a river before giving in to them or allowing them to control, manipulate, put me down or abuse me.

I firmly believe that they will ultimately get their comeuppance. It’s just a matter of time and when it happens, I will be the first to have zero empathy for them.



Hi! Darlene.
Thank you for your blog. This really does hit home with me. I guess for me I do feel that everything is my fault or I think that I am attracting this kind of treatment (which is another way of saying its my fault for attracting it) I have had so much seperation from people from speaking my truth I have fear about having more of this but, I seperate from myself when I don’t speak up.I seem to always ask where am I doing this treatment with someone else in my life. Either way maybe it is my way to avoid the discomfort of speaking my truth and my fear of their anger.
Peace and Blessings


Darlene, is it ME, or is it YOU? Are your blog posts getting better, or is my thinking becoming clearer? I don’t know which it is; maybe it’s some of both. I have always liked your posts, and I’ve learned so much from them. But lately, WOW ~ everything you are writing is making me want to jump up and down and shout, YESSSSS!!

Ditto for the comments. Every comment here has me jumping up and down, inside: Pam, Sojourner, Mel, JK, Joy, Joe Robinson (my maiden name is Robinson) ~ every thing that every one of you has written here, has jumped right off the computer screen, straight into my heart. All I can say is: I RELATE, fellow survivors, to everything that every one of you has written here.

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that I love: “A relationship can survive anything but disrespect.”

I am now jumping up and down on the inside, saying YESSSS!!! to my own comment. Woo hoo, it’s a beautiful feeling to not be ALONE anymore!!



Oh! Stacy!! Your comment wasn’t there when I was writing mine. Wow, I’m relating to you, too, to every word. More jumping up and down on the inside ~ this all just so…. FITS.


Is it any wonder that so many children are becoming bullies when that is what some of us grew up with from our parents. My dad was the bully in my life. I learned it from him.

As a young adult who promised myself that no one would ever have that kind of control over my life again, I stepped in and learned how to use sarcasm to get what I wanted from others. I became that b*tch that some people called me behind my back.

When I saw what I was doing through the eyes of my children, I stopped. My loving, gentle husband, who grew up being bullied by his two much older brothers, was the target of most of my sarcasm. Because it is how he grew up, he never called me on my bad behavior. When I saw my teenaged children beginning to follow my lead and disrespect their dad, my eyes opened to what I was doing. I stopped and began to call my children on their behavior.

I didn’t know it then but my sarcasm came from my own rage from the incest and my own unhappiness with my life circumstances. Demanding attention and trying to be in control of my own life through sarcasm didn’t make me happy and it didn’t give me any control over my life as I thought it would. I had become my dictator dad who I hated. I realized that I hated myself just as much as my dad. I didn’t realize that I was hurting myself and the people that I loved the most in my life.

Instead of being assertive, I had become aggressive like my dad with his rage. I did all of this in order to feel in control of my own life. I went from being abused by my parents to become the abuser without even knowing it. I had a lot of amends to make to my husband and children and to myself. This is why awareness is so key to healing. Until I was aware, I could not make the necessary changes in my life. I am not proud of my behavior. I repeated what I was taught until I knew differently. I don’t say that as an excuse. There is no excuse for anyone abusing another.

Accepting responsibility for my behavior and doing the necessary work for changing that behavior is what I did that changed my life tremendously. Changing was a process, not an instant step. I wish that someone had asked me the questions that you ask in your post. I would have become aware a lot sooner. The person that uses sarcasm hates themselves for their own unhappiness but isn’t aware of it. Sarcastic people are not happy people.


For the last couple days I have been bothered by the actions of a friend of mine and after reading your post I sent a letter to her. I am feeling a little shaky because I spoke my truth the fear of punishment is in me along with feeling empowered. I love the quote “Speak your truth even if your voice shakes” That means the truth is coming out. I will sit and nuture this scared little girl and know I no longer have to be a victim and stay silent and seperated from me.


for most of my teenage years i lived by the tenet ‘ the best form of defence is a good offence’. so i put myself down first and was physically and verbally abusive to people i knew wouldnt retailate. over the years since thenm i have managed to stop slapping and hitting those males i felt safe with, though i still struggle with my tone of voice at home i am a lot better at how i speak to others outside the home.
it like i 2 people. the outside person and the out of home person, but i know this is a reacton to how i was raised. and having that awareness doesnt help me when i am stressed to breaking point and i lash out. then i have that horriblke situation where i have too aplolgise for my behaviour even though i know if it happened again i wouldnt be able to stop the verbal. mmmm i wish the help im waiting on was available now cos i wana get on with my life and not hurt those living with me anymore than i already have


a inside home and an outside home, lol


Pat, With freedom comes responsibility and responsibility brings freedom.



Carol, it took me a lot of years before I completely was able to change my behavior from sarcastic to healthy. The struggle is worth the end results. You can do it one step at a time.

Pam, yes, what you said is so true. When I stopped being a victim, I became responsible for my own behavior. That means changing what needs to be changed. That means being able to look at the truth when someone points out certain things to me about my behavior. Sometimes their truth is right on and sometimes it isn’t. It means being able to forgive myself for those times that I make mistakes and hurt others. It means changing the behavior that hurts myself and others. It means recognising those who are so busy creating drama rather than taking a real look at their own issues. I can fix others. I can only fix myself. That is where the responsibility lies.


I still have difficulty calling people on it when they talk down to me, ignore me, talk over me… these same people will make fun of me for being “so quiet.. never talking” there are times when i feel like saying, when i do speak, you don’t notice, or you cut me off.. but i always stop myself.. as i start thinking, i must have imagined it.. or what i had to say was important anyway.. but when i sit and think about it honestly.. they do cut me off.. they do talk over me, then take over the conversation… i am not sure if i would have the courage to actually say anything.. i figure if they need so much to be heard, that they are willing to talk over me, then it must be very important to them… same as if they make fun of me, or put me down.. i feel hurt and wish i could tell them so.. but then i start thinking, well they must be having a hard time, so they need to take it out on someone and if it wasn’t me, it would be someone else.. so how aweful of me to want them to treat someone else this way.. so, i say nothing…


You have all been so so helpful. Recently I have cut off contact with so many that I love but cannot stand. I have always been the peacemaker, the middle child and the one who brings everyone together. My elderly parents “guilted” my younger brother into moving them last month. He has Muscular Dystrophy and sat there and sifted through my mother’s hoarded belongings. This was such a trigger for me. I am a 49 yr old woman with Narcolepsy and was always treated like I was lazy. There are 5 siblings in our family but it feels like I don’t even have a family now. This healing process takes some time. There is so much to hear from all of you and so much I would like to tell…


Pat, I don’t know about you but it was such a relief when I figured out that I wasn’t responsible for the behavior of others. My anxiety level dropped 90%!


Tamara, I also lost my family of origen this year when I required them to treat me with respect in order to have a relationship with me. It hurts but it feels good to be free from relationships that held me in such low reguard. Sometimes, the medicine we need doesn’t taste very good but health is worth the bad taste. My mental and emotional health is worth the loss of relationship with my family. I’m not only made better by it, but the family my husband and I created together is doing better too. I think that is when I knew something was really, badly, wrong. When my children encouraged me to cut ties with them. It was a shock and an eye opener to what I had put up with for so long and considered normal.



All, I think that all of us who have been abused have problems with becoming like our abusers. Either we are prone to abuse others, or we are prone to abuse ourselves,or both. No abuse is acceptable. It is hard to change, it takes time, but it is possible.

Lynda, I don’t know if your comments include me. Because of our last interaction, I think they probably do. I’m not on anyone’s side and I’m not part of any argument. I don’t have the time to respond to all the comments. I don’t mean to neglect anyone. I just respond to the ones that speak to me. My comments are often not responded to either. I have no ill will toward you or toward anyone.



I really am sorry, please forgive, I am going to take my presciption off of here again, I am not strong enough for this. I don’t know which hurts worse, being openly publically bashed, or being pointedly ignored. It isn’t healing for me, that’s all I know. I need to get going on my own blog, I guess.


Pam, I truly think you are lovely.


I am struggling with medicine changes too, just today I started on my 4th new antidepressant med, since I was put back on them back at the end of June when I was suicidal. None of these meds have been working right, and the one I took today, I know after just one dose it is too soon to tell, but my head feels weird. I need to try to get off of these meds, I think… but I was so close to suicidal in June, I am afraid to do that.

I wish I could go to a hospital and stay there until I am either stablized on a med, or weaned off of them. I am sorry if I am being inappropriate. I can’t respond to all comments either, I can’t even read all comments. My head is mush right now.


Seriously… for anyone here who believes in prayer… if it’s not selfish of me to ask, please pray for me. I am not doing well and I do NOT want to be like this, I do NOT want to hurt anyone. I haven’t been able to function for months now, all the dishes are dirty, the laundry piled up huge, the house is a wreck, I need a bath, I am a huge mess and I don’t think this latest new med is good for me… I was better off on the last one that made me a non-functioning zombie, at least I wasn’t all sensitive and going off on rants.


Hi Everyone,
I was in meetings this morning and out the rest of the day. I have not been keeping up with even reading the comments here
Lynda, I noticed that you are very upset about something (I have not had time to read your long comment, but I noticed the one where you said that you were going to leave here agian..) and if you think that I am ignoring you, that is not the case.
I will catch up tomorrow.
Hugs, Darlene


I dont answer all either as I am still sad about my loss of T but I love you Lynda and everyone here.. I have a paper due Monday and have all kind of legal stuff being thrown at me .. I feel am being pulled in many direction.



Lynda, I understand all of that. I’ve been there. Being online too much has caused me problems at times too…sometimes, it just doesn’t mix well with what is happening to us in 3D.I’ll be happy to pray for you. Be good to yourself. Get better.



I was not online last night, so did not see you struggling… i hope with the new day, the struggles have lessened… We all have bad moments, where else can a person who has lived through as much as you have, feel safe enough to give life to there struggles, then in a room full of survivors? Its ok, i understand those desperate moments, those moments where you don’t think it possible for your heart to contain that amount of pain, before it just explodes!! but it does, it keeps beating, and with one more day, comes that much more strength, and one more day closer to healing.. I also understand changing meds… i am no longer on any antidepressants, anti anxietals, anti psychotics, etc. all those meds.. at times felt as though they were working.. but for me, i never found one that worked well with me.. i was either a worse mess, or a zombie… so i weaned off allof them.. then went into a residential psychotherapy unit for 6 months, in order to live without the meds, and to get me through the suicidal times in my life.. although that is where my healing stopped.. i didn’t really move much more forward.. they all felt that they got me to stay alive, and thats what mattered, i still have a long way to go though.. All this Lynda, to say, i am sorry you are struggling, that i have been there too and that i hope with the rising of the sun, you rise too feeling a little lighter then the last day..


It’s like that in the real world. My friend used to work on Wall Street, but I didn’t know him when he did. Well, he USED to have a friend who tried to talk me into having sex with him-that’s all it was and that’s all I’m calling it-and when I said no he went and looked up information on me and told my friend everything he learned–which really was EVERYthing. This guy STILL works on Wall Street, and he’d been friends with my friend for 20 whole years before my friend met me (a year ago.)
Besides just being furious that my friend seemed to feel empathy for me only 6 months into our friendship, the guy was disgusted that my friend could like someone with “no net worth or value to the world.”
His idea of value has $$ signs on it, and he sees no other definition for the word.
I’m not exaggerating what he said either, I just lost another job and my worth has dropped into the hole. If I don’t get a job this month or next, I’ll be paying overdraft fees to my bank, too.
Well this friend told my friend, who’s a stockbroker now, about how I have no material worth and that, consequently, I give nothing back to the world and just “take, take, take from it.”
From his tax dollars, which is what he was REALLY upset about. He said he’d “have more money (like he NEEDS it) if it weren’t for thousands of people like me who “take, take, take from the world, and do more than exPECT the world to pay them by deMANDing that it does.”
Before I said no to having sex with this guy, there was nothing wrong with me. Now EVERYthing is, and most people HIM over me, even when they KNOW me they believe him over me.
I don’t know what people here will think, I just don’t care anymore. I don’t understand why not being able to have sex with one measly person would incite a hyper-outrageous response like the one he showed. I mean he acts like having sex with me was the defining point of his life. I just have no idea why he got that upset about it.


Vicky, It sounds like he has a big problem with rejection.


This post has just triggered a different kind of recognition for me. I was wondering why I always feel so uncomfortable when talking to certain people, folks who aren’t being outwardly mean or insulting or condescending. I replayed a conversation from yesterday and asked myself what was missing. I realized that this man has NEVER, in any conversation, asked me about myself or expressed much interest or concern about me or my life. The conversation always focuses on something about him or our community. It’s not even that he’s hurtful, just that there’s no give and take. For a while I’ve been obsessing about how to become more interesting to people like him, and now I am sensing that it is not about me. There ARE other people who are interested and care and I don’t have to change to engage them. I would like to figure out how to be free from worrying about people who either don’t care or are hostile to me. Why do I spend so much time thinking about why people are indifferent or rude or whatever, instead of just focusing on the blessing of my true friends? Does this all go back to the anxieties implanted in me from early childhood when the adults in my life also seemed to ignore my emotional needs for true connection? Mmmmm, I think I’m on to something here.


Thinking of all of you with affection, respect, and gratitude. Sophia


Hi all!

Lynda, I hope that you feel better today. I took a much needed day of yesterday, and I apologize to all the readers for not catching this upset on the blog. I realize now that Lynda is not talking about being ignored by the readers here, but rather about being ignored by the people she had that problem with and whoever was involved in that discussion.

Lynda, I deleted your comment rehashing that whole Facebook thing. I have asked you not to post about it anymore on Emerging from Broken. I reminded you last time when you brought it up again. I realize that you are struggling with that event but this is not the place to work it out. This is MY blog and I intend it to be a safe place for everyone.

Readers ~ I deleted the comment because the people that Lynda is talking about are also readers of this blog and this is not the place for the problem to be solved. When this kind of thing happens it makes everyone feel unsafe. Not only that, but the way that Lynda is presenting it is inaccurate (I have read the copies of the FB conversations sent to me by Lynda herself) which is really unfair to the people that she is talking about.

About comments ~ I do not want anyone to feel obligated to respond to the comments or even to my blog posts. I write in hopes of shedding a different light on the reasons we struggle because when I learned this stuff, it helped me to overcome the struggle.

Thanks for all the comments everyone. I am not going to be able to answer them individually this time.
Hugs and love, Darlene


When it was my dad, and he talked to me like I was stupid in front of my older kids, I didn’t ask WHY he talked to me that way, since I had had that all my life; I was emphatic, “DON’T call me STUPID!! I am NOT stupid., etc.” And boy did that feel good!!


You hurt me
You have broke me, left me holding my heart in my hand
Do you see me, how I am not able to understand
Why did you do this, why did you leave me in so much pain
You said you were different, with me you would remain.

Now the tears fall from the scar you left deep down inside
I am wondering why this happened; for hours I have cried
Are you heartless, do your feelings no longer work anymore
Surely you knew how painful would be such a sore.

Yet you did this, you did what you said you wouldn’t do
Now I am broken and wondering what to think of you .
I have been pondering and turning it all around inside
There are no answers they all seem to run and hide.

I hope you’re happy and find it easy to sleep at night
Because I’m don’t, you took from me, my hopeful light
I know some day I will find someone I can trust again
But will never forget how much you hurt me deep within



Hi Everyone,
Lynda wrote me a really heartfelt email apologizing for her blog post here in this thread (the one that I deleted) and asked me to pass this on to the other readers on this post. She is struggling and barely remembered writing it and she is deeply sorry.
Hugs, Darlene


In order for me to do that with my brother, David, I had to leave him altogether. And, when I told him I can’t handle him getting angry at me for being physically sick, he showed me how much he cared by making it be about him again. He said “I don’t need someone in my life who’s going to really upset me by coughing so much.”
Before I left him, he always harped on that ‘you have to visit everyone b/c they’re family-and for no other reason.’
Well, the only thing he visited me for-and, most damn likely, visit anyone else for-was to treat me the way he’s going to for the rest of his life. He was going to treat me like a whipping post for the rest of his life and, if I said anything in protest of it, he would tell me he’s depressed b/c he’s been out of work for almost 2 years. I’m supposed to reply with “Oh. Okay. I can understand why you’re blowing up at me, and I forgive you.” Until he does it the next time, and the next time, and the next time.
I don’t know if anyone guessed from what’s in my post, so I’ll say it outright: He would blow up at me every single solitary time he visited me, and he had jobs SEVERAL of those times. I have no idea what his excuse would have been then, but he would have found something.
I refuse to sit there and be his whipping post, but I’m depressed I left him too. And I wonder when the severe depression of it is going to leave. Or IF it will depart.
I’ve never felt so torn in two in my life, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when I think of it. I mean, I feel torn leaving a guy who used me as nothing more than a whipping post?
Nothing makes sense anymore, and I hate when nothing makes sense b/c I have no idea what to do to stop the depression. It’s at an alarming severity, alarming to me anyway.
I just want to know if this reaction to leaving a hateful family member is the usual one people have when THEY’VE left THEIR obnoxious relatives.


Vicki, what you are calling depression is grieving. You are grieving the loss of a relationship with your brother. You are grieving the loss of ever having the kind of brother that loves you and that you can love. Any time that you end something, even if it is abusive, you still grieve the loss. It is human and it is healthy to grieve. Even little losses are grieved momentarily. When it is the love of a brother or other close person, the grief feels like depression.

The grief can become depression if it takes a very long time to work through. The only way that I have found through grief is to feel it. Grief can leave and come back unexpectedly. Also for me when I finally allowed myself to feel the grief of incest, because I had stuffed and denied it for so long, I took a really long time to get through it. Also, any grief that you haven’t done before gets piled on top of your current grief when you first start to feel the feelings of grieving. Give yourself the time that you need. Let yourself feel the feelings. It will end, unless you stuff and deny it.


Hi Patricia

I like what you said here. as I think it’s appropriate and applicable to how I am feeling right now. I feel like I lost someone close..because that someone had secrets no one else had.. It is taking me a long time to get over.. and I think it’s because there were no red flags going up .. no warning signs. .I was drawn in to believe I could trust , I could share. no need to worry. .I feel my heart is literally broken. I feel if someone xrayed it there would be a deep gash in it labeled september 27 2011.. I can’t get past it becaus I try hard to make sens of things.. find some way to accept .but how can you accept what is totally un real.. i felt so connected..was told was doing so well.. I feel I am headed for depression but have been trying to breathe.. to go to my safe place..but i dont know if that is a good idea.since she said it was good to do. and she left me in my most vulnerable time. .

So I am feeling my feelings. I have cried and written and cried some more.. wish some one would tell me why it had to happen when I was already afraid and fearful about updcoming events..

Sigh.. hoping the tear basin is almost dry



Joy, you are stronger than you think. Maybe this is the Universe’s way of saying trust yourself. If you aren’t trusting yourself, you will keep attracting people that you can’t trust. Once you start to trust yourself, you will become a better judge of whether or not you can trust other people. You have to trust and you have to love yourself before you love and trust other people. Cry as much and as often as you need to. Find constructive ways to deal with your anger. Part of grieving is usually getting angry at the other person for leaving you, for letting you down and for disappointing you.


HI Patricia.. I thought I was progressing in my self-love in the fact I sought out therapy.. How was I to know that the very person I ran to for help ..would leave me .. Are we not to trust those who are set aside to help us.. How can we tell .. I mean there is no voice from the Heavens that will tell me this person is good. I felt I could trust her.. I had no reason not to..I know I have to be careful with my day to day people but must i also be worried that people in the mental health field are going to be hurtful.. that you will begin to trust and as soon as you do the rug will be pulled out fro out of you . am so so full of confusion . I have been doing lots of crying..washing down all the hurt thats inside.

Thank you for responding



Joy, every time that we trust someone we are taking a chance on being hurt. That is the hard thing about trust. There will always be those people out there that take advantage of our trust. We can’t let that possibility of being hurt stop you from every trusting anyone again. Life isn’t easy. Most of our lessons seem to come from those who hurt us. I wish that I could tell you that you will never be hurt again. I can’t. Nobody can. Just don’t let that fear keep you from living your life the best that you can.



you are right. . we have to keep trusting and trusting leaves us ever open to be hurt again but maybe next time it happens it wont wound me so bad. as I will have that open space where the next hurt can slide right into.

I try to trust everyone .. i always do. i have always been trusting . but this last incident is telling me maybe always trusting is not a good quality to have..

I am ready for whatever comes next.. but I am a little more frightened..

One step at a time . I will keep walking towards my wholeness on whatever path life gives me with whatever people the universe puts in my path!



Pam thanks for responding – when I read all of these heartfelt insights on this road to freedom I am so blown away. So many peices of everyones lives are too familiar. Lynda, I believe in prayer and the great answers that come that we are not privy to – but I know they come. i pray for you and all that connect here…Somewhere – maybe in the Psalms(?) I read that The Father God catches our tears in a bottle – somehow I know and have felt the healing comfort in that. That is not religion nor bondage but Love. I feel love here.


Joy, not everyone should be trusted. You have to listen to your heart and to the person to figure out if they are trustworthy. With experience you will learn who to trust. Sometimes you will be hurt. Sometimes your trust will be honored.


Tamara, You’re welcome. The insights are wonderful as they promote hope and the belief that it is possible to get better. I’ve never experienced that in the mental health care that I sought out. Their solution was to keep me on pills all of my life and any psychological counseling that I had was aimed at keeping me compliant to the meds. The pills made me worse and I learned how dangerous it is to be overly compliant. I had to start listening to me and in this place, I’ve found encouragement in doing so. I believe God cares, also and I agree that isn’t religion because I believe that God is love. Religion seems to me to always point to me and my lack but in God, I find comfort, also.


Joy, I agree with, Patricia. You are strong and I know that because of all you’ve survived. When you learn to trust in yourself, there will be no stopping you. Some people are more trustworthy than others but none of us are perfect. There is always a part of me that I hold back and keep for myself because human beings just can’t be fully trustworthy. If you hang around me long enough, I will let you down also and you, me. It’s amazing to me that abused people continue to trust at all but so many of us trust too much. Maybe it is because we want to believe that people are good and the over-the-top-trust we have for others is really a seeking out of someone that we can trust. In reality, human beings are the most vicious species when it comes to how we treat one another. It would be a good thing if abuse in childhood were uncommon but sadly, it is very common. Evil is common but still, most of us want to hide from that truth. I try to hide from it too but not as much as I used to. No matter how bad someone treated me, I used to think that there was some good in them, that there had to be, but I don’t think that anymore. There are some people in the world who have given themselves fully over to evil.

I’m tired and I’m kind of babbling. Be your own trustworthy friend, Joy and try very hard not to let yourself down. Then you will have more to give others who are also trying to be good people and fight against the evil that wants to possess us all. Loving others and treating them the way we want to be treated has to begin with loving ourselves. People who continually, and without remorse, hurt others don’t love themselves either.




Thanks for all your kind words.. for all the reaching out as am trying to mend .. from the occurance . and I know what you say is true.. sometimes people I trust will be trusthworthy other times they will not ..to trust in side m. but inside me is always wanting everyone to be good. 😉

I know you are good..Darlene is good. Susan..etc etc..

But i fail in discerning therapist I have sruck out 3 times



Pam and Patricia,

Thank you for answering so many comments this past few days while I have been taking a break. I really appreciate you both.

About Trust, Part of my process was about learning that it was OK not to trust. I had good reason not to trust. I too had been taken advantage of by professionals whom I trusted simply because of the title they held. One of the biggest results of this whole recovery process for me has been realizing the reasons I did trust so blindly and learning that it really is okay to take some time and have a reason TO trust. So much of this stuff came together for me as a “result” of doing the work to see where my beliefs came from in the first place.

Hugs, Darlene



With me I didnt share out every thing at once ..was little by little till i thought I could completely trust.. then after I thought I could trust the unthinkable happened. I understand now that its not about me or on me what happened.but it still hurts me so much .. I do trust blindly . i always give people the “benefit of the doubt” till they show me they can’t be trusted and maybe this is giving them too much rope? Now .. am wondering . .about my way of trusting.

thanks for such a beautiful blog here.




Darlene, you are very welcome.

Joy, most of us, if not all of us, who visit Darlene’s blog are what are called Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families. My first introduction to this idea was in a book written specifically for Adult Children of Alcoholics and that is the name of the book written by Janet Woitzit (I hope I spelled Janet’s last name right.) The characteristics are the same whether you are from any kind of dysfunctional home.

One of those characteristics is that we do things in the extreme. One being that we either trust no one or we trust everyone. Neither way is healthy. We trust no one because we are afraid of being hurt so we push people away and don’t let them get close enough to trust.

The other is that we trust everyone too easily and we constantly get hurt by those we shouldn’t trust. We want a fairy tale life with a happy ever after ending so bad that we overlook what people’s actions tell us about them – that they are not trustworthy. We want everyone to be good and to love us and to be good people so bad that we don’t see who they really are. We believe their lies and the masks they present us with. We give them our trust and then they betray us.

Both of those examples are of extremes. Life and being healthy is about balance. We should strive to find balance somewhere in the middle. That takes time, trial and error and work to bring balance into our lives, especially if we have never had balance in our lives as children.

How to you recognise what you have never had. You don’t at first. That why I said it is trial and error. You have to decide what works for you and what doesn’t. What makes you feel safe and what leaves you afraid? What feels comfortable and what feels healthy? Sometimes they are the same and sometimes comfortable is what we have always known which isn’t always healthy.

In this process, you have to get to know you to know what works for you. That is why knowing who you are and loving yourself is so important. Discovering what your needs are when you never were allowed to have needs as a child. Loving yourself enough to not let abusers continue to abuse you. Allowing yourself to grieve when you never have before.

Grieving is a big part of healing, especially if you have never grieved the losses in your life before. That is why your grief feels so big right now, Joy. You aren’t grieving just the loss of your trust and your therapist. Once the grieving process starts for the first time in your healing, it becomes about everything you have never grieved before. That is why it seems so overwhelming. The grief is bigger than just this one situation with your therapist. Once I allowed myself to finally start to grieve, I cried for a year in 12-Step meetings before I quit. I still couldn’t let my family see me cry because I had issues that said crying was showing weakness. In my family of origin crying just brought on ridicule and more abuse. It wasn’t safe to cry in my childhood family so I hid my tears or refused to cry when I should have. That belief was so deeply ingrained in me that I still, even after all the work I have done, don’t like to cry in front of my family. If healing is a destination, I am not there yet either. Healing is the journey.


Patricia, That is beautiful and so true. I really relate to the crying bringing ridicule. I’m a sensitive person and my sensitivity was painted as crazy, disgusting and I bought that definition for a long time. Then one day, I realized that my family had the problem when it came to displaying emotion. When all the pieces began to fall together and I started understanding what was wrong with the way my family teated me and the damage it caused, I cried and cried, also. I still look for balance in everything as balance wasn’t modeled to me and I have to think about it. Also, I reacted to many of the things my parents did to hurt me by running in the complete oposite direction and by that practice, created dysfunction of my own. You’re right that healing is a continuing process and is as much about becoming as healing.



Sensitivity is also intuitive. This is our inborne gift to make choices; etc. Family/friends that say we are too sensitive don’t really get it. It’s weird that all these isssues I thought I had solved in my late 20’s have re-emerged. I am 49 and my nephew’s daughter having a football-sized Wihlm’s tumor and my mother babysitting her and actually thinking she was “milking” her cancer at age 5 really shook me into reality and the reality of allowing horrendous behavior in my parents. Thanks for leting me vent…t


It is like getting thrust back to my abused life, when people talk to me as if Im stupid or attack me when I correctly stand up for myself. I know it is not me or what I am doing but their mental place. I don’t feel I need to prove myself to these people that think Im the sick one. I am told I am dilusional, sick in the head, hypercondriact and just F—ed up. Do you know what started it? I said to my sister I feel hurt and betrayed by you then she let loose on me. I acted healthy she acted out of control. I did not cut loose on her, I didnt want to hurt her nor did I think lashing back was healthy. Days later I told her how we disagree is very unhealthy and we need to learn a new healthy way and it still takes two.



I would hope i don’t have to worry about my friends letting me down if that is the forecast..that if we hang around people long enough they will let us down that is almost like saying its ok that my t let me down since thats to be expected. we expect people to let us down but there is certain professionalism expected by people who are paid such high rates for help us with our trauma and problems..they are not like your average joe you say hi and good bye to.. they are not our friends or family they are professionals and are suppose to behave as such.. . TO be tossed aside like .. I dont matter was the worst experience I have had since leaving home. I felt litterally like a piece of trash. heartlessly tossed aside.. by her actions she said: who cares about your feelngs. who cares that you have been abandoned n your life..who cares that we have discussed your fears of being dropped.. who cares . that I was so badly treated p “WHO CARES ABOUT YOU?” surely she didnt. .by turnng the skype off in the middle of my question and then not responding till a week after said I am nothing but a piece of dirt ..i am sorry for these feelings but that is how i felt i felt cheap. not valued.

Luckily the story wont end there. am going to get back up but when I do i am going to be that much more afraid to trust what I think I know about people .especially about professionals



The most wonderful thing that I keep in mind when people are even remotely like this (in the post) with me is a saying that I read in a book called Why Men Marry Bitches: “Truly powerful people do not engage those that do not respect them.” Ever since I read that and remembered there were so many billion peoples on the planet – did I start giving people [one] chance and that was all. They didn’t get to talk to me again. and I would very blatantly avoid them. Interestingly enough – this doesn’t happen to me anymore. and if it were to (god forbid, it sucks, of course..) I would know that they were going to be “estranged.” permanently.


Joy, I didn’t mean to downplay what happened to you. I know it hurts. It was very unprofessional for her to treat you that way on top of just being wrong. All I meant was that I’ve learned to hold a part of me back that only belongs to me and I’m always mindful that people are just people with weaknesses. I think I used to think I’d find a perfect person someday or be one and that person would never hurt me. Now I know that everyone I choose to love and trust will hurt me to some extent. They can’t help it. Human relationships are never perfect. In my life, there have been those that lasted until one of us was hurt and those that were valuable enough to both of us to work past the hurts.

I hope that makes better sense to you.



Hi Pam

It does and sorry if my anger is showing itself a little. Just seems that one who was so insistent on following rules should have done the right right what a professional would have done. 3 days before the email she wrote was all so positive. what happened between that email of the 23rd and when i appeared on 27th i dont know as I was never allowed contact with her. I had done nothing. If I deserved it, if I saw it coming it would have been better able to handle it .. moreover she left me hanging for a week before she ventured to salt my wounds some more..

I know people will hurt me Pam, I know this is part of life. Even as bad as all my family hurt me .. I understand they couldnt do more .but when a professional who claims to specialize in trauma treats a badly hurt client with such heartlessness. that is not a matter of a let down is pure heartless abuse..

I don’t think its anywhere in the APA that a psychologist can do such a way to a client especially since everything leading up to it never pointed to what she was going to do she led me to believe on her email that she was happy with what i was doing and looked forward to the next session.

People like that are more dangerous than the abuser . .as you are led to believe its ok to trust and then bam . you are there crawling on the ground wondering what the hell did i do..where did that come from!



[…] had a hard time with self love as long as I saw myself through the eyes of the people who defined me as “unworthy”.  I saw myself through their actions and through the way that they treated me. They treated me […]


Joy, I know. Professionals nearly destroyed my health, my mind, my child, and my family. It is impssible for me to ever give them the kind of trust they ask for. I won’t do it ever again. I gave them 8 years of my life and you are right, the only word that fits my ‘treatment’ is abuse.

It is okay to be angry, Joy Even when I say something you don’t agree with, it is okay to defend yourself.

Love you,


Hi Everyone,
I published a new post about how the belief system is formed through the messages we get in childhood; messages that contribute to damaged self esteem. There are some examples of how this happens.
You can read it here ~
Belief system Formation via the Messages received in childhood

Hugs, Darlene


Wow, that is really something! I totally understand where you are coming from! Things like that today trigger my past memories too, but it is because I am seeing things through a different grid now. I am seeing the truth about what some people think and the crazy judgements that are not only one the people they are speaking of, but that were ON ME.
Thanks for sharing! Hugs, Darlene


Darlene and Pam:

I wanted to (belatedly) thank you both for welcoming me here. 🙂


JK, It’s never to late and you are more than welcome!:0)


HI Pam . .thanks for your support.. I am learning. .I have so much
brokenness in me that I just don’t know how to process everything
properly I appreciate you so much .. that you reach out and share.
I appreciate you sharing your story to help me mine. .am so very grateful..

(hugs) and love you too :




Last sentence should have read ..

I appreciate you sharing your story

to help me with mine.

The gremlins ate my words

Love you



This is a powerful blogpost and I have read all the comments here with interest.

What I struggle with emotionally the most, is feeling that now that my sister and her daughter and family have beome so distant since my mother died, is that I have to do everything, be everything, handle everything perfectly- because if I don’t, there’s this voice in my head saying ‘they were right about you’.

I dealt with several issues regarding my mom, including going through te aftermath of her head injury, her subsequent behavior and personality changes,dealing with her male friend who stalked my daughter and I after she told him I said he was a criminal, overseeing the renovation of her home after she accidentally set it on fire, and being there for her through 6 years of cancer treatment.Throughout this time mom did everything she could to keep my daughter in a church I was trying to get her/us out of, while mom was manipulating her to stay in it, dealing with intrusive church people who were also trying to keep my daughter in their church,

All this time I was having panic attacks, anxiety, and was simply worn out. I moved back in with mom the last 7 months of mom’s life and was there almost 24/7. My sister, who lives 2 hours away, made 3 day trips between June and October that summer/fall, and finally came to spend the night in Oct. She didn’t come back until Thanksgiving- for 4 hours- and then came back the last week of mom’s life, at mom’s request.

I felt very alone dealing with these situations, worrying if I was being capable. Te last few months of mom’s life there were many sudden trips to the hospital for transfusions. I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. I was running on adrenalin. In between, that last summer I was running my daughter back and forth to her job.

After mom died in Dec., I went numb. I went back to my apt, and just collapsed. Three weeks later I broke my wrist. Then came the tasks of handling the estate. It was all a blur, looking back. I did it, in my view, badly. I’d never done anything like that and was afraid I wouldn’t do it right. I asked my sister to help and she said ‘Fine ! Just box it up and send it all here, if you can’t do it. I have a job! I don’t have time!’ I felt so ashamed for NOT having a job, and for feeling overwhelmed, and telling her, I just continued doing it.

I packed the apartment up by myself, moved to mom’s and then faced the task of sorting all her things out. Somewhere around 6 months after mom died, I just went limp. I couldn’t do anything else. I thought I was losing my mind, huge anxiety. I just rode it through, and a few months later did get a job, not a good one, but something. I was so insecure and felt so incapable I thought everyday they might fire me.

Now its two years later. In that time, I’ve had to deal with major repairs on the house, much of the house is still a mess inside. I can’t seem to get things organized. I have anxiety about the future, I worry; if I fail. If I can’t make it, if I fall apart, if I make bad financial decisions, if, if, if, then my family was right. I’m a ‘loser’.

I was going through some things and found some emails my sister had written to her best friends at her church about me. That was back several years ago. They called me ‘bipolar’, Borderline Personality Disorder, paranoid, ‘depressed’, and I supposedly have demons. My sister confided in them that I was abusive of mom, and my daughter- mean and cold, and its no wonder my daughter was mouthy towards me because that is supposedly how my daughter saw me treat my own mom.

It really brought things back about what a failure my sister considers me.

I guess what bothers me is that still, inside, I feel like maybe she was right. There’s this fear, that if I don’t do things right, if I make mistakes, they will be uncorrectable, I’ll be what they said I was. I’ll be a loser, a messed up, mentally screwed up loser.

Its a miracle I’m still functioning, is what I think, some days. Other days I think anyone could do this easily, make a new life after having gone through this, with absolutely no problem, so why do I worry all the time its just not good enough, why aren’t I more organized, why do I have anxiety, why can’t I get over the grief of losing my family, even if they weren’t positive towards me, why am I just so damn tired? I feel at times like I don’t even deserve to have anything, because I’ll probably screw it all up.

Now I know its garbage from the past. I know this. I know being unworthy and a screwup is a lie. I also know my anxiety interferes with calm decision making, hinders my self confidence. I also see myself still trying to organize my life- literally room by room. I can’t seem to get my life organized. I can’t seem to get my mind organized.

Darlene talks about the lies we were told during our lives, and the way we were taught to see ourselves. Does it ever go away? I am so tired of second guessing myself, still having miniscule self confidence, still feeling unworthy of being seen as a good, well meaning person who’s not that stupid, just tired, unorganized, and afraid alot of the time, of being in the world with no family except my daughter who is still a very young adult.

Does it still count as being brave if you don’t get it right? I still compare the way I feel with the way others ‘look’. I always think they are handling life so much better than me, I guess because of my anxiety. I’d love to get to the root of it all and just yank all the insecurities out. I’d love to feel like I can do this, but the truth is, I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing alot of the time, and I feel like I’m just faking it, and not very well. And there’s that little voice: ‘maybe they are right about you’.

I don’t know how to make a life from scratch. All these people who were not respectful towards me, who violated my boundaries or just ignored me, or said nasty things – I got them out of my life, or they left; but now I fight that voice that says ‘maybe things won’t be any different. Maybe they acted that way because you ARE a loser, and you ARE screwed up’.

I don’t let people too close. Everytime I see evidence in myself that sometimes I do things like pay a bill late, forget to write down a check, neglect my house, don’t vacuum, stupid things; I think, ‘eek, they are right. I must be a slug.’ I just can’t let anyone too close. I see I self sabotage. Its so frustrating to not only have gone through all that I have, thinking someday things will be okay; and then see I maybe don’t even love myself enough to be adequate, to do good things for myself.

Most – ok, many days are good, but when I make big decisions alone, money decisions,life decisions, I feel terrified; like a little kid.I fake it. I fake feeling ok. I fake trying to look ok. I’m still afraid to look at the truth I guess. I don’t understand it, and don’t know ow to get past it. I still have that impending doom thing going on. Does anyone else feel this way?

I haven’t shared here in a long time. I can post all the feel good pictures on FB I want, and they are inspiring but something is still very stuck inside.

Thanks for letting me share. I guess those letters and some upcoming financial things have me shaky.



Another great post. This really shook me up. It made me think about my recent situation where a church memember was being completely disrespectful to me. I remember wanting to ask her, “why are you talking to me like I’m a child?” But I would never have said that to her then. When I read this post and saw your questions, I got really angry with myself because I didn’t say something along those lines. I had to examine why. Why did I feel as though I had no right to question her rude behavior? I realized that I equated this woman to God. She’s a minister and my Pastor teaches us that we should respect and honor leadership like we would God. I had to really examine this belief system. It was so ingrained that I felt horrible for even questioning it, but I got past that. I came to see that it was all abuse of power and that this woman, along with all of the other ministers, are not equated with God. I have every right to question inappropriate behavior. I don’t know if I’m quite at the point of confrontation with them, but I’m on my way. I no longer feel helpless like I did a week or so ago.



My heart goes out to you. I’m sorry for the things you’ve been going through. I believe that people see negative things in us that really just aren’t there. They accuse and demean to make themselves feel better. I’ve had a lot of trouble with second guessing a lot as well. But I came to realize that the people around me questioned every decision that I made and criticized me constantly, so I couldn’t help but to question everything. You also mentioned doing things “right”, but right according to whom? Just do the best that you can and know that you can get better. There is an end to feeling this way. Just look how far Darlene has come, as well as some of the others.

You’re not alone. I had to get to a point where I was okay with just doing the best that I could. I’ve been really overwhelmed lately and just this week was late with paying my credit card (missed the deadline by just a few hours) just because I was too emotionally exhausted to deal with it. At first I got really mad at myself, but then I reminded myself that it’s not the end of the world and I have an opportunity next month to do things differently.

My suggestion to you Evie, is to get a really thick notebook and begin to just write out what’s been going on and how you feel. If you stay bottled up you won’t move forward, as I’m learning from Darlene. That’s where I am right now. I always feel better pouring out all of the pain and anger onto paper. It’s one of the few places where I can be perfectly honest.

I wish you all the best and hope that it helps knowing that others have the same struggles.



Evie, as Robin said, you are not alone. Look at your fears and your doubts in yourself as a wake up call that you have more work to do on those issues. Start with forgiving yourself for those doubts and work on loving yourself more. You are a fabulous lady with much courage and stamina to have gotten you where you are today. As I said in my most recent blog article, “Healing is about love, first of myself and then of others.”

What your sister thinks about you is none of your business. As dysfunctional as she is and as narcissistic as she sounds, why bother trying to please her when you never will be able to please her. It isn’t in her nature from the sound of it. As long as she can blame you for everything she doesn’t have to look at her own self. As Darlene tells us, don’t believe her lies about you. The lies meet her requirements so that she can stay dysfunctional. You are much more than she will ever be and she can’t stand that so she belittles you and makes you feel smaller than you are. How she treats you is how she really feels about herself.


Hi Evie
Thank you for this powerful share! There is so much in this! Those voices for me were all part of that belief system that I had to over ride again and again. It wasn’t a quick thing for me. I still have them pop up in new ways! Sometimes they trick me and I feel like I am at square one. But I am brave. Yes it still counts as brave. I think about all the people who will not even try to have a real relationship! (with themselves or with anyone else) I look at my mother who said it was her way or the highway. I didn’t actually choose, she did. She chose the highway. That is so pathetic ~ she is the one who lacks courage. I keep going. I keep trying to go forward, to LIVE and to dispel all that crap that was heaped on me. So many wrong messages and lies about me and only I can reject those lies now. That is the process. You are doing great!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Robin
Exactly! yes, thank you for sharing! No one is above anyone else. No one has more value than anyone else.
Hugs, Darlene



Things will get better little by little.. I am all by myself at moment but have found such support in this group and other like it. I think we have to experience all this pain as part of the healing..it seems like an eternity of pain.

All my siblings seem to be doing so much better than me. WE all were beat. .of course they ran away . and i got 5 more years than they did.. but we all were mistreated.

They “moved on” and I am still broken.. of course i am the only one that kept the secrets I was told to keep ..

Only this year. 2011 did I start seeking therapy then had a terrible set back due to a bad therapy experience.. I had made some progress but the experience threw me back down to square one..

I know how you feel. I have absolutely nobody!



ps ..Darlene

Thanks for being here for all us.. I know i SO APPRECIAte YOU!




Evie, I do know how you feel and I have been struggling like this, too. I have a hard time financially and I often hear that condemning voice in my head telling me that I am a fool and a screw-up. But I have been writing about it in a journal, as Robin suggests, and it does help. And when the inner voice gets particularly relentless, I take the time to get in touch with my emotions about how I feel about the ways I’ve been hurt and even how I hurt myself. I let myself yell and cry and just give myself over to the grieving process. It is important to grieve for what was done to me and also for the mistakes I made because of the distorted sense of self that came about because of being abused. I have to say that doing therapy and journaling and the emotional expression DOES work. Over time, I am getting healthier and happier and more effective. And yes, there are still very difficult times, but I am gaining the skills I need to cope better with them. It does work if you commit to the process of taking care of yourself. It IS a process, and we recover our truth and health and sanity bit by bit. Big hugs, Sophia


Robin, Joy, and Sophia, Darlene and Pat; thanks for the great insights and reminders that this, too is part of the journey.

What I’ve found is that I carry the voices of my past with me, and often react to these as if I am still in an abusive relationship with the people. I guess this is programming; the gist that keeps on giving.

An odd thing; after I posted my comments, I looked at my wall on FB and there a friend from long ago, had posted for the first time ever an old picture of me as a teen. Those were very tough days, but my friends were bright lights of joy, goofiness, and acceptance. And there was the picture of a girl very unsure, and awkward, but with a big smile goofing around.I don’t look evil, mean or crazy; actually I look like a kind nice self effacing person in the pic.. Would I condemn that girl? Nope. She looks like a good friend to have, and a sister and daughter I wouldn’t abandon or walk away from. So I’m not walking away from her. The picture was eye opening to me. I was a kid then- my family was full of secrets, and tragedy, but it wasn’t my fault or my burden to carry. I think in some strange way I’ve tried to atone all my life for things I didn’t understand, and couldn’t control. I may not have an outwardly successful life, but I do have a life, and its not the result of hammering or dominating other people. Its just survival. Thanks for letting me share.

Joy keep on keeping on; you are one brave lady!



Do you know what I hate, some may not understand and a few may. Lately I have been unhealthy, intense pain in my stomach and intestines, nausea, vomiting, ect.. Can’t get in to see my doctor, I have to wait a month and THEY treat me like crap (getting off the subject)anyway.Lately, I have noticed phone numbers I DIDN”T make on my cell phone, dishes dirty I didn’t dirty (or my sister), cloths in the hamper I didn’t wear. I must be stressed and the girls are active, I don’t know but lately nothing makes sence to me.


Hi Renee,
I am sorry to hear you are in such pain. Perhaps if you can’t see the dr. via appointment you should go to the emergency room?
Take care of yourself and do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. Hugs, Darlene


I was in the shower and pieces of this hugh puzzle about my life and about my sibilings. I would like to know if you can do a piece on “The sacrificial Lamb”. I have read just about all your pieces 🙂 but the puzzle wasn’t coming together. Well until this morning. Imagine taking the weakest child of 11 kids, physically, mentally, emotionally abusing that ONE child. Parents and siblings all taking part in it in one fashion or another. The child never experiencing what the word happy, peace,love,tenderness,etc all the healthy things that help you florish and grow. As this child grows up she is scoffed at, picked on and contiually sexually abused, even sold to the neighborhood for 5,10,25 cents. Protecting herself from her siblings and at times getting so hurt she should have gone to the hospital to get sowed up, casts, or medicine.
Now as an adult you crave validation from those that abused you, trying to find your Idenity and wanting them to except you. Instead you get rolling eyes, whispers behind the back, when something would happen within the family your shut out and weeks or months later you find out. No one caring that her feelings are hurt. She wishes to die because whats the use, they would probably find horrible things to say even it death. Yet you know just this spark maybe it was the spark that has always kept you going says DON’t give them the satisfaction! But as a crow will eat roadkill they would seek out the next weakest sibling. I am that weakest child caser in point my brother attacking me for something HE did. The sacrificial lamb sacrificed again so he could save face amoung his friends and sister. Darlene I need to know what steps you took or any others that are the lamb. If any thing I need to read your strenght in your words because Im to weak to do it on my own.


Hi Renee
I am on holidays in Mexico but wanted to answer this quick. This is not something I could write in a blog post. I try to write little bits of the process in each post. I broke free by seeing how it all happened and facing the lies that I believed about my self because of others and how I was regarded. There is hope; I found the way out but it was the process of discovering what my belief system was and turning that around that enabled me to do that. I would not say that I was the only one in my family that got picked on at all. In fact I think that we (myself and my siblings) were all equally devalued as children…all in different ways.
keep reading the posts and comments for encouragement.
Love, Darlene


This really spoke to my heart today! I am going through the archives now and finding such valuable and applicable stories I totally related to. I grew up with this attitude that everyone should be allowed to talk to me any old horrible way they chose, and that I had to take it. I only wanted to be loved and liked and tried so hard to please too! I made myself “be nice” so that I could hopefully be seen as lovable to others. I believe I am a nice person to begin with, but I look back and see myself basically scraping and bowing to others in order to gain favor and approval because I had no self worth. I wondered exactly the same things that Darlene says that she was questioning ….why do some people seem to be so nice when they speak to others, but when it came to me, they truly seemed to go as far as they could with me to put me down and make me feel like crap…as if I needed MORE of that! I decided about 7 or 8 yrs ago that I would rather have no friends than “friends” like that. I distanced myself because I had no clue how to handle myself or the self esteem to stick up for myself. I didnt know what to do! So I have a few very good and lovely friends who are nice to me and I am nice to them….and they dont think that when I am nice to them that it automatically means that I am “weak” and they begin to take advantage or to put me down and trample on me. They also want a give and take relationship…and so that is a wonderful and rare thing! I felt fear go through me when I read that Darlene stuck up for herself and asked the questions to those who were talking down to her…and I thought about it for a few minutes and realized that I was afraid of confronting…in case they would be angry with me…and then I realized what she was saying…they already had decided NOT to like ME and that is why they would speak down to me…so what did it really matter if I said something to stand up for myself with them? It truly doesnt matter! Putting away old fears and habits of relating and coping are what I am working on right now, and I like this! I look forward to asking the question if I have to…because I also am not stupid and dont deserve to be treated that way. I have had literally a lifetime of people putting me down, and it does make me angry that people are so mean when someone is trying to be kind and nice…but that is THEIR problem now..and not mine! I am loving the feeling I have of being healed at my core…in my heart! I wish I could express it better, but I am limited by my vocabulary! It is a fresh new beginning and there really isnt any kind of weird energy around it…I am healed and now I expect to be treated with respect. Period. It is great! 🙂


My family is forcing me to care for my disabled mother but I just lost my daughter and I don’t feel strong enough. My mother requires constant care. I have taken care of her for several months and on weekends. It has been a year since my daughter passed away and I have become very depressed lately but my sister still expects me to be the caregiver. I expressed that I needed help in caring for her but now I’m the bad guy. I suggested that it would be a big help if they could drop her off but in return I was cussed at and accused of abandoning my mother. I feel trapped.

I have been care for my mother. I have been doing it since 2004. She has become increasingly ill and needs round the clock care. It not only makes me sad to see her like that it also hurts me to know that we are a big family and I have been the only one that usually cares for her. I also have kids and pregnant. I work and I am in school full time. Everyone else gives their excuse as to why they cannot do it and they always call me for help but when I ask for help everyone turns their back. I don’t understand how they can be so heartless. I have been put down my older sister constantly because of this. I feel worthless and the only way I feel good is when I am doing everything people expect me to do.


Hi Nicole
You have a right to say no. It took me such a long time to realize that I didn’t have to do what others wanted me to do and that I had a choice. I didn’t know how to even believe that I had needs too! I had to put myself first for awhile so that I could become a healthy person and teach my kids what an emotionally healthy person looked like. My family doesn’t care what my needs are so I had to care. There is nothing wrong with not being able to help with your mom any more right now. They can figure it out, just like they want you too.
Hugs, Darlene


I feel like I have lived a version of the Cinderella story only with real birth parents and older half siblings from my mother’s first marriage. They scapegoated me all my life. Both my prents died without ever making amends to me for the abuse I suffered as a child.I really didn’t get it until I resumed a relationship with my two older half sisters. These past five years has been a royal battle with them and I have finally gone no contact with them and their family again. One of them told me I have changed and oh my yes I have.They don’t get to treat me the way they did when I was younger.I am better off without these twisted dysfunctional losers.Confront them about their behaviour and they accuse you of being mean and they pounce on you like a pack of hyenas. If that doesn’t work they give you the silent treatment. Of course after months or years you may get a phone call after they have decided bless you with their presence again. I let them know I didn’t want to see any of them again.


Hi Mary Ann
OH I relate to this; the old “you have changed” like that is a BAD thing! Thank God I changed! But you are right they sure don’t like it! And I have found that they will pull all sorts of tactics out to try and make you go back to the way they liked me in the first place; compliant. No thank you. My motto became “equality or nothing”. Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for your reply,compliant is exactly what they expected!
I would like to send a donation to you but I don’t use charge cards online. Do you have an address I can mail one to? Thank you again for your website.
Mary Ann


Hi Mary Ann
I sent my mailing address to your email. Thank you so much for considering making a donation!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for your reply.Yes compliant was exactly what they expected and I have a voice now and I use it. They can’t accept
me as an equal an I have realized that I can’t accept them or
their dysfuctional way of life. At some point in your life it
becomes clear who really loves you and your better off without
these kind of hurtful disrespectful people around.I don’t have
to accept less just to get a crumb of love from them. In fact
I don’t think I have any love left in my heart for them and I
feel total disgust for them and all their dirty tactics.I got a
call from my niece out of state saying she,her mother and another
niece wanted to see me while they were in my state. She said she would call me when they had time to stop by. Well when I observed a face book post talking about their arrival it was obvious who they were going to visit and spend time with. My sister and her family that lives here and they were all going on a cruise together.The same old B.S. gonna squeeze me in after all their fun and games were done.I have not had any contact with any of them since one confrontation I had with both families early this year. I text my niece back and told her it was clear who they came to see and visit with and my husband and I didn’t want to see any of them.I am not an option and I took all involved off my face book. They get off doing that kind of crap knowing I will see their posts on face book. I have friends that treat me with more respect. Who do they think they are anyway? My time is more valuable than waiting for another phone call from her when they have time so I can entertain them for an hour or two.I do not want to reconcile with any of them.There is nothing innocent about their motives,it’s the same old game. I would like to send a donation to you Darlene but I don’t use charge cards online. Do you have a mail address I can send to? I appreciate your website Darlene it is a valueable resource for me. Thank you so much.
Mary Ann


Mary Ann
I know how hurtful all of this is. It is great that you have drawn a boundary for yourself.
I sent you an email with my snail mail address in it.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mary Ann –
In reading your story I can empathize as I also came from such a dysfunctional family. After having to cut off ties with my parents and only sister over 20 years ago, I decided to go to my dad’s funeral in 2005. It was so hard, but having become a stronger person over the years I felt I could handle it and I did. I went also hoping my sister and I could reunite and maybe have that special relationship we never had, that she may have grown also. Unfortunately, I recently had to break ties again after finding she had not changed. My mother and I talk but it’s very limited. They will never admit they have been wrong or abusive either. I was also the scapegoat growing up and that extended to 2 husbands and 5 children who used me as a scapegoat. I finally realized this a few years ago and have begun to set things straight with family members as to how they will treat me. This resulted in a closer relationship with 3 of my children, but a more distant one with the other 2 who cannot accept the changes in me.

I can understand the hurt you feel, I’ve been there too; but I tell myself almost everyday that people are who they are and I am who I am and who they are is nothing to do with me. I grew up observing and recording the bad behavior in others, yet it isn’t who I am. I am separate, I am just me. I refuse to allow myself to think about the memories of their bad behavior anymore. Instead I live my life, look forward and plan for the future. I tell myself when people use inappropriate and critical words, they are really exposing how they see themselves and who they are. It is hard for me to speak up for myself too and it’s something I am still working very hard at improving. Sometimes it’s so hard to get the words out, almost like my vocal cords are paralyzed. It’s easier when I’m talking on the phone or writing it. Right now I’m having problems with a manager in my apartment building who has been talking down to me. This just started in the last few weeks and I am struggling to deal with it.


Thank you for your reply and all that you have shared. Sometimes I feel like I have a label stamped on my forhead for all to see that says kick me. I have some pretty big issues with two of my adult children also. When it is with your own children it hurts so much more. As I recall reviewing my history with my extended relatives I barley heard from them unless there was a crisis and that is exactly how my relationship started with them again. It was rosey at first until they met the new me and found out I had a voice and confronted them when they started their old game. Most of my counseling when I was very young pertained to fixing me. Since I was the only one interested in getting help that kept their denial intact and I got the mental illiness label. I see these relatives for who they really are now and any kind of relationship with them is toxic for me. It is my hope that my two adult children will someday learn to accept me the way I am and give me the respect I deserve. It gets lonely but I’m not going to make consessions anymore just to have their love. It is a struggle with them when they really hear you. They really don’t want you to change because it really rocks their boat. God Bless you Linda, take care.
Mary Ann


Mary Ann
Thanks for your response. I can really identify with what you are saying too. I know how much it hurts when you put so much of your life into a child and they have no clue and could care less. When I confronted my oldest daughter and son, 36 and 38 now, a few years ago about the scapegoating they were annoyed but I could also sense surprise and lack of awareness on their part. I worked with them a little at a time and we have a better relationship, but they have more reasonable personalities and are older and more mature. My 22 year old hasn’t been much of a problem with the scapegoating. I think that’s because he was born after I started therapy and saw me standing up for myself more. My 28 and 31 year old daughters on the other hand I had to break ties with last summer. They said cruel, twisted things to me verbally and in emails, started picking at me for everything I do and say and making unfounded accusations. Not surprisingly, I had just undergone some real dramatic changes in myself through therapy and self-help material January through May of this year and it began in June. I had just lent the 28 year old $1900 to fix her car which was falling apart and would never make it through the winter because she never maintains it. I told her she could take her time paying me back. Later she sent me an angry email stating I caused her financial difficulties for “making her borrow the money!” I told her I am not responsible for her decisions and I will never do it again. It’s just a lot of immature stuff like this. I helped put both of them through college, listened to their problems for hours on end for years. The 28 year old told me she never wants to see me or talk to me again. The 31 year old, the most aggressive natured one of my children and the one I drove to a therapist every week for 5 years as a child,wants to see me but on her abusive terms she laid out for me numbered in an email. I told her I need a time out from the relationship and I refused to see her on those terms. I told her she was acting like she was 13. I know they are both having personal problems and are trying to take it out on me. It just seems like it never ends, my sister, my mother, husbands, children and other people. My sister told me that all the dysfunction in our family is my fault, as if I was the mother of her and my parents. I reminded her I am the child, they are the parents sm I’m not your mother! Sometimes I wonder too why this is happening? Is something wrong with me? I try not to let myself get depressed. I am getting better at talking myself out of the thoughts and looking forward instead. I gave that manager where I live a letter today telling him that if he ever talks down to me or lashes out at me again like he did I will go to the owner. This is a senior 55+ apartment building. I told him I’m concerned about the elderly tenants in this building. I told him I know people from the Department of Aging and Disability. I hope this will take care of the problem. Next time I am going to try harder to address it immediately instead of later in a letter.
Thanks – Linda


What you have described about your children is very similar to my own experience with mine.Recently my 41 year old daughter had a major crisis in her life caused by her alcohol abuse. She lived out of state so I sent her money for her house payments and then I got a call that she, her husband and my two youngest grand children were leaving that state. I offered to help them get on their feet if they wanted to come to where I live. After they arrived I helped them find a place to live and spent tons of money helping them get setteled in.It was my concern for my grand children that hooked me. Their life had been turned upside down. Six months later they left without a good bye or thank you. She made my life miserable the whole time she was here and has twisted every good thing I tried to do for her and her children. I will probably never recover the thousands of dollars I loaned her much less hear from her again unless she thinks she can get by with using me again. I have a 50 yr old son that has been disrespectful to me for many years with verbal abuse and rejection and even physical abuse when he was younger. My 44 yr old son seems to get it and he is loving and respectful toward me. My parents were very abusive to me when I was young and my siblings were also. I had no power, they beat me down all the time. First two marriages were the same. I got counseling for me but it didn’t fix the people that were in my life. My mother was very dependant on me all her life but was a master minipulator and my children learned from her how to push my buttons. My mother never let go of me after my father died. She might leave for awhile but she always came back either to live with us or live close by. I was more her parent then she was mine! Like you I don’t understand why I am such easy prey. When someone bullies me I freeze up and can’t say what I need to say at the time. I’m getting better at confrontation and many of my relationships have ended because they don’t like the new me. My extended relatives are all high conflict types with some narcisstic traits.Your never dealing with just one of them. They get the whole pack involved with insults and put downs.They withdraw and give you the silent treatment when you don’t back down.I have been very lonely and depressed lately but I’m looking into some new activities to keep me busy and focused on my life. I really appreciate you sharing with me it helps me cope and know I am not alone in this struggle. I hope I can meet new people and develope better relationships in the future. Family is not an option for me at this time except my one son and my grand children.I do have one good friend but she is much younger then me and has a very busy life with her own family right now. My husband is disabled so we can’t travel as much as we would like to. I’m very happy for you in your progress to become more assertive. I’m 67 but I say it’s better late then never, you can always learn something new. Take care Linda,
Mary Ann


Hi Mary Ann – I can identify with what you’ve been through. My mother was, still is, a narcissist. She has always been filled with anger and hatred. When I was a child she took that out on me and my sister was the golden child. My dad was passive and never did anything about it, she abused him too. She is miserable and tries to make everyone around her the same. I think my sister is also a narcissist and I fear that one of my children, the aggressive one I mentioned, may also be. My husband is a narcissist. He is disabled but in a group home. His mind is almost completely gone due to a really severe traumatic brain injury. I am his legal guardian and make sure he is well taken care of. I am sorry about what happened to him, but it’s a relief not to have to live with him anymore. It must be hard for you having to deal with a disabled husband. I can’t even imagine how your children’s cruel treatment must hurt you. It’s a shame. They are old enough to know better than this. I have to remind myself I did the best I could as a mother, but children are born with their own traits I have no control over. Their behavior is about them, not me. I am a compulsive helper, especially towards those in my family. Sometimes I have to stop and think about what I am doing and make an effort to stop it, I overdo it and am enabling them, not helping. I noticed this a long time ago and that this results in my children becoming resentful towards me and taking me for granted, then I feel mistreated and used, but I still find myself getting into that mode again. I have a difficult time taking care of myself. I have to remind myself that my children need to take care of themselves and their own lives, they are adults now, and sometimes they need to suffer the consequences for their behavior, not saying if there were grandchildren in the picture I wouldn’t be ready to take action if necessary; but consequences are such a good teacher for adult children. I try to just keep my mouth shut and listen or sometimes just leave. It’s hard sometimes, but better for me and them in the long run.

I can understand your concern for your grandchildren. I’m 61 but I don’t have grandchildren. If it were me, I would definitely keep an eye on their situation, keep in touch with them and let them know I love them and I care. As a child I felt my grandmother was the only one who loved me and cared about me. It did matter a lot.

I think you should be proud because you are the one in your family with the most strength, you have the guts to get help and improve your life and make a difference, which is something they can’t do. I moved into this 55+ senior apartment partly so I might find new relationships. I would like to find new friends who aren’t dysfunctional and cruel to replace the sister and other family relationships I never had. I think I have finally got to the point where I can spot the dysfunction early. It’s too bad it took me 61 years to get here. I hope you will find new and better relationships Mary Ann. Don’t give up. It’s never too late.


You mentioned your husband being narcisstic and your mother being the same. We go through this hell with our parents and then find ourselves involved in similar relationships throughout our lives. We accept less and give more and more but we never get our needs met from these selfish people. We teach our children to treat us the same way. I see it now and I get angry at myself for being such a pushover. I’m haven’t been happy in my marriage for many years but when we did dicuss divorce about two years ago he was in an accident with our car and it affected his back and legs. None of my needs have been met in this marriage for the last 15 yrs. He is emotionally unavailable to me. We are nothing more than room mates. I’m Just focusing on what I can do to take care of me in my present situation. Maybe at some point if his condition gets worse I will have to place him in assisted care. Finanicaly we are better off together than apart right now. I have one son that has promised to be there for us if my husbands health gets worse but I’m afraid to allow myself to rely on his promise. I have trust issues because most people in my life have let me down. I have always worked full time up until I retired and have kept a part time Job since until earlier this year.
I quit that Job because of my narcisstic niece and It’s been nice just being at home part of this year. I guess I should be glad I am healthy enough to work part time again if I can get hired at my age.
I’m not gonna give up just yet Linda, thanks for your reply and support.
Mary Ann


Mary Ann –
That is so true what you said about what we go through in our family of origin and then end up with people exactly like that in life. I sometimes say I married my mother. My 2nd husband and I were married for 28 years when he had his accident. He was a selfish, self-centered narcissistic workaholic and a passive-aggressive person. He ignored my 2 oldest children from my first marriage the 3 we had together. I was basically nothing but his slave and a single parent. He came home to sleep, eat and have sex and worked nights. I was too passive to say anything back then and I was living in denial. Sometimes he was gone 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week for months at a time. Even when he was home he wasn’t there. This went on for the first 12 years of our marriage. Then I started having depression and nightmares about my parents and sister screaming at me and being in the house I grew up in alone and terrified they would find me there. I decided to get therapy, which my husband was so against he actually got involved in the counseling center where I went and badmouthed me in groups and to therapists there to discourage and get revenge on me for talking about our marriage. That, and a bad therapist I was seeing, made the depression so bad I ended up in the hospital with a nervous breakdown; but after that got better therapy. That experience changed my life. I stood up to my husband and other people, I went to college, got a career and started taking care of myself. I was never so happy in my life. Though, my marriage was falling apart and we weren’t even sleeping together anymore the 2 years before the accident. Any feelings I had for him were gone. After his accident I spent over a year working with the physical therapists trying to get him to walk again but his mind deteriorated. I put him in a group home. After the accident was when I realized how stressed out I had been living with him and what a huge relief it was the big baby was gone. It’s been difficult for me as I started getting sick with stomach pains and IBS whenever I went to visit him because of the memories. I had to cut it down to once a month and now I go every 3 months and am just there as his legal guardian. I have problems sometimes with people with the group homes who think I should be there all the time holding his hand, etc. who try to lay a guilt trip on me even though it’s obvious we don’t and can’t have a relationship. He’s not conversational, he can’t remember anything for more than a minute. Our visits consist of him watching TV or falling asleep in his wheelchair and repetatively saying “Hi, how are you?” every few minutes because he just realized I was there again, or answering yes or no to questions. I’m due to see him again in January and have a meeting and dread it, but cutting it down like I have has made it easier to handle. I’m not sick anymore. My oldest daughter goes with me now. I spoke to a lawyer about divorce and he didn’t recommend it because the state would take almost everything I have, unless someone else in the family took my place, but no one will do that. I’m retiring in 5 years and I would be left with nothing. My husband doesn’t even know I am not there and never asks about me. As long as he has the staff around taking care of him and paying attention to him, he’s happy. If I terminated the guardianship, he would go to a nursing home and he wouldn’t get that anymore. I’m okay with things as they are now, and working on confronting the guilt pushers. Thanks for your insight Mary Ann.


Good to hear from you and I applaud you on dealing with and confronting those guilt pushers. You have nothing to feel guilty about. You are doing what is best for you at this time in your life.
You don’t have to explain yourself to any of them. If you are uncomfortable seeing your husband you have the right to limit how often you visit him. You have your freedom to live your own life and you deserve to be happy too. No need to risk your financial security Just to get a divorce. You have done your best for your husband. He is well taken care of and you have every right to whatever joint assets you have together. I am so happy for you for taking charge of your life and doing what you need to do for you. I have had a nervous break down and I understand what you must have went through to recover. A break down occurs when you have been carrying the load too long. It doesn’t mean a person is weak. I’m thinking about the steps I need to take to Involve myself with people and activities this next year so I am not so Isolated. I’m going to be cautious tho because I have been easy prey for self centered people all my life. I have just a few family members left and one good friend at this point. I appreciate all you have shared with me Linda,it gives me hope. I am very thankful for Darlene’s website,”Emerging From Broken”. It is a valuable resource for all of us. Happy New Year!
Mary Ann


How about this one for narcissistic relatives? I have had no contact with them since April of this year. I turned down the relatives that wanted to visit me in December. I took all of them off my face book page. Just recently my friend that they disrespected and trashed on face book got a visit from a my great nephew and his girlfriend.My friend is manager of a mobile home park and my great nephew wanted to rent a trailor there. When she read the application she recognized the names that he had for references. She did a background check which they didn’t pass and when they came to see if they were approved she turned them down and explained it to them and that his family had caused her much grief two years ago. She explained that she had already had enough drama from his aunt, mother and grandmother and she didn’t want to deal with them anymore. She was polite and steered them to other mobile home parks in the area she didn’t manage. Not long after they left she got a call from my niece asking to talk to her manager. Bully niece was on a rant again trying to involve me in this issue and bringing up issues that did not pertain to this situation. My niece had high expectations of my friend to accomadate my nephew and give him a chance when they had treated her with total disrespect two years ago. For some reason my niece thought she could bully my friend into doing what she wanted. My niece said that he deserved a second chance since he had just been out of prison but my friend told her the mobile home park was not a halfway house. My friend ask them why they even sent him there to apply if they knew she managed the mobile home park. My friend’s manager backed her up of course, don’t think my niece ever called him but that is what happens when bullies hear the word no. My fiend might have given my great nephew a chance if she didn’t already know the family from past experience. My niece smeared my friend and me for the last two years on face book and yet they expect special treatment when they want something. How crazy is that? I don’t know how they do it but they seem to know whats going on in my life and my friends life even tho we have no contact with them. My niece mentioned recent events to my friend that she should not even know about since I haven’t talked to the family since early this year. My niece has been obsessed with what is going on in my life for the last two years trying to cause trouble any way she can for me. She is a narcisstic bully and she will never change.
Mary Ann


Hi Mary Ann
WOW!!! Great examples! Good for your friend!
Hugs, Darlene


i really dont know where to begin i just was browsing and ran across this….. right now i really dont know what to do but wat im trying to figure out is how do you let go of someone who you want to hold on to so bad….how can the worst person in your life be the best person in your life at the same time{besides my kids}im broken inside im tired of being called the b. word im a beautiful black woman who i think deserves to be treated with respect… not saying i dont have any flaws but gosh ive neva ran across a more disrespectful man in my life… somebody help i gotta get him outta my system


Hi Nicole
Welcome to EFB
The way all this worked for me was to take a close look at the truth and figure out why I was so attracted to distructive people in relationship. My self esteem got damaged somewhere, I wasn’t born that way. There are tons of articles about how I found the roots of my broken and took my life back. Each article has a discussion with it. Keep reading! You are not alone!
Hugs, Darlene


Mary Ann –
Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I truly hope you will find those new healthy relationships in your life you seek for the new year. I am glad I found this website too. You have no idea how much sharing with you has helped me also. It definitely brings new insight and hope. A great New Year to all!


Nicole – you are a beautiful person and definitely deserve to be treated with respect. It took me awhile to see that about myself too, due to my family of origin experiences that distorted that view. It took finding and reaching out to the right people to get me to see reality. It was scary at first, but oh so worth it. It looks like you’re making a good start. Keep reaching out and don’t give up.


Mary Ann –
Again, thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I truly hope you find those new healthy relationships you seek in the new year. Glad I found the website too, it does bring new insight and hope. Sharing with you has helped me a great deal also. Happy New Year to all.


Hi Linda
Happy New year!!
(I edited your comment to remove your last name when your second comment said that you didn’t mean to include it!)
Hugs, Darlene


I need support on this one. I’m second guessing myself because of these past week issues with my son and my friend. My son got upset because my husband confronted him about not answering our texts or phone calls after he sent a text to both of us one night about how sad he was that our family was in conflict and he wished we would all forgive and forget about it. Instead of calling his dad he called me and chewed me out about the message he got. My son twisted a post I made on face book and implied in a text to me that my friends mattered more than family. I’m not always right and I’m willing to dicuss issues but I never win, it always gets turned around like I am the problem reguardless of what the issue is. My friend has done the same thing to me recently because we had plans when she wanted me to watch her children on Saturday night.I got this request in a text thursday night and my reply was sorry honey we have plans for Sat. night. They switched their plans to Friday night and her neighbor watched the children.I got a call from her later Thursday night telling me how hard it was going to be for her neighbor to watch nine children Friday night.Let me add that I have watched her children quite a few times when she needed me too. She let me know later that I should have offered to watch them Friday night.I didn’t hear a word from her Friday about our original plans for Super Bowl Sunday that had been discussed the previous weekend. That was the plan in her text if we had gone to their home Sat. night and stayed overnight to babysit for them.I didn’t hear from her until Sat.evening when I was getting ready for my night out with my husband.Feeling pressured to discuss her issues with me at that time I got defensive and a little put out by her attitude. She sent a text I didn’t reply to because I didn’t see it, my phone was in my purse. She text me after I was home in bed and my husband called her to let her know I wasn’t feeling well.I see a post on face book yesterday discussing my short commings and I replied to let her know I haven’t felt well and I have feelings too. I called her today and she doesn’t answer so I left a message to call me when she wanted to talk. I let her know how I felt about everything always being on her time instead of mine. She finally calls back and she talks over everything I try to say to her accusing me of being just like my family and ignoring her when she is just trying to let me know how she feels about how I have treated her. At this point I am ready to sign myself in to the mental health center because it feels like I am losing my mind Darlene! I apologised to her for disreguarding her feelings but for the life of me I really don’t know what I did for her to take issue with me like this. What am I missing here? When our children were young we made arrangements way ahead of time with my mother if she was available to sit with them and if not we got a sitter and paid for their services if we wanted a night out. My son and my friend are not teenagers,my friend will be 29 this year and my son will be 45. It seems the more assertive I become the more conflict I have with the people around me. Any advice you or others have for me would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for this website. Mary Ann


I learned this as well, that its not about me what other people do to me. This helped me learn a new way to see forgiveness.

I do all things because of how I see myself inrelation to others and my environment. I choose how I see myself, I choose how I feel about myself.

I can not blame other people for these choices I make. I cant blame someone else for how I think and feel about myself.

So no need to forgive. Also this is what I use everyday for guidence. My prayer.

Enjoying Being.
I willingly recognize essence of choice is the living God within me. I willingly recognize Sensualinium is the living Body within me.
I willingly recognize eternity exists now during all present moments.
My Trinity exists without end.

I am the result of good work and perfect timing.
My Existence is not accidental.
My Being is on purpose.
I am worthy.

I deserve all the rights of living. Not limited to progressive growth through effort.
I am potentially unlimited with liberating wealth from true love and Joy, I create within me.

I deserve the riches of life. I am bound to the Joy received every moment I witness Beauty.
I am self-liberated through this Personal Resurrection.

I understand all my sorrow and suffering is from the use of my definitions and representations about my self-image. There may be known or unknown external influences I feel uncomfortable with. I recognize my fear sensations. I recognize my old rules because,,,
I am listening, I am watching, I am quickening.

I change my poor behavior by looking inward, into my rules and sensations. Accepting that this Energy is my choice and through repetition, release this negative Energy as experience and absorb what is useful. My self-expression is and can be just fine without labels, without purpose, without status, I allow my self-expression to BE.

My self- love is.

I accept my expressions of love are the only true love becoming greater love I give through outward expression .
Exercising glorious energy is my uninterrupted joyful living abundance.
I lovingly live.

As my choice I agree and willingly recognize my image is Beautiful and Good.

As my choice I agree and willingly receive my physical sensation is Pleasure and Strength.

As my choice I agree and willingly experience this Mental Physical expression is living eternity.

So I may fulfill the responsibility to my inherited abundance and live my Best Life Ever…

I willingly hold these truths of self-image, sensualinium and eternal present moment to my Being, Source of Life and living God within Me.


They say you teach people how to treat you? I believe that!

To encourage positive and discourage offensive behavior:

• Do not reward behaviors in others that you wish to eliminate.

• Follow actor Alan Alda’s advice: “Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they’re fair with you.”

• Learn to speak up assertively.

• Do not reward unkind behavior from others.

• If someone treats you badly, say so – do not smile and pretend it’s okay.

Remember: Think well, act well, feel well, be well!


Thank you so much. I’ve been going through this for a long time :/ I’m trying to stand up for myself… I feel like some of the people who I care about the most are the main people who talk down to me AND put me down.


Hi Lynn
Welcome to EFB ~ in my life I realized how tragic it was that it WAS the people closest to me, my own family, that talked down to me and put me down the most. You are not alone
Hugs, Darlene

Val Cheers-Brown
April 3rd, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Thanks Darlene for that wonderful post and I am at the point of no return and I just simply refuse to be talked down to anymore. I am the oldest of my siblings and I get more respect from strangers than do from them. And the strangest thing is, when I go where they take me to because I am sick and tired of being talked and snapped to, then they turn it around and say that I am negative. I am not perfect, but one thing I am not is negative. Anyone I meet doesn’t want me to leave nor do they want to leave my presence and I have been like this all my life.

Recently someone in my family had the ardastity to tell me that the reason that nobody visited me was because of my negativeness! Well….I don’t even care if nobody from my own immediate family ever come around and don’t mean to be mean or negative, but less is best sometimes, when it comes to family I am finding out and it is totally fine with me. I often get interrupted also…..but let them talk and then totally stop what I was going to say. This is totally and absolute rude and comes from ignorance of not listening. I thought I had a listening problem…….not anymore…I would not know so much to hold wonderful and informative conversations about…if I didn’t listen.

So…as of right now….I will listen to my own heart and really have all the time….but I am writing and putting it out there! I am happy with life and so happy for all the wonderful and amazing things God is doing in my life right now. Oh…another thing…..I will keep praying for all my family to be blessed and get all their prayers answered and will patiently wait until theirs all are answered so my can be 😉 I love you and thank you for your inspiration and motivation that made me speak and be free!~~health and wellness~~


Hi Val
Welcome to EFB
Yes, this is part of what makes it so complicated; these controlling people will call others “negitive” simply because we don’t ‘agree’ with them. But that doesn’t make them right! It was finally by listening to my own heart and realizing that I was not the problem, that I was able to get my life back.
Glad you are here.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
Thank you so much for this post! For years now I have had problems with my friends putting me down. Recently I was making a big life change, because I had felt miserable for a very long time and decided to do something about it, but whenever I shared my goals, all these so called “friends” would talk down to me as if I were 5 years old and didn’t know what I was doing. They would be so rude and giving opinions regarding my life decisions…negative opinions. I didn’t even ask for their opinions. I just shared my decisions and goals and the next thing I knew the people who were supposed to support me and wish me happiness were like vultures trying to bring me down. I was in a really vulenerable state as the decision to change things in my life wasn’t easy and I needed all the support I could get. The sad part was that I ended up giving up on my dream to move and create a new life for myself as even my own family did their best to put doubt in my heart that I wouldn’t make it on my own. I now have PTSD and am going through it alone. All my “friends” and “family” have left me and unless I want to hear their opinions they don’t find me worthy company. However, sharing my dreams and feelings with them is annoying to them and they claim it’s all in my head and I am making it up. I cut contact with them as I get very stressed now from any negative energy. It’s really hard as I cry every day and regret giving up on my goals, but I am broken and alone now, trying to live through every day.


Hi Jenni
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
There are lots of references to exactly what you are sharing here, in the pages of this website. I found that most of the people that I thought were ‘closest’ to me reacted this way to me. It was as if they were afraid that I might just succeed. (as I did with this website and the work that I do now with others) ~ this site is about how I found a way to look at the truth and realize that the problem was not me. I hope you find understanding here.
Thank you for sharing, I hope you will find some comfort here.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

I woke up this morning and asked myself: do I invite people to treat me with contempt?

Its amazing really, because I do know I am fairly assertive about things like returning goods, or work related things, and yet on a personal level, after many years of self-work it still happens to me. Its as though I make people feel superior – or to out it another way…if someone is grumpy or not feeling good enough…after being with me they’ll feel better because somehow I seem to sponge up other people’s bad feelings.

I have years of professional psychology experience and yet, I had to find this blog to get a sudden insight. Those questions you ask the other are actually also statements and they are self empowering ones. Thank you for those.


Thank you so much for this article! The next time someone talks to me like I’m an idiot, I’m going to try what you suggested and ask them why they’re treating me like that. I’m so sick of people talking down to me, especially online. I think it’s because people are becoming so full of themselves and their opinions due to sites like FB. People are also quick to jump to conclusions.

I’d posted a simple question in a pet group earlier, asking for suggestions about transportation for a puppy that is thousands of miles away. I didn’t say who the breeder was. Some very arrogant woman, who often capitalizes part of her messages, harshly lectured me about the necessity of buying from a reputable breeder. She talked to me like she’s far superior, very demeaning. Earlier this week, two other people hotly lectured me about two other topics online. I’m not stupid. I have a very high IQ, and I’m knowledgeable about these matters.

Not wanting to get into an internet fight or cause a big internet drama, each time I turned the other cheek and thanked them for the information or I deleted my question out of anger and embarrassment. Then, I started questioning why I’d taken this treatment from them. I felt bad about myself. How I wish I would have read your article first. I would have done as you suggested and brought up their behavior. I’m going to next time.

There’s another type of self-esteem defeating attack–a passive aggressive attack. Perhaps you could write an article about it. My mother-in-law has used that on me for years, making seemingly innocent digs about things, which are meant to be hurtful. Then, I was dealing with someone recently about a professional matter who purposely ignored my phone calls and emails me as if I don’t matter. This, I believe, is one of the worst types of attacks, and I have no idea how to handle it except to exclude such people from my life.


I have had an amazing insight today about FOO and other negative people in general. I think these people have too many expectations from life but are not willing to work for them. They expect things to fall into their lap by stroke of luck. They see all those rich kids born with a silver spoon in their mouths and wish they had been too. They spend their lives complaining that they weren’t born to rich parents and they were wronged by God/Life.

They hold this anger and vengeance within them and take it out on anyone who’s near them. It does not occur to them that they can achieve anything they want provided they work for it. Maybe they are too lazy to put in such hard work and want things easy.

Now I do not know why some people are born into well-off families and many are not but I wouldn’t spend my life thinking that I missed out on all fun. I think that is the difference between people who are filled with hatred and those who are filled with love.

This has just been my revelation today as I was pondering on why there was so much hatred in FOO.


Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post after a long and lovely break from writing!
This new post is related to this one in that it is about those people who ‘don’t understand’ how we can consider standing up to our parents and even defend our parents and the reasons behind those judgements and statements.
You can read the post here: “Why People Discount the Adult Child and Defend the Abuser”
hugs Darlene


Welcome to EFB ~ I have written tons (almost 400 articles) and some of them touch on this type of abuse tactic. Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


BB I have had similar experiences on line. Its not nice.

As for the passive/aggressive attacks, I can relate to those too. I think people make ambiguous statements to you or about you and if you call them on it, they have worded it in such a way that they could deny it; leaving you feeling even smaller. Its so they can feel an inch taller.

As for not replying to emails etc…very aggressive in my mind…silence can be like that. You are not alone.


Thanks, Darlene. I’m glad I found this site. I’ll check them out. 🙂

JP, yeah, the passive aggressive attacker is particularly devious, seems to know just how to hurt you. Then, they’ll turn it around and act like they’re being unjustly accused. Or the silent passive aggressive won’t talk to you at all. Both types are so frustrating to deal with!

Here’s my passive aggressive horror story.

My husband and I had put a deposit on a puppy from a reputable, famous breeder whom I’ve known online for years and trusted. We even traveled several hours to a dog show to meet her in person. I’d told her via FB that we were coming and she’d said she looked forward to meeting us. Well, she was cool immediately, acted like she didn’t know who I was. It struck me odd, but she agreed to sell us a puppy. She told me to call her next week and see if a breeding had taken. She was not friendly to us the remaining three days that we were at the show, didn’t welcome us to festivities, etc.–seemed to avoid us. We told ourselves that we were just imagining it.

After we got back home, I called as she’d asked. She wouldn’t answer. I emailed her, and she didn’t reply. Finally, I sent her a private message on FB, and she assured me that she was just busy and gave me her cell phone number.

On the phone she was cool, but said the breeding had taken and we could send a deposit. We did and waited for some communciation from her. Weeks went by. Again, she wouldn’t answer my calls or emails. We started wondering why she wasn’t sending photos of the puppy or letting us know how it was doing. Also, it was getting close to the time for us to pick the puppy up, and we needed to make travel plans.

I called, and she sounded upset when she heard my voice. She said she couldn’t talk and would call me back later. She never did. Finally, fearing something was wrong, a friend of a friend got in touch with her and learned that the entire litter had died weeks earlier. She told the friend that she’d call to talk to me about it the next evening. My husband and I were devastated about the puppy–we’d bought a lot of stuff for our new baby and were looking forward to the 8-hour trip to pick her up. We’d just lost our two senior dogs in the spring so this was a particularly crushing blow for us.

I waited by the phone the next evening for the breeder to call. She didn’t call. I tried to call her several times. She wouldn’t answer the phone. This was two weeks ago. I’m certain that she will never contact me to explain what happened.

Looking back, I believe she disliked me from the start. I think I’d probably said something she didn’t like long ago online as we frequent the same dog communities, and she held a grudge. It wasn’t about money as she’d never cashed the deposit check. I think the fact that she’s ignoring me is a passive aggressive attack. I think she purposely strung us along all that time with no intention of ever selling us a puppy.

Now, we’re not only upset about the loss of the puppy but also about the way she treated us. I’ve ran the whole thing through my mind a zillion times, wondering what I did or said long ago. Then, I even started wondering if, in fact, the whole litter had died.

Anyway, this will haunt me and my husband for quite a while. It has made us feel so rejected.



BB I have found tha,t some people are just plain rude and inconsiderate and I can’t figure out why. Like you, I often assume that I did or said something wrong. I have a neighbor like that who went from friendly to rude and nasty with no explanation, and I can think of anything I did to deserve this. The thing is, maybe it isn’t me at all. Maybe it is something within her….envy, jealousy, or maybe something is wrong in her life. So BB, maybe it is also the case with that dog breeder. Her treatment of you is horrible and inexcusable. My gut feeling says its a problem with her, not you.


I get treated this way at work word for word as your article mentions. I finally tried to get to the bottom of it as well in the exact same way you did:

“I say things like “why are you talking to me that way as though I am “nothing”? I ask “why are you talking to me as though I have no feelings?” or I say “why are you speaking to me as though I am beneath you?”or one of my favourites; “why are you talking to me like I am stupid?” No one ever has an answer. ”

The problem is they DID have an answer – they denied it. They refused to own up to their behavior. This has made my life miserable. It hasn’t stopped and its never going to. I’d like to read an article that suggests how to deal with it when you can’t walk away from it and it doesn’t go away. Your article was great though- I was glad to see someone else understood.


I have just read the comment section. I think it has got to be the most helpful comment section even compared to forums that I have ever read. I can see now that I can change my attitude. But I’m still afraid it won’t make a difference because people who do this have the power to define who I am over and above what I think of myself and over and above my own accomplishments. They can prevent me from getting anywhere in life and any progress I make is for naught. Over time I think all this advice will help but meanwhile I feel powerless in my current situation.


Diane S, I know what you are feeling in work. I had the same experiences. I feared standing up for myself, as it could lead to bad appraisals or getting fired. Yet others stood up for themselves, and got promoted. I don’t get it. I hate feeling powerless.


Kudos to you but i’ve no idea how people don’t do this to you any more because they still do to me just to make me angry instead, even when they know i’m not dumb they still do it anyway and continue to be ignorant, it’s not as simple as you put it, people just do things to even get some sort of reaction out of you and when you do speak your mind they do actually go around calling you crazy, a bitch, a cow to other people telling them not to speak to you because apparently i will bite their heads off too… From my parents and my bro doing this to me all my life, only caring about their own happiness for selfish reasons i’m rarely every happy, they also ask me why i don’t go out and when i tell them there is nothing to do (which there isn’t these days as everything coasts money), they start saying that’s not true or come up with some sort of excuse to try and make me feel like i’m the issue. This terribly upsets me coming from my parents, the people who are supposed to stand by me not against me, my brother is the same as them with a terrible temper. No matter what questions i ask to people even when i point it out to them they just pretend they don’t know what i’m doing and act ignorant then continue to do it because they just love drawing attention to themselves, it’s just not that simple any more.


Hi eemmbee90
welcome to efb
When my boundary was drawn in my heart I was no longer a prisoner of this treatment. What that means basically is that through healing, I came to believe 100 percent that I didn’t deserve it anymore and was then able to stand up to it for myself. The people who didn’t want to stop treating me badly are no longer in my life ~ BECAUSE they were not willing to give me the same respect that they demanded from me. It isn’t easy or simple, its a healing process. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


My husband has told me many times before that I have low status in my family and that it is impossible to change this when my family is not willing to. They have a “place” for me and they’re never, ever going to let me off the hook. I suppose it is the place of a scapegoat. There are two people who are most invested on keeping me in my place – my younger sister, and my mother. I have an older sister but she is quite confident in her role as the “hero” of the family. There were certain rites of passage that she as the oldest child, and oldest daughter, were able to do before anyone else. The first one to wear a slight heel, wear nylon stockings (this was the 1980s) and go for confirmation. In our community, the confirmation was a big deal. It meant that we could participate with the teenagers in youth activities. Since we were part of a religious community, and generally discouraged from being part of our school community except for academic functions, this was a little like getting allowed to go to a dance or a boy-girl party, etc. for most Americans. My sister went through confirmation going into 8th grade, as was customary. She wore a white dress, and then was able to go to the youth gatherings. I was a year behind her in school. So I awaited the next year when was going into the 8th grade and I could also go. But when it got to be “my turn” my mother told me I could not go, because I had a late summer birthday and was not 13 yet. There were others who were not yet 13, but they were able to go. I had to wait out the next year, when I was going into 9th grade. So the next year came, and my mother announced she would send both me, and my younger sister, going into 7th grade together. No fair! I was quite upset. Why did I have to wait, and she can go when her 13th birthday was after Christmas! I put my foot down, and said that if she was to go, I would refuse to go, I wanted my OWN coming of age ritual! I would refuse to go, I would hide in the woods or run away. The time came when my mother would take me to buy my confirmation dress. But she kept putting it off, until finally it could be put off no longer. When we went to the store, she refused to pay for it, saying they were broke, but I paid for it happily with my babysitting money. After I was confirmed, she allowed my younger sister to attend the youth gatherings anyway, even though I was never allowed even in the week or two before the confirmation. She let her wear nylon stockings too, all things I had been waiting to do, she got to do right away. So it is no surprise, at all, that my sister worries about her place in the family. She was given a place ahead of me even as a young person. I was always discounted. It only got worse when my sister, at 19 years of age, married before me. Then she started talking really down to me, saying “one day when you meet the right man” like I was the youngest sibling. In fact, everyone does believe I am the youngest daughter, but I am the second oldest. I am the crazy one, even though I have never really done anything crazy. I have never used drugs or gotten drunk. I never went dancing, or ran with men, and I pretty much followed the rules in our religious community. It wouldn’t have mattered though, because they accepted people who bended the rules if they wanted to.


Just recently I went in to have a pelvic examination. When I met the doctor, she was polite, but not friendly. The whole time I felt “judged”, as if she were putting me into a little social box determining where I belonged.

I returned for another appointment to get the results of some tests and felt the same vibes from her; as if I didn’t measure up to some unknown standard in her mind. I would ask questions and she would answer them, but it seemed like inwardly she was judging me and I didn’t feel like I was getting satisfactory answers to my questions.

When I got home, I finally realized what the issue might be. I’m overweight. I wasn’t wearing makeup. We had discussed the fact that I have birthed six children and had five miscarriages. I think she assumed that I’m uneducated and on welfare. The ironic part is I have a college degree and insurance through my husband’s work. It’s frustrating when you are looked down on because of someone’s estimation of your worth.

At one time, for a couple of years, we were on welfare because my husband had lost his job and wasn’t eligible for Unemployment benefits. We only chose to receive food stamps because we had no other way of providing food for our children. It was a tough time for us and it made me realize how often I had judged other people or assumed I know all about their circumstances. I’m not perfect, but I do try to treat everyone I meet now, as much as possible, with respect.


Hi Marla
Welcome to EFB
Thank you for sharing! hugs, Darlene


Hi, I was searching online for something that could help me to cope with my sister’s behaviour. She recently said she never wants to hear from me again. She was offended by my tone of voice because I dared to express my feelings about something for once, instead of just trying to keep her happy. I am grieving for the loss of my sister now as I don’t think I will ever hear from her again, even though I thought we were really close. But at the same time, I have just started to open my eyes to how unequal our relationship really was. This blog is amazing, so many people seem to say things that I have also experienced. For example, I frequently find people talking over me. And I can’t find a way to stop it happening. When I speak up, I’m told that I am overreacting, too angry or have the wrong tone of voice. It’s like I am not allowed to express myself. I wish I could learn real assertiveness. I feel powerless. And also I feel like I have a very low value to people. Thank you.


Hi Rose. That could have been me writing a good part of your post. EFB is a great blog. I have been reading it for nine months now and it has been very helpful. The articles are wonderful and gave given me a new perspective on things, and people on here are amazingly supportive.

I think that people get used to us acting in a certain way. I was always quiet and compliant, and I think that people learned to expect this from me. So when I assert myself they are surprised. I’ve seen this with both friends and family. My best friend since high school was always the confident assertive one. She got used to my submissiveness but also to my insecurities. I think she enjoyed the role of giving me advice and the fact that I felt less secure made her feel better about herself. She had trouble handling it as I became more confident, and began making hurtful comments to me to try to “put me back in my place”. At first I was shocked and froze instead of responding, but once I started asserting myself with her things started getting better. Though lately, I noticed she is trying again to assume her “superior” role so I am thinking of backing off from the relationship.

I have also had people talk over me as well as being told I am overreacting or used the wrong tone if I speak up. I think this is a way to try to push us back into a submissive role. They don’t want to give up their “superior” position. So out come the insults to make us feel bad and put us back into the people pleasing compliant role. And notice that the rules are different for themselves than for us. They can insult us, but not the reverse. They can ge offended but we are not supposed to.

Through the blogs here I have learned that we all have equal value and the most important thing is me realizing my equal value ven if others refuse to. And then it’s a matter of making decisions about who to keep in my life. Big I assert myself and the other person is willing to listen and accepts that I have rights too, then they are “keepers”. But those who are only out for he selves and who disregard me……well, maybe it’s time for goodbye.


Hi Amber,

Thank you for your kind reply. That’s really interesting – what you said about your best friend. Especially the part about pushing you back into a submissive role. I think this is exactly what my sister has done with me. And there were parts of our relationship that were good, and that worked well, but equally there was an underlying, uncomfortable, nagging feeling because I always knew when I dared to assert myself that she would make my life very difficult indeed, including trying to get other members of the family to gang up on me. Sadly I think she learned this trait from my mother, although I have to say my mother has really softened over the years and my relationship with her has vastly improved (although she says that it is me who has become more mature… go figure, probably a bit of both).

I was very distressed when my sister said she never wanted to see me again. But the more I read, and the more I talk to my friends, the more I realise that a bit of distance for a time is not a bad thing. I feel more free. But I do desperately hope it is not permanent because I adore her.


After a year of N/C with my mom, wrote her a letter and I sent it. In my letter, I asked how come it’s ok when my sisters tell her “Mom you hurt my feelings” but when I say “Mom you hurt my feelings” I get the “you are just too sensitive, and you have to learn to put up with this.” I’m the eldest, by the way. I’m also the shortest, both of my sisters are taller than I.

I called my mom out on her “I won’t abandon you” statement and said that she HAD abandoned me because of her refusal to talk to me and to take responsibility.

Mom accuses me of “constantly bringing up the past.” well, I have found that if I do a “Law and Order SVU” interrogation, I will…. eventually…. get the truth. My mom doesn’t tell you truth, she “justifies her hidden agenda.” Eventually, after a “Law and Order SVU” interrogation, I get the “hidden agenda.” That’s the truth I’m after. I told her in my letter I want TRUTH, not justification for hidden agenda. And I told her I will keep bringing up the past until I feel I have the truth. And if she can’t be honest with me, I don’t want to talk to her.

I’m sure it will be either ignored, or I will get told what an ungrateful daughter I am, or something not positive. I’m just tired of being the one not allowed to say my feelings.

All my life I have felt she loved some “image” she wanted me to be. She didn’t love ME. So, I learned, “Be what Mom wants you to be or you aren’t loved.” And from what I learned from the blog baggagereclaim.com, I repeated this behavior with boyfriends. “Pretend to be what they want you to be or you aren’t loved.” Thus, I never had a guy break up with me, but I eventually broke up with them because I was tired of “playing an acting role.” Plus, part of it was… “Break up with them before they could break up with me.” But even though I broke it up, it still hurt. Over the years, I learned that I was repeating my Mom’s behavior, by expecting the guy to be what *I* wanted them to be. After all, I was “acting” for them, why couldn’t they “act” for me? How bizarre is that?

I have been alone for quite a long time, and I’m ok with it. Learning what and WHO *I* am.


HI Darlene,
I just started reading this because I looked up “inferiority complex” after being accused of having one by someone who always talks to me condescendingly. This happened right after I asked him, for the 100th time, not to talk to me like that!
I was married for 20 years to a totally verbally abusive alcoholic. I thought I got over it, and found a nice guy who loves me just the way I am, and only after a while realized he is talking down to me all the time. He says that’s just his tone of voice. And he does talk to a lot of people like that, but not everyone. Only people he can – his adult children, his mother, and ME!
So I thought, HE must be the one with the inferiority complex and that’s why he’s taking it out on me! But then I realized, I do have low self-esteem, and reading your comments, I realized I have wondered over the years why people feel they can abuse me, ignore me, etc.
All this to say, I’m really glad I found this site, and it is REALLY helpful!! But I’m still not sure how to handle someone doing this, when every time I complain, it gets turned around on me. And the ridiculous thing is, it doesn’t always bother me, but when he does it around other people, I get embarrassed for HIM, because I think they must think less of him for how he speaks to ME! Talk about mixed up~!
Anyway, thanks for sharing your experiences!


Hi Janis.
Welcome to Efb
I’m glad you found this website; there is a ton of info here – over 400 articles all with discussions that might shed some light on the answers to your questions.
Please feel free to share often!
Hugs Darlene


HI Again,
Just reading more comments and realized I could go on and on and on about my entire life of putting up with this $#*%! I’m 51, and now I’m stuck in it again! That just does wonders for my self-esteem, realizing I’ve been so dumb for so long and still am!


It has nothing to do with being dumb it has to do with what you have learned for a young age to accept as ‘normal’. Keep reading. I address lots this stuff in other posts
Hugs Darlene


Janis, I’m in my LATE 50’s and still figuring this out. I didn’t even come out of “fog” until my late 40’s. You won’t figure this out overnight.


Janis, I can relate. When I stand up for myself, it gets turned around on me and I’m the bad person. So I learned never to stand up for myself, because OBVIOUSLY I’m wrong.


Darlene, I know your comment 143 was to Janis, but I want you to know it just helped me with some triggers I’ve been dealing with over the past few days. I am on a family trip to Florida and realized as we were getting close to our destination that it turned out to be right next to the town where my old, abusive boyfriend now lives. I’ve been having many flashbacks of abusive things he would say to me and how the relationship was very one sided with me doing all the giving. And I’ve been berating myself for having been so dumb to have put up with it. I was 16 at the time. Darlene your comment to Janis reminded me that I learned to accept mistreatment as normal way way before that relationship. I learned it from my mother as a very young child and then carried my learned feelings of being dumb and worthless into that teenage relationship and didn’t stand up for myself when he talked down to me and mistreated me, or atleast not until I finally had had enough and ended it. Thank you for the much-needed reminder that I wasn’t dumb; I just didn’t have the knowledge that that ill treatment was not “normal” and I didnt realize that I had the right to be treated with dignity and equal value. Because I was taught the wrong “normal” as a child.


I struggle with this periodically- when other people say stupid things that get me down. I wear a fair bit of a purple. Its one of my favourite colours and I enjoy wearing it. Recently someone said to me ‘We need to find you a different colour to wear’ as if it mattered to her THAT MUCH that I wear purple that she needed to comment on it. And it brought me right down to somewhere I didn’t need to be, and that I shouldn’t be wearing purple.

The same person said to me at a later date when I checked a label on my clothes to see if it was made of 100% cotton that ‘it won’t say its made of cheesecloth’. I already knew it wasn’t going to say that. Have you ever seen ‘cheesecloth’ written on a clothes label? No! So why make a stupid comment like that? Again, it dragged me down and I felt stupid.

I KNOW I’m not stupid. I have done many things in life that prove that I am not. Why have a problem with my wearing a colour I LIKE wearing?

I do have low self esteem, partly due to a very jarring personal experience last year, and things like that really get me and I feel I have to change as a result.

If people continue to talk to you, me or anyone this way, it is not about your sensitivity anymore (although the way people respond to those kind of comments can be due to a sensitivity), it is about what they are saying and how it makes you feel. Sometimes its done out of cruelty, and that is never ok, and is more a reflection of who they are as a person.


Hi Clare
Welcome to emerging from broken!
These are great examples of just how it goes! Thanks for sharing. Since recovering my life, power, and self-esteem I know just what to say in these cases. You’ve fund the right website!
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs Darlene


Hi Clare! It took me a long time to learn that it is a reflection of the person making the comment rather than the one it’s being said to. I know I’ve mentioned this before on this site; my best friend from high school will get like this sometimes. It took me a while to realize how insecure she is. Of course, this does not excuse her behavior in any way. For a while I thought she “got it” because there were no little put down comments for several years. But during our last conversation, it was a brag fest about her upcoming vacation followed by comments like “so you’re not going anywhere this year??” “Oh, you haven’t gone to see any plays lately?” “Did you go anywhere for New Years”. All meant to imply that my life is un exciting and boring. I decided to take a break from her, which could become permanent. I haven’t talked to her in six weeks.

If you love to wear purple, go right ahead! Don’t let his person burst your bubble! You could ask her why she feels the need to comment about what you wear. If my “friend” starts in again about what I have been doing, I am going to ask her why what I am doing is so important to her. I’m looking forward to her answer!


Loved this article, Darlene! It sure hits home for me! I was wondering how others can like ones’ spouse so much, but when I was introduced when my husband was living, it sometimes seemed that I wasn’t as well received or accepted. Believe my husband loved the children and I; but it hurts alot when I don’t have a close friend to rely on. Its seems that other women have at least 5 close female friends, but what type of trauma can cause a person to not have close friends as they get older? I had friends coming up as a kid, etc.; but it seems so lonely, etc. to not have another adult to talk to more often than I currently do. I’m in a couple Bible Studies and do reach out to others; but am I stuck for life being like this?

Thanks for any replies!


Hi Faith
I had a few problems with girlfriends; I believe that I was very comfortable being in the servant role and so the relationships were never mutually respectful OR co-creative based on equal value for both parties. I was NOT stuck for life. When I healed the core issues within myself, everything changed! I am no longer comfortable or attracted to one sided relationships!
hugs, Darlene


i just want to say thank you, and God bless you for this forum. Outside of my 12 step group, Celebrate Recovery ( a WONDERFUL support system for anyone struggling emotionally) I have been searching for forums like this to share support with others and people who can identify with the struggle and pain. I have suffered from depression and anxiety most of my life, probably from age 11. My childhood was comfortable, but very dysfunctional. I was bullied, and I never felt safe at home. My mother was bi-polar and manic, and life at home was very unpredictable. Because of this, I have struggled with relationships my entire life. My marriage was bad, and he was abusive. Pretty much everyone has been abusive to me in one form or another, because of my low self worth. The worst part about it too, is that I have old friends that are great people. they are loving and kind, but for some reason I don’t feel worthy of their friendship. The truth is, I have probably not felt worthy of anyone’s respect my entire life. I learned to live with shame of who I was (because of my Mom and the dysfunction) from an early age. Now I am in my 50’s and once again I am at a crossroads. I am still single, because I am working on these issues, but I have old friends I think I need to let go. And I now believe that it is because they do not respect me or value the relationship. Thank you so much Darlene! Your message is very powerful, and it made a light go off inside me! I have been struggling with this for so long, and I am still not sure what to do. Maybe You and the good people in this forum can give me some advice. I have two friends, one I have known from 3rd grade, the other i met through her 5 years ago. I will refer to them as F1 and F2. 🙂 F1 I have known from 3rd grade, but i distanced myself from her when we were in high school because she was having sex with older guys during the afternoon and smoking a lot of pot. This happened again when we were in our 20’s and living together. She was in a dead end job, and hanging with people I didn’t really like. I left to go to college, she didn’t really do anything else accept marry her long time bf. When I came back after my divorce, nothing had changed, accept they had kids. F2 entered the picture, and she was exactly like F1. They are so similar it’s uncanny. They both are not spiritual, in fact they think Christians are stupid. F2 is married to an outspoken atheist. They overindulge their children, and don’t have any boundaries with them such as letting them watch ANYTHING on tv or movies, and letting them talk to them with disrespect etc. Also, their marriages are dysfunctional, and they still hang around with people who share their values or lack of it. Still, I have cared about these people, and have pursued the relationship with them. But, when i am with them, I feel like I am walking on eggshells. F1 worships her children, but speaks horribly to her husband in front of anyone. She is very passive aggressive, and she never contacts me unless she wants something. F2 and her husband, both engage in substance abuse in front of their child, say anything in front their child, and this child is very disrespectful to them. I was in the car with them once when the husband and the child started screaming and talking to F2 with disrespect for hitting a speed bump. These are the things I am subjected to when I am with them. But the thing that bothers me the most, is the lack of respect for me. F1 again, acts like I do not exist. In spite of me being a good friend. F2 invites me over, but doesn’t really have conversation with me, plays on her iphone while she smokes outside, etc. and really doesn’t have much to say to me, but for some reason she is friends with my brother on Facebook, and other friends of mine, and she does not know these people. She also berates me for no reason in front of her family and our friends. One morning when I had spent the night i said good morning to her, and she barked at me” DON’T TALK TO ME YET!” because she had not had her cup of coffee. They also hang out with a group of women , who are equally as rude. I relate to the “abuser” responses, because when I have explained things to F2 she always tells me ” I’m over thinking it” and I have been labeled a “drama queen”. OR I am too sensitive etc. STILL with this knowledge, I was there for both them when they experienced the sudden death of a mutual friend. I made meals for both of their families because in my family, that is what you do for friends who are grieving. F1 never showed brief appreciation and went back to being non-existent. F2 was more appreciative, but I didn’t make those meals to get a reaction. I just did it from my heart. But i have noticed that F1 and F2 don’t treat me the way they treat their other friends. F2 was also there for me years ago, when i went through a crisis, but she has never really allowed herself to be close to me. Not as close as other friends are. Possibly because the reality is that we don’t have a lot in common. Bottom line is, They simply do not respect me and I don’t know why, but i am tired of blaming myself and being upset over it. I still don’t know how I should handle it. Do I distance myself for a while? Or do I move on and end the relationship? I don’t want to make a bad decision, but honestly I am not good at these decisions, history has proven that! and I need to protect myself. Any input will be greatly appreciated! XOXO Hope


Hi Hope! I too have had experience with being bullied as a child, and I have had some friendship struggles in both childhood and adulthood. As a child I tended to gravitate to “friends” who did not treat me as an equal, and used the friendship to obtain rides to various activities from my mother or to obtain other favors from me; favors that they would never have been willing to return. Me, I felt so worthless as a child that I would pay almost any price to obtain a friend, even one who treated me like garbage. In elementary school, I paid a dime to a girl once to buy her friendship. She gladly took it but was a nasty mean person to me and the friendship didn’t last. By seventh grade my self esteem had improved a little and I made friends with some girls that genuinely liked me. But then there were others who sensed the insecurities I still had and used them in various ways to their advantage. One girl especially liked that I felt insecure and ran to her for advice. It made her feel superior and she would sometimes come out with little digs; nasty comments to keep me feeling inferior to her so that she could continue to feel above me.

In adulthood, a couple if times I made the mistake of befriending the type of woman who would not tolerate you saying anything that opposes her way of thinking. As long as I agreed with this type of person ( I had two friendships like this) they would remain my friend, but there came a time in both if these friendships when I did express my opinion, and both of these women, who did not know each other by the way, dropped me when I dared yo express opposing opinions and feelings. What was similar about both of these women is that it wasn’t enough yo end the friendships. One was a neighbor and she gossiped a trail of lies to many others in the neighborhood about me. The other roman was a former high school classmate who I Reunited with through Facebook. She did the same thing, spreading malicious gossip to other classmates. In both situations, people who these women had gossiped to alerted me yo the lies they were spreading.

Hope, I’ m not going to try to tell you what yo do with those women, because it is up to you to decide your path. But I will share some of the guidelines I now yes with choosing friends and continuing old friendships. First, any insults, put downs and anything else done to try to make me feel bad is unacceptable. It is also unacceptable for someone to tell me I am too sensitive or that I can’t take a joke if I call them out on their nasty behavior. To me that means they are unwilling to take any responsibility for their crappy behavior. I now steer clear of friendships with women that are looking for a one side friendship where they expect me to do all the giving, and I also steer away from women who are unable to tolerate opinions that differ from their own. If someone is going to try to shut my voice down, or if someone is just looking for favors from me then it is not a relationship of equality and I don’t want it.
Perhaps you can think over what your bottom line is with those women, what is acceptable to you and what isn’t. Could you then talk to them about what bothers you about the friendship? If so, then see if they are willing to make changes. If not, then you will need to evaluate whether you wish to continue relationships with them. Best of luck, Amber.


So what if the person talking down to you is a friend and/or someone you respect? If I asked them why they’re treating me like I’m stupid, I’d be afraid that I’d be seen as overreacting or hostile.

I foolishly got into a debate with a friend about whether canine hip dysplasia is genetic or environmental. I’m very educated on the subject and so is she, but we see it from an entirely different perspective. I don’t care if she disagrees with me, but I’m smarting about the way she talked down to me as if I’m stupid, far below her intellectually in her lengthy rebuttal. She went so far as to tell me what two studies we’d both read mean and kept repeating information as if I didn’t get it the first time. I did get it–I just didn’t agree with it. As I have a puppy who suffers from the condition, it’s a very emotional topic for me.

I’ve decided to quit the discussion and let her have the last say. Now I’m thinking that perhaps it’s best not to challenge a friend on a controversial subject. I’ve always avoided political and religious topics with friends, but perhaps any passionate topic should be avoided.


Hi Angelia
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Your question is a really big one! For me being able to ask those questions came well into the healing process when I no longer cared how they ‘saw’ me and was more concerned with the way that I was being devalued and mistreated. Of course there is a difference between a difference of opinion on a topic and being treated in a nasty way and it was important for me to understand those differences as well.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Thank you, Darlene. This is such an interesting blog. I’m anxious to read your other articles.

You’ve given me a lot to think about. I’m far from that state of healing.

Often lately people have talked to me in a condescending way. I usually ignore it and walk away rather than get into an argument. I don’t know why people talk to me this way. I used to be respected, my opinion was valued. Somewhere along the line, things changed. It makes me feel like I’m losing my personal power. Perhaps I’m being too complacent, too nice.


Amber thank you so much for responding to me. Since my last post, she’s done it again, numerous times! So..more opinions would be greatly appreciated! I have had a long history of being abused, used and basically treated like crap. I was always told I was crazy etc. I am DONE with it! And when I have confronted this ‘friend’ I have been told I was over thinking it, I am over reacting or she started crying and blubbering as if i hurt her feelings, and denied everything! She’s a friend one day, and then she turns on me and she does not treat anyone else like this! I have never seen her do this. So..please tell me what you think. AM I overreacting? This is what she has done since my last post: ex.1 Invited me to a party at her house; house full of adults and teenagers. At one point all the teens sitting around the table. i say “looks like a good time for a group shot” because I wanted to take a picture of them. She walks behind me and says in that condescending tone in front of everyone ” NO IT’S NOT. THEY ALREADY DID THAT ANYWAY!” ..humiliating. ex 2. she said something demeaning to me in front of the adults later that night ex 3 same night..i was in a bedroom with her and two other friends..she says to them” In this room is my oldest best friend” and looks to the other person and says “and my newest best friend” and doesn’t say anything about me I thought it was a bit sophomoric, but also demeaning in a way. EX 4 three nights ago my cat brought in a live baby grass snake and presented it to me. i took a short video of her playing with it. This friend has FOUR cats that skill things or bring her dead presents. her response to my video was ” And…..you didn’t try to save it?” I sent her a “?? ” and she again replied..” DID you NOT even try to save it?” SERIOUSLY?!!!!! honestly why do I bother. My Mom calls it showing up for a beating. I am so tired of this. So please tell me..AM I wrong? AM i over thinking it? AM I crazy? OR AM I needing to seriously distance myself and move on. She goes months without really including me in anything so it won’t be hard. And we do not have the same values. The only thing we had in common was my friend from 3rd grade, and I never hear from her or get a response and I can honestly say we are no longer friends. I greatly appreciate any from this forum. Many Blessings! XO Hope


great article.

I have just had this experience on a narcissist website where the lady running it told me my childhood rape could be instantly let go if did her modules (which I had done and they weren’t) and that at some level I asked for the rape experience when I came into the world. I had to step back and really take a look at what this women was saying and why I was even listening to her??? I realized I need to stay away from looking to others to validate my experience, especially someone I don’t even know!! I guess I always wanted my mom to love me like other mothers and I still seek it elsewhere. Now I know I can stop this behavior and instead honor my journey with integrity and compassion.


Hope, RE: your message 157; since you asked if we think you overreacted to your ” friend’s” antics, in my opinion I would give a resounding NO! It appears from what you’ve written that she tried to pass the blame to you ( saying you were overthinking and overreacting) and then turned the tables by crying and making herself the victim. Ugh! You said that she has demeaned you and humiliated you several times in the past couple of weeks, and that she uses a condescending tone of voice. I don’t think it is overreacting to not want to be treated in a disrespectful way. I know that it helps as we go through this process to get validation from others. We have learned to question our own thinking through put downs and being invalidated by others. I am at the stage in the process where I am really trying to listen to my own feelings. If I feel disrespected by someone, I now realize that there is a reason why I feel that way. I am not being treat well. I guess what I am saying is if you feel humiliated and put down from this persons treatment of you, go with your feelings. Validation from others is helpful and encouraging; what I am working on now is self validation.


Hi Cat
Welcome to EFB!
OMGosh!! There should be a place to report stuff like that! That is horrifically abusive. I totally relate to seeking a mothers approval from others. I found that once I validated that I had not had the mother that I needed, and did some processing about the truth (that I had been taught was not abuse etc.) I was able to fill those voids in myself, love and accept myself and re-parent myself. I no longer seek a mother figure! 🙂
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Amber Thank you so much again. Self Validation is where i need to live until I can heal. I just hope I can find it. Something I need to work on. It’s going to take some serious reprogramming after 40 years! I have to believe I am worth it. And my gut is always the best barometer and I should never ignore it. My gut always gnaws at me when I am at her house. I am so tired of her on and off friendship with me. it’s confusing. But I have finally come to realize that our friendship was superficial at best. She is not someone I can be deep with. She does not share my spiritual values and her husband is an outspoken atheist. She also drinks every single day. She drinks vodka the second she gets home from work, and starting in the afternoons on weekends. I never know how she is going to behave. They are good people, and like i said earlier, they did help me through a crisis three years ago. But I have noticed that she doesn’t value me as a close friend because she doesn’t spend quality time with just me. She goes to shows, concerts,trips, lunches etc with her other friends. She invites me to her house every once in a while. She has invited me to some women’s GNO ( girls night out ) events, but there always seems to be a complaint when she comes back and i really don’t like most of the women that go. So..I guess the bottom line with this friendship is, it barely exists really. And what I have to ask myself is and truly examine, is why i choose to be with friends who treat me badly, because it is familiar and better than not having anything to do? And why do I not feel worthy of true friendships with people who want to see me but for some reason I shy away. I guess I am wounded and I need to heal. I’m just tired of drawing toxic people to myself because of how I feel. Thank you so much Amber! So glad I found this blog.


Hope, I think what happened when I read your messages is that they triggered memories of friendships gone wrong in my life. There were some common themes in these friendships. One was The User. The girl that lived across the street when I was growing up and would ask me to go places then turn around and ask if my mother could drive us there. Her mother didn’t drive until after she graduated college. She would also pick fights with me when her cousin was staying over so she would have an excuse for me not to be around them. She even went as far as saying that her grandmother saw me swinging her cat around by the tail! She completely made that up, but for the longest time I thought that the grandmother didn’t like me and made that story up about me. Another variation on The User is a The Complainer. The friend that always wants you to listen to her complaints and problems, but if you need to confide in her she is not interested. It’s all about het. Then, the I ‘m S o a Important friend that only wants to talk about her trips, her promotion, her possessions, and will try to one up you so that she always feels she is on top. They can also be condescending to keep you in ” your place” which is at the bottom, so that she can try to boost her sagging self esteem. Then, the worst one; the Conflict Addicted friend. She thrived on conflicts but also tries to draw others in to take her side. She picks submissive friends should are likely to sacrifice their own feelings and opinions and go along with her antics. Because, deep down inside on some level the submissive friend knows that if she makes one wrong move, such as disagreeing with her, the Conflict Addicted friend will then turn on her, and gather together a gang of others to help the C. A. Friend destroy her. Because I am a sympathetic listener I attracted a couple of conflict addicted friends. Both relationships ended with the woman turning on me. One because I needed to discus with her that her son was bullying my son, and her daughter was destroying my bushes. Instead of agreeing to look into the situation she grabbed the chance to pick a fight, and then twisted the story to her advantage ( she made it seem like I was picking on her kids, when in fact I had gone to her in an attempt to resolve the problems) and proceeded to malign me to several others in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, I had felt this was between me and her and didn’t gossip to anyone about what happened. But when someone clued me in, giving me her version, I did let her know the truth about what happened. I had a di molar experience with another woman and have decided to stay FAR away from anyone who gossips about others and tries to draw me in. The warning signs were there with both women; I just didn’t pick up on them fast enough.
I am lucky to have several good friends, ones that font fall into those categories. I know that there may be times when a friend might have a problem and I may have yo be more of the giver at those times. But, the difference is that I know that these people will be there for me if I need them. Loving and reciprocal relationships are what I look for now. Ones with mutual respect and where everyone is treated with equal value.
Hope, you too are deserving of good friendships. Friends who treat you well and value you. Sometimes it means saying goodbye to relationships that aren’t working. Learn to look for signs of toxicity, like I mentioned above. Look for people that you can have a give and take relationship with, ones with respect and reciprocity. You deserved it!


AMEN Amber! We all deserve it. Your post made me remember that this “friend” also loves to call me up and complain about the other friend, that I don’t speak to anymore. She loves to gossip about her when she upsets her, but won’t ever tell her face to face. I am the dumping ground, but the other friend is her BFF because they had a double wedding together so they are like sisters. But I am an accessory. HA! not anymore. I am just fed up with people who don’t value me and if I have to be alone for a while so be it! My cat needs extra attention anyway. 🙂 Also, right after I posted earlier, one of my true friends whom I don’t see ever..sent me loving texts..just because. There’s your sign. 🙂 XO!


Hope, and I have found that the friend who talks to you about another friend instead of telling that friend what the problem is will also talk to that friend about you instead of talking to you face to face. Just a caveat!


Oh yes I am sure she does! 🙂


Hope, your cat and the friend that sends those nice texts ” just because” sound like keepers! 🙂 🙂


Indeed they are! 😀 oh and my “friend” just posted pics of herself with her “new BFF” from a party at her house this weekend, that I was not invited to. It is facebook and it’s not like she is rubbing anything in my face, but i can’t help to think that she is in a way. Honestly, I really don’t think she cares that much, because she obviously does not value me and this is just another sign that says so. BUH BYE! 🙂


I just have to vent to get something out of my system. It is about a relatively minor but annoying thing. I just got the dirtiest look from a woman I don’t even know. I was sitting on my front porch and my cross the street neighbors along with a group of friends went to get in their cars, and this stranger in the group glared at me, got in the car and before she closed the door, gave me a another dirty look. She may know that my neighbor and I aren’t on friendly terms, but where does it give her the right to look at me like that? What does it have to do with her? It just seemed so nasty and very disrespectful. I think it may have triggered a lot a past feelings of being disrespected and devalued, especially at a time when I did nothing to provoke it. Thoughts, anyone? And thanks for listening to me vent.


Amber, It’s been too long since i posted. 🙂 The incident that happened to you in July, sound indicative of society in general these days. people are at their worst! People, especially strangers, are just horrible to each other, in public, anywhere at any time. This has become acceptable behavior. If that woman had done that to me, I would have slowly raised my hand up, gave her a half wave with my fingers only, and shook my head. as if to say, “take a picture bitch!”, now get in that car and get the hell away from my house. I am just so sick of it. It has become a habit of mine to get my iphone and hit record on my camera when people start road raging. they have raged on me for the most absurd, random reason or no reason at all. Mostly from tapping my horn. so I point my iphone at them without looking at them. It makes them stop most of the time. If they don’t I tell them to say hello to youtube. and thank you so much for a complete description of who you are and what car you are driving. It works without actually engaging them. That will never work. It is better than just ignoring them. because they need a reaction and don’t stop usually until they get one.
Now i need some advice. I honestly do not know what to do with this, and anyone who sees this please chime in and tell me what you think. I am at a loss, and I think I am going to have to cut ties with a brother of mine for i don’t know how long. When things are good, this brother of mine and I are very close. Closer than any sibling can be. We talk almost daily. He is very successful, lives in nyc and has a great life. But for some reason he also is vicious, and treats me horribly out of the blue, unprovoked. It’s almost as if my presence triggers him. IDK. When he is the good brother, he is funny, supportive, generous etc. He has helped me tremendously without me asking when I hit financial hardship. Then, he uses it against me later.
throws it in my face. When i fly to new york, he makes wonderful plans for us, with our mom, then treats me horribly and viciously attacks me anywhere for no reason. Even at a 5 star restaurant in soho on my 50th birthday, which had me walking down park avenue, in the rain trying to find a cab because he threw me out of the car. This time he made plans for us to stay in a nice b&B in a great area of my city. he invited friends (gay male friends). I don’t have an issue with gays. I Have many friends who are gay, my brother is gay. But, they can be horribly petty and bitchy. These particular people I mean. The trouble started before I even got there. I was lost, my navigation wasn’t working. My brother sensed frustration in my voice and instantly became vicious. I texted him back telling him i was going home. I didn’t want to, because we had spent weeks planning what we were going to make, and what we were going to do etc. I loaded my entire kitchen practically, and bought food because i was looking forward to cooking. I love to cook for people and My brother knows this. it was fine when i finally got there. Saturday was great. Sunday was horrible. His friends bitched because i took too long getting ready to go to the grocery store. I did this because i wouldn’t have time later, and we had old friend s I had not seen in years coming over. Then I needed to make roasted potatoes for one of my brunch dishes. I did not know that the other guy making some weird middle eastern egg dish for brunch was going to need the oven and the entire kitchen for 45 minutes to cook. they did not tell me this. also he had no clue what he was doing, and had issues with the cast iron skillet etc. The other friend became annoyed again because it was taking too long. I was blamed again for not making the potatoes earlier. Then i heard my brother say something in that vicious tone, and he started in on me, told me to leave, threw how much he paid for the house at me, etc etc etc. I didn’t leave, he left for a while. We kept cooking And everything was done in a timely matter and we ate and surprise! all the bitching was for nothing. Something else to add to the mix was that i was having a horrible cycle, and was in excruciating pain all the time trying to put my best face forward. Aleve works ok but this time not enough. They all also knew that i was going through that. They could care less. so later when I started cooking an elaborate delicious meal for our guests, the guys were horrible to me. Rude and making passive aggressive comments because my responses were not in a tone they wanted to hear. after our friends left, I started to pack. The house is an old creaky house with original hardwoods. when you walk fast, it can be loud. Finally my brother approached me in the kitchen and said “WHAT is wrong with you!” I told him i am packing and walking. he then responded with “MY friends are feeling tension from you and we think you should leave, now!” basically, THEY threw me out of the house.
i started crying, and loaded my car as i wept. they kept their heads buried in their smart phones.My brother said things out the door like “this is the last time! never again! ” like it was supposed to be a threat. He is the one who starts it. For years and years and years. The second I got to my car i blocked all 3 of them on my Facebook. Blocked my brother’s number on my cell phone and told my mom what happened on her voicemail. but that doesn’t matter either. She always sides with him, because she depends on him. So now, i feel like i have no family. Once again, we are not speaking and we have been here so many times. So i ask you, what should i do? What would you do? I am so so tired of this. I feel abused, honestly. And I dont’ think i can have a relationship with him because he blames me and attacks me. And i also can’t trust him. I will not speak to him for a long time I’m sure, but I am sick of feeling this hurt and sick of this cycle. They are the only family I have. It just makes me sick. physically, mentally and emotionally ill.


I just got fired from my job for the exact same reason.

I was being reprimanded by a supervisor who has treated me like crap for 9-10 months straight. I’m the type of person who can deal with a lot of crap, but only to a point.

I told the CIO, and my IT manager, that I can deal with a lot of crap from people but, people can only push me so far, and when I start pushing back people suddenly don’t like when I push back, and act all surprised by it.

I think my problem is that I can’t let it out in short bursts like the article depicts, but when I do let it out it’s a Tornado, rather than a gust of wind, because I’m at the point where I don’t care what the consequences are anymore.

I guess it’s nice to know I’m not the only person this happens to.


I am 40, have written several books, am an accomplished artist and musician, and people still either talk to me as though I were an imbecile, or are hostile. I don’t know whether it’s because I am blonde, small and dainty, but my mother still treats me as though I were 2. She talks very slowly: “would – you – like – some – tea?” (with head nodding up and down in between). I remember even when I was 5 I used to squint up at her and think:”what on earth are you talking to me like that for?” Other people are not dissimilar, middle aged men are the worst.
Wrt career/ work, “managers” can be ghastly. A vile woman, who wore equally vile perfume and sprayed it liberally over herself, was in charge of not my team, but another, in our open plan office. We had a dust mite/ nudge problem as the door was constantly kept open, and I found the only thing that helped was rubbing citronella into myself, as I was constantly being bitten. Well she started a rant “YUK it smells disgusting who’s wearing that is it you, can you stop using it please”, and at that point I snapped and said “yes it is me actually and it’s for my HEALTH and SOME other people’s perfumes might not be to EVERYBODY’S taste!!” At which point I was taken aside by my manager and told that I couldn’t speak to this other woman like that because she was a “manager”!!! (My manager also took a lot of abuse from her and I just don’t know how she did it – perhaps it was because the objectionable woman had also slept with the boss and therefore had bargaining power – nasty hard tart!


Perhaps the solution is to just not be too “nice” or cooperative? Or trying to please too many people or be over-responsible? Because I can’t tell you how many people I have observed who are rude and lazy and STILL get everything thrown their way. They just amass everything around them in terms of possessions a and useful people to make it look like they have the perfect lifestyle, but they’re not nice people.
It was bad when I was a kid, in fact it was worst when I was a teenager between 12 and 24. Everyone seemed to be shouting at me all the time. I don’t ever want that again. I have had about a year out of the mainstream workforce and this has been a crucial time in building my self esteem and honesty. It has been immensely hard, which is why I am now having to ask for help and not feel ashamed of it, since others ask for it all the time.


Hi Karren
Welcome to EFB ~ The answer for me was in looking at the truth ~ I am still nice but I don’t accept nasty treatment anymore from anyone. That was the result of the healing process however. I was groomed/raised to believe that I didn’t deserve better. This website is about how I changed that false belief about me. My life is amazing now. 🙂
Glad you are here! hugs, Darlene


Honestly I ‘m really scared to stand up to my abusers-I know that they will reverse the situation and what they just said against me. It always me that is stupid and even if they insult me , harrass me or mock me in public like that woman i worked with, at the end of the day they always make me look like stupid , ignorant this one who is wrong, misundersood them, attacked them and guilty of every word I ve ever said, even if Im completely peaceful and in my opinion did nothing wrong ( I added ‘in my opinion” because I really don’t believe in myself and doubt every word I said when they start to attack me). End even if I know what happened i cant’t say a word, just can’t take a courage and say that! I even can’t find exact words to stand up for myself! It’s so harmful and stays for long and forever with me. I can’t defend myself, just can’t..


I learned that trying to see yourself through other peoples eyes makes the bullying worse.

People I think are nice end up bullying me.
When I take someone for granted in my mind I found out “they always hated me” I hear them say it. They never liked me.

The bullying gets worse as I get older. Very little stops them.


Hi everyone,

It such a relieved knowing that i’m not the only one who’s experiencing unequal treatment.

I’m the type that value respect, making sure that i do not cross any boundaries nor come across as a rude individual, i used to be self assured, confident but when i met my partner everything has changed.

He treats me like an imbecile, he will makes some remarks that implying i’m stupid with everyone to hear, every time i say something he will question it, then i have to prove it to him by searching it in Google that what i said is a fact, then he would say “ok” with a smirk.

This is the part of my life where i asked myself? Am i stupid? that i never had in the 26 years of my life,


me and myself,
I can relate to everything you say except its not a personal relationship, its a work relationship. I am not allowed to defend myself or I get considered insubordinate. Other people don’t defend themselves because the workplace is of the general culture that the higher your status the better treatment you deserve. The lower status people don’t protest this because they are unaware and have accepted their place- in fact they for the most part agree that this is the way it should be. I have worked in high and low jobs and never wanted to be treated differently in either. No matter who you are or what position you are in or not in you deserve to be fully seen and respected.

I wish I had answers for you but it sounds like this threat has already helped you. I have been following this threat for years because I find it encouraging. I have not been able to make even a dent in my work situation unfortunately. But this thread helped me to realize the problem isn’t me. I couldn’t change it so I decided to put energy outside of work in finding a new path for myself. I did that and graduated with a masters degree recently. I hope it will help me find another job!

I wish you the best in your relationship. Sometimes it comes down to communication problems due to personality differences and lack of experience and skill. If he deeply cares for you and him it would be worth getting to the bottom of it. If the care is not there on his part I would be concerned that he is being emotionally abusive.


Annetta and Natalie, I can relate to your guys posts word for word for word. I am at a complete loss of what can be done. I can’t get out of it either because its a work situation.



I think you’re wrong when you said that you can’t escape a toxic work environment. It isn’t K-12 where you don’t have a choice but to stay since minors have limited power over their situations. You’re an adult and you can make choices with your life.

Hold on to the job as long as you need to while searching for other jobs, then quit. Work at home if you can. That’s what I did to escape high demanding, persnickety jobs. Now I have a remote job with a flexible schedule and no exacting, strict boss breathing down my neck. I don’t think I will ever go back to brick and mortar.

You’re not a defenseless child anymore. Take advantage of that.


S1988- thanks for the encouragement. I think I often feel like a child given the way the workplace is set up but I have taken steps to find a new job. It just takes time. I guess I meant I don’t have the ideal way of controlling the situation that I want – but yes I have taken the control that I can and you have given me even more ideas, so thank you.
What I do feel helpless in is the day to day moment by moment control I have.


I have Touretts and ADHD. Two sone in their forties and sn x husband who I let live with me, he pays rent. I have had a troubled childhood but I think delt with it very niceltpy. I have a problem when my sons visit and engage in lengthy conversations with their father. I am sociable and humorous but I can never seem to be included in their conversations. I have always bern the first one to talk even thought at fault I can’t stand a negative atmosphere. My best friend doesn’t visit me because he doesn’t like the way my youngest gals to me, he’s 41. When they need something or mr to listen they don’t hesitate because they know I’ll always be there.

I am living in the same house with my x because I felt sorry for him after 37 years of marriage I had, had enough of being talked to rudely and embarrassed by him.

I am a very sociable and funny person and try so hard that now at 65 I’m worn out. Depressed and extremely lonely even when we are all in the same room. I am so scared of saying the wrong thing I don’t say anything.

I know that as soon as I lie down at night the tears begin to flow. I’m not really sure if there is anything I wasn’t yo talk to them about anymore. I don’t have any of this feeling when I talk to strangers, in fact most I have just met love my company.

Not urge what to do at this point!

Thank you for listening………


Hi Jackie
Welcome to EFB ~ I hope you will keep reading this website and the comments in the discussions. There is so much insight and info here. Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Darlene How I can relate to you so much, You are right, people can take advantage some times and get a kick out off feeling in control of others
and being nasty. I have been working with some very nasty people how are intimidation,bullying and walked away from it because i thought they were right and I was wrong, but I knew I was right, these people just tried to turn things around to look good.
In the end I stood up to my believes and had my say and dug my heels in and come up trumps. They were a bit shocked but at lest I am not walked over any more.

I have learnt that to believe in my self and I do feel better but I will never talk down to people like some do as I am a better person that what they are.


Darlene; Reading this was like I had somehow magically written it. In every way it reflected my life, how I feel, and how it hurt me. At this point, it has taken place for so long, I am completely beaten down to where I do not see any light in my future. Between myself and these people-I don’t feel I can walk down the street and make eye contact with anyone. I want to go through life in the shadows so I am not open to anymore.
At one point in my life, I had a great career, owned my home, raising my two young children alone with no financial help from their father. The kids always had a selection of new clothes for 1st day of school which were added throughout the year, vacations, camping trips etc.. Many many friends in my life. I always gave, gave and gave to everyone, my personal time, money or gifts. If a friend and I were doing “whatever” I always made sure I handed them acouple $20.00 before exciting the car so they could go into “whatever” we were doing with their head high. I volunteered an average of 20 hours weekly for the company I worked for, as an event coordinator. At the holidays, one family I was friends with who struggled, the kids and I would take them a complete Christmas dinner they could make, each family member had a wrapped gift. Never once did I expect anything in return, I didn’t even want a thank you. I just wanted to know they had a wonderful holiday. This same family started asking for something continually. I would get home after 10 hours of work and I would receive a call from the girlfriend asking me to go pickup beer and cigs at the store. It wasn’t just a single call either. One time, she called me asking me if I would go to Taco Bell, 12 miles away. I told her yes, it sounded good for dinner. The kids and I drove down to pick her up and go get dinner. She tells me, I wasn’t going, but would you pick up…she had a large order as there were 4 kids and the two adults. I had to finally ask for the money, “we don’t have any money”. I was floored but walked out door with my kids to Taco Bell. My 8 year old daughter says ” Mom, why do you let them use you, they don’t do anything for you”. I was speechless for awhile. She was exactly correct. Why did I? That statement was one I reflected on daily. NOW that I haven’t workedat eady for several years, this same family who seemed to have forgotten even in their darkest hours, I never, in my wildest dreams, think I had any right to talk down to them in anyway. This same story may not completely repeat itself exactly the same way with my other friends, but the outcome is the same. I amm always afraid of hurting someones feelings or making them feel “less”, I even instilled that you always put yourself in someone else’s shoes, be a true friend and turn the other cheek (I see how big a mistake that was now). I will use your suggestion and ask them the “WHY” questions.


Julie M I feel for you, as I have been in so many similar situations. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner every year and no one offering to take a turn. People used my house as a hotel and expected use of my car too and transportation to the airport. I had to learn to say no to people who demand too much. It is not easy but you can do it! Your daughter is a smart girl! It took me years to see I was being the giver all the time and everyone had excuses not to reciprocate.
People also talked down to me. The worst recent experience was a few months ago when the ” lady” who watches my daughter sometimes ( who is well compensated too) got very demanding and unreasonable as far as what I should be giving her. She even demanded sick days ( this is at most a four hour a week commitment) and a raise because the weather had been bad and she couldn’t come, and advance payments. All these demands, even though she is already well paid. She and her husband got very nasty over the phone with me. Even though I was shaking, I stood my ground and said no. I also put her on notice that if she ever talks that way to me again, or her husband does, she will no longer be working for me. She had really overstepped her bounds and I think it was because I had always been so nice. Julie, I don’t mind giving to people and being helpful, but we have to learn when it crosses the line and becomes a drain on our time, our spirit and well being. If someone is insulting me they have crossed that one. If that woman is demanding that you go out of your way to pick up her family dinner and also doesn’t intend to pay you, to me she has crossed way over the line. A big red flag is people who never reciprocate. And people who talk down to you. You can learn to say no. You don’t have to talk down to say no. Just be firm and stand your ground. Peoples feelings may get hurt when you say no but the ones worth holding on to will not resent you if you exercise some self care and say no to things that go against your best interest. Good luck to you!


Thank you for posting this, it really hit home. As a man I can tell you this has not been easy to deal with. Growing up with a father and mother who screamed at and hit me and then belittled by them for being “meek” was truly awful. Being a meek male makes you a target for bullies, bad bosses, and fair-weather friends and people ridicule you for not standing up for yourself which only adds insult to injury. Now, at age 32, ive only begun to find my voice and a way to stand up for myself though it is difficult and scary. Thank you; this made me feel less alone out there 🙂


Hi Julie M.
Thanks for sharing! Glad you could relate!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Daniel,
Welcome to EFB ~ glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


I was just thinking this to myself. I was thinking why does everyone treat me like their whipping post? People at work take out their frustrations on me, my family has ALWAYS done it, now my boyfriend does the same when he’s in a mood. They treat me that way because I allow it. I”m not sure I can stand up to my family this way (there’s always been physical repercussions if I said boo) but I know I could ask these questions when I’m talked down to at work and by my boyfriend. IT’s empowering just knowing I will ask these questions next time an issue like this arises.


Thank you for this empowering article. Very well said. I do have a question. Once you say the “why do you feel the need to treat me like that,” question, if they don’t stop, what do I do?

Example: Wife is demeaning, I rebut with the question, and she responds, “because you are actually stupid” or “because you actually don’t know anything.” How do I respond to someone who also won’t back down, though they may be in the wrong.

Keep in mind I adore my wife and I love her unconditionally. She also loves me but gets this way when she is overwhelmed, stressed, tired, etc. I don’t want to extenuate the issue by arguing. I just be quiet to keep the peace.

This may have been addressed in other comments but reading all comments since 2011 will take too long. Haha.


Hi Aaron, when your wife tells you that you are stupid, that makes HER look bad. If it was me I would tell her how terrible she looks when she says things like that. Or ask her what she means? I have been a really aggressive person when it comes to people putting me down and am learning to deal with this issue and I have found ground breaking ways of confronting the culprit head on by just questioning their motives as they say these things to me. Their whole demeanor changes as soon as you throw it back to them (in a normal tone).


Most people on this blog talk about what their parents did to them, I talk about what mine made me do or not allow me to do. I was never sexually abused but I was so brainwashed to believe that they are the be all to end all. I thought my whole life would come crashing down if I stopped my FOO from taking over the reigns, but it didn’t. I was made to believe that if I wasn’t nice to every single person I met, and be their slave, I would be worthless. But exactly the opposite is true. So I am glad to say that by buying Darlene’s ebook and reading this blog it has given me my sanity back, even though I am a really slow learner in this domain. I have one thing I carry around with me wherever I go, and that is myself! So I am starting to believe in myself at a snails pace. I regret a lot of things I didn’t do in my life and now I know why it is this way. Cheers xx


I was the angry aggressive one in my family coz everyone I came across were either covert or really pushy and the only way I knew how to deal with this was to fight my way through life, no wonder I got nowhere. I felt like a hamster on a wheel and had no idea how to get off. I am really surprised at how people react to the truth told to their face. They either hibernate coz they are embarrassed by their words or act super nice to cover their actions. Nonetheless, I now see what I should have seen as a child. I felt so confused for so long, it is amazing how clear it slowly is unraveling to be.


My father has been belittling me since I can remember. He would call me “worthless” and my older sister “scatterbrain”. I let it ruin me it so many years. I felt worthless and small. I let him win. He has always been an alcoholic. He would come home drunk almost every night. He would turn te stereo up full blast and my mother would always forgive me after a few days. To this day, he still goes on binges and belittles me and my mother when we talk to each other or if we laugh or have a good time. It’s like he hates it. I let him win. I believed what he said for so long. I hated myself and have never had any self esteem. I have come to the conclusion that it won’t ever change. It’s who I am now. I didn’t inherit one thing from my fathers personality except the substance abuse. I drank and still use drugs I cope with feeling small. I have never known any different. Don’t I down the same path I went down. Get help early while you are young. It only gets harder and more depressing if you put off getting it.


I have a similar issue. I am 24 years old and have never really dealt with issues such as this throughout my younger/school years. For the most part, I have always gotten along with people and have always been kind and understanding. I began working at a barn a little less than a year ago and have been receiving riding lessons in exchange for work. I also help out with leading camps and etc.. There is this girl who was 17 at the time that I hit it off with at the beginning and she eventually offered to give me lessons. I was so grateful and accepted her offer. It was going okay but I noticed after awhile she had sort of an attitude and spoke to me as if I was a child. I ignored it and understood that it is difficult to teach someone and sort of brushed it off. I eventually switched days and I am now taking lessons with a different person and have been improving my riding ability. I still interact with her while helping out with camps. She is an Instructor and I lead kids around and teach them about horses etc..I have only been doing this for a month and There has been a few times in the last couple weeks where she has questioned what I am doing as if I have no idea what I am doing. Thia girl basically talks to me like I am a child and I am older to her! I usually do not care about age I treat EVERYONE the same and give everyone the same respect that I would expect to be given to myself. At first I thought maybe she does this to everyone but that is not true because there are some girls her age she treats like a friend. She talks to me like I am an idiot sort of in a questioning nagging type of voice. Like a really annoying boss except she’s not I charge of anything she just nags me and a bunch of other younger kids around. She treats me like she treats a bunch of 12 years old which is wrong all around because we should all be treated with respect. I sometimes wonder if it’s worth saying anything because I wonder if she might have issues. I don’t feel it is fair to be spoken to the way she speaks to me. It’s embarrassing and makes working with her really awkward. I never speak to people younger than me the way she talks to me. And she is younger than me talking to me that way! It’s insane, I feel like she pushes boundaries because she thinks I don’t realize or won’t say anything. I want to say something to her so badly but I don’t want to ruin the arrangement I have with the stable manager who has been very kind to me. I absolutely love the work I am doing especially since I am in school and need a less demanding job. It’s just so fun having to interact with something who acts as if they are higher authority. I don’t even mind if she is the one In charge she’s been doing this longer than I have. She just doesn’t need to speak to me in a demeaning way or micromanage me. I would like to think it’s much easier to speak to someone as a friend. I personally would never have the audacity to speak to someone older than me like a child. I just hope she learn before she goes to college that no one will put up with it.
To whoever read this thanks for letting me vent ! Lol have a nice day.


Hi Animal Lover
Welcome to EFB ~ thank you for sharing. I understand where you are coming from and you are NOT alone!
hugs, Darlene


Thanks! I can SO !! relate to what you’ve posted and it is very encouraging. I had decided I’ve had more than enough of other people’s attitudes to whip me with verbally; and the hurt as result of my emotional responses. Especially, that of family. I am in Christ. Are you?


Cat, I am so glad you saw through that person’s lies. My mom sought church-based spiritual healing for her childhood abuse and encountered the same victim-blaming upon birth nonsense. Unfortunately, she never rose above those damaging ideas. Hope you are still moving on with the strength and integrity that shines through your words.


Thank you so much Karen. I have so much going on in my head and in my life that I thought I wasn’t making any sense. Hope you are doing well on your journey to healing. Cheers xx


Dear Darlene,
Thank you so much for making me feel better about myself! Now I don’t feel so alone. I thought I was the only one that was going through with all this crap that I have endured my whole life?


Hi Geannie
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
You are certainly not alone! There are thousands of people who share or have shared here and hundreds of thousands of people that follow this blog.
Hugs, Darlene


Wow I so needed this today, truly relates to myself in how I’ve struggled to find confidence in speaking up and asserting my self worth to others, especially in my family to my sister. My sister and I are both adopted but not related and even though she’s 8 years older she always treated me the worst. I spent my childhood only knowing that she hated me and now that we’re adults she acts superior and treats me like I’m an awful daughter and sister in the family when I do nothing but abide by rules and do everything to make my family happy while she had the troubled past. I hate to feel so lost with someone I should feel akin with but I take a lot of your article to heart and will try to apply these as well so maybe we one day we can come to reconciliation. Thank you for sharing this!


Hi Amy
Glad you are finding some good stuff here!
hugs, Darlene


It is one of those insidious facts, that you do not turn 18 and magically go out into the world equal to everyone else who came from a home where they were loved, forgetting that you have been taught your whole life that you are wrong, incompetent and a lesser human being. I liken overcoming this to being somewhat of a super hero. Other people get to find what they love to dedicate their life to. My life has been dedicated to learning how to love myself. I’m still royally pissed about this if you can’t tell LOL!


the – I stopped seeing myself through their eyes-

so true that it holds trenght in doin so

for one – my carer was here the other day, usually quite rude – I wanted to take crisps

but I kenw she d start about it, how I should eat something else for whatever reason, so instead I waited for her to leave-

however this made the situation more awkward – she said –

what the hell are you doing. you re like – what are you doing?

well just sitting to wave you goodbye

you re sitting and staring? that s weird; You re weird. anyways I need to pick up my girl now my life is SO hard you have no idea

it made no difference at all – she lashed out nonetheless and cause of the sititng she spent anothe ten minutes talkin about it

lookin back, if I had taken the crisps, sat down on my bed face towards the door breakin every contact nonverbal as well – she would ve just left as she doesn t alwys say a goodbye

so I realised by trying to conform myself to what she thinks I should eat or not eat or whatever when she s around – I actually made myself suffer and on top she was spiteful regardless-

quite a lesson


Beautifully written. It takes time when you reach adulthood to know who you are and believe in yourself. I have been talked down to and I
realize that person is touching on my “insecure” emotions creating uncertainty. The process/challenge is to evaluate within “oneself”
and stand up for yourself as an adult. You still have a choice
whether to remain friends or in my case transfer to a different supervisor because you could not endure being treated badly. I also
believe if you confront the person (share how what they said affected you), this may resolve how they communicate with you.
At the end of it all, you may still need to step back and save yourself. You can only change yourself, not the other person.
Thank you for your thoughts.


Although I’m a guy,I’ve anxiety issues and difficulty responding. Because of my anxiety I slow down a little and all others around me not only dominate the conversations but also talk me down. I’m may not be the smartest but why should
I listen to people having a good time finding new ways to tell me how dumb I’m.
To add this the only reason I cant do the same is also the reason they think I’m lesser than them. However over the years I see the whole situation differently:
Think of all units of conversations as exchange of emotions and
spending energy as your currency.
Now, as I play my responses in my head i realise that all along
I was proceeding the most efficient way!
So all people who one upped me in emotions ended spending more energy to do that, if they did it intentionally.
So, as long as i can allot my self space and time for, I can proceed being myself and not caring about what people say

I appreciate your effort and relate so much to this post of yours.

Best of luck ahead


Thank you for all of your comments and hope for me. I had bookmarked this article Sept of 2015 and now just fully read the comments. I have a home daycare which corresponds to my wanting to nurture and take care of. Unfortunately the only one that I have neglected was me. I am on my path to change that. IF I fall, they all fall in my life if I don’t take care of myself was one idea pointed out to me but I have to correct that. If I fall, I fall. I have to protect me, no one else will. it is not a selfish thing by any means taking care of me and showing my kids how to be strong for the inner self. My son actually is the one in my life who “bullies” me or talks down to me and no one else except his sister and girlfriend. He says he is joking but I don’t think he knows how to stop it. I have and will point out to him how it hurts me.


I am 29 years old and my mom still talk down to me she always tells me what do like don’t get hair cut like I am 10 years old again it like tell her over and over stop talking down on me and she still does it and I am living with my parents in till I found a place to live and always tell her I am not a little girl anymore and I can’t get through to her and my mom can treat others child in my family differently


Hi Lauren
Welcome to EFB and thanks for sharing.
I gave up on trying to get my mom to hear me. She doesn’t want to. I hope you will keep reading the articles here. You are not alone.
Hugs, Darlene


thank you so much for posting these articles, they really help me understand things. thank you so much.


Hi Darlene

I was searching for any tips about how to deal with people who talks down to you and I came across your article, I must admit you did speak out for lots of people including myself and I do feel every word you say. Sometimes, I think people only pick on the weakest link and bully the kind types of people that would never hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s sad when people think it’s ok to hurt some just because they are kind or harmless.

Best wishes


I resigned from my job about 1 month ago because I was spoken down to and bullied by some colleagues. I reported it to management and they disregarded my complaint because the bullies were close to management. I went through many hard times, lots of tears and anxiety. I left and felt so relieved and now work somewhere else. Unfortunately I work with a colleague who is really mean to me and talks down to me. She swears and has nothing nice to say about anyone. She says things like “oh no am I working with you again” and that she’d rather be working with someone else :(. Really cruel things. I’m back to being anxious and emotional because I need this job and am too afraid to say anything. I’m tired of being in these situations where I have been treated like a no body. I try to be strong and try not to annoy anyone because I just want to get along with people and do my job but it’s so hard when I’m being spoken down to all the time. I live in a small town, I want to move away but my partner doesn’t want to. Feel stuck in life with no solution.

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