Definitions of Dysfunctional Mother Daughter Relationship


fasle definition of love

My mother didn’t want a child. My mother wanted a dolly that would “give back”. She wanted some “thing” to fuss over and to cuddle with for a short time, and then it was as if she expected me to fulfill her needs because she filled mine for a while. To fill her needs ~ as though I could fill the empty space where she was lacking self value and love.  My mother placed a great deal of expectations on me right from the start, and I didn’t live up to even one of them.

It was as though I owed her something because I was born. Right from the start, this is the definition of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship and the false definition of love.  Right out of the womb, my mother acted as though she believed that I was going to make her life better and that I owed her for mine.  This was proven over and over again as I went through life and she continually expressed her disappointment in me. If she didn’t have such HIGH expectations about what I could do for her, I could not have disappointed her so deeply.

I was born helpless and innocent. I was born with a right to some kind of safe environment and nurturing emotional atmosphere.  But according to her actions over the years, I was more of a burden then I was a blessing. Perhaps my mother was not prepared for the responsibility and the overwhelming needs of a child? Perhaps she was lost in her own sea of self doubt and perhaps her own value had never been established. But is that something that I should have to pay for? I think not, but it took me a long time to realize that.

Somewhere along the way, I became responsible for my mother’s self esteem. She expected me to restore her order, to restore her value, her worth and her importance as a human being. And I failed, but who could have passed? Who could have accomplished such an unreasonable demand? Surely not a child. This was not my failure. The failure is in that she expected me to be her answer. And this is the definition of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship and the false definition of love.

And because I “failed” her my mother seemed to resent me; my own mother seemed to hate me. Why else would she have closed the door (on me) when I asked her to stop treating me like I was nothing? Why else would she have walked away (from contact with me) when I asked her to stop blaming me for the fact that her boyfriend came into my bedroom when I was a teenager? Why else would she have offered me to men and used me as bait to attract men to herself? Why else would she come to regard her daughter in those ways if it wasn’t that for some reason my mother hates me?

And the worst thing is that I believed that I was a failure, that I deserved her disappointment in me. I believed that I should have been able to fulfill her emotional needs and prevent her mood swings. I thought that I should be able to be enough for her. This is the definition of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship and the false definition of love.

And then because her boyfriend DID come into my bedroom when I was barely 14, she saw me as competition. When she took me to bars (when I was 17) to use me as bait and men WERE attracted to me, again she saw me as competition. I could not win. I could not be what she wanted because she kept changing what she wanted and I tried to comply with ALL of it. I tried to be everything she “seemed to expect” me to be and I lost myself.

And this is the definition of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship and the false definition of love.

How was my own self esteem supposed to grow in that environment? How was my own identity supposed to emerge? Those were questions that no one cared about because I was not born to be me. I was born to become what my mother never was but at the same time not to surpass her worth. I was born to fulfill the missing pieces of her life. But when I even came close to showing some success at anything, she was jealous and she tore me down.  She couldn’t stand it if I was anything that she wasn’t. She wanted me to be her and she hated herself. She wanted me to be different then I was but she hated that too. She couldn’t stand the “her” that was in “me”. She saw me as an object and as her possession, to do with and to regard in whatever way she felt like it on any given day. And as long as she didn’t approve of me, I tried harder which also worked for her and therefore she would NEVER approve of me in case I stopped trying.

And this is the definition of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship and the false definition of love.

I failed at fulfilling her dysfunctional wishes, most likely in the same way that she failed her own mother, and the cycle of chronic depression and dysfunctional family system went unbroken. The cycle of abuse, the cycle of low self esteem, the cycle of struggle with personal identity and lack of simple happiness, continued.

I never questioned her statements or accusations about me but today when I hear those words echoing in my head, I hear that unspoken implication;  that she had a right to do/ say / feel however she wanted to because she was the parent. She would say that I am ungrateful. That I am self centered. That I am the problem; and she always did. And I was brainwashed, trained and taught to believe it and to knuckle under it, or pay the consequences. But I paid them regardless.

And this is the definition of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship and the false definition of love.

And I had to realize that in all this dysfunction she had taken my life. I had to realize that I was NOT her. I had to realize that I did not deserve what had happened to me, that I had a right to be me and a right to have a real life as an individual. I had lived most of my life under the threat of rejection if I failed to comply with her wishes and finally I realized that I had been rejected since the first day that I didn’t fulfill her dysfunctional interest in me.

She never was interested in me, but only in what I could do for her. She wanted me to fill the needs not filled for her in her own dysfunctional childhood. She wanted me to make her believe that she was worthy of love.

And I realized that I had to stop following in those same footsteps by realizing that they were the path to nowhere. I had to take my life back. I had to find my voice in all this. I had to stop seeing reality through those dysfunctional viewpoints and realize that the truth about my reality was based in dysfunction. I had to stop believing that I had failed HER. MY normal was false; it was wrong.

I had to look at it the way that it really was, through a new grid. Not through the grid of the way I was “told” and taught to accept as right. I had to finally see through the lies, the manipulations, and dysfunctional mother daughter relationship and see where exactly I had gotten lost. I had to see that it was through NO fault of my own. I had to understand my own value and innocence. I had to realize that I was not a failure, but that they failed me. I had to realize that the “love” I knew was not love and the love she wanted from me was not love either.

In the process of finding my self worth and re-establishing my self esteem I realized that because they failed me didn’t mean there was no hope. It didn’t mean that my childhood and lack of true love from my parents meant that I was ‘no good’

In that process of emotional healing, I stopped the cycle of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship and through that process I found my lost identity.  Through seeing the truth about the way things were, I have been able to prevent passing this dysfunctional relationship and false definition of love, on to my own children.

Please share

Darlene Ouimet

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Categories : Mother Daughter



Dear Darlene

How terrible how your mom used you so selfishly to get what she wanted but not give what you needed and what she should have given.. How terrible it must have been to have been there in your home with your mother. I can only imagine how it felt from all you said. I am sorry how you suffered. I feel in my heart great pain for that little girl who lived in that time . I am happy though you have come out of it and are sharing with us.. because really I have had so many tears this weekend..so many revelations..

I am moving from step one ..taking all the blame to realizing am not to blame that all I have been told was lies.. In composing a couple poems I found my heart flooded with thousands of tears as I tried to start a poem ” Dear Mom” I couldn’t get past those two words because I didn’t and could’nt see her as “dear mom'” not dear.. not mom. yet I was wrting it down.

Mom let me know from as long as I could remember I was not wanted, I was a mistake..she should have aborted me. ( i only asked her why she didn’t in my adult years) she should have given meup for adoption.. All I could figure in my little mind was I was an accident and mom was upset that I was there.. I figured all the beatings were my due.. all her cursing .. her slaps and meanness was just because she hated me for coming . she hated that she couldnt abort me.. the sight of me made her feel guilty and she took all her guilty feelings and showered them on me.. in painful beatings .

She did the bad sexual stuff because she felt dirty and she wanted to punish me i was the result of her dirtiness ..she wanted me to feel that way to.. she want to teach my brother how to be a man so she and he hurt me.. i was not worth anything .. i was just an object for her to use and abuse.. and I never understood then what all that happened meant .. only . .after i grew older did I know some meaning of it all.. I do know I am hearing in my nightmares at night her words during the terrible things she did to m.. that she wanted me to be dirty like mommy .. If i ever say a word of it I would get a beating of my life..All the pain of that time I still remember still remember trying to get away being held by her while my brother did his thing. She using candles on me. I felt i would die then too but didnt.

Mom used me and also my sister for punching bags.. my sister though ran away quickly and so did my older brother.. I was left to take it all . .Why I didnt run I dont know .I do know partly it was the brain washing .The same “holy people” who told me to keep my secret told me saints became saints because they endured great suffering without complaint .. they became saints by staying in the pain .. So I somehow still wanted to get to heaven despite the hell on earth I knew . I stuck there with all the beatings because i wanted to get to heaven ..

Mom never once hugged me ..never told me she loved me never said I did anything right..never said i did well when i got good grades.. all she said to me ever was that she was sorry i was born . .clean this clean that. watch the kids. and then the beatings.. I never had new clothes or the right size shoes.. everything was something she got use and never my size.. i was really just a servant and lucky to in her home with all the good people.

I am just at the point just starting to realize that I couldnt stop anything that happened . I was a child .. I couldn’t not be born.. that wasn’t my choice either. .All the painful ugly things I couldnt stop and despite her saying I wont amount to anything . .I do still do things ok. I have some difficulties with some things but am not hopeless .. I am trusting in the guidance I get through
therapy and advice i get from places like this that I will come through this. .and it wont be always hard ..

Thank you for this post. .and for allowing us to share. . ((hugs)) if ok Joy

Dear Mom you’re on my mind today and so I have to write
So many questions swirl around things that just aren’t right
Why did you hurt me so much mom, why beat me black and blue
Why did yout take my innocence and leave me dirty too?

Why did you say the things you said, why call me “worst mistake”
Why hate me all my life long, why curse every move i make?
Why was I not good enough for you what did I ever do?
I didn’t ask to come into this world i’m here because of you.

I wish you’d turn around your life and really come to see
I’ve never did anything to deserve the things you did to me
Would that you could really realize the pain you left inside
Sometimes the memories hurt so much that i have to run and hide



My mother told me that it took her 2 yrs to get pregnant with me,then her labor and delivery was very hard.I believe she has always resented me for that.She is also a female version of Felix Unger from the “Odd Couple”.During my childhood,she never did anything or took me anywhere until her house was cleaned.She had tried to mold me to be like her but I failed her.I really hate housework and I put my children first before cleaning.When I tried to help her clean,she always went over my work because it was never up to her standards.I realized it never would have been,no matter how hard I tried.My father is emotionally unavailable.They have always had a horrible marriage.My mother has always told me that she doesn’t love my father,never really has.She just married him to get away from her own father.She stayed with him because she would not give up her house.Her brother sexually molested me.She thought I should “just get over it”,yet I was blamed for the abuse.She told me that I wanted it to happen,I was asking for it.At 9 yrs old,I don’t think so.I had no voice and no rights as a child.Now I am healing from a horrible marriage to a sociopath and she doesn’t believe it or get it. I am just so thankful that I broke this cycle with my sons.They have grown up with rights and a voice that I have always listened to.


Darlene it is a shame your mom didn’t take the time to know you because you are truly an awesome human !! I am truly glad you were born you are helping so many of us Thank you 🙂 @ Joy I love your poem , I am sorry your mom was so broken to not see the beauty inside of you .Diane it seems like so many of our mother’s took that movie Cinderella to heart. My mother never really told me I was stupid but then again she really couldn’t I never got anything but A’s 100 percent on every paper I ever did but I never felt that was good enough , I was never told that was good enough I had to care for my siblings my older sister was “slow” so I had to care for her she also had a drug problem and 8 personalities but as a child I had no clue , my older brother was also my responsibility as well as my three younger siblings.There was a fire in my house when I was four I was sent out the gangway first with the glass falling around me from the windows breaking in the gangway when I started dreaming about that I asked what had happened my mother said I was the responsible one so she sent me first while she gathered my brother I have always been the level headed one never have I ever been a bad child yet she would beat them and beat me because someone else did something wrong. I was the one that would have to convince her to not throw one of the “bad “kids out the window I remember once standing outside for hours waiting to catch my brother and sister because she said she was throwing them out the window , my youngest sister had woke her up and she chased us through the house throwing dolls at us I tried to jump out the second floor window but luckily the dog had peed on the floor so I slipped and fell she then beat me all the way out the door but I stayed waiting to catch them !I was afraid of her until the day she died and of course I cared for her the whole time. I just couldn’t seem to leave her I always lived close by her , she was mean until the very end none of my siblings wanted anything to do with her I remember always wanting her to love me but I think she was incapable she gave me my name because my fathers boss’s wife was named Charlotte and they thought that would get him a raise well it didn’t work and I got stuck with this name which has no special meaning!I think its great this place is here and we all share our pain I can’t remember telling anyone my stories because I was always ashamed but here I feel no shame Because as Darlene is teaching me I didn’t ask to be born or to be mistreated and I certainly didn’t deserve it I am finally kinda proud of myself and this semester in school I might get a B and that’s ok as long as I am doing my best I will continue to grow and learn from you all *Big Hugs* to everyone who comes to this special place !


Why is it that the smaller things my mother did and said hurt more than the bigger things? She blamed me for her brother sexually molesting me.That hurts alot.But it hurts me more that she insisted I was a blonde rather than a brunette.And it hurts that she has always criticized me for choosing to spend time with my children rather than clean my house first.And why,at 52 with two grown sons do I still try to get her approval? I have been in therapy for 3 yrs to try to heal from the sociopath I married.It’s hard to accept how he hurt my children and that I didn’t see it.So I didn’t protect them.I’m learning not to carry that guilt.I do feel guilty because I couldn’t fix my mothers marriage.I couldn’t be the daughter she longed for.I couldn’t be her.I don’t want to be her but why does that knowledge hurt?



Darlene, once again you have shared so many valuable insights and opened closed doors in my heart and mind. I don’t know if I will ever be able to examine my relationship with my mother with such clarity. I do know that with my mother’s death the process of emotional healing has not stopped, although I am no longer caught in the cycle of a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship. My hope is that, at almost 60, I still have time to find my lost identity as I find the courage to process my family’s truth.

I’m with you, Joy, trying to put the blame back where it belongs in this family. I have shouldered so much displaced blame in this family for almost 60 years, my life is like a landfill. Unfortunately, as my coping skills have become increasingly less effective — my health has suffered. I have put on almost an additional 100 lbs. My house is overwhelmed by everyone’s stuff (my parents, my grandparents x2, my kids x2, the debris of my business –) to the point where I would qualify for an episode of “Hoarders.” My entire life has reached system overload, and, honestly, Darlene’s site is giving me the wherewithal to stand up to my emotional demons. I am slowly moving into a space where I do not feel quite the emotional hostage I was weeks, even days ago.

I remember overhearing a conversation my mother had with the daughter of a family friend. The young woman had had a miscarriage. I don’t think mom knew I was anywhere she could be overheard, but my mom told this woman she had also had a miscarriage before I was born. Now, this was truly a revelation to me (a teenager nearly ready to graduate from high school). First off, because mom and dad had barely been married a full nine months before I was born (which somehow in my upbringing had been the story/reason for mom and dad getting married in the first place) — however, if mom had been pregnant and had a miscarriage before I was born, she would have had to be pregnant before she was married. This would account for the folks’ whirlwind courtship. What mom told the young lady was that her firstborn would have been a boy — now there was the big AHA! I was blamed all my life for not being the firstborn son. I’d have been the firstborn son in this family, everything would have been golden. But never was the fact that mom had had a miscarriage ever mentioned firsthand to me– I became my mother’s biggest disappointment. Mom never said a word, even when my daughter went on to have five miscarriages. So, somehow her bizarre treatment throughout my life was wrapped up in the lies she told herself from before the time I was born.

And Charlotte, you mentioned the name thing. My name has bothered me all my life. It means “pure,” and having been through the childhood sexual and other kinds of abuse — I have felt dirty and tarnished and never able to live up to my name. It does give me relief to know that at His return, Christ has promised me a new name. I tried changing my name — and that didn’t work. Getting married didn’t work. What’s in a name? Plenty. A rose by any other name is still a rose. I’ve gone back to my birth name, but I need to find a new way to define it rather than having it define me.

I had a conversation with my mom before she died — and asked her why she never had any expectations for me. She said she knew I could take care of myself. She gave me the only compliment she ever gave me in my whole life: She said she thought I was brave because I went to live in Turkey when my ex was in the service. She said she could never have done that. Again, life was defined in terms of what she could or could not do.

When we found out my dad had a leaking abdominal aortic aneurysm — found as a fluke, and it started bleeding on the operating table — my mom had a total meltdown. Dad wasn’t supposed to die first. He was supposed to live a long time and take care of my mom in her old age. As soon as dad recuperated, my mom became an incapacitated invalid. He waited on her hand and foot until the day she died. Life was totally about mom — and she let us all know it. And Dad’s life totally imploded after she passed — he didn’t have anything to do except play fetch with the dog. And now, with his dementia, when dad sees me — all he sees is my mom. It’s like I have completely disappeared. And all the nastiness he never would, never could vent while she was alive — he dumps all over me.

Seems like my whole life is full of hand-me-downs — even memories and feelings, likes and dislikes — most everything was imposed upon me by my mom — even with something simple like colors. My mom was an autumn [brown/yellow/orange]. I am a winter [red/white/blue/ black] (if you put any stock in that stuff and nonsense) — yet, she would dress me in her autumn castoffs — and I looked like I had hepatitis — horrid. When I learned how to sew, I cut down her clothes to fit. . . and eventually just made my own stuff (like from 7th or 8th grade???!!!) I remember stealing her sanitary supplies from her bathroom — she never said a word to me. And her stockings . . . surely she knew, but she never said a word.

And don’t you know — I talked to my kids about everything. However, now as I look back at my screwed up truth — I’m worried about what was it was I said to them now. They’re both doing great. Their families are great — I just want to straighten my own life out so we can enjoy the time we have together sharing a deeper truth — that is true for all of us.

Thanks again, Darlene — and this morning, Joy, and Charlotte — and everyone. You bless my heart. You’ve given me hope when there was nothing left. You give me courage to re-examine the horror with new eyes. I’m glad you’re here on this healing journey. . . The sun is out, and I can’t even begin to imagine what my new life will look like

(haha! I typed “what my new life ‘should’ look like” — no should about it, folks)!!!


You were a baby in her arms for many months and she doesn’t “know” your own hair color? She can’t agree with you on the color of the sky, so to speak? WOW, she wants to be in control of how you perceive the color of your own hair? My mother had a similar problem with my hair, she just hated my hair. I could never tell any of this to my ex who is a Narc, but to my current husband, I have told him “everything”. He says that my sister and mother are jealous of my hair because I have better hair than they do. But, wow, the pain of being told that your hair is ugly ALL your life, and she would never respond positively to my hair unless I cut it all off in a butch-boy cut. SAD thing is I marrid a guy whose mother was the SAME way about MY hair! How in the WORLD do these curses happen? HER hair was so thin, you could see the hatred on her face for anyone’s long thick healthy hair.


It took decades and looing back over photos of myself to realize that I look just fine, and it looks beautiful, long hair on me. I feel best that way, and always have wanted long hair, but until junior high, I had to do it her way. It took a long time for my hair to feel like my own.


OMG! MY mother does the same thing about having a clean house. It is most sickening subject when it comes to her. I could write all day on that one. Talk about OCD!!! TALK about socially disconnected!! And yes, I have a better relationship with my kids than she does, DUH!!


“.I do feel guilty because I couldn’t fix my mothers marriage.”

You do? How did that happen to you?

Now that is one thing I no longer feel guilty about, although, growing up firstborn in a dysfunctional marriage, I CARRIED the guilt, not the real guilt, but the supposed guilt, or the burden/awareness that SOMETHING is REALLY wrong here, and I am in the middle of it for a long time and I can’t get out, so it must BE, or it FEELS like it is my fault!!

And just in recent years, right before my mother’s aortic anuerysm and blockage was discovered (like just days before) my dad CAME over to my house to tell me that the reason she was feeling so badly was MY FAULT!! ALL the stress that I have caused her. I was hardly talking to them at all, being single with my four teens. I avoided my parents like the plague. It was also MY fault, according to my dad, that I STAYED with an abusive husband for so long. Well, there’s ONE thing a woman needs to get out of a bad situation and that is SUPPORT, emotional at least. She can’t get out if the odds are ALL stacked against her, if EVERYONE she knows is going to call her WORSE names for divorcing, etc., and that was how I was raised AND everytime in 20 years that I tried to tell my parnets what was going on, they either ignored OR told me to stay…, but NOW that it came to divorce, it was my fault for staying for so long and I needed to admit MY part in it. I bet some clever pastor with a paycheck came up with that one, my dad would just be drooling at their every word.

But now that I have heard that my mother has never told my dad that she loves him, and that they have never slept together much, etc., and I SEE that it is a loveless marriage, I KNOW it is NOT my fault, and that they need to stop picking over how I clean my house, and get their own personal lives in order.


My dad may have actually fantasized that I would stand before his congregation (the pastor that performed my first wedding, etc.) and ADMIT my part in staying married so long…
He wrote a letter to the “beloved elders” (elderboard) of that church THANKING them for helping me, (I have NO idea WHAT in the F— they did to HELP ME!!!) If they donated money, I was never told. OMG, I am just realizing that they may VERY WELL have given money and my parents KEPT it, whining to the church about the hardship over taking care of me, and then NOT telling me about the money, but helping me as needed and then slamming down every time they gave me money.

My mother is very secretive about information about people. My former pastor’s wife, and our neighbor, is dying of a brain tumor and my mother claims to know ZERO about it even though my dad gets together with the pastor ever week, so YEAH RIGHT!! I found all the current information on her on a webiste and sent that to my mom. I know they talk to each other like, “DON’t TELL HER ANYthing…”


“.So I didn’t protect them.I’m learning not to carry that guilt.I do feel guilty because I couldn’t fix my mothers marriage.I couldn’t be the daughter she longed for.I couldn’t be her.I don’t want to be her but why does that knowledge hurt?”

Me too, Diane. Me too. And it is a bumpy ride right now with the children/young adults and their dad. But why do our childhood longings still hurt? For me, it is that she stole my very life from me. I wasn’t free to BE me. That is where the pain is, for me.



“I don’t know if I will ever be able to examine my relationship with my mother with such clarity. My life is like a landfill.”

Such powerful words, and I identify! I like it that Darlene can put such things into words, and in more than one way. It helps me to read them and identify. It reminds me of being in junior high and my friend and I would talk that way about all the adults in our lives, those were good conversations. But for me, for some reason, I hate to give my mother that much of my energy or thought, at least at this point. (maybe because i had to live with her after a divorce and in the same town for the following five years after being away from her for 20 years) Or maybe I should say that I don’t need to do it for me, because I think that we all heal in different ways, and for me, I knew that my mother was not there for me my whole childhood. It is not that it didn’t hurt, but I knew not to try. I never tried to talk to her about my friends or boyfriends from junior high on up. I was “done” with her, even though we never really started. She was mad everytime i had a friend, talked on the phone, or did anything for myself. I was just a pain and felt unwanted. I cannot imagine dignifying her treatment of me by recognizing it to her. ” I am slowly moving into a space where I do not feel quite the emotional hostage I was weeks, even days ago.” Yes, for me, too. Identifying with someone else’s stories/thoughts is therapuetic for me.

” So, somehow her bizarre treatment throughout my life was wrapped up in the lies she told herself from before the time I was born.” Yes, their abuses of us ARE founded in lies. My mother was to have been a boy, and she miscarried also, never had a boy of her own, AND hated long hair. DON’T you HATe that feeling when your parents love up to someone else, and you feel totally on the outside?

And my dad is getting worse towards me with age. I am SO relieved to NOT be there anymore. I fantasize about him being demented enough that I am going to look at him everytime his mouth comes open and say, “I don’t want to hear it.” or, “Be nice.” over and over and over.


Hi Joy
I went through a time where I could only refer to my mother as “mother”. And it felt sarcastic to even think it. The details of our stories are very different, my mother did tell me she loved me, and she said she always wanted me and she was thrilled when I was born a girl, but her actions and attitudes towards me, told a very different story so the results were very similar to someone who was told that they were not wanted at all.
You are doing such great work here Joy! I went through these stages too and all of them are part of healing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Diane
ME TOO. (to almost everything you said in your comments ) MY mother is also a clean freak, and her home was a huge priority for her, and I hate housework, and never put it before my kids. In fact only in my healing process did I even get a handle on the whole house work thing! I grew up and married a farmer, and my mother was SO disappointed in me for that. She thinks farms are dirty, and we have a very old (but charming) big farmhouse, which I love, but she HATES. And I decided it was none of her biz! and I hope she is so glad that she doesn’t “have” to come here anymore now!
Thanks for sharing and for being here. I am so glad that you have found your voice now.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Charlotte
Thank you Charlotte, and you know what, I agree with you. My mother really missed out on having me for a daughter! Sometimes I imagine that she is reading my blog and that she is healing too… but I don’t think that is happening. (nice thought though! LOL)
Thank you for sharing a bit of your history and your victory at the end! I am proud of you too, you have survived and live through a LOT. and it wasn’t your fault. And to state that you know you are doing your best, ~ do you realize how huge that is?? To know we are doing our best is a big step in healing! So YAY
Hugs, Darlene

I think that it hurts that we were so disregarded as people when we tried so hard. Your mother not knowing your hair colour reveals that she didn’t even really SEE you. And that is very hurtful. Our mothers never should have wanted us to fix things, or to be what they wanted us to be. Love wants a person to be who they are; the individual that they are. And it hurts that our own mothers didn’t want that at all.
Hugs, Darlene


My clean-freak mom grew up on a farm and so improved her life to never return. Funny thing is that I think that her dad, a hard-working farmer, was the most productive person I have known.


“.I do feel guilty because I couldn’t fix my mothers marriage.”

“You do? How did that happen to you?”

I think that’s why she had me,she thought I would somehow fix her marriage.My brother is 2 yrs older than me,he is more like my mother.But in those days,the son was supposed to be tough and more like the man,I guess.At least that was how my mother looked at it.My brother was groomed for college,he was told he could be anything he wanted to be.I was groomed to become a wife and mother.
And for 32 yrs I put up with verbal,emotional and financial abuse because I was told to “deal with it” because that’s what my mother has done in her marriage.

It does feel good to have my eyes opened and to start breaking away from all this crap.I am finally beginning to find my voice and not be afraid to use it!! 🙂


Dear Darlene,

You have described the dynamic of the mother-daughter relationships in my family to a T. Sadly my mother had 4 daughters and so had plenty of ‘servants’ who were born to mother, take care of and entertain her. She was an unscrupulous, indiscriminate and demanding bully who used violence, neglect and withdrawal of affection to mould us into her perfect mommy soldiers. There was no way for me to EVER be my OWN person, to discover who I was born to be. EVERYTHING about me was created either to avoid her devastating rages, her cold indifferent avoidance or the no-man’s-land of her disapproval. It was a FULL TIME JOB keeping up with her frivolous wants and needs, while my own basic needs and human rights were ignored. I too was used as a sex object, except it was my own father who used me for his sexual needs. When he became too demanding for her, she pushed me into the role, totally oblivious to the effects of incest on my 6 year old body and mind.

It has been 2 years since I had any contact with my biological mother (her choice), and through therapy, separation and hard work I have realised that I was rejected long before I was born. There was NO WAY I would ever meet her needs and I do not have to be ashamed or feel worthless because I failed at an IMPOSSIBLE TASK. It was never my job in the first place!!! Now I can truly honour the little girl who was forced to give up her life by acknowledging that I never really had a mother or father. The wounds can heal, and I can reclaim my life.

Thank you for this blog, it has become a welcome companion on my healing journey.




“And for 32 yrs I put up with verbal,emotional and financial abuse because I was told to “deal with it” because that’s what my mother has done in her marriage.”

Thank you for including financial abuse in your list. That makes so much sense and it should be said that way.


Hi UltraLite
Yes! you do have time!
I had begun to become somewhat of a hoarder too. When I was through the biggest part of the healing process, I spend an additional 9 months or so learning how to live in my new belief system and confront the old one when it came up. I set some goals during that time, (to learn to face the fears of going forward as so many of us are stuck in the fear of “what’s next” when we start to recover) One of my goals was to go through the whole house and get rid of the junk. Every closet, the basement and attic were jammed with junk. And there were corners of the house beginning to fill with piles of stuff. It took me months to get it all done and sorted out, (I spent 1 to 4 hours on the project 5 or 6 days a week.) and it became part of my healing process. (symbolic of getting rid of the old ways and making room for the new ways) Surviving for me was all about living in the old system, regardless of if it worked or not, (which it did not) and symbolically letting go of all that junk was very powerful for me. I did another major clean up of my closet in the bedroom this past spring and it also made a huge difference in the process of clearing the past and letting go.

I relate to the rest of what you said also, I wish I had time to respond to everything! I could write a whole post about the name thing, and maybe I will. I changed my name back to my maiden name, and wear it like a badge of honour. I was born with that name and they tried to squish me, but I rose out of that oppression and here I am! I am Darlene Ouimet ~ hear me roar! LOL
I totally know what you mean about the name thing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kate,
Something you said about “don’t you hate that feeling when your parents love up to someone else and you feel totally on the outside” ? ~I totally know what you are talking about; freedom for me has also meant freedom from all that too. I just know from my head to my toes, that all that was about them and never about me; I think they did that to make me keep trying harder. The truth is today that THEY lost me in this deal. I didn’t have anything to lose.
Thanks for all your comments! Hugs, Darlene


Dear Sally
I could have written most of what you just wrote. I love your conclusions ~ that is the goal! To realize that it was never my job in the first place and to honour the little girl who was me and who never got a chance back then. The wounds can and do heal.
Thank you for sharing your history and your hope.
Great to have you here!
Hugs, Darlene


When I was 15 I volunteered at the hospital for a year until they paid me to work when I turned 16. I worked part-time through high school. when my sister (five years younger) turned 16, she asked my parents if shee could get a job. My dad told her, “No.” He wanted her to stay home and “laern how to run a house” like his pastor’s daughters “supposedly” did. Images and fantasies. Love affair with the pastor and his females. ALL my life. Trying to escape a dad who was in love with those who didn’t live in his home. So, instead of my sister ARGUING that her SISTER (that is ME) had a job in high school, so WHY shouldn’t SHE have one, she complied. Thing is, it was just a control thing and she never did really get paid to do anything at home, or learn anything?? My mother could just not be bothered to have to deal with it. It likely wasn’t my mother’s idea to “train” her to do anything. SO makes me want to puke. She actually would RATHER avoid bringing up my name altogether, because she HAD to do the opposite of me no matter what, even if it meant NOT working. What about breathing? would she quite breathing because I happen to breathe?


“Hi Diane
ME TOO. (to almost everything you said in your comments ) MY mother is also a clean freak, and her home was a huge priority for her, and I hate housework, and never put it before my kids. In fact only in my healing process did I even get a handle on the whole house work thing! I grew up and married a farmer, and my mother was SO disappointed in me for that. She thinks farms are dirty, and we have a very old (but charming) big farmhouse, which I love, but she HATES. And I decided it was none of her biz! and I hope she is so glad that she doesn’t “have” to come here anymore now!”

“Thank you for including financial abuse in your list. That makes so much sense and it should be said that way.”

LOL….My mother absolutely HATES pets,especially if they are “allowed” in the house.I have a dog and a cat,they are part of my family.My mother refuses to come and visit me,she HATES cats more than anything!She also grew up around farm animals but to her all animals are dirty.

Ya know,in some ways she’s so much like the exsociopath but what sets her apart from him is the fact she does have empathy.

Thank you for understanding financial abuse.Most people,those who have no clue about n/p’s or any other personality disorders,just don’t get it.


I am definitely at the beginning of a long process and I do not know where it will lead. I have had a hard time identifying what was wrong because I had good things mixed in with bad throughout my childhood. I want to focus on the good all the time because the bad is very painful.

I spend a lot of time wondering why I never stood up for myself and just accepted the bad. The truth is that my way of coping (just being good all the time, never complaining or speaking my mind, being overly responsible) worked for me as a child.

The other truth is that it is no longer working. I have started to speak my mind and express how I feel. Sure enough, I get all kinds of crap back. I am a threat because I am not existing to keep the peace and hold up my mother’s self esteem. I can predict a lot of the backlash I am getting but there is always a new dagger that comes at me. The latest was that I’m not important and have no right to say anything because my opinion does not matter. Doesn’t get clearer than that does it? I find it helpful to read other stories and learn that we are all struggling with this.

One thought I had last week really helped – some people grow up eating unhealthy food so when they leave home it is hard for them to figure out how to eat. Others don’t learn how to manage their money so they have to figure out how to crawl out of debt. I didn’t learn how to be myself so it’s difficult to learn now. But everyone can learn. If your home did not provide the lessons you needed there are other ways to learn. How to be kind to yourself is just as important as all the other survival skills. And it’s possible.


About financial abuse; they use money to make you feel guilty, like you are in the way , where you don’t belong, right? You should not have to cost them ti me,money, energy? Is this the right thought process on financial abuse?

HOW does your mother have empathy?



I really identify with your mixture of good and bad nad learning f inally to sort them, and to fill in what was missing from your early years of learning.

“One thought I had last week really helped – some people grow up eating unhealthy food so when they leave home it is hard for them to figure out how to eat. Others don’t learn how to manage their money so they have to figure out how to crawl out of debt. I didn’t learn how to be myself so it’s difficult to learn now. But everyone can learn. If your home did not provide the lessons you needed there are other ways to learn. How to be kind to yourself is just as important as all the other survival skills. And it’s possible.”

Well said!


Hi Chloe
I love your attitude. What you said about not learning things in childhood is very true, and very related to the belief system that I am always talking about. There are ways to learn these life lessons ~ that is for sure! I found that realizing the roots of all this stuff and what/why I believed certain false things about myself, helped me get out of the mess so much faster then I was ever able to with any other way that I tried prior.
I also had a similar way of coping to the one you posted. Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


About financial abuse; they use money to make you feel guilty, like you are in the way , where you don’t belong, right? You should not have to cost them ti me,money, energy? Is this the right thought process on financial abuse?

HOW does your mother have empathy?

His money was his only,he’s addicted to gambling.There was never any money for food,bills,xmas presents and birthdays.The money I earned was his also plus I had to pay the bills,buy food,etc out of that too.In all the years I was married to him,I never once saw his paycheck.
I guess I should say that my mother has empathy for my brother,her friends and her neighbors and all of her grandchildren,just not me for some reason.:)


Oh, YES, I get that empathy thing. I get that all the time from my parents. It is huge! all my life, btw not assuming this is your story, but, here is my latest version of this: (all of my life)

They have empathy for the 35-year-old widow in their church who had to live the tough life of staying in her own home, not having to work, raising her three kids, boy it was tough, yeah, then she could afford to go back to school and get more skills so that she could work, all the while living in their comfortable country home with horses, etc. and now they also had empathy to attend her engagment party put on by their church, while they tried to talk my husband out of marrying me! All the while I was cut off financially by my husband, abandoned with four children, had no job skills, my mother became abusive toward me, my dad took everybody elses’s side, I lived in mold pits and ended up in surgery, etc., and I had to hear how tough Susie had it! Oh sick sick sick!!!! It is poisonous just to be around them.


to clarify the above, my ex husband cut me off financially shortly before I filed for divorce, and my new husband married me a few years later.


Darlene, as so often happens, your post was overall just excellent and one paragraph just grabbed me and took me to a place where some more healing work needed to be done.

You said, “I failed at fulfilling her dysfunctional wishes, most likely in the same way that she failed her own mother, and the cycle of chronic depression and dysfunctional family system went unbroken. The cycle of abuse, the cycle of low self esteem, the cycle of struggle with personal identity and lack of simple happiness, continued”

In my healing I’ve been looking another generation or two back in my families to see where some of these ‘truths that are not’ came from, some of the attitudes and the beliefs which shaped generations. One is the need for secrecy and control – part of this was a survival mechanism for those fleeing genuine oppression. The other part was just flat out control which has grown into a NEED to CONTROL without a reason beyond the fact that it is control.

Two very different grandmothers, with perhaps not so dissimilar backgrounds and yet worlds apart approaches to the control they exerted on their spouses, children and grandchildren. Two grandfathers, one I barely knew, and the other I’ve spoken about here before. Neither one, as I am learning, was very well equipped to deal with their wives, and the true engineers of much of the turmoil were those wearing the aprons! Fast forward to a woman who is so angry at her father for living too long so she couldn’t have a few more years to ‘prove herself’ to her mother. She longed to care for her and show her she was an adult, a worthy person, and instead she lost her to dementia and a total loss of self control which revealed, in hindsight, a lot of the control and thought that went into it.

Now me – learning, healing and trying to figure out how I am blessed enough to be coming out on the healing side. How am I doing this? How am I putting up and keeping healthy boundaries? How am I preventing the demands from bursting into our lives with the control and chaos? Grace of God is my answer. For some reason we are the appointed generation to break the silence, break the fog and speak out without shame but in truth. Okay I have, still, shame but I’m working on it!

How much of the past of those people in our past can come forward? I’m seeing it can be a LOT if you allow it. Sure I could look back with the rose colored glasses of nostalgia and some days I do. There were some good things, some fun times but the strangling undercurrents that drug me down for those years make it hard to see only part of the picture. It’s hard to ignore the fact that there is more to the picture.

I’m working on it. We all are.

Blessings to you all, and I’m so encouraged by our courage, and the strength of this community to care for each other is amazing!


Hi Darlene

What i mean. saying mother, mom or any word meaning someone who gave me birth seems not real any more .. how can i call her mom.. mother.. mum or anythng else. .she never wanted me. last call. .and will be last call .. she said she wished i was dead.. ..that was about month ago. her number is no longer allowed through.. ..

I cannot understand it . .someone gives you life and wishing you were dead.. of course. .it was right on track with all she did to me. .she wanted me dead then too.

It is something cuts me deep..people wishing you dead..say .. they think you are of no value..worthless.. nothing. .that is what she thinks of me. it hurts me like heck.. hurts me to think she will never love me. but she never did. am too much unlike her:(



Since I was last on the site, my mother, whom I asked 5 years ago not to call or mail me until she was ready to own up to her horrible actions and start trying to make amends. Recently, my favorite aunt accidentally forwarded both of us the same email. My mother snagged my address, forwarded the same inspirational “you are loved” type email my aunt sent, to me. I ignored it.
A few days after that, I got a long email, which she had cc’d to both my eldest son and my favorite aunt. She said she wants our family to be “healed”, and this cannot happen as long as none of her children realize that she is not a horrible person, and that all the things we believe happened to us at her hands (the painful memories she said Jesus has relieved her of). The little girl in me wanted to throw things, scream at her, hit her, cry, and make her hurt. That’s one of the good things about her living 1500 miles away.
Instead, I wrote her a long letter in response in Word, then didn’t email it. I vented, but did not give her the satisfaction of knowing she’d caused me such anguish. She deliberately chose my sister (who wouldn’t speak to her) over me in a situation that ended up with my 8 year old living with his abusive father, thanks to her inaction, and she thought that would make my sister love her. It didn’t. She hasn’t spoken to the egg donor in 7 years.
I have good news for her. It’s going to be a lot longer than that before she talks to me!
That got me thinking about all the toxic people in my past, people who deliberately or selfishly made me feel “less than”. I am engaging in cleansing myself of those poisons. I emailed my sister, to whom I haven’t spoken since the custody hearing, and told her what she did was wrong, and that I was well aware she’s spent the past 7 years showering my sons with money and gifts I can’t afford (because I’ve been paying their father child support for 3 boys, 2 of them grown and gone). I told her I miss having a sister, and I am not dumb enough to expect her to admit she was dead wrong and ask for forgiveness, but if she wanted to go forward from here, she could email me. It’s been a week. Two relatives down, several to go.
Know what’s amazing? I’m not grieving. I feel this overwhelming sense of relief, kind of like when you have a horrible toothache, and suddenly it’s just not there.
Cleansing myself deliberately of one toxic person at a time, allowing myself to NOT feel guilty for cutting them loose, feels GREAT. My blood pressure has gone from dangerously high a month ago to high/normal (a safe range) since those two have been checked off my list.
It IS okay to love ourselves, and it IS okay to remove diseased parts of our lives.


When I found porn on my sister’s computer and suggest she look at it so my kids wouldn’t see it, she screamed at me to get out. She then convinced my dad and mom that I owed her and her (wheelchair bound)husband an apology. I wrote instead, the kind of lifetime issue letter you are talking about. And it did feel great!! I haven’t been back to her house since. Before I married my second husband, I introduced her to him and she thanked him for being willing to take care of me. I interact with her as little as possible.


Like Laurie says, it’s okay to remove diseased parts of our lives, the cancerous parts, the toxic parts. My mother asked me, “Were you born just to make my life miserable.” I didn’t ask to be born. The biggest relief came when I was in my forties, and my therapist informed me that I was NOT responsible for my mother. I could start the detox process. I feel sad for the cruel wicked mothering I am reading about here.


I’m just getting started. It’s scary to leave the familiar pain and go towards the unknown, which surely should be better, because we know how to respond to the pain. We know the dance. I figure if I’ve come this far, I might as well keep going.


I agree with you Laurie, and with everyone who has stood up for themselves and their right not to be poisoned, lied to and treated badly. Giving ourselves permission to remove those diseased parts is so healing, and I recently went through a similar ‘firing’ (as my son calls it!) with my parents and the weight that is off of me is amazing! I don’t dread the phone, I don’t worry about their emails or comments. Being unfriended was the nicest thing they have done for a long time!

The first steps are so important because they are the ones that start us moving…!


Your son said it well! I’ve also gone through my fb account and “unfriended” people I’ve known since elementary school, because when I examined how I felt about each person, I realized that a lot of these people who are sugar-sweet now are the same folks who made middle school through college a living hell for me. Unfriending them was cathartic for me. I’m giving myself permission to only have REAL friends.


Good for you Laurie! I took a close look at the friends I have in common with my now ‘fired’ family members and am really thinking of tightening up (even more) their feeds from my profile. 🙂 Permission to have real friends is so wonderful, isn’t it?


Yes, it is. And I’m finding that the interrupted, scary childhood is being replaced with finding my inner child and getting to know her.


Hi Shanyn
Thanks for sharing. It is really hard sometimes to “see” the history because of all the things that we don’t know. Remember my grandmother, the one that I thought was the wicked witch… well her first husband was a bigamist cheater, and the marriage was annulled when she found out that he was already married (when she was having her 6th child with him) AND he was cheating on her too and engaged to another woman already. Then she married a violent drunk (the step grandfather that my mother was so afraid of) so although my grandmother was a royal b. word, he was a huge source of her anxiety. There is a lot to this history stuff… In the case of my own parents, my mother was my abuser, but my father was hers. and he was a very passive abuser so the whole world thought that she was the B word, and she had to live with that. I feel sorry for my mother for what she went through, BUT not at my expense anymore. It is really complicated, but I felt the need to say it. I am not defending women; I am not defending anyone. Abuse is abuse.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy,
Yes I understand what you are saying. Hang in here, you are one of the hardest parts!

Hi Laurie
Thank you for sharing your strength and resolve with us! YAY for standing your ground and sticking to your own guns. I was amazed when I realized that I didn’t miss any of it, and that I was relieved for the first time ever. I remember thinking that if I was the problem then they should be having a party because I was outta there. BUT that wasn’t what they wanted, they wanted compliance. NOT independence! Ha IT IS okay to love ourselves!! yay!
Thank you so much for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lynn
These are the kinds of damaging statements that I am talking about. HOW on earth is a child supposed to process statements like that? They are designed to TEAR down and destroy. And we are not responsible for people who act like that, or treat their own kids like that or responsible for anyone esles problems when were were only children!!
thank you for sharing this!
Hugs, Darlene


hi Darlene

What do you mean by I am one of the hardest parts?



That was a typo!! I am so sorry, I meant to say you are IN one of the hardest parts (on the healing journey!) NOT that you are one of the hardest parts! OOPS!
I was typing too fast!
Hugs, Darlene



Phew .. I began to think even my dear friend was starting to give up on me ..lol 😉 I am glad it wasn’t that am the hardest part.. don’t know what i would be the hardest part of. unless of you coming to the blog.lol just kidding .. am full of watermelon juice tonight so am quite in a mood. good mood. but thought i ask about the hard part . .as later on when the juice wears off will be wondering about that post.. 🙂 <3 thank you .. You are right…am so in the hardest part..

((hugs)) back to you



Darlene, it is absolutely crazy how that stuff can tangle people up for generations isn’t it? Amazing how much of other people’s stuff we are supposed to deal with, and when we stop they are shocked! haha You and I both had wicked grannies 🙁 but we are both busting through to wonderful!
Hugs and love!


Shanyn — “Busting through to Wonderful!” Sounds like the heart and soul of a really great blog. . . .

Thank you all can bust me up (with a laff and a smile) in the midst of such heartache — what a blessing you all are!!1


simply…. I understand!

I wish none of us had mother horror stories!
I’m sorry we did not receive the love and acceptance we needed and deserved!


I have just had the most remarkable thing happen to me. I just had breakfast — and I actually got to a place where I felt full. And that dogged compulsion to clean my plate — has simply vanished.

No mom or dad or gramma or ex in the background of my mind throwing it back at me that I’m being wasteful or inconsiderate or mindful of other people’s feelings or the starving children in Afghanistan. . .

The crust of bread is just a crust of bread . . . oh my. . . I wonder what else the day will have in store?


Ultralite – what a great place you are in! I’m so happy for you to have gotten there!

I may use that “Busting through to wonderful” for a post today, and if anyone else who blogs wants to use it I’d love to link up with your posts (if it is okay with Darlene of course!)


Hello Kay,
Welcome to EFB!

This is really awesome. Thanks for sharing your victory! YAY
Hugs, Darlene


Who here is going thru the empty nest transition? With a child that you know you made big mistakes with, repeating some patterns of your own abuse and maybe some different ones? It wasn’t the same as my mother’s abuse but it was just as bad in my mind. I won’t go into all my abuse here but I had a horrific childhood. I had emotional problems from a very young age and was an out-of-control suicidal self-destructive adolescent and teenager. And adult 🙁
(I am bipolar, with PAD and Borderline Personality)
My mom hated me and was a very sick nasty antithesis to motherhood. And my grandfather (her father) was a perverted molester. My Dad was an immature person who was always drunk or high We are all different people now and the past 5 yrs or so we have all forgiven each other and are very close (mom and dad are divorced so I’m talking about my personal relationships to them) I moved out when I was 14 and lived in Chicago on my own until a vicious 5 hr rape drove me home at 16. Then out again. I gave my first baby up for adoption (we finally met 2 yrs ago<3)
When I tried to have a baby a couple years later it was stillborn. Won't go into that nightmare(you can imagine…)
So by the time I had Georgia I was desperate to have a child to love. I was 20 and wasn't being treated for bipolar or PAD yet but had been in a lot of therapy, lots of hospitals, lots of suicide attempts. When I had her I thought I would never try to kill myself again, but when she was 2, I did and it was a close call. People brought pictures of her 2nd birthday party to shake me up. one in particular broke my heart, I was helping her blow out her candles and I remembered that moment and the bright clarity of it, how much I loved her and was glad she was okay and not hurt or dead or experiencing the things I already had at that age. And I couldn't believe I had almost abandoned her and left her a horrible legacy.
And I can't explain my relationship with my daughter now (she is 19) except in some ways it was the opposite of me and my mom. In other ways I think I was worse. Everyone says I am too hard on myself but I am sick to my stomach everyday over what I did wrong. My child is starting college this summer a few hours away from home. But she moved out for good a couple of months ago even though I begged her not to. I think I was using her to help make me feel better as the PAD has worsened, afraid to be alone, but other times screaming at her that she wasn't helping enough. Retch. Even threatening to kill myself b/c she didn't love me anymore. When she was little I would send her to stay with family /friends when I was unstable and that was very hard. But she was somewhat sheilded form that stuff growing up. SOMEWHAT. When she was 11 I had been taken off all meds b/c of liver damage and pancreatitis. It was BAD. I was always curled up in a ball crying. Other moments I was hateful then that would make me more suicidal. I quit eating. ETC. She refused to leave, lied and told family she was okay and set about trying to make me better. Candles, music, making my favorite foods, lying down with me and holding me when I was crying. Of course nothing worked and I told her it wasn't her fault and one day when I realized she'd been starting to cry a lot, I asked her what was wrong (duh) and she said she didn't know. At that point I pulled out of my stupor as much as I could and demanded my family take her for awhile and they did and she was comforted there. But that's when the pulling away started. She became more closed off emotionally. In fact I used to describe us as me having emotional diarrhea and her as being emotionally constipated. It broke my heart I was doing this to her and as my desperation to repair things and fix things grew she puylled away even more. By the time she was 15 I felt I was really losing her. I'm afraid she doesn't remember the good things and all the times I put her needs before mine. Which I did do often and with the really big stuff. but not nearly enough in the little day-to-day stuff.When I was well I was an awesome mom. When I was sick I was either abusive or just plain nuts. And I'm afraid that that was more than the good times.
But as I said the past few years have been bad. I'm afraid I've lost her forever. I only see her briefly once a week if I'm lucky and she isn't the way she used to be towards me. Everyone says it's a normal phase but I don't believe it. I feel like she only sees me out of some sort of obligation. Air kisses only and she leaves as soon as she can. She lives with her boyfriend's family even though they broke up recently. I feel rejected and vacillate between extreme agonizing remorse and childish retaliative anger and resentment…how could she abandon me, etc. And I try to tell myself that is wrong and just try to swalloew that down but it comes out sideways, desperation self-loathing all color my behavior and words no matter how I try to be a good mom and see her side and see how unpleasant it must be to be around me. I'm in a whirlwind and feel so insecure around her and like I have no way to reach her anymore. She was my life…that's a huge part of the problem. I smothered her, had too many expectations and said offhand things that I didn't think about first and now realized how hurtful they must have been. Until afterwards. She has always been steady as a rock and had a bubbly loving personality. As the years passed she became less free with her emotions and eventually I felt we were the opposite and I snuffed out her light by always being so emotional and saying every stupid thing I thought of and unloading all the childhood memories and rapes and all this totally inappropriate things…major boundary issues. Because I wanted HER to understand ME and as we drifted apart I became more needy and demanding of her love. I forgot to look at her viewpoint and when I did I was horrified at what I saw. Horrified at who I am (which is not a new thing but worse b/c I know she SEES who I am now. Biggest Borderline Mother EVER. I have so much remorse it makes me almost suicidal. Everytime I start to plan it I pull back and say I will NOT DO THAT TO HER!!!!! But when I get so depresed I start thinking they all WANT me to do it and get over it. I went into the hospital for a month and all it did is make me worse but I admit I am not suicidal all the time anymore. Just fleeting thoughts and wishes but not the real thing anymore. Sometimes my mind races to figure out how I could die so it wouldn't hurt her too much or when would the least damaging time present itself. but I dont really want to die. I just want her back and I want to be a good grandmother one day like mine was. I think what if she won't allow me tom see her kids and panic. I MUST get better I MUST do it fast but in my heart I know I will NEVER be better or good enough. Many things about my condition are worse. I used to be a nurse but for the past 10 yrs I have been a cleaning lady. yay. And my memory is wrecked. I really am like someone with early Alzheimer's and is not funny or exaggerated. I'm struggling with learning to deal with the panic attacks and I;'ll be honest here…I went back to smoking pot and am much more stable moodswing wise and the panic is now down to constant anxiety. But even family and dr see how much better I am with it but it feels like failure to me. Georgia is very judgmental about it and I know she despises my weaknesses. I despise my weakness. I've become a very lonely hopeless person. And fat. and gross. I started animal rescue volunteering and now I have 10 cats and a dog which can keep me going sometimes but it also is scary, how can I take care of all these animals and still get a life. I'm on disability and never have money. I joined some women's groups but it's agonizing to make myself go b/c I am so ashamed and disgusted with myself and the anxiety is always there. Its not really getting better as far as socializing goes. But I try to do it anyway. I have got to get my own life, quit hating myself, and find a way to be a productive person. But it never happens even with therapy and meds etc. I still hate myself and feel I can't live without her, I don't want new friends I only want her the way we used to be before I ruined her.
Okay. Lots of negativity here and lots of missing details but I'm trying to make sense of all of it and it is 1 step foward and 2 steps back for me so I think I am not moving anywhere but backwards.


I hope the day holds many more miracles for you. It is always a miracle to me when I overcome in any inward struggle. I know there will be many more such miracles in your life.



I’m sorry for that long rant. It used to be about my mother but now I am the f’d up mother. So if I upset anyone by going on and on about ME I’m sorry. I hope it didn’t sound too much like your mothers. sigh…
I do have moments of clarity and try to do the right thing but I doubt much of that showed in my first post.
I’m desperate to find someone who is going thru the empty nester thing KNOWING they hurt their child(ren)
And I must say I think my daughter leaving is the healthiest thing she could have done for herself. She has a 4-year scholarship to any university in Florida. She went to Japan as a foreign exchange student for a whole year. She is very successful at saving money and being involved in very healthy things and no drugs, smoking, drinking. I had a lot to do with helping to create and find some of the opportunities but she’s the one who made them work out and put in all the hard work. I tried to help her realize HER dreams MOST of the time.
An example of NOT doing that: She figure-skated for several years and was really really good but I was a horrible stage mom. of course no big surprise. When she was 12 She put her foot down one day and said NO MORE. She did NOT want to be a one-dimensional person (serious figure-skating is all-consuming) Amazing how she had the courage to say No more. Very healthy. She is so amazing. Although I cried for a week I was proud of her and told her that many times. After that I tried to be in tune with what SHE wanted. It made me realize she had to live her dreams not mine.
Another example of trying to live thru your kid
In Highschool she was eligible to take IB classes…very demanding…harder than the advanced classes. Of course I was all over that and trying to force her into it and fighting about it. when she said she just wanted to ENJOY highschool I realized I was doing it again. (IB students do NOT enjoy highschool) As soon as I figured that out I told her I agreed and I wanted her to enjoy being a kid and besides Honors classes were just fine, I mean I now think the IB classes were more of a status symbol for parents and misery for the kids who weren’t planning on being rocket scientists.
About MY mom…
I am friends with my mom now. In fact when I was in a bad relapse (bipolar mania and not the happy la-la kind) she stayed with me and reminded me to eat and gently steered me towards trying to sleep and stayed at my house so I wouldn’t swirl down the drain of loneliness, panic and despair. That’s a far cry from all the childhood trauma, telling me over and over how she wished she had an abortion, beating me, not doing anything about my granfather’s sexual abuse and never ever holding or kissing me etc etc.
Some kind of miracle happened and I’m 42 now and this miraculous transformation and friendship still baffles me. I don’t blame her anymore. Maybe b/c I see how hard it is to act right when you have a mental illness or f’d up childhood. We both did. And her mother was incarcerated in a mental institution when mom was 5 and stayed and died in there when mom was 17. So she was basically an orphan and stayed with different families, some of whom abused her. I saw a rare photo of her when she was 5 and it is the saddest little girl you ever saw. Big dark circles around her eyes, haunting. She never knew love so when I found out about her life (somebody else told me everything) I forgave her it was b/c I wanted to give her the love she never knew and surprise, she loved me back. She says her childhood wasn’t as bad as mine but I don’t believe it. It was just different. The forgiveness has lifted a huge weight off of my heart and I feel lucky that she welcomed and returned my love. Most people don’t seem to be so lucky. She drives me crazy and she is still lazy and complaining and won’t do stuff herself but our relationship is good and we can live with each other’s faults. She even let me put my head on her chest and cry when she was helping me last year. Actual physical contact. She wans’t snuggly but that’s b/c she just isn’t but she let me and talked very sweetly to me and patted my head. LOL Nothing short of miraculous.



I was my mom’s first dolly. I was rather disapointing as I was small and sick alot. I was a lot of bother. I became mom’s bad dolly because I bothered her so much. In her eyes, I grew up to be a very bad dolly so she threw me away. When God retrieved me from the trash, she tried to accept me back into her life because that was what was expected of her. In all the years between then and now, she never saw her bad dolly as the woman she grew to become. She couldn’t truly see her as a daughter either and continued to view my every action through the lens of the bad dolly.She craves the love that only a daughter can give but she can never receive it because she refuses to put down her bad dolly and come to know the woman that I truly am. She also wants to enjoy the love that a mother receives from a grown daughter but she doesn’t want to put the work in that is required of a mother. She prefers to remain an irresponsible child playing with dolls. When I stood up and demanded that she see me as the woman that I am and not as the bad dolly, she chose to throw her bad dolly away once again. Its okay though,the bad dolly should have been thrown away long ago and I refuse to be seen as it anymore. I much prefer being my own mother to that of bearing the image of the bad dolly. Life is good when it is lived in freedom.



I have three of my four not living with me anymore due to divorce, one in college, and two who moved out age 16-17. My daughter moved out on her own when she turned 18, also did the foreign exchange student thing for a while, and before moving out did put her foot down with me. I realized too late that in junior high on, they NEED to be making their own choices. We are not going to guide them into perfection. They MUST learn by their OWN actions. I didn’t have that freedom in my religious/emotionally abusive upbringing.
I am trying to maintain, admit what i think I did wrong, listen to their viewopoints, give positive feedback as much as possible and not give advice except when requested.


When my first grandchild was born, a dear friend told me,”Remember, all granny has to do is love them!” I try to live by that now and love all of my children as they are. It sure is a lot better than seeing myself as responsible for the mistakes they make or may make and a lot more effective too. I know being stuck in my coping mechanisms hurt my children but love has the power to heal and I see that happening in the life of my family every day.



Hi Eileen
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
If my mother were to come to me and ask me what she could do to restore our relationship, I would ask her to go through her healing process without depending on me for anything. Because what healed me has been to do just that. To go through this process; to take my own life back. My relationships with my husband and my children, (one is also 19) have been restored because I went through the process of healing myself. It isn’t easy, or quick, but that is the only way that I know of to begin with any kind of healing relationships. I understand how hard it must be for you to realize all the things you are realizing about your relationship with your daughter, but it is the beginning of restoration. Hang in here.
This blog is full of information about what I am talking about.
I hope you find some answers in the pages of this site.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
Love the good dolly / bad dolly anology. Ya… I can relate to that too. My mother never saw the need to see me as a real person; I am so grateful that I finally realized that *I AM* a real person!
Hugs, Darlene


One more thing that I would like to add about your second comment is that this site isn’t about forgiveness or blame or any of that stuff. It is about realizing what happened to (me) as a child that got me so messed up. Really facing it, regardless of how messed up my own parents were. That is what set me free.
I can’t say that enough in this site. Restoring relationships without healing from the damage would not have resulted in the wholeness that I have now. I have worked with many people who have only worked to restore the relationships, and the personal problems, depressions, addictions do not just go away and low self esteem doesn’t go away.
Hugs, Darlene



Great contrast here!

I know being stuck in my coping mechanisms hurt my children but love has the power to heal


I just read this again. Need to let it sink in. The part about being your mom’s dolly really helps me see some things in a new light. I am realizing that during some of the most hurtful moments with my mother she has also revealed what is going on under the surface. The morning of my wedding she told me how when I was born she knew I was going to have an amazing life living “God’s way” … she told me this in the context that she felt I was not living up to her dreams for me. What a speech to hear before a wedding! But I do see it now as her realizing that I chose to live my life and it is not the way she imagined. She tried to put me back in place so she didn’t have to feel uncomfortable. She has also told me several times that she does not recognize me. And it is true. I hid for so long I hardly recognize myself too! In a backwards way she is validating that I am on the right track. I know I’m making progress because I am getting all kinds of distorted messages that also reveal how much needs to change.

I’d rather be rejected for the person I am than be accepted for pretending to be someone else.

Re: financial abuse. I think this can take on many shapes. Although my family never lived in poverty my family would constantly create financial mayhem by spending emotionally. Made me very anxious.


How do you honestly feel about your mother as a source of information or feedback on your life?


Hi Chloe,
This is a great comment. It is very revealing when we realize the motives behind those “speeches” isn’t it? I was “put back in my place” by almost everyone in my life, until I was in my forties and finally said “enough”.
Thanks for sharing this Chloe.
hugs, Darlene



I no longer rely on my mother as a source of truth. The information and feedback she gives me is too distorted.

But I am starting to see her reactions to me when I speak up for myself as hints that I am on the right track. I do not really believe them but I can see them as signs I’m changing the cycle. For example, being told that I’m over-controlling is a sign that I’m no longer letting her control me. I’m still working on it but it helps me to see these reactions as a result of my positive change instead of accepting them as a true.

I’m not sure if I explained myself well, but basically I believe that we lived in a dysfunctional cycle for so long that if I start to disrupt the cycle I’m going to get more abuse to try and shame me back into the cycle. So in a weird way these reactions show that I’m pushing for change. What do you think???


Yes, that could be true. I think that you did explain yourself well. I guess that what I see in my life is that they consistently put me down no matter what I do, although I have gotten much stronger, and right in their faces, where they HAD to see it. They are just as cold and aloof and unsulting as ever. I don’t give them much attention, as little as possible. After they grossly offended me one thanksgiving, I refused to do the next thanksgiving with them, and did very little that year inbetween. The subsequent years have just included less and less. I only wish that I hadn’t gotten my kids so close to it all, and could have stood up for my kids when they insulted them to their faces in front of me. It has been SO good for me to move away from their town this past year, AND be in a relationship where I can detox it, best year of my life.


Hi Kate
I wouldn’t be surprised if that is where I end up too, just not making myself available for that type of interaction anymore. I have only started to draw boundaries so I am kind of expecting a big blow-out at some point. In the past I have walked away wounded then come back pretending nothing happened. I am trying to get myself ready for the next one (I believe they are inevitable) so that I am brave enough to not accept it.



And I like your choice of words. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that is where I end up…” Doesn’t it feel good to say those words?

When I had my son evaluated for his scoliosis at age 15.

One physical therapist asked him if he had any symptoms, and he said that he didn’t think so, because, of course, he is thinking of a list of symptoms that SOMEONE else make up.

The other therapist asked him if he was SURPRISED at the diagnosis. My son responded that he was not all that surprised because he remembers being in 7th grade and doing exercises in gym class and not being able to bend the same way in both directions. FUNNY how the question that target my son’s feelings got the most information out of him.


What you just wrote reminds me of the way that I was misdiagnosed as bipolar. The questions asked never hit the right target so that it would be revealed that I had PTSD instead. They had already decided that my problem was the chemicals in my brain and the questions they asked were asked to confirm that pre-conceived notion. There were no questions asked with the intent of revealing the truth.


the truth being YOUR truth, not their truth, their paychecks, etc.


You know, I don’t say this often (yet) but I am really convinced that the people in the world that don’t want to face YOUR childhood truth, (or family dysfunction/pain are the ones that are too afraid to face their own childhood truth and family caused pain. Pam, this is so common, that the professional doens’t really want to get to the root of the problem. AND why would that be if not for fear of what they might find there that THEY themselves are trying to avoid?? I went to a lot of therapists before I found one who could do this work becasue he had done his own work first. Just saying……..
Hugs, Darlene


They either do n’t want to face their own realities, or they don’t want to reveal their own loyalties (which prevent self-awareness)
those loyalties being their churches, pastors, those they perceive to be their representatives in this life


Darlene, kate,
I think often they are guilty of what a lot of us are, doing what is easy. Its easy to prescribe pills.


Hi Darlene

My mum is interesting. I was going to write a book called the little girl who couldn’t say no but it would cause a storm. One day I will get a round to it. I had sexual abuse from my fathers side and it was ignored throughout my teens. I am a holistic practitioner and had classic sexual abuse signs. Wouldn’t let anyone see me when I was a teenager and totally disassociated right up uuntil my forties when it all came out that I had been abused as a 3 year old. When it all came out my mum and dad finally admitted it all but took no responsbility. As a teenager when I had severe menstrual problems (typical of those who have been abused)starting my periods early and acting our sexually with my mothers consent.

My father has issues about being overweight to the point of obsessions. All projected beliefs he had about himself as a very overweight fat child. When I reached my teens and became a normal slightly plump teenager as my hormones balanced. I was marched down the doctors at 13 and plonked on diet pills. I spent my teenage years going on one diet to another because I wasn’t considered “perfect enough”. Not one doctor looked at the fact that I might be “slightly” overweight. We are talking a few pounds. And I was fed a diet of apisate and dospans which are now banned slimming pills used for morbidly obese patients. I was then a healthy size 14. This caused no end of health problems later in life including bladder problems that have never resolved to this day as a result of also being put in water pills. I think my diet consisted of around 500-800 calories a day during growing years. I ended up with body dysmorphia which fortunately I no longer have through good therapy.

the most narcissistic thing my mother did was to tell me when I got diagnosed with endometriosis at 16 which carried on into adult life and give me a hot water bottle. She would say things like “I have bad periods too”. Many years later after multiple miscarraiges and 4 d and c’s she said to me once “You haven’t had much luck in the womens department have you,. I am really lucky because I have never had a bad period in my life”. I looked her in the eye and said you spent years telling me you had bad periods to which she replied “I never did that”.

My mum used all three of us inluding my brothers as a surrogate friend which included telling us in graphic detail the ins and outs of ther sex life. Lots of nice covert abuse. My eldest brother is now deaf in one ear. Its common for those who have had covert abuse to become deaf because they actually on an energetic level dont really want to listen to all that yucky stuff. We have all had counselling and suffered on different levels from issues around sexuality and lack of boundaries.

My mums a severe depressive and I grew up with this warped notion that when you reached 30 you spend your days laying in bed sleeping all day. I got a real shock when I found I didn’t and get up at 6 every day and do a full days work LOL.

Our mum is is most happy when she is making two of us children her scapegoats. The eldest is the golden child and totally enmeshed with her. Freedom came when two of us had therapy and decided on no contact and broke free from the “scapegoat” label we had been given. Theres a great post I found on that on that on another website.

Seeing my mum so miserable and so unhappy for most of her life she is now old and to be honest I just want to see her happy as most children of narcissist parents do. She will never change but by giving her the freedom to just be who she is but without accepting the abuse anymore.


Hi Sarah
Thank you for sharing ~ our mothers sound so similar. I just recently realized that not only did my mother tell me about her sex problems/stories, she leaned on me about all that stuff when I was just a young teenager. That did a lot of damage and wasn’t easy to sort out. And the things that they lie about ~ and then look at you like you are the one who is NUTS for remembering it “wrong”. I don’t miss any of that stuff. (when I drew my boundaries my mother walked away. When I wouldn’t accept the abuse anymore, she had no reason to have a relationship with me.)
Great to have you here Sarah.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene

“When I wouldn’t accept the abuse anymore, she had no reason to have a relationship with me”

I couldn’t have put it better myself lOL



Darlene – I feel for you on so many levels. I too shouldered many unrealistic expectations from my mother. My mother NEVER thought I was good enough. I got all A’s as a child and was in the gifted and talented program, yet somehow my mom convinced me that I was “retarded” (her word not mine). Diane – your story about your hair color got to me. I have naturally curly hair and as a child people always commented on it. My mom would always tell them (and me) that it wasn’t actually naturally curly and eventually even took me to get perms to make this true. I can now see that her hair being stick straight made her jealous of my curls. I recall trying to run away as a teen and my mom slashed my tires on the car that I had worked to purchase. She was constantly cycling through different levels of depression and with that came both physical and emotional abuse for me. I recall my mom catching me as I took a picture of my legs which were covered with welts & red and blue hand prints from my mom hitting me. Needless to say I didn’t try that again.

When I turned thirty something in me clicked. After leaving my 30th birthday party which turned into another embarrassing drunk/pill popping fest for my mom I looked at my husband with tears streaming down my face and I said “NO MORE!” I felt that time was getting away from me and it was time for me to make my life about ME! I confronted my mom about her depression and how she treated me. Confronting her terrified me and I felt physically ill as I approached her house. To say that this spiraled out of control is a huge understatement. I was promptly kicked out of her house and told that I was dead to her. After that followed an uncountable number of crazed phone calls, e-mails, voicemails, and just yelling at my door (I refused to deal with her when she was making threats). In the end I had to move away to bring peace back into the life of myself and my family. She still threatens, but it’s mainly texts now and she is too far away to act on them. She has promised me that she will make it her job to turn my kids against me the first chance that she gets. She has (apparently) put in her will that my kids, my husband, and myself are not welcome at her funeral. I am not sure how I will deal with it when that day comes, but each day I can feel myself growing stronger. I still hear her voice telling me that I’m not good enough, but MY voice is getting louder and louder. I can only hope that soon her voice will only be a whisper. I know that her words will never disappear completely. My past is shaped by her words – it is a part of me, but I am learning to make my future mine.

I love that there is a place for all of us women to release, connect, heal, and gain understanding.

Love And Best Wishes To All,


I cannot believe how many of our stories are similar. I too got straight A’s through all my school years. I was gifted and did two years above my ability. My eldest brother struggled and always had the focus on him and still does to this day being Mr Golden child and yet my own achievements went unnoticed. At a family party once there was three of us the eldest, me in the middle and my youngest brother who is amazing gifted all at a family party. My mum and dad were parading my eldest brother around like a king whilst my younger brother who is now an amazing magician not to mention one of the best video animators was going around trying to get some kind of attention and being ignored. When it came to me i just stood there like a wallflower and when my family asked how I was. I wasn’t allowed to answer. My mum just talked about how bad my periods were (at 12 years old!!!) and the latest diet I was on (which incidently my parents put me on) I wanted the ground to swallow me up whole. Even to this day with a whole host of qualifications behind me both myself and my youngest brother have felt like we were a piece of dog doo. The eldest one on the other hand receives all the attention despite having little skills. Personally we have all talked about it and come to the conclusion that our mother in particular saw us as a threat which is why she put so much focus on my eldest brother. She was very flirty with men I bought him as a young woman and the worst thing I remember her doing was going home and telling her I had a crush on my eldest brothers teachter hoping as a mum she would understand. I hadn’t done anything apart from have a snog with him at a party and knew it was wrong. My mother in her wisdom decided to tell me that she had been having an affair with this man and then went into graphic detail about her sex life with him. crying and sobbing and making it all about her because my father was a compulsive cheating womaniser. I am left there thinking I go to my mother and then to confide in her something she should be being adult about and shes making the whole thing about her. Not to mention the extreme humiliation of finding out she had been having sex with him. Even into her seventies she felt the need to tell me in detail about her sex life until I finally said “Mum I dont need to listen to this stuff anymore”

My eldest brother is always taking money from them and admitted to only staying in touch with my father because he gets help from him. He is still angry for what my father did to my mum and has turned out to be narcissist himself. When I finally decided on no contact with both my parents and my eldest brother as has my youngest brother. I wrote them both a letter and said that IF they were going to put anything for me in their wills that they take me out and give whatever they were going to give me to my children. My mother has always been very supportive when I was “messing up” or making mistakes and never supportive when I was succesful or doign things right. I explained very clearly that now that I was no longer willing to take on the role of the scapegoat anymore there was no need for us to have a relationship because I couldn’t fulfil that obligation.

Even now I miss them but I know she will never change but I have come to a place of peace. I think that unless adult children have had relationships like this with their parents and can find forums like Darlenes or have good therapy which I did they wander around thinking they are damaged goods and carry on being enmeshed with their disordered parents. The freedom comes with knowing that we aren’t the crazy ones but they are.

hugs to all


Hi Shawna
Wow. Thank you for sharing your story with me. I hope your children know some of this stuff so they won’t get fooled by her. Living in the truth and talking about some of this stuff has set my children free from the lie as well. My mother never said out loud that she would turn my kids against me, but she had a pattern of doing “divide and conquer” stuff between my brothers and I and other relatives so I was pretty sure she would eventually try that with my kids. Her purpose of getting in between me and others was always to make herself look better. Often even before she looked bad! When I had not had contact with my mother for about 6 or 8 months, my kids each told me that they were always afraid of her and thought that she was “weird”. So they knew! I was really surprised! Anyway… thank you for sharing all of this.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sarah
I totally relate to your comments too. All the sexual stuff was a big part of the problem in the relationship that I had with my mother as well. Everything was all about her too. She told me inappropriate things about her sex life, (& accused me of having one before I did) and flirted with my boyfriends, and all kinds of stuff like that. There might be some blog posts coming up about that stuff one of these days because it really contributed to the false identity that I developed. The reason that I write this blog is because I realized how much I thought it was all my fault and when I realized the truth, I just had to share it because it had such a profound effect on my life!
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


[…] can’t begin to tell you how many grown women have told me that when they told their mothers that their husbands were hitting them, that this same expression was the mother’s response! […]


Amen to that Darlene!!! I am so happy that there is hope for me to break that cycle too!!!

“I had to realize that I was not a failure, but that they failed me.”

This statement really spoke to me, it makes me see how it is much easier as a little person to believe you are the failure and not your parents because that is just too heavy a burden for a child to endure. With the truth that our parents are incapable of loving us the way we need to be loved comes so much sadness and so many questions as to why they couldn’t love us just the way we are. Truly that is the only thing any child wants from their parents, true love and acceptance. This post really triggered some sadness for me as my mother is the poster child for dysfunction and she has taken my sister down with her….I love my sister more than my mother since she was always by my side when the chips were down. I always looked to her for comfort and advice…it breaks my heart to see the people I love remain in that crap….something I am not sure I will ever get over…move on, yes, but get over….don’t know….
Thanks again Darlene


Hi Jenny
I certainly agree that it is SO hard to watch people stay in that mess when the fog clears in our own lives and we know there is a better way!
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


[…] But that is not what I am talking about in my blog when I talk about dysfunctional family relationships and mother daughter relationship difficulties. […]


I went through the empty nest syndrome. I went to therapy and my therapist told me it was the worst case she had ever seen or dealt with. I was crying non stop, thought about suicide, just crazy stuff. My daughters were sympathetic but could not, would not stop their lives to releave my pain. Thank God!!!! My oldest daughter was open to working with me over the phone to ease my pain. My therapist told me I needed to move back to Colorado (I moved back to northern Idaho). I did after a year. It gave me the opertunity to see how much I leaned on those 2 girls especially my oldest. Through that I backed away, took a step back and realized that was the last thing I have ever wanted was an unhealthy relationship with them. I didn’t realize it and they loved me enough not to want to hurt my feelings. I grew up in that moment of clarity. I set a new life rule that we had to live by and that was to be honest with me even if it hurt! We began talking, sharing our lives in a healthier way. A long the way my youngest got lost and is still in the wilderness of unhealthy living. I can’t tell you or discribe the hole that was inside of me, You know you are experiencing it. Just know there is a way out and a much brighter and beleive it or not a healthier relationship waiting for you and your daughter. It takes time and hard work because you have to set her free and trust that your love binds you together. You get the blessing of seeing her evolve into a beautiful adult. You get the blessing of sharing her world of adult discovery. You also have to know you have a choice; discover with her or walk a lone. I know I chose the blessings and when my daughter feel, I had to keep my mouth shut and my hands to my side and let her pick herself up, but I was and will be there when she needs me. She is my best friend, my daughter. We have worked very hard to get to that place, honesty and allowing her to evolve was so important.
I hope your relationship florishes and once you start to see how beautiful that kind of relationship can be you will never look back.


My sister said I had a cold heart today. It was because when she needed to be rocked and held I could not do it. I can’t do it to anyone that has hurt me in my past. I have a block. I can hug my grandkids and my daughters period. Am I cold hearted? I don’t think so. She told me the reason why everyone avoids me is because I egaggerate and family doesn’t want to deal with it. I didn’t realize I was doing that, I just wanted my family to finally love me. I guess it is asking to much. Funny though we have alcoholics, addicts, emotionally abusive family and their reasons seem fiverlous and baseless to me, yet it hurts as if they hit my face with a bat. I know Im going to keep doing what Im doing because I treat people with kindness, respect their space and am concerned about the people in my lives well being. I think that is honerable. Im sorry Im not perfect but just me.


Renee, the guilty parties never want us to open that can of worms. My sister and I were both abused by our mother, and my sister is ice-cold. She is vicious and bitter. I firmly believe that if I let all the pain make me vicious and bitter, I’m letting my mother and my ex-husband and my sister win.
I have unsupervised visitation rights to my youngest son, but the ex always tried to put conditions on it, such as insisting that my (abusive) mother who still hates me and my middle son (who bought his father’s line of crap) be there so the youngest child (in middle school) would be “safe”. He refused to even allow me unsupervised visitation at the police station in my hometown. I refused.
My ex actually repeated his side of the story sooooo many times to my eldest son, who is now grown, the only one I thought hadn’t been “had” with his dad’s line of crap, that my son actually said “Mom, that was over TEN YEARS AGO. It’s time to just GET OVER IT and be a MOM.” He and his wife have been married almost 2 years, and have a beautiful one-year-old son I’ve never been allowed to meet. I pointed out to him that if someone had beaten and raped and stalked his wife and slammed his son against a wall like my ex had to me and the middle son, there was NO way he’d tell her “Oh, it’s been almost ten years. Just get over it, and play nicely.” He’d pound anyone who laid a hand on his wife or child. THAT is a normal reaction.
Intra-familial abuse of any kind IS STILL ABUSE. It is rare that these fences are ever mended, or that the attempt is made by the abusers. It seems the victims are always the ones behaving co-dependently, always saying “I’m sorry you don’t love me. I’m sorry I’m unworthy.”
I finally have come to a point where I will NOT spend time with a mother who still denies all these years later that she was abusive. She claims Jesus has freed her from a lot of painful memories (relieved her of her memory so she doesn’t have to, as the Bible says, confess her sins before men, and ask for forgiveness?)My ex wants to be “friends”? Let’s be realistic. He raped me repeatedly, humiliated me at every opportunity, beat me frequently, stalked me, then took my sons, the only part of my life I ever felt I got “right”. Friends? I don’t think so.
Be true to yourself. Don’t let them suck you back into toxic situations when your former abusers will not admit the abuse and be truly repentant, and make extreme, overt efforts to change. If you let them do this to you, the cycle will never be broken. The change begins with YOU.


How do you just cut off contact with your abusive mom? I’m only just beginning to realize that my mom was abusive. She has borderline personality disorder and is very selfish and thinks she is right about everything…she’s never wrong in her mind. She would, of course, disagree with me, saying that she wasn’t abusive. I can’t talk to her about it. If I cut off contact, I’m going to have to lie, or the truth will seriously make her go over the edge, never to come back up. She’d probably go kill herself if I confronted her. I’m so tired of lying to her…I lie about everything. I just graduated from college, but while I was there, I lied about missing her. I’ve been away from home for the last month, almost two, and I just lied the other day about missing her. I really don’t miss her. She asked if I was hesitant to come home, and I said not really, but I lied about that, too. I just don’t know what to do. I can’t cut contact with her for two reasons. 1) I wouldn’t know how to explain it to her and 2) It would make me alone. Every member in my immediate family abused me. My dad sexually abused me for the first three years of my life. My sister has abused me for a very long time, verbally and physically. And now I realize that my mom was abusive, as well. She was abusive mentally, emotionally, verbally, and maybe physically. But, there is nothing I can do about it. I can’t confront her, nor can I cut off contact. But, I need space. I want her to not call me for a while. But, then again, I don’t. It’s like I need her to call me. I need her to need me. She’s very co-dependent, and has been my entire life. I don’t know how to break that co-dependent relationship. Does any of this make sense? It’s so screwed up! Life is not supposed to be like this! My childhood was not supposed to be like it was! It’s not fair! It’s just not fair!


Good advice. Im very sorry that happened to you. What your ex did to you happened to me also.
Last night my sister told me I had promised to support her while she was going through a nasty situation and I didn’t. What she wanted from me I am unable to do it. She said she can’t count on me because I failed her. She doesn’t care that what she said was so hurtful, as long as she got to say what she wanted weither it hurt me or not was not a consideration. She wanted me to hug and hold her. She wanted me to stay up with her when she couldn’t sleep. Instead I sat with her when she needed to talk, watched movies when she didn’t want to be alone. She told me I was cold hearted and she is angry because I couldn’t sooth the child in her.

I can’t do it because she distroyed any trust I had in her when I needed my sister to support me when my ex slugged my daughter in the face and I left him because of all the abuse. All those people in that town laughed at me because even my sister refused to support me.


Hi Mindy
I can only speak for me. I had to stop worrying about my mother at my own expense in order to recover from the past. All of what you are writing makes sense. I felt that way when I was first starting to look at things from a more truthful perspective. I couldn’t change the past, but I could stop letting it dictate my present and future. I didn’t make the changes all at once… it is a process, but one of the first things that I realized is that I was always the one making all the concessions. I put ME last in favour of protecting the feelings of abusive people. And I was sick, chronically depressed etc. The way that I overcame all those issues was realizing what exactly they were and where they came from.
Your childhood was not supposed to be like that… you are right. Life is not supposed to be like that either, but it was and it is… that is what I had to finally face. What happened to me was wrong. As I said… a very big process… hang in here!
Hugs, Darlene


As I see it, co-dependency means one person is depending upon another’s unhealthy need for something – drugs, alcohol, abuse, being controlled, whatever.
I had to come to grips with the fact that my mother is in denial, and she likes it there. Because none of her 4 children speak to her at all, and avoid her like the plague, it gives her a reason to draw attention to herself. I remember 23 years ago when my sister moved from Arkansas to Boston. One day not long after her move, she had EIGHT friends from our hometown call to tell her it was all over town that our egg donor had been in the biggest, most popular cafeteria in town at the peak of the lunch crowd, saying to the owner’s wife “Oh, Maxine, please pray for me. Only you can know the shame of having a daughter that’s queer.” Small wonder my sister still lives in Boston.
The egg donor is toxic, and if she’s not causing someone some serious public suffering, she’s miserable.
You have to understand and acknowledge that your mother CHOOSES her behavior. She knows what your reactions to her behavior will likely be, and she’s counting on it.
My mother would beat me black and blue with a belt when I was growing up, then hold out her arms and positively beaming, say “Come here and give Mother a hug”. I dared not disobey.
Only when I was 40 and half a continent away did I begin to be able to take a step back from the action, and realize that while I can get along with anybody (truly), and adults have to be pleasant to everyone, this Gorgon had tortured my inner child, even long after I was grown and married with children. I had to get into a frame of mind where I could separate that terrified little girl who’d hidden inside me for so many years from the grown woman who protects abused children. As a former daycare director and school teacher, I’ve been a “designated reporter” – someone the law holds responsible for reporting suspected abuse to the proper authorities. Know what? I realized there was one battered child I’d not told anyone about – ME!
I protected my youngest brother from the egg donor several times as an adult, and told my dad it was happening. I’d never told him she abused me, and would probably never have told if she hadn’t been stupid enough to beat my baby brother who was 9 years old. I went “mama bear” on her, reported her to any authority I could think of. She never laid a hand or belt on him again until my dad died suddenly 7 years later. My dad felt so guilty about what she’d done to me, saying “if only I’d known”. Really top-notch abusers make sure their victims believe that if anyone knows about the abuse, nobody will love them, because they’ll know the victim is “bad”.
It will seem very callous and unkind to you at first, but abusers are NOT “nice people”, and they DO NOT DESERVE to have their feelings considered at all. When it comes down to who’s going to get to hang onto the life raft in a shipwreck, put your innocent inner child on the life raft, not the vicious criminal. Abuse is a crime.
It’s hard to accept that you were a victim, and will remain a victim until you fight back, make the abuse known, dig in your heels no matter what hits the fan, and stand your ground.
My egg donor tells everyone who will listen to her what a horrible daughter I am, having reported her “falsely” to authorities and my dad that she was abusive. I’m not there to confront her, but I wouldn’t want a 2-year-old left alone with her. Why would I subject my inner child to that? That inner child is just now beginning to feel safe.
You do NOT owe your abuser(s) anything. Period. They negated the unspoken contract between parent and child or sibling and sibling when they abused you, or refused to help you and support you when you begged for safety from the abuse. There is no moral debt.
If someone deliberately ran over your dog, you wouldn’t invite them in for supper, then listen to them chat on the cell phone with friends telling them it was the dog’s fault. Try to learn to be at least this protective of your inner child. She did nothing to deserve cruelty, no matter what others say.


I feel sick to my stomach. My sister told me all the things I do wrong. I feel like I am being beaten. If I tell her how she has disapointed me and how I can’t trust her then I get back lash because poor helpless sister got attacked. Why do I feel helpless and so a lone? Why do my shoulders physically ache as if some one is pounding they? Is there any way to feel like I can resolve this in a healthy way. Must I feel like a victim because I don’t know how to effectively confront her without everyone pointing the finger at me. Geez Im 55 and I feel like im 9.


My goodness, thank you for sharing this! This is excellent. The examples (like you have shared) are really empowering to others and you make such great points too. This is exactly what I had to look at in order to heal. I really appreciate that you shared this today.
Hugs, Darlene

I totally understand what you are talking about ~ I have been there. Here is one of the ways that I was able to heal and overcome those feelings; In answer to your question: “Is there any way to feel like I can resolve this in a healthy way” I will ask you to think about this ~ What is your definition of a healthy way? I had to take a good look at what I thought was healthy and what I thought wasn’t and see if it was the truth, or the way that I had been brainwashed.
Hugs, Darlene


This is where I lean on my therapy. How I was trained to do it. It is hard because she will turn into the victim and I haven’t been trained for when that happens. I get to a point of healthy resolution then get stuck when I get the back lash. I fear that more than anything because the child is force to the front and the pain and fear is so real we would rather “go in” to protect ourselves.


How you do it is to think of her doing this to an innocent pre-schooler. Look at the hurt in that little girl’s face. That frightened little girl is YOU, and she’s looking up at you as you are now, an adult, looking to you to protect her, to fight off the nightmare. It’s going to be an ugly experience for you, but you’ve had so many of those already, it’s the bottom of the pool before you start heading for the surface. Go into “mama bear” mode, and protect that child!!

My faith has been sorely damaged by all the years of “Jesus abuse”. I know in my head it wasn’t Jesus at all, but my mother wields an angry God, and bends his words to her purpose. When I first came to accept that what she had done was, plainly and simply put, abuse, it took a long time for me to process.

I found a poem by Anita Corinne Donihue, “Hug the Little Girl in Me”. Whether addressing God or simply the adult I’ve become, the child in me must sometimes say:
“Hug The Little Girl Within Me

Dear Lord, hug the little girl within me—the little girl mistreated and abused. Encircle me with Your everlasting arms. Still my silent sobs. Anoint my head with Your healing oil; free me from my nightmares of memories. Touch my scars with Your healing stripes. Soothe each muscle that suffered in anger and pain. I know You suffered, too. Piece together my broken heart.Your heart bled and You died for me. In sleepless nights, wrap me in Your comforting presence. Let me rest in the shadow of You, the Almighty. Hug the little girl in me as You cover me with Your feathers like a mother hen does her chicks. I find refuge under Your wings. Help me to face yesterday (wrong as it was), to forgive as You forgive me, and to look toward tomorrow with hope. Your faithfulness will be my shield and rampart. Let me not feel terror by night nor arrows that fly by day. Take my weakness and grant me Your strength. Make my feet swift at the dawning of a new day to do service for You. I go now in praise.

But please, Lord, don’t ever stop hugging me.”

I must allow the little girl in me her time to grow up with love and care, even though I am the one loving and caring for her. For those that little girl dared not lash out at in childhood, I can now, as an adult, be angry on her behalf, which was, for me, the first step towards healing.


I don’t beleive your mom would commit suicide, because she loves herself to much. Though it sounds like she would use that as a threat to make you comply to her sickness. Only you know at what lenght she would go to control you. I told my family that when I came out of the closet and wrote out my memories that they “are mine and mine a lone”. That others may have different memmories that did not make mine any more less than theirs and to respect my space and me. If they chose to not beleive me they had that right, it still did not change what happened to me. I told them that they could either beleive it or chose to deny the past. It did not change the nightmare I lived. I also told them that if they wanted a relationship that it would involve counseling. I haven’t had any takers on the counseling and thats ok, I just know life could be a lot better. They have a choice and so do you. I surely wouldn’t lie any more, that is cheating you, you who has value, you who wants to live a life of truth. Lies only hurt you honey and to passify your mother at the sacrifice of you losing a part of you a little at a time, one lie in exchange for a little piece of you is to high of a price to pay! Remember they sit back watching you chip away at yourself while they live their lousey lives as if you owe them. A hugh lie to live with for sure!!!


Do you know Mindy’s mom? Please be careful what you suggest to another reader. Saying things like “I don’t think she would commit suicide” is dangerous. Mindy has to make her own decisions about how to proceed. When we are influenced by others, we have greater doubt in the times of self doubt. And that self doubt always comes. All of your share about you and your family and your decisions and how you came to them, and how you figured it out even.. all that is fine, but we can’t tell another what their parents are like, just because it all seems so typical.
Thank you for understanding my request,
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene is absolutely correct. I had no business saying that. I was going off my experience with my mom, who is not your mom. Please forgive me. I in no way know your mom you know her better than anyone. I hope and pray nothing does happen to her and that your relationship becomes healthier. Once again I am so sorry for saying that.


Thanks Renee!
I am so glad that you understand!
Hugs, Darlene


I hope Mindy forgives me. Beleive it or not it feel good to “own up” If I do something wrong. It makes me accountable which equals healthy!


Renee, I completely forgive you. Everyone makes mistakes, but we learn from them. 🙂

I just really don’t know what to do with my mom. I can’t tell her the truth, because I would have to justify it, and I’m not strong enough to do that. I don’t have backbone enough to stand up to her. How lame is that?

I also don’t even know if I’m right in saying that she was abusive…Renee, you said “That others may have different memmories that did not make mine any more less than theirs and to respect my space and me. If they chose to not beleive me they had that right, it still did not change what happened to me.” I have to make sure that others think that my memories are correct. I’m never sure that I’m corrrect. Even in speaking to people, I constantly say “I think” to sort of preface what I say, just to sort of clarify to people that what I’m about to say is something that I think, and that it may or may not be correct. I have no confidence in the things I say. I’m afraid of being wrong. If I’m wrong, bad things might happen. But, I don’t know why I think this way.

In this, there is just no way I can confront my mom or even not confront her, but try telling her anything because she will ask for a reason. If I say I need space, she’ll demand to know why and what she has done. If I say that I’m realizing some things about myself that I need to deal with, she’ll ask what and then I won’t have an answer. I’ll be backed into a corner that I won’t be able to escape from. I feel so trapped. And I feel like either way, I’m going to lose my mom and any relationship we have or had, even if it was based on fear. I’ve spent my entire life building her up and encouraging her in who she is and being her emotional punching bag and have abandoned myself. And, Renee, you said I have value…but I don’t see it. I don’t know how to not pacify my mom and take care of myself.

I just want to be a kid. I’m 22 and I’ve never been pregnant, but I’ve always had a child: my mom. I just want her to be my mom for a change, and not my child. I hate when she texts me and asks if I’m mad at her just because I haven’t contacted her in a while. What about me? She never calls me. I’m the one who has to call her. And she never remembers anything we talk about. I’ve been having memories from what my dad did to me and I’ll talk to her about it and then a few days later we’ll talk and I’ll tell her I’m having a hard time and she’ll ask what’s going on…how can she not know what’s going on? How can she not remember that I’m dealing with stuff from what my dad did? I mean..hello! Maybe she should take notes while we talk. Sheesh! I don’t know what to do!


My heart goes out to you. I have had a simular relationship with family. They never wanted to hear the truth, just the happy times! Except there was never any happy times in truth it was their way to not deal with the severity of the abuses we went through. I spent so many years saying “I think” It was the way for me to test the waters. If it was going to get stormy I would back off. I was so afraid to be called a liar it would make me physically sick. As I got stronger through counseling I was able to change that “I think” to “I know”. I had to get stronger it became my mission, I needed to allow myself to become empowered person that ment what I said. All that time Mindy no one around me changed, they stayed the same. I changed, and I grew the backbone. It takes time and we are here to support you, especially when you are down thats when you need this blog the most, because we all know you are worth the time and it is a blessing to have you here.


Does it make my mom a bad mom? I keep looking for someone to say that the things my mom did weren’t abuse…but everyone I ask says that she was abusive when they read what I’ve written.
It’s like I can’t be content with knowing that she was abusive…I keep wanting it to not be abuse.
It’s like I have to say my mom was a good mom.
I mean, she wasn’t a bad mom…just because she was abusive does that mean she was a bad mom? What defines a bad mom vs. a good mom? It’s not like she was sexually abusive, like my dad. That should count for something, right? I don’t know if she did the best she could…I’m assuming that she did. She has borderline personality disorder, so maybe she did do her best, especially considering her childhood. But, that doesn’t negate the pain she has caused me, whether she meant it or not. People make mistakes all the time, and consequently affect other people. Does that make them bad people?


Hi Mindy,
Sorry I have not responded to this, my son was in a bad accident I am away taking care of him.
I didn’t want to accept that my mother was abusive either. And it took even longer to admitt that my father was a passive abuser. It was in aknowledgeing this though, that I was able to recover. It is not about them, it is about the damage that was caused to us. It doesn’t matter if they do their best or not… it is all about the damage and not about the blame. There is lots written in this blog about this stuff. Hope that helps. Hugs, Darlene


i’ve mentioned before here that my mom recently cut me off and told a nasty lie about me to my dad and a family friend (my only friend) to be sure they would support her and not me. at that time, though i initially tried to mend fences, i welcomed the quiet that came with her disenchantment as she had been an unwelcome guest in my house for weeks prior. the silence was golden. now, as she is facing a personal crisis in the apparent slow death of her mother, she has taken to calling me again as if nothing bad has happened between us. she leaves irritated messages on my machine at home as if to say how dare i refuse her calls. i am about at my wits end with this and i’d like to know if anyone has been able to successfully achieve a silence from an unwelcome parent. how? do i need an attorney? it upsets me to hear her voice and her pleading tone when i have no respect, no trust and no desire to rekindle our relationship whatsoever. X(


First, make a log of the calls/voice mails, with date and time if possible, take it to your local police station, and report that you are being harassed via phone. The police will come to your house, call this person, and ask them not to call you again, explaining that phone harassment is illegal.
Then contact your phone provider and ask them to block access from her phone number. If necessary, change your phone number and have it unlisted.
If her calls continue, keep logging when they’re made (in writing), and go back to the police. Insist that they intervene. With police reports, you should be able to get a “do not contact” order.
I’ve been dealing with this for 8 years intermittently with my children’s sperm donor, and it’s a pain, but one about which you CAN do something.
Above all, do NOT buy into the guilt trap. It is NOT your fault, and you don’t need her poison in your life.


Thanks Laurie!
Excellent information and very true!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi it’s Pinky in NYC. I just signed on to your blog to ask for advice if you don’t have any its okay. I am in NY as you know. We are on a terror alert a lot of chaos and stress here right now. I have my on 911 stress to deal with. But the advice I need is this. I know this woman for 30 years . We used to be close friends. I knew her daughter before she was born. Her daughter is 21 now and her dad died in the WTC when she was 11. The mom never loved her husband. He was a good dad to her admission.She wasn’t in love with him but married him because her parents wanted her to. The thing is when he died she said she was happy because she got rich. Some of the 911 not all did get rich. She was probably the first one who did. I knew him he was a great guy. The thing is the only issue between them was political. (which to me is stupid) but anyway she has this really codependent unhealthy relationship with her biological brother.
Her brother hated her husband due to his politics. But she told her daughter she can’t talk about her dad, that her brother the daughters uncle was now her dad or father figure. The mom has a boyfriend who has sex with this other woman uses her 911 money to get hotels with this other woman. It gets worse, when the boyfriend is with the other woman her brother sleeps over in her bed and she is 48 year old. Nothing sexual is going on. But I believe it is deeply unhealthy.
But it gets worse, here is the thing I can’t handle , (just giving you some background) she always asks me for advice. But when I give it she doesn’t take it. She then calls her brother and takes his.
This has been going on since 911. So I have been avoiding her or seeing her for a year . Anything I bring up she uses the 911 card.
But she has admitted she is happy he died to make her rich.
And really rich at that. People aroudn the world who have no personal connection to 911 see it as a tragedy but she sees it as fate making her rich. She told me this herself.
Her daughter has had 3 suicide attempt’s. She asked me to go see her in the hopsital after one of the attempts. When I got to the hospital she (the mom) said to keep it a secret not to tell anyone because her daughters friend was there and she did not want her to know even though she was in a mental hospital. The thing is I am not in agreement with her life style especially not telling the daughter to keep it a secret. Her insane therapist is going along with it. Since 911 she has gone through several therapists but they all want her blood money and seem to be more harmful than helpful. I know you understand about harmful therapists. No matter what I say to her as an out she uses the 911 card. She wants to go to dinner this week and talk again. I am so stressed with my own 911 stuff but more to the point when it is not this heightened on a regular basis it is like talking to a brick wall.I cant agree with her life especailly how she treat her daughter. But if you talk to her she uses the 911 card. And he gets therapist to support her in her denial. I am emotionally exhausted with her and thoguh this is short it is the best short story I can explain about her. I have been avoiding her which is not my style at all. I am pretty straight forward but she has such sophisticated justifications no matter what I say she makes herself sound so innocent and needing of my help. I have avoided her for a year and there are so many people in her life supporting her denial that is is almost impossible to talk to her. But I feel on one level if nobody at the hospital, none of the therapists or family members or 911 support group people (she doesn’t go any more but still has them as friends) won’t tell her maybe I should Tania might kill herself and then I know she will be shocked and say she wasnt prepared (based on past experience with her) and she has asked for advice on Tania specifically. My delima is her sophisticate justifications. After 9 years of this because last year I was pretty silent I have exhasuted everything and it is like talking to a brick wall.She said to me she felt like I was avoiding her in a message. I did not respond to that but I have said my opinion over and over. But it is like talking to a brick wall. But she is asking advice about Tania again. I am leaning towards avoiding her until she gets really desperate. But she seems to be in such denial I don’t know what to do. The adults in Tania’s life seem to support the denial because they are all concerned about the family’s image. I only spoke to her because it was hhe anniversary of 911 and she left a message saying she needed to talk about Tania. She has changed for the worst since 911 and only thinks abotu money and partying and herself. Maybe it is because 911 is so stressful for me to begin with having lost loved ones having my husband get sick from volunteering and not being compensated just so many things. But I don’t really know what to do. I am leaning towards avoiding her. I usually don’t avoid people. I tell them straight up if I have an issue with them. Actually there is not one person besides her who knows me on a personal level who doesn’t know where they stand with me. I usually make it clear.
But it is the 911 card and my own emotions Tania’s suicide attempts and so on. I spoke to my therapist about it today and KC none of us know what to do. Of course there is so much more to the story but in this short time it is all I can fit in and this is the basics of it. What would you do? Maybe this will help some of the other women. I usually chose not to deal with people like this. But I am worried about Tania and she is asking for advice about Tania. What would you do?


PS I also meant to ads that Tania had pictures up of her dad at her dorm room and the mom flipped and now that she is back home commuting to school she refuses to let her put his pictures up she wants her to forget


Hi Pinky
Honestly I am not sure what you are asking me here. My opinion (based on what you have shared) as far as what I would do is that I would state once and for all that although I could “give her advice” on her relationship with her daughter, she is not willing to “HEAR” it. I don’t talk to walls anymore and I don’t tend to have relationships with people who frustrate me to this degree. Her daughter is legal age and should be allowed to make her own decisions, but that is up to the daughter to say to the mother. Not sure if that is what you were after Pinky.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for trying to respond. I guess it is too long of a story to post. So I guess I cant get an answer based on limited information. Thanks so much!


I think that only you can answer the question for yourself, regardless of how much information that you post. Only you know what is best for you in a situation like this.
Hugs, Darlene


@Darlene, It is such a complicated situation that I don’t know what to do and I believe when I don’t know what to do it is best to stay silent. Sometimes the answer comes to me when I wait. But if it does not my dilettante is she does not understand why I am avoiding her.
But I had to come to the conclusion that I don’t owe her an explanation!
I felt I did because don’t like it if someone avoids me and does not explain why. But I don’t owe her an explanation. I have only just realized that! IT is the 91 thing that ind of throws me off as it is emotional for me to deal with. Thanks for your response!


[…] dysfunctional events with my mother through this grid of understanding made many of the mental madness moments in my relationship with […]


[…] the fog of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship, I could not sort this […]


Thank you for sharing your story. It helps to know I’m not alone. My mother hated me from birth. She almost died having me and she never let me forget it. I was born on Christmas day and she always said that was her worst Christmas ever. She would tell me things like “your friends don’t like you, they like me better”. She scolded me if I cried after getting a shot at the doctor. She has never told me she loved me. She would go for days without speaking to me. She yelled and cursed at me all the time. Whenever I tried to hug her she would push me away.

She didn’t physically abuse me and I was well fed and clothed, so no one knew how cruel and evil she was. Around other people, she would put on this really sweet act, so everyone thought she was perfect. My dad was the only one who knew how she was. Most of the emotional abuse occurred from birth until around the age of 16. After that, I think she figured her mothering days are over. To this day, she doesn’t acknowledge any mistreatment of me. My dad is dead, and all our friends and family still think she is wonderful. Because of her superb acting, I’m the only one who knows the truth. How do I cope with this? I am 45 now and she is 72.


Hi Tammy
Welcome to EFB ~ I asked myself these kinds of questions: why does it matter if you are the only one who knows about her? My mother doesn’t acknowledge her behaviour either and I finally had to start looking at what it was doing to me. That was where I found I could make the difference in my own life. In seeing things through “new eyes” I was able to draw new boundaries with people. Seeing things differently takes time though. I encourage you to read more in this site ~ the articles and comments here are very “eye opening!”
Glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for your kind words. I will read other comments and I know it will help me. One thing that always comforts me is my kids and I have a wonderful relationship and I know it is because I learned from my mother what NOT to do!



I am so happy that I found this article. I have been abused by an emotionally manipulative mother all my life. She too wanted the doll to dress up in a frilly pink dress, look pretty, say the right words, make her look good and make up for all that is lacking in her life. Unfortunately she got a human being

I am fifty years old but it wasn’t so long ago that I finally realised, despite being told if I’d done it this way or said it that way everything would have been fine that this wasn’t the case. My role in the family was to take the blame for my mother’s problems

I had no support from my father or brother. When she started they left the room, leaving me to believe that I must be wrong because my brother could always get it ‘right’ so the blame that was thrown at me stuck.

I would apologise whilst inside the anger would churn my stomach at the injustice of it whilst a small part of my mind told me I deserved it.

I learnt never to confide in my mother. The last time was twenty years ago. My partner and I split up and I was heart broken. My mother, seeing that I was on the floor took the opportunity to really stick the boot in whilst I was down, mentally, not physically.

I was always taught that the worst anyone could do was physically harm someone whilst I was being mentally abused in front of a father and a sibling who were happy to let it continue.

My partner and I got back together again but it didn’t work out. When I told my parents we had split despite being hurt inside I put on one of my best performances and made out everything was fine.

Three days later my father telephoned me to demand to know why I hadn’t called to see how my mother was coping with the break up!!

I developed a shell around me which she couldn’t penetrate, she never saw how much she was destroying me. I kept my mouth shut and put it all inside me in a box and kept the lid on it. I don’t recommend it, it’s still there, it still eats away at you and no one can help because you don’t share.

I now know nothing I do will ever be ‘right’. I will never make the grade with my mother. I have tried so hard, turned myself inside out and upside down but nothing was ever good enough.

The dawning came when I was speaking to a friend who has seen my mothers demanding performances first hand and I mentioned that if only I could be like my brother everything would be ok.

She pointed out that I am not my brother, that I am me and if my mother can’t handle the fact that I am me that’s her problem not mine.

My mother had so much and she never knew. Myself, my father and my brother were all happy go lucky, finding fun in everything but the mood of the family was ruled by my mother. If she wanted fun, we had fun but if she wanted trouble we got it!

My father has since passed away. I haven’t been able to grieve for him. I hope there is the God the believed in and he is safe and happy away from my mothers control.

My mother has managed to turn my brother against me and we are no longer in contact. Which just leaves me with my mother.

I have had enough and I want to break away. We no longer live in the same country but she still has a hold on me.

I am working to find a way out. I know there is no magic wand and no easy way. There is nothing rational or logical about my mother. Speaking about anything that she doesn’t want to hear just brings trouble.

I am finding my way slowly, with the help of articles like this and good friends who have seen from the inside what I have been through.

I often read that people are searching for love and acceptance from their mothers. My mother always told me that she loved me, along with she knew best and she was only doing things for my own good. Her actions proved otherwise.

I came to regard love as controlling, manipulative and something to be avoided. It didn’t take a shrink to work out why my husband was a trainee version of my mother and why she liked him so much!! We divorced a very long time ago.

I have avoided real relationships with men, keeping things light and fun and running as far as I could if things got serious.

I still have an awful long way to go but over these past few years my eyes have opened to fully see the way I have been treated is neither natural, normal or healthy.

In that time I met a man who slowly has shown me that love is not about control or manipulation but accepting me as I am, just me. I am very lucky to have met him.

I am a positive person and always look on the bright side but still my mother is inside my head, critising and nagging at me. I dread the phone calls I have to make especially knowing at some point she is going to get ill and demand that I go back.

She is intensely jealous of my relationship with my partner as she looks on it as taking me away from her and her control.

She has lots of ‘friends’ and a good social network but of course that doesn’t make her happy either. Every evening a different ‘friend’ will be criticised for some imagined slight but all this is done from the comfort of her armchair where her ‘friends’ are oblivious to how much they have ‘hurt her’

There is no reason that she has to constantly be at war with people but it’s as if she can’t help herself and I know that at seventy five she is never going to change. So I have to. Wish me luck


Wow- your mom sounds just like mine! I was born on christmas day and she told me I ruined her Christmas! My dad and I liked to laugh and joke around, but she hated that. She was always serious and depressing. She didn’t tell me she loved me until I was in my twenties. It’s hard to find books, stories or articles that deal strictly with emotional abuse. I wasn’t physically or sexually abused, but the emotional turmoil from not feeling loved at all have left deep scars. I have a husband and two boys who adore me, and that makes all the pain I endured worth it. I’m glad you have someone who loves you. That love can be very healing!
Take care,
Tammy in Texas


Hi Jordon!
Welcome to EFB ~ great to have you here.
Sounds like you found the right website! There is a lot of sharing and healing here, and I write from an aspect of truth as hard as the truth is to accept so very often. I hope you will read some of the other mother daughter relationship posts and discussions (see the category buttons on the top under the header graphic) ~ you might gain more insight and find more answers by reading some more of them.
Thank you for sharing your story, I know this isn’t easy but I have found freedom from the control of my mother and all other manipulators for that matter so I know that there is hope for everyone in this type of situation.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene & Tammy

Thank you both so much for your responses. It feels good that other people understand. I never dreamt that other people went through the same misery, it makes me sad to know they do but gives me comfort that I am not alone.

When I left Germany almost a year ago to be with my partner my Mother called me to tell me I had broken her heart, ruined her life, destroyed the family, she didn’t know how she was going to cope and that everything was my fault.

I stayed with my Mother for six months after my Father died and after she had said every nasty thing that she possibly could she told me everything I had done was worth nothing.

It was no suprise I was going to leave, she knew three months before I left but I knew I was not going to be able to leave without trouble.

Living with my Mother could never be called easy and I was at that point mentally and physically exhausted. I have a home of my own but stayed with her as it was expected of me.

After that phone call I was devasted. I couldn’t function properly and became paranoid that I was going to be stopped from being with my partner.

I would like to say things have improved since then but unbelievably they haven’t. When I have to make a phone call my stomach churns and my heart races up to three days in advance.

I am not going to question how a mother can treat her own flesh and blood as she does but I am questioning how I can break free, how I can stop feeling powerless and even now unable to say no.

Thank you both, knowing that I am not alone gives me so much comfort.



Reading this story, only reaffirms the truth in childhood tramatic, that I experienced.
My mom and dad got pregnant on purpose to get her out of her own home, where there was obvious abuse.
So, from the get go, I was a tool, to be used to ” save” her.
She was only 16. She gave birth to me in July of 77. I was there for her to be loved. She needed that from me. Once I started developing my own thoughts, opinions, …my own personality, I was often in a state of fear… If I didn’t do as she requested, if it wasn’t meeting up with her standards, I was made to believe I was stupid. I had always, though, continually tried to please her, and it never seemed to work. I am also a victim of sexual abuse. Her boyfriend, when I was about six years of age, laid on top of me, while I was asleep. I only woke up…because I felt like my lungs were being crushed… I couldn’t breathe. I never told anyone about this for so long, and once I finally told my mother, the past year or so, (I am currently 35)… She did not believe me, as far as who it was, she questioned my memory, told me that I get things confused so often, that maybe it wasn’t even true. But if it was, that it had to be someone else, not the man I told about. She didn’t offer any sympathy, show any sorrow, give me any sense of comfort. Instead, she made it out to be less important, and basically made me feel like even bringing it up, was nothing more than me trying to cause drama in the family.
She and my father were abusive to each other. My dad is a drug addict, and an alcoholic. My mother and father got divorced when I was 5. I am the oldest of 5 siblings, 2 of which are from my father’s 2nd marriage, (he then went to prison when I was about 12- and did not get out until I was 18). My mother’s dad was murdered around the same year my dad went to prison. My mom remarried when I was 10. My step father was rarely home. His job was a lead guitarist, in a band that traveled often. My brother is about 4.5 years younger than me. When I was 12, things shifted. Mom was always working. Stepfather was never home. I just lost my dad to prison, my mom lost her dad, and at the same time, mom was being cheated on by my step father.
It was my job to raise my brother, keep the house clean, make dinner, and take care of all 30 or more of her pets, (she rescued animals, fostered them, and made me the person responsible for cleaning their cages, and feeding/ watering them daily). I was often by high school, tring to find love by having a boyfriend at all times. In fact, to this day, I’ve never experienced what it was like to live by myself. I went from one boy to the next, often confused, until I found a man at age 20…. Whom I have been married to for nearly 14 years. I have been through many ups and downs, because of my parents. Even still, trying to seek the approval, to feel valued by them. I know it is toxic, and that she emotionally abuses me…. But I still catch the bait, even when I am at the time acknowledging her grooming patterns, and fall into this trap, feeling lke I got sucked into it again. Feeling devalued. Not understanding, why after 13 years of persistent therapy, D.B.T. Included, that I am still looking for a sense of worth and value from her?

Can you help me progress from this insanity? I need to be able to establish my life, without feeling the need to receive approval from her.

Any advice from you, I will take!

Thank you, for your wisdom, insight, and love.



Hi Erica
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Thank you for sharing your story with me. The key for me was to stop seeking approval from others including my family, and begin to fill that void by listening to myself, validating the damage for myself, (you mentioned your mother didn’t believe you and said that you must be confused). It was through validating the damage for myself that I was able to see the messages that the abuse and the rest of my story caused me to believe the wrong things about me. There is tons of info in this site about how I overcame this stuff. If you are interested in working with me one on one (coaching sessions on phone or skype), please contact me throught the contact form and I will send you my rates. I currently have a waiting list however people rarely have to wait more than a few months.
Hugs, Darlene


why dose my mom get so angry with me ? I have a disability and I can walk and talk but she dosnt agnolige im a grown woman not a kid I have tried to tell her not to come over to my house so much but she wont listen to me also she takes my stuff and wont return it or she looses the lid of my travel mug . I feel as if she thinks I am a dog or cat she can play with and she hurts my feeling a lot she told my dad I hurt her feelings but she acts like its no biggy to hurt my feelings


I never liked my biological mother, growing up, she was so mean to me. I also realised as an adult that she was jealous of me, disregarded me, had no respect for me. She readily dismissed me and would always make berating comments about my looks/weight/relationships. She never took pride/joy in my successes as any normal mother would. I think she is just mental. I cannot figure out what her problem is. I do not know what she wants in life. I know she expects me to rally around her like a poodle and she wants to continue to mistreat me. I know she will never change and will continue to manipulate and guilt-trip me if I let her. Her husband is another museum piece altogether.

He is the poster “bad boy”- narcissistic, abusive, useless loser, has an over-exaggerated sense of entitlement. Of course, the world had done him hard and he deserved more yet he is unwilling to work for it. He expects things to fall into his lap.

What a pair! They should never have had children and because I was born to them, I had to soak up their dysfunction. I remember her telling me many times that her husband was an incompetent wuss. As a child, I did not know what to say but now I keep thinking Well! why did you not leave him then?

This proves she is incompetent too.


It has occurred to me after reading the blog and the comments below, what if we stopped analysing or making excuses for our parents’ behaviour and simply accepted that they were plain nasty people.

I am not saying that any of you guys were making excuses but even trying to understand why they behaved the way they did by going back to their childhoods or second guessing their inner worlds is probably more of a hurdle to our recovery.

That is my opinion because I have tried to understand their behaviour all my life and only now it clicked. There is nothing to understand there. They happened to be nasty people to whom I was born and suffered. Yeah! that kind of sits well with me. In fact, eases a lot of pain and discomfort.

Just as the world is filled with both good and nasty people, these people were just nasty and we only try to understand what happened to us because they are meant to be “parents”. I think if it were someone else, we would not try and understand why they did it to us (atleast as an adult). We would readily say they were nasty people. Of course as children we were at their mercy and they did what they could with us. I doubt any of these so-called abusive parents dare be abusive to a competent adult because they know they will be put back in their place. I know for sure, mine wouldn’t even dare.


“My mother didn’t want a child. My mother wanted a dolly that would “give back”. She wanted some “thing” to fuss over and to cuddle with for a short time, and then it was as if she expected me to fulfill her needs because she filled mine for a while…. My mother placed a great deal of expectations on me right from the start, and I didn’t live up to even one of them.”

My NarcMother didn’t like the way I looked. She thought I should have been shorter, thinner, blonder, etc. One day she and my Dad were driving me somewhere (my Dad was very tall, imposing man with dark hair) and she was ragging on my looks. My Dad was getting noticeably angry but he kept his eyes on the road. Finally I turned to her and said “if THAT’s what you wanted, then you shouldn’t have f**ked Frankenstein here!” My Dad had to pull over he was laughing so hard and I laughed and hugged him. NarcMother spoke to no one for over a week. Ah sweet silence!

“It was as though I owed her something because I was born.”

NarcMom told me this right out. Every. Single. Day.


Hi Sahitha
If only it were that easy! In this website I am expressing the way that I found healing and freedom and the first step was to validate the pain and the damage. It wasn’t simple and because of all the brainwashing that had gone on since I was so young, it was a big step for me to stop asking those ‘why’ questions. That was part of the process. It was a process for me to stop trying to understand my mother but YES that was part of the solution! (to stop trying to understand her and focus on my own healing) It’s ironic but as I grew in recovery and strength and self esteem, I started to understand my mother and what happened to her ~ but it isn’t at MY expense anymore. There is no excuse for that kind of nasty!
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Barbara
It was busting through the lie that I owned her something because I was born that relieved me of the pain it caused when she acted that way. It was in realizing that I don’t OWE her a thing. On the flip side of that, by law, she had some major responsibilities that were not filled.
hugs, Darlene


Barbara, YOU GO GIRL! If I had said that, my mom would have slapped me.

Sahitha, I think what you said has merit….. but I’m one of those type of people that has to get to the bottom, the “why” of things. It’s like a scene in the movie “Lady Jane” (Helena Bonham Carter). Her mom was plotting with someone to get Lady Jane on the throne after Edward the whatever died…. Lady Jane said “it’s not my right.” But her mom wanted her to be queen, so her mom took her up to the torture room and spanked her. (I’m sure this scene was put in only for audience titilation…..) After that, Lady Jane is crying and says, “but I just don’t see WHYYYYYYYYYY!” That scene where she says that phrase was my entire childhood! (I was a precocious kid, and mom couldn’t handle “precocious.”)

Also, this morning I was thinking of my mom’s two biggest issues:

Preserving the facade
Minimum required hours

I have stopped attending any family event because of the above two issues.

On “preserving the facade,” I’m not allowed to answer any questions my relatives ask me about life in general. If my mom “catches” someone asking me a question, she jumps in and answers it for me. One time Mom was at the other end of the house when someone asked mE


Barbara, YOU GO GIRL! If I had said that, my mom would have slapped me.

Sahitha, I think what you said has merit….. but I’m one of those type of people that has to get to the bottom, the “why” of things. It’s like a scene in the movie “Lady Jane” (Helena Bonham Carter). Her mom was plotting with someone to get Lady Jane on the throne after Edward the whatever died…. Lady Jane said “it’s not my right.” But her mom wanted her to be queen, so her mom took her up to the torture room and spanked her. (I’m sure this scene was put in only for audience titilation…..) After that, Lady Jane is crying and says, “but I just don’t see WHYYYYYYYYYY!” That scene where she says that phrase was my entire childhood! (I was a precocious kid, and mom couldn’t handle “precocious.”)

Also, this morning I was thinking of my mom’s two biggest issues:

Preserving the facade
Minimum required hours

I have stopped attending any family event because of the above two issues.

On “preserving the facade,” I’m not allowed to answer any questions my relatives ask me about life in general. If my mom “catches” someone asking me a question, she jumps in and answers it for me. “Oh, she’s doing blah blah blah.” (Of course, my mom VEHEMENTLY denies that she does this…..) One time Mom was at the other end of the house when someone asked me a question. Oh goody, I get to answer one. SMACK! Mom showed up out of nowhere and answered it for me. The first time she did this, I thought, “huh?” And then through the years, I noticed it was a pattern. However, since I kept my visits so short (see “minimum required hours” later) I just didn’t say anything. Finally I had enough, and I interrogated her and got her to admit that she had to answer the question so “they won’t think anything weird.” She’s afraid that if *I* actually answered the question, it will destroy the “facade” she is trying to keep up. This is like not allowing me to cut my own meet because I can’t hold the knife! She has to “phrase” the answer to the question in a way that won’t conflict with the “facade” because I cannot be allowed to blow her facade away!

On “Minimum required hours,” if my plans are to leave before SHE thinks I should leave, she waits until there is a whole lot of people in the room, then she goes into, as loudly as she can, “I’m so sorry that JJ has to leave at X o’clock….” Sheesh, nobody even cares! All of our family events are just “going through the motions” anyway.

Oh, she hates it when I drive by myself to something. She either wants me to ride with her, or her to ride with me. That way, she can “control” when I leave. We have fought that battle for years, but I always end up stamping my foot and driving by myself.

When I used to fly from 3,000 miles away to visit, she always picked me up. One time I rented a car so she wouldn’t have to pick me up and wouldn’t have to get me back to the airport at 5:00 AM for an early morning flight. SHE GOT MAD! If I have my own car, I CAN LEAVE!

Oh, and another time when I lived 3,000 miles away, I chose not to attend my class reunion. Didn’t want to go. Mom called me up and asked when she needed to pick me up from the airport. Huh? Oh, aren’t I attending my class reunion? No. And then I got lectured on how I was making the biggest mistake of my life and I would regret it. What? That was WAY over reacting for me deciding not to attend my class reunion…… Years later, I interrogated her on that one. Turns out she was hoping that if I went to the class reunion I would then be obligated to stop and visit her……

And this was a mother who said, “When you grow up you can make your OWN choices…..”

According to the Universal Decoder book, what she really means is….. “You had better make the same choices your dad and mom made, or that your dad and mom want you to make…..”

Oh, I’m reading a book called THE LOVELESS FAMILY. There is some good stuff in it, but I don’t recommend anyone buying it unless they feel compelled to. Why? Well, I bought the E-Book version and it was THIRTY-SEVEN dollars for the E-book version! TOO MUCH! Here is a good review of the book: http://psqtest.typepad.com/blogPostPDFs/201204555_psq_57-10_whatHappensWhenYouDidNotFeelLovedAsAChild.pdf


Years ago I had a therapist tell me that I do not owe my parents anything because I did not ask to be born. That has really helped me over the years.


Hey Darlene,
The hardest thing for me to come to terms with in my mind is how she could be so cruel to the person who loved her to absolute most in the world!
There is so much that I relate to in your blog. I was the cute little tiny doll that was supposed to grow up to make my mommy happy. Throughout my childhood and adulthood, she rebuked me harshly for not living up to her standards, dreams, expectations, morals, values, etc. These are the same morals, values, dreams, and etc. that she did not live up to for her mother. She put me down all of the time, but then expected me to do great things and make her proud. I was much too fragmented by the life of hell that she had drug me through to be able to make a sensible life.
It is unfortunate that she shattered me and my life with the abuse and harshness that I barely survived. It was not just her, there were evil step-fathers who did their share of abuse. The physical stuff was so much easier to survive than the emotional abuse. Even now at the age of 57 y/o, there are days that I don’t want to go on. It would be so much easier to NOT exist! But, I am made of some pretty tough stuff and I persist in my endeavor to overcome all of my challenges.
My mom died last year and this has been the roughest year ever. I have grieved so deeply and I am trying to heal from so much. The hardest thing for me to come to terms with in my mind is how she could be so cruel to the person who loved her to absolute most in the world. I still love my mom and feel sorry for the guilt and suffering that ate her up inside. The guilt that she felt for her mistakes and disappointing her mom.
Each and every day, I combat the feelings of being unworthy of love and worthlessness. I will persevere in my struggle for self worth and self love. I know that God loves me, but my need for self respect and love are necessary parts of my healing process.
Bless you for all that you do!


PS Darlene, can you arrange the comments on your blog from most recent? It just seems awkward to have to go to the bottom to read the most current comments. IMHO!


My grandmother has said she never wanted my father. She wanted a daughter, not a son. I believe she masterminded, or rather, mastermanipulated his relationship with and marriage to my mother. She had and has that much control over him. She did it so she could have the daughter she always wanted and she put that role on my mother. And my mother accepted it. And she thinks I have to accept that role for her, even though she complains about being in that role for her mother-in-law. It’s insidious.


Hi Beth
I just changed it (good idea, I never even thought about it before) but it doesn’t seem to have changed anything. I wonder if it will apply itself to the next new post?
I will see what happens. hugs, Darlene


This post describes the 58 year relationship I had with my mother almost word for word. So many others commenting here experienced this too. Society dictates to us that we must regard and treat our elderly parents with reverence and gratitude. Bull! An Easy Bake oven under the Christmas tree and a school trip overseas at age 15 doesn’t begin to take away the pain of daily conditioning by rejection from birth, (ostensibly because my existence didn’t magically make anything better for my mother,) severe emotional abuse, the clean house being more important than anything, giving me PTSD if I made a wrong move such as daring to get my clothes dirty if I played with other kids and never teaching me to clean properly so she could call me a lazy slob at age 10, being abandoned to and molested repeatedly by paternal grandpa, the big family secret, INCEST that goes back centuries. A weak, passive, pro sports fantasy obsessed father for whom it seemed more important to look like a good father than be one. My brother was born because he wanted a son – she hadn’t wanted me, I know she didn’t want another baby! I was nearly raped in my own home by someone I was instructed to respect and obey. The last time – ever – I confronted them about the fact that HE KNEW his father was a predator (because he warned me not to dress provocatively in front of the old drunken bastard – the implication being, of course, that if anything happened it would be MY FAULT! I was nine! another reason I never told anyone until adulthood!) she blamed me because I didn’t tell her. He told me to get over it and I should go to hell. It sounds like hatred, “telling on them”. My silence until they die was always the unspoken expectation, and I kept my mouth shut 40 years. Well the lid is off now, here it comes! I am the only witness to how truly evil these people can be. I will not protect them – they failed to do the job of parents and meet the most basic needs of their children. I have never felt stronger self love and self compassion – for that little girl nobody was looking out for. And anger that they have always chosen their dysfunction over me, always. I have spent years un-internalizing all the wrong messages they gave me about myself, yet nothing has been as clear or empowering as Emerging from Broken. It’s sent my healing and growth into “warp drive”! I’d known for a long time that my relationship with a mother who uses me as a crap bucket for her unending misery had to end. And with adult understanding of childhood memories I see that my father is nothing more than a scared little boy in the body of an 80 year old man. Now loneliness can be added to their combined misery, pain and fear. I have matched abandonment with abandonment, made karma happen for them, and feel none of what I was always manipulated into feeling whenever I exercised my right to be a person, not a thing for them to control and abuse – no shame, no remorse, no guilt. Only relief that the rest of my life belongs to me! Thank you for putting up with my rant. Love to all. <3


Reading these post, I don’t think most people are fit to be parents, it really is sickening how careless they are. There should be a law to have to go through some counseling before giving birth.
I a, 49 and I have neer had any children my mother told me never have children and never get married, I remember her telling me this daily, i never thought i deserved a family of my own and now I now why, what a B!

My mother is EXACTLY like Darlene’s and everyone’s post. The hardest part of my healing is making it through the stupidity of my mother, my dad is a given. I’m just sitting here in Los Angeles by myself looking at the damage and its just sad, its sad i even have to spend my life doing this shit. I hope I can but a life together that I am proud of that I own. It’s what I want more than anything, everyday I see a little step I took in that direction. i hope i break right on through to to wonderful too and I hope everyone does.


It’s been about 8 months since I asked my mother to respect my boundaries and address some issues I was having with her. And it’s been 8 months of silence. I refuse to continue having a one sided relationship with her where I lay down and take all her crap (when I thought we had gone over things, she’d just start doing stuff again and I’d think, “I guess this is ok, I guess it’s not that big a deal.”). But I realized today that I still had the door to my heart open for her. Almost everyday, when I check my email, I have a moment of anticipation where I think half hardheartedly, “This will be the day that she sends me a message.” For awhile there, I hoped she would send me something mean so I could go off on her. Then it was just anything… Just like when I was a kid, waiting. Waiting for her to see me, to be kind, to have some empathy. It’s hard to admit that. That I have been doing what I’ve always done. Waiting on the porch like a neglected dog. For her to open the door and let me in. For her to care. For her to make an effort. I see so many of you have mothers that run in and just wreck the place (your hearts). Which, I have know idea how I would cope with that because I have a mother who is completely unavailable to me. When I was very little and being molested by her boyfriend, I had a recurring nightmare where all these monsters were trying to get in and hurt me. I’d tell them that my mother was asleep and to go away. They would force their way in and chase me up the stairs of this scary house. I would run to where my mother was sleeping. And she would never wake up. No matter how hard I shook, she was unmoved by me. That is what she is like for me. She has never woken up to me. She can’t see me. She doesn’t know that I am anything besides something SHE created, what she has me pegged as in her head.
I’ve realized today that it’s time to close the door all the way. She’s no longer welcome here. I give up. I guess that’s what’s been aching in a corner of my heart all these months, that I don’t want to give up, but there is nothing I am willing to do any longer. But, why should she come for me when she couldn’t or wouldn’t even protect me as a helpless child. When she spited and hated me for needing protecting. When she hurt and abused me when I needed shelter, nurturing, and time to heal. If that doesn’t even compel a person to empathy, no age and nothing will.
I think I am a good person. I am starting to see the integrity and courage in what I did in response to my environment as a child. That I was never the weak one, I was courageous where she was a coward. And I am a positive and hopeful person at heart that held on to hope for a tedious amount of time. A complete contrast to the definition my mother has of me. I think the naive innocent optimism I have held onto that someday she will see me is actually a good thing. Even if I was a kicked dog a few times. I don’t have to be mad at myself about it anymore. But I know now that it is misguided and misused and I will turn my attention to where it belongs… my children, husband, good friends, adopted family, and most importantly myself.
Door is closed to her. Finally. So many flies in here from leaving it open… =P


I appreciate your writing. While I was reading this article, I could see many of my own thoughts and reflections. I think that those of us who have been through this pathway have done much self examination, while those who caused so much harm do not. I often receive passive aggressive and manipulative comments from my mother in which she tries to assume or invoke guilt as to my feelings of her. I tell her that she does not know how exactly I feel. She honestly cannot relate to who or what I am. She who is extremely religious, conservative and opinionated, vs me–a somewhat more educated and accomplished professional health care worker who is now agnostic. Over time I am convinced that she was a narcissist whose unreasonable expectations for people leave her depressed. Ironically her lack of empathy does chase people away, and yet she hates to be alone. I am what and who I am in spite of her treatment of me. I am severely independent to a fault because I do not want to trouble people, as she did to me. How many of us chose not to have children for fear of carrying this legacy? I often joke, why would I want to screw up another generation! Currently I survive by limiting her exposure into my own life. I only see her on my terms. She has never been to where I live (once I moved out of her mother’s house) because I think that one’s home is their sanctuary. If she does not see it, she cannot talk about how or where I live….and so I have no negative feelings about that. I feel sad about it sometimes, but then again it was not me who created this situation. I do love her because she is my mother, there are however many things that I do not like about her or her behaviour. Thank-you for sharing your heart and soul. It is helpful to know that we are not alone.


Hi Vanda
Welcome to EFB!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Beth
My entire life changed when I learned that I had value. It changed ten times more when I started to love and respect myself and my spiritual life became filled with the peace and beauty that I ‘think’ is the way God would like everyone’s spiritual life to be.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Jamie
Thank you for sharing, I am sending you hugs. 🙂

Hi L. Cat and Stitch
Thanks for sharing. I can relate to your comments. :/
hugs, Darlene

Hi Stephanie
Welcome to EFB ~ It is really wonderful when we realize that it wasn’t US that created this situation.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene and everyone,

Another great post to read (again I think, in my case).

Wanting a dolly to dress up in cute outfits is about as close as my mother came to “wanting” me.

I am the product of “make up sex” from when my parents almost split but were talked out of it by relatives.

I’m finally over most of the anger at my mom for dressing me as more of a girl than boy as a kid. But thanks for that mom, and all the teasing and insecurity it brought to me.

I too became responsible for my mother’s happiness as a tiny tot, but of course failed over and over at that task, and was told by her, my siblings and father that life was so much better before I was born, and I was nothing but a troublesome mouth to feed, who disrupted the entire family by being born.

It was at around age 5 that I decided I could never have kids and bring anyone into this world without being certain I would not make them feel as I was made to feel as a kid, unwanted, a burden, a failure at everything.

I can ask myself now, what was I failing at by age 5? Being a happy kid? Being loved? Being taught to love and appreciate myself for who I am, whatever that may be?

My mother tried to blame me for all of her unhappiness (probably still does) up until we stopped communicating when I was 35 and she was 72 or so, when she started playing the “I’m a sick old woman and nobody loves me” card.

I could not sit through another phone call or visit where she complained to me endlessly about my father, her husband, and his lifetime of cheating and abusive behavior to her.

What about Dad’s abuse to the rest of us Mom?

My family or the concept of a loving family, still haunt me and I have nightmares about them nearly every night, 12 years after being no contact with them all, but at least now I know that I didn’t cause my family to be unhappy, crazy, abusive and all of the other twisted things that they are on their own.

Simply because they said “no, we love you” over and over in my response to my asking “why don’t you love me?” as child, does not mean that they loved me or even know what love is!

Thank you Darlene and to everyone who shares here for the validation that we are not alone and that healing and having a life are possible, even if it can take a lifetime of work to achieve, and to undo the damage they inflicted upon us all.

Hugs to all,



This is almost similar to my relationship with my “loving” father. He forced me to do karate lessons with my younger sister but instead of giving us equal treatment, he taught her advanced moves (behind my back) which caught the eyes of our respective trainers everytime we were in class. My thoughts on this? He saw himself in my sister and thus elevated her to a higher state. So I guess it was enough for my father to see his wish for me to do karate for his sake, come into fruition. It didn’t matter if only my younger sister became the “star” of our lessons, for as long as he managed to convince me to do it. Thankfully I have convinced him when I was 16, that enough is enough and we never talked about karate ever again (I don’t regret a thing).

Furthermore, I was also his “go to person” whenever he had issues with Mom (Main issue: He doesn’t like being told off by Mom when he makes mistakes. Yet when Mom’s not around, he does the same thing to me, even tagging his trusty side-kick in his like-minded mother-in-law calling me stupid, treating me like a criminal etc. Yeah whatever hypocrite).

So I guess I was once upon a time a pleaser and an advisor to a person who clearly has no interest in seeing me spread my wings or attentively listen to any of my problems. I was designed to lift his spirits, which in turn has resulted in me to almost lose myself. This person claimed that I was the reason why he came back to the family, after being kicked out by Mom years ago when I was only a little kid. The reason is now crystal clear. You returned to us, not to give me a father, but to “mend yourself” through me. I would have much preferred to have been fathered by someone else or not have a father at all.

Now that I am wide awake I have commenced on “mending myself.” Re-wiring the parts that have been ruptured, will not be done at the expense of others.

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