Difficulty Crying or Feeling Ashamed or Afraid of Crying



stop crying or I will give you something to cry about

on the rocks

“I had a lot of trouble crying; sometimes I needed to cry so bad that I would watch a tear jerker movie by myself so I could get a few tears out. I still have trouble in this area but I have been able to keep going forward anyway. Other than a tear or two, I can’t cry in front of anyone. This comes from not having PERMISSION to cry in the past. I am happy to say that this has not prevented me from healing.”  Darlene Ouimet

I have always had trouble crying. I have not thought about this as deeply in the past as I have been thinking about it lately. I knew that crying made me feel bad about myself. And I have come to understand through the emotional healing process the different ways that I was not given permission to ‘feel’ when I was growing up.

When I post these types of quotes on the Emerging from Broken Facebook page about difficulty with crying or the inability to cry, there are always a lot of comments from others who share about being told not to cry and about being hit or punished for crying. Some people experience an intense fear of starting to cry and never being able to stop. Some share that like me, they have real difficulty crying and many share having both difficulty crying and shame for crying or even shame for wanting to cry.

The message I got when I was a kid was that I didn’t have a right to cry and that my feelings were wrong and the message was that I was exaggerating or lying about my pain whether it was emotional pain or physical pain. I too was often told that if I didn’t stop crying I would be given a reason to cry ~ (said to me by the person who had delivered the blows) when I was crying because I had just been hit with a belt.  Recently I realized that this issue goes even deeper than the fear of crying, shame over crying and the fact that I had been threatened and punished for crying.  

There was another message I received by being told to stop crying that was even more covert than then the messages about my worth or lack of worth and even more manipulative than the message about my rights or lack of rights;

The deeper message that I got about crying was that my emotions, my pain and my hurts burdened other people. I came to believe from being told not to cry, for being told that I had no REASON to cry, and that if I persisted in crying that I would be given a ‘real reason to cry’ that my crying was hurting someone else and that when I cried it was a problem for someone else. Even if I was crying because I had been spanked with the belt, or because I was hurt, my crying was causing further damage and I believed that the labels of ‘inconsiderate’ and ‘self-centered’ applied to me because of that message.

Today I associate crying with harming others instead of with a necessary release of emotion or an expression of physical or emotional pain. I came to believe that if I cried I was ‘making matters worse’ and not just for myself but for the people around me. For a little girl who believed that compliance and obedience was the only way that I would ever be loved, causing a problem was not the way I wanted to go because that went outside of my survival mode and my survival mode was keeping me alive.  

The truth is that I HAD a reason to cry when I was told not to cry but no one cared about my reasons, no one validated my reasons so I learned to invalidate the reason for my tears myself. I learned that I did not have the ‘right’ to cry that I was not permitted to cry, that I didn’t deserve to feel or to hurt, and I put all that info into the grid of understanding I was developing about myself, right alongside the other messages about my worth (or more appropriately messages about my lack of worth) that I received as a result of neglect, abuse, mistreatment and the dismissive lack of interest in me as an individual from the adults in my life.

My self-esteem was not nurtured; it was in fact deprived.  The damaging message was not only that I did not have ‘permission to cry’ and not only that I didn’t have ‘the right to cry’ and that my ‘need to cry’ was denied me, it was also that my feelings and my emotions were harming to others.  This message (that I was a burden to others when I had feelings and needs) caused me to believe that I was not significant, not worthy, and therefore not valid as a person in the way I believed that other people were valid.

Through understanding this deeper message that my reasons for having difficulty crying had to do with the message that my tears were a burden to others I noticed  that one of my reactions to feeling like I am going to cry is anger. Anger at myself! I have used anger at myself to stop the tears from coming. And this is exactly what my abuser did to me. She used anger and threats of something worse to follow if I didn’t stop crying in order to MAKE me stop crying.

About two years ago I fell down the basement stairs and landed in a weird position. I still have the bruises and dent on my lower shin were I hit the cement landing. It was a really bad fall and was very painful and I started crying as my husband my son rushed down to help me. For my child who was 19 years old at the time, I tried to hide that I was hurt. I didn’t want to scare him or make it worse for him. For my husband I tried to act like it was my own fault and that I had been careless and stupid. I even commented on how terrible it was that I had crushed the bag of chips that I had been carrying at the time as though the crushed chips was the ‘real tragedy’ here and not the fact that I had fallen and was really hurt. I distinctly remember the rage that I felt towards myself in that moment as I choked off the tears and stopped crying. I stopped crying by reprimanding myself. I told myself that I had been careless and stupid and the fall was my own fault and I had ruined a whole bag of chips. I stopped crying because I didn’t want to hurt them. I didn’t want to burden them with my pain. I didn’t want to admit that I needed anything. I stopped crying because when I was a child I learned that I was wrong to cry and I was taught to suck up the pain so I didn’t get a worse punishment ~ because it was ‘proven’ to me that crying only makes everything worse and that my crying was a problem for other people.

In order for me to move out of my many coping methods and thrive in my life today, it has been extremely important for me to find out what the false messages I was given in childhood were and where they came from, in order to change them back to the truth. These false messages about crying were no different than the other lies I had learned to accept.

The truth about crying is that there is no shame in crying. Although some people do use crying to manipulate others, I have never done that and there is no guilt associated with my need to cry.  I am not a burden to others. I am not going to be punished anymore for crying and if someone reacts to my tears in a way that disrespects me or devalues me, today I know that is not about me and I do not have to accept their reaction as the truth about me. If their reactions are mean or negative and warrant a response from me, I am no longer afraid to stand up for myself. Crying does not define me as weak. Crying does not define me as ‘looking for a worse punishment’ or as ‘looking for attention’.  Crying has value and can add value to my life. I have a right to my emotions today and crying is a wonderful expression of many emotions and an important way to release emotion and is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of.

Please share your thoughts about crying. Is crying difficult for you? How do you feel about your tears or lack of tears.  What formed your belief system about crying and what were the messages that you got about crying? When you are working on this, here is one more little tip; sometimes my reactions (or feelings) to other people crying are also great clues to the messages that I got about crying; I took a look at how I felt when other people cried. There are lots of ways to dig into our belief systems when it comes to getting to the bottom of where we got these messages.

Exposing Truth ~ one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

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

Related Post ~ Stop That Crying or I will give you Something to Cry About”


Categories : Therapy



Your statements ring true! The stigma against crying promotes denial, repressed memories, and continuation of abuse. When I exposed a problem of incest in my family, one family member told me that I was being selfish for sharing this, that other people had their problems and why should I burden them with mine. Those other people have remained in denial and many became ill and did not age gracefully. Some died horrible, painful deaths. These abuses hurt everyone involved and to deny them or put someone down for crying about or exposing them is a crime in and of itself. It is hard to let go and just let myself cry with reckless abandon, because I don’t know if I could stop myself from crying. I have let it out in spurts here and there. It would have been so much better to have been allowed to cry and share my hurt and anger more appropriately. Better for me and everyone else.


Hi Noan
Welcome to Emerging from Broken,
It makes me sick when I hear these kinds of statements! YOU were being selfish??? Wow, isn’t that just stunning! It would certainly have been so much better to have been raised with love and worth having permission to be human and express our emotions. As you say, it would have been much better for everyone!
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


This all sounds very familiar. How do you get past it to the point where you can cry ?


I too experienced the “don’t you CRY, or we’ll GIVE you something to cry ABOUT!” … or being told that my crying was just for attention, or that my tears were only because I was ‘being dramatic/a little actress’ … or ‘she’s just doing that cause she’s not getting her way”, or, even straight up getting made fun of for crying! “can’t you take a joke?” … (when actually it was because I felt my feelings being pushed aside/trampled on/not listened to by the ones who are supposed to be supportive … for a child, crying was a natural response to such pain)

So often, growing up, I saw the family leaders (the women in control) use their ‘tears’ manipulatively … This left a bad taste in my mouth. It contributed to my suspicious view of ones who are crying. (Though I can be VERY sympathetic to ones who are clearly, genuinely crying in pain … it just depends on how much I know about that individual and their true tendencies, as to whether I believe their tears or not.) I even feel that suspicion with myself. To this day – I feel afraid to actually cry in front of others when I feel the urge to cry … I feel this incredible guilt. As though my actual legitimate need to release my pain through tears was somehow wrong and manipulative in some way. And I would feel my inner critic telling me not to ‘burden’ these ones that I love with the awkwardness of having to acknowledge my pain. I’ve repeatedly said “You know I consider you a true friend, if I’ve been able to cry in front of you. That’s trust.”

Thank you for these insights, Darlene. 🙂



Another very good post by Darlene! I can recall very bad incidents where I have “lost it” by crying. I really don’t understand why this society is so afraid and/or angry to show any honest emotions when appropriate.

There were many times as a child where I had to cry in secret in my room at night. I believe that if I had showed any fear or pain with my parents/abusers then it would have hurt more. Thankfully being an only child I had my own bedroom and it was my sanctuary. Plus, there were many moments were the ‘man and the woman’ went out and being an only child I was left alone. I had the freedom of some of my own space and spent a lot of time watching TV, back when the TV shows were safe and good for kids to watch, ie. “Little House on the Prairie”, “The Waltons”, including after school cartoons. And the ’80’s TV shows when I was a teen were still good! There were times when I could watch a sad show and cry alone! Very healing and I think I knew it, too!

I remember the time when my only good family member died back in the summer when I turned 18 years old. I came home with ‘the man’ to bring some take-out Chinese food for dinner and the ‘the Narc woman’ gave the news that he had died. Of course she was nasty and cold and it was like being hit in the face and I choked back tears. How could my only good relative–(father’s first cousin)–the one whom I called “my real father” could have died but not the not-so-good biological father lived? I spent months and like a few years being able to cry privately later in my own place.

Another very bad incident where crying was seemingly used against me was the time after I had moved to a new southwestern state, from my home state, after ‘the man’ retired. It’s too long and detailed to go into, but essentially I had to run away and ended up in a local woman’s domestic violence shelter. I was working at a PT job and living at home right after high school in the new state, and things were becoming intolerable. I had no other family to speak of, nor anywhere else to go, so I tried the women’s domestic violence shelter. This shelter had a reputation for very occasionally taking in single women with abuse issues who were not coming from an abusive husband/live-in boyfriend scenario. I was very honest and told the social worker everything and apparently according to their standards of physical and emotional battering–(all except for the sexual)–I qualified. Anyway, the woman director never liked me and I think believed that I didn’t belong there, and she wanted an excuse to throw me out. Of course I followed their rules and daily chores list and counseling sessions. It was a very frightening and stressful place with women constantly fighting and arguing. Once, I was sitting in a chair alone and yes–OMG actually crying—this mean woman shelter director called me into her office. Then she was lecturing me that if I didn’t like it there then I could leave! I had no where else to go and ended up apologizing and begging her to let me stay there. So, I was shamed and single out for crying, while all these other women were angry and loud and fighting! Only because I expressed myself in a different way and NOT dumping on others, once again I was considered the “oddball” Go figure!! More later on…THX!


I was never allowed privacy when I was growing up…I could not shut the door to my room. If I cried about something…I was made to stand there or sit there and cry in front of my whole family…it was very demeaning and i feel another form of abuse. I have held my feelings in for so long that I my body actually broke down and any negative emotions triggers my interstitial cystitis into a flare. But I am back in counseling now and this time I plan to go all the way through everything about my past not just stop when I get scared or feel like I am better. I am now 43….I was abused from 3-35….by my mother. Now I have learned that it is okay to cry….and I do cry for the littlest reasons or for something I may not even know why, triggers, ptsd, etc, but i let it out knowing that i am ok in doing that and that I can make it through. It is a freeing experience for me now even though it does bother my ic I know that I have to let the feelings out and take them for what they are feelings. not right or wrong but feelings. Thanks so much again!!!


I just had to share some more thoughts…I know in my heart of hearts that crying probably saved my life. I do believe that when people keep everything bottled up inside of them it can lead to possible future disease,cancer,etc. A minor point: I heard from a former neighbor in my former state, that a neighbor boy that I grew up with–(close to my age)–recently died from a rare form of cancer. Although I can’t prove it, I know that both his parents really pushed him hard academically to become a medical doctor. Sadly, he failed out of medical school and was never quite the same again. Finally, he died from a rare disease—probably way too many family control issues and not letting it all out!

When I was in my twenties, I tried to get away really fast away from both ‘the man and the woman’. I worked like a dog, usually working at two fast food restaurants, and once I even squeezed in working somehow at a third job! I worked long hours for low pay and drove a very used, broken down car–(which could barely run)– and lived with roommates in a housemate situation. I have always lived with mean, angry, and difficult people. Anyway, when I was older in my late twenties I decided I was ready and wanting to go to college for my B.A. degree. To make a long story short, since I was living in a retirement/college town in the Southwest, the costs of living were rather cheap. I was able to finally live ALONE through my job and student aid, in my own large studio apartment, in an old building and not so good neighborhood but I was free!

I gave up on those so-called ‘therapists’ a long time ago and devised my own healing plan. Everyday when I came home, I would close the window shades, turn on some soft music, and set a pillow on the floor with a kitchen timer and a box of kleenix. I would give myself like two hours and I was able to let it all out, while punching fists into the floor pillow and actually had a good CRY over and over again! This went on for like a couple of years. Sometimes I would forget to eat dinner, and it was so healing. I was alone and safe. I felt like a thousand times better like I was cleansed and purified into a new person! I can reflect back now and think that maybe if I had not had the courage to become an older student on financial aid and living alone in my own place, that I would NOT have healed my stuff. Sometimes healing is just a good cry and not sitting in a chair tryng to talk to a worthless “therapist.”

Now I am living alone in my house and there are moments when I think of my past childhood and I can still cry. But these times are becoming less and less. I’m still working on finding a relationship with a man that lasts and having someone to talk to when I come home at the end of the day! But I’m not giving up….

Blessed Be! Thanks Darlene and everyone for reading and sharing on this site!


It’s strange or rather appropriate that you should post this…today. I have been crying all day, rocked in the arms of my partner. It came in waves and I shuddered and convulsed to the point where we both pondered that it might be a good idea to seek medical attention. I have never cried like that before. I never had anyone tolerate my distress which is profound. It makes others uncomfortable to witness such raw grief, outrage and humiliation being expressed. They try to stop you. Turn it round on themselves.

It’s rare to have someone just hold and let you scream. This is the day i released a huge amount of the energy generated by trauma. Unable to eat properly before, I was famished afterwards…my appetite returned. Sorrow blinded me, I could not focus…now I can see clearly and in technicolour.

This is temporary…already i can see the tip of the next wave…there is SO much trauma: i have a cracked skull and a nervous system shot to pieces but i have reached a huge milestone, I know how to cry now.


I’m sorry you were deprived of normal privacy! 🙁 … I was the oldest girl in a house full of children (big ‘family’) and if I ever had my door shut I got in SO much trouble. I would change my clothes in my small closet just so I could not get ‘accidentally walked in on’ by everyone. At times I would move a heavy piece of furniture in front of my door so it wouldn’t open – just to change clothes, or have un-interrupted time to myself (to read, or write in my journal) – this would almost instantly be met with my mother pounding at my door “WHY is this door locked?!?!?! Are you looking at PORN or something?!?!?” (a baseless accusation, since that was something which I NEVER actually DID do – and was a rather odd thing to accuse a little 12 year old girl of doing … I had no access to anything like that anyway.) I guess I just wanted to say … hearing that you too weren’t allowed something as simple as a shut door … my heart goes out to you. I know how it made me feel, and I’m sorry you had to experience such disregard. 🙁

I also had been experiencing physical symptoms for years – not knowing why (ibs, anxiety attacks … etc.) I definitely feel as you mentioned … that our bodies can only handle SO much emotional pain before it starts manifesting itself physically. I love that you are now giving yourself permission to cry whenever you feel the need! I hope I can get to that point, too!


Kia #8 – I am sorry you had to endure such terribly raw emotion today … I’m glad you had someone by your side to help you through it. <3


My experience as a kid was that my feelings were not valid. My hurts were emotional and I didn’t have the ability to verbalize it then and there were no bruises to prove I was hurt. My reaction was NOT to avoid crying. I cried but it came out in anger. I cried with anger and it became the reason I was to blame. I became STRONG! I didnt’ want them to know how hurt or weak I was so anger and strength became my default reaction to emotional pain. ANd in that it was a great excuse for all kinds of behavior of others in my family. They could push my buttons and I would react to pain that should be in tears but showed up in frustrated angry tears of a kid that could not explain or be heard or get validation. I would run off and then truly cry to GOD from the safety of a tree I climbed or a cornfield I hid in. Then when I came back everyone was fine because my reaction had made me the problem and they were fine. We never talked about it after . They still do that..and push my buttons and I still struggle to express the frustration and hurt I feel.

I have tried to ask about it. I brought up a situation I went through as kid when I was 6. My younger sisters was a newborn and cattle got out so they left me home alone with her while my other three sisters helped with the cattle. The baby cried. So I tried to help but could not. So I cried. She screamed so I screamed. She was in a baby carrier and I could not do anything for her. Then the doorbell rang. Both of us crying in desperation. Should I open it? who was it? Was I safe. But, I was so desperate. So, I opened the door. It was some man..maybe a salesman. I still dont’ know who it was. He came in. Took both of us in his car and drove to where my family was getting the cattle in. NOTHING was ever said to me. And when I bring this up and ask about it, I am shamed for it. My tears and crying or even pain thinking back to it is shamed. I am sure they feel embarassed. And they have never been able to validate that little 6 year old girl’s fears or tears. I learned then I had to be strong and was expected to take care of myself. I didn’t have the tools but I became the scapegoat for the family. Any blow up…and there were many would bring me to a place of so much frustration but I could not cry in pain…so I screamed in frustration and ran off. Then everyone was fine after that. It became a pattern. It relieved everyone but me.

I still wish they would talk to me about that incident and I am almost 50. But, they won’t. And are angry with me for trying. Even at this age I wish they would just say something like “oh I am so sorry …we should have talked you through that experience…I bet that 6 year old girl was afraid and sad.”. They can’t do it. They only tell me I should be over it…much like I felt as a kid.

Crying now? Well I cry …just cried alot yesterday. Learning to go to GOD with it and cry in HIS arms instead of reacting and letting my buttons be so easy to find. I still come across stronger than I really am. I still default to anger when I am deeply wounded. But, I am getting it now. It’s not about me. It’s about me not allowing others to tell me who I am or looking to others to validate me as an adult. They don’t get me..some of them don’t like me and the accusation when I am hurt is that I am shaming them or that I MUST NOT hurt the parents. That is number one. Don’t hurt mom and dad.

Anyway.. I cry. but, I had a warped understanding of it. Even when I was spanked I was stubborn about it. Then when they wanted me to cry I refused. And that frustrated them. I am learning that sometimes we make inner vows against those people in authority that try to make us be something. And then it hurts us as adults



This article hits home in a very big way and I now realism that I am not alone with the crying. Like you, I was punished and scolded for crying. It was when I was a teenager, I started getting anxiety attacks for holding in my tears.

Up until 2006, I had issues with crying and would keep everything in and pretend there was no issues. I swept everything under the carpet. It got to the point where I was having very bad anxiety attacks and would have to go to emergency. They tried to put me on anti-anxiety meds and the meds turned me into a zombie.

One evening, a dear friend of mine invited me out to karaoke night and I accepted. At that time, I was not a fan of karaoke and won’t in a million years ever dream to go up on stage. That night, I changed my mind and was determined to give it a try. I was anxious and very nervous when I got up. The show host was a very wonderful and supportive lady who coached me through four songs that night. I was on the moon and quite proud of myself for getting up on stage to sing.

Karaoke night down at the club was every Wednesday night. I started going each week and felt the anxiety ease a bit. I got to the point where I would go sing karaoke a few times a week. The anxiety went away, after times and I hardly get any anxiety attacks.

After a few years of singing on stage, I noticed something. I was at ease with crying and letting it all out. The tears flowed out and it was easy again – instead of being emotionally constipated and waiting to have a good cry. The thing with karaoke, after you sing, everybody claps. It’s the etiquette. On a subconscious level, the clapping sort of acted like positive reinforcement. I find a song that fits my mood and get a “reward”.

I still have difficulty letting the tears out, but, not as bad as it was years ago. I’m sure, it will still get easier in time. What scares me the most is the depth of feeling that I feel – just the intensity of what I have felt scare me and at times I don’t want to go into the emotional depths of pain – I know I need to if I am going to heal.

Thank you so much for this article and shining light on something that I never thought other people dealt with as well. This is one thing that has come to light for me and I know I am not alone and that others can relate to this….


Sorry, my spell check is acting up and would explain the errors in my post.


Wow, this post really hit me in the gut. I identify with the “Don’t cry or I’ll give you something to cry about” statement. That was the rule that I too lived under. Like Noan above, I am a survivor of incest and when I revealed it to my mother and sister, they got angry with me and told me to “get over it.” No compassion or understanding. I stopped crying years ago, and can’t cry now – even if I really want to. It feels like my tear-tank has just withered and dried up. My counselor tells me that this is quite common with survivors of sexual abuse. Thank you for your thoughtful post.


This is a great post ! I cry every day…yes every single day…when I wake up in the morning the tears are right there. I held it in for so long that I have to let the pain out now on a daily basis. Fortunately other than some depression I have no other physical issues or problems. I think by releasing the pain (I started years ago) – I have been getting rid of the toxic stuff that’s been inside me for years. Most of my abuse happened about 40 years ago so I am dealing with stuff from a long time ago. I just lived in fear my whole childhood. I had no idea how much pain I had absorbed.

Whats hard is no one wants to hear about my pain (not people here) – but friends and family. At least people who I thought were my friends. I have lost my whole family from all the abuse. Both my parents were very abusive. I don’t remember being told not to cry…I just never did. I never saw my parents cry. They were just angry pretty much all the time. I was praying one day and felt God say “you gotta let it out.”…I started crying and crying. That was several years ago. I have healed tremendously from crying. I have probably healed more from crying than from anything else. I’ve done a lot of therapy but I think the hours that I have spent crying have served me better than anything else I have done. I have done a lot of journaling too and that helps but its hard when you are abused and then you start getting better and people don’t want to hear about what happened to you because they cant handle it. I feel like we live in an emotionless society except anger…lots of people are angry but below the anger I know is pain. As I release more pain, I get a little better every day. I give myself permission to feel. I don’t need permission from anyone else. I am so glad Darlene wrote about this…I was wondering – am I the only one who cries all the time ? Am I the only one dealing with pain every day ? I don’t view it as a choice..i view it now as something I have to do in order to get better. I view it as whatever I have to do to get better I will do it. If it means crying every day then so be it…I am not too proud to admit I cry all the time. Nobody really cares anyway (again – not people here) – people I thought I could count on for support and understanding…they have pretty much all disappeared. I tried really hard to put together a support system because I have read how much it has helped others. I gave up. I cant even get the church I go to to pray for me regularly. I have been trying to get a prayer appointment for a month with no success. We like the church a lot and don’t want to give up on it but its really frustrating that I cant get them to agree to pray for me regularly even though they have a “prayer ministry” – anyway – that’s getting off on a tangent. thanks for the opportunity to share my story of crying. It has been very therapeutic and helpful for me. A couple of my counselors have said that I am grieving a lot – loss of childhood, loss of innocence…it makes sense to me. It was nice to receive that encouragement that its perfectly normal to cry based on what I experienced as a child. I hope others are able to release their pain the way I have been doing for years.



oh my gosh……why are your posts always so topical for me. that is how i am feeling today. i know i need to cry, just to release the tension and stress i am currently feeling.

this morning, i received a horrible phone call from my mother and then father. i said to both of them that they continue to make me feel worthless and obviously, they don’t care for me as a person nor as their daughter. i told them that if i am not their daughter, obviously, they are not my parents…..therefore, they should leave me alone.

i am so desperately wanting to cry….because when i do, i know that i will let go of my anger and stress and tension. my neck and back is currently so stiff….and i am distracted and don’t know what to do with myself.

i know i have work to do……but i just can’t do it until i cry.


man…..i also heard as a child “if I didn’t stop crying I would be given a reason to cry”. do crazy parents receive the same guidelines on how to treat their children. why are our experiences exactly the same.


darlene…..i keep promising myself to make a donation to your website and i am often distracted by rubbish currently in my life. give me a few moments and i will make that donation.

thank you. i don’t know how i would have survived recent events without your insightful and inspiring messages.

you have helped more than the two years of therapy i have received to date. last saturday, i told my therapist i didn’t need her anymore.

my donation will be of equal value to one of her sessions. i wish i could give you more….but right now, life is a struggle. i promise to do more when i can.


Oh yeah thats a major issue. Let me start with my mom going beserk at me crying. Kick the dog while its down. … i will show u something to cry about, just u wait till dad gets home then u will see.. Its amazing Darlene ur mom said the same thing, in another country. Its like they speak the unjversal language of evil.i had crying beat out of me mentally, the punishment of pain would escalate followed by abandonment. The rejection and abandonment in time of need hurt me the most. My mom made it seem that because i cried i deserved to be rejected, worthless and abandoned. The crying was the evidence i deserved more punishment and be walked out on. Furthermore i was weak and there was something inherently wrong with me cuz i cried. Proof that i was the unlovable child, the right child wouldnt cry.

The repression of crying i had to do most likely caused my dissociation and splitting issues. I had to endure their hurtful behaviours without crying so i checked out mentally into no feelings land. I believe crying is that important that lack of it will split the self. Its the perfect avenue for them to destroy us.

I have ended up with men that did the same things and abandoned me during crying. It blows my mind each time i see it. I knew that going psycho on me while crying was wrong but i never figured out the abandonment part. That wounded me to the core. My cry for help was worthless, even less so cuz it deserved no regard and punishment by rejection and abandonment. I was discarded for crying. Literally discarded as human being. And it was my fault because i was asking for tok much. I was asking the impossible. Now i know i was asking the devil to give. The devil doesnt know how to give. Probably now my parents would play along with my crying cuz i would lash them for not doing so. They fear being exposed so thats why they would do it. But even short time ago i put up with it from a man. And it blooowsss my mind. My natural instinct is to run towards crying. It blows my mind when people do anything but.

How else did it make me feel. I felt the denial of crying was the denial of the truth of the hurtful things. Denial of my voice to expresss what is wrong. Crying is the first call for help. Its no wonder i had major ask for help issues and still do. They forbid my right to call for help. To tell the world something bad was going on. It isolated me into myself. It took away my voice!!! My outmost primal voice. They took away my ability to self.soothe with crying. My ability to vent off the pressure from all the crazy. They imbued my asking for help with fear of punishment and feeling of.weakness and something wrong with me. It made me feel so alone. Like i was all alone to deal with my pain. Entirely alone with any bad thing thag happened to me. I had to deal with it completely alone with no crying. There was never anyone coming to help. Me alone in the world with no help available. I better not dare ask for help. I better not dare rely on them or anyone and i am.weak with issues for doing so. I am alone abandoned in this wrold and its my fault cuz i expect some crazy things.my crazy mind made up. I am wrong for asking for help and depending on people. I deserve to be alone and abandoned for asking for help.



i remember one day i so sick to death by being punished yet again for crying that i ran to my bedroom and opened the window and screamed as loudly as i could for someone to come and help me. noone came….and i was punished some more by my crazy mother. i would have been in my early teens. from then on, i didn’t bother expecting help from anyone. i knew that i was on my own.


Ginger that is so sad. I felt that way but I didn’t actually do it. We lived on a farm so I knew no one would hear me. My family is not overtly abusive. Just has major dysfunctional communication and conflict handling methods. Enmeshed. I am so sorry for that young teen. Just want to say the GOD heard you and knows and it was never HIS heart for you to not be able to cry and have your human parent come to comfort you.


I heard very similar messages not only from my birth family but my teachers! Oh, you’re too sensitive, you’re just trying to get attention, you cry too much.

Bah-loney. I cried at home because my parents screamed at each other and at me, and they hit me. I cried at school because the other kids bullied me and because I had teachers at one point who humiliated and verbally abused me in front of the class. Eventually I had an ex-husband who would call me vulgar names and a spoiled brat if I cried, including if I cried because of him screaming, yelling at me, calling me names, threatening me, etc.

The irony is my parents got me an album from the ’70s, Free to Be You and Me, where Rosey Grier sings a song about it being okay to cry… yet to them it wasn’t.


I’ve always been shamed for my tears, I cry too easily unless everything is ok or I shut down…….I can’t shut down and have the compassion it takes to parent so, sometimes this mommy just needs to cry and let the pressure off from time to time. I will tell my son why or I will tell him I just need a little mommy time out and he’ll go do his own thing so that when I’m done we can have the family time we need without that obstacle in the way. My mother and grandmother cried all the time when I was growing up. They taught me to love everyone but me and I somehow survived that way for a very long time but now I’m living because I put me first so that my family is stronger. I give me time to cry if anyone likes it or not. I still feel shame if something triggers my tears, but I was also raised with a lot of pride in my last name. Pride is not worth much and I have enjoyed life so much more when I humble myself and get grateful! Kind words and hugs to all here. emmy


Hi Jeffry
Through the process of digging down to find out how crying became a problem for me, I was able to move out of the problem. It was in learning how I got broken that I was able to we-wire my belief system by seeing the messages that I got about myself from trauma, neglect, abuse etc. and seeing where those messages were false.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kera
Yes to all of everything you said. I was told that I was crying for attention too. And that I was dramatic. And I was told that I was too sensitive~ (especially as an adult I found people use that tactic “oh you can’t take a joke” which is such crap and a very well known abuse tactic designed to excuse the nasty behaviour of the nasty person and blame the victim for being ‘sensitive’.
Thank you for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Yvonne
Having to cry in secret is a huge clue. I looked at all that kind of stuff when I was processing this. I thought about why I cried in secret as a child and how I learned to shut those tears down and all of that helped me to understand that the reason I learned not to cry was that I was trained not to cry. I am sorry that happened to you Yvonne. Wouldn’t it have been amazing to have been nurtured and loved and cherished growing up? I had to learn to do those things for myself when I was in my forties; I am grateful that I was still so young!
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Stacy
That kind of humiliation is horrible and has a very lasting effect! It is certainly abusive and absolutely abuse!
Thanks for sharing and yay for you for deciding to go all the way with healing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kia
What a blessing to have had someone nurture you through your intense emotions! And what a victory for you that you got some of it out!!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Thanks for sharing your story too. I cringe when I hear things like that; being accused of stuff like that is abuse all on it’s own ~ a whole other trauma!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lesslikescars
Yes, this is very often how rage is born. That is what I mean when I talk about finding the roots ~ to find out where and how it all started in order to find out what was communicated to me about me and change those lies back to the truth.
There is so much evidence that so many of these parents did things in order to absolve themselves. That they set up kids to react in ways that could be blamed on the kids and restore the order of the parent. It is really horrific.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Becky
That is awesome that you found a healthy and effective way to overcome and heal!
I can relate to being afraid of the depth of feeling; I can still be like that too and it has so much to do with having been told that I was wrong for all my feelings for most of my life and that I didn’t have a right to them. It has to do with not being validated, or encouraged to have my own thoughts and make my own decisions. It has to do with having all of me shut down before and waking up is intense!!! (but amazing!!)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Amy
Welcome to EFB
One thing that I have learned this past few years is that tears are not the only way to heal. I still rarely cry more than one or two tears at a time, )and when I do cry more than a few it isn’t for anything significant.. like I can cry over a movie if I am by myself but not over real life stuff) but that has not stopped my healing process in any way! I too am a survivor of sexual abuse and I was not protected or validated ~ I think that this issue is common for survivors of ANY kind of abuse if they were not validated and if it was communicated that crying would only make things worse.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Dave
I want to clarify (for the other readers here esp.) that crying is not the only way to deal with pain. (re your question “am I the only one who cries all the time ? Am I the only one dealing with pain every day ?”) It is really important for people to know that there is more than one way to heal, there are many tools and the point of this post is not to make anyone feel like they are NOT healing because they have difficulty or can’t cry and release tears. I myself have healed without crying. The point in these articles is always about the message that lives at the root of the belief (in order to change that false message) and in this case it is the message that crying is wrong/bad/ and will make things worse.
Thanks for sharing Dave, I am really glad that you can cry and that you have the ability to release the pain and sadness in tears.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Ginger
I can relate to your comments and feelings here. I remember feeling that same way; that I could not do my work until I cried.. but I did the work; I was able to do the work without the tears. I found other ways to release the pain; I did a lot of writing and found ways to express myself and my grief/pain/sadness all of which worked. Don’t lose hope. I didn’t wait until I could cry and it’s a good thing because I still have difficulty with this whole crying thing.
About the directive “stop crying or I will give you something to cry about” isn’t it crazy how many kids heard that!!
Hugs, Darlene


I can’t thank you enough for your donation! This month has been a little light so your donation will make a big difference! I appreciate it so very much.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kathryn
It isn’t just my mom. I got hundreds of emails when I wrote the post titled “stop that crying or I will give you something to cry about” back in July of 2012. I got hundreds of comments on the facebook page. This is a ‘common’ expression used against millions of kids in countries all over the world! its awful!
Your comments are excellent. You articulate the way it works, the way that we are trained in fear and the results of that which don’t end in childhood. Thank you very much for adding your voice to this!
Hugs, Darlene


Yes, very often the messages come from people outside our family. Your post reminded me of something as well; my mother cried. I remember her crying quite often and it made me so uncomfortable but I guess that was because I believed it was my fault and my job to make it better for her. I learned that it was only okay for ME not to cry.
Thanks for sharing. My heart aches for the little kids we were and the emotional abandonment so many of us endured.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Emmy
That is awesome how you help your son to understand ~ that is communicating that crying is okay and that it is not his fault and that it is something you need to do and that it will be BETTER after! Love that.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs Darlene


Coming from the exact opposite perspective, I grew up in a home where crying was not only allowed, but encouraged. Now that I am away from home in college, I find that there is this societal thing that says a guy my age (just turned 20) shouldn’t cry. I don’t care though. I’m not ashamed of the fact that I cry. There are days when I am so overwhelmed, stressed, and upset over school, life, work, and how it all fits together, that all I want to do is cry. At those times I need to cry, and want to cry, and that’s exactly what I do. Anyway, just thought I would share that perspective.


Hi Ryan
Yes, there are judgements about crying in our society for sure! I think they come from the generations of people raised to be ashamed of their crying. Being raised with permission to cry is healthy and that is likely why you don’t care what anyone thinks about the fact that you validate your own need to cry and do it.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


I tried to talk with my mom last night. And I was feeling pretty good but by the time I was done I wondered about me and I was back to despair and wondering if I was the narcissist. I have been falsely accused of some pretty harsh things by a sister and am in the midst of shutting off some family relationships. Five girls in my family. I am the bad one to them. I am cutting off with 2 of my hateful venomous sisters now and didn’t want to do that with my parents. But after last night. Ahhhhggggg!!!!!!!!! I was asking a simple question and she avoided, projected, and covertly got her message that I am bad across. Then attacked. My daughter is graduating and I just wanted some kind of hope that my mom and I could be ok through the graduation party etc…. I asked if we could give and take on some things. I have begged her to stop running to my sisters with my stuff…major triangulation that twists and changes things…I would call it quadrupulation. So I asked in an assertive way and I was clear. And I asked what she might want to change as well. She said she wants peace. Yes peace which means stop Being upset by the things done or said and causing drama. She/they want to continue in the dysfunction of denying and avoiding and quadrupulating and blaming me…that worked for them…it brought THEM peace. I want peace too. . All my sisters tell me that mom and dad are too old and they gave me life so I should just push it under the rug and let them be….what a guilt trip. My mom told me last night that she is too old and will not go back to the past. (in other words she will not change) The past is anything that happened an hour ago to her. She is 75 I hope I never stop learning and growing and trying as I age. So it leaves me with only one choice….on this one I can see I have to shut down relationship. She knows that. She calls my legitimate emotions “rants” and attacks me. I was clear with her that we can have a surface relationship then and only talk about the weather…and that I wont’ share my heart with her. I think that is all she wants anyway…along with me being the sin carrier for the family.

I am in the middle of change. Halfway in and halfway out. But has gotten worse because I am not reacting and refusing to be their scape goat and own their stuff. I am learning new skills and they dont’ like it. They don’t like it. Thanks so much for the help. It really helps to know I am not going crazy and this is something that happens to others too. More than that, it helps that you have found some healing and a way to beleive you are not what they say. I want that. THAT IS WHAT I KNOW I STRUGGLE WITH! What they say is not who I am or who GOD says I am…but they draw me in and starting making me over analyze myself and believe it’s all me. I am not what my very own even Christian family defines me as. God has told me that and I am trying to beleive HIM and what He says of me. But it’s nice when people agree too. Esp family….but it aint gonna happen. Thanks so much for just hearing me…and helping me…and the advise.


Hi Darlene! I love being able to express myself and I’m finding as I healing I have this desire to be public speaker. I have a strong passion to share my story and all that I have learned. I’ve been having visions of standing on a stage and feeling the freedom of expressing myself to people that actually want to be there..;-) I hope I can have my dream realized one day, I know I will do everything in my power to make it happen. Thanks to this web site I have found my voice and I feel like it’s my time to shine! Bless all of you for sharing your hope, strength and courage. Namaste!


I am a big crier, sometimes in inappropriate places. Lately I’ve tried to force myself to NOT cry in therapy with my mother. She isn’t crying and doesn’t look particularly upset about my pain, so I want to shut off more. I don’t want her to feel powerful to my less composed state.

I was often sad as a child (and hung out alone in my room on the bed) and I’m often sad now (but determined to turn that around). I recall my mother often saying to me “I have no sympathy for you!” when she was mad at me. I also remember her looking at my sad face and saying “you look like an old lady”. Nothing caring there. So I didn’t get the threats about crying – it was more neglect.

As for inappropriate, I used to have be careful about sad movies because they could really trigger me – I’d start crying and could barely keep the sobs in. I also seriously cried in public in the cafeteria where I worked. Whoops!

This is a really good topic Darlene. Because I’ve been upset for so long due to other people’s poor treatment or neglect of me, I am seen as “the one who’s having a hard time” in the family…the one with the “problem”. People don’t connect it with their actions/words/inaction/nonwords. And in the past I didn’t stand up for myself and explain exactly what the problem was with what they just said or did. I would bottle up my pain and continue on.

One of my goals right now is to be in the moment with people and speak up immediately with any boundary-busting.

I also am doing a lot of distancing with FOO. I’m in my mid-50s now and am too old for all of this. If it means I leave most of my family, that’s what it means.

Earlier today was a tough, very ill with the flu, could barely stand up without feeling like I would pass out. I have three FOO nearby but didn’t want to call them for help. Thankfully a neighbor helped me. I sucked it up and told myself “this is what it’s going to be like to distance from them – you’re doing it”.


I am having a new realization on this. I previously posted how I will run towards anyone crying, but omg except for me!!! I abandon myself when I am in distress. I avoid myself.
I am in an anxiety program and the whole thing is to be there for yourself to see the bad moment through. In essence it is being there for myself as assuring parent.
Here are I am thinking how great I am at being supportive if someone was crying but I completely fail myself on this account. I have this completely clear idea what comforting looks like but I don’t use it on myself. I thought I was so awesome.. lol but I am re-enacting my abandonment in distress wound on myself. This just crumbled my world..


My mother used crying to manipulate others. My sister and I always had to comfort her and listen to her. I remember her peeking out of the corner of her eye while she was ” crying” to see if the doctor she was trying to get pain pills from was still watching. As soon as she got her pills she was fine as if nothing had ever happened. It got to the point where I didnt know if it was real or fake and any compassion for her was gone and sadly I feel disgust when she cries now. Perhaps because I dont want to comfort her because When I was injured and in pain I got yelled at instead of comforted. I learned to cry in private and not tell anyone when I felt sad or hurt. Maybe I was worried others would think I was faking too like my mother. It really gave me the wrong idea about crying. I felt embarrassed whenever I started to cry .Thank you for your article Darlene, it is helping me to see crying in a different light.



Crying has always been difficult for me for the very same reasons you describe. I have found myself in safe situations during the last 9 months where I can allow myself to cry (about 3). Since them I find myself much more sensitive to things and tears will well up without warning. But that’s where I stop. Unless I feel completely safe, where I will not be judged I still turn off the tears because I was never allowed to cry, told that if I cried I would be given something to cry about. I could not cry when I got hurt. I learned to not cry even when I was being beaten with the belt and the contradiction was he would get more angry at me for not crying and beat me hardeer and harder. I am very afraid to cry when I get emotional because I’m afraid I won’t be able to control myself. I’m working on it though and maybe someday I will feel for myself that it’s OK to cry when I need to.


At age 49, divorced from an abuser, four kids grown and not living with me any longer, and in a happy marriage of five years, I NOW find that if I feel anything that makes me want to cry, and it doesn’t have to be “worthy” of tears, it just has to cause the feeling of wanting to cry; I will cry. I shed a lot of tears.

Eight years ago when I told my kids that we were divorcing, I cried a lot, just those sick tears of who knows what, finally getting free of something that had made me sick for 20 years. Looking back, I would say they were tears of relief. My teens told me not to feel badly for them because, “He wasn’t that involved in our lives anyway.” They cried at times, too.



for me what helped was being validated in my relationship with my current husband. We share our life stories and histories with each other and have so much in common, and he could tell me things about my mother that I could never quite get into words, and those many conversations really helped me. We also agree on not spending time with those who devalue us.


Hiya Darlene, I too have always had problems crying. I still do, but, I am doing better slowly. Having kids has taught/allowed me.\, that crying is not an awful thing, not something done to belittle, take advantage of, or something that only wimps do.
I have trouble crying outloud. But I have discovered that I can get away with crying in the shower. Here it is safe, one’s face naturally gets red in the hot shower, and the noise of the water can drown out the sobs. No one can tell. I have also realised that it is easier for me to cry for others than it is for myself. It scary how I can cry for others, rather easily, to the point of embarrassment. I remember once reading an article about (I don’t know what they are called, professionally) but, in India, there are people that are hired to be cryers for someone’s funeral. Apparently the belief is that, more crying shows the deities that the person who passed was really loved, and will be missed, and that this person will find their travel into their next life, more fluidly. I’ve told my husband that I’m in the wrong place and I could be rich. This is my new job. 🙂
I too was told, that I’d better not cry, or I’d be given something to cry about.I remember being about 12 or 13 and still having to have my underwear pulled down to my feet, having to bend over and touch my toes while my stepdad belted me and my sister for some infraction. I remember looking at my sis, upsidedown and knowing, that we had better not cry out or shed one tear, or it meant more whips of the belt. I remember having reconstructive surgeries and not crying, because I had to be strong. I couldn’t look like a wimp. Babies cry.
I remember my mom pinching the back of my arm, pulling the hair on the nape of my neck or temples and being told if I cried, she would leave me by the side of the road.
I told my therapist that my crying wires were crossed or broken. I can cry when I see beautiful things, when I hear beautiful music, or when I see others in pain or happiness. Just this morning as I was returning from the train station, I had to stop due to the traffic warden. A little boy around 5 or 6 was walking to school with his mom. Just before he had to cross the road, he reached up to his mom, grabbed her and gave her a hug and a lovely kiss on her face and even though I didn’t hear what he or she said, my eyes welled up with tears. To me that is so beautiful. It made me smile and cry all the way home. I wonder why I reacted this way. Is it because I see the love the boy and mom have for each other, or does it have something to do with my pain?
I cannot seem to cry for myself. I am so afraid that if I start crying for my pain, I will never stop. The tightness in my throat and palpitations of my heart scare me. It hurts to breathe.


Kathryn, don’t beat yourself up over this. I totally understand what you are saying. My therapist had sad to me, that if you cannot cry at all, then that’s something to worry about, but the fact that you can cry, and cry for others, all is not lost. I understand what you are saying. Hugs… please don’t be upset. Reading Darlene’s and so many other’s post’s makes me realise that we are all learning. We are all worthy of so much. I just had to comment.


Crying when I was growing up was an expression of emotions which was not allowed because it might upset Dad. Nothing could upset him or there would be hell to pay. So I dont cry for my own hurt or pain or distress. But I can cry for others so that is a good sign. Emotional expression was just not permitted to me growing up. Dad was the only one allowed expression of emotions. It so amazing to me that this is another commonality in dysfunctional systems. To me just another “proof” of their abuse.


I don’t remember crying much as a kid, but from about 12 years old, I would go to my room in the evening and ball my eyes out. Everyone could hear, so they just shut the door and turned the volume on the tv up. Then they would give me dirty looks and say I was only doing it for attention. What I remember, is feeling deeply sad and no one to turn to. In the years I lived with my parents as a pre-adolescent and then a teen, not one time not even once, did anyone ever come to my bedside. In retrospect, I don’t know how many years it was, but I remember hours upon hours of literally balling my eyes out.
After that, I became colder but was very charming and beautiful do no one noticed the damage. I no longer liked animals and had no patience for kids.



my donation doesn’t compare with the gift you have provided to me. i hope that everyone who relies on you as much as i have can find it in their heart to support you as well. i will continue to try my best as well.

you gave me strength to get through today as well. i remained strong and held my boundaries with my parents.

this afternoon, my father leaves a message on my answering machine to let me know that my mother is in hospital.

within minutes, i received a phone call from my niece as well to tell me the same thing. she asks why aren’t i sad or upset for my mother. she reminds me that my mother is in hospital and i should care. i reminded my niece that i don’t need the guilt trip as my mother gave up on me the day i was born.

i then receive an email from my brother who i haven’t seen or heard from in a year. he asks me to understand that people make mistakes and i should let go of my justified resentment and anger and hurt and see my mother in hospital.

i respond to my brother by reminding him that any one of us could die at a moments notice and a life well lived is everything that happens between crisis. i reminded my brother that i was also in hospital last year after i tried to commit suicide and i didn’t see my mother cry for me….despite the fact that i had called her one hour before i tried to commit suicide. i reminded my brother than just yesterday, my mother told me she didn’t want to speak to me anymore……and why did she do this – because she didn’t want to hear why i was upset with her. i again reminded my brother that he has pretended that i died when i tried to commit suicide a year ago…..so could we please keep pretending.

you would think that was enough right. hmm…..of course not.

i then receive a call from my nephew. at that point, i am just speechless. i tell my nephew that i love him and will see him soon…and hang up on him.

was that enough….of course not.

my father called again….this time i picked up. i thanked my father for organising a mob reception for me today. i told him that the mod had found me …and could he please tell them to leave me alone.

i reminded my father that just yesterday, both he and my mother had asked that i leave them alone…..and the reason why i didn’t call him sooner was because i was respecting their wishes. i asked if you could please do the same for me.

before i hung up, i repeated the same conversation i had with my brother…and asked if and when he ever decided to live life well, perhaps at that stage, he and my mother could call me to apologise.


It seems like every time I ever cried as a child I was told I would be given something to cry about. Things were so shitty for me that it usually meant getting beaten. These days I can cry, but there is no depth to it. I was able to really cry for the first time about a year ago when I took one of my first steps to healing. I allowed myself to remember and feel the pain I have been blocking out for so many years, but it’s really hard to let myself really feel that pain.

Stanley, I was also beaten and told not to cry about it while simultaneously getting beat harder if I didn’t cry. I remember sticking a wallet in my pants to protect my butt when I knew I was going to get the wooden racket, it worked, and I had to quickly remember to pretend to cry and scream so they thought it was hurting me. I remember one of my abusers panting and sweating one time after “spanking” me with his wooden racket, then telling me it wasn’t that bad and to stop crying.


What helped me the most with no longer believing what they said about me was true, (or what they communicated to me about me without words) is finding out exactly what it was that had been communicated to me about me. That was the key,
glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Lora!
That is awesome! I started off as an inspirational speaker in mental health seminars! Yay for finding your voice!
Hugs Darlene


Hi Light,
I see this as a healthy observation; that you realize crying in front of your mother gives her power over you; a power you no longer wish to give her. I remember when I realized that I gave everything, all the information they wanted and all my power because I could not see how they used it against me and I refused to believe that they would… these are all stages of awareness that leads to healing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kathryn
THIS IS HUGE! This is what I mean when I refer to becoming my own parent or re-parenting. I realized that I treated myself the same way that I had been treated. Learning how to be here for me has been the most healing of all tools that I learned! I had to see the damage in order to fix it, but then I had to learn how to love me. When I read your comment I knew what you meant about you world crumbled, BUT this is a new beginning! This is fantastic information for you as you go forward!!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Larae,
Ya, I have seen this lots too. And yay that you are seeing crying in a different light, that is the whole point of this website. I had to see things through new eyes. Finding those false messages at the roots of my distress has been what set me free!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Stanley
Those are the kinds of contradictory messages that push a kid over the edge. There is NO WAY to understand that message. I am sorry that happened to you, but yay that you are able to cry when safe today! That is awesome.
Hugs, Darlene


Alice, Thank you for your comments. Your validations of my feelings are very helpful. I never had the chance to protect my butt because I had to pull down my pants even as a teenager so humiliation also played a big role. My father would use his belt and my mother would use a hairbrush. Also after she would beat me with the hairbrush she would say she was going to tell my father when he got home and I would get it all over again from him. I usually didn’t even know what I did to deserve it so I learned that I must simply deserve it because of who I am. I was also being sexually abused by an uncle while growing up and for almost all of my teens. I do think there was a small part of me though that received some satisfaction for not crying no matter how hard I was beaten because it would make them furious.

But the consequences now as an adult are that I can’t cry for myself, I have difficulty grieving what I lost as a child. I can shed tears for others but when it comes to myself I can get choked up and have a huge lump in my throat but crying is out of the question. The only times I have cried out loud, and this is only recently, is when I am in a completely safe place and there is someone there who has convinced me it’s OK. But then after I feel like I had a break down of some kind and am embarrassed. But it has happened a few times and it is a tremendous release of emotions that I had never felt in the past.

I hope that my story has at least helped other readers here feel heard and validated and that it’s OK to FEEL and have the need to cry. And if I could I would hold you in my arms and comfort you and tell you, you will be OK and shed tears with you.



Hi Raven
Holy shit… it is heartbreaking what some of us have been through! Sometimes my heart breaks over and over for what has happened to us as children! What your stepfather did is illegal. What so many of us are expressing here today is illegal and if an adult did it to another adult it would be grounds for going to prison. It goes beyond assault! I am heart sick.
Thank you for sharing.
p.s. beautiful things like you expressed also make me cry, but again only a few tears.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen R.
Yes, this is MORE proof of their abuse! So very true. And it is so sick that they placed themselves in such positions. ugg.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Anna
That is so sad ~ you had no one and no one cared! You were totally ignored ~ what a message to get! And the results of that, which you express in your final sentence… that is what this emotional neglect resulted in… so sad.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ginger,
Ya.. we are supposed to let go. My brother gave me a similar talk. But, it doesn’t make any sense. He said ‘they are not going to change” and I said “I am not asking them to change… I am just saying that I am not putting up with it anymore. Why on earth would I want to have a relationship with people who treat me like I am nothing just because of the title they hold in my life?” he didn’t have much to say to that…
thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Alice
Yes, I had to see that message, that I was afraid to cry because I would get worse if I did. That is awesome that you faced the pain in order to unblock it!
Hugs, Darlene


Something that helped me with this was telling my story to myself as though I was someone else. I imagined a child telling me what happened to me, as though it happened to them. That really helped me connect to myself and see the truth.. I sat there stunned saying “that happened to ME… that was ME that happened to….” and realized that I had never connected to myself in that way before. Because that is what abuse does; it makes the child disconnect from themselves. And recovery is about re-connection.. and it takes time.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

You tell us you were not given permission to feel. I would express it a little differently. I would say the abusers were communicating to me that my feelings did not matter. Like you, I was told, by the person who had just delivered the blows, that if I didn’t stop crying I would be given a reason to cry. I wonder how many other children were told that very thing? Were the adults communicating with each other to come up with this? Were they repeating behavior their parents had engaged in? I don’t know. I think they felt that my crying was me accusing them of something or asking them for something.

To me, sharing my emotions is an act of emotional intimacy, to be shared only with people I trust. I wall abusers out, started doing that at a relatively early age. To me, the abusers have no right to any information about my feelings. I cried when I was by myself. I still have no trouble crying when I am by myself. Let the abusers try to figure out what I am feeling. They have no right to know. Sometimes it seems like crying and anger are two sides of the same coin.

Eventually I stopped crying when I was struck. Even if it hurt a lot. Instead, I stared directly into the eyes of the abusers, with a fierce, piercing gaze. My mother used to get between me and the door of my room so I could not escape, but my father was not so cunning. I developed the ability to run like the wind, fly out the back door and vault the six foot back fence. I would stay gone until they had cooled off. I never hit them back. I loved them too much to hit them.


Hi Marsha,
Yes, I say both those things. All are true.
I wrote a post titled ” Stop that Crying or I will give you something to Cry about” (read it here: http://emergingfrombroken.com/stop-that-crying-or-i-will-give-you-something-to-cry-about/ ) It got 644 ‘likes’ and 136 comments and I got hundreds of private email about it. This is a universal saying. It is really sad. Imagine if every parent who said it thought about how insane of a statement that it is.
Crying and Anger ‘for you’ may be totally related. That is what healing has been all about for me; making all those connections and sorting out what needed to be re-wired. I had some re-wiring to do around this subject for sure.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Actually my experience was different…I used to cry all the time (my favorite song used to be “It’s alright to cry”)….but that is because somewhere along the line I learned that anger was “bad” but crying was more “tolerated”. In fact, I still struggle with getting truly angry without starting to feel fear and sadness almost immediately at the same time. From what I can piece together, because I am still working through this….I remember clearly the anger that was expressed when my parents were divorcing and I associated anger with loss and abandonment…which are feelings that I just never wanted to feel at 10 yrs of age. I didn’t understand that anger could be expressed in a way that would not cause abandonment or hurt feelings….so that I what I am working through right now. Redefining feelings.


My father would yell “Quit your blubbering” – nobody ever had a valid reason for crying.


We also got “Stop that crying or I will give you something to cry about”…


Hi Darlene;
Thank you for your kindness. All those years of crying and being ignored had essentially the same effect as not being allowed to cry has had on you and others. The message was that my feelings were unimportant…my FOO created a very sad situation indeed.
In fact, I had been suffering with deep sadness for years when I met my bf a few years back and he held me while I cried endlessly. He taught me that it was ok and that my feelings mattered. In fact, his drug addiction which is all about feeling too much, was exactly what I needed in order to feel that my emotions matter. Unfortunately, the addiction has a strong grip on him and we are no longer together (ironically because he won’t acknowledge my feelings really unless it serves him-and it did at the time)…but still, someone cared that I was sad and it did help to restore my sense that people matter. I did learn through my bf that such extreme emotion should be brought out mor slowly.


My best friend’s dad is one of those “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” types. He is also the type who believes guys aren’t supposed to cry ever, and that girls/women only cry to manipulate men. My dad on the other hand, was okay with it. I only saw him cry maybe once or twice growing up, but mom said he always kept that from us kids and she has seen him cry plenty. My siblings and I though were always allowed and even encouraged to cry as much or as little as we wanted or needed to.


Hi All,

I haven’t read anything so far (love the topic, but not quite in the space to process it yet), but am looking for support! It’s my 24th birthday and my first one without being in contact with my family.

In some ways, I am happy. My parents treated me like crap last year on my birthday- they limited the amount of time they ‘could’ see me to about one hour and then berated me about what a horrible person I was. I locked myself out of my house and they were visiting my aunt and uncle and didn’t even turn around (actually not sure if they even called back, since it ended in a fight). So no, I don’t miss that. There is so much pain I don’t miss, even the so called ‘good times’ bdays, xmas, were awful and I remember being ignored and like a ghost with no rights, always feeling like I was getting in the way and a burden, financially, emotionally, time, etc.

Still, I feel empty. Also I hear my sister is out of the country (younger) and went through a time of not talking to ‘anyone’, which likely includes my parents. The last time I spoke to her she was living with my parents and didn’t want to take sides. So I don’t know if she still wants to be neutral or is finally getting mad at them. I almost can’t deal with it anymore. Last time it was so hard hearing how she couldn’t talk about it. They have been bad to her too. But she is the only one who contacted me from my family, besides my aunt who is like my mom. It was a text from my aunt, an email from my sister. It makes me sad. I know I am 24, but it seems like most 24 year olds at least call and talk on the phone.

I have felt sad normally, but on my birthday, I feel almost defective, and definitely unwanted.
Anyone been here? Sad and alone, missing something, but clear that you aren’t missing the abuse?
I just feel like I don’t fit in (I know I sound like a high school kid saying that!).



Hello GDW (#66)

Though I don’t personally celebrate birthdays, I know that special events have been difficult for me since going low/NC with my FOO. (I’m sorry you’re feeling sad today) 🙁 Like you – I absolutely do NOT miss the abusive way my FOO interacts with me on such occasions … (some people have a way of crapping all over ‘special’ events, turning them into some of the worst memories. Grr!) I do, however, miss the ‘big family’ feel, though. Its natural to want to have a group of supportive people with you to celebrate special things with! (I had a ‘group’ all my life … it was just the ‘supportive’ part that was seriously lacking.) But, I’ve been working to fill that space they’ve left behind. Its been really helpful for me to build relationships with nurturing and sincere people … (wherever I can find them, whatever the distance – we keep in touch) … this is going a long way toward helping me not feel as empty, abandoned, and alone. I understand what you mean, though … There are times (though not as much, now that I’m further along in the process) when I find myself returning to the thought of ‘what is WRONG with me?’ (as you put it, feeling very defective) But, what I keep telling myself is that – while I HAVE had to overcome some defective thinking – I am not the one who put that thinking there to begin with. In reality, THEY (the abusers who refuse to change) are the defective ones. WE are the strong ones – we are the ones who have stood up and decided to break the cycle of abuse! (pat yourself on the back for that one!)

When it comes to feeling like you don’t fit in … that is something I struggle with too, GDW. I’m 29 and still question if I’m actually a part of things, or if I’m only tolerated by people in social settings (even with friends I’ve known for years!). But, the more I do this work (that Darlene shows us on EFB) – the clearer things get as to what is making me HAVE those crummy feelings … and I’m finally getting to the point where I just don’t give as much of a crap about what people think anymore. lol … (obviously, as long as I’m not hurting anyone by my actions. Of course.) But, that feeling of ‘not fitting in’ … really all of those negative feelings we’ve been implanted with – (imo) it’s not something that is just going to disappear once we reach adulthood. (we weren’t taught HOW to fit in, FOO was too busy teaching us how to help THEM rather than how to help ourselves) – For me, at least, I know its going to be hard for awhile to figure out where I fit in, when it feels like my ‘true self’ has been stifled most of my life. But, I’m starting to know myself better than I ever have. And I am so thankful for that.

Keep on working as you have been and it WILL get better! 🙂 I hope this next year has wonderful things in store for you!




I was in counseling I was talking about deep dark issues of my childhood sexual abuse and I found my self while talking about my feeling and the abuse biting my lip hard holding my breath not letting out my tears and pain, instead of letting it out I pushed it down back down deep like I was tough to do .I was told all my life I’ll give you something to cry about .so when I should feel and be free to express my pain in the middle of feeling my pain and my tears I push the pain down deep. something I know know when I do cry its all by my self watching a sad movie I feel my pain coming back up my body and it almost over whelms me to feel it and I tell my self its just a silly old movie its not real , the wisdom of false beliefs was I was saying those old toxic shame filled things to tell my self I really was nothing and not to feel.ive been called a drama queen cause when someone in the family really upsets me and I do cry, they say well there goes the water works see how she shuts the tears off and on and i my self am shamed ive said it too,Gods given me wisdom on this subject by the events thats happend this week in my life ,my husband had to go to court yesterday to testify for a child that his sep dad hit . my husband spoke for a child that couldnt speak . he did this very thing while telling the jury what happend to the little boy, my husband nearly broke down in tears ,he pushed his pain back as he was tought to do as a young man(my husband) he got his composure and told the rest of what happend to the little boy .as he spoke the lawyer speaking to my husband trying to trip him up asked him well what do you mean the little boy after getting punched stopped crying? thats what abused child or adult does .so my thoughts are how do you know a child is abused when they wont speak of it? crying and stopping when they should cry ,a adult thats abused will do the same thing we need to look deeper and ask our self are they really a drama queen or just adult or child thats been hit? I belive if we would just question our selfs about the family drama queen we may get diffrent answers . we except the lies we were told as children we didnt matter ,my mothers fav saying was, we were to be seen not hurd. to tell a child that breaks the very sprit of a child and adult.I feel to cry is like me pulling my skin off layer by layer its also like healing i am pealing off the lies of my skin to heal .we have so much toxic skin to peal off,i dont know any other way of putting the toxic shame and pain tought as a child to me . we are so devalued as children no wonder ive felted like a burden and i was worthless but I am notworthless! I am a good person God has made and he doesnt make mistakes . I am still trying to learn to cry when i need to around people its so hard .sorry I am all over the place on this one ,I hope it makes sents anyone have any feelings on how I feel how to spot abused child or adult? thanks for this wonderful blog Darlene you are a real gift to us thank you for being on fb and this web site! a rose for you @-‘–


I was angry for too long. I was civil on the outside and controlled. Didn’t cry. What I have learned is that I have to let it out. It’s toxin. GOD gave us tears for a reason..for a release. I ended up depressed which I believe is due to all those emotions getting stuck inside. I am and did go through a process to learn how to express those emotions…not just tears…in a healthy way. If left inside me they turn on me and they come out in different ways….sometimes in saracasm and digs…sometimes in physical pain…but the way it comes out in me is DEPRESSION. DEPRESSION is anger turned inward. Or in many cases….anger left inside to deal with you rather than you dealing with it.

So I say here’s to CRYING! Here’s to expressing that I was deeply angry and hurt and felt abandoned!

Some people will continue to try to make you keep your sadness inside. They dont’ deal well with it..for you or for them. but, find a way to say it all somewhere and somehow.. get that toxin out…CRY! I would rather cry than be on anti-depressants. I would rather admit how deeply I feel about things and get those things out than to let it hurt my health or others when it seeps out anyway…

Still…i dont’ love crying.


Hi Katie
Yes, this happens too. I had so much trouble with anger and that was a whole other issue to process. I too looked at the crossover messages to do with both. Good insight here. Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Hi YouKidsNever..
Welcome to EFB
yes, it is terrible when children are not permitted to have emotions or express them. It is so destructive.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Anna
yes, that is what I have found; although all the details of our childhoods may be different, the results of being invalidated have much in common. Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Happy Birthday! (sorry it is late!) My first birthday without hearing from anyone was tough. It was a reminder that they were not really interested in having a relationship with me. The second one was WAY easier because by then I knew way more about how much better/healthier I felt without all the dysfunction. All the ‘firsts’ were really hard and I had to keep reminding myself about the reason there was no contact in the first place. It was something that I felt I had no choice in if I was going to live happy. I wasn’t punishing anyone. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. And then I thought about the alternative… and that was enough to get me through it. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Karla KY
Excellent comments. I noticed stuff like that too like I would rather concentrate on getting rid of that huge lump in my throat then let the emotion come out.
That is awesome about your husband and what he did for that child! Thanks for sharing that!
Thanks for the rose!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lesslikescars
Great points about depression. For me depression was also result of being powerless, voiceless and invalidated. It is anger turned inward, and it is being convinced that personal value is missing and (for me) that my value was not equal to others value. I had to learn that those things were all lies in order to overcome the chronic depressions in my life.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


This subject is awesome. Because while reading everyone’s comments and relating to my own experiences re when/where/WHY I do or do not cry, I am gaining insights (lightbulb moments)into some of my own deep seated personality traits. Some of these things you don’t think about until you hear someone else talk about what happened to them.

I cried with rage as a child, which got me negative attention from mom. Negative attention was better than none at all. But I hid any crying for grief or personal issues because I did not want to reveal those feelings to her. Why, I don’t know. Probably because I subconsiously knew that she would attack “weakness.” I was also raised close to a lot of older generation grandpts and great-grdpts, who were good “normal” people with a lot of love, I knew that, but who never cried in front of us, barely ever gave a hug. They were what you would call “reserved.” Not because the feelings weren’t there, but because they were kids at the turn of the last century when children were seen and not heard. So I wouldn’t cry in front of them either because it would be embarrassing.

As an adult I worked several years in a treatment facility for delinquent teenage girls. I sure learned all about crying there, participating in their daily therapy groups. I learned to spot fake tears, manipulative tears, and sincere tears of grief and pain. Therefore I do react with empathy to someone, child or adult, who is crying and genuinely in some kind of pain. But you will never see me cry in front of my mother, and it is very rare that I feel free to cry in front of anyone. Both my husband and my couldn’t help but allow a couple of tears to leak out when we saw the movie Les Mis. But we were still a little embarrassed!


Stanley..thank you for sharing. Because of your statement I just recalled that my mother used to hit me with the hairbrush too. She always used a flyswatter, but now I remember the hairbrush.
Dad used a leather belt that hurt bad and left welts. When he realized they would see the welts in school he stopped using the belt.
Marsha.. my mother couldn’t catch me either. I was fast and the dining room table was round. So
around we would go, her telling me that for each circuit I would get another hit. I was not afraid of her, and I did not respect her as a child. Funny remembering that. She lied, was sneaky and devious and always scamming someone. She was not truthful or fair. I was ashamed of her from a young age.
She never protected me or stood up for me. She was and is in denial always saying: “I did the best I could”. Its a lie as she was looking out for her own interests, they always came first.
I am so much more at peace NC now for a year. I don’t need that in my life anymore.
Thank you all who post your feelings. It is SO helpful to know, really know, that I am NOT crazy
as they always said.


Karen R : Ping pong paddles. And yardsticks. Hidden in every room. haha very funny. Not!!


Dear Darlene and fellow readers,

I gave this example on a previous post but want to repeat it because it relates to the “don’t cry or I’ll give you something to cry about” theme. When I was around 7 years old my father called me over and got down on one knee to be at my height. He put a cigarette in his mouth and said “Do you want to see a match burn twice?” I naively nodded my head yes not knowing what was coming. He lit his cigarette and as he was blowing out the flame put the tip of the match on my arm and burned it (presumably this was the way the match could burn twice). He looked straight into my eyes and I had to stand there and smile; not move; and hold back the tears. He did not allow “blubbering” (the term he used for crying). After approx 15 seconds he allowed me to leave. I ran into my bedroom and cried a little in private and hoped he wouldn’t follow me to see my tears.

Neither my father nor mother allowed tears. As a child I became so skilled at holding all the tears back. My mother used any perceived “weakness” against me. If she knew something was upsetting to me she would do it repeatedly and watch my reaction. If I cried there was h*** to pay by her. I had to become a stone-faced emotionless nothing on the outside in order to survive. Someone in the family could stike physically, emotionally, verbally, etc and I had to pretend like it didn’t phase me. When I was a teenager I broke down and cried after being abused physically by an older sibling and my mother sarcastically mocked me and said, “Oh, you poor thing – you are so abused aren’t you.” And the sibling who repeatedly abused me laughed and mocked me too. The only other time I let my mom see me cry is when I found out my father committed suicide when I was 15. She didn’t shed a tear. She made me take one of her valium’s and never mentioned the death again.

The toll that stuffing my feelings has had on me has been horrific. An eating disorder, depression, physical problems, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc. etc. etc.

I love to watch sad movies so I have an “excuse” to cry and cry and cry with a “legitimate” excuse. All the feelings have been coming to the surface over the past several years and I allow myself to cry now. I was worried that once the tears started they wouldn’t stop but they did and they do. I still have guilt / shame about crying. I use the shame on myself that my family used when I want to feel. I say to myself, “Quit feeling sorry for yourself – you should be grateful for what you have.” “What do you have to feel sad about?” “Why can’t you get over the past?” “Other people had it worse than you and they are’t all screwed up like you.”

I am learning to be honest with myself and others about how I think and feel. I may be criticized, judged and rejected for this but I am learning that I can survive this too. I still worry that people will see me as “weak” if I cry. I still feel ashamed that I can’t “cope” better. I am slowly but surely allowing myself the “freedom to be me.”


Dear Darlene,
this subject has gotten me to really looking back on my roots and my family’s generations of women and abuse I remember something from my teen ager years about my grand mother everyone said she couldnt cry and I questioned this why I asked ,they would say things that I belived like she just couldnt cry, then I would ask was her tear ducts messed up then I was told leave it alone you ask too many questions . then I got to thinking was my grand mother so abused and tough not to cry? I remember when her beloved husband died she just didn’t cry. she seemed to show no weakness of tears .then not long ago it was brough to light that her first husband was the one that molested my mother at a very young age . my mother also suffred from her mothers detached love role too my mother became what her mother was to her love and detached with us only full of rage and anger. my mother when things would bottle up inside her she would explode and have a break down, I’ve wondered all my life is this why so many people suffer from some kind of mental illness becalse of the toxic way that was tought from mother to daughter to father to son not to feel and that children were always to blame for any abuse done to them? one thing I really know if people get nervous when you hit a nerve of speaking about the unspeakable sexual abuse we are so tought dont live in the passed just get over it ,the toxicness of even the fairytails ,a prince will come and carry you away and you will live happly ever after,the price is always too high for keeping pain deep inside ,I know ive seen my mother walk the walk alone of abuse and ive too walked the same walk of shame and blame and judment. we live in denail till the passed collides with our present,then we have to deal with the fallout of ptst,we walk a path in the public that we all are normal,but deep inside I strive for finding that normal, my normal is finding peace from my passed and living in my prestent and walking hand in hand with healing.I know I have a hard road to walk by myself I know I walk this path of healingby my self with god becalse all those that should have protected me and vauled me didnt and I give them all forgiveness. I do know that keeping the pain bottled up is like a cancer eating me from the inside ,I chose to heal from the inside my husband holds my hand and he also heals from his childhood pain for the first time in my life I really have someone that sees me for the broken woman that I am sees me for all my good and my deep pain he lets me see myself threw this eyes loving eyes .something we all need to see our selfs as loveable and valued even if we have to learn to love our self .I love me .



Hope you made it through your birthday OK…Happy Belated Birthday! How did the rest of the day go for you?

I struggle with holidays and birthdays as well. This year I have pulled back more and more. I wish I had some magic recipe to get through those days but I don’t. For me, I try to be with friends, keep busy and distracted, and just get through the day. For Easter I visited friends and was so glad not to be in bed and recovering from painful family interactions in the days afterward.

On My Way – I barely have words to respond to your match story. How horrific. I am so sorry that your father stole your innocence from you.


I strongly agree with you. I was never taught how to fit in. I was never shown how to socialize. All I ever saw in my FOO growing up was anti-social behavior. Im 59 now and very alone even though Im married. I never fit in in high school either. Although I now fully recognize my stick points its so hard to begin anew with others still trying to crush me back into “their” comfort zone which is underfoot literally. My SO just wants a doormat and living every day in that sort of treatment is causing me to get very depressed I need to get out more .


I’ve had life changing circumstances, where I’ve had to face the abuse from my husband. The PTSD resulted from the emotional/psychological abuse that was done to me. I feel less stressed & free to be me since I left himI& obtained a restraining order. It was the hardest decision I made for myself & my kids. My marriage was unhealthy with an abusive & disordered man. It was a mean/sweet cycle of abuse, something I was familiar with in my foo. I used to get confused by the changing behavior, not anymore. I’m no longer feel the responsibility to keep te peace & protect. I now when to old on & when to let go with myself & my kids. I’m grieving the family I thought I had with him and gave myself permission to cry alone the other day. Tears have also been judged by foo & husband as a “weakness”, due to their intolerance. I find crying now, healing & necessary in my grief. People who insult or judge other’s feelings as wrong or weak are the problem. They don’t allow themselves to feel. I feel alive when I’m nonjudgemental & accepting of myself & others. I do not tolerate abuse anymore & the cycle has been broken by me. I have alot ahead of me like divorce, custody & financial issues, yet I know I will make it. I had the strength to report & protect my family. Grieving from Narcissistic abuse is hard. It’s beyond just normal grieving. So much loss & that is what I’m feeling. Anger too at the lack of feelings on his part. I take responsibility for staying, yet I stayed out of love and worked on our marriage. Now, that I’m out w/ no contact, I’m seeing who are true friends. One friend took me in during my crisis then withdrew her support. That hurts because I felt a real bond w/ her. I no longer friends with her and it’s in my best interest to protect myself. I’ve had three losses simultaneously with a friend just mentioned, a family member who added insult to injury, then went no contact w/ me and the betrayal, abandonment & abuse done by my husband. I will no longer be the loving sponge who absorbs toxic people. I can separate & that is life changing in itself. Accepting my husband is abusive & disordered/deviant has put the responsibility of his behavior onto him where it belongs. Thanks You for helping me see the Light out of the Darkness! It truly feels liberating to have broken free. I have more issues ahead involving my children too, yet I now know I’m strong enough to face the fear. I’ve lived w/ real danger, not being consciously aware of the deception. All in all, I’ve suffered & now I have different stress, but nothing like the soul sucking stress of Narcissistic Abuse!


Sorry for all the spelling errors above :0


BTW, Accepting & allowing myself to feel is healthy. As long as, I work through the pain & not get stuck.


“Pull your lip up” is what l was told and yes, “stop crying or l’ll give you something to cry about” was said too. Guess some of us are just more emotional and vulnerable to being told these things. Its an awful thing to say to your children. Makes me think how insensitive my adoptive mother was. I must admit Darlene, that l have forgotten so much in my past, and every now and then, reading your posts, l remember certain instances. Its very “validating” to read your responses, cause on some level it helps, it helps me to stop blaming myself for everything, and to know there there are very “valid” reasons and explanations for why we are who we are.

Words spoken to children can either ruin their self esteem or build them up. The consequences of those words and actions we certainly carry into adulthood.


Hi.. crying is an emotion that I struggle with every day.. I finally have learned to cry and I can’t stop.. but I struggle with it SO MUCH! Thank you for sharing your blog ..


Hi all,
Welcome to all the new people in this discussion and to the people new to this site. I have been following along with the reading part, but I have run out of time to comment back. ~ I have 2 kids in final exams this week and they need my emotional attention so I am unable to devote my usual amount of time to answering comments. I will return to my work here in a few days!
hugs, Darlene



Yes! I totally hear what you are saying about tears. I have a very good radar about genuine tears vs. manipulative tears. Other people don’t seem to.

So when someone is in distress and cries, I really feel for them.
But when they are clearly doing it to have control, and make you feel guilty, often for THEIR abuse, well, to be honest, now I simply get scared, and want to go away.

My current roommate also has an abusive background. At first I thought this would be a great way to relate, but she still seems to have some patterns that are just not healthy for me to be around.
The other day she was crying, while calling me manipulative and that was when my internal gut feeling intuition said, “Ok, now it’s time to get out”. I knew it would only get worse, and in response to her inappropriate behavior, after I asked her if she would do it again (boundary pushing) she actually said she would! It’s that whole, “I know it’s wrong, but I can’t help it because, duh my feelings come first” mentality. It would be really tedious for me to explain the entire dynamics, and probably take you forever and bore you to read, but all I can say is I’ve seen how this story ends at least a few times. I would rather not wait and see the ugly tragic ending.

She reminded me so much of my mother. I had a dream of my mother invading my apartment and me saying goodbye and her guilttripping me, but now I see that dream was about this roommate (my mother, thank god, does not even have my address).

Thanks for sharing. It is always so helpful and theraputic to know we are not alone. 🙂



GDW (Gillian),

I have crazy vivid dreams like that too – (nightmarish type dreams of anticipated scenarios playing out in my dreams involving my abusers) – I’ve found it VERY helpful in identifying the fears that have been lurking in the back of my mind … Gives me a bit of a clue as to what needs to be addressed. Things that, during the day I might brush off as ‘nothing’ … but, ya know … if I’m having nightmares about it – MAYyyyybe it’s not ‘nothing’. I love how, as time passes, I’m getting better at being ‘in tune’ with what’s REALLY going on inside of me… all that brushing my feelings aside was really doing some damage! (I hope your roommate situation gets better!)

I find myself cringing when I see others showing behavior similar to my abusers too … never a good feeling.

And, don’t worry about ‘boring’ anyone with long stories – you never know who will be touched by it! 🙂



I have shed oceans of tears throughout my life. Many of these years of crying bouts were also due to the physical condition of stress manifesting itself with uncontrollable weeping,insomnia and other mental symptoms of abuse. My second husband never cried and saw it as weekness. He did not shed a tear when his own mother passed whom he loved or when I left him. The 13 years we were together I also learned not to cry and expressed rage and anger instead like him. I believe this is under all anger is sorrow. That was many years and tears ago. I have had many crying bouts since, years of tears diagnoised with PTSD and showed all the signs. These last several months I have not been able to work so I have rested and slept and rested and slept and reflected and prayed more then ever. I have chronic fatigue. Through this time of rest, I am not crying in bouts as before. I have come to terms with my FOO rejecting me once and for all. I do my upmost to not let the horrors of my childhood trauma stick and control my mind. I pray alot, the tears are less, much less I seem to be healing, not giving thought to the unjustified actions of others and forgiving them and myself for being human. Life changes, my tears are drops, not the oceans of the past. I must be healing through God’s grace.


I want to add: life is not fair. For me the more I try to fight and defend myself against all the wrongs and abuse done to me, I seem to suffer the most. I do not deserve my abusive family or husband or friends or neighbors, etc. I have learned this; it has hurt me the most to hang onto what people think of me, giving them the power to define my worth. After all they treat me as if I deserve it! Those I thought loved me have kicked me while I was down with sickness and disability, litterly walking away. I have learned to live with dignity and will as long as I have breath. This must be the reason I no longer drown in my tears. God has doing a mighty work in me. If my journey includes more tears, HE is here and has them all. My comfort:I am not alone!


Comfort & Peace to you. I empathize with your pain. I’ve been there & I’m still working through the damage of abuse. It is draining and it’s affected my mental health as well. Glad u are here.


Hi Le’ah
Something that I found helpful was realizing that fighting against them and defending myself was never going to change them and that giving in did not mean that I accepted the abuse. Acceptance of the way ‘they are’ helped me to move forward. In realizing that they were never going to listen to me or change, I decided to focus on my needs which enabled me to stop trying with them. As you say, to let them go.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Darlene and Sonia,
Thank you kindly for your comments and encouragement. Yes,it is still needed; I visit read,& at times share on this vital”common ground,”blog. We all need as humans to belong to some extent in our lives, especially when we are treated as outcasts by many. Yes it is a tough reality but the only healthy one;letting them go; the pain of memory with it. We can gather ourselves in dignity moving on in grace. Leaving behind the past and not trying to change what cannot be in them. Change begins and ends in us; for us.

Thank you both again for caring. I sincerely care for your continued healing too! God bless.


I just had another Aha moment. My so-called close friend, who withheld support after taking me in during a crisis, has Narcissistic traits!…Wow, what she did was just like what other Narcs in my life have done to me, withheld support, when I needed it the most. I felt the same feelings of abandonment & betrayal, which led to my crying & sadness. Appropriate given her actions put salt in my already fresh wound from my husband. She is now inviting me to a fun activity in a message, which I declined. Not healed enough to put her actions aside. To me she is just an acquaintance. I miss her though yet letting go for myself.


Hi everyone,

I’m writing here because I have the worst difficulty to get out of my actual situation.

I want to move out because I have important money problems (the rent is too high), neighbourhood problems and my psychopatic-ex continues to stalkes me (he knows where I live). I need absolutely to move out but I just can’t, I am stuck in fear, paralysed, guilty.

I need to call a social worker but I just can’t, I feel so guilty and I minimize things telling myself things like “oh no you don’t need help, all is fine” as it was the case during my childhood where mother denied the abuse I suffered.
I am afraid to ask help because my worst fear is that my situation became worse. Like it was the case during my childhood : I asked help when I was hurted and injuried but it was worse, I was punished.

I need to move out from my brith town because I feel so bad. I live in fear, I am always thinking about seeing my abusers. My heart is speeding up at each corner, I have too many bad memories, I need to go.

Thanks for reading.


Hi everyone,

I’m writing here because I have the worst difficulty to get out of my actual situation.

I want to move out because I have important money problems (the rent is too high), neighbourhood problems and my psychopatic-ex continues to harass me (he knows where I live). I need absolutely to move out but I just can’t, I am stuck in fear, paralysed, guilty.

I need to call a social worker but I just can’t, I feel so guilty and I minimize things telling myself things like “oh no you don’t need help, all is fine” as it was the case during my childhood where mother denied the abuse I suffered.
I am afraid to ask help because my worst fear is that my situation became worse. Like it was the case during my childhood : I asked help when I was hurted and injuried but it was worse, I was punished.

I need to move out from my brith town because I feel so bad. I live in fear, I am always thinking about seeing my abusers. My heart is speeding up at each corner, I have too many bad memories, I need to go.

Thanks for reading.


Sorry for the double message, the second is the one with less grammar errors !



I too got punished for being sick. I didn’t realize how strange this was, consciously, until a few days ago. Whenever we would get sick my mother would say, “You’re not sick”. I don’t remember if she expressly said, “You’re lying, you’re not sick” but I think she did. Anyways, we always had to ‘prove’ to her that we were sick. But even when I showed her I was pale, coughing, sneezing, barely able to stand, she would say, “That’s not enough, that could be from anything”. She would say, “You have to be throwing up or have a fever”. I have literally thrown up once since I was 7 (not including a few times involving drugs and alcohol which I am not proud of), so my chances of getting to stay home when sick were always low.

I always felt like I was lying, tricking her, being bad. I was just sick!

And looking at it, so was she, just in a different way. Ugh! Ick!
Abuse sucks!!!!



Sorry Ginger, I must’ve been triggered by your post. I saw ‘sick to death’ and ‘punished’ and bam!
Sorry about that!!!


It sounds like you were punished for something different. Again, apologies for misinterpreting that (though it is likely enough that I am not the only one on this site who has been punished for being sick, clearly, we can get punished for sneezing with some abusive types!)
Again- ICK!



Yes, regarding the NC. I think our situations are different. I had to implement NC. My parents love contacting me, as long as they can call the shots, set time limits, rules, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, THEY ONLY LIKE TO CONTACT ME WHEN I’M DOING WELL so they can sabotage me. It really gives them an esteem boost, and feels dangerous. When I’m doing badly, it’s like, “Huh? Who’s Gillian?” The abuse is active and willful, but once the effects have kicked in (I’m doing badly) they just watch me burn, so they can blame me. I’d rather not have it at all.

I got a gift from my mother. My aunt brought it, she had dinner with me on Friday. I just started crying. I was so furious, because last year I gave back my gift and that was when I was in contact with them! Now that I have limited contact info, why would I want them stalking me in that way? My mother has a history of giving cheap gifts and then demanding thank yous (even if we have already thanked her a number of times) much like when she demands multiple apologies, and says “That’s not a good enough apology” and makes us do it again, even if she was in the wrong. Ugh.

I guess sometimes when I hear you talk about your implementing no contact I do start to feel guilt, because my parents are so much more willful about having contact. But it’s abusive contact! Only once I am begging and crying do they neglect me like your parents do. Does that make me bad?
I feel bad. I do. But I know that talking to them only hurts me. And I really do not think I deserve that. But I get confused with these feelings so much.



Thank you so much for writing this!! I have always had this problem and didn’t remember how deep it went until you started describing you felt when you stopped the tears. I have exactly the same thought pattern! Not being able to feel worthy of feeling or crying or having problems of my own has been affecting my relationships for quite some time now. It is such a relief to remember where it came from.

Hugs <3


Hi Aurele
My heart goes out to you at this difficult time. Sometimes I have to slow myself down and just do the next right thing to do. Perhaps if you call the social worker, he or she can help you with that next right thing. I know it can be very hard. Hang in there. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


It was hard for me to learn that the details were not the actual problem; it was the root of the control that was. My father says he wants contact but he won’t respect me or listen to me about why our relationship is difficult. He says he is sorry, but then does it again. My decision to go no contact with him was ‘different’ than what happened with my mother, but the root problem is pretty much the same. My mother on the other hand just gave up when I drew a boundary as if to say, “you are not worth it”. All of it is hurtful. The bottom line is that neither of my parents were willing to work on a relationship with me that was different than the way they were used to it, which discounted me totally. That is really what I stood up to. 🙂
I felt guilty lots too, but I kept having to look at the alternative. If my parents wanted to be IN a relationship with me, they would have been willing to hear me, and meet me at least half way.
Hugs, DArlene


Hi Meg
Yes, I found the ‘roots’ of the all issues helped me so very much. Once I knew why I reacted the way that I did and found the roots of where I was ‘taught’ to respond, (usually in a way that meant survival for me) I was able to see that those ways were wrong, dysfunctional etc. That is where the re-building process was able to start for me.
Hugs, Darlene


GDW #98

My jaw dropped when I read your comment! (yet again, GDW, we are on the same page! wow) It always felt like I had to go through a drawn out trial just to get any kind of validation that I ‘was in fact sick’. If I didn’t have a temperature over 102 then it was ‘proof’ that I was ‘making it up’ or ‘just felt like being lazy today’ when I told my parents that I didn’t feel well … I needed to be vomiting, or have high fever for it to ‘qualify’ … and, if I had 100 or 101 … it was ‘only a slight fever’ and I was told “you know what’ll help you feel better? if you did more work around the house! it’ll keep your mind off of it.” … (truth leak: I need you to do ‘your job’ of helping maintain this household of children {my many younger siblings}, and if you’re sick then you won’t be able fulfill that role I’ve obligated you into! Therefore we’ll just deny you the right to be sick and make you ‘push through it’ so we can still get work out of you.) … It floors me now, when I tell my husband that I’m not feeling well and he says – “I don’t want you to do any work today, just take it easy” … wait … you mean … you don’t want a blood sample first? (lol) How sad is that, though, that the ones who were in charge of nurturing us children when we were ill – only invalidated the fact that we genuinely WERE NOT feeling well … And, even if I finally did fit all of the ‘qualifications’ for being ‘actually sick’ in their eyes – I still got the regular speech of “You don’t know what REAL pain/sickness is. I’VE had to deal with _____. Now, THAT’S really not feeling well.” (which just taught me that any actual pain/sickness I was feeling meant nothing. That it was selfish of me to want consideration to be shown to me… wow. the things we learn before we’re even teenagers. nice.)

I can definitely relate to the feeling that you were ‘lying, tricking her, being bad. I was just sick!’ … its like we were taught that any need we had was actually just a major inconvenience to them … therefore that made us ‘bad’ when we genuinely would express that we weren’t well. So very twisted.

I appreciated your sharing your thoughts on that … it helped me take a deeper look at my own experience in that regard. Thanks!




Wow! I am sad to say, I’m not too surprised at this.
Uggghhh! Yes! It’s pretty frusterating too, when your father is a legitimate medical doctor and you get an autoimmune illness and he refuses to validate it. I remember thinking that unless my arm was falling off, he wouldn’t consider me sick. I remember going behind his back to buy supplements at the health food store (yes, he shamed me for being interested in alternative health) and it actually cured my muscle aches when I took them, because I’d read about it in a study online. When I told him, I thought he’d be happy for me, since I’d stop complaining, and being annoying and sick, but he thought I was lying about being cured! He said it was all in my head, or something to that liking! I was lying, etc. He didn’t care I was better, he just wanted to be right. My feelings never mattered to him. Being his child was like dealing with a litigator 24/7. And, like in court, power and money seem to prevail more than who is actually right.

And yes, I too remember feeling strange when people validated my being sick, a kind of “why are you so nice” in addition to “wait, I’m allowed to be sick?” kind of thing.

I remember how hard it was with my fibro- which in retrospect was stress induced, by him. He kept saying I wasn’t sick, even though my muscle aches would literally wake me up from sleeping. Once I remember collapsing out of fatigue and my mother said in the most angry snotty voice, “What are you, an invalid?” and wouldn’t talk to me the rest of the car ride.

One thing I remember telling my father on one of my worst days was that “My life is so hard” (in retrospect, it was, it was hell) and he just sighed and said, “Ugh, everyone’s life is hard” and that was the end of it. No empathy or curiosity as to what or how should be done about the myriad of problems. I suppose I was just ‘feeling sorry for myself’. My father seems to always paint himself as the victim. I cringed to go out to lunch with him and hear him complain to the working mother/waitress about ‘money issues’ and ‘how hard it is’ and then watch him question my ‘generous’ tipping. I mean, the man makes over $250,000 a year! He doesn’t seem to take into account how much harder it can be to live life poor, or female, or black, or gay, or any of that. He is one of the most privledged people on the planet, but according to him, his life is just as hard as everyone else’s….Wow. Just…wow. He just will not take responsibility, everyone else, no matter how unfortunate, must take care of, pay attention to, cater to, and feel sorry for him.

And oh god, yes, to needs being bad- it’s like wow, just kill me now! In that kind of a system, as Darlene calls it, it’s impossible to not be bad. We are not wax sculptures, therefore we will have needs. If we were so annoying, why did they have us in the first place? Didn’t they know, we’d get sick, hungry, sad, cold, tired, that we’d need help with our math homework? I think they had us as some quick fix magic potion to solve their problems or at least blame them on someone- I am still baffled at my mother’s saying “Your father and I are thinking about getting a divorce because of you”…Arrgh!!! And the lying—–it just felt like a police state all the time. My sister, honestly got the worst of it, I think I just had my soul stolen sooner as the compliant ‘golden child’- which IMO is actually more detrimental than the scapegoat in SOME ways. The golden child has no personality, function, or action that is not a direct manifestation of the parent! I am still trying to figure out who I am, what I like, because most of it was what I was trained to say I liked, and that became my life. IE…I don’t even like ballet- but I used to do it for fourteen hours a week!!! Up until age 15!!!

Thanks for your comments- they seem to be helpful in triggering memories, because I am remembering all sorts of things! Your comments are helping me see things on a deeper level too. This is a wonderful supportive community. Sometimes I wish we could all meet in person! 🙂



Thank you Darlene :-).


GDW # 107

Gillian, You just gave me chills! … seriously … my mother said the EXACT same thing as your mom did!!!!

One day I was walking out of our house to go for a swim and noticed that my mother was sulking – (in an attempt for emotionally supportive attention from her children) … so I stopped and asked if she was alright …
“~sigh~ I’m fine…” (she said, turning her head away in this odd fake dramatic sort of way)
I didn’t feel like playing the “No, really, you can tell me. Let me make you feel all better .. ” game … so I just said ‘ok, well I’m going to go swim’ shrugged my shoulders like there genuinely WAS nothing wrong and went on ahead out to our pool. As soon I had begun swimming, she stepped outside to the edge of our deck and said
“something IS wrong.”
Ok … so, out of respect for her feelings I stopped swimming and just stood still in the water to wait for what she had to say …
“This morning I told your father that I want to divorce him. And it’s ALL because of YOU!”
What …. the ….. crap? I was 20 at the time, and I recently gotten engaged to my first boyfriend – now husband. (wonderful, wonderful man) During that time, my parents were constantly changing rules and disagreeing with each other on what rules to make for my dating and I was constantly struggling to keep up and follow those changes … So, it’s not really my fault that they hadn’t figured out how they, as parents, wanted to handle things when one of their children actually began dating. I mean, they HAD to know that was coming, right? come on people. (though I have an older brother – he never has dated, and I have a younger sister who had dated several guys by that time – but it was all in secret, so they never actually HAD to face the ‘openly dating’ aspect of parenting until it came to me)

When she said those terrible words to me … I stared at her blankly. Got out of the pool. Grabbed my towel. Walked right past her and into the house. I grabbed my purse and my keys and just drove off down the road … still in my swimsuit. I didn’t say a word to her. I just left. I called my fiance and explained what had just happened … within a day or two he had assembled a team of my friends to help me move out fast. (I had a friend who let me live with her in the months leading up to my wedding)

My mothers blaming me for her marital troubles was enough evidence for me to know I needed to get out of there. (to this day she denies ever saying that, she says “I ONLY said that your father and I were having trouble getting along because of you …” … ok, that’s NOT what you said – AND … btw, STILL an awful thing to say to your kid.)

I am sorry that you had to hear such hurtful blame from your mother as well … 🙁 … (I highly doubt ANY kid ever deserves such blame!)

I absolutely agree with you when you said “they had us as some quick fix magic potion to solve their problems” … My mother has directly said that she liked her kids best when they were little and still thought that she was perfect. And that when her kids start getting older she feels like she needs to have another small child in her arms to make her feel like she is needed/worth something! (she is physically no longer able to have children, but has now begun adopting children in order to have a small child to fill that ’emotional need’.)

Though I feel like I was definitely the ‘scapegoat’ … my sister was the GC and I can absolutely see what you mean about it being a difficult role to be put in … I see her and it’s like she’s afraid to exist as an individual… she denies any thoughts or inclinations that would make her different from ‘them’ (I assume out of fear of them not liking her for those differences) … and … like you said .. its as though her soul was stolen. (though always the GC, she DID at one time have more of her own personality, but she made some mistakes as a teen and has since stepped fully into the role of compliant GC – abandoning most of her individuality.)
“no personality, function, or action that is not a direct manifestation of the parent!” Is spot on, Gillian. That is how my GC sister is. I’m sorry you have to navigate your way out of that position. 🙁

I can definitely sympathize with spending extensive amounts of time involved in an activity that was done only to please your abusers … (for you it was ballet) … for me, it was more along the lines of being told what my life goals were and being cornered into following through. When other people would praise me for accomplishing those ‘goals’… I felt like such a hypocrite. Even if I DID do well at it, I never felt that I deserved it. It wasn’t my choice to own the praise for.

Thankfully – the more work I do in this whole ‘process’ of emotional healing – the more I truly know myself and am able to actually put a VOICE to it. I am becoming less afraid of saying ‘that’s fine if you don’t like ______. I do, so that’s what I’M going to do for myself. And you’re welcome to do differently for yourself.” If people truly love you – they love YOU – differences and all. I hope you keep on working to discover who you really are and what you want as your own person … Yay! for you being able to take steps toward that for yourself!

(also, …. you did ballet? … even if that’s something you didn’t want to do … that is SERIOUSLY tough to do. So, props to you for being able to! And, props to you for being able to stop something when you’ve decided its not what YOU want.)

I am happy that my comments have been helpful in triggering memories for you. I keep a document of memories as they pop into my head. Then, when I have time later, I look through the list and decide which I feel like addressing/delving into. (because sometimes I’ll have SO many triggers in one day that I can’t handle it all at once… so I have to pace myself) But it has been helpful being a part of this supportive community, I totally agree with you!

Love and best wishes to all!



GDW and Kera, I feel sympathy for your stories and can relate. OMG about being sick with any kind of fever and being made to work, having a MD father who won’t acknowledge fibro, being told your parents are divorcing because of YOU…..

Did I tell you (and others here) that I brought up my mother’s lack of responsiveness to my fractured foot (crying in pain on the floor, being told “it’s only a sprain”, no medical care, no ice, no meds, alone…)? I brought this up in therapy with her and my mother said “Well, Light had a reputation for feigning illness”.

I was enraged. What a crap thing to say. It took her four sessions to apologize for this. She didn’t want to be accountable. My therapist says my mother was being defensive and her comment was “normal” and “human”. I think it was extreme.

It’s difficult with my mother though…she also does very nice things, like send over food, gifts, cards, etc. I find it hard to reconcile very nice gestures where it seems like she loves me, with negligent and/or hurtful behavior. It is so variable. My siblings are very loyal to her, and not particularly understanding toward me (nor do they care to know much about my experience). I feel like an emotional orphan. The rejection hurts so much.

Something is wrong, though, when there is sexual abuse, excessive alcohol use, and emotional/physical/medical neglect….no matter what my other family members say.

I was the last child and unplanned, and sometimes I wonder if I am being pushed out of the family because I wasn’t really wanted to begin with.



Ahhhh! Light, yes! You did not tell me that. I think it was that kind of sticky sweet abusive behavior, you know when someone whispers the cruelest thing imaginable in the softest sanest voice, and you start to believe them? My mother too was cruel about illness. I remember her telling me when I was older that, “Well, you know Gillian they (they being the people they paid to diagnose me in my wilderness camp that I was sent to for no legal or psychiatric reason, a place that was not managed by the state, but where my father could pay them a lot of money to deem me ‘bad’) diagnosed me as being a hypochondriac! Its not being a hypochondriac when you are actually sick!

I also remember at the oddest time, when I was on the porch, begging for food and crying she decided to bring it up? “Oh yeah and your so called ‘illness'” she sniveled. She loves hitting the weak spots. Oh, yes she does. It NEVER ceases to be a game for her! I was furious, I was like “How DARE you?” and of course she acted like I was satan himself, she gasped in horror at the fact I would be angry at that. Always making me out to be the villain. That is why I do not interact with her anymore. I am simply not willing to play that role anymore —villain, liar, hypochondriac, crazy, victim— and have it play out in other relationships.

My mother does ‘nice’ things. But they are not ‘nice’ because even when I ask her to leave me alone, or that those ‘nice’ things hurt me, she does it anyways. There are no boundaries. Try this.

Like the boyfriend who beats and then gives flowers, or in one friend’s case, her father who would sexually assult, beat, and lock her in a closet, and then go and buy her things, nice comes with the territory. If they weren’t nice sometimes, you’d be gone!

I told my mother explicitly that I do not feel comfortable accepting gifts from her. She expects too much in return and I do not want to be indebted to her. I also have made repeated efforts to tell my family I do not want any contact. My mother recently sent a gift. Is that ‘nice’. It is a gift- but it is explicitly going against my wishes, and what I consider respect, and what makes me feel safe and comfortable. It is a power game. She is saying, “I know you do not want this, but I can do it anyway”. That is never nice.

Going NC is a challenge. But it is so much better (for me) than staying in that enmeshed system. At least when I’m not doing anything, I know that I am not at fault.

I am personally considering a restraining order, but do not know about the legal, financial, or travel arragnements/repercussions, yet.

Anyways, wow my heart goes out to you. I would be so outta there!!! But I have to keep telling myself, everyone’s situation is different. It’s just, when I look back on my life, and think about how many times I almost died, how many parts of me have died, how much danger I’ve been in, and how much more I could be in (if they were still informing my decisions), I think, THANK GOD THEY ARE NOT LIVING MY LIFE FOR ME ANYMORE!

Makes me so angry, when I look back on all the suffering they’ve caused. It’s disgusting.


Sorry Light I wrote try this, and was gonna write a suggestion, but then I realized our situations are different. It’s not my place to give that kind of advice. Apologies if it was confusing. 🙂


Hi all-

I am wondering if anyone can shed some light on this, particularly Darlene?

So I was talking to this girl today, she is in one of my classes. Her behavior is all over the place and she is obviously distressed. Upon meeting her, she seems sort of ‘out of control’, which is sort of how I remember being when I was at my worst.

She says she doesn’t forgive her parents, but she still interacts with them. I told her that my parents aren’t sorry and if they could do everything over again, they’d do it the same and they are still mean to me. She said that her parent aren’t sorry and are still mean to her, BUT her mother had an abusive family and that she was molested (as if that’s a reason to treat your daughter like crap?). She said she just doesn’t react. I can’t believe that after how clearly traumatized she has been, its so clear in her body language/concentration/lack of control, that she still puts up with it!

How can she not see how awful this is, how she is still a victim?

I did tell her about my aunt, and she did say she had ‘no other options’. I am still horrified though. Just horrified. She said that , ‘now it’s my responsiblity for everything’ but her parents have clearly impeded her ability to function, and clearly continue to do so! And worst of all when I told her how angry I was at my parents, she said, “Well, it’s not worth it to get mad at them.” and “I can’t blame them for everything”
It’s not worth it? I don’t even want to know where I’d be if I’d never gotten mad! And I can’t blame them for everything?

She blames herself, and ….ugh!
She was telling me about all her diagnoses and all I could think was trauma! Trauma!
Buying into those diagnoses (that the parents so adamantly want their ‘troubled’ kids to be tested for) just helps kids buy into the victim mentality! How can people blame themselves, and then victimize themselves! I am so furious! And worst of all, she said she ‘doesn’t buy into it’ but she does! She still interacts with them, they’re still mean to her, she has all these physical symptoms, she can’t listen without interrupting, and she thinks she’s the one with all the problems, all the responsibliity!

I can’t stand this kind of thing, it’s so triggering and so tragic and I’m so furious!!!!


I think I felt like she was implying I was bad to be angry at my parents, like it wasn’t my place.
“It’s just not worth it?” I think it IS worth it!

And that she was implying that I was to blame, when she said, “Well, I can’t blame them for everything”.
I’m not blaming them for everything! I’m holding them responsible for the damage they have done! What is so wrong with that??? That by holding my parents responsible for what they did I was ‘blaming them for everything’ that was apparently my fault? What?

IMO its sort of a victim mentality to hold yourself responsible and feel guilty about something you have not done. But I have a strong tendency to do so, since I am used to being blamed for what I haven’t done. Ugh! So confused!

I don’t think it’s bad to be angry when someone treats you badly, or that I am to blame for something that has been done to me that is unjust, so why am I doubting myself? Why do I feel so guilty and triggered?
I mean why did she feel like she could imply that my anger and holding them responsible was not ok? I am honestly kind of offended…..I don’t know.

Just needed to vent I guess. It always helps.


Hi GDW – Thank you for your thoughtful words about my situation.

Regarding your classmate: I know for a long time, for me personally, it took a long time to get to the anger stage. I had a talk with my therapist about it….and I was saying that the anger stage is very scary, because it means I have to come to terms with what other people are saying and doing, and what it means. It was almost safer to be depressed and blame myself and turn it on myself even though I was in a deep hole. Anger and indignation for me means movement, and looking at how horrifying the situation really is, and taking action. Perhaps your classmate isn’t ready. It’s hard to know if she was strictly speaking for herself or if she was implying some kind of judgment about you. For me, if I’m not sure what someone means, I try to ask them. I find it helps to slow the conversation down. Though sometimes the answer isn’t what I want to hear!


Ugh! Here is another thing that gets my goat. I think today was just so triggering for me, the more I think about it. Gahhh!!!!!

This is really how the conversation with my classmate went:
“Not only are they not sorry, but they’re still mean to me. That’s why I don’t talk to them anymore, because I can’t function when I do- things get really bad. Now that I don’t talk to them, I’m ok.”- Me
“They’re still mean to me, and they’re not sorry, but I just don’t care anymore. I don’t let it get to me, it’s not a big deal. It’s in the past. My mom had all of these bad things happen to her, soo…(etc etc) I’m responsible now.”- Her
“It is a big deal. It affects me. I think, for me if they’re not sorry and they’re still being mean, then yes it is a big deal and I’m not ok with being around that.”
“I just try not to react.”
“Well, I can’t do that. That worked for my sister and brother (but thinking about it, it didn’t so much- I am the scapegoat, but they still get crap).”
“I used to be reactive too, and now that I don’t they aren’t as mean to me.”

Like it’s my fault for ‘reacting’ and not theirs for abusing me! Like they get carte blanche to do whatever they want because oh, well, I ‘reacted’ so I must be responsible. Whatever happened to choosing to be around people who don’t intentionally push your buttons so that you don’t have to feel ‘bad’ and ‘responsible’ everytime you have some emotional reaction to abusive, demeaning, demoralizing treatment? Or people who when they do something that is offensive, are ok with you expressing how you feel and talking it over?

This is the SAME advice we all got as kids. WE are responsible for whether or not they bully us, by ‘not reacting’. So, if someone hits me and I have a red face all day, that’s my fault. If I am not allowed vitamin c and get scurvy, it’s my fault. That’s how emotions are for me- they are triggered, and I feel I react (and for bullies a ‘reaction’ is often just some tiny little piece of proof that you’re scared like a look, or flinching). I feel scared. So now I am being chastised and blamed for being scared. We were always told, “Just don’t react”. It is horrific! What about telling the bully, “Just don’t treat people like crap”?

Reacting is not a disease, it’s the human condition. If we didn’t react, we’d be robots. Isn’t it more ’emotionally unstable’ to seek out victims to bully and get a perverse satisfaction from it? Why aren’t these people given more lectures? Why aren’t they being told how dramatic they are (and yes, I do think taking the energy to bully is dramatic)?

I just remember my boss telling me to not react to a co-worker, she said “Yes he’s an asshole but….what can I do?” I told her I couldn’t really control that (and the truth is, I really do believe in somatics- the body tells us we are scared often before we realize it ourselves, and not until the problem is addressed can we relax physically).
Of course later I got blamed for being ‘ridiculous’ when he would not stop harassing me, and later fired. He was never punished. People said he was a jerk, but never in front of superiors.

Man! It is 3:30 AM and I just get more and more memories.

Light- Thanks for your comments. Yes, I am not sure where she was coming from. It was both difficult and theraputic to be triggered so I am (obviously) just in that process of trying to figure out where these thoughts and feelings stem from. But I am getting so flippin pissed at how willfully people defend abusers! It makes me sick! Rawrrr!


GDW – I find it frustrating, too, when I see someone who is clearly in an abusive situation – and (while they will complain about how the behavior of their abusers) they make excuses for them and, in turn, they then become judgmental of how I have handled being bullied/abused. I guess, my take on it is this:

They are still ‘stuck’ in that ‘system’ … something deep down tells them it’s wrong to live that way – but they can’t see it for themselves. And, as much as I may want to help … I can’t force her to ‘see’ and act on it. Only when she has gained enough strength within herself will she be able to stand up against this abuse. I’ve had plenty of people throughout my life try and ‘make me’ stand up for myself … but, I wasn’t able to FIRMLY take such a stand. At least, not until I was personally able to get to the bottom of things (getting down to the roots of this whole twisted system) … only then did I feel equipped enough to say ‘enough is enough’. And then I could actually stand by that statement.

I know that I can be there for the friend who is being abused – I can offer support if she does decide to face it. But, if all she is going to do is invalidate my feelings – (by defending the abusers, or by judging how I am protecting/defending myself) I take it as a sign that she’s not ready to acknowledge the facts of the situation. That it is easier for her to assume that everyone should handle things the way she is handling them … and, if they are not doing it the way she is – then they MUST be wrong. (because its too hard for her to imagine that she might need to change how SHE’S handling her own situation) Its sad to watch, but – I don’t know that I can do much about it ….

I have since chosen to limit my contact with that individual – not because I don’t love her … but, because as long as I surround myself with ones who defend abusive behavior and, in turn, condemn ones who don’t put up with it … then the harder it is for me to progress emotionally. I hope that she will see how happy I am, now that I’m ‘out of the system’ – and maybe THAT will help her see things better.

But, again – that’s just my experience … everyone is different.

(@ light – thank you for telling me about your experience! I guess I never realized that so many have been blamed for such things! A child is not responsible for making their parent’s marriage work! That is so jacked up for them to even THINK that way. Its just a sign that they are immature, in that they refuse to take responsibility for their relationships! – gross.)



Side note:

I stood up to one of my abusers yesterday!!! :-O

I am friends with his daughter (my sister) and she had begged me if she could come see me that day. I contacted him (only for her sake – otherwise he is blocked from my phone) in order to ask if she could come over and spend time with me. At first he said “That should be fine … I don’t see why not.”
But, then he tried to bully his way in … saying that he also would want to come over (and bring one or more of my other abusers with him) I calmly and firmly said:

“Mmmm, I’m not really comfortable with that” <–me

"Well, why not?" <- he said, in this fake 'shocked' voice

"I’ve already made you aware of why not" (fyi: we've had endless discussions between us about how damaging their abusive behavior is – and that it WILL NOT be tolerated in our home. If they insist on behaving that way, then they are not welcome in our home.)

"Well I guess THAT'S something we’re just going to have to DISCUSS later."

"No need to. We’ve already talked about it plenty. 🙂 So … do I need to pick up ____ or will you be dropping her off?"

"I don't think it's going to work out this time"

"ok, well let her know I called. Thanks anyway 🙂 bye!"

And the conversation was done.

Funny how one second it was ok for her to come over, but as soon as I didn't allow him to push me around (in his effort to make me go back on what I've said) then her visiting was suddenly not allowed. Classic.

My husband was sitting next to me for that phone call and he was AMAZED at how firmly I stood up for myself "even just a few weeks ago you wouldn't have EVER been able to do that! I'm impressed!"

I owe it to EFB, (Darlene, and the community) for my getting strong enough to stand up for myself! YAY!!!!!!!! Just wanted to share that little personal triumph. It was SO empowering to basically say 'you don't scare me anymore!"

Love and best wishes to all


I am having a lot of the same feelings you are experiencing GDW. I had another therapy session with my mom. The therapist seems to have an “existential” Buddhist type approach…e.g. “no one is to blame”….”try not to take it personally”….”that’s what she does – I’d like to help you to not feel hurt by it”…etc.

I did ask the therapist if cutting contact was on the continuum of options of how to “accept her” and she said yes, so I guess she isn’t saying that I have to put up with it. Or is she? She also said “people say hurtful things” “people disappoint” “it’s normal” in the context of accepting others.

My individual therapist thinks she is using the wrong model for therapy.

I was so f-in furious after our appt today. I just stayed in bed and held pillows all afternoon. Really wanted to smash plates. I wish there was a business out there that would rent out a cement room full of plates to smash. I could easily do that for an hour.

My mother gave me a written blanket apology today for the ways that she has hurt me. However she’s done this before decades ago, and the hurt continued. She also is resistant to talking about specific instances and being accountable, and when she does she’ll do things like blame me (“Light had a reputation for feigning illness”) instead of apologizing for not helping me with my fractured foot.

So, the apology feels hollow. I am disappointed that this is not going well.


Kera – good for you for standing up to an abusive person. It is too bad that the daughter didn’t get to see you.

GDW – I know what you are saying about “reacting”. I completely understand why you are having the feelings that you do….seems completely normal and self-protective to me. Something similar is happening in therapy with my mom – the idea of my “sensitivity” has come up. Umm, yes, I’m sensitive, when people say crappy things to me!

My individual therapist said something helpful about this though. I told her how furious I was and she commented that I am not abandoning myself. What an affirming thing to say!

Sometimes I think the best course of action for me is to keep nurturing those relationships where I feel warmth and understanding and validation, and shed the ones that feel bad. It’s a lonely transition, and I mourn the loss of the family members that I had wanted to be close with, but there comes a time to move on if interactions aren’t healthy.



Wow, sounds like your therapist is making excuses for your mother. I personally gave up on therapy a while back. But for me, it was my father talking behind my back, breaking hippa laws, having no remorse, and me almost being homeless/living off some creep twice my age/not going to college (he wouldn’t sign the loan, and makes too much money for me to get financial aid).

So I suppose getting a threat to your survival might make it easier to cut off therapy? Anyway. You don’t have to go to therapy. No one is making you. Maybe ask yourself, if this is really helping you, or hurting you, before it gets worse? Right?

Especially if your therapist is taking the blame the victim approach it could lead to reabuse. Let me tell you, in all of my family therapy situations, the therapist always ended up siding with my father. Always. Even when they met me first, and liked me! And heard what he’d done! It’s honestly awful.

About breaking dishes! Yes! I did that last quarter, when I had my own apartment. I’m sure my neighbors thought I was nuts, but it was flipping fantastic!!!! Do it!!! Put your all into it!

When I look back on my mother’s abusive treatment I remember one time she was purposefully talking about rape after I asked her to not talk about it, like hours after. I was breaking light bulbs, my room looked a mess. It’s honestly horrifying to even remember. However, now that I do not have contact with her, I do not act crazy. No one is making me act crazy! It’s so refreshing to know I have control over this, that I am not screwed up, that all I have to do is avoid intentionally cruel treatment and look back on how drastically this effects my behavior.

I think your mother blaming you is lame. Also, my parents don’t apologize, but what they do is state their ‘pure’ intentions while at the same time not doing what they say. I can honestly almost laugh at the fact that my father says, “We really want to respect you” and 30 seconds later insult me. Does he really think I am that stupid, or that desperate for….well, what? What did he ever give me? Financial support? No. Emotional support? No. Abuse? Yes. Am I going to beg him to abuse me? Heck no!!! Those days are SO over.

Sounds like your individual therapist is a keeper. I’m glad you have her to keep you sane, even if the family one is taking sides or at the very least infuriating.

Thanks for your comments about relationships regarding the good and bad. That’s true. I keep hoping the loneliness will pay off- but I know it already is. Now I have me. I don’t feel like someone owns my soul- that is a terrible thing to give up to anyone.


Soooo proud of you! You go girl! Keep on keepin on! I love to hear all these stories about people taking care of themselves. Gosh we are all so lucky to have Darlene, and eachother, aren’t we??? 🙂


Light – So sorry for what you are going through. Your mentioning your therapy got me thinking of the past. During one point of no contact between my sisters and Nmom and I. Nmom suggested we all go to therapy to sort it all out. I said no because I new Nmom would play the sweet little old lady routine and I would be blamed for everything yet again. And it was going to be with my sisters’ therapist too. So they blamed me for saying No to therapy and supposedly getting it all resolved. Looking back I’ve Not trusted my mother for as long as I can remember. When my grandma passed my sister told me Nmom was a mess and was confused. That confused me because when my mother called me she was perfectly fine and said grandmas’ passing was for the best since since she was suffering. Since my mother wouldn’t show emotion in front of me that was another aha moment for me. I am now so bitter towards her that I feel no love at all only emptiness. All of the mind games have gotten to me. Peace all =)


I have Borderline Personality Disorder, which is many times mistaken for Bi-Polar. I can cry at the drop of a hat. Other times, when I really need to, I can’t cry. I can pick up on others’ feelings and they become my own. I get overwhelmed very easily.


Hi Joyce
Welcome to EFB
I can relate to your post. I too was very emotional (although not able to cry very often) but I too picked up the emotions of others and felt they were mine and I became overwhelmed very easily. This entire site is about how I took my life back and overcame depression etc. I am glad you are here,
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi All,

I am wondering if anyone can give me some tips on something interpersonal (abuse related) that I am dealing with?

As I noted above, I have a classmate who has an abusive past. Her behavior actually scares me a lot. I would like to distance myself from her, but I do not know how to do so without hurting her, angering her, or distancing myself from my other functional friend whom she has also befriended.

She reminds me so much of my mother- denial, narcissistic, controlling, unstable, takes offense easily. I feel being direct would anger her, and my other good friend would see me as mean and he might not still be friends with me. However, I know that if I do nothing, she will continue to be subtly disrespectful and I will get triggered and eventually just go off, which I don’t want to do. I also told her earlier that she reminded me of my mother, which was I think a response, though not a direct or very healthy one, to her rudeness/controllingness- and she still tried to be my friend after this. Ugh! A lot of boundary issues and I need to nip this in the bud, but how?

If anyone has any experience preventing these things, I would be so happy to hear about it! I am good at reading people, but not always at knowing the appropriate response to dealing with them (in the past I felt like I had to allow people to treat me like dirt- I ”deserved” it or it was a survival thing).

Thank you so much,


Something that I discovered in the healing process is that these kinds of thing sorted themselves out as I dealt with the root causes of the way that I thought and the people I attracted because of that belief system. There were many people in my life that represented the issues that I had with my mother too. Learning to focus on the belief system I had was what helped me to overcome the present day problems in all areas.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene, I can cry for others, easily. Movies often, make me cry but I seldom cry because of my own pain. I think my childhood taught me that my pain wasn’t important enough to cry about and then when I went through the sexual abuse as a teenager and all the trauma’s I experienced being an underaged girl on the streets, I dissociated from what was happening to me and learned not to acknowledge what was happening to me not only physically, but emotionally. I learned to freeze and submit in response to anyone who threatened me and then have a delayed response later,when it was safe, in the form of depression and paranoia. I still freeze in response to emotional pain, then I feel anger, then I feel sad. I still seldom cry but I am aware of the steps I need to work through to reach how I feel about what happened to me. I may also, have to work through feelings of past trauma that were triggered but being able to recognize those stages helps me cut periods of depression short. I still hope to someday, be able to cry for myself.
Thanks for writing about this.



I’m not sure if this is the place to write this, but the most recent posters seem to be here.

How does one move on from the pain of family rejection and scapegoating?

I read books and blogs, have a therapist, am trying therapy with my mother (not going well). Still feel like crap. I am caught in the undertow.

Is physically moving away a good step?


The title of each of Darlene’s posts do change, but the large issue remains. It’s all related.
I moved away from my home state when I retired. I wanted less of a rat-race environment, and I have found that living in a small town close to nature is ME. But before I left I also thought about leaving my so-called family which only consisted of my brother & wife, and my mother and stepdad. I realized that they rarely included me in their activities, rarely called or visited, even tho they were an hour’s drive away. I had this forever toxic ‘relationship’ with my mother and had tried and tried to make it better (blaming myself for never being able to find the right ‘formula’), so I thought it wouldn’t make a difference if I moved. And it didn’t! Nobody was mad at me or even seemed to care one way or another.

But here’s the thing. It’s always been said that you take your problems with you. Yep. Trying to “matter” to the fam and to make nice with my mom has been no different with 600 miles between us. Believing that the distance would mean less pressure to have face to face contact, I continued to be that sap who kept ‘trying,’ by scheduling visits, nice cards, emails with pics, cheerful calls, etc etc. Now that I have gone Little Contact, more so recently after some emotionally devastating incidents of the worst discounting and disrespect, SHE is not speaking to ME. My bro/sis-in-law understand my position with mom because they have the same issues with her. But they choose to maintain at least superficial ‘proper’ behavior. I can no longer even bring myself to give her a call. The dreaded Mothers Day is coming up, and that’s another subject isn’t it.

I’ve read the articles and posts here about how these people show us just how much they don’t care by totally ‘not noticing’ you’ve left them emotionally and/or physically. They don’t even get mad at us. It’s an ugly reality to face. Physically moving away is good in many many ways, really (for me anyway). But if you are still having contact with the people who reject you and scapegoat you, they still do it long-distance. Arrgghhhhhh!



I found it really helpful to move but by move, I mean change my phone number, address, block my email, not give them access to school info, leave the state, etc. They try to find anyway to get to me, and honestly I have to be prepared.

Not being financially dependent was the biggest thing though- because now I have choices. I always tell myself when I get scared, and start to feel like they’re gonna ‘get’ me, “Gillian, you don’t ever have to see them again for the rest of your life if you don’t want.” And that makes me feel much better (and says a lot about them too).



Hi Light
The solution in going forward and stepping out of the pain is always in re-wiring the belief system. It was in finding out where I was stuck that I was able to get unstuck. (and I was stuck in believing the lies that were communicated to me no matter if I was in contact or not in contact. The key is in changing those false beliefs by finding out what they are and how they are not true. That is the real work)
Hugs, Darlene


Hello Darlene, GDW and KathyA. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for your caring. It means the world.

Darlene I will read your posts about belief systems. I wish you lived closer so I could work with you!

I think I need more contact with people – I’m getting too caught up in my head…..too isolated and down.

What do you (or anyone) think about ACoA meetings (Adult Children of Alcoholics). Or any ideas on how to work on these issues with others?

Again, thank you for being there.


Hi Light
I work on Skype and on the phone and I have worked with clients in many different countries. I don’t advertise only because I have a waiting list. Recently however I decided to accept a few more clients and do a little less work here in the blog so if you are interested, send me an email through the contact form. I currently have an opening coming up in mid june. I will be posting a page about my fees etc. in the next couple of weeks too.
Hugs, Darlene


So many helpful posts here. After being NC with my NM & NF for 5 years, I saw them briefly about a month ago.We were all polite – the visit did not go deep. I don’t think I’ll ever go there with them. My problem now is with my GC sister and her daughter, golden grandchild, and her upcoming graduation. I almost fell for wanting to go. I know the misery involved and I just can’t do it. I am sad for the relationship that will never be with my sister….I thought I could reach her but now I am the bad guy for not keeping up relationships with impossible people.

Hey Light – There is a place in San Diego where you can put on protective gear and shatter plates and glasses in a space designed for it. I have not gone there yet……..


Hi Pam!
Very valid points! I did so much of that too! I think my delayed response was YEARS later! I have come closer to crying for myself even since I wrote this post!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Douglas Norman
May 7th, 2013 at 9:25 am

I got some of the same messages about crying: Big boys don’t cry, when punished: Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about. Crying became an absolete activity during my Young adult years until I read the smallest verse in the Bible: “He wept” The pronoun “he” refers to Jesus who was an adult at the time of this emotional display. Here I am attempting to be Superior to the one who never sinned, I realised by never crying. WHAT ARROGANCE! I stopped that desire to not cry. Today if I need to cry I do so. And forget the KleenEX box. The last thing I want during those times is to erase the tear traces. Also, if the body is fearfully and wonderfully made why hide the reality that right nears our eyes are tear ducts that are fearfully and wonderfully made and part of the body that is fearfully and wonderfully made? Makes no sense. Reading this reminds me of my need to see a tear jerker movie. Crying can be so liberating!


Hi Everyone!
The discussion page is up for the free guide (in the right hand side bar) to getting unstuck on the journey to emotional healing. (If you didn’t get one yet, please grab one!)
Here is the link to the discussion page: http://emergingfrombroken.com/getting-unstuck-on-the-journey-to-emotional-healing-the-discussion/
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene, thank you for mentioning your upcoming opening(s). I am thinking it over. There will probably be some changes with my therapy in the next few weeks.

Tamara – that is awesome about the facility for plate-smashing! I will Google that! I am sorry about your relationships. Your last sentence resonated with me “I thought I could reach her but now I am the bad guy for not keeping up relationships with impossible people.”

I am constantly torn – daily – with the need for family and wanting to join in on the outings, dinners, socializing, “perks”, time with nieces/nephews, etc…..and the horror of thinking about what has been said/done to me to blame me for the family dysfunction. As long as I don’t rock the boat and don’t insist on being validated for my experience I suppose we “get along” but it’s a farce, I suppose. There might be a small amount of understanding buried underneath their negative judgments….but is it enough? Maybe I have been accepting crumbs for so long and thinking it was adequate.


NEEDS! NEEDS! NEEDS! YOUR NEEDS AREN’T IMPORTANT! Yes, that is the lesson I learned.


There is a scene in the movie “LADY JANE” (starring Helena Bonham Carter) that is stuck in my head and represents my entire childhood. Lady Jane’s mother was using Jane as a pawn in a political game. Jane’s mom wanted Jane to do as she said, Jane said NO. Jane’s mom takes her up to the “punishment chamber” and punishes her by spanking. Next scene, Lady Jane is crying, and she says, “BUT I JUST DON’T SEE WHYYYYYYYYYYY!”

This describes my whole childhood.


Hello everyone. I really appreciate this post – thank you to all who have contributed.
I’m desperate to find ways of allowing tears as I’m blocked for the same reasons as others here, and right now I’m going through a breakdown crisis and there’s a well of emotion that is not getting released. It’s making me more and more ill. I fear I’m going to get a major illness unless I can find a way to release the tears. I’m scared of the amount of pain.

If anyone here has the energy and time to email me with effective methods they found of overcoming the crying block and the fear of the pain, I’d be incredibly grateful
In gratitude, Kevin.


Oh yes! I can relate to this well. I got told off for crying when I was emotionally upset. My mum negated the upset and questioned why I was crying as if I had no reason to cry. She thought I was a nuisance. She never attended to me when I was upset and so I learnt crying was a sign of weakness.

I know people use crying as a tool for manipulation and have seen extended family use that. When I cry, they think that I am manipulating them (because that’s what they would do), especially the aunt. Oh! she is such an expert manipulator. She fakes everything, she pretends to like me/others when in fact she doesn’t.

She is so fake it irritates me when she gives us a kiss on the cheek. I feel like washing my cheek to get rid of that negative energy. That woman is awful.


These blogs are triggering long held memories which I have not spoken about before, I was about thirteen and mucking around and fighting with my twin brother, (probably as a way of venting unfelt feelings of rage and hurt resulting from the parents abuse and neglect) And my mother cornered me uncontrollably angrily yelling at me, declaring that she was only staying with our father to keep us children happy and that if we werent happy , evidenced by our fighting, then she would separate from the marriage. She went on to scream that she had tricked our father into having kids in the first place , presumably by not taking the pill, and that I was directly to blame for her unhappiness, that it was uncategorically MY FAULT!. I tried to run to my room crying and upset, she ran after me and pulled me from the room and said that I could not hide myself away that I had to be a part of the family. Ironically though she tried to force me to be a part of something I have never felt a part of any unit. Always isolating myself out of shame of being myself and not even knowing what that it means to be myself anyway. We were to have one last family “holiday” together and my brothers where told nothing about the reason behind the holiday. Coming back, expecting then that they would separate ways, but they never did and nothing was ever said to me about the change of plan. though the guilt and feelings of responsiblity for her venomous feelings never left and had been instilled from a young age anyway in many other ways both obvious and subtle. Just like many people writing here, My feelings and thoughts about anything were invalidated both aggressively and also by benign neglect.
Like the time that I was walking hunched over for some weeks (around the same age with absolutely chronic back pain. Nothing was ever said about it. The message being that either I was not believed to be really suffering or it just didnt matter. Whenever there were genuine reasons for upset like the time my father was committed to a mental health institution because he was suffering from post holocaust memories being a sole survivor and was very depressed, I went to my room to cry and once again she dragged me out and told me I couldnt hide myself away. She had no concern for my feelings of distress at seeing my father in an institution and instead my pain became all about her and how she was having to cope, that if she had to keep going then I had to also and put on a face. Although I was also sick with hepatitis at the time, had just returned from overseas with no where else to live and little money, she also insisted that I find a job straight away and so within a few days I was working at a grocery, sick distressed and feeling ashamed of my buried feelings of upset about my father. When he walked in front of a train and died not long after, again it was all about her and I still struggle with being able to identify what feelings I am actually feeling and then being able to cry without shame. Thank you for reading.


Hi Johanna
I am so sorry that this happened to you. The message that you didn’t matter and that your feelings didn’t matter is so horrible. The truth is that they do matter and they are and always were valid!
hugs, Darlene


Your validation of my previously unexpressed feelings and stories is already having an obvious affect on my confidence levels. I am feeling more whole and quiet inside just knowing that I am not alone in this scenario. I know many people have said the same thing but it really makes a difference being properly heard and understood when this simple thing was denied in childhood when it most mattered. My absolute heartfelt thanks to you Darlene for responding to me.


That’s awesome Johanna!
The first breakthrough that I had was also because someone finally heard me. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you.


My goodness, Darlene! This stuff is fabulous. So healing for me. Just volumes of insight that leads to true breakthroughs. Thanks very much for all you do…



I was actually having one of these moments just a few minutes ago, I was crying so hard I thought my head would burst. I even wanted to scream, unfortunately I’m in a house where the walls are not soundproof and if I were heard screaming, I KNOW I would be questioned with “why are you crying!?” from my husband’s parents. If I can only find some secluded spot where I can scream my head off, I would feel much better …


Darlene, I just sent you a small donation which emptied my Paypal account. I wish I could do more.

Emerging from Broken is so healing. Thank you so much for your kindness.


Hi Ruth
Thank you so much for the donation that you sent! I appreciate it more than words can express. I am so glad that you find healing here; that is why I started this site in the first place ~ I wanted to inspire hope for healing.
Hugs, Darlene


You are right as usual. The day I was born I cried like any normal baby and my mom says that my father who was a doctor gave me a sedative to stop my crying!! This is the story that she told me and I am sure it is a lie. The more probable thing is that she must have said, “O baby is crying too much, please give her something to calm her down.” or mom had such a fit that papa probably drugged me to keep the peace but both of them should have known better!!

As a result, I hardly cried for the first 2 decades of my life except for the occasional muffled whimper at night to make sure no one could hear me and then I cried a lot for the next 2 decades in front of my husband who says my tears stink and I should not cry because it upsets him but I am not letting that bother me because that is his problem.

But the sad thing is that I still have not cried much in public, dont know to adequately display my feelings of sadness or loss, and always try to be cheerful so that I dont inconvenience anybody else. (Unfortunately even my best friend thinks the same way which means I am really surrounded by a lot of people who have very dysfunctional belief systems.) Then I am angry with myself for disrespecting myself so much. I am slowly learning though to understand, verbalize and externalize my emotions in an adequate manner. This is part of knowing who I am and building more functional patterns of behaviour.


One day I was sitting on a bench, looking down, sad and depressed. Little kids from elementary school were playing in front of me. I heard someone saying, “Why are you crying?” I looked up and saw one little girl looking at me. “Don’t cry.” she said and then she ran away. And yes indeed I was crying (even though it wasn’t visible on my face) and she knew it better than me.

And her tone of voice was condeming in a sense that my crying was useless, that it won’t get me anywhere, that I won’t accomlish anything with it, that I shoud get up and stop lamenting and do something usefull. I took it lake that anyway.

And this is true for others too. We are crying all the time but we learned to hide it and we want to forget it. Everybody is crying because we are suffering like anything and we want to forget it. When I hear all that laughter – it’s all crying.

Adults are trying hard to forget hor hard it is. They want to forget about their suffering in this world. So when little kis cry, adults get mad because it reminds them that the are suffering.

Yes, they took our birthright to cry, to express our suffering. That’s why most op people today are emotionally crippled, still 2 year olds, because they havent even expressed their suffering to full degree.


Hi Marino and Kadeeja
Welcome to this conversation!
hugs, Darlene


I am so glad I can cry. I began to cry from all the pain of my past when I put down alcohol at age 31 and entered recovery. My pain was so close to the surface and I had been masking it with alcohol and drugs for years. At this time I read the fairytale of the Hand Less Maiden.. Her father allows the daughter to be taken by the devil who comes to ask the father, who is a miller for what is behind the shed. The father is too busy to notice it is the daughther. When the devil comes back he cant take her as she crys tears. In her book Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, tears soften the soul and keep away the predator. A guage for me of who is healthy to be around is How do they react when I cry. For I can cry for my own pain and for others pain.

In my family no one cries. We were also told we were not in pain when we had broken bones. We had to deny pain and so we had to deny our true selves. The healing for me was in learning two things. To cry and to be able to angry without also being so scared….The fear was when my mother was angry we could be hurt, not always but sometimes. My mother was mistreated and beaten by her own mother. “I never blamed her” she always says “she was alone and struggling”. It has taken many years for my mother to be okay with my tears, but its not always easy to have relationship with people who only really want to know you when you are strong and happy. I have somaticied my own feelings for a long time. I recently had surgery I now realise was unnecessary as it was symptoms that were there because I was stuffing grief and anger. It was a hard lesson to learn.

My therapist didn’t help me to understand this. She also would not be there for me when all the deep pain of it came up. Go and write about it in your journal or hug the dog, she told me.

I am part of a recovery group now where I can cry. I have literally cried oceans over the past 20 years.

I am so glad you opened up this subject as it is clear how prevalent is the emotional violence to us who are real and true when we feel and cry…

Its wonderful and sad to hear all of the true stories and to witness the brave and amazing journies of an incredible amount of people.

Some one else said it. This site is worth 10 years of therapy.


I don’t remember crying much as a child. But I do remember my mother beating me with a belt and the more I cried the harder it became for me. That incident was like a conversion experience for me. Only a few have ever seen my tears since. I still believe that when I allow my pain to show through tears things become worse for me. “You can’t allow it be seen”, that’s the message she gave. Even as an adult I’ve tested the grounds outside of this belief and it feels very uncomfortable to me. I always feel that I have to immediately protect myself from any further harm. There are some who have taken my tears as weakness and did hurt me even more. I trusted them. But today I trust no one with these tender expressions. Maybe it’s not a good thing but for now it’s my safe place. When I do cry I cry alone and not for long.


OK, I know this might sound like Spock … I’m really more human than this sounds but …

When you’re the youngest of four post-WWII boys, the three older being powerful, successful, and grouped seven years older … crying was only permitted until I could understand the words “stop it”. I cannot unlearn this as it is more than a core belief, it is woven into the fabric of my worldview, my “paradigm.” The best I can do is read things like this and appreciate the pragmatism of tears and permit myself to express purposefully the pain of life in that way when the value of the experience warrants it. I do see some benefit in pre-judging the validity of (MY) tearful expressions however, to keep from wasting it on narcissistic whining. The two times I’ve cried in the past 30 years have been at the death of my father and the pending death of my golden retriever. Like wine, tears are more valuable when reserved for the very best or worst of life. I do see great value in taking the thoughts and feelings behind tears and deliberately using them to inspire, propel, and navigate life.


Hi Tom
Welcome to EFB ~ thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Sorry I have not posted in a while, I am still in Therapy and processing a lot of painful stuff from the past. When i saw this post come up on facebook home page it really hit me hard. Crying to me is shame. And reading what you said Darlene about ‘giving you something to cry for’ or saying that i would ‘upset my poor mother/father’ or being screamed at to ‘shut up’are all part of my history. Unfortunately to help me cope when i want to cry so bad i end up bingeing on a LOT of chocolate/sweet carbs and stuffing it down to ease the pain but of course after 2 weeks of this i break down, cry in the therapists room and apologize for crying- i do that all the time, ‘im so sorry’ sorry for having feelings, sorry i exist! When my kids cry i encourage them to do it and say cry as much as you need, because ‘stop crying’ is damaging . I feel like a ‘nothing’ most of the time, i just exists to be used and treated like crap by others- that is how i feel. So now i protect myself by hiding in my room , online for talking to others (its safer) and just dedicate my affection and love towards my children who I know will not hurt me with abuse. Crying is something i will always struggle to deal with. xxx


Something tells me when I inquire within about this topic, that for authentic tears to flow I must work through enough of my tendencies to be harsh with myself in order for the parts of me who have been treated so harshly to trust me with her tears.


In all honesty, if I start to cry my next thought is what am I doing this for, it is not going to change anything. I am the one who can change something so I put my tears away, and get up and do whatever I need to be doing. If it still will not change the people involved in the situation at least it will change my life for the better. There are times when I will cry, it is cathartic and these times usually involve music, movies, maybe memories that are provoked by the music. I had a grandmother who taught me to be a “little soldier” when I was 6 years old and crying over scraped knees! She was English and always kept a stiff upper lip and regained her composure and stuff like that. I do get the “stuck tears” feeling at times and it is most frustrating!


I’m not very good at stopping the tears any more. I know I was afraid for a long time that if I started crying I would never be able to stop. I’m not sure where that came from.

I was also told the same things about crying that others mentioned. I had no right to cry. I would be given a reason to cry if I didn’t stop. And there was “nobody will like you if you cry” or something like that.

The worst things I remember about not crying was when I was almost 6 & was molested by two teenaged boys that were supposed to be babysitting my brother and me.

I don’t remember exactly what they did to me, but I remember I had to take my clothes off, and they were threatening me by banging my little brother’s head on the floor. I had to do what they wanted to save my brother.

When I was crying when my Mom came home, and the perpetrators were still in sight and earshot, I couldn’t say why I was so upset. I was told that my crying was ruining my mother’s vacation and I was making it rain.

Last year, more than 50 years after the event, I was overwhelmed by the fragmented memories of the event and told my mother what happened. A few weeks later, I was asked NOT to go along on a family vacation I was supposed to be a part of because they didn’t want me to be moping in the corner and misinterpreting every thing they said.

I haven’t heard from my brother or sister since my mother told them what I had finally disclosed after 50 years of trying to forget it and put it behind me. My mother continues to talk to me, but tends to talk quickly and doesn’t really allow me to say anything in return. I don’t know how my siblings reacted, but it’s hard to believe it was well if they aren’t talking to me.

I feel so rejected, devalued, dismissed, and hurt. I don’t know why I keep talking to my Mom. As long as I stay connected, I realize I’m hoping that someone will recognize what they’re doing to me, but it’s so unlikely to happen. I want to take the damn arrow out of my heart and try to stop the bleeding. It’s not worth it.


I’m very very sorry that happened to you Hobie. What a nightmare scenario to get that kind of response after revealing what happened. I wish I could take away the pain of everyone here, including myself. Do you have any other support people in your life, a pet, etc.?

As for my own family, after years and years of crying to therapists, I think I am finally detaching from them. It helps to not see them as much, but it’s an empty feeling too.

John(Payne) Within
April 19th, 2014 at 9:47 pm

As a small child(4), I was beaten until I stopped crying, but, it was the decade and a half of verbal, emotional, and other abuse that really shut me down. I once fell on some ice outside the house, at night when I went out to the car to help bring in some groceries. I hit my head on the sidewalk and began crying. My stepmonster yelled at me to stop being a baby and “Quit that crying!!!” When I wouldn’t stop crying, my mom and stepmonster took me next door to a neighbor, who was a nurse. She looked alarmed at the lump on my head and suggested that I needed to go to the hospital. Finally, one of them took me. But, I was a horrible inconvenience for my parents. I don’t cry at all anymore………


Thank you Light!

I’m working hard to recover from all of this. I have a therapist, a recovery group, a few good friends, 3 cats and a dance class!

My birthday just passed and the Easter Holiday ahead made me recognize that my sister hasn’t spoken to me in nearly a year, and a few months ago, my oldest daughter told me I was f’d up self-absorbed and she didn’t want to hear from me again.

They really don’t recognize me as a human being with experiences, thoughts and feelings. I’m just supposed to be what they want me to be when they want me. If I don’t smile about it, they get pissed. If I stand up for myself – I get cut off at the knees.

They are so sure they are right and they keep trying to call it “love”. I can’t buy it anymore.


I haven’t heard from my brother or sister since my mother told them what I had finally disclosed after 50 years of trying to forget it and put it behind me. My mother continues to talk to me, but tends to talk quickly and doesn’t really allow me to say anything in return. I don’t know how my siblings reacted, but it’s hard to believe it was well if they aren’t talking to me.

I guess we just don’t get it. We are supposed to just “get over it.” Like my mom said. Can’t you get over it? Can’t you put it behind you? My mom lives in this dream world where everything is fine and there is no time to “process” anything. Hobie, my experience wasn’t as horrific as yours, but I feel for you.


They really don’t recognize me as a human being with experiences, thoughts and feelings. I’m just supposed to be what they want me to be when they want me. If I don’t smile about it, they get pissed. If I stand up for myself – I get cut off at the knees.

They are so sure they are right and they keep trying to call it “love”. I can’t buy it anymore.

My god, this is my life. I’m supposed to be what they want me to be. If I stand up for myself, I’m still the bad person for daring to stand up for myself.


Hi John
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! What happened to you is tragic. I am so sorry. These parents are so wrong. We are not an inconvenience.. we are wonderful individuals who were never encouraged or given a chance. NOW is our chance!
hugs, Darlene


I recently found this website and I just have to say it’s been an inspiration and an eye opener for me. I’m currently going through a difficult time in my life (pushing people I love away while allowing the pain to creep in) and reading through your posts has really given me hope.

When I was younger it was never OK to feel. Feeling was taboo in our house. My dad’s favorite line was “If I wanted to hear whining and crying I’d go to work where I could get paid to hear it”. My brother’s and I constantly got the “If you don’t stop crying I’ll give you a reason to cry” line. I don’t think I was every physically abused but I can’t be sure because I’ve blocked out so much of my childhood that I only remember bits and pieces. I have horrible nightmares about abuse but I’m not sure if they’re true or not. I know the pain I feel about being shamed for my emotions is real but I’m so scared to hurt the abusers. I’m not sure if that’s normal but it scares the living daylights out of me.

I just want to thank you for all the amazing posts. I’m slowly reading through those I feel relate directly to me and it’s truly helping me. Thank you again.


As a child, I was taught that crying was wrong, and that children like me had no right to cry. If I did cry, whatever had caused it was “my fault” and I was only crying to try and stop others from being angry. The same applied if I ever said I was sad or scared, or said something bad had happened. I was always making up stories, lying, exaggerating, imagining things, being silly, manipulating the truth…I learned to be silent, to not tell anybody anything remotely negative, to make sure nobody ever saw me crying. I still do this. It’s like a physical barrier; my tear ducts feel blocked and words stick in my throat. I cannot express sadness, anger, fear, grief, nerves, illness, worry, anxiety and the like. The side effect of this is that I am unable to feel joy, happiness, pleasure or similar emotions. I understand them, but am incapable of experiencing them.


I want to cry and get angry so bad in therapy but I just can’t. I have journalled. I was suicidal in grade 12, I regret choices made. I’m angry that I got hurt, not believed and felt I had no where to turn when I was at my worst. I need to find a way to tell my therapist all this. Any suggestions?


I read the first page and feel I’ve found out aliittle more about my own psychosis I’m 19 and well I’m rather confused if I just cry for attention or not I was told mostly as a child the same things about crying a lot by my parents and teachers dad was the worst at it In fact he and my mother divorced because of the way he treated me and my siblings since then ive tried to make amends with him he has worked on himself and feels he just wasn’t really capable of having to deal with four teenagers which I can’t even fathom how hard teachers I was also told for as long as I can remember that I have asbergers syndrome and I went with that until my frist year of highschool I mean the fact that I had difficulty learning in school so this explains the careless structure of this comment spelling and grammical errors includeded keeps me lingering on the fact that I may be but to tell you the truth I don’t know what to believe anymore I feel like my mind is so cluttered with all of the things people have told me and all the things I’ve told myself like I put myself down a lot and people tell me not to do that and then I feel like when I put myself down it upsets people because I m trying to justify my faults or mistakes I’ve made one but it doesn’t stop there I should have mentioned this earlier but for sometime in my younger years I was your typical pothead and when I got in highschool I stopped to focus on school and in hopes my deperession would clear up cuz I heard that its not good for people who were depressed this was in turn difficult cuz I had made a lot of friends and memories that I fondly will remember for the rest of mylife but it also taught me a valuable lesson no one is invincible and everyone gets caught or left “holding the bag” I’ve just started communtiy college and I hope to pursue a career in anything to do with either ancient history or helping troubled youth however I must hold of on my “majors” till university currently I’m trying to finish remedial courses required for me to further my education and I just don’t feel like I am ready to be part of the “real” world


Hi Zack
Welcome to EFB ~ There is lots of info here and lots of sharing from others. You may find some answers.
hugs, Darlene


I almost cried on the bus when a neighbour told me her cat was going to die, I think we both wanted to break down and cry on each other, but it would be soooo embarrassing to have done in public.


My therapist feels my pain I think. She wells up with tears or reacts the way I should be reacting when I talk about memories. But i still can’t let the emotions of anger and sadness go. She so badly wants to help me. I can tell her anything now but not sure how to just let it go

When I’m alone I cry, or watch a tear jerker. And that’s when I need somebody. I really want to be hugged and comforted. She can’t hug me when I want it. Please tell me the tears will soon come. It’s been 5 months of bimonthly sessions


ive been looking for answers as to why i couldnt cry and this resonated with me strongly. lately the urge to cry will build up like a sneeze but try as i might i cant bring myself to cry. the few times ive succeeded it lasted only a few minutes and i never felt better afterwards. its especially upsetting to me because just a few years ago i would cry all the time, for hours without stopping. as awful as it felt back then i miss it now.

i recognize now the emotional abuse my mother put me through, telling me i had no reason to be crying, that she should be the one crying. i remember the shame of crying in front of my friends only to look up and find them staring at me in obvious discomfort.

the only time i can bring myself to cry is when im with my best friend, and its only because when i ended up crying in front of them by accident once, but they were so understanding and supportive, and i felt so comfortable and at home around them.

its still frustrating not being able to cry when i need to or having to break down in front of a friend. but yeah. thats my story i guess.


I was just talking with someone who is in recovery who related that I keep talking about my losses and sad experiences (lost family, family of origin issues, not validating my grief or being upset about something, minimizing why I am sad about something). I have had trouble getting past issues with my family of origin and moving on. Perhaps, I still need to let out pent up tears from tragedies I have encountered, missed opportunities for a decent relationship with some family members, not having children of my own, building a good support system and “getting a life. I hope to find a way to get the tears out that will heal from this stuff to the extent that I don’t need to talk about it anymore. Also, the following brings up old wounds from the past with my family of origin: Visiting or sharing on Facebook with the nicer members of my family who are nice people but do not seem to comprehend the depth of the dysfunction in my family. There is a no talk rule about the serious problems of abuse that occurred when I was growing up. However, the next generation appears to be healthier than the one I grew up with. But seeing them have a shared history is painful for me because during the years they built a history together, I was ostracized by my family of origin, to the point of not learning about births, weddings, divorces, or the death of someone in time to attend a funeral. I was not invited to one sister’s funeral and then blamed for having my own memorial service and inviting everyone, being told that I did this to have a better service for my sister. They acted like I was told beforehand when I wasn’t! To this day, I don’t understand what happened. Furthermore, I usually found out about a death after the funeral was over. At first, I let things go, and did not confront people who had ostracized me; then whenever I did confront something, either I was told I was twisting the truth or was not invited because another family member was angry at something I did. Like many here, I have had a hard time finding people that really “understand.” I have a few understanding friends, and for that I am lucky. But to get a strong support system and a good social life have eluded me. Some of my friends get tired of hearing about my family, and not really knowing how to comfort me or get past the grief. I think I have stuffed a lot of tears; and I identify with people here who have been told not to cry in various ways. Now, I tend to cry over frustrating issues, probably less important than huge grief issues and perhaps this is because I am letting out previously stuffed tears. I am still searching for a way to get past this. When I am busy doing arts and crafts or research that I love, I am happy and joyful. When I am isolated and beset by annoying life issues, I feel sadder. When circumstances isolate me or phone calls are not returned, I feel like I am not lovable to other people. I hope some of this makes sense. I hope I am not rambling too much. May be I need to cry for a couple of years?


Hi Nona
Welcome to EFB ~ the key for me was to realize where “the broken began” and how it impacted my beliefs about myself. Realizing how false my belief system was is how I changed it back to the truth and finally stepped away from the pain. My first ebook (in the upper right side bar of this site) contains the foundation of how I did that. (and there are over 400 articles in this website too. 🙂 )
Glad you are here, there is hope!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Frustrated
Welcome to EFB
Although the tears are healing, my healing started way before the tears. I have written so much about this in this website.
There are MANY avenues..
I wrote this post a long time ago now, and since I have found my tears! I don’t cry a river yet, but I can cry now.
Thanks for sharing, Hugs,,

Hi Rose/Rory
Welcome to EFB
What I said above to “frustrated” applies in your situation as well. Don’t worry, healing happens differently for different people. The important thing is to keep trying to discover what is in the way in order to move forward.
Hugs, Darlene


I’m 56 and still have difficulty crying in front of people even my husband. As a child I was told stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about. Or i,m attention seeking looking for pity. My step mother used to say poor little cinderella , who do you think you are . Yes I was taught I had no right to cry . I dont believe that now but the old feelings can still break through at times. We are relearning to nuture our inner child.


I cried so hard today…..It hurts so bad! Then I got out of bed and wrote my feelings down.

I finally did it! Used my creative energy to help heal!


I love the written word.
(NM could never understand or appreciate my creativity.)
I hope you all will.
Please, I need as much support and good words right now.

Contacted an old friend today too, who has an elderly NF.


Crying is showing weakness and that is bad. I become vulnerable and people will know they have affected me. I must be stoic and strong and hide my emotions. I’m glad you brought this up I can see that any emotion whether positive or negative is bad to show. Good subject for my next therapy session.
Thank you for all you do! Your courage to speak out has healed so many…


I actually woke up needing to cry from a dream I had this morning. But had a hard time doing it because I was mad at myself for having the dream, and then mad because I felt like crying. I didn’t realize all of this until I read your post…that I was actually mad at myself for both things. And that I was also afraid that if I started, it would be too loud and disruptive even though I was the only one home. I realize today that I had also been threatened bye dad not to cry so my mom wouldn’t be further upset, as if she wasn’t already from his the tantrum he took out pm me. I had stuffed all this down, and literally had forgotten how painful that was, and how detrimental toy emotional and physical health. Not sure why he thought he had a say into feelings or emotions, but he definitely didn’t validate me, and really tried on a regular basis to try And mold me into someone that wasn’t me at all. I definitely wasn’t daddy’s little girl, his princess, or in any way cherished. I was a nusance to be dealt with, someone to take all his anger out on, someone to energetically and physically push around. My current relationship with him is strained and is hard for my brothers to understand because this wasn’t their experience with him. Myself and my were his primary beating posts.


Sorry Darlene. Had somewhat of an epiphany from what I wrote earlier. Since I didn’t heal up from mistreatment in that relationship (brutal father/daughter), then I of course unknowingly attracted a version of my father in a mate. Tho there were differences and similarities in the types of abuse, I have now experienced the trauma for a second time. Fortunately, I escaped that situation. But am going thru a difficult period of healing the old, the new, and the fact that my father or extended family cannot even validate the illness I fight daily (Lyme disease). Even tho he took care off mother, who had it as well and died without being properly diagnosed. I most likely contracted this in utero. I am working with a therapist, and have just really begun my childhood healing process, which is very upsetting to me becuz I am already 47 years old. Had I not experienced that abuse as a child, I am surey life would have gone very differently. I have three gorgeous daughters, from my marriage so that is the upside. It’s hard to imagine ever having a “normal” life and a healthy adult relationship. Thank you for sharing your truths and experiences. And for allowing us to share puts here. Most of what I experienced growing up, my rageaholic father, and his insistence on shoving his religious beliefs down my throat, were and still are family “secrets.” When I had to set firm boundaries with both parents a few years ago, I was and am still seen by aunts and uncles as “the mean one”. People love my dad and he is a much better grandfather than he was s father to me, partly because I told my mom when my first daughter was born that if he even once thru a tantrum in front of my kids, he would never see them again. A few years ago he went completely off on me again, and so I did not see him for awhile. He is on his best behavior now, but I don’t really trust that this is forever. Thx again Darlene for holding the space for us to express our truths.


Crying terrifies me. I do not cry in front of people. My mother is one of those who uses crying(wailing) to get attention. She was so emmbarrasing to be around when she would go off because she wanted something. I was never allowed to cry when hurt, broken arm and leg, I was told to suck it up, all while she was wailing to the nurses that she didnt know how she was going to pay for my injuries.

When my son was born he was really sick, had open heart surgury at 13 hours old to repair a heart defect, the night after his surgury at 3am I woke up when I heard a woman’s wailing and thought to myself it sounded an awful lot like my mother. I was allowed to go into the nicu anytime to see my son so I left my closed room, I walked down two halls through three sets of closed fire doors and into the nicu. There she was surrounded by the nurses and doctors that were supposed to be taking care of the very sick infants. they were holding her hands, hugging her, talking to her while she wailed about how she didn’t know what to do. I never asked her for help, she never helped with my son at all through all the therapy, and doctors appts. She just wanted their attention, taking from the kids that needed it.

This is how she was with my sister too. my sis had asthma really bad, I remember very clearly my mother doing things to my sis to cause her to have asthma attacks just so she could take my sis to the hospital to get her dose of attention from the staff while my sis was hooked to the nebulizers.

I feared her wailing, if she didnt get the type of attention she wanted or enough of it I would get beat when we got home. I knew the nurses were placating her, they would look at each other and roll their eyes as they were walking away from her. They knew she was faking it but their jobs said they were supposed to take care of her. One nurse even told me as they were leaving the room that they felt sorry for me and my sis having such a drama queen for a mother. No one ever turned her in though.

I still have trouble showing emotion. I am afraid of emotions especially those that involve crying. I cant attend wedding or funerals because I get overwhelmed by the emotions and I dont know what is a safe amount to let out. Several friends have died in the last few years and I have lost the friendship of a few of their spouses because I didn’t go to the funerals. I don’t know how to tell them why. when I see someone crying in public I have to leave the area, the fear and panic that sets in is too much for me to handle.

I have been called stoic but I am not. Inside I am a fluttering, panic stricken mess, too afraid to show what I am truely feeling for fear of being hurt.

Thank you for this blog, reading it has validated me in ways I have never been validated. It has allowed me the ability to go NC with my mother for the last 16 months. I haven’t been a part of her craziness for awhile now and I am starting to heal.


I don’t allow myself to cry in public because of the “cry like a girl” thing. Thus, crying is negative, and being a girl is negative. I hate these messages.

I do not lose any respect for a guy who cries. But I still cannot bring myself to cry in front of people.

I am sometimes moved to tears. I’m trying to pay attention to the “triggers” that move me to tears. Not to prevent them, but to learn about “me.”


Hi Kris
Welcome to EFB and thanks for sharing. I understand what you are sharing here. I am so glad that you find the writing here validating too.
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

I try to pay attention to triggers too and use them to dig into what the trigger is related to.
It’s a great way to go forward!
hugs, Darlene


” I’m trying to pay attention to the “triggers” that move me to tears. Not to prevent them, but to learn about “me.”

What a great idea– I have difficulty crying about things I wish I could cry about. But there are decidedly things that make me cry. I was reading a children’s book last night and I was a puddle of tears. It would be interesting to look at what it was that did that for me… Thanks for the post!


Hi Everyone,
There is a new post on the home page called “What we hear when people say that our expectations are too high”. I really want to talk about this one..
See you there!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene, We have a 14yo dtr who has great difficulty allowing herself to cry. We’ve always encouraged healthy expression of feelings and she is very demonstrative of her feelings…… except sadness. It is as though she feels shame and won’t allow the tears to come out. She is overcoming perfectionism and has more self-control than I will ever know in my lifetime and perhaps this is related. I’m wondering about steps to help her let out her tears when she needs to.
Concerned Mama


Hi Concerned Mama
I am not sure how to answer this question in one paragraph; being there for her and creating permission for her will help a lot. My inability to cry was very much linked to not being able to trust that I would be safe if I did. (this was of course due to the message I got when I DID cry as a child)
Hope this helps,
Hugs, Darlene


I relate to all this and have recently (@50) started to wonder why I won’t cry or show any emotion in public, to friends or family. To stop myself crying I inflict pain on myself like sinking finger nails into arms or hands secretly so no one will see. And the confusing part is I can’t remember my childhood, so I don’t know why?


I don’t know for sure what it is; if it is cumulative effects of PTSD, crushing depression, emotional dysregulation…but I cannot suppress my tears in certain situations. Any time I am feeling strong emotions, either positive or negative, I start to cry and cannot stop. It becomes an open dam, and usually devolves into uncontrollable sobbing. My world is shrinking because of this spectacle that I am increasingly unable to control. Sometimes it has gotten so bad that I have created hypertensive emergencies trying to hold back the tears. The grief I am experiencing is so deep and intense I feel that I should go off by myself and get it out of my system before I should join back in society. Something is triggering me so strongly. This has caused me to feel like a total freak and alone in the world. I am wondering if it is time for me to seek inpatient assistance.


When I get like this, I run away and hide so nobody sees me. My husband and teenage children can’t understand what is wrong.


Hi Helpingmyself
There are times where all of this is overwhelming and it is really wise to speak to someone and seek inpatient services so that we can get some peace and reassurance. I hope you do what you need to do when you feel this way. There is no shame in being overwhelmed.
hugs, Darlene


Dear helpingmyself, do you feel like a “freak” because someone ridiculed or criticized you for crying? I hope you get the help you need.
I just now am learning it is ok to fall apart and cry around people.
when i try to hold it in….i get very sick.
I dont like strangers to see me cry….just a select few that i feel safe around.


I have to admit it’s been years since someone has seen me weep. I usually do it in private. I, too, find it embarrassing to do it in public. Not even my close friend who lives in Iowa has seen me shed tears. Maybe one day, I’d be comfortable to cry in front of her and others I feel safe with.


D ch, my mother took great pleasure in my tears, and ridiculed me more when I was in a state of happiness, joy, success, etc. I looked through all our old photos recently, and I realized that in every photo, even when everyone else was happy, I looked sad. Very sad. Even in my school photos from very early on. My happiness is still ridiculed or minimized by her if I allow her to see it. I guess I never felt safe or secure emotionally. My sense of shame and unbelonging is extremely deep and affects every aspect of my life. I am 40 now and working hard on learning how to love myself.


To Helpingmyself, If NM caused my tears, she enjoyed it. These last few years, as I stood up to her more, (NC now) if she pushed my buttons to cause tears or angry outburst…”I always knew you weren’t right in the head”
Bullshit….she isnt right in the head!

Last year I was kinda weepy from physical pain….She asked what what wrong, then she said dont cry, then talks about someone else’s illness.
**My tears should stop – she did not cause them, and my physical pain did not matter. Thanks So Much N Not-Mother…….


d ch, your experience sounds so familiar. When I was a child my mother would take my bedroom door off the hinges, and start doing things to make me cry. As I cried, her anger and rage would escalate. She would make me sit there in a chair and look at her while she screamed at me, her pupils so tiny, flashes of a smile would sometimes show on her face…foam flying from her mouth like a rabid dog. She kept that up until I cried so hard that I threw up or passed out. Then I remember she would take my little sister (2.5 years younger) downstairs and apologize to her for how horrible I was, then do something like make cookies or doll clothes with her. It is funny how she never ever did this when my dad was home. Only reported to him how horrible I was to her when he got home from work.

I know that the body keeps track of emotional trauma, and that it will manifest physically if not properly dealt with. My body has turned on me so badly. My neck and lower back cause me great trouble-I have severe arthritis and stenosis, pinched nerves, autoimmune disease etc. and have literally gone bankrupt because of it. My life seems to be in ruins and I am trying to dig out, trying to find some reason to live and to be happy. I just realized less than a year ago that my physical ailments could very well be all of the emotional pain manifesting itself. When you are never heard or validated, and constantly shamed…it takes a terrible toll. I would have rather been beaten physically. Of course my N mother has pain in her neck too! Poor thing.

Darlene, I have to thank you for your website and all of the energy you put into sharing your journey. I found you one day when I did a search for “why doesn’t my mother love me”. I felt I was at a dead end, that nothing could help anymore, that all the books and websites just repeated the same things. This place is different. Your insight is so in depth and intelligent, and for those of us who think so much, trying to work out every last detail, it is so helpful. I think that your work here is saving lives.

My post got a little off topic I guess. Sorry about that.


Hi Helpingmyself
Never worry about “off topic” ~ this whole website is set up for people to be able to share whatever they need or want to share. I am so glad you are here and thank you for sharing. Your story is horrific and powerful at the same time. Thank you for validating that ‘this place is different’. Because I had tried everything else myself, when I found an answer I became very passionate about sharing it and this is how EFB came to be!
Hugs, Darlene


I guess the mere fact that I’m here is proof I was hit as a kid. But I choose to believe it has made me stronger and is in preparation for some great thing I will do (like experience a torture scenario).
Anyway, I have an intense fear of crying in public. So much so I will refuse going to see Pixar movies cause they always try to get u to cry.
Unlike some of the other people here, I don’t feel that I have no right to cry or that my crying will cause more problems. I do however feel an intense shame for wanting to cry. To me it feels like I’m at my weakest point. Like look how low someone can make me get.
Besides that I have the strongest need for personal control than anyone I’ve ever met. I have been told by many people that I possess psychopathic tendencies. I fear losing control and being what I know I can be. Crying seems like step one to truely forfeiting to my emotions.


Hi Davidson,
Welcome to EFB ~ I had a huge need for self -control as well. It was when I found out why I had them, where they originated and why they were so important for me growing up (survival) that I was able to look at how or if they were still serving me in present times.
I am glad you are here, thanks for sharing,
hugs Darlene


I am extremely sensitive but a lot of people dont realize or acknowledge it. when my great grandmother tht i was extremely close to Growing up my feelings were always mocked by my parents. when i was upset about something no one ever cared. i spent a lot of my years depressed & angry and every time i expressed these emotions i was ignored, laughed at, or yelled at. All of this made me ashamed of my emotions. I never know when to feel sad, happy, angry, etc. i always feel like my feelings never match the moment or that im being a burden to others. when my mom would yell at me if i made a face or showed any emotion I’d get yelled at. i also got the “stop crying or i’ll give u a reason to cry” treatment.


I cried a river in front of my ever so loving father, when he reprimanded me for a decision I made for a school project when I was 16 in 2010. I wanted to use surveys to find out how people used their water in our community and Dad (who always had the tendency to over deliver when we need help in anything) composed and printed out several copies of his surveys (not mine because they were his work). So naturally as I was going through the surveys, I felt happy but also embarrassed to show the neighbourhood something that wasn’t mine. To address this situation, I thought I’d chip in and throw in my own questions to make it seem somewhat at least my effort. When I showed him some of my suggestions, he went ballistic to the point that he lectured about doing some more background reading or some other stuff as I was standing there crying and giving him eye contact (as that would have led to bigger problems if I bowed my head in shame). Ever since, I haven’t asked for any of his assistance in any school related matter, because he would just do the project himself and when I decide to take over, I am seen as ungrateful or incompetent. I may have submitted some horrible essays as a result of not asking for Daddy dearest’s help, but at least it was my mistake and that I no longer had to face another situation like that with the survey questions. I have always cried whenever he made me feel worthless via verbal or physical forms of abuse, for I knew from the start that a “congratulatory party” or a “Thank you for doing this to me Dad” kind of response was not the right response to a situation which involves any of the aforementioned that society has stood up for. I cried and whilst at times I felt ashamed, it was the “safer option” to consider when I cried in front of my abusers, for I knew that standing up for myself by exhibiting anger, would only lead for me to lose a “fire-by-fire” battle. One where the fire I would use to combat my abusers, would only result in it coming back right at me along with that of the flame of the people who abused me. I couldn’t risk being “burned” twice.

Bottomline is I cried. I cried for the abuse, I cried when I lost family, I cried when I faced the possibility of failing a 12 credit point major subject at University (which I thankfully redeemed myself for, which means I will get my degree phew), I cried for the most useless of things. I felt ashamed but it now feels comforting to know, through this article, that I didn’t really need to be.


I can relate to this 100% but I have also released that I can cry about something on tv or someone else’s pain every time but when it comes to my own life emotional or physical pain I just can’t. People don’t take me seriously when I say I am upset about something because I am not show emotions like normal people. Glad I am not the only one.


Shorty after my Mom married her second husband and abruptly moved us from where we had been living since the day I was born, my Grandparents house, she found me hiding in a closet sobbing when she got home from work.

I was only seven and her new husband brutally beat me, dragged me around by my hair, watched me dress and held me utter contempt from the moment I walked through his door. Instead of comforting me and finding out what happened my Mother acted like I was crazy and told me if I did not stop, she was taking me to the hospital.

It was a threat, and it worked. I was not ever allowed to cry, be angry or even be happy. Every emotion I ever expressed was too much for my Mother. I spent weeks in therapy as an adult just learning how to let me feelings come through and then months learning how to label what I was feeling. The only words I had were good or bad. I did not know the difference between angry and sad and sleepy.

This was a terribly hard stage of therapy for me, learning to be accepting of feelings and learning to interpret them.


Hi Kaycee
I totally understand how her threat worked. I will never understand how a mother could NOT stand up for her child! How can a person (the second husband) get away with treating a child that way! He should have gone to prison. period.
Thanks for sharing. Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


I find it hard to cry alone. Just now I cried a little, but I am terrified of doing it. I can cry if someone is talking to me, but it’s so scary to cry alone. Things seem unreal when I cry alone. I am trying, though, because I feel so bad right now.


In my childhood, my crying was met with anger and I was told to “stop crying.” I did, because I was steamrolled by my mother. I find it very easy to cry when someone’s around, and when I’m in therapy, but when I’m alone at home (I’m single), I have a problem crying, and that’s when it would likely be the best thing for me. I just feel scared. Not that someone’s going tell me to stop but that I will never be able to stop crying or that crying won’t make me feel better.


Hi Daisy
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
This is a fear that so many people relate to!
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene


When I cry i’m told I do it for attention and that i’m not really upset and need to stop. My sisters call me names and tell me I need to get a life. Even when I was going through a really bad stage of depression they all said and even my parents had said that I only did it for the attention of classmates and teachers. I used to lie when I was little and i’ve changed from then. No matter what it is now, im told im a liar and that no one should or will believe me… says my therapist. I just wish that everyone treated me the way i’ve treated them and that they would treat m like i’m one of their best friends because i know the way i’m treated they don’t do that to them.. :/


I hear you, people. Whenever I cry, I’m often told to stoo crying and that I’m just taking it and I’venever faked any of my tears, ever. They didn’t care if they hurt me or nit and I’m sure that they were taught from a young age to never have emotions…and they not only learned that lesson very well, but they also decided that they would pass it along to their kids; therefore, they never taught us that it’s okay to cry. Looking back, I realize that it’s okay to cry and that crying is what makes me (and you guys, too) human.




I just cried pretty hard. I guess it was because I was too embarassed to admit my weakness that I have tried to cover up thiw whole time.
Three days have passed and such response still feels unreal to me.. it was really unexpected. I couldnt quite make a logical explanation until now. Can u help me?

Fyi, I am an easy going person and always have wanted to be seem as a strong and positive woman. This emotion is really hard for me to accept.


I have a hard time crying in front of others. Even as a sensitive person, and someone who’s grown more sensitive over the years, when it comes time that I need to cry I can’t unless I’m alone and even then sometimes it can be hard. If anyone comes around I immediately stop and try to hide it. I grew up believing my emotional pain and need to cry was invalid and I was weak for it. I constantly feel shame and guilt over crying for it. Like I’m a burden for being weak and making others see and have to deal with my need to cry. I don’t remember much of my childhood and can’t say where it came from but I don’t doubt my dad had something to do with it. He’s always been the kind of person to bottle it up and never cry, just like I was until my need to cry came so much more often as a result of stress, anxiety and depression. I was like a capped bottle that was being filled with too much water. The tears find their way out somehow, and when a good hard cry comes, it gushes. Perhaps that’s why I’m so sensitive. I’m saving this comment for my next therapy appointment. Maybe my therapist can help shed some light.


Hi Alexander
Welcome to EFB. Great idea to discuss this with your therapist. 🙂
Thanks for sharing, I understand what you are saying and relate.
Hugs, Darlene


I am not sure if this is the same thing. I can not cry in front of my husband for 11 years. I don’t feel he’s comforting or understanding. So I go hide in the bathroom. I’ve told him, and it starts an argument. And I know fear turns into anger. Sometimes I cry cause I’m sad, worried, scared. A death. And I do not feel him consoling enough for me. I don’t feel Embarrassed, I still feel alone, so I’d rather be alone…. I did not have some horrible childhood. Or was told not to cry. It’s mainly in front of him…


I just feel like I read about my childhood word for word.

I don’t cry, if I start to I quickly turn it off. There’s no thought about it anymore; it’s automatic.

It’s become a problem because I’d really like to cry naturally, not when it escalates to a point where I burst. But I think that I’m stupid and ugly when I cry so I don’t.

I refuse to cry in front of anyone; it’s an embarrassment to me. I’ve only cried twice w/my therapist and I’ve been seeing her for 10 years.

I’m quite a mess because of this.


I can’t think of any overt emotional response that leaves us feeling more vulnerable than crying especially in front of another(s). There was a long period in my life when I couldn’t cry either even though I “knew” if I could cry I’d feel better-and science backs this observation as well. Beyond vulnerability I also remember feeling that if I ever started crying, I would drown/never stop. Child abuse/neglect erases the person’s humanity and replaces it with a form of insanity: Non-existant “me.” Breathing but emotionally flat lined.


I’m so lost and I hide when I cry, this is taking every bit of joy out of my life. I have no one.


Hi Heather,
I am so sorry that you are so alone. I am glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

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