Do my Parents Have a Right to see My Children if They Don’t Love Me?


12399970_10201138795870244_1750274099_oThis time of year can be really difficult for survivors of dysfunctional family dynamics, and survivors of any kind of childhood trauma, abuse and or neglect. The same applies to the situation for adult children who have been or are currently dealing with narcissistic mother or narcissistic parent issues or abusive and emotionally unavailable parents in general.

I get lots of email from people asking me how I dealt with the whole ‘going no contact’ issue. When this time of year rolls around, those questions are triplicated. There is just something about Christmas that triggers us to wonder if we are in fact the actual problem when it comes to strained relationship with members of our families and something about this time of year makes us revisit our self-doubt whether we have already made the decision to go no contact or if we are simply trying to sort out if we even have a right to feel discounted or if we imagined the whole dysfunctional family thing.

In particular at this time of year, I get asked to address parental rights when it comes to our children and their relationship with our parents, their grandparents.

Because I have been putting everything through the ‘truth grid of understanding’ for so long now, there are things that are much more obvious or logical to me now, then they were 10 years ago and today I look at it this way;

My parents treated me with disregard. My mother and father have very different relationship styles, my mother is verbally abusive and dismissive and much more overtly abusive and my father is more covertly and passively abusive and therefore also dismissive and both of them feel entitled to treat me however they want to but the point is that my children witnessed the way they dismissed me.

Because I accepted the way that they treated me, my children received a specific message about me through the way I was regarded. My children saw people treat me like I was not important. They saw people treat me like my feelings were invalid; they got the message that it was okay to treat people that way and they got the message that it was okay to treat their mother that way. Perhaps even worse than that, they saw me try to please these people in spite of the way they treated me! They saw me ‘accept’ that treatment. Since I have come out of the fog in this situation, why would I want those people around my children?

People tell me that their parents would never hurt their children. I wonder why adult children believe that their parents would be so wonderful to everyone else and that they (as the child of those parents) were the exception to the rule when it comes to the truth about who their parents really are when it comes to the way they treat people? But then I remember that I know exactly why we believe that.

When we are kids we are convinced that WE are the problem. We are brainwashed to believe that we are deficient, that we are somehow defective and that if we were not defective ~ if we were ‘different’ our lives and their feelings towards us would have been different. We are convinced that if only we could have been the children they wanted then we would have been loved. We believe that our parents would have loved us if we had been good enough. We believe that if we had been the children they dreamed of, smarter, more beautiful, more loving, more compliant, less of a burden, then we would have been treasured, loved, accepted, celebrated and secure.

Since we don’t see our own children in the ways our parents regarded us, we can’t imagine that our parents would ever treat our children the ways that they have treated us. Because we see our children as the wonderful treasures they are, we can’t imagine that our parents would ever judge our children in the same ways they judged us so we don’t see any danger in our children having a relationship with our parents if we decide that we are no longer going to have relationship with our parents. (This also applies in the case of our drawing boundaries with our parents and they refuse to respect those boundaries and therefore it is actually the parents who have walked away.)

And here is the thing ~ sometimes our parents don’t judge our children in those ways but how are we to ever know what they are going to do? Perhaps they are grooming our children in a different way and for a different purpose. I have heard horrendous stories; grandparents who have filed for custody, and won by convincing the courts that the parent is unfit. I have heard of grandparents who have turned children against parents, grandparents who have used grandchildren to help them overpower parents oh the nasty list goes on. Sometimes it won’t serve the purpose of the grandparent to treat the grandchild in the same ways that they treated their own children. The dangerous thing about this is that people who do things with a motive that has anything to do with control are unpredictable!

People tell me that their parents “love” their grandchildren. But what is loving about treating that child’s mother or father with disregard and disrespect? Where is the example of love in that treatment?

People tell me that one or both of their parents are narcissists, but they forget that a narcissist is a narcissist ~ no matter WHO they are dealing with. Narcissists are only interested in themselves, so in that regard, what is their interest in relationship with your children? Think about it carefully. Some parents want to be ‘right’ so badly that they will try to discredit you when it comes to your children for the sole purpose proving that they are right about you; so right in fact that your own children have turned against you. (The same applies to spouses who turn the children against one parent.)

It is important to think about the truth when we are making decisions about our own children. I realized that I am the parent. I realized that I had a choice even though I had been convinced and brainwashed that I didn’t have a choice. I had power, even though I had been convinced that I was powerless. I had to reject that lie and take my life and my choices back.

There is no obligation just because the word family is involved. People who don’t care about me, are not good role models for my children. People who treat me as though I am nothing and call me crazy are going to communicate their judgments about me to my children, even if those judgments are non-verbal. And as most of us have experienced first hand, sometimes those people are really convincing.

Think about it this way; whose fault is it when we decide that it is best for our children not to see our parents? Why did we have to consider that decision in the first place? Parents may accuse that we are seeking revenge when we decide that when it comes to our children we are a package deal. Just because our families are saying that we are seeking revenge, does that make it the truth??

Here are some questions you can put through the truth grid this holiday season;

Ask yourself if you were seeking revenge, what you would be seeking revenge for, and then ask yourself it is really revenge you are after, or peace?

What is your motive for standing up to abusive family? My motive came from the desire for relationship based on love and mutual respect.

Ask yourself if you were loved and valued, would you even be considering going or staying no contact?

Ask yourself if your parents don’t treat you in the action of love, are they loving to your children and if you believe they are loving your children, think about how a parent who rejects their own child communicates love to the child of that rejected parent.

Ask yourself why it would be ‘best’ for your children to have a relationship with your parents if that relationship is independent of you. 

It has always been through my examination of the truth that I have found the true answers that set me free to be me and to reclaim my life and my emotional health.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to those who celebrate! Peace and love to all those who don’t celebrate.

I hope you will consider sharing this post in support of people who may be struggling with difficult family dynamics this holiday season. As always, please feel free to share your comments no matter what they are about. This is a very supportive and safe space.

Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

Have you seen The Emerging from Broken bookThe Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? 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 busting out of the fog and 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

Categories : Family



Merry Christmas to everyone! Thank you Darlene for creating this supportive and safe space for us to share our stories and do our healing work.


My NM treated her 1st Grandchild well until The mother, (my brother’s ex) did not thank her for the gifts given to them. After that NM was mean, critical, and refused to babysit, meet my niece at the school bus…..Then was pissed off when I did those things she refused to do.
Then NM cried about no phone calls cards or gifts for her from grandchild or mother at Christmas….. She pushed them away, “punishing” them for not doing what she expected one time.

Her motives for doing and giving were to make grandchild and mother beholden to her, and to reinforce her views on how “uncaring” my brother was. (Nice thing to do to your young grandchild huh?)

When she cried about no grandchildren in her life, I thought to myself, she treated them like shit, when things weren’t the way she wanted.

Wouldn’t let her teenage granddaughter visit and stay during summer vaca.
And now there is NC from them.

I’m sure they picked up on her dysfunctional behavior. Thank God!


It’s a fair question, I guess. But I like to think the answer is obvious. A decent parent wouldn’t want to have their children exposed to toxic people, attitudes or enviornments. It’s as simple as that. And what would the message be if we did force them to be around these people? That their behavior is excusable because they’re family? That’s why you must suffer their presence every year, little Timmy. Family isn’t some magical word that changes a bad situation into anything else, in fact I think it makes it worse.

I haven’t spoken to my parents for about two years, but my siblngs still hang around with them. They’ve been great and understanding and not pressuring me to contact my parents and I appreciate that more than words could ever possibly convey. But they still hang around my parents and, as a result, so do my young nephews. I worry fairly regularly about they way they may act around the kids. Before I left there was more than one instance of my father becoming frustrated with and yelling at one of them when he was only a toddler. I should have broken his nose right then and there but I didn’t. If I somehow ever do see evidence of mistreatment again, I will do something about it. I can promise that.


I don’t have any children, but I watched my father, who is very dismissive and doesn’t connect or get involved emotionally in any of our lives – me or my siblings. That is hurtful enough – but I watched him with my nieces and nephews – and he treats them according to how he feels about one or both of their parents, which is not fair at all. He is mad at my sister, so her kids get treated like crap. He doesn’t like my brother’s ex-wife, so he ignores my niece. It’s bad enough that my siblings are repeating the patterns that we experienced growing up, but because they choose to let their children be around our parents, they get it from not just their parents, but from their grandfather as well. My mom does some stuff with the grandkids, but she mostly ignores them when they visit too.


What a validating article! Thank you! … When ‘well meaning’ people ask me “why can’t your relatives at LEAST get to see your kids. YOU don’t have to go, just send the kids… They ARE family” I respond with: “If I feel like the environment is not safe for ME to be in … What kind of mother would then knowingly send her children into such a place? Especially knowing the depth of damage that I have had to overcome from them?… My obligation is to keep my kids safe. Even if it comes at the cost of having take an unpopular stand.” … Reading this article will hopefully help others realize the motivation for no contact is to protect against abusive behavior and not done out of spite. Ultimately we just want to surround ourselves with a safe, supportive, healthy family … sadly sometimes we have no choice but to just make our own ‘chosen family’ … But either way – we’ll be okay. Stay strong EFB family! 😉


I had to go no contact with my whole family, following my NM’s death. People in my family accused me of horrendous things (untrue) in the middle of last year. When I tried to communicate with cousins and my godmother about what had happened they were not very supportive. I have gone NC with my whole family (probably 20+ people) and this will be my 2nd Christmas alone. The hurtful part is that I have 3 children who are not ready to go NC with my family because of all the monetary perks. They still enjoy Christmas for all the gifts they are going to get. When they come home on Christmas they go to celebrate with their father’s family (my ex). All in all, I am alone for 3 days. Last year I tried to arrange get-togethers with friends and they did not work out, leaving me feeling very sad. So this year I have made reservations in a very nice hotel near the ocean. I’m going to try doing things that I love, like sitting near the ocean, reading, crafts, and enjoying some nice meals out. It’s still difficult when the children come home and talk about their visit, but I’m hoping that with the time away that I will be better equipped to listen. Merry Christmas to everyone! I forgot to mention that my sister’s husband is a narcissist.


Thank you for the reminder that Christmas is hard for everyone. You are right. I only wanted peace. If I wanted revenge,it would have been a lot more creative than asking her to leave me alone and then realizing I just didn’t have anything left to say to her. I think it is that Christmas was more important than me. It makes it hard. It is supposed to be about peace but it has become about reliving some kind of 1950s fantasy world. ?


Happy Holidays, everyone!
I would just like to add that it’s not only narcissist relatives that will do this ‘devaluation’ of you & possibly your children. Relatives with ‘borderline personality disorder’ will do this also, they will cross any & all boundaries but don’t you DARE cross theirs. With BPD it’s all about ‘me, me, me’ & therefore they feel they are justified in crossing your boundaries & even resorting to tantrums & bullying to get their way. I had to learn that one the hard way.


Thanks for posting this Darlene, it is year 3 of ‘no contact’ and funny enough nobody in the toxic circle is seeking me out to apologize or see how I am. The children don’t miss them because they rarely saw them anyway, and when they did money was shoved at them instead of time or real connection. Money was used to silence me for a long time too but that emptiness never left me despite that form of help- we will give you money if you don’t tell was the deal- Now 3 years on I am waiting for the court case to happen because I have told, I have told about the uncle who abused me as a teenager, the rape and the dirty old neighbour, trauma after trauma that I told my parents and their reaction was ‘ it will kill my sister please dont tell’ the rapists family are ‘our friends’ so please be quiet, and I listened, I listened to them all my life and it destroyed me as a person, carrying all that was too much and I finally had a breakdown at 40years of age and it became a case of tell or die, me or them and I chose me. I am hoping 2016 will be the year I stand in the dock and face the abusers , I cannot wait, I am ready for this- and then, when it is over I am going public- because I was told not to tell for so many years I am going to tell the world what happened to me, name and shame them all and blow the secret out in the open like it should be.
Merry Christmas to you all,

Let your truth guide you no matter what others say

M xxx


When our son was growing up he would spend summers with my parents. Age 7-15.
They had a good relationship as far as I knew. He loved going there.

Until I was 58 and went no contact with family I was the defective scapegoat who needed to prove her worth. All dysfunction was blamed on me but I was tolerated out of the goodness of their hearts.

When young John turned 19 he got in with a bad group and stole from us numerous times and was really making super bad choices.
My parents took the stand that we were picking on him ( we were the bad guys) and he went north to live with them.

He used them, did drugs, stole from them etc. They finally put him out, called me up and raged at me as if I was responsible for his actions and required I make good on the money he had cost them.
Even though they had taken his side against me when I had initially tried to tell them what was going on, I was blamed.
They never had any relationship with him again.
Once they decided you were “no good” then they were done with you.
Jump ahead 10 yrs. My son & his girlfriend stopped by my mothers house when they were on a trip up north. She spoke to them thru the door and wouldnt share my brothers address. Sent them away. Then called me to justify her behavior.
8 months later he was dead and she was still justifying her actions.


Oh my gosh Karen R, what a horrible story. I don’t have children, but like you I am the scapegoat. It is always your fault.

I am so sorry about your son’s death. It is so sad. Your mother may have felt some guilt since she was still justifying her actions.

I hope you have a nice holiday. You will not have to prove your worth to your family. That is a good thing.


Hi Andria
Thanks and Merry Christmas to you too!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi d ch
Isn’t it interesting when these people behave that way and then cry when people leave them?? What the heck to they think is going to happen??
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi LeeTheGirl
Yes, the answer is obvious when we are seeing through the understanding that all people have equal value.
That is really awesome that your siblings have not pressured or judged you!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi HeatherN
What you describe is horrible and having said that it is also shockingly typical!
UGG. Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Keira
I am glad that this article validates you! I love your response to people who think that family are entitled to have relationships no matter what, just because they are ‘family’. Great response!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Hope
I am sorry that you are all alone for the second year in a row because of the dysfunctional family system. I love your plan to do things that you love to do. That is a wonderful plan!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Heather
Asking myself what my motive is has been a huge way to support myself in the healing journey.
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene

Hi Bibi
Yes, this really has nothing to do with narcissism or any other personality disorder; it has to do with people who believe that they are more important than other people. It has to do with the false belief that the one with the most power and control is the most valuable instead of the truth which is that all people have equal value.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Marie
It makes me sick when I hear people ask for protection for the abuser/perpetrator. What about the victim??? The message of “don’t tell” is horrific; it defines us as nothing. Good for you for doing what you needed to do for you. I admire that so much. Please let me know how it goes with the court case.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen
Your story is chillingly familiar as well. This is such a clear case of parent entitlement and parents who think that they are the only one’s in the world that can’t do anything wrong. Not much to miss about that situation, is there?!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I don’t have children, and don’t plan to, so at least having my kids used as a pawn against me wouldn’t be an issue. My mother hasn’t done this with my older brother’s children since they’re so enmeshed anyway, but I wouldn’t put it past her to do it with my potential children.

I do have three nephews, though. I’ve been an aunt since I was 10 because of the large age gap between my brother and me.

When they would visit for the summer, they were treated punitively by my mother, and when they would call their parents, they were told not to tell them about being punished. My brother and sister-in-law would’ve approved of it anyway, so I don’t know why she feared them finding out. What hypocrisy. I didn’t think much of it then since I was a kid myself at the time, but now I recognize how senseless and disturbing it is.

Now, all three of them are teens, and the oldest one will be a legal adult within months. Since they have been brainwashed all of their lives to “stick with family”, I wonder if they’d either hate me for not having much of a relationship with them, or they’d adopt a “neutral” position like my older sister, and claim to care about me, but say I’m wrong for not being involved in the family. If that’s how they would feel, there’s nothing much I can do about that. I can’t and shouldn’t control how others feel about me.

My older sister doesn’t have kids, but I think it may happen in the next 5-10 years. If that occurs, I have a feeling that my potential baby niece/nephew would be used as a pawn to get me to be involved with them. (This is sort of happening already with my nephews.)

Maybe this would sound a little hard-hearted, but while I do fear for him/her if he/she comes to be, at the same time, I feel no obligation towards the potential baby or my nephews. After all, no one chooses to be an aunt or uncle, so why am I treated like I have to be their second mother? People choose to be parents, therefore they’re more important to a child’s life than extended family members.

Oh well. I suppose I rather be seen as a “bad aunt” to them, than expose myself to toxic family members to prove how “good” I am.


Hi Marie,

I am happy that you are giving your self a voice that your abusers silenced for so many years. In January I was asked to speak about this Experiencing God class that I did earlier this year and it is turning out to be my testimony. I too will “out” what my parents did to me. I am hoping it will bring me more freedom as well. I know that only good will come out of what we are doing because we are no longer allowing our abusers to dictate how we live our lives. My heart goes out to you for having to endure so much pain. My mother used to bribe me with money and “things” too. That is what Christmas is all about for her. Filling that big empty void inside of her self and using me to do it with. It worked for many years. Now I see that it was mostly to make her self feel better then ever about making me feel good. My mother never provided me with the basics…no time, no warmth, no comfort, no understanding, no “real” help, and most of all no genuine love. Just blame blame blame that whittled my self esteem and self worth right down the toilet after all those years of hearing it right along with my identity smashed to smithereens due to developing DID in order to survive that toxic home that still reeks havoc on my life today 49 years later.

We shall overcome. The victory is ours. I will continue to love my parents from afar even though they don’t see it that way but then again what do they really know about “true” love anyway???



Thank you Darlene I will let you know how the case goes, I made statements last year and this year with police and social workers , the next step is the court date and facing the abuser- I will look him in the eye and I am not afraid anymore. The sad part in all of this is that my little boy ended up being abused by his cousin because of the secrets , it always ends up being played out by the next generation (if you read the book ‘family secrets’ by John Grisham it would shock you), I went straight to the police with my boy and he has also made statements and will bring his abuser to court, I am heartbroken this happened to the child i swore i would protect now matter what, his cousin was in a position of trust and abused my child. This time though when my son told me what happened to him I completely supported him to tell me, then the police and now court, heartbreaking, I am hoping we broke the cycle now but It cuts so deep that my boy was abused, his cousin is way older and should have known better


Darlene I loved the questions that you provided us to ask ourselves in regards to our motivations behind not seeing our FOO. They are truth seekers that will only bring us good and help protect us from those who WILL hurt us if we allow them too. We have to remember that the only one’s who changed on this journey are us. Our family members are still caught up with their sick ways of thinking and no good will ever come out of that for us or for those of us who have children. Thanks for providing us with the necessary tools that can help save us from a world full of more pain originating from our FOO’s.


Thank you for this powerful reminder. I am not “no contact” with my parents but was able to move across the country from them 3 years ago and it has helped so much! My mother is controling, manipulative and plain mean sometimes. My dad always takes her side. Sometimes visits from them can be difficult, but managable since exposure to their insanity is in small doses.

There was a time that I felt guilty for moving my children so far away from their granparents. My boys (12 &13) are old enough to understand what I’m talking about with the way they treat me and it makes them upset to witness it when they are here. My daughter (7) is still a little too young to understand but visits from Nanny and Pop is all she’s really known. Also, when we lived in the same town, any time my daughter (then 4 years old) would spend time with my mother she would come back to me with a horrible attitude towards me…hateful and rebellious. It was so strange.
So many miles away is the perfect excuse to stay away from them and I have been so much happier. My life has been much more peaceful.


I have made so much progress being away from my family, I’m still relieved that I won’t see them this year. My memories of being on the outside looking in even when I WAS with them are clearer than ever.

I allowed, even encouraged my children to continue relationships with my family when I was estranged years ago, though I did eventually go back. My children as adults now treat me pretty much the way my mom & siblings always have.

When my one daughter kicked me out of her life, I didn’t even know how to reach her children without her cooperation, but have since been further criticized for abandoning them. The relationship my children have with my family was made possible by MY efforts. Now I regret that.

But I’m finding more real friends and real love as I leave the dysfunction behind. DNA alone doesn’t make a real family.



Darlene thank you so much for this. I’m really struggling at the moment and this is just what I needed to hear. Thank you and happy holidays!!


I Darlene its Pinky from FaceBook.I dont see a share button can I share this on FaceBook?If so how?Thanks for your help! I recently suggested your blog to a few people one is that Make a Wish Girl i want to protect her identity since she is a minor and a man my hubby used to work with who was abused by his wife. I saw the vidoes of it.
I had to wait a long time to hear back from disability to see if they would approve it. I have it but for a time period I am not sure of. It could be a few months or a year. It depends on their work load. So anyway saying that to say I will send a donation!


Hi Pinky
I just realized that my share button for social media has gone missing! I will check into that.
Meanwhile, I guess you could share it from the FB page (it is there now) or cut and paste the URL??
Thanks for wanting to share it!!!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Poppy
Glad you are here and glad that my article was comforting!!! I had a feeling that it might be a good time to write on that topic!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Nina
There was a time that I felt guilty too, extremely guilty and I wasn’t the one that stopped contact! I felt guilty just for asking for respect. Ahh I don’t miss any of that!!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kris
So true, that we are the only ones changing on this journey. They have a choice.. they could have real relationship based on love and mutual respect. But they have chosen to stay in the muck. And that is not my problem anymore.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, thank you for this post. My 25 year old daughter is feeling the “guilt” of not seeing her grandparents this Christmas. I have given her the freedom to do so, but now that I have read your post, I am worried about the aftermath. My NM is a narcissist and cares only for herself. Everything is for her benefit and no one else’s.
I don’t feel sorry for her, especially during this time of year. She was and always will be a miserable women, who for some reason felt no love or affection for me.
My eldest son wants nothing to do with her and my youngest doesn’t like to talk about it.
I think my 25 year old daughter feels bad for my Dad who has dementia. She was very close to him and it hurts her to see him deteriorating. I believe it’s a blessing in disguise and I also believe that my NM drove him to drink and have have mini strokes, which then lead him to get the dementia. She almost drove me crazy and last September was the day I had a meltdown and also a breakthrough. No more. Enough. I always question myself because she is my M and because my dad is ill. Then, I remember what she has put me thru since I was 12 years old. Darlene…how do I tell myself that even though she is my M and Dad is ill that it’s okay for me to have No Contact.


Darlene I would like to Wish you and your family a Very Merry Christmas.
Thank you for helping us all thru this journey of finding peace and love within ourselves.


Thank you for posting this, and for all the responses. After 40 years of psychotherapy on how to deal with an abusive mother, and hearing her abuse my nieces and nephews, I called it quits on visits and holidays with her. And yes, no phone calls either.The guilt played around in my head a long while until I was told by a therapist, “I visit my mother just enough so that I won’t feel guilty when she’s dead.” I love my mother, but I only visit now for short periods of time and when I feel strong. Not visiting my mother is first on my list under “self-care”.


Hi Lori,

I like what your therapist said. In other words do what is best for you this time around. Take care of your own self and stop caving into their demands that are sick to begin with. Amen to that!!


Thank you for this post. I don’t have children (yet?) but when I do my parents will never see them. I was as damaged by witnessing my narcissistic grandmother’s treatment of my mum as I was by the way my parents treated me (my dad is an aggressive narcissist and my mum is the emotionally vacant kind). It gave me so many wrong messages about what relationships should look like.

Family is meant to be the blueprint for the rest of your existence in the world. To teach you how to be. anyone suggesting I expose my future children to their so called grandparents is not someone I wish to debate with. It’s not their place to comment. So you don’t need to explain when they trigger your guilt!


I tried visiting for only ” short periods of time”. Nothing good came out of that. I was verbally abused because of that too! NOTHING was GOOD ENOUGH.


I’d like to encourage everyone to consider making a donation to Emerging From Broken. It’s very easy: just click on the yellow “Donate” button in the right hand column on this page. It costs Darlene $250 per month to run this website and what doesn’t get covered she pulls out of her own funds; I think any amount, no matter how small, would be appreciated.

Darlene is a lifeline for many of us. Her inspiring and supportive entries, as well as her personal responses to many of our comments can make all the difference in the development of a healthier and more fulfilling life, one day at a time. She gives courage where there is fear, comfort where there is sadness, and love where there is loneliness. She’s helped us with boundaries, and for me personally Darlene has put into words many interpersonal dynamics that felt bad but I couldn’t articulate the “why”.

Thank you Darlene for giving of yourself so freely. You’ve done a great thing by starting and maintaining this blog. I wish for you continued emotional freedom and much love and happiness this holiday season and beyond.

I’m off to make my donation!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone who celebrates the holiday, and if it’s a difficult one (which it can be for many of us) I wish for you peace and strength to get through it.

Love, Light



I totally understand your comment that “NOTHING was GOOD ENOUGH”. I got the same from my family.


You said so many true things about Darlene and her posts on her creation EFB. Darlene certainly has “put into words” the interpersonal dynamics that felt bad but could not be ferreted out by ourselves alone. Thank you Darlene!

Thank you Light for reminding us to be generous to the woman who has given of herself so others may find the freedom that she has found.



I don’t like missing out on the opportunity to give to someone who is genuinely trying to help me like Darlene is so thanks for the reminder. Merry Christmas to you too!!


I think the lady that used the term Toxic Relationship nailed it….If your children decide to go see them when they are grown. Well they are grown.and expected to be well rounded enough to deal and smart enough to ask any questions.A young one can not do that.If you made a decision to break then let your yes mean yed and no nean no.No looking back itherwise it will come across as you being weak….Your not…Your a Mom…..Those are your children…..


Dearest Light,
Thank you so much for your encouragement and endorsement and for all the validation you have given me about what I do here. I am so touched and grateful as well. Thank you for your generous donation and for the other donations you have sent over the years! I hate asking for donations so I rarely get them anymore. Since your post I have received 4 donations for a total of 127.00 ~ I am feeling blessed. Hugs and Merry Christmas.
love Darlene

Kris, thank you as well for your lovely words and donation. 🙂

Andria, Thank you for your encouragement and your words and the donations you have contributed as well!

To the others that have sent me a donation, thank you!! I don’t always know who they are from if people use a screen name on this blog or a different email to donate so if I miss your name, that would be why.

Happy Holidays everyone. Remember that they way they treat you is about them. If someone lies to you, it doesn’t make you gullible because you believed the lie, it makes them a LIAR.

Love, Darlene



Thank you for the words of encouragement on Christmas Eve. It gets better for me every year at holiday time. I love what your wrote: “if someone lies to you it doesn’t make you gullible because you believed the lie. It makes them a LIAR.” Love that.


Thank you Darlene for this website. I like the way you write.

Its been around a decade since I went no contact with my parents. The years I was around them, my mother was always was so over the top in *positive enthusiasm* about my children, giving them gifts etc. So I in my ignorance felt that at least she liked them even if she didn’t like me. Little did I know the horrible covert abuse she did to them the *few times* I left them alone with her and my father during emergencies and also when my father was around during the short duration of a visit. The things she said about me and them were vile. She was calculated and sneaky in how she did the verbal, emotional abuse. My daughter and son, when they were older, started telling me how they were treated. My son said he saw my mother as the alpha-mother. My daughter told me how my mother would say very strange things to influence her and then use “code” references in front of me to refer to the previous abuse so as to freshen up the abuse. When I went to use the bathroom (and probably when my dad used the bathroom or went outside to do something during a short visit) and when I was across the yard from my mother or when there was other noise going on she would use that time to say or whisper a bizarre abusive thing. I’m not sure how a child is supposed to deal with a “loving grandmother” who when alone with them, said very strange odd abusive things about me and the child periodically over years. But she had an impact from the shock of it all tearing down my authority… I can’t say details because I don’t want her to have the satisfaction of knowing who wrote this comment if she reads the site. Anyway, if anyone is feeling guilty that they aren’t letting the grandparents see the kids… STOP…. you may have no idea what is going on when you aren’t there even if it is a very short time and someone else is around too.


I haven’t been welcome in my mother’s house for 9 years. Since the time i walked out when she shouted and pointed her finger at my then 2 yr old son’s face. She has my sister and her 2 children over all the time, even has them stay the night. But to my mother i have always been rebellious and disrespectful so i am not worthy of going to her house. Even when last year my father had a heart attack and was in ICU and had a bypass surgery i was booking a ticket to come and stay at a motel with the children (as my father hasn’t met the 2 youngest) She vibered me and said “Don’t come, its better if he doesn’t see you” I was still trying to come but then when packing i had no more will to go as i was shocked that still after 8 yrs she wasn’t excited to see me and the children as i was to see my father and had put behind me the nerves of seeing her because she had treated me as her personal slave until i left the country at around 30 yrs of age. All I wanted to do was give my dad a hug. He survived and is thank fully still alive. I have offered my parents tickets to come and visit us but they haven’t taken up the offers. its a 3 hr flight from NZ to this part of Australia. I still feel sad and angry every Christmas because as children we had my grandmother and aunties etc. My sister’s children have this. But mine don’t. I thank God because he has put lovely friends around us and for the last 2 Christmases we had them at my husband’s bosses’ and they spoil the children so much. But there is always a part of me that still feels guilty and very empty.


The website used to “remember” name and email; now it doesn’t and your message is lost when you press submit unless you remember to fill in the information at the top first.


Thank you for invalidating my post from yesterday. All the things you preach you yourself do. My message was a personal point for me and how far I’ve come reading all you write here for years, my bad. I have learned that I matter and through this site have learned that it’s about me not them, yet when I wrote a nice message about how far I have come it’s deleted, why, because I am no longer pouring my heart out on here. You don’t want people to heal and get better it’s just a place to vent giving people in the early stages I place to feel protected and validated I get it because it helped me, but I through many avenues have found my voice and made choices to take my power back. So since it is YOUR website and YOU pay for it. I will no longer post here, why, because I don’t need do to this anymore, for I am free. You do talk a double standard and although you may disagree you are also very good at flipping it to make posters who find there way


Freedom comes from seeing the truth and I have found mine.


Hi Davina
I am sorry that your info was not ‘remembered’. I think sometimes the updates to the wordpress theme change things and I have no control over that. I am sorry you lost your post.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi KateE
I did not invalidate your post from yesterday ~ it landed in “moderation” and being Christmas I didn’t have time to check the website. I thought I might take one day off. 🙂 Sorry about that. All of your comments have been published now.
Hugs, Darlene


Did my post end up in moderation too?

I posted a few days ago, but I don’t ever remember what I wrote anymore. The main reason I posted was to get the posts in my email, but now I’m wondering what happened.



You’re most welcome, Darlene!


My first post was lost in moderation. It really doesn’t matter though, as I’ve decided to leave here and move on. “MY” life needs to be lived in the present and not in my past as my past has nothing to offer me. Will my life be perfect, probably not and I am sure I will be hurt by family members again, but life in general is not perfect but it can be really great and I’ll take that anytime. Healing is a journey and I’ve learned so much about myself that I would never had known if my life had been different, less complicated. It showed me how much I do matter and the choices I can make for me to be happy.


Hi KateE,

Does anywhere in your new found freedom include apologizing when you are wrong or is that still too hard for you to do because it involves being vulnerable in order to do it which I can completely understand. From what I have experienced with Darlene over the past couple of years is she is the last one who will try and set anyone up for a fall once they have reached the other side of broken and according to your comments you of all people should have known this truth…that is if you are truly free.

Best to you on your journey because you deserve it but being able to admit to when you are wrong is a huge part of it too. Your comments rubbed me the wrong way. There was a certain air of smugness to them that I found unappealing but I really do hope for freedom in your life. I’m just not quite so sure that you have reached it yet and my wish is that my comments will perhaps make you take a second look at some of the things that you said in your post to use as a learning experience not to put you down in any way because what good would that do any of us. We all have lived through condemnation in our lives and we know what that outcome adds up to!!

Peace to you,


Hi All,

I survived Christmas with no contact from my Narc mom and cousin. I am truly sorry for everybody with children who are used as pawns by their grandparents. It’s hard every year since I don’t really fit into any particular box.

My Narc mom was alone this year and Narc cousin did not visit her for a change—-he must have had better plans. I have never met my Narc cousin’s daughter(age 18) and I really don’t want to. It’s not that I have anything against her directly, but I realized how painful it is to deal with anyone remotely connected with my Narc mom and cousin. I wonder if this is normal or not? I question the fact of how much I have healed if I can’t stand to be in the same room with the daughter? It just brings up so much anger and I don’t want to pretend to be nice in public since I have bad memories of Narc cousin getting away with so much. I sincerely wish that this cousin’s daughter would move out of state for college, but she lives with her mom in a small town in my state. This Narc cousin likes to visit my mom’s house and even chat with the neighbors. He has manipulated these neighbors into thinking that he is a nice person who cares about my mom.

I made the choice as a teenager that I would never have a biological child and I made the right choice. The thought crossed my mind way back of having horrible grandparents (my parents)and my child staying with them for babysitting. I knew that I could never trust my parents with lying about me behind my back to my own child to brainwash my kid! I KNOW that my parents were rather affluent and if I became a single parent mom that they would not help us. Every penny was for them and their big luxury house. I can see it now that every birthday for my child would have been a minor gift on clearance or a cheap toy. I feared that my child would have been verbally abused by my parents or experience the terror of my crazy Narc mom’s rage…

The holiday season also brings up for me the fact that I never had much contact with my father’s side of the family. My Narc mom’s family was total trash and there was also one of her relatives living in our basement. My father put up with anything that she wanted. I was ashamed and humiliated by her and her relatives. I remember one Christmas when I was a teenager, and my father seemed depressed liked all he talked about was his mid-western family. I really wanted to throw out these stupid basement losers on the street so my father could afford to buy a plane ticket to visit his relatives. He was a victim, too.

To this day, my father’s relatives are a big mystery to me. I went on trip once with my father and they actually seemed nice and normal to me on the surface—-note: I’m very intuitive. I am MAD that I also lost a big part of my family history with the “normal” side of my relations due to my crazy Narc mom and her screwball relatives! I only send a Christmas card to one cousin every year and I don’t know about the future. I think that if I ever get married in the future that I would like some connection with my mid-western cousins. I would like to show my future in-laws that my background is not that bad! I will NEVER visit Seattle(my hometown) ever again for as long as I live, since my mom’s family live there. (I live in a southwest state).

I do have free will and there is the joy of having the freedom to never call or see my mom’s family ever again. I can send cards in the future to my other cousins. Maybe I will have a connection with them someday. I have been embarrassed by others who ask about my family. I want to say that I do have some decent relatives that I am proud of! I keep NO photos of my mom or mom’s relatives in my home displayed in my hallway photo collages. I have few photos displayed at home of a couple of close friends who died and my “real” father figure, my Cousin Dean.

I choose not to feel sorry for myself during the holidays since I have more than most people—homeowner, college grad, good job reference, few great friends, my hobbies, my health…but then I ask why me? I think that I’m a nice person but why was I cheated so badly in the family of origin department? I don’t know why but I am only hurt when acquaintances at work and so forth try to shame me for being alone and I’m rather reserved. But the ones that I feel sorry for are the kids and teens who endure yet another horrific holiday of child abuse issues with fighting and screaming and bullying or worse at home by their parents who live in “normal” houses and neighborhoods. Thank goodness that I’m a grownup along with everyone else on this site! The greatest gift that I have this season and beyond is my freedom from abuse issues.

I truly wish everybody a very happy new year. May all your dreams come true in 2016!

Blessed be,



Thank you for those questions Darlene – I am definitely seeking peace rather than revenge, and my motive for standing up to my mother’s manipulative behaviour is the same as my motive for finding it much harder than in the past to stand up to her – wanting my daughter to have a happy life and different experience to me. Strange that I’ve been believing that having her spend time with the person who brought me up is the way to do that!

My mind is more at peace than in ages after a few days of spending Christmas NOT with my mother. I’m grateful for some validation I’ve found on this site which may have swung being able to stick to that to some extent. However every time I pass the phone and message machine the guilt she installed about not seeing her and my toddler not being given her presents is there. I can see my daughter isn’t that bothered with presents, let alone opening them at “the right time”, and if my mother was so concerned about what she says she is then she could have posted them. Seeing a toddler opening presents you’ve got for them is as much for you as for them. The presents she’s got have now become a symbol of her martydom and my difficultness and ingratitude, more valuable to her to hold on to as a tool to make me feel guilty. It’s like when I left home and all she could do was shout about a grimy old saucepan I’d tried to take with me. The saucepan was just a symbol and to anyone outside it looks crazy that her only child was leaving home and she was being a total b#### and ranting about a saucepan like I was worth nothing. If she was at peace she could see the truth and how much more important peace and people being comfortable and happy (truly loved) is, compared to some symbol. It’s as if there is a burning ball of rejection burning inside her, and whenever any glimmer of rejection comes her way, she becomes nothing but the ball – all the love and compassion is eclipsed and all she can do is scorch people. That’s part of the damage done to people by narcissistic parents I think (as my mother had them herself but worse I think). I know have the same thing myself in me and when something happens that makes me feel rejected my mood goes down, when someone does something that makes me feel used I lash out – I don’t have an awareness of their feelings at that time. But it is not the something that was done, it’s the years of layers of the past and seeing things through that filter. More and more I’m learning to see it and have more insight to dowse the flames, but I don’t believe I’ll ever be truly fully “healed” from the damage of my childhood – temporarily maybe, but the roots go so deep. But the more I see and understand what triggers me, the more I can see reality through the cloud of what has hurt me in the past, give things and people the benefit of the doubt, and not be so consumed with hurt that I cause hurt in response, until the next time I do and then regret it.


I’m just experimenting with a different browser. My attempts to post have not shown up and I don’t think I was being offensive.


Hi Hobie
It seems that the last updates to wordpress has wiped out a few things. You might have to make sure that your info is still filled into the comment form. 🙁 It isn’t you. I have noticed several people who share regularly are being held in moderation which under normal circumstances means “first time commenter” which you are not.. check that in the other browser and see if that works.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Hobie
I just went trough the spam folder and found 2 comments that belonged to you! These last updates really messed a few things up. I marked you as “not spam” so it should be okay now.

Dear Kris,
Thank you for addressing KateE on my behalf. The reason that KateE is in moderation is because of her abusive bursts towards me and other readers (under this name as well as under another name) over the last few years. This is also the second time that I have explained to her why her comments don’t always show up right away. I am willing to give EVERYONE a chance here, but when something goes wrong for someone and they immediately decide to tear me apart, (and KateE really said some nasty things about me) and then when I explain, they refuse to even own up to their side of it… well that is exactly the old system of relationship that we are all trying to put behind us isn’t it?
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Yvonne
YAY for surviving Christmas with no contact!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Joanne,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I struggled with guilt for a long time. I had to ask myself over and over again what it was that I had to feel guilty about and when I answered those questions, I had to take a good look at how I learned to take the blame for almost everything in the first place. I might write a new article about this very thing!
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


Just checking…


I allowed my children a relationship with their grandparents even when I felt I needed to avoid contact. At this point it seems to have cost me a relationship with one of my children and all of her children, and it has strained the relationship I have with another child.

My relationship with my third child is currently being renegotiated. While my mother has a lot to do with the difficulties there, a lot of other influences are also involved.

I learned on Christmas eve that my mother has been hospitalized since a week before Christmas. She has avoided doctors most of her life and is now dealing with a number of issues she can no longer avoid.

My initial gut reaction was that I wanted to see her and try to offer some kind of comfort or kindness. I’ve been strongly discouraged from doing so, and for now, I’m glad. I’ve been NC for nearly 2 years now and if I don’t resume the active role as family scapegoat, I’m pretty sure that my presence won’t be welcome.

I’m thankful that my one child was blunt enough to ask, “Won’t you feel bad if she dies and you didn’t see her?” I responded that I won’t feel bad that I didn’t see her if seeing her would only upset her.

It’s hard to come to terms myself with the probability that my mother’s illness won’t be the opportunity for reconciliation that makes Hallmark movies popular. However, I can see that my family is most likely to respond to this crisis by deepening their attachment to the dysfunction they’ve chosen for decades.

Whatever I do, whether I try to make contact, or maintain my distance, I will be the one who created the problem that they could have managed otherwise.

I’m trying now to determine specifically what I will be the best way for me to live with myself through the situation, because I believe I’m going to have to face criticism anyway.

Happy New Year



Happy New Year, everyone!

Here’s hoping 2016 doesn’t treat anyone too badly. 😉


Hi, Darlene, You commented: “I had to take a good look at how I learned to take the blame for almost everything in the first place. I might write a new article about this very thing! ”

If you do write an article on this, I could fill pages with my Blamed/Guilt experiences!
(I may win the prize of best contributing Commentor! LOL)

*Note: I don’t feel guilty posting this, or wanting to share! 🙂

Happy New Year Everyone! And Celebrate Every New Day!


Hey Hobie, you said- It’s hard to come to terms myself with the probability that my mother’s illness won’t be the opportunity for reconciliation that makes Hallmark movies popular. However, I can see that my family is most likely to respond to this crisis by deepening their attachment to the dysfunction they’ve chosen for decades.”

I envision me at my NM,s bedside, and she blames me for her illness, reminds me of how terrible I have been by NC, Now I come to see her, blah blah blah bullsh3t, That I just want her to re-include me in her will….(I was told earlier this year by NM I am “off” her will, I said, “so money can’t buy happiness, I don’t have much now, and know how to not live High on the Hog” 🙂

Dammmnnnnnnnn! If looks could kill, I wouldn’t be writing this!

Hang tough, I feel the same way as you!


Well, my Christmas has been pretty peaceful. A few days before Christmas, I went to Iowa to visit my friend and sleepover for the night. I guess I can think for her and her family as my non-biological family since they’re healthier than my biological one. I see her once a year because she’s a graduate student and travels a lot, but that’s okay because in my view, people don’t have to see each other a lot to remain friends.

About my current family situation: I don’t want to speak too soon, but I wonder if my family has finally given up on trying to pull me back in. Usually I get those “I love you, I miss you” emails during holidays, but I haven’t gotten those in weeks. I still watch out for my mother when I go out since we live in the same town, but I wonder if she and other family members grew tired of my lack of response. A part of me wishes to get something on the lines of “Let’s meet at a restaurant and talk about improving our relationship.”, but I highly doubt that will happen since it’s “all my fault” even though they “love” me.


Yep, reconciliation would most liking happen in fiction than in real life. I wonder if I’ll be blamed for my mother’s death when the time comes. But then again, she’s been ill since as long as I can remember. I have a memory of visiting her in the hospital along with my older sister as a child, and she has been sleeping with the aid of a CPAP since I was in middle school (or probably longer). I can imagine my obsequious older siblings putting the blame on me, but I know that other things could have contributed to it such as genetics or other things I don’t know about. My mother loves to blame the job she worked at and hated for all that’s wrong with her, but I doubt her health problems are the result of one factor. (Sigh!) Something to look forward to, I suppose, in the next several years.



What you wrote reminded me of my self. I clung onto any tidbit that my mother would throw my way because in my mind that meant that she still loved me but this year when I refused to cave into her demands she returned my Christmas gift with a note telling me how it brings her very little joy not giving me anything at all and by her doing this to me it gave me a chance to really look at just what exactly she has been giving me over these past 3 years of virtually NC and what I saw was a bunch of emails forwarded to her by her cohorts that she sent to me all lecturing me on how to be a better daughter and how I should remain loyal to a family that didn’t remain loyal to me and in that moment I saw that my mother really wasn’t showing me her love at all and in fact what she was really doing was trying to control my every thought and move just like she has done all of my life. I just didn’t want to see this truth because with it comes a world full of pain with the realization that my mother never really cared about me and my well being to begin with …it was all about her.

In a sense I feel relieved even though at the time it royally sucked to go through this bullcrap at the holidays. I feel like I no longer will be waiting around for any signs of reconciliation from my mother anymore because now I know that that day will never happen not because of anything that I did wrong but because of her refusal to do her part that doesn’t allow me any room to maneuver unless I still want to be her doormat which I don’t!!…and to me that spells more freedom. A lot of time and energy went into that dream that I can now use to focus on me and my recovery instead of worrying about will she or won’t she contact me anymore.



Regarding post 51… I just have to say that I can’t imagine you ever being offensive!!! I enjoy reading your posts all the time. It kind of made me chuckle to my self when I read it because you have always been so kind and considerate here. Just felt the need to share this with you.



The only thing I can say is I spoke from my heart, you do not have to like what I’ve said and is was not said directly to you. And I find it admiral for you to come to Darlene’s defense. I have over the years said things that I felt I needed to say but mostly I have found that when I don’t agree with Darlene and that is my right to do so, suddenly I’m abusive, well I am not but I do have a right to my say whether anyone likes it or not.


Oh my gosh. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing this! It’s very timely.

I think because we assume we wouldn’t put a wedge in other people’s relationships, we tend to put blinders on with our abusers. It’s foolish to think they won’t stop at putting a wedge in between any relationship we have, especially the one that is treasured by us the most.

Thank you for validating my experience.


Here is what you wrote “from your heart” that Kris is kindly addressing. This is what you said to me that you feel is not abusive, and this is what you feel you needed to say;

KateE wrote: Thank you for invalidating my post from yesterday. All the things you preach you yourself do. My message was a personal point for me and how far I’ve come reading all you write here for years, my bad. I have learned that I matter and through this site have learned that it’s about me not them, yet when I wrote a nice message about how far I have come it’s deleted, why, because I am no longer pouring my heart out on here. You don’t want people to heal and get better it’s just a place to vent giving people in the early stages I place to feel protected and validated I get it because it helped me, but I through many avenues have found my voice and made choices to take my power back. So since it is YOUR website and YOU pay for it. I will no longer post here, why, because I don’t need do to this anymore, for I am free. You do talk a double standard and although you may disagree you are also very good at flipping it to make posters who find there way


Happy New Year everyone!!
hugs and squishes! Darlene



You said it all regarding KateE. No need to say anymore.

Happy New Year to everyone as well!!!



Thanks so much for another beautifully written, incredibly validating piece of writing Darlene.

I went low-contact with my parents in my early 40s. But we live close & they’d been decent grandparents to my kids so for a year I tried to maintain contact between them & my kids (despite the fact the kids were not really asking for them), I didn’t want my kids to grow up & say I took their gps from them b/c of my own issues with them. After a year of trying this my folks just pushed the boundaries way too far & began using my kids as pawns in what they saw as a game in order to get back at me for “rejecting” them (like many here, I didn’t actually choose NC with them, they simply could not abide by my healthy boundaries asking them to respect and not abuse me). It was my youngest child who told me his gps were being “sneaky” and that was the end of that. I saw the light…these people who cannot love anyone who doesn’t behave exactly according to their needs, who can’t respect boundaries, who are incapable of taking responsibility…etc etc. there are toxic people to me AND my kids.

In tthe year since then I’ve checked in with the kids about this & they just do not miss their gps. I think the kids saw the things I couldn’t see probably better than I could. My kids, thankfully, love & respect me so much and see their dad love & respect me and me him. They know what healthy relationships look like.


Hi Darlene, I have been reading your blog for some time now and have been extremely blessed by it.

My husband and I are coming to our first anniversary “no contact” with his NM. Yay! The two of them have had a terrible mother/son relationship all 44 years of his life. Over the last 17 years of our marriage we tried a few times to stop all communication with her. Though we lived on opposite sides of the Earth, she still somehow had a controlling hold on both of us. We’d stop taking her calls and then finally one day answer the phone again feeling guilty. This went on for years.

Now back in the same country, we found ourselves along with our two children needing a place to stay and lived with her for six months of hell. Only during that time did I realize how destructive and damaging she really is. The good thing is, I have come to understand so much about myself through this. Freedom is a wonderful thing.

My NM-I-L emotionally abused the four of us the entire time. Day in and out. My real concern was for my children. Both the damage she was causing them directly, as well as indirectly, as they learned how she treated my husband and I. I say learned because that is what was happening. We were teaching them it’s ok to be abused. Though I would comfort them and reassure them their grandmother is a mental case, we were still accepting the abuse. It had to stop.

How both of my kids (ages 12 & 13 at the time) expressed how glad they were to be out of her home. A parent who is not loving toward their own children is incapable of loving grandchildren. It’s as simply as that. My NMIL is incapable of loving anyone. My husband and I would NEVER trust her with our kids knowing what evil she is capable of.

She is trying to communicate to us through our church now. Leaves gifts and notes with our pastor. We have just put a stop to that as well. We do not want any part of her. I am afraid she is now manipulating our church into believing her “poor, old, loving, lonely, victim mother story” I would just love to move to the other side of the world again. Seems she will not stop until she poisons every social circle we are a part of. I am meeting my pastor to try and make her understand the level of deceit and control this woman thrives on. Though I know I do not owe anyone an explanation, it is my hope to continue our friendships at church. I am however ready to walk away if I am hit with the “honor thy father and mother” scripture and the like. I know better than that. I know God hates evil and abuse is evil and unfortunately sometimes evil comes packaged as a parent.


Thank you for writing this. I’ve been going through a really hard time with my parents and felt so guilty they weren’t seeing their grandchildren but your article really helped me see things more clearly. Amazing clarity. Thank you thank you! X


So glad I found this page. I have spent a great deal of time and money healing from my PTSD due to my mothers abuse and my fathers neglect. But the biggest struggle has been deciding what to do about my 2 daughters. My parents dote on them and my children love seeing them, but after they spend time with them my oldest is miserable and throws tantrums for the next week. I always have a bad feeling that my oldest daughter is picking up on the dysfunction in their house and then acting it out in our house since she doesn’t have the words to communicate what she sees when shes with them. I’ve cut myself off from my parents but have continued to allow them to see my children. Based on your post and all the comments, I think I finally have the confidence to listen to my gut and protect my children from whatever is going on in their grandparents household. I’m realizing my duty as a parent is to protect my children, not worry about hurting my parent’s feelings. I already spend my whole childhood accommodating them and allowing them to walk all over me. I need to take back the power I have in this relationship.
So now the question is: How do I explain to my 5 year old that she won’t be seeing those grandparents anymore? I don’t want her to blame herself or be scared of them either. I just cant figure out a way to break that tie without hurting my daughter as well. Advice is welcomed.


Hi Liz,

I commend you for being able to see what is important here regarding your child. I don’t know that there is any way that your child won’t be hurt if you cut off your parents from her but what I do know is, from what you are telling me, it will be the best thing for her in the long run and that’s all that counts.

To me if it’s not ok for you to see your parents why would it be ok for your daughter? Your parents aren’t going to treat her any differently then they treated you unless they sought out help to see things in a healthier way in the interim.

I think by being there for her emotionally and telling her the truth in little doses so you don’t overwhelm her would be helpful. Allowing her to ask questions and express how she feels is key. In other words just do the opposite of what your parent’s did for you and you should be ok!!! I pray everything works out for you and your family.



Hi Liz
You can choose what is best for YOUR children. There are gentle age appropriate ways to explain to children when the ask why they can’t see grandparents. The truth doesn’t have to be mean or harsh, it can be as simple as saying that their grandparents are very mean to you and that you need to protect your children. (period) It was weird to me that my kids were actually relieved when we drew our boundaries! I thought that some of the grandparents were doting on them but found out that it was not actually the truth!!
Hugs, Darlene


This post has validated exactly what I am feeling my mother is very abusive and has been my whole 35 years still mentally and verbaly abusive and I have called it quits the last few years and life has been much better however my just as manipulative and mentally abusive ex husband has informed me that he is taking the kids before Christmas to see her. I am researching how to stop him and can’t seem to fine a legal right on this issue. We share custody and I know it’s a game with him he doesn’t really care just wants to look like the good guy and she has a nasty mouth so who knows what she would say to my kids or about me to other family. I told him no but he’s going to do what he wants. Does anyone know if I can change our joint custody agreement to disclude visitations with my mother? Just because she is their grandma does not mean she is family or fit to be around them. For my birthday where she disowned me and sent me all my last belongings she also sent a card with 3 dollars cash that said “buy yourself something nice” ?! One of the nicer things she has said to me in my life. Thanks for this post I am going to read it over and over till I can justify why I don’t want her in my kids lives or MINE! Happy holidays to you all and family isn’t blood it is who loves and respects you.

Christa tomasulo maldonado
February 9th, 2017 at 2:37 pm

My name is Christa and I too am going through something very similar
I had a falling out with my parents in June 2016 – be they were mad that I didn’t have a special dinner for my daughters graduation (which they were expecting)
I continued to let them see my 11 yr old daughter but my very controlling mother wanted to take my daughter away for 2 nights and I said no. For a couple of reasons
In march I was in a bad head in collision and am still in PT and bed surgery
I’m now having panic attacks and suffer from ptsd! I feel like I’m loosing control

My family had decided to make nice with my ex and his new wife.
This was a man who cheated on me and left me penniless as a single mother
Needless to say they despised my ex until now!
Suddenly they are all very close and my ex
Shares his visitation and holidays with my estranged family! I feel like I’m in the twilight zone.
My poor daughter is confused and wonders why this is all happening?
What do I do? Please help!


Hi Christa,
Welcome to EFB ~ Please keep reading this blog and my book ~ your situation is complicated but I think you might come to some conclusions and answers for yourself by reading some of the insights here. (there are over 450 articles here all with discussions)
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene for this welcoming site and sharing how you overcame the dysfunction that so many of us have been trapped in. Almost every article relates to my life so well that I don’t feel the need to share the particulars of my situation. Though I do want to say how I almost decided to keep putting up with the rotten treatment because of my children’s relationships with their grandmother. I just couldn’t imagine separating them for any reason. She’d always seemed like a good enough Grandma. Realizing that they were being affected quite negatively by her treatment of me took a little while to kick in. Thankfully through learning on your amazing site and others, I began to see how I was really teaching them to put up with abuse for the sake of “family”. They were also seeing me appearing to be disrespectful to her, after she would stomp on my buttons, right in front of them. I’m usually calm loving peaceful understanding, but she would find ways to stab me right in my heart, and then when I would rightfully defend myself, she’d complain I’m too emotional. She’d then say we should stop arguing, like a mother dealing calmly with a difficult child. Somehow magically transforming herself into the voice of reason, peace and familial love, while I ended up looking like the one who has issues. I realized my children could learn to manipulate and play mind games just by watching her. Since separating from her, I’ve looked back on how she treated one of them in particular. She would give him money often. Not a lot, change she had or a few dollars. I remember telling her that she doesn’t need to give him money. That I don’t want him visiting Grandma, expecting cash. (She treated her oldest Grandchild like that, and he ended up being a greedy manipulator who takes serious advantage of her?) She continued to do it despite what I said more than a few times. She’d do the same thing with buying them all packages of cheap colored candy. I’d tell her not to buy them any, but the next time we’d see her she’d give them more. I got more firm about it, and she still continued to do it. This when my children knew I’d asked her not to. It seemed to be more about Grandma can do whatever she wants, no matter what Mommy says, than about treating the kids. I can now see how she’d subtlety make it about Mommy being no fun, and depriving them. What Mommy says doesn’t matter. Of course I’d let them have the candy after they saw it, but then tell her yet again not to buy anymore. Crazy how candy became something to have a power struggle over. As far as telling the kids that they’re never going to see Grandma again, I haven’t even told myself that. I just said that Grandma needs to be honest and fair about some things, and she’s not ready to do that right now. (I’d be willing to work things out with her, but that would mean going against her golden ones and I just don’t see that happening.) We occasionally say prayers for her, but I have found over time, that it’s really “out of sight, out of mind” for my kids. I wish it would work like that for me. She and the situation occupies my mind far too often. Thankfully she lives on the other side of town, so our chances of running into her, while not impossible, are slim. I must say that separating from my mother has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, as I wanted to be a devoted daughter. It’s certainly makes it more difficult with kids, but I don’t feel I had much of a choice, as my children were starting to hear the lies about their father and I. In the end I realized my kids were the biggest reason to cut away from her, not to keep putting up with it all.


Another thank you Darlene for your blog. I have recently disengaged from my entire family. I was getting very close, and then my father passed away, and I felt I had to be there for the service and to produce a “untied family front” for other mourners to see. I don’t like to speak ill of those who have passed on, he was also a very tortured man, and generally not supportive and was emotionally unavailable until the last few times I saw him before he died and there was some positive conversation, a matter of just a few days. I have had a tortured relationship with my sister, younger, who is married to a habitual cheater. For years after a major depression she would constantly come to my home and accuse me of having affairs with her husband. That should have been my first clue it was time to cut. My mother’s brother sexually abused me for years, and when she knew that, she could only say that she could not say or do anything for me, because after all it was her brother. Second big clue. These were only the very overt acts of a very toxic family. I was never a valued member of the family as my younger sister and brother. I have never felt loved in any way and could not wait to move out which I did at 18 got married, divorced twice, several depressions, generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD syndrome, and many other mental health issues. I have two adult daughters, one not living in the area so not so much of an issue and my other daughter and she both recall not being very welcome in the grandparents home, and definitely not preferred over the children of my brother and sister. I am now 63 and even though I have spent years in therapy from sexual abuse from several males in the family, and no validation by my parents especially my Mother. So after separating myself from the herd, cutting off social media and email addresses, I am out, but I am far from free. I will be back in therapy again very soon. I am a very shame based person, and though I try I have a hard time to not feel guilty in any way. The final straw occurred this month, even though my father was cremated and the service was in April, my mother has decided that the only time that I could not be available for the internment, was the date she chose so that my bother and sister could be there. I have been sick for many years, and for the first time in 15 years my girlfriend and her husband were able to come to visit, something we planned months ago. I have more than done my “family” duty with his passing and service, and I refused to attend. Now, if I ever had any doubts that I was the black sheep in the family, I sure know it now. And the saga continues. The happy part of my story is my unwavering support from my husband and daughters, and close friends who I now call my family of choice. Thanks again Iwill be reading the ebook to help hold me over until I see someone.


Hi Karen,
I replied to your private email about the trouble you were having getting the “Free Guide to Getting Unstuck” download and I attached the download to it.
The e-book is a different download.

Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

Will you be coming back to Emerging From Broken? I miss your posts.

Thanks, Light

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