Do You Still Wonder if the Problem was You?


11193235_10150494860694990_2117857759400112567_nWhen I began to see my life through the grid of “what happened to me” instead of through asking myself (and others) “what’s wrong with me” I was able to see things with new eyes and a new understanding based more on the truth instead of the lies I believed about myself that formed from the ways I was regarded and disregarded growing up. I write about how I accomplished that here in this website all the time. But what about after we have realized that it’s what happened to us, and not what is wrong with us? Although the healing process isn’t an overnight thing, there are a few things that I learned to do in order to pull myself back up when I felt weak or when I started thinking that maybe it really was me that was the problem after all.

When I began to see things through that more truthful grid of understanding, I was able to change those self-doubts into the understanding that I deserved and always had deserved better treatment. Every time I tried to understand WHY these people did this stuff to me or why they didn’t see me or hear me, I reminded myself that their actions and disregard of me was about them and it didn’t define me; I reminded myself that that I deserved better. It doesn’t really matter what is wrong with them, I just have to know (through looking at the truth leaking details) that I am not who they said I was.

And even though I built a really solid new foundation for my new self-esteem, something that I got stuck in on and off for a while was constantly questioning if I was being too judgemental of the people in my life that were discounting me. I kept going back to that old belief that maybe it was me.

Once we have begun building a new foundation based on the truth about who we really are instead of based on how we were taught who we are, we can bring change to our self-talk as well but just how do we do that and really stay strong in the new belief that we are worthy and just as valuable as every other human being?

And this is the subject of my new Video interview with Abuse Survivor, Coach, speaker, blogger and facilitator Svava Brooks for the Journey to the Heart Online Summit.

This video summit interview is no longer available. 

In my interview I talk about how I went forward on the journey back to me on those days when I had self-doubts. After I realized that it was the false definitions of who I am and who I was that were at the root of the problem there were some key things I did in order to move forward and I share some really great tools that I developed and used to move get unstuck and get stronger and you can use those tools too.

Register for the Journey to the Heart Summit and listen to my interview. I am going to talk about how I still use these same tools to get over that particular stick point of thinking that maybe I am the one who is wrong or that maybe I really did deserve the way I was treated and I use these tools to help my clients to do that too.

This complimentary Summit starts on Friday Jan. 15th 2016 and you can listen and watch the videos at your convenience, but it’s only free for a limited time.

When you register for the Journey to the Heart online Summit you will have access not only to my interview~ there are over 20 other healing experts participating so for a limited time you will be able to listen to them all at your convenience.

Please register today ~ The Summit goes live on Friday Jan. 15th 2016. Remember; I’m sharing some specific tools that I still use to this day to put myself on the fast track to getting over any stick points that may come up. There is no cost and no obligation. See all the details here. Journey To The Heart Online Summit 

The Last Summit I participated in with Svava was a huge success! This one is all NEW and I am really excited about it. Will you join me and all the other experts?

Darlene Ouimet

Are you aware of the 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 

137 response to "Do You Still Wonder if the Problem was You?"

  1. By: Light Posted: 25th February

    Thank you so much Branwen for lighting a candle for me!! That means a lot to me. I was in England (mostly London) for the first time last Fall and loved it.

    I will respond to everyone’s replies very soon once I have time to take them in…I very much appreciate the responses. It makes a world of difference.

  2. By: Branwen Posted: 25th February

    Light, don’t know what time it is where you are, I’m in England and was just lighting some candles for the evening meal and thinking about your post. So I’ve lit one for you, which given your name seems appropriate! – and one for all of us who feel we’re struggling in the dark sometimes. Ive been reading the posts on this site for over a year now and only recently began to share and I can’t tell you how much courage I get from reading everyone’s experience. I’m really not alone and it is such direct and practical help here- not advice, but understanding and compassion, which is worth it’s weight in gold. If Darlene were British I would campaign for her to be made a Dame! Branwen

  3. By: Branwen Posted: 25th February

    Yes Light, it was a very healing event! We have laughed about it since, saying we conjured her up, why can’t we make her disappear! I can very much relate to the feelings you describe here and it’s a dismal place to be. I’m self employed and live alone and when I have no work, I sometimes feel Im in an echo chamber of my own thoughts, if that makes any sense. There’s no one to bounce my feelings off, no feed back, and I can become pretty overwhelmed by my the feelings. I have 4 sisters, none of whom speak to me, and am NC with my Mum- her choice. I’m very reliant on friends and over the past year have said goodbye to two of my oldest because of exactly the attitude you describe. Although I’ve stood by both staunchly through thick and thin, one of them – who Id known for 33 years! – began to do all that dismissive stuff with me. My Mumster had, for a few years, begun to treat him like the son she never had- gave him money, etc- and practically adopted him! Surprise, surprise- she went to work on him.he turned distant and dismissive and began to use exactly those phrases- ” Well, that’s YOUR truth” he said, when I was telling him how my family were hurting me. Funny how they talk in cliches. My alarm bells went off reading about your friend. I can see now that I picked those two ex friends precisely because they made me feel like they were almost family. And they were! But in the last year I’ve had such surprising reunions with several people, some from my teens, who were very good to me when my family had thrown me out. I think I must be slowly getting better, because I reached out to those people at a time when I was beginning to feel uncomfortable and anxious around the two friends I described. So I have good survival instincts despite all the crap I’m wading through. Lately, too, I’ve been realizing how rock bottom my self esteem is, but realizing I have good instincts is huge progress for me. I think you have good instincts too and can trust your gut as far as your friend is concerned. I think that lovely incident with my reclaimed best friend means a lot because I trusted my instinct when I called her after 20 years, and it paid off. Sending you my thoughts and sympathy tonight Light, Branwen

  4. By: Light Posted: 25th February

    I am having an especially hard time lately. If anyone here is willing to give a reply, even brief, I would so appreciate it. I am feeling so lonely, so rejected.

    All the family issues, the scapegoating, the rejection, the inconsistency (sometimes nice), the alliances, the talking about me, the LIES said to keep me divided from others…I am heartbroken and ANGRY. Siblings get to run around and be active, enjoy the perks of dinners out with my mother as long as they continue living in the lie (that I am not forgiving enough/justified in being angry with my mother for not supporting me in the face of my father’s covert sexual abuse), receiving extra money from her, happy family visits, seeing the granchildren, phone ringing from people who care, little trips together, etc. etc. I’m all alone here trying to cope with my aloneness. They have attention for each other but not for me. I HATE this role.

    I’m middle-aged now, not working due to health issues. I’ve been extra unwell for six weeks (ever since exposure to germs at the holidays). It is so lonely and frightening to essentially have to care for yourself, day after day, staring at four walls, the phone not ringing, no one caring (well, one person called).

    I also am having a conflict with a friend. I was relaying an interaction with her…about how I explained to a family member (who asked why I wasn’t coming for Christmas) that “I’ve been blamed and marginalized too many times” and the family member replied “I’m sorry you feel that way”. I was telling this friend about the exchange and how it wasn’t really a feeling, it was more factual than that and she said “Well everyone has their point of view”. I get that, but it’s not based in fact. For instance, if a man is charged with assault and it was on video, and the guy goes to court and says “I didn’t do it” but the video shows otherwise…well yes he’s entitled to his point of view, but it’s not based in reality. That’s what I was trying to relay to my friend, and she said things like “I believe your personal truth” and she said that she didn’t really know my family so how could she comment about them (ouch) and what did they have to do with our friendship. A lot of what has happened to me is factual and includes outright rejecting comments and behaviors…it’s more than my “perception”. I thought I could just talk to her about other things and keep the friendship, but now I don’t know. Does anyone understand this?

    Finally, my self-esteem is crap. I am realizing this more and more. I am very guarded around people, afraid of rejection. Makes sense since I really loved my family when I was young, and they loved me, then they left me emotionally. I also have a family member who will sabotage my relationship with joint people that we both know. Somehow she gets into their good graces and helps them more, interacts more, hears from them more…consistently a stronger relationship than the one I have with the person. Recently a joint acquaintance even outright compared me with this family member and I came out on the losing end. Very hurtful and aggravating.

    • By: Mariah Posted: 25th February

      I can relate to many of the things that you mention about your feelings of isolation and being ill can trigger many of the things we once thought we had conquered especially in regards to our family connections. It’s saying alone is the only way to be when we’re treated in ways that miss the mark. I for one am keeping my distance more and more these days and it’s not easy. I also notice that many of us inside of this predicament are primarily female and in or around middle age. The hot flashes and unexpected changes that come with it don’t bode well for friendly familial interaction, especially when preempted by year in and year out of negligence. What I am saying is that I can understand where you are coming from. A quote that comforts me is “go slowly, breathe, and smile.”

  5. By: Light Posted: 25th February

    Branwen that is an amazing story with your friend. It sounds so very healing and magical, like you said.

  6. By: Branwen Posted: 25th February

    Hi Yvonne, I am very sorry you are so terrified. Just shows the awful power these people assume over us. A week ago, I met with a dear friend I grew up with since I was a month old- our mothers were best friends and pretty vicious narcs. They managed to separate us for nearly 20 years by telling both of us that the other didn’t want to know them and successfully spread lies, rumors, etc, etc. We were both huge David Bowie fans growing up together and when he died last month I gathered up my courage and called her. Well, our reunion was magical- still love each other, same sense of humor, same horrible mothering- and I went to see her for the weekend. We went to lunch at one of our old haunts and were sitting laughing and exchanging stories of the lies and deceit our mothers used to keep us apart. Her mother and mine fell out big time a few years ago and her mother had a breakdown and is currently in a psychiatric hospital. So imagine our utter amazement when- in this restaurant miles away from where her mother lives- her mother,stepfather and narcs aunt walk into the place!! And my old friend turned immediately from a loving, competent woman into a terrified child. They pretended they hadn’t seen us- which is funny, as we were all staring at each other!- and after a while I simply walked to the back, where they’d fled, and just stood and calmly looked right at them for a couple of minutes before turning and walking back to my friend. A minute later, the narcs left!- had to walk by us too- they CREPT out! We hugged and laughed and cried, then had a fab lunch and a bottle of champagne. The point is, they can’t hurt us any more, even though our feelings tell us that they can. I’m wondering if your sense of safety is so compromised that it’s almost impossible to separate your emotional safety from your physical safety. I’m not clear if your mother owns your house? If it’s your house, would she break into it? I can hear your terror, and wonder if it is physical or emotional, or both? And I’m very pleased to report that my reclaimed oldest friend and me are feeling much braver now we have the other as a witness to what really went on. It is wonderfully healing to be believed. The “coincidence” of her mother appearing like that was a weird gift. Sometimes it seems that when our desire to heal is so strong, the world agrees with us. Terror stops us from thinking straight, I know that much. I hope you can find a little breathing space, physically and emotionally, to work out what is real and what is not- and I know how tough it is. Thinking of you today Yvonne, I’ve read a lot of your previous posts and it’s good to meet you. Branwen

  7. By: Light Posted: 25th February

    Hi Yvonne,

    Your situation sounds extremely stressful. I can relate to what you are saying about feeling strong and then not feeling strong, though your experience is more in a JAWS kind of way. That’s terrible to be threatened by anyone, let alone your mother, to load up the truck and steal your belongings. I’m not sure what to say since I imagine that you have thought of things like talking with the police for ideas, minimizing contact or going NC, etc. I wonder if legally it would make a difference to put up a No Trespassing sign on your property, so if they did come on your property you have taken some extra legal preventative measures? Maybe there is some free legal advice in your community?

    I’m glad to hear that you’ve met someone and have a ray of sunshine in your life!

    Hugs, Light

  8. By: Andria Posted: 25th February

    Hi Yvonne,

    I am glad that you are grateful to be alive. Don’t worry about ranting. You are fine here doing that. I understand how hard it can be to explain the invisible scars we carry to others who don’t have these scars.

    I am sorry for this crazy situation you are in that appears to be ramping up at a dizzying rate. I don’t know what to say but to try and protect yourself from your mother and cousin as best you can. It seems like a good thing to get far away from them if you possibly can do it. I am happy that you have found a relationship with someone you can trust and care about. I hope he can be understanding to your situation. I don’t think you would be running away. Like most people in America, our homes are out biggest investment. It would be difficult financially to walk away from a home one owns.

    I hope you will be able to manage all this stressful life situation that you are experiencing. I understand. I did not have the same problems, but some years back I was so stressed out I thought that I would just implode if one more thing got added to my load. I hope it helps you to know that people here understand and are supportive of you trying to have a good life despite family who wants to do you harm. Please take care of yourself Yvonne. Let us know how you are doing.

  9. By: Yvonne Posted: 24th February

    Hi All,

    I have been gone for awhile. I thought I was strong but once again I find that I’m not as strong as I think. I am such a peaceful and easygoing person. I am an introvert and like being a homebody.

    My life is like that ‘Jaws’ shark movie–just when you think that it’s safe to go back into the water it’s not! I knew that it would be hard after my father’s death last year since he left me alone with my Narc mom and cousin. They seem to want to do everything that they can to terrorize and destroy me. They’re both cut from the same cloth as a pair of Narcs.

    My Narc mom has her big house listed for sale and she can’t afford to live in her luxury palace anymore. Now the cousin has the idea that he wants to buy a small house in my city and have my Narc mom move in with him. The Narc cousin will retire in July after 20 years of military service. I can’t have them live near me! I don’t know what to do and I feel trapped! I really don’t have a good career to sell my house and just move far away. There are times when I can’t sleep at night and do binge eating, and I’ve put on a few pounds. It’s not a healthy lifestyle but I can’t calm down due to the fear of these people.

    My Narc mom and cousin were threatening me last fall. They wanted to come over to my house and fight with me. The Narc mom had the nerve to threaten me by saying that she would come over to my house during the day with a moving van and load up my things (translation: stealing)and clean out my house because they can! Yes,they’re crazy but they can never take their focus off me. Mind you, I live alone without any dog or pets or roommates. I can’t afford fancy cameras or a security system at the moment to keep these people away. I am in my 40’s and I’m still being abused and living in fear! I don’t deserve to be shamed here and I’m not asking for sympathy. I just want to know how to keep safe and get rid of these people. If it’s really bad, then yes I can take legal action like getting a restraining order.

    I wanted to ask if anyone here has had issues with keeping away the crazies from their home? Don’t these Narcs reach a point where they actually get tired of you? My Narc mom is 83 years old and the Narc cousin is five years younger than me.

    My other issue is that I have met a nice man whom I’m very attracted to. It’s been three years since I was involved with anyone. It’s a long distance relationship through an online dating site, but he is taking an early retirement in less than a year. We have reached the point where we want to connect and be living together for our relationship to move forward. I am not a child anymore and I’m in my 40’s and he is in his 50’s. My life was destroyed by abusive parents. They tried to ruin and take away anything that I loved! I am not afraid of reaching out for love and at our age we’re not having kids, only a relationship, like living together forever or even marriage! It’s weird but my parents were never church-goers, just angry and abusive. I’m concerned that we deserve a chance as a couple for our relationship, but if “Mommie Dearest and Cousin Dearest” decide to buy a house in my city I really don’t know if I can live here! She does not believe in couples living together and can’t understand anything. What I do in my social life does not affect her whatsoever. They were never evangelical Christians, just wanting to always destroy any of my happiness. She is snoopy, mean, and controlling and wanting to embarrass and destroy my relationship.

    My dream includes just abandoning my house with my future partner and maybe renting an apartment in California! My happiness and safety issues come first. I don’t know if Narc mom or cousin would try to break into my house and move in like squatters! It sounds like a crazy idea but they’re totally mean and crazy! I’m afraid that my Narc mom might try to impersonate me and try to sell my house as some sort of fraud if I’m gone. I could call the HOA –(Homeowners Association)—-and possibly explain things or have them check out my house. If I had a girlfriend that I could trust, then I could possibly have a house sitter living here. I do not want Craig’s List with a perfect stranger off the street living in my house rent-free, just way too dangerous!

    Dealing with my Narc mom and Narc cousin is like making a deal with the devil! You just can’t win with people who are this dishonest, mean, and crazy. I don’t know how the heck I am related to this trash!

    Right now, my Narc mom lives in another town that is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from my house. It was quiet for awhile before my father died. Her evilness really picked up and she seems to want to destroy me again since my father was sort of a shield—and now I see it. I think it’s more about her final revenge before she dies! These old Narcs do not really want to die. In a weird way, I am grateful for the Narc cousin–(Golden Child) to lift some of the burden off me by having her live with him. I really do not care about them at all. I do care about protecting my house and I don’t deserve to lose my house! There is nothing to negotiate with my Narc mom and cousin and the only thing to do is to avoid them or move away!

    I know that I care about this man relationship and I will do almost anything to protect what we have. If we have to get out of town until Narc mom dies, then we can talk about this. She will not live forever– thank the gods! I am concerned about her trying to take over my house.

    There are sleepless nights filled with crying and worrying now. I was very good for a long time. The fear of what will happen in the future is unbearable. Why am I feeling like a slave when I am a grown woman in my 40’s?

    When I was a little girl, I had such big dreams. It’s sad because I was so good as a child–good student, quiet, and live-in maid for my parent’s big house. I believe that a maid would have been treated better than me. I pretended that I was Cinderella and they were not my real parents. If only I could grow up and move far away then I could have a better life. But here I am trying to fit all the pieces of my life into a complicated jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes I don’t know how much more I can take until these horrible people are totally gone from my life.

    I don’t know when Narc mom’s house will sell and when she will move? I don’t know if and when Narc cousin will buy a house near me? I don’t know if this new man in my life will be offended by my crazy family and I don’t want to lose him. I think that he may be willing to just move and abandon my house to California? I know that I should not feel like I should run away at my age but I don’t feel safe at times. Maybe all of these pieces will fit together somehow…like Narc mom’s death and/or renting a place out of state? So, I live one day at a time and this waiting for my mom’s death ironically is the hardest chapter of my entire life! Not even going to a women’s domestic violence shelter —(again to get away from bad parents), or nearly dying from a serious suicide attempt as a teen which ended up in the hospital. (I do recall hearing the doctor say early in the morning when I was waking up that if I had taken just a few more Tylenol along with the pill combo that my heart would have stopped that night!) Yes, I feel that I have a right to vent about my crazy family. I guess that I just wasn’t lucky enough to have a good career opportunity when I was a younger adult or even marriage, so that I became trapped living here. I tell myself that there is so much unhappiness in the world and there are women who are worse off than me in many ways.

    I am grateful that I’m alive. I have been hurt by so many people and it’s amazing to reflect on my accomplishments. This has been such a trying time and I hate to be ranting here. I have basically no one to talk to, not even my coworker BFF friend, and nobody understands how deep the scars of child abuse can last. Thanks for reading.

    Blessed be,


  10. By: Ava Lee Posted: 10th February

    I’m so confused. My mother tells me I’m ungrateful, selfish, critical, and uncaring. Am I?

    Is my toxic relationship with her my fault?

    I’m beginning to see the lies she has told me. Now I see everything I believed to be true of myself is incorrect but then I think I’m just pushing the blame for my selfishness and ungrateful attitude on someone else!

    What if I am what she says? What if I am blaming her because I don’t want to see myself for who I really am? How do I know my mother is the problem and not me?

  11. By: Christina Enevoldsen Posted: 5th February

    test 2

  12. By: Light Posted: 3rd February

    L — Welcome to the boards. I think you’ll find a lot of support here and much insight after reading Darlene’s entries and the comments.

    Communication and conflict with your family sounds excruciatingly painful; your family members seem highly defensive and that they want to guilt you. I experienced a different kind of behavior (neglect) that resulted in pain for me. As you, I was also blamed.

    After years and decades of coping, letting my energy be drained, being rejected and excluded, and unending sadness I finally went low contact (LC). It took a long time to get there, but that was a couple of years ago, and I am doing so much better emotionally now.

    It’s good that you reached out — that’s the first step.

  13. By: S1988 Posted: 3rd February

    I can’t believe it. It’s not officially my birthday yet, and I’m already getting emails from hypocrites. Yesterday, my brother, for the first time ever, sent an email that he loved me with birthday wishes.

    I haven’t had contact with him for nearly two years. When I did see him about two years ago after the first estrangement, he said that he didn’t care that I don’t want a relationship with him. So if he doesn’t care, why did he send me an email? And it’s been almost seven years since he insulted me when I condemned him for using corporal punishment on his sons. It doesn’t take seven years to apologize for something.

    Sooner or later, I know I’ll get emails from my sister and mother, also phonies. Oh, why can’t they just leave me be? I’ve been giving them the silent treatment for a while, and they still won’t let up, though communicate is infrequent at least. I rather have open enemies than fake allies.

  14. By: L Posted: 3rd February

    Hi there,
    I’ve been reading your posts for some time now. I’ve been going through so much lately. I could really use some advice/guidance/help. Mainly because everything I’m going through right now is making me question all that I am and all that I have been told I am all these years. As a child, I was always told (labelled) that I was a “diva” or “spoiled” or a “drama queen” by my older sister, and my older cousins who also picked on my appearance as a child and as a teenager. As a teenager/young adult, the labelling continued, with the addition of a few more labels by my life-long friends, such as “exaggerator” and “emotional.” Now i’m ending my 20s with a new one by my sister, “attention whore.” All these years, I have actually believed that I am all these labels, I have basically internalized them. After reading your posts, I’ve come to realize that these labels were always given to me when I began expressing or communicating my feelings about a certain topic, situation, or conflict to either my sister, cousins, friends, or even mother. Because of this, I have always been told that everything is my fault and that I should fix things. When I was 20, after an argument with my mom, my older sister said to me “if anything happens to my mom, I will hold you fully responsible!” She is MY mom too! Our mom! Anyway…after that comment was made, I go into sever anxiety everytime there is a misunderstanding or argument between myself and my mom, thinking oh God, if something happens to my mom now, I’m responsible for it. And of course, I go into extreme levels of guilt and end up apologizing and patching things up fearing that something might happen to my mom if I don’t. In fact, I do that with everyone! If there is an argument, I worry something might happen to that person, so I better patch things up quick! I do that even if I know that the other person did me so wrong! I have rarely received apologies from people who do me wrong, because I Always blame myself! On top of that, whenever I try to express my feelings or communicate something with my sister, regarding a disagreement between us, she turns everything around on me and tries to overpower and intimidate me by swearing and cussing. And then she doesn’t talk to me for days, even after I apologize to her or after I tell her hey life’s too short, I love you. Then she writes me an essay reminding me again of how everything was my fault and then doesn’t talk to me again. I am sick of this! She has always criticized what I wear, and what I do. She has even allowed her friends to comment on the person I am. I am tired. I try to talk to my mom, and maybe my way of communication isn’t the best when I’m upset, because I am overcome with emotions. But my mom gets angry and starts yelling and basically tells me to go away. Specially if I am complaining to her about how my sister has been treating me, she becomes very defensive of her. Then she tells me if I keep talking about these issues with my sister to her, she will have a heart attack, and my mom starts crying and I’m freaking out thinking back to the comment my sister made when I was 20! Then I spend the whole week worrying about my mom. I just don’t even know what to do anymore. Today I broke down and asked my mom why she pushes me away whenever I am upset about the way my sister treats me, and again I pressed on because she was pushing me away. So then I broke down and she broke down and it was just so dramatic. In the end, it ended with a hug. But I still feel like it was all my fault and it’s all in my head. Here I am again worrying about my mother. My own heart is in pain. Anxiety levels through the roof.

  15. By: Light Posted: 2nd February

    Hi Carlos,

    I read your accounts of interactions with your family and I feel for you. I think you’ll find this community a welcoming place to draw strength from others. Even though we each have our own story, it is abuse and doesn’t need to be compared to be valid.

    I am impressed by your insight at your young age. That is a strength and will help you on your path. I am so sorry about the pain that your grandmother and father have inflicted upon you. It is said that the parent of the same gender has the most impact on a child.

    Congratulations on obtaining your degree and finding employment. Both of those things aren’t easy to achieve, and being employed can be a stepping stone to another opportunity later that suits your degree (I’m trying to counteract the horrible things that were said to you!).

    One thing that surprised me when I first started coming to this board is how similar some of the experiences were with mine. Interactions that I thought were so unique to my family were actually experienced by many others!

    Try not to let your family define you. People cut down others for a variety of reasons, which can have nothing to do with the one on the receiving end. Right now I am reading Life Code by Phil McGraw and he has an interesting perspective on navigating in the world.

    • By: Carlos Posted: 2nd February

      Hey Light,

      Thanks for the encouragement.
      I actually still have one semester to complete for my degree (Finished all my major subjects, but I made the silly mistake of not doing my electives as I was studying, but it’s a small price to pay). I am only a casual employee at the restaurant that my aunty recruited me in, but it’s still work and I can’t really complain when I am getting free food for every bain marie and serving tray that I have to wash haha. Funny thing is my grandma’s now suddenly all supportive to me when she found out that her sister got me a job at the said restaurant (yeah whatever).

      Thanks again for your words

      Kind regards


  16. By: Mariah Posted: 2nd February


    I too am sorry to hear of your loss…may you find the support that you need and may this community help you in finding your way through your grief. May you also find strength within yourself that you never knew you had.
    I wish these things for myself as well as anyone who has had struggles such as these as they are not easy to bear.

  17. By: Light Posted: 2nd February


    I am sorry for your loss. I’m glad you are reaching out to this community. You’ve had a rough time and I would imagine her passing will bring up many feelings for you. Love and light and peace to you.

  18. By: Andria Posted: 2nd February


    I am so sorry for your loss, and how you must be feeling today. I hope you will feel at ease during the viewing and memorial.

    My mother passed away in 1999, and you are right it is a different kind of grief when your mother was not “motherly”. And you are also correct that there is a relief that this person cannot hurt you any more. I wish you well.

  19. By: Hobie Posted: 2nd February

    Thank you for all the kind comments on the loss of my mother. I am going to be at her viewing this evening and memorial tomorrow. I’m recognizing that I’m not expecting to find comfort in the ritual, which is reason I believe it exists, but I’m acting out of respect in a way that makes me feel comfortable with myself.

    Over the past few years, I’ve had the chance to find supportive people to turn to when things are tough and I’ve reached out to them and found strength. I’m not expecting that from my family.

    If things had played out differently, I may have NOT attended her funeral and been comfortable with it. I don’t want to share this as THE right way to handle YOUR mother’s death. I am doing what feels right for me right now, and that has been my priority in this whole situation, to do what would be good for me in the long run.

    One thing that plays into my decision to be at Mom’s funeral is that she told me she didn’t let anyone know that we hadn’t been speaking the past couple of years. I am choosing to allow her to keep that secret for now, because I don’t need anything from the people she wanted to hide it from.

    I know that I needed to avoid my family for the time that I did and most of the time, I don’t regret it. When I wonder if I could have done differently, I come back to believing I did what I needed to do for my own healing.

    This is a different kind of grief, losing a mother who was not “motherly”, but there is some relief in it. She can’t do anything to hurt me anymore.


  20. By: S1988 Posted: 2nd February


    And in some cases, one can do the “right” things, and become favored for it, like my older siblings. Or do bad things, yet get away with it, like my brother. Sometimes, I wonder that he can get away with worse because of his “respectful” position as a nurse. He smokes, and swore at me for condemning the treatment of his sons, but he’s a good man, according to my mother and sister. (Not that smoking makes someone automatically bad. I’m just pointing out the double standards. When he does that, my mother tells him, “Be careful with those cigarettes.” But, if I were to eat a cookie for breakfast, I’d get my head bitten off, and being accused of putting my health in danger.)

    Anyway, my sister is in a Ph.D. program, and our mother likes that because she didn’t accomplish it herself, while I dropped out of college because I found it a waste of time and money, so I guess that makes me a criminal. That’s fine. I rather be an outcast than a toady any day. I think it’s sad to have a relationship where you’re “liked” as long as you meet superficial expectations. At least I have my freedom since I refuse to curry favor to anyone.

  21. By: Branwen Posted: 2nd February

    Hi Carlos, welcome to scapegoat land! I’m very sorry you are having to deal with this troubling situation. Kudos for finding this site and having the courage to share. Those of us who are discounted and treated with coldness and contempt by family are, I think, a pretty special bunch of people. If you read the literature around family scapegoating, it’s the the one with the biggest emotional capacity and honesty who are picked to be the scapegoat, so congratulations on your humanity, which seems sadly lacking in your Dad and grandmother. There is a lot to be learned on this site and I feel really hopeful for you. Be reassured that they can’t destroy you. You’re obviously pretty intelligent emotionally at an early age, have realized what’s going on, and have found yourself the right place to be heard. That’s HUGE. You’re ahead of them already! Congratulations. You are among friends here who totally understand. Keep on keeping on! Branwen

    • By: Carlos Posted: 2nd February

      Hey Branwen,

      Thanks for replying.

      It’s crystal clear to me now that both my grandmother and father have embraced their true colours, and it sucks that the only option available for me is to accept that and find ways to ensure that their respective buttons are not or, rather, never will be pushed again.

      I hope your membership in scapegoat land has finally come to an end and that you’re no longer a constant victim of the abuse, of which society has long covered up as “good intentions”.



  22. By: Amber Posted: 2nd February

    Carlos, one thing I finally realized with dysfunctional people is that even if you are being super nice and doing everything ” right”, there is a huge chance they will still disapprove of you. But it isn’t our fault! We don’t have control over what others think of us. I have spent my whole life doing the approval dance for family members,classmates, neighborhood people, and at work. And it wasn’t worth it. As a matter of fact I think many of these nasty people enjoyed having me bend over backwards trying to gain their approval. And took advantage of it too. My own mother was that way.

    It’s been a long hard road really honking all of this and realizing first, that we can’t change other people. But much more importantly is that YOU do not become less valuable because someone doesn’t approve of you. We also tend to internalize their opinions of us. My mother had me believing my whole life that I am ugly. It somehow helped her feel better about aging when she kept me feeling down on myself. I don’t think she wanted to see me dating and getting attention from guys. That, in her mind, was meant for her, not me. But whatever her purpose, the important thing is that she taught me to believe this lie, and I did. And it affected how I lived my life. I thought no one would ever want me. I felt inferior to and envious of other girls. I felt I didn’t deserve as much as they did. And this was all wrong, all lies!! And there were other lies too. Like that I was less valuable than my brothers because I’m female. And that my role was to be of service to other people. Also, not true.

    Carlos it takes a lot of thinking and digging into these beliefs to start realizing how false they are. But it is worth it. As I reverse these beliefs I feel much better about myself. I still have some fears to deal with and I also want to become more consistent with extricating myself when I feel I am slipping back into some of those old beliefs.

    You can do this, Carlos! You are young and you have many years ahead of you. If your father and grandmother are determined to think that you are an ungrateful and bad person, just remember. That does not make it true! You don’t habpve to accept their warped opinions as truth. You are valuable no matter what they say or think about you.

  23. By: Carlos Posted: 1st February

    Hi Kris, Amber, S1988, Andria

    Thanks for your responses

    It hasn’t been entirely silence, as I have tried to confront one of the two about my problems (oops!) with results proving to be fruitless (*gives self the biggest facepalm*)

    For instance, in regards to my grandmother commenting on my kitchen hand job, I actually told my father about it (Because he noticed that I was a little unenthusiastic about whatever good news he had), which in turn was my biggest mistake (I guess I fell into the hoover maneuver trap)At first it felt comforting to let all my rage towards his ally (my grandmother) out to him, and he provided words like: It’s okay, she shouldn’t have done that yada yada

    But what hurts the most, was the following words after that, which furthered my understanding that he will always be a self-righteous, hypocritical and narcissistic person. After all of his comforting, he said: Your grandmother doesn’t have the right to comment about your job hunting or your degree, because only your Mom (the nerve for him to involve my Mom in his toxic ways) and I have the right to do so. From those words, it’s like he defended my grandmother, right after briefly siding with me. Furthermore, it also showed to me that he to also doesn’t support my dreams, even though he briefly said that he doesn’t mind if I look for other jobs outside of my field.

    At the moment, with no stable job and constantly changing post university ambitions, I am still living with the both of them alongside my Mother and sister (whom I love and are both thankfully not poisoned by the two) The only thing that I see fit at the moment is to fight fire with fire, subtly of course, because if I do something out of hand, I will not only be kicked out of the house but I will also be labelled as the ungrateful bad person of whom the rest of the family will talk about. Or I can also just remain silent until I am finally stable enough to fend for myself. 22 years of seeing them with rose tinted glasses has been going on for far too long and the next couple of years will no longer be spent with the same pair of shades.

    Thank you again for your responses and your warm welcome to the EFB community

    Kind regards,

  24. By: S1988 Posted: 1st February


    Yes, take Amber’s advice to leave if you can. But, expect your father and grandmother to conduct what’s called “hoovering”. That’s when someone uses slick tactics to try to draw you back in. You can read more about it on the Web.

    Speaking of hoovering, I’m on my second estrangement after being away from family for a few years, and moving in with my mother only to realize what a mistake that was. She still blames me for being hurt by her, yet seem to can’t get enough of me. We live in the same town, and it’s been almost a year since I left her home. I have been giving her and the rest of the family the silent treatment lately, and I have to admit they’re quite persistent. A few days ago, I got a message from my sister because a tax document of mine was sent to our mother’s place. (I regret not updating my address, but at least, as far as I know, my mother doesn’t know where I live.) My mother mailed it to my P.O. box. I found it strange that my sister told me something that our mother could have told me herself. (My mother’s new address was in the email, too.) She has my email, and can use the library computers since she doesn’t own one herself. Plus, why would she give me private information through someone else? I suppose she recruited my sister as her liaison now, though I don’t speak with her either. I thought they stopped communicating with me for good since I haven’t heard from them since Thanksgiving. My birthday is in a few days, so I’ll probably get those phony “Happy Birthday, I love you” messages. (Sigh!) I rather get nothing than hear something from hypocrites.

  25. By: Kris Posted: 1st February

    Hi Carlos,

    I am sorry that you have to endure all of this pain caused by your own father and grandmother no less. There was nothing stupid about any of the things that you wrote about. You are able to see that what they did to you was wrong which is good start. Unfortunately your father and grandmother don’t know how to communicate in a healthy way but that doesn’t mean that you should take their abuse. It was when I separated my self away from my FOO that I was finally able to see my own self worth because I no longer had their toxic critical voices whispering in my ear sabotaging me all along the way that tore me down that made it next to impossible to build back up my own self esteem due to years of enduring their abuse.

    I learned the only person who I can change in this mess was me and that went a long way for me throughout my recovery. I wish you well and once again I am sorry for your pain. You have my support.


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