Dysfunctional Extended Family ~ The Mean Aunt that I Loved


dysfunctional mother daughter relationshipEven as an adult, in a dysfunctional family system I did not even have permission to decide who I didn’t want to be around anymore.

Having been denied permission to exist as an individual as I mentioned in the previous blog post, I grew up a mal functioning adult woman not knowing my own identity. Being denied autonomy, I also grew up without personal boundaries. I struggled with depressions and was taken advantage of by most other people and really didn’t have a clue why any of that was my lot in life.  I kept trying harder to please everyone.

I believed that if I was compliant that everyone else would treat me the same way back. In truth, accepting devaluing and unfair treatment, gave the message that I would accept devaluing and unfair treatment.

When I began to try to face the truth about some of the past, I was told by the rest of the world to “just get over it” and “put it behind me” all the while being told and taught contradicting statements. One of these statements that kept me the spin of confusion was that I was told “the most important thing” was to have a relationship with the people that had caused all these problems in the first place. I am talking about my dysfunctional Aunts and other extended family.

I was constantly told “Put the past behind you, don’t be so negative, why do you always have to bring this stuff up?”

My Mother had a sister that I fondly remembered as “my favourite Aunt” and I went to live with her for a couple of months when I was 19 and had relocated by myself to a new City on the other side of the country from my immediate family. She was the wonderful and fun loving Aunt that I remembered, for the first couple of weeks. Then she became like an extension of my mother. She would often ignore me and shoot me dirty looks, as though my very existence was in her way. She gossiped and lied about me to the rest of the family. Living all my life in an “obligation system of love” I had to be grateful that she was allowing me to live with her. I had already been groomed to just be quiet and put up with it. I tried harder to please her, to stay out of her way and to figure out what she wanted. I knew not to rock the boat. I had learned “obligation” well and I was now obligated to put up with this devaluing treatment and the uncomfortable awkward atmosphere while living with my Aunt without questioning the effect on  my own self worth.

She invited another one of her friends to come and live with her so of course I gave up the guest room to her friend. Her dog kept peeing on my bed in the basement, and my aunt thought it was funny. I had to wash all my blankets sometimes every night.  My Aunt and her friend laughed about it. They made it so uncomfortable for me that I rarely came out of my bedroom. And today I know that that my reaction (to retreat and withdraw) was exactly what they wanted.

One night I came up the stairs and they didn’t hear me, and I overheard my Aunt say that if I didn’t like her dog peeing on my bed, then I could move out. They roared with laughter.  I heard lot of other nasty things about me too that night, all mean lies and exaggerations, and it was clear to me that I better get out before I got kicked out. So although I was 19 and only 2 weeks into a new job in a new city, I found a way to leave.

I moved out but I never said a word about the way that things were for me there. At least not yet. And here is the crazy part. I still went to my Aunts or my Cousins for Christmas every year. We all acted like nothing ever happened. We were all “close family” and exchanged gifts as though we “loved’ each other. I think we thought we DID love each other.

As a child I learned that I was wrong to feel wronged. I had NO RIGHT to feel wronged. I carried that belief with me well into my adult years.

When I was about 35, I was sick my mother’s dysfunctional family causing trouble and decided not to see any them anymore.  I questioned if I “had” to accept all this horror, and if I was “obligated to love” these people. They were so mean. But when I told my mother that I was done with having any contact with them, she was horrified; she lectured me countless times about the importance of family. The truth about my side of it was NEVER addressed. She just said things like “they are all you have” and blood is thicker than water”.  I remember thinking ‘what does that even mean?”

All the while my mother was part of the gossip herself. She knew all the trouble that they caused, half the time she was in on it, the other half they were doing the same things to HER, but still in her view, the most important thing was that I not walk away from them. Not stand up to them, not rock the boat, but just “take it” and worse than that was that it was always inferred that it was my defect that caused all of it! Both sides of it ~ that I could not stand it, and that it happened! This is the most common dysfunctional family relationship fog in the world.  Today I wonder if the “family is so important lecture” was because she was afraid that I might stand to her too.

People are shocked when you tell them that you do not visit your own family. Even if you disclose the abuse, it is like the whole world is brainwashed that family is the most important thing. Just take it, ignore it, get over it, you are imagining it, just don’t speak about it; BUT WHY NOT?? Why can’t we stand up to it? Why did I have to play nice and try harder? Why did everyone think that this family dysfunction was normal? AND why was my mother surprised when I said that I had had enough! Why did she try for SO LONG to make me change my mind? Why was she so upset 5 years later when I told her that I didn’t want to hear anymore stories about all the problems SHE was having with them either, if she wasn’t willing to do anything about it?

I think she was jealous because she didn’t have the guts to say that SHE had had enough because like me, she never knew any different system. The fear of having NO family was worse than having a nasty horrible one.

Looking back I am really stunned to realize how much dysfunctional relationship that I put up within the sick family system I lived in.  I moved out of my mother’s home when I was 17, because I could not take it anymore.  Two years later, I lived with an Aunt in the same type of sick dysfunctional mother daughter relationship situation that I had lived in with my mother and stayed there until the last possible minute, never recognizing that I was once again back in the same dysfunctional relationship, being treated like nothing, being devalued, disregarded, and shamed. Still believing that the burden of the relationship fell on my shoulders! Believing STILL that it was up to me to make it work which is why even though I moved out, I still kept going back. Never exposing the truth. Always putting myself last and never having the understanding that I didn’t HAVE to put up with it.

I believed that I HAD to be in those relationships; because I grew up never having a choice. I believed it because my belief system was cemented with hundreds of lies. I believed it because that was all I ever knew and I thought it was “normal.” And to me it WAS normal. It was MY normal. Dysfunction was the daily fare. I never had the right to say no as a child and I didn’t learn that I EVER had that right, and I believed that it was always something that I did wrong in the first place.

Even though I walked away then, it was years before I realized that I had done nothing wrong, so I lived with the guilt of walking away from my mother’s dysfunctional family system.

There is no obligation in the real definition of love. There is no pecking order. There is no accepting abuse and mistreatment.

Please share your thoughts and feelings;

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

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

Please visit the category button marked “Family” for related posts

“Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental health illness: the emotional discovery of the truth about the unique history of our childhood.” Alice Miller ~ The Drama of the Gifted Child



89 response to "Dysfunctional Extended Family ~ The Mean Aunt that I Loved"

  1. By: Melinda Posted: 26th September

    This is just one more thing I can relate to.
    I have an aunt, my mother’s oldest sister, whom I was very close with as a small child. She was the “fun” aunt and I adored her.
    But as time went on, that stopped. The first cruel incident I can recall is her saying that it was my fault that a teenage boy had molested me; he wandered onto the property of my elementary school and touched my private parts. Her reason for blaming me? I was alone when it happened…nobody else was around. I was only 9 years old.

    As I entered puberty, it only got worse.
    She accused me of being promiscuous. She attacked me constantly…my appearance, my personality, even the way I sat in a car.
    She loved to tell me that I looked “ridiculous” if I wore makeup. She treated my older cousin (who isn’t even her daughter) WAY better than she treated me…she viewed my cousin as being smarter, prettier and better than me.

    More upsetting than the attacks on my self-image were the things she would tell people about me being “crazy”.
    She would attribute this to my depression (which was partly because of how people treated me) and the fact that my paternal grandmother had suffered with mental illness. She and my cousins loved to mock me and talk about how “crazy” they thought I was. To this day, I still feel triggered by anyone perceiving me as mentally ill or “psycho” because that label was unfairly applied to me so often.

    There was one occasion when she actually assaulted me on my 16th birthday, hitting me in a room full of her friends and no one did anything about it.
    She never apologized later, just told me that I needed to learn to “forgive”.

    So yeah…my aunt whom I loved hurt me in many ways.
    Verbal/emotional/physical abuse; attacks on my self-esteem; allowing my cousins to bully me; lying to my mom about my behavior which then caused even more problems.
    In recent years I’ve tried to forgive her because she has cancer now, but it’s hard. I still love her but I don’t have the same love for her anymore that I did as a little girl.
    My cousin aka “the golden child” is her favorite, so they deserve one another.

    My aunt was just one more person who hurt and betrayed me in my life.

  2. By: Kim Posted: 5th June

    No one really understands unless they have gone through it themselves. My mother threatened to lie and tell everyone she knew that I was mentally ill if I left the family. I left anyway. It was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself! The longer I’m away from my family, the clearer I see the sickness, the manipulations and controlling behaviors. Even though I have friends that will never understand why I left, I realize that the most significant thing for me was that I was in a situation where people made me feel bad about myself and I loved myself enough to get out. Taking abuse does NOT make you a good person. Now I have people in my life that celebrate my progress and successes, that see me and love me for who I am and what I have to offer.

    • By: Sher Posted: 13th June

      I’m so glad I found this discussion. I too have cut ties with toxic aunts.
      It’s been 4 years now and they still find a way to get to me.
      I got married and invited them all, they made a huge deal about the location (destination wedding) and made the wedding planning process extremely difficult…only to not come in the end.

      I had a baby 3 months ago. Since I have been so distant from these aunts in the past 4 years I didn’t call them to tell them the news, they found out by social media that I was pregnant.

      One of them contacted my sister and told her how offended they all were and that they won’t acknowledge the baby because since they didn’t hear the news first had, it was real according to them.

      Toxic people are not capable to being happy for others. If they are not the centre of attention then nothing else matters.

      Family are just people you share DNA with. Some people are fortunate to be surrounded by great people. My in laws are wonderful and because of that I was able to see first hand just how awful my aunts really are. People who really love you won’t treat you like an object, they won’t purposely hurt you.

  3. By: Dont Lose Sleep Posted: 16th March

    Finding this website is refreshing to know Im not alone. My life has been complicated since the day I was born. Ive been to a few shrinks in my day about it and continue to do so without any light at the end of the tunnel. The money runs out before I get any useful coping skills for dealing with ridiculous relatives. An old woman, an estranged aunt of mine in her late 90’s told me to never look back and always look forward. How can I not look back after what I had been through? How could people who expect me to call them family be so mean? Family should be caring and loving, not competitive, not jealous and not people who drive you crazy. Im like an elephant – I dont forget, and I dont forgive people who go out of their way to purposely hurt me with their abuse and games. Why should I? The only reason I know for sure would be to heal my own self. Thinking and remembering hurts me more than those who dish the pain in the first place. Why I dont let go is more about justice. These people go unpunished for their abuse AND get forgiveness? How is that fair? The toll it has taken and the loss of time I have endured can never be replaced. That’s what hurts. Life is too short for so much heartache! I show kindness and am cautious about my words. I think of others. People who dont are selfish. Its easy to avoid these kinds of people when they are not your family, but when they are there seems to be no escape. Dreadful are holidays and the pressure of dealing with these people is mentally draining. What does one do? RUN! Yes you can get away and stay away and live a mentally sound life. Ive done it once and believe me, I am considering it again. In some ways, Im in a worse situation than before! Didnt expect it. My new extended family was very loving and excepting until their masks fell off and all that was left was a bunch of narcassists. Surprise! You cant escape crazy is the lesson I have learned unless you are strong at heart. Strong enough to know you CAN survive without family. You make your family from good friends YOU CHOOSE. You dont need a ton of friends, just a couple really good ones who you can show that you are not needy and that you respect them and their trials and tribulations as well. Start your own holiday traditions. Make your own rules. If you feel guilty (chances are you will because you obviously have feelings to be on this website), leave and send the abusers a letter explaining why. My latest shrink explained most abusive people dont even know they are abusive. Weird considering it takes a balanced person much effort into being mean, and then they feel guilty after! Mean people, “Oscar the Grouch” characters who are always that way, it is habit for them to be who they are and they have to want to change to stop being jerks. If they have been that way for years they wont change overnight and these characters, usually narcassitic tend to think they are always right. IT’S YOUR SANITY! DON’T LOSE SLEEP over hurtful people, GET AWAY, and live a happy life.

  4. By: Casey Posted: 20th February

    Hi there! I know I’m terribly behind on this, but I wanted to thank you for writing and sharing this. I have always been the black sheep in my mother’s family. My mother is/was amazing. She has her faults, one of them being that she always protected us and stood up for us with others, but never with family. Especially her own.

    I am the only girl in my nuclear family and the youngest. I’m the youngest on my dad’s side, so I kind of slipped under the radar and was taken in as the baby by older cousins (some almost 20 years older). On my mother’s side, I’m the oldest female and was the only girl until my little cousins came along, the oldest of whom when I was nearly 6. We have an aunt who is divorced and has been for a long time and she has no kids (thank god). While my grandparents, especially my grandmother, showed favoritism towards the girls (little cousins), my aunt did and does to an extreme extent. Everyone in that side of the family shows favoritism towards them. They were raised very strictly and fell in line perfectly. They’re very sweet girls who took every step that was set out for them. They, however, have led a charmed life and have never faced adversity. I, on the other hand, am a bit of a rebel. Only in that I am who I am and always have been. I don’t let people tell me who I am or what my values and morals are. I do what I believe is right. Period. That has always struck them in a negative way. Honestly, I can’t fathom why, but that’s because we’re so different. I am not a traditionalist as the rest of the family is (minus my brothers). I have suffered through some tragic events in my life and come out the other side stronger and wiser. With regards to gender, my brothers do not get mistreated for doing things I would be cast out for. There’s that common female v male set of conflicting standards.

    My behavior throughout my life has not been extreme. I have not ever been one to deliberately disobey. I do not break rules. I think their upset with me is in the fact that I don’t take everything at face value. I will do what I’m told, but I’m not necessarily going to like it. That carried on and has grown over the years. I’m nearly 36. It’s embarrassing to be so affected by something that seems so petty, but to me it is very real and very personal.

    The father of these super-human cousins hates me and has since day one. He married their mother when I was 3. He has treated me like complete crap since the day I met him. He has recently confessed to treating me poorly since I was around 12 when I “rejected the girls” or some such nonsense. In reality, I was 12 and started bringing a friend along to family things because I was a pre-teen girl. I didn’t know, but it upset the girls who were half my age or less at the time. He did this to a 12 year old, because he’s a child himself. But I digress…

    Fast forward to today. I just had a 10 year wedding anniversary. I have a stellar marriage. I have two children, the oldest of whom is ridiculously kind (the youngest is a baby). I have a successful career and recently got my bachelor degree while working from home full time with my oldest child and being pregnant with my youngest. I help run a small software company. I never did drugs. I never fell pregnant until I was married and did it on purpose. However, I moved in with my husband very early on before we were married (dated for 4 years). I don’t go to church, because I disagree with the formalities of churches. I have tattoos. I drink beer a few times a year. I cuss (not when I was a kid). I listen to rock and roll. I hate romantic movies and love horror. I am sarcastic (I wonder why??!).

    I’ll never know what I did to make them hate me. My mom knows everything and agrees, but she will never stand up to her sister. I watch as her sister says rude things to her and I only bite my tongue because if *I* were to be the one to stand up and say something against anyone in the family, I’ll be blacklisted forever and “create a bunch of upset in the family” that certainly wouldn’t have possibly existed before I spoke up. I’m sure you can understand where I’m going with this.

    So, we shall see. I have a baby shower to go to. On my birthday (not that I actually care, but it’s just another small stick in the side). For my star cousin and her first child. I’m so torn. I’m so incredibly happy for her and know she’ll be an amazing mother and will raise a kind-hearted, compassionate woman. At the same time, I want to tell everyone to go to hell and call me when they give a damn about my second child. I want to go, but tell them to not cast my own children aside now that The Chosen One is arriving. I want to tell them to take it easy with this kid, because her sister may have children too and they deserve just as much love.

    I hate this. I hate the position it puts me in. People really should be more mindful of how they treat one another.

  5. By: Jenny Posted: 21st September

    There are many similarities in my life.My family and extended family (my mothers side)was dysfunctional.I had an aunt ,my mothers sister who was my favourite.She bought us many gifts and helped our family financially.It was only when I was much older I realised that she was emotionally abusive and trying to control us.Since I put up with being put down at home my tolerance for abuse was high outside as well as in the workplace.I have cut contact with her and feel so much better.My mother is still is in contact and is unable to leave any of her relatives and wants me to keep in touch.I am also limiting my contact with my mother.I have cut off contact with relatives to whom my aunt is close and bad mouthed me.My life isso much better now.

  6. By: gkim Posted: 4th April

    Thank you so much for this.

    I had actually had a phone conversation with my Aunt that ended with an abrupt gesture. This article you wrote gives me so much more insight than ever I imagined. I think, often, it is the ones who are misguided and left alone that become the bullies and intolerant.

    While it is important to always “care” about people in your life. It is also important to care about oneself and not let other people take control of your life.

  7. By: Sherry Posted: 10th August

    I understand. It took well into my adult hood to get out of my toxic family. I wanted family so much I put up with far too much growing up.

  8. By: Dina Posted: 6th March


    What drove me into this website was the same reason you first described. Im glad i could let you all know what im going through..and please reply me if there are any advises or suggestions i could take into my life. I came to usa to study…i have never left my parents ever in my country (a very small island ) but i gathered all my courage and decided to put all of me into my future..studies. I came here to stay with my uncle and aunt with their little kids. They arent really blood related so i guess this situation is kind of obvious. I came here when i was 17, im from a middle classed family and yes i can study well too. Im into it. I wanna be in the medical field some day. So at first, my aunt an uncle were all nice amd sweet but later on…they acted so mean to me..shouting at me..criticising my talents and most of all calling my parents in my country and blaming them for my behavior. I have no idea what i did to them..but it made my parents very sad..and i usually dont let my parents know about how they treat me now because they work relly hard to help me study and i dont wanna let then down. So they lie , gossip and rumor about me with their other friends in usa..one time i had to go with them to one of their friends house for a sleepover. That day my little cousin puhed me ..and since i used o admire her and love her ..i felt sad and went to their bathroom and cried alone.. The next day we went back home. The following day i had college classes and when i got home ..their is a huge mess.. My aunt started scolding me so much..she even called my parents again and blamed them plus me. The reason ..omg ..they said the reason was that my little cousons had told her that i hit them regularly and push them and are mean to them and have mood shifts all the time…! I mean seriously !?!?!? Back in my country…i had so many little baby cousins and i was the one to take are of all them..and they LOVED me ! I loved them soo much..in fact i was known as the baby addict..and now in usa..they call me this monster !?! God. What could i have done ? The friends we went over to had agreed on it they said..what else could i say ? Btw…it was just one week after my 19th bday..( the first bday i ever celebrated without my parents).. And thats what happened.
    I was really upset last year about that..really.. I had really bad headaches and i used to cry everytime. I just let it fade away with time and put my best effort to carry on with my studies… Right after i get home from college, i tutor my cousins..regardless of how tired i am..then i usually help my aunt cook food..then clean the kitchen..and sometimes when my aunt and uncle go away, i have to take care of the little kids… I put aside my work..and helped them out..my parents always said..’your aunt and uncle let you a place to stay and appreciate that deed atleast’ i do that.. I let everything else just hide beneath me.. So this is been going on for awhile… I wasnt allowed to go out either..not even once with my friends..
    Today, 2014, i came home to an angry aunt..she yelled at me..saying she doesnt care about my ear ache ( i had one because of my growing wisdom tooth) and that i should go away and stay somewhere else if i dnt know how to stay at a house and didnt appreciate their kindness if lettinge stay (yeah they provide me with food and shelter ). True but my dad helps my uncle with his business wihout taking any money in return. I mean that doesnt mean tht they could treat me like this. Like im under their control.! The very wierd thing is..yesterday everything was alright..i came home in the evening..taught my cousins and even started cooking dinner for them..i ate ..talked to my aunt..and as every other night..i washed the dishes..hand dried them..and swept the kitchen.. I do that every day. And all of a sudden she blows off the following day..my room was a little messy but hey it is the middle of the week ..a thursday! I always clean my room and do my laundry on fridays..when i dont have classes on fridays. Besides the mess was because of my cousins cloths..my aunt blamed me for not telling them to take them away..I TELL THEM EVERY SINGLE TIME WHEN I NOTICE IT. But they wouldnt listen ! They are very nice little kids i admit..but sometimes they dont like me..well thats fine with me..not everyone can be liked perfectly. What really bothers me that my aunt and uncle are really good at times but the rest of the time..they dont want me here.. If i do a single mistake..its a really big deal for them..why ? Im 19 and im still learning ! People or moreover humans maje mistakes ! Not purposely though ! I can kind of see it in my aunt..sometimes..she really doesnt like me..my guts makes her wanna puke , i think. She is always in bad :/ mood when im there… And so on..
    Now i feel like there is no way out for me.. I cant leave just like that because i cant afford my self.. I cant stay either. Im stuck with life… I hate it sometimes .. But then i think of my parents.. And i wanna go on with my life ..make it happen.. So what should i do ??

  9. By: gwen Posted: 22nd July

    My aunt has ruined me she tells so many lies. She gossips constantly and had once stated that my uncle and her have decided they need to disown some relatives. I quit working for them and now they are trea ting my grandma the same way they treated me. I have not talked to them for over a year.

  10. By: Audrey Posted: 12th February

    Thank you for that post. It’s nice to know that you’re not alone. I have a condition that has stopped me from moving out and being independent. In 14 years, I have never been able to work a full-time job because stress of full hours increases my symptoms. Right now, I have met the love of my life and he has a good job and we will be moving in together in the spring. He has been a great support in keeping me away from my family since it is healthier for me. So thank you again for posting this self- loving sentiment. All the best to you.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 12th February

      Hi Pam
      When the fog begins to clear we start to see things through a new grid of understanding and sometimes I wondered why it took me so long to see these things; they were so plain!
      I too wanted to be approved of as a parent and I felt guilty that I nurtured too much! I know the pressure you speak of. I too was terrified of the disaproval, but that was pretty much all I got anyway!
      I love your comments here! I hope that everyone will take time to read them! (and I look forward to being a grandma one day too!)
      Thanks for sharing.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Audrey
      Welcome to EFB
      That is wonderful that you have support and understanding with your man and that you will be able to get away from the dysfunction soon.
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: jeanne Posted: 8th November

    Dear Darlene:

    I think that learning to meet your own needs is the only way to move forward in a more positive direction.

    As children what choice do we have other than to cope? As adults however, we have all the power to recognize the relationships around us for what they are and make better choices that only include people who respect, love and honor us.

    It is so very difficult to let go of the dream that certain relatives would all of a sudden be who we need them to be…but once one does, the end result is room to fill that void with quality relationships that raise us up.

    Letting go of that toxic dynamic is difficult but once accomplished it opens up the freedom towards better.

    I wish you well on your journey forward and the peaceful happiness each and everyone of us very much deserves.


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th November

      EXACTLY! yes.
      Thanks for sharing again!
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: jeanne Posted: 7th November

    Hi. I knew a family once that held the utmost respect for one another. They laughed together, ate together and vacationed together. Everyone was accepted totally and completely without condition. They seldom fought, nor did they pick on one another. There was no jealousy but instead pride in each other’s accomplishments, there were many compliments extended towards each other…they all achieved and shared good hearted humor. I think their name were Cosby and they lived on a television show back in the 1980’s featured every Thursday night. Unfortunately, the were not real..ONLY a dream of what family life should be for the lucky.
    My extended family was in opposite of this. I had two parents who fought constantly and six siblings who thought that it was cute to make the youngest (me) wait on them in some sort of warped “let’s see how much we can get her to do for us” game. I was mocked, belittled and made to feel by some of my siblings as if I was not really welcome.
    I am currently 47 years old and those same patterns have followed me into my adult life. No matter how strongly I stand up for myself or how right I am to do it, the blame is still turned around to be my issue.
    Here’s the thing: those people were never able to meet my needs as a child what on earth makes me think that somehow through a miracle they will do this present day. Impossible.
    The only real choice for me is to keep my distance and build my life with people who respect me, love me and encourage me. I have my own family and the great thing is how my husband and I both were able to give our children a safe and loving home based on what neither of us had while growing up. The pattern does not need to continue…we all have it within us to evolve towards better…choose friends who are good to us and leave the rest behind.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th November

      Thank you for your comments. Yes it is very possible to go forward learning from the damage that was caused to us. I had to learn to meet my own needs.
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Lynda ~ Out Of The cRaZy Closet Posted: 31st May

    Darlene, I just read your previous post to this, and was so blown away by it, that I couldn’t, yet, manage to read the comments. Then I clicked on this post, and it has blown me the freak away, even more than your previous post.

    My God, you WERE treated the way I was treated. What you describe right here, and in your post just prior to this one, your childhood was almost a clone of mine.

    Again, I have not ~ YET ~ read any of the comments here, I just had to comment on your post, first. But I will read all the comments soon, I always get so much out of them, too.

    Lynda ~ no longer “COMING” Out of the Crazy Closet, because I am OUT Of The Crazy Closet

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st June

      Hi Lynda,
      When I first decided to do this work, I realized this same common denominator that so many people share. The psychological abuse is always always similar! And the brainwashing is begins there in childhood. SO.. I am glad that you can relate.
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Darlene Doskas Posted: 31st May

    I moved 3500 miles to get away from the disfunction of my mother’s family.

    It’s not far enough.

    But I know what I know, I remember what I remember, and I know them better than they know me… they still manage to hurt me from time to time, but it’s more rare with the passing years (it’s 12 years now, since I moved West)and I actually find myself feeling HAPPY from time to time, and there’s no one around to try to take that away from me.
    Makes the move more than worth it.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st May

      Hi Darlene
      (I love your name! 😉
      I love what you said and I had to remind myself of that MANY times!

      you wrote: ” But I know what I know, I remember what I remember,”

      this is VERY important!
      Thank you for sharing.
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th May

    Hi Ronnie,
    The obligation thing is also something we are taught. But it is a one way street. We are obligated, they are not. This isn’t love. (or even relationship) It is dysfunctional relationship. Yay for you that you have broken the cycle!
    Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: Ronnie Posted: 29th May

    As I read this blog entry, I sat on my couch shaking my head! I just recently discontinued compulsory calls to my father. My mother died in 2008, and trying to keep up the appearance of normalcy, I was calling him frequently to see how he was doing. In a recent call to him, I asked him for some financial help. He told me that he could not help me because he is on a fixed income — this from a man that has a small fortune in his bank account. I told him that if he did not want to help me, that is acceptable. However, it was not acceptable to lie to me about his financial status. I told him that I would never ask for assistance in the future.

    He has always treated me worse than the proverbial “red-headed stepchild.” He has lied to other family members about anything I would say to him when I called and would deny what he said when confronted. I finally had enough! I do not call him and am glad that there was finally a chance to end communication with him! It hit me one day, why do I want this man’s approval, love, compassion, etc. when all I will ever get from his is abuse! It happened when I was a child, in other ways, and will continue until he dies! The cycle has been broken!

  17. By: joy Posted: 29th May

    @Laurie : your words really gave me enlightenment and says to me I am going th normal route of a survivor.

    @Edward: If I could I would move to Canada..I have some friends there, glad you have someone to sponsor you.

    @Darlene: yes they want me to believe it and strangely..I did: so many years of programming . I really believed that stuff because I heard it every day of my life. Everyone else in the family follows it. They cannot understand why I decided to stop .Since I was always the easiest one to tell what to do.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th May

      Hi Everyone,
      I just published a post about more dysfunctional extended family. This post is not so much about the pedophile himself as it is about how my parents missed the mark when it came to protecting me. It highlights the dysfunctional thinking process that goes along with dysfunctional family. You can read it here: My grandfather the scary drunken pedophile

  18. By: Star Posted: 28th May

    No, you didn’t offend me, I just felt the need to clarify. I frequently do:-)

  19. By: Edward Schline Posted: 28th May

    Well I am just visiting and will have to be back in the states for two weeks out of the year. A passcard was easy to get.But moving here entails more than I could do on such a short notice since I reched my level of tolerance for the abuse. I’ve been a carpenter all my life and am used to carrying beams heavier than my wife hitting her back was never an option since something would have broke. She broke herself up from falling down the booze was whuping her pretty good.Therapy helped me to improve my self worth along with recognising what verbal abuse is since my brain would be spinning and my therapist would want to know why. She would ask if I had any ptsd episodes and I would get flashbacks whenever my wife attacked me while I was sleeping not at first but after I begged her to leave me alone and she persisted a lot of times I just left to let her cool down sober up. She liked me a lot better when I had no boundaries and just took what she dished out. I was afraid she would follow me in the States. She still reads what I say on facebook even though I unfreinded her and puts in a snide remark from time to time. Most of this I say here I would not on facebook, I feel safer here.I still need to apply for a work visa to work up here money is not my priority wellness is. So she is angry at me at present and has been for a long time yet now she can’t get to me. Being here with a couple who are survivors also is very healthy for me at present. Thanks.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th May

      That is the thing ~ how can anyone determine that someone else has NO RIGHTS! It is a continuation of the dysfunctional treatment in childhood. And they believe it, and we are expected to believe it! But it makes no sense! arggggggg
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Edward,
      Ya we are conditioned to “think that is just the way the world is” and although a great deal of the time that IS how the world is, it doesn’t mean that it is right!
      Glad you are safe now!
      Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Laurie
      YAY! Thanks for sharing your victories with this! That is fantastic. I totally relate to it.. I was shaking in my boots when I first started standing up for myself too.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hey Star, thank you for clarifying ~ I love that we both long to be understood! AFter a life time of not being heard, and being dismissed, I am in love with this kind of communication!
      Hugs, Darlene

  20. By: Laurie Posted: 28th May

    The first round of therapy 23 years ago didn’t do any good, but when I moved to CT 8 years ago, it was suggested that I get some domestic violence counseling. The therapist talked to me for 45 minutes, and afterwards told me “You moved over 1500 miles to get away from abuse. I don’t think you’ll ever let anyone hit you again. I DO think you need assertiveness counseling.” She was right. I was 40 years old the first time I ever told a soul “I’m angry, and we’re not having a misunderstanding.” Then I sat down and laughed til I cried, because it felt soooo weird!
    I still have a long fuse, and it takes a lot to anger me, but I am at last able to say so when I’ve had enough, and if it’s bad enough for me to say something, I quietly and firmly say “THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE, and I won’t put up with it.” Then it is politely discussed. I’m not comfortable throwing a tantrum, even if I’m right, because I feel it costs me self-respect, but I do definitely assert myself.
    Things do become more difficult when therapy starts, because the status quo begins to change. The long-time victim stops taking abuse of any sort, it’s not going to go over well. First of all, the abuser(s)are going to be shocked, then after it sinks in, they’ll be angry. They’re not used to not having a trained monkey at their command, a whipping boy, and a maid.
    The changes scare us as much as they upset the abusers, because we’re used to certain outcomes, and so are the abusers. Suddenly, it’s all different. They realize they’re losing control of a part of their life where they’ve always had the upper hand, and since most abusers are control freaks, they’re afraid. A loss of control causes that fear.
    The former victim is afraid because it’s like learning to do anything else. When I learned to ice skate as an adult (not well), I was scared to death, because I’m not coordinated, and I knew it was going to hurt. I was right, but I kept trying. Every time I went out on the ice, I was scared, because I knew at some point I was probably going to fall, and it was going to hurt, but I went out there anyway, and now I’m a passable ice skater. Think about how afraid little kids are when you first take the training wheels off their bikes. A bit of that fear remains for a few days or even weeks, because they know they’re new at it, and if they fall, it’s going to hurt, but the eventual independence they gain is SO worth it. So is the independence we gain when we realize we’re FORMER victims.
    I still avoid confrontation, and it still scares me, but there is no way I am going to return to being a victim just because standing up for myself is going to upset someone.

  21. By: joy Posted: 28th May


    Wow: Its not often you hear that women are abusing men but i know its true.. Sorry you suffered abuse and I hope you find happiness in Canada. ..I didnt know it was so easy to move there as i had asked my T about it (I have soe friends there) and she had told me its not so easy to move there legally?

    Boundaries are hard to keep up when people keep breaking through..even when I try my hardest to have everyone set up .. My family finds away around them.

    I find that starting therapy things have become more difficult with people around me..do you think its because of the boundaries?

    I wish you the best of luck in Canada.


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