Dysfunctional Family Christmas and Giving the Wrong Gift




dysfunctional family christmas

the wrong gift

The Ghost of Dysfunctional Christmas Past ~ Part 2

How come I could NEVER find the right gift for my Mother? I never seemed to be able to make her happy. My Christmas gifts  as well as any other gifts I found for her never had the desired effect one wants when giving a gift to someone.

There was always this disappointment she showed when she opened a gift from me. Her face would fall. She would look uncomfortable. She wouldn’t say much about whatever I had chosen for her. I agonized over what I would get her, and then I worried about it until the day I gave it to her. I dreaded her reaction. I guess I was hoping that her face would light up. I was hoping for approval.

I got so that I HATED thinking about what she might like for a gift and what I should get her. There was so much anxiety around gift giving that I couldn’t actually concentrate on the celebration itself. There was so much “obligation” around all these events that I didn’t understand back then.

My mother never made it easy for me by pointing out or mentioning a specific gift she wanted. It was as if my “guessing what the right gift would be to get for her” was part of what would make her happy. It was a though if she “told” me what she wanted, that would ruin it. In order for the gift to be “special”, I had to come up with the idea on my own, or be a mind reader.

My mother collects Royal Doulton Figurines. Not the cheap kind either. The ones she likes cost upwards of $250.00 each. One year I decided to get her one. It was a lot of money but I really wanted to make her happy.

It worked. She loved it. FINALLY I had done something right after YEARS of giving her a disappointing gift and feeling like I had let my mom down. Her face lit up! She approved! It was an exhilarating feeling of success for me!

There was only one other time I recall where my mother was pleased with me choice of gift for her. It was when I sent her a huge amount of roses to correspond with the number of years she had reached on her birthday. (I can’t remember which birthday, but I know it was over 60)  

When I began my journey out of the foggy darkness, I realized that my Mother sees gifts as a reflection of “love” or a measurement of love.  Gifts “prove” her value. If the giver spends a lot then the giver recognizes her value. Gifts define her. It isn’t the thought that counts in her mind. In addition to that, it’s not only about money and the monetary value of the gift but how well the giver has “guessed” what would please her.  When the relationship is dysfunctional however, it is really hard to guess the right gift.

It seems as though according to her belief system, the gift actually “proves” her worth. The gift proves the givers love and understanding of her.

There is another side of this picture. My mother didn’t give gifts to me in the same way she wanted to receive them for herself. Once again this is an example of how controlling and manipulative people live by two different sets of rules.  The rules that apply to her, and the rules that apply to others.  I always say that narcissistic, controlling and manipulative people don’t ‘love’ by the same rules that they demand love. If my gifts to her defined my love for her and her worth in my eyes then I thought it would stand to reason that the same was true for her when she gave a gift to me. 

When it came to me and the gifts that my mother would choose for me, the gifts always seemed practical or convenient.  She hated those kinds of gifts for herself, but she bought them for me. It seems odd to me that she would buy me gifts that would have disappointed her; gifts that would have “defined her” as less than worthy of a major splurge gift.

In the fog of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship, I could not sort this out.

If my gifts to my mother defined or proved my love for her and made a statement TO her about HER worth in my eyes then it would stand to reason that the same was true for her when she gave a gift to me.

Today I realize that her gifts to me were in fact another way of keeping me defined as less valuable than she was.  Upon closer examination, if my gifts defined my love for her and her worth in my eyes, than judging by the gifts she chose for me, it would stand to reason the same belief actually WAS true for her.  In truth, she was giving me gifts according to her own belief system. She believed that I was not worthy of thought and consideration in the way that I had to prove she was worthy of thought and consideration.

Her double standard (in her view) wasn’t odd at all. It was actually a truth leak about the way she regarded me as “less” than herself.

And in some dysfunctional families, this devaluing belief system is reflected differently for each child! In other words, one child gets the best and most expensive gift imaginable while the other child gets socks.

I don’t miss any of that stuff anymore. I don’t miss the anxiety of choosing a gift for her; I don’t miss bracing myself for the reaction from her; I don’t miss her disappointment or her false definition of love that wrapped around the whole Mothers day, birthday, and Christmas gift giving thing.

It took me years to get over my fear of giving the wrong gift. It took me years to get over my fear of opening gifts too.  I was so afraid that I would react the way that my mother did, I was more focused on my reaction to a gift than I was ON the gift itself! Once I found the truth at the roots of those fears, each passing year has become easier. I don’t buy gifts OR give gifts out of obligation anymore. I don’t believe gifts are a measurement of love. And since my definition of love has been redefined and I know what LOVE is and what LOVE is not, I don’t live under those two different sets of rules anymore either.

I welcome your comments. Please feel free to share.

Happy Holidays everyone; Bright blessings, hugs and squishes to all;

Darlene Ouimet

Related Posts ~Part one to this post ~ Dysfunctional Family Christmas and Being Alone

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Categories : Mother Daughter



Hi Darlene, I believe that the naricissitic members of my family do see gifts as love as they must have some visible means of measuring love because they don’t feel love. Really, that’s how I learned that my family doesn’t love me. They give lots of gifts at the appropriate times when when I needed emotional support, it just wasn’t there. It wasn’t there because it doesn’t exist. They’ve learned how to behave and not be easily spotted as people encapable of love and it is in the times when it can’t easily be faked that their true colors show. It makes me feel sorry for them but that is a dangerous thing to let them see because they truly,believe their unfeeling state is superior and my sensitivity, inferior and something for them to take advantage of me by.

I have a hard time remembering if my mother’s birthday is the 7th or the 9th of February. I’ve never forgotten her birthday but I’m not the greatest at keeping every date straight. One year, I gave her a card on the wrong day and she made me abosolutely miserable over it. Since then, I just can’t remember which day it is. I’ve written it down and still, she makes me feel and believe that I’ve missed that day again. It’s weird, but I think she does it on purpose and derives pleasure from watching me squirm.I guess, in her mind, I don’t love her perfectly because I have a problem with dates. She can only measure my love by the form it comes in. It is such a mental block with me, I don’t think I’m able to describe the emotional damage I have over this silly thing…I am glad to be free of trying to do the right thing on my mom’s birthday and it always being wrong.



This site has been an absolute revelation, along with the ‘DONM’ group.

I feel like the fog is lifting, I don’t like what that is revealing but it resonates and I finally feel like I haven’t just imagined it all.

Gifts ick! My mother ( who married into money when I was 26 ) doesn’t even buy me presents anymore…not for my birthday or anything. Why? She said its so I don’t feel pressured to buy her one….I know that’s because she always hated my gifts and would always giver that ‘is that it’ look. I KNOW she sees me as ‘less valuable than her’ she clearly demonstrates it regularly. She spoils my son and passes his ‘clothing gifts’ off as gifts for me….yeah right.

My mother in law always gets me a wee something for my birthday or Christmas…I don’t see presents defining love but through her ‘thoughtfulness’ she makes me feel like a special part of her life. My mum makes me feel like that manly child who can’t do a damn thing right.

Actually I think the elation of discovery is passing…I’m feeling pretty hurt, angry and unloved right now and I want to hurt her back. Not helpful I know but it’s progress perhaps?

THANKYOU for this site and thank you everyone who contributes.

Kia kaha everyone
(Maori for ‘stay strong’)


My mother did this, in a slightly different way – but enough the same to to be wholly familiar. My father also. He was one for the Grand Gesture. His gifts to her were always way over the top – and she would usually discard them fairly swiftly. His gifts to me…. were always chosen by my mother – and were invariably predictably practical.
I learned not to ask for toys – no-one would play with me – they wouldn’t, and I had no siblings. I was not encouraged to invite friends home.
My Mum was a very repressed person – she was always very controoled and controlling. She would say very clearly that she didn’t like surprises. My father was a spendthrift. You can see how the two go together. I too am not keen on surprises – not the “planned” sort – spontaneous things are wonderful – but my fathers’ behaviour was stressful and alarming.
For my part, they were both dreadful to buy for. I never really knew what I could get that they would appreciate. In the end I realised that appreciation was unlikely to come my way in any shape or form. I like to give – I love to find something that the other person REALLY likes/wants – but it causes me a great deal of stress to identify that thing. And I am wary of falling into my fathers’ pattern – and of my similarity to my Mum.
I guess soemwhere it evens out – and hopefuly as I move forward in healing I wil be able to find the balance more easily.
Your blog was, as ever, timely. I have more parts of the puzzle to ponder again. Thanks for this, Darlene. Hugs to you.


[…] Related Post ~ part two of this post:  Dysfunctional Family Christmas and Giving the wrong Gift […]


Hi Pam
Excellent points and comments! My mother brought many things up (never let me live it down, was the expression I believe) I think because it made her feel like she had something on me “proof that I was defective” or proof that I was the problem.
Thank you so much for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sherie
So glad that you are enjoying this site!
About your mother story, wow, that is a new one on me! I love how you describe the thoughtfulness. That is how I feel too. My youngest teenager this year said she could not find what she wanted to get me, so she decided to make me a gift. She took pictures from the last 5 or 6 years from all of our computers; pictures of me with each of the kids, vacations, my other daughters graduation, me and my husband, our whole family, some of me alone, and she made a slide show to music. (the song is Thank you Mom by Good Charlotte) I cried. It was the best gift ever. SO thoughtful.
About the anger and hurt; I see it as progress. I HAD to go through those stages as part of validating me. Validating that what happened to me was wrong.
Keep going Sherie ~ you are doing great!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Libby
I am sorry that this is your history but I am happy that you see these insights as more parts to the puzzle! For me this was what the path to freedom and wholeness was paved with!
Thank you for sharing your insights here too.
Hugs, Darlene



Your mother sounds an awful lot like my grandparents on my Dad’s side. They hated my sister and i but loved my brother and the other “boy” grandkids and made it obvious with the gifting. And likewise whatever gift we gave them was never well received. Thankfully my maternal grandparents weren’t this way so we didn’t receive piss poor treatment on both sides. I never took this personally though because I knew they never liked us and I never liked them.

My own mother however, was a bit more sneaky with her guise. Christmas at our house as kids was full of extraordinary gifts. We kids had everything. But looking back, that massive show was for control and to ease my mother’s guilty conscience. She pulled the same thing with my children. Buy them lots of gifts so they will love her but never spend any time with them or worse, betray them. Then get mad when they don’t truly love you. Hmm…..

Once I moved away from my mother, the gift/value system became much more obvious. She’d just clean out her closet and give me the clothes she didn’t like or that didn’t fit pretending they were new. Or I’d get the $5 clearance items complete with price tags. Or she’d buy something hideously ugly or pink (I hate pink and she knows it) and then be mad when I didn’t seem thrilled. I think I have come to despise gifts for this reason. I don’t like to revisit the “control” factor or the sham of my childhood. My husband says I am so hard to buy for because I never truly show interest in things. This year I liked a saddle and he was thrilled to be able to finally get me something I wanted. I try not to receive gifts from my kids like a sour pickle, if you know what I mean.

My mother so hated my husband that every year she’d openly slight him. The biggest one being she sent him a birthday card that claimed to be full of money…..once you opened it up, you found a hole where it “all fell out.” I kept that one stating how symbolic it was. I wonder if she even realizes how obvious she had become in her hatred toward me, my husband and my family.

My husband and I try to be certain gifting is “fair” at Christmas for our three kids so that no one feels slighted. I also be certain to buy them what they want, not what I think they should have. My husband was full of praise for me this year for the gift choices for the kids and the couple surprises he received as well. It was fun and my kids enjoyed it without wondering what was going on behind the scenes, if you get my drift.

I don’t miss gifts from any of my family nor do I gift them anymore either. My mother like yours was totally about the most costly gifts so I am sure she is quite pissed that she has received nothing for many years now. Oh well!


I stood up to my mother last year, this xmas is the first that i did not spend with my mother “I feel extreemly guilty on account that it was also her 50th birthday this year which we fell out over in August.

She asked for the family to send her away to a nice hotel for a night with her partner. I scoured the internet for romantic weekend getaway’s and produced a whole list of prospective places to her…………SHE DIDN’T LIKE ANY OF THEM!!!

She told me about a deal she had seen online and so i looked that deal up and at the time…rugby world cup was on so that deal was not avail. When i came back to her with this, she took it as me being difficult and couldn’t understand why i wouldn’t just give her what she wanted.

So at my wit’s end by now i said well how about you book what you want………Tell me how much and i’ll pay for it, that displeased her immensly also and she came back with something like oh if i’m going to be that much of an in convenience to you then don’t worry bout it. So i didn’t

“Now my mother is saying to the rest of the family “I had my 50th birthday this year and none of my kids even bothered to txt happy birthday…………i’m tellin ya now, if i had of txt happy birthday she would be angry with me for not coming to see her instead of not txt’n and if i had of gone and seen her she would have been angry that i didn’t come and give her the apoligy i owed her before her birthday because now i’v ruined her birthday????

But i still can’t shake the guilt no matter how much i try to justify my actions it hurts alot to see that i cause her so much pain



I read what you just wrote and wanted to respond. YOU did not wreck your Mom’s birthday, SHE did. You have nothing to feel guilty for. That whole scenario sounds WAY too familiar.

If my mother had been any other person, I would not have given her the time of day. I would have cut her off decades before I did. Truly. She used me and betrayed me over and over. Cruel people treat their animals better than she treated me. Food for thought.




Hi Darlene & everyone else,

just wanted to chime in quickly (gotta leave for dr’s appt. soon)

This needs some further thinking about for me – I’ve gotten to the stage that I just don’t bother anymore with gifts or even cards most of the time. Cards are in some ways a bigger deal for me I think – I think you wrote about this somewhere else Darlene (?)

Anyway, thinking back, even as a young’un I remember feeling a “pressure” that I had to write the “right” thing on cards to my mother, but struggling because it didn’t feel like there was much to write. Also struggle regularly w/cards my sibling gives to my mother – still remember being in that place of lying to try and make her feel better. And my mother leaves cards out in pride of place for ages. Oh well.

More recently, one small gift stood out to me (from my mother) as the tackiest thing I’d ever seen in my life, and that nobody would ever want (until I received it, I would’ve sworn nobody would ever have bought it either!!) 🙂 It kinda stood out as how incredibly far my mother and I are in terms of tastes etc.

Anyway gotta run, hope everyone’s doing well!



Nikki, please don’t feel guilty. Your mother is making herself a martyr so she can feed off your bad feelings along with the sympathy she gets from people who believe her stories about how rotten her children are.

I’ve learned to deal with my mother with a tall emotional wall along with complete indifference to all of her complaints. It’s the only way I could disentangle myself from a very unhealthy relationship.

Gift-giving isn’t my mother’s forte, either. One Christmas she gave me a very ugly fake-flower arrangement not because she thought I would like it, but “because it was on sale.” One birthday while I was still giving her household help, she said, “We’re going to do something special today!” My hopes arose that she was going to acknowledge my birth, but then fell as she said, “We’re going grocery shopping today!” That meant two hours of trailing behind her electric cart in Wal-Mart. Another birthday she drove up our driveway and yelled something at me about needing a hand.

It was possible that she had simply forgotten the day, but there was plenty of time after that to say, gee, I missed your birthday, I hope you had a good one.

And yet woe betide my sister and me if we forget hers. Trembling lip, tears, some guilt-inducing remark. So I buy a birthday card very early and keep it on hand for the big day.

I just can’t stomach buying the flowery “you’re the best mom in the world” cards anymore, so I’ve bought cards “from your greatest accomplishment–me!” which she smiles at and lays aside. She’s never given me one word of praise that I remember, so I’ve got to praise myself. (Wait, no, she did say that she liked the way I folded her nightgowns.)

This past Christmas eve my girls and I went to her house as usual, but she started snapping at my eldest. I refuse to subject my children to such an uncomfortable, joyless, bad-feeling-engendering scenario, so we’re not having Christmas Eve over at her house ever again.

She gave us Christmas ornaments so that when we hung them on our own tree in years to come, we’d have something to “remember her by.” She doesn’t understand that no one wants to remember her.


What is it with narcissists? It seems that “to have a friend, you’ve got to be a friend” just doesn’t compute. Do they truly believe that making people feel badly is going to make them love them?

I’ve prayed to see the world through her eyes, just for a little while. What drives her? Is it fear? Is it pride?

We watched “Heidi” and when the governess told Heidi to put the soft bread rolls back that Heidi wanted to save for her dentally-challenged grandmother, my mother said, “That is wrong!” After she continued with, “You never put back food that you’ve already taken,” my eldest and I exchanged stunned looks. What an incredibly shallow world my mother must inhabit.

I wish with all my heart my children, my sister, and I could enjoy a normal relationship with her, but that is not to be, and it’s something I’ve just got to accept. But while she is alive, it’s a wish that will never quite be quieted.

Thank you for giving me this space to blather on about things that are too familiar to lots of us–it does me good.


OH GEE – My mother is all over this piece and then she showed up in the comments too.
Of all the crap she pulled with the gifts that never met her approval, or with forgetting to give me gifts on many occassions, and with gifting more to some and less to others, and ignoring my husband altogether- the line that prompoted me most to finally comment came from these lines:

“Your mother is making herself a martyr so she can feed off your bad feelings along with the sympathy she gets from people who believe her stories about how rotten her children are.”

Before reading this and the comments you got – I would never have revealed these things about my mother for fear I wouldn’t be believed. But now that you mention it – Let me tell you – my mommy dearest puts all of your’s to shame. I won’t botre you with the details but the lines I mentioned are probably what stokes her furnace. Well anyway – at least I am not alone having such a mother!

After 63 years- she almost had me convinced it was me not her – thank God I decided to read you again toinight!


BTW- I stood up to her a few weeks ago and she is not talking to me– heheheheeh as if I were talking to her if she’d have me! Well anyway her birthday (87 on the 19th) and Christmas passed and I was saved the aggravation and humiliation of gift giving!

I also enjoyed my Christmas because she is NOT talking to me- best gift I had in 63 years!

Last year I had it out with her other half – my dad – and we didn’t talk for nearly three months then Pop 90- fell and broke his neck. I was there for him from that moment until he passed 10 days later in my arms. She was too selfish to take care of him but I did! I think he appreciated it but that didn’t matter to me as much as doing what I could while I could. I had stopped the abuse and now I had to end it with dignity and I am grateful I did that!

60+ years is a long time to put up with bullshit- isn’t it?


Hi All,

Gifts, omg, I used to give and give and give and give…..!!! Even when it wasn’t her birthday or christmas, she just said I want and she got. I remember going to her house seeing so many gifts that I had bought her and saying to myself, my god everything I have is what I have given to myself. Yes I used to get rubbish gifts, things that I didn’t, like, want or need. For my 40th birthday I was given a piece of jewellery probably from the market. My mother never celebrated my birthday with me, she would promise me that we would do this and that, but the promises never materialised. My sister would have thousands of pounds spent on her and my mother would gleefully tell me. Yes gift giving is just another opportunity for them to abuse you, this time financially, a way of saying I can take thousands of pounds off you and will spend one pound (if you grovel and if you are really lucky!!). I love these blogs!!! You know what, its so worth feeling all the hurt, anger, fog because it really is progress and after the hurt, in the end I just end up laughing at the ridiculousness of these crazy pains in the neck called narcs!!!


Today I really just hate my mother. In fact, I just hate *everybody*. Does anyone else ever feel this way?


Hi Jen
My husband and I are the same with our kids. I was scared to be like my mother from the day the first one of our kids was born (over 20 years ago now) We get them what they want too. We listen to them about what they are interested in as well.
I don’t miss any of the family crap around gifts either!
Thanks for sharing your examples! Hugs, Darlene

Hi Nikki
This is a great example of how the child (adult child in this case) can NEVER win. Nothing is ever right. No effort is enough. None of this is about you nor does any of it define you. This is all about her dumping her own issues on YOU. No one can make another person feel valuable but parents so often really believe that their kids should and CAN do that for them. I think that is why there is so much dysfunction and pain around holidays and special occasions like birthdays. The belief system is funky when it comes to “gifts”. It isn’t you.
Thank you for sharing this example!
Hugs, Darlene.


I forgot about the CARD thing! Oh that is a really big one for a lot of people too. Thanks for bringing that up!
Hugs, Darlene

Wow. Thanks for sharing your points about this too. Good for you about your decision. It took me years to realize the effect that my mother was having on my kids ~ the way that they saw me so ill regarded by her. They way that my submission was giving her permission to keep treating me that way, and communicating to them that relationship is about that kind of stuff! I didn’t even realize all that stuff until my mother and had no longer had any contact!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Betty Jean
I doubt that your mommy dearest puts the rest of the readers moms to shame.. please be careful about statements like that; it is rather devaluing and invalidating to everyone elses pain.
I am glad that you have realized that you are not alone. That in in itself is freeing.
Good point about almost being convinced that it was you. That was my life before. Constantly convinced that I was the problem. No more!
Hugs, Darlene


I got a smile out of your comments today! Thank you for sharing your exp. and I am really glad that the lights are coming on for you!
glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Robin,
I went through lots of those feelings. This process brings up every emotion. I felt extreem hate when I realized how many of the people in my life used me, disregarded me, defined me as unworthy and not as important as themselves. But out of those feelings, I took my life back. Everything is different today! There is nothing wrong with those feelings. They are all good when we are not avoiding the truth about where they come from. Hang in!!
Hugs, Darlene


MCZ, I think narcs’ can’t even view themselves as perfect enough to deserve their love and feel they have to keep their people beat down so that they don’t realize they can leave them. Or that’s the way my family dysfunctions. My children were very affected by the way my family treats me and my compliance with it. It not only affected the way they see me but also, the way they see themselves. It helps no one to put up with it. Things are getting better since I no longer am.



re: I doubt that your mommy dearest puts the rest of the readers moms to shame.. please be careful about statements like that; it is rather devaluing and invalidating to everyone elses pain.

Oops- I never gave it a thought when I made that careless remark. My bad- I shoould never have said that and I certainly didn’t mean it that way. I was so excited to find my mother in all those comments that I became overwhelmed and wanted to shout from the rooftops – hooray – its not me – there really is such a person and mine seems like a composite of all of them at that moment!

I am going through a very hard time right now and I am stuck here in her basement because of my Louisa- I can’t leave – I’m trapped and that is not my style.

I do apologize- I did not and probably can not express this right but EACH of us of course has OUR own mommy dearest that puts other moms to shame as it pertains to us. How else can it be? When you have a toothache you don’t think about the other teeth you concentrate on your toothache.

So to all out there with a mommmy dearest – I apologize – I did not mean to say mine hurts worse than yours hurts to you! Darlene reminded me to think about others before blurting my ouch!

This is also why I read but rarely comment! I screw up and don’t take correction well but I do apologize when I am wrong. Happy New year and again _ I apologize !


Hi All,

Can I just say to Robin, I totally understand the hatred feeling. I have felt such anger and hatred, which I think is part of the grieving process. I’m not afraid of emotions (altho I used to be) as its what makes us really live and really be alive. Even horrid emotions such as fear/hate/anger/envyvy – i just say Im not a perfect little robot who smiles and says yes mummy or yes daddy, im perfect and always happy and agreeable and polite, I say you know what im pissed off and I hate this situation and its about time i started to be REAL!!!! Dysfunction demands dyshonesty and I would rather stop pretending and just be honest about what feels healthy and normal and loving, safe and positive.


Hi Robin,

In a word – YES!!!

Hi BettyJean,

just wanted to say I relate a lot to worrying about how what I write will effect others / not taking correction well. (Btw, I don’t know how you can take correction any better than you just did!)

Also for the record, I think what you wrote might’ve rankled if it had been a specific comment directed at me; but it didn’t bother me personally as a general comment (although I did notice it for the same reason Darlene mentioned). Hope that makes sense!

From my point of view, I hope you’ll comment again when you want to – worst case scenario, you might end up on the “moderated” list with me! 🙂 (Hope you don’t mind me joking about that Darlene)

As for myself, I’ve been listening to music and having a grand old time. Then suddenly tears started flowing – brought on by a punk cover of “phantom of the opera”, believe it or not!! I think it was just the emotional feel of the music (no specific memories or anything attached to it that I can remember – I definitely have songs that can break me down for that reason, or because of the words). But it was a sad kind of feeling.

I was going to listen to my “sad songs” playlist and try to let myself break down fully and get it all out, but then remembered my mother’s awake late tonight too, so switched to happy music instead & thought I’d come here and write about it in case any insights came to me while writing. (They haven’t). Actually just remembered I’ve been reading some old books online that have had a fair bit of sadness and/or bittersweet emotions in them; maybe that’s part of it.

PS I keep seeing “narcs” written & I keep thinking people are talking about drugs/cops or something…. taking a bit longer to sink in than it probably should! 🙂

PPS been really stressed about moving out. I’ve been asleep/dozing pretty much all day lately then up all night, which doesn’t help. Just trying to be gentle on myself, but really hope I get a burst of energy/motivation soon so I can at least spend one night a week there or something & hopefully get people off my back!

It’s kinda the worst time of year because my brain recently jumped to the idea of holiday suicide (as a fear, not a plan btw), so I haven’t really been in a hurry to put myself into a new place & take away my main distraction during the night (internet) and potentially have to deal with a breakdown.

Actually just before I got sad from the music, I was feeling fired up from it & was going to put some things together to take in. Getting a bit tired now though, so might just try to get some sleep.

Hope everyone’s going well!



Thankyou JEN MZC and DARLENE For your kind words they have helped lift that guilt a bit……….sometimes all I need is for someone to agree with me to just……. further validate what i am saying.

I read in an earlier post………. MZC – quote:”I wish with all my heart my children, my sister, and I could enjoy a normal relationship with her. I totally feel ya on this as it’s all i want with my mother.

i feel forced to treat her badly like i’m stooping to her level and being stubborn. And MY GOD i hate to think how i’m going to feel if it’s left like this and the next time i see her is at her funeral because then it will be too late!!! And i know i will be left thinking what if what if ………..regardless of what i’v done already to fix it.

I just want her to stop hurting us both like this, i love her to pieces and i miss the good times (my mother was like one of those ones who was actually a decent mother when it came to some things………..Then in other stuff, she lacked immensly.

I’v played the victim most of my life having left home early and straight in to an abusive relationship with a married man (i found that out later when i was pregnant to him) but that’s another story for another blog

so it’s easy for me to relate to those comments that are designed to make me feel bad about myself as a person and a terrible daughter to her, i also care alot what others think of me, that’s because of a low self esteem, do you think she see’s this in me and uses it to her advantage? I’d hate to think such a horrible thing about anyone but my own mother??? eeeek !!!

“Acquaintances & fair weather friends tell us what we WANT to hear. Those who genuinely love and care about us, our true friends tell us what we NEED to know. Thing is often, cos it ain’t what we want to hear we ignore it & them


Thanks for not being rankled by my remark- you are very understanding and kind. I am back just to affirm that I read your post and appreciated it but I am not about to get on the moderate list so Happy New Year all. See you in another year when I may pop in again!

I am entirely too sensitive to worry about policing every word before I say it once I am moved to actually share my feelings! It is rare enough that I open up without having to watch each word I utter lest I offend.

See what I mean – I don’t mince words- I say what I mean and mean what I say or I just don’t say anything at all! Good luck J- and all. Darlene you are doing a great job!


Thanks BettyJean,
No worries! I appreciate your coming back to comment again. I know you didn’t mean any harm!
Please don’t let something like this stop you from commenting!
Hugs, Darlene

I actually got a kick out of your joke and appreciate your attitude about being in moderation. I admire your courage for coming back and not letting that stop you from being here. I try to approve all comments as soon as I can, but when I am sleeping or with friends it is not possible. (I do have a phone app that allows me to approve comments when I am away from home) Don’t feel all alone though J. there are quite a few people on that “moderated” list.

Having said that, for some reason my blog is acting up today and some comments are being held back for NO reason… so if there is a delay in your comment showing up (everyone) it does not mean you are being moderated!)

Hugs, Darlene


I LOVE what you said “Dysfunction demands Dishonesty!” that is so true! Thanks for posting that and for your support to Robin,

I think that some of it is conscious and some of it may not be. I have worked with abusers too, and some admitt that they knew full well the tactics they used to control. So here is what I try to concentrate on; instead of trying to understand my parent or abusive person in my life, I aknowledged the damage. I aknowledged ME and validated me and concentrated on healing from the damage that had been caused to me. the funny thing about this now is that I understand my mother much better now and her conduct is even less acceptable to me now that I have seen the dysfunction. I have written lots about this too.
Hugs, Darlene


The first gift I gave, I was 4 yrs. old and picked a bouquet of dandelions. A neighbor man was out picking them for dandelion wine and explained how he made it. He told me I should pick some for my Mom. I thought they were so yellow and sunny and pretty. I came in the house and she went through the roof and threw them down screaming what do I want a bunch of weeds for? (It was one of many gifts hurled at me because not what she wanted)I ran out crying and the neighbor saw me and asked what was wrong. My Dad came and they started talking about wine and that was the end of that.
Until her last two years never got it right. I started to send flowers and she liked them.
Her sad game all her life was asking if you wanted something and after saying yes, she gave it away to someone else. She did that with all of us except the golden girl.
Maybe that’s what happened with the will in the end and my son. She showed him a ledger and she wanted to split even with my siblings except in my case, it would be divided between my children and I. That’s not how things ended. We weren’t in the will.
I have struggled with a crippling disability for the past 10 years that docs say is caused by the abuse. If I was better I might’ve sued for damages. My siblings got what they wanted when they wanted when she was alive and are quite well off with what she left them. They think nothing of my being left out at all.
When I went to Mom’s funeral we went afterwards to clean her apartment. My siblings split all that came out of her house when she moved, I lived too far to be involved.
I walked in with my sons and my brother said “Your next!” Meaning I was going to be the next to die. What a weirdo! I got down to business packing things. My daughter wanted a Doulton if I could get one. Golden girl asked what I wanted and she said no when I brought up the Doulton’s, that she was getting the largest one and the rest were being sold. I said ok our phone is near dead and I have to take the train so the portable phone would be ok, no her son was getting that, so I thought forget it. Went back to packing things up. Sister came into the room and said did you want Mom’s underwear? Salt in the wound. Bad enough she didn’t play the funeral song after she asked me four times what one I wanted, she planned every last thing and no one had input. Narciccistic controlling witch. So finally they called me in the room who wanted the tv, no one did, so they pointed to me, do you want it. My husband wass still in town with the car so I said sure. They said $400. That’s the point my one son had to leave the room or hurt someone.
After mulling it around they didved the doulton’s and gave me last pick, better then nothing, I was glad to at least get on for my daughter.
My siblings are pitiful and I went NC for the second and final time. I don’t need anymore of their punishhment or mentally depraved crap! Normal people wouldn’t treat a dog as bad as they do me.
I am worthy of all the good that has come out of it. A closer bond with my children and my husband. My siblings have been irrelevant as far as my life goes since I moved so far years ago, TG! My past now seems like a blip on the radar screen and it is getting smaller and smaller as I become stronger and at peace with myself. They are bad-assed, no good people and good ones to stay right the hell away from!
This Xmas was quiet and nice, though I had my moments, but the topper was hearing from my son Xmas day telling me I was going to be a Grandma!
The clouds are parting and things are looking up finally!


J, Sorry, I just get tired of writing it out.:0)Maybe I’ll just use a capital “N” instead.



hi all,
On my phone so see if it works or not?!

i didn’t mean 2 imply u needed 2b moderated or anything – was more trying 2 say it’s no big deal if it does happen. (Darlene told me she reads all comments anyway so it’s not extra work 4 her – that was main thing I’d felt bad about). Basically I was hoping u’d feel ok 2 post more, esp since u seemed to deal w/it so well when Darlene commented.


It also helps that BettyJean and I know each other.
Hugs, Darlene


not sure if it worked but I’ll try again anyway…

Glad it gave u a chuckle! Wasn’t very well thought out in retrospect. I wasn’t implying anything about time needed to moderate posts btw.

Oh and thanks for your nice compliments! Much appreciated!

Hi Pam,
Nothing at all 2b sorry about – it just seemed mildly amusing 2 me when I realized, so just posted in case it gave anyone else a laugh!

Personal note: just had my father come in (I’ve been up all night again) and do a “sort-of-but-not-really” apology about being a hard-ass re me moving out other day. I felt tense as soon as he came in, was gonna leave but didn’t wanna make it too obvious. The apology was ok, but then I tried 2 say that nights I haven’t slept are the worst times 2 try and boss me around. I then said that doing so is a fav tactic of my mother (wasn’t sure if I should even as I said it). He said it’s done from caring. I don’t know if he meant himself or her. I managed to say “well it doesn’t help” and then left. Came straight here 2 try and get off my chest. Was pretty close to asking who he meant, and calling total f**king BS on it if he said my mother. Still not sure what I think if he meant himself. (I’d be more likely 2 cut some slack seeing as it was the 1st time). But that’s prob letting him off the hook again.

Stupid f**king parents!!!

Ok, off to try & distract myself until i can sleep. Hope everyone’s good!

PS f**k his “done from caring”. That’s really pissing me off!


Oh please no – please not to worry.

I read here all the time but I am very very busy and I just cannot stop and pay attenttion to what I am writing all the time. I read and then I shoot off my mouth without thinking! It’s a fla in my character – heheheheh – that’s another joke!
Oh dear – I have done it again – see- I can’t write without screwing it up!

Plese forget about me- Let me just read and keep my trap shut!

I have a very very very complicated life and problems – I have my own foundation and rather than open up about all that – I concentrate on opening doors for others. This is not the proper venue for me.

Darlene and I know each other- I know she probably understands but now I fear that I have you worried! So please don’t!

J, every one of us has problems – I don’t think mny of us are unscathed –BUT I am not prepared to focus on mine – I am a woman’s activist working for woman’s rights and toward changing DV laws. For me I will just complicate things if I bring my personal mother- daughter problems into this right now!

I am working on something much bigger than me and my problem! I know I should think me and my problem should come first but this is about people who … well its about 2 girls that I … they are more important to me right now . Its a matter of Justice that can be found whereas it is too late for me to find justice in my personal case.

I need justice to be served in the case of these two Gals!

I read here because I need to and once in a while – you gals and your stories hit so close to home that it sticks me where the hurt is so poingnant that I burst. AND I can’t afford to let that happen so I covered it up with something else and now I have you worried.

So there is the truth – now promise me you will not worry about it being anything anyone there says or does?




Hi Betty Jean,

Kindred “Say it as I see it” spirit here. No worries. I know how sometimes things just strike such a nerve that you just let things out quickly and it is so easy to offend over the internet sometimes. Nice to meet you!

Darlene does a great job here keeping the peace I think. Thanks, Darlene.


Robin, I don’t know if it is hatred toward everyone that I feel but sometimes, I just ache and hurt all over because I’m so tired of the struggle. If my parents were the only ones to abuse me it wouldn’t be so bad but they set me up for a lifetime of abuse from others. I attrack people who are just like them. It gets to where it is just easier to stay alone but then I get lonely and I know it isn’t good for me to isolate. I’ve spent my whole life trying to understand and recover from my childhood with new injuries taking place almost, all of the time. I think I’m sometimes, to tired of it all to even bother with hatred.



Part of healing is being able to just say it! All our lives we are reprimanded for not saying the right thing, for being selfish, for being stupid, etc. etc.
The last thing I need to hear is watch your mouth! If I have to worry about that – and I do – then I might as well keep it shut. Same old same old children should be seen amd not heard! Whe you are moved and actua;lly feel that feeling and blurt it out you don’t mean that no one else hurts – you mean – look at me right now – I am screaming in pain and I need immediate attention!
Imagine how you feel when another authority figure (mommy) says – you are not the only kid here ya know- what makes you think you are so special- you selfish little brat. Stand down – you are nothing!
That’s what you hear – no matter what is said that is what you hear!

Even though you know what you did was wrong intellectually, you do exactly what you did as a child – you internalize it.
Being an intelligent being I apologize but then I go away! I don’t have time to stay and take care of my inner child ! I just don’t have the time or patience to work on me right now. I can’t and I won’t but it becomes obvious that I must, doesn’t it?



Just wanted to say I totally empathize with how you feel about your parents setting you up for a lifetime of abuse. Once they blur the line of right and wrong in your life, it’s hard to draw them for ourselves as adults to keep ourselves safe.

I am not a human punching bag. I am not a doormat. There, I said it.

And neither are you!


Jen, I know we aren’t but it has taken me a long time to identify all of the ways they abused me and taught me to accept it as normal treatment. I’ve lost a lot of relationships in the last few years as I began setting boundaries. I really didn’t have many healthy relationships. I’m at a hard spot right now, as I need to seek out new friendships but at my age, that isn’t so easily done. Unfortunately, there are a lot of abusive human beings in the world and there are times when I think what we do best is hurt one another. I have difficulty in wanting to keep my defenses up and sometimes, find myself thinking it isn’t worth it.

I’m blue about an old friendship and wondering if the way I am valued by this friend has changed or if I just see it differently. I don’t want to be overly sensitive and I only want boundaries, not walls but I’m having a hard time finding what the correct balance is. I’m also, tired of loosing people.

Thanks for taking the time to encourage me.:0)These feelings will pass, I know but right now, I guess I just have to feel them.



The gift thing is bonkers isn’t it. It’s like life is all about walking the tight rope with my mum. I recall several painful occasions where I had chosen a gift for her and had her basically turn her nose up while looking down it at me and scoff.

When I was about 5 I brought her a blown glass fish ornament. I’ll admit it was kinda ugly (now that I look back) but mum hated it, and made that clear. As a newly out of the home teenager I made her a card full of photos and gushy statements (I admit I wrote them for her benefit and to pelase her, they were all things I knew she thought I SHOULD feel but I didn’t feel them in my heart)she looked at me like I’d slapped her and she was wondering if this really was IT. She’s actually kept this card and trotted it out to me recently to show she’d kept it…that was nice I guess…funny that I only saw it as ‘that card I made to shut her up on Mothers day’.

Then later on in life working minimum wage and living in a rented property by myself I had stretched myself to buy her what I thought was a beautiful broach. Silly me – it was made of silver and paua and she hated it. She looked blankly at me and then said, you know I hate paua…I thought she hated paua jewellery, as in necklases and earrings. I’d picked it because she’s into wearing flouncy scarves and the colours she tends to wear I thought would look really pretty wih the broach. She told me to take it and get my money back. EFF YOU I THOUGHT.

I’ve always had trouble buying her presents and I always felt anxious handing them over. Thankfully really this is no longer an issue. She doesn’t buy me presents anymore for my birthday or christmas because she says ‘it means I don’t feel pressured to buy her anything’ – I know it’s actually because she hated the gifts I was giving and didn’t feel they measured up the ‘quality gifts’ she could afford to buy for me.

What’s odd about the gift thing too is that I was trained to NOT show any kind of less than rapturous reaction to any gifts I got. So it was ok for her to behave like a mean spirited ungrateful bitch but I better bloody not do the same!

As I sit here I realise that I feel sad and a bit hard done by that my mummy ‘doesn’t want’ to get me even a small token of a gift for atleast my birthday…then I hear her voice in my head saying words to the effect of “If you expect things you won’t get them” and “If you ask for things you won’t get them, you should just wait until maybe we want to get you that thing” (mindreaders eh? No wonder I have trouble asserting my desires and explaining what I like or want at times.) oh and then there’s the other messages I got about myself – I’m selfish, self centered, spoilt, have a sense of entitlement and I’m ‘very lucky to have what I had – she didn’t have the lovely things I had when she was a child’.

BTW Sherie here – wanting to protect myself as I sort through all this and gear up to do the work required. I could just imagine the fall out if mother got hold of this website and twigged that I’m ‘her Sherie’


Hi All!
Of course, I find myself with a gifting story as well. Similar to others, my mother judged gifts by how much a person (me) likely spent, and heaven forbid I got it on clearance. Which incidentally, I never did because heaven forbids it, apparently. She has actually come down a notch or two on the unspoken demands as she’s aged. I think the truth is, she’s a thrifty shopper when it comes to buying for others (not for herself however), so how can she condemn others for being the same way. I remember one Christmas my sister who was a new young bride at the time, got a royal ripping by my mother for buying some clearance items for Christmas gifts. My mother told her how selfish she was because she had just bought herself a nice camera a few months before Christmas. In my eyes, it’s entirely anyone’s prerogative how they choose to spend their money. Who really has a right to dictate that?? What’s mine is mine ~ Period!! It’s me who has the privelege of deciding what I do with it. (For the record, I’m just solidifying this in my mind which is largely the purpose for saying it!) I would like to add that, although what’s mine is mine, I try to be as generous as possible. My mother was anything but generous, so, I make purposeful efforts at doing the polar opposite of what my mother would do, in nearly any situation!! OOOPS, I just realized I referred to my mother in past tense, as if she’s dead. She is not. She’s alive and well, and still very stingy!! 🙂

I get discouraged too at the lack of truly good people in the world. I have very few close relationships/friends. And, the ones I do have are people I grew up with from elementary school onward. Our roots run very deep and are interconnected it seems. I find it difficult to meet new people who are genuine, trustworthy, empathetic, sincere, etc. I am blessed to have come from a very small town/school. Only 60 students in my class and we were a very tight group. My 25 year class reunion was this past fall and it was such a welcome relief that we could get together as if not a day had passed. It really did help me realize there are still good people left; my root people. The reunion came right on the heals of my very very best friend (my oldest sister) and I having a falling out. I’ve really lost her altogether. We spoke nearly every day. Now, not at all really. She moved 500 miles away in the fall also. We used to do a lot of stuff together. She was my greatest treasure. I cry as I type. I miss her so much. She was here for the Christmas Holiday. I didn’t see her at all. As I write, she’s traveling back to her home 500 miles away (from what my other sister said anyway). Her kids and husband came to my house on Christmas eve for a few hours. She did not join them. It’s really okay, just a few remnants of emotion that still hang on. I would rather know the truth and wade through the junk that accompanies that truth, than be in the dark still, and I was in the dark; sort of snowed by her. Pam, I hope in 2012 you will be blessed with some new relationships that are fulfilling; with people who respect your boundaries. I hope it for me too. 🙂


I’ve felt that too. You’re not alone. I’ve felt all out anger hanging around in my mind for days on end as well. It stinks, and at the time, I had little control it seemed. My outlet has become writing. It somehow lifts weight off me like magic. I don’t necessarily feel it at the time, but within the next day or so, I can feel my spirit is markedly lighter. I’m just recently realizing if I don’t write, (particularly if I’m in mental anguish or emotional pain) I can be more fragile, angry, emotional, etc. I don’t want to bleed on people around me who aren’t involved. Writing has helped me control the bleeding. I welcome that too. I hope you find some peace soon. I can’t stand it when I’m brimming with anger and hatred! It darkens the days for sure!



don’t tell me you forgot the 11th commandment – “thou shalt not take advantage of shopping discounts”?? (I believe it’s written somewhere in the back) 🙂

Very sorry to hear about your sister. I really admire what oyu said about not being in the dark still, but obviously doesn’t stop it from stinging like a b*tch. Thinking of you.

That’s really cool though about your old schoolfriends – especially the timing of it! 🙂

take care of yourself, and I’ll throw in a “hear hear!” for everyone in terms of finding healthy, positive relationships in the new year (and beyond!)


Hi everyone!

Thanks to everyone for your support. Everyone’s responses were very helpful.

Emma, I loved what you said about really living by feeling. It made perfect sense. I have felt quite often that I didn’t have the right to really live. Everyone around me made me feel like my life was a privilege that they allowed me and that I was a great imposition on them. But I’ve realized that God gave me the gift of life and only He can say I don’t deserve it, which He’d never say. People don’t have the right to limit me in any way and I see that now.

Darlene, you were right. Out of these feelings of anger and hatred I feel like my life is more in my control because I’m not just floating around in the fog. It’s painful and strange to feel all of this but I’m just going to let myself feel. Numbness is no way to live.

Pam, our experiences sound very similar. I’ve felt the aches and pain all over and everytime I do I know that I’ve turned my anger inward. Sometimes I try to transfer the anger I feel toward those who abuse me anywhere but where it belongs just because it feels safer to do so. But when I feel that pain I remind myself of who I’m really angry at and I tell myself that I’m entitled to my anger and the pain usually goes away.

I also find that the abuse comes from every direction like you described and the wounds keep being inflicted and it seems like I can’t get away from it. But I noticed that people who want to hurt me do so when they sense that I’m open. If I’m more closed off and less friendly (which goes so against my christian upbringing) people don’t feel as free to attack me.

Just yesterday my boss who is abusive came in and I kept waiting for him to give me my assignment, but he started small talking. For a while I was closed off and gave one word answers to his pointless questions, but then we began talking about movies we had seen recently and I opened up and let my guard down. As soon as I did that my boss started talking about work and all of these things he wanted me to do, but none of it was important or urgent and it turned out we can’t complete anything until Friday. It’s kind of hard to describe what happened, emotional abuse can be so hard to define, but the whole thing was about control. It angered me that he wouldn’t just get to the point. Instead he pretended friendliness and manipulated me emotionally. I believe that he likes to engage in what psychologists call emotional vampirism where people feed off of your negative emotions. He is always trying to evoke an emotional response in me when my emotions have nothing to do with work. When he asks me to do something I get right up to do it and he’ll stop me and ask, “is this okay?” What am I going to say, no? He’ll ask me 4 or 5 times until I’m frustrated with it and then he’ll walk away. That jerk!

I really think that growing up in a christian environment makes us more vulnerable because we want to believe the best in people and believe that it’s good to help people, but the truth is people do not deserve the benefit of the doubt and are inherently evil. On a previous post someone mentioned a website that listed types of control that people use. On that same website there is an article about the Harvard Project. It was very interesting and showed how easily people can justify hurting other people.

Wow…this is a very long comment. 🙂


Mimi, Thanks for your sweet reply to my comment. I’m better this morning. My healthiest relationship (other than my husband) is a friend from highschool, also. I knew her before the sexual abuse so I think the boundaries we set were healthier than in most of my relationships after. I really had no self-protection after that and any good friendships depended on the other person respecting me because they were respectful people. Like my husband. There is very little common respect in the world.

Robin, I wasn’t raised as a Christian but I think my kids felt what you feel. Somehow, I led them to believe that people in the world respond to love and kindness in a positive way when often, they just take advantage. They sure weren’t nice to Jesus! I don’t know why we expect more but we do.

I’ve known those emotional vampires too and they are the most difficult to deal with because they hurt for the joy of it. In a way, I think they are doing much the same thing that people who cut themselves do. They need pain to remind themselves that they are alive because they are emotionally numbed out.

Jesus said we need to be as wise as the serpent and as innocent as a dove. It’s hard to maintain that balance. I think there are peole in the world that we should treat lovingly but with the love God gives us rather than an investment of our own heart. I think if we fully invest our heart in God, He’ll give us what we need to protect ourselves and not become like those who hurt us. Anyway, that’s what I’m working on. I’m babbling a bit. Somedays, I’m just tired of it all but that will pass I know this is a stage I’m going through and I will begin to reconnect to people and hopefully, when I do, I won’t be like an innocent dove with no wisdom about evil. I think I finally get it. I’m just a little nerveous about putting it in to practice.

Thanks to both of you for sharing your hearts with me. The love and respect you’ve shown in your comments go a long way to reassuring me that there are loving people in the world.:0)



Thanks for making me SMILE!!! You often do!!

You’re welcome. I sure hope 2012 is better for all of us!!

Love and peace,


Hi Foggedin
About your last paragraph, if you expect you wont’ get etc… that is really great work. In my process I went a step further with stuff like that. My Mother taught me that stuff. That doesn’t make it true. She also taught me to expect the perfect gift by her own example! She taught me that LOVE was when someone figures out the perfect gift. None of that is true either. When I looked at things this way, I really started to see the mess that I was taught. Mixed messages, rules that applied only to her/them etc.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mimi
It was amazing when I started seeing the double standards that you write about here. Seeing the two sets of rules helped me to break free from living under them. I think that kids grow up (talking about my mother now) (having lived with those two sets of rules) and very often can’t wait to be on the top end of those rules when they have kids of their own, thinking ‘finally I am going to be the one who is loved’ not knowing that all along they were taught the wrong definition of love in the first place.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Glad to hear it Mimi – thanks for taking the time to say it! 🙂

Seeing as my comment was Simpsons-inspired, I just thought of the one where Homer becomes friends w/Ned and yells out from the front row at church, “Hey Flanders! I saved us some kick-ass seats!!” (That always cracks me up!)

Also when Bart substitutes Iron Butterfly’s “Inna-Gadda-da-Vida” for the organist’s hymn music – Reverend Lovejoy saying, “Now we have ‘In the Garden of Eden’ by I. Ron Butterfly”, cut to 17 minutes later the elderly organist passing out cold!

Ok enough Simpsons/church jokes – this’ll probably be a looong post otherwise!

Personal note – took more stuff into my new place today! Now got a bunch of dvd’s and some books in there. Getting closer! 🙂 Moving in soon was actually what my father was nagging me about in my earlier post (when he’d just woken up & I still hadn’t been to sleep). Was roughly the last thing I needed; but proud of myself I haven’t used it as an excuse to NOT do anything (far too easy to do sometimes).

Hope everyone’s doing well!

PS Mimi, forgot to mention above the feeling is mutual! 🙂 🙂 🙂

ha, I think I’m gonna be the frontrunner for the “smily abuse” award 2012! BRING IT ON!!!


Hi Mary
Sorry I missed your comment yesterday.
Kids are so precious ~ I am so sorry that your mother rejected your flowers when you were a kid.
Thank you for sharing all your examples of this dysfunction in families. I was treated like nothing in my family as well and it was when I finally owned my own value that they no longer were able to hurt me. I found the truth and validated it for myself. This took a while but I am not the same person anymore and I am free now.
glad you are here and congrats that you are going to be a grandma!!!
Hugs, Darlene



I forgot to write earlier – the part about your brother saying “you’re next!” really got to me. There were many quite descriptive words that sprang into my mind upon reading that, but I’ll be good for once & self-censor instead of writing them 🙂

I just re-read your post – hadn’t noticed the extreme generosity (eg underwear offer).

Your story from childhood also took me back to a song from my christian days that was actually called “dandelions” weirdly enough (don’t remember lyrics too well, but was basically the “Disney” version of your story, shall we say… well, except with a christian slant, so perhaps “veggie tales” version would be more appropriate?!)

Hmmmm…. anyway enough random memories from me.

And once again, I nearly forgot to add my congrats on your upcoming “grandma-ness”! 🙂


BTW, I want to reinforce that although it’s been tough to find genuine people face to face and where I live, it’s been a TREMENDOUS relief to find them here. I hope I didn’t negate anything or anyone here with my statement above. I truly love this blog, and have found such genuine people here whom I’ve come to depend on like great new friends. Just wanted to point that out!!
And, thanks for all you do Darlene!!
Much love to everyone,


I laughed out loud at your comment ‘she taught me love was finding the perfect gift’ that’s so true! I feel myself in that trap all the time. It’s gotten me in financial schtook that false truth!

J – you made me smile with your answer to Mary – i use humour to cope and self flagulate so I get your wave length 🙂


3 gifts stand out. A mother’s day gift for her and my mother in law. Mom is a large person, MIL much smaller. On clearance I found a very cute blouse for MIL. I spent full price on one for Mom, but it was not as cute. I tried, but size won over cuteness that year. My mother bitched and complained that I loved MIL more than her cause her top was cuter.

A BD gift for me. A 3.50 sweater on clearance in an ugly gray/green color. A Christmas gift I had to share with my grandmother (I lived with at the time)—a stainless steel garbage can for the kitchen. Exciting, and then, I had to share it.


I simply love to laugh so I always welcome humor. I find it in nearly any situation, even inappropriate ones; then I try to contain myself at least a little. I’ve actually had to sort of put the brakes on at times when there’s tension, so I can realize the depth of the events or emotions at hand, or not cause hurt feelings because I tried to take the lighter road. Hope that makes sense??

Jeez, I commend you for enduring that without having a “high speed come apart”! (that’s what we call it in our house). I think I even felt a bit of anger for you at the disregard and horrible words of your siblings. I’m sorry it hurts so much. And, it does hurt incredibly. I’m the youngest and the black sheep ~ I feel pain from it and that’s likely why I felt a little anger reading your post. The pain I’ve felt from situations like this is excruciating. And, life changing. I wonder if I’ll ever view myself as a loved human being that’s deserving of respect. I can talk a good game, but deep down, I still linger in the pain of these kinds of scenarios. Not always, but it’s so much brainwashing to reverse, sometimes it feels overwhelming. Love to you Mary!
blessings all,


Welcome to EFB. Wow. this is exactly what we are talking about.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


My sister’s big thing is outdoing by giving x-mas and birthday gifts. I cannot afford to compete. So it is irritating. I just gave my parents pretty new lap throws while she got them cell phones. My dad will take that from her, after decades of “damning” the cell phones and putting me down for mine. (I don’t dispute the need of having cell phones.
She literally planned a beautiful plant-center piece to arrive at our home the day that my adult children were arriving because it would make HER look good! I will send her a belated gift of a bottle of lotion and bath gel made by my friend who does aromatherapy products. She wrote asked about my “Christmas” saying that she played in the handbell choir (sore point with me–she knows I don’t go to church anymore due to abuse) and I wrote back and said that I sang a solo, O Holy Night, in the cathedral with a relative who is an organ performer. She had no more comments. (Of course, it was the wrong denomination–they are anti-catholic) She gets a lo tof information from my kids and my mom, and then writes me and asks for the same information, and I know she already knows the answers. I say little, and for once, have learned to talk about ME, not others.


I can really relate to this. No gift I gave was ever good enough. Of course I had to love everything I got, or else. Gifting to my family members was strictly enforced – I was required to spend a set amount on each family member, even though the same requirement was never imposed on any one else in the family, especially when it came to me. Of course “I” created the added burden of having the nerve of being born during the holidays, so it was my fault anyways (I mean this sarcastically – though that’s sure how it made me feel). The last Christmas and birthday gifts from my Mother was about when I was 10 or so – junk that no one wanted, or she possibly stole, I don’t know. I have a lot of bitterness about the whole gift thing.
Gift giving always sends me into anxiety attacks. Will they like it? What will they say? etc. Though these days I only give handcrafted gifts to friends – but I’m always wracked with anxiety over their reactions, or more accurately, what I imagine that their reaction will be. No matter the overwhelming positives from my friends, I just can’t shake the almost paralyzing fear I have about gift giving.


Hi Darlene..

Merry CHristmas..and Happy New Year.. I have decided to come again..hopes its alright.. this topic hits home very much. I can relate to the dysfunctional creeping into Christmas..

I had the most quiet Christmas of all. Not one call.. Me and my cats danced around and celebrated Christmas as only we can..

About the gifts.Till about last year, I was taken up in the hustle and bustle that everyone gets involved in with this holiday ..but never seemed to come out the better.

No matter what gift I would buy for my mother.. while I was still in all that dysfunction.. was enough .. never was good enough..never could compare what my lawyer sister or rich electrician brother bought her. she was sure to point out the price tags to me and tell me how cheap I was ..

IF I sent her flowers.. they made her sneeze. IF they were fake flowers.. they were crumpled. If it was fruit. .it was all dented. This was her reply. She would always add to her complaints that she doesn’t want anything from the daughter she never wanted.

Christmas continues to be a very triggering time for me as while all can’t wait to see what they would get .. i was waiting to see if I was able to give a gift she.. my mother would like. I never could.

Her gifts to me were clothing or other. never anything I would want to wear but always something she insisted I wear. Mom wanted me to always be ridiculed so she bought me things that were not popular for our times..

Hugs love and prayers


Dear J..

Want to let you know I got your greetings.. I have been hiding away dealing with stuff of life and trying to get some of my health back from the trip..I appreciate your thoughts and after much thought on my part decided I want to post here again. i have lots of friends.. . nothing wrong with having friends who get what I have been through




I am going to give myself a gift this new year and be more assertive when it comes to any abuse from anybody. To learn to address it then and there and not shut down. Let joy in and get the stink out. Give myself time to get to know people at my own pace and not get down on myself on the days I find that hard to do. I have been through a lot and I need allow myself the grace and peace to sort it out as much as I can, I deserve it!
I am going to garden more and meditate in it. I am going to do more art and writing and help my spirit vibrate! I am going to do all I can do to feed and restore my soul so I have strength to handle negative situations better.
I am going to gift myself back to myself, the me from me has been taken from me too long. My true indentity is to have peace and harmony and I am determined to have that. I will allow no one in my personal space who can rob me of my soul again.
I have worked hard to get here and want to continue to climb upward.
I want to fill my life to crowd out and not leave room for past crap as much as I can. I want to leave behind what isn’t and never was, a healthy family of my origins.
I disinherit all that is evil in my lineage. The sad, mad family story is over. Time to turn the page and live the rest of my life out on my terms.
Not being left an inhertance did me a favor. It allowed me to finally cut the cord.
I will let sadness melt into gladness. That I don’t have to be part of an illusion anymore or look at the mirror they held up of my image trying to make me see what they tried to force me to see. It was all in their minds to let themselves off easy.
I was a child and they were wrong!
I will give the child me all the nurturing I need and heal one day at a time.
I am going to find my potential that has been stifled for one reason or another. I will not self-sabotage!
I am done with evil!


Hi Joy, I’m glad you’re back. I’m always relieved when the holidays are over. However, this Christmas with my kids and grandkids was really nice. It was the first Christmas with no contact from my family of origin. I tried to block it out but it still krept in. It was a nicer day without them but I guess I’ll always have regrets for what could never be. I hope by next Christmas, we’ll both be able to stay in the moment and have more healthy relationships in our lives.



Welcome back. I hope all went well on your trip. I’m happy you’ve decided to post again. I always liked reading your comments and your tender nature always shined through.

I might have mentioned this already but it was my first Christmas without my mother. I saw one sister and her family, and the family only of my other sister. It was peaceful and fun. I didn’t have that dread of going to mom’s that I didn’t even know I had until this year when the dread was absent. I have sent my mother a thank you email for the gifts because we did still exchange gifts. She has not responded. She’s angry because my middle sister spent one night at my house I think. I’m not sure. My family’s such a mess right now, I don’t really know what she’s up to. Oh well!!
love and blessings everyone,


Hi Tracy
Thank you for sharing. I can relate to your comments. Awareness around this issue is what set me free, but it took several years so hang in there. This year was the best one yet. I felt tremendous excitement about both giving and accepting gifts from my husband and our kids. I was not anxious when I opened mine or when they opened theirs. Last year was the first year that I noticed a huge improvement in myself, but this year I finally didn’t really “think” about the whole thing and I noticed new things this year. Our kids were all very excited about the giving part of this holiday season.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy
Welcome back! I am so happy to see you again. Thank you for sharing about your christmas and gift giving exp. I am really happy to be rid of the anxiety of the dysfunctional, never good enough stuff that I lived with in my family or origin. Christmas was a triggering time for me for a long time but finally (as I said above) I am totally free of all that stuff from the past and I have loved Christmas the past three years!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mary
I love your attitude! I love that you are going to gift yourself back to you! I love all the wonderful self loving points you have posted here!
YaY and thanks for sharing this!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Joy,

what a nice xmas surprise!! 🙂 hope all went well on the trip (v.happy to hear about it if you want to talk about it; but no prob if not)

super-late here (as usual!) but saw your msg in my email so wanted to pop on quickly to say hi & wish you merry xmas & happy new year!

talk soon

PS I’ve got a place to move of my own – still moving stuff (bit scared of it but excited too!) can’t remember if you were still around when that happened now?!

hope you’re doing really well!


Hi Everyone!
I just published my last post for 2011. (I will publish one for New Years Day) I can’t believe that my second full year of Emerging from Broken is coming to a close!
My new post is about Self Esteem and how we learn it. Where it comes from and the how I got mine back.
I look forward to the conversation! Please read it here and feel free to share it: Self Esteem ~ How did you learn YOUR importance?
Hugs, Darlene


Mimi, I guess that’s why I’m here because here, I’m not alone.:0)I heard from one neice this year and it was a Christmas Newsletter. I lost my whole family when I required my parents and sister to treat me with respect. No one has talked to me or asked for my side of the story. It was the same way when I was a teenager and a pedophile talked me into leaving home and living with him. No one pursued me, no one even checked into who I was with even though it would have been very easy for them to do so. Everyone waited for me to call and if I’d have been murdered, no one would have known or bothered to find out. Eventually, I did reconnect with my family back then and no one cared about what had happened to me, what I’d been through, it was all about my poor mother. I’m sure it’s that way now. In our last conversation, I asked her why she didn’t try to save me from that man and she said it was because she didn’t have a driver’s license. She said that someone would have come to get me if I would have asked. If the creep would have killed me, there would be no possibility of my asking but that never crosses her mind. In her mind, I did it all to hurt her because it is all about her. She said I need to forgive, Billy. My sister said he was just a young man confused by the sexual revolution. A confused 28 year old, divorced, with a child, working in a porn theatre and sold drugs, seduced by a 15 (almost 16)year old. I’m sure my mom had a great Christmas, sucking up the sympathy. That’s what she used me for from the time I was born. I was too small, sick and such a burden. Poor Charlotte. She did so much to take care of that girl and look at how she was treated by her. The little whore. Now she can’t forgive and leave the past behind. Poor, poor Charlotte. Sorry, I can just hear them and it makes me angry. I hope by next Christmas, I’m not even thinking of them. I know they’ve never really thought about me. It is good to finally have that certainty but it still hurts sometimes. Thanks for letting me vent.:0)



After the dust has settled and my sister being here 5-6 days without contact, it really hurts again. Her husband and kids came to my house, but she didn’t. I was getting to a point where I had put the pain of our distance in a place where it wasn’t so easily accessible. I can’t say for sure if it was in a healthy place, but, nonetheless, it was less present. Then, she came through town, visited some family and friends, then left. I didn’t think it bothered me. But, the blueness of yesterday and today says otherwise. I wake up thinking about her. I’m angry that I don’t mean anything to her. I’m angry at the Christian leaders who she seems to be following (500 miles away). Then continue to encourage her and her family. They have no idea what it’s like to rip people from their families. They have their family right there with them, who cares if my sister does. And, what is their interest in my sister and her family anyway? They actually even started planting seeds for my husband and I to move there too. After my sister and I had a disagreement, they haven’t said another word to me about it. Of course, they still send their monthly envelope with a newsletter about how they’re carrying out God’s plan. I have never sent them money, but they still keep pushing the envelope (haha)!! Anhow… whoa, way off subject here. Sorry. You can tell I’m a little charged with emotion about this now that they’re gone. I’m glad they’re gone on one hand because the anxiety and potential pain is gone with them. On the other hand, I truly hate that this all has happened. If they hadn’t moved to begin with, I think my sister and I would be where we always were. Best friends. It saddens me so much ~ that chapter of my life is closed. I try not to be angry with the Christian couple that “gently coerced” them, but I sure am. I can’t take it. I want to act in love; but the sinful side of me wants to rip them a new yadda yadda yadda!! I can’t figure out why they needed my sister and her family to move there. My sister seems enamored by the young, thin, beautiful, perfect, stylish, Godly, wealthy, missionary couple. They ooze scripture, but my spirit clashes with them. When they lived HERE, they ran a small church that never got off the ground. They ended up leaving and at their farewell service, held in a different building in a church they merged their congregation with, only my husband, myself, my sister and her family attended the farewell service. (from their congregation). Once upon a time I went to an altar call at their little church. The woman put her hands on my head to pray and then thrust my head back so I would fall into the arms of the people waiting behind me. My foot went back to catch me and she thrust me in the direction where my foot couldn’t catch me and I had to sit down. I sat there in total awe and confusion. Anyhow, I am sorry to get of subject, but I really needed to spill a little today. Thanks to everyone. Insights on the missionary couple are always appreciated. 🙁


Hi Mimi,

I am sorry you are hurting right now. I haven’t spoken to my sister in over 10 years now (she lives 2500 miles away) but has visited my mother often (before she moved down to where sis lives). Such a joyous family I have! I feel your anger and frustration though. I have been able to let mine go for the most part thankfully but I realize our situations are different.

Regarding the “missionaries,” they sound like a Christian cult to me. I am a Christian and I study the Bible daily. I took God very seriously after my son died because that made me question every single belief I had at that time. Anyway, leaders looking for “followers” are usually cultish. We follow Christ. People begging for bucks are also ones to be leary of. The fake “falling” in the spirit charade would make me sick as well. We do not need any of that to find and feel Jesus. God’s will for our lives is that we be saved and become an example and ambassador for Him in this life that His love may reach others. Anything beyond that “plan” is pride. The book for 1 John should serve as the standard of determination as to whether one be a true Christian or a faux one. There is nothing in that book about “oozing scripture” equating being a child of God.

I think you are right on to listen to your gut on this one. Pray your sister sees through the sham before it’s too late.

With love,


Mimi, Beware of people who appear perfect because they aren’t and usually, under that perfect persona there is a manipulator. I’ve known religious leaders like you describe them too. In fact, I fell under the spell of a couple much like what you describe. I always thought I needed changing anyway, so I was ripe for the picking by people who appeared to have what I wanted and also, wanted to change me. They wanted to make me over into their own image and my reasons for falling under their spell was about my sick psychology and wasn’t spiritual, at all. You are right to be wary and angry. I do believe that their true colors will begin to show at some point and perhaps whatever is wrong inside of your sister will heal and she’ll no longer be drawn to them. I’d look for that underlying cause in your sister. In a way, it was my fall out with these people that put me on the track of getting to the bottom of my brokenness. I hope it will work out that way for her too.

I know all about delayed reactions. I was doing pretty well on Christmas Day and thouroughly, enjoyed my kids and gradkids. It’s thinking about everything I’ve been through in the last five years or so that pulled me down. I’ve never hated anyone but I’m struggling with feeling hatred toward my family. I guess I have to accept it and work through it but it is new for me. That is probably kind of weird considering what some people have done to me in the past. So maybe it is a good thing. I just want to be to the end of this healing thing but I have a feeling it may never be completely finished.

I went out and got a new hairstyle for the New Year. It helped. Be good to yourself, Mimi.



Jen, I agree 100% with what you just wrote. I came across someone on the internet teaching that the Bible is the mark of the Beast. I thought, if it weren’t for the Bible no one would know not to follow people like you. There are so many fakes out there. It’s no wonder people have bad feelings about Christianity. I guess it has always been that way but it is hard to cope with.



You are so right, Pam.

If people would just pick up their Bibles, truly seek God and The Truth and actually read it for themselves, in context from start to finish, it’s amazing how quickly a faker could be discerned. There are many modern day Pharisees (hypocrites hoping to prosper financially off God) these days. Nothing has changed since the beginning of time, as you said well.

And you are also right about being good to yourself right now. Christmas is hard….

With love,


Jen and Pam,
It’s so interesting that you would bring up the points about reading the bible and making our own conclusions. It is my new year’s resolution ~ to read and determine for myself with the leading of the Holy Spirit; not the leading of people and how they interpret it. Not even the famous people whose teachings I’ve often invested in.

Thank you both so much for your support and encouragement. I have dug around the internet trying to come up with anything at all on these people. They plant bible schools overseas. They also find people to move overseas to head up the schools, etc. But, I notice they haven’t moved their own family. They appoint others. I honestly can’t figure out what they need from my sister. Her husband makes a very meager wage, but I know my sister gives a lot of money, probably over her “ten percent” to this couple and the church they attend. They do seem to be “going into the nations”, but something just isn’t right. The pastor “husband” once plagiarized a message almost verbatim. My sister and I had gone out of town to hear a speaker who’s moderately successful in terms of being well known. My sister heard of him through the missions couple. His message was good. A few weeks later, this missionary man gave the same message at his little church here. I think it’s a matter of opinion if that’s acceptable or not, and my opinion is ~ if you don’t give any credit whatsoever to the person who “owns” the message, nor ever even mention his name, it’s unacceptable. He used a few uncommon words and phrases and repeated them word for word just like the original pastor said them. It was unsettling; my sister turned her head. I don’t know what to think. All I can say for certain is they know my brother in law makes little money, they certainly won’t get rich off him, and I can’t think of any other reason why they want to draw them in. Flattery?? I just don’t know.
Thank you both again for taking the time to respond and for listening. It means so much when we’re confused and hurting.
I wish you both and everyone else a super fantastic New Year. Again, insights more than welcome…. if Darlene allows me to stay off subject here??


Pam, Mimi and Jen
I just caught up with this conversation. (Mimi, yes of course you may continue this conversation on this post. All of this is relevant and important to recovery) I was drawn pretty deeply into the christian “cult” full of false teachings soon after my kids were born. Lucky for me, I was really into truth seeking even then. I started to study the bible when a few of the teachings didn’t sit right with me. I ended up doing intensive study for 8 years on greek and hebrew word origins. I started arguing with my teachers about the way the message was being taught and preached. I wasn’t popular. (back then it hurt me to be shushed; today I refuse to be shushed… LOL ) I thought the private Christian school my kids went to was abusive. I kept it to myself out of fear. BUT when I started to do my own work all my study paid off as the true message became clear to me. The message that I am talking about in really the same message Jesus taught. (but there is so much anger and hurt over how abusive the church usually is, I don’t mention that stuff very much because it makes people leave before they hear the message of true healing) Jesus was the first to teach equal value. Once I figured out what happened to me, and validated the damage that was done, everything became so much more clear. I have actually met few people in the Christian world that really “get it” and try to live it. The lust for power and control is always in the way. (not to mention the huge topic of how abusers get victims to carry on their false teachings teaching others to be victims of the whole false message. )
Hugs, Darlene



Stick with your resolution and read the Bible in context, in it’s entirety for yourself. When I did this, I found tons of wrong teachings by “prominent” Bible teachers whom I’d invested in. Similar to Darlene’s revelation that healing comes from finding your own truth, or finding The Truth, you must come to a conclusion about who God is and what He truly wants for mankind for yourself. Leaning on someone else’s interpretation only leads to sorrow…speaking from experience. The road leading to Jesus is walked in humility, love and truth. No one who is arrogant, thieving, or double-minded can truly know God or do His will. Once you understand this, you will see right through the sham you sister has fallen for. And why do these people want your sister anyway? My guess is that they need to be worshipped more than they need their money. They have a false humility cloaked in the guise of religion. Your sister must see something she wants in them. One can always take the advice of Paul who realized that he could have all the wisdom in the world, all the knowledge of scripture in the world, but in the end the only knowledge that mattered was Jesus and the work of the cross. Remission of sins and peace with God is the most important message. After that, the only thing that trancends time and space is love. If your actions on this earth weren’t motivated by love, nothing you have accomplished matters in eternity. God always sees that our true motivations are exposed in the end. All secrets are eventually laid bare. Pride goes before the fall.

Wishing you well.


I was in a “Christian” Cult for a while too – it’s sad how so many people use religion to exploit the vulnerable. It took me a long time to find a place where I feel safe, and while it is a Church I never thought I’d be in, I am healing here, and that is a good thing.


Mimi,People who like to control others have a deep need to do so and there may be no other reason. A religious atmosphere is a perfect place for these types to find followers. Personality cults form in churches all of the time and it isn’t always the preacher that is at the center. I’ve seen lay people form a following and go against the leadership. People in church behave like people do everywhere and struggle with the same problems that all people struggle with. Too many people join churches and don’t take the time to study their Bibles but choose to trust what others say is in it.

Darlene, I was asked to teach children after about a year in church. I took it seriously and began to study in the same way you describe. I found a few things I disagreed with but I just kept quiet. Then I started teaching adults and studied even harder. I ended up with my theology being so different that I could no longer teach in my church with a clear conscience. What I’ve found since is that each denomination uses about 100 or so verses that support their denominational position and ignore the rest of the Bible. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is impossible for people to have theological unity unless, lay people accept the theology supported by those few verses, without question, and without their own seeking out of truth. The Bible is a spiritual book and God speaks to each of us spiritually and individually as He works personally with each of us.I do agree with you about equal value (I assume of children?). Jesus taught that we should become like children and that they are important. That’s very different from what many Christian traditions teach. Jesus is Truth and if I have to lie to fulfill a traditional teaching, I know that tradition is wrong (it may fit another’s situation)and I look for the answer God has for me. People who weren’t abused as children won’t find exactly the same answer because they don’t have the same need. Our experiences in life cause us to apply the facts (that don’t change)differently. When God gives us those personal messages they are wonderful to share with people who share our experience and need the same answers we’ve found but to others, they are hearesy. God is awesome when we allow Him to be God but when people think what God has said to them personally, should be forced on everyone else, it stifles the Holy Spirit and creates an empty tradition. People want to shrik-wrap God down to a size they can easily comprehend and what He gives to feed us spiritually and help us grow becomes a straight jacket that inhibits personal growth and causes a world of pain. That’s my view, anyway.:0)



Hi Pam
Great points. I found similar things to be true! About the teaching re: equal value ~ I think that the overall message of Christ was about equal value for ALL people. Men women and children. He tried to get the power mongers to give up their status (power) but they didn’t want to. Still the same today. I was an adult when I realized how many people treated me as less valuable. It was a continuation of how I was always treated as a child. And many men bosses and even some girlfriends treated me as less valuable. I think that the misuse of power is at the bottom of all of this. We live in a pecking order system and I think Christ taught against that all the time too.
Thank you for these comments Pam. I totally relate!
Hugs, Darlene


Wow!! Thanks to you all for sharing your experiences and offering comfort. I truly appreciate it.

I chose to write my sisters (2) and mother a letter to launch the new year. I told them 2012 will be about seeking truth and uncovering lies in order to effect some healing within me. At the end, I apologized to all of them for anything I may have said or did in anger over the last year and our lifetimes. I just felt God leading me to do it. For my own peace and to make sure my bases are covered, so to speak, so I can start out fresh this year. The sister who moved away was the only one who responded and she said, “we serve a big God and he will carry you when needed. Praying you through.” It was at least a response, albeit a bit proud from my perspective. She’s been the spiritual leader in our family really. Assumed that she knows more than the rest of us ~ by everyone, myself included. She moved to the “bible belt” and her statement to me was, “I don’t want to sound proud, but, my kids are needing to move forward in their walk and they’ve outgrown what’s offered here.” She said she felt sort of stagnant as well and needed more. So, she moved to a place where her youngest (10) was called names by her teacher this year, her middle (16) confessed she is made fun of at school, (something to do with her status in band) and her oldest just completed her first semester at a renowned Christian college. She’s also really struggled. When they went home, her oldest two posted on FB that it was even harder to leave this time. But, my sister insists her kids are happy. Her husband brought their kids here on xmas eve to see their cat that we’re keeping for them. He pulled my husband and I into our spare bedroom and had a total meltdown. He sobbed and sobbed and said he couldn’t take trying to hold it all together for their kids. I said, well, move home. He straightened up long enough to say, oh, it’s not that, we’re all happy about moving and we’re glad the kids are happy. What the heck?? Makes no sense to me. I am at a crossroads now. Should I tell my sister what I have observed about the couple several years ago when they had their church here? I fear they might have sucked my sister in so they can send her overseas. Or, they’re using her for her analysis knowledge, which is what her degree is in. They’ve actually fired all their staff at once before. Appointed her to different responsibilities then said, “God changed his mind, we don’t actually need you for this task”. She has done some analysis work for them, but I think it was free. But, at the same time, when my sister and her family came home at Christmas, their car broke down and the missionary pastor paid $200 for them to have a rental car for a week. UGH!! I don’t get it for sure. I just know something isn’t right. I also am torn between telling my sister what I believe about them, and just letting it go, but, I don’t want them to be hurt in the long run. I have prayed that my sister would see the light and their truth would be revealed. Since that hasn’t happened, I wonder now if I’m totally off base. CONFUSION!! Whew!! Thanks again to each of you.



What you have just written does not sound to me as if you are confused about the sitaution with your sis at all. You see many red flags but seem afraid to come to the conclusion in your head that you have already come to in your gut. Something is not right about these people, their intentions and their faux Christianity. I think your letter to family is a good start at clearing your on conscience which is sometimes all we get in life. Reconciliation isn’t always possible when hearts are hardened. That said, if you feel a stir in your heart to write/say something to your sister, then you should. Just so that you’ll have the peace that comes from “sounding the alarm.” Whether she heeds your words or not is God’s concern at this point but you can at least have the closure of knowing that you didn’t just stand by, watch and say nothing when your gut was screaming about all the red flags.

Best wishes.


Thank you so much. It’s often so hard to see the forest for the trees. I’m praying about the issue of telling her my thoughts. I fear it will either make her angry, or broaden the gap, thereby pushing her TOWARD them even more. Or, maybe both. I think I have to be mentally and emotionally prepared for nothing at all in return if I approach the situation. It’s hard to let go of expectations, but I would have to for sure in this situation. Her heart is hardened toward me from what I can tell. She still communicates, but it’s seldom, and it’s fairly cool and neutral. Such a sticky situation!! Thank you for commenting Jen. I appreciate it so much!!
Happy New Year to YOU!! ~ and to everyone!
All the best,


Sometimes it is darkest and most difficult before the dawn. Sometimes the seeds are planted but they don’t sprout right away. It was like that for me in my personal journey to freedom.
I know that this is really hard, but it sounds like if she is already not communicating often and seems cool etc. you have nothing to lose. Sometimes love looks harsh but it is always about the motive. When I question myself (even in this blog when I get attacked) I ask myself what my motive is for my action. Is it for control or to be right? or is it out of love and the definition of what is BEST. That is the difference between control and abuse, and love.
Hugs, Darlene



Darlene has made some great points and I just want to acknowledge them as being true for me too. Once I realized that the relationships with my family were very one-sided and I was being used over and over, it was quite simple to say and do what needed to be done for my own peace of mind and peace in life. While I continue to wish things would have been different, my family members made their choices long ago and even given opportunities to change over and over, they continue to be controlling and abusive. There’s no love there. I was their garbage, it just took me a long time to acknowledge that hurtful fact. I finally just quit playing the games. The decision was painful for me for awhile and I did grieve the “loss” of quite frankly something I never had to begin with. It’s maddening to see that now but one always holds on to hope beyond the call. The bottom line is that I needed to be faithful to myself and trust what my insides were screaming at me by that point.


What a thread! HATE giving gifts to NM! Hate giving gifts to anyone else if she’s around!

My ESF actually came to me one year for NM’s birthday and begged for help with gifts. We came up with what we thought were 3 perfect ones.

Now she uses those gifts as the reason she separated from him. Lovely additional guilt trip for me, don’t you think? (Yes, she knew I helped)

New to this site and finding it wonderfully validating and supportive!


Hi Octoberlove
Welcome to EFB. I am so glad that this site is resonating with you too. Please feel free to share as often as you like
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks everyone!! Hope the New Year is treating you right thus far. 🙂
Love to everyone,


This “gift” thread has included so much. I too have studied the Hebrew and Greek meanings of words in the bible. I love God – hate religion. I went through a lot being involved in ministry. I don’t have bitterness and I have learned so much.

The gift giving impossibility rings true with me. My mother grew flowers wholesale for a living so flowers were not an option for a gift. She hated/was allergic to all perfumes – no fragrance related items. She hated jewelry all types from macaroni to rubies…I am an artist but paintings were not her taste. One time my grandma spent many hours and love painting a huge painting that my mother liked. My mother HAD to have it. I remember her hiding it in our attic as soon as she got it and asking my NM where is the painting??? It wasn’t good enought to hang. How selfish! Other people would have wanted htat painting. Even now she has an oil painting that I started of my neice and nephew. When I was visiting my sister my mother had possesion of it somehow. (I did not give it to her). Anyway she said you can finish it tomorrow I will buy you some paint – like I can turn it on and off. I think I was a senior in highschool and painted it as a gift to my sister-in-law. It was one last little thing my NM could use to torture me with. She gave or threw away every gift I ever gave her but somehow managed to get her hands on a painting not meant for her – it ticks me off…oh well.I must say that all of the postings here are Gifts that I receive with a glad and thankful heart.


Hi Tamara
I love God. I hate lies and false teaching. I hate false teaching about everything, not just about God. I hate lies that are meant to control people and meant to twist people. I no longer have bitterness (yay for freedom!) and I have resolved to keep talking about the lies that keep people in prison.
Your story about your mom ticks me off too. 🙂 About the torture stuff… one day I thought HEY, maybe that IS the motive! To make me crazy. I was always so willing to believe that none of that stuff was actually conscious… but today I know different.
Many of the postings here are gifts for me too. Thanks for putting it that way and thanks for being here.
hugs, Darlene


haha. Gifts. Got me thinking about the last few years. My mom brought me kind of odd things — sweaters that I wasn’t going to wear. It’s the thought that counts, that’s true. But, I guess in the lack of excitement I showed when opening the gifts (this is a deep dark hole for me — the need to show them my appreciation by faking excitement — I stopped that years ago), she told me, two years running that if I didn’t like the sweaters, she would just take them home. The first year I kept the sweater. Ran across it a few days ago and just shook my head. The next year, I let her have the damn sweater. I didn’t like it, true. But, if it’s the thought that counts, what does it say to someone when you give them something and then say, “I’d love to keep it!” (chuckle, head shaking).

I don’t know if I will ever make up with my mom after last year when she raked me over the coals and then told a big whopper to my dad and a mutual friend, ensuring that the friend gave me up for good. Every time I think about it, I just think, “Why?” I never got anything out of the relationship that overshadowed my pain and disillusionment and feelings of owing her something and for what? So she could lie to me some more, lie about me some more, be more disgusted with me? No thanks. My dad sent out a happy new year message this week and said he was going to embark on a journey of forgiveness and he wanted everyone to join him. That’s code for, Kellie, I don’t want you to be mad at your mom any more. But, I can’t help it. I just don’t want her in my life any more. I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope that I will finally learn to be true to myself and stop allowing people to hold out the carrot of hope of acceptance only to jerk it away again making me feel like a fool in the process.

Here’s to us, the ones who never had a chance. May God bless us all.


Hi Kellie
I am all too familiar with those kinds of manipulative messages. (lets ALL do what I want messages) and that lying thing; The final straw for me was when my brothers wife told my brother that I told him something about my childhood and then he told my mother, and then for the next 8 months they all talked behind my back and finally my mother “confronted me” about it. I was so sick of all the lies and the divide and conquer tactics my family uses. I asked my mother why it took her SO long to ask me about what I said and WHY did she assume that whatever ever my brother said etc. was the truth. Most of what was said I said was actually true, and I admitted it, and I said that I had a right to talk about my childhood ~ but no one seemed to see it that way.. lol but it was the stuff that was twisted around (as always) that made me mad. No one ever asked me in all that time but they were all talking about me/it. I finally saw the blatant way that everyone got me to comply and I had had enough. The two things that I made clear that day were that I was sick of the trouble making and running all over talking to everyone but me about me, that my mother did (and brother) and that I had not lied about the other stuff I said but no one even asked me and I was sick of my mother always assuming that everyone else was telling the truth. That was my first time really standing up for myself and speaking the truth without fear about the consequences. There was no contact for about 5 months after that. That was the beginning of me taking my power back.
thanks for sharing, Hugs, Darlene


Kellie, dangling carrot, love that, I say Lucy and the football same idea. My family enticed me back but I know now it was only to parade around the fact that I was part of the family again and made it look like they were alright to the rest of the world. I am NC for good this time. I went, I saw, I tried and experienced them for the last time, there is no change, they are more depraved then ever. I don’t need anymore convincing!


Darlene, I can relate so much to your relationship to your mom. I’m 43 now, but over the years, she has put me down and made we feel guilty for things i did not have to feel guilty about. For example, on one of her birthdays, i bought her a chocolate diabetic cake, since she was a newly diagnosed diabetic. I thought this gesture was thoughtful, however, when my mom saw the cake, she lashed out at me. She said, why did you get this?…I can’t eat it, even though, i told her it was diabetic. She said, i should have gotten real cake, so her grandchildren could have a piece. My kids & my sister’s kids were there, when she cut it for them & did not have a piece for herself. I had a piece & told her it was good. Anyway, i learned never to do that again. I was very upset with her reaction and then doubted myself. Emotionally i was beaten down, but intellectually i knew it was her not me.I think she equated my gift as worthless, because it was related to the diabetes that was causing her to be sick. I know that now, but could not understand that then. I have always tried to give her the benefit of the doubt & understand, since she always had it harder in life. She had a father who was an abuser- verbally, physically & sexually to his own family. You could say he was a molester & pedophile. I came to this conclusion, after fitting the pieces together, after my mom’s aunt’s shared their observations & stories with me. There was more to the abuse & damage, that i didn’t know, until one of my aunts validated, what i already figured out. My mom has always protected me from these horrible truths but in doing so made the secrets that much more unreal in my mind. Sorry i’m rambling, this is the first time i’m writing about this and processing it, as i go along. Needless to say, i don’t get the emotional support i’ve needed over the years and i suffer from severe reoccurrent Depression, Anxiety and a newer diagnosis of NOS Personality Disorder!…I do believe my mom is responsible for laying down a weak foundation, but despite that i have struggled in my heart through years of therapy to cut her out of my life & i continue to hold on. I say that I do it for my kids to know their grandparents. My dad is a whole other story. I have lots of stories about both but i will not go there right now. I just wanted to get out my thoughts out and to say this is a great supportive place to share. I can relate to everything being said in this blog. It is validating to me!…Thanks for sharing


Hi Sonia
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Thank you for sharing your cake story; it is a great example of exactly what happens and what I am talking about. Your very thoughtful gift was rejected and you were made to feel “wrong” and even “stupid” for thinking of it. I was stuck in the spin of wrong and stupid for years! (I was about your age when I started to realize it!)
I overcame all the diagnoses that were given to me. You have found the right place, you are not alone here. Please feel free to share as often as you like.
Hugs, Darlene


Wow! I am so happy to have found this site! I feel like all of YOU get it and I thought I was the only one batteling these deamons! The “relationship” I have with my mother is by far the hardest, most draining thing I have ever endured. After 48 years of this, just last month I have finally been pushed to the point that I may have to severe this toxic relationship! This story of the gifts hits home. I live out of state and my college-aged daughter and I flew “home” to see my mother for an early Christmas. Walking on egg shells like I always do, I thought the weekend went well, we exchanged gifts that she seemed to like, etc. I have been a single parent for most of 20 years and so I work hard to buy gifts that are special, meaningful and things she would like…never inexpensive! Long story short…she decided a month after our visit she was mad about “somehting” that was out of my control. A week later all the gifts I have bought her last Christmas were thrown in a box and sent to me, NO note, No call, NOTHING> The act of meanness is took to do that is something I cannot tolerate any longer. I am happy to have this new “sisterhood” to share with!
God Bless All of YOU!


I just found this site myself, last month. It has been a great way for me to vent & process all the damage done to me. Darlene’s posts are very insightful & well written. Welcome Sister!….Look forward to reading your posts. Peace out!….SMD


Hi Laurel!
Welcome to EFB ~ It used to shock me when I met someone else that had a similar story to mine, but now it shocks me about how common it is!
I am glad you are here too!
Hugs, Darlene


This is my mother….I have agonized over gifts for years. She can buy me garage sale items, but I have to spend a lot of money for her to like a gift. She has asked for the receipts in the past so that she can return it, blatantly tells me she does not like a gift, tosses it quicker than a hot potato, etc…what a horrible experience, hoping to get it right, and always failing. I am going to be approaching her soon to set up a boundary around gift giving. NONE. I don’t want one, because there are strings attached, and I don’t want the heart ache of giving one and having it be rejected.


Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Good for you ~ this sounds like a healthy boundary. Glad you are here, thanks for your comment
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone!
I want to point out that we have a new page on emerging from broken. I am introducing a new EFB and survivor community event called “Freedom ROCKS” You can read all about it on the freedom rocks about page (button under header graphic) to see what it is, how it came about and how you can participate!

I have also created a new category (called “freedom rocks”) for this event and all the posts, stories and comments will be found in that category. I hope you will check it out. The first post by Larualee is published and can be viewed here:

If you belong to or run a survivor community or if you have a like minded blog of your own, please share this positive and self-empowering event!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for sharing this story. I used to buy gifts for every member of my family at Christmas. I would make a list and tried to spend the same on each person. I took so much time wrapping and was so excited about giving. It seemed that I usually spent the most on my mother (except for my only child) because I felt that she deserved it. I really did try to please her but rarely did. It seemed that a gift from the 99 cent store given to her by my brother was glorified. I finally stopped buying gifts and kept my money. Each Christmas I would spend hundreds and came home with about 40 dollars of gifts I did not even like and that were totally unthoughtful. When I decided to stop giving, I was now a bitch and something must of been wrong with me at this point is how I was perceived. I hate Christmas….it was always a sad day for me with a mother who always made me feel bad all the way around. When I think about how Christmas is suppose to be a happy family event and I am crying right now…


Thanks for sharing this story. I used to buy gifts for every member of my family at Christmas. I would make a list and tried to spend the same on each person. I took so much time wrapping and was so excited about giving. It seemed that I usually spent the most on my mother (except for my only child) because I felt that she deserved it. I really did try to please her but rarely did. It seemed that a gift from the 99 cent store given to her by my brother was glorified. I finally stopped buying gifts and kept my money. Each Christmas I would spend hundreds and came home with about 40 dollars of gifts I did not even like and that were totally unthoughtful. When I decided to stop giving, I was now a bitch and something must of been wrong with me at this point is how I was perceived. I hate Christmas….it was always a sad day for me with a mother who always made me feel bad all the way around. When I think about how Christmas is suppose to be a happy family event and I am crying right now…


I had similar experiences and I hated Christmas too. I didn’t know why either.

Last year I set a new tradition of skipping my mom’s dysfunctional gathering, and put MY OWN family gathering in it’s timeslot. I did NOT miss a single thing about going to my mother’s. My husband and I hosted a nice gathering with my grown stepkids. I got to cook for all of them, enjoy their company, and make new memories. It was stress free, and fantastic!! I will never go to my mother’s gathering again. Hers is in no way a celebration of the birth of Jesus, although she pretends it is on some tiny level.

I can tell you that when Christmas was over last year, I already felt a relief for this year. I already started looking forward to Christmas, rather than dreading it. That was huge!! It helped me realize why I hated it. My passion has returned after 20 some years of having lost it. The freedom to enjoy was AWESOME!!
Hugs to you,


Robin in post 16…that is actually quite healthy and yet we are told we are bad if we hate, I personally believe that we are taught alot ot things in life that are just way off…that we have to forgive and do this or that or give this for xmad or blah blah blah…

no! all you have to do is die and pay taxes!
I am so done with the being the one who always forgave and loved and did this and that, and got KICKED in the ass for it every single time, and most people think I should just take it, well no, sorry, I dont believe that, I feel rigteous anger had a good place in our lives, it is called emotioinal throw up and it is something we should DO!


I think crying is good! Just a general statement here! I believe it can help and heal you very much! Cry and be angry and dont give gifts if you dont feel it is appreciated! I used to do that, and I got no thank you cards from anyone, I mean no one, I would put so much effort and time into that as well, as we used to live far from our birth home, I feel that the day I stopped being their dog to kick, I gained a self respect and a new life, a better one!~ hugs to all!


My mother used to throw my sisters gifts over the hill in the woods and say how cheap it was, she never knew she did that, I suppose she did that to mine as well, she never liked anything we gave her, one year I bought her diamond earrings and she cried and said well my husband should of bought them for me, not you.


that is awful! Something that really helped me with this stuff is to see how it wasn’t MY mistake it was her horrific reactions that defined me.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene:) Hugs!


My family was fairly poor I was a child, so the gifts both to us children and from us to our parents were generally “token gifts” pen and pencil sets etc. Many years ago I moved to another country and here I have had to deal with my mother-in-laws views that her two daughters children should have bigger, much more expensive gifts than her sons children. We are talking about differences like a paid holiday, a new fancy bicycle versus her sons (my) children receiving a small book or similar. When finally confronted with this (by her son/my husband) the answer was “your children have 2 parents who provide for them and your sisters have not been as able to provide many extras for their children.” This was to some extent true, because – since I had grown up pretty poor – I and my husband made it a priority to work hard, buy and pay off our home etc whereas my sister-in-laws used their incomes differently and did not earn the same income as we did. If my mother-in-law had explained this many years before it would have been more acceptable and perhaps enabled my children and their cousins to have a better relationship. Now they are adults there is still same resentment concerning why their grandmother gave so much to some grandchildren and very little to others. Their grandfather was much more aware of the harm done by this, but after he died she really treated the children differently, until someone spoke up and told her it was a very bad idea. So I think one thing to remember is to speak up when you think something is unfair – and the sooner the better!


Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post continuing with this topic of dysufunctional family and holiday stuff.
Here is the link: “Dysfunctional family and holidays ~ When you feel like the bad guy”
I’m looking forward to the conversation there. This one has a focus on my in-laws instead of on my parents.
Hugs! Darlene


Hi Allou
Welcome to emerging from broken
There should never be expectation or obligation around giving gifts ~ That is not love. And speaking up is a great idea!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Yup, I definitely don’t miss the pressure of having to choose a gift for my mother knowing full well that no matter what I picked and how much thought I had put into trying to find the perfect gift for her, it would never be nice enough or expensive enough (because she did associate its monetary value with how much I cared for her), and she made no effort whatsoever to hide her disappointment, always making me feel cheap and stupid that I should think such a gift would make her happy. But in return, I’ll never forget that Christmas when I received four dish towels!!


Hi Anna,
I know exactly what mean. My mother one year gave me a toilet roll cover.It was a cheap net doll that sat on the toilet roll. My husband took it to her bathroom and left it for them. My princess sister was given beautiful bed linen. Our presents were opened all at the same time and I was the laugh of the day. Apologises for repeating I have said this before some months ago.Take care enjoy your Christmas. Wendy am.xx


Thank you again Darlene:
Holidays are still so hard. It seems the ilder I get the harder they are.
My sister sounds a lot like your mother, but then on the other hand they are exactly the same. It’s exhausting buying those two a gift. So this was the first year I didn’t buy for my sister and the 2nd year I didn’t buy for my mother. People say you give gifts because you want to not because you want them to love you. Every gift I ever gave wasn’t good enough. This year I did things a little different, I bought for those I wanted to and the were grateful. And a plus was getting gifts from my future sister in law and my mother in law. Yes I got socks and loved them!!
Two weeks ago my sister said, “what did you get mommy”. I said “nothing, we haven’t really spoken”. She said, oh well she’s your mother you should get her something”. I said thanks for sharing. I beat myself up for a few days and then moved on continuing not to buy her a gift. She can’t call on Christmas. U don’t get a gift. That simple.
It does feel good in the end. Expectations are brutal in these relationships. I don’t expect gifts and I don’t expect phone calls anymore. Peace and love, the holidays are almost over!!
Happy New Year!!


I, too, have been a victim of the “gift” giving/receiving scenario. My Ex used to announce on Christmas Eve day that he’d better go shopping for me, laughing as he said it as if I would find humor in his thoughtlessness. It hurt. I planned and put much thought into gifts for him and I found his lack of planning for me heartbreaking. One year I received a vegetable steamer and a man’s jacket for Christmas. Yes, I was disappointed, but never showed it. Last minute shopping would never be good enough when it came to his needs. He would remind me weeks in advance that his birthday was coming up and did I shop for him, etc. Disgusting.

Over the years I learned not to expect from him and not to stress over the “perfect” gift for him from me, because he did not put that effort in for me and he would toss aside anything I gave him. If it wasn’t expensive or exactly what he wanted, he was sullen. For his birthday one year I asked him specifically what he wanted, he told me new golf clubs ($800!), expensive, yes, but we went on line and I purchased them. Four months later he purchased another set. To this day I don’t know what was wrong with the one he chose online, but he always wanted bigger and better. Again, not good enough…

I lowered my expectations for gifts both to and from. Although this helped me deal with the ex-narcassist over special occasions while we were married, it made me sad that the joy of giving to him was never to be had, valued or truly received in the spirit in which it was given.

Giving and receiving anything given in love should not hurt.


My mother never made it easy for me by pointing out or mentioning a specific gift she wanted. It was as if my “guessing what the right gift would be to get for her” was part of what would make her happy. It was a though if she “told” me what she wanted, that would ruin it. In order for the gift to be “special”, I had to come up with the idea on my own, or be a mind reader.

My mom does this, too. “You should KNOW what I want.” Not to mention, she is HORRIBLE at picking out gifts for my siblings and me. She gives presents for what she wants you to be! She once gave a brother in law clothing that my DAD would wear. My sister couldn’t believe it!

Oh, then my mom goes into the “it doesn’t matter what it cost” crap, but if your gift isn’t a certain $$ level, she is disappointed, but of course she hides tries very hard to hide it. Or, the “you can make gifts….” but then when we do that, she also is disappointed. My mom never says what she means nor does she mean what she says. Need a universal decoder book to talk to her.


Wow, gift giving and my mother. Horrible experience. My siblings and I tried hard to give my mom presents she would like. She mostly rejected them. When we were little, we lived in a very small town with just a variety store, a drug store, and a hardware store. We usually ended up with some kind of bowl or kitchen gadget. We would pool our few dollars together and buy her a gift that she would be very unenthusiastic about and show her disappointment. She would explain that she didn’t like kitchen gifts because they were just to be used on others and weren’t really gifts for HER.

I think what she was really disappointed in was that my dad didn’t buy her gifts and she projected that to her children who pooled together their dollars and quarters to buy a present for their mom. (We could have bought candy for ourselves).

If I went on a school trip, even a day trip, I’d try to bring mom something back. Once it was a tiny basket from the museum shop for a quarter.

As a grown woman, I tried to put more and more thought into my gifts for her and spent more money on her gift than for anyone else. She was usually displeased with them, and at about the six-month mark she invariably give the gifts back to me. Once she told my other sister and I that only the “golden child” sister who she believed that similar taste ever picked out decent gifts for her. That upset my sister greatly, and she became the most financially prosperous (through her successful husband) and she upped the ante, buying more and more elaborate and expensive gifts in order to please Mom. Eventually, she was able to buy her way into the golden child role and became my primary bully! Then the childhood-bully sister became nicer to me, but I still don’t trust her and never will!

I’ll tell you when the six-month return to me stopped. I started buying her gifts, but I only bought things that were things I loved, that were my taste, and I told her so. I told her she had the habit of returning to me almost everything I have ever given her, so that I am in the future only buying her things that are my own taste so I will be very happy to get them back.

I have not had any of these gifts returned since and it has been about four years now. Ironic, huh?


It helps so much to read these replys and realize I am not shelfish nor am I crazy for hurting over gifts, or the lack there of. It is amazing how such a small thing can end up being a source of shame. Whem my mother is angry with me, she cuts me off from cards and gifts. If by some chance she is “speaking to me” she may send a card. One year for my birthday she gave me a jar of homemade pickles!

For me, it’s not the overt, it’s the covert abuse that is happening. Being devalued. And in front of family, and they all watch for my reaction. If I respond with “What the heck” then there is more proof that I am such a bad person. If I smile and accept, then I am laughed at for being such a goof, but in the back of their minds they are thinking “thank God she is the black sheep and not me!”

It is great to be able to share situations with others knowing they understand and do not view stories as “poor me” but realize how we were brainwashed into thinking we did not posess any value what so ever.


Gift giving and receiving as a child was always a mixture of dread, disappointment and joy. There was always the dread of my parents or relatives not liking the gift, and even into my young adulthood, I dreaded giving gifts to them because I had very little money and what I could afford did not and would not please the richer relatives. Also, the gifts I would receive from my parents were pretty thoughtless…so it is very interesting to learn from this article that they (mom) was choosing gifts to ensure that I would remain devalued. My dad was also really weird about gifts too when I was younger….bought me a pair of boys tennis shoes that didnt fit and told me I couldnt have new ones until those wore out..and a boys bike in the brightest color of yellow that I had to use as transportation or walk. I can laugh now, but back then it was so embarrassing and confusing too. I changed all of that for my own family after our daughter was born and she thankfully has not experienced anything like what I did. In fact, when someone has given her the odd, thoughtless gift, she doesnt even think about it.


Thank you for this website. Knowing I’m not the only one helps. Merry Christmas.


After I confronted my dad’s wife with her trying to separate me from my dad she disowned my daughters and I. My dad and I would meet once/month at Timmy’s for coffee so we could still have contact. The last coffee we met for I had my 14 & 12 year old daughter’s with me, the entire time he talked about my stepbrother’s step kids which I found strange because my dad’s wife never had much to do with him it wasn’t her golden boy who lives in Kelowna. My daughters expressed on the way home they were disappointed he only said nice things about people that they don’t really know and didn’t ask them about school, soccer or anything I told them I was hoping he was just nervous and just making conversation. My dad found out shortly after this incident that I was doing counseling at sexual assault centre he asked me who had done this. I told him it was his sister’s middle son. He then accused of lying and being a bad mom for attending the same family functions my abuser was also at.

I went no contact for 2 years. I was very close to my dad before my mom passed away in 1990 and missed him greatly so in June I dropped off a Fathers Day card. He called and left a message asking to go for lunch. My oldest daughter was in the hospital, so I didn’t immediately return his call. He asked why I didn’t call sooner I explained she was in the hospital for PTSD. He then asked if she was faking it. I told him absolutely not she’s had a lot to deal with she’s been in 2 bad car accidents the last one was only a year ago and the trauma from all of the family fall out when I disclosed childhood abuse. He then told me he no longer wants to go for lunch his wife is sick and she’s his only priority. I told him I understood that as my daughter’s are my priority and coffee could wait until we both had time.

I no longer expect anything other then a superficial relationship, but wonder where the relationship with the dad I knew growing up went.

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