Emotional Healing by Understanding Psychological Abuse

emotional recovery from psychological abuse

there is peace when the fog lifts

Every day I realize more and more that if the world is going to change at all, it is going to change through the emotional healing of the victims. I think that victims of emotional abuse and all the other forms of abuse that stem from emotional and psychological abuse including sexual abuse, domestic violence and spiritual abuse, make up the majority of the people in the world.  We have a voice; it is time to take our voices back, to heal and to take our lives back. Abusers can only be truly stopped when victims heal. When the people that they have hurt, realize the truth and realize that we can overcome the pain, oppression and rejection we have lived with and finally take a stand against it in our own lives. When victims emotionally heal, we are strong enough to stand up to the abuse and we are no longer fooled by subtle manipulation. There will be a ripple effect and we will raise our own children differently then we ourselves were raised, and the abusers will lose some of their power because the psychological abuse, lies and manipulation highlighted in the points below, won’t work the same anymore.

~ Abusers and controllers run the show;

~ They insist on and instigate cover ups, communicating that loyalty and respect is “not talking”

~ Emotional abusers misuse their power in order to get what they want and to have things the way they want them.

~ They misrepresent “right from wrong” teaching false truth out of the desire to control

~ Psychological abusers teach that submission, compliance and obedience are love

~ The power they exert over you is “for your own good”

~ They don’t respect or encourage individuality because that would limit their control

~ Psychololgical abusers demand that we don’t question them and teach that doing so is disrespectful  

~ They are always right, they know best

~ They demand that their authority is respected, but they don’t model respect

~ Emotional abusers teach that we have NO value outside the value THEY give us.

~ They do not live by their own teachings and values, rules, or standards

~ Psychological abusers do not live by their own definitions of “respect” “love” or “truth”

And the minute I made “a mistake” or did something that the abuser or controller decided was “wrong”, they declare that they now have “the proof” that I am a failure, a liar, crazy, a misfit, just as they said I was all along. They will often do this publically, twisting the truth and making sure that others agree that I am is the crazy one. Always making sure that the blame never falls on them. This is a very big part of how psychological abuse works.

They taught me and shaped me; mistreated and devalued me, all of which broke me. Then they rejected me because I was broken.

Labeled by their psychologically abusive actions as not good enough, not lovable, not the way that “they” wanted me to be.  A disappointment. A failure. In convincing me that I am responsible for the results in our relationship they can make it my own fault that I am not lovable or good enough. And it is easy to do because the training starts young. I was even more compliant because I was constantly trying to prove that it wasn’t me! I had become so confused in believing that I wasn’t’ good enough and so brainwashed that I believed that unless they agreed that I was worth it, and validated that I was worth loving, then I wasn’t.  They defined me in the first place and I didn’t realize that it was up to me to take my identity back, to redefine myself by deciding that they were wrong about who they convinced me that I was. I didn’t even know I could define myself because I was so lost in the fog that they encased me in. And I doubted that I had the strength to take my life back when I found out that emotional healing was possible and that part of the solution was in taking a stand against being falsely defined. I had to find the real me and a big part of how I did that was in first realizing that I was not who they said I was.

They kept me in the spin. Psychological abusers have to keep us in a spin because if we break through the fog for one second, we might realize that they are wrong. They know we just might recognize how pathetic they are so controllers and abusers quickly defer to a statement or event that proves their point, but that statement usually has nothing to do with the current situation and because psychological abusers create such a fog storm, victims rarely resist being led down the rabbit trail that the “proof or statement” is designed to take you down. We don’t resist because this conditioning begins at such a young age.

This description of emotional abuse and the abuse tactics used by controlling and manipulative emotional and psychologically abusive people apply to all people who desire to control others. These tactics are used by teachers, bosses, spouses, aunts, uncles, grandparents, parents, and even siblings and are based on the abusers belief that the all people are not created equal. Abuse and control is made easier when the self esteem is damaged.

You are most welcome to share your feedback, stories, victories or pain with us.

Exposing truth in order to inspire emotional healing;

Darlene Ouimet 

 part two; highlighting some of the statements that controllers and abusers use to get their way.

Recommended reading: People of the Lie by M.Scott Peck (the hope for healing human evil)

Coping methods and trying to escape myself (with Discussion here on EFB)

Are you aware my of my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. I’ve received hundreds of thank you notes from the people that have bought my book. Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness



My experience with this kind of psychological abuse in my childhood came from the use of religious fundamentalism within our home as a way of maintaining control through fear. It was brainwashing, pure and simple. And it was done while at the same time other abuses were taking place; emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. So, the religious fear was meant for me only, it didn’t really translate into the way they lived their own lives, they were free, evidently, to break the rules of the same religion they used to terrorize my little mind. All God’s children were NOT created equal. I was held to an impossible standard that created terror in me, a standard that they could never live up to themselves. And I was also subjected to those things that their religion promised me I would go to hell over. So I guess they wanted to make sure we all went there together.

It has taken me a lifetime to try to get free from this kind of mind control and I still struggle. A lifetime of total rebellion and at the same time, total fear and self condemnation, condemnation that has been branded into my soul. I sometimes wonder if I will ever truly be free of it, how do you undo a branding? But I don’t give up trying, I don’t give up.

What makes their strategy so diabolical is the secrecy in which they break their own rules, the denial that they break their own rules, the skeletons crammed into the dark closets and locked away, even from themselves. No one dare go near those closets. And if the skeletons stay locked away, then the rules of the controllers remain unchallenged. Or maybe the consequences for breaking those rules remain unchallenged FOR THEM. Because the consequences always remain for those being controlled.

It is very hard sometimes not to hate them. When lives are ruined because of them, it is very hard not to hate them.


wow, its astonishing that this is so common place. that someone else isn’t afraid to say how it was for them. My abuse came in the shape of blame and shame. Because I was big and strong, anytime I showed my anger at being mistreated, I would be punished by being mistreated and blamed for the abuse If I weren’t so terribly scary, she wouldn’t have to exclude so much. It got to the point it didn’t matter what I said or did, it was automatically taken as an affront to the person and just proof that I wasn’t trust worthy, that she couldn’t be around me because she was afraid for her safety. Talk about a head game. Eventually I said if you don’t want to come home you don’t have to but I’m not taking this anymore. I love myself too much to let this continue.


do find it interesting that since I started therapy, the whole ‘controlling’ behavior has almost gone away and been replaced by an overwhelmingly opposite behavior of niceness. As if to say to me ‘you are wrong, whatever you are thinking about the past, you are wrong. see how nice we are?’. It is manipulation of the highest order. Because behind the scenes they are talking about how therapy ruins families with false memories and horrendously wrong accusations. But to my face, they have become super nice and super ‘hands off’ in telling me how I should live or believe. They are the ones now waiting for the other shoe to drop, and I do believe the suspense is killing them.


Dear Carla
You asked “how do you undo a branding?” I think that is what the process of recovery and emotional healing is all about. By exposing the lies that I lived under, the lies about myself, the lies about how the world works, the lies about equality and how we are told that all God’s children are created equal, but this has never been our personal experience. It has only been by exposing and realizing all that bull crap that I was able to stand up and say “HEY!!!” Do you think they believe in the God they taught you about because in the light of the truth about what was done and how we were raised, by their very actions and words, they do not believe in any of what they taught. It was all about power and control and getting their own way. It is very very hard to accept this stuff because it means that they didn’t see me as valuable as themselves.

And about hate… I no longer question if it is wrong to hate. What they did to me was hateful. Is hate really a “sin?”
Eventually my feelings became more neutral; this was a direct result of healing and came much later in the process, but for a time, there was devastating hurt, and then some hate and then some relief, all part of the process. I allowed myself to blame and to hate. It was liberating.
The consequences remained for me (as the one being controlled) until I refused to live in those lies anymore.
Your comments here are exceptional, really deep and I thank you for sharing in this way.
Your second comment really highlights how people will change gears when they are really scared… which really shows that deep down they know that they are the ones that caused the problem. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mac
Yes, there are so many ways that power is misused. So much manipulation. It was very important for me to see the truth about the way that it was and not the way that they said it was.
Thanks for being here and for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


Wow, so true! My ex-husband was a prime example of an emotional and psychological abuser. It was not until I learned to stop defining myself by his “standards” that I was able to begin healing.


When I was 21, my older sister, out of the blue said our parents had sexually abused her as a child, then my other sister said she had just remembered that she had been sexually abused by our parents as well and they wanted me to remember but I couldn’t, I thought as hard as I could but I really didn’t remember anything, my mum was distraught and could believe why my sisters were saying all this, my mom and dad divorced when I was 11 and my dad never really bothered with me after that.My mom and dad both denied ever sexually abusing my sisters,for years terrible arguing went on in the family,I was a emotional wreck, every time I went to see my mom she would go on and on about how my sisters were liars, when I went to visit my sisters they would go on and on and tell me in graphic detail what was done to them sexually by my parents , I didn’t know deep down if I had been sexually abused or not , my sisters said I had pushed the bad memories so far back into my memory and that’s why I couldn’t remember and my mom said that’s rubbish I would remember, I was in turmoil,never knowing the truth..and not wanting to disbelieve anyone..I did have memories of some things that were not right, like my mums water parties, where my mom got young men around to the house, dressed them in sexy nighties and threw water over them all so they had to get naked, I remember my mum hitting our dog hard so it was yelping out crying and I remember when I got to about 15 some parents stopped me from going to their homes and been friends with their children but I never knew why.I also remember trying to to kill myself when I was about 10 by hanging myself on the washing line, my mom caught me, I told my mom a lie that I just wanted to know what it felt like to be dead and didn’t realize I wouldn’t come back but I remember that was a lie I told my mom, I really did want to die but I don’t remember why, I remember standing up in the window and exposing myself to a busy main road of traffic when I was about 9years old but I don’t know why I did those things. I remember rocking backwards and forth when I was about 13 and my mom telling me to stop rocking.. My mom admitted she slept with my sisters boyfriend , he was 15 and my mom was in her early 30s,my mom got pregnant to him and had a abortion, my sister caught my mom kissing her boyfriend.My mom put one of my sisters in to care,my mom admits she was a terrible mom to one of my sisters, she said its because she didn’t love my sisters father, (as she has a different father to me) so she took it out on my sister as a child and my mom admits to not feeling the same love for my sister as me,My mom also had a affair with her best friends husband who lived directly across the road from her house for years. my mom had always been a difficult person to get on with, like walking on eggshells with her, if you upset her she will disown you or at the best sulk for a long time, like she used to sulk with me as a child , she would sulk for weeks on end if I did anything wrong, it was awful as a child, she would sulk for weeks,I would come home from school and my mom would ignore me.. I remember the times when she started talking to me again it was like the heavens had opened up.years later this sulking turned into disowning me for years.. 8 years ago my mom met a new man, the first time I met him , he said I was a younger version of my mum , which I though was a normal thing to say but my mom went to bits… the next day my mom told me she wanted to talk to me , she told me she didn’t like what her boyfriend had said that I was a younger version of her, she said I know I am wrong and I am insecure but I am sorry I cant help how I feel.. I tried to explained to my mom that her boyfriend was just been polite to me for my moms sake but my mom wouldn’t believe it although she did promise to forget it, The next day my mom started telling me she didn’t like me around her boyfriend again, I asked what shall I do, my mom started yelling at me and ran for me with her long nails towards my face to scratch my face, I grabbed her and pushed her away, because I pushed her away she told me that’s it, you have just hit me, she threw me out of her home and told me to never contact her again, in the mean time she told everyone the reason she doesn’t want anything to do with her daughter is because I had punched her,which was not true, my mom ignored me for 6years, no birthday cards,no Christmas cards nothing and what was so hard for me to take was my other sister who had accused my mum of sexual abuse and said alot of bad things about my mum, yet mom spoke to her, I had never said a word bad about my mom, yet I get treat like dirt..My mom started talking to me again when I was caring for her sick mom but it was short lived , I found out from my sister that my moms boyfriend had developed feelings for me and he was having fantasies about me ,I don’t know if this was true, my mom denied it but once again my mom found another excuse and rejected me again, it took a lot for me to trust my mom again that she wouldn’t reject me although nothing was discussed, only for my mom to reject me again, The last couple of months I have really started reflecting on my upbringing and when I was a young adult, For the first time I am starting to see what kind of mom/person my mom really is, I held my mom in such high regard no matter what for so long not been able to except the truths, after seeing what my mom is capable of over the years I think maybe I was sexually abused,and I think I have been psychologically abused by my family all my life but I guess I am just coming out of the fog now, I am still trying to work it all out..maybe others could give me their opinion on this, would be much appreciated. 0x0x


I had a really good session with a family therapist who has been working with my daughter and me for close to a year now. I realized that I almost always acquiesced to my mom’s gossipping and other forms of lying and murmuring — even though I hated those things about our relationship — because I thought the companionship was worth it. Until the lies and gossip were clearly about me. I had to admit that I felt a little ashamed at myself that I hadn’t felt like rocking the boat until it directly affected me. Of course, this is not the first time my mom has attacked, but we a little stamina on my part, I hope to make it the last.

One of the control mechanisms my mom used when I was younger was our religious beliefs. She actually had a system in place where she would tell us a “prophecy” that the Lord had given her — she would write things down and date them and everything. One by one, all those pieces of paper disappeared as — I’m sure, one by one — none of the “prophecies” came true. It pains me to say, but the woman who did all that stuff is the same woman today. Never having acknowledged even
ONCE that she was wrong about any of that stuff, the key to relationship was to keep my mouth shut and NEVER mention it again! NO matter what! Interestingly, she still tried the same tactics on my as I got older, but I was wise to her, and I rejected the things she had to say. Unfortunately, by not saying out loud, “I disagree and I don’t think you are a prophet of God,” it was like I was giving her permission to continue her spiritual rampage not only in my life but in the lives of others. I’m not one for confrontation — really becuase it has never worked whenever I have tried it — but at least all those times, it would not have seemed like I was giving her the green light.



forgot to click the notify button. oops.


This is so true. Pretty much everything you wrote illustrates exactly what my parents did with emotional, spiritual, physical and psychological abuses as well as covering up sexual abuses. It is hard not to hate them, expecially when they pretend everything is “all better” now and refuse to own up to the pain they caused. Because they are all christian’s and “the lord is working on all of us”.


“controllers and abusers quickly defer to a statement or event that proves their point, but that statement usually has nothing to do with the current situation” So true, how many times has she blurted out something about what someone did that did not mesh in any way with what was currently being discussed (someone’s evilness), leaving listeners to wonder what in the world the latter had to do with the former. It’s like nailing Jello to a wall. Oy!


One of my sisters has said that our dad sexually abused her, raped her, many times. I was horribly abused by our parents in many other ways: verbally, psychologically, and physically, but the sexual abuse I experienced from my parents was very minimal, compared to what my sister says happened to her.

I used to wonder if I had blocked out memories of sexual abuse. I used to think and try to remember, and sometimes it would seem like I maybe had a very dreamlike hazy memory of the kind of sexual abuse that my sister says happened to her. It used to really bother me that I didn’t know or remember for sure. But, my memories of the other abuses that I suffered in my childhood…. those memories have always been very clear, very distinct, no-question-about-it.

I finally decided several years ago not to worry about the possibility that I may have some repressed memories. I really don’t think that I do. I think that the abuse that was done to me, the abuses that I know happened because I clearly remember it, those abuses were different than the ways my parents abused my siblings. We all had a different role in the family, we all were treated differently by our parents. Some of us were treated very badly, and some of us weren’t treated very badly at all, from what I could see.

I am the eldest of 7, yet I was the only child until I was almost 7 years old. I was born when my mother was just 18 and my dad was 19. Then there were no more children born until the twins came along when I was almost 7, and a year and a half later a handicapped baby boy was born, then a couple of years later, another boy, which my dad insisted wasn’t his ~ then my parents divorced, a couple of years later my mother remarried, and when I was 14 she and my stepdad had a baby girl, and finally, when I was married and pregnant with my eldest child, my mother had my youngest sister, when I was 17 years old.

So, with all the years spread out between us, and in having two very different dads, my sisters and brothers and half-sisters and I were all assigned different roles in the family, and treated differently.

I don’t know if what I have written is helpful to you, Sally. From what you wrote you definitely went through a lot of abuse from both your parents, whether or not any overt sexual abuse ever happened directly to you. But the things that you do remember, even that you were mostly ignored by your dad, for example, that is abusive right there. And as for your mother… whew. Sounds like she was cut out of the same mold as my mother.

I’m glad you’re here, Sally. Darlene’s blog is the most emotionally healing community I have found on the internet, or anywhere else.



wow – keep up this FEARLESS writing Darlene… you are spot on!


forgot to click the notify me box.


I found various forms of emotional abuse throughout my life. The child learns to be abused, how to be ‘the abused’ and goes on to relationships which perpetuate that abuse. It has to be broken, this cycle. But the only one who can break it is often the child who was never taught how to do so. Defending themselves, standing up in the face of abusive behaviour is exactly what they have been taught to be WRONG. I did break the cycle eventually. Though it came after way too much abuse which left its scar’s. I eventually accepted the love of a good man who recognised that I’d suffered enough. The most tragic part of my life’s lessons so far? That there are so many of us.

Please consider linking up over at (Monday Madness) this week – in support of bloggers who are involved in mental health/illness. I’d love it to be linked to such a great resource as this blog. Be great to have you with us. Shah .X


Thank you Darlene!
I really needed to read this today. I have been reading on your blog for about a month and never felt compelled to comment until now.
My history, like most on here, resonates back to childhood. I have spent many years struggling to find reasons and answers and have questioned many a time …why, what and how?
I couldn’t even begin to try to hammer out my story here so that there is a clear understanding of why I am commenting today, but the best that I can do is tell you that I was recently “dumped” by my boyfriend of 3 years right after the unexpected death of my Ex husband (father of my 2 children). I whole heartedly thought that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together and thought of marriage many times!
I have been having a difficult time dealing with the death and with my BF leaving us so unexpectedly.
What I am beginning to understand is that for the last 3 years I had been held captive to his Psychological Abuse
and that I gave up myself to make sure that our relationship was everything that “he” wanted it to be. Upon the death of my Ex, I began to question a number of events that have transpired in my life and I beleive that out of fear of losing control of me and my children, he decided that the relationship would no longer “work” for him.
I am a very strong, independant woman who has overcome many challenges in life and I have spent the last couple of months trying to understand why I am having such a difficult time letting go of this relationship (when clearly it wasn’t a healthy one to begin with).
I am realizing that the control that abusers have make us question our own abililties, thoughts, choices, decisions and outcomes!
And here I sit, months after he has gone…without any contact…still in a spin. My logical mind makes sense of the brainwashing and what he did to control me, but my heart cannot make sense of the loss? Does anyone understand that?
Is it possible that even if you realize the person did everything subtly in his power to control the relationship, that months afterwards, you can still experience the effects?
I have been seeking out different forms of therapy to try and overcome this and I am aware that my past and my childhood play an important role in letting things get to this point.
The imprint that I received as a child was that I was not valued for anything unless I made everyone else happy (amoung other things). And that is what I took into my adult life. I have had 4 failed long term relationships and thankfully, this recent series of events has been the first time that I have really..and I mean REALLY, sat and questioned where the issues stem from.
I am working on finding “me” and knowing who I am, and I cannot say that this process is easy. I don’t even know where to start most days. I feel like a lost little girl but am determined to get up everyday and find reason to plug through knowing that maybe the next day will be better.
I know that the answers to all this lay inside of me, but its peeling back all the layers over many years that is the most difficult. I need to get to the core so that I understand.
I have had a difficult weekend and have been in much of a fog, but to wake up and turn on my email and to receive this type of validation reinforces my beleif that I am being guided by a higher power that wants me to heal so that the meaning of my life can be defined.
Thank you so much again for giving me this on one of the days that I needed it most.


Hi Sally,
It was important to me to realize that there was in fact a lot of major dysfunction in my family, even if I did not have whole memories of everything. I went around and around for years in the spin of justifying what happened to me, not being protected, did they know, did they not know… but the bottom line was the it was all the dysfunction. None of the rest mattered because I knew that there was major dysfunction. And I knew that I was not important in that picture. There came a time when I just started to concentrate on me, my feelings, my pain, and I finally validated my pain. I finally stopped questioning if I deserved to feel that I had even be mistreated or if I even had a right to be depressed. There was NO question, and then I began to heal.
Thank you so much for sharing your life, your confusion and pain. I know that many here can relate and in sharing, it everyone comes out of the “fog” a little more.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kellie
I can really relate to hanging out with my mother to gossip etc… just to be with her! Your comment brought back a few memories! Her whole family was like that. YUCK
And MANY people use that “God told me” line, a very dangerous and abusive line (control tactic) to use in order to control. You bring up a very important point about not saying things out loud is perceived as “permission” to an abuser/controller ~ that is so true and this is something that I got much stronger in as I grew more and more in recovery. I could not say things out loud before. I could not say “I don’t believe you” I was way too terrified. But I am not terrified anymore.
Thank you so much for sharing these great points!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Young Mom
I hear you; I reached a point where I realized that I had a choice about pretending or not pretending and I decided that pretending with them was killing me. Maybe the Lord worked on me harder and I finally said no more to the fake life. LOL
I know exactly what you mean by your comment. “the lord is working on all of us” can be such an excuse, as if to say, well nobody is perfect.. but we are not discussing minor mistakes here. We are discussion life altering abuse. And really all I wanted was to be validated that I didn’t make it all up. But they won’t do that for me, however I found out that I don’t actually need them to do that for me! I can do that myself and I did and that truth set me free.
Thanks for being here,
Hugs, Darlene


YES that is exactly what it is like!

~ Lynda
As I said to Sally in my comments to her, it was in realizing and validating myself that there was in fact major dysfunction that really set me free; it was not in trying to remember trauma events that I only had foggy glimpses of. I have had memories pop up but they didn’t actually change anything on my healing path because the dysfunction that I KNEW about was all the information I needed.
Thanks for sharing your life here. It really helps.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Shah
You said a mouthful in your comments! I am going to highlight what you said so no one misses it:

Shah Wrote: “The child learns to be abused, how to be ‘the abused’ and goes on to relationships which perpetuate that abuse. It has to be broken, this cycle. But the only one who can break it is often the child who was never taught how to do so. Defending themselves, standing up in the face of abusive behaviour is exactly what they have been taught to be WRONG.”

This is the fog, this is what we are dealing with.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Maggie,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
I think half the problem in recovery is because our hearts cannot accept that someone would treat us this way; parents OR lovers. That someone, under the guise of love, would have to control me in this way because there is so much WRONG with it. It brings up thoughts of “so you only love me when I am who you want me to be” and “you think I am too stupid to decide something for myself so you have to decide it for me” and I could go on and on. I believe that it is very possible to experience the effects of a relationship that has been controlled by one person because of the way that it hurts our self esteem so deeply. Realizing that someone (many people) had been controlling me and therefore not valuing me, or loving me, was devastating. And the layers go deep and there are many, but little by little I got through them and today I am ME. I love me and I validate me and I have a wonderful relationship with my husband but he does not define me and maybe the biggest thing is that I don’t need him to love me or approve of me. I can do that for myself. And we are together (now) because we want to be. It is very different then it was before.
I hope that you share often. You bring up VERY important thoughts on the road to healing.
Hugs, Darlene


For me, that fog was actually grief that I didn’t do as a child or young adult. The grief was so heavy and black, swirling around and around in my head that I couldn’t see or think clearly or do anything but be in it for awhile when I first started acknowledging everything about the incest and how it was affecting me even when I denied that it was. I hope that makes sense. Sometimes describing where I was and what I felt in the beginning of healing is hard to describe.

A psychiatrist once told me that I wasn’t in a depression, that I was grieving what had happened to me as a child and that grief was normal for what I had experienced. Thank God for sending me to this particular doctor instead of to one who would have given me pills and sent me home to shut back down. He told me that where I was in my healing was normal grieving that needed to be done for me to heal from the abuse of the incest and growing up with several mean alcoholics in my family. It was actually healthy to be where I was even though it felt really uncomfortable for a long time.

We often grow up not knowing that our childhood experiences with abuse and neglect are not normal. For me being sexually abused was normal for my childhood. I knew it wasn’t right, but it was normal. I knew it wasn’t right or my uncle and dad wouldn’t have hid it from my mother and others. I knew it wasn’t “special between us” like they said. “Special” doesn’t hurt like sexual abuse does. “Special” doesn’t make you feel like you are less than dirt under someone else’s feet. “Special” doesn’t hide and keep secrets that are hurtful. “Special” doesn’t come with fear for your life and your sanity. “Special” doesn’t tell you that as a woman you are a whore for being sexual in acts that you don’t even want to participate in.

Physical abuse soon heals. Emotional and psychological abuse doesn’t go away easily, if ever. More often you just learned to live with it and function as best you can. Sometimes your best isn’t very good. That is when people begin to notice. Sometimes that notice takes the form of blame and name-calling from the abuser or from the silent partner to the abuse. They can’t or won’t look at their part in making you what you are so they shift the shame and blame to you, the innocent child or to you the lost and hurting adult who doesn’t know what to think but knows that life just isn’t working any longer.

When the abused starts to come out of the fog and stops believing the lies, then the abuser becomes very frightened. The abuser doesn’t want their secrets brought up so they do everything possible to make sure that the abused is not believed. They make the abused seem crazy to others. Most of us have been through this to varying degrees as we start to heal.

The abuser threatens and does everything in their power to keep you silent. They don’t want their little games of control and abuse to stop. Why would they? This is the place where many of us choose to break off contact with our abusers. This comes from learning how to set healthy boundaries for ourselves. This step comes from recognising that the lies are just that – lies that were used to control us and to keep us from telling their secrets. I am so proud of those of us who are finally speaking out and stopping child abuse.


I am going to try to stay with the topic, but there are things that I’m currently dealing with and feel the need to share. I realized this weekend that I’ve been trying to compromise, but that “compromise” means different things to people such, as far as me, it seems I’m expected to give MORE and to family members that’s an acceptable compromise. I guess I realized this after I had a blowout drivign the 2 hrs to try to assist taking care of mom. I get there and realize that the 2 siblings living there are not doing much at all to assist her or for us all to work together which I assumed would happen and isn’t at all! I arrive to see how she’s in such bad shape and I need to fix it! I’m told by one sibling, “oh things are so messed up, don’t know what is happening with her money.” Umm, don’t you get it out of the bank? You don’t know how much should be there? Just assuming that maybe a nurse is taking it or mom is hiding it somewhere? I’ve refused to keep track of the money – there is a reason. So, took one cat to the shelter since she obviously can’t take care of it. Cleaned out the frige and the microwave that was filled with syrup! Blood sugar out of control, got her to take her meds. Both siblings live within a couple of miles. One cat left and that is her cat and don’t know if siblings will assist her in taking care of the cat. She feeds it, but it needs litter box cleaned. Neither sibling will clean the litter box and she won’t either! LOL. But, she wants to keep the cat! I told her I HAD to get a job and couldn’t guarantee that it would be there. I told her after finish degree, most likely get a job here is more likely, not there. Told her she doesn’t really want me to not have a retirment and live in poverty at old age does she? Then, accusations that I should have never left and went into the Army. Did I go to get away from her? I was upset at taking my cat which I’ve had for 6 yrs and told her I had to go ahead and leave after 3 days. Neither sibling showed up during that time. One did, but only to take her to the dentist and tell me how bad things were. I told her I had to leave and that I wouldn’t be back for a while cause I couldn’t afford it – “true”. She says, “I guess you just don’t like here and I told you I didn’t want to get rid of the cat!” So sorry it has to be this way. Psychological abuse? I tend to downplay it, maybe, but mostly manipulation I guess.


What you said: “When the abused starts to come out of the fog and stops believing the lies, then the abuser becomes very frightened. The abuser doesn’t want their secrets brought up so they do everything possible to make sure that the abused is not believed. They make the abused seem crazy to others. Most of us have been through this to varying degrees as we start to heal.”

That is exactly what my mother did to me. She confessed to me, when I was 12, that she had been trying to gas us all to death in our sleep, all those nights when I thought the pilot light on the gas furnace was going off by itself. She told me that she kept trying to override the safety shut-off valve on the furnace, so she could do us all the “favor” of taking us out of the cold cruel world that she had brought us into. She told me that when she finally gave up on gassing us to death while we slept in our beds, then she was going to drive us all off a cliff. She told me this, she said, because she couldn’t live with the guilt any longer, without telling somebody. But she couldn’t think of anyone to tell besides me, her eldest child and confidante. She warned me that if I told anyone what she had confessed, that she would go to prison for the rest of her life, and the 5 of us kids would be sent to 5 separate foster homes and never see each other again. At 12 years old, that was a fate worse than death, so I kept my mother’s secret, although it ate at me day and night, and I lived in constant fear that she would one day snap and find a way to kill us all….

And then my mother, who had unburdened her conscience at the expense of her 12-year-old’s emotional health, then set about to make me seem CRAZY to all of the rest of the family. She systematically, diabolically, began to tear me down to the rest of the world… I didn’t know WHY she was doing that, it was all so bewildering! But now I know that she was taking the preventive measure of making everyone believe I was crazy, so that if I should ever tell her horrible secret, I would not be believed.

What a BITCH. Sometimes when I think about all of this, I just get so ANGRY. I was taught… by my mother… to believe that being angry is unladylike and unChristian. Of course she would want me to believe that! She used religion to control me, too… Forgive 70 x 7…. love your enemies…. be meek and humble… turn the other cheek…. honor father and mother… forget what lies behind…

My mother once sent me a long letter that was nothing but handwritten Bible verses. It started off with “Dear Lynda,” then went straight to direct quotations from the Bible, for page after page after page and then it ended with “Love, Mother.”

Mmmmm. The more I read about others people experiences with being abused, the more amazed I am at how alike abusers are. Their specific ways of abusing may be different, but they are all so much the same, at the core of their being. It is all about making themselves BIG, while making the ones they abuse, small. What do they do, take a correspondence course on how to abuse most effectively?



Lynda, when I wrote that particular statement, you were on my mind. Your mother and what she did to you is a terrible, horrible example of what I am talking about in my statement. You have a right to be anger at your mother for what she did to you. I am angry at her for what she did to you. In healing, we have to feel all of that anger and then finally let it go but not until you have felt it all. Anything else is denial and just keeps you stuck where the abuser wants you to be – in the fog of the lies.

Shame was often the weapon of choice for my dad. Making me ashamed to be a girl. Making me ashamed of my own body. Making me afraid to feel. Making me afraid to tell my mom or anybody else because it would break up our family. Then that would be my fault too.

The sex was my fault just because I was a girl and had a female body which made men want to do things to it. Bad things that you weren’t supposed to do until you were married. What did all those lies tell me? That the sexual abuse was my fault because I was bad. I was also told I was worthless for anything but as a sex object for my dad – not for anyone else, just for my dad. He was a very jealous person. I couldn’t wear shorts any where but at home because some man might see me and want me. I was 11 years old when he started telling me this garbage. I didn’t know that he was telling me lies. I bought it as the truth and in so doing I accepted his shame as mine.


Patricia, I am so ANGRY at your dad for all those evil things he did, and said, to you. I want to take the little 11-year-old girl and SAVE her from that evil.

My husband and I have an Australian Cattle Dog that we rescued 4 years ago. She had been abused and abandoned as a puppy, then adopted and taken back to the no-kill rescue organization, “many, many times” during the 6 months they had her, until we got her. She is perfect for my husband and me, for, like the 2 of us, she have PTSD. She still has terrible nightmares and sobs in her sleep, then cries and growls and moans when we wake her up from the bad dreams and pet her, it’s like she’s trying to tell us all about her terrible experiences. She startles easily, and there are certain words, certain movements, things, and places, that obviously cause her “flashback” to a terrible traumatic memory. (Hence, her “bad behavior” that caused so many people to not want to keep her.)

Our Lady is “just a dog,” but we adore her and spoil her and love her so much. We wouldn’t dream of ever doing anything to hurt her in any way; in fact, we have gone to a lot of trouble to NOT hurt or worry her, as we’ve learned the things that upset her. Just the thought of breaking her sweet, innocent, trusting, and totally dependant little heart is just… heartbreaking. How could anyone have ever abused or rejected her?

But, she is “just a dog.” As precious as our pets can be to us, our children, ALL children, are even more precious. Sweet, innocent, trusting, and totally dependant. 11-year-old Patricia, 12-year-old Lynda, and all of the children who have ever been abused, neglected, unloved, traumatized… I wish my arms were big enough to hold and heal them ALL.

With Love,


Lynda, thank you. I want to do the same for you as a child – take you in my arms and hold you and love you when you write about your mother. Both of our parents were very toxic.

Your sweet dog is very blessed to have you and your husband as “parents”. I don’t understand the mentality that harms animals or children. How can a person be so heartless. I have a special bonds with dogs. I don’t know why. They just seek me out. I love dogs and cats both. Dogs teach you about unconditional love and cats teach you about independence. You own a dog but a cat owns its person.


Hi, It was the first time yesterday that I have ever really spoken openly about my childhood,I think that in its self is a great relief and thank you all so much for your replies. What really niggles me still is that I feel so dumb for not realizing before now what a terrible mother my mother and other family members have always been, why didn’t I see it before now, I guess I must of been in the fog for a long time, the realization has made me see how clearly my family are dysfunctional, why did I allow myself to be sucked up in their vacuum of chaos and abnormalities for so long..and trying to work out how can my own flesh and blood turn their backs on me forever. that hurt a lot.

Lynda you really made me think with your comments about my post, sometimes things on here that people say can sound so obvious at the time but until they are pointed out they never occurred to me, I guess that is coming out of the fog and a aha moment that Darlene often talks about. when you said Lynda that family members have different roles , I immediately recognized that characteristic in my family and I think my mom treats us all very differently, in fact the only similarity at the moment is my mom has almost disowned us all, apart from the youngest and I think that’s because she never talks back, she is like a little mouse and my mom always has to be friends with one daughter but she cant seem to manage more than one at a time and has a habit of turning one sister against another, if my mom isn’t talking to one family member she expects you to be loyal to her and not to talk to that family member as well, its like walking on eggshells as my mom spends all her time paranoid that you will repeat something she has said about the family member she isn’t talking to and it all becomes very complex, which is in fact pathetic.

Darlene, I think it is best that I do not keep trying to work out if I was sexually abused or not,you are right,It will never get me anywhere although deep down I now do believe that my mom and dad did sexually abuse my sisters. The not knowing what happened to me as a child messed me up for years but I am getting more clarity on that now and dealing with the fact that my parents are dysfunctional, that realization alone gives me enough working ground to hopefully move forward on recovering from all this turmoil

One more thing I would like to add and I am not making excuses for my mom but my moms mother is very neurotic and dysfunctional, I really do believe this kind of mentality was passed down to my mom, I guess that’s why it is important for us all to break these chains of abuse so others don’t suffer like we have. I am sorry if my story was not a easy read yesterday but everything just poured out so quickly I forgot to use paragraphs..haha.! xoxo


Patricia, thank you! And we are equally blessed to have our Lady. Having an animal to love is very healing. My husband is like Dr. Doolittle, all animals seek him out. Cats included, cats and dogs are drawn to Stan and me both, but we are both very allergic to cats, and our Lady-dog wants to chase them, so, no cats for us. 🙁


Thanks Darlene!
Timing Perfect!
Wanda Winters -Guiterrez posted this on my Fb wall!
This has been my life in all areas!
Just came out of it again!
Combining past victims can also cause this to repeat especially when empathy & isolation is used!
I thought I had broken it but found I haven’t for this I’m responsible especially as a role model to my children!
The cost on my body has been high, chemical breakdown, hair loss etc!
Also on my Family & relationship with God!
This time when I stood my ground, I now have people who believe & supporting me!
Forgiving me & letting go of repeating in my head has been the hardest to do!
Learning to love me as God does & receiving it!
Thankyou to all who have posted it’s encouraging to know I’m not alone!


Sally, you wrote: “What really niggles me still is that I feel so dumb for not realizing before now what a terrible mother my mother and other family members have always been, why didn’t I see it before now. I guess I must of been in the fog for a long time….”

ME, TOO!! I am less than 2 months away from my 58th birthday and I am STILL coming out of that fog!

I used to feel really stupid about that, too. But now I understand that I didn’t see the full reality of the terrible abuse, insanity, and dysfunction in my family for so many years, because that was MY NORMAL. It’s like growing up in Nigeria, the languqage that is spoken there is normal to you, it’s what you learn, and if later in life you move to an English-speaking country, your Nigerian language is not going to work for communication there… and the English language is going to sound really weird to you, while your Nigerian will sound just as weird to the English-speakers.

I grew up learning the language of abuse. I learned that I was being verbally berated, and physically abused, “for my own good.” The big tall strong adults, who knew everything and could do everything, told me that I was the problem, I was the bad one; they told me that I was bringing my hurt on myself, “making my own bed and lying in it,” “reaping what I had sown,” etc. When my first husband was physically beating me, and I told my mother, looking (stupid me) for a little sympathy or helpful advise from her, she snapped back: “I KNOW he hits you, he told me that himself, and I told him that I don’t blame him one bit! If you are going to act like a spoiled child, you should be SPANKED like a spoiled child…” (That was my first clue that my mother and my husband were getting much too friendly behind my back.)

So, yes, abuse was “normal” to me. It hurt like hell, which means really that hell was “normal” to me. When I was about 8 or 9 an elderly woman stopped to talk to me when I was playing by myself in the church parking lot, waiting for my parents to come out of the church, they were talking to people following the service like they always did. Anyway, this elderly woman said to me, “Honey, I just have to tell you how sorry I feel for you, for having the mother you do. I hear her screaming at you children from more than a block away. I don’t know how you stand it. I just wish there were something I could do to help you poor children..”

I remember that I looked at her in open-mouthed astonishment. I didn’t speak ~ I didn’t know WHAT to say! This elderly woman whom I didn’t even know, was telling me that I had a terrible mother! I couldn’t begin to wrap my mind around the truth of what she was saying. My mother, WAS MY NORMAL.

Another big reason that I couldn’t see my mother’s extreme craziness and abuse in a clear light, was because she wasn’t ALWAYS horrible. She could be nice, she could joke around and be really funny, she could say and do loving things at times…. she used to let me lick the extra batter from the big yellow bowl when she was baking cookies or cake, and I loved doing that. She would tell me interesting stories from her childhood, and she made me her confidante from a very young age, which made me feel so special and important. There was always some GOOD, mixed in with all the very BAD…. very confusing.

I still grieve, at times, the good that I had with my mother. But the bad outweighed the good by such a huge amount, that it just wasn’t worth trying to keep having a relationship with her. Still, although I moved several hundred miles away from her in 1974, and have lived far away ever since, I continued to try, off and on throughout the years, to reach out and have a good relationship with my mother, through phone calls, letters, and me going to visit every chance I got. And I kept trying to be the daughter that she wanted me to be, so that she would LIKE me at long last… because when I was growing up, my mother often told me: “I love you, of course, because you are my daughter. But I just don’t LIKE you.” She always said this with a big virtuous smile on her face, as though she were feeling very saintly for managing to love someone as unloveable as me. I never saw the evil behind those words, either, until recently, I always saw the problem as being something inherently unloveable in ME. So I tried harder and harder to win my mother’s approval… I even went to nursing school, solely because when I was growing up my mother often told me she wanted me to be a nurse. I was elected class president of my nursing school class, I graduated at the very top of the class, grade-wise, I sent my mother an invitation to my graduation, and it was the first, and the ONLY time, that my mother ever made a trip out to see ME, all these years, I was the one who always went to visit her. So I made her proud for that one day, but as always, her pride in me didn’t last, and she was soon putting me down to the rest of the family….

Yet I kept letting my mother back into my life, over and over and over again. Time would pass, I would miss having a mother, and I would write, or call, or visit, and we would get along for a short while. But, sooner or later, my mother would hurt me with her verbal put downs, and her lies and gossip about me to other family members behind my back, yet again.

I didn’t totally give up trying to have a relationship with my mother until 2006…. when I was 53 years old! Talk about a SLOW LEARNER!

Hugs – Lynda
PS~ When everything gushes out of me, Sally, I forget to write in paragraphs, too. 😉


PS~ I just want to make it clear, in case any of my family should happen to read these comments of mine, which I know that my wonderful aunt, my mother’s only sibling, sometimes does: what I wrote about in comment #11 on this post, about one of my sisters saying that she was sexually abused by our dad ~ my sister did NOT tell me any of that first hand, it was told to me, by another family member, who claimed that this particular sister had told her about our dad sexually abusing her. So, because I didn’t hear the story firsthand, and the one who told me the story has been known to lie… a LOT… I cannot say for sure that it ever happened. However, I do tend to believe it probably did, because our dad was sexually inappropriate with me several times, it just never went nearly as far as I was told that he later did with my younger sister. I was married and living far away from my family or origin by then, so I don’t know firsthand what did, or didn’t happen, between my dad and my sister.

HOWEVER, like Darlene said in an earlier post, the abuse that I do clearly remember, from BOTH parents, was more than enough to break me, and to teach me lies about my own unworthiness. It isn’t in focusing on the details of what did or did not happen in my sick childhood home, but on the lies that I was taught about myself, THAT is what has been helping me to HEAL. I did NOT deserve to be abused or discounted or violated or put down in any way. I did NOT deserve to be lied about and lied to and made to look crazy so that my truth, if it ever came out, would not be believed. I deserved to be loved and cherished and cared for and protected… as much as my sweet Cattle Dog, Lady, is being loved and cherished and cared for and protected. Lady doesn’t have to DO anything special, or BE anything special, to be loved and cared for. She is special to my husband and to me, simply because she exists, and she is ours.

Children deserve to be loved and cared for, for the same reason: simply because they exist, and they are yours. They don’t have to be perfectly well-behaved… our Lady dog certainly isn’t!… they don’t have to be the most brilliant or the most beautiful children in the world, our mixed-breed dog is cute, but also kind of odd-looking, and she isn’t always the brightest bulb in the pack, but we love her just because. I should have had that same kind of unconditional love, too. So should ALL children.


Wow Everyone,
I just got home from the city, and caught up on the comments~ they are amazing! I am really pleased with the depth in this discussion, the honesty and the clarity, the deliberate intention expressed by so many, to get out of the fog!

I really appreciate your comment (#19) more then I can tell you in mere words. I hope that everyone reads it, it is very very good, very helpful, and it really highlights what I am trying to express in my blog post today. Thank you, you are a blessing. I am going to pull some of your comments out (copy them) to post on the Emerging from Broken facebook page for tomorrow. (and for other days I am sure)
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Bonnie,
I can really relate to your comment. When I started to come out of the fog that I was in, I too realized that I was always compromising, that I didn’t even realize that I was compromising because I never really considered what I wanted in the first place. I remembered giving in to the way that my own wedding was going to be done. I just let everyone else be happy.
Thanks for sharing Bonnie, this stuff is hard to sort through, but it really does help to share it,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lynda,
Thanks for sharing the stuff about your mother and the bible teachings. Those are classic examples of spiritual abuse. Using the bible teachings to manipulate, guilt and shame others into doing or not doing what ever it is you want. Teaching kids to feel or not feel a certain way.
I got really good at replying with the other bible verses that expose abuse, control and manipulation for what it really is. That makes people shut up pretty quick. My understanding of the bible today is that it teaches love, grace and equality. Nothing even similar to the power hungry people who shove bible verses down my throat for the purpose of guilting, shaming and judging and controlling me into feeling so bad about myself that I can’t think straight enough to realize that they are wrong.
Thanks for sharing, I love having your hard work here for others to see.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sally;
I think that most of us, when we start to come out of the fog go through that feeling about feeling kind of “dumb” for not realizing it before, but how could we have realized it? I have gone through this many times. It is as though when the fog lifts, it all seems so obvious. But I go easy on myself, as it was said here, all of that was normal to us. The dysfunction was normal.
Hang in here with us Sally, and keep sharing. I am so proud of all the work you are doing and your willingness to share. As you say, it is so important for us to break those chains of the generational abuse we are talking about.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Katy Anne
~ Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
Isolation is a major tactic, thanks for adding it to the list!
Great to have you here, please share often.
Hugs, Darlene


Right on, as always! I have had a rough weekend for this very reason. I am just realizing the depth of the psychological abuse in my family. I am still to emotional and to much in denial to go into it right now. And I am drained from all the emotion I have had this weekend. I’m still getting used to feeling emotions.


@ Lynda – I have read some of your other posts about just how much you have overcome. It seems like you have really truly come a long way and I think many people couldn’t have done it. But you did!

@ Darlene – Thanks for comfirming what I said. Something my mother also said was that I was always changing my mind. And I relate that to what you said, that I haven’t been able to focus on what I want so yeah when I try to that means that I’m changing my mind and then giving in later. Changing back to what others want then hey wait a minute! Back and forth. Makes sense.


Hi Kia,
I am glad that you checked in! This stuff is very hard and goes very deep. Hang in here and share if or when you are ready.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Bonnie
another good point about changing our minds! Most of the time it is because we give in! Very good point.
Hugs, Darlene


Bonnie, as a child when I was being sexually abused by my dad, I thought that I was giving in to the rapes when I was finally talked into submitting. This was another reason that I felt that the sexual abuse was my fault. The reality was that I really didn’t have a choice. My dad made it look like I did but since he never took no as an answer, where was my choice? I tried saying no just about every time that he insisted that we have sex together. I call it sex because it was never making love. What he did to me had absolutely nothing to do with love even though he said he loved me. Love isn’t forcing a child to have sex with you, or an adult either, for that matter. Something else that I didn’t know for a long time is that sex is rape when it is against the will of the other person, even when there is no physically violent acts with it. I said no over and over again and he never listened. He never asked if I wanted it. He told me I did but he never gave me that choice. There were no boundaries. As far as he was concerned I was his and I had no opinion different from what he wanted me to have.

In your situation with your family, in their eyes, you have no right to an opinion different than the one that they want you to have. They continue to beat you down with words and actions that keep you their captive. You are so beaten down that you don’t have a clue what your own opinion is most of the time. When you think you do and you say something different than their belief system, they attack you with words until you get so tired that you just finally give in and do or say what they want. You are continually bombarded by their messages and their control. If you dare to rebel and have your own thoughts, you are verbally attacked more and made to feel crazy.

This whole senario keeps you trapped and afraid to be different than what they want you to be. This is why it is so hard to set healthy boundaries in the beginning of your healing journey. This is why we often get tired of fighting the system and leave or at least cut off as much contact with family as we can. A survivor cannot thrive in this environment.


I just saw on FB where my daughter has friended my sister yesterday.

Because my sister basically abandoned my daughter and I in caring for my terminally ill mother, and my sister had little to nothing to do with my daughter growing up, and said that my daughter and I both had ‘generational curses’ on us, and demons.

I am baffled as to why my daughter wants to have anything to do with my sister OR her daughter because they have both treated my daughter like she wasn’t important to them all of her life. Since mom died they both have contacted my daughter but not me, which is weird.

Again I feel like the odd man out, only this time they are using my daughter to do it.

Will this screwed up family ever just either be civil to everyone in the family, or just leave us alone?

I asked my daughter today if she had friended my sister, and she sent back a very hateful message saying SHE was the one who friended my sister, and WHY did I care, and if I started snooping ‘again’ she would block me……..

Gee things were great Saturday, we had lunch together and things were fine….I feel like I’ve been hit by a TRAIN.


Darlene ~ This so resonated with me today!! The list you gave:
~ They insist on and instigate cover ups, communicating that loyalty and respect is “not talking”
~ Emotional abusers misuse their power in order to get what they want and to have things the way they want them.
~ They misrepresent “right from wrong” teaching false truth out of the desire to control
~ Psychological abusers teach that submission, compliance and obedience are love
~ The power they exert over you is “for your own good”
~ They don’t respect or encourage individuality because that would limit their control
~ Psychololgical abusers demand that we don’t question them and teach that doing so is disrespectful
~ They are always right, they know best
~ They demand that their authority is respected, but they don’t model respect
~ Emotional abusers teach that we have NO value outside the value THEY give us.
~ They do not live by their own teachings and values, rules, or standards
~ Psychological abusers do not live by their own definitions of “respect” “love” or “truth”

All of these were exercised by my mother and siblings as well by some degree – especially when it come to “loyalty and respect is NOT TALKING,” my siblings buy my mother’s lie that, “submission, compliance and obedience are love.” The rest are all VERY true of my mother who has deceived the rest of my family, father & siblings into her wonky and abusive way of thinking!

I read Sally’s posts – if only I could hug you! I always assumed that my mother’s abuse toward me was deserved and I tried constantly to figure out what it was I was doing to deserve it. What started to really wake me up was when I met a man who truly loved me for me – which prompted me to re-evaluate what love really is. I was 26 when I learned what real love is. Then when I started having children is when it really hit! And then when my oldest was four years old, and my mother humiliated me IN MY HOME at MY SON’S BIRTHDAY PARTY is when I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. And then I heard the words (and I’m sure it was God whispering to me), “There is nothing you could ever say and there’s nothing you could ever do to make her love you.” And I knew it was true – I knew it as sure as the air I breathe. This was the beginning of healing for me – 11 years ago. And it’s only been recently that I’ve sought therapy (man, I wish I did this years ago!) – in combination of being rejected also by my father and siblings by their, “we don’t want to hear about it and we don’t want to talk about it” after telling them all in full detail the things my mother did, the healing came hard and fast. I have never felt more free – emancipated. I am finally discovering who I really am and its wonderful!!!


Hi Elizabeth,

You have presented one of the most baffling situations ~ one that over the past few years I have given so much thought to. This is still all about power and control and victim mentality. I have seen this time and time again, where the abused run to the abusers and actually turn away from the one’s helping them. (Over and over I hear stories like this, and it reminds me of the stories men tell about stepping into a fight where a man is hitting a woman, only to be attacked by the woman he is trying to help! ) It is based on the belief that the strongest person is the one that will keep them the safest or the love of the abusive person is worth more. As though the most powerful person’s love is the love that will define them as loveable. Does that make sense? (well I know it doesn’t make ANY sense, but it is this way anyway!) It is very hard to understand.

I am so sorry that you are going through this turmoil with your daughter now. You are not alone, this is not uncommon, as nasty as that is!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Paulette,
You wrote ~ “Constantly trying to figure out what **I** was doing to deserve this” That is our story, that is how we learn to function, and that is how everyone around a controller / abuser learns to function because they too have such a fear of the controller’s rejection. Round and round it goes! We were already rejected; I finally asked myself how much worse can it get?? I have stood up to psychological abuse where the person stopped doing it, and was willing to work on our relationship. With my mother, she was not willing to work on it so then came the dreaded rejection… but when I stood up to her, like you I found out that it was actually BETTER when she wasn’t around to squish me all the time! I never realized that there was a good side to “rejection”. There is so often freedom waiting on the other side!
Thanks for being here!
hugs, Darlene


Beautifully SAID, Darlene!! hugs, back!! 🙂


ELIZABETH ~ I am going thru the EXACT SAME THING with my daughter, and my sister. And yes it is BAFFLING, and yes it HURTS BAD.

My only daughter is 36, divorced, and a mother of 2 children, a 19-year-old lovely girl who is in her first year of college, and a 13-year-old precious loving sweet boy who was born severely handicapped, cognitively he is not expected to ever go beyond the mentality of a one year old child.

My daughter and I were always close, with the exception of her teen years, when she became extremely rebellious, and even physically abusive toward me, when I told her she could not go out with her friends one Saturday until she had laundered the outfit of mine that she had worn and left in the floor of her room without my permission, that was the outfit I was planning to wear that day, and Lord knows she had plenty of nice clothes of her own… when I gave her that ultimatimum, to launder my outfit and only THEN could she could out with her friends, she was 13 at the time, sitting on her bed, I was standing by her bed, and then she kicked me, hard, right in the stomach!!! I was shocked beyond belief! This happened a few weeks after my then-husband, her stepfather, had beat me so bad that I had a broken nose, fractured jaw, and a serious concussion, and now my own daughter is kicking me in the gut! I told her to get out of my house… and she did, and went to her friend’s house, and lied and said that I had kicked her in the stomach!!!….. shades of my mother’s behavior, right there, by projecting onto ME, the thing that SHE had done. So her friend’s mother felt sorry for her and let her stay there for awhile, and to this day I am sure they still believe the lie my daughter told so many years ago.

Anyway, that was way back in the late 1980s, that all that happened. Since then, I thought that my daughter and I had repaired our relationship, and were close, often talking on the phone for hours, as she poured out her heart to me about what it was like for HER to go through a divorce, and to be in an abusive relationship, and to have to deal with a sometimes rebellious teenage daughter, and all the stress she has gone through with her severely handicapped young boy…. over the years, with all that my daughter has gone through in her own life, I thought she had come to a place where she understood me better, understood why I had tried to lay down the law to her that day when she was 13 and I found my outfit for the day, crumpled and dirty on her bedroom floor….. although my daughter has never, in all these years, said, “Mom, I’m sorry I kicked you in the stomach, and then lied and told everyone that you had kicked me in the stomach..” although she has never corrected this misbelief with the friend she stayed with for a while back then, who is now one of her fb friends, and occsasionally posts things on my daughter’s wall that is a subtle slam toward me, the ogre mother she obviously still believes I am…. I can understand my daughter not wanting to admit to her friend, after all these years, that the truth is that SHE kicked ME, I never ever ever kicked HER….

Anyway, all that happened so long ago, and we were getting along so well during our visits and talks on the phone, so I just let it all go, didn’t look for an apology or for her setting the record straight with people, even though God knows I have apologized many times to my daughter for the many ways in which I had been a better, less broken and CRAZY mother….

But, a few months ago, one of my sisters, WHOM MY DAUGHTER HAS NEVER EVER MET IN PERSON, because the whole family has been estranged for so many years and I have lived far away from my family of origin since the year my daughter was born, 1974…. this sister got on FB and accepted my friend request, and she also friended all of my friends and family that I had on fb. I was so thrilled to have this chance to get to know my now-51-year-old sister, who was just 13 or 14 when I moved several hundred miles away, and has never really gotten to know me, nor me to know her, because she was born when I was 7 and then I was forced out of the house by our mother when I was 14.

So, my sister and I were posting nice sweet friendly comments to each other on fb, and I was so happy…. and then one day in my newsfeed I see some comments that my sister had posted to one of her friends about me, her eldest sister Lynda, and in those comments she told her friend, someone I don’t know, that I have PTSD, and I am “weird,” and that it is “no big loss”, the fact that I am not around the family. Then a niece, the 20-something daughter of another sister of mine, posted on there that she would not friend me because I give her “bad vibes.” This niece has met me in person once, 10 years ago at a family reunion. Our interaction at that reunion was friendly but brief, as there were a lot of people and things going on.

I waas absolutely DEVASTATED by those comments that were being posted so openly on fb, by my sister and niece. Both my sister and niece had posted nothing but sweet nice things, when they were posting directly to me, and I had posted lots of nice loving complimentary things to both of them, even to the niece who had not friended me. I was so happy for the chance to get to know the family that my mother had driven me out of so many years ago….. but my mother has so poisoned them all against me, and reading what they were saying about me ‘behind my back,” was a huge trigger of PAIN for me, it reopened all the old wounds that go all the way back to when I was a little girl and my mother would tell me, “I love you, of course, because you are my daughter, but I don’t like you.” And when I would ask WHy she didn’t like me, hoping to be able to fix whatever was wrong with me, my mother would say, “It’s just YOU, it’s just the way you are. It’s the way you THINK.” !! How in the hell does a little girl fix THAT? AND, how in the hell did my mother know what I was THINKING?

Then, when my mother put me in an insane asylum, in 1967 when I was 14, right after she married my stepdad, when she told me, “No house is big enough for two women..” Well, then, my whole family learned that Lynda is INSANE, and therefore, UNWORTHY of such things as common courtesy, respect, love, kindness, caring, empathy. First they break you, then they hate you for being broken, and then, society puts a huge stigma on you for being broken/CRAZY.

When I read my sister’s and niece’s comments about me on facebook last October, I was so devastated. I went into a deep dark depression. All my feelings of being unworthy and unwanted and unloved and not good enough to be loved, came flooding back.

I posted on my sister’s and niece’s comments, letting them know that I could see them, that they were on my newsfeed, I did not go looking for them by any means, and I let them know that I was deeply hurt. My sister responded, not by apologizing, not by posting anything directly to me, but by posting to her friend, on that same thread that was showing up in my newsfeed: “Well I didn’t know that anyone else would see this, I thought only my friend would see this. I said to my mother, “I bet you were wondering how long it would be before something like this would happen,” haha…..

The implication being that she and our mother both agree that having any kind of communication with Lynda is asking for trouble. HELLO?? Who was too stupid to realize that things you post on your friend’s wall will show up on your other friends newsfeed? And who was the Bitch posting hateful comments about her sister???? Who was the troublemaker…. ME?

They hurt you, and then they blame you for being hurt….

So, OK, I unfriended my sister. Didn’t have to unfriend the niece, as she had never accepted my friend request in the first place. NOW, I am not so petty as to expect all of my other fb friends and relatives to unfriend this sister, or this niece. BUT, when I see things in my newsfeed, where my daughter is posting compliments on my hateful sister’s pictures and things, and then my daughter is telling my hateful sister “I love you,” and my hateful sister is telling my daughter “I love you too”…………… and my daughter and sister have NEVER met in person, they live 2,000 miles apart, and they have only ever had any contact with each other since last October, when they met, thru me, on facebook…. and after I had talked at length with my daughter on the phone about HOW BAD my sister and niece’s comments hurt me, and my daughter is acting on fb like nothing is wrong, while my sister and niece openly post hateful degrading comments about her mom…. and she LOVES THEM…. ugh. THAT FREAKING HURTS.

THEN I got mad at myself, told myself that I am a BIG BABY for “letting” this hurt me. I should just not care… it’s nothing to me, if my daughter has no more loyalty nor love for me than this. Why should I care?

I will not unfriend my daughter, but what I did do, was “hide” her on my newsfeed, so that I never again have to read what she is posting. I still love my daughter, and would still lay down my life to save her life, if she needs it. BUT… I no longer feel loved by my daughter. I no longer feel close to her. I no longer feel the desire to talk to her on the phone or to go visit her. I no longer trust her.

And that hurts.

Hugs to you, Elizabeth, and to everyone here~


Lynda – here’s a great post from the late Kathy Krajco on Forgiveness. Personally, I believe anger is a good thing for victims – it shows our self-esteem coming back & the brainwashing wearing off.

I have a question for anyone out there who can answer it. I would like to know why therapists – yes, therapists, not just preachers – think that a victimized person must forgive in order to heal.

To keep things from getting all fogged up, we must be clear on what we mean by forgiveness.

The word has a definite meaning: it is forgiving a portion of the debt incurred by the offender as your ante in a mutual act of reconciliation.

But the word is suffering a terrible bout of bastardization these days, having the guts torn out of it by being used as vague codeword for somehow managing to “stop hungering and thirsting for justice,” for somehow “erasing your anger.”

Woops, I forgot. Justice sounds too good in this context, I must call it revenge instead.

But, anyway, please be sure to identify which kind of forgiveness you mean if you explain why therapists instruct their patients to forgive.

A couple related questions, just to make sure we all heal good.

Let’s say that a malignant narcissist tells me today that she is going to ruin my life tomorrow. Must I forgive her today? Or may I at least wait until tomorrow?

Now, hopefully, we can presume that the therapist would cut me a little slack and say that it would be understandable if I wait awhile, simply because it would be very hard to forgive the offense in advance. But I would sure like to know what the preacher’s answer is.

Because you know what I’m going to ask next then, right? If I am morally obligated to forgive, I’m as morally obligated to forgive today as tomorrow.

Which could be problematic.

Like what about a crime in progress? I’m morally obligated to forgive it, right?

What does that mean? Like, I am under assault by someone committing assault-and-battery against me, and I must sign off on the debt he will owe me when he finishes damaging me? I must “give away my anger”? I must therefore put down that baseball bat and stop defending myself, right?

Well, let’s say the malignant narcissist has already ruined my life. She destroyed a $50,000 professional career (the cost of a college education), calumniating me so badly that I can’t get a job anywhere but at the checkout in a convenience store.

She did it 10 years ago. Which means that the malignant narcissist has by now racked up a debt of $500,000 ($50,000 a year). Plus interest. Plus punitive damages.

But I’m a bad person who fails to “heal” if I haven’t forgiven her by now, right?

But let’s say I do forgive her now. Am I not forgiving a crime in progress? The ruining of my life? Yes, the crime is in progress until she restores my good name, and she never will. So, am I not forgiving the $50,000 she will be stealing from me next year, and the next, and the next, until I die?

Am I not then forgiving her in advance? And I’m a bad person if I don’t do so? We must forgive without restitution of stolen property?

I think I’m beginning to get it. This “forgiveness” business is just “letting her get away with it.”

Now, it’s one thing to be unable to do anything about it, and quite another thing to be required to do nothing about it.

I feel like Huck Finn. I say, “All right, I’ll go to Hell.” I am going to be a bad person and keep biding my time, hungering and thirsting for justice, reminding myself like Hamlet did that there is justice to be done, a wrong to set right, waiting for an opportunity to get my money and put her behind bars. It’s bad enough to be unable to do so, but don’t try to tell me that I have no right to want to do so.

And I just noticed that “healing” rhymes with “feeling,” so it’s easy to see why fogheads get the two confused. Healing is just not feeling that hunger and thirst and anger anymore, right?

Because the therapist says that my feelings are what’s hurting me, my feelings are what make me feel bad – not the punches or the poverty.

Aye, laddies, THERE’s the pathology! It’s those pathological feelings of mine! I must numb them.

So, I get it now: forgiveness is like a drug, a pain-killer.

A mental one. It amounts to “acting like it didn’t happen.”

Yes, let’s play Pretend.

All gone. I feel fine now.

That’s all you have to do to make a $500,000 crime go away. Just make nothing of it.

Ruining my life was nothing.

But what if she has just taken a sledge-hammer to my car instead? Would the therapist and the preacher say doing that was nothing, too?

I don’t think so. I think they’d say I should get an estimate of the damages for her to pay. Because a car is a thing of value. So, destroying it is not nothing.

You know what I am going to ask them now, don’t you? I’m going to ask them why they are dehumanizing me, devaluing me all the way to absolute zero, by saying that destroying my car is destroying a thing of value but destroying me is nothing.

Though I must forgive her, she need not ask for my forgiveness. She need not give me back my good name or pay even a portion of the damages. She need not even say she’s sorry. She need not even admit that it was wrong for her to do that. She need not even admit that she did it!

How come I am the only one who incurs a debt through her deed? I owe her forgiveness, and she owes me nothing.

Indeed, she need not even promise never to do it again.

Like that guy committing assault and battery against me. He does that about once a week. But I must forgive him 70 times 70 times without him ever even promising to stop doing it?

Well then, let’s add this up. If it was nothing when she or he did it yesterday, it would be nothing if she or he does it tomorrow too. No penalty = no damages. Or, as we say in sports “No harm/no foul” = carte blanche = I am letting them do that to me.


The reason I yelled that is because someone with total contempt for logic, who thinks you negate a truth by simply flatly denying it, is sure to say that I am not letting them do that, as if that is a valid argument in answer. Which is exactly as valid as thinking that you prove the sky is purple simply by saying that it is.

(Psst, if your genetic instincts for survival are so anesthetized that they haven’t informed you yet, I have news: some folks are amoral, like precisely the folks who attack you for no reason, so hitting back is the only way to make them stop attacking you. Yes, I’m afraid ’tis so. Sorry, their amorality doesn’t take away my right to protect myself from them: it gives me the right to whack them.)

By serially forgiving the serial offender I am letting them offend me, because I am doing nothing to put a stop to it. I am doing nothing to discourage them from doing it more or again. I am not protecting myself. I am not defending myself. This conduct flies in the face of the instinct for self-preservation and therefore violates the Laws of Nature as a perversion of human nature.

That’s of all things “healing”? I’d say it sounds more like self-masochism.

Yeah for forgiveness! A great idea invented and loved by all the bad guys in Hell.

By forgiving every offense – for no reason other than that it was committed and hurts me – I am letting them hurt me! Pardon my incredulity at such craziness. That allows me no more rights than his punching bag has. I mean, to be a good girl, I must thus serve myself up on a platter (the literal meaning of be-tray) and deliver myself up to continued victimization = I must bend over it.

Yes, that will make me like myself a lot. I’m being sarcastic, of course. I see that I must thus make me hate myself instead of my abuser. Because I will for sure hate myself for being such an abject worm who just lays down like a doormat to be trampled like that.

And any HUMAN being, any therapist or preacher with one drop of empathy/humanity in them, knows that. How callous of these “caring” people to tell us we’re bad if we don’t prostrate ourselves to abuse this way – something that makes any man, woman, or child feel so self-degraded that they hate themselves ever after.

How faithful of me to me. But what happens to your relationship with anyone who betrays you to harm or abuse? Then what happens to your relationship with yourself when you betray yourself?

I’d like to know how any therapist thinks that would be good for a person.

Now for some sanity.

The problem with feelings, like hunger and thirst for justice, anger, and sorrow is NOT that they hurt. They are emotional pain. If you repress them to the subconscious, they drive your behavior from there, without your awareness of what’s driving your behavior. You have done nothing but slam the lid down tight on a pressure cooker.

That’s when they can explode so you that do do something wrong.

If you accept, own, go through your feelings, like any pain they pass.

In fact, THAT’S the problem as Hamlet discovered. As time passes, so does the pain. THAT’S healing.

And when the pain of the emotion of anger passes, so does the motivation to right that wrong. So, like Hamlet, you must give yourself a pep talk every now and then to remind yourself that there is justice to be done, a better life to reclaim, and that you should never give up, never surrender, never resign yourself to defeat. Never, never, never. That you must never quit waiting for an opportunity to set the world right-side-up again.

Anyone who thinks that’s bad should try thinking right-side-up.

Because forgiveness is for the repentant. To hand it out to the unrepentant is like going up to your neighbor on trash-collection day and saying, “Here, I’ll trade you this 12-carrot diamond ring for that little baggie of doggie-do.”

It makes a mockery of something sacred and precious.


Thank you, Barbara. Great, thought-provoking post.

BTW, after I posted my last comment to Elizabeth about my daughter and my sister’s odd fb friendship, which is so similar to her situation, I went back and reread my comment and was horrified by all the typos and mistakes… when I’m very emotional, my writing gets so sloppy. But what bothered me the most in all my typos, was where I said that my daughter and sister, whom have never met face to face, live 2,000 miles apart. That was a typo, they live more like 1,200 miles apart.

Which doesn’t make any difference to any of the readers here, I know, BUT, like Darlene so astutely stated in one of her previous posts, the people who are against us, who find fault with us and put us down, they LOOK for little insignificant errors like that, and they POUNCE on them and say, “SEE, she’s WRONG, she’s CRAZY, nothing she says is true.” And we feel we have to be ultra-careful not to get anything the least bit wrong, because they will use that to make us WRONG about EVERYTHING. It’s all part of the abuser’s never-ending game of One-Up-Manship.


@ Bonnie: THANK YOU for comment #33. XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO


But Lynda,
We know that those accusations don’t count anymore. We know that typos prove nothing. When we have to be so careful that we can’t relax in case they find proof that they are right, and we are crazy, the still have control over us. Don’t sweat about this stuff.. we don’t have to live like that anymore. They don’t get to say all that to us anymore because they are simply wrong. We are not the ones who are crazy. AND we don’t have to play by those rules anymore!
Hugs, Darlene


I LOVE you, Darlene!!! And you are SO RIGHT.

My biggest enemy these days is ME. I still catch myself beating myself up….. for a BIG example, I tell myself, “If I had been a better mother to my daughter when she was growing up, then she would love me enough and respect me enough to be loyal to me, so that she would, at the very least, SAY SOMETHING to my sister about how wrong she was in posting those hateful things about me, her mom.”

I was broken by my childhood… took my broken self into a marriage to escape my hateful childhood home at the age of 16, to an 18-year-old whom I had met less than 2 months before we married, not knowing that he didn’t “love” me, but only wanted a wife to avoid being drafted to Vietnam, in 1970, when a wife and child could get you deferred from the draft… and in my marriage, I was beaten many times, beginning less than a month after our marriage, kicked in my pregnant belly by his steel-toed work boots, cheated on many times, including him and my then 30-something mother getting way too close, I caught her sitting on his lap on my 17th birthday… so by jumpng from the frying pan of my childhood home, straight into the fire of an abusive marriage, and then from that abusive marriage, to an even MORE abusive second marriage… by the time my kids were born, I was a broken crazy miserable DEEPLY DEPRESSED M.E.S.S….

So, yeah, in my pain and brokenness and craziness and ingorance, etc, I wasn’t the greatest mother. I would lose my temper at times over stupid stuff, spank too hard sometimes, cry and be tempermental, all that stuff that I CRINGE to remember now. OH how I wish I could go back and undo all of that! But I can’t, I can only go forward from today, at the age of almost 58, and try to set a better example to my 3 grown children and my grandchildren, by healing and growing and setting healthy boundaries.

I know in my head that I did the best I could with what I had as a young, very broken mother. I know in my head that beating myself up endlessly today for past mistakes doesn’t help anyone, and only hurts me and keeps me stuck in brokenness. BUT, when I get rejected by my loved ones… my eldest son, who will be 40 this year, at first refused to friend me on fb, then he finally friended me, then I went off of fb for a while several months ago, in my hurt of seeing what my sister and niece were posting about me… then after searching online for help, and finding this great Emerging From Broken blog, I started to get better and feel braver and so I went back on fb around the first of the year, and I sent my eldest son a friend request, but once again he hasn’t accepted it.

I know in my heart of hearts that I was never even 1/10th as abusive toward any of my kids, as my parents, my mother especially, was to me. I know in my heart of hearts that I would lay down my life to save any one of my kids or grandkids, while my mother would do just the opposite, it was always about saving her hide FIRST, at the EXPENSE of her kids, usually of me, as the eldest.

Darlene, I realized something just this minute…. WOW, and AHA moment!! When I was a kid, I looked for validation, for love and worth, from my parents. When I didn’t get it from them, I felt worthless, unloved, and unloveable. Then when I went into marriage/adult relationships, I loved for validation, for love and worth, from a man. When the I didn’t get it from my now-exes, I felt worthless, unloved, and unloveable.

And NOW, I am looking for validation, for love and worth, from my grown children. I get it from my youngest son, all the time… he is 30. He loves and respects and validates me as his mother, and I do the same for him as my son. But my eldest son, and now my daughter, they haven’t been giving me that validation, love, and worth…. and I have been allowing their attitudes towards ME, to define ME, just like I let my parents sick attitudes towards me define me, and then I let my abusive ex husband’s attitude towards me define me….

Wow. I need to sit and ponder this one….

You know what always gave the abusers in my life, POWER over me? The fact that they were right in saying that I had faults. The fact that they were right in saying that I was not perfect. The fact that they were right in saying that sometimes I made mistakes.

But NO human being is without faults. NO human being is perfect. NO human being goes through life without ever making any mistakes. The faults, imperfections, and mistakes of my abusers were always so much WORSE than mine, because I never went around trying to hurt other people on purpose. NEVER! Quite the OPPOSITE!

But all they had to do was point out the TRUTH that Lynda was Not Perfect… not a perfect daughter, not a perfect wife, not a perfect mother… and I accepted all the shame and all the blame and all the worthlessness that the abusers and the invalidators dished out.

Wow. It’s time to for me to stand up and say ENOUGH, even to the grown children that I was an imperfect mother to. I did the best I could, I never hurt any of them on purpose, I would do anything to undo any hurt I’ve caused any of them, even to the point of laying down my life to save any one of theirs. If that isn’t good enough for them, that’s tough. I will NOT go around beating myself up with guilt and shame any longer. I will NOT blame myself for anything that is wrong in my grown children’s lives any longer. I mean, Good Grief, if I can get as healthy as I have gotten, despite the HELL of my childhood… then getting over my mistakes as their broken but LOVING mom, should be a piece of cake!



PS~ I just read my last post to my best-friend-husband, and he said: “You ARE the perfect wife, because you love and cherish me. None of your petty faults or mistakes matter to me at all, they don’t even count. Your deep love and appreciation for me makes you PERFECT in my eyes.” Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww.


PPS~ But the bottom line is, I need to look to MYSELF for validation, not to anyone else, not even to my loving youngest son and my loving husband of almost-7 years. So long as I am looking to OTHERS to define my worth, then it can become a contest: Two out of my three children do not value me, so I must be worthless. Only ONE of the men I’ve been married to or intimately involved with valued me, so I must be worthless. It becomes a numbers game, when I look to even my validators for validation, and in the numbers game, I still lose.

I Believe: that I am a one-of-a-kind, God Original, made by the Creator, in his image. I believe that God values and loves me, and if God be for me, who can be against me? No One can ever separate me from the love of my Father God.

I Believe that I am of equal value to every other person. I have just as much of a right to exist, and anyone else does. I have just as much of a right to be treated with common courtesy, respect, kindness, and consideration, as does any other imperfect human being.

I Believe that God and me agree that I am worthy of love, worthy of kindness, worthy of forgiveness, worthy of compassion. Like Darlene says, Nobody else gets to decide my worth. Nobody else gets to define me. I am taking my life back.


Lynda – on post #46 – sounds like that man’s a keeper!! 🙂 My husband is a dear too – now that I’m in therapy, he is starting to understand things a bit more – about why I am the way I am in some ways. So awesome having understanding, and in my case as well – patient, spouses!! 🙂

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your post #47!! The Lord is Good … only He can take the crap in our lives and turn it into something good, some way, somehow! Awesome!!


Darlene–you wrote “I had become so confused in believing that I wasn’t’ good enough and so brainwashed that I believed that unless they agreed that I was worth it, and validated that I was worth loving, then I wasn’t.” and this is a huge part of recovering for me. To finally have some tiny semblance of “im worthy” in my own eyes, was the most important part of healing for me, and without it, nothing else would have ever happened on my healing journey. There are times I still want that approval, that love that never was. or some kind of acknowledgment, apology, something….but I know in reality, wish in one hand and sh*t in the other and see which fills up faster…is really the truth, because pigs will fly before any wrong is admitted. The confusing thing for me is “was it really intentional? did I contribute to it somehow (by isolating myself away from everyone else rather than participating when the opportunity presented itself)? did my family life (many sibilings, multiple divorces from my mom during my childhood, constant moving from one place to another, my mom having to work two or more jobs) inadvertently cause some of this to seem worse than it is? Did my early history (being premature and not having any physical contact for about the first four months of life) set me up for the isolation and mistrust that I felt my entire life and having a naturally distant relationship from my parents and siblings that allowed the abuse to be more easily perpetrated and it really wasnt “anyone’s fault” (I was never physically/sexually abused by anyone in my family) and maybe my parents really were doing “the best they could” and I just fell through the cracks and I am faulting them for things they couldnt change (due to their own issues, lack of finances, whatever other circumstances) and really they werent trying to be so harsh and judgmental and mean and “causing or allowing” abuse and I just know the effect that it had makes it seem abusive, when in reality the intent was never that way?

How do you know? Does it really matter? I mean ultimately in the end, somehow, somewhere I didnt feel valuable enough to talk about my abuse with my family when it happened or maybe things would have turned out differently after the fact, and whatever caused THAT belief, is their fault, even if the abuse itself wasnt. Thats true right?

So maybe I cant blame them specifically for the abuse, but I can blame them for the belief system that allowed me to think the abuse was something acceptable and that I wasnt “good enough” to be treated better by anyone. I cant expect apologies for beliefs that they may not even know they have, and really blame doesnt do much good either in the end.

What does the most good is loving myself and being “good enough” for me and being loved by people who accept me and care about me and are actively trying NOT to hurt me. That’s when the change comes…and its the HARDEST thing in the entire world to actually do, hands down.

Some days my heart hurts for the life I didnt have and the one that has resulted from that, but once that pain passes, I have a renewed desire to do whatever I can to heal, so that I never feel that way again, and so that my children never feel that way, and their children never feel that way and no one in my family ever questions for one second if they are loved or if they are “good enough” because they KNOW they are, without a doubt.


Lynda–your post (#46) made me smile. My husband said something similar to me the other day too..we actually had two very similar conversations over the last few days that have made a huge impact on our relationship in a positive way (at least I think so)

We had our first session of marriage counseling, with my therapist that I have been seeing individually for two years, which wasnt how it was supposed to work (she was going to refer us to one of her colleagues, but decided to take us on–she doesnt do marital therapy usually, which is why she wasnt sure it would be best for her to do it initially) but that part of it actually worked out best, because Im horribly mistrustful of people in general and we may have been in marriage counseling a year before I could actually open up to a new therapist! It took me almost a year to even mention my abuse to this therapist I have now, so it was really good to feel comfortable with the person who was going to be working with us as a couple, it made things SOOOOO much easier on my end.

Anyways, that was totally off topic, but it made the actual conversation that IS the topic possible. Our first “assignment” was to separately write down the top three things we admire most about our spouse and the one thing we wanted to work together on changing in our relationship.

one of the things my husband put for his “I admire about her” things, was that he admired how I had always loved him and the kids unconditionally no matter what they did or didnt do or messed up or whatever, he knew that I was there for him always and “had his back” and that he really loved me for that…and then the next day, I was able to bring up a subject that I had been avoiding for a good eh, five years at least…the extreme amount of insecurity I have about how I “measure up” to his ex girlfriend (who he was planning to marry years ago…long before we met) and I was EXTREMELY relieved to find out that the one thing he admires most about me, is the reason he isnt with her today. She didnt love him unconditionally like I do, and thats why they arent together, so to know that the ONE thing that I do best is what matters most to him, and it is more important than all the things I screw up, and is the ONE thing that she didnt do, makes me obviously better than her as a wife in his eyes, which was HUGE for me.

So I really got a lot of self confidence and see my value in my marriage a lot more than I did a week ago, and that has been fantastic for me personally. I know that we arent supposed to “value ourselves based on how others see us” but in my marriage, I have never felt like I was a “good wife” which is entirely based on how he sees me, because Im not married to myself, so if he sees me as a good wife and I feel like Im doing the best I can, then ok Im a good wife. If he sees me as a bad wife and I am still doing the best I can, then ok maybe Im not the best wife, but this is as good as you can get, so we need to deal with it somehow (which is where I assumed we were at this point in our marriage) or he sees me as a bad wife and I see me as a bad wife, then we are up sh*t creek. So thats why it was so important to me, it let me see that I saw me through his eyes, much differently than he sees me through his eyes, so it validated my worth to him, which made me feel much better about our relationship, not necessarily about my personal worth (other than maybe that me busting my ass trying to heal is actually working) so thats what I got from it, more than thinking “I am valuable because he loves me”

I feel more secure in his love for me than I ever have, and that allows me to trust him and be more open and honest and makes things a LOT better in my head as well as in my marriage, which is a win win.

Anyways, thanks Lynda for posting that so I could write a book today 🙂

Oh and I wanted to comment about your post about Lady, and how you dont see how people can abuse animals or children, and I dont see it either, I am not much of an animal person, but I could never purposefully hurt an animal, much less a child…so its truly baffling and it calls “bullsh*t” on all those theories that people abuse because they were abused…its just NOT true, at least not totally, Im sure there is some part of being a victim of abuse that allows you to more easily be an abuser if you dont try to discourage that in yourself, but its not the sole cause for why abused people abuse others later in lfe.

(((hugs to everyone)))


The abusers needed someone to be broken so that they could have their control over whatever worked.


Hi Barbara,
About forgiveness, for me it came as a result of healing; it was like a bonus. I just don’t have the anger and resentment that I used to have. But it wasn’t something that I did. It was something that happened ~ so I think that for me, “working” on forgiveness is counterproductive. I don’t accept anyone else’s opinion that forgiveness is the only way to healing anymore, because for me it was a result. And there are lots of ways to heal, so I am not saying their was is impossible either; just that it didn’t work for me that way. I went through a lot of anger, and I also believe that anger is a very good and necessary stage in the healing process.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Amira,
This is such a big “stick point” for so many of us and so important for us to talk about. This is one of the hardest topics for me to articulate. It isn’t that I “blame” my parents so much as acknowledging to myself and for my own recovery that I was not born broken. Something happened, and as a child I didn’t bring that something on myself. It doesn’t matter to me anymore if the adults in my life “knew better” or not. It doesn’t matter if they were conscious of what they did and didn’t do, or not. I know there were issues in their childhoods too, but I had to stop letting that be the excuse for my acceptance of them STILL placing less value on me. The result of their treatment of me was devastating for me, and that is what matters. I had to stop thinking about their intent, because in the end, this is far more about my healing, then about the “why” about them. I think it is more about validating myself, then it is about blaming them today. I was so afraid of judging them wrongly. I had to examine why I had that fear and what if I did judge them wrongly?

You are totally on the right track with this post Amira. You are in the process and that is always a great thing! And as you say, loving ourselves, being good enough for ME, that is where the healing comes from. I put the responsibility on the abusers perhaps just long enough to get to the point that I realized that I wasn’t born messed up with no self esteem. But recovery has not been about blaming them. Blame is like a stepping stone along the way and it serves a higher purpose. I don’t think about the why’s about them anymore. They have their own healing to do, and a choice about that too. I decided that they can’t hurt me anymore. I don’t allow it. I write about my life and my feelings and even about my parents almost everyday, and I don’t feel the pain at all anymore.
I love your goals with your own children! Those are my goals too!
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


I don’t know that abusers don’t “believe” that all people are not created equal, but I know that they all “behave” that all people are not created equal.


I meant to say that abusers NEED you (someone) to be broken (preferrably they do the breaking) so that they have control. They enjoy doing the breaking, they enjoy causing outcomes to change, it doesn’t always matter what the change it, they just function that way, whatever WORKS.


These relatives of yours that pretend that they didn’t know that anyone else, or that you would see their comments on the new feed are lying. It is called lying. I have seen this over and over ad naueseum again. They act like the most innocent doves around, but they are lying. The last one like this I remember is my x siging up to be a follower of mine on twitter and I got the email. He said that twitter did that. He is always wanting me to think that someone else is lying to me or that I just don’t know how to operate twitter, or whatever!


And as for the victims returning to the (vomit) abuser due to perceived power, or perceived MORE power, I wonder this about a friend of mine who has had much abuse from childhood on and three abusive husbands plus a brain injury from auto accident when her four children were very young and first husband left. She then home schooled them all the way through while they helped her rehabilitate in every way. And yes, these children have accomplished much in academics, the arts, and in holding jobs and doing sports. The mother took about ten years to get to the place where she could work and now works full-time in a high stress coordinating job in the hospital, handling stress that most people can’t handle. She was losing financially while her third estranged husband was lying and taking advantage of her for the past two years. Then a friend (never married–they are both 49) with whom she kept in contact over the years, requested a visit last June, and (we knew this might happen) they hit it off immediately (since it was love kept at bay for many many years) and were married in Dec. 2010. Thing is, she would talk to me about their relationship until the time they got engaged in about August 2010. He lived 2000 miles away and lots of plane trips for him to see her even weekly until they married. Now he is loading up his stuff and heading out to live with her and working part-time. She is complaining now more than ever. What the F??? ALL her kids (except the oldest who left her when he was 16) changed their names to this fourth husband’s name. He has been her friend throughout her whole life! He knows about her previous marriages. It could be good; it could be bad. Now she says that she thinks he is not interested in being married, but just living a free single-type life. I wrote her today and said that she can’t know his insides, only his outsides, his behavior. I said that she has to decided if SHE wants to be married and WHAT is the true test of this relationship in order for her to decide if SHE wants to be married to him. (to which she responds to me by text the word “sorry”.)
IS my advice valid? Otherwise, my position in this whole thing is very confusing.


I should add to the above post that my friend told me about her relationship with her 4th husband unti lthey got engaged, and then I started hearing about how difficult everything was and how he would say things to her that sound abusive, like, “You should be glad that someone like me is interested in you…” and then there would be apologies, and when she used the F word on him, I said that she should not talk that way and to apologize, and then I decided that I would not coach her on how to talk to her fiance any longer. Then she would only communicate with me about the worst of what was going on, like he hit himself on the head with a skillet the other week.


Amira ~ I LOVE the book you wrote today! What you wrote is AWESOME. (I also feel better because I have been getting so carried away with my long wordy comments, it’s good not to be the only one!)

Sheryl ~ you know ~ I hadn’t even thought of what you said, that they are probably lying. Hmm. Makes sense, in a perverted, mean way. Do the mean thing, but not have to accept the blame, by pretending they “didn’t know.” ANYWAY, to paraphrase what Darlene said, it isn’t that important to determine how guilty or mean-on-purpose our abusers may have been, or what excuses they may have, or whatever.. the important thing is to acknowledge how their abuse HURT US. If someone drives over my foot with their car in a parking lot, my immediate concern isn’t going to be about whether they did it on purpose, out of malice, or are they guilty of mindless carelessness, or was it something totally beyond their control, like the brakes going out on their car… my immediate concern is that I am INJURED and in PAIN and need medical attention so that I can HEAL.



EXCELLENT example or illustration of pain and the needs that exist for us to take care of ourselves when we are hurt (actually, we need to care for ourselves all the time). The temptation to take care of the one who hurt us, ah yes, let’s focus on them!! LOL!!!


I have forgotten the stories, otherwise I could tell them, but there are too many in my life to remember!! Stories where a “superior” person (abusive type) doesn’t commnunicate directly WITH ME about what they didn’t “know” but yet they do it in a way that you will read it or hear it or whatever! Like your facebook stories. Completely maddening and insulting at the same time.


completely maddening and unsulting at the same time WHEN YOU HAVEN’T caught on yet. Not that it is ever fun, or like a counselor practically berated me one time that ‘I should have KNOWN that this would happen because he always lies, etc.” I hate this blaming the victim crap. You still have to deal with each thing as it comes up and it is nice to have outside support for doing so. It is nice to have someone to help you think through the next step, your own feelings, whatever. And the thing I hate seeing is my kids on the receving ends of lies or abuse, that is my challenge now.


Sheryl, maddening and insulting is what it is. CRAZY-making, too. But I am Coming Out of the CrAzY Closet, so THERE! 😉

I like what you said in comment 59: “The temptation to take care of the one who hurt us, ah yes, let’s focus on them!! LOL!!!”

Haha, it is ridiculous when you think of it that way. Like, there you are with a crushed foot, in agonizing pain, and you have to worry about what was this person’s motives, did they mean to do it, did they not know what they were doing, was it on purpose or out of their control, do they feel terribly guilty now and you need to focus on making them feel better, you must FORGIVE, you must FORGET, you must assure them that you don’t need to feel bad, oh please don’t worry about what you did to ME, you just go on and have a Nice Day! LOL!!

Or we try to become their analyist: “Now were you having a Really Bad Day and you felt like taking it out on someone by running over their foot with your car? Or maybe you had a very abusive, unloving mother, and I happen to look a lot like her, and you just couldn’t help your implusive reaction when you saw me walking across the parking lot?”

Or we play the role of their medical doctor (while WE are in dire need of a medical doctor ourselves!): did you have a mild seizure? Maybe you are under a lot of stress and couldn’t concentrate on your driving? Do you have high blood pressure or an undiagnosed heart arrythmia, maybe that could have caused a momentary mental lapse? Or you had a sudden uncontrollable spasm in your arm that jerked the steering wheel? Whatever it was, we need to get you to a dr. for help pronto…”

And meanwhile, who is taking care of our crushed foot?


[…] from part one “Emotional Healing by Understanding Psychological Abuse” I talked about how Psychological Abusers misuse their power in order to control and abuse others. […]


Gangrene sets in!! LOL!!

I had a friend who attended a church and was confiding in an older woman about her custody/child safety issues (the dad sexually molested her daughter and had no visitaion)and this older woman, for some “unknown” reason just suggested to her one day in church that perhaps SHE should not have custody of her own daughter, and then the SAME woman recoils at herself (once she saw the look on my friend’s face) and claimed to not have MEANT to have said that!! (woman who is best little buddies with the grandma of the child–all in same church) OH, how the abuser changes the focus to herself, because afterall, it IS all about her@! I told my friend that this woman did it on purpose in order to drive her away from the church. It is pretty obvious to me, and after being driven out of several churches, it is plain as day to me.

This same grandma has a dead daughter who left behind two teen age sons who play with guns after school while not attended. One day, another (single mom) friend of mine lost her son to a gun “accident” at this same home. I got on the news postings and commented that I wondered how many other guns were in that home and how many other times these boys had been playing with the guns unattended. GUESS who responded? Someone who sounded SO familiar!! Someone who wasn’t afraid to come out and lamblast me for being SO ignorant as to ask a dunb question as that. And they think their “slip” isn’t showing? Some people get away with stuff for a long time in certain settings.


Love your example in your comment

Lynda Wrote: “If someone drives over my foot with their car in a parking lot, my immediate concern isn’t going to be about whether they did it on purpose, out of malice, or are they guilty of mindless carelessness, or was it something totally beyond their control, like the brakes going out on their car… my immediate concern is that I am INJURED and in PAIN and need medical attention so that I can HEAL.”

your comments about your friend are a good example of how easy it is for us to see the abuse and control that others are living under! It is so easy to question why “they” don’t see what is going on, or why they put up with that stuff. When it came to my own life it was such a different story. I could see how my grandmother treated my mother and aunts, and I swore I would never put up with that. I didn’t understand how my mother could love her mother… but my mother was the same! and I wasn’t standing up to her, NOR did I see it the with that same clarity!

Thanks for sharing everyone!
Hugs, Darlene


By “this same grandma” I actually meant the same woman who claimed to have said words (BIG WORDS) that she didn’t even mean…


Hi Everyone!

Part two to this post has been published ~
Please read it here: Emotionally Abusive Statements Designed to Control


You know, I get sick and tired of the victims/survivors having to do all the work while the perpetrators don’t. Just saying.


Lynn, so true. The abusers should get the same life sentence that we as the survivors get.


Lynn, what you said: “I get sick and tired of the victims/survivors having to do all the work while the perpetrators don’t. Just saying.”

Amen, Sister.

That reminds me of what I heard someone say one time about life not being fair. “Life isn’t fair!”, she declared. “If you’re looking for FAIR, you’re looking for a place with clowns and balloons and cotton candy and a Merry-Go-Round and a Ferris Wheel…. and that’s not REAL LIFE.”

She was right, but I still don’t like that life isn’t fair. Just saying!


Renee-A Ressurected Spirit
March 23rd, 2011 at 9:35 pm

To all my sisters,
I have had a set back that was pretty bad. I wrote Pat about it and I give her permission if she chooses to share it. Because of the flash backs and triggers I need to step back. Actually it may seem selfish for some but it has a vaule and reason that will help my inner journey of healing. I need to plant my garden of flowers and vegtables. I can’t do that while I have a melt down. I can’t do both because it takes energy that I have a shortage anyway. So I have picked my garden to come first. I will not beable to stop in and read the topic or the posts. I will miss all of you and know you have helped me in so many ways, ways that you all know because when you reach a low there comes an army of sisters to lift you up. I will be in touch with Pat and I give her permission to speak about me.
Know you all mean a lot to me. You are the miricle God placed in my life and I hope I have been a little help to you in a small way.
Thank you dear sisters, I say good bye just for a time.


Renee, I am going to miss your comments here. I understand your need to take care of yourself in any way that seems best to you. I hope you will be back soon, but only if you feel that’s best for you.

I have been sharing so much here, so many details about my traumas, and now after reading what your last comment, I am worried that I may have shared too much, gone into too many details, and that may have caused triggers and flashbacks in you? If so, I am so very deeply sorry.


Renee-A Ressurected Spirit
March 23rd, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Lynda Please don’t think that or any one else think that. What happened was I read Darlenes blog, read Carlas blog the the son’s blog. I then turned to my sister and started to visualize what the creation of a monster was allowed to grow. It had nothing to do with you or ony one. It needs to come out, the girls in me are safe the melted in to a safe place and I gave Pat permision to give it to all of you in its entierty. I need to stop because of a vivid flashback has come back that is so violent it makes me want to do things that are unsafe so I have to stop. I have a lot of landscaping to do and the plants and flowers all have a special meaning to me. The represent each busk each flower of those I love. so that is what im going to do. So dont worry the girls and I will be playing in dirt! my inner child Savannah will think she is in heaven!
Take care dear sister,


Lynda, I will repeat what Renee said, your sharing did not in any way harm her or cause her to leave the blog. She has been having flashbacks for a little while now and coping as best that she can. She and I are friends so I will be here for her when she needs me to be. She knows that. Renee and I met over a year ago through her brother and my friend Jack. Jack was my first 12-Step sponsor years ago. Renee is doing what is necessary to take care of herself right now.


@Patricia #35 – THank you so much. I have realized that I have to stay away. I applied for and think I have a job here (2 hours away) and am going to concentrate on that and finishing school.


Hi Renee
Enjoy your time planting and landscaping! I love planting flowers and find it very soothing and healing. You know we are here if you feel like coming back. I totally understand the need to take breaks, and to do self care. I have enjoyed all of your sharing and feel blessed to have shared this recovery road with you! Thank you for telling us that you need to stop sharing.
Hugs and love and all the best with your journey!

We all share trauma, that is the nature of this blog.. because it is about healing. Most of the readers here that comment take breaks ~ often long breaks. It is part of healing and each one of us hopefully will do what is best for our own healing. I think that is what Renee is doing.

Hugs, Darlene


Bonnie, you are very welcome. The harsh reality of your circumstances with your diabetic mother is that she knows that you want her love and are doing things for her, i.e. making her take her medicines, putting up with her continued abuse because you love her and you want her to love you back.

What we do is a form of enabling which I learned about in 12-Step meetings. When we are super-responsible and take care of others as a way to earn their love, they don’t have to do for themselves because we will do it for them. Your siblings who live in the same town, don’t have to do for your mother because they know that you will step in and do it for them. If you don’t do for your mother and your siblings don’t step in, whatever happens to your mother isn’t your fault. I am sure that your siblings will try telling you it is your fault because that lets them off the hook in their minds. Don’t believe them. They are being selfish and irresponsible.

I went through this with my dad when he reached his 60’s. I had not seen my dad for over 10 years because I had told him he could not be in my life or the life of my kids because of the incest. Suddenly several of his siblings were letting me know that I needed to help him with social security and some other things. That was when I wrote my Dear Family Member letter letting all of my dad’s siblings and my brother, sister and mom know about the incest and why I wasn’t going to take over the care of my dad in the last years of his life. He died when he was 68, alone in a bus converted into a trailer that he lived in on the side of a southern Arkansas county road. I shared that Dear Family Member letter recently on my blog if anyone is interested in reading it. I actually have 2 blog posts.

Dear Family Member – Notification About Incest Happening In Family:

Revisiting Dear Family Member Letter About Incest:

Bonnie, if you took back your life and quit taking care of your mother and the worst happened and she died, it still would not be your fault. She is an adult who can and should make choices for herself. If she choses not to take her meds, then she is choosing death – suicide by diabetes. That is her choice to make if she so chooses. I myself am a 58-year-old diabetic who daily makes those choices for myself.

I learned the hard way with my own mother who I took in to live with me and my family for 14 years so she wouldn’t be alone that it didn’t make any difference in how she felt about me. She didn’t love me any more than she did before, or if she did, she couldn’t or wouldn’t show it. Nothing you can do is going to change your mother’s behavior toward you. Only she can do that.

As long as you enable her by making her take her meds, she doesn’t have to change because she knows you will do it all for her. That is how many people are with alcoholics that they love. Your siblings are doing the same thing in giving up their responsibilities for your mom because they know you will do it. Their consciences, if they have one, are clean because they have put off all of the responsibility for your mother’s care off onto you, because you let them. You were given the title of “responsible one” in your family. That doesn’t mean you have to continue in that role. You deserve to have a life of your own. Others will not take on that responsibility as long as you are willing to do it for them.

I make it sound so easy here, I know. It isn’t. I have been there, done that so I do know how hard it is to stop being the “responsible one.” I also know that you can do it. Go to school. Have a separate life. Don’t let others continue to abuse you. I have done all of that and it gets easier the more that you choose to live your onw life on your terms. (((Hugs))) Bonnie.


@Patricia – Thank you. 🙂


Bonnie, I hope I didn’t come on too strong. I can be too blunt sometimes with my honesty. I wanted to give you something to think about rather than ram it down your throat.


Wow, Patricia, you are AWESOME. I loved your comment #77, and I loved your comment #79 even more.

BTW, I just want you to know that I want to read your letters to your family, and I am saving urls in my favorites, to read… when I feel ready. I’m been having a slightly rough couple of days, so I’m not up to it now.



Lynda, thank you. I think that everyone on there is awesome in sharing our stories and our courage and support of each other. Sending you prayers and (((Hugs))). Do what is necessary to take care of you. My blog articles aren’t going any where. They will be there when you are ready.


~ Emotional abusers misuse their power in order to get what they want and to have things the way they want them


~ They demand that their authority is respected, but they don’t model respect


~ Emotional abusers teach that we have NO value outside the value THEY give us

These three particularly are resonating with me today. And the worst of it is, if you try to tell them that’s what they’re doing to you because to you it’s as clear as day … then you are mad, bad and abusing them. But what’s very clear to me is that because it was done to me from a very young age I was too vulnerable to it for the rest of my life, and therefore very easy meat once I met it again. I don’t reinforce their story any more though. I don’t live in anger any more, because I know they’re often carrying on what was done to them, identifying with their own abusers, etc., using manipulation to make sure they’re in charge for the rest of their life rather than feel their own vulnerability. As has been said, they externalise it all and we carry it for life.It nearly killed me but I’m grateful for the chance to make a new and better life.


I read Tina’s comment, which summarized how I feel exactly. I am directly dealing with an emotional/mental/psychological/religious abuser, my step father. I would be ok to never have another thing to do with him, but he is caring for my mother who has Alzheimer’s and terminal cancer. To this day, he has taught me that I have no value outside any valuable service I can give to him. In other words, if I was living on the streets, he would not take me in for my own sake, UNLESS he was ready for me to share in the care of my mother. Although he was not a sexual abuser, he fostered the home environment that nurtured the seeds of evil to grow in the other family members that were perpetrators. Tina says she does not live in anger anymore. I get angry when I think about how I lost my opinion and voice to his, But I no longer live in obsession of what he will think and how he will react.


Hi Lynn, that’s a difficult situation. I think I am ready to let both parents go now, as my mother ‘allowed’ my father to abuse me and even collaborated in the scapegoating. I’m not sure I’d be involved even if she got sick. That’s a huge thing for me to say as my getting into grieving is still very fresh. I can still get angry at what the abusers have done too, but I’m not willing to let them ruin my happiness any more and so I let it pass through me. I’m glad you don’t let his opinion of you hurt you any more. I wondered recently why I let someone I don’t value diminish my sense of self. Just the habit of years; that I was wrong and ‘they’ (everyone who abused me) were always right.



There was nothing I wanted more than to raise my children differently and I did. The problem was that I didn’t really have a good understanding of why tings were so rotten growing up. I blamed a lot of it on alchohol so I became a tea todler. I was neglected and lonely so I became a helicopter mom. I was frightened of things that happened to me and things that I got into after I left home and hypervigelent. That translated as over-protection of my children. When they became teenagers, I was terrified and I had no idea how to raise them because I had never even had the chance to be a teenager. I became a different mother. I had always been spiritual but I became hyper-religious as I patterned myself after people who seemed to have it together as far as raising kids. The rules were appealing as there were no rules for me when I was that age. I hurt my kids because I was trying to solve the problems of my own childhood through them. In running to escape the dysfunction of my childhood home, I created my own dysfunction. Now I see my son doing much the same thing. It hurts like hell and now that I see more clearly what has happened, I am still pwoerless to change it because my son really doesn’t trust what I have to say about it.

I did the best I could do as a mother. I love my children. I don’t know how I could have figured out all of the damage that had been done before I had kids. Sometimes, I really feel hopeless when it comes to breaking the cycle.


Hi Pam,
The results of abuse are devastating no matter which way we look at it. I found that over time my kids began to trust me again, (although I think they are younger, none have kids yet, but it is never too late!) when they say the changes in me. It took a long time, and sometimes it does feel hopeless, but it isn’t. All we can do is make a living amend. I am so sorry, I know how much all this hurts. I believe that the only way to stop the cycle is to heal and the ripple effect of that is what makes the difference.
Hugs, Darlene


my mother told me from the time I was born that I was disgusting and she wished I was never born. She tied me up and beat me and degraded me on a daily basis, she went as far as to try and drown me in our toilet bowl so she didn’t have to see my filthy face anymore. As far as I knew boys were disgusting and dirty and shouldn’t be aloud to exist because of their ugly dirtiness.She locked me up at night so I couldn’t eat dinner with my family because “nobody could stand to look at me” and I spent almost every night trying to peek underneath the small crack of my door waiting patiently to be let out in the hope that I would get to eat and as always I made sure not to make eye contact with anyone in case she saw me and became irate at the fact that I was still there. To this day I still spend as much time alone as I can and I still feel like I have to take my food and hide around a corner to eat so no-one has to look at me. I still feel disgusting for being male and for my existence, and I also feel as though I have no attachment to people as a whole. I am for all intents and purposes emotionally and physically numb. I have so many people trying so hard to help me including my step-mother who I have to say has been more of a mother to me in the last 2 and a half years than my mother would ever be and I still have an almost sociopathic approach to life. I want to love the people who help and nurture me but I feel so dirty and unworthy and I just want to hide all the time and have nothing to do with them. I can’t maintain a relationship with any woman because I can’t explain to them what I’ve been through and I know I can’t expect anyone to understand. My mother has also slept with all of my best friends which has left me feeling alienated from any male I’v e ever known and humiliated once again. I’m wondering whether I can ever be normal or trust anyone and whether I am beyond help at all. I love people for the love and compassion they potentially have inside them but at the same time hate everyone for what they are capable of. I won’t have male friends because I can’t trust anyone and I am too scared to have female friends because I am so paranoid about them seeing me as dirty and disgusting as my mother did. Can anyone give me any advice at all???


Hi Ricky
I am so sorry that this happened to you. I understand what you are sharing. I felt that same way once and wondered if there really was any hope. I had written over 300 articles about how I found hope and how I overcame so much of this opression and found freedom on the other side. By finding out the roots of the where the fear and all of it came from, and you have already made a great beginning on this part ~ but the work for me was realizing how I viewed myself because of it. I had such a false view of who I was because of the trauma in my childhood. I really hope you will read more and share here often. (the majority of the sharing goes on in the current blog posts if you want to get feedback from other commenters. (start at the home button)
Hugs and I am really glad you are here!


Well my abuse came from the family members who talked about my actions in the third person, like my stupid air-head of a sister. I was told that I was going to die alone,by my other pmsing sister that no one would love me or care about me; with verbal manipulation by my oldest sister to then turn into a physical coercion by her too. that’s if I don’t want to follow her stupid advice or want to take her direction of her lame *** suggestions. I was manipulated and said many horrendous things by my families, teachers and people I trusted my friendship with. I don’t know if that a cultural thing, or just based on racial profiling. All I know is that sometimes I could feel so unloved because I would think like, who is going to love someone who is as damaged as me? I guess I put all of my broken piece of my life to therapy; because I’ve felt like a huge crutch to society these days. I’m feeling so low when I talk about this. Now though, my spirituality has grown to it’s greatest capacity. I don’t have to live with my abusive and believe none of her old hogwash from my mother anymore. I know that God is reserving them people for eternal destruction. And I’m good! I would like to work more with myself and recover with some feedback. I would appreciate that very much so thank you. I guess my sister is pretty much disturbed by knowing that she’s a sinner, and what she’s been doing to me is bringing her to her knees in remorse now…


[…] amazes me what people think I will publish on this website. Emerging from Broken is about healing from abuse and neglect. It is about overcoming and healing from the damage after having been […]

New post related to this one! hugs, Darlene


OMG! I love this quote:

“They taught me and shaped me; mistreated and devalued me, all of which broke me. Then they rejected me because I was broken.”

Because I am early in my healing process, I could use this statement as a daily mantra:

“They taught me and shaped me; mistreated and devalued me, all of which broke me. Then they rejected me because I was broken.”

They broke me. They did break me. I didn’t ask for it or deserve it, but they most assuredly won’t fix me. It is up to me to heal. To heal the damage that was done. To protect that child who always felt so alone and unprotected. It’s up to me to let her know what a precious gift she was and that she deserves to have some joy in heart and in her soul. They took 52 years from her. Don’t let them have a minute more.

Embrace the rejection of those who broke me. Embrace it, for it will lead you to the path of emotional healing.

“They taught me and shaped me; mistreated and devalued me, all of which broke me. Then they rejected me because I was broken.”


Hi TryingtoHeal
Sounds like you’ve had a breakthrough!!!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for being here.You & all the other contributors have had me transfixed.I have finally found the truth.It’s even available globally.I have been through 3 years of intense therapy,but I know I’m still REALLY struggling to live.I’m barely surviving.I actually wanted to leave this earth today,nobody knows except you now.I feel I can’t handle people,trust people,it’s too much.I have two beautiful children.Yes.The pain is that much I would’ve left them behind.I have had the task of breaking the cycle.I didn’t want my children to grow up hating me like I did my parents.My mother was the abuser,the father the perfect weak enabler.
I think the work you do & just reading here from other contributors has saved my life tonight.That is the truth.
And for that,Darlene,I thank you so much xxxx


Two years ago I survived losing my family to insanity. I survived. I made it through a year of doing everything possible to reconcile, to give her all she said she wanted only to have it all yanked out from inder me again. An attempted suicide days before xmas. Her new manipulater decreed She couldn’t see me anymore. I have gone on. Yet all this time later my inner self still needs to feel that there must have neen something I could have done differently. But I know she choose to allow her life and reality dictated by others. I know that when my guts say.. wait something isn’t right, then something isn’t right. I spent two years of studying compassionate communication. At first so that there could be a common language. I learned not only to have greater compassion for the soul that once was my wife, but for myself. The self that only felt a sense of worth by being needed. By helping others.
I am alone this Valentine’s day. But I have someone in my life far greater and stronger than anyone I’ve ever known before. Me. I will not believe myself undeserving of love, or trust or consideration. I am far more than anyone ever said I could be. I expect the people I know to be able to tolerate the light of day shining in their life. Thats where I want to keep my life. In the light.
Blessed be,
Mac Aeron


Hi Lisa B
Welcome to EFB ~ I am SO glad that you are here!
I was at the end of my rope when I found the solution that I write about in this site. Learning to see things through a different grid (a way more truthful grid) has made all the difference and I can honestly say that I live a full life full of joy today. There is hope for overcoming!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lisa-

I hope it’s a better day for you. I want you to know I can relate so much to what you are saying. After my last relationship ended a year ago I was hopeless and couldn’t trust anyone. I became so hyper-vigilant I even started to distrust my roommate…a friend who has been there for me and has treated me well for well over 15 years. I thought I would never trust again.

Then I began to realize people don’t just get MY trust because they appear in my life. MY trust is special…just as yours is.

It gets given when the person in question has earned it. And then there’s always yourself. Become your own best friend and you’ll never absolutely depend on someone else’s trust again. You’ll be there for you.

It gets better. I hope you choose to stay.


[…] Ouimet I had to learn to shift my thinking in this process of overcoming the damage caused by emotional abuse. There were a few rather large shifts that I had to make in order to make progress and there was a […]


Fine, but where is the healing part?

I acknowledge a lot of the stuff here and it’s presented in a way for simpler than I have been able to express it before, but I thought this was ‘healing’. What are ways to overcome being treated like this later in life?


Hi Tim
Welcome to EFB
It was in understanding the ways that I was broken down in the first place and the ways I was falsely defined, that I was able to understand my belief system and how it formed. It was through the insight that I share in this site that I was able to put an end to accepting the devaluing ways that I had always been treated. This whole site is about that process. I had to see how I got broken before I could emerge from it.
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, thank you for your wonderful site.

I have recently turned 26. I was abused my my parents all my childhood. I swear to God, I was a kid every parent would dream of: positive, funny, loving, a good student, never took drugs or smoked cigarettes, teachers and other kids loved me. I come from a so- called good family ( a doctor and a teacher). I have an older sister but I was labeled as the bad one from the start. My story is literally a copy of yours. An evil (I cannot think of a different word) verbally and emotionally abusive, controling mother and an egg- shell- like father: passive, no balls, distant (running a double life since I was born, afraid to step up to my mother and divorce her, never ever defended me).

My parents divorced when I was 14. Not because my father finally grew some balls but because his affair was finally revealed. I never blamed him for that, no other guy would be able to stand my mother. She was outraged when she found out. Naturally not because she loved him, but because he dared to cheat on her. ( how could you not? I dare to say their sex life was non existant, she was always negative, you could not possible please her). I had to watch many cruel scenes such as my mother stabbing my father with a knife in his arm. He was helpless….he could not do anything even in self- defence; she would call the police and accuse him of physical abuse.

My sister (never stood up for me, just the contrary; she was always poking fun at me) moved away to college. I stayed all alone with my mother… I was begging my dad to take me with him as I was simply afraid to live with her alone. Unfortunatelly he refused (he married his long- term mistress when I was 17, I never got invited to the wedding as he was afraid my mom would turn up and ruin it). My life turned into hell. My mother’s rage was entirely focused on me (before it was 50% on me and 50% on my dad. I could not wait to get away from her house. (she could not either…. at least that’s what I was hearing very day). The last 2 years of high school I was severely depressed and anorexic. I could barely get out of bed. There were days when she would not speak to me at all. I preferred that than humiliation, diminishing, making fun of my looks etc. I think the reason I did my finals so well was because I knew that was the only way out. Once I graduated and got my driver’s license, I was out. I could not run fast enough. I enrolled in college just to get away from the house (I did not care about the major as she never let me do what I wanted, namely Art). I opened my own bank account which was driving her nuts as she had no control over the child support I was receiving from my dad. Unfortunatelly that did not work to my advantage either as my dad was becoming a real ass hole. He was paying as much child support as he wanted and when he wanted. He knew I would not step up to him in court as he knew all the lawyers in town, he knew I would not want to go through the whole struggle.

Ok, I thought to myself: f**** it, I’m not going to live my life like that, there was no way for me to survive in college having that little money (ene though my dad had a good salary he won in court one of the lowest child support sums). I borrowed some cash from my sister and ran away to the States where I lived for almost 2,5 years (during that time I kept doing exchange programs to prolong my visa etc. I even finished one semester in college over there. Iwas so proud of myself.) I met some wondeful people and I started being myself! I fully recovered! At least that’s what I thought at a time. I put all the bad memories in the back of my head and pretended they did not exist. I cut off all my contact with both of my parents. My dad quit paying my child support right away even after I sent him a confirmation from college in the States. I was only in contact with my sister who moved to the UK and lives there until now.

During my stay in the US, I met some really great people who later on offered me my first real job “back home”, in one of the major cities. Please keep in mind that I never managed to graduate from college. I know some people do it without any financial support from their parents either and I truly admire that but, unfortunatelly I did not make it.

Anyways, I took the job that I was offered and I came back at the age of 21. It was a very good start. I also got into a relationship and stayed in it until I was 24. We were playing home I guess, we moved in quickly, I was thrilled to finally have someone who truly cared for me. (he played the role of my bf, my lover, my best friend, my parent even…. as unfortunatelly I never had much luck with female friends….4in1 if not more). After I returned I did one very bad move….my sister was pressuring me to get in touch with our mother which I did. I should have refused…anyways I went to her house, I felt so strong I almost forgot why I ran away from her house in the first place. I wanted to tell her about the job I got which was in a quite prestigous place (a bit of a Cindarella story) I wanted her to appreciate me. Of course that never happened, she suggested that I must have got that job because I slept with someone but at least she was not yelling. Anyways I decided to be in touch with her from time to time via phone and maybe visit her once a year. I picked her over my dad. I thought she could not hurt me anymore: I was independent, living with my boyfriend etc she had no control over me, I was filtering all the information so she knew virtually nothing concrete. So life went on, every now and than I would talk to her on the phone crying and throwing my cell phone afterwards, but other than that she could not hurt me. She even met my bf making an emberrassing scene (“I cannot believe how you can be with her, she is so skinny, she is so difficult, what do you see in her”-these are the words he heard from her.
At the age of 24 when I came over to her house to say good bye as I was going abroad with my bf, she pushed me out of the house in fury. I decided I was not going to put up with it and would cut my ties off again..this time for good.

Now…..4 months later….I split with my bf while abroad. I got a panic attack, I felt I had no one but him. It was an extremely scary situation. I did get back to him …but not out of the fear but also because I missed him as a friend. Also at the same time I had a number of job opportunities to pick from. I asked my sister for advice while back in my home country. She was staying at out mother’s place and said that if I wanted to speak with her I had to come over regardless. Which I naturally did. And now….CAN SB PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH MY MIND from that very moment and for the next 12 months?
For the first time in life I heard from my mom that I was smart and pretty ( I forgot what a good performer she was in front of my sister)….from that moment I became her puppet for a year. (other than those 2 words there was no less abuse everything was the same. I must have been crazy thristy for parental love….but wasn’t I a bit too old for that???) I wanted an advice in regards to my career not my personal life. I know it will be hard for you to believe but she MADE me break up with my bf for good, quit (not resign, quit! Who does that?! What kind of mother wants your kid to do that?) my dream job (could have been a real break through), and take the one I hated for the next 6 months (I eventually got fired). Than I got myself in an abusive relathionship with a male copy of my mother which lasted 5 months. My mom approved him very much and defended every time I called her (yes! i started calling her) and cried about the fact that he was an alcoholic, a snoring brute, that I could not sleep at his place, that he was verbally offending me etc). “I don’t blame him You can drive anyone insane”- that was her response.”You owe him. If you werea good person not as selfish as you are you would have tried to take him to AA meetings. If you move out, he will keep on drinking.” (how insane is that? A 25 year old girl forced to live with a 32 year old dude she barely knows….classic abuser…he was pressuring me to move in asap and did not want me to move out).

Now if you are still reading my post I imagine you have already realized that my mother is not a nice person. Period. So I should have known better. The story I am telling you here is only 10% of my life but it is taking too much space on Darlene’s site anyways 🙂

MY QUESTION TO YOU IS: how come an adult woman like me, who was strong enough to overcome all the obstacles and freed herself from an abusive family, who survived, has always been independent, self- sufficient, managed to find and keep wonderful jobs despite no formal college aducation, had a healthy romantic relationship, understood (at the age of 23 but better late than never) that she was actually a good looking woman and that she was being lied to all her life in terms of her looks,the only people who hurt her were her parents and her sister as she was mart enough to always trust her gut getting to know other people, how come I am asking you, that very woman at the age of 25 put herself a leash over her neck and started doing everything her mother wanted her to do, living against her will, acting against her instinct, knowing that all the things her mother was saying were aimed at hurting her and ruining her life, she simply could not help herself and kept being obedient, even started feeling guilty about the time she was not in touch with her mother and the time afterwards when she would rarely pick up the phone. Why would you want to make yourself miserable in order to please someone else? Not to mention someone who can never be pleased and has never done anything other than harm to you??

I came back to my senses when I got out of my 2nd bf’s house (the abusive one), had no place to go, no job and no money. My ex-bf no1 is helping me tremendously now (regardless if we are gong to end up together or not, he is a keeper as a friend for sure, we are each other’s family and that’s what we vowed to ourselves. So why am I posting this here? Maybe to share my story with other survivors, TO ASK YOU TO HELP ME UNDERSTAND MYSElf. Because I am blaming myself for all this…how could I be so stupid? HOW COULD I LET HER AND THAT OTHER PIG HURT ME? HOW COULD I MISTREAT MYSELF LIKE THAT? I WAS WAY TOO OLD TO FALL FOR HER TRICKS, I WAS WAY TO OLD TO ACT CHILDISH AND LONG FOR LOVE I WOULD NEVER RECEIVE. 25 IS TOO OLD… PEople like that never change. It was a trap…. she had so much fun for a year playing with my feelings. I am done with her and considering cutting myself off from my sister as well. who refused to help me financially (she has no problems with money) when I asked her (I am literally penniless).
This past year I also met with my father for the first time in 7 years (I do not know why I did it…maybe I wanted to totally destroy myself emotionally). And from that I found out that my sistaer (32, employed married, self- sufficient) keeps on receiving (and accepting) money from both my father and my mother…I was shocked, saddened, disappointed in the very last member of that “family” I had some faith in.

I feel like I have aged 10 years both internally and externally. I am recovering after 5 moths of no REM sleep (is it even possible to reduce the pre- mature under eye wrinkles I got as a bonus?), and for the first time no excercise (I have always been jogging, doing yoga, leading a very healthy life style which was driving my mother nuts as well, I guess it is called jelousy, for the first time since high school, the guy no2 managed to get me into depression, I could not get out of bed). I feel like I am having PSTSD….is it possible? I keep on reliving the last 12 months….quiting my job (how emberassing!) working at a place I hated, letting the guy no 2 treat me like dirt. I feel angry. I feel angry at myself for being weak. For the first time she won. She broke my spirit. With some help from the guy no2. They turned me into a sad negative persob living in the past. This is not me. Where is the old me? Now on top of that, all the memories from my childhood are coming back as well. Things I literally managed to forget, the ones I put in the back of my head when I left at the age of 18.
Please tell me that all of this will pass….that I did not miss my 5 min of fame in terms of my career, that I will become my old self again that I will be able to forget again and that it will not influence the rest of my life. EFB members: if any of you was patient enough to read my entire post, please feel free to comment. Sorry for all the typos.


Hi Sandra
Welcome to EFB ~
Yes, PTSD is what it would be called. For me it passed when I did the healing work. I can tell you that there is hope for complete healing because that is what I achieved and that process is what I have written about in this site. I hope you will read more here!
For me this was about healing in order to find a NEW me. The old me wasn’t really me, but rather who they defined me as, and how I survived my life up to the point when I could no longer cope that way and had to find a way to conquer!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

Thank you for your comment.

I thought I managed to heal by just getting up, dusting myself, forgetting and moving on at the age of 18.

Apparently that was just avoiding the truth, surviving and RUNNING AWAY.
I adapted that technique. I am not very good at being assertive or at confrontation. Below are some things about my behavior that a certain person drew my attention to when was 18/19. The funny thing is, it hit me just now…at the age of 26. Which means I kept behaving the very same way for the next 8 years until now.

I kept running away but inside I stayed the same, even with people who were not abusive to me: constantly apologizing for everything (a lot of people would draw my attention to that actually: “stop apologizing for everything” they would say), constantly feeling that I had to defend myself, explain my choices, statements etc, often times riducule myself, be the “Clown” in the crowd because it was safer that way, it is better when you show to people who do not know that you can laugh at yourself before they start doing it (just in case). Oh, and the guilt, the constant feeling of guilt and the need to “make something up to someone” “appreciate somebody’s actions”.
And worrying about what “others will think/ say” (who the f*** cares! As long as my actions and choices are not hurting anyone, no one should have a right to critisize me, unless they are Buddha themselves well maybe that I should take their opinion into consideration).

People would think it was a part of my character, if you asked someone about me, no one would have ever guessed what I went through as a kid.
If someone was nice to me, not to mention offered me even a minor favor, I’d always felt I had to return it, buy a gift afterwards, that simple “thanks” was not enough. I feel always uncomfortable when somebody does something for me out of a good heart. The moment I accept the offer instead of just being happy, my mind starts wondering how to return the favor. Or I just don’t accept it and do it myself.
I start most of the sentences with “I don’t want you to think that I am, but….”. Also I do not want to “bother” anyone. (my frequent answer when someone offers me something, anything, an overnight stay, a ride back home etc)
And apparently my signature one: “I do not want you to think that I am oversensitive but”. And indecisiveness…I never knew where that was coming from.
How are you supposed to be good in business and climb the corporate ladder with an attitute like that? 🙂

best wishes to you Darlene and everyone on this site


Darlene, I have been reading your site throughtly for the last several days. See there is no anger in me, there never was any….not at my family at least. The only person I am angry at is myself. I feel that if I were stronger, my life would have been different. I know I had to grow up early, I never got a chance to be a real kid, a teenager etc. I did the best I could but…. What I need to learn is to forgive myself, especially for what I allowed to happen to me last year…. and this is sth I do not know how to do.


Thank You!! I’m 14 and my parents and brothers my grandma and even maid abuse me but when I think about the future how I will treat my kids well how I will break free from their abuse it makes me feel good. but sometimes I turn like them I just wanna see THEM sad but I control my self everyone thinks I will give up like my brothers even my school because they don’t give standard education but that dosent effect me one but I just study on websites become a member buy books. But you know I just wanna tell everybody that trying to ignore by means of songs and friends is really unhealthy It will make you crazy you must acknowledge this pain and go on.


Hi Khalid
Welcome to EFB~ It is rare to hear from someone so young! Keep studying and seeking the truth.
Thank you for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Feeling pretty alone at the moment… Been having a rough time. 23 year old, been with my partner for over 3 years. We have a one year old together. He has random outburst of anger. Always telling me that I need to do something, go out make friends. But when I do make plans it boils into an argument. Putting me down saying I have no true friends as support. I’m starting to believe this as true now… Since my kid, all friends that I have ever known all of sudden have stopped talking to me. My family is far away, and connecting on an emotional level is not something we have ever done. When he gets angry he always throws in words like “you have nothing, I can send you out on the streets. You have no income, no where to go!” I have become so withdrawn. I don’t talk much anymore. My inspiration and desires are almost non existent. I feel as though I’m just floating through life as a ghost. I have never written anything like this.. Online or anything. Nor have I even told anyone.


Hi Kat
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
It might be a good idea to seek help from outside. (like a shelter or social services) It isn’t right for one person to control the time of another person to that degree. I hope you will share often here and read more of the articles.
hugs, Darlene


What if you can’t get passed feeling like you are the problem? I have been told I am angry over a serious medical condition involving my children and I am taking out my anger on my family member. This is after a childhood of emotional and verbal abuse. I keep thinking they are right, that what I brought up as a problem was not really a big deal, and that my children and I are all too sensitive for being upset at the situation. I can’t begin to heal when I feel this tremendous guilt that I am the one who is wrong.


Hi Alone,
Welcome to EFB
Just because someone says you are angry, doesn’t mean that they get to decide. Just because they say you or children are “too sensitive” doesn’t mean that is the truth. Just because you are told (in actions/words etc) that YOU are the problem, doesn’t mean that you are the problem. The guilt that we end up feeling is usually the result of someone putting a false conclusion on us.
Hugs, Darlene


I am finding it tough at this holiday time (Easter). It’s one of my favorite holidays. I was invited over to my mother’s home, where my brother will be, and he sent me a pleasant email to invite me. I have to admit I wanted to be invited, but at the same time want to turn it down. Very confusing emotions.

My brother has been verbally violent with me in the past. As I’ve said to him, I find it hard to reconcile his friendly inclusive behavior with the ugly insults he’s hurled at me (“if dad is diddling around, so what”; “you’re just like George Bush calling everyone a terrorist”; “get help!”; “it’s your problem”; “you are self-delusional”; “you have a lot of work to do”; “stop beating up on mom and dad”; “I have friends who got the crap beaten out of them”.

He is not interested in apologizing to me, nor learning more about my experience, or saying anything conciliatory. I have asked him flat out for this, and been very specific and direct with him about what’s bothering me. He has told me he “doesn’t want to engage with me in that way”.

He can be kind, loving, and funny. But on this issue he is against me and that is so painful. He and my mom are allied. My sister and my mom are allied. My other brother is more checked out. My father was the perp, my mother wouldn’t stand with me in support or was inconsistent, and I’m alone on the outside. He, my mom, and my other brother simply DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT while my very being (the old me) slowly withered away from their silence and negativity. It kills me to not be there for the laughs, the longtime rituals and history, the comfort food, the familiar surroundings, the times when some family members can be nice. I think I am coming to the conclusion that it’s not worth it to go over. Not sure. Maybe I can compartmentalize…but how do I smile and laugh and chat with people who have been brutal towards me and continue to not validate and acknowledge what happened to me and don’t apologize?

I am thinking of changing my last name.

Any comments would be very appreciated.


P.S. Yes I did have outbursts, and estrangements, and didn’t treat my parents well at times. And yes, they have done some nice things for me over the years. I had few outlets for my feelings and was trying to cope with dysfunction I was in. I’m not proud of my behavior, but it was a contorted attempt at trying to find a way with them because I wasn’t ready to simply say goodbye and disengage. I stayed around trying to get them to apologize and understand and change.



I think that you should severely limit contact with them. Truly caring people are kind to you practically all the time, not just when they feel like it. My brother sounds a bit like yours. He vituperated me when I condemned him for how he treated (and probably still treats) his sons, and he never apologized for it. (That was seven years ago.) The last time I saw him in person, he tried to prove his “rightness” on corporal punishment by speaking loudly that it’s okay as long as it’s “reasonable”, and that I was wrong to not have much contact with them once I moved out of my mother’s place. A few hours later, he told me that sometimes people had to make their own paths in life, which confused me. Wasn’t he just bashing me a few hours before? Jekyll/Hyde types are major phonies. My mother is also like this, too, which why it was hard for me to leave her, and I can’t help but wonder if phoniness plays a genetic role in my family. My sister is like this, too. She claims to be against abusers (like our father and others), yet protects and defends our mother and our brother. Remember, true friends don’t flip-flop between being cruel and nice.

About changing your last name: I’m not sure if I would go that far myself, but you’re free to do so if you wish. Just because you were given a name at birth, it doesn’t mean you’re required to keep it for life.


In thinking about it, my brother did apologize to me a year or so ago, but I didn’t know what it was for because it was so general and I let it slip that it was “lame”. I regret saying that — I wish I had asked him for what was he apologizing. Maybe it could have brought some healing if I wasn’t so quick to be defensive. As the conversation progressed I told him the things that he had said (above post) and he denied it all and aggressively asked me how did I know that, did I use a tape recorder?

S1988 — Thank you for commenting. It is a comfort just to not be alone with my thoughts. And I hear what you are saying about inconsistency…there has been a ton of inconsistency in my family (things said/word and deeds not matching, etc). I think inconsistency may be a hallmark of most dysfunctional families. I didn’t even realize just how inconsistent my experience was until my therapist mentioned it and I started seeing it more and more. As for changing my name, it’s something that’s been percolating for a few years now. I think it might help me with redefining myself.

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