Estranged from my Mother ~ Still A Little Sadness on Mother’s Day


EFB door 2For the past few years I have not thought about myself as a daughter on “Mother’s day”, I have thought of myself as a mother instead. When I used to think of myself as a daughter the purpose of mother’s day was to celebrate someone who constantly reminded me that I was not the daughter that she wanted. I celebrated someone who treated me like I was lacking in some ways. I celebrated someone who seemed to be exasperated with me and communicated to me that I was somewhat of a pain in her butt. I celebrated my mother even though she blamed me for more things than I care to list in this post and I celebrated a mother who caused me untold grief. (Well actually, it was untold until 6 or 7 years ago. Now I have told…)

Mother’s day in the past was a time of great anxiety for me. It was difficult to decide ‘how’ to celebrate my mother; what kind of card, what kind of gift and what if she didn’t ‘like them’ and what if she didn’t show any appreciation and what if she made that ‘disappointed face’ which crushed my soul and spirit so many times on previous Mother’s days and on other gift and card giving holidays. I had so much anxiety over the fear of ‘that face’.

Mother’s day in the past was about celebrating someone who hurt me. It doesn’t make much sense to me today when I put it that way but back then I never thought about it that way. I was in the deep fog of conditional love, brainwashed to believe that mother is god and that parent entitlement rules over all else, no matter what…

I celebrated my mother on Mother’s day, yet my mother was someone who communicated to me that she was more important than I was, that only her feelings mattered, that I was somehow unworthy of the things that she was worthy of such as respect, equal value, honor, love, validation, comfort, my own personality, thoughts, opinions and choices.

In the past, in fact for the better part of 45 years, on Mother’s day I celebrated someone that taught me there were two sets of rules in life; one set that applied to her and a different set that applied to me. God help me if I got mixed up about those rules. I learned to prove my love and to prove my worth by trying to guess what she wanted and then trying to do it. Those guidelines did not apply to the way she loved me. She did not show me love in the way that I was required to show her love. She didn’t respect me in the way that she demanded that I ‘respect’ her.

There were consequences if I questioned my mother. I learned to try and avoid those consequences when I was very young. The worst consequence that I feared was of being rejected by her. I was afraid that if I didn’t prove my love in the way that she wanted, that she would withdraw her love from me. That seems a strange fear to me now; all of the ways that my mother regarded me and disregarded me were a rejection all along. All of the ways that she taught me to love her were withheld from me. All of the ways that I tried to show her how much I cared were not reciprocated.

The entire relationship between my mother and I was up to me to maintain; if it failed or if it succeeded (on any given day) it was up to me. Society agreed with this dysfunctional definition of mother daughter relationship. I was told all my life with statements such as “you only have one mother” ~  “I am your mother” ~  “I am THE mother” ~ “You will be sorry” and I believed every one of those statements although today I am not sure I knew what she meant by them back then. They communicated my disrespect, they put me back in “my place” (which was UNDER her) and they enhanced the ever growing fear of rejection.

And there were other statements aimed at me perhaps more blunt such as “you are so ungrateful” and “I can’t take it Darlene, you are going to make me have a breakdown” and “nothing I ever do is enough for you is it?” and I believed all of those statements too.  They communicated my failure and that I was a burden when deep down all I wanted was to show her that I loved her and to be loved by her in return. I wanted to be seen and to be heard and to be validated by my mother.

When I was in my forties I got so sick emotionally that I had to face the truth. The truth was that rejection, my biggest fear, had already happened. My days were spent trying to figure out what was wrong with me so that I could finally be loveable in my mother’s eyes. I never considered that the problem belonged to my mother. And today I understand how I never could have considered that; all my life my mother communicated to me that I was the problem. I had no choice but to believe it and to try to fix me. Today I see it all differently.

For the last few years I have celebrated being a mother on mother’s day. I celebrate with my children; I celebrate my love for them and theirs for me. I celebrate the relationships that I have with them and how wonderful my three children are; each unique, each amazing, each with their own gifts and personalities. I celebrate my choice to be a different kind of mother than the one that I had. I celebrate knowing what love really is and how to express it and I celebrate the mother that I became for myself; I learned to sooth myself and validate my own pain the way a mother should which went miles towards my own healing.

This year my youngest daughter is graduating high school and going off to college in the fall. This year, perhaps because this is the last “Mother’s day” before I am an empty nester and there is a bit of sadness around that for me, I have been thinking about my mother a little bit more than I have in previous years.

I am feeling a little more grief then in past years. My mother walked away from relationship with me when I asked her for mutual respect. I will never understand how a mother could make a choice like that but my mother did. This year, along with a little more sadness I feel a little bit more sorry for my mother as well. I feel sorry for her that she didn’t find freedom from her own pain the way that I did. I feel sorry for her that she didn’t find the glorious fullness of knowing what love really is. I feel sorry for her that she lost me because I am pretty awesome, but I didn’t know that until I stood up to her definition of me.

I feel sorry for her but not at my expense anymore….

Happy Mother’s day to all of you who are mothers and to all of you who have become the mother you never had~ to yourself or to your children. Celebrate YOU today. (this encouragement includes men!)  

In honor of Mother’s Day for each person who purchases a copy of my e-book “Emerging from Broken ~ The Beginning of hope for Emotional Healing” between the dates of May 4th and May 22, 2015 I will enter the receipt into a draw for a complimentary one hour consult or a conversation with me (valued at 125.00 USD per hour) either on the phone or on Skype. You can ask me anything you want. If you have already purchased the book, all donations for $10.00 or more will also be entered into the draw. Due to the nature of this website, the winners name will be kept confidential unless the winner decides otherwise or if the winner will allow me to post a screen name or first name only.  (Click on the book picture in the upper right side bar)

The winner of the free one hour consult / conversation with me is KAREN R.
Karen has been a frequent participant and supporter of Emerging from Broken for several years! I am excited to talk to her in person.

Here is what Karen had to say when I emailed her to tell her that she won the prize!

“I feel like I know you already;
I think I started reading EFB in Nov of 2011. I wasn’t searching for it. It showed up on my Facebook as a “you might like” suggestion.
As I read thru the articles I realized pretty quickly that they described my childhood circumstances, upbringing, and family treatment throughout my life.
Within 3 months it radically changed my understanding of my behavior, coping and issues.
The many insightful comments by other posters were just icing on the cake.”

Karen has been a huge blessing to EFB and I and has regularly contributed both in comments and in donations and I am very pleased that her name was drawn!

Thanks to EVERYONE who participated.

Hugs, Darlene

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time,

Darlene Ouimet

More related posts ~ Honor your Mother and Father ~ Is drawing a boundary as sin? 

~ Mother’s Day and Dysfunctional Mother Daughter Relationship

Categories : Mother Daughter



What a well-written post Darlene. I am sorry you are feeling some sadness, but I am glad to see your process. Thank you for including us non-mothers who are learning how to reparent ourselves, and for including men. For me, I am expanding my definition to include mothering/nurturing my kitty, my friends, a few select family members, and my passions.


Thank you for the great post Darlene, and showing that it is okay to have some sadness around these issues even if you have worked through them already. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!


Mothers’ Day is tough for me because I’m estranged from both my mother and my daughters. My son has been trying to maintain a relationship with me without taking sides. It’s awkward but I’m glad to have one child still speaking to me.

I like the idea of celebrating the mother I became for myself, though I’d say I’m more in the process of becoming the mother I needed for myself. I’ve done pretty well with my cats too 🙂

It will still be a little sad, but if I follow my own advice to just allow myself to feel what I feel, I expect to be fine.

Happy Second Sunday of May to everyone, however you celebrate or don’t.



“you only have one mother”

What is that statement supposed to mean? I haven’t been personally told this, but I’ve heard of it.

“You will be sorry”

Now THAT I’ve been told personally by my golden boy brother who can do no wrong, even when he does. Why would I be sorry for not having a relationship with a mother who won’t hold herself accountable for how she treated me, and sees me as a bad child rather than an adult?

This is an excellent post on a holiday that I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, the culture of mother-worship disgusts me so much that I’m forgoing motherhood so that I wouldn’t be part of the sick loop. On the other hand, I know that there are some truly nurturing mothers out there that deserve panegyrics.

Of course, I wonder if it’s too much to ask to have a son’s day and a daughter’s day. There’s this and Father’s Day, and even a Grandparents day, but nothing to celebrate offspring. I can hear parent defenders saying “Every day is sons and daughters day.” Again, what is that supposed to mean? Thanks for this incisive article.


Hi Light
Thanks! We are all people who have been let down in the parenting department and we all need a little loving parenting (from ourselves) in this healing process. Being a parent actually served to make me even more baffled by my mothers careless behaviour but I am really glad that I didn’t follow in her footsteps.
Thanks for being here and for sharing your process too!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Andria
When I decided to publish this post I wondered if people would be uncomfortable because I admitted that I still have sadness around these issues even (as you say) I have worked through them already. But it is important to acknowledge all truth and this year I felt some grief over the fact that my mother didn’t care enough about me to even try to fix what was so broken between us. And that is just life. It isn’t a happy thought to be so rejected by ones own parents. But it doesn’t define me anymore either and that is a happy joyous and wonderful freedom!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Hobie
I like the idea of celebrating the mother I have HAD to become for myself (and the mother I needed for myself) and doing that has made me a 100% better mother to my children ~ major bonus that I didn’t foresee when I began!
Hugs and thanks and thanks also for sharing!

Hi S1988
I think the statement “you only have one mother” is a rabbit trail designed to stop the child from having any thought that isn’t focused on what the parent wants. It is manipulative and it doesn’t mean much.. I could respond to that statement: SO?? What is your point?? And I know that my mother would not be able to come up with a single thing to defend her point.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


When I used to think of myself as a daughter the purpose of mother’s day was to celebrate someone who constantly reminded me that I was not the daughter that she wanted. I celebrated someone who treated me like I was lacking in some ways. I celebrated someone who seemed to be exasperated with me

Yes, I was “required” to send a card just because she was my mother. Why? I already sent a card for Christmas and her birthday, why did I have to give her yet another gift and yet another card?

I had so much anxiety over the fear of ‘that face’.

Oh, Mom’s “face” was more of “I’m doing a great job of pretending I like this when I don’t.”

I celebrated my mother on Mother’s day, yet my mother was someone who communicated to me that she was more important than I was, that only her feelings mattered,

In our many arguments, Mom “claimed” my feelings mattered, yet I can recount event after event after event where HER feelings mattered more. Such as, the OB/GYN exam I had to at age 12 (it really was necessary). She failed to prepare me for it, even to claim she didn’t KNOW I was going to get “that” kind of exam (which is B/S) and when I was traumatized, I get SCOLDED for being “rude” to HER doctor!

The worst consequence that I feared was of being rejected by her.

She only loved me if I “pretended” to be what she wanted me to be. I call this person “Blanche.” (No offense if anyone reading happens to be named Blanche….)

One time during N/C when Mom called and I decided to answer, we had a nice conversation. Then a week later when I brought up issues, she got mad and “couldn’t believe” I still wanted to discuss issues when “we had this nice conversation.” Then I knew. She attempted to do the little kid thing of “playing nice” to Mom and Dad when you are in trouble in the hopes they would “forget.” Yep, manipulation, it’s what she is about.

I don’t have children (by choice). so I can’t do what Darlene is doing. I have a summer job where some of my co-workers are high school students. All I can do is try to be a good mentor to them.

And the “you only have one mother” and “you will be sorry” statement, what is up with that? Those are nothing but cliche’s people use to snap you into… what they want you to be.

By the way, Japan has Girls Day and Boys Day.


“By the way, Japan has Girls Day and Boys Day.”

And Children’s Day. Very ironic for a country where ancestor worship is more emphasized than in Western countries. Who knows? Maybe that would happen in more countries one day.


I’ve heard “you only got one mother” right along with “you only got one family” all my life and I would still hear it if I was talking to any of them!!! Those sayings were a death sentence to me when I was a child. Always keeping me in line and doing just like DXS said : “Those are nothing but cliche’s people use to snap you into… what they want you to be.”

Boy does that ring true!! My parents obliterated my “being” with sayings like these.


Darlene, even though your comment was to Andria…I for one am so glad you talked about your sadness. You are letting us see a wider picture of you, your process, and what you struggle with. I find it very real and refreshing.


I am definitely a mother who celebrates Mother’s Day for myself. My husband and daughter celebrate with me, and it is wonderful. Too much of my life was wasted celebrating a person who was not a mother to me, and it has been a total relief not having to pretend anymore. Most of my entire life was swirled around trying to please her and I felt so unworthy! I think that is where sadness comes in….deep down that is all I ever knew, and I was very confused about what genuine love was. I also think that the more success I experience, and healing and strength that I feel…there is still a part of me that wants to share it with my parents and relatives because that is how human beings are wired naturally. I have cut the ties, but there isn’t the same satisfaction at times in my life as there would have been if I could have turned to them….and to a mother….if they had truly loved me in a healthy way. They couldn’t or wouldn’t, and I didn’t want to live like I was beneath everyone, so I made that choice to cut them all off. For me, it was painful, but very healing and also a relief, so I have no regrets. There are many times I miss my Dad, but part of all of the missing i have learned is the fact that they were never emotionally available. I am not sure how to articulate this, but I grew up constantly trying to win approval or please my mom and dad, and any little crumb was my meal. That is all I ever got was a crumb here or there. I now don’t accept crumbs, but there are times when I look back at those crumbs and miss those fleeting moments of “happiness” I felt with my parents. So I feel a pain in missing them, if that makes sense? Anyway, now I love Mothers Day with my small family, and I am able to receive genuine love and liking and acceptance and tolerance from them as we celebrate. It is like a miracle. I also feel like my kitty is a part of my family!



Of course kitty is part of your family. My family members that live with me are my husband, 6 cats, and 5 horses. My family that does not live with me are close friends.

I am happy for you that you can experience a wonderful Mother’s Day! I understand what you mean by feeling a pain in missing them. Not all the times with family were bad; just the overwhelming majority in my case! It feels so good not living beneath everyone. Once you decided this for yourself, you can never go back. I feel that my parents were never emotionally available either. Like you, I am glad that I am not longer confused about what real love is.


Thank you for this post and thanks for being so open about your own experiences Darlene. Your posts are always validating and caring. A timely reminder to be gentle with ourselves, on a day that is very triggering. Special thoughts to my fellow adoptees, who were rejected once by their birth mother and then rejected again, by your adoptive mother. It’s a double whammy! Gentle hugs.


Kylie and S1988 and perhaps others:

I know that you posted to me on other boards, but now I can’t find those posts. Thank you for your interest and kind words. I’d like to respond more specifically when I come across them again.


Andria, six cats and five horses make a nice, large family! I also think family includes friends. One great thing in my life is where I live……all of the neighbors like each other and help each other. One neighbor got his buddies together to rebuild the deck on my next-door neighbors house …. Lawn mowers are traded if someone’s breaks….food is taken when someone is sick….children are driven to destinations if the parent can’t take them one day…..etc…and I even go out to eat and shopping with one neighbor from time to time.
I am so glad that you have friends that are family and your pets, and that you also aren’t beneath anyone now. Thank you for your sweet comments! 🙂


Wow this is amazing in the fact it is so similar to my own experiences, Darlene! I worked so hard to prove to my mother I loved her and all I wanted was for her to love me back a fraction of that… I never got it. I was always a failure (supposedly so were all four of her children, she has no contact with all of us)… What I did (no matter what it was, how much time I spent on it, how much money I spent on it or how well-prepared it was) was never good enough. I failed in some way, some how she would find it (even if she had to make something up or base it off her perception of why I was a failure), and then continue to tell me about it every time she saw me for the next decade (no that is NOT an exaggeration, our conversations were often discussions of “remember when you botched up your husband’s birthday party with that awful cake?” or “remember when you were in college and received a B+ in that javascript class instead of an A?” EVERY. TIME.)… The only thing that truly saddens me is that I raised three step girls and she has moved her poison onto them and so sadly has alienated them from not just me but their father (we had custody of the three of them) and that just breaks my heart for him. I can celebrate the fact we were loving and caring parents to all of them and never abandoned them, but it is sad she has even managed to steal that happiness away via gaslighting. This mother’s day I know I can celebrate the memory of my grandmother (who was more of a parent to me than she ever was, thank goodness for me), and knowing I am spending my holidays a lot healthier and happier without her!


Hi Darlene, As usual, a post that rings absolutely, true. I’m sorry that you are feeling somewhat, blue about the holiday. Holidays don’t bother me as much as some simply, because to me, they are just another day. I sure do relate to your sense of loss through the absence and flat-out denial of respect, though. That is really the heart of the issue, when it comes to broken, parent/child relationships. There are still times when my thoughts drift backward, when I’m missing my foo, and I wonder about there being something else that I could say or do but then I come back to that very clear moment, when I required respect, in order to continue in relationship with my mother, and her solid denial. Then I’m reminded that the heart of the problem was her lack of respect for me as a person. I too, am sorry she is missing out on having her daughter in her life and I, a mother. The truth is, I’ve really never had that experience in full.

If “Child’s Day” is ever declared an official holiday, I hope it will be in celebration of the inherent rights of children. I would like to see a new civil rights movement based upon protecting these rights and elevating children to the status of respect that is rightly, theirs. Acknowledging the value of children as being equal to that of adults, would go a long way toward healing this broken world.

Hobie, I know I wasn’t and am still not, a perfect mom. I wish I were more healed before I had children. However, I do believe, despite all of all of my problems that stemmed from my childhood, I do believe I did a pretty good job. If there is one thing I wish I could take back, it is teaching them that I was what I’d been taught I was, a scapegoat. Stopping thinking of myself that way, is the best thing I can do at this late date, for my children, for my family. So, this weekend, I’m not going to beat myself up thinking about what I wish I’d done differently or what I left undone. Instead, I’m going to celebrate the people all of my children are (none are perfect but like me, they are good enough)and the good things I did accomplish. I will celebrate this no matter who is or isn’t celebrating with me. Whatever the day is like on Sunday, I know all will be changed next year. I’m choosing to focus on the positives and count on that inevitable change to work out the things I regret. I hope you have a happy day too.



Great article. I can relate. I had a Grandmother like that. I also will be without a Mother this year but this time, it’s by MY choice. I was abused by virtually EVERY family member I have. No exaggeration. All would be lost had I not met my HERO, my husband and had my precious daughters. I firmly believe I would not be here if it wasn’t for them. My biggest struggle was that I could not grasp why or how a parent could hurt their innocent child. I internalized the “It must be my fault. There must be something wrong with me. I’m a bad person. I hate myself. No one would ever love me forever. Everyone’s gonna hurt you. You have to always be on guard. They’re gonna leave you someday. Don’t fall too deeply in love with your husband or kids. You’re going to end up and die ALONE.” I could not receive love because I wasn’t worthy and it was all a lie. Happily ever after just was not in the cards for me. My father passed away in 2000 at the age of 59. My relationship with my Mom has been a little rocky, off and on but we came pretty close this last year and I had forgiven her and thought that she had changed and was truly sorry for what she did to me growing up. Well a few days ago, I stumbled across an entry in my Dad’s journal I had missed somehow all the times I’ve read it. It was like someone dropped a grenade in my lap. My Dad wrote that he had caught my Mom with his Brother, my Uncle together and he believed that my Sister was not his and he was not 100% sure my Brother was either. It was out in the open that my Uncle, twice divorced, wanted my Mom, and us kids for himself. It’s documented, my Mom has admitted it, “nothing happened” When I read it clear as day that it HAD HAPPENED! Suddenly it ALL fell into place! All my questions were answered, everything that happened my life MADE SENSE! IT WASN’T ALL MY FAULT! I AM A WONDERFUL PERSON! I DO DESERVE LOVE! I confronted her, interrogated her, caught her in lie after lie after lie. “I don’t know why you are digging in the past! What happened between your Dad and I is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!” GUILTY! She stopped responding to my texts. I’ve been estranged from my Brother and Sister for a couple years now. I sent a letter to my Sister and offered to do a DNA test so we will know for sure. Her secret will finally be out. I will NEVER speak to them any of them again. And I have renewed understanding and and compassion for my Dad now and see why things happened. I FINALLY am able to release everything I’ve carried ALL my life. I FINALLY HAVE THE PEACE I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD FIND. I hope you all find it too. WISHING A HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL!


Thank you Pam!

My children are all grown, and I think that I made the opposite mistakes that my mother made with me. The trouble is that my mother believes she did everything just right and I “took it the wrong way”. My daughters seen to be buying her version of events. No one is listening or hearing me, so I stopped talking. The more time passes, I see that there are benefits to avoiding the relationships because there was no way that I could make them not toxic for me.

If I start to feel sad about being left out of mothers day by my kids, all I have to do is remember how hurtful it was to try to maintain those relationships, and I’m OK. OK is where I am open to happiness and I usually find something to be happy about on Sundays 🙂



Hi ReleasedAtlast
Welcome to EFB! Thank you for sharing. I don’t talk about this often but I have a similar story re your mother having an affair. I don’t know why parents thing that these things don’t effect the children and that it is none of the business of the children. Kids pick up SO much and it is so confusing. I think the world would be a far better place if people could just admit things that have caused emotional damage ~ it really accelerates the healing.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Pam
It’s weird but I am actually really excited about mothers day “AS a Mother” but I am a little blue “AS” a daughter. Even though I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am not wrong and that there is nothing I could have done differently and that she likely will never want to sort any of this out, I still find it hard to get my head around the fact that she doesn’t want to sort any of this out! LOL
Part of this is just that I have been really tired lately and you know how emotions are ‘bigger’ when we are tried.
I am really looking forward to spending the day with my little family ~ only one of my kids won’t be here but she will be flying home the following week and we will celebrate again. (we are big on celebrating everything!)
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Christine
This is such a tough and tragic situation and it is more common than people think. It’s like they just can’t take and destroy enough. It’s really sick.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I have a hard time getting my head around that too. I think I always will…they aren’t like us and I’m finding that there are many things that I have to accept without understanding them, fully… and that isn’t like me! LOL! Aw well, let’s just celebrate every day! I need to think less and have more fun!:0)

Love you,


Thank you Light!
Even though my life is really wonderful and I am a very happy and fulfilled person, some days I still feel the grief of the losses. I never regret the choices that I have made, (as far as doing what it takes to keep healing from parents etc.) sometimes I wonder what it might have been like if they were willing to see us as equally valuable. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Hi Everybody,

I don’t know where to begin. I am sorry to put a damper on Mother’s Day but my big announcement is that I just learned that my father died last night in the hospital. Yes, it’s true. I knew it was coming but I was not sure which parent would go first. I was hoping that it would be my more horrible Narc mom. I had issues with my father but it was more serious with my mother. I am trying to calm down right now. The terrifying part is knowing that I must face my enemy until she finally dies. I want to believe that she does not have much time left being 82 years old. I am very metaphysical and I had psychic readings that showed a parent’s death this year with possibly both parents’ deaths. My mom will pass away close to my father I hope. Their big luxury house is still listed for sale and when their house sells, my mom wants to buy a small house near me. So I must deal with both my Narc mom and Narc adopted cousin whom I despise.

I am trying to forgive and find peace in my life. It’s strange but I feel more anger than anything toward my father. Whenever you have a complicated relationship, it’s kind of like a mixed bag of feelings. I am still hurt and angry regarding why my father never divorced my crazy nut mother. The burning question is how come he chose his wife over his only biological daughter? Many times my father was hurtful and embarrassed me in public. I don’t know if he was some kind of Narc or had a personality disorder? I guess that I will never know.

I am searching for any few good memories that I have of my father. There are very few good memories and the bad memories are more abundant. I don’t know how he could stand years of simply wasting his retirement away by watching the TV set? When he was working he would come home and watch hours of TV and neglected me of course.

In some ways I am grateful to have the limited father/parenting that I had from him. Many times I thought to myself that if my father had died when I was a child, I know that I would have ended up in the foster care system due to being terrorized by my mother. I know that things could have been much worse.

But there were terrifying past events connected with my father. When I was just twenty, I almost died from a serious suicide attempt and woke up the next morning in the hospital. Then there was the time where I ran away to a shelter since I felt safer there than with my parents. I wrote my very first post here on EFB back in 2012 where I told about the incident with my parents and my mom almost calling the police on me. My mom was fighting and screaming at me for no reason and picked up the phone. She started calling the police to lie and say that her daughter was abusing her? Huh? It was the other way around. I looked at her eyes and then I looked at my father standing right next to her. Her eyes looked kind of crazy, sort of like a character from a horror movie—and no I don’t normally watch those kind of movies being so hypersensitive, empathic, a medium, and Lightworker on the planet. My father also had that same look in his eyes, almost like they were both temporarily possessed. I remember that I grabbed my purse and started walking backward in slow motion to the front door. I was praying that I would get to the door in time. Then I was praying that I would make it to my car. I got in my car and drove to a park. I kept walking around the park in circles for hours, as if I were having an out of body experience. Visions of going back to a shelter flashed before my eyes. I felt totally worthless as a human being like I was only fit to live in a shelter and not be a normal person. I told myself that I could NEVER accuse an innocent person of a crime they did not commit to spend a night in jail, but here was my father who once again sided with my mother. I felt shocked and stunned that my father could feel nothing. I thought that if I went to jail then how could I ever get a job or an apartment in that town again? It was a memory that I can never forget no matter how long I live or where I go or what I do with my life.

All I can say is that I am truly sorry for the women here on EFB who have had the sexual molestation by their own fathers. No, I am lucky since I never was a victim by my own father. It was weird because it’s like I never felt loved or wanted or accepted at all. The television set meant more to my father than I ever did. I could write an entire book describing all of the incidents that went on behind close doors when I was a kid. I wanted with all my heart to believe that my father was a good man when I was a kid. My father had an important career and was almost heroic in my mind. But when I grew up, I saw just how selfish and uncaring towards me that he really was.

I almost envy my father. He died and got away from his Narc wife. I am still here on the Earth plane having to deal with her. All that I have ever wanted was my freedom. I wanted to feel safe from her. Who am I kidding? I NEVER had good loving parents. I am an only child and I have NO good family to speak of. The only family that I can have is through having a relationship with a good man, either living together or married. I am not having a biological child and I’m fine with that.

I have lived through so many years of sure Hell with these people. I want to give myself applause for making it to this point. My birthday is coming up on Monday, May 11—yes, the day after Mother’s Day. I am a Taurus sign and was born on a Saturday—thank the gods the day BEFORE Mother’s Day.

I want to believe there is a positive future for me. I want to go back to college in hopefully a couple of years from family inheritance money. I do want more of a social life and happiness. I keep busy with my hobbies but sometimes I just get tired of being so alone. This site has helped me a lot. I know that I’m not alone. Thank you for any kind suggestions here.

Blessed Be,



Yvonne, you are not alone! We are all here , and it is a community ! Sending you comfort and peace and hugs tonight and through the next week. Happy Birthday on Monday…it is also my husband’s birthday….and it is my cat’s too. Xxxxxxxx



That is so neat that you have such wonderful neighbors. The people are what make a neighborhood…not the houses! You are so blessed to have such kind and caring neighbors.I hope you have a terrific Mother’s Day.


You are not putting a damper on anything. This is why we are here on earth and on this site: to support each other. I am sorry that the death of your father has put you in the place where you are now. All the memories and feelings appear to be rushing back to you as you review the life you had with your father. I hope you will be gentle with yourself at this time. That is good that you are giving yourself applause. I hope you have a nice birthday on Monday!


Hi Yvonne,

I agree, you are not alone! You’ve had such a difficult life…I’m sorry to read about the painful examples you are writing about. Having hurtful parents is truly debilitating. Neglect is so very painful….do you know it has been just in the last few years that I understood that neglect IS abuse? I’d always heard the phrase “abuse and neglect” as if they were separate, but have discovered through reading that neglect is a form of abuse. It’s the “absence of” and harder to put a finger on what is so very wrong. It also can be even less validating than physical abuse because others don’t see anything wrong when they walk in and dad is watching TV. They don’t know all the times you wanted your father’s attention and he didn’t respond. I’m sorry about the wild-eyed incident as well. It sounds hideous.

Our lives are similar as you describe at the end of your post. I am single like you, unmarried, and can relate to feeling so alone. I have to push myself to go out even though I’m lonely. It’s a hurdle for me to walk in to a room where I don’t know anyone, but I have to say that I’ve had two good experiences lately where people tried to connect with me. Lately I’ve been telling myself I DESERVE to go out and have fun, and to make my social life a top priority – not something I indulge in if there is time. So far I am only partly successful with this but I’m working on it.

It’s easy for me to say, but can you tell your mother you don’t want her to move near you, or tell her you won’t be available to help her much (or at all), or can you move? I’ll never forget a college boyfriend who at age 23 had already told his parents not to count on him for help when they were older. I couldn’t even fathom that at the time. He was very clear with himself and them and there was no agonizing (at such a young age!).

Lately I’ve been looking into 1/2 day or 1 day workshops and adventures. My cat also helps tremendously with the loneliness – I had never had a pet before and the difference in the loneliness is significant.

Happy upcoming Birthday Yvonne! I hope your birthday marks a new beginning with feelings of hope.


Hi Yvonne,

I’m not sure if it’s more appropriate to say that I’m sorry for your loss or congratulate you, so maybe I’ll do a little of both. It’s a huge and difficult transition to lose a parent, no matter how you felt about them. I wish you the strength you need for the hard parts, and I hope you can welcome the sense of relief that you may feel without guilt.

I have a picture in my head that makes me want to say that this loss is bringing you to a breaking point, but there’s healing in that breaking. You have the opportunity to release what has been held down. You will be more than OK in the right time.



Hi Yvonne
I created this space for people to share whatever they need to share ~ there are no dampers! Thank you for sharing. I can only imagine what you are going through. Death is so final and there is so much emotion around all this stuff when we come from careless abusive discounting families.
Happy Birthday on Monday! Monday is my wedding anniversary. 🙂 (I think we had this conversation years ago!) Hang in there, keep sharing, keep loving and validating yourself.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Yvonne, I know what you mean when you don’t have a lot of good memories to pull from. Don’t know if that is good or bad in this situation. Haven’t been through it yet myself. To me the whole thing is just plain sad. Your father is the one who missed out by never taking the time to get to know how wonderful his own daughter was. It was his loss. You are just the one who got caught up in the middle of him never dealing with his own personal issues and you are the one who got hurt in the end because of it out of no fault of your own. You deserved so much better then what you got. I hope my words bring peace and comfort to you through this difficult time.



Thank you for everything Darlene…..and Happy Anniversary! How wonderful! 🙂


Hi All,

Thank you so much for your concern and kind words. Nobody in my extended family or friends really understands anything or cares! I knew that this day would come and I was hoping that my evil Narc mom would die first. You reach a point where you are just so tired of it all. I am a grown woman (I hate the term middle-aged!) and there are others telling me that I should be over it by now. The truth is that I want to be over it by now. I have come so far but I am not out of the woods, yet. I am getting closer, like seeing a light at the end of the forest. I think that I have always been alone, even when I was a little girl. There was almost no one to support me, except for my grandparents (died when I was age 13/14) and my real father figure, my Cousin Dean, at age 18. In my twenties, I learned how to become independent in a hurry.

If you read any good classic children’s literature, the child protagonist character is almost always an orphan or alone in some way. The heroine is neglected or unwanted, but also given talents like being brave, smart, psychic and magical. They never really fit into the average box like the others. But when they somehow manage to grow up, they become so incredibly strong to defeat the dark forces. Think of Harry Potter reaching maturity to defeat Voldemort, his destiny,—-and he was the only one who could do it!

I want to believe that I have grown tougher and stronger. I have to battle with my evil Narc mom and the equally evil “adopted cousin”—-(he lived in our house when I was younger and became the golden child.) If I were to worry about the future it would only make me sick. Now I must use everything that I’ve got to deal with my crazy family with my tenacity, bravery, and psychic and magickal gifts.

There are money issues going on. I seriously need to get a better, higher paying job and I can keep the one that I’ve got for awhile. Work is my golden excuse to NOT have to deal with my Narc mom. Curious people who ask about me get the excuse that I’m working full time and single and so busy! I do want to go back to college in a couple of years from family inheritance and I feel like it’s a karmic payback for what I’ve been through in this lifetime.

I can’t trust anything having to do my my Narc mom or cousin. My Narc cousin may legally fight with me over future inheritance and/or physically/verbally fight me. He is the crazy type who could be a stalker if he wanted! He is a military man and he made a special trip to visit my Narc mom. (My father is having cremation with very simple arrangements so there is no real funeral service.) I chose not to drive down to visit there since it would be nothing but fighting with a crazy woman with her evil ally by her side. I sent a card and flowers as a formality and that’s it. I don’t know if she will live in an assisted living care apartment in the near future. My Narc mom is rather snooty and may consider an elderly apartment as being beneath her. I get psychic messages about Narc mom living for only a year or two more. So, I don’t know…

I am labelled “shy” by many people, but I don’t mind. The truth is that I was never that shy but I created walls of protection around me. I fear my Narc mom living nearby, with me driving her for shopping and appointments. I really don’t want to be seen in public with her. If my spiritual group friends saw me with Narc mom I would feel so embarrassed. She is a very mean (witch—with a B). When I was a child, I was embarrassed to ride in the car with her for errands like grocery shopping. I remember walking just a few feet behind her, while pretending to be looking in another direction. I prayed that others would not realize that this mean woman who always made an angry scene at the store was my bio mother! I still feel rather betrayed by my father who never protected me from her when I was a child and through his death it’s not over. I’m so terribly sorry for EFB members who have lived through the sexual abuse and I have not. I lived through physical abuse, and verbal, emotional, and mental cruelty. I know there are others who had more than me and I’m sorry for them. I just needed to really let it all out with my father’s death. I know that my life will be better and happier. I dream of the day when I’m truly free and my Narc mom has also passed away.

Thank you all so much. I wish we could do a big group hug!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne 🙂


Thank you so much for this. Reading this brought me some closure with my own personal struggles very similar to your . I am a 22 year old mother, who over a year ago decided to cut the cord with a very dysfunctional family that brought more heartache than one can imagine. Its tough for anyone else to understand what this is like. I tend to bottle up my emotions and grief because for awhile I felt I wasn’t allowed to feel that way as it was my choice. It was a choice for the best, sure, but the scars we carry can be beyong repair. So far I only hope that time can make it easier to bear. With mothers day approaching my Facebook feed has been plagued with articles for the motherless on mothers day, and I feel compassion and sympathy for all children who have experienced that loss, but I always wondered if I would ever see one closer to my situation. So I decided to Google some. Reading this was empowering, but I also suddenly felt a little less lonely knowing there are plenty of mothers out there who’s biggest goal is to be the mother they never had. I hope more than anything that my son and I will have a bond so strong because it was built on our love and respect for each other. I am so grateful I found this today. It has brought light to my grief, and I suddenly feel that I am allowed to feel the way I do regardless. Thank you.


“I celebrated someone who seemed to be exasperated with me and communicated to me that I was somewhat of a pain in her butt.”

In my most recent conversation with my parents, I told my father it felt fake when I make the “obligatory” every two week phone call to check in with my parents and discuss the weather.

My dad literally said “Well I guess we’re just shallow people, that’s how we talk to everyone.”

My need to talk about deeper topics than the weather has been a huge “pain in the butt” to my parents all my life. They have made it clear that the only way to have a relationship is on their terms. In other words, by only having a very shallow relationship.

I’m not sure if this is something I can contort myself into doing.

I am dreading the feeling of obligation that is going to wash over me this mother’s day but I was so hurt by our last call I think I will skip the fake cheery phone call this year.


I tend to bottle up my emotions and grief because for awhile I felt I wasn’t allowed to feel that way as it was my choice.

Ha ha, what a joke. No, I’m not aiming this at Tara. The “joke” is that my mom kept telling me “don’t bottle up your feelings” but when I did tell her my feelings, my feelings were “dismissed.” Mom likes to have her cake and eat it, too. She says stuff and doesn’t mean it. She just repeats stuff she heard somewhere else and thinks she is being so smart. “Don’t bottle up your feelings.” (translation: “I’m really not interested in hearing your feelings so I would prefer you not have any….”)


My need to talk about deeper topics than the weather has been a huge “pain in the butt” to my parents all my life. They have made it clear that the only way to have a relationship is on their terms. In other words, by only having a very shallow relationship.

Boxergirl, you said it! My mom’s “terms” are: “Please don’t be mad at me for anything because I need to keep up this appearance that I have this perfect family and that we are very close.”



I am dreading the feeling of obligation

Boxergirl, are you my sibling? “Obligation” is the feeling I got from my mom my entire life. I learned that “love” is something people fake because it’s “obligatory.”


DXS my parents were the exact same. However after separating ourselves I almost felt as if my feelings were brushed off whenever I tried to reach out to a friend or anyone I thought would be there for me. Whenever times got tough in the last while and someone would ask questions and start probing I would try to be honest, but it seemed if I didn’t say that I was doing great, or never felt better they would drift off and not pay any mind to what I was saying. I’ve been told to just get over it as well. Guess in the end its made me realize I need to start cutting more people out.


Yup you guys. I’ve been told to “stop living in the past, you’ll make yourself sick like that.” And “get over it already.” I think Darlene covers this in another post.

My mother is also really attached to the “perfect happy family” image and we aren’t allowed to talk about anything real at a family gathering because “it will spoil the nice time everyone is having.” The only way to have a nice time is to be fake and superficial apparently.


Hi Boxergirl, What you wrote reminded me of when for the first time in my life I put my brother in his place after he disrespected me in my own home and he later replied to me by email how we don’t have to talk about anything to heavy, you know, just “fun” things and I replied back to him if I wanted another relationship where all I talked about was how is the weather out there I would call up mom and dad for that!! I told him I wasn’t interested.

We should be able to count on our families to get us through WHATEVER we are going through in our lives not just the happy things. I had none of that. When I was being beat up, ridiculed and criticized by my brother and father when I was growing up my mother’s response was “just ignore it”. That’s all she ever said because that’s all she ever did when her own children were being abused right in front of her face. Deny and ignore. Nope, not interested in that anymore.


“Pick up your boot straps and move on.” If I heard that once I heard that a thousand times!!!! “Don’t look back.” I’ve just about had it with that one. I hear that in church all the time and one of these days I am going to stand up in front of the congregation and scream at the top of my lungs “YOU CAN’T MOVE FORWARD UNTIL YOU LOOK BACK!!!”and then maybe we all will be able to do what you are preaching about but until then “WE JUST DON’T SEE WHAT THE HECK YOU ARE TRYING TO TELL US because that’s what being abused when you are a child does to a person” and be done with this sick ass charade once and for all where everyone wants to put the blinders on as to why we are the way that we are and why society as a whole is such a stinkin mess. CHILDHOOD ABUSE that’s why.


Kris. I have come to hate that saying more than most. The implication is that you should be able to move forward on your own power, and there are all kinds of things wrong with that when your power has been stolen from you. It is a saying TOTALLY out of place in the Christian church (at least in my understanding of the gospel, but I digress).

LITERALLY and I mean really look at boots and bootstraps and tell me how anyone can pull themselves up by them! Maybe I need to look up the definition of the term bootstrap, but if it’s a strap that’s attached to my boot, no amount of pulling on it is going to get me off the ground. In fact I’m going to be stuck in a bent position as long as I try.

Well I’m going to post first and then go find out what a bootstrap really is.

Daring Greatly,


My answer to all of those shame-casting sayings is, “In order to leave the past behind, you have to address it first.”:0)That’s not just an expression, it’s the truth.



Whenever times got tough in the last while and someone would ask questions and start probing I would try to be honest, but it seemed if I didn’t say that I was doing great, or never felt better they would drift off and not pay any mind to what I was saying.

Oh my. If you have read any of Deborah Tannen’s books on communication, she has a word for this. It’s “pre— ” something. It means…. “they are asking to make conversation but really don’t want to hear the answer.” The word escapes me. This tend to be typical in female conversation, but it irritates me. When I perceive that someone is asking in that kind of manner, I purposely say, “oh my dog died, my boss is upset with me, I got robbed….” just to watch the look on their face as they suddenly realize they have been “caught.”


I have “fact-checked” by Google images. There are a few kinds of bootstraps that are actually related to boots. The first that I saw were clearly intended to help a person pull boots onto feet. The second that I noticed were straps intended to hold the bottom edge of jeans down over the calf portion of the boot. I noticed several bootstraps that appeared to be primarily decorative and one that was intended to hold the bottom of jeans securely inside the calf portion of the boot.

How did such a senseless saying become so popular?

Pam I am in full agreement with your answer “In order to leave the past behind, you have to address it first.”


My answer to all of those shame-casting sayings is, “In order to leave the past behind, you have to address it first.”:0)That’s not just an expression, it’s the truth.

I love to watch the TV show “Cold Case” (with Katherine Morris, currently in syndication). My mom is big on “leave the past alone.” Well, her character in Cold Case says “what happens in the past, never really goes away.” Which goes right along with what a therapist told me about “if you don’t deal with things they squeak out the side.”


I just bought myself some plants to celebrate me.

The sadness of not having a mother/daughter relationship this year is my reality. I wont wallow in sadness or self pity, because I know I am not alone in this awful situation. Thanks everyone for sharing!


Not sure I belong on this thread. Cause in not estranged from my mom but I was abuser by her and I’m trying to balance my life with her in it, just enough, but not alit.



I have been having a “hellacious” time here of late and when I read your post 43 I busted out laughing!! Thnx for that.



I’m glad that you enjoyed that Kris!

Check my post #46 or better, google images of bootstraps yourself.

That saying is just plain stupid.



HI everyone-I can relate to so much of what all of you share here. It was only after I became a mother myself that I realized what love really was. That I realized that what had been taught to me as “love” was actually ownership, obligation, guilt, fear…abuse, really. In a myriad of ways. A few years ago…when my little girl was about 3…I started celebrating mother’s day as Mother/Daughter day. Because I wanted her to know that I wouldn’t be a mother without her (I have only 1 child) and she has birthed me just as much (probably more so) than I have birthed her. It was in me becoming a mother that I truly understood all that being a mother…a Not that I don’t fall and stumble and fail miserably at times…but I have committed to healing myself, to being truthful, to being a loving parent. So now…on Mothers Day…I celebrate the relationship I have with my daughter, the loving family I have with my husband, the good and great miracles that are present in my life. And the abusive NPD “mother” I was born with…she gets further and further away from my life and reality. Not that there isn’t a tremendous amount of pain…but it’s the mourning of the mother I never had rather than the one I did have. And I absolutely agree with one of the above comments regarding mother worship on mothers Day. Not only do I have my own personal experiences with my NPD “mother” but I worked in social services for many years and as you can imagine…I saw the most heinous situations that involved the most awful kinds of abuse from …you guessed it…”mothers”. So to all of you…I agree with Darlene’s suggestions…we can become the mother we never had… to our own children and…to ourSELVES. xxx



Happy Anniversary!


Happy birthday!

I hope everyone finds at least a glimmer of joy this weekend. For my mother (me) I’m going to buy a bunch of dark pink tulips and bake a batch of chocolate cupcakes.


Aww thanks Davina!
My husband already bought me 2 doz (for 24 years!) pink roses for our anniversary. They are filling my house with the most beautiful aroma! I love flowers ~ enjoy your tulips and cupcakes!!

I am really looking forward to mothers day with my family. The kids are going to be home except for Katie but she flys home a week from today and we can celebrate again! I am really looking forward to her visit.

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Anon,

I love how you celebrate Mother’s Day. It is so beautiful. I never had any children of my own due to believing the lie that they would hate and reject me just like my own mother did and subconsciously I couldn’t bear to relive that pain so I never had any children of my own. Now that I finally see my own worth it is too late. This year has been filled with grieving my losses associated with this truth and the realization that I will never have any grandchildren either.

This year I don’t feel sad or guilty for not seeing my mother like I did last year. This year I feel sad for me. One could say that is progress but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Maybe next year I will be at a place where I can truly celebrate how far I have come with nurturing and comforting my self within, being the mother to my self that she never was. I am thankful that I was able to break through all the garbage that she taught me about my self, that was all just a pack of lies, but it is still one tough pill to swallow when you see how unnecessary it all was out of no fault of your own, and your losses are so big.

As sad as I am for myself I am thrilled when I hear stories like yours Anon. You get the true meaning of what loving your child is about by SHARING this wonderful day by expressing MUTUAL respect and admiration for your daughter as if she were your self.

Happy Mother’s Day to ALL tomorrow.

Happy Anniversary to Darlene! I can smell those beautiful roses too!

Happy birthday to Yvonne!! I am thinking of you at this difficult time.

For those who feel like I do this year I found comfort in reading Isaiah 61:3-7. Maybe you will too.



Hi Kris
Feeling sad for yourself is a huge part of the healing process and in my opinion is a big step forward. I had a lot of trouble with it and tried to put it off for a long time, but when I finally allowed myself to grieve the lost years and the me that was rejected in so many ways, I grew leaps and bounds! I think I was afraid that if I felt sad for me it would never go away, but like all other things I feared the acknowledgement and validation that had been so lacking, once given to myself, I moved forward and away from the thing I feared. It’s okay to feel sad ~ what happened IS sad!
Hugs and peace, Darlene


Hi Everyone,

I actually tried to buy my mother a card the other day, and after browsing them had to stop and walk away. They were all filled with sentiments of thanks and what a mother is like understanding, a friend, unconditionally loving….What a joke! There was absolutely no truth in any of it for me. My mother has been a completely immature and cold woman.

Still, we (me and my son, mother and father, brother and his family) get together on holidays. It’s tolerable for my son’s sake he knows his family background and its a nice meal.

But today I called my brother, who tells me they are going to a restaurant tomorrow -with my mother and father. I say to him that maybe we will come to…which was met with objection…”it’s mothers day and we needed reservations -for 7-. I suggested maybe he call the restaurant and see if they could add two more people-me and my 7 year old. I did not have my heart set on this or anything, but still, he made no effort. None. The answer was just NO.
The pain of not even acknowledging me and of rejection never ceases to amaze me.



Two dozen pink roses–you lucky pup!

Brings to mind my favorite biblical verse, Matthew 7:6 in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, adapted:

“Give what is holy to the dogs and the cats and flowers to the blessed; do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and splatter your clean white tee.”


Dearest sweet Kris-my heart goes out to you…really and truly, I can feel the depth of your pain and sorrow. There are so so many losses to be mourned, so many struggles to push through and we, each of us, have our private pain(s) to bear witness to, to experience and process and try to make sense of somehow. How do we reconcile these awful childhoods of ours?? For me…I am getting real with myself. I am in therapy, reading through all of Darlene’s blog (with comments) from the very beginning. I also got Darlene’s e-book and this community right here has been so very supportive.
I gave birth at the age of 40. I, too, believed all those lies about myself…that I was inherently unlovable, inherently WRONG…that I didn’t even have the right to exist…to take up space on this earth. But now…I get to heal, I get to define myself, to feel sad for myself, to grow and bloom and thrive…we ALL do. Our dysfunctional/toxic “families” have the same opportunities…but they choose differently. I certainly send you lots of love and hugs and wish you a wonderful day tomorrow anyways. For years and years (when I became an adult) but before I was a mom…I celebrated Mothers Day by treating myself. Whether it was a nice dinner, flowers, quiet time to read and journal…whatever made me happy. At that time (before I became a mom) it was all about being gentle with myself and acknowledging the LOSS of mothering that I yearned for, but never received. xxx
P.S. Wishing all of you a peaceful day tomorrow. For most of us here in this community, I think, there is so much sadness and pain on Mothers Day. There is so much tension/confusion about what we really feel vs what we “should” feel. If we can all of us just extend some compassion and grace to ourSELVES…and allow for whatever to come forth…to simply come forth.
And Darlene…thank you ever so much, from the bottom of my heart, for having the BIG HUGE COURAGE to start this blog, to write with such detail, clarity and compassion…you have saved many souls and lives. Mine included. Happy Mothers Day and Happy Anniversary as well. xxx


Dear Mom,

It was a bit sad when I realized that you only accepted me when I fulfill the role you wanted me to be in – that of the family failure, the family joke, the one anyone can feel free to slight and dismiss and to joke about, the one whose hobbies and interests are mocked. Nothing I ever did that was successful was ever given and consideration, only the things I failed at. I’m sorry mom. I could not live that way anymore. I can’t be your token failure child anymore. The one that buys you the wrong presents, whose first marriage ended in divorce, who didn’t believe “right” and didn’t agree with every judgmental thought that came flying out of your mouth. You have people who do that for you. I only wanted your acceptance, and I gave up. I would be with you on Mother’s Day had I been able to fill the role you carved out for me in your family, but it was killing me, and I chose my own mental health instead. Though I miss you, I could not take it anymore. I could not be the scapegoat for your bad marriage and hard life anymore. I spent a lifetime waiting for your minimal approval, and I had to give it to myself. I don’t want to see you on Mother’s Day and impede the progress I have made in loving myself, even though I don’t weigh what you think or belong to the right church anymore and my skin is still scarred from cystic acne I had in my early 20s. I can’t sit there with you and know within 30 minutes that you’ll somehow make a reference to how you feel I should look or how I should be. I know my life has gotten much easier and as I have accepted myself life has gotten so much easier. I’m sorry for your hard life and that its gotten harder now that you don’t have a handy place to project your problems–though maybe it’s still on me and I’m just not here to take the fallout. There is a photo in your albums of you as a young mother and I’m sitting on your lap. It’s a loving photo. I know you loved that little girl then and it must have been before you understood the truth of your life and marriage and you didn’t need me as a scapegoat then. The truth was, I adored you back then and I remember at our old house by the park and the lake you teaching me to brush my teeth and fixing my hair and putting me in a cute dress you sewed yourself and sending me off to school. This was before your world was torn apart. I was 7 when that happened. After that, I wasn’t so precious to you anymore. It’s been decades since and I tried as hard as I could to hang in there and I can finally let you go, I think. I will try in my mind’s eye to see the mother who encircled me in her arms under that tree when I was five. I know that is the mother you meant to be. I wish you had gotten some help and I know you tried but a rural area can be difficult to find qualified professionals. I know when I was 11 years old you took me in to get “help” but the doctor told you that the whole family needed help, and it wasn’t just me, and that was not the answer you were looking for. I’m forgiving you from a distance now. God give me the strength to forgive myself for saving myself. Love, Eira


Very well done Eira! You could have written a lot of that letter for me and how I am feeling about my mom right now. I bet that a lot of us can. Thanks for sharing and letting me know I’m not alone.



Anon and Darlene, thnx for your kind words and for acknowledging my pain. It is nice having some place to go. Thank you Darlene for that. I think I am just going to allow myself to sit in my sadness for a little while and see where it takes me. I actually feel relieved in some ways. Hard to explain. This isn’t the usual depression. It is different. God is trying to show me another truth and these truths always hurt but they allow me to be one step closer to freedom from my past. Kind of like a double edged sword. This process is difficult and it never seems to end. Sometimes I lose hope and this was one of those weeks. Thank you all for being there for me and sharing your lives throughout these posts. It means the world to me to know that somebody out there understands my pain and accepts it without making any excuses as to why I have it to begin with. We all have suffered so much. We deserve a break!!! We need to be kind to ourselves like Darlene said.

Peace to everyone.



Eira: “God give me the strength to forgive myself for saving myself. Love, Eira “

You aren’t the one who did anything wrong to need to ask God for His forgiveness. You did what you had to do in order to survive and God knows that. He saw it all happen. He saw how your mother tore her little girl apart. He is grieving right along with you. Your letter really hit home. So many things I could relate to with my own mother. Great job at articulating how you feel. Thanks for sharing this part of your self with me. I certainly could relate.



Eira, I correct myself. I see you weren’t asking God to forgive you. You are trying to forgive yourself. I get it now. Sorry I misunderstood. Either way you aren’t the one who did anything wrong here. Be kind to yourself. You deserved so much better then what you got. Your mother needs to take responsibility for causing this mess not you. Let her take ownership of what she did to you and stop blaming yourself for things that you had no control over. I know how hard it is to see it that way. I have been there myself but one day you will. You will see that you didn’t have any other choice then to stay the heck away from her toxicity or she would bleed you to death. That is the truth but I know that it doesn’t make forgiving your self any easier. Sorry for your pain.



Kris & Hobie, thanks. I both feel like I need God to forgive me for walking away from her toxicity and I need His help to forgive myself. I am trying to re-mother myself. My siblings hold me in contempt. She is not nearly as toxic to them although she has her moments. Also they were trained from a very young age to see me as the “problem” and as someone not deserving of any kind of kindness or consideration. I was part of their family for decades before I resigned and when I did, they tried to lobby my own child against me. It’s horrific being the scapegoat and it’s equal to soul murder. Now that I got away I find it amazing I survived it for so many years. My husband gave me the strength to walk away. As lonely as life can get without family, it’s still preferable to being condescended and mocked and looked down on by my “family.” I see people who have mentally ill, homely, disfigured and mentally retarded family members who are not mistreated. I would rather be alone every day of my life than go back to that. I fully expect if one of my parents pass on I won’t even be called to say goodbye. I don’t care if I am not left a dime or even some part of their estate or stick of furniture, etc. I told my parents one of the last times I saw them and they were talking about how their estate will be handled after they are gone, that they don’t have to worry about me, I don’t need anything…that the only thing I would have ever wanted from either of them wouldn’t have cost a dime and was too late to give to me now. They didn’t say a word in response.

All of you women, whether mothers or not, Happy Mothers Day. Happy Mothers Day to the mother you have had to be to yourself to replace the mother who couldn’t love you, even if you have never given birth to a child or raised one yourself. Honor the mother inside of yourself, for caring for and loving the human being you are.


My mom sent me all these beautiful pics of wildlife with quotes about…
Love those who don’t live you…. Blah blah blah..
I was like… Yes! I can so relate!
Lol! I try to use humor and in difference… Seems to be working so far!
She got into a fight at the store over cans of tuna. Weren’t on sale and she argued with everyone over 10 bucks!
I was like… Well mom… All that over tuna! Lol!
I haven’t always been here…but I arrived at a place where I can be in her life… And still keep my sanity.
It’s an answered prayer I believe.
I been trying to deal with her forever and finally…
I am free but still there… It’s just now where I used to cry, I laugh.
Who knows… Maybe I just lost it!
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!


I hate mothers day. My mother has always been so cruel to me. Actually so many things you said reminded me of my childhood. Like wait till you have children. Or you made your bed and now lie in it. But the worst cruelity was after I had 3 kids and was a stay at home mom for ten years my xhusband filed secretly for divorce and my sister and my parents knew before me. My sister actually hid the $20,000 in her bank acct and they ganged up on me and I lost custody of my kids. I had two in diapers and 4 yr old and none of them helped raise them. My family had actually never been even seeing my kids. My parents always made my sister the prize child. Anyways,its just so hard. I am dying or I guess I don’t want to live anymore. They have all hurt me so much all my life and abandoned me and took the one thing from me that meant the most to me.My babies. Anyways, I got her a card. Don’t know why. I just want to runaway and move far away from my family but my almost grown teenagers are here but they have all brain washed them. My mom has never been a mom to me. Never. That’s what the card should read. I wish I could stand up to her. Just once.


I also feel frustrated with myself that my whole self esteem was riding so many years on waiting for the day my mother would finally approve of me so I could approve of myself. Every single time I made moves to create distance and get away from her and my sisters they seemed to want to draw me back in, give me a taste of finally being accepted by her and them, and it was enough that I was lured back in…felt like Charlie Brown and having that football yanked away all the time. Why couldn’t I have walked away earlier? At least I have now.


I don’t know where else to post this. I don’t want to post on an article that will be closed out soon. I’ve been ill lately with a bug, and my sister has been, once again, erratic in her support. The first day she said “I’m sorry you don’t feel well”. Then the next day she sent me an email with an over-apology for something unrelated and so minor, but made no mention of me being sick. This may sound like nothing but I think it’s mind games. Years ago when I got out of the hospital and was in so much pain (we lived in the same house) she walked by me for three days and never said a word to me. Just a slight smile played on her lips as if she enjoyed withholding. It’s like she knows I need her support but she withholds.

She’s also made over-apologies about other things (like forgetting to return a pencil and being SO SO SORRY), but when other major things happen, like breaking my trust – silence.

What is this dynamic? How would any of you deal with this passive-aggressive manner? I can’t think of anything except ignoring it. It’s not like she’s saying anything offensive that I can challenge verbally. She looks like she’s being “nice” (she’s a master at that), but she’s not.

If I wanted to be passive-aggressive in return I would bide my time and do the same thing to her. But then I’m hooked in.

Thank you in advance for your comments and Happy Mother’s Day to all of us (including men) who nurture and mother ourselves and others.

Happy Anniversary Darlene!


It was a bit sad when I realized that you only accepted me when I fulfill the role you wanted me to be in – that of the family failure, the family joke, the one anyone can feel free to slight and dismiss and to joke about, the one whose hobbies and interests are mocked.

This is the person I named “Blanche.” The “alternate person.”

And when I was teased and mocked, and complained about it, was told, “oh, you have to take a little teasing.” My feelings didn’t matter as I was “too sensitive.” Yeah right! Workplace bullying starts off with, “can’t you take a little joke….”

And yes, being a bit of a precocious child, my interests were mocked. Nothing I said was taken seriously. Instead, my mom just secretly hoped I would “snap out of it” and “change” [read: “to waht she wanted me to be: Blanche.].

I never got taken to “therapy” or anything but mom kept saying that I needed to “See someone” because of “all my issues.” My “issues” were ALL BECAUSE OF HER! She is the one who won’t see below the surface. She is the one who can’t see that she is the issue.

I agree with Hobie. Well done, Eira.

I both feel like I need God to forgive me for walking away from her toxicity and I need His help to forgive myself.

Me too!

I have received many “divine intervention” messages to avoid my Mom. In fact, my aunt (mom’s sister) died in 2012, I was 1500 miles away, but still planned to attend the funeral. I ended up breaking my foot. I still feel that is “divine intervention” set up to have me avoid my mom, even though I wanted to attend the funeral for my aunt.


Ann, I can’t imagine how hurtful it was that your husband was secretly filing for divorce and your parents and sister cooperated with him and helped him stash away cash. This is one of the worst things I have ever heard. Especially if you posed no danger to your own children. I don’t have the same experience but I understand something like that. When my ex left my sister gave him money to fix his car to get it properly running, even though she knew another woman was in the picture and I was begging him to stay home. He had a key to the house, and went inside the house and bugged my phone, bugged my computer. He would come in while I was gone and take the tapes and the computer report. After a while during our separation he found out I was communicating with a man (not local, but someone far-flung) because he had hacked my emails. He turned these into my family who conveniently forgot he was living with and sleeping with another woman and they began treating me like a Jezebel. In reality, I did not take up with any man until a few years later when I met my now-husband. I could not figure out what this was all about until I realized my entire family was narcissistic/dysfunctional and I was their scapegoat. They understand now that my ex-husband married this woman and cheated on her until she threw him out and barely saw our child but they treat him like a long-lost family member when they do see him. I think if he showed any interest in being part of their family they would let him back in.


Ann, That sounds brutal. I am so sorry that happened to you. Who has custody of your kids? I am sorry they are brainwashed against you.


I got a lecture earlier from a long time friend about forgiving “Mother”….I should call, go visit….I stood my ground, told her no way. Told her, My choice of NC is for me, and to let NM know

I will not accept or tolerate her negative actions or words anymore. Told her I can’t take the negativity anymore…Emotionally and Physically I need to get well.

She finally stopped, and said OK, I hope you don’t have any regrets… I said, I don’t believe I will.

I don’t hate my mother, I hate her deliberate, decisions to act and say what she does to hurt me.

It felt good to be honest, speak clearly and strong, and also be respectful to my long time friend.

I won’t let issues about NM ruin my relationships that I still have.


“I never got taken to “therapy” or anything but mom kept saying that I needed to “See someone” because of “all my issues.” My “issues” were ALL BECAUSE OF HER! She is the one who won’t see below the surface. She is the one who can’t see that she is the issue.”

I had a similar experience. Every time I told her how she hurt me (in the past and present) she would just tell me to get therapy. I’m not against therapy in general, I just didn’t like the context she used it in. In my view, she said that to get me to be quiet, and to hope that I snap out of my “crazyness” of condemning my wonderful family. Funny how she says she’s not perfect, but act as if she doesn’t deserve any criticism. This is one of the ways she contradicts herself.


“I got a lecture earlier from a long time friend about forgiving “Mother”….I should call, go visit…”

Again, this goes with the false belief that the offended party should be the “bigger person”. Why does the hurt person have to forgive, but the abuser isn’t expected to change their behavior?


My whole family has implied, if not stated that I need “help.” So I did. I learned in therapy that my problems stem from growing up in a toxic family system. I had to go back to therapy a few times because every time I “got better” I would eventually get pulled back into the same toxic system and get worse again.

They don’t really want me to be healthy or happy. They want to be able to point at me and tell themselves that they aren’t that bad. It doesn’t matter what I do or say, everything becomes proof of my defectiveness.

I’ve heard that harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. But I keep thinking that continuing to be a part of a toxic system is like drinking poison, so what’s worse?

Just because I’m not communicating with people who are poisoning me, it doesn’t mean I’m resentful. I just want to live.

Happy Mothers Day however you find happiness.



Hobie, love your statement, “Just because I’m not communicating with people who are poisoning me, it doesn’t mean I’m resentful. I just want to live.”

I had therapy several times. When it felt like the therapy was doing me good and I set out new boundaries with my family, they would say cruel things like: “The therapist does not see who you really are” and make accusations that I was lying to my therapist about them.

It finally dawned on me that why would I want to spend time with people who think so little of me? What is their purpose for having me around? Why do they panic when they sense that I am getting away from them? Why all the smear campaigns?

Then they would use my spiritual beliefs against me. Honor Thy Mother and Father and all of that. Of course any human being in their right mind would want to have family if they could. Me too. But not one that constantly tears me down. I’m so glad they don’t come over to my house anymore. I just had my kitchen remodeled and I could imagine my mother or sisters critiquing the workmanship or asking why I didn’t put this cabinet here or there or telling me my cupboards are not as high quality as their cupboards, etc. That my tile wasn’t as expensive as their tile or that it’s too bad its not bigger, doesn’t have a window by the sink, etc. I could not imagine doing that to any of them. It’s like if I have anything on a par with what they have it drives them crazy, much less having anything better.


Hi everyone,

I had a major breakthrough last year (referenced in Darlene’s last post, comment 569), and I finally broke free from my mother’s webs. Now I am in the process of cleaning away the sticky residue. Hopefully (I am in my mid-40’s) by the time I am 50 I will be residue-free!!

As difficult as it is for my pride for me to admit, all Mother’s Days in the past held a type of sadness. Of course, that sadness stemmed from the fact that I did not have that type of relationship with my mother (boiling it down to its essence: from the fact that my mother does not love me).

This year, however, I have looked forward to this day, relishing the fact that I am not going to contact her, send her a card, or ever speak to her again! I am so happy for myself and for the fact that I am FINALLY taking charge of this relationship! There is NO possibility of my taking charge of our daughter/mother relationship unless I never contact her again. So, I am finally done.

It is my heartfelt wish that everyone can celebrate their own self as a woman on this day. I am not a mother, but I have been in a daughter/mother relationship–as we all must or we would not be alive–and so I am able to be celebrated for my own special humanness.

This all sounds so grandiose and self-conceited, but the truth is that I was not allowed to ever feel/act/think as if I mattered as a child. Isn’t it finally time now for me?

Love to everyone.


Hi Ann
Welcome to EFB ~ Holy smokes, it shocks me every time I hear a story like yours and it kills me how common it is! It’s horrendous that ‘family’ will do this kind of thing! This is a hard one to sort out but you are not alone. There is always hope and I hope you will find some of it here in this website. There are thousands of shares throughout. I am glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


Wow, for the first time I am aware that others are in the same situation that I have been in for 50+ years. And two years ago when my mother’s actions nearly ruined my life, I stood my ground, and said enough. She of course continues to try and get my “attention”. But I have no more energy and very little compassion for a woman who can be so cruel to her own child. Actually two of her three daughters lived this life. But my younger sister died 4 years ago fighting this battle with our mother.

I to feel so sad this Mother’s Day. Last year I was just to damn mad to be sad. This year has really hit me hard realizing that I have no mother to celebrate. My twin son who lives close by just took me and my 2 amazing granddaughters out for brunch. It was so much fun and I forget about this awful thing when I’m with them. My mother has even tried to poison my own sons from me. That, I knew would never happen, and only make her look foolish. They are the only ones who truly know me and how I am. It is sad that they have come to realize that their grandma is not the woman they loved and respected all these years. It’s something we can’t even talk about yet.

There is so much I am feeling. So much I could ramble on about. Mostly I am relieved to have found a place to come to. A place to not be alone. A place to express my thoughts! But for today, even though it really hurts thinking of my mom, I now know that I am an awesome mom. One that is really loved and will NEVER stop loving any of my children. Or intentionally hurt them what so ever. I know that today! Thank you for that gift!


Hi Cheri
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I am really happy that you have found us. You are certainly not alone!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Danielle
YAY for celebrating our own special humanness! I love that.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Hobie
Since I came out of the fog I have disliked the expression “harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” because I think it serves the perpetrator. All my resentments fell away as soon as I validated that I had a real reason to have them. It was weird (surprising) but it worked! So yes, you are totally right, it doesn’t mean that you are resentful if you are drawing a boundary, it just means that you have a much higher self worth than you used to when you put up with unacceptable crap!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Light,
Thanks for Anniversary wishes!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Eira
I felt that way at first too but today I realized that I couldn’t walk away earlier because I totally believed that it could get better ~ and I believed it was totally up to ME to make it better. When I realized that relationship is a 2 way street (something that I was NEVER taught by example by my parents) I started to see things differently.
YAY for now!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene, I found your blog yesterday and liked it so much I gave you some link love in my Mother’s Day post. I hope you like it ( ) and I really appreciate all the work you’ve put into your blog. It’s an inspiration in more ways than one. See you round!
All my best,


I should probably warn you if you check out my post that my tone is wildly different than yours. But we have similar sentiments at heart! ;o) Happy Mother’s Day to you.


Happy mother’s day, Darlene! And happy anniversary, too!

I feel sadness, too, and also for my mom. You know, I was playing a role for her that was meant to keep her emotionally stable, I suppose, but it wasn’t just less than what she actually needed for herself emotionally, but it was also less than the love I could actually give her now. It was struck through by a kind of coldness for a long time. I was giving her what she wanted, or the bare minimum, as ridiculous as that sounds because she stole my life but it was still kind of the bare minimum… it was like we struck this deal that I’d be there in person, give myself over to her but I resented her and needed to keep my heart away just to protect myself, so that she didn’t even really know me. She knew that I didn’t trust her and you can never really feel loved by someone who doesn’t trust you. It was only as I started fighting with her/the status quo, trying to separate myself, and talk to her, that I actually started to come out of my shell, that love was possible. Now, I think, oh mom, if you could only get over yourself, you’d feel more love than you ever did because I’m actually capable of it now. It wouldn’t be exactly what you want, but it would be better because real love is always better than the kind you try to control but she can’t understand that and I don’t think she ever will. So, yes, I feel sorry for her and sometimes I see who she could have been. I have these sweaters she knit a long time ago. Back when I was a little kid, she owned a knit/wool shop, but she gave that side of herself up to pursue a career that would bring in more money. The last time I saw my parents, a chunk of it was spent with them telling me about my dad’s new job and how much money he was making. I think of my parents before I knew them—these total hippies, broke, my dad fishing coins out of fountains, their kind of backyard, autumn prairie wedding, my mom in a turquoise wedding dress. I love that—turquoise—it’s great! I think of what their dreams in life were, their intentions, and how our lives are not formed by our dreams and intentions if we are allowing them to blind and deceive ourselves about reality (blind and deceive others as well but sometimes I think the primary goal is oneself, that the deception of others is only to strengthen and uphold self-deception. Sometimes I think that’s the whole point of their having families—to create little clans of their own to control against reality/truth; except that it backfires). I spent a lot of time with my mom when I was young. It was unhealthy but I also got to know her more than she ever really knew me. I know her good side. And I know that none of what has happened is worth it. I know that she is loveable. But then I remember all the rest of it, and for that I can do nothing more, not because there’s not a million different ways you could try—there are so many angles you can go at things and I certainly didn’t try them all, even though it has felt like I did—but because there’s actually absolutely nothing I could ever have done, other than not be a part of the deception anymore. I’ve hated her and I’ve loved her. She’ll always be my mom and I’ll never have another. I’ve accepted that we can’t be in each other’s lives, that we’ve both made choices and that our realities are irreconcilable. The level of selfishness to have kept insistently inside the deception has really become unfathomable to me. I can go there and understand it on one level but I could never stay there and that’s what’s unfathomable, which I suppose is a good sign for me, that I know what selfishness is but that I can and will reject it because it is truly inconceivable a place to live in. What my mom has chosen is really painful to me but it’s also nothing I can do anything about, so the sadness settles down. It’s there but that’s just how it is. You can counter it with the truth and with bits of happiness and consolation from other sources. What else can you do?


I don’t think my mom does what she does deliberately. I think she just doesn’t have a clue and has a narcissistic tendency to think that just because she is “mother” that I am not allowed to “push back.” I am just supposed to “take” what she says, I’m not allowed to say, “Mom, I didn’t like that.” It’s all to support her “rose colored glasses” thing.

Why does the hurt person have to forgive, but the abuser isn’t expected to change their behavior?

Because you are criticizing your MOTHER and that is just against God and Country and Apple Pie! (tongue firmly in cheek…..)

. I learned in therapy that my problems stem from growing up in a toxic family system

I went to a therapist in my 20’s, who told me that my parents didn’t give me “validation.” I had no clue what that meant and thought it was psycho babble. Took me 20 years to figure out the therapist was right!

I’ve heard that harboring resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Oh yeah. The “you are only hurting yourself to hang on to these resentments” cliche. My mom so loves to spout out cliche’s. She has no original thought of her own. She only spouts off cliches. That’s because my mom pretends to be a duck when she is really a goose.

Danielle, YAY!

and I believed it was totally up to ME to make it better.

And why is that? Why do I have to make the effort? “You could have a good relationship with your mom if you wanted one.” [Translation: “Please be that alternate person, not the real you….we can’t handle you because you keep pointing out stuff we don’t want to deal with.”] Mom, apparently, isn’t “required” to put out an effort. I have to adjust to her, she is not required to adjust to me.

The last conversation I had with my Mom, she said she felt sorry for me. I replied that I felt sorry for her. That made her mad! Apparently, she expected me to back down and turn into a wimp and beg for her to forgive me. Nope.



“Because you are criticizing your MOTHER and that is just against God and Country and Apple Pie! (tongue firmly in cheek…..)”

I appreciate your sardonic reply to my rhetorical question. I guess it’s good to have a little chuckle at the expense of abuse once in a while.


I can relate to the “validation” therapy. The therapist I have now is the first person in 48 years who ever told me about validation and how it was withheld from me all my life from my mom and my family. I now notice it when I’m getting it from someone like my aunt but I still have trouble validating myself, which is something my therapist tries to instill in me.

I didn’t even have a last conversation with my mom per se. The cutting of the umbilical cord was when she called my aunt (who was the only one to give me a place to live with all my medical problems) and told her that therapy wouldn’t help me (she needs none naturally) and my aunt shouldn’t be helping me (among other things). I was like – is this really MY mom? Who is this person? That was the last time I felt guilty about anything.

Sometimes it takes that final straw to break you and for some it takes 20 years and for others almost 50! Wow, that’s a lot of negativity. I have a tendency to be sarcastic about it, but yes, it still hurts and yes, it does ease with time. I’m so glad I found this blog because I no longer feel alone in this. It’s very validating!


Happy Mother’s Day everyone!
I am in the same place as so many of you

DANIELLE–I am so proud of you. I did send my mother a card because my husband insisted that I do the right thing so that I don’t stoop to her level, but that’s where it ends. I finally have decided that the only way for me to break free is by no contact. My youngest son is graduating from high school (so I know how you feel, Darlene!) and I am not inviting any family to the GRAD Party. He is a good boy. Kind and thoughtful and just an amazing person! I am so blessed to have him in my life!

ANON–I love your attitude and outlook! I also relished every moment celebrating my Motherhood with my son. Isn’t it wonderful that we have broken the cycle with our kids?! Luckily for you, you have one daughter and have been blessed with a wonderful relationship with her!

I have another son who didn’t even call me. We gave him tough love and kicked him out of the house after he self destructed with drugs and refused to get a job. He hangs out with my toxic family on a regular basis, and only calls if he needs money.

It is what it is and nothing will ever change with my Mother, but I still had a great Mother’s Day! Yay for progress, friends!

DARLENE–My mother too chose to walk away from the relationship rather than treat me with mutual concern and respect. She could make things right with me, but does not want to. And she doesn’t care that she is missing out on knowing a pretty cool person! And she is missing out on all of her Grandson’s “Lasts” in High School. Missed his last spring musical, all the concerts and recitals. Will miss Graduation. But that is HER choice and HER LOSS, not mine.

Hugs and Love to all!



Hi Kiki
Welcome To EFB ~ thanks for the Link Love!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Alaina
I loved reading your post! It’s so balanced and I really relate to it.
I believe it is a sign of great growth to be able to feel the was you do. I too see what my mother missed in her own life and I can see glimpses of who she might have been had she been brave enough to face the pain in her own life.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


What I’ve learned is that no amount of crying, screaming, fighting, rational talking… Nothing can change a person who refuses to change.
Most of these types of mothers, and others… Are not able to see they have an problem.
They think we ARE the problem. That we are just too sensitive, can’t take a joke, etc etc etc. They will always blame YOU. Always.
I feel my answer was limited contact with no serious talking. Limited to the weather and things we may agree on… And then kept brief.
I never thought I be able to do that. For decades it never worked… But now it does.
I’m thankful for this… It Doesn’t mean all is forgiven… It’s not. It’s just for this moment in time… This very bread moment. I can share what I can, love how I can, and limited contact…
Never thought it would work! It’s been a year and all is calm.


I feel my answer was limited contact with no serious talking. Limited to the weather and things we may agree on… And then kept brief.

Me too, that is what I am stuck with. Shallow. I don’t like it. How do you handle it?

Plus, any “brief” visit is met with begging and pleading of “can’t you stay LOOOONNNNNGGGGGEEERRRRRR?????” You see, my mom imposes “minimum required stays.” She does it covertly. Back when I would use the airlines to visit, that is how I got around “minimum required stays.” “Sorry mom, had to work it this way for the cheap fare….” which may or may not have been true….. But now that I can drive there, PLUS I am single never married, Mom assumes I don’t have a life of my own and no obligations of anything so OBVIOUSLY I *SHOULD* be able to COMPLY WITH her “minimum required stays.”

I have this way of bringing out Mom’s “emotional issues.” I deliberately do the opposite of what she would “prefer” I do, only I don’t realize it’s deliberate on my part because I’m unaware of the issue before I do the thing that is the opposite of what she wants (if you can follow that…..) Let’s just say, I make decisions that cause her to question why I didn’t decide to do what SHE would have done and then she blames me instead of looking at her emotional issues which she claims she doesn’t have. Yeah right. She wouldn’t “have” these “emotional issues” if only I would pretend to be the “other” person she wants me to pretend to be….. In other words, don’t cause her to have to face herself.


I feel like I’m dying inside. I am in the process of pulling back from some family members..low low contact… because of how they treat me. They refuse to discuss the sexual abuse and my mother’s invalidation, and the few times they did, I was treated with judgement and distance. Meantime, other family members are not inviting me to gatherings, withholding info about gatherings, etc. which hurts so much and feels so unfair. My pulling back from some is rippling through and I feel like I’m being punished by others.

Then I tried talking to a friend and told her the estrangements are getting worse, and she replied that sometimes having more contact will help make one appreciate the other person more. (I’ve told her how harsh the dynamics have been).

My therapist dropped one of my insurances so I can’t afford to go right now.

Some days it’s just too hard. I’m not suicidal though.


Ever hear the phrase you can’t get water from a rock? Think of them as they are… Rocks… Water can only flow around and about but can not go into rock. Now what I come to realize is that… Water is love, feelings and emotions that is rare and precious… An limited resource of sorts.
You can control how much water you allow out… When and etc by what you allow.
I used to turn my water on full blast and let it run 24/7. I was destroying my precious water. I now turn it on and let it drip.
And it took me 50 years to truly understand this sadly. But it did happen! And it will if you work at it.

I too am excluded at all functions and they get together with me when it’s just my immediate family and mine.
I was really hurt by this. But they actually are doing me a favor. I don’t really want to have to spend time with people who think I lied about sexual abuse or who blame me or believe lies… They are all parts of the same bird…. I don’t need that stress.
But yes, there are moments I feel left out. And yes, I feel hurt.
But I will not allow this to take my peace and life, esp since I may not even be alive in 5 years.
I make sure everyday I live life to the fullest…;)


DXS you say.Plus, any “brief” visit is met with begging and pleading of “can’t you stay LOOOONNNNNGGGGGEEERRRRRR?????” You see, my mom imposes “minimum required stays.”

I asked NM once why she was complaining because I stayed only an hour, wasn’t she happy for the time we spent together?
She glared at me, turned her face away from me, then said, “just go then, if you have to.”

I asked her if she would like to go out to lunch ( like we used to) on another day instead of just sitting in the house, she said yes, so we made plans…then on the day to go out, she canceled, but said I could come visit. I didn’t.

She was playing her game again. Her terms, my punishment.


Me too,

Thank you for responding. It helps A LOT to get a response. If I recall correctly you have a cancer diagnosis? I am so so sorry if that is the case. I will ask the universe to give you a break and let you live a long natural life in emotional peace and freedom.



Hi Light
It does feel like dying inside when we realize (or ‘finally begin to accept’ might be a better way to put it) that they actually don’t care about our need to be heard and understood. And validated. I hate going through that stage but the deepest healing and freedom is on the other side of it! To care enough about me not to have to be heard by them is so amazing.
Some days are too hard and on those days I give myself a break and take care of me. (which was a whole other learning process!!)
hang in there,
hugs and love, Darlene


Dear Darlene and the entire EFB community: I have been commenting as Anon this past little while because I have been struggling with being open and public with my comments. Darlene…I have been reading your blog (with comments…right from the start)for the past year or so. And I have read your e-book also. Last week I read through your March 10 2011 post called Why Is It So Scary To Share the Truth About Child Abuse. It was an eye opener and 100% correct. I still have an incredible amount of fear in speaking about the abuse and all the lies that surround it and continue to this day. Even though I have been NC for 8 years…speaking openly is very triggering for me. But yesterday I decided to write a blog post that has been the most disclosing yet. While I have always been very open about coming from an abusive childhood-yesterday I was more detailed and open than I have ever been. And it’s all thanks to you Darlene…and this very amazing community. I am an artist/writer/creative …and if anyone would like to pop over to my blog
P.S. The painting I put in my blog post is called On The Other Side of Broken and I painted it waaaaaaaay before I even knew about your blog Darlene. I just think it’s such synchronicity that I named that painting almost the same as your blog!!!! xxx


I am glad to know that it’s okay to be sad and even still wish i had a better mother. I guess its still early in my healing process.



How did you do that? You hit the nail on the head in your first sentence.

Thank you so much for validating me and hearing me and being here (and being here so quickly!)…..I was a little sweeping with my generalizations but in spirit they are true. One brother used to be supportive re: my father, but when it comes to my mother – NO. I wrote him a heartfelt letter that I had hoped for his love and understanding and he never responded. A year goes by of almost NC, then he has a personal disaster and writes to me about it. Like I’m supposed to respond? What about my emotional disaster? The other brother told me he “doesn’t want to engage with me in that way” (when I bring up the topic) but that I should know that I am loved. What the %$#@?

Sister’s mad because of my estrangements. Her daughter with whom I used to be close has pulled way way back and apart from a few sentences she “doesn’t want to talk about it”. I get a lot of that “I don’t want to talk about it”.

My family life feels so bad today it is overwhelming. Thanks for listening.


I have given up the dream of having a better mother, though I still wish it. In the last years of going off/on in estrangement, I found I had to be very cautious in my conversations with her. When I talked about my successes and the things I was happy about, she did not affirm me much at all. If I hinted at my challenges, she never failed in pointing out or describing some character flaw she saw manifested in me even as a small child that illustrated that was “just how I was.” In the past, I accepted these assessments as gospel truth, but out of the fog, these were what Darlene often calls “truth leaks” or evidence of how my mom really sees me, as a very flawed person, a failure in many respects. I’m glad to say that I don’t see myself this way as much anymore.

Light, it could be that your siblings cannot afford to see the truth about your mother. They don’t want to, and so it cannot be a topic of discussion with them. I have an uncle and aunt who have many, many children. Much like my parents, they continually sought to triangle their children with one another in order to keep control of their family micro-culture or belief system. However, at one point, their children weren’t having any of that. They all made a pact not to do that with one another, there was to be no more throwing each other under the bus, so to speak. They found themselves one by one estranged with most of their children and have been forced to come around. Especially when it came to the youngest who was still at home and was the caboose of the family, separated by many years even from the youngest sibling. It culminated in the adult children threatening to turn in the father for child abuse (they witnessed) if there was any more physical abuse, abuse they had all grown up with. The parents had at one point cut off a gay child and other children for various reasons but never cut off one another, despite that some lead lives closer to the parents’ ideals and philosophies and others do not. These cousins amaze me. I would have wished my siblings had bonded together and not allowed the same kind of triangulation from mom (and dad too) but I think they must be emotionally gifted. My siblings were happy to throw me under the scapegoat bus. One of my siblings has begun to see the light but they might just be hoovering me in so the heat is taken of them and I’m supportive in a very cautious way.

marquis (female)
May 12th, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Such a beautiful post. I do agree how Society says this is a mother-daughter relationship and I’ve been shamed for not caring about Mom’s day. I saw in a narc group I am online it said mother’s day is not a day to celebrate the evil, wicked, narcissistic, abusive and something else that we shouldn’t celebrate it for unworthy mothers who don’t deserve it – how profound.

I pretended I forgot that my mind being too preoccupied with other crap didn’t bother to say it to my mom. I should have been kind on Sunday to say happy mother’s day to the wonderful animal mothers out there. I’ve had women who have gotten enrage with me for not caring about that day always the women with the problem lol. I hate the usual bs of you got one mother…really? Lots of people’s moms are dead and others never knew their mothers, so what?

I did say happy mom’s day to my sister that was it. Everything communicated to me that you will never be loved, not worthy, a whore like all the other women, never wanted you, etc like Darlene said a complete lack of mutual respect, love, caring, etc as she had said this in her other blogs – there was absolutely ZERO of that from my mom! I thought respect goes both way and yea too much parental entitlement that Society places thus children having zero rights to their own feelings. I really don’t care for a parent who says I am the parent blah blah no matter how old the child is especially if they are an adult.

The whole they are your parents blah blah is extremely irrelevant to me and isn’t an agreement I want to be a part of with Society.


I’m having a very rough day today. My son, the only person in my family that is still communicating with me, visited with us on Sunday.

I have tried for all the time that I’ve been NC with the rest of my family to NOT ask him to take sides. As much as I would feel safer in my relationship with him if he did avoid the rest of them, he is in his 30s, and he has made his own decisions for a long time.

Somehow, it seemed the right time somehow to explain to him a little more fully why I’m not speaking to the rest of the family. Even as I told him some of the things that had happened that hurt me, in the back of my head I was hearing “don’t badmouth them”.

He was trying to understand and I think he really wanted to try to help put things back together. He said that he tries to give people “the benefit of the doubt” and that maybe at her advanced age, my mom is just not able to handle my situation (the disclosure that I had been molested when I was 5 – I am now 59).

I told him that I can’t handle their inability to handle it. I tried to tell him that I’d been carrying this secret and trying to ignore it for 50 years and I just broke when it surfaced.

The question that I had the hardest time with was, “Why are you letting it define you?” I didn’t know how to answer, because I don’t see it that way. Yesterday I sent him a message where I explained that it DID define me all along BECAUSE I couldn’t acknowledge it. Acknowledging it is a necessary step in conquering. I attached “overcoming sexual abuse’s” status for the day about how talking about what happened helps to separate me from it.

Today, I’m just feeling like all that I said yesterday will somehow be turned against me. After all, my son says that no one says anything bad about me. I’ve read recently how narcissistic mothers can wrap discrediting comments in fake concern, and I can imagine my mother doing that very easily.

At the very bottom of it all though, I am hearing all the insistence that I am supposed to love my enemies, pray for them, forgive, and cover a multitude of sins. And I’m TIRED of it! I don’t want to protect people who have hurt me so badly anymore.

All I want is for the hurt to stop. No contact is the only thing that has helped me because no one was willing to hear me. If I tried to tell my mother that her behavior hurt me she acted insulted and only became crueler. I was told to “get over it” and “suck it up” time after time after time.

I’ve sacrificed most of my life to them already for no good purpose. It’s not OK anymore.


Thank you so much! Wow… I really appreciate that. Yes, I had oral neck cancer stage 4a and it’s been a year. It’s a very aggressive cancer and the prognosis to be alive in 5 years is very very poor.
But I’m alive and doing well. I can eat and drink by mouth now. Walk and run errands, go away out of town… Shop, cook and even garden!
I just give what I feel like giving and it’s small amounts. My own sister in the past has told me to get myself and my therapist to a mental ward… Cause we are crazy. After I spoke up about abuse from an uncle. My mom knew about him, she told my dad who them told me, it never happened.
They used to call and hang up on me… Tell me I’m crazy blah blah blah.
Today, my daughter dislikes them and wants nothing to do with them… Cause she remembered that grueling up.
So they are the ones who lost out on a granddaughter, niece and even myself… Cause of their actions.
Out of the goodness of my heart and my faith in my god….that is the only way I can have some contact.
And it doesn’t mean I don’t hurt still… It just means… I’m taking it one day at a time. Today is the only day I worry about.


Btw… I never regretted not having contact in the past… I needed that time to heal… Now that I have come to a place of content ness… I can have some contact… But I don’t know if I would really encourage that till a person is ready and only you know when and if that is possible.
I just wanted to clarify that in case I get accused of something…
After reading some posts I had the sense I may of not been very believable. It’s my truth.


Me too,
Thank you for clarifying that you were no contact and resumed contact when you were ready. People are different, so I could believe you anyway, but now I can identify with you. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to have contact again. I know I can’t have contact now.



Thank you to Darlene, Me too, and Eira for sharing your story and giving to me today. Really needed human contact today so Thank You.

Eira that was an interesting comment and story about your aunt & uncle’s family. The children banded together and took action. That sounds like a rare occurrence. I’m glad one of your siblings appears to be becoming supportive of you. I hope it is genuine too. Just one person can make a big difference. One hesitation I have with estrangement (even though it is the right response for me and many others right now) is the way it looks from the outside. It is so easy for it to be interpreted as something I am doing to someone. They don’t see the years of neglect and judgement and invalidation that led up to it.

I wish I had gotten legal back in my mid teens. Then the courts would have decided what is “valid” and what is not, and place responsibility where it lies, rather than the BS of leaving it to the family members to decide with everyone’s agenda at play.


Me too, I am sorry about your prognosis. Your one-day-at-a-time approach sounds like a good one. I’ll send healing thoughts your way when I do my meditation. Thank you for helping me today.


I’m glad I could help you. I’m not always really clear but I’m getting there!
As far as my cancer goes… It hasn’t been showing up since last year when I was diagnosed. I feel like my old self. Others had far less worse cases and dyed. So I’m very very thankful!
I really can’t complain.
It is just so common for our siblings to not be there. My sister can’t do enough for my parents. Once we used to cover for each other as teens… Were very very close.
That all changed. My mom has repeatly that she is jealous of me. She wants to be the center if attention and she is.
After I announced my cancer… About 2 months later my sister announced that she was be moving south in a few years.
My mom was mad! My sister told her it was a long way off when they will be 100!
But she told me… Well glad your be here! I won’t have to worry about our parents now!
Um… And me her sister who has a 29 percent change of living in the next 4 years?
I don’t matter.
But I get who they are. I expect nothing. I refuse to lose any more time being hurt, sad.
I laugh, live and love anyhow!



I always feel a little sad when I read your posts or any posts from a parent estranged from their children. I would imagine that is one of the hardest things. Then one day I realized that – while I’m not a parent – I had a parental role toward my niece and she withdrew from me. She still has some contact, but she isn’t open with me’s more like a cordial relationship and it hurts me. This happened many years ago and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about her and feel pain. I am powerless with her re it; while she said a few things overall she “doesn’t want to talk about it”. Her mother my sister is a part of this: there have been instances where when my sister is mad at me and then my niece withdraws. It’s dysfunctional.

About your son, I can understand how his question “Why are you letting it define you” could feel bad. While his intentions may have been pure and loving, it may have come across like somehow you are not reacting the “right” way. It kind of circles around to how Darlene responded to me a few posts ago. We all need to feel heard and understood and validated. It may be something that (some) men sometimes do..they want to focus on a solution.

I don’t know what the answer is regarding how to respond to him if at all. I know when I bring my issue up with my friend Post 94, I’m going to open the conversation with a question…

You took a big risk to open up the conversation with him. I commend you and am apprehensive with you at the same time. It sounds like overall it went well, though there was that one question.


Her demanding time limits… Oh my!
I think I stay away too.
Laying down those boundaries are very very important! They must learn from us… This is my non moving boundary. Respect it!
I keep getting comments… Oh where is my granddaughter when I do visit…
I just say, oh she’s busy!
It’s my child’s choice to stay away… She is fearful she will one day turn a gun on her too. I can’t and will not force her to be around her.
She did this to herself. Reaping what you sow!
I also suspect my mother tried to poison me. Was a very long time ago and I don’t want to get too exact on here… But my T also mentioned that.
And that is something I never even brought up to them.
And I never will.
I’m glad I found this place, you guys inspire me, help me just by reading what you all write here.
Thank you and bless you all;)
Me too.


Yes Me too! Laugh, live and love! You sound like you are handling cancer with a great deal of grace though I imagine there are dark moments too. But I can see how you would want to just focus on light and love.


When I first found out I had oral cancer I emailed my mom and just said… I love you mom. I didn’t mention it cause I couldn’t tell her something so horrible… I have a tendency to still care more about others than myself… Way way too much. She never responded to that. I then had my surgery which was long and risky and I spent time in the hospital and a nursing home.
When I got out and started to recover from that… She sent me an email and was very cruel… Oh it’s been years! Where the hell you been… Blah blah blah. I could of died! Gotten sick!
All about her her her.
I then wrote back and told her I was very sick and it didn’t look too good.
She did an 180 with her words, everything. She was in shock. I was only 49… Healthy at the time.
She then changed as much as I think is possible.
However, if I wasn’t sick… We still won’t be talking. We all talk only now cause I contacted them. So… It is what it is here.
Overall… They are still the same… But I think they woke up a little. That in life there is no guantee any of us have tomorrow.
They are quite old now… My sister and Bil are planning on moving as soon as they can do an early retirement. I can’t really get too close anyhow… They are all leaving one way or another here.
At least I have my husband… And child who will be an adult soon. My two dogs.
I never had many friends… Something my abuse ruined for me. Had one or two here and there. But I always seemed to pick my mother out to be my new best friend… Lol!
I don’t even bother anymore.
What’s the point.


HI Light,

I’m not sure how my son is going to respond to the conversation once he’s had a chance to think it over. When he left the house, things were still good. He asked his question in a way he said was “information gathering.” He seemed willing to understand and emphatically stated “do what you gotta do.” I am grateful for all of that.

He may not ever mull it over. He may not think about it again except to know that I have reasons I’m not connected with the family and he is not likely to have the power or skill to fix it, and hopefully he knows that I am not going to require it of him. I know I tried to make that point to him.

I just still feel at risk for losing contact with him too. The risk may not be as high as it feels right now. I’ll just keep praying about it.



Hobie, I am so glad he said “you gotta do what you gotta do” – that sounds like a very affirming statement of at the very least respect.


This was a hard Mother’s Day for me. I’m getting closer to the truth of my relationship with her and it scares me. I don’t even want to talk about her, what she said to me, and what she did. I’ve gone over it countless times feeling the anger and the fear, because she was hell bent on turning me into a clone of her at any cost. I will continue this process, however painful, because there is no other option but to get to the other side. I am emerging from broken, and I will not give up no matter what.


Yes, this last Mother’s Day was rough for me. The more I point out her flaws, the more she retaliates and the more “truth leaks” I get. Which Mom doesn’t see as “truth leaks.”

I keep telling her that I have to “Back her in a corner with a Law and Order SVU interrogation” to get the truth. She retaliates with “Does it make you happy to do that?” No, it doesn’t make me happy but I get the truth! I guess Mom wants to keep living in this pretend world (and I’m supposed to do the same) where she convinces people she is a duck when she is really a goose. And I’m supposed to believe she is a duck. I’m not saying geese are worse or better than ducks. Just that she pretends to be a duck when she is a goose.


KiKi ref #89… I can so relate. About 2 weeks after I had my first baby, my husband and I were having words over something. We were both tired and baby, finances, you know how it can be when you’re married a little over a year. He called my mother to come over to “help calm me down”. She told him right out standing in front of me to take me back where he found me and get rid of me?? It was horrific, cruel, meant to “snap me out of it”. But so like her. She stood by and watched while my father physically abused me. Stood silently when he threw me out of the house one nite when I was 18.
But I always overlooked that treatment. Put it behind me as I was taught. Countless times. That no one was accountable for their words or actions except me. And I was held horribly accountable. That was one of the worst things she taught me.
After 9 yrs of very low contact I tried hard to re establish a loving relationship with her after my Dad died. For 8 yrs I tried to model love. To be a real family. It was all one-sided.
I am no contact 3 years now and its permanent.
Our relationship can only work for her if I am her servant and doormat, although she “pretends” in front of other people otherwise.
She has moved on to slandering me to those who will listen. Im still the problem, her crazy daughter that she has tried so hard to help. She will say Ive always been this way since I was a young child.
I understand the dynamics of everything now but Im still so very angry at her.


Darlene (and anyone) post #98 and in general:

My family members would probably turn it around and say that I don’t care about their need to not talk about it. I don’t know how I would respond to that other than to say that there are irreconcilable differences.

One of my nieces (the one who withdrew from me) has been in touch. Now I feel better though it is very concerning to me how much my mental health depends on my family members and how/if they are interacting with me. I was such a wreck on Sun Mon. That can’t be good.

I’ll never forget about a year ago, when for a very brief period (a day or so) my mother believed what I was saying about a sibling bullying me and manipulating the situation. My mother took what I was saying seriously and said she’d talk to her. I felt so grounded, I remember my thoughts were “I’m a good person”, I felt calm inside, connected. It only lasted for a day though, because the next day my mother told me “I can’t believe that _____did that on purpose”.

I was struck by how different I felt physically and mentally between those two days. Validation and having a maternal bond REALLY MATTERS. Without it I physically feel a low-level torn up feeling inside that I carry around always. The mental equivalent of having a skin irritation on the inside: mildly inflamed, red, hot, prickly. It’s a feeling I didn’t even know I had, because I carry it always – it’s my normal. The one day of relief showed me a lot.

I would like to achieve that feeling again – and not have it be dependent on others.


If I had an dollar every time my mother either minimized something, chsnged her mind or didn’t believe me… I could retire now and live the high life;)
They aren’t capable of loving us IMHO… Abusers are almost always naracusstic and they aren’t able to change.
It’s us who have to come to the realization., they can’t. They may even desire too… But in all my research, studies and exoerience… It isn’t possible.
Just my two cents!

marquis (female)
May 14th, 2015 at 11:27 am

“They aren’t capable of loving us IMHO… Abusers are almost always naracusstic and they aren’t able to change. It’s us who have to come to the realization., they can’t. They may even desire too… But in all my research, studies and exoerience… It isn’t possible.”

Agreed of course lots of other people have disagreed. Very, I mean very few abusers have actually took the time to change. I don’t see why those out there place a lot of hope on them when the abusers clearly say there is nothing wrong with them as they are happy living in fantasy land.

I strongly feel that a lot of are narcissistic/having narc tendencies reading the behavior patterns of a narc and an abuser in your life if it resonates everything then it answers my questions about them.


I have never known an true naraccist, esp one who abuses their own children… To ever ever really come clean and not make an excuse.
And they have millions of reasons why it’s ok… And most of time… They call it tough love.
Doesn’t mean it certainly couldn’t happen… But I won’t bet the farm on it.
What we need to do is finally realize this for what it is… Either by going nc or keeping yourself safe with that knowledge and keeping contact to a bare miniumn.


I’m not saying I disagree with they “they will never change.” I still have hope that my mom will realize and give me validation.

I think my mom “knows not what she does.” She doesn’t know herself. As I’ve posted, she tries to convince the world she is a duck when she is really a goose. Or she convinces them she is a cougar when she is really a cheetah. She projects an image and actually believes it herself. And she manipulates situations to look a certain way. I used to copy both of her behaviors a I thought it was what people did… Until I learned better……..

I think she does what she was taught. She cannot see the fallacy of it. She doesn’t question stuff.



You said, “My family members would probably turn it around and say that I don’t care about their need to not talk about it. I don’t know how I would respond to that other than to say that there are irreconcilable differences.”

That was something that came up in the conversation with my son. He said “what if they just can’t handle dealing with knowing what happened?” I answered that I can’t deal with their inability to deal with it.

He went on to ask what I wanted from my mom and why I needed her to talk about it. It was hard to answer because at first my mom reacted well, much to my surprise. As weeks passed, I could sense that she had changed her mind about believing me, and I somehow KNEW that she was telling my brother & sister when I had asked her not to. I had said that I would tell them when I felt the time was right.

All of that hurt like hell, and I don’t know how to explain why it hurt. All that I know is that I don’t want to give them another chance to hurt me. And they don’t think they ever did anything wrong, so I’m just not supposed to be hurt.

Irreconcilable differences – I guess that’s it.


I have very little hope of my mother changing. She’s quite a puzzle because of how she contradicts herself so much. She says she’s not perfect, but balks at criticism. She asks for forgiveness, but doesn’t want to change anything, and doesn’t want hold herself accountable for what she did (and still does). She preaches independence, but expects her offspring to be her saviors, and gets a hissy fit when I make decisions she doesn’t like. She’s entitled to anger, but I’m a bad girl for being angry, and yet I’m expected to be assertive. She goes on tirades of how abusive all men are, but doesn’t bat an eye when her darling son exhibits those behaviors with his family. She tells us how she doesn’t want us to depend on anyone, but acts as we should depend on her only. (Sigh.) It’d take all day to add more about her hypocrisy, so I’ll stop here. Strange how my siblings treat her like a queen. Maybe they can make sense of this enigma better than I can.


“My family members would probably turn it around and say that I don’t care about their need to not talk about it. I don’t know how I would respond to that other than to say that there are irreconcilable differences.

And this is the crux of all of our issues.

Our need to “talk about it”
Their need to “sweep it under the rug.”

And whose need is more important? This is a battle that will never be won by anyone.


And they don’t think they ever did anything wrong, so I’m just not supposed to be hurt.

And that is where I am with my Mom. She SAYS she’s “sorry” but she is just saying that word to get me to not be angry at her. What I want from my mom is for her to say:

“I chose to take {action X} due to my need for [and this is the part she cannot admit to because she doesn’t “know herself”}.”

“I should have taken {action Y) because of your feelings of needing [whatever it was}.”

“I am truly sorry.”

But my mom just wants to say “sorry” and sweep it under the rug and pretend that things are just fine and dandy.


S1998, what you said, that’s my mom exactly! Every word you said in #126.

I want to add, my mom’s three big LIES:

“Do what you want to do”
[translation: As long as it’s what your Dad and I want you to do]

“When you grow up you can make your OWN decisions”
[translation: As long as it’s what your Dad and I would have decided to do]

“To Thine Own Self Be True”
[translation: She loved this one. What she really meant was “Be what your Dad and I want you to be”]

I confronted her with the Three Big Lies, and what amazed me was SHE DID NOT DENY IT! She said nothing, but SHE DID NOT DENY IT!


Hobie, I have so many of the same feelings that you express and the main reason for my break with my family was their refusal to acknowledge my sexual abuse. I don’t want to give them opportunity to hurt me again either and there is no deeper hurt than to have those who are supposed to want to protect us the most, deny the reality of our being raped as children and as in my case, side with the rapist. I don’t think there could be a pain more devastating except perhaps, being murdered by a parent, or having the entire family participate in such a murder. I came away from that experience knowing that no human relationship is a surety and I too struggle with the fear of losing the few people in my life who remain. I think those are all normal feelings to have in regard to what happened to us, how long we lived in secret with the abuse, and how we were rejected by our family when we tried to confront those devastating past events. I guess, I thought that if I got up the courage to try and stand up for myself and face down those horrific events, then my family would do the right thing too. The hardest thing about doing what is right is being brave enough to stand alone. Sadly, that is often what the truth requires. I still believe it is worth the price.



“I have very little hope of my mother changing. She’s quite a puzzle because of how she contradicts herself so much. She says she’s not perfect, but balks at criticism. She asks for forgiveness, but doesn’t want to change anything, and doesn’t want hold herself accountable for what she did (and still does). She preaches independence, but expects her offspring to be her saviors, and gets a hissy fit when I make decisions she doesn’t like. She’s entitled to anger, but I’m a bad girl for being angry, and yet I’m expected to be assertive. She goes on tirades of how abusive all men are, but doesn’t bat an eye when her darling son exhibits those behaviors with his family. She tells us how she doesn’t want us to depend on anyone, but acts as we should depend on her only. (Sigh.) It’d take all day to add more about her hypocrisy, so I’ll stop here. Strange how my siblings treat her like a queen. Maybe they can make sense of this enigma better than I can.”

Agree zero hope of birth woman changing. Your mom sounds like mine she screams about other women having better husbands than her refuses to leave saying the money is owe me and that bitch won’t get it! Yea, she expects her kids, especially my brother, to be her savior and expects her side of the family to pay her way entirely while she does nothing for them in return. She is the oldest acts like a complete 5 year old yet nobody finds it to be wrong.

People say she will change, when? We still haven’t seen it yet! Telling me to feel sorry for her, again what for? She has made zero accomplishments yet nobody feels sorry for me!


In my obsequious siblings’ view, she shouldn’t change because she’s wonderful the way she is, and no one better criticize her. Now THAT’S disturbing.


“there is no deeper hurt than to have those who are supposed to want to protect us the most, deny the reality of our being raped as children and as in my case, side with the rapist”.

Pam post 130 and anyone: I am really identifying with what you are saying. We have similar backgrounds. My father admitted overt sexual abuse with my sibling, but my experience with him was covert and he denied he did anything. It wasn’t anywhere near rape….more like flashing, “accidental” touching, walking in on me in the bathroom…..Other adult female extended family members came forward as well.

My mother decided to believe him. It took 27 years of me fighting with her for her to admit it (she wrote a letter to my siblings), but now I question what she was admitting. She recently “took back” some affirming things she said and as I reread the letter maybe she was being cagey with how she worded things and she wasn’t admitting anything?

My brothers remain loyal to her and I am wrong and the problem. This family strain rippled through to my beloved nieces and nephews. There is no one to talk to because people can so easily take sides and/or it’s awkward if they like both individuals.

What a lonely and infuriating place to be. In the past, have used the term “emotional murder” with my therapist.


Light, I wasn’t even related to my rapist. My parents can’t admit the fact that they allowed it to happen so, they insist that it wasn’t rape. It’s easier for them to blame me, no matter what my age was or the circumstances. I don’t get it but it is the way they are. The only thing that seems to matter to them is not getting blamed. Complete, emotional disregard that did result in my emotional destruction.”Emotional murder.” The man who raped me, killed the little girl I was before, and my parents didn’t care other than to be embarrassed for themselves, by the situation. It was hard to face that they have so little love for me. Maybe that’s one reason it took me decades to do so.


Hi Pam. I am so sorry that you went through this, and the decades and decades of difficulty that followed. How did your parents allow it to happen? Were they absent when they should have been watching you?

That sounds truly narcissistic – to care more about their embarrassment than your pain.


Light, They turned a blind eye. As a teenager, a pedophile convinced me to leave home with him and they let it happen. I thought it was love. They labeled me as a ‘bad girl’ and did nothing to stop it. That was the easy way out for them and they’ve never cared about what happened to me or how it damaged me. I think I always knew that underneath and knew if I didn’t accept their version of that part of my life, they would no longer be in my life and that’s exactly, how it went down.


Moments like this have come around for me before, and I won’t be surprised if I lose sight of this revelation and come back to it again, but it just hit me in a very strong way that

I don’t want to be a part of the family that I grew up in. I don’t want to fit into their system. They have so consistently mistreated me and ignored me that I see no good in interacting with them, at least not for me.

Everything that they have said to me over the years “for my own good” has been to try to get me to behave like a good quiet victim. The damage that I’ve had to endure is irrelevant, or it was my own fault, or something I deserved. And even if it wasn’t I’m supposed to “get over it” or “suck it up” or “get a thicker skin and let it roll off your back.”

I want to yell at them, “NO! I’m not going to get over it so you don’t have to recognize what you’ve done to me! I’m not going to be quiet and let you keep shutting me down and tearing me up. You don’t get to tell me how to deal with the damage you’ve done and if you get exposed in the process, it’s your problem.”

I don’t want to believe that the world is the way they think it is. I’ve found places where it isn’t as shallow and arrogant as they are. I don’t want to be someone that suits them, because I’ve found that I don’t have to work so hard to be loved the way that I am by better people. I don’t want to impress them, or their friends, or their neighbors, or even their God (who they claim to be the same God that I know, but I just don’t recognize him).

I am learning to love myself enough that I DON’T want them to take ME away from ME. They don’t want me the way I am and they don’t offer me anything I want. In fact I NEED to avoid what they are trying to shove down my throat.

My children are now adults and the ones that want to live in that world instead of mine are going to live with the consequences of that choice. There’s nothing I can do about it. I’m going to keep healing and loving myself. If my children ever want to know me the way that I am, I will accept responsibility for whatever I did wrong and allow them to feel what ever they feel. I WON’T take blame that isn’t mine and I won’t try to be someone I can’t continue to love and respect to win them over.

I’m going to live with myself for the rest of my life, and I’m going to do it as lovingly and graciously as possible. It’s the only way I’ll ever have anything to give anyone else, and I’m not going to waste it on people who don’t like me.

Hobie (on a rant)


That’s not Hobie on a rant, that’s Hobie coming into her own…



Wow! Print this out (your comment) and read it whenever the doubt comes back! Your comment is perfect! That’s what I am talking about!! Yay yay and YAY
I’m sith Pam; you have come into your own!
I’m having a proud moment here!!
Love, Darlene


Thanks Pam and Awwww Darlene!




You took the words right out of my mouth.


That is very sweet. She can have a hard copy of what she written to remind herself of her strength.


Wow, wow Hobie. I could make a hard copy and read this sometimes when I need it. It’s like a mission statement for EFB!


Foind you via an Internet meme.

My mother was a mean drunk who was abusive, mostly verbal and physically to an extent when I was smaller.

This has had a profound impact on my life. I am 38 years old and a mother of my own kids.

So a friend mentioned that I can hold myself back and that I have so much untapped potential, etc. These are all accurate statements. He wants to know the why.

So I opened up a bit, wrote about why I struggle so much with Mother’s Day without revealing too many details of my past. I wanted to gauge his reaction. He has not responded and it’s days later.

That hurt is like a fresh wound. All the times as a kid that I tried to reach out, only to be poo pooed because I was successful in school…it happened again.

I feel so crushed.


Hi Darlene! Happy Anniversary! And thank you for a very felt post.

On mother’s day this year I came across this
which I found very interesting.

I also wanted to say to everyone, it’s ok not to be a mother! And it’s ok not to have to have some other ‘outlet’ for ‘maternal’ love (which of course a proper woman is supposed to have…)

I used to worry that I (not having kids like a real woman) was properly applying myself in something that would be close enough to that kind of (what I imagined was) sacrifice.

And it’s ok because being a mother is not the only route to knowing what love does and does not look like.

I knew that what my mother showed towards me was not love. Of course she *told* me I knew damn all because I was not a mother. Clever.

And “One day, you’ll have kids and you’ll understand.” What? What makes you find me hateful and such a burden to you? Or maybe she meant “You’ll finally understand the complexity of loving people who are not the way you want them to be.” ?
I don’t think she actually made it that far.

Ironically by the time she’d say that type of rubbish, I’d already had that experience, as a child. But it was confusion and hurt and anger AND love. I think there’s belief that loving someone who is not the way we want them to be means we won’t be angry, or need space from them sometimes, that it would be total abnegation…had my mother understood this, perhaps she would have punished me less for the way she felt.

The cards were very important. The dates were important (she had a few anniversaries and such within days of each other and Mother’s day itself) and oh the hell you went through if you forgot any of them or did not celebrate them sufficiently. So of course, I forgot every year.

I haven’t sent her any for years because she made such a hoopla out of it and it was (one of my many) little ways of telling her I didn’t have to do everything she said. Today I almost find her “But I was a great mother” or “I’m the mother” stance sad and hilarious. She was a shit mother.

Yvonne, my condolences.


“One day, you’ll have kids and you’ll understand.”

I heard that one before, but I never thought of it as an insult. I guess this is one of the things my mother said that I never noticed as a putdown until now. It as if she assumes that I’d be a mother, too. (Or be like her, which I wouldn’t be if I chose motherhood. I know I won’t be perfect, but I would not follow in her footsteps if I chose that path.)


Alice & S1988 –

“one day, you’ll have kids and you’ll understand.”

I have kids and I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND!!

Just a couple of years ago, when I was really hurting, she thought it was a great time to tell me that she talked to one of my high school friends – I don’t know when except sometime in the past 40 years since I graduated – and they told her that she wasn’t as bad as I had said she was!!! She said “they thought I was a bad mother..ME!” as if it was TOTALLY beyond imagining that she was less than perfect!

She seemed to think that I had somehow come to realize that she WAS the perfect mother and I was just a problem child! NEVER HAPPENED.

I tried so hard to be DIFFERENT from my mother that I think I made all my mistakes to the opposite extreme, and it didn’t turn out too well. Even so – I still don’t understand my mom and why she talks and behaves the way she does. It still doesn’t look or feel like love to me.

Hobie – still picking off the sticky stuff she left behind.


Hi Alice and Everybody,

Thanks so much! I wanted to thank everybody for their kind support here. I have felt such a roller coaster of emotions over the past week. It has been hard dealing with a lot of bad memories from the past and not as many good memories. I was never very close to my father and he never protected me from my mom. There were some issues that I had with him,too. In a weird way, I am grateful for having had such a limited father relationship than nothing at all.

When I was four and then when I was nine, my father almost died from a medical problem. If he had died when I was a child, I know that I would have ended up in a foster care home due to my crazy mom. But there was always free will and he could have divorced my mom or made other arrangements for me. I don’t know. Thank goodness that never happened and it all could have been much worse for me. By appearances, my father was a good man and he was in the military service and a war veteran and later had a successful career. He failed me in that he could have ended the abuse and dumped my mom. He chose her and her trashy family over me. I don’t know if he was brainwashed by her.

I wonder the kind of person he could have been if he had never married my mom. Sometimes I wonder if the other one (Cousin Dean)—the one I call my “real father” could have lived (he died when I was only 18 years old) and if my father had died back then instead of him what would have happened. I know that I would be a very different person and not where I am today. I am still young enough to turn my life around and I do want to go back to school and make more money.

The scary part now is dealing with my mom and adopted cousin all alone. I am trying to persuade my mom after she sells the house to move into an assisted living condo in her city and NOT move here to live near me. Her city is about a two and a half hour drive from me and that’s my protection. Thank God that my excuse is work and I’m not a homemaker with kids, so I did not have to drive down there for my father’s arrangements. I sent a beautiful floral delivery and a card and made several phone calls. The neighbors were nice and gave many casseroles, desserts, and assorted food to my mom. It’s not safe to attend funeral or memorial services when there are Narc family members present. I feared having a big fight with both my Narc mom and Narc cousin in front of these neighbors. Maybe people ask for the adult daughter, but I can’t worry about this. I may send a small gift to the most helpful of these neighbors with a card and that’s it. My friend had a conversation with me and basically we got into the fact that there is no one right way to handle a family death. There are differences among various ethnic groups and religions on proper etiquette regarding a death. I am not too upset and I feel that I did the right thing. It’s so hard and so many of the EFB members if they have not been already been there yet, will deal with an abuser parent’s death in the future.

Then there was another Mother’s Day. I share the common sentiments of not liking or understanding Mother’s Day. I pretend to enjoy the holiday like the mainstream culture, but I really don’t. It’s hard to get past these big life milestones but life goes on.

Blessed Be,

Yvonne 🙂


“I tried so hard to be DIFFERENT from my mother that I think I made all my mistakes to the opposite extreme, and it didn’t turn out too well.”

That’s what I’m afraid of if I were to become a mother. I was raised with hypocrisy and punitive discipline, so I probably would’ve been a bit too relaxed with my hypothetical children. I learned that Abraham Lincoln let his two younger sons run wild around the White House because he didn’t want to repeat what his cruel father did to him. (I found this a bit humorous, though because I know this was really controversial during a time when children were raise more punitively than today.)

I also learned that going the opposite extreme is still more about you than your children, so I didn’t want parenting to be about me, even if I was trying not to be like my mother. I think this is why I kind of spoil my cat, but the good thing about that is he’s not a person, and he and I can kind of get away with that. 🙂


I had tendencies to raise my child in an opposite way and in no way was it about ” me.” In fact, I have done the best I could understand the circumstances. I never hit my child and her and I have a very close healthy relationship today. Was I perfect? No I made some mistakes but overall, I been told by her and my husband…. Best friend… I did very well and I did better than most who weren’t abused.
Just because children are allowed to run around and scream, doesn’t mean your raising then wrong, I feel children aren’t allowed often to be children, when time is approaite to do so.
I once seen an mother Scream at her child at the beach of all places cause he was having fun in the water.
It was awful to watch and I felt horrible for this child. She apparently had her life out if control. Could tell by observing her controlling behavior with her husband.
She was so full of rage. Felt very familiar and I almost let that ruin my day…but I didn’t! I think it’s wonderful that a child can run and scream and play and but fear anything…
As long as it’s within limits.
The White House too., you should feel relaxed in your own home!
Me too.

I will add if you are so relaxed that your absent… Then that is most likely an sign if depression… I feel parents who were abused need help not judgement. I had so many strangers in my 17 years of parenthood judge me and just bodly judge me…
People should mind their own business…they don’t know me or my struggles.


That hurt is like a fresh wound. All the times as a kid that I tried to reach out, only to be poo pooed because I was successful in school…it happened again.

Dawn, I feel your pain. For me it’s “good parents, community leaders, blah blah blah…” But my mom was “covert.” She would say things in a way that she couldn’t be blamed. I don’t think my mom is smart enough to be that devious, but I think this is “ingrained” somehow in that she doesn’t know how to be any other way.

I know what you mean by “you can’t really talk to people” (my interpretation of what you said….)

My mom “poo poo’d” my feelings (because they weren’t what SHE thought they should be, meaning that MY feelings were an “inconvenience” to her and she didn’t want to deal with them.

it’s ok not to be a mother! And it’s ok not to have to have some other ‘outlet’ for ‘maternal’ love (which of course a proper woman is supposed to have…)

Alice, I totally agree with you. But I do find that I have “some” maternalness, just not enough to want to deal with a pregnancy. I find that I love “mentoring.” I’ve heard the “she sacrificed children for her career” thing, but to me, there was no “sacrifice.” I didn’t want kids! And yes, I get the “you have never been a mother” from my mom. I’m starting to wonder if she is jealous of my choice because she didn’t know it was an “option.” And my mom “claimed” she “wanted” kids, but it’s always framed via my father, as, “your father wanted kids.” Yeah right. My father couldn’t even talk to me.

“One day, you’ll have kids and you’ll understand.”

I never understood this statement. Was it a threat? Was it an ultimatum, as you, “you WILL have kids whether you like it or not…”? Well, neener neener, I didn’t.

and oh the hell you went through if you forgot any of them or did not celebrate them sufficiently.

Oh my mom never meant what she said, nor did she say what she meant. Needed a decoder book. One time she said, “you don’t have to get me anything for my birthday.” So, I called her “bluff.” Yeah, I caught hell. But when I pointed out that she had SAID……… Well, I was the bad person. I haven’t given her a present for BD, Christmas, or Mother’s Day for a few years….. I’m on second round of N/C.

I share the common sentiments of not liking or understanding Mother’s Day. I pretend to enjoy the holiday like the mainstream culture, but I really don’t. It’s hard to get past these big life milestones but life goes on.

I wish we could all go on Oprah (or whatever) and just say STOP THE PRETENDING ALREADY!



Yes! That would be a beautiful thing to go on national television and say let’s stop the pretending! It is just plain crazy continuing to pretend!


“Just because children are allowed to run around and scream, doesn’t mean your raising then wrong, I feel children aren’t allowed often to be children, when time is approaite to do so.
I once seen an mother Scream at her child at the beach of all places cause he was having fun in the water.
It was awful to watch and I felt horrible for this child. She apparently had her life out if control. Could tell by observing her controlling behavior with her husband.
She was so full of rage. Felt very familiar and I almost let that ruin my day…but I didn’t! I think it’s wonderful that a child can run and scream and play…”

That’s true. Why do lots of parents expect children to act like potted plants? Maybe they should stick to gardening instead of take up parenting.

“I had tendencies to raise my child in an opposite way and in no way was it about ” me.” In fact, I have done the best I could understand the circumstances.”

Good for you! You seem to be able to master it better than I could. I’m just afraid that raising children differently from my mother would be more about my own fears than about my child, and a child should be put first when it comes to that. Anyway, like Alice said, it’s okay to not be a parent. Besides, no child deserves to be raised by an insecure mother. I know what that’s like, but at least I’m aware of my insecurities, while my mother denies any.

“Yes! That would be a beautiful thing to go on national television and say let’s stop the pretending! It is just plain crazy continuing to pretend!”

That would raise a lot of controversy because of our mother-worshipping society, but it’s an excellent idea.


There are no perfect parents in this world. We all come with faults. I been insecure all my life… Thankfully my child and those who love me… Don’t hold it aganist me. I been in theraphy most my life and I’m about as good as I can be. I never intentionally hurt or abused anyone. Esp my child. But since I’m not perfect, I am sure I had things that upset others. I have apologized and tried my Best… Which thankfully my own family never critized me for.
I had very low self esteem and I still struggle. My daughter never once hated me because of that. She was however raised with very good self esteem. She is aware if my abuse is not disgusted by me because I’m not perfect.
It is an imperfect world we live in… As long as we all try, are not intentionally hurting one another… I think acceptance and love for each other should be there.
You seem to come across as judgemental to people like me who are lacking in things I struggle with. It’s quite hurtful.


I wasn’t being judgmental at all. As a matter of fact, I was complimenting you for being able to raise a healthy child in spite of having insecurities, something I don’t think I can ever do.

I’m sorry for offending you. Sometimes, I have a tendency to say insensitive things when I don’t mean to.


Thank you 1988.

I had so many in my family of birth hate me because I am too sensitive, fearful and etc. Yet, they created me to be the way they hate.
So when I hear thighs such as I’m too this or not enough of that… It hurts.
So thankful for that 88;)


DXS, you said “I’ve heard the “she sacrificed children for her career” thing, but to me, there was no “sacrifice.” I didn’t want kids!”

It’s interesting that one. My mother went back to work part time for a while once my sibling and I were a bit older and then full time after that and I remember her really being much happier as a result and me being happy for her. I have vague recall of her being very depressed as a ‘stay at home mom’. Lots of crying and episodes of her in her bedroom, red eyes from crying and me comforting her. But I don’t have a timeframe for it.

I think she got way more out of her job than her kids. I grew up with the sense (not necessarily due to her) that it was one or the other. Career or kids. I mean not if you wanted a ‘proper’ career but I can’t say where that idea came from. I guess I just kind of understood it somewhere.

“And yes, I get the “you have never been a mother” from my mom. I’m starting to wonder if she is jealous of my choice because she didn’t know it was an “option.” And my mom “claimed” she “wanted” kids, but it’s always framed via my father, as, “your father wanted kids.” Yeah right. My father couldn’t even talk to me.”

I do think my mother envies my decision not to have kids (which must be a very harsh kind of envy) and she did make it quite clear to me that having them was ‘Just what everyone did’ without much of an indication of how much she really wanted to herself (and I mean not just to conform a be a good robot).

She also clearly wanted me to have them (along with marriage to whoever she found attractive and honorable) otherwise I wouldn’t somehow be worthy of her respect. It’s confounding indeed. And I’ve punished myself for many years for not doing this ‘one’ thing (get married and have kids) that would make things finally ok. Darlene mentioned at one point that it didn’t matter whether she’d gotten married and had kids or not. Her mother’s attitude towards her hadn’t changed. That was a lightbulb moment for me. I’ve also read accounts of mom’s getting WORSE with the arrival of grandchildren. So it could very well be a crap shoot.

I also wonder if she wanted me to suffer the way she obviously did as a mother, to feel the ingratitude and all the rest of the terrible things she had to go through. Anyway, what I mean was that whole part of my life was too bound up in what she wanted me to do and be to mean anything other than ‘avoid avoid’ to me. And all the while I punished myself for not doing it!

I knew very clearly, very young I didn’t want kids and so avoiding relationships during the ages where it’s a burning question has also been a way to avoid that risk. It worried my mother for sure. She once asked me if I was gay. And I think she might have been relieved if I had been. No, I’m just your loser daughter haha:)

I don’t think I’m a loser anymore but I do feel kind of sad that I kiboshed the whole thing out of reaction to my mom and my upbringing, but it wouldn’t be the first thing I kiboshed either.

I also feel that I want to look after myself and enjoy my life because I wasn’t well looked after as a kid and that probably wouldn’t be compatible with giving a kid what they need. So that’s a huge positive.


Well, when I was in my 30’s, I once blurted out to my mom, “You don’t want me to have a boyfriend.” I didn’t know at the time where that came from. My mom, of course, denied it.

Fast forward a few years, I was dating someone….. one of my siblings said, “I’m happy for you but Mom won’t like it.” I said, “WHAT???” That sibling told me “Mom doesn’t like it when you have a boyfriend.” (And all of my siblings are married….) OK! That was confirmation of that thing I blurted out in my 30’s!

So I confronted my Mom in a “Law and Order SVU interrogation.” I backed her in a corner and she admitted it. She said, “Well, you pay more attention to me when you don’t have a boyfriend.” LIES LIES LIES. And the covert narcissism appears. Everything is all about her.

Well, I’m on a second round of N/C. I bet now she knows it doesn’t matter if I have a boyfriend or not, I can choose not to pay attention to her!

My mom is not the flamboyant narcissist that is obvious. She is “covert.” Everything has to be about her, but she will deny this.


Alice, I knew from the age of 12 I didn’t want kids. I had an aunt and uncle on Dad’s side that didn’t have kids, they were the influence. I saw their life and said “that’s for me!”

In my 30’s I had to break up with the best boyfriend I ever had because he swore up and down he wanted kids. I don’t regret the breakup, but years later, turns out he really didn’t want kids, he was just the only son and getting pressure from family. He died mysteriously at the age of 51.



Yes, I understand not wanting to have kids. I was always drawn to animals my whole life and not to babies or small children. Of course we all know what pressures parents put on their kids to have children so the parents can become grandparents. Interestingly in my extended family there are a lot of us cousins that do not have children. All of my cousins and myself are over 55 years old. I will never know why this is so, but it is quite interesting I believe.

I watched a PBS show years ago about Bob Newhart’s career. In his personal life he is a Catholic and has multiple children. I don’t know how many. When the producer of the Bob Newhart show told Bob that he wanted Emily to have a baby that season; Bob retorted “okay, but who are you going to get to play Bob?” The producer was confused. Mr. Newhart stated that he would leave the show if they planned on having a baby enter the picture. Bob Newhart felt there needed to be other role models on TV besides two parents with a kid or kids. I have to think my watching the Bob Newhart show and Mary Tyler Moore in the 1970’s played an influence on my choices in lifestyle.


I’ve always wanted kids, but it hasn’t worked out that way in my life. Luckily, I am surrounded by children via my cousins and friends. However, I’m a firm believer that having children is not something you should try and see. If you don’t desire them, then there is no reason for you to have them. I think we’re all learning, that adulthood takes many avenues.

Andria, I have not heard that story about Bob Newhart, but good for him!!!!!!!


This comment made by tundrawoman in 2013 from a blog I was reading.
She said regarding the choice and repercussions of choosing No Contact…”You deserve a Life, not a Life Sentence regardless of the approval or more likely lack thereof from other family members, cohorts etc.

Speak your Truth to yourself: Live in your Truth and know you are not any where as alone as you may feel initially.”

My truth…I want a good life now. Anyone who is robbing me of peace, happiness, ignores my needs, and will not respect my boundry choices has to go.


d ch,

Way to go….and way to go tundrawoman wherever you are!


Hi Everyone
In Case you missed this I was interviewed (video interviewed) about EFB and my message etc. and the video is available for another 48 hours and you can read the details about it here on the home page or at this link
There is also news about the changes I have had to make in the way this website runs.
hugs, Darlene


I am going to announce the winner of the contest tomorrow!

As a fundraiser for EFB this was a total failure but I am excited to say the winner is someone who participates here quite frequently!

Hugs!! Darlene


The winner of the free one hour consult / conversation with me is KAREN R.
Karen has been a frequent participant and supporter of Emerging from Broken for several years! I am excited to talk to her in person.

Here is what Karen had to say when I emailed her to tell her that she won the prize!

“I feel like I know you already;
I think I started reading EFB in Nov of 2011. I wasn’t searching for it. It showed up on my Facebook as a “you might like” suggestion.
As I read thru the articles I realized pretty quickly that they described my childhood circumstances, upbringing, and family treatment throughout my life.
Within 3 months it radically changed my understanding of my behavior, coping and issues.
The many insightful comments by other posters were just icing on the cake.”

Karen has been a huge blessing to EFB and I and has regularly contributed both in comments and in donations and I am very pleased that her name was drawn!

Thanks to EVERYONE who participated.

Hugs, Darlene


The replays to the “take your power back summit” interviews (including the one I did on video!) are only going to be available for another 70 hours or so! If you have not registered or if you want the info about this event, please read about it here! or read the current post on the home page ~
There is some amazing FREE info about healing in these but they are only available free for the next couple of days.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Everybody,

My life is just one continual Narcissistic soap opera once again with “Mommie Dearest”. I can be truly happy when I am left alone. I don’t ask for much but my privacy and safety. I knew that my Narc mom would be blaming me for my father’s recent death and of course it wasn’t my fault. My father was 87 years old and my Narc mom is 82 years old. I really don’t know how to keep her away from me. It’s sad but I feel like I have a gypsy lifestyle, always wanting to run away and be a free spirit if I could.

A good friend suggested that I should try to communicate with her through a letter and brochures in a manilla envelope, with information about senior independent living apartments and condos. These places are nice and reasonably priced. The Narc mom claims that she can’t drive anymore, so these neighbors give her rides to stores and errands.My Narc mom is not that destitute and her big house is listed for sale. I believe that her house may sell this fall. The situation is that I’m trying to keep this dangerous, crazy woman away from me. She was married and a housewife for like 50 years, so she did not build up a pension or social security,etc. Mainly, she owns the house, with a reversible mortgage which I did not know, but it’s a big luxury house. She will still get some money from my late father’s pension. The problem is that she wants to move near me in my city. I wrote a long letter suggesting places near her town, since she would be closer to her friends, neighbors and doctor.

I was afraid of this situation. You see that my Narc mom is too snooty to live in a smaller place near her town. She only wants to be seen by her friends and neighbors entertaining in her big, luxury house. I am getting frightened by all of this and don’t know what to do. But then there’s more…My Narc adopted cousin (golden child) is five years younger than me, married with kids, and in the military (Air Force). He has served long enough to retire from the military so now he has his evil plan. This Narc adopted cousin, who lived in my parent’s house with us as a kid, wants to move here to my city!

I am not sure if he wants to harrass me or stalk me. I have NEVER met his second wife or kids and I don’t want to. I don’t believe that he is safe.

My crazy Narc mom mentioned buying a small house in my city. I have repeatedly told her that I can’t drive her to her doctor’s appointments, or other errands. I am single and must work full time. So now this Narc cousin claims that he may buy a house in my city and being almost “retired” or only working part time in near future, then he can drive my Narc mom around. She views the Narc cousin as the “golden child” and I am forever a loser or scapegoat to her.

It’s sad but I was safe in my house for such a long time. None of my bad mother’s family lived in my city. I don’t know what happened here. Do they really want to destroy me that much or drive me crazy? This Narc mom knows that we really don’t get along well or speak to each other that much. Then she also gossips about me to all her social friends and neighbors.

I am not moving to another city/state. My job and social life are here in my city. I am also afraid that after this Narc mom dies, then this stupid Narc cousin will still live here. I do NOT speak to Narc cousin or socialize with him. It seems so odd that he would want to live in the same city as me when he could choose to live anywhere. After my mom dies, will he continue to live here?

Another issue that I have is wanting more of a social life. I am not in high school anymore, single with no kids. I think if I could find a relationship with a good man that I would like to be living together before marriage. There is a chance that at our age–(I’m 47 years)—that he owns his own place. I thought that maybe I could spend the weekend at his place and try to keep him away from my house. I am concerned about the evil Narc cousin spying on me just to destroy my personal life. I am NOT a Christian and I don’t necessarily believe in marriage, but I’m not totally against it, like sort of a gray area for me.

For DXS 157: I have always kept my social life totally quiet from my parents. My Narc mom was totally jealous of me and nasty. She never wanted me to go out during high school and I missed out on the dream prom. I have kept everything quiet about dating any man or even the names of my circle of friends and BFF. This Narc mom wants to destroy all of my happiness. This mess just goes on and on. There is also my Narc mom’s friends which go back to my childhood in Seattle who were my godparents. These people cannot leave me alone and want to bring me back to the Catholic Church (which I don’t believe in) and that I should entertain them like their little doll. No one respects me at all. These old parents’ social friends also own a small house in my city. I don’t know how to keep all of these people away from me. These strange parents’ friends are constantly after me to go bike reading or do things. I have repeatedly said no and they can’t take no for an answer.

My issue seems to be keeping these people that I can’t stand away from me. What do they want from me? I continually say “no” and they can’t understand “no”. Why can’t they lose interest in me and meet other people or find something to do with their time? I feel like I just want to give up. NO, I cannot move. I have my friends here and I like my city. I have my job and I need to get a better full time higher paying job and it’s hard financially right now.

I feel like I’m trapped and can’t get out. I feel like my whole world is falling apart again and it’s sad since I was happy being left alone. What is it with me? Am I that much of an easy target? I am so quiet and boring in my humble opinion. I must keep my real religion in the closet (Celtic Paganism—British Trad Wicca/Druids). I have no interest at all in the Catholic Church. How can I get them to leave me alone?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on all this. I am alone with no other support. I wish you all peace and happiness.

Blessed Be,

Yvonne 🙂



I can relate in a sense. In my case, my mother and I live in the same town. She said that she would move one day. (I hope it’s soon.) I do the best I can to not run into her when I’m out in public. At least she doesn’t know my exact address.

About my social life: It’s hard for me to relate here because unlike some of the posters here, I’m more or less of a loner. My problem was (and still is in a way) that I was scolded for NOT having a social life. First of all, many of my peers were bullies, so I didn’t want to be friends with them. (I guess my mom didn’t care much about that. Even some well-meaning teachers would chide me for my quiet, loner personality.) Second, I find solace and peace with being alone, so I don’t know why I receive flak just for keeping to myself. I even made up a quote: “I find it funny that some people are bothered by the fact that I don’t like to be bothered.” Ha!

Anyway, Yvonne, all I can say is I hope things work out so that your mother won’t be near you. My mother herself has money issues (as we did for many years since I come from a single-parent, low-income household.) Sometimes, I wonder why can’t she just move in with her golden boy son who can’t do anything wrong even though he’s a hot-headed, hateful bully. It’s ironic that he worships the ground she walks on, but lives out of state with a family of his own, and I don’t even like her, but we live in the same town.

I don’t get that, either. I don’t understand how I’m the “bad” one, yet my family expects me to have a relationship with them. I assume that’s another hallmark of toxic families: they contradict themselves. Well, that’s my view on this situation.


Hi S1988,

I think that we may be like twins! LOL! You have just described my situation perfectly! I don’t know why my crazy, mean Narc mom cannot simply move into my Narc cousin’s future house if he actually moves here to my city. I’m sure that he will have a good excuse like there are not enough bedrooms for him, his wife and kids. If he really wanted to, the kids could get bunk beds in their room and Narc mom would have her own room. Since the adopted Narc cousin is the golden child this would make sense. I am the scapegoat and she enjoys hurting me to this day. It never ends!

I dream that my Narc mom’s selfishness and snootyness may do her in. She does not want to sell her big, luxury house (for entertaining) and live in a smaller place. Sometimes these elderly relatives become depressed and sort of give up. I don’t know.

If Narc cousin is stalking me in any way after Narc mom’s death, I will take action and get a restraining order. I don’t understand Narc cousin or trust him at all. I try to keep my distance from him, but he pretends to be caring and friendly. It’s all just a phoney charade with these kind of people. I can’t imagine why all of a sudden he wants to move here to live in my city! He could live anywhere after the military retirement.

You are right. I am the scapegoat and there is NO love involved and why can’t they all just leave me alone? I think that Narc cousin has a hunting instinct and he can’t figure me out. Once he visits my house and I befriend him (NEVER) then he could dump me since I’m rather boring. LOL! I am not that dumb and I keep my boundaries up.

I was hurt and misunderstood by others for being a peaceful and quiet loner. I am really not that shy, but I’m very highly selective of people. It’s both my nature and my past abuse issues. I like being an introvert and some people don’t get that. They are on a mission to “change” these introverts to make them talkative and more outgoing. I like being me and I like my lifestyle. Someday after my Narc mom’s death, I may have a big verbal fight with the past godparent family. I am NOT their slave and I do not want their church. These abusers cannot understand the word “NO” and I can hang up the phone and slam my front door in their face. I am not afraid of them and maybe they all need to learn a lesson. I am NOT their slave and they cannot control people! Why do they need me so badly when we all have positively nothing in common? I am NOT their daughter and they need to let me go.

I am grateful for this site. I have no one to hear me now, and even my friends do not want to hear about my family issues. I gave up on worthless shrinks years ago and became a self-healer. I wish you all peace and happiness.

Blessed Be,



I can identify with being in the outside looking in. All my life I was the one who was never included. From about age 5… Mean nasty little children used to beat me up cause they knew they could.
I cried so easily. Still do. I learned in my 50 yrs in this planet that there are those who abuse and those who admire them and or look the other way.
I never stood a chance. Today, I don’t work cause it’s too exhausting and I’m too old and wise to play their games. Thankfully my husband makes good money and I took care of our home vas family.
Was considering starting an career. I could… But honestly… I hate most people.
The ones in organized religion were no better. I rather have less than put up with bs. I maybe only have a few yeRs to live.
I’m not living like that.


Thank you Darlene for your lovely comments..I’m finally getting caught up. Looking forward to speaking to you in person!

On the topic about dating, when I was 17 and wanted to date a guy at school,my mother was very against me having a boyfriend. I actually had to sneak around at school sitting with him on the bus and such. I didn’t want him to know that she didn’t want me to date. Gosh I just wanted to go to the dances at school.
It was nothing bad. Just normal. I was never allowed to have normal.

When I was almost 18 I met a 26 year old guy who wanted to date me and she was all excited about that. Didn’t meet him or anything, just let me go off with him. To fend for myself.
I look back at that now and think OMG. He was actually a nasty person who later treated me very badly.

When I met my husband we dated 3 months and wanted to marry. Our minister was concerned about this and actually called her for her approval. Oh she was all for it. He was wonderful. Ah..she only met him 3x. How would she know anything about him? She saw a way to get rid of her problem,me.

As I look back now on all those defining moments when you need your Mom’s wisdom, love and caring, mine was busy dealing with her own problems.
She never saw me. She never genuinely cared what happened to me. There are so many truth leaks that are obvious now.
Its sad to say but I can’t think of one time she chose me over her.
She went out of her way to crush my spirit and by never ever validating me, she had me convinced I do poorly in everything I do.
That type of brainwashing was active in every conversation, every interaction. If I did something or wanted to do something, it was always “why do you want to do that?”
If I achieved something amazing there was no comment. No praise. Ever.
It was deliberate.
Im sure of it.
I was suffering emotionally and wondering why no one was ever there for me when I just realized yesterday..all this time, all these years, I have been there for me. Just me.
I never realized that before. It made me feel pretty good. I got thru all the bad times alone.
I just had never realized it. Talk about FOG.



I am so sorry about your situation. It sounds like your mother wants to use you for whatever she can get out of you so she needs to be close. I understand about being used. My husband and I got used by his father and sister. They moved 10 miles from us so we could be at their beck and call doing stuff for them. He died in ’08, but she still lives here. We are low contact with her now.

My dad moved in with us for 5 years because he was ill and needed help. He was living about 2 miles away from my sister and her family, but my husband and I took care of him because my sister and brother-in-law would not. Luckily, through a series of events he left and went back to my sister’s area and is in assisted living. I have been NC with her for over 4 years, and off and on contact with my father, but now I will not have contact with him anymore.

I really don’t understand the deal with your cousin, and why he would want to move near you too. I think perhaps he wants to be near your mom because she is old and if she lives by you he wants to live by you too? I doubt if it would be for him to help. That is very upsetting that you feel he is not safe.

I wish that my husband and I could have told his family don’t come here; and not offered a place in our home for my dad. We would have been the bad people that did not help. I probably would have felt guilty because I did not know what I know now. I would not have suffered all the while and would not have been depressed.

I know I was very apprehensive when I found out the in-laws were moving here. It was upsetting, but I bucked up and it was still awful. I thought it would be okay somehow with my dad and he would appreciate me and care about me , but it did not happen. All I can say Yvonne is that I hope it does not happen to you. You already know how bad it will be. I will not be a people pleaser anymore and I will not take care of or do anything else for our families ever again.


Hi Yvonne,

Just remember that you are in control of your life. You get to decide how much contact, or low-contact, or no-contact you want have with any person (from your side anyway). You really do. While I don’t see how you can prevent your mother or cousin from moving to your city, you can tell her your boundaries and parameters of contact (if any) in advance so she knows what to expect from you. Does your mother say why she wants to move to your city?

Your peace of mind and health come first. It sounds like your mom has resources…money, friends, activities, gc cousin. I struggled with guilt at first at having very little contact with my mother, but less so now as I get healthier.

Is there any way you can get some face-to-face support for yourself during this transition? It sounds like it is understandably a very difficult time. I’ve found books on boundaries and assertiveness helpful for me over the years.


Hi Light, Andria, and S1988,

Thank you for you kind support. I am sorry but I’m getting scared. The last email that I got from my Narc cousin mentioned that he wanted to drive here in July to my city and visit my house with my Narc mom! He also wrote that maybe my mom would stay here in my house until she finds a place to rent or buy–(but her house must first sell).I can’t cry and lose it but I’m getting scared! They both seem to enjoy hurting and terrorizing me. Why can’t they leave me alone?

I am very honest but I would never shout this out on the rooftop—not even to my coworker BFF! I may need to get a roommate ASAP! I was trying to avoid this situation but I don’t know what else to do. It’s like I can’t trust either one of them since they are both so crazy! The ideal situation may be for Narc mom to just simply move into Narc cousin’s future house if he can buy a house in my city.

It’s hard to admit this but I have serious money issues,too. My late father had a good career and there is a Will, and I need to call the lawyer and get a copy. Apparently, my father left the bulk of their estate to me, the only daughter, and not my adopted Narc cousin. I don’t know if Narc mom or cousin can change or contest the will. After my Narc mom dies, then I must deal with the lawyer and settling the estate. My situation is that I am underemployed and considered low income. I work on projects for a company but it’s not full time employment. I earned a BA degree years ago as an older student, but it’s not the most commercial degree although I did get the job I have now. I need this inheritance money so I can turn my life around and that’s it. My family was not wealthy, but if I can go back to college and do a few things I want that’s basically where this inheritance money will go. I want to return to college in the near future. I need to remodel my house and have a complete makeover on me. For me, it’s like karmic justice since my life was nearly destroyed by my parents.

Since my Narc mom was a housewife, my father handled all of their finances. I guess he did not anticipate how long she would live. When my father was living, they had my father’s good pension and now my Narc mom gets his pension greatly cut. She is complaining since she qualifies for almost nothing from social security. Almost everything she has financially is tied up in her big, luxury house in a smaller town about a two and a half hour drive from my house.

If my Narc mom wants to move into my house I think I would either run away or become suicidal. I just can’t!

I know that I need a better job ASAP and maybe a new roommate. It would be a very special person to move in my house with all the drama going on and fighting on the phone. I really don’t know what to do. My job and friends are here and I am NOT moving. I feel scared and trapped.

I think that Narc mom thinks that I will drive her to her doctors and errands. Maybe she wants me to hold her hand when she is dying in the hospital? She is also selfish and vain and does not want to be seen living in a smaller place in her town after her big house sells.

Sorry, this seems so hopeless. I may need a new roommate and a better job ASAP. What I don’t understand is why do they both need to move to my city? I NEVER believed that my Narc cousin would move here to my city. I thought I was safe. I just want to scream my head off. Why am I forever a victim? I’m sorry that my father died first and it destroyed everything. How come my father never divorced her when I was a child? It’s been hard since I had issues with my father but not as severe as her. My father was irresponsible and a whole host of adjectives but he could have divorced my mom. He never protected me and here I am in my forties and still fighting to protect myself. It never ends. Thanks for any help.

Blessed Be,



Hi all: I’m glad to see people are still posting here. I’m looking for some advice to handle the void of no extended family–I’ve gone no contact with all of them, mostly by attrition than anything else. Heck, they never contact me or seem to wonder how I’m doing. That was easy! Is it no contact or abandonment? Well it doesn’t matter, really, since my darling son wonders now what it would be like to have loving uncles (my brothers) around. He knows about the violence, etc, and yet he doesn’t remember how they passively abused both of us over the years. He was too little to see how bad it was.
But the loss of extended family is certainly felt–how to best handle it? Please I’d love to know how you deal with this, if it’s your situation too.
Thank you


Hi Mary…
I never been able to fill that void. Even though I have limited contact… It still feels like a void. I don’t think it ever dent the way it should because it was me using wishful thinking that things were somehow different.
My daughter dislikes them cause she seen and heard too much. I tried to shield her but as she got older. I couldn’t lie. So as she grew, she knew. … Would of created crazy making to tell her differently. And I also had and still have a responsibility to protect her too.
My parents are old. I’m living with the after affects of stage 4 cancer. I don’t think I have more than 5 years to live. I hope not but stastically it doesn’t look good.
I have enough drama with things as it is here with life. My parents and sister are very close. I’m like the next door neighbor… I’m never invited to extended family holidays or events.
I can imagine what has been says about me.
I don’t really even care. I’m a good person. I don’t hurt other people. I don’t drink or use drugs. I don’t rage into fits and pack a gun and point it at others. I don’t try to control others.
Yet all these things I had mentioned… Have been something I had to deal with.
Sometimes I think the only true peace I’ll ever have is when I go to heaven.



I am so so sorry that you have to go thru this nightmare. I believe you already know the answer. You are already stressed out to the max. How will you be able to function if they are right in your face?

I am sorry you are having money problems too. Who knows what your mother’s finances are like. You can’t trust her anyway. In my opinion your mother and cousin just want to use you and it is very convenient under the umbrella of “family.” You would not accept a fair weather friend. So many of these people in families are fair weather family members.

It is sad to realize, but there are people in this world that want to use others. One always has to protect themselves. There are people that want to take your time, your money, your energy. I believe one should always try to trust first when you meet someone new. You already know what these people are like and they are not good for your soul. I totally understand what you are going thru. I listen to my gut now. If my gut says it is not good for me; I have to go with that.


Hi Mary,

I cut way down on contact ~ a year ago. This time feels different because I am so hurt and angry by some family members and what they said fairly recently that now it’s more like I don’t want to see them. And because I don’t want to see them, it doesn’t phase me as much. Many days I’ve moved past that stage of longing to see them and to be accepted and then feeling crushed when it’s clear those feelings aren’t reciprocated. As for the void, I follow my doctor’s advice and keep busy. The void and sadness doesn’t really go away though (for me, as of now) but if I stay busy by getting out of the house, that helps me get through the day. I structure it in advance and if it’s a holiday I make it nice for me and ask friends to do things together before/after the holiday. A couple of friends have generously asked me to join them for the actual holiday and that helps a lot.

That said, I still have some contact with a a very few extended family members and that helps as well.


That’s really nice you found others who aren’t blood related to have you over on the actual holiday. My own relatives don’t always include us. The last time I was invited to my sisters house was Xmas. It went ok cause I’m not well. But it’s faked I think. Not everyone but many.
I haven’t even gotten an get well card from my sisters in laws or family who are very close to my sister and will invite my parents. But us, no.
It’s like everyone can be invited but me. I should be thanking these people.
But no one cares to listen to me so I don’t talk much about. Even online. No one really cares about my issues.


What I can never understand is why my mothers seems to hate me so much. All my life she has been bitter, angry and even dangerous towards me. Yet somehow my sister seemed to have forgiven her and the two if them are very very close.
I guess my sister forgot about how close we were. How we stood by each other growing up and stuck up for each other. All my life we were close.
Now my mom will tell me little tidbits about her life and what’s going on. Things she knows I don’t know. She plays a game she learned from a caregiver who taught her to divide and conquer I believe.
My sister only talks about casual things. Never tells me much. I learned to not trust her cause when I came out and spoke up about our abuse. She quickly took their side and said that my therapist and I were crazy and should be committed.
I can never trust them. Yet I still live them deeply. I shears will but I know they really don’t love me.
Wondering why this and this cancer. Why? What did I ever do but love others and give so much of myself.
Karma isn’t real. Not in my life.
All my life I have seen those who were rotten live very well and die peacefully. While a few good people I had know… Die young.


And then my mom tells me… Oh don’t tell her that I told you that! Like she is special and I’m not.


Me too (179-181),

Your mom is playing the notorious game of isolation. You know..the I know this, but don’t tell that I told, to keep you and your sister from communicating with each other. If you were to say, “oh but that’s so wonderful, I’m sure she won’t mind that you told me, and I’m going to call and congratulate her”, your mother would be on the phone downgrading you and screwing with your sister’s head before you could say hello.

I would imagine that your sister has always secretly longed for a relationship with your mother and will take anything from her in that area that she can get. That happens. You continue to look out for yourself and do the healing and growing that you need to do.

Yvonne, I don’t even know what to say. I’m sorry you’re in financial straights, and that can be VERY VERY stressful. Take things one at a time. You’re already contemplating getting a roommate, so you’re at least trying to work through your situation, which shows you have a lot of common sense 🙂

Your post reminded me of the history with my mother where I would disagree with something and she would push and manipulate to impose her will on me to get her way. I would get tired of fighting and just give in, yet internally, I would beat myself up for not setting proper boundaries. When I realized this, I got SO ANGRY…which lets me know I’m on the path to validating and healing this within my emotions and spirit, because I’ve done this with other relationships in my life as well. I realize now, that people who manipulate situations just to be ‘right’ are jerks (just to keep my language clean LOL).

Blessings All!


Thank you so much for your insightful, kind response. It meant alit to me to hear this… Lately I been feing very depressed. And very much alone.
My mother always did more for me growing up, she wasn’t very nice to my sister. Cut her hair short like a boy and when she got older she would refuse to get her hair cut. Did something to her hair.
My sister even though she always had my back, was very jealous of me. I never tried to make it that way.
I’m afraid my mom had done way too much damage and my sister never had help, never moved away far from home.
She caters to her every need. I won’t. I’ll be nice, I’ll visit. I’ll offer help once. But I don’t dot over her. Even me having stage 4 cancer last year…
Still she has said some very underhanded things. Hasn’t been there all that much.
And when I do visit. She screams and yells at my dad all day long. A few weeks ago she told me to go home.
I guess I stayed too long.
I missed my dad and he’s going blind.
I try to focus on the good memories when I visit.
But I wonder if this is causing very depressed thoughts… Only at night while lying in bed.
I think how rotten the world truly is and how much unhappiness is in store for me… If I do live.


Andria #174
The people pleaser role….How many times I tried to do, be the good girl to get a smile and kind words. Been there, done that. No More!

Jump – how high? Fetch – Yes, right away
Listen to me, Take care of me. Yes Yes Yes

When I asked And what about ME? Answer… What about you? What’s wrong with you now? No clue about my needs or desires. No effort to listen to me.


Me Too, thanks for your response. I have also known the pain of not feeling like anyone cares about what I have to say, and to this day I struggle to speak up but those few steps out of the comfort zone are empowering. I still am not very good at it, but baby steps count! I swear I never spoke in my own home, and was amazed at how many words came out of my mouth when I went to my friend’s houses.

Light, thanks for your response as well. It does help knowing and remembering recent events that were painful and abusive. This creates a normal desire to avoid them, even if I do miss them from time to time.

I just feel bad or worse about it because my son isn’t experiencing extended family. His dad passed away recently, and we suffered a lot from his dad’s behaviors so my son is really free and blossoming from the absence of family dysfunction for the first time. The last thing I would want now is to get swallowed up in my family, because they would try to destroy us both. My son dad’s family does connect with him so at least he has that. He’s also blessed with the gift of friendship.

Thanks again for the responses.


Your welcomed Mary. My daughter also will never have extended family. They act like they want to know her in one breath but they really do not.
My parents are now old and they are looking for caregivers.
They never had the time to call her, send much if a gift or visit when she was younger. And she is better off not knowing them.
My sister and her husband plan to retire out if state in 10 years leaving us to be the only ones here.
Somehow that seems to be ok. Or they may be secretly planning on going with them. They plan to a buy a very large Exp home… Even though my odds of being alive in 5 years is only 29 percent. Ok just go please.
Mary, I think it’s common when we are treated all our lives that our feelings don’t matter… To be quiet.
I was very very quiet and to myself and I never shared my thoughts rarely. I guess I just knew better.
Then later on after I moved out and went to college, got married and moved away… When I did have a rightful stance to talk about how hurt I was…
My sister didn’t have me in her wedding. I was her maid if honor. This broke my heart to pieces. She didn’t want me to ruin her wedding cause she used an flimsy excuse that my daughter who was 3 at the time would of cured to be with me and her niece would if ruined her big day.
My husband would of watched her… She just wanted to hurt me. And she forever had.
It’s cases like this that when I spoke up about how hurt I was my dad and mom would say… Oh you should not feel hurt or upset. Really? Ok. Whatever.
today when I do visit… I now see why I was such an nervous wreck all my life. Why I pulled out all my hair and almost had none. Why I developed depression and anxiety… Which I still must fight. And panic attacks. I see why.
Yet despite it all… I forgave. Wanted to be there, don’t know how long I have. I have now decided to severely limit my time. It’s not appreciated and it’s too toxic for my child.
It would be nice to have extended family for her, I really wanted that. But sadly she is better off without that.
She is sometimes lonely. It breaks my heart. The school where we live is very dangerous so she uses online school. Our taxes are crazy and our school is one of the worst. She only has a year left. She’ll be working soon and going to college. Living on her own.
I am praying she was meet safe nic people in her path…I never really have. And I stayed to myself. I tried a few times and I swear I attract certain kinds of women who ended up bipolar or users….
I don’t have much hope for mankind. I try. I still have a sliver of hope. I’m doing the best I can, trying to be as happy as possible for my child’s sake.
She told me I was an incredible mother and even with my upbringing… I did an amazing job.
That feels nice to hear but I’m still sad, cause I wanted extended family.
Esp when we are gone…
But knowing what that is… Well she’s better off alone.


Opps… Meant to say she was my maid of honor. I had a very small private garden wedding in a park.
She had a very large wedding party and I wasn’t wanted in it. At all.
Her and I were very close. I think after I spoke up about a few things, she then started taking to my mom… And I was cut out somehow. Cause after her wedding… She started to talk less and starter to remind me of my mother more and more.
And I mom always had tried to put each other against one another. She feels she should be honored as a queen of sorts.
One year she told me my sisters Mother’s Day gift was cheap and thoughtless and threw it in the garbage.
And I never told my system half of it but after she pulled a gun on my sister and I… I guess the past just doesn’t matter to my sister.
My mom seems to be the only one who oddly counts with her.
It’s really ashame.


d ch,

Right on!


@Me too

I greatly admire you. In spite of knowing that you have about half a decade left to live and being born into a dysfunctional family, you still manage to live life to the fullest, keep low contact with your family, and be a healthy mother to your daughter. I’m young (mid-twenties) with no health issues, and I don’t think I can stand being with my mother or other family members for two minutes. You are one of the strongest people I came across.

I think another upside about me not being a mother is that I don’t have to worry about my hypothetical child being around them. Since he/she would be a relative, they would feel they have a right to see him/her. My family members seem to treat us like we’re a cult, that I shouldn’t question them and that I’m expected to have a relationship with them. I’m afraid that they would either treat my child like they treated me, or they’d treat my child okay, but still act toxic with me, and one’s child shouldn’t see their parent hurt by relatives.

I live only a few miles away from my mother in the same town, and I do my best to avoid her. Long story short, I lived in another town for a few years, ran into some financial trouble, and had a good friend of mine move my cat and I here. I broke my four-year hiatus from my mother, and moved in, hoping that things had changed. Well, that was a big mistake. She treated me like a naughty child and wouldn’t own up to what she did, so I moved out a year later. I lived with roommates for a few months, but without going into detail, that was a flop, so I moved out and am now living in an old-fashioned studio apartment. It’s not the most glamorous setting, but at least it’s pet-friendly and I don’t have to worry about annoying roommates or control-freak, possessive mothers.

A part of me is emotionally-attached to this town because I sort of grew up here. My mother’s job relocated us here when I was 10 and my older sister was 13. My brother was living in the Chicago area and had his first child. Anyway, my mother mentioned that she would move, but when? Sometimes I wonder since she preaches about the importance of family, why can’t she just move in with her golden boy or one of our well-off relatives? She’s now retired and on disability because of health issues she had for years. She can get around, though. I wish that she can at least get a low-stress job since she has money troubles, but she’s still bitter about the company she worked at for over 30 years and doesn’t want a job. I can’t make her work, but I don’t want her to continue taking out loans in my name since her credit is so bad. (I was practically forced to do that when I was living with her.) If she doesn’t want to work, she can just move in with a financially stable relative, but I’m not sure why she wouldn’t do that. I hope she leaves soon. I don’t have much of a choice, but to stay since I lack driving abilities, and I admit, I like living here. Plus, I don’t want to pay money for breaking my lease.

I know that you want to keep the peace in your family. That’s not something I’m willing to do, but we’re free to choose how we associate with relatives.


Me too, (186)

My son and I were also left out of a wedding, which was very painful and so obvious to everyone that it was actually humiliating.

This was probably the goal, to isolate and embarrass us. It might have been payback for not attending some family gatherings as well. It doesn’t matter; if you begin standing up for yourself, missing family events just to protect your sanity, there is always payback. It is sad, I agree. My son is more important to me than taking care of family’s desire to control us. It was so much easier to see what they were doing to my son than to see what they were doing to me. Now I know, like you, the source of all the anxiety around them. There were times when I would feel sick to my stomach before going to family events.

You have obviously been a great mom, Me Too; your daughter sounds wonderful.


I’ve been “No Contact” for about a year with my mother, and 2 years with my siblings. I couldn’t continue participating in the relationships with them as they were. I came to recognize that I had been rejected by them already, so I decided to walk out of the relationship because I was being hurt every time I communicated with them.

It is a choice and it comes with its own costs. I’ve been thinking today that I traded one set of problems for another. It’s true, but I feel like the problems I have now are the kind that I can deal with. There are things that I can change in my own life and my own heart. I’ve put myself in a position to heal, even while there are still struggles.

One of the biggest lies that my family told and reinforced for me over the course of a lifetime was that no one would ever like me. If someone treated me kindly, I was told that they were only being polite and that they would never tell me the truth. They framed this in a way that meant I was supposed to take the incessant criticism they gave me as instruction in how to be acceptable to others, as if they were doing me a favor. I didn’t ever realize how I failed to trust ANYONE, or accept anything that anyone had to offer me because I’d been trained to reject compassion.

When I recognized that I found that there are people who do care! I started to trust people and let them love me. Then I stopped feeling alone, worthless, and undesirable.

It helped to understand that no one would ever give me the kind of love I wanted to get from my mother. Even a good mother would not be able to love me perfectly. But by adding up all the pieces of heart that people gave me in their limited and imperfect ways, my heart was filled. And as my heart filled, I had more of my own love to give others in limited and imperfect ways.

This is how I’m healing.



Hi 1988…
I would do the San. If I had too. I would rather live in a small studio with my pets than with others.
That just never seems to work out IMHO. I could never live with someone else. I rather be homeless.
I’m far from strong… I’m dealing with anxiety and depression almost every day now.
Some days are better than others. She never likes to hear about my panic attacks. She knows deep down she causes them long ago. All that pain and anxiety I had to hide and deny just caught up to me now.
I know it’s an direct result of my abuse and she knows it too.
I just got on from shopping, errands… Which should of been less stress free than it was with my daughter.
Bought her art supplies and a wreath for our front door at micheals and we went to Barnes and Noble for treats and reading books.
On my way home… I start having panic attacks while driving again. This happened years ago and I couldn’t drive for months.
She wanted to cone over our if the blue for an hour and thank goodness I wasn’t home. She had to take my sister to the dentist cause her truck is in for repairs.
So she had an hour for me I guess. She had to waste time. Please… Just stay home.
I’m still upset caste when I went to visit her last time… Nice conversations… And just out of the blue… She told me to go home. Wtf? I mean really…
Then she doesn’t write me back for days… Then all the sudden she surfaces?
Goid god. How wonder I’m so jaded.


Hi 1988…
I would do the San. If I had too. I would rather live in a small studio with my pets than with others.
That just never seems to work out IMHO. I could never live with someone else. I rather be homeless.
I’m far from strong… I’m dealing with anxiety and depression almost every day now.
Some days are better than others. She never likes to hear about my panic attacks. She knows deep down she causes them long ago. All that pain and anxiety I had to hide and deny just caught up to me now.
I know it’s an direct result of my abuse and she knows it too.
I just got on from shopping, errands… Which should of been less stress free than it was with my daughter.
Bought her art supplies and a wreath for our front door at micheals and we went to Barnes and Noble for treats and reading books.
On my way home… I start having panic attacks while driving again. This happened years ago and I couldn’t drive for months.
She wanted to cone over our if the blue for an hour and thank goodness I wasn’t home. She had to take my sister to the dentist cause her truck is in for repairs.
So she had an hour for me I guess. She had to waste time. Please… Just stay home.
I’m still upset caste when I went to visit her last time… Nice conversations… And just out of the blue… She told me to go home. Wtf? I mean really…
Then she doesn’t write me back for

Hi Mary!
Yes… I think it’s payback for something… I suppose we Are suppose to guess why?
To not have your family in your wedding… When they were in yours… Is an awful slap in the face… Yes.
It was very embrassing and I actually cured at her reception.
I’m not a big drinker… But I did drink a lot her reception cause I was around men who mokested me as a child. As well even an aunt.
I thought I was going to melt away and would die. Even our neighbor who my sister isn’t even close with was in her wedding party.
I should of stayed home.


@Me too

I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what motivated you to marry and become a mother if you don’t like living with others?

Besides not being a parent, I can’t imagine being married. I admit I’m a borderline hermit. Even as a kid, I liked spending lots of time alone, whether it was reading books or drawing, and my mother and other adults saw this as a “problem” to be squashed out of me. Sometimes now, I get flak for my loner behavior, but it’s a bit easier to ignore such criticism.

I guess I’m a bit selfish in a sense. With few friends, I have little obligations to meet. Living alone, I can do what I want, when I want without someone nitpicking everything I do. Not having a spouse means that I don’t have to compromise to appease someone else’s standards. (A part of me is a bit intimidated that if I were to have a husband, he would basically be my mother with an XY chromosome. Ha!) Not having a child means I don’t have to lose sleep with late night feedings or worry about making enough money to take care of me and another person as well.

I never liked being forced into something or people attempting to mold me into someone I wasn’t. I felt like I’ve been doing that most of my life, whether it was being pushed into playing piano, or trying to make me more outgoing, or following a religious belief without questioning it. Maybe that’s what made me a “difficult” child. (And what makes me a somewhat “difficult” adult.) Anyway, I feel it’s time for it to cease, and live my own life.

I also feel that maybe this type of selfishness is the lesser of two evils. I rather be self-centered in ways that only affect me than be selfish in a way that uses people for shallow expectations, such as having children and pushing them to be something they’re not.

I salute you and other mothers who succeeded in breaking dysfunctional cycles.


@Me too

One more thought. I still think you’re a strong woman even if you don’t see yourself that way. Like I said in a previous comment, I’m physically healthy, but I don’t think I would be able to do half of what you’re doing. A part of me is emotionally broken, and I’m dedicating my life to healing myself. Congrats!


That’s all we can do;) at least we are trying to help ourselves. So many of us who were abused as children don’t even see their issues, work on them… They sadly repeat it. Struggle Abd have no idea as to why they are the way they are.
Thank you btw… For the kind compliment. Sometimes my mother is actually very nice. And that’s what’s so hard for me. Cause I can’t seem to seperate things.
It’s always been that way. One day I would come home from school and she would be tearing down all the window treatments and screaming at us… No idea why then the next day she was out buying us new clothes.
And I guess years of that just confuses you.
I’m trying to have peace… My anxiety is really really bad. I’m trying to just keep my life as peaceful as I can.
So many serious issues coming from every person I love these days. So surrounded and feeling so alone. Trapped. ;(
But yiu know… I survived stage 4 cancer… It’s been gone. It’s been a year. Part of my tongue now removed… And neck nodes are missing. You can clearly tell something was wrong with me.
People tell me I look great. But I sound and look off. I know that.
They are being nice.
And I just want to live. I don’t understand why god hit me with a double whammy in life. Then I feel guilty for feeling sorry fir myself.
It’s just a vicous cycle.


I don’t mind my husband and daughter… Love them to pieces. My husband was the first person I ever met who was kind, even tempered and had qualities I really admired. And I was very scared to have a child… I waited till I was 32 and I just fell in love with my baby!
But it was very hard. I used to doubt myself… Keep checking on her. Would think I did terrible things… That I knew I would never do… Would constantly check on her… Then feel relieved she was ok.
I don’t know what I went through but I suspect it must of been from when I was abused. I had so much self doubt. So much worry.
But things were ok. And I also had theraphy when she was young. I read a lot if books, had one online friend who really cared who helped me out a lot!
So… Yes, just because you struggle, were abused doesn’t mean your repeat that!
But honestly, I respect people too who don’t have children. That is also very loving and actually an very unselfish act. I understand the whys very much;)
But in general, most people… I just don’t like. I never have. I just have serious trust issues cause of life experiences.
And I like being alone too. My husband works all day… My child has her school and activities. So I prefer to cook, clean, do my writing, projects during the day.
But I also love family time. And we make time for that at night after dinner and in the weekend.
But having other people in my life… Is just too much work. Too much drama.
I’m just too set in my ways at this stage in my life.
I’m prolly not an true introvert. But I do completely understand the draw to it. Respect that. Admire it.
It is a safe road to travel. ESP after you been so exhausted by abuse.


I wish I had an answer ti help you. But I don’t. Since I don’t trust organized social groups, or most people… and just don’t have anything left inside of me to give… I am afraid we will always lack more.
I pray my daughter will fare better. She has to, like everyone, make her own way in the world which means making connections.
Sadly, I worry. But I pray too. What else can I do… Or anyone. It is what it is.


Me Too:

So much of what you say is so similar to my situation. I too survived stage 4 cancer. I too find it exhausting having relationships outside of my small family (myself and my son). It never used to be this way, but after dealing with a big abusive/neglectful family, and then the anger and abuse from my sons’s father, I am exhausted. I think that there are good and sensitive people in the world, but it is too much work to find them and truth be told, I am not sure I have ever met any. Kind and selfless people seem to be rare, and its not like they are walking aroud with a sign on them –it takes work to find them and then more energy to have a relationship.

It makes me sad really…everyone else seems functional in putting up with peoples insensitivities, but I can’t. I can’t even work for someone else for long before their nasty selfish behaviours become intolerable to me and I end up getting fired or quitting. Now I work for myself and it is fine, but it still hurts me deeply that people are so cold and selfish. I often wonder why. Then I realize that in order to work for others you have to have some tolerance for insensitivity and the insensitivity I have experienced through all of the neglect and abuse makes cruelty and insensitivity intolerable to me. The world is what it is and I was never prepared for it. Not ever. And I doubt at this point (if ever) I will be able to change that. I used to like people, and tried really hard to overcome, but it just seems pointless to try much anymore when the outcome will be the same.
Really though, I just think that if my parents had given me a safe landing place, I would be ok to go out into the world and tolerate a certain amount of negativity..but because they were even colder and harsher than the world at large, it just feels like abuse when I go out..I just have no tolerance for it.


Hello Anna;)
I couldn’t agree more. I’m so glad you can work for yourself. If I had to ever work again… It won’t be good. I honestly don’t know what I would do or how I would cope.
Yes the workplace is an very abusuve place and I too used to end up excluded, unwanted. Crying almost everyday and blaming ME.
I really couldn’t understand it back then but now that I’m 50 years old and had lived and experienced life.
I see it for what it was… And still is.
I am who I am… I can’t develop a thick skin as many abusers would tell me to do. And I refuse too. Why should I become who they are?
I think I’ll just become an bag last maybe if I had to work and ran out out of funds. What’s the point.
My daughter is so much unlike me. Thankfully. She sees what I mean and yet she is very strong… Thankfully!
I’m not worried about her in that way. But just in general. But she can sense things, ever since she was a child… She would tell me. Mom I get these feelings… I can sense people. And she is always right! Not that they are bad per se but just that she can feel and see things way ahead if time about people.
I told her that I’m this way as well and that she should always use that to guide her and keep her safe. But to not let it decide too early abou someone… But it’s an built god given gift that I feel could save her.
Anyone ever read the gift of fear? Awesome book!


Anna that is awesome! How many years and what type did you have if I may ask?


Read This from today’s Dear Abby…Wow. The comments on the article are enlightening too!

DEAR ABBY: My 85-year-old mother told me that upon her death she is leaving each of her children a letter expressing to them how they have hurt her throughout the years. Never once has she acknowledged how deeply she has hurt us. It affected our childhood and adulthood. I think if she feels we hurt her, she should say it to us while she’s living.

It has always been about Mom’s needs, not ours. I, for one, plan to put her unopened letter in her coffin to be buried with her when the time comes. Her letter is just a final hurtful arrow to stab us with, and I already have had a lifetime of that. I don’t need her to damage me further.
Am I wrong? Normally parents leave heartwarming letters to give their children peace. She reads your column, so I hope she reconsiders. — ALREADY WOUNDED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR ALREADY WOUNDED: You’re not wrong. Your mother appears to be toxic. Sending her negativity down with her is a perfect solution in my opinion.


Yes! I could see that happening! Lol! When I went nc for a few years…. My mom said no one ever hurt your dad more or as deeply as you did.
Well my dad has basically ignored me all my life, or has made fun of me at my expense must my life.
Yet, that never gets mentioned. No.


I’ve already been told I’m not getting any inheritance $$$. So if I do get a letter, I will not read it, but have a lawyer read it, as one commenter suggested.

There might be a bequeath to me at the end of the nasty long winded writing about how terrible a daughter I’ve been.

If I bury it with her, or destroy it, I may be losing out. Her final payback……


I had a similar experience during my first hiatus from my family. During that time, I’ve received emails from my mother containing faux apologies that blamed me. They went along the lines of: “You should see the glass half-full.” “Please forgive me for not being perfect.” “We can’t choose our parents.” I didn’t feel that these were sincere apologizes, but I felt like a fool for breaking my hiatus and coming back, only for her to “forgive” me for leaving her, but still scold me like a bad child for the estrangement. Now that I’m on the second round, according to her, I’m being hateful for protecting myself after feeling like I’ve been tricked. Well, she and the others can think what they want, but what I think is all that matters.

I’m not sure if I’ll get a real apology even when she’s on her deathbed. I have a feeling that even then, I’ll be labeled as the one at fault. My obsequious siblings already heavily defend her, so I won’t be surprised if they blame me for her death. Oh, well. I’m just focusing on being my own family now.


I’m not sure if my mother has inheritance money. If there is any, I don’t care whether I get it or not.

In my opinion, I think that expecting money from an abusive parent increases dependence on them, and no amount of money will make up for the damaged they caused. Getting a sincere apology matters more to me than money. (Unfortunately, that’s something I don’t think I’ll ever get, but I can’t waste my life waiting for an apology that will never come.)

If I want money, I’ll be an adult and earn it. I feel that expecting money from hurtful parents puts me in the role of a child, and in order to start healing, I have to grow up and not expect any compensation from unrepentant people. If their is an inheritance in my name, I think I’ll reject it and have it go to someone else.


S1988 – you’ve expressed yourself well!

I’ve had similar experiences and come away with pretty much the same attitude. I realized a couple years ago that it doesn’t matter what I do or say, my family can turn ANYTHING into a reason to believe I’m too detached from reality to be credible. Any interaction at all held the potential to give them ammunition to use on me sooner or later. Of course, NON-interaction proves I’m the villain too.

I think I tried at some point to tell my mother that I feel like I don’t even actually EXIST to her, and I wanted to be treated as something other than a broken toaster. She’s “reached out” a few times since then and is most definitely treating me like a broken toaster.

There is likely to be an inheritance that I have probably already lost. There have been times in my life that I considered financial gifts the closest I would get to love from my mother. Now, I feel that there is no amount of money that could make up for the damage she’s done. More important, I’m not willing to let her keep up her crap for the rest of my life. I’m 59 years old and I’m going to FINALLY be ME. She will probably outlive us all anyway.



Well, I would happily take an inheritance, though I don’t expect it. I figure it’s only a dependence if you let it be one, if, for example, it stops you from taking certain actions, or allowing yourself to feel or think certain ways. If you don’t give a shit and hold no guilt for the choices you’ve made vis a vis your crappy parents, then I don’t see any kind of dependence really taking hold. It wouldn’t change what I think or say about them. To me why not take whatever good you can get from them—if that happens to be paying off debt, going on vacation, a downpayment on something. I understand the idealism and I definitely had a point where I felt strongly that I would not take anything from them. I’ve changed my mind, I guess. What the hell? Why not enjoy something you can get from them after all the bloody pain they’ve caused? It wouldn’t constitute reparations in my mind since they refuse to recognize what they broke and how they broke it. It’d just be free money, which is nice when you don’t have a lot of it. I suppose that kind of attitude might inspire judgment from the outside world but I don’t care. I would, however, want to put the money to use right away for a purpose, I think… But I don’t expect anything and I don’t really care.

Monetary and material gifts and vacations were probably the most kind of “love” I received and I did get to the point where I refused it all. It had a hold on me. And I’m glad that I did that. I showed myself that I could earn my own and sustain myself, that I don’t need them, financially or any other way. I’m better off without them. I’m living, or trying to live, the life I want and wherever that gets me financially is wherever that gets. But yeah, I’d take an inheritance, say thanks guys, and put it to use. A rather lowly thanks but still money is useful. I also consider it to be completely hollow and is filled only with the meaning you give it or use it for.

That all being said, I think that if you haven’t been able to feel yourself as being self-sustaining, then it would almost be impossible to feel free with their money in your pockets. I imagine it could really control and haunt you.


Author: Alaina Commented:
Well, I would happily take an inheritance, though I don’t expect it. I figure it’s only a dependence if you let it be one,

Alaina, I agree. I would gladly take the money and enjoy it, pay off debts, whatever. I don’t expect it, or think she owes it to me.

If I got it I would consider it retroactive “hazardous duty pay” 🙂


Hazardous duty pay—I like that! That’s good! lol 🙂


Don’t get me wrong, if I GET an inheritance, I’ll keep it! I just knew that going NC was very likely to call that into question. Right now, I don’t expect it. A few years ago, I DID expect it and was counting on it.

It was just important to me to be willing to lose whatever that inheritance might be to save my own sanity. I still prefer having my sanity to having money. I would have preferred a loving family instead of money, but that’s not going to happen.

I’ll take a life of my own!



I feel the same, Hobie. I’d trade in a lot to have had a family that could have loved me and made drastically different choices. My family left me with a lot of feelings of being selfish, mean and bad but that’s them, not me. They’ve caused tremendous pain and chose dishonesty.



My sentiments exactly. My family also caused tremendous pain and chose dishonesty.


This topic sure did hit a nerve with me. All of us deserve to get our inheritance but the truth is few of us will but I rather have my freedom like many of you mentioned then live my life as a lie just to get their money. The way I look at it is my parent’s robbed me from the ability to earn a decent living because they brainwashed me into believing that I was too stupid to accomplish anything. Now I am left with the daunting task of overcoming DID which has totally incapacitated me after I have worked for 30 stinkin years sending my husband and I into financial ruins out of no fault of our own. Makes me sick. All because my parents are assholes and chose to abuse me out of no fault of my own. I’d say that is a pretty tough pill to swallow for anyone and yes I would take their money. Every single solitary last red cent of it and it still wouldn’t put a dent in what they cost me throughout my life.



It has been made explicitly clear to me that I have been disinherited entirely by at least one family member and it’s also very likely that steps will be taken to ensure that I’m disinherited by my mother – although she’d have to do a little legal wrangling given the laws where she lives.

So maybe I’ll end up with something, maybe not. I’m not counting on it. I feel pretty confident about my ability to create my own sources of income. And it’s something you can learn and improve on. My family didn’t teach me anything very useful about finances at all. I learned stuff from the mother of a friend who worked in a bank and insisted we should have our own accounts (smart woman:))

When the inheritance question came up most recently, my mother was insistent that she could decide at any moment that I wasn’t getting anything. Either she was unfamiliar with the laws of her state or she was on one of her power trips. I was able to request a full explanation from the attorneys who were handling it and although at one point I thought I didn’t deserve that money (!) I was able to say yes to it (I think I talked to Darlene about it too.) and it turned out to be really helpful for a transition I was making.

I think I’ve probably spent the equivalent of a small inheritance on therapy and various other attempts at fixing myself.

Sometimes I think that I’ve actually paid for my freedom (which has no price) by not having to worry or do anything to ensure that I get some kind of inheritance or get more than I’d get legally. It has been held over my head a few times and it’s not easy to want that money as payback or as a kind of a recompense for all the crap they put me through. I just don’t know what I’d have to do to get it. Probably things that I don’t want to do anymore.

And like Alaina, money was often used as a way of getting me to do things or behave or act like I felt a particular way. It came with strings attached (as well as a large, hurt-feelings, does of denial that it did). And of course I was accused of being mercenary. What a mindf*ck


Maybe some siblings that think we are sooooo “wrong” and side with the
N Mother are hanging onto the hope of being rewarded with the frequently mentioned inheritence.

Suck up kiss azz, agree, bad mouth us the “disinherited bad ones” who have gone low contact or no contact.

Do they secretly envy us because we had the guts to do what we have done?
Money or the promise of money, can’t buy happiness, self respect or peace of mind.


d ch. I don’t know what my sibling thinks of me exactly although he had adopted a very condescending “I’m the man of the house” persona at one point. Was violent towards me when I opposed him on his way of speaking about women and requested respect. I’m pretty sure now that when he heard “respect” he understood some kind of “obedience” or deferral. Because that’s what our family meant by it.

He has chosen to stay close to mom and be at her beck and call. He will also be “rewarded” for that with most likely the house she lives in (ironically that she inherited). The little I saw of him last, he was favorably recalling what a troublesome kid he was and looked to her for confirmation of this “amusing” tidbit. As a child he suffered from frequent migraines, was bulimic at one point, had trouble not hitting people (including me). But I don’t think he makes any connection with any of that and his relationship with the family. Maybe there isn’t one. He was definitely the “black sheep” for a long time. But now he’s doing “the right thing” for mom. Well he gets everyone’s “respect”.


I’m not sure if jealousy is at play with my siblings, but I do know that they think I’m some kind of heathen for questioning our “wonderful” family and that I’m some whiny ingrate for condemning our mother’s behavior.

My oldest sibling, my brother, is a married middle-aged father of three teenage sons, and is still very enmeshed with her, so enmeshed that I bet they would marry if they weren’t mother and son. I don’t know much about his childhood because there’s an 18-year gap between us. I did learn that he was abused a lot as a boy by our father. Since our father abused our mother, too, I assume that she used my brother as a husband substitute when she was supposed to be protecting him. I have no proof of this, but I can’t help but suspect this because he vociferously defends her. Ironically, he’s no better to his enabling wife and sons, but for some odd reason, he gets a pass.

My older sister is like a younger version of our mother. When I stayed with my mother for a while when I had financial issues, it was hard to sleep because they would talk on the phone every night. I suppose my sister is the “nicer” one to me, but she still defends our mother and scolded me for questioning her.

I never mentioned my dad a lot on this site because my parents separated when I was three and divorced when I was 11. I have vague memories of visiting him with my sister, and was told that he favored me. They were right because I haven’t seen or spoken to him for years until I reached my early 20’s, and when I did speak to him, he would speak and it would be difficult for me to get a word in edgewise. He was the one who named me, and told me how much he loved and adored me. Of course this way, I learned that favoritism doesn’t equate love. After some time, he would tell me about his hatred for my mother and brother and told that he was kept from seeing my sister and I. (My mother told us he abandoned us.) I’m not sure who to believe, but I didn’t like being treated like a child in a custody battle, and later cut ties with him. I suppose maybe I should feel rage of what he done to the others, but for some odd reason, I don’t. I guess it’s because it’s difficult to feel much for someone who wasn’t in my life very often. I’m just neutral. But, the question that boggles my mind is: Why should I condemn some abusers, but love others? Why do my mother, brother, and sister ignore their own abusive/enabling behaviors, but hate our father and expect me to feel the same as they do? (And they still have contact with him every now and then. HUH? They hate him, but they still speak to him? I don’t get it.)

Anyway, if my siblings are jealous of me, they hide it quite well. I can’t read minds. I just want to stay far away from their dysfunction and not get sucked into their ridiculous feuds and hypocrisy.


Hi S1988

I think I get it. They talk to your dad because he is a part of their drama. Without him, the drama would get old. By talking to him, they can keep their dysfunctional drama current and fresh.

You are young. Stick to your guns and keep away from them no matter what society tells you about family. Honestly if I did not have a son I would just tell everyone my family had died. If I do though my son will hear this and he is just a kid-How would I explain it?


A Quote from Danu Morrigan
They Dont Play By The Rules.

With narcisissists, the normal rules don’t apply. That might seem quite radical, but it’s really good news. They break all the rules of social interaction and human co-operation, after all, and therefore we are not bound to those rules when we’re dealing with them.




sorry–my computer is acting up again!


Our siblings are enmeshed cause they took to the brainwashing quite well. The parents are quite devious and they expect loyalty and unconditional love but the children know fully they don’t get that in return.
So what you have here isn’t real or deep love. It’s something all together less real, it’s about control and it’s about brainwashing…. It’s nothing to be proud about.
I Rather have real love than control people. Our siblings may well never see the truth, and if you try to expose the truth… They will hate you.
It’s really quite sad to live your life that way.
Me too.


“Our siblings are enmeshed cause they took to the brainwashing quite well. The parents are quite devious and they expect loyalty and unconditional love but the children know fully they don’t get that in return.
So what you have here isn’t real or deep love. It’s something all together less real, it’s about control and it’s about brainwashing…. It’s nothing to be proud about.”

Agreed. Been saying this for years there is no real love behind these cruelties it is about control and brainwash like you and others have said yet nobody even most MHPs can’t see the forest for the trees. It’s funny they agree the average abuser uses control and brainwashing but when it comes to someone immediately close to us that isn’t control it’s “unconditional tough love” is what they tell victims.

Like I have said many times, those looking on the outside are just as abusive as the abusers yet still can’t see they are also part of the common denominator adding more injury to insult than ever before. The fools expect everything in return yet there is nothing on our end of the bargain something we never had love, caring, understanding of one another, helpfulness, etc so where is the real love from the bottom of your heart is coming from? Funny, I keep posing this question to outsiders yet they don’t have a damn answer never do.


Darlene, I just read this post about Mother’s Day and it made me think of something I did this past Mother’s Day. I am NC with my 85 yr old mother for over 3 years now. She has many children who still cater to her every whim, but anyway on Mother’s Day morning (before spending a great day with my daughter and grandson’s) I wondered how Mother’s Day got started. So I did a little research and this is what I came up with. The info I found below was factual, but if you read between the lines, I believe the person who is most responsible for the Mother’s Day holiday, was more than likely the daughter of a Narcissistic Mother. Here’s the facts, then I’ll tell you why I think that:

Anna Jarvis, the woman who is credited with creating and establishing a national day to honor mother’s never married nor did she have any children.
Anna Jarvis envisioned a Mother’s Day in which Mother’s would be honored with notes and acts of affection.
Anna Jarvis was a wealthy woman who spent most of her fortune to promote the sentiment of Mother’s Day around the world.
The symbolic flower to honor mothers on Mother’s day is a white carnation. Although, over the years that has changed to red carnations to honor living mothers and white carnations to honor mothers who are deceased.
Anna Jarvis described why she selected the carnation to represent Mother’s Day:
“…because The carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mother’s hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never dying.”
Later in life, her remaining wealth was spent fighting the commercialization of Mother’s Day citing it did not honor mother’s in the way she had envisioned, and died penniless.

O.K. this is why I think Anna Jarvis was a DONM: When asked why she was so dedicated to this cause she replied that it was a prayer given by her mother in her Sunday School class when she was a child. Her mother performed an epic prayer dedicated to Mother’s and how much they do, and how honored they should be. That alone, for me, is enough to say she was probably a Narc. I believe a child who was given love and attention, as an adult would say, they honored their mother for all the love and attention that mother had given them. That she selflessly put her own needs aside to meet the needs of the child. Also the fact that Anna Jarvis never married, was never a mother herself, spent her whole life and all her money to get the government to enact this holiday….I’d bet my life her mom was a Narcissist. Probably not a surprise to any of us, but a good thing to remember next mother’s day, for sure.


Very interesting post and I must agree. I’m sure the daughter could not do enough to make dear mom happy. And the same goes for N fathers too!
The last time I told my father I loved him… He said well I hope so. He has never said those words to me, ever.
Yet, I’m having a special dinner in his honor next Sunday… Oh my mom told me… We are only staying 2 hours! It’s so hot! We have ac… But actually… Do go. I’m doing what I feel is right in my heart but I’m no fool either.


Connie, what I’m finding out is that some people will take almost anything and spin it to their own benefit (and others’ detriment). Whether that’s religion, the redefinition of entire concepts (take “respect” for example), or the spontaneous and natural need a child has to love their parent.


I am emotionally broken, adult child of an alcoholic. I can’t handle AA or ACOA to much focus on alcohol and god. I am trying to be a good mum but failing, my daughter is very angry and very unhappy. I am guilty of this blame sometimes.
Is the E book the best place to begin? I want to heal me but more importantly I want to limit the damage to my little girl.


Hi Nat
Welcome to EFB ~ A lot of people use the e-book as a work book and have success. Make sure you print it out and journal as you go through it. Rather than look at where you are struggling ‘as a mother’ look at how you relate to the articles here (and in the ebook) as a daughter. It was when I saw the damage that had been done to me, and how it formed a ‘false belief system in me’ that I was able to see what I was passing on to my own kids. There are also over 450 articles in this website all with discussions and those will also help you to.
I think it is wonderful that you are ready to heal even if it is for the sake of your child. My kids were my motivation at first too. Today I realize that I could have never been different for them until I did this work for me first.
hugs, Darlene


Nat, I know what it feels like to be broken, but I can tell you this….you are very insightful and smart to reach out for help and realize that your broken-ness will be easily handed off to your child if you let yourself continue to be broken. I have to hand it to you….most people (especially us broken ones)….don’t have that kind of self awareness. So in that way, you are not broken….you are very insightful. Wishing you the best. It will get better.


Thank you Darlene and Connie.
I have started reading the ebook
I feel like I have so little time, I want to fix it all now before she gets any worse. She’s nearly 9. I wish I had started sooner. It’s going to take a long time I guess, no quick fix.
Such comfort in finding people who understand. Who don’t tell me to just get over it now. Who know that you cannot grow up whole in that kind of environment. I tell my daughter all the time that it’s not her fault. That mummy needs to heal. This article woke me up to my part in the blame game so thankful for that. I had started to blame her behavior. I see now her behavior is feeding from mine. The clarity was painful but necessary. This is the first big step for me.


Hi Nat,

I saw your post (231) and almost cried. Sometimes I think…man, I wish my mother were going through this process with me. It would be wonderful to grow and heal together. I wish she’d admitted she had emotional issues because of her childhood when I was 9. You may not see any differences yet, but your daughter now has a reference point where she can say…maybe mommy isn’t really upset with me. Maybe she’s just healing. Most of us here didn’t get anything close to that at that age. Looks like you’re already on your way.

You can’t rush it. Trust me, i’ve tried. If there were a short cut to healing, there would be no dysfunction. Many people just give up, because they try to go it alone. That’s why I’m glad of sites like this and the EFB facebook page. It really helps to know you’re not alone and that people are rooting for you.


Hey all,
I have published a new post on the blog ~ this one is called “the first time a boy roughed me up” ~ I wrote about this because I am being interviewed tonight by domestic violence expert Liz Simpson but this isn’t just about physical abuse, it is about how the belief system forms and causes us to become desensitized to what abuse really is. I hope you will read this new one and share your thoughts.
hugs, Darlene


I desperately needed this post today (I know it’s an old one, but this one was just so relevant to my experience from this weekend). I had a text fight with my mum this weekend, and we both overreacted more than we should. I was boasting about my eldest daughter (4 years old) and she was joining in until she just had to say something negative about her, that she gets distracted so easily. It was completely unnecessary, but I didn’t have to react so fiercely, I guess. I’m just fed up with standing by when she says horrible things about everyone, I’ve felt like a coward for so long. I just draw the line at my daughters. She responded with the old ‘you’re not the first person to hate me’, and ‘oh, of course we were the worst parents in the world and we never made you feel loved’ with massive sarcasm and bile. She seems to think that just because there are worse mothers out there that everything she’s ever done is acceptable, and she’s never considered me to be a separate person, with opinions other than hers. She also ended up accusing me of scrounging off her financially because she paid for coffee that day, and of never helping her when she asks for favours because I was once too busy to sort out her computer.

I phoned my little brother the day after, his wedding is coming up and I wanted to apologise for not being able to keep my mouth shut for just one more month, and he was amazing. I’ve always been the golden girl, she’s never got along with him because he’s quite a reticent guy and she always had me to lean on – I was always willing to try to solve her problems and hear her sob stories. Someone else was always the enemy, and recently I’ve become the enemy too. My brother told me he’s not surprised we had this argument, and he said while it was a shame that he was ignored all his life, he thought it was probably better than being under the spotlight all the time (she’s lived in this country with us for 2 years and so far she’s visited him once, and didn’t stay in his house).

I’m now in danger of becoming as bitter as her – I’m desperately trying to move forward being true to myself, but it’s hard to know whether I’m making a decision from a position of what’s right for me and my girls, or whether I’m doing something to punish her. I was meant to see her today, and the girls were meant to stay with her for an hour or two but I can’t cope with seeing her, so I’ve made alternative arrangements. She said she’s ‘deeply saddened but not at all surprised’. I don’t want to keep my girls away from her, I don’t want to use them to punish her, because they do like her (they’re very small, they like everyone!). I’m hoping in the future that I can drop them off for an hour or two every now and again, so that I don’t have to see her, but the girls get to see her a bit. I want to leave it up to them, so that if they want to stop seeing her, it’ll be their decision. I’m not interested in keeping her happy, I’m not going to try to explain myself any more to her, because she is incapable of understanding (a doctor recently suggested she has borderline personality disorder) so all I can do is give her the opportunity to be an acceptable grandmother to my girls, and give my girls the opportunity to know their grandmother. I’m going to set my boundaries every time I need to, but try my hardest not to get hurt when she metaphorically spits in my face about it. I’ve wanted to form an adult relationship with her for so long, and I just can’t go through that pain any more. If she’s capable of having one with my children, that’s fine, but I’m not trying any more. Is anyone else in this flux stage with their mothers? How’s it going for you guys?


Hi Nat
I wanted to stand with you too, it’s so great that you know your limits and are getting help. My girls are 4 and 2 and I’m trying to heal myself ‘in time’ for them to grow up healthy. I’ve decided that there may well come a time when they’re angry with me for my mistakes and I’m making a pact with myself to give them the space to be angry, but always be there for when they want to come back. To me that’s unconditional love-I will make it clear that I know I made mistakes and I’m sorry for hurting them, and I will always love them and be there for them if it takes them a day or 10 years to heal. That’s what I wish for from my mum and I know she hasn’t got that capacity, but hopefully I can do it, and so can you xxx



I’ve recently gone NC with my mother – well it’s over a year now and it’s the second time in my life I’ve had to do it. The first time I did it, I didn’t keep my children from visiting their grandmother because I believed they had their own right to a relationship with her.

I regret that choice now because I am also NC with my oldest daughter and only a few weeks ago resumed very limited contact with my youngest daughter. To the best of my understanding of the situation, my mother (and siblings) have influenced my daughters so that they now treat me the same way that my mother always has.

I made my own mistakes raising my children, mostly I think they were simply the opposite of what my mother did to me, but I also never really stood up for myself until I had taken too much crap. I wasn’t a good example. I’d like to reconcile with my kids at some point, but I’ve given up on my family of origin. I’m willing to own my behavior, but I need my daughters’ cooperation to restore a relationship with them. I haven’t found that yet.

This is my experience. That doesn’t mean that it would also be your experience, but you may want to think about whether or not it could happen.

I think you’re on the right track in your healing. It helps to be patient with yourself.



Thank you Hobie, that’s my worst fear as well :/ but at the same time I feel like if I kept them away from her I’d be showing them I don’t trust them, and I can imagine if they ever found out they’d been kept away from her for my sake they’d be angry with me. I have decided not to encourage them towards her though, and vice versa! If my mum wants to take the initiative to ask to see them then I’ll drop them off for an hour. But I’m not letting it become a weekly thing like before-she’s going to have to ask to see them every time, and it’s a bit manipulative, but I think she’s not going to enjoy the blow to her ego, and she’ll probably not bother. If she does make the effort then she’s worth their time. I’m still shitting myself that she’ll turn them against me as they get older…like she turned me against my grandparents as a teenager. On the plus side I’m now incredibly close to those grandparents!


I have never allowed my child near my parents when I wasn’t there. For very reasons. I can’t trust them not to hurt them the way they hurt me. Sorry but my child’s safety and mental health comes first then their rights second. In fact since they abused me, they lost those rights anyhow. Why would I expose my child to people who will hurt her, manipulate her or turn her aganist me?
I have always however remained open and they knew all they had to do was to act decent and apologize. She has seen them while with me and my husband a few times.
However my daughter knows what they did cause I had to protect her and she wants nothing to do with them. She is however civil.
It was morally correct for me to tell her when she was able to handle what happened to me and what can happen to her as well. I owe it to her to protect her from people who I believe are either mentally Ill and or possibly evil.
Now that she is almost an adult, she has learned how to deal with people who are abusive to put it nicely., and keep herself safe with very little if any interaction.
And this is their fault, it’s on them. It’s not in my head. It’s reaping what you sow, karma. Whatever you call it.
It’s sad it turned out this way. But my child’s health and safety comes beyond all else.


Situations like this makes me glad that I’m not a parent. I’m afraid that my family would treat my child like they treated me or use as a pawn against me. I have memories of being pinched when I was really small (for what I don’t remember), and that method was used on my nephews when they were babies when they would visit. When they were a bit older, when they would call their parents, my mother would tell them to say only good things about each other. I was in my teens then, so I didn’t give much thought to it before, but now that I’m older, I can’t help but wonder if she was trying to protect herself. I find it odd because her son also has a punitive mindset because that’s how she raised him, so why would she worry about him knowing that his sons were hit or treated in other harsh ways if he would have approved of it anyway? Just one of the signs of their hypocrisy.


It’s good you realize that being an parent wasn’t for you, how I wish everyone had that mindset that truly didn’t want them… To think how much better our world would be. However as bad as my home life was., I’m glad I was born. As an adult I can deceide to be an loving responsible adult and be the parent. It’s not hard or difficult to protect your child and I have no regrets in having her. In fact, she is the one thing that I find perfect in my life. Her;) I’m forever grateful and I do it again in a heartbeat.


I don’t think that the majority of people who become parents actually realize that having children isn’t a great fit for them and many parents want children very badly and believe that they will ‘be different’. My mother wanted children SO badly and I believe this is true however she wanted her children to fill a void that was in her and because that is an impossible task for children to fulfill, she created the same void in me that was in her. (the cycle continued)
(and of course there are many people who don’t want kids and have them anyway which is always unfortunate to the child who so often becomes the target of blame for what is STILL the choice of the parent who birthed said child.)
I also admire the adults who KNOW that parenting is not for them and they decline from having children. Bravo on that one!
hugs, Darlene


That is what was happening to me; I suddenly realized that my in-laws and my own family was influencing my kids against me by their treatment of me! And I suspected that the day would come when my mother actively threw me under the bus with my kids, because divide and conquer is her favorite tactic. One day I realized that this wasn’t going anywhere healthy for any of us!
Thanks for sharing. 🙂 hugs, Darlene

Something that I decided in my recovery was that I was no longer going to cover up for the people in my life that treated me like crap. In other words, I stood up to it in front of my kids and I didn’t protect the abusers from my kids. I let them see it for themselves. (and they did)
This is SO complicated and so huge!
hugs, Darlene


Yes, you know the divide and conquer is such an universal tactic that abusers love to use. I see this happening on an larger scale in our country too. It’s such an familiar evil tactic… And I don’t think it’s deliberate on the family level… I think it’s an instinct of sorts. Something learned and passed on.
My mom does things all the time like this. Like I wanted to see the new puppies but was told I couldn’t touch them but yet my sister was allowed too. Or I was never asked to come help them out but my sister is always there. Has no real life of her own and they always depend on her.
And the pics of mostly of her and there are a couple of me.
But if I were to say anything… It would be my fault.
Of course.


Darlene, this quote has been a revelation for me:
“I stood up to it in front of my kids and I didn’t protect the abusers from my kids. I let them see it for themselves. (and they did)”
I have always thought I’d like to keep any arguments away from the kids and sort things out afterwards in private, but now you come to mention it, it’s so important that they see I’m standing up for them! And if my standing up for them makes her kick off they’ll see me standing up to a scary, hurtful person, and know that they can do that – even, no, especially, if it means them standing up TO ME.

I have always wanted children, and always thought I would be completely different, but I sometimes fall into the patterns my mother did, and I’ve caught myself being a complete bitch. I hate myself for it, and am desperate to stop, and I’m hoping that healing myself will help me become a better person. I’m proud of my older daughter that she tells me when I’ve upset her…I just don’t want to upset her. I don’t want them to ever need this site (no offence Darlene!)

But the main thing I wanted to say here today was I got an apology from my mother. I haven’t had one of those in years! She used to apologise all the time when she did something mean (you know ‘I’m sorry I slapped you, but you were behaving so badly’), one of the most hurtful things about recent years is that she stopped apologising to me – it didn’t excuse it, but it sort of made it better, you know? It really took my breath away, she texted this afternoon apologising in a very genuine way, no ‘I’m sorry but you made me do this’. She apologised for being negative about my eldest (the original start of the fight), though not about the cruel things she said to me after that…It’s pulled the rug out from under me…I was secure in what I wanted to do going forward, and now I’m having to re-shuffle my views of the future.

I just don’t know what to think. She’s borderline rather than narcissist, so I do think she means her apology…at this one moment in time. It doesn’t make me trust her, and I don’t think a thing has changed. I know in a few months, or less, she’ll turn round and break my heart again…or maybe she can’t.

The day after my fight I felt like a deep rooted plant had been pulled out of the left side of my chest, leaving a huge bleeding hole, but I was surprised to notice how quickly it filled in as I realised I’m not going to try to change what she thinks about me. I don’t care any more. I feel like I’m not anchored to her any more, and maybe I can keep her at arm’s length psychically instead of physically? I can imagine some of you guys reading this and shouting NOOOO through the screen…I imagine time will tell that you’re right, but it’s almost like we can’t learn from others’ mistakes, and with everything that truly matters in life we have to FEEL the mistakes ourselves, fuck up epically in the same way our friends have, because we always hope it’s going to be different.

I don’t trust her not to hurt me. I don’t trust her not to hurt my children. I don’t trust her not to try and turn them against me one day, and telling them the next that I’m the best thing since sliced bread. That’s what she does, that’s who she is. I do think she does love my girls…but how the hell do I move forward with this level of freaking ambiguity?! I genuinely can’t believe I got an apology…I was so sure it would be one of those flippant fake apologies at the very most…kinda makes me feel guilty for thinking that! WTF?!


I have a question, for whom ever is still posting on this entry:

I came out of my toxic fog/denial from my crazed family about 4 yrs ago and have done some great yet difficult work towards my own recovery.
I am slowly beginning to realize I may have married someone who, because of his own family history, is comfortable with me because of my now-shed scapegoat mantle (apologizing for everything, even if it’s not my fault). The healthier I get the more I am seeing the patterns we are in as a couple and more conflict is arising because I no longer will “play the roll”.
I don’t want a divorce, we have children and an other wise great life together. I just need some advice on how to behave in the home towards someone who needs to relearn who I am today, as opposed to who he married 13 yrs ago.
Loving suggestions??


My input on kids being around any adult who is untrustworthy:
Don’t do it.
If I won’t be around the people I am NC why would I allow my children to be around and emotionally endangered by them? My kids don’t see their on grandma, aunt, uncles & cousins not because of MY behavior, but because if my family of origin’s behavior–insane.
No. Once kids are adults they can make their own choices but until then they are under my parental authority and I won’t send mixed messages, like “I think Grma is nuts but go have a sleepover with her.” How can my kid trust that I will keep her safe? Who will they believe if grandma lies?
My rule is my children won’t be around anyone I don’t deem safe, honorable or trustworthy for their own protection as influencial children. I am their protector from them, something I didn’t have with the family growing up as a child myself.


An apology is nice. A real, authentic apology is the ONLY way to let her back in your life.

A TEXT apology is a non-apology, sorry. If she had real remorse she would have either met with you if possible or called you.

To drop in a text apology is inconsiderate and simply messed with your head. You said it yourself…reshuffling your future.

The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was value myself above my family. I am worth calling if an apology is to be offered. I won’t accept anything less than equal respect today.

If–and it is a big freaking IF–any of my fam wished to extend an apology (which is not forthcoming and I am not holding my breath) I have a strict criteria upon which I would even consider accepting it let alone BELIEVING it to be sincere. I will never reconcile with these people, but I have forgiven them…not FOR them but for me. It’s the up and down grief that I struggle with the most & learning how to connect authentically with people, to create my “new family”.


One more thing. If you are growing stronger and accepting less and less contact with your mom, narcissistics can’t STAND not having you squirm.

Her text is what is called a “hook”. It gets you hooked back into her. You are maybe thinking “this time will be different” because what normal person DOESNT want things to be good with their mom?

There are some moms who need to be set on their way…so they can no longer hurt their kids.

When I broke up with my mom it was a Huge relief, which shocked me!! I expected a wall to fall on me…by it didn’t. I felt free. I asked my friend, “Is it bad that I don’t feel bad?” She said , not at all!!

Trust your gut. Her response to your choice, I wager, will show once again just why you two seperated in the first place.

Best of luck


“And this is their fault, it’s on them. It’s not in my head. It’s reaping what you sow, karma. Whatever you call it.
It’s sad it turned out this way. But my child’s health and safety comes beyond all else. ”



Lyndsey, your mother apologised for saying something mean about/to your daughter, yet ignored how she treated you. Yet another kick in the ass.

It sounds like she is just playing her “chess” game. She makes a move, expecting you to do thus and so.

Beat her at her game. Ignore her lame apology. Don’t give her the opportunity or satisfaction of hurting you or your kids anymore.


“I think Grma is nuts but go have a sleepover with her.”

That made me laugh. Sometimes, one can find humor in some grim situations. But, on a serious note, you pointed out the contradiction very well.

If I were a parent, I don’t think I could forgive myself if I allowed my son/daughter to spend a week at Grandma’s, then come crying to me about how he/she was treated under her care. As I mentioned in an earlier post about how my nephews were treated when they were younger, I wouldn’t want that being done to my hypothetical offspring.


Thank you Mary-Grace!

Yes, I would never leave my daughter alone with them. Children aren’t capable of defending themselves aganist highly skilled manlipultors who have years of exoerience.
I personally don’t believe we should throw them to the wolves to teach them things. It’s an unfair balance of power.
I was thrown into the school who was another breeding ground of abuse. Chikdren and teachers can sense your broken spirt Abd they too are dangerous. I still have scares from that. I wish homeschooling was popular back then. I would of taught myself. I’m shocked I never committed suicide.
I had it really bad at home and at school. And the teachers weren’t any better than the students. The guidance counselor brushed me off. And no one cared.



I wish that I would’ve gone the homeschooling route, too. It so happens that I have a friend who lives in Iowa who was homeschooled along with her six older siblings. I think that’s one reason why she is emotionally healthier than I am. It was impossible for me though because I grew up in a single parent, low-income family. When I mentioned my friend to my mother, she said, “Oh, I homeschooled you, too”, which made me roll my eyes inside. Giving lessons every now and then outside of school isn’t homeschooling. Just a part of her narcissism.

Thanks to the library (and especially the Internet) schooling myself is so much easier and it’s much cheaper than college. Makes me thankful to live in the 21st century.


Me too! And I’m happy we have the choice too! I hope we always will cause as bad as my abuse was at home. It was 1000 times worse at school. I was beat up, molested, and then just alone. I don’t know if the kids or the teachers were worse.
From kindergarten on I would sit alone and wonder why no one would talk to me. I know I had social anxiety disorder too. I was invited to one girls bday party in the 4th grade whose parents invited everyone. I didn’t want to go but was forced too. I had a weird homemade custom and was the laughing stock. I sat by myself and ate my cake alone. It’s been this way all my life…I learned early what people were like. I never said much. I just watched. I learned so much too.i learned the truth very early. When I developed an hair pulling tic and lost all my hair… Things got worse. I was the bald one. The freak. Thankfully it grew up. I still struggle today. I don’t get bald anymore but I get small areas I sometimes must cover up.


It goes so much deeper than schooling options. I tried everything with my kids. We had them in public school, then private school, homeschooled (each one for different amounts of time ~ I did what was best for each child as an individual) and then back to a different public school. Each had equal amounts of difficulty for the kids. Most of the issues that I had was with the adults. Kids are mean but they learn that from somewhere. I had to stand up to teachers and stand up for my kids over and over again no matter what system we were in. My kids (all graduated now) will each tell you that each system had major drawbacks. For me it was the willingness to keep standing up for the truth against bullies and power mongers that was the most difficult and wearing; but it was also the most rewarding and my kids know that standing up for yourself is always better than being compliant which in the end gives permission to the bully (teacher etc) to keep bullying.
hugs, Darlene


and when I say “no matter what system” I am referring to the family system as well as the school systems or any other system. I had to be the example that I wanted my kids to have.


I’m sorry you experienced that too. I have done two options with my daughter, I wish I could afford private school but with my cancer now… Not possible. My daughter uses online and the school were we live has an awful reputation. One of the worst on the country. She has one year left and she’s making the best of it. We have done homeschooling too and the same issues are there too with people. I swear you can’t escape it.
Her teachers years ago were awful. We had a few nice ones and I’m thankful for that!
There was one who used to call me and ask me what was literally wrong with me. She accused me of having my daughter wear clothes that were not adequate. I buy my daughter very nice clothes! I always have. I also made sure she had baths and no one has ever said such terrible untrue things to me as this one did.
My daughter once had a tiny hole at the bottom of her shirt… I didn’t even know it was there. Another day she had a stain on her skirt. Both were very small and it was just these two pcs that got by me.
We just moved into this town and I had pneumonia and was told not to get out if bed. But I refused cause we had no bus in that district, very upper class, and kids were either walking alone or car pooled.
I walked her anyhow cause no one on my street really wanted to help me. I was very over weight at the time and I was the only fat mother at this elementary school.
I almost passed out, it was about 10 degrees out but I got her on time and then I went to walk home.
Mothers on my street would drive right by me. I couldn’t believe it. They knew who I was. We were the new people and at that time we rented.
We were the only renters too I knew of. At first my daughter had lots of new play dates but what I didn’t know was this teacher was bad mouthing me caste I stood up to her.
So my daughter lost every new friend she had made. I had one mom who actually befriends me and she told me this herself.
But she wasn’t really a very safe person. She was an reporter before she became an stay at home mom and she was feeling me out and then going back to the snobs and telling them everything I told her.
The teacher would scream at me and tell me she never knew anyone like me and that I needed help.
The whole atmosphere was very weird, I never had this happen. I been left out before but I actually felt people hate me.
And I have no idea why. My daughter today tells me she cared about that. That she had her mom and dad and made other friends later on when we moved and that the experience taught her a lot about tolerance and people.
I’m so glad she isn’t me inside. I’m glad she had a good sense and wasn’t hurt. It hurt me cause I thought it really hurt it. But she just didn’t care as much as I did… Thank god.
I found out later this teacher was known for being verbally Abusive and other people were her victims too.
Oh she is always… Teacher of the year!



That was awful! I’m sorry you and your daughter endured that in the past, and I’m sorry that she’s going to a terrible school now. Are you sure there’s no way you can pull her out so that she could do self-study at home?

The words “compulsory education” are a misnomer because as far as I know, there are no laws that state that a minor has to be in a SCHOOL. She can do what’s called “unschooling”, which is legal in all 50 states. Perhaps you can consider this option, and talk it out with her. She’s no longer a little kid, and should be free to leave traditional K-12.


She is using an online school but it’s really hard and she’s struggling. She keeps talking about quitting and just going to an community college. It’s so sad cause she is so smart and so very much wanting to learn!
She has taught herself the three alphabets of the Japanese language! She loves to learn about languages, cultures and wants to study in Europe! I don’t want to discourage but I don’t want to set her up to be disappointed either. I don’t know what to do, how to help her. The school where we live now is very dangerous. We went from the best school to the worst. We thought online was going to be ok but she told me last night she is failing algebra and biology and she has no desire to pass it anymore.
It’s just heartbreaking cause she is so gifted in other ways! I don’t know what to do. I keep trying to fix it but I can’t. My husband has tried to tutor. We could try a tutor maybe. May not have a choice. She just wants to be done with school and wants to move on. But if you don’t pass algebra and biology you can’t graduate from HS.
I have two college degrees and I failed algebra in college! It’s the only F ever had! I got an A in psych stastics! Go figure!


Private school was a huge waste of money and may have done the most lasting damage to the kids. 🙁 I wish we had never done it although at the time I was trying so hard to do what was best for the kids. We got fooled into thinking everything would be better at that school. That school used guilt and shame to get kids to comply and of course they taught (groomed) the kids not to tell and they don’t tell… so it was a few years in before I realized what the hell was going on! My kids all have the most energy (resentment and bad memories) of the private school. Nothing about parenting is easy but as long as we are trying kids ‘get that’. It is the willingness that reveals the most to the kids.
Hugs, Darlene


Omg Darlene, I’m so very sorry that happened. Cases are like that almost everywhere around where we reside.
One case the principal, 3 teachers and some at the police station were all involved. It was a high school in my city… And the teacher would tell the students to shut up right in the classroom, saying if pekoe started taking, they would be arrested. It’s all hushed up now but it was all over the news and now you hear nothing at all. It was huge here. People were in shock! But I wasn’t surprised. We had that in our church and the pastor was never arrested. He retired well too.


Oh, I should know about that. Private school isn’t any better. I went to a private Baptist school where paddling and punishing the whole class for the actions of one were discipline methods. In first grade, I was singled out for paddling by a sadistic teacher for unknown reasons. I guess she had issues and wanted a scapegoat to take it out on, and it happened to be me. I told my mother about this years later in an email, and she said that she didn’t know that was going on. I don’t know whether to believe her or not because I have no memories of telling her about it when I was small. Even then, she used this “good” school as an example of what a “great” mother she was. How did she know it was “good”? What’s a “good” school anyway? Did she enroll before coming to such conclusions.


I’m sorry 1988, that must of been horrible. I used a light paddling when my daughter was young for a few years but had to stop. I never left marks on her but it reminded me of having been best with a belt, having to cover my face so I didn’t get welts there.
I used to cry when I did use light punishment and would sob in the bathroom. After awhile, I stopped. I apologized to my daughter and used time outs instead. And her behavior got better.
We ended up having more discussions and I would try to remain her parent but I would also be kind.
I had way too much abuse… That corpal pushisment was abusing us both.


We had our daughters in a very small, private school for the first 5 years of their education and it was great but there was drama everywhere, not abuse, just regular goofy kids stuff.

We are able to homeschool and thank God. My kids have watched me go through the family break up and really have no desire to know my family. They never knew them before so they dont miss the contact. I’m the only one coming out of grief. My husband has HUGE family so that is our family now.

I’ve asked my girls if they want to go back to the private school and they say “no way”. Too much drama. It’s peaceful, happy and fun in our house now. Lots of sun and healthy stuff. 🙂


I’m so happy for you! I did home schooling for 1-3 and my daughter thrived! She tested out of the 4 th grade when we put her back into the public school. She was a year ahead.
Then a few years later, she started struggling. She had developed asthma and was sick a lot. She was an on breathing machine a lot. Then she got an concussion and started having bad headaches. Our top drs here which are some of the best in our country couldn’t help her.
So we put her online and her health improved greatly! But she is struggling online!



How did she get a concussion?
Asthma is a tough one. My oldest has it too. I hope they both can grow out of it.
Every child is so different and deserving of individualized attention, and that is the whole point for us all.
I wasnt taken care of as a person growing up. My goal today as a mom, and I think I can safely assume it is for you and many on this post, too, is to help my kids find out who they are and support them in fulfilling their potential. My whole upbringing is just one cautionary tale among millions it seems on how NOT to raise a child. I made it into adulthood to become a successful person only because of my survival skills and common sense…like many of us, I really am lucky to be alive.
I would never, in a million years, raise my kids the way my parents attempted to raise me and my sibs.


Like your name btw;) my daughter went on a sleepover and the girl she was friends with wasn’t on her Meds… Don’t know she was on them, was told it was Add… Anyhow they were hosting around and this girl punched my daughter in the ear. My daughter called me and we picked her up never to speak to these people again. I don’t know if it was accident or not. The details weren’t good and my daughter insisted that we drop it cause she didn’t want more trouble. We ended up moving. We focused on her recovery and healing cause we didn’t want to make things worse since she had to finish out the year. My daughter said it was a accident. Apparently the mother wasn’t there and there were no witnesses here. My daughter told me that her ex friend had porn on her television and that the parents were somewhere else.
It was several years ago and she still gets headaches. We took her to physical theraphy and specialists and there is nothing more we know of.
Just another sad thing to happen here. I’m an magnet for tragic life events sometimes i think.



That’s awful that your daughter still gets headaches from an injury that happened years ago. Hopefully she can get some treatment for that.

We all had bad things happen to us. I don’t think that a problem-free person exists. We just have to handle our lives the best we can.


Yes, as bad as things are, they can always be worse.



MG (parents were Catholic at the;-})

Wow!!! What an horrible experience for your daughter!

Kids can be so weird! (Products of their parents?) Porn?? What?
I am soo sorry, and NO you aren’t a magnet. People are good at hiding their real selves…I think most of us here are/were trusting and naive, that is what made us such perfect targets for those who would exploit that positive trait.
I’ve learned to trust my first gut instinct nowadays and ACT on it, no matter what others say…and I’m usually right. It saves a lot of heart ache. AND, the best part of trusting myself now is I also have SOOO many, kind, honest & trustworthy people in my life today!! These are the only types of people (my people!) whom I will allow myself to be around any more. Id rathe my kids and myself were alone than with people who hurt…or are just plain whacked.
The spaces in my life created by the loss of family have slowly been filled with better, healthier, like minded people who truly love me and only want the best for me.

The same is and will be true for you and all who move, with determination, in that direction.


Thank you d ch and Mary Grace, you’ve reminded me to have resolve and to be stronger. I’m not fooling myself that she cares for me any more – I do still hope that she’ll be capable of loving my children for one or two more years the way she loved me when I was very small. I can remember being very happy until I was about 5 or 6, and actually think all the problems started after that. Once she became capable of expressing her own opinions my mum stopped being so kind to my eldest daughter, for example; I was always so suprised when I first had my eldest (now 4) at how gentle and SOFT she my mother with my baby – she was more patient with her, and she’s more patient now with my toddler, than I ever remember her being with me. I genuinely think it’s because she can pretend that she’s perfect in the eyes of one person (she has horrifically low self esteem). But now the first born is that little bit older my mum isn’t NEARLY so kind to her. She’ll be indulgent with the toddler’s epic temper tantrums, but she’ll be recognisably passive agressive with the four year old…

I’ve decided to allow my mother to see my children for hour-long slots when I’m there (you know, until the next time she goes bitch). This is basically her last chance, and I’m giving her all the leeway I can to impress me, by giving her only short sessions, and not talking to her on text very much. I was going to let her take my youngest to tap while I take the eldest to Karate, but that’s not going to happen any more now. I can JUST manage the logistics to take both girls to both activities one after the other, I think – if it doesn’t work then never mind, we’ll try something else.

To be honest, this is still because I feel like if I don’t give her this one last chance, I really am being the bad guy. My kids really like her right now, and that may change in the near future. We may also have more potential for arguments because of how her attitude changes towards them as they get older. However I may also be wrong about her. I don’t think I am, and I’m trying to be objective through the haze of brainwashing but I have to try. I won’t be putting my children in danger because I won’t be leaving them alone with her, but I guess I feel sorry for her, and this may be her last chance not to be an unhappy, bitter woman, all alone.


From my exoerience. If you do not run to their beck and call so to speak… If they sense they can’t control you or just expect you invite them over at the last minute etc… They will become very bitter and get passive aggressive with you.
Since I haven’t invited my mother up since Father’s Day… Which is only a month… And since I wanted to meet at a restaurant to have lunch instead…
I been called abnormal, something is wrong with me she said… And now when we try to get together for my dad’s 80th bday party this weekend..
I’m told they aren’t interested.
That my mom may take him out to eat and that he wants to spend his bday alone at the flea market.
Maybe it’s dementia going on or just bitterness or both tired of trying to figur it out.


I’ve been struggling with guilt and shame this week, and I’ve come to the conclusion that using guilt and shame to get your kids to do anything is lazy parenting. I was brainwashed, taught, forced…however you refer to it into believing that these two were good motivators. That it took this to get me to do what really came naturally for a child to do.

I piled on the guilt and shame as I moved through life. I SEARCHED for things to worry about, and the most painful part is that I feel like I’ve done myself the most harm. It seems that new scenarios pop up with my mother from my childhood that show me more and more how she shamed and guilted me over and over again.

I didn’t show appreciation. I didn’t love her enough. I didn’t do enough. I didn’t do it well. Oh..and I can’t forget the fear as well. Veiled and Overt threats that just kept me on high alert.

Sigh..sorry…today was a rough day 🙁


I go up and down all the time. Some says great other days I can barely think of anything else. But reading
through the archive posts from Darlene has really helped sort through my thoughts and experiences.
I am so grateful to have a place to open up and heal with others like you who understand what we were all put through as kids AND adults. It’s so hard to break away and do what is healthy because it is 180′ from what we were programmed to believe. We count. We are valuable and lovable just because of who we are not because of how we behave or comply.
Go easy on yourself today. Breath, pray, go for a walk outside. Life is bigger than our past.
Blessings and hugs to you.


****not that our pasts didn’t totally stink!!!***
For me Looking forward can be an actual effort sometimes. I just need to remember where I am TODAY and try not to relive traumatic events (too often), triggering my ptsd.


Hi Mary-Grace #270,

I feel the same way as you do when it comes down to who I am willing to surround my self with anymore. If I feel like I have to have a witness to prove what was said between the two of us I no longer have that person in my life. If they don’t bring me peace they are gone because now I know that I can’t help them, they have to help themselves. I recently have been working on this aspect in my recovery and I asked my self am I being to harsh? Am I being too judgmental and then it hit me that I am detoxifying my self from all the users and abusers in my life just like I did when I became clean and sober 10 years ago by no longer being able to hang around all the drug addicts and alcoholics anymore if I wanted to stay clean and sober. Finally after 2 ½ years in recovery I am no longer “attracted” to all the users and abusers anymore. My life is so much more peaceful now because of it. I never knew this kind of life was possible before entering into therapy. Once you break free from all the sick mind sets that being abused caused you you will never allow your self to be subjected to their chaos again. It’s just not worth losing a piece of your self anymore to do it.




You’re right; you’re not being harsh at all. Besides, why worry about hurting an abuser’s feelings by leaving them when they weren’t considerate of yours? Life’s too short to pander to the unrepentant.


Hi Callynt 273,

I have days like that too. Don’t give up. Keep working on yourself. Keep reading everything that you can get your hands on. This is how I was able to break through all of these sick mind sets that our parents abuse taught us. Everything that Mary-Grace wrote is spot on. I journal a lot. This is how I figure things out and I discover the real truth about what happened to me instead of the sick warped belief systems that my mother and father brainwashed me into believing about my self that never were the truth that contain umpteen garbage bags full of guilt and shame that should have been theirs to bear instead of mine.

I have PTSD and DID. I know what you mean about the fear. It is all consuming but what I have found is a lot of that fear stems from me never being taught how to stand up on my own two feet and looking through the lens of a five year olds mentality that is terrifying to death when the truth is I am a grown adult now who has choices now and I am no longer trapped like a rat and helpless like I was when I was a child. When I came to that realization some of that fear subsided and when I learned how to stand up on my own two feet by my self then more of that fear subsided and when I finally saw that I was no longer a child and I was an adult and I had choices even more of that fear subsided. It is a process. It takes time to nurture and grow your self up. I always thought the fear just stemmed from flashbacks of my father abusing me. It isn’t. It is fear due to our parents making us totally dependent on them. From them never allowing us to make our own decisions and never allowing us to express our own feelings. Everything was all about them and what they thought and how they felt and we never even entered into the picture at the time and it crippled us.

We have to learn everything that our parents neglected to teach us plus we have to overcome all the lies that they taught us to boot. Daunting task to say the least but it can be done and it is well worth it in the end. I have good days and bad days all the time. Sometimes I feel like I am all over the place but I know eventually it will all pan out in the end. You just have to believe it your self.



Hi S1988,

Being abused taught me that my needs didn’t count. I was taught to consider everyone else’s feelings but they didn’t have to consider mine and I was brainwashed into believing that that was how it was supposed to be so I never would accuse any of my abusers of doing anything wrong which made life real easy for them and mine miserable.

My nature is to be kind despite being abused but there comes a time where you need to stand up for your self and be counted and if that means kissing your abusers good bye so be it. If someone doesn’t bring me peace they are gone. Like you said I have wasted too much time worrying about people‘s feelings that didn’t give a rats behind about mine!!

Life IS too short and I already lost 49 years to their abuse. I am not willing to lose anymore.


@ Kris

Congrats on you getting clean & sober. My sobriety date is next month and I’m in a great place in my life.
I liked all you had to say. I realized that the only people I HAD to stand up to were my family. Once the decision was made, and action taken around that decision to go no contact with my family my need to be always on the defensive vanished. The mental chess game of who said what, and if I say this they’ll say that…it just stopped. It was only then I realized how truly enmeshed I was and how grateful for the amazing, authentic support I have in my life–I have real friends, and extended family members who REALLY care about my well being; I just never noticed how truly awesome they are til I made room for those relationships to flourish without the toxicity of my fam.


@ Mary-Grace,

Congrats on your sobriety too!! July 31st is my anniversary date.

Everything you wrote is so true. I am experiencing that defensiveness dissipating as well. There is no longer a need to feel that way anymore. It took me getting away from my toxic family to see that not everyone out there is trying to hurt me. It was only them.

I feel a need to say this. Any one out there. Please never give up. One day it will all just start to click. It just takes time and your willingness to take some risks. I know how hard that is to do but it is worth it. Just take baby steps. They all add up. I am 2 ½ years into my recovery and I cannot tell you how much my life has changed. It is day and night. From believing that I was a worthless piece of garbage that didn’t deserve the air that she breathed to genuinely loving and caring about my self. I still have a long way to go due to having Dissociative Identity Disorder but even with that my life is still so much better then it was before.

I pray for happiness and healing for all because we all deserve to experience true freedom in our lives.



Once again, I “proved” that I’m a failure as a mother. Or at least that’s what I was told yesterday, for like the millionth time. Why is it that if I don’t do things her way I am “wrong”? I’m working on getting my 18-year old registered for college. Over the weekend, we were supposed to go on Saturday, but an 18-year old being an 18-year old, she decided that she’d rather go canoeing with her friends. There is more than adequate time to get her registered, so I let her go. In the meantime, I had dropped my truck off for some much needed repairs, and there was a delay in getting it back due to the shop owner’s family emergency. Fast forward to Monday (yesterday). My mom emailed me to find out if I registered her.

I took the fall, saying that I didn’t get the truck back in time to take her but that I was taking her next week to register. (Why I feel it necessary to justify myself, I still don’t know) To me, this was an innocent response to her question. She went off, saying that my daughter has experienced so many disappointments in her life, here is one more, and why am I failing her like this? #1 – these are emails to work. #2 – I am the parent of my kid, and always have been there for her. #3 – I am a single parent and my mother has no clue of what’s that is like. Actually, according to her, I was never a single parent as they were there to help out.

Anyway, the emails escalated to the point of ridiculousness. I stopped responding and walked away from my desk. By the time I had gone to our breakroom and back, my dad had left 2 voicemails – one on my work phone and one on my cell. So not only did I have to read what a screwup I am, I had to hear it too. I didn’t respond to the calls nor did I answer any further emails other than to say I got the voicemails but I was at work and couldn’t respond.

It’s exhausting, walking on eggshells, never knowing what will set her off. And now she’s whipped my dad into a frenzy. I know I need to just rise above, but it gets harder every single time I learn how horrible of a mother I am. This is the same woman who I didn’t talk to for 2 months last summer because she told me I was “not a good mother”. Notice the phrasing. She didn’t specifically call me a “bad mother” and she could rest at night in her smugness. The same woman who was angry at me because I had the balls to tell her she hurt my feelings after she made that comment.

My cousin, her nephew, passed away unexpectedly last month, so I’m trying to tread lightly, but I’ve seriously had enough. I’ve had a craptastic year myself, some of which my parents are completely unaware and that is purposefully done. I lost not one, but 2 beloved pets in the span of 2 months.

Anyway, how do you cut the cord? I am at that point. I just can’t do this anymore. Why do I have to feel like shit where she gets to feel righteous?


Hi Ally
Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~ sounds like you have found the right blog! These is a ton of info about how I got through this, how I sorted out the truth from the false truth I had been brainwashed about regarding ‘parental entitlement’ and how I finally got my life, my choices and my self-esteem back. And there are thousands of comments from others who are doing the same. Glad you are here and thanks for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


Abusive parents like to throw their faults onto you. Remember this, this is HUGE. I never tell my parents anything they coukd use aganist me.
When we do talk, it’s about the weather, or trival things, even still my mom will still manage to throw a dart in… Too tempting to not!
She mentioned a woman on our street who never liked her, because she turned her in when she was a young girl for smoking pot near her house back in the 70s.
Not sure I would want drug people around my home either, doing drugs. But it was common in that day and it was obvious who did that, then she wonders why?
Then I bring up a snotty girl who lived next to us who would never speak to me, went to a top private school and she had everything I never had. She would turn her nose up at me if I said hello. In this case, I never done anything but say hello to this person.
My mom got so offended! Well! She talks nice to me! And she brushes it off as if I have no right to even bring it up! She has communicated to me that I’m silly.
Even while I have stage 4 cancer and almost died… This is how she treats me. My dad sits there and won’t say a word too. He acts like he can’t hear her. Then again he didn’t care when she had a gun in us to shoot us too.
This is the craziness I deal with!


Ally, you are treading lightly because her nephew died. (Is his death one more attention seeking drama for her to use?)

Go low or no contact. When asked why, just say you have had enough negativity and verbal abuse. Be honest. If mom and dad can’t handle the truth, too bad. They will try to blame you no matter what. You know the truth.

**And them calling or emailing you at work? No respect for boundries, your workplace… A big no no.


d ch – that’s what I thought. They crossed a line. I am the sole breadwinner, and to put my job in jeopardy – that not only crosses, but stomps on. Usually, my dad doesn’t chime in, but she must have gone off on him for not doing more. He is typically the opposite – defends me. Guess he got tired of listening to her. I’m exhausted today from it all. I drafted an email back to them, but have not sent it yet because I want to make sure I capture everything I want to say.


And thanks, Darlene, not only for your kind, wise words, but creating this site as a safe haven.


d ch
We grew up never being empowered to have a choice of our own. Many of us were never empowered to even have a thought of our own and for this reason I ask in the site that we don’t ‘advise’ each other things like “go low or no contact”. We all need to be able to go at our own pace in our healing and draw our boundaries when WE are ready.
Hugs, Darlene


Yes Darlene, I understand. Ally’s post struck a nerve and I was inwardly seething reading about these abusive parents.

I should have said that I went low, then no contact because my feelings wishes and boundries were not honored or respected.

I know I should not be advising on what to do. Very sorry.


d ch
I totally understand! It does strike nerves. And I also know that most of the time our motives are good ~ we want others to come out of the fog ‘faster’ but it doesn’t really work that way. Thanks for understanding.
hugs, Darlene


I agree… The last we need is to be shamed. I felt attacked when I first came here cause I had contact with my parents too. I think most people’s intentions are good however… That people just know that the outcome isn’t likely to ever change and they want to spare people pain. But we all have to learn or not on our own and in our own time;)


She even has me questioning my own judgment. There are days when I think there’s no way what she says or does is abuse, then I talk about it to someone or on here, and it’s blatantly obvious. It’s like a continuous “Aha” moment in repeat.


Do we feel attacked because that’s what’s happening, or because we’re conditioned to view it as such? I know everyone on here understands what we go through and I know that no one on here wants us to be hurt any further than we already have been. I think it’s conditioning more than anything.


Hi Ally,

You said “She even has me questioning my own judgment.”

That’s where I realized I HAD TO draw the line. I was told that I “took everything the wrong way” so many times and I tried so hard to figure out how & why I didn’t understand them, that when the family came down on me in unison about 2 years ago, I found myself curled up in fetal position wanting to die. I didn’t know how to continue to live if my reality wasn’t real and I was the most terrified that I had ever been.

It wasn’t easy to break contact and there is grief to process when family relationships have to end, but I don’t want to die anymore. I’ve learned a lot about gaslighting and see that it was a part of my life from the time I was very young. I trust myself now and I can see that way that they tried to convince me I misinterpreted them was just a cover for their lies.

It is still hard to acknowledge in my own heart that my mother would be so cruel, really hard on some days. But every time I think about mending the relationship, I remember that I wanted to die. I don’t want to think about dying again.



The opposite is also true. I have felt people come onto this site speaking as if maintaining a relationship, holding themselves at an emotional distance, was somehow the spiritually superior stance to take—to be able to laugh off parental abuse in some respects. I have found such a stance offensive at times, as though implying that I’m lesser because of my inability to do this, and because much of society believes that holding oneself aside and “knowing better” is somehow the more mature way to deal with problem people, I want to suggest that they might be wrong about that. In turn I can imagine that might feel like being attacked for not cutting off but the truth is every situation is different and the point is not really about cutting off or not. The process is more about speaking the truth, standing up for it, and finding out if they are willing to listen or not and making a decision about what you want to do if they aren’t willing to listen (change, validate, etc.). I can imagine certain scenarios when even if they couldn’t hear me, I might still choose to maintain a relationship of some sort, making certain boundaries. Times when it might be possible to simply agree to disagree. I think it depends on many factors—the degree of dysfunction/abuse, the degree of damage, the degree of power and sway within the larger family system that your abusers still hold and the degree to which all of this continues to affect you. Also perhaps simply your ability to be honest with yourself and the world around you. If you feel yourself having to take up a lie as your own just because they are liars, then I think there is a problem. Basically everything that falls back to power dynamics. If you’re able to be yourself, feel like you’re an equal person, blahblahblah, despite whatever the other people have done or are doing because of some way that you’ve managed to manage that, then there’s really no problem…. that’s great… I think because of our background, and the tendency for dysfunctional systems to be competitive systems, and controlling, homogenous systems, where either you fit or you don’t, sometimes whichever side you’re on, contact or no contact, it can feel like the other side is saying we’re better than you and you should be like us. It puts our guards. The point is what works and what’s best in any given scenario and no one knows what works and what’s best for someone else. Of course there are likelihoods and best bets. There are patterns and commonalities between all our experiences but they’re not the same. And though I’m cut off, as I move forward, I still have times where I’ll test out different possibilities. I end up coming to the same conclusions because I know I can’t change other people and that will always become a problem; the dynamics on the other side have to change to some degree, if not completely. NC isn’t some absolute decision that is and will forever be “right”; it’s that given factors A, B & C, it’s the best decision I have available to me. It’s not like climbing a mountain where you have to take all these steps to reach NC and it’s “okay” if you haven’t made it yet, if you’re on your way there. If there is a top of the mountain, and I’d argue there isn’t, whether or not you are NC is not really what it’s about. It might have been necessary in your life but it’s not a destination point. It’s just something you realized you might realize you have to do because you can’t come up with a better answer. It’s a radical decision that you never feel at ease with unless you understand that it has become for you the most conservative step you could take given your circumstance in contrast with your desire to stop suffering, to validate and care for yourself. You choose it when you realize there’s no choice at all. You’re not going to come to that decision when you don’t know it’s true. A couple years ago, I had an argument with someone on here who didn’t want me to reconnect with my family, didn’t want me to confront (because I had been NC previously and I could have remained that way but I chose to go back to see if I could work things out). I needed to try because it might have worked and it was important to me to try. I had to—to be true to myself, my beliefs, feelings, etc. It didn’t work out and it also added a whole bunch more trauma to my life. It was brutal and the after effects made me realize it was even worse than what I felt/understood at the time. If I could go back in time and inject the knowledge gained from the experience back into my previous self to spare me the trauma and pain of it all, I would, but you can’t actually do that. Not just you can’t go back in time but you can’t instil experiential knowledge into another person, or past self. You also can’t undo what you learn. Denial is a powerful mechanism but not so much once you’ve started uprooting things and talking, taking a stand, etc. Sometimes I wish I was a person who could just make due, find a way to find peace within the insanity, and in certain areas of life where I have yet to find a better course of action, that is what I try to do (though I’m not sure how successfully). I guess what I’m trying to say is that none of this is really about getting somewhere exactly, so much as finding a way to live easier and freer, more honestly yourself, whoever you are (which I don’t believe is some kind of fixed, absolute thing either), even if you might find that the only choice that can help you with that is NC and that might bring with it even more difficulties that might impede your ability to feel freer, etc. You just keep trying. You can change your mind and go back but like I said you can’t undo what you learn. You test things out, see what works for you, learn, become more skilled in understanding yourself and your relation to yourself, others, the world. Try to make friends with your heart and your mind. Try to listen and figure out what you need and what’s the best course of action and then try to do those things with as much time and care as you need. I and I imagine many people here hurt ourselves a lot with ideas about what we need to do, what we should feel, think, believe, achieve, etc. I can put a lot of pressure on myself sometimes, or often times. It’s exhausting and self-defeating. Makes me wonder what’s life for.


You asked how to cut the cord…

You just do it.

With my mom, I had the last straw, so I said, “Mom I need to say goodbye for now.”
It was cordial and calm. But after I hung up I blocked her (and all others involved in this dysfunction,
and all those who just wanted to “stay neutral”) in every way: FB, cel and home phones, & all emails.

And that was that.

(No one, not even my mom, has tried to reach me through other means, letters, friends… Not teven to
see if we are ok, or if there was anything THEY could do).

So guess what, the chaos stopped.

It stopped because I stopped it. I no longer give anyone who means me ill or causes me to feel bad about myself permission to contact me in any way.


That WAS the hardest part for me at first because I like sending cards and being kind
to those I love, but that passed pretty quickly, a few months.

The decision to cut all ties meant I accepted that they, my whole family, eight or so in all, were
in deed and fact dead to me.
So…the grief began. I grieved them all…including my mom.

THAT was the toughest, it’s been almost a year…but it’s lifting, one day at a time.

I’ve also chosen to not go to my moms funeral (when it’s time) because funerals are only for the living,
and there will be no one there whom I will want to see or even be comforted by on that day or during
that time.

I have a great support around me, real people; real, normal kind friends.

This blog–Darlene–has been a God-send.
Is huge.
It’s all any of us ever want.

You are doing ok.


Hi Ally #296,

Things really do get confusing don’t they!! For me what I am finding out is it is more about me attacking me then anyone else doing the attacking. It is me who is allowing other people to still dictate how I should feel and what I should think. It is a plethora of sick warped belief systems coming into play as to why I felt so attacked. Ultimately when I figured out where all of these sick mind sets stemmed from and was able to break through and see the truth that is when I no longer felt attacked because in that moment I just took back my own power instead of handing it over to people who were disrespectful towards me.

I found the answer lies with inside of my own self more then having to do with anyone else anymore. If you trust yourself and your ability to discern who is safe and who isn’t and if you are able to stand up on your own two feet and know your own worth then things don’t feel so scary anymore. There is no longer a reason to feel attacked because now you see that THEY are the one’s who have issues that they didn’t deal with that don’t have anything to do with you so for me there is no longer any reason to want to attack them back because at this point I know it is futile for me to do so.

Like Darlene said it is a process and I think we all are just trying to save each other more pain but it just doesn’t work that way. We all just have to go through this bullcrap ourselves in order to get to that freedom that lies on the other side of broken. It’s there. It just takes time to find it.



I believe going no contact or not is a process. It doesn’t happen over night and not everyone’s situation is the same. There is no way of knowing how you will feel in the future. I take one day at a time and see how I feel. Ultimately if it doesn’t bring me peace I am not involved with it anymore and if that means not seeing my FOO that’s what I do which is right where I am at now but I don’t know where this journey is going to take me in the next year or too. I am still discovering what all they did to me due to having Dissociative Identity Disorder. I am protecting my self. What I do know is now it is up to me. My FOO doesn’t get to dictate to me how I should feel or what I should think anymore. That is freedom in itself.



Going No Contact, for me, was my very last resort.
I was the target of sibling bullying, for years. I bent over
backwards to try & make it right. It never occurred to me that
my family had no intentions of trying to make it right from their side.
I was the family scapegoat.

The last straw was when my mom said to me, a 48 year old woman,
that I just wasn’t trying hard enough.

That was my red flag. I had at that point read enough
and learned that that was a classic abusive ploy for the target
to stay “hooked in” to the dysfunctional family system.

In that split second I had my moment of clarity. And I was done.

I cut all ties and have no intention of looking back.
ONLY if my family apologizes PUBLICALLY for all
they did to me and my family publically will I even
consider speaking to any of them, and never without a witness.

Forgiveness is taking place in my heart as I am grieving. I am moving forward, accepting
the “unbelievable” truth of my family.

Reconciliation is out of the question.


I had went no contact twice, and hopefully the second round is the final round.

When I left again five months ago, I was accused by my mother of being “hateful”. Well, she and my siblings can think what they wish. I’m not going to waste my time explaining myself to abusers.

Ironically, last month, I received a card from my mother in my P.O. box that said how I would be missed and that I was warm and to never forget my family. It kind of elicited a bitter laugh from me. How can I be “hateful” and warm? What do they miss about me since I’m a whiny ingrate and not as good as my older siblings? Why would they think that I would forget them? Of course I won’t, but not in the way they think. I won’t forget how they treated (and still treat) me. Just another example of their phoniness.


Hey Everyone-

Such wonderful and powerful posts from all of you! It is so helpful and validating to read everyone’s writing and agree and nod one’s head: yes, Yes, YES! Thank you again Darlene for bringing us EFB!


S1988, my mother tells me our family is “broken” and tears up when she says it. Not once has she claimed her role in that and insinuates that I am the root cause. I have tried every tactic I can to get across to her what she is doing to me: mean, super-sweet, blunt, radio silent. My older brother handles her his way, and it works, mainly because he is a guy and the “golden child”. I don’t hold this label against him – this comes from her. I’m exhausted this week, all from one confrontation that lasted 30 minutes. Why does it have to be this way? I am resigned to her not changing, but it hurts. Like someone said earlier, it is grief.


I thought about my situation with my FOO and I have concluded that expecting something that someone can’t or isn’t willing to give you, only ends up hurting me in the end. I no longer think the way they do anymore and we are never going to see eye to eye unless they seek help just like I did which my mother made very clear to me that she has no intentions of doing. Giving up that dream of reconciliation is hard because in the end all I ever wanted was her love. I am moving on building new relationships with people who genuinely care about me and now I can see the difference between what I had with my FOO and what I have now so now I don’t miss my FOO so much anymore. I still haven’t cut things totally off and I don’t intend to at this point but what’s nice is I am the one in control now. I get to choose what is best for me. I am no longer at my FOO’s mercy and in time who knows what will happen but for right now I am satisfied with MY decision on keeping distance between the two of us because now I am thinking about what is best for me instead of her.


@ Mary– May 30th post
Re: filling the void of having no extended family after going NC.

That is a very good question. I’m so sorry to hear of your sons’ loss of his father.
You have my condolences, truly.
I have two daughters who won’t know their Aunts & Uncle, Grandma or cousins from my side but,
as Datlene said so well, not because of my behavior but because of theirs.
My husband has a big, NY- Irish/Italian family but they are on the East Coast and we are in CA.

We are church goers, and I know not everyone is, but that is where we found
and meet regularly with people who have grown from being good friends into a real family.

Through the hard times your real family will reveal itself; people who really–sincerely–
care for you and your well being.

My fam was never physically present in my life. We stayed in contact through texts
or emails, so my kids don’t even miss seeing them. They never ask about them. It’s more
me, missing the family I thought I had and grieving their loss.

Do I miss my family that really exists? The bullies, b*^%#es, thieves and liars?
No, not so much. Lol


One more post: I actually started writing in January in this year for 2 websites and now write for a 3rd (all owned by the same company). When some of my articles became a “little too personal” (i.e. my over-sharing/purging of past hurts by my ex-husband), I was told that I shouldn’t have put that out there. Not sure whether that was meant to say “bury it under the rug” or she was embarrassed by what I had written. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I write, I often don’t know what I’ve written until it’s over. It’s a means of getting my emotional baggage out. If no one reads it, I’m okay with that. It made me feel fantastic to get some of that off my chest, and then to be told it was inappropriate – that threw me for a loop. I ignored any and all attempts to get me to take the articles down (actually I couldn’t have, even if I’d wanted to). I didn’t want to. They are little pieces of me – why not just ask me to cut off my right hand? SMH………


I am very low/no contact as well with most (but not all) family members. Sometimes I miss the good times, but it meant that I had to accept invalidation about the sexual abuse. My brother says that my feelings about my mother not validating my experience “aren’t justified”…it hurts so much…I loved him. We don’t have any more conversation about this because he “doesn’t want to engage with me in that way”. He will interact with me as long as I don’t bring up the conflict i.e. accept the invalidation.

My other sibling also invalidated me and said I was “on my own”. When I think about this, as well as my mother not fully and unequivocally supporting me, and an important extended family member also leaving me, it’s pretty devastating.

I have issues with abandonment and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to form an intimate adult partnership which is enduring. I feel damaged, though it is inspiring to read about the happy marriages here.

My family relationships feel so extreme, I guess dysfunction IS extreme. I want a peaceful life with a companion and friends, and shared love and commitment.

While I seem to be doing better with NC, I don’t know if I’ve walled off my heart to everyone and don’t get too close, because to feel is painful.


Mmm. Siblings who throw you under the bus and kick you when your down. Yup, I can fully relate. I was better off before when I was nc. My mom even went as far to make fun of me saying… Oh you do this all the time Kimberly, you hate us for god knows what… Oh she knows! Then you come back. Making me sound flaky.
Even after I almost died from cancer… She’s still mean and always will be.


I think my brother and I live on two entirely different planets. I feel like there’s more possibility that my mom and I could reconcile than my brother and I simply because my understanding of the family dynamic seems to be unfathomable to him. Certainly an element of denial but also he just didn’t experience what I experienced. And he doesn’t want to entertain the notion that I might be right about what happened between my mom and I and my place in the family. It’s “interesting” that he’s so sure that he knows what’s what about what was going on even though he was the one with his own life outside of the home—friends, girlfriends, travelling. He just wasn’t there and it’s easier for him to think that it was sensitivity and misperceptions on my part, etc.

Light, I understand what you mean about walling off. It’s difficult. There are so many elements to that. One is like you said about feeling being painful and sometimes I think I use other reasons for walling off (like practical, self-caring reasons) to mask just the fact that feeling stuff is painful and when you let people in it makes you feel that pain you carry around and also face fears that are also real and justified. Also the idea of being damaged—I’m not sure if it’s the truth of being damaged or the thinking that I am that causes more problems. Or maybe the combination. I do know that it’s also a way to justify giving into fears—by thinking that I have too much damage to even try. The closer the relationship the scarier it is. We’ve experienced so much pain and feel so wounded; there’s real reason to fear. I want to accept my life as it is, however it will be; it’s just discouraging to think maybe I’m causing my own problems, limiting myself for fears that have reason to exist but maybe shouldn’t dictate my life… and not knowing exactly. I mean if I knew I was completely wrong, I’d be glad to know that and shift gears, but I don’t know that. So much pain makes you tentative about life… I feel you, for sure.


I was called a liar when I called sexual abuse by a uncle. My dad told me that I was never
Abused and that he would know cause it happened to him.
How in the world could he possibly know that?
And the invalidation was insulting. My parents hate to have feelings,
Bring up any matter and they quickly sued with each other.
I’m suppose to tolerate so much.. That now keep myself pretty much removed
Most of the time.


While reading here, I am noticing a frequent tone of disrespect in how our families treat us. Our experiences and feelings are typically not believed and respected. Our feelings are not honored or treated with care. LOVE is diminished or absent.


Alaina, thank you for responding. Yes, this year has been about facing my fears and becoming stronger. Here’s a comment I found on the internet from a male who had been sexually abused. I love the way he put it – especially the first sentence:

“I had all the counselling I could stand at 50 and I decided I could let this BS rule me or I could rule it and let it go. I may have been a different person had it not happened, but I am happy with who I am and that means I won!

To those of you that have been through this I hope you have found some peace or will find it! It never goes away but life can be better for you. You are not a victim you are a survivor! We are a strong group of people!”


I have really enjoyed and found validation in the comments this week. Yes, Light there is the tone of disrespect in how our families treat us. Our feelings did not matter. They use the word LOVE. They don’t know what love means. I like what Darlene said, “love is an action word.” I hardly ever saw that action word in “action”. It hurts but like the quote Light shared: “I am happy with who I am and that means I won!”


Andria & Light, et al,

I agree with the lack of respect from family. It’s quite insulting how family spoke to me,but I always gave them the benifit of the doubt, and accepted it. When I chose to no longer accept it is when dynamics started to change.

Light, at first when I realized how “duped”, or brainwashed, groomed, I’d been to accept abuse by my abusers, I was devistated. I had been lied to, betrayed and made fun of by people who said they “loved me”.
I didn’t think I could ever trust anyone, ever again. The one person I did end up trusting the most was myself. My denial filter was removed like a band aid: it hurt like hell but I see people pretty clearly now. If someone behaves bitchy to me I don’t give her/him benifit of doubt anymore. I make mental note on how THEY behaved and chose whether I want to continue relationship. Oddly enough, I have a lot of really nice friends who are sincere who I can see for the first time as “the real deal”. I know what to look for now in sincere people–before I was in a fog and they all ran together, does that make sense?

I can weed people out of my life today because I really have no obligation to put up with their BS! Before I would tolerate anything because I was so desperate to be liked and accepted, a habbit I developed being raised within my dysfunctional family.

One shouldn’t have to try so hard just to be accepted by “family”. We already belong! We are born with intrinsic value. Our worth doesn’t need to be proved.

I have come to a middle ground. I am at peace, grateful to be released from the bonds.



I agree with what you stated in your post. I was also lied to, betrayed, and made fun of by my FOO and my husband’s FOO. I too was desperate to be liked. I blame my family and my husband’s family for my willingness to do and do for others to get them to like me. I realized a couple of years ago that I was a people-pleaser. I had to let a couple of friends go because it was not healthy for me to be in a relationship with them. They showed disdain to me if I did not “put out” my resources to them whether it be time, gifts, or cash resources. I am a generous person, but certain friends and always family would expect me to shell out the “nice” gifts or pay for dinners. Because my husband and I were the older siblings we used to be okay with that. But when our sisters would drive around in their new German luxury cars and we were in our old Ford trucks we said: “f*** it”. I digress with the talk of cars…..our sisters are basically “not nice” and selfish people. They are what we got “stuck” with, but we are not stuck. I have been NC with my sister since 2010, and we are low contact with my husband’s sister since 2012. Who knows what they think happened, but we really don’t care.



Through all of this I really feel as if I have grown up. Being NC, at first, was like I had one of my arms cut off. Today I have learned who I really am, away from all of the noise. Do you feel that way, too? I really had no idea how much time or mental space I spent playing emotional-chess with these crazy people, neglecting my God-given talents, gifts and desires.
That vacuum created by going nc has been surprisingly quickly filled with creativity, joy and freedom of movement. I’m now painting again and working to be in the symphony in a year or so (I played flute in school but was never told how good I was, because all my sibs were jealous. I’m pretty good! Lol)

I also have to be really conscience to pay attention to whose voice I hear in my head while making fact based decisions. I hear the programming lessening, but one phrase I really need to compare to reality is my mom saying, when I told her I was done with the family abuse and was rightiously angry at not being validated by anyone, she said:

“Be careful, honey. You are starting to sound awefully bitter.”

Another red flag and another way for an abuser to say “you are the problem” or “get over it”.

The truth is I’m not a bitter person. I’m actually quite ebullient!! But from a very emotionally-charged and emotionally-driven family, thinking logically or making relational decisions based in FACTs & reality throws those who use “love” as a way to control for a loop.

It’s awesome. Lol



Yes, I feel like I am away from the noise, and I feel more like myself because I used to have to be someone else while around family. They did not like how my real self acted. Yes, I used to have to be careful what I said because I could set someone off by saying things I thought were okay, but they would turn my words against me. I could not find the right things to say because there were no right things. I could be attacked for anything I said.

I am glad for you that you are getting back into the arts. I also played the flute from grade 4 to grade 12. I hope you are able to get into the symphony.

Yes, I am sure that I am considered the problem. Nothing “that bad” was done to me. I just need to get over it and forget about it. It sounds like you are on your way to having a better life!


I am so happy that I found this site. I have been no contact for 9 weeks after 50 years of being the proverbial scapegoat. I identify 100% with so many comments on this site that I am willing to believe my life will improve with each passing day. Thank you 🙂



It’s an amazing sensation, isn’t it?!! To finally be validated by others for your struggle.
I was scapegoat, too, fighting for what I KNEW was right & sane against a large
group of people who were (and still are) convinced that their actions were acceptable.
I finally realized one can’t ask an insane person, “Can’t you SEE that your actions are not
sane?” The answer is, they can’t.

Ill keep you lifted up during this first season of NC. For me it was a tough time, but each day is different–ups
and downs. Life ABSOLUTELY, gets better. It’s is DIFFERENT, but better.
I carry a new grief in my heart, but I try to use it as a touchstone of compassion for
others who are also hurting. This experience has strengthened me I ways I never
knew possible. I have been shown I have inner reserves I never knew existed. I have
also been shown that I have been strong, not just now, but all my life. Stronger than
my family. I think it’s that strength, the immovability of my convictions which has threatened
those who would have me stumble.

At 50, Tiffany, I pray you are freed to see who you REALLY are, and not who you have
been programmed to believe you are.

Turns out, for me, I’m a pretty amazing person (I say most humbly. Lol ;-D) and I’m
confident you, Darlene, Light, Andria. S19–, Alaina, Kris, et al are also remarkable
and amazing in ways we never dared dreamed were possible!!!

What’s that one saying, something like:

It’s not the fear of failure that scares us the most it’s the fear of our own

Rock on, Tiffany!! You GOT this.


Hi Tiffany,

So glad you found Darlene’s site. When I first read what Darlene wrote my jaw dropped open!!! Finally someone who wasn’t putting all the blame on me!!! It never occurred to me that just maybe my parents had something to do with some of the problems I had in my life but now I see that’s what brainwashing does to a person. You have my support.

Mary –Grace,

It did my heart good reading your post when you wrote how you are an amazing person. I cheered and clapped my hands and I am going to join you and say that I am an amazing person too!!! Would love to hear more people say the same thing. Give us a shout out!! Those words are music to my ears instead of the death sentence they used to be. My how times have changed. So thankful for everyone on this site and for Darlene having the courage to step out and find out by sharing how she was able to emerge to the other side of broken that has been instrumental in helping me do the same thing. I pray this for you all.




Thank you for your lovely post! I would like to shout out: I am an amazing person!


Well when I came here I never attacked anyone nor did I claim to have the corner on the moral high ground but I was pretty much out down for still speaking with my parents. My case is different than most, I have stage 4 cancer and I been clear so far but that can change anytime and I have to go with what feels right for me.
I clearly see that they won’t ever change. The last time we had issues was when I spoke up about my hurt feelings and I was told I was blowing things out of proportion and that I shoukdnt feel that way and that me speaking up causes my mom to lash out at my dad. On the day he was told he had stage one very curable cancer he asked me to ignore her. Being an cancer victim of stage 4 oral cancer. What was I to do? He’s my dad. I felt bad for him. They been married 55! Years. He thinks it’s fine for her to be that way and that I should learn to put up with it.
But I can’t. So I keep a far distance. I can’t subject myself to that. But I don’t need to keep arguing either and speaking up as I was told to do on here. What good will that do? Cause me more stress and pain. I don’t need my cancer to return. I don’t want TO cause more stress and I frankly don’t have the energy or the time cause it Durante matter.
I could stand up for myself till I’m blue in the face but that will not do anything. It will HURT me over and over again. and I’m done with being hurt.
So I’ll leave now since I’m not part of this club and I see my input and presence isn’t wanted here now.
Thanks so much.


It’s obvious to me no one is talking to me anyhow. Thanks.



Please don’t feel left out. You need to do what you feel is right for you. I am sorry that you are in stage 4 cancer. I don’t know what that feels like physically or mentally. It may seem that most people here are NC with their families. I don’t know if they are or are not. I don’t think it really matters. I believe that this site is a support area so people can talk and vent and tell their stories.

I myself kept a distance from my family for a long time until my father became ill and I wanted to help and did help by taking care of him in my home along with my husband for five years. I won’t go into the whole story, but I finally found out in the end that no one in my FOO likes me or cares for me. I was just the pack animal carrying the load that my sister and brother-in-law refused to carry and my dad let me carry for him because I was the only burro available. In the end, he left to join my sister and her family back in the city where he was living only a couple miles from them. She still does not really “help” him. He is in assisted living. Last year he sent me an anniversary card saying he was “sad” that we had no communication. I opened up the communication line by saying he could contact me. Long story short again: he has not contacted me since January of this year. He did not send me an anniversary card this year either. That is my story. I cannot and will not be the person who always does the contact and all the work in the relationship. I am done with that.

Your story is different. You know what you need to do for you. I understand about being done with being hurt. I understand how arguing makes one feel. I did that with my dad while he lived with us till I was blue in the face and the maddest I have ever been in my life. But nothing changed. My parents always chose my sister over me and I knew that. It never mattered how “good” I acted or how “bad” she acted. I was out she was in. I can’t fight the system. I found out even with my mother being dead since 1999; she was still present in the system.

I hope your cancer stays in remission. No one needs any added stress. Please take care of yourself. Again, do what you need to do for you. Listen to your gut. Do what is right for you.


Hi Kimberly,
I understand why you wouldn’t want to keep standing up to them. I wouldn’t either. And with my parents, I don’t. I made a different decision than you, that’s all—to not have a relationship with them if they weren’t able to recognize things. I did so because I knew it would likely kill me to keep things the way they were. But not everyone’s situation is the same. I wondered if your last comments were a response to some things I said. When I spoke of how I have sometimes felt that people coming on here who still have a relationship with their parents could come off (to me) as though they were morally superior and how I felt as though I was “lesser than” because I couldn’t manage that myself, what I was talking about was perception. THe thing is when you’re shaky about your own decisions, prone to guilt for cutting off, if you feel like someone is saying “my parents are/were abusive and never acknowledge it and never change but I still have a relationship with them,” then you’re likely to feel like the person is saying that you, too, should be able do that and if you don’t, then you’re “lesser than.” BUT that isn’t actually what the person is saying. It doesn’t account for the fact that one person will make one decision for a certain set of reasons and another person will do so for another set and that it is okay and what’s right is that everyone makes his/her own choices for his/her own reasons.

It is hard to watch/hear about someone being disrespected and abused. Even worse that you’d be disrespected/abused when you’re dealing with cancer. I think if we were in the room with you while your parents were treating you badly, we’d want to stand up for you, call your parents out for being horrible people and tell them to stop, tell them if they don’t shape up and recognize what they’re doing, then…. well, I don’t know what… I want to say that then they’ll lose their daughter forever but it’s not the case. It’s EXTREMELY hard to know/watch someone you care about being abused. I think if you’ve felt pressured by people here, it’s that we want you to have freedom and enjoyment in your life. We want you to know that there is no reason that you should be experiencing the pain your parents’ inflict on you, especially in your condition/situation. What you do, though, is your decision. You have to do what’s right for you. I’m sad if we’ve pushed you out in some way or made you feel like you don’t belong here. This place is really about healing from what has happened to us, recognizing our worth—that we didn’t deserve the treatment we received, the role we were put in. And I think that’s what we all want to tell you—that you don’t deserve to be treated badly, that you deserve love and respect. We want you to know how valuable a person you are and that your parents are wrong to treat you the way they do. We want you to know that you never deserved it, not ever, not in past, present or future, and we want you to have peace and heal and not have to deal one more day with the emotional pain and disrespect. We want you to feel loved. You deserve that. I’m sorry if I played any part in making you feel shut out or attacked. What I hope is that you will do whatever is best for you, whatever your heart says. I do understand making a decision to try to just let sleeping dogs lie. Sometimes it’s the best decision.


…you know, I can’t… I can’t say it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie. I could never be in a room with someone abusing/disrespecting another human being and not speak out against it (or not hate myself if I didn’t try). And standing up for myself was about being that other person for me. I can’t ever say sometimes it’s better to just let someone abuse you, disrespect you. No, I can’t. But I can recognize that sometimes it’s just way too hard. And in fact it really shouldn’t be up to the victim to have to do this. It’s horrible how backwards the world is that we, as the victims, feel pushed to do this… when things got really bad, I just crawled away and that’s good enough so long as I got out.

ps. Mary-Grace, thank you for your comments to the group. I meant to reply earlier. I want to think I’m an amazing person but I feel a bit weird saying it. I’m not sure it’s true or I’m not sure I feel it or it just feels weird to say it about oneself….? But I guess I’m proud of myself, mostly just for hanging in there…. That’s really cool about the symphony! Good luck!



I don’t know what I would do if I were in your situation. I haven’t posted a lot very recently, so I don’t know if I’ve said anything to make you feel judged for not choosing NC. I do know that I wouldn’t want to make you feel judged because I do understand that each of us needs to do what works for us.

Before I stopped communicating with my family, I found other people who were willing to treat me with compassion and kindness. I could have never maintained a no contact situation otherwise. It required me to open up and trust that there actually were people in the world willing to care because I’d been told my whole life that no one would care and I’d believed it. Everything changed for me when I realized that wasn’t true.

Anyway – I can see you’re in a very difficult situation and understand that you need to do what you’re able to do.


The first thing that I tell my clients that are still in contact with their families is that the goal is not about going no contact, it is about taking our lives back no matter what that looks like. We all have a choice in our own lives. I didn’t go no contact with my mother for almost 2 years while I was coming out of the fog. I just watched the way that things happened as though I was watching a movie. I am not sure what happened to offend you Kimberly.
Hugs, Darlene


Hello Darlene and everyone else….
I can’t remember who excatly but what my point was I felt shamed because I still speak to them on here. And I don’t think I should feel shamed when I’m on a support board. I never told anyone here they were a bad person for going NC, not once. I would never do that. Rap cause I have been NC and I know how it feels. Yet I get that right off the bat here when I came on board.
It’s not because I need more help to get through the fog or that I’m weak or in the beginning stage of becoming strong, no… It’s a choice I feel that is right for me, esp since my stage 4 cancer, it made me rethink my choices. I been told that since I have cabcer it’s a bad move. Really? I don’t think I need insults. I’m 50 years old and I know what’s best for me.
Keeping it’s loosely connected is what’s best for me. On my strong days I can visit for an hour…. Sometimes a half hour… Some weeks I don’t go at all.
My mother also knows she is not allowed to pop in and I told her it’s best to stay home and I’ll visit her.
She’s mad about it. But it’s her own fault. I can’t say that cause I’ll be told I’m mean and horrible person.
So I just don’t talk about it anymore. It’s not going to change minds, opinions or the situation. Going NC for me makes a bad situation worse and it’s because I need more theraphy or am weak… I’m fact it’s because I’m actually stronger from my theraphy… For me, it’s my best solution.


People are people and everyone is going to share their own opinions. I advocate for choices. This is my blog and I would say that 50% of my clients are in contact with their families and I never push them one way or the other about contact or no contact. The fact that you feel shame is not coming from me. I support your choices 100%.

As for this website, this isn’t a ‘support board’ it is a blog that has a lot of traffic and a lot of comments (almost 50,000 comments). Everyone here is trying to heal. Everyone has struggle and issues. If someone’s opinion bothered you just try to remember that it’s just their opinion. You can have yours. I think some people are really offended by the fact that many go no contact. It really works both ways.

I respect your best solution.
Hugs, Darlene


I think it’s a complicated one – I’ve seriously considered going NC and I think it would be a HUGE weight off my mind, but I don’t think it’s the right decision for me right now because my girls still adore my mum and I think it would be hard for me to justify as she hasn’t done anything particularly wrong TO them. I know a lot of people have pointed out that for them they couldn’t take that risk, or they took the same path as I’m taking and that it went badly for me, but I would like to say that like Kimberley I’ve chosen NOT to go NC (for now) and I haven’t felt pushed out, especially by Darlene. I do think some people who are happily NC feel like I’m making the wrong decision, and that’s absolutely fine – I can imagine them wanting to lead people to the same position of happiness and peace that they’ve arrived at, but we all have to find our own way there. We’ve all been controlled most of our lives and to be LED into a decision like this wouldn’t be as healing as when we find our own way. My experience of this site is that people have been pretty supportive of my decision (some people have been like ‘I wouldn’t have done it that way, but you be you!’) I also think because it’s SUUUUUUCCCHHHH an emotive topic, emotions are going to run high, and most of the time I think we’re pretty good at being careful and kind with each other, but sometimes the things we say can be misconstrued because we’re so passionate and raw.


Hi Kimberly,
Can I ask if the problem is with me personally?
I want you to know that I never thought that you were telling anyone that they were a bad person for going NC. I was talking about perceptions and when we, who have gone NC are still experiencing guilt for our decision, can easily interpret/feel/perceive being judged for our decision even when that is NOT what is happening. It’s not something that the other person who has contact is doing wrong or bad. It’s just reflective of our own issues that we might wrongly perceive that we are being judged and I recognized that in myself and it’s okay, it’s something that I had to work through and it isn’t anybody’s fault and it isn’t bad or wrong. It’s good for me to work out my issues.
Nothing the victim chooses to do is wrong or bad (unless it’s abusive). I don’t fault anybody for what they choose. Everyone does what they can, what they feel is best for them. If you see an abuser who won’t take responsibility for themselves as dangerous to people’s health, you’re not going to advocate sticking around. I understand it’s everyone’s choice and if it works for someone and they’ve found a means to make it less dangerous, or not dangerous, and they have reason and desire to be in that situation, then okay. It’s more like I can accept and understand someone’s individual choice to stay in the situation but if I’m seeing them being beaten down, I’m not going to think that them staying there is their best choice and they should not even consider a different choice. Of course it’s their choice and I will respect it but in my heart I will be hoping they leave or find some way to empower themselves so they aren’t being beaten down and if I was in the room while someone said/did abusive things, I would speak out or want to speak out. But if you’re not being beaten down, if you’ve found a way that works, that allows you to feel empowered, that brings boundaries and peace and is right for you, that’s different. That works. What I’m saying is if the physical equivalent was walking into a room to get a beating and there was no other choice but to go in and get that beating until you get out, or to stay out and avoid the beating all together, I’m going to say that staying out would be the better choice and that in my heart I would hope the person would stay out and I’d maybe try to get help for that person—that is if that was what was going on. But that’s just where I stand. And not everybody’s situation is the physical equivalent, and sometimes you’re dealing with punches that you can stop and put boundaries up, so that the abusive people can respect your boundaries, even if they haven’t internally changed in any huge way. I think that’s what you’re saying. It’s different when the situation is killing you and it’s different when you’ve told the people this is killing me and asked them to recognize this but they won’t and everything continues, so that you feel that you are not worth anything at all. I couldn’t stick around for that. Even once I was stronger I couldn’t because the knowledge that they couldn’t recognize this even when it was killing me just leaves an emptiness I couldn’t stick around for. I don’t know… anyway, like Darlene said, this is just my opinion for my life. I don’t know what’s best for other people, just for me. I stick up for what I believe in which may be applicable to other people’s lives if they are in the same situation. I am sorry if I’ve caused any problems, stress, etc.


I’m not happy with my decision. I just didn’t want to die. And for me, no matter how much therapy, no matter how “strong” I become, nothing will take away that it didn’t seem to matter that I was dying. No matter how healthy I become, that will hurt extremely. I could only ever really return to them, as they are without understanding or change, if I didn’t care anymore that they didn’t care. But that’s impossible really. They’re my family, how could I not care? And then what would be the draw of having a relationship with people who didn’t really care if I was dying because of how I was being treated? I wouldn’t want to have a relationship with anybody under those circumstances. It’s pretty harsh.


in the email you sent to my inbox you said that you have not attacked anyone on this site but you have been attacked. When I say that it works both ways, you posted the following comments which caused many of the people here (including me) to react; you wrote ~ “So I’ll leave now since I’m not part of this club and I see my input and presence isn’t wanted here now.
Thanks so much.” and “It’s obvious to me no one is talking to me anyhow. Thanks.”

Those statements are not exactly loving either.

If you have a specific problem with a specific person, please let me know so I can actually address the issue. I don’t see where you have been attacked. (And I did recently post a comment to someone on here about giving advice when “going no contact” was posted as an instruction, but that person apologized and totally understood what and why I pointed out what they said) When you say that you don’t know who did it, maybe it wasn’t here. Everyone is reacting and worried that it was something that “they” said. This kind of thing makes everyone upset because really, no one here wants to hurt anyone.
Maybe you could help clarify what upset you in the first place.
hugs, Darlene


It wasn’t anyone here and frankly I’m not that upset anymore but just thought I would voice my feelings about it.

I can’t imagine how hard that must of been, taking care of your father. I know how badly I felt when I was told if I stayed nc after hearing my dad may have advanced cancer, the guilt laid at me hurt me so much that I have now decided, with my health issues and now a new possible tumor coming up, it’s not possible to talk as much as I have been.
I have to get another pet scan this week to pray it didn’t come back.
I’m just really in a bad place and life never seems to give me a break.
And I often feel used too. And it’s always my fault with my family.
I’m sorry that happened to you,
No worries about me, I’m over it now. Honestly, moving on in life. I can only deal with so much!


Hi Alaina,

You have once again articulated something I’ve been trying to make sense of for a long time. Thank you.

There really isn’t any way to have a relationship with someone who doesn’t care if you’re dying. That’s where I am with most of the individuals in my family. If I need to be strong enough to not care that they don’t care if I’m dying, why would I maintain a relationship with them at all.



Thank you for your kind words Kimberly. I hope your pet scan shows you are okay with no tumor. I understand about getting the blame, and it always being the one that is at fault. Peace to you.


Thank you so very much. I’m terrified. I have a new lump on the other side. I think I rather die than go through what I just went through. I had stage 4a oral neck cancer and I don’t see why this has to happen to any living thing. I’ll never understand why and why it was me. Yes, I’m on my pity party. Won’t apologize either. I been through hell all my life, then cancer and now this scare. When will it ever end?


No Alania… I’m sure they know who they are and it’s been awhile. I have more pressing issues like trying to stay alive to deal with.
I’m over it. But like I had mentioned…I’m just tired. Life has been cruel to me and I guess it just gets worse and then you die.
I don’t mean to depress anyone I’m just in a bad place right now. And this is the only place I have to talk.
So thank you!


I hope things get better for you, Kimberly, and that the scan turns up clear.

It was quite difficult because it felt like you were getting mad at those of us who were having this conversation. When you spoke of being shamed on here and how you were still speaking to those people who shamed you and that this community doesn’t support you and you’re leaving, naturally the people on this post whom you are speaking to are going to take it that you’re talking about us and it’s upsetting. We are all people who doubt ourselves and are prone to thinking we’re the problem….

I do remember a while back, comments that were very anti-relationship with abusive people, like don’t even give them a second chance. I thought that was sorted out–as in at the very least everyone having their own opinions and it being okay for each of us to decide what we want to do. I do also know that there were people who couldn’t fathom how you could manage a relationship with abusive parents and cancer at the same time and thought that if they were in your shoes, they’d think it best to just clear that all away and be done with the parents. From the outside, I’d fall more in that camp simply because, well, too much is too much but the reality when you’re in it is much different. It’s easy to say that—just get out, in your condition, you’d be better off—but it’s never that simple. No matter which side you’re on, contact or no. It’s messy and what counts is what’s happening in your heart, that process. Anyway, take care. I hope things turn out okay.


Thanks…I’m terrified. I haven’t told my parents or my sister who never calls me or invites me over and if it’s bad news… I’m not going to tell them. I can’t deal with their response and all the dysfunction, my family and myself all at the same time. I’ll end up having a stroke if the cancer doesn’t kill me first .
The last time my sister invited me to her home was Xmas! We just moved back to the area in May and I had everyone over in June.
In July my mom was upset cause she wasn’t invited up to my new home again.
She was just here a few weeks ago. Won’t meet me for lunch or breakfast out as we had planned to do and told me that normal people invite people over. Implied I wasn’t normal.
Then she said later, we could meet for lunch and she understood. But we have yet to do that and I don’t think it will happen….
And maybe it should not. I’m tired of her mind games.


Hi Hobie,
The difficult thing is they say they care. That’s what’s maddening. They’d probably argue that they care about me more than anyone else in the world is capable of and I suppose they probably believe that and cannot consider it otherwise. But that doesn’t change reality. I can’t live inside that lie.



You’re right that they “care”, but what motive is behind that “caring”? In my case, my family “misses” having a scapegoat to look down upon, not the person that I am. I guess that’s why I’m treated as if I can’t do anything right, yet I’m strangely irresistible. Talk about contradictory.


Kimberly, I look back at the things my parents wanted from me after I’d had a breakdown and they knew that how they’d treated me had been a part of that breakdown and it’s jaw-dropping to me now. I know to a degree they just didn’t “get it” but hell, what does it matter if they just won’t listen? How much of your life has to be sacrificed because they’re stuck in this weird, messed up system that you can never really work with? It’s just exhausting…. at best. soul sucking, etc. I don’t know. You should just do whatever you want to do. It’s quite possible/probable that you got a reaction from people here, wanting you to cut off, because the rest of us deal with the notion of death in a sort of abstract way (even if it’s not abstract—our deaths are as real as anyone else’s)… but with cancer it seems like the possibility is more real and very scary (when in fact I could die tomorrow and you could live till you’re 90—we don’t know) but I can imagine this projection from people wanting you to live, to be free (in face of our own death or just the idea of it, that is surely what we all want for ourselves—to live our lives fully with the remainder of our time, etc). It seems more crucial or urgent or something but not really. All of our lives are finite; time is limited; most of us just don’t deal with that fact. You are immensely brave to be in your position to just be facing it and trying to deal with it, trying to make choices. Take care of yourself and I hope you just do what you want to do whatever you want to do.


Ok, wow. That exchange brought up a whole lot for me about why I went nc.

Before I went nc, my mom and bro have a very enmeshed & distructive relationship. My bro is mean to my mom. I never told them they had to stop how they treated each other when they weren’t in my home, but while they were visiting they HAD to behave. They made choice to not come back, and I haven’t seen them together for almost 2 years.

I don’t have cancer, yet there is a huge 40,000 acre fire in my area and my sister who lives in another state and who swore to never speak to me again called my mom who lives 2 hours away, to see if I was ok. She didn’t call me directly. She’s 56. My mom, who is elderly, hadn’t heard of fire and became frantic, calling my husband to see if we are ok. (Yes we are fine and safe).
Now, to some that may sound all sweet, but did you notice my sister didn’t call me directly?
If she was truly concerned, she could have called me herself instead of creating this family panic, but to do that she knows she would have to apologize to me for lying about me, which is the REASON our whole family is fractured right now! Apologize to me?? Ain’t gunna happen.

My family is reactive and operates out of chaos.

I chose for my own sanity not speak to any of them again because they are abusive to me, not because of what anyone told me. If I could have a relationship with them which didn’t involve my own self to be sacrificed –again– I would.

Not sure where you are coming from. I get the whole pitty party concept but not sure it’s healthy to stay there for too long.
Everyone’s story IS different. EVERYONE here is fighting huge battles…

Do you have a cancer support group in your area or at your church?
If you are on chemo, that can effect a lot.



S1988, it’s similar for me. It’s very weird to be both so completely rejected and also so desired/possessed, though it has nothing to do with me.


I do have to say this exchange was draining. If people have a problem with someone/something, they should try to address it specifically and not make blanket comments about people on the site. I do have compassion and understanding for what instigated it but it’s important for all of our healths to not do that and then sweep it away, saying it wasn’t you guys, and really not a big deal, I’m over it now, because it did stir up emotion in the rest of us. It’s not a really huge deal but it does warrant an “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make people feel like I was accusing them of something they didn’t do. I should have put more thought into what I was saying and whom I was talking to.”

It’s important that we are all considered and counted. But it’s not something worth leaving over (sometimes things like this turn into a drama and people leave). It’s more a “bad day” scenario but still, everyone needs to take responsibility for the impact of their words when they say things to people that don’t actually apply to those people.

None of this takes away from anything else I wrote. I hope the best for everyone. And all of us trying to honestly face our lives and do the best we can are immensely brave and I certainly don’t know what it’s like to live with cancer. But we all count.


Are you speaking to me Alania?
I can’t remember who it was but it did happen to me… It wasn’t meant to be a blanket statement and it really is the last thing that concerns me right now. It really is. Stage 4 cancer is something I wish on no one and until you had it, you have no idea.
But I’m leaving here… I see what’s going on and I don’t like it one but with a few exceptions… I don’t need this. I never said my life was worse than anyone else’s, I never meant to throw insults out and of course I’m the bad guy again. I’m just done with this. Throwing out those I wish you well with back handed comments is something I don’t like.
And like I said, it was awhile ago but it happened and it was hurtful. And I did not attack anyone here saying you shouldn’t go no contact. I never judged anyone cause like I said, that happened to me too!
But I was attacked pretty harshly for having contact. And now let the fun begin with it again… 1,2..3
Really, honestly… I don’t need it nor will I stay here and condone it.
To those who didn’t attack me… Thank you. I wish you the best.
I’m not even going to hit notify. I’m fact I’m leaving for good now… Going nc cause I don’t need this.


Thank you, Alaina. You said that beautifully.


Best wishes.
May The Lord be with you,


Thanks for your comments Alaina. I appreciate all that you have written.
Yes, we all count!
I am going to leave it there.
Hugs, Darlene


Kimberly, you said that you were leaving this website earlier because you weren’t a part of this club, that you were talking to yourself, that your input and presence wasn’t wanted here—that pretty much was accusing us of not being supportive, loving people. I’m not saying that at some point or other someone was rude to you but you brought this out to us and I’m not sure what other kind of conclusion we were supposed to come to. Why would you think your presence wasn’t wanted among us if you felt that we were supportive and okay with your decision to be in contact with family? I thought you misunderstood things I and others had said so I poured time into explaining where I thought maybe you might have misunderstood. You wrote another comment about feeling shamed by people here. Then you said oh, it’s nobody here, it’s no big deal, I’m over it. It was a fairly topsy turvy experience on this side when, apparently we, the ones you were actually talking to, did nothing to warrant it. I know that doesn’t compare to cancer and it would be ridiculous to compare it to having to deal with cancer. The fact that I’m standing up to this is not in contradiction to my wishing you well. You presented your words somewhat out of nowhere with no stipulation that you weren’t talking about us. You felt unwanted here, shamed, insulted, said that you were attacked and that you were leaving here with none of us knowing that you weren’t talking about us, absolutely no reason not to think that you weren’t talking to us. Of course that’s going to cause turmoil and I think that it’s worth apologizing for—not like it was some really horrible thing you did but just something to say I’m sorry, I’m having a bad day, that isn’t what I meant, I didn’t mean to make you feel like I was accusing you guys of anything, my words were hasty—whatever. Not something I actually think needs any kind of real guilt over—it really isn’t a big deal compared to so much that happens in all our lives—but still worth the twenty seconds it takes to say sorry…. I know you didn’t want me to say anything else but I don’t like being told what to do (or not do) and I wanted to say this, not be controlled by the weight of it not being level to cancer (which again of course it is not at all). I wrote my comments to everyone, though they were to you most specifically of course, because they were a message to all of us. We all have shit we go through and it’s possible for any of us to say things to others, kind of snap, because other people have been unsupportive, not paying attention to whom were directing our negative emotions. I think there is not a person alive who has not done that at some point and of course the worse our situation the more chance there is we will do it. But as I said, everyone counts and it’s important to be able to just say sorry—like if you were in a hurry and bumped into someone and knocked their coffee on them, you still say you’re sorry, no matter why you’re in a hurry. The person who got coffee spilled on them, if they are good and reasonable, and especially if they hear the reason for the hurry for a good reason, will accept the apology very fast, with no problem, no issue—because it isn’t a big deal. And maybe the person who got the coffee spilled on them, hearing what the rush is, will try to do whatever they can to help in some way. Anyway, I don’t think you’ll understand. I think you’ll read my words differently but anyway, other people can read them, too, and sometimes that’s worth something. I do wish you best, believe it or not.


I could post a long this happened she said I said, but the fact is… story is almost exactly the same as everyone else’s on here. Growing up feeling like a pain in my FOO’S tush, not be validated for my natural talents and characteristics. I always thought I was the problem until I saw a Dr Phil about narcissistic mothers. That is when I had my huge A-HA moment. From there I found the whys, but not how to fix. Then I came across Emerging from Broken e-book. Now it seems so clear and easy but just starting my journey to healing and emotional freedom. I have a plan and have been mindful of my truths and coping mechanisms. But I have issues with guilt, horrible guilt. I finally stood up to my abuser ,and not in an irrational screaming rage, but just a request for respect over when my children would go to their grandparents. This was met with rage and a rather nasty email telling me I’m the meanest daughter ever, because I felt it better my 5 and 7 year old go to their grandparents over the weekend rather than a Tuesday because it conflicts with our schedule. In a way I’m glad my mother came out and said she could care less if she ever wants to see me again, saves me on the guilt of going NC, which is what I want. LC would never work, it’s her way or no way and if you question or tell her no you get extremely nasty phone calls and letters. Ok I said I wasn’t going to ramble and I’m rambling. Bottom line I feel horrible and guilty for my kids not having grandparents in their life, BUT over my dead body will they treat my kids the way they treated me. I already see it in how they treat my nephew. So how do I go no contact without effecting my children, I don’t want them to think I’m keeping their grandparents away for selfish reasons but for their own emotional health. Just today in the car we were driving by the turn to go to their house and they knew, asked if they were going to their grandparents house. Luckily they travel 6 months out of the year and are out of town, but what is the best way to approach this.


I feel bad that some people disagree, feel hurt and rehasb who said what. wbo feels attacked, etc.

I have misplaced my anger at times. Anyone think they might be doing thi


Excellently expressed.

Yes, a good place to let it be. 🙂

It is so important to apologize when in the wrong and equally as important to know when you ARENT in the wrong.

None of us here are prepared to be doormats again, and can see through quite a bit.
My emotional reaction to some of the verbiage used was so familiar. It was very good to recignize and know from experience that “this ain’t about me”…

“I didn’t break it, I can’t fix it. Sure as heck don’t need to apologize for it!”

Love to all


First of all I would like to say that I respect everyone’s opinions on this site and I feel like everyone has done the same thing for me. The Recovery process is long and difficult to begin with and I can’t imagine what it feels like to go through this process being sick on top of it and for that my heart goes out to Kimberly and anyone else out there who is in this situation. Sometimes until we are able to work through a good portion of our own pain we can’t see that other people are hurting too and in fact maybe we are one of the one’s who contributed to their pain by not being able to see past our own hurt.

I just experienced this my self and facing the embarrassment and humiliation from realizing that I hurt the people who I love the most was a difficult process to go through but freeing none the less because now I am no longer carrying around all of that guilt and shame for things that I did that were outside of my conscious awareness but hurt them just the same.

With that being said we all get to have our own opinions and we all need to respect those opinions but when you are dealing with a group of people who are trying to overcome all the sick mind sets that our abusive parents taught us sometimes things don’t go so smoothly. All I know is this site has been a God send to me and yes there were times when my feathers were ruffled and yes there were times when I said the wrong things but ultimately what I have found on this site is that the people here genuinely really do care about me and I them. The people on this site allowed me to make my mistakes without me feeling ridiculed and condemned for making them. The people on this site taught me that not everyone is out to get me and they showed me the warmth and compassion that I never knew existed before. This site taught me how to communicate in a healthier adult way instead of out of my scared little 5 year old’s mentality due to feelings of helplessness stemming from my abusive childhood.

We are all learning how to spread our wings so to speak. No one deserves to be disrespected period. No one gets to abuse another person no matter what they had happen to them. I think we all do a very good job of this on this site despite what we all had to endure.




My daughters don’t ask about their Grands.
As kids they trust us as their parents to make wise decisions for them, which
includes who we chose to spend our time with. They know that if we have chosen to not
spend time with someone, be it family or not, it’s for a good reason.

I don’t do guilt any more, unless there is something to feel guilty for. Choosing not to expose myself
or my children to mean, selfish people who wish to control and hurt me by any means possible (even THROUGH my kids) is nothing to feel guilty about. It’s an act to be proud of.

But, that’s just me.



loved what you had to say and d ch I know I have !!



Amen and ditto


Andria #320,

Thanks for the shout out. It was music to my ears!!! So glad you feel that way about your self. YAY!!!


Welshes-I’m in such a similar position to you, I just want to hug you in solidarity!!! I’ve got 2 kids, 2 and 4, who adore their grandmother, and we see her every week, but I’m highly aware that in the future she’s going to start hurting them like she did me…I don’t think it’ll ever have the same impact because they see less of her but I’ve promised myself that if she’s ever mean to them I’m going NC. I’m yet to figure out where my boundaries are though-what constitutes bad enough to go NC for me personally?! She also tends to demand to see them more often and (a) I don’t want to and (b) it’s not convenient with our schedule. Unfortunately she only lives on the other side of a very small town 🙁 I’m scared about this holiday cos we’re going abroad all together (for my brother’s wedding)…it could all be heinous!


I’m a bit disappointed that Kimberly decided to leave. In previous posts, she mentioned that this was the only place where she could express her feelings about her pain. She said that her husband wouldn’t understand (and she doesn’t hold that against him). And she (rightfully) stated that her teenage daughter shouldn’t be her confidant. Now she has no one (that I know of).

It was also through her that I found out that my loner/homebody behavior is a coping mechanism of dealing with abuse. I knew that subconsciously; I just thought it was only my introverted nature. It wasn’t until I told her and she made me realize that my reason for my lifestyle was deeper than that. I would usually hole up in my room to stay out of my mother’s way at home and spend time alone with a book or on the computer at school during my high school days to avoid bullies (which I found to be quiet and peaceful). The adults thought me being a loner was a bigger problem than being picked on and didn’t bother to know why I was a loner and tried to “fix” me many times. I still get flak for it today, but now that I’m grown up, I can get away from it at home with my cat as my only “roommate”.

I hope that Kimberly returns, though only she can make that decision. If she doesn’t, I hope she finds a suitable confidant elsewhere.


I also have that loner/homebody behaviour as a coping mechanism, S1988, and I’m glad Kimberly could give you that insight. I’m sure it is part of my nature and inherently important to be able to be a loner, too, sometimes but not so much when I’m escaping into it when maybe I’m missing out on something that could be meaningful to me. I, too, am sad for how things worked out. I’m not sure if that shows in my comments. It’s not like I wanted this to happen. I know her stress level is astronomical right now and looking back I can see how reading a discussion of no contact vs. contact where most of us who were commenting were no contact and she’d had other experiences of feeling pressured or attacked by others for her choice to be contact could trigger her. It doesn’t make it okay but I don’t mean to vilify her in anyway or act superior. I’m not in her shoes. I have no idea what it’s like to be experiencing what she’s experiencing and I don’t know that I’d be able to deal with her situation any better or worse. I don’t mean to come off as high and mighty or ignorant or whatever. She told some horrific things that had happened to her in the past, her current situation is really beyond me, beyond what I know and what I’ve had to face, and being alone in this is horrible and not what I wanted to have happen. She is obviously a strong woman and a survivor and I hope that she’ll be okay and find what’s best for her, find happiness and peace. I am sorry for this situation. And every person has things to contribute to the whole, so of course her leaving is also our loss, as well as her loss. I don’t mean to contribute to a person’s shelling off. I’d take back my last comments, maybe, just because enough was enough, but I can’t take back my other comments about everyone counting, just recognizing what happened here because she did cause stress to people who really hadn’t done anything wrong. I’m sorry that she didn’t understand that this wasn’t a power play or an attack or I don’t know what on my part. I really don’t enjoy this. I don’t get anything from it like some kind of power trip. I learn something usually and it often is an indication of where I am at but I’d rather do without it. I’d rather connect and support and understand. The turmoil of situations like these is difficult for everyone involved and the goal isn’t to prove someone is right or someone is wrong, but rather to get along as equals, to see each other and hear each other and know and treat everyone as if they all matter equally, which they/we do. I wish she’d come and she’d be able to understand the other side of this but I’ve been in these situations a few times and it never seems to happen. I don’t know what else you can do. The other choice is just to cave in and not speak out, trying to keep in mind why the person acted the way they did, validate yourself, but try to be understanding. But there are so many problems with that second choice. My own past was kind of a prison of “not so bad,” and I caved into everything and I lost myself; it nearly killed me and fighting to speak up was extremely difficult. I was always placed against people with major tragedy and victimhood in their life and had too much to deal with. They’d lean on me and just wanting little things, to be counted in average ways to have certain average choices as my own person, would become a drama that would be easier to just let go of and fold in to what the other wanted because it wasn’t that bad. But that can add up to a lot and the power of it can be quite extreme. I remember saying “who am I to complain?” when I had a breakdown because my life seemed like nothing compared to the difficulties in my mom’s life and pretty much everyone else in the world and I was sorry to my mom because I knew my breakdown was a kind of betrayal, I was going to break her heart that she had been done badly by life and had taken on too much, maybe trying to prove herself, but she lived in world that never recognized me, that pushed what she wanted life to be on top of what it really was, pushed aside the truth when she had reason to know it and see it and on some level did see it. In the end she couldn’t let go of her own story, her own perspective, and I lost everything out of that. For what? So often I think what happened to me wasn’t that bad, it’s not worth this, but my mom needs to believe that she was a good mom who made some mistakes. She can’t see that for me she was not a good mom at all. She had moments but no, she wasn’t a mom when and how I needed her. Maybe for my brother she was okay or even good (I can’t say great but it’s possible that she was a good mom for him). I could maybe accept that there are certain things that she can’t look at (in particular her negligence in sweeping aside the things she knew that suggested that I was in need of help, that there was something wrong) and in another universe I might have been able to manage a relationship with her (and manage being the operative word dysfunction would never go away without her really facing things) but in this universe she has a lot of power still just by virtue of family dynamics—my dad’s role, my brother, all the extended. It creates an entirely different dynamic… Anyway, I went off in a tangent. I only mean to give context to why I can’t just let something go. I don’t know. Trying to communicate love, understanding and equality so that the other person really feels that at the same time that you try to address an issue is really hard. Sometimes I think there’s just this block that seems impossible to get through and yet I think you have to try because nothing ever goes anywhere if you don’t try. That’s all I can come up with and you know, I’m sorry for all this, not like sorry as in I’ve done something wrong and bad that I need to feel guilt and shame but just sorry, just wishing it was otherwise and wishing I wasn’t a part of it, I guess. I don’t want to be a part of a shitty situation that ostracizes someone else but it’s important that everyone can respect and understand (at least try to understand) everyone else’s experience and that nobody’s experience trumps another persons’, large or small, you know?


I hope Kimberly comes back as well. I think this is a place where we can all have disagreements, yet work through them. It will give us good practice for setting boundaries with other people in our lives. I know I spend too much time in my house. I know I spend too much time with distractions. I didn’t know it was a coping mechanism formed in my childhood. My mother did the same thing, so I thought it was just what we do. However, I spent a good bit of time with friends and family a couple of weeks ago, and when I returned home, I just DID NOT want to remain in the house. And there ya go. Feeling charged with face to face interaction encouraged me to get out of the house. I’m certainly going to work hard on doing more of that.

So glad I have you guys 🙂


Hi Callynt,

I was an extreme isolator too. Having Dissociative Identity Disorder made it even worse. We are triggered by people so we tend to isolate because we don’t want to relive those feelings associated with our abusive past because that’s what having DID does to us. I was blessed because my hair dresser that I knew for the last ten years would ask me to go out shopping with her from time to time but I would always decline her offer because I was too afraid but this year I finally took a chance and accepted her invitation and we have been developing a close knit friendship ever since.

I never knew how nice it would feel to have a friend like this. To be able to share a part of my self with another human being without being afraid all the time. To have someone who I can trust and who I know will have my back. I have fun now!!! I look forward to doing things instead of always sitting at home. It is a whole new world for me…one that I like but until I was willing to step out and find out and take a risk none of this was going to happen. It’s so hard to get up the courage and do this after what we have gone through in our lives but it is well worth the risk. I am glad that you got to experience some of this for your self too.



I’m glad you have a close friend that you can spend time with. I should have elaborated more, i suppose. I’ve had good friends to spend time with. It’s when I get into a ‘funk’ or my performance mentality that I begin to isolate. It is the undercurrent feeling of not being worthy that eats through my existing social network, but I’m coming out of it a bit more now. One thing I have learned is that working from home plays a big part into this. I’ve had friends who don’t have this issue make the same comment…they become like a hermit.

Except for us isolators, this is nothing new, so I wasn’t aware of what triggered this latest round with it. I was just thinking last week that the next invitation I receive, I’m going to accept whether I want to or not, and your post has encouraged me further to do that 🙂

Thank you.


From my perspective the only person who may owe an apology to the group is Ms Kimberly.

Part of my growth includes recognizing when someone else’s behavior, not mine, has caused tension. I can be nice but I no longer feel the need to take on other people’s stuff…

No one here said anything to cause such a strong reaction.


Hi Mary-Grace,
I just wanted to say that when I was saying I was sorry, it wasn’t an apology, more like when we say “i’m sorry for your loss” when someone dies—that kind of I’m sorry. I know that conflict is hard on people—to be a part of and just to read—and in the absence of Kimberly actually apologizing, I’m offering that kind of I’m sorry and a sort of regret at how unnecessary this whole thing was but not like a regret for my own actions/responses, just the fact of this whole thing, though of course it’s she who did this. I don’t know if that makes any sense. Not an apology, just a “this was shitty and stupid, wish it didn’t happen, etc.” And I don’t think anyone said anything to cause her reaction, either. Certainly no one did anything wrong. I was just putting out my understanding of why she might have gone off for seemingly no reason, to bring it to the realm of understandable and human, as opposed to crazy. Just kind of making room, you know? That this particular scenario was triggering for her and I could understand that, not that anyone else here bears any responsibility whatsoever.


There’s a part of me that just wants to let this whole situation drop, but as Alaina has posted in response to her own struggle, I believe at least some of us need to pull apart what happened here. Thank you for speaking up Alaina!

I hate the saying “Hurt people hurt people.” I find that it’s most often used to make us overlook abuse and feel sorry for the abuser.

Darlene recently posted on Facebook that yes hurt people hurt people and they are going to continue to do so until they get the memo that it’s wrong. I’d put that in quotes, but I’m not sure if I’ve remembered it word for word.

Kimberly’s last few posts were abusive. She claimed that she was mistreated, but couldn’t identify how or by whom. She mentioned “stage 4 cancer” in almost every post. Some posts suggested she was in remission at least, and some seemed to suggest she was mid-battle. Who among us wants to cause further distress to someone who is likely facing their own mortality? But after a while, it felt like she waved it around like kryptonite.

How many of us have been manipulated exactly like that? How many of us have spent too much of our lives bending over backwards and ignoring our own needs because someone presented herself as needier? How many times have we been held to blame while the other person was too fragile to be held accountable? How familiar is this whole scenario?

The phrases she used in both of her exit posts were self-contradictory. If what happened was a long time ago and she was over it, why did she get mad enough to leave and make sure she slammed the door?

I have seen NO ONE responding to this issue without a willingness to try to set right whatever they may have said wrong except Kimberly. And it’s taken me writing this much before the word “gaslighting” came to mind.



Thank you!! My thoughts exactly!


I totally hear you, and appreciate your tender-heartedness and kindness.
I thank God for you and all on this blog.



…but many people have learned how to use our kindness against us…


I agree with everything you’ve said. I read a whole heck ton of manipulation in her last comments. The hardest thing for me was how she accused me of insincerity, of backhanded comments, how my wishing her well was just bullshit or something. I hate that. My family turned me into the uncaring one, when caring was what almost killed me.

When people posted comments about wishing she hadn’t left, that she’d come back, that she’d contributed to the community and that she didn’t really have support outside of this, though no one was saying I was wrong to speak up (and in fact people had previously thanked me), I suppose I just didn’t want to appear callous (not with my exact words because my words weren’t callous but just the fact of choosing to say something). The truth is I don’t actually believe I was callous. She was the one with hurtful words. I guess I just didn’t want others here to think that I didn’t have sympathy. I have a hard time about caring what other people think. With Kimberly herself, if she doesn’t want to be real about this situation, I don’t really care, like it’s her deal; tragedies abound in this world; you can choose to be cooperative and equal and loving toward people or not and if she doesn’t want to, you know what, she’s just another person in the world. She ostracized herself here. Those were closer to my real feelings at that point. My sympathy for her definitely calloused over once she wrote those comments to me… but then other people’s comments came in and I started feeling badly and tried to put aside my anger and say to myself, okay, yes, this, yes, that… I do care, I do understand. But basically if you can’t take responsibility for yourself, then you don’t get access to my kindness. It’s not that I’m not kind; it’s there; it’s just you can’t have it unless you want to be kind too…. and I just hate that manipulation that makes you feel like you’re being an asshole just for having that stipulation, even though it is the most fair thing in the world.


Thanks Mary-Grace


My therapist advised me to be aware of my emotions regarding criticism, comments, actions that may or may not be directed towards me.

I need to be aware of my anger and frustration because of past abuse, and careful that I am not relating everything to the Narcissistic actions, because then I will be forever controlled by negativity.

I need to daily assess how I am relating with others, am I making a mountain out of a mole hill, or justified in my hurt, anger and judgment of the situation? And how will I handle it?

It’s hard sometimes keeping my big girl pants on and living in the positive realm, but I keep on keeping on!


You know what it is? It’s that her last comments were to me specifically, that she made the decision to leave and close the door absolutely as a response to my comments and then when other people were sorry that she left, it felt like I had made an individual choice that affected the whole group and that maybe the group didn’t want me to have done that… something like that…


so I guess I was trying to explain myself so that everyone would understand and not wish I’d done otherwise


Dealing with past and ongoing abuse can affect how someone deals with their frustration anger hurt despair guilt envy etc.

Speaking from my experiences.


This goes hand in hand that my biggest issues regarding my past is not that I stood up to my mom but all the mess with other family members…. With one of my aunts, I said, “This is about me.” “Yeah, but it affects other people,” she said. I yelled at her, “I could have died.” My dad was in the middle of planning a big family vacation for a year away. He’d written a nasty email which I’d responded to very civilly and kindly and I didn’t hear from him for 6 months until he sent out this mass email about this family vacation and I got all the responses from people if they were up for it or not. My aunt had written back, saying they were up for it, hoping it would be the best and biggest family vacation yet. She knew what was going on with me and them, didn’t bother to check in to see how things were going. I collapsed when I read her response. She’d been my support, my friend…. Basically, my issues got in the way, were messy… her thought was that i was letting my parents continue to control me by not taking part in a family vacation with the rest of them. My hurt was that it was like what my parents were doing to me, the harm they had caused and were to continuing to cause me didn’t matter at all. My experience became an inconvenience to what they wanted.


Garrrr. Need edit button…lol

Let me retract:
“…but many people have learned how to use our kindness against us…”

Please let me restate it as:

“AND–And many people have learned to use our kindness against us.”


So my issue is should I be sorry to those who wished she didn’t leave, or those who are understanding of her behaviour, that I made a decision that instigated her leaving? (though it was her own decision)… I guess that’s why I took a bunch of time to try to reiterate why I chose to speak up and why I think it’s important that you do and that yes, I do understand why abuse victims can end up reacting like this but that doesn’t make it okay…. But the truth is I did nothing wrong, so those who are sorry that she left, I hope it’s understood that it was her choice and her responsibility and if anybody did think that I could have just let it go, well, you know, I don’t have to get along with everybody—I have to remember that. Not everybody has to approve of every choice I make, one way or another.


I just always want everyone to get along! 🙂


I finally pulled the trigger on an email I drafted early last week to my parents. Told them that I was very angry about them trying to harass me while I was at work and that bottom line, they were not to try that again. Also told them that I really wasn’t ready to talk to them. It was a stupid situation, which I pointed out to them. They had no right to a) attack me at work, or b) question my parenting skills. The only thing I didn’t do was register my 18-year old for school. News flash: School doesn’t start until Aug. 24th AND she has 80% of it done. Only need to do the formal registration and figure out her classes, which we’re doing today.

I told them I was sick of being talked down to and would rather have a conversation than a lecture. Whether that resonates with them is anyone’s guess. What hurts the most was my dad joining in with her. Tired of hearing what I’m doing wrong vs. what I’m doing right. I have an amazing kid and they should be proud of not only that, but that they raised a functioning adult themselves.

Actually, I’m just tired. My boyfriend has no desire to meet them, and I truly do not blame him. He was there when she called me on my kid’s birthday (to wish her own granddaughter a happy birthday) on my phone instead of her granddaughter’s. That was done just so she could “catch” me.

It’s like Pavlov’s theory, positive reinforcement goes a longer way than negative. But when all you hear is the negative, it’s difficult to take.

Sorry for the ramble……..


That’s awesome, Ally! Good for you! You registering your kid for school is none of their business and to make you out like a bad parent because of that? good lord. That’s insane. My parents were intrusive and treated me “like a child” too. Also I can relate to your dad getting in on it. My dad would have talks with me to tell me what I was doing wrong to hurt my mom and what I could do to make it better.



Wow! I think we are twins!
I love love love what you said:
“But basically if you can’t take responsibility for yourself, then you don’t get access to my kindness.”

One of my sisters is planning a family reunion for “all of us siblings to finally get together!” Even though she viciously ostracized me and knows she owes ME and MY HUSBAND an apology, and I am not speaking to anyone in that pack of loons.
She’s posting it all over FB. I haven’t seen it because we have each other blocked.
They continue on with family as if it were normal even though they created this chaos and drama with insane lies which caused our family to fracture in the first place, blaming it on me–the reason I told all to go “pound sand!

But the fact that no one is saying,” hey, this isn’t right” especially those I thought were my friends, simultaneously hurts me more and CONFIRMS that my choice for nc was the right one for me.

It is really devastating to be on the receiving end of family’s thoughtlessness or deliberate meanness especially when I’m the one they know is the most tender hearted.

I’m with ya, Alaina!!



No need to be “sorry for the ramble” I think you did well!




You said “I do understand why abuse victims can end up reacting like this but that doesn’t make it okay…” and that was the point that I was trying to make. I also agree that she ostracized herself. I don’t believe that you did anything wrong, and I believe the majority of us here are trying to recover from behavior that is way too similar to Kimberly’s.

If there is a gentler way to reach her, because I do see that she is hurting, without letting her get away with lashing out at anyone, I would really like to know what could be done.

I also feel it’s very important for us to know when and how to respond to that feeling in our gut that something’s not right, and the benefit of the doubt has reached its limit.

It is very difficult to address this kind of issue without it coming across as personal. It is just as important to me that if I was triggered by words or phrases and misunderstood anyone’s intention, I want to work on my own response.

I know people would tell me that I’m beating a dead horse here, but I see it as performing an autopsy.


Mary Grace
I think being tender hearted myself is a gift. We care about other’s hurts too.
We are like tender plants needing gentle nurturing so we can bloom!


Hi Everyone!
Love this conversation!
I completely understood and related to what and how Alaina explained both her reactions and position on this whole thing with Kimberly. Plus I got 2 private emails from Kimberly that didn’t show up here and those didn’t clarify anything either. The thing that got me was when she posted the stuff that caused everyone to react (and even to try to sooth, calm, and reassure her) and then she said she was over it and it wasn’t ‘here’ anyway. After that, I thought Kimberly should apologize as well. I personally spent an hour on this yesterday and then she said “nevermind” and then she went after Aliana again. I don’t understand that, but I don’t have to understand it.
In the past I would put the person in ‘moderation’ for stuff like this, and then when they calmed down I would take them out of moderation again… but I realize that I was then the only person who knew about the comments that were accusatory or whatever… so this time I just let it all be here. People forget that the whole thing is in writing and we can all go back and read everything to see if there was misunderstanding or whatever. Most of us come from this fog storm in our own families or origin and the last thing we want is to have it happen here BUT that is what Kimberly was saying was happening to her. And that in itself is a trigger because that is what we are all fighting against. SO then the truth needs to be looked at; since Kimberly wasn’t willing to actually say WHO or WHERE she was shamed and attacked, (which would have at least clarified the situation so that it could have been address or diffused if there actually was an attack OR if it was a misunderstanding) everyone started to look at “was it something I said?” which is exactly what we have been conditioned to do in dysfunctional family. All we have to go on is the last 50 comments or so, in which I could NOT find any reason Kimberlys reaction, but she didn’t seem willing to work it out. She just wanted to sweep it under the carpet, (which is also exactly what happens in dysfunctional families, and that ALSO causes us here to react!) Everyone here seemed to me to be willing to work it out with her, but she withdrew herself. That was her choice and it isn’t our fault or flaw.
I am proud of everyone here for the willingness to continue in this conversation and for the willingness to explain and clarify and STILL stick to the truth and not bow down to abusive treatment. This makes me feel really good about my passion and purpose when it comes to the work that I do!
Love and hugs, Darlene


Alaina (379),

I didn’t mean to imply that anyone was responsible for Kimberly leaving, and you certainly shouldn’t feel responsible. She chose to leave (if she really left…something tells me she didn’t). My post simply meant that many of us are in various stages of this journey. I didn’t read all of the back and forth posts (perhaps I should have), because I didn’t think it was necessary at the time.

My comments about her staying were related to my belief that this is a good place to learn how to set actual boundaries, and that includes receiving criticism. If people are not up to that task…what can you do?


Thanks, guys!! Weird part is I have felt lighter and happier since I sent that email. I am no longer willing to let them intrude upon my life. I know what kind of spin my mom will put on this whole thing, and I don’t care. I will look like the ungrateful brat, but I’ve worn that badge for a long time. Now, I have to work on my relationships with the people in my family I still want to connect with – my brothers/sisters-in-law and my nieces. Holidays will be rough, but I have my kid and my boyfriend and his family, who by the way, are big supporters! 🙂


BTW Im going today to a plastic surgeon for a consult re: a Mascetomy and reconstructive surgery for breast cancer.

I am thankful for every day, and do wish I had my Mom’s support, but if it isnt about her, it is not important.

My positive state of mind is because of NC, this place to share and heal, and a loving husband, and a few good people, and my older sister, who I have selectively shared info with.

Do I have down, and sad scared times? Yes, but I will not let the negative emotions consume me like I used to.

Best wishes to all. Thank you Darlene


Hi Ally!!
Congrats on doing what you needed to do for you! You are an amazing kid! I remember when I realized that I was a ‘good daughter’ ~ A GREAT DAUGHTER in fact and there was some sadness around that I had never been acknowledged or validated for that, BUT I couldn’t make them change and I simply decided that I didn’t want to (or deserve to) put up with it anymore. Their choice (of not responding and just ‘letting me go’) was very painful but today I realize that I don’t miss the way things were.
hugs, Darlene


d ch
I wish I had my mom’s support for a lot of things too; and saying that is healing. I can deeply relate to the fact that so much fog cleared when I drew proper boundaries.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Hobie, Darlene, Mary-Grace and Callynt for all your words.

Callynt, just so you know, I didn’t read your or anyone else’s comments about wishing she hadn’t left as saying that I was responsible. I never felt that anyone’s comments implied that I was wrong. It’s just that when I read that people wished she hadn’t left, I wondered on my own, of my own self-questioning, whether or not I should have done something differently, that I’d made a decision that affected others without knowing how anybody would feel or what they wanted… but I can’t really live my life by consensus, getting everybody’s okay before I stand up to something. It’s unhealthy to live like that. I can take people’s feelings into account, and I certainly want to, but I have to do what I feel is right. I’d put quite a lot time and effort in conversation with Kimberly, trying to clear up what I thought was perhaps a misunderstand of things I had written (because there seemed to be certain links between what she went off on and the things I had said), so it was really off-putting for her to just push it away with an “oh I’m fine now.”… But anyway, to be clear, no one implied that I was responsible or that i shouldn’t have done what I did… I just started to wonder, conscientiously, you know? I definitely don’t want to pass the guilt trips around so that you or anyone else who hoped she’d come back feel bad that I felt that you’d implied that I ought to… definitely no need for that…. But this sure is the spin Darlene was talking about. This is what dysfunction does to people (or to people with hearts and consciences), trying to figure out how to just get along.

ugh, I hate the power that comes from the collective. All you need is the one “bad guy,” the supporter who attacks you for “attacking” the bad guy (i.e. defending yourself), maybe a couple who think you’re wrong but they’re being stoic and put it to the side and the rest who are neutral and not wanting to be involved but participating in the family plans and maybe throw in a couple people who know you are absolutely right but decide that it’s better to just be quiet because they know the others aren’t open to hearing the truth and don’t want the drama of trying, that it’s also the mature way of dealing with those who are simply “enlightened” to the truth. Throw in maybe nieces or nephews, younger cousins, kids you don’t want to involve in the mess of all this, or ones who can’t possibly understand anything (like my toddler nephew) whom you can’t have access to except through the adults you have problems with… so much power in this whole thing. And “the bad guy” acts like he/she has no clue of this, like your relationships with others are independent of them… I wish but no of course not.



When Kimberly opened up her comments to you personally with the hard-start up of:
“Are you speaking to me, Alaina?” I could actually see her with wide eyes, hand on chest and a gape on her jaw…as if to illustrate her complete stunned response that she should 1) be addressed in any way other than with sympathy (did I mention I have stage 4 cancer?) 2) that ANYone would call her on her stuff, let alone SUGGEST she apologize, & 3) …well, I can’t think of a third other than it personally PISSED ME OFF. It was all tooooooo familiar. Like Darlene, I just wanted to let it be.

Like Hobie said so eloquently her words typed were almost verbatim of my mentally unstable sister who gaslights everyone who doesn’t “agree” with her in any and every way. She is the Authority…but is usually dead wrong on most subjects having to do with family. (By the way, I have 3 older sisters…all of which are uniquely insane).

You really don’t need to “feel” for any of us or all of us regarding a person who we’ve never met, never will meet, and who has left this site because of…well because we were the wrong audience for her. We didn’t bite whole heartedly into her crap. Like a child she took her toys and left. For all we know she was just “trolling” sites like this to see what she (it could have even been a he, for all we know!) in a weird way it really has been wonderful to see that we really ARE healthier than we once were.

Truly, my final word on this:
Like my family, if those who abused chose to apologize for the damage they caused and actively tried to make amends, I’d be happy to reconcile, or at least have a conversation. Until then I’m not gunna grovel or try to minimize or personalize the realities of the situation so THEY can some how feel better.
If that makes appear in any way unfavorable to anyone…I really don’t give a …hoot.

Peace Out 🙂


YES this is a good place for learning how to set actual boundaries! AND it is great to see people setting them! yahoo.
I especially loved your end comment that if people are not up to the task (and I am going to insert ~ the task of working on co-creative relationships based on equal value for all) then what can you do!
hugs, Darlene


Oops, Mary-Grace, I meant “…dealing with those who are simply NOT enlightened to the truth.” I had a supporter who was completely on my side and knew exactly what was happening but after years ago pushing me to address my issues with my mom, eventually was spouting the virtues of keeping one’s truth quietly to oneself. Telling me that the process to the truth is so brutal that people kill themselves and/or fall into addictions and illnesses and all the rest of it… as what? some reason to say that I shouldn’t speak the truth openly to try to get people to face it unless they’re open to it… and her opinion was often when a crisis happens in one’s own life it can bring an opening, so maybe I have hope to have a family yet if something else really terrible happens, you know, instead of people actually just speaking because of the terrible thing that’s already happened but of course it’s true if people aren’t open to it, and you push it, what will happen is the family will splinter. It’s either glued by lies, denial, sweeping under the carpet or it’s splintered. So her stance was why try, if it’s so obvious that they’re not open to hearing? My answer is because the truth is worth saying even if no one hears you but yourself and also in that case—me, I would have heard it. I would have felt it. I would have known that I mattered…. I had an extended family member who doesn’t have contact with much, if any, of the family either and I talked to him after I was sexually assaulted last year and he probably expressed more anger than anybody else I told and seemed to hope that I friends who would beat the shit out of the guy for me but he said to me that the guy needed to know that I was “not to be victimized” and I just felt numb because I’d been victimized all my life and nobody in the family made it clear that I was “not to be victimized.” I was so incredibly screwed up that the morning after this assault I just about told the guy not to feel bad, that other people had done worse to me (because he was feigning guilt and wanted to date me after he’d raped me) but I didn’t say it because I thought I was being self-pitying… It took me a while to get my brain back on and see the mother-fucker for what he was (please excuse my language). But I most definitely wonder what would my life be like if that idea that i was “not to be victimized” had been brought out clear into reality (always, from the outset, all my life) by those people who want me to believe they love and care about me.


you’re right in that it’s nice to know that we’re healthier than we once were and that we can see through this stuff and speak out. I’ve come along way. That “Are you speaking to me, Alaina?” would have scared me but it didn’t. It just pissed me off. I have to work on my second-guessing but I’m coming along.


Ackk…if it makes ME appear…rather

That was weird. Lol!
Don’t over analyze my typo. I’ll do that plenty. Lol!
(I really Do count! I do, I do! Lol ;-})


Wow, Alaina.
I am so sorry you were assaulted. And, btw, motherfucker is my FAVORITE swear word. I don’t swear, being the Christian church lady in the choir and all, but I once heard a 86 year old use that word appropriately and I from that moment on have owned that for myself. Lo!!

MF is an accurate description of the dirtbag (and all rapists) who hurt you.

@d ch
My prayers are going up for you and your reconstruction. Love being sent to you.

Darlene thank you for all you have created here and for speaking kindly to Kimberly.
Your plate is full! Thank you for your graciousness.

There is so much being shared and written from all here… I am absorbing it in…I wish I could respond to everyone’s posts which has touched my tender heart, but just know when I say from the bottom of my heart:


Love the way you write and express yourself.
Spot on, in my book.



The idea of someone with your name saying the MF word cracks me up LOL. Sometimes you just gotta let loose with the profanity 🙂

I can think of a few other words for Alaina’s perpetrators, but I don’t want to get too far off topic. As I was reading the posts from the past hour, it occurred to me how easy it is for people to assume the victim role when they don’t know how to either express themselves or deal with feelings of isolation. I’ve done this in the past, and I now see that my friends who didn’t fall for it were really doing me a favor. By not caving in to my warped view, they were forcing me to deal with my own stuff. I learned victimhood from my mother. Lately, it’s been a daily conscious, speak to myself out loud choice to NOT see myself as a victim anymore.


I’m glad my post didn’t offend you. Thank you for clarifying 🙂


Ever since I realized how dishonest and weird (strangely competitive; scratch and tear at others to elevate oneself) my family was, I’ve realized, with precise clarity, that I had received false feedback (subtle undercuts to outright lies) from those whom I had trusted the most to give me honest encouragement–all my life. Yes, brainwashed.

I had a very warped sense of who I was or even what I looked like because what I felt (happy, content) was contrary to what I was told I was expressing (anger and bitterness). I am also quite pretty. I know that sounds vain but after being told I was an ugly girl (who bloomed late) I was further confused by the admiring glances I would get from men…were they staring at me because I was gross??

No, turns out I was hot! I was being sincerely admired but couldn’t see it because my self image was so whacked.

After my dad died when I was 42 I got all his pictures of us 5 kids. Something of reality inside me clicked for the first time as I sorted through the photos, the tears and grief: Even though I admired my long legged sisters, I was the prettiest of them all!!
They were jealous. Of my looks, my youth, my calmness…my goodness. I’m kind, my sisters, I have learned are not.

It’s a very weird reality to wake up to mid 40’s but thank God I did.
I have been rewiring my thinking and my past. I have gone back into my memories and reevaluated the situations for myself.
I’ve been presenting myself, past and present, with reality–good and bad.

Turns out, I’m pretty blessed.


Hi Hobie,

I loved your post #368. It made me go back and look at what I previously wrote to see if I was still falling back into those same sick ways of thinking. For me it was a great learning experience. I was able to pinpoint some areas that I need more work on and I was able to praise my self for the things that I was able to see clearly now. In the end I feel like Kimberly is her own worst enemy and she is the one preventing her self from that chance at freedom. Kimberly is going to have to work through her own junk just like the rest of us. All I know is it felt good not allowing other people’s junk to ruin my day!!!She is on her own with that one because I no longer am allowing that kind of chaos back into my life. I think that is what triggered me the most. That feeling of pure chaos. YUCK!!!



I love Darlene’s post about finding my worth from being attractive.
I was kinda stunned that while I was healing initially I began to gain weight. It feels great to be my REAL size…and I feel more beautiful than I ever have in my whole life.

I only need to be Attractive for ONE man, my husband. And that’s freedom.
That’s real love.



I just read Pam’s post from June, 2011
“The power of the lie is fear.”
Amazing!! Great share.

I’m so grateful for the knowledge that I am not alone in this solitary battle.
My husband too has been with me through it all–the ONLY one. Well, he and Jesus.

Thank you, Pam!! Thank you Darlene.


Hobie, Mary-Grace, Darlene, Alaina, etc.
Can I just say how deliriously happy I am to have you in my life, albeit via the internet? For years, no one (except a handful of close friends) could commiserate other than “Well, have you tried to talk to her about it?”. WTF? No, dearie, I’ve been spending the majority of my adult life slapping a smile on my face and talking about the weather! I’ve tried every method I could possibly try to come up with to no avail. She is never going to change, but I can. I can grow and flourish, I can stand tall, I can rise above all of the never-ending bullshit that she points in my direction. I am grieving for my nieces and my brothers and 1 sister-in-law (the other one is a clone of my mother). Oh, the holidays were delightful with the two of them ganging up on me!

Example – last year, when my daughter was a senior and my oldest niece was a sophomore, my sister-in-law asked me if I had done this or that for my kid’s college. When I kept saying I had it handled, she wound my mom by saying that she was already starting on my niece’s college apps! Again, WTF? She’s a freaking sophomore! Then a split second later (because whatever the monster-in-law says is gospel), my mom jumps in. SMH – I just don’t need or deserve that kind of negative crap. But to spend any time with my nieces (oldest turns 16 this year) I have to go through the monster-in-law. Sigh.

The only other thing I can think of, is to start texting my niece. Talk to her (via teenage methods) directly. She is a sweetheart and my favorite…..I know…..

Here’s to me! Here’s to you!! Here’s to creating our own support networks and our own families.


P.S. Can you tell this crap has been building for years with no release valve? 🙂


I can totally relate! I feel the same. The only relatives I really talk to or text are distant cousins who haven’t seen the abuse. They are kind and say, “well maybe someday it will all work out.” What they could never understand is my going NC WAS working it out!! God pulled me out of a burning house. And I am free. I had to, and still do, mourn what was lost “in the fire” but I escaped with my life.

I appreciate wanting to communicate with nieces and nephews, and I do…to the extent they want to have a relationship with me.
I have to remember they are still in relationship with those who mistreated me. Like I was blind to the family soup we all swam in, they are too.

I need to be careful to not let my strong longing for family connection trigger my obsessive people pleasing. With all my relationships now, it HAS to be give and take. If I’m doing ALL the work, than it’s not a relationship.

With my trying to have a relationship with my younger nieces & nephews I have to remember that my crazy sibs may try to reach out to MY kids one day when they are old enough. Do I want that?? So my DESIRE to have relationship with people within my old family system STILL keeps me and my kids open to those who would be abusive.

So, how I see it is: I’m now sitting in a rubber raft, stranded in the middle of the ocean. I have been saved and am not being eaten by the sharks but I am without water. The temptation is to drink from the miles of water I am surrounded by only to find that it will kill me faster than the sharks. My only option is to wait. Wait for divine intervention, direction and strength.

This site has been an angel sent from God to encourage me on this strange, single man raft; to offer me spiritual water and sustenance– literal mana from Heaven.


As far as mothering goes…I am THE authority over my children, second only to my husband.
No one gets to tell me or shame me into feeling or thinking “they know better” than I do. They came from MY body…I am the ONLY expert on them in the world, and my husband and I will die being my children’s advocates.

I homeschool so just imagine the pressures I get from all the family. I HAVE to know my stuff, but trust me I falter sometimes in my confidence. But, my children excel in their studies and are already in college level subjects even though they are both under 14. Pretty awesome stuff! But it bucks all systems, and makes some people uncomfortable.
My point being, I had to say “screw what others think or say, I have to follow what I know is right for MY family.”

One of the great JOYS of no contact is I didn’t have to live to be 89 to be the matriarch of my!!
I am the head of my own family of origin now and, so far, I have broken the chain of abuse.
My daughters are kind, modest, funny, smart, super talented and have no concept of “earning approval” or love just to belong in a family into which they were born!
In our home, house and family they are loved and welcome because they ARE.


Mary-Grace – my kid has witnessed the crap first-hand, which I hate. I want her to decide whether or not to have a relationship with her aunt and her grandparents, but since she has seen what kind of relationship that would be….well, she hasn’t talked to them in while either. She is amazing, and I make sure to tell her that. She’s funny, quirky, awkward, adorable, smart – a lot like me! LOL! She is light-years more mature at 18 than I was at even 25, due to their influence. The day I had her I decided that I was not, under any circumstances, make her feel bad about herself, or she had to earn my love.




Yes, I’m lucky my kids were too young to even know. They just know I don’t hang with my fam any more.
They don’t miss what they never had.



To clarify:
Lol, I don’t actually say the term MF outLoud! Just in my head. Lol
When I confessed to my husband my secret affinity for that particular compound descriptive he was stunned and said:
“YOU can’t say THAT!!” Lol
I don’t. But there are times when it is appropriate. Just as an other word which I can’t even TYPE, let alone say, is a VERY accurate description of at least one of my sisters. Lol (wink)

Ok, I guess I’m done monopolizing the blog with my thoughts.

Loneliness is a prominent feeling I have in my heart, I feel connected here.



OK Mary Grace since you brought up the term MF, I have to share story that I hope will be amusing.

I was in the car with my kids when they were in their early teens, one boy & one girl, I don’t remember what happened but I responded by referring to a word that started with an M and had 17 letters (I hadn’t counted I was just thinking “many letters”). So one of the kids states “But Mom,{MF}only has 12 letters.” Yes – I won’t type it out, but one of them said it.

Some parents would have felt the need for discipline but I just thought it was too funny.


LMBO! I would have died laughing.
That is priceless. Smart kids!

I accidentally taught my 2.5 yr old daughter the ef word…yeah proud driving moment for me!! Lol
That really helped me stop swearing (so much…out loud. Lol!)


I have a somewhat unusual question. Does anyone here dream of their family when asleep? Sometimes I do. I assume that’s my subconscious wishing that I could be with them, but in reality I know that will bring more harm than good.


No, I don’t dream of them. I do consciencely think of them in a loving way, thinking what I would do if we were still in contact, like, birthday or Christmas cards. Phone calls, etc. I consciously wish things were different and they were still active in my life in a healthy way…the reality is: that just isn’t possible.


S1988 I have had dreams of having phone conversations with 2 estranged family members.



Did you have a dream recently?



Not recently, but it happens every now and then. I would say the last time it happened was about a few weeks ago. I don’t remember anything specific, but those dreams were usually mild. I do recall a couple of dreams of me shouting at them, and that was when I stayed with my mother for over a year when I came across hard times. I interpreted them as warning me to move out ASAP or things would get worse. At my current place, I had a couple of mild dreams, and I think that was my subconscious telling me that I wish I could have a healthy relationship, but in real life that will never be.


It’s sucky, right??
I thought I was only one who had situation like this. I am grateful for the company but so very sad to learn that estrangement from family is a common experience for so many.
My heart is broken over it, and for all the others on this site and for those yet to find it. I’m saddened that my relationships came down to making hard choices…but am so encouraged to know that I and obviously so many others were able to make the best and hardest choice of all: I chose life.


Hi S1988 and everybody,

I’m just catching up on the site reading all posts. I read the dream post and the answer is ‘yes’ I do dream of family but in a different way than you. I dream of the past about my best family member who was my “real” father figure, my Cousin Dean. I dream of the road not taken if somehow I had been able to live with him. It was never about money and I would have gladly moved to a small town in Washington State from Seattle. I could have had a different life in a small town where we would live in a double wide mobile home. My relative (father’s age) lived on a teacher’s pension and disability. Maybe like you, I dreamed of mainly being loved and wanted and spoiled…don’t know. There was the opportunity when my father took the overseas job (engineer) where I could have stayed with a relative to get away from my parents. However, my evil Narc mom would NEVER give up her power. I just wanted to add if you’re interested in dream work (highly recommended for self-understanding) there are good books. My favorite dream book is “Sylvia Browne’s Book of Dreams” and “Lucid Dreaming” by Stephen La Berge. The best way to interpret dreams is keeping a dream diary, pen and night light on by the bed. I could go on and on talking about my dream experiences. Suffice to say that I have experienced most everything in these dream books from precognitive dreams to past life memories to clearing the everyday subconscious junk. I do believe that if you have a clear dream like a “normal” conversation with a deceased person (friend/family member) then it’s most likely a true meeting in the Spirit world. The American Indians, Australian Aborigines and others believe that you can communicate with the dead through dreams and it’s NOT that word, “imagination”! Something to think about.

It’s been harder than I thought after my father’s death. I appreciated all the kind support from this site. When is it truly over? My crazy, evil Narc mom and Golden Child cousin want to move here and live in my city. The situation is so tangled and complicated that I don’t understand their motives. They know that we all don’t get along. I think they both enjoy harrassing me and know they can get away with it. They are not stalking me like a sexual predator,so I can’t file a police report. My mom is now 82 years old and not in the best of health. She can’t possibly last that much longer. I think that the GC cousin wants to get on her good side for money. It’s sad but for a long time I was happy living alone in my house. My Narc mom lives about 2 1/2 hour drive from me in a smaller town and Narc cousin is in the military (but soon to retire after 20 years service).

I don’t know how to protect myself. I don’t want to be seen in public with my Narc mom and cousin for shopping or at a restaurant. I pray that no one (coworkers, neighbors, BFF, groups) can see me together with mom and cousin. My Narc mom and cousin can’t go out in public like normal people. My mom has to make a public scene everywhere we go because she can. I wish I could just crawl on the floor to get away and not be seen. At times I wanted to almost cry in public because she was so bad. The problem is that I recently learned that there is a small inheritance in my name (father’s Will) and I do want to return to college. I am single and live alone and money is tight. I am struggling a bit financially and applying for better jobs but it’s tough out there.

Trust me–I have read all the assertiveness training books and self-esteem books. I don’t know how to handle a crazy Narc woman who can’t play by the rules. According to these books, when the Narc attacks you in a certain way then there is a canned response on how to answer back. But this only works if the Narc is a bit normal. When I deal with Narc mom, her behavior is so wild and off the charts. The Narc cousin supports her like a partner in crime. Do these nasty, evil people simply enjoy tortuing people like this. I appreciate all answers.

Blessed Be,



Hi Yvonne,

I’ll start out with one of my favorite quotes: “Trying to reform narcissists by reasoning with them or by appealing to their better nature is about as effective as spitting in the ocean.” Can’t get enough of that quote!!

You said when is it truly over???… and it made me think and this is what I came up with for my self and I hope this helps you to put things into perspective too. When I no longer allowed my toxic parents to rule my every thought and every move is when it was truly over and when I realized that that decision was mine to make and not theirs is when it was over. When I no longer allowed my parents to use me as their own personal door mat and scape goat is when it was over and when I realized that I was worth just as much as they are is when it was truly over. When I realized that I am the one who holds the key to my own freedom that is when it was over.

It’s a process. It took me a long time to break free from the sick mind set that I am still this helpless little girl who still doesn’t have any choices when it came down to dealing with my mother and father. It’s just not true anymore but that learned helplessness is so hard to overcome. When I realized that I am the one who gets to choose that is when it was truly over.

I don’t need my parents to change one thing in order for me to be free from their toxicity anymore. I am the one who needed to change how I looked at things. To me trying to figure out how a narcissist ticks isn’t going to change a thing. Learning how to set up my own boundaries is what made all the difference and now I no longer allow them to spread their toxicity in to my life anymore. Now THEY don’t have a choice.

I know how embarrassing it is to be around people like your mother because I used to feel the same way when my father acted like the fool!! Now I think to myself if he wants to make the fool out of himself that is up to him but I am not going to take on his poor behavior and make it my own anymore. He is on his own with that one and the truth is other people weren’t looking at me as the one who did something wrong I did that all by myself because I am the one who took on his poor behavior and I made it my own and I carried around all the guilt and embarrassment and shame that went along with it when the truth is it was never mine to begin with, it was his but due to being abused I couldn’t see this truth but now I do and that is all that counts. Hope this helps.

Peace and Freedom,


Kris (423)

“I don’t need my parents to change one thing in order for me to be free from their toxicity anymore. I am the one who needed to change how I looked at things. To me trying to figure out how a narcissist ticks isn’t going to change a thing. Learning how to set up my own boundaries is what made all the difference and now I no longer allow them to spread their toxicity in to my life anymore. Now THEY don’t have a choice..”

Thank you so much for posting this. It’s something that I need to remind myself about quite often, because I spend so much time worrying about my abusers and navigating through their emotional BS, that I tore down boundaries that I was lucky enough to be able to construct. Now that I’m healing and moving on with my life, I’m learning to let go of the lies that I need my abusers to understand what they have done to me, or that I need them to change, validate me, apologize, etc. These people spent decades manipulating and controlling me. No way will a 30 minute conversation sink through.

It’s empowering and scary to have this freedom at the same time. Do you find that to be true for yourself?


I totally understand Callynt what you are describing, I am thinking that I need to start reminding myself everyday that I am a very strong, clever independent and beautiful person and I will not be made to feel any other way. Sometimes its hard but I will get there.


Sometimes I find estrangement both liberating and intimidating (and I went NC twice.)

For example, every time I leave my home, I get paranoid, and watch out for my mother’s car. (We live in the same town, and she said she would leave one day, but I don’t know when.) I’m afraid she might start stalking me, but I remind myself that I can file a restraining order if that happens even though I hope it won’t get that extreme.

Another worry I have is that when my mother dies, I have a feeling that my older siblings (the golden ones) may hold me partly accountable for her death. Something to look forward to, I suppose.

But my current lifestyle is so much peaceful. It’s the first time in my life that I actually felt free. (I also make a living remotely.) Estrangement from blood family is controversial, but it’s much more peaceful than walking on eggshells, standing guard, and constantly feeling like I have to defend myself from verbal attacks. I don’t know how LC people can do it. I salute them, but it’s not for me.


Hi Callynt,

Yes, I find myself to be terrified half to death on many occasions!!! Learning how to stand up on my own two feet is proving to be quite the task! I trip and stumble and fall all over my self but that is how you learn by making mistakes. A whole new concept where I came from because I was taught that making mistakes means that “YOU ARE” a mistake so it is daunting to say the least but freeing all at the same time like you mentioned.

I still struggle with trying to figure out where to put my parent’s in my life. It’s been over 2 ½ years of very minimal contact. The only conversation I had with them is when I ran into them at Wal-mart last year and that was about all I could take!!! lol What is it about me that I am not seeing that still tells me that I am the one who is doing something wrong if I cut them out of my life for good??? I still can’t figure it out despite knowing how much better my life has been without them in it. So frustrating. Any input would greatly be appreciated. I know no one can tell another person to go no contact. I am hoping that when someone shares their narrative that something will finally click inside of my head that will help me decide what the best thing for me is to do. Thanks in advance.

S1988…I am with you. This low contact thing is driving me nuts!!! I think you are the courageous one. I am the one who is still afraid to do it and I don’t know if it is because I am still learning how to set up my own boundaries or what but even with that the truth of the matter is I know in my heart that I cannot stand being around their toxicity anymore. I don’t even want to get into setting up my own boundaries with them because I know dealing with them is futile. They don’t have anything that I want anymore and I know it yet I am still afraid of cutting them off. Somewhere along the way I am still telling my self that I am the weak one if I can’t find a way to make this thing work out. If I cut them off then somehow I am the one who failed. I know that I am close to figuring this thing out!!! Just thinking out loud now.





It’s okay to be frightened and unsure. As you read in my case, it took two estrangements to be where I am now. The first time, I felt extremely guilty, but I hoped that my hiatus would give my family a wake-up call and change their ways. When I moved in with my mother four years later as a result of financial troubles and to give her another chance, she “forgave” me (though I didn’t think what I did called for forgiveness since I was protecting myself) every now and then, she would scold me for criticizing the family. Even if I did do something that warranted forgiveness, when you forgive someone, you don’t constantly rub their noses in it. I expected apologizes from her, but she only gave non-apologies that blamed something else or me. When my siblings would visit, they pretty much did the same thing our mother did. After a year and three months of being treated like a possession/child/therapist/part-time personal assistant depending on my mother’s volatile moods, I lost hope that she would change and decided to leave for good.

I have to admit that those feelings of second guessing myself and guilt still surface, but not as much like the first estrangement. I don’t want to go back to my toxic, hypocritical family and be a prisoner again. Take it a few steps at a time. There’s no need to rush. It’s not easy, but you will arrive there with practice. Sooner or later, you’ll miss being in the prison of toxicity less and less.



Yes, I understand your letter. I tell myself constantly that there is absolutely nothing that I can do to change the behavior of my mom and cousin. I will never understand the abuser and why they derive pleasure from hurting others. I know that they claim to feel nothing. It’s just hard having very low contact.

@ s1988

I keep very low contact with the remainder of my toxic family, with mom and cousin. I can beat myself up over the past and wish I had taken another path. There were past choices that were made for me where I had no control over my life, especially moving to another state after high school (father retired). I became trapped in my former city and dreamed of moving far away to a new state. I got as far as moving to the major city, but same state. If I knew back then what I understand about these Narcs I would have made different choices. My problem was that I was too naive, honest, and trusting. I wanted to believe in the good in people, including my parents. I tried to confide in others regarding my Narc mom back in high school, “Oh, she can’t be that bad can she?” I should have trusted my instincts more. If something does not feel right, then it’s not right. I was waiting for somebody to hold my hand and give me permission saying that it’s OK for me not to love or trust my parents and that feeling no love for my parents did not make me a terrible person. When I was growing up, there was no internet, youtube videos, or a site like EFB. The sad part is that I don’t come from the younger generation with all the online support and understanding that exists now. I can’t believe that I have survived this long (age 47) and I tell myself that I can last a bit longer until my Narc mom passes away (age 82).

I am a lot like you in ways. If it gets too crazy, I may have to get a restraining order. My Narc mom has even tried to impersonate me in situations to find out information on me, including my cell phone numbers statement, bank account, and talking to my neighbors. The evil cousin is the same as her. I wonder if he is just dumb or truly dark energy? This Narc cousin truly believes that I enjoyed giving my parents a bad time as if I’m the one who started everything. He just does not see that it was my parents hurting me and not the other way around. The Narc cousin is really lucky that he had a military career since he is too dumb to understand anything—he would have failed college! LOL! My mom can’t steal my money since I don’t have a lot, but she enjoys scaring me. Sometimes you can’t move or make life changes fast enough. I know that if I start beating myself up over past choices then I lose the strength and energy to deal with their present toxicity. I wonder how much longer I will have to deal with them? Thanks for sharing.


Hi. Here is another part of my story that I believe that I have not shared here yet. I have been low contact with my family pretty much since I left their home in 1981 at age 22 to move across the country with my soon to be husband to Denver. His parents lived in Denver. That is a whole other story, and not a nice one either. But I digress. My parents always lived in the midwest, so I was not close to them geographically. That changed in later years as we have lived in Indiana or Kentucky since 1989.

Here is the story that I want to tell. Reading Yvonne’s post where some one said to her: “oh she can’t be that bad can she?”, brought up the story for me when my sister was pregnant with her first child. My sister and bro-in-law live in the suburbs of Chicago. We were having a get together for my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary in a restaurant near my sister’s home. My parents drove down from northern Wisconsin and my husband and I flew to Chicago from Louisville,KY. As soon as we got there I was feeling a strange vibe from all four of them. I could not put my finger on it, but it was palpable to me. The next day right before my husband and I were going to go to the airport to go home, my mother pulls me aside and says my sister wants to talk to me. My mother and father are standing together, but as usual my mother did all the talking. So, my sister comes and takes me upstairs and starts telling me what I am doing wrong. She is crying and telling me that I am not showing enough interest in her during her pregnancy. I am basically being a bad sister to her. She wants an apology from me and for me to be “nicer” to her and got involved more with her pregnancy. I told her that I did not understand why she felt this way. I was sorry that she felt that way….but I told her I did nothing wrong. When I call her to talk to her this is her cue to tell me about the pregnancy. WTF! I did not even know she was pregnant until my parents told me after she was into it for quite a few months. No, she just wanted to verbally smack me like she always did. Now she was wining to my parents and got them involved to give me a slap as well.

We left the house to go to the airport to go home very shortly after that. My dad drove us so I could not vent until we got to the airport. Oh my! I was fit to be tied and seeing red! We got down to the gate and I had to write out my pass still and I could not do it easily! I was a SWA employee, so my husband and I travelled for free. I don’t think I had ever felt that MAD before in my life!

So here is the rest of the story. This is the part that triggered my memory while reading Yvonne’s post. The next day I go back to work and I tell my work friends what happened to me. One woman said very matter-of-factly…oh that is just her hormones from her pregnancy. Nope. THAT is just my sister. I did get an interesting take on the scenario from my neighbor who had taken care of the cats while we were gone. When I told her the story she understandingly said, oh, they are ganging up on you! That was it in a nutshell.

So for all of you who are low contact and struggle on the fence: do I go NC or do I stay LC? My fellow EFBers you will know when you cannot take it anymore. It hurts and hurts, but the day will come when you say to yourself, I cannot take this BS anymore. I am not someone’s whipping girl. It hurts to be with them and it hurts to let them go. For me, the “good” times were such a measly part to the whole scene that I had to cut my losses and just leave.



Yes, it can be very scary, and I completely understand the “If you make a mistake then you are a mistake” belief. You know the shaming we go through growing up with parents who do this is ridiculous. Meanwhile, people who don’t have this baggage, relish their mistakes because they get to LIVE and LEARN!!!!!


Your sister was so wrong for what she did. You know, when you are going through major life events, you want people to be happy for you. However, if you have any sense, you’re happy enough for yourself, and all the other support is just icing on the cake. I’ve seen friends go through what you went through with their siblings. I have a dear friend, who, after she had her engagement party, her sister wrote her a letter telling her ALL of the ways she offended her during that party. At the time, I poo poo’ed it, and I regret that now. I told her, that her sister was feeling threatened. I was in the fog then. Her sister was threatened, but she was also threatening. She was letting my friend know that she still wanted to be able to pull her strings.

I’m glad you were able to access your anger. It was definitely warranted. As far as your mother trying to impersonate you to get info on you…Oy vey! The crazy things that people do.


Mary-Grace, comment #402, attractiveness was always a difficult area for me. My mother was a pretty woman, but she seemed to have huge issues about getting older. She lied about her age and did all sorts of weird things to try to appear younger, and this was before the days of tanning salons, waxing, and the millions of hair and skin products out there now. She always told me I was ugly. I believed it and acted as if I was ugly because I believed it about myself. She also helped fullfill this ” ugliness” of mine by not bathing me enough, cutting my hair herself, unevenly, and dressing me in unattractive clothes. Of course school age kids pick up on these things and they teased me reinforcing the feeling of ugliness in me. Looking back at all this now, I was wondering WHY a mother would want her daughter to feel ugly. I think there were two reasons behind it. First, she felt that her prettiness came with certain entitlements like that she deserved more attention and shouldn’t have to engage in mundane household tasks. She was also entitled to nicer clothes and visits to the beauty parlor each week. In her sick way she was able to justify why she should have better things than me, and why it was okay to have a young child ironing and cleaning bathrooms. The second part was related to her fear of aging and losing her attractiveness. Keep the daughter looking as shabby as possible so the daughter doesn’t draw attention from her. She could deny in her own mind that her teen daughter was now at an age where boys would be attracted to her. As I started babysitting and had extra money, I bought more of my own clothes, and could now be in charge of my hair and makeup. My mother seemed annoyed when we would be at a gathering and I would be talking or dancing with someone. A few years later I started dating the person I would marry and she was envious of our relationship to the point where she would make nasty comments if he had his arm around me.
But It is only recently that I started challenging my mothers Ugly comments. I spent my whole life thinking I deserved the put downs because I believed her ” pretty is entitled” philosophy, and being that I believed I was ugly, I was not in that elite club, not entitled to even basic respect, and that I had to just accept my ugly place in life. Now I can finally see her manipulation and her sick purposes for treating a child, and later, teen and adult like an ugly inferior being. I can look in the mirror now and not see an ugly person and can look at old pictures and no longer view them as ugly.


Amen, Amber.

It was hard to reconcile what I saw and what I was told. As a child and developing teen it was very confusing.
I developed a dysmorphia. I always thought I was fat even at 110 lbs. I was told attractiveness is what is most important, but sorry…”you’ll have to go on your personality.” I always felt and believed I was ugly because I was never told otherwise…I wore lots of make up to try to compensate. Today I understand why. It wasn’t until I had a (very handsome) husband and beautiful daughters who all constantly told me how pretty I was and how they wished id stop wearing makeup, “you are prettier without!”

I still sometimes don’t believe them, but I made myself wear less and less til now I only wear mascara. My daughters are naturally lovely and don’t like make up. They could care less how they look because they have learned through watching me with my struggles it’s the inner beauty is what really lasts.


I think that’s the problem with our society to begin with, that there’s so much emphasis on appearance, and not enough attention on inner beauty.

As a self-described Plain Jane, I refuse to get a makeover to appease superficial values. I was picked on a lot as the “ugly girl” during my K-12 years and even by my mother, even though I inherited my gap and overbite from her. She wanted me to get braces since my older sister got them, and I refused to do that because I didn’t (and still don’t) see my teeth as a big deal. I remember at times, she would scold me for having my front teeth stick out of my mouth, which I can’t help. Why should I be blamed for the genes I inherited?

When I was staying with her until I got back on my feet, I found it annoying how she would dress up and ask me how she looked before going out somewhere. She did this practically every week. Now that I’m not there anymore, maybe she could take a picture of herself with her phone and ask her golden children their opinion. Ha! (Though, I’m not sure she would do this since she’s somewhat technology illiterate.)

Anyway, I may not be a candidate for a beauty pageant, but at least I don’t need to make a show of myself to gain validation. What I don’t possess in looks, I can compensate with my brain, such as my love of reading and writing. I’m not sure where I learned to value inner beauty, but it wasn’t from her or any other family members.


There were a few periods in my life that I tried to do the make-up thing. I don’t think it ever lasted more than a few months because I’d recognize that I just couldn’t do make up well enough to actually look better with it than without it. One of those periods of trying to wear make-up was when I first met my husband. Years later, I asked him what he first noticed about me, and he said that he thought I was nice, but I wore too much make-up!

I always thought of myself as fat too. I don’t really care a whole lot anymore. I want to be a person that I can live with because I’m stuck with me! I hope that my outside matches my inside, but if people aren’t really paying attention to who I am, I’m learning to realize I’m not going to convince them of anything they don’t want to know.

I wonder where I learned to value such different things from what my family seems to value now, too. I may never know.



S1988 & Hobie
You guys inspire me!

I think the main issue for me was no matter how I looked, behaved; no matter how talented or successful I was (I owned a salon for 10 years–self employed for 22 years) the message I received was I was “never enough”. Whatever everyone else had that made them in the family ok, I didn’t have it.

Well, I know now that that was total bs.

I am enough, and always have been. 🙂


Just read an article on yourtango and one particular line jumped out at me. The author was talking about her mother, our fave topic, and she said she discussed this with a niece, who “had the same type of non-relationship” with the author’s mother. The niece told her “Your problem is you keep expecting your mother to be your mother”. That really resonated with me. I do keep expecting my mother to act like #1 – a mother and not a judge, and #2 – my mother. I look at my own mother/daughter relationship with my kid (one of which my mother has said on several occasions “why can’t we have a relationship like that?”) and am shocked that she doesn’t try harder with me. I love my child more than anything in this world. I support her in everything she does, and understands her when she fails. I don’t understand how my own mother doesn’t “get” me – I think she never did. Or at least until I hit 17 years old and apparently wised up. She keeps referring to that age in arguments with me “Quit acting like you’re a rebellious 17-year old” is a favorite.

It confuses me. If I feel this much love and acceptance for my own kid, why doesn’t she feel that for me?


Andria – I just read your story. When my brother and sister-in-law moved here from Oregon, the first Xmas after they were back, my sis-in-law pulled me aside and said “You were right. I had no idea it was this bad”. She saw and heard the way my mom and my other sis-in-law ganged up on me. I looked with her with a blank face and asked “What was this bad?”. She replied “What they said to you”. I told her that I tune the 2 of them out so much I don’t hear half of what they say. But it took her like 2 seconds to clue in. She was pissed that I was treated and talked down to. My brother tries to smooth it over, and it’ll last a couple of days, but go right back. I feel ya!


Callynt and Ally,

Thank you for your kind words of support. Yeah, I just have a few words to say about my sister, “what a bitch!” Sometimes people act like they’re bat shit crazy, but they think that you are the “goofy one.”

Ally, I’m sorry about the deal with your sister-in-law. Isn’t it funny(really not funny)how someone tries to smooth things over, but it always seems to go back to where it was because that is how the system “works”!


So, I got this note from my mom:
Saw your FB note that Syd has orientation today. How is she doing? I know you don’t want to talk to us, but we always want to know how things are going for Sydney. I will pay for her pens, pencils, whatever school supplies they require if you will let me know how much they cost.


And here is my reply:
She’s fine. And thank you for offering to buy her supplies.
Do you even understand why I’m angry, because I sure as heck don’t understand why the two of you blew up. It was uncalled for and completely unfair. It makes me incredibly sad that you feel I can’t do anything without a “nudge” from you – I am nearly 50 years old and have been taking care of us for years. And doing it the best I can, which I think is pretty good. I can’t think of a situation where I have completely failed Syd and not followed through on something.
At this point, it’s pointless to argue about it because it won’t change. You will continue to feel that I am lacking in some capacity and I’m exhausted from trying to prove myself or talk with you without getting a lecture or a “reminder”. I’m the one who typically caves and apologizes, but I feel I can’t this time. I don’t have anything to apologize for. And I notice that you aren’t offering any apologies, so you must feel you are in the right as well. Bottom line, even if you won’t apologize for blowing the whole thing out of proportion, you should at least feel some guilt about coming at me while I was at work, and that I will not tolerate. I don’t care to discuss this any further until I get a genuine apology from both of you.


Years I’ve been wanting to get that off my chest. I’m sure she has a laundry list of times that I have “failed” my daughter, but I don’t care. She is my kid and she has turned out beyond my expectations. That’s on me and no one else – not her dad, not her stepmom (who is a lovely person) and certainly not my own parents. I should feel good about that instead of guilty over things I haven’t done for her.


Here is my mother’s reply. SMH:
What I understand is that our styles are totally different. How do you want to go about addressing things? I DO NOT call you at work. I agree when you’re at work, it is not the time or place to do it. If we call your phone when you’re not working, 9 times out of 10 it goes to voice mail. PopPop has tried to contact Sydney via her phone several times but she doesn’t answer and there is no voice mail setup. He has texted her several times with no reply. Let me know when would be a good time to get in touch. You never ever call us. I don’t even get a thank you call if I send you guys something. The last time dad called you, it was to offer help if you needed a ride to get Syd to registration. He also said he apologized for being harsh at some point. I am not embedded in your business. My biggest concern has been Syd being left alone even when she was still in school. You set up a weekend for us to meet Rob and never called or followed through. I have never blamed you for her not having a car. Dad has tried to help you with your finances, tried to get your insurance lowered, but you didn’t follow through with getting him your paper work. I don’t want to argue and I certainly am sorry for hurting your feelings. Don’t know where to go with this.



If it were me, I would back away.
Give it a minute to cool off. When I’m cool, if I believed my parent was
serious, I would arrange a time and PLACE to meet that was convenient
for ME. If my mom kept rescheduling or post poning I would know she
wasn’t sincere.

What comes up for me as I read these exchanges
is this is exactly the type of emails that got me nowhere
with my family.

They sound a bit stalkerish with your daughter. Their relationship
with her as a teen goes through you. If my parent or sibs tried to
go around me to talk to my daughters while they were still minors
I would not be cordial with my response to them about it.

My dream with my family is that we will meet, face to face, talk about differences.
Emails, texts and phone calls aren’t personal enough, not for the crap
they’ve put me through.

WHEN the apologize to me and my family, if they ever chose to, they will have
to look me in the eye when they do it.

I deserve that courticy and respect.


I just have to say that I feel for you. I have the sense that your mother’s response isn’t genuine. There’s an air of “you’re misunderstanding us” woven through her words in a way that contradicts what she actually wrote.

Just for clarification, is your last line “don’t know where to go with this” part of your mother’s response, or your words to us?

This kind of communication is what led me to going NC with my family. It’s maddening!


The email reminds me of my mother’s hypocrisy, too, except I’m not a parent.

It seems similar to the emails I received during what I call “NC Round One”. I knew there was something up with the pseudo-apologies she gave me, but I was willing to give her a chance and moved in with her during hard financial times. It turned out that she wasn’t sorry at all, and either blamed something else or me for her behavior. We’re in the same town, but at least she doesn’t know where I live.

She’s too toxic for me, and she would be too toxic for my hypothetical children. If I were a parent, and she found out, I don’t want to be like Michael Jackson and have my child wear disguises every time we go out. Over-protection is well-meaning, but harmful for a child. The best way to protect him/her is not to have a child to begin with. That must be scary to have a parent use chicanery to try to have access to their grandchild. I’m doing my best to not run into her. I can’t imagine protecting myself AND another person, too.


Hi Everyone!
I have put a new post up on the home page! I think you are going to love it. It’s called “The Best Advice for the Healing Journey”.
Here is the link:
hugs, Darlene



In my life I have had wonderful friends deliver to me ACTUAL apologies over miner offenses because they were sincerely remorseful. They made amends to the best of their abilities because they actually cared about me as a person and want a relationship with me.
I in turn have learned how to humble myself & sincerely apologize for harm I have done–when I’m in the wrong.

It looks like a few of us can recignize a nonapology a mile away. You’ll know the real thing when you see it. It won’t leave you wondering: “what did she say??” Or more confused and angry than before.

I have learned three things in life (besides God is great!):
1. Don’t engage “crazy”,
2. Trust is earned
3. Only trust the trustworthy.

And four: trust your instincts. My gut on relationships/people has been right about 99% of the time, once I accepted the truth of how messed up my FoO is. Lol
If I ignore that inner voice…I usually regret it.


Good stuff Mary-Grace!

I’m finding that some of the lies have very deep roots and newer truth needs reinforcement!

I’ve had relationship struggles and been able to repair those relationships because both of us were willing to acknowledge where we were wrong and adjust.

In my FOO, in my first marriage, and a number of other relationships, I adjusted myself inside out, but the other half of the relationship didn’t adjust, didn’t notice my adjustment, demanded forgiveness while denying a problem, and never forgave me for anything.

I still feel a little disloyal/guilty…maybe “unChristian” at giving up on those relationships. But, I’m working at redefining what makes me feel bad and I’m getting past it a little at a time. Abusive authority figures like to twist scripture and doctrine to keep victims in line. I’ve learned that God is truly good, but a lot of people who claim to represent Him are frauds.

Thanks to everyone for being here!


Hi Ally,
I wanted to add that I also felt that response from your mom to be insincere and loaded with attempts to make you feel bad for all they “do” for you and your daughter, trying to show how unreasonable you are and how you’ve failed…. and then, oh, I’m sorry I hurt your feelings, an apology that to me rang like I’m sorry you have weird feelings that shouldn’t exist but nonetheless got hurt by me and my totally fine and appropriate behaviour. The response reminded me a lot of my parents. Especially the over-involvement, stalker quality Mary-Grace referred to. My feeling is that you may find it completely impossible to ever get through to them so that they really understand because there’s this undercurrent, at least as far as I could pick up, of entitlement/possession and perhaps it’s possible to break through that but I’d be surprised. People who feel that their children and grandchildren are really “THEIRS” have pretty strong feelings of rights and privileges… like property rights, pretty much. I disagree somewhat with Mary-Grace in that your daughter’s relationship with her grandparents does not have to go through you, in the sense that she does have a right to her own relationship with them that doesn’t have to go through you (though if she disliked their hassling her and wanted your help, that’s different, or if it was abusive and causing harm). If your daughter doesn’t answer texts or phone calls, that’s in her right. I can understand your parents’ hurt over that; it hurts to be rejected, but they strike me as being quite out of bounds and engulfing in their behaviour. If they’re like my parents, if you address this, it becomes about them being “concerned” for you/your daughter and your supposed “well-being,” etc…. which seems to be the case in what your mom has written. This stuff is maddening. I wish I had something more hopeful to say to you but in my experience, the best you could do is try to be extremely strong and clear about boundaries because it’s unlikely they’ll ever understand the actual problem but doing that will cause their resentment and passive-aggressiveness (in my experience) and then you have to deal with that and maybe you can get them to hold their tongue but it never made things feel profoundly different/better for me. I could always feel it…. Of course there may be other ways. I don’t want to tell someone there’s no hope. I never tried counselling with my parents because I couldn’t handle it—the idea of being in an enclosed space with them talking about this stuff. Personally, I needed the emotional space provided by having things done through email. They of course didn’t see themselves as the problem; they saw me as the problem or they saw the dynamic between us as the problem (something similar to your mom’s opening line about different styles), i.e. “neither of us is at fault or wrong, we just need a way to work through this stuff, so that you are able to understand us and give us exactly what we want from you without it causing you problems… and maybe, if you do that, or at least try to and then feel genuine remorse towards us that despite trying, you were unable to fit what we wanted without it causing yourself harm and you’re really, truly sorry, we’ll also then try to understand you and pull back a little on this or that in attempts to understand you and your needs.” …i.e. sidestepping the whole fact that what they were wanting from me was completely in the wrong, that it was the source of the problem and not the result of the interplay of my particular personality and theirs, and that I shouldn’t have had to try to bend myself to “fit” abuse and then after failing to fit myself to it, ask/hope for their leniency, as though I have a special set of needs to accommodate or something, that they as “loving parents” will be so good as to understand… if only I keep trying to be good enough and keep being lowly/sorry for my difficulties… but also pretending to the world outside that I’m an amazing, well-adjusted person with great self-esteem who has achieved XYZ with great thanks to the wonderful parenting I received, etc.



I feel like you do in this situation regarding not seeing my FOO. There are still some underlying warped belief systems that are getting in my way of seeing my own worth. There is no reason for me to feel guilty for not seeing my FOO when I know in my heart that I am not the one who is getting in the way of moving forward, they are…but I do. God isn’t telling me that I have to see them in order to honor Him and my parents… I do. God is telling me that living a lie is never the right path to go and I need to look at the reason why I feel so guilty over other people’s poor behavior. Other people in this situation just say “When my FOO is willing to admit their part in all of this I will be more then willing to listen but until that time I am not going to lose any sleep over people who don’t even care about me and how I feel so until they are willing to do THEIR part in rebuilding this relationship I don’t see any other way to move forward” and that’s the end of it but that isn’t how the dialog in my head goes!!!

I still keep on telling my self there has to be “another way” to make this whole thing work out …just like my mother taught me to do my whole life so that way she or anyone else never has to admit that they did anything wrong. It was always me. It was my job to cave in and let them get away with murder and this time I am saying no and it feels awkward to me. That same old recording goes on throughout my mind still saying there has to be a way of doing this when the truth is there is but it involves my FOO’s admitting that they are the one’s who did something wrong and that just doesn’t fit into the sick dysfunctional families rule book and that is why I keep on second guessing my self and feeling guilty and ashamed over something that was never my fault to begin with.

I get it but how do I stop it!! By setting up boundaries??? …but how do you even begin to do that with people who aren’t willing to work with you in any way???? Or maybe that is what I already did without even knowing it. It’s hard because I am willing to accept their flaws and all and move forward but they aren’t willing to do the same thing for me and I think ultimately that is what hurts me because it tells me that I have to be perfect and I am far from perfect and now I don’t want to be perfect so it doesn’t allow me any room to maneuver. In other words it is the same old song and dance as it was before with my FOO but this time I am not willing to do the dance.



Hi Kris,

I glad that my words resonated with you. It always helps to know someone else is recognizing how I feel, while it’s sad that too many people feel this way.

A few weeks ago I spent DAYS untangling yarn for a project that I was crocheting. I feel like working on my core beliefs is a lot like that. Good and real truth is too often wrapped up in distorted explanations and human agendas.

I’ve been untangling the real and helpful meanings of the words love and forgiveness for years to the point I wish I could find new words for the concepts to differentiate them from everything that’s been thrown at me all my life.

I’m currently in a 12-step program and recently completed a Step 4 moral inventory. I’m struggling with the next step of sharing it with someone because I found so little actually wrong with me. I’m feeling defensive about not being harder on myself when being too hard on myself is what I felt to be my biggest obstacle. I still expect people to start pointing out my flaws “for my own good”!

I’ve set up boundaries with my FOO by NC because they didn’t pay attention to anything I tried to say or do to maintain boundaries within having contact with them. It was really difficult at the beginning, but it’s easier now.

I’ve been wondering recently if there is a way to set up boundaries inside my head for the memories of all the awful things that were said and done over the course of my life, but I think that what some people want to refer to as “living in the past”, “brooding” or “ruminating” is my way of untangling the truth from the lies. Unlike yarn, that tangled mess isn’t something I can throw away and start fresh. I’ve found satisfaction in making progress. And sometimes I don’t realize how much progress I’ve made until I take a few steps forward and realize that for the first time, I didn’t trip.




I did the 12-steps too and I didn’t have a whole laundry list of things that I did wrong to other people either but SINCE THEN I discovered a plethora of things that I did wrong!!! lol I wasn’t at a place in my recovery for me to be able to see it at the time but now I see how my perfectionism controlled my life and it dictated how my husband lived too right along with anyone else who was around me. My fear of being rejected and abandoned caused me to reject and abandon other people before they had a chance to do it to me because I wasn’t going to allow my self to relive those feelings stemming from my mother and father emotionally abusing and neglecting me. Those people didn’t do anything wrong just like I didn’t but I sure made them feel that way when I cut them out of my life for no good reason. And my 25 year old addiction to alcohol and cocaine robbed my nieces and nephews from ever having the aunt that they deserved.

It’s hard to admit these things to myself but freeing none the less. What also makes it hard is I never would have done any of those things but not for being abused to begin with. I call it a wash and unfortunately we all got hurt in the interim!!! I am sure you will do fine with sharing your Step 4 Inventory. Let me know how it goes. I found Steps 4 and 5 difficult too but also realize just because you are on that step in their program doesn’t mean that is where you are at in your own recovery process. Sometimes I feel like these programs can do more damage then good because recovery doesn’t go step 1,2,3,4. It bounces all over the place!!

Hugs back to ya!!


I’m working the 12 steps as a sexual abuse survivor and codependent (adult child of alcoholics). Somehow I never took the path of substance abuse. Nothing ever seemed to have a desirable effect on me.

At this point, I’ve acknowledged that this is not likely the only time I’ll be doing a moral inventory. I also feel like I’ve done something similar that had the same effect as steps 4 & 5 and the one about promptly admitting when we are wrong. I’ve tried to keep a short account for years.

I’ve speculated that I’ve been responsible for way too much that I should never have been responsible for, so I have to let go of that before I’ll have the strength to really deal with what I AM responsible for.

And the one additional perspective I’ve gained over the past year or two is that the more gracious I am with myself, the more gracious I can be with other people.

I do really understand when you say that recovery doesn’t go step 1,2,3,4, but bounces all over the place. I’m looking forward to a time when it’s a slower bounce!



My parents were also alcoholics, but I was too young to remember. I heard that genes play a role in alcoholism, yet I’m a teetotaler. (It’s odd how the gene pool works out sometimes.) It’s strange that they are no longer alcoholics, but they refuse to change other dysfunctions in themselves. I wonder why…


Anyway, I may not be a candidate for a beauty pageant, but at least I don’t need to make a show of myself to gain validation. What I don’t possess in looks, I can compensate with my brain, such as my love of reading and writing. I’m not sure where I learned to value inner beauty, but it wasn’t from her or any other family members.

I praise you for this! I have been told numerous times I would be a total knockout if I wore makeup. I refuse. I have always refused to wear makeup. We accept men without makeup, why must women wear makeup? I don’t get this.



I don’t know how the gene pool works either. My brother never used alcohol and I did and we grew up with the same alcoholic father and that is why I believe our addictions are based more on a combination of genes and outside environmental influences and the resiliency and the nature of the child. I also found that we all seem to have one coping mechanism or another to deal with the pain of our abusive past. My brother is obsessive compulsive and my husband is a people pleaser and I still continue to use compulsive eating and dissociation to cope.

I think using our addictions is just a means of coping with what “happened” to us but it doesn’t address the “pain” that it caused us. Just because we stop using that coping method doesn’t mean that we ever dealt with all of the underlying reasons that caused us to want to use them to begin with and what I have found is that we will continue to seek other ways to cover up that pain until we address it but once we find the root cause of all of our pain then we will no longer want to rely on all of our addictions anymore and we will seek healthier ways to cope with the pain of our past.

I think the answer is building back up our self esteem and self confidence so we no longer feel like we need a crutch to survive anymore.



I also believe that how humans develop is a combination of genes and environment. (When I said that genes played a role in alcoholism, I meant that it was just one factor, not the main cause.)

My coping mechanism was (and still is in a sense) my loner behavior. Begin alone with a book was my way of escaping abuse. (Which was something I took comfort in, but many adults wanted to squash out of me.) I think part of the reason that being a loner doesn’t bother me is that I’m introverted to begin with. Now, I live alone with my cat as my only live-in companion and work remotely. I can’t dream of sharing living space, and too much face-to-face interaction bothers me. That’s why I’m grateful for inventions like the Internet because I can interact on my own time, and be “faceless”, too.


I was meaning to respond to a comment you wrote a while back now and Kris’ comments about self esteem and self confidence reminded me because they’re along the same lines. About how you couldn’t go NC until you had other relationships in which you experienced real love. That really hit home. I think that’s the truth. And I’m glad you said it. You need something real on the outside to spark enough within yourself. At some point what’s on the outside become less and less necessary to sustain you, in the sense that you could live with the loss of any particular relationship, and have enough faith and resources within yourself to continue on in life, feeding the spark inside yourself and encouraging the growth of nourishing relationships with others, despite setbacks and those times where the light seems so dim to almost be extinguished. Just enough to keep you going. A sort of faith to trust the truth, wherever that takes you, to walk a high wire of not knowing what’s going to happen or if you’re going to be particularly okay at all points in time. But if you don’t experience real love, even the glimmer of it, bits of empathy and understanding, alongside the truth, I don’t know if you ever have that faith to let go and trust it, the idea that it can be enough to see you through… I mean, why would you go through hell if you didn’t believe there was something on the other side? If you can see through abusers, their manipulations and what they’re after, their selfishness and essentially your arbitrariness in all of it, that’s not enough, it seems to me. It’s not enough to know that they are sick and it’s not your fault. I mean it’s huge to know that and it takes forever going back and forth believing it and questioning it, doubting yourself, etc. But without experiencing the love you need, and knowing that it exists there for you to have (and that you are allowed it), the truth doesn’t hold much relevance at all. I think you’d just stick with self-delusion and denial as an easier, more effective way to deal with the truth rather than being clear-eyed about it. It’s the fact that love does exist and it is out there (and in here) to ignite and nourish you and others that the truth of the abuse, the manipulation, the dysfunction and sickness, defining it as such, actually matters because it can help steer you out of what harms you and into what helps you…. It is hard because of the self-doubt and because so many want you to believe that love is something else. And I think even just the understanding of the truth comes with love, too, though, just the idea that no, it wasn’t you, it wasn’t your fault, has love woven in it (but it doesn’t always reach our heart; sometimes we’re just saying the words to ourselves, more often than we feel it—that’s normal)… I think there’s this point of risk, when you let go, when you know that it could be that no one will love you when you let yourself out of the box. It’s probable that someone will. And the more you go along, the more you believe in the probability–as a positive feedback loop… But you don’t know in the moment, with every step in your life, you don’t know what any outcome is going to be. Except it’s not like you’re actually loved when you’re complying to the dysfunctional rules because you’re not being yourself, so it’s not you who’s loved. So basically there’s no real, sustaining alternative…. Anyway, that was all a tangent from just wanting to say that I think you were right about the role of love in all this. I think it’s everything. If you don’t experience it, just even a spark of it, you won’t have anywhere to go, nor any capacity to get there even if you did. I credit EFB for a lot of love, from everyone, for sure. Love is how you best cope with life.



Thank you for bringing that back to me. You express yourself so well.

I did need a spark, some bit of empathy and understanding to believe that there was love somewhere for me. I think we all do.

I was told from so early in my life that no one would like me, it was impossible to believe that there was anything better outside my family that would fill the emptiness that I felt. Of course I believed that I felt empty because there was something wrong with me if I wasn’t satisfied with the “love” my family provided.

Sometimes I think that was the very worst thing that my mother did to me, convincing me that no one outside the family would care about me or tell me the truth that they actually didn’t care.

What kind of love is it that would say those things to their own child?


Hobie, i think that was maybe the worst for me, too—not quite the same as you but a variation of it, so that there was no going outside of the family to know love for what it really was, not without the major breakage it has now taken. Family loyalty demanded keeping hidden and alone the very places I needed the most love and light. First you are harmed and not given what you need and then you are also deprived of looking elsewhere or even of knowing and believing there is an elsewhere, and then led to believe it’s all you, that you were never harmed, you were given everything you needed, that no one loved you as much as they did and no one ever would, so that clearly the emptiness is just you, your flaw, your fault, etc.

It’s definitely not love. Trying to make room for dysfunctional behaviour in my definition of love is definitely something that has kept me tied up.



I was an extreme isolator my whole life due to being abused and developing Dissociative Identity Disorder because of it and I am an introvert by nature so I do enjoy time by my self but what I am finding out is the more I take risks and surround my self with people who are safe to me the more I am enjoying their company and now I actually look forward to the times when we see each other as opposed to being afraid all the time. The outcome is I don’t feel so lonely anymore and my warped belief systems of “how I never fit in” and “how everyone is out to get me all the time” are dissipating as I take more risks. Who knew!!

I respect the right of anyone who feels more comfortable being by themselves. No one has the right to judge anyone and I am sorry that your FOO couldn’t accept you for who you are. Seems to be a re-occurring theme here!! I believe some of us were so wounded that it is next to impossible to trust another human being and rightly so but I can’t help but feel sorry for them at the same time because now that I got a little taste of what it feels like to be accepted for just being me I wish the same thing for everyone else because I know how lonely it is to believe the lie that no one out there will like you for just being you.

It’s a lie. One big heinous lie that robs you from being able to enjoy the company of another human being that we all deserve to have. Being abused put us at such a disadvantage. I have to really work at not isolating my self despite having some really nice friendships that I was able to develop. It’s in me.



Alaina #460.

Spot on. Our Foo’s didn’t want us to have anyone else in our lives because to them that meant taking a risk that we would abandon them. There was no room for both in their minds.Such a sick dynamic. Robbed us from having long time friendships that would have made life a whole lot nicer.


“Our Foo’s didn’t want us to have anyone else in our lives because to them that meant taking a risk that we would abandon them.”

Wow! Took the words right out of my mouth!

I was told things such as “It’s better that I treat you this way than anyone else.” (I have no idea what that’s suppose to mean.) and that “outsiders” were boogeymen out to get me, and family members were the only people I could trust. Truly healthy people aren’t possessive.



I don’t know what the heck that means either other then it is a bunch of bunk!! I was taught my loyalty was to remain with them or there would be hell to pay. They didn’t allow for anyone from the outside to get in UNLESS they were just as sick as them because in their mind they knew that they would still be safe but the outcome was the same for us. Another person who was absolutely useless in helping us out reinforcing all of the same sick warped belief systems as if we didn’t have enough of that from our FOO.


yes, but of course my family would not know what I was talking about, would definitely say that they always wanted me to have friends, to fit in, etc. but those are just general statements. If you take a look at what would be necessary for close relationships to form, it was certainly against what the family wanted, but they don’t understand that and don’t want to because of course at core they really don’t want me to have what they say they want me to have. It’s not possible to want your child to be free and to be themselves, etc., (in theory) but also want to possess them and have them think and act and feel what you want them to. I agree about fear of abandoning them—for my parents I’m sure that was a big one. My mom thought that as a mother she was supposed to be the most important person in my life and was entitled to hear everything important to do with my life first, before anyone else, meaning if I didn’t want to share with her, my ever loyal psychology meant I kept everything inside to myself, not able to be closer to anyone than I was to her. Maybe to make up for having such an empty mother-daughter relationship with her mom, she wanted very badly to have this super close relationship with me, regardless of reality. She felt entitled to that which you should only really hope for. And I’m not sure how you can in any way expect to have this super loving relationship if you never built the foundation for it. I really don’t understand how she could have these ideas of “i’m the mother, so I’m entitled to these emotional responses from you” when her mom did the same thing to her. I suppose in her mind she wasn’t like her mom, so therefor… but it’s very childish to have a child with the expectation not only that they love you but that they act in very specific ways to prove that they love you. I mean, it’s the child who is needing to grow into their own person who really needs the parent to provide love in fairly specific and consistent ways. It’s really screwed up how often it is the opposite—the parent requiring the child to behave in ways that will fill in emotional holes for the parents somehow. My mom totally engulfed me and yet had no idea who I really was.


She also knew that she didn’t know who I was, knew that I didn’t trust her, yet still the expectations… my duty to get over my issues so that we could live up to her ideals with me behaving according to her ideas of what a loving daughter is simply because of the “fact” that she “loves” me because… I don’t know I’m her daughter and so she loves me… even though she didn’t know me… I have no idea who she loved. There’s no doubt that her love was something fierce but… I have no idea who it belonged to, just a fantasy… I suppose she couldn’t know me because who I was was profoundly influenced by the way she had treated me and she could not ever look at herself and her behaviour in the particular way necessary to be able to care about me and truly see me and the impact she’d had on me. So she saw me through strange glasses. Yet knew that I’d closed myself off from her. I suppose pride stopped her from going down any road that might have fixed things, or fear, or need for control… or I don’t know what. It doesn’t really matter.



When I look at pictures of my FOO I say to my self “I don’t know who any of you are” and I really don’t. We were all taught that who we were wasn’t good enough. All too afraid to share any parts of ourselves for fear that we would be banished from the group. It makes me sad. My mother was not outwardly abusive. One would never know the damage that she did to me by looking on the outside which makes it all the more difficult for me. She comes across as a nice and caring lady and for the most part she is but when it came down to taking care of her own children she failed miserably and I don’t know what happened to her to make her so afraid to show her own daughter that she loved me but she didn’t. This is why I struggle so much regarding her. She is not like other mother’s on this site beating their children to a bloody pulp. In ways she was worse. I trusted my mother through and through only to find out all she ever did was lie to me.
She infiltrated me from the inside out brainwashing me all to protect a man who did nothing but hurt me. The betrayal is almost unimaginable but it is true. I don’t know where to put her in my life so I have her in limbo. A part of me is still afraid of them both and I probably should be but I get the feeling it is just another warped belief system getting in my way that tells me how mommy and daddy can do no wrong so it has to be me who is the problem. It attacks me every time but I know better now but it is still hard to stop that voice inside of my head.

I feel your pain when you talk about your mother. My heart goes out to you. I don’t think that I will ever get it. I guess some things just aren’t meant to be gotten.


my heart goes out to you as well. I know what you mean about thinking it must be you. Sometimes I think I’ve brainwashed myself into believing they were bad parents when they were actually great parents and the problem was me and that my anger is misplaced, my difficulties is life stem from elsewhere, and my fear is the product of the story I created and if I just realized the truth that they love me and want the best for me and that I’ve been off my rocker for the last ten years, the fear will all dissolve and everything can be patched together and made good… My mom wasn’t outwardly abusive either, not in the sense that people usually mean when they say abusive but I think when someone’s pattern of behaviour towards you does significant, palpable harm, that’s abuse. Abuse can be meted out with hugs and I love yous. I feel that she was mean and overly controlling of me when I was young but after her brother killed himself, the dynamic changed. When I follow through the story line of my life, I can see a kind of systemic destruction of my personhood in order to create a person to fulfill my mom’s needs, to help alleviate her pain/grief over the tragedies and abuses in her own life. It wasn’t like she plotted it all out but you can see the undercurrent motivation is there and the desire to blind herself to reality when it was butting up against her version of life. I actually have a lot of sympathy for her in this aspect because I have a pretty good understanding of delusions but when life was destroying me and I brought the undercurrent to the surface, my mom didn’t want to see it… It’s then when you start to see the cruelty because the outcome and implications of not admitting what happened are harsh in a way that the “abuse” I experienced wasn’t, if that makes any sense, and I think that’s part of the reason why I’d want to think I’m wrong—like they couldn’t possibly be this horrible to let the fallout come to this… It’s strange. I didn’t trust my mom in the sense of sharing things with her and was often scared to tell her anything, scared to ask for permission for anything I wasn’t sure she was okay with already, but I also believed that she was a really good mother. I thought everyone thought my mom was a great mom. She always said she was born to be a mom. And I often took her words and opinions as gospel. I believed that I did belong to her and that she had a right, that she was a good mom and that rebelling was okay if you had bad parents but my mom was a good mom, so I had to live inside what she wanted and just wait, wait so that I could be free, that she would one day allow me to be, but she never wanted to let me go and the guilt trips were heavy but subtle. I was a prisoner, emotionally… It’s strange, though, because even while that’s all true, that I thought she was a good mom, I had another me that was cynical and judgmental, standoffish. There’s great cost in realizing that they weren’t good parents—not just in all the losses and everything but in understanding I was never really loved because I didn’t know that I wasn’t. I was treated special but I didn’t understand the deal that had been made, that I was being used, although at times I did understand that there was a deal. In my teens, there was a suicide scare with me because of something I’d written. Then in my twenties, I’d went to an info session with my mom for a writing program and she made a comment about how if I wanted to get in I could tell them about how I was such a good writer that I’d convinced people I was depressed and suicidal when I wasn’t just because of this novel I’d written (those weren’t her exact words but something like that). I just looked at her like “what are you doing?” and remember thinking something along the lines of “we had a deal,” the deal being we’d both pretend I was fine when we both knew I wasn’t. I now understand what a raw deal it was. I was just scared of being seen, of all the stuff inside me, of being “found out,” etc. Also the incredible guilt trips of causing my family to worry when I lived in a kind of post-suicide tragedy, every family drama came back to my uncle’s suicide…. like how could I do this to my mom after all she’s been through and how much she loves me and what a good mom she is, particularly if underneath it all so much of the problem was her, like there was a desire to say it wasn’t her fault (because of how much it would hurt her to know that it was and feeling apologetic toward her just for the truth of the matter)…. but all that is also the brainwashing that leads away from understanding the very basic narcissism that someone would risk, then sacrifice, their child rather than face the truth of her own behaviour/motivations… I suppose I feel sad for her but I feel sad for myself, too, sad for the situation… Anger and frustration starts to come in when I think of all the other dynamics with other family members. I think I’ve accepted my mother’s incapacity and accepted the loss of a relationship in a way I haven’t quite done with everyone else…. well, anyway, thanks for reading and caring, and I definitely feel for you and appreciate your words and I appreciated reading the conversation you were having with S1988 too—I could relate to all that.



You were able to encapsulate the exact same sick dynamic that I had with my mother. I thought about her motivation behind some of the things that she did for me. When I was in 12th grade my mother wanted me to go to Spain for a class trip and I didn’t want to go. No one knew that the reason why I didn’t want to go was because the teacher who was chaperoning it was the teacher that my mother got into a big ta-do with over a poem that she accused me of not writing in her class and the truth is she was right. My mother wrote that poem because she didn’t want to take the time to SHOW me how to do it and that teacher called her out on it and my mother was going to deny that truth until she died because she worked in that same school district and my mother involved me with that cover up having me convinced that I did indeed write that poem when I knew darn well that I didn’t but that’s how brainwashing goes and that poem ended up being printed in the school newspaper because that teacher said if I really wrote it then she would print it in the paper knowing good and darn well that I didn’t, using me to get back at my mother because she knew how embarrassing it would be for me because I knew that I didn’t write that poem and now this is who my mother wants to send me on a trip to Spain with!!! Keep in mind that we all called this teacher Steinbitch for a reason!!!! lol

Both this teacher and my mother used me. Neither one of them cared about me and my well being or me having fun on that trip to Spain. The whole incident sucked and on the outside I am the one who looked like the ungrateful kid because I didn’t want to go on this trip when the truth is my mother sent me on that trip as a way to prove to that teacher that she wasn’t afraid of her to get the last word in over this whole mess and she used me to do it with. My mother didn’t have to deal with her I did.

To this day I have that trip to Spain thrown in my face as this wonderful sacrifice that my mother did for me and how I never appreciated a darn thing that she did!!! Try convincing someone of this truth when it involves a free trip to Spain!!! I know you get it!!!


Yeah, I get it, Kris! You were a pawn. I can’t imagine that trip could be anything but uncomfortable. I wonder what I’d do if I was the teacher in that position. I wonder if she felt she did a good job, though, because I imagine it worked insofar as your mom probably never did your work for you after that or you wouldn’t ever have the gumption to bring it in to this woman’s class ever again, though she probably wanted to take your mom down professionally speaking. But, yes, you, your best interests and needs were definitely swept aside by both of them, and your response of being miserable on that trip makes perfect sense, and your mom knows (if she knew that woman was the chaperone, then she knows) exactly why you couldn’t appreciate the trip and the whole convoluted mess! …they do tend to bring these things up later on with that need to reassert.


That teacher had 11 kids in her poetry class and 8 of us got D’s. She sucked!!! We didn’t feel comfortable going to her because she made an ass out of you when you did just to add more insult to injury. I only ever remember going to my mother for homework help a couple of times because she taught me by her emotional neglect and abuse that somehow I was just supposed to know how to do everything on my own and if I didn’t then there was something wrong with me so me going to my mother for help was when the fear of failing was greater then my fear of asking for help. It usually was a toss up between the two!!! Either way I couldn’t win. That usual double bind from living in sick dysfunctional families.


Ugh, yes, and the world is full of it, too. It’s hard to go any significant length of time without butting up against dysfunction somewhere. But in childhood you’re dependent and luck is maybe the greatest determinant. People can say if you had done this or that or if you had this personality instead of that or whatever… but you’re right about the double binds. It doesn’t matter. Experience in dysfunctional work places makes it easier for me to see it has nothing to do with the actual individual choices and responses to dysfunction. There’s no avoiding the negative, no winning ever in any way. Always screwed one way or the other and so easy to lose time and energy trying think your way out of a problem when you can’t and the real problem isn’t even you.


Speaking of homework, in my situation, I would’ve preferred the neglect. (Not to trivialize your experience, Kris.) It’s just that with my mother, her not being around me much was the lesser of two evils than receiving her “help”.

Until I left 8th grade, she would check my assignments and scream at me until I was in tears for mistakes or messy handwriting. I’m not sure if she remembers this, but if I were to bring it up to her today, she would say something like, “Oh, my job made me mean, and it’s your fault for not understanding.” Oh, come on. If you’re not sorry, then don’t apologize. I rather that someone was honest about being unrepentant than pretend to be remorseful. Of course, she would use this on her list of how she’s a “good” mother, and not care how she “helped” me. And she wonders why I cut her out of my life TWICE.



I get what you mean. I tried to stay clear of my father for the same reason. Being yelled and screamed at is so demeaning. Your mother is good at playing the blame game when the truth is she is the problem. Sorry you had to go through all of that. So unnecessary.


“Always screwed one way or the other and so easy to lose time and energy trying think your way out of a problem when you can’t and the real problem isn’t even you.”

I feel like this has been my life over the last year and now I am sick to death of trying to figure out things that will never make any sense. I needed to hear these words. I think it is a matter of accepting what is and that is so hard to do when you are looking for a way to excuse your parents poor behavior so you can tell your self that somehow, some way, they really did love you even though the evidence points to the contrary. Hard reality to accept. Still not there yet. I just don’t know who they are or maybe I do and that is the problem.


I wish I had something else to say than just—I know. Me too. It’s all so hard.

I do see myself as having been punished because I do know the truth about them, because I can see them and do know them; I have felt and experienced what they wished to get away with (and get away from), am a mirror to all of that, and am punished for it. But there’s a very surreal quality to this whole experience, to understanding what you’ve always known, all the stuff that made up your life, that it feels so foreign and like they are strangers to me, perplexing, because of believing their words for so long, I guess. I still have this. A sense of this can’t be real, this can’t be true—but that is also a normal response to trauma and this is definitely trauma we are dealing with here.



What you said makes sense when it comes to explaining why my parents feel so foreign to me. Their lies were the glue that bonded us together and once I realized that what they taught me about my self was a pack of lies so they could continue to abuse me and get away with it was a real eye opener. Like you said we are dealing with trauma here and that puts a totally different spin on everything for us where people who didn’t have to go through this don’t have the ten zillion hoops to jump through to finally see the truth. They just automatically know when someone treats them like crap and they aren’t afraid to tell them and to stay the heck away from them without feeling guilty unless that person makes an effort to make amends which most of us never get to experience on this site because our FOO never admit that they did anything wrong so they can keep on doing what they want to do at our expense. I am at the point where I think death is the only way that I will finally be free from my parents but even then I get the feeling that they will still haunt me!! It has to me who is the one who dies to finally be rid of them once and for all.


I am going through everything that you wrote about. It’s almost as if our stories are identical! Thank you for putting in print my thoughts and realizations. I will use this article as a guide to remind me that when I start feeling down because I never had my mother’s love, to be thankful that I broke the chain and turned my relationships around with my children. I turned a negative into a positive and that is key to recovery.


Hi All
I just published a new post on the home page called “Explaining Parental Entitlement Beliefs in Dysfunctional Families”
Hope you will read it and perhaps start a discussion, Hugs, Darlene,


As with allowing others to talk down to me, I find the Mother-Daughter subject a reflection to my life. My Mother and I always got along until the day I went to her to inform her that my husband had been cheating on me and I was leaving him. For acouple months, I had never gone to my Mother or inlaws to tell them my husband had gotten into drugs and all these other women but I couldn’t hide it anymore. It was too painful for me. My Mother sobbed when I told her this, as she loved my husband as well. At first, the change was so small I didn’t notice it but it grew to where she was critical of me over everything I was doing in my life and how I raised my two children. I didn’t brush my daughters hair correct or feed them right or dress them properly. Her comments were so hurtful to me to where then I was sobbing, but alone. I began to avoid my Mother afraid to lash out at her or to see the sneer on her lips and the snide comments any longer. The day I finally responded to one of her critical observations, “Mom! I do not know of very many single mothers, who owns their own home, without any financial help from their father, a new car in the driveway, vacations to places like Disneyland every year, always camping, and each kid with new clothes and my working 40 to 50 hours weekly and volunteering 10-20 hours weekly after that and AT TWENTY SIX YEARS OLD!” She didn’t say a damn word and just left. When I needed my mothers support the most in my life she wasn’t there. It would have been the best time for her to tell me verbally for the FIRST TIME in my life “I LOVE YOU”! Since then, my Mother and I have an estranged relationship. We will go 5 years or more without talking. I love my Mother and I miss my mother-how we were prior to my divorce. Two years ago on one of those periods we were trying to have a relationship, I said to her, Mom, I have never ever heard you say to me, I LOVE YOU. (This was brought up because I overheard her telling a friend goodbye on the phone and she loved her). She responded in a cynical tone, “I LOVE YOU”. Even from my mother I felt I couldn’t receive the love. Each and every day of my son and daughters life, I tell them I love you. I always hug and kiss them. Overcompensating for the lack of love, I was always hugging and kissing my friends on the cheeks-male or female. Reflecting on the time period of when this began, how it affected my self esteem, I left my job and my life spiraled downward to where I am now as I stated in the other article.

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