Evil Manipulative People and Emotional Damage


manipulative controlling peopleSome days are very difficult for me. I am always filled with sympathy and understanding for the victims and survivors of child abuse but on some days the whole subject just makes me see red. It makes me angry that so many children have suffered at the hands of manipulative, controlling and abusive adults. Every day I hear tragic stories from people who have survived very dysfunctional childhoods at the hands of horribly sick adults.  I get really angry at what so many children are enduring even as I write this and at what so many (now adult) children have had to endure.


And these same adult children have been expected to grow up “normally” after having a dysfunctional childhood like that. I was expected to function normally, and have high self esteem to the degree that was manipulated and convinced into believing that the low self esteem that I experienced was my own fault! And this expectation that I should “snap out of it”, “grow up,” “get over it” and take charge of my life, was often communicated by the very same people who abused and controlled me in the first place. First I was mistreated, devalued and manipulated and then I was blamed for having depressions and other difficulties in life!

 As Survivors of this manipulation and abuse we learn to accept those expectations and turn them on ourselves, believing that we SHOULD just grow up and be fine and dandy without ever having a chance to deal with the ROOT of the problem.  And the problem is that other people devalued and dismissed me and that there was damage was done. That didn’t start when I started needing help with situations in my adult life; it started when I was abused, mistreated and discounted and I didn’t get help or support. I was called an exaggerator and told I talked to hear myself talk.  I was told that I was mistaken and that I was wrong. I learned not to tell about the ongoing things that happened and I learned not to tell about any new things that happened.

 I learned that I was not going to be heard.  I learned that telling made things worse.

 Somehow I was blamed for what happened to me. As a child and again as an adult.  In order to cope, I believed that I MUST have done something wrong in the first place.

 I want to rip the eyes out of child molesters; I want to expose teachers who bully and tear down students, I want to fight in courts against adults who beat their kids, but I had to pick one area where I could make the biggest difference, and I have found that it is here through what I write. It is in the area of helping the survivors who have grown up but still bear the scars.

 Abuse sucks.  Abuse destroys. Abuse kills. Abuse makes me angry.  These evil manipulative and abusive people have no concern for the lives they are destroying. These manipulative people have no regard for human life.  I am not protecting them anymore.

 I have so often wondered what it is that makes manipulative people do the things that they do. Do they actually feel good about themselves when they hurt an innocent child? Do they get some sort of surge of power when they overpower another person? Do they feel so pathetic in their own lives that they must prove their worth by destroying the worth of someone else?  It seems pathetic that an adult would choose to disregard the feelings of an innocent child.  It seems unfathomable that an adult would use a child as an object. It seems incomprehensible that an adult would devalue a child in order to make themselves FEEL better.

 And they ARE pathetic.  It is unfathomable. There IS NO WAY to understand why people do these things; how can we understand these crimes against children which go forward to become crimes against those same grown up children. And what about the adults who assist in the cover up? What motivates them to keep such horrible secrets? Why do people seem to think that children are NOT human? Why do so many people think that children won’t remember? Why do people in general think children won’t be damaged and won’t suffer life time consequences for the behaviour of manipulative people who only have their own sick interests and self protection at heart?  I think that this is just as unfathomable as why the abusers do what they do.

 Since all of this is so incomprehensible and there are no answers to those questions I realized that in order to heal, I needed to concentrate on healing the damage that was caused. There is no answer or solution in understanding manipulative people. There is no healing there. I had to learn to stop trying to understand them in favour of understanding what happened to me. It seemed easier to concentrate on the WHY questions about them, but I had to realize and acknowledge the damage and how it manifested in my belief system, so that I could overcome it. I had to do the opposite of what those pathetic adults did to me.  I had to learn to consider myself.

 Understanding the roots of the damage caused by manipulative, sick, evil and pathetic people and healing from that physical, mental and emotional damage is what “Emerging from Broken” is all about.  Comments are deeply appreciated by everyone. Please feel free to share your thoughts.

 Exposing Truth ~ one snapshot at a time;

 Darlene Ouimet

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


Categories : Family



Understanding the why others injure innocents like children has not helped me either Darlene. We all have “issues” and it was in letting go of trying to figure out theirs that I finally started getting beyond mine. EFB is so instrumental in SO many lives every day. I for one am extremely grateful for the forum you have created here for us who have survived to learn to live beyond just surviving as we each emerge from broken.

Many hugs and such gratitude:)



Darlene, I have come to the conclusion that knowing the ‘why’ doesn’t help me either. I’ve come to accept that there are people who value themselves so highly, and are so selfish that the rest of living creation is viewed as their property or as unimportant and unworthy of care. When I find these people I speak out and I walk away.

Manipulation, control and emotional damage are things we can help prevent, we can help heal but we cannot stop those who are inclined to this behaviour unless they are willing to recognize it for what it is. And they don’t. They won’t They cannot even start to understand the pain they cause because they don’t care enough about anyone but themselves.

Healing is such an important journey and all the posts, conversations and support shown here and on the FB page is encouraging, inspiring and so uplifting!


Another wonderful post Darlene. I wanted to share with you a recent podcast discussion on this very subject (and some tangents into ethics) by my friend Stef, it’s here:


Knowing they are SICK is enough for me. I’m moving on. I just wish I had figured all this out sooner. It was a l-o-n-g process. But at least I did! Do you think we should ‘warn’ other older family members who are still under their control that they are SICK or just let them discover it for themselves (hopefully, one day) or let them stay blind or keep living in denial? This is my dilemma.

P.S. Voted for you again today! 🙂


Hi Susan,
Thanks for your encouragement and for your comments! hugs!!

Hi Shanyn,
It is really important for survivors to realize this “ownership” mindset in abusive/controlling and manipulative people. It is important to realize that although they THINK they have rights and they communicate that they have a right to do what ever they want, NO ONE owns another human being.
Thanks for bringing this up and for your encouragement too!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen
I don’t know about warning others unless there is sexual abuse of children involved. Warning others is a personal decision Karen and it depends on so many factors… I can’t answer that question easily.
Thanks for sharing! And yay for moving on!
Hugs, Darlene


is 19 still a child? i was 19, i was not PROTECTED, do i have to blame my mother when she let me stay in a relative’s place and NEVER thought if i am SAFE there? now that i am an adult and have a daughter of my own, it pains me a lot because i see myself as a that “child”. I was treated not good by those adults and nagged about the good things they are doing to me and my family so i NEED to make them feel good by following all of them,i was confused because why was i should be the one to pay for that supposed kindness of those people? i was not asked by my mother and those adults if i really want to stay at another relative’s place or if i want to be helped by them in the first place..i was not given a choice in everything,as a child i was trained that way by my mother..i was not suppose to say no or complain.she was manipulated by his own younger brother and the a result..we never had our own identity..and I was the one who PAID for that was in those relative’s place that only one man,their family friend, was allowed to visit me was there that “that man” took that advantage because of the opportunity..just more than a month,i was set up and taken sexually ,it was a very sad experience for me,then i was set for the wedding..after many years of more control and abuse,that man would say if not for those relatives i would not be wed because those relatives all helped for the expenses.until i stood up for myself,they would not still treat me as me,they thought i stood up because i was bored and just for my own sake..i do not know if until nOW,these people and that man never realized that what they did to me was control and manipulation and illegal because of the way i was taken ,because they continued to use more manipulations and control to me by tryng many more evil ways to control me,but they saw that i am no longer that same 19 year old girl they could control and they used more people to break my heart and mind, i am better now inspite of the PTSD effects of it all… because i am my own person now .


Manipulation is an aphrodisiac for the socially and emotionally inept. Usually, manipulators are failures in comparison to their peers. Therefore they seek control at the expense of others. It is a false sense of grandiosity. I believe these are the people whom God refers to as reprobate minds. So strong is their own self gratification that they cease to be remorseful concerning the damage they cause.


Darlene, It helps me to realize that no matter what the reason for their behavior is, it is no exucuse. Just as there are a lot of reasons why I’ve done certain inexcusable things. What matters is whether one takes responsibility for doing something that is inexcusable, pays the penalty, and works to change. Some choose to wallow in brokeness and never take the responsibility of getting better. That to me is what makes the difference between a person struggling to do better who still makes mistakes and one who has decided to become like their aggressor and pass down the pain and brokenness. Personal responsibility is the key to wellness. Habitual manipulators have none, they use others to fill in for their irresponsibility and practice on those who are weaker than they because it makes them feel superior in the bald face truth of all that they lack. I don’t know this for them, I know it for me!

Was that my sweet, little Darlene that wrote that post??lol!Sorry, I couldn’t resist…I sure don’t want to make you mad at me!;0)


Dear Darlene

As you know I have known in my body, in my life such terrible terrible things. I feel to this day like many people failed me, including the church and the law of the land. After all the social services put me back into a very violent and terrible home knowing what had happened there and what would continue.

I feel so confused and broken about so many things. .because of the trauma, the feeling of worthlessness my abuser beat into me and the shame she and my bro scarred into me I never feel I am good enough for my voice to be heard or that anyone would believe the nightmares I went through daily and nightly

The one positive note through the sad song of my childhood up to the present is that I survived and I found my T and I found EMB and am now able to reach out and share words with others who are broken like me and are not condemning of me.

Hearing any kindness is always like a shock. .I freeze at the sound of praise from others.. as that sounds so much like a foreign language to me that I have to adjust to the fact that maybe someone really sees something beautiful or nice in me. .

I want to share a poem I wrote as I was sorting through things yesterday:

A typical beating

I am trapped in this isolation that she keeps me in
I am feeling so unwanted and fear she’ll come again
the door is opening now and I want to run and hide
But she is there with her heavy board swinging by her side.

She grabs me by the hair and throws me to the ground
says she hates me forever and wishes I werent around
I feel the blood running as i hit against the floor
She beats me without mercy I feel I’ll breathe no more

She will always stop in time because she likes her fun
I can barely stand up straight once the beating is done
I want so much to ask her why she hates me so
But feel that if I did she would never let me know



What a great post – my heart exactly, Darlene!! 🙂


Yes, very true unfortunately, it makes me feel very angry to read it. I think it’s a constant want for power on behalf of the sbusers because they cannot love, but even so, why you’d want to do it – God knows!


Hi G,
Until I recovered and really took a look at what really happened to me, the ways that I felt about myself as a result of the way I was (and wasn’t) regarded, I WAS “that child”. When we are trained that way as a child, we don’t know any different. What happened to you was wrong and you were put in a position to be taken advantage of. I totally understand your feelings about what happened to you and that you had no choice even at that age. Another thing ~ love does not obligate us to other people. That is not love, that is ownership and people don’t own other people.
Thank you for sharing this. You have given examples of totally dysfunctional and manipulative relationships here and the devastating results that YOU had to cope with.
Hugs, Darlene

Great comments

Hi Pam
Yes, that is what I have found too ~ the difference is in wanting to work to change vs. insisting that nothing was wrong in the first place.
Thanks for adding your voice Pam.
hugs, Darlene


I agree that trying to understand why someone else behaves inappropriately is not helpful. The harder thing is to realize that they DO behave inappropriately. I often tried to explain away bad behaviour and pretend it did not happen. I wanted to believe the illusion that our family was healthy. It is taking me a while to learn that my health is the only thing I have control over. It is like I was trying to stop the rain by studying weather patterns. When really the wisest decision is to get good rain gear and get on with life!


Hi Darlene,
I have been reading your posts for a year or so, and always find them honest and interesting. There is no doubt that you are a needed venue for many people, including me. Seeing the damage that someone else has caused is a very important step in coming to an understanding of what is and is not acceptable for us. From there we can set an intention about how we want to live. I thought you might find something of interest in my latest blog post, which I have pasted below. It is called “Yoga of Relationship” and has to do with moving past the damage. It is a bit long. Thanks, Robert

“So easy to be in relationship……… so hard to relate”- Stephen Levine

…..When I was in college my hands had an inward “knowing” and I met with success an a sculptor. It seemed like most everything that I made reaped praise from my peers, art instructors and visiting professors. But due to the fact that it came so easy, it was not challenging, and I eventually lost interest. I turned to painting where it was more difficult to find success. To this day I can literally sweat over one small canvas for years before it seems finished. Even then, when it is “finished”, I wonder if I should hang it on the wall or set it on fire. There is a soul quality that I seek to express in my painting that is illusive, marginally definable, and is more about the process than the end result. The lure of finding union with my creative soulmate is exciting and interesting, and generally, more than anything else, it feels like my life’s calling; not to be an artist, but to merge with “mystery” through as many mediums as possible. My paintings are not beautiful…that is not the goal.
…..For many years, I did not call my paintings “art”, but “dysfunction purging”. The goal was not beauty, but “truth”. Our actual truth when we are alone with ourselves and not wearing masks, is not always beautiful. Sometimes it hurts, and from what I can gather, this suffering comes with nature’s blessing. In 2004, one “burp” from Mother Nature killed 230,000 people in Indonesia. An earthquake here…a tornado there.. wild animals following their instinct, disease, still-borns, infestations, materialistic politics…suffering and ignorance (including my own) is not error, but is seemingly part of the grand design. Yes, we can learn from our mistakes, but I have as yet to meet anyone who has “arrived” at a place of enlightenment where learning lessons end. As a species, we have developed the pivoting fulcrum and computerized wheel, but in social regards, (to say nothing of Mother Nature) we still have one foot in the cave. It is no “Secret” that we live in a fallen world. Overall, there is justice in the lion eating the lamb, although that sense of justice is valued differently depending on whether in each particular circumstance, we are the lion or the lamb. Nevertheless, life returns anew, continuing in other forms, other bodies, perhaps other universes. Beyond the suffering, there is “grace” that calls to us even if it is only the brief recognition of the beauty in nature, a child’s solemn whisper, an anonymous kind deed, or a small quiet voice that we can hear when we are in a state of mindful meditation… but that simple element of grace is our only salvation. Without grace, the only hope we have is to be the one that will “die with the most toys”. But I digress. I was speaking of the process of finding union with graceful truth.
…..Attempting to merge with “mystery” while using paint on a canvas is one thing. The canvas is always good natured, reflects back with perfection whatever I dish out, and is always agreeable to whatever I want to do. Attempting to merge with mystery in the context of other beings whether it to a partner, a co-worker, a parent, etc., ; the yoga of relationship, is another thing altogether. Ram Dass calls this the most difficult of all yogas. He says that in context of relationship, we make one of two choices; The first is, “I’ll pretend that you are who you think you are, if you’ll pretend that I am who I think I am”, or, you see your relationship as a yogic path. He says the first way is okay, as long as both people know that this is what they are doing. In my case, more often than not, I have not seen until it was too late, that the person I thought I was (that seemed so important at the time), was actually a being scared of trusting the mystery, scared of losing power, and afraid of looking any deeper into who I actually was; a negation in practice of what my words expounded as truth. I could not bring my mental construct (All One) into the place where rocks are hard and water is wet. Yet, I persist.
…. Stephen Levine, another relationship guru says that “relationship gives us the opportunity to open our heart in hell”. Experiencing difficulty in relationship, we are not required to keep our heart open, but we have the opportunity. Relationship will bring to the forefront, any aspect of our being where we lack integrity. If there is a separation between our mind and our heart, that space will be the source of our grief, as well as the door through which grace may enter, IF we give it the “opportunity” by keeping our heart open in that hell. “Easier said than done”, you might say, and I would be the first to agree. It is definitely not easy, but really, what is the alternative? Continue in the unsuccessful, hurtful and sometimes violent patterns to which we have become accustomed? When the going gets rough, blame the “other”, jump ship and hope for something less challenging to come along? It has been my experience that a lesson is repeated until it is learned. I can pretend that you and I are “who we think we are” long enough to let the tension pass, but a steady gruel of pretension is just not so very interesting, and will probably yield the same frustrating results.
….. “Yoga” can be roughly defined as “union with Spirit” (or love, truth, God(dess), etc., as you wish). The idea is that beyond the confines of our material experience, and supporting our unfoldment in a benevolent manner, is a living energy connecting all of existence, that we can align ourselves with (or not). The aim of different yogic practices is to bring the individual consciousness (yours and mine) into harmony with this energy. From a practical point of view, this unionizing creates a more peaceful existence for everyone. It does seem to follow that if I am a peaceful person, your encounters with me are going to feel better, and yield more positive results. Extrapolate that out to include everyone, and you get the idea. Peace begins with me. I can really only be responsible for my own thoughts and actions, and to be responsible, I have to be clear about who I am, what is important to me, what my intention in life is, and how “you”, (the other) merge with all of that. If I am clear about what I need for my own unfoldment, and hold this in a vision of intention, it becomes much easier to discern what to do or say in any given situation. If there is conflict, I am less threatened by your words or actions that are contrary to mine, as I am able to set limits as to what is acceptable or not, understanding that you as well have sole responsibility to arrive at your own sense of self with your own particular needs and intentions. When I am clear, I can be a better friend to you, and vice-versa. During conflict it is my responsibility to hold respect for what I need, and to respect your needs as well. If we are unable to find common ground, our paths may indeed diverge, but if they do, it will be clear why, and we will hopefully part on friendly terms without the extent of anger, frustration, shame and blame that is often associated with people parting ways. It may also be the case that our relationship will be purified by the fire of conflict, and we will come to see the “other” as our teacher who has come to bring us our next lesson, painful as it may be. We can choose to leave our heart open in that hell, or not.
….. We all unfold at our own pace, and in our own way. Our mate or boss or parent who seems to be causing us grief is probably not intentionally trying to do so. We can not be responsible for someone else, but we can be responsible for how we act and what we say, and we can be responsible for coming to an understanding about what we need, and for taking action to bring that into our life. By living our mindful intention, we can serve as a positive example to others we encounter or live with. Stephen Levine says “It is never about someone else”. If we are blaming someone else, we need to look a little deeper into our own existence, and take responsibility. If someone (even Nature) has been unkind to us, we cannot change that, but we can move forward with clear intention regarding what we need in order to live a fruitful and satisfying life. That is the yoga of relationship, and our relationship with others ultimately boils down to being a reflection of our relationship with our own self.


Hi Joy
Thank you for sharing your poem. It is filled with pain and expressing that pain and exposing that truth is a good thing to do. Please remember that the reason your mother hates you is about her, not about you.
Thanks for being part of this,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Rise!
Great to hear from you!

Hi Chloe
Great points! My thoughts exactly and yes it is very very hard to realize that behaviour is inappropriate when a person has been raised to believe it is “NORMAL”.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Jane
Welcome to emerging from broken,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts here too. I got angry writing it! LOL
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Robert,
I have found that excusing people because perhaps “they didn’t intend” to hurt me was a large part of where I got stuck. I am not concerned with intent anymore, just that in order for me to grow up and actually understand MY needs, I had to realize that I was treated very badly. Some things are just wrong, but when we are raised with “wrong” it becomes very hard to recognize. I think that so many “relationship gurus” are not talking about abusive relationships; they don’t go that deep. It is all this love and equality stuff, but no one deals with the inequality in the first place. No one wants to talk about how children arrive at adulthood all broken and squished, but still expected to “be” an adult. Moving past the damage is about actually looking at the damage. That part is usually skipped.
Thanks for sharing your blog post and your thoughts.
Hugs, Darlene


Joy: Thank you for letting us read your poem. I love poetry and that’s why kept me sane growing up, writing my feelings through poems. My heart breaks for what you endured. Some day those people will pay for what they’ve done and the harm they caused. You can start anew and have the life you always dreamed. Don’t ever believe lies that you can’t! There is a purpose for your life and I believe whatever was taken away and robbed, it will replaced tenfold!!! Accept it, believe it, live it! You are a new person now and you can become and do anything you want. Healing is a process and you’re on that path to FREEDOM, true freedom! You’ll get there! Don’t ever give up.

Regarding the other posts: I found it helpful to know WHY my mother treated me so cruel. She is SICK and has NPD. It still took me years to actually process what that meant and now I realize I have to sever any contact with her. It still is confusing at times and I ‘miss’ what I want in my mother, but I realize she never gave me anything really that wasn’t self-serving in some twisted way or that didn’t have strings attached. She’s just an empty shell. I finally have faced the truth that I am a good person worthy of happiness and love. I can’t wait to start my new life now!!!!


Thanks, Darlene. I shared this on Pandora’s Aquarium, an online support group. I strongly agree: it’s a waste of time to focus on why the abuser abuses. Best to focus on self and healing.


Why do the adults cut off their own lifeline? Generations helping each other in both directions…why would that not be a good thing, in the context of healthy relationships?


. Hi Janet,
welcome to EFB and thanks for sharing my blog post with your support group.

I know it can be helpful to know why the abuser abuses when it is something like Narcissism etc. but what about when there is no way to understand it. My mother is narcissistic but not with everyone. She doesn’t fit the whole profile at all. She fits parts of many profiles but it doesn’t help me to heal knowing that or not knowing that. I have written posts about my mother and how I felt so sorry for her. She had a terrible life herself. She was abused and devalued by her family too. She did to me what was done to her, so I excused it. I made excuses for her but that didn’t help me. That is what I mean when I say that trying to understand the abuser is not really the point. The biggest reason that I hesitate (for the purposes of this blog) to give any power to understanding the abuser is because of how long that I sought understanding the abusers and that was really in my way. It was a major stick point when it came to my healing. I just wanted to explain that. Having said that, please feel free to share anything you want to share about this subject ~ I post these kinds of comments only out of concern for the readers who are stuck on trying to understand and not for the purpose of trying to make the original commenter feel wrong.
Thanks and hugs!


Thank you for your very kind words ..poetry is always coming out as so much hurt and pain is still within. There are beutiful poems that come out too..You can read them on my blog am just on the beginning of my journey and so . .am very green in knowing the right way to do things and the ways i should stay away from . I appreciate all your kind words..


I try to keep before me that is all about her but people of family and ex friends keep trying to put it all on me.. Thanks for your constant support..



Eventually I realized that the sick system effects everyone and that most of the people in my life at that time were part of it. So when people put that stuff on you, it is about them and not about you. They are ALL wrong and I realized that as I grew. The reason it felt like they might be “right” about me back then is because I totally accpeted blame for everything all my life. I was used to it. It was familiar and comfortable and how I coped with not feeling good enough for the adults in my life. The process was largely to do with replacing all those familiar lies, with the truth. They were part of a sick system, I escaped it.
Hugs, Darlene


That your mother is narcissistic, but not with everyone, to me means that she is abusive. She chooses to abuse you. And there we are right back at the “no answer” zone for the why again. She chose it.

What a poem, and thank you for sharing it. I am so sorry for you. You are so right when you say that you want to ask her why she hates you so, and that she would not let you know. She would definietly NOT give you the answer to a question that you so want! And, there is no valid answer. There is NO reason to hate a child, who by nature is innocent, didn’t ask to be born, didn’t do anything to be hated. Of all the senselessness in the world; is that not the worst?


@Chloe, I totally agree with your comment about buying the best rain gear and getting on with our lives. I want to comment, though, that there are soooo many aspects of an unhealthy family. Family members have been taught and modeled to treat each other in a disrespectful manner. It keeps snowballing. My husband tries to help me make some sense of why I feel so bad. He tells me that I would like to have my family – yet they have moved on without me because I won’t participate in their behavior. My two sisters are presently trying to get back at my mother for the neglect we suffered while we were growing up. We’re all in our 60s! I seem to be the only one who has moved on. It’s very lonely.



Hi Darlene

I think the hardest thing is that part of the brainwashing done to me was the do’s and don’t of the old faith and what was considered ok and what not and .. one thing drilled into us is never to blame others.. so am going not just against the lies the abusers throw at me or the ex friends but also the belief system that has played in my mind for so many years.. I can hear in my mind “how dare you blame your family” you got what you deserved..this was needed to purify you .. on and on.. saints don’t complain.. they suffer in’s such a complete turn around from all I ever heard that it seems unnatural…but i know i have to to really work to convince myself all these things are lies and i believe you . .it’s them.. its just feel unreal to say so hugs joy



So many poems circle around my confusion as to why I was hated. .since I had no say about coming to this world.. I did the best I can at all times.. would think instead of hate she would be proud to have me as a daughter but she hates me to this day.. and since she cannot hit me with boards anymore she uses every means to get her pointed words in my heart.. i dont understand so much.. and probably never would and i she wont ever tell me why . .since that would mean she had to admit her own misteake..which she says I was her worst mistake.




I go one farther than that Kate~
Even if my mother was a narcissist, Narcissism is ABUSIVE.

Joy ~ this is more abuse. What a load of crap. It all that stuff was godly and spritiual and good for you, then why are so many people so messed up? That is the excuse they use to get away with and justify what they do, but there is NO justification for it.
Thanks for sharing everyone! hugs, Darlene


The ones collecting the power and the pay are NOT suffering in silence, but demanding that others do so
this puts spiritual abuse into perspective


I had a friend who was sexually abused my a babysitter from their church when he was young, and spiritually abused in a differet church later in life, and his experience is that the spiritual abuse is worse, I think it is what you mean when you say, “I think the hardest thing is that part of the brainwashing done to me was the do’s and don’t of the old faith…”



I was sexually abused by my older brother with help from my mom which led me to try to get help from the church.. i went to tell whats happening and the priest told me I should be ashamed of myself.. I tried in my 6 years old language to explain and he told me God would be mad at me if i ever said anything against my family again..that more then the disgraceful dirty things done me from mom and bro hurt me so so much .. that I feel totally abandone..God spoke through the priest..

I told of the beatings. .but i got no where.. i kept quiet till the teacher in school asked a general question about who we are afraid of ..everyone had people they were afraid of..only i said my mom and my bro..that led to the more trouble.

they took us away then . as both me and my sis were being badly hurt.. but then they brought us back. in the end my sis and bro .older ones ran away from home when i was 13 and left me to be the sole recipient of my mom’s special attention. .

Every day to the day i left mom always found reason to hit beat..slap and humililate me




so the school asked leading questions whereas the church told you to shut up

the school did something to try to help, even if the system is not great or reliable, whereas the church put you through hell

The same has been true in my life. Non-religious organizations have helped with my expenses, etc., when I was in need; the church distributes condemnation in one form or another



Correct they did because of bruises and my change in behavior this day I remember one specific time when the teacher handed out a page to color and i loved crayons and colors but that day was after and night that abuse happened..and i remember taking a black crayong and coloring the whole page compltely black and the teacher asking why .. and me crying not saying a word.

The school tried but then the place they put us was abusive too . I have a blank as to how long were there..

I just know we were put back into our place of pain and shame.
That wasnt too long and my two older siblings ran away leaving
me to be the oldest there at home till I left.

The things that happen constantly come to me in nightmares.and
the worse the terrible let down .. the terible scar the church left in
me by telling me how bad I was for telling what was happening.

This same church turned its back on me again in 2009 after 10
years of free service.

which has left me to wonder where true love and faith and goodness
is.. I am scarred by my family but traumatized by the church
i was taught was the voice of god ..outside which was no salvation!

I will never step foot in there again .. I feel. I don’t know but I feel
how I have been done is all wrong. i have serious problems because
of how they did me when i was just a little girl grasping for help >. i was the bad
one. I deserved the disgrace, mistreatment and all the bad stuff..

Left me confused about God.. only now am I coming to see that
God could not be anything like that..but I dont know too many places
that dont make God out to be some monster waiting to send you to
some fiery pit if you do wrong. I have been so scared and traumatized
by faith and family that i can only hope my T will not give up on me.
She is so very good .to me.



yes, the real presence of God is in your life, in your T. and in you, and in any people who are loving and helpful
the real presence of God is not in a building, a package, a program, a paycheck, a power-trip


Kate this is how i am really believing now.. i tell people
who ask me what’s your religion I say …Love..I believe
that is where God is. God isn’t in hate or fear or lies
or crazy stuff nonsense.. I beleive God is where ever there
is true.. love you said in me and you ..and T and
all who do good for others and not bad.

I don’t believe God is only in buildings; many times i think
God runs from them or God is locked out of them.

Thank you for you kindly wofds




My brother has a saying I found to be true. I also beleive manipulation does the same thing. His saying: A lie will go to any length to disguise itself as the truth.
I am very easily manipulated. I hate it and wish I knew how to battle it. It’s sad but true most of my family have manipulated me more than a friend (I have few friends). I don’t know how to keep people in my life. I start running away when I am manipulated, I can’t work it out because I don’t know how.


a helpful post, a survivor beginning to consider themselves instead of wondering why others behave in these ways. Yes a better use of energies . training the mind out of survival mode though will be difficult I expect.


Darlene, Sorry I misinterpreted the post. I see what you’re getting at. I TOTALLY agree now that trying to understand the WHY of my abuser is minimizing and devaluing our pain. I also felt sorry for my mother, especially since she is mentally ill. How can I as her loving and loyal daughter walk away from her?? But I must in order to survive myself. She has her favorite, which is my niece, and she never says anything bad about her, but can criticize me up, down, sideways, and makes it seem like I’m the crazy one. She was always jealous of my depth, my insight, my beauty, my peace, my joy… She is so TOXIC and abusive I can’t have her in my life anymore if I want to live a long and happy life. I just can’t. Plus, I have my own child to protect now. When she started projecting onto him, that was the last straw.


Darlene wrote:

“First I was mistreated, devalued and manipulated and then I was blamed for having depressions and other difficulties in life!”

That’s it, in a nutshell. I was driven by my abusive parents, my mother especially, to having a “breakdown” at the age of 14. To this day, 44 years later, my mother is STILL sending me hate letters (62 pages long!) putting me down for being “crazy.”


I see this phenomena with my ex-wife and sons. The damaged childhood my ex reports is now manifesting itself on my children, especially my eldest with having to navigate through the manipulations of their mom. The manipulation and skewing of events regarding things between them has escalated and thankfully, he is a very intuitive and discerning boy (at just 13). I’m hoping that by providing a safe place for him, he can sort out his view of what’s going on without having to be in the turmoil of the manipulation (which has included having the police called on him and being shunned to a teen homeless shelter when he simply questions her viewpoint- it is really quite scary for him).

It is also challenging as a parent and knowing the abusive manipulations that have occurred in the past personally and now seeing them creep up again with our boys. It is sad how past events from an individuals history can have such a lasting and drastic impact for generations down the road.



I agree. .so many are messed up . the whole church system needs a looking at but saying such is grounds to excommunicate me but hey who cares. i dont’ belong there no more .right..

love and hugs



Kate, I believe that narcissism is as much or more a character disorder than a personality disorder. I think the character disorder may eventually cause the person to become mentally ill. I don’t buy into the notion that they can’t change either. If they chose to quit surviving by manipulating others, they would change because their view of themselves and others would change in the process. Really, they are very dependent people. They beat down those who are closest to them in order to keep them available and under their control. They do this because they fear being on their own. They need their servants to survive and they maintain that servitude through abuse.

Evil manipulators are not that complicated. Their motivation is very shallow. It is possible to learn how to deflate them. If you refuse to serve them, they forget you exist, and they go away.

That’s my experience for whatever that is worth!:0)


Renee,I’ve had that same problem. I was confused about manipulation because that is the way my parents operate. I thought that my parents and my sister loved me so I confused their manipulation as being motivated by love. It never is. People who manipulate have little to no concern for those they control. Their motivations are shallow. They want attention, admiration, whatever serves the false image they have of themselves and project to the world. I’ve found that if you refuse to give them these things, they deflate, and they will at any cost, avoid people who don’t feed that false self image. If you refuse to serve their need, they will forget that you exist and go away. It too a long time for me to figure this out but it works.




“My brother has a saying I found to be true. I also beleive manipulation does the same thing. His saying: A lie will go to any length to disguise itself as the truth.
I am very easily manipulated. I hate it and wish I knew how to battle it. It’s sad but true most of my family have manipulated me more than a friend (I have few friends). I don’t know how to keep people in my life. I start running away when I am manipulated, I can’t work it out because I don’t know how.”

I know how bad this feels to feel like you don’t know how to work manipulation out of your life. And I have gotten rid of more people than I care to admit because I was so easily manipulated all my life, that those are the types I had in my lifein abundance. But no more. Not if I can help it at all. I operate now on the goal of peace. Peace for me and all who interact and abide with me.


What a summary! Some things just never change.


@Barbara – I agree it can be very lonely. I also feel like it was lonely when I was putting them ahead of my own needs. I was invisible.

Sometimes I get sucked in and learn all over again that I cannot get too close or I get hurt. The best events in my life (graduation, wedding, becoming a mother) are also the days when I try to believe my family will behave and that is when they misbehave the most. I am starting to expect less and the hard part is getting my needs met in other ways, building a life where my family is just a sideshow.

I have started a journal where I can write out how I am feeling and that helps me get through it. It hurts to be distant but it’s better to be free of the dysfunction (and grieving at times) than to keep offering up new ways for them to hurt me (and grieving then too).

It sounds like you are ahead of me and have moved on but you feel compassion for your sisters who are still struggling. That sounds normal to me. I have a feeling this will be a long process.


Don’t worry, this is all part of the process and as I grew stronger and began to see things through the grid of truth instead of the grid of b.s. that had been taught to me, I started to recognize the manipulation way more easily!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen,
Thanks for coming back and posting your follow up comments! That is exactly what I was getting at! I am writing a post about my relationship with my mother that gets more specific about this stuff and the difference between little resentments that are very normal for teenagers to have, and real things that happened to me that were not normal and sometimes not even legal.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lynda
Your mother used your breakdown, (which she actually caused) to control you for years. That is also what i am talking about. And because we are so young when it all starts, it is easy for these manipulative sick people to convince us that WE are the problem.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Beverly
Thank you for your comments. It is difficult because our minds are so convinced that “they” are right. The deeper work for me has been about realizing the truth about what really happened instead of what they said reality was.
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jeff
This whole thing is a vicious cycle that really does get passed down to the next generation. This situation sounds very difficult. I hope that you can help your son get the help that he needs to deal with this. My heart goes out to him.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Joy ~ I kind of smiled at your comment about getting kicked out of the church. (they think they have so much power hey??) that whole thing works on the huge fear that people have of rejection. But in reality, they rejected you all along by never accepting you unless you were their puppet. The way that I see this now is that I rejected them ~ I walked away from living in their sick system. I am happy and free now. I dont miss them at all, not even a bit.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene

Sometimes ..guess that’s the best way to approach such nonsense? I was a puppet so long it feel strange not having “any strings attached” Yep am “am shaking the dust of my feet” . 😉 free and trying to be happy.. most time happy but have still some other nonsense hanging over .. from the work wont go away 😉 and so the constant dealng with that keeps that nightmare fresh on my mind too.. I have a double feature going right now . trying to heal from two things at once..its overwhelming

hugs and love



Good post. I always feel validated when I read your writing. I do have trouble understanding my own behavior and wish I could overcome some of my “default” responses; someday. I did also try to understand the manipulators, but to no avail. Thanks for keeping this topic on the forefront, even though some may cry out “Whiners.” I believe everyone from time to time experiences abuse, so we can all get something out of your posts. It will either encourage the abused, or it will convict the abuser. Thanks again, Darlene.


Dear Darlene
thank you for the reply and the welcome. I truly have difficulty in believing what occurred to me so young, not surprising when your reality has been obscured by others for years. The painful truth surfaces the lies are revealed one by one. eventually you begin to see yourself, and what a strange experience that is. getting to know yourself and learning to take care of yourself for the first time in your own life.


Hi Merry
Thank you for your encouragement. I appreciate your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Beverly
Yes, that is the process and isn’t it wonderful!
Thanks for posting!!
Hugs, Darlene


My mother was a very beautiful woman (a knock out) that had men that bought her the importance things like minks, diamonds, a poodle, etc. Also she had 5 children that she left where they dropped. Me and my brother was the oldest. My brother was 1 and me less than 1 when she abandoned us. We lived with my father’s parents until I was 8. As far back as I can remember my father would beat us when he visited, that is when the grandparents were not there. He remarried and was forced to take us although he did not want to. He Beat stomped and kicked us outside where all the neighbors saw. He tore my anus by kicking me with the toe of his shoe, blooded my nose and beat us until our heads were purple. Everyone in the neighbor hood, our relatives and the principal of our school knew what he was doing. The first summer we lived with him he attempted to murder us by throwing us off a dam but a car came along and spoiled his plans. One day he was beating my brother’s head on the pavement and the neighbor hood grocer called the police. Me and my brother sat in jail for 2 or 3 weeks (we were treated like dirt by the police) then they took us to see a judge who ask nothing about our treatment. My brother was sent to live with our grandparents who did not want him there. I was to remain in his home. I was seldom there and made my own way until I joined the military when I was 17. There are no court records of the hearing. Some of the neighbors encouraged us to kill him but they did nothing to help us. Nobody was willing to help us. My brother passed away. According to this state’s law my father will inherit from my brother and according to my lawyer there is little I can do to prevent it. He said severe child abuse doesn’t matter much, the law is my father will inherit. My chance of winning in court is slim to none. And that’s the way it is.


There was a boy in my 5th grade class that was very quite and when he wrote he pressed his pencil hard on his paper. I ask him if his father beat him and he said yes. I was very young and knew what was happening to him, so you can’t tell me that the teachers did not know. No body gave a damn.



I just want to say.. if i spoke two or 3 words all my school years that was alot.. I was afraid to talk and i would take the black crayon and color everythng completely black..Children have ways of telling without speaking.

The teachers tried to help us but the system put us right back into the horrors.



Hi Hkdfghkfj
Welcome and thank you for sharing part of your life with us. This is the kind of brutal childhood reality that I am talking about. This kind of damage doesn’t just go away overnight. Thank you for being here. Please feel free to share often.
Hugs, Darlene


@Darlene, I just posted this on my FB page I found it on another friends page.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”~ Winston Churchill

It is so true and I think it confirms what you say. It is not only true of abusive families but also abusive systems and groups, such as churches, courts anywhere there is fear of being exposed.There was a post on someones page on FB I dont even know who it was. It was a question are abusers sick or are they evil. Really all of the comments resolved nothing and though I was not able to articulate the thought at the time I agree there is no answer or solution in understanding manipulative or evil people. Even in dealing with the legal mess I have dealt with since 2002 my attorney who is a good person who is elderly who has seen it all can not believe how evil the people are that I am dealing with! Abusers are all similar. It is because they all have the same father ,the father of lies! Same story only the names change!


Thanks for sharing Pinky,
I think that abusers are sick AND evil, not that it helps to understand that either. I think that the fact that they know how to cover up, indicates that they are not so sick that they are innocent and that they know right from wrong. It helped me to see the truth that way ~ that there were coverups, that there did know what they did was wrong because so much of it was never in public or in front of people. That they knew to lie. That is pretty revealing about the character of abusers.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone
I just wrote a new post and published it a few minutes ago and it gets specific about Spiritual Abuse and Church authorities. I wrote it with the same anger and disgust that I wrote this post with, so thought some of the commenters on this one would like to know about the new one!

You can read it here: Defining Spiritual Abuse and the Effect it has on US as children

Hugs!! Darlene


Hi everyone,
Today is my birthday. My memories of my birthday for the most part is sadness. Many times I had to ask my mom if I was going to get a present for my birthday much less a cake. Sometimes I did get a present most I didn’t, same with a cake. At times my mom would get mad because I ask for a present. Her excuse was her favorite son needed a new pair of shoes or a pair of jeans. It didn’t matter that I had 2 pair of jeans a few shirts underpants that were her’s or someone elses, and a pair of holey tennis shoes. As a parent I made sure the kids had presents,cake, and ice cream. Baloons if I could afford them. I wanted them to know this was one mother that felt blessed to have them in my life.


I fully agree!!!!!!!!!!! this is powerful!


Hi Renee
Some parents use stuff like special occasions to hurt kids too. I am sorry that this happened to you.




HI Renee
Hope you had a *happy birthday* I
know how birthdays can be. mine have
always been sad..Hope this one for you
was filled with happier moments than you knew
in the past..




Happy birthday Renee, a birthday is a good time to start over! hugs!


[…] “servants of God” teach truth, honesty and love and they turn a blind eye to abuse in favour of lies and cover-ups. […]


“I had to learn to stop trying to understand them in favour of understanding what happened to me.” This was a tough lesson. When I was considering what I wanted to do with my life, if I lived through it, I thought I wanted to be a psychologist so I could fix my family. No amount of psychology is going to fix them! It took me decades to figure out what you said here, Darlene. That the time comes when you, the survivor of abuse, have to be aware of and understand the effect of the abuse that was done to you. It didn’t just happen like some random fender bender on the freeway. It was deliberate, premeditated abuse.


Always looking for “why” answers just kept me stuck in my head, separated from my body. I had to let go of the whys before I could reconnect and come out of my head to heal.


If you haven’t heard the song “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato check it out on YouTube. I dedicate it to my Narcissistic Borderline Mother!


Darlene, I know what you mean when you say that it isn’t helpful trying to get to the bottom of the whys. But as I saw the title of your post, it reminded me of the book on the psychology of evil by M Scott Peck, “People of the Lie”. There was something quite enlightening to me in it:

He said that unlike psychopaths, who had no conscience, the problem with evil people is not the absence of their conscience, but their dedication to the preservation of their self-image. They intensely desire to appear good, but their goodness is all a pretense. They deceive themselves and since self-deceit would be unnecessary if the evil had no sense of right and wrong, they are attempting to cover up something.

The essential component of evil is not the absence of a sense of sin but the unwillingness to tolerate that sense. At one and the same time, the evil are aware of their evil and desperately trying to avoid the awareness. Rather than blissfully lacking a sense of morality, like the psychopath, they are continually engaged in sweeping the evidence of their evil under the rug of their own consciousness. Evil originates not in the absence of guilt but in the effort to escape it.

That really satisfied me, cos I was pretty certain that the abusive figure in my life was not lacking in conscience. He could show empathy for the suffering at times. He was not always cold and calculating. This is what confused me – he didn’t fit all the categories of a psychopath. But he was no less evil by M Scott Peck’s definition, which includes characteristics like the preservation of self-image, the use of scapegoats and the intolerance to criticism.


Hi Krissy
“People of the Lie” is one of my favourite books. I totally relate to what you are saying here. I feel that way about certain diagnosis’s when they are used like an excuse. Towards me, my mother is a total narcissist, but she isn’t like that at all with her husband therefore, narcissism doesn’t fit for “what is wrong with her” M.Scott Peck definition certainly fits her though.
Thanks for adding your voice to this conversation!
Hugs, Darlene


@Krissy and Darlene, I have been thinking about that book it is one of the books that started me on a journey to light. (I dont know how else to phrase it.) I agree with and understand what the author said but didnt know if I could post it here. I was actually just rethinking the very things you posted that I learned from the book. People have differing opinions and I try to be sensitive but I believe that what that author said was true about evil people.I think I may still have this book in storage. I think in his writings about my mom ,about spiritually abusive pastors about abusive attorneys who knowingly defend serious child abusers. I love this book thanks for posting and Darlene thanks for letting her post it. In a blog like this I am not always sure what I can and cant post and what crosses the line.It seems to be a common belief that evil does not exist. I live in NYC and right after 911 the subject of evil came up. So many people do not believe it exists. So many believe if we just talk it out with the poor misunderstood terrorists they wouldn’t kill us. It is this thinking in my opinion that keeps the culture in denial about evil about abuse and about the fact that abuse is a choice. All forms of abuse are choices people make. But in trying to talk sense to people who believe poor abusers and poor terrorists they just cant help it , you get no where! Thanks for posting the truth!


Hi Pinky
I understand what you are saying ~ when it comes to people saying that there is no such thing as evil, it makes me wonder what their definition of evil really is.
Don’t worry about crossing any lines here… I believe that communication means that we can say what we think, (and I said lots of stuff in my process that I don’t agree with today but i needed to hear myself say it so that I could eventually see where my belief system was messed up!) and as long as it doesn’t cause harm to the readers or lead them in the wrong direction, I will let it stand OR I will offer a different opinion. That is relationship.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks. Yes I see how the belie system changes especially for those in recovery.


I’m new here. Hi. I’ve been reading your posts. I hope this is OK to say: I HATE YOUR MOTHER and that priest who told you those things. (What lies!) (What filth!)

Like Susan and the others have said, you are so worthy. I am sorry that the things that happened to you, happened to you.


Hugs to you.



Thanks for sharing what you did from M. Scott Peck’s work (especially: “ . . . their dedication to the preservation of their self-image”). Your statement “But he was no less evil by M Scott Peck’s definition, which includes characteristics like the preservation of self-image, the use of scapegoats and the intolerance to criticism”, and your interpretation/summary of Peck’s work is enlightening and satisfying to me as well.



Hello Katie Lee

You know, I don’t know what’s ok but if its ok in your heart I believe its ok .. what do you think ? I was wanting for so long to ask someone if it’s ok to have emotions like hate..since its such a strong emotion.

I am still in confusion as to what I am allowed to feel about what happened and what was said to little me. .I am afraid of doing the wrong thing..

Hugs to you :



Feeling isn’t wrong Joy ~ feelings are not wrong. Anger and hate are not wrong either.

We were taught that our feelings were wrong ~ that was the foundation of my “stop crying or I will give you something to cry about” post. I have had feelings that scared the crap out of me, but acknowledging them enabled me to take a look at them. Taking a look at them lessened the fear greatly!
Hugs, Darlene

p.s. everyone ~ I have published a new post related to this one ~ you can read it here: My Parents did the best they could According to WHO?
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene

It’s so hard for me to allow myself feelings. .so so brainwashed about what is sin and the fact that thinking can be a sin..makes me afraid to feel or even think..

I have let go of that church but so much of that stuff is still stuck in my head.. its scary to have been so badly brainwashed.




Hi Joy.
Well, I think it’s OK to hate, and I hate what they did to you (so senseless, so uncalled for, so DAMAGING!). I’ve gathered from here and elsewhere (I’m thinking like in Susan Forward’s Toxic Parents book) that anger is a normal, healthy reaction to mistreatment, and that extreme anger is a normal, healthy reaction to extreme mistreatment. It’s telling us (me) that what was done–was WRONG.

And what I think this blog (and other true “healing” modalities) is all about is using our feelings to recognize the damage, and then doing the things (like arranging for support from others) that we need to do to heal this damage.

My 2 cents.

hugs back to you,



Joy, I don’t want to be another voice trying to tell you what to feel or think, but I am wondering if all those people in your past who tried to make out like a good person should not hate knows this Scripture: Psalm 11:5 “Those with violence He hates with a passion.” So if we want to be Godly, we should hate with a passion.

One day, when I was watching a Youtube of a presentation by Lundy Bancroft on domestic violence, I was really struck by these words. “The proper, right response to domestic violence is outrage.” Why are the only ones feeling the right response (that of outrage/hate) the victims? And occasionally, advocates as well. Lundy Bancroft is not a Christian – why does it take someone like him to speak out and encourage a response of strong anger?

Yes, I too was told by my nice well-meaning friends that victims may be the nicest, most compassionate people when they meet their abusers, but they think they have a right to turn into husband-haters and spread poison and bitterness against their perpetrators. They should, instead, not express that anger, leave it at the Cross, and forgive. What baloney! Not only should they be allowed the right to express that anger, but people shouldn’t stop them, but help them express it well, and join them in expressing it!!

Now that would be validating for a change, wouldn’t it.


You have a very good point. There are a lot of ways to express anger. Yet it boils down to two ways the proper way and the crazy way. The most important lesson I learned while going to Equestrian counseling was the way you can effectively get your point across. People see anger in another person and they run for the hills!! But when a person expresses themselves in a way that is controled it transfixes the on lookers. You also keep your power and the abuser crumbles. This has been my experience, it is hard to learn yet it is very effective.


I’m so glad I happened upon this page. I am a victum of emotional and verbal abuse. I suffered through it even into my adult years because up until a year ago I was forced to live with my mother for financial reasons. The abuse last year became so great (mother acusing me of sleeping with my step-father, threatening to throw me out of the house on any whim) that I finally broke the silence and went to my pastor and his wife for help. They offered none. They took my mothers side and said over and over how sorry they felt for her. I practically yelled at them, “Why does everyone feel so sorry for her?” Their reply was that she was being used by the devil like a puppet on a string whereas I had Jesus and could just go to the alter and shed the pain. But the pain didn’t go away. Over the last year it got worse and worse until I considered suicide.

I’m just now getting back to real life again. But my problem now is that I find it hard to talk about the hurt with anyone because I don’t really feel like I’ll be heard. The pain of being dismissed by my Pastor and his wife goes so much deeper than what I felt because of my family. The sense of betrayal is so much worse.

But I’m glad that I can come here and talk with people who understand my pain and won’t judge me. That feels fantastic.

I can only imagine how God must feel about being so badly misrepresented and about how His children are being hurt and abused.

God bless all of you and I pray that His healing will touch us all.


Hi Robin
Welcome to Emerging from Broken,
I understand where you are coming from. My answer when people say stuff like what your pastor said to you is “So what?” even if what they are saying is true, it doesn’t help YOU to overcome the hurt. The hurt she caused YOU is very real. It is like people always blame the kids (no matter the age of the kids) as though it is the kids job to put up with whatever parents dish out. Being heard the first time was one of the first glimmers of hope for healing that I had. That is why I started this site. To give others that same hope. So glad you are here.
Please share often,
Hugs, Darlene


[…] type of abuse and that bullying is a huge issue in our society, but what I am questioning here is “WHERE does bullying really START?” And is it a “learned […]


Amazing post Darlene….I too want want to rip the eyes out of child molesters…and put parents behind bars who beat their children…

My mother constantly skirts the issues when I bring them up and denies them all the way….I have to be sensitive to the way I bring things up to her or they will be instantly rejected….WTF??…it is as though she is the child…and I her mother….I have walked on eggshells my whole life in order to not make mommy mad at me…so sad…I had to ignore my own needs to take care of the needs of my fucked up parents… is so interesting to me how normally “good” parents always are questioning whether they are doing a good job parenting…and the most horrible of parents never once question themselves….it is absolutely ludicrous how abused children are expected to live happy, well adjusted adult lives when their childhood was so full of invalidation and hurt.

I think the sickness of abuse runs so deep that people who are in it and cover it up don’t even second guess it…it is what they know and for so many reasons they choose to stay a part of the problem instead of stepping outside of the circle and becoming a part of the solution…it doesn’t take any courage to stay in the circle…but it takes a hell of a lot of courage to step outside….with the possibility of being isolated all over again….the risks are great but so are the rewards….I choose to take my life back….I will continue to step outside of the circle….If I only complete one goal in my life…this is the one I must complete.


Hi Jenny
This is so true. I have been taught and reminded myself over and over and over again that abusers NEVER question themselves. (so if I am questioning myself repeatedly I am usually in that spin again of trying to take the blame for something I didn’t do because my old default mode believed that if I was at fault then I could change it and be better and all would be well)
Your goal is a worthy one Jenny!
Hugs, Darlene


With regard to the ‘whys’ of manipulators, more specifically, abusers, what I am about to say is along the lines of prevention in the future more than anything else:

Many of them MAKE THE DECISION to do these horrific, CRIMINAL things because there are virtually no fears of repercussions.

They do it because they can and because deep down, they count on the power imbalance and shame to keep the victim forever? immobilized.

Add into that the “FOG” aka: “Fear, Obligation & Guilt” tentacles in the family “unit” and along with society’s focus on the “War on Drugs” rather than the “War on Child Abusers” and its not hard to see why they MAKE THE DECISION to take their chances and go ahead and abuse…would be my guess.

But I am finding a trend the last couple of years of so on the web as more people who were abused as children speak out as they get older and deal (or not deal) with aging parents. Seems that many just don’t (rightfully) give a shit and why should they be ‘expected’ to care for someone in old age who made the decision not to care for them? Makes sense to me.

Perhaps this trend is something (repercussions) these abusers of the future might consider beforehand!

My two cents.


p.s. Though a bit off-topic in some ways…in other ways, not so much.

A YouTube video of George Carlin back in 2005: (about 3 minutes):

Noteworthy: “…They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking…”

Critical thinking.

“Never underestimate that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has”. Margaret Mead ~


Hi Brenda,
Thanks for adding your voice to this post! I think that the world will change when the victims and survivors heal and stop the cycle, because this is a cycle. Abusers learn not to love by not being loved. They learn the lust for power and conrol when as children they learn that the only way to have any impact is to overpower someone else. There is no equal value in thier lives becasue they had none as children. It all starts with self love.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for sharing about the book “People of the Lie”. I’m going to read it. I’ve been dealing with emotional/verbal abuse from my husband since getting married over 20 years ago. I grew up very naive and didn’t know that people treated others like this. I cling to Jesus to get myself through. Once when I confronted my husband about his behavior with a Christian counselor present and used the word “evil”, the counselor said, “Why do you think that, he just has a passionate personality”. To me that seemed to minimize the abuse and almost turn it into a positive light. My pastor also told me “to stay with him until I fear for my life”. I don’t know if they are just as naive about abuse as I used to be or what. I don’t go by what they say though, I go by what the Lord says. I stay away from them and someday hope to be free of fear of my husband.


Hi Annabelle,
Thank you for sharing. Abuse is never solved when it is minimized, in fact it feels like being re abused. Being told to stay until you fear your life is very dangerous advice.
I am glad that you are not listening to that kind of advice.
Hugs, Darlene


Hello Annabelle,
I was told that by pastors and lay people. Then I watched a sermon on domestic abuse. The pastor is well known on tv and has a hugh church. This pastor showed scripture about how we are to treat each other, Then he set his bible down and picked up a bat and said ” As God is my witness if a man laid a hand or spoke violence toward my daughter I WOULD be the one answering the door!!! I never forgot that! Finally a man of God standing before everyone saying abuse of any kind is not of GOD! That made such an impact on me.
Annabelle you need to do what ever you can to make yourself and your children safe. Children learn abuse from what they see, hear, and experience, and none of it is of God.


Annabelle, not only is abuse not of God, but the re-abuse by ignorant people in church is also not of God. If that pastor said to stay until you fear for your life, he has no idea of the women who died because they stayed. It is too late when you fear for your life. Most of the murders that happened had no prior history of physical violence, and the only indication was a high level of verbal abuse.

Renee, it’s interesting that when it comes to people’s own kids, they react differently. I have heard pastors who speak out strongly against leaving abusive husbands give very good advice to children who have abusive parents. It’s like when it comes to marriage, they have a different standard because they have made marriage into this idol, as if God cared more about any institution than the welfare of a human being.


Oh so true! I wonder often where these people get off thinking abuse is sanctioned by God!! I was told that so many times. One day I had enough and picked up a brick and told the ex that if he put a hand on me one more time I was going to kill him and threw the brick at him. He laughed and said I would go to prison and I told him yes thats true but you would be dead forever, It took the smirk right off his face!!! I would NEVER and do not encourage anyone to ever go to that length because it doesn’t do you any good and it would be more damage to your children. Leave and go to a safe house. That is what I did, my girls didn’t need me taken away but WE needed to get out of there and into a safe place.


[…] at the same time it seems as though these controlling and manipulative people also believe and go to great length to communicate, that if you love yourself, you will be spending […]


Hi Everyone
I just published a new post that relates to the content in this post.
You can read it here;
Manipulative Controlling People and some Control tactics
I look forward to the conversation on that post. Hugs, Darlene


Hi Renee,

I feel a bit guilty about thinking/saying so, but I laughed when I read the line “that took the smirk right off his face”!

I believe your ex experienced what could be called a “paradigm shift” at that moment 🙂

I guess I also just wanted to send admiration that you were able to stand up for yourself in such a strong way against someone who’d been treating you so badly – MUCH RESPECT!!!!!


I definitely can relate to this Darlene. I divorced my manipulative controlling husband about one year ago, but he still continues to manipulate, control and play stupid games with me using the children. I’m sure there are worse offenders, but my concern is my children and how this affects them. Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether he means to do it or understands that he’s doing it. Ultimately he is doing it and it’s wrong. It affects his kids and he doesn’t care. I’m sick of dealing with his stupid shit and am trying to heal myself and my children. It’s all I can do.


Hi Jacqueline
Welcome to emerging from broken
I am sorry that you are in this horrible and difficult situation! I agree; it matters NOT his level of consciousness, he is doing the damage regardless and that is what you and the kids have to deal with. for me I kept being an example of “truth” and healthy relationship and just hoped that my kids would see that. They fought ME for a few years, as though they liked his manipulative controlling ways better! But in the end each one of them saw his true colours. My case is different because my husband did change but while he was in the process, I never let him off the hook just because he was “trying” I kept pointing out the damage and the message he was giving the kids and I.
Hang in there!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] statements hurt. They were invalidating. They made me feel dirty. Those specific statements about the  motives of men who acknowledged me tagged on to my already […]


Yes,thank-you so much for your service. Everybody expects one to emerge whole & complete from such tragic starts. They too see us as objects. I always wonder how people can look at children & think the treatment of them doesn’t matter. Then nature & nurture is discussed. Well how can a thinking mind disregard nuture. Infants, even children cannot raise themselves. I hope this makes sense. Just begining healing. Thankful for the truth path.


Hi Fai
Welcome to Emerging from Broken

I agree that this is tragic. I think that healing is what will make a big difference in this world!

Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I am struggling, constantly struggling. Now and then I slip back into depression and anxiety. I am strong, I know, I’m a survivor, but it hurts that most people don’t know what I’ve had to deal with, what I still have to deal with every day. I dream of the day when I can be normal, healthy. One of the scars I have from my past is that it’s hard for me to trust people. So I isolate. Sometimes I reach out to people and get friends, then I withdraw. And I think they perceive me as not constant because of it. I don’t know. I wish this pain would stop, this loneliness. I wish I knew how to have healthy supportive relationships. There are so many difficult things that I have to go through alone. Looking for jobs, illnesses, bills. It’s so much.

I really wish there was someone out there I could talk to.

Is there hope for us? How can we heal? I just don’t know. I could go all out and talk about the things that were done to me, about the lack of love and support that I’ve felt in my family. Is that the answer? But then I’m afraid I’ll have no one.


Miralina, it’s not an easy journey and there is no timeframe for healing. The way I see it, we heal when we uncover all the layers of untruths that were heaped upon us. One of them is that we need others to validate us for us to be of any value. If my family doesn’t support me, it hurts. I need to face that hurt fairly and squarely, grieve and mourn that loss, which includes the loss of future meaningful mutual relationship with them. You can’t get validation from certain people, least of all people who have treated you disrespectfully or dismissively.

I have come to the point that if nobody validates me, I can validate myself. Nobody has a right to tell me what I think of myself. I can love and treat myself with gentleness and respect simply because it is right and I deserve it. If I keep looking for it in others, I will be disappointed.

I read this somewhere on this site – if you place a low value on yourself, rest assured that nobody else will better it. Don’t think that’s word for word, but something like that, anyway.

Everyone has a different journey, but for me it was helpful to start by looking at the foundational beliefs that were passed down that are not true. Darlene has many posts on what they were for her, e.g. that her opinion was worth less than others, or that if she behaved in a certain way, she was more acceptable, or that she was the cause of the trouble in her life, etc. Healing will come as we change what we believe and how we think about ourselves, but first how we came to believe that, and how they were wrong in what they told us. All the best!


Hi Maralina
There IS hope. I once questioned that too, but today I am completly healed. It took a lot of work and depended on me validating to ME what happened to me was wrong. I had to do that for myself. The reason that talking about all of it helped me so much was because a) i was able to validate the damage it caused and b)it helped me see HOW my belief system formed in so many false ways.
Hang in here and keep reading.
Hugs, Darlene


telling made things worse- i was about to move back to live with my parents with my ex due to financial hardship. sitting in the parking lot of sears the word abuse finally came to me. i had told my father when he came home from work that my mother had smashed my head against the shower wall when i got some water on the floor after a happy day at the beach. he could probably tell i was upset and got it out of me. my mother took me in the bathroom and slapped my face, don’t u ever tell your father what i do to u. i was trapped, no way out-till i was old enough to flee. a therapist suggested my father mostly sacrificed me to my mother to get out of her abusing him. he admitted it. the teachers too, no peace at school either. all my aunts were teachers. my mother’s family were angry when i told of the abuse at my mother’s memorial. hardly anyone was sympathetic, one aunt telling me it was a mutually destructive relationship?? i never smashed my mother’s head against the wall although i probably wanted to. it is not safe to tell.


Thanks Darlene!

Not sure why some people choose to deliberately hurt another person, whether it’s an adult, a child, or even an animal. It’s difficult to justify the whys or hows when it comes to abuse. I guess the only reason that I can come up with is that someone feels so bad about oneself that they then have to prey upon another in order to feel better. It’s sick & twisted for sure. No matter what the excuse is for hurting someone else. It’s left me perplexed for many years too.

Great topic!



I remeber telling my sister ( who: 1. lives in denial, 2 . had a different childhood than I did anyways as I was the one labeled as the “black sheep”) all these things that Darlene mentioned in her post above. My sister’s response: “….so if you are aware of all these things than you should have more understanding and compassion for Mom”…
I want to scream!!!


oh and another one of my favorites: “Mom is not going to be around forever you know”. Duh. And?


Sandra, they just don’t get it and it is frustrating to deal with people who don’t get it.

January, I agree with you that it is a way of trying to gain some sort of power over someone else in order to feel better about their miserable selves. I’ve had to rid myself of several people like tht in my life.


Hi Sandra,

Funny that your sister says you need to be understanding & compassionate towards your mom. What about you & your feelings? If your mother’s count, so should yours. In validation as its finest. Nice!

My mom used to often say to me (not just as a kid, but as an adult) “You just don’t know how much longer I’ll be around.” If I had a dime for every time she said it, I’d be rich now. She’s gone now…out of her many siblings, she lived the longest (nearly 91 years). She outlived all of them, even though she was one of the oldest. Hated that guilt trip. It was pointless anyway. She never did change her evil ways. Never so much as apologized for all the pain she piled onto me. She either denied it or blamed it all on me.

@Amber, I have had to do the same. Some people just aren’t worth it.


@January: wow, I can so relate to you! My Mommy Dearest is 60 now. She has been self- diagnosing herself since I can remember… I actually chuckle when I write this. I remember her almost wheeping while saying “what if I have cancer?’ “I might have cancer (brain/liver/you name it)”. Even when she was in her 40s I would hear that. Pathetic. I can bet my own life that she will live until she is 80 or 90 in good health. Age did not change her one bit. She is still as evil and manipulative as ever. I got fooled once last year and I am done for good. (I described my story under Darlene’s post about healing, I joined EFB only several days ago).

@Amber: Until recently I used to wonder how one can be so heartless and worn out of emotions. How come some people never even think of hurting another human being, while others pretty much do it for a living. I don’t anymore. For once I am focused on what I feel.The only thing I am struggeling with is whether I should cut my sister out my life as well or give her yet another chance though to be honest I do not think she really cares.


Not sure why some people choose to deliberately hurt another person, whether it’s an adult, a child, or even an animal.

This comment has my brain going. In some of these horror stories I’m reading, yeah, I agree, why would people deliberately do that.

But in the case of “covert” abuse, I don’t think the person really knows what they are doing. You confront, you say, “I don’t like that” and the person gets all upset and all of a sudden it’s YOUR fault. The person, for some reason, has an internal grandiose sense of self, but externally, acts like they don’t.

My mom once said to me, “You had your parents on a pedestal and thought they could do not wrong….” HUH? I never thought this! She is the one who thinks she can do no wrong. If I try to tell her, “I don’t like being treated this way” then all of a sudden *I* have a problem.


This article is just what I needed to read today. Thanks Darlene for putting the link on Facebook!


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