Going No Contact with Family of Origin and Guilt


Book photo 20bRecently I received a question that I thought would make a really great blog post. The question was; “In relation to leaving or reducing contact with your “FOO” (which stands for Family of Origin) do you feel guilty about going no contact with your family of origin?”

This is one of the most frequently asked questions that I receive and it is a really worthwhile topic to dig more deeply into. I know that my readers want to know the simple answer to these questions but if I wrote the simple answer you would only have my answer and I want you to know the answer for you; we are all individuals; the same answer doesn’t fit for all.

Not only do I get asked if I feel guilty, I get asked a lot of other related questions so here are a few quick facts:

Both of my parents are still alive. They are divorced and they have been divorced since I was a teenager.

I use my legal maiden name for this blog and on my book. I use the name that I was given when I was born. I actually had my married name legally changed back to my original name when I began to heal. There is something about doing that that made me feel like I was taking MY life back.

Both my parents and in fact my entire family are aware of my blog and what I am doing here. I don’t know if, when or how often they check on it, but I am not concerned about that. I am empowered with the knowledge and comprehension that it isn’t really any of their business what I am writing about OR what I am talking about. One of the hardest truths for me to embrace in my recovery was the fact that I have a right to talk about my life. I have a right to have feelings about what happened to me. I am an individual and not an extension of my family of origin. Busting through that brainwashing wasn’t the easiest thing that I have ever done; I was taught (brainwashed) to believe that I was wrong ~ to think for myself was wrong, to feel, talk, and to be me; I was always somehow ~ “wrong”. I was taught that I had no rights. I was taught what to believe about the world and about myself through all of the examples that I share in my blog. (For the ‘fast track version’ of this see my book “The beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” which you can access here on the upper right side bar)

I believe that the most important thing about writing publically or even about talking about my life and my family of origin is how I feel about what I am doing. I wish my family no malice or emotional harm. My motive is purely about delivering the message of hope, freedom and wholeness in a hurting world by illustrating how I found it for myself.

Getting back to the question ~ Do I Feel Guilty about Going No Contact with My Family of Origin?

Something that I really can’t emphasize enough is that going no contact was not a choice I made.

If you have read very much of my blog then you know a little bit about how I came to be writing about this dysfunctional family stuff. It isn’t that I decided to walk away from my parents or to stop talking to them or to officially go “no contact” with them ~ it’s that I decided to set some boundaries and they didn’t respect those boundaries. It isn’t that I decided to stop seeing them. I decided that I was worth being respected and valued and treated with kindness and consideration; the same respect, value, kindness and consideration that I treated them with.

My father pretends that he doesn’t understand what I am talking about. He says “he is sorry” and that “he is trying” and he presents himself like the victim in the situation. But in our last conversation he denied his part in an email exchange between my daughter, my half-sister and my father where instead of admitting his part in the issue, he threw me under the bus. He let me take the fall and let the blame rest with me without clarifying to my daughter OR to my half-sister that HE had given them false information about why he was not in attendance for my daughters graduation.  After the phone call, I dug up the emails (because I am still learning to stop questioning myself) and there it was in writing… exactly the way I remembered it. He may have everyone else the family fooled, but I am on to him. If only he would put a fraction of the effort into having a relationship with me, as he puts into making sure his image is intact then perhaps I would believe that he is actually “sorry” and that he regrets his actions.  After all, “I’m Sorry” is an action statement.

My mother has always been a victim. I can only imagine how she sees this whole thing because when we last spoke (years ago now) she asked me if we could just put this behind us and start over. I said no that it had to be talked out this time. She said that we had always been able to resolve our differences in the past. I pointed out that in actual fact, I had always ‘let it go’ and ‘backed off’ or ‘gave in to her’ and I told her that I was no longer willing to have a relationship with her on those terms.

She asked me what “my terms were”. I asked for mutual respect. I asked her to stop saying that I had a crush on her boyfriend which is why he came into my room and molested me ~ a fact that she had never acknowledged in the first place, even though she was willing to bring up this “crush” I had on him in relation to the story. And I asked her to stop constantly asking (requiring) me to “prove” that I liked and accepted her current husband. I only asked those three things.

To which she replied; something like ~ “well, I will let you think about this and you can decide what you want to do”… and I was almost shocked into silence, but I quickly found my voice and I responded with something like “NO Mom, I just told you what I want… this time YOU can think about it and YOU decide what YOU want to do.”

She never called me again. That was it. She gave up on me ~ she gave me up that easy! Just like that she decided “no”.  To be honest, as the weeks and then months went by, it felt like she was saying “no Darlene… you aren’t worth it…”

So you tell me, am I the one that went no contact or was ‘no contact’ a result of their actions?

Why would I feel guilty? What do I really have to feel guilty about? I had to ask myself these questions in order to heal. What exactly did I do that inspired this ‘guilt’? In my book “The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing,” I talk about the few little normal kid things that I did that I believed were the ‘proof’ that they were right about me that I was the one who was ‘bad’ ‘wrong’ etc. but the truth is that those little things were nothing out of the ordinary.

Your situation may be different, and most of the time EVERY situation IS different, but what I am getting at here is the actual truth about going no contact. My goal was never to go ‘no contact’. ‘No contact’ was a result of the decisions that “THEY” made.

I was asking for something that I needed. I was asking to be treated with equal value and equal respect. My motive was for having a better relationship based on the true definition of love, which values equally ALL parties in the relationship and the response that I got was “NO”. So why am I the one holding the guilt cards? I know that ‘they say’ that the guilt is mine, but that doesn’t make it true. 

This isn’t my fault. I tried and I wanted our relationship to be one rooted in love and mutuality. My motive is based in love. Their motives are based in the misuse of their power for the purpose of control.

Therefore, I don’t feel guilty; I have nothing to feel guilty about. I felt guilty for a very long time but once I worked through the truth about that guilt, I was able to overcome the emotion of guilt which didn’t actually belong with me. Guilt in fact was a learned behavior that learned it from the people who falsely inflicted it upon me.  

And as the years went by I realized that not only did it “feel” like my mother and father were saying ‘NO you are not worth it Darlene’ ~ actions speak pretty loudly and that is exactly what their actions said. ~My mother’s actions said that her ‘rights’ as a parent trumped the truth and I was tired of questioning if I had any rights; it was time for me to take my rights and choices BACK~  and the truth is that their actions had been hurting me a lot longer than I realized.

~My mother’s belief in her higher value squished my value and I was tired of fighting it and my father’s lack of interest in me kept my self-esteem in the pits.

~I was tired of trying to prove my worth over and over again and proving my worth seemed like a requirement in the relationship

~I was tired of never being heard.

~I was tired of trying to prove that I loved them.

~I was tired….

When a person is not heard or given the right to have a voice or if a person is consistently devalued or disrespected, then the relationship (or contact itself) is conditional. When I looked at who was the one being ‘conditional’~ when I looked at who actually held the cards and who actually makes the rules and who set those rules in place, I saw the truth about the conditions on the relationship. These are all things that I had to take a look at when I realized why I was so tired in the first place and how I realized that ‘no contact’ was more of a result of the dysfunction and not a choice I made.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

If you like the subject matter I write about you may enjoy my e-book “Emerging from Broken the Beginning of Hope for emotional Healing” available HERE on the right side bar of the website or through the following LINK. “Emerging from Broken e-book”  

360 response to "Going No Contact with Family of Origin and Guilt"

  1. By: Debi Posted: 23rd August

    Thank you, Darlene. I went no contact 20 years ago with A LOT of guilt, but I did start the healing process and it was good. My dad died two years ago and I stepped back in to help my mother deal with it. Long story short….it was a disaster! I again went no contact but there is no guilt this time. I so appreciate this blog and you. I do wish I would have had it to read all those years ago…..but I didn’t and I do now. So thankful…..

  2. By: Ivy Posted: 22nd April

    So here, in this place, after all these years is where I have landed again and again. I cannot even begin to explain how long it has taken me to acknowledge the truth. I can never adequately write in words the brutality of the gashes and pain that I have endured to get here, or what this realization feels like.

    There is no way to express my utter disbelief and devastation of really understanding that I could be anything, I could do anything and it will not matter. My place in my family is set in stone.

    There will never come a day when my family understands or acknowledges that I was placed, upon the day of my birth, into an unwinnable game where I was always the designated looser. I played the game, often I won, but they always said I cheated, that I did not deserve whatever it was that I achieved.

    They are a mob, I am one. I can never ever prove my worth against such odds. It is a futile endeavor. I could make millions, donate it all to charity and dedicate myself to the starving children of the world and they would still find fault. When I am among them, they will always ridicule and demean me.

    I have done none of these great things, but I have lived a good life and still I am subjected to this sick game of thrones at every holiday and even in the off times. Even when the grandma, my mother, considers attending a simple sporting event for my child, she literally has to wonder out loud to me if my sister needs her to take care of her dogs before she can commit to coming to an event my child is participating in.

    It would be absurdly obtuse of me, however, to point this out to her. I would be simply an obnoxious problem causer to say this hurts.

    How did I miss that I am never comfortable around anyone in my family of origin? How did I get to the point where I have continually endured this dis ease just for the hope that one day I could be one of them?

    I am strictly prohibited from speaking about it. Never am I allowed to feel the sting of the blame and shame or discarding that has been heaped upon me for decades. I am not allowed to speak of it ever. They are allowed to speak of anything they want and to frame the past in anyway they please, usually in a way that diminishes me. Their truth is truth, mine is a lie. They are free, I am always checked.

    No contact, I have experimented at it. But to be honest, it has always been with the hope that they might really love me, value me, miss me, and want me back. They do, want me, back that is.

    My silences are met with saccharine praising, a strange ego stroking that leaves me with this odd sensation that they are feeling better about themselves for being so nice to me than their unexpected supplications leave me feeling.

    It is all fake. There is no loyalty, none. I have no family even though there is always a certain pretense there. It is like a lure, just to reel me in and keep hanging on the line.

    How horribly hard it is to let go of a family, to admit they do not have my best interest at heart. How hard it is to look at how small I am compared to them and to wonder how I will survive without a tribe, to wonder if I will ever find another group to be part of, and to wonder where will my children go if I have no extended family to offer them. What a huge, colossal ordeal this is, to let go.

    It is traumatic to realize as an adult that I must separate, that is my only hope, and that I am truly an orphan. I just feel this is something that needs so much more attention. Separating, even diminishing contact is such a huge endeavor. It is never as easy as it sounds. Families are like a prison and being without one feels like being on the lamb sometimes, alone and scared and no longer a part of what I was born into and meant to be a part of.

    This is devastating.

    • By: maria binnie Posted: 20th February

      I am so with you on your situation with how you are treated by family & your words sum up my own situation. Being no contact is also daunting. Yet what can we do we cannot accept such treatment.

  3. By: Amanda Posted: 15th February

    I love this post! I’m so glad your family initiated your no contact in response to your boundaries without a huge song and dance.

    I’ve been NC for 14 yrs now. When I say Nc, in my case about once every 2 to 3 yrs I will call my mother to see if she’s ready to respect my life is my own and she has my junk email address where she sends a birthday and Xmas email updating me on her latest world trip and what her dog has been up to.

    When I went Nc it was out of nesecity to protect myself. My mother has done a lot of what is described in the different articles on this blog, however, towards the end her behaviour had become so interfering Nc was the only option. At that time she was interfering with my employment, convinced my boss to cut my hours back because she was my concerned mother and I was under stress she claimed. My boss did.

    She contacted mental health professionals weekly claiming her concern for me. At one point I was taken to the locked mental health hospital from my home unwillingly and kept over night as she claimed I was self harming. They were planning to keep me in permanently, luck for me, one of the Drs recognised I was no danger and discharged me.

    After that she convinced my landlord to give her a key to my house and let herself in to talk about my “mental health issues”. She told anyone who would listen her “wowe is me” story about the poor mother who’s daughter is so mentally unstable. It was so common I actually started to believe her. All these yrs later, turns out I’ve always been perfectly fine, just frustrated at being constantly sabotaged.

    Not long after that, she send my rapist a congratulations card and defended him to police getting him off all charges. She hardly knew him but she felt it was her duty to clear his name because I’m supposed to be a lier and unstable. He had drugged me with so much date rape drug I didn’t wake up for 4 days and nearly died. He went on to rape 2 other women before being convicted. I sometimes wonder if she thinks about how those 2 women’s lives being ruined is solely on her shoulders? I doubt it. The police were confident they had a good case with mine until she tarnished my credibility. She protected my child sexual assult perpetrators too. Right up until I was 15 when my boyfriend at the time hid outside to keep an eye on things and when stuff started to happen, he beat him up and I moved out. That guy had been doing things with my mothers blessing since I was 4. It was all my fault he never came back. How dare I have my boyfriend punch him. Really? Lol!

    The last straw was her taking things from my home, and getting my younger brother to beat me up when I went to retrieve my property. I was pregnant at the time. I lost it and haven’t been able to have a child since.

    After that, I changed my name, moved states, got a new number and started life again from scratch. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for me. While life has been hard and still is cause I’m not healed yet, removing her ability to pop up and interfear wherever she likes has been a great move for me in having some sort of normal life.

    I don’t feel guilty at all, she and the whole family have no way to find me and it’s all my life now, not theirs. The email situation has been happening for a few years now, I never reply, not worth the anger it causes. I have been thinking and today decided, I will reply to her this week with a very carefully worded email, requesting her to no longer send her 2 dog updates a year and instead only email if someone passes away. If she won’t respect that I plan to close the email account and let the whole family go and be washed clean of my life. My reason is her mail upsets me even though I shouldn’t let it, and every one drags back my anger. There’s never any asking about me or what I’m doing and I really don’t want to have my birthday email every year reading her latest dog trick and that the email has to be kept short because her dog needs a walk and it is more important. I feel I’d like to let this be the end of it so I can ring in 40 free of all things her, and spend between now and then addressing the hurts she has caused from all the way back to being a small child.

    Without her influence I’ve been able to get my MBA, start a company and bought a house all on my own. Now the next steps are healing and moving only in a forward direction, without the back slides that still come up sometimes because of her abuse from way back.

    Huge hugs everyone. We are all very special people and deserve to have great lives. Xoxo

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 16th February

      Hi Amanda
      It’s so hurtful to realize that (by their actions), they don’t actually care. YES ~ healing and moving forward!That is what this whole website is about. Yes we are all special people who are deserving!
      Welcome to EFB
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Maggie Posted: 26th November

    I totally want to rant and rave but am not sure that it helps me. Maybe I have been ranting and raving to the wrong people.
    It feels devastating most of the time. I am relying heavily on a spiritual 12 step program to help me stay disengaged and safely distant. I am blogging about my journey but not getting too specific because my sister is married to a federal judge and she is nuts and I feel I have to be careful about sharing the details of my abuse though my blog does not say my name anywhere. The terror of my gas lighting, narcissist abusers who will not let me stay or ext in peace is too much. Here is one of my posts about how it affected me this holiday season. I am also new to this format and way of reaching others. blogging and reddit….but I think we need to feel community…break the cycle of isolation. My options are pain or less pain!


  5. By: Pinky Posted: 1st September

    I am so happy you are sharing things like this especially this subject. Because of my accident I am not running the support group now but the main issue people struggle with is this and it is beyond my comprehension!
    Your mom being a victim is everyone story but not everyone realizes it!
    When I learned to value myself I cut them off with no counsel or books or anything. I just knew intuitively it was the right thing to do!
    I pray people will really take this teaching to heart!

  6. By: maja Posted: 1st September

    omg this is such a wonderful read for now

    i ve felt often guilty and returned to restore teh contact in the past or kept an open door – frightened for the drama that was stirred, hioping for once i d be a good person a good aughter a good sister for once hoping being seen after all etc etc etc

    the guilt was hard

    and the fear – i was told i was creating my mother s suffering and that i shoudl be kinder to my sister etc –

    however at one point i did expose her lies to my father who then said this was not on! soon i came to realise even tho he realised this wa not on for a first in my lifetime – he had no decent reply to this and nothing really changed- he insisted on the dynamics we had which meant me supporting him and he tryin to concinve me to come back to his faith, never really lettting go of the fact i d never go back to his church –

    and what you write makes so much sense –

    as at one point i got this ill and told them – you can visit me but take into account such and so cause i m so ill –

    you can still email me or text me but calling is too hard for me –

    you are wwelcome to still give me a gift i fyou really want to – but please take this and taht into account given past traumatic experiences

    and please take into account by now my mother can not be a part of mylife anymore cause she cannot treat me with respect and keeps giving me fi fifty pieces of second hand clothing a week that doesn t fit and that i can t get rid of myself but if i odn t aaccept it there s a huge tantrum for one – and i can t take the drama in anymore – i need my ‘no’ and i need the respect for it as well – that i m able to say no thank you in a gentle way and that it goes without drama in my face, behind my back and tons of phone calls of other family members etc etc etc

    there s nothing wrong with just akdin to respect the situation you re in, is it? to ask for honesty when talking or giving something instead of manipulations and control?
    to ask for consideration for the state you are in and to take it inot account?

    they said if i made up ‘rules’ to visit me – they were not welcome – so they stopped texting and calling etc as much as they used to –

    which felt like a relief reall y – the last calls texts and mails made it even more clear that there was a distance always – there s little intrest in e to none – and announcements of their activites and the stress on how lovely my mother is – still – to convince me it seems –

    yet when my mother refused to see family members no one manipulated her int doing so – so i tihnk i deserve that same respect as in – if you can t see this person – okay – we ll not force or manipulate this

    and they are still okay the way they are, and so am i – but i just want ot be treaeeted with gentle kindness – more and more kindness –

    by people who don t want me to prove i m ill, by people who don t tellme to snap out of it and go cookf for other familymembers who are truely ill and not like ‘me’ – i deserve people and responses i my life that are kind gentle and genuine –

    as do they

    i don t need the guilt – i really did not do anything wrong di d i ?

  7. By: Nadia Posted: 1st May

    I have decided to have no contact with my parents and now my brother. I don’t feel guilt but I am getting emails from my brother, telling me that I have a responsibility to help and support my mother and father. I have been trying to explain my reason to him but he refuses to listen and still expects me to just forgive and forget. I just received an email from him telling me that he expects me to be available on a certain day to sit with my father my mother has day surgery. I told him that I was unavailable to help. He responded by questioning my answer. He wanted to know if I couldn’t do it or wouldn’t do it. He is trying to control and manipulate me into giving in and I cannot have anything to do with them. He is trying to guilt me by telling me that my mother has to go in for day surgery. I feel nothing about this. They can easily find someone to sit with my Dad. They just can’t accept that I have walked away. Am I a bad person? Some people would agree that I am, but if I have any more contact with these people, I will lose what I hold dear. My husband and my children. I would rather live without my precious husband and three wonderful kids, than go back to the people that made my life miserable.

  8. By: Carlos Posted: 2nd February

    In regards to being separated from family, I left Australia last year to spend what I can and will always consider the best 5 and a half months of my life as an exchange student in Italy. Not only did I get to maximise my knowledge of the Italian language (which I have studied for almost 10 ish years) , and make some wonderful friends, but the best of all things that have come out of this experience were the two things, that I can consider as both the cherries on top of a really scrumptious cake. Those being:

    (I) That I could live by myself without my family for that long.

    *Paid my rent, did my shopping and all the other stuff that I had the luxury of not doing back home. (Okay I didn’t pay tax in Italy, so that’s one hurdle that I still have to learn and confront in Australia one day). But it was good to be independent for such a short period of time, making my own right decisions and even bad decisions. Because it was all about my time, I could easily get over anything bad because I am not hearing harsh words on things that I have or have not done from the people I temporarily left. Which brings me to my next point being:

    (II) I escaped abuse for a short period of time

    *I love my mother but having her accompany me to Italy would be awkward, especially for a 21 yr old man. Which would mean the next option being my father. At first I was like cool, but then I suddenly remembered that this was the same guy who hit me on the face, as I did not open the packaging of an EU adapter when we were on a European trip in 2014. But thankfully out of the blue, my Dad was bombarded with stacks of work from the office, which prevented him from accompanying me (Phew yes, miracles do happen!). So I boarded that plane from the airport, and enjoyed not having to hear any of the bullshit from my father and his ever so trustworthy accomplice (my grandmother) even if it was for a short while. Though there were some occasional Facetime and Viber conservations (Conversations with Mom and my younger sister I awaited) because they apparently miss me (Yeah Dad you missed controlling and abusing me).

    And then as reality began to sink in, I am now back here missing Italy so badly, as well as the stress free lifestyle that I so badly wish I could have again (One day, one day)

    Since my first post on EFB, I can’t help but continue posting about my troubles (even if my posts are really just about the same things written differently). But these multiple scars are only going to creep in constantly until they have truly found their rightful place.

  9. By: Karin Posted: 21st April

    I went no contact with my parents and younger sister a year and a half ago.I was always the one they all 3 ganged up on and ridiculed.I was beaten often and pushed down the stairs and told I was useless, stupid, would never amount to anything, and even told I was fat when I was 5’4″ and weighed 107 pounds. Currently I am 58 years old.
    For the past 15 years my bladder has bothered me. It would feel like there’s a bowling ball in there with spikes putting pressure on me. At the same time my left arm would hurt. I figured it had to do with the way my mother beat me when I wet the bed. Finally after years of therapy and many trips to the doctor to find out that there was no infection even though it felt like it, I found someone who was able to help me. I found out through an energy healer that my mother put a fat knitting needle in my vagina and urethra when I was young. Getting that suppressed memory up made me sad and angry and made me wonder what kind of a sick monster my mother really is. She currently has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t know anyone anymore, so I couldn’t confront her even if I wanted to. Anyway, since finding out what she did I feel better than I’ve felt in 15 years! My bladder is finally back to normal. I used to get up 8 times a night to use the bathroom but now I only get up once and sometimes not at all! For many years I couldn’t leave the house without the bladder pain getting so bad it was difficult to walk. I knew she always hated me, and she used to brag that she had me toilet trained by the time I was 18 months, but I did not know the extent of her evilness. She would steal things from me and was never kind to me, but for years I hoped that things would get better. My parents chose to not come to my kids graduations and they chose to not come to my son’s wedding. Finally after being rejected for so many years I went no contact and I have no regrets.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 22nd April

      Hi Karin
      Welcome to EFB ~ Thank you for sharing! That is awesome that once you knew the origin of that pain it healed. That is the miracle of healing at its finest!
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Molly Posted: 6th April

    I can relate 100% to almost all of this. I’ve been a follower for some time now and just want to say thank you. You share your experience, strength and hope. Yesterday was hard. 3rd holiday not spent with my FOO, it’s getting easier but still hurts. I’m still talking about the estrangement with my mother and her 2 sisters. What I’ve realized is the last 6 months I’ve been carrying around guilt about their decision not to come to my wedding.
    Sept. 7, it was my usual every other Sunday phone call to my mother. I asked her if she was still coming to the wedding. 1 month prior she told me she wasnt coming because of a fight she had with my younger sister. Her final spoken words were “I’m not going to give you the satisfaction of not being at your wedding”. I snapped and replied don’t come I don’t want you there. I immediately called her back and left a voicemail apologizing and letting her know I was saving her a plate. A few days later I got deleted on Facebook by my aunt with a message saying that my 2 aunts, 2 uncles, and 3 cousins (on my moms side) weren’t coming. I know I reacted poorly ( I guess I do have guilt over that). They are all grown and made the decision not to come. I’m having such a hard time accepting this. They missed the biggest day of my life. I thought they were my family. What is family? I don’t know what family is. I’m alone and scared every day. I have my beautiful wife and miss my dysfunctional family. Why? How? Things will def never be the same. She has since not called me back. She has ended the relationship. Sometimes I wish I had ended it. My lil sis was telling me about Easter yesterday at my aunts and I seriously wanted to take my self out. End it all, I am grateful that I didnt. Darlene when will the pain end? There are so many egos involved. I Want it to end without ending my life. I can’t take the bullying. My older sis tells me I’m awkward and to go ef myself and I want to go back to these people. My mother says things like my kids are pieces of s*+t. My aunts tell me I respect my father more than mother. Someday sit’s just so freakin hard. Thank you for your hope and willingness to change and grow. Trusting this is a process and I will heal. My mother told me I would never heal. I will heal. I will heal. I forgive them and then I resent them. Back and forth a tug of war within myself. I love what you do, keep doing it!!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th April

      Hi Laura
      I can relate to realizing that the feeling I was having was disappointment for what might have been and even could have been and knowing that it wasn’t because of me that it would never be because the actual truth is that **I** was always willing to talk, work it out, etc.
      Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th April

      Hi Molly
      Yikes, what a painful story! Here is the key for me; you phoned and apologized for reacting to a statement made by your mother that was so cruel in the first place ~ but you were willing to apologize. For me the pain ended when I empowered myself with truth like I just mentioned. Keep looking at the truth Molly. It IS hard. When I got down I would ask myself what the alternative was, and my answer was always the same; the alternative is to go back to being treated the way they treated me and I will never do that. I was always willing to try with my family but they never wanted to try with me. Eventually I stopped missing what could have or might have been and accepted the truth about how it really was…. and I don’t miss any of that. The fact that I don’t have a family of origin anymore doesn’t define me as ‘nothing’ or worthless anymore.. it defines me as FREE from all the B.S.! yay!
      Hang in there and thanks for sharing,
      hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Laura H Posted: 6th April

    For a long time I felt guilty for not contacting my Dad, then recently I realized it wasn’t really guilt it was regret and bitterness for what might have been. I no longer feel “guilty” for not talking to him and I forgive him for what happened to our relationship. Sometimes or should I say most of the time you must separate yourself from people so you don’t get sucked into to becoming like them. Sometimes you have to do it for the sake of your own sanity and well being and you should not feel guilty or selfish for doing so. God understands even if they don’t and try to make you feel guilty for it.

  12. By: d ch Posted: 5th January

    Today was tough! as i stated on other article posts, (NM has told us to move, the same day she was told we are getting married) so today I started sorting and packing things…. I want to make the move. Going low contact has pissed her off. She lives in the up stairs apt.
    ?I just feel so overwhelmed. Need some encouragement. Still going to counseling.
    Hopefully by March I’ll have a new better place to begin my new life! 🙂

  13. By: Alex Upcast Posted: 31st December

    Hi Darlene,

    Thank you for writing this. It’s so helpful to find blogs that support and talk honestly about going no contact with family.

    I’ve just started writing about how difficult it can be to have left behind a harmful family and have to figure out how to function in “the real world.”

    It’s really hard to strike a balance between not letting all of the past consume you, vs. not denying how your past affected you in order to fit in professionally or socially.

    Check out my blog theupcasts.com

    light to you,

    Alex Upcast

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st January

      Hi Alex
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken,
      This entire blog, my books and my professional work are all about how I figured out how to function in a world without the false crap that dysfunctional family passed on to us. 🙂 It is great to have you here!
      hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Cristina Posted: 10th December

    Glad I read this post about guilt. I think thats the hardest thing for me now. I feel horrible about at times. I tell myself that Im only human and its okay. But after reading what you wrote

    (Therefore, I don’t feel guilty; I have nothing to feel guilty about. I felt guilty for a very long time but once I worked through the truth about that guilt, I was able to overcome the emotion of guilt which didn’t actually belong with me. Guilt in fact was a learned behavior that learned it from the people who falsely inflicted it upon me.)

    That made more sense to me. I was made to feel guilty for certain things. Now I fell better about starting to heal with a more positive perspective on life. Thanks Darlene , you have a way with words. 🙂 So glad I found this site. Will have to advise my sister (the only one I speak too) about this blog. I know she can relate for we where always grouped together when my mother had something to say about either one of us.
    My life and my sister’s life has turned out pretty well. Both have a successful marriage both are financially stable and own homes and do things….well differently than what we were taught. SO there for we are grouped as one.

    Ive been made to feel guilty about how well my husband and I have made a great life for ourselves and our kids together as a family. We struggled as young parents but we set goals and made them a reality. My family started to show less happiness for me and then started to comment on how spoiled we where instead. REALLY? This pissed me off. Cause I didn’t marry a rich man. they miss the part where we planned on having and making a better life for ourselves. Its a story I feel I have to always explain to my mother and other siblings to remind them of how we (my husband and I ) planned this. They say they understand but then they throw it in my face when they ask for money or loans and I say “no”. then Im a greedy bitch. So I would give it to them and you know what happened then. They loved me and they talked nice to me and I was being used. They hate the word NO. So I started serving more of that and plenty.

    They made me feel guilty by saying terms like

    “we’re family”
    “I’m your sister”
    “you need to help me”
    “You know you have it to give”

    WOW. writing that all down and actually reading it makes clear sense as to the decision Ive made.

    I would also like to say I have my in-laws, friends, neighbors, my sons, my husband, and a dog 🙂 All who love me for me and enjoy my company. They don’t abuse me and if they need a favor they show more appreciation for it and that makes me want to help others. Something I love to do as long as I am not being hurt in the process.

    Darlene, you said you have a daughter, how does she cope with your relationship to your parents and how do you feel about her communicating with your FOO?

    Would like to know to help me really help my kids, whom still have small communication with some cousins of my siblings (FOO) but I would like to cut all ties. Sort of get lost and please don’t find me.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th December

      Hi Cristina
      I have three children, 2 girls and a boy and only one still living at home as the others are adults now. When my kids were young none of our families tried to have any relationship with them independent of us so it wasn’t an issue. Today my children all have the choice about communicating with our families of origin and so far it hasn’t really worked out with the ones that they have talked to. My kids are not in the ‘old system’ anymore and they don’t follow the rules of “respect your elders” but rather they follow the truth that they have equal value. A few of the relatives that they have spoken to have expected them to ‘fall in line’ and that is when it doesn’t work out for my kids.
      hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Terri Clark Posted: 5th December

    My Mom just passed away at 88 years old. I recognize she was the source of toxicity in our family. At the same time, I saw love in her eyes when I went to visit her in the hospital. I felt love also. There is no doubt in my mind she loved me but she was mentally ill, supposedly bipolar. My brother, sister, and uncle have really showed their true colors these past two weeks. Sister is extremely emotionally manipulative and all she cares about is what money and material things she is or is not getting of Mom’s. My brother, who had power of attorney, couldn’t get out of her hospital room and make her final arrangements fast enough. He claims he and my uncle are going to take a post hole digger to the cemetery and put her ashes next to my Dad’s grave. Not even a family service for her. When I asked about an obituary he told me that my uncle didn’t want every little old lady from his church stopping by his house with food. So, we are just supposed to sweep her life under the rug as though she never lived? I chose to write an obituary anyway and to have a memorial for her and now my uncle is trying to shame me, saying Mom wanted nothing. After her memorial tomorrow, I plan to go nc with all of them and close that chapter of my life and get on with living as I like.

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