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”  

Categories : Family



I am desperate to learn to emerge from broken…. Every piece of my life is effected.. Do u offer counseling or retreats or even recommendations? i read your posts and they give me hope that there may be a day of peace in the future…thank you….


I really appreciate this. I felt guilty as I made the choice to set boundaries and it helps that you’ve distinguished the difference. I asked for what I needed – and didn’t receive it. When I voiced that I would no longer tolerate the mistreatment, my mother never bothered to get in touch with me and this has been going on for two years. She says I shut her out, but the truth is I have reached out several times over the course of the last couple of years with that ‘maybe this time it will be different’ hope, but I’m always left feeling empty and hurt. This message is empowering. I’ve done nothing wrong and there’s no need to feel guilty for taking care of myself. Thank you!


The things I asked for in a relationship with my mom were to be believed and allowed to talk about the things that had happened to me. That was too much to ask.


Hi Patience
Welcome to EFB ~ I am really sorry but my coaching practice is full until at least late September.
If you would like to contact me about my waiting list please see the coaching and consult page; here is the link ~ and then use the contact form button to contact me. Meanwhile have you seen my book at the top of the page! I am getting really positive feedback about it. 🙂
Thanks! Darlene


Hi Brenda
Exactly; the key for me was realizing the ACTUAL truth, not their version of the truth which we accept almost automatically because we were taught to do so since childhood. I didn’t ‘want’ this situation, I just refused to be treated that way anymore.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Hobie
Yes and when I asked myself that ‘really was’ too much to ask, I realized that what I was asking for was NOT much to ask at all!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Great blog post, Darlene. Even though both of my parents are gone, one of my major abusers is still living. I have chosen to end contact with him because he continues to try and hurt us… just in a different way (stealing our rightful inheritance, etc). This post sort of overlaps with the “forgiveness” issue for me. Years ago, the “doormat” part of me, forgave this abuser. We didn’t even know what the word “forgive” meant, and really, still don’t. To us, it meant “to pardon”. We allowed him to even visit us when we first moved to New Mexico from Texas. Years later, after we started learning healthier boundaries, and began the healing journey, I recanted what I had told him, and ended contact with him. It was the best thing that I ever did, and it allowed me to focus on my healing instead of concentrating on his well-being, like that part of me always did. After he visited, our home then felt dirty and contaminated. We have since moved to a different town, and he will never contaminate our current house. I feel totally okay with not having contact with him, and can go about my life interacting with people who will treat me with respect, and not abuse me. I ended contact with my father several years before he died because of countless letters and continual phone calls with screaming and profanity from him. Unfortunately, both of my parents died before I could confront them with the truth of what they did to their daughter… and I am okay with that too.


I love you, Darlene. I’ve just had my second anniversary of No Contact with my abusive and psychopathic mother, and life just keeps getting better and better. Reading your writing helps keep me strong. I love you!


I cut off contact with my family of origin and have found myself. Like you said so well, I was tired of all of it, esp trying to prove I loved them. i have realized as long as I had contact, they seemed to have the power. I am happier, calmer, and so much more myself at peace. Can’t imagine any value in having contact. It is very sad but at 58 years of age, with less tomorrows then yesterdays, I value myself and time more.


My parents treated me like I was not as valuable of a human being as they were. My dad did rape me and had an incest relationship with me. After they divorced when I was 11 years old, they fought over custody of me. I ended up living with my Mom and Dad had two visiting rights days with me every week.

I stopped contact with my Dad after I got married because I did not want him to touch my kids. That was a choice I made. My Mom stopped contact with me after my Uncle died in 1999 and she accused my husband of stealing money from my uncle’s place. She gave me an ultimatum: Divorce Gary and live with me or I want nothing to do with you. I chose Gary. I found out my dad died in 1995 and then I found out my Mom died in 2009. I was never told about their deaths.

Now that both of them are gone, I thought that I would be ‘free’ from their values, but alas, I am feeling guilty that I did not say goodbye.

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I thought I was the only one.


“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. ”

This whole post rang true for me Darlene but I found myself especially in the above paragraph.

I still discuss it under anonymity because I fear the social repercussions of talking about it. I also fear that people will see me as mentally or emotionally “unstable” as a result of speaking up.

I went NC because the relationship with my mother was bleeding over into every aspect of my life. I asked her to acknowledge her actions and the hurt they had caused me. She denied it or as I’ve posted before that I “chose” to see things that way or that it was “just the done thing”.

After a particularly difficult time following my father’s death I asked her for some space without contact and she refused that as well. Continued to call constantly/ email/ online stalk me.

My remaining “family” relationships also ended because I insisted on apologies following violent outbursts and threats of violence from them before I would see them again (the other post was about how my mother tried to get around my wishes by telling me they would not be present and then have me “just run into them” in an attempt to force me to see them again)
In one case my mother apologized for the person and made excuses for him that suggested that had I taken on his role (caretaking) as had been expected of me then it wouldn’t have happened.

All of this showed me exactly what my family considered my role and value to be and I refuse to be in a relationship in which the other people do not see and recognize my equal value as a person whether I hold the roles they wish me to or not. Whether they are “family” or not.

The relative married to one of the people withholding the apology told me that it was my “duty” to have a relationship with my mother. I believe to some extent that this could be true if my mother had done her “duty” by me as a child. But that wasn’t the case either.


Oh! How I relate! No contact wasn’t my choice either. I asked for my 10 year old nephew to not be allowed to call my 10 year old daughter nasty curse words. They said they allow him to curse as that’s how he copes. I can’t understand that logic. I’m talking words no 10 year old should know. In fact, I’m positive my daughter didn’t know a few of those words. All he’ll broke loose and I was told I was judging my sisters parenting. Truth is my nephew has been allowed to do as he pleases his whole life with no consequences. Family gatherings and he’d physically fight with children. My daughter was 3 and he wanted every toy she had. He was physically aggressive and ripped a whole handful of hair out. I lived far enough away that I only saw them 1 time a year. I just dealt with it to keep peace. Then when I moved an hour away last summer when my daughter was 10….I couldn’t put her through it. Truth is… My sister was physically abusive to me growing up. I could see so much of my sister in my nephew and so much of me in my daughter. I never knew how to stand up for myself. My value was always based on being the compliant good one. Until I started to pull away as a teenager. But I saw my nephew hit my daughter hard on her back as she was trying to walk away from him. I saw the hurt in her eyes. I saw myself in her. I’ll never go back. I struggle everyday because I have anxiety and I have nightmares. My mother is selfish and if I’m not praising her and living my life exactly as she sees it then I’m called a psychopath. Among other things too. It amazes me that they do know right from wrong. They know how to behave. I was taught how to behave. I was taught to respect others. But for some reason that I have no idea, they don’t have to give me the same respect I give them. That’s all I asked. I just asked for some consideration for myself and what I wanted in life. They made my life hell trying to make them not made at me. I had to put them before my Inlaws always. They refused to go to birthday parties if the Inlaws were going to be there. They got mad and defensive if I said anything positive about Inlaws. They would demand That I delete people off social media if they were having conflict. I never knew my dad’s side because my mom was always not speaking to them. My moms side is just as bad as her. Dysfunction at its finest. My mom fighting for her place in the family. She repeats the cycle but she doesn’t see it as that. My dad acts like it’s not involved in out conflict. But doesn’t stand up for me either. Doesn’t call to check on me. He never was much of a dad anyway. It’s all about my mothers happiness. My oldest daughter wants something to do with them as I was young when I had her. They used her as a manipulation tool against me too. My relationship with my daughter used to be strained until I moved far away and I was able to be her parent and get close to her. They undermined everything I said and made me the bad guy even if she was doing something that wasn’t even bothering me. I feel glad to be away from them, but at the same time I do wish I had a loving family. I see older people in the stores and I hear how sweet they talk to people and I think to myself. “I wish I had parents like them.” I now have anxiety and muscle twitching all over. The last time we fought I literally was scared they would come knocking on my door to physically assault me. I was attacked by them about 8 years ago and I used to have to stick a dresser in front of my bedroom door as a teenager to keep my sister from physically hurting me. My mother did nothing. They both try to control me and my life.


I am 65 years old and have been no contact with my Foo for15 years or so. They choose to blame me for this with all kinds of nonsense and excuses; at my mother’s funeral three years ago, which they clearly hoped I would not attend, they did not book a car for me and my family to follow the hearse. This was but one of their major attempts to make me feel non-existent which they have been pulling all my life, even when I was tiny child. I wonder why I was selected, but I guess someone had to be and somehow I drew the short straw without realising it. I have a happy and exciting life, and am very loved. I know the difference between being loved and unloved and this is an important lesson. Two years ago my two daughters, whom I brought up alone and virtually unsupported, decided that their loyalties lay elsewhere and we have not spoken since, neither have I seen my two adorable grandchildren. My life with my Family of Origin has taught me that I don’t need to compromise to anyone. I love my children and my grandchildren, but I don’t NEED them. I have a meaningful and satisfying life of my own. None of this is wrong! It is how it is and I am content.


Hi Darelene I really enjoyed reading this post, I am a year into ‘no contact’ and like you I was setting boundaries and they did not like it.

When i was questioning and looking for answers about the abuse i endured and protection of the uncle who abused me my mother knew her time was up in showering me with money and gifts to silence me, i was reporting it and she did not like it.

Through counselling I found strength to finally blow the families cover of ‘happy’ which was fake, shrouded in secrecy and control, once I was complying and not challenging the abuse and how my folks stood up for the uncle and somehow thought ‘my behavior’ created this abuse (i was 14 he was a grown man in his 40s eww! )

It sounds like your Mum accused you to deflect from her boyfriends behavior and that’s what I endured, denial, deflection and once the blame was on me and I was shamed the silence continued. I went no contact when I asked for space to figure out my life and report to the Gards the abuse and challenge the status quo.
I am now being ignored by ex family and do you know what, t feels good because I would rather have no contact than be fake and pretend.

”it’s that I decided to set some boundaries and they didn’t respect those boundaries”….That’s exactly what happened to me too Darlene, once I was the skapegoat they walked all over me- well i’m free now so no guilt at all, they are the ones who should feel guilty for treating me like that.

Nobody decides to go no contact for fun- deep hurt and pain and having no alternative contributed to my decision. I am slowly learning to love myself, it is very hard to do when all I feel is rage and self loathing but I am trying and I will not give up on me.

Love and respect always R x


I’m considering going NC with my FOO. The timing is perfect as I am getting married and moving to another country to be with my husband. His family have accepted me with love. Not so my FOO. Ever since I was a little girl, I have been told that I am difficult. For the first 25 years of my life my mother never got out of her housecoat and was generally drunk by 9 pm each night. She was, and is, immature and manipulative. Her own mother is even worse, mind you. My father is an emotionally unavailable tough guy who would go into violent rages until he stopped drinking when I was 19. He blames alcohol for everything but when I asked why he never supported me in my engineering degree (he is an engineer) he said it had nothing to do with his drinking and left it at that. He and my brothers work together surveying but I, an engineer, am left out of the family business. While in high school I helped parent my youngest brother, but I was indeed the scapegoat. Everyone “knew” what a bad person I was, how much trouble I caused in the house. I always got straight As but that was never enough. My parents spent my college fund when I was in high school and blamed me for not getting enough scholarships. My one brother verbally abuses me and I am told that I am at fault because he is “so sensitive” and I should know better. I am never seen, never heard. I’ve been in therapy for over a year now.

My fiance understands and is supportive. He doesn’t want to come back to Canada anyways. I feel like Cinderella finally escaping the abusive household to be living in paradise. I know I should be looking forward with happiness and excitement to my new life but I focus on the past and the family that abused me. That will change, over time.


When I was in my mid 30’s my older sister called to tell me our bio-dad was in hospice because she thought I’d always regret it if I didn’t go to see him. I’d had minimal contact with him since the age of 15 when he shoved some money in my hand for “school clothes” and stuck me on a plane to go to my grandparents (maternal)clear in AZ from WA. Previous to that, I heard him and my “step-mother” arguing wherein she gave him the ultimatum, me or her and her daughter. I never dreamed that the money for clothes was a “payoff” and the trip to my grandparents was meant as the last time I’d see or hear from him for 18 years. No child support, no checking on me to see if I was okay (mother and step-father were abusive), no nothing. Until I was 31 years old and I get a call out of the blue. Asked him what he wanted after all of these years. Just wanted to “talk” to me. Asked him did he have any idea what he had done to me. Response= “Yeah, I know, I’m sorry.” With that, he and the rest of the FOO thought I should forgive him and pretend all of those years of neglect and abandonment should dissolve into non-memory.

So I tried to call and see where my bio-dad was and if I could see him. Why? Who the hell knows! I think because I was given my marching orders by older sister and like the good little, compliant youngest of the family I fell for it. It was a set-up though. I called my step-sister (the one who replaced me in the family) and she cursed at me and said I was the awful one because bio-dad apologized to me and I wouldn’t accept it so I could just go F*&^ off. At the time I was extremely upset. Now I see it all for what it really was. If I didn’t serve the family abuser then I was kicked out. But then they had already done that when I was 15. My older siblings didn’t even think twice about following bio-dad’s lead and accepted the replacement step-sister and didn’t even give me another thought until the set-up for the parting shot from dear old dad. Fast forward 20 some years later and when I tried to contact them again as equal adults it was a repeat of shunning and abandonment because I dared to speak the truth of his treatment of me and challenged the revision of history that they now maintain of him as having been this fine upstanding man. They’re just continuing the generational abuse and sin and have added insult to injury. I have gone no contact with all but one. Even then, when I’m “allowed” to come for Christmas I feel like an outsider who is only there by their charity. I did nothing to them or my father and expect to be treated with respect and like a member of the family. Shame on them for treating me with such unabashed rejection and abandonment. It is on their heads in the final analysis and I feel no guilt for walking away from such abusive, uncompassionate and selfish people.


I seem to be drifting toward even lower contact with my FOO. Now that I’m not blaming myself so much for what happened, many of the hurtful behaviors toward me are no longer tolerable.

Lately I’ve realized that while self-loathing and feeling bad about myself and blaming myself is painful, it’s even more scary and painful to gain self-esteem and begin to see what they’re really like. The self-blame was a protection against TRUTH, and a shield against the rage and indignation and knowing I had to do something about it that followed.

I do have some guilt and turmoil because several people in my FOO can be hurtful/withholding AND do nice things. It does a number on my head. If I get mad at someone because of something hurtful they said or did, I am viewed skeptically and reminded of all of the nice things they do. I struggle with this….never quite knowing when the line has been crossed, when their hurtful behavior is a grey area of “being human” that should be accommodated.

I do know that I am very tired….

Thank you for this post Darlene.


Hi Darlene,

I have received so much help from you and your writings. Also from your guest writers-that I want to tell people about you, but I do not know how to pronounce your last name. Could you please reply to me with a phonetic explanation of the correct pronunciation?

Thank You!


Hobie and Alice, me too, I’m not allowed to talk about my childhood, what happened to me as the family scapegoat or my feelings about it. How strange that is, to have rules as an adult what you are allowed to say about your own life. My mother completely ignores me. It is just dehamanizing.

Light, my family can do nice thngs too, but they do not see me as an equal.

I have made big steps in untangling from my family, I share nothing of depth with them. Ive also stopped scrambling to get their approval or support. I didn’t know I really could stand on my own two feet, but I am learning I can. It is a very superficial relationship we have now but I don’t think about it much, I’m working on healing and taking care of myself right now.

I often ponder why people have children only to systematically destroy their self worth. It’s so unnatural. It hits me when I am with my own child because his well being is the most important thing in the world to me.


Wow, what an inspiring blog entry. Thanks again for sharing, Darlene. Actually severing or the idea of severing is a bit scary. However, so is having to admit, finally, that perhaps the people you thought were faultless and right are actually filled with faults and wrong. It’s a change in your thinking. For me, it’s a change in my being. I literally feel a shift going on inside of me. I don’t think I have to go NC with my family, but I’m now able to see how misused I was at times in my childhood. I feel angry, hurt, sad, afraid and confused at times.

For those of you not able to talk with your families about your abuse, at least we can all talk here. I feel blessed to have found this place.


I appreciate this, as I still feel guilt or maybe not guilt so much as fighting against the feeling of it being inflicted upon me (by the family in my head). I still have that turmoil.

The line Alice quoted also struck me. I seem to be okay talking about things in a generalized fashion like an overview–I suppose I feel safe with the boxes I can hold my experience in—but it makes me nervous to talk about specifics, to open those up to any or everyone, for fear of someone pulling on one thread and the whole thing unravelling. I can weave it back together but it takes time and there’s so much that was covert that it’s not an easy story to explain. Plus, I get this accusatory feeling as though someone is saying that the very fact that it has to be woven together, or that it’s so easy to get me frustrated, is proof that it isn’t the truth, that only lies have to be woven together… But the truth is it’s hard to articulate felt experiences, we’ve had a lifetime of being told that our perceptions are wrong and of having our narratives taken over and written by them. It’s hard to take it back and say no, this is what actually happened. It’s hard too to give permission to self without the fear of backlash. It’s not easy to tell the truth. And that’s all I wanted—for the truth to be acknowledged and put out on the table. Not partially, not a bit over here and bit over there, nothing that comes back around to me, saying that it’s my fault (but, in my family’s complicated condescending kindness kind of way, not my fault that it’s my fault… but still my fault). And of course for present reality to change.

I know it’s their guilt. Sometimes I get tripped up in the collateral damage, though—like my nephew. They used that as proof, too, though of my wrongness in the situation. I hate that. So much dirty pool. The whole thing fell like dominoes but what the heck was I supposed to do? I couldn’t accept living inside silence.

I totally know what you’re talking about with the nice things along with the hurtful/withholding. That’s a killer. It makes you so vulnerable. You get caught up trying to understand what’s real, which one is true, is the good stuff what they mean and the bad stuff just mistakes, that you don’t realize the full effect that it’s having on you, which in a way is worse than if it’s just all bad because, at least for me, in attempt to try to figure it out, you go in closer; whereas, if it was all bad, you’d retract yourself to protect yourself. My thoughts are that as long as they aren’t taking responsibility for the bad and making changes, then all of the good stuff will affect you as though it is pure manipulation (even if it isn’t, even if it’s genuinely felt, it doesn’t matter, it will still have an effect on you that is the same as though it were pure manipulation—as in, it will pull you in and make you vulnerable to the bad that will always be there so long as they don’t take responsibility to acknowledge and change). At some point, in my opinion, it has to become about what they are doing to you, or what the situation is doing to you, rather than what their intent might be. My other thought is that they have the capacity to understand all this, if they stopped and thought about it (and of course were honest with themselves about the fact that they are not taking responsibility). It’s really the exhaustion that did/does me in, accommodating for things that cause me pain and going in roundabout thoughts trying to understand everything and there’s always new stuff coming in. And it’s a one way street. Of course my family were pros at telling me how much pain I was causing them but the difference was the pain they were causing me came from unfair treatment that infringed on my rights as my own person, where the pain I was causing them came from trying to tear myself apart from their enmeshment and expectations, from defending my rights and standing up to their treatment. I wasn’t being unreasonable. They were. I’m sorry that the whole thing fell apart but it wasn’t my fault. I’m not the problem. I wish I had the solution to fix everything but I don’t. Sometimes life just turns out like crap, but at least I can walk away and try my best to make my own life. And I guess that’s pretty good. Just hoping my emotions start evening out a bit more. I’d like to be at peace.


Kaycee, my mother often used the argument that we had some pleasant times together as a family in the past. As if that should annul the negative, the emotionally abusive, the slapping, the overcontrol, the lack of support for me as a distinct person. For a while I believed her but this is thinking from a child’s perspective, a child who tells herself that it can’t be that bad because sometimes they also do nice things. If the parents also keep this conceit it only serves to reinforce it. It’s the black/white thinking of a child that assumes that someone is either all bad or all good. I couldn’t get out of this either/or for a long time (and to be honest I’m still sometimes in it but I no longer pit the good times against the bad like I did before).
There were undeniably some good moments with my family but they didn’t stop the overall pattern of being one of abuse. And that lasted well into my adulthood as I wrote above.


Alaina, my mother also used to “reality shift” on me and tell me my feelings and perceptions were wrong or that I had “chosen” them. I share having felt fearful of telling the real things that were done to me and that happened. I think partly to shield myself from realizing just how massively screwed up it was, that it was real, that they DID do and say these things to me. So much of it is so painful.

In order to be able to do it I made a sort of a commitment that I would write the truth about what they had done and said to me only if I could also admit when I had done or thought or said something terrible to them. In doing this, I could see that so many of the things I had done and said that I thought (or was led to believe) were terrible mistakes and horrible affronts weren’t actually the huge things I thought they were. And opposite that, how many of the things that were done and said to me were just way out of any kind of proportion.
So part of this approach is about being rigorous in applying the truth but I also realized that part of me wouldn’t accept “not owning up” to any role or responsibility I may have had in the situations. It’s unclear whether I was trained to do this, whether that reflects my mother’s way of treating me, whether it’s a natural thing for a kid to do or whether it’s a more legitimate thing that comes from direct examination of the truth. Whatever it is, I feel better when I am truthful about myself in the process.


Love your blogs as always! My siblings went no contact with the fools who raised us, it seemed mutual because when my parents couldn’t get what they wanted – they didn’t have children at all and still don’t. My ex-therapist told me it would be awful one day to go no contact and told her not really I will get through it just like my siblings did.

People were trying to talk me out of going no contact with my parents one day and told them to can it! My parents say/still say they are the best, loving parents in the world who are strict. Really? There is a difference between protecting your kids vs being a dictator over them aka controlling! Controlling is abusive which a lot of people seem to forget that. They maintain they did “nothing wrong” that we are “the most selfish asshole children they ever made and we should be grateful for them,” they have this entitlement issue that “parents are owed since we produced you.”

There is no accountability on their parts about what happen in the past and a narc will always be right and other people out there will say I am wrong – I will always be wrong to them. Besides, it’s not their damn families anyway and think they should zip it! Yes, I totally agree actions speak loudly than anything else and my parents’ actions spoke “We are the parents and if you don’t like it leave. We do not owe our children shit be grateful you were born and our rights as parents come first and foremost than yours. Who said children have rights? You don’t have rights, suck it up already! The world doesn’t owe you shit and neither do your parents!” Are we talking about the rest of society? We are talking about you (the parents) in this situation!

That proves right there they NEVER gave a shit about us just made us for their selfish reasons to keep my dad around and him to get more money out of his taxes. So, where’s the real love with equal, mutual, respect between two human beings? People tell me oh it’s there, where? Oh, they don’t know how to show it because it wasn’t shown to them and that’s no excuse and that’s suppose to fill up all the lost years of hurt, sadness, and anger?

My mom always the victim too uses her age (67) as an excuse for everything as to why she couldn’t do this or that blah blah blah! Uses her closet racist attitude to justify things and the way how her mom treated her uses that as a clutch too among other things. A sad, excuse of a woman who can’t stand up to my dad claims she has and made sacrifices – what sacrifices? Always gotta be on his side and vice versa. My mom has this serious entitlement issue that she made us the least we could is be nice to her wtf?!? What has she done for us in return?!? All of our lives, this has ALWAYS been about them and never us; I’m sorry, are we chop liver?!? Both of them have excuses for everything and expects us to go past it like nothing happen.

My mom told me long ago that I got the nerve to ask for respect….I am sorry, did I stutter? They both said this is about me doing what I want so I can be like my friends, wtf?!? This has nothing to do with them or my boyfriend; leave them out of this! This is between you and I about what I want as a human being. It was a nasty battle about that and still don’t get the respect. I had a consultation this Monday with a woman I met on Google Plus who is a life counselor who has narc parents and has experience on narcs. We talked for an hour, she told me I need to do boundaries whether at home or when I leave. I told her it’s very hard to do it at home where I lose things that I need and watch my stuff either go missing or destroyed. This life coach is awesome, she knows her stuff better than my ex-therapist!

My parents say I or sister and I need to act like better adults. I am sorry, since when have my parents EVER acted like mature adults?!? Never! Got the nerve to say act like better adults, if you can’t meet someone half way at all and you still got blinders on with your know it all attitude, then shit won’t get done. My ex-therapist had one point right about how my parents are still children themselves (yet they are still my parents she said lol contradicting). Children at 67 and 68 yrs old pretty sad never left their idiotic stages in life still ignorant, dumb, stupid, closet racists, etc as ever! My mom’s lack of happiness comes first than her own children yet nobody out there sees that as a problem!

Told people all the time my parents gave up on us when we were kids! Where’s the parenting? There wasn’t any and if you are a nonexistent parent with zero love and everything else under the sun, why bother having kids? How do you keep using the title parent like it means something to you when it doesn’t? Don’t get why people still call them parents. They didn’t pay us any attention growing up only for the public’s eyes – the deception behind it.

“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.”

Agreed. I tried too and never got anywhere yet people told me I don’t try hard enough. I told people/ex-therapist ‘that is trying to make me responsible for their feelings, you are saying that to me indirectly speaking.’ They got really mad when I said that but it is true. Listening to everybody, I noticed this is all about my parents’ well being and nothing about me yet people still expect me to conform to that bullshit lie ahhh don’t think so!

Definitely about the misuse of power and this is the whole point of our stories about our parents hierarchical, misuse of power. People say but they are parents and have the say so. I told people there has to be balance between parents and children on a equal level using ‘I am the parent because I say so/said so’ is such a misuse of power it’s like saying ‘I am the King cuz I said do that’s why!’ Same type of attitude and same type of tone to go with it! Misuse of power and still get told you just wanna do what you want like your friends, I told my parents I am sorry, can I not be a human being? Why is having my own brain a huge problem for you? Oh, we got at it to the death!

“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.”

This is what I tried to explain to my ex-therapist and people for years. The conditions of the relationship is: you have no freedom, no life, no love, do as I say, shut up and do it, you are not worth anything to me or to the world, you are just the child that’s it not a real human being, you have no feelings, you don’t need friends, etc. Wow, a revelation came to mind! Conditions of the relationship is a contract – this is the contract I laid out for you and this is how we are gonna operate “as a family unit.” OMG! I never thought of that as a contract until just now. In a way, I was telling people it’s a contract but never directly said it like this!

Yep, so when the cards were dealt to me, this is “how it’s gonna be.” Of course, people have disagreed with this claiming my parents have love for us. Sorry, no doesn’t take away your power, your feelings, making you into a maidservant, etc people got their definitions wrong as always! These same people said that are the ones bouncing from relationship to relationship. The life counselor I spoke to would totally agree with Darlene said.

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

Agreed. Worth and other unhealthy, fake ideologies were something to prove as a requirement in the relationship that is what I call fake, not real, fictional, there is no love, etc!


TThis is a hard one for me. It brings up so much pain and discomfort for me. There are so many ways that I feel abused and hurt by my mom and dad. I am also living at my mom’s house right now and am super tight financially. Tonight I chose to hang out in my room and skip dinner after work rather than interacting with her in the kitchen.

She has told me that she wants to see a therapist to support her in supporting me~ as I work through issues of sexual abuse from my dad. So I am not sure if this time will be different. It still feels like there is a desire to always have me where she wants me. If she had followed through on really valuing my feelings and my experience in the past I may have more willingness to listen to her and to “let her in” now. She has a pattern, though, of not being available and letting me down. Then I have to struggle to figure things out on my own. Feelings of sadness and loneliness… and feelings of guilt that somehow I caused something to go wrong for my mom are wrapped up in here too. Perhaps I am creating problems for her~ that sort of thing.

Her statement that she wants to support me is so sweet sounding. My heart hurts, though. I am not sure that her statement holds water. She left home when I was 14. She was emotionally distant when I was growing up. She has scoffed at stories of how I responded to life, emotionally as a teenager~ on occasions when we were together. It feels like this could be another situation like the rest. Like I could have a broken heart over again. Or feel that rejection over again.

I am still in contact with my dad who sexually abused me as a child and “wife-i-fied” me as a teenager. I have joined a sexual assault support group and am on a waiting list for a therapist specializing in sexual assault. It scares the <#@&* out of me to consider confronting my dad.

I appreciate reading your stories here and seeing that life has amazing potential to continue after confronting parents and asking for what you want.


I am not in contact with my FOO. Do I feel guilty? No. I have separated from them seven times over thirty years and the final one was the permanent one, where it seems that it was mutually decided and best for all.

I honesty believe within my heart, that I was never meant to be in their lives at all. Both biological parents were teenagers when they had me. They did not have the capacity nor what it takes to be parents. The worst decision they made was to keep me instead of giving me up for adoption. When I was a baby, that was when all the severe abuse and neglect happened. They were not able to deal with parenthood.

I have had to step back and look at things from another perspective and the situation at hand. Which helped me process things.

There is no ill will or bad thoughts for both sides of the family. I wish them well and hope their loves are happier. I am feeling freer to be myself and healing, although I still have a great deal of therapy to do. May take a live time. In my heart, it feels like things in my life is corrected. Even though, I’m an orphan with no family – except the one that I created.

Since they walked out of my life, though I did say it was mutual, but they honestly gave up. (The change started happening after my late uncle died and all of a sudden I was not invited to any family functions, left out of the loop from major events like family weddings, out of town relatives in for a visit and deaths in the family.)


I decided to informally change my whole name cause I don’t need my family name and I hate it so much. Painful memories etc. I have used my new name for a year to honor myself and to honor the parents who practically raised me, I chose my “dad’s” original family last name.


I have slowly weaned myself off of my extended family after my mother decided not to acknowledge an email I sent her asking her to address some issues I was having. It was all I had left for her. I could not call her, I could not do a face to face, I will not subject myself to her smirking and laughing while I cry ever again. The funny thing is, she would cry to me and I would comfort her. She never did that once for me growing up. Ever. If I fell and hurt myself, I was a crybaby. If I didn’t like something, I was spoiled. If I wanted something, I was selfish. If I told her someone was molesting me, I was disregarded and/or punished for it. If she tickled me until I cried, she sang “nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I guess I’ll just go eat worms.” This to a 5 year old.
She claimed she was sorry and she took “full responsibility for her behavior”. But she never did want to help me. She calls my memories false. This woman would not believe her own child over a drunken young man. I was 3 years old and telling anyone who would listen. But she finally believed it happened when he drunkenly confessed. She believed him over me. I’ve always been a second rate human being to her.
I am in a state this evening. I’ve deleted my face book because I was spending too much time there and getting myself upset looking at family member’s pictures. And seeing messages go unanswered. Disregarded by my family and my mother. I understand that I’m not terribly important to them. I get that. I don’t expect to be buddies with any of them. But I draw the line when I have made repeated attempts to contact and have been ignored. I guess I should have gotten the message earlier, but that was my relationship with my mother in a nutshell. “You don’t see me…” 3libres by Perfect Circle. I have felt guilty for this, wondering if it’s really me that is messed up, maybe I expect too much. But I have to protect myself and seeing their hovering faces on my friends list hurts.
I have been in a bit of a downward spiral with no real obsessions to hang on to except eating. I’ve gained about 12 pounds in the last month or so, eating to comfort myself. I realized today that I’ve been doing that because it was one of the only ways my mother nurtured me. I was allowed to eat as much as I wanted, and too access. Though I didn’t have any weight problems until I became an adult. So, I’m looking for comfort and feeling the pain of abandonment deeply right now. I’ve been having a panic attack tonight, unable to sleep. So here I am. Sharing. Hoping to connect. My husband can’t really give me what I need. I guess I dare not wake him, as he already feels burdened by me and my lack of functionality at the moment. Well, my inability to fulfill his needs as far as our home. I should have the time, but I guess I am having issues with it lately. I’m feeling a bit abandoned by him because he is unhappy with me, he is a withholder of affection when he is unhappy. Though, if I told him I really need help, I know he would help me. But the guilt keeps me from waking him. I just keep thinking why can’t I ever get my act together? When can I get this grief, self hate, anger, and shame processed enough that I will be good enough? For myself, for my family. I’m so tired of feeling like I’m not good enough. I don’t even seem to know how to take care of myself like a real adult.
The pain is in this, though. I don’t want her back. I will not be trying to rekindle our relationship. But, I keep thinking, all I ever wanted was for her to love me. I waited and waited and asked and asked and asked. She never woke up. She never saw me. She was never going to. I’m done asking why. Just feeling the pain.


Thank you for yet another empowering and enlightening blog post, Darlene!

I have gone NC with my older sister for 5 years now. I still keep in contact with my niece and nephew via Facebook, however, and sometimes I still see things about her on there, which is a pain. She tried re-establishing contact last October by sending me a private message. Not surprisingly, it was all about her, her, her. She missed having me for a friend, she missed us having a relationship. My anxiety skyrocketed. But I decided that I was going to ignore her request, because she had obviously found another way to use me and I was done being used. I still read her message every now and then and congratulate myself for standing my ground. She sent my hubby a request too and he asked me about it. I told him that she hadn’t really done anything drastic to him, so it was entirely up to him if he wanted to keep in contact with her or not. She ended up sending him a few messages that were meant to be take me on a guilt trip, such as “the kids wanted to spend some time with your kids, but I guess that’s not going to happen”. I refused to feel any guilt, because she has used those poor kids as weapons so many times, it has lost it’s effect. I feel no guilt for going NC with her, just regret that I can’t get to know my niece and nephew as much as I’d like to.

I too get really confused when they suddenly become nice! I thought it was just me slowly going insane. I had surgery in May and for two weeks straight, my mother called EVERY DAY to see how I was, telling me to rest, to pray, etc. I had spoken to dad on several of those occasions too. The strangest thing was that mum told me that they could help out financially if I needed to go for a surgery privately! It’s strange, but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, because this is so out of the ordinary! I can understand if it came from dad, but from my mum, it’s really crazy!

Hubby thinks that maybe she got a glimpse of how “ungolden” the other daughter is when she went to visit her in January. That’s highly unlikely according to me cos the other one can do no wrong. So mum’s been tying me up in knots, even with limited contact.

I chat with dad via e-mail. He’s chilled a lot, and actually confides in me a lot these days. I was quite stunned when dad told me that he’s got a password-protected file on his computer for me to access when he passes on. He gave me the password and told me that I am the only one with access to it. Hubby reckons that it’s because he probably knows that I am the most reliable of the lot. It still adds to my confusion. I feel quite sorry for him cos my mom’s treating him the same way that my sister treated her ex-husband.


Hi Jamie,

I am so sorry to hear that you are feeling really down this morning. It is lonely when everyone in the house is asleep and you are left facing your racing mind. That’s why I ensure that I’m never the last one asleep. I’ve been prescribed sleeping aids because of my insomnia, so it’s a matter of timing and I ask the hubby what time he’s going to bed.

Have you had a heartfelt chat with the hubby? My hubby can spend many hours a day in front of his computer (like now), playing games. Sometimes I feel abandoned too, which I tell myself is silly because he’s just seated an arm’s length away from me. But when I speak to him, either asking for his opinion or to just vent, I find that he’s really understanding and kinda like a therapist on tap.

I feel like you do too. I feel like I’m a burden – making love is far from my mind most days and I wonder what bad things he’s done to deserve a screwed up wife like me. I tell myself that I should be doing this, that or other. But then I realise that the voice telling me all the “shoulds” is actually the voice of my mother telling me “The house is in a mess”, “Why are you so lazy?”, “You live in a tiny house and you can’t even manage that?”


I am 68. I’ve had a full career as a psychiatric nurse.
Recently I have gone NC with my older sister who can’t get over her need to be abusive at my most vulnerable times. Both from a highly dysfunctional family, dad a brain damaged world famous Dr. ( from DWI) who suicided when I was teenager. Mother, BPD. I do understand, not enough love to go around and lots of triangulation.
Here comes the zinger question. While I have ended marriages to narcs, I’m wondering if the gender line can be crossed in being prone to choosing or being victimized by females? It seems like I choose female narcs as friends. Trying to be accountable and curious to know if you have explored this. I think I’m a strong person, yet I stay loyal to hangers on who are insensitive takers. I have enough time left to grow a bit more and I need to control this need to overprotect and nurture. It’s kind of like nurturing myself by helping….inverted narcissist…me?


Hi Darlene,
When you confronted your mother,you did it from a place of power and freedom,as you no longer lived with her when that conversation took place.I assume you opened the discussion when you were already away from her.Sharing the same roof with my abusers,I do not afford to bring up such dangerous (literally) topic.

What i don’t understand is my sister’s attitude.She is married now,living with her husband.She calls them and comes to see our toxic parents almost daily.She even apologized for her behavior when she was a kid ant teenager.She says that only now she understands how hard it is to raise a child.Practically,she says they were right in everything they did.I can’t believe her humble attitude towards them.As a child,she suffered horrible abuse,just like me.Now is the chance of her life to never see them again.And what does she do? She can’t bare to stay away from them for more than a month.If she can’t come,she calls.

I’m confused as i can’t find a logical explanation for it.Nobody is forcing her to ever see them again.I mean,she chose freedom when she left.Why does she keep coming back to the cage? Why does she use the most ridiculous reason to call,such as how to cook some dish? Could you give me an answer? I welcome feedback from anyone willing to shed light on my puzzle.Thank you in advance.


I have set two time limited no contact boundaries. They were excruciating decisions. I did notice during the first no contract boundary that I slept better than I had possibly ever slept because I wasn’t constantly engaged in fighting to be heard, and dealing with the onslaught of criticism. Of course after gradually reinstating the communication (because at least temporarily my mom started to respect my boundaries). But, as always, in all or nothing land it came back to the previous state of insanity. This led to another -longer no contact boundary. I am always surprised by how they aren’t changed by it. They revert right back to S.O.S, (same old shit, different day!). When this happened I confronted her asking, “Why would you take the risk (in pushing the boundary) knowing I have cut of contact with you over this issue.” She looked shocked and as if she had never put two and two together. I still try to manage the middle which is tough but it’s always a challenge- I know I can always reinstate the boundary if need be. I decided (finally) that her opinion of me does not matter so I am less torn about trying to make it work. Guilt is a force that takes years to set aside…I think I am finally getting there.


Hi Susa
I went through something similar to that as well! I understand what you are saying,
thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Laura,
YAY for life getting better and better!
hugs, Darlene

hi Susan!
I love that you value yourself and your time more!
hugs, Darlene


Well here is good one for you. Yesterday it was my BD, I am stuck living in a lower basement apt in the same house. My own father didn’t even remember to say happy BD, but he sure would never forget the boys in the family. He is elderly and depending on me for many things, and yes he has a sound mind. How is that for being devalued……when I get the chance I won’t have any trouble going NC.


Hi Norine
Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~ the whole parent issue is a complicated one and for many people “death” does not change it. I think you are going to like this website/blog. We dig into the roots of all that!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Alice
I was so used to being the one that was ‘wrong’ that I had to reassure myself (by reminding myself of the truth) for YEARS before it came automatically. I understand your fears!
About ‘duty’ I should write a blog post about that word and that concept! (and I might) Your last paragraph is true~ and here is the bigger truth. When parents love children in the true definition of love and in the action of love ~There is no obligation or duty involved! Children WANT to have relationship or to give care to ageing parents because they LOVE them as they have been taught LOVE by example from their parents.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Katie
Welcome to EFB~ People will call other people all sorts of things (re that they called you a psychopath) if that person is not willing to comply. The whole key to controlling another person is to make sure they are always looking at themselves (questioning themselves) so that they never question the controller.
I think you have found the right blog/website!! Welcome to Emerging from Broken and thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Jenny
Welcome to Emerging from broken ~ There is no way to understand the question “why me” and there isn’t usually an answer that would make sense. That is the bottom line truth that helped me to recover my absent self-esteem. Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Carol Price, hi, I was intrigued by your question about gender lines being crossed in females being victimized by other females. From my experiences I would say YES, absolutely! I often gravitated to strong willed aggressive females for friendship. It started at age five when my family moved to a just being built up neighborhood, and the girl across the street was the same age. And she was already aggressive and domineering. I was already groomed by my aggressive, domineering mother the be subservient, submissive and never speak up. So the friendship was a match made in heaven for my friend, but not for me. She used me to get rides places because her mother didn’t drive she chose when to allow me to play and when to leave me out. She blabbed secrets I told her and pulled other mean girl stunts like making fun of me. I was in my comfort zone though because this is how my mother taught me I deserve to be treated. Finally at age 15 that friendship ended.

But as an adult I still was a magnet for this type of woman. Again, maybe because it was a comfort zone. This was Mom showing up in the form of nasty, domineering “friends”. I got reacquainted with a girl from high school on Facebook. She was quiet and sweet back then, but I learned through our brief friendship that she had been picked on a lot about her weight then and was deeply hurt by it. She responded by becoming very aggressive herself over the years to the point where she was constantly trashing numerous former classmates, many of whom never harmed her but she decided they had an “attitude “. I became her listening ear and supporter. Little did I realize she would eventually turn on me and become very vicious. I also befriended a neighbor who was and still is very vicious. When her son bullied mine on the bus stop she brushed it off as kids will be kids. She became very nasty when I tried to talk to her about her daughter destroying my bushes every day as she waited on the bus stop which was by my house. Our friendship ended then but while I didn’t discuss what happened with others she twisted things and viciously gossiped about me to numerous other neighbors. She even coaxed one wimpy neighbor to stop speaking to me and I guess she dominates her now. This woman is so vicious that she offered to watch another neighbors house while she was away, and used that as an opportunity to go into her yard and take pictures of code violations and turn them in to the town.

Carol, I finally decided that the emotional price of being friendly with women like those I described was way to high to pay. My mother was WRONG that my role was to be of service to people, and that I should not expect equality in my relationships. I am not inferior, and I deserve relationships that are two way streets. I am cautious to stay away if I sense that someone is a user and abuser. I will be cordial to people that I have to run into, like my neighbor, but I will not go beyond making small talk. I have several good friends now and these are balanced and healthy relationships. I had to learn that I deserve better, that my mother was wrong in what she taught me, and I don’t accept ” friends” that mistreat me anymore.


Hi Marie
That is usually the trigger that ‘makes things worse’ as far as the way they see it as though they are saying “HOW DARE YOU think that you have any rights to have ‘boundaries!”.
I am so sorry that you were not validated by your own family when you were abused by your uncle and then blamed for it! Great comments Marie, thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene

Hi Lara
Welcome to EFB ~ There was a period of time between “finally standing up for yourself” and “I am happy that I stood up for myself”. I think of it as the ‘coming out of the fog’ time. I had to look at the facts about how it was and what happened or was happening to me so that I could assure myself that I was not over reacting etc.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, your website has helped me tremendously. It’s helped me stand my ground with FOO and demand to be heard. My siblings weren’t the issue, they really don’t care what I do or say. It’s the parents. My father is gone, but I had ZERO relationship with him. My siblings had a better relationship with him because they shared his interest. I didn’t. I tried talking to my Dad, but he couldn’t talk to me. My mom did not like hearing this.

I went N/C, and had to ask my siblings to accommodate my N/C, as I didn’t want them stuck in the middle choosing sides. Yes, I felt guilty. But Darlene’s web site has helped me say, I HAVE VALUE and I don’t have to be like my Mom.

When I was a child, I noticed that my Mom’s friends had different types of names than my friends had. So, I thought that when you turned 21 you had to pick an ADULT name, and I was scared to death mom was going to insist I take some awful name that I hated. I have now just connected the dots on this, and realized this was all part of my mom wanting me to be “this other person” that I just couldn’t be.

My grown siblings and I aren’t close. We only talk to each other when we have to. There is no reason for it, it just happened. We are all so different and lead different lives. Holidays were a joke, as nobody really wanted to be there. Mom wants to put her head in the sand and pretend we are “close knit.”

I went N/C and after about nine months, my mom finally called me and said she missed me. I have visited her a few times, and each time I mention issues. She does agree to talk about them, but each time, she gives me the “is it finally over, do you have all your answers?” She pressures me on this. Sometimes I feel like I have to revert to my childhood thing of saying “yes” because it’s the answer she wants to hear. But I have learned to stand my ground. I have finally had to say, “Mom, this went on for YEARS. I cannot promise that I won’t have more questions or issues to resolve. I just want to make sure I have them all resolved before it’s your ‘time.” We still have a long way to go.” However, my big fear is that if I say, “yes it’s all over” then she will revert back to treating me the way she did before and act like I’m supposed to be what SHE wants me to be. I have to get her used to the idea that I’m no longer going to lead a “double” life. (one way when I’m alone and another way with her)

Mom seems to think you can just “get over” things with a snap of your fingers. I told her this is basically PTSD. I cannot get it out of my system with a snap of the fingers.


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.

Those are the key words. “resolve” = “make the other person give in and back off so that you don’t have to be wrong.”


Hi Lynne
OH my gosh! What a horrible story, I am so sorry that happened to you! And this is so common too ~ that the child is asked to just ‘get over it’ like it was NO biggie, just “one of those things that happens” ~ and it is horrific! And then YOU are the bad guy again because YOU wouldn’t accept the apology???!!! I would not consider that much of an apology but the thing is that your pain was never validated in the first place. And that is where we get messed up. (the reason that we so often will ‘go back’ is because they plant those seeds that the problem is us, that we are exaggerating the issue etc.. and we are groomed to believe that nasty lie)
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Jamie, one thing I know, because scapegoating is a trend in my family, the scapegoated child is almost always rejected by the rest of the family. It’s easy to look at that and say “Something must be wrong with me, nobody in the family likes me.” It is important to remember, this is because of the way your parents presented you to the rest of the family.

The reason I know this is not through my own experience (even though I am the scapegoat) but by seeing what has happened with other scapegoated children in different branches of my family. The family is trained by the child’s parents to reject that child and the attitudes the family adopts about that child continue, unquestionably, into adulthood.

It’s a bizarre, natural situation this dysfunctional family hierarchy. I am the scapegoat daughter of the golden child so I have a bit higher status in my family then some of the other scapegoats. I make a point of holding them in high regard and seeing them for the truly great, valuable people they are.


Hi Light
You raise a good point! I had some very new feelings when I began to see the truth about them. Self blame IS like protection. (I wrote a few things about that in my earlier work here)
About ‘the nice things they do’ ~ The good doesn’t cancel the bad. Good is good, bad is bad. I had huge issues with that whole thing because my mother did good things all the time too. That grey area became more and more clear to me as I went forward,
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Jan
My name is pronounced “We-Met” The oui is the French word “yes” ~ Oui
and the met is pronounced the same as in English.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Kaycee
Isn’t it awesome to realize that you CAN stand on your own two feet!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Callynt
No contact is never the goal ~ being equally valuable is the goal. And being equally valuable starts with in your own heart ~ It was something that I decided for me and NC happened when they didn’t agree with my decision. thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Alaina
YES I totally relate to the feeling of fighting against the fact that they are inflicting the blame for the breakdown of the relationships on to me! One day I just started to realize that wasn’t going to change and I got this deep understanding that they will say whatever they say and they will view it however they want and I just stopped having any energy on it. The reason that I give so many examples of the truth and look at it from so many angles is because that is what I had to do in order to finally believe that the issues I had were valid.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Alice, just one thing I want to say about being brutally honest about our roles. I wrangled with this for a long time as I have made many mistakes. It took me a long time to recognize that everyone makes mistakes. The difference for me involved a couple of factors. My Mother was very protective. She projected he ideal qualities onto my sister and her “bad” qualities onto me. In doing this all of my actions, good and bad were distorted.

When I made a mistake, it was exaggerated, distorted and used to support a larger construct my Mother had built around me.

I am learning that all children act out, have strong emotions and need a great deal of time and energy from their parents. Even the most normal behaviors in the world that I exhibited as a child were highlighted, used to humiliated and over expose me, used to distract everyone away from their own behavior and provided a catharsis that stabilized my family. I was the lightening rod that absorbed the shock of being in a home controlled by two mentally ill adults,

So part of being honest about my behavior and my role is recognizing that I had a right to make mistakes, to test boundaries, to disobey at times, to be irresponsible at times and do all of the other things all children do as part of the process of learning and growing. This was not the cause of my parents rejecting me or abusing me.


Hi Naomi
I hear you. The trust issue becomes huge, but when you look at the ‘why’ of that it is very obvious.

About confrontation~ confrontation is not required for healing. Some simply make the decisions that they need to make for themselves and never inform the family at all. It is all up to the individual.

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sage
Welcome to EFB ~ Many survivors that I know have changed their names completely in order to dissociate themselves from the birth family name. I get that too! It is all about what works in order for the individual to heal.
Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene

Hi Jamie
Yes exactly ~ Talk is just talk if there is no action with it. If someone takes responsibility, they take it. There is an action that goes with it.
The key for me was in realizing that the fact that I was not treated as a precious child is not about me. It is about them and I was stuck for ever looking at what was wrong with me that they didn’t LOVE me. I had to learn to love me. I had to become the parents that I never had. That is really what this is about.
hang in there, you have a right to feel that pain.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Carol P.
Welcome to EFB ~ Even before I jumped full on into the process of recovery that I write about here in this site, I noticed that very often picked girlfriends where our relationship was not based on any kind of equal value. I was attracted to friendships with woman who used me much more after my kids were born. I think this had something to do with the way I saw my own value (as less than theirs) and it was a big thing for me to set the concept of ‘equal value’ for me and everyone else into place.
Abuse is abuse and it is not restricted to parent/child/family situations.
Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Laura
Yes I was no longer living at home when I drew my boundaries. (I would not say that I was in a position of power at all, but I had independence if not emotionally, financially)
There is NO logical explanation for your question about your sister. I chose freedom when I was 17 years old. I moved in with a man to get away from my mother. I didn’t really go back until I was about to be married when I was 29. Why did I return?? Because I always believed that it was me and that I could find the magic key to make them love me. I thought that their love would be the answer to my everything. I write about all of this in my book.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi G.F.
Awesome comments. Something that really jumped out at me was the shock reaction to your question “why would you….” The thing is that some people believe that control is what proves their value. So the more hoops that you jump through the more she believes she is loved. But it isn’t actually love so they need to up the ante so to speak like a drug addict getting a fix.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kelly
Happy Birthday!!!
hugs, Darlene


Dear Darlene, I haven’t been back for awhile, but am so glad to see your book is out! That, along with your excellent articles, really ARE “changing the world” for the BETTER. So happy to see that so many are continuing to participate and that we are all learning that “we count too.”

Hugs, and God bless. Yours, Catherine Todd


When someone is truly sorry and willing to heal the wounds with you, they don’t give you a timeline to do that. Sincere apology and regret doesn’t have conditions on it. It may be hard for them, but the whole offence was very hard on you. Validation is healing. (and although it helps when we get it from them, it is far more powerful when we validate ourselves ~ which is what we do here!)
hugs, Darlene


I felt guilty for years after going NC with my mom 13 years ago, even though every counselor I’d ever seen said it was a miracle I’m not a felon and that my family life was awful. I tried to stay in contact with a cousin, but she shamed me so much about my mother and family estrangement that I gave up on her last year, and my brother is clearly in mommy’s back pocket.

My mother is 88 so I’ve been giving final consideration on whether to try one more time and also what I’ll do when she fades and then dies. I’d faintly hoped that things could successfully be rekindled but I tried so hard for 40 years before I gave up and can’t afford to be retraumatized.

Thus, especially with the help of the articles and comments from this and the Luke Ministries blogs, I’ve decided not to try again and not to visit my mother’s death bed or go to her funeral when she dies.

My mother could be on her death bed and find a way to insult and reject me. Though I was the most responsible, conscientious, giving kid in the family, she favors my alcoholic brother and sociopath sister who lies, steals, cheats and only visits when she wants something.

My mother will probably leave a substantial estate and I’m 99.99999% sure that I’ll be disinherited, but I won’t trade my mental health for money. Besides, from the age of 16 I could sense that she wanted to leave me out of her will. I was attractive and competent and that made her feel threatened. She claims to be a staunch feminist and supporter of women. Just not her daughter.

I’ve also decided that I’ll only have friends who don’t shame me for cutting off from my crazy family. It’s too painful to have friends who side with my family, whom they’ve never met, in addition to my not having a family in the first place. That will probably mean fewer friends but that’s okay.

Articles and books urge people to maintain and strengthen friendships and family ties when they cut off from a parent. That’s what I tried to do, but almost all of my family sides with my mother, who behaves so sweetly in front of witnesses, and most of my friends had the “but it’s your family” mindset.

I’m much less of a doormat with squishy boundaries, so the relationships that I thought would see me through the rest of my life were based on the less-aware me. So much to my surprise, I’m starting over at the age of 58.

Lately I’ve been reading this blog 20 to 30 hours a week–it quenches a deep well.

Darlene, take care of yourself so you can keep doing this a long time.

Thanks to all,



Love what you wrote in comment #50:

“Why did I return?? Because I always believed that it was me and that I could find the magic key to make them love me. I thought that their love would be the answer to my everything. I write about all of this in my book.”

Amen. That’s exactly what I still do. Can’t wait to read your book.

Catherine Todd


Hi Darlene,

Thank you so much for validating my pain and saying what was done to me was so wrong. It’s the first time in my 54 years of telling anyone my story that I’ve felt listened to. I’m crying as I write this. It’s the young girl in me that’s crying as I come out of the fog that it wasn’t/isn’t my fault for what happened to me and that I didn’t HAVE to make it all better for my abusive, neglectful, abandoning father and family by just “getting over it” to make them happy. I wholeheartedly believe if I had given them the cheap forgiveness that they demandeded I would have continued to be subjected to their meanness and neglect. And then I would have been the one carrying the weight of their sins on my shoulders and not healing to have a better life. Instead, the sin-weight was put at their feet but they rejected the responsibility to deal with it and therefore rejected me. This was/is all about them, not me.


I forgot to mention Alice, the guideline my therapist gave me for judging the truth of my role in the issues of my childhood is this. I look at myself the same way I woulda own child in that situation.

Also, it occurs to me, my family has never wanted to have contact with the real me. They refused to acknowledge her even when I was a small child. That was their choice.

I think today of the horrid murder of James Foley. the terrorists methods were intendedto humiliate and degrade him before they killed him. His mother’s response today was “I’ve never been more proud of my son.” This is how a loving Mother responds to the humiliation of their child. I look at her and think this is what a real mother is. I am heartbroken over the tragedy but grateful he had a family like he did.


Hi Catherine!
Welcome back! Great to hear from you!
There never was a key to them, but there certainly was a key to me and I had it all along!!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Davina
My mother is in her 80’s as well. Over this last several years when ever I think that maybe I “should” try one more time, I also wonder why she doesn’t try. Why is it always up to me??
Davina, you are not alone in reading this blog for that many hours a week! (I get stats in the back end and there are thousands of people reading over an hour at a time every month!) that is why I put the first book together. Each of the articles is live linked to the blog post it is based on so that people can read the comments. And there will be a second one too. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lynne
Being heard and being validated opens a whole new door to a whole new world! I am happy to have done that for you! This IS all about them and healing is all about you now!
hugs, Darlene


Kaycee, I really appreciate your comments on this above. I agree with you that my view of my own mistakes (huge, punishable offenses) was distorted by my family. I was loathe to take the “nobody’s perfect” defense as that’s exactly the one she took in response to my telling her that what she had done and said to me was hurtful.

When you said: “I forgot to mention Alice, the guideline my therapist gave me for judging the truth of my role in the issues of my childhood is this. I look at myself the same way I woulda own child in that situation” I honestly can’t trust myself (yet) to see that child fully in a way other than how my parents saw me (if that makes sense). When a kid “acts up” around me I sometimes feel very angry inside and I know it’s down to the way I was treated to view myself. This is how I see the abuse getting transmitted. I refuse to transmit it by not having kids.


Hey Darlene! it’s been about 2 years since I cutoff ties with all my family. I cut them off one by one, which I never did before.

I didn’t realize how much of an influence they had over my life. My greatest concern or fear to face was….who will I be without them. I was so enmeshed in the dysfunctional dynamics that I didn’t realize that I lost my ability to be, or feel who I really am.

For me I witnessed a slow, steady change in the people I loved. What I didn’t realize is that it was me that was changing. I felt dismissed, disrepected, humiliated, lonely, hopeless. I wondered why I even existed. Suicide became a hole I found comfort in. I believed that if I left this world, I would find a world that I felt loved and accepted with.

It’s sad to me now how I created a false world for myself to feel safe in, because my reality was too dark to accept and thrive in. My world view in general was very jaded. I lost faith in humanity as a whole and felt the world was out to get me. It’s only through the strength and courage to receive support that I realized I can empower myself with new, healthy supports and skills. That dark hole of suicide still taughts me from time to time and I admit it’s power over me is pretty strong, but something always seems to shift a little towards the light to remind me there is a better way to live.

Today I’m just grateful that people are speaking out more and making changes. It’s too easy to be hate filled when you look around at the way we treat each other. It takes effort and focus to stay in the light and I’m just grateful I have the choice to do so. No one can take away my power of choice anymore unless I let them.

Freedom feels awesome….I think I’m going to stay on this path moving forward. Thank you Darlene for being a beacon of light for all of us.


Hi Darlene #50
It’s frustrating not to find a logical explanation to my question.I was really hoping for some clarification.My sister’s attitude is confusing,as it conveys the message that our parents are ok,and it’s all in my head.If only i had a key to decode her attitude.You analyze so well why abusers behave the way they do,but victims’actions remain a mystery.

Regarding power,i wish i were in your place.After confronting your mother,you had a loving husband and your own home to return to.That’s the power i’m talking about.Apart from going no contact,you didn’t have to suffer the consequences of speaking up:violence,narcissistic rage,the silent treatement.Having a home of your own is priceless and empowering.You were emotionally awake,while your mother was not.That’s power at its height.


My voice, where did it go. This is what I miss. Not so much guilt as shame, because I took part in games I didn’t understand. I told too, every time, but no one heard…no, no one cared. I know I have much to say, but I am afraid of the rage that comes with it. So angry. I know I have to get this out of me…3 predators over the course of a childhood has taken it’s toll. Even here I am afraid to type the word for fear of hurting someone: Incest. How do I talk about incest. I lose my voice when faced with this word. It has cost me my family…where do i find my voice.


There is really no mystery to victims actions at all. I hope you will read more of this blog as there are so many answers here to your questions. I spend far more time writing about how I (as the victim) responded to abuse than I do about analyzing the abusers. There is no solution in figuring out the abusers…

And just to clarify, I did suffer all the consequences of speaking up. You just don’t see my situation as difficult as your own. My husband was not on my side, and I was totally alone in this. But I found a way back and that is the purpose of this website ~ to share how I did that.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Jamie
Welcome to EFB!
This takes time. You have a right to your anger and you have taken the first step to finding your voice by sharing here. None of this is easy to talk about but this is a safe place ~ a good place to begin.
hugs, Darlene


Alice, I know, it is so had, often when I summon up me in my childhood, I still feel contempt for that little girl. I understand and even though I would never hold my own child up to the standards I have held myself to it takes some work to get to the point where I have compassion and love for her. But it is happening now, a little bit at a time.


This is great Darlene. I suffered from guilt for a long time too–the aftermath of growing up with an abusive, alcoholic mother and deluded relatives who would always go on about “all the things I had done to her.” I had to take extreme measures to excise her and the rest of ‘them’ out of my life because no, she had never respected my feelings, boundaries or rights, and showed over and over again that she had no plans of ever doing so. So after cutting off I spent a long time with fear, guilt, and shame, feeling the weight of what my ex-family was likely thinking about me and how everyone in my current life would feel the same way if they found out (of course they did eventually find out, and no, they didn’t think I was at fault or take the side of my abusive family.)

I have nothing to feel guilty about, and thankfully I don’t feel that guilt about cutting them off anymore, though it still comes up in other areas from time to time. My mother should be the one who feels guilty, because she is.

Alaina, I can really relate to another part of your post, as I felt all of these internalized accusations that because I had to peice my story together, it meant I must be lying. That sick message from my childhood where I wasn’t allowed to change my mind and progress, but was automatically a liar or a “stupid person” if I don’t stick to things I said, felt, or did in the past. Having been denied my own identity, voice, and story for so long, it is very important to allow and validate my right to craft my own story and set my boundaries where I want them, not according to some false external standards.

Lynne, it is so horrible what your father did to you. I know what it’s like to be declared the family scapegoat like that, and it is so sick that you were expected to simply accept that legacy of cruel and self-righteous abandonment because of a thin apology. I know exactly what it’s like for such an apology to be immediately revoked by everyone the moment I acknowledge that it doesn’t make everything go away.


Thanks Darlene for another great post. I’ve been no contact with my older sister for about 2 months now and at times struggle with guilt. It’s not a situation that I wanted because I love her and feel for her too. But I’ve long been hurt and confused by our interactions, and as I slowly feel better about myself I can no longer tolerate how she communicates with me.

I came out of my childhood with no self-esteem—I remember asking a high school principal if he thought I was human—and believing that I was wrong, everyone else was right, always. A major part of my work today at age 50 is learning to validate my own feelings. That I am entitled to those feelings and that I’m not “too sensitive” or “too unforgiving” or “too immature and won’t let it go”. I am learning to step away from the family consensus of who I am and see myself as an individual, and the expert on myself.

All I wanted was to be treated with respect from those who say they love me. But when that didn’t happen I thought I was asking too much, that something had to be wrong with me. I’ve realized my relationships with family have long been predicated on that belief. I’ve had to stop and really examine where that belief came from, and why it was in place. And it’s clear my parents never were going to take responsibility for the harm they were causing and had to pathologize their children. This has been so internalized by us it’s just been taken as “truth”. It’s not truth, it’s not normal. They threw their kids under the bus because they couldn’t or wouldn’t look at themselves, the damage they were doing, how damaged they were.

It took me a few years to not feel guilty for having no contact with my mother, who has dementia and is in a home. I felt guilty because I was not involved in her care, nor wanted to be. My sister and her husband took that on, and I thanked her, but could not do more. It took a lot of work to realize that that was ok, that I wasn’t being a bad person. Initially I took interest in Mom’s situation, her medicines, her diagnosis, how she was getting along with others in the home. But when it became too much of a struggle to be kept informed…when I felt more and more shut out…I backed off and focused on my own life. A therapist told me, “Let her have Mom”, and I did, and that’s ok. I never had Mom anyway, and I felt that even as a kid. But I want to see her one more time privately, at the home, before she dies, just for my own heart. Mom is 87 and childlike now, and I’d like a short visit and hug her and basically conclude my life with her on those terms.

My sister is my only remaining family, and I tried in recent years to talk to her. Too many emails unanswered, too many excuses as to why. Always getting her husband on the phone and not her. Never an invitation to visit. A couple of years ago we discussed my visiting her at Christmas and she said, “I don’t care, I just don’t want you to be alone”. I wondered why that bothered me, was I being too sensitive? Now I see I’ve a right to my feelings. It hurts because it’s hurtful to me. It doesn’t take her seeing that or acknowledging my hurt for my hurt to be valid. That’s a new development for me. I have more awareness now that this is not loving behaviour. It is not healthy or loving to tell a family member you don’t care if they visit you. So after years of communication like this, I’ve decided to drop away. I can’t give the message anymore that this is acceptable.

It’s occured to me in the short time I’ve been no contact with my sister, that there’s a feeling that somehow, I OWE her. I don’t know what I’m supposed to owe her, but that seems to be the great unspoken feeling between us. It feels a lot like I owe her for just being me, for having been born. She’s been brittle and hostile towards me for most of our lives, and I just took it thinking I naturally deserved it, but I see now I never did.


Hi DXSmac (40) and Darlene (45):

I thought to comment on the name issue. I am sorry for everyone who has to live with confusing and difficult issues surrounding their first name or last name—my story. I go by “Yvonne” which is my legal middle name in my daily life. It’s the name on my name badge at work in a large office building. Many people have nicknames like “Mike” for Michael or use initials like K.C. Anyway, I DETEST MY LEGAL FIRST NAME WHICH I CANNOT WRITE HERE—ALMOST LIKE A CURSE WORD! LOL! I have not used my legal first name in years and when I meet people, then I give my legal middle name as my name! (I must still legally sign papers with my full name). I detest my first name since it’s a rather square, silly, old-fashioned name from another century. I have heard the belief that the very first gift that your bio.parents gave you is your given first(and middle) names. I truly believe that some parents like to abuse their own child by giving them such an incredibly bad name! 🙁 It was like the very first act of child abuse that I received as an infant was being given a bad first name). My parents must have enjoyed me being a scapegoat. I was always like some kind of joke to them and NEVER RESPECTED! You cannot believe the amount of trauma which I endured from being laughed at and teased by other kids and even adults. It was worse when I had to spell out this first name and they still couldn’t get it. Many people do not even take a moment to read the name properly and start calling me a close, but different name. There were days when I would come home from school and go to my room, shut the bedroom door, and have a good cry! All this pain from a mere first name!

I don’t know but why was it really that hard to choose a half-decent girl’s name? Back when I was born in the 60’s,they had those baby name books with tons of good names with the name meanings. I don’t know what happened.

I remember watching an old 1980’s TV show, “In the Heat of the Night”, set in a small southern town. There was an episode about a pregnant teenage girl who gave birth to a boy. She wanted to name her infant son, “Rocket”. Mind you this was a druggie, alcoholic, mental teen mom. The nurse character suggested naming the infant with a normal boy’s name. The mental teen mom was very adamant and won. The nurse character snapped back saying, “that name you gave sure says a lot about you!”

Names do give a first impression about you. I found out the hard way about the family “secret”. So on top of having a bad first name, my crazy mentally ill loud mom said something on a Thanksgiving holiday without thinking. I learned that my last name is not exactly my real last name. It turns out that my bio.grandmother (father’s mother) had a relationship with a man before marriage and became pregnant with my father. However, they never married and a few years later my grandmother married her husband, technically my father’s stepfather. My father, as a child, had his name changed from his mother’s maiden name to his stepfather’s name on the birth certificate.

So, the man whom I called my grandfather was not my bio.grandfather. Go figure! My father was never “man” enough to explain this family secret to me and to this day I don’t know what my “real” last name is. I once saw a gifted psychic reader who told me that my bio.grandfather’s last name was “Davis”, not my legal last name, but I will never know or prove this. I know that “Davis” is a common Welsh last name, and my legal last name is quite common, too.

I have been waiting for both of my parents to die before I can legally change my name. It seems like such a silly expense getting a paralegal name change in my tight budget but I still want to. I was hoping to get married younger for the very reason of changing my last name, but it never happened. I believe that if I get legally married in the future, more than in a living together relationship, I would have a hyphenated last name.

Some parents enjoy forever calling their son/daughter by a childish nick-name, i.e. “Junior”, “Baby”, “Pumpkin”…. Whenever I have visited my father in the past, only a couple of times in several years, I am called again by that awful first name. I think my parents view me as some kind of pet that only responds to this name! It’s like having power and control over someone forever.

Just wanted to share a strange name coincidence. Many times on this site I have mentioned my real religions of Celtic Paganism: British Traditional Wicca and Druids. In neo-pagan circles, practitioners often use a pagan name like a colorful nature name (much like the American Indian nature names) or a God/Goddess name. When I chose my Pagan name, a Scottish flower, I thought it wasn’t long enough so I added “Rain” in honor of my home state in the northwest. My religious name in Pagan circles is “HeatherRain”. One High Priestess told me that I give a spiritual healing/cleansing wherever I go. Well, one time when I first joined a knitting group in the library I was the new person. People can never remember names the first time around. It was my second time at the group meetup that a woman actually called me “Heather.” Then she said I thought you said that your name was “Heather”! Then these other women said that I looked like a “Heather”! I was so astonished since I NEVER give out that name, but only in pagan circles. I explained to her that “Heather” is actually my first name (a lie)and my middle name, everyday name, is Yvonne. I swear that I NEVER gave her that name, but rather the name has become such a part of me,that it’s like a part of my aura. This woman was actually quite clairaudient but I never told her the truth.

I think of famous celebrities who have changed their legal names to a stage name for the better. There is a sense of freedom like being reborn and the old personality is dead. The actress Frances Gumm became Judy Garland and Norma Jean Baker transformed into Marilyn Monroe. I have always felt a little bit like being an orphan with no identity. I know that my mother never wanted me and I wonder about my father. How important is my family name, ethnic group,and past? Something to think on…thanks for reading.


Hi Yvonne,
I’ve considered changing my name too but my last name, not my first even though it’s a variant of another family member’s name (to “honor” her) I still feel like it’s me. My middle name was given to me to “honor” another family member and is also a variant. So it’s like I’m a “variant” of these people. Ha. I never use the middle one. And people have been surprised at hearing it. It’s much softer than the other one.

My family name was worn very heavily and I have been thinking of changing it but I am worried about what people would think. There’s no real reason like acting or whatever for me to do it.

I always found that my mother relied a lot on the “family name” as her reputation also. My father used to brandish it about and sometimes determined whether whatever I did or did not do made me worthy or unworthy of it. I was supposed to “represent” the family name at all times. I found that cloying and restrictive. While the other family members seemed very proud of the family name and being part of it, I felt ashamed and not recall much part of it. Even today I rarely use it for something like a restaurant reservation unless they ask. I don’t know why the family name specifically makes me feel shame but it has something to do with my mother “usurping” it for her own purposes. Basically “buying herself some respectability” that way. I don’t know where that idea comes from, maybe from my father’s relatives?


Darlene, I am amazed at how you continue to tell my story. I am so grateful to have found your website. I’m 48 and just starting to realize that I was not the bad person my parents make me out to be. I recently went “no contact” with the last of my family members, that being my father, step mother and brothers. It was a hard decision but I was blatantly being disrespected again and it would take me months to recover from just one holiday spent with them. I have an 11 year old son which made this decision even harder. I had to ask myself “what are they bringing to my son’s life?”, and the truth was they were bringing emotional and, at one time, physical abuse. I feel lonely and like the only person in the world without a family. However, I am building relationships with solid women and we recently joined a church that we both like. I remember begging my father to love me along with trying to prove my worth over and over~all that got me was betrayed, again. After a disastrous Easter holiday this year, I just decided I was done. I was tired.


Oh, also, when “in public” we had to behave “as a family” and perhaps I felt ashamed because it was a put on? My mother would often chose moments in public to want to be affectionate with me and I didn’t enjoy that either but I had to make a good show.


It’s interesting to see the comments about name changes. The name I was given at birth was my Barbara Lorraine after my mother (Barbara) and her sister (Lorraine). I was born on my aunt Lorraine’s birthday. I was called Little Barbie for most of my first 20 years, and was very very uncomfortable with ALL of the implications, from that of being a smaller version of my mother, with a possessive pull from my aunt, to the jokes that compared me to the Barbie Doll.

About 10 years ago, I had a dream in which people called me “Hope” and I responded to it as if I knew it was my “real name”. It took a while, but I started asking people to call me Hope and in most cases it stuck, at least most of the time. I may change it legally since I’ve been shunned by almost my whole family at this point.

The name I use here “Hobie” is something my sister came up with as contraction of Hope & Barbie…that was a while back before I split up the family. Her first choice was actually “Hopra” Oprah with the “h” at the beginning and a contraction of Hope and Barbara. I felt Hobie was a better fit because I imagined my life as being something like riding a trampoline on pontoons with a sail attached – something sort of inconceivable 🙂

I’m more than content to maintain my husband’s last name, because he was really the first person in my life who truly accepted me through all the stages of healing and all the attempts that didn’t work.

Hope still feels like the name I’m meant to have so that’s who I am.


Wow Darlene I love this! I too am no contact based on the choice my mother made. Such a painful thing to endure and yes there was guilt at first too. I saw my whole life differently. Suddenly I realized my mothers love for me was not unconditional, it was totally conditional! She was a play by my rules or else you don’t love me person. This mother, this person who gave birth to me and my brothers, in one move tore her family to shreds. Today I have no contact with her nor does my brother. I believe it’s a form of mental illness tho this does not excuse it. She controlled and maniplulated me for many years with the threat that if I didn’t go along with her she would oust me from the family. Such a sad ending to her story. Next week she turns 80. She will be without her son and daughter but it’s her choice. I hope she found happiness tho I doubt she has. She has 20 immediate family members (kids grand kids and great grand kids) she has contact with 2…..
I no longer feel guilty, I can clearly see how things were and are and that my mother is the one who inflicted the years of pain and heartache not me.
Thanks for the great post! Timing of it couldn’t have been better.


Everyone echoes the same sort of sentiment… Its all the same! I don’t feel so alone now. 🙂 tx


H Darlene #64,
You say there’s no mistery to victims actions.Yet my sister’s refusal to go no contact and to keep connected to our abusers remain a mystery to me.Your blog clarified many of my questions,but not this one.By the way,my sister was never a golden child,so i can’t explain her attitude that way.You are only human.You can’t have all the answers.Nobody has,apart from God.

Fortunately,abusers tactics have already been decoded and figured out.Otherwise,they would not have been exposed and victims would never have been able to get out of the dark and become survivors.The abused would still believe they are the problem.Healing and self awareness come from analyzing abusers dysfunction.

I see your situation as equally or even more difficult than mine,especially if your husband was not by your side.To confront your mother all by yourself ant totally alone is an act of heroic courage.I’m shocked to find that your husband was not supportive in those crucial moments for you.I certainly did not expect that.Yet you chose to make a family with him.

I did not read your entire blog,but i do remember that,in one of your posts,you said your husband was on your side,and now you say he wasn’t.That’s confusing and contradicting for me.

My comments in general mean no harm.I do appreciate your work.I’m a survivor looking for answers.I never take anything for granted.I’m an inquisitive nature.I’m not allowed to question things in my daily life.So that’s my way of defying my abusers.Everything they force me into,i do it the opposite way.


I am no contact with my father’s side of the family. They are truly horrible, abusive people. My mom’s extended family are still angry at me for leaving the Christian faith. I’m pretty much no contact with them. The only person I have anything to do with in my family is my mother.


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

The only time I speak to my father is when I call him. Honestly, I’m tired of being the only one making an effort. I’m tired of allowing his lack of interest in me, his own flesh and blood, to make me feel worthless.

Slowly but surely through therapy and friends (who have proven to be more family than my FOO) I am beginning to know, feel and believe that I AM valuable.

Thank you so much for your blog.


Hi Doren
That is the decision that I made too ~ when I realized what was unacceptable and devaluing, I realized that accepting it is like consenting to it. It’s so interesting what comes up as we grow stronger. I saw fog clearing so consistently for the first few years and then less often as time went on, but it was so much like a ‘clearing’ in order to get clarity. I thought I ‘owed’ everyone. (even when I started this website I thought that if I opened the door by writing, that I owed everyone my help) It is wonderful to explore (and for me I continue to explore) that belief more deeply and see where it started!
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene

Hi Caden
YAY for no guilt feelings.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I wish I could go no contact with my ex-husband, but we have a young child together and joint custody. So, I have to constantly “write him off” when he defines me in these horrible ways after I act in a manner he disagrees with. I just have to tell myself constantly…his definition of my motives and my character are wrong- they are based on a skewed version of me that suits his victim mentality, proof that I am ruining his life, that he is the better parent. While he forces all the responsibility on me (making decisions regarding our child), he then becomes enraged when I don’t do what he wants me to do and jumps at the opportunity to invalidate/critisize me. It is always him against me and he will not agree with any middle ground options/compromise- I do it his way or incurr his wrath. It get’s very confusing as to whether I’ve clearly identified boundaries with him because of his lack of recognition of anything I say regarding his behavior as I see it. And it’s not like I can un-hear what he’s said…it floats around in my brain for days while I constantly tell myself, and look to others to confirm that his version of me is inaccurate. But I felt you on the exhaustion part of your post. Keeping these boundary walls of protection up durring regular attacks takes a lot of hard work.


Hi Yvonne
I agree that some names are given thoughtlessly.
I know many people who change their names as a symbol of freedom and taking their lives and choices back.
I like my name, even though my mothers name is my middle name ~ I like her name too! I think it is so important for everyone to do what makes them feel empowered!
Thanks for sharing your name stories and thoughts!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Franchesca
Welcome to EFB ~ I love that you asked yourself “what are they bringing to my son’s life?” That is the key question! I had a lot of turmoil about the fact that my kids didn’t have grandparents but the more I thought about it, the more relieved I was that those people were not going to influence my kids anymore ~ and one of the biggest things I realized was that they treated me like crap in front of my kids and my kids saw that and were bound to get the message that I was okay with that if I didn’t draw a boundary.
Thank you for sharing,
Glad you are here!!!
hugs, Darlene


Oh yuck I remember those false public displays!! ugg..
Hugs, Darlene

Love your name story. Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kathy
yes those sudden realizations of truth can hit hard! And the freedom comes from realizing that truth which is as you wrote when you said “I can clearly see how things were and are and that my mother is the one who inflicted the years of pain and heartache not me.”
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Ella
Welcome to emerging from broken!
You are not alone! Glad you found us!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Amy
YAY for knowing and feeling your own value! That is so KEY!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Nena
It awful how many people will be angry when you don’t make the same choices as they do! I call that a truth leak. (I think that kind of anger is about their fear and not about love or right and wrong)
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Jennifer
Yes that is a tough situation where your choice is not as easy. Good for you that you can assure yourself that he is wrong! And it is exhausting! But so worth it!
hugs, Darlene


They are the ones who made it imperative that I go Low Contact or No Contact. My mom was unwilling to take any responsibility for the damage that was done to me through the abuse and hell that she had drug me through for the first 16 years of my life. Her public image and her marriage to my last step-father were more important than helping me to heal. I have been afflicted with PTSD from early childhood, which was undiagnosed. She chose to put the responsibility for the damage that was done to me on me! (I believe that she could have retained her marriage and helped me to get healing, but instead she chose to shirk her responsibility and blame me for my symptoms.)
My, now deceased step-father was emotionally abusive to me. He did not speak to me and made it clear to me that he did not like me or love me. He was very partial to his own daughter who lived with him and my mother for 40 years before their deaths.
I have been scapegoated for 50 years! I should have gone No Contact with them 40+ years ago and I tried to. I failed at NC because I was caught up in the cycle of attempting to get love from my Narcissist Mother. Now that my mom and step-father are deceased, the scapegoating continues with the extended family even though I have No Contact with them. I will never be considered deserving of love and respect from them. The lies are too pervasive to ever be extinguished! I am thankful to be healing from the need for their love and affirmation.


Hi Darlene! You’ve got a lot of great articles on so many things! I just found the one on “Respect” yesterday. Would you believe I’d never bothered to look it up? So I can say now that I do respect some things about my family but what they meant when they used the word was something else entirely. So much of the process of this is realizing the twisted definitions that they gave to me and expected from me. And most of the time these definitions are not the same in each case but I fell for it because “we are the parents and you are just a (or “our”) child”. So it was plausible there could have been differences in the definitions, wasn’t it? Add on to that that we were punished for questioning. And all this supported by society which thrives on this hierarchy. Well that will shut off the mind that wants to examine that more closely. And leave us with a mind that tortures itself!


I’m new to this site. I guess I’m new to all of this. I was abused as a child by my older half brother. I told my mom and she covered it up. I told my dad and he seems to not remember us ever having that conversation. 20 yrs ago my older half brother died on his birthday, a victim of drunk driving. If I was ever able to speak of the abuse before, now its completely off limits. He’s dead. He’s a saint. My mother also abused me as a child, physically and spiritually. My mother has her good days and bad these days. Over the last few years there have been more bad days. She is mean to me. She is hateful. She embarrasses me in front of family. She puts me down. She has told me recently and more than once that she “loves” me but she doesn’t “like” me. She has even been abusive to my 17 yrs old daughter. I have been thinking about pulling away from her. My family is very small. I have my mom, dad, younger brother, my child and my husband. I feel guilt about pulling away from my family but I feel anger and disgust with them in equal portions. When do you give up? How much is too much? Where do you draw the line? Advice and opinions are welcome!


Hi Caden, you wrote:

Hi Lynne, it is so horrible what your father did to you. I know what it’s like to be declared the family scapegoat like that, and it is so sick that you were expected to simply accept that legacy of cruel and self-righteous abandonment because of a thin apology. I know exactly what it’s like for such an apology to be immediately revoked by everyone the moment I acknowledge that it doesn’t make everything go away.

Thank you for sharing your “me too!” with me. It helps to know that my feelings regarding the non-apology/apology were accurate. I’m sorry that you’ve had to go through a very similar situation. It’s so painful to not be heard and not even considered as though the abuser is king of us all. My sister didn’t even care that, after our dad’s thin apology, after my baby’s funeral I get this card in the mail (sympathy) from our dad that he was going to come to the funeral but he had “car trouble.” I’m sorry but that added insult to injury. If it had been my daughter I would have moved heaven and earth to get there no matter what but I guess he probably knew he wouldn’t have been welcome. Nobody cared about that, nor the fact that my baby died. It was surreal because they didn’t even seem to have a reaction to such a sad and painful occurrence in MY life. It only mattered what our dad felt. It’s like I’m a non-human or I just don’t even fall inside the realm of their caring. I don’t need to be around people like that. Even perfect strangers showed vastly more sympathy than they did.


Oh, also, when “in public” we had to behave “as a family”

HA HA HA, Alice your comment reminded me of something I did in church as a child. It was communion Sunday. Instead of lining up at the alter like usual, the pastor wanted to do a “table.” Well, I purposely manuvered myself in the line so that I would be unable to sit with my family, shucky darn. Well, the pastor called me out on it, and made me sit with my family at the table.

Starting about age 12, every time my mom had a “family picture” done, or even if she was taking the picture, I would stand in a way to separate myself apart.


DXS I did exactly the same thing:) On walks with them I would walk fast so as to be further ahead (that annoyed them). And then I would get the “So! Don’t you WANT to be part of this family then?” question, but I couldn’t answer it with a real heartfelt “YES” because, well, I don’t know really. Today I still don’t see how walking ahead means you’re not part of a family. I see kids doing it all the time:)

But I didn’t feel like I was part of it. I can’t say why.

At my father’s funeral, I had to sit beside my mother – when I say I “had to” what happened was I initially turned up at the funeral place and stood apart from the “main” family and then someone else told me I should be “over there” (some “main” family members meanwhile were giving me the eye because I wasn’t over there with them (another public display).

And much as I wanted to sit elsewhere (I thought one row behind “The Family” was fine) at the funeral, I was coerced/shoved onto a bench beside my mother by a distant relative.

It was all about appearing to be a cohesive group when nothing could have been further from the truth. I wanted to be at my father’s funeral. I had flown several thousand Km’s to be there. But I was pushed into this show of unity when there had never been any.

At one point during the ceremony my mother grabbed my hand and I couldn’t and didn’t want her to touch me so I wrenched mine away. The distant relative responsible for shoving me in there in the first place was sitting right next to me and saw this take place and burned me with her stare. Later on I was taken to task for it and told I had been “badly behaved” (I was late 30’s) and hurt my mother. But not before I had comforted her (the distant relative) when she was crying a river due to her own loss (of her former husband) at the scattering of my own father’s ashes.


One of the problems I am having even with limited contact right now is that I feel like I did when I was a child around them even though they are currently on good behavior.

It is weird, it starts with this physical sensation, something shifts and I feel trapped inside my body. I become hyper aware of my physical presence and I feel, very honestly, huge, freakish, clumsy and dumb. I feel like everyone is watching me and I am the village idiot. It feels really bad, I feel deep shame, it is hard for me to make eye contact.


Hi Nicole
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I am so sorry that this happened to you. Only you can decide when you have had enough but I think you will find many answers here. There is a ton of information as well as discussions on all the posts. There is no love in abusive actions. I had to realize that on my journey to healing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Nicole. I can relate to what you are saying. When I tried to tell my Mom that something was wrong with our relationship, she said that we talk about politics and we talk on facebook. It was almost like she felt she was putting herself out to communicate with me in these superficial ways and was patting herself on the back for that.

She doesn’t like me and never did, but prides herself on loving me anyway with the crumbs she throws me. She is different with me and it is blatantly obvious even though she denies it.

I have a small, immediate family as well and it is frightening to pull away. Especially since I have been conditioned my whole life to believe I am dependent upon the good will and mercy of my family of origin. When I am with them, I feel all of my confidence being sucked right out of me. Today in therapy I talked about all of the things they told me I wasn’t good at and how I just believed them. I’m learning now how many of those things are completely false.

My Mom corrects me, runs me over and humiliates me in front of others. She freely exposes things that I share with her in confidence. She reacts in distaste to my opinions and feelings about things.

She clings to her stories, as does my sister, of me being a problem child, the lesser daughter, a victim of myself. This even though she created a tragic, traumatic childhood for me with no support, no validation and a firm place as the family scapegoat.

My Mom is so very projective. Her egregious mistakes, especially with her choice in men were made out to be my mistakes as a young child reacting to the abuse I was enduring at the hands of the people she put in my life.

Even though she eventually had enough and ended up divorced and single for over two decades now, I still listen to the stories about how I caused my own abuse at the hands of the monster she married and eventually left. It is bizarre.

The stinger is she and my sister believe this, really, that I was a problem child. They talk about how I dug my heels in when the truth is I did everything I could to please him and her. I’m pushing 50 and just now realizing I was in a no win situation and there was nothing I could have ever done that would have changed my role in the family or change how I was viewed.

I am starting to piece together that it was the circumstances in which I was born that probably caused my teen aged Mother to be unable to bond with me as a normal mother would. I think she looked for reasons for this outside of herself and ended up finding a way to blame me rather than to heal her own wounds, admit her mistakes and do the work she would have to do in order to be able to see me as an authentic, lovable child and, now, adult.

She has made it clear it is not a subject open for discussion. I am not allowed to discuss my childhood. She blows me off when I tell her what she is doing to devalue me, says I am misreading her, misinterpreting her intentions and firmly puts me back into the place of being the problem she is martyring herself for.

It is an impossible, maddening situation. I’m just at a point now where the status quo is no longer acceptable to me. It feels like too much interaction with my family sets me back.

There is a great deal of guilt around this, by all appearances to my family, I am the one causing this divide. My Mother absolutely refuses to even consider the possibility that her rejection of my need to take a honest look at what happened to me and how I am treated and viewed is the cause of this divide.

She cling to the image of herself as the giving Mother of a problem child who has always had something fundamentally flawed inside my mental, hormonal and genetic makeup.

As a Mother I am finding myself more and more appalled and somewhat grossed out by the fact that she as a woman, as a Mother could reject her own child this way. My child is a singleton and an extrovert so he brings home every child he can find out there and I deal with some children with big issues on a regular basis, but I care deeply about all of them and do everything I can to build them up and show them they are valued in our family.

It is hard for me to comprehend someone who has it in their heart to destroy a child’s self worth, to turn away when a child is being physically harmed and pretend they don’t see and to lay blame for their own mistakes upon the shoulders of a young, vulnerable child who can not possibly defend herself.

I thought they were God’s, but I am starting to realize they are small people with severe mental disorders who desperately need mental health care.


Alice, just wanted to share something with you that my therapist said to me today. I was talking about how everything I did was a child was exaggerated and and how I was brought to the public square for flogging even for the smallest, normal transgressions.

She asked me if I realized that even children who are unruly and have behavior problems do not deserve this kind of treatment. Her son had ADHD and had many difficulties with his behavior and she said as his Mother it was her job to love and support him and see him safely through all of the challenges he faced. She said she has never viewed her child as flawed or as a problem and that his challenges never diminished her love for him or his value as her son.


Did anyone on this site ever have a NARCISSISTIC PARENT or in-law who made you question whether you were the narcissist and they were the victim? They have everyone believing you are the crazy one but then you realize almost all the deplorable behaviors are towards you and everyone is acting like I deserve these situations in some way. If no one else was around, then they claim they didn ‘t happen. If there is evidence of their behaviors, then they aggressively go out to everyone and tell them I have mental health problems and explain why they needed to do their crazy behaviors! Once my husband and I were figuring out that this person has NPD, and we distanced ourselves, they went into narcissistic rage! We have lost everyone, due to lies and a smear campaign. But when we distanced ourselves, my health improved greatly which I was starting to have health problems. Now when we see this parent, it is so obvious to us how manipulative they are with other family. We can see all the techniques they use to get the results they want, which is telling lie upon lie. I’m always amazed because if you actually listen to the details of what they are saying, you realize the details just don’t add up. We realized even though we lost most of our relationships, we got ourselves back. Our health back. Our ability to breathe and think independently again, back. The others in this family are still entrusted in enmeshment, infantalization and triangulation. But they have their own journeys and we had ours. We also found that this person set up the situation where you either were 100% loyal to the dysfuction or you were fully rejected entirely. And once they deemed you as a problem, they made it clear that that meant everyone goes with them. I could go into all the crazy situations but at the end of it, it’s just that, crazy. But I just wondered if any of your NPD parent had you believing you were the mentally ill one because you have a much larger group of people telling you how they just can’t believe this other person would be capable of such behaviors. Thank God for good therapists. That’s all I can say about that.


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

WOW, Darlene! I felt my whole life that I had to prove my worth and I couldn’t figure out why. Whether it was at work, getting accepted at school, everywhere! I was never proud of any of my accomplishments. I felt like a slug that should feel grateful that no one stepped on me and allowed me to live. Now, I know where I got that idea from – my mother! She planted this idea in my head that I had to prove my worth. Thank you, Darlene for making me realize that I should not have to prove my value to ANYONE!



I can relate to everything you write about your mother, especially this:

My Mom corrects me, runs me over and humiliates me in front of others. She freely exposes things that I share with her in confidence. She reacts in distaste to my opinions and feelings about things.
She clings to her stories, as does my sister, of me being a problem child, the lesser daughter, a victim of myself. This even though she created a tragic, traumatic childhood for me with no support, no validation and a firm place as the family scapegoat.

I have gone low-contact with my family, for the most part, to escape the mental abuse and cruelty of my mother and two sisters, who won’t let me out of the scapegoat role. At the same time, I left my church community in which all were members and my extended family because of the poisoning of the well, if you know what I mean. My life has only gotten better but it took some time to gain my equilibrium.

My mom has never valued any of my accomplishments. When I gradated magna cum laude from a local university while working and taking care of a baby/toddler, she refused to go, saying it “didn’t mean anything to her” and advised me “not to throw yourself a graduation party, because no one cares about this like you do.” It seemed so strange, because she didn’t feel like that when my sister threw herself a graduation party, and when another family member graduated from a hair-cutting college, she insisted that everyone go and bring her a present!

Since I left my family, I have gained so much self-confidence. I was honored in my community for something I had done, received a work award, and my mom’s answer was, “well, now you have finally found out you were smart.” I remained silently, but I always knew I was smart. What I lacked was self-confidence.

I wasn’t supposed to have anything. When I bought my new house, and it was a nicer house than my sister had, my sister went through the whole house pointing out its flaws. I don’t invite my parents anymore, because they do the same, even though it is nicer than any house I ever grew up in, they become INCENSED at any minor weakness in the house.

My mom depicts herself as a martyr with a difficult daughter who is “hard to love” and now uses my “rejection” of a way to gain sympathy.

I can indeed relate to being completely grossed out over a mother who would reject one of her children.

Going very low contact is the best thing I could have done and I wished I could have a long time ago.


Kaycee, thanks for that comment. My mother saw both of her children as problems or having problems. My brother had so-called learning difficulties and I was just “You weren’t an easy child Alice. You weren’t affectionate”. But again this is what my mother liked to do which is tell me who I am, not listen to know who I really was or am.

I wanted to fight her on these definitions to prove her wrong and so I fought her for years on these definitions. To tell her they were false, that it was HER who had been a rejecting, punishing mother. A BAD mother. “Rubbish” she replied when I finally got the guts to say it to her.

A couple of times she told me that her treatment of me was due to the difficult circumstances in which we had all lived. Or at other times that it was “Just the done thing”.

And sometimes outright deny it. Tell me “Get your facts straight Alice”.
Tell me “You’re just choosing to remember the bad parts”. Tell me “That’s your choice to see it that way Alice”.

I never once felt her take responsibility for any of it herself. But I find it interesting how she changed the story sometimes. But whatever she said trumped whatever I knew or felt or thought. Being NC means I don’t have to fight her any more to be able to tell the truth. I don’t say “my truth” as that is too close to her idea that I “chose” to have this version of it. Or “my side of the story” because that is too close to there being validity in hers.

Anyway, yes, everything I did “wrong” was magnified and scruted and punishment was at the other end of it. The things I did “right” weren’t very many but they were: being of service, doing well in school, doing well at a sport (competition), training the dog. I mean that’s a rather mediocre life isn’t it?


Kaycee, Alice and anyone else who has gone no contact:
Currently, I am getting the silent treatment from my so-called mother. I don’t know what I did this time. But, living with her is getting old and so am I. I know I have to leave. But, I go through so many emotions – anger at her for not being there for me when I was young and guilt for not being there for her during her old age. But, if I don’t leave I am the one who will suffer. I have gone no contact before, always being reeled back in by her. This time, I will go no contact for good. But, all I see in my future is isolation and loneliness. So, can anyone give me advice about this? Alice and Kaycee it sounds like no or low contact is doing you a lot of good. How do I trust that it will be the same for me? I feel that my spirit is permanently broken.


Hi Kyra
This issue is one of the most common issues when it comes to abusers and abuse and it isn’t just narcissists who do this. This “my way or the highway” thing that they do is their definition of love and the victim is expected to comply to prove love. (but it isn’t love of course) MANY of us here were in situations where we believed that the problem was us, or that we were crazy. Most of us did not have the support of any other family members (in other words everyone agreed that the problem was us)
You have found the right website ~ Welcome to Emerging from Broken
hugs Darlene


Hi Spence
AWESOME!! We don’t have to prove our value! Healing is about realizing that we have always had value and that just because other people didn’t affirm our value (and in most cases here other people tore it down before our value even had a chance to grow) doesn’t mean that we don’t have it! WE are valuable and precious!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Kaycee !
Sounds like you have a good therapist!
Hugs, Darlene


Spence, I’ve been reeled back in before too. The first time it was because my then mother in law kept insisting “But she’s your MOTHER!” that I caved in and went back. I’m glad I did that time because it meant I saw my father more often before he died. And I’ve been tempted a couple of times since NC due to feeling better, that I could possibly “handle” her better this time or because I missed her a bit. I can’t say I miss her these days. I’m still angry about what she did to me. And how others in the family also treated me. And sometimes I’m just amazed at it. Because it wasn’t down to me but their definitions of me.

The other thing that went with going NC with my mother was that I also had several other relationships end at the same time. When I finally stood up for myself to my mother I also started doing it with other people too and not all of those relationships made it. But a few dis. So I was quite alone for a while and that was hard to deal with. But I’ve made new friends since. Perhaps what is also changing is that I’m no longer so quick to disclose everything about myself. People have to earn my trust now. I also don’t think any friendship can solve my problems or be the be all end all. So often that’s where I was looking for the love and approval. Same goes for romantic relationships. Darlene has a great chapter on “rescue” in her book. I smiled when I read it because I have to own up to it too.

I think having the support of a (good) therapist is useful. And this forum ha been great for support too.

Another thing I sort of dealt with was around inheritence and knowing that NC most likely means I will be written out of everyone’s testaments. But asking myself “How much money is my life worth?” was the question that solved that for me. My life is priceless. No amount would make me go back.


Hi Beth
Yes you have described the typical cycle of dysfunctional family crap. ugg. Last night my husband and I were talking about the turning point we both experienced when we realized that no matter what we did, ‘they’ (we were talking about our parents) would see us the way they wanted to. The freedom came when WE refused to buy into it anymore. All of our extended families are welcome to believe whom ever they want to, I don’t care. I KNOW the truth and that is what set me free, that is what gave me my life back.
Yay for healing, thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Thanks for sharing such a great description of dysfunctional mother stuff and great examples of the details and the things that they pick on! It is so great that you have risen above HER definition of YOU. 🙂
About the “a difficult daughter!” statement; yes my mother would say similar things too. And my mother would say “I don’t know what I did to deserve this” bla bla bla…
I remember when I started to come out of the fog I thought… HEY when is anything going to be about me? What about ME??? When is someone going to SEE me. When do I GET to have feelings?? I am so glad that I finally saw me.
Hugs, Darlene


Spence! I have missed you, so glad to see you back! I find it easier to do the work of examining beliefs about myself and the world that have come from my childhood when I stay away from my family.

I am still in the process of trying to figure out who I am and what I like and what is real.In therapy I still sit in front of a chart of faces labeled with different “feelings” because I have stuffed mine for so long I am still learning how to identify and experience them.

I know because of how completely destroyed I have been that my experiences as a child were real, but being with my family, well it is almost like a fog comes over me and I am right back at square one.

One of the big beliefs I was taught is that I need to run every decision and every aspect of my life through my family first because I am not capable of managing my life on my own. I believed I needed their approval and indeed, I have spend an enormous amount of energy over the years presenting all of the details of my life in hopes of getting points on my worthiness scorecard, in hops of proving myself worthy.

I have also believed I am dependent upon them just to get by, with choices, actions whatever. I have repeatedly saught validation from them for even mundane things. I believed I was dependent on them for childcare ect…. But unlike my sister and her family, when I ask for help it comes with covert deep sighing, snobbery and a put out attitude. My Mom is very enthusiastic about helping my sister out with anything and spends an enormous amount of time ironing clothes, driving her kids around, driving her kids friends around. When I ask for help she is put out, has to check her calendar blah, blah, blah.

So guess what I did? I stopped asking for help. I stopped calling to run my decisions and actions by them. There are times when I’ve been a bit inconvenienced because I could have used a hand but oh my gosh! I’m fine and this huge stress about whether or not I’m going to get something from them, approval, help, attention, love or not is just gone.

At first, I didn’t hear from anyone for weeks. I realized that if I don’t call, nobody bothers to call me. Soon though I started getting an email or a text and an actual request from Grandma to see her Grandchild. I sighed and acted a bit put out, but fit her into my child’s busy schedule after I checked my calendar.

So this is where I am at. I see them now and then, I go to events for the children of the family. My contact is very limited and I am gaining confidence in myself. I have days that are dark and I feel all the pain, but I don’t reach out to them, I am letting myself heal and letting go of the belief that healing is somehow getting them to love me.

I think that fear of isolation and loneliness (I have it too) is a leftover belief from childhood when it was true that we needed them and their rejection left us lonely and isolated. This was devastating.
Dealing with the fear beliefs has been the hardest for me. With this one there is the idea that I need them to love me because nobody else will.

I wish I could tell you to leave and it will be all sunshine and roses, but some of this work is really painful. I can tell you though that now that I feel these things and examine them when they come up and sit with pain, afterwards there is this feeling of relief. Those feelings are not turning into deep dark depressions now, they are moving through and out of me.

Darlene’s book talks about dismantling things that happened to us and what the beliefs we have about ourselves because of these things. This is the work I am talking about It’s not just sitting in a corner bawling although I do plenty of that, it is peeling back all of the layers and it is actually amazing and sometimes surreal when you realize that something you believed at your core for your whole life isn’t true.

So maybe just start with taking apart the ideal that you are doomed to a life of isolation and loneliness if you don’t stay with your Mom. Find out where that belief originated, how it was reinforced and consider the possibility that it isn’t true. Also consider the possibility that even though all of the emotions you are feeling are connected to your Mother, your healing work is not dependent on her at all.

So glad to see you here again Spence!

ps, Sometimes I think because I lived in such a state of trauma and fear that my mind actually searches for things to be afraid of because fear is such a normal state for me to be in.


Eira, it sounds like we are soul sisters, your story is strikingly like mine. When I graduated from college with honors, my sister looked down her nose at me and said “The most important job in the world is being a mother.” I had graduated a couple of weeks after my third miscarriage. she made it a point to let me know if anything happened to her and her husband, my husband and I were nowhere on her long list of people her children would be placed with.

I am the daughter who was not supposed to have anything too or accomplish anything too. My stepfather used to say I would end up barefoot and pregnant my whole life married to Joe six pack. My sister was the smart one, pretty one, ect….

My Mother too presents herself and the long suffering Mother who gives so much to her problem daughter, she feeds on that. She has a long history of seeking out help from the family to deal with me in tough love interventions and other such charades. I have been repeatedly humiliated, exposed and had my privacy violated by her.

Going low contact has been a blessing.


Kyra, my stepfather was a full blown malignant narcissist and my family has many people with narcissistic traits. It is funny to look at the different branches in my family tree and see how much people with narcissistic tendencies marry people like themselves.

In my house growing up, my sister or stepsisters were allowed to take anything of mine and if I tried to take it back I was stealing. Even now, I lack entitlements in my family, I’m not given the same treatment as others but if I say so I’m a spoiled brat who thinks I should have everything, when in fact, the golden child has everything from the love and support right down to the family heirlooms.

Any time I assert my right to anything, I am slapped with a label that is usually the most unattractive quality of the person directing that barb at me.

My family is very, very projective and I do not exist as an individual, I am merely an extension of them and they use me as the dumping ground for the parts of themselves they are unable to own. Any thoughts, feelings, opinions or needs I have are not real to them because I do not exist as a separate, real person to them.

My Mother’s narcissistic behavior is very covert and she has created a image of herself as a martyr devoted to her daughter with mental issues.

Here is an example of how she works. My stepfather singled me out for abuse. Later in life he told me it was because I was big (he is very petite) and it reminded him that my Mother had been with a man larger than him (my bio Dad is 6″4). He held me in contempt. He physically and mentally tortured me, demeaned me and completely destroyed my self worth. My Mother often followed his lead and treated me with the same contempt and blamed and shamed me. The other children, my two stepsisters and my sister learned they too could blame me for everything. My life was hell.

I thought everybody saw me the way they did and I believed I was less then everyone around me, even at school. I grew curtains of hair that I hid behind, I tried to be invisible, I slumped my shoulders, I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. I became a target at school because of this. The other children relentlessly bullied me.

On the rare occasions I was able to make a friend, we would end up moving, I was always the new kid, we switched schools constantly. My sister was the golden and she managed school because her self worth was not obliterated. I was an embarrassment to her.

I did not get into trouble at school, but other kids harassed and beat me at times. School became a place where I struggled to dissapear in order to survive. I was not able to learn in this environment. I had no support at home for schoolwork and my teachers were always concerned, my grades were poor.

My Grandparents ended up paying for me to go to a very small religious high school. I did better there. It was a safer environment for me, I wasn’t abused there and I was able to engage in the learning process despite the pretty radical religious views. I loved learning, I did well and went on to graduate from college with honors.

To my family, this situation remains framed as me not being very smart or good at school and me being flawed mentally in some way that caused me to be unable to make it in the public schools like a normal child. To the golden child this was me being needy and getting special attention (spoiled).

To my Mom, this was her sweeping in like a hero, getting help for her failing “lost” daughter from extended family who she freely discussed my “problems” with and everyone, especially her, making great sacrifices (there were no buses to the private school)to help poor Kaycee.

To this day she still pats herself on the back for doing that for me. There is just no fighting this kind of crap from them either.Asserting myself is just further proof to them that something is wrong with me. They live in a narcissistic fairy tale.


Jennifer, #80 wrote:

“And it’s not like I can un-hear what he’s said…it floats around in my brain for days while I constantly tell myself, and look to others to confirm that his version of me is inaccurate. But I felt you on the exhaustion part of your post. Keeping these boundary walls of protection up during regular attacks takes a lot of hard work.”

Thank you so much… this is exactly what I am going through since I resumed “contact” only by telephone and email with my so-called “family” when my mother was dying three years ago. It’s been unadulterated and unending hell ever since, throwing me into the deepest dark well of depression that I can hardly remember being able to climb out of since. I have to remind myself every day that I have not seen these people in 30 years and how can I let them have so much power over me?

It’s what you said: I am ALWAYS looking for confirmation of some kind that I’m not that terrible person they all make me out to be, along with all the nieces and nephews who now attack me even though they’ve either never met me at all, or only met me once or twice in more than 40 years! This “family well”has be poisoned for me, and never will I be able to return to drink from it, unless I want to suffer the strychnine they left it in for me. It’s a family war and I am the enemy, and despite my mother’s reaching out to me previously to her falling ill, when she did things reverted to the same old thing. With all of her minions going after me after she died, to “carry the flag” and do her bidding from the grave. I still can’t believe it and I think that’s why I still feel so bad… I always thought that surely “on her deathbed” there would be a grand reconciliation, as isn’t that what ALWAYS happens? I guess that’s only in the movies, my dear (at least that’s what I tell myself, to little to no avail). I waited my whole life for my mother’s love, it turns out, and I didn’t even know I was waiting until she was gone and it never was going to come.

It’s been almost three years and I still am enraged and hurting that she and my sisters would treat me this way when I’ve done NOTHING to any of them… NOTHING BUT TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT BEING MOLESTED in order to protect my niece from my molester, and for that I am to be tortured until death. That’s the kind of people they are and I must have done something really, really terrible in a past life to gain this kind of “karma” in this lifetime. If that’s not why this is happening to me, then I just don’t know. Is it to “learn how to forgive?” Is it to “learn discernment?” Is it to learn how to “see clearly” so I know THEIR ATTITUDES ARE THEIRS, and my life is my own?

I have no idea, but reading about someone having to “look for confirmation” that I’m not the terrible person they say I am… as otherwise I think I must be crazy because I don’t see what ever terrible thing(s) I’ve done to make them hate me so. I have even asked them “what did I ever do to you” and I just get backlashed, whipped and blamed for everything that has gone wrong in this family and in their lives, even though I LEFT WHEN I WAS SIXTEEN YEARS OLD, ALMOST 50 YEARS AGO! And I’ve stayed away for most of all of our lives. But I am STILL TO BLAME.

It’s unbelievable. Julia Graves, my youngest sister, is married to a Methodist minister and he agrees with everything the family says about me because he is “in relation with them” and not with me, and he has “heard the same consistent stories about me all these years,” so he KNOWS they are TRUE. And no one will even say what these “consistent stories about me” are, except to throw some other untrue and truly outrageous claim against me in emails or other communications.

I have had to cut off all email contact, sent them to spam, block these people from my Facebook account, and close my own personal blog as I was being attacked on all fronts. And ATTACK is the word, as it’s a WAR out there which they are determined to win. They won’t be satisfied until I am dead, for then they can whip my lifeless body back and forth as much as they want and take out all their horrendous anger on me, who will no longer be able to fight back. As long as I’m alive, they know their lies can be shown to be false, but once I’m gone they can tell their stories anyway they want.

How do I live knowing these people literally want me dead? And how do I live without knowing why they hate me so much? What did I do to ever deserve this treatment?

I paid for my son to attend “family reunions” thinking at least he would have a good relationship with them, and all they did was poison him against me too. Either that or I really am the bad person they are all making me out to be, and there’s ten of them and only one of me.

It’s exhausting and I can’t see my way clear out of any of this darkness… I am surrounded on all sides. I must be a “bad person” or I wouldn’t be being treated this way. I believed it then, when I lived in that hell hole we had to call “home” and I believe it still, because my self-image was so badly damaged or non-existant growing up I can’t see anything else. I can’t find the truth in me because I am surrounded by this awful negativity, and since I can’t make sense of it, I can’t change myself enough to ever make them love me, and without their validation, I can’t love myself.

I see my “family” in every word on every page on this website yet I can’t see myself at all. All is muddy and nothing is clear, and I’ve been working on this for more than 20 or 30 years. My whole life in fact. It’s a miracle I’m still here. I won’t kill myself because I won’t give them the satisfaction, but my rage is complete and as usual it is turning on me. What else can I do with it? They have no right to treat me this way and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it, except sue them in a court of law for slander, libel and harrassment. And this I will do if and when the next attack comes. There’s an unfortunate one year statute of limitations in my state and I didn’t file in time last time. But I hope I can find the strength to do so the next time. But even that is just “looking for more validation” that what they are doing and saying about me is wrong. They still won’t change. And they will never stop hating me and that is as Jennifer said, “exhausting.”

I wonder if this is why I am down with “chronic fatigue” for so many years? Yes, I am exhausted. Completely exhausted. Chronic Fatigue.

I am no damn good and I know it. It was pounded into me and they are still pounding, even from afar. When I didn’t see them for 30 years they kept it up, unbeknownst to me, within all the family and the children and nieces and nephews and I absolutely NO IDEA. All these years! The lies are so outrageous they defy belief, but I am never allowed to “confront my accusers” and I have been found guilty in their kangaroo “court of law.” No matter what “evidence” my own life presents, facts don’t matter. They hate me and that’s all there is too it. And nothing I can do will ever change that, no matter how much I wish it would. I would change myself to stop this fighting but what can I change? Turn myself into a liar as they are? Live a life of abuse and denial?


There, I said it all. Now what to do about it?

I don’t know. I ask God every day to help me, save me from my self. I’m a lost cause, I fear.


I am compelled to post for the first time after reading this awesome website for 2 years now. I have been NC with my dad & by extension his family (as he is the golden child of his family & can do no wrong) for almost 3 years. I also had a period of low contact before that for about 6 months to give him an opportunity to respond to my attempts to have equal value & mutual respect in our relationship. Boy was that an eye-opener. As I stood up for myself for the first time, I was met with anger & hostility combined with a lot of immaturity. I confronted him on it the next day, asking to talk things out and immediately got screamed at. I honestly expected to be heard & was pretty shocked. He conveniently swept all of it under the rug in the following weeks. His “entourage” of family members proceeded to carry his water for him & inform me that it was my job to get back on the dance card (my description) and they said that it was “all about love.” I was getting all kinds of advice from everyone that was all over the map & caused me a lot of confusion as to how to handle things at first.

As I started to come out of the fog, I realized how I had been conditioned by my family (both mom’s and dad’s sides), to be the good daughter and to be grateful. Not to stand up for myself, not to rock the boat, and oh by the way, I had better be doing something brag-worthy so they could put me on display to feed their own egos. Wow – I didn’t even realize the extent of the conditioning until I started keeping a journal & writing down everything I could think of about my own history + the history of my parents, cousins, aunts & uncles. A definite pattern of dysfunction emerged. It was like a wide angle lens and I could see how the nastiness, the anger, the twisted emotional mind games sprouted in different forms on the family tree. People turned to drugs, suicide, long standing feuds & everyone (100%) of my parents’ generation was divorced due to serious dysfunction issues. As for me, I turned to over-achieving (work-a-holic, throwing myself way outside my comfort zone, making life no fun despite the achievements).

So now what to do? Every family situation is different – this is how I handled it for my specific case. I knew for sure I was off the “doormat dance card” and I was NOT getting back on it. I felt a bit dense that it took so many years for me to “get it.” I knew I was neglected as a child, I knew my dad placed me in true, life-threatening situations (conveniently w/no witnesses). I knew I strangely got physically ill (throwing up) even as an adult before holiday visits. I guess I was too distracted being an over-achiever to stop & assess the expectations placed on me vs. the way I was actually treated by my family. I decided to become a boundary setting expert & let the chips fall where they may. And the chips did fall. It was hard getting the full measure of rejection. It was & is hard to stand up to my mother’s side of the family when they still want to get involved to fix everything with me & my dad (meaning get me back on the dance card) to get that Hallmark movie ending. There is another process of boundary setting going on there. This whole thing has rocked my world. My best coping mechanisms are my journal, reading this website -thank you Darlene!- & making sure I take care of & value myself. The taking care of and valuing myself part is still hard for me, but I am working on it. Not long after I went NC, I started doing this little chant in the car as I am driving: “I am breaking free, gonna change my family tree!” Yes, I start to laugh when I do it. But it makes it better, especially on the difficult days. It keeps the goal clearly in front of me: helping me & helping the next generation by stopping this ugly, life-sapping pattern & replacing it with genuine love, respect & encouragement.


Hello to everybody,
I don‘t know where to start. I was raised by parents who themselves had come from families with tremendous social and psychological trauma and a history of violence. I have almost cut off myself from my FOO because I could not stand it any longer to be the psycho, problem child or scapegoat for them.

Sometimes my mother will call to confirm that I didn’t kill myself or if anything has “changed” but that’s it. When I was still thirteen I found my father in our garage in his car after he had committed suicide with carbon monoxide. After I had unsuccessfully tried to call an ambulance I ran in panic to our neighbours and informed them in tears that something was terribly wrong. Later my mother and my siblings came back from a trip organized by our church community and joined me in my pain and panic. We all embraced ourselves in tears and mother was saying something like “we all have to be strong now” while we were all crying our hearts out.

I don’t remember every detail and every exact word and that is where I often start to doubt myself and my memories and if I am not mistaken as well according to everything that happened later in my life (a history of mobbing, shame and guilt, trying to fit in and to accomplish or “become something”, compulsive masturbation, eating too much or too little, compulsive physical exercise, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine etc).

But that is okay and I don’t need to be perfect here or try to pretend that I am the eternal victim or martyr of my family – but in a sense it feels like that. I have just turned 40 now and my social and personal life lies in ruins. I live with my girlfriend and two dogs in a little town in Germany near the Dutch border and I am doing almost nothing all day except some household chores and seeing after the dogs. Of course that is not true since I also have the time to read blog entries or watch whatever it is that I think might be interesting or worthwhile.

I have given up trying to have something like a career or a profession and since almost a year and a half my existence wholly depends on the income that my girlfriend earns as a primary school teacher. The last thing I tried for three years (after trying for ten years to become a school teacher) was an education as a physical therapist while again living together with my mother in her house and my old room – how I could have thought this might be a good idea somehow is a conundrum to me these days. My whole life seems to be a constant “I don’t know”.

If you ask me today at 40 with a history of depression, self-medication, medication, therapy and what feels like a whole library and YouTubology of self-help media and books I would rather have chosen not to be born at all. I don‘t see the sense of it all and maybe my life is not so useless and worthless as it sometimes feels now that I have again witnessed how many others like me have experienced similar things and that I am not alone though sometimes it feels just like that.

I have found a lot of love, comfort and knowledge here and want to say thank you Darlene and friends for sharing your pain and advice with all those who know exactly what this is all about and which others who came from a different background might have difficulties to grasp as a reality.

Thank you for your patience and time while reading this.
A Constant Reader


We have been no contact with my husband’s family for about 7 years now. Our lives are much more peaceful without all the chaos and drama. I know that it is hard for my husband on family birthdays and holidays, and although I really feel nothing but contempt for his family members because of the way he was treated by them, I feel empathy for him on these occasions. The cultural norm is to be “one big happy family” right? It’s surprising sometimes, though, when I’m asked about my husband’s family by a new friend or acquaintance, and I just simply say “We don’t see them any longer.” how many nods of understanding I get. Sometimes the person I’m in conversation with will even share their story and that’s really affirmation for both parties.

The work that we have done in recovery… I like the words “healing journey” that another poster used…. led us to the realization that my own FOO is pretty toxic too. They are just a lot less obvious than my husband’s family. We have been low contact with them for about 3 years now. There is a sort of ebb and flow. I know if I’ve let them get too close. It’s surprising sometimes how I have still left the opening for them to hurt me. I turned 50 recently and I have four older sisters. For each 50th birthday, each sister was given a necklace with 5 hearts. All of their necklaces are beautiful. The one they gave me is hideous and I will never wear it. It could not be less like my taste, so I know that it was meant as a slam. It really hurt. I let myself cry, and I let myself feel the hurt. My yoga instructor sometimes challenges us at the end of a class to just “go ahead and feel whatever you are feeling” I’ve learned that these feelings are like ocean waves. Some small and gentle, some big, scary and overpowering. But they are going to pass, and I’m going to come up still breathing on the other side. I’m still not sure what the ultimate outcome will be with my FOO. I know that I have learned to set limits and boundaries much more effectively and that has been very empowering.

The person who said in one of the earlier posts that this bleeds over into every relationship in your life is so so dead on. Healing and recovery impact every human interaction that you will ever have, and sharpen your ability to function in the world. This site is a tremendous tool for that, and Darlene’s continuing support and assertion that we are all worthy of respect have no doubt been life saving for many. We have built ourselves a new network of loved ones and we don’t have to rely on people who treat us badly anymore. That is an abuser’s favorite trick, to make you need them. God bless everyone today who is searching for healing and hope.


Catherine Todd, I know that I too have tried to heal for decades. Many of us have, trying every idea out there. I was looking inward to figure out what was wrong with me and I too considered the idea I had this coming from karma from a former life.

The missing piece of the puzzle for me was that I had adopted the belief that it was my flaws that caused the abuse and that is not true. I believed I was less then and unworthy. But the fact that I was singled out for abuse really had nothing to do with me, it was about what was wrong with my abusers.

I’m still very early in this process, but this was the key that unlocked the mystery of why I have not been able to heal despite valiant efforts over the passing decades.

The work is dismantling the false beliefs about myself that I have lived with for all these years. I have to do that before I can build something authentic for myself.

Now instead of getting my just desert through karma, I prefer to think there was a wrinkle in the cosmos when I came to be that caused me to be placed with the wrong family. I consider myself an orphan of sorts. I find that strangely empowering for some reason.


Hi I am new to the blog and have so much to say but I am scared to let it out , can anyone relate to this


Certainly, Deborah. I had been afraid much of my life to speak out about injustices towards me. It was directly related to how I was brought up. My feelings were disregarded or made fun of or brushed off or blatantly stifled, and I learned to believe that they were not allowed. I learned to hide them deep within myself.
I have told many stories and expressed many feelings on here that I have never spoken about to anyone else. I feel that this forum is a safe place. Darlene, and the people who post on here are very supportive, and I’ve gotten many ideas from what everyone has to say on here. Maybe you can start out by talking about something small and it might be less scary. I think you have already demonstrated courage by saying that you feel scared to let your feelings out.


Thanks Amber it helps to have somewhere to let everything out where people can relate to you. It is the words that’s stay with you such as my mother told me that my grandad wished I was never born and his wife had lived, she told me I had no right to an opinion and she was insensitive to my feelings. These are a few things that have been said to me over the years. I remember wetting the bed at the age of eleven and always feeling like a non person. I have very low self esteem too. I can go on and on and tell everything but I feel guilty for speaking up and yet I don’t want to stop talking thanks for your support


Thank you Darlene, I have accepted that I will never get an apology from the FOO in relation to the abuse from the uncle. I am finding my way now as I went no contact with the entire family (1 brother and 4 sisters) because they were all entwined in the toxic sesspit of ‘how dare you hurt Mam/Dad by talking about and asking them why they did nothing’.It hurts so much that they protected an abuser over their own daughter- ex daughter!
PS I bought your ebook and it is one of the best investments I made in a long time- you explain things so very clearly and I can relate to you having had such a traumatic childhood as that is what happened to myself, teachers/parents/relatives all taking a go at me. By standing up for myself and staying away It sends a very clear message that what they did was wrong and that I am no longer willing to be silent. X


Welcome to Deborah, Oliver, and Zena
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! I will respond to your comments as soon as I can. I have a touch of the flu today and I am going to rest.
hugs, Darlene


Alice (#60),

I’m with you on not trusting myself yet. My emotions about the abuse and my response to it are so at the surface, that I don’t want to do my inner child more damage, if that makes sense. But, I do what I can. So at any given time, I find myself communicating with the little girl in me, and it’s quite effective.

Kaycee (#94),

My heart warmed at your post about how you treat your son’s friends. You may be the only affirming person in their life right now, and no matter how big or how small, it will go a long way.


Callynt, I do “tests” on myself. Like when I’ve locked the car. I have an instant doubt about whether I did or not. When I lock my house. Some emails. Whether I told someone this day rather than that day. So my test is to not check it. To “trust” myself that I did do the thing, say the thing. And if I get it wrong. It’s a mistake and I forgive myself.


Jane #112 wrote: ” I’ve learned that these feelings are like ocean waves. Some small and gentle, some big, scary and overpowering. But they are going to pass, and I’m going to come up still breathing on the other side.”

Thank you so much… I have heard and read these words so many times, but caught in the undertow I forget every single one, and thought I was drowning. I really have been “drowning” these last few days, in grief, anger, helplessness and rage. First three create the last one, I’m sure. So it’s so good to have this all-important reminder.

Kaycee #113: Thank you too so much! I’m going to read through everything here once again and realize (finally I hope) that I do have a “reason to live” and a RIGHT to live. That’s what I’ve been searching for all my life.

Thanks for all the participation and Darlene for creating and maintaining this site. What a world of difference it has made!



I do the very same thing, and it is starting to make a big difference, especially with my black and white thinking. I went so long without even challenging my thoughts, that exercises like this would never even have occurred to me. I spent my childhood and many adult years walking on eggshells with my mother. I didn’t realize how entrenched my thinking was in not making a mistake….or being sure everything was right.

Learning to give myself permission to be human is new to me, but oh so necessary if I’m going to heal from all of this.


Thank you for this. I was planning to simply disappear, but with my violent mother who stalked me when I went NC years ago, this may be a better tack. She will never look at herself or change the conditions of the relationship, so it may be easier, if I want to never hear from her again, to (pretend as if I) insist on a change. She will feel as if she gets to hurt and deny me one last time. Then, bye!


Callynt message 122; I think giving ourselves permission to be human is a biggie in this process. While everyone else seemed to have that right, somehow I was held to a different standard where I had to be perfect. No mistakes allowed. Never with schoolwork. I was always a very good student, but I remember so well bringing home test papers with a 98 and instead of being proud of my good work my father would yell at me for the one spelling word I got wrong. He even gave me the silent treatment for three days for getting a less than perfect score. And I would get yelled at when I practiced the piano if I played one wrong note and he would make me play that bar over and over and over. It sucked the joy out of things I could have been proud of. I had been picking up the piano at an advanced rate and I remember getting a small statue of Mozart from my piano teacher because I was advancing so fast. But all my father heard was if I made a mistake. I quit after two years. If I used a word incorrectly he would get mad and if I wrote a letter and left out a punctuation mark I would get yelled at. Anyone wonder why I had a nervous stomach??

I have always been so hard on myself if I made any mistakes, like saying the wrong thing to someone or if I cook something that doesn’t come out perfect. I still get nervous when company comes over. Suppose the food doesn’t come out just right or suppose I forgot to clean something. My husband is always telling mad yo relax, it doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect. He tells me my father isn’t standing behind me watching, but I tell him it FEELS like he is.

My mother had a different way of putting me down. She did a lot of name calling and insulting and completely undermined my self esteem. She was trying to raise herself up and her method of doing that was to make me feel bad. She had an issue with aging and always had to feel she was the most beautiful woman in the room. So she would put me down in any way possible like comment on my weight, my big hips, making fun of me when I got braces on my teeth, calling me ugly. And making me feel like no man would ever want me. Then she was jealous when I did find someone who loves me and I love very much. She even got resentful if he put his arm around me and she would make nasty comments. She didn’t love me and she didn’t want anyone else to either. She wanted to be the Queen with me in servitude towards her. I was always trying to be the perfect daughter to get her to change her mind. She never did.

So that was what I grew up with, and my legacy was low self esteem and a great fear of being imperfect.


Callynt, it’s an interesting test isn’t it? I came up with that one because I noticed just how easy it was for me to doubt. And in the past, some people had been able to get me to doubt what I did or said. I blame my mother very directly for contributing to this development. I mean it’s a learned thing that she cultivated in me because it allowed her to get what she wanted, at my expense.

I was thinking over the almost taboo of not blaming your parents this morning. Why? Why are we supposed to not do that? Why are we supposed to not look at how their behavior and definitions of us contributed to our lives? Or if we do, why are only the “good” and “admirable” parts referred to?

My mother also made this huge deal because one year she and my father contributed to my rent during my studies. I felt like a massive failure because of that. Imagine my surprise when I found out that some families pay for their kids’ entire education!

It’s as if my family wanted points And my gratitude for doing things that other people who do love their kids do. The whole “fed and clothed and put a roof over your head”. All while reminding you it was actually their house. Like if you’re not willing to feed and house your kids without requiring unending gratitude from them, don’t have kids! I don’t understand why people do that.


Hi Zena
Welcome to the commenting part of EFB! I totally relate to the ‘eye opener’ you are referring to! I love your description of “getting back on the dance card” ~ That’s a good one.
and I LOVE your little chant!! I am going to repost it in a text box so others don’t miss it!

Zena wrote: “Not long after I went NC, I started doing this little chant in the car as I am driving: “I am breaking free, gonna change my family tree!” Yes, I start to laugh when I do it. But it makes it better, especially on the difficult days. It keeps the goal clearly in front of me: helping me & helping the next generation by stopping this ugly, life-sapping pattern & replacing it with genuine love, respect & encouragement.”


Hi Oliver
Welcome again to EFB! My whole life was a constant “I don’t know” too! I think that is why when I came out of the fog and found some “HEY I know’s” and started seeing everything differently, I had to share it!
I am so glad you are here and I am so glad that you shared!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Cheryl
Welcome to EFB ~ Yes, insisting on change is a different way of going about this ~ it shocks them! It may not make them change, but it carries a different message for sure!
p.s. Something that I never realized before is that if someone stalks you (even family) you have the same options that you have if they are not family. Call the police. Charge them.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Marie
Thank you for your comments about the book! I appreciate the feedback so very much! and yes, standing up for ourselves sends a very clear message and for me it was the message I gave to me that saved my life!
For the first few years as I came out of the fog ~ I realized more and more just what I had narrowly escaped from!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Deborah
You are certainly NOT alone! Finding out where that ‘guilty feeling’ was rooted enabled me to let it go and place it back where it belonged. The guilt is not yours!
hugs, Darlene


One of the big beliefs I was taught is that I need to run every decision and every aspect of my life through my family first because I am not capable of managing my life on my own. I believed I needed their approval and indeed, I have spend an enormous amount of energy over the years presenting all of the details of my life in hopes of getting points on my worthiness scorecard, in hops of proving myself worthy.

OMG, Kaycee, we are indeed like soul sisters. I can identify with nearly everything you write. This is what it’s like being the family scapegoat. It is ironic, because usually family scapegoats act out in ways, drugs, promiscuity, drinking, etc. In my case, I was none of those things, but I was scapegoated anyway. The worst part is I loved my family so much, and all I ever wanted to be was part of them, as I am a very family oriented person.

When I quit divulging my life, after oh, about 34 or 35 years, quit giving details, I realized how upset and anxious my mom and one of my sisters got. They were used to me presenting all the details of my life choices, asking for their advice, or open to receiving all kinds of unsolicited advice, which I was supposed to take without question. I quit because I decided to make a choice about something for which I knew they would disapprove. I was divorced and my husband left me for another woman. My family dictated that I could not date or remarry citing Biblical verses, though they had accepted remarried people in our extended family gracefully. This was just another example of the way they could control me. I met a very handsome, intelligent and interesting man who was interested in a long-term relationship. Oh, and he is about 3x as educated as the rest of my family, who hold only bachelors or less. My hsuband has two masters and nearly a PHD in highly technical subjects as well as an M.Ed in Education. If you put my brothers in law, brothers, and my husband in a line-up, I think about 80% of people would find my husband the most attractive, too. That freaked them out, because additionally, he has a very perceptive B.S. thermometer and he read them at once as abusers and manipulative and wanted to keep them at arm’s length. So they started niggling at me, one sister even asking me, “How can you tell that he is not a sexual abuser?” and was clearly upset he was not interested in the family’s religion. My most abusive sister would just not greet him or look at him when he came over with me.

When I quit letting them know about my life, they really essentially cut me out of their lives too, but then began stalking my facebook wall so they could resume having their three-way sister/mother discussions about me. When I blocked them from that, well, they would start stalking my facebook wall by reading it through my dad or my niece, whom I did not have on privacy settings. Once my mom made a mistake by contacting me through my dad’s facebook page by mistake.


Hi Jane
Yay for building a NEW network of loved ones (love that expression!)
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Eira
One of the hardest things for me to learn was ‘not giving information’ to everyone. I had no idea how much they USED it against me for one thing. I think I had been groomed that ‘NOT giving information” was the same as lying! (which it certainly is not!)
Thanks for your comments today.. they gave me some food for thought for a new post!
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, you said, “I think I had been groomed that ‘NOT giving information” was the same as lying! (which it certainly is not!”

Oh my freaking word! This is exactly what my younger sister said to me, when I kept my new relationship private (which is no longer new, going on 12 years now) from her and my mom and other sister for the first few months while I sorted out my feelings and my new love interests intentions (they had to be honorable because I had a very young son who was impressionable).

She said, verbatim, “Not telling all of your business is the same as LYING.”

This, despite that whatever kind of turmoil they faced in their marriages and with their kids, was kept private from me. A nephews suicidal ideation and hospital visit…kept private. My sister’s husband’s affair with a much-younger cousin…private. My father’s philandering during my parents’ whole marriage…private. Because they said that I was a “big mouth who couldn’t keep a secret.” Which I thought was normal, since everyone in the extended family were always informed every little bump on my highway, they knew all my business. I learned from them I had no privacy, and I had the audacity to believe it must extended to everyone, but really anything I ever did was fair game and common knowledge, and their mistakes and foibles were supposed to be private.


Kaycee #113, I have been re-reading your post and it feels so true! I thought I was the “only one” trying to heal for decades now! It seems so hopeless, when in a family of ten people I am the targeted one, even though I have stayed away for more than 30 years, only to “return” by telephone and email when my mother was dying, who then refused to see me on her death bed. At least according to my sisters (which is doubtful to be sure, but between my mother training my sisters to despise and revile me, who knows?)…

Anyway, I just wanted to write again to say thanks. My mother died about 3 years ago and I have been under constant attack ever since, and I still can’t get over her refusal to see me before she died. Here I thought we had been making progress in reconciliation… who would have ever guessed that she was setting me up for the cruelest blow? And that my sisters would drive in the nails that she handed them…

The pain is so great after a lifetime of waiting, wishing and hoping and believing with all my heart that finally, finally, at least when she was on her death bed, reconciliation would occur and “all would be well.” Instead, all has been hell ever since.

What a fool I was for believing such an empty dream and wishing that these devils would accept me as their own. I guess because I refuse to live a lie or live in denial, “membership” will always be denied. And why should I want to be there “with them?”

Because, just as someone else mentioned, birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving and more is a mighty lonely place even if I’m with my husband’s generally very nice family. The whole time I’m there, I’m wondering “why can’t my family be like this?”

I’m a mess, pure and simple. Dear God please save me. It’s time to bury the dead.


Hi Darlene,
I was reading your blog and I remember telling my mother what had happened to me.. I was in my 30’s by then and had my own children and I thought I could address it as two adults. I think having my own children I was gaining a better perspective on just how unfair the situations I was in as a child were and how unprotected and unheard I had been.. Anyway My mother said Oh Susanne What kind of a little girl were you ? that never happened to the other girls…The “other girls” were my two younger sisters. and that was that.. Immediately I was that dirty little girl with something wrong with her.. It was so dissapointing.. I tried again years later to try and tell Mum and all she said was Oh poor ******* I really felt I had a bond with that little boy, He had such a hard time so I spose if you bought him a little bit of kindness and happiness it is not so bad.. FFS My cousin was 11 years older than me and began abusing me when I was five years old..As much as I loved my parents and still do, I grew up with a sense of being of absolutely no value as myself, it was always a sense of if I could be more this or that or something else they wouldl ike me.. I grew up feeling absolutely disliked.. I was beaten and verbally abused, slapped kicked and consantly ridiculed and all the time the constantly trying to avoid the sexual abuse of family and neighbours.. I told my father and he told me if I do not like it then keep out of their way.. I told both my parents about an adult man who was abusing me and they told me to get out of it and they argued between themselves as to what the hell was wrong with the girl to make her say a thing like that..Always it was my responsibility, my fault my mess. TO have a relationship with my parents thesee “things” were NOT to be mentioned.. IT was my fault I asked for it, it was something I had done or not done.. Children talked amongst themselves and I grew up knowing other children knew about these matters and other boys would come and have a go and I could not stop them.. They told me I liked it and they presisted andno argument would stop them.. IT was always the same come on you like it.. So and so said you would do it.. I had a dreadful childhood lit wwas like living on two level. I was bright capeable intelligent yet all the time feeling like a piece of shit that was worth nothing.. I still live in the area I was bought up in.. I hate having to go to things where all the people are gathered I feel so uncomfortable.. I am now 58 and still feel like a small child in public it is terrible. My Mum is dead and she said she was sorry but that i need to put it behind me and she quoted scripture that no man having put his hand to the plough and looking behind is fit for the kingdom of heaven.. So to address the issues of my childhood is not OK to God either I have to put it behind me and carry on the straight line.. I think it is very sad really ..there is no place to tell the story.. It fits nowhere and there is no place… To tell the story is being a bad person as well.. Trying to tell makes me feel a very bad person like something dreadful is going to happen..


for me, parting with my family of origin was not my doing, it was my parents’ doing. When I overcame tremendous (and I mean huger than huge) anxiety enough to have a conversation with them about childhood neglect and abuse, they at first did everything they could to deflect, minimize, or ourtight deny my questions and the validity behind them. When I insisted that if they wanted to be a part of my life and my new family’s life, they vanished. They live 3 miles from my home and have ceased all communication with me. My mother tied a few times, each time I would listen to her inane attempts at erasing me, and politely but firmly tell her I still had questions which had not been answered. No more contact.


Hi Catherine Todd (133) and everyone,

It’s just too early to be dealing with the holiday season, but I suffer during these holidays. I honestly have NO family to speak of. For Thanksgiving, I like to drive down to my former city, about a two and a half hour drive away to my previous metaphysical church for a potluck Thanksgiving meal. I hope to find a lasting relationship with a good man in the future, possibly living together, and that’s my future “family”. Anyway, my life is not over yet and I have time. I have been very LC with my FOO for several years.

My relationship with my parents, or lack of one?, has been an ongoing nightmare with no ending. There is no love at all and we are not close, but my Narc mom still tries to call me from time to time. My parents live in a big, luxury house having many upper class retired neighbors and they keep constantly busy with “let’s do lunch” with these neighbors. These neighbors are totally clueless about the real personalities behind the social masks that my Narc parents both wear. Their “neighbor-friends” enjoy having regular barbecues, parties, and formal dinners while taking turns at each other’s homes. My horrible Narc parents were actually gifted with a big, fancy 50th wedding anniversary, complete with a Chinese theme (Narc mom’s favorite cuisine,with fancy decorations and a big cake!) Narc mom enjoys telling these neighbors about how their adult daughter only sent them a card! I did not spend Christmas with them or any of the recent holidays. The hard part about going LC is that there are no real rules about communication or social rules, and I must intuitively know what to say and to act to keep them away from me.

Both of my parents are now in their 80’s, and not in the greatest of health. I believe that they will pass away soon. I am 46 years old and I just can’t take much more of them. Why is it that the mean and disturbed people tend to live forever, well way too long, while there is the true statement that “only the good die young?” These disturbed Narcs are simply too selfish to die and they want to take as much selfish pleasure in life that they can.

My fear is that their big, luxury house is now for sale. These expensive homes can take a long time to sell but I know that it’s coming up soon. When their house sells, my Narc mom said that they want to buy a small house near me! I do daily meditation and prayer. I have seen a few excellent psychic readers and I practice magick. I feel like I am trapped in my life and I’m still not free. I don’t know how much longer each parent will live if they move into a small house near me. I believe that they want to prove to their neighbor-friends that they actually have an adult daughter who cares about them. I fear that they want me to take them shopping and entertain them. They want me to hold their hand at their death bed, yes,rather creepy, and I don’t want to! Well, not! I should be working more this fall and coming up with excuses to keep them away from me! If I worry too much now it will only destroy me. It never really ends until both Narc parents have died. I am far from being a sociopath and I have lost a couple of minor friends from carelessly and naively talking about aging parents that are near death. I have lost a few close friends in the past who have died young and their deaths have been tremendously hard on me. I feel as if my parents are already dead, but it’s only a formality to wait for the news about their official deaths.

When they die, I dream of the day of being able to come out and be the real “me”. I am not out with my true religions of Wicca/Druids and whenever they have come over to my house a few times in the past, I have had to pack all of my spiritual books and Pagan statues and decor. It’s not my problem but I wish that they could grow up and get some emotionally maturity really fast, but it’s wishful thinking. Even at my age, at times I get nervous and I feel as if I’m walking on eggshells around them. I bought a small house in a model home community like four years ago and I own a car. I am single and I work and do fine, but I live on a tight budget. I use a cell phone only to economize, with no land line phone. My habit is keeping my cell phone turned off during most of the day and I check my phone messages like twice a day. I actually lost another girlfriend due to my cell phone habits. She got really mad trying to reach me, being more impatient than my other friends, and started yelling at me during a phone call with, “you’re a grown woman who should not be so afraid of her own mother”, and “why are you afraid of mommy at your age?” I was so angry that I wanted to scream my head off and I told her that, “you don’t understand anything and that it’s none of your business!” So, another one bites the dust and I lost another friend! I should keep an ongoing tally of how many friends that I have lost throughout the years due to my Narc parents! It’s just not fair! How much of my life can two people destroy? I suppose this is partly why I have not had a whole lot of dating and past men relationships because of fear of embarrassment by my family.

I know that there is a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. There will be eventually a pot of gold under the rainbow, but I just can’t take it anymore. I dream of the day when I’m finally free and they are both gone and the nightmare has ended. Thank you all for reading.

Blessed Be,

Yvonne )0(


Amber (#124),

I’m so glad we live in an age where people are more open about this type of abuse, as it can be very damaging. So much focus is placed on sexual and physical abuse, that this type of abuse (psychological, emotional, gaslighting) isn’t given more weight for the lasting damage it can have. I’m glad you found someone to love and who loves you. It sounds like you were an excellent student and musician. As long as I live, I will never understand why people are satisfied with being miserable and making others miserable.

You know, the other day, I was driving into work, and I glanced at my hair in the rear view mirror. I saw that parts of it weren’t to my liking, but overall, I was having a good hair day. My mother’s critical voice immediately went to the flaw that I found, however, I consciously said out loud, that my hair looked great, and there was no point in highlighting such a small thing as it took away the joy from just enjoying a good hair day. I was SO PROUD of myself. Seems like a small thing, but it made me feel so empowered, because as that passage in the Bible goes, “It’s the little foxes that spoil the vine.”

Something as minor as that may not seem to have any impact on my self esteem, but the idea that I’m changing to the point, where I realize how destructive it is to only see the imperfections…which really aren’t imperfections are they?

Next up…my weight 🙂 LOL


Callynt, Thank you. I had infertility issues for many years and was unable to get the help I needed because my family made sure I knew that I was not Mother material. One of the hardest things I deal with is I only had one child later in life only to find that I was Mother material. All of these children that come to my doorstep are most welcome and I consider each one of them a blessings, difficulties and all.

Darlene, yeah, not giving information. I never realized how much that was working against me. Putting up a few privacy walls has been a huge step towards independence for me. Learning I can make decisions and do things without their stamp of approval is very scary, but I’m starting to feel like I’ve got this!

Catherine, I think the hope that there will be a death bed reconciliation is one most of us fantasize about. But that would still just be words, at the end. I think all of the healing work would still be there anyway.


Amber #122:

Amber, I know just how you feel including being yelled at by your father for bringing home a score of 98 instead of 100! I went through exactly the same thing with both mother and father. There must be a play book out there somewhere where these kind of parents learn their “parenting skills.”

I got all A’s and a B+ in handwriting because the nuns thought I wrote a “little bit too large.” That was the end of me, as I was now a “failure” in school and constantly reminded.

I was a NATIONAL CHAMPION SWIMMER, in the Junior Olympics, slated for the World Olympics in 1964. I had won three prizes, three times on the podium with the TV cameras and all: in swimming: a first gold medal, a third bronze, and an 8th place ribbon in diving, when I had been diving for only one year! I worked like the dickens and achieved this in my first two years of swim team practice.

What did I get when I came off the winners podium? A hard poke (that left a bruise) on my chest, saying “Why aren’t they ALL firsts?”

And that’s what I heard for the rest of my life. Stepping off that podium taught me that I was a failure, pure and simple, and that I would never ever be enough.

You wrote about your mother: “She wanted to be the Queen with me in servitude towards her. I was always trying to be the perfect daughter to get her to change her mind. She never did. So that was what I grew up with, and my legacy was low self esteem and a great fear of being imperfect.”

My mother was exactly the same way. She played the piano and taught all of us kids to describe her as a “concert pianist” yet the only “concert” I ever remember her giving was once when I was in fifth grade she played at a student event. The only time I ever heard her on stage.

I played the piano all my life, had to quit reading music so she wouldn’t criticize the “way I was playing it” as I never “played it right.” When I was ten years old, I taught myself Exodus, a very complicated piece of piano music, and I played it in a piano store. The owner came back looking for whoever was playing and I thought I was in trouble! He couldn’t believe it was me, until I played it again all the way through. I have played all my life and been invited to give concerts or participate in them, and I always refused, stating that I was “not a musician, and wasn’t very good on the piano, just ask my mother: she was the REAL pianist!” I even turned down jobs I was offered everywhere I went to be a pianist as I was convinced I was not a “real musician” and “couldn’t play very well.” All thanks to dear old Mom. The rest of us were allowed and encouraged to “play” but “never on the level that she did.” Whatever that meant.

It wasn’t until I was almost 60 years old and I got the nerve to go to a recording studio in New York City and ask if an “amateur like me” could rent time and make a recording, even though I “didn’t deserve to be there because I didn’t read music because I wasn’t very good.”

After I made my first recording with sweaty palms and beating heart, and having made sure no one would be listening to me, not even the sound recording engineer, the owner of the studio invited me back to his office with his ten thousand dollar speakers and said “Catherine, I have something I want to talk to you about and something I want you to hear.”

I said, “Uh-oh, did I do something wrong? Did I break the piano or the microphone somehow?”

“No, nothing like that” he laughed.

So he sat me down and turned on the music, and said “I want you to hear this that just got recorded.” And the most beautiful music I have ever heard poured out of those speakers and I was filled with thrills, chills and awe… I said “Who is this? This is incredible! Do you have another piano here? Was someone else recording while I was playing?”

He laughed and said “NO, Catherine, there’s no other piano here… that was YOU!”

I didn’t believe it. I refused to believe it.

I had never heard myself before. I was so tentative and so afraid to play, that even though I loved it with all my heart and soul, and could play myself into the heavens above, I always insisted I wasn’t a musician because I “couldn’t read music” and “couldn’t follow the instructions.” I could only play my own interpretive music from the emotions I was feeling or the music that was still “inside the instrument,” resonating and waiting to come out. I really believed this my whole life, as all I had been told every single time my mother passed by while I was playing was to tell me “You’re using the pedal too much” or “That’s not how it was written!”

So I lost 58 years of absolute joy in my music as I had to try to block out those voices instilled in me when it came to me and my music. I had never been able to “hear myself play” until that one day long ago in 2007. The first time in my life I could actually hear the music myself! I said “No wonder everyone always asked me to “continue to play – please, don’t stop!” and always offered me a job wherever I went: hotel, restaurant, bar, piano store, anywhere they had a piano I would have to stop and ask if I could play. And the reaction was always the same all over the world. The music was true “transcendence” no matter what country I was in, what language they were, what age they were. They always said “Where did you get this piece? I heard it when I was a child.”

I loved the piano and the music so much. And all these years, my complete meditation and my total joy had been taken away from me. All these years; for most of my life, until the final day when I finally heard myself play. Nothing those people could say or do could destroy the gift that had been given me; nothing at all. No matter how much they tried to throw dirt on me to bury me, my light came shining through.

God works in mysterious ways. I don’t go to church, but I surely believe in the Divine.

I also believe in Narcissism, and there’s a lot of really good books on Amazon I’ve read about walking on eggshells and the narcissistic mother. The Queen Witch.

I’m glad to be back here and see so much progress being made by so many people… I feel like I haven’t moved an inch as I’ve been in the black hole of despair for far too long, but seeing people improve as “the fog clears” and their light comes shining through makes me realize that I too have a gift – and perhaps more than one – and no one and no thing can ever take those gifts away. No matter how jealous, envious, violent or rageful these other devils may be. We all have our demons and some of us were raised by them, but others of us have remained outside their influence and found our way into the Light, no matter how hard or difficult it may be.

I am so glad to be able to come here and read with such emotion so much TRUTH being spoken. It’s the candles that light our way.

“The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”
Dear God please show us The Way.


Whoops, I meant Amber in #124… thanks again for your most moving post! I’ll read the rest right now.


Kaycee #137 wrote: “Catherine, I think the hope that there will be a death bed reconciliation is one most of us fantasize about. But that would still just be words, at the end. I think all of the healing work would still be there anyway. ”

Ah, what a perfect way to put it! I have to post this on my wall, so all these many years I’ve been “working on myself” haven’t been wasted after all, regardless of “her” reaction. THANK YOU so much for this all-important REMINDER!


OMG. I can see that I’ve been gone for a very long time. Such progress people are making!

Kaycee # 106 wrote: “I have days that are dark and I feel all the pain, but I don’t reach out to them, I am letting myself heal and letting go of the belief that healing is somehow getting them to love me.”

THAT’S IT! “letting go of the belief that healing is somehow getting them to love me” and that’s what I have been doing all these years, even when I was in “no contact” and that’s STILL what I’m trying to do now, even in “no contact” as I wrack my brain and cry and moan trying to figure out “what I did wrong, what can I change, how can I get them to at least like me and not reject me, even if they are never going to love me.”

It never ends with me, this constant tape and sorrow in my head. NEVER. And my belief really has been that my healing is somehow dependent on “getting them to love me” when that day is probably never going to come. Or if it does, it won’t matter anyhow. How could it, after more than thirty… make that sixty years of misery and pain?

The buck stops HERE. The healing starts HERE. Dear God please show me the way, and thanks for all the good reminders here! Wish I had come back a whole lot sooner. I have to do it in small doses though, so I don’t pass out from the stress. I’ve been hiding in chains for far too long and so much of me has atrophied.

Gracias to all that have written here and Darlene for maintaining this incredible site. I just got another nonsensical “forgiveness” directive from a friend who is “just trying to help” and it got me so upset I had to come back here, to find exactly what I need to practice and what I need to hear. How we can heal ourselves and dispel these destructive beliefs that were placed upon us. And being forced to “forgive” our abusers just makes it worse as far as I can tell. At least it does for me. As then I’m “wrong” all over again!

No, “letting go of the belief that I need their acceptance in order for me to heal” is the word of the day. Words. Gracias, Amen!


Callynt 136, I think it’s fairly common for us to focus on the little imperfections when we have been told the negatives all of our lives. I hear my mothers voice too with the petty criticisms. Good for you for not letting your mother ruin your day and shifting your focus to how nice your hair looked. It may seem like a small step, but these small steps are what turn things around in our favor. Keep going, Callynt! I’m cheering you on!


Catherine, # 138, you have so many wonderful accomplishments! You have a lot to be proud of with your music and swimming successes. I know how hard that can be when there are people who criticize, minimize, and find flaws in everything you do. As I said earlier, it is what I grew up with and it greatly undermined my self confidence. I felt anger when I read your story about the swimming competition in the Junior Olympics where you won a first, third and eighth prize, and you get poked both physically and psychologically with a nasty remark about why they weren’t all first prizes. My anger came because I heard that being said in my fathers voice. Always critical no matter how well I did. He could could sniff out an imperfection in anything. I wished that just once he could celebrate my accomplishments even if it wasn’t first place or if there was some error in it. HE was far from perfect. I found his old report cards and my grades were far better than his. Why did I need to grow up with the frustration of always trying for perfection, and falling a little cohort of it and getting nasty remarks and silent treatment for it. Even today I worry about whether a meal was cooked perfectly or not, and my husband has never pressured me about that. It’s my fathers critical voice I hear.
Catherine I hope you will find continuing joy in your music and other accomplishments again.! 🙂


This has been a major issue in my life as well and it’s serious to discover that it affects/happens to many though some don’t got a hint that it’s happening…very helpfull indeed…


Why a, I so afraid these feelings of pain will not go away, why am I grieving when I have never been close to my parents and the hurt they caused me, the spiteful words. Why do i feel the need to reconcile when they don’t want me as a daughter . I keep trying and going back for more hurt, how do I stop please help 🙁


Thanks so much, Amber! I’m cheering you on as well! In fact, I’m cheering ALL of us on.

Catherine, if you could have seen the look on my face when I read you were a national champion level swimmer! Eyes bugged out and jaw dropped in admiration is what you would have seen. The affirming love of another person can work wonders. However, when we’re wounded by the people who are supposed to love us the most, it’s a long climb upward isn’t it.

This is why I consider this blog and the work Darlene is doing here to be far from self help. To me, the self help industry assumes people think badly about themselves, just because. There isn’t much assistance with emotional damage and how to heal emotionally.

Here, I’m starting to see that removing the scales from our eyes is the beginning of Self Love and Acceptance. Being able to give that to myself is an awesome feeling. Being able to voice my anger from the perspective of knowing what was done to me was wrong, instead of expecting others to see how their actions have hurt me is even more freeing.

I was forced to put on a smiling face many days. Oh it still burns me whenever I hear my mother go “Cheer Up!” She honestly thinks that soldering on and ignoring dealing with your emotions is the only way to live, and actually thinks it has worked for her. It never worked for her.

Am I grateful for the many wonderful things she did for me? Yes. However, I see that those things did not outweigh the overly critical, fearful, raging, shaming, humiliating and hateful things she did to me as well. Yesterday, I realized that I still wait for the other shoe to drop in life. As if having a simple flaw will cause the bottom of my world to fall out. No child should grow up believing that’s how life is or how God is.

I’m in my 40s, and honestly, I thought I dealt with this years ago. Just layers and layers of lies forced upon me because others didn’t want to deal with their crap. I’m developing a really good deflector detector though. I imagine in my mind that whenever someone tries to deflect their guilt onto me, my hand goes out and causes the guilt to boomerang back to them 🙂


Deborah (#144),

Your desire to have your parents love you is valid. It’s a part of nature and who we are as people. You shouldn’t question yourself about that. You feel how you feel, and you should sit with those feelings until you process them. Also, wanting a relationship with them is normal as well.

A friend of mine who works in social services told me a long time ago, that in the foster care system, even if a child is taken away, what they have seen is that when that child is emancipated from the system…they want to return to the same parents who abused them in the first place. The biological drive to be with family is very strong.

Here is where it gets tricky for me, and perhaps this will help you. I view growing up in a healthy family as a process of bonding and letting go over time. You build strong bonds with the idea, that the children will go out into the world and build their own lives. However, hopefully the bonds will be such that they always feel welcome to come ‘home’.

My desire to venture out into the world and separate was met with criticism, because I was raised by people afraid of the outside world. Just because you’re raised by people who don’t appreciate the laws of nature, doesn’t mean you’re exempt from the growing up process.

If your parents were abusive to you, you owe them no apology. It’s there fault. This is abuse 101. I kick you, and make you think you’ve done something to make me kick you. That throws off your sense of right and fairness, so you never know what to do….unless I tell you.

For me, it took me going back to my sense of right and fairness to realize…that crazy stuff wasn’t right and it wasn’t fair (queue crying jags here). Then came the anger…that crazy stuff wasn’t RIGHT and it wasn’t FAIR, and it HURT me! (queue raging fits and crying jags here).

I don’t ignore my desire to maintain a happy view of my caretakers. I just simply talk to myself and say…that’s all well and good, but they wouldn’t appreciate a balanced relationship like that, and I will do myself more harm by lowering my standards and my rights as a human being, to fit into their mold.

Remember, you’re a PERSON. You’re a human being who deserves to be loved and respected, and since your parents couldn’t or wouldn’t do it…you can show them how it’s done by doing it for yourself.


Callynt thanks for your words of brilliant advice, I think it will take me time to be strong and I will feel the emotions less and less with time. When you keep being abused with words and confusion and then a carrot is dangled to make you think everything is okay and then the rug is pulled from under your feet again it messes with your head. I have been broken mentally all through my life and I am sure many others have too.

It’s the words that stay with you rather than the physical actions, one day I hope I can be strong. Did it take you a long time to be strong?


“A friend of mine who works in social services told me a long time ago, that in the foster care system, even if a child is taken away, what they have seen is that when that child is emancipated from the system…they want to return to the same parents who abused them in the first place. The biological drive to be with family is very strong.”

So, that explains why my 1st born half sister was in foster and kept coming back home (this was in the 70s before I was born). It’s true the desire to be with the parents is strong and normal when taken away, but why keep coming back to abusive parents? That would be the last people you wanna be with! So, half sister was with my mom and my dad not her dad she continued to endure more abuse. She is now 50 yrs old, a complete mess without her meds and cool while she is on her meds is what my 2nd oldest sister told me.

“If your parents were abusive to you, you owe them no apology. It’s there fault. This is abuse 101. I kick you, and make you think you’ve done something to make me kick you. That throws off your sense of right and fairness, so you never know what to do….unless I tell you.”

True. It’s their fault? Ohh, I remember saying that to a lot of people and got chewed out so bad because “I place blame on the parents.” Well, if you ruined your kids’ lives, then who’s fault is it, the kids?!? I have heard people say ‘yea, the kids ruin their own lives!’ Couldn’t believe what I heard when people said that.


The last part of the story about my swimming “accomplishments” (non-accomplishments) was that some years later, my mother threw my medals and ribbons (and there were a LOT!) into the trash, saying “I thought you didn’t want them!” By some miracle, I had or my grandmother had my National Champion first place medal on a plaque that was broken, but not destroyed. So I could see that I DID accomplish “something,” even though it meant so little at “home.” It just hurts every time I think about it, so I try not to think about it. I still don’t believe it meant anything other than PAIN. That’s what almost all of my “accomplishments” mean: they are all somehow connected to PAIN. So I value non of them.

And I married a man who picked up where my parents left off. I suffered through him for many years, until I finally left that “home” too. But I still suffer for all the many years I have lost, with no happiness in them no matter what I accomplished. So even though I’m not being actively tormented by these kind of people right now, I don’t “dare” to say or feel that I’ve accomplished anything because for SURE someone will come along and put me down for it. I did so well in business most of my life and was put down by girl “friends” for doing so as well. There’s very few people I can trust and be around who don’t jab me in some kind of way. Women are known for jealousy and envy and they don’t hesitate to “sharpen their claws and go in for the kill!” And there are 8 children in my family and the females are the worst.

I keep thinking about what I read earlier:

“I am letting myself heal and letting go of the belief that healing is somehow getting them to love me.”

I don’t know what this means because I’ve been doing it for so long… even if it was “only in my mind.” After my mother died and refused to see me and my sisters have been after me tooth and nail, I see just how I managed to wait for 30 years without seeing any of them… it was easy to wait as I really believed “reconciliation” would occur one day. On her death bed. Now that it hasn’t and things are actually worse, and I have to face the fact that these people will never change their mind about me, I have to find a mechanism to “let these people go.” To still those voices in my head. To stop the downgrading of me all the time in every way in every area of my life. Those voices come through loud and clear wherever I go and I cannot escape them.

It’s a miracle that I’m not dead. I guess getting strong enough on that swim team has held me in good stead. At least I am able to withstand them and still carry on. Now, how to find a way to silence them, and for GOOD?


Hi marquis thanks for your support , I understand totally what you are saying. It’s just that they dangle the carrot to make you think things are okay and then say wicked things to hurt you, this is what I have difficulty comprehending. I just need the confidence in myself to know that this is a form of control and abuse. Hopefully I will see it one day.

When I am told that your grandfather wished you wasn’t born by my mother and that she is insensitive to my feelings , and I have no right to an opinion and then they say love you on the phone it doesn’t make sense. I guess it’s a form of brainwashing 🙁


I actually LEARNED not to ever bring up any accomplishment of mine as someone in the family, my sister in particular, would say “Oh, so now you think you are better than the rest of us!”

I have run into these kinds of attacks out in the “real world” as well, but when it happens every day in every way and father, mother and sisters use any “good thing” as a sword, then this must be where I learned to put my Self down, before they did.

And I have no weapons or withstanding against the other cruel individuals in the world (and there are many!) when they “come for me” to hurt me or attack me when they see I did better or have more than they do…

I used to come home from school or swim team practice crying saying to my mother “why do they hate me so? Do I have to lose to have friends?” For the girls on my team hated me too because I always won every race. If you were a boy you were a hero. If you were a girl, you were a bitch.

My brothers never bothered me at all. Why so all the females?



I have my ups and downs. I have a pretty strong will, however, will is useless when the emotional development is not there to support it. You should feel happy/joy when doing the right thing. You should feel anger when you’ve been wronged and even if you don’t retaliate, you can feel your anger and validate it. These are things I’ve had to learn and am still learning. It was easier as a child to just say, I’m wrong, you’re right, because it’s not worth the fight. I would just wish for the day that when I was older and on my own, I wouldn’t have to deal with that inconsistency of emotion that I lived with growing up anymore. However, parents reproduce what they are to a certain extent.

Some days you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, then all of a sudden, you notice the little changes in how you think and see the world, and you know what you’re doing is working. Darlene’s book has helped me a lot, because it just brings to mind, all of the ways I was pushed aside and ignored and taught to treat myself the same way. If you haven’t gotten it yet, I urge you to get it.

Another book that helped me: Feeling and Healing your Emotions by Conrad Baars. I have most of his books and have recommended others here as well. He was a Catholic Psychiatrist who did a lot of research on this type of stuff, but mostly the impact to victims. He was also a Psychiatrist who was disillusioned by his industry, like many of us have been when we’ve sought help.

One of my biggest fears in life was fear of rejection. It took me until I was in my forties to realize, I didn’t fear rejection. I feared the emotions I faced when being rejected. That’s when I realized, that my emotional development was way off from where it should be. Our culture is not one for facing emotions and dealing with them. However, emotions are message givers and we have to pay attention. It’s hard sitting with them, but it’s necessary. You will gain strength from that…knowing you don’t have to run away from your feelings or shut them down because you think they don’t matter.

If you’re feeling weak and vulnerable now…it’s perfectly fine. It’s because no one validated you when you were younger in order for you to learn how to validate yourself, and that’s why we’re all here.

You are definitely not alone 🙂


This is timely, and helpful for me.

I’ve decided to stop interacting with my dad. It’s been coming for awhile. I feel guilty about it, while at the same time feeling okay with my decision. Confused? So am I!

My dad is a master liar, who has lied for so long he has no idea what the truth is anymore. He is a manipulator, a narcissist (undiagnosed, because of course, the problem is with everyone else, not him). I think he has some psychopathic tendencies as well, on a checklist for things psychopaths I checked over half the boxes of things he did/does.

Why do I still feel bad? I’m denying him of his future grandkids; the ability to give him information to brag to his friends how well I’m doing, how smart I am, how nice my husband is. I’ll be another child on the “not interacting” list (so far, we are 4 out of 8). I know he’ll play the victim to his people, be deeply grieved and saddened.

Why I feel okay with my decision. About 7 years ago, I told him the only way we could have a healthy relationship was he had to apologize for his behavior over the years, own up to the emotional, psychological, and verbal abuse; start treating my mom and siblings with respect (my parents were divorced by this time). He told me “I’m sorry you were hurt.” He has treated my siblings the opposite of respect, with many, many recent incidents of complete and total disrespect. I am okay with my decision because in person he talks mostly to my husband, not me; he doesn’t take my words seriously. When I think about him holding my babies, I feel sick. When I recall his behavior at his parents funerals, and the way he treats his siblings. When I feel anxious, get upset, feel unlistened to, when he tells me “I love you” and I don’t believe him, when I duck around a corner if I see him coming, so I don’t have to talk to him; when I don’t want to look him in the eye or touch him. When he has no idea when my birthday is, what colors I like, what books I read, what music I listen to, what I do in my spare time, where I work. After a year and a half of therapy, I know I’ve forgiven him but I want nothing to do with him. I know I’ve made the right decision for me and my future children.

I was a teenager, begging for his attention; all I wanted was to be treated as the adult he said I was (I was assigned adult level tasks). All I wanted was some time to go on a bike ride, go get ice cream, have a conversation, be recognized as an individual; to have my voice heard.

I’m still processing this all, it was a recent decision (I made it last week, with the full support of my husband, my mom, and my family). I always find your posts helpful, Darlene, thank you for the work you are doing!


Hi Callynt thanks for your words of wisdom and support , it is good to know that we can support each other. I will try and get the book that you mentioned. Luv to u and all those who are hurting out there 🙂


I have written a poem for everyone struggling out there, I hope you like it

The flower grows when the sun shines on it, the rain dampens the leaves and the scent reaches to the sky
If the flower has no rain and no sun it dies
But wait, the flower broken and withered can be revived with patience and love and nurture
Such as our hearts can heal with the love and patience of our friends
See yourself as the flower growing strong and tall , be prepared to take a fall but you will get there however long it takes


Hi Catherine,
I want to tell you that I found your piano playing story moving and also to say that while there are horrible, mean, broken people who try to break others down, there are yet others in the world who are and will be inspired by other people’s gifts and accomplishments. When I see someone excel at something, when they’ve put their energy, mind, heart, soul, time and passion into it, they remind me what the human spirit is capable of doing when it is connected and spurs on my own enthusiasm for my own interests and passions, makes me want to connect, too.

I think the key is in the focussing, in knowing that those who try to tear you down are WRONG, are doing it from their own weaknesses and their own misguided, competitive ideas, where only superiority or inferiority exist, and no good will ever come in focussing on them because there is no changing them (that has to come from themselves). But there are others in the world who are solid enough, who either have their own source of self-esteem or are building it or who simply do not see life as one or two spots we’re all fighting for, that we have tear each other down for, but who instead see everyone as equals on their own individual paths, growing and becoming ourselves, inspiring others to do the same in their own lives.


I can relate to everyone’s posts here but Amber’s gave me an aha! light bulb moment. You know how it is, you can be aware of something but suddenly it’s as if a new light shines on it and you see it so much more clearly?
Amber, when you wrote about your mother being so competitive with you (and your father so critical) it reminded me of my mother who thwarted my interest in art because she fancied herself a good artist, although I’d never seen her pick up a paint brush or anything. When I started to show some promise of talent at a young age, she began nitpicking apart everything I drew/painted, so I isolated myself whenever I wanted to be creative. I hid or destroyed most of my work because her critical voice became my own.
One year, encouraged by a teacher, I submitted a drawing for the cover of the “First of the Year” High School newspaper, and it was selected. This was pretty big for me in my small world, but instead of feeling proud and happy about it, I was absolutely mortified because now all my imperfections could be seen by the whole school. However, my achievement was barely acknowledged at home and, needless to say, it was never even mentioned to others. Although she worked at the same school, my mother didn’t even get a copy of the paper. I felt so minimized.
Later, she refused to let me study art because “you can’t make a living dabbling with paint” (I was already selling my stuff to fellow students and wanted to go into commercial art). There was “just no evidence” that I could make it, and, in spite of the fact that education was free where I grew up, there would be “all the expenses of art supplies” (which they could very well afford). No, her ambitions for me were to become, of all things, a BANK-TELLER!! Now I have nothing against bank-tellers, but it was the exact opposite of what I was capable of or interested in. Anyway, by then I was so sick of her that I left everything behind (school, art, friends, family) and moved 2000 miles away to a totally different country and culture, on my own, at twenty years old.
Fast-forward to my first visit back home a couple of years later: My mother had turned my old bedroom into her ART STUDIO and she just could not stop gushing about how much pleasure she derived from her (private! expensive!) art classes and how she and her favorite GC did so well at it. “Look I did this and that! I’ve even SOLD some of it for good money!” Then she asked: “And you? Do you do anything in art anymore?” When I said “Uh, well, no” she feigned disappointment and said something to the effect that I’d shown “some promise” as a child. Her stuff was quite bland and boring but it was hers, so I asked if I could have one of her watercolors. She said “Oh, sure!” but I never got anything, whereas my siblings have many of them, all nicely matted and expensively framed, but then they live where people know her. After my father died she tried to get rid of her stuff- so that she could move to smaller accommodations- and one night she sorted through a pile of her try-out/reject/half-finished drawings and scooted what she didn’t want to keep or put in the trash to me: “here, you can have this one.. and this one..” They’re still in a drawer somewhere. I just can’t stand to look at them because they represent her total disdain of me, but I cannot get rid of them either because they were made by my mother. Or can I???!! I’m off to the Goodwill!

Thanks for letting me vent!

Hugs to all of you


Oh Catherine,

You know for the longest time, I could never understand when a female friend ‘turned on me’. I was always the type of person who wanted to make friends and get along with people.

I finally faced the fact that while I saw myself as non threatening, I was indeed threatening to people who thought they were competing with me.

I started to view it in a different way. In fact, it was sort of a gift. If you resent me and my accomplishments, then I must be doing something right…because let’s face it. Who is jealous of anyone not doing anything worth while? 🙂

Once you begin to build up your boundaries and your confidence, the jealous hens will still be there, but you’ll know how to handle them straight away.



That’s such a beautiful poem!

Thank you 🙂 <3


Hi Callynt that’s okay I like making poems up in my head 🙂 I have another worry and wonder if you can help. My mum has said sorry before and started crying but as soon as I went to the police about my dads abuse she sent me a text saying that I was no,longer their daughter and turned her back on me. Even though she had agreed that my dad’s behaviour was inappropriate and she was not surprised before I went to the police. This makes me feel more confused that I should forgive as she has said sorry even though she never stuck up for me when it counted. I wonder if she cried to get focus of me onto her so confused my brain is hurting 🙁


I grew up with a mother that was emotionally unavailable to me my entire life. I was also physically abused by her. I was always the “bad seed” in my family. My 3 brothers could do no wrong. During family gatherings my mother always brought up situations from my past to embarrass me. At least I thought my dad was in my corner but she taunted me and said that I was just a daddy’s little girl and I was his favorite. It seemed she was jealous of the relationship I had with my dad. When my dad died things got much worse for me. I no longer had someone to protect me from her. She was so cruel when she told me that my father didn’t really believe I was a good person and tried to destroyed the memories I had of my dad. I got married at 25 and had 2 children. It became the family “joke” that my mother liked my husband better than me. It turned out not to be so funny when I realized I had married a man just like my mother. As my kids became older he was physically abusive to my them. I never told my family what went on behind closed doors at our home. Big mistake on my part. I became ill at 38 but the doctors I saw couldn’t find a specific diagnosis of what was wrong with me. My husband kept calling me a hypochondriac and told me it was a waste of his hard earned money for me to keep going from doctor to doctor. His theory was as long as I looked physically good on the outside I was just seeking attention. I was a stay at home mom so he had me over a barrel financially. I eventually had a breakdown and left him after 25 years of marriage. I was eventually diagnosed with bipolar. She refused to believe I “claimed” to suffer from a mental illness. I tried to talk to her about how that was affecting my life with no success. As the physical things started getting worse I tried to explain them to her. As soon as I stopped talking she quickly changed the subject to health problems she and my brothers were having. My mother was very angry at me because I hadn’t told her I had left him before she found out from someone else. She blamed me for the breakup of our marriage and believed every bad thing my husband had told her about me. She told me I thought I was better than the rest of my family. After I left him I was able to see a great doctor that did extensive testing and discovered I had a genetic neuro muscular degenerative disease called mitochondrial myopathy. It has attacked most of my body. My husband divorced me and is now on his third wife. He has been invited along with his current wife to my family functions while my children and I have not been invited. My ex and his wife both call my mother mom. I no longer feel guilty having no contact with her or my extended family. I have focused on my two children and my grandchildren. We have developed our own tight family now. I at last feel free to be the me I always wanted to be with no guilt.


Hi All,

I just now read all the comments since Amber’s #124. Wow! I so relate to all of you and learn so much. Thank you! I love you!


Beautiful poem, Deborah! Thank you so much…


Catherine I am glad u liked the poem, I make them up in my head all the time. I hope they help 🙂


So many here have the experience of having their accomplishments disregarded. They have even been punished for their achievements. I don’t know that I have any accomplishments or achievements. I remember telling someone once it was as though if I tried to stand up I hit my head on the ceiling, and if I tried to stay down on the floor, I was stepped on.

I’m getting used to no-contact. I can live quite well without my brother. I see the futility of maintaining contact with my mother. I’m confused by my sister, because I thought she knew what was going on. In my absence, she is the scapegoat.

The dysfunction of my Family of origin has become a part of my children’s lives. My oldest daughter, cut me out of her life, and my youngest has proven herself too dishonest to tolerate any more.

I have a son in the middle who is trying to maintain contact with my family AND me. I just don’t know how long that will last. I don’t think there is room for neutral in this situation.

The good part is that if my whole family is not contacting me, they are just far enough away that I don’t have any acquaintances in common with them, so they’ll be gone.


Looked at a description of the film “Trapped” and it reminded me so much of my own family… how dare I “expose family secrets” and speak out loud about what went on? My banishment is to be forever, for life, with no chance to face my accusers or even see their fabricated “evidence” and refute them on every level. It’s a prison I was put into when I lived at home and a prison of the mind I still find myself in. I just didn’t know it would last to the end of my life, and to the end of my mother’s as well.

One example: I was told I was “asked to leave” the Catholic boarding school I was in, as if I had been “expelled.” My mother told me that story my entire life to “prove” what a worthless awful person I was. I believed her and was humiliated at every single family function I ever attended, all the way through adulthood, as she never failed to drag that tattered story out. When I was in my early 40’s I wrote to the school to find out what terrible act I had committed to get told to leave. Much to my ever-lasting shock and horror, it turns out I was asked to leave because I had PNEUMONIA and needed to be “home with my family while I was hospitilized.” The school was in Texas, family left me there and moved to Illinois. I was in the hospital for two weeks, I had been so ill… pneumonia was very serious 50 years ago… this the only time I was ever in the hospital but I never put “two and two together.” How could my mother have used my nearly dying as an excuse to make me and everyone else in my family believe I had been “expelled?”

I think there is some serious mental illness going on here. There’s more stories along this vein, but the year and a half I spent tracking down the sources and participants in my mother’s stories about me made my hair stand on end. The truth was so shocking it should be made into a movie some day. And now that my mother is dead and one, my sisters have taken up the cudgel and the sword, and are “waving the flag.” I have to find a way to BELIEVE IN MY SELF, as even though the facts clearly show that these stories were all lies, it makes things even worse:

I am just no d@#$%^&U*I good even though I did so well!

When there’s nothing you can change and nothing you wish you “didn’t do,” nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to apologize for, and they STILL HATE YOU, what can you do?

How do I “JUST LET GO?” How do I develop that elusive self-esteem that has eluded me all my life? How, when I am 64 years old and nothing has changed… it’s only gotten worse? I stayed away from my family for more than 30 years and now that all my friends have grandkids and family get-togethers and photos and more it’s just killing me. I’m all alone.

“Trapped allows the Lees to tell their story after years of fearing that any criticism of the system that abused them would only result in further punishment. The emotional retelling of their torturous journey exposes Dubai’s deeply corrupted legal system where transgressions as simple as bounced checks can land you in prison alongside serial killers.”


Callynt and everyone, RE: jealous women. Yes, I know what it is like to be friendly and still have women turn on me. The two women across from me in my neighborhood did just that. I have a college education and a masters degree but I never ever acted uppity about it or put anyone down who didn’t go to college. Some of my friends went and others didn’t and they are all just as dear to me for their unique qualities. But I think my two neighbors got resentful as I finished up my masters. One started picking fights with me and the other kind of attached herself to the fighter and dropped my friendship.
Why can’t we have our accomplishments and others be happy for us? I support my friends through the good and the bad. But I guess not everyone is wired that way. After all, even my own mother resented that I found a guy who loves me and I am happy with.that seems so unnatural to me since I am happy when my kids are happy.


Hi Fred,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken, yes, there a huge part of this is that most who are “in it” don’t really realize that it is happening because the grooming starts when the ‘victim’ is pretty young.
hugs, Darlene

It takes a while to see through the fog that has been created in these kinds of families.
Keep reading. If you don’t have my e-book it is kind of ‘the fast track’ to seeing through new eyes. (you can get it in the upper right side bar of this website)
hugs, Darlene


Hi GreyGirl
Welcome to EFB ~ We have all been there! There is such a push and pull component in all of this. Something that I realized over time (and I write a lot about this) is that this isn’t my fault. I did not finally withdraw from the relationship to be mean ~ there is a reason that it came to this. That is what we are talking about here,
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


Catherine sorry to hear you feeling alone, you can still believe in yourself and you are never too late. Have you looked deep into your heart and trusted your own instincts. Just take a step back and look at the evidence as if you were seeing it from another person’s eyes, they wouldn’t punish you like you are punishing yourself. Write everything down and u will be surprised at what u see. I wish I could listen to my own advice and do the same 🙂


Hi Diane
Welcome to EFB ~ You have found the right website! I am sorry that you have gone through so much; there is healing, solution and comfort here. YAY for freedom from guilt!
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Deborah (#161),

There are tons of posts on this blog about forgiveness. I urge you to take a poke around. You will find some very good information there. They certainly helped me. What’s also been helping me, is to not concern myself so much with forgiveness and focus more on my healing.

If someone came up to you and kissed you on the cheek, and in the next second, slapped you hard across the face…it would confuse you, shock you, hurt you and make you angry.

My mother’s emotional outbursts always kept me off balance, because sometimes they would come from out of nowhere. That’s the whole point. You focus on them, and you forget about yourself and what you need. It’s a trap.

It sounds selfish, because we’re not used to it, but we have to put ourselves first…above forgiveness, above reconciliation, above how they feel or think.


“Write everything down and u will be surprised at what u see. I wish I could listen to my own advice and do the same :)”

Yes, that really does help! I did all of that over a period of 18 months, writing and researching every single thing I remembered and sitting at the computer all night long until the sun rose up every single night and every single morning over 20 years ago. Now that my mother has died, and I’m under attack all over again, and none of my “dreams will come true” and reconciliation will never happen, I’m grieving all over again. And it’s killing me. But I have to keep reminding myself that “this too shall pass.”

When I first wrote out my story and found all the people in my life when I was young and small and found out the truth: “Your mother lied” I was shocked to the being of my core. But at last I knew it “wasn’t me.”

Now I have to face the fact that truth doesn’t matter at all… these people hate me because I have told THEIR STORY, the story of abuse that they not only went along with, but actively participated in, and the shame that holds for them. Of course they have to attack me! I’m the one who “broke free!” And they can’t stand it.

I see from Callynt: “You focus on them, and you forget about yourself and what you need. It’s a trap.
It sounds selfish, because we’re not used to it, but we have to put ourselves first…above forgiveness, above reconciliation, above how they feel or think.”

I love what you are saying, but I don’t understand it. I know I’m trapped. I just told another friend who was “trying to help” and sent me a bunch of new age nonsense about how I haven’t “visualized how I would like them to behave” and haven’t “forgiven sufficiently” to please not send that stuff to me. It doesn’t help! I said “Would you start telling someone who is in an ambulance after being shot and are bleeding and fighting for their life that they need to forgive their attacker? While they are in the ambulance?”

No, I think not! Forgiveness comes with understanding which comes from me understanding that these people are mentally ill and suffer from severe personality disorders that can’t be changed. Once I understood that, I had to start working on “wishing won’t make it so.” That’s the “acceptance” part I’m still fighting.

I still WANT a good relationship with SOMEONE in my family, and it just ain’t going to happen, and I can’t attend the wake. That’s my problem in a nutshell. And I made the mistake of encouraging my son to attend family reunions even though I didn’t, hoping and praying he would be able to have a real family and good relationships since I knew how lonely it is without them, and he has now been poisoned by the rest of them. He’s just like them, in fact, with the alcohol problems and anger-management issues my own father has. Genetics won out. Nurture over Nature? I now know the answer to that. If I had known, I swear, I don’t think I ever should have had children. I’m just a carrier, you know?

Anyway, thank God for this website. I’ve been gone for a good while and it’s only recently that attacks have started back up again (they never stay silent for long) and this is one place I can “take cover and regroup.” I come from a military family, and my father was in three wars. And he brought the wars home.

Dear God save me from myself, and show me The Way.
Gracias Amen.


Callynt thanks for the advice I can relate to what your saying totally 🙂


Alice, Darlene and Caden,
Thanks for your comments (a week ago now).
Alice, I think you are right about the fear of talking about it being partly due to trying to shield yourself from the truth. Even just focussing always on the way they’re going to perceive and come at the story, and thinking of all the explanations from all the different angles, in some way shields the truth, albeit in a very unpleasant, self-harming way. I think it also keeps the connection going, even if only in my head, if I’m still arguing with them (or anyone on their behalf, even completely imaginary people). In some way, this kind of arguing is reflective of the belief that there is hope in some kind of negotiation process, either in me taking on some guilt, or letting something slide or finding the argument that will prove my point once and for all, so that I can live in an absolute, until they come to see the light. My conditions for relationship with my mom rested on her recognizing that she knew things were going wrong with me, she picked up on a certain amount of the impact she’d had on me, ignored the concern expressed by others, and generally swept things under the carpet because it didn’t fit what she wanted, and to have her look at her own motivations for that—her possessiveness and how she was using me for her own emotional needs, how I was hostage to her. I know it’s true but it’s also a truth that no one else, outside myself and my mom, can ever really know in that deep personal sense, and she’s denying it. Why do I think her version is more convincing than mine? I don’t—not by and with myself. I’ve just spent my entire life in a world where lies have all the power and wear the clothing of truth, whereas the (real) truth is inconsequential, and while understanding the truth has come to impact me deeply, I maybe don’t totally trust the world as being different…? (outside of EFB). Like I can get away with standing by the truth in hidden pockets, where it seems safe to be vulnerable, but will I be bulldozed outside of them? Am I strong enough? You get knocked down so many times, it’s hard to want to take the risk, but not to do so leaves me in a state of inertia, which is unpleasant, so I go back to looking at my family and their perspective, fighting them in my head as if there was some way to work something out when there isn’t. It’s probably the inertia that makes me want to off myself the most. It’s not that it’s enormously painful; it’s that it’s lifeless. You have to be able to grow.

In terms of looking at my own actions, I’d agree with Darlene about modelling love and healthy relationship. Everything that can be lodged against me as a daughter (or relative) is mighty reflective of the world I grew up in. Sometimes I worry about that making me look like a hypocrite or a phoney, but no, I’ve just grown and come to identify what was wrong. I know the stuff that I did that was mean or less than loving or absent of care. I can recognize it. THe meanest thing I did to my mom (she doesn’t even know) was one year my brother and dad forgot it was her birthday and I just went along with that. I didn’t even know why; I just waited to see if anyone was going to do/say anything. She came in my room crying, then I started crying (and hating her for “making” me cry and self-pitying because I dreaded my birthdays and she didn’t even know that I did or why I did, how birthdays put you at the mercy of other people, and resentful because why did she have to come crying to me instead of my dad or my brother, why was I the one who had to listen to her… and I can add now to that, why was I the one who had to listen to her when she was the one who’d broken my voice, made me subject to whatever was her will and whim, because no matter right or wrong, she was always at the helm…. But no, none of us were good to each other. Emotional neglect was the way of life. As much as I lived to requirement, to appearances, I was not some perfect, loving daughter. Why would I have been? In their world, though, instead of recognizing the truth and being accountable for their actions or inactions, they have unspoken deals to let it go by but become enmeshed and leach off each other in other ways (to the detriment of all, some to much worse consequences, depending where you are in the hierarchy). This, I suppose, is considered kindness, recognizing that no one is “perfect,” when really it’s just a recipe for continued pain and dysfunction…. but, you know, it’s easier than the risk involved in standing by the truth…. It’s also important to know who the parents/adults are and who the child. There’s an order here. Their crimes are much heavier than any of mine and their responsibilities much larger, and that’s not my problem. All they had to do was to recognize what happened and I was perfectly willing and wanting to move forward into new terrain.


Diane says, “It became the family ‘joke’ that my mother liked my husband better than me” and goes on to describe how her mother has continued to invte her ex and his wife to their family gatherings.

It used to be the “family joke” that if my first husband and I were to divorce, they would take him, and they joked that they would tell me, “Eira, I’m sorry we cannot invite you to the family Christmas because it would make ‘Stan’ and his new wife, ‘Betsy’ uncomfortable. Everyone laughed and I tried laughing too but once I broke into tears, because I could see it happening. When our son was 6 my ex left me for another woman. My sister actually gave him a few hundred dollars to fix his car so he could live indpendently from me but made the excuse that her nephew rides in that car and so it had to be safe from him, but who gives their brother in law money to fix a car so he could ride into the sunset with another woman? After he married the other woman, my mother invited him and his new wife and her children to visit them at their cabin. She knew of many incidences where they had been very cruel and unkind to me. I know if I had a daughter whose husband betrayed her on that level, I certainly would not seek out a relationship with her betrayer and her replacement. Her excuse was that if something would happen to me, she would want a relationship with them so she could be part of our young sons life! I called bullshit, and said if I die, you have my permission to invite them all into your family, but not when I am alive. They didn’t get it.

I too was diagnosed with a chronic, invisible illness–and like you, Diane, my family did not believe me and chalked me up as lazy and crazy. Then, my parents’ goddaughters husband was diagnosed with the same illness. They were once talking about “Poor Bill” and the horrible disease he has and how “Poor Nancy” has to take care of the family because “Bill” is too sick. I interjected, “Bill and I have the SAME disease, we see the same doctor, Dr. A, and have been undergoing the same treatments, only I don’t have a “Nancy” who can take care of me and my son so I just have to muddle through the best I can. They got very quiet, and said, “Well, we don’t know anything about that” and CHANGED the subject.


It wasn’t until I found your blog that I truly began to see how I could heal from how my mother treated me. You helped me see that I had rights to say what I knew to be the truth and if she didn’t like it well that was tough. I still wobble sometimes and miss my mum, but not if it means having to put up with my mother. I have slowly learnt that I can still love and miss the mum I wanted but never got but not accept her emotional stressors and drama. Since Christmas last year the distance grew even further till she finally blocked me and wished I’d never been born, all for stating how my childhood has damaged me. Her loss not mine. My life has much less hassle I. It since she doesn’t visit or call. The saddest part is that I know she won’t change and even if I can accept her faults she would never admit to having them, so it has to be this way for all our healthy sakes


Elsie, I just now read your comment #158. It amazes me how some mothers thwart their children’s talents and successes instead of encouraging and celebrating them. It seems unnatural to me even with my mother behaving that way towards me. I think it’s driven by envy. I don’t think my mother was happy in any of her three marriages. Therefore she was very resentful that I had a good marriage. She also thwarted my ambitions to become a Special Education teacher. And talked me out of taking a foreign language class, ridiculing me that I wouldn’t need it for anything and it would be a waste of time and money. I don’t think she did this with my brothers’ desires. Fortunately when I was married and away from her I did go back to school and became a teacher of special needs children. And later on also took my foreign language class and it was not a waste because I used it when traveling. My mother seemed to enjoy running my life and thwarting me. In fifth grade she ridiculed me out of trying out for a part in a play. I had worked up my courage to go for a small part and she squelched it saying I would embarrass her because I would probably laugh on stage and look stupid. So I never tried out for that part.

Elsie, I know this is coming many years later….I want to congratulate you on getting your picture selected for your high school newspaper cover. That’s a great accomplishment, and deserves recognition. I’m toasting you virtually! 🙂


Deborah, thanks for the beautiful poetry. It is a refreshing breath of the fresh air of hope.


Yes, I’m another person who had “natural” creative talents and was prevented from taking them further than a “hobby”. I was totally directionless when it came to my studies because I wasn’t allowed to pursue the field I wanted to but then they didn’t tell me what I “should” do instead. I ended up carving out something else which is ironically very close to my “natural” creative talent but I find myself sometimes feeling like an imposter because I didn’t get an education in it. I didn’t go to my own graduation because to my mother it was “her day” and to prevent her from claiming it and making it all about her I had to give it up for myself as well.
When I told her that I was not going she went crazy saying I had spoiled it for her and why couldn’t she have the same experience as her friends’ had had with their sons and daughters? I think this event sums things up quite well. But there are so many more of these.

I can also relate to sometimes conflictual relationships with women. I am however learning not to respond to these people’s definitions of me. This is quite a change from before. I used to want to defend myself and convince them that I am otherwise. But since their idea is wrong, or they’re just attacking me for something else, well it’s sort of interesting to watch them go at it.

My mother taught me to consider what other people think of me before or instead of my own thoughts and feelings about myself. She taught me that when people mistreat me or do not respect me as a person it is because I have done something wrong or to offend them.
She taught me that my feelings are never right and that I should only share pleasant ones with people, otherwise they will not like me.
She taught me to not have needs or wants and that having any was selfish.
But thankfully we can unlearn.


To Amber and Darlene and all,

I have not posted for quite a while. We were getting our house ready to sell (hoping to move out into the country). The good news is we sold our house. Tbe bad news is what all of the commotion finally led up to.

For several weeks now, I have been seeing things and people who weren’t there. Sleep became nonexistent for me…I have had nightmares for years. I have also walked and talked in my sleep off and on for years since I was very young. I have talked on here about my mother and father. Along with their “loving” care, they slapped me to wake me up, saying I was too young to have problems sleeping. But my father would wake me at four in the morning for sex.

My sleep problems have been going on for years. But as I have gotten older, I spiralled into a permanent nightmare. Finally, one night, it all came to a head. I hadn’t slept for five days. I thought my husband was trying to kill me. I thought things were happening that were so clear that I fought with my husband until I completely tore up a room and was accusing him of trying to kill me.

After being taken to the ER and completely sedated, I finally calmed down. No physical problems were discovered after multiple testing. My husband and sons sat with me at the hospital and took turns with me until things were settled at home. I am still sedated to make sure I sleep. I will be following up with doctors for a while. Of course, the main diagnosis is manic bipolar disorder as a result of years and years of abuse early in life.

One thing my husband told the doctors was that after years of therapists, they did not help me because most had never experienced what I had. He told everyone that he saw better results from Darlene’s website and talking to everyone here than anything else therapists and psychiatrists had thrown at me for years. Luckily my doctors agreed so here I am. I hope you all will be patient with me.

My life has been upside down and I want to thank everyone for listening. My love goes to Amber, whose life has seemed much like mine and Darlene, who has given so much of herself.

There is much more to say, but I need to rest. Thank you all and all my prayers,


Linda, I am sorry you have gone through all of that! I was wondering about you as you haven’t been on here. For some reason I thought about that last night as I was reading the comments on this thread. I thank you for sending me your love, and I send mine back to you. As always I hope things get better for you, and that life in your new home is a new and healing beginning for you.
Over the years I’ve read many self help books and articles, each time with the hope that it would help. Each time I was disappointed. I’ve tried just working on the present, affirmations, assertiveness training techniques, some cognitive behavior strategies. None of it worked. I never felt I made progress. Last May (2013) I finally came here. For the very first time the idea of a false belief system that was created through abuse and grooming came to light. This was the missing key for me. It was just the beginning for me but I finally, at long last felt I had the key to open the door to recovery. It was the right door. Of course, opening it was just the beginning, but as Ive gone along, I never had any reason to doubt that this is the answer, the right path. And finally, progress!!

I bought Darlene’s book. I am reading it slowly because I like to think about each section as I read it. So I am just on page 42 now. Linda, I think you would find it very beneficial as well.

I wish you all the best in your new home, and as always, I am sending you healing thoughts.


Hi Linda
Wow you have been through a lot lately! (and your whole life too)~ I have a passion that burns with a fire to make the world aware of the damage that this kind of dysfunction causes so that people can heal instead of staying in the confusion etc. I am so glad to hear that the doctors are listening to you! That is fantastic! I hope that you are feeling better soon and thank you (and your husband) for the huge compliment.
Hugs and love, Darlene


“the main diagnosis is manic bipolar disorder as a result of years and years of abuse early in life.”

Linda I’m glad you have found some doctors who understand the root but I am sorry it got so bad for you.


Hi Susanne
Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~ somehow I didn’t see your comment until today.
Abusive and dysfunctional people will say ANYTHING and say it as truth to keep other people from seeing the actual truth. There is nothing in the bible that says that God would not want us to do whatever we need to do to heal from the damage. This is just something that she told you. I highlight a lot of how we become brainwashed in this site and I include how I got OUT of that brainwashing and back into the real truth. (my ebook is about my entire beginning of this process and you can get the download on the upper right side bar here in the website)
Trying to tell makes you feel like a bad person and that something bad is going to happen because of the consequences that you LEARNED from a young age. EFB is about realizing that those things were control tactics and that we have choices now.
Please keep sharing, you have found the right community!
hugs, Darlene


Alaina, I’ve done these arguments in my head too. It’s still about seeking validation but this time from myself (! How deep does this go??) When I used to tell others about my issues with my mom I was also looking for them to validate me, see what was going on. But since so few people are “awake” to these things it again became a sort of a fight on my part to get the truth validated. And people will fight you.

EFB is the first website where talk about a “belief system” is really examined. I haven’t seen others that get into family issues as a root cause because I think they still want to uphold some idea that family is this wonderful nuturing space where nothing terrible happens.To me that is dishonest, even spiritually so.


Alice, the whole false belief system thing is a biggie for me. Just like you, I have never ever seen it addressed anywhere else but here. And it is the answer to what I have been looking for. For the first time, I’m freeing myself from all the awful things I believed about myself and the guilt and blame I carried because “they” said it was mine to carry.

I agree that the whole thing about family being so wonderful, and stuff like we have to treat our family in a certain way ( even if it is undeserved) like respecting parents has also thrown me off. It’s another set of false beliefs. I don’t have to accept it.


Re- “how deep does this go”… when you think about how young you were when it began, that is how deep it goes. It is very much like trying to change EVERYTHING you have ever been taught about yourself and the only way to do it is to see the roots of those lies. It isn’t easy!
I am proud of myself for the courage it took me to start this whole thing, but some days I am exhausted by the magnitude of work that there is to do (as an advocate or messenger now) but we press on because of what the alternative is…
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene!

Yes, my first memory was as a baby throwing up and being sort of left to it (it was too much for my mother). There’s no point at which I can say “I learned” these beliefs because before that I have no memory of knowing anything else. And at the same time, I fought the way I was treated. The family told/taught me that my fighting it was the wrong thing but I am starting to wonder if I faught because THEY were doing wrong things to me. I suppose I’m arguing for an innate sense of what is “right”. That we have always had in us. It’s what brings us back from believing the way we were treated was anything but right.

I feel you on the exhaustion thing. You are doing so much for other people. But why is it exhausting still if it’s actually the right thing to do? I don’t know if I can explain this very well but my thought is that if it is exhausting it’s because there is still some idea left that what we’re fighting has any validity.


Well for me I think the exhaustion is the amount of work I do actually. 🙂

I think the exhaustion in the actual healing process is about how hard it is to go against the familiar belief system. Remember that we learned going against ‘them’ could result in death or there were serious consequences at the very least. It IS exhausting to have to take a deeper look and convince our very protective subconscious mind that we are NOT in danger by standing up to abuse or abusive parents. Our very well groomed brainwashed minds think that they are protecting us in the false belief systems after all.
Does that make sense?
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene! Yes it makes sense. I am interested in the actual working to exhaustion aspect too. I see this as trying to prove value as well. It’s very hard for me to take a vacation unless I feel I deserve it. And when I do, I worry I *should* be working!


Hi Alice,
I agree that the belief system thing is huge. I have read self-help books dealing with childhood stuff and with messages that are sent via actions or inactions, a few of them very good. I think the difference with Darlene’s work is how much it’s presented as the spine of what has happened to us and how it continues to rule our lives if not dismantled. It’s not about incidental moments. I also find that many of the books will give lip service or make excuses for parents at the same time as trying to show where the damage came from. I often find this recurrent theme that it’s just the way it is, as though parents are automatons without any capacity to choose otherwise (until maybe magically something happens so that they can but don’t expect it), simply living out their programming that they weren’t responsible for because they were victims, too. It seems like if there’s a benefit of the doubt, they will give the benefit, as opposed to seeing the possibility that the parents are selfishly choosing what they want and disregarding the truth, and that just as much as you or I could choose to not do something selfish that endangers the life of another, so too could have they, but they wanted what they wanted.

I think it can also just be exhausting to live in a world like ours.

I had a really awful night yesterday. A “friend” came over to play some music with me, then took advantage of me. I had no clue that he was even remotely attracted to me. I’m often completely clueless. He’s always come across as this super happy, friendly, secure guy, who reminded me of another friend of mine who is gay, so that it didn’t even occur to me that I should be cautious about having him over. I really thought it was just to practice some music. I said no so many times, I told him to leave, I pushed him toward the door. Moments I was collapsing, crying but without tears (what’s that called—dry crying?). I was convulsing (emotional pain sometimes makes me convulse when I’m deep in it) and he was trying to make light of it, jokingly telling me to not go crazy on him again every time it started happening, telling me to stay with him, trying to keep me from dropping off the deep end (i.e. disassociating). He’d push and pull me around every time I tried to get away. The problem was he wasn’t being “mean” in the way he was talking to me and I’m extraordinarily susceptible and vulnerable to being touched for want of affection, being isolated and alone for so long, not to mention at some point the play button on my belief system was pushed, whereby my primary goal is to help the other person not feel bad/guilty for exploiting me, so then I give myself over. Like all the time he was kissing me, I’d pull away or otherwise just had a stone face while he was sucking on my lip (somehow he was still enjoying this???!!!) but at one point I kissed him back to BE POLITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so he wouldn’t feel bad or take it personally!!!!!!!!!!! holy f—! He also registered terror on my face at one point. Funny how the people hurting me pick up on my emotions more than I do, like my aunt who told me that I felt betrayed by her (when I hadn’t figured out the word yet) but proceeded to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way, and this guy registering terror but overriding it with his own will and the desire to believe that I needed sex and it would be something good for me that would “help” me, seeing my body respond to being touched but ignoring the fact that while maybe parts of my body “wanted it,” my mind and my heart and the words I spoke said otherwise…. And then this little thing in me, this fact that the only time my mom ever talked to me about sex was about her worry of me getting raped like she had been and how it was always like relationships, romance, sex, none of that applied to me, like the only way sex applied to me was via rape. Love will never happen because all I’m for is to give myself over, submit, be exploited. My parents have no bloody clue how in their “grooming” for me to give myself over to take care of my mom’s emotional needs (which of course they can’t recognize either), they bred the same belief into any and every other aspect of my life… So eventually he fell asleep on my bed and I went to sleep on my couch because I did not want to be near him—when I say my couch i mean my oversized armchair, smaller than a loveseat. In the morning we had a conversation mostly for his benefit, listening to his should haves and shouldn’t haves, his excuses (of course he’d brought beers for us to share), and his deluded thinking that there was somehow some way to create a relationship between us (as well as having to deal with/end some long distance relationship he’s currently involved in). He recognized that he ignored what was going on because he just wanted what he wanted and wanted to believe that the involuntary responses of my body were what I “really” wanted, and not “reading me right,” but I pointed out that it wasn’t just “reading,” it was listening. I told him to stop probably 50 times but he wanted to think he knew better than me what I needed and “really” wanted. But at the pit of me that belief that maybe this is the only kind of sex I can have, so just surrender to it, because it’s better than nothing (though actually it is not, not for my heart not for my soul—I’d rather a million times over have NOTHING) because of the idea that real love is for other people; my job is to give myself away to people who want me to give them whatever they want. All so horrible. And again another person who knew something of my personal history, my loss of my family, my being blamed, my mental health issues (having had a breakdown). I explained to him that no, my heart did not want last night, nor my head, but I’ve had so much pain in my life, I’ve lost all these people, and there’s so much want for affection, that he could have been a perfect stranger and my body could have responded much the same way to being touched, etc… do you know he said something to the effect that, yes, he knew about my past but he guess he just didn’t know how deep it was, the pain and everything! My god! How on earth could it not be deep! Like it could ever be something superficial! He apologized but kept coming back to the alcohol and fine, whatever. In the end I was just saying it happened, there’s no way to take it back, this is over, and that I didn’t want to be sitting there trying to assuage the guilt he was feeling. I’m human, he’s human, he’s sorry, I get it, now please leave so I can get some sleep (though of course I couldn’t get to sleep), and no we are not going to meet again for any reason… He couldn’t get inside me, except his finger, so I guess at least I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. It was unpleasant. I spasmed in pain but I think he thought it was enjoyment. I hate that… I’m sorry this is so personal/private. I wanted my mom and dad this morning, until I reminded myself who my mom and dad are. I wanted a mom and a dad, ones who really love and care for me. In the middle of the night when he was snoring away and I couldn’t sleep, I came on line to read people’s comments. This place is my lifeline right now. My move to a new city has been on the whole bad and I want to go home but I have no home. My boss at my old workplace in Winnipeg has told me that there’s always a spot for me there and they were really wonderful to me but I don’t know how I can move back there and feel comfortable with family. Sometimes I think about Vancouver, too, where I’m from originally, where my friends are but I don’t know about that either (family again and history, though a bigger city). I’m a little lost and hoping I will find my way to building my life wherever. Somedays the world just seems so un-conducive to healing.


Alaina, I’m so sorry that you were assaulted by that creepy “”friend,”” that sounds really scary, and I know how it is when your body responds against your will, but that’s definitely not consent, and doesn’t give anyone any right to touch you when you’ve said no. I hope you’re safe now. It was heart-breaking to read your post and how your horrible mother groomed you to take care of others and implied that sex could only involve rape for you; I know how that is, as my own mother also saw me only as an extension of her own life stories and her own traumas, she saw me as an empty vessel for her, a non-person, a thing…

But that’s what she was, and their abuse only defines them, not us. Of course that’s not who I am, but it’s very difficult to disentangle those messages from my own identity. It has really hampered my ability to form adult relationships too. I really feel for you on that, and your desire to find a home in the world. You definitely deserve one, along with healthy relationships on your own terms, no matter what. I’m really glad that you shared here, I always look out for your posts.
Take care,


Thank you so much, Caden. Your words mean a lot to me. I always look out for your posts, too. I’m safe but I guess I was numb most of the day, disconnected. After writing that post, all the emotion is hitting me now. You know, when I was talking to him this morning, I almost said, “Don’t worry, other people have done worse things to me, if it’s any consolation,” but then I thought that might make him feel guiltier and I guess I was trying to make him feel better, tell him it was okay, even though it wasn’t, and thought that I was being self-pitying just by thinking that. It really is horrendous this messed up belief system I have and how entrenched it is. But you are right that it is about them and not us and I hope to turn it around into the truth, so I can live a good life. Yes, I so much want to have a home and healthy relationships. We do deserve these things. Thank you for your compassion. It really means so much.


Alaina, NONE of what this so-called friend did is ok. NONE of it! Do you have people you can talk to live?
He blatantly ignored your signals to his own benefit. This drives me fucking nuts.


Hi Alice,
No, I don’t have anyone here in this city. Plus I really go mute. None of what I’ve written could I speak out loud. I don’t know if I can go into work tomorrow. I thought I was fine but now I don’t seem to be. I wish I had someone here in person I could trust who loves me and vice versa. I wish I had family.


Alice, I am exhausted too. I’m always somewhat in awe when someone says they found a book they loved and read it straight through or they didn’t feel good and spent the week in bed.

I am driven all of the time. I stand in awe of women who take ladies weekends. I’m never good enough, nothing is ever finished, there is always something nagging at me, something that needs to be done.

I was never worthy of rest, of self care. I was never given the opportunity to explore what it was I liked to do. I had to work and no matter how hard I tried or how I exhausted myself, it was never good enough.

They said I dug my heels in,I didn’t obey orders, I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I did endless hours of hard labor, I tried my very best aiming to please. I was lazy, I was purposely defying them, I was not very bright….you get the picture. They still talk about me that way.

I worked like slave as a child. I still find myself doing that, to prove my worth. It is exhausting. And it is not my passion, not the kind of stuff I can lose myself in. It is the drudgery. It is the lowest of low, dirtiest, least skilled type of work at home and in the workplace.

I never had any of my needs for creativity, for artistic expression, for fulfillment validated. I just knew I had to spend endless hours in the dirtiest, most mindless, boring work there was to run a household just to be worthy of a seat at the dinner table where I could be pecked apart and destroyed for my failures every night.

I am learning now in therapy that my exhaustion comes from not knowing how to take care of myself, not just my physical needs but all of the other needs that make us human. So much misdirected energy……


Dear dear dear Alaina,

You were assaulted. There are laws against what your friend did to you. It’s very “not OK”. I actually understand everything you did and why. Please think about looking for a crisis hotline. In my area we have a “victim and witness assistance center” which provides advocacy and counseling and lots of help for people who have been through what you just described.

My heart is breaking for you. You deserve to have someone help you with what has just happened. You have clearly described criminal behavior. Write down everything you remember. If you can’t talk, let someone read it. It wasn’t your fault. It’s not your fault.

It is fully right and appropriate for him to feel guilty. While you alone are entitled to decide to seek it, you deserve justice. I pray that you consider it.

Love, Hobie


Hi Alaina,

The best I can think of right now is something like an assault counselling service. Or failing that a family planning centre with female staff. But if you’re in shock and can’t talk but can write. Maybe writing it here is a good idea? In the past I would have suggested calling the cops but I know (I think) that that could just be an additional hell. The idea of Winnipeg sounds like you have people who care there. Are we in the same city?


“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. – See more at:

Yes. This I have struggled with for years. My inlaws are estranged from us~ the dysfunction. Not the choice. The no contact became the default. It was all or nothing with them. It ended up being nothing because we wouldnt allow them to micromanage (among other things) us.


Thanks Hobie and Alice. I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed at the moment and exhausted. My boss and his wife want to help me. I’ve only been working there about three months but they seem like good people. Talking to people I don’t know even about mundane things can be quite stressful to me, in regards to going to centres or calling crisis lines. Just trying to take it easy right now. I don’t want to stir myself up in a panic. I’m in Montreal, Alice.


Hi Alaina
My heart goes out to yours. None of what happened to you that night was okay. You were assaulted and violated. All of his words are just bull shit. No means No.
I agree that it might be a good idea to call someone, a rape crisis center or whatever is available to you.
None of that was your fault and thank you for sharing so honestly and deeply. (I am going to email you privately)
hugs, Darlene


Hi Alaina
I see that our posts were posted at the same time! Ignore my suggestion that you contact a crisis line or whatever, do what is best for you! I am really glad that your boss and his wife have reached out to you and I am glad you are taking it easy!
Hugs, Darlene


Fire and Ice (#30), Thanks for reaching out and empathizing. I did reach out to my husband, I let him know when I’m at my least productive I need him more than ever. He’s been pretty good at being there for me. And I have to remind myself that I’m not a burden. No one is a burden. We all carry each other from time to time.
Kaycee (#43), It hadn’t occurred to me that I was a scapegoat. I think part of the reason this has all been so painful (the separation) is because I was seemingly the “golden child”. As much as one could be golden in my mother’s eyes, and probably because I was also the invisible child much of the time so I didn’t bother her as much as my brother did. I don’t really know. But, I do believe it is definitely in her best interest to let me linger, looking like I’m the one with the problem and making me out to be crazy. It’s just easier that way. I was never really up there in the heirarchy, just a minion, a toadie who was occasionally given a moment’s attention. She made it so everyone was jealous of everyone else. When she married my adopted dad, she disappeared. It seemed that if she had a man in her life, we didn’t matter and she was always frustrated with said man. I always longed to just have her to ourselves again. I have a few good memories of those times. Which is confusing, but then I have soo many bad memories, there isn’t enough good or even neutral to overcome or even out the bad.
I am enjoying uncommon peace today. Somedays are good, some are bad. Today is good. I’m in a very neutral state, seeing things as they are. One thing I am reminding myself over and over again, to counteract the deeply embedded longing I have to be loved by my mother, is to remember that this is a neccessity. I have been emulating her borderline personality traits for years. I need the space, the quiet, the lack of triggering to get centered. I need to see myself for what I am, to be very aware of what I do. I am grateful for the autonomy I have gained very slowly though the years to get to this point, to get to sanity. I love my children and I want them to grow up having proof of that, not just words and gushing moments. I want them to come out of their childhood’s with their dignity and I am getting mine back in the process. I don’t think it was going to be possible for me to accomplish this with my mother and the rest of them in my life.


Sending support. That guy’s actions were violating, no matter what you did to survive the moment. Bravo for being self aware and recognizing what you were doing! It doesn’t let him off the hook, though. I hope you have found solace and do what you need to do to get empowered again.


Alaina – I want to chime in with Darlene. The important thing is to do what is best for you. You’re on my heart. It was brave of you to share what you did with us here.


Alaina, same here. If I can help in any way, I’m here. And good to hear you DO have help.


Alaina, I have struggled so with what to say. It has been many eons ago that I have been in your shoes. I really do not know what to say other than do not tell your FOO, find safe people to get through this.

I want to bring you home and hug you and take care of you, but since I can’t all I can give you is this dire warning, to not let your FOO get ahold of this information about what happened to you. They will twist it, they will make sure everyone knows their version, they will blame you and use it against you.

An incident like this one was the beginning of my Mother sluttifying me and exposing my confidential information to the entire family, possibly because her husband was coming onto me, I just don’t know why.

I’m not trying to make this about me, I see you, I see your pain, I just want you to know it is okay to only confide this to safe people not because any of it was your fault, but because some people could use it to hurt you. Protect yourself, protect your privacy, share this only with those who have your best interest at heart.

You will get through this, I promise. This is the time any daughter would desperately want to run to the arms of their Mother. Don’t.


Hi Alaina,
I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through and I completely understand the bewilderment you feel at your reactions to this assault. Please realize that we’re human beings who are hard-wired to respond to arousal. We are programmed to become aroused when someone pushes our sexual buttons. It’s one of the reasons we’ve survived as a species. In the same way we have an “automatic” response to dangerous situations, based on past experiences. Our lessons in survival get stored in the most primitive part of the brain, the one that takes over immediately when we feel threatened. (Which is a good thing because when your life is at stake you don’t have the luxury of sitting down to a nice, long chat with yourself about how to survive.) You were so completely taken off-guard by this guy- whom you considered harmless- that you didn’t know what he was capable of, and your survival instinct kicked in. That’s great because you are still here because of it.

I’m so glad you shared this. What I said above is essentially what my therapist told me many years ago, and I’ve found it to be so true.

Love and hugs to you Alaina,



Kaycee, it also drives me nuts that our families are so complicit in preventing our creative expression, our capacity to make choices for ourselves. I’m sorry to hear you were kept down. I can take days off but I spend part of them worrying that I should be working more/better. My mother’s voice echoes in my head “Look at such and such who DESERVE to do well because they work hard/ more than you do”.

My family didn’t value tooling about. They were “go to work, get tired then come home and watch TV” people. They didn’t enjoy that life though and would often tell me how much better they enjoyed themselves before having kids (and I guess all those terrible obligations that go with?) I didn’t see having kids as anything but a burden but my mother was very disappointed I didn’t have any “Like everyone else”. I mean “rationally” I realize how much of all this is BS but that doesn’t seem to stop the criticism coming. And yes that can be exhausting by itself.
I am making small progress though. The other day when I told a friend to not make belittling jokes to me or to others about me she said “But I’m allowed to do that because I know you so well” and I smiled kindly and said “Hmm, not really”. The best part was I didn’t feel bad doing that. I searched for the crappy feeling I’d usually get when I tried to stand up for myself but it wasn’t there. And I think the difference is that I wasn’t looking to convince her.


I just want to thank everyone for all your support. I’m doing okay. My boss and his wife came over yesterday and they were really, really amazing, good people. Everything is still pretty overwhelming, what happened and then all this empathy I’m receiving—I’m not used to it. Trying to take everything slowly to process it all. Thank you and Kaycee, no, I have no plans of running back to people who have only hurt me over and over and over again. I appreciated your words. Everyone’s. Thank you. I’ll write more later. Much love to all of you.


Alaina, I’m catching up on your situation and. I am so sorry that this person did that to you. I agree with everyone that none of this is your fault at all! He is completely in the wrong. I know this experience must have been just awful for you. I am happy to hear that you have some very supportive people to talk to. Yes, you deserve empathy and caring! Sending you healing hugs. Amber.


Hi Darlene, The most important thing I’ve learned through confronting my childhood and fighting for a healthy relationship with my family, is that good self-esteem comes from doing the right thing, no matter the consequences. I could have gone along with the status quo for the rest of my life and simply, continue to survive in my unhealthy family system. I wanted to fix things between us and I learned that if that included my being truthful about my life and requiring respect, then my family would rather not bother with me. As my husband watched me go through this process the hardest part for him was seeing how badly I wanted to save our relationship and how little that meant to them. In any event, I am better off because I did the right thing and every time something comes up that causes me to go back over what was said between us, my self-respect is bolstered by the fact that I stood up for my dignity, made a difficult stand, and I continue to stick to it. It’s never easy. The easy thing is to fall into the pattern that has always been and that is what they continue to count on because they aren’t brave enough to face the truth.


Pam, Love, love, love your comments!!!!!


Hi Pam,
what you just explained to us is almost exactly the way how I feel about my FOO. I have struggled to fit in and to be worthy in their eyes and that is how I betrayed and denied mySELF in the past for I don’t know how often. But enough is enough and I cannot and will not take any more of their false belief system and their holy harmonious family BS! I am fed up with talking about the weather or others and their personal catastrophes and deseases while they keep on totally denying any responsibility for the crap that they planted into my head and made me believe in. Now that I am no longer playing according to their rules they feel threatened and maybe one or two of them will eventually start to question the way they neglected and treated me in the past. But I don’t care anymore if that will happen or not. I am not responsible for their feelings or the things they believe in. There are books, movies, there is so much information out there. Our family is something that resembles a competition and everybody has to try as best as he or she can to get a medal. There is so much envy, hatred and ignorance and I have decided not to ignore that anymore. That is my fault if there is any at all. I am simply not capable of pretending that there is no pink elephant in the room.


Hi Pam
Great points as always Pam! I relate to everything you said here. And at the end of the day I see that the alternative was agreeing to going back to being treated as ‘less’ than them, going along with all the dysfunction and with the ways that they defined me. NO way, no more!
If they don’t want to live in the truth, that is their choice. But it isn’t mine!
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


My mother decided to go NC with me about 3 years ago. When I was literally begging her all upset and crying to tell me what I had done wrong, she just kept repeating I know very well what I had done and stop pretending I was hurt… WTF? She actually pushed me out of her apartment after showering me with general accusations regarding my character and sensitive information about my past that had nothing to do with her. She used my trust in her to hurt me before kicking me out of her life! And little needy me, I called her 6 months later because I was feeling lonely. I was 7 months pregnant and my husband was hospitalized for 2 weeks because he had gone through major surgery. She wasn’t happy to hear me and later to see me and find out I was pregnant. Deep inside I think it was because she couldn’t be as mean to me as she wanted to. Did she finally explain why she rejected me with such cruelty? NO! Did I dare to ask? NO. Did I need an answer? YES.
Now she threatened again that she is entitled to kick me out of her life for good because my husband and I are such horrible people and mistreat her. She said that I cursed her, so I asked when and what was it that I told her so that I can apologize.
Mom: You told me that I must speak better to your husband! How dare you humiliate me like that?
Me: So I didn’t curse you.
Mom: Yes but this is worst than cursing!
No, this isn’t a story from LaLa Land. It is an actual conversation that took place just a few days ago.

I don’t think I should or can feel guilt if she realizes her threat again. Since she feels that I DESERVE to be abandoned and not be spoken to by her any more, and she is using that threat to regain control over me I will let her have her way…gladly and for the last time, and of course absolutely guilt free! She can walk away because I will continue being this “horrible” person who demands respect for myself and my family!


Pam, Darlene and Oliver, I really need to read your comments right now. My family is celebrating a milestone birthday this weekend for my Mom. Unfortunately, nobody asked me if I could be there at the time they scheduled it and it turns out that I have a scheduling conflict. I’m not going to change my schedule to be at the party. There was a time when I would have turned myself inside out and disappointed my husband and my own kids in order to try to prove to my FOO that I was a good girl and that I was deserving of their approval. No more. My sister was shocked when she called and I said I doubted we would be able to make it. I told her that I guessed if anyone was really concerned if I could be there or not they would have asked me before they scheduled it. It is such a great feeling not to be so anxious and fretful over these kinds of incidents anymore. I really just don’t care what they think of me and that freedom is just awesome. It is ongoing, though. Anytime you expose yourself to them you have to be ready because you know the shot is coming. These days, though, it feels more like a buzzing gnat than a full on body blow. So I know I’m doing better all the time.


Hi Alaina,

Just catching up on the site again. So sorry for your experience. You are not alone. Stay strong.


Hi all..this is a great discussion!
Kaycee “She cling to the image of herself as the giving Mother of a problem child who has always had something fundamentally flawed inside my mental, hormonal and genetic makeup. ”
This is exactly how my mother has always viewed and treated me.

I went NC 2 1/2 years ago. Best thing I ever did. NO REGRETS ABOUT THAT.
I am 60 now. At 40 I spoke up after years of weekly put downs. To be honest I have always strived for family approval. I was deleted from the family like I was dead for finally saying no more.
After 3 years I reengaged. My old training about forgetting what was done to me. No matter how bad.
Very bad for me as the whole pattern just reset.
Karen obedient servant etc…

The abusive childhood, emotionally unavailable unloving mother, violent NPD father who required strict obedience, compliance and respect. Family isolation. No friends. Bullied at school. To no self esteem. To high tolerance of abuse. Holding no one accountable. No boundaries. Scapegoat to my perfect brother.
To them the worst person alive, good only to use. Of course it was turned around to be me, all me even as a young child.
My mother’s abuse was always deniable, insidious. Always pointing at me for my “crazy behavior.” A Difficult child.
At 13 my fathers attempted sexual abuse. To dating with no boundaries. Confusing sex with love. I didn’t even understand sex as no one had “the talk” with me. My teen pregnancy was the forever “proof” of my badness. My defectiveness.
Its all the same. But I never saw it. My bad coping (self harm beginning age 8) and constant emotional upset to me were more proof of how “bad” I was.
Proof of what they always said thru words, looks, put downs, reminding me of my “history” (they have a list of my failures).
Nothing I did or liked or accomplished ever mattered. Only my compliant service to my mother and brother. (Dad died in 03)

So its a classic pattern. And I never saw it. I just was becoming so upset, so triggered, taking meds to cope when I found this site in 2011.

I still have trouble with my doormat syndrome, and people pleasing behavior. I still do not like me very much as I was taught.
But I did break the self harm and know my triggers so that’s progress. Im afraid of new friendships because of my issues. Working is the same problem so not doing that until I can figure out how to change my behavior. So pretty isolated.
I just can’t seem to just get out and engage in society again because it never goes well. Its still a self esteem issue and always has been. At least I know now what happened to me.


My Close Call Rape Story by Yvonne

I was not sure if I should share my story. I am sorry for Alaina and all victims of date rape and acquaintance rape. I had an incident in my life two years ago in 2012. I do work but I do not have a very high paid job and I earned a B.A. degree in 2000 as an older student. I bought a small house, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, in a model home community a few years ago as a first time home buyer. Anyway, I had known an older man when I was living in my former city from a spiritual group. I communicated with him online as a minor friend and I thought that he was safe. I had NO romantic interest in him at all. He was/is seeing an older woman his own age. He is basically retired and earns extra income from online writing. The story is that he decided to move to my city to live by the girlfriend and he needed a cheaper place to rent ASAP. We communicated by email and the deal was that he could rent a bedroom in my house, utilities included, for a good price. I agreed to it and essentially became like a landlady. We agreed that he could rent the room for the summer in my house.

Normally, I have excellent instincts with people. I assumed since he was an older man and involved with a female relationship, that he would have no interest in me, other than business. Believe it or not he did not own a car and his girlfriend would come over on the weekend to take him out shopping. So, he was stuck in my house almost 24/7. I know that people must think how come I did not get a decent female roommate? Well, my hours had been cut at my job and I thought that this situation could work and I needed the immediate extra income. I am a grown up and I did not tell my parents. We have very LC and are not close, but I still maintain a slight relationship with my father for what it’s worth. I know that my parents would never approve of me having a man in my house. They are elderly (age 80’s) and I’m sure will die soon. (I have seriously considered getting into a good living together arrangement in the future, and not married).

There were problems with this landlady/boarder relationship. I am a busy woman and I go out a lot. He was getting bored at home watching TV all day. I told myself that this wasn’t working out and I need to have a talk with him that he must leave my house by the end of the month. He agreed to start looking for a new place, but his personality changed overnight. He was no longer bored but rather attracted to me. He actually “flashed me”, meaning pulling down his pants in front of me while making suggestive comments while I was on my home computer. I started getting very scared. I knew that I was not safe and could not make it until the end of the month. His girlfriend was coming over to pick him up on a Sunday to look for a new place. I got the bright idea of simply “throwing him out” by emptying all of his personal belongings onto my driveway, including food and bathroom cosmetics. I spent all morning clearing out his belongings and then I taped a letter inside an envelope addressed to him on the front door requesting my extra house key back. It was frightening but I couldn’t figure out any other way.

Then it got more confusing. I left that day and went to a friend’s house to visit. My friend suggested that maybe I should get out of town for a few days. Of course I have no other family or place to go so I had to actually drive three hours away to my parent’s house. My parents were shocked to see me and I had to make up a story about taking a day trip to my former city and not wanting to drive back due to the late hours. I called my friend on my cell phone and she was kind enough to drive past my house and give me a message that the man had been there and grabbed his belongings into the gf’s car and left.

There were still loose ends to deal with. The man realized that he had not made it to the end of the month and that technically I owed him about one month rent. He was threatening to take me to a small claims court if I did not pay him back right away. Luckily, my friend loaned me the money (I paid her back) and I mailed him a letter and payment, and photocopied all.

The worst part being that I was not emotionally supported by anyone, except my friend who helped me out a bit. All throughout this mess, I could only think about my Narc mom finding out. I could not bear the thought of being abused twice, first by the man and then by my Narc mom who would NEVER let it go until the day she died! I was almost a rape victim in my own home and here I was thinking about my Narc mom. The old patterns kicked in and it was like being a child again waiting to be emotionally and psychologically abused by this woman. I was praying that my Narc mom would NEVER find out. I realized that I was not allowed to make a minor mistake in my adult life, as if this made me a loser and bad! I know that others can say to me that I should not care about what my Narc mom says to me anymore since I am an adult for what it’s worth. But for everyone here on this site I think that you understand and have some compassion. There are women in foreign countries(and sometimes Americans from “church” families) who believe that it’s always a woman’s fault for being a rape victim. For some teenage girls, now she has brought shame to her family by being with a man(including rape) when it was never her fault. If only she was not wearing a short skirt or whatever…

I did not have a normal mother that I could run to and cry. Trust me, I have taken women’s self defense classes and there are websites and youtube videos on women’s safety issues—if anyone is interested. I thought to myself if I were raped then I would probably keep all medical and police reports quiet from my parents. I guess this proves that my abusive parents are nearly perfect strangers to me.

I cried for days when I returned home. I thought, “why was I born to such mean and abusive parents?” and “if I had good parents who supported me growing up then I would have a higher paying job and different lifestyle!” I know that I had free will to take a boarder into my house but I partly blame my Narc mom and child abuse for this mess. My needs were squashed as a child in every way. I must remind myself that I have turned out well in spite of not getting my needs met. I don’t blame or beat myself up over this past incident.

There are days when I ask why must I live in a world with so many abusive and angry people? I think I just had a minor argument with a friend and I don’t get it. We had a minor disagreement over a TV show–how silly. I am quiet and I try to be polite and considerate. Sometimes it’s hard to be yourself and express an opinion on any subject. I have lots of acquaintances from my hobbies but still wanting to find a good BFF! I will push myself to go out more this fall. Thanks for reading!


Yup I too had to be perfect all the time. Even if I was something would always be wrong. Using the wrong word or expressing a wrong thought. Inspections always found a flaw in clothing style or cookin or g child raising or a vehicle choice. I became a perfectionist. I was never good enough as they always found fault. My brother carrys on the tradition of never being pleased.
He came to my new home and critically picked it apart. I was so hurt at the time. No more. His problem not mine. NC has been good. He was never a loving brother only calling at vacation time so he could come to FL for winter vacation. So its just him and Mother in their endless dance now.


Oh my gosh Alaina and Yvonne how frightening for both of you. (I just now read all the posts) I feel for both of you. I had a couple of bad experiences when I was younger. Scarey. Hugs Karen


Hi Karen R.

I am so sorry for you and I had a lot of what you had growing up. I was both abused and overprotected when I was younger. Perhaps I did not learn a lot of social skills like the other kids, but it does not make me a bad person. I have been labelled “shy” and quiet. I like to blend in a crowd more like a wall flower without a lot of attention. The real me likes to dress very plain, a jeans and tee shirt kind of gal, always wearing a crystal necklace when I’m not at work. I am quiet and peaceful and like lots of space. I am an introvert (along with 25% of the population) and there is no shame in that. I care about people very much, but only if they are the right type for me. I have never had a need to be a superficial in-crowd type of person who cares about what others think of me. I am an independent free thinker and I do have a different religion(Celtic Pagan).

Most of my true blue friends come from my spiritual groups. The problem being is that I moved a few years ago to my new big city. I have more distance from my parents and more job and social opportunities. It’s hard for me but I had a circle of like five very close friends and they don’t call me much anymore since I moved. I place a high regard on friendship since I have no more real family. I believe that most people enjoy collecting a large group of superficial acquaintances with no real depth. I will never understand these very cold and self-centered type of people. I know that if I simply forced myself into relationships with this type of person that I would never be truly happy.

My friend, Joan, told me a story about her moving to California when she was a younger woman and single parent mom after her divorce. She attempted seeing all these therapists and it did nothing for her. She realized that therapists really do nothing to help you and it’s a waste of time and money. Joan found a 12-step or CODA? group and went to their weekly Saturday morning meetings. Joan knew that she was rather lonely, not having any good friends or in a relationship, so she decided to treat herself. She would buy a metaphysical book and then treat herself to brunch in a quaint cafe. She told me that was the highlight of her week to have a good meal and sit and read her book. She said that she had her social needs temporarily met by reading and having a meal in the cafe, while being surrounded by people without having to socially talk with them. In time, she made new friends after trying many groups but it did not happen overnight.

I am not much of a TV watcher and I am out all the time at my various groups. I hope to meet new people and make more friends. I really like to know someone by constantly talking on the phone or visiting me at my home to chat. I thought that I had a good coworker friend with this woman I have known for a few months, but maybe not. I have actually been told to my face by these past idiot therapists that I was never to talk about my parents and child abuse issues to friends! WELL NOT! The best friendships that I have had in my past have been the ones where I was able to talk privately about anything, including past abuse. It works both ways, too. I have actually dumped a few people who had no understanding or compassion whatsoever regarding my past. I cannot be an actress to just please others and if they don’t want to accept the whole me, then they can get out of my life!

Sometimes I do feel so alone that I wish that I could just get into my car, driving on the highway to visit my former city (2 and 1/2 hour drive) once a week, or even once a month. These car trips are costly on my budget right now. I tell myself that I have had good friends in the past and that I can make new friends in the future. I do have high standards for myself and I will not change that.

What makes my sick is knowing that my Narc mom and dad have a few couples in their upper class neighborhood as close?friends. My parents have “let’s do lunch” relationships with these few couples. Obviously, they are NOT close and only scratch the surface of a true friendship. If these neighbors could actually see what a monster my Narc mom was to me as a kid, they would feel shocked and betrayed! So when my Narc mom dies, these neighbors will still believe that my mom was such a good person for being a polite hostess—BUT NOT! Strange but I am such an honest person that I have never been a phony actress like my Narc mom who could fool so many people.

I think the real trick when you are going through a major life transformation is to keep yourself VERY BUSY! I go out to free lectures at the local library and new age stores and I only have to sit there and be surrounded by people. I work and I have a house to take care of and nobody does the house chores for me. I keep busy with groups and way too many hobbies. But most of all I do not beat myself up and verbally abuse myself for not being exactly where I want to be in life with a new social groups of friends and dating. I was hurt by this new coworker girlfriend and I told myself that it really doesn’t matter and if it doesn’t last then I can find a new friend. I’m very grateful for all the abundance in my life and it’s only a matter of time before I will have more. Don’t give up!



I’m praying for you. I’m glad you have your boss and his wife there with you so that you’re not alone.

Elli G,

Ohhhh dear. I’ve had interactions with my mother just like that one. If she felt threatened or ignored, all of a sudden…I did or said something that was against her or disrespected her.

Your request was not out of line, after all, respecting your husband shouldn’t be that difficult. Sounds like you are prepared for the next go round, and will let her have her wish.

I’ve rehearsed scenarios in my head in case the other shoe drops. I expect there will be conflict, because I’m not so compliant and eggshell walking like I used to be….all due to this blog and the help I’ve found here.

You guys rock!


About friendship, I’m reading this right now. Very interesting


Jane, I think it was confronting them that finally, showed me that it wasn’t my fault they didn’t value me the way they should. The problem is in them. They lack empathy, compassion, and genuine love. It wouldn’t matter what I was like, they would only see me as an object to manipulate and thereby, fill their needs. Keeping me down below their level was an important part of keeping me available to do their bidding. I can’t say they don’t still have the power to hurt me, they do and every time they attempt contact without respecting the boundary for relationship I set, it is painful and a good reminder that I don’t want their pain engendering behavior to have any influence on my life. I can’t change them but I can be free.


Hi Yvonne,

As you know, you didn’t do anything wrong. It saddens me that you were afraid of what your mother would say, when actually you DESERVE love, caring and compassion for what your boarder did to YOU!! You did nothing wrong – you were trying to help him out, and help yourself with the bills…he sounds like he was trying his best to manipulate you and decided to try to sexualize the relationship to get what he wanted (“changed overnight”). Jerk.

I can relate to feeling alone with little support, especially when major things happen. Life is so much harder without a strong family connection.



I know exactly what you are talking about. At some point I even stopped trying to converse whenever I visited her because she would always find something to accuse me of. I was just a passive listener of her achievements, and how greatly she always helps those in need. Talk about walking on eggshells… I discovered this blog 6 weeks ago and have been reading all comments and posts sometimes up to 10 hours a day. It feels like somehow I knew all of these things but no one would give me the green light to express how I truly felt. I was trying to figure out how I could be so wrong, every time I felt my stomach was tied in a knot because of the mistreatment and the unreasonable, constant reprimanding of my behavior.

She doesn’t like my husband because he didn’t turn into the puppet she needed him to be. She tried to control me through him by going behind my back and instructing him on what to tell me in order to get me back to college. Here in Greece students do not study what they choose- which is crazy in itself, I know- but they are placed in college based on their performance of the final exams in high school. Well, my extremely high grades placed me in pharmacy department which was a great thing for my mother because she could rub it on her sister’s face. The fact that I didn’t like this department at all didn’t matter. In her mind, I had to finish the 6 year study cycle so that people cannot rub in her face that her daughter is a college dropout. To make a long story short my husband didn’t comply, and on top of it he didn’t drive her around so she can attend her never-ending religious obligations. Enter: he doesn’t deserve her respect…

I truly wish I were able to have a normal relationship with her, but I don’t see how this is possible since she acts like an ill-mannered 10 year old trapped in the body of a 65 year old woman. Everything is her way or the highway, it has always been. Well, I saved myself from depression this time looked up her behavior and found my green light. It’s in all the posts and comments that all remind me fragments of my life. The hurt and the anger are there these past weeks, especially at night when I wake up from some repressed memory that just pops up, but they cannot measure up to the pleasure and ,if I may say, the high that I get from finally realizing that I am not the crazy one or the bad one or the ungrateful one. I am so happy in realizing this, to the point that when she threatens to kick me out of her life again, all I will want to do is serve her a big fat: “Well, then get outta here. Out of my face and my life and do us both the favor of never looking back” , no confrontation and no bullying because that’s her style and what she is, a big bully on the outside and a coward little girl on the inside that needs to give everyone a ride just for being around her.


Alaine, Yvonne, Karen R

What Karen R wrote truly spoke to my heart and reminded me of my close to rape experience at the age of 12. “To dating with no boundaries. Confusing sex with love. I didn’t even understand sex as no one had “the talk” with me”

I remember very clearly that after I got my first period I had the feeling of sexual arousal and didn’t know what the hell it was. So, I went to my mother and asked her if she had anything to tell me around making love. Answer: “ Well, nowadays you kids know everything. It’s all on TV. What is there for me to tell you?”
Guess what… I took her advice. I tried to watch how lovers behaved on TV and the sad thing is that the messages were really mixed for a child who can’t tell sex from love. Was I supposed to be a slut or was it a taboo? Was it some kind of a sin if a boy “stole” your virginity? What was right, what was wrong? I for one didn’t know.

Sometime later we visited my brother’s godmother. The woman is on a wheelchair, and her husband is one of those people who stay married not out of love but to serve some other need. I was 12 at the time and bored so I decided to go out in the garden and play with my ball. My brother’s godfather came out after a while and was just staring at me. I didn’t feel comfortable because the way he was staring was scary and alien to me. He came closer and said: “Look at you, you’ve grown so much..” and proceeded to hug me and put his hands between my legs.. “Let me give you a kiss..” he said. I tried to smile not to be rude! Felt his stinking breath on my face. At the same time I pushed him away with as much strength as I could muster up and ran back in the house. I hid behind my mother the entire time. When we got home I immediately told her. Her answer was that probably I didn’t understand what happened and I misunderstood him. Come oooooon. Brush me off like that? Next week she tried to talk me into visiting them again. Wait, what? Not only didn’t she do anything about the fact I got touched by a pervert, not only did she make me feel stupid for believing that it was wrong, not only didn’t she console me but she wanted to take me back to the pervert a week after the incident. The best excuse I found for her reaction was that she was afraid herself and didn’t know what to do, but still… I mean still why the hell would she want to bring me back to the same place even when there is the slightest possibility that I DID understand what happened and the guy is ACTUALLY a pervert. Such a good Christian that wants to forgive and love her enemies she is… Where in the bible does it say that it is love to expose your children to pedophiles?

Fast forward and a couple of months ago she visited them again. And I reminded her again hoping for a different reaction, but all she had to comment on it was: Yeah, yeah I know ‘cause you’ve already told me.

I was never taught what is right or wrong. I was never taught how to protect myself. I was never taught how to react should it happen again. I was just a bad zit on her butt when it came to sex because she couldn’t teach me anything. I was just sinful and annoying even for bringing up those dirty matters. I abused my body so many times trying to experiment with what felt right or wrong. I was set up for sexual mistreatment, and it AIN’T my fault! I needed support and love when I was so terrified and puzzled by what happened but I received nothing. Now, I have to be a mother to myself and teach me using my sound logic and instincts, repeating to myself what is acceptable and what isn’t. I have to teach my daughter too. I need to reparent myself not to have her in a similar situation not knowing what to do and where to turn. God I’m so angry!


Thank you Light and Elli G. and everybody!

I have learned a lot about sexual abuse from reading comments on this site. My heart goes out to children and teens who were raped and unheard. I can’t imagine the terror of feeling so helpless. My experience was hard as a grown woman but I thought to myself at that time if the ultimate happened that I am an adult who has lived through so much. There is still a lot of good in life and I would not let a horrible experience shut me down!


About when you said you didn’t understand sex. Hell, I couldn’t understand masturbation and asked my mom about it at 13 I got called a nasty bitch for it and that I have plenty for sex. I asked a simple question and that bitch mom of mine took it like I am searching for a guy to find to have sex with! I never told my mom about sexual arousals I was having would have been called a hoe/slut been called that all of my life and I was virgin back then! I asked her what makes me such a hoe? Liking boys? Liking a certain male singer that I think is hot? I was a hoe because I watch jerry Springer that is gonna be my life according to my mom and told her no, that’s your life – 4 kids you never wanted. found the nearest dick to make 3 more babies for you (1st born isn’t his) so he can take care of you and be miserable, etc yea we got at it.

According to my mom, sex doesn’t exist then how did you make children? She taught me about sex then yelled when you asked a question about it always gotta accuse you of wanting to have sex. Idiot parents out there told me she just wants you to be safe I said STFU! Omg, it was like talking to statues and a wall doesn’t describe it. Told these people that isn’t even it about my mom she is just bitter and hateful just be honest about it. How does calling your daughter a hoe actually help? Gee, you wonder why a girl would have problems with sex later on in life!

I wasn’t taught anything either and hate when people say well, your mom/dad wasn’t told this or that and that’s suppose to make everything right? Books been out and if the parents were smart back then, they would have found the info they needed it’s called the public library. It’s up to us to do what we need to do and the old generation gets a pass I told people no, information is available if they truly wanted to learn. Inventors found ways to learn different things, why couldn’t our parents do the same? Oh, nobody wanted to hear that made a lot of people irate when I said that.

My mom always said how my sister and I came from a slutty/whorish generation, so what about my brother? She said you women don’t have any pride or self esteem. Wait a min, neither does she! Allowing your 1st born daughter get raped by my dad who isn’t her dad, allowing others to harm her, getting preggo by two idiots to keep them around, never put your kids and yourself first, etc yet she has a lot of pride about herself!?!? My mom calls herself a damn good mom, what did she do? She said you women always gotta put your asses out there, the men see what you have. My grandma told my sister long ago that my mom ran after some boy in high school and he had a girlfriend, I told sister then I guess that makes her a hoe too!

Kids at a young age where they like boys and girls, so what, don’t understand why parents get so pissed off about that. My dad wanted me to watch a documentary on sex by Taboo on National Geo. and my mom refused to let me see it, this was a few years ago still an adult. He watched it and blew up because his mom didn’t tell him everything about sex or kept shit under the rug. Seriously, if my mom had all this pride like she claims, she would have done a lot better when picking a guy!

She always told my sister and I that if we are hoes, we have to move to another state cuz I didn’t raise hoes. Really? You wanted to raise women to turn out like you and be miserable. Move to another state, then I suggest she pays for the moving expenses! If one of us were prostitutes, she would let us die on the streets yet people out there don’t find that to be a problem that a parent needs to let go and said to them then let their kids die in the streets?!? She raised children that hates their guts, that is true….


Right now, I’m trying to get rid of their shame.


They all talk one thing and live another.


Sorry, Elli G, I put your name on the form as mine when I meant to put it in the form itself quoting you.


Elli G,

Cowardly little girl is right. I wish i had known how bitter and resentful my mother actually was at times. It would have saved me a lot of time. I spent far too much time worrying about what I did wrong and what I could do to make things better.

When I first graduated university and struggled to find a job, I asked my mother to submit my resume to the company where she worked….a manufacturing facility. She refused. She claims she didn’t want me to get stuck like she did. The truth was, she didn’t want to be embarrassed by having her college graduate daughter come work there. It was the middle of an awful recession where people were getting work anywhere they could.

People have asked her if I would like to meet their sons, and she comes up with one excuse after the other of why they aren’t good enough. She wants someone she can brag about. I’ve changed in the past year in that I just don’t tell her much about my life, what I’m doing and who is in it. I can tell by the gaps in our conversation when we talk, that she senses something is shifting.

Like you said, by getting the green light to see things from a clearer point of view, there is so much freedom.



Thank you for recognizing and validating the truth of my experience. I shared this story in the past with a couple of people and surprisingly yielded no reaction whatsoever. So I kept doubting myself about the whole thing and whether it was acceptable or not. What is wrong with people? Don’t they get mad or startled or at least a little annoyed when something is seriously wrong??? Why?

The saddest part about your experience was that you knew that you couldn’t get any support when you mostly needed it from your mother. That’s so wrong, in so many levels!


Funny how many things abusers have in common. Name calling….sigh…In my family I was the one who received ALL the name calling. Since I have memory I can recall my grandmother, who used to live with us, calling me anything but my name. She would make up compound words using c*nt as suffix, so I was frozen-c*nt, spider web-c*unt, turd-c*nt or plain turd sometimes… Mind you this has been going on since I was 4-5 years old, that I can remember. I would get angry and start yelling at her and then she would accuse me of being short-tempered with a big mouth on me, rude and of course her favorite, turd-eating turd. My brother enjoyed the whole act every single time it went on and my mother had no reactions at all. Then it would be his turn to beat me up and call me stupid, retarded and so many other names. So I was labeled as the neurotic child of the family, because every time they cursed me and had a laugh about it I was trying to protect myself because no one else would. It brings a tear to my eye to realize that this is why I felt a very pleasant shiver down my spine whenever someone would call me by my first name. I particularly like people that remember my first name, because I feel that they acknowledge me as a human being.

What is also interesting is that your mother said that she didn’t raise hoes. Right, they love to have the bragging rights for anything good we might achieve but all of the sudden if we do or say something they do not approve of (always based on their crazy logic) they attach a label on us and refuse to take any responsibility. My mother kicked me out of her house 3 years ago, and between other intentionally poisonous things she said that I am so unethical and probably that’s why I am not wanted anywhere. You took the words out of my mouth, I ask you a simple question mom and you send me to watch TV. Educate yourself, ask a professional, find the answer and come back to me later. It was her CHOICE to leave me unguided and then she had the audacity to judge me for acting against her beliefs!

I also hate it when people make excuses for them .Like, come on it’s your mother you can’t just leave her behind you. Well, why the hell not? She left me behind her when I needed her the most and I told her so. I don’t know what her motives were and basically I don’t care. She didn’t do what she was supposed to do, and now wherever she goes starts bragging about all the sacrifices that she has made for her children. No, she doesn’t have the right to place her shortfalls as a mother on my shoulders and rip anything positive that I have for her own benefit. After all I didn’t ask for sacrifices, just simple love in the form of protection and caring emotions. For so many years I have been running on an empty emotional tank, and I still don’t understand how I managed to do that.


You put a little smile on my face when I read your comment. You wrote “People have asked her if I would like to meet their sons, and she comes up with one excuse after the other of why they aren’t good enough. She wants someone she can brag about.”
If bragging were an Olympic sport my mother would be a gold medalist. No one will ever be good enough to cover up for the insecurities that they have though.

I know that mine knows that something is different as well. I don’t take any disrespectful comments from her anymore, so now she is giving me the Scottish shower treatment. Now, she is sweet and mellow like a nice warm shower, but a week ago she jumped down my throat for asking her not to tell me the same thing over 5 times in the same sentence just to force me do it. She asked me what is wrong with me lately. Hehehe, I thought that finally something is right with me but I contained myself and just wait for the upcoming ice bucket to land on my back, but this time I got an umbrella!

Hugs to everyone! Thanks for the support.


Elli G,

Cheers to the umbrella comment! Oy vey…to be so hard hearted as to call ANYONE, let alone a little girl a c@nt! The comments posted here by you and Marquis (Female) go to show the unhealthy obsession people like this have with sexual morality. Yet they seem to have no standards when it comes to manipulation and control. Bless your heart for recognizing the importance of being called by your name. My father passed away when I was a baby, however he named me. I don’t answer to anything but my name It’s a name that can be shortened or modified, however, when people do that, I correct them. I only correct them once. After that, I just don’t respond.

Oh my goodness! When I think of how my mother sat around in judgment of the behavior of others, and being the dutiful child, I followed suit. Every human being is on a journey, and until we start speaking the truth, like you and I tried to do in our families, nothing will change.

The resistance your mother gives you when you stand up for yourself, is the same that I experience with mine. Her favorite thing to say in rebuttal is, “All I said was.” My ready response is, “That “All” was too much.” I haven’t had the opportunity to get it out yet, as our conversations have been very superficial and infrequent lately. However..that’s my little umbrella I guess. LOL


Darlene, what you say regarding your father is also true for me. All I get is “I didn’t know”, ” I don’t know”, “Please forgive me” etc etc but all the while he had been plotting against me in order to protect his image amongst people.
Some people are like that- they place more value on what others think about them and use this fabricated image to boost their ego. It is all false and laughter-inducing.

I guess they rely on this image to have a sense of self and would crumble to pieces if that is lost. SO they do anything to try and keep it up.

I also had the feeling that “they” discarded me long time ago even as a baby. They had already thought I wasn’t worth it.I think they rejected me form the word go.


Hi everyone,
Thank you for all the continued support and I’m so sorry for everyone else’s experiences with this stuff, too. I’m doing better, though it’s still up and down. Yesterday I was murderously angry for part of the day and today I was really scared for a bit… As far as justice goes, even though I understand it was criminal, I also know that I have no evidence, that there’s a burden of proof in criminal cases (as there should be), and so it would be nothing more than a he said/she said. I’d basically taught him exactly how to manipulate me when he’d acted as my friend. He knew how to alternate being forceful with being affectionate. He had so much mind control over me that somewhere near the end he’d told me to lie on top of him and I did so without his pushing or pulling. There were times when I was pulling away from him, telling him to stop and I wanted him to leave, but so, too, were there times when he was rubbing my back and I was clutching on stronger at the same time as I was asking him to please go, etc. I know the story he’d tell and it would be highly believable. He’s not much bigger than me and he’s a very likeable guy. Someone else said of him that he was the kind of guy you wished fame and fortune on (just because he seemed liked he’d only do good with it), what a lovely man he was. Whereas I have a history of emotional problems, a lonely, abandoned girl… you see the story that could be told. And he would have no trouble lying, whereas I would tell the truth and the truth I’d tell could easily be manipulated against me. I was exhausted and in the end surrendered to the idea of well, this is how I was going to have sex and eventually I started to believe him that I just needed to relax, like the terror I was experiencing wasn’t because I was being raped, but because I’m some kind of neurotic prude about sex who needs to let go, never minding the fact that I wasn’t at all attracted to him and had never wanted any of it and forgetting the fact that he was coercing me into this. I’d never even kissed anyone before and his kissing felt so weird and disgusting to me but again, my brain was totally messed up by this time and telling me things like maybe at least try to like it, like be “open” to it (this later on than when I’d given him a few “pecks” back to be polite)… When I first met him at the gate of my apartment that night, he said “we need beers for this,” and we went to the corner store. I’m sure he’d decided then, if not before, exactly what he wanted to do to me. Later he kept saying to me “you’re so delicious, but it’s not your fault, it’s not your fault.” When he found out I was a virgin, he said, “you’re so selfish,” then when he saw my reaction, “no, you’re not… but yes, you are, depriving the world….” Yes, I over and over said no. I pushed his hands away so many times, and tried to get away, but the struggles were weak—no bruises to show for anything. He’d said to me, “I respect you, I’m not going to attack you.” Later, I said, “you said you weren’t going to do this,” when I was terrified and struggling, but of course it was just that I was supposed to submit to him, if I just let go and go with it, he’d be gentle… Even in his excuses the next morning, though, he confessed to the very definition of what he’d called sadistic in an earlier conversation we’d had when he was being supportive to my past experiences. He also knew, though, that I never figured things out till long after they were over. We’d had an entire conversation about how I’d been manipulated by my boss, about the nature of the restaurant industry, the way people are victimized and then they get to the top and feel entitled, like they earned their right to mistreat people, him saying how it starts in families, me saying how I didn’t know how people could do to others what had been done to them, how people just want what they want and they ignore the effects, have no empathy, how they knew what they were doing, manipulating things to get what they wanted, how it was sadistic, him saying yes, that’s what it was. And then he did what he did. I think mostly of me curling in a ball, convulsing, and him continuing anyway. And in the morning, in his excuses, in his apology, telling me that he shouldn’t have gone after me like that, if only he had taken things slower and how he could only see what he wanted, ignoring all the signs, misreading things because he wanted what he wanted… When he found out I’d slept on my tiny sofa all night, he asked, as though in pity, you slept there, like this, and demonstrated being curled up. It was not about pity; it was about humiliation. He wanted me to know what he’d done to me. But that’s just my perspective, and I have no proof of anything, and I want to be safe. It’s awful to do nothing but I can’t see what else can be done.


Reading through the comments on this post (with the common thread we all share) and one comment in particular stuck with me. From Brenda “She says I shut her out” – this is so common with me. My mom always says I don’t initiate, I always reply. Well, considering she has no clue as to my life and how insanely busy I am at work, maybe that is true. I “never” contact her or I “always” do something. Isn’t it amazing that one thing all of them have in common are “key phrases”? With my mom, it’s “never” or “always”, two absolutes that make my hackles rise. How is that possible? Even I notice that I have developed (or tried to) a language that I have to use when I speak to her. I haven’t gone NC because of my dad. I’m using my “company face” when dealing with her. All surface, no depth. Only way I can survive this situation. I’m sure I’m rambling. I am just so relieved that I found you all. I actually shared this website with my best friend, who is in the same relationship with her mother.


[…] Related Blog Posts ~ Going No Contact and Feelings of Guilt […]


Hi Everyone ~ I published a new post today!
If you have ever felt like your family doesn’t (or didn’t) see you, read this: “What about Me? When your Family Disregards you”.
See you there!
hugs, Darlene


I have never posted here, though ive read all of your posts in the last year Darlene. I JUST downloaded your book and I am really looking forward to it. I have been craving that first person validation. This particular blog post finally prompted me to become more involved in this community.

I only recently stopped feeling guilty for going LC w my FOO (NC w only my BPD/NPD mother). I invited them to my wedding a few months ago. I had to try one last time for some kind of reconciliation. I emailed my dad and was talking to him a bit. I wanted to make sure they felt comfortable and i even gave them a heads up about a cousin that would be attending (whom my mother believes is possessed by the devil and has been ostracized from the family-hes her blood nephew). My sister and I hang out w him and he was invited, esp after I hadnt heard from my family on either of my parents sides. So, my “Dad” writes me back, telling me that my wedding date wasnt the bombshell I intended it to be (???) and blamed me for everything, including telling me that they always supported my marriage to my now Husband and that I was causing turmoil by saying they didnt and I was twisting their words just to hurt them. I got a 4 page email from him ONE WEEK before my WEDDING full of nothing but blame and projection. But theres one problem…

My dad never talks like this. After a short analysis, I realized…it was my mother. Knowing my family, im sure she talked my dad into posing as him. Because, ya know, im just “stupid, angry Amber” and id fall for it. PLEASE.

I cried. My dad told me a few weeks before that he wanted to come and that it would make my Mom happy. So much for that. He was too optimistic. My mom had her mind made up weeks beforehand. She wasnt going to tell me. I had to email my dad. For my wedding. Like a pitiful Bride.

I also had to call my grandparents. They gave me the lame excuse that they couldn’t come bc it was too far for them to drive w their arthritis. They go to my parents house all the time. My wedding was 10 mins up the road from their house. ANY of my friends would have picked them up. When I asked her, she said, Oh we couldnt have someone do that! So…in other words, my mom has you by the jugular too.

None of my aunts and uncles responded. I couldn’t invite extended family. I had my sister & Bro in law and my cousin. Thats it. *sigh* However, I found new family that day. My tight circle of friends?? They are my family. The family that employs me and treats me as their own and hosted our wedding at their house?? They are my family.

I lost all respect for my family. They are enabling cowards. My mother is all too powerful in my family. She had me convinced for 30 years after all. But especially my father…I wrote him later telling him I dont feel safe communicating to him via email. That I cant trust him. After much working out my feelings on it, I dont feel guilty any more. I have family and we know how to love.


Hi Amber C.
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
OH wow, your told you off pretending to be your dad?? WOW ~ that is such a truth leak ABOUT HER.
I am so sorry about your wedding story. I have a similar one myself. I tell my kids that I want “a do over” but when I think about it, all I want are the things that I wasn’t given the choice on! (and I want it to be about me this time, and there is NOTHING wrong with that!)
I hate how people will band together and target one person, so afraid of the head bully that they can’t think for themselves. That is the dysfunctional family system in a nutshell!
I am so glad to hear that you don’t feel guilty anymore! It isn’t YOUR guilt to have.
I am glad that you decided to share after all this time!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, you have hit the nail on the head once again. I hate how my FOO has stated and always says that I have alienated my FOO. I am the black sheep in my family, and I have realised that no matter what I do or don’t do, I will never be seen for myself. My truth is NEVER heard, NEVER respected. My parents had/have preconceived notions of who will play what role, and my role is that of the bagholder, the one responsible for all ills in this world and my family. Quite basically, I am the black sheep where now my adult siblings have continued my parents belief that I am only good for the blame of all things. They too now expect me to continue this role that has been determined by my parents.
It used to kill me when my siblings would say that “I know that you have difficulty with mum or dad,” or how they would go on and on about how I have separated myself from the rest of the family. I have emails, and for a while even had recordings from old telephone messages stating how horrible I am because I have DELIBERATELY cut them out of my life.
I wish I could say that I had blocked my family, especially my stepfather. I tell my truth this way, It’s like my stepfather has asked me to come to play tennis with him at 10 am each and every day at a specific tennis court. I go, every single day, ready and willing to play. Every single day he doesn’t show up. Now, on the 8th day, I show up, I call and ask why he isn’t here, I get a bull shite answer. So, on the 9th day, I don’t show up, and then everyone is told how I am a shite because I haven’t shown up. He has proof that I just can’t be bothered and how heartless and careless I am. I can/could never win. Even until this day, I am blamed because I have chosen not to continue. No one ever hears the other information. SO, I can’t really say that I stopped being his daughter. The reality is, he was NEVER my father. I have known since I was little, that I was a mere pawn in his need to look like he was an awesome human being for adopting a little girl with birth defects. WOW, instantaneous knighthood. I asked for surgeries, I begged. He told me I’d never be beautiful. “Be smart instead!” he told me. SO, I really worked hard in school. I got into college. But, when people has abandoned you, it’s really hard to accomplish things when you are on your own. Funny thing, my half siblings never seemed to have this abandonment issue. Both parents were plugged in when they went to school or did whatever.
To this day, My stepfather denies my existence, my children’s existence, my husband’s existence. But, he’s all over the internet about his daughters and grandkids. As for my mother, I was her worker bee. Her person who fixed things, made all things right, someone who always had to do things right, But, I could never seem to get it right. When my therapist and Doctor suggested that I tell her, that I needed to separate from her, so I could get some space in my own thoughts, because she was so toxic, you would swear that I had annihilated a race of people. My name was shite, my family told whoever they could about how cruel I was.
My mum got cancer. I was there, plugged in, until she died. I was told not to go to her funeral because I had hurt her so deeply, and it would be hypocritical of me to show my face. So, again. I have been excluded, but that is not the story they tell. I am the shite, the one responsible for why our family is broken. Apparently I am more powerful than I ever imagined. Apparently I have super human powers and abilities in that, I can cause hell, and have been doing so since I was 1 year of age. I came to my stepdad with preconceived notions that little ol’ me was a one person wrecking machine. Responsible for all that ails the world. I guess I should be honoured. But, I’m not, I hurt. ANd no one cares or wants to. I’m glad I don’t belong to them. I’m really glad that I no longer have to be intertwined in the mental chaos that continues to churn. Thanks Darlene, and I’m sorry this is so long. It struck a nerve.


Hi Raven!
I LOVE your paragraph so much! Yes the power they assign to us is crazy! But that is the bottom line in all this ~ it is crazy and dysfunctional and NOT LOVE. And I totally relate to what you said ” I guess I should be honoured. But, I’m not, I hurt.’ It DOES hurt! and it doesn’t make sense but it is great to know that the way they act isn’t about me or about you… it is about them.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene. you are a godsend! 🙂


I, too, was not heard and denied my feelings until one day I woke up and decided it was enough. I was in my mid-forties and I was very tired of walking around the mine field that is my mother. I couldn’t deal with it anymore: I was sick with Adrenal Fatigue that wasn’t improving after years of treatment. I HAD NO MORE ENERGY TO SPARE FOR ANYONE BUT ME. When I simply stopped trying to court her favor (stopped inviting her, stopped calling her, stopped making excuses for her and allowing her to use bad behavior around me) she simply had no more use for me. She has done NOTHING since that day to reach out to me. She has not given ONE sign that having a relationship with me is important to her. She cries to all her friends that I ‘rejected & abandoned’ her, but the simple truth is I stopped doing my part and HER PART of the relationship. There was no angry blow up, there was simply me letting go of being her codependent.

My father is still with her. I have not heard from him or seen him in years now. He is cowed by her and has chosen to throw me away to save himself in her eyes. Since I no longer am willing to coddle and kiss her ass, I am denied a relationship with him, too.

So there was no plan on my part to go No Contact with them — they simply interpretted my committment to myself and my health and took it as their excuse to cut me out of their lives.


Hi Elise
That is pretty much my story too; when I stopped jumping through all the hoops, they lost interest in me.
Thank you for sharing, I am really glad that you are here!
hugs, Darlene


Raven in #248 wrote: “I was told not to go to her funeral because I had hurt her so deeply, and it would be hypocritical of me to show my face. So, again. I have been excluded, but that is not the story they tell. I am the shite, the one responsible for why our family is broken. Apparently I am more powerful than I ever imagined. Apparently I have super human powers and abilities in that, I can cause hell, and have been doing so since I was 1 year of age.”

Raven, you didn’t write for “too long,” you could write forever because you sure told my story, too. I’ve said so many of the very same things, almost word-for-word! And I thought I was the only one who “ruined everything for everybody in the family,” all because I left (escaped!) and told the truth. I broke the Code of Silence and am a Traitor to the Cause. And it’s “off with her head!”

I was not allowed to come and even see my mother on her death bed, and her refusal gave my sisters free reign to pull the hell of hades down on my head ever since. They have taken up her cudgel and sword with a vengeance. I have had to block every single last one of them from my blog (which they were monitoring, and passing around excerpts, unbeknownst to me), block them from Facebook and spam them on email. It’s awful.

I don’t know how to get over this except to look at it like the Wicked Witch from the West, and remember that I’ve had a number of Good Witch Glenda’s come into my life. They all saved me, that’s for sure.

Just like Darlene’s blog does for all of us. Gracias, amigas, for telling your tales. Makes my day, really. We are truly “not alone.” And we will overcome this misery and climb that mountain to the “spirit in the sky” that awaits us all. With Grace Everlasting, Amen.


Elli #239: I have to remember every word of this! You wrote:

“You put a little smile on my face when I read your comment. You wrote “People have asked her if I would like to meet their sons, and she comes up with one excuse after the other of why they aren’t good enough. She wants someone she can brag about.”

If bragging were an Olympic sport my mother would be a gold medalist. No one will ever be good enough to cover up for the insecurities that they have though.

I know that mine knows that something is different as well. I don’t take any disrespectful comments from her anymore, so now she is giving me the Scottish shower treatment. Now, she is sweet and mellow like a nice warm shower, but a week ago she jumped down my throat for asking her not to tell me the same thing over 5 times in the same sentence just to force me do it.

She asked me what is wrong with me lately. Hehehe, I thought that finally something is right with me but I contained myself and just wait for the upcoming ice bucket to land on my back, but this time I got an umbrella!”

Can we get an AMEN!

Made my day!


Catherine Todd – AMEN!

Looking back on the comments about a mother finding fault with all her friends’ sons in terms of a husband for her daughter, I had to remember the parallel experience I had with my mom. She was always telling me why I wasn’t good enough for anybody to marry me. I wasn’t good enough for anyone to even like, so I guess loving me enough to put up with me for more than 15 minutes was way too much to expect.

One of my dad’s favorite sayings was “look at the donut instead of the hole”. He had no idea how well I actually did that because he & my mom were always pointing out the hole in their donut and it was ME.

That stuff made me feel so crazy. My whole family is a house of mirrors where all the reflections are distorted. It’s a trap so destructive that if I ever get stuck in it again…I just can’t risk that.



About feeling guilty for going no (actually low) contact with my family – if I do, I remind myself that I would actually LOVE to be part of my family. However, I have demanded–and they have turned me down–my final and last request. I have requested that I be an equal. I wrote to my mom and said when you are willing to treat me just as well as your two other daughters and two sons, and talk about me to extended family just as respectful as your other children–then I would love to be part of the family again. I asked her to not allow her other children to gossip about me to her anymore, just the way she doesn’t allow me to vent the disrespectful treatment my sisters dish out on every turn, and when she and the rest of the family are willing to treat me as an equal–then I am willing to come back. This was met with silence. She denied NOTHING. But she also promised NOTHING.

Years ago, my husband set me straight. He said that I will never hope to raise in status in my family. If I was to raise in status, then someone would have to occupy my old role, and no one wants to be the low-status person.

The sad part is how it affects my 20 year old son. They now call him to family get togethers and holidays and exclude me, my husband, and stepson (who is not often here). They relish the idea of taking everything of joy I might have out of my life. And it stresses out my son. I am not opposed to spending part of my holidays with them and I can be civil and gracious for several hours. They are actually afraid of my husband as he is a big, silent, imposing looking man who is keenly educated and intelligent. They can tell he sees right through them and it makes them squirm. My family would like nothing more than if my son disowned me.

“Pam, Darlene and Oliver, I really need to read your comments right now. My family is celebrating a milestone birthday this weekend for my Mom. Unfortunately, nobody asked me if I could be there at the time they scheduled it and it turns out that I have a scheduling conflict.”

The above comment–I quite understand it. My family has DONE this for years. They would set a date that worked for everyone, never consulting me on my availability, and if I could not MAKE the time they set, and when finally set my foot down and did not attend last-minute invites they used it as an exclude not to include me anymore, i.e. “she didn’t go to my son’s birthday party, therefore she is not interested in being part of the family.

I am interested in being part of the family and have always been. But not as the family scapegoat. However, that is the only role they have for me to play. If they selected someone else to be their scapegoat, I clearly could not live with that, either.


My role in the family wasn’t the scapegoat. ( I don’t actualy fit into any one definition so I use the words ‘compliant and obedient, obligated, disregarded, etc) but the bottom line is about MY choice. I stopped playing all their games and stopped jumping through the hoops. They didn’t accept me as an individual who had my own choice; that didn’t serve their purposes anymore and that is their choice. (they have that choice, but I don’t have to go along with it) Something that I realized is that no matter what I did, it was used against me if they wanted to use it against me. There WAS NO win for me… so long story short (well the long story is all here in the 400 articles) I chose ME and I stopped engaging. I realized that there was nothing that was going to make them listen to me or to get them to want to try ‘for me’.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, the way you stated it in Comment #257 makes it so clear. The phrases that jumped out at me were:

“no matter what I did, it was used against me if they wanted to use it against me.”

“There WAS NO win for me…”

“there was nothing that was going to make them listen to me, or get them to want to try ‘for me’.”

“I chose ME and I stopped engaging.”

Me – I’ve recognized that I’ve been a thing instead of a human being in their eyes for so long that a relationship with them is only destructive for me.



Darlene, I am not sure everyone fits into the Family Systems Theory in a neat little package. Back when we were in high school, my sister went to a family development workshop that defined roles of an alcoholic family–there roles seemed to be 1) golden child/hero 2) lost child 3) scapegoat and 4) mascot/caretaker. We had a family discussion and everyone agreed that we were all playing these roles–we could see it even as young teenagers. The oldest sister, the prom queen and class valedictorian and the “family beauty”–was obviously the hero. I, next in line, was obviously the scapegoat, everyone agreed that was true. My sister who took the course, was sort of a co-heroine and co-mascot and assumed a caretaker role. The oldest brother was clearly a lost child and spent his days lost in the woods and wandering country roads by himself. The youngest brother was the family clown and mascot and excelled at comedy and singing and celebrity impersonations. So it was as if the youngest sister and the youngest brother sort of split the roles and she assumed the “caretaker” and family activities director and fixer of problems, and he resorted to entertaining all of us. Ironically, we didn’t have alcohol issues that the educational materials attributed the origins of these roles to. We were teetotaling sectarians from an obscure religious sect (see best selling book by Hanna Pylvainen called We Sinners). We flew under the radar in our community because we were not “out” with our unusual religious practices. What we had, however, was a closeted philandering father and a mother who desperately wanted to hide (especially from herself) the truth about her husband and her marriage and who wanted to keep us on the straight and narrow road so we would all get to heaven. She was co-dependent and immensely frustrated. So she took it out on me, mostly, and projected my father’s rejection of her and his anger management problems out on me, who was a vulnerable child.

When I exited the family, and the family religion, it left everyone scurrying to find a new object to project onto. Whenever I tried to re-enter, I found they could not accept the new boundaries. If I set them, by saying a certain topic was off-limits (my religious beliefs, my weight, my appearance, my marriage, my hobbies/new friends) they were not respected. They stalked my every move on Facebook but never responded to any of my posts. I eventually had to move them to a restricted setting on Facebook, but then they would enter my page via their childrens’ log-ins so that they could know what was going on with me, but never to compliment me on my achievements or interesting life and travels, just so they would have a fodder for conversations about me. They would gossip and discuss me in a negative light around my son, who saw right through it but was not strong enough to confront them about it.

I have arranged my life in such a way that I now have control over my relationship with them. I call my parents about once a month and see them 3 or 4 times a year. I would like to see them more, but my mom does not yet respect all of my boundaries. She may never do so.

So in my absence, they have chosen a new scapegoat, which is my youngest brother who was the previous mascot. He is the most vulnerable target because he has had personal and financial difficulties. He, too, is getting right fed up and he calls me to vent sometimes. I don’t let it go to far because I think he would throw me right under the bus if meant he would get back into the good graces of what I call the “holy trinity” (mom, two sisters) who are sort of a collective mouthpiece for the rules and norms of the family. I just encourage him to place boundaries on his life and to live it how he decides and I joke that if “banishment is a prison, please throw away the key.” Funny, but he used to be the most blatently disrespectful individual to me, but now I have gained his respect, somehow. Now I think he disrespected me so much because I think somehow, deep down, he knew that he was next in line for the scapegoat role if anything were to happen to me. I never thought he would be so loving to me. His girlfriend seems to like me, too, and furthermore–she seems to “get it” and “get me.”

Sorry this rambles so long, Darlene. I respect what you have built here. Though I have had therapy off and on for years to understand family systems theory, your approach is refreshing. You are coaching us all how to stand up for ourselves and to NOT apologize for desiring equal treatment and respect. As a mother of two young adult sons, I feel fairly confident that my sons feel that I respect them as people, as equals. On the very FEW occassions they have confronted me on my behavior that they disliked — often it was just a misunderstanding and clearing the air — I can DO what my parents have never done, and that is to look at myself introspectively, apologize, and tell them I have never meant to hurt them or manipulate them. Our family relations are rather easy in a way I would never, ever imagine a family to be!


I love what you wrote here in reference to the way that you have relationship with your kids ~ Eira said “I can DO what my parents have never done, and that is to look at myself introspectively, apologize, and tell them I have never meant to hurt them or manipulate them. Our family relations are rather easy in a way I would never, ever imagine a family to be!”
~ This statement is a broken cycle of abusive family statement!! YAY.. (and I too have experienced several almost heated conversations with my own children where when we communicated honestly we found misunderstanding. There is a big difference between that and parents who teach “my way or get out” . Communication and equal value IS relationship.
Thanks for sharing. hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene!

I neglected to say something else that is important. I’m not always sure it was important for me to understand the underlying cause of the family dysfunction–after all, I have understood the roles and the dance since I was a teenager, and I understood my role as a scapegoat. For 16 years, I finally understood why (religious fundamentalism combined with sexual addiction in my FOO) but I did not break free until I recognized, mostly through your site, that as a child I deserved equal respect and humane, non-abusive treatment. My husband helped me understand that I would never, ever hope to change my niche in the family. When I finally lost hope that my parents, siblings, and extended family would ever “give me a place at the table” and I resolved to quit living in denial, I had to start living my own life for myself for the first time. A co-worker noticed the changes in me a year after her retirement when she saw me after that absence, she said “Eira! What has happened to you? You grew a backbone! You are like a whole different person!” She said she noticed it was in the way I walked, talked, laughed, and even in my eye contact. My abusers liked to niggle at my every percceived flaw and fault. I don’t see them often, but when I do, I notice something akin to fear in their eyes. The sad part–is that now its directed toward my brother, and possibly (I suspect) one or more of the grandchildren. Some day I may be called to be an enlightened witness for one or more of them and I am up for the task.


Eira, I feel so sad that thee family dynamics ruin the trust and relationships between siblings and even extended family. The loss is huge, it hits me when I see little memes about “sisters.” I miss not being allowed to have normal family relationships. I was always the third class passenger on my Mother’s Titanic. No matter how much I change, they are always the same.


Wow. Reading these posts, it’s amazing what finally seeing yourself as a person can do for you. You can even become humble enough to apologize to the people you’ve hurt instead of making excuses.

Darlene, your comment is so real for me:

‘They didn’t accept me as an individual who had my own choice; that didn’t serve their purposes anymore and that is their choice. (they have that choice, but I don’t have to go along with it) Something that I realized is that no matter what I did, it was used against me if they wanted to use it against me. ‘

Sometimes, my mother would preach to me that I shouldn’t let anyone diminish me..even if it was her. However, the practice of that was never present unless it was something she wanted. A basic human characteristic is to be assertive and to set boundaries. Yet controlling parents do their best to stifle this in their children, because they refuse to relinquish control. I’ve come up with a new term for this. I call it unauthorized access. My mother reached past ever emotional and mental and sometimes physical boundary to take control where she had no authority to do so. I think this is why she was so verbally abusive when I asserted my independence.

It’s so hard as a child to continue this fight. You’re supposed to be busy growing up and developing…not fighting a war at home. Alas, it is what it is or has been what it has been. Thank God for the opportunity to reset my boundaries and become my true self.


Aaaand it finally happened as I expected…. My mother told me 4 days ago that my brother would be visiting her –he lives in another city- and she wanted to talk to the both of us. I knew it was wrong, it had to be wrong, it was never right when she wanted to talk to “us” as siblings… I knew it would be about her, because she is the only thing we have in common. At first I decided not to go, but she went really low using cheap tricks to get a hold of me on the phone and urge me to go to her apartment just to say hello to my brother… She had him call me first asking me to meet (we have no relationship and he doesn’t give a rat’s @ss about me) and I told him I could meet him stat, but then he found an excuse to lure me to our mother’s apartment today morning. I said I can’t promise I’ll be there because I have an obligation, so 3 minutes later my mother called to ask me if I could come. She pretended not to know that I just spoke to my brother who was sitting right next to her. She also said she has something to say to us so I asked what it was…
Mom:ummm I can’t tell you over the phone.
Me: Is it good or bad?
Mom: Have I ever told you anything bad?

So I was drawn like a butterfly to the fire, I knew it had to be done someday so might as well be today.

After welcoming me, she immediately started by planting some guilt in me for not applying for the government funding offered for the nursery school my daughter was supposed to go to. We’ve been that road 4 days ago, heard the same crap how a friend of hers would help us get my daughter to the school and how her friend cursed her and humiliated her because I didn’t apply for the fund. I told her that it is none of her friend’s business and she had no right to curse her or put her down like that. All hell broke loose then.. First she called me irrational, then lazy and then she insisted that her friend was right to treat her like that. I told her I am not supposed to feel guilty if she allows other people to abuse her and then I lost my cool and raised my voice. She got mad and after not being able to forcefully make me see that she was right, she quit and proceeded with the reason she wanted us both.

Sooo, she wanted to tell us that she was tired and disappointed in everyone (meaning her children) and that she was going to give us some money both and stop trying, because her plan for us and herself didn’t work out and she had no more energy. Do you read what I am writing? I am 30 and my freakin’ brother 34 and she kept trying to force us into some kind of stupid plan of hers making decisions for OUR lives. And now she was giving up on us because that wonderful parenting doesn’t work anymore. She closed by looking at me saying she was done with all the ungratefulness and ran into her room before I had a chance to answer. And then guess what! That brilliant brother of mine who was adequately brainswashed by her to scold me turned to me and said: When will you learn how to talk? From what mom told me last night she was right about this issue. And since you know she is like that just yes-yes her.

Really? Not even giving me a chance to say how I felt about it? Really? Never once call me to see if I am alive or dead and now you know if I can talk or not? Really? Do what he does and turn like him? It was scary, the whole time I was there my brother was visibly dissociated and looked as if he were in a bubble where he felt nobody could see him. He was moving his lips like he was talking to himself and making weird little faces, moving nervously and smoking all the time. DAMN YOU MOM! What the F@CK have you done to him?

So I told him as calmly as I could that there were many things he didn’t know, and probably many things he didn’t understand. I told him that it is not acceptable to let people curse you and then put the blame on your child. I told him that probably if he would have children (he is gay) he could see more easily what acceptable behavior towards us is and what isn’t. I told him I had the right to be angry for many reasons. I told him that I cannot afford to let anyone diss me especially in front of my child, because I am her model and she is not supposed to tolerate disrespect or believe that I can be disrespected for any reason. I know he didn’t listen to me, I know he didn’t understand.

For some seconds I broke and I just shed a couple of tears, I told her that I never questioned her motives. It’s true, I never questioned her motives! I always believed she wants the best for me. But I am here, screaming at her now to wake her up, to tell her that she is hurting me, to tell her that if her motives are good then she is doing it wrong because I feel like crap. I tried to tell her, I tried to explain it, I tried to show her with my behavior, I tried to reach out but nobody listens to my voice or my feelings. I am the invisible soul to them!

They both were silent almost the entire time I was there, and I could read it in their eyes that they were just waiting for me to get out of there so they could have a nice long conversation about what is wrong with me. I have been on an adrenaline rush all day today. My mind just can’t stop replaying my brother’s face. Today I think I have to mourn the loss of both of them. I don’t know what will happen next, brother said he would call in a few days, but that’s probably to continue my mother’s saga.

Am I sad? A little, but only because I wanted to say more and I didn’t. I felt I had to spare them, I couldn’t fight feeling sorry for them the very same time I was mad at them. Am I happy? A lot, because for the first time in my life I feel like ME! The angry version of me, but me nonetheless. And I wouldn’t trade that for the world!


Kaycee, I love your quote:

“I was always the third class passenger on my Mother’s Titanic.”

I, too, feel a twinge of sadness when I see memes about their sisters and their mother–I have received nothing but criticism from my closest female relatives my entire life. I could never, ever, hope to confide in them a secret and every time I have been fooled into their confidence they have let me down and used the information to humiliate or exploit me.

I have, however, had girlfriends who are like sisters to me and mother figures. Even as a woman approaching middle age I still hunger for a mother figure. Years ago I heard the saying that one could “be their own good mother” and I thought that it made no sense at all, how could I do that? But now I realize, I can, I can. I can give myself the “approval” she could not give me, not ever.

Looking on the bright side–I know people who are devastated and cant hardly go on to losing their mother. I know, I too, will be very very sad when my mom passes, but part of the sadness is for her very unfulfilled life! How desperately lost a mother must be that she must resort to emotionally abusing her own child to cope! The sad part about my mom’s mom was that she was so very accepting of all her children and were so loathe to criticise any one of them–I never heard any words of rebuke or dislike or disapproval of her children from her lips. Ever. This wasn’t the kind of generational trauma at all, but a trauma my mom made in her own troubled mind.


Elli G,
Good for you! You were present and accounted for. You saw things for what they were and you stood up for yourself. It’s a great example. I admire your courage.

I am actually missing my brother tonight. I heard a song I like very much that reminds me of him. It makes me think of him as a child, or softly… sort of like just him without all the chaos, him as his pure self, in a slower place with the world swirling around… if that makes sense. We’ve not had a relationship for quite sometime, many years before I completely broke off with my mother. Starting with the fact that his wife is super dysfunctional, controlling, spiteful, and even a bit delusional in her efforts to justify her over the top version of the world being out to get her. I became a target to her. I was getting hateful (although extremely, intensely long, wordy, well thought out) rants about everything I had done to offend her with some regularity when I was still having anything to do with them. It seems to me now that he married a super concentrated version of my mother, one who is just as full of spite and self righteousness; but is more into the (as far as I know) verbal and emotional abuse. My brother gave up on me in the midst of one of these “fights”, banning me from his social media profile. No explanation. Just little messages in bottles on the internet that I looked at because it was the only access I had to him and didn’t know any better to avoid. He even wrote a blog about how he was giving up.
This last time I had a confrontation with his wife, I ended it. I told her I didn’t care anymore. She was sweet as sugar every time I saw her (to my face) after that. But there was never any more than small talk. The last time my brother reached out to me was to tell me that I needed to “stop being a jerk to mom, I don’t care what she’s done to you.” I told him it was none of his business.
But I do miss him. I wish that he cared. I realize that his 2 main women are domineering, disrespectful, passive aggressive women who don’t care for me. I wonder if I should reach out to him. But, I think that’s not really on me. He’s the one that disapproves of me. He’s the one that said he gives up. He has his own passive aggressive, self righteous ways, as well. And that’s fine. It sure does hurt sometimes, though.

Otherwise, I’ve been doing pretty good. For a while there, I was really needing to pacify. I was very preoccupied in order to distract myself. I’ve been able to give up most of my obsessive compulsive preoccupations, though I’m still having the random panic attack. Luckily, they haven’t been able to take hold for more than an hour at a time (knock on wood). I realize that all those things I was preoccupied with had to do with filling the void and distracting from the pain. At the moment, I have a comfortable resolve and understanding that this is it. There won’t be a message or a call from anyone in my family. They don’t care. I was invisible to them, didn’t really matter to them, and it’s still the same way. And that’s ok. I have people who do see me. And, I see them.



My mom told me she wished I was never born that she wanted to smother me as a baby, kill me, send me off to someone (even better), etc. This was when I was 12-13 yrs old and no apology from it at all. People say oh she didn’t mean it, yea she did – of course she did! I knew from a young age, I wasn’t wanted yet I get no credit from people out there.

Elli G,

Yep, all abusers have the same shit in common which is funny a lot of people say each of them are different, really?!? My 1st born sister (whom I don’t know at all) and I got all of the name calling; my other sister and brother got screamed at too, but it was so brutal for me nothing understands out there how brutal it was for me. I have had people tell ‘yea, people are assholes and rude. Big deal!’ I am like wow that’s sympathetic and was told parents say mean shit daily. I said no, they don’t not the real parents out there!

Getting a boyfriend is considered a hoe, having male friends (straight or gay) is a hoe, liking sex is a hoe, etc. My ex-therapist said maybe as daughters we are treated like this because my mom views us as the other woman thus making all women out there to be whores. I told her as daughters, we have nothing to do with the other woman. 1st born half sister was raped by my dad and my other sister told me the other day that mom felt that dad was still touching her on multiple occassions. However, my mom did absolutely nothing about it called 1st born half sister a whore saying it’s her fault for “allowing herself to get in bed with her dad (1st off, my dad isn’t her dad at all nor was he ever a step dad to her. My sister told me he NEVER treated half sister like she is his own, treated her like some other piece of trash)!!

For some reason, my narc parents are different from abusers who are in prison. Can’t believe I heard something so stupid from other people’s mouths out there omg! Oh yea, my parents love to brag and watched for years how people gobble that up! I always tell people never judge what you don’t know/understand especially if you were either not there to witness or lived it.

People have told me ‘yea, children feel invisible all the time. Not everybody wants to hear a child whine….or dead.’ My mouth dropped when I heard that and asked then ‘why do you people have children? Why do you rush into the scene when someone does harm to your children? All of a sudden, you wanna put the abusers in prison!’ The faces of these people were hot when I got through with them. It’s like Andrew Vachss said in an old Oprah interview in 93 how hypocritical people are when it comes to child abuse. Kids being invisible all the time, back to the children are seen and not heard bs?

Oh yes, the excuses people use on parents like these. There’s no excuses, they knew what they are doing and it was done purposely. There’s no “accidentally” calling a daughter a slut, no, you meant it! Funny, people wanna use excuses for abusers saying they didn’t know what they’re doing etc yet it’s the victim who seems to know what is going on and know what they are doing! The victim gotta take responsibility never the abusers and my ex-therapist said abusers won’t take responsibility I told her keep kissing their asses and they won’t duh! As long as give fools like these passes, they will never take responsibility – is this a hard concept to understand?!?

The shit my parents said zero responsibility yet it’s my fault according to people, to pick up after what they’ve said and done – why is that heavy burden on the child? Who is the parent, the child or them?! If this is how parenting is suppose to be, then we always wonder why children grow up with problems or become killers? I can see why a lot of people out there have such poor parenting skills if this is how we are suppose to parent kids to make them the mini adults and the punching bags/counselors.

“I also hate it when people make excuses for them .Like, come on it’s your mother you can’t just leave her behind you. Well, why the hell not? She left me behind her when I needed her the most and I told her so. I don’t know what her motives were and basically I don’t care. She didn’t do what she was supposed to do, and now wherever she goes starts bragging about all the sacrifices that she has made for her children. No, she doesn’t have the right to place her shortfalls as a mother on my shoulders and rip anything positive that I have for her own benefit. After all I didn’t ask for sacrifices, just simple love in the form of protection and caring emotions.”

Agreed. Do unto others as if you have been do unto you is what I always tell people and hate hearing the ‘oh, she is your mom or he is your dad.’ When I needed them, nowhere to be found. How are you a dad and your out with sluts and paying for their living expenses but never home with your family? Nobody out there answered that question gee I wonder why. How are you a mom and you’re not there physically and emotionally for your kids? Sitting on the couch yelling at the TV is not being there for your children! A mom who has excuses (both parents) and zero accomplishments is seen as a hero and a saint all because they made children! Wow, that’s something else!

Nobody is there for my parents as nobody cares. My ex-therapist said I care because I am still there and told her that isn’t it, if you’re trying to find another underlying issue why I am still there you will not find one as I already told you the reason I am still here, so keep digging if you want too. I also said msybe I still care because I want to “look normal” for the public on the “happy go lucky family.” I shot that down real quick and she didn’t say that shit to me anymore.

Apparently, I will never get the happy family look. They were not there for us and you wonder why none of us cared when we were kids living there or not, does it really matter? Oh, it got heated when I said this to people lots of yelling, swearing, and name calling. My mom said the sacrifices she made for us, we haven’t seen it she is still with my loser dad, then sorry, as a woman and “mother” – you made zero sacrifices. They still live in a hoarded house, mom wants a 3rd storage omg, lives in misery, etc this is what we are suppose to be grateful. I was told be grateful you wasn’t molested by them or your dad, oh yea, that’s suppose to make me feel better? So, it’s like sorry for your half sister, you guys are the lucky ones that is wrong to say that to someone like sexual abuse is okay.

People have told me for years they will not change, fine, then I don’t need to keep caring, now do I? They got irate when I said that, still don’t care. I always tell people ‘aren’t the narc parents grown adults?’ They said yea, but…., I said ‘no, there’s no but yes or no? They are grown, then treat them like adults and leave me the hell alone about them. Stop making me care so much when it has nothing to do with me – it’s their mess not ours. They are grown and they will figure it out (which they won’t).’

Once I leave, oh shit is gonna really change and might get more people hating me already ostracized by the public not my fault this is the situation I grew up in!


“Kaycee, I love your quote: “I was always the third class passenger on my Mother’s Titanic.””

OOh, awesome! I love your quote! I always told people ‘I feel like a slave at the bottom of the pyramid building them while my narc parents are Pharaohs.’

This is Google Plus and this community I am in offers great info on narcs the pics are being quoted by books.


Hi Marquis,
Of all victims commenting on EFB and on the internet in general,you are the one i mostly relate to.We have one major thing in common:still living with our abusers.We are in the same shoes.Sometimes i feel that survivors who managed to escape blame me and judge me for not having left,as if i had that chance and refused it.I feel their unspoken words:”Stop whining and leave already”.Marquis,you know how it feels to still be trapped,to live in the war zone,to go into town dreading to come back home after having been in contact with normal people outside and breathing fresh air.

Personally,i feel i have no option.What if i never leave? What if they get to ruin my whole life,not only my childhood and my youth? Should i wait for their death in order to be free? What do freedom,respect and love feel like?

Love your google plus link.In my country,all these books on narcissism are not published.I don’t find them in bookstores or libraries.I don’t have the money to buy them on the internet,so it’s great to be able to at least read quotes.


I too love the expression you used when you said “I was always the third class passenger on my Mother’s Titanic” That says a ton! And your second statement “No matter how much I change, they are always the same.” is profound as well! When I look back I think that letting go of hoping that THEY would change was one of the biggest keys that unlocked to door to freedom for me!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Laura,

I had a talk with my social worker a couple weeks ago and she said being that I am working part time, hoping to get either full time or a 2nd job, while still living at home; that I am in such a difficult situation. Yep, been very difficult for a long time when you have no life skills and wasn’t taught how to defend yourself as an adult, then yea, it’d be very hard to manage on your own. I speak for me and know it would be very hard, but now I am getting these life skills later on in life.

Nobody out there realizes this isn’t easy hard to escape. Yea, other survivors bashed me for not leaving sooner and stop whining, gee, that really helps! They talked about what they’ve done and said I am not you, were you raised codependent since birth? They have different spirits than me which helped them to leave sooner as I was still looking for a parent figure. In high school, I was in chatrooms for 4 years looking to move into someone’s home as long as they were sane. I feel if I only knew a guy from school long time friends, I’d move in with him just to get away. If any of my female friends would’ve asked me, I would move in so fast! Nobody thought to ask me how is life at home? Well, when they do ask, they always say I am negative about it. You asked, this is the answer, and I am the one who is negative?! Why ask me anything if you’re wanting a nicer answer!

4 yrs ago, I stayed with a friend since my idiot parents and I had a big blow out for a week. Freedom for a week was fantastic, but too bad I couldn’t stay with them since I had no job or money. Difficult as it is, it doesn’t help when other people out there are running their mouths. They could run their mouths at me asking if I need assistance and somewhere to move too! People out there should shut up, they are not helping! All that shit talking put it to use is what I told these people. If you’re gonna complain about me, then offer to help.

What is freedom like? I ask myself that all the time. I don’t have the support (besides my boyfriend) to help me move forward. Can’t live with him he is staying with his mom and helping her out with her physical issues. It takes money to actually move and was told by the financial coach it would take me a year and a half to move with this part time salary, nope, don’t plan on waiting that long. I’ll just get a 2nd job to make this plan go faster. I have been doing a lot of praying to God and no signs yet….


Hi Marquis,
You are right.People should offer their help,not judge.If i lived in the same town with a survivor who managed to escape,he or she would not offer me to move in their home,so that i would no longer suffer abuse.It’s impossible to escape on your own.Having money and a job is not a guarantee you’ll be free forever.Other survivors are now free.They are now in recovery stage,while we are still in the war zone.We haven’t even started the recovery process.I feel there’s a wall between me and them because of this huge difference.They seem to have forgotten the taste of immediate danger,not having where to go for safety,wanting to run but being blocked by life itself.

I’m sorry that your friend kicked you out of her house 4 years ago.A true friend would not have done it.What happened to modern friendship?If she trully cared about you,you wouldn’t have had to leave.In ancient times,several families lived in caves or tents.Food was scarce and money didn’t exist.But there was a strong sense of community.Would it have been so hard for your friend to let you stay for as long as you needed?


Hey Laura,

No, my friend didn’t kick me out I left on my own accord knowing I wouldn’t been able to help anyway and ended up back with the narcs. I remember my ex-therapist said ‘nobody isn’t making you stay in the abuse, you are allowing yourself to do that.’ ooh, I fumed so badly also other people have said the same thing to me too. Do I have a right to be so upset with that comment? I believe I do, but when you have been told for years that you are not allowed to be an adult and have freedom that sticks with you more than someone telling you to leave.

“It’s impossible to escape on your own.Having money and a job is not a guarantee you’ll be free forever.”

Agreed. There’s this “support site” for a lack of better terms, if they knew I was working; they’d say ‘see, it’s not hard getting your place. Leave now, nevermind if you have money saved up or if you got some, even if you become homeless you can still rise above it.’ Sorry, I don’t find that to be good advice to anybody especially if their income can’t support either themselves or with a roomie.

Other friends from high school were getting their places except me and told me to endure the abuse as “my parents are trying to help me into the person I am gonna become!” Yep, becoming like my mom with nothing, yea, that’s what I really want to be. I had a friend who said ‘why do you wanna bunk with people just so you can get away from the issues at home? That isn’t a reason to mooch off of someone.’ Wow, yep, we got at it and then we were not friends anymore. Told her ‘funny, coming from someone who has such a perfect family, can’t keep a boyfriend always needing a new one, etc yea I let her have it telling me my attitude is terrible and name shit that you did to me.’ People have told me but your sister and brother made it out, two different people with different spirits.

“They seem to have forgotten the taste of immediate danger,not having where to go for safety,wanting to run but being blocked by life itself.”

Agreed. Survivors need to understand what happen to them in the past before they go around mistreating other victims as well. People told me you should leave, how dare you for leaving, what about your parents, why would you leave when you are getting free rent? If only I could do the same, etc all those contradicting statements from people and said which is it?!?


Hi Marquis,
A few years ago,i stayed in a friend’s hose for a month.Afterwards,she didn’t tell me directly to leave,but she did say things like:”Laura,i have my own family and my own hardships to deal with.”I felt kicked out,even though she was very gentle when she told me all those things.She didn’t have to be rude in order for me to get the message.Like you,i didn’t have a job nor money,so i couldn’t contribute to put food in the table.My financial situation made me feel very uncomfortable and i felt like a burden to my friend.

The money criteria is wrong if you trully want to help somebody.That’s what triggers me.To this day,i remained with the conclusion that not even friends can help me if i don’t have money.Friendship ends where money begin,and it shouldn’t be that way.

Free survivors went no contact with their abusers,while we are full contact everyday.We see and hear our abusers permanently,that’s why i view our situation much more difficult.Free survivors have PAST painful memories,while we suffer abuse in the present moment.It’s NOT the same thing at all.Huge difference,a whole other perspective,different level of suffering and immediate danger involved.Free survivors once were in our shoes,while we don’t know if we ever be in their shoes,meaning free.

I consider myself a captive survivor,not a victim.If i were a victim,by now i’d be dead or in jail for having reacted on the raging anger i feel inside.Whoever is strong enough to suffer abuse daily and still be normal/sane and not crumble,he or she is a survivor and deserves respect for their resilience.

It’s ok to become homeless and still rise above it? What about recovering from rape after sleeping in the park at night? We are women living in a violent men’s world.How about they follow their own advice and see it function on their own skin,and afterwords paying it forward to you?

People also told me that free rent would be heaven on earth for them.”Ok,let’s swap places and see what hell on earth feels like.If you like it,i’ll donate my abusers and my free rent as a bonus to you forever.How’s that for a deal? Believe me,you’ll thank me later”.Sorry for the rant,but that’s what i would say to those people.


Warning, there is a description of some violence here that may be triggering to some.
This separation has been hard. But it has been vital. The space, not being wound up in old patterns of stuffing, pleasing, and longing has been eye opening. Sadly, I have even very recently said that if it weren’t for my “mother’s” first betrayal (not believing me, not protecting me from a pedophile) that I would have been able to handle all her other abuses. I realized today that that was some kind of cover up to make her abuse not as bad. It was denial. The only time she paid attention to me was when she was angry with me. She’d attack me if she didn’t like the look on my face. She’d attack me if I said a word when she was in a bad mood. Most of the time, I hid. I was quiet. I tried very hard to be pleasing, cooking and cleaning as much as possible. It seemed that it was preferred that I just wasn’t around, so I spent a lot of time in my bedroom. When she attacked me, it was always in such a way as to satisfy her lust for hurting me and yet not leave any marks (I don’t know though, didn’t think to look). She’d push me against walls, grab me by my hair or my neck, she’d wrestle me to the ground or any other submissive position, hold my neck tight enough to feel as though I was being suffocated (not sure it was quite strangling) and spew her rampages into my face. She’d throw things at me frequently, one of her favorite things being water at the dinner table. In her mind, since it didn’t leave marks, it wasn’t really abuse (or at least “not as bad” as what she was subjected to). And so, it was never talked about. Those events were a blur to me, I always dissociated when it was happening and just let her do what she wanted to do.
I’ve been having a hard time, off and on with this no contact deal. Just wanting her to love me. Just wanting her to really want to make it up to me. I watched that video someone posted about(thank you!), the 1993 Andrew Vacchs and Oprah interview. And something that really stood out in my mind was that the difference between a normal person and someone who is evil is that they might think about doing something bad to a child, but the normal person will not do it. I know he was talking about sexual abuse, but I’m sure it applies to all abuse. And I realized that that was my mom. So many things she did were to punish me, either directly or indirectly. She knew what she was doing was wrong when she attacked, even careful (as so far as one can be careful in a fit of rage) not to leave marks. She chose to do these things to me. And I really felt that I was being punished, it couldn’t be helped, I should have just stayed in my room or whatever. I wasn’t complying with her undefinable standards. And I deserved what happened. I realize now that I’ve been suffering with the remnants of those feelings, that If I just hadn’t asked for my boundaries to be respected, if I hadn’t brought certain things up, she would love me. But she didn’t anyway. She has the word love in her head and even overuses it when it suits her, she might have a cognitive understanding of it, but she doesn’t feel what it really is. Otherwise, she could not have treated me the way she did. And I have been waiting around for her to feel that for me. Trauma bonded to her. Accepting that the only feelings she has for me are violent anger, complete disregard, or guilt (as in, she knows she should feel guilty, the fact that the molestation happened is a mar on her record as superwoman, so she has to continue downplaying and disengage in conversations when I bring it up). One of the things she has said to me was that I “taught her how to love unconditionally.” This is love? Really? Completely cutting off because she refuses to look at herself and her own behaviors? If she learned anything, it was because through all the crap she put me through, I still loved her and was willing for almost all of my life to patiently wait for her to love me. It really should have been the other way around.


Hey Laura,

I totally agree. 4 ears ago after the fire incident, my parents were basically kicking me out and my mom said she wasn’t kicking me out. Yea, she was told me on the phone while my boyfriend sitting there do not come back is what my mom said. Gee, sounds like kicking me out! I ended up going back home, nothing changed, didn’t move to a better apt, still in the same shit hole apt in another unit, etc.

This one friend from high school told me how are you gonna help pay me rent? I didn’t have a prob getting a job. When I was 17, I posted an ad on Craigs List to find a roomie and got a response from a woman who said the same thing how can I pay rent? I said you can do collateral I could do stuff around the house as payment and the woman said uh no, that’s not how it works. I said that’s how it used to work in the old days which you can still do it now!

She said leaving your parents over “issues” isn’t the reason for freedom, excuse me?!?! Are you telling me emotional abuse is just an issue, a misunderstanding between two people?!? Ooh, I was enraged by how she said that to me and that’s not the 1st time people have said that to me! Is being called a hoe daily even better? Restricting me from wanting a job and friends not a reason to leave? OMG, the crap that came out of people’s mouths! I told the girl off from CL and blocked her. See, even people out there didn’t want me to leave and told me these are not reasons to want freedom yet contradicted themselves saying get a job, move out, and stop complaining! Like I told my ex-therapist, you people are the problem too telling me I can’t have a life with freedom always gotta put my parents 1st and my feelings come last like always, yep, she got pissed cuz I put her in that category. She is the one who was also siding with my parents, so why not?!?

Money shouldn’t be the factor, it’s about helping the person with zero strings attached! I told people this is about me and wanting freedom not about you, man, did we go at it! People had to put themselves into my equation and monopolize the conversation! It’s not their business not their problem so don’t know why they had to been such idiots towards me.

I told my ex-therapist and others I feel like a prisoner, serving a lifelong sentence for something I didn’t do nor had any control over. She said it can’t be a prison because your parents allow you to still be there and there must be an ounce of love somewhere – been told this way too many times. Abusers want you to stay with them so they can keep controlling you duh, omg that ex-therapist and others are so stupid! Abusers don’t give a damn how old a person is as long as they can control and dominate over you that’s what it is about.

“Free survivors went no contact with their abusers,while we are full contact everyday.We see and hear our abusers permanently,that’s why i view our situation much more difficult.Free survivors have PAST painful memories,while we suffer abuse in the present moment.It’s NOT the same thing at all.Huge difference,a whole other perspective,different level of suffering and immediate danger involved.Free survivors once were in our shoes,while we don’t know if we ever be in their shoes,meaning free.”

Totally agree which a lot of people completely disagree. Like my ex-therapist said you can heal in a toxic environment! They always say your sister and brother rose above the situation but they both are close in age and helped one another as I am much younger than me and was made to face the narc parents on my own. Nobody helped me and still aren’t to this day, people still ask me how can I still endure hell like that daily? It’s not easy, a lot of painful moments just seclude myself in my room which is like a safe haven for me but also painful.

I have a job and there isn’t enough money every month to pay my own rent not even with a roomie either. I am still looking for a 2nd job to make everything go faster. Here’s what people tell me “With a bad economy, I wouldn’t rush finding a place when you got your parents who can help you. No shame in staying at home etc.” No shame, huh? Been shamed by people for still being at home, so what do you mean there’s no shame? Make up your mind! Bad economy or not, people still move to find better and I plan on finding better. People say ‘look on the brightside, you don’t ever have to pay your parents rent like I do.’ Oh jolly gee, that’s suppose to make me better how?!? I told people so being abused daily substitutes rent? Nobody had an answer wonder why.

Will finish this later.


Laura and Marquis
Money IS a factor for most people. I am not sure why you are angry with people who for whatever reason couldn’t or didn’t help you out of your situations. If someone doesn’t want to trade chores for board that is up to them. It doesn’t make them abusive or wrong if they don’t want you to live in their homes. We all have to fight for our freedom. It is fine to be angry or upset by the situation you are in, but please don’t blame other people for not being able to get you out of it. The key here is about becoming empowered to find a way to take our own lives back.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
Money should not be a factor for unconditional help and friendship.We live in a material world,but some things are priceless and not everything can be bought.I helped many people in my life for free and i did not put a price tag on it.Only strangers expect to be paid in exchange for favors.That’s business,not friendship.Just like a marriage,friendship is for better and for worse.

I’m angry at people who claimed to understand me,but only in words,not in action.It’s like a friend who is hungry and he comes to me and i refuse to give him food for he can’t pay.I only have comforting words for him,but that’s not enough.He may starve to death,for i have no obligation towards him.In that case,i don’t call myself a friend.

We all have to fight for our freedom,but we should have been taught independence skills from our parents.Instead,they destroyed these skills in us.How can i fly if i have no wings?No survivor escaped on his own,without practical help and with only moral support from so-called friends.I blame them for being able to get me out,but not doing anything about it,just watching my pain silently.In my case and in all similar situations,a shoulder to cry on is NOT enough.A true friend is always reliable.What happened to the old concept of literally saving someone’s life and not expecting me to make it on my own without any resources? Is it out of fashion?

Becoming empowered to take our own life back.That’s great theory.If only it would be so easy!


This entire site is about becoming empowered enough to take your life back. Everyone here is at different stages of doing just that. I know that your wings are broken, all of us have either BEEN there or are still there, but we are trying to mend our wings, trying to find a way. You have great expectations of people who are perhaps not able to help you. I am encouraging YOU to find the solution for you instead of being angry that no one is helping you. No one helped me! I was shoved down again and again. I paid thousands and thousands of dollars for therapy. I found a way to take my life back. That is what this blog is about. It was NEVER easy but it is doable.
Hugs, Darlene


Marquis & Laura,

I understand how hard it is to leave a situation where there is ongoing abuse. I have been there.

I have also been someone who took in a friend to help them out of an abusive situation. To be honest, I took in strangers, a few of them from as many bad situations.

In all of those situations, I ended up being abused. I wasn’t sexually abused, but I was assaulted, manipulated, lied to, stolen from, and even taken to court on charges of harassment!

My husband and I lost a lot of money, literally 10s of thousands of dollars, taking care of these people.

I’ve learned the hard way that we really can’t afford to let anyone live with us. Your friends are well within their own rights and responsibilities to THEMSELVES.

It is not too late for you to learn to take care of yourselves, to gain and practice life skills.

Yes – you were damaged by your parents’ abuse. Most, if not all of us are here because we were damaged by someone’s abuse, and many of those abusers were our parents.

And every one of us has to be willing to do the work of recovery for ourselves. It isn’t fair, but no one else can do it for you. No one else can do my recovery work for me! That includes some degree of financial self-reliance.

Real friendship does not require access to resources beyond what a friend can spare. Healthy relationships are about equal value and mutual respect.


Laura and Marquis,
I know you’re in rough spots but I need to tell you that I found some of the things you said presumptuous towards others here on this blog. Most of us have had to deal with this competition of pain for most of our lives. You yourselves deal with it, being compared to other victims/survivors, and don’t like it, but then you go on to place it on others here, saying that we have it easier than you. No good comes from taking a measuring stick to pain, making comparisons, and without actually walking in another’s shoes, you cannot make such qualitative statements. It’s a long road and possibly it became harder after getting out of the home. For me it certainly did. No situation is the same. I was enmeshed in my family, and the process of working my way out took 8 years after moving out of the family home, and the more I tried to separate the more excruciating it was. It was like I’d been stitched to my mother, so the more I ripped away from her, the more I bled, so, for me, staying at home was actually easier in some ways, although it maintained a sort of emotional/spiritual coma which I wanted to break out of, which was probably why I had a breakdown (wanting out but not having any psychological capacity to even handle that desire). What I’m saying is please don’t judge, don’t decide that you know how hard your experience is in comparison to someone else’s. You don’t and can’t know that and it’s not the point. We’re here to work our way out, to find solutions, to encourage each other, to support each other, to try to understand, to grow, to heal, to find our freedom. We’re all on the same (but individual) paths, though we may be at different points. I hope that you understand I mean no harm toward you in what I’m saying. I respect how difficult things must be. I just hope that you’ll be careful about alienating others; we’ve all come here to validate ourselves/each other wherever we are on route to freedom. I really do wish you both freedom from the war zone. No one deserves this reality.


Hi Darlene,
EFB helped me validate my hurt for being abused,but the real empowerment comes from that specific practical help i talked about earlier.That’s what i really need right now,as words of encouragement are no longer enough for me.All my life,i heard people telling me how much they admire my strength for living in such conditions.After telling me that,they went back to their happy life.In my opinion,they are hypocrits and i won’t deny my feelings as not to disturb anybody.If i should be concerned for others,then what about me?

Being alreday free,it’s easier for you to mend your wings,find your path and take your life back.But for the stage i’m in,these are just empty words.I have great expectations from FRIENDS,not just any people.I know them personally and it’s not that they can’t help me;they simply WON’T.If you are honest with yourself,somebody helped you leave.Nobody can do it alone.

Hi Hobie,
I understand that you took in victims that trashed your house and stole from you.But drawing the conclusion that i would do the same and that all victims are ungrateful and unable to appreciate,that’s plain wrong.If somebody took me in their home,i’d not use it as a luxury spa,although i badly need a vacation.I’d help with all house chores,i’d be looking for a job,i’d go to the police.Simply being away from my abusers wold help me enormously to clear my head and take action.Only then i’d be able to take my life back.My dream is not to live like a parasite in my friends’home,but i need a place to stay for a while.There,i could think straight and make a plan for my future free life.Those are the steps i mentioned.

All my friends must prove their friendship,otherwise they are not entitled to mine.Any relationship goes both ways.I don’t have rights and responsabilities only to myself.I live among people,not isolated.If my friends are only preoccupied with their own life,they are selfish.There will come a time when they’ll need help themselves.How will they like to be politely told that others have their own life and not in charge of them?A friend in need is a friend indeed.If i tell you everytime i lost because i myself helped my friends,i’d need a book to write.

Briefly,i gave a friend money and never saw them back;I wrote an entire work project for a friend and he never told me the results;i tutored a friend on a school object and she never thanked me for the maximum grade she got;I spoonfed a friend who was in hospital and now she ‘forgot’ my phone number etc.The list is huge.I was punished for each helping hand i gave,but that doesn’t stop me from helping.

When you were living with your abusers,how would you have felt if people told you that your friends don’t have resources to spare on you? Worse,what if they told you that you are not showing equal value and mutual respect,when all you are asking is for them to offer you TEMPORARY shelter?

Hi Alaina,
Where were you when Nancy T called me mentally ill and Darlene told me she didn’t label me in any way? That was presumptuous towards me,but nobody on this blog defended me,not even you.Yes,you have it easier than me.If you could come back to your abusers,you’d never do it.You are writing to me now from a safe place.Nobody will come into your room and pick up a fight,just for the joy of seeing you suffer.I’m writing to you from a war zone,so please don’t invalidate me more.That’s not what i need.In the presence of my abusers,i’m walking on eggshells for fear they feel alienated.I didn’t know i should do the same here.I have a right to express my anger.Nobody worries about alienating me.

I’m not on route to freedom.Maybe i’ll never be.In my country,we have a proverb:Don’t eat in front of the hungry.


Hi Darlene,

I always say how can I leave with no money? I remember listening to a story where an abused wife left with nothing, went through a few bad shelters for abused women and found a good one, she got counseling, job assistance, saved up money, got a divorce, and got her own place. All of that is great, but I certainly don’t want to leave with nothing. My sister told me to go to a shelter and I refuse, I’d rather work my way into getting my own place – that’s just me.

Like I told others in the past, some have a fighting spirit who can go tackle the bear and get out of their situations whereas I don’t/never had that fighting spirit only when it came to cursing my parents out. I am sitting twiddling my thumbs trying to figure out how can I implement my plan yet there still isn’t enough money to do it? I am working towards hoping getting a full time job on campus in another department and if not, still looking for a 2nd job which will take time. I was told growing up that ‘I shouldn’t think for myself or learn to figure things out on my own as people should do it for me.’ My mom taught me that one since she is highly codependent herself never thinks for herself always let my dad do her thinking for her. Not easy to break from, but breaking it one step at a time.


Yea, I have gotten at it with friends from high school about my situation as they knew told them everything. I am still practicing life skills daily, but when it comes to finding resources, I don’t qualify because I am not either married or have kids. Nobody wouldn’t tell me any resources, why? I got the “how dare you do this to your parents! What about them? Oh, you’re so selfish!! However, you need to be an adult and figure it out on your own.” Two completely different statements in that sentence. Other organizations have told me ‘parental abuse doesn’t count as abuse as you need to be married to be abused.” What crap! Where I live, they have not so good resources.

I don’t really have healthy relationships, but would like to have them.


People have compared me to others all my life about how much someone has it “better than me” and look at me I left home at 18, why can’t you? Looks of people on here have said they have dealt with being compared to other people. I mean, when you look at it in those terms, it does look like a person has it better – may not always be the case. The reason why I would say ‘oh, that survivor had it better than me,’ is because I am really jealous. Jealous that they got much farther than me in terms of leaving and finding peace as I never had peace in my entire life at all. I am still scrounging around how I am gonna meet my main goal like I said many times on here I am just part time and hoping to get that full time position in another department. If not, will be looking for a 2nd job on top of that. My monthly income is so low, I can’t afford a place on my own nor with a roomie. So yea, I do get very jealous when someone seem to have something that I want but still trying to reach for it.

I asked my ex-therapist ‘are you saying I have to be my own hero?’ She said ‘yea, you do,’ like everybody else ‘nobody helped me on the road to recovery.’ I have been praying to God a lot about my circumstances and seeing very good things in my dreams of having my own where my parents don’t even exist! lol I’ve had people say I shouldn’t let money be a factor, but I found affordable housing and still can’t meet the rent and utilities. if money is not a factor, then how do people pay rent? Nothing is free in life.

Yea, 4 years in high school in chat rooms, looking for someone to move in with who was at least sane. That plan fell through, then went on Craigslist in high school posted an ad and that fell through again.

I don’t know, I am just venting.

“I hope that you understand I mean no harm toward you in what I’m saying. I respect how difficult things must be. I just hope that you’ll be careful about alienating others; we’ve all come here to validate ourselves/each other wherever we are on route to freedom. I really do wish you both freedom from the war zone. No one deserves this reality.”

I agree and I do understand. I mean, I do have very strong feelings about these things. I told my boyfriend one time ‘why does it look like people always have it better than me while I am still stuck in this situation?’ Yea, that is my codependency speaking. I have been searching online a lot to find a different way to get another income. I used to compare myself to some of my old friends who had better parents, learn the independent skills from them, and made it in life. They had no problems getting a job and wanting one and worked hard whereas I was told I am “selling myself out” and need to be independent at the same time very contradicting in one sentence by my parents.

Anyway, I can’t wait for this nightmare/war zone to be done and over with, so tired of living in this dump cluttered “house!” I apologize if I offend anybody, just remembering things from the past and trying to tie things to now. I very much appreciate EFB and learning from everybody. I am still working hard on my main goal and other goals I have too….I still remind myself of what my goal is and to keep doing it.



I love your reference to ‘an emotional and spiritual coma’. Oh how I understand exactly what you mean! Getting away from your situation physically is not enough. You have to separate emotionally and spiritually as well. I, too, was enmeshed with my family and I transferred the pleaser role I had with them on to my friendships n many ways. Luckily, I am financially independent, and I’m working on getting debt free so that I can remain that way.

I still find it amazing how easy it is to give up n yourself after you have been trained to do so for many years. However, as I’ve learned from this blog, it’s just training. If I can be trained to think that way, I can retain my brain to think another way. Yes, it’s almost like you are being ripped apart, but is find that the false messages and teachings are easier to pull out during that process.

I hope things continue to get better for you…for us all 🙂


A hard lesson for us all to learn is healthy boundaries. Knowing what your responsibility to yourself and others is, where that line ends and begins is a bigger key to freedom than actually physically moving away.

Granted, it IS easier to gain perspective when we move away from the dysfunction. But, as an adult, you also have to think about how you feed the dysfunction. You are an adult, not a helpless child anymore.

This is something they teach in 12 step programs. The difference between helplessness and powerlessness. You may be powerless in your situation, to overcome the circumstances. But you are not helpless.

You can come here. You have other online resources. You can get help for YOUR part, YOUR sanity. Take responsibility for you, which I know you are trying to do.

Healthy boundaries are that you shouldn’t have any expectations of anyone beyond basic respect. There are people who choose to continue to live with and love abusive people, I’m thinking of all the alanons who have addicted spouses, children, and friends. And they can gain sanity, serenity in the midst of their situations.

We cannot always control our circumstances, especially in a war zone (sorry to hear that); but we do have a say over how we react and that is ultimately where freedom is.

There are those of us who are not free and still struggle with our parent’s shadow even if we are a world away from them. Even those of us that are “free” encounter people who would like to control or hurt us. Just driving down the highway, going to the grocery store, etc we all encounter people who challenge our freedom. Sometimes we have victories for ourselves, sometimes we don’t. The difference is, we can choose to still have our dignity, self value when these things happen.

Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum, there is not perfection for anyone. Your friends are also in a war torn country. I’m sure they have hard ships of their own. Living in a war torn country is stressful for everyone, not just you. Most are concentrated on just surviving and if they see that you are surviving, they may think of you as someone they don’t have to worry about.

We can not expect others to be godlike, to sweep in and save us. We have to find our higher power in ourselves and rescue ourselves, in small ways at first. Even a battered woman will keep choosing to go back to her partner. She may not know better, but she cannot be rescued because her free will must be respected, society must allow her the dignity to choose. She has to make that choice herself.

You can choose to believe that you will not heal your wings. But, that is your choice.


The thing with Nancy T. was your interpretation of what was said. Everyone was able to read it and only you saw it as insulting to you.
No one here is invalidating you.
About your last comment that in your country you have a proverb which is “Don’t eat in front of the hungry” ~ I am not sure why that applies here; are you saying that we should not flourish in front of you because you are not there yet? please explain why you posted this proverb.
No one is questioning your right to be angry, it is the way that you speak about US here, calling us “free survivors” and saying that we don’t understand or that we have forgotten how hard it is; that is what I am objecting to because those things are accusatory and untrue. I am not expecting you to walk on eggshells at all, I am asking that you respect everyone here as we are respecting you here. None of us had choices before and all of us have been extremely taken advantage of in our lives and this is about breaking free ~ and if someone doesn’t want to offer you a place to live for free then that is not going to be the way that you escape your situation. It isn’t that persons fault that you are IN the situation, it is their choice to do what they believe to be best for them.
I hope you will consider what I am saying.


Laura –

I am not saying that you would take advantage of me. I don’t really know you. The point that I was making is that I have lost enough to people that I intended to help that I don’t have the resources to help anyone anymore. I can’t give someone something I just don’t have to give. My experience has taught me that temporary doesn’t always work out that way.

And the truth is that no one was there to help me for free when I left an abusive marriage. As a matter of fact, some people weren’t willing to risk the retaliation of my ex-husband even if I paid rent!

I worked as a waitress and stuffed most of my tips into a bank account of my own by ATM to hide my earnings from my husband until I saved enough to move out. It was a nightmare! And his attempts to control me continued for over 10 years beyond our separation.

The only thing that is really bothering me about the way you are posting is that I feel like you’re calling a lot of us selfish when we are being realistically self-protective. No degree of friendship should require anyone to give a friend more than they have to spare. I don’t see equal value and mutual respect there.



I haven’t jumped in on this discussion until now. I agree with Hobie that a friend can do just so much and no one should require a friend to give more than they can spare. I have a family, and my first obligation is to my husband and kids, and of course, to me. I would never expect my family to do without something because I was helping a friend financially. Even beyond money, having another person living here could be an intrusion on family privacy and could add a strain to our family’s life. There are other peoples’ feelings to be considered besides my own.
I am not criticizing you Laura or Marquis. I don’t know you or the friends or other potential roommates involved in your individual circumstances. I am not judging either of you; just stating my feelings about expectations of living with friends when going through a difficult time. From my perspective, it is not fair to expect to live with a friend if it would create a hardship on a family or individual, be it financial or emotional, and I would not feel comfortable living with someone or a family under these circumstances. If I sought short term shelter in order to escape a bad situation, I would keep it at that. Short term. Likewise, under my current living circumstances, I could probably offer a short term stay to a friend in crisis, but realistically, I could not take on another person financially for anything beyond a short stay. I do not believe this makes me a bad friend or selfish. I am warm and supportive, but there are limits in the amounts of what I can realistically do to help a friend.


Marquis, I am not sure what country you are from, but as you mention four years of high school, I am guessing you are in the USA.

You say you don’t “want to leave home with nothing.” Well, I left home at 17 with $300. That was scary, but I did it.

You seem to be looking for someone to “save” you and give you a free ride. Well, just remember, there ain’t no free lunch. Be very wary if you find someone who takes you up on your offer. 99.9% of the time, there are strings attached and they won’t be pretty.

In college, I knew a girl who worked three jobs. She lived with an elderly lady and shoveled her snow, mowed her grass, went grocery shopping, and cleaned her house for free room and board. She worked a student job on campus, and she waited tables on weekends. I knew another girl who had parents who worked an overnight shift rotating with second shift, and so she basically cared for the children for a couple of hours a day and slept overnight while they were working.

Can you take out a student loan to pay for living expenses? These days, a lot of people have to do that. It will cost you in the end, but if you have to get out at any cost, its a start on your way out.

If you are looking at having the same standard of living that you enjoy living at home with your parents, that just might not be possible. Is it worth your peace of mind not to have luxuries like cable TV?

Like I said, I don’t know your situation, but I am getting the definite feeling that you have not looked through all avenues.


Hi Marquis,
I understand. I don’t think I’d be able to leave without feeling financially secure. When I moved to a new city, I’d saved up a decent backup (though I also have a rather large loan I’m paying off, that I try not to think too much about) but even with a backup, I was still sometimes very scared because I knew I had no security net outside of that money, no friends or family whose couch I could sleep on if I screwed up my life, there was no going back (it’d be like killing myself, if not actually killing myself), so if I didn’t have that money saved, and was unsure about a job situation, I’d be totally freaked out to take the steps out and would probably be doing exactly what you are doing. You’re taking into account who you are and what you need. It’s shit that life is like this, and both you and Laura are right that it is impossible to heal when you are in the toxic environment (unfortunately just getting out doesn’t equate to automatic healing, either, and getting away from the family home doesn’t mean you’re not going to step right into another hornets’ nest, also unfortunately)… Anyway, I’m pulling for you that you get out of there as fast as is possible for you, in whatever way you can manage it. I hope that the world aligns and you can find another job so you can save up.

I also understand jealousy. Everyone here has “deficits” in their life, those places where they have been broken. You’re definitely not alone in looking at others and comparing, or being compared to, and then being so angry because it’s not your/our fault that we were broken in these ways, so to have this pressure in those places where you’ve been broken is just awful. These are the areas that I have no idea how long it takes to rebuild. I’ve broken free of my family but healing and changing the long term effect of this stuff is a long process. I guess you just get to a point where you think, well, what else can you do? You absolutely have to validate it, know that it was real and not your fault (and also I think try to stay clear of those who will say otherwise, or stay clear of the subject matter if it’s not possible to stay clear of those people), but that in itself, unfortunately, doesn’t get rid of the effects, vulnerabilities, pain, habits, etc., though it does go a long way. I guess I realized my only option was to accept this as my lot and try to make the best choices I can to rebuild myself and my life, or else, I don’t know, kill myself. And yeah, it’s just shit—we’re not the ones responsible for the damage and on top of that, society is not particularly conducive to helping you heal (some of it is and some of it is going to tear you down and throw you backwards and again, with that, all you can do is just try to make choices, to learn how to maneuver yourself the best you can in order to help yourself attain what’s best for you). It’s shit, absolute shit, and it’s also totally valid to feel that way and to say so, to lament, cry, rage, because it is not fucking fair. I’m by no means advocating swallowing your tongue and “sucking it up.” Just nothing gets done if I don’t do it, as bloody terrifying as it is. Every step forward, or attempt to step forward, has been so scary and fraught with second guessing, turmoil (well, maybe not every time but fear is pretty constant; courage is definitely not the absence of fear but more that you decide that the other option has ceased to be an option, so you do whatever despite the fear… though it’s more complicated than that because it takes a huge amount of going around in circles trying to even find out what your choices are and how feasible they even are and if they’re in your best interest, etc).

For me, most of my jealousies and bouts of sometimes extreme self-pity are about my difficulties in the world on a social level, in being unable to be myself, stuck in this very self-contained, quiet, shy, fearful box with a lack of confidence to do fairly normal things. It’s extremely frustrating sometimes. Those jealousies and self-pity are totally understandable/justified; there are very real reasons why I’ve had such a hard time in relationship to other people and they’re not my fault. There are very real reasons why I’m scared of people and why that fear often makes me exceptionally passive and it makes me angry because I just want to be me and be free, but often that passivity of mine makes things worse, is an opening for mistreatment, that then makes me even more passive, so it just becomes a horrible cycle. But what can you do? Just keep trying, keep validating yourself, keep making choices, as small as they often are—one leads into the other—because, again, for me the only other option was suicide and I decided that I didn’t want to do that. I’ve seen me grow over the years in this process (and have watched others do so as well) and I have bad days and good days. I try to hold onto hope in my capacity to grow and change my life. I try not to compare myself to others because I will always come up short (partly because I’m always going to compare myself to someone who is in a better situation or is more competent in an area where I’m failing and then shame myself for it), but mostly I try not to compare myself because it always hurts like hell and it never actually helps me improve on anything, although it’s very, very easy to fall into. (I’m saying all this at the same time as I can tell you that I got caught up in this line of thinking/comparing earlier today. It’s a struggle.) It’s also hard/worse when it’s coming from other people, them telling you, or even just implying, why can’t you just do this, so-and-so did this, so why can’t you? Those people are not helpful and all I can say is again steer clear; they are wrong to say junk like that. They are not helping. I lost a lot of my time/energy in internal struggles like that where I’m basically just trying to prove myself. I can’t tell you how many hours and hours and hours I have wasted in internal fights in imaginary conversations (never mind real conversations/arguments with real people) trying to prove myself, even long after having left the situation. It causes so much stress, though it’s hard not to get swept into it. And then you’re mad at them also for having wasted your energy (even in the imaginary fights/conversations!!) It just does me no good, so I hope to let that go, believe in myself, in what I know is true, and let the others think whatever they want to think. Easier said but I try to. You get so exhausted. You realize how normal and habitual emotional torture has become to you and it’s just too much. You’ve had enough. You have to focus on what’s going to help you. Forget about the assholes who are going to hurt you because that’s all they’ve ever done and you can’t expect them to change. They’re assholes. The only one you can really count on for sure is you (and for most of us, we were trained in such a way that we can no longer count on us, so we have to go about rewiring ourselves so that we can count on us, but in the end that’s the only way possible, so I try to commit myself as much and as often as I can and need to). Anyway, I’m rambling on. I do hope, though, that maybe some of these words might be helpful and that however you manage it, you can find some way to help yourself find your way to what’s best for you.


Hi Callynt,
Thanks for your message! I feel the same way about retraining, etc. I don’t think it’s this absolute thing, like you reach a finish line and confetti falls on your head, either. I think you just get better at thinking in a way that helps you, instead of in a way that harms you (and/or others)—a skill that becomes more natural the more you practice. I wish the best for you in your, and everyone’s, healing, too.


Hi Laura,
I had a hard time with your comments but I will try to answer them the best I can.

As far as my responsibility towards others, helping them, defending them, etc., I’m of two minds. Do I carry guilt for every failure to help human kind? Yes and no. How many people right now on this planet are starving, being murdered, molested, sold into slavery/human trafficking, dying of curable diseases simply because they were born into poverty, being tortured or subjected to abuse, yes, far worse than mine ever was….? Millions. I’m not going to enter into competition because I will lose. What do I owe others? Maybe nothing. Maybe something. Maybe I’d rather give from my own heart, rather than be guilt-tripped for problems I didn’t actually cause, but yes, do exist and are heartbreaking and I would like to help. Maybe it’s impossible for me to help people, though, when I’m being guilt-tripped. Maybe that’s a huge trigger for me that used to make me curl up into a ball and want to cut myself, but I’m stronger now and it’s just highly unpleasant and reminds me of all the times I’d curl up into a ball wanting to cut myself. Maybe it’s impossible when I’m not healed fully myself.

Telling someone that they have it easier is akin to telling them to shut up, don’t feel, you don’t have a right. It is powering over others. I am not saying that your life is easier. It may well be a ton harder (or it may not and I wasn’t talking specifically about me vs. you; there are a lot of people on EFB), but it is not right for one person to make such judgements on other people—to SPEAK such judgements to others—when I don’t believe that the people here on EFB ever made commentaries to you that your life was easier, such that it would be understandable to launch back saying otherwise…. Here, you simply made the statement that you and Marquis have it worse and that statement diminishes and devalues the very real pain that people here on this site are going through, whether or not they are living in their FOO’s home.

I have fought hard to get where I am. Were my circumstances easier than other people’s? Yes. Of course. Though my experience nearly killed me and to me that’s bad enough. Beyond that, what we are talking about is also subjective experience, by which I mean we are all affected differently, come into this world with different personalities, etc., so how can you measure this exactly? And why? Why are we measuring this? To make such statements knocks others down. Plus all of us had our spirits killed and are trying and wanting to revive them. That’s the point.

You’re saying that my life is easier than yours because I freed myself while you’re still not able to get out yet? I respect your situation and how hard it must be, but you minimize all the work I’ve done, the years of my life I have lost in the process of fighting to get free, by making such a statement. It also admonishes all the pain and fear and difficulty there is in the healing process.

Fear does not go away the second you escape the family home. Trauma can remain fresh for years after getting out of the situation, such that there can be minimal difference in terms of feelings between a lived experience and a relived experience. And healing requires you to sit with your fears, not escape them. And of course we’ve all been programmed with dysfunctional belief systems that gets us into trouble even once we’re out. It’s long, hard process.

It does not help anyone here to make comparison statements. We all have pain. Some worse than others, yes, but why say that to others here, even if it were true? We’re all here dealing with our inner child. Would you tell that to a child in pain, however much pain they’re in—would you say my pain is worse than yours, while that child is crying (and yes, all of us are here with our crying child)?

Again, I’m not trying to minimize your situation. I was just saying to please be careful about casting judgements like that. They are not helpful. We all have pain. It helps no one to say “we have more pain than the rest of you.” You can’t know that, but more importantly it’s just not nice. Looking for healing and solutions is what the site is all about, not breaking people down.

I’m not going to apologize that I didn’t defend you with this woman on the site, because I wasn’t entrusted by anyone, god or my position to you, to be required to specifically defend you, nor am I going to think that I’m unfair because I’m speaking up about this and not that. I did read that interaction between the two of you and I understood how you understood the woman’s opinion; I think the two of you had a different understanding of “mental illness.” I did know where you were coming from because I’ve had very similar issues around the word, as though mental illness meant crazy, incapacity to understand reality, or something like that, but of course the truth is that I have been mentally ill in my life for a very long time, or maybe we should call it emotionally ill. Abuse made me sick, that’s all it means. (In the past, though, even having someone imply that I was mentally ill or should be on medication put me into a tailspin, often disassociating and wanting to die, as though I was being told everything about my perception of reality, my whole identity was sick and wrong, that I had no claims on the truth of my experience and reality). I can’t remember exactly the details of what you’d been upset about. I just remember understanding where both of you were coming from and that there seemed to be a disconnect of understanding. I do remember feeling that perhaps she was more inclined to diagnose abusers with conditions (if I’m recalling the right person here), and have a little less stock in notions of choice, but that’s her understanding and her conclusion that was a bit different than my own but I can’t say she was wrong because there’s no knowing exactly… again, this is just to the degree that I remember. The thing is I’m free to respond when and how and where I like. I’m not obligated.

There are actions that of course are a reflection of the degree to which a person is or is not your friend. I emailed a friend after I’d been assaulted hoping that he and his wife would make some time to talk to me a little bit. They expressed their sympathy but said they were too busy to find time in their schedules. I realized they we’re maybe acquaintances, not friends, something I probably had reason to realize before. Other people did reach out. My heart and connection was there as a result.

I really mean no harm to you and hope you find a way out. Yes, it would be awful to be back there with my parents. It would never be an option anymore—because I took things right to the end of the line, drew my boundary very strongly in showing how they risked my life through their abuse and neglect and for them not to acknowledge it means they still live in that reality. To go back is to say that I’m okay with something that would have killed me and to agree to that would cause incredible damage to my psyche. I’m not sure but I think I might rather be homeless and risk all the dangers of homelessness than go back to something that would cause tremendous mental health problems, a psychological slavery, that would probably kill me…. or else I’d have to be completely zonked out on medication… But that’s about me, who I am, what I’ve been through, my particular, specific situation, and where I’m at now, and that’s all it’s a reflection of. Each of us is on our own path and the point is healing, that’s all.

I was pretty upset reading your comments, so I’m hoping that my words here are reasonable and not reactive.



My memories are still very fresh from the time I spent trying to figure out how to get out of my mother’s house. After many unsuccessful attempts in 9 years to move out with other people, hoping that they would support me temporarily, I realized that the only person that could understand me was myself. The only true friend, in the sense I needed a friend to be, was me. I had to return to my mother’s twice from abusive situations, which was causing me excruciating pain, and finally I borrowed some money just enough to pay a month’s rent for a room to live on my own for the first time.

My whole experience taught me this: there are way too many people who will don Superman’s cape just for a little, just to feel important enough. But these people cannot offer even a temporary solution because they are either abusers themselves or do not see you as equal to them. They think they are above you because you are in need and they have the power over you, so long you remain in the same situation and they can take from you. I learned that MOST people say they understand what you are going through but in reality they DON’T. Just remember that the safest solution is to move out on your own whenever it is possible. And when you finally get out of there it doesn’t mean the abuse will stop. For many of us the abuse continues in the work environment, in attempting new friendships, in romantic relationships while at the same time we are still trying to figure out the crap that was dumped on us by abusive or neglectful parents. This is a place where many people totally get you, and when they were in your shoes didn’t have the slightest idea what was wrong with them. You are in an abusive environment but have already started your healing by busting the fog. As Darlene says most of us just felt really bad but kept blaming ourselves and could not see through the fog, you can. Can we say that you have it better than we did, by knowing it is not you who is to blame? Many of us kept abusing ourselves along with the abusers. I don’t think there is any point in trying to figure out who had it and/or has it worse because there is nothing to gain out of it and in reality we will never know. The road to escape from a toxic environment can be very long, it took me many years and countless scars apart from my mother’s abuse.

I wish you lots of strength and courage because you will need them both to reach your ultimate goal. Talking from my own experience at least.


Hi Eira,

Yes, I do live in the USA. Well, I am not looking for the whole friends should have be blah blah any,ore, I was reminiscing that from the past. I have looked all avenues, well, let’s see if I am missing something then I am not sure what is being missed. I already have a student loan out and don’t want to take out anymore loans. The problem is I failed the class twice, owed $3015 that got paid, now I have $197 to pay back in interest until I can come up with $1800 of out of pocket money to pay for that class I failed then pass it and get back on students. I got so much on my plate, I don’t see going back to school to finishing up my BS is an option for me right now got a whole line of goals I wanna do.

I do agree that a lot of people are taking out loans just to survive, but then on top of that, they can’t even pay the loans back. So yea, in high school, I was looking for someone to save me for a long time. Yes, I have heard of stories where women doing that leaving home at a young age, marrying a guy they don’t love just so they can get away from their families, end up not being happy, etc yea I heard bad stories and very few turned out good.

In the state I live in, there’s not much resources. I have used different sites to find what I was looking for. My boyfriend’s mom told me you don’t wanna move with no money and be on the street or sleeping in your car. She told me how she was homeless for a week or so in her 20s, had a job, and vowed to never be in that situation again. He lives with his mom trying to get back on his feet plus helping her out because she is handicapped. No, I can’t stay with them (been asked that a lot). I got a lil over $2k in the bank, what apartment is $100 these days? I am not gonna move to another shit hole neighborhood like the one I am in now. I am still saving money yet can’t seem to reach the goal, I would have this month if I didn’t have that wage garnishment. Since, I saw I was starting to get less in my check; my plan wouldn’t have been implemented. I had a wage garnishment on credit card debt, went to court for a hearing, there was a judgment and the money got sent to the law firm where the CC company was suing me now the case is closed and it’s been fully paid. Do I have to suffer another garnishment again somewhere else? Student loans, they can garnish your wages too.

“If you are looking at having the same standard of living that you enjoy living at home with your parents, that just might not be possible. Is it worth your peace of mind not to have luxuries like cable TV?”

What standard of living? I am secluded in my own room, so don’t really have any standard of living. I do want peace of mind too…..

Hmm, I just thought of something. May be I do need to look much deeper, could be things I have missed for options. I have been hesitant into speaking to social services (not talking about my social worker at the women’s center) just going to a social services office as I know there’s one in the library.

“I am not criticizing you Laura or Marquis. I don’t know you or the friends or other potential roommates involved in your individual circumstances. I am not judging either of you; just stating my feelings about expectations of living with friends when going through a difficult time. From my perspective, it is not fair to expect to live with a friend if it would create a hardship on a family or individual, be it financial or emotional, and I would not feel comfortable living with someone or a family under these circumstances. If I sought short term shelter in order to escape a bad situation, I would keep it at that. Short term. Likewise, under my current living circumstances, I could probably offer a short term stay to a friend in crisis, but realistically, I could not take on another person financially for anything beyond a short stay. I do not believe this makes me a bad friend or selfish. I am warm and supportive, but there are limits in the amounts of what I can realistically do to help a friend”

Hmm, I see your point now.

Hi Alaina,

I agree with everything you said. I had a conversation with my female coworker and we were talking about abuse with Ray Rice and his fiancee. You did hear he got cut from the team, a $14 million dollar contract and his fiancee is pissed. My female coworker said she is pissed because that’s her financial security from her paycheck. I told her ‘we as women have always lived on “financial security” nothing for ourselves because the mothers in history have told us to “rely on his finances to take care of you and everything will work out fine.” Dr. Phil and heard women say ‘this to how it takes away the woman’s identity and her power (of course, it would take away anybody’s identity and power).’

It had me thinking that my mom was told to stay in the marriage for the kids’ sake and make sure you get your security. My coworker said what cost are you benefiting from it? It creates more headaches, misery, etc than anything else – a marriage based on nothing zero foundation. Of course, we didn’t benefit from anything. Then, realizing this, I have always relied on my parents’ finances for everything, well, they didn’t want me to ever work as “everything is paid for” definitely no teaching of being independent had to be codependent for everything and called me selfish for wanting a job. They still don’t know I am working. My sister told me for years to milk them for money for what it’s worth as she did the same thing until she was legal enough to pay her own way (16 long long ago) since they use us too. People have told me that I just don’t want to leave and not making an effort. Sorry, don’t plan on leaving until I have a full amount of money that I need – that’s just me. This is about time and planning…

My coworker said fear is the biggest obstacle of them all and it keeps us from doing things which I do agree. For years, I didn’t know how I was going to live if I moved out and wasn’t sure what to do. I wish I had a better understanding of life, responsibilities, etc back then than now. Fear kept me from doing a lot of things which kept a lot of people from doing the same thing which is why I have such a huge difficult time leaving – a lot of what-ifs and how’s.

Anyway, I will still keep an eye out on my work email about that position. I am still gonna look for a 2nd job and just thinking season jobs are coming up maybe there’s something I can do. I will keep looking….

I will keep everybody posted on what’s happening.


What about going to a battered women’s shelter for those who are stuck in an abusive home situation? It might be possible since they are being “battered” by parents, and if that doesn’t work, I know there’s lots of runaway teen type religious homes that take people in. Most people advertising for a roommate don’t have the financial where-with-all to pay their entire rent or they wouldn’t be looking for a roommate. But there’s lots of help out there now, even homeless shelters (not my first choice) but better than nothing if you are really being abused.


To everyone involved in the conversation regarding and including Laura and Marquis.
Sometimes I have to step in, in a way that makes everyone uncomfortable. I have been accused of ‘silencing the voice’ of someone when I don’t allow all comments to be published but I live what I teach and my definition of LOVE is acting in a way that is BEST for all concerned. And I don’t always think it is best to publish every comment. With 36,000 published comments on this blog, I think I am doing pretty good at creating an atmosphere of safety here.

There is such a danger in thinking that our situation is so unique that nobody would ever understand why unlike them, we can’t…. (fill in the blank after can’t)
The danger is to ourselves. One of the first things that I realized helped me was believing that there WAS a way for me to overcome all of this. As long as I believed I was doomed to be stuck in abusive situations, I was. As long as I believed that it was different for me, ~ it was. As long as I thought that there was no answer, there wasn’t. It was when I believed that there was a way out, that I just had to find it, ~ that is what made the difference for me. I had to change my thinking. I had to find a glimmer of hope and I did that somehow. Because it worked so well, but I had trouble finding that glimmer, I created this blog. I wanted to provide that glimmer of hope for others. And I know that I have done that.

Laura you insist that everyone is against you and you read into what people are suggesting and accusing others of insulting you etc. Everyone here is trying to offer you solutions and you are hurling insults back at everyone. I put you in moderation weeks ago (which means that I read your comments before I publish them) and some of them I have not published. I don’t like the way that you talk to me and to my other guests and this is my house. This is my blog and I am the host and I am responsible to oversee the atmosphere here. And I try VERY hard to create a safe atmosphere for everyone.

In your most recent comments which I have decided not to publish, you speak to others with contempt, you say things that are abusive. Accusing others of saying abusive things to you, but you are the only one who is seeing it that way. My view is that everyone is TRYING to help you. Everyone is trying to offer solutions to you out of love and genuine fellowship. But you are taking offence to those comments which is your choice, but the way you address others is not conducive to a safe environment. Nancy T. talked about mental illness but she didn’t say YOU had one. You took that personally and out of context. It is in writing.. if Nancy and I were being abusive to you, everyone would have seen it.

If you would like to be part of this community in a way that does not cause harm to others, you are welcome. I have let things like this slide in the past and it ended up that all the people in the conversation left the site which is not good for anyone so I am learning from the past and I am asking you to read what you are writing as though someone is saying those things to you. Maybe then you will see how you are offending. The comments that I am not going to publish today are very offensive to the people they are addressed to and you are accusing them of doing/saying to you the things that you are in fact accusing them of. This is not best for anyone, including you.

Please consider what I am saying.
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene.


I do remember how hard it was when my life first started to fall apart and someone told me to just get another job (I was working part time tutoring) and move out. I wasn’t angry; I just thought he was insane. He lived in another world where such things were possible. For me, they weren’t. At that time I fully believed that I really was my mom’s possession and that that was actually correct. She didn’t want me to leave, so I couldn’t. I can’t even explain that properly for anybody to understand the psychological hold there. I was hers; every decision I made in my life was deferred to her. Jobs were also a problem. I’d reached a point where I couldn’t hold a conversation about the weather without feeling like I was going to faint. Most jobs don’t just require communication but the judgment of your performance and keeping the job is based on it, so the thought of working the most basic position was a huge source of stress. After my breakdown, I had enough other people encouraging me to leave home that I was able to make that decision but life was still hard. After an incident wanting to hurt a little girl I tutored, I slowly let go of all those jobs. I was lucky that I did have help, much more psychological than practical, although yes practical as well. That help came from within the extended family for the most part and I’ve now left those relationships behind. I have guilt there, but there was so much pain in understanding all the ties to dysfunction that existed there, no one speaking out on my behalf—not something that they owed me but painful to keep up the relationships as though I wasn’t hurting, losing a nephew while others understood I was being scapegoated, etc…. Anyway, I remember when I lived at home, and while I never could speak out, when I wrote letters to my mom, I remember how I struggled, trying to not want to cut myself, fearing that she’d kill herself, riding my bike along the dike near where we lived seeing my dead body up against the shore, having my dad have talks with me about how I should be making things better for my mom, despite the fact that they knew I’d had a breakdown because of the way they treated me. Even after I moved out, not being able to cut my hair or go to the dentist without telling my mom, having to keep in contact with them every few days in my mid-twenties, and while others may understand the absurdity in all that, and while I did, too, in theory anyway, these were the things that caused tremendous emotional problems for me, that split me in two, wanting my own life but still feeling that I really was my mom’s possession and owed her whatever she wanted and needed, and if I didn’t do it, I had so much inner turmoil, fighting her, that I’d want to hurt myself. Abuse takes different forms and affects people differently. If I had died along the way, there ought not to be any judgment toward that. Whatever anyone is able to accomplish is commendable. The fact that I am where I am is the result of a variety of factors, luck and help certainly being two of them. I never want my words to come off as though I’m saying someone should be able to do this or that and if they can’t they aren’t as good as others who can. I went through a dysfunctional workplace through the winter and essentially had another breakdown by the end of it, so obviously I wouldn’t be capable of making it back with my parents. I read awful stories here and am often quite certain that if I were in their shoes, I’d probably be dead, that so many people seem stronger than I…. I am proud of myself, though, that I went from such crippling dependency to self-sufficiency, simply because that’s a long way for me. I wish the best for everyone trying to get out of abusive situations and believe in people’s abilities, not as a pressure that says if they can’t, then they aren’t as good/capable, but as hope that the world can heal itself, not always, but as a general truth. I know that a lot of people have it worse than me and their options are fewer and they’re doing the best they can. I gather that some of Laura’s unpublished comments were aimed at me. I just have a major trigger around this worse/better/easier/harder thing, as my mom was, I think, much more of a victim in life than I ever was and I forfeited my whole self to her for so many years, keeping things afloat the way she wanted them, and was taught that if I didn’t, that made me a bad person and I’d be responsible for all the hurt I caused her (which included her maybe killing herself) if I didn’t give her what she wanted (and her brother had already killed himself when I was a kid, so, you know, “caring” for people was a big deal, giving away myself, having no boundaries/rights, compliance, etc., all controlled by “caring” about my mom, without regard for me, the child) and of course all this has transferred over into other areas.


“She didn’t want me to leave, so I couldn’t. I can’t even explain that properly for anybody to understand the psychological hold there. I was hers; every decision I made in my life was deferred to her. Jobs were also a problem.”

The psychological hold on someone is very hard to explain to people as I have tried to do that and omg, it went over a lot of people’s heads. I used another analogy telling them ever had an ex where they played mind games? They said yea and I said to the point where they had a rein on you that you may get back together? They said yea and I said then that’s the same way with my parents just multiply that by 200,000 especially when it comes to dealing with narcs.

My parents felt I didn’t need a job ever because education came 1st yet with education, how do you apply it to a job? A job meant freedom and independence and they felt by me getting a job in life that “I will make friends and have my mind on the job and not on them.” I told people in the past ‘don’t you find that to be wrong?’ They said ‘ohh, it’s your parents who miss your company,’ I said omg, that is totally wrong and not true!

I always told people ‘since when are children property to anybody?’ People have said ‘ever since the parents’ created them thus making the children their property.’ Can you believe that? A lot of people who said that were mostly parents and others non-parents. I was like, why do these people have kids in the 1st place?!? They said ‘there’s diligence owed to the parents as “we didn’t have to make a baby,” then you shouldn’t either have made a baby or give the kids up to someone who’d love to be parents!

I always felt like I was “property” to my parents and a lot of people out there don’t understand that. I told them imagine being a slave (think of slaves in history) and imagine being one for 400 years or longer? How would you feel? Oh god, it went over people’s heads!

“Abuse takes different forms and affects people differently.”


“Most people advertising for a roommate don’t have the financial where-with-all to pay their entire rent or they wouldn’t be looking for a roommate.”

True. Then again, as a roomie, you are still part of finances. However, that reminds me, I have seen on Judge Judy where a roomie was part time and the issue was on the show she couldn’t make rent, got into a fight with the primary roomie which is why they were in court. I remember Judge Judy would always say, ‘how could you afford a place with part time?’

I know my boyfriend’s mom told me ‘you don’t want this to be a financial ruin to the point where you end up back at your parents’ place, miserable, and having to start all over again. This is about having a backup and planning ahead of time.’ I spoke to a financial coach last week and he said I am still on the right track, it would take me a year and a half to move on this part time income. I don’t have a year and a half to wait! lol I know she’d ask me if I have the money right now for the move? Answer: no. Do I have the money to pay for own living appliances? No, I don’t, but I do have some household stuff of mine. My boyfriend told me to not look at the big picture of this move, but told him ‘how much longer do I have to keep enduring being their maid servant?’

Hmmm, it’s an avenue to look at. I will see once I get a 2nd job, then work on getting my own place once there’s money established.


Marquis – I think I understand that you are very frustrated by the situation that you’re in with your parents. I can sympathize with that and I remember feeling a lot like that at an earlier point in my life. You don’t have it easy by any stretch and I hope I never gave you the impression I thought you did have it easy.

A few months ago someone I know and care about was in need of a place to live. My heart WANTED to help her! But the reality of the situation was that my husband and I are not in a position financially or EMOTIONALLY to have another person living in our home. We’ve been down that road and LOST so much that we aren’t willing to risk it again.

Comments that were made suggesting that I was not a friend worth having because I am aware of my limitations touched a sensitive spot on my heart. I’m not willing to feel guilty about putting my marriage, my sanity, and my finances ahead of someone else’s struggles. It really doesn’t mean that I don’t care about their struggles. It just means that I don’t have what they need. Nobody should have to be that indebted to anyone.


Hello Hobie,

” I hope I never gave you the impression I thought you did have it easy.”

No, I never saw your comments like that. Yea, very frustrated and like my social worker was telling me that I am in such a difficult situation, a very difficult one for that matter.


Hobie, you hit the nail on the head exactly!! As I said in an earlier post, no one should have to put their home life, marriage or financial well being into jeopardy in order to have another person live in their home. I felt the same way as you do Hobie about comments made on the worthiness, or unworthiness of a friendship being based on whether or not the friend provides free living in their home ( time period was unspecified) for a friend in need. I know in my heart that I am a kind and generous person. I have been taken advantage of my whole life because of my generosity. This was because I was trained to never give consideration to my well being when making a decision on something someone else wanted. I found myself sacrificing quite a bit over the years when always saying yes. And people demanded more and more. The first time I put my foot down was with my mother. She married someone who ” didn’t like to work” and he helped piss away their money on boats, computers and many other items, always of the highest quality. Then one day my mother called and asked to borrow a fairly large sum of money. This would have wiped out most of our savings, which was to be used for my sons college and any emergency expenses that might have come up. I knew too that they would never pay it back. I said no, and she threw me out of her life for three years.
Why should I ever have to sacrifice the well being of myself or my family to meet someone else’s needs? My mother and her husband could have obtained the money they wanted in several different ways including selling a rental property they had, and, yes, getting jobs and earning it. But they were ready to throw me and my family under the bus instead, giving no thought to the effect on our lives giving up that money would have.
I will be supportive and offer guidance and ideas for friends in need, and even have someone stay for a short period in a time of crisis. But I will not jeopardize my family, marriage or well being, which would surely happen if someone were to move in my home and live here off of my financial or emotional resources for any length of time. Some may call it selfish. I call it self care.


Hi Amber,

what you said reminded me of something. When you said your mom asked for a large amount of money and that would severely hurt your savings for your son’s college and emergency money; it reminded me back in 97 when I was 11 years old that my brother spent $2k of his money on my mom’s “divorce” but never went through with it. As always, giving my dad way too many chances and today is their marriageless anniversary of 48 yrs of misery.

My mom has absolutely nothing and still has nothing even with money in the bank still doesn’t equate to what my dad has. None of that money is hers that she worked for, it’s all from my dad’s assets. Anyway, he (Brother) was so pissed, complained to my sister about it and she said told you she wasn’t gonna go through with it and if that was me, I wouldn’t have spent a nickel on her dumbass! After that, he never spent any money on her and yea, he did rebuild that $2k up eventually.

One time my grandma (mom’s mom) sent her $300 several years ago and she sent it back telling grandma she didn’t need it as she was applying for my dad’s social security. Then, why ask for the money from your mom in the 1st place? They got at it on the phone which she had to fight my dad to file online so she can take her half as he didn’t have to take his half but blamed her for making him take his half yet she always threaten him about it anyway. My mom said she was so hurt that my grandma said in a letter “that adulterous husband of yours,” my mom said you act like I am the only woman with a cheating husband, what about the other women? We are talking about you not the other women and just found out my grandma cheated and had my mom’s half sister and still married to her dad. My mom said I don’t see the problem with grandma cheating, my mouth fell open then why complain about what dad is doing since affairs isn’t bothering you like you claim?

She’s still enraged that nobody won’t send her any money. She asked my uncle long ago and he told her when she was in her mid to early 30-40s why can’t you go back to work? She screamed, cursed him out, called him an asshole (I bet), your mother’s favorite child, and hung up on him. Also, she told him ‘we are family (since when?) and you should send me money whenever I want, no exceptions or expectations of wanting me to repay you back! Wow, that’s bold huh? He told her no. My sister told me that story and my mom said it never happen but it did happen.

Brother, sister, uncle, I guess my grandma, etc all have said ‘your mother seems to know it all, she is grown (67 yrs old), she will figure it out, and if she can’t that’s her problem. Almost 70 and still can’t figure it out! She told my sister one time when they were in Japan the very 1st time (Navy hubby) that she wanted my BIL to take 6 months off to “help her pack and get a lawyer.” No job out there lets you take off 6 months, my sister told her it’s not hard to find an apartment or pack nor is it hard to find a lawyer. My mom has more money than me she can get an apartment by herself and my boyfriend’s mom has better money sense than my mom will ever have.

Well, my mom and her got at it on the phone yelling ‘That is selfish and mean of my asshole children not to help their mother as I have helped you guys. It’s wrong not to help people.’ I said hold up! You never helped us only when the “terms and conditions” of your narc contract were met, there was absolute no help out of love and understanding. My mom wanted her to drop her family and stay with her, sister said I want 30k up front and a contract! Funny, my mom wants me, sister, her siblings to drop their families but never my brother – take that back, yea she wants him to get rid of his wife.

Look at my mom now, still saving yet not leaving until “dad makes up his mind in 2016 about what he is gonna do.” My sister said why does have to be in the way all the time? Go find a place, divorce and live your life again my sister got cursed out. She had 28k in the bank, has an IRA now and a savings account. She said I have to start all over again in my checking and ever since I was 18, she was gonna save up to 40-50k and never did, why? All that money goes to useless shit like jewelry, watches, etc that stuff can wait until after the divorce. She’s terrible at saving and spending, saving money too late in her life. I have watched for years how she wastes money always using her generation are a generation of savers, but some of those baby boomers have money to live off and aren’t dependent on an asshole like she is! She spends beyond her means, always spending a lot on food when it’s only two people exclude my dad out lives here part time anyway!

She said my brother will let her stay with him and kick his wife out. I thought he said she wanted him to live with him, but found out he never said that mom put that out there. She thinks she can live in your house, not pay a damn thing, eat your food, stink up your house, bring in roaches, tell you what to do in your house (your name on the lease or deed), etc anything revolving your paycheck for the house she feels “she is part owner” when nothing is in her name at all. My sister said hell no you are not gonna stay with me and brother said no. Sister said I have children and they come first and my mom said your kids have a selfish mother for a parent and a loser husband for a father!

After all the shit talking, making up lies/stories, etc nobody wants to help her. I didn’t make up any lies or stories yet nobody wants to help me! My sister said why should I let my sanity go over your stupidity? I love my life and you will just destroy it which my mom will. My mom never tells my brother what to do in his own house just the women! My mom’s plan is to destroy my brother’s marriage if she moved in with him and my sister told him that do not let mom live with you she will be put in a nursing home!

People have told me how selfish that is that my sister won’t let her live with her and said she talks shit who wants that in their house? People say but that’s your mom and oh here we go again!My mom said if I have to stay with my kids, then I will. Your other daughter told you she doesn’t want you near her, what part of that don’t you understand? What part of she hates you and dad’s guts don’t you understand?!?


Marquis, “People” love to tell others what they should do and call them selfish when they don’t comply. However, I wonder how many of these self richeous people would actually do what they preach if they were in a situation with a relative like your mother. The ” but that’s your mother!” Line is intended to induce guilt to get someone to do something regardless of whether it is in their best interest or not, and it discounts that that person could be abusive, irresponsible and a huge burden on the person forced to take him or her in. One thing I learned in the year and four months of being in the process Darlene has described through her blogs and ebook is the difference between selfishness and self care. I have often been called selfish by my mother and this was when I wouldn’t do something for her that would have been a huge burden to me and my family. If anyone was truly selfish it was my mother, pampering herself with clothes and getting her hair done while I Wore hand me downs and went unbathed and I groomed during my growing years. And then being uprooted from my home whenever she found a new man. She never helped me with my kids and never showed interest in the things that were important to me like my proms, wedding, and children. My mother thought that I should be getting on a plane to shuttle her around to her doctor appointments. She lived three thousand miles away! I was selfish because I told her she can go with an aide from her assisted living place. She brought up moving into my house. Marquis, I could not do that because it would have been a huge burden, not just financially, but emotionally. She loves to pick fights with people and also cause trouble between other people. Having her here would have destroyed my marriage, and it was self care, not selfish to say no. My mother was never interested in giving, only in taking. I did without so much as a child and finally found happiness in my marriage. I wasn’t about to let a woman who has only ever recognized me for what she can use me for, destroy my life. I can understand why your sister doesn’t want your Mom to move in with her. I hope she stands her ground no matter what the guilt inducing people have to say about it. Remember, it is not selfish to refuse to do something that is too big a burden or harmful to take on. It is self care.


Hi Amber,

I agree. I forgot to mention my mom talking about moving into my brother’s house all because he “makes a lot of money and can easily afford her.” Brother and his wife have no children, they did have pets but they died. My mom was enrage that he left AZ a few years ago, sold his house, and moved to CO without her or given mom a portion of his sale money. I told people don’t you find that to be a problem? Nothing about his old house was ever in her name, why would people say he should have been considerate of his own mother?

“The ” but that’s your mother!” Line is intended to induce guilt to get someone to do something regardless of whether it is in their best interest or not, and it discounts that that person could be abusive, irresponsible and a huge burden on the person forced to take him or her in.”

Totally agree and wrong for people to say that. I am very careful to say that to people especially if the parents or whoever raised them is like everybody else’s abusive parents, then I won’t say ‘but that’s your mom/dad/grandparents/aunts/uncles/etc if someone is abusive does it really matter who they are? My ex-therapist (other people) and I got at it bad I told her that she said it still matters and said no, it doesn’t.

The thing is everybody out there are grown adults and why does it still matter that they are still your parents/grandparents/cousins/aunts/etc? My sister just turned 47 last month, why should she still care? I told people and ex-therapist by saying that you are trying to keep me or others in “child mode” all because of “they are your parents” or “that’s your mom/dad.” Ex-therapist said your a grown adult and can make your own decisions, wow she contradicts herself all the time and said to her then, let the grown adult make her own decisions and stop putting her back into child mode all because “it’s her parents!” Told people you can’t have it both ways either live your life as an adult with peace of mind or still cater to abuse which you’re telling someone to keep catering to it anyway indirectly speaking which is more abusive than anything else! People tell me I am cold, cold hearted, and heartless because of how I feel, oh well!! My parents just take/steal there has never been any real compromises and nobody out there finds it a problem for a parent to steal from their own child!

My mom calls her daughters selfish for not complying and at times my brother gets included. I am selfish for wanting a job and independence yet that’s what women should have and not rely on a man’s money, wtf?!? That certainly isn’t my mom never will be! You don’t do what yhey want, yea, you’re no longer their children and told people hello?!? Does anybody find that to be a problem? Good, glad we’re not their children!

My mom loves to pick fights with people and say racial slurs right in front of them like it’s Jim Crow all over again. It’s funny she accuses people of being rude, racist, stuck up, etc and told her one time are you describing yourself? She called me every name in the book.

My sister is very strong and made it clear no, mom isn’t staying with us nor is pops allowed in my house. She told them on the phone she would call the police if they step foot on her door uninvited and have the military police arrest them too. My sister told my mom our finances are for us (including her kids) not for you and my mom screamed saying how come your daughters are more important than me? Notice how she didn’t say my granddaughters?

When my brother was still in AZ, my mom had him coming from another city that’s an hour from us to take her to the store on the weekends. Not like he couldn’t afford the gas and one time she told me after he left what’s the matter with him? Wonder why. I think one day on the phone he told mom he wasn’t gonna come over on the weekends just to take her to the store and that’s it yep she blew up blamed his wife. It’s funny, she says I love my daughter in law then talks shit about white people right in front of her. She took cabs to the store and the store is a 5 minute walk wasted money on cabs!

She never had a driver’s license everybody who has a car is her driver yet pays them gas when she feels like it or they should have their own money for gas, don’t ask them to give you a ride if you refuse to pay their gas. We got buses here only taken the bus with me a few times, but had no problems riding the bus in CA. My sister told her to go to assisted living for seniors and my mom screamed saying she is not a senior just 67 yrs old (back then when this was mentioned she was 63) and also said the gov will take all of her assets away, what assets besides that social security check? She hasn’t made any effort to move or interview these rental places. Like I told people and ex-therapist since you feel so sorry for her, then you should open your homes and give her money so she can get her lousy divorce! OOoh, everybody shut up after that! lmao


I have dealt a great deal lately with what the therapist I am working with calls “learned helplessness.” It has taken me literally decades to see it. People talk a lot about the “fog” but it hasn’t been a fog for me, it has been a brick fortress.

This helplessness was a reality for me as a child. There was no chance of me ever doing anything that could free me from where I was. I could not get out, I had nowhere to go, no ability to survive outside of my family and absolutely no resources whatsoever to move even slightly to a more comfortable position. I was completely dependent on whatever scraps I could get from them. I gave up. I became depressed before I even hit puberty.

I got stuck there. Stuck for over 30 years. During that time, I managed to get two college degrees and goodness knows how many jobs. I got married and moved out. But I might have just as well been living at home because I changed nothing inside of me. I still believed I was utterly helpless and no matter what I did, I knew that rug would be ripped out from underneath me.

I thought getting married and getting out would save me. It just brought a new set of difficulties. I carried all of my old beliefs with me, into my new home and into my marriage. My surroundings changed, but nothing else did.

I was right. Life dealt me many blows, infertility, poverty, illness, grief and loss, addiction, back stabbing friends, hard awful knocks, the same kind of stuff that everybody deals with everyday. I had no tools whatsoever to deal with any of life’s hurdles and that hole I was in just got deeper and deeper.

I jumped a couple of hurdles this week. I accepted a challenge from my therapist and did two things I never believed were even a possibility for me. I even made a critical error while I was doing one of those things. I was out there, all by myself with no safety net, it was horrendous and I thought I was going to die. I had a full blown panic attack.

Then I used a cognitive tool I have just learned in therapy to calm myself, I made a course correction and I did something I never believed was even remotely possible for me to do.

So all I have to add to the current conversation is this. We are not talking about small feats, this stuff is epic. It requires a risk that shakes us to the core, it requires that we look our reality in the face and that we tell it that it is not real. It is about leaps of faith and courage worthy of the highest medal of honor.

Looking over my shoulder, what I did is something most people do before their 20th birthday with very little thought. It wasn’t horribly difficult, it was just something my family said I was really bad at and couldn’t do and I believed it.

So, in case you are wondering what it is, it is driving. Do you have any idea how not being able to drive to more than to a few places within a comfort zone can limit someone’s life?

When I was ten, my stepfather made me press the pedal in the car while he was driving. We were pulling out of a gas station and I was pressing the gas but he kept screaming “Go, Go” at me. He had the car in the wrong gear. I pressed the pedal to the floor because nothing was happening and the engine in the car blew.

I spent every weekend for months rebuilding the engine with him. During that time alone with him he verbally, physically and mentally tortured me. He told me I was going to spend my life barefoot and pregnant, married to Joe six pack ( I am know now this is where my infertility stemmed from.) He blamed me for the car being broken and convinced me I would never be a good driver, I believed him.

To make matters worse, he used to take me on long bike rides, alone. He had a ten speed, I only had a three speed. He would take me to the point of exhaustion, far from home, while I pedaled as hard as I could to keep up with him. Then he would ditch me. I would be out there alone, lost.

It became a family joke that I was bad at directions. I did not pay attention when we were out there, I was trying desperately to keep up with him. I was scared he was trying to get rid of me. Many times I thought he was taking me out to kill me. It wasn’t that I was bad at directions, it was about the emotional turmoil I was in during these excursions.

So couple a hyper anxiety about being lost with a religious belief in the fact that I am a terrible driver who can blow up a car and devastate my entire family’s well being in an instant by just pressing a pedal and I give you me, stuck in a 10 mile radius for over 3 decades, dependent on those who would give me a ride.

It never occurred to me to get out there and drive myself. Not knowing the ropes, of course I got lost every time I tried which just proved I couldn’t do it. It proved I needed “them.” (They soaked this up by the way).

I put a lot of miles on my car this week. I spent many hours on the road. I got lost, I made a couple of mistakes, I drove through rush hour traffic in a big city with one way streets and some bad areas. I did what normal people do every day, I made the same mistakes they do. It didn’t go perfectly, but I made it.

I’m serious and I am sure that some people are astounded by my inability to just get off my toosh and drive somewhere for a job interview, to a fertility specialist, to wherever I needed to be, but I just could not do it and I missed out on so many things in life that would have been easily accessible to most people because of this.

I was utterly convinced I was dependent on the goodwill of those around me to get anywhere. This led to that age old triangulation I grew up with, me the victim, needing the rescuer to save me, (insert the persecutor anywhere that I believed with all of my heart as an adult I was unworthy and incapable). Again, this was a reality for me as a child, I was persecuted at every turn and nothing in my experience as an adult ever even caused me to remotely challenge this idea.

There is no golden ticket. We don’t get anything special because of what we have been through. Life isn’t fair. I’m never going to have that rose garden. But I’m going to plant the biggest, most colorful, fragrant wildflower garden I can one baby step at a time.

Most people would laugh at what I consider a huge accomplishment but I am learning not measure myself against what those outside of me think. So even if you are there, still dependent, (getting out doesn’t set you free, you have to do the same work wherever you are), make a baby step and create an internal cheer leading squad for each tiny accomplishment.

There is no magic pill, there is no lottery ticket, there are no knights in shinning armor. Some of us get dealt crappy hands in life and we lose a whole bunch of things that other people just take for granite. We have to overcome all kinds of crap other people never have to think about.

There are no conditions that have to be met before you can start to heal. There is no place you have to be, no person you have to have, no amount of money that is necessary for you to start the process. Some people will get breaks, some people won’t. Some people who have every break in the world won’t make it.

I know that sense of entitlement intimately. It has not been fair, I deserved so much better. Life screwed me over big time. It is a harsh reality out there. One of the hardest things in the world to get over is the idea that life owes us something now. In the end, when you start to peel away the layers, you can start to realize that idea is really self sabotage. It is part of the belief system that was designed to keep you where somebody else wants you to be.


So well spoken. Congratulations on learning to drive! I knew a lady who was just learning to, I know how nerve racking it is. I learned at the normal time, but my mother demanded that I learn on a stick shift. It was scary.

I’ve carried that sense of entitlement around, too. In a different way. Mad at the world for my position because of the way I was raised. Feeling like it was unfair that I was college educated and hardworking, but I didn’t have the confidence to do better than be a janitor. I still am, but I know this isn’t all there is for me, I will do something else.

So much of the way we feel about ourselves seems to get reflected back to us. As the saying goes, “We teach others how to treat us.” And “…a man sees only what he wants to see and disregards the rest…” All I could see for a long, long time was people looking down on me. People thinking they were better than me. This is the way my mother looked at me. This is the way abusers look at their victims. They really believe they are better and they treat their victims accordingly. I finally get that it wasn’t me, it wasn’t my fault and am working hard on changing my default setting. Not to everyone loves me, but just to neutral. Getting that everyone is dealing with their own troubles, sorrows, etc. And the looks on other people’s faces is not about me. It’s a pattern, for sure, self sabotage.



What you wrote is awesome. It’s awesome that you drove beyond your comfort zone. It’s even more awesome that you shed light on the issues at hand. I would spoil it to try to add to it.

Well done!




Wow! “My surroundings changed, but nothing else did.” There it is. I understand exactly what you are talking about.

Kudos to you for driving further than you ever have been able to before!!! I am not laughing at your accomplishment! I think it is so symbolic of exactly what we are all trying for.

Enjoy the trip:)


In case anyone is interested in a little bit of history I was asked to write an article for the Online Therapy Institutes Magazine “TILT” which stands for Therapeutic Innovations in Light of Technology about using Technology to get my message out as a helping professional. The article came out this week and I have re-posted it on the home page HERE! Read the back story of EFB from ‘A’ to today. Check it out!
hugs, Darlene


CONGRATS on learning how to drive! That is awesome
and what a fantastic share you have posted ~ showing the reason why you had the fear in the first place and highlighting the history behind it! Seeing the roots of where it comes from is the stuff that heals us deeply!
Hugs, Darlene


Kaycee, you wrote the best comment yet about finding the courage to “step out of fear.” Wow! Something we could all use now and again… and reading your words sure helped me today. Gave me lots to think about. Thank you so much. You are quite the writer! I sense a book in there somewhere…


Kaycee, I applaud you for learning how to drive! It is NEVER too late, and I don’t underestimate the courage it takes for you to ignore those messages you received. It is difficult for us, those who are truly loving people to accept the truth that our families did not love us or “see” us. One of the things that I was ashamed of growing up was my singing voice. If I sang, my brothers and sisters howled and I was told I had a horrible voice. So I continued to sing but to myself…I sang songs and hymns to my children when they were small. My second husband, a former professional musician, refuted my lack of singing ability. While he agrees my singing is not…ummm…GREAT, or anything like that, I have a passably good ordinary singing voice and I CAN carry a tune. I work later hours, and once was singing at the copier machine, and the next day, a co-worker complimented me. She said, “I heard you singing last night, and you sounded really good…you have a nice voice.” I was floored, and corrected her, that I had a poor voice, and asked what I was singing…it was an Elton John song, she said, and then I knew it was me. I carried that shame my whole life about my singing voice so much that sometimes in group singing situations I would barely whisper and only mouth some of the lyrics. And while I don’t sing in public, still, I am no longer ashamed. I actually sing in church too, whereas I used to be so ashamed. The only thing I need to be ashamed of is my parents, who did not stop my siblings from their bullying and harrassing behavior. It feels so good to be no contact with my two emotionally and spiritually abusive sisters and low contact with my parents and brothers. Just being away from their constant derision and criticism means I finally have room to build a healthy ego. I am in my 40s and wish I would have figured this out 20 years ago. Like Darlene says, once I totally gave up on being loved, treated well, and accepted…and I had hit rock bottom, there was only one way to go and it was UP!


Kaycee, I too loved your comments and could totally relate to the driving thing. I haven’t driven in 14 years. I never wanted to learn, though. My nerves were shot and I had no self-confidence, and that seemed to make everyone assume that I was a bad driver and they would bug me about it, make jokes. (I had to learn on a stick shift, too, Jamie, but had no other choice about that.) I passed my road test with one mistake and generally I’d say there was nothing to make me any worse than anyone else who was learning… For now, I’m good to go on foot, bus or metro, but maybe one day, if I ever live out of a major city, I’ll get back out on the road to try. I’m happy enough to avoid the stress. Everyone in my family was in a car accident at one point or another, or multiple accidents. Left my mom with lifelong chronic back pain and my brother seemed to be going that way as well. I definitely don’t miss that feeling of dependency and somehow being less than, not a full grown-up or something, just because I didn’t feel comfortable driving and got rides from family.

Anyway, I really loved your comments. I had a certain sense of entitlement, too, last year after I’d gone through this long process of confronting my family, trying to fix things, then getting scapegoated or swept aside, not important enough to raise a collective voice from those who understood the truth. I moved to a new city, understandably wanting everything to fall perfectly into place. It did not. Strangely, though I’ve worked so much on this inner family stuff, I still so often put myself out as the smiley, shy, nervous puppy, at the mercy of others, meek though I am not weak. All the abandonment when I stood up for myself left me gutted, in need of love, put me in that same place of trying to be understanding, patient, empathetic, zigzagging trying to get through things that were impossible to do so in a mild manner when others were not interested in what was best or right, always so exhausted. I found and stood up for my equality with my family but the effects of their abuse left me feeling lesser than others out in the world, subject to wanting their acceptance. It’s hard to have so much vulnerability as the result of all the pain and all the time having to be strong. Yet being passive, submissive, overly-agreeable, patient when being mistreated, even speaking up about my problems but… then deflating it by leaving it up to them to decide whether to honour my words or not, accepting whatever if they chose not to, without maintaining responsibility, etc., none of this leads to being loved—in the home or outside the home. It’s hard starting fresh, getting your bearings. I never actively decided that I’d just submit to more abuse, as though I thought it might get me somewhere. I just wanted everyone and everything to be nice!!! There’s enough in life that is hard, why do people have to add cruel to the mix? That’s entirely rhetorical… I get how the cycle works… but it doesn’t “work”!! It’s just a whole bunch of stupid.


Thanks everyone for the encouragement!

Jamie, yes! Once their truth became my truth it became a self fulfilling prophecy. I get it now, that all new drivers get lost, get nervous, even have fender benders. But for me all of those things became distorted. It wasn’t a normal part of learning to drive, it was huge in my mind and proof of my incompetency.

Hobie, I’m starting to look at all of the ways I stay within my comfort zone. I even will stand in line at the store longer to avoid a male cashier.

Jane, yes, getting out wasn’t the answer, some things even got worse!

Darlene, my therapist says that I am halfway there already because I recognize now what happened to me and how it affected me. I started going to therapy after I stumbled onto this website because your work allowed me for the first time to appreciate the magnitude of what happened to me and most importantly helped me to understand it was not my fault. I am revisiting your article on when you stopped breaking promises to yourself, that is my next step.

Catherine, thanks, I dream of writing a fiction novel someday!

Eira, sing, sing!!!!!

Alaina, yeah, yeah. I remember one time throwing rocks at the clouds and cursing God and saying “I should win the f#$^ing lottery for all I have been through and that would still be a day late and a dollar short!!!” The thing is, being so wounded and feeling so bad about myself blinded me to many of the things people with normal childhoods take joy and pleasure in. It wasn’t wallowing in self pity, it was being totally stuck in the paradigm I grew up in and being crippled by anxiety.

I feel lucky now just for knowing what I know, for discovering this was not my truth. Even if I die tomorrow, I won’t die feeling like I am worthless, broken stray my family picked up on the side of the road and by their good graces let me live outside chained to a cold shed eating scraps.

I know now that I was a beautiful baby, a real daughter and there was something desperately wrong with my Mother and my Father that caused them to be unable to love me as a daughter and I understand now, this is there loss.


You really sound amazing! I agree to what you said about being totally stuck in the paradigm you grew up in and being crippled by anxiety, and it really is so awful how they break us down so bad, so that we live in such inner turmoil and torment and at the same time they succeed for so long in achieving our gratitude for this, that or the other, or at the very least the feeling that we ought to be grateful, and conversely in promoting our guilt when we bring up the abuse, etc., when what we want actually isn’t even the least bit unreasonable. I was spoiled in many ways but I never wanted that. I didn’t sign any contract to give over my soul for privileges. If I had known, and if I had been capable of understanding the truth, I never for the life of me would have given myself over. There was no choice at all, just brainwashing. This all becomes obvious (slowly as you break out of the mind-scape), when you say no more and realize everything is just a poof of smoke. It’s really kind of diabolical—like if you took it out of the scope of family, forget about things like “intention” and just look at the reality of what’s happening…

And hey, I dream of writing a novel, too! (I’m trying, kind of; I think I need more time to keep sorting myself out.) That’s really awesome! We need to inundate the world with our voices!

Anyway, thanks again for sharing your successes and understandings.


Kaycee, you don’t need to write a “fiction” novel, just keep telling your tale! Remember the old adage, “write what you know…” You could change the names if you wanted, or even keep them the same.

It’s remarkable what you are able to do with words. “Throwing rocks at the clouds…” don’t we all know the feeling, even though we may never have done it? You paint such clear and beautiful pictures with words. It’s almost like reading a movie script, or being in one, and I’m standing right there with you.

You wrote: “Catherine, thanks, I dream of writing a fiction novel someday!

Eira, sing, sing!!!!!

Alaina, yeah, yeah. I remember one time throwing rocks at the clouds and cursing God and saying “I should win the f#$^ing lottery for all I have been through and that would still be a day late and a dollar short!!!” The thing is, being so wounded and feeling so bad about myself blinded me to many of the things people with normal childhoods take joy and pleasure in. It wasn’t wallowing in self pity, it was being totally stuck in the paradigm I grew up in and being crippled by anxiety.

I feel lucky now just for knowing what I know, for discovering this was not my truth. Even if I die tomorrow, I won’t die feeling like I am worthless, broken stray my family picked up on the side of the road and by their good graces let me live outside chained to a cold shed eating scraps.

I know now that I was a beautiful baby, a real daughter and there was something desperately wrong with my Mother and my Father that caused them to be unable to love me as a daughter and I understand now, this is there loss.”

Amen! Dear God please show us The Way.


Kaycee wrote in #262: “I miss not being allowed to have normal family relationships. I was always the third class passenger on my Mother’s Titanic. No matter how much I change, they are always the same.”

This is what I’m talking about, KC… you have “the gift” with words! And everyone here recognizes it, too. I hope you gather up all your comments and put them into a wordprocessing program et voila! Your book will be written! *Wow* is all I can say.


Elli G #264: “Am I sad? A little, but only because I wanted to say more and I didn’t. I felt I had to spare them, I couldn’t fight feeling sorry for them the very same time I was mad at them. Am I happy? A lot, because for the first time in my life I feel like ME! The angry version of me, but me nonetheless. And I wouldn’t trade that for the world!”

This has stayed with me forever. Reading “The angry version of me, but me nonetheless” has made it OK – for the first time in years – for me to feel that “Yes, I can be angry and still be OK!” I can be angry because I deserve to be angry at how they have treated me! My family’s dynamic is to keep poking, prodding and attacking until finally you lose your cool and then BINGO! You got angry and they WIN! It’s nonstop and it hurts and I haven’t been in physical proximity in over 30 years, but made the mistake of recently having email contact. It was disastrous and I’m still not over the wounds. So, not anymore, not anymore, and they are all blocked from my blog and Facebook pages. Had to do it to find any peace of mind.

So this is “me.” The all-kinds-of-feelings-me! Thank you all and God bless Darlene for these wonderful pages. Gracias, Amen.



I know, it has been the same for me. They would keep messing with me, craving for any negative reaction and then boom, I would get a new label for that. My brother called me 4 days ago to “teach me a lesson” about how I am supposed to talk to our mother. For the first time I let him have an earful of my feelings and my mother’s wonderful parenting tactics, including her non-reaction when I brought to her attention I was touched by a pedo, and he was at a loss for words. Then his arguments pretty much boiled down to ..”but she is our mother”. “So because she is our mother, she can treat us any damn way she feels like?” I said. Then silence followed, and an apology that he has never told me or showed me that he loves me but now he is letting me know that he does. I let him have it for good this time, it was so fulfilling that I said everything I wanted and there were no more tricks in their stupid book that they could pull.

I read in one of your comments that you live in Guatemala. The internet makes the world seem so small sometimes. I am from Greece but I’ve spent 3 months in Antigua learning Spanish not too many years ago. Soon I will be moving with my family to Australia, I like being a citizen of the world partly because almost everything that reminds me of home doesn’t feel homey somehow. Very glad to meet you, even just through the web.


Thank you Catherine, you have inspired me, I wrote two whole pages of my novel today lol!


Thank you, ElliG… Antigua is a beautiful place! I lived there for four months and might go back one day. For now it’s Lake Atitlan and back “home” to North Carolina, where I am right now.

Kaycee: I am so happy to find out you wrote two pages of your “novel” today! Keep it real and change the names if you must, but keep writing. You are quite a magician with words!

I’m down with the flu so will be reading but not writing much more right now. God bless!


First off – Incredible site – thank you for sharing your story, Darlene – I’ve been on this site for about 5 months reading & re-reading post & comments, & in just the last few week purchased your book – so looking forward in diving in & reading it. First time posting & can so relate to this post. I always knew something was seriously wrong with my relationship with my mother – we never really seen eye to eye, & still don’t. The last straw for me going NC was just recently in the last couple of months. I would say our relationship was most definitely one-sided & me doing all the work – After 50+ years of trying so hard to have somewhat of a relationship, I’m done – she’s not capable of having a loving or any kind of relationship with me – I’ve finally came to terms with it.

When I finally came out of the fog & took a step back & really looked hard at our relationship, it was all about her & the control that she had over me & the never-ending of me trying to please her. I was always striving for her attention, validation, love, support etc. She is the ignoring type, I was lucky if I got a call once a year initiated from her, if I called her (which was all the time) the conversation was all about her & gossip about all the other family members (the dirt) and she would stick in there some sly comments to put me down or she would hurry me off the phone, or pass the phone to someone else – never any real mother/daughter conversations. When it came to some of my major accomplishments, (picking out my wedding dress, when my soon-to-be mother-in-laws bridal shower, graduating from college late in life) she never showed up for me. That hurt deeply!

I was relativity low contact only speaking with her if she’d call for the past 5 years, which was rare. I caught on to her many mind games – don’t give her any personal info so she can use it against me or put me down. It was a game of “call me or come to me” – it’s like I owned it to her or the famous “respecting your parents thing”. Really… about respecting your adult children!

This last episode was it for me – yep that’s it – it was the last time for me……it hurt & was deep. I haven’t physically seen her in 8 years – she moved to FL 8 years ago. I live in the Midwest – Since her move to FL she sends out the generic typed Christmas letters, telling us what they’ve done throughout the year & who visited – this past Christmas letter stated she was to going back to OH to visit family & friends in late spring & would visit me & DH.

Well this threw me for a loop – I can count on 1 hand how many times she’s been to our house or even to go out of her way to see DH & I in the 20+ years we’ve been together. Since the Christmas letter was sent in mid December, I hadn’t heard from her, until late May I got a voice message that they were in OH & would be there for a couple weeks & they were thinking about coming our way on there way back to FL. She also went on to ask if she could stay at our house or if we wanted her to get a hotel & to call her back & let her know. Well DH & I talked about it & thought it was best if they stayed at a hotel – this was very awkward situation for all of us, since neither one of us has seen each other in years, plus we were in the middle of house project & our spare bedroom (we only have a 2 bedroom house) was the catch all for everything.

I called her back later that evening, and the first thing she asks me was if I was working (I’ve been unemployed for a while) I said I was & then she says, Ohhh – silence & no questions whatsoever about the job, where I was working, if I liked it or anything. She then proceeds to say that they wanted to come visited on there way home to FL, however she could not tell me when they were coming or pin point a day or time – it’s about a 5 hour drive – she then ask me if she could stay at our house, or get a hotel I said it probably would be best if you got a hotel room since we were in a major house project our spare bedroom is being used for a storage area. She then ask what hotels are around, so I give a few options, I ask when do think you’ll be on your way, she never really says & then says we’ll call you when we’re on our way – still she gives me no date or timeframe whatsoever. So DH & I are thinking it will be the following week – well the week goes bye, haven’t heard from her & then a start of another week happens, still no word – By this time I figured something happened or she just went home. She never did call us.

I’m like WTH – why wouldn’t you at least call us & let us know, what’s going on –if you’re not coming. To leave us hang like that is just unbelievable. So, I’m like I’m gonna call to find out where they’re at – my heart & gut tells me they went home – didn’t want to deal with me at all, doesn’t want to face me or have anything to do with myself & DH.

I was really nervous making that call, but it had to be made – Yep, just what my heart & gut thought – she by passed us & went to the golden-child’s house (which both of them were together in OH the whole time) in the same state as me & then they went on to visit grandchild (daughter of golden-child) 3 hours away. Literally drove right passed our house – WOW – what a blow to my heart!

The phone conversation was very interesting, stepfather answers the phone, acted like they forgot they were coming to my house – then he hurried & gave the phone to my mother. She then proceeded to say – “they didn’t feel welcome” coming to our house, I said what gave you that idea, & then she proceeds to change the subject asking about my job, I said oh, no we are not going there, & then I stated I was very disappointed & very hurt, she then says again we just didn’t feel welcome, at this point I was crying & then I said I can’t believe this & I just hung up the phone.

She calls back immediately, I let it go to voice mail – She states she’s very sorry, & once again says they didn’t feel welcome, says she’s sorry again & then says they are taking a trip in September to visit friends 5 hours away & will call & make arrangements- say’s she’s sorry again & then say’s love you.

Well that was 3 months ago & it’s now the middle of September haven’t heard a word from her.

I’m so done with her – Who would do such a thing to a daughter? A sick, twisted person would – she is definitely sick & twisted. Life moves on & I have released her from any motherly responsibilities – cuz she can’t handle it. Part of being a mother is showing-up – she’s never showed up emotionally or physically.

When the going get’s tough & when she can’t handle the emotional side of life – she’s runs, looking back at the many scenarios, she ran from them all. Thank you for this site it’s truly a gift.


Welcome to EFB ! I am so glad you are here! Your post is so much of the stuff we talk about here, the games and manipulations that we are exposing in order to be free. I believe you have found the right blog!
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Cathe says, “When it came to some of my major accomplishments, (picking out my wedding dress, when my soon-to-be mother-in-laws bridal shower, graduating from college late in life) she never showed up for me. That hurt deeply!”

It does hurt to see the major discrepancies between how your major accomplishments and milestones in comparison to those of your siblings and other relatives are treated. For my first marriage, I married at 24 but not before a younger sister and an older sister had already been married. My mom complained about everything–she said she was “sick of throwing weddings” and sick of the expense (even though my wedding was about 1/3 of the size of my sisters) and complained about me living back at home temporarily during the transition. She would even make comments that many of our relatives “would not be that interested” in coming to my wedding. She refused to go wedding shopping with me. When I graduated from university, she had no interest in going to my ceremony, though she grudgingly went when my dad decided to go on his own, and then refused to follow through with the dinner that I planned at a local restaurant. She never took photos of the graduation, and discouraged me from holding a little celebration party saying “no one would be interested in going.” I believed her. When we bought our first house, she came over and pointed out the flaws in the house, even though it was a better house that any I had grown up in though not as nice as one of my sister’s. When my first husband left me seven years later, she told relatives that he had been “my long suffering husband” even though he had left me for another woman. She invited him and his new wife (the one he left me for) to her home after they married. When I remarried, that is a whole other story, but she created sort of a scene at the bridal shower my friends threw me telling folks that “remarriages should not be celebrated with showers and weddings.” Even though she has attended remarriage weddings for friends and relatives and have given them warm wishes and make comments that they “deserve to have a happy life.” Yet if I call her on any of this stuff, she acts the victim, says I am “being sensitive and dramatic” and she acts as though I am being mean to her or oppressing her in some way and calls out her flying monkeys to confront me for “being mean to mom.” I am beginning to understand that she is a covert narcicisst and I can’t expect her to be any different, she will never “see” me as anything but her very “flawed” daughter. When things go well for me, she never acts enthusiastic or happy for me. When things go poorly for me, she seems sympathetic–which is entirely strange, but perhaps it only serves to show her that “she was right about me” and so she can afford some sympathy.


Spot on Eira – “It does hurt to see the major discrepancies between how your major accomplishments and milestones in comparison to those of your siblings and other relatives are treated”.

Yep, my Golden-child sister (oldest) got the praise, attention and “can do no wrong” from both sides of the family & she still does today. She plays the game of “stupid” all the time – this makes my blood boil, she knows actually what’s she doing. She was groomed by our mother. I’m so glad I’ve removed myself from the family dysfunction over 4 years ago – now I sit back & watch it all on-fold. They have become very predictable on what they’ll do next.


“Part of being a mother is showing-up – she’s never showed up emotionally or physically.

When the going get’s tough & when she can’t handle the emotional side of life – she’s runs, looking back at the many scenarios, she ran from them all.”

I totally agree she wasn’t there emotionally/physically my mom. People say she was there in the house on the couch, so she was “physical.” I said not physical as in intimacy, love, caring, sharing, understanding, etc. Omg, that went over people’s heads I said oh my fucking god what idiots!


Hi Everyone ~ I just published a new post. I got a ‘dear Darlene’ letter and I answered it publically. A hurt mother wants me to write in a more balanced way and is upset that I represent the hurt child. You can read it here. “When a Mother says she is the Victim of her Adult Children”
Looking forward to the conversation on this one! ~ Darlene


Thank you SO much for this Darlene! It was as if I was reading about my own relationship with my parents! I actually got goosebumps reading it!


Hi Elaine
Welcome to EFB~ Glad you liked it and thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Kaycee, that is so awesome that you have learned how to drive. You are an inspiration!! I can learn from you about challenging myself out of my comfort zone. You have helped yourself AND others! Go, Kaycee!


A couple of things have happened lately that I am finding difficult to deal with. My mother says opposite things at different times. Recently she told me what she usually tells me “she doesn’t want to talk about it”….then she proceeded to give me her most meaningful apology ever (after decades of not being understanding). She was sorry she wasn’t there for me and didn’t validate my experience of sexual abuse. And she didn’t realize the profound damage that was done to the family dynamics because of this (I call it scapegoating). I asked her to communicate this to my siblings and she agreed.

Then I got together with her a few days later to discuss. She said she doesn’t agree that I was scapegoated. She also said some things to counter/minimize my experience along with some validating. She said that I was treated the same as my siblings. (No, I wasn’t. My brothers were not sexually abused, and my sister was validated immediately). She said she was told that the covert sexual abuse I experienced was “almost nothing” so that’s how she viewed it (not sure if she does now – like I said, on the phone she apologized but maybe she’s changed her mind).

She’s a woman of opposites. Sometimes she’s rejecting, sometimes not. She’ll trust me with small things but not with big things. Sometimes validating, sometimes not. And the example above about family dynamics and scapegoating. When I tell her my feelings (“I feel rejected”; “I’m angry that you didn’t validate my experience and believe me” etc.) and how much it hurts me, she says she feels very criticized. My push and desperation to get her to understand makes her even more defensive. It’s true I do criticize her during these talks – I’m so hurt and desperate for her understanding and love…consistent apologies would go a long way).

Do I give an ultimatum, i.e. feel free to be in touch when you understand? And how do I express my feelings without her feeling criticized?

The other thing I find difficult is that she does seem like she loves me. She seems baffled that I am having such a difficult time with the sexual abuse issue (yet she steadfastly counters my feelings mixed in with occasional apologies). She prefers to not talk about it and just have a nice relationship, but she will talk about it because she doesn’t want to lose me. Talking about it results in her countering my feelings mixed in with occasional glimmers of understanding. It’s an exercise in frustration for me, and she feels criticized.

I hate to leave her knowing that she loves me in her way yet what she is asking me to accept is impossible.


A couple of things have happened lately that I am finding difficult to deal with. My mother says opposite things at different times. Recently she told me what she usually tells me “she doesn’t want to talk about it”….then she proceeded to give me her most meaningful apology ever (after decades of not being understanding). She was sorry she wasn’t there for me and didn’t validate my experience of sexual abuse. And she didn’t realize the profound damage that was done to the family dynamics because of this (I call it scapegoating). I asked her to communicate this to my siblings and she agreed.

Then I got together with her a few days later to discuss. She said she doesn’t agree that I was scapegoated. She also said some things to counter/minimize my experience along with some validating. She said that I was treated the same as my siblings. (No, I wasn’t. My brothers were not sexually abused, and my sister was validated immediately). She said she was told that the covert sexual abuse I experienced was “almost nothing” so that’s how she viewed it (not sure if she does now – like I said, on the phone she apologized but maybe she’s changed her mind).

She’s a woman of opposites. Sometimes she’s rejecting, sometimes not. She’ll trust me with small things but not with big things. Sometimes validating, sometimes not. And the example above about family dynamics and scapegoating. When I tell her my feelings (“I feel rejected”; “I’m angry that you didn’t validate my experience and believe me” etc.) and how much it hurts me, she says she feels very criticized. My push and desperation to get her to understand makes her even more defensive. It’s true I do criticize her during these talks – I’m so hurt and desperate for her understanding and love…consistent apologies would go a long way).

Do I give an ultimatum, i.e. feel free to be in touch when you understand? And how do I express my feelings without her feeling criticized?

The other thing I find difficult is that she does seem like she loves me. She seems baffled that I am having such a difficult time with the sexual abuse issue (yet she steadfastly counters my feelings mixed in with occasional apologies). She prefers to not talk about it and just have a nice relationship, but she will talk about it because she doesn’t want to lose me. Talking about it results in her countering my feelings mixed in with occasional glimmers of understanding. It’s an exercise in frustration for me, and she feels criticized and terrible.

I hate to leave her knowing that she loves me in her way yet what she is asking me to accept is impossible.


Darlene, I accidentally posted twice. If it’s possible, can you remove one? Thanks!


Just came across this blog and I am so happy I found it. I have often felt alone with my family of origin issues and it is so refreshing to read others similar experiences with this kind of stuff. My struggle now is raising my daughter and the pressure I put on myself to be nothing like my parents. Will be following your blog and thanks for your honesty and openness!


Hi everyone,

I haven’t been on here for a while. I told Amber and Darlene why a few weeks ago. But I am really interested in something people have frequently said here.

Why do so many people use Facebook and Twitter and post the details of their personal lives there? I have written on here about problems with abuse, but to put personal information for all the world to judge…I don’t understand. Social networks are a right, not mandatory. If I don’t want someone to know details of my personal life, I don’t tell them.

Like those of you who talk about your family saying that if you don’t provide details, you must be lying, my mother, my mother-in-law and my bother and sister have this attitude. I have not spoken to them for almost twenty years. My husband agrees. He and his sister told his mother that if she wanted anything, the gossip would have to stop.

I know what my mother thinks…she has been on a search and destroy mission for the last several years. Without my father (who committed incest with me from age four to sixteen) to temper remarks, the lies and accusations have only gotten worse. I thought it might stop when she dies, but from what I have read here, people might carry on her crusade to destroy me. I have found I don’t need any of them.

It is very reassuring to know that as much as she brags about her sons’ love, they never go to see her when she was in the hospital, even now that she is alone. When I was in the hospital for two days in August, both of my sons took off from work for a week! We did not ask them to. My mother says that she could raise my sons better than me, but my bothers and sister all have major problems with money, infidelity, etc. i don’t. Yes, I am a little screwed up because of my parents, but I have fought to overcome and if that means disowing the whole bunch, so be it!

Hugs to all,


Hi Linda
Good to hear from you! We are fighting the good fight!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Linda,
It is good to see you writing on here again. I am glad you are okay.


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.


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.


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


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

light to you,

Alex Upcast


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


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! 🙂


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.


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!!


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


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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 ?


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!


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!


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


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


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.


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…..

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