How to Recognize when Your Best Interests are NOT Considered


silencing child abuseSometimes I get comments from people that are so filled with judgement that I don’t even consider publishing them. I am sharing the following comment with you today because it is a fantastic example of the judgement that is out there in the world about what we reveal when it comes to our dysfunctional family stuff.  I didn’t publish this comment on the post it came in on~ I didn’t see the point in giving this woman a voice and her comment is so ridiculous ~ especially since it is from this total stranger who doesn’t know me, my story or my family.

This comment speaks volumes about her judgements; she really thinks that she knows my family history and sides with my father. She offers proof that I misunderstood my father’s intentions and decides that it is up to me to mend this broken fence. She absolves my father of all responsibility for the abandonment that I suffered at his hands.

And because this kind of lecture is SO common, and since we have been hearing this kind of stuff since childhood, it is easy to get sucked into this kind of judgement and “feel bad” for MY actions; or at least it might have made me feel bad 5 years ago. Today I was shocked. I thought “how the heck does this woman KNOW anything about my parents or what happened in my family or to my mother? Why does she think she knows anything about my father, his decisions, his actions or his intentions? 

I didn’t publish this comment on the post where she left it because this kind of stuff heaps more damage on the already damaged reader.  I am publishing it today to highlight a typical example of what survivors of abuse and dysfunctional family stuff hear all the time from judgemental and unhelpful people.

This comment originally came in on the post “The Foundation of a Dysfunctional Mother Daughter Relationship”  Here is the comment:

“It seems to me from my perspective, that the move of the family may have been your dad’s way of perhaps, “A new environment would improve your mom’s outlook on life.” Unknowingly a move is a big stress factor, a situation that burdens a family so much that at times it collapses. It appears your Father was emotionally drained (as you are now) by your Mom. He probably in all fairness felt your Mom could better care for the children. I don’t know if he was supportive $$$. If he was, this seems to support the theory that because of his overload with your mom, he felt she would better nurture you guys. You don’t know that your mother asked him to stay away. You also don’t know his side. You only know what your Mom wants you to know. Give the fellow a chance. Do not pull him into your Mom’s and yours relationship, but just form a friendship with him and leave your mom, and the past where it belongs. Reach out to your Dad in love and chances are at first he will wonder why you’ve contacted him, but the relationship, if you leave the past behind, can evolve into one of mutual love and respect.”

I don’t even know where to start to pick this kind of comment apart because it is so crazy! How on earth does she come to these conclusions??? But I didn’t post this comment to justify what I wrote in the original post. I published it here now to show you that people who say stuff like this don’t actually know what they are talking about therefore we don’t have to give them credibility. This woman is a total stranger who is judging me and my decisions concerning my parents from one blog post about when my father left my mother.  How can she possibly have “a perspective”? She has no clue about the truth here and so I don’t have to give her any weight in my life. Her opinion doesn’t matter. I don’t owe her any explanations. I don’t need to fill in the gaps so she understands my decisions or my conclusions. She is simply wrong and furthermore, it is none of her business. And the same goes for people who think they DO know me. 

That is how it is with most of the people who tell us that we are ‘wrong’. They don’t know the whole story. They don’t want to hear the whole story. They have their own reasons for wanting us to sweep our stories under the carpet and we don’t have to understand those reasons in order to move forward with our lives.

So next time someone says “your parents did the best they could” ~ consider that they are wrong. Period.  You don’t have to prove it.

The next time someone tells you to ‘leave the past where it belongs’ ~ consider that the person advising you to do that is either the one who doesn’t want their treatment of you exposed OR that they too have burdens they are afraid to deal with. Consider that they really don’t have a clue what the past they want you to leave without sorting out, IS. Consider that these people are advising you to keep carrying that burden by not letting you lay it down by talking about it in order to deal with it.

Consider becoming the captain of your own ship and the master of your own life and consider that you deserve to have freedom of speech. You have a right to tell your story. It’s yours to tell. You deserve freedom and wholeness. You deserve to move forward and away from the past by facing the truth about that past without anyone else having a say about the way you do that. 

These people have their own agenda. It isn’t that they don’t understand, it’s that they don’t want to understand. This comment is about the woman who wrote it and about HER fear. Comments like these from family members come from the same mind set.

I don’t have to care what her motive or her trigger is. I only have to assure myself that I do not have to engage in any kind of justification for my decisions with anyone. I can simply dismiss them.

And I do.

Please share your thoughts about people who tell you that you are wrong when it comes to your own story or about any other aspect of this subject. Your privacy is important and you are free to use any name you wish in the comment form. Only the name you use in the comment form will be seen by others. Although Emerging from Broken has a facebook page, the comments on this page are not posted there.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

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Categories : Family



Hello! I am always highly skeptical of those who have opionions, but weren’t there and never “walked in my shoes”. I have been told to ‘cherish my mother’, just forgive and go on, or to try and reconcile which would be far worse for me. My mother has no memory of any event I have tried to confront her with! Having a relationship would keep me in bondage to her. Although I am often sad, I know that I am better off. “Well meaning” people have said outlandish things to me about what I should do, who I should talk to, etc. Sometimes I have to walk away from them. Unfortunately my own grown children have made choices in life that have prevented me from enjoying being a grandmother which makes it difficult to be around those who actually have family. Thanksgiving and Christmas are times when my husband and I escape to be by ourselves. I do wish sometimes that I could find a counselor to ‘unload’ on once in a while, but I really don’t trust anyone…some of them are nutcases too! Luckily I am busy between now and Christmas and that helps.


We all construct narratives to explain reality – they may not be true or accurate but they make us feel safe.

Recently someone has been trying to “cheer me up”. They do this by constructing a narrative that makes predictions and interprets behaviour and of course negates my own views.

I’ve become rather bored of it all and have started to short-circuit the process. I just re-iterate “You don’t know what other people intended” and “You cannot predict the future”. The same is true of me of course.

Often though life is simple. We don’t know the intent of another. We don’t know the future. We are responsible for ourselves and our lives. We can summarise “This is the impact on me, what should I do about it?”. Sometimes the answer might be “nothing” or “wait and see what develops” or “get away from the situation” or whatever.

Sometimes life is ambiguous and sometimes not. It’s taken me a long time to trust my instincts again. Sometimes I know they see darkness in error. Sometimes I can say “I can afford to wait and see what develops because I trust I can deal with the consequences of being wrong”. Sometimes I can say “Right or wrong It would be wise to act now”.

Lots of people have not met the darker side of life. They cope by denial. They cannot frame a response that accepts it – they cannot go there. When accused of being too negative I responded “If I was happy and upbeat would I be making better decisions or be classed as sane?” “Well, no” came the reply.

Our emotions warn us when things are right or wrong, They don’t tell us what to do but do guide our decisions.

Last night I had nightmares that were bad even by my standards and reverberated throughout today. I woke up feeling “You know what, the nightmare was worse than the realiry BUT it does capture how bad the thing was for me and it does make me realize how and othersI like to think ‘it wasn’t so bad’ as a way of coping” rather than “It was bad, I got through it and am moving on to be a stronger, fuller but DIFFERENT person”. I died, but the new cooler me still has scars. Maybe they will heal with time and maybe not but they will not be denied either….


Hi! All I can think of is JADE, don’t justify, argue, defend or engage. Some people are deliberately provocative, some are ignorantly naive but when they are spouting advice like this they are clearly delusional.


The bubble. Inability to understand things that you have not experienced yourself. The person that wrote that lives in the bubble. Take pin out, pop bubble, move forward. 🙂


Thanks, Darlene, for posting this person’s comment. I loved what you said about putting aside and dismissing the opinions of people who neither know us personally nor know the dynamics of our family relationships.

I have some siblings who are very, very fundamentalist in their religious beliefs, and they often have very pat, simple, black-and-white views on much of life, including how to treat our abusive parents.

I don’t happen to believe with their views. They have absolutely no problem, though, expressing their views. It’s my views that they are unwilling to listen to. It’s my feeling which cause them to roll their eyes and to talk about me derisively behind my back.

If they are such wonderful Christian people, then why aren’t they showing me compassion and care? Why aren’t they sorry or at least sad about the fact that I, out of the four of us children, bore the brunt of the worst abuse? Why don’t they care about me? Why do they shower our abusive mother with love and attention and gifts, calling her daily, worrying and obsessing over her and her needs? She’s a martyr, she’s a narcissist, she’s a liar, she’s duplicitous. I don’t even respect her. But, boy, the three of my siblings treat her like a queen.

Why is that?

It reminds me of the whole Sandusky debacle and trial. All of the people in power at Penn State refused to be courageous. None of them reported to authorities the heinous acts Sandusky perpetrated upon all of those young boys. Cowards, every one of them.

Well, today on the news the attorney general announced grave charges against some of those in power at Penn State. Good. Good. For once, let’s see the victims get some attention. Let’s see the cowards and the ones who “stick their heads in the sand” be held responsible for their cowardice.

A comment such as the one from this person who made a judgment about you without even knowing you or your family is just indicative of a similar outlook as the Sandusky protectors.

I wish my siblings would all wake up or come out of their denial. They have no idea how much their neglect of me hurts me so deeply. Watching them fawn over my abusive mother is painful. I wish it weren’t, but it is. Maybe I can work to heal that.

Darlene, I’m not looking for an answer or any advice, but I have a question. Some insight or sharing would help me, I think.

I’ve been obsessed for a few weeks with the idea of sending a letter to my entire family (mother and three siblings), spelling out the pain I’ve endured as a result of the horrific child abuse I suffered. The reason I would send the same letter to all of them is that my mother lies. If I just send a letter to her, she will slander me and misrepresent me and she will act like the martyr she is. Of course, she probably will do that anyway, but at least if I send the letter to all of them, they will know exactly what I wrote.

But I am so afraid that I am only setting myself up for a tremendous amount of pain and heartache. You see, about 20 years ago I went to counseling for incest, and while there my counselor suggested I write a letter to my father about his abuse of me.

I did. I decided after about two weeks to mail the letter. So, I made copies of it and mailed it to him and to my mother and to my three siblings.

Nothing whatsoever came of it.

My father never even acknowledged receiving it. My sister told me that at Thanksgiving at her home, he was carving the turkey and the most he even alluded to my letter was to say, “Well, I never said I was perfect.”

The man, I know now, was a sadistic psychopath. Truly. I didn’t know that 20 years ago when I wrote the letter. If I’d known, I probably wouldn’t have wasted that letter on him.

What was my mother’s reaction to the letter? Nothing.

My siblings’ reaction? Nothing, really. Nothing changed. My siblings never really talked about it to me. My mother didn’t, either. Neither did my father.

On one level, I was sort of glad I mailed it anyway. But on another level, I made myself very vulnerable, giving the narcisissts in my life just more “fodder” with which to denigrate me and laugh at me.

I have no clue what to do. I am so filled with rage at my mother’s antics, even today. I am so sick of being talked about behind my back, of being misrepresented, of being thought to be “bad,” when I am not bad at all.

I know that if a person sends a letter that it is best to not have any expectations that the family will change. I can accept that.

But I just am worried that having NO response will wound me by their treating me as if I am a nothing and a nobody and as if I don’t matter. In other words, it just might be the ultimate in invalidation.

I am so confused about this. I know that if I do write it, the sibs will all feel soooooo sorry for the mother, because she will play her “poor pitiful me” routing, just as she always does when anyone ever calls her on her awful behavior.

I need support for writing a letter, if I do decide to do.

I do know this much. If I write it, I can guarantee how everyone will respond. My mother will call me a liar and say that the abuse never occurred……my one sister, a narcissist, will be critical and will laugh at me and mock me, going to her church group, telling them all about what an awful, ungrateful child I am……and of course let them all know that she is the “only one who has ever cared” about our mother, and that she is the “one who takes care of” our mother.

My fundamentalist Christian brother will sanctimoniously give a mini-sermon on the need to forgive, and then he will magnanimously “forgive” me for “hurting” our mother so terribly. And then he will talk at length with the mother, reassuring her as he often does, that she is going to get “so many crowns” when she gets to heaven. He worships her. In his eyes, she can do no wrong. She is a saint.

My other sister, the “lost child,” will just go with the flow. Our mother helps her too much, financially and other ways. She won’t bite the hand that feeds her. She is dependent upon our mother.

What I guess I’m saying is that I will be abandoned by all of them, just as I always have been.

You know what hurts the most? To know that I am the kind of a person who would die for any one of them. To know that if any of them sent me a letter, spelling out how they had been hurt by the abuse, that I would support them 100%. I would be there for them emotionally. I would love them through the pain.

But not one of them will do that same for me.

That is what hurts, Darlene.


Hi Julie (and all, because this maybe should have been in the body of the article!)
Wouldn’t it be interesting if the world said “you should try everything in your power to reconcile with your children”. No one would ever say that to my mother or to her mother. The weight is always on the kids (no matter how old those kids are) and there is something wrong with that picture. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mike
Thanks for sharing. As always you make interesting points!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Marianne and Michelle
YES. great ways to look at it!
Hugs, Darlene


Recently I chose to delete a post of mine on a website I have visited
to get insight and help from. I was venting about a family situation and mentioned that I required no validation on the issue. The post was about two of my adult children that have treated me and my husband poorly. The woman that replied to my post wanted me to copy and paste exactly what my adult child said and accused me of making judgements. She ask me what I needed from the website and then went further to reply that all victims needed validation. She implied she found it very odd indeed of me to not require validation. Her replies and her attitude twisted what my vent was about and left me feeling like I was an abuser and second guessing myself. God heard my prayers because I found your website and the posts you have made on self validation which is exactly where I am at in my recovery process. I didn’t mean I never need validation because I do many times but I am getting stronger and needing less outside validation to feel ok about me.


You could ask them your questions. I wonder what they would say? I can guess they would deny and quickly find a way to blame you again.. but when I got really strong, they didn’t know how to put it back on me anymore so they just stopped talking to me. That is a price I was willing to pay though. (and I didn’t draw my final boundaries until I was ready) When my mother didn’t respond to me, it did wound me. Deeply. I thought her actions defined me as unlovable and unworthy but what I was missing was that I had already been defined that way by thier actions. And today I realize that her actions define HER (them) and not me. I don’t miss the way that I was treated at all. I am free.
I know you are hurting. My heart goes out to yours.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mary Ann
Welcome to emerging from broken! Yes, outside validation never really helps as much as self validation and self love does. I had to “hear me” first. I had to know that I didn’t deserve what happened to me. As for the woman who was talking to you on her blog, sounds like she went off on a rabbit trail about validation instead of what you were actually talking about in the first place.
Hugs, Darlene


I am on two sides in the telling of my story. I have PTSD from many years of life that I won’t get into here. Some of it I still need to process to move forward. Some of it I need to let go and quit thinking about. I tend to stay stuck in what was and it sucks the joy out of life. A counselor that I am seeing is encouraging me to have more fun and to change what I’m thinking about when I get stuck in the negative thinking. I’m working to evaluate what needs to be processed and what needs to be dismissed.

I have people in my life that have no clue why I do or have done some of the things I have done. They haven’t experienced anything close to what I have lived. They judge me. It is hard. I’m working on setting stronger boundaries around me and letting my husband know how he can help me too. I see in what you wrote that that is what you are doing. That it is your life. That is the perspective I’m changing to. I’ve walked away from friendships because of this. This is helping me to heal and become a stonger person.



I hope you don’t mind my response, but I don’t fine anything wrong with the poster’s comment’s other than, that is her opinion and we are ALL entitled to our own.


Cathy, i think you might have missed the point. And while we all have opinions, some are not based in fact or knowledge and/or are not helpful at best and harmful at worst. My mother’s opinion is that I am a selfish, inconsiderate, bad and sometimes stupid daughter. And she has been more than happy to share that with me since I was 2 years old. I think the old saying goes, “Opinions are like a**holes, everones got one”.



No, I didn’t miss the point, I don’t agree with you, oh, and by the way sound’s like we both have the same mother.

Many people come here including me who have been hurt, unloved, neglected and abused we pour out their heartfelt stories, we take away new skills from the articles, myself included, NO ONE disregard’s our personal stories, yet this woman can’t have her say. I would say we are judging her.


We are not all entitled to sidestep the real issues in order to ram cheap excuses for abusive parents down the throats of survivors, to intrude into their lives and tell them “you don’t really know what happened, it was actually your fault, cut your parents some slack!” Is it more important to protect “opinions” then children? Abusive, invalidating speech can really hurt people, and we are allowed to set our boundaries and not let those who speak like inside.

Darlene is right, we don’t have to justify ourselves to these random people who think they know us and our parents more then we do and want to tell us what our truth is. I remember when one person got in my face and exclaimed that “you have to work at it if you want a relationship with your mother!” Implying that basically I was “lazy” for having an extremely abusive, toxic parent. When I replied that I didn’t want a relationship with my mother, that I don’t love my mother, it stopped her cold. Going into detail with her when she wasn’t interested in my story and would have defended my mother at every step wouldn’t have turned out as well.

Marore, I can relate to your dilemma. I’m also a survivor of incest (but not only from one family member–from virtually all of them) and have been considering on and off sending a mass letter to all of my relatives about the abuse. For now I’ve decided against it, because they are not the people I want to tell my story to. If you do decide to write to them, you can always post a copy of the letter online and get support from the survivor community–people who won’t ignore or throw it all back onto you. It sounds to me like your family really doesn’t deserve you.


Her opinion is about my story, my family, and my father and mother. Stuff she knows nothing about. I am going to re-post the comment that I left on the other post you commented on asking why I was punishing her.

I am using someones comments as an example of how survivors and victims are spoken to by people who don’t know a thing about the truth in the situation. Did you read what she told me? She presumed all sorts of things. If she needed to ease her mind she would have told HER story not tried to tell me mine.

She has decided WHY my father decided to move. She decided that HE was emotionally drained. Where does she come up with that stuff and why does she have a right to say that to me?? She tells me that I don’t know his side… well I know the side he told me and his side isn’t the point anyway ~ the point is that there was damage that leaked over onto me.

I think you are missing the whole point about this article. My father was having an affair and left my mother for another woman. This woman is defending him and telling me that I need to give him a break! My healing came from finally deciding that I needed a break.
I really don’t get what you are having a problem with here.
Hugs, Darlene


Sorry Cathy, I still think you missed the point. Good thing I’m entitled to my opinion. 🙂


Cathy re your comment to Michelle
This womans comment is not about HER story, it is about mine. She is judging MY feelings, decisions and story. She has no right to have that say. She doesn’t get to judge me on my own blog over a family story she knows nothing about! She can post her stuff all she wants.


Hi Denise
Welcome to EFB!
That is great that you are working on this and that the changes are helping.
Hugs, Darlene


I absolutely agree with you 100% I come from a long line of codependent relatives. I have been on a self discovery journey and I know for a fact they think my learning about codependency is opening a can of worms and they would rather see me sweep all the abuse inder the rug and continue with insanity. I have had to distance myself from siblings and other family members because they see me as the crazy one and will judge and blame me for everything that happens in our family, like you say.



No I didn’t miss the point. Yes you have your opinion and I have mine.



Your reply say’s it all, she doesn’t get to judge you on your own blog.

This is my opinion and no I’m not judging you at all. I am no one’s puppet nor will I be on here either.



My post was removed.


I think that this woman’s comment on Darlenes life seems so typical! It seems that most people I have ever spoken to who have been abused, or that I have shared my own history with, say basically the same thing…….it is up to the person who has been horrifically treated to do the forgiving…to come up with instant forgiveness….to put the past in the past….to move on…and especially to keep reaching out and try to understand the poor, pitiful abuser. Somehow the abuser should be pacified and sheltered from their own “pain” and it does not matter how they treated another, they should always be held in high respect. One way I became free was to quit trying to be sympathetic and understanding of my parents who abused and neglected me. When I was able to NOT do all of these things and wham I quit worrying about how my decision and choices about my life and healing would affect THEM, I was actually able to begin to find out where the damage began in my past….and to embrace, accept it and not be scared to death to face it all. It was so feeing and healing to finally not care about them because my entire life seemed to always be reeled in….like a fish…back to them. I got past trying to figure out “why” they did what they did and just be concerned about ME, and allow myself to be angry and to feel the pain I had tried so hard to numb all of my life. It is women like this one who are probably in a place in their own life where they feel like they know the answers for everyone…..but I wonder what addiction they themselves have in an unhealthy way to cope with their own feelings and past? Everyone I know uses something to cope….either in a healthy or unhealthy way. The unhealthy ones seem to be the more judgmental ones I think! Unhappy ppl usually are the ones spouting off unasked for advice and opinions like this woman did…..maybe it makes her feel better about herself to try to bring down Darlene by “offering” her “advice” to Darlene…..who runs this website, and does it so well? I have seen quite a number of ppl who want to level the playing field with Darlene, for instance, or with a person that they actually want to be recognized by for the attention or to appear to themselves that they are just as intelligent or important… let them
show everyone!!

Marore… heart goes out to you for all that you are suffering! And to everyone here that has been hurt and betrayed and abused! It is so true that each of us has a right to have a voice and tell our own stories and to find our own life and live it….and to find happiness!


Hi Caden
Ya, imagine if someone said “Your parents have to work at having a relationship with you!” Imagine if they said it to the parents! When are children actually people with equal value and deserving of equal respect??? Why do so many people accept that the burden of relationship is on the kids! and when we are abused in so many horrific ways, why do people think that is no big deal??
I love your idea to Marore; to write a letter to her family and share it here instead of with them. I tell my clients all the time to do excercises like this for homework; to write a letter with no intention of sending it. To write it for themselves. It is amazing the results people have when they do it!
Thank you for being here!
Hugs, Darlene

I did not delete any of your comments.


Hi Rev
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
Yes this is another truth ~ some families would rather see the person as “crazy” instead of finally being able to deal with the past. And once they make up their minds… well you know! I stopped caring what they thought when I realized they would think it anyway. (and that was easier said than done and another big part of the process!) Thank you for being here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Diane
Very well said! Imagine a world where people realized that relationship takes two people and it involves mutual respect! Imagine if people understood that the abuser needs to seek forgiveness and if they don’t want to, THEY lose!
About these kinds of people who come on here full of “i know better than you” (my words) I love how you say “So let them show everyone!” HAA! exactly.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene Ouimet, you have typed in this article, quote ” I didn’t see the point in giving this woman a voice and her comment is so ridiculous ~ especially since it is from this total stranger who doesn’t know me, my story or my family.” unquote. I will repeat your presumption in your own article quote “I didn’t see the point in giving this woman a voice.” unqoute.

Not giving a person a voice and finding other people their comments rediculous is the behaviour that abusers teach other people to do, Darlene Ouimet.


Telling your own story is in line with minding your own business…niether of which was being done by the judgmental woman


We all see ourselves in other people. You are either taking in information or projecting your subconscious onto other people. That’s all this woman is doing. I wouldn’t be surprised if she felt a parallel to her life in yours and is now projecting her thoughts and feelings on her life towards you, but thinks it’s you. We all do it but the key is to realize when we do it.

Once you realize that which you deny you have found the key to fixing yourself… we all have a shadow we want no one to know about and want no one to see. We all wear a mask.



You run a wonderful site for people who are hurting and in need of support.

But if one doesn’t agree with you and has their own take on your “examples” then what example are you really giving? Hmmm….I wonder?

I feel like the little girl on the playground and because I didn’t agree with you, you and all your friends laugh at me GROW UP PEOPLE!


I have been pretty much estranged from my family for 30 years. Not only did they not want to discuss the abuse we suffered but I was not to speak about it to anyone else. Needless to say I didn’t adhere to such things. In fact the rest of the family rallied around the abuser saying he needs support and help for his illness. It always made me sick to my stomach. I tried getting along with my siblings, cousins, mother and father for several years but became overwhelmed with them constantly telling me that I need to forgive him. That’s when most of those relationships ended. After working through this for many, many years I now know that forgiveness is for the one abused, to come from the heart and learn to love yourself again. That no matter what happened to you the work you do is to forgive yourself. I agree that this woman has no clue what this means. When everyone else stood up for the abuser I couldn’t stomach it any longer. They had no idea what I had gone through. Thanks for a wonderful post. I am sure it will help validate others’ feelings and lead to healing! Stanley


A Person
A huge part of my recovery was about learning to have boundaries. I think it is pretty sad that people are using the fact that I blocked an abusive person from making these kinds of judgements on my blog as ME being an abuser. It is interesting how you think she should have a voice, or a right to tell me how to feel and how to deal with my family. Especially on this blog which is about taking our lives back by having boundaries. She is telling me what my father was trying to do when she doesn’t know my father. This is so typical of the kinds of thing that we are trying to overcome in our journeys to wholeness.
It is also interesting that you changed your name in order to make this comment.


Hi Kate,
good point,

Yes, ususally this is about them and their reactions are about them and their lives.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Stanley
I recovered and I think most of us recover by setting those boundaries and learning that I didn’t have to go along with eveyrone and everything they wanted me to accept. I too learned that for some crazy reason they were going to side with the abuser ~ and although people think that I am the one who chose to walk, that isn’t the truth about how it happened. It is so hurtful when people stand up for the abuser. It is almost unfathomable but it happens more often than not! Telling the victim to forgive a crime like that while supporting the one who did it speaks volumes about them. And how does one get anywhere with that?
Thank you for your post today.
Hugs, Darlene


I am giving an example of having my right to have healthy boundaries. I am giving an example of having the right to say NO. I am saying that we can stand up to people.
I don’t understand why you think I wronged her. Did you read the post? Did you read what it is about, what the point of it is? If you read my site at all you must know that I use examples to show the truth about what we are trying to overcome. This is not about someones opinion or about people not agreeing with me. I realize you don’t understand, but no one is laughing at you ~ we are just trying to get you to understand the point of this article and based on your comments, and how upset you are with me, you don’t understand it. No one has to agree with me, but you are disagreeing with my right to stand up to her. This is exactly what my family did when I stood up to the abuse there. They told me I was the one that was in the wrong. They said that the abusers have a right to thier opinions about how to treat me, and that I had misunderstood sexual abuse.
These were the things that kept me trapped and overcoming those things and taking my rights back set me free.
Hugs, Darlene



First, I am not “a person” that posted under that name, that is someone else. I don’t hide behind a false name, not my nature. My true name is Cathy and I understand the point of your example.



Cathy and everyone,
Cathy was not the “a person” commenter. I am so sorry Cathy that you thought I meant you. One of the ways that we can tell a person from another person is by the ‘gravatar’ which is the little coloured square. eg: Yours is always purple and mine is always blue. (I however can tell in the back end by email addresses. All new commenters go through moderation (which means that their comment waits for approval to be published) and when someone changes their name they go back through moderation)

The person posting as “a person” is not Cathy, it is someone else who changed her name to comment on this post and she did not comment on this post before she changed her name. My comment was to her and I did not consider that someone else here would think otherwise. I am sorry for the misunderstanding.
Hugs, Darlene


Cathy, noone is laughing at you. I think you have stated your point of view just like everyone else has….including the woman who wrote her comments that Darlene used in her article. The difference is the way ppl give their comments and opinions. The woman in the article was purposely ignoring how Darlene felt, what she had said and was handing Darlene some pretty typical pat statements and advice that most ppl tend to say whenever someone who has been abused tries to tell their story. She was obviously deliberately trying to put Darlene down in a subtle, “sweet” way….but her intent was not right or respectful. For Darlene to have feelings and emotions….or for anyone on here to have feelings and emotions about what someone else says ……especially when it is written like this woman wrote…is normal! and Darlene is not going to “punish” someone for not agreeing with her! Or to shame her…but this woman chose to put herself out there and she chose to use the words she did for a deliberate reason….and she makes a great example for all of us who have had ppl use the exact same phrases and ways of using their words to shut us down. I personally felt it was a great example. You are entitled to how you feel, but I have a couple of questions: Why are you using another name to make your point, and why are you making the same point over and over again? About six different times? It sounds very argumentative and makes your opinion sound like you didnt even read the entire article. It seems like you might have only read the first part and not down further when everything was explained?


your comment came in while I was writing mine, but Cathy has not changed her name. It was a different person who changed her name and posted as “a person”.


Darlene, Than you for your reply to my comment. It really helps validate who I am which is not what others think I should be! (still working on that!) One thing you said that stood out to me though was “and although people think that I am the one who chose to walk, that isn’t the truth about how it happened”. I didn’t “walk” either! As time went on I felt more and more pushed away and began to fade from the view of my family until eventually I was no longer a part of it. All because I tried to stand up to the crime(s) that were committed. I didn’t have a right to a voice of my own unless it agreed with everyone else’s. So now I have people supporting me and I can honestly say I am on the road to recovery. Thank you again! I gain so much from your posts! Stanley


When I spoke up for myself and wrote two letters to my mother explaining respectfully my thoughts and feelings on the family abuse issue I was ignored. Again like when I talk, as if what I say has no meaning or value. In a way it validated what I had learned here concerning my upbringing. They are not ever going to
hear me because to them I DO NOT MATTER as a person. So if you write, write for yourself. Express for you because what you think and feel is what really matters not what they think.
I have finally stopped caring what they think.
Last night when I tried to express to my husband about how I felt, he told me to let go of the past and move on. He would rather not hear how I am dealing with my abusive family. How I am healing from it.
To him you walk away and just forget it and move on. So he says.

He is a narcissist because of intense horrific abuse by his mother. I have learned about him as I have learned about me. His situation is so much worse than mine because he hides himself away under his
false front and cannot even acknowledge it (even to himself). The real person is unreachable now after so many years.
I dont accept his belittling treatment of me anymore and that sets off his abusive behavior. Silent treatment. Sighing, Staring. Blaming. He wants complete control, if not I am behaving “badly” and need to get over it. Same stuff my family practiced on me. I am always “to blame” for not living up to his expectations, or needs or rules.
Since I began to work on myself, its a constant tug of war. I know its his issue not mine but
its hard to deal with my own issues while living in the problem. I feel powerless as usual, my little rebellions are punished, then forgiven then the cycle repeats. Its been going on for 2 years. I take meds now so I don’t get as upset and angry and act out anymore. But as usual I feel like I am adjusting me to
fit the situation so I won’t be punished. Karen


Wow! You have some interesting conversations going on here with very different view points in reaction to your blog post Darlene. When I was in 12-Step programs years ago, I heard the statement, “Well, your parents were doing the best that they could.” I used to almost see red. Those words would make me so angry. Then one day a friend said, “Yes, your parents may have done the best that they could with the tools that they had at the time and it wasn’t good enough.” No, it most definitely was not good enough. Not when one was molesting me and the other wasn’t seeing the signs that were right in front of her.

Supposedly well meaning people want us to just forgive and forget. Most of that forgiving and forgetting would help them to stay in denial of their own pain that they don’t want to look at. They think that they have forgiven and forgotten when the reality is that they haven’t, especially if our talking about our issues reminds them of theirs.

I have learned not to give advice to other people. Instead I try to share just from my own experiences and story. I have been told to just get on with my life or to shut up and forget about it. I don’t get angry with those people very often any more because I see the pain that they are probably in. I did say
probably” because I don’t know their story any better than they know mine. Judgments aren’t helping, no matter who they belong to – mine or theirs.


Hi Stanley
One day I suddenly realized that I was the one that was rejected! and I had been rejected all along, right from the start when I was invalidated and not protected in the first place. And when I stood up I didn’t miss that invalidation and rejection! So glad you are here!!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Karen
I was in that sort of situation with my husband too. Healing in our marriage was a big part of my process and it came a bit later. I totally support you in sharing about it here. As you say, it is another part of the same system. There is hope there too!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Patricia
Ya, so called ‘well meaning’ people ~ I see them as people who think it is better to just shut up and sit down and take it. I love your comments in your second paragraph!

( Patricia wrote “Supposedly well meaning people want us to just forgive and forget. Most of that forgiving and forgetting would help them to stay in denial of their own pain that they don’t want to look at. They think that they have forgiven and forgotten when the reality is that they haven’t, especially if our talking about our issues reminds them of theirs”.)

That says a mouthful!
Hugs, Darlene


Wow. Classic. How does she do it? Easy~ she’s a narcissist. She is the center of the universe, and you and everyone else are merely extensions of her and her reality. I have encountered these judgmental know-it-alls also, and they are really a hoot. They invent entire false personas for themselves and other people, they assume and insist that everyone plays by their rules and follows their script, and they believe they are so superior and all-knowing that their nuttiest delusions must be true. They also identify with the narcissists in your life, so when they defend them and make excuses for their behavior, they are actually justifying their own behavior, since they have already done the same things your Ns have done, or would do the same things if they were ever in the same situation. It’s a waste of time trying to set the record straight with irrational people~ like I always say~ you wouldn’t try reasoning with the inmates in Bellevue, would you? Try not to let it upset you, it’s definitely not you, it’s her 🙂


the sad thng for me is that i can understand why my family treated me the way it did, and have not been angry about it for years. though many of the triggers i still have onlt come from my families behaviour.
it took me ages to break contact with my mother, as she still was trying to control my life and how i saw my childhood. i got used to being told what a good person she was and how i should ‘let it lie’ and stop dragging up the past. my aanswer has always been ‘well if it still affecting me, it must mean it hurts me still.’
i hear others telling people that you cannot change the past, and i suppose they are right, all we can do is change the perspective which we veiw the past and see where that takes us.mmm is hard not to accept the responsibilty for how i was treated because it was all i knew for the 1st 16years of my life


dear darlene, i totally agree with u. thanx for sharing.
ive recently started to understand how neglected and still denied my problems and needs were and are by my parents. totally neglected as a daughter. nobody could understand and tell me who i am and what my true-life story is.
thanx, emanuela


Hi Sister Renee!
I got a smile out of your comments! I love your acurate picture of this narcissistic behaviour!
It’s been a few years since something like this upset me but something that I got a giggle out of was when you said “would you try reasoning with the inmates in Bellevue” the truth is that in the old days I would have!!! That is really what the process is about; seeing how fruitless some of my behaviour was, seeing the truth about other people and how dysfunctional all my relationships were, and seeing the truth about what love and respect really is.
Hugs! Darlene


Me too, Darlene. I tried reasoning with the crazies for most of my life and needless to say it was a total waste. They don’t empathize with us, they don’t care about us or our feelings, they have no interest in our point-of-view, they are only interested in whatever nonsensical “rationales” will support their own opinions, make them appear “correct” and help them continue getting away with abusing us. Logic is useless, you can catch them red-handed doing something wrong and they will deny it, they look you dead in the eye and just lie. There are a couple of “arguing” techniques that will back an N down, but you have to be very experienced and do it right, not let them get you wound up because that’s giving them Nsupply. For most of us, the best solution is to ignore them. Saves a lot of time and energy, and drives them batty lol!


I know your comment was to Darlene. I just wanted to mention I was really moved by what you wrote in #5.

It is so so painful when siblings do these things. My sisters were my best best friends and allies (so I thought).

At the beginning of 2012, I sent an email to my sisters and mother. I said 2012 is decidedly going to be a journey of seeking truth, and in a nutshell, that I had no intention of pointing fingers, but, I needed to do some work on myself to enjoy a better life. I apologized for ever hurting them in any way (either knowingly, or unknowingly). I explained that I’ve had angry responses at times in life, and apologized for those as well.

I was looking for some response….. ANYthing! Marore, my oldest sister responded by saying she’d be praying for me. That was it. It’s like I never sent that email. Not only did they not care about my pain, they had no interest in my progress either. NOR what plan of action I was going to employ to become a happier person, free of depression or anxiety, to become whole. No one cared. It was a slap in the face. Silence is as painful, maybe more (for me) as flat out rejection. At least with rejection or hateful comments, there is SOME feeling there. Silence seems to be the most sincere form of invalidation to me. I struggled with the lack of interest from everyone. It helped me get to where I am today though. I don’t have pedestals sitting around with my sisters sitting atop them. I totally understand what you said, and I’ve even said it a gazillion times myself, I would have done ANYthing for them. That’s such a painful and tragic realization…. that they’re nowhere near that, and never have been. I lived in a fantasy. All the reality of the dysfunction completely shut that fantasy down however. I don’t live in ignorance anymore. I do love my sisters. Our relationships are slowly mending. The only thing that has changed though, is me. I don’t miss them and cry about missing them, or how they discounted me anymore.

I have also had to copy things so my mother couldn’t twist it all around and flat out lie about me. I prefer to contact her by email, so there is a record of what I said. I have copied many messages to her counselor and my sisters, just to keep the truth in the forefront. I did it for no other reason than to make the truth known. I gave up caring what they “did” with the truth. I didn’t expect responses in these instances. My only motive was to keep my mother from getting away with lies.

I’m sorry you’re in this position. I wish you the very best as you make these decisions about your next steps.

Hugs and love,


ooops…sorry about that question that I was incorrect about, and thank you for the clarification.


Anyone who takes this sort of stance is not someone I wish to associate with. I have had people treat me in this way, and to those people, I say good-bye.

It is so hard to be a child abuse survivor. One of the hardest things about it is when people minimize the damage done. That’s what people have done to me for my whole life. While I was being abused, it was minimized by everyone. No one would believe me or side with me.

Eventually, people started agreeing that I was being abused, but they left me in it. There was no way out!

Then, when my mom finally divorced my step father, I was out, but still, the pain and anguish I went through was minimized. I was expected to be “fine” now that I was out of the situation. I wasn’t supposed to hold anyone responsible at all.

As I got older, I learned to minimize my own pain. I knew something was wrong, but since I was never violated, I blamed myself over and over again.

Finally, I came out of the FOG. That’s when I got the guts to post the truth on my blog. I was terrified and filled with shame to post it on my blog, because my mother showed her disdain. Why would she care? I later realized that the reason she cared is that it was her who was doing the abusing!!! I only realized that through the process of posting the truth and seeing her reaction.

Anyone who wants you to deny the pain is one who cannot face their own pain in their own hearts. This woman most likely has a situation with her own father, and she’s just telling you to do what she’s doing. DENY, DENY, DENY.

Well, that’s horse poop!!! Denying keeps you crying. Waking up and facing the truth, and surrounding yourself with supportive people who will listen to you and not try to change you, and who will let you follow your own path–that is the secret to freedom and healing.

It’s time to think about yourself! It’s time to honor the child inside! The adults had their opportunity and made their choices. It’s time to speak up with LOUD voices–it’s time to be heard!!!


Hi Darlene,

Thanks for posting this and now I know I need to read the original because I get the feeling I can relate to your story more and more. I know I can relate to this post. In recent years, I have kept my mother at a distance because I came to realize that she was one of my abusers by not protecting me when I told her about things like her boyfriend molesting me. I got the old “I believe you but…don’t ever come out of your room or the bathroom unless you are fully dressed, etc.” That was her dysfunctional way of protecting me. He lived with us for another 2 years. Years later, she then accused me of trying to seduce her then boyfriend (now husband) because I (unknowingly) left a pair of panties on the floor of the bathroom. I could go on and on.

My point is that since I’ve taken the stand to care for myself and my own well-being by keeping my mother at a distance, I’ve had a few people come to me and tell me that I should let her be more a part of my life. I have explained to them in no uncertain terms that until they have walked even one footstep in my shoes, they have no right to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do. All of them backed off right away and we came to an understanding pretty quickly. One person, who I thought understood just recently replied to a post I made on Facebook about another one of my abusers, telling me that I need to “let it go”. I replied to her that she was just as abusive as he was by that remark. My post was something about my uncle who abused me from the time I was in diapers until I was about 11 years old. I told this person that when a so-called man RAPES a little girl repeatedly for her entire childhood and then marries a young woman 40 years younger than him that he had shipped over to the US from a foreign country, we absolutely should NOT LET IT GO! She backed off right way again but really? Why do I have to keep explaining myself??? Isn’t it HIS shame and not mine?

I’ve been wondering if I’ve been handling this properly. I have felt much better about myself since but there’s always that self doubt. I don’t think there’s necessarily a ‘proper’ way but the right way for me and so far, I feel like this is working for me. Thank you again for posting this persons’ commments and also your comments around it.


You are so right to not post this comment!
Generally, people with no sexual abuse history of their own, have no concept of how and or why abusive adults groom, betray and prey on the innocence of any child they have access to.
When someone has ‘no frame of reference’ and lack boundaries for others, will judge.
I admire your wisdom and self care ~
Love & Light


Sister Renee,
I LOVE your accounts of classic narcissistic behavior. You have just described my mother and I thank you for stating the the healthiest approach is to ignore. I am intrigued by the statement you made about a couple of arguments to use when up against a narcissist. I have a feeling one day, I will once again be face to face with my mother and backed into a corner, as she lies and makes little sense, and I accept it while my head spins. UGH!! Not looking forward to that day. I believe I perhaps do possess the ammunition, but, was always so afraid of her, that I neglected to use it. I feared so deeply how she would slander me to my family, and they usually, if not always, bought into it. I had no one. I faced her and my family alone, as they looked down their noses at me and whispered, and she graced every social circle with her presence, and her poison. YUCK!! To think about those times gives me the worst feeling inside. She actually had me believing the things that made no sense!! And, the lies. Thanks for sharing your insights!!

I completely understand your post. It’s seems like a no-brainer to me, and can be summed up in this simple sentence ~ she crammed unwanted and uniformed advice down your throat. Not that hard to grasp really. Thanks for writing it.

I agree we are all entitled to our opinions. I agree we all have them. It takes a genuinely wise person to know when to shut up, and when to share. It’s not about whether we are “entitled” to our opinions. It’s about knowing when to have enough class to keep them to ourselves. This woman Darlene is speaking of has no class!!

Peace to all,


I almost forgot to address your post about all Darlene’s “friends” laughing at you and your orders for readers here to grow up. Your words,
“I feel like the little girl on the playground and because I didn’t agree with you, you and all your friends laugh at me GROW UP PEOPLE!”

Your statement is so reminiscent of something my very narcissistic mother would say. One of her most reliable go to phrases is, “grow up”!! The truth is, she’s stuck in the emotional state of a 10 year old. She gets upset and cries to people when my sisters and I get together and don’t invite her. Perhaps she thinks we laugh at her, the way you feel the Darlene’s “friends” have done. I don’t know what her thinking is, but, I can say this for SURE….. the only person stuck back at the playground you speak of is her, yet she claims everyone else is stuck there.

There is nothing that anyone here has said to you that suggests they’re stuck in childhood. No immature comments that I can find. YOU stated that everyone’s entitled to their own opinions. So, may I ask why you are lashing out when people don’t agree with YOU, when they state their opinions which you say they’re entitled to? I’m confused by that.

Cathy, it’s not my intention to offend you. I have some questions I’d like to hear your response to. If you don’t feel inclined, I understand. I am just like everyone else here. I am a wounded adult. I have been abused by my mother. I don’t ever feel like it’s anyone’s intentions here to single someone out. I don’t think YOU were singled out. You have expressed your disagreement in an area where people are hurting. One of the best parts of EFB for me is being heard, understood, and validated by others, Darlene included. This doesn’t make me a member of some exclusive group of childhood friends. I have found that people here are very deeply hurting and in need of support. I do as well. If you post a disagreement, don’t you expect that someone will address it? If you don’t want to be addressed, then why did you post a disagreement? Are you saying you wanted to be entitled to your opinion, (as you say), but you don’t expect others are entitled to share theirs as well, EVEN if they aren’t in line with yours?

I’m sorry you feel you’ve been picked on Cathy. I do have one final thing to ask. Who opened this can of worms??

With Hope,


Dear Marore,
I totally understand you wanting to get you feelings heard, however, from your past experience , it made you feel worse. What I have been taught, and it works for me, is to get it all down on paper , maybe even yell and scream at them, but then burn the letter. Incredibly, those voices, that dialogue that runs thru our minds is silenced.



Read number 12 that is where it all began.

It was never my intention to cause such a stir. Live and Learn.



What’s BEST for ME is NOT this WEBSITE.


If after you read number 12, it was in no way insulting to Darlene, it was my observation, my thought, my opinion, nothing more. Yet, so many fang’s came out on MY post, that was for Darlene ONLY and no one else.

I have noticed as long as we talk of our horrible stories we are all welcomed and hugged with love and sent on our way and then we return to live it all over again.

I don’t offend easily, and yes, I am opinioned, what I won’t tolerate is bullying and that’s all I’ve seen since my comment posted.


Darlene, One thing I’ve learned is that abusers defend other abusers. Judgementalism is also, a form of abuse because it denies another person’s ability to know more about their life than one who observes from outside the situation and proceeds to ‘fix’ another person. These judgements are usually, in simple black and white and serve no purpose but to confirm to the one who judges that they are much too smart to allow the same thing to happen to them. Such people deserve to be dismissed because if they aren’t, they can do a lot of damage to those they choose to lift themselves above. Of course, they will always deny being judgmental and color themselves as being someone who was only telling the truth and trying to help. Their ‘help’ lacks empathy for victims and overflows with empathy for abusers. In this, they show their true colors. God help any of us who don’t dismiss them and then find ourselves in the position of having their judgements turned against us! Prolonged attacks destroy self-esteem, confidence,and the ability to trust one’s self.



Patricia, I have to disagree on one point:0)our abusers don’t want forgiveness. If they did, they’d be worried about what they did and how they hurt us. What they want is for us to let it slide…what their worried about is being held accountable for actions they enjoyed and hope to enjoy again. They are doing the best they can to get away with abuse. There is no right and wrong in their moral view but only dishonor in getting caught!



Cathy, I have read comment 12, then Michelle’s reply on comment 13, then yours on comment 14, then Darlene’s, and Michelle’s, then fast forward to comment 31, where you express being in a playground, where “you and all your friend laugh at me”, but I can’t find where Darlene and all her friends laugh at you. I don’t know about Darlene’s friends, but I have read enough of Darlene’s posts to know she wouldn’t laugh at people anyway.

Personally, I don’t begrudge anyone’s right to hold an opinion, or to express it, provided it is not abusive. Everyone should have a voice, but that voice shouldn’t be used to abuse or re-abuse.

How was that person’s comment not acceptable? By dismissing and discounting Darlene’s feelings and experiences. She was trying to tell her she knew what to do, and proceeded to tell her what to do, which is a condescending thing to do. It may not be overtly abusive, but it causes re-injury by echoing the original abuse, which was about not understanding, not validating, etc.

It seems to me that this site is about giving voices to people whose voices were unfairly and wrongly shut up, so that they can heal and recover. Comments that were highlighted as an example were shown because they BLOCK that healing. That woman wasn’t in search of a legitimate voice – a voice to express who she is – but she was expressing opinions on a matter that missed the mark. There’s nothing wrong with blocking those voices. There are many voices clamoring for my attention – I have learned to block ones that do not serve my best interests.


Darlene, you talked about what would happen if parents were asked to do everything in their power to reconcile with their kids. Like some of the mothers who have commented before, this is something that I have struggled with. I have tried very hard to mend my relationship with my kids, but it hasn’t seemed to have worked with my eldest one.

Since telling her to leave my house (after an incident where she dropped in and didn’t show respect to her siblings), followed by a plea to re-establish relationship on a basis of mutual respect, she has not contacted me, except to come in once to get something and her mail, all the while texting and not looking or talking to me.

She again did not let me know when she was coming. It seems to me that she is intent on blaming me for everything I did wrong when I was with her father, and is still blaming me, giving me no right to be respected in my own home. I accept my part in exposing her to violence and not protecting her, and I don’t minimize how bad it was, but the way she continues to dismiss me feels just like the dynamic of family violence.

Even though I am the parent, I just don’t see why I should make every effort to reconcile with her when she is only intent on keeping me the victim, the stupid one, the one who deserves to be blamed. Even though I am very sad to have lost her, her actions are telling me that she doesn’t want to have a relationship based on mutual respect (unless she thinks that my definitions are unreasonable and that I am just out to label her disrespectful no matter how hard she tries), so I am going to leave it and NOT do everything within my power to reconcile with her.


Pam, I agree with you. My abusers didn’t want forgiveness. In order to ask for forgiveness, he would have had to admit that he did something wrong. He could never do that. My dad was a dictator who never admitted that he was wrong about anything. He never accepted responsibility for anything that he did. After I told my mom about the incest, she never again discussed it with me. She never asked questions. She didn’t want to know then or when I was a child. It was others that wanted me to forgive and forget. Neither parent ever talked about forgiveness with me.


Patricia, My experience is much the same. My parents ‘demanded’ forgiveness and blamed our problems on my lack of forgiveness but never admitted to anything. When I named some offenses, they either denied them or cast the blame on someone else. They could care less about any damage done to me. The only pain that counts is their own. My parents have never accepted responsibility either and avoid it as much as possible. I have forgiven them though. I hope that I do forget some day. Not because I’ve blacked out on something too painful to remember but because I’ve dealt with it and it doesn’t matter anymore. What I can’t do is trust them because they are so irresponsible toward others and no relationship can be healthy without trust. That’s the Catch 22 of it all because they will never take the responsibility to build trust by accounting for their actions and applying my forgiveness. Our backgrounds are so much the same.



Thanks Diane ! I didn’t realize that Cathy and other people would conclude that I meant Cathy changed her name. Hugs, Darlene

I’ve considered writing a post about the invalidation of saying to people “I’ll pray for you” (not that this saying is always an invalidating thing to say because very often it comes after the whole story is out and the listener is actually offering prayer as a way to continue to be supportive) but in some cases it is used as a way to dismiss a situation that you (or me) really needs to talk about and the message is “I don’t want to hear about that”. I have heard that expression used as a put down too.
VERY good point about putting things in writing when things begin to get tough and there is a lot of denial going on.
Thanks for sharing this point today.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ladybug,
That is exactly the problem ~ that abuse survivors are expected to be fine and get over it as soon as it is over. They are not often offered assistance with getting over it in fact most often the abuse is never even validated in the first place. I found for myself that part of validating myself had to do with drawing a boundary with those people who continued to invalidate me.
Love your expression “denying keeps you crying”.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lucy
I really love Pam’s comments #62 about this. Having said that, something that helped me a ton was when I stopped trying to explain myself and just believed myself. (like I alwasy say ” I had to hear me” ) There came a point for me when I realized that there were a LOT more broken people in the world living in a dysfunctional relationship system than I thought there were. So many people are content to just live in that system and believe that “rocking the boat” casues more problems instead of the truth which is talking about this and exposing abuse which is what fixed me! AND if all the abuse was exposed, abusers would have no where to hide and that would make a major dent in the abuse stats!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Susan
Perhaps I should have mentioned that this woman actually sent me 3 or 4 comments on different posts. In one of them she said that she herself had been sexually abused as a child. But she went on to say that she put it behind her and that her daughter had been sexually abused too but her daughter failed to put it behind her… so she was having problems with her daughter! (and it was her daughters fault!) So… it isn’t that she hasn’t been there, it is more that she doesn’t like the way I say healing takes place.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Pam
I love love love your comments in #62 !! I hope everyone reads them!

One of the most wonderful things that I learned was that the proper use of ‘power’ is to empower. Love lifts us up and all that jazz. I have have a pretty big audience on this blog and I try my hardest to use ‘my power’ to empower others and to inspire hope for healing. And what I do is really public so the proof about who I am in in the pudding (so to speak…) It would be so counter productive for me to publish comments that tear this method of healing down.

I also think your comments in #62 speak to the two commenters here who think that I have disempowered or silenced this womam and have decided that I am the bully. Just like my family who always concluded that I was the problem in the first place.
Thanks for being here and weighing in on this Pam!
Hugs! Darlene


Hi Krissy
I understand that your situation is difficult because your daughter has taken the side of her father or still sees you as the problem; actually I don’t know enough about your situation to address it at all. I am not saying that every parent is wrong ~ it sounds like your daughter is not ready to see how hard you have tried but again I don’t really know.
This is why I try so hard to keep this blog about personal healing for the individual. Although I have done marriage healing and parent work when it comes to my kids, all of that stemmed from my own personal healing. There is a crossover here on this site because so much of the root cause comes from the relationships we had with our parents but my ultimate focus is on individual healing. I am not trying to accuse you of not doing enough to sort things out with your daughter or place blame on you for that. My statement about “if the world said do everything you can to reconcile with your children” of course does not apply to every single parent. I am sorry that it offended you as one of the parents here who is trying so hard. I meant that wouldn’t it be great if people said to MY parents that they should so whatever it takes to reconcile with me, instead of how they judge me for my decisions to draw a boundary for my own freedom and health!
Hugs, Darlene

I am really enjoying this fantastic conversation! I have a busy day today and I will catch up on answering the rest of these comments when I get back home later.


Hi Darleme, first , thank you for this website, am always so happy to find a resource like this where it feels good to read things that reinforces and strengthens me as I continue on my own road of recovery and renewal. I also like very much what you said about other people’s actions defining them. I’ve had a hard time learning to see that when someone doesn’t like what I do to take care of myself, what they say and do to me says more about them and their inability to “let go” of the old model that worked for them. Funnily, these have been the same people who have urged me to “let go” of the past.


Hi Cathy,

I’ve been thinking about you because of your comment that this website is NOT the best place for you. If that were really so, wouldn’t you just stop posting here? Do you think there IS something here for you but you are so unused to the idea of a place where your pain would be validated and the voices of those who put you down and hurt you would be challenged? I myself have often resisted new information that ended up helping me a lot, just because it was NEW and therefore threatening to what I had previously believed. After some time spent assimilating the shock of the new, I have found myself opening to the idea that the new info could be valid!

You know, another reason the comment quoted in Darlene’s post is offensive is that one of the ground rules for posting here is that we try to talk about our own experience of what may or may not work, but that we refrain from giving advice and telling others what to do. Since the commenter was definitely telling Darlene how to interact with her father, I would say that on that count alone Darlene was entitled to block it. It’s not just someone’s opinion, it’s phrased in a way which does not meet the guidelines set up for this blog.
There is a difference between saying, “this is what I did and it may work for you” (opinion) and saying “this is what you SHOULD do” (advice). Do you understand the distinction here and why Darlene’s decision was not censoring this person’s opinion, but preserving the values of this blog which many of us, including you, find so helpful?

I will say that I take offense that you came on here and when people didn’t agree with you, your response was “grow up people.” Being willing to look at childhood wounds and attempt to heal them is NOT the same thing as being stuck in childhood. And if it so happens that we become aware that we are psychologically fixated at some point in the past, that awareness can be used to further our healing, not to put ourselves down. I know I often feel the presence of an extremely angry small child within me and I am learning to reach out to her in love and support.

I really hope we can continue to interact and help each other to heal and grow.



Hi Emanuela!
Sorry I missed your comment! My healing began with me by realizing where the broken began.
Hugs, Darlene

What do you mean when you say that “you understand” the way they treated you?
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Margo
Welcome to emerging from broken!
Interesting observation that the same ppl who told you to let go of the past werethe ones that don’t like what you are doing to take care of yourself!
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sophia
Very well said! It’s funny but when I read your comment I was thinking “OH YA… the guidelines!” I forgot that I have those! At the time that woman wrote me, I DID have a relationship with my father; it was my mother and I that were not talking. There was so much assumption in her comments that I was just stunned. Her whole comment threw me off at the time because it was so weird that she thought she knew anything about my situation. Thanks for your contribution to this!
Hugs, Darlene

I too wonder what it was about this that triggered you so much if you were reading this website in the first place and seeing it as a valuable place. It seems very clear that your issue is with me. When Mimi asked you who opened the can of worms, you missed her indication that it was you who started it, as you were so sure that I was the problem here. Your comment about people sharing their stories and then having to re-live them seemed like a clue about whatever got to you about this whole thing. I had to re-live a lot of the pain in order to process through it so that I didn’t have to re-live it anymore.
Anyway, I wish you no ill will. I want healing and wholeness for anyone who wants it!
Hugs, Darlene

Thanks to everyone for sticking up for me and for what I am doing here. It is quite stunning when people here think that I am the bully. And it has this familiar ring to it; my family always said it was me too. In the old days I thought that if enough people said it was me, then it must be me. But today I realize that the truth is the truth and it doesn’t matter if other people see it that way or not. My family has never seen it my way either and that doesn’t effect me anymore. There is enough proof in this website to show exactly who I am. If people want to search through everything that I say in order to find some flaw (according to them) then be my guest. That is not about me though.
Hugs! Darlene


Darlene, I wasn’t offended by your statement at all. I was more kinda talking aloud and working through that statement. It just happens to be one of those things that has been part of my struggle since gaining freedom. And I have found some comments from other readers that tell me that other mothers also struggle with the guilt and confusion.

Sometimes when I read some of the statements from victims about their mothers, I inevitably feel a pang of guilt, but I know they are not talking about me; they have their own individual journey of healing and that’s what this site is about. My guilt is about what my daughter is going through and if I am like the other narcissistic or abusive mothers, even if only passively so. I have done what I could to repair the situation but I don’t know if it has been enough. My friend tells me not to do stuff to cut her off, like tell her to leave, because that’s rejection to a broken soul. In other words, I should have just let her be, and not jump in so hard with boundaries.

Maybe I made a mistake, but when I tried to reach out with a couple of text and email messages, she didn’t respond and I haven’t seen her since. That tells me she doesn’t agree with my terms of engagement, which is mutual respect. Maybe she thinks that I have no right to do that, seeing that I didn’t give her the respect she deserved as a child, always prioritizing her father over her. Maybe I am minimizing the effects of her past (which included physical abuse) and expect her to behave maturely when she is too broken to. But I have come to the conclusion that no matter how broken a person is, the response doesn’t have to be a mean one. Abused people don’t have to end up being abusive.

That’s why I am finding this post (“How to recognize when your best interests are not considered”) very relevant, not just in terms of what the abusive ex does, but also when others do or say things to imply stuff that is not in our best interests. I feel at peace after having no contact with my daughter that even though she is my daughter and will always have a place in my heart, I cannot have a relationship that is toxic and blaming. For most people, reaching out to their kids works, but in this case, it has always been very crazy-making (for years). You know when there is confusion and self-doubt that there is psychological abuse going on, and it’s not in your best interest to continue.

Thanks again for the post.


Reading about the subject of what websites are “best for us” reminds me of an issue I’ve dealt with for some time. I used to be solely attracted to situations and places, online and off, where I was not accepted and would inevitably just get into endless arguments. I would come across people that were supportive and of like mind, but I still didn’t prioritize them at all, seemingly because deep down those toxic places seemed “familiar” to me (from my childhood), while the others made me nervous and uncomfortable. So I left potentially affirmative and healthy connections whither to dust while looking for (supposedly) exactly that elsewhere in unlikely places.

I find I have to check myself now to see if I’m still doing that. The major cycle is broken for now, but as my recovery is uneven and shaky at the moment, some of the pattern remains. That is why I’m so glad this website is here, because it’s such a great community and the articles have helped me move forward from those old unhealthy ways. I also learned from the hyper criticism I faced in my family to ideologically trip over some small word that like-minded people said and deliver a wholesale rejection on account of it, but I’ve been working to move as far away from that as possible too. So, I think that people really can break irrational response patterns, if they want to.


Let me say a big “thank you” to each and every one of you who did respond to my post. I can’t even express to you how much I appreciate your insights and wisdom.

For those of you who have walked in my shoes, I really do deeply feel for you. It’s not easy to feel rejected by one’s family, and especially by one’s parent or parents. It’s very painful.

As for writing the letter, one of you had some excellent wisdom, which I am contemplating. Maybe just writing the letter and not actually mailing it to my mother or siblings will give me the closure that I need. That’s a really good idea. I really don’t want to set myself up for more of their invalidation and rejection, and I do fear that I’d be doing just that if I were to mail such a letter to them.

I’m going through a lot of pain, and I am also going through a period of bitterness and cynicism. I realize that I’ve never before been a bitter or a cynical person, so I think it’s all connected to the rage and anger and grief which I’ve been going through. Once my emotions started to come forth, I discovered that there were years and years and years of painful put-downs and cruelties and abuses which I had to stifle and repress as a child and teen. I sort of numbed out back then in order to survive. But now I am feeling, and there is so much hurt and pain, mixed in with anger.

I hope I am able to move beyond this stage of the grieving process. I think I will, but right now it’s pretty difficult.

I will never be able to understand why any adult human being would hurt or harm a child. I can’t wrap my mind around it. I never was able to understand why any human being would be unkind to another human being. I’ve never been intentionally mean or unkind to anyone. I never wanted anyone in the world to experience the pain of rejection and bullying and abandonment that I’ve experienced.

I have always gone out of my way to be kind and good to people, even people who are strangers.

I will never understand why my own family thinks I am so unimportant. It is so hard for me to understand.

Thank you, everyone, for listening to me and for sharing with me.


Thanks for posting this, Darlene. I’ve had these voices of judgment revisiting me lately (just in my own head), as I see my reconnection with my family headed down the drain. I’ve got a handle on it, though. Something I really notice is the kind of people who support my decisions and the kind that don’t—though there has been a variety on both sides (someone who actually sided with me made me temporarily question myself—for about a minute—believe it or not, just because of why he sided with me, as if my actions were in spite and vengefulness, as opposed to a path of healing and change). Anyway, I’ve had people say things like this woman said who were really more naïve than anything else. I think people sometimes just want things to be peaceful and to work out and instinctively they know they can’t “reason” with the abuser—not only because they know the abuser won’t listen to reason but because an attempt to reason would be at their own peril, after all the abuser sets him/herself up as the absolute authority on the situation and how dare you question him/her… But these people don’t recognize this and probably don’t want to recognize it, either—that is, when you recognize something like that, you have to be willing to see someone (and likely yourself) in a new light, and not just that but you might have to be willing to change your outlook on life in general, and in that, a lot of people (obviously) have something personal at stake.

I value the people who have supported me. I’ve had people who, with only a few words, were right behind me, impressed, knowing that I was doing what I needed to do in order to have the best life I could possibly have and knowing how incredibly hard it must be to take all these steps (as opposed to those who thought my decisions were the easy ones, that I was running away, selfish and uncaring). What I’ve noted is that these people are, in general, so healthy. They are individuals leading rich, compassionate, unique, worthy lives that give something real and positive to the world. They are people I respect and admire. They are the people I want to make proud—not in the dysfunctional family way but in that way where you know they want you to succeed at becoming who you are, who believe in you and are already proud of you no matter what. These are the people who have modeled and taught me how to love myself (not that I’m any kind of pro yet but I’m learning)—and they certainly are not my parents, nor anyone who justifies, defends or lines themselves up with my parents (in naivety or not).

I can relate to what Sophia said in her comment to Cathy, in terms of being triggered. I know that I felt in myself a power struggle when I first came here, first in just reading Darlene’s posts, often telling myself to stop coming here but coming back all the time anyway, and then when I started to comment. I had all sorts of issues because my mom can talk the talk—she believes she’s dealt with all her past, the abuse and dysfunction, and if she was on the topic of healing and self-help, she could sound pretty close to what you’d read in a self-help book or even this blog when speaking about her own experiences (at least from my recollection; probably if I had a recording of her, I’d probably see the holes pretty quickly now but in the past I was suckered into it and distrusted anyone who sounded like her). Anyway, it took me a while before I could see the differences and realize that Darlene was the real deal. I think when we’ve experienced power as only being negative, it’s very hard to even comprehend that power can actually be used positively. I mean theoretically we can understand it but in practice when we feel power in use, I think we might instinctively seize up in distrust (even when we start to feel our own power, we can distrust it and think it’s being abusive when it isn’t… or conversely, it is abusive and we maybe don’t or can’t recognize that on our own right away because we haven’t got a handle on things yet—but must of course choose to keep working on it all). So, obviously when Darlene chooses to silence a comment, she is using her position of power as the creator and owner of this blog to silence someone’s voice. But it matters what the voice is saying. There is nothing wrong with silencing the silencer (when in the act of silencing). It might feel wrong at first, but it is not. It is the passive abuser who stands by, allowing the silencer to silence.


Marore, your story is my story. I wrote “The Letter” and was attacked for 20 years, and still am. My dying mother refused to see me at her death bed! I sent “the letter” to protect my 16 year old niece from being molested by my father the way I was around that age. How could I not do this? And my niece’s own mother, my sister, attacked me the worst. And I was protecting her daughter? They’ve all gone after me, 8 children in our family + 2 parents = 10 against 1 (me) so I can assure you, those “letters” will do you no good. But if I hadn’t of done it, I could never have lived with myself. I am, more than 20 years later, trying to restore my reputation after finding out the horrific lies my mother has perpetrated against me, all for “telling on her husband.” And of course, everyone in our family “obeys on command.” And she was a vicious head-master. My father was the same.

I feel exactly as you do and have found out the hard way that no one in that family wants to know the truth or deal with it. They would rather see me dead, and crucify me while they’re at it. I have “shamed” the family and if they could, they would have carried out my mother’s death sentence. But the law prevented that, so they’ve done the next best thing.

My youngest sister, Julia Graves, is married to a Methodist minister in charge of a church and they have been the worst! Now that our mother is dead, she has taken up the gauntlet and sword. I was so relieved to read about your Christian brother treating you the same way and revering your abusive mother. Here I thought this was only happening to me! I’m not happy to read about it, but at least I know I’m not the only one and I’m not crazy the way they have made me out to be.

I have decided to tell my own side of the story just to have something in writing to leave behind before or after I die. My side that is verified by fact, of which they have none. NONE. But with a mob-mentality like this, they won’t let a little thing like “facts” stand in their way!

I was feeling so lost and down and hopeless tonight, after writing and sending yet another letter to this youngest sister who I took care of when she was small, asking her WHY? Why did she treat me so? When I know I will not get a reply or if I do, it will be another knife straight to the heart.

But I’ve decided that just like I chose not to stay silent about what my father and mother did to me, I will not stay silent about my siblings treatment of me either.

They can say what they want but so can I. I can’t stop them but they can’t stop me. And when the time is right, I will take them to court for slander and greed. At this point it might be all about the inheritance, but for me it’s all about THE TRUTH and THE TRUTH IS ON MY SIDE.

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

Thank you Darlene for this site. It’s truly a lifesaver. I follow you on Facebook, but had no idea you were here with so many commentors. All your stories keep me alive!


Hi Caden
I can relate to what you are talking about here! My pattern was that I used to give way more attention to the people who ‘fought me’ and told me I was wrong and I noticed that I tried harder with people who didn’t accept me! I realized one day that this was exactly what I did with my family and friends before. I had lived in this system of having to try harder all the time just to be accepted in the group and it took me awhile to recognize how much more energy that I gave to people who were fighting me and even how much more attracted that I was to people who looked down on me! This is a huge subject and a very worthy one to discuss. I might write a new blog post about it! I certainly have also come a very long way in changing those irrational response patterns in my life too!
Thank you for sharing your view here Caden!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Krissy
Yes, I totally understand what you are saying. This stuff is so hard when it comes to our kids. I have boundaries with my kids too and that is a big part of good parenting. I want to model real love and truth to them. I want to live in a system of equal value and I can’t communicate that to them if I let them abuse me, so I do understand.
Thanks so much for coming back to clarify.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Marore
I don’t understand this either, but the most major part of my healing came when I stopped tyring to understand them and just accepted that they really don’t care and that it wasn’t going to make sense to me. I think trying to understand them has a lot to do with avoiding the pain of realizing that they didn’t care. That I could just ‘go’ and that would not bother them. (oh they would say it bothers them but I am talking about the unwillingness on thier part to try to work things out) But once I faced that pain of rejection, I realized that by thier actions I had been rejected all along and that facing it was no where near as painful as I thought it would be.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Alaina!
I love what you posted. (comments #80) I am going to repost something really important that you said!

Alaina wrote: “I think when we’ve experienced power as only being negative, it’s very hard to even comprehend that power can actually be used positively. I mean theoretically we can understand it but in practice when we feel power in use, I think we might instinctively seize up in distrust (even when we start to feel our own power, we can distrust it and think it’s being abusive when it isn’t… or conversely, it is abusive and we maybe don’t or can’t recognize that on our own right away because we haven’t got a handle on things yet—but must of course choose to keep working on it all). So, obviously when Darlene chooses to silence a comment, she is using her position of power as the creator and owner of this blog to silence someone’s voice. But it matters what the voice is saying.”

This is so huge ~ we have all come from an upbringing of experiencing power as negitive. This is a huge part of what I had to sort out in my healing process.
Great comments!! Thanks Alaina
hugs, Darlene


Hi Catherine
Thanks for sharing. I had to stop trying to prove to them that they were wrong about me. They have made up thier minds. I know that both my husbands family and my family all think I am wrong (and crazy and all that other stuff) but I know differently and that is what made all the difference in the world to MY life, my freedom and my happiness.
I am really glad that you are here~ I am shocked by how many people on the EFB facebook page don’t realize there is a whole website here; I hear that a lot! Glad you found us here though! This is where me real work is!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for your welcome note, Darlene… and yes, I had NO IDEA there was a whole website here with so many interesting and profound comments! So glad I found it last night. I couldn’t sleep and I finally looked up

“I told about being molested and my mother abandoned me” et voila, here you were!

I am trying to deal with the PAIN OF REJECTION for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE. Really FEEL it. I think I have spent my entire life being angry or depressed because I just couldn’t feel it for real. And of course, now that I am – for isn’t that what everyone says, that we have to “really feel it and let it wash through us” to finally give it away – and now that I’m feeling it and expressing it, all I am hearing is “You need therapy” and “you need to forgive” and yadayadayada until I am so upset I don’t know which way is up.

Why can’t people just shut up and leave me alone? Let me be me and the way I am feeling right now? In America we are NEVER allowed to grieve. There’s a pill or a professional for everything that ails you. Now that I live in Central America the culture is so different. People weep and wail all the time. They say it’s GOOD TO CRY as it CLEANSES THE HEART, IT CLEANSES THE SOUL. What an amazing difference!

Me,being raised in a military Catholic family, “A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries.” No wonder we as a culture are ALWAYS AT WAR.

And I find myself torturing myself over people that are cruel or unkind to me, and ignoring the people who really are kind and compassionate, and do appear to like me, just like the discussion has touched on above. I am ruining my own life by this kind of behavior.

It’s as if I just can’t let go of the fact that my mother never cared for me, hated me really, was jealous of me and put me down every opportunity she had, and did everything she could to destroy me. My sisters followed her lead.

When another nasty female goes after me, I react in much the same way. I am just devastated, as I am right now.

I’m trying to resolve things for the first time in my life. And I’m lost and don’t know where to go. Thank God I found this website. Maybe here I will be able to “put all the pieces back” and truly EMERGE FROM BROKEN.

Thank you so much. Love to you all, Catherine Todd


And as Darlene said in #86:

“I had to stop trying to prove to them that they were wrong about me.”

That’s what I am trying to do, but I don’t know how. How do I learn now at this late stage that I too am “worthy of love” when everything and everyone in my toxic family of origin said differently?

Make a list of people that do like me and admire me? But how does that balance and cross off a mother that didn’t? And sisters that treat me like Cinderella and call me names and black sheep and spread so many lies about me? It hurts and I don’t know how to make the bleeding stop. I’m like a hemophiliac, and whenever ANY female injures me, it brings the whole thing up.

I need to have baseline healing. Where to find it? Dear God please show me The Way. I AM DOWN ON MY KNEES. Please help me Lord and teach me how to pray.


And as Darlene said in #86:

“I had to stop trying to prove to them that they were wrong about me.”

That’s what I am trying to do, but I don’t know how. How do I learn now at this late stage that I too am “worthy of love” when everything and everyone in my toxic family of origin said differently?

Make a list of people that do like me and admire me? But how does that balance and cross off a mother that didn’t? And sisters that treat me like Cinderella and call me names and black sheep and spread so many lies about me? It hurts and I don’t know how to make the bleeding stop. I’m like a hemophiliac, and whenever ANY female injures me, it brings the whole thing up. I start bleeding and I can’t stop. PTSD at it’s worst.

I need to have baseline healing. Where to find it? Dear God please show me The Way. I AM DOWN ON MY KNEES. Please help me Lord and teach me how to pray.


I think it is interesting that Sophia brought up the ground rules for posting here because last night I was thinking about that as well. Not only are those ground rules posted here, but also on other support forum sites that I have been too. And I started thinking of the very good, valid and important reasons for it.

In my daily life, I am a lawyer. In every case I handle, I always present my client with options. It has become a habit in every case I handle to do this. After reviewing all of the evidence and facts that I have on hand and thoroughly studying the individual case, which includes listening to my client’s goal and wishes for the desired outcome, I habitually come up with at least three options to present to the client. I always come up with at least three and sometimes more. Sometimes one of my options doesn’t make good sense even to me, but I like to present options and most times at least two of the options are viable and sometimes even three.

When I present options to a client, they sometimes ask me “What should I do?” I always answer this question the same way, “I cannot tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I would do if I was in your shoes” And I do tell them. But then I always continue, “However, I am not you. And you will be the one that needs to make this decision because you are the one that will need to live with it. And what is right for me, may not be right for you.”

I say that to clients with every case I take. And I think that is why the guidelines are applicable here and in other support forums. They make sense. Even when I know all of the facts and evidence and I know what my client’s goals are, I still do not have the answer that is best for them, because I am not them!

There is my professional, “scholarly” opinion on the matter. 😉


Hi Catherine
I have written this entire site intentionally to help people realize HOW I did this; How I came to see myself as worthy, how I saw where the broken began in the first place, where my self esteem was damaged and never put in place~ so that I could re-wire my belief system. It is all here. I redefined myself by seeing where I was falsely defined in the first place. The abuse/trauma and the actions of others defined me before. I found out that those things actually DON’T define me. I had to re-wire my brain and re-parent myself. I didn’t find my validation through other people like I falsely believed I would. That belief comes from the way that I was taught all my life that other people actually DID define me and falsely believing that they were right.
Keep reading! (starting with earlier posts might help)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Michelle

I love your comments about opinion and advice by using your own experience. I want to clarify (although you might not be referring to the actual story in my article, I am not sure if you are addressing the comments by Sophia or the whole situation) Unlike you and the wonderful way that you present options to your clients, the woman I am referring to in my post, who gave her opinion in her comments about my situation did not know any of the details therefore she didn’t have any perspective at all. She wasn’t interested in me or my story in the least, she was interested in telling me what to do, how to feel and in invalidating my story. She wasn’t telling me what she would do, she was telling me what to do based on a whole lot of presumptions. It wasn’t the same thing at all as a regular commenter who posts something like “whatever you do don’t go to therapy” or “you should go no contact with your family” (which is giving a directive instead of giving support and empowering the person to make their own decision which is what my guidelines are based on) this woman was reprimanding me and she decided that my mother was wrong and my father was the one in this situation that got the bum deal. There is a big difference between these two things.

Thanks for your comments! I love them when applied to the way we help and support people!

Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene!

I can relate to what Caden wrote and you and Catherine now about seeking approval, etc. from people and places that aren’t going to give it to you and ignoring those who actually do support and care. I also have to watch myself about that—it’s terrible, too, when you realize you’re neglecting the people whom you ought to value the most. I did that with all my friendships when I was younger. Every romantic interest I’ve ever had was unrequited. It’s been disturbing the times I’ve realized that I’m not loved and probably not going to be but maybe the person might want to “use” me (almost as a “favour” to me) and even as I would feel sick and nauseated, another part of me would get caught up in the drama and actually would be attracted to the idea in a weird way that I can’t explain when I’m feeling “sane.” I always stopped myself from going down that road in reality but emotionally I’ve been to that place unfortunately far too frequently and it’s been very disturbing to me, particularly when I could be so conscious of it. I understood how it related to my childhood, my family, wanting love and attention, but it’s a long slog from intellectual awareness to knowing emotionally that my parents were wrong, that underneath the appearance of love, they never really saw me, knew me or cared about me the way I deserved. I’m slowly getting there and I think the fact that I am really starting to appreciate and value the people who are a real support to me is evidence of that. The fact that I know now that those are the people who can actually SEE me. Before, I thought it was the people who rejected, neglected or abandoned me who were on better authority as to who I was and I thought that the people who liked me didn’t really know who I really was or that there was something wrong with them, that they were “lesser” people somehow, etc. The crazy thing, again, was that I was aware of this and knew it was faulty thinking but still was caught up in it all. But I really do feel like I’m overturning that tendency lately and that I’m slowly taking back all the power I’ve given those people so that they don’t get to define me and my worth anymore.

I’ve decided to stop responding to my parents’ emails unless they have something of actual value to say to me. I opened the door to them and it’s up to them to recognize what the situation here calls for—they have every reason to know and it’s a slap in the face every time I hear from them and they obviously think it’s okay to talk to me happily as if all these years of my life haven’t happened. Lately I feel like they’ve been trying to use my desire for a relationship with my nephew as means of getting me sucked into giving them what they want. I briefly considered going back for my nephew’s 1st birthday but I realized it wasn’t going to fit with work. In the midst of that, though, my dad asked if they could have the pleasure of buying me my ticket out. All I could think was “No, you can’t buy me, I’m not up for sale.” I’m sure they would say that wasn’t what they were doing, but that’s only because they wouldn’t have given themselves the time to stop and think about it and realize that, yes, that’s what they were doing. They always like to hold onto the idea of their “good intentions” and that everything that’s gone on is somehow the result of misunderstandings and miscommunications and misinterpretations, but something I’ve learned is that just because people block themselves off from the root of their own motivations, doesn’t mean that their motivations aren’t exactly what they are.


I’ve repeatedly been through this very same scenario with my sister, but it’s not our father she’s taking up an offense for – in fact, she remembers a far less pleasant dad that what I remember; but, her behavior repeats itself and any time a male is vented about, be it my ex, my son, our cousin’s husband, our other cousin’s ex-husband, in her eyes, it is always the woman’s fault. Mind you, my ex and my cousin’s ex are undeniably abusers. My cousin’s husband is displaying behavior that screams emotional absence, at best – and looks like alot of abuse by control (especially the finances) – yet my sister always rescues these guys, sides with them, buddies up to them when the family that needs support is trying to wrestle thru’ the fog (fear, obligation and guilt) and get out of the relationship. Maybe, as I write/type this, what’s she’s doing is forever trying to reconcile the unreconcilable relationship with our dad (now deceased) when she’s siding with these guys, at the expense of the family relationship. It sure is not unheard of – the family being so used to dysfunction, they never skip a beat in justifying the abuser’s behavior, and end up turning the blame on the victim.


Hi Daleen
Welcome to emerging from broken!
This is a “belief system” that she has for whatever reason. I used to stick up for me all the time too and I think it was my ‘hope’ that if it was the women that were at fault I could change and NOT be that woman. It was another way that I used to accept blame on myself for all that had happened to me because it was too painful to accept the truth that I had been thrown aside so carelessly like a “thing” and not a person. If it was “me” I could change and that made me feel some weird false hope. Just my thoughts. No matter what caused it, seeing the truth about how harmful it was to ME is what got me validating myself and placing the blame back where it belonged even if the rest of the world didn’t see it that way!
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Excellent comments! You sound great and sounds like you are having many breakthroughs too! About your parents using the knowledge of your love of your nephew as a way to suck you back in; Controllers/ manipulators and Abusers will use ‘anything’ they see as a tool to get the victim back in the web. And when I saw that, my guard worked a lot better and I saw things differently. Sounds like that is what is happening for you too!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for the keen observations, especially about not telling others what to think and do (“giving advice”) rather, sharing one’s own experiences. I was raised on “advice” so it was a hard thing for me to recognize and then a more difficult habit to break. But I think I’m making headway.

Darlene wrote:”I have written this entire site intentionally to help people realize HOW I did this; How I came to see myself as worthy, how I saw where the broken began in the first place, where my self esteem was damaged and never put in place~ so that I could re-wire my belief system. It is all here. I redefined myself by seeing where I was falsely defined in the first place.”

I think that is where I am still stuck. I am asking my family, one sister in particular, to “restore my reputation” (i.e. “validate me”) by recognizing that I may just be telling the truth about being abused, beaten and molested, and to take back the lies my mother told about me for years to protect her own worthless marriage. My sister and all the rest of them have been raised in a cauldron of violence, anger, denial and dysfunction. Lots of personality disorders and mental illness as well. OCD, BPD, Narcissism, Depression, Anger, Alcohol, you name it. All well-educated and well-paid high functioning” individuals. But messed up none the less.

How can I expect them to be any different than they are? BUT I DO.

And therein lies the problem. The problem lies within ME. If I had a steady foundation of self-worth and self-esteem, perhaps I could overlook it. But there’s ten of them and only one of me.

I’m still that lost child inside, imprisoned by anger and violence and wanting to be free. No one would ever guess I feel this way if they just looked at my life and my accomplishments, but there you have it. I’ve spent 62 years trying to “re-wire myself” as Darlene puts it. I’ve succeeded to where I’m still alive, but little else.

My sisters are never going to give me the validation or love that I needed. My mother negated me her entire life, and all I can feel is sadness and relief now that she is gone. She can’t hurt me anymore and my wishes and hopes and dreams for a “deathbed reconciliation” are gone as well. She refused to see me, after 25 years, once I disclosed the sexual abuse by my father. She hated me my entire life and punished me every chance she got.

I was the “bad child” as most Narcissists have to have. And did she lay it on thick. She was the Borderline Witch Queen and I’m writing about it to this day, even though I’ve been gone from home for 46 years. Almost 50 years and I’m still talking about it, although she only died a few years ago and those wounds are still fresh in my mind. I’m sure that is what resurfaced all this pain and glory, the “glory” I must have held this person in who never loved me at all. What can you say to a mother that disliked you so intensely, and made sure everyone knew?

At least she is gone from this world. Buried for good. How do I give up my own anger and rage? All that hurt from all those years clustering in a ball of rage so tightly held all these years? My mother, the Queen Bitch. There, I’ve said it. Rest in Peace.

Dear God please show me The Way.


A few months ago (give or take) I was bombarded by my mom’s troops. Her husband, and her counselor. They both pretty much let me have it in emails, simultaneously. Her counselor was very careful and selective with the words she used, and tried oh so hard to buff and polish the underlying message so it would appear as if she wasn’t attacking me. She was. My stepdad didn’t try that. He just came out and insulted me.

It was a tough weekend when I got those emails. I very carefully constructed responses that didn’t give them any ammunition. My mother’s claim is that I’m angry. It has been for years and years. I knew if I didn’t stay on my toes, she could use that against me yet again. I was successful, I think, in responding with respect and careful not to show emotion of any kind. I stuck to the facts. It wasn’t easy to keep from ripping my stepdad, because I’ve wanted to for years. But, it occurred to me that in doing that, it would come full circle…. back to hurt me, not them. I suspect they wanted an angry response. They wanted to ruffle my feathers. I was surprised that they didn’t have as much power to do that as I once thought they did. I’m still in the stages of putting things in proper perspective. Of realizing they are low down people, even though they’re my parent(s). I’m still trying to put myself in front of them, and I’ve come a long way in doing that. It’s the mental/emotional innermost state, that I grapple with. Not, necessarily in action, but, in my deepest heart of hearts. I feel like I haven’t made complete progress in realizing they are crappy people. And, most of all, that I deserve better.

All that (sorry, sort of got off on a tangent there) to say, after that weekend that I was bombarded with emails from the troops, I blocked every single email associated with my mother, my stepdad, and her counselor. All the work, alternate, and primary email addy’s are blocked. I knew there would be some morbid temptation to read it if it came into my inbox. I tell ya, that was a big step in self care for me. Realizng that they were HURTING me, stirring me up, even if not as much as I expected they could. I lost valuable time. Even 10 minutes is valuable time, especially when wasted on rumination.

I’m not encouraging you one way or another with your parents emails. Only you know what works and what doesn’t. I just felt the need to share the sense of FREEdom that has come with knowing my offenders will never grace my inbox again…. or until I say they can. I’m not on the edge of my seat, wondering when I’ll see them in my inbox. I don’t have to wonder, and that’s liberating.

In your last paragraph you said they hold onto the idea of good intentions and use misunderstandings, etc, as excuses. That’s my mother as well. She comes off with some left field remark that’s damaging, then says, “not my fault you misunderstood ~ I didn’t mean it like that at all.”

Wow, I’m so sick of that craziness. It DOES make people (me) crazy for a moment when the offender is slandering, lying, insulting, and in the same breath excusing by blaming the VICTIM for how they interpreted it. Phew, that makes my head spin now, and I’m not even in the midst of it.

Anyhow, Alaina, I hope things work out with your parents and mostly, your baby nephew.

This isn’t necessarily related to your post above, but, lately, I’ve been thinking about how different I am. I am being morphed… albeit slowly.

In years past I would agree with the way “Madea” (I hope you know who that is) reprimanded kids in the movies. A few times I thought she got a little out of hand, but for the most part, I bought into her draconian approach. In another way, I didn’t always feel like Dr. Phil was givng people a fair shake.

I only compare these because, lately I’ve seen them both in action after a long period, (probably 2-3 years) of not having seen either of them on TV/film.

My feelings after seeing Madea smack a childs face 3-4 times in a row was so different than it was 2-3 years ago. I was disappointed in a Christian movie maker.

On the flipside, I’ve also seen Dr. Phil’s show a few times in the last couple of weeks. I have found a new love for him. In each of the shows, there were kids involved, and abuse of some sort. He always ALWAYS made it about the kids. This man who I thought was a little abrasive, has the right approach, and I’m just now seeing that. He always makes it about the kids FIRST!! I am loving this new discovery. I’m not much of a TV fan, but, this has me kind of stoked. He reaches millions!!

Anyhow, I hope you don’t mind me going totally Hollywood here. I just wanted to share how differently I view things since coming to your site. I’ve found a new appreciation for Dr. Phil! He really nailed a lady who turned her head when her daughter was molested by her husband. The daughter said she told her at the time. The mother denied ever knowing. BUT, she got caught up in her lies right there on the show. And, I was thinking, what a phony. She was TRYING to produce a compassionate, tearful persona. But, she was failing miserably. Finally, Dr. Phil, near the end of the show, busted her out completely by telling her he saw her emotional responses, but never saw any real tears. YaY!! I was like a man at a football game cheering in my own living room!! 🙂

I wouldn’t have known any of this without you and EFB, Darlene. Thank you for that!!

Hugs and love,


Darlene, thanks. I also really like what you said about there being a “hope” that if the problem was all you, because then you could change. I felt that too, not a desire to change as in heal from these abusive belief systems, but become a different person–the person they wanted me to be, and resolve everything that way. But of course that is impossible, we can only be ourselves. I used to think I would become someone else and then all these great things would happen. It’s so good to be replacing that with a real, healthy hope.

Alaina–“Before, I thought it was the people who rejected, neglected or abandoned me who were on better authority as to who I was and I thought that the people who liked me didn’t really know who I really was or that there was something wrong with them, that they were “lesser” people somehow, etc.”

I can relate to this so much! I would never have put it that way when I was living like this, but definitely, I thought that anyone who saw some quality in me must be wrong, and if they “really knew me,” they would think differently, and I guess treat me the same way my family always did. It was a justification for pushing away those healthy people (even when I really loved them), and not a very nice one. Even after I recognized my family was abusive and cut away from them, I still deep down believed they were right about me. But yet again, I wouldn’t have linked this self-loathing directly with their loathing of me before, the connections and causes were all just lost in space, and so was I.

In the past, my family also ignored my request to discuss and work through our relationship, and would just prefer to chat about meaningless topics instead. For me, it was really another violation of my boundaries, though I would be verbally abused yet again if I didn’t want to ‘go along’ as if nothing had ever happened and there weren’t issues that needed to be resolved. Anyway, I think it’s great that you’re standing your ground.

take care,


Catherine Todd,
I just wanted to reach out to you. Your comments have touched me. I feel for you being “ONE” ~ and up against an entire team. I’ve been there so much in life.

Catherine, it’s kind of a consolation to me to hear you say that you’re relieved your mother is gone. I have struggled with this secret inner desire to not have my mother anymore. I don’t want to say I wish she would die some painful violent death. That’s not it. I don’t even know if death is necessarily it. All I know for sure, is I sometimes wish she was gone. I do NOT look forward to her final days, her funeral, etc. If I feel like I do today, I won’t want any part of it. And, that gives me a feeling of guilt. I can almost hear the world saying, “that’s your mother; she raised you; after all she did for you”, etc. Or, “what kind of piece of crap daughter doesn’t attend her mother’s funeral?” She HURT me!! She hurt me deeply and has affected every our of every day of my life. Even when sleeping and have had bad dreams about her. She shattered my spirit, my self worth, my desire to live at times. I don’t want to see her, alive or dead.

I remember a few years ago, I was reunited with two of my paternal aunts after 30 years of estrangement. There are two other sisters that weren’t at that meeting. One of the aunts who was there, called one of her sisters a bitch. I was so put off by that. I thought, who in the world calls their own sister a bitch. OMG…. did I have a lot to learn. I have taken it a step further than she did. Now, I find myself calling my own mother a bitch sometimes in my journaling. I totally get it now!! I have no trouble saying it between my husband and myself. I am a little ashamed of it still. I’ve been trained well by the world.

I just want to say I understand how you’re feeling. I pray to God as well. A ton of HOPE sent your way!!



Hi everyone,

I need your help.

The crazy “spiritual high guy” (my ex) phoned me.
And it terrorizes me.

Three weeks ago, he came back to me and I saw him.
Two days later, I regretted it and thanks to your support, I succeeded in not seeing him again.

But, I have one of his pull over, one of his book and one of his jacket. And I feel so guilty to have them.

In fact, we saw each other 2 days and the second day he lent me his pull over and gave me the book and the jacket.

As I refused to have contact with him the thrid day, I told him I will send him his clothes.
But he became angry and wanted I give him back his clothes in real.
I didn’t answered.

Now, I feel exhausted, He will never leave me alone ??
Moreover, he gave me his book and coat, and as I refused to see him anymore, he wants to get back his stuff ?

So tired and in rage. I also feel guilty and trapped about having his stuff and also in refusing contact with him but I know I’m right.
I don’t know if I must call the police or not.

Thank you for listening.

Damaged (Aurele)


Darlene and ONLY Darlene,

I have no issue with you. Did I open a can of worms? Depends who you ask. Some have said why do I keep posting, well people keep writing about this. I did nothing wrong in my eyes so I see nothing wrong with the not agreeing with your example’s.

I have never been able to say my peace with my family, during a conversation this past Friday, my dad and I were having a peaceful talk with I added my opinion about the subject he came back very nasty to me with, I don’t want to hear your opinion and no one want’s to hear what you have to say so shut up. I told him I would not shut up and he should not talk to me like that. I also told him that he berates be constantly if I don’t agree with him. He told me that if our conversation leads to an opinion from me that I am not to say anything until he say’s so. I deal with this mentality daily. He also told me I’m the most negative person he knows. And got up and left.

I will not be silenced by him, nor here either. I’ve been told since childhood that I don’t matter and I don’t believe this anymore but when I hear him say it it still hurt’s.

And no I am not looking for people to feel sorry for me, but if I have a comment and you and someone doesn’t like it, I will not change it to suit anyone.

If someone on here want’s to open this post and pick it apart, let them I will not response anymore.

If I need to write my feelings I will but I will not respond to anyone.


Cathy, I’m all for free speach but I know that right comes with the responsibility to use it in a responsible way. Also, if you’re on someone elses property and they don’t like what you are saying, it is their right to ask you to hush up or leave. This blog is Darlene’s private property and she has the right to silence anyone she chooses, for any reason she chooses.

I think most people just find it odd that you want to defend someone who was so obviously, passing judgment on Darlene and her family situation when she couldn’t possibly have enough information to say the things she said. It was a lot of surmising and filling in blanks with whatever popped into her head or came from her own experience. It’s not uncommon for people online to use their right to free speach to try and cause trouble on websites they disagree with or just for the heck of causing trouble. That’s very irresponsible use of free speach and a good reason to be silenced.




Hi. I know you didn’t want anyone beside Darlene to respond, but when I read your comment, I felt for you and the pain you expressed and perhaps you (and others) will have hard time believing or understanding (at least maybe at first), I wanted to send my heart out to you. I know you said you didn’t want people to feel sorry for you and I hope that you’ll understand that what I feel is compassion and not the kind of pity I think you mean you don’t want people to feel for you. It’s probably not right for me to speak for everybody here, but if I can, I’d like to say that no one here wants to hurt you and I hope that you know that. I am truly sorry for how your father speaks to you, how terrible that is, how lonely, too. I have often felt the need to wear armor and to be ready to be at war for whoever might come along to attack me. Everyone here rallied together against your comments not as an attack on your right to speak your mind but as a defense of Darlene because everyone here knew/felt distinctly that the comment this woman sent was itself silencing, that the woman was doing something along the lines of what your father does to you. She was negating Darlene’s truth within her own website which is hers, it’s like a part of her home she opens up to others to experience and comment on, like she lets us write on the walls of her home here, and so if someone comes in and writes something that is hurtful, unhelpful and unnecessary (and not just for Darlene but for other readers as well), she should be allowed to paint over those words—like graffiti in a sacred place. That’s why we were upset. I do really feel for you, though. I hope you know that. You sound like you’re in a place I’ve been before and it hurts. I don’t agree with your defense of the woman but I feel for your pain here. Take care, Alaina


Hi Cathy,
I think I understand what is going on now. You see what I said to you as the same as what your Dad says to you. He tells you that you are wrong and that your opinion doesn’t count. You think that I am saying that same thing to you; that I am telling you that you don’t count. I had some similar situations in my own life. What I learned to do is to look at the motive. Alaina’s comments are very good addressing what happened from my standpoint. My motive for correcting you was not to abuse you or to tell you that your opinion doesn’t matter, but to defend my right here to say the woman who judged me and my life story was wrong and HER motive was wrong. Again, I love the way Alaina explained it.

Cathy, I admire you for coming back and posting what you have said. What your father is doing is totally squishing you and that is so wrong and that is exactly what this site is about. Standing up to that by seeing the truth about it. What the woman in my post here was doing was really a lot like what your father is doing. But it isn’t what I am doing. My motive is for the good of others, for empowerment and to inspire hope and healing. And I will stand up for the truth, not just MY truth but the overall truth. Her motive (the woman I quoted in this article) was to make me wrong and to shut me down. (that was not her first comment to me like this one and her other comments were worse) Your fathers motive is also to make you wrong and shut you down.

I used to lump all these situations together and see anyone that did not agree with me as trying to control me. When I learned to examine motive, I moved forward into seeing some of the tactics people used to get their way and to overpower me. I have no wish to overpower anyone here. I only wish to assist in the healing process. Thank you for sharing your story.
I hope that you will stay and keep sharing and see/experience the love that drives this site.
Hugs, Darlene


Dear Marore,
I understand your anger , and the need to get it out of yourself . What worked for me and still does is getting in touch with my inner child/children ..I thought it was a wacky concept until I did my healing week at Heal For Lifei inAustralia, I was blown awayby the fruit of it, anger gone, rage gone …it totally worked for me and others there, my husband also completed a week , it was invaluable as it gave us the tools to deal with the awful memories ..then there is the mirror neurone when we get triggered . I am totally grateful that these days there is so much help to get ourselves healed . When I first found this site, it was like a God send, in reading other people’s stories, I realized I am truly not the crazy one, it was my mother , so validating.


Hi “Damaged”
I am not sure what to tell you. If you feel that you need to call the police then do. They can give him his stuff back and that will send a clear message to him that you are done. I was in a situation once with a guy I was very scared of and that is what I did.
Hugs, Darlene



Darlene has the “RIGHT” to silence me. Are you kidding me? LOL,LOL,LOL

This get’s more funny as time goes on. You and your leader are ridiculous!


Everyone here is trying very hard to reach out to you and you insist on being a victim. You are defending an abuser and you insist that we are wrong.
I’m happy to have had this interaction on my site: it shows exactly how frustrating it can be to try to talk sense to someone who has made up her mind and nothing is going to change it.
Wow. Darlene


Alain, #93 wrote: “I can relate to what Caden wrote and you and Catherine now about seeking approval, etc. from people and places that aren’t going to give it to you and ignoring those who actually do support and care.”

Wow. This just knocked me out. Literally. I read these words and passed out and slept for four hours. I never thought about it this way: “approval seeking.” As I am, on the outside, a very “independent” person, I never in a million years thought that was what I was doing. But it’s exactly. I have been “seeking approval” and never getting it from mother and sisters. Approval and Acceptance, after being ostracized and demonized all my life by these people.

I don’t LIKE these people as we have nothing in common, and they are judgmental, cold and cruel. But they are the only “family” I ever had and I left to get away from them when I was sixteen years old. I think I’ve been stuck there ever since. I have to be able to move on and I just don’t know how, but I will.

So glad I can read through so many thoughts here, and there’s always one (or more) that will STRIKE A CHORD.

Now, just how to do it?


Oh my goodness!!! I don’t think I can believe what I’m reading! Cathy, people have reached out to you! What are you doing?? If you weren’t asking for responses from other readers, why didn’t you contact Darlene in a private message? See the “contact” button above??

I was about to reach out to you to support you, and the circumstances with your dad. It’s so unfortunate, and painful. Then, I read what you wrote above, and felt disheartened. I completely agree with Pam. Darlene does have every right to silence anyone on HER OWN WEBSITE!! You appear to dishonor a boundary in thinking you’re free to speak on someone else’s website in a derogatory way. Being the owner, means making the executive decisions. Can you put yourself in those shoes? If someone came to your website and said the things you’ve said, would you just let it continue? Wouldn’t it also be your right to silence anyone for whatever reason you see fit??

I completely don’t get it. Sorry Cathy. I wasn’t trying to ever silence you personally. But, I totally agree that Darlene has that right. I don’t have a clue what you’re thinking!! I’m sorry you’re in so much pain…. and I do mean that!

With Hope,


I am smelling narcissism


Its interesting and sad to me that with so much abuse in our society that has come from within family that so many people still hold family in the highest regard and that anything that goes against family is considered taboo. Its like “anything goes” within family and its ok because its family ! One time when i was talking about not contacting my mother to a friend of hers she put me in “my place” right away and said “but she’s your mother. She is the only one you will ever have.” A major guilt trip to get ME to feel bad despite the fact that my mother abused me my whole childhood and well into my adult years…its like family trumps everything. The institution of family is held in higher regard than anything else. I know so many people who have come from bad family situations yet no one wants to acknowledge that the true problems are within the family unit.

It took me a long time to figure out that people have “agendas”…i dont understand that mindset. My mother always had an agenda and used and abused at every opportunity. Although i certainly want things a certain way sometimes i dont consciously try and tell anyone how to live their lives and dont have any desire to control or manipulate anyone else. Our society has become so caught up in judging others and telling others how to live their lives that its hard to avoid. I have never seen so much judgementalism, criticism and harsh treatment as i have the last couple of years. I see it almost every day in some form. It has become the “norm” to be critical and judgemental…i wonder if its because of so much reality tv and so much judgement shown in those programs ? I guess if people dont see any consequences for their actions they figure they will just get away with whatever they can…family means nothing to me anymore…family has caused nothing but pain, hurt, suffering and abuse in my life. I wish i had been an orphan. I would have had a better chance at having something close to a normal life.


Darlene, I am re-reading your original post that started this discussion. You wrote: “I don’t have to care what her motive or her trigger is. I only have to assure myself that I do not have to engage in any kind of justification for my decisions with anyone. I can simply dismiss them.

And I do.”

This sounds so good. But how to do it? Now, with your help, I CAN dismiss the ignoramuses that I don’t know when they say these stupid, asinine things like “you have to forgive them, leave the past in the past.” They have no idea what they are talking about.

BUT when it comes to a family member that a person (me) wants validation from, how to do that? First my mother dismissed me and tried to destroy me, and now it’s my youngest sister that I trusted above all others who is doing the same thing to me. It hurts so bad, and I have lost the ability to trust ANYONE. I have to get over this.


I also am glad that you posted the detailed explanation as to why you didn’t post the woman’s advice to you about how you are supposed to treat your father, based on one blog post. I was like Cathy at first, and thought “why shouldn’t she be allowed to have her own opinion here?”

But after reading your response a number of times, I realized that I have been listening to know-it-alls like this woman for so many years that I didn’t even realize I had the RIGHT and OBLIGATION to say “PLEASE STOP. Please just be quiet and don’t give me advice about something you know nothing about. If that works for you fine, but you don’t know my situation and this is not helping.”

I felt really sorry for Cathy (Cathy, you know what I mean here I hope) that everyone jumped in to Darlene’s defense, but I think that got straightened out reading through all the comments. It wasn’t about telling YOU to “shut up” like your Dad did/does, but to me, it was telling know-it-alls to BE QUIET and KEEP THEIR UNINFORMED, WORTHLESS OPINIONS TO THEMSELVES. They can live their life any way they want, but why try to impose it on others they don’t even know?

What I really found incredible in that woman’s response was her determination that Darlene’s mother had so “drained her husband” but that this somehow made him decide that she was “better able to raise the children” so he abandoned the family. Ad this justifies it!

Then she goes on to propose that he may have paid child support (although she does allow that she “didn’t know” this or not) and it really did move into the theater of the absurd. She would have made an excellent defense attorey for the accused! Sounds like a poorly-written movie script, doesn’t it? Could have been on TV.

After Darlene went through the comment bit by bit, I came to understand just how detrimental these kinds of comments are, and how they have served to silence ME in so many ways. I just shut up because I know I will immediately be blamed, or told I need to do this or that, or I need therapy or on and on if I express ANYTHING that in the slightest resembles confusion, anger or pain.

We in our culture in America are raised to work and go to war. “A soldier’s daughter never cries.” To do our jobs. I now live in a Central American country where emotion is expressed. People are encouraged to cry; they consider it a good thing as it releases anger and stress, and “cleanses the heart and soul.”

It’s very difficult for me to do this after being raised to be a good, dry-eyed American child and an adult who “has all the answers.” Have you noticed that confusion or questions are also not allowed? Everyone seems to feel obligated to state the Answer and they have to know it all! If not, we somehow get failing grades.

If this is part of the competitive environment we were raised in, I certainly don’t like it. Living where I do now, I see families raised with community spirit, with patience, prayer and loving kindness practiced on a daily basis. In fact, they value “Patiencia” the way we value Money. Can you imagine?

So I have a lot to learn. And I’m very glad to see the whole responses to Cathy’s comment worked out and I’m so glad that Cathy decided to stay. At least I hope you did! I grew up in much the same way, where NO other opinion was tolerated by either my mother or father. I used to say “If my mother liked red, I was not allowed to like Blue.” Same with my sisters. ANYTHING different was considered a “challenge” and I was immediately treated like the enemy. My father, being a military man, was “it doesn’t matter if your commanding officer is right or wrong; he is ALWAYS RIGHT because he is YOUR COMMANDING OFFICER.” It was “jump – how high.” And he literally beat this into us. They both did, with fists, boots or angry looks and silent treatment.

This was years ago and I’m still not over it. I had no contact for more tan 25 years and when I came back when my mother was dying, nothing had changed. It was WORSE. So I have learned that no matter what, these people don’t want to or can’t change, and all I can do is leave them alone and be thankful I got away.

Now, how to transform “pain into joy?” That is the question. I am an alchemist, working in my kitchen, praying to God to rewire my Self.

“The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”

Dear God, please show us The Way. Amen.


Terri, you wrote in #112 “I am smelling narcissism”

That’s a pretty vague statement in that I don’t know what it refers to. Who or what? Explanation please?


Dave, I know exactly how you feel! Your description of “family” and how anything and everything is excused because it’s “family” and “she’s the only mother you will ever have” really hit home.

You wrote: “I wish i had been an orphan. I would have had a better chance at having something close to a normal life.”

I actually had to laugh, and then shake my head. I know exacty what you mean and I never thought of it that way! Maybe I will. I’ll spend some time pretending I was an “orphan” and look at it that way. I always tell people that there are things “worse than death” and for me it was being raised in that concentration camp that was called “home,” and I was a prisoner of war for sixteen years.

So now if I just accept the fact that I am an orphan and really accept that my real friends are my “family,” and to hell with the rest, perhaps suffering about “what might have been” will be transformed into “what is.” For that’s my real problem: not being able to accept how these people are and the fact that they are never going to change. They don’t care about me and my mother sacrificed me to keep her husband and “image” up to the rest of the world. But now she’s gone and I’m still here.

And I will go on.

Thanks so much for your comments, Dave, and I hope you keep leaving them. Everyone here is helping so much to make a beautiful quilt of all our experiences. Perhaps it’s a “crazy quilt,” but those quilts are the most beautful and the most rare. The most treasured and valuable. I’ve seen them for sale for $10,000.00 or more! So we do have something of value, and it’s so nice to find a place where it can be shared.

Gracis, amigas, amen.


I forgot to mention (wish there was an “edit” button here) that times have changed a little bit, thank God, in regards to “family.” I remember how shocked I was when the Unibomber’s brother came forward to identify him as the person who committed such a heinous crime. People actually agreed with him “telling on his brother” because it was so terrible what the Uni-Bomber had done. That is when things started to change.

There used to be songs about “standing behind me, right or wrong” just like those awful songs about “standing by your man” even though he was a mean abusive womanizing drunk! So sticking up for abusers is starting to change, just like bullying is starting to be recognized and opposed. Little by little, bit by bit, we are making our voices heard.

Heck, I remember when I couldn’t even talk about being raped when I was 19 years old by the dishwasher where I worked. EVERYONE would immediately jump on me, even my so-called female “friends” – and tell me how it was MY FAULT and I “must have done something to bring it on myself.” It was instant and caused more damage than the rape itself.

So our culture is changing, slowly but surely, and it’s by websites like this one and people like Darlene and all the members on this forum, and finally one day Peace will be ours.

Dear God, please show us The Way.


Hi Catherine, my abuser was a narcissistic mother, with an enabling father, and a golden child brother consisted of physcological and verbal abuse ..the sex abuse was not from family. Cathy seems at face value to exhibit these traits of narcissism, a very interesting subject if you have the inclination to research.
Any form of correction ,loving or otherwise is seen as an attack on them , I have had a no contact rule in place for 3 years now , because it is Impossible to have dialogue with them. It has been the most peaceful 3 years of my life , and as I continue on my healing journey without their negativity , blame shifting , etc I am finally growing as the person I , deep down know that I am, not the lying messages I received all my life.
Thanks for asking


I caught myself in a trap. I’m too judgmental and I just want to fix other peoples’ problems the way I think they should be fixed. Thank you for this website, because I feel when I read it that I must be careful. The things being shared are borne of much pain and sorrow. I pledge to resist both judging and trying to fix things. I will try to only respond with observations: “It seems like”, “Maybe it…”, or some other way to ask for a clarification. Maybe that’s a key ingredient if you don’t understand totally: ask a question. Thank you all for having courage to share parts of your journey.


Darlene definitely has the right to silence whoever she wishes to, but thank God she only silences those voices that speak invalidation – she doesn’t silence those who wish to contribute by expressing their thoughts and working through their journey, and that includes Cathy, whom I thought was welcomed and responded to. We are all fragile to a certain degree and expect that misunderstandings and triggers will happen, but I presume that we choose not to be abusive in our responses, and that’s the beauty of this site.


Dave, I agree with you about the institution of family being held in too high regard. What we need is for healthy families to be held in high regard. We need good, healthy families. Family is the building block of society and much of what you see in the world is because the family is torn to shreds. Healthy families can only be made up of healthy individuals and I think where it starts is in the work we are all doing here to become healthy individuals. We can build better families and a healthier society once, we’ve healed our own wounds.

I’m glad you were born, Dave. I’m glad you’re in the world and I know we are all better off because you were born. I wish you could have had a healthier, loving family but you are a miracle because even with what you’ve been through, you are looking for something better. The evil didn’t win, Dave. You still have that spark of goodness in you that wants the opportunity to thrive. I believe you will enjoy that opportunity that lies at the end of your personal healing.



Cathy, I don’t think you’ve been silenced by, Darlene. I was referring to the original comment that this post was written about. However,this website is Darlene’s private property and yes, she does have the right to silence anyone. Thankfully, she’s a gracious person and only silences those who say things that can be harmful to her readers. I’ve even had to agree to tone things down in how I express myself in one area. We have to have regard for everyone’s feelings here. Your feelings are included in that. I wasn’t trying to hurt your feelings. I was trying to share how I view the situation. Sometimes, I am rediculous. I’m human. My husband calls it ‘stupid human tricks’ and I make my share of them.

I also, have empathy for you in the way your dad talks to you. This is the place where victims are given their voice and not a place where that is taken away. Darlene is the leader here. That’s the whole point. I hope you can take a deep breath and take a second look at things. You might find some helpful words here.



Mimi, thanks for recognizing finding some value in my talking about my mother. I worried myself practically to death about “what would I do when it came to her funeral” and would I go or not and how would I deal with my horrible sisters who twist anything and everything into something negative… and then my mother decided it for me, refusing to see me at her deathbed. I was going to fly out there and at least say goodbye before she passed from the cancer that had been killing her for the past two years.

It just about killed me to have this hope and dream dashed forevermore, but I can see that she actually did me a favor, even though I’m grieving still.

She’s gone forever and I am relieved of the burden of “what if, what could I do different, what will I do, why did she, why didn’t she…” it was all over and gone. Done forever.

Then a friend said that wherever she was, “upstairs or down,” she was getting a “talking to” and had a “lot of explaining to do.”

That actually made me laugh, in my grief and my tears.

Another person said about my father: “He knows where he’s going, and they waiting for him!”

Had to laugh again and again. Sometimes people really can “say it like it is” and when I finally let myself say “my mother is a bitc,” pure and simple, I couldn’t believe my ears. And I wasn’t struck down dead on the spot! She’s just another mean one, Narcissistic and cruel. She was, anyway. I hope she rests in peace, for she surely never had any here. And she made sure I didn’t, either.

Go into that good night.



I wish there was an edit button here or a delete button so I could correct spelling and repost it! Yikes! For a former teacher like me, this is torturous! Grade F! (Rereading my previous post). Yikes!


I will never forget something I read years ago. I can’t recall where I read it, so I can’t, unfortunately, give credit to the author.

“Unsolicited advice is nothing more than veiled criticism.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to repeat this to my husband. He and his entire family are a bunch of know-it-alls. They are always full of advice. I swear, there is not a topic in the universe that one of them will not expound upon, at length, until your eyes glaze over and you are so bored that you wish you could run screaming from the house!

My husband and his family have a very bad habit of telling you how to run your life, how to think, how to feel, what to do, what to NOT do, etc. etc.

Very, very annoying. I just tune them out, but they are so clueless that they will continue to drone on and on and on without noticing the glazed look in their captive audience’s eyes!

I’ve joked with my husband and told him I was going to bring up some totally outrageous, ridiculous topic at the dinner table at the next family event, just to see if someone will start expounding upon the mating habits of the African tsetse fly in the month of July during a leap year when there has been a lunar eclipse! (Knowing his mother, dad, and brother, believe me… of them will be able to talk for half an hour about this topic…

I think my husband is beginning to understand a bit. Finally he has been able to open his eyes and see the rampant narcissism in his family. I think it’s been painful for him.

But honestly, isn’t all unsolicited advice in truth nothing more than veiled criticism?

You see, if I ask for your advice, then I value and respect your opinion. I only do this if you are a very trusted friend, or a very trusted colleague.

I care nothing, however, for your advice if you haven’t earned credibility in my eyes.

My husband and I have often discussed the advice-giving thing. He says he grew up with the type of parents who lectured him nonstop. It drove him crazy. He hated it. But it was just “normal” in his family. That’s why he has had such a difficult time understanding just how condescending and patronizing his parents’ behaviors can be. It’s also why his first response to anyone is to offer advice. I keep telling him that it annoys people, and eventually people will avoid him like the plague.

I have learned to ask questions rather than to offer advice. I often ask, “What can I do to help?”……or “What can I do to best support you right now?” I’ve learned that people really appreciate having a good listener, someone who isn’t judgmental, someone who permits them to have their feelings, someone who isn’t all full of self-importance and patronizing statements.

But I have to admit that I have had to work very, very hard at not trying to “fix” things. You see, I was parentified as a child, used as a surrogate mother for my three younger siblings. I had narcissistic parents. The only “love” or attention I ever received was for caretaking someone else.

So, my natural instinct is to fix things, to offer advice. I don’t do that any longer, though. I have worked hard to stop. People get annoyed, rightfully so. If I start offering advice, then I am talking more about myself and not paying attention to the person speaking to me. But I had to learn all of this. (I learned a lot by reading the book, “Boundaries,” by Cloud and Townsend.)

I went back and read the women’s comment to Darlene. And I can clearly see where she just offered advice willy-nilly. No wonder Darlene was annoyed. I would have been annoyed, too.

Here’s what I mean: Go back and look at how many times the woman said, “You don’t know……”……as in,”You don’t know his side…”…….”You don’t know that your mother asked him to stay away”…….”You only know what your mom wants you to know.”

Then, the woman starts telling Darlene what to do! The nerve! She says, “Give the fellow a chance.”…….”Do not pull him into your and your Mom’s relationship….”….”….form a relationship with him and leave your mom, and the past where it belongs”…..”Reach out to your dad in love….”

And then, the coup de grace: She says, “…..IF [emphasis mine] you leave the past behind, (your relationship with your dad) can evolve into one of mutual love and respect.”

All of this unsolicited advice is a way of criticizing Darlene. It’s a way to say, “You aren’t doing the right thing….here, let me set you straight.”

Very narcissistic. Very insensitive. Very clueless.

But I run into so many people who do exactly what this woman did.

I just want to make sure that I don’t further harm people by offering my own unsolicited advice. It’s better to be a good listener and an empathic person.


Hi, Terri….

Wow… sounds wonderful, that you were able to deal with the hurt and rage. I so want to get rid of my anger and resentment. I really do. I have done quite a lot of reading on how the brain works, how it develops in childhood. I am familiar with mirror neurons. I often find that whenever I have talked to my mother on the phone or been in her presence, that I end up depressed and suicidal when I get home. I have never been able to quite grasp why this happens, especially when no specific act of abuse has occurred.

It’s as if just hearing her voice or being in her presence triggers bad memories and brings up sadness and anger.

Maybe I have to stay away(?)

Sometimes I wonder if coming out of my denial, and learning about parental narcissism three years ago, was such a great thing. I hurt more now. I have new emotions to deal with now. Before, I was numb. I had survived childhood by doing a lot of dissociating. Once I made the conscious decision to stop dissociating, to face the pain, to deal with the truth, then the pain began in earnest.

It’s better, I know. But it certainly is painful.

Thank you, Terri.


Hi, Catherine Todd,

I wrote you a response last night, but every time I clicked on the “Submit Comment” icon, I got an error response. My comment wouldn’t show up.

So, I’m back, again.

I really do feel for you. Our experiences sound quite similar. I know it is so painful to feel rejected by your family. It is painful.

I’m working very hard, though, not to numb out, not to dissociate the pain away. But I have to admit that it’s not been that easy to deal with the enormous amount of rage and resentment that I have toward my mother. Once I realized that she was a narcissist, I began to understand why I had always grown up feeling suicidal. Being ignored and invalidated, manipulated and used, parentified and abused, I certainly have earned the “right” to despise life.

Until three years ago, though, when I first began to read books about psychopathy and narcissism, I thought I was the one with the problem. That’s what narcissistic parents do: dump and project. Their children always grow up feeling as if THEY are the problem…..they cannot see that it is their parents who are to blame.

I have had to work so very hard in therapy throughout the years to deal with all of the pain.

I do live authentically. I do live in truth. I speak truth. My therapist has often told me that it is precisely that which my dysfunctional family hates so much.

It’s a challenge to deal with narcissists. Unfortunately, I married into a family with narcissism. But, when I married, I knew nothing about the topic. Now I am learning how to best deal with narcissists and other difficult people. There are times, I admit, that I’d like to just run away!……lol

I think I’ve learned to appreciate and like who I am. My parents didn’t like me, but I like who I am. I like that I am extremely empathic and sensitive to others, especially to children. I care deeply about the oppressed and poor, the bullied, the outcasts, the underdogs of the world. I feel. I am no longer numb. I like my vulnerability, and I can now see how strong and resilient I must be, or I wouldn’t have survived such terrible abuse, two stranger rapes, abuse by a counselor, rejection by my family, bullying at school. I am still here. I am a survivor. I am a loving and honest person.

So, you and I can offer support to each other. It is sad when families reject one of their own. It’s cruel. But we can make it. We will survive. We will continue being honest and real. That is a victory…..To be true to ourselves.

Thanks for sharing with me, Catherine.


To All,

I wrote a post yesterday evening and it didn’t make it into this forum.

Are you all aware that I posted my disagreement comment on the article, “People who try to silence victims who are trying to heal”. Yes, that right, not under this title.

I agree that the poster was wrong is assuming Darlene’s life as they have never meet her and have no idead what her life was like, that is her business.

What I did agree with was the poster’s mention to move on and leave thing’s behind. I couldn’t agree more.


Do you realize that this entire conversation is in writing? You even answer Mimi in this post with the comment number where it all started with your comment. I am aware that you also posted an objection on the other post (people who try to silence victims interfere with emotional healing” your comment #185) which is linked to this one however once again even there you agree with the abuser in the article. (by the way everyone, guess what?? the commenter I highlight in that post is the same person who posted her judgement comment that I highlight in this post) Telling people to ‘move on’ before they have dealt with the pain is abusive.

I am a huge advocate of “don’t engage” when people just don’t want to see/hear or validate the truth. I am only publishing this comment from Cathy to show the fog storm that happens EVEN when all the proof is in writing.

I have a friend who’s husband was charged and convicted of child sexual abuse. EVEN when he confessed in court the family was STILL On his side and still against the daughter who charged him and the wife who stood by her daughter. Sometimes when people who make up thier minds there is just no changing their minds.
This whole thread is a great example of the fog storm and the spin caused when someone will go to any lengths to be “right”.


Hi Catherine
Don’t worry about spelling mistakes. I may just be the queen of typos and spelling mistakes! As long as people get the drift of what we are trying to say, it’s all good!
Hugs, Darlene



I’ve learned A LOT from this whole exchange. It is always so instructive to see these issues played out in real time, and in writing, as you say.

I am thinking of something that is happening with a neighbor of mine. He has told me that he can no longer bear to speak to his father after years of hearing abusive and insulting comments. I supported him in his decision, offered empathy, and did not try to give advice. THEN, his own grown son came to visit, and spending time with them, I was shocked to hear how he spoke to his son. Mean-spirited insulting comments, constant interruption, and not allowing him to have his own voice. I didn’t know what to do or say. The son had planned on staying with my neighbor and helping in his business, but he left after two weeks. Wow.

In my interactions with him, he was always so friendly, I had no CLUE that he could act this way, and I don’t think he is even aware of how he is replicating his own father’s behavior.

Somehow, this reminds me of what is going down here.



Hi Catherine
Re your comment #114
This is a really excellent comment. I love it when people show the process of coming to a new understanding. (reminds me of my kids in high school showing thier “work” in math class ~ showing how they came to the answer) It is SO helpful to others when we share this process in this way so thank you!
My point is writing an blog post like this one is to show the typical ways that we have been taught to think and taught NOT to go against our “elders” or our families. It was very important for me to learn to see things through a new grid; the grid of truth.

When I get caught up in a fog storm I alwasy check the motives of the people involved and what exactly are they trying to convince you of and why. That helped me a lot to sort out the truth from the manipulation.

Hugs and thanks for sharing!


Hi Payne Within
Thank you for your post and your thoughts on responding!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Dave
I have come such a long way when it comes to comments like “but she is your mother” or “she is the only mother you will ever have” ~ I respond “what the heck does that mean?” Or “so she is above the law because she is my mother?” They never have a real answer to those questions because I suspect they don’t KNOW what that means!

I asked my mother once (when she was giving me the talk about ‘family and how important family is”) I asked her “If a guy was humiliating me at work everyday in front of the whole office, talking about me, saying I was nuts, etc. and spreading lies about me, do you think I should go out for drinks with him after work?” She said “of course not!” and I said… well why do I have to put up with it just because the people doing it are “family”… she had no answer.
The truth is powerful!
Hugs, Darlene



Cathy ~ Your comments are not automatically published so I am going to put a note right on this one. I want everyone to notice that you have not responded to ONE comment that is reaching out to you, trying to understand you, trying to invite you to be part of this community. You have not answered even one comment posted by anyone whose intention was to support you. All of your comments are defensive, putting others down, and most of them are mean. Most of them are meant to cause trouble and not to share in any kind of healing at all. Even when you said that it was not your intention to cause a stir, there was no regret.

This post is called “how to recognize when your best interests are not considered” and I have decided that it is NOT ‘best’ for anyone on this blog for me to continue to publish your posts. I have no idea why you are here or what you are seeking from this site other than to stir up trouble. You have pulled the focus here long enough. I will not engage any longer with you about any of this.



Hi Sophia
This is SO true! One of the most difficult problems I have ever had on this blog is when a reader who has become part of the community and working really hard on seeing the treatment he or she has suffered at the hands of parents starts attacking their kids on here! I have also had a couple of husbands who share about the problems with thier wives in exactly the same way that our parents trashed us. There are millions of people who don’t realize that they have become thier own parents when it comes to thier own kids… so sad!
I agree ~ ONWARD
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Caden,
Thanks so much for your comments and support! I really appreciate it. I’ve never written you before but I always appreciate your insights. You’ve had to grapple with so much. It blows me away. Everyone’s story does. I, too, totally thought if I could just be someone else, then everything would be solved, and although I don’t spend my time in regret or at least try not to (because I understand why I behaved the way I did), I do look back sometimes and see all the missed opportunities and times when my actions were very self-involved and uncaring toward people who didn’t deserve that. I, too, was totally lost in space, strangely even when I had quite a bit, but obviously not enough, self-awareness. Anyway, thanks again for your comments and all my best to you,

Hi Catherine,
Thanks for your response! I’m glad my words meant something to you. I’m really enjoying reading all your comments. I’m so sorry you’ve had so many people up against you—it’s no wonder you’d be seeking approval, with so many disapproving! I totally understand about “seeming independent.” The notion of depending on people, particularly anything to do with emotional needs and especially needing or wanting love, can make me cringe quite a lot—like “shhh, don’t say it too loud; it’s a secret.” I had to do without love, so that’s what I tried to make myself do, thought it was a weakness to want/need it, looked down on others who exposed that vulnerability, but all the while, I was constantly driven by it.

Hi Mimi,
Thanks for your comments! When I think about it, I know that getting back in contact with my parents has actually helped me. It has felt really crappy on the one hand but it has helped me understand a lot more of what happened to me, how my parents treated me and how much I’ve grown. When I cut off contact 2 & ½ years ago, I didn’t really understand why, I didn’t know that it was because the apology and acknowledgement I’d received from them hadn’t meant anything because they still treated me the same way, still expected so much, and when I remained upset, they turned around and put things back on me again. I didn’t understand that. I understood only that things were bad and that my life was never going to get better if I didn’t cut off completely. When I decided to get back in contact, it was for two reasons: one, I saw that it would be “easier” with my brother so that I could have a relationship with my nephew and two, I was actually starting to feel controlled by my parents because I didn’t have contact—in large part because having to exclude myself from extended family stuff, should they be around (my cousin’s wedding was coming up). My parents had taken up such a huge part of my life and were such powerful people in my psyche. I had to cut off from them so that I could put them to the side and focus on myself, but the truth is they never stopped being those huge, powerful people in my mind… only pushed to the side. I think what I’m doing now is really deflating the power they’ve had inside me. I’m seeing through them and seeing through the past, understanding who I am as a separate person in relation to them and where I’ve come from, and also where I stand now. I think I’m still in this process; I think I want to deflate the balloon and not pop it, if that makes sense. I think it’s about balance and not freaking myself out and getting myself into situations I can’t handle and making choices that aren’t “in my best interest.” I know now that a real relationship is absolutely impossible without ownership of the past. It’s a slap in the face, as I said, but it’s a slap that hurts less and less each time, not because I’m numbing myself out but because my own fantasy is dying out and their love matters to me less and less. I’ll still read their emails because I need to know where things are at, mostly because there’s a dynamic with other family members, not just my brother but with people who are my support, whom my mother will go after to get to me and it would be irresponsible of me not to pay attention to that factor. I may need to respond to certain emails for the process of damage control. Who knows what may happen as I starve them out of attention. It could go many ways. Anyway, I so appreciate your support, always. And you know what? We’re getting there. What we do in our actions, the respect we show ourselves and the world, will eventually reach our “heart of hearts” as you say. I think there’s a constant interplay going on between feeling-thought-action and back again; we just have to keep going and have faith!


Wow, that’s insane with Cathy. Scary actually. I wondered if she read my comments, if she was going to respond. My motives were pure. I felt for her. Even if she thought I was wrong in what I was saying, I think it was obvious I came from a good place, that I cared. But that didn’t matter to her. She’s seeing red and her focus is zeroed in. It’s insane and sad and self-destructive, disruptive and cutting. Thank you for pulling her comments, Darlene. I don’t want to read any more of that.


Hello, Darlene……

I am such an insecure person as a result of all of my past abuse, so will you please tell me if I was offensive or if I offended you in my comment #124?

I feel so terribly embarrassed to be asking this. I feel like a big dope. The reason I ask is that I noticed that you responded to Cathy, Catherine, Payne within, Dave, and Sophia, but not to me. I realize that you can’t always respond to every person who makes a comment, nor do I expect you to. I really don’t.

Gosh….just writing this is making me feel so stupid. I am almost breaking out in a sweat. Please don’t think I am angry or upset, but I only ask because my parents were constantly accusing me of doing things that I had no intention of doing. I worry excessively as a result. I worry when there probably is no need to worry. I worry that I have been offensive, but I didn’t mean to be. I was trying to support you by writing what I wrote, and I was trying to share how I had learned about boundaries, which helped me to give up offering advice to others and which helped me to start to give up my life-long role of “caretaker” and “fixer.”

Please do let me know if I did something which sounded offensive, okay? I am very interested in growing…..always. I don’t take offense easily at all, nor do I become defensive. I am so anxious to learn and to be a better person and a better communicator.

Oh, and I want to say that I am enjoying your site very much. I would like to support you and others here. I hope I am able to move beyond my insecurities and keep commenting, because I often allow my insecurities to keep me from interacting with people. I really do work hard at overcoming the ramifications of the child abuse I suffered.

Thank you, Darlene!

Hugs to you!


Hi all,
I agree, Cathy was getting to the point of not making sense. And so defensive. I’ve run across people who just like to argue. Not sure what the motive is, or what they gain from it, but, it seems to feed them somehow. I think Cathy was looking for an argument. I’m amazed that she didn’t even realize her BS comment about posting somewhere else and she COMPLETELY overlooked #12 HERE!! OMG, amazing! Reminds me of someone who’s drunk and doesn’t remember their own actions/words.

And, the thing that’s so in line with what I’ve experienced with Narc behaviors is thinking that it’s everyone else. It hasn’t occurred to her it might be HER! That’s my mother to a tee! Everyone else is wrong, and she’s right… even if she’s standing alone. Amazes me still!!

Peace and Hope,


No no it is absolutly nothing you did or said. I just have trouble keeping up with the comments and I try to answer everyone once on each post and more often is when it has something to do with the conversation going on or if I have extra time. I have commented more on this post than I have in any other post for the last 6 weeks. I get over 1000 comments in this site a month plus my family and my clients. I just can’t respond to everything. It isn’t you at all, it is just how busy I am.
Hugs, Darlene


Wow! So much insight here. I can’ thank you enough for this site. Since finding “My Mother Doesn’t Love Me”, I have come a long way. Loving relationships are built from mutual respect and honesty and trust. It’s like trying to get milk from a cow that doesn’t produce any! Whether my Mother doesn’t love me or can’t does not matter. I will no longer make excuses for my neglectful abusive parents. I do not miss how it was, and I sure can’t miss something I never had!

To all–
It helps me so much to know that there are others who grew up in the same way that I did. I have not had time to read all of them but I will revisit often.

My heart goes out to you! I have been in your place many times with the whole letter writing thing. Bottom line is, that you are a rational kind hearted person and you would expect your family to respond to your letter like you would. In a loving empathetic way. I have to remind myself of that very same thing too. It hurts because we LOVE our families, in spite of everything. But our families do not love us back. That hurts. Any time you put yourself out there, you risk being hurt and rejected again. There is nothing I would want more in the whole world than for things to be different with my family. But they aren’t and they won’t ever be. You seem like such a sweet person. Take care of yourself. You deserve so much better. So do I. I like Sister Renee’s advice to just ignore them. That’s been working so far for me. I know it hurts. Hang in there!

Sister Renee–
Thank you for your candid post about narcissitics and disfunctional families. I am ignoring mine. Once the Holidays come and go, I hope it drives them batty! And if not, no skin off my back. I will not be affected by the lies and abusive behaviours anymore!

Thank you everyone so much! God bless all of you!


P.S. Marore
re comment #124 Your assessment of the womans motives in the article here are very good.
Thank you for sharing those insights!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mimi
That is why I kept publishing the comments from Cathy. (her comments have been held in moderation for preaproval for a few days now)
Her comments were a really acurate example of how this whole thing goes down when someone decides they are right, misunderstood etc. But when it is in writing, there is real evidence of the truth. It is really sad that this happens right on this blog about coming out of the fog about stuff like this and standing up to this happening!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Elizabeth
Love your first paragraph!! Thanks for sharing your progress! It’s inspiring!
Hugs, Darlene



On my lawyer comments, yes I agree with you completely. I only meant my lawyer illustration in relation to your guidelines and to why people in support forums post guidelines like yours. They are important. And similar, I suppose, to why therapists learn not to tell a patient what to do.

As far as the actual commentator, it was obvious that she had either not bothered to read any of your posts, or she was intentionally ignoring them. What her motivation was, I couldn’t begin to guess. But your posting about it and illustrating the impact it can have on any one of us who either has or may experience something similar, was very helpful. And I appreciate the illustration.

I have found your blog very useful and have read things that have helped me to journal about similar feelings or incidents and heal myself in the process. I really appreciate what you do here. And for those people that are not getting help from the site, there are other places that may be helpful to them.



Hi Michelle!
That makes sense! Thank you for the clarification ~ I wasn’t sure when I responded to your comments, who you were referring to! One of the things I find is that if someone is told what to do they don’t learn anything so if they do it, they often question it later. If they can come to their own conclusions and decisions, they don’t question their own decisions the same way later because they have come through the process with their own thoughts etc. I had been told in actions and words that I was not capable of knowing how to think about anything. I big part of the healing process for me was learning to think for myself again!
Thanks for your comments. I appreciate them and I am glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hey everyone, I was wondering if anyone else got stressed out by this thing with Cathy? Not just frustrated or flabbergasted but stressed? There were times in the past when I’d hear people (total strangers to me) arguing at night outside my apartment and I’d just want to curl into a ball and cut myself. I don’t feel that now, but I am stressed. I can hold my own, know that this woman has totally gone off the handle, not waver from my own beliefs, but she reminds me of a caged dog. I grew up with a mom full of rage. She never totally snapped but I always felt it there on the edge. Sometimes it seemed worse because it never went full-blown, like the potential, the unfired gun was somehow worse, you know? I’ve always been terrified of anger. Even when it’s really nice people I know, I’ll seize up if there’s anger or the possibility, until I realize it’s safe and we can have a civilized conversation. It’s why I’m so careful when I’m around angry people. I know this is a website and there’s no actual danger, but I guess it triggers me to when there was actual danger, or I felt there was actual danger. Sometimes I think it was just a look in her eye, like if I kept “pushing” her, I might make her want me dead. This is from my young childhood. Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else out there is like this because, yeah, I’m stressed. Thanks.


All, I receive a comment on my site this morning, in response to a post called “Prophile Of A Hebaphile” that is a perfect example of what we are discussing here. This commentor invited me to consider how a hebaphile feels and went on to hold teenagers to the same level of responsibility as adults. His comment reveals so much of how an abuser’s mind works and exposes the tactics they use to confuse and protect themselves and others like them from having to take responsibility for their actions. Just like the commentor that Darlene wrote this post around, he aimed for an area of great personal pain in me. This was no accident. It is purposeful, as there is no better way to confuse someone than to cause them pain. Those of us who were once their victims but have healed, understand how the game is played, and are brave enough to speak out and expose their tactics are a huge threat to these people. We have to keep our armor on to be able to defend ourselves against them. That armor is made up of truth and strong personal boundaries. YAY! to everyone who kept their armor on during this conversation. I’m so excited to be part of exposing what abusers have been able to keep hidden by casting blame on their victims, for so long. When we who were broken take hold of our truth and use it as a laser focus on the tactics used by abusers, we have the power to change the way the world thinks and that has the power to change the world. I was once broken but now I am whole and hear me roar!lol!It is a wonderful thing to watch an abusers tactics being exposed for what they are and seeing the monsters deflate and lose their power.



Alaina, My parents blamed me, as a child, for their drinking. Their drinking caused them to have horrible fights that made my home a very unsafe place. I know this was at the bottom of my drug abuse. If you see yourself as the reason for the threat, it makes you want to destroy youself because there seems no other way of removing the threat. I didn’t feel threatened by this conversation because I recognize the tactics and I hold that person responsible for their own behavior. I used to think that I had somehow, caused the other person to become abusive. Now I know that isn’t true and it removes some of the fear I have in the face of an abuser. However, some fear is wise because it isn’t safe to enteract with an abuser and it really is unsafe to befriend such a person. In that way, we can use our fear to keep ourselves safe. It has to be coupled with truth though and it is in relying on truth that we prevent ourselves from being confused by their tactics. We know more than anyone how abuser operate but as victims, we are taught not to trust our own knowledge.It’s when they succeed in causing us to mistrust our own instincts and what we know to be true that we are in trouble.



Hi Alaina
heck yes it is stressful! And you are right on track with looking for the triggers that relate to the past and what scared you then. It matters not that this is a website, (and therfore not a real in person danger) but it is great information when we react to stuff like this in helping with drilling down to the root and the belief system that is living there. These were the ways that I found out all my survival mode stuff and was able to correct it.
Thank you so much for bringing this factor up. It is really important for people to look into thier reactions over this stuff as valuable information about what is operating in us under the surface.
Hugs, Darlene

For whoever is still reading; Whenever something like this happens there is a drop in comments. This kind of stuff scares even the ‘good commenters’ from sharing because they are not sure yet about what is right and wrong which has to do with NEVER having been right before so at first we question everything we even think and feel. That is one of the reasons that I hesitate to publish this kind of stuff but in this case, the commneter was already approved when her first judgemnet comment came through. It is a balancing act for me to decide at that point, what to publish and what to protect people from according to what I think is best for the overall growth. Again my motive is about what is best overall.
Hugs Darlene


Hi Pam
Really great comments about the commenter on your blog and the motives associated with him. Thank you for sharing that and please feel free to share the link to your post if you like.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks, Darlene.

I thought it was probably just an oversight because you are a busy person. I want you to know that I’m not a prima donna by any means, so I do not expect you to comment to my every post. Not at all!

I’m glad I checked it out with you, though. Better to know than to sit and stew in my insecurities!

My therapist tells me that whenever I am unsure about something that I should come right out and ask. It’s good for me to practice that.

Thanks, again!!


YES it is much better to ask! I totally agree!
Hugs, Darlene


I am one of the people who dropped off from commenting after this thing with Cathy….I feel like I said something wrong because I assumed something that ended up not being true and it made me feel trapped again somehow! I always had someone who would come down on me about a sentence or a word that I would use and somehow it would erase everything else that I had been trying to say, and I would be cornered because they were right! I think I also pulled back because I truly dont like when someone comes in and is playing head trips…..throwing out mean things into a conversation and then when someone takes the bait, they become the injured party and then they feel they have the “right” to fight…which is what they somehow want to begin with…to get the attention. I tend to have habit of wanting to defend the underdog…which is a throwback to trying to protect my older brother all of our lives from ppl who would deliberately tear him down when he was doing nothing but being a nice guy. I do apologize for that to anyone who got caught into the cross fire because I think I started it!! 🙁 On another note, I am not apologizing for the actual things I said to Cathy here. She WAS trying to get attention by stirring up trouble. I just need to work on that “trigger” in myself to want to defend someone! I have loved the real topic of this conversation and so appreciate everyone’s comments and input about their own lives and experiences.


What I mean by “defend the underdog”…is I tend to try to defend who I perceive as the underdog!


Oh this post and all 144 comments have covered so much ground, so many different facets of covert and overt verbal abuse, yet I can relate to so many of them. I’m struggling with where to start.

For so many of you, things start with your FOO. While mine was not the main “source of fog” I do realized that my father’s tendency to be a passive know-it-all is refelected in who I married specifically, and in how I view men in general.
My father would tell you his experience, but in a way that said, “this is what I did, why it was right and why it is what you should do.” So even though he wasn’t directly invalidating my choices or possitions, he did it indirectly.

After the courting time, and after a huge blow to his self-esteem, my husband became an agressive know-it-all. I mention the self-esteem issue because I believe this was totally a coping mechanism for him to deflect and not deal with how horrible he felt about himself – the classic ‘put others down so you feel better about yourself’ technique. I call it aggressive, because it got to the point where I would defend the complete strangers against his defining, judgemental “observations” because I felt bad they were no where around to defend themselves.

Of course, defending became quite the habbit for me. I knew he was at least emotionally abusing me, but I defended HIM often. Explaining why he was the way he was. I became an expert on my husband’s phyche. This was showing how insightful and patient and forgiving I was. This ties in a bit with the statements made above about…whatever part of this was me…I could improve and the situation would improve…if I just functioned with more understanding and more forgiveness…it was bound to get better. This is what I told myself for 12 years.

This also ties in to the fact that I often find myself drawn to people who need rescuing. So I can use my powers of insight to help them reach some healthier place. I don’t think this is necessaryily bad, but there is an element of judging someone’s life and beleiving on some level that I know better…I realize this now. I think this was a type of coping mechanism for me to not focus on the fact that my life wasn’t healthy because of what I was allowing to go on between my husband and I.

In an attempt to summarize how all over the map this post has been…I think what I’m saying is I totally agree that it all boils down to stoping…looking at yourself honestly…looking at the belief system you’ve developed, analyze it for inconsistencies and pure absurdities and lies….and reprogram. I mean I did a lot of this to myself! For so long I intentionally wore the mask that ‘I’m just fine’…the ‘I’m here to help others facade’…that I didn’t realize the decay that was happening to my soul…and I’m so glad to have a season now to stop, look and listen…to me, to take care of me. And to think it happened when I became a mom and the idea of really being responsible for someone kicked into high gear. But it was the DR’s telling me to be the best mom I could be I needed to take care of myself that flipped the switch.

I realize this is so different from so many of you. so many of you were children and didn’t have a choice but to be under corrupt authority. This was mostly with my husband as an adult, and I had a choice, and I chose to stay in that power structure, thinking I was going to prove I was strong enough to survive. Well I have survived, but at a cost. Many other relationships have suffered because of the damage done by covert verbal abuse, judging, blame shifting, deflecting and the many ‘opinions’ my husband thrust at me that were founded in protecting or feeding his narcasistic self. Something we have in common is this is someone I loved who I thought should have my best interests in mind, but honestly didn’t. I’m so glad to be healing now.

Bless you all for your courage to share.


LOL took me so long to type…make that 154 comments!


Thanks, Pam, I appreciate it. What you said about wanting to destroy yourself because you are the threat is interesting; I never thought of it that way. I got into fights with my mom when I was a young child. I don’t even know if she yelled at me; it was more the force of her emotion if I pushed her too far. I know that she once said that she had hated me back then and took her anger out on me for no reason, so yes I would have seen myself as the blame of whatever at hand… I think I could see the tactics Cathy was up to and I don’t know that I was actually feeling threatened by her per se; it was more that at the end here, my mother walked into the room and I guess I’m not finished dealing with her—in real life probably but in my psyche most of all. I’m getting there. My experience with family has often been of holding my ground for so far but capitulating when something triggers me to go back to that childhood place. With people outside my family, I tend to be able to hold my ground now the whole way through, but in the aftermath I’m incredibly rattled and can be brought back to my childhood. I think the point is that I had to LIVE with my mother, so capitulation was necessary—I wasn’t going to win, how was I ever going to win? Anyway, I really appreciate your thoughts.

And Darlene, I just read your comment while in the midst of this—thanks for telling me that it is stressful. That’s helpful, too, just to know I’m not nuts to feel stress. I was also led to believe by my family that my mother wasn’t an angry person and that my fears were imaginary. So crazy considering she said herself that she took her anger out on me. My family is always inconsistent like that—deny, admit, deny, etc. I really appreciate your comments and while being triggered isn’t fun, I don’t mind because I know that the issue already existed anyway and has to be dealt with. It is a way to get to the root of things, as you say, and overturn them. Living in a bubble isn’t going to help—I’ve tried that 😉


Marore, you wrote in #138: “I am such an insecure person as a result of all of my past abuse, so will you please tell me if I was offensive or if I offended you in my comment #124? I feel so terribly embarrassed to be asking this. I feel like a big dope. The reason I ask is that I noticed that you responded to Cathy, Catherine, Payne within, Dave, and Sophia, but not to me. I realize that you can’t always respond to every person who makes a comment, nor do I expect you to. I really don’t.”

Marore, I think you and I must be twins!

I felt the same way when two people “offered advice” in a different group, telling me that because I was “in so much pain,” they thought I “needed therapy.”

I was absolutely mortified, and responded with my feelings about that, but with no further response from them, I actually quit the group!

Knowing that they meant well, and did not intend to hurt, but to help, but for God’s sakes I’ve spent my life in therapy of one kind or another, and it doesn’t take away pain. It just helps it put it in perspective. And when I get honest with myself, I have to allow myself to cry.

Anyway, I was so mortified when neither one responded to anything I said in reply, and they kept up a conversation amongst themselves as if I didn’t exist. It felt JUST LIKE what my sisters and mother have done to me all my life when I said something they didn’t like, so I quit the group. I stopped following. I still feel a twinge hurt and “what did I do wrong?”

Then I thought about it and said, well, I have to believe that everyone (almost) here is for each others benefit and to support each other, and that I am reacting in part (major part) to the treatment I received at the hands of my own family, and if I no longer received email notices, I would NEVER know if any of them ever responded or not.

I found myself going back to check, and even when they never did respond to me, I figured that we all here are probably so sensitive that they did not want to say anything to incur my displeasure again, as I probably made it pretty clear that I didn’t appreciate being told this. I tried not to be that way, but I did feel it and perhaps that came through. I used to be a HUGE “ADVICE GIVER” as that is how I was raised. I really believed I was doing the right thing and “helping” until my many friends who went through AA got on me constantly, and I joined some of the Al-Anon groups and found out how to phrase things differently.

So I had to cut those two people some slack and by re-reading their comments, I had to come to understand that everyone here has been hurt in one way or another and we are all very sensitive.

So I rejoined and am so glad I did.

There have been so many incredible comments posted here in the last 24 hours I don’t know how to respond to all of them, many of them directly acknowledging me.

THANK YOU TO EVERY ONE OF YOU! I had saved so many of the comments and highlighted them and want to respond to all of them but can’t, so just know I am printing this all out and it’s going on my wall!

I swear, this could be a book of some kind one day. People would stay anonymous, of course, and it would give so many parents so much hope and insight. I for one give Darlene permission here and now to use ANYTHING I write or say for publication for any purpose. Just use my initials so as not to make things worse if anyone I’m having trouble with reads it.

I can’t believe I found my way here, even after belonging to the Facebook group for so long. Darlene, I hope you start publishing this website link on FB if you aren’t already. The few days I’ve spent here has changed EVERYTHING for me. Coming out of a deep dark depression where I’ve been “under the covers” for two weeks and now I find a reason to live again.

And I really appreciate the people who have said they “really enjoy reading my posts.” I always think I write too much, but it just comes like water over a dam and I just have to “let it flow.

I’ll re-read all of this again and again.

Gracias, Amigas… and Amen. Your friend Catherine Todd

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


Cathy’s behavior and comments remind me of my own son’s statements and behaviors. He is an alcoholic and has acted the same way when he must have been drunk. I immediately thought of “being drunk” when I read Cathy’s final statement. So much hostility and anger.

It’s too bad, but sometimes you just have to cut people loose who are damaging the whole, especially when THEY CUT THEMSELVES OFF, as Cathy so clearly did. There’s no mistaking her intention with her last statement.

I’m trying to come to understand that same phenomenon in my own son; it feels so similar. Thank God he cut me off a long time ago, even though I am still grieving. I never would have been able to do it myself.

Cathy’s behavior showed me just what I used to go through with him, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. It only gets worse. Goodbye to her and I hope she wises up soon before her own interior rage destroys her or someone else.


Darlene, any way to add an “edit” or “delete” button to our posted comments? I know you said typos don’t matter, but sometimes I’ve seen the entire meaning of the sentence change. Help!


Hi Diane
It was started way before you came in. It didn’t start with the second commenter (“a person) who agreed with Cathy (which is where you mistakenly thought Cathy had changed her name because of my comment) , it started with Cathy. The crossfire would have happened with our without your comment ~ no worries.
I have had a few big blow ups in this site (and with over twenty one thousand comments it is surprising that there have ONLY been a few!) and they all take a toll and people who are here for the right reasons always question themselves about their involvement. It’s funny but have you ever noticed that abusers/controllers and manipulators never question if they are the one’s who are wrong.
Thanks for your comments Diane!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi J.Marie
YES YES YES!!! It was when I looked at what I needed, what my life and belief system had become that I began to heal. All change will come from individual healing. I really believe that as it has been the answer in my own life. Even in my marriage, my husband had to look at his past before he could deal with our problems. I hated that, but once he saw what happened to him, he was able to see what he was doing to me. Once I saw what had happened to me, I was able to see where my reactions originated. I was able to see what the triggers were and why. I was able to use my power to empower!
Thank you for sharing!


Pam wrote in #147:

“Those of us who were once their victims but have healed, understand how the game is played, and are brave enough to speak out and expose their tactics are a huge threat to these people. We have to keep our armor on to be able to defend ourselves against them. That armor is made up of truth and strong personal boundaries. YAY! to everyone who kept their armor on during this conversation.

I’m so excited to be part of exposing what abusers have been able to keep hidden by casting blame on their victims, for so long. When we who were broken take hold of our truth and use it as a laser focus on the tactics used by abusers, we have the power to change the way the world thinks and that has the power to change the world. I was once broken but now I am whole and hear me roar! lol!

It is a wonderful thing to watch an abusers tactics being exposed for what they are and seeing the monsters deflate and lose their power.”

YAYYY IS RIGHT! I’m posting this on my wall, along with all the rest!


Hi Catherine,
Sorry there is no way for you to edit or delete. Hugs, Darlene


Pam wrote: “My parents blamed me, as a child, for their drinking. Their drinking caused them to have horrible fights that made my home a very unsafe place. I know this was at the bottom of my drug abuse. If you see yourself as the reason for the threat, it makes you want to destroy youself because there seems no other way of removing the threat.”

So finally I understand why I felt so suicidal growing up. It was “the only way out” as I was blamed for EVERYTHING. I didn’t see what else I could do but wish every day that I had never been born. My parents used me as their whipping posts their entire lives, long after I left home and disconnected from them for years.

My father was an alcoholic and my mother the Queen Witch Borderline Narcissist. They made my life hell. My son has many of the same characteristics and I’ve been blaming myself all these years for his behavior, just like I did with my parents (well, of course, it “HAS to be MY FAULT! WHO ELSE’S?) and that is finally what drove me to find this website. What a Godsend. I might actually have a chance at life again.

But I will add that another site that I belonged to talked about how we may repeat our parents bad behaviors with our own children, so I am trying to be aware of what I might be doing to add to the problems that exist, and make sure I don’t do them again, or at all.

God bless to everyone here. I still haven’t gotten through reading all the comments. There are so many, and each one holds a diamond or pearl!


Darlene wrote:

“For whoever is still reading; Whenever something like this happens there is a drop in comments. This kind of stuff scares even the ‘good commenters’ from sharing because they are not sure yet about what is right and wrong which has to do with NEVER having been right before so at first we question everything we even think and feel. That is one of the reasons that I hesitate to publish this kind of stuff but in this case, the commenter was already approved when her first judgment comment came through. It is a balancing act for me to decide at that point, what to publish and what to protect people from according to what I think is best for the overall growth. Again my motive is about what is best overall. Hugs Darlene”

* * * * *


This was a real face-to-face lesson for me. Whew. It made a HUGE difference for me to see the whole thing played out, as this is so similar to the disagreements I have had with my own son, who no longer speaks to me. I am starting to see what a blessing that is!

Whenever I would tell him that he had hurt me by saying this or (not) doing that, he would immediately throw in my face

“So now you’re playing the victim!”

I never said this to him once in his life. Where did he learn tospeak to people this way? So heartless, cold and cruel. This couldn’t be a son of mine! But it was… just like my parents were. Exactly the same. And he was hardly ever around them. Was it the alcohol? We will never know, but it’s a severe personality disorder all the same, and I don’t have to hold myself responsible anymore. I didn’t cause it and I can’t fix it. It’s not my fault. End of story.

In any discussion with my son, anything, and I mean ANYTHING that wasn’t exactly how he wanted it at that moment was cause for ranting and raving, blaming it on me, accusing me of God only knows what, outright lying with WRITTEN EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY. Just like with Cathy here on this website.

My son is a raging angry alcoholic just like my father, and I swore I would never be like my father and have worked all my life to control my temper, and don’t drink at all. My son knows this and hid his drinking from me for many years. When I finally found out and gently brought up the subject of the dangers of alcoholism in our family, that was it. That was the end of me!

Cathy sounded so much like my own son in so many encounters I have had with him. Were they drunken? I have no way of knowing, but I suspect. I read everyone’s responses to hers, including Darlene’s, and I couldn’t believe what her responses continued to be! I still can hardly believe it, if I didn’t have my son’s behavior to compare it to.

I for one am glad that you allowed this all to come to pass, as for the first time I can stop asking myself “what did I do wrong? How could I have said things differently?”

I’ve been asking myself this for YEARS. Now I can see that some people are just going to hang on to “being right” and “being angry” no matter what. I have to make sure that I’m not one of them.

Thank you so much for letting this play out. And I understand how frightening it can be to some here, as I’m the same way when anger is displayed. I grew up in such a violent household that it’s “fight or flight” for me, immediately and automatically.

Here, at least, for once I could see it with words on a website where they couldn’t hurt me. Not in the least. The only one they hurt was THEMSELVES.

With God’s help we will all find peace. Dear God please show us the way.

Gracias to everyone here.


Mimi #100
I am happy my father is dead. I didn’t get a face to face meeting with him before he died but thats OK. (we were out of contact 9 years by choice) He wouldn’t have “seen” me or heard me. It would have been horrible abuse to the end. But I don’t have to ever see him again. And my mother goes on and on now as if he was a saint. It was in 03. If I knew then what I understand now I wouldn’t have gone up for the funeral.
Per my mother..
In one of our last conversations I had brought up his sexual abuse. Previous to the actual abuse he and I had gone on vacation together when I was 13 (how weird is that? who takes their 13 year old daughter alone to FL and leaves the wife at home?) and she said to me..”did he do anything then, I always wondered?” I sat there stunned. It just shows her denial…”I always wondered??” Its so awful to me that she never wanted to know or help me.

I was taught to accept any behavior against me. None of it in my best interest. To never speak up about it, and to always just put it aside as though because it was just me (an I didn’t matter ) it was OK.
He did and said awful things to me. And when I would visit we would all sit and eat dinner as if it had never happened. (bad things forgotten). Why was that? Was it because he was the one in power? To this day I think I must have been brainwashed stupid to associate with them after I married.

I totally get the invalidation and obedience and compliance training. But I didn’t in any physical way
need them and yet I hung in there year after year after year.
I seem to have had a compulsive need for their approval even into my 50’s.
I guess I never had a mentor who pointed out to me what a dysfunctional relationship it was. Or
a representation of a normal family. My husbands family is as bad as mine.
I guess my sticking point is “why didn’t I as an adult realize that association with my family was not in my best interest?” I have found the recent discussions very helpful. Thank you all for sharing and listening.


I’ve calmed down and have been thinking. I don’t believe that my mom would have actually ever wanted me dead, even I felt that way. She just had a ton of repressed anger in her because of her childhood stuff. I felt/took the brunt of her anger then because I was a feisty kid who probably tested boundaries sometimes but also just had a mind of my own. But I was just being a normal kid with my own particular personality. There was nothing wrong with me and it wasn’t my fault. What a big difference it could’ve made back then if she could have turned around and said she was wrong, that it wasn’t my fault, I didn’t do anything to deserve that anger, I was just being a normal kid, she never meant to hurt me and she’s so sorry that she did. Instead when I finally brought it up with her, she changed her words, said it wasn’t really that she’d hated me, it was just that “period of time” she hated when every time she said one thing I had to say the opposite. Well, so what? That doesn’t make it justifiable. She didn’t have to squash my spirit. She was blaming me for being a normal kid, saying I was at fault for the anger she took out on me because I didn’t behave the way she wanted to. It’s possible to correct your child in a loving way. Dumb thing is whenever she’d tell a story about me from my childhood with fondness and pride, it was always indicative of that very spirit she had systematically worked to squash, such that by the time I was 22 and had a breakdown, I was the COMPLETE opposite! It drove me crazy to hear her tell these stories. It makes me so mad. Why would you work to kill the very thing you loved about someone, just because sometimes it got in the way of what you wanted? Well, I guess I answered that right in the question. I wish she could just see that she did that and own it. I don’t understand why it’s so hard. That’s what I really don’t get about abusive people. Why is it so hard to own a mistake? Even if it’s a big one. What peril is there really? It’s over. You can make it be over with ownership of these things. I just don’t get it sometimes. I guess that’s healthy that I don’t.


Darlene, and all,
In light of the conversation with Cathy, I am personally thankful to read the posts. I was offended for myself, (particularly the “grow up” comment), and I felt offended on behalf of the people whom I value when they reached out to her in compassion. I tried to imagine people reaching out to me in the same way, and having that reaction. I think it’s a little (if not a lot) cruel. No one was obligated to reach out to her in any way, but out of goodness, several people did. Grrrr… I guess it stirs me up a little when good intentions and compassion are trampled on.

She ultimately showed her true colors. It’s exactly how things play out with my own mother. My mother isnt necessarily one to pick fights just for the entertainment value, but, if someone opposes her, the layers of “nice” seem to come off one at a time until you get to the real message underlying it all. I think Cathy’s underlying message was summed up well when she said this is an effed up website. Ironically, it seems more like it’s HER who needs to grow up. At the core of her message, was anger and blaming others. That’s where you eventually get with my mother. AFter she’s unable to contain it anymore, you get the REAL picture….. anger, contempt, blaming, projection… it’s alllll there!! She keeps it fairly well hidden though.

Darlene, I don’t have any feelings of uneasiness about the allowance of this thread. It helped me more than it hurt for sure. A valuable exercise really.

Peace and Love to everyone,


Thanks for those comments to us all, Mimi! I appreciate them. I appreciate that it stirs you up when good intentions and compassion are trampled on. Me too! What you wrote about your mom and “layers of nice” coming off—that’s so much my mom, too. Sometimes there are many, many layers, but oh yeah, it’s there, and same thing, if someone opposes her. My mom doesn’t pick fights like this person did. My mom would think Cathy was crazy, too! But I digress… and I agree, too, that it helped me. No regrets about how any of it went down. No regrets even that I spent the time to reach out to her. It’s a shame that she went off the way she did. I imagine she’s on a downward spiral…. but, anyway, here we are, safe and sound. Peace and love to you, as well.


Karen Ranes,
Thank you for commenting about your feelings about your dad. It is helpful to know that perhaps it’s actually a healthy part of self preservation, and most of all, that others feel that too. Thank you for that.

I don’t get why it’s so hard for people like my mother to own it either. It is SOOOOO much easier to say, “I’m sorry, let me make it up to you”, than it is to maintain the bristled up rigid, bitter stance my mother has always taken. And, who does it serve? It’s not serving her because she’s losing relationships. Certainly it’s not serving me. I don’t get it either Alaina! My mother prefers to keep up her staunch demeanor in exchange for a mutually respectful relationship with me. Blows my mind really because I don’t understand how it can possibly make her feel like she’s winning, when she’s losing her own daughter. I can’t get my head around it at all. I wonder if apologizing goes against her pride? If she feels it would make her vulnerable somehow? It’s true, apologies do show people’s vulnerable, more sensitive side. BUT, even if someone takes advantage of that vulnerability, you still have the best feeling knowing you did what’s honorable, sensitive, and humane. That’s been my experience anyway. It stinks to have to maintain some lie based facade. I think I’d be exhausted.

Love and Hope,


Thanks, Mimi! Yeah, I think pride, ego, fear of vulnerability and of loss of control are the biggest factors… but… I still don’t get it. Pride and ego I see in my mom for sure, and I imagine the other two aspects are there as well. I think my mom likes to be in control because she is afraid people will abandon her. It makes no sense because she should be able to see that it is her need for control that is behind her losing me. But I suppose having me cut off and her staying inside that layer of protective pride and righteousness is “safer” than the fear of being vulnerable, not having control, and then possibly being abandoned for fear that she’s unloveable at core. Stupid because I’m perfectly capable of loving her if she wasn’t such a jerk! And I mean that! Everyone has something, usually more than just one thing, that’s loveable… but treatment matters big time. At the end of the day, it’s all that matters.


Your website is a Beacon of Light for me! Thanks to all for
their posts on here. I’m not posting much but just reading and
processing all the valuable insight and information on here.
Mary Ann


My sister used this often on me…they did the best they could and she minimized our abuse. She actually came out asked me…what is it that you want from us? When I wrote my letter to them over ten years ago examining my abuse and anger over that.
And comments from friends who really weren’t that told me well you only got one mom and your lucky your parents are alive and you should forgive…blah blah blah.
People not caring g about my feelings and just wanting me to shut up and go along and just forgive.
Because my pain is just too much fir them…that they hate me for it.
These people are not loving or kind. They don’t live me or themselves.


Awesome Darlene! I copied a paragraph here to share with a support group of survivors of various abuses! It is so true how someone can riddle us with doubt in ourself, or guilt by thoughtless comments or assuming to know what they are talking about instead of reaching out and being a support or listening ear. But like you said so well they do not want to understand and I have come to realize FEAR plays a huge role for such persons and the need for control. Thanks for sharing and caring!


Mandy, what paragraph did you copy? The sentences in your comment #174? I’d like to print it out myself, whatever it is. Thanks.


Honestly, there are waaaaay too many comments for me to read all of them (although I may read them at another time.) So I apologize of this comment hits on many of the same comments above mine.
I personally struggle with stigma from a mental illness that I have had all my life but was ignored, disregarded, whatever until I addressed it. The dismissal and ignorance that you speak of here happens often in my life because of the disability I have. I too have suffered from emotional abuse, molestation, everything except incest in my life and I am attempting to recover from it while stabilizing my mental health. Many issues get mixed up because they have happened concurrently. At times I cannot read your posts because I feel left behind when it comes to self healing and like I do in regular life, feel if I say something about the mental illness I will be dismissed here also. It goes slowly this motivation and belief that maybe some day I will love myself and believe I am an actual part of the human race instead of some byproduct of thoughtlessness. I do not know why I keep living but I seem to continue.
I have simplified my relationships in life. No men, no drama, no liars, no patience for people who will use and abuse me. 3 strikes and your out, it is strictly held to in my world. I am perched precariously on the edge of fear and hatred that love and happiness comes fleetingly and not often enough.
In order for me to try to find a way to wade through all these issues facebook has allowed me to join groups that normally didn’t exist in the past and definitely don’t exist in my town. I am isolated in many ways but can find solace through the internet.
The stigma and “good intentions” that bring such pain, self questioning and recurring wounding from people like this particular woman is awful. It comes again and again and makes life difficult and self respect becomes damaged and torn. Reading this post comforted me and gave me a brief respite from the anger and hatred that gets aimed within. Thank you.


Bipolar Bear, Your comment really touched me. I’m not bipolar but I was misdiagnosed as bipolar and treated for it for eight years. I experienced mania and deep depressions as the result of taking meds that I didn’t really need. So, I can really relate to everything you’ve written. That stigma is a horrible enemy to wake up and have to battle every day. It’s like you are one person one day and the next day, after diagnosis, you are viewed by the people in your life as a totally different person. It is invalidating and people who build themselves up by putting others down sniff that out and use it as an excuse to treat the person suffering from mental illness as a-less-than. I want you to know that you aren’t a defect, as I once allowed others to convince me that I was. You’re a very valuable person, worthy of respect and love. I also, know all about isolation and my heart goes out to you there but I also, know that being alone is preferable to being abused. Dignity is precious and you sound like a very stron, dignified person.



Hi Catherine, I don’t think it is unusual for scape-goats to grow up and raise a child who abuses them in much the same way as their parents. I know the accepted ‘expert’ thinking about narcissism is that they were horribley abused but I think they are people who never grew up to take responsibility for themselves. Parents who were scape-goated as children have that tendency that you also, spoke of in your comment, to blame ourselves for everything. From my own experience, I know my reflex when my kids do something wrong is to blame myself. We scapegoats hold ourselves accountable when we should hold others accountable. When kids grow up with a built in scape-goat, they learn to do life by scape-goating and they never take responsibility and they never grow up. A narcissist, in my view and from my experience, is just a raging teenager that never grew up. The best way to cure them is to hold them accountable for their actions. I think it is the only way to break that pattern of abuse. I see that pattern repeated in my own family for as far back as my great-grandfather and it is the only explanation that fits and makes sense.


Wow, what a great concept and how well said, and unfortunately, I identify with this pattern. What you said makes a lot of sense. I wish I could start all over with my life, marriage, kids, etc. My current husband helps me stay sane. He said it one day about my daughter, “You may have felt like you made mistakes but I would not want you to communicate with her in such a way that she ends up blaming you for all her poor choices.” And I always said that about my ex-mother-in-law, that she never grew up and took responsibility for her own choices. And she is one that treats my kids horribly and I see the impact.


Hi Kimberly,

I enjoyed and identified with your post. #173 My sister says the same kind of things, She did the best she could, she grew up in an abusive environment,I don’t see our family as dysfunctional or my mother as narcissistic, etc, etc….

You are right,we are told to be glad they are still alive, to cherish them while we have them, to forgive and forget. But the dysfunction still continues. It would be nice to have an encounter with my mother when I dont walk away feeling abused emotionally, minimalized, mocked, judged, or held up as “the crazy one”, as I don’t follow the company line, so to speak. It would be nice to have a meaningful interaction with my Father, without her needing to monitor it, control the conversation, then probably mock me when I am gone (seen her do that to others, so, as the Scapegoat, can only imagine what she says about me, lol).
But that is not the reality of the situation. As of now, I can not interact with her, without risking those negative experiences, and for the most part, I choose not to!!! My Father was no saint, when he was a younger father to us children, but the difference is, he has recognized this, apologized for it, and changed his behavior. He has little insight into my mother’s shenanigans however….
Just a little vent, here!



Pam, I love your analogy to the raging teenager! My mother is the same, childishly manipulating everyone with false tears, gossip, fake hurt feelings, drama, etc. I actually think of her more as 6 yrs of age, lol.
Also, I think my mother was the scape goat in her family, but would never admit it. She talks about her sister getting all the dancing and singing lessons, new clothes (interestingly, to my older sister, never to me). Her father, whom she “idolized” was actually abusive to her, it sounds, denying her things allowed to the other sisters, and giving her whippings with a belt for going out with a boy from reform school. It is interesting that she would create the same dysfunction in her own family. I also believes she keeps my father away from me, how she was denied the access she wished to her own father, and like a little girl, gets to keep him, “all to herself”, actually at her beck and call, lol. I suspect my sisters are both narcissistic, and my older sister tows the party line, by doing anything she can to drive a wedge between myself and my father.
I am sorry you were falsely diagnosed as bipolar. As a nurse who deals with patients with similar issues, I often wonder if that is just a pat diagnosis, to make it easier to move someone through the system!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!



Hi Karen
In response to your question: “How can we “as adults” see why we didn’t realize that association with certain people was not in our best interests”. How could we possibly see that when we are brainwashed from so young that this is what relatioship is. This is what love is. Our ‘normal’ is a false normal. We don’t suddenly ‘grow up’ and see things through the grid of truth if we have never had a grid of truth. That is the process we are in now.
Hugs, Darlene

Mimi and Alaina
Great conversation between you two! There is a simple answer to the questions in your comments. It’s all about power and control. It’s about their belief systems, and what they believe love and compliance is. (love and respect) ~ this is how they get their self esteem fed and the thought of ‘equal value’ means giving up control and when you believe that the one with the most power wins… giving up control is not an option until you see what love really is.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mary Ann
Thank you! I am really glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Kimberly
And they don’t want to look at the truth in their own lives either. When people say that my parents did the best they could, I say “what does that even mean?” they can’t answer. When I am told to forgive, I say “forgive what exactly?? so far no one has ever acknowledged that anything bad ever happened to me”. I had to start listening to myself and validating my own feelings. That is where I found healing!
Glad you are here, thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mandy
Welcome to EFB! Yes exactly; if they listen to you they might have to look at their own deep dark secrets. And the need for control is about survival and what they believe they need to do to feel ‘okay’. but it isn’t love or healthy relationship.
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


I am a sensitive person, who all my life has been used and abused by my family. I try and try to get them to let me in, only that never happen’s. Do I love them, yes I do, but doing for them makes my life difficult. They take from me all the time and when I refuse to be used they get mad at me and don’t talk to me. They say I am the difficult one, why, because I don’t go along with what they want. Since coming here to see if I was the only one with mean-spirited parent’s and sibling’s, I’ve realized that I am not. I am not perfect by any mean’s and yes I am angry and hurt. Problem is I work with a few. A family business to be exact. People say go get another job, I’ve worked here for 25 years and I like what I do. I get paid well, and most important my insurance is paid.
Since having breast cancer eight years ago having insurance is vital.

Maybe I am arguementive, selfish, opinionated, but no one in my family ever ask’s how I am feeling, am I okay, do I need anything and if I voice what I want, they ignore me all together.

I think the only thing wrong with me is I long for a connection to them. Our family does have holiday’s and birthday’s together. But actually being involved with them is draining. I go home afterward and feel heavy inside, sad, and tired. I am a giver to a fault and it has sucked me dry.

I know I have pissed off many here and for that I am sorry. I am hurting deeply and everytime I think I’ve made progress with my family another brink wall is in my face.

I distance myself as best as I can. This work’s for awhile then my mother call’s not to see how I am but she need’s something and when I tell her I’m busy, she get’s nasty and threatening saying she won’t call again.

See they don’t/won’t listen to me, I have tried for many, many years. I have orchestrated meeting’s and I talk and they don’t. They think it’s all up to me to do something about it, but I don’t know what else to do. Even if I go along with whatever they want, say, shopping, my mother talk’s on the phone to my niece the whole time and when I drop her off at her home she thank’s me for a nice time. Yet, when I bring up a conversation that we spoke about during our shopping she say’s I never told her that and proceeds to tell me I’m lying.

Will this ever get better? Will the anger ever go away? Will I feel whole again?

I cannot answer any of that, but I am still going to limit my time with them.

Even if this doesn’t get posted it felt good to write it down.

I don’t smoke, drink and I am not bi-polar. But I do take med’s for stress.


Hi Bipolar Bear
I can relate to what you are sharing! When I look back all my healing came from seeing the things I believed, that I was taught to believe about myself and how they were lies. The root of all my healing was then based in learning self love and self care through mostly self validation. (by seeing the lies that I had been taught about myself caused by the traumas, word and actions of others when I was powerless. I too was diagnosed with Bipolar and when I learned the roots of where it started I was able to balance out as saw more clearly the truth about what happened to me.
Thank you for sharing. I am so glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Janie
Very good point about the difference when a parent acknowledges that they made mistakes and that they regret it and then actually try to change. That is a huge difference from someone who continues to blame the child or adult child, demands forgiveness without ever admitting that they ever did anything wrong and otherwise sticks to the belief that the adult child is and always was the problem.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene!

I loved your response to being told to “forgive and forget”–Forgive and forget what?? Exactly!!!! WHAT is there, to forgive, and what are we supposed to forget?
Yes, I am so glad to be able to have some kind of relationship with my father.
Do the narcissistic people have it in them, to change? It seems like they are missing some part that the rest of us have? Does that make sense?

P.S. Have missed all of you and your wise words! Ten more days, and I finish school! It has been difficult,but the hardest part is resisting the urge to give up. Being told you were not smart enough, and not deserving,you are a “quitter” I think part of me doesn’t seem to think it is possible to get the job done! I do deserve to finish and graduate. I have been working hard, this past year! Don’t know why this is scary and a little uncomfortable feeling?


Cathy…I smiled when I read your post…I guess I felt proud of you, even though I don’t know you from Eve. It took a lot of guts to post again in a way that was more self reflective than your previous posts. I believe you will not regret this. I am super familiar with the trigger of feeling unheard. Combined with being constantly devalued and you get a lot of time spent defending yourself, explaining yourself…untill you’re bloodied from banging your head into a figurative wall. I think Darlene and others here will encourage you to listen to yourself first. You can ask things like “why am I arguementative?” and then seek out the truth…it probably came from a lie someone told you about you. I heard you asking a lot of questions in your post…you have answers inside you…I hope you can hear them through all the noise of your family being so close. Be encouraged and keep reading – again I promise you won’t regret it. 🙂


Dear Cathy, I am so sorry that you are hurting so much. I have been there. I think many of us on here have been.

Sometimes, when I am hurting, I say things that I wouldn’t have said if I were in a better place. My husband, because I feel safest with him, seems to be the person that I harm most often when I am hurting and not so careful with my words. I have had to make amends to that man so many times and each time he accepts them. Thank God, I have gotten better control over my feelings and have learned that I can feel without reacting as much as I once did.

What my dad taught me was that he was never going to change, no matter how much I wanted him to and no matter how much I changed. That expectation of mine continued to hurt me until I let go of expectations of him changing. Rarely do our abusers change. At first, I thought because I had changed and healed a few of my issues that everyone would notice and make appropriate changes themselves. They didn’t. They also didn’t see the changes that I had made in myself. They didn’t want me to change so they refused to see it. It is called denial.

Because of my expectation that they would change too, I opened myself up to more hurt. One time my dad called me and I was so full of expectations that everything would be different this time and my dad would love me and want to spend time with me and my family that I dared to hope. I was crushed when I found out that all he wanted was a ride to the liquor store to buy more beer. I was so upset and let down because I had expected him to be different because I was. We didn’t even live in the same town as him. We were visiting and someone saw us in town and told him. He called because we were available, not because he loved me any different.

After crying about it later, I realized that with my expectation of change, I had set myself up for more hurt. That little incident was a very big lesson for me. I also realized that I couldn’t force others to change. All I could do was learn to take care of myself better. With some people, like my dad, tht mean seeing them less. It wasn’t until a few years later than I let go of my dad completely and realized it wasn’t safe to have him around my children.



I went through that last week, when I posted a comment on the previous thread. When Darlene didn’t respond, I immediately got triggered on the fear that I had done something wrong. My rational mind knew better, knew that Darlene was busy and all that, but my anxiety would not let it go. So I PM’ed her, feeling like even that was acting like a “baby.” But you are right, it is better to ask. I am slowly realizing that a healthy mature person can respond to such a question without putting me down, which is something that my anxiety also “predicted.”

I am still kind of amazed when anyone responds to my fears and anxieties in a kind, loving, adult way. I am so used to being mocked, ignored, or criticized. Even as I go through my days with friends and clients telling me that I seem sensible, mature, possessing wisdom, it just takes one person reacting in an unfriendly way to vault me back into fear of rejection.



Oops, I typed in my email address with a mistake and it changed my little avatar picture!


Hi Cathy,

Now I am feeling like somehow the “real” you is speaking. I’m sorry for all that you’ve suffered. I hear you when you say that you long for a real connection with your family. I know that feeling very well.
I hope you can find the same level of support and insight for your process here that I have.



I was just about to answer your post when I saw your request for me to ‘pull it”. I don’t delete comments. Please be aware of that from now on. I am interested to know why you would want it pulled though.

Thank you for the apology in your post to the readers here. Please understand that when trust is broken, it takes time to rebuild it and that will be up to you. Having said that, you will find much support here.

I am sorry for all that you have gone through. What you are talking about is exactly what we are talking about and dealing with in this entire website. I am glad that you posted again. You are welcome here as long as you are not hurting other readers.

Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, All, The link to the post I referred to is:”Prophile of a Hebaphile” http// I woke up tp new comments this morning and allowed them because they are such a great snap-shot of how the mind of a child-predator works. I’m allowing no further comments from this person but I will be publishing this conversation in a new post. This was an unnerving conversation for me to involve myself in but I’m proud of the way I stood up to him. I couldn’t have done it two years ago. It’s because of God and EFB that I am able to stand up and spit in the eye of people like this man. I won’t say that I’m completely without fear but I now have the courage of my conviction that what happened to me was a crime. Thank you, Darlene for all the hard work and love that you’ve poured into creating this website.

Kate, Janie, I think all of us wish we would have understood earlier on and we probably all wish for some do-overs but we can’t let that deminish the fact that we understand now and are doing what is necessary to break the cycle of abuse. No matter how late in the game, it still makes a difference. I see it in my family even though,my children are adults. Having mom healthy helps everyone else.



I like the recent comments about arguing and taking a look at ourselves. I recently journaled on arguing and why I argue. I realized that for me, it was a pattern I was used to from childhood and that I was perpetuating hoping for a different outcome. Specifically, I was looking for an “I’m sorry” (words I’ve never heard my mother say in her life) and that I was right (because in arguing with my mother in childhood I NEVER got to be right). Ironically, I realized that I do this with my own husband. And then I demand an apology from him, of which, even when he gives it I don’t accept it because it doesn’t fit into the childhood pattern I am repeating.

For me, realizing why I was doing this and why I was arguing over things that in hindsight seemed very trivial have helped me to recognize the pattern (and hopefully break it). I am currently trying to reserve “arguments” with my husband for true conflict resolution as opposed to “It’s me and I get to be right”.

Not sure if this really made sense, but I just journaled on it and thought it was interesting.


Pam’s analogy about the raging teenager is very good. When we get triggered, it isn’t the adult that is triggered. Our inner child is the one that gets triggered because it is the inner child that is stuck in the past feeling all of the hurt of our abuse.

My dad was a rageaholic. As I was reading the comments of earlier today and saw Pam’s raging teenager comment, I realized my dad emotionally wasn’t a teenager. I believe his emotional development stopped around 2 or 3. When he raged, which was a lot as he got further into alcoholism, he was a noisy, two-year-old stamping his feet and throwing temper tantrums when he felt threatened or put down or out of control. My dad’s rage was the only way he felt in control of his life and mine. He was a dictator. I realized a long time ago that he was a dictator because he was a terrified little boy who didn’t feel safe in his environment. With his rage, he could feel big and in control. When I dealt with my own rage, I realized that the more controlling I became and the more rageful I became, the more terrified I was. In addition to looking at my own rage, I had to look at my fears which were the reason I was triggered.

Triggers, for me at least, come from an area that isn’t completely healed and still carries some fear. I hope that everyone of us here who was triggered by this discussion and resulting comments will look at our who reactions and see what fear was triggered. I also know about myself that when I am suddenly angry, some underlying fear has been triggered. Then is the time that I go digging to uncover what issue it is that I have that hasn’t finished healing. I often use anger to cover up a fear until I face the fear.


Hi Patricia,
Just wanted to say I appreciated you talking about triggers ,when I began to learn about them it made fora peaceful life, I can now say that I believe they are a blessing, cos they show me when I have to process the childhood crap

Dear Cathy
, Well done, well said, I am happy you are talking, really, Bless You x


Hi Pam
Thanks for sharing the link. When you publish a new post about this whole thing please come back to this one and share that link too. 🙂 Thank you for all your insight and support here in this thread and on this site! I appreciate you.
Hugs, Darlene

It has been great hearing from you on this post too! Thank you for your insights and your willingness to share yourself here too. I like what you shared about triggers. When it comes to triggers today for me, I say “bring it on!”
Hugs, Darlene


Terri and Darlene, you are both very welcome. I don’t do triggers very often anymore and when I do they aren’t usually as intense as they once were. I thank God for that. When they do happen, as Terri said, I know to look for my own childhood stuff that isn’t healed yet. Recovery and healing are like pealing an onion with many layers.


Hi Cathy,
I’m glad you came back to post these words. It takes guts to come here, to speak, to work through all this stuff.
Take care,


Thanks, Darlene. I just published my new post called, “The Mind Of A Child-Predator:Self-Made Monster” at It is already, generating a lot of interest and I believe, it is a perfect example of how predators excuse their behavior and how society helps them hide their crimes. I’m drained from writing it but I think it is well worth it.



Thanks Janie and Darlene for your supportive responses. I just read through the entire thread and I am just so amazed how much we all have in common…sadly. But it really dies validate you when you see and feel so much support;)


Cathy, I know what it is like to get triggered about something and have the world turn upside down for awhile. Hyper-vigelence sets in and suddenly, it seems we’re surrounded by enemies. I understand because I’ve done it too. I’m glad you came back. Welcome.



I am really so very sorry for the way I acted, there is no excuse.

I need to take a deep breath and step back and see who I am really mad at, my mother, father, sister’s, brother’s or maybe me. Right now I think just taking one day at a time for awhile would be best.

I am the lucky one to have found such a wonderful group of people to help me on my journey, one step at a time.

Best to all,


Hey Cathy,
I imagine some of the comments that were made about you here during this whole thing would’ve hurt. I totally echo what Pam said, though. I’ve totally been triggered before, gone off the rails and been the queen of crazy at times, directing it in places where it didn’t belong, people I cared about. I’ve disrespected and hurt people. I do really admire that you came back. We’re all human here and I really hope you stick around because we all have something to give each other here. We’ve all been hurt really deeply and need to be heard.
Take care,


Hi Cathy
There is so much great information in this whole conversation (triggered by the original blog post here and the other one that upset you) for you to see what happened. I think it is fantastic that you are still sticking with this! When I was able to see the triggers and where their roots were, amazing things happened. The fog cleared and I started to see things through the truth instead of the lies that I had been taught all my life. I am glad that you have decided to stay.
Thank you again for your apology.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Michelle
Your comments make total sense! This for me was part of my survival mode. When I realized where my survival mode came from in the first place, I was able to stop ‘having to survive’ because I realized that mode didn’t serve me anymore. As I child I needed it, as an adult through healing I was empowered enough to see that I could take care of me!
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Everyone ~ I am sorry if I didn’t answer your comment here. Sometimes it gets really hard for me to keep track!
Hugs, Darlene


Bipolar Bear, I hope you read this, even though there ARE so many posts! It’s hard for me to get through them all too, but I do it in the evenings when I am alone.


You moved me like no other, reading your post. I hope you have a blog where you are “publishing” your thoughts and feelings. It would help so many in the same situation as yours. And yes, the Internet is a life-saver for us all, believe me. It’s groups like this that keep me going, even though I don’t suffer the same way as you do. Solace can be found in comfort with others, and we all find each other, one way or the other. Thank God for that, or I’m not sure I would still be here. I’ts like a prayer, really.

Here’s just a portion of what you wrote that moved me to tears:

“I have simplified my relationships in life. No men, no drama, no liars, no patience for people who will use and abuse me. 3 strikes and your out, it is strictly held to in my world. I am perched precariously on the edge of fear and hatred that love and happiness comes fleetingly and not often enough.

In order for me to try to find a way to wade through all these issues facebook has allowed me to join groups that normally didn’t exist in the past and definitely don’t exist in my town. I am isolated in many ways but can find solace through the internet.

The stigma and “good intentions” that bring such pain, self questioning and recurring wounding from people like this particular woman is awful. It comes again and again and makes life difficult and self respect becomes damaged and torn. Reading this post comforted me and gave me a brief respite from the anger and hatred that gets aimed within. Thank you.”

You described all of us, to one degree or another. Thank you so much. Let us know if you start or have a blog. I have done a lot of what you describe here, especially in the “lessening drama” and “ONE or TWO strikes you’re out.” I’m not bi-polar; “just” depressed. But I know how you feel and I’m sure others here do. I’m also sure you are welcome.


[…] on my previous post “how to recognize when your best interest are not being considered” when referring to her mother a commenter wrote “I am sure she thinks she deserves to be […]


Hi Everyone!
The subject of “respect” comes up so often that I decided to write a post about it. I had such huge misunderstandings about what respect was. ~ My new post is published here: “The definition of respect, do disrespectful people deserve to be respected?”

As always I look forward to the conversation!
Hugs, Darlene


It’s interesting to me how we learn we have to allow people to disrespect us in order to survive and then we grow up allowing others outside our family to do that as well…people we marry and our kids too sometimes. It is very important to bit allow others to disrespect you. It’s something you have to relearn…how to stand up for yourself. And that is hard to do sometimes.


Hi Kimberly
I hope you will read my new post about respect, how we learn it and how we so often don’t realize that the people teaching it in dysfunctional relationship are NOT treating us with any respect.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene..I have always attracted blues to me. No matter how much I would try to show no fear and hold my head up…they could always find me and attack me…it’sike I have a mark on my head!


Kimberly, you DON’T “have a mark on your head.” Abusers draw us in, slowly but surely, “testing the waters” with every move. First they start with something small, a mean word perhaps. If we “pass” that test (meaning let them get away with it and stick around for more), then it moves on to Stage Two. It just gets worse until we finally take the bait or step in the trap (getting married could be the worst!) and then BOOM we’re done for.

It’s not a “mark” per se. It’s our reactions, or non-reactions, that let them go that little bit further each time until THE TRAP IS SPRUNG and we are in their snare!

I had a potential suitor, an artist in Paris, who I found out liked to whip his girlfriends. With a real whip! He explained to me just how he found these women. First he would invite her to a cafe to meet his friends. He would insult her in front of all of them, and if she didn’t get up and leave (as I fortunately did!), he would move to the second stage, hitting her in the face for a perceived transgression. If she came back, in tears, accepting his apologies, he would wait until the time was right and then really slug her hard. And on and on and on, until he could tie her up and whip her and she’s still stay with him and pay all the bills so he could “paint,” artist that he was.

I am still to this day amazed that he explained it all to me in such great detail, when I told him we were never going to be a couple. I had a lot of men “courting me” because at that time I was a foreigner in France with a lot of money I had earned, in my mid-thirties at the “height of my powers” and I had everything any of them could want: beauty, wardrobe, money and most of all great insecurity.

I appeared very independent, but “in love” I wasn’t. I was a doormat for a long period of time. And I watched each and every one of them “make their move” over and over again. What a bunch of losers, artists, filmmakers, photographers, schemers, users and alcoholics every one.

So I managed to rebuff them all, after living with one for a couple of years and paying almost all of the bills. Of course when it was HIS turn to pay rent, he moved into a one-room studio where there wasn’t room for me, but he kept coming back to my place to stay until I said he couldn’t stay there any longer if he wouldn’t at least share the rent.

So he left me and moved in with another woman and let her pay all the rent. She did it for a year just like me, and when she got tired of it, and insisted he pay, he left her. Just like me. Except she tried to kill herself.

Luckily she wasn’t successful. But I always remember that story because it shows me I’m not *quite* as weak as I appear – to my self – to be.

I might have been depressed about losing Jean-Christophe, and I often questioned if I made the right decision, but after what happened to to her, I know I did the right thing. He was also getting far too interested in her 15 year old daughter! And you wouldn’t believe how successful and well-regarded this man was in the artistic circles of Paris. I wonder just how many monsters and pedophiles the artistic community enables.

Well, off on a tangent. This was all in the mid-eighties, quite some time ago.

But ever since then, I realize that these power-hungry controllers and abusers set their traps and just wait to see who will step in. It’s the codependent triangle (can’t remember the exact name right now) but they just sit and wait and might say “hello” or “help” and they catch whoever steps in. It’s up to us to cross the street and let them go their way. As soon as we see what they are up to. Even if we put our foot into the cord they’ve place on the ground, we can withdraw it just as quickly – as they can’t catch us if we run! Or JUST SAY NO.

So when you see the first signs of abuse, you don’t have to play “three strikes you’re out.” One strike is enough for me! I only have to get bitten ONCE. Once bitten, twice shy – or forget it forevermore!


Cathrine Todd…it’s called grooming


Pam, my mother acts like a “raging teenager” too.

Kimberly, We share the same family. For 20 years i have tried to deal with all the shit and no one wants to. They sweep it under the rug, and lash out if I try to “talk about it”. No one will admit they were wrong or say they are sorry. They just point the finger at me!

Janie, I am definaely the scapegoat in my family. Come to think of it, I think my mother was too. She had a sister too that had everything, And was Grandma’s “favorite”. I think my mother was jealous of the relationship I had with her mother when she was alive. I can honestly say that my “Grandma” was the only person in my whole family that loved me. I think my Mom resents the relationship I had with her. My mother likes to say things to me like, “Grow up!” when I tell her how much her words and actions have hurt me. No empathy. No understanding. No love. Just either nasty lashing out or cold neglect. I think about it every day. Though I am healing and in a better place than I was, sometimes i miss her. Once in a great while she was nice. It was just so far and few between. There were so many things she did that made it impossible for me to have a relationship with her.



This grooming process that you highlight works for all abuse; only the details are different. In my training in mental health, I heard of a man who in order to check which of his grandchildren he could molest, he would grab the breast/butt etc. of the daughter in law. (the mother of the children) ~ If he got away with that a few times, that told him that she wouldn’t tell, and he would proceed to groom the children.
Thank you for sharing. And your story (as mine) proves intention. It shows that grooming is delebrate.
Hugs, Darlene


Janie…Elizabeth and Catherine…thank you for your input to my comments. Lately it’s been hard for me to get my thoughts together and respond…for some reason. I think we all share is much in common and I don’t feel so alone and it helps even after years if therapy to find people who can relate. I have been where Cathy is…I understand why she is lashing out. I done the same thing in he past and have been kicked off self help sites as I should of been. We live and we learn. We all make mistakes. It just as we grow we make less if them and learn from them. I have often felt Ganged up on on the net and I really didn’t understand at the time why…I was taking my anger o had for my parents and family out on other people and I did not realize it…and when people do bond together for a common enemy they do get bent out of shape.
I feel safe here…I am glad to be a part of this community but I am going slow and thinking how my words are used and conveyed. I think we owe it to each to be kind to one another cause we all could use that…after what we been through…lets love ourselves and each other.
Kimberly ann


I have to be careful as I have a tendency to want to be the peacemaker…it’s funny how I was always the one who tried to fix things so one would be mad at each other growing up but in the end how they bonded aganist me and decided I am too upset over the silly made up abusers accusations. They didn’t deserve me then and they sure font now.


Wow Darlene…wow. That is interesting and makes a lot of sense.


Catherine…what an very interesting story about your life in the 80s…wow. I do believe many abusers are actually psychopaths and that they have no conscience. I also believe they are often more intelligent than most of us as well as in being very calculating. Yes they do know how to feel us in. And they are also more common and more successful than what we been told.
I can remember many people who had set me up…hurt or used me as being someone I really liked alit and they knew this and they used that to their advantage. To this day I have one friend in life who I trust and talk too but honestly people scare me and I generally stay to myself.
I suppose that mark is really my lack of boundaries and insecurity showing through telling people look here…however I think I built up a wall now.. One I prefer.


Hi Everyone ~
On a side note re the conversation with Cathy on this thread, Cathy has posted on my new article “The Definition of Respect ~ Do disrespectful people deserve to be respected” that she has decided to leave this website. I wanted to post a note about it here in case anyone was wondering how it all turned out.

~ Cathy, I wish you all the best in your healing process.

p.s. The conversation on the new post is fantastic!!! Hugs, Darlene


I think it’s good she left on her own accord without you having to banish her from here. I would of personally not been able to do that myself. Personal attacks are rarely ever tolerated on people’s personal sites…as it should be. I am happy to have found this site. Thank you Darlene.


Poor Cathy. She’s really trapped in the web of “family” and she must have scared herself to death when she finally wrote that post with the truth about what she was going through. When she did that, there was “no going back” and like a person who recants their confession of being raped o the witness stand, when they have to confront their rapist, they just cave in. They can’t do it.

It’s just like when she asked you to delete her truthful and honest comment about her family /work situation and you didn’t. Sounds just like my sisters who remembered more about the abuse I suffered (survived!) at my father’s hands, and then recanted everything when confronted with my father’s anger. And they have been after me ever since.

Poor girl. I hope she finds a way out.

As far as all the kind and supportive comments I have received here: thank you so much! I’m like Darlene; overwhelmed, really. I can’t thank everyone individually but I love reading through all the comments in my emails at night, when I can’t sleep (and the font is larger in my email so it’s really easy to read them all in order!). Thank you all so much. I can’t believe how much has changed for me in so little time. So much insight and support here: it’s just unbelievable. I feel my severe depression lifting day by day and there’s a bright light at the end of a short tunnel now.

Darlene, you wrote something that really knocked me out of my socks: this must be why and how my father got away with what he was doing to me. I NEVER SHUT UP about it, and I TOLD AND TOLD AND TOLD and was punished for it every time.

My mother defended and protected that man even on her deathbed, refusing to see me or allow me to visit when I hadn’t seen her in more than 25 years, after I “told” as an adult, to protect my niece who was going to stay with them at the tender age of 16. My mother was my father’s greatest enabler and “protector,” that’s for sure. This explains it all. All these years I wondered how he got away with it. She knew what was going on and did nothing about it. What a hell she must have lived in, all those years. At least I got away. Did she?

He tested his own wife, and found out “She wouldn’t tell.”

Whew. I can hardly breathe. And she taught my sisters the same thing. That must be why they hate – and fear – me so much. Because I told and am telling to this day! I WILL NEVER SHUT UP until truth and justice hold sway.

I hope you do a whole new post on this subject. Whew. Wow. I need to know more about all of this.

“Author: Darlene Ouimet

This grooming process that you highlight works for all abuse; only the details are different. In my training in mental health, I heard of a man who in order to check which of his grandchildren he could molest, he would grab the breast/butt etc. of the daughter in law. (the mother of the children) ~ If he got away with that a few times, that told him that she wouldn’t tell, and he would proceed to groom the children.
Thank you for sharing. And your story (as mine) proves intention. It shows that grooming is deliberate.

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Gaye
welcome to efb ~ I agree. God isn’t the one who is expecting us to put up with abuse. The abusers try to teach us that so they can get away with what they are doing.
Thanks for your comments.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Catherine,
Yay for the breakthrough! That is awesome.
Thanks for sharing it!
hugs, Darlene


Mike Blaine, I landed straight on your post when I came back here this morning. Wow. What a load of straight-shooting truth and wisdom you’ve given us. I’m going to re-read this one often.

Mike, I hope you don’t mind me re-posting it here again for everyone to read. Wow is all I can say. That, and reading about how the abusers “groom” the children by first testing the mother. And my mother obviously passed with flying colors. And they had eight children. I am surely not the only one, but I am the only one that protested out loud. And I am about to get louder.

Darlene, I hope you do a whole new page on this one, as this discussion has gotten HUGE.


comment #2
Mike Blane
November 1st, 2012 at 2:20 pm

We all construct narratives to explain reality – they may not be true or accurate but they make us feel safe.

Recently someone has been trying to “cheer me up”. They do this by constructing a narrative that makes predictions and interprets behavior and of course negates my own views.

I’ve become rather bored of it all and have started to short-circuit the process. I just re-iterate “You don’t know what other people intended” and “You cannot predict the future”. The same is true of me of course.

Often though life is simple. We don’t know the intent of another. We don’t know the future. We are responsible for ourselves and our lives. We can summarize “This is the impact on me, what should I do about it?”. Sometimes the answer might be “nothing” or “wait and see what develops” or “get away from the situation” or whatever.

Sometimes life is ambiguous and sometimes not. It’s taken me a long time to trust my instincts again. Sometimes I know they see darkness in error. Sometimes I can say “I can afford to wait and see what develops because I trust I can deal with the consequences of being wrong”. Sometimes I can say “Right or wrong It would be wise to act now”.

Lots of people have not met the darker side of life. They cope by denial. They cannot frame a response that accepts it – they cannot go there. When accused of being too negative I responded “If I was happy and upbeat would I be making better decisions or be classed as sane?” “Well, no” came the reply.

Our emotions warn us when things are right or wrong, They don’t tell us what to do but do guide our decisions.

Last night I had nightmares that were bad even by my standards and reverberated throughout today. I woke up feeling “You know what, the nightmare was worse than the reality. BUT it does capture how bad the thing was for me and it does make me realize how and others I like to think ‘it wasn’t so bad’ as a way of coping” rather than “It was bad, I got through it and am moving on to be a stronger, fuller but DIFFERENT person”. I died, but the new cooler me still has scars. Maybe they will heal with time and maybe not but they will not be denied either…. “


I believe the reason why our siblings and others in our family stat silent and demonize us us that they are brainwashed and want the family money.


I think Jesus was abused…being sent to hell um sounds quite abusive to me. This is why I have serious uses with Christian religion and why I feel it not condones Abuse but actually promotes it.


I hope it’s okay for me to comment on a post that occurred quite a ways upstream here.There’s a lot I’d like to share, & contribute but this really popped out at me.

It’s a bit of a side tangent, that I haven’t seen discussed much.
In Post # 94, Daleen mentioned dealing with a sister who seems to always “side” with the men, whenever there are issues with abuse in a relationship.

I’ve seen the same thing with a former female friend who ended up becoming very abusive with me…Now that my eyes are open, I’m seeing the same pattern with her. Even when it’s SO obvious the man is in the wrong , she’ll defend him, and take his side—even in other people’s relationships. It’s almost like there’s an underlying contempt for women happening. There’s a knee-jerk invalidation of the woman’s point of view, and an immediate rush to side with the man…

I’m wondering if anyone else has observed this with an abusive female relative/spouse/friend/coworker.

(By the way, Darlene–I can’t thank you enough for creating a safe haven for those of us who’ve been abused, and invalidated. I appreciate you articulating what it’s like to go through the invalidation after being abused–You were able to put into words what I’ve been experiencing, but wasn’t able to define clearly. Thank you for being…….you. :0) )


Hi Twinkles,
Welcome to EFB. I am glad that you are here! I have noticed this female siding with me issue all over the world! Just look at reality tv where there are woman and men competing. The men try to impress the men. The women try to impress the women. The men compete with the men and pretty much disregard the women and the women compete with the men that disregard them. I think this has to do with a total society belief that women are not nearly as significant as men, and that if a woman can get approval from a man the way he approves of other men, that will prove her value. (to her and to the world around her) The problem is that NO ONE can validate you as worthy if you don’t see yourself that way first. That was so foundational to my own recovery.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Wow-quick response–thank you for that.

I hadn’t really considered the workplace–but, you’re right, it’s all over the place in the workforce. I was focused on it happening within the FOO, or within close friendships.

It’s sad that some women feel that deep of a need to gain male approval, even if it means throwing a sister/friend/coworker under the bus to get it.It just blows my mind when women side with abusive men….It’s so hard for me to comprehend anyone condoning that kind of behavior.

And you’re absolutely right–only internal validation will endure.My mind understands that–my emotional self is still a few steps behind, trying to shake off the false labels that have been imposed on me.I can still get triggered, when I’m treated as “less than” by people.
Awareness is the first step……

I found a great article about that type of emotional invalidation, that happens specifically to women ,but I don’t want to post it without your permission, so I’ll wait until you give a green light to do so. (I’m not sure what your policy is regarding that here)


Kimberly wrote in comment #228: “I believe the reason why our siblings and others in our family sat silent and demonize us us that they are brainwashed and want the family money.”

You know, I’ve wondered about that too and I think you are 100% right.

My own sister has stated that I was “disinherited” for speaking out, and I “got what I deserved.” I don’t believe this is true, but I have to not allow this to cloud my judgment.

My own mother put a fatwah and ban on me for over ten years; I did not speak to any family member for more than 20 years. When I did finally have contact by email and telephone (when my mother was dying from cancer), NOTHING HAD CHANGED. They were only WORSE!

I have no idea what my inheritance is or isn’t, but I have decided that no amount of money is worth buying my silence any longer. I cannot and will not live a life based on fear. Fear of what they might do, what they might say, what might happen to me. I just won’t do it.

I will never shut up. I was loud about it back when it was happening, and I intend to get louder soon. I’m looking into libel, slander, mental and emotional distress to combat what my family has been doing to me for years. And I will start with my youngest sister who is married to a Methodist minister. Those two have caused the greatest harm of all. And they call themselves Christians.

I think I have finally had quite enough, thank you. Can I get an “Amen?”


It’s kind if like when a woman hates the woman who stole her man or attempted too but goes and marries him and hates only the woman. It’s rather twisted but makes much sense…this approval to be the chosen one…I think it’s why some women want an attached man and they don’t realize that what they really want us a man who lives them…but they don’t realize that. You can see this played out on Jerry springer on almost any given episode…it always about two friends and a man…the man plays both women to up his ego while the two women fight till their death on who gets to win…in their mind they think they are winning approval and live but really the man us basically a piece if crap.


Yes Kimberly
and the ‘truth leak’ is that the woman believe that man can define them as worthy if he ‘picks her’.
hugs, Darlene


Darlene…I think it’s so very sad. I been on both ends of that kind of a dysfunctional relationship. I hate to admit that. I not proud if it and I learned the hard way from it too. I still carry gut from it to this day. Been 20 years. It is amazing the amount of power I gave these men and how I would of removedy left arm for them if asked to do so. I now see what was up and why…but I still feel awful.
I met a man in my 20s…who I just viewed as god almost. He was attached. I was very lonely…he was there and to me how beautiful I was. Instantly he made me fe alive again…I was so dead inside for so long. Thought oif takings life and just so numb. He had some kind of magical power over me. I got lost in his eyes.
In the end he dumped me. And did me a huge favor.


Catherine…I feel the same way. No money or property is worth staying an relationship where you are devalued and further abused. My sister is earning the family mo ey but Italy liter kill her before she gets her bands on it or if she died she will have sacerficed a life of happiness for one of stress and pain. No amount of money is worth that!


I apologize for my bad spelling!


i´m on a spanish keyboard so must be brief, but well said kimberly, both times! gracias, amiga!


Your welcomed;). What is sad is that us women see each other as competition to men and instead of helping each other we let these kind of men destroy us even more. The man who runs around playing women is usually let off the hook while the women call each other hoes. Will demonize the woman but never the man…and I seem most people go along with this…nothing is ever the fault if the guy who played the two women…the other woman takes all the blame and us outcasted. She is thrown under the bus whe everyone forgets here they too had a hand in this! Just really upsets me.


Then I think it’s not really the men who are at the root if it but the people who raised us and abusers us…these men and other people we meet in the world take advantage if us…they sense a broken spirit and they use that to their advantage. And I had women use me…set me up for things I didn’t do cause they knew no one would believe me and they knew everyone liked them.
One girl in particular comes to mind to me. She worked in the corporate office in advertising. I was a phone operator and sales clerk. She was everything I was not and one day she said to me…oh come up to the corporate office with me Kimberly…we went into this room where ads were made and she picked something up and broke it in purpose. I had no idea why she did that…as we left she made sure people seen me with her.
She then told everyone I broke it and everyone hated me. I wasn’t sure exactly what I did but my hours were cut back and no one would talk to me anymore…nit that they really dud before but now it was really bad.
I didn’t even defend myself and talk about it to anyone…I just accepted it like I did everything else. To this day I am sure people still think I broke it.
My guess is that she wanted to stick it to someone else and make me take the blame. Gosh I never realized how much I been screwed over…I just totally forgot about this…this was 25 years ago when I worked at a merchandise distributor.


thanks, kimberly… you really gave me a lot to think about. my computer is broken so i had to borrow this one to respond, so i,ll be gone for a little while. but keep responding. gracias, amiga!



I am so sorry for all the negative comments on here about “denying this woman her voice.” You didn’t deny that woman her voice, you kept yet another dangerously blame ridden comment from reaching the hurting people on your site. This is should be the safe place you are trying to make it.

As far as I can see, you are keeping hurting people from comments that are so subtly full of blame and misplaced guilt that they lure people back into the cycle of feeling full blame for what their abusers did to them because “they just misunderstood” their abuser’s intentions. The woman was trying to be helpful, but when you have a person that has proven themself harmful and abusive (from past situations) and they tried to blame you for these past events themself, it just reinforces the powerful/harmful message of the abuser that it is the victims fault.

The woman’s comment is harmless to a person who has not received these messages all their life. But, to someone who has gotten these messages in various forms (subtle, implied, or blatant) her words trigger all those past comments influence psychologically. It goes so far beyond giving the woman her “say” and “voice”. She could SEVERELY set back someone’s healing process, potentially by years.

Thank you for protecting us from these well meaning, but potentially very harmful comments.


I am glad to have found this place…I feel very safe here to share and people are generally respectful and kind…there are not many places you can visit where this us true it’s either your banned and cut off for idiotic reasons or the other extreme…a free for all right out abuse.
Yes…I am truly blessed to have found the people here;)


Hi Silent One
Thank you for your support and encouragement.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kimberly
I am blessed too. I had a vision for this site and I acheived it. Now on to the next stage of growth for EFB!
I am glad that you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


Silent One and Kimberly put it so perfectly. Thank you all!


and gracias Darlene!


Hi Everyone!
I have published a new post using a quote about narcissism and narcisists from the mayo clinic that sheds some light on why victims of abuse so often question if they are actually the problem (as we have all been told we are). I look forward to the discussion!
“Survival Mode and an Alternate view of Narcissism”
hugs, Darlene


This is very true. The same can be said about ‘friends’ and coming out the closet. They want to make judgments, create a narrative and every explanation justifies this so-called friends reasons as to why you’re not who you say you are. You’re right though, you shouldn’t have to explain in fact you shouldn’t have to explain no matter who the person is cause it isn’t their business.

As for abusive parents, I’ve had people tell me that I should just forgive my mother and all this other jazz. But shouldn’t I do that in my own time? Shouldn’t my mother chuck my sexual abuser to the curb and put her child first instead of getting laid and showing off to the world? No one is telling her what to do but everyone is telling me. What s**t!


Hi Shay
YES ~ it is not up to you to be the one to do all the repair. SHE is the one that did something wrong. Seeing the truth about all that made a huge difference in my recovery process!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Shay wrote in #250:

“Shouldn’t my mother chuck my sexual abuser to the curb and put her child first instead of getting laid and showing off to the world? No one is telling her what to do but everyone is telling me. What s**t!”

Absolutely! FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY I have found this group where I (we) am not always WRONG. What a relief this is. I feel like I am finally able to start coming alive. PERFECTLY PUT, SHAY. Gracias!


Yes people who support abusers often are guilty if the same crimes but when your mother sides with your abuser…it’s pure evil. And you have every right to be angry and upset! To say the least! My parents sided with my uncle who one if them said he was innocent and I was wrong about this…never asked me to share my experience and the other parent said she believed me but get he is my husbands brother in the hell with my child? No there is more going on here…people who throw their child under the bus are not human.


My mom used to throw blame on me whenever we would argue…it would start with her saying something underhanded and then me getting upset then her asking me what my problem was and me thinking there was something wrong with me and me apologizing. I used to say to people…why does my own mother hate me so much? Why does she do this?
It took me a long time to figure it out…she was jealous of me.
When I got strong and held her accountable…she claimed she didn’t know who I was anymore! She would say what happened to my loving daughter?


Kimberly wrote in #254:

“When I got strong and held her accountable…she claimed she didn’t know who I was anymore! She would say what happened to my loving daughter?”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA HAHAHA!!! Kimberly, I couldn’t stop smiling. Really. So you got strong and you know what? It showed when you stood up so well to Cathy. Good going, Kimberly! If nothing else, these people teach us to be strong, or die. Literally. So even if we don’t want to have to be that strong (I certainly am, but didn’t wish to be), they have done us some kind of favor. Even if we could have done without it!

Thanks for telling more of your story. I really enjoyed reading it, as I could so easily put myself in your shoes. Amen!


Hi Kimberly
I could relate to your comments here too. There is a truth leak in what your mother said when she said “what happened to my loving daughter” it shows her false def. of love. (that love is compliance and obedience) and finding out that is NOT love really helped me a lot!
Hugs, Darlene


Wow Darlene. You hit the nail on the head!

“There is a truth leak in what your mother said when she said “what happened to my loving daughter” it shows her false def. of love. (that love is compliance and obedience) and finding out that is NOT love really helped me a lot!”

Love your term “truth leak.” And now I understand why I never agreed that my parents “loved” me when I was exorcised when I was not compliant or obedient. And I probably rarely was, given the violence I grew up with in that house (not a home). Truth Leak is my middle name now that I’m naming things. Gracias, amiga.


Hi Everyone
In honour of the American Thanksgiving and as a way to kick off the upcoming holiday season in apositive and inspiratioal way, I have written a new post with a glimpse of the way it is today for me.
I hope that there will be some conversation there!
you can read the post here:
The Opposite of a Dysfunctional Family System Dinner ~ a glimpse of hope
Hugs, hope and Love, Darlene


Yes…when you are no longer their punching bag anymore they really begin to hate you even more…


I believe I have finally recognized what is in my best interests and what is not with my family. I am the one that actually climbed out of the Crab Pot! I have two siblings left and trying to resume a relationship with them almost pulled me back in. I understand now what the struggle was all about because now they don’t get to define me by their perception and attitude about me anymore. I think it messes with their script to allow me to be who I really am. If I disagree with them or confront them about an issue they go covert on me try to twist the issue. I was the family scapegoat for many years and it never occured to them that I had changed. Uncomfortable with the new me the invisible war began.I really thought they were just Codependant and had been in controlling relationships most of their lives like me. The definition Narcisstic never occured to me until I began an up close view of the Family Dynamics! I’m still trying to sort it all out on my own now.I have been in Therapy off and on most of my life because of my abusive childhood. I didn’t deal with the sexual abuse from my father and brother in law with a Therapist until I was 30yrs.old. All through the years I believed their bullshit about me being weak because of my depressive episodes and needing Therapy. When I began to validate myself and not accept the role they put me in the war began.I realized that I was the smart one,the independant one and the strong one and they can’t take that from me ever again. They could only love me being less than them and going limited and no contact with many family members has been my only option so I can continue my healing.I don’t hate my family but I do hate what they did to me.On the other hand I can’t feel any love for the ones that have let me down and continued to discount me over the years. I wonder sometimes about my parents and how they explained themselves to my Heavenly Father after they died. I’m so relieved to have a safe site to express myself on.I was mobbed on Sister Renee’s site and got hate email for posting on one other site. They were banned but I know there watching me and there are lots of them and only one of me. I have gotten a lot of excellent information here and it really helps me keep my focus. Thanks to all and especially Darlene for this site.


Mary Ann, I know just how you feel. You wrote: “there are lots of them and only one of me.” Yes, there’s ten in my family and there’s only one of me. I get hate mail too. What I did was start “picking them off, one by one.” Turns out some of them (the boys) didn’t really care what was happening to me. They didn’t participate. It was my mother and sisters that were really going after me, especially after I disclosed my father’s sexual abuse (again) as an adult. They were so incredibly vicious that I am coming to believe that some of them must have been active participants and that’s why they can’t stand me telling the truth.

Either way, as you say, I’m stronger than they are and they can all go to hell for all I care. That’s where they belong. And as a spiritual friend of mine said, my parents are going to have “a lot of explaining to do” when they get to the pearly gates! I look forward to that. It’s one of the few things that makes me smile whenever I think of them and the hereafter!


What I meant to say is that I wrote a letter to my parents when I was 38 years old disclosing my father’s sexual abuse when I was much younger, living at home, because my sister’s daughter who was 16 was going to stay with them for a year. This was the same age I was when I finally was legally allowed to leave home, as I had gone to court to become an emancipated minor.

I wrote to both my parents about what my father did to me, and that if I heard one breath about him abusing my niece, I would have him put in jail. When he was abusing me, there was nothing I could do about it. We had no protection under the law. But now things were different and I would see him jailed if need be. I begged them both to get help and get counseling for all of us and find a way to resolve this. That of course, fell on deaf ears.

And as you can imagine, that was the end of me.

They all came after me with hate mail and hate phone calls and then my mother put a ban on me that lasted ten years. For some reason it was lifted, and one year they all wrote letters “forgiving me” one Christmas and I did not answer.

I was “no contact” for 20 or 25 years. I finally I contacted them again when my mother had cancer, and we exchanged phone calls and emails. I thought resolution was in the offing. But on her death bed, she refused to see me. I couldn’t believe it. And none of my sisters wanted me there.

I’ve been trying to resolve things with my youngest sister who is married to a pastor, of all things, and they have hurt me the worst. Throwing lies about me like acid in my face. And she was 6 years old when I left home, so she knows nothing about me! But her pastor husband has “heard the same consistent stories about me all these years” so he “knows” they must be true.

I really believe that some of my sisters were willing partners in the sexual misconduct with my father. Willing and active, given their behavior with men afterwards. And that is probably why they hate me so much. Because I TOLD.

My youngest sister says my “crime” is that I talked about things that should be “kept within the family.” As if a life of lies and denial is the only and right way to live and her husband is in charge of a Methodist Church and a “flock” of parishioners! He’s as bad as the Catholic church in protecting the abusive pedophile priests. Or the University administrators who protected Jerry Sandusky. I am so angry about this I can’t see straight, and I am 62 years old. I left home at 16, so that means this was “over” 46 years ago. Almost 50 years ago. Almost half a century ago. And I am reliving it as if it were yesterday, thanks to my stinking mother and sisters who went after me as if I were the devil himself.

But THEY WERE THE DEMONS. Not me. I was a good child who told the truth and got away. I hope they burn in hell. As another friend said, “As soon as my mother got to those pearly gates, someone was sitting her down and she was getting a talking to. And she had a lot of explaining to do!”

So I always have to laugh in the end, when my stomach doesn’t hurt so much I feel like crying. This Sandusky trial has really brought up a LOT for me. I feel like an emancipated slave who still has the whipping scars I bear, for the rest of my life.

My father has to live with what he did to me, and so do I.

I ask God every single day to lift this anger and depression from me, and show me The Way.



Mary Ann, thank you for your comment about the hopelessness and trauma of reconnecting with some of your siblings. When I tried to reconnect with ONE out of TEN, I have been traumatized, accused, lied to, everything I say twisted into unrecognition, blamed, criticized, told to keep silent, everything under the sun. I want to take them all to court for defamation and emotional distress and I’m looking into the laws right now. I could file pro-se (by self) and regardless of whether I “won” or not, I would have had my story backed up by FACTS and my story would be told.

They would have to answer in a court of law to all the horrendous gossip, slander, libel and defamation they have heaped upon me all these years. So I would win either way. I actually am “dreaming” about this and I know it’s practice to do it for real.

It’s a question of standing up for myself, and I am trying to find the strength to write my story all over again and get it over with and out of me I hope. I want this to end. It’s my own anger and pain that makes my life miserable. They are all doing just fine.

I have to find out how to take care of me after a life-time of wishing those others cared about me. So now it begins.


Hi Kimberly
Yes, that is so very often true. The reaction is so often “how dare you?” and “who do you think you are to say ‘no’ to me”. It is stunning really…
hugs, Darlene

Hi Mary Ann
YAY for climbing out of the crab pot! Great comments Mary Ann, thanks for sharing. I am sorry for what happened to you on other sites and I am glad that you feel safe here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Catherine
In some families where the children are punished for non compliance, that punishement is always the order of the day. That is why it is so important for us to heal as individuals and heal by seeing the truth. (that THEY were the demons and not you). I had to see that this punishment was about them and not about me. When I was a kid it worked, in fact it worked until I was in my 40’s. (so affraid of the punishment that I complied). For me I had to see that their ways were wrong and just because the majority agreed, didn’t mean that any of them were right. As I healed, the clarity increased.
Hugs, Darlene


Mary Ann, you wrote in #260: “I am the one that actually climbed out of the Crab Pot!”

This has really hit home. I have read your post over and over again. I can’t believe how much wisdom and truth it contains. I also “climbed out of the crab pot” and I am the ONLY ONE out of a family of TEN. But now that I’m old I see that I’ve been trying to CLIMB BACK IN!

When my mother was dying with cancer a couple of years ago, I really thought we would have a deathbed reconciliation. Who doesn’t have this? But no, she and my sisters refused to allow me to come. Even though we had re-contacted by phone and email for the last year or so. I couldn’t believe it. It really hurt me more than I ever realized, as I’m still not over it and it’s been more than two years.

I have been trying to reconnect with one sister, who was the youngest one that I always thought I had a good relationship with. But she – and everyone else included – nieces, nephews, people I have never met – have all been indoctrinated with the lies my mother told. That woman did everything she could to destroy me and luckily it didn’t work, but all my accomplishments mean NOTHING to me BECAUSE MY MOTHER DIDN’T LOVE ME.

I didn’t even know this until NOW that she’s gone. And I am relieved, because she can’t hurt me anymore. But my youngest sister has taken up “the cudgel and the sword.” She has become the keeper of the flame, and my sisters have all begun the “beatification process” of my mother’s name. I just can’t believe it. I thought after 50 years they might start wondering just what went on and have a few questions, but they have “all the answers” and throw them like acid in my face, every chance I get.

Any contact at all with any of them is so incredibly depressing, I just can’t believe it. My brothers have not participated in this, but have heard all the same gossip and lies, but don’t send hate mail or make other statements that the females in the family do. Why? But I have no relationship and no family whatsoever so the deepest longing in my heart will never be realized. They will “never love me” and they will never support me and I don’t even know if they even know what those words mean. On the surface they espouse “family,” but in reality what do they do?

Blackball me and hurt me and destroy me every chance they get. How can I be so hated by people that I haven’t even seen for 25 or 30 years? All I did was “tell” what my father did to me to protect my niece from the same thing at the same age. How could these people not THANK ME?

Are they as evil as that?

I have come to the conclusion that my sisters may have willingly participated in the sexual abuse that went on when we were young. One sister came up with the new name for me of “S.W.W.A.R.N.” “She Who Will Always Remain Nameless.” That’s what they have been calling me for years. Me.

What is to remain “nameless?” What my father did. What my mother did by denying it and trying to have me arrested and committed and actually jaied, when I was 14 and 15 years old. Didn’t work and God saved me and I was able to leave when I was 16 years old. But I am still stuck in a mental prison that is equal to the physical one they kept me in, the last year before I was legally allowed to leave home.

And 46 years later they hate me still.

I’m like a foreign country that war has been declared on and everyone in there has been indoctrinated against me. People and children I have never even met. How do I walk away from all of this, at this late stage? I thought it didn’t matter anymore, but it does.


Darlene, in #265 you said “That is why it is so important for us to heal as individuals and heal by seeing the truth.”

Yes, I understand this and “see the truth” but how do I come to accept that my own mother hated me? She did from the day I was born. She told stories about how awful I was because I “didn’t care about anyone but myself, because I stepped on my baby sister when I was two years old and just kept walking.”

This was a family story she told at every single get together, Christmas and Thanksgiving included, with both branches of the family sitting there. I ended up leaving the table in tears almost every time. And that was just the beginning with her. Then my father would get into it and physically threaten me for one thing or another, and everyone would jump on me saying I had done this or that” so I stopped going to any family event.

The few times I broke that rule, such as when I got married, they managed to ruin it in the present and in perpetuity too. I’m still hearing horrible stories, some for the very first time! about what I did or what went on at my wedding that I know nothing about. These stories circulate endlessly in this family, and they haven’t seen me in 25 or 30 years.

I thought my mother was the Guardian at the Gate and once she was gone, like the Wicked Witch of the West, all her monkey military would suddenly transform into fine, caring individuals, who would WANT TO KNOW THE TRUTH.

But no. They have taken up the cudgel and the sword and have raised the flag even higher.

And despite all my accomplishments in all the world, it means nothing to me because my mother did not love me. How can I be worth anything at all?

I never realized that this “CORE BELIEF” was so strong in me, as I lived all these years believing that surely before my mother died, we would have a reconciliation. We were working towards that, I thought, and then the atom bomb was dropped. She refused to see me before she died and I have been left devastated. I can write about this a hundred or a thousand times and nothing makes the hurt go away.

I have to find a way out of this darkness and pain. Thank God for forums like this where I can at least read what goes on for other people, and it’s not much different for the rest of us. So I will live another day. That is my legacy and my will and all the Guardian Angels who have saved me.

But how to come to terms with this? Just by continue to read and write and participate and tell the truth, heartache and pain, and cry out the tears until acceptance comes. I guess.


Hi Catherine
In answer to this very very popular question “And despite all my accomplishments in all the world, it means nothing to me because my mother did not love me. How can I be worth anything at all?” which you have also posted today~
The key is in realizing that your mother does not get to define your worth. No person gets to define another person ~ they try and they convince us that what ever they say is the truth, that they know best, that they are right and they find all kinds of ways to “teach this to us and to prove this to us” but they are wrong. Your mother is wrong. Her love or lack of love does not define your worth. Not even a bit. Finding out HOW I was defined by specific actions and trauma is what helped me to UN-define myself and then re-define myself with the truth. That is the way out of the darkness and pain. Keep reading, it takes time for it to all sink in!
Hugs, Darlene


I agree…who they are has nothing to do with who we are…it’s who’s their core of being. We are just told lies that brainwash us from the cradle. Oh they live you! Oh they hurt! Oh we all make mistakes…blah blah blah…yet we want to overlook that cause we want the fantasy and that us where we make our mistakes…I think sometimes we have to just get stung so many times and maybe so badly that we finally see what the truth is. Only recently dud I finally get it…it has nothing to do with me! It’s not even on their radar to care…they don’t get it and what I keep seeing in my life and those around me too is that we want to ignore it…pretty it up…cause who we were…is so wrapped up in that…it defines us sadly…and this is where we unwrap and detach from…we see as we can what horrible layering of the webwork they weave.


I keep going back to Mary Ann’s description of “Climbing Out of the Crab Pot.” What a perfect way to put it! I did that at the tender very young age of 16, but lately have been trying to climb back in! What craziness is that?

Darlene, how about creating another discussion just about this phenomenan? Or am I the only one going through this, at my late(r) age? When I hit 60 I realized that with the last few years of my life in the Third Act, I always believed that one day “all would be well.”

Now, almost 50 years later, I have to face the realization that this is never going to happen, and this has been devastating to me. I didn’t know I was living this way and that this was a “core belief” that kept me going. I am now going through the same anger and grief that I went through 25 years ago when I accepted being cut off from my family. Now I am being cut off from my own dream of reconciliation. But I am left with my anger and grief.

MY OWN FEELINGS at this point are killing me. How can I keep myself in this prison of emotions is beyond me, and how to get out is even farther in the murky distance.

I ask God to help me find a way towards the light.

So sorry for the many posts I am making, essentially saying the same thing. If it’s too many you don’t have to post them. But for some reason I can’t seem to stop reading and writing, and everyone here has a statement that is a diamond or pearl. It’s keeping me going at this moment in time.

Not only am I digging graves, I am stringing a necklace of diamonds and pearls.

Dear God, please show me The Way.


Hi Catherine…when you find that answer please let me know! Fir me it was the realization that no matter how much you wish a snake was a swan and tried to dress it up…forgive it…charm it…wish it or pray..a snake it always will be.
Sorry…I wish I knew!
But here is a hug! Kimverly


I understand the pain and heartache you feel about never really belonging.I was the only child from my mother’s second marriage. Her first husband and 6yr old son died when their car was hit by a train at a blind crossing. My half siblings had many false memories of their father being a saint. My father being the predator he was caused me to be on the lowest level of the pecking order in the family. My mother ignored my half sisters protests about him also so they resented him and it spilled over on me. I became the scapegoat and was never treated with equal value. My half sisters were close in age and they protected each other over the years until they left home. They lived out their scripts one married a very controlling man and one married a phedophile. My brother in law was my second abuser. I was the whisle blower and it really rocked the famliy boat. My mother could never handle the truth so she discounted and blamed me. I know what it was all about now,they thought if they could shut me up there wouldn’t be any trouble for them. My family ignored me until I had a bad bladder infection when I was 10 and I told my doctor about my abuse. My parents were so mad at me on the way home there was dead silence in the car. I kept quite about it after that experience. My doctor didn’t help me and I don’t know what they told him to get off the hook. I don’t think my mother ever liked me but I was her best source of supply because I was so broken by the time I was 16yrs old that I had panic attacks and a depressive episode. She was happy to shove me out the door at 15 and lie about my age so I could get married. There is so much more I could say about the abuse my father put me through when I lived with him one summer. I put all that stuff away for years hoping for a crumb of love from my family for protecting them.I missed my chance to bring charges against my father and my mother and I accepted my role as scapegoat for many years. If a law suit will validate you then go for it. They had everyone snowed and labeled me as mental and defective. I had one half brother that wanted to help me but his wife wouldn’t let him keep me with them. I’m over 60 now and I am free and I really don’t need my family to love me now. My half sisters the two siblings I have left can go on living their scripts with my blessings. There has been some form of sexual abuse in their own families that they didn’t have the courage to deal with and their children suffered because of it. I tried to protect a niece of mine but one of my sisters lived with that man for 40 yrs. Finally I thought why do I want love from these people or acceptance? How would their validation add any value to my life? I have no respect for any of them for living the way they do and the only way they can feel better about themselves is to discount me and twist the truth. You don’t heal by hanging out with people like that whether it is family or not. They mouth the word love and then stab you in the back as soon as they get the chance. A snake is a snake no matter how good you are to it given the chance it will bite you with no remorse. The story about the Crab Bucket was an excellent resource for me posted on Sister Renee’s site. There is another one about the Boiling Frog but don’t remember where I found that one.


I just want to say that I think saying “They did the best they could”, referring of course to neglectful and abusive parents, is a misunderstood saying. Whenever someone says it to me, I reply with “you mean they did the best they THOUGHT they could.

Sometimes I get the most bewildered looks from people after.


These people are trying to preserve the status quo and I do not know what they have invested in doing so but can certainly say it’s not for altruistic reasons. They are not selfless, in fact they are very selfish in trying to preserve their own world. It is irritating when someone tries to be the “peace-maker” by asking us to mend our ways and accept the unacceptable.
Maybe these people have no spine and cannot face the reality, so they try brushing it under the carpet and ask us to do so as well.


“Our parents did the best they could” does not hold true for abusive parents. They did what they could because there was no getting back at them. They knew children are unable to get back at them and so did what they did. If they knew there would be repercussions to what they did even if they hid it, then they would not have done it.

They would not dream of doing that to an adult because they know fully well they get their a*** kicked.


Anyone else here who has been unconsiously looking for a mother figure in early adulthood? (I am speaking specifically about the period of 17-25). And perhaps you did find such “mentor” or however you want to call such person but in the long run (after a year or 2 years), it turned out that either there was something mentally wrong with that woman or, that she was not really considering our best interests, her actions were entirely selfish, she was giving you her time when SHE needed that not you, whenever she felt her life was empty and she needed to feel like a “good person” or she actually needed to be listened?
Please share!


I meant subconsciously naturally! 🙂


Sandra, my mom’s sister. My aunt. Her children were all vastly different. Yet my aunt valued each of them for who they were. No, there was nothing wrong with her. (the second part of your question)

I once worked at a place that did 360 degree appraisals. In addition to your boss, your co-workers got to put in anonymous comments. The one that meant the most to me was when someone said, “She makes everyone feel valued.” I guess that’s a “tell” from my childhood. Where I never felt valued.


@DXS: thanks for your answer

I think I might have not been clear enough, I did not mean just the “mother figure” but sort of an “Adoptive mom”; it could have been a stranger who crossed your path at some point, someone you spent a lot of time with and was like a mother to you?


I have recently been told by others , who know my mother but nothing of my childhood, that she loves me! She is a wonderful woman , she is sweet and easy to love. They are talking about someone unknown to me and my daughters. I have also been told just what I should be doing for this amazing woman. When she was in hospital I should have been making a 7 hour round trip to do her washing – she was in for six weeks. She is my mother and I shouldn’t forget it , she is my responsibility , lectured a neighbour. My mother too had strong opinions on just what I and my daughters , who also live far away should be doing for her. She wanted them to come and help her every weekend. The woman has brass neck, I’ll grant her that. She is also a great actress with a lifetime’s practise and I’d be wasting my breath trying to tell her admirers there is a nasty, vicious remorseless woman inside.


Thanks to Darlene, I just had a rude awakening watching a “leave it to Beaver” rerun. I only watch this when nothing else is on, but now I’m never watching it again!

Ok, Rich Aunt Martha wants to pay for Beaver to go to this swanky school. Beaver is all excited. Then he has a change of heart. Fortunately it ends with his family not forcing him to go, but the initial reaction just FLOORED me!

“You don’t want to go to the swanky school? YOU will disappoint Aunt Martha! How could you do that to Aunt Martha?”

I was floored! Instead of reacting to the fact that Beaver didn’t want to go, it was all about how YOU will upset Aunt Martha! It would have been ok to say, “Aunt Martha will be disappointed” but to frame it as YOU will upset Aunt Martha!” Just floored me.

The parents made Beaver tell Aunt Martha, which I thought was the right thing to do. And, it all ended well. But I was floored at the YOU will disappoint Aunt Martha!” (Once again, the message of “it’s all your fault.”

Now I will turn the channel when Beaver comes on.


Ok, I know this is one of Darlene’s ANCIENT posts from her archives, but I had to post this. The OB/GYN exam I have mentioned in other posts. (I was 12, I had to go, issues) Mom didn’t bother to tell me what was to happen. And I was totally freaked out, I had a pinch faced old lady nurse telling me to take my clothes off, WTF?

And then a MALE doctor doing this stuff to me. I was freaked! And afterward I looked to Mom for some comfort and an explanation, and instead I got CHASTISED for being “rude” to HER doctor!

She tried to back pedal by claiming she “didn’t know” I was getting THAT kind of exam, yet she was there the whole time and said nothing while I was freaking out!

Years later, I got her to admit that she knew, but my cousin had to do this, too and when her mom told her, my cousin refused to go. Mom said she didn’t want to deal with a “fight” so she “withheld” the information from me.

Yeah, right, MY BEST INTERESTS….. and all she cared about was that I was RUDE to HER doctor.

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