How Victim Mentality works in Relation to Family Secrets


understanding victim mentality and famiily secretsWe are conditioned not to talk about family secrets. I was taught in so many ways that ‘some things are not talked about’ and I was so afraid of the consequences of bringing shame on my family that I ignored the solution to overcoming the mental health issues that I had. Rejection from my family when I was a little child would have meant death. I believed as an adult that it STILL meant death.  I had to overcome that fear.

Even when the family members are dead, the victims of dysfunctional family situations are very often STILL just as afraid to reveal the family secrets, which is very telling about just how deep this fear goes when it comes to the belief system.

People told me that they didn’t have a choice about keeping the secrets even when they became adults. I agreed with them because not taking my choice about telling enabled me to have an excuse to not have to do the work that it took to take my life back. I had to look more closely at what it meant for me to believe that I didn’t have a choice. I had to see that it wasn’t that I DIDN’T have a choice as much as it was just that I didn’t KNOW I had a choice.

This belief that I could not, must not tell was rooted in victim mentality and I had to keep in mind that this “victim mentality” is how I survived a childhood of abuse and emotional neglect. Victim mentality was my friend when I was a kid. It saved me. It was hard to understand that victim mentality was not my friend anymore. My mind warned me constantly NOT to see things differently, believing with all my heart that the only way to survive this life was to operate in that same child mindset that kept me “safe” from further harm.  Telling would have made things so much worse and I could not accept that telling (at least someone) was part of the answer now.

Victim mentality taught me to FEAR the consequences of honoring my choice to reveal those secrets. Victim mentality tells me that I am safer to keep the secrets and protect the perpetrator.  Victim mentality taught me to protect the person who covered up for the perpetrator, believing that I am less deserving than the perpetrator, BECAUSE that is what I was taught about myself through the actions of those who were in charge of me.  

When I first started this website I would have a fear related adrenalin rush when I clicked the publish button on certain articles especially if they revealed anything about toxic and dysfunctional family relationships. That was my childhood fear of going public with my past. It was not fear for what others would then know about me but fear of what the consequences would be if I “told” on the abusers and those that didn’t protect me or if I revealed the family secrets. I didn’t understand that fear based adrenalin rush then as well as I do now. I had to reassure myself that the consequences for talking would not kill me that I was no longer that helpless child anymore. I had to remind myself that hundreds of times.

Another huge fear that I had was that deep down I was sure that if I could love my mother the way she needed me to love her, then everything would be fine. Telling the family secrets was like giving up on the last thread of hope because I knew that if I told the truth about what had gone on in my life, I would burn my last bridge and ruin my only chance that my mother and possibly even my whole family would love me. “Telling” represented the death of that hope.  

I had to be willing to face the possibility of that rejection.

Today I see this so differently. Why was I willing to protect the people who never protected me? They taught me to believe that I didn’t have enough worth to have equal value to the perpetrators, the neglectors, the abusers, the withholders, the teachers and all the other adult gods in my childhood.  

I no longer care if the truth hurts someone else’s feelings. When I decided to heal and move forward with MY life, I had to stop taking care of other people’s feelings and finally validate MY feelings. When I finally put my own healing first, I began to see the dysfunction more clearly. I finally saw that I was contributing to the sick dysfunctional cycle by going along with it.

As I took those baby steps in the beginning and started to look at the dysfunctional family conditions that I had been raised with, I started to realize that in many ways I had in fact always been rejected. Not being heard is a rejection.  I had not been protected is a rejection. Not being valued and not having my human rights validated is a rejection.

When I began to see things through new eyes, I started to get a glimmer of hope that perhaps I could be good enough for me, and that if I could achieve that status, then others opinions including my own families’ opinions, would no longer matter. I began to realize that I had been agreeing with their rejection of me because I didn’t know anything else.  As I grew stronger I began to stop rejecting myself.

Perhaps the truth hurts, but does that mean that we should stifle the truth? I don’t think so anymore. It was important for me to look at who I was protecting and the truth about why I thought that they were more important than I was.

Please share your thoughts or feedback. I look forward to the discussion here.

Darlene Ouimet

NOTE: I did not reveal anything publically when it came to family secrets until I had several years of healing and I am not suggesting that you reveal your family secrets before you are ready. It would not have helped me to push myself too quickly and very few people choose to write as publically as I do. Please feel free to use a screen name. Only the name you use in the comment form will be seen by others.

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


Related Posts ~ Overcoming that Nasty Self Blame in Dysfunctional Relationships

Categories : Family



from about half way down all i thought was i wana ask him before he dies why he did what he did. not to bring closure oas such, because i really am interested in his mindset and how he thought it was ok to be the way he has always been.i havent seen him for a few years now, and have struggled with my need to protect others from him, a role i took over once i was told to watch myself around him when i was 11 i think it was. mmm shame i think that it had happened by then and then it became about not causing anymore problems in the family. i became his protector from being put in a situation where pthers could question him, yet they never told me about my other grandfather. mmm shame about that situation too, but thats another long winded story.
the thing that struck me a few years ago when a therapist asked me not to go alone to see him as she thought he was not good for me to be around, and i wondered why. then after going to see him a few times i noticed that he always gave me a gift when i left, usually an ornemnt of his shelf or a toy for my child( which never went near her) that i saw a pattern, well several patterns that showed me ho whe was still trying to play mind games with me. the lies about his contact with other children, all fanasties, so so the police told me when i went to the local child protection unit. but still he thinks i dont know because i have never broached it with him, maybe i should ask about his past and find out how bad he really was, as i have garnered pieces over the years. the man is a true old fashioned cad, theif bigamist convicted peadofile, and thats only from the bits i know so god knows how much more there would be if i could shift through the lies.
so yeah till my grandfather goes i am afraid that i have hit some kind of wall, as i still have that vision of my father holding a braed knife to his own fathers stomache saying if you have touched her i will use this. that sort of thing kind of sticks with you


Hi Darlene (and everyone else),

Guess I’m still right in that fear. It’s been many years I was convinced I’d be on the street if my parents ever kicked me out (believed from very young age I’d be incapable of holding down a job/earning enough money to support myself etc).

Now I’ve actually got my own place, and I’m scared to move in there. (Scared of feeling trapped with my own thoughts etc). I was ready to last night but as I got out to the car to leave (my parents were there) my stomach suddenly started hurting & I had to run to the bathroom. Wouldn’t be surprised if this was a mental thing turning physical. My father said yesterday he’d like to see the place. I don’t want them to come there at all, but I’m afraid to tell them, because they’d want to know why, and I don’t want to tell them. Haven’t been able to sleep yet.

It’s a bad month memory-wise. My first love’s b/day & anniversary of her sibling’s death. Got past birthday without freaking out at least.

Well enough for now. Hope everyone’s doing well.

PS Carol sorry to hear about everything you mentioned. Take care of yourself!


I love this! It makes me want to stand up and cheer. Yes, this is so true. I can relate to the telling the family secrets being an indication that all hope is gone for finally getting their acceptance and love. That’s a sure way to burn those bridges, but also such a turning point. In my life, talking about my father’s sexual abuse publicly meant that I accepted that my parents didn’t have anything more to offer me. I accepted that they would never love me, but it also meant I was free from having to play to that system. It was my Declaration of Independence.

This is my favorite part:
“Perhaps the truth hurts, but does that mean that we should stifle the truth? I don’t think so anymore. It was important for me to look at who I was protecting and the truth about why I thought that they were more important than I was.”

That’s what it gets down to. My family doesn’t honor the truth. They’d rather cling to their precious lies as they sink into the abyss of their own misery. Dysfunction depends on lies–lies to each other and lies to themselves. I couldn’t live like that for one more second. Now, they lie about me and that’s okay. The truth really does make me free.

Thank you for standing for the truth. It’s one of my favorite things about you. I love you, my dear friend!


One thing about getting out on your own. My brother and I have both noted that in our lives when we got out on our own we had far fewer responsibilities and fear.
We always had to make sure our parents were ok and what we could do about their financial debt and to work as employees for little to no money – make sure to do the grocery shopping and the housecleaning so you won’t yell at us and act all pissed off all the time…So much fear and bondage BUT when it is your home and your choice on the atmosphere you want to create all that awful junk slowly fades away. J, I believe it will be so much better for you because you are on your way with the support Darlene makes so real for us here and your own knowledge and wisdom to apply it to your life…


On the truth note – My elderly father is not in great health. My mother has always stood between us. As a young teen she would tell me my dad wanted to %#^% me. I did not get any creepy vibes like that from him. At one time I was trying to help him with his business but she made so much trouble that I had to quit. My Dad and I have never talked about it and I am NC with them now. I still think about the rift she created and he allowed. It gets easier over time in some ways but I do miss my 4 siblings and the neices and nephews. I don’t know where I am going with this but I am glad to get it out…


Hey Darlene, It is the job of the scapegoated child to protect the image of the family and carry the shame that rightfully, belongs to the other members of the family. It is not different than being born into slavery and physical freedom doesn’t mean that mental and emotional freedom will ever be obtained. It is a long, hard struggle for freedom that can only come when the scapegoat refuses to carry shame belonging to those who are the slave-masters known as mother, father, and even brother and sister.Every person who lives as a family scapegoat and has suffered abuse, deep down, knows the cause of the mental illnesses that result from this kind of enslavement and abuse but the hardest part is breaking free from the role created for us at birth.

I think if abusive parents and siblings had the desire to make things right and were willing to face the truth and work with the child they scapegoated and abused, then the family image could be protected through discretion. However, this is seldom true and an abused person can’t depend upon abusers to return their dignity to them. God gives each of us dignity and no one has the right to take it away. I couldn’t get well until I made my dignity a priority and took back what was rightfully mine, my self-respect.



Hi Carol
I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to ask him OR with asking him. I would be prepared for no answer though.
As for that sort of thing sticking with you ~ well I guess so! All abuse and trauma that we don’t block out “sticks with you”. I won’t protect anyone anymore. I would let my father do what ever he wanted to do, but chances are that he would do nothing. He didn’t protect me from far less than that. The real shame is what your grandfather got away with at your expense. I am so sorry that happened. It makes sense why you say you have hit a wall, feeling that you have had to protect him all these years. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Christina
Wow, thanks! And yes, I love your comments too. That is why I don’t think my father would do anything (re: Carol’s comments) He would rather cling to the fantasy that life was all fine and dandy and that they did the best they could. And what they didn’t know about (FACE) couldn’t hurt THEM… who cared about what hurt me??
I suspect that my parents lie about me too, and I know my in-laws do, but I could not care less. I am free of that sick system!
Hugs, and I love you too!


Hi Darlene,

Yesterday evening I had a dream. I dreamed I was deep in the ocean under the water looking up and I saw the light of the sun gleaming through the crystal blue. For once in my life I didn’t care who was around me. Who was enjoying. Who was pleased, or who saw that light but me. I didn’t care who felt that freedom from the water making me feel weightless but me. I stared at that beam from the sun from under that deep water for about 3 min. I was amazed at how free I was; as it seemed the water enjoyed me. It embraced me. It helped me see clear. I was submerged in something that I enjoy most. Water. I love the ocean. I love to swim. I didn’t rush it and it didn’t rush me. The way the sun shined almost purposefully right above me was surreal. I wasn’t afraid either. I was deep in and had no fear.

I made a very challenging decision earlier today. Before I had this dream. I didn’t care if anyone approved, I wasn’t looking for validation for what I felt was right for me for one of the few times in my life. It’s a process that I’m in. This change is life-altering for me. When I woke up from the dream I felt so refreshed and carefree and relaxed, but yet energetic and rejuvenated at the same time.

I interpret my dream to mean that when I submerge myself into healing relentlessly that’s the place where I find my serenity. Water purges. When I purge my space spiritually, physically and mentally and immerse ME in the new waters, I thrive, I float, I dance. It’s deep and I may look around and see no one, but I am so occupied with this new found freedom, and peace and beauty that it hasn’t hit me nor have I stopped to even looked around. Reality is it’s not necessary to. My path is one that only I can travel. I never ran out of breath under the ocean. I didn’t panic. The wide ocean space was not a concern (and I normally have a fear of wide open spaces). When I see that the waters are so deep that I am light, and carefree and I see light above me; which represents my heavenly father, I know I’m in the right place.


I reject the rejection.


As usual, this article is so timely for me. Yesterday I was reading Elaina’s poem (#44) under “When Mental Health providers are not helpful” and finally had to face a truth that I had been hiding. As I was growing up my brother raped me repeatedly. I never allowed myself to call it that. I didn’t want to face the horror of having to admit that someone I loved had done this to me.

It was easier to endure it and the anger and frustration that came with it, than to admit that it was what it was – rape. We were children…he was stronger than me…I wept and cried as he held me down and violated me…I couldn’t get up…he was too strong…

And when this young monster was done with me, he’d tell me not to tell anyone because I’d get in trouble too. He knew what he had done was shameful or he wouldn’t have said that. How do these people know, no matter how young they are, that if they incriminate you too then you won’t tell?

Elaina’s poem was liberating for me somehow. It just touched me and it helped me to want to finally admit the horror and to set myself free from such an awful secret. I’m so glad to be free of the responsibility of keeping silent and of dealing with feelings that someone else is reponsible for causing in me.


Hi Tamara
It is good to get it out and it does get easier.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi J.
Sorry you are having such a tough time. Sending you big hugs…

Hi Pam
Great comments about the scapegoated child, thanks for sharing. I think that mental and emotional freedom is just as possible as physical freedom but as you say, there are certain “must do’s” and for some the price is just too high or too overwhelming.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Alysia
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
WOW!! That is awesome! Thanks for sharing your dream! That is what I call a “freedom dream” I had a similar dream once when I was in the beginning of my process. I dreamed that I was under ice, and I could see the sunlight streaming in… and I broke through the ice and emerged, READY to go forward with my process of healing!
Your dream is profound, and exciting and even victorious!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Robin
A child does not abuse another child in that way unless that child has also been abused. They learned that it was wrong and that the secret must be kept, from whoever abused and groomed them. That does not excuse your brother or the damage that he caused to you, it is just information that helped me with my own understanding. (as most of the readers know, I made excused for my abusers forever and that was where I was stuck for most of my life so I am not an advocate of understanding excusing anything)
Yes, it was rape. It is very hard to face that this was your own brother who did this to you, so it is understandable that you didn’t want to call it that. But as you say, admitting it and calling it what it is (the truth) set you free from that secret. I am so glad that you got this out! It is a huge thing.
Thank you for sharing, I am sure this was not easy.
Hugs, Darlene

good for you!
~hugs, Darlene


So well said Darlene…and thank you for your bravery. It is an encouragement to me. I can remember blogging this summer and feeling so caught between sharing the truth and not – publicly for the whole world to see. Common sense told me to wait – I was just in the beginning stages of my divorce. My lawyer told me to do it privately. My God told me to trust Him…and so I did. There was definitely an attempt to quiet me, to threaten me…but when I called it out and didn’t give in…it went away, the threat did that is. So it’s gotten easier and easier

In my Learning to Live, Learning to Love class (by Life Skills, Intl) we learn that there are 5 traumas that majorly affect the emotional development of a child. Guess the #1 trauma? Rejection. Yep – rejection…above any type of abuse – rejection is the biggest cause of Arrested Development. Why? Well, because any type of abuse ultimately results in the feeling of being rejected…and eventually the child will learn to reject themselves as well. It is sad that to think this is what happened to us as kids and that we have to get to a point of so much emotional pain as an adult before we are willing to look at the past and do the work. But thank God there is always the ability to heal…that shedding light on the truth, coming out of hiding – while scary and seemingly life threatening – is really so freeing and life giving in the end. It helps us who have been wounded to take responsibility..to move from victim mentality to survivor….and eventually to THRIVER. By taking that step – we take control of our lives back. This one little step has made it possible for me to be around my ex for my children’s sake…in what I feel is record time. I am able to tell myself that he has no power, no control over me except what I give him…and I actually feel good about being there.

I also think our bold step to tell the truth starts to crumble the defenses the perpetrators use…thus breaking down their walls of “enablement”. The more of us that can speak up, that can shed light on this societal epidemic, the more likely we can reverse this horrible killer of relationships and families.


Victim mentality was just how I thought life was – I did not know anything else – I can barely remember a time when I didn’t have that belief. AS an adult I didn’t call it that – I just thought life was shit, thats how it would always be for me. Its easier to be a pessimist that way you are never siappointed, and I was often disapppointed as a child. Disappointed that no-one in my family had time for me or interest in me; diasappointed that promises were somehow excused from being kept. Disappointed about so many things that other kids seemed to to have but were not deemed desirable for me. Disappointed not jealous – since the message was always dressed up in some way to invalidate how I felt. It carried on into my adult life – and I have only begun to address it in the last 18months in therapy.
I was repeatedly invalidated at work – and my victimhood was perpetuated. I truly never saw myself as a victim until very recently and it amazed me that anyone would speak up for me, on my behalf, when I was being victimised by a colleague. THis was the beginning of the end of my repression. A physical illness frought me to the real end of that when I was so ill that I could no longer sustain the effort of keeping it all under wraps – and the flashbacks started…It was the start of a new way of life. Now, I have begun to open up, face the truth, and expose the secrets and lies and abuse, I can see how totally brainwashed I was into believing I did not have any right to anything nice. I have hidden it for years, deep within me. I was a terribly frightened and lonely child. I grew into an anxious, lonely and frightened adult. I am only now starting to understand how that has dominated my life. When I look back to how I was a year ago I can see how far I have come. My life is changing – improving. I will continue to explore my childhood as a means to building a better future. I now feel I wil change my work – leave the helping professions – I no longer need to justify myself by being there, and I think I need to leave and gain a different perspective on my purpose. I am daring to be more creative I had lost the talented child that I was – and hope that this creativity will support me in the future. I am taking baby steps, but….I am taking them. I am taking my life back. I am reclaiming my Self.


Hi Holli
Exactly! This is exactly what I am talking about in EFB. There is a bottom line, there is a root to all of this and it is in finding and actually validating that root, where I found the beginning of freedom. I love your comments and your “self talk” comment at the end is a bonus!
Thanks for sharing, this is great! This post is empowering and inspiring!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Libby
I thought that victim mentality was about “whining” about how hard life is. I didn’t even know what it really was!
I love your “disappointment” points.
Thank you for sharing your victories! Yay for reclaiming yourself! Your comments are also empowering and inspiring!
Hugs, Darlene


@j thanks for your concern,
i have learnt to cope with alot of what happened now im down to these bits, the family stuff, the hurts that my parents and grandparents caused, the trouble my brothers have brought and even how i am as a parent is down to how i have decided to live my life. it has taken a quarter of a century to get this far and it hase bben a constant battle of self awareness and therapy to alter the bits i couldnt do oin my own. though why i had to do them on my own and not have the support that others get or got is in someways a personal thing as i didnt want my abuse put into my medical records with my doctor so have used charities for counselling and it got me where i am today, almost finishing 3yrs od uni studies so i can use my life experiences to train professional who deal with abused people and hopeflly help them gain some insight into our mentality before they are let loose to cause havoc in a fam,ily because they really just do not get family life.


“Whining” is such a dreadful thing to say to a child, isn’t it? I was scared of being told I was “whining” – that classic childhood “it’s not fair” was often in my mind, but I would never say it. How often do children get told “Life isn’t fair”? It may well true – but a child has a black and white perspective on life because we don’t have the knowledge or experience to understand that adults lie. Adults teach children about unfairness by their actions, although their words say otherwise. As children we were told to speak the truth – but…it was OK when adults lied to us, manipulated us and abused us – and THEN told us to keep quiet, not to tell, that we “shouldn’t” feel like that….. Life isn’t “fair” because adults make it so. Children instinctively know this, but we are invalidated each time we point this out. I think that’s what makes life so hard for us when we are struggling to survive the damage that was done – we don’t speak out because we believe we’ll be told we’re whining again – or lying.
It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right. Not only did we deserve better – it was our RIGHT, as children to be treated better. Not to be victimised. We get all upset and indignant about the lives of children in developing countries – conveniently overlooking the children in our own countries for whom childhood is every bit as miserable, dangerous and hard.


I believe finding out that I had choices was what finally took me from victim mode to survivor mode and the choices don’t have to be big choices either. The small choices can be just as freeing. I wasn’t the family scapegoat. That was my sister. I was the family hero, totally responsible for keeping all the family secrets, taking care of everyone’s emotional and physical needs but my own. My job was to make good grades, to be well-liked, so that the family looked good.

Asking my dad why he did what he did would have done no good at all. He never ever admitted that he did anything wrong. He was the family dictator, the raging alcoholic.

Great post, Darlene. Thanks for writing and sharing it.


.’ Why was I willing to protect the people who never protected me?’

When I finally realized that’s what I was doing, it took more time after that to unravel the way I thought, felt and acted.
I ALWAYS felt so exposed in front of everyone, even complete strangers, like they could take one look at me and see right inside of me. I struggled with this for years and sometimes still do.
(no wonder I’ve had constant depression and anxiety attacks)
I used to ‘confess’ my past and dreadful secrets to pretty much anyone who would listen, (anyone whom I felt was even remotely empathetic, or those I saw in a position of authority, which was pretty much anyone because my self esteem was so low)..
I was screaming out for help and validation and comfort, and thought I had to ‘forgive them’, I just didn’t know how…

All I was doing was protecting them and my siblings from further pain and shame, yet they did NOTHING to protect me. I even felt obliged to let him walk me down the aisle, because as my crazy effed up ‘mother’ would say, ‘he’s the best father you’ve ever had’ (*explosions inside of head).. How did I get through that?? I thought ‘well yeah, u were the first to have me so u have the right to give me away….)
Oh, how sick I have been.
The best thing about my wedding day was I was walking towards my husband, and i was taking his name. (our ‘mother’ made us all use his surname when we started living at his house of horrors, because she didn’t want people to know she had 4 children from 3 different fathers).. So yeah, I had to sign that sickos name on my marriage certificate, all the while ‘the outsiders’ saw and thought, ‘oh isn’t this lovely, a real success story here, what a lovely man to take on those children like that’, blah blah BLAH BLAH BLAH!

That’s my rant for the day..


Darlene, thank you for writing and for sharing this. I am so grateful that your need to heal became stronger than your desire to please and that it also became stronger than your fear of displeasing others in your family. Understandably, this is not an easily arrived at place for any of us, but it is especially frightening for someone who has been abused by family members because the abuse is about power and it robs the abused of empowerment, hence instilling within the abused an immense sense of the need for approval, the desire to please, and a great degree of willingness to ‘be who i think others want me to be’ to gain acceptance. What an inspiration you are to so many of us for the bravery you have and for your ongoing growth. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!


Hi Libby
Good comments Libby, very well said! When we learn from very young not to speak out (because we know the consequences will not be in our favour) we don’t think anything will be different if we speak out when we are adults. In fact looking back, I didn’t ever think about it as an adult… I just didn’t do it. Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Patricia
Yes… not knowing that I had a choice was so oppressive! Finding out that I had choices was such a fantastic beginning for me too!
About confronting ~ I think that for some people, confronting the abuser and even asking WHY they did it, (even knowing that they won’t admit it and that the result will be disappointing) is empowering. It is like standing up for yourself, saying “I know what you did, and so do you. I don’t care if you admit it or not, we both know what happened” I don’t think confrontation has to have a positive outcome (dependant on how the abuser responds) in order to be a self-empowering experience.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Michelle
I love your first sentence ~ when I finally realized that is what I was doing… (protecting the people who never protected me)
I love these comments… I felt all those ways too. And I went through a time of feeling extreme pain about the depth of the brainwashing; how many things that I let go when I was an adult, and how much of my life was gone… but that passed! None of it was my fault… the brainwashing was not my choice, the fog was necessary for survival. finding examples and proof for myself of these things finally set me free. One day I realized that I had the REST of my life! When I finally realized the why about how I operated in my life, I could change it.
Thanks for being here. I loved your rant for the day!
hugs, Darlene

Hi A Believer
Welcome to emerging from broken!
I am glad that you like this article! Hugs, Darlene


I find that abuse is one of the most isolating things you can experience…im at that “breaking dawn” point where my abuse is still in present tense but i realize that there is no big pink bus wriitten Child Abuse-find love inside thats going to save me…i know that im going to hav to do that myself…i still find it hard to say the words out loud to myself…


Hi Lila
I totally know that stage! And it is one of the necessary stages… that beginning awareness that I have to do this myself… for me I felt so sad.. like I had to let go of the hope that someone else was going to save me… or do this for me… but today I realize where those thoughts came from in the first place. I had been raised to believe that I had to rely on the very people who invalidate me and at some level I thought that I would only become valid when they said I was so I kept looking to them for my answers… complicated!
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much for this post…I truly needed it today. I’m 10 months out of a horribly abusive 2nd marriage after a moderately abusive 1st marriage. I’m finding out that the severe childhood abuse/neglect I endured at the hands of my mother is the key to it all. I’m struggling. I’m struggling, I can see it and I don’t know what else to do about it. I’m in therapy, on medication, doing as much self-care as possible…its not enough. There is just too much going on in my world and I’m sinking.

It feels like a relief to read your post and know that someday, with God’s help, I will be where you are.


Hi Kelly
You may feel like it is “not enough” but when we are at that stage, all that has to be enough. Being IN the process (especially that stage you are talking about) is hard and it is not quick or easy. I just kept trying to “go forward” what ever that looked like each day. I felt like I was sinking, but in reality, it was just all so new and so painful that if felt worse than being in denial. This was a big stage for me, but it led to the freedom i have now. There is hope!
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi everyone

Daybreak again; Called my ex. (First love mentioned above). She didn’t answer. She told me she wanted no more contact about a year ago. Pretty sure this is the first time I tried since then.

Obviously not proud, but didn’t really give a shit at the time I rang. My body is so heavy (not just weight-wise — just feels like it’s dragging me down to the ground. Feels like that a lot of the time). Realised I don’t really have anyone I enjoy being around anymore. And hardly have anyone to be around, anyway. No idea what to do. The dreams I’ve been hanging on to for years (mainly about creativity, music, art etc & living on my own) are all seeming like I always worried they would — things I might think I want, but I’d still hate if I ever got them.

Just feels like everyone’s against me. I just want to be given a disability pension & then left alone. Don’t think that’s ever gonna happen. (Being left alone, that is). Over last few years I stopped giving a shit about almost everything (money, responding to mail, grooming, friends, family, life basically). But must’ve kept holding on to dreams about music, despite all the evidence of how unlikely it ever was to happen (given how hard I have to try just to keep my head above water, let alone actually move forward). I think the “fog clearing” re parental abuse also cleared the fog from my perception of myself, and opened my eyes to the fact that I’d been checking out from life more and more. It wasn’t an intentional thing, but once the fog cleared I realised that if I had been intending that, it probably would look exactly the same. I think this kinda upset me to realise. Or something. Who knows.

Apologies if this is too blunt or anything. Still appreciate people’s thoughts etc.

And now back to feeling same as usual – like I’m beyond all help & others have to be protected from me & the shit that exists in my skull. Meh.

Darlene, I don’t know what to do. I know I was miserable with my first love a lot of the time (and vice versa), but also feels like the closest I ever got to being happy. And along the line I’ve managed to convince myself I’ll never even come that close again. (Often feels like that’s true). Since seeing parental abuse more clearly, I realised one part of the obsession is probably to do with that being the closest I ever got to being what my parents wanted (ie married, and at least pretending not to be sexually active beforehand) and blah blah blah. But I did love her, even though my idea of love was obviously a f**king shambles (thanks again for that, parental units) and even though it was insular and obsessive and nearly drove me literally out of my mind, I still want her back. Or just that feeling. Or something. After I bailed on my first love when her sibling died and hooked up with my only other long-term relationship, I intentionally tried to stop giving a shit, because I’d seen what happened when I did. (Again, not claiming any of this as something to be proud of). And that maybe worked a bit, or something. Except then new GF ended up feeling like the major stress in my life (apart from my own obsession with my ex, and apart from parents, but at least didn’t live with them at that stage). Stayed in 2nd relationship something like 4 yrs. I think I was just desperate to not be around my parents (but not nearly as consciously of the effect they had on me at that time – still badly fogged/brainwashed), so forced myself to stay with new GF even when it felt wrong (from the start, in many ways).

I guess this might be progress, that in writing all this I felt sorry for myself. (Now feel guilty writing that, worried everyone will think I should feel sorry for my ex’s). But I already did plenty of that. Never really just felt sorry for myself, or gave myself understanding. Sometimes I just wish so bad someone would’ve come to me like I was a little kid again and just hugged me and told me it was ok, and they understood, and that anyone would’ve been a f**king trainwreck if they’d gone through what I did. Still do, in fact. (And now I’m worried saying this will offend you, Darlene). But as much as I value this site, virual hugs will never equal real ones.

Oh well. Thanks everyone for caring & listening (well, reading). Apologies for dumping all my mess. Hope eveyrone’s doing well


Hi J.
Have you read any of my early work here?? Start in December of 2009 and read that stuff.. it might help you to get to the beginning of the work part of this. I know this is hard and I know you are struggling. I really encourage you to read some more of my journey and to talk to your case workers/ therapists. (not sure what yours are called, sorry)
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you darlene…this is the first time speaking about it…and reading your posts helps a little because u say how i feel but what i cant yet articulate to myself…ive been diagnosed with depression, ptsd and anxiety…ive been trying to read selfhelp book because therapy is too expensive and i cant afford..but when i go back to college, il push for counselling there, even though i tried last year and they continuously didnt honour those appointments because they had others that i guess must hav paid more…self help books confuse me sometimes or it feels too easy…or like i hav so much to say or too much pain to do a simple “visualise a better future”..but somehow..it helps or at least im hoping it will so that i can get out of bed long enough to think of how to leave this environment…i identify so much with ur post in that im thinkin of starting a blog to share my feelings but its like someone or my abuser is editing my words and threatenong me if i say the words abuse in my head


You are welcome. In the beginning my only real hope was that I would eventually want to get out of bed in the mornings. I never thought I could have all this life! I never thought that I could feel this good and be this excited. I did not start a public blog until I was almost 4 years into the process and I don’t regret waiting. I tried to start one befor this one, but the fears that came up with that actually delayed my process!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I am still in victim mode some of the time, like when I get stressed and feel triggered. But now there are longer periods of clarity and optimism and inner emotional connection so I can continue to explore the pain.

J — I want to let you know that I deeply respect your ability to articulate so well the many levels of cause and effect of trauma and neglect. I have had those feelings of heaviness and lack of interest in interaction. At various times over the last few years, as I worked to new levels of clarity and the beginnings of self-respect, I gradually weaned from self-medications and also found myself wanting to nourish myself better and did so. Just giving up cigarettes was like clearing a permanent black cloud from my head. The process of self-excavation is mending the brokenness, and it seems to then bring out my long-stifled instinct for survival and thriving.


Hi Sophia
There are times when I still catch myslef looking at life through the grid of victim mentality ~ trying to decide my actions in survivor mode. Awareness is my best friend in that department ~ I was in that mode for a long long time, I figure it is understandable if I go back there when I am stressed or feel triggered. Thanks for being here,
Hugs, Darlene


I just started going to regular therapy about a year ago. I just finally got sober (40) after drinking since I was 13 years old. I have now been sober for 15 months. I have more struggles with my mental health then I really do with using all though they do go hand in hand for me and my illnesses. I have finally been diagnosed with major depression, BPD, PTSD, anxiety, and fibromyalgia. My parents divorced when I was around 5 and now that I am starting to learn and remember some of the things of my past I realized that not only was I emotionally, verbally, and physically abused by my step-mom, but my mom abandoned me for a while after the divorce and my father stopped giving me the love I diserved once he remarried and neglected to see what was happening to me and my brother. He also abandoned me emotionally durring this time as well. Then when I went to live with my mom, I never got help from a councelor. Not that I would have trusted one, because when I did speak out about my step-mom it went right back to her and my dad which just made things worse for me. I began drinking and was forced to have sex with the guy that I liked at 13. After that I was a reck and began to drink and have sex even more. Thinking that by giving a man what he wanted (even though they always left, and still do or worse) he would be happy and love me and take care of me and stay. That wasnt the case however and this lead into many attempted suicides that no one ever really new about. I never really got any real help until I had my daughter at 28 of which I was told I was never to have children, and went into a major depression. This is when I was really first ever diagnosed with anything or put on any kind of med. It never did stop after her though, it only actually got worse cause I got into the bad drugs and the real bad guys. I have never been in any legal trouble but maybe I should have. When I was married we did drugs on a pretty regular basis little did anyone know. He started abusing me mentally then emotionally then physically, that is when I knew I needed out, that he began to start emotionally try to hurt my daughter too. He ended up in prision, I ended up getting into drugs and alcohol even worse met a man that had just went through something similar had an affair. Ended up getting torn away from him, or actually went to treatment, and he left, and went back to his ex and treatment as well and drurring this time we somehow kept in contact on facebook, not too common, and are now back together, sober. However, my family dont like him and want to blame him for every thing I went through before treatment. LOL That was all me. He just happened to be there.


I’ve been walking this road for a long time. Multiple perps, adult rape, the victimization of at least two of my children and now a possible perp connection with someone else’s case 🙁 I’ve done therapy therapy therapy… I’ve lost connections with family members through asking questions and speaking truths… And now my stomache is twisted up in knots once again because I “might” know things that could be helpful to another person – but will have to walk through it alone as per usual. Why so much trauma? Why are there so many that can’t see it, won’t speak of it, want to pretend it doesn’t exist? Just hurting today. Old fears stirred up… Determination not as strong as it once was 🙁 Older now. Tired. Wondering if it is worth it. We did put one perp in prison. His name arises again… What to do? What to do? Life is tough already in so many ways and I wish I had at least one other person truly by my side. So much hurt.


‘Fear-based adrenaline rush’….I never knew there were words for what I always felt whenever I told the truth about my family, whenever I questioned and confronted my abusers as to why *I* was targeted and scapegoated, whenever I tried to talk to a teacher or counselor or protective services forced family counseling psychologist….oh how much I held back out of fear and how much I suffered when I did speak or even when the realization came to me that other families were not like mine—that my friends were not terrified of their parents, that their uncles did not molest them, that their grandmother didn’t tell them that their own conception was an embarrassment to the family and brought shame and that my existence ruined my mother’s future…..and then the not telling when I wasn’t dependent on them and out of the house (took me long enough to believe in myself because I was told that I wouldn’t be able to take care of myself without them because they were so controlling and told me what I didn’t want and what I did and punished me for ANY act of independence) and then when I had relationships and there was conflict how that adrenaline rush would paralyze me if I spoke up, and terrify my, my heart pounded, my hands shook, the fear of rejection was overwhelming.
Recently the man I loved stopped speaking to me without a word. It was a long distance relationship and we were making plans for him to come here to spend a month with me and until our last conversation we were looking forward to his visit, a long road trip we’d been planning, talking about his working overtime to save money to buy his ticket, my selling a prized possession to pay for my part and agreeing it was all worth it and then nothing……total cut-off, total silence. I began to send him emails, tried contacting him, I was initially frightened he’d been incapacitated because our contact was very frequent and the break was without any warning, then I thought, oh he’s just busy and would send him emails, every single one fearing rejection, hands shaking, feeling the little girl in me tremble. That same little girl who was unloved and neglected and abused and told never tell, never tell, never defend yourself, you’ve no right to it, no right to any feelings at all and above all never tell, all triggered by his lack of communication, my greatest fear, come to life, again by someone I loved and emotionally depended on, again the self-loathing, you don’t deserve his love….so much fear.
And now, I’m moving on…day by day. I tell my therapist, I don’t want to relate all my life to fear, grief, rejection and sorrow. I want healing. I want to flourish. I want an ocean of pure bliss without a dirty tide of polluted abusive voices telling me I’m undeserving, unworthy and above all, going to be abandoned and rejected because I’m insignificant. I fight that tide every single day, but I see clear clean blue water on the horizon and know that it’s healing and wholeness and I will get there.


Welcome Victroyia!
Thank you for sharing here. I think you will find lots of understanding and lots of others that you will be able to relate to.
Hugs, Darlene

Welcome Morning Star!
I think that so many do not want to speak of it is because they don’t want to face their own pain either.
I know there is a lot of pain.. I was there too, but through the process I write about in this site, I have overcome and today I live a full life full of joy!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lainey
This is exactly what I am talking about. You describe the dysfunctional family system perfectly, complete with feelings of confusion and the whole bit. It was realizing all that stuff and then realizing how wrong that it was and how it ultimately resulted in the belief system that was false and in my way, that I found freedom. Thank you for sharing in this way.
I am sorry for the heartbreak that you are going through. I am thrilled to read your summary though ~ that you want healing and that you want to flourish! That is half the battle!
Hugs, Darlene


Hello, All:
Yesterday, while my husband and our dog and I were in a somewhat remote area of New Mexico, I had a freak accident that caused a hemorrhage in my throat. There is nothing like lying on a gurney in the back of an ambulance, wondering if you are going to drown in your own blood before you get to the nearest hospital ~ which was over 70 miles away ~ to make you take serious stock of your life.

I’m home now, feeling a bit weak and shaken and sore, but otherwise ok, and very grateful to still be alive.

I was so scared! And, I was mentally telling myself off, the whole time, for feeling afraid. I remember thinking: “Everybody dies, it’s not like you are the only one this happens to! Stop feelings sorry for yourself, and be grateful for all the years you’ve had on this earth!” I felt guilty for feeling bad about the fact that I might be dying, because I am 58, and my cousin who drowned last June was only 38.

Is that… Victim Mentality? To believe that I am not allowed to feel even a little bit sorry for myself, or to feel scared, or even to regret that I might be dying in a scary painful way, because everybody dies, and I’ve already lived a lot longer than a lot of other people have, so I need to be brave and Quit Whining…. EVEN THOUGH I WAS ONLY MENTALLY WHINING!

After I was discharged from the hospital, AND after I had apologized to my loving husband for about the 100th time, for worrying him, and for being so scared, when it turns out I wasn’t even dying after all, my husband said: “When you thought you were dying, you were magnificent. You didn’t cry, you didn’t say ‘Why is this happening to me?’ ~ you were thinking of others, not of yourself. You were worried about how it would affect me, and your kids, if you died. You stayed calm, you were coherent the whole time, you calmly told me what to tell the 911 operator, and you answered the paramedics questions calmly and coherently. You had every right to feel scared! But you didn’t act like you were scared, you were awesome. So please stop beating yourself up!”

I don’t quite know how to end this comment. I’m just feeling a bit… odd.

Love to you lovely people. Robin ~ BIG HUG. I’m so sorry for what was done to you. Being raped by anyone is horrible enough, but when it is someone you love… and when you are made to feel to blame.. it is soul-destroying. Facing the truth does set us free.



J ~ re your comment #27 ~ I.. can’t think of the words I want to say. Just, I hear you. I get what you are saying. I feel it.

Same with most of the comments here. I feel so much when I am reading these comments. My mind isn’t tracking very well right now, though, so I am unable to articulate what these comments are making me feel.

I feel a bit lost and confused. Feel like I never want to leave my safe little house again, too. Wish I could scream, but I know that wouldn’t do any good. Plus, my throat hurts, screaming would not be a good idea right now. 😉



so glad to hear you’re ok! THinking of you & wishing you a very speedy recovery! Sorry can’t write more now,

take care


” Telling the family secrets was like giving up on the last thread of hope because I knew that if I told the truth about what had gone on in my life, I would burn my last bridge and ruin my only chance that my mother and possibly even my whole family would love me. “Telling” represented the death of that hope.  ”

I hope it’s okay to say that I’m scared sh*tless to start telling. I can relate so much to “publishing” then deleting words. Family for me is already “dead”, there is no REAL hope of rekindling anything. But rest assured the instant I go public and STAY public it truly is all over for me. 

It’s hard to admit that maybe I am stuck in the “victim mentality” but it feels even worse than that. I’m afraid people won’t believe me still. I’m afraid of the public saying things about what my story entails. But I have a overwhelming desire to be public. Now. Not years down the road. Public as I continue to heal. 

It does change things to look at the fact I am protecting them. I will continue my baby steps… 


Hi Elaina
What a horrible frightening experience! I am glad that you are okay now. Yes, telling ourselves that we are bad or wrong for feeling sorry for ourselves or for being scared and reprimanding ourselves for that in related to victim mentality. And even if you were scared and panicked out loud, that would not have defined you as a whiner or unworthy.
Thanks for sharing. I think that many of us will relate to your telling yourself off like that. This is a great example of how our belief systems lead us to this degree of feeling undeserving of life.
I’m so glad that you made it!!!
Love Darlene

Hi Genesis
What you are describing is something that I so closely relate to, I don’t even know how to say it in one paragraph. Even after my mother stopped speaking to me just because I asked for mutual respect, I was terrified to tell. But I used that fear to take myself through the process. I thought about it. I thought about what I wanted to say and why I was afraid to say it. I reassured myself that I was safe now, that “love” is not protecting abusers, and “love” is not fear either. And I had been controlled with fear. I had to tell myself that I would go to the police if I got threatened or if I was physically attacked and I was even willing to die for my right to live, to be free, and to have my voice. (not that my life was in danger, but just in case I thought it through.)
I was very afraid that people would not believe me, and I am sure many don’t, but through self love and self validation, I stopped caring about what other people thought. I know the truth and now I tell it.
Great to hear from you!!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sophia,

just wanted to say a quick thanks for your comment. Brought a tear to my eye just now. Almost felt a glimmer of hope I think. Just so much going on; only seems to keep piling up. (Didn’t get disability pension I discovered last night). Anyway thanks again, hope you’re well


Elaina, thanks also for your comment. How are you feeling? Hope you’re doing alright. I imagine it’ll take some time (both physical and mental). Thinking of you


Genesis, in comment #41, and Darlene’s reply to Genesis, comment #42, really hits home for me. The fear of TELLING.. knowing it means THE ABSOLUTE END of even a minscule scrap of hope that someday there will be some kind of a loving or at least a non-hateful relationship with the momster… and/or other family people. Plus that huge fear that we won’t be believed! I KNOW I am not believed, by a lot of people. That doesn’t matter much to me, anymore. It almost doesn’t matter at all, anymore. That’s my goal.. to not care at all anymore, if anyone believes me, likes me, agrees with me. Whatever. I believe me, I like me, and I agree with me! I can be enough.

I’m feeling much better today, thanks, J and Darlene. The area where I was injured is very vascular, which means it bleeds a lot, but it also means it heals very fast. Lucky me.

I am still working on not beating myself up for feeling SCARED when I thought I was dying! I’m really not so scared of dying, I just don’t want to have to know it when it is happening.


Hello Everyone!
Elaina… I think anyone who’s human would be having that same fear going through their minds. From a nursing perspective, it’s a rare person who welcomes their own death. Glad you’re back home and ALIVE!! Hope you feel back to normal very soon!!

Above you wrote “Sometimes I just wish so bad someone would’ve come to me like I was a little kid again and just hugged me and told me it was ok, and they understood”. I cannot, CannoT, CANNOT tell you how many times when I was in distress, I had this EXACT same wish. For whatever reason, I would regress to a child mentally or emotionally, or whatever, and feel so alone, and I would be sobbing and terrified of who knows what, and all I could think of was, would someone just tell me it will be okay and hug me and mean it???? I have never really learned how to hug myself. I have come to believe it’ll have to come from me though. That I will have to come to a place where my own words “everything will be okay”, will have to get me through. I realize it’s impossible to turn back time, to the place in childhood when someone SHOULD have said that, should have protected me, and hugged me. I believe that’s where the deficit lies. That empty place inside that some adult should have filled, but didn’t. Left to flounder and form our own fears and conclusions at a young, impressionable, and very tender age. I hate going to that place. It’s desperation. It’s scary. I completely get it J! I hope you’re feeling better soon.
With love,


Mimi, thanks. And ~ what you said to J ~ RIGHT ON. Every word, YES, that is what I wanted to say to J, but could not articulate. That lonely scary place of desperation… I completely get it, too.


One really cool thing that happened for me when I was being loaded into the ambulance 2 days ago, hemorrhaging in my throat, thinking I was dying, and giving my husband what I thought might be my final messages of love, messages to him, and messages for him to pass on to my children and grandchildren: I asked myself, at that moment of stark clarity, whether I had any desire to ask my husband to pass on a last message to anyone in my family of origin? My absolute answer to that question was: NOPE.

I am just really, completely DONE, with all of them! I am only in contact with my one fellow-scapegoat, my disabled brother, who respects my desire to hear nothing about the rest of our so-called family. I have already told my brother all of the loving things that I want him to know. As for the momster, and all of her narcissistic clones… forget about it!


I’m not at that place I don’t think. But, I’d hate to have a near death experience to find out. I’ll just take it a day at a time for now. I’m in the waiting period where I’ve held my mother accountable for some life changing lies she told in 2011. It’s been about 8-9 days since I sent the email that said I knew they were lies. She hasn’t responded. What I can take away from that is, she DID lie. If she didn’t she would have defended herself right away. And also, she’s taking some time to carefully construct a response made of excuses and babble and more lies. What a nutcase!! So much easier to own it and apologize, jeez!! Hope you’re feeling better Elaina!!


Mimi, I hope it works out for you. I couldn’t totally let go of my hope to have some kind of a relationship with my mother, until this past year. I’ve been trying, off and on, to have a relationship with her ever since she threw me away when I was 14. I will be 59 this year! Slow learner, that’s me, about some things. I had hoped that my mother would eventually grow up and grow out of her ignorant ways. She’s 77, and she’s worse than ever, lying, hateful, spiteful. What a waste of a life.


Thanks Elaina!!
You know what has struck me and totaly surprised me is, since I sent the email and felt the relief of that, I don’t think I want a response. There was so much anxiety surrounding that email. I feel more free than I ever have right now. I’m enjoying it, and I’m not sure I want her back in my life. I feel some guilt in saying that, but, I don’t know if I feel guilty enough to let her back in. She too has gotten worse with age and much sloppier in her tactics. When I think about the people I CHOOSE as friends, the ones I purposefully avoid are the people that have many of her characteristics. I don’t like friends who lie, manipulate, are blatantly envious, and use triangulation as a means to make sure they’re always in the middle. I hate those things in people and I RUN at the first sign of those characteristics. Now, how do I say, mother, it’s not that I can’t forgive you, it’s that I don’t like you!!!??? It’s just a day at a time. I know I’ll want to puke when I see that she’s graced my inbox!!


Hello everyone!
I just published a new post that might be of interest to the readers of this one!
It’s called
“I want my Mommy” and Re-parenting MYSELF
I look forward to the conversation there!!!
Hugs, Darlene


“Telling the family secrets was like giving up on the last thread of hope because I knew that if I told the truth about what had gone on in my life, I would burn my last bridge and ruin my only chance that my mother and possibly even my whole family would love me. “Telling” represented the death of that hope.
I had to be willing to face the possibility of that rejection.”

After reading this, I just sat here, almost unable to move. I remember this exact feeling engulfing my whole being when I made the decision to completely surrender to the truth.

I had always held onto to some possibility that mine and mother’s relationship could be healed, knowing in my heart/mind that it would never be.

It is all so new to me that I still am frozen at times, realizing that by making the decision to quit lying to myself has created complete isolation from not only my mother but from my father, my grandmother, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. In one day every family member I had ever had was gone. Although, each and every person had known and oftentimes commented on how badly my mother treated me and them for that matter, they believed it should be remain a family secret..not to be shared or exposed to anyone outside of the family.

The rejection of this has and continues to have a huge impact on my life. It is strange how instead of getting better as time goes by it seems to be getting harder and harder for me to deal with. I know everything in life is a process and I can only hope that eventually this feeling of neglect and being ‘outcast’ gets easier.


Hi Mitzi
I totally understand where you are coming from. I went round and round with all these feelings and asked myself a million times if I had done the “right thing” since it resulted in “total rejection” but eventually I had to keep considering what the alternative would have been… and the answer is that it would have been more dysfunction, and by my going along with it, as I came out of the fog, it felt like I was “agreeing” with them that I was not worth being heard. That my life, was not as valuable as keeping the secret? I just could not live with it anymore. Eventually, I no longer questioned if I had made a mistake and the feeling of being rejected completely went away as I realized that it was not really about me but about them. Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mitzi,
It is a horrible feeling to be rejected by your whole family. People who should love and support you. I know that feeling too. My mom cast me out for years and years with my family members. Actually, those years are when the majority of my pain took place. I was a child entering into young adulthood and beyond, until I was about 31. It still hurts that she tells people lies. My family has shrunk though so the only person she really has to lie to is her own mother, who’s 89. It only serves to make her worry. I have told my mom it’s selfish and she has a ton of other people to talk to, but if she heeded my advice, how would she win family members to her side? That’s what it’s about for her. Making sure she has allies. Much like a 7 year old would do. It blows my mind that there are so many mothers out there that torture their kids like this. It’s horrible. And, it’s a very lonely place to be. I’m sorry you’re feeling that right now. I think it will get easier. It has for me. Actually I sent my mother “the” accountability email about 10 days ago and haven’t heard a word from her. It’s been a welcome relief. I feel like my whole life was stifled until I wrote that letter. I can’t really explain it; but like there was an bubble around me with her name on it, keeping me from truly living and being ME! So strange. The anxiety of writing the letter really took it’s toll, but within 24 hours, I felt the sense of freedom really settle in. I’ve been enjoying it since then. I don’t expect my mom to own her lies. It’s really my way of letting her decide to walk away. Then, I don’t have to deal with the guilt of severing our relationship. It’s been her decision, and so far, I’m happy with it. I hope you start to feel better soon.


Hi Darelene,

Thank you for responding to this. Your words truly give me hope. I do realize that had I not made the decision to ‘expose’ the emotional/physical abuse from my mother and the sexual abuse by uncles that I would be forced to just keep on living in the lies and dysfunction of it all which I know is so very much worse. xoxox


Thank you as well for reading and responding… I totally understand where you are coming from when you talk about your mother having to have allies. I could never understand why my mother was obsessed with always having everyone agree with her, with her feelings, with her anger, with her judgement of others. Finally, it was clear that it was a whole part of her narcissism/control.

PS: What exactly is an accountability letter? I think I probably have an idea, but could you be more descriptive? : ) xoxoxo

Once again I just have to say how very grateful I am for this website. At times, I really believe it probably saved my life.

Much Love to ALL


It has saved my life too I believe. It came at the most pivotal time. I was truly at the end of my rope and it felt like a total dead end. I had no idea what to do, all I knew was I had stopped functioning for the most part. I’m always so grateful to have this reprieve. (thank you Darlene).

I will gladly expand on the letter I wrote to mother. She had told some lies in 2011. Lies that had a huge impact on my life and the lives of my sisters. She single handedly severed a budding relationship we had just embarked on with our DAD’s sister. My dad’s family has been estranged from us since our parents divorce when I was 11, although the live only a couple of miles from me. Anyhow, when my mom got word that we were meeting with our aunt after thirty years of estrangement, she went into a complete tailspin, and that’s what started the decomposing of our new relationship with our aunt. My mother stole that from me in the form of lies, to my aunt, and to my sisters and myself. She played devil’s advocate and unfortunately, it worked. My aunt is no wiser than the rest of the world to my mother’s tactics. So, I thought, this is it. She has won over tooo many people against me in my life. There were many other disgusting revelations about her in 2011, and I decided 2012 would be the year of great truth. I pondered and wrote and rewrote this email for what seems like a few weeks. I finally sent a short paragraph, telling her simply and very straight forwardly that I knew she had lied about two HUGE things specifically and it was her job to own it and take responsibility. My sisters were equally involved and I asked them permission to carbon copy them on the email to reinforce it a little. My mother thinks she can tackle if she’s one on one with my sisters or myself. And, she succeeded in that tactic for 43 years. Now, even though I’ve had some painful strains with one sister in 2011, she is still a part of that alliance to hold my mom accountable. That is really a blessing because i feared her so much that I couldn’t have done it alone I don’t think. She’s been the source of a lot of destruction in my life and I just fear it ~ something I’m working on overcoming. Mitzi, if EFB is the only ally you have, please, use it. I know that heartwrenching feeling of being abandoned by literally every family member. My sisters weren’t always my allies. They were entranced for many years too. It is so destructive to the core of your being. Perhaps the worst pain of my whole life. Even if someone didn’t agree with my mother, she would make me believe they did. I’ll never know the truth in most cases, but, it doesn’t matter to me now. What matters most to me finally, is no longer living a life of just existing. I have a natural zest for life that has been squelched by my mother. I want that back. I want to move from taking up space to having a meaningful and joyful life. Mitzi, for some reason, your story has really struck me. I want you to know that I will be your sister, your ally. I hope you feel better very very soon.
In hope and love,


Oh Mimi, thank you so very much!!! EFB is all I have to help me get through this process and try to understand…

I cannot believe how similar our stories are. When you began speaking of an aunt on your dad’s side that you had been estranged from, I could not help but relate it to my own life. I had two aunts on my dad’s side that my mother worked her entire life on making certain that they were not a part of my life. She was so determined to destroy any hope of ever having a relationship with them. She kept me away from my paternal grandmother as well and I dont think I will ever get over the last years I missed spending time with here before she died.

I remembered bits and pieces of my childhood and how wonderful they were to me as a child. Many years of my mother filling my head full of lies about them took its course and we never did have any kind of relationship. They live in KY near my mother’s side of the family. When I would go down to visit my grandmother (her mother) and her sisters and brothers, I was basically forbidden to drive the extra five miles to see my dad’s family. When I would arrive back in MI she would call me and that would be the very first question she asked about my trip. “did you go see your aunts?” It was THIS bad and although this is very hard for me to share, I feel like it is time……It literally makes me ill to even put myself back in that moment.

Back in 2005 I was suffering so deeply from depression. My marriage was falling apart. My husband had been transferred to Indiana through his job. We knew it would be about a year that he would have to be there, so we decided that he would move to Indiana and I would remain in Michigan in an attempt to try to keep normalcy for my children. The distance was too much on our relationship and it began falling apart. He eventually began having an affair and I entered into a deep dark hole and eventually tried to take my own life.

While talking to my mom’s sister on the phone (who lives in KY) I began swallowing every prescription pill I had in the house. Feeling very confident that her being all the way in Ky and my being in MI, there was no way that any one could reach me before it was over. My aunt (who I have spoken of often in my posts, Vickie– She and I grew up together, very close in age and I always considered her MY sister altho she is my mother’s sister.) anyway, she somehow contacted my mother and my father and they ended up at my apartment withing 30 minutes. By this time, I was in and out of consciousness. Although, I don’t remember a whole lot about that night, the one thing I do remember and has and will always haunt me was the conversation my mother was having with me during this time. I look back at it now and I literally feel ill realizing just how evil my mother really is/was.

As I mentioned before, my mother was determined to destroy any kind of relationship I ever had or could have with my dad’s sisters. As I was throwing up and wanting only to fall asleep, my mother lay in the bed with me and kept asking… “I just want to know ONE thing, ‘have you had any contact with your Aunt M.A. or your Aunt B?’ If I passed out she would shake me and wake me up just to ask me again. Although I kept telling her no, she continued this for about an hour. I could hear my dad in the background shouting that they needed to get me to a hospital and my mother telling him…”Just one more minute, I HAVE to know the truth about this while I still can” I remember telling her over and over and over again that I hadn’t and I remember the feeling of it being so important to me that she believe me…believe that I had not ‘betrayed her’.

I look back at that now and because of the shame of trying to take my own life and the nauseating feelings that accompany the memory, I could not ever share that with anyone before. But, Mimi, her ONLY concern was that she had completed HER mission of keeping me away from two very loving women. She honestly did not care that if I lived or died. Her fear was always that I would “expose” her to my dad’s side of the family and she just had to know if there had been any chance of that.

I am happy to say that when I finally severed all ties with my mother, my Aunt M.A. and Aunt B were two of the very first people that I contacted. They are two of the most loving, compassionate women I have ever met and we have promised to never let any amount of time go by without being in touch. My husband and I worked through our problems as well and once again have a very loving and healthy relationship.

And as I wrote this I realized that there is one other person that I have that has been very supportive through this. This is my brother’s ex wife (who of course, my mother despised..no one was good enough for HER son). She witnessed the struggles I had with my mother and although my mother tried everything in her power to keep us from becoming friends, Susan became my biggest ally. After she and my brother divorced she moved to SC but we keep in touch and she is very supportive. I just had to make that clear because I had said in the beginning of this post that I had no one, but I DO and will always have Susan.

Well, that was a huge breakthrough for me, I think. Thank you Mimi for being here for me and helping me with my journey.

Love and hugs,


That even makes my stomach turn. As you were going in and out of consciousness, her only question: was she exposed. That truly sickens me. That had to be devastating for you. I try to stick to Darlene’s model of seeking truth and I have adopted the verse from the bible, that the truth shall set us free. It must have been INCREDIBLY painful to realize the truth about your mother while you lay there trying to escape it all. Through the pain though, you learned the truth. That’s what I embrace now. It was heartwrenching to discover so much stuff about my mom. But, I’m thankful to know the truth so I can begin to live again. I thought I would die in the process of uncovering it all though. My husband also had an affair in 2011. It lasted 4 months. We are still together because he begged me to stay and he complied with the new ground rules in place as a result of his betrayal. Anyhow, that along with my mother’s exposure last year was almost the death of me. Two pivotal people in my life stuck a knife in and twisted it. I can’t pretend that I had uncovered at least some of my mother’s tactics in the prior 10 years, but the ultimate was her doing her best to make sure I didn’t develop a relationship with my dad’s sister. She had all her aunts, all her life. She should have left mine alone. She wedged herself in between us, telling lies to everyone. Makes me sick to think about it and although I know I have to forgive her, I don’t have to let her be a source of toxicity in my life. I honestly hope she doesn’t own the lies so I can be free of her.

I’m happy to hear you have your aunts and Susan. It really helps so much to have someone who sees your truth. It is such a lonely place. This blog has been a life saver for me. It’s been my family at times, when I was falling apart.

I’m also happy you felt liberated in telling your story. So much relief comes to me personally, in letting it out and telling the truth. There is always someone who relates in some way on this blog. It truly amazes me still that so many mothers share the same characteristics. Mostly because until I came here, I thought it was only my mother and no one would ever understand or believe me. I thought I was the only one crying. Turns out, there’s a world of people crying. 🙁

I hope you’re feeling better today. And, I hope to see you again soon.
With love and peace,



I, like you, am amazed at how many other women share our story or one’s so very similar. I, too, honestly believed that I was the “only one” who could have possibly had a mother like mine. I believe God/the Universe, whatever one might believe, has brought me to this site. It is def my lifeboat.

So happy to be forming this new friendship with you, my friend.

Love and hugs


oh this is so where I am at right now Darlene. Both my older sister and myself were abused by our father. I’m pretty sure my younger sister was abused too, but she has some kind of mind block or something. She is married to an abusive man as well. My older sister continues to want to protect the family secret. I do not. However, when I speak out, I get rejected by even her and the rest of my family. I’ve been called a liar so many times. Of all the people I don’t want to be rejected by is her because I thought we shared a common bond and could help each other heal. I’m seeing now that only I can help myself heal. My husband and my kids support me, but my sister doesn’t want her kids to know, so she keeps telling me not to talk about so they won’t find out. How sick is that?


Hi Donna
I am sorry, this must be frustrating for you. I had to let go of the people who told me I was wrong and empower myself. I know I am not wrong. My brothers do not want to heal. That can’t be what holds me back though.. I had to just keep going forward with what I needed to do.
I know this is blunt but this is what worked for me. (and it took a lot of time for me to realize that so I am not suggesting that you just cut the ties..) Hugs, Darlene


[…] and notes, and then quickly burn them. The reaction of my friend confirmed my thoughts that I shouldn’t let anyone know what I was dealing with. I kept silent for several months, and pulled away from friends. I called that counselor back and […]


I read this post earlier, but it didn’t really hit home much until Wednesday morning. I have had a highly charged emotional few days…. It is no secret to you guys that my father abused me, but it was a closely guarded family secret. I didn’t think much about it… however, on Wednesday morning at about 7:30 I woke up to my phone ringing. I wasn’t really awake enough to completely register what was happening, but I saw Kent B.’s number show up on the screen… I did recognize that. I answered and the shock of hearing his voice brought back all the memories, the pain, the hurt, the anger at him, even some to the more awful things that happened with him. He proceeded to tell me that my brother is in the hospital with a fractured shoulder and a broken hip. He had surgery yesterday. Apparently my brother fell off a roof. I said ok. I had gone back into survival mode and now i realize that i had gone into survival mode before i even answered the phone, or I wouldn’t have done it. He said that he loved me and i simply said bye and hung up. I was outraged that he even said those words – I don’t believe that he does and i don’t want him to say it unless his actions back him up… which they do not. I was so angry with him. My next thought was: what the heck! How did he get my number? I didn’t give it to him. He is NOT supposed to have it. Suddenly I don’t feel so safe. I didn’t live with them for 18 years for no reason. I know that they will abuse it. I will get harassed by them. I’m not going to answer, but that won’t keep them from calling. How long will it be till I answer the door to find them on my doorstep? How long till they find that? I’m not ready for any of this. My emotions have ranged from anger to numbness to not caring about anything. I got very depressed and felt really hopeless again. I think i might be settling down from it, but it was a huge blow. I went out to the common area of my room and cried so hard that my roommate and one of my suitemates woke up and came to see what happened. I got nothing accomplished at all Wed and Thurs. I twas awful. Almost like I was on autopilot. I also have been angry that a family member betrayed me and gave them my number. I don’t know for sure who it was, but i’m about 99% certain that it was Aunt Teresa. She promised not to give my number out without permission. And now, they have it. She has been trying so hard to make me go back to my family. Or at the least have contact with them and go visit them….. Yeah, right. I won’t set foot on their territory, not even for my brothers sake. I refuse to go see him. I can’t even bring myself to send him a thinking of you card. I don’t want the contact. I’ve worked hard for the life I have, I can’t have them tearing all my work down. It was NOT a pleasant way to be woke up. I wish this were all a bad dream.

As i looked for the reasons it really bothered me, I felt like part of it was the shock. I was in a total daze. I didn’t mind so much finding out about my brother. But i did mind my father calling me about it. And why him, why not Mother? Kind of weird that it had to be him. And even more weird that it had to happen now and for this incident…. any other time they have had my siblings let us know about something or at the least have them ask us to call them… Furthermore, there are ways they had to get a hold of us. They could have called the Belangers…. or they could have emailed…. but no, they had to call. Why? I had not talked to Kent for 2 and a half years. I have no desire to now. Arg…

As for family secrets…. there were lots of them. I’ve had siblings and extended relatives that have gotten mad at me for sharing the things that happened within the family. I feel like a stranger to my biological family, like I don’t belong. And I really don’t. We are in two worlds. I refuse to hide what happened with the hope that others can somehow avoid churches and situations that I had no control over and did not know about.


Hi Kia
Wow, I understand all the emotion and shock that is coming up for you. Can you think up a plan? Can you directly ask him not to call again and tell him why? If he calls again after you tell him not to, you might be able to get something done legally. My heart goes out to you hon. Thanks for sharing!
Hang in here, share as often as you like.
Hugs, Darlene


I’m still afraid of losing what little connection I have to my family. To my brother, his wife and kids. I’m afraid of hurting my Mom, and I know I already have by starting down this road. I’m afraid of everybody finding out that I’m the black sheep. I’m afraid of rejection, like you said. I want to speak the truth, even though it’s painful. I can take the pain, for myself, but inflicting my pain on them, even the ones who caused it? I don’t know.


Hi Nicki
I understand what you are saying. I was extremely afraid too! This is a process. I didn’t actually take action for several years into the process of healing. One day I just realized that I was important and that I was being treated like I was not. All I did was set my boundary; that I would no longer be treated like “nothing”. I was not writing EFB yet. I didn’t want to hurt anyone so I took all the hurt and finally I valued myself enough to stand up. It took time though. I look at it this way today; I didn’t inflict any pain on them, they just finally had to face the consequences of their own behaviour. The truth.
Having said that, there is no “deadline” for healing and we don’t have to do anything before we are ready. It is okay to BE in the Process.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi everyone!
When I was a little girl, I was terrified of my dad. He is an alcoholic, and still is, and would get violent at times. I didn’t usually see it, but I heard it. That left a lot to my imagination. Then, my mother would play it up as much as possible, playing the victim. 30 years later, I still hear the same stories over and over about how horrible it was. About 10 years ago, I was faced with seeing my dad again. (he had left when I was 11, I’m 43 now). I had incredible fear at first. Fear of being around him alone. Because my mother had told me he would try to steal me when I was little. Because she said he didn’t love me and he would hurt me to get at her. That’s not really my point though. My point is, the fear in me was incredible and lasting. When I was faced with seeing my dad again after so many years, it was like I went straight back to being 5 years old, terrified. I had some time to think things out in “present day”, rather than through the eyes of a 5 year old. It was tough to convince myself, but I waded through the muck to a place where I realized, I was an adult, he is older and probably not as strong as he once was, I have any number of things I can swing at him if I have to. These were my thought processes, no matter how silly they may seem. After I came to a realization that I wasn’t 5 anymore, that only my thoughts were taking me there, I could face him with more courage. It worked out okay. Today we have a slightly deeper relationship, but he still has to drink to keep from getting sick. He’s more feeble than ever. I have forgiven him for leaving and not looking back. We don’t have a whole lot of contact, but, I’m okay, just the way it is.

I’m sorry this has happened to you. I wish you the very best as you work through this.

I can so identify. It’s been a couple weeks now that I sent my mother a letter pointing out some lies she told. She has not contacted me. I’m okay with that, in fact, I’m relieved. I’ve been where you are though. I never want to see my mom cry. I saw it so much growing up and it always always hurt me. To this day, it’s very hard to see her cry. I hope I don’t have to see her anytime soon. If she cried, I would have to dig to the depths of my inner strength to stand up to her, and maintain the truth I sent her in the email without crumbling. She’s very manipulative. I wish you strength!!
Love to all,


Hi Mimi
Yes.. that stuff does a ton of damage! What a horrible way for a child to live! I too had to reassure myself that I was not a child anymore, with many many things when I was in the process of changing my belief system.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


That is wonderful that you are reclaiming yourself & talents!..I too worked in the helping profession for most of my adult life and I’m now 43. I finally decided not be working, for my mental health. I was motivated to help others, who were struggling but I lost myself in the process, by taking care of everyone else’s needs and not my own. Since, I left my work, I have been free to pursue my talent, which is painting nature scenes. I’m more at peace and more tuned into my needs. Thanks for sharing!


Hi Mimi!
You are inspiring to have the inner strength to change your belief system regarding your dad to be able to develop a relationship with him. I admire that!…Your mom sounds like she did most of the damage by planting seeds of fear in your mind, as a little girl!..She was so wrong to do that to you!….So glad that you were able to get out your thoughts to your mom, whether she acknowledged it or not!…You did it for herself to reclaim your power….Just maybe she will feel ashamed or quilty for her actions!…Anyway, kudos to you!


Hi all!
I think it’s so striking how many people I’ve met here that are also 43 years old. Just an observation. Also, I’m in the healthcare field and have stopped working. My art form and “therapy” is renovations. I have planned to renovate several rooms in our house during this time of hiatus. I have a lot to do. And, I love doing it. I’ve thought of changing careers as well. It’s hard to sell people on female renovators however. And, my only selling point is that I have a lot of experience, but no formal education. It is something I’ve definitely considered however. I know I would miss nursing. It’s been very satisfying work for many years, and I’ve always loved it. I can’t imagine doing anything else, yet, these posts have made me think a little. Perhaps I made my place in nursing, was successful, even praised, so I closed my mind and sealed my fate. I’ve never thought about making a different skill a lucrative career. I’m blessed by these posts…. it’s got me thinking!!

Now, I’m remembering how my mother would discourage any kind of art form as a career. Drama/acting, music, dance, painting…literally any art form was frowned upon. My mother is about money. In her mind, the only way to support yourself is to have the security of a 9-5 job. She would say it’s foolish to try to support yourself in any other way. I have wondered what talents my sisters or I have/had that were squelched. Both my sisters have corporate careers. However, my mother has never had a 9-5 job. She has always done things that would allow her to be her own boss. For years she was a hairdresser in our home. After that, she became a realtor and still is. That was a six week course, and back when she became a hairdresser I think she was able to do it in high school (if I remember right), or at least partly in high school. She really preferred to be supported by a man though. She always told me I would NOT be allowed to be lazy like my dad, yet she did hairdressing 2 days a week in our home for years and years. She would take an afternoon nap every day for about a half hour. But, we weren’t allowed to take naps.

So many weird things come up when I start typing!! Sometimes, it brings so many things to the forefront that I hadn’t associated with my screwed up way of thinking. Therapeutic for sure!! Thanks Darlene for this opportunity for all of us!!
Peace to all,


Clarification: I read my post above and I think it sounds contradictory. I have fantasized about doing renovations as a career, but never seriously. These posts have made me think maybe it’s something I could take seriously, if this clarifies that at all.


Thank you! The mindset surrounding my dad, the mental work I had to do before that first meeting, was really a necessity. It was something I had to do to get through it, otherwise, I might have lost that opportunity. I didn’t want that to happen. My fear of him was so deep. I remember when I was about 9 or 10 years old and he picked me up and swung me around (playfully) and I was so scared of him, even at that age, I peed my pants.

My mother told me early last year that if something happened to her husband, she knew my dad would be the first person at her door. LOL!! I wanted to laugh because she was so serious. Over 30 years have passed since he has contacted her in ANY way. She doesn’t realize how stupid that sounded. She mistakenly thought I was still under her influence about him. Looking back I should have laughed in her face, and laid out the facts, and then asked her what she based that statement on. All while pointing out it must be flattering for her to think that!! She’s been using this abuse/sympathy card for so many years, she thinks people believe she still lives in abject fear of him, despite his lack of contact for almost half her life!!! She doesn’t have a clue that my sisters and I don’t buy into that crap anymore.

Ah, well, I had a lot to say today!! Thanks for listening EFB!!
Blessings to all,


[…] healing, I may not have ever achieved emotional healing.  I had to take a few chances, I had to reveal a few secrets and take the chance that doing that might have negative results, but honestly, looking back over it, […]


Hi Everyone,
Do you think that Trust is a necessary Key in this process? I hear all the time that people think it is.
I just wrote a new post about it,
You can read it here ~ Is trust a necessary key to emotional healing?
Hugs, Darlene


My mother is about money too! (but I am sure if I was oprah my mother would not see me any differently) My mother can not validate me; it is as if she thinks that if she lets me know that perhaps I am worthy, I will do to her what she has always done to me. That is how so many abusive people think.
Great shares everyone. I took a few days off and I just can’t answer all the comments! Yesterday I went to visit my daughter at university for the day! We had a blast and I could see how important it was to her. Sometimes I can see what was missing in my life, by the way my own kids respond to me!
Love Darlene


Wow! Another person that was in the healthcare field and is 43 too! That’s wants nice about EFB, we can talk to like minded people! After writing my posts these past few days, i’ve come to realize the abuse I’ve been suffering for so long!….I feel i’m at a place now, that I can finally admit to myself i’ve been abused. For so long, i did not want to believe that, because it was too painful to face. I’ve known it intellectually, since a child, but it feels like death, when I admit I was put down & pushed around by my own family. I’m having many feelings about this- anger & sadness mostly. I guess it’s like coming out of a fog and realizing my reality was based on false beliefs & secrets!…I’m having difficulty concentrating & having thought blocking right now, so i will stop writing for now….Tomorrow is a new day!….Sincerely, SMD


Hi Darlene, I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to look at my friend Cairn’s blog. Here she tells about a time when she was violently stopped from telling her story of abuse to her family as a 12 year old …



It was a tough realization for me too. I was so brainwashed that I wondered if what I was thinking or suspecting, was even legitimate. I remember first coming here, I would ask a question, and the seasoned people (Darlene and a few others) would encourage me to ask myself questions that would ultimately bring me to clarity. I’m so thankful for that. I was angry and sad too when it first became undeniably clear. Like you, I knew intellectually for I’d say 10 years, but I still believed my mom loved me and wouldn’t dream of hurting me. She is 69 years old now, and has become sloppy in her secrets and lies. That helped me realize the truth as well. When there are concrete instances, how could I deny it? She was a bully to me specifically, I was always the scapegoat. It was liberating to write her the email a few weeks ago. I did feel I took back my power. Right now she’s retreated because she has been caught. I carbon copied my email to both my sisters, so she would know that we all three knew the truth about the lies she told. She could always conquer any one of us, as long as we stood alone. United though, she is at a loss of words and manipulations. She hasn’t owned it obviously. If I know her, she will try to let some time pass and hope we forget it, without taking any responsibility. I’m certain she hopes we will brush it under the rug and not hold her accountable. I will not forget it though. There was hell to pay if we lied when we were growing up. I am now holding her to those same standards. She always made the three of us believe she NEVER lied. A ton of effort was put into convincing us of that. The disgusting thing is, we believed it. Looking back, it amazes me how I excused things that were without a doubt inexcusable. I don’t even know how I rationalized it. I just thought it didn’t apply to her or something. An example would be, she represented us in our home purchase and the sale of our former home. She took commission on both transactions, but tells people she forfeits commission with family. She did a lot of crazy fast talk to convince me she wasn’t taking commission. Somehow, she convinced me I just didn’t understand the intricasies of real estate transactions. I pulled those papers out a few months back. It’s right there in black and white. How did she fast talk out of that?? I have no answer. I just excused it because she doesn’t lie, and because she was the professional, and SHE said it wasn’t so. I gave up trying to understand it really, regarding it as not important. But, it is important because she lied and manipulated. She could be the greediest person I know. She also charged commission on her own elderly mother’s home sale. To this day, she says she didn’t and tries to fast talk out of it. She’s crazy!!

Anyhow, I had difficulty concentrating too. I was incredibly sad and I spent days ruminating over whether she ever loved me or not. I sorted through childhood memories trying to decide if one action proved or disproved her love for me. It was an incredible three month process. I cried every day. I journaled sometimes for an entire day. I am out on the other side of acceptance. That doesn’t mean the damage is reversed, just that my eyes are open. That period of eye opening was hell, but I’m thankful to know the truth. All those things in my life that didn’t really add up, now make sense to me. The reason it didnt’ make sense is because it was nonsense. It was BS designed to protect her from accountability and to keep my sisters and I under her thumb, in her control, and loyal to her; and we all were very loyal. She had me convinced she was the only person I ever had, yet she showed over and over she didn’t want me. It was all so twisted. I’m happy to be in the light, no matter what I had to go through to get here. I wish you the best SMD, in this time of discovery and acceptance. I hope you know you’ll feel better in time.
With love,


I’m not sure if what I shared was posted or not.


Hi Judy
As far as I can tell, this is the first comment you have posted. If you shared another one, I don’t have any record of it..
Welcome to EFB. sorry your comment got lost!
Hugs, Darlene


On “Secrets”
My family was so dysfunctional. We had a family secret. Oh yes. Its wasn’t spoken of for 33 years.
The big issue was “we have to live in this town”; “what will the neighbors think?” They weren’t even on
social terms with ANY of the neighbors. We were isolated. We were not allowed to associate with extended family, friends and certainly not neighbors. I had a child I gave up for adoption. I was NEVER to speak
of it to anyone ever. I kept that silence for 33 years. I was not allowed to mourn the loss of my child or
express ANY feelings on the situation. IT DID NOT HAPPEN. It was so damaging. But I was damaged goods.
After years of emotional abuse, they could not understand why I was not an even tempered successful
career person that could be bragged about. My Dad was NPD and my Mom was a perpetually abused passive co-dependent until he died in 2003 and we all sighed in blessed relief.


Hi Karen
I am so sorry that this happened to you and that you had to keep that to yourself all these years. I am glad that you can talk now and that you have joined us on the journey!
Welcome to EFB,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mimi and Mitzi…. ive just found this article.. a few weeks
after most of your comments were made and they so moved me..

When I got into recovery i started to develop a relationship with my niece… (my eldest brother’s only daughter) as I saw her suffering as I had suffered at age 21 and patterns being repeated .. we were close for a few years but then I moved away and since then she had little to do with me although I tried to reach out…My sister in law has made sure she has no contact with any of the aunts…..has convinced her that “we are all mad”…. she has a reason to be very angry with my mother who walked all over her boundaries.. but to carry it over to us….has been so very hurtful….when my niece and I were close she started to reveal some things about my sister in laws life.. how she never once told my brother she loved him.. and other secrets.. It now comes to my mind (after reading this) that she was threatened and so has done a number on my niece to convince her to have no contact…..

I cried over this rupture for over 5 years and then just had to accept it was the way it was and I was powerless over it (the first step in the 12 steps)…..my niece ended up having a breakdown at the exact same age as my eldest sister and it was after that my sister in law said.. i never want her to have anything to do with my sister….but as i see it the history just repeated…

Anyway I have had to accept we are not in her life and it was a repeat of what my father did.. cut off all contact with his own sisters not deliberately but just ignored them… when I finally met my aunt in Holland in 2000 i cried for two days straight.. she longed to have us in her life..had pictures of our family everywhere… and gave me so much love when my marriage ended 4 years later… she is dead now but I was so grateful for that connection which taught me so much more about my Dad, though I felt it was very very poor the way my Dad treated all of his siblings.

It seems to me so much healing can come through the family if we can share about our injuries and see this pattern.. but it does depend on people being willing to do the work.. if they want to close us out, ignore or deny its just not possible to have a relationship and so we must take care of ourselves.

When ever I see my sister in law i end up crying as she makes it obvious she looks down on me…treats me as if I were a leper.. after the last time I said “no more” its too damaging… and so I see my brother independently….

Anyway thanks I just wanted to share that and how happy it made me to read others have began to repair some of these painful ruptures…


This is an awesome site. For years I have been the black sheep of the family because I asked questions about the rampant sexual abuse and had big dreams. I just stood up to an ex-brother in-law trying to control what I could and couldn’t say about my childhood sexual abuse and rampant sexual misconduct in the family. He had threatened me two times and finally I had enough on the last one and reported it to the police. They dismissed it but I took a stand when I feel so weak. I have been tortured over my decision to stop protecting him and finding this page means a lot to me.
Thank you.


Hi Glen
Welcome to EFB ~ You found the right site!! We talk about all this kind of stuff here. Good for you for reporting him! Even if they dismissed it, at least there will be a record of it now and your ex BIL knows you are not going to be pushed around; more importantly YOU know you are not going to be pushed around anymore because you did something validating for you. you took care of you! That is huge!
Thank you so much for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene for sharing this wonderful piece of writing from your heart. I can relate to it a lot! I was moved by your honesty & inspired by your courage, especially when you wrote~

“That was my childhood fear of going public with my past. It was not fear for what others would then know about me but fear of what the consequences would be if I “told” on the abusers and those that didn’t protect me or if I revealed the family secrets.” and~

“I had to reassure myself that the consequences for talking would not kill me that I was no longer that helpless child anymore. I had to remind myself that hundreds of times.”

“Another huge fear that I had was that deep down I was sure that if I could love my mother the way she needed me to love her, then everything would be fine. Telling the family secrets was like giving up on the last thread of hope because I knew that if I told the truth about what had gone on in my life, I would burn my last bridge and ruin my only chance that my mother and possibly even my whole family would love me. “Telling” represented the death of that hope.

I had to be willing to face the possibility of that rejection.”

This is how I feel! I am about to start writing my life story (which I also intend to publish), something I have been putting off for many years, due to a fear of & a false sense of guilt of hurting my family, by revealing family secrets & a fear of losing them if I go public. I realise my core fear is of killing my father with my honesty about the abuse I experienced all my life and the fear of my mother & sister blaming me for his death. The adult me knows these fears are false & that I am only responsible for myself & my family are responsible for themselves & we all have the power of choice as to what we choose to feel. But in spite of years of therapy/healing/personal/spiritual growth, I realise my inner child still feels traumatized by all the times I’ve been accused, by most of my family, of lying about my childhood & adult events in the past. And I still don’t feel I have recovered from my mother telling me a few years ago when I was having a nervous breakdown & ill with Hepatitis (I thought I was going to die of Aids)& desperately wanted her and my father to visit me, that “she would not risk her husband having a heart attack at the wheel by coming to visit a madhouse”. My relationship with my parents is delicate & not what I would call a loving honest bond, but thanks to my efforts, healing & forgiveness, we do have some contact, which is a miracle, having been ousted from the family for years & also having gone through a phase of not being able to have contact with them, in the early days of my healing process. My sister has rejected me again~this time for good~she wants nothing more to do with me~she isn’t happy about my intentions to write my book and album of healing songs, and I feel she is also jealous of me & me having contact with the parents~I think she preferred it when I was the outcast too terrified to even think of putting pen to paper! So what I’m saying here is, I feel that my fears of telling, are based on a real fear that I will be blamed & rejected. I feel my book & album will be the “final nail in an already dilapidated coffin”!!! Although I feel I am making progress with overcoming these issues~and am getting to the point where I can’t hold back anymore from doing what I came here to do~helping & inspiring others with my story~I must admit though, I still feel scared & guilty & I notice I am still procrastinating!! This is in spite of my very best efforts to daily dissolve my fear & guilt, let go of the limiting beliefs in my subconscious, let go of my family & the need to be loved/validated by them, love & reassure my inner child~ so I can empower & motivate the warrior woman in me who has a passion to write and sing my truth! I was wondering if you had any advice? Is it just a question of keep going & be patient with myself & I will have my breakthrough when I am ready? or am I missing something? I so want to move forward! How did you finally come to terms with the real possibility of losing your mother for good? Did you lose her in the end? If so, how do you cope with it? Thanks in advance! p.s it’s taking a lot of courage for me to click “submit comment”~so if anyone is reading this, know that fear can be overcome! ha ha that was a big note to self!!


Hi butterfly
Welcome to Emerging from Broken.
All the answers to your questions (there is SO much to answer) are within the articles in this site if you are interested in reading them. It might help you to start with the family category and the mother daughter category.
YAY for your courage in hitting the submit button! If you read the current posts (on the home button; the last few posts have a LOT of discussion about family stuff) you can join a more current conversation here. There is a lot of input from a lot of people! You are not alone!
Hugs, Darlene


thanks Darlene, i did actually read part of those articles before I posted my comment, but to be honest with you i wasn’t in the right space to read all of your story~I was in the space where i just wanted a quick answer! i also read through the current posts. My intuition says just keep going, I guess I wanted to hear someone else who knows what I’m going through say it. thanks again and good on you and all those who contribute here~it is comforting to know that I am not alone in my quest to speak my truth & that my fears are quite common! best wishes, simba


thats the problem; there are no quick answers. 🙁 I totally understand what you are going through. And I also know that there is total healing! I did lose the relationship with my mom, but I found me. There are over 1000 new comments per month on this site. There is tons of stuff here, you will find lots of support from others. Good to have you and I look forward to hearing from you. please feel free to share often!
Hugs, Darlene


Sorry to hear that about your mum, but glad you found yourself in the process. I feel that is what is going to happen to me, in fact it’s already happening! It’s good to know that it is possible to not only survive but thrive after the loss of a mother-daughter relationship. Although I don’t have children yet, I could relate to your article about wanting your mum~for me it’s the same~i mourn the loss of what could have been, not for what was. It’s just getting over that burning bridges thing~I want to have both, fulfill my life purpose and have a mother and sometimes I feel angry that I can’t, because of her fear of facing up to the truth. It feels like a her or me situation~or rather a them versus me~as the rest of my family are either on her side or are sitting on the fence. Well as I always say~if you sit on the fence, you will only get splinters in your ass~so rather them than me!!!! Thank you for your warm welcome and for inspiring me to write my truth. best wishes~ Simba


I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone and their secrets. I am the middle child of three girls. My father emotionally abused us, chased us around the house in drunken rages and my mother did NOTHING. I was also molested by a next door neighbor. Mom played the victim for years. She played Dad against us, then sat back and watched the drama unfold, only to blame Dad for everything because of his drinking. Oddly enough I have always known why he drank. His father walked out on him at age 9. No wonder Dad drank, he grew up without a Dad and felt rejected. Did anyone listen to me? Did they give any credence to my theories about Dad’s drinking? Nope. Even in my 30’s Mom would always say “when you grow up, you’ll understand and move on.” Basically, I REFUSE TO LISTEN TO YOU and shut up. I get the same comments from my sisters. Just drop it Amy. Stop whining. You’re weak. I would love to take my whole freaking family on Dr Phil! Maybe he can knock sense into them. But I was told point blank growing up “we have the family name to protect.” “Noone can know what goes on here.” So if I talk, the whole town will know. Trust me, everyone knows my father! And there’s a measure of wanting to protect him. Is that sick? I’m not what is going on in my brain. I don’t want to air the family secrets, but the secrets are eating me alive! I suspect nothing major will change. My parents are in the 80’s and their health is going downhill. I don’t want to feel guilty at their funeral(s). Can anybody relate?


Hi Amy
I was sure that someone could knock some sense into my family too.. but it was when I realized that I was not listening to myself anymore than they were that I started to understand how to take care of me. The guilt didn’t belong to me. Like I say all the time, if this stuff didn’t happen I would have nothing to talk about. But if this stuff didn’t happen then I would not have been so messed up either.
I totally relate to what you are saying and I had to find a way to validate myself and listen to ME so that I could see just how much what was going on was killing me and set some healthy boundaries.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Amy, as you can see from my post above yours, yes I can relate~ especially when you wrote “the family secrets are eating me alive!” It seems to be a common issue in families ~ where one member has become the family scapegoat, because they refuse to lie & play the dysfunctional lets keep it in the family game! It’s taken me many years of therapy, healing, self help & work with angels to get to me to the point where I can speak my truth without feeling like a total criminal! I am still working my way through layers of false guilt & fear which have been created by various false beliefs I was programmed with by my family ~ mainly that I must protect my family at all costs & I must put others before myself. And some where along the line I came to the wrong conclusion that my family were not strong enough to cope with the truth coming out. These days I realise that I am not serving anyone, even my family, by hiding how I feel about what took place. There are so many people in the world who benefit from people having the courage to speak their truth. And our families could benefit from it if they were willing to! None of this is about blame. It’s all about taking responsibility & being true to ourselves & loving ourselves enough to be honest about what has gone on & why. Being real allows us to feel which allows us to heal~ and each time one of us heals we heal a part of the world! And on that note, I am going to take some of my own medicine ~ and go write a song about how I feel right now! Bravo for being real, thank you for sharing your story. I trust my response is helpful for you. Love Simba x


I fully agree with your article, but unfortunately my parents just recently paid money toward my college loans. They had promised to pay, pulled funding, then gave funding back all based on life choices they didn’t approve of (nothing like drugs or the like. Just the wrong boyfriend). So….I don’t know how I can distance myself from people who ignored abuse, told me to take the abuse, then said they don’t remember the abuse (all the while protecting the abuser in their own home). They have done some outright terrible things over the years, but I’m not sure how to distance myself now that they have paid some of my bills. I could pay them back immediately, but they would be horribly offended (not sure if I want to cut off all ties yet) and I would be in financial difficulties.

Do you have any advice?


Oh I have to add, I am now engaged to said “bad boyfriend”. He is the most loving, kind, supportive person I have ever met. He has done nothing but love me from the moment we met and not in a needy, clingy way or an abusive, using way. He treats me with respect and kindness.


Hi Silent One
My only advice is to keep reading. “The fog” lifts in stages as understanding and truth become more clear. You will find your answers if you keep looking.
Hugs, 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


> When I first started this website I would have a fear related adrenalin rush when I clicked the publish button on certain articles especially if they revealed anything about toxic and dysfunctional family relationships.< I feel that rush often when I e-mail something to my mom that could be perceived wrong by her. So that adrenaline rush is a "pointer" of sorts to a childhood wound?


Hi Dory
Welcome to EFB ~ yes it certainly might be a pointer of sorts. Dig into what is behind that fear or that rush you feel when you email her. Where does it come from? What are you afraid of?
Hugs, Darlene


rejection. The proverbial slap to the face or the year-long “time out”.

She is very good/adept at cutting people (family) off in her life and then burying herself into her work and whomever she can find as a friend through her various jobs. I know that her childhood was way more dysfunctional than mine. She is trapped in alot of pain.

I fear she will cut me off. Why do I fear that? It just feels so wrong I guess. I am the only child of essentially a single mom (divorced at age 4).

I am sensing that I have alot of stuff to dig out from under, I just don’t know where to begin. I have 4 kids who should not be cut off from their grandparents, I think..


Hi Dory
It takes time to sort through all this stuff. There are hundreds of articles in this site all with discussions and insights from others. A huge percentage of the articles are about this subject. Reading the ways that I came out of the fog and into clarity might help you get started.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene I never saw myself as the victim. Maybe if I did I wouldn’t be ill, maybe I wouldn’t have this disconnect. Even with knowing what I know through the flashes I don’t feel like the victim. Do you think I should accept I’m a victim and not be so head strong? I’m all I ever had, along with my faith that I have a Higher Power with me. I do cry and I do know the rejection of family but even as a young teen I was always seeking myself, trying to find that place where I was safe. I learned to looked to no one after so much betrayal and I wasn’t angry about it. Being a seeker started at a young age for me, so I must have not had the understanding that I was a victim….It gets confusing at times, so much to work through….Will


Hi Will
I think that is at the root of the problem very often. Many of us did not realize that we were a ‘victim’ of someone else. Non victims do not feel the need to seek a safe place. Non victims are NOT betrayed. I remember fighting so hard against believing that I had ever been a victim! But when I realized I was, things began to change.
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, thank you for sharing. I’ve begun my own blog dealing with virtually the same issues. For far too long, the “secrets” in my own family (although not related to my own childhood personally) are very similar. My first wife grew up in an environment similar to yours. The demands she placed on keeping things under wraps were sometimes very tough to deal with. She ultimately took her own life following the tragedy at Columbine High School, but her “legacy”, if one wants to call it that, continues in our daughter who does not want me to share our story for whatever reasons. It’s a very difficult decision I’ve had to make, but I will continue to share if it helps even one person with their own journey. Thanks, again, for sharing.

Ted Zocco-Hochhalter


When I told my family secrets I lost my whole family. At the time that was devastating. Not because I list my family but because I lost all hope of them becoming what family should be. I am so much better without them. I am free!


Hi Tracy
Yes, losing hope of resolving with my family and being loved and accepted by them was very hard. Like letting go of what drove me to be the way that I was. It felt like I was losing me. But none of that was the truth. I am free today too.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Jerrold
Thanks for sharing and for being here.
Hugs, Darlene


I was so brainwashed and dissociated I didnt know what to tell on who or who is bad guy. I used to know.. maybe at around age 13-14 i lost it into complete dissociation of what is real. I used to know, i used to be angry, feel my parents and family no just. Even as they beat and scred the truth from me I hid it deeper and deeper. At age 11 i was a seething pit of hate for my mother and father. I vowed to keep my belief deep down, that I would never be broken entirely. I will hide it deep enough for them to never get it. Then I built a wall around me to protect me and forgot the painful truth. But my seething rage never died and would hurt my skin, maybe in the act of getting the truth out.
Fast forward 20 years of total dissociation with only my skin issue warning i have a major problem with something. I went into therapy and had no idea to tell on my parents. I thought it was all somehow me. I forgot the truth, it was buried so deep. And no thanks to dam supposively best shrinks in the world. I did not get asked anything about my parents. Then years into the dam therapy I relate some story about my mom that I didnt really like and my shrink says oh your mom is a narcissist. And than it all started.. the truth came out one by one.
At first I felt ashamed to let people know what my family is. I also was scared they will reject me. My shrink warned me not to tell people everything because they will get scared. Maybe it is the shame that I wasnt loved that also stopped me from sharing it with others. Maybe it was the brainwashing that the shame belonged to me. At one point in my healing, having the fanciest of world published shrinks helps to feel correct, I have turned my finger smack at my parents.
If you wanna see shame look at those dumb people, i have nothing to do with it. I have no shame in disclosing my name for public consumption. I allowed a newspaper to print my name as success story graduating from dv violence.
The main reason I wouldnt publish my last name would be my career related, not parents related.

In my overall campaign to regain power for good and kill the evil forces of my parents, I pledged myself to my brother since I was a child, that I would love him no matter what. My brother is quite screwed but he has managed to stay sane enough to be on my side. I constanly battle my parents assualts on our relationship. But he is still on my side. Both of us agaist them makes them nothing!! It gives me ultimate power to blackmail my parents to any memeber of family. All I have to do is say.. look my brother feels the same. And I sure use it. I have also begun a campaign of slowly telling the truth to our closest living relatives. In effect I have now prevented those relatives from visiting my parents couple of times. haha! I am isolating them from family like they did to me. If i still feel like it in the future I will continue to destroy their reputation with their oldest friends. If I choose I will have people looking a them like freaks, just as they did to me. I took me and their son from them. Now I took my cousins. It can be done, to beat a snake, be a snake and its doable because in the end they are quite stupid people.


[…] with me, she didn’t allow me to have impact on her life, she didn’t see any need to look at HER part in the relationships or why it was so difficult between us. Her motive was ultimately NOT love based. Her motive was not […]


Not only was I afraid,I’ll be 60 soon and still the family scapegoat.I lived with family violence and had no idea they hated me.one Christmas I was the only patient Who didn’t go on pass,my family didn’t want me.when my s-dad died I wasn’t considered family/funeral home refused to allow me access.my siblings have loved the money they stole/but I was called “less than an enigma”‘ rejection is all I know and I just want someone to allow me to be who GOD says I am. I actually love my siblings/I disagree with their behavior;I have asked why …with no response/ they want to destroy me,I am a Christian that has learned FORGIVENESS,not yet to grasp rejection.I never heard I love you, growing up.


Hi Linnietea
Welcome to EFB ~ I had to learn how to be who I was/am without anyone “allowing me” ~ I just did it myself. That is what this site is about. Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


[…] me that I should just “get over it”? In that dysfunctional recovery system, everyone endorsed “keeping the silence” and no one wanted to talk about spending some time actually validating the dysfunction first. I was […]


I have literally been threatened by one of my brothers for telling. It is cruel, very cruel….


Hi Anna
Welcome to EFB ~ Isn’t it interesting how people will defend illegal action with more illegal action. When all this started with my family (when I started to tell) I had to remind people that it was MY STORY to tell and that I wasn’t making anything up. None of them were accusing me of making anything up back then, but they were really upset that I was talking about it.
The system is pretty sick but I am not supporting that system anymore!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Anna,
this is great article


Hi Anna,
I like this article. We allow others to victimize us, they are not more important than us


we need to tell the family secrets im ready !!


I made the choice to live my life and face the rejection recently. Not as bad as I had thought it would be. The healing is beginning for my kids also!


This year, thanks to this site as well, I had one mission: ending financial enmeshment with my mother. So far it’s going well.

Another one was to be brave and start helping a cause close to my heart: fight against animal cruelty (a family secret).

My mother has now changed her position when it comes to animals after several years “being forced” to be in close contact with our dog, so I have to acknowledge that. She never mistreated them either but nor did she protect them.

I was relaying a story to her of a case I was following and she said “how can people do these things?”. She said it often before and each time she does my heart races. This time she ventured further and mentioned how my dad had them in a chain but never mistreated them. I relate to the adrenaline rush Darlene mentions. Everything inside of me started to shake. I confronted her and I asked if she truly and honestly believed what she’d just said. If she did not remember my tears (the only time I’d cry as dogs to me have always been sacred). She denied remembering any episodes. I felt sick. I know she was lying. Her voice quavered. I said “mum, I am sorry, I am not going to gloss over the past”.

Then she said to change subject and she tried to compose herself, which again, tells me that she remembers.

This stuff is out of this world.


Hi Susan
Welcome to EFB~ That is awesome! I also found out that it wasn’t anything as bad as what I thought it would be. The ripple effect, (kids healing and the cycle stopping) are rewards that I didn’t even think about at the beginning but WOW ~ today our lives are so much more wondrous! (and two of my kids are grown ups now)

Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene, Our kids are all adults also and sadly I role modeled being a victim for them and they have also been victimized by the same offender, my step-father. The good news is we are open and healing together. This cycle has ended and our 2 grandsons will be protected. My large family has turned on me and supported the offender even though they were also abused. I took the stand, no longer silent and now my kids and I are seriously healing. Don’t miss anyone who would side with an abuser over the abused trying to heal and protect their children.


You write from my heart!


Thank you for this post Darlene.
The fantasy of the family getting together and being totally honest about what occurred in the past has diminished as I recall the truth for myself.
I now after years of recovery begin to realise I have to let go off this childish wish for everything to be put right.
It is extremely upsetting but if I had not remembered I would be the victim for the rest of my life.
Today I have accessed the truth of the horrors I was subjected to and my true character . And I have clearer understanding of the situation I was living in. It is a long and lonely path to recovery just as it was a long and lonely path being the scapegoat as a child. I have exchanged lies with the truth sifted through the debris of the aftermath and now I am taking responsibility for my own recovery facing the grief and losses and dong my level best to understand what was going on in my childhood. So far I am the only one speaking out the only one in my family searching for answers. Breaking away is allowing maturity maturity I need to enable me to do for the first time what is right for me. The psychological binds though invisible have been powerful restraints your mind has to literally break free by untangling a web of deceit.


Yay Susan!
I agree. hugs, Darlene


Hi Beverly!
Thanks for sharing! I am celebrating over here and cheering you on. I am excited about your comments today!
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, my question is how do you get rid of the fear? I experience flashbacks daily and it is exhausting and challenging to continuously be mindful and self affirming about where the pain and fear is coming from. I have my feet firmly planted in two worlds. The present and the past. It feels like I will never be able to distance myself from the past and the evils it contains. Learning to feel simply reveals an abyss of pain and fear that is bottomless. I want to be rid of fear!


Hi Tina
I know it is hard to understand when I say this, but I got rid of the fear by seeing where it came from. The key to the present was in the past for me. Once I saw WHY I had the fear and HOW it got there, I was able to ask myself in the present day as an adult today, how that fear applies to me today. (the fear was different when I did that other stuff first) and then I was able to make a plan about how to deal with the fear when it came up. It isn’t something that happened over night though. This background work is the biggest part of the process but it is totally possible!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
I understand about learning where the pain comes from – I have been working overtime on that for the past 16 months – with a ‘hold nothing back’ ‘I accept nothing but truth’, ‘give me every book written on the subject’ attitude. I have a very complicated history. Every aspect of my life was used as a tool to control me – physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, spiritual. All of it very random. With a narcissistic family system the emotional, verbal, and spiritual control continued until I chose to end all contact with them a year ago. But the damage has been done and I am now my own worst enemy as I fight the rhetoric placed inside of me and playing loudly my whole life.

I am just learning that I dissociated at a very early age and because of the pervasive, random nature and number of people involved in the abuse I didn’t ‘UN-dissociate’. I have been living dissociated for 45 years! I ‘came alive’ 16 months ago during a breakthrough crisis. So, I’m not hiding from the past – I plunge myself into it – facing each flashback, each memory, rewriting the script in my head. Demanding understanding, obtaining a vocabulary for what I am experiencing.

But, it feels like the fear has not subsided. I numb out. I’m on high alert most of the day even with meds. Yes, it is way better than when things first crashed, but I feel like I am at a plateau. And I DON’T want to be stuck here forever!

I guess what I am asking is how to manage it? I am in counseling and have an excellent team. Just interested in hearing from someone who has actually gone through this.

Every aspect of life triggers fear. Creaking floor. Slamming door. A child crying. High pitched noise of any kind. People fighting or yelling. Shadows flitting across peripheral vision. People being behind me. The list is very long!

It is discouraging to think that I have to take each and every ‘trigger’ (a.k.a. every single normal thing in life) and figure out why it is there and then desensitize. I will do what has to be done. Just wondering if there is an easier (yeah, I know – nice try!), more organized (no shock – I’m a control freak when it comes to keeping a handle on all of this – and I’ve failed miserably)way to walk through this! Thank you for your time. Your blog has been the affirmation that it isn’t me, healing can happen, and there is hope. When I feel like I am actually the one who is crazy I visit your website and read a few posts. Even if I don’t believe in myself, I can read words of other journeys and they sound eerily like my story which gives me the courage to believe that I am on a journey of breaking out of the dysfunction and into what life was meant to be all along!


@suzy, yes it IS out of this world ! the degree to which our care givers are in denial about how they treated us, I can relate to your story (of course as many do) if I ever found the guts to confront my mother about the possibility that she had been too hard on me to put it lightly, she would manage to turn the story around to be about her all of a sudden and that shes SOO sorry she wasnt a perfect mother ( in a sarcastic voice ) so I was always left without a way of being heard even if I wasnt attacking her just wanted her to hear about my life under her from MY point of view. didnt happen, and I am still healing from the legacy from life under her reign. thinking of you, jo


@mitzi, if its any consolation, you are NOT outcast by us. We understand, and I believe ones life is defined by what ones says NO to even more than what one says YES to. I think that after time when the scars of having been outrightly rejected by these unhealthy relationships, that new healthy ones will be attracted into your life. its an organic process somehow. wish you all the best


Hi Tina,
This is not a quick question to answer! I jut posted a comment to someone earlier that I am going to re-post here. The commenter was asking about this ‘feeling’ like someone was sitting on her chest, but I think my answer applies to your question as well. Finding out what the triggers were/are is only part of the whole thing. here is what I wrote, and I also applied this to the triggers.

I found out that my fear was a left over fear from childhood, a fear that in a way helped me to survive most of my life and I was terrified to let it go because I so deeply believed that I would ‘die’ without that fear that kept me alive and helped me to survive in childhood. I wrote down all my fears related to that feeling, validated where they originated, and went through an exercise with them one by one about what I would do today (as an adult) if any of them happened. Some of them were what I thought at the time was crazy! I was still afraid that my mother would hit me and that people would sexually abuse me, but instead of calling myself crazy, I validated the reason that I had that fear and that freed me to look at what I could do as an adult if any of those things happened to me “today’. I made an action plan ~ for each fear, and it was fantastic!
love and hugs, Darlene


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I think it is very important to be careful using the term “victim mentality” and make sure it is used in the right way. I like how you treated this phrase by pointing out it is self protection. I never though of it that way. But it is.

The term can also be condemning for people who have been in total no win situations with abusers. That is the language my mother uses to define me when I don’t maintain a perfectly compliant mindset to hers. Which means I have no needs other than the one to fulfill what she wants from me. If I complain about how this affects me or that I am not feeling good about the family system (which she created to support this) I have a “victim mentality”. And she will unleash other family members to remind me they also think I do. See how that works? She wanted more than anything for me to cram my feelings down as far as they could possibly go. And be nice all the time and never complain. Then to bootstrap my way to being productive with no help from her on how to get along in the world. And still allow her the right to undermine my success at any point in time. In every way possible.

She victimized me. And did not allow me to have original thoughts, because then she might lose control of me. She had an iron fist of control over me and used my entire family to make sure I would be a broken person my whole life.

So how do you talk to a person like me when they have been taunted and accused of having a victim mindset?

Ordinarily when I read those words they are extremely negative to me. But I found your treatment of it was kind. It puts the blame where it belongs. Not on the victim. But on abusers. So I thank you for that.

I think it is very important that the world at large be able to distinguish this. I feel like “victim conditioning” is a better term. It makes people wonder who did the conditioning. And that is exactly where this belongs. On the shoulders of the people who hurt others.

At the same time, there needs to be a way for victims to reclaim their power. Like you have. It is very hard. And I think there are a lot of people who never overcome that in life.


Yes, yes, yes! I can see where you are coming from with this…

Still, I am somewhat inclined to agree with the comment from “Anonymous” who writes that we should be careful using the term “victim mentality” as it can come across as perjorative. WE do need to remember that people can be in total no-win situations when facing abuse. That abusers may manipulate matters at all times to make the victim look bad, unbelievable, or even crazy. That victims are in a double-bind where NOT speaking out results in perpetuation of the abuse, but if they DO speak out, they face abuse of a different kind – the ridicule, hatred and ostracism by their family that they have always dreaded.

It is VERY important to remember that victims of abuse have been “groomed” by their abusive family members from a very young age. They are made to believe that they are worthless, useless, powerless, that nobody will believe them, that everything is their fault, that they are bad, that if they changed things would get better, and that if they tell on the abuser they will be punished.

It is VERY important to understand that the fear victims feel is VERY real, and that their fears are NOT unfounded. Many victims of abuse end up with a so-called “victim mentality” as a consequence of the cumulative effects of YEARS of abuse. We should note that a child who is being abused CANNOT escape abusive parents on his/her own. Children must legally live with their parents until the age of majority (in most countries 16-18 years old). By then, severe damage has been done. In cases where a child DOES manage to speak out about abuse, unless the authorities, or the person to whom the abuse was reported to, know just how to handle matters, the child remains at risk. Even children who end up fostered or adopted to remove them from an abusive family home are NOT getting the best of solutions. Yes, they may be away from the abusers; but now they are in the care system, and have to live for life with the potential stigma of being a foster child, or being adopted. They have to face the fact that they COULD NOT stay in their parental home.

Suffice it to say that for a child who is under the legal age to leave home, escaping parental abuse is near impossible. Children who DO manage to escape by being fostered or adopted end up having to face a different type of problem – one that may be just as traumatic as abuse. THEY have to live with the fact that they were fostered or adopted! Which kind of serves to highlight the fact that they WERE abused in the first place!

Even when an abused young person reaches a legal age to leave home, escaping the abusers is far from simple. Abusers deliberately chip away at the victim’s self-confidence, and lead the victim to believe that he/she is no good at anything. So… if the victim tries to get a job, the abuser will remind them just how hopeless their job search is. If the victim gets offered a place at College, or University, the abuser may try to prevent them taking this. Or, the abuser may try to control where a victim is allowed to study, or what they are allowed to study. Or, the abuser may allow the victim to study, BUT only if he/she stays living at home, or remains financially dependent on the abuser (who will, of course, withdraw financial support at the first suspicion that the victim may be speaking out about the abuse). If a victim seeks to leave home via marriage or being in a long-term romantic relationship, the abuser will try to sabotage this. maybe refusing to condone a marriage. Maybe spreading rumours that the victim is unfaithful, has affairs, is sexually promiscuous, or conversely is frigid, or hates the idea of settling down and having kids – ANYTHING that may put the victim’s romantic partner off.

If the victim manages to secure a job, or a relationship/marriage, or a home of his/her own which means that he/she can finally leave the household of the abusive parent, the abuser will do everything possible to sabotage this. EVERY time the victims sees the abuser, he/she will be reminded of past mistakes, or of past failings – anything to remind the victim that the victim is worthless. Also, the abuser may spread malicious gossip about the victim to anyone they come into contact with; this gossip may be complete lies, or else it may be a true event, but only the abuser’s version of the truth. The victim may find that the extended family (e.g. aunts and uncles, cousins, in-laws) are drawn into the abuse. The abuser will go to as many family members as possible to spread misinformation, or nasty gossip, about the victim; this represents the abuser’s attempt to ensure that the victim has nobody to turn to, and that the whole family believe only the abuser’s point of view. Also, an abuser may try to spread malicious gossip around the community in which the victim now resides, in the hope that such bad rumours may reach the ears of the victim’s romantic partner, in-laws, boss, colleagues, teachers, bank manager, etc… Indeed, the abuser hopes to be able to negatively influence the opinions of anyone that the abusers hears that the victim has come into contact with.

This can continue well into a victim’s adulthood, and makes it extremely difficult for a victim to speak out in safety about abuse.

I say this, because I have personal experience of it. EVERY time I have attempted to rebuild my life, my abuser(s) have ramped up their abuse. It is as though they cannot let go. As a result, I am now complete no-contact. Still, this does not make me feel secure – it simply leaves me concerned as to when the abuse will recur. I NEVER feel safe from the abusers, despite having spoken out. I attempted to tell the Police, to tell a Therapist, to tell Social Services… each time I attempted to get support, the abuse escalated. I even wrote blog pages online about my abuse. I so much NEEDED to feel heard, and validated. In my case, this merely caused a severe escalation of the abuse.

We ought to be aware of the fact that some abusers also engage in what can only be termed STALKING behaviours, so that even when a victim no longer resides in the same property (or even same area) as the abuser, the abuser does everything possible to keep tabs on the victim. To know their whereabouts, their career choices, the people they associate with. Such abusers are, in my eyes, the VERY WORST as they refuse ever to let victims go. A victim of such an abuser can make every attempt possible to move on, and to build a life following the abuse, and the abuser will simply do all the is possible to break back into that life, and to begin the abuse all over again.

I’d really LOVE to know what anyone has to say about how a victim (such as myself) might deal with former (and sometimes still current) abuser(s) who are family members, and also STALKERS? Someone who even though I am no longer in physical contact, tracks my whereabouts and activities via the Internet, Social Media, and via pretending to “chat innocently” to people who know me, whilst actually fishing for information? Am I to limit all my activities and live a restricted life? How do I live a regular life, and do all the things I want to do, when my abuser(s) are still out there, still eager to abuse me if they come into contact with me, and still actively trying to track the things that I do on a daily basis so that they have a chance to continue the abuse?

By the way, I use the word abuser(s) to show that more than one family member is/was abusive. However, I suspect that only one may be the stalker.

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