I Vowed I Would Never be like my Selfish Unloving Mother

dysfunctional mother daughter relationship
stormy mother daughter relationship

I used to live waiting to be good enough. I thought ~ “as soon as YOU say that I am important, then I will be important.  When you say that I am lovable, then I will be lovable. When YOU say that I am worthy then I will BE worthy”.  Deep down I believed that someone else would determine my value. I had to learn to stop operating under those beliefs. I had to stop seeing myself through the unloving eyes of others.

When I was 14 years old, I vowed that I would never be like my selfish, unloving, self centered mother. That was a serious vow and that memory is one of the clearest memories that I have. I don’t remember what happened the day that I made that vow but I remember it was one of the only promises that I ever made to myself.  I knew somehow that our mother daughter relationship was dysfunctional and that my mother was on the toxic side, I just didn’t know what I could do about it, or how long lasting and deep the effects of her way of relating to me would be.

When I went through my process of recovery from dysfunctional relationships, I took a closer look at the vow I made to never be like my toxic mother.  I asked myself what that meant to me and what specifically I had been referring to back then. I saw my mother as someone who didn’t care about others and cared about herself too much. She didn’t care about me. She discounted my feelings and she discounted my needs. She was disloyal and dismissive.  She was cutting and mean. She humiliated and embarrassed me in public and her actions and statements made me feel unworthy of respect or love. My mother (who demonstrates many signs of narcissism) was very selfish and self centered. My mother and I had a very dysfunctional and toxic mother daughter relationship.

More recently I took a look at this whole dysfunctional mother daughter relationship and the ongoing damage that it caused to me, in an even deeper way.  My narcissistic mother put herself first. So I vowed that I would never put myself first. My mother didn’t go without so I wanted to be the opposite;   I would go without many things to prove that I was not like my mother.

Somewhere along the line I decided that my needs would never come before others because that would mean that I was “like my mother” and in putting myself or my needs before anyone else would be showing those same signs of narcissism and since I had learned as a child that my needs didn’t matter, it was easy for me to stop listening to myself and discount my own needs.  I was proud of myself for doing it! That decision represented the vow that I made not to be like my mother. And I didn’t realize that I was taking over from all the other abusers in my life by agreeing that my needs would come last. My motive was understandable, but the practice was funky and dysfunctional.

When I decided that I would never be like my mean and toxic mother, I went to the other extreme and ended up being just as dysfunctional and I ended up treating and regarding myself exactly the same way that she treated and regarded me; as unworthy and unimportant. I discounted my feelings and I discounted my own needs. I put myself last. I humiliated and embarrassed myself by not ever standing up for myself and my own actions reinforced the belief that I was unworthy of love.

It’s a long uphill climb, learning to overcome this self discounting treatment. I still catch myself putting myself last under the guise of being a wonderful person and contributing to the greater good of mankind.  I have done it with my family and I have done it right here with my website and my readers.  Spreading myself so thin that I get sick, all because I vowed that I would never be like my narcissistic, dysfunctional and toxic mother.

I have been rethinking that vow lately.

The way that my mother did relationship with me was dysfunctional and toxic. The way that I learned to do relationship with myself as a result of how I was raised, was also dysfunctional and toxic.  By realizing where I got the ideas and teachings about HOW to treat myself, and how to NOT be like my selfish, toxic and dysfunctional Mother, I discounted and devalued ME, in just the same way that she did.

I still vow that I will never be like my unloving mother but today I am learning that what I regarded as the opposite of my mother is still toxic and dysfunctional. I had to take a look at the whole picture in order to see that I was not actually setting things right by being the total opposite of her because I was still disregarding me. (As I had been taught to do by her example)

Putting myself first is not narcissistic at all. The difference between the way that my mother regards herself vs. others and the way that I regard myself vs. others is that I believe all people are equally valuable. The way that my mother operated was that SHE was the most important and that HER needs were the most valuable.

The truth is that we ALL have equal value and that self care and self love when done in a healthy way, will actually benefit all those in contact with the person who practices it.

Everyone is welcome to share. Please feel free to use any name you wish if you feel unsafe about posting with your real name. I look forward to reading your responses to this article.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet  

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98 response to "I Vowed I Would Never be like my Selfish Unloving Mother"

  1. By: Laura Posted: 1st June

    Thanks, Darlene, for the warm welcome.

    One would think with life’s very real vicissitudes, you wouldn’t want to manufacture more drama, but these “incubators” love to stir up the pot, and create an unloving and sick family. The “guilt bomb” doesn’t work on me anymore. So, naturally the phone doesn’t ring as much asking for favors. Incubator’s narcissistic supply is dwindling.

    My 1st and 2nd husband is the same guy, and he is 1 of 10 kids of a loving, but poor family. He’s a professional, because of his wonderful mother that fed his soul. (He’s also very intelligent.)

    Doing the work to heal yourself is freeing. I now chose who the people are who I want in my circle of personal life experiences. (work excluded-no control)But I limit engaging icky people much in my work life.

    This speck of dust in the universe will float along and be happy because of my choices going forward. (I’ve been watching the new COSMOS-lol)

    Darlene, thanks for this website.

  2. By: Laura Posted: 31st May

    Hi everyone. Great thread. I too, have a Narcissistic Mother, and all us kids had a role. My mother is 80+ and her divisiveness, gaslighting (reinventing the past), a triangle-lation (communication of the family flows through her) drives me nuts. Lies, realitiy twists and BS.

    I am breaking patterns, and the witch doesn’t like it. She was my anti-role model. When she goes, that will be the end of a really, really bad era.

    The way she treated my dying father towards the end was horrific. “Hurry up and die”. I know caregiving is stressful, but that showed a cold soul. My “incubator” deserves the title.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st June

      Hi Laura
      Welcome to emerging from broken
      They never like it because it is an indication that they are losing their ‘control’ over you.
      I think you are going to enjoy some of the conversations in this website.
      hugs, Darlene

  3. By: Sans nome Posted: 10th November

    Every single word I read, I could have written. My mom’s needs were always the most important in my home. Now as a 46 year old woman I see how I have strived to be the polar opposite of her, putting myself after kids home and husband. I am struggling to find balance as I need to take care of myself before I kill myself from neglect. Thank you for being there for your readers. I know understand that being the polar opposite is not in my best interest and is actually still a part of her that remains. Ugh! I do not want that!!!
    Thanks again,

  4. By: Hobie Posted: 4th November

    Thank you Darlene.

    At this point, my oldest daughter seems to be towing the line of my family of origin. Communication seems unlikely.

    The heart crushing issue at hand is that my youngest asked for my help earlier this year because her husband was abusing her (but she didn’t tell me that part at first), and while she is divorcing him, she is sharing custody of their daughter with him and his parents over 800 miles away from me, while they continue to lie and manipulate her. I am so afraid for my granddaughter because there are all sorts of red flags that she has been sexually abused, but no one (including my daughter, her lawyer and child protective services) considers my opinion rational, let alone valid.

    Communicating with my youngest daughter became unbearably painful because I felt like I was watching her relive MY life while she is in complete denial. I feel rejected and helpless, at the same time the memories of being abused through my childhood have resurfaced with emotions that I had managed to stuff down most of my life.

    I am in therapy, a support group, and I have a few supportive friends, but this situation is really hard to handle.

  5. By: Hobie Posted: 3rd November

    This article touches the heart of the issue I have been wrestling with most. I wanted desperately to be “not like my mother” as long as I can remember. For the most part, I think I was different, but I’m not so sure I was any better.

    My children are all grown now. My youngest has been through all sorts of abuse from others that I didn’t know how to deal with. I wanted to validate her, help her, comfort and heal her, but nothing that I tried to do seemed helpful. I took her to therapists, psychiatrists, doctors, and half of them compounded the problem.

    Even my older daughter criticized me harshly for failing both her and my youngest, but no one in my family could show me, tell me, or help me DO BETTER. They only pointed out all the ways I’d failed.

    I don’t know what to do at this point. I feel like the impact of abuse I experienced at a very young age has hit me like a sledge hammer in my late 50s. My opportunity to heal has come too late to change anything for my kids. It’s frustrating..

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th November

      Hi All,
      Great comments! ~
      Hobie ~ I wanted to say that it is never too late. I was in my forties when I began the healing process and I thought it was too late for my kids too, but it wasn’t. I had to be patient however as I learned to model the new and true definition of love to them. they were used to it all being a different way and some of the new changes they didn’t like that much. Some things I have to remember their ages too. They grew up in a dysfunctional system until they were teenagers and I can see a big difference in how my youngest daughter reacts compared to the older two because she was younger when we started to heal. I gave my kids permission to be upset with the way things were when they were kids. They have permission to be angry at me and at their father. I have made amends and I continue to strive to live in and model the new system of love and mutual respect. There has been a LOT of communication. We have also talked to them about the ways that we were taught relationship and all the damage that it did. My kids are understanding of that whole mess of abusive family system and how it impacted them. It isn’t that we are not accountable for how it impacted them, the key is that they know we are sorry and that we are living a different way now. They know they are loved and that they are respected as individuals. We use our power as parents to empower them now, and not to disempower them. I have to admit that this has been one of the biggest parts of the healing process for me! It was one thing for me to validate myself and heal, but then to become the mother that I never had to my own kids was a whole other story. But it is doable as long as both sides are willing to communicate about it.
      hugs, Darlene

      • By: Berkley Posted: 19th March

        Thank you for sharing. Im 38. My oldest is 12… and a half… im trying so hard to change things… its so painful to see how i was not being who i wanted to be and that it was me stopping myself with all the negative beliefs i carried as fact about myself. And that i could be so selfish to harm my children because of my own insecurities… to make them give me what i didnt get from my upbringing…. i really seemed to have no feeling for the past 15 years… im looking forward to being whole so as to give something good to my children. You are encouragement as i cant find many willing to speak about their mistakes and further only people who want to discount mine as not that bad instead of hearing me out and maybe being helpful.

  6. By: Lora Posted: 3rd November

    Hey Darlene! I can so relate to this on so many levels and what I have discovered is that I was so out of balance for trying to do the “opposite” of what my mother did. This just put me in a position to put others before myself to the extreme and I lost who I was as a person.

    Through my healing journey I am learning about being balanced within myself and not using external mirrors to define who I am. I look within and examine the beliefs that I am operating from and dismantle them one by one. It can be a tedious process but it is so worth it. The way I feel about myself is all the proof I need.

    I recently read a book called “Your not crazy, It’s your mother”. It’s about Daughters and narcisstic mother’s and wow did it ever put a lot of things into perspective for me. I wished I would have read this years ago but then I realized that I was not ready to look at our relationship from that angle. The angle being that “she” could actually be the problem. I believed I was the problem and that it was me that needed fixing. I didn’t need fixing, I needed nurturing, understanding, compassion and support for what I endured.

    Now this is a nice space to be in. You mean it’s actually ok if it’s about “me”? I was afraid if it was about me then that would make me just as self centered as her…wouldn’t it? This is when a new layer of my journey was uncovered and this time I felt safe examining what was underneath. I am more present than I have ever been before and I am in a stronger place to face issues that used to terrify me.

    It occurred to me that I had a wounded childhood view at the time the abuse was occurring and I carried that view into my adulthood. Well not anymore, I am empowered now and I have the education and skills to deal with this right now in this present moment. I never felt comfortable receiving support because in our family receiving support was off limits. We had to solve problems within our family unit and that’s what made things even more difficult for me.

    There was so much shame, guilt and resentment being recycled in our family it was difficult to escape it. Well I can honestly say that walking away from my family was the best decision I ever made at 47 years old, too bad it wasn’t sooner but it is what it is. I accept that everything happens for a reason and I hung in there from a place of toxic loyalty. I see that more clearly now that I am out of the dysfunctional fog.

    I feel more inner peace than I ever have before and I’m starting to feel more positive attributes revealing themselves to me now. It’s been a long road to get here but that’s ok because I am here…I am alive and I love myself more than ever and I will continue growing, learning and nurturing my self into wholeness.

    Thank you Darlene for being a pioneer and helping so many people find who they really are behind all the abuse they endure. Love you, Hugs!

  7. By: Emerging Princess Posted: 3rd November

    Another great article Darlene! Your work has helped me tremendously and reflected in the way I help others emerge from the sex industry.

  8. By: Sanita Posted: 3rd November

    Ah Darlene, this is exactly what I needed to read right now. I have a tendency to walk towards cold,unempathic,bitter women with my eyes and arms wide open. Only for them to knock me down again and again, yet i pick myself up and walk again towards those very women looking for empathy and love.Women uncapable of loving,or even empathis gesture. Than I start looking at myself through their eyes, rip myself apart and start the entire process again.

    Firstly I am glad that I am warm and empathic the total opposite to those cold ,brutal parents. Secondly I feel like the little girl who berates and tears herself down seeing herself through the cold, brutal,tormenting eyes of her parents. And thirdly it is now time for me to STOP that cycle and starting seeing myself through my oWN eyes.

    This is what I have been going through the past few weeks, finally being aware of the tyrant ,brutal,traumatising inner critic and seeing where the voices and thoughs come from. Seeing the absolute enmeshment with those freaks, and I am slowly learning to seperate emotionally( I have already seperated pyshically).

    I BLAME myself too easily, forgive too easily and brutalise myself too easily.

    Thanks Darlene your article totally resonated with me.

  9. By: sandra Posted: 9th October



  10. By: Nadia Posted: 12th January

    I came across this post tonight as I’m upset and thinking. I’m 48 years old and just this last holiday I was reminded by my mother once again how I was born – deformed and ugly and how I had to stay in the hospital for the first two years of my life in a full body cast because I was so deformed. I have done great things and came back from broken bones over the years and I always thought it was becAuse I was athletic. For the most part it was because I was compromised as a baby. My mother is in basic terms a good mother but she always had it out for me. Any time she could mention my shirt clings she did and embarrassing my in public was normal. I grew up a really shy kid who always knew that I was different and deformed. If you looked at me I looked the same but deep inside I was in physical and emotional pain. As a young adult until teo years ago I broke my back, broke and ripped both knees, broke three ribs. injured my right shoulder. , broke my left arm, slashed my right eye to pieces, broke my nose, broke my left foot, injured my neck as whiplash and broke my right shin bone not in that order. With all of these injuries I chalked it up to being an active adult – I ended up losing thousands of dollars in medical bills even though I had my own insurance. I never hit help from my mothers even though my dad wanted to help. My mother said no. I was punished my entire life because my mother popped out a deformed child. It was never my fault – I never had kids be wuss I was always afraid I would have a deformed baby. It’s do sad how the mind works. In my mind I will always be wrong and ugly. The birth of me changed my mother somehow – it’s not my fault and in the end it’s not her fault – ts just life but I have taken so much blame. I never got married, I never had kids and my life goes on. So for all icky mothers hurtful words – I’m still here and I’m not going anywhere. I will stand tall and be proud that I survived.

  11. By: Laura Posted: 21st November

    I just read ur artical I had a very loving and 2 way relationship with my mom but with the men in my life I was the same I devalued myself to make them happy now I’m a mom tryin to teach both my daughters and my son how to value themselves first and others it’s hard I hope that ur in a better place u sound like a very loving person plz continue but love yourself first no one can love u if u don’t love ur self

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st November

      Hi Laura
      Welcome to EFB ~ I am in a wonderful place; I write this blog to inspire hope for healing for others and to teach the solution of self love and self value as you mentioned!
      Thanks for sharing and YAY that you are teaching self value to your kids!
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: jodi Posted: 2nd July

    Wow, this is exactly what happened to me, my dad past away 7yrs ago and now im left to deal with my selfish mother one very toxic lady, i moved away as even just being in the same room as her is unbearable. Im finaly learnt why i always felt judged, why my anxiety gets so high and why i have continualy pt others first as i never wantd to be that selfish person either. Cant believe how much it described what i gave been through hm blown away..

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd July

      Hi Jodi
      Welcome to EFB ~ I think you are going to like it here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: robert Posted: 1st July

    Jesus Christ, what a strange world we live in. Beck’s story paints a tragic picture of life, yet, such beautiful hope and healing that is coming through in the telling of the story. We are all more alike then not, eh? This venue is a spiritual gift to our world. Thank you Becky, for telling your heartfelt story. Somehow it makes my own path a bit more manageable. That you Darlene, for providing this safe space for healing. The love is as real as the suffering, and a tad more powerful. Hope prevails.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st July

      Hi Robert
      Thank you for sharing! The more that I do this work, the more I realize just how much alike we all are. That goes for the abusers too and thier tactics etc.
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Becky Posted: 30th June

    I am very glad I came across this website. Reading everyone’s stories makes me feel like i’m not alone and that there is hope to recover. I originally began researching on the internet looking for new strategies for coping with several problems i’ve had as long as I can remember. I have severe mood swings from really happy to depressed sometimes they will cycle back and forth rapidly. I have a really bad temper at times, anxiety attacks, low self-esteem, sleeping problems (sometimes sleeping for extended periods of time or insomnia and horrible nightmares), chronic skin picking which I guess i’ve substituted for the cutting I use to do in my teenage and early twenties. My body feels like a constant knot like i’m bound by rope and I think I must clench my teeth at night because my jaw pops and hurts most mornings after extreme stress. For a long time I just thought I was wired wrong or my mental problems were hereditary and that medication could fix me. I’ve taken various meds over the years only achieving temporary relief at times when i’ve been able to become numb to pain. Then I would go off the meds because after awhile my feelings would resurface. Only recently have I started to realize that I was doomed to fail from the very beginning. I apologize for the length of this rant and don’t expect everyone to read it but it does make me feel better to vent since I haven’t decided if I will confront the people responsible….so here goes.

    My Mom was a soft spoken country girl who joined the Army to get away from her family. Her Mom was distant,un-loving and made her feel like she had never been a wanted child. Her father was much older then her Mom and he died when she was seventeen. Her two brothers were physically abusive to her. So she joins the Army and meets my father who is also in the Army. They date for a few months and then marry. Two years later I was born. Looking back at pictures from when I was a baby we truly looked like a happy, loving, healthy family. We moved a lot around the country and I can remember pieces here and there about how I felt as a child. A few years later my brother was born. Still in pictures I look happy. Around the age of five my father decided to take a deployment to Korea and it lasted for eighteen months. I don’t remember talking to him on the phone, letters or pictures coming from him. Once there was a package on our doorstep when I came home from school and it was a doll from my Dad. My Mom tells me later when i’m a teenager that she actually bought it wrapped and told me it was from him when he knew nothing about it. At the time I remember thinking why is my Mom telling me this? Does she want me to be mad at him? When my Dad comes back it’s time to move again and we live briefly in Kansas. I remember walking to school in the snow by myself while my Mom stays homes with my brother. The only other thing I remember about living there is that we were suppose to go see Hailey’s Comet but it ended up being too cloudy and I was really disappointed.I don’t remember school, teachers, friends or anything else. We lived there for about 1 1/2 years. After that we moved to N.C. I was around seven or so. I had a dog that I loved and I made some really great friends there who I still care a lot about even to this day. We lived there for a total of six years and I think this is when things started to go down hill for me. My Mom stayed at home and no longer worked. My brother had started having some issues which I didn’t understand. He would race around and was very animated. He was also doing strange things like washing his hands until his skin was raw, putting his shoes at the top of the stairs because he believed that was the only way for the snakes to fall out of them and other random weird things. I remember other kids picking on my brother and I would always stand up for him. I never asked my parents if anything was wrong with him. He was just my weird little brother. Things started to get worse. My Dad is deployed to Saudi Arabia, my brothers behavior is getting stranger, my mom falls off her bike and gets a compound fracture to her arm which requires years of surgery and physical therapy to fix the damage caused my the military hospital, she sinks into a deep depression and it also doesn’t help that she has an un-diagnosed thyroid condition. My Mom slowly slips away. She starts sleeping all the time and doesn’t watch me or my brother and we pretty much do what we want. I catch her many times and the table crying and then passing it off as just missing my father. I just remember feeling very uneasy and worried. During this long deployment in the Middle East again no letters, rare calls mostly which he only speaks to my Mom. Then one night my Mom comes to pick me up from my friends house who I was suppose to spend the night with and won’t tell me why. On the way home she tells me that they are bombing Bagdhad and thats where my father is….I still remember thinking why is she telling me this and I remember not being scared or worried. Now I think maybe I didn’t really care. Shouldn’t a daughter care? When we get home she makes me sit on the bed and watch the bombing on the news with her. I don’t why I guess she just didn’t want to be alone. Things around this time become blurry again. My grandmother (my father’s mom) dies unexpectedly a few days after surgery from an infection. It crushed me. I loved this woman very much more then anyone else at that time in my life. She spent time with me, talked to me, she was wonderful and I miss her deeply. After her death I began to have horrible nightmares about her where she was a floating ghost with hair on fire and screaming like a banshee. She would find me in this closet that I would hide in and pull me out by my hair and drag me in circles around the house. I would wake up screaming and banging my head into the wall. I had this dream every night for six months straight. The only thing I remember is my Dad asking me why would you dream this? She loved you. Other incidents happened with the lack of supervision from my Mom and the constant absence of my Dad. A naked man tried to approach my friend and I at a park. Luckily we noticed him far enough away where we were able to run back to my Mom who was reading in the car. Some teenage boys chased after him and eventually the police caught him. Another time I was at an after school game and my friends and I went into the girls locker room because it was cold outside. Some high school boys tried to break the door and threatened to rape us. We braced our backs against the door and the kicking ended up hitting a nerve in my back and I wasn’t able to get up. I’m not sure what happened but the boys were scared off my something and one our friends ran to the field and the entire school came running to help. I left in an ambulance and was home for a few days. My Mom never talked to me about these incidents but only told me how much my ambulance ride cost and made me feel bad about it. My Mom decides she wants to start reconnecting with her family which I don’t understand but as a child I have no choice but to go. My grandmother is still cold and strange. I have no feelings for her at all. On the other hand I really like her Mom my great grandmother and don’t mind spending time with her at all. Staying in my grandmothers house is unsettling. One of my Uncle’s still lives there and he swats or pinches me anytime I walk by the couch which he rarely moves from. He just sits there and watches t.v., smoking and drinking all day. I avoid the living room as much as possible. I spend a lot of time outside since it is on a farm and I enjoy spending time with all the animals. On one visit my Uncle is sleeping in his bed and my cousin and I are home alone. Not sure where my grandmother, Mom and brother were. He has a deer head on the wall and I want to see what it feels like so I climb on these boxes to pet it’s fur. I fall and awaken my Uncle who proceeds to get his belt out and whip me and my cousin across our backs. When my Mother returns I tell her what happened and she tells me to go outside. I hear her yelling at him and then she comes outside to tell me we are leaving in the morning. For the night we stay in an old trailer that is used to house most of the animals feed. My Mom and brother sleep on the floor and I sleep on an old couch. I wake up to feeling like my ear canal is on fire and i’m screaming. My Mom jumps up and when she pulls my hair away there is fire ants crawling in my ear. The next day we leave to drive home and our car engine catches on fire. With almost no money left we stay in a cheap hotel and live off friend chicken and snacks from the snack machine. I felt very hungry and shaky. It takes awhile for my Dad to arrange for us to get a rental car to get home. On the way home I was so angry. I was mad that my entire summer had been ruined. I had to go visit family I didn’t like, get beat by a known abuser and at the end of the trip we were suppose to go to Disney World which never happened and had been promised to me all year. Never did go until I was on my own as an adult. My Mom never talked to me about any of it.Not to see if I was o.k. if I needed anything. Nothing. After six years of being stationed in N.C. i’m told we are moving to Ga. I have to leave behind the only people i’m close to…my friends. I even ask my Mom if I can live with my best friend until I finish school. Her Mom even agreed to it she loved having me over. They wouldn’t consider this which I guess most parents wouldn’t so I didn’t hold it against them. We move to a town in Ga. that is very well off and the kids here are very different and spoiled. I do not fit in at all and feel like an outcast. Their education is also way ahead of my previous school so I start failing most of my classes. I have no friends except two other outcasts with their own set of tragic pasts (much worse then mine) which makes me feel ashamed at times for feeling the way I do. One of them was sexually molested by a family member and the other had too many problems to list. I start getting rashes all over my skin (now I think I was getting hives), panic attacks and constantly getting sick so I missed a lot of school. Still even though i’m obviously very miserable my parents never ask me about how I feel or what they can do to help. The next year I start high school which isn’t as bad as the middle school but I still don’t feel like I fit in until boys become interested in me. All of a sudden I start to feel better about myself, that there is something good about me that other people value or love. That is until all these little relationships fall apart. Each of which sends me into periods of deep depression and suicidal thoughts. Each relationship gets more intense (emotionally, sexually and physically). The first spreads rumors about me at school about what a whore I am. The second I give my Virginity to (at the age of 15) after dating for four months who then leaves me for my best friend. This is when I start to loose trust in most girls. The third I met when I was sixteen and he is twenty one. We both are recovering from hurtful relationships and fall quickly for each other. Looking back now our age difference is alarming to me. For three months I feel loved and happy. I hate my parents by this point and plan to run away with him to another state. Then suddenly he stops calling. A week later he tells me some story about being in trouble with the law and on the run. I don’t hear from him for a year to the day. This entire year I am constantly thinking about suicide but holding out for the hope that he will return. You would think parents who love their kids would notice them not leaving their rooms or talking to anyone, sleeping all the time and a steady depletion in their liquor cabinet. Not mine. I’m just your typical teenager with an attitude problem. So just when things couldn’t get worse they do but on a whole new level. I meet another boy who is outgoing, funny, intense and fun to be with. During this courtship my previous boyfriend who disappeared calls to tell me he left because he couldn’t face me to tell me he had impregnanted his ex-girlfriend (the one who hurt him so badly). He felt he needed to call and tell me because he kept having dreams about me standing over his bed telling him I hate his f***ing guts and he just couldn’t live with the guilt. I felt o.k though because I had a new relationship brewing. Things start to get serious with this new guy when people start telling me he is seeing other girls. I ask him if it’s true and he tells me no. Our relationship is new so I tell him it’s ok if he just wants to date and not be exclusive because I am hoping that this one will be different. I want someone who is honest, a friend and someone to love me. Well the rumors were true but at the time I chose to ignore them. This then turned into four years of on again off again torture. Drugs,cheating, suicide attempt, a miscarriage and finally physical abuse. I’ll start with the drugs. We both did them. Everything from Acid to crack.Cocaine, pot, pills, speed and many times I didn’t even know what I was ingesting. He was like a mirror of what I felt like on the inside. No emotion at least not good one’s anyway. Only rage, sadness and a deep passion for drama. During this period he cheated on me with more girls then I can count or care to know. He went to jail briefly for selling acid and then somehow his case got thrown out. I continued to go back to him even though I knew he wasn’t good for me. He was all I had. He was my link to a group of friends who I didn’t think would like me if I wasn’t his girlfriend and I enjoyed the parties and endless supplies of drugs. I also started shop lifting. Again no notice by parents. They never even asked me where all my new clothes or all their expensive Christmas presents came from. A teenager with no allowance or job. I could have been prostituting myself and they wouldn’t have noticed. Speaking of Christmas around the holiday my Mom goes on one of her weekend getaways I guess to visit her family without me or my brother. My Dad is stationed in another state at this time (now I kind of think maybe they were separated briefly but never told me) it was weird. So my boyfriend stays at my house for the weekend with me, my brother (who actually has Asperger’s Syndrome but at the time they think he has ADHD) and a large group of people where we do drugs all weekend. My boyfriend and I have sex. He leaves the room for a few minutes and then comes back with a worried look on his face. He tells me he doesn’t know what happened to the condom. I reach down to see if it’s on the bed and it’s not. Then I check and realize it’s slipped off up inside me. So I worry about it for a day and then just brush it off and think that everything is fine. Over the next few months we continue to fight back and forth mostly over his cheating and I break it off. Come April i’m at school and my stomach has been hurting really bad. I figure my period is about to start so I go the bathrooom when I get ready to sit down I feel like something is coming out of me and so I push. It feels like something is stuck so I grab some toilet paper and wipe the area and there is blood. I feel something slipping out of me so I hold the toilet paper there and out comes blood and mucous enveloping something the size of my hand. I pull away at it and turn it over and am in disbelief because it is what appears to be a baby. I want to scream but can’t because there are other girls in the bathroom. So I stand there just staring and holding my breath. I look at it and it doesn’t look quite normal. Not that I knew what a baby that small should look like. I remember the head not looking quite right but you could see where the eyes had developed and it had started to grow arms and legs although they looked small like they had stopped growing at a certain point. I instantly blamed myself. I was so stupid to not think this could have been possible. I hadn’t had a period in a long time but never noticed. I continued with my reckless drug use and ultimately feel like I am solely responsible for the murder of my own child. I can’t stay at school so I wrap the baby in several layers of toilet paper and put her (I didn’t look real closely but I think it was a girl)in my book back and drove home. So at the age of seventeen I walk into the house hysterical and show her to my Mom. She looks at me and says oh this is just a fleshy mass. I pass these all the time it’s no big deal. She throws her in the trash can and walks away. I go to my room and cry myself to sleep. I’m stunned and don’t leave my room for the rest of the night. Later the next day I go to the trash can hoping to secretly remove the baby and look at her closer to know that i’m not crazy it is a baby not a mass and to give her a proper burial. But it’s too late the trash has already been taken out and emptied. Several weeks later when I go for a check up at gynecologist mostly because I was having some prolonged discharge. The Dr. asks me if i’ve recently had a miscarriage. I tell her what happened and she just writes in my file, completes my exam and sends me home. Several weeks later my ex calls to torment me by telling me that one of the girls he’s been sleeping with might be pregnant but he’s not sure if it’s his baby or his friends. I’m so angry that I tell him about the miscarriage. He asks a few questions but doesn’t offer any words of comfort. During our next fight I try to kill myself by ingesting 180 tablets of my brothers Adderall. I tell my ex about what I’ve done and then take the phone off the hook. After a few minutes I regret doing this and wake my mother and tell her what I’ve done. She races me to the ER and my heart is racing and I can’t catch my breath. She tells the Dr. I mistakenly took medication that I thought was for sleeping because I had insomnia. They make me drink coal to stop the medication. I ask my mother why she lied and she tells me that she didn’t want this to be on my record. We go home the next day and never discuss it again. I continue to have reckless behavior going to parties and ultimately get raped by a guy I had never met after taking some drugs. He tells me he’s not letting me leave until we have sex. I didn’t fight back I just kept saying I didn’t want to. I gave up and pretty much felt like I deserved it. I didn’t report it because I didn’t want to get in trouble with my parents or for anyone to know. After that I became involved with a twenty six year old married man, father and firefighter who had an open marriage. He started to stalk me and wanted to get me my own apartment and then his wife started contacting me wanting to hang out. I don’t know if they were both trying to get me in bed or it was some kind of game. I stopped all contact with him after a few weeks. Later that year my ex-boyfriend and I got back together (the girl was never pregnant) and we moved into our own apartment. He starts using heavier drugs and shooting up speed. He lies to me constantly about it and disappears for days at a time. Our fights turn from yelling to him shoving me into the wall. He apologizes, cries and says he doesn’t want be like his ex-step dad. Months pass we move out of the apartment because it’s getting too expensive and we move into his Mom’s house. Girls start calling, he’s still doing drugs and disappearing. We fight constantly until one days he hits me in the head. It stuns me and he pauses for a brief moment only to look at me in such a way that I can only describe it as demonic. He proceeds to beat me for several minutes until he has exhausted himself. He punches me, kicks me, chokes me. I tell him during this that i’m done and i’m leaving. He then says if you ever leave i’ll kill you. I tell him i don’t care. Then he says ok then i’ll kill your family. This is something I can’t live with so I stay. Sometimes weeks or months would go by without fighting but something would always end up setting him off. It might be a question about where he had been or he just had a bad day and he would take it out on me. Once the fight got so bad while we were in his car he pulled over and smashed my head into the windshield. He then punched me while he drove for over thirty minutes until we got to his house. Shortly before arriving I tried to throw myself out of the car not carrying if I died. I just wanted it to stop. He snatched my hair back and told me not to move again. He reminded me to keep my mouth shut until we got to the back of the house as he didn’t want to wake up his Mom and siblings. He beat me for another ten to fifteen minutes and reminded me if I wasn’t there when he got back he would go straight to my house and kill my entire family. So I stayed. I had several bruises and did my best to hide them with make up and big clothes. No one ever seemed to notice. Later that year I got what ended up being a really bad kidney infection. For two weeks I laid in bed, vomiting, not able to eat or keep down much water. I was loosing a lot of weight. My boyfriend could care less he continued to have sex with me even though my back was hurting from my kidneys and I was very sick. After he left his Mom came in and said you have got to go to the Dr. I told her I didn’t think my Mom would take me (she always told me I was a hypochondriac) and she said if she doesn’t then I will. I told her I would drive to my house and have her take me. I barely remember the drive and was starting to hallucinate and felt like I was blacking out. I walk into my house and tell my mom my symptoms and how long i’d been sick. I was already a very skinny girl (95lbs with clothes on). My Mom said my trip to the Dr. could wait because she had to go to the grocery story. I started to scream and curse at my Mom which I had never done in my life. I don’t remember what I said but she just looked shocked and took me to the E.R. The lobby was packed. I sat in the chair too weak to walk and then started to go in and out of consciousness. I was freezing so they wrapped me in a blanket and the nurse looked at me and realized how serious my situation was. They took me immediately back over all the other patients that were there. The rest of the day was a blur. I only know that I weighed 82lbs (13 lbs lost in two weeks), I had a kidney infection, blood poisoning and the Dr. told my Mom I would have died within the next 24-48 hrs without treatment. My Mom never apologized although I did learn years later that she told my Dad how bad she felt about what happened. When I was better I went back to my boyfriend. New year’s Eve 1999 my boyfriend drank a lot and prob did more drugs. He started rambling about the end of the world and how he was going to go out and defend the house or shoot people. It freaked me out because I believed he would do it. So I followed him and he trapped me in his room and held the rifle to my head. He told me one of us is going to die tonight. Someone how his Mom could hear us and she started pounding on the door until she got in. I rushed past her out the front door and told one of his friends that was there what he did. At first he didn’t believe me but when he went back to the room he took all his guns and weapons away and told me I needed to leave. I didn’t but in my heart that night he was dead to me and from that point in time I was waiting for the right moment to get away where no one would get hurt. I no longer argued with him or asked where he went or who random girls were that still called the house. Six months later when I was slowly pulling away he threatened to beat me for being at a friends house unless I came straight home. I refused so he said fine i’m on my way. Luckily for me my friend protected me and he wasn’t able to hurt me. Our relationship ended with some minor incidents here and there but pretty much I moved on. I ended up finding someone who truly loves me and is everything i’ve ever wanted. He’s honest,kind,supportive and truly makes me feel safe and loved. I became so happy with him I slowly suppressed many of my memories of my parents neglect and just remembered what few happy times I had with them. I made excuses for there lack of parenting and love. I felt like my Mom was just really depressed with my Dad gone, my brothers disability and her health problems. My Dad I just blamed the Army. Being emotionally unavailable was just how he had to be to survive during times of war. He couldn’t afford to think of us or get distracted. I started to forget. The abuse with my ex stayed with me and ultimately I put all the blame of everything on him. A few years later after I married my husband I had a son after long debating if I wanted to have children. I really thought my head was too messed up and I would be a terrible mother. The day I went into labor I was very excited. Things were going well until they broke my water at 8cm. My son’s heart rate kept dropping and they rushed me away for an emergency c-section. My epidural wasn’t working properly and I could feel them cutting me. Between the pain and worried for my son I started having a panic attack. They had to give me sedation to knock me out. My last thought was I don’t want to wake up if he’s going to die. But he didn’t and when I saw him he was perfect. I loved him instantly and had to have him by me constantly or I felt like my heart would break. I loved him so much that I felt like I couldn’t love anyone else at that time even my own husband. It was very confusing. I nursed him and co-slept until he was 11 mos old. I cried the entire first week I had to take him to daycare and go to work. I felt like my son turned a light on inside me and everything was very clear. I was very protective of him and paranoid about anything that could hurt him. Animals, germs and especially people. My husband called me a helicopter Mom. I didn’t care. I felt like this was my calling and for the first time I felt truly complete. I had a husband and a son and they both loved me. For two years things were great. I would visit my family who had moved to Fla. My Mom wanted to reconnect with her Mom who was now in a nursing home. I was a little resentful that they left and were not able to see their grandson much… for what? A Mom who let her down…I didn’t get it. I was o.k though. Then came Mother’s Day 2009. My son broke his leg and I called to tell them about it. I had also broken my leg on a slide at the same age. We had a good conversation, some laughs, i think they may have even paid me a compliment about what a good mother I had become. All was well. This was on a Sunday. During that conversation my Mom even offered to come help me out if I wanted but I told her I was o.k. I told her I would update her on Tues after his recheck appointment with the pediatric orthopedist. I got busy and forgot to call. At the end of the week was my wedding anniversary and we had plans to take my son to stay with my in-laws while we got away for the weekend. It would be the first time he spent the night away from me. I came home from work Thurs evening and my husband kept trying to persuade me to leave one night early. Something in me just didn’t want to go. I felt like I needed to wait. I had a very weird feeling that something was about to happen. It felt kind of bad but I just figured I was nervous about leaving my son for the first time. That night my father called at 1 in the morning to tell me my Mom was dead.At first I thought I didn’t hear him right and that he was telling me my grandmother had died. So I asked him to repeat it and he said it again. I always thought I knew how I would feel when my Mom died but I was so wrong. I fell to the floor in the fetal position and my Dad said I let out these cries that he only heard one other time and that was when he had to call his sister and tell her their Mom was gone. I sank into a deep depression. I spent several days at my parents home crying, screaming, talking with my Dad and then cleaning his house obsessively that my Mom had destroyed with her hoarding.My Mom’s cause of death was never determined- ruled as natural at the age of 54. I viewed her body alone and apologized to her for being a bad daughter. I was consumed with guilt and began to blame myself for her death. That somehow I had caused it. I researched for months to understand why she died and even had a friends mother who is a Dr. evaluate her autopsy report to see if they missed something. I became withdrawn from my husband and my son. I isolated myself from everyone except my father. For the first time in my life he comforted me and I comforted him. He would call every few days to make sure I was o.k. and visit every few weeks and then months. I felt like maybe something positive would come from it and then there were times when I was angry with my Mom for bringing me back into depression thru her death. I started having nightmares every night where she would come and talk to me and comfort me. Like she was still alive. During one dream I woke up as she was kissing my forehead. My eyes opened the moment I felt her kiss me and I was sobbing. In my doorway there was a floating shadow in the shape of a person. I don’t know if it was a ghost or lucid dreaming or what. I was too scared to move and eventually fell back asleep. The next morning the door was completely shut when it had been open. A few nights later I woke myself up crying and telling my mother to please stop coming to see me in my dreams it hurts too much. And just like that the dreams stopped. A few months later my husband and I decided to start trying for a second child. Now sometimes I wish I would have given myself a little more healing time. Being pregnant and messed up in the head is not a good place for me. It was a long pregnancy with morning sickness, lots of mood swings and cramping. But the day they told me I was having a girl it felt extra special like somehow I was able to reclaim the potential to have a good mother-daughter relationship. Like it was a special gift just for me. Raising my daughter didn’t come as easy as my son. She is almost two now but from the moment she came out she was screaming,kicking and stubborn. She was hard to nurse and we only made it to three months. Never slept and very colicky. She didn’t seem to be comforted by me but did well when she was held by other people. Especially her Dad. At first this made me angry like somehow I was being cheated but now looking at her everyday she reminds me more of me. I feel like I have a chance to heal thru her by trying to be the Mom I didn’t have. Somedays are rough and I can feel myself disconnecting from those around me but I don’t want to give up and hope that I can get better.My father has become distant from me as he was before my Mom died. Sometimes I wonder if I should tell him what my childhood was really like because I really don’t think he has a clue. I don’t think he knew what kind of woman he was married to.(I know this because one night after drinking several glasses of wine I discussed the incident with my Uncle when he brought up the physical abuse she had suffered and he said your Mom never told me) He cherishes her memory and I don’t want to hurt him. At the same time i’m angry with him too… maybe I wouldn’t be if he would have stayed connected to me like he did the first two years. Sometimes I think he used me for support and now he doesn’t need it so he’s going back to his old ways. My son asks me when is he going to visit and I just tell him I don’t know he’s working. I’m sure he’ll visit when he can. I am always the one to call or email. Sometimes he answers and sometimes he doesn’t. It always seems like he’s trying to rush in getting off the phone with me or rush through a visit. He uses his work and looking after my brother as his excuses(even though my brother lives on his own now). I have never been his priority and just need to start accepting it.

    It’s so confusing to love and hate someone at the same time. I just hope I won’t be like them and my kids will look and say they had a great Mom. Not worried about my husband because he is a wonderful Dad.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th June

      Hi Becky

      Welcome to Emerging from Broken!

      Talking and writing have been 2 of the most helpful healing tools that I have ever found! Please feel free to share as much and as often as you like.

      Thank you for sharing your story with me. Your childhood was filled with extreme neglect from both of your parents and you have suffered so much abuse. For me healing began with getting it out. I wanted to be a better mom for my kids too and the best way that I found to do that has been to face the pain and the damage and the truth about the abuse in my past, find out the lies that I believed because of the messages that I got due to the mistreatment and disrespect that I was treated with and set those lies straight. This whole website is about that. Glad you are here.

      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: El K Posted: 28th May

    Dear Darlene,

    Just happened upon your site, I read your initial posting and identify with you. I sought out a husband (now separated) who echoed my mother’s attitude and I suffered the vicious cycle for 11 years.

    I am shocked to see how many responses you got, that are from hurt daughters of unloving moms. My neighbors who have a young child (less that 2) left her alone in the house, probably thinking she’d sleep through the night, but I just heard the child cry hysterically for mommy and daddy, for 30 minutes. I thought of myself–that must have been how my mom was with me, the second child, that left me so wanting affection, approval..all that.

    i have kids now and feel it is a chance to change the future and raise two children who are sure and confident and respected.
    Thank you for this site.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th May

      Hi EL K
      Welcome to emerging from broken.
      Yes there are many more children who went through this childhood rejection then I ever would have guessed in the past. My mother daughter relationship articles generate thousands of readers ~ hundreds of readers every day from people looking for information on this subject. And together we find healing. Glad you are here.
      Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: kelly Posted: 27th April

    I spoke to my Aunt the other day, we started to talk about my mother.I explained to her my mother feels like the wrong sisters died.That she would rather it have been me instead. She told me that that my mother was always aloof and unemotional.I said I always thought it was strength but she said Its just her way.I was at my mothers yesterday,wow I sure did notice.I’m only curious about one thing..she picks certain people to do this with.I wonder what makes her decide who to do this to,and what you have done to her to make her feel that way.My brother has also picked up this wonderful trait..I guess I’m on that list too…I need to let go and realize its not me its them.I leave their houses beet red and seething,and my daughter gets the backlash from my non confrontation again. I keep hoping for the glimmer of hope that they will open up and let me in one day…hopefully before its too late

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th April

      Hi Kelly
      From what I have observed over the past 7 years, abusers pick different methods to control people according to what works with those people. It isn’t what they have “done” to cause her to treat them that way. That is the lie I was stuck in most of my life; that it was me… My mother may have been different towards certain people but that doesn’t mean she likes them better; it means that they don’t let her get away with the same things that I let her get away with. My ability to stand up for myself came from doing the work of validating myself that I deserved better and that I had equal value to all other people.
      Hugs, Darlene

  17. By: J Posted: 22nd November


    thanks so much for your lovely message! It’s brought a hint of a tear to my eyes. This may sound weird, but the part about crying & yelling & crcling thoughts made me smile (in recognition, NOT enjoyment of you pain)

    I think I’ve been reading & replying on here for possibly hours now, and I don’t think I’ve eaten today, so I probably need to go and sort that out. But I want to come back and re-read your post; it feels like there’s a lot to process and think about within it.

    Very quickly, having gone on my first date in years, I discovered that even that was enough to unleash a flood of mental s**t about relationships/love/sex/family blah blah blah. I haven’t heard back from her (despite her saying she had a really good time and wanted to do it again soon), and there’s a fair part of me that thinks this is probably a good thing. She’s got a job, friends (a life, basically, which I really don’t right now), so better for her to keep doing what she’s doing. I think I’ve let go (at least a bit) of desperately wanting to msg her or waiting for her to msg me, so that’s probably a good thing.

    Thanks again so much for your kindness and understanding!!


    PS just saw the word “obsessing” in your post…. that’s one area of my mind I haven’t really been able to process yet. To quote a song line though, “my fevered thinking’s not gonna solve nothing tonight”
    so I will leave that one alone for now and go get something to eat.

    Take care!

  18. By: Sophia Posted: 22nd November

    Hi J, glad to hear that you keep on processing and thinking deeply and allowing yourself to feel. I had a hard time with sleep last night, too. I was going through a phase of self-recrimination about past screw-ups with people, both friends and lovers. It seems to come in waves alternating with a more positive self-assessment. Since I started therapy a year ago, I found myself losing the desire for dating and relationships. I am single and I wanted to really focus on my relationship with myself and re-parenting, etc. and I just didn’t want to have to engage in a relationship which would likely derail the therapeutic process. I also wanted to deeply examine all my motivations and assumptions and projections about relationships before I unconsciously cast them on another person and had them cast their unconscious needs upon me! And as there had been so much that I had mishandled in love and friendship in the past, it felt like a relief to put that all on the back burner. BUT, as you say, there is the loneliness, and last night that was getting to me, and I began obsessing on a fantasy about a man I knew who had been really sweet in my past. It was out of reality because we haven’t stayed in touch and he lives thousands of miles away and has his own life, and his kindness to me wasn’t really personal, we never dated, he was just naturally warm and supportive to everyone who crossed his path. But it led me to some dark thoughts about how I was such a mess then, and how far I have to go now, and how I really want a friend or partner like that, but who knows what that is REALLY like, and who would want to be with me anyway, blah blah blah! So, a lot of crying and yelling and circling thoughts, but I tried to just stay with it, get it out and examine the content. You’re certainly not alone in wanting love and friendship and yet knowing that this is a minefield which needs to be searched and defused and sometimes things just blow up anyway! Hang in there. ~* Sophia

  19. By: J Posted: 22nd November

    Hi everyone,

    it’s the middle of the night and I can’t sleep again. (Feels like weeks it’s been this way – up all night, few snatches of sleep after sunrise or late afternoon/early evening. Very frustrating, but I think it’s almost helpful in a way because I don’t have to see my parents much this way)

    I just watched some (very) old home movies my grandpa took of me growing up. I haven’t watched them for ages, and I went in expecting to feel upset/emotional at times. It wasn’t too bad actually — in some ways, it was really nice. I was such a gorgeous & funny little tacker!

    A few bits that stood out/made me feel funny: one was with my cousin who’s just under a year older than me (I think I was 1+1/2 or so at the time) playing in the kiddy pool, and there were 2 buckets and I had the little one (big one was floating off in the corner). Then my cousin came and took the bucket from me, and I just sat there and let him. That’s kinda how I feel today; I just freeze if someone tries to do anything to me. Felt really sad that I was like that so early.

    My father was there and you hear him saying “don’t let him take it from you”, and then said “You can have the big bucket” to me but I said “no!” all upset and pointed at the one I’d had. Then he went and took it from my cousin and gave it back to me, which made me feel kinda nice.

    Another part that upset me was when I got a little remote control car and was playing with it (REALLY old — the remote was actually wired to the car, so it could only go a few feet away before running out of wire) and you can hear my mother keep telling me not to do it so fast, but it looks like as soon as you touch the controls the car shoots off and jerks to the end of the wire almost instantly. Then my father stands up for me and tells her “it’s not easy to control” or something. Just made me feel sad how nagging/controlling my mother is.

    It got harder to watch as I got older. Even by about age 7, something just seems wrong…. I just don’t seem comfortable or something. It makes me feel quite uncomfortable watching it even now. I think maybe it’s the feeling that I had to “play the role” that the family wanted me to play even then, and it just seems awkward and yucky. I think there was something else that upset me just now while watching, but I can’t remember.

    Blah. Stupid families. Why can’t they get their s**t together before they start churning out kids??? (Sorry. Useless comment I know, but just feeling s**tty about it all).;

    I also went briefly to the “Out of the Fog” site you linked to Darlene. I think I’d checked it out before. I’ll have to go over it in more detail sometime. One thing I’m struggling with at the moment is how much of my parents is in me, and the damage I’ve sustained by being around them for so long. I joined a dating site the other night and tried to write a profile, but just gave up. In the hints section, it says not to list anything negative about yourself, but then says “be honest”. Those two things can’t co-exist as far as I can tell.

    I had a long conversation with my ex-g/f the other day. She’s been very generous with letting me get things off my chest lately (haven’t got many supports to be able to talk to). But even with her, sometimes it’s weird. The worst breakdown I had was triggered by her getting angry at me when I’d been complaining about my parents. She basically said angrily “maybe it IS all your fault” and I just broke down completely and hung up & started dialling numbers til I got someone (that was one of the days I got to the stage of saying I didn’t want to live anymore). Admittedly, I’m pretty sure I’d been saying some really dark s**t about my parents, so it’s kinda understandable in some ways.

    But now I feel like THIS is an abusive relationship too, and that I’m just defending her. (This is a tricky one for me. I did used to feel like she manipulated me. But I think I’ll worry about all that later. Apart from that day, I’ve often felt like she’s helping keep me alive by letting me get so much stuff off my chest.)

    But the other day, I felt like I’d blinded myself to the pain I put her through when we were together (and after, to a degree). Long story, and actually I don’t think I want to write about that right now. But the point was that I felt like a horrible person. I think because she seemed ok & like she’d moved on, that I assumed she didn’t feel any pain anymore or something.

    Sorry, brain (and paragraphs) are jumping all over the place here. Re dating, I’ve been so worried about feeling like I’m lying (well, being dishonest rather than “actively” telling lies) by trying to appear “normal” when I went on my first date in years recently. I think there’s still such a big part of me that just wants someone to come along and be able to deal with all the s**t and dysfunction I bring to the table, but be able to deal with all their own stuff as well. (That’s a slight exaggeration perhaps. I think it’s just that I know how hard I find everything, and can’t really imagine me being able to actually help anyone else).

    Also worrying that I’m just 100% selfish in my views on women/relationships etc. It’s like I’m this weird mix of old-fashioned chivalry in some ways, but then this horrible objectifying, self-obsessed *&#^@! in so many others. And I can blame a lot of that on the mix of sexual repression I grew up with, along with my secret life of hardcore porn (which I think I’ve mentioned before I discovered by accident on my father’s computer, then went on to get hooked on). But even if I can be understanding about how I got to where I am, I’m still there. And I can’t imagine it being healthy for anyone else. But I’m so lonely, there’s a big part of me that just doesn’t care how much damage I do to anyone else, I just want to have someone to love.

    I feel pretty weird writing all this. It seems most of the people on here are women, and I worry it’s not fair of me to write all this stuff. I guess I’m just trying to figure it all out. Not many places you can talk about this sort of thing.

    I guess the sticking point for me is that I feel like it could be so healing for me to have love in my life (especially if I can find someone who can help me learn to have a healthy relationship, instead of what I’ve had before). But that seems like too much to ask. If I look at myself, I’m in such a low, dysfunctional place, it feels completely unfair to ask anyone to even be around me (even as a casual friend). And then I think “maybe I’m being overly harsh on myself” (which I definitely have a VERY strong tendency to do), but when I think about the pain I’ve caused in my two serious relationships, it seems like I SHOULD force myself to never consider entering a relationship again.

    But there were problems on both sides. Even with my self-blaming habit, I can’t deny that. I guess I’m just so scared of asking so much from someone, and that even with help I’ll still screw it up and be an a**hole etc etc. But maybe being away from the family influence will be a really good start. At least I won’t be actively submitting to all their bulls**t, and maybe I’ll be able to start trying to learn new patterns etc.

    Actually, one positive thing in my favor — (only took me almost 3 decades, but hey) I haven’t even mentioned my date to anyone in my family. As a song I heard recently said “If I don’t want to keep getting shot, why do I give them ammunition?” 🙂

    Couldn’t have said it better myself!

    Hope everyone’s doing well

  20. By: AnnaLyzza Posted: 14th November

    Hi Patricia,

    I appreciate your insights and have adapted similarly – I so rejected my mother’s weakness and was so adamant to never be treated that way by anyone that I instead chose a partner who is “weaker” than I am who I have tended to dominate. And I have often resented him for putting up with me! On the one hand we work because I feel safer and more stable when I feel in control in our relationship – I feel safer when I am leading and I become very anxious and distressed when I feel forced to follow, and he feels safer when he doesn’t have to be in charge and when he is serving/supporting rather than leading. But it becomes problematic because sometimes he gets tired of being controlled and I get really weary of having to be in charge all the time. Sometimes I wish I could rest from the responsibility of having to be “in control” all the time. Something to think about, and something to work *more* on.

    Thankfully we try to be aware of our dynamics and how they work and how the don’t, and we work toward a more equal partnership between us. What sort of twelve step programs were you in? Was there anything that particularly dealt with control issues in marriage that you found helpful? We could benefit from something like that.

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