Oct
19

Is There Such a Thing as Justifiable Anger for Victims of Child Abuse?

By
470

 

 

anger and child abuseI posted the following quote on EFB Facebook and I was a little surprised by the response it triggered.

“Abusive, controlling, entitled people and the people who are afraid of them will say almost anything to get you to shut up. They will label you as angry, hateful and unforgiving if you decide to stand up to them and the ways that they regard you. I want to shout at them and to the ones that defend them ~ “What do you think I am angry about? Anger is justifiable in this situation!” Darlene Ouimet

The quote came from one of my recent blog posts about spiritual abuse when the name of God is used to Guilt and Shame victims of abuse, and I wrote it in the context of explaining the abuse tactic of being told what God would expect you to do or what would make God proud of you according to what abusive controlling, manipulative people want you to do, which has nothing to do with God OR his/her expectations of you.

For many of the readers, this quote was validating. But for others it was upsetting. As I read through the comments it became clear to me that the word “justifiable” was the primary culprit that triggered so many reactions. Apparently, the idea of “justifiable anger” upsets a lot of people.

Some people believe that justifiable anger is dangerous and inappropriate. This quote is about standing up to abusive people and how those people reacted to me standing up to them to and the control tactics that are used in abusive relationships to keep a victim in the web. As most of you know I have a passion for the topic of parent abuse which seems to be an even bigger hot button. The quote exposes spiritual abuse, and the controlling and manipulative people I am referring to, happen to be my parents. BUT as soon as I mentioned “justifiable anger” the meaning of the quote was lost to some of the readers. The meaning of the quote lost its purpose and its importance because a “fear belief” was triggered.

The people who reacted in fear over that phrase “Justifiable Anger” jumped straight to the conclusion that everyone who is angry will act out inappropriately with that anger and they started lecturing about those inappropriate actions as though it was for certain that anyone who feels they have a right to BE angry will do something with their anger that will cause harm.

People disagreed with my quote as though they thought I was saying that people who get physically violent are justified although I would never advocate for abuse of any kind. And it is interesting to note that when people jump to the conclusion that all anger leads to physical violence it for some reason reminds me of other arguments where people have validated a parents right to be physically violent with their children which puts the whole concept of this post into a different context.

It is also important to note here that standing up to someone or confronting someone to address their abusive, controlling or discounting behavior towards you ~ ISN’T abusive.

And then the topic of FORGIVENESS entered into the discussion! These commenters told everyone to skip over the anger and jump straight to forgiveness. This is exactly what happens in toxic dysfunctional family systems; the victim of the offence isn’t even allowed to be angry, but the perpetrator of the offence gets to DO the offence, and then gets forgiven for it without ever acknowledging what they did or even expressing any remorse. When does the target of their nasty behavior ever get a say and why are we told that we don’t get a say? Just thinking about the TRUTH about this concept makes me angry because it causes so much harm.

One of the roadblocks that I encountered on the healing journey was that although I didn’t realize it at a conscious level, I believed that ‘anger’ was ‘bad’. I believed that anger was dangerous and that it was wrong and would ultimately only lead to the wrong path.

It was really important for me to take a closer look at the issue of anger especially in the context of emotional healing. In order to answer the question “is anger justifiable?” I had to take a look at a few of the facts and details. My belief system didn’t change until I looked at why it was the way it was.

First of all, I looked at what I had been taught about anger. Growing up I had seen a teacher get angry and emotionally abuse and humiliate children in front of the entire class. I was one of those children and the way she communicated to all of us was that HER anger was caused by our doing. So I learned that I caused her anger. I accepted the blame for HER anger and I was also told that I was to respect my teacher. Her anger at me was validated by the adults in my life.

I also learned that there was a consequence to being angry. I didn’t want to be ‘like them’ so I stuffed my anger.

Then there was my mother; when she got angry the leather strap came out and there was a beating to follow. We also got banished (rejected) to our rooms where we were segregated from each other. Like the teacher my mother also communicated to me that HER anger was caused by me and again I learned both sides of anger; I tried NOT to make anyone angry because of the consequences of doing that, AND I tried not to be angry because that would make me ‘like them’. At the same time I trying to cope with living with all those mixed messages about why they had permission to be angry but for me it was a sin?

The message that I got about anger as a child was actually; don’t make anyone angry no matter what because the price that I paid (when someone else got angry) was way too high.

This ALSO explains why I was trying so hard to avoid my own anger. Just think about it for a minute; anger, all the way around, was dangerous! I was afraid of anger for many reasons. So how could I believe that anger was a necessary emotion? How could I have ever seen ‘anger’ as justifiable? If I justified anger for me, how could I not justify it for the people that were taking their anger out on ME? I had to sort through the truth about all that because my false belief system, the one I had been brainwashed and groomed to believe was the truth, had to be overcome.

So ~ Setting ALL of that information aside, I looked at what I had to be angry about and left them and all their rules that applied to me but not to them ~ out of it;

Here are a few quick facts about my life starting in childhood and progressing into adulthood;

~my childhood was full of fear; fear of being sexually abused, fear of being hit, fear of being rejected, ridiculed, shamed and inferior.

But it wasn’t just the fear of those things ~ those things were my reality. That was ME those things happened to and I was being told that anger was wrong and that I had no right to it. The word ‘justified’ was banished from my vocabulary if it was linked with the word ‘anger’.

Growing up with all this brainwashing, abuse and neglect at the hands of my parents taught me that I didn’t have the same rights as other people and then my adulthood consisted of me being a servant to everyone else’s desires. In childhood I was trained to put my own wants and needs aside in order to serve the wants and needs of others and deep down I was frustrated that those ‘others’ were never expected to put aside any of their wants or needs, at least not when it came to me. There was no equal value or equal regard for me at all. Those ‘others’ somehow had a different set of relationship rules than the ones that they assigned to me and there is nothing that makes sense about that but due to the grooming process and brainwashing ~ I didn’t know how messed up that system actually was. No one communicated through the actions of REAL love, true respect, or real fairness.  It was up to me to see and validate the real truth.

I have a right to be angry. I was a kid, I was a person, I was a woman, I was stripped of my childhood and my right to equal value. I was harmed, I was not protected from harm, and people targeted their frustrations and anger at me. I was not permitted to have feelings. My parents invalidated me as well and they defended abusers. I think that being angry is understandable. I think that in cases like this, anger IS justified.

So you tell me ~ is there such a thing as justifiable anger? What do you think about this? Please share your thoughts. The subject of anger is a really big one when it comes to healing from trauma or childhood wounds but facing the truth about this opened a whole new path to healing for me!

P.S. I received a boat load of email over the blog post that this quote came from (Spiritual Abuse; When the Name of God is used to Guilt and Shame) from people who I suspect didn’t even bother to READ the post, but wanted to ‘save my soul’ by enlightening me about the ‘true meaning’ of forgiveness. Some people believe that if I want to write about forgiveness while exposing abuse and abusers ~ then I must NOT have forgiven and I must not understand what forgiveness actually is. I sincerely hope that this doesn’t happen with this post as well. Thanks in advance for reading this post and the one the quote is referring to, before you comment against my point. My salvation is not what’s in question here.

Looking forward to the discussion on this one!

Exposing Truth, one snapshot at t time,

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” 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 Articles~ See the links in bold throughout the article

Categories : Family

182 Comments

1

Oh boy, this comes at the right time.

I came to this web site this morning wondering which article I could make these comments on.

Two days ago, I watched a PBS show on Bullying. In one scene, a kid comes home and complains of being bullied, and the parents all go off like, “You should have, You should have, You should have…” And I’m thinking… “Why are they acting like HE did something wrong?” That was the point!

This morning, I’m listening to NPR and they are talking about classroom discipline and “class to prison” kind of things. And they are noticing that the way a kid is treated in school has a lot to do with why they go to prison and turn “bad.” Wow, I could relate to all of it.

It kind of touches on the theme of “Other people try to decide who you are and when you don’t comply with who they want you to be, you get harassed.” This is my observation.

I am saying, “yes, there IS justifiable anger.” My mom cannot figure out why I “won’t let things go.” It’s because I want her to SEE and FEEL what I felt! I want her to understand me.

She says I keep repeating myself. Yes, but I repeat myself because she doesn’t “get it” and I want her to “get it.” Or, I repeat myself because, after I have had time to process her previous “justification/excuse,” I decide she is full of **** and I pursue it again.

Yes, there is JUSTIFIABLE anger.

Am I the first to comment?

2

YAY, I was first!

the people who are afraid of them will say almost anything to get you to shut up. They will label you as angry, hateful and unforgiving if you decide to stand up to them and the ways that they regard you.

This was talked about at great length on the NPR session on Classroom to Prison. In fact, someone who had experienced this as a child, then grew up to be a teacher, found himself reverting back to what had been done to him. He admitted, “It was because I was afraid of them.”

In fact, they talked about… “If a kid doesn’t want to be in school, why do you ‘suspend’ them? You are just giving them what they want.” So, therefore other methods had to be tried, but everyone is clueless as to what to do. The NPR article did not come to any conclusions as to what to do instead, just made it clear that what was being done wasn’t working. And that colored kids got suspended more than white kids for committing the same ‘offense.’ It happened because ‘offenses’ got perceived differently for colored kids than for white kids, even though it was basically the same offense.

3

Oh, and one time I had a [male] supervisor who kept sabotaging me on stuff, and when I reacted, oh wow, *I* was the one with “anger” issues, and had to go to “anger management training.” That’s because I wasn’t doing the “docile” thing of just letting him sabotage me. This is crock!

Ok, I had better

4

Dang laptop! I wasn’t done. I wanted to say, I had better stop before I hog the first ten comments.

5

Sorry (for so many comments), this post is touching all my issues.

It is also important to note here that standing up to someone or confronting someone to address their abusive, controlling or discounting behavior towards you ~ ISN’T abusive.

I agree. It is NOT abusive. But because you “stood up” you weren’t being what the other person wanted you to be so they escalate to put you back down below them.

I recently visited one of my siblings. I told that sibling that I used to be judgemental of their actions, but now I am not. That sibling had the guts to stand up to mom, and their actions was the result of that. Although that sibling made a lot of bad decisions on their actions (nothing was violet), I admired that sibling for taking their action.

Anger is justifiable, but violence is not. You have the right to be angry, but no right to cause physical violence. By that logic, I am still standing by “justifiable anger.”

6

Ok, sorry for hogging all the comments, but recently I stood up and expressed my anger at a long time male friend for ways I had been treated. Ok, we aren’t talking about violence here. We are talking about his way versus my way and everything always has to be his way. He was dumbstruck that I should have opinions on that!

I may have put a “cramp” in the friendship, and I’m not sure if it will continue, but I felt good that I did it! I’m slowly learning via this web site.

However, I still have the issue of “delayed reactions” on my Mom. Sometimes it takes me 48 hours or more to process something she said, and then I realize I’ve been “had” and I’m angry but can’t discuss it with her because she doesn’t remember saying it. Or doing it, or whatever. I am still trying to deal with this, by turning inward and paying attention to how my body reacts.

I have learned to “trust my gut.”

Ok, I’ll try to stop now.

7

Sorry again!

At the same time I trying to cope with living with all those mixed messages about why they had permission to be angry but for me it was a sin?

Darlene! You nailed it! I have struggled with this all my life! I’m not allowed to be angry, but I make others angry.

8

My favorite non-teacher says, “The world doesn’t revolve around you. When are you going to learn that.” I was 45 before I responded to it for the last time… “Actually Mother, my world does in fact revolve around me.”
When a person decides to have a child they are taking responsibility to care for them, nurture them, and help them into evolve into a healthy and loving world that is ALL THEIR OWN! Sadly it was my experience and her statement, “I’m sorry, you were just too requiring.” That made me realize that it was actually ALL ABOUT HER!

Thank you Darlene. You have no idea how much you have helped me since I found you.

Respectfully,

Mallory aka American Mutt

9

I believe that ‘Justifiable Anger’ is totally appropriate!
I have been ‘shamed’, ‘blamed’, and ‘defamed’ for being angry at any of my abusers, for any reason. I have been told to “get over it”, “let it go”, “they didn’t mean it the way that you took it”, you are “overly sensitive” and etc. I have suffered a life time of having to ‘stuff it’, because my feelings never mattered.
I have been depressed, suppressed, sad, suicidal, anxious, angry, and suffered all of the physical and emotional side effects that are caused by being attacked for having any ‘negative’ feelings about
anything that my abusers did to me. I believe that controlling our anger is part of the abuse!
Even Jesus had ‘justifiable anger’, for Pete’s sake! Recall the temple and the money changers for one example:
Matthew 21:12 NIV
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

10

Darlene, you said:
“And then the topic of FORGIVENESS entered into the discussion! These commenters told everyone to skip over the anger and jump straight to forgiveness. This is exactly what happens in toxic dysfunctional family systems; the victim of the offence isn’t even allowed to be angry, but the perpetrator of the offence gets to DO the offence, and then gets forgiven for it without ever acknowledging what they did or even expressing any remorse. When does the target of their nasty behavior ever get a say and why are we told that we don’t get a say?”

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT! This is the problem that I had my whole life about the word “forgive”!! For me, the anger was either missing or repressed because it was turned around on me and then used as a weapon to make me feel even more humiliated. I was told that I was the one with anger issues, NOT them.

11

As someone who has had issues with High Blood Pressure, I can assure everyone here, that even if you don’t acknowledge your anger…it’s still there. Oh, it comes out in many ways: Depression, tears, overwhelming sadness, compulsive eating, passive aggressiveness, procrastination, judgmental attitude, critical attitude, shame, anxiety fear…you name it. Many of us learn later that it was anger that lay underneath all the other issues. Once you get in touch with it, it feels like a tsunami. You just have to ride the wave.

Darlene, your articles and posts are just so on point. I realized today that I would let my anger simmer, blow up, feel guilty, and start all over. However, I was turn it on myself when faced with people I was intimidated by, because I was afraid of their anger. I’ve had moments in my life, where I just didn’t care about another person’s anger, and OH HOW FREEING THAT WAS! That’s what I’m trying to work towards. As you’ve said so many times, we all have equal value. Our society is too quick to disregard children as second class citizens, and wimpy people are the first to take their frustrations out on kids, because they are too scared to stand up for themselves in their own lives.

Anyone can assert themselves over a child…but how about doing that with an adult. Those that preach forgiveness should be mindful that God gave us our emotions for a reason. They are our barometers, and if one is triggered, then it means something, and should not be ignored.

I remember, when I would get angry at something my mother would say or do to me, she’d say that I was trying to justify my behavior. What she really meant was that I was making too much sense scaring the hell out of her, because I wouldn’t just comply with her every wish and need to feel superior. Of course, that would make me feel guilty, because I would feel that I was in the wrong. It helps to know that I was not, and that my anger WAS justifiable. There…I said it 🙂

12

Oh yes, I absolutely believe there is justifiable anger.
Towards the mother that hit me because SHE was having a bad day.
Towards the teacher that had me read my short story in front if the class, and while I was standing up there, picked my story apart and humiliated me while the class laughed.
Towards the classmates that laughed at me and called me ugly and made fun of my clothes and called me names.
Towards the saleswoman who accused me of trying to steal a handkerchief with absolutely no grounds for it. I was nine years old and buying a Mother’s Day gift that I had every intention of paying for with my allowance money.
Towards the mother of a classmate who ” borrowed” my doll clothes and failed to return them, and when I went to her house to try to get them back, the mother LIED and said she had bought them for her daughter and then said I was lying.
Towards the boyfriend that showed me a vacation picture of himself with another girl just to hurt me by letting me know he cheated.
I could list many more, but I know I made my point. These were all situations where people mistreated me, let me down, took advantage of their position of authority or even the difference in size between themselves and a child. I had reacted to each of these situations in the same way. By saying nothing. By doing nothing except cowering and accepting blame and responsibility that wasn’t mine in the first place. I didn’t dare get angry. I didn’t think I had the right to feel anger. Like Darlene I was groomed that way. I did not know until recently about justifiable anger. And it was justified in all these situations. I’m glad to have expressed my justifiable anger here, as it is very validating to do so.

13

I just want to say THANK YOU! You have put salve on a very very very painful spot… love you Darlene!

14

Great topic Darlene! Of course anger can be justifiable or based out of misunderstanding just like any emotion can. What it doesn’t necessarily always lead to is the kind of action that is not justifiable, such as physical or emotional punishment. It’s another emotion that I was not allowed to have (or punished for having) while being simultaneously held responsible for causing it in my mother (sometimes my father) and so therefore “making” them angry while my own anger was (by this time, regular posters will have guessed) my “choice”. Today I am still often angry at my mother and father for justifiable reasons (although I rarely ask anyone else to validate whether the reasons are or not, there’s a difference) but I don’t do anything in particular with that anger, except feel it. Which is unpleasant for sure. I’m not acting it out or doing anything with it. It ends up passing, like sadness passes or happiness does.

The worst was when I was trying to get rid of it because it was “bad” either for myself or other people. You don’t get rid of anger any more than you get rid of a smile.

I agree, the only people putting me in direct danger with their actions in the heat of their anger were my parents. Probably why they didn’t want us kids being angry because they feared the acts that could result. The very acts they were themselves carrying out (likely perpetrated on them by other people they’d “made” angry and so on).

15

All the way through this past year from as far back as I can remember, I tended to turn my anger back on myself. When things got really overwhelming, I blamed myself and repeated all the things I’d been told about how awful I was until I wanted to die.

Somewhere very recently I started to think about why I was angry and it finally made sense. I am justifiably angry! What happened to me was wrong! I STOPPED FIGHTING THE ANGER and just acknowledged it.

I began to say, sometimes to myself, sometimes out loud, “I am angry because that wasn’t right!” That alone took the edge off the anger. It became tolerable and I just FELT it. It was no longer a beast that would push me to violence, it was just a feeling that had a purpose.

It told me that I was being treated without simple human respect. I didn’t and don’t deserve the bad that was directed at me. Once I acknowledged that I felt angry for a reason, it became just enough energy to to deal with the issue it identified.

It also became a way of caring about myself. I began to see myself as someone worth protecting, and anger was a useful tool for building strong and appropriate boundaries. It became a positive emotion.

The lifetime I spent trying to absorb the anger that others threw at me, and trying to control or deny my own anger resulted in self-destructive behavior and too often hurtful behavior toward others.

Learning to apply what I’ve learned about anger to all emotions that I wasn’t allowed to feel has really given me the ability to enjoy the more pleasant feelings that come through me.

I’m not sure exactly how I got to this mode of operation. If I figure it out I’d love to outline a “how-to”. Until that happens, I want to share the good it’s done.

Hobie

16

The Kumbaya forgiveness police are my sworn enemy. Also, ever noticed how angry they can get when you offer information about the history of forgiveness (got to practically study religion for this one however) and the current backtracking now happening with therapists in this regard? I will concede that I have “forgiven” my mother to some extent if we’re using the contemporary therapeutic “definition” (fluffy though it is) that holds that forgiveness is about letting go for oneself. But by definition this is not some “performing seal act” that anyone can pull on demand from the KFP (Kumbaya Forgiveness Police). It happens on the way to healing oneself. Nor is it reconciliation. Nor is it an agreement to allow the abusive person back into your life on the same terms as before (e.g. Let the abuse begin again and go on as if nothing had ever been recognized).

17

Darlene, your articles and posts are just so on point. I realized today that I would let my anger simmer, blow up, feel guilty, and start all over.

You can’t win! You get criticized for being angry, then you get criticized because you “hold your anger in, you should let it out….” or “Find some way to channel your anger….” (just not at us….we don’t want to hear it…)

Well, why am I in this limbo? BECAUSE OF YOU!!!! (and by “you” I mean other people…..)

18

Alice – I was so glad to see that you said “I don’t do anything in particular with that anger, except feel it. Which is unpleasant for sure. I’m not acting it out or doing anything with it. It ends up passing, like sadness passes or happiness does.”

It does pass! All the fighting, denying and trying to control it seemed to feed it and keep it alive somewhere, and it would come back sometimes when I least expected it. Feeling it and talking about where it came from allows it to pass.

It’s so much better that way!

Hobie

19

Hobie, it’s interesting you say that because my mother warned me when I was very young (don’t recall my age) that my anger was particularly devastating. She told me (the message was) that if I gave in even a little bit to it it would escalate into this overwhelming thing I wouldn’t be able to stop and that I could hurt people badly with it. That’s quite a warning! So I became scared of this emotion in myself and did all I could to avoid it because of course I didn’t want to hurt anyone.

But I couldn’t avoid it. It’s a natural reaction to all kinds of boundary violations and mistreatment. My mother was effectively putting me in a double bind with this BS about my “uncontrollable” anger while allowing herself to step all over me as she wished. And I’ve noted, when I do get angry I withdraw to process it and contemplate what course of action is best. I don’t slap people upside the head (like my mother did) or chase them into cupboards (like my father did on one occasion). My mother would likely congratulate herself for this outcome as “good parenting”. One thing I will tend towards when angry is withdrawal. I don’t communicate when I’m angry. But I don’t see what’s wrong with that either.

20

Hobie, DXS, And Alice, I think they don’t want us to feel our anger because it gives them the ” inconvenience” of having to deal with it. Better ( for them) that we just stuff it in and remain quiet. My mother didn’t want to deal with any of my emotions be it anger, sadness or even joy. I guess I just wasn’t supposed to feel anything because it was an annoyance for her.

I stuffed my anger in all my life and people thought that they could treat me however they wanted to because there would be no consequences; Amber would just take whatever they dealt . There were consequences but only for me. I felt like I had a knot in my stomach, I was on edge and nervous, I was constantly wondering what was wrong with me. I wasn’t happy and I watched others living their lives, getting what they wanted and somehow that never seemed to happen for me.

Occasionally, very rare, but occasionally, my anger would come out, and then people would twist it around and act like something was the matter with me because I acted out if character. They would do whatever they could to squelch it back down, and keep me in what they had decided was my proper ( submissive and unfeeling) state.

It gas taken me a long time to start expressing any ” negative ” feelings whether it is anger or even just disagreeing with someone about something. I’m getting better at it, but still feel fear when I am about to say something that goes against the grain. I still freeze up at times. I think I still fear the consequences I got as a child when my mother used the strap when she was angry about anything, even if it had nothing to do with me.

Alice, I can relate to withdrawing to figure out what to do when someone upsets me. I did this a lot at work. It actually was beneficial in some ways. I don’t yet have the confidence to not put my foot in my mouth if I react when feeling emotional. So it is better if I have time to calm down. It also gives me a chance to think things through and plan what I want to say. And I am usually calmer when I approach the person later on. What I still find hard is when someone insults me. When I am caught off guard that’s when I tend to freeze and I can’t respond. I would just love to get to the stage where I feel confident to answer an insult with one of Darlene’s questions for dealing with rude people like ” why are you talking to me as if I am stupid?” I will be celebrating on the day when I finally do this.

One other thing in reference to withdrawing; I have been told that I am giving the Silent Treatment when I do this. I have tried to explain that sometimes I need some time and space to think things through which is different than not speaking to someone with the purpose of trying to hurt them.

21

Alice – it makes a lot of sense for you to not communicate when you’re angry. If you deal with anger in such a way to let it pass, you can deal with whatever made you angry in a much calmer and more effective way.
Hobie

22

Darlene, you expressed exactly how I have felt, and how I feel about being angry! Living in fear nearly every day of my life like you did because of brainwashing, abuses and neglect…and the constant rejection…have now made me so happy to be free! AND I absolutely feel that when I feel anger about all of it is entirely justifiable. I also don’t waste my time on worrying and obsessing about forgiveness. It might be easier for me since I cut my family off a few years ago and have no intention on having relationships with any of them again for any reason. I feel like I am being forgiving by putting space between us…I don’t think constantly anymore about them, and when I am thinking of them, it isn’t like it used to be at all. I truly wish them all well, and I don’t begrudge any good things or joy they might have in this life…..as long as I don’t have to be a part of it ever again….and I thankfully don’t! I do sometimes have flashes of anger, but I tell myself that I have done what was best and right for me and my own family, and then I am able to let it go. My anger still comes at me about what they did and didn’t do for my older brother because they were so cruel and utterly heartless toward him….and I feel absolutely justified at being angry about that. I know ppl would tell me I need to forgive for what they did to him, but I don’t worry about what people who weren’t there think. I also feel anger at myself …and I do feel worry about my emotional integrity. I have always tried to be honest with myself so that I don’t allow myself to distort or exaggerate the truth , but I am not entirely sure that I have done this with my parents. I was always so scared of them and what they thought of me. They were very controlling when I was growing up along with all the rest, and I never had the guts to tell them off. I read here on EFB all the wonderful and brave things ppl tell their parents…and they tell them exactly how they felt and feel. I know in my heart I didn’t do that…and it makes me angry. I tried in very “nice” ways to communicate with them, but I never went into detail or expressed my disgust, fear, anger, etc. I KNOW they already know how abusive they were, but they apologized….in a way where they thought it was all over with and we could all move on….and I feel dishonest because I didn’t speak MY truth,if that makes sense. Lately it has bothered me because I feel angry that I still have complex emotions over this. I feel guilty that I wasn’t totally honest with them before I cut them off….and yet I also feel such relief in doing so. I feel angry that I am in this position of having complex emotions!

23

I don’t remember what I WAS ALLOWED to feel. Even if I felt something good, it was either excessive in my mother’s view, or it was in response to the wrong thing.

I remember being lectured about not having any right to cry, but I remember more than anything the disapproving, belittling expression cast in my direction almost daily.

I could not figure out how I was supposed to think, feel, or act to stay out of trouble. I suspect now that the point of a scapegoat is to keep it always in trouble so that no one has to look at their own problems. Even they didn’t know what they wanted from me.

That’s why I decided to withdraw from continued relationship with them.

24

Hobie, I can relate about not remembering what you were allowed to feel. I also wouldn’t know that answer either. I wonder if you also experienced whenever you were happy or had something great happen for you in your life your parents found a way to crush your happiness? I learned very early to try not to show happy emotions or what I was thinking or feeling because somehow i would end up in trouble or made fun of or something negative ….and I believe it was to squash my happiness and to put me down if I ever had something good…or successful happen to me. Did you have that too?

25

FinallyFree, if I was happy, I was either called ” silly” or I was told I was selfish because I was spending too much time with my friends. Why shouldn’t I spend time with them? It was better than being around her negativity. If I felt any negative emotions…sadness…she would tell the whole family to ignore me because I was in a mood. Anger…forget it! That was only for her.

Hobie, Your comment about scapegoats, wow! To always keep the scapegoat in trouble so that they don’t have to look at their own problems! I think you scored Bingo on that one!

26

Number 15, says it all for me. This is so hard to write. I have had a long history of stuffing my anger, letting others, family and friends say whatever they want to me, or getting so mad at me and screaming at me, and sadly I would just sit there and take it. I know I have the right for justifiable anger towards them. I think the people closest to me could see the sensitive side of me and use it their advantage. I have tried to stand up to them only to be screamed at by them as if what they do is okay. But it’s not okay and it has caused so much hurt within me. I still get mad at myself for never standing my ground with them and saying how I feel. Too scared of the outcome and it takes me so long to know what to say back. Some people have the gift of knowing how to hurt me and seem to enjoy this, they are so good at it, me I don’t have that, therefore I fumble and before I know it they’ve thrown their angry words all over me and I just sit there not saying anything, I didn’t have time to think of what to say other than to yell back and this doesn’t work for me, landing me in the emergency room from the stress I allowed in. So, yes I do believe in justifiable anger.

So in the last two years my husband and I no longer speak to his family too toxic, I let two friends go, and my extended family is on a limited basis. Do I miss them, no, but the real hard part, the anger and resentment for not standing up for myself, I feel I betrayed me the most important person, now I work each day to forgive what I did to myself as I didn’t think I had the right to be my own defender and protect myself from them. Moving forward knowing even if I stumble which I will, it’s okay I will get there.

27

Amber, I am sorry you were treated like that! As I got into my teens…after I was about 15 yrs old, I started spending as much time away from home as possible…with friends…too. Did your entire family ignore you when she would tell them to?

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Amber – I was called silly too. My interests weren’t “cool”. My successes were in the wrong areas, or just not really successes at all.

The one incident that comes to mind right now is the fact that I scored in the 98th percentile in algebra on one of those standardized tests. I remember my test result on the refrigerator door when my mom pointed to it and then said, “You may be smart, but you don’t have common sense! I have common sense!”

If I did poorly, I was an embarrassment. If I did well, I made her jealous. Do you think that may have had something to do with the fact that I wanted to die while I was still in elementary school?

Mom would probably say it was just because I wanted so damn much attention. Yeah – I’m a little angry about that right now.

Hobie

29

What I still find hard is when someone insults me. When I am caught off guard that’s when I tend to freeze and I can’t respond.

Me too! I rehearse and rehearse and rehearse the “if they say this, I will say that” but reality is, the script gets changed and I didn’t get a copy. It seems I cannot “rehearse” enough.

I hate the “freeze.”

30

Mom would probably say it was just because I wanted so damn much attention. Yeah – I’m a little angry about that right now.

Hobie, I don’t “read” you as someone who needs attention. The reason you wanted attention is because you didn’t get the attention you deserve and about had to grovel for any. And even that was “too much.” I think it’s awful you were treated that way.

31

Everyone on this very good thread, I also remember that mostly whatever I was feeling wasn’t the “right” thing for whatever mom or grandmother (she’s in the back of some of these accounts) decided at the time. I remember feeling wildly happy (can’t remember why) and that was called “silly” or “over the top” or “overexcited”.

If I took pride in some thing I had done I was told not to “boast” or “blow your own trumpet”. If I was upset with sadness and tears I was called “hysterical”. Or if she’d decided otherwise, it was because I was “overtired” not for example because I was legitimately upset at something she’d said or done. It was a way of not being held accountable.
To consider myself in any way beyond what she considered appropriate was “selfish”, if I had grief with her it was “whining”.
My anger was remarked upon a couple of times by different family members because it was probably just so obvious but it was put down to an internal characteristic of mine, not anything grounded in anything else. It was a defect and something I “You’re only harming yourself Alice”. And for years I did believe I was. I was also afraid of driving other away with my “anger as inherent defect but that you should get rid of for the good of all”. And finally, it was held that my anger was not justified either by anything they’d done but also because they had determined that “You had a good/happy childhood Alice” as if saying it was enough to make it true. When I told them that it was totally the opposite, that I hadn’t had a good childhood at all, that’s when the swords came out. What EFB has helped me to realize is that I don’t need their approval of my experience of my own childhood for it to be true. There were also some good things but they pale in comparison to the rest.

32

I’ve been on the forgiveness merry-go-round and I can tell ya you won’t get there by never being angry. Not true forgiveness anyway. Won’t happen so for all the nay sayers to “justifiable anger” out there I challenge them to take off their blinders and see things for how they really are because there isn’t a person on this planet who wouldn’t be angry at their parents ONCE THEY REALIZE the impact of what their parent’s abuse did to them and the losses that they have incurred all at the hands of people who should have loved and protected them but instead CHOSE to abuse them due to their own fears and insecurities that they never dealt with throughout their lives.

The abusers of this world get away with murder. The murder of their own children’s souls and the “nay sayers” of this world don’t want to
open up that can of worms by taking the time to “question” any of the them but they sure don’t have a problem with “questioning” the innocent one’s who were abused as if they didn’t suffer enough verbal attacks to last them a life time.

What ever happened to offering encouragement in someone’s life that you know is hurting??? I guess that went down the toilet along with every other thing that would be considered common decency.

We as a society need to open up our eyes. We need to educate ourselves and stop believing the lie that parent’s get to do whatever the heck they want to do to their children with no questions being asked. NO. The abuse stops when we take the time to pull aside the mother who is verbally assaulting her child at Wal-Mart and ask her “do you have any idea how you are affecting your child for the REST OF HER LIFE???” Plant that seed to open up her eyes. You might be the only ray of hope in that child’s life. Don’t WASTE an opportunity to help a child in need all because there are a bunch of nay sayers out there who still believe the lie that they need to “butt out” and don’t “rock the boat” and gosh forbid make the ABUSER angry. Words of wisdom spoken by the very one’s who are doing the abusing. Don’t listen to them. They aren’t going to help anyone in this world.

That innocent child doesn’t have a voice. Abuse is a silencer in many ways. YOU are their voice. USE it. Start standing up for the one’s who are being abused and offer your wisdom to the one’s who are still
blind but whatever you do don’t sit back and watch another innocent child’s life be snuffed out by people who refuse to ask for help.

Justifiable anger should be the last concern of all the nay sayers of this world with their holier then thou attitude. Anyone with any common sense would see that any child who suffered at the hands of their own parents should be pretty darn mad and YES it is “justifiable anger”.

You can’t get back all those years you lost due to THEIR abuse. They are gone and as for me I can say that I am darn mad at what my parents did to me and I am no longer AFRAID to say it. LOUD and CLEAR. They robbed me of my God given right to be me and to feel safe in this world and to thrive instead of always having to be in survival mode suffering the affects of DID and overcoming a plethora of other addictions and depression that spanned throughout 48 stinkin years of my life…and still counting. I’d say that was something to be angry about!!!!

Yeah I am damn mad and I can think of a few more expletives to describe how I really feel and yes I would say that this is “justifiable anger” and for those of you who don’t like it you can join my parents in the “head in the sand” club because by the Grace of God I no longer belong to that club so I no longer have to deal with the denial and ignorance that spews out of their mouths anymore. Praise Jesus.

I no longer subject myself to the “nay sayers” of the world without them having to hear what I have to say first. They don’t get to squash the life out of me anymore because I won’t let them. I no longer believe the lie that they “somehow” know what’s best for me when clearly they don’t proven by the ten zillion shattered pieces of my life that I am still picking up due to the abuse that my PARENT’S inflicted upon me.

Thank you Darlene for shedding some well needed light onto a dirty little subject regarding how parent’s get away with abusing their children and the nay sayers out there enabling it.

We have a long way to go but with websites like emerging from broken we are chipping away through all the falsehoods that people still believe just like the adult child who was abused has to chip away at years worth of painful memories and a lifetime of lies that they had to tell themselves in order to survive their parent’s abuse. Unfortunately, unless there is a big gaping wound stamped across your forehead that says you were abused many people just can’t see how painful overcoming the devastating affects of child abuse really is and the host of other problems that comes along with it.

That’s what needs to change because if we as a society could start to “feel” each other’s pain instead of being taught to stuff it down where the sun doesn’t shine then maybe we could get back to the basics and stop condemning people who suffer from so-called mental disorders stemming from childhood abuse and start giving them the respect and honor that they deserve…just like the abuser’s get now.

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Stripping a human being of their right to feel anger when they are hurt is soul murder. Anger is real, it is a natural response. I was taught to stuff my anger, that it hurt the people around me.

Learning I have a right to feel is still a big step for me. Feeling means the whole spectrum, not just the “pretty” feelings.

I am mad as hell, angry as can be. I watch parents with their children every day right now with this sense of knowing that everything that I was taught about me being an inferior creature was really about my Mother being unfit to reproduce.

I have spent a lifetime turning this anger inward. I am in a fierce battle now, but I am finally learning how to to be angry at the people who hurt me instead of being angry at me for being unlovable an I am trying to stop hurting myself.

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FinallyFree, thank you for your understanding. The validation I get on here really is helpful! My mother would ignore me and directed others to do the same. My father worked long hours and when he was home he was usually in the basement in his machine shop so there wasn’t a lot of interaction. My two brothers wouldn’t necessarily adhere to my mothers instructions, but they wouldn’t go against her in front of her. So if they weren’t going to ignore me, it was away from her that they didn’t follow her directives. What hurt the most was that she didn’t give a crap why I was upset. She just didn’t like the inconvenience if me being in a bad mood. She must have thought I would act happy faster if I was ignored. Go figure!

Hobie, yeah, it seems that whatever we did, something was found that was wrong about it. I was good in schoolwork too, but to my mother, looks and catching a man were most important. But when I was getting married she wasn’t interested and after I was married she resented that my husband and I got along well. She did not want me to have a good relationship if she was miserable! My mother is deceased, but I stopped valuing her opinions a while before she passed on. Especially since her thinking was usually at odds with mine.

DXS, yes, we can plan what to say but the other person always surprises us with a different script. What I like about Darlene’s questions for rude people is that they are general enough to be used in many situations and can be tweaked a little to fit almost any rude situation. For me, it’s a matter of getting the courage to do it! I know I would get quite a reaction because it would be unexpected coming from meek little me, as I am seen through their eyes. Like I said in my previous post, the day I finally do it I will celebrate, and the first place I will do the celebrating will be on here so all of you can be at my ” party”!

35

Alice…isn’t that too bizarre that your happiness was somehow inappropriate?! It sounds like all of your feelings were not valued at all and it sounds like you were picked apart emotionally. I am so glad for you that you are able to realize your true feelings about YOUR childhood.

36

Amber, I know that you were responding to DXS, but I thought about the “rude” dilemma recently . I also lacked courage to ask questions back at ppl who were rude, but also I could never be quick enough to actually think of something at the time! However, one of my husbands friends has been staying with us awhile, and every time he was with me alone, he never failed to bring up women and talk about them in sexual, inappropriate ways. Since I was sexually abused, I don’t have to tell you how uncomfortable and irritated this made me. My husband said he never talked to him in this way…which puzzled me. Why ME?! One day he started up again and I did have the presence of mind to ask him why he objectified women to me and didn’t dare to my husband….and I told him off about it. He answered that he never would speak like that to a guy because guys have trouble with lust. I didn’t hesitate to tell him off. I became angry and felt justified by my response! It felt right and appropriate to behave the way i did with him….and to ask the question which caught him off guard and surprised him…AND he has never spoken with me that way since. I am rooting for YOU to have the courage and to feel empowered by it soon….I will be happy at your “party” ! 🙂

37

Kris and Kaycee….I love what you both wrote….and totally agree!

38

In my FOO, anger was a taboo thing. It was one of the few emotions on my mother’s limited emotional spectrum. It was for her alone when we “made” her angry. I think she tried not to feel anything, most of the time. But the anger was constantly bursting from her seems and regularly blowing her top. I think she saw anger as a bad thing that, when felt, left her no choice but to harm others. We “made” her angry, so she has to hurt us.

I have spent a lot of my life afraid of being angry. I think it’s the root of my anxiety. It wasn’t safe to feel the natural reaction of indignant anger and hurt when she hurt me, so I froze and disassociated myself from it. And disassociating from it meant disassociating from myself. Stuffing those feelings meant stuffing everything, there could be no discerning what would set her off, anyway.

That’s the thing about being alive people don’t get and don’t want to face. Negative emotions are in our spectrum, and for good reason. We should feel angry if someone hurts us. We’re supposed to protect ourselves. It’s not our fault that our parents chose to break our trust.

Thanks for this article. I keep having inklings of guilt for standing all the way up for myself, and there was anger in it. I have, in the past, always tried to keep that out, to not get to personal. But the pain is personal. I took that damn ball back and its in my court. She isn’t coming for it, either.

39

Jamie….you have guilt for standing all the way up for yourself, but I read that and applaud you for being so brave and HONEST emotionally. I never had that courage and feel guilt for not doing so. I absolutely agree with you about negative feelings being in our spectrum for GOOD reason. I feel for you for what you went thru…and for all your pain. I think you are full of courage!

40

Entirely agree with justifiable anger. Also agree that people that do not understand about being angry with parents have not been able to access their repressed anger. I believe there is no healing without truly owning the rage, the wrath, murderous anger cursing throught your own veins. To own the rage and stand those feeling openly with entire body is the moment abuser no longer owns you, its when the brainwashing is over, all that the abuser worked so hard for is broken and the person is free.

I recently had an opportunity to rage at my mother. She pushed the button of neglecting me while sick my entire childhood. I got so angry and told her every piece of truth i think about that. I was fuming rest of the day afterwards. I felt almost no guilt this time. We are so guilted into thinking we are bad people fot getting angry with them. While it is ok for them to screw our entire childhood. Its so illogical.i hate my parents. I am so angry at them for a list of things that is soo long it couldnt be done in a post but a book.
All the forgiveness talk, dont be bitter, let go of hatred or it will poison u…is a joookkkee. A joke that makes me angry. First off those are controlling statements that abusers like to say. If i feel like being pissed off rest of my life so what, its my business. If other people want to believe the lie that they forgave their abuser because of their compelling brainwashed need to feel like a so called good person, then go ahead go do that. Just stay out of my angry way.

41

Finally Free, congrats on standing up for yourself to that guy. He probably thought he could get away with talking to you that way, and you let him know that he can’t! I’m getting the feeling that “why” questions are very powerful. These people must be used to never being questioned about their actions so the Why questions must really put them on the spot. I’m trying to work up the courage to use them. Congrats again on putting that jerk in his place! 🙂

42

Anger, rage and fury are my best friends concerning my past and present life. Sometimes they get on my nerves so much that at the same time I feel angry, then I become enraged and to the end I am left behind feeling furious and depressed. Or right from the beginning I react with a depression and draw myself back into my comfort zone.

The most basic things and duties like going for a walk with the dogs, doing household-chores, talking to my mother on the phone, or knowing that she will call or that I will have to see her somewhere in the near future can completely overwhelm and paralyze me and feelings of anger, rage and sadness can come up and build up inside of me way long before the actual event and make me feel stressed and tense and just want to run away or knock something to pieces.

In such moments it is often the very same things like going for a walk that helps me to come to terms again and to let go some of the pressure that has been building up inside of me. For years I have been working-out, running, walking, doing yoga, trying meditation, reading self-help books from various authors like Walsh, Tolle, Coelho, watching inspirational videos from inspired people and hoping to be able to somehow function like any other normal average guy round the corner but often to no avail. I can even feel angry for having to do these kind of things in order to not kill myself or for feeling what it could be like to be at peace and lead a happy and harmonious life at least for a little stretch of time.

So many things can trigger these feelings for me, like taking care too much or too less, looking at me or not looling at me, greeting or not greeting back when people pass me, some behaviours or customs of my partner, my inner paralysis, my forced isolation, my self-created restricted competence and freedom of movement, my inner sadness about so many seemingly lost years, dreams and nightmares and memories that I have to deal with almost every single day.

This blog together with all the comments has helped me so much to see and better understand what I am actually doing, why I am doing the things I do and why others might not fully understand and accept why I am leading my life the way I do it right now. Sometimes I even ask myself if am not making up everything just to have an excuse for a highly self-sabotaging and abusive way of life and for not becoming the true self that I was meant to be by some Higher Power or God or whatever. I would also like to share that after waking up this morning I was again left with the impression that I might have been sexually abused by a former female swim teacher before the age of ten. It wasn’t for the first time and the images were very strong and the impression left on me was too vivid to just simply ignore it and say it was probably just my imagination that made it up.

I am fourty now and I have almost nobody (except my partner) who would believe me anyway. My mother and the rest of my family has groomed me to doubt my memories and very feelings and that this has had consequences for the rest of my life. Yes, I feel that my anger IS justified. Thank you Darlene for this blog entry and thank you everyone for sharing.

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Finally Free… Thnx so much for acknowledging what I had to say. Not used to that one and you made me feel good!! My parents dictated every thought, feeling and emotion that they deemed fit for me to have and the only emotion that they deemed fit was being happy. They didn’t care about how I felt. They cared about keeping up the family front that “everything in here was A-OK” and the way that they did it was by brainwashing me into putting on my “happy face” every time I walked out the door so that way no one would catch on to what was really going on in that house.

Till this day I have to tell myself “what the heck are you smiling at??” whenever I exist a building. My facial expressions don’t match what is going on in the present. I smile when it makes no sense to be smiling!!! I didn’t have a clue what facial expression was supposed to match what feeling because I wasn’t taught anything but how to put on my happy face all the time.

Feeling anger was a double edged sword. Look at them. What would that say about me if I ever showed my anger but on the flip side I was madder then hell inside from having to endure all of their abuse and never being able to express it for fear that I would be abused even more.I couldn’t win. It was the usual double bind that goes along with living in an abusive home. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. There is no winning in that kind of environment.

It took a year of therapy to figure out what the heck feelings were and then another year to stop being terrified to death from feeling them!!! Still working on that one!!!

Like Jamie posted, I still have that “inkling” of guilt whenever I speak up for myself but what I am finding out is the more I am true to my heart and the more I learn how to stand up on my own two feet, the less those feelings of guilt have power over me. Thank Goodness!!!

Thank you all for being so kind and supportive and having the courage to share what happened to you in the hopes that it will help somebody else out. You have certainly helped me.

This website is a true BLESSING. Thank you Darlene for having the courage to speak the truth and sharing it with all of us in hopes that one day… WE TOO… will emerge to the other side of broken.

44

I absolutely believe that some anger is justifiable! I can’t imagine not feeling anger when at the age of 41 I suddenly was flooded with extremely vivid memories of sexual abuse from my father that started when I was around 9 yrs old and didn’t stop until I was around 16 years old. He was angry with each encounter. It was something I believed happened because I was bad, had done something wrong or that I deserved. As a 41 year old professionally successful, physically and mentally healthy adult, I was caught off guard by these memories. I also knew at my adult level that the 9 year little girl and 15 year old teenager had done nothing to deserve this! YES! I was very angry!! The adult me was more angry than I had ever been. The child/teenager inside of me was scared! She was scared to the point of not being able to speak up. It might be hard for people to understand but that kid kept the adult quiet for way too long! It was too painful. I can’t think of anything else that would more justify anger than abuse!
I have since (just in the past 2 weeks) confronted my dad. He did exactly the what I expected of him. He denied there was ANY abuse in our family. I told me how much he loved me and would “never touch my baby in a bad way”. I know what is true. I know the courage it took to confront him. I did it in an appropriate way, with my therapist present. I told him my truth, my story. He refused to accept that any of it was true. That’s ok. I said what I needed to. I broke all ties with him at that time. And I freed myself from the fear, shame, guilt, condemnation and terror I have felt for years.
Forgiveness? I’m just not there yet. Who knows if I will be. I am aware of what the Bible says about forgiveness. I also feel like forgiveness in this case is a lot about forgiving myself myself for believing the lies about myself, for believing that I was bad, and did something to deserve it. And forgiveness just might also be about honoring myself (the child and the adult)by speaking up, confronting the abuser and not allowing the pain, shame and other toxic beliefs and emotions to control me anymore. I have freed myself. I have let him know I remember, the rest is up to him. What he decides to do with the information is now his business. What I know is most true is that he no longer controls me. Not my mind, my heart or my body!

45

It is interesting that you mentioned the bullying because I was a target of almost three plus years from 6th grade to 9th. Every time I would try to take to my mother, she discounted my feeling and validated the bully’s words and taunts by saying it was true and try to forward her agenda to get me to loose weight, dress better(when she wouldn’t buy me decent clothes), or get better grades. I have swallowed her affirmations my whole life and thought it was all my fault. I have every right to own what I feel but buried it deep and sometimes have trouble bring it out and feeling it or it comes at the wrong times and I have to struggle to hold it in again. The affirmation from this website has started me on the road to healing and being more accepting of myself and others and try not to act like her. Thank you Darlene!

46

“You’re only harming yourself Alice”.

Oh yes. If you cut off your family or are angry, “you are only hurting yourself.” Gee, cutting them off brings peace! I am happier when I’m not dealing with them.

47

Kris, it sounds like you have made major progress with your feelings! I am so sorry you had to pretend and that you were abused and had to stuff your real feelings. I do feel angry when I hear of stories like yours about your childhood abuse and how you weren’t even able to know what feelings really were. I know that I used to be terrified of my own feelings for awhile because I didn’t understand at all how to process them and there seemed to be too many. That is why I hate having really complex, mixed feelings sometimes in various uncomfortable situations ! I find myself feeling a ton of mixed feelings…or more than one type of feeling and i almost still feel confused inside until I sort it out. I think because I also wasn’t allowed to express my real emotions and stuffed them down it still makes me a bit slow if or when someone is attacking me or being inappropriate ….like the guy I wrote about. I still have to figure out my feelings and what am I going to do with them, or how I will express them. I think it is so great that you are learning how to stand up for YOUR feelings, for YOUR self, and overcoming those fears. As for all that smiling….I used to feel that I had to pretend too….but today there really is so much to smile about, and I hope that very soon you will be able to own your smile because of being able to stand up for your self and your life!!

48

Amber, THANK YOU so much! That meant a lot to have you validate what I wrote! It is empowering, but I would much rather never have been put into that situation in the first place! Thank you!

49

I published this post yesterday and then something came up ~ this morning I logged on to over 45 comments!! I am going to read through them all and hopefully join the conversation soon but for now I wanted to welcome the new people (and please forgive me if I miss anyone!!!)

Welcome to Mallory, Kris, KateE and Amy. Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~ Great to have you here with us!
Hugs, Darlene

50

Oliver. When you said so many things can trigger these feelings… your words in that paragraph described me! I was never permitted to have or show feelings as they would upset my father who would rage and scream and be violent over using the wrong word or phrase. I turned all my anger at daily abuse inward and self harmed. This then was used as proof of what a bad child/ person I am while they perpetrated terrible discounting and emotional abuse acting out their issues against me. I have had anger issues (unexpressed) all my life. I now see how right my feelings are. They were activated by the terrible way I was treated. They were never wrong.

51

Finally Free…Thnx for your input. I do own my own smile now but I still get confused when to let it loose!!! Don’t want to be smiling at a funeral if ya know what I mean!!!! lol.

Amy…What you posted really resonated with me too. You are so right when you say that ultimately it comes down to us forgiving ourselves and that sounds so weird because we were never the one’s who caused any of the abuse to begin with but through the locus of shift control we managed to do just that. Blame ourselves.

My heart goes out to you. Thnx for sharing this invaluable piece of information because it really is at the heart of recovery.

52

Amy…Wow! What you wrote is so powerful! I feel like I keep saying this to everyone on this post, but I am blown away at your courage for standing up to your perp father! I dont know how this guy could even look you in the face, much less lie and deny everything….although I have heard that it is typical of them to do so! I hope it doesnt upset you when I tell you that it sickened me when I read ” Never touch my baby in a bad way”….what a disgusting way to say that! You are over 40 yrs old and he sexually abused you for years and to devalue you even more…IMO…he says it that way. Maybe i am wrong to view it that way, but it disgusted me to read that! I feel so proud of you for standing up for yourself and giving yourself permission to confront him…and to deal with your own feelings of forgiving yourself. I am not sure why we (who were abused) feel so much guilt and have to forgive ourselves, but it does seem that way across the board. You really were amazingly brave!!

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“I have had anger issues (unexpressed) all my life. I now see how right my feelings are. They were activated by the terrible way I was treated. They were never wrong.” Karen R #50

They made me believe that it was me who had to take the blame for everything that went wrong in my life – and since I was groomed and brainwashed to believe it I started to become my own arch enemy. I tried to be loyal to them and almost succeeded in wiping myself out from the face of the earth. Subconsciously there was this anger and this rage and the knowledge that I had been betrayed and sacrificed for the sake of my very own family. They made me feel ashamed, incompetent and bad and in reality it was them that should have felt that way for treating me in such a cruel manner. I don’t know if I will ever be able to re-program some of the mischief that was done to me but I believe that the little boy that I have once been would send his prayers, his love and affection to me if he knew his future self. Thank you Karen for acknowledging my truth, pain and anger.

54

Kris – I have had over a year of therapy and just finished an Intensive Outpatient Program. I would have never been where I am today if I had not walked through hell for the past year (mostly the last several months) of remembering. Forgiveness is so complex and so many things to so many different people. What it is for me, very well not be the same that it is for you. What I do know is that once I told my truth to his face, I was free! I think that is what forgiveness was for me…freeing myself from the memories, the fear, the control he still had, and the shame, guilt, and disgust I have felt for myself. I hold it no longer!

FinallyFree – Thank you for your kind words. My father is a narcissist. I never expected him to admit fault or even acknowledge that any of what I told him was truth. I know what is true. The only ones that knew about the sexual abuse was him and I. The other abuse, physical and emotional was very present in our home. It wasn’t talked about as abuse or even in a negative way. It was “normal”, however everyone knew it was happening. He is the ONLY one in denial about that. He is a sick man. Yes, when he said those words to me “Never touch my baby in a bad way”, I wanted to puke! First he never used the words “baby”, “sweetie” or other loving terms of endearment with me. Second, I can’t imagine what he would consider “bad” after all I told him I remembered.
I’m not sure where the courage came from. I think it was simply that I had enough! I decided I didn’t want to live in fear anymore! I made sure to have the conversation in a safe, controlled environment. I said what I needed to say. He was also given the chance to speak, and then I set the knew boundaries. So far, since I have done this, he has kept those boundaries. It’s only been just over a week.

I’m still healing. It’s not completely over. And I’m not bound by fear and shame anymore. I am an overcomer! I want to tell my story! I want others to hear it and be encouraged from it. I want to tell it over and over! That is how our brain begins to organize what has happened and in some way repair itself and heal also. My brain has been protecting me for a long time, alerting me to things that might not have been safe, creating in me a very fearful, easily startled, non-trusting mess. I want my brain to know this trauma was real. I want my brain to also trust that I am grown and can keep it from happening again. I want my brain to switch the hyper-alert/hyper-vigilant switch to neutral. So, I will keep telling my story as long as it takes to build those new neuropathways to safety.

55

I believe it is essential to acknowledge and process the anger one carries over having been abused. Anger is a natural response to personal violation and to seeing injustice. I think a whole lot of people equate anger with causing harm to oneself and others. I would think most people, if not everyone, has been subject to aggressive rather than assertive expressions of anger and are in fear of where anger can lead to.
Some people, like my sister, think that anger is “neurotic”. They have been so hurt and are so fearful of anger, as though it were a wild uncontrollable force, that they deny it in themselves and tell themselves they are “above it” or “past it”, when in fact they’ve never dealt with it at all and it very much remains in them. They may try to bury their anger self-destructively, as I’ve tried to, or they may be passive-aggressive, like my sister.
I don’t think anger will just go away by some intellectual decision you’ve made. If you do not deal with it and really take the painful step of facing the feelings inside of you, anger will remain and fester and become more destructive.

I have long had the reputation in my family of being “the angry one”. It was fine for my parents to argue and fight all the time, they were the parents and “entitled” to different rules for themselves. They were old school and blunt about that, that parents were above the children, and that their children were not entitled to any feelings which would be upsetting to them. It wasn’t only anger, it could be sadness too; and sometimes my mother angrily asked me why I was smiling.

But I was the angry one because I PROTESTED my mother’s treatment, especially. I spoke up. Then I became the scapegoat. Expressing my anger as a teenager was healthy, but it resulted in me being seen as sick in the head. Because this unloving, angry environment we were in was just supposed to be seen as normal. And because I had problems with it, I became the problem, because my parents could do no wrong.
When my anger turned into depressions and drinking that was more evidence that something must be wrong with me.

I understand people not wanting to face their anger, because you might feel there’s so much of it and you might lose control. And you may tell yourself, “That was then this is now” and “What can I do now anyway, they’re old”. A lot of people,like my sister, think that it’s somehow immature to still be thinking of childhood, why don’t you “let it go”, etc. But I see a pretty angry person in her, it just comes out in sarcasm and cynicism about life and in the backhanded way she talks to me, sly digs. She is silent about Mom and Dad’s abuse and the damage it caused, and shows me much more anger than she ever showed them, and thinks that that’s not evident.

We say in this culture now, “Feelings are feelings, they are not good or bad, they just are”, so anger would not need justification, would it? We don’t talk of “justifiable love” or “justifiable fear” or “justifiable sorrow”, but so many of us have been ingrained to believe anger must be justified for us to be entitled to it. It needs no justification, it’s a feeling, it gives us information, we need to pay attention to it as with all feelings…it is how we deal with the anger that is justifiable or not.

56

I think as children who were being abused we were put in an impossible situation. We had to find a way to attach to our abuser(parent) as a means of survival(we had to eat) and we also had to find a way to function in every day life(go to school) all at the same time while living in that abusive environment.

In order to do that we used magical thinking where we told ourselves that we were the one’s in control of the situation, not mommy and daddy, and we told ourselves that we were bad little boys and girls who deserved to be punished in order to do it and that is how we survived being in that impossible situation and that is where the deep seeded belief system of what a “worthless piece of garbage I am” sets in and it is perpetuated all throughout our childhoods as the abuse continues to happen and that reinforced the false belief system that we were the one’s to blame for it and it must keep on happening because I am inherently a bad person. At this point we believe that our very being is flawed!!

It is easier for a child to believe that they are the bad ones then to believe that mommy and daddy really did choose to hurt me and what would that say about me????…that I was unlovable and what child wants to believe that????

Through that false belief system we develop a deep seeded hatred for ourselves and that’s where all the guilt and shame step in. Until you are able to give up the fantasy that you were the one in control you will continue to punish yourself for things that you had no control over and I believe that is why you end up having to forgive yourself in the end because once you realize that you never had control of one darn thing that your parents did to you ,you will then be able to see that none of the abuse was ever your fault and that will open the door up for you to forgive yourself for ever believing that lie to begin with and that is where your freedom lies.

I hope this helps to clarify why we need to forgive ourselves. I never understood it before either.

57

Darlene – I have so much I would like to say sometimes my words all jumble up, especially when I’m tired and I know I am very tired right now. Long day as we are in the midst of preparing to move as well as me getting the 2nd edition of my book published. But I need to say something because I appreciate you. YES there is justifiable anger! My perception of anger was warped before also. I am still growing – I will write more when I can. Hugs to you my friend!!

58

Our house was strange. Anger was the only emotion you could safely show. Anyother, and you was considered weak and was fixing to get punished by ALL the rest. Only the special ones were allowed to be happy, and if you was in their good graces today,(meaning if you had had some sort of incestual contact with them) you just might get to be happy with them. If not, your weak ass better not smile, because if it did, very quickly it would be at least. 4 on one and you can bet you was going to be on bottom.
Sad part is 30-40 years later, some of them still try to live like this and can’t figure out why I stay no contact with them.

59

Finally Free, yes it feels like everything meant something else while keeping its meaning at the same time. That sounds convoluted but that’s exactly how I feel about it. Imagine some trickster came along and taught you before you knew well enough, that blue meant green and happy meant approved of and sad meant lonely and angry meant violent but you try to explain that no that’s not it and when you explain you get punished for it so you have to sort of pretend that green means blue and sad means well-behaved and angry, you just try to hide that one. And then you forget that’s what you did but part of you doesn’t forget. So reactions are both to the fake learned meanings as well as the real ones.
I’m happy to hear you stood up for yourself:)

60

Alice – your whole post (59) resonates with me.

I remember having a dream when I was very young, somewhere between 4 & 6 yrs old. I was told in the dream that when I woke up, all the colors I knew were going to backward. I remember most significantly that gold was going to be silver, and silver was going to be gold. I have no way of knowing how I perceived colors before that dream. I remember waking up believing what I had dreamed was real.

It’s easy to imagine that the dream related a distortion in reality beyond colors. I wonder now if the memory of the dream is just a way of marking a point in my life where I had to go along with the family system to survive.

Now I sometimes wonder if I’ll wake up some morning to find that colors go back to looking the way they did before I had that dream. I know I’m finding that there is a reality that seriously conflicts with the “reality” accepted by the family system. That conflict in reality is the reason I can’t communicate with them anymore.

Hobie

61

Alice, it does sound like you had horrible tricks played on you emotionally/mentally and it must have been a nightmare to navigate your childhood. Thank you for explaining, and thank you for being happy that I stood up for myself too. It means a lot…..I appreciate all that you share here!

62

Finally Free, RE: your message 36 and my number 41 about standing up for yourself, I really do believe I got some empowerment from your story about standing up to that guy. I felt enough courage today to tell a family member who just recently started speaking to me in a disrespectful tone how I felt about it. Although it turned out that there was an issue behind it, I let him know that speaking disrespectfully to me is unacceptable under any condition, and that if there is an issue, it needs to be dealt with by talking about it, respectfully of course. I’m glad I spoke up about this, and even more so, that I was able to be calm but very firm and set a boundary too. I’m not quite ready for my celebration yet; I’m saving that for when I stand up to a rude person who catches me off guard with a nasty comment. That’s the biggie for me because those are the situations where I tend to freeze, and it will be a giant step for me if I can overcome it.
So, FinallyFree, unbeknownst to you, your story gave me some of the courage I needed today to address an unacceptable situation. Thank you!

63

Hobie, as far as I can tell this is the real outcome of this work. That colors become true again and mountains that were not mountains become mountains again. Not to get obscure on you but you see what I’m aiming at.

64

Amber…congratulations!! That is so amazing and a wonderful victory for your SELF! To even keep calm and yet firm is something for you to be very proud of yourself for. I know exactly what you mean about freezing up when caught off guard by a rude person….I want to be able to quickly react one day instead of delayed reactions….so maybe we can both have a party for each other then. I am so happy for you today! And thank you for the kind words! 🙂

65

Finallyfree,
Thanks for your kind comments. I will claim that courage. lol. It’s funny, though, I was reading your comments about confronting that guy and it occurred to me that whenever I feel anger rising in response to a perceived injustice (sometimes I overreact), I almost always start shaking and crying afterwards and this makes me feel guilty or ashamed of having those feelings. It’s also worth noting that my urge to protect others (or be angry for them) has always been far stronger than to protect myself, and I’ve made a fool of myself on many occasions.

I think it’s always been much harder for me to witness abuse than to actually bear it, because when it was happening to me at least I had the power to shut down. When I was witnessing it, I sometimes could not control the urge to fight back. Like when my mother would pick up my little brother by his ears. I, on at least one occasion, ran up behind her and socked her in the back. Then ran for my life…

It occurs to me that it is important to help people (if we have the presence of mind and it is safe to do so) when they are being victimized. When someone is being bullied or abused, it takes the wind out of you, so to speak. It causes you to lose your bearings, you go into survival mode and you can’t speak.

66

Finallyfree,
Thanks for your kind comments. I will claim that courage. lol. It’s funny, though, I was reading your comments about confronting that guy and it occurred to me that whenever I feel anger rising in response to a perceived injustice (sometimes I overreact), I almost always start shaking and crying afterwards and this makes me feel guilty or ashamed of having those feelings. It’s also worth noting that my urge to protect others (or be angry for them) has always been far stronger than to protect myself, and I’ve made a fool of myself on many occasions.

I think it’s always been much harder for me to witness abuse than to actually bear it, because when it was happening to me at least I had the power to shut down. When I was witnessing it, I sometimes could not control the urge to fight back. Like when my mother would pick up my little brother by his ears. I, on at least one occasion, ran up behind her and socked her in the back. Then ran for my life…

It occurs to me that it is important to help people (if we have the presence of mind and it is safe to do so) when they are being victimized. When someone is being bullied or abused, it takes the wind out of you, so to speak. It causes you to lose your bearings, you go into survival mode and you can’t speak.

67

YES, YES, YES! I believe that you are right on target here.

68

Doren
I love what you said here: “I don’t think anger will just go away by some intellectual decision you’ve made. If you do not deal with it and really take the painful step of facing the feelings inside of you, anger will remain and fester and become more destructive.”
Great comments about the word “justifiable” in relation to love as well.
hugs, Darlene

69

Hi Amy
Thanks for sharing your story here along with your victory!
hugs, Darlene

Melissa
About Bullying ~ it doesn’t start with kids. :/ It is a learned behaviour ~ and it too is about the false belief that “if I can push you around, then I must be ‘worthy’…” ugg
Hugs, Darlene

70

Kathryn
My anger went away when I gave myself permission to feel it. It went away when I validated my right to have it. Healing for me came in all the ways that I had been advised to avoid! And like you say, guess where that advice originated! ~ and then it is fed to victims and passed down from generation to generation in a never ending cycle of low self esteem and self doubt until we look at the truth of it all. Freedom (for me) in all areas came as a result of the process; from doing the work that it takes to face the truth, the pain and set the record straight with myself. (even if you never confront anyone or if they are all dead, it is always about your relationship with you.)
Love your comments, thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

71

Alice!!
I LOVE what you posted here ” I don’t need their approval of my experience of my own childhood for it to be true. ”
YES
hugs, Darlene

72

Hobie
My mom said that I did everything for attention. I am pretty sure that she thinks I did this blog for attention… I bet she is pretty horrified at just how much attention that it has brought me too. :/
hugs, Darlene

FinallyFree ~
in reference to your comment about not having the chance to express your anger etc. to your parents before you “cut them off”. I totally GET that and you are not alone at all. I had one chance to tell my mother just a couple of things and I know that I feel so blessed to have had that chance. It was horrible that she didn’t make any effort at all after that conversation, but I am even happier that I had the chance. It was only 3 things, and there were countless others that I wish I could have expressed, but it is what it is. The rest has been up to me to hear me. My father apologized but it was bull. When we live in abusive families, we need the apology to be an ACTION word. (I think some call it “living amends”.) If the child/grown child needs to talk about it for months, that should be acceptable because apology is an action. I think that we have complex emotions because we were never permitted to have OUR emotions and they were never validated, so we were confused.
Huge subject!! Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

73

Amber
Your comments reminded me of how these people will do anything to get you off the track and down a rabbit trail leading no where! ie: when a child is angry, the anger is the what is focused on and judged as wrong etc.. it is never the WHY is the anger there that is addressed! Even when you withdraw, it is the withdrawal that is judged instead of the withdrawal being validated. I think the lack of validation is at the root of so much of this stuff!
hugs, Darlene

74

Amber!
love your list of points that you have been angry about. They are all valid and it IS validating to know it!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Callynt
YES stuffed anger comes out in other ways such as the list you mentioned!
hugs, Darlene

75

Spence,
YES exactly! Everything was turned around on us and used as a weapon and seeing the truth about ALL of that
set me free!
hugs, Darlene

Beth,
Yes, and speaking of the bible teachings, spiritual abuse is HUGE! Bible teachings are twisted and used to ‘prove’ the victim is wrong and are very often even at the root of false beliefs of NON Christians! Jesus also told the people in power to take off their tassels (symbols of power) and let go of their power, (because his was the message of equal value for all) but they didn’t like that one bit. :/

hugs, Darlene

76

Mallory
I think that many mom’s have children believing that those children will fill the hole in them. They think a child will love them like a puppy loves its master. But children love when they are loved. It’s pretty sad how mixed up some parents have this.
hugs, Darlene

DXS
About delayed reactions ~ that is totally normal. I had those for at least the first few years of healing!
hugs, Darlene

77

Darlene, your comment # 73 is so validating! Thank you for that, I was always judged by my mother for my mood. All she could focus on was the mood and try to get rid of it with a smack, or the silent treatment, but never ever did she ask what was wrong or if she could be of help. That’s what eventually lead me to just shut down with her and others that had negative reactions to my moods. My mother couldn’t even handle me being happy! I guess I was supposed to just maintain a flat affect, but even that would probably have been criticized. A no win situation for sure.

Thanks too for your validation in message 74 too. Many of the points on my list are several decades old and were never validated. And I questioned myself many times, because I felt that if people were that mean to me I must have done something wrong. I could never find out what because it didn’t exist. THEY were wrong! By the way, The one good thing I did do for myself on that list of points was that I got rid of that nasty boyfriend for good the next day!

78

Darlene,

I’m very grateful that the therapist I have now addressed that “too much attention” issue the very first time I brought it up. She very emphatically stated that phrase always has to do with the parent’s lack and not the child’s actual need.

She said that children need attention. It’s the way we all come into the world. I never needed too much attention, my mom just didn’t have it to give me.

And the really ugly part of this picture is that my mom never STOPPED accusing me of wanting too much attention. She sees everything that I do as a play for undeserved attention. Everything she gives comes with a side of resentment. I’m not willing to absorb the resentment anymore.

Hobie

79

FinallyFree message 64, you’re welcome! It did feel good to stand up for myself, AND to do it without trembling and without my heart racing. It was as I always wanted it to be, with a calm and firm voice. I was even thinking about your post at the time…If FinallyFree could stand up to someone so can I! Have a great day! 🙂 🙂

80

Hobie, I think your therapist is spot on. If babies and kids didn’t need anything, they wouldn’t need parents! We come into the world completely dependent. It’s the parents job to meet our needs including emotional needs and yes, kids do need attention. And you had every right to have that, Hobie. Definitely sounds like parental lack to me.

81

Amber, that is great!!

Hobie, YAY for not absorbing the side dish of resentment anymore!!! whoo hooo! love it!
hugs, Darlene

82

Amber, I started laughing when I read your latest comment…it is true!…if I can stand up to someone ANYONE can too! It made me laugh because you do understand all about going from never being able to speak out, and also the trembling/heart racing …and getting to the point of being calm and firm ! I am so happy for you and you just made my day. It feels so nice to have victories to share together! Have an awesome day!

83

Darlene…thank you! You are right…as I thought back on my complex emotions and absolutely hating it when I feel caught between them…it IS confusion that I am feeling and that is why I hate it. Also, I feel much better after what you said about not having the ability/chance to say everything I did want to before cutting them off. I hadn’t really understood …sometimes I still feel so stunted emotionally in this area….so thank you so much for your insights and input. It is helping me catch up! I think I was still placing what should have been my parent’s responsibility onto myself and didn’t realize it. I have to say that it truly is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together! The missing pieces of understanding and re-defining the past with the truth make all the difference! Sending YOU hugs back and I hope you have a wonderful, happy day! 🙂

84

Hi Darlene, Whether it is justified or not, it is normal and I never could help but get angry when my parents didn’t treat me the way they should. I’m a fighter, what can I say?;0) However, that fight instinct was turned against me and whenever I stood up for myself, the response was to frustrate and goad me into an explosive angry response so that whatever I was upset about in the first place was forgotten and my ‘anger’ became the central focus and was a major way they reinforced my scapegoat status. My anger was proof that I was defective. This trick worked on me for a long time and I was very confused about my anger. I was taught that all anger was bad and my anger was especially, bad. Because my anger was denied me, I was greatly disabled in defending myself against others who meant me harm. When I learned that anger serves an important purpose, that of self-defense, things began to clear up for me and I learned to use my anger as an ally in setting important, personal boundaries. Anger is just an emotion and we can’t control when it rises in us. What we can do is learn to use it in a way that promotes our good and the good of others, by defending what is right. Anger clears the way for a new beginning, a better way of living. Being mindful about my anger gave me power to change rather than it being an uncontrollable, destructive, emotion that erupted when I needed it least, because I denied it and stuffed it down. My anger can be my enemy or my powerful friend, depending on how I choose to use it.
Pam

85

Hi All,

I’m back on again after buying myself a brand new much needed laptop! I enjoyed reading everyone’s posts. I don’t know where to begin. I know that being on this site has helped me tremendously. I feel that this site has been the only safe place where I have been able to release all my anger over my past child abuse issues.

Growing up, I was angry that my Narc mom had the power to get angry over nothing at all and then physically and verbally hurt me. Why was she allowed to get angry and scream her head off daily when I was never even allowed to have the slightest normal human reaction? It made me angry that she was allowed to dump all of her anger onto me no matter where it came from, like watching the TV news, paying the monthly bills, or arguing with my father. It made me angry that she used me basically as her “emotional punching bag” and I was not respected as a person. I used to question the purpose of my very existence that the only reason I was born was for her sadistic needs and certainly not for any kind of affection or love.

My Narc mom (my father had some issues too and never defended me) viewed me as her slave and there was no love. It was normal for me to be used as a victim by other authority figures when I was younger.

For Amber (12): I also had too many incidents of being bullied by others. In a normal family, we would have been supported and validated, but not us here on the site. It took me forever to get the point that it wasn’t about me, but the bully could have used anyone else in my place. Ironically, it wasn’t the traditional school bullying by other kids (only had one incident in junior high school) but older adults who hurt me. I attended public elementary school and then private schools as a teenager. I can remember that my happiest year in elementary school was the fifth grade and the teacher was a nice traditional family man, married with a wife and kids. I became teacher’s pet once again in the classroom, known for being a bright and motivated student and well mannered. Most teachers liked me since I was bright, with good manners, but not very athletic with some ability in music. Then fast forward to the sixth grade in a new school with an older gray haired, middle aged, VERY mean, unmarried, woman teacher. This mean woman teacher just hated me because I was considered “shy” and preferred to hang out with a particular girl whom I was comfortable with. I had lost my former circle of girlfriends from the previous school due to me moving to my parent’s brand new luxury house. There is a term called “pushing one’s buttons” and this new teacher took one look at me and just hated me. I was the very same girl, looked and dressed the same, polite and considered a good student. Somehow I irritated her and she was relentless. I had become like her number one victim. What was weird about her was since she obviously did not have much men experience—(if you know what I mean–LOL)—-she liked to brag about how much she knew about team sports with the classroom boys. It was too weird and creepy! It felt as if she wanted some kind of male attention but these boys were under the age of 12! How sick! You can see that I was never able to please this teacher. I begged my Narc mom to let me change schools but of course this never happened. I remember one incident when this classroom girlfriend and I had to write a poem for the class to hear. We were both into a serious phase of liking horses and animals (although we were a pair of city girls and my bedroom had horse posters, books, and models). We wrote a joint poem about horses and my artistic friend drew a brilliant horse head in the corner of the paper. This (Witch-with-a-B) teacher humiliated both of us since she basically couldn’t understand the choice of subject. I think she was expecting a poem about sports teams but we weren’t boys. I went home crying but I told myself that my former man teacher had a better personality and that this woman was really a nut job! LOL! How much easier it is to be a grown up and actually see these truly pathetic, disturbed, and angry losers for who and what they really are! I have heard numerous times that these nasty and angry people are NOT ANGRY AT YOU BUT IT’S THEIR OWN STUFF!
Nor do I believe these Law of Attraction 101 books (and they’re all the same)that my personality attracts–(considered shy and withdrawn)—always attracts the nasty authority figures. No, not always! I truly hated that 6th grade teacher and would ask why was this woman teacher so mean and the previous man teacher nice?

For Hobie (28):

So sorry about you being hurt over the testing score. I think that Amber, you, and me were all kind of the same type of girl growing up: bright student head of the class, polite and well mannered, but rather shy and serious? Well, I don’t know you well but that was my life as a girl. Plus, I was the “wife” of the house who grew up doing all of the cleaning and house chores since my Narc mom was just too lazy and crazy to do much—although she was a housewife who didn’t have to work since my father earned a good salary. I was also that girl who pretended that we never had a problem behind closed doors and that my Narc mom and FOO were all normal—although I did mom’s job!

It was my mean father who could be jealous and competitive towards me. I don’t know why or even where this came from. I think that he feared that I would become smarter than him as an adult? I don’t know. On one hand my father liked to show off that his daughter, me, won the school spelling bee and went very high in the state spelling bee—just one example. I was expected to read him my essays and show him the math scores on my papers. But then there were times where he would publicly embarrass me. There was an incident where my extended family was invited to our house for dinner, and my father began asking me all about various opinions on politics and the country. I was only 12 at the time and not 40, and red faced and not knowing what to say to please him. What normal kid can debate politics during a dinner when my world was about normal teen interests? Then my father publicly declared that, “I guess that you’re not as smart as you think you are!” I hastily finished eating and ran into my bedroom. Just a minor incident I guess but it shows how dysfunctional the messages were that I received and my value as their daughter.

My father also defended my Narc mom with, “your mom never went to college but she sure has lots of common sense.” “All that you know are your textbooks and nothing else!” It’s not hard to figure out that my teen years were filled with unhappiness and me being placed in the wrong schools for me, although I tried to beg my parents to hear me and change to better schools. After my Narc mom got her big, luxury house by pushing my father around, my needs got further pushed aside. It’s no wonder that I dropped out of college the first time and ten years later became a “returning student” and earned a BA. Anyway….

I just wanted to add that these “anger management” freaks also make me angry. Why is it that average people are not allowed to express any honest emotion whatsoever in public? I had an incident where I was sitting at an outdoor café table talking on my cell phone. My friend dropped the bomb saying that she had been diagnosed with cancer and she was crying and screaming into the phone. So, I raised my voice, kind of shaking and crying into the phone, telling her that she can beat this! I wasn’t totally aware of the neighboring table with a dozen people sitting there for a group meeting. I happened to glance their way and a rather mean and nasty woman started screaming at me, “you need anger management!” I was upset and screamed back at her, with the cell phone glued to my ear, while walking away. Apparently she had no idea that I could stand up to her. I am angry at this dumbed down, hypersensitive society that likes to put people into a conformity box to please them. When I was a kid, I don’t believe that it was ever such a liberal dumbed-down controlling society. There is a difference between social etiquette and being allowed to express normal human emotion when appropriate. I guess that times really do change.

I feel so good to be heard and validated on this site. Thanks everybody for putting up with me and letting me vent all of my FOO anger in a safe place.

Blessed Be,

Yvonne )0(

86

This article is certainly causing me to have food for thought on many levels. I am not proud of myself today…I lost my temper in anger with the guy staying with us and I am not sure that I was totally justified in doing so. This man has strong passive aggressive behaviors that seem to surface when my husband is at work or when he finds me alone in a room of the house. He wants to do what he wants to do ….when he wants to do them…even if we have asked him not to or to do them at a different time. On top of that, he seems to create a situation with me where I am forced to give him attention, even if it is negative. I was very hurt by family members while growing up who were passive aggressive and I have told my husband that at my age, in my home, I will not have history repeating itself. So this friend of my husbands disregarded what we have asked him not to do repeatedly…and I brought it up to him. He started “yes ma’am….yes ma’am…yes ma’am with a victimized look (hard for me to describe), but it was a passive aggressive and sarcastic thing, and not a respectful thing. I believe he was mocking me and trying to turn it into me being like a authoritative person towards him. I became so angry at him and at being put in this position with him AGAIN, that I ended up telling him off, cussing at him, and telling him that he has women issues and to
leave my house until my husband returned from work. I was shaking and my heart racing and I almost cried I was
so angry. I felt like I was going bonkers because of the way he tried to deny everything…all the time looking like he was a victim and I was unreasonable and like I was going to hit him or something. When I get to the point of cussing it tells me I am coming unglued, so I was glad he left. He hasn’t returned yet, but when he does my husband and I are both going to discuss this. Has anyone ever dealt with someone like this? I feel extremely out of my element. What was meant to be a helpful situation for this man has turned into something strange and very uncomfortable for me.

87

Darlene wrote in comment 72

“My father apologized but it was bull. When we live in abusive families, we need the apology to be an ACTION word. (I think some call it “living amends”.) If the child/grown child needs to talk about it for months, that should be acceptable because apology is an action. I think that we have complex emotions because we were never permitted to have OUR emotions and they were never validated, so we were confused.”

This is just huge for me right now. I’ve been somewhat lurking lately, struggling with many hurdles because life just keeps happening and isn’t stopping just because I need to focus on healing LOL! I still struggle with that sense of entitlement, like I’ve been through so much, can’t the universe just take a time out and stop throwing hurdles at me? At least I am getting to the point where I no longer am taking it personally or feeling like God is playing a wicked game of Chess where I am the pawn.

I have been expected to accept a dismissive apology and march on,under the same conditions, with the same interpretations my family has always made of me without a further peep on the subject. I have felt guilty, wrong and bad because that apology did not do the trick and I am viewed as being defective for still needing to talk about my past.

I believe Oliver was making the comments about the anger popping up over the normal tasks of life, walking the dogs, I so get that. It’s there, it’s real and it has to be processed in a real way or it just keeps rearing its head and oozing out in some sort of jumbled, chaotic way that is debilitating and more often then not, self destructive.

It is like the volcanoes that brew beneath the Earth’s surface that erupt and shift the continents. I am amazed in reading all of these personal accounts at the ways abusive families contrive to dismiss our most basic emotions, our very experience of being human.

Darlene “Apology is an action” is perhaps one of the most profound quotes I have ever read. Thank You! I needed to hear that.

Kaycee

88

Finally Free & Darlene regarding comment #72..I struggle with this. I have not cut my parents off. I am in limbo right now continuing on with my therapy. I have only seen my mother one time in the last year and 1/2. I felt like talking to my father would be a waste of time because he is a narcissist but after reading Amy’s post I may reconsider doing this. Anyway, last December I met my mother for lunch and told her that my problems stem from being abused as a child and I told her that I thought that she was a nice person but she made some really poor decisions. She proceeded to tell me that if I would have listened to her and my father to begin with then I wouldn’t be having any of these problems right now and then she proceeded to tell me that I didn’t have 1/2 the drive that she did and that me and my brother were both weak for falling in and out of depressions. I was angry at the time but now I see it as just another way to keep herself in denial. You can’t get blood from a stone. She’s going to deny till she dies!!!!

How do I respect and honor myself and still maintain a relationship with someone who won’t even admit that they did anything wrong to me when I am sitting here with DID still trying to pick up the shattered pieces of my life yet a part of me knows that they just don’t see it and that is not making an excuse for what they did to me because I don’t but I also know where I was 2 years ago before I started therapy and I can tell you I didn’t see any of this in 46 years. Not one stinkin bit of it and you know that is the sick dynamic of generational abuse.

Do I need to go into this in more detail with my parents or is what I said sufficient enough??? They know that the reason I don’t see them now is because I think that they abused me. They are both sitting up in their house waiting for the day that I come to my senses and apologize to them and thank them for all the wonderful things that they did for me all of my life!!!!! lol lol lol I just cracked myself up with that one but that’s what they think!!! Sad but true!!!! lol lol lol

Ultimately I think it comes down to either I accept them with flaws and all and extend them the same Grace that God extends to me or I write them off and call it a day because they are never going to admit that they did anything wrong and I know the reason why even if they don’t. I would be grateful for anyone’s input on this. I really struggle with what to do. Thnx.

;I think she refuses to acknowledge anything because deep down inside she knows she failed me miserably.
Her denial will remain until the day she dies. She is 78 years old. She made it clear that no one is going to change her now.

I struggle because ultimately what it comes down to is she is a victim too. Abuse is generational. How do you change something that you don’t even realize is wrong and I know that sounds like I am making excuses for her but I am not. I know that she chose to abuse me but I also know how sick and twisted generational abuse is because when you are in it that’s all you know and unless someone tells you anything different you are going to continue to do what you were taught as a child and pass all of your fears and insecurities onto the next poor sucker!! That is why I struggle with this so much because you can’t change what you don’t even see and that’s why it’s called denial and I know that that doesn’t make things right but what are you supposed to do when you just don’t see it???

I can tell you if you would have asked me 2 years ago how my childhood was I would have told you it was good but I wouldn’t have been able to tell you one good thing about it and that is because my parents brainwashed me so good that I never even knew that I was abused and I am sitting here with DID and I can tell you the last 2 years of my life since I have been diagnosed have been a whirl wind because now I see all the lies that I had to tell myself in order to survive that abusive home but until I asked for help I never would have seen any of it so how is my mother supposed too other then the fact I told her and she deosnt a?????

It’s not an excuse. I know what she did was wrong and I am still suffering the consequences of her and my father’s abuse and my losses are immeasurable and I struggle because how do I continue to have a relationship with her when she never even acknowledges that she did anything wrong to me but at the same time she just doens;t see it??? How do i honor and respect myself is my main concern and can that be done with someone who never acknow;ledged their wrong doing to you/??

For me it comes down to accepting her for who she is flaws and all and set my boundaries to continue a relationship with her and extend her the same Grace that God’s extends me or write her and call it a day becaeu there is no love lost here becaeu now i see there was never any love to begin with.

89

Sorry….only need to read the first 4 paragraphs of the book above. I was gathering my thoughts. I struggle with DID so the same thing comes out in different ways!!! Wanted to erase the rest but didn’t OOPSIE!!!!

90

One more thing, I think when we displace our anger, when we don’t deal with it. It comes out in other area of our life. This brings me back to Oliver’s comments.

It is easy to put the blame on ourselves, to say there is something wrong with us, we have anger issues, or rage issues, or we are depressive, defective in some way.

I have been doing “inquiry” work. It involves sitting with emotions and exploring them rather then acting on them. So much of this for me is unresolved anger, unresolved grief.

I actually defined myself by these emotions rather then allowing myself to feel and process them. I am not an angry person, I am a person who has not processed my anger over being abused. I am not an angry person, but a person with unresolved anger. There is a fundamental difference there I am just starting to integrate.

91

FinallyFree, omg what an awful situation! From reading what you wrote, my impression is that this guy is very manipulative and this includes trying to put responsibility and blame on to you. Also, interesting that he displays his negative personality traits only when your husband is not present. You observed certain issues while he was staying at your house, and it sounds like you brought the topic to his attention in a respectful way. But instead of discussing the issues, he mocked you multiple times and tried to make it look the problem was with you. He didn’t take responsibility for his behavior in your home, and twisted it into you being too authoritarian. I got the feeling he may have been goading you with his multiple ” yes ma’am’s”. FinallyFree, if I was in your situation, there’s a very good chance I would have told him off too. (Hey, send him over and I will tell him off! Hey jerk, my friend FinallyFree is trying to discuss a problem with you and you are making a mockery of it and not owning up to your responsibility to be a decent houseguest, you are being sneaky and treating her very differently when her husband is not around and NOT in a positive way, you are twisting things to try to make it look like she is the problem…no, it is you! And I can understand how frustrating it must be to deal with someone as uncooperative and game- playing as you, so I understand completely why she felt angry!)

FinallyFree I hope all of this works out for you. You certainly deserve a calm, peaceful atmosphere in your own home, and to be treated respectfully. Sending you hugs and please let me know how this works out.

92

I am so glad you did a follow-up to put those silly people right.

Being told to forgive, without even considering a person’s own angry and hurt feelings, is exactly something my abusive mother would say. And it would be the most incencere thing one ever did hear, because of course she hasn’t learned anything from the experience. And then, of course, she wants the added satisfaction of you once again doing something she wants.

Forgiveness is a religious idea. Or, so it seems at least. I am not religious, not even theistic. I do believe there is a point someone needs to let their anger go. But it’s certainly not before they’ve had a chance to explore their feelings and try to seek some sort of resolution.

93

Amber..thank you so much! Your words mean the world to me tonight. I also laughed so hard as I was reading your comment that I couldn’t see the words! You really cheered me up and encouraged me. My husband and I both agreed to talk with him together ….and that this was his last talk. He tried to make excuses and say how sorry he was and how he knows he keeps getting into trouble but doesn’t want to etc etc. I was able to actually remain calm, and i told him exactly what I think, feel, believe about him and the situation, and my husband did also. I even told him that he behaves differently when my husband isn’t around. I then asked him if he thought I was lying about any of it or if I was wrong about any of my perceptions and he actually agreed with me. I was surprised at that! My husband backed me up completely which felt wonderful. He told me that none of it would happen again, and I said to him to PROVE it. It did feel like a huge relief to get it ALL out on the table and with my husband there. This is HIS friend and he feels badly that I have been treated this way. My husband has changed so much since I got “free”, and the more I stick up for myself and value myself and expect respect he has treated me better and better over the last few years and I am loving it that now he defends me if the situation like this one comes up. So i am exhausted now…..this kind of stuff drains me emotionally….but I do think this guy got the picture. If he doesn’t respect our boundaries and treat me with respect, then he needs to leave! It is interesting in some ways because I used to allow people to do whatever in my home and I could never have the boldness to stop them, or communicate with them….I was too nervous. Now I know I have equal rights as anyone and I am learning that Hey! This is MY home and my husband and daughter…and kitty….work hard to create a happy and peaceful place to live….and no one has the right to try to ruin or change that or destroy it. I am still learning how to navigate with people though! Amber…thank you again!

94

Kris, I understand what you are saying about your parents. Being the adult child of abusive parents who still deny and who still devalue what you say and treat you the way you described…BUT…they are also old and probably won’t be changing. I personally tried to do what you are doing for a long time with my parents,but I couldn’t stand it and ended up cutting them off. I really didn’t ever fit or belong in that family, and they didn’t know me. They only knew what they wanted to believe about me. I can honestly say that I don’t believe they liked me either. Also, the amount of abuse, neglect, rejection,fear etc. had created a division that nothing was going to fix unless they could somehow supernaturally change. There really wasn’t any genuine relationship, if that makes sense? It was a pretense. I couldnt stand longing forever for a family that never would exist and for me it has been a relief to cut them all off and I wouldn’t go back if someone payed me a fortune. Would you feel devastated or relieved if you cut them off? I know it is such a difficult decision and I feel for you! I am so sorry you have DID! I am so sorry you were abused and I completely understand your feelings. I did feel that way about my family for a long time too. I am glad that things about your past are becoming clearer for you and that you are gaining so much understanding! I know what I wrote probably didn’t help…..but I am sending you virtual hugs and comfort and caring.

95

Kaycee…talk about profound! I love your insights about anger. I now understand Oliver’s comments more clearly, and about people who go about everyday life and anger pops up and pops out…and especially when you wrote about not being an angry person, but a person with unresolved anger. I think it is powerful that you are doing inquiry work! You have given me a lot to think about…. 🙂

96

I’ve been thinking a great deal about this discussion. How we are learning to stand up for ourselves, learning not to take on everyone else’s battles and ending up feeling like a fool for it.

I feel too like I am a born fighter yet at the same time I have spent my life feeling like I do not even have a right to be here. I feel like a nuisance, like I need to apologize just for being present. I feel like the charity case, the third wheel, the lonely clown and the uninvited, unwanted guest almost everywhere I have ever been.

It is such a huge leap to go from that to being a real person who deserves to have their needs met, who deserves to have a voice, who deserves to have something to contribute, who has a right to feel, to have talents and to be worthy of having a place in the world.

97

Finally Free..Thnx so much for your input. What you said is exactly how I feel. The truth is I feel relieved not seeing them. I can’t stand the sick dynamic in that household and I know that it will never change. I struggle because underneath it all I think that my mother really does love me in her own sick way and I don’t think she is able to make the connection as to WHY I am not seeing her and that’s what makes me feel bad for her because when I ran into her at Wal-Mart recently I saw the tears welling up in her eyes and someone who doesn’t care about you wouldn’t do that and that’s why it hurts me but then I think to myself I didn’t make things this way…she did…and if she really cared that much about me instead of sitting up in her house waiting for me to finally “come to my senses” she would be reaching out to me when I told her that I have DID. Once again she chose herself and I sit here having to figure out a way to overcome the devastating affects of the abuse her and my father inflicted on me and I am sitting here doing it alone without the support of either one of them…AGAIN. It is the same old sick routine. It’s always about them and never about me and it will be that way until the day I die. In other words it is what it is!!!! lol

You helped me put things into perspective. I am right where you were. I can’t stand how my relationship is in limbo with them any more. I need to make a choice and I need to decide what I can live with and what I can’t because the truth is I never had a relationship with either one of my parent’s either. It was all based on a stack of lies and that kind of relationship will never work when the foundation is all cracked up to begin with. Maybe I just need to give up the fantasy that some how I can make all of this work when the truth is it won’t. At least not in a way that is fair to me. Once you see what being abused cost you you will never want to go back into that environment again…..and I don’t.

I wanted to let you know I thought you handled that situation with your husband’s friend beautifully. He needed to be put in his place and you did it with such integrity. You should be proud of yourself for the way you handled this situation and honoring yourself. That’s what it really all comes down too. Respecting ourselves.

98

Kaycee #90….I really liked what you said. Staying in the moment and feeling your anger is difficult to do. Like you mentioned I too hold onto my anger as a way to shield myself from the pain that my parent’s abuse caused me. It is much easier for me to be angry then it is to face the pain and humiliation of what they did to me and then finally allowing myself to grieve over my losses due to their abuse. I seem to go back and forth with feeling angry when new things emerge and having to find a way to deal with all of that anger in a constructive way instead of lashing out at people who don’t have anything to do with it.

I see how I was never taught the basics when I was a child. How are you supposed to know how to regulate your own feelings when you were never given the opportunity to feel anything??? There was no testing the waters out. I didn’t get to express my anger in a healthy way so I never learned how to deal with it and in fact by suppressing it it taught me how to feel bad about myself which opened up the door for a host of other problems resulting in the endless sea of addictions that I used as a coping mechanisms for all that bottled up anger inside of me that was stemming from the unresolved anger that I never got to feel to begin with that stemmed from being abused. What a vicious cycle.

I like how you said you are not an “angry” person. I believed that lie about myself forever. I remember saying to my sister-in-law years ago how I wanted to stop being so negative. I was allowing the affects of being abused to define “who I was”. I would read umpteen self help books but I was never able to do what they were saying and it caused me a lot of frustration when the truth is it wasn’t me who was so negative, it was the events that happened to me in my childhood that were so negative causing me to believe that lie about myself.

Thnx for exposing this lie. It is a real lifesaver. Overcoming that belief system is hard to do and you certainly have helped open up my eyes. To be able to separate yourself from believing the lie that you “are” the actual emotion that you are feeling is difficult to do.

99

Everything she gives comes with a side of resentment. I’m not willing to absorb the resentment anymore.

In my case, I didn’t feel resentment from my mom, but I didn’t feel LOVE either. I felt like everything was about “Supposed to/obligated to.” She did everything she was “supposed to” do. It’s the feeling I learned from her. I carried this into relationships. I acted like you are “supposed to.” Then I would break the relationships up because I got tired of the “act” and the “supposed to.”

I didn’t feel “love.” I felt “obligation.” And now mom wants the same “obligation” she gave. No wonder I resent it all.

100

Finally Free, thanks for your comments:) I also enjoy reading about people at last standing up for themselves. I remember watching a TV show when I was quite young that was about a woman who went from ‘doormat’ to ‘badass’ and I so loved that transformation.

She was presented as dangerous just for being herself and not kowtowing to anyone anymore. People were portrayed as being scared of her, except for a couple of ‘brave souls’ who enjoyed her company.

I think the message of that show was that if you go out on a limb to stand up for yourself you will face opposition and some amount of loneliness. And that’s definitely been true for me for a while when I stopped bowing down to people they said “what’s wrong with her?” and some attacked me for it (verbally at least) because they weren’t getting the benefits of me doing that anymore. So some of them did leave. I asked for respect from my family and they didn’t want to give it to me so our relationship didn’t make it either.

Kris, the parent’s job is to help the child self-regulate by being adequately present because the child can’t do it for themselves. If you read up on the “attachment” studies about this, it goes into detail.

“I seem to go back and forth with feeling angry when new things emerge…” This is exactly my experience too. The other thing that happens is that when someone mistreats me and I don’t notice consciously that’s what they’re doing I get depressed and very tired for what seems like “no reason” but in fact it’s my unconscious making it brutally clear I’ve been dissed and I don’t like it but since I’ve been trained to not express anger, well the holding it in exhausts me. Luckily after not too long of this I find myself going “What’s the problem here?” And I have to dig around to understand what’s going on but I find it worth it.

101

Anger energizes and motivates people to take action against injustice or prevent its reoccurrence. The ability to feel and act on anger evolved in humans because it is useful.

The most abusive people I’ve ever known were passionately outspoken against anger.

We don’t ask if sadness, happiness or pride are justified; we say your feelings are your feelings, they just “are” and you can’t question them. Why, therefore, should anger be the only feeling requiring justification? Might the questioners want to invalidate anger because they fear being the object of it?

Where is it written that forgiveness is necessary? Where is this proven in an objective, scientifically sound way? When did we all agree that on top of suffering abuse that altered the course of our lives, we are supposed to forgive?

Our belief systems are not all the same–we are not all Christians believing in “redemption” and “forgiveness”. To assume that Christianity’s tenets are universal is as absurd as assuming that we are all Democrat, white skinned, chocolate lovers.

102

Davina
The funny thing about Christian tenets is that that they are usually not even taught correctly. They are misused (like so many other teachings such as ‘respect, love, etc) for the purposes of the abuser, controller. It isn’t written anywhere that forgiveness is necessary for people who don’t want it. The whole thing (biblically speaking) is about forgiving people who are sincerely sorry for their actions. I like to look at the motive of the ‘teacher’ in these situations. In the case of the Bible, people say that Jesus taught things that he NEVER taught, because the motive of the person passing the teaching on, is about power and not about love or truth. p.s. I too respect everyone’s right to choose what they follow but it bugs me when the original teaching is mis-taught for the purpose of power over another.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

103

Abusive people in my life who demanded that I forgive them, while also denying that they did anything wrong, were never interested in true forgiveness. What they wanted was for me to overlook their offense and pretend nothing happened. Someone who wants real forgiveness feels bad about what they’ve done not just about being found out. In my experience, ‘forgive’ is a word abusers use to deflect from the crime they’ve committed and put the blame on the victim. Abusers use the same words as the rest of us but their intent doesn’t match up with right understanding. They love using words like forgiveness as a cloak to conceal their motives and confuse people who actually, believe that forgiveness is an important part of healthy relationships. Another one that makes me cringe is “It’s under the blood!” misusing Christ’s sacrifice to hide their crimes and make people feel they are going against God to even bring up past acts of an abuser. I blacked out most of my childhood and kept silent for years because of the way this was used against me, to make me feel guilty for the things done to me. Controllers and guilty manipulators love the power religion gives them over others. There isn’t anything they can’t or won’t twist to their own purposes.

Pam

104

Darlene (102)–

Exactly; these things are mistaught by and for the benefit of abusers. For example, we always hear “honor thy mother and thy father” but never the Biblical admonitions for parents not to aggravate their children, which I’d never seen or heard until I saw the Luke Ministries site.

I’d be happy to forgive my parents and siblings if they’d tell the truth, but all they’ve ever done is deny and blame.

You expertly tease these issues apart–thanks for another helpful article.

105

FinallyFree, #93, so glad my message cheered you up and got you laughing. I meant the part about me telling your houseguest off to be humorous ( I would never actually start a heart to heart talk with. ” Hey Jerk” though it is tempting at times!) but also to let you know I understand how exasperating his behavior must be, especially as someone who is staying at your house. I’m glad your husband is backing you up, and that you had that big talk last night. Now it will be interesting to see what your houseguest does, because his ACTIONS will speak volumes! Good luck with everything; it sounds like you’ve come a long way on your healing journey already!
Another thought on your guest; I think he needs to trade in excuse-making for taking responsibility and altering his behavior accordingly. Time will tell!

106

Pam,

I have dealt with the same thing. I couldn’t understand how someone thought it was appropriate to DEMAND forgiveness. That is not at all how God works in any religion that I have any familiarity with.

It also makes no sense to insist that they’ve done nothing wrong while they expect to be forgiven.

On top of all of that I’ve been accused of being “bitter”. That really drives me nuts.

Hobie

107

Davina I LOVED this “Our belief systems are not all the same–we are not all Christians believing in “redemption” and “forgiveness”. To assume that Christianity’s tenets are universal is as absurd as assuming that we are all Democrat, white skinned, chocolate lovers.”

And also Darlene’s comment. I too believe that if religious tenets are going to be used they should be used honestly. But most people don’t even know most of them other than through their parents or teachers. And do those parents or teachers mention things like ‘not aggravating the children’ ?

To have the Christian (or any other religious) approach pushed into the mainstream therapy world (although this is changing now I believe) without telling the ‘patient’ its origins is misleading at best, at worst “spiritually abusive”.

108

Hobie, It’s enough to make your head spin until, I realized that was the intent, to confuse me. Some people just repeat bad traditional teachings that they haven’t taken the time to think about but what I experienced was intentional. Taking something a person holds sacred and using it to victimize them is as low as it gets. I think such people spend so much time calculating the angles that they lose their ability to recognize truth or discern the sacred from the profane. The words mean nothing to them but the reactions those words cause in their intended target is what is valuable to them. I’ve had the ‘root of bitterness’ treatment too. Of course, they never hold themselves to the same standard. It drives me nuts too.

Pam

109

Hobie, Pam, so the thing for me is that I AM honestly a bit bitter that I got a shit deal for a family.

110

Alice, I think bitterness is something all people deal with it. It’s better to be honest about it than to deny the feeling because it is seen as a negative emotion. On the other hand, bitterness can destroy our inner joy and I don’t want to stay in a place of feeling bitter. I’m like you though, I won’t deny I feel that way when I do. I’m more the type to admit it, experience it, and deal with it. In my opinion, denial is the number one road block to emotional healing and also, to healing broken families.

I really have gotten past most of the regret about my foo. It’s been three years now and I’m happy on my own. I wish they’d dump the denial and give us a chance to fix things between us but I’m also, happy leaving them with their choice. As long as I am left with mine. For too long, I didn’t have a choice, I wasn’t allowed that dignity. Dignity goes a long way toward replacing any bitterness I have about not having a more functional family.

pam

111

Pam,

Very eloquent post. Digging deep and standing in dignity has helped me along the way, although like many, I struggle with bitterness over mistreatment and missed opportunities. One thing that helps me not to remain bitter is that I don’t want to sacrifice my present and future because of poor treatment in the past.

112

Callynt, I still feel angry when I think back on certain things but I think as long as I acknowledge that anger is still there, don’t stuff it, and don’t deny it, it doesn’t turn into deep, abiding bitterness. I won’t give anyone that kind of power over me. Allowing that kind of bitterness gives my abusers the power to hurt me, continually and infect every area of my life. That I refuse to do. I’ve lost enough time to abusers.

Pam

113

Another thought I have that I’d like to add to this discussion about bitterness that goes back to Darlene’s post, is that there is probably nothing that could make someone more bitter than to continually, be forced to swallow justified anger. I remember how angry I was as a teenager. It was overwhelming. Then when I was in my early twenties, after all the abuse on the streets as a teenager, I was so angry and bitter towards men and so dissociated from the traumas that caused it, that I had no clue where it was coming from. I was insanely bitter back then and now I know that it was because of all the horrible things that were done to me and there was no validation and certainly, no justice. That dissociated anger nearly ripped me apart. I did learn to stuff it deep, deep down and it turned itself into constant anxiety and long, deep depressions. I learned to ‘control’ my anger but it wasn’t resolved and I was still dissociated from the truth of my abuse. It was justifying that anger by attaching it to the abuses that caused it that helped me resolve my anger and that put me back together again. Truth brings validation and justice(even though it is often outside the courts)to victims. That’s the best cure for destructive rage and overwhelming bitterness. That’s the gift Darlene gives us and the gift we also, give each other. Validation and a taste of justice by embracing our truth and encouraging one another to do the same.

Love,
Pam

114

I get caught in bitterness because I have so many regrets, so many things I missed out on. So many things that it’s just too late for. It is biblical for me, turning back and turning into salt. I know this hurts only me, but I so get hung up on that if only… I am working hard on trying to look forward, there are just so many things that will always not be there because of the past for me, because of my age, because so many opportunities are gone that will never come again. It is a tidal wave of anger and grief. I tried so hard for so many years to heal, but I was looking to them for the answers not realizing thatI was looking for love and support in all of the wrong places. I am separating myself from them now, but I have a hard time accepting the things that just can never be now.

115

Kaycee, my heart goes out to you tonight! I know how painful it is to be looking back on what might have been. I went through feeling anger and grief right at the beginning of getting free. The thing that got me through personally was that I made the tough decision to NOT look back into the past about this . For me it was a tough decision to only allow myself to look at my life in the present tense and into my hopes for my new future. I don’t visit it in my mind …and if I find myself headed down that road , I recognize it and change my thoughts. It is the only way I know to do about it because I cannot change the past, so I am going to make darned sure that I don’t repeat it….so I try to be proactive. The past for me is as dead as I can make it in those ways…..I didn’t learn this or that and I wasn’t successful in this or that…and I didn’t get opportunities like so many others did for this or that etc etc…..but today I can and am doing what I want, how I want, the way I want….and it feels so great and I am happier than I have EVER been , largely because of it. Standing up for myself, self care….it all seems like such a miracle to me and that is what I also focus on. It cannot replace the wasted years….no one and nothing can bring back my younger years and all the rest, but I am enthusiastic about my life now …which I never could be before. So this is better now! I can learn new things every day that I was too afraid to try or do before, and that has been fun! So please take courage! You are such a bright , insightful person here and I have loved reading your comments….I get a lot out of them! You never know…you might be doing things to reach others from all you have missed and gone through and healed from! Hugs and comfort to you! 🙂

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Kaycee, I struggle with that too but now, I’m trying to focus more on what I can have in the present. I think maybe some of it is the age I am. Something funny happens to time around the fifth decade of life where the present and the past blend into one. I think now that it is silly to ever think I could completely leave the past behind because the past is an important part of now. If I said I had no regrets, I’d be lying but you know, I turned out to be a pretty good woman, despite all of the things I regret and feel I missed out on. I am content with me and happy that I have myself. With everything I’ve lived through and everything I’ve lost, I’m still me. All the damage I suffered didn’t destroy my ability to love, to have empathy for others, or rob me of compassion. In fact, through some kind of miracle that I really don’t understand, everything meant to destroy me somehow, increased my capacity for love, empathy, compassion. I can’t be thankful for some of the terrible things that happened to me or the fact that my family of origin would rather be without me than respect me, but I am thankful for that capacity. Otherwise, I’d be an abuser too.

There’s a time to mourn, Kaycee. It’s an important part of the process and you won’t turn to salt because you recognize your loss and mourn. There’s also, a time to rejoice and I believe that time will come for you too. Healing is a balance of both and we really can’t learn to recognize one without the other.

Love,
Pam

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Kaycee 114 I feel your pain. Our losses are immeasurable. Last night on TV they had Couple’s Therapy and they were letting out all of their anger in these staged rooms full of triggers of things that hurt them when they were children and they left them turn loose and smash those rooms to pieces and I thought to myself I would have killed to be in one of those rooms and let loose!!!

I think about all the suffering in our lives and how senseless it all was. All because two people just couldn’t ask for help. That’s what it really boils down to but I am grateful that I have people like you who are willing to put themselves out there and share their pain and suffering in hopes of helping someone else out. You have helped me.

Grieving our losses is a process. It comes and goes in cycles. It’s not something that can be rushed and unfortunately more junk keeps on popping up as you make your journey through your recovery. I don’t beat myself up anymore. When that anger pops up again I embrace it and I tell myself I earned it!!! It’s been a long time coming and now I finally get to express it how I need to do it and not how my abusive parent’s taught me which wasn’t expressing it at all!!!

I get peace in knowing the fact that my parent’s can’t take this anger away from me ever again. Once I work through the pain of what that anger was covering up I can let it go and move on to the next thing… and yes that anger is going to come up time and time again because our parents abused us time and time again. But this time they don’t get to tell me what to do with my anger. I no longer have to stuff it down where the sun doesn’t shine. It is mine and there is freedom in knowing that they can’t do one damn thing about it now. Hope this helps.

Hugs,
Kris

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Kris, I rarely seem to find my anger, which parts of me keep locked away because it was so unallowable and scary. It is something to be welcomed and valued, because it seems to be about a life force rising up to protect and defend and give voice.

But I find anger very painful because it seems to come in partnership, for me, with a physical sense of losing and defeat. I could never win against my parents and my anger would always be ridiculed and I’d never be listened to or have anyone agree with me. My anger therefore always felt futile and associated with a feeling that they’d always win and I live in a world where what I feel angry about will be trashed. Separating from this and learning about justifiable anger and welcoming it and giving it voice is difficult for me.

But it’s so great to have this forum and all the comments, including yours, which provide such great support and insight.

May the journey continue.

William

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William, I was ridiculed for my anger too. Realizing that my anger was justified and a normal response to their abuse was such a relief to me. The problem was in them and not in me. It was okay for me to be angry, really angry about some of the things they did to me. I wasn’t a mad woman who lost control over nothing. Changing my understanding about my childhood was the first step but it does take time to accept the truth and quit being influenced by the old, familiar lies. It takes some time to transfer what I know as true, cognitively to what I know emotionally. Other times, it’s the other way around.

Pam

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I am so glad to of read your article because I am finding great releif in this discover lately I have been on a healing path for 18 months now and an adoptee searching for my nfamily. I came across the quote below and it explained so much for me because I like you was not allowed to express my emotions and isolated ect by my afamily and never allowed to talk about my adoption. I taught myself spiritually and tried to follow all the commandments but when it came to number four honouring your parents I became confused as to which set I should honour the ones that were abusing me that weren’t mine or the ones that left me so I ended up with those people… then I realized that what both sets did was wrong and it did alot of damage to me and I do have a right to be angry about that… anyway here is the quote :
from alice millers book The body Never Lies: “It is quite normal for us to owe a debt of gratitude to our parents or grandparents (or the people standing in for them) even if the treatment we experienced at their hands was sheer unadulterated torture. This is an integral part of morality , as we understand it. But is is a species of morality that consigns our genuine feelings and our own personal truth to an unmarked grave. Severe illnesses, early death and suicide are the logical consequence of subjection to the laws that we call morality, although in fact they suffocate our true lives. This will continue to be the case all over the world as long as we show greater reverence to these laws than to life itself. The body rebels against such treatment, but the only language at its command is the language of illness, a language that is rarely understood as long as the denial of true feeling in childhood remains unrecognized. Many of the ten commandments still claim validity today. But the fourth commandment is diametrically opposed to the laws of psychology. It is imperative that there be a general recognition of the fact that enforced “love” can do a very great deal of harm. People who were loved in childhood will love their parents in return. There is no need of a commandment to tell them to do so. Obeying a commandments can never be a basis for love.

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William #118 What you say makes so much sense. Your parents didn’t acknowledge or validate you in any way and to top it off they ridiculed you to boot. Who wouldn’t want to lock away their feelings after being treated like that? No one would acknowledge how you felt anyway!! I suffered through that very same thing with my father who constantly criticized every move that I made and ridiculed me to the point where there was nothing left of me. It was all about him and his own fears and insecurities that he took out on me. No one could “win” in that type of environment. Nothing would ever please either one of my parents and nothing ever will because you just can’t please “SICK”!!!!

I use anger as a shield to protect myself. In my mind if I am angry then they can’t hurt me when the truth is they did nothing but hurt me and I use my anger as a way to cover up my feelings of betrayal and helplessness that goes along with the realization that I never had control over one darn thing that they did to me when I was a child but I told myself the lie that I did as a means in order to survive their abuse.

I understand what you are saying when you mentioned how “feeling your anger felt futile and associated with a feeling that they’d always win” and the reality is you never did win against your parents WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD. They got to do whatever the heck they wanted to do to you and you had to find a way to suck it up and that included sucking up all of your anger that went along with it. You didn’t lose your voice; they stole it from you by treating you like a piece of garbage and never letting you have your own opinion about anything and that includes expressing how you were ANGRY AT THEM at the time and rightfully so.

Those days are gone!!! The one’s who win are the one’s who are doing what you are doing. Facing the reality of the injustices that were inflicted upon them and learning how to stand up on their own two feet, DESPITE what their abusive parents did to them. That’s how you will give your anger a “voice” and it looks like you are well on your way because I thoroughly enjoyed every last word that you wrote to me. Sounds like you are the winner here.

THEY LOSE!!!!!

Learning how to feel your feelings and putting them in the right context as to what they were intended to be used for to begin with is a long and difficult process when you are someone who was taught as a child that anger is an unacceptable feeling despite the fact that your parent’s could express their anger all the time and they used their anger to intimidate and abuse you instead of using it for its intended purpose which is to warn you when something doesn’t feel right as a way to PROTECT you. How ironic!!!

Give yourself some time and one day you will be able to give your anger a voice that won’t scare you anymore. For the first time in my life I screamed at the top of my lungs along with my therapist and it scared me half to death. The whole next week I cringed every time I thought about what I did. A week later I am sitting here writing to you telling you to give it a whirl!!! Not so scary anymore. It can happen to you too!!!!

You just need to do it in the right environment and around people who “get” what you are going through who won’t judge you to death like your parents do. Test the waters. Shout out and let yourself be angry and I promise you that you will survive. Not only that you will eventually feel good!!! Your parents can’t tell you how to think and feel anymore unless you let them so give them a little shout out with a big “@UCK YOU” wrapped around it, in the privacy of your own home and let me know how it feels!!!!!

Believe me I am the queen of fear and I am still alive to tell you about it!!!!!

Hugs,
Kris

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Pam, thanks for your very validating comment 119. It was to William, but I so relate to knowing that something is true cognitively but not yet having it sink in emotionally. I often wondered how I could know the truth about a person,; that he or she is toxic, yet on another level I still hold out some hope that they will somehow change and be nice towards me, stop bullying me, be friendly , love me, or something else along those lines. I think that is when I am in that in between area where I know intellectually that I am better off without that relationship, but emotionally still haven’t accepted it.
You say it takes time to make the transfer from knowing the truth cognitively to what you know emotionally. Is there anything specific that you do that helps that transfer along ? Do you remind yourself over and over what you know cognitively to be the truth? Does it sometimes not transfer over, and does it become easier to do this over time once you’ve done it a few times? I know I asked you a lot of questions…it is because this area is one of my biggest sticking points in the healing process. Thanks for listening!

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Hi William
Welcome to EFB ~ I love how you talk about anger being like a life force rising up to protect.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Jane
Welcome to EFB ~ When it comes to teachings like the honor your parents teaching, I look at what the original meaning was. In the case of the ten commandments, I had to take a hard look at what “honor” actually is. And I discovered that it isn’t honorable to accept mistreatment (or to cover up for it) from anyone. We didn’t have a choice as children, but we do now. We never honor our parents by compliance to their wrongs.
It also dawned on me “what kind of God would ask his/her (students) to honor sin??? Makes no sense at all. That was how I reconciled that particular teaching and realized that they way we are taught it, (by abusers and controllers) is false.
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene

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Gosh what a path I took to get here this morning….amazing…I do love life’s little ( and big miracles )…..I arrived here via a friendship request..and then came here, why is this article so important to me…because I woke feeling nauseous this morning..tuning into the feeling in my gut I just got..I feel sick..with no WHY?? I got up and this article is my answer.

Over the last three days I have decided to choose to focus on the many people who love/appreciate/value me….and the two who don’t..my mother and husband…I am letting go of….what has come to the surface however is this “justifiable anger”…..which I expressed…boy did I let it have its head, yesterday….what is amazing is I have had a Urinary Tract Infection for 3 weeks, after letting loose, venting, ranting..it disappeared overnight…several incidents of late have made me realize that we humans are a conundrum…we truly are….

Different parts of us need different solutions….my spiritual self knows I created this whole dynamic ( all my life) of toxic parenting and toxic spousal behavior… I created it so I could move through it and be unaffected, be my own source of love and self appreciation…know that energy matters more than relationship bonds!! So forgiveness is inappropriate, irrelevant. Anger also less valid.

My body however, which hold emotional charges…well it does need to vent, fury, rage and express its anger at the injustice of it all…it needs the release of this emotional charge it has held all this time…..how it has held back from expressing its truth and been caught in this uncomfortable web of acquiescence and soothing ( them)

My mind wants to find a valid way forwards, it needs to let go of any need to explain or say or tell anything, it wants to just move on and let go of the mental gymnastics of analysis and convoluted thinking.

My emotions need to be felt, acknowledged and faced, embraced, accepted and then after hopefully being reframed from full awareness of what happened, new understanding as to why it happened and creating a new reality where I can FEEL how life can be, a new beginning awaits…..

I’ve learned through my own emotional healing that for each of us our journey is unique and there are no pat answers, our abuse is a mix of emotional/mental/physical/spiritual abuse which differs in proportion for each of us….my husband is a good man who endured his own abuse, I love him and nevertheless am now beginning a whole new path of emergence out of this web of control I have allowed myself to be held hostage to, I don’t think we need to break up to do that…but if we do I am ready for it….it blew me away that my BODY needed to vent, hurt, get pissed off and release it even as my spiritual self looked on saying Oh my!!

Love how I got here and thankyou so much for realizing that I woek feeling nauseous because I hated the idea of needing to express justifiable anger….a whole part of me was in denial and judgement of that need another whole part of me felt to be essential to my well being ~incredible…life’s twists and turns…Lots of Love Ursula

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oh my gosh this resonates so deeply with me. I have to agree with Darlenes take on her post, it made sense to me years ago.
I have seen teachers abuse children openly in a classroom and when I brought it to someone’s attention, I was the one that got verbally abused by the teacher and not the teacher being rubuked by the school. I hate scapegoating, my parents always blamed all 3 of us children when there was trouble brewing, and we all got punished equally. Made me very aware of what I could and couldn’t do to escape their anger. I have been told all my life that I owe my mother for her staying and raising us as good as she did, though I hae only just started being able to grasp I was never to blame for her choices. No matter how much she believes I should.
I was a very angry youth, I was verbally aggressive and had a bad habit of slapping people, especially if I thought they wouldn’t retaliate. I drank to sleep so I could forget, I worked t pay for the alcohol and found ways to hide what was going on with me.
Took me years to grasp that the anger was holding me back, I was trying to heal but reacting in the manner in which I had been trained to do by my mother, mainly. Father was cold but physically abusive til we grew old enough to realise. We didn’t have to put up with the beatings. I understood why I was angry but needed to be able to control the rage that builds up inside- instead of lashing out at those around me in the present day.
So yeah I get the concept of ‘justifiable anger’ because I had to work to reach the point where the defence mechanism that was my anger held me back in the old ways.

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Amber, your post sounds like it came from my own head.
I tr and practice the understanding and let the emotional side catch up as the information sinks in deeper. Repetition, repetition, repetition. By repeating the newer thoughts over the older negative ones will trick the brain into believing and not just understanding the more positive messag.

127

Amber, It’s easier for me to face the pain in my past on an intellectual level simply, because I don’t want to feel that pain. I’m trying to give myself a half hour every day to experience what I’m feeling instead of stuffing it down and trying to ignore it. When I get triggered about a past trauma, I try to be mindful about physical signs such as armoring(tensing muscles), shallow breathing, and rapid heart rate. I also, try to remind myself that I’m likely, reacting to the past as well as whatever is hurting me in the present. I try my best not to act on what I’m feeling, I’m not always successful, but I stay as quiet as possible until I can be alone. Then instead of stuffing my emotions and turning away from the trigger, I allow myself to feel the emotions that were triggered and I cognitively, work through those feelings by connecting my internal dots between the present threat and the past trauma. It helps me understand better what an appropriate present response should be. It also, keeps me from denying the pain from the past. I’m not where I want to be in this. I still have a hard time crying for me even though, I cry easily in response to the pain of others. Sometimes, I have to find a movie or book that is similar to my experience and that enables me to shed tears for myself.

I hope that makes sense. I know it is kind of complicated and I’m still a work in progress. The last five years have been extremely, stressful and events in the last two years have been deeply triggering. I’ve learned a lot from those triggers but it has taken a tole on me physically and I know a lot of that is because of my denying myself the full experience of my emotions.

Relationships are hard because it is so hard to change old habits of relating. Every relationship is different and the choices we make about them depend on what type of relationship it is. I will put up with a lot from my children that I won’t put up with from anyone else. There are some people that I’m not willing to completely let go of even if some of the old habits remain but I draw the line at full out abuse toward me. In some relationships, it is possible to hold people at arms length and gradually, set new boundaries that improve old habits of relating. I also, don’t expect perfect relationships but I’m learning to accept safe and good enough relationships. I don’t think I can stop loving the people I love but sometimes, I have to continue loving them from a distance. I don’t know if any of that helps. Every relationship is different and there are no set rules but it helps me to be mindful of regarding my needs to be equal in importance with the other person’s needs.

Love,
Pam

128

Carol Derry (126) the way I have been trying to integrate what I know to be the truth cognitively and what I still need to synthesize emotionally is when the old emotional reaction kicks in, I try to remind myself of what I now know intellectually to be the truth. For example, there is this woman who I run into fairly often who has acted very rude to me for several years now. For a long ime I did the try hader dance for her trying to prove that I am a good kind person etc. And nothing worked. Cognitively I know nothing WILL work! And cognitively I know her behavior is nasty and abusive. Yet there are still times when I see her that my emotional reaction is hope that hings will be different. When I get his emotional reaction I have to pull back and remind myself of what I know cognitively; that she has been mean and nasty and doesn’t deserve my friendship. Sometimes I have to remind myself multiple times in the same minute! I don’t know if this is the best way to try to get he emotional to catch up with the cognitive recognition of the truth. Darlene and Pam I would love to hear how each of you did this!

129

Amber, What you just described is a habit of people pleasing to earn approval. That changed for me when I began to view myself as equal with others and quit trying to earn approval when everyone including me, deserves common respect. Also, knowing where I end and where I begin keeps me from believing that I can change another person by changing me. If someone likes me, they like me. If they don’t like me, then that’s their problem. Self-acceptance has helped me stop craving acceptance from others. I value myself so the way others value me, is secondary. Before, I thought I had no value if no one valued me. A lot of this happened naturally for me as I rewired my thinking about me and others by embracing the truth about my past instead of believing the lies I’d been taught.

Love,
Pam

130

Pam, thanks again for your input. It is definitely ” people pleasing” and I have done it all my life, starting with my mother. Of course nothing was ever good enough and so the dance went on and on. I understand cognitively that I am equal to others. I have yet to integrate this emotionally.
A light bulb went off after I wrote my message 128 and then read your message 127 which must have been written at the same time. The example I gave in 128 about a current situation, which I have been trying to integrate the cognitive and emotional to go together….I realized that something important was missing. And that was that I have been treating this as just a present situation but the past is in there and it’s in in a very big way! When I was in school I was very withdrawn and my appearance was different from the other kids because I wore a lot of hand me downs and unattractive clothing and my mother also didn’t care if I was bathed, hair brushed, nails clean etc. So I was the glass target for all the bullies. I wanted so much to be accepted and did whatever I could come up with, including once paying a girl a fine to be my friend. I was left out of playground games, and birthday parties. I think any rejection in the present brings up the feelings I had as a rejected child. I know the situation now is different because I have many friends and am only occasionally the target of Mean Girl women, so one nasty person really has little impact on my actual social life. But as a child, school and the neighborhood kids, who for the most part were one and the same, WAS my only social world. So , intellectually, I know the rude woman in my present life is nasty and abusive and not worth having as a friend, but emotionally it is the 10 year old unkempt, oddly dressed rejected girl who is reacting. And that is what I need to reconcile. Thanks so much for your input Pam. I have a lot to think about.

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Amber, Those are the dots I’m talking about connecting. It’s made a big difference for me to be able to do that. I’m glad you were able to make your connection during this conversation.:0)
Love,
Pam

p.s. I’m also, sad to know you were neglected by your mother and then abused by other children in response to the neglect. All of that is so unfair on so many levels.

132

Thank you Pam! I think I have a good road map now!! The dots to connect to are in the past, even in current situations.
Thank you too for your caring and validation of my childhood neglect and the additional pain of classmates’ bullying. These things were never validated when I was a child. No one intervened. No kids, no teachers ever stepped in to help. My mother didn’t care about my social pains. It’s people like you and Darlene and other wonderful people who post on here who have given me validation for the first time that is decades overdue! Xoxo!

133

Amber, Pam has a true gift how to say everything in a way that makes sense and explains it! I love it when someone can articulate what I am feeling, but have difficulty understanding how to express it! Pam…you are very gifted and your gift is very appreciated here! 🙂

Amber, you may laugh, but I have also had to work hard in this same area. I also had to wear outdated and weird clothing since my mom told me when I was 13 that I had to buy my own clothes. I am so sorry you went through all that you did!!! What I wanted to say was that I learned from someone here to start wearing sunglasses so that I could hide behind them and it is like a barrier between me and others. It works! I bought the darkest lenses I could find and it makes me feel somewhat bolder and more protected. Also, I stare at peoples shoes/feet when they are rudely staring at me or eyeing me up and down, or if they try that with my daughter and I am standing there. I stare down at their feet for the longest time and it makes them break off staring and ALWAYS look at their shoes to see what is going on. I am not an ipod user..with the earbuds regularly, but I have heard that is effective also. I am actually kind of quiet and private and a little shy by nature, so maybe that is why I like having “props” to help me be bolder. I cannot believe how strangers will rudely treat me or anyone else sometimes…for no reason at all. Since I have much more confidence I am learning how to truly stand up for myself verbally and that feels very empowering. So…get yourself some dark sunglasses and have them on hand and when you see this mean woman, whip them on even if you are inside a building and dont face her without them! Then work on not smiling at her too much! haha. She wont be able to really see your eyes or expressions and you will feel bold as a lion. Please let us know how it goes? All of this is “re-learning” and breaking free of the past ways of reacting and dealing with people. My husband sighs when someone asks him questions that are overly personal or if they are trying to pressure him. They might ask him why he wont do something, and he pauses for what seems like a long time and then sighs deliberately and then answers in the way HE wants to answer. It is very effective and he stays away from those weird social situations that could become sticky. You are doing great Amber! 🙂

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Amber and Pam, as a longtime tailwagging doggy (people pleaser) I appreciate your comments. What gets me is that I’ve been both a people pleaser and not one, both at the same time. I cringe every time I do it but I still (a lot less now) do it. So not only do I do it but I get to cringe while doing it, hahaha. The damn irony.

The comment about bullying at school got me. And I am so sorry that happened to you Amber due to your mother’s neglect of care.

I remember being hauled by my parents to be punished for being nasty to a neighborhood friend. I mean what I did was hurtful and I was also doing it to go along with another girl (who was ‘bad’and known for being ‘bad’ in the neighborhood amongst us kids). I definitely wanted her approval.

The girl’s parents complained to my parents (I think that’s the right thing to do btw). My parents slapped me upside the head (not the right thing to do) and hauled me along to make a formal apology to the girl and her parents. I was sincerely sorry when I saw how much what we had done had hurt my friend. I don’t remember whether the “bad” girl was there or not. Or sorry or not. I kind of suspect she “got away with it”.

But when I was later the target of bullying myself (harassing anonymous telephone calls, and who’s to say it wasn’t actually led or instigated by “bad girl”? I think it was) my parents did nothing. I mean it all sounds kind of stupid and childish when I tell it but when, as an adult, another family member threatened me, they did nothing. When my sibling was violent with me, nothing.

So they could obviously “do the right thing” when they had to. I’m angry and hurt that they didn’t.

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Hi FinallyFree, no I won’t laugh, well maybe a little because I love your “bold as a lion” scenario, and I’m glad the sunglasses work for you. This woman actually lives on my block, and at one time we were friends. Then abruptly she stopped speaking to me. She has avoided any attempts I have made to be friendly, and when she sees me she puts her head down to avoid eye contact with me. It is almost comical sometimes. A friend came to pick her up and she walked to the car and greeted her friend with her head down because if she looked up she would have made eye contact with me. Another day, she was trying to take a large gift wrapped in baby shower paper out of her car, but she kept her head down because I was outside. Because her head was down as she unloaded the gift and went to close the car door, she ended up closing it on the corner of the gift box. All because she wanted to keep her head down rather than make eye contact with me!! I have always felt that if you are going to frequently come into contact with someone you don’t like, it is easiest to just say a polite ” hello” and go on your way. It takes less energy than this woman puts out to avoid me, but I guess she hasn’t learned this useful life lesson yet.
I found your shoe story interesting too. We were in a foreign country recently and there were people at our hotel from another foreign country. A woman stared at my daughters shoes, actually sneakers, for a long time. I realize there are cultural differences from country to country including with footwear, but I felt this was rude behavior. I didn’t say anything to the woman, but I looked down at her shoes for a long time. She and her fellow travelers all looked back at me with annoyed expressions. Did they think they were entitled to stare, but there are different rules for me?
Rude people, ugh! I know you have been dealing with your own situation with your rude houseguest this week. Hope things have improved for you.
Tomorrow I have another challenge. A woman I know from high school is visiting my area and I will be seeing her. She can get snarky at times and asks nosey questions. I may get to use some of Darlene’s Why questions after all!

Pam definitely has a knack for explaining things. I will be working on connecting the dots between the past and present.

And FinallyFree, YOU are also doing great! Have a great night.

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Alice, Im sorry you went through that. Any kid who is bullied deserves to have people back her up. Any adult who is the victim of bullying/ violence deserves help and support too.
I wonder if hauling you off to apologize to that girl was done to preserve their image?? Maybe it was a way of saying to the outside world that they were good, responsible parents who are on top of things. My parents were concerned with how things looked to everyone else. I remember being punished because I forgot to say thank you to a woman who drove me home from the park. ( could a simple reminder have sufficed?) and getting yelled at once at a restaurant for not cutting my meat one piece at a time. Never mind I was never taught that at home before that night out. But it was vitally important to display good manners to strangers I would never see again. I would have liked their concern energy to be directed towards their children’s’ well- being instead of worrying about their image in the outside world.

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Finally Free-Thank you for the encouragement. I was moving ahead so rapidly I think I got ahead of myself. Part of it for me is that I always learned that I did not deserve happiness, worthiness. My value was on my looks and achievements so getting older is hard, but getting older and realizing what I missed out on is harder.

I am working hard on giving myself permission to just be unconditionally worthy. It is foreign ground to me to place value on my sense of self and happiness without proving what I did to earn the right such. My family sets the bar pretty high. I feel like every time something comes up I go into default mode and end up right where I started at and it is discouraging.

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Pam, I had some medical issues and I immediately went into full catastrophe mode. I felt like the rug was being ripped out from underneath me again and that no matter how hard I was trying to heal there was an evil higher power playing a wicked game of Chess and just waiting for me to show a glimmer of hope for the pleasure of throwing me to the wolves.

I have a phobia of happiness, I feel I must guard myself against hope. I am working on this with a therapist. I hate to even post right now because I don’t want to be a downer for anyone.

I got an all clear on my big medical scare today but am finding it hard to feel anything.

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Kris, thank you. I think somewhere deep inside, I am still living in my childhood and I have a hard time interpreting current events as separate. I love what you said and it is my mantra today that they can’t hurt me anymore. I tend to view everything that happens in my life like that child who had no choice, no voice who being tossed about on the waves of craziness that was my family. I can’t believe I am pushing 50 and trying to grow up and face the world like an adult.

I get it intellectually, it is just hard to get my feelings to follow and I usually just end up a hot mess chiding myself for not being able to feel okay despite knowing what I know.

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Alice, All of that is beyond confusing for a child. No wonder you feel both ways at once. You should feel angry about it. They set you up to fail no matter which way you turned. It’s awful to have your heart confused that way. There are a lot of lies to ‘unlearn’ in the incidents you described. I’m sad you had to live through that.

Love,
Pam

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Finally Free & Amber, Thank you for your sweet compliments and for making me feel like I belong and have something to contribute.

Love,
Pam

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Kaycee, I’m glad you are going to be okay and sad that you are going through so much at once. I’ve always had problems believing that I would actually get anything good out of life. I have an underlying suspicion of anything good in my life, that it will be jerked away, or that it is all a trick. I also, have a hard time receiving help from people or asking for any kind of help because I feel like I’m setting myself up to be hurt. I know now that all of that is based on the way my parents treated me. I very much relate to your description of an evil higher power working against you. For a child, there is no higher power than our parents. They should be there to watch over us and help us but when they continually jerk the rug out from beneath us when we put our trust in them, it makes it really hard to trust anyone, even God. I’m aware of this source of general mistrust in me now and I talk myself away from it but I still don’t have a natural trust in the helpfulness of others. No matter how kind or benevolent, I still have suspicions. Underneath, I still fight thoughts of not allowing myself to expect anything good, that whatever appears to be good is just a trick.

I was nearly 50 before I started facing myself and my past. It has taken me 30 years to recover from the first 18 years of my life. The good thing is you are here. I made a lot more progress from the help I found here than in the previous twenty years before.

Love,
Pam

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Hi Amber and Pam,

Thanks. Yes I think there was something of wanting to be SEEN to do the right thing when that’s obliged by others but in private the ‘reality’ of the relationship takes precedence. Same goes for clothing and behavior. We kids would be well-dressed so as to be “presentable” to certain people on “special occasions” (included visiting the grandparents) whereas everyday on “ordinary” days I was wearing worn second-hand clothes (which are fine btw, I still enjoy shopping ‘vintage’ haha) but it was about how much more important our mother’s view of herself through our well-dressed presentation and ‘polite’ behavior was than us. So we were punished when we belied the former.

So really it was my mother’s own neuroticism that she was trying to effect through us.

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Kaycee#139….what you said is exactly how I feel too. Unfortunately being abused has us share some commonalities. I am pushing 50 too and I am just learning how to stand up on my own two feet. It’s scary to say the least. Our parents robbed us of that opportunity because they were too busy telling us how we needed to do everything “their” way and what WE thought didn’t count so we never learned how to stand on our own two feet because their goal was to have us dependent on THEM for the rest of our lives out of their own sick fear of us rejecting and abandoning them if they didn’t find a way to keep us connected at their hip so to speak. Even when they weren’t there they were if you know what I mean. Had to break that sick connection. Not an easy task.

I am afraid of everything and it robs me from doing things that I want to do. I am terrified of people in general. I can’t let myself go to that place of letting myself get close to someone. It’s just doesn’t feel safe to me. I am constantly being triggered by things that happen today that remind me of the abuse from my past. That is what having DID does to you. I am my own walking torture chamber and that is why I isolate myself because the less people I am around the less I will be triggered. The whole darn thing is so sick I can’t stand it. You couldn’t make something like this up if you wanted to yet there are still idiots out there that don’t believe DID exists. I think to myself let them live a day in the life of me and then see what they have to say!!! lol

I too get all of this intellectually but my heart hasn’t received all the messages yet. I still feel like crap every day. My therapist said knowing the truth is better then living a lie and I said to him maybe when you get to the other side of broken but right now I think to myself what good does knowing the truth really do me??? I am STILL sitting here with the same old pain from things that happened to me 48 years ago.

Ultimately I do believe “the truth will set you free.” Just had to vent!!! That has been my motto from the start. Living a lie will only cause you MORE unresolved pain and I figure that one day I will finally chip away at all of this junk so I can finally can have a life because right now I don’t have a life. I exist and I survive but I don’t live.

Some days it is just harder for me to see that then others and today is one of those days. Falling into ANOTHER depression. God is trying to show me ANOTHER truth and all my truths just cause me MORE PAIN!!!! Woe is me and cry me a river but that is how I feel today!!! Lol

So hard to keep yourself positive when you know you are about to be hit over the head again. People like you keep me going. I am so grateful for that. Thnx for letting me vent. Sorry I was of no help to you!!!

Hugs,
Kris

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I read on another website that “just because your parents did all the right things, doesn’t mean they loved you.”

This helped put things on perspective for me. Yes, my parents did all the “Right” things. But I never felt loved. One of my siblings once told me that they never felt loved, either, but since then, that sibling has denied saying that.

I guess that’s why I approached all relationships with a “supposed to” thing. As in, “you’re SUPPOSED to act this way, do this, etc.” Then I got tired of “supposed to’s” and broke them up.

My mom claims she “wanted” children, but it’s always phrased as “your father wanted kids.” But my dad, for him, it was “kodak moments” and nothing else. My friends used to always discuss which of their parents was the “worse” for discipline. Well, in my family, all discipline was done by mom, dad refused to participate in discipline. So mom got “stuck” with it.

A couple weeks ago, I visited my Dad’s grave with a two page letter I wrote, expressing all the anger I had over being ignored by him. I found a way to “bury” the letter under the dirt near the grave.

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Amber, your “people pleasing” thing rings with me. I kept trying to please my mom to get her to love me. It took me years to figure out this is what I was doing. I just have to realize it’s not my fault she can’t love me. She just isn’t capable of love, whatever the reason is.

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Alice, your “Victim of bullying” story got to me. As a kid, I got the “occasional” bullying from the “cool” kids, but I didn’t really get serious bullying.

But for some reason, bullying has become a very passionate subject for me. I don’t know why but something is driving me to want to do something about bullying. I read about it constantly and just want to find a way to do something.

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Hi DXS, thanks for the kind words. I’ve noticed a lot of people who have been through stuff like we discuss on EFB become champions for “the underdog” or other people who are being mistreated later in life. In that small period during which I was bullied, I was really more upset that my parents did nothing than the kids who were doing it. I had a kind of an understanding that allegiances at grade school were fickle and today’s best friend could turn on a dime into tomorrow’s worst enemy and then back again. But when you realize no-one has your back in your family, it’s so horrible. One of the consequences is it turns you into someone who know’s they can only really count on themselves. And I wonder if that contributes to so many kids not speaking up about what they might be going through. I was “bullied” once more in high school with a “joke” that was played on me by the “mean girls” in school but it kind of backfired on them. “Only” my pride was hurt that time.

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I haven’t even read all the comments, only the first 20 or so, but so much of it applies to me, and how I feel and everything….need some time to absorb all of it. I can relate to so much of what everybody is saying though. Thank you all for sharing, this website has helped me so much already, so glad to have found it.

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I’m late to the discussion here and haven’t read even close to all the comments yet, but I appreciate the post, Darlene, and the comments I did read!

Yes, there is definitely justifiable anger. I suppose it’s hard to understand that anger can be a driving force to establish peace when all you’ve known of it has been destructive, but I’d be surprised if anger wasn’t a crucial aspect to all those who seek justice and equality, who want to right wrongs. All those people who have won nobel peace prizes, for example, do you think they would have accomplished anything if they were happy with things, or if they separated themselves from reality or from themselves, so that they wouldn’t feel the “badness” of anger? I would guess that they felt the full force of their anger but had the mental and emotional capacity to use it constructively.

It’s odd how when it’s family, we’re supposed to dismantle our feelings and swallow down the lie that this is the admirable way to live, but honestly if you were witness to a person doing serious harm to another human being and didn’t feel any anger at all, I’d wonder if there wasn’t something seriously wrong with you, if maybe you were a sociopath or something. Then there’s the notion that, yes, you can feel the anger but that it’s better to weave around what makes you angry, to hold your anger to yourself, work it out on your own time and hold your truth to yourself, without ever expressing your anger to anyone else. This is fine if it works, if it’s what’s best for you, but to think that makes you superior to those who actually choose to express their anger (in a non-abusive, constructive, justice-seeking manner) is absurd. I’m inclined to think it’s the other way around—that it takes more gumption to stand up expressing your anger (in non-abusive ways) than to keep it to yourself and that there is more possibility for more positivity, and certainly change, if we are able to speak up about that which makes us angry.

I’ve been thinking about going to the police about my assault. I know I have no evidence. I know it’s pure he said/she said. I know I won’t get justice. I know it will be hard and scary and I can’t predict what might happen. But just to do it anyway, to put it on record as me saying this happened and this was a crime, regardless of how it’s taken from that point forward. I tried last weekend to write down the events—chronologically and detailed as I could. It’s really hard. I didn’t get very far at all. I’ll try again this weekend. Somehow it’s harder to write it chronologically. I think our minds fragment trauma for our protection. All the fragments themselves are traumatic and painful but when you put them together and follow them through from beginning to end, it’s much harder, strikes you down to the core—I think because that’s when you start to understand and feel what happened to you, what was done to you, systematically—both in terms of the culminating effect of one thing on top of another and another, etc., and in terms of experiencing a sense of the motive/driving force of those who have abused you as a kind of through line. It’s only with chronology that you get the full sense of the malevolence of your experience. Even when the abuse was unconscious or passive, once you feel it as a pattern across time, you feel the inherent cruelty and sickness that are intent on destroying you, not as passive, disparate moments, but as an actual force. It’s why I came to the conclusion last year that my family wants to kill me. They don’t ACTUALLY want to kill me, but… yes they do. So long as they don’t reject the dysfunction, they will keep wanting and trying to achieve that which wants to kill me (despite my many, many attempts to explain)… ergo they want to kill me. Anyway, about my assault, I know I can’t just go to the police without writing down what happened because I won’t be able to talk, not in detail. I clam up and panic, etc., and if I do this, I want to be in shape to do it. I don’t want to end up at home, trying to manage and curb the desire to hurt myself because I pushed myself into something I can’t handle, but I also want to be able to do this—for myself, to say it happened, that it wasn’t okay, it was a crime against me that deserves to be reported to the police. And for the sake of a history if there are any women after me. It’s awful that as victims we end up carrying the weight of other people’s responsibility—their guilt for what they did. We shouldn’t but it’s what they inflicted on us. I wish simply to give it back to them because it doesn’t belong to me. But so much work, so much easier said than done. And yes, it makes me angry. All the pain, all the time and effort, all the life it destroys, because other people don’t want to take responsibility for themselves, because they don’t want to care, because all they want is what they want at the expense of anything or anyone. Yes, that makes me angry, and rightly so.

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Hi Alaina!

What a well-written post on this topic. So the ‘family as exception’ rears it’s head again “It’s odd how when it’s family, we’re supposed to dismantle our feelings and swallow down the lie that this is the admirable way to live…”

It makes me want to ask, ‘what the hell is wrong with the family?’ I’ve seen so many families where this is the expectation. My own placed heavy demands on me without any real reciprocity (and god-forbid I would even suggest there COULD be reciprocity) bar the old saw of ‘But we fed and clothed and put a roof over your head’.

Yes, and it was made so fucking clear at every second it was THEIR roof and the clothes were whatever took the least effort to throw at me. That I am an ‘ungrateful’ daughter when so many kids don’t even have that. And my heart breaks for them. Why should we be asked to compare sadness? Why in the first place should a child be ‘grateful’? I’ve never really asked the question but I am now. Why exactly?

I was very struck by your idea that “Even when the abuse was unconscious or passive, once you feel it as a pattern across time, you feel the inherent cruelty and sickness that are intent on destroying you, not as passive, disparate moments, but as an actual force.”

I’ve avoided admitting that my mother was anything other than unconscious (or herself damaged) for just this reason. At some point in this process there’s a terror that arises exactly out of the full realization of everything that was done to you. Is this the same terror we sought to avoid feeling as children?

I don’t know what to say about reporting to the police. The inability of police to listen to women is all over the news right now. I fear that they will traumatize you further. But that is my own fear.

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I’ve avoided admitting that my mother was anything other than unconscious (or herself damaged) for just this reason.

Same here. I think my mom just doesn’t “know herself” and she isn’t aware of how I feel. She thinks that if SHE feels a certain way, so should I. My mom never says what she means, and never means what she says. But she thinks that if she said A but meant B, I’m supposed to JUST KNOW she meant B and it’s my fault if I didn’t realize that. Ansd she thinks I’m “too sensitive.” But to me, she is the one that is “too sensitive” but oh now, she denies that….

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Hi Lia
Welcome to EFB! Great to have you here.
hugs, Darlene

Alice and Alaina, (and everyone, I really appreciate the conversation that goes on even if I am not in it!)
Great comments. I am trying to catch up today and I am actually making great progress but I am unable to answer all the comments. (still..) This month has been crazy with work/clients plus I am getting ready to go to France and London in 2 weeks, (I will make an announcement soon) on my first really big EFB biz trip! I am excited! I will publish a new post later on today,
hugs, Darlene

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Oliver. Your comment (24) is like ripped from a page of my journal. It makes me feel connected and understood in a way I cant even fully appreciate yet. Thank you. I just found this blog today.

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Oops i meant comment 42.

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Hi Alice!
Why should a child be grateful? I still feel that way sometimes, too, when I feel grateful in certain circumstances but also have a sense that I feel embittered or fenced in at the same time as grateful, usually in relation to someone having some kind of power in a situation, or me being vulnerable (it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily abusing their power; it’s just the fact that they have power and I’m aware of it and trying to find my footing, though sometimes it is because they are in some way abusing their power). It’s a gratitude that’s acknowledging that another person could do you harm (or worse harm) if they wanted to but are refraining themselves (because they’re such good people or because you haven’t “pushed” them to it… yet) and instead are allowing you to have this particular degree of kindness that they have chosen for you. I don’t think a child should ever catch glimpse, however covertly, that their parents could destroy them if they wanted to; this is something you should never know. A good, healthy parent absolutely could not destroy their own child. It’s not a mistake or an accident. So when you feel at a very deep gut level that kind of gratitude, it seems to me that it’s indicative of something very wrong.

I think the desire to rest things on the unconscious is a desire to get what happened to us as close as possible to being an accident or mistake as possible… but I’m coming to the belief that no matter how unconscious something is, it’s no more an accident or a mistake than something done in full consciousness. The reason I think this is because there’s a purpose. Accidents and mistakes don’t have purposes—purposes that benefit the person who has made the mistake.

And then look at the fact that when you point out the truth, it doesn’t elicit comprehension, or eye-popping “oh my god I can’t believe I did that” revelations, but rather endless forms of denial, some of them very complex. When we’re stuck questioning ourselves whether the truth is true, their denial is effective and maddening, but when there’s no question that the truth is true, their denial rings very suspect.

It’s like something submerged under water with parts of it sticking out. Say a tree. A single solitary branch could be just a branch, but a bunch of them in pattern will suggest that there’s a tree under there. And every branch carries in it the idea of the tree, that it belongs and is part of a tree. So when you point out, hey, there’s a tree under there, why the denial? The problem for so long is that you doubt the tree yourself; they’ve campaigned (however consciously or unconscious, overtly or covertly) so long that, no, there’s no tree or that it’s something else. But they so resolutely deny that there’s a tree when you suggest that maybe…; they won’t even go to look to see if maybe…

I suspect some of my naivete in life is protection against that terror you mentioned because when you do get a sense of that force and the full extent of what was done to you and what its purpose is, namely to feed off you at any cost (up to and including death) to serve the other, it is terrifying. If you’ve grown up in a healthy home, then at some point you will get a sense of that force but as something outside, as “other,” which is, I’m sure, scary enough, but when it’s close, so close it’s inside your life and then inside you, well it makes sense that you’d develop many ways to protect yourself against realizing the truth. After all, how can you live with that truth if you can’t get outside of it? You warp it to make it something else because you can’t possibly live inside that terror with constant full understanding of what that terror is.

I’ve come to understand that my parents would treat me, and see me, the way they do even through a breakdown and potentially having died as a result of the undercurrent in our family narrative—that I exist for such and such a purpose. I realized that it doesn’t matter if I die or not, they will hold onto their ways. But what I’m understanding more of is that they planted this in me, too. Their control and brainwashing was so deep that I had a breakdown as the only means of freeing myself, outside of death. Others would have been able to rebel before that point. So it’s not just that my parents would take from me and expect from me my whole life, but that I’ve been programmed to go with this, to do this for others if that’s what they want of me. Like there’s a certain pattern of psychological buttons they just have to press, and ta-dah, I’m theirs for the taking up to the point of my inevitable collapse. That’s where the grateful thing comes in, too—in knowing that people can do this to me.

I fear being traumatized going to the police, too, especially because I know that it will fall in line with the same old, same old. There’s a through-line with what happened to me in my family, then to the dysfunction workplace and the “friend” I met there. They all took advantage of and used the same part of my character, the same weaknesses, for the same purposes (only in different avenues), and in the aftermath can use those same weaknesses and soft spots to fault me, and ultimately get away with things for lack of proof. I’m tired of coming out of situations in which I’ve been exploited/victimized only able to “learn a lesson” about how to next time maneuver myself, because I hate this feeling that it’s an “abuser’s world” and I have to find a way to live in it, so as to least be victimized. Going to the police won’t actually change that, either, I know; it might just enhance that feeling. The almost-year of confrontation with my family—even though I stood up for myself and spoke the truth—now feels kind of empty, like in that, too, I was the victim, I suppose because of realizing how much time I put into trying to get them to see “the tree” and it being essentially a stupid endeavour when there’s good reason why they don’t want to see it, that they’d designed a whole life around getting themselves and others to not look or to un-see it, and that I took quite a beating in the process of speaking up. I mean it wasn’t stupid in that I wouldn’t have known otherwise and I needed to know the truth, so I don’t regret doing what I needed to do—to understand how and why it was a stupid endeavour and that it’s not me. I try to keep my mentality as one of overcoming things, but looking at my life I can see from another angle a perpetual victim, trying to dodge my way through, sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, and that with those I have stood up to, it has been like talking to inanimate objects. I suppose the truth just makes me depressed. I’d like to know which specific actions are going to help me not feel like a victim anymore, so that I can take those actions, but for now I don’t know what those actions are and I’m feeling depressed.

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Hi, I’ve never commented before as I didn’t feel strong enough to put into words what I’ve been feeling of indeed if it is all in my head. Everyone’s comments have helped me tremendously in feeling less isolated. I always thought I had good parents until I had my own children and then I began to feel extreme anger towards my parents. Growing up, we were always told that if we had kids of our own that we were not to expect them to look after or help us as they ‘had brought up their own’. We always had to put dad first with everything or he would explode with rage and take it out on us (usually me or my brother). The smallest things could set him off. We were always on eggshells. There is too much to go into but now in my forties, nothing has changed. Whenever I am alone with them we always fight: he flies into a rage, insults me, calls me a nasty bitch, ungrateful, vicious bitch- al labels I have grown up with since I was about 13. This could be for something as simple as asking for help to get my kids off the school bus or requiring a ride somewhere- his arms start flailing, yelling abou how can he manage that , what if this happens or that happens and a huge drama ensues because I’ve asked a simple favor. Then I dare say it’s ik, no big deal I’ll make other arrangements then the insults and name calling starts. He would usually hit me at this point if I answered back but now wouldn’t dare as I’m married with kids. He never does this outside of the immediate family. My mom can be there the entire time and will deny it or worse, say ‘well you were answering back’ as if I’m in the wrong and deserved it. I’ve carried this shame around my entire life, whenever I made friends I’d tell myself, if only you knew what a nasty person I really am. We speak and pretend everything is ok but when we meet or I’m alone with them it starts. I have special needs kids and they ‘help’ when it’s convenient to them but everything comes with conditions. Once I didn’t even ask for help but was told that they were not ‘obliged’ to help me. Honestly I don’t know what to do and I’m sick of bringing it up and being told that they’ve done everything for me (I’ve lived o/seas from them for 25 years!) go figure! This happens akways on their visits to me. Outwardly they are the perfect parents. No one would guess at my pain. They have never ever told me or my siblings that they love us. Thanks for listening and I just wanted to get that off my chest!

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Hi all,
I think any mother should ask herself,before having children, what she has to offer.If she doesn’t have money or time,she’ll neglect her child by putting work first.If she doesn’t have enough patience or love to offer,she’ll abuse her child emotionally and in other ways.It makes me angry when i look around and i see young women wanting children for the wrong reasons.Some already have a career and want to cut one more thing off the to do list.Others say they are getting old and their biological clock is ticking.

I personally chose not to have children because i analised myself and my daily habits.I’m quiet,not social and i love my alone time.I recharge my batteries by spending time with myself.If one day i don’t get to have me-time at all,i become very cranky.

Sometimes,when i talk to random strangers,i can tell if their children are loved or abused.I can guess if they’ll have a normal life without even knowing them.I’m not a clairvoyant or anything.It’s just my intuition and my horrible life experience as an emotionally traumatised adult child of narcissists.

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Hi Iris, Parents can be very very different inside the house than they are with other people. My mother was a real charmer and everyone loved her, but with us kids there was a lot of yelling, name calling, put downs ( especially for me, the only daughter) and physical punishments. No one on the outside would ever guess what she was really like.
I have a special needs daughter. My mother moved far away and was never a help to me. My father occasionally would watch the kids for a short time and I appreciated that. My in laws lived nearby and had a similar attitude to what you describe, where they didn’t want to be put out with babysitting. Once in a while they would do it but it was always a big deal like we were inconveniencing them. Hey, these are their grand kids! Of course they wanted to see the kids but since they didn’t want to babysit, I had to be present. I think it was mainly my father in laws attitude because after he passed my mother in law did more with the kids. But, of course my father in law had this entitlement idea that we would take care of him later in life, even though he didn’t want to do much for us. My mother was the same way. She expected me, the daughter, the servant, to fly out to help her even after years of doing nothing for me. Where do they get this entitlement from?? We’re supposed to give, give, give, but they’re exempt?
I solved my problem by finding a woman who was experienced with special needs to watch my kids. Yes, it was an additional expense but well worth it. I also traded favors with other Moms of special needs kids in my area. We would help each other out if one of us got in a jam. Our kids were on the same bus, so a quick phone call if one of us was running late would solve the problem. I found I had to be resourceful. I know it isn’t easy, and it is made harder when parents are selfish about helping out. It’s not like I was asking for help every day. Not at all. But an occasional day out without the kids didn’t seem like too much to ask for, yet it was looked at like a huge burden by my father in law.
Don’t be surprised if after telling you they’re not obliged to help you, that they’re expecting you to be there for eldercare in the future.
Iris, this is a great venue to discuss things and vent and it has helped me a lot! Take care, Amber

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Hi Everyone,
I have an exciting announcement on the home page today!
“The Future looks bright on Emerging from Broken” is waiting for your comments! http://emergingfrombroken.com/the-future-looks-bright-for-emerging-from-broken/
Hugs, Darlene

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Amber, thank you very much for your advice and understanding. Yes, it’s hard having no family support and I’ll look into ways of being more resourceful! My children are both very different with different needs, both are non-verbal so I need to find a trusted person who can look after both in times of need! Wouldn’t it be great if there was an ‘adopt a grandma’ facility, just to have someone warm and caring to help out occasionally!

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You’re welcome, Iris. I hope it all works out for you. Is there anyone at your children’s’ school you can talk to who might be able to help you find someone experienced with special needs kids to help you out? A social worker should be able to give you some ideas. Best of luck, Amber.

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Wow! I spent today reading through all these posts and so many sound like what I went through. I haven’t seen most of my family for 4 years. I told my Mom that I wanted to come out during Christmas break with my Grand daughter who is 5. My Mom told me that they already have plans for Thanksgiving. I wrote back explaining that after Christmas is when I planned to come out. She told me about everyone who was going to be there for Christmas, of course excluding me! and then she decided that I didn’t really want to see her. It feels like She doesn’t really want to see me so I wont waste my time or money on a 1000 mile round trip just to be hurt more.I won’t let my family poison my Grand daughter so I will plan on spending Christmas with her and my son. I spent too many years being angry and have been much calmer since I avoid my FOO. Seeing them or hearing their voices bring up horrible memories but with my counselor and Emerging from broken I am healing and able to talk freely. The more I talk, the better I feel so i will keep talking no matter what they have to say about how i am shaming the family by airing their dirty laundry. I know they all sit around and talk about how much of A fool I am for telling people I don’t know about my Dad molesting all of us girls. I am the only one dealing with it and my sisters show their anger differently with snide little comments so often and I realized it is their problem and not mine. This will be the 8th holidays season I wasn’t invited. I caused drama! I don’t miss it like I did. They are all unhealthy by talking about everyone who isnt there. They tell me I am hateful and I hurt everyone. I don’t need the negativity.

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Your absolutely right. Makes totally good sense to me. I wish I had the I don’t know how to word it, ability? Ability to actually train myself to get angry now even when I know I’m being taking advantaged of and manipulated by people I seem to only attract in my life. Also, standing up to one sided family members if my behavior did change to show anger. Anger of the past and anger of every belittling moment I’m around my relatives. I suppose it would seem weird to most how somebody doesn’t have the ability to show anger in public or even stick up for themselves. For me, it all happens when I’m alone.

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Yes, there is a such a thing as ‘justifiable anger’! Any anger that we feel, which is stimulated by a cause, is justifiable.
It is essential that children are allowed to be angry and taught how to express that anger, otherwise it will damage them and the others around them. I wasn’t allowed to have any feelings at all that were ‘not’ okay with my mother. I was not allowed to be angry. So, I bottled it up, suppressed it, and stuffed it way deep inside! Eventually, my anger erupted in rage, I acted out inappropriately, or I ran away from home.
There is much to be said for the feeling of anger. It is a feeling and like every feeling; it is a part of us and it belongs to us. We should be permitted to have it and taught how to express it.
The people who did the thing that caused the anger should take heed, apologize, and make amends. We should not be made to feel that, ‘they are the good guys’ and ‘we are the bad guys’ for ever getting angry with them. That is just not fair!
Justifiable anger over years of abuse is completely appropriate! We are now the ones who govern ourselves and must choose to allow it. Anger is not rage, anger is not acting out, anger is only a feeling. If we can learn the ability to feel and allow our anger without being destructive or self-destructive, we have learned a valuable skill. It could be a skill that will lower our blood pressure, ease our anxiety, and contribute to a longer healthier life.
Also, after justifying my anger to myself, I govern it and it no longer governs me! It is a reasonable response to unreasonable abuse! ~ Beth

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The thing I am most sick of is the assertion that no one can make you feel anything; that we can choose what to feel at any moment no matter what is happening to us.

A person who is acting aggressively toward me is going to make me afraid, hurt, and angry, and maybe a few other things either all at once or in sequence. And someone who is behaving compassionately toward me is going to make me feel calmer and probably happier.

Anger is a feeling, that leads sometimes to behavior, but that can be within our control when we can recognize and acknowledge that we feel anger. What kind of control can we have over something we aren’t allowed to identify?

The thing I’ve noticed is that abusers will say “YOU made me angry!” as if they are entitled to their anger and their behavior and it’s YOUR FAULT, while they tell YOU that you can’t be angry and they have no responsibility for your feelings.

It took me the longest time to recognize that.

Yes – there is such a thing as justifiable anger. It’s also perfectly appropriate to say “I get angry when I’m treated like I’m something less than you, and I don’t want it to happen again.” Then it’s in their hands to either try not to repeat the behavior or live without the relationship.

It’s not an easy process – but that’s pretty much what it boils down to.

Hobie

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Hobie and Beth,

You two took the words right out of my mouth.

It was weeks ago when I realized that I have anger avoidance as a result of the mixed messages I received as a child. I could be yelled at for stupid stuff, but if I expressed anger, I was “having an attitude”. Yet, I was also expected to stand up to bullies in school. I couldn’t do that because I was taught that being angry meant I was a “bad girl”, and was easy pickings for them. Then, I was scolded or blamed for being picked on. I told my mother this and her only answer was to get therapy. Hmm, hurt someone and then tell them to seek help without apologizing for the inner scars. Nice.

I still struggle with assertiveness and being angry without feeling guilty. I would’ve been the perfect sex abuse victim or abused spouse because of my passive nature. Thank goodness I never had those experiences. (I don’t plan to have a mate anyway, and I was just extremely lucky not to be in a molestation situation.)

Yes, healing takes time. Better late than never.

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Hi Darlene,
I have read almost all of your posts since I discovered your blog and they have helped me so very much as I try to come to terms with my situation and honestly face just how rotten my mother treated me. I went NC just about three months ago. It has been an up and down journey and I realized, only yesterday, that I have not allowed myself to get angry, really angry at what she chose to do to me. I also realized that I have been holding an unrealistic hope that she will change, which, of course she won’t. So that being said your post about anger resonates with me big time. Anger is not only justifiable but it is necessary to the healing process. How can forgiveness come if we don’t deal honestly and head on with our situations? Anger does not mean that we will act on it. No, that would be exacting revenge which is altogether different. For me, getting angry is my way of facing what she did to me and that she did it because she wanted to and because she could. How can I not be angry at someone who intentionally wanted to hurt me? And she being the one who was supposed to protect me? How could I not be angry with the biggest betrayal ever? I have no intention of seeing her again because that would only give her the opportunity to hurt me again. I have given myself permission to be angry with her because it is absolutely justified! I am so mad at her for willfully wanting to hurt me. Thank you so much Darlene for all you do, for putting yourself out there. In turn I relate and hurt for all the folks who comment and share their situations. All of you have helped me too, thank you so much. There was a time that I thought I was alone but now I know that I am in good company of good people who have been harmed by those they should have been able to trust above all others. May God bless us all.

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Hi Lynne
Anger was one of the last things that I faced in my healing journey. I avoided it for a long time. I was afraid of it and for good reason. Finally embracing my anger was amazing and freeing! Once I felt it and validated it and acknowledged that I had something to be angry about, a whole new world of healing opened up. I don’t have the intensity of those feelings anymore at all. They sort of ‘dropped away’ when I really validated that I had a right to be angry. What happened to me was wrong! I am glad that I stayed in those feelings long enough!
Hugs and thanks for sharing,
Darlene

171

That is encouraging to hear. I too have avoided feeling anger but I am beginning to get mad, some days more than others. I realize that by avoiding it I am continuing to believe what my mother always wanted me to think; that am the one who is wrong, but I know that I am not wrong and I never was.

172

I talked with my therapist about this topic, namely, once I started to believe that it wasn’t all my fault, the anger emerged. WOW. Very intense, and I explained to her that it was almost easier to hold the sadness and turmoil and pain and depression than to face the anger.

The anger was strong, and also once I started to believe that it wasn’t all me, then that meant that it was about them and I couldn’t control their behavior, which meant I had to think about reducing contact, which is a sad and painful road…….

173

Thank you Darlene for your posts everyday. you’re posts and book are helping me heal everyday. Like Lynne, I also went NC with my parents 3 months ago. I got tired of being the scapegoat every single year for something. My mother is the instigator and my father is the silent partner. I got tired of their passive abusive behavior and walked away. When Fathers Day came around I mailed a card. Because I didn’t call him on the phone my brother told me I couldn’t see my 5 year old twin nephews. He called me disrespectful and narcissistic, and posts quotes on FB about people that are stupid obviously directed at me. Luckily I know he’s just a flying monkey, and I ignore the abuse. But it makes me more sad than angry that my nephews are being used as pawns as if they are some property and that my parents condone this. But I don’t know why I expect anything else from these people. My brother says he’s tired of dealing this his whole life. I wish he’d realize it’s not me that always tries to be the center of attention, it’s our parents that put me there and his anger should be directed at them. But then he wouldn’t have anyone to watch his kids…

174

It’s totally okay to be angry. In fact, we need to experience and express those emotions or they just get hidden and stay there until addressed. I was a victim of abuse my whole childhood, in a seemingly normal home, and I had to stuff all my feelings and hide the abuse. I developed abnormal coping/defensive mechanisms and grew up with chronic depression, anxiety disorder, great unreasonable fear, and what appears to have been PTSD. I never acknowledged my anger and made mental excuses for the abusers. And being a Christian who turns the other check was drilled into me. It turns out that it was extremely psychologically damaging to me to hide my feelings and slap a bandage over my bloody wounds. All it did was fester and as the years went by I became an emotional and mental wreck shouldering the guilt and shame and blame on myself. Never knowing who I was, broken relationships, and lost jobs. A mess my whole life. Seemingly normal, but not at all normal. Basically because I stuffed all my feelings, couldn’t tell, and the abusers went on with their lives while I lived a life of emotional misery. It eventually became mental and physical misery. You have to face the emotions at some point and experience them. Not necessarily towards the abusers, mostly for your own self. If you hide the emotions, you invalidate yourself. You hide your true self because those wounds and emotions are a part of you. I could never sustain relationships because I had to hide those emotions and hide the wounds done by the abuse. I had to hide that my family did those things to me. You have to cry and be angry, just don’t take that anger out on others. Do it with a counselor or in your own home or other safe place. If at some point you want to confront the abuser, make sure you are emotionally and mentally strong enough and stable, because the abuser might not want to be confronted and will defend him/herself. To be human is to experience all your feelings, but anger can be irrational, so feel it and study it and heal and eventually move on from it at your own pace. Definitely at your own pace and for your own sense of well-being.

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Candace,
Like you, I have lost any contact or hope of Contact with my nieces as a result of going NC. Of course I included my sister in the NC because she is a clone of my mother and they have always worked together to invalidate me. My mother is the one who overtly hurts me whenever she gets a chance but my sister could never see what was going on, or so she said and has done so much to try and break up my marriage, which deeply offends her for some reason. Anyway I will probably never have a relationship with my nieces as both my mother and sister have waged smear campaigns against me. Still I won’t ever go back. This week marks three months and the beginning of my most sincere anger which I know will Help me move on. I look forward to the day that I wake up and go to sleep with no thoughts of this awful situation. You and I will beat this!
Hugs
Lynne

176

Thank you Lynne. ???? Funny you say that, i just noticed its 3 months today since I went NC. we have a lot in common. It does hurt because my parents, my brother have smear campaigns with my oldest daughter about me. I have 4 other step siblings that don’t talk to me either. I will never understand how a mother can talk bad about her daughter to so many people to make me look like I’m a horrible person. But her mother did the same thing to her. She knew her mom did it and she swore she would never be like her, but when you tell her she is, she flips. I hate the fact that my poor nephews are being taken away from me, they love me so much. It’s going to hurt them. But if I were to stay and put up with my “family” because of my nephews, it will just confuse them every year or so when I’m taken out of their little lives causing them insecurity and abandonment issues at such an expressionable time in their lives. Almost like I love them enough to let them go, for now. Because their father is a puppet with poor character.

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Sorry that was supposed to be a smiley icon but question marks

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I kept my anger inside for 37 years then I was confronted by my father trying to bully me and attempt to physically attract me. I whipped his ass, exploded and told everyone who stood up for my father they would one day see the monster he was and if they still believed him over me they could burn in hell with him. My life is much better now.

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Hi Everyone!
I have put a new post up on the home page! I think you are going to love it. It’s called “The Best Advice for the Healing Journey”.
Here is the link: http://emergingfrombroken.com/the-best-advice-for-the-healing-journey-by-christina-enevoldsen/
hugs, Darlene

180

Hey Darlene,

Sometimes I can’t help but think that the pain I have received from my family (verbal, physical, emotional etc) is probably karma’s way of getting back at me for some of the terrible deeds I have done. I have been racist, teased, hit , cheated on exams and yet here I am finding myself writing about my plight from my family. Some I have regretted, some I didn’t. Is it strange for me to ask if people who have done things that I have, still don’t deserve the kind of pain from our families?

It’s just a thought of mine. Because even if I feel that my anger towards what my maternal grandmother and father have done to me is justified, sometimes I go back to the terrible things I have done and think okay another dose of karma coming my way, perhaps I do deserve to get hurt. Ironic isn’t it?

Regards,

Carlos

181

Darlene,

My childhood and adulthood injustices, less the sexual abuse thank God, is completely duplicate to what you describe in your many online writings. Anger is definetely justified. When there is true injustice in any form anger should be part of the reaction to it.
Anger is not equal to violence.
I am so angry and equally heartbroken that I was denied mother’s love, emotional safety and the early development of self worth! My abuser was ruthless by attacking and manipulating my entire human support system of family and friends for years upon years. The ruthless abuser is my mother.
I have spent most of my adult life trying to truly heal my wounds by reading, therapy, trying to love myself, pretending, and sometimes actually leading an emotionally healthy life. I finally broke of all contact with my abuser 3 years ago at 46 years old and as expected she took the rest of my manipulated and controlled family with her. I did this just so the gaping bleeding wounds could possibly heal ever so slightly. As expected I was cast aside by my entire family as though I never existed or worse yet as this horrible human being unworthy of any love or contact at all.
Most of the time I think I have healed and I have conquered the beast of abuse and dysfunction. But every once in awhile someone unknowingly touches my still open wound and I am reminded of the horrific injustice and the pain and I am brought to my knees in despair. This kind of personal damage caused by another human being is 100% justifiably worthy of anger.

Amy

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Hi Amy
Welcome to EFB ~ so glad you are here. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story with me. Yes this kind of thing IS worthy of anger.
I hope you will share often.
hugs, Darlene

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