Judgementalism: A Cloud of Disapproval and Condemnation by Pam Witzemann


healing from child abuseI am excited to welcome my friend and fellow truth seeker, Pam Witzemann back to Emerging from Broken.  Pam busts through the fog with this two part article about living under constant judgment and disapproval. Pam is a regular participant in almost all the discussions here in EFB and has her own blog; “Boomer Back-beat ~ Talking bout our generation”. Please help me welcome Pam by leaving your comments or by clicking the ‘like button’. As always I am looking forward to the conversation! ~ Darlene Ouimet

Judgementalism: A Cloud of Disapproval and Condemnation by Pam Witzemann

I could never please my mother, who was very judgmental of me. I grew up within a cloud of disapproval and condemnation that robbed me of self-confidence, healthy self-esteem, and the ability to self-validate.

“You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” That expression summed up my daily life in childhood. No matter what I did, I couldn’t please my mother. If I did something right, any praise I received was coupled with a reminder of how I’d messed up in the past. There were also, constant questions as to whether I would repeat any past wrong doing in the future. My mom viewed everything I did or didn’t do as a personal attack. She didn’t like me and I was pretty sure that she thought I was out to get her. I was my mother’s evil daughter destined to live a life that a mother could only, disapprove of. That was the life my mother chose for me and as a child, I was unable to see an alternative. I believed that I was a bad child, the black sheep, and I fulfilled what my mother expected from me.

If you have the name, you might as well play the game.” This was the logic that guided me during my teenage years. When I was 13, my math teacher told me that I worked awfully hard at being bad. He was right because inside, I wasn’t a bad child but no matter what I did, my mother saw me as her evil daughter. Everything she accused me of, I eventually, tried on for size. She accused me of using drugs, so I did. She never accepted what I told her as the truth so, I learned to lie. The only good thing she ever told me about myself was that I was pretty. My self-value was centered around my looks and the attention I received from boys was my only source of self-esteem. What I really wanted was my mother’s approval but I never earned that approval. My mother’s judgment of me was harsh and the cloud of disapproval she hung over my head, so dense that I don’t think she ever saw me for who I really am. When I’m around her, I forget who I am too. I tense up and protective walls are raised because the only way to protect myself from the condemnation that is sure to come, is to never let her get close enough to  see what I really think or feel. I don’t trust my mother and she doesn’t trust me. I speak of our relationship in the past tense, not because she is dead, but because our relationship died from a basic lack of trust. The truth is my mother never knew me and because she refuses to respect me and accept the truth about my life and our relationship, she probably, never will.

“Well, kick yourself in the butt and get over it! You’ve made your bed now, lay in it!” Judgmental people are miserable comforters. They love to be present during a crisis and offer their help in the form of pronouncing judgments on everything the injured party has done to bring misfortune upon themselves. In the cloud of disapproval that judgmental people cast around their target, perpetrators become reasonable and victims are to blame. Whenever someone hurt me, my mother would take their side and explain what I did wrong that caused them treat me poorly. My mother never had my back and I knew from an early age that it was me against the world. People get what they deserve“. When people hurt me, I knew that somehow, it was my fault and there was no one to go to for sympathy, in my house. For a long time, I believed what my mother believed about me and I was unable to make a simple decision without questioning my motives and ability. Just as my mother never trusted me, I learned not to trust myself. When someone hurt me, I immediately, turned my thoughts inward, and searched for what I did to invite mistreatment. The cloud of disapproval I grew up under caused me to think others always knew better than I did, as to what was good for me. I was incapable of making good decisions for myself. I needed a second opinion on everything. I became a follower and lived my life in hopes of pleasing others and gaining approval. I would do whatever someone asked if they showed me the slightest approval.

Girls get raped because they dress too sexy, or behave in a way that asks for it“. When I was raped at 14, it didn’t matter if I had said ‘no’ and didn’t want it to happen. I hadn’t fought hard enough. It was my fault. I knew it was because I was bad. The skirt I’d worn that day was too short and my girlfriend and I had been playing with makeup, when her dad and older brother came in. It was the way I was dressed that caused her dad to make remarks about how beautiful I was, as he told me to turn my face from side to side, so that he and his son could admire me. I knew it was my fault because of the humiliation I felt when he told me to stand up and turn completely around. It was confusing when my girlfriend’s dad wouldn’t let my girlfriend and I stay in the same room. Instead, I was to sleep in her older brother’s room and he was supposed to sleep with his little brother. When my friend’s older brother came into his room in the middle of the night, what happened was my fault because I was afraid her dad would hear.  I was intimidated, afraid that if I fought him and made too much noise, his dad would come in. I was sure all of it was my fault. I’d been taught that good girls didn’t ever let boys do those things. I hadn’t been able to stop him. I was a bad girl and I could never tell my mother what had happened to me. I did tell my sister but I described what happened the way I understood it. I was bad and it was my fault. The inevitable happened because I was a bad girl. My mother was right. I asked for it by wearing a short skirt (when my mother told me not to) and wearing makeup. The cloud of disapproval thickened and I hated myself. I couldn’t stand myself and a few weeks later, was the first time that I ran away from home; but I couldn’t run away from me. Since I was so bad, I gave myself over to being bad and ran away from myself by using drugs. For over thirty years, I never told anyone, besides my sister about what happened to me and for over thirty years, I understood being raped as my fault.

“You can’t outrun the past. God forgives you but you still have to pay the consequences for your sins”. “Your life lies before you, like drifts of pure white snow; be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.”  From the time I was raped at 14 until I was 19, I lived my life fully, under the cloud of my mother’s disapproval. I was a condemned child, a ‘bad girl’. At almost 16, a hebephile told me that I was a beautiful woman and he loved me. I didn’t know he was a hebephile or that it was wrong for grown men to like teenagers. I didn’t even know what a pedophile was or know the word. I thought there was nothing wrong with a man more than ten years older than me asking me to move in with him. After all, my mom was only 18 and my dad 28 when they were married. My mother told me that it was better to go with older men because girls mature faster than boys. I saw his invitation as a way to get out from under my mother’s disapproval, which was becoming heavier every day. Of course, I already saw myself as being bad so it didn’t matter if this man wanted to marry me or not. I didn’t expect him to marry me. As a bad girl, I had to settle for what I got. It made me sick to have sex with him but he had lots of drugs and there wasn’t much I couldn’t do if I were stoned enough. My parents did nothing to save me and I’m sure they thought I was “getting what I asked for”. They waited for me to get enough and come crawling home. I never once questioned them for doing so. For over three years, my life spiraled downward, as I fulfilled what my mother prophesied for me. I never thought of myself as having been sexually abused. I accepted it all as my fault, as what I deserved because I was bad.

To be continued…. (you can read part 2 here: “How Judgmental People define Other People”

Pam Witzemann

Please share your thoughts with Pam and I about living with judgment, condemnation and disapproval and the effects of that. Remember that you are free to use any name you wish in the comment form. Only the name you use will be seen by the public. Although EFB has a facebook page, your comments here will not be published there or linked to you in anyway. ~ Darlene

Pam Witzemann was born in Santa Fe, NM and is married, has raised two boys and has two grandsons. Pam and her husband have had their own business for over twenty years. Pam is a painter and a writer and hopes to make these pursuits more than a hobby in her later years. Pam authors the blog Boomer Back-Beat; a place where baby boomers find inspiration in the process of aging.

Related Posts ~ Pam writes about “the mind of a child predator” at boomer back-beat ( Pam’s blog is no longer available)

Categories : Family



Hi Pam,
Thank you for sharing your story. I can not believe what you went through at age 14, and that you basically had to suffer in silence! But I know the feeling of being “on your own” emotionally, and knowing you woud get no support. It sounds like your mother resented your healthy individualism, and took it as a personal affront, that she could not program you to be the mini-me she wanted. I was demonized for that as well. And it’s very simple when we realize our mothers don’t like us. All that puzzlement of the earlier years, not understanding why you were singled out for poor treatment, blamed for everything that went wrong, spoken sharply to, while the golden child received praise and encouragement, is suddenly understandable.
I can remember being in first grade, and getting “100’s” on some of my first papers,and asking my mother if that meant I was smart. She looked horrified, and said, You must never say that! People will think you are bragging!
My mother always used to say to me, in my teen years “Everyone who meets you, tells me, You have such a nice daughter. If only they could see the real you, like I do.” Just in case I got too big for my britches, as she would say.
I also behaved badly, in my teen years, skipping lots of school. But this was from literally not being able to sit still, and other troubling symptoms related to a brain cyst/injury. It was hell, to have to sit still. Thank God for finding the right medication when I developed a seizure disorder later on. The doctor wanted me to have a cat scan in my teens, but my mother refused, as I was just “looking for attention”.
My mother was always there to tell me, No, you cant. Example: Mom, I made the finals to be a dancer in the school play! Mom: Thats only the finals, that doesnt mean they will pick you. Mom, do I look okay? (before going out) Mom: Why wouldn’t you? (head back in the newspaper) Mom, I think my ideal guy would have dark hair and blue eyes Mom: Too bad they don’t like you!!(had recently ended a friendship with a boy fitting that description)
I was also called a slut and a whore, though I was a virgin. I waited until my 18th birthday, to have relations, because I believed my mother would go to hell with me, since she was responsible for me as a minor. (I think a nun from the school told us that) As soon as I was on my own, though……You know, I figured I was bad anyways, might as well see what all the fuss was about……..
I could go on and on here. I think the healthiest thing I ever did was to remove myself from that circle of weak women who demonized me, second guessed me, judged me and competed with my, namely, my two lovely sisters and dear old mother. I am low contact with her, as I wish to have a relationship with my father. She is privy to no personal details of my life. I wonder what they all talk about now?



Janie, When I was a teenager, I was reacting without understanding why I did much of anything and I had no one to help me figure things out. If I tried to discuss things, my mom always took it as arguing. My mom was a little girl and she still is. I needed a mom. I can forgive her for her own short-coming. Ignorance hurts but willful ignorance is evil. She chose willful ignorance when I, as an adult, tried to talk to her about the things that happened to me as a teenager. She insists on blaming me even though the man who talked me into leaving home was married, divorced, with a child and worked in the porn industry. She told me that I need to forgive him. That’s the last time that I reached for my mom and found nothing there.

I relate to your being labeled as a slut and a whore. I was constantly under suspicion of having sex. I was very nieve and sexualized too soon, at the same time. I wish things were better for kids today but few people seem to have healthy boundaries around sex. I wish I would have been 18 and I also, wish that it would have been a special event with a man I loved and was committed to. Being raped without understanding it as rape really did a number on my head. I see so many young people with the same confused ideas of what sex is and what it should be. I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if I’d grown up respecting my body and my sexuality and had the power to make sure the man I chose to share my body with, respected me, also. My husband is a good man who does love and respect me but I had to work through a lot of misconceptions. I know I’m not alone. For many years, I believed I was. Ending the silence has changed everything about how I view myself and others.



Oh can I ever relate to your story, Pam! Makes me cry….I so hate the knowledge that others have been abused too. I’d rather hear that other people had good childhoods. Mine is a bit different as I was adopted by a couple shortly after my birth. That’s my biggest regret in my life…having been chosen by a couple who despised me from my earliest memories.

I was always treated like I didn’t belong…nothing I did could please either of my parents. All I ever heard was that I was the most disgusting, selfish, mean, hateful, stupid, fat, ugly creature they had ever laid eyes on let alone had to live with every day. I spent most of my time alone…I had no siblings. Lucky for me, we did have pets. I spent as much time with them as I possibly could, it was the only love that I received.

I never could figure out what was wrong with me…no one liked me. Not only did I put up with the verbal & physical assaults at home, but they occurred in our neighborhoods (we moved a lot & neither parent was in the military), & the schools I attended. I was also molested by a friend of my parents. There were all kinds of rumors about that man going around town that he was a pedophile, & yet, my parents gladly allowed him to spend time with me alone…the kicker was he even asked dad’s permission one time, & dad granted it. I knew then I had no one I could rely on to protect me, other than myself. I was all of 10 years old. At 12, I put an end to that relationship. He was also married, & she was a very pretty woman…I could never understand why he was interested in an ugly stupid girl. It wasn’t like I had anything going for me.

When I was 46 years old, I found out after a medical procedure that I had only half a uterus, & one ovary. My doctor was puzzled because I had never mentioned any prior surgeries. I was aware that at the age of 11 months, I had had surgery to correct a herniated ovary…well apparently there was more to it then I knew. I was deliberately lied to by my mother. She never bothered to tell me the truth, & put me at great risk when I was pregnant, since my uterus could have ruptured. In spite of not knowing, I was fine…I had 2 healthy babies who are now adults. But the web of deceit & lies has never ended. Mom has since passed away, but dad is still spreading lies about me. All I can think is that since I was sexually active at such a young age, they both thought of me as the biggest loser in the world. It’s the only thing that makes sense…but who had sex with me I have no clue.


Pam, I did not mean that you were a bad person for acting out! I can understand doing things, not knowing why, and having been labeled as bad,or a black sheep, anyways.
I can also relate to reaching out for someone who was not there. My mother was also child like, and still acts that way, at 83 years of age. Throwing childish, tearful tantrums, to manipulate everyone.
When I was 5 or 6, I use to have this dream about my mother. She was sitting, with her head down, on her lap. I would lift her head up by the hair, and her eyes would roll from side to side,like a doll. I would shake her head, trying to get her to “wake up”. But then I would realize it was useless, she was empty, just like my dolls were………..
I can not imagine going through sexual abuse like that, over and over, and your parents being aware of that. They should have stepped in, and had that man put in jail! I am sorry that you went through that,and thankful you came out of it, able to survive, and now thrive…….Thank you again for the article! And thank you for sharing about your childhood.


I can relate to having a mother who doesn’t know who you are, but projects someone else onto you. My mother treated me like I was bad and unlovable too, but even from an early age I knew deep down that I was actually a very good, deserving child. What was conflicting inside of me was what that meant about my mom- it meant that she was evil. So i grew up sort of on a see-saw; sometimes I felt I was evil, other times I felt I was very good and my mother was evil. Before I reached puberty, my mom would make comments about my sexuality, as though she were excited about it- as she had never been excited about me before, I was automatically suspicious and knew something was odd about her. Something was always odd about her. When I was 14 and having my first steady boyfriend, she took me shopping and bought me lingere. I later found out that she tried to seduce him in her bedroom. Apparently, she had been trying to live through me- through my sexuality, and she fantasized about my boyfriend. She kept pictures of him- and had them blown up. Suffice it to say, all the while, I thought she had been encouraging me to have sex with him… It is now my firm belief that all women should use mandatory contraception until deemed psychologically fit to raise a child.


Pam, I think what you lived through was so horrific that I don’t feel I am able to respond appropriately. I knew some of your story that you have shared before, yet not details like this! I don’t think you lived under a cloud of judgement in the sense that those words imply ….I think what you lived under is far worse than that. The levels of abuses of all kinds that went on were from the pit of hell. As I read this…and it was extremely difficult to do so…I had the thought of my life growing up….it was a total nightmare, but your life was a slice of hell on earth. I also had the thought that I feel grateful that the woman who raised me was not my biological mother, only an adopted mother who I always knew I didn’t belong to. I truly cannot imagine or comprehend a bio mother doing what she did to you. I really appreciate how much courage you have had to share! It is absolutely inspiring and amazing that you have been able to fight so hard to be healed, and to see how far you have come! I am so glad that you ended the silence! I am so glad that you have a great husband too!


Marla, To say that you put an end to a sexual relationship with an adult male when you were twelve, is amazing and gives me a glimpse of your inner strength. It also, gives me a glimpse of a little girl who carried way too much adult responsibility and that is something I highly, relate to. In fact, that’s the thing my parents and the hebephile, or really hebephiles in my life(as he was the first of my abusers but not the last), had in common with my parents. They equate a child’s responsibility as equal to a child’s. If you read the article at my site that Darlene linked to, which is a confrontation I had with a hebephile in response to another article I wrote, you’ll see how this trait, or false belief, enables child predators to do what they do. In fact, I think it enables all child abusers to do what they do. I’m glad that you were able to stop this man from hurting you, (though I can’t help wonder if you simply became too old for him)but that was something your parents should have done for you because they were the adults in your life charge with protecting you. It was also, the repsonsibility of the adult male who hurt you to restrain himself and not have sex with children. That was such a heavy load to place on the shoulders of a twelve year old child…

A parents words are powerful. They teach us who we are. When they are used to teach us lies about ourselves the only thing to do is root out the lies and teach ourselves the truth. That’s what happens here at EFB.



Janie, I know you didn’t mean I was bad and I know now that I wasn’t bad. However, I believed for years that I was because that is what my parents and other abusers taught me about myself, as a child. It was a hard climb up from the bottom of that hole but I now see myself as God sees me. Thank you for your support. You don’t know how much it means to me.



Julie, I have at times seen my mom as evil too but I know now that she isn’t. She’s damaged and lost within the coping mechanisms she learned in order to deal with the damage. Just like me. The difference is that I wanted something better. I wanted to learn a better way to live. My mom wants her coping mechanisms and she wants the people in her life to play along. When I became healthy, I could no longer enable her denial or other methods of coping and she doesn’t want to become healthy. That was the final break between us. I pray for her and want the best for her but I can’t fix our mangled relationship alone and I can’t heal her. I think boundaries are the best way to encourage a person to want to become healthy. Of course, if they do serious damage to others because of their sick methods of coping, they should be put in jail. Hebaphiles should be put in jail but they are often tolerated because teenagers are in the process of becoming sexual beings. My parents broke the law by neglecting me to the point of allowing me to be sexually abused and doing nothing to stop it. Those were the hard boundaries that I laid down with my family. They had to acknowlege my sexual abuse and the fact that my parents broke the law when they chose to do nothing to stop it. They chose to continue in denial.



Dianne, You brought tears to my eyes. Reading your words after so many years of being made to feel that my sins were too horrible for me to even speak about, is a wonderful gift. I’m 56 today and you’ve made my birthday. Thank you.



(I am going to respond to the actual article you wrote later)

~ I didn’t know it was your birthday today when I asked to publish your guest post! I think that is so cool that we can celebrate it ‘here’ now though! You are a special friend and a fantastic voice here in emerging from broken! I appreciate your comments, guest posts and contributions here so much. Thank you for being part of my life and part of my passion for the healing message of hope!

Have a wonderful day Pam.
Hugs and Love, Darlene


Hi Pam
This is such an insightful post full of great points! When you talk about when someone hurt you that your mother explained to you why YOU were responsible for whatever happened. That happened to me too, and I remember coming out of that ‘fog’ in my own parenting style. I had this ‘urge’ to do the same with my kids, always wanting to explain what they might have done to bring on the problem, especially if the problem was an adult like a mean teacher at school. I resisted that urge for the most part but it wasn’t until my kids were a bit older that I would go in to the school and stand up to the teacher.
It has been so important for me to see the messages that I got from being told that I had done something to bring on myself whatever happened to me. You describe the grid of ‘turning your thoughts inward to search for ‘what you did wrong’ so well. And then when you ‘GOT’ approval, you soaked it up like a sponge and of course then it was easy for those people to get you to do whatever they wanted!
Thank you for guest posting Pam! You make so many good points throughout this article!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, Thanks for the birthday wishes. I’m still recovering from turning 50! I can’t believe I’m 56!lol! Time used to fly. Now it just runs me over!:0)

It means a lot to me to be able to write about my life and help others figure out the pain in their life. Like you, many lies were revealed through parenting my children. Many things, I wish I would have seen sooner but my kids know they’re loved and even though they are grown, we’re still working through things together. There’s a lot of suffering in the world and I think life in this world is also, a process of healing. Love and truth make that healing posible. They are what trust is made of and trust is what makes it possible to heal relationships.

I consider you a freind and a dear little sister who has given of herself and her life to help others and helped me in the process. Thanks for all you do, Darlene!:0)



Pam, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!! Wow….I think it is extra meaningful that your story…your voice…is being heard on this very special day. 🙂 I hope you have the best birthday you have ever experienced…one of peace and comfort and joy and love …and cake!

I am so happy for you that things are being healed with you and your children. I know that we have one short timeframe while our children are small, but I also believe that adult children are still very very receptive to trying to heal and connect with their parents. It is amazing what can happen to rebuild the trust and love. It really is a rare parent that is able to recognize issues that they created for their children and to fight to get healthy and whole and healed like you have! It is so rare in this world to find parents that are willing to be open to talking and taking the time to go at their child’s pace for healing the relationship. I hope you will be able to see that today on your birthday!!! You are a rare jewel! I also think you are a wonderful mother to be working so hard on healing. EFB is so filled with our stories of mothers who didnt care enough to try anymore. Bless you Pam…and have a very happy day!!!! 🙂


Diane, Thank you. My kids and my four-year-old grandson have blessed me already this morning. My husband and the family we created together is worth fighting for. Victims who fight to heal become more whole. Those who choose denial often, become abusers themselves. That is a difference I see. I think in many ways, it is much harder for a golden child to break through the pretense because it has been drilled into them that they must be perfect. At least, I was never deluded into thinking I was perfect!lol! I don’t mean to make light of the pain but humor does help me accept some hard truths.

My best friend since the age of 14 is taking me out to lunch for my birthday so, I will be out for a little while. We have been through so many things together! We’ve been friends since before they invented dirt!lol! I am a blessed woman!:0)

I so appreciate your encouragement.



When I first read this it made me think to read it again and replace the word mom with the word dad.


Rebecca, My dad had a role in it too. I’ve heard the same kind of judgements come out of many mouths in my life time. The problem with those ‘wise’ sayings is that they are true on a certain level but too commonly misapplied and they cause a lot of damage.



Marla, Please excuse the typo on my original comment to you. It has been corrected and I’m adding this to make sure you know I was writing to you.:0)



Great & Insightful Post! After reading this, I’ve made the connection that I was judged for being different, in their distorted lens. Actually, I have always been my own person, who resisted being like my FOO. They are judgmental & mean. I internalized a lot of their false beliefs/lies and that has damaged me. I don’t believe the lies anymore. I’m seeing them for what they are damaged & unhealthy people. I was made to feel like the “weak” one, because of my empathy & kind heart. That saddens me to think about, yet I’m making peace with the pain & admire these qualities. I don’t need their approval or acceptance anymore!…What is important is what I believe in me & my truth. My children are benefiting from the love & trust I have in them too. I encourage my kids to be who they are by acknowledging their strengths & qualities. Acceptance as opposed to approval & compliance. My mom used to say, I was insecure & a worry wart like I was the problem. Yes, I was insecure & anxious for a reason. FOO didn’t look at her part in that. They have said, they were “overprotective” (same as controlling to me) & “Spoiled” me & my siblings. Lots of mixed messages of the years. I was given things, however not in access to other children, actually less- not extras like cable tv or my own room for example.

As a young child, I was cuddled to death by my mom, then about 7 years old I was pushed to speak up & told I was a baby for crying too much. I was just expressing my feelings, which was not tolerated by my dad. He rarely showed his warm feelings. Stoic & judgemental. Anyway, I’m sure you got the picture. Now that I’m in my forties, I’ve set stronger boundaries. They are not healthy for me. So, I have minimal contact. I have not visited them since the summer, so that I can remain seperate, work on myself and be present in my life with my children. Anyway, I can go on & on, yet I’m sure you get the picture. Thanks for sharing all that you do!…It’s been helpful to me.
Happy Birthday & Enjoy your day!!!!


Sonia, I relate to everything you’ve shared. I love your focus on acceptance. I think the focus on me was always performance and whether my performance made my parents look good. It’s important to allow a child to be their own person and not exist as an extension of the parent. I don’t think my parents ever saw me for who I am. My grandparents were very good to me and though what they taught me about myself didn’t have the same power as what my parents taught me,the image of myself that I gained from my grandparents literally, kept me alive until I was able to begin to see myself as I really am. I am also, sensitive and empathetic. Traits that were exploited and demeaned at the same time by my FOO. I was the outcast and for a time, was sure that I must have been adopted because I was so ‘different’. The truth was my parents taught me that I was ‘different’ and they taught my siblings that too. I am very different now because I’m no longer subject to the dysfunction they still want to accept.

I’m glad this is helpful to you. All the sweet comments are helpful to me! Thank you also, for the birthday wish!:0)



Spelling error….I meant “coddled” in the above post….Cuddled is sort of the same lol


SMD, Yeah, sort! I was spoiled rotten, in some ways, but I don’t remember my mom holding me. That doesn’t mean she didn’t. I may not remember but there was little genuine affection when I was old enough to remember. The emotional exchange between me and my parents was always one of me giving and receiving little. They fed on my emotions. It’s hard to describe.



Abusers put a kink in our think…not easy to untangled. Thanks for sharing your story.


Judy, They sure do! Thank you for taking the time to encourage me.:0)



Pam, I was very curious about your father? I was wondering what he did or did not do while your mother was so incredibly cruel and abusive to you? I read what you and SMD wrote about being coddled and spoiled rotten to an extent and I thought how confusing that would be if the parents were one way for awhile and then suddenly switch the “rules” on you later on. I wasnt sure if you were referring to your Grandparents or your parents spoiling/pampering in some ways? I had the most wonderful Grandparents….both sets, and then my “moms” parents were very kind to me, but I wouldnt say they were loving. (I wasnt their bio grandchild) The other 4 Grandparents thankfully lived well into their 90’s and I had most of my life with wonderful memories…and I totally related with you about being able to stay alive because of their influence, although it didnt hold the same “power” as your parents. Well said! I miss them so much even now, and it has been about 5-6 years since the last one passed. I am so glad that you had your Grandparents Pam! 🙂 Happy Birthday again!!!! 🙂


Diane, My dad was worse in so many ways. He blamed me for his drinking when I was six. He had horrible temper tantrums. When I was little, he stayed away on drinking binges and I saw my mom cry. He’d come home high and with presents. I thought he was wonderful. Then he’d crash, be suicidal. Once he was shooting at a red star in the sky because he said God was staring at him. Later that night, he and my mom struggled over the gun. Then my mom started drinking with him to keep him home. There were crazy fights and dramas all of the time. They were out of control children and my siblings and I were pretty much on our own.

I was premature and very small. As a toddler, I didn’t want to eat anything but candy so, I was allowed to eat only candy. My parents presented it as their being so worried about my not eating that they just gave in. I lost every tooth in my head by third grade, after they were filled in the first grade. I was sick a lot and my dad didn’t believe in ‘running to the doctor’ all of the time. Because I was premature, I didn’t know how to use my arms properly. I used my feet for everything. I didn’t walk until I was three because I couldn’t catch myself when I fell so I scooted. When I was four I had scarlet fever and my parents didn’t take me to the doctor until I broke the fever myself. They kept me in a dark room and gave me hot todies(that was the ‘medication’ I was given most often, along with sips of alcohol when I wanted it) because they thought I had measles. My grandmother came over and demanded they take me to the emergency room. I was sick for a year and kept in bed most of the time. At four, I had to learn to walk all over again. I wasn’t strong enough to start school until I was seven. In a way, it was like I was coddled because every time I got sick, I was kept in bed but I think it was more about my mom finding a way to get attention from a child who was really very disappointing to her. I only weighed 22 lbs. when I started school at seven. I was kept in bed so much that I can identify with children who are kept in closets. I was fed and given what I needed to survive but I was separate and alone a great deal of the time. I don’t know if I explained that very well but spoiling is a form of abuse.

I miss my grandparents too! I don’t know what went wrong with them and my dad. I know people can change as they grow older but they were great to me. My dad was an only child, an only nephew, and he had a withered arm. I think he was spoiled (not just by parents but the extended family)and I think kids were very cruel to him. I don’t hate him either but there’s no way I can help him and I do hate the things they both did to me…my parents just never really grew up and I desperately needed adult parents to care for me and protect me…it also, came to a point where I had to put myself, my husband, and my children first. I had to choose health for them, as well as me. I wish they would have too, they’ve had lots of chances but they prefer pretense and denial.

I did have a wonderful birthday! Thank you.



Hi Pam, thanks for the kind words. I really did put a stop to the molestation. He was brazen, & even managed to touch me when I was just feet away from my parents. He taught me about French kissing, & more starting at the age of 9. I just wonder if he would have had the same interest in me if he’d known I wasn’t really a virgin.

Anyways, I just got tired of his advances…he wore a lot of cologne, & it made me feel sick whenever I would smell it. He asked me to accompany him into the bedroom he shared with his wife (parents were just 2 rooms away). I said no, & meant it. He never touched me again. But then he went to jail for murder. I’ve had to live with the guilt of the death of a young man I never knew. Had I not said no, he might have never been killed by my perpetrator.


Marla, Oh, honey! That’s not your fault! There’s no way you could have stopped that. It could have been you! It’s no one’s fault but the man who abused children and then murdered someone. All of that belongs on his door step.

I’m not sure about some things that happened to me before I was able to understand fully. I think I may have been raped as a small child too because of a vaginal tear that was explained to me as being from a fall. My siblings also, had behviors as small children that could be due to sexual abuse. Some things we may never know but one thing I know for sure, we weren’t responsible for them happening to us. Children don’t carry the same weight of responsibility as adults, EVER. Children are innocents and deserving of protection. You deserved to be protected and I’m know you were a wonderful, loveable, little girl because all little girls and little boys are. You failed no one. They all failed you.



Here’s what a good friend of mine just wrote to me and posted on my FB account. She hit all the nails on the head!

“perps need to know that the survivors of the world will “out” them. One day there will be no more secret place where they can hide, and no more safe haven of complicity and silence, because the stigma will no longer be with the abused, but with the abusers, where it should always have been.”


Darlene, I know we are supposed to let all this “roll off our backs” and get to a place where we aren’t affected by other people’s (negative) opinions, but I am just knocked for a loop by the email I just received stating I should have “made my amends to my mother before she died” and “no wonder she did not want to see me on her deathbed.”

What? And there of course was more… everyone now has been “victimized by ME.” And “What kind of person am I do to this… blah blah blah… just when I thought I was attempting some kind of resolution with people. This was my young niece, 40 years old, and I swear I never expected these cruel words to come pouring out of her mouth. She sure put me in my place! I guess she’s now “protecting everyone from me.” And I’ve been gone all these years. Why do they hate me so? What am I supposed to do? I feel like the Klu Klux Klan is after me just because I “told.” Or it’s a Mafia hit out on me and they’ve just been trying to draw me back in to blast me as soon as they’ve got me in their sights.

I’m in shock and I am hanging on but I’m just stunned and don’t know what to do. Pray? What else can I do? Stay away for sure. But I have to make some kind of sense of this inside, emotionally and mentally. Thank God I’m not nursing bruises and a beating to go along with the mental torture that I would have received as a child. Bruises and beatings and being told I “brought it on myself.”

Any contact with these people is so toxic and so crazy EVERY SINGLE THING GETS TWISTED BEYOND BELIEF, DISTORTED INTO JUST THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. But via the gossip train they all “know” what “I did.”

I don’t want to fall into PTSD. So I am trying to practice breathing and yoga and praying to God to help me. The closer I get to the “truth” of what everyone in this scenario is like, the uglier it becomes. So I have to find a way to say “adios” and mean it. I don’t think it will be very difficult this time.


Catherine, I agree with you completely, and I know we victims have more power than anyone to improve things. It’s important for us to speak out when we are healed enough to be able to speak. It helps us to heal, helps other victims to heal, and reveals predators and abusers for what they are. Hopefully, it will mean a better world for children. One in which they are respected.

I know your second post is for Darlene but I know what you are going through. I really didn’t understand the full lack of regard and level of contempt my family had for me. I also, didn’t know the depth of their illness or the strength of denial they live by that keeps them from the truth. The truth could make them free and whole as it has me but they refuse to embrace it. I know it all hurts like hell. I had to accept it, mourn it, and move on. I’ve decided that I will always have a sense of loss when it come to my family of origin but that loss is becoming less intense as I become stronger out from under their influence and control. I talk about this a little more in the second half of my post. Hang in there. It does get better. I know there were times when I regreted bringing it all out in the open. It was like I started a ball rolling and there was nothing I could do to stop it. However, I kept my eye on the ball and saw it through. I’m glad I did. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life but the best thing I ever did too. Not just for me but for my husband and the family we created together.



Thank you Pam. It’s 7:30 in the morning and I have been up ALL NIGHT LONG re-reading the email from my niece telling me it was “my fault” my mother didn’t want to see me on her deathbed, as I apparently “didn’t make amends” before she died.

Make amends for what? For telling her (again) that my father beat and sexually abused me for years, when my other niece was going to stay with them for a year when that girl turned 16? What was I supposed to do, keep quiet and be responsible for her potentially being abused? I would have thought at least my own sister, her mother, would have wanted to protect her own daughter. But just like our own mother, my sister and my mother and all the rest were furious at ME.

You wrote: ” It was like I started a ball rolling and there was nothing I could do to stop it. However, I kept my eye on the ball and saw it through. I’m glad I did. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life but the best thing I ever did too. Not just for me but for my husband and the family we created together.”

THANK YOU SO MUCH. I am reliving so much right now, reading the pack of twisted and distorted lies my niece just threw at me in the guise of “helping me” while holding me responsible for EVERY SINGLE THING THAT WENT ON IN THAT HOUSE, including my “abandoning my younger sister (her mother) when I left home at age 16. If my parents are so perfect (her grandparents) then why would I have had to leave?

I found a wonderful article about the SHAME the dysfunctional family holds and that is why it is imperative to have a scape goat and I fit the bill perfectly. I was the one who they couldn’t silence. It was that simple! And the law did not protect me back then in the early 1950’s and ’60’s. Now that man would be in jail where he belonged. But then, no. They tried to have me jailed.

And my niece has the nerve to tell me, in so many words, I “got what I deserved for not making amends with them.” It’s just unbelievable.

But it fits with the “shame” theory. The more facts and figures and evidence I am able to provide, the more they can’t hide. And the more they are forced to vilify me. Of course. They would burn me at the stake if they could, but they can’t. Thank God for small favors.

But I am in absolute shock at this turn-around by my niece. In a million years I never expected this kind of email. It’s the opposite of what I’ve been hearing from her, until today. Perhaps she is “infected” as much as the rest of them. It surely seems that way.

But if it’s SHAME that is making them treat me this way, then I am FREE TO LEAVE. It truly is THEIR PROBLEM, NOT MINE. I spent years and years getting over my own shame, and that was due to the multitude of survivors coming forward and my standing up and speaking out. They haven’t even begun to face this process, and I’m at the tail end. I hope!

So perhaps I will graduate this class after all. And I never once had to “forgive.” All I had to do was UNDERSTAND. And if my truth cannot be denied, then they are going to hate me even more, and now it is all beginning to make sense. I can’t do anything about their feelings, but I can understand and express my own. I can UNDERSTAND THIS PROCESS and be PROUD OF MYSELF. I have nothing to be ashamed of! NOTHING AT ALL, AND I AM NOT TO BLAME!


I might just make it after all. Thank you so much Pam. Everyone’s words has given me so much insight from everyone’s experience, all at different levels of comprehension and healing. I’ve gained so much strength so soon… I feel like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, spreading wet wings that will quickly dry in the sun. Almost ready to burst forth from the cocoon and fly free!


Pam wrote: “I also, didn’t know the depth of their illness or the strength of denial they live by that keeps them from the truth. The truth could make them free and whole as it has me but they refuse to embrace it.”

That’s it, in a nutshell. Well, now I know. My niece surely let me know, in no uncertain terms!

And as they say, “the truth hurts” but it’s like lancing a boil. Now it’s time for the poison and the toxins to be released and the healing to begin. And I will be free. It’s their shame, not mine. God has protected me this far and I ask God to please continue to show me The Way. Bring us all to safe harbor and save our souls.



Pam, I am horrified by BOTH of your parents after reading what you wrote about your father. I felt sick after reading all of this and my heart goes out to you for what you had to suffer. I dont think there are words adequate enough to tell you how I feel about your voice being able to be heard after all that you endured. It truly is amazing how you were even able to find any strength at all to fight for your healing and the truth about yourself. You are amazing! Knowing that you are NOT stuck in the horrific ways your parents defined you and treated you is a comfort, and I think it gives great hope to those who also have been so terribly mistreated and neglected. Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂 I am also happy that you had a great birthday too!


Cathrine, I’m glad it is all coming together for you. When I realized that I’d been sexually abused as a teenager and it wasn’t because I was some kind strange pervert myself (I spent years trying to understand my behavior back then and I couldn’t figure it out)I was awake for three days and all the abuse of those years came back to me in the correct order of events (it was jumbled for a long time, some of it has gone back to being jumbled). It was like the world suddenly, flipped right side up.

I do forgive my family and that came at the end of the reckoning process. However, they have never confessed, repented, or done anything to apply my forgiveness, so our relationship remains broken. There is no trust between us. There hasn’t been for as long as I can remember. I tried to go along and fake it but it just made things worse. I came to realize that they don’t want forgiveness, they want me to let it slide. They don’t care how I was damaged and they above everything else, can’t allow themselves to accept any blame in how I was damaged. I was the scape-goat too. It’s interesting that back when the Jews used scape-goats, they were set free out into the wilderness after the sins of the people were placed on it. That’s the part I gave myself. I’m free now in the wilderness. Free to live my own life.This time I’m old enough to be able to take care of myself. I realize that when I was a child, it was reasonable for me to feel the need to run away. The problem was that I had no way to survive and that along with being taught that I was bad and abuse was love, made me a prime target for abusers much worse than my parents. I know now they threw me away because they were embarrassed. They laid full responsibility on me and society helped them do it. Even with the law on my side, many people don’t understand how a teenager can be innocent when sexually abused and exploited. I wasn’t a human being to the man who repeatedly raped me and passed me to others. I was an object to be used for his sexual gratification. Hebephiles often say they love children and ‘love’ was the cover used by the heb, my parents, and my siblings who were taught the same lie, to make me complicit in my abuse and also, carry all the shame. By the time I was seventeen, I was too mature and too worldly wise for these creeps anymore and they threw me away too. People who use children as sex toys, don’t love children. People who use children for any kind of personal gratification, don’t love children. Not even when they are their own flesh and blood.

I think I may have gone off on a rant but it is really important to make people understand that sexual abuse isn’t all about age. It isn’t about whether or not a child’s body is ready for sex or not, it is about objectification and dehumanization and the technique used by an abuser to aquire compliance doesn’t make it more or less rape.

It’s a wonderful thing to be free of the shame and guilt of others. I know it hurts right now but I’m thrilled for you too.:0)



Diane, The will to survive came when I found faith in, Jesus. I needed that spiritual hope because I was at the bottom of a well with no hope. I became as self-abusive as my abusers were to me. I also, became a sexual addict because my self-esteem was all wrapped up in the way I survived on the streets. I was a sex-toy so, I made sure I was a darned good one. I also, hated men and exploited them every chance I got. I became a heroin addict and a meth addict. My health was totally, destroyed. I was hard, bitter, mean, and totally, despised myself. I even tried to murder myself, died clinical death, and was resusitated. I wanted so badly, to die that I cried when they brought me back and I was alive. I didn’t know how to reach for anything but death. When I let, Jesus into my life, it made all the difference because I became spiritually alive, when everything else inside of me was dead. I had a spark of life to grab hold of and help me see the world and myself differently. It wasn’t magic but it was a miracle.

I needed psychology too though. I needed to understand how certain abusive behaviors are labeled and the damage they cause to their victims. I needed to understand my damage and understand the dicotomy of my family. I also, desperately, needed validation from my family but they refused to give it to me. I found that validation here that helped me place all the blame and guilt on the proper door-steps and take the personal responsibiity to act on my new knowlege and fight for myself and my dignity. Now, I’m able to validate myself. In six years I’ve gone from barely being able to whisper to my husband about the sexual abuse to writing about it to help others. I have gained a much deeper level of healing than that of just stopping certain immoral and harmful behaviors. The damage has been uprooted,cleared away, and even though I’m not who I would have been if none of this ever happened to me, I am whole. I am free. I love being the woman I am. I kept so much evil locked inside of me, while trying to live a better life, and it haunted me. Letting it out has been an exorcism and I find myself in my right mind. It’s wonderful and I want every abuse victim to be able to find their path to freedom. I have great hope that what takes place here at EFB will have the power to make child abuse very rare, if not irradicate it. So many problems in the world would end if children were respected, honored, protected, and nurtured rather than abused. What I’ve learned here is how common my childhood is and it has opened my eyes to the need for those of us who have found healing to speak out. It’s amazing what happens when evil is exposed to the sunlight!



Hi Catherine
Re: your comment #30
you said “Darlene, I know we are supposed to let all this “roll off our backs” and get to a place where we aren’t affected by other people’s (negative) opinions,…”
Actually I have found that I could NOT get to the place where I wasn’t affected by others opinions until I stopped trying to ‘let it roll off my back’. I think that is what is different about my message. Of course I ‘know'(but there is something to be said for logic vs. emotion) they are wrong but when there is so much brainwashing involved and when so many people gang together to prove YOU wrong, it is much harder. So I looked at it. I looked closely at the truth and really validated that damage that was caused. I looked at the ‘laws’ that back up the truth about childrens rights. I did all these things to undo the brainwashing.
As you said, they twist the truth way beyond belief ~ but I had to validate that for myself so that I could stop my obsession with having to prove that I was right. The truth is that I AM RIGHT! (and that is a huge part of the process; I don’t intend to make it sound easier than it really is)
hope this helps a bit!
Hugs, Darlene


Pam, rant? What rant? “It was like the world suddenly, flipped right side up.”

Wow. Wowee. Zowee. This is it, in a nutshell. This is suddenly, cleanly, irrevocably the truth. “People who use children for any kind of personal gratification, don’t love children. Not even when they are their own flesh and blood.”

That’s it. And now, like that goat in the desert, I too am free. Not slaughtered as a sacrifice, but FREE. The scapegoat wins again!

“I know it hurts right now but I’m thrilled for you too.:0)”

I never in a million years thought this could be so, might be so… but yes it IS so. Thank you for being “thrilled” for me. I would never have used that word until you did. But the blinders have fallen free and I’m seeing the world for the very first time.

God be praised!

I am free at last!


Now, what happens next? Time will tell. I waited so long for this moment, and never thought it would come. I’m sure it will take time for the shock to wear off. Then we’ll see what’s ’round the bend. Amen.


Catherine, There will still be a lot to work through, or I believe that because it has been that way for me. The difference is that the lights are on, I’m not subject to a cloud of disapproval, cruel judements, and lies. I can see clearly and I have purpose in the steps I take. I’m no longer wondering aimlesslly, in the dark. I don’t have long bouts of crippling depression, anymore (except in fighting low thyroid but that’s different), I now understand where I end and others begin. I don’t carry a load of misappropriated shame. There are still some painful days but I know how to work through them now and I trust my ability to do so. The truth really does set people free and it lights up the world in a whole new way!



So upon reading these posts today, it hits me hard. What some parents do to their own children is sick. I agree that people should have to take classes and sign forms to have children. Adopting or fostering a dog is even hard now. I know because I am looking into it. I took my childrearing so seriously, my kids weren’t allowed anywhere without my checking who they were with and where they were.
. I as a child I could go wherever I wanted and I did. (Pretty unsafe places.) Mother didn’t care as long as I wasn’t bothering her. I either knew or sensed that mother didn’t want me around..No happiness or love. The first guy who expressed interest in me I basically ran off with. Attention is attention. I’m sure that that’s when the real behind the scenes bashing of me solidified. I ran away in high school after a bad fight with my parents. It felt safer living with strangers than with my parents. But yet that was me, all me being out of control, nothing to do with them. If I still feel that same simmering hatred from them 30 years later what’s the point? They will never change their view of me, but I will change mine. I’m pretty decent person. Thanks and Peace all…


Melody, I think what our culture lacks is societal shame and a high regard for children. The problem with laws is that it does nothing to change people inside and it’s sickening how many pedophiles use the foster care system to obtain children for personal abuse and also, to sell to other pedophiles. There are huge scandels in Europe about this right now because of social workers providing politicians and high government officials with children to sexually abuse. The same goes on in the U.S. There is a lot of work to be done to cure the sexual insanity and dehumanzation of children in the world today. Working to raise awareness, change attitudes, and making sure that predators never find the full social acceptance they are working hard to obtain are the only ways I can see to make things better.

Your story sounds very simular to mine and nothing asuaged that anger except laying the shame and blame on the appropriate door-steps and allowing myself to find the truth aobut me. Thanks for sharing a bit of the battle you’ve been fighting for 30 years.



I’m awake and the shock is wearing off. I am still numb but I can tell that I’ve been hit by a ton of bricks. Ploughed over by a runaway train. I am going to read through EVERYTHING again and again.

I never expected my niece to come in with rapier and sword but she wielded it very well. She must have much practice, and this time a live dummy to work on. Plunged it straight to the heart.

Thank God this website is here. Thank you all. Time to read and reflect and take no action to hurt myself or anyone else. Time to pray.


Frozen – by The Rapier & The Sword

My niece Michelle has struck again, this time an almost killing blow. I am frozen and paralyzed. Unable to move. Can type with fingers and not much else. Trying to breathe. PTSD? Another assault? So typical in my family. It’s just horrible. I feel like I’m on the verge of death but I’m still alive. I grew up with this from my mother most of my life and she’s just like her. So are my sisters. They move in so swiftly for blood and “the kill.”

I can remember being the same way years and years ago. This must be the Narcissistic Wounding I’ve read about. I feel like Katniss in The Hunger Games when they set those teenagers against each other. And I’m the prey.


Catherine, Your niece drank the kool-aid. You are seeing the illness in your family and how it has effected each member. For me it was like all my worst suspicions made themselves clear to me. I always knew it was the way it is but the deflection, scape-goating, denial, and pretense did such a good job of confusing me that I told myself that it was probably just me being too sensitive, too emotional, and kind of crazy because that’s what I was taught was happening when ever I questioned any of the abuse. My mother would tell me “You only remember the bad things.” I became the keeper of the bad things. I refuse to keep them any longer and I rely on myself to discern the reality.

In the last conversation I had with my mom, I realized where my imobilizing depressions stemmed from. She left me emotionally, cut off at the knees. It was such a familiar feeling but I never knew where it came from before. Yes, it was PTSD. I was living new trauma and old trauma at the same time. However, when I allowed myself to analyze why I felt what I was feeling, I was able to get up again. She no longer has any power over me to emotionally chop my legs off and leave me crippled. It was a very painful conversation it made my poor dog throw up. I had tried to talk to her about the sexual abuse and I wanted to know why she didn’t do anything, not even tell me what was really taking place. She behaved as if she would get dirty even just by talking about it. She said she did nothing because she didn’t have a drivers license and I needed to forgive Billy. When I said it was abuse, she chided me, “Weren’t you in love, Pam?”. My sister later told me that he was just a young man confused by the sexual revolution. My parents wouldn’t let me drive because they said I was too immature but they had no problems with me deciding suddenly, that I was in love and moving in with a grown man. He used the sexual revolution as part of his cover. I felt my mother’s true feelings for me and I realized that I could never compete with her need to never have to accept any responsibility for any of her actions and I realized that she didn’t even have any curiosity about what had been done to me. It had never been about my pain it was always all about her. No matter what I said or did, she could only comprehend her embarrasment and the pain of having a daughter who ‘ran off’ and lived with a man she wasn’t married to. In her eyes, it would always be all my fault and nothing I could do or say would change that. I never wanted to put myself in the position to feel that pain again. That’s when I laid down my simple boundary of my mother and my family accepting the fact that I’d been sexually abused and I quoted the laws in my state. I also, wanted my parents to understand that they were guilty of criminal child neglect when they knew I was being raped, and I explained that statutory rape is real rape, and did nothing to intervene. My mom and sister stated they disagreed with the law and that those laws had always been controversial. I told them that was fine and I was very glad they didn’t have the authority to write any laws because I agreed with the law and I had survived the crime. I told them that if they couldn’t accept these simple facts about the reality of my life then to please not write to me, call me, or contact me in any way. I have the right to be safe from predators and those who protect predators take part in their criminal actions. I’d done everything I could to try and reach them and to no avail. The ball crossed the goal line in that moment, the game was over, and though victory was differnt than I pictured it, I won. You can win too and you can be free from PTSD. Hang in there Catherine. This website was my safe haven and retreat of sanity too. You are much healthier than you’ve been led to believe and healing is very possible.



Thanks Pam for your response and sharing your story…
Catherine, I see that you are in a crisis time right now. It truly hurts when they lash out, I’ve found the more I set limits and tell the truth on my FOO the more anger they spew out. For whatever reason the Matriarch of the family can wield alot of power with lies. That’s what I have with my mother, everyone believes her side of things and what she says. No one bothers to hear my side or what vile things she does. The last time I backed her in a corner I got her Narcissistic Rage. She finally got me in tears then she stomped out of my home. She will never be welcomed back. Before I went NC with her just seeing her number on my caller ID terrorized me, but in some ways her lashing out gave me the power to go no contact. (The last straw so to speak.) Some people are better at playing the pity party and looking like they are completely innocent afterwards. She is now badmouthing me to all the world who will hear. But that’s nothing new since she had been doing that for years anyway. There are some cousins and aunts and uncles that I know will listen to her and end up hating me because of what she’ll say. I’m preparing myself for that. I’m really sorry you are going through this with someone you thought you were close to. Good luck to you. Peace..


From the Cradle to the Grave:

“I Got What I Deserved”

I had not seen my mother for over 25 years before she died. We had finally talked on the phone and emailed a few times before she got cancer and died. I thought things were on “the road to recovery.” But she refused to see me on her deathbed.

My niece Michelle told me that my mother “didn’t want to see me before she died because I would bring all my drama and make a theatrical entrance after all these years” and she wasn’t going to let me “ruin things during her final days.” She was a “very wise woman who make very well informed decisions and if I had really wanted to see her I should have made my amends a long time ago.”

I am just devastated by these words.

This was my mother that died.

I never received any condolences from anyone but strangers after my mother died. Just more of the same: I didn’t deserve anything at all. Or “I got what I deserved.” Even in death, nothing had changed.

I am speechless. Frozen and Paralyzed.


Pam wrote:

“She said she did nothing because she didn’t have a drivers license and I needed to forgive Billy.”

So now I understand why people say “you need to forgive!” It’s so they don’t have to be bothered with anything surrounding it. You are required to “forgive” and shut up and allow them to continue whatever they are doing, and you go on your merry way. Incredible.

“I also, wanted my parents to understand that they were guilty of criminal child neglect when they knew I was being raped, and I explained that statutory rape is real rape, and did nothing to intervene. My mom and sister stated they disagreed with the law and that those laws had always been controversial.”

Whoa. That’s a new one! I’d love to hear them say that on the witness stand!

“I have the right to be safe from predators and those who protect predators take part in their criminal actions.”

I think family members need to be prosecuted for “aiding and abetting” criminal behavior, and one day it will come to this. Sooner rather than later, I hope.

“I’d done everything I could to try and reach them and to no avail. The ball crossed the goal line in that moment, the game was over, and though victory was different than I pictured it, I won.”

What a wonderful image, of the “ball crossing the line at that moment.”

“You can win too and you can be free from PTSD.”

ARE YOU SURE OF THAT? OK, I will try to believe it. Time will tell and I’ve been through this before so if I stay quiet and small I can and will make it through.

“Hang in there Catherine. This website was my safe haven and retreat of sanity too. You are much healthier than you’ve been led to believe and healing is very possible.”

Thank you so much. I’m trying to. If I wasn’t on this site right now I don’t know what I would do. Searching searching searching for answers on the internet. Instead I’m right here, safe and sound. SAFE AND SOUND. No one can hurt me anymore.

* * * * *

Melody wrote: “I see that you are in a crisis time right now. It truly hurts when they lash out”

“Crisis Time.” Yes and this really was “lashing out,” out of the blue. So similar to what my mother used to do to me all my entire life, and you would never know why. With no chance to explain or point out the error or misunderstanding or whatever. It was always MY FAULT and I was the GUILTY PARTY and OFF WITH HER HEAD,. HANG ‘EM HIGH.

and I can and will make it through, and it’s all over now including the shouting. No more of any of this. Gone. They are dust in the wind. THEY ARE, not me!

“The last time I backed her in a corner I got her Narcissistic Rage.”

That’s it with my niece. She is EXACTLY like my mother, and she is proud of it when people say the same! She doesn’t realize what a hindrance this is. She is PROUD. And the fact that “no one measures up to the boyfriend bar” and she is 40 years old, unmarried, no children, looking into eviction papers for her roommate that was doing a “rent to own” with her in her new duplex she bought, and travels all the time just to be picked up, waited on, and to have someone to eat dinner with means nothing to her. Completely self-centered and selfish and immature. And in a state of NARCISSISTIC RAGE.

“ in some ways her lashing out gave me the power to go no contact.”

Yes. That is the truth for me. I have tried everything and there is nothing more to try. So it’s over and I gave it my all. Goodbye to them all.

“Some people are better at playing the pity party and looking like they are completely innocent afterwards.”

Yes, that is another sister for sure. The one married to the Methodist Minister. She goes out of her way to try to draw ne in, then BOOM. My son is exactly the same way.

“She is now badmouthing me to all the world who will hear. But that’s nothing new since she had been doing that for years anyway.”

That’s what I’ve been seeing this whole past two years, since I made the mistake of having any contact at all while my mother was dying of cancer. So now it’s time to say goodbye for sure. I have done all I could. The ball has crossed the line and it’s GAME OVER.

I am home “safe and sound” and without contact, re-injury and believing any of their lies, I think I can find and make a “home of my own,” finally, at long last.

Home again and I’m free, I’m free, I’m free at last.

Dear God let me make it through this final passage. Amen.


Catherine, They do what they do to maintain control. I used to make it really complicated but the why’s are very simple, like children who throw tantrums. My dad will do anything to be the center of attention and I mean anything, no matter who it hurts. It took me forever to accept how shallow the reasons are. Then I realized that there is nothing I can do to fix what is wrong in them and I just let go.

I’m not a mental health professional. I had severe PTSD symptoms when I was in my twenties. I didn’t understand what they were and never really connected those symptoms to the traumas in my life. I didn’t even understand a lot of it as trauma. I couldn’t afford any help. Then when I could afford help, I was diagnosed as bipolar and the more medications they gave me, the crazier I became and I came very close to either dying or ending up being locked away somewhere. It was very easy for doctors to convince me that my brain was defective because I already knew I was a defect. I finally, quit listening to them though and weaned myself off of the medications and the extreme mania and depression disappeared. I found natural methods of treating my depression and later learned that what had been labeled mania was hyper-vigelent anxiety. I went through a self-confrontation Bible study with two other women and it opened my eyes to how my mental health problems were connected to my past and how they were coping mechanisms. I did a lot of reading on narcissism and the structure of narcissistic families. That’s really when I learned what my role in the family was and how that role had made me anxious by making me feel that I was responsible for every bad thing that happened to me and those that I love. I went through counseling on anger and learned that my anger wasn’t bad, it is my ally and healthy when used for defense and expressed properly. Then I found EFB and went through much deeper work where I connected all the dots. I do still get triggered once in a while but I’m usually, able to stop myself, face into the trigger, and understand now that I’m reacting to the past and not the present. Reckoning with the past helped really leave it in the past and not constantly have it at the forefront of my mind. I don’t have long bouts of depression anymore because I understand that I’m emotionally overwhelmed either from a trigger or because of a current problem and I know depression is my coping mechanism. It’s the dark cave I crawl into to lick my wounds. It is no longer some mysterious illness that takes me over, out of nowhere. I know that I chose that mechanism as a way to survive and I can choose to turn it off. The past and the present aren’t so entangled any more so a current reason to be emotionally overwhelmed doesn’t feed into old trauma. I understand and I have more control because I have such a good understanding and I know my understanding is true. I’m also, not being abused anymore. After a lifetime of abuse, in one form or another, that fact is amazing. I still have problems with sleep. I know I go on guard duty at night and it’s hard for me to drift off to sleep. If I do drift off, I snap awake at the slightest noise because I sleep like a cat and I’m constantly on watch. When the sun comes up, I can sleep like a baby because I’m off duty. I know this formed very early in childhood and though I now understand the loop, it is harder for me to break than the other loops. So…yes, I believe that people can heal from PTSD. Certainly, we aren’t doomed to reliving past trauma forever. We can have a better quality of life. There is hope.

I hope you’re able to get some rest. I’m sorry that your mother was so cruel to you on her death bed. She made a very poor choice and one that makes no sense. I know you have a lot to mourn and no one likes mourning but by embracing it and finding closure, I was able to move forward and live in a new place. I don’t know if I’m fully healed. There have been many platues in this long journey but each one is a little higher than the last and I’m happy with myself and my life now. Self-acceptance and the ability to self-validate are precious treasures and I don’t think I’ll ever take them for granted. Knowing where I end and others begin is freedom like I didn’t know existed. Living as a full-fleged human being and not a scape-goat is true emancipation.



Pam, you should write all this down in an eBook. Wow. What a wealth of incredible and positive energy!

“hey do what they do to maintain control. I used to make it really complicated but the why’s are very simple, like children who throw tantrums.”

“My dad will do anything to be the center of attention and I mean anything, no matter who it hurts.”

“It took me forever to accept how shallow the reasons are. Then I realized that there is nothing I can do to fix what is wrong in them and I just let go.”

“I did a lot of reading on narcissism and the structure of narcissistic families. That’s really when I learned what my role in the family was and how that role had made me anxious by making me feel that I was responsible for every bad thing that happened to me and those that I love.”

“the structure of narcissistic families.”

I didn’t even know there was such a thing! I will start reading too.

… more… depression… ptsd… more…

“There have been many plateaus in this long journey but each one is a little higher than the last and I’m happy with myself and my life now.”

“Self-acceptance and the ability to self-validate are precious treasures”

“Knowing where I end and others begin is freedom like I didn’t know existed.”

I never even knew what any of this meant, since I had no boundaries and I was never allowed any.

“Living as a full-fleged human being and not a scape-goat is true emancipation.”

I can’t imagine what this must feel like! It must be wonderful. I knew I was going to have to take on the rest of my family (there’s ten in this group) but I didn’t realize it would be so hard. But it’s not all of them, just the tough nut sisters that were closest to my mother and the most desperate for her love and understanding. As much as you could get from a Queen Witch Narcissist such as herself.

So it’s three down, two to go. But really, none to go, as “emancipation” is waiting right outside the door, and I can walk through anytime I want. There is no lock on my prison walls. I have created this myself, and it truly is “all in my mind.”

So it’s time to spread my wings and fly.

I am going to take your chapter apart sentence by sentence. It’s like a treasure chest of Diamonds and Jewels. I hope Darlene can take this and create a whole new discussion out of it, if she sees fit. It’s so very important for us all to learn this to be able to “cross over to the other side.”

God bless you Pam, and thank you so very much for SHARING YOU STORY and YOUR EXPERTISE. I can follow in the trail you have cleared for me. I am forever grateful to every single person here.

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

Dear God please show us The Way.

Catherine Todd


Catherine and all
As the fog lifted in my own life, I began to suspect that there was this ongoing ‘punishment’ for any kind of stepping out of line. My father in law was a master at this, and because he was so obvious about the punishments, I learned a lot from reviewing the relationship we had with him. (and saw how it worked in manipulative people who were not as obvious)
Something I realized about the ongoing punishment is that when I was a kid these tactics worked on me. But when I started to stand up to it, they just upped the punishment. (pathetic isn’t it?) And then they tried new tactics, all to try to control me in the ways that I was always controllable before. (but they didn’t work on me anymore) What I began to realize is that they were afraid. They are afraid of being exposed (for any number of things; covering for an abuser, being an abuser, not protecting a child, silencing the truth, who knows what all and I don’t care anymore) but they will do anything to make sure YOU are discredited so that if you talk, no one believes you. The thing about that is I don’t care anymore who believes me. That scares them even more! This fight is a sick fight. When I stopped fighting them and just stuck to the truth for ME, things got better for me.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene wrote: “but they will do anything to make sure YOU are discredited so that if you talk, no one believes you.”

Yes. My father and mother, with the military Catholic upbringing, used the “sluts or nuts” defense on me until I am old and it doesn’t work anymore. So I think you have a point: THEY ARE AFRAID OF ME.

That’s probably why they’ve all been coming back around, snooping and stealing up to me slyly in the night. I thought it was to resolve things so that finally we could all be “family” and “friends!” I really believed this. I thought that once the Wicked Witch was dead, they would want this and finally they would want to “know the truth” and get things back the way they used to be.

But they were NEVER “the way they used to be.” They were

The thing about that is I don’t care anymore who believes me. That scares them even more! This fight is a sick fight. When I stopped fighting them and just stuck to the truth for ME, things got better for me.”


whoops… got submitted before I was finished.

But they were NEVER “the way they used to be.” They were ALWAYS just the way they ARE NOW. That’s the part I forgot.

Darlene, you wrote:

“The thing about that is I don’t care anymore who believes me.”

True. I always said that I didn’t care if they believed me or not,” but I must care or I wouldn’t be fighting them to see my side and face the facts and not blame and revile me.

“That scares them even more! This fight is a sick fight. When I stopped fighting them and just stuck to the truth for ME, things got better for me.”

I think you are right. My problem is that without knowing it, even though I said it out loud for many years, I truly believed that there would be a “deathbed reconciliation” between my mother and me. I thought about it all the time, and pictured me by her bedside, holding her hand… getting on the plane, figuring out how to go there separately to avoid all the family drama, and would I go, would I not go? Of course I would go… what would we say?

I never dreamt in a million years that they would all gang up on me and tell me to stay away. Who does that? What kind of mother, sisters and family does that?

What they have done to me is an “honor killing,” the way some Eastern cultures stone the girls to death if they are suspected of no longer being a virgin. Of course, the doctor checks them AFTER they are dead. And it’s their brothers, friends and father that carry out the death sentence.

This is what my sisters have been doing to me, stoning me to death with words. My mother has been doing this all my life. She would say and do ANYTHING to destroy or humiliate me, but it never worked. It must have burned her up! But surely she was human and had a heart and soul! I have now begun to wonder. After reading about Narcissism, the true evil Narcissist, without conscience, I wonder if that was who she was, and if my sisters are infected with the same virus and soul sickness.

I think that’s why Darlene’s experience is so important:

“When I stopped fighting them and just stuck to the truth for ME, things got better for me.”


From Beyond Good & Evil:

“He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


I am so thankful for this site. I never knew growing up that there was a problem outside of me. I can only guess that my parents were miserable, & they blamed everything they could on my existence. It hurt. I was an only child (hated it), & had nowhere to turn for help. So I just took all the blame & absorbed it…I am sure much to my parents’ delight. I never considered the harm they were doing. I had no one else to compare my life to…those I knew outside also hated me. It was truly a lonely life. I have since discovered Aspergers which I feel I have which would also make me even more vulnerable & susceptible to abuse of all kinds. But because of my age (50) cannot get a diagnosis. But between the knowledge of Aspergers & the narcissism now I understand what was happening. Better late than never! Mom always had to be the center of attention. But dad liked the limelight too. I know now what I endured was evil. I am happy to have discovered this site…it’s very helpful to feel validated & not crazy like my parents always insisted I was from early childhood.

Thanks again!


Welcome Maria! You have definitely come to the right place. The door is always open and the Welcome mat, too! Thanks for sharing a bit of your story, and I’m sure you will find lots of gems to help pull you through. I know I have. Glad you made it through.


Marla wrote: “I am so thankful for this site. I never knew growing up that there was a problem outside of me.”

Me, too – and you put it so well. I am 62 years old and I feel like a “babe in the woods” and FINALLY I am finding my way HOME. Home inside of ME. Gracias, Amen.


Hi Marla
Welcome to EFB! I’m really glad that you found this site too. There is a ton of information here about how thousands of us are discovering where ‘the broken began’ in order to re-wire our belief systems.
Hugs, Darlene


Catherine, I’m so sorry that you didn’t get the death-bed reconciliation you dreamed of. The love of a child for a parent is amazing. It is unconditional and never gives up. However, some parents just aren’t capable of loving their children in return and they especially, can’t give love unconditionally. There are those who define love as admiration and if a child doesn’t bring them admiration, they have no use for them. It is so hard for a child to swallow that fact but when we do, we are free to release all that frustrated, unconditional love into our own lives and find healing. Truly, the lack is in them and not in us.

Marla, I’m glad you’re here too and I’m very glad that you are beginning to see that it isn’t your fault. Defining what I was responsible for and what I wasn’t responsible for made an incredible difference in my life. No child should have the weight of the world placed upon their shoulders.



Hi Catherine,

I’m sorry that your mom shut you out. But you do know that your thoughts & feelings are genuine…even if she could only spew hatred towards you.

I was there when my mom was dying, & although she said she loved me before she slipped away, her actions over the years spoke the truth. Just a year earlier, she made it known to other family members that I was a liar…she shouted it out right in front of me. Maybe she loved me, but if so she rarely ever showed it, & if so it was in a sick & twisted way. I know it wasn’t part of her personality. She only tore me down time & time again as a child & an adult…I never measured up to her standards. It was ok for her to fall short or screw up without any thought…she’d mess up in front of me, but if I made any mistake, even something trivial I got a horrible shake down…verbal assaults along with the physical abuse.

You cannot blame yourself for your mother’s behavior. Perhaps it was best that you weren’t there since there are so many toxic people in your family. Seems to me that they are doing their best to continue the cycle. It sure hurts a lot to be treated so shabbily. I have heard that the more healthy a person becomes emotionally, the more resistance they receive from those who want to continue the status quo. You can only heal yourself…it’s up to your other family members to decide to change or stay the course. Perhaps, they’re even jealous that you’re stepping out of your role as the black sheep. Good for you! You deserve to be healthy & happy with or without their blessings.




Pam makes some very good points:

“Catherine, I’m so sorry that you didn’t get the death-bed reconciliation you dreamed of. The love of a child for a parent is amazing. It is unconditional and never gives up.”

“However, some parents just aren’t capable of loving their children in return and they especially, can’t give love unconditionally.”

“There are those who define love as admiration and if a child doesn’t bring them admiration, they have no use for them.”

That is it in a nutshell, unless I really am just an unlovable horrible person, as my sisters are still repeating. It’s hard not to believe it when you are bombarded with this night and day. It’s a wonder I didn’t kill myself long ago after being berated my entire life.

The “love as admiration” criteria would explain why my sisters praise my mother to the heavens and now that she is dead, have started the “beatification process.” I guess this was the only way they could get love and attention from my mother, and they learned their lessons well. I never thought of it this way. I surely didn’t bring my mother more admiration.

I remember saying that if “she liked green, you weren’t allowed to like red.” “If she said it was black, and you said it was really white, it was ‘off with her head.'”

Instead of grovelling at her feet and “basking her in admiration,” I asked her why she didn’t protect me and the rest of us kids from her child-molester, rapist, violent, alcoholic abusive husband. I said she had an obligation to us that she did not fulfill. I said he would be in jail today for the things he did to me that she turned a blind eye to. I went to court when I was 15 years old and “told” and became an emancipated minor when I was 16.

They had used the “sluts or nuts” defense on me my entire life, but the judge didn’t buy it. Instead she told my father that it was HE who “belonged in jail,” but she didn’t have the legal right to do so. But she granted me emancipation and I was legally free to leave. That’s when my whole life changed. From the day I moved out, peace reigned and I was save and sound.

No wonder she hated me so!

If only I hadn’t gone back, “trying to resolve things,” “trying to win their love and help and protection.” I wasted so many years doing this. It really was a blessing that they had cut me off completely.

It would have been easier if things had stayed that way. Now I know, belatedly. But I made the mistake of coming back when she was dying from cancer and I have paid the price ever since. The punishment continues and the closer and closer I get to exposing the truth, the more my sisters have taken up the sword.

If it were the “olden days,” they would be stoning me to death or burning me at the stake as a witch. No question about it. Their attempts at “honor killings” don’t work anymore either. They can’t get away with this anymore, and defamation, even against family members, is against the law. The truth will win; it always does. And the truth will set me free!

Maria wrote: “You cannot blame yourself for your mother’s behavior. Perhaps it was best that you weren’t there since there are so many toxic people in your family. Seems to me that they are doing their best to continue the cycle.”

Yes, and all of my hurt now comes from the fact that I somehow believed that once my mother was gone, the “evil spell” she cast over me would somehow be lifted and my sisters would at least want to know the truth. They would be set free like Dorothy caught in the Wicked Witch’s castle. Instead, they have turned into the dreaded winged monkeys that terrified us so, when we were children watching the show.

So it’s my life-long false beliefs that are hurting me now. I have to take off my rose-colored glasses and see these people for who and what they are. The more I realized how mental illness and cruelty work together here, hand in hand, the more I realize I am able to simply step away, lock the door BEHIND ME, and set my spirit free.

I have been locked inside a prison door all of my own making. A prison of unrequited hopes and dreams. A prison of unrequited love. And a new life free of naivite and guile awaits me. All I have to do is step outside and say Goodbye. And with these new understandings, and practice and prayer, I think I will be able to do so. I think that somehow I will manage to be able to live, and “carry on.”

Thanks be to God and everyone here for the wonders of the internet, where so much positive information is available, and we can share it all for FREE. This is how life is meant to be. Gracias, Amen.



I can very relate to your story of being the bad person.
It’s horrible to be condemned by advance and wrongly defined by our genitors because their words are so profoundly printed in our minds and souls.
We need a mirror (our parents) to know who we are when are teenagers and if the mirror is abusive, it’s a nightmare.
I didn’t who I was, if I was as bad as my father told me.
I thought it was normal people were naughty with because I thought it was all I deserved.

I was severly abused at highschool, I was the scapegoat during 5 years. I was the scapegoat in all the groups I was. I unconsciously reenacted my relation with my non father with everybody.

When I was a teenager, I was sexually abused many times by men with whom I was looking for some love and understanding.

I was gang bang abused, it was horrible and didn’t know at the moment was abuse, I thought it was cool to be able satisfy guys !
Because sadly, I have learned too that my value was only in my body and my ability to sexually satisfy men.
But it was torture for me and humiliation.

Thank you for having shared your story.


Catherine, What you’ve written proves to me that you have all the answers you need. I realized that about myself when everything started falling into place. All I had to do was start believing myself. Truth does win out and your love of truth is paying off, as did mine. It is the only way to be free from the coping mechanisms we become stuck in. Our families are stuck in the methods they chose to survive many of the same things we survived and truth can set them free, also. They have to want to change and embrace truth for themselves. No one can do it for them and as long as they put their hope and trust in lies, they will fear and hate truth.

When it comes to sexual abuse and the law, I wish it were less focused upon age and more on the facts of the crime. It is objectification and dehumanization of the victim in order to force them into gratifying the abuser that makes it a crime. There are so many variables when it comes to defining abuse. There are many, many ways to force ‘concent’. I know some people doubt I was sexually abused at sixteen because I was close to that ‘magical’ age of consent and teenagers are becoming sexual and are curious about sex and can enjoy sex. What those blind judges don’t bother to look at are the personal details of my life and how those were used against me. They don’t consider what was stolen from me that I could never retrieve. Being emancipated too early isn’t what it is cracked up to be. Some may have the tools to care for themselves at that age but most do not. Also, at age 16, I looked about 12. I was less that 5 ft tall and weighed about 85 lbs. There was no way a grown man could be attracted to me as a woman. Because of the amount of time I spent sick and isolated, there was no way that I could have discerned that I was being manipulated. I wanted to be free from my parent’s abuse and I wanted to be loved. I was gullible and he offered me what I wanted most and he knew full well, what he was doing.

I’m glad for our conversation, Catherine. It has brought many points into sharper contrast. I am sorry for your pain and suffering but I’m fully confident that you are on your way to full health!



Aurele, The words of parents have the power to enable or disable their children. Maybe if we could make people aware of that power, they would use it in favor of their children instead for gratifying some momentary need of their own. When we are taught that we exist to gratify the emotional needs of adults we will live to gratify whatever is requested by someone who pretends to have our interests at heart. There is no cure but truth. All the pills and techniques in the world may offer bandanges but only truth can heal our wounds and enable us to live the life we were created to live. No human being should be a scape-goat or even a golden-child. We all have the inherent right to our own personhood and our individual pursuit of happiness, within boundaries that offer respect for ourselves and all others.

I’m sorry you suffered that kind of treatment. I know personally, what it does to damage a child’s heart and mind. I know how crushing the weight of the crimes of others, in the form of shame, can be. Embracing our truth and when we are able, we can put down that shame and speak out so that others, crushed beneath that same burdern, can be free. Thank you, for sharing too.I spent many, many, long years crushed beneath that burden thinking that there must not be anyone as disgusting as me.



Hi Pam,

You have such a strong and enduring spirit. I admire and am inspired by your words, not just in the post but also in all that you’ve put into responding to the comments people have made. I am so glad that you came out of that hell you lived in and can now speak with such knowledge and authority into your experience. It is truly empowering. Thank you!

p.s. Happy belated birthday!


Alaina, Thank you. What a blessing to have the most painful times in my life because a light and healing for others! Does it get any better than that?:0)You encourage me too, Aliana.



Hello Friends,
Well, I have been working, working, and will need to catch up on everybody’s posts. Having a not so good night here. My guy and I seem to be arguing over his neglectful ex wife. I just get upset, that on “her week” that she has the kids, she does not drive them to their events, schedules “appointments” or is too tired, to take them to their gymnastics, basketball, skating, or after school events. I say, he is enabling her to be a neglectful mother. Like I had. Like she had herself. And I am tired of it being turned around to be my fault!! I do not want to live in the shadow of a dysfunctional, neglectful, narcissistic woman. That’s how I grew up, and here it is again! He treats me like a queen, usually. But when I point this out to him, he is so defensive!
She was so worried, when we first got together, that I woud be a “mother figure” to the kids, she didnt want that, despite cheating on her husband, then KicKing him out of the house.. So, consequesntly, Elaborate plans are made, so that I dont pick them up at events, despite the fact that school is 5 minutes from our house, and mother dearest lives in the next town. Then my guy gets upset, when he asks me to drive these kids around, as a last resort, and I say “No. You both have decided that I wont have that role, I am not the backup babysitter!”
We are supposed to be leaving Wednesday, for a 10 day trip to Norway. And tonight he tells me, “I am afraid to leave the kids ‘alone'”. I said, “Do you relaize how sick that is, that being with their mother is like being alone to you?” I said the word “sick” about 10 times, but in his reply, he always reeplaced the work “sick” with something else.
I just said to him,”Well, you granted your ex wifes wish, and I am not a mother figure to her children. They have no mother figure. How’s that working for ya?”
Thanks for listening, ladies! Dont know where this is going, but I dont feel I need to accept this sicko’s behavior, or her whacked out idea of (non)mothering anymore……………
I just would like to know why I get the crap that she deserves to hear……



You know,it seems like this is triggering my issues, and it is not healthy. I do care for the kids, and I always try to be a positive role model, and I never say anything negative about their mother in front of them. But it makes me angry when she is neglectful, noninterested. I know my guy needs to be there for his children, but I think this woman should also participate in the kids lives, other than wearing the title of “mother”.
What is even sicker is, she has a Masters degree in special education, and teaches learning disabled kids in elementary school. I cant rap my mind around this. When her son was diagnosed with a learning disability, my SIL said to her, well, that is great, that you have the education to know how to deal with it. and she said “I do that all day at school. That is the last thing I want to do, is to come home and have to deal with that”
So, They are growing up similar to how I grew up, with an emotionally absent mother. I read books on step parenting but dont know how to deal with this. Am I doing enough? Should I do anything?
Again, thanks for listening!


Janie, This is beyond my personal experience. Blended familes are challenging enough without a mother who isn’t a mother. All I can think of comes from all of our experience as children, that we desperately needed the adults in our lives to put us above their personal gratification and needs. I don’t know how you could apply that, exactly. It would be great though if you and your husband could ally yourselves for the children. Otherwise, she may destroy your marriage along with her children. I hear your frustration. Hang in there.



This was an amazing post! My mom and dad did and do much the same thing. No matter what I did, I was never the child they wanted. Too outspoken and too quiet, not grateful enough then too grateful, too christian and then not christian enough, and the list goes on and on. It is so hard to not give them what they want, a bad child. I was also raped and also blamed or told I had imagined it. I also assumed that it had happened because I was at fault.

It is so twisted that they blame us for others actions that we try to control and can’t. Although, that relieves the adults from fault which I suppose makes the parents feel as if the world is under control and “safe”. In essence run by a clear set of rules that you follow to be completely out of harm’s way. Less chaos means they themselves are safer.

But, if they want to give us weight lifting and self defense classes all our lives as well as the power to see the future, MAYBE they can keep their argument that it is all the victim’s fault.


Wow. So many incredible posts. I am learning so much here and getting stronger every day! I can’t respond to all of them because each one includes another gem or a jewel, but I am stringing them all on my necklace to enjoy over and over as they shine all day and all night. How different my life has become. Instead of crying myself to sleep or self-flagellating with “how things might have been,” what I “should have done,” I can come here to LEARN. And as Darlene says, “re-wire myself.” What a wonderful way to put it. But I do have one important question:

Pam wrote: “Catherine, What you’ve written proves to me that you have all the answers you need.”

Pam, this sounds wonderful, but I’m not sure of exactly what you mean. Explain a bit further please?

You also talked about “those blind judges.” Remember, the laws are not made by the judges, but interpreted by the judges. We have to change the laws. And I will be the first one to help do that any way I can. I was emancipated at age 16 and although I survived and I am sure I would have died had I been forced to stay in that house any longer, I was of course too young. I never really had a childhood.

But after being scapegoated all my life in the “family” and then being scapegoated at school, as someone else talked about, work and separation is what saved me. That is where I excelled and I could finally find something I was good at where I was liked regardless. I loved going to work and I loved going home, to my beautiful little room I rented for $10.00 per week, that had roses on the wallpaper and a bathroom down the hall.

It was heaven for as long as it lasted, and the change when I was able to move in there was overnight. I went from hell to heaven in one short night. I left home the day I turned 16 and I had waited for this day all my life. Like an emancipated slave who had escaped to the North, I was free. Free and safe to live my life without fear, without pain and without punishment at long last. In one short day my whole life changed. I had never known safety before, but being able to move across town into another house I was free. I will never forget that landlady and the opportunity she gave me, for as long as I live. She saved my life for $10.00 a week.

God saw that I was safe and sound and my guardian angels have followed me ever since, folding their wings softly about me, when I needed it most. It was Man’s law that injured me, and it was God’s law that saved me. It was Man’s law that set me free at age 16, and if I were born in this day and age I might have been saved so many years earlier, and my abuser would have been in jail. Times do change.

Now we have the power to change many of Man’s laws and it’s time for everyone to work together to achieve the peace and safety and contentment we all so desperately crave. Dear God help us to achieve truth and beauty, and all will be well. Justice is what the world needs most and give me strength to “do the right thing” whenever I am called.

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


Thank you for responding! I sometimes think the best thing I could do for these children is to leave, as maybe my guy needs to devote all of his time to them.
I think you are right about us needing to be allies. I think that is something that upsets me, that we seem divided over this. I have been a stepmother before, and it was a different situation, but it was certainly diificult. I dont know if this is going to work!


Hi Meg, I know for sure that it is sick to blame victims but I’m not sure of all the reasons why. I think passing judgement on others may serve to make people feel safer by convincing themselves that it could never happen to them. Afterall, they have it all figured out.When it comes to parents constantly judging and blaming their children, I think other dynamics come into play. I think many people have children to gratify emotional needs of their own and then when those children present with overwhelming needs of their own, they are disappointed and feel cheated. Anyway, I think I was a big disappointment to my mom who wanted a perfect baby girl that she could dress like a doll and be her best friend. I was born premature, very small with overwhelming needs of my own. From an early age, I wanted to be my own person and I wanted to dress the way I liked and I wanted friends of my own to hang out with. I was a total disappointment because I couldn’t gratify her the way she thought having a baby would. It’s almost like she felt victimized by me and sided with everyone who did anything to hurt me. I think she thought I deserved that pain for disappointing her. Of course, I will always guess because we can’t have any honest discussions about anything. I’m supposed to pretend nothing ever happened and have pleasant chats. I’m afraid I’ve always disappointed her there too. I may never understand, fully what makes them tick but I don’t have to in order to find healing for myself. I can do nothing to fix what’s wrong in them but I do have power to fix the damage that I endured.



Catherine, I didn’t have the confidence to listen to what I knew to be true. I questioned every thought, decision, and action because I had no self-confidence. When I did begin to listen to me, I realized that I did know what was best for me and I did have the answers I needed to heal and live a better life. I think it is the same for other abuse victims.

The ‘blind judges’ I was talking about aren’t legal judges but those who set themselves above others and judge them. Blind judges are those who don’t understand that the markers of sexual abuse are not only differences in age or the age of consent. Sexual abuse is about objectification, dehumanization,and the use of many means to force consent. I would like people to understand this and not judge teenagers the way they do. It would also, make it much harder for pimps and traffickers to exploit teenagers and get away with it.

I had a job at minimum wage and my own house in a horrible part of the city by the time I was 17. I managed to do some things that amaze me now but I was broken and by the time I was 18, I was shattered. I crawled home at age 19 weighing 75lbs.and sick with what would be diagnosed 20 years later as hep c. I did find faith in, Jesus though and began to walk in another direction. I prayed for God to send me someone who would really love me and I met my husband. Life hasn’t been perfect since then but since that time, I have always been moving in a positive direction. When I began to reach for life rather than death, things began to change. And look where I am now! I am a blessed woman.:0)



Janie, We never know if things are going to work in any situation. We just have keep putting one foot in front of the other and take it one day at a time. I have faith in you.:0)



Pam, thank you for the explanation. Now I know what you mean by “blind judges,” and my so-called family is FULL of them. And BLIND is the right word and it’s so easy to see them in that role. Changes everything, looking at it like that!

I left home so young too, and thank God I was not shattered. Almost, but not quite. So I made it through. I absolutely LOVE what you say at the end: gives me so much hope for the future!

“When I began to reach for life rather than death, things began to change. And look where I am now! I am a blessed woman.:0)”

Gracias, amiga and to everyone here. God does love us and we will all find peace, with one foot in front of the other. Perseverance, Practice and Prayer* will always win out. We shall overcome!

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

* (from whatever denomination you are, or no denomination at all)


Melody wrote in #46:

“Catherine, I see that you are in a crisis time right now. It truly hurts when they lash out, I’ve found the more I set limits and tell the truth on my FOO the more anger they spew out.”

Thank you so much! This really, really helped in my time of “crisis.” And thank you for recognizing it! I never really do because I was raised to believe I was acting out, asking for attention, bringing drama and theatrics” and all kinds of unkind words.

I never learned to recognize when I was “in crisis” and that it was important to get treatment, and that a crisis (my crisis) deserved and required attention to help stop the bleeding or whatever was going on. PTSD to the extreme. And of course the cruel responses of my family and siblings always made things worse, as if they enjoyed seeing me suffer. Their responses ENSURED the wounds would never heal. That must be what the meaning of “toxic” is. They are poison in the wounds. They are like snake bite toxin when we are looking for understanding and comfort. A little bit might save you, but too much and it will kill you. And they are killers to the extreme.

These people are not to be trusted and they are to be avoided at all costs. Whether their coldness and cruelty is something they can control or not, the result is always the same. And these are not people that I would ever have in my life if I hadn’t been “born into it.” People say we “choose our families” and others say “you don’t choose your family but you choose your friends,” and I know how FOR SURE that I can choose who I spend my time with for the rest of my life. There is a block button and a delete button and when I no longer respond and cut those people out of my life, everything changes. Peace reigns! And it only takes an instant in time. An INSTANT. It’s miraculous, really. It’s the Power of Now.

That is what I recently learned, all by having yet another “incident” (attack) by my niece, out of the blue. Yet I could come here and see such a contrast, with the exact opposite reaction. What an eye-opener this has been!

It’s *almost* been worth it to have seen the other side. My dark glasses have fallen and it’s like coming to the Promised Land. I can still hardly believe it. Thank you all for being here. I say this all the time, but I really mean it from the bottom of my heart. Gracias, amigas! Happy Holidays to all!


Pam, thanks again. i realize I went a little bit off topic, but hoped you all would endulge me. I was hurting over this! I renewed my subscription to Stepmom magazine, and am reading lots of the post on the forum, and am reminded that I am not alone! In a way, some of the things that go on here (our house) are not personal. I could be any woman, and the mother would still be disrespecting my guy and me, violating boundaries, and manipulating the situation. The best I can do is be a calm and positive force in the children’s lives. Like my grandmother and my aunt were for me!


Janie, That’s the way, sweetie!There’s nothing you can’t accomplish when truth is on your side!:0)



Dear Folks, yet another CRISIS TIME. Here is an email I just received “dis-inviting me” to the Christmas get-together with relatives I have only seen ONCE


and then comes another judgment email. HELP. These people are driving me crazy. Judging me when they know nothing about me, and calling it LOVE. I don’t agree. What do you all think? I NEED HELP RIGHT NOW. I can so clearly see why I have stayed away from these people all these years. I can do that again, but I have to be sure that I make the right choices about how I am living and what I am doing.

I don’t believe that picking apart my past is a bad thing. How else am I supposed to put the puzzle pieces together? Every single thing has to be looked at, and fit into place. Just like Darlene said, I have to “re-wire myself.”

No one has to talk to me about it. Why are they talking about it and telling me how to live? I have seen them ONE TIME in 25 or 30 years, and got called “the black sheep” with the first thing out of one of their mouth’s. This, from a person who spent years being a drunk who “can’t remember being an altar boy” as that entire time was a blur. And then drinking himself into submission to avoid thinking about his own past. And how he’s angry at me, because I said it was important to talk about it. And he uses other relatives to “bolster his argument.” I think this is just like the letter that Darlene finally published to show us how judgment works to keep us silent. But this is the other side of my family so now I am completely alone.

This is not really true, but “alone” from either side of my biological family, which I have stayed away from for years. I was so happy thinking I could just “pop back in” and “why did I stay away?” and now I see why. But is this my fault? So many seem to think so. That’s the hard part. Darlene says “the truth does not require a majority vote.” I hope this is true.

Here’s my cousin’s letter who closes with “Love.” I don’t consider this love at all.


Your response shows that you’ve learned from the past. You had a tough life when you were a kid, and later on, probably as a result of a combination of your inherent intellectual brilliance, stubbornness/compulsion, and sense of duty and morality, you continued to have a wonderfully diverse life and pursue a variety of creative endeavors. But you also continued to have some “issues.”
Existential philosophers (e.g., Jean Paul Sartre) talk about life being a series of choices. People choose the past, or choose the future. Each choice pattern has advantages and each choice pattern disadvantages. Neither is right, and neither is wrong. But both do have consequences.

Choosing the past means that you continue to make choices with which you are familiar. When you choose the past, the advantage is that you typically live a “safe” life. It’s safe because you know how things will turn out- at least in a general sense. The disadvantage of continually choosing the past is that over time, you build up a sense on “ontological guilt.” [Terry (played by Marlon Brando) in On the Waterfront reminds his manager Charley that if it had not been for the fixing of the fight, “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody…”]. Ontological guilt is the sense that you have not lived enough or taken enough chances, not seen enough new places or had enough new experiences, not taken risks, and not expanded your horizons. So, safety versus ontological guilt. Choosing the past too often leads to stagnation.

Choosing the future means that you continue to make choices that are unfamiliar. Your world continually expands, you face new challenges, and are willing to battle the fear that accompanies such acts. But the down side to continually choosing the future is that you always have a sense of “ontological angst.” This is the fear/anxiety that is inherent in us as humans when we face challenges with uncertain outcomes. So, choosing the future involves the potential for growth.

As everyone does, you have your own idiosyncratic set of choices regarding the past and the future. Many times, you’ve chosen the future. You’ve lived for years at a time in various exotic locales (Hawaii, Paris, Latin America), been a single mother raising a boy to be as adventurous and independently-minded as you, and worked your hands to the bone trying to help others less fortunate. You would not have been able to have had those experiences without a strong sense of courage, hope and resilience.

But you’ve also made choices that were clearly straight from your past. You held onto beliefs and memories, and beliefs about memories that continued to handicap you emotionally worse than any polio virus could.

By answering this message in the way you did, you’ve shown me that you are now choosing to choose the future with regards to getting along with others. And sometimes, the sort of fright that this involves (yes, even for old fogies like us) will make us even better people tomorrow than we are today.

Take heart, my dear cousin. I trust in your inherent intellectual brilliance, stubbornness/compulsion, and sense of duty and morality to win the day on this battlefront, too.





Here is my response, and as much as I am still in shock, I am relieved because I GAVE IT MY VERY BEST. I can now close that chapter for good. I am free. Here goes:

Dear Bill and all the others:

All I can say is that my dealing with my past has ensured that I am still alive. I am not a drug addict, an alcoholic or a suicide. Why? Because I did not “bury the past” but brought it out into the light where I could finally begin to heal, no matter how long it took. I am very grateful to all the people who have worked together to protect men, women and children and to “make this world a better place,” no matter how trite that may sound.

I had no idea that anyone outside of my parents and you, Bill, even knew about what I went through growing up as a child. Buzz knew and brought it up a few years ago – I was very shocked when he did. Apparently everyone in the Scheffelin side of the family knows as well, and I have received a great deal of emails about this as well.

It’s easy to pass judgment on someone when you haven’t been in their shoes. But it doesn’t really help anyone when this happens. In fact, it makes things worse. But that is not the purpose of this email.

I have now written to Ginger apologizing for any unintended offense, as I had no idea that this had occurred. I had already written to another young person on Uncle John’s email list after I responded to someone who attacked Judith. This may be Ginger’s daughter that is referred to in the email, but I never knew who this person was. At the time, I had no idea that the attacker was this young person’s father and I apologized for my response, and asked to be removed from the list so that this wouldn’t happen again.

I have now called Phil and Phyllis and was told that Uncle Phil has not had any problems with me, outside of the stress surrounding the fact that my sisters did not want me to visit my mother on her deathbed. So I don’t know what Buzz is referring to in his statement about this, unless it’s this one incident. Both Phil & Phyllis said there was no problem with this, which I was very relieved to find out.

Everyone gets upset when there’s a lot of stress going on and I certainly didn’t hold anything against Uncle Phil for “losing his cool” one time on the phone. He has always been very good to all of us, as has your father, my Uncle John. I appreciate them all so very much and they have added greatly to all of our lives.

So all I can say is I am very sorry for any unintended hurt I have caused, and until this moment, I had no idea that this had occurred. Please accept my apologies and I hope everyone has a good Holidays. I am sure that they will. And thanks to David for helping me with the dog leashes for the Panajachel street dog program. They are still being used and the program sends their thanks as well.

Sincerely, Catherine Todd (Katie)




And I did. I hope this helps.


Hi Catherine and ALL reading this thread
About asking for help or advice: I request that we don’t give each other advice on this site but rather share our own experience in similar situations if we can. When people start telling or advising other people what to do and it is rarely helpful and almost always leads down the wrong path. It is empowering when we come up with our own solutions.
Catherine ~ in the future please edit email addresses out of your copy and pasted comments.
Thank you ! Hugs, Darlene


Look at what came in right after, from one of my “spiritual” sites. It’s just what I’ve been experiencing (being judged) and what I need to do (look at MY SELF). Darlene, and the others, and Dear God, please show me The Way.

* * * * *

Justice can never be developed while we judge others; the only way is by constantly judging ourselves.

Bowl of Saki, December 2, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:

Spiritual progress is the changing of the point of view. There is only one way to recognize this progress, and that is to see the progress in one’s own outlook on life, to ask oneself the question, ‘How do I look at life?’ This one can do by not judging others, but by being only concerned with one’s own outlook. As long as a person is concerned with the faults of others, as long as he criticizes others, he is not yet ready to make his sight clear enough to see if his outlook on life is right.



Thank you Darlene… you are right about “giving advice” and I learned that going to the Alanon 12 step program. I forgot in the shock of the moment. And the email address: Oh Lord I thought of that right after I had submitted my comment but couldn’t edit it. So glad you caught it for me. I will be careful in the future.

I know I have posted “too much” but it felt so much like that response you received from that woman who told you how you should be acting regarding your own parental situation, and when I got “mobbed” by family members that I have not seen but one time or never in the past 25 – 30 years, I panicked. I am sitting here still in shock but practicing deep breathing, and the best part was I was able to respond as an ADULT, secure in my position that only I can know how much time I need and what I need to “heal.”

Until these people came along, I didn’t know that I needed “permission” from them as to what “rules I should be following” or what “results” I should have already achieved. It’s really quite incredible. But thank God I can delete my connections to them, and I never have to see them again as I never saw them to begin with, except when we were very young children. It’s so sad and it’s too bad but that’s the way it is, and really, when I look at the facts, it doesn’t effect my life at all. Except in the “Dream” that never was and never will be.

Better to focus on The Dream I am actually living right now, here and now. I have lots of support all around me and if I don’t fall into that sink hole of “they must be right” and “I’m no good” then all will be well.

Dear God please give me the strength to survive. This was a direct hit from where I least expected it. I hope I’m not ruining this website and Darlene, please feel free to delete any of my posts. I won’t be upset in the least, unlike the other person who was highly offended. I am just so grateful that I have “somewhere to go” where I can LEARN whatever it is that I need to know.

Gracias, Amen.


Wow, Catherine! My heart goes out to you, that is certainly alot to handle! I would not even know where to start. Is it your niece that refers to what happened to you as “what she says happened”? Really? The one who has never met you?
Maybe you could plan a separate visit, with those family members you do love and care for, maybe New Years? I know we are not supposed to give advice , but there must be some way to visit with those who truly matter, and by pass the dysfunctional bunch.
I guess “Bill” has lost his empathy, maybe burnt out, as a psychologist? I’m glad he is not in individual practice. I wonder if he has more empathy for a common criminal, in court? It is interesting how he tries to intellectualize emotion. Perhaps that is what got him through?
They obviously dont want to look at their own stuff, which would ruin their illusion of the perfect family.
The family email tree reminds me of a witch trial!
think this post brings us back to part of Pam’s original post. We are bombarded with messages and images of having “Happy Holidays” with our families of origin, and are conditioned by the media and other organizations to believe this is the only way to a happy holiday. Pam created a group of like minded, truly loving individuals to spend her holidays with, which was such a kind and healthy thing to do for herself, and her family.
I hope that you do something kind and wonderful for yourself this holiday.
Myself, I wont be stepping foot near my FOO. Remembering all the cruel and mean things they did and said, watching my nephew languish in my sisters dysfunction, my mother, the crazy puppet master, I’m not doing it. To me, it doesnt make any sense to continue with the whack jobs on my family tree. Let them pretend alcoholism, drug abuse, collecting govt money illegally, ignoring a child’s disabilities, and viciously attacking anyone who is different is okay. I can’t do it!
Let us know what you decide! I am sorry you are going through this! But sometimes all we can do is extend a hand, and see what returns to us. You extended a hand, and were met with judgement and hostility from some. You reached out, which is healthy! Now you know the situation. As painful as it is, I would strike a line through those names on my Christmas list, and keep moving forward. But that is just me.

Big hug,


I don’t mind the quote on spiritual progress, but it’s risky to look at this in the way that if we are criticizing others, (as in the people who abused us) that we are not ready to make our sight clear. What I share in this website is HOW I changed my outlook and everything about my life and how I did relationship, how I healed my broken self esteem and overcame depressions etc. by looking at the damage done to me by other people. Some would call that judgement or criticising. I call it the truth and the only real thing that led me to healing. I had to make a few judgements so that I could validate ME for the first time.
I just wanted to share the other side of this coin.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, can you remove the email addresses and actual names from my posts? If not, could you delete them? (I could edit the post and resubmit it if necessary, if it’s even important to do so. But it’s just “my mess” so it doesn’t even need to be here).

I would hate for the individuals named to be offended or humiliated as I was when I received these emails. I would not wish this on anyone. I usually don’t post anything online without permission from the person if I am using their name, but as I said “in the heat of the moment” I just copied and pasted. THANK YOU.


Catherine, It seems to me that you are getting quite enough advice from your family, I wouldn’t dare try to analyze you or your situation and add to the confusion! When I read what you’ve written, I see that you are giving yourself some pretty good sounding advice(you know more about you and your situation than I ever could)to yourself. It was really hard for me to listen to me and trust me because I’d been taught that I wasn’t capable of making sound decisions or doing the right thing. However, I am very capable and I was able to use that capability for my benefit when I trusted what deep inside I knew was true and right. I can never know all the whys of what other people do or say but I can recognize when what they are doing isn’t in my best interest and take necessary measures to protect myself. I also, have nothing to prove to them so, it doesn’t matter what they think of me. I am my number one responsibility and when I nurture and protect myself, everything works out more smoothly and I actually have more to give to the people who actually, do love and support me.

Hang in there.



I will delete the post and you may re-submit the edited version if you wish.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, #89: What you wrote about “it’s risky to look at this in the way that if we are criticizing others, (as in the people who abused us) that we are not ready to make our sight clear.”

That makes so much sense. When I read the “spiritual stuff” about not judging and I am told this, I don’t know how to apply that to what happened to me.

You wrote: “how I healed my broken self esteem and overcame depressions etc. by looking at the damage done to me by other people. Some would call that judgement or criticizing. I call it the truth and the only real thing that led me to healing. I had to make a few judgements so that I could validate ME for the first time.”

I agree completely, and I don’t think that “looking at the facts” is judging or criticizing. It’s just a statement of interactions, like a chemical combustion:

This happened, that happened, then that happened, and this is the chain reaction. And then we have the result.”

It’s like mixing chemicals in a lab, and certain combinations have different reactions. Some give off toxic fumes, and can cause severe damage or even death. Ammonia and chlorine bleach, both used for cleaning, but highly toxic, combustible and dangerous when combined together. Separate they are very valuable as cleaning agents.

Perhaps personalities and family systems are much the same. Obviously I am highly toxic for my family of origin. Best that we are “never combined.” No contact is the only way to go, spiritually, emotionally and factually.

Darlene, I am very glad you have posted “the other side of the coin.” Thank you so much.

It’s so obvious that I have much to learn. I hope I can do it SOON. I hope I can make it through this one last time. I feel like I’ve been trapped in a very long, dark tunnel and there is a BRIGHT LIGHT at the other end. Isn’t that strange? In the midst of the morass of the mess this family I come from is in. But I’m making my own way out of it and into the LIGHT.

Thanks be to God. Please keep me safe and sound. Love to you all, Amen.


Arghhh! I apologize for giving advice! Maybe I can reframe that as to what works for me? Thanksgiving, I spent with my S.O.’s FOO, then took my mother and father out for lunch,the next day, thereby cutting the puppet masters strings and getting to watch her sulk when I got any positive attention. I would be ying, if I said I didnt enjoy that a little bit, for all the years I have taking crap from her, and had my sisters “accomplishments” shoved down my throat.
Christmas Eve, we will have no kids, they will be with their mother (unless something more enjoyable comes along for her). I like the tradition of cooking a meal with my guy, attending mass, my friend has a party we might attend. I’m not sure what Christmas day holds. Maybe witn S.O.’s FOO. I may do something on my own. In the past, I would work at the hospital, and give a young mother the day off. I found performing that act of kindness to be personally fulfiling and in spirit with the holiday. Now, working seems like I am punishing myself. It worked for me before, but now I want to do something for myself. To find a way to remember my reason for the holiday.
So, there is what worked for me!



thank you Darlene for deleting the post. I don’t think it has to be resubmitted, as you said it all and so did I. You wrote:

“I also, have nothing to prove to them so, it doesn’t matter what they think of me. I am my number one responsibility and when I nurture and protect myself, everything works out more smoothly and I actually have more to give to the people who actually, do love and support me.”

RIGHT. And I am in the tunnel, standing upright, with the darkness behind me and moving towards the light. Even after being “mobbed” by the last shred of hope I had for a “happy family reunion.” I do have other members of my “extended family” and that is all that I require. It’s ridiculous for me to hang on to an outdated image of “family” that never was and never will be.

It’s time to live in the PRESENT and that is the best PRESENT I could ever give: I could give My Self to me. So that is what I will do, all wrapped up in ribbons and bows. It’s a good present, really. At least I think so. And as Darlene said, “The truth does not require a majority vote.”



Thank you Janie for your response! No problem “giving advice.” I had asked for it and you were kind enough to respond.

Something told me as I was writing it “asking for advice” that I wasn’t supposed to be doing that. Darlene caught it in time. I tell you, I felt like I had been on an ocean liner standing at the railing on a comfortable cruise and then a tsunami wave came out of nowhere and washed me overboard! I yelled for help and the life preservers came and the life boat was lowered onto the waves and I have been able to clamber in somehow and here I am, safe and sound. Now to dry off and re-read the posts and hope and pray I didn’t make a fool of myself.

Dear Janie, I am looking forward to reading about your experience which I will do right now. I can breath again. Thank you!


Pam #90 wrote: “Catherine, It seems to me that you are getting quite enough advice from your family, I wouldn’t dare try to analyze you or your situation and add to the confusion! When I read what you’ve written, I see that you are giving yourself some pretty good sounding advice(you know more about you and your situation than I ever could) to yourself.”



No worries; I saw your comment more like ‘feedback’. For the most part you shared your own thoughts. It is directives like “don’t see them ever again” or “you must do this or that” that cause the most problems.
Thanks for sharing your situation. It is sad that so many thousands (millions) can relate to this stuff!
Hugs, Darlene


Catherine, I don’t believe we can make a fool of ourselves on here. I was glad you shared the email tree, it allowed us to see what you were going through. I identified with many portions of it. It is less crazy making when we realize we are not alone! That this is an unfortunately not an uncommon experience in families of dysfunction. The spirit of Christmas, perverted to the nth degree,in my opinion!

We had a pediatric code at work the other night. I opened the curtain to the room, just in time to see the new tech, who was giving chest compressions to an infant, crumble. I got her out of there, and listened when she verbaized the impact of what she had just been a part of her, had on her. And that was one of her worries, that she had made a fool out of herself. At that point, a few other seasoned veterans stepped in, and we explained to her, that it was never okay, that pedi codes were different, and you never knew how you would react. It just proves we are human, that we have a heart, that we value the sanctity of life and of the possibilites that could be. I think it is the same, dealing with family emotional trauma!! The unexpected occurred in both cases. You were sidelined by a tsunami, and she was sidetracked by the unexpected death of that child. She had been cruising along as well, enjoying her work of helping others, and it sounds like you help many as well! We are emotional beings, thank God!
Maybe that is a poor analogy, but it was the seciond time I had heard somebody worry about that, after a traumatic event, and I just wanted to share………


Hi Everyone!
Part two of this post is now published!

You can read it here: How Judgmental People define Other People

I am looking forward to the continued conversation! Pam makes a lot more fog busting points in the second half!
Hugs, Darlene


Pam wrote in #90: “analyze you or your situation and add to the confusion! When I read what you’ve written, I see that you are giving yourself some pretty good sounding advice(you know more about you and your situation than I ever could)to yourself.”

Thank you! This really helped “bring me back into balance,” as I feel like I was (and am) “spinning out of control.” I feel like one of those wobbly-tops that you can get going with a string, and it stays upright-upright-upright for the longest time, but then slows down and eventually just falls.

I start out fine and then BOOM something happens and knocks me out of orbit. What happened with the other side of my family, out of the blue, has really knocked my socks off. I feel like I’ve been hit by a two-ton truck when I was crossing on the GREEN LIGHT. I was doing everything right and it came out of the blue. And my “nice uncle” set the whole thing in motion and then it was 3 against one, and he chimed in too… and I don’t know why. His final statement to me was something about “see how many people don’t like you and don’t want you to come, and “you are the only one that can change you.”

I didn’t know I needed changing!

I thought I was just fine the way I was. These others have a great deal of hostility and anger towards me over the slightest things that happened quite some time ago (years, really) and they attacked me so viciously it just makes no sense at all. I had discussed the small issues with them, and it was a disagreement over a nasty email response one of them had made to an 80 year old woman on the group email response and I objected to it.

The other issue was that I brought up that I was still in therapy for what I had gone through as a child, and perhaps it would help this other person who had also possibly been molested, and he became enraged. Plus the first thing out of his mouth when I saw him after 25 years was “So the black sheep returns” when I was 58 years old! He was the one that was (one of) the family drunk for years, not me. I told him this really hurt my feelings and Lord it was “off with her head” and all the abusive statements word-for-word above.

The other was my favorite cousin, a professional licensed psychologist, who said I “should have gotten over this years ago” and obviously I have “severe issues.” What? I have seen NONE OF THEM but once or never in 25 – 30 years and this is what they are saying about me? And why?

I don’t bring any of this up, they do. But when I answer their questions, I am immediately met with “what’s my problem that I’m not over it, why am I bringing up the past, what is wrong with me, me and my drama,” and on and on and on. It’s just unbelievable.

I don’t think any of them realize in the least just how much hostility is constantly simmering in this group, how they hang on to grudges for so long, and how much cacophony they constantly live in. It’s constant and it’s cruel and I can’t believe that they all seem to think that somehow it’s alright. There seems to be no way to ever resolve any conflict in either side of the family and I DON’T LIVE THAT WAY.

I don’t have relationships like this with ANYONE in my life, outside of the tiny extremely toxic contact I have had with any of them. But I “did this to myself,” in a way, by testing the waters after so many years. I had no idea this is what these people had developed into. I had no idea that these systems were so firmly in place.

My uncle, who is the instigator of all this, is a “practicing Budhhist” and constantly spouts Buddhist sayings. He is generous and donates to many causes. He is attentive and he does not hold a grudge. But why he contributes to or lights the fire of the chaos that ensues I will never know. He used to drink and his wife was addicted to prescription drugs, but they both did “good works” and did a lot of good. I always looked up to them, even though I never felt comfortable and stayed away.

But I always wanted to have “family” just like everyone in the world does. I had hoped that I could find some connections on the other side of my family, my mother’s side. But it’s just as bad as my own family of origin, or even worse (sans the physical violence my father added to the stew).

So I am left here lost and alone “wondering what did I do.” How a licensed psychologist who knows NOTHING about what I really went through (as I don’t talk much to anyone but my closest friends about details and even then I can’t face much of it, even now) – how he could tell EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY by email that I ‘HAVE SERIOUS ISSUES” and that I should “be over it by now” – well, this is simply beyond the pale. I never talked about any of this to anyone else on that side of the family and he announced it by email, along with my uncle.

And the only reason they knew was, fool that I was, I answered their questions truthfully. I guess I should never have done that. Never in a million years did I think this would get thrown back in my face. Never in a zillion trillion years! I have never bothered any of them and have lived my life and many people admire me. Even them. But then their overwhelming need to trash me comes to the fore. It just makes absolutely no sense at all.

When my psychologist cousin who said the most hurtful things actually denied writing those things, I copied and pasted the sentences he wrote. He then said something to the effect that “I cherry picked the few sentences he wrote that might have been hurtful, so as to be able to think negatively about myself.”

I wrote back and said I did not think negatively about myself at all, but I was shocked to find out that apparently he did.

He then said “And what part of “I love you” do you not understand?

That was his closing salutation. And this was a cousin that I hadn’t seen in thirty five years, that I loaned money to, to bail out his house, and he recently loaned me a couple of thousand dollars which I repaid in two weeks. I got a long judgmental letter along with the loan about how I “obviously didn’t know how to manage my money etc etc etc” when I did none of this when I sent him $7,000.00 to keep him temporarily from bankruptcy. He ultimately lost the house and I loaned him money to fly for job interviews. I didn’t say a word about his “management” of money at the time.

So I don’t understand these people at all. Apparently it’s alright for them to harbor grudges and display the worse kind of hostility and rejection towards me, but God forbid I have said ONE THING they didn’t like! And then they try to use psychology on me to say I “want to think negatively about myself” when they were writing the most horrendous things about me!

It’s all beyond me. I feel like throwing myself off a cliff, it all seems so impossible, and I don’t know how to fly. It’s like being thrown to the wolves in the dungeons of hell, with NO WAY OUT.

I keep telling myself this is all a HUGE TRIGGER and throwing me back into PTSD and traumas from my childhood, when I was in prison and couldn’t get away… so I am deep breathing and staying still and reading and writing and reading and writing anything to keep myself staying alive. But it’s hard, oh it’s hard. I wish I could die just to get away from all this. And I know this is exactly how I felt as a child.

Being around these people from my childhood has to be the LAST LEVEL of self-cleansing and discovery. But I’ve spent my entire life trying to clean up the mess. When will it all end? I’m on an archaeological dig and I feel like I can’t hold out much longer. I’ve been sleeping so much and having the strangest dreams of being lost and alone.

Dear God please help me and protect me in my hour of need. Amen.


Thank you Janie, and the others, who have made personal comments in response. I know I am writing too much and taking up far too much space, and I will try to cut back. But I get started and it just “flows” and I’m afraid to stop for fear I will back and be paralyzed. I need a piano! I can “let it all out” on a beautiful wooden acoustic instrument for an hour or an hour and a half and it has kept me alive for many years. I hope I can find one now, even if it’s just an old upright from the Salvation Army. I’m going to look around now. Thanks to everyone for being here. THANK YOU MUCH.


Catherine, I understand needing to be heard. It’s frustrating to try and work things out with people when you can’t be heard. I know the feeling of needing to get it out, somewhere. One thing that helped me here at EFB, is reading Darlene’s story and the stories of others and realizing how common the things that happened to me are. I don’t want to minimize what you’ve been through, I know you’ve had enough of that. However, it did make my problems seem more manageable when I discovered that so many people deal with the same kinds of issues. It helps to see how Darlene overcame her problems and taught me that I too have the answers for my problems in me. I just had to find my way to trusting what I knew to be true and then act on it to protect myself.



Ah Catherine….just because this cousin of yours has a degree in psychology (so called intelligence) doesn’t keep him from drinking the “poisoned Koolaid” offered by your family. One thing I have learned is that you cannot fix stupid or crazy. As far as he goes, I’d never want a shrink who thinks anyone should just let the past go…that’s a terrible thing for him to say. Shame on him! That’s a load of manure!

The only person who seems to be having a hard time with your family’s dysfunction is you (not at all a bad thing either!). You see, they have a role designated especially for you, which the rest of them are all desperate for you to fulfill. It’s also why they are coming out of the woodwork to attack you. Since you refuse & would rather be healthy, they’re pulling out all the stops to “fix you”…to return you to your former state of being the scape goat/door mat. Don’t walk into their traps! They only know one way to be happy….dysfunctional/blaming/judgmental/hurtful. Now that you know them for what/who they really are, you can avoid the snares they set for you. Don’t allow them to tell you how or what to feel. How you feel is genuine…there is no such thing as a wrong feeling. I don’t care if one of your cousins has a psych degree…it doesn’t matter. A truly good shrink (one with ethics) would never stoop to evaluating a relative anyway, especially when he/she doesn’t have permission to do so. As for all the little digs this person has thrown to you…let those go. You’re only hurting yourself (he knows what he’s doing when he writes/says those things) to take his words to heart. You’ll never be able to change his mind on how he views you…even if you have done generous/kind things for him without passing judgment. Only you can work on your mental health, same goes for him. It’s his choice to be mired in that family…if you choose to be free of the roles they insist you play, then that’s your choice! They choose to be unhealthy, & continue the cycle from generation to generation…that is their right, until someone decides to step out of the required role (becoming emotionally healthy).

I have been sexually abused too as a child. Both my parents deny it ever happened, calling me a liar. Well I know what I remember (every detail plus the details of being neglected, used, physically/verbally abused for years), & it wasn’t my parents protecting me from dangerous situations, in fact they often put me in the middle of them & left it up to me to take care of myself. They can believe or think what they want, but I know what really happened. There’s one circumstance that I don’t know…why I had a partial hysterectomy at 11 months of age. That was covered up, & only known to me at the age of 46 when my gynecologist told me. Mom has passed away & dad won’t talk about it…protecting himself or the perpetrator since that’s more important (sick way of thinking if you ask me!). You don’t just get over abuse…doesn’t matter if it’s verbal, physical, sexual, or what…abuse is abuse is abuse. It leaves lasting wounds that often never truly heal (triggers can happen anywhere at anytime & it brings back all the horrible memories all over again)…they certainly won’t heal when others act like the abuse never happened or say something insensitive & stupid like “get over it.”

As far as loaning out money to any of them ever again…the best answer to them is “no.” They only want things to go one way, & that’s against you. You are only there to act how they expect & do what they want you to do…you are not supposed to think your own thoughts or decide what is best for you.

I’d let them all go down with the Titanic…cut them loose & let them go (but that’s just me!).




Hi Marla, I appreciate your reaching out to Catherine and I know you just care and want to help. That’s a good thing.:0)We have to be careful how we express things on this website. We can’t tell anyone what to do, for leagal reasons and also, because it’s all about eachof us finding our answers, not about adopting someone elses. We can share experiences or insights from our own lives that we think might help someone else make their own choices. It’s kind of a subtle difference, but an important one. I hope you understand and if you don’t, please, feel free to ask me any questions you may have. There’s no wish to shut anyone down here but we do have to walk a kind of thin line.



Thank you both… Pam and Marla, and especially Marla for saying “let them go down with the Titanic!” First time I’ve smiled all day!

Pam wrote: “However, it did make my problems seem more manageable when I discovered that so many people deal with the same kinds of issues.”

Pam, that’s exactly why I am “hanging on” and still have some kind of semblance of sanity! Reading the same story over and over again… I told my husband it’s as if we are all reading from the same script, acting in some kind of theater play! It’s just the most bizarre but “truthful” thing. Before I found this site I think I must have really thought I was crazy, since that’s what I have been told by this bunch (both sides of the family now) ever since I was young. Honestly, I thought I must be SICK since that’s what they kept (keep) telling me.

But once I hit this place it was as if I struck gold! Everyone here was saying exactly the opposite, with REAL EXAMPLES of abusive behavior; words and deeds and it all started to fall into place. Honestly, you have no idea what a breath of fresh air this is. It is literally saving my life.

As far as Marla giving advice, I understand that people are only supposed to talk about their own experiences, but I loved reading what Marla had to say. Finally, someone in my corner, saying what I could not form into words. I know what you mean about “finding your own answers” to, as advice can end up being quite patronizing or dependent-making, but whatever she said was wonderful to hear. Made me feel stronger in my weakest moments – as has everyone’s comments here each and every day.

Thank you Marla so much. You really made me laugh. And believe me, I haven’t been “laughing” the last couple of days. I’ve been standing on the edge of the cliff trying to not jump off. This has brought up everything, and I mean everything, from the “bad old days” that I thought were long gone. Apparently not. I guess some things just take YEARS. But I won’t give up.

I don’t know what was said in this conversation that was “off limits” but I would love to be able to talk freely, so is it alright if we exchange email addresses if something shouldn’t be posted on this public site? If so, I will gladly post my personal email.

While we are at it, is it alright to friend on Facebook?


Happy (late) Birthday, Pam – November 29! Hope you had a very good one!


Catherine, You and Marla can have any kind of personal exchange you choose. That’s between you guys. When we’re here lots of people read the comments so, we have to be careful. We can’t say things like, “You need to such and such” or “You should do such and such” or “You tell them this and that”. Does that help? We share our experiences but we can’t give one another advice. Besides, we’ve all had lots of people constantly, telling us what we should or shouldn’t do. We don’t want to do that to each other.:0)

I do know what a breath of fresh air it is when visiting this site for the first time. I had the same experience.:0)

Thanks for the birthday wish. I had a wonderful day!



Here is what my psychologist cousin wrote and then denied saying it when it was in writing in the email:

“Like she herself said, she’s 62, and should have been able to move beyond such drama long ago. But Katie is Katie, and she seems compelled to be intense with everyone she meets.”

My response was “perhaps I misunderstood your words” and I copied and pasted the above.

His response:

“Instead of seeing the gestalt of my comments and my optimism, caring, and love, you chose to focus on those few words that might help you to think of yourself in a negative light.”

My response:

“I don’t think of myself in a negative light, and that is why I found this to be so shocking. I am proud of myself for the progress I have made, and no one but no one can take that away. Again, your judgment and interpretation of me is way off. But I understand what you are trying to say and I understand that you are perhaps trying to “help.” For that, I thank you and I mostly have to thank everyone for stating their real feelings and getting their hostility out. Honest to God, I had no idea these grudges were going on. I don’t think I have judged you in any way regardless of the situations you have been in, but if I have, please accept my sincere apologies. I know what it feels like!”

* * * * *

And that was the end of that. He kept the ball going back and forth across the net a little while longer, until I said there was nothing more to talk about, but the interesting thing was that I WASN’T ANGRY OR DEFENSIVE. Not once! I was in shock and yes, I was very, very hurt and confused… but I was able to realize that after reading 4 attacks on me, I could see this sort of sick game emerging, from people who have not seen me in YEARS.

This cousin has not seen me in 35 years, but he is apparently “diagnosing me” by email! When I looked at the family as a whole, and the incredible hostility and ongoing grudges going on within this family, I realized MY MOTHER DID NOT CREATE THE SYSTEM WE GREW UP IN. SHE BROUGHT IT WITH HER FROM ALL OF THEM.

That has hit me like a bombshell in the night. Yes, it’s painful beyond belief, but it’s a FAMILY SYSTEM in operation, and not something any of them even seem to be aware of. They really do seem to be blind! Just like my cousin’s defending his statement about me and trying to twist it around onto me, as “cherry picking” and accusing me of:

“you chose to focus on those few words that might help you to think of yourself in a negative light.”

This was the most telling of all. And then for me to be able to sincerely and immediately say:

“I don’t think of myself in a negative light, and that is why I found this to be so shocking.”


This is a miraculous statement for me to say. NEVER in my wildest dreams would I think I would be able to make a statement like this automatically and immediately because it is the truth and what I truly BELIEVE. I don’t think of myself in a negative light at all. I believe I am a good person and worthy of respect. And I believe that if these people are not going to treat me with courtesy and respect, then I will respectfully and gracefully bow out. I don’t need to be there and they obviously don’t need or want me to be there, so there is no argument.

But did I see this exchange clearly? I keep thinking still that “there must be something so wrong with me for so many to hate me, and not want me around. It’s something so bad about myself that I can’t SEE what these people can see about me, and it’s so black and dark and dirty that I can’t tell what it is. It must be something so evil at my very core that they can see it and I can’t even feel it, much less recognize it, since everyone else goes on and on about how wonderful I am, how interesting, how accomplished, how generous, intelligent, productive, etc. etc. etc.

For these four people to create a list of my crimes and find me in contempt of court and guilty on all counts and “off with her head,” well no one would do that around Christmas time if they hadn’t seen me in 25 to 35 years, or had only seen me once! And had written me previous emails where I thought everything went fine. Or if it didn’t, we had exchanged phone calls or emails where I thought things were straightened out a few years ago. Boy, was I wrong.

* * * *

My difficulties came later (now) after the shock wore off, when I see that once again I have been blamed, tried and convicted with a jury trial, and the defendant (me) was never informed of exactly what was my crime (saying I was hurt being called a “black sheep” by someone who hadn’t seen me for 30 years when I was 60 years old) and daring to say this out loud? And this meant I was “bringing my drama” and “should have gotten over it by now?”

* * * * *

It seems to me that these people were the ones creating “drama.” If it were me, even if I were upset with someone, I would probably have contacted them and tried to work it out beforehand or at least I would have figured I could get through a Christmas visit after so many years. I certainly don’t hate any of them, even if I wouldn’t spend a lot of extra time with most of them. How hard could it be to “pass the potatoes, please?” When it was once in 25 years, and their father (my uncle) had just visited me in Guatemala? Wouldn’t you want to hear about the trip first-hand?

I, of course am only guessing as to what was a severe enough crime to have so many “severe issues that I should have gotten over by now” and on and on and on, but there’s something so wrong with these people to treat anyone this way.

We are in our 50’s and 60’s and 80’s, and surely people could get along for enough time to sit down and have Christmas dinner and let all this hostility and grudges go. My telling my uncle I was nervous about coming to dinner because I didn’t want to be called names again didn’t deserve this complete and total rejection by four people, and for me to be dis-invited in such a harsh way. And then have my entire history and personality dumped on because I “should have gotten over it (what is it?) by now. This makes absolutely no sense at all. But that’s the Merrick family.

They may have quit drinking but it seems that the constant conflict and cacophny of the group reminds me of what AA calls the “dry drunk.” Many of them espouse Buddhist vows, but I’ve never met any Buddhists who behave this way.

The judgments that were passed on me fell right into the description of the abuse listed in the article about Judgmental People, Part 2. Parts of the lengthy email I received were practically word-for-word. But why so much hostility?

That’s the million dollar question. I could not possibly have caused so much anguish and anger by simply saying my feelings were hurt by being called a black sheep by one family member the last time I visited. This set off a whole page of name calling and accusations that were simply incredible. They were so ugly I can’t bring myself to even reprint them on a page. But my uncle and cousins had nothing to say about any of that: just that “I am 62 years old and JUST GET OVER IT.”

Well, I have done that and the best part is that after writing a very nice, forgiving letter offering my sincerest apologies for any unintended offense which I may have committed, assuring them all that I would not attend Christmas with the family, I went straight to the online Family Tree and removed my name and all photos and comments I had made with the group.

If I could change my name and remove all traces of both sides of the family I would do that, too. I have considered doing this for quite some time, but the expenses and difficulties of living in a foreign country and the United States means it would be a LOT of extra paperwork, time and money, but I might do this anyway. Angelina Jolie did!

But the most important thing is to be able to remove any hold these people have over me. It’s a mental prison I am in, and one that doesn’t cost a dime to be set free. All I have to do is piece it together, bit by bit, to see exactly how these people operate and how the damage is done. I’ve been away from all of them for so many years and around such good people for the last seven years, that I finally have some equal and positive balance.

But it took so many good people coming into my life for me to begin to see how we are supposed to treat each other. It took me being away without the opportunity for re-injury for me to find out what it is like to be able to live in real peace and harmony. I always thought people HAD to be “lying” when they talked about this, because I had never known it. I couldn’t imagine that this could be real. But it is, and we are all capable of peace and harmony once we learn how.

It’s only by being outside of an abusive dysfunctional system and living within the peaceful productive one that allow us to see how these different family systems operate. Just like living in different cultures in different countries in the world, people are raised to respond in certain ways to certain events and occurrences, and cultures can vary widely.

I thank God every day I have been lucky enough to experience different cultures to really see and feel and experience the difference. If I had stayed (or been allowed to stay) in the culture of my family of origin, I would never have been able to learn. So as painful as it was, these devils did me a FAVOR. For that I have to thank them. I guess rejection does have a price and in this case, it was “on sale.” Who would have thought it?

Now that I live “among the faithful” in Guatemala, Central America, we live by the three P’s: Patience, Pardon and Prayer. I have added one more for myself, bringing the number to 4:

“Patience, Practice, Pardon and Prayer.”

With these simple rules, all will be well. And all will be well. All manner of things will be well.

Dear God please show us The Way. Gracias, Amen.

PS: This is a long comment again. I sincerely apologize. If these are too long don’t post them and I’ll post them on my blog. There is so much insight here, that I get going and going and going and I’m trying to hold back the floodgates but they keep on breaking free. I am apologizing in advance for the length and perhaps I could start another discussion where I could post these things without bothering or interfering with others? Or not post at all? The last thing I want to do is mess up here, this wonderful forum, which is such a saving grace for us all. Thank you in advance. Whatever you decide is fine by me. I hope this all subsides quickly, and soon. Gracias, amen.


Thanks for your more detailed response, Pam. I know I get very irritated when people are constantly telling me how I should be feeling, thinking, behaving or whatever.

Anyone that wants to write to me can at CatherineTodd2 at gmail dot com.

Thanks Marla… you made me laugh! And considering how hopeless I have been feeling for two straight days and nights, that’s quite a feat. “Let them go down with the Titanic!” Still makes me smile!

Pam, I am so happy you had a good Birthday. Mine is in Feb. and it would be such a blessing if I was in good shape and could enjoy the same. I will be doing all my “homework” relentlessly and physical, mental and spiritual exercises for the next three months while I am here. I am DETERMINED to get into GOOD SHAPE in all areas of my life. ALL AREAS, including those areas where I have to let go. I will keep that which is positive and productive and let the rest go to… well, how about “dust into the ozone?” LOL…

Better yet, let grief be transformed into joy and let us return to whence we came. The Omega / Swan Nebula is one of my favorite star factories in the universe. I’d settle for that. (You can find a gorgeous photo on the NASA website). Gracias, Amen.


Aurele in #61 wrote:

“We need a mirror (our parents) to know who we are when are teenagers and if the mirror is abusive, it’s a nightmare.
I didn’t who I was, if I was as bad as my father told me.”

That’s it. That’s the gem and the jewel. That’s the key that unlocks the mirror that still is inside of me. I DON’T KNOW WHO I AM.

I am currently, once again, being told how “bad” I am, and I don’t know! I can’t tell if I am as bad as my family is telling me.”

The worst of it is that I cannot see any “badness” in me. I can see irritation, impatience, anger, conflict, but none of it “bad enough” to call me a “bad person.” I am intense, yes, but no one has to be around me if they don’t want to be. If they don’t want me around, I will go away. I don’t torture people or talk about them behind their back. I don’t gossip, tell lies, slander or defame people. I tell the truth at all times, regardless of the cost, for I see no cost when it comes to truth and beauty. And justice is both of those.

So I never know what to do when it comes to “family” holding up a warped and distorted mirror. I believe every bad thing ANYONE says about me, if it mirrors what my family said to me. And family is doing it again right now, after my not having contact for 25 years. But this time around I am determined to drive them out of the shadows and out of their hiding places, bushwacking me from behind. I want to see their statements out in the open and bring them out into the light, where they can be seen clearly and judged for themselves. Not by people who are willing to find someone else to scapegoat; someone else to blame.

For when I stand up to them and say “Sorry, these are YOUR opinions, these are YOUR words, and they are more a reflection of YOU and NOT ME. Your opinion has nothing to do with me. Let’s stick to the facts, m’aam.”

I am my OWN POLICEMAN and I am a good detective and a good lawyer. I can and will prepare a good defense. I will ask for facts to be presented and I will take them to task. I will enforce the laws which are designed to protect people, regardless of whether they are “family members.” Just because I am related to them, does not give them immunity under the law.

I will prosecute these wrong-doers to protect and defend my self. I am the best witness for the Plaintiff, because the Plaintiff is me. My life can speak for itself. I have nothing to hide.

Dear God protect me and defend me as I go into battle. This battle is all in my mind. It is to protect my emotions and to save my soul. I deserve good treatment and the same justice as any individual living in the United States. Women and Children are now protected under the law, unlike when I was young and growing up under the Man is King of His Castle and the police did not intervene. “Stay out of family matters” was the watchword of the day, as people stood there and watched a man beat his wife to death in the driveway by his car. Surrounded by policemen who did not lift a finger to protect this woman.

Same goes for rape and child molestation. No one lifted a finger to protect females in that day and age. Freud said that any child who reported incest was “having sexual fantasies about their father and behaving in a seductive manner.”

I can’t go on with this right now; it is making me sick. But I will resume tomorrow and one of these days, sooner rather than later, I will file a case on behalf of the Plaintiffs. All the children who have grown up into adults who deserve recognition and resitution for the crimes these evil-doers have committed, and those family members who aided and abetted those criminals by silence and collusion.

Dear God protect us and defend us, and please show me The Way. Amen.


Let’s put these abusive judgmental individuals on the stand and let them be judged by a jury of their peers. It will be very interesting to see how a case like this turns out.


Catherine, You are free to do what you want with your email address but I want you to understand that everyone in the world can see it if you post it here and you may end up with a mailbox full of stuff you don’t want. As far as the long posts go, I understand what it’s like when you’re processing a lot of new information but if you want responses that are more specific, more succinct comments are easier to address. However, there is no limitations on length of comments here.



Hi Catherine…thanks for the compliments! I’d be ok with sharing emails, but I don’t want to post my email addy here. Maybe there’s another way to do that? I think Pam is right about not sharing stuff like that in a public forum. Can’t be too careful who might find it, & I have plenty of people who would dearly love to hurt me even more than they already have. It’s happened on Facebook earlier this year to me, & I just don’t want anymore drama in my life. Life is too short, & I am too old for such childish nonsense. It’s bad enough stuff like that happens all through school, but in the adult world too? That’s just wrong on so many levels! Like you, I was blindsided by people from my past whom I haven’t talked to in a very long time. They came out of the woodwork to spew garbage & make some pretty bad accusations…stuff that they really don’t know about me or the situation. It upset me pretty bad too. You’d think people could at least get both sides of a story before they go around pointing their fingers at someone. But no, it’s much better to grind salt in an old wound & blame the abused since they seem to get some perverse pleasure in causing more pain & anguish. Sad isn’t it? I can’t stop them from being on Facebook, but I did block them from my profile. Hoping that’s the end of that mess!

As far as the judging goes…they will get their turn with God. Then & only then will they have any clue how bad it can be to judge. He will be the Great Decider in getting to the truth. I dunno if I’d really want to be there…I hate courtrooms anyway but that’s another story.

Also my sincerest apologies…sorry Pam for suggesting Catherine *should* do certain things. I will have to be a bit more discerning in my words in the future as it’s never my intent for anyone to do something that they really don’t want to do. 🙂 That’s not cool either.


Marla, Thanks for understanding. I knew your intentions were good.:0)Believe me, I’ve had my problems with saying things in a way that isn’t appropriate for the work being done here. I find that learning to state my concerns differently has also, helped me in my 3D life. That’s an unexpected blessing. Mutual, equal, reciprocal, equal-value are all new relationship words that I’m learning to consider and use to negotiate my relationships and life. It’s a very different point of view for an old, former scape-goat, like me.:0)



Hi Catherine,

I agree that Freud was totally wrong with his theories of fantasies, which is in reality a way to protect abusive parents.
This theory (and the oedipe complex), is a way for him to preserve his deny from his own abuse.
Alice Miller wrote about him and she wrote some books very interesting showing how much society protects the parents and how the society is blind to the plight of the child.
Her books helps me too so much, because she is an unconditionnal lawyer of the child mistreated.


Marla wrote: “Also my sincerest apologies…sorry Pam for suggesting Catherine *should* do certain things. ”

Marla, I don’t like people telling me what to do or how to feel, but I didn’t see this in any of your responses (or anyone’s, for that matter) – I must have missed it completely! So no worries there.

I am going to try to limit my comments but thank you Pam for understanding. I was absolutely BLINDSIDED by four relatives mobbing me; people that I “thought” were “friends” or at least on a friendly basis. I was going to visit them for Christmas! But thank God the bleeding has stopped and with the responses here I can start to see their responses in a different light.

I don’t care who contacts me. I’ve been attacked so frequently by family members (now on both sides of the family) that I will save their emails and use them in court too. I love the law because even though it can be peverted, it really is a place of truth and justice. And that’s what I am after.

But you make a good point, and whoever is in charge can remove my email address if you want to. It doeesn’t matter either way, and I won’t post it again. Thanks for the warning.


Hi Catherine…sent you a personal email today.

I guess it’s good that you didn’t interpret my words wrong then…because it was never my intention for them to be a “you have to do (fill in the blank) in order to (fill in the blank). One: That never works…no one should feel led to do something. Two: Everyone’s situation is unique even though there are similarities & what works wonders for one person would be detrimental to another.

I am so happy to have stumbled across this website. So much valuable information. The internet is so wonderful for validation.


Marla, thanks for your response. Honestly, I didn’t feel that any of your comments were unwanted “advice.” I must have missed that completely! In fact, your comments made me smile for the first time in days. You wrote:

“I’d let them all go down with the Titanic…cut them loose & let them go (but that’s just me!).”

STILL MAKING ME LAUGH! And Lord I needed that. I am just shattered. Can hardly get out of bed. How in the world can people that I have never seen in 30 years, or seen only ONE TIME and would NEVER have “struck up a friendship with” practically PUT ME IN MY GRAVE?

I will never understand this in a million years. I know it must be “triggers” but I swear, I am hanging by a thread. It’s a good thing there are no cliffs or bridges around here right now. And thank God for this and other websites like it – where I can keep some semblance of sanity, and see the world “come back into focus.” I feel like I’ve entered the funhouse with all those crazy smoke and mirrors, where everything is distorted and everyone is cackling and laughing at me, pointing fingers and blaming and shaming me, and it’s “all my fault” and I’m such an awful person, and I will “destroy their family visit” and they don’t want me to come and it’s complete and total rejection due to “my issues” and “my drama” and on and on and on and I run screaming from that circus funhouse out into the light but the ghosts of the past are chasing me and there is no safe place…

Dear God save me now. I need you now. I am not in good shape but I can read through all the discussions here and pick it all apart piece by piece and most of all stay away from those flat-out hateful people… I swear, I don’t know anyone like this in my own life, for if I do, I get the heck away.

For the life of me, I don’t understand how there can be so much anger and hostility directed at me by such “well-meaning individuals” who are ‘DOING THIS FOR MY OWN GOOD.’

I am 62 years old and I have NEVER been subjected to anything like this, being mobbed and more, in so many years. It’s just unbelievable. And if you read their Christmas letters, everything is ‘JUST FINE’ and all this anger HAS TO BE BECAUSE OF ME.

You can read all about it from both sides of the family now. So it HAS TO BE TRUE. I have NO WAY OUT. At least, at this moment, while I am bleeding and broken, this is how it feels.

I am in the HUNGER GAMES, and I am THE TARGET.


You’re welcome, Catherine! 🙂 It really sounds to me like your family is doing everything they can to make you miserable. Maybe they’re miserable & can’t stand the thought of you being happy? Just a thought. People like that will put on a front…to make themselves appear so special & wonderful, but beneath the surface is a HUGE train wreck.

Mobbing is a form of bullying…the ringleaders are trying to get your whole family to join in. Hope you don’t cave into their desires. You can’t be a target if you ignore them, & don’t listen.



Aurele #115: thank you for the confirmation about Freud. He WAS an abuser and a cocaine addict who gave his patients cocaine and had an affair with his wife’s sister. God only knows what he was doing to children at the time, if he found 5 year old girls to be “behaving in a seductive manner.”

I’ll take a look at the Alice Miller books you suggest. Gracias amigas!


Pam, re-reading your comments, I see the value in learning a “new language” in how we respond and how we think about ourselves. I can hardly believe that YOU were a “scapegoat” before. I thought that role was reserved just for me! If you’ve got out of it, maybe I can too. Say a prayer and cross fingers for me. I’ve got so much to learn.


De Nada Catherine ;-). Thanks you too for the infos about Freud which I didn’t know, very enlightening !


Catherine, There are a lot of people in the world who are used as scape-goats but that’s not what God intended for them. We can all learn new ways of seeing ourselves, others, and how we relate.



I have not been on this page in a while. I am still so blown away by the similarities. Catherine, you are writing part of my story and I am so thankful. I still struggle with getting the words written. I must admit the holidays still weaken my resolve of “no contact”. I know I am much more peaceful now. I almost caved to the pressure of thinking “one sibling will get me”….I live a few hundred miles away from my family…I must keep it that way.


…and Pam – of course, thank you for opening your life up to us in a way that helps us sort ours…..


You’re welcome, Tamara.:0)



Pam, re-reading through all these comments, I keep going back to yours in #31. You wrote:

“I really didn’t understand the full lack of regard and level of contempt my family had for me”

That has surely been the truth in my own situation, but this really happened to YOU? But you are so well-spoken and so “at peace” and “centered” with all this. How could this be true? I just can’t imagine it, not one little bit. Not one iota!

You wrote: “Hang in there. It does get better. I know there were times when I regreted bringing it all out in the open. It was like I started a ball rolling and there was nothing I could do to stop it. However, I kept my eye on the ball and saw it through.”

Tnis is exactly how I feel: What in God’s name have I unleashed upon myself? And I was stupid enough to think these people would WANT resolution and to be FREE of blame, anger, hatred and fear. Boy was I wrong!

And what was entailed in “keeping your eye on the ball?” What is the ball – “the truth?” Recovery? What is there to “see through?”

I have been estranged from my family for 25 years. Until my mother was dying, I had no idea I had been waiting ALL MY LIFE FOR RECONCILATION TO OCCUR. I really believed this would happen! After all, isn’t that what always happens? Who ever heard of a mother who DIDN’T do this?

Then to have my sisters go after me tooth and nail, and as someone else said “relatives coming out of the woodwork” against me (happening right now, and it’s two years after my mother died!) – well, I can tell you it feels like I AM THE SNOWBALL barreling downhill, out of control.

The only time I ever felt like this in my life was when I was a first-time, rank beginner skier first time on skis, and was put on the Intermediate/Advanced slope and I was flying down the mountain and heading straight for the trees or a cliff and I had to throw myself down onto the snow to keep from going over.

Ski patrol raced to save me as I lay crumpled in the snow and I spent the night throwing up blood and passing out in my room. It’s a miracle I didn’t have a broken bone or end up dead! But I came out of it and I haven’t skied since.

But here I have to get out of that giant frozen ball of snow that is hurtling down the mountain side. I have to stop myself before I slam into a tree or go straight over the cliff. And there’s no ski patrol to pick me up after I throw myself onto the snow to stop myself. All I can do is read and write and read and write and educate myself and put my feelings and my experience into perspective. By picking apart everything that is going on and put the puzzle pieces back together and see the whole picture, pretty or not.

And this I am doing, painful though it may be. Seeing all my own emotional reactions set in motion by these huge tremendous triggers that are coming my way. It’s like having atom bombs being thrown at me and going off all around me, as I sit here typing away and rereading everything I can get my hands on.

I am seeing that my mother did not create the hell I grew up in. She was raised in a chaotic, conflicted and vindictive environment that knew little if any peace, and they have little if any peace now. And no conflict resolution skills, that is for sure!

So I will go back and re-read your original discussion post. And all the comments. It’s all new to me so I have to read it over and over again but it’s my “homework” and I was always good about finishing homework and turning it in on time! So back to work I go.

Gracias, amen.


Catherine, Yes, it really did all happen to me and the ball is the truth. I was stuck for a long time thinking that I had to reconcile with my family in order to find my own healing. Though we were in contact with one another and I even took my parents in, gave them a home on my property, and my husband and I did many things to care for them, I was constantly, over my lifetime denied any reckoning and there was no complete reconciliation. It was all play pretend and that can last only so long. I took care of my parents for 11 years and it became unbearable. I asked for help from my siblings and that’s when it began to unravel. That unraveling was a five year process during which I began to understand many things differently because I’d buried them with a little girl’s understanding and I was looking at them again as a mature woman. I did stick to the truth and my perception of it and because of EFB, I realized that I didn’t have to reconcile with my FOO to heal. I can validate myself and I knew the kinds of changes I needed to make to have a healthier life. I didn’t have to play pretend and be a part of the denial that made me think I was crazy. I’m not crazy. The way I’d been taught to view myself and others was crazy. It damaged me but truth healed that damage.



Your last comment to Catherine is so fantastic; it’s the snapshot picture of how this works. I particularly wanted to highlight what you said here:

Pam wrote: “That unraveling was a five year process during which I began to understand many things differently because I’d buried them with a little girl’s understanding and I was looking at them again as a mature woman. I did stick to the truth and my perception of it and because of EFB, I realized that I didn’t have to reconcile with my FOO to heal. I can validate myself and I knew the kinds of changes I needed to make to have a healthier life. I didn’t have to play pretend and be a part of the denial that made me think I was crazy. I’m not crazy. The way I’d been taught to view myself and others was crazy. It damaged me but truth healed that damage.”

It is so important that I realized that
A) I was not a little girl anymore, unable to survive without my family
B) I didn’t need to reconcile with my family in order to heal.
C) I can validate MYSELF and I used the TRUTH to do that.
D) I am not crazy

Thanks for sharing Pam and thanks so much for guest posting this whole week. I enjoyed doing a few other things this past week!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene & Pam,
Comment #129 resonates with me! Excellent points A-D! That’s what I’ve been working on & I have to honestly say I’m there after starting this healing process about 5 years ago. Still a work in progress but I’ve come a long way & the pain is a lot less these days!…Thanks for EFB!! Triggers are there yet I’m aware & can usually turn the negative thoughts around & take care of me.


Darlene & All, I’d like to add an E. to that list.:0)Triggers are your friends. I’d always heard and read that people who had PTSD needed to avoid triggers. Here at EFB, I learned that triggers are avenues to a deeper understanding of the truth. When I learned to face them and take control of them, use them for my benefit, they no longer sent me spinning and reacting to things inappropriately. Onece in awhile, I can be caught unaware but I manage to reel it in pretty quickly. That in and of its self has given me much better control over my anxiety.

The four things you listed + the one I just added, made a world of difference in my life. It opened a whole new world of understanding and relating. I’m really not a defect, after all.:0)

I always enjoy writing for EFB and the conversations are great. It’s wonderful to be able to talk about things I kept secret for so long and to know that it helps others, is an added blessing that I never imagined. Thank you, Darlene.



Hi Everyone~
Thanks again to Pam for contributing TWO guest posts in a row.
**I have published a new post today; some of it was inspired by the conversations going on this past week. Here is the link: “When Friends and Family say Mean and Hurtful things”
Looking forward to the feedback on this one! It’s ‘a bit of a rant’…
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Pam and Darlene for DETAILS of “how you did it.” Everyone talks in generalities which I could never understand. NOW I can, when it is explained outright with simple details and examples.

Pam wrote:

“Yes, it really did all happen to me and the ball is the truth. I was stuck for a long time thinking that I had to reconcile with my family in order to find my own healing.”

Darlene said the same thing. And Darlene states “Triggers are your friends.”

Whew! You are right; everyone says we are to “avoid triggers” but how to do that? I have avoided my family for YEARS and when I finally came back in contact, when my mother was dying, all those TRIGGERS were right there, waiting for me. And you both are right stating I “buried these things as a child,” with a child’s viewpoint on all of them.

Now I am a grown up adult and I’m clearing out the wreckage and digging my way out of the mausoleum that was set for me. But I made it through! I SURVIVED, and very well, I might add. I might have done better if I hadn’t been disabled for so many years, but even overcoming a disability or just plain learning to accept it and live with it in spite of having it can be of great benefit, and something to be proud of.

I have been writing and writing and writing nonstop these last few days here on this website, on my blog, and to my supportive friends. If I stopped for one second I didn’t know what I would do, and I feared for the worst. I have never tried to commit suicide but I never know if “this is going to be the one.” That comes from being a child and wishing I were dead the entire time I was growing up.

But my desire to ESCAPE from the prison I was in was STRONGER and I can see now that this is what saw me through. This is how I survived, along with the grace and power of God. My God inside of me; my guardian angels who watch over me. My Higher Self even though I don’t belong to organized religion or go to church. My garden is my church and my garden is me.

Finally, after days and days of writing that I wanted to “jump off a bridge” and I was “hanging by a thread,” I “LET MYSELF JUMP.” I did it today; I did it in my mind.

And the funny thing is, I was jumping with a bungee cord! Something I have always wanted to try, but have never dared to do. I’m 62 years old now and not sure that “something might break,” but I can imagine doing it.

So today in writing to a friend, this is how I described it. And this sounds just like me! No “Leaping to My Death” and letting my enemies win. No, I became an acrobat and a gymnast just like I’ve always been. Who would have guessed it? That strength and will can still hold true?

When I let mentally let myself “jump off the bridge” today, I swam underwater, holding my breath, far far away, to a place where my tormentors could never find me. I danced through the clouds and leapt in the sun and turned somersaults and grew wings and flew high into the heavens above. I came too close to the sun and I heard the siren song, and crashed back down to earth, where the ghosts of my past were waiting for me, haunting me with their keening song. They had been buried for so long, but their burial grounds had never been blessed. Their curses still held strong.

And now I’m digging graves, and will give all these things a proper burial. I don’t know how long it will take, but I will see this job through. I will be free.


“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

Martin Buber

This is one of my favorite quotes that describes the journey we are on. And by revealing our own secrets, we will find our way home. Thank you EFB. I could never have done any of this, these final breakthroughs, if it hadn’t been for you. Gracias to everyone here! Amen.


Another excerpt from “Digging Graves:”

I am so sick of hearing “there is no point in dwelling on it” as if the ghosts of the past don’t exist and don’t haunt us in unconscious and conscious ways. These very same people go on to express anger and grief and do everything in their power to keep the lid on the coffin… Sitting there having a glass of wine, drinking a beer or smoking a joint and saying “What coffin? I’m sitting on my couch!”

I WILL lay these ghost to rest. Once and for all, they will be recognized for who and what they are, with their hurts angers resentments and fears from the past… They will be given a PROPER BURIAL.

I have spent twenty years in the mountains and in the deserts on an archeological dig. Now I am digging graves. It’s time to lay all of of this to rest.



Thank you Marla… looking back before I got caught up in all this crazy “family” business (at my instigation, I might add), I think I must have had some “peace.” And I think I am finding my way back to it now. Finally!

I am never sure I’ll be able to get my balance back, and always afraid that I might drown, but I never do and I come out of it all with a clearer picture each time. And truth is how we pick apart the twisted knots and put the puzzle pieces back together and the picture will emerge. We can use Occam’s razor if necessary!

I was so depressed about upset about my family estrangement and rejection before all this happened, I don’t think I really appreciated the peace and tranquility I did have until I come back and that peace was completely shattered. “You don’t miss the water until the well runs dry…” (singing here)

But now I do have my balance back, and I am beginning to “see clearly.” What else can I do? Kill myself? Kill them? Run away for 25 years and avoid them at all costs? No. I don’t need to do anything like that.

It’s time to simply look at the situation clearly, and look at every person’s comments, reactions and behavior. Including my own. “Just the facts, M’am” and the facts speak for themselves.

As Darlene said, “The truth does not need a majority vote” and I don’t need validation or agreement from my dysfunctional family of origin. The more they invalidate me and attack me or react defensively, the more I know I am on the right track. With care and consideration, and a clear eye, a steady hand, and attention to detail, I can re-wire myself.

All I have to do is avoid re-injury by not having any more contact. I believe that they won’t bother me if I don’t bother them, by emailing or asking questions as to why they have treated me the way they did, or if they want to try for resolution, which they might say they do but our family does not know how to resolve any conflict. So any answer will be a lie because they are the Trojan Horse with enemies inside the “gift” waiting to get out, or they are mentally ill will severe personality disorders that simply will not allow them to resolve anything. Mood swings, mistaken mental interpretations, twisting the truth, changing the facts, being the victim when they are the attacker… it never ends with any of them, and I get caught up in and I begin to behave this way. That’s the worst of it.

My family is like a toxic virus that infects me whenever I am around them, and I have no vaccine to protect myself as yet. But the real vaccine is TRUTH and MEDITATION, and with both all will be well. I also realize that I am just as toxic to them as they are to me, as we are polar opposites and diametrically opposed, with one end for Truth and the other end for Denial. And never the twain shall meet! And my “truth” is as much an attack on them as their “denial” is for me. So I will let them rest in peace and I will go my own way.

I did it before for 25 or 30 years, and never realized until my mother died how much I had been waiting for a “deathbed reconciliation.” I really believed this, and wondered for years when and how this would happen. Would I go if I were called? What would I say? Who would be present and would they attack me? I had planned to fly out there separately and make my goodbyes but even that was refused me and I was attacked for even wanting to. As recently as a few days ago, and my mother died more than two years ago! But I was still hurt and trying to find out “why.”

Now I know why: she did not want me there, never loved me, and had no desire to reconcile anything. Punishment and Rejection runs deep in our family system, and it’s too bad and it’s too sad, but I don’t have to be a part of it. I tried and I died but I’m still here, much to their dismay. But it’s all over now including the shouting, as if I have no contact they can’t shout at me any longer. What a relief!

So it’s best to keep myself away and not get caught up in their magnetic field. Facing one way we are in great opposition, in the other direction we are slammed next to each other, impossible to remove. Just like powerful magnets that we used to play with as kids. Are the magnets “bad” or “toxic” in this situation? No, they are just enmeshed or opposed. And I chose to not be magnetized by them so I will keep my distance and save my self. Easy enough said and now easy enough to do. I hope!

I guess this is one positive thing that has come out of all this turmoil since I returned. And I hope it will be the last!

But there’s such an easy solution:

“Just Say No.” And this time, it won’t be running and hiding to avoid them; it will be having given it my best shot and having the same unresolvable problems over and over again. So this time I can sincerely from the bottom of my heart say “Adios enemigos.”

friend = amigo
enemy = enemigo

I really thought we might have a basis for a friendship, or at least “friendly / civil relations” with my family of origin, but in my case it is just not possible. It seems this will never come to pass.

But the funny thing is, after trying for so many years, I have done my best and I can let it go. In good part due to our wonderful forum, where I have – for the very first time – found true support and understanding, and a way to “put all the pieces back together,” based on TRUTH this time around. As Darlene always says, here we have a way to “re-wire ourselves.” I’ve always known I needed to do this and wanted to do this, but never knew how. Darlene and everyone on here has shown me how. And love and support is here every single day, 24/7.

It’s changed my life!

I’m going to post our email exchange in the forum, too, if you don’t mind. If not, let me know and I’ll ask Darlene to remove it. Thank you so much for writing. I can’t believe how much progress is being made, in spite of, or because of, these terrible responses I have been getting. But as Darlene says:

“Triggers are your friend.” They really DO show us just what we still need to work on! And so I do and my guardian angels and all my friends, in person and online, see me through. Thank God for the internet, and miracles great and small.

Happy Holidays! Your friend, Catherine Todd


Please do not cut and paste personal email into the comment forms here. I just edited a comment that you made to Marla where you included your personal communication with her and her private email to you. By doing this, Marla’s full name was posted; something that she did not choose to do herself. (I have removed all of it now) Please be more careful in the future.
Thanks, Darlene


I could relate to alot of what you said in your coomment #136. Your insight into how your FOO are polar opposite like magnets, so resonated with me. I think my FOO & I are like opposites in that I seek the Truth & they live in Denial. There is no desire to change their ways or face their demons. I’m not loved the way that I’ve needed to be Loved & that has been painful. Although, I’ve chosen to have minimal contact with them. They don’t abuse me anymore, since I set my boundaries & limited direct contact. I really just want to be Loved for the person I am, that’s at my core. This awareness just came to me the other day when talking with my husband. He pointed out the Truth that my FOO has been rejecting me all along, which I clearly see, however he does not understand why I have not cut them out by now. Yes, I had to be honest with myself that I’ve been holding out for some reconcilation, which I now believe will not happen. They are incapable of admitting their mistakes & project their negative feelings onto me. Christmas is hard, since it brings up past memories & feelings. Not anywhere near the pain I used to feel, because of one important thing I know the “Truth”…My husband actually said to me, “The truth will set you free!” He has never said that to me. Didn’t realize he even thought that way. My husband & I are closer now, that I’ve opened up & shared about my FOO. I’ve been doing that for years, however, it’s like he gets it now, esp after being humiliated & shunned by my FOO. He saw first hand how they can be & he has walked away from them. I chose to support him, by cutting contact with my FOO on Christmas Eve,about 4 years ago. I did not have it in me to be pretend everything was fine. I felt betrayed & abandoned…the two most painful emotions in my opinion. My FOO takes sides & it’s usually with other mean/abusive people in the family. I’m not that way & you’d think they would be grateful to have a dtr like me. I’m realizing so much lately, that I deserve better & I’m worthy of love. I don’t need to grovel for it by being the bigger person or overlook their mean ways. I feel as if I have risen above their negativity, since it’s been less painful for me. That may have a lot to do with sticking to my no direct contact rule since this past July. Although I have minimal contact by FB, I can control that by ignoring them or choosing what I will respond to. I’m strong willed like my FOO, however the biggest difference is when I Love someone it’s real. It’s hard for me to cut all ties, when I have bonded with my toxic family. I learned to Love the Wrong/Unhealthy people- my FOO, while denying my own happiness. I’m happier since seperating myself from them. I feel like my true self & my own person. I value being an individual not a mindless clone/reflection of my FOO. I believe they see me as the bad guy, which is so far from the Truth! I realize my worth. I focused on their positive qualites, which they do have, they aren’t psychopaths, although it can feel that way with their rejection & nastiness. I’m a fighter & the more I push back the more resolved they become. They have chosen not to acknowledge my feelings & that is hurtful to me. I really thought they loved me, but whatever it is, it’s not real love. I have real love with my kids by accepting them for who they are & validating their feelings….They are worthy too 🙂


Hi Everyone
I just published a new post by Pam! ~ This week PAM shares about the process of forgiveness (of child abusers) as it was for her. I look forward to the conversation!
Here is the link The Process of forgiving child abusers by Pam Witzemann
See you there!


Approval from our mothers is so important to our emotional development. As children we see ourselves reflected in their eyes. If the reflection is bad, we feel bad. If the reflection is good, we feel good. At the age of 46, I have only just let it in, that my mother attempts to control me with her high standing morals and ethics and judgments. She is a highly ethical person and I have always followed her guidance. Now that I am doing something she disapproves of, I find it hard to escape her condemnation, hanging over me like a cloud. When I ask myself how I feel about what I’m doing, I have no problem with it. She has just vented her feelings about my actions and I am resisting creeping back into my fear of her disapproval. Perhaps I am being unethical, but I want to come to this awareness on my own this time. So tired of living my life in fear of her fears.


Hi Lili
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
You found the right website! When I look back over my life, I see that the disapproval seemed to be more frequent and today I realize that it wasn’t so much about me as it was about them needing me to jump through their hoops more and more as a way of proving their worth by allowing them to have so much impact on me. I was full of self doubt because I had never been approved of so I didn’t even know how to think but when I realized that it was never about me, a whole new world opened up and the truth began to seep in!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene
(author of emerging from broken)


Its kinda messed up my mother lived a similar life. Ive heard the dark stories of all the horrible things she went through. She often says that even though the men did a lot of damage her mother was many levels worse. Now I’m 21 and their is no approval or validation to be found in her or my grandmother. My mother supported me and my two siblings on an artist salary. we never went hungery But her words cut like a knife. I can definitively say that if I had validation from my mother I wouldn’t be so twisted on the inside. She still has little hope but I tell you what I have and that’s a choice……. no more of this ……not ever


I can so much relate to this story of you , with my own experiences my relationship with my mother is quite the same, when I was reading this article it felt like my heart was speaking like this is about me like I’m talking about my mother and I don’t know why but there is a comfort in knowing that someone can actually get what is actually going on , I love my mother but I don’t know how to get her realize what she is doing to me, I don’t know how to get out of this misery and self pity.

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