‘Make better Choices’ and other Directionless Directives

overcoming low self esteem

The New Deal

This week I keep running across sayings, posters and quotes that I find frustrating because they are all sayings and directives that I believed in and strived towards for so many years. The problem was that in reality I was spinning my wheels and not really making any progress with moving forward and away from my struggles, depressions, and oppression. Today I see some of these sayings as “directionless directives”. They sound great, ideal in fact, but they didn’t actually HELP me.

 They motivated me and inspired hope in me for about twenty minutes or even a few days before the familiar feeling of personal failure set in once again. I thought I was the only one who could not achieve the decisions these little sayings were meant to inspire.

For instance the directive “Stand up for yourself even if you stand alone”; No one ever empowered me to know how to do stand up for myself. No one actually even stood up for me. I was a victim in my own home for most of my life and as I grew into my twenties and thirties I tried to change the course of my life by trying to follow some of these directions but standing up for myself was not something I knew how to do or even felt that I had “the right” to choose to do. I had no idea where to even START standing up for myself.

My self esteem had to be repaired and restored first. I didn’t know that I didn’t actually deserve the disregard for my feelings that was my reality.  In my victim mentality I thought that the way to emotional health was compliance to the wishes of others and self sacrifice. The message that I actually believed whether I was aware of it or not, was more like “don’t stand up to anyone and you will be safe”.  

The directive “Don’t “LET” anyone abuse you” makes me shudder. It implies that we LET people do this abusive stuff to us.  It isn’t that I went around giving my permission for someone to treat me like dirt. Have you ever talked to a victim of domestic violence? The reason that most women have trouble leaving is because they have been convinced that they DESERVED the beating. I didn’t LET anyone abuse me; I just didn’t know that I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. I didn’t know my value. My self worth had not been set in place yet. The foundation for self esteem and self worth that should have been set in place when I was a child was missing.

Before I could “not let” anyone abuse me disrespect me, devalue me, define me or disregard me, my self esteem had to be repaired and restored.

What about this one; “Your life is a result of the choices that you make. If you don’t like your life it’s time to start making better choices.” I have a real issue with this one; I tried to “make better choices” for at least 20 years before I finally started to dig into WHY I made the sometimes disastrous choices that I made. The answers were not about “just change and presto all will be well”. The answers were in facing how I arrived at such a broken place.

It is so simple for people to spout off all these “oh so easy answers” to all of life’s problems but the HOW part of it is not so easy. And when I start talking about the “how part” many people run for the hills. There is a huge fear of facing the pain that facing the truth brings and I think that fear goes hand in hand with the fear of taking the action that comes right after the clarity and seeing the truth.  

I am so glad that I realized that I am worth the effort that it took to overcome the belief system that had been set in place for me by abusers. I didn’t know that I was worth it at first, but I kept going forward long enough to find out and today I know that I am worth every tiny, huge or medium effort that I put into my life.  

Before I could make better choices and before these little posters and quotes were actually uplifting instead of a reminder of “my weakness” I had to find out how I got to where I was. I had to understand and VALIDATE what had happened to me in the first place and the damage that it casued. I had to face the truth about the origins of the broken and I had to do the work to repair it. I had to fight for me before I could stand up for me. The solution was in changing the false messages that I believed about myself back to the truth. THEN I made better choices.

There was an order in this process of healing; and I didn’t start at the end. The solution was not in these deceptively easy sounding directionless directives.

Thankfully, there is a solution and that is what Emerging from Broken is all about.  

Please share your thoughts and perhaps some directionless directives that you have heard. Remember that you may use whatever name you wish in the comment form. Although Emerging from Broken has a facebook page, the comments here are not shared on Facebook.  The EFB community is growing every day. You are not alone!

Exposing Truth one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

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


Related Posts; another directionless directive is often found in the whole subject of forgiveness. I have already written about those ones and if you are interested, they can be found here; Forgive the Abusers? A bit of a Rant and The Confusion created around Forgiveness,

Also see: Love is Patient Love is Kind A bit of a Rant

Inspirational quotes that cause Harm

When Inspirational Material triggers Self Blame

Categories : Self Esteem



I remember people saying to me often, when I would bring up an issue and try to talk it out, work through it something like “you can either worry about it or just keep going.” As if my feelings were worthless and I should just bury, ignore them and go with the flow. This was highly incorrect–my feelings of apprehension were not random ‘worrying,’ they were valid and trying to tell me something. Shortly after someone said this to me, I found that in fact my life was in danger through the very situation I had tried to talk to them about. The idea that “worrying” is always a bad thing, and strong people don’t ‘worry’ but just soldier on is ridiculous and shallow. There are consequences for ignoring and repressing our body’s signals.

All of these directives try to keep people locked in the present–and of course that too is a directive itself, to “leave the past in the past,” “live in the moment,” that “you can’t have a future if you have a past” etc. They say it is all your fault, and you should be able to change overnight as a result of hearing their moralistic statements. But unless we have empathic support from others to go back and fully examine our pasts and how it led to where we are today, there is no way to break those old cycles. And if our lives are 100% our choices right now, then there is no way to hold abusers accountable; we just see ourselves as weak for “letting them get to us” and are filled with admiration for these great gurus who supposedly follow their own advice. Actually often times they just give people an ideology to follow with a built-in scapegoat to misdirect their anger onto–anyone who doesn’t follow the message.


and that is still how I feel today. Don’t stand up for yourself don’t stand up “to anyone” and you will be safe. I told my little brother (who was not adopted) that my cardiac medication had to be increased as a result of the mistreatment from my adoptive mother, and he told me, “You are full of shit.” I then said, “how couldyou be so cruel?!”, and he said, “Keep it up (the complaining, and talking about it) and you will see!” Welcome to my world. My little brother and my little sister was not adopted, and treated completely different than I was.


Hi Caden
I like your observation and statement that these directives are meant to keep people locked in the present. That is so true! And I got stuck on the directives you mentioned for years as well. I tried everything before I tried facing the pain and quit trying to leave the past in the past. (interesting that my past IS in the past today and yet I talk about it in one way or another daily) Oh don’t they just love it when we leave the past in the past? It works out for everybody but the trauma sufferer! I am glad that I finally realized that facing this stuff is the the easiest way and it seems the only effective way to actually go forward!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Honey
Welcome to emerging from broken
The truth is that I was not safe anymore by staying so compliant etc. I was suffering from a life time of invalidation. I am so sorry that you are being bullied by your brother. I think that you will find understanding and solution here in these articles.
Hugs, Darlene


You took the words right out of my mouth, Darlene! I look at those little signs and think the same thing! Definitely sharing this post on my page!


Darlene, I’ve been thinking about this lately, too. There are so many wise sayings that don’t quite fit a survivor who is still broken inside. No one can sacrifice of one’s self until that self has a chance to be. Self sacrifice can only be made from a position of power not weakness. Giving of one’s self doesn’t mean being someone’s door mat but if you’ve been trained from birth to be a door mat, it’s impossible to be anything else. The only answer is for a person broken inside from abuse to become whole. Then survivors can benefit from all the wise sayings that really only apply to people who come from healthy families and are healthy.



To be able to be loved, you have to learn to love and respect yourself as much as you love others…….has to be THE least favorite directive of all of them for me. I was spinning in circles my entire life until just a couple of months ago trying to figure out how to love myself. I used to hear or read things like this , but no one ever seemed to understand me if I dared to say that I didn’t know HOW. And I didn’t know how to at all. Until I accidentally stumbled across this site. All of a sudden for the very first time in my life everything I read seemed to make perfect sense to me and I felt understood for all of my pain, anger, grief, trauma etc. So, I HATE that saying because it is useless. I would never think to say that to someone. I think those directives are what keep people feeling hopeless and confused. I also think that the people who coin these phrases are not meaning to be insensitive, but clearly they lack a depth of understanding and intelligence in their attempts to help. It is the truth that when you go back to where you got broken to begin with, and allow yourself to face it all….that is when you can heal. For me when I healed, that was when I instantly fell in love with myself. It has been like nothing I ever experienced before. That is why directives like that are so annoying!


My most hated saying, and a favourite of my Mom ( my stepfather doesn’t even care enough to pretend) when she is outright side stepping accountability is, “I cannot change the past, only the future.”. This used to absolutely infuriate me! I used to feel like it was such a belittling way of excusing any and all of their blame, putting it back on me by my inability to move forward and just outright denial.

And while I’m in no way out of the woods emotionally or mentally, I am certainly more aware and instead of being infuriated by this tactic hid within a saying, I am mildly amused by its futility. It is stating that she will change and begs the question of how or with what tools??!!

I think a bigger saying to fire back is, “if you don’t learn from it, history is bound to repeat itself.”. That is a great mantra for the healing heart because it reminds us mentally that we are going into that same lions den time and time again IF we don’t break the cycle by learning the dynamic and becoming safely unenmeshed.

Darlene, you are so right about these well meaning directives! They just feel like bad directions or an out of date map, sort of true but you need more info.

Slightly off topic, but I love music and have some songs that I use to sing (scream) along to that lighten the lad a bit. Does anyone else do this? At the moment it’s “somebody that I used to know” by Gotye and “Blow me one last kiss” by Pink. Well, my sister who is 12 yrs younger is in the process too and we’ve gone low to no contact with the parents. Anyway, she sent me a voice MSG tonight of her singing the song by pink in her car. It was nice not feeling so alone. I used to think she was the golden child but she’s a victim too and we’ve worked out that I wa Cinderella and she Rapunzel (an analogy from a book on Narcissism I read).


Once again I can totally relate to this article. I’ve tried to talk to my ‘mother’ and sibling about what being abused did to me. I was harshly criticized and blamed for not being able to ‘get over this.’ The last time I spoke with my ‘mother’ she accused me of lying about the abuse I endured from her and other relatives. I have since gone NO contact w/her which was about a month ago. My decision was not a rash one but one that has taken me over 18 years to execute-and she was being abusive and tactful right up until the point I went no contact w/her. I haven’t EVER felt this free. Free from judgement. Free to go about my life w/out criticism or ridicule for just being MYSELF. Free to just BE-w/my husband and children and not have to keep up my narcissist mother’s constant childish commands and requests. She’s draining and manipulating. I need to live my life FREELY…I’ve NEVER known what that felt like until now-and even now I’m waiting for the ‘other shoe to drop.’ Darlene-thank you. The more articles I read, the more I validated I feel. I was ABUSED by many and it isn’t just a figment of my imagination. Now I am grieving. But at least I’m grieving FREELY. Thank you Darlene. Thank you.


I am going through such a difficult time right now. In short, due to my no contact with my mother, my entire family has started to call/text me and I am feeling so overwhelmed. I keep getting told “Life is too short” and that I will regret my decision. Due to going no contact with my mom, I am not able to see my family at family gatherings, yet no effort is made (even when I ask if they will) to get together with me on my own. I got a phone call today from an uncle who never calls me stating that he just wanted me to come over so we could all talk. This is getting so insane. Mimi especially knows the backstory. I don’t even know what to do right now. There is a wedding coming up and when I said I would go, I was asked “How are you going to go to the wedding if you won’t have contact with your mom?” I feel like just giving up on everyone except my husband and his family. Everyone challenges my decision at every turn. I’ll write more tomorrow when I’m not so emotionally exhausted. Thanks for reading/listening!


The saying that sticks out in my mind right now is “Hurt people, hurt people” Really? I don’t go around hurting people, I have every right to according to this Directional Directive but I don’t. You choose to hurt people because you’re a bad person that does bad things.Not because you were hurt.


Hi Pam
Yes, exactly. My only answer was to become whole. I know that these sayings don’t intend to cause harm, but they actually have the oposite of the intended effect on many survivors.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


I stand corrected “Hurting people hurt people”


Hi Diane
Yes, that is one of those “oh it sounds so easy” sayings too. When I look back today on the times when I was misunderstood and put down for my daring to say “how” or things like that, I realize that my honesty scared the crap out of people. That was about THEM and the fears they have. I have been confronted about my “honesty” many times since I started writing publically and it always seems to be about someone trying to protect the lies that THEY live under. The lies that they believe hold their lives together.
Hugs, Darlene

Something I neglected to mention in the blog post itself was that all these sayings and posters are posted in survivor groups on facebook. They come through my feed and people post them on my EFB facebook page. Survivors are struggling to believe this stuff that to me when I look back was so hopeless so unhelpful. I know that no one intends to hurt anyone with these sayings and I know that they are meant to inspire! I just have a deeper understanding of how much harm they actually did to me when I could not achieve the ideal and turned on myself once again; most of that was not conscious either!


It IS a belittling way of excusing themselves and put the focus back on you. When I finally stopped the spin long enough to see clearly, I realized how good “they” are at covering their butts and keeping me from “going there”. I have a post coming up about a letter I got from my sister a couple of weeks ago. It was such a great example of how the whole world is distorted in dysfunctional family systems.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

OH and about Music ~ I was going to write an article once about the Goyte song because it relates so much to what I am talking about in this site. And about Pink, you know her song “So what” well that was my mantra song for about a year after I got over the shock of my family walking away when I stood up to them;
“So what? I’m still a rock star,
I got my rock moves
And I don’t need you
And guess whatI’m having more fun
And now that we’re done
I’m gonna show you tonight”

I love music too!
p.s. my mantra song when I was in the hardest part of the process (the first two years) was “nobodys gonna break my stride”. I fought for what I have today! I fought for me! (and I won!) Hugs, Darlene


Hi ButtaFli
My mother was big on saying stuff like that too. I can relate to the feelings of freedom that you talk about from having no contact. I remember when I realized how different things were when I had some space from the constant judgement and put downs. My grandmother (my mom’s mom) was worse so I always felt sorry for my mother and I excused her because I knew how she had been treated growing up. But wow, today I realize that has nothing to do with anything! I didn’t continue that with my kids.
The truth set me free!
About grieving; that is an important stage too. When I came out of the fog I realized how much of my true self had been squished and it was sad. I realized how much of my life was lost and that was so sad too. I realized how many choices that I made because of my conditioning and my belief system and through the grid of false love and that was sad but eventually I also realized how much hope that I had now because of the clarity!

Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Truthbtold;
Oh yes, the old “life is too short” line! That one deserves it’s own article!
It is like they are saying; Life is too short to feel your feelings. Life is too short to request to be equally valuable to all others. Life is too short to hold someone accountable for crimes against children. Life is too short to stand up for yourself. Life is too short for you to have the right to say no…. I could go on but you get the picture.
Thanks for sharing; I know how hard this is. Please keep sharing and be gentle with yourself.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Jane
Welcome to EFB!
I have heard it said both ways “hurt people hurt people” AND “hurting people hurt people”. Although this saying is true, it is the “excuse” that seems to jump out at survivors. Like that saying just solves everything or it is the answer to everything. And yes, the problem IS that this saying implies that hurt people have some sort of “right” to hurt ~ I was stuck for YEARS knowing that my mother had been so badly hurt by her mother, and I thought that if I could just love her enough (by never drawing any boundary against her, by compliance etc) that she would finally stop hurting me. And we all know that didn’t work. Until I stood up to her, she didn’t stop.
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

~ P.S. If we stand up to abuse, there is at least a chance that these people think about what they are doing and how they are living. When we let it go, there is NO chance that they ever see the error of their ways. It is actually much more loving to stand up to it!


I remember people who tried their best to destroy my self-respect would then turn around and tell me, “Have some self-respect!”


Hi Darlene,

Thank you for the reply. I keep hearing “Life is too short” or some version of it from family when they call/text me because my Dad died 2 and a 1/2 years ago. As if that means I’m going to tiptoe around and let people do what they want to me because they might die. I am trying to be gentle with myself, but I’m full of this second guessing.

The situation right now is as follows:

After many attempts to work things out with my mother, even inviting her into my home to patch things up, things really hit the fan. Things were said that were so hurtful that I still feel the sting each day. It really made me take a candid look at my childhood and all the things she said about my father when they divorced when I was 4. Then, after he dies, everyone on my Mom’s side of the family is singing his praises. Ridiculous. My Mother has greatly insulted my husband and his family with no reason at all. She doesn’t even know them. She says things like the only reason my in-laws love me is because I’m taking care of their son. Just things that make me feel like I’m completely unlovable. Well, after trying so many ways to make things work, I finally accepted that I can’t have contact with her without going to counseling. I told her this via email, and apparently she either chose to not read it, or conveniently forget what I said. She also said she didn’t want contact with me at one point, but she doesn’t believe she said it.

I have family that are here from far away because their daughter will be getting married here next weekend. They are all around my Mother, and I told both my sister and my aunt that I would not be attending functions with my Mother there. My Mom tried to be the, well, I don’t know a good word, but she called and left a voicemail after months of no contact saying she loved me, and she wasn’t mad at me (what does she have to be mad about!?) and that she wanted me to attend all the functions when my aunt and sister are here. I asked my aunt if she would be willing to have lunch with me without my Mom, and before she traveled down here, she agreed.

Well, I was on the fence about going to the wedding because my husband is so mad that he won’t attend because he doesn’t hold his tongue, and my family is quite outspoken and will say shit even at a wedding. I was trying to be strong enough to go by myself, but now I don’t know if it is the right thing to do. My sister hadn’t been talking to me because I wouldn’t just forgive and forget, and she was mad about that. She finally contacted me via text (she won’t talk to me on the phone for some reason) and said she was in town and that her heart was breaking and that I just need to let this go, and that the ball is in my court because my Mom has contacted me recently. I told her the same thing I keep having to say that the situation has nothing to do with anyone but my Mom and I, that I’m tired of explaining, and I won’t keep explaining. I asked to see her for lunch and she ignored my request and didn’t message me until yesterday.

My aunt had not called me to tell me she was in town as she said she would. My sister texted me and told me they were at the airport waiting for another one of my cousins to fly in and that I should go to Grandma’s for smores later on in the evening. Again, my Mom will be there. (Apparently No Contact is really hard for people to understand). I said the whole thing about No Contact and counseling being the only way and I was met with “Well, how are you going to go to the wedding then?” Needless to say, I was mad. I said “You’re really going to go there right now?” and then my aunt called me. She said she wanted to see me and how could we make this work. I said maybe we could go have lunch or something. She him-hawed around and said things about how she wants to have everyone there, and it isn’t fair to split her time, etc. Then when I started to get frustrated because she kept saying counseling isn’t the answer and that I am punishing her for things my Mom has done (btw, none of this is about the other family members, but they are making it about them!), my voice tone changed. She said that I was defensive. I said I was so tired of explaining myself and being told what to do. She said she had to go, and I said I did too. Well, I got off the phone and sobbed. I do want to see these people, yes, but not if my Mom is working her magic on them too!!

So, later on in the evening as my husband and I were headed to a nice dinner with friends, my phone starts ringing and it is an uncle that NEVER contacts me and lives here in town. I didn’t answer. I don’t need their drama right before I am about to have dinner with friends. I let it go to voicemail and listened to the voicemail after dinner. It says stuff about how they are missing me and everyone is at Grandma’s, and they all just want to see me and talk. I know that really means interrogate me, and get me away from my husband who they believe is brainwashing me (so far from the truth; I’ve been brainwashed my whole life by people who said they were “family”). They see my husband as a threat because he will not stand for them abusing me in his presence, and he has jumped on my Mom before about it. I never did call my uncle back. He called again this morning and I let it go to voicemail and it said he just wanted to talk, no big deal. No one has bothered to hear my side of the story and really listen. I am so done talking to these people. They might love me, but I don’t feel it. I am just so done.

Has anyone had to deal with the family just harrassing you during family events? How do you deal with family that won’t drop the issue and treats you like you can’t make a decision for yourself? I feel like a brat ignoring his phone calls, but he’s calling me with an objective and I’m just done talking about my mother. She has them all warped to believe that I’m the lost child, and that she’s just the grieving parent. Why would I want to be around people that constantly make me feel like crap? Is it wrong to say buh-bye to an entire family because they can’t mind their own business?

Thanks for reading. I needed to get that out.



This is setting off the feelings I have of still not being able to create the kind of life I want yet. The other thing about people putting up these go-get-em inspirational sayings is that no one offers the kind of sayings we really need to hear, such as “Feel your feelings!” or “Take time to heal!”

When you were in this “middle” phase did you ever feel envy or resentment for the people who seem to have created the kind of life you wish you had? I am thinking of a woman I know who has been through a lot of abuse but has managed to still create a life that I wish I could have. Plus it’s a life that moves away from all the conventional normal painful compromises that most of us have to make. Every time I read her blog or FB posts, I feel so inadequate and I just don’t even KNOW how I can get there, but part of me knows that I am just as smart and capable. I feel so envious and then I start to think, “oh she thinks she’s so great” and I am going down a tricky path because I know that my feelings about her success are not worthy and not going to help me to get there, but I can’t help it sometimes.

I have to give myself time to grieve for all the years of my life that were ruled by pain, poor decisions, and what I feel were wasted opportunities. I have never fit in, never was able to cope with the world well enough to either get a good job in the normal way OR to create a healthy alternative, which is what I really want to do. I know now how capable I really am, but I still feel afraid to just put myself out there and go for it. Not even afraid, just totally inadequate. These are false beliefs, I know, but still so powerful.

I don’t want any more “wasted days”. Yesterday, for example, instead of even trying to accomplish anything, I spent the day reading novels. Then as I got ready for bed, the inner voices began assaulting me for being so ineffective. I thought, well, what does my true self really need? Then I sat up for a couple of hours just opening up to allowing tears of grief for the years of misdirection. But I think somewhere in me I am angry because I am moving so slowly toward fulfillment. But then it’s like having someone throw these inspirational sayings at you when you just want and need to curl up and cry and grieve and soothe your pain.

One conclusion is for me now to regard the escape tendencies (like novel reading) as flags. When I want to bury myself in a book, the better thing would probably be to tend to my emotions which trigger the desire to escape to begin with. Then I am hoping I will be able to FINALLY inhabit my life!

Thank you,


Yes exactly!

Hi Truthbtold
Just like your name, you could state what you just said to us, to them. You said that the truth is that they have already made up their minds about you. They are not willing to listen to you or to stop getting into your biz. That they insist on only listening to your mother. All that stuff. The only way to get them to stop is to draw a boundary that they are not willing to cross. They are all adults and you are an adult too; entitled to make decisions and choices just like them. I insisted on being heard and that was pretty much the line they were not willing to cross but that is fine. That is about them and not about me.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sophia
my last comment to you was to your small comment. This is adressed to your bigger one.
I wanted MY life and I kept focused on that. I realized along the way that each of us is special in our own way and I wanted to find MY special. And I did.
Find out what the root of your fear is. Where does the fear come from in relation to your knowing you are capable but yet still feel inadequate. If you can find out how they rooted in your belief system, that is how you can overcome and overturn them. The inner voices. Do they belong to you or did they pick up where someone else left off?
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks again for the reply, Darlene. I still struggle finding my voice, and every conversation I have with a family member is the same. I listen to their speech, then I’m left going “But… (followed by how I feel and what I want)”. The “buts” are few and far between, but the only part that I get to say. It’s looking more and more like I’m going to have to cut off everyone on my Mom’s side of the family because I’m just not happy with the way things are going. I don’t want to talk anymore about my Mother. I feel like I’m jumping every time my phone rings or I get a text. I’m afraid they are going to show up at my house when I am least expecting. Why do I fear these people and the “power” they have over me?

I keep getting told I’m running from my problems, when I feel like I’m the only one facing them head-on. “Stop running from your problems” is another one of those quotes you were talking about. Setting boundaries is running, I guess.

I know I wouldn’t cry and mope and be sad if I didn’t have feelings for these people. But, I keep going through these cycles of numbness, depression, bargaining… just like grieving a death. I have a family I love and cherish, but my FOO won’t let me go. It’d be so much easier if they would. The family get-togethers must have had my withdrawal from the family as the focus, because there are family members calling me that would have never known what was going on unless someone else told them. And then to hear people shouting in the background that they love me? Give me a break. They might love me, but to love me means letting me have this peace and serenity to figure myself out, and for me to get well. I’m done being my Mother’s puppet.

I have to get off the roller coaster somehow. I’m just sad that some people that I felt had a good head on their shoulders have appeared to choose sides.

Darlene, thank you for this site. I read your posts and I’m just amazed at your clarity and truthfulness. I’m glad you’re here to help all of us.

Take care,



Truthbetold…I admire your honesty and bluntness….and your loving heart. I have ended up over the years cutting every single person out of my life in my family except for one aunt. I first quit going to all of the major family functions because I would become stressed out for a week or so in advance, but I would be anxious from the time I first heard there was going to be one. I was….still am…married at the time, and simply began planning other thing to do for whatever date that was. My husband was thrilled because he has always hated that they liked him better than me and the way I would be treated. It wasn’t that painless for me. In fact, I am still sad at times that they couldn’t or WOULDNT change and the same patterns of behavior towards me kept going on and on. One night I was watching a series with the Judds (mother, daughter singers), and the mother who was 65 yrs old was upset that HER mother still treated her the same horrible ways she always had. Something hit my heart and it was like I was looking at myself in the future saying her exact words, and stressed out etc etc….always wishing for something that would never happen or change, and I got scared because I didn’t want to be 65 yrs old and on the same old cycle of misery and drama and lies and disregard for MY life. So I cut my family off for good. I have had more peace this last year or so than I have ever had in my whole life.
It gave me the ability to begin to breathe and to enjoy parts of my life because I wasn’t in turmoil with something new and chaotic every single week….each holiday! But now I wouldn’t care what they said or did to change because I am finished with “trying” and “reasoning” and with all of the fear and anxiety. They didn’t want ME and I don’t care anymore. It is sad to not have what you thought you wanted, and if only they would just see that……..but they never would or will and I totally accept that now and am not willing to live my life with crumbs from their table…or scraps thrown to me to keep me under control.
I won’t give you advice, but I will tell you what I questioned in myself: is it worth it to me to have some level of interaction with them and put up with the way they treat me? For years, the answer was YES….I could not give them up completely no matter what crap they pulled on me because at least I could see them and they were my family. Then the time came a year or so ago when suddenly I was so tired and felt completely drained and realized that it would actually be easier to never see or have interactions with them because I never got anything from them….they truly did not want me or need me or like me. I saw that program and it hit me full force and that was it. I can honestly say that I feel zero pain about that decision. I don’t hurt or cry anymore either over every holiday or event that isn’t celebrated with them. What I hung around for was something that I wanted….and I think every child wants from their family. I didn’t stop loving them and I do wish that part of me could go away. Maybe some day it will.
I hope that helps you to know that you truly are not alone in your feelings about your mother and family! Peace and comfort to you!!


Well, this isn’t a directive but it’s one expression I did not like—that the universe only gives us what we can handle. In general I have a very hard time with any kind of expression that suggests that there is a design and meaning in trauma, etc., and that such experiences come through a higher, abstract source, taking focus away from human agency. Even when it applies to the effects of natural disasters or accidents, I still don’t like it, because the truth is a lot of people get way more than they can handle. There is, I think, underneath that expression the idea that life is fair and everything works out in the end, when really there is no reason to think that that’s always or even a lot of the time true. I do believe it is possible to rise above circumstances, to do the best you can to work your way to peace and happiness, though the experience of pain always does leave an imprint and not everybody gets through. I suppose a lot of my perspective on this comes from the fact that I am still working through a suicide from my childhood and my immediate reaction/feeling goes there—that the universe certainly gave him more than he could handle… I know there is always the question of “choice” when we are talking about suicide but this was a complicated and sudden death with unanswered questions and a dramatic decline, where—my impression is—something happened, that last straw, that broke his mind… and my own experience having had a breakdown that, I think, might have been similar was that it could’ve gone that way with me, too. Somehow I was able to stick with the breakdown. He couldn’t and chose death, so even then, if that’s the case, it was still more than he could handle… I find it hard to write about this because society has a lot of differing opinions and judgments about people who kill themselves, so when I say all this I get a claustrophobic feeling of people trying to tell me I’m wrong, to squash me, judge me, etc., when I’m not even really absolute about what I’m saying here, just thinking things through… Also and probably more importantly than “society”, while I was growing up, my mom had extremely strong feelings about this death—it was her brother—and didn’t allow for much differing opinions from anyone; it felt like she could drill daggers in you with her eyes if you even just thought something different than she, like it was a serious threat to her and having my own separate grieving process (that didn’t even start till 15 year after his death) was difficult, as going against her to grieve in my own way also had its own kind of life or death feeling to it. The death itself and the anxiety of grieving and difficulty of grieving a suicide has been hard enough on its own, never mind the added anxiety of having to stand up and go against my mother (in a mental/emotional personal sense) just so that I could even access that grief and feel it through without feeling her looming over me about to crunch down.

I also dislike ” life is short.” My dad used that one on me, as he wanted me to hurry up and deal with my issues with my mom because both his parents died in a car accident when he was 30 before he had ever finished working out his issues with his father (and I think he still hasn’t). A few years later he recognized that he’d said that to me out of his own sense of guilt… but there I had taken on all that guilt, too, because of him saying that to me. So you see how it goes round and round.

I do want to say, too, to TRUTHBTOLD, that I admire your courage and hope that you will be able to speak up and get this family of yours to lay off because it’s none of their business and this wedding should be about your cousin and nothing else. In my opinion, for whatever it’s worth, your only obligation is to yourself and possibly to your cousin, whose wedding it is, depending on what your relationship is like of course, and that doesn’t mean having to go… I went to my brother’s wedding not long after I’d cut ties with my parents. In my family appearances are everything, so dramas in general occur indirectly and to the side of everything, not right there in the limelight. I can’t imagine being in your shoes with all those people talking at you, bombarding you. In my life I was just totally silenced. We had the appearance of a wonderful family but I was really just this tiny, torn up, crumpled being inside a shell. I could not speak up at all about anything of any of importance. It was not a matter of not having the opportunity or of being overrode by their voices. I just couldn’t verbalize. It is still difficult for me, though I have made vast improvements in that realm. I was very lucky that I had a couple extended family members who could see through the appearances and that even the extended family who didn’t understand still respected my decision (the ones I chose to tell anyway)… So I really can’t imagine how difficult it would be in your shoes or in the shoes of anyone on this site who have or have had such overt pressure coming from so many at once… I really feel for you and wish you all the best as you go through this, whatever you decide and whatever you are able to do.

SOPHIA, I just wanted to say and I know this is slightly to the side of what you were talking about, but as an aspiring novelist, I hope that you don’t give up your days with your nose buried in a book. That’s important, too. I don’t know who said it but there’s a quote that goes that “reading is not an escape from life but an escape into life.”


Diane and Alaina,

Thank you both so very much for your responses. First, I’ll address Diane’s post.

Diane, I feel that same anxious feeling that you are describing whenever a family event is about to occur. I just dealt with it and went regardless of how I felt, but now I just can’t do that anymore. I like to think that maybe my self-conscious is sensing something as well and that it is looking to protect me. When I was in counseling about a year and a half ago, I was directed through all of these exercises that were meant to increase my self-confidence and my ability to stand up to those people that wish to make me upset. It didn’t really work. I want to be rid of those situations as fast as possible, not just sit there and take it. I want to say my piece and My husband isn’t thrilled that our situation with my family has ended up this way, but he knows that there is nothing we can do about it. He doesn’t like the hurtful things they say about him and myself, but pretends it doesn’t bother him. The thing that you mention about watching the Judd’s show (I know who they are, but I don’t know if many people do) sounds like a very real moment of clarity. I can totally relate to what you said about it. My wake up call wasn’t quite so pronounced; it still seems to be ongoing. I hope to get to the place where you are now where I’m not trying to hang on to false hope. I think I’m getting there, but I still long to be around family members that do love me for me (mostly my grandfather), but being around him means being around all the drama, too. I just graduated from college in December with my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and I am starting a job as a 3rd grade teacher in August. I truly feel as my priority should be myself, my husband and our family, and my students. I feel like I’m in a losing battle with my FOO. I just wish they understood that this process is painful for me, too. They seem to think I’m just cold, callous, and bitter… and sometimes I believe them. But, then I remember the things that have been said and the hours crying, and I remember that no one in their right mind would ever try to destroy their own daughter. I didn’t reverse the roles; my mother did. I was her parent and she was my child. Then she decided that it wasn’t going to be that way anymore when I was already 21 years old. Now I’m 27 and I just want to get myself healthy!

Alaina, I have been hearing the “life is too short” statement for about 2 and half years now. My dad (my mother’s FOO brain washed me my whole life about him, but we had agreed to start new before his death) was killed in a car accident when I was 25. My response to that statement is “I of all people should know that life is too short. You can’t tiptoe around and try to avoid it all the time. Enough is enough.” I also get the “Honor thy Mother and Father” statement from the Bible on a monthly basis from my grandmother. It is enough to keep me at a distance with all of them, because they don’t even see what they are doing is pushing me further and further away. With this whole wedding thing… I am terrified. The closer it gets and the more bothersome my family becomes, the more I am thinking of not going. I keep getting told that my cousin will be disappointed. I also think she’d be disappointed if a scene occurred at her wedding. As far as closeness with her- we were close as children, but not as adults. She lives in Italy and I live in the NW US. We would kind of be in contact on Facebook, but after the drama with my mother spilled over into that medium and she was fishing for people to tell her she was a great mother, I deleted my account. I haven’t actually talked to my cousin in a few years, but I feel obligated to attend. You see, given that I haven’t gone to these family events while my sister and aunt are in town, I will always be looked down on by “the family”. My husband says they are like the mob and that no one gets out alive. I’m just so tired of playing these games. I wish I knew what to do about this wedding. I really do.

Thanks for all of the kind words, ladies. I wish none of us had to go through all of this, but at least we have enough clarity to see our families for what they truly are. We are deemed the broken and lost ones, yet we see so much more than any of them ever could.

Take care everyone,



Jane, Your comment on people who hurt people goes with something I’ve been thinking about lately. I appologized to my adult son for some things that I know I did that hurt him because as a survivor of abuse I wasn’t close to being healed during my parenting years. He responded with, “Oh, Mom. Most of the stuff you did was so passive, it’s not worth even talking about.” I was stunned but since then I’ve thought about why some children who are abused choose to respond by becoming abusive and I think there really is a difference between passive and overt abuse. Hurting people do hurt others, accidentally but abusive people hurt people for their personal gratification. I know some of the things I did as a parent were really wrong now but it is also, a relief to know that the love I gave my son served as a buffer. I also, know my children have to heal from some of the mistakes I made but they love I have for them and they for me makes it possible to seek out that healing and remain a close family. For their sakes, I wish I would have figured things out a lot sooner but love really does aid healing.

I know that was way off subject, sorry.lol It just struck a chord.



Hi Truthbtold,
I know we’re not supposed to give advice but I’m going to throw this out there anyway… just thinking about what I might do in your shoes (though I don’t personally know the members of your family, so it’s hard for me to judge the effectiveness of anything). I think I might send an email out to the family members who are going at me to, as Darlene said, state everything you said to us to them (or to one of them who can pass on the message to the rest). In an email, they can’t interrupt you, talk over you, etc. I might tell them that email is the only place I would be willing to engage in a dialogue about any of this and that I am concerned and absolutely do not want any of this brought up at my cousin’s wedding, as the day should be about her. I’d use their response to this email to judge whether or not I’d feel comfortable to go to the wedding. For me, writing is my safe place, where things can be a lot more controlled. When I went to my brother’s wedding, I cut out early. I stayed for the ceremony, the dinner and speeches and left not long after that (I also had a date who was a good friend of mine but a stranger to them—being around strangers is helpful because then family members will be less likely to do/say anything, at least in my family). At my cousin’s recently, I spent most of the night on the dance floor. The important thing for me was not to be in position where I could be cornered and to feel like I had some kind of control and safety net for myself. If I felt that I could not go to the wedding, though, I’d talk to my cousin, apologize and hope that she’d understand—I think that’s reasonable. I don’t think you have some absolute obligation. When my brother’s was approaching, I was scared of other people approaching me and saying things and I was scared of having a panic attack; I found enough ways to control my situation that I could manage those fears. Also, I found the build up to the day was a lot harder than the day itself (it was the same with my cousin’s recently as well). When the day came, I had more of a “whatever happens happens and I’ll get through it” attitude…. Anyway, I’m not sure if any of this helps but I do know how it feels to be terrified like that and know that what has helped me is to be able to break things down to take small measures step by step, otherwise it can become this big nebulous fear that is simply too much to handle.

Pam, I think the fact that you acknowledge things and have been working your process and are obviously totally willing to validate your children’s pain is huge. It makes all the difference. Everyone’s human, you were doing what you knew, what you were taught, when you didn’t know better—like all of us. Reading many of your comments, it is clear to me that you are wise, insightful and very caring. After I had my breakdown and tried to address my issues with my parents, while they eventually did apologize, and at times seemed to acknowledge the generational dysfunction they had passed down to me, things still didn’t change (in many ways were actually worse and more controlling/manipulative) and when I asked my mom to go into counselling, it angered her. She was willing to admit she was wrong in the past but not in the present (while she continued to basically do different versions of the same thing she did in the past, the same with my dad). I realize now that that was why I had to cut off contact with them. It’s been 2 & 1/2 years now and I recently got back in contact with them. I heard that after I cut off, they went to see a counsellor who told them they were wrong and they never went back and when I saw them recently I could see how things were still the same, so I told them that I was unwilling to have a relationship with them unless they committed to change and went into counselling (I know therapy doesn’t always work—I’ve had my own bad experience there—but I needed the gesture from them). I told them how, looking back, given the fact that I’d had a breakdown and had serious emotional problems that I had linked to my relationships with them and they knew that, I didn’t understand why they didn’t do anything and everything to try to help me (i.e. entertaining the notion that they might be wrong and going to a counsellor, etc.). I said I was their daughter and I was worth that, if not much more. A little over a week later, they have now replied that “Absolutely you’re worth it!” and how they want to have a future with me in it. I sat there, looking at this email, flabbergasted, just thinking, “Weird…” I guess having cut myself off for 2 & 1/2 years has given me some clout, though I still remain reserved and slightly suspicious. Also, there’s that thought, “Well, why didn’t you think I was worth it before?” I guess they take me seriously now (?). I don’t know what to make of it, but I’ll be seeing them for lunch or coffee in the fall when I go back to my home town for a visit, so I will see how things go then… Anyway, sorry, I went off on a bit of a tangent, but my point is basically it makes a huge difference when people are willing to listen, to consider, to work together to change the situation—it’s a starting off point for real healing, real relationships, real love—and I feel from your words that you can give yourself a break for sure, as you seem so caring and so willing to look at the truth, whatever it may be.


Hi Alaina
You know I have been guilty (In the past) of saying that too! And the truth is in the results that the damage caused; I became dissociated. I developed multiple personalities to cope for me. I struggled with depression. I think that what was “given to me” was way more than I could handle! I appreciate you bringing this point up. Saying that the universe (or god) never gives us more than we can handle really is a manipulative expression. (and a directionless directive too!) And when we can’t handle it, it leads us to believe that is the proof that “they” must be right about me; that I am defective etc. round and round….
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


re; cutting them off from you for 2.5 years gave you some clout; in my exp. it is that doing that and drawing that boundary you communicated to them that you were serious about not living in the dyfsunction anymore. AND they are choosing now to try to work things out. That is fantastic. It could go either way of course, but you are stronger now. It makes ALL the difference when someone is willing to listen. Listening to each ohter communicates equal value, the very thing that was never communicated to us before.
Thanks for those comments too.
Hugs, Darlene


I have done a lot of thinking about this wedding. I thought I had no contact information for my cousin, but it turns out I have her mailing address. I am already in the doghouse with everyone by not attending the family functions. I knew that the wedding would be a cornering situation, especially by one very pushy aunt. She cornered my husband at my father’s funeral, so I don’t think she has any tact. I don’t want to bring drama to my cousin’s wedding; it isn’t fair to her. I have cancelled my hotel room and I will not be attending. I am having a medical procedure this week as well, and I don’t know that I will actually even be up to it, but of course, family wouldn’t believe me anyway. It’s time for me to live how I want to live. My husband asked me to imagine how it would go. He then said “I know how this kind of stuff goes. Something will happen and you will spend the entire drive home crying your eyes out, and the entire drive there anxious and scared.” I got to thinking about that, and I realized he was absolutely right. I have no one on my side at the wedding; I have no buffer. I have no one that will make me feel welcome. It isn’t that my husband is disregarding me needing him there; he just knows what will happen and he refuses to make a scene at her wedding. I would try the letter route, however, it will be completely misinterpreted and it will stir the pot even more. I’ve tried letter after letter, email after email… it doesn’t get me anywhere. I think the strongest message I can send is my distance for now. Maybe my Mom will actually try to go to counseling with me, maybe she won’t. Either way, it is her loss. And, I realize that so many people in my family are cut from the same cloth. That may be harsh to say, but there’s a reason my Mom is the way she is. And all these people were parented by the same person.

I feel at peace with my decision. I will send my cousin a card explaining that I’m sorry I couldn’t attend, but it has nothing to do with her and I wish her nothing but the best. I’m not going to tell anyone I’m not going at this point. They already knew I was on the fence about it. And, when I said I was going, I was met with “Well, how can you go if Mom will be there?” Obviously they really didn’t want me to go anyway if they are going to challenge the decision. At least, that’s how I feel.

I need to love myself first. I’ve never done that before. At the end of the day, the only person I have is myself.

Thanks for listening, all,



These are some lyrics that helped me make my decision. Music is a huge part of my life, and really sets me free in a way that nothing else does. This song is about a young man’s battle with his family, but I relate completely (except the smoke in the lungs part, LOL)

Travisty by Second Coming

I’ve seen a young man’s breaking heart
I’ve seen the evil on my shoulders
I’ve held self righteous through
I never could see straight
And all this from a land
Of custom license plates
Keep me from noise
And their good will [this really speaks to me!]
The funk that I’m in
Lasts me until
The smoke that dances
In my lungs and I’m okay
I’ve had enough
This child lies bleeding
I’ll not forget
How you left me there
Everything i owned
I lost in the war
It sure looked easy
To give up on a boy his age
So what were you thinking?
That a rent-a-kid life was home to me
Still I am living
With that choice of yours you made
I’d give a thousand lives
To see you suffer the same
Now that I’m grown up
Now that I’m a man
I announce the death of family
In my future plans
Wish they never lived
Wish I never was
A travisty


truthbtold, good for you! I think you made the right decision, not to go there and be bullied. Reading your experiences here reminded me of a situation I went through seven (!) years ago. I had just broken things off with my abusive sister when our mother, who I had still had nominal contact with while I was in college (financial reasons…), came into town. She had asked me to come out to lunch with her, and left a number, which I reluctantly agreed to call. But, my sister in the meantime had told her the story of my standing up for myself, but painted herself as an innocent victim, and my mother as always didn’t care about my side. When I called, there was no answer, but a second later her number dialed me back, and when she heard it was my voice, she hung up the phone. This was neither the first nor the last such malicious act behind the scenes, and I had to learn that it was simply impossible to pick and choose what (poor, demeaning) relationships I wanted among those people. The gossiping and intrusiveness was never-ending. It was incredibly healing for me to cut them all out and for good. I wish you the best going forward.


There came a point in my recovery when I “stopped engaging” with people who had already made up their minds about me and would not hear anything I said anyway. I had to try as long as I did try. That was part of my process so I am fine with how long it took but today I don’t miss that whole thing. You know that old saying “I don’t care what people say about me or think about me”. Well I did care. But today I KNOW my family believes all their own lies and they all believe each other without ever having even asked me for my side of anything. They believe that I am the problem etc. but I don’t care anymore. I am free. If I was such a big problem, they should have had a big party to celebrate me leaving because their “problem” was gone. They don’t listen because they can’t stand the implications of not being right. Imagine what they would have to do to change if they really listened to the truth. I know what my husband went through when he listened to me in our marriage recovery work. I know how painful it was for him to see himself the way that he really was and how he believed that HE came first and HIS wishes and decisions were more important than mine. My parents were not willing to do any of the work involved in having a real relationship. they would rather spin lies so that they can maintain their false identity as “the good guys”.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Caden and Darlene,

Caden, yes, our situations do sound similar. I appreciate the validation. Sometimes my husband worries that I’m looking for validation from others instead of within myself. I have thought about that statement, and I think I know why I do it. I can’t stand making a decision without either hearing a variety of opinions, or dwelling on the decision for days. I don’t listen to myself; I listen to everyone else. When I just asked my husband what I should do if anyone in my family calls me for the next week, he said that I needed to decide for myself. (Obviously the words of someone that wants to keep me from my family, right?! That’s what my family thinks). I have decided to not engage with them anymore until I get into counseling again. I’m waiting for my health insurance to kick in before I start going. I have had a lot of medical problems lately and I don’t need this kind of stress because it makes my stomach issues much worse. But, here I am trying to rationalize why I should make the decision I did! Argh! That’s a never-ending spiral. Again, thanks for the reply. My Mom’s the “innocent victim” in this whole thing, too.

Darlene, I think I’m to the point where I’m going to stop engaging with those people that have already made up their minds about me. I am finding that I don’t trust anyone on my Mom’s side of the family. I’ve seen what they do to people when they are upset with them, and it turns into this huge gossip session. Then when confronted with it, they deny it. It is like high school! I know I’m a good person with a kind heart and a strong backbone. I know I have faults as well, but everyone does. I’m not looking for perfection in human form with these people; I’m looking for understanding, acceptance, and a desire to change the relationship. My Mom has not accepted my offers of counseling, so I’m just going to go back without her. I just hope I don’t find a counselor that tries to make me mend things with her without her doing the work.

Thanks for the reply!



Truthbtold…I just read your comments and first of all, I loved the song! (I also laughed when you wrote “except the smoke in my lungs part)lol. I also know exactly how you feel about still trying to rationalize your decisions. I think it is easy to second guess ourselves when we have been controlled and treated with such levels of disrespect and not being heard and listened to …we arent used to feeling good about any decisions WE make for ourselves! We were basically taught not to trust ourselves. At least that is how I see it looking back. I am still learning to trust myself about everything now, and I have to say it is similar to practicing something…for me it seems that the more often I make up my own decisions and dont run them by anyone else (including my husband…but that is another story) I feel stronger about myself and my abilities…and I am finding out that sometimes I make excellent decisions and then some days I could still kick myself! But that feels much more “normal” to me than when I had my family constantly in my business trying to stir things up and create chaos in my life, or play those horrible head trips with me. The confusion I dont have in my life now is absolutely wonderful. YOUR decision to not go to the wedding is something you were very brave about making and I think it is great that you are beginning to trust your own decision making abilities. Your comments showed how you thought it through and what led up to the decision you made…and it seems that you did make it all on your own! That is a huge deal! I hope that you will feel better soon and your health issues will be over quickly! Comfort and peace and healing to you!



I could just virtually hug you right now! 🙂 You’re right; I did make it all on my own. I have been simmering on the issue for months. I’m ready to let it go. It didn’t feel right for me to go, so I decided there must be reasons. I really thought long and hard about it.

I just don’t care anymore. I know the people that love me for me see my true self. I don’t have to hide myself anymore. No more facades to uphold. No more name brand clothing, watching what I say, no more attending the churches of their choice, no more walking on egg shells wondering when the next insult will occur. Done. I will do it no more. I deserve better, and I have better, so let me be with those people. 🙂

Thanks for the well wishes on my health and well being. I’m having some testing done because I may have celiac disease. Lots has been ruled out, and I’m hoping celiac is ruled out, too.

You are a sweetheart, Diane. Always know that!



Truthbtold, I think you’ve made the absolute right decision for yourself! They have clearly not given you the space and respect you’ve deserved and asked for. If you’ve already done the letter route, there is no question in my mind if I was in your shoes and given that there is no buffer and that this aunt of yours would be that tactless… that I would do exactly what you’re doing. I hope you feel free in your decision because you are so right that the only person you have is yourself and that’s who you have to take care of.

Darlene, thanks, and I realized that the expression was really not just about my uncle but very much about myself. Life didn’t kill me but yes, it was much more than I could handle. That’s why I had a breakdown. Sometimes I don’t take that seriously enough—partly because my family did not take it seriously enough and partly because people throw that term around to mean less than what it means for me personally. It was a really terrifying experience and I’m lucky and happy that I am alive now.

And yes, I think you’re right about your other note, re: my parents. Time will tell how it will work out. I know I have to protect my heart no matter what. My mom has a lot of anger in her. She wants a good relationship with me but she has always had an idea of what that is, which is not realistic; it is based on the pain of her own childhood and feeding that. I imagine that quite possibly agreeing to this in her mind can still fit into getting this relationship she’s always wanted (like she hasn’t realized it’s dead, whereas I know it is), so yes, it could go either way, I think. For me, I would like to have a relationship with my dad. He felt that he had to make a choice between us, which he didn’t, but he’s very passive and follows her. He hurt me quite badly when I cut ties (because of his loyalty to my mom who took the whole thing as a personal attack) but I love him still and have a connection with him and felt that when I saw him at my cousin’s wedding. On the other hand, I didn’t feel any love or connection with my mom—there was nothing for me. Just the uncomfortableness of how much space she takes up in a room. At the brunch, she was kind of following me around—I’d always see or feel her just to the side and back of me. I feel sorry for her, sad for her—I empathize with her—as I think about her now, but I don’t love her, not in a way where I’d really want her in my life. I don’t feel a connection with her and when I’m around her, I don’t want to be. I feel all the weight of her, all her wanting, all the damage she did, and I don’t know if that will ever change. I basically wish her well–and I’m not saying that in a flippant way; I truly mean it. If I knew she was working her shit out and got her own life and found freedom and peace, let go of the anger, etc., I would—first of all–feel a relief and a release for myself but I would also be happy for her. There is a part of me that believes that it is not actually possible for the two of us to have a real relationship, that it is not even possible for her to ever get well with me in her life because it is like she is an alcoholic and I am booze. I am the thing she uses or wants to use to fill this void in her and I’m not sure it’s even possible for her to stop seeing me this way (though I personally can stop allowing her to use me this way). When I cut off contact, it was “for my health,” and it was about getting myself better, and it pretty much put my parents in limbo, as opposed to them facing anything because that’s how they chose to stay with it. My mom is pretty damn good at “talking the talk” and as long as she’s carrying around the hope of keeping her dream alive, I’m not sure counselling is going to work, not for her anyway… but it does help me—for the sake of equality and not just giving into what she wants. It might not change what she wants and in the long run things might go sour because of that, but I realize I can manage what I am doing now in the short term without her overpowering me. I am strong enough. And it might help my dad, and he and I might one day be able to have something real.

Wow, I’m really writing a lot today, and I didn’t even get to the stressful situation with my grandmother (my mom’s mom). She caused some drama with my cousin’s wedding and I decided that I couldn’t have anything to do with her. She basically slit her own throat. My cousin is done with her and outside of financially I think my cousin’s family may be done with her as well (at least I cannot imagine them being supportive of her in a way that is much beyond that). It is sad because she has cancer and things were going okay but she’s a bitter lady and I think so many years of pain and dysfunction has really poisoned her heart. I know there’s always two sides to a story and I wasn’t directly involved, so I can’t have any absolutes, but I’ve experienced and known enough of my grandma… I was just going to keep moving on with my own life and not engage in anything with her, but she sent me a letter, and I decided that I would give a relationship a last shot, but I couldn’t be true to myself unless I spoke up for my cousin and for how I felt—I couldn’t pretend like I didn’t know what happened. I tried to be as fair, as conscientious, as caring, as non-reactive as I possibly could, but I got an immediate response to my email (always a bad sign) and a blanket denial of everything and how she was hurt very deeply by what happened, not acknowledging any part in any of the drama, etc…. But somehow she is still looking forward to seeing me when I go back to my home town this fall…? She has her few friends and people to take her to her appointments and other family members who will continue to support her, though they refuse to discuss the drama. For me, my heart was too much with my cousin and I couldn’t possibly feel right with myself or have a true relationship with either my grandma or my cousin if I continued to have a relationship with her but didn’t address it, and it was really only because she engaged me by writing me a letter that I gave it a shot and because she has cancer and it is really shitty for her to be alienated from her family, even when she did it to herself… but what can I do? My cousin said to me that she was like a child in an old lady’s body and that it was just too weird, and I agree totally. I made one last try but I know now that it’s impossible to be a granddaughter to her because she is not a grandmother…. Anyway, I am now done blabbing… thank you to any readers who are still with me by the end of all this!


Hello all,

Well, it looks like I will be having lunch with my sister. She has done some hurtful things to me here recently, BUT I love my niece and nephew and wish to see them. They don’t live in state, and given that I’m not going to the wedding (which I will not be telling anyone because I refuse to have the drama anymore) I’d like to be able to see them at least once while they are here.

She texted me tonight and asked if I could meet her for lunch tomorrow because it was the only day/time she had available. I told her I could, but I wasn’t willing to discuss the family situation and that I’m going because I want to spend time with them. She has not alluded that anyone else but my niece and nephew will be there. She said that she didn’t want to talk about it either, especially around my niece and nephew. We set up a time, and I chose a restaurant that is pretty noisy/busy on purpose. I don’t want this to be some super intimate thing. My husband reminded me that I’m in control of the situation, and if things get out of hand, I have the power to leave. And, if for some reason someone decides to invite my mother, I can also leave.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a bit nervous. But, more than anything, I’m having this weird guilt about not going to the wedding. You see, my husband and I eloped. We did not tell ANYONE except a close friend that we were doing it (and we borrowed her professional grade camera, which is why we told her). We announced it to our families the day after our wedding, sent pictures, and made a nice slide show. My sister was indifferent over the phone, but what she said on facebook really, really hurt me. I announced my marriage, and amid the congratulations from everyone else, there’s a post that says “You owe your niece an explanation as to why she will never be a flower girl at your wedding. She is crying and very upset.” Talk about embarrassing, as everyone on my facebook list could read that. Well, I took the bait, and called my niece. She wasn’t crying, and she wasn’t even upset! I said “Auntie didn’t do this because she doesn’t love you, I did this because I’m not a fan of weddings and all the work that goes in to them.” She goes “I know… can I go play now?” She was 7 at the time. Well, she’s 9 now, and since she’s the only girl young enough in our family, she is the flower girl at my cousin’s wedding. Yes, I am going to miss my niece being a flower girl, but, I hope someday when she’s older, she will understand. Needless to say, shortly after I got married and shit hit the fan, my facebook was deactivated because I couldn’t deal with my Mom and sister’s pity parties anymore.

So, that’s one small situation with my sister. I think I did tell her that what she said on facebook hurt me, and I was told I hurt her too by getting married without her there. Well, sorry, I don’t do wedding stress, and that’s me. I helped planned hers at 14 and I remember how insane the whole thing was. Every day was an absolute break down by all female members in the family. Puke!!

I hope lunch goes well. And, if it doesn’t, well, I tell the kids I love them, and I leave. Luckily we are going to a pay and then sit place. 🙂 Won’t have to worry about waiting for the check!



Truth told, it sounds like you are having an anxiety episode….I always had them too . There was a heightened sense of excitement and nervousness and my heart would race and I would be imagining what I was going to say, and what the person I was going to meet would say to me. Nothing peaceful or calm about meeting with any of my family members….always roller coaster emotions. I was reading your comments and maybe I am reading too much between the lines, so forgive me if I am, but it seems that you are going back and forth between resolve and uncertainty because of your sisters past ways of speaking down to you, blaming you, and even using her own daughter to make sure that you were “punished” for doing something that YOU and YOUR HUSBAND decided to do. You started a whole new life together! It seems like that decision YOU made broke away from what your family expected and the family pattern , and I know when I would do something like that it could and did often cause the wrath of my mom to surface. Using your little niece to manipulate you and control you is what I called a “head game”. I never knew where I stood with my brother’s children. I tried to be a loving aunt for years, but that is another story. I wonder if your sister knows how to push your buttons?
I do hope that you will have a great time with the children tomorrow and that it ends up going better than expected with your sister too. It sounds like you have a great plan in place! I also wanted to say that I hope all of your testing turns out well for you! I hope there will be good news and that celiac disease will be ruled out! Thank you for the virtual hugs….I receive them! :)…..and the same back to you! Everyone here at EFB, including me, are here for you!!!


Thanks Diane,

I do have issues with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. My anxiety is really only “bad” when it regards my family. I can tell my friends how I feel about something they have done, and I don’t feel half as anxious. It’s like I’m afraid my family will take away my birthday or something! 🙂 Actually, that’d be fine, because I don’t like all the parties they want to have. I even get nervous as my birthday comes around each year!

My sister does know how to push my buttons. She does seem to have a better head on her shoulders than my Mother, BUT… she is 9 years older than me and really thinks that I’m just an idiot. Truly. I wouldn’t just say that if I didn’t believe it. We are very, very different. Our beliefs in religion, child-rearing, family, and all other situations are quite extreme. I am her opposite, but the situation is that I RESPECT her opinions and her boundaries, and even tell her how proud I am of her for having such a strong sense of self!

I’ll keep you guys posted. I feel like I have found a band of sisters that actually understand me! 🙂


PS: Here’s another song with lyrics.

“Heal In Time” by Dark New Day

There’s something every day that keeps on pulling at me.
Mental pictures of a firing line
You put me in that place with no one there to get me out.
Missing chances just to speak my mind.

My oh my, its so hard to pass by

This time
I’m all right but something is broken.
But, will it heal in time?
It’s all right. Some words that were spoken leave a mark and change your mind.

It’s not too hard to see you left this inside me.
This new emotion that I didn’t know I needed.
Thank you for teaching me that I could never trust you.
The day will come when I can ask you why.

My oh my, its so hard to pass by

This time
I’m all right but something is broken.
But, will it heal in time?
It’s all right. Some words that were spoken leave a mark and change your mind.

(I really like the part about thanking them for giving me the feelings I never knew I needed to have. I don’t know what I’d call the feeling exactly, but I really needed it!)


One more set of lyrics (I’m sorry, but they are just really working for me right now, and maybe will work for someone else! I promise I won’t post any more. LOL) It seems a lot of songs are speaking to me lately; even songs I know all the words to. Understanding them completely differently! No more mind control for me! 🙂

“Mind Control” by Tantric

Oh, the line of mass hysteria has turned into a barrier
For everything that you can use to justify your one excuse

You need to fight so you feel safe at home
Don’t look behind ’cause you are not alone anymore

Mind control, gotta keep your head strong
Mind control, make your own opinion
You’re feeling outta control

Oh, you’re never lacking something new to find new ways of scaring you
Your questioning, your traveling, your mind they are imprisoning

You need to fight so you feel safe at home
Don’t look behind ’cause you are not alone anymore

Mind control, gotta keep your head strong
Mind control, make your own opinion
You’re feeling outta control

With all these people putting thought in our heads
It’s hard to step away from what has been said
Living in fear is really no way to live [I completely agree!]
If we see clear and found a way to forget

Mind control, gotta keep your head strong
Mind control, make your own opinion, yeah
Mind control, gotta keep your head strong
Mind control, make your own opinion
Mind control, gotta keep your head strong
Mind control, make your own opinion
You’re feeling outta control



I am trying to sort out the truth of my inner voices when they are critical. It seems that they are trying to goad me to live a better life, but that they have learned to communicate this in a very harsh unloving way, which is what they have learned from people in my life. But sometimes I have tried just speaking with them in empathy to see what can emerge.

Here is an example. I live on a small sailboat. There were leaks around some of the portholes and when it rained, drips would come in right onto my bed, so basically I could not sleep when it was raining. The part of me that feels hopeless just said that there was nothing I could do about it, that it would be too expensive to fix. This part of me did not even try to get an estimate for the repairs or even try to analyze the problem like an adult, she just gave up on it.

So, one night I went to sleep and then it started raining. The drips started and I felt so bad. The critical part of me just started in with the usual, “You’re a loser, you can’t do anything.” However, I had been reading about how to use empathy to decipher feelings and needs that are not met, so instead of trying to ignore this voice, I said to it, “Are you angry and frustrated because your need for a comfortable home is not being me?” The part said, “Yes!” Then I focused on the part of me that felt helpless to do anything about the leaks and I said, “How do we know we can’t handle this repair? We can at least get an estimate and see.”

This may sound like an amazingly simple conversation to people, but I have to admit to just how used I had become to being helpless and somehow wanting to believe that I could not cope. This simple conversation opened me to realizing that I really could try to make things better.

Anyway, the next day I called someone and he looked at the portholes and named a price, and I realized that I could afford it and he and I even worked out a payment plan, so now I am leak-free and comfortable.

This is just the beginning. I still have a lot a self-critical messages coming to me that I have to sort out. And I still have a lot of self-defeating beliefs that I need to trace to their roots, as you say.



Alaina, I’ve been thinking about your comment to me and I need to say how I feel about it. It isn’t easy for me to write back to you on it and I think that’s because I’m still not used to feeling comfortable standing my ground. Also, although I don’t believe you meant any harm by it, I still feel uneasy about what was said and I’ll explain why.

ALAINA: SOPHIA, I just wanted to say and I know this is slightly to the side of what you were talking about, but as an aspiring novelist, I hope that you don’t give up your days with your nose buried in a book. That’s important, too. I don’t know who said it but there’s a quote that goes that “reading is not an escape from life but an escape into life.”

I do distinguish between reading for pleasure, reading for learning, and reading for avoidance. The first two are important to me and I do not intend to give them up. But I have been observing myself carefully for several years, and I have seen the pattern of reading to escape from my life. Yes, despite your quote, a person can use reading as an escape from life or an avoidance of unpleasant realities which need to be faced and dealt with.

I learned how to do this from my father. I can call up a clear image of him with a book or a newspaper in front of his face while he blocked out my stepmother’s ranting and nagging and meanness, which he chose to ignore for the most part, even as it destroyed our family. I have seen myself spend days, weeks, months, and YEARS reading while my life has passed by and I came no closer to fulfilling my dreams.

I’m not saying I don’t love reading and haven’t learned a lot from reading and I intend to continue to do so. But I feel very strongly that it is important to my growth to be able to recognize that even a beloved activity, which is usually seen as an intelligent use of time, can be used in a way which doesn’t further my well-being. Again, even though I don’t think you meant it this way, your comment struck me as undermining an important insight that I arrived at after much struggle and self-analysis. It also struck me as advice.

Thank you for listening and I hope you can receive this response not as an attack on you but as a clarification of my position.



Hi Sophia!
Great examples of learning how to nurture and relate to “self” in your leaky boat story! That is excellent. We need to be heard and it is great if we can find an advocate that will hear us, but the real power in healing comes when we hear ourselves. The little girl inside that had been abused was screaming at me for my attention. I was not listening to my own self for years because I had learned that I was not worth being heard and that my pain (or comfort) was not valid. I had to change that. I love your boat story!

I also love what you posted to Alaina ~ I agree that there is a difference in reading for pleasure or using it as a coping method. I have used books as escape myself and spent many hours reading and avoiding things. I appreciate your courage in posting this clarification to Alaina.
Hugs, Darlene


Alaina, Thank you. I know that not having my FOO involved has gone a long way toward healing the family my husband and I created. My children wanted me to cut them off and that was a real wake up call for me, as to how bad things really were.

I hope your parents really are willing to put the work required into having a relationship with you. I don’t blame you for reserving your trust. It would be very hard for me to re-open my heart to my parents even if they did respect the boundary I set.



Great work! Thanks for sharing this part of how you are processing this stuff. Your question about what can you do; I had to separate all this stuff into “them” and me. I had to finally validate ME first by setting all their stuff aside for a bit. I had to HEAR me where I had never been heard. I had to stop protecting the child in them and validate the child in me.
Hugs, Darlene


Your comment reminded me of this today: Someone asked me once WHY I would want to repair the relationship with my mother in light of all the abuse and why I would say that although she was the one that shut the door, I would open it again if she wanted to try to have a relationship with me based on equal value and respect. And I had NO answer to that question.. I thought about it for a long time too. My mother would have to name the invalidations and acknowledge her part in all of the damage, but then what?? I have no idea but if it happens I will have a whole other huge pile of stuff to write about, and I would imagine that alone would stop my mother from even wanting to try. (I have already decided that if she does contact me I am going to refer her to my website before we ever get together. If she can’t accept what I do here, then that will be the truth that I need to know to determine if she is sincere or not. I really do want healing and wholeness for everyone including my mother, but not at the expense of ME anymore.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sophia,

I totally appreciate what you’re saying. Thanks for writing me and for clarifying. I’ve spent most of my life terrified and unable to speak up, so I really, really don’t want anyone to feel like that with me.

I actually made my comment because I thought you were being hard on yourself. I’d gotten the impression that you thought you always had to be doing the work (processing, healing, self-analysis, etc.) and had an inner voice reprimanding you for taking some leisure time. I thought you were saying that you were going to give up reading entirely because it was escape. Now, I can see that’s not what you meant. I truly didn’t mean to undermine your insight. I can see how you took it as advice, and I suppose it was advice, but I guess I didn’t want you to deny yourself something that I assumed you got enjoyment out of and which personally means so much to me—although that’s not something I should be putting on others because it’s not necessarily true for everyone and doesn’t have to be, so I do apologize for the advice aspect.

My mother also nagged and ranted at my dad like that and I remember hearing him reprimand himself once for spending a weekend reading a book when he “should be doing things around the house,” (i.e. all the cleaning my mom wanted done), when he read maybe one book every five years or so. I thought that was incredibly sad. Why wasn’t he allowed to read a book? Maybe that’s kind of where I was coming from…? I don’t know, but anyway, I really do appreciate you writing to clarify and speak up to me, because I obviously didn’t understand what you were actually talking about, which is totally valid. I’m sorry.


This is bad, and I heard it from a pulpit. If someone’s behavior offends you, then you are not dead to self yet. You are in this for you…You need to die to self, and be in “it” for God.

The verse that says something to the effect that if you love God’s ways, you have peace, and nothing will offend you…in other words, no abuse will hurt you?! You won’t be offended; you won’t feel the pain. I think they totally misuse this verse and can’t possibly have the right meaning of the word offend.

The speaker actually said that hurt people hurt people, that was his favorite line. He said that when hurt people talk about their hurt in the church, and we “enable” them by listening, we become the friends of satan and prevent their healing. WOW. He said some terrible things which actually result in the mobbing (group abuse) of people who admit to being hurt in the past and will end up being driven crazy by the group or driven away from the group.


Truthbtold and all,

First off love the name, especially on a site like this. You are bringing up a wedding which is when World War 3 started for me, before my daughter’s wedding. These events I’m convinced bring out the worst in a NM and the family. Unfortunately it is too late for me to uninvite any of my family showing up to my daughter’s wedding. I’ll have to go through it and then go no contact which I feel is my future. No one is standing up for me, they are all dropping like flies on behalf of Mommy Dearest. I’ve already heard “You need to forgive her.” (Over and over and over?) And the old standby “Life’s too short.” I am thoroughly expecting a nasty letter or 2 or even 3 after the wedding is over lambasting me for “not being able to get along with my mother.” It’s not as simple as getting along with her, it’s that she told me “I’ll not go to your daughters’ wedding and put a fake smile on my face for you.” ((With a growl.)I started crying and she then stormed out. Nice huh? We’ve had a couple of other family weddings this year that I did not attend because they were out of state. Did those family members get threatened that she wasn’t going to come? No, just me the Scapegoat. It strikes me as strange how nice we are on this site to one another. We wouldn’t think to treat people the way we are treated in our own families. Whenever I think about even seeing the Rents I get nervous and out of sorts. Like many of you it takes about a week to get over any contact. It’s so not worth it to live like that. Darlene talked about stopping engaging with people who are already basically against you. I think I will need to do that also. I could go round and round, emails, letters or the phone, it will never end. Once the Scapegoat, always the Scapegoat. But I choose every day to NOT believe their perception of me. I and all of us are not that bad, in fact we’re really great people despite it all. Thanks for listening to my bit of a rant. 🙂


We just did a long trip and went somewhat near my relatives, but did not stop to see them.

On the way home I emailed my mom and asked what car they drove when I was three.

She replied that she and my dad didn’t remember (which I don’t believe) and that my dad wanted to know if I had anything (real) to do (other than ask dumb questions about which car they used to drive, etc.) After my husband picked his jaw up off the floor at my dad’s response, I wrote back to my mom and said that I am busy writing my dad’s biography. He has always talked to me that way, it dawns on me fresh again, this once again.


People who talk about their previous abuse injuries to people in their church, for instance, are possibly still sorting out and weeding out abusers of all sorts from their lives.

But, rather than recognize this possibility, it is every man’s “job” to get them to stop talking about it…all so the kingdom of “God” can be built, according to those who control groups of people, for their OWN gain, of course, which has nothing to do with God.


“Life’s too short, you say? …You know what, you’re right. So why am I wasting another minute on people who suck the life out of me?”


I have a painting I did 7 years ago. It’s an abstract flower, I guess, and in the background I wrote over and over “Everyday she woke up, she said, ‘Today I’m going to start something.'” My great aunt, who was visiting me recently, said to me that this last line had a whole new meaning for her. I said something like, “Oh, yeah, I was kind of crazy when I did that—it’s all the same line.” She had me come over, though, and pointed out the last line that was broken off by part of the flower and cut the sentence at the end of the canvas: “Today I’m going.” I smiled, she smiled.

Pam and Darlene, thanks for your words. That’s kind of what I was thinking about, Darlene, with my mom… I don’t know WHY… and similarly I’m working on a novel that is very fictional but it has definite autobiographical parts and is all about the toxicity in mother/daughter relationships, and yeah, she’d have to accept that. Right now the only whys have to do with the people attached to my mom or in making things easier to navigate within the family at large, now that I feel strong enough to deal with her and now that she seems to be willing to respect my boundaries. On the one hand I get the idea that it’s fantastic that they’re willing to listen and treat me like an equal; on the other hand, I think, But that’s what they were supposed to do all along. Why is that anything special? It’s funny because when I first got that email from them that they were now willing to go to counselling, I felt very much the way I felt when I was quitting my last job. It was a super disorganized, dysfunctional place, lots of problems, but when I handed in my resignation, they were basically willing to do anything to keep me (well, not anything, but within reason). I’d never experienced anything like that before. I felt actually quite out of control, even though it was the opposite—for one of the first times in my life I had control. And I started thinking of all the things I could ask for (and they were tempting and some of it might have made a difference to the dysfunctional/disorganized part and not just, you know, asking for more money). But then I quit anyway because I knew that maybe I could get some of the symptoms of the problem dealt with but more than likely not the core problem, which was in the management, and more money didn’t mean much to me if I wasn’t happy… And it’s a good thing because I love the job I’m at now, even though I was unemployed for a bit of time and didn’t know how things would work out. And the thing is when I went to my new job the system was already in working order—functional, organized, happy. I didn’t have to worry about or deal with things that really had no place in my job description but that I spent hours of my own free time thinking about, loosing sleep, etc…. And the whole deal is what? ….They’re your FAMILY. They gave birth to you. Yes, and I’m grateful. But they GAVE life to me. They gave it to me. A gift. Not a loan, not a rental, a gift.

Well, now I will thank everyone for listening to my rant! This website is fantastic!


Hi Melody
Yay for not letting them define you, even as “the scapegoat” anymore. In my own process I decided I had taken enough and tried long enough. I set my requests for equal respect and equal value, in those words. My mother did not contact me again. I was surprised that such a little request caused that huge rejection, but once I got over the shock that my mother (especially) was not going to bother even trying, it was one refreshing to fianlly know the thuth. After a while I realized that nothing had actually changed, (by her actions it was clear that she never had respected me) except that I no longer played the game. I opted out. It hurt that I wasn’t worth her effort but on the other hand, I found the freedom to be myself. I found me. I validated me. I embraced me. I re-parented me and I learned how to love and have a really functional and mutual relationship with ohters!
Hugs, Darlene


“I had to fight for me before I could stand up for me.”…In all of this post this is what touched my soul, fed my spirit, and made me smile..So grateful for your victory Darlene, very thankful.Keep growing, loving and living life at it’s best for you…Will


Well, all, the lunch went fine. It was surface talk, and I talked to my niece and nephew more than anyone else. My sister didn’t bring anyone along that I wasn’t expecting. When we were getting ready to leave, she asked if I would be traveling down to the town the wedding will be held in on Friday. I mumbled something like “I don’t know what the plan is” or “That’s the plan” and changed the subject. I did not tell her I won’t be attending. I expect some phone calls the day of the wedding, BUT I had already warned people that I wasn’t sure of my attendance. Then, I said I would go, and was met with confrontation. I think they need to focus on my cousin, not on what the hell I’m doing.

On Saturday (the day of the wedding), my best friend and I are going to go the Farmer’s Market. She knows the story of what is going on, and listens and only offers advice if I ask for it. A couple of weeks ago I took her to a local creek (some people would call it a river, but I’m from Montana!) and we wrote things that we want to get rid of in our lives on the rocks with permanent markers, then we threw them in. I got the idea from the “freedom rocks” here on the site. It was a wonderful experience. I even put the word “expectations” on a rock, and even though that is usually kind of a positive word (especially since I’m a teacher), it brings negativity to me. The unrealistic expectations I have for myself, and the expectations that I have for other people and then feel disappointed when those expectations are not met. I told my friend that I might get a lot of phone calls/texts on Saturday regarding the wedding and asked if she could help me be strong and she said she could. My husband said “You don’t need anyone to help you be strong; it’s already inside of you. Look at how you dealt with your father’s death.” Honestly, that was probably one of the most powerful statements he has ever said to me.

Thank you for all of the support, EFB’ers. 🙂

Melody, weddings seem to bring out the worst in people! It’s supposed to be one of the happiest moments in life, yet people just destroy that! Makes sense that I eloped. I didn’t want anyone bringing drama to my day! And, you’re right, we are really great people despite it all. We are smarter with our affections and feelings, and we should all be proud that we are breaking the cycle of abuse!

TBT (truthbtold, lol)


Darlene, Something I have always heard my parents complain about was people who ‘want to dig up the past’ and of course, I was included in that. I was thinking the other day, that if I did talk to my parents again, I’d have to start with, “Well, I did it. I dug up the past and all those dead bodies that were secreted away and buried are laying in the sunshine, getting those bones bleached snowy, white. So, now what do we do?” You’re right Darlene, there’s a lot they’d have to come clean on and I can’t ever see that happening. It would be a miracle if it did.:0)



Hi Will
Thanks!! and thanks for sharing that too!
Hugs, Darlene

Thanks for the update! Glad it all went fine!
Hugs, Darlene

I might write a post about that saying “don’t dig up the past!” wow, isn’t that a common one! We are so brainwashed that the past is such a secret thing that should never be looked at other then for taking out fond memories. The truth is that the past held the keys to my future! The turth about the past is what set me free to finally live. Thanks for bringing that phrase up Pam!
Hugs, Darlene



Now I understand what you were actually saying, too! Thanks for understanding.



Hi All
The newest post just published on EFB is about why it is so hard to set personal boundaries in the first place ~ it was inspired by the discussion on the last few posts.
Here is the link: http://emergingfrombroken.com/why-setting-personal-boundaries-is-not-as-easy-as-it-sounds/

Hugs, Darlene


The saying that always got me was:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”

Which, I get it, to a certain extent … don’t give others that kind of power over you … etc. Coming from a healthy place, this saying makes a decent amount of sense.
However, I told myself this all throughout my life, but still ended up feeling like crap. People would hurt me, and then I’d be upset with MYSELF for “Consenting” – i.e. by my allowing them to have that kind of power over me and bring me pain.

But, the more thinking I’ve done on everything … I see that this saying doesn’t account for ones who’ve grown up being taught (through words and/or actions) that they ARE inferior. A child knows only to accept what they’re being taught, even if it hurts. With the messed up belief system in place – the above statement makes you feel even MORE pain. Within that statement lies the belief that if hurtful things hurt you, then it’s YOUR fault for being hurt… no WONDER it never helped me. I needed to get to a better place emotionally before understanding why that ‘directionless directive’ never DID work. ha!



Hi Darlene,
This statement, “Your life is a result of the choices that you make. If you don’t like your life it’s time to start making better choices.” ~ ahh, the times I heard this from my mother. Sooooo many times. So much so that when I discovered my husband’s affair last year, I remember crying to my mom and apologizing for making a poor choice. I suppose what was going through my mind at the time was that I had made a series of poor choices, beginning with walking down the aisle, and many afterward, that caused the circumstances I was in. A marriage to an unfaithful husband.

I remember my mom saying, “I don’t know why you keep saying this is a result of your decisions”! Bahahaha, I don’t have to wonder at ALL now that it’s 18 months later and I can accept that it was HER who always shoved that statement down my throat. It was her “wisdom” that made me believe my current state of affairs was the result of all my decisions leading to that day. I choke on that now!!

Not only did she teach me that that false belief, she then came full circle and asked me WHY I believed that, with a sort of attitude that suggested someone ELSE had bred that into me. So sordid!!

Love and Peace,


I love post #59!! Made me smile! 🙂

With love,
ps – thank you for your kindness and comments re: my stepdad. I appreciate you!!


I completely agree. A group of really great and supportive, sensitive, caring people here. I’m the scapegoat in my family too.

Last year I was speaking with a friend and mentioned I was always the black sheep. She said, “Mimi, have you ever thought that maybe you’re actually the WHITE sheep?” That little comment has stuck with me. Although I didn’t think it was possible at the time she said it, it is becoming my reality slowly. Not that I’m above anyone, family or otherwise, but maybe that I’m clothed in the purity, honesty, and integrity that white represents, rather than what the color black represents. Maybe I am the white sheep ~ I’m the only one on the ALL OUT, no holds barred path to recovery. My siblings are a little stagnant in trying to recover.

All that to say, I lightly embrace the idea that perhaps I am the white sheep of the family. Perhaps we all are!!

Peace and Hope,


Your comment about the white sheep is fantastic! I have thought that myself many times. Just because there are SO many people that said it was ME that was the problem doesn’t mean that I really AM the problem. I believed that the common denominator was me. If everyone says it is me, then it must be me! But today I realize that maybe I was the only sane one! The only crab that got out of the bucket and ran. This month EFB had 2000 more (unique) readers than it had last month. (July had over 20,000 unique visitors and over 4000 people spent more than an hour on the site at a time!) ~ There has to be a reason for that. I think that a lot of people come here and find these other people who are standing up and saying HEY, it wasn’t me and it is really empowering for them. It is like a starting point; motivation for looking at the truth in a new light. Why does the majority have to be right? I found it so helpful to look at motive when I was trying to sort this stuff out. Were their motives for love or control?? Ahh. I am off into a whole other subject now! I will put it in my topic ideas document!
Yay for the white sheep! We are the truth seekers!
Hugs, Darlene


I also wanted to respond to your comment about your mother telling you to make better choices. Perfect example of how even though he cheated on you, it was your own fault! I used to tell my friends that guys don’t cheat unless they are not getting what they need in a relationship! I believed it! And when it happened to me I could not get over it because in my own belief system I believed it was something about ME that made him do it! I believed it was my lack, my unworthiness. But I stood up to him. When he begged me to come back, and that he would never do it again, I “forgave him” (but I never got over it.. so maybe I just said I forgave him) but the problem was that I didn’t think I had any right to ask anything else from him! Like more time or respect or NOT taking me to a strip club, because I had already got his promise of faithfulness. (another blog post!! LOL) but my point is that ALL of my reactions were as a result of my belief system and lack of self esteem. That is what I had to change.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi all
What a relief! Those well intentioned motivational posters have become the newest mantra and frankly always, as you’ve said, just pointed out my failings. I took them all completely literally for years and was sure If I REALLY wanted it I’d have “it” Whatever “it” was…

Pam..get yourself a backhoe girl!!! Start shoveling and start heaping the crap where it originated!! Next time you hear “you’re always digging up the past” reply with “I’ve moved on to total excavation now!!!”

Darlene I especially appreciated your segment on “allowing” oneself to be abused…a person cannot allow or disallow what is beyond their scope of understanding…in other words if you don’t know what something is, and you cannot identify with it or objectify it, how can one POSSIBLY allow or disallow it to happen to them???

Illogical and impossible….yet we’ve all kicked the shit out of ourselves over it.

Everyone…let it all go. I plan to start my own set of these motivational posters. The first being

“My parents were assholes and I’m in recovery…deal with it…or FO!!!

Lol!!! Take care everyone!!!


Hi Nancy
welcome to emerging from broken.
I have written a whole article about the phrase “let it go” too. 🙂
Glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


I’ve only just come across this page and I admit I haven’t read all the comments but the ones I have most certainly struck a cord.
I am sick to the back teeth of hearing ‘Let it go’ or ‘Life’s too short’ and all that related bull! I do not need people telling me this rubbish when the people who seem to do it most are the ones who are far from perfect themselves. Is it that I make them see something in themselves that they don’t like and that they choose to take it out on me or is it that it’s just easier for them to make me feel like something that’s been stepped in instead of figuring out why I am the way I am? One of the persistent offenders in my life has over TWENTY years on me but expects me, at twenty one, to have the same coping mechanisms as she has developed. How? Just how am I supposed to pull two decades of coping mechanisms out of my backside overnight? These people make me absolutely furious!
Sorry for probably going off topic but needed to let this out.


Hi SadaJo
Welcome to emerging from broken
None of us needs any of these expressions/directives! I have written a lot in this site about the damage it causes to the person when we are told to just “let it go” or get over it. When people say to me today that “life is too short” I agree! I agree that life is too short to accept abusive and dismissive treatment from people no matter what “title” they hold in my life.
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everone!
My New post is published ~
This one is about HOW a child becomes regarded or comes to regard self as “the black sheep of the family” and the two fold purpose that abusers/controllers have for painting them that way. There is a grooming process (in ALL types of abuse) that starts BEFORE the grooming process…
You can read it here: http://emergingfrombroken.com/how-children-become-the-black-sheep-of-the-family/
Hugs, Darlene


The one I hate is “ya get busy living or ya get busy dying” meaning the exact same as it’s the past. let it go, you can’t change it. Right I can’t change it, but repressing and denying it doesn’t help me at all either.


Hi ArchAngel InPain
I love to ask people “what does that mean?” when they say it to me in a judgemental way. They NEVER answer. They really don’t know what they are talking about. Repressing it and denying it almost killed me. Facing it gave me my life and my identity back!
glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


The other thing I hate about “your life is the result of the choices you made” is that IT IS NOT ENTIRELY TRUE. The results of the choices I made are the results of the choices I made. But other people made choices that affected me too, and that is also part of my life.

I can’t make *them* make better choices. I can only affect *me.*


Hi Dana
Welcome to emerging from broken
Your comments are right on. that statement isn’t true at all. That is very much what this website is about; I healed by finding out what HAD effected me and the messages that I got from being devalued and mistreated and changing those defining messages back to the truth. NOW (that I have healed) I can make better choices because I put my choices through a more truthful grid of understanding.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I didn’t know where to put this comment, but I know that you have touched on this many times – well-meaning, quick-fix advice that puts the blame on the victim and doesn’t deal with the root of the problems. An abusive survivor friend of mine told me about a book that everyone was raving on about, after the author visited as a keynote speaker for a conference.

The book was about how we could control toxic thoughts and emotions, using neurological evidence for how the brain works. The premise is that every time we think, our brain wires in a certain way, and chemicals are released which affect our bodies and health in a positive or negative way. So the author claims that it doesn’t matter what happens to us, we can change our lives. If we are abused, we can forgive, because unforgiveness is toxic. If we are hurt, we can let go and replace those toxic thoughts with Biblical words.

Apart from the scientific information, the basic message of the book is nothing new, but that sort of message has not helped the masses in the past. I can’t believe that people can accept this without critical thinking. Even all the reviews I found didn’t contain one single comment about what the author has missed, which is the need to dig at the roots of our implicit knowledge and assumptions. Simply “replacing” such thoughts with verses of Scripture isn’t going to help if we don’t know where those thoughts originated from.

And surely it is very irresponsible to tell people that the only thing that matters is the victim’s response to what happens, not what happens? This is exactly the sort of thinking that keeps people in abusive situations – that one should be able to take whatever is thrown, because it’s the response that matters. Sounds a bit like Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, which asserts that we don’t need to look at the past, we only have to look at our cognitive responses to whatever happens to us, and if we correct the way we think about what happens to us, we solve our problems.

Have you come across this kind of reasoning?


Hi Krissy
Yes, this thinking is popular, the most popular in fact. I used to be one of these people, but one day I finally admitted (to myself) that it didn’t work. I think people want to believe it so bad that they just pretend to themselves that it works. (and perhaps it does work for some but if it worked for the masses, it would show by now) ~ The reason that I got so excited about my process was because I felt like I had “the real answer” and it is shocking how many people seem to be afraid of that real answer and would rather fool around with positive thinking etc instead of trying something that although may be a little harder, produces real lasting results in the freedom and wholeness dept. And your comment in the last paragraph is very true: it does work for the abusers if everyone is running around like little robots taking the blame for not being able to move forward from an abusive situation because they are so focused on forgetting all about it. I look back on my life and shake my head at how much energy I spent on NOT dealing with stuff and how the real answer was taught as the biggest taboo!
Hugs, Darlene


Excerpt from Darlene’s post and more and more held true:

“The directive “Don’t “LET” anyone abuse you” makes me shudder. It implies that we LET people do this abusive stuff to us. It isn’t that I went around giving my permission for someone to treat me like dirt. Have you ever talked to a victim of domestic violence? The reason that most women have trouble leaving is because they have been convinced that they DESERVED the beating. I didn’t LET anyone abuse me; I just didn’t know that I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. I didn’t know my value. My self worth had not been set in place yet. The foundation for self esteem and self worth that should have been set in place when I was a child was missing.

Before I could “not let” anyone abuse me disrespect me, devalue me, define me or disregard me, my self esteem had to be repaired and restored.

What about this one; “Your life is a result of the choices that you make. If you don’t like your life it’s time to start making better choices.” I have a real issue with this one; I tried to “make better choices” for at least 20 years before I finally started to dig into WHY I made the sometimes disastrous choices that I made. The answers were not about “just change and presto all will be well”. The answers were in facing how I arrived at such a broken place.

It is so simple for people to spout off all these “oh so easy answers” to all of life’s problems but the HOW part of it is not so easy. And when I start talking about the “how part” many people run for the hills. There is a huge fear of facing the pain that facing the truth brings and I think that fear goes hand in hand with the fear of taking the action that comes right after the clarity and seeing the truth.

I am so glad that I realized that I am worth the effort that it took to overcome the belief system that had been set in place for me by abusers. I didn’t know that I was worth it at first, but I kept going forward long enough to find out and today I know that I am worth every tiny, huge or medium effort that I put into my life.”

Now to re-read ALL the rest. Gracias, amiga!


Darlene wrote in #72:

“I look back on my life and shake my head at how much energy I spent on NOT dealing with stuff and how the real answer was taught as the biggest taboo!”

This must be what I am finding myself up against, now that I’ve had contact with the “family fold.” I have been chastised over and over for “not keeping things within the family” as if that kind of denial is current thinking and could possibly be a way to heal. And this from my sister, who is married to a Methodist pastor! No, I’ve been gone for so many years and I will not go back to a life of “lies for love” because there’s no love there, anyway.


Ugh. Facebook is full of quotes that sound “nice” if you don’t think too much about them. They always seem trite to me, or guilt inducing, or just place lies. Sometimes I am very tempted to correct them, but decide that I don’t have to correct every lie or fight every battle. I do correct them to myself.

For example, I just encountered the following quote: “Home is where your Mom is.” All the comments to this quote were in agreement. I thought: Uhh, unless you have an abusive, manipulative Mother and then home DEFINITEY is NOT where Mom is. And even if I did have a loving Mom, as an adult, I have left my childhood home, and now home is where my own family is and where I live.

Another hated quote: “A real friend is…someone who always listens, is always there for you, always picks you up when you fall…” I don’t know anyone who could ALWAYS be there and NEVER fail except God. Why would they expect friends to live up to impossible standards that they, themselves, cannot live up to? How about “Friends are imperfect people who don’t expect their friends to be perfect,” or “Friends repent/forgive each other when they mess up”?

And then there is the saying to goes: “In our house we love deeply, we work diligently, we speak honestly, we encourage lovingly, we pray constantly, we give generously, we repent humbly, we forgive graciously, we serve cheerfully, we worship joyfully, all because of Jesus.” Wow. I love Jesus too, and it would be nice to have all those things in our house, but in reality we are messed up, imperfect people who aren’t always cheerful, joyful, loving blah, blah, blah…although we do the best we can.

Oh, and there’s the one that says to stop clinging to the past, put the past behind you, because the past has nothing to teach you. I think that simply ignoring the abuse and pretending it didn’t exist doesn’t remove its effects. I have to look at lies of the past, replace them with truth, and THEN move forward.

Sometimes the quotes are so awful that I hide them at FB. But first, I correct the lies to myself.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to rant about this! 🙂


TJ…cool….very cool. I feel the EXACT same way about FB. I think I might post your comments as one of those “nice” sayings you speak of…anonymously of course. Thanks for the insight!


Connie: “LIKE” 🙂


Yes, all good examples of BS quotes. I have written about a few of them! And these types of quotes are really manipulative and used against people instead of to inspire.
Thanks for sharing/ranting!
Hugs Darlene


Guess what TJ….I did post your comments on my facebook page, and I just said…a friend was telling me the other day and I thought it was interesting: Then I posted your comments (Not with your name or anything). Guess what…it got several likes….so we’re not alone! YEAH!


Connie, it’s good to know we are not alone! LOL.


You write very well TJ….I mean you really know how to see through the BS, but at the same time pull out the truth. I really like that. It’s not always an easy thing to do. I’m going to challenge myself to pull a few of those “nicey” nice saying off FB over the next week and see if I can cut through the BS and put some truth into them. I actually think it will be a great exercise for me. I’ll keep you posted!


Wow, TJ, you hit the nail on the head!

It’s so funny, because I have always just ignored those stupid%^&* quotes on the internet and on Facebook, wondering “what in the heck was wrong with me” because I just didn’t get it! I thought I must have the wrong kind of friends (which I don’t) and the wrong kind of family (which I do), because I never felt that way about any of them and those quotes never matched up to my reality.

I never expected my friends to “always be there for me” as they have lives and problems of their own. If they did have time, I was grateful, but I sure didn’t expect them to take care of me or solve my problems. I always thought that I should expect those kinds of superlatives from myself, God, or the Divine, whatever you call it. But not from all these exemplary human beings that never seemed to cross my path! Now I know there’s not anything wrong with me – but with those stupid%$^&U*I “quotes” (b.s. lies).

It’s also very interesting that we are talking about quotes in general, because I’ve been working up a storm lately on my quote/prayer book, and it’s all quotes that have real meaning for ME.

I’ve been doing this for a number of years, and even have a blog for them, and I’ve been pulling a lot of really good ones from this site, Emerging from Broken. Darlene has some of them on FB too. Wish I could post a picture here, because when they are “decorated” they are spectacular! Words, text and art work. Just phenomenal.

Darlene, do you have a quote page here where we can at least post our favorite sayings, even if we can’t add a jpg for the design?

Here’s a recent one from EFB, posted by Pam in the comments section:

* * * * *

“Brushing away those lies is like brushing the dust off a forgotten treasure.”

* * * * *

Gracias, amiga! I read this one every single day. And the treasure is ME.


PS: I don’t have any (many) friends on FB who post those stupid^&*()O quotes, either. I guess I am just “lucky” that way! The ones who do that don’t last very long on my page. Thank God.


Hi Catherine
There is nowhere here to post stuff like that. The only place readers can put things on this website is through the comments.
hugs, Darlene


Darlene wrote in this post:

“It is so simple for people to spout off all these “oh so easy answers” to all of life’s problems but the HOW part of it is not so easy. And when I start talking about the “how part” many people run for the hills. There is a huge fear of facing the pain that facing the truth brings and I think that fear goes hand in hand with the fear of taking the action that comes right after the clarity and seeing the truth.

I am so glad that I realized that I am worth the effort that it took to overcome the belief system that had been set in place for me by abusers.”

This part I have understood or at least “seen” for awhile now. But it’s the next part that has eluded me. Thank God I found my way here, as I keep reading that understanding will come:

* * * * *

“I didn’t know that I was worth it at first, but I kept going forward long enough to find out and today I know that I am worth every tiny, huge or medium effort that I put into my life.”

* * * * *



Diane, #25, thank you! You “said it all.” As I read each and every one of these posts, they all need to be printed out and posted on my wall! When I went no contact before, I had twenty years of peace *until* I came back when my mother was dying of cancer. It’s been “open season” since then. And now I’m letting them all go (again). It won’t happen again.


Jane in #13 wrote this saying:

“Hurting people hurt people”

Or SADISTS hurt people. And enjoy doing it!


As Darlene said, “The solution was in changing the false messages that I believed about myself back to the truth.”

That is the way I have always fought against abusive lies, whether they were the messages that I got from people or from shallow FB quotes. I could only defeat lies with the truths, which set me free. I could stand strong when I had a firm grasp of truth, but could be manipulated when I didn’t know what the truth was. So I search out the truth to defend myself and defeat the lies. Whenever I find a FB quote, I ask myself what the truth is, and after I tell myself the truth, I hide the quote, making it disappear. It is defeated! Even if I have to fight it again, I have defeated it THIS time with the truth. Eventually I “own” the truth.

There are some quotes, books, movies that tell the truth, and that I like. For example, Sue Grafton’s novel “T is for Trespass” is a detective story about emotional and physical abuse. I could barely endure reading it because it very accurately described the sort of emotional abuse that I experienced, in which the manipulator is always one step ahead, always has a reasonable excuse for her actions, that leaves the victim unbalanced and unsure. I persisted in finishing the book because I needed to know the character fought and won. I keep the book around not to read it again, but to remind myself that emotional abuse exists, and also to recommend it to people who can’t seem to understand what it is.

I also love the movie Tangled. To most of my friends it was a funny, cute movie. To me, it is about emotional abuse. In the movie, the false mother “sounded” like she was loving and protective but in reality she was manipulative and controlling. I can tell by looking at Repunzel’s face when she is interacting with her “mother” that she knows something is wrong, she feels it is manipulative, even if she can’t understand it. And she feels so guilt for feeling stifled by her “loving” Mom. As long as Repunzel does what she is told, she experiences this mother’s “love” but when she resists, she gets the ugly abuse. I can so, so relate.

I love when Repunzel first escapes from the tower, alternating between absolute joy in her newfound freedom, and total despair that she is such a terrible daughter who is betraying her Mother. Again, I can relate. It’s a battle I have fought.

“T is for Trespass” and “Tangled” both reminded me that it’s not just me, I’m not imaging it, this sort abuse is real, and it can be successfully defeated.


Thank you, Connie (#88).

Even when I see through the lies, I still have to struggle to “own” the truth. The manipulation has been so strong, and often it has felt as if I was the only one who believed it was abuse so I would doubt myself. But slowly I have been grabbing on to truth. Having a site like this helps, because I feel as if maybe I am not the only one, which is strengthening. Yes, keep me posted! 🙂


O.k. I got one for Catherine, and I got one for TJ.

First Catherine, speaking of quotes that we love. I did find a quote right here on EFB I love (Thank you Darlene). At least in the stage of emerging I am (early), I found this to be quite good:

“They taught me and shaped me; mistreated and devalued me, all of which broke me. Then they rejected me because I was broken.”

And for you TJ, here’s the FB “nice” I saw today:

“A MOTHER thinks about her children day and night even when they are not with her and will love them in a way they will never understand.”

Oh, where do I begin. Yeah a mother thinks of her children day and night except for when she’s obsessing on the 49th affair her husband is having or when she’s having sex with him to get pregnant AGAIN, so he can’t leave her. Oh, and by the way….I will never understand the way my mother loved me, because honestly she didn’t.

How’d I do?


Connie, LOL! You got me really laughing with these ones… keep ’em coming! But I don’t think “they rejected me because I was broken.” I was rejected because I was NOT!


LOL, Connie and Catherine!

Ok, here are a couple more awful quotes:

“If you hurt me, it will make me stronger”

“No matter how much teeth bite the tongue, they still stay together in one mouth. That’s the spirit of forgiveness.”

“Good friends protect one another. And they don’t desert you, even when you are in trouble. And they don’t desert you even when it costs them something to remain your friend–even if that something is your pride. Some people call this trait faithfulness. Others call it loyalty or consistency…”

So, yeah, go ahead and abuse me. It will make me strong and I’ll be a loyal friend and keep you in my life even when you hurt me because we are together like teeth in a mouth… :/


TJ…got a great one for you. Tell me if you think I corrected it appropriately:

ORIGINAL FB “nice”: Don’t be upset and caught up with things or people you cannot change.
Instead, move on, let go and concentrate on what you CAN change. Things that enhance your life. You deserve to be happy.

MY CORRECTION OF THE LIES: Acknowledge you have been upset and abused by people and you had no control over it.
Before you can move on, you need to face the truth about what has happened to you, let the people that hurt you know that you will no longer accept their abuse and hopefully they will acknowlege your value as a human being and respect your boundaries. If they will, then forgiveness can take place. If they will not, then you need to move on to better relationships with people who will validate and respect you.
Your life will then be enhanced and you will be happy.


Awesome, Connie!

Ugh, here’s one I heard today:

“People who hurt others are just more wounded.”

I have heard this sort of thing for years, so it makes my stomach tie up in knots. CORRECTION: “Being wounded” does NOT give anyone a license to hurt other people. We can care about others and help them to journey toward wholeness (if possible), but we don’t ever have to accept abusive behavior.


Hahaha… great “corrections” to those b.s. quotes I see all over the internet, and have had to listen to most of my life.

Here’s my “correction: “Try it again, MOFO, and you won’t be seeing me again!”

(Not really, but there’s someone here who talks this way and I get such a kick out of it!

The other thing it took me YEARS to understand, and it was only because someone pointed this out to me:

The one who hurt me was a SADIST. People who hurt other people are sadists and enjoy it. Only a masochist or a raging codependent would stick around for more.

I have always said I’m not a masochist and would never accept physical abuse (once I got away from my father and his beatings). But as a raging codependent, I accepted emotional abuse just by being devalued and ignored. I got nothing but crumbs while I took all the responsibility and blame, and in the past, I even paid all the bills!

I was well-trained, but no more! Now I have a “new set of rules” and a list that includes me… and today I put myself and my needs and what I want AT THE TOP OF THE LIST. I used to not even “be on the list,” and I was the one who wrote “the list!” I could see this happening, but because of who I lived with, I couldn’t make that change. Now that I’ve been gone (back and forth) for seven years, and gone for the entire past year and only recently back, I can see just how the unconscious, insidious, passive-aggressive manipulation works, and how I’ve been buying into it all these years. 30 years, to be exact, and I just turned 63! But now I can SEE IT and I have Emerging From Broken backing me up, and everyone here…

And guess what? I FOR THE FIRST TIME CAN JUST SAY “NO.” No drama, no tears, no yelling and screaming… just No, I can’t go along with that, and I won’t. Instead this is what I am going to do. You do whatever you want and we can skype together while I’m gone.

I just bought myself a birthday present in the South of France for $25.00 per night and I’ll use what’s left of my plane ticket from another unused trip and I’ll have a private room with private bath off-season in a converted monastery, with gorgeous modern, two story wall of stained glass windows and a grand piano I can play every single night! $500.00 to pay for my own freedom, and I will have a wonderful time, instead of twisting myself into knots trying to “practice patience” with someone who does things so differently than me. Meaning half-assed and with constant procrastination and excuses and never finishing things up, and me always bearing all the blame and responsibility. Well, no more!

And I can do this without drama or conflict. I am just going to work on the projects I have in the works and I can spend 2 or 3 months doing it, and I tell you I just can’t wait. I thought I was going to go off the deep end recently; I really did. I was still “trying to control” people and things keeping our business “on track,” with people who just wouldn’t do it right. Meaning using standard accounting and business principles. So I announced there is no more “we.” You do things your way and I will do mine, and we can still get along but I won’t be going crazy because everything is in a constant state of confusion or turmoil.

I am giving My Self a hiatus of six months off until the end of July and then I will see where things stand with the business, and in the meantime I will work on doing things just the way I want them, and anyone who gives me any grief or makes me sad or makes me cry WILL BE SHOWN THE DOOR. And if they can’t learn to take care of things the way most adults do, then they can do whatever they want but they won’t be wrecking my life. My life isn’t a plaything for anyone.

My life belongs to me!

This is the best birthday present I could have ever given myself; I’ve been dreaming about this for many years and finally I took the leap and God opened those doors and the Divine will show me The Way. And thanks to everyone on EFB for helping pave the way.



Great one TJ…hey, I really like doing this “correction” thing…you know it really is a good excerise toward healing. I had to really look at the statement, think about where it was flawed, and then think about how I could correct it to be more truthful.
I think you’ve stumbled onto a very useful healing tool here. You ought to let some therapists know about it.

I wish you a very happy belated birthday and hope it is the best one of your life. Going to France sounds like a pretty cool way to celebrate! WOW!



Hi Catherine,
I have been away, (I had a stomach flu!) but I wanted to point out something here about what you said in the comment about “People who hurt other people are sadists and enjoy it. Only a masochist or a raging codependent would stick around for more.” This is part of the false belief system that is used to heap shame on the victim. People who have been raised to think abuseive treatment is “normal” are not masochistic; they don’t know they have a choice. They stick around because they really believe that they deserve the mistreatment. And that is the belief system that needs to be exposed in order to be re-wired. For instance, a woman who is being beaten by her husband; everone is so stumped by the fact that she stays. It isn’t because she likes it. It is because her self esteem is so shot and she is so brainwashed that it is “her”, she really believes that one day she will find the key to being who he wants her to be and he will finally love her.
That is the message that I got as a child; that if I was ‘different’ and if I was ‘better’ then I would be loved. That was the brainwashing. All I did was finally realize that that message was a huge lie. I gave up on being enough for them. I AM enough.
I hope this makes sense. It is not the fault of the victim is they don’t leave an abusive relationship. They don’t leave because they are so brainwashed in believing that the reason they are treated the way they are is their own fault.
Hugs, Darlene


Happy Birthday Catherine!
Hugs, Darlene


Another Correction toward healing:

FB NICE: “Never pass a chance to say I LOVE YOU to the people you care about because we aren’t promised tomorrow.”

CORRECTION: “Never pass a chance to SHOW the people you LOVE that you Value and Respect them. Because we aren’t promised tomorrow.”


Darlene wrote in #104: “It is not the fault of the victim is they don’t leave an abusive relationship. They don’t leave because they are so brainwashed in believing that the reason they are treated the way they are is their own fault.”

That’s a good way to put it. This must be why my sisters married and stayed in very controlling, abusive relationships. I would NEVER allow any man to put a hand on me, as they did, but I DID allow a man to negate me for years by ignoring me, not respecting me, and turning me into an illusion who had no rights to wants or needs. I know it was because I really believed that I had no rights or value, other than the work I produced and the money I earned. That all went back to my childhood lessons that I received.

I will never forget the day I was getting married, in my upstairs room getting dressed and two of my sisters standing there in the doorway saying “We never thought you would get married; who would want to marry you?” They just kept tormenting me until I threw my hairbrush against the wall (just like I did once when I was ten years old) and said “Get out of here! Leave me alone! This is my wedding day!”

I have remembered the pain of that day for 30 years, and the pain of that arrow in my heart is still there; the barbs have yet to come unstuck. I heard that message all my life and I fight every day to believe that those awful things they still say about me are simply not true. Every single thing in my life, no matter how much I have enjoyed it or how much good I have done, has been an effort to NOT believe that I am those horrible things they all said about me from the top down: mother, father, sisters and brothers. It’s just too terrible to see how damaging WORDS can be. “Sticks and stones” really doesn’t apply. We don’t remember the bruises we receive, but we remember the words people say. Those can wound for the rest of our lives.

But I still say those people who hurt other people don’t necessarily do it because they are hurt, they do it because there is a part of them that ENJOYS IT. And that makes them a SADIST.

I am not a masochist and I won’t allow it. Maybe people who don’t have enough belief in themselves can’t see that they are masochists, and I agree with you on that. But everyone has to believe at some point that they don’t deserve to be beaten down with words of fists or fear, and at some point they have to stand up for themselves, or they will be forever enslaved. That’s what the world is really about: the dominee and the domineers. Survival of the fittest in a cruel, cruel, world. We talk a lot about love and support and companionship, but I’ve seen so little of it, or it is so short-lived. It seems to last just long enough for people to get what they want and then move on.

I’m sure this isn’t the “right attitude” to take, but that’s how I feel right now. Please feel free to correct my thinking. That’s what I’m here for you all to do. Thank you in advance! I’m going to re-read what you said about victims don’t realize they don’t deserve it. I KNEW I didn’t deserve what they were doing to me, at least I didn’t deserve the outrageousness, the extreme punishments, the drama and the lies.

I knew enough to fight back and I did, and I finally got out. I was the only one out of 8 children. They are all sick and twisted by years of staying in that poison pool, as far as I can tell, and I feel sorry for every single one of them. But that doesn’t mean that they didn’t take the coward’s way out. And they have paid the price. I won’t. I might have never believed that I have any value, and it’s still hard for me to see or say it, but I won’t let anyone devalue me if I can help it. I do enough of that to myself.



A couple years ago, I found an excerpt from a book (which I went on to buy) called “In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People.” The excerpt is on a website that deals with various forms of brainwashing. It has helped me greatly. It was the first thing that ever verified that maybe it wasn’t all me. The types of manipulation that is described accurately describes the sort of abuse I have encountered. It can be very subtle and very powerful. Here is a portion of the book quoted on the website:

“For a long time, I wondered why manipulation victims have a hard time seeing what really goes on in manipulative interactions. At first, I was tempted to fault them. But I’ve learned that they get hoodwinked for some very good reasons:

1. A manipulator’s aggression is not obvious. Our gut may tell us that they’re fighting for something, struggling to overcome us, gain power, or have their way, and we find ourselves unconsciously on the defensive. But because we can’t point to clear, objective evidence they’re aggressing against us, we can’t readily validate our feelings.

2. The tactics manipulators use can make it seem like they’re hurting, caring, defending, …, almost anything but fighting. These tactics are hard to recognize as merely clever ploys. They always make just enough sense to make a person doubt their gut hunch that they’re being taken advantage of or abused. Besides, the tactics not only make it hard for you to consciously and objectively tell that a manipulator is fighting, but they also simultaneously keep you or consciously on the defensive. These features make them highly effective psychological weapons to which anyone can be vulnerable. It’s hard to think clearly when someone has you emotionally on the run.

3. All of us have weaknesses and insecurities that a clever manipulator might exploit. Sometimes, we’re aware of these weaknesses and how someone might use them to take advantage of us. For example, I hear parents say things like: “Yeah, I know I have a big guilt button.” – But at the time their manipulative child is busily pushing that button, they can easily forget what’s really going on. Besides, sometimes we’re unaware of our biggest vulnerabilities. Manipulators often know us better than we know ourselves. They know what buttons to push, when and how hard. Our lack of self-knowledge sets us up to be exploited.

4. What our gut tells us a manipulator is like, challenges everything we’ve been taught to believe about human nature. We’ve been inundated with a psychology that has us seeing everybody, at least to some degree, as afraid, insecure or “hung-up.” So, while our gut tells us we’re dealing with a ruthless conniver, our head tells us they must be really frightened or wounded “underneath.” What’s more, most of us generally hate to think of ourselves as callous and insensitive people. We hesitate to make harsh or seemingly negative judgments about others. We want to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they don’t really harbor the malevolent intentions we suspect. We’re more apt to doubt and blame ourselves for daring to believe what our gut tells us about our manipulator’s character.


This is the type of emotional abuse I encountered. My abusers all seemed like caring, honest people. This is how they drew me in. As long as I was compliant, they continued to show this sort of behavior to me…while in reality they were stealing my self-confidence and identity. When I recognized it and began to fight against it, they began to lie about me, blame me, reject me, and turn others against me–all while I’m sure they seemed very caring. I’m sure many heard such things as “Poor TJ. Her husband has turned her against us, and we need to pray for her…” which are the types of things I heard about a couple of my siblings in the past. In reality “Poor TJ” was fighting to escape THEIR control. If I tried to pull away, they became “sweet” again until they had drawn me back in. There were many times when my husband and I visited my Mom, and we found ourselves agreeing with things she said. As we drove home, we’d say to each other, “Wait a minute! We just agreed with things we KNEW weren’t true. Why?” It was spooky. My Mom could make lies sound absolutely true, and she could lie without saying anything that was technically untrue. It was an important step when my Mom accused me and I defended myself to her.

My relationship with my Mom deteriorating when I got engaged and refused to let her take control of the decisions I felt were my and my (soon-to-be) husband’s to make. I felt that her behavior was not about love or struggling to let her daughter (me) go, but about power and control. However, my Mom’s (and others) tactics kept me off balance, confused, and filled with self-doubt. I began to wonder if it was “me.” Maybe I was the unloving, uncaring one, who was to blame for our relationship deteriorating. Maybe if I had been better, had not done this or that…..

I believe that I would have escaped the abuse much sooner if somebody had listened to me. But every single person in my life told me and my husband that my Mom really loved me, that she was just wounded and needed to be loved. When I tried to describe the emotional abuse I was experiencing, it sounded petty…because my abusers were subtle. Every single person told me I should stop hanging on to wrongs and judging them, that no one was perfect and everyone has weaknesses, and that I had to start forgiving them. This made me doubt what I knew to be true, and I re-doubled my attempts to love more and reconcile. I think these people who would not listen were co-abusers, joining their voices with my abusers.

I also stayed in an abusive situation with one of my sisters. This sister was an outcast, like me, and had always been rejected by our Mom. She became very narcisstic, excusing hurtful things she did while viewing every imagined offense others as a “deliberate attempt to hurt me even though you know I am wounded.” I accepted her behavior because I knew she really was wounded and I wanted to help her. But her behavior toward me became more and more intolerable. I think I first angered her when she found my blog in which I had written about the abuse we had experienced. She leaped to my Mom’s defense because “No matter how she treated us, she is still our mother and they are still our family.” I couldn’t please her after that. I would help my sister if I could, but I eventually realized that a person who refuses to see the truth about herself and her life cannot be helped.

I believe I finally could shut my abusers out of my life because I asked God to teach me the truth, I was willing to face the truth about them, myself, and life, and I was not willing to give them total control over me. However, standing against them has taken it’s toll and while the abusers are not in my life now, I am still fighting to overcome the affects of the abuse.


Thanks for the definition of manipulators. This fits everyone in “The Play” as I call it right now. And it is a play, you never know what the actors are going to do on a daily basis. The actors are all scrambling to show their mother more devotion that their siblings. (except for me of course.)It makes me sick how they worship such a mean woman.
I can completely identify with every single person telling you that your mom loves you. Since going no contact almost a year now, each member of the family keeps saying mother loves me. My question would be if everyone is saying it but not her, then why is it true? That’s the key! My Ndad has said this to me for years usually when the mother had her worst most hurtful behaviors. I can’t even count how many times Ndad has said “You know WE love you.” Many times with my mother sitting right next to him, during an argument with me. It finally dawned on me that she is not saying it, he is! I expect more people to defend Nmom now that I am co contact, so I am backing off the subject and will only discuss it with people that I trust.
Once my mother called me crying saying she was so sorry for favoring my oldest sister and on and on. My heart soared with the thought that my mom actually loved me and was sorry. Later on I heard that Nmom had a fight with this sister and they weren’t on speaking terms. Eventually they started speaking again and I was right back in the doghouse. She is like a leopard, which will always have spots and eventually you will find them, they never go away. I am truly sorry for what you and we all have gone through. But I am very thankful for the truth and Darlenes’ trailblazing website…Peace!


Thanks, Melody!

“In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People” described the tactics of emotional abusers. This really helped me to recognize many of the tactics that my abusers used against me. They used many of them, if not all, against me, keeping me confused and unbalanced and filled with guilt. I have observed that when I confronted an emotional abuser and they saw a tactic wasn’t working, they’d often very quickly change to another tactic, going from victim to seducer or villifying me, for example. It was like flipping a switch. To me this quick change when confronted is one indicator that I am dealing with an abuser. Here is a list of tactics from the book that is shared on the brainwashing site:

Denial – This is when the aggressor refuses to admit that they’ve done something harmful or hurtful when they clearly have. It’s a way they lie (to themselves as well as to others) about their aggressive intentions. This “Who… Me?” tactic is a way of “playing innocent,” and invites the victim to feel unjustified in confronting the aggressor about the inappropriateness of a behavior. It’s also the way the aggressor gives him/herself permission to keep right on doing what they want to do. This denial is not the same kind of denial that a person who has just lost a loved one and can’t quite bear to accept the pain and reality of the loss engages in. That type of denial really is mostly a “defense” against unbearable hurt and anxiety. Rather, this type of denial is not primarily a “defense” but a maneuver the aggressor uses to get others to back off, back down or maybe even feel guilty themselves for insinuating he’s doing something wrong.

Selective Inattention – This tactic is similar to and sometimes mistaken for denial It’s when the aggressor “plays dumb,” or acts oblivious. When engaging in this tactic, the aggressor actively ignores the warnings, pleas or wishes of others, and in general, refuses to pay attention to everything and anything that might distract them from pursuing their own agenda. Often, the aggressor knows full well what you want from him when he starts to exhibit this “I don’t want to hear it!” behavior. By using this tactic, the aggressor actively resists submitting himself to the tasks of paying attention to or refraining from the behavior you want him to change…Actively listening to and heeding the suggestions of someone else are, among other things, acts of submission. And, as you may remember from the story [I didn’t include the examples in these quotes], Amanda is not a girl who submits easily. Determined to let nothing stand in her way and convinced she could eventually “win” most of her power struggles with authority figures through manipulation, Amanda closed her ears. She didn’t see any need to listen. From her point of view, she would only have lost some power and control if she submitted herself to the guidance and direction offered by those whom she views as less powerful, clever and capable as herself.

Rationalization – A rationalization is the excuse an aggressor tries to offer for engaging in an inappropriate or harmful behavior. It can be an effective tactic, especially when the explanation or justification the aggressor offers makes just enough sense that any reasonably conscientious person is likely to fall for it. It’s a powerful tactic because it not only serves to remove any internal resistance the aggressor might have about doing what he wants to do (quieting any qualms of conscience he might have) but also to keep others off his back. If the aggressor can convince you he’s justified in whatever he’s doing, then he’s freer to pursue his goals without interference.

Diversion – A moving target is hard to hit. When we try to pin a manipulator down or try to keep a discussion focused on a single issue or behavior we don’t like, he’s expert at knowing how to change the subject, dodge the issue or in some way throw us a curve. Manipulators use distraction and diversion techniques to keep the focus off their behavior, move us off-track, and keep themselves free to promote their self-serving hidden agendas.

Lying – It’s often hard to tell when a person is lying at the time he’s doing it. Fortunately, there are times when the truth will out because circumstances don’t bear out somebody’s story. But there are also times when you don’t know you’ve been deceived until it’s too late. One way to minimize the chances that someone will put one over on you is to remember that because aggressive personalities of all types will generally stop at nothing to get what they want, you can expect them to lie and cheat. Another thing to remember is that manipulators – covert-aggressive personalities that they are – are prone to lie in subtle, covert ways. Courts are well aware of the many ways that people lie, as they require that court oaths charge that testifiers tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Manipulators often lie by withholding a significant amount of the truth from you or by distorting the truth. They are adept at being vague when you ask them direct questions. This is an especially slick way of lying’ omission. Keep this in mind when dealing with a suspected wolf in sheep’s clothing. Always seek and obtain specific, confirmable information.

Covert Intimidation – Aggressors frequently threaten their victims to keep them anxious, apprehensive and in a one-down position. Covert-aggressives intimidate their victims by making veiled (subtle, indirect or implied) threats. Guilt-tripping and shaming are two of the covert-aggressive’s favourite weapons. Both are special intimidation tactics.

Guilt-tripping – One thing that aggressive personalities know well is that other types of persons have very different consciences than they do. Manipulators are often skilled at using what they know to be the greater conscientiousness of their victims as a means of keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious, and submissive position. The more conscientious the potential victim, the more effective guilt is as a weapon. Aggressive personalities of all types use guilt-tripping so frequently and effectively as a manipulative tactic, that I believe it illustrates how fundamentally different in character they are compared to other (especially neurotic) personalities. All a manipulator has to do is suggest to the conscientious person that they don’t care enough, are too selfish, etc., and that person immediately starts to feel bad. On the contrary, a conscientious person might try until they’re blue in the face to get a manipulator (or any other aggressive personality) to feel badly about a hurtful behavior, acknowledge responsibility, or admit wrongdoing, to absolutely no avail.

Shaming – This is the technique of using subtle sarcasm and put-downs as a means of increasing fear and self-doubt in others. Covert-aggressives use this tactic to make others feel inadequate or unworthy, and therefore, defer to them. It’s an effective way to foster a continued sense of personal inadequacy in the weaker party, thereby allowing an aggressor to maintain a position of dominance.

Playing the Victim Role – This tactic involves portraying oneself as an innocent victim of circumstances or someone else’s behavior in order to gain sympathy, evoke compassion and thereby get something from another. One thing that covert-aggressive personalities count on is the fact that less calloused and less hostile personalities usually can’t stand to see anyone suffering. Therefore, the tactic is simple. Convince your victim you’re suffering in some way, and they’ll try to relieve your distress.

Vilifying the Victim – This tactic is frequently used in conjunction with the tactic of playing the victim role. The aggressor uses this tactic to make it appear he is only responding (i.e. defending himself against) aggression on the part of the victim. It enables the aggressor to better put the victim on the defensive.

Playing the Servant Role – Covert-aggressives use this tactic to cloak their self-serving agendas in the guise of service to a more noble cause. It’s a common tactic but difficult to recognize. By pretending to be working hard on someone else’s behalf, covert-aggressives conceal their own ambition, desire for power, and quest for a position of dominance over others…A good example comes to mind in the recent true story of a well-known tele-evangelist who locked himself up in a room in a purported display of “obedience” and “service” to God. He even portrayed himself’ a willing sacrificial lamb who was prepared to be “taken by God” if he didn’t do the Almighty’s bidding and raise eight million dollars. He claimed he was a humble servant, merely heeding the Lord’s will. He was really fighting to save his substantial material empire.

Seduction – Covert-aggressive personalities are adept at charming, praising, flattering or overtly supporting others in order to get them to lower their defenses and surrender their trust and loyalty. Covert-aggressives are also particularly aware that people who are to some extent emotionally needy and dependent (and that includes most people who aren’t character-disordered) want approval, reassurance, and a sense of being valued and needed more than anything. Appearing to be attentive to these needs can be a manipulator’s ticket to incredible power over others. Shady “gurus” like Jim Jones and David Koresh seemed to have refined this tactic to an art. In the story of Al and Don, Al is the consummate seducer. He melts any resistance you might have to giving him your loyalty and confidence. He does this by giving you what he knows you need most. He knows you want to feel valued and important. So, he often tells you that you are. You don’t find out how unimportant you really are to him until you turn out to be in his way.

Projecting the blame (blaming others) – Aggressive personalities are always looking for a way to shift the blame for their aggressive behavior. Covert-aggressives are not only skilled at finding scapegoats, they’re expert at doing so in subtle, hard to detect ways.

Minimization – This tactic is a unique kind of denial coupled with rationalization. When using this maneuver, the aggressor is attempting to assert that his abusive behavior isn’t really as harmful or irresponsible as someone else may be claiming. It’s the aggressor’s attempt to make a molehill out of a mountain.

I’ve presented the principal tactics that covert-aggressives use to manipulate and control others. They are not always easy to recognize. Although all aggressive personalities tend to use these tactics, covert-aggressives generally use them slickly, subtly and adeptly. Anyone dealing with a covertly aggressive person will need to heighten gut-level sensitivity to the use of these tactics if they’re to avoid being taken in by them.



Darlene wrote in #104:

“For instance, a woman who is being beaten by her husband; everyone is so stumped by the fact that she stays. It isn’t because she likes it. It is because her self esteem is so shot and she is so brainwashed that it is “her”, she really believes that one day she will find the key to being who he wants her to be and he will finally love her.”

This has stayed with me all night; even though I never allowed a man to beat me with fists, I have allowed them to mistreat me with words or actions. All my life. Because I was SURE that somehow, someday, I would “find the key” and they would “finally love me.”

Husband, mother, father, friend, you name it. All I did was twist myself into knots and ties myself in Gordian knots that cannot be undone, without the swift cutting of a sword.

Thank you Darlene. With your book and your website, you are going to be on the talk show circuit soon. You are saving so many lives! Get ready… here we come!


Melody in # 109

“The actors are all scrambling to show their mother more devotion that their siblings. (except for me of course.)It makes me sick how they worship such a mean woman.”

I can’t believe it… you took the words right out of my mouth! Now that my mother has died, the “beatification process” has begun! I just can’t believe it. And it is a “play.”

Now to finish reading the rest. I’m going to look at the book “In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People.” Thanks, TJ.

Whew. So much to learn, so far to go. Gracias amigas!


Wow. Re-reading everything here, including #108… this is one I’ll have to print out and post on my wall. Gracias amigos for all! Reading Again.


Thank you for posting this information. It’s invaluable. For someone who’s suffered this kind of abuse, it seems impossible to put into words. I’ve tried to describe it in words to people who haven’t experienced it. I fail miserably. It’s so elusive and so difficult to pin down exactly what it is that has damaged me so. I love to read intricate descriptions such as this because it really helps to cement it in my mind that it wasn’t just me….. and perhaps wasn’t me at all. So easy to forget when our minds are trained so deeply. So easy to go back into questioning if I am really all the things she said I was. Then, I read stuff like this and I know. It was her. She is crazy!! (my mother)

Thanks for taking the time to type it all out.

Peace and Hope,


Mimi, I didn’t type it out, but copied it from an excerpt from the book that is on a website about brainwashing (the link is on my post above). And you are correct that this sort of abuse is so difficult to describe. When I’ve tried to describe it to people they always acted as if I was being petty and unforgiving about some trivial disagreement. They always told me that my mother was just wounded, and probably really loved me, and to not hang on to offenses but to forgive. I’d try to tell them this wasn’t a little disagreement, it’s not about a lack of love and forgiveness, it about ruthless power and control. It’s like an emotional rape. But no one heard me.

And I agree with Catherine Todd about the accuracy of your statement “The actors are all scrambling to show their mother more devotion that their siblings. (except for me of course.)It makes me sick how they worship such a mean woman.” I find it sickly humorous that my outcast siblings that our Mom is dysfunctional and manipulative, but every one of them states that they saw through it during our childhood, and every one of them thinks they have overcome it without affect…unless they are being the “victim” who must be cared for because they are so wounded. I’m the only one who believes that I did NOT know what was happening in our childhood, and I did not get through unscathed. The others are still running after Mom. The favored ones idolize and loyally defend her. The unfavored ones desperately try to win her love and approval and will rush to her defense even though they, themselves, criticize her. Everything revolves around Mom, who manipulates everyone, including grandchildren, like a puppeteer. Two years ago, I finally understood that it’s ok to walk away from the abusive drama, and I will not have anything to do with them. (Although I struggle with guilt that I am being unloving and unforgiving for doing so.) Now I am trying to overcome the damage, and set healthy boundaries in my life, and learn to live in freedom and wholeness.


hi darlene,

there’s a whole bunch of new women on this thread! my sister talks a lot about making good choices for me and my daughter and for herself but she is divorced twice and the latest fiancee walked out leaving her devastated. there’s a lot of motivational posters on fb about being positive, the thing is if you are actually having a hard time and you are exhausted and sick and broke and depressed and grieving, it is just one more thing to feel bad about. you’re supposed to be cheery all the time and there are so few people mature enough to listen to you without judgement, without just telling you to cheer up.


wow, one year ago today this post was made. Glad Sue posted a comment so I could see this post, wouldn’t have known about it otherwise.

I’m so sick of this “choose to be, choose to be, choose to be” stuff. YOU CAN’T CHOOSE WHAT YOU FEEL! I’ve been trying to “choose” what I felt for years from my mom TELLING me how to feel! What happens when you do that? You lead a “double” life! You are “authentic” when you are away from the abusers, but you revert to being what the abusers want you to be” when you are around them. It sucks. I think Darlene called it some “disorder” in another post…..

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