Mother Daughter Relationship ~ False Definition of Love


up in smoke ~ mother daughter love

“Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, “you owe me.” Look at what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.” Hafiz

Reading all the posts from Carla and her Mom, Debbie, got me to thinking about my own Mother and all that has come and gone in our relationship. Sometimes I wish that she and I could mend this broken fence.  Sometimes I miss my mother.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have this longing that I have labelled as “missing my mother” but it is a longing for something that has always been missing.  It is a longing for love, a longing to have value in my mother’s life and a longing to feel like I mattered to her. That longing is a longing for something that has never really been there.

Sometimes I wonder where this longing came from if I never had it in the first place.  Maybe my mother was an amazing mother when I was an infant; when I was a baby who was completely dependent on her. Maybe she was filled with love when she looked down at me, when I was so little, so fragile and perfect in my helplessness. I needed her then. Maybe she thought that my dependency on her was love. How was she loved and what did she think that love was? Did she think that this little baby would fill the void that was in her soul?  And maybe when I was a little baby, with no verbal ability, no opinion separate from her, no will of my own, that was exactly how she wanted it and that was love. Well whatever it was then, somewhere along the line everything went terribly wrong. 

My mom used to get mad at me and tell me that no matter how nasty her own mother was that they (her and her siblings) always loved her anyway.  I realized that my mother was actually telling me that I did not love her “the right way”. I was expected to love her, because she was my mother. I remember even in my own brokenness, wondering why we feel that we have to love our parents just because they are our parents. My mother says that she did the best she could and after my parents split up when I was 12, she constantly stated that she never asked to be a single parent as though that was why she wasn’t a caring or loving parent. 

And this isn’t just about my mother because I was expected to love other people who had no regard for me. Why “should” I love people who cause me pain, people who humiliate me and tell me by their actions that I am worthless? Why did I have to love people who only contributed to the pain in my life, people that never cared about me, never wanted to see me for who I was but only for what I could do for them? There was this deep down niggling doubt about the words “should” and why obligation was somehow connected to the word love, but I could not quite grasp the whole picture.

My mother taught me the wrong definition of the word love. I learned by her actions. I learned by her expectations. I learned that I was obligated ~ I was supposed to love her and that loving her meant doing what she wanted and never upsetting her. Love was about ME carrying the entire burden of the relationship. Love was keeping dirty little secrets. Love was accepting that I was not worthy of protection and not putting up a fuss about it because that would upset her. I could fight, I could express the unfairness of it all, but there was a price to pay for the fight and I was ignored. It was painfully clear to me that my feelings didn’t matter; only her feelings did. The problem was that by her definition of love, I was not loved and that is how I knew that I was not loved. My mother did not love me by HER own definition of the word.

I had a fantasy about having a certain type of mother. I worked very hard to earn her love and acceptance of me, believing that one day I would find the magic key. I finally accepted that it wasn’t going to happen because SHE can’t do it. It isn’t because I can’t be what she wants. The lack is not in me.

I feel sorry for my mother. She doesn’t know what love is. She never saw me as an individual. She doesn’t know that love is more fulfilling when it is mutual. She doesn’t know that obligation isn’t part of love. My mother is so sure that she is right about how it should be that when I finally said enough and that I was not going to accept her system anymore, she could not consider my feelings. She could not stop blaming me, she did not want to bother with trying to work it out with me because it had to be her way and I had the nerve and disrespect to ask for something more.

I miss and even sometimes mourn the idea of (one day) having a loving mother. When I told my mother that I had had enough and she closed the door, at first I felt this horrible fear. I felt like I could not function without a mother, that I HAD to have one. I think that abusive people teach us this lie ~ that without them we will die, so that we are afraid to stand up to them. It is all part of the control they have over us.  Within about 3 months, I started to realize that the oppression that I lived under was lifting. I realized that I was not getting wound up all the time about proving myself. I began to see how toxic the relationship really was and I began to realize a new freedom. In my wholeness I have realized that I do not have to have a toxic relationship EVEN if that means that I don’t have any relationship with my mother.

The bottom line with all of this is that I had to determine and own my own value. I had to stop living under my mother’s definition of love, and find the real definition. I drew my boundaries with my mother as I was learning to love and value myself. I grew in my emotional health to the exact extent that I was willing to stand up for myself and to stand up for the truth. Today I know my value and that I am equally valuable to every other human being. If people treat me as though I am not equally valuable, (even if those people are part of my family) I no longer accept that. I am in charge of my self esteem and in the past I just told myself not to feel bad when someone devalued me but today I choose not to be around people who hurt me.

Because I am worth it,

Darlene Ouimet

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Categories : Mother Daughter



Thanks so much for sharing this. Yes, you are worth it! So many things in this post ring true regarding the relationship with me and my mother. Many people have a difficult time understanding why a daughter would sever ties with her mother. It has been almost 6 years for me and my life has changed so much…I have grown so much as a person, wife, and sibling. My heart is with you and other daughters out there who are “missing their mothers.”


I always tried so hard to earn my mother’s love. I always thought that if I just tried harder, maybe she would finally love me. Even after cutting off contact with her, I still wonder sometimes if I could have done more to earn her love. Your posts have been helping me to work though some of the pain of the past – that it wasn’t my fault, and that even if I did get her to admit what she did, it wouldn’t make me feel any better. I still miss the idea that someday I might have a mother that loves me. I probably always will.


SYM and Tracy,
Thanks for your comments! It is difficult for others to understand the ‘why’ part. I was telling someone the other day about a few of the things that my mother did to me to show me how she really felt about me.. and I realized ~ OH MY GOSH… why would I think that it was ME? why would I think that I might have not tried hard enough or that my expectations were just too high. I was always so willing to blame myself..(becasue she taught me to)
I had to become my own mother ~ I had to re parent myself, and still I have to sometimes do this. The more that I nurture myself, the less I miss the mother that I didn’t have.
This is a very hard process, but we are worth it and it does get better and easier. It was hard for me to believe that truth, but I do believe it today!
Hugs, Darlene

Chrstina Enevoldsen
June 12th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Darlene, I could just say “ditto” to everything you said. I grew up longing for a connection with my mom. I wanted her to love me, to notice me, to delight in me. Finally, as an adult, I became useful to her and we finally had a relationship. I thought we were close because being used was all I knew about love. The sexual abuse by my dad taught me that. Even though we talked almost daily, I still felt hollow. She only paid attention to me as a means to her ends. When I stopped doing the things she approved of, she withdrew.

As I got healthier, I set some boundaries. Up till that point, I had never seen her rage. Wow, I was shocked by her response. I was prepared for separation if need, but I didn’t think it would come to that. Once I cut off ties, I felt free in a way I never had. It felt like I could finally breathe in fresh air. It was wonderful.

I think that great feeling lasted for about a year or so and then the pain hit. Really hit! I’m still dealing with the different levels of accepting the truth that I’ll never have a mother any more than I ever did. She doesn’t have it in her, so nothing I do can bribe her to give it to me. I’ve learned that she doesn’t have love to give to me, but I do. I’m in the process of learning to love myself. I feel love for myself, but I’m still improving on the practical ways of showing it.


I share your story….What can I say? I walked away because I learned to actually love myself, to validate myself, to respect myself…she didn’t like it one bit. There is so much I didn’t receive from her; but on the other hand, there is so much I learned from her…
Thank you for posting. Although the tears welled b/c I understood completely, sometimes its nice to know I’m not alone; that others have experienced the same obstacles & journey within their own lives.


I can totally relate, I have done several pseudo-separations from my mother trying to assert myself over the years, but typical of abusive family dynamics, cutting her off means cutting off everyone in the family because they all are enmeshed with her and dont see anything she has ever done as abuse, and she doesnt either….and I have known all my life that she didnt accept me and love me unconditionally and that I wouldnt ever meet her conditions for love, even at my best…so I have mourned her for years and mourned the fact that my mother will never love me for who I am…and finally this last time I was hospitalized was the last straw, because not only did she not support me emotionally, she actually called me insane and told me I was a horrible parent and didnt deserve to be a mother and I should give my children up for adoption (and this was about 5 minutes after I signed out of the psychiatric hospital) and then as a last ditch effort to try to get some sympathy or some kind of connection I disclosed a very small portion of my childhood sexual abuse in the hopes that that would bring out the “mother” in her….and I didnt even get an “im sorry that happened to you” or a hug. So that was the last straw for me, and its been extremely hard because I have no one but my husband in my “real” life that is there for me at all….well and my therapist, but she is paid to be there for me, she isnt a friend or a companion and doesnt “love” me. But Im learning to love me and value me and cutting off my mother is the first step in that process….its only been about a month…but I feel so much better already. Its hard as hell and I make sure every single day that my kids know that I love them no matter what and that nothing they can do or say or not do or say will ever change that. I am determined to be the mother I never had.


Having a good relationship with your own children and realizing the void between you (anybody) and your(anybody) own mother does cause pain. In many cases it can’t be repaired. But people wish that their relationship with their children could be full filled the same as with their own mom


I sat here and cried as I read your story. I cried for the two little girls that you and I both were who didn’t feel loved by our mothers. I lied to myself as a child and would keep saying that I knew my mother loved me. I said the words over and over trying to convince myself that she did. In her own way, she probably did love me but it wasn’t the way that I needed her to love me. Our mothers couldn’t love us because they didn’t love themselves.


The part in your comment that really struck me was when you said “She only paid attention to me as a means to her end”. WOW… that is such a bottom line truth with abusers and controllers of any kind. It’s like people believe that children are born to serve the purpose of the parents… and where is the “love” in that?
The pain hits me on and off too but it is better than the bondage that I lived in for so long before. And the fresh air part is wonderful!
Thanks for sharing with us, you bring so much hope for healing to our table!
Love Darlene


I think one of the reasons that I write this blog is because so many people share that statement that it is nice to know we are not alone. There is so much disaproval in the world about standing up to a parent as though that is the worst thing a person can do. I always rememeber that the only way that any of us have hope for change is to do what is right. My co-author of this blog, Carla stood up for herself and her mother heard her. Her mother valued her enough to take a closer look at the relationship. If Carla had not taken that chance, her mother would not have taken a look at the situation. Her mother chose to change and together they worked on their relationship. I stood up for myself and my mother decided not to try. She decided that I was not worth it. She decided that she would rather live in the old system but she also lost me. However, what did I lose? I lost the opression, I lost the constant disaproval. I gained freedom and a new love and respect for myself. I learned to look at relationships in a whole new way, and to value my children as individuals. In the end, its pretty dang good!
Thanks so much for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Rebekah, YES ~ I am determined to be the mother that I never had too!
Thank you for sharing your story, with such depth and honesty. I can totally relate. It is very hard to learn self love and self value when we allow someone in our lives to treat us like nothing. I grew much more quickly when I stood up to the abuse in my life. I am not saying that everyone has to cut ties, as Carla and her Mother have shown us in the posts about the healing that they did, but I am suggesting that we all need to stand up for ourselves somehow, to take that first step towards self love.
Thanks for your presence on our blog!
Hugs, Darlene


Have I told you lately how much I appreciate your input!
You make such a huge point ~ “our mothers could not love us because they didn’t love themselves.” I feel so sad for my Mom. She has missed all this, she has lost her only daughter, all because she could not let go of her belief system, she could not let herself be vulnerable enough to love, and she could not let the light in enough to learn to love herself. I wish that she knew what I know about freedom, truth and wholeness.
Thanks for being here, thanks for being you and thanks for the work you do and for your lovely blog.

Annie O'Sullivan
June 13th, 2010 at 9:43 am

Our relationships with our mothers…. What a huge topic this is. My father told me for as long as I can remember that “I” ruined my mothers life the day she became pregnant. She verified it by screaming at me “I wish you were never born.” and “I hate you.” My stepfather is a wonderful guy with no children of his own. He married my mother when I was still in my twenties. (I’m in my 50’s now) On the very few occassions I have visited, he intoduces me as he beautiful daughter and non of his friends know that I am not his daugher. He is always very proud of my accomplishments. the downside? I get to feel bad when my mother announces that he is her husband. I actually felt a little guilt when she said that even though I KNEW it was dysfunctional talk! I call once a month so that I am not a bad daughter. We talk about her garden, her meetings and her life. I might get a word in about a grandbaby on the way. She will say how nice and move on. She has never met my children, or my grandchildren. I discovered a couple of years ago that when I email pictures, Stepdad will show her, but she really isn’t interested. I too long for a relationship that there never was and never will be. My mother will always on some level see me as “the other woman.” I made a decision to settle for what little she has to offer, because for some reason, I think its better than nothing. I didn’t speak to her for years. This works for me, though I know it doesn’t for everyone. And like many here I strive to be a good mother and grandmother. My book is dedicated to my children, I wrote, “thank you for teaching me to be the child I never was and the mother I wanted to be.” As Always Darlene. Excellent Piece!!! Thanks for listening, Annie


Thank you so much for sharing this part of your story with us.
If anyone is interested in Annie’s book “Can you hear me now?” about her life as a child living with violence and abuse, I am including the link to the site.
Hugs, Darlene


Same here. I was valuable to my nutjob mother only for the things I could accomplish that would tell the world what a great mother I was. I kept thinking well if I succeed in this or that, maybe that will be “enough”. Maybe then I will deserve her love. I didn’t realize I was to never come because she was I capable of feelingany emoion that was no her own.

I can’t really say much more on this one as my stuff with my mother is far from being sorted out. But thank you once again for a brilliant courage and sparkling insight 😉


Darlene’s post was like reading my own story. I am near sixty and have just severed the relationship with my mother. I found that in breaking ties with my mother also involved breaking ties with the family.

My situation is somewhat peculiar and I am not sure what to do. I am a mother of four (in reality, five) children who are intelligent, educated, independent, and successful with their lives. When I was 15 a young man (never identified) forced himself on me sexually and the result was a pregnancy. I lived in denial for six months of that pregnancy and my family did not see it either.

My mother and my father who longed for more children and miscarried many times, after my sister and I (the oldest) were born, were determined to adopt my baby boy. They raised my son and have never told him that I am his mother. So, he believes that I am his older sister. It is a family secret that all the extended family (relatives) know about. Everyone knows… accept my son, who is now forty-three. My two youngest know the truth but the two oldest do not.

My parents have a dysfunctional relationshop and come from dysfunctional families. My father was dedicated to the Navy and absent much of the time. He was also an alcoholic but never drank in front of us because my mother would never allow it as her own father was quite abusive with alcohol, as well. Nevertheless, we suffered the consequences of his actions. He became sober when I was twenty-one.

To make this situation worse, I had a brief first marriage which resulted with a divorce when I was 3 months pregnant. I had no where to go accept home to mom and dad. They accepted me in which established tighter control over me and my second baby. When my second child was six, I remarried and have been married 31 years to a highly intelligent electrical engineer. He had never been married and accepted my second child and we have had a productive life together. We have overcome many issues together and have grown together in the midst of it all. We raised our family in the Christian faith which is another story all of its own but has contributed much to the issues we have.

Recently, I have had to sever relations with my son and his wife which began the severing of ties with the rest. They have a daughter (my grandchild) whom I adore. I became very close to them, finally, during the last eight years and was so privileged to be there for the birth of their daughter. I was there alone with them and was the first in the family to hold the infant and to help in the first few days of her life. Needless to say, there was a bonding. I always held them in high esteem and respect. My husband has been very good about this issue and respected the family wishes, although, he feels that my son should know the truth. I think so as well. We have done many things with my son and wife embracing them with love and gifts. I have longed to tell him but my extended family resists. My sister has done all she can to claim him and cause division between us.

Last August there was an altercation between my youngest daughter (who knows the secret)and the son in question. I should note that he also abuses alcohol. We do not. My husband was there as well and the scene took place in a restaurant. My daughter who just “came out” as a Lesbian (as if things are not difficult enough which upsets all the values we had in place) has been picked on by my sister (who always feels free to correct me and my children) and others. The situation was clearly my son’s fault as he had been drinking a lot that day and was being abusive to my daughter. She is only twenty and we are being very careful with her in her newfound life. But he ran with his story to the family. He did not like what my husband said to him about his actions. The situation was difficult for my husband as they were all traveling together to take my daughter to a different city for college. There were many attempts to reconcile the situation, on our part, and it did not help that my parents became involved by telling me that my husband and daughter are both liars and that I need psycological help. I got the impression that I was to choose between them and my own family. I chose my husband and daughter, of course.

My own chidren and husband have told me for years about how controlled I am by my family. To make this long story shorter, the end result of the last eight months, is that I have severed all ties with my extended family. And, they don’t care. But I still have this delimma concernig the “lie” perpetrated by my parents. They have never liked my husband or his children. We have always been treated like we are worthless but we live a good life as upper middle-class citizens.

I have never had professional counsel on this issue but I am considering it because of the grief I have. I want to do what is right. By nature, I am an appeasing, complacent person which has led to my own undoing many times over and leaves me wide open for abuse. I never knew how to properly set boundaries with anyone. I finally realized that I place everyone I know in the positon of authority and of higher over me. It has been a real struggle to realize my own self-worth and to recognize myself as an independent individual with a life of my own to live. My own children have seen this in me and encourage me to develop myself. I am open to any suggestions and insight that anyone might want to give me regarding my story.


Debbie, My heart goes out to you. I do not feel qualified to make specific recommendations about such a complex situation (and I’m sure it is even more complex than you were able to go into), but I would absolutely encourage you to seek some professional counsel, not only to support you in your grief but to help you consider how best to move forward, under the circumstances. My personal opinion isn’t necessarily relevant, but it does seem to me that the truth ultimately needs to come out, although care will need to be taken in how that is accomplished. A therapist or counselor will be able to offer some guidance about that.

Also, there may be others who can recommend more recent resources, but if you are not already familiar with John Bradshaw’s book “Family Secrets,” I think you might find it helpful. I haven’t read it in years, but it’s a classic that might even be available in your local library and is definitely worth a look.

I offer my prayers for you and your family, Debbie, and I believe that sharing your story here–as well as your openness to help–is an act of courage and an important step in the direction of healing.

Grace and peace to you.


Lenora, thank you for your opinions and thoughts regarding my situation for they are very helpful. I am very open and actively seeking resolution for my issues. I am going to pursue guidance because I am a firm believer that the truth sets you free. I will also look for the book.

Thank you.


I had to take a few days to read this because every time I started, I was overwhelmed with emotion. What you describe, Darlene, is very similar to what I encounter with my mother all the time. I too feel sorry for her because she is so unhappy. But I still feel that obligation to try to make her happy. I know it is toxic, but I still do it. I don’t know how to close the door on her. What’s worse is that I keep recreating that disapproving relationship, relationships in which I have to continually prove myself and in which I am continually falling short: my boss, friends, etc.

I admire your honesty, as usual. I guess I need to get clear about what I want from the relationship and not keep playing the game. I tell myself I keep playing because I don’t want to hurt her, but maybe it is just out of habit. It needs to end, or I will. Thank you, Darlene for this post and this blog.


What an excellent post. You could be describing my mother and I here. Same thing. The only difference is that some wind went out of my mother’s sails after my father passed away. When I finally did start setting boundaries, she did fight it, blame me, etc. But she finally realized she was getting nowhere and stopped. So I did not have to go completely no contact. We just have a very superficial relationship now in which we do not discuss anything of importance. We will never be close. She occasionally will still try to manipulate me in some way but I just ignore it and she doesn’t push it.

I think the need to be love is innate, we’re born with it. Then we get out in the world and see how others relate to their mothers and conjure up this fantasy of what we want. It is so painful to realize we are never going to get it, that we were never loved just because we are here. It is also liberating to accept that truth and let go of the fantasy, even if we do still feel sad sometimes.

Great post, thank you so much for sharing this!


Debbie, Welcome!
Thank you for sharing your story. I am a big fan of therapy; for me it helped me to move forward more quickly. My therapist helped me to cut through all the fog so that I could sort all this stuff out. I had to realize that the lies were keeping me sick and part of the problem was that I was covering up for other people. It is hard to sort out lies that began when we were young, it a way it is like having been ‘brainwashed’. Once we are used to accepting someone elses twisted truth, it is easy for them to continue to control us even when we are adults. This gets complicated (as you have discribed here in your comment) and a good therpaist can help with that sorting out process so much.
Hugs, Darlene


Lenora, welcome and thank you for your compassionate comments to Debbie.

Splinterdones; I totally relate. Thanks for sharing.

You bring up such a huge point. This is exactly what can happen; we start to live out all our relationships the same way, getting involved with people we feel we have to prove our worth to. That is why I am such a big fan of sorting it all out, finding our own worth, taking ownership of our true value and breaking free of that whole system of being defined by our actions, and other peoples opinions of us. At the other end of that process is freedom, wholeness and living a full life. YAHOO LOL
hugs, Darlene



Thank you! I am so glad that I found Emerging From Broken. I have read a lot of the posts from you and others and find this tremendously helpful and encouraging. As one that was very involved with counseling others and understand thouroughly what is being said, I find that I need validation from others about a decision I know that I need to make.

Your comment about the “twisted truth” of others made an impact on me. It is like being brainwashed. Six years ago I left a church that I had been involved with for quite sometime. The leader was twisted unbeknowst to me. He gradually and subtly led the church into a cult-like situation. He was very controling and manipulative. I would say that he is a classic case of narcissistic personaltiy disorder and very good with thought reform. This man whose wife had left him, began to committ indecretions that were becoming exposed as well as some other very sick situations of others that were part of the small group of people left. By default I had assumed a position of leadership. I was very devoted and worked hard at this volunteer position as though it were a paying job. I realize now that I was trying to prove my worth in so many ways. Because of my postion and the sick combination of people I was somehow made the scapegoat for all of the “evil” in the church. I was stunned that I had fallen for such a sham and immediately left. My husband was gone a lot on business so therefore he was not aware of how deep the issues were. He started becoming a little more involved and that raised a lot of questions for him. It was hard for me to hear from him what I needed to hear but eventually I realized he was right. I leaned more into my husband and we left together to his delight.

I spent the last six years unraveling the “twisted truth” or “lie” that I had devoted ten years to. Painful!! It is hard to undo your belief system. Somehow the whole sordid issue with the church has prepared me for a much deeper issue in my life of “twisted truth” but I have finally hit the place where I know I need a therapist to help me through this next phase for it so critical and involves so many people. I hold the weight of how this will affect everyone and find that I need validation on what to do next.

Thank you so much for this site!


I agree, I think we are born to love and be loved… and it very healing/liberating to let go of that fantasy!
Thanks for stopping by! (I encourage other readers here to click on Cyndi’s name and visit her excellent blog too. )
Hugs, Darlene


It is amazing to me how abuse crosses over into so many other areas. I have been in funky church settings also and my kids were in a Christian school where guilt and shame was used as a tool to make them conform. My daughter told me (when she was 9 or 10) that she was afraid to pray and afraid of Jesus ~ what if he was like her mean teacher? It broke my heart. I had to find the truth there too. I spent 8 years doing precept study, which means that I studied the bible using greek and hebrew word origins. I was pretty shocked to find out how our teachers and church leaders can twist thing in the bible to the degree that they do in order to control people. I think the bible is a great book IF you understand what it is saying… I hate the way most people twist it up and make it say things it isn’t saying for manipulative purposes.
Thanks for sharing Debbie, I am so glad that you are enjoying the blog.
Hugs, Darlene


I think we had the same mother!! So much of our experiences are the same it blows my mind! I too came to the conclusion that it is not up to me to change her opinion of me. It is up to her. I learned that love without action to back it, is not love at all. I learned that you cannot make someone love you no matter how perfect you are.

You have no idea how happy I am to meet someone with similar mom experiences – who is willing to share and teach and inspire others. Your writing is a blessing to me.

I longed for years and years to have a connection with my mother, to have her accept me and love me as I was – but something about me repulsed her and her actions toward me always reflected that. I spent hours and hours and hours crying, trying to figure out what it is about me she hates so much! I don’t get it. I have recently come to terms with the fact that I will never know why she abused me the way she did, I will never know why she couldn’t love me or accept me. I have my theories, but they are just that – theories!

I can relate to so many – even the last one, Debbie – my husband and I got caught up in a church like that too many years ago. We came out of it hurt and angry. It was a wonky place too. We spend a year in God’s Word, studying and memorizing – we couldn’t get enough. We got ourselves well-grounded as to not be deceived again. it’s no fun being deceived, but be thankful that you realized it and how healing can take place. Just like my toxic relationship with my mother – so glad I recognized it for what it was when I did – especially when I would witness healthy mother-daughter relationships.

I really thought that when I had children of my own that I would finally understand why she treated me the way she did – but you know, when I had kids of my own, I became so incredibly confused. ‘How can you treat someone so terribly that you supposedly love?’ It baffled me, confused me. And then it made me extremely angry. I’ll tell you, anyone can say they love you, but do they actually show it, display it?? My mother would rarely say it, and yet she would treat me like she hated me. Actions speak louder than words – actions tells you what someone truly thinks or feels about you.

Anyway … enough rambling … I am just so tickled I found this site and meeting others who have endured the same things I have!! So great.



My mother was best friends with the pastor (monsignor) who groomed and abused me many years ago. When those memories surfaced in my adult life and I shared them with her, she maintained her contact with her friend. She passed away before we could reconcile, and that experience has given me insight about the role of others in allowing or perpetuating child sexual abuse.

Now, I use that insight as a parent, teacher, and consultant. There is so much healing work to do as a result of our experiences as children for us to be different as parents. Congratulations to all who are doing this important work. It is time to break the cycles of abuse. Peace.


Wow, No matter how many times I hear stories just like yours, it shocks me. My mother was unable to make me a priority either. It is so sad. I’m glad that you are using your insight for helping ohters. Together, we can and do make a difference.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for sharing your life. I had a cobtrolling mother that until this date i feel she does not trust me. I have a daughter that tell me that a problem i make it mine when the issue is not about me. My daughter has stop talking to me and i am allow to see my granddaughter. I believe i am not even half of what my mother did. I am hurting for not having a relationshio with her but i will not force her like a previous comment love is verb action and sometimes we have to let go to understand, learnd, and appreciate other. I hope you young mother leard from our mistakes and have a great relationship with your children.


Hi Patricia, welcome to Emerging from Broken
I learned much from my own mother, and I have a great relationship with my three teenage children. It was not always this good though, and it took much work, but I believe it is possible to repair what is broken; including myself and including my relationships with others when both parties are willing.
My mother tried to control me and our relationship until I said no more and I stuck to it. She believed it was her right to treat me like that, and she never trusted me either, but I believe today that is about her, not about me. It is very hard to have a relationship like this with ones own mother, I do understand.

I am so sorry that you are struggling with your daughter, that must hurt. Don’t lose hope though, I believe that there is always hope. Even with my own mom, but not on the terms that she has decided. Good luck to you and please share whenever you like.

Hugs, Darlene


The mother-daughter relationship has caused a lot of confusion in my life and I try to approach it spiritually. My mother is not my parent,though she brought me into this world…..the Creator is. Spent many years doing things to please her, it could have been codependence, but that did create real problems. One councillor told me to stay away from my mom based on the information I was giving her, but that was the wrong information. The right information as I see it is to be the best person I can, and I don’t know about other people, but I try to follow spiritual values(I am not religious) but I think I learned more in that walk than I did from trying to please my parent. I guess it is about growing up. I figure that it is up to each of us to be the best people we can be and I think we get those values from walking a spiritual path…learning how to treat others, etc. Many people who deal with narcissism come from a background where they were coddled and so they did not learn how to care. In my own case, my Mom could be kind of nasty sometimes in my youth, then nice to me later when she was alone … but for me to be the best I can, I have to have empathy for that and keep trying to be the “best person” I can. Mother-daughter relationships can be a nightmare and it is important to keep an identity, but it is also important to have an identity that helps us to contribute to the world. It has been a real struggle but I have to remember that of course I have to have a relationship with my parents, but also with myself and also with my creator. Perhaps with the creator, first and foremost. That is the tricky part, working all that out.


Hi Missn,
Welcome and thank you for sharing your path with us. In order for me to contribute to the world I had to set boundries with my mother, and with all other people who devalued me. The thing about human relationships is that two people must made individual decisions and that makes it hard when there is tension and disagreement. According to my mother, I am always wrong. This can’t actually be the truth so I made decisions on what was best for me for the first time in my life. I have not been sorry. I have never felt or lived closer to God. It is, as you say, very hard to work it all out and finding that balance.
Thank you for being here,
Hugs, Darlene


Sometimes it is very confusing and I find one of the persistent problems I have is learning to care about me. As I have tried to sort it all out I think what happened was that in later years it turned into a codependent relationship and it caused a separation between me and God which is why we always have to put God first. It is learning, I think, that while it is important to be empathetic to the struggles they have, (and it is) the most important thing is learning to be true to our own selves. We think they care, but there is some confusion, but it is critical that we learn to care about our own selves and others…..


Absolutly, it was critical that I learned to take care of me. I even had to put God aside for a time, because in my case there was spiritual abuse also, and I needed to clear that slate too, and begin again. I never felt that God minded that I put him aside, but felt that He knew my heart and He knew the damage and that this way was the only way that I could ever come back to him. In learning how to take care of me, I learned how to take care of others ~ in a new way ~ for the first time in my life. I learned how to love myself, and then I could love others. I had to understand my own value first. I had to understand what happened to me, and that it was not my fault, and that I was precious and loveable ~ just like every other human being. I had to find that in order to move forward, and I learned to care about much more than I ever expected to. =)
Hugs, Darlene


I still have alot of confusion around the mother-daughter relationship and don’t know if the problems were that I started doing things for the approval of my Mom instead of the approval of something greater. i.e. doing things for the right reason. That may or may not make sense but what I found, what I think happened was that I started trying to be “special” instead of learning how to just accept myself and have healthy relationships so things got out of whack. Now, what I try to understand is that my mother’s approval is not the important one since she had lots of problems of her own but how can we ever be adults instead of adult children if we don’t stop trying to get that approval. The self love has to come from inside otherwise is this constant heartache. Now, the resentment I had is that I don’t think I became important to her until she was on her own. So, the thing is, it doesn’t matter about being important to her, sometime we need to learn how to be important to ourselves. I think that is the way I see that. I understand, I think, that it wasn’t her fault, I had a choice, and maybe the choice we have to make is for ourselves…..not to be selfish, but to have some compassion and caring for ourselves. Looking to an external source I think, will always bring great heart ache and it can set a pattern. Does this make sense to you. It also becomes difficult just to learn how to accept who we are, know that it is okay to be who you are under your own skin. Take care for now…………..


Hi Missn
The love does have to come from within. I had such a lot of sorting out to do. As a child I knew that my parents were my life source. Without them I could not survive. The job of a HEALTHY parent is to equip a child to survive without the parent. In dysfunctional homes, the parent for whatever reason, does not equip the child for independance. (there are MANY reasons for this, none of them love based) What I discovered is that I carried that childhood belief with me into adulthood. That I still needed my parents in order to survive. Knowing that isn’t true set me free in so many ways. I am also free to love them without any approval now. I do not allow my mother to devalue me anymore however, so if that means no contact, then that is fine with me too. Whatever it takes for me to be whole, happy and free from the opression that kept me so sick in the past. Learning that I can love myself and take care of myself has been a very important part of my healing process.
Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hello Darlene;

I was just reading your web site and noticed the number of times you said, My poor Mom…..I notice how often I say that too and there is something about it that really triggers me. Not that I am angry, but how many times I will go around saying my poor mom, yet my own life is a disaster because of the relationship with My poor Mom. I don’t say that out of anger, but something is going on there and I don’t know what it is. I wonder if it is in part having empathy or trying to have empathy for my Mom but none for myself. I relate to what you were saying about being dependent on the parent…I am too and I am NOT a young person and wonder what that is about. I think it is because I tried to get her approval which is why I try to take a spiritual path and understand right behavior based on what was given from above. My mother was/is an incredibly selfish person when I was young and there was alot of abuse, which is a good thing because I was able to distance myself emotionally from her. But when she was abandoned, when I was a teen, she because nice, because she was alone. She kept wanting me to go back to her, which I refused because I was whole and well, but eventually I did but I it was a wrong move. have not been doing okay since then, but mostly, I think it was a combination of trying to get her approval but also, I think, I became like, I don’t think I because a particularily nice person. Like being “friends” with her somehow brought out the worst in me. So that is what I work on now…


Sorry, the computer timed out when I wasn’t quite finished. That last line should read that I didn’t become a particularly nice person which is what I try to work on now. I have real fears about being a codependent which is a type of codependence and I wonder if it stems from that relationship. It is one I try to work on now. I once had a councillor who told me to stay away from my parent because of the information I gave her, but I think the answer is not to stay away, but to have a better relationship with the self. So that we can be proud of who we are. Now, I understand what you are saying about the God thing, there has not been religious or spiritual abuse in my case, but I also know that I struggle with that relationship. I have been to AA and Alan but they don’t apply because I do not have a substance abuse problem but often wonder if it would be better to have an Adult Child group just to learn how to grow into independence. I need to add that I have a father, too, so this focus on one parent baffles me, especially since it was my father who was so good to me when I was young, in that he was the one who cared My mother was too dependent on him and didn’t care, in fact, took much of her wrath out on me. I have no bad feelings about this but there is this wierd switch. In writing all this and seeing it down on paper, I am wondering whether, in fact, anything really changed. Maybe I just thought it did but in actual fact, she still didn’t like me which would be okay if I liked myself. These are the pieces of the puzzle I try to work out in my mind. P.S. I am from southern Alberta too.


Hi Missn,
There are two things about the “my poor mom” thing. One of them is that that was the excuse that I used to to excuse her from her ill treatment of me. When I went through my process and became a self reliant and self loving whole and healthy person, I began to feel sorry for my mother because I realized that SHE is the one who is so sick that she had to treat me that way. I separate this into different things. I can feel sorry for my mother, but at the same time she can’t treat me with such disrespect anymore because there is NO excuse for that.

hugs, Darlene


I also don’t like the word Adult Child group, maybe growing into healthy independence or healing the past group would be better. Take care.


Cool that you are from Southern Alberta =) Here is what I found out, it is okay to BE IN the process. I had to work a lot of things out and many of them I did in writing and talking. I changed my mind and my conclusions. It was all good, it all led me to self love and wholeness and away from depression and low self esteem. We can love whoever we want ~ but we don’t get validation or self esteem from them, nor do they from us. That is kind of the bottom line. Please keep going with your processing, you are working this stuff out even as you write here in the blog!!
Hugs, Darlene


It is with some trepidation that I write parts of this in that looking at your facebook piece, I noticed you wrote something about staying away from men who are jealous, possessive and controlling. I was one of those and yes, in trying to understand, I now understand that I was not well at the time. It has been one of the frustrations of trying to work this through that many times people will come down on others who were like that, but I did not know I was not well. It was all twisted up in my mind. That is A. B is how does a person get to be that way? No esteem, no esteem at all. No self awareness, no sense of self….no idea of how to be well, which is really getting to know who you are. Anyway, that was a long, long time ago and now I work on getting whole.
In the relationship with my mother, somehow I think I was under the illusion that I had to be “special” in very unhealthy ways which is why I try to work on the spiritual thing….learning a new way to be, about what does count, what does matter, so I spend a lot of time reading about values, and what it takes to be a “healthy,” like a person that others like and that you like too. Not superior, not inferior…but whole and well. I guess it is about learning how to love yourself so that you are truly able to love others. It is absolutely true that if you don’t love yourself, you are unable to love others, but the love does not come from the externals, it comes from loving yourself because you are a good person and you know that by the feed back you get from others.
Somehow, too much emphasis got placed on appearances and accomplishments which is something, I think, that happened in my own mind. It is not something the relationship with my mother caused but was the result of it. Bless her heart, but my Mom can have a few things going on with her, in her own personality but what matters is for me not to have things going on with me (i.e. being malicious, gossipy, unkind, that kind of stuff.) Like learning how to love. So I try to focus on things of the world and what counts, and acts of human kindness and decency that I can learn from.
One of the things that dawned on me after you wrote was that one of he reasons I am in such unhealthy conditions is because I did the geographic thing…..I moved and have stayed a long, long way from my Mom thinking that would help, but it hasn’t because the “break” has to happen on an emotional level…..you know? I am me…who ever that is. In no way does it involve staying away from her because she is my mother, but to have a strong enough sense of self that I am able to see her and not get lost. Somehow I also really try to tie the whole spiritual thing into it because I really do want to know God again and I agree with you, it doesn’t necessarily happen by going to church or religion but you have to go somewhere to figure some of those things out.
I don’t know how old your mother is, mine is 80, so she really is a tiny, little elderly lady and like you, more than anything, I want to get back to that place where I feel good enough about myself and have enough of an understanding about myself and where she came from that I can say, My poor Mom….but that can only happen when we feel good about ourselves and the people we are. Do you know what I mean? Selfishness has been one of the character traits that I have had to work on and continue to work with…the art of learning to be selfish enough to take care of yourself but not so selfish that you hurt someone else.
Anyway, this writing helped me to understand that I had been doing the geographic thing instead of anything practical or realistic with my life because of this desperate attempt to be independent…..but we need to be emotionally independent first. Doesn’t mean we have to have bad feelings about the other person, only that we have some idea of who we are.
Thank you for letting me talk about this issue. It has been pretty messed up. Take care.


Did I ever write alot. I am glad this is confidential.


I think something that really helped me (looking back) is that I kept trying to “do” something different and when I changed it wasn’t about doing something different or being someone different, it was an actual becoming who I really am. In order to do that I had to stop concentrating on “being a good person”. That might sound funny, but that is how it really worked. Self love came from the work of looking at how I came to “not love” myself. How did I get to that point? I looked at abusive situations, emotional and psychological, physical and sexually abusive situations ~ the trauma that had taken place in my life, and I looked at how it effected me emotionally and how I adjusted to that in order to cope. I stopped trying to change and looked at the whole root of it, the why of it. THAT is where I found the answers. What I changed was the false belief system that I had accepted about myself and my value.
I do understand what you are talking about here. I think that it will all become more clear in time. You are working it out quite honestly.
and there are lots of other posts in this blog about how I found my truth.
Hugs, Darlene


I understand what you went through and it must have been quite traumatic. I also understand what you are saying. I put a great deal of effort into trying to be a good person, whatever that is, and I know that it can take me further from the truth of being who I am. I understand that. Sometimes it is like we are killing ourselves to try and be good people, but for what? That is still another form of not accepting who we are, like accepting who we are is just too painful or something, or it is not good enough. But I do understand, it doesn’t get back to understanding who we are at the core level. I understand that we can’t keep trying to change ourselves to prove ourselves, it is about changing ourselves to accept who we are and knowing that who we are is okay.I understand what has happened and how it happened but changing it is hard. Sometimes the people we try to get approval from are unhealtheir than we are, so on some level it is about learning to find our own truth. Maybe more later.


I should add that one time I asked my Mom, bless her heart, for advice on a job and her answer was “get the best job you can.” I understand it was because she was coming from her own fear base and probably wasn’t relevant to my situation, so I understand that. She was trying to help, but just from her own base. Likewise, I also asked her once about a relationship I was leaving (Big big mistake and not her fault) and again she answered from her own fear based. I feel that growing into personhood is about coming to terms with yourself, that core base is about coming to terms with your own integrity, your own honesty, so while the advice others give may be said to be helpful, it is something we all have to work out ourselves. That is where I am also disappointed in her, that the value of respect for others, getting along with others, human relationships were not emphasized when in fact, they can be the most important thing. It makes me so sad but maybe that is the lesson we need to learn. Take care.


Maybe it was her fault, I don’t know, I’m confused.


Yes it is hard but not impossible. I just had to believe that because in a way, that is what kept me going. Now I am here to say that it really worked.
I am really loving what you are sharing Miss N.
Hugs, Darlene


I just wanted to add something about what I read today. It was talking about the difference between empathy and sympathy and it reminded me of when I first returned to my mom’s place when I was 20 and I took on her problems and went into an instant depression. I don’t know whether that was empathy, codependence or what, but what I did was not healthy in that I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders…..but it wasn’t my world. That is not something my Mom asked me to do, it was a choice, but the interesting part was that it marked the separation from God…..perhaps that was boundaries, perhaps that was losing the appropriate separateness, but what happened was not her fault…..it was a decision or choice I made at the time. So the lesson, is that it is okay and the right thing to do to have empathy, but it is not our responsibility to take on other people’s problems. In fact, that is what the article went on to say was that it is one thing to empathize but not the extent that we lose ourselves, and it is in the losing of ourselves that troubles begin. With that we can’t be of help to anyone, not even ourselves.
I just came out of a situation where there was alot of unhealthiness and I think the pattern just repeated itself, took on someone else’s problems and merged into their lives instead of holding onto a separate self. Paid a high price for that. It was incredibly hurtful and again, I think it was about a boundary thing. To have true empathy, I think, we have to retain our separateness, our independence, our own power and our own self and somehow our connection to something greater. Other people’s problems, no matter who they are, are not our problems. Yes, we can empathize, and in some cases, as with our true friends, we can help, just as others can empathize with us, but we are not responsible for their pain and it does not make us “special” if we try to carry their load. We are only “special” when we learn to carry our own. And, in fact, we can’t be of help or assistance to anyone if we carry their things. It is not right for them to ask us to do that, or for us to ask that of someone else. We can support, but not carry. It is not our burden or cross to bear. That doesn’t mean being cold, it is just understanding our own limitations and perhaps retaining our own selves. It was certainly never my mother’s intention that i carry her burdens, just as it is not hers to carry mine. But it is important to learn how to love and care enough about yourself to be able to do that and we certainly can’t help anyone else if we can’t do that.
So, I see your point, again, about the religious thing as I have been going to church religiously to sort things out, but am not sure that things are getting better because the interior sense of self is still not there. That is not where the wholeness comes from.
All of this is not about blame, it is about being well. That’s the way I see it. It is about being comfortable under your own skin, knowing who you are and feeling worthy to have other healthy adult relationships.
Anyway, that’s all for now. Thanks for listening…..take care.


Hi MissN
Yes. For me the bottom line has been about taking my life back and in order to do that I had to find self love and self acceptance. In order to do that I had to go backwards and look at exactly what had happened to me and what it taught me about myself. Then re-parenting, re-teaching concpets that I had all wrong. Today I am free and living a full life. I understand that love is not about giving myself up.
Thanks for your post!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] love was still very real. Even as an adult, the thought of standing up to my mother about our dysfunctional mother daughter relationship filled me with dread and could cause my heartbeat to spike with an anxiety that I never understood. […]


Beautifully written and expressed. It is what I felt and dealt with my whole life, until I ‘let go’ AND realized it was her, not me. And yes, all this insight came after having children of my own. I kept saying to myself as my children reached different ages….”How could she have done that to me?” while looking at my kids. I wept over the painful memories, then got angry, shared it with a therapist….and calmness would return to me. I no longer cry. It is in the past, and change is not possible because I can not go back in time and make it different. I remind myself to NOT do this to my children and make great efforts to not repeat her behavior. I mildly care about her, but I do not love her. How can I love a person that was not loving to me….that would be the definition of stupidity. I find love and caring in my sisters, and close friends. I accept that this was and is my life and have finally found peace. I wish all of you that same sense of peace. It makes life better. And I know, really know….it was her…not me, the kid…that failed in the relationship. Parents are suppose to love and care for their children, and if they don’t, it is their failure. Children deserve to be loved if an adult brings them into the world. I was not a failure as a child, it was the reverse, she was a failure as a parent. Peace.


Hi Cindy
Welcome! Thank you for sharing your story and your victory! I think that the grieving process ~ the “how could she have done that to me” is very key. I had to get in touch with those feelings too, and with that pain. That was the pain that I ran from for so long!

I made that same vow with my own children too!
Hugs, Darlene

Everyone ~ I just published a related post about how this whole things starts and the progression that it takes a child through. You can read it here:

“Psychological Abuse and Dysfunctional Parenting”


Hello Darlene,
Again, well written. I buried the pain when I was a child, then became angry 17 to 24 year old, then distanced myself more and more until I had children at 36 and 40. I would briefly see my mother, while visiting my sisters in the summer. Then one day, at my sisters house, I overheard my mother say to a total stranger in the yard for a yard sale, “What happened, did you get stuck with her?” The stranger grabbed her grandaughter, and told my mother, “I love spending time with my granddaughter.” My four year old daughter overheard the whole thing, as well as the strangers grandaughter. I intervened and said something nice to the woman,about how wonderful little girls were at this age, asked about her grandchild…small talk….and then I left. I never let my mother near my children without my presence. She was not to be trusted with their hearts and minds. She would never get a chance to be “stuck” with her wonderful grandchildren….honestly, I think it is sad that my sister got stuck with my mother! God has a sense of humor.


Isn’t this a nasty story! I also tried to make sure that my children were not alone with my mother from the time they were born ~ which makes me wonder today why I let them be near her at all when deep down even then I knew how toxic she was, but anyway… I digress… It stings to remember the hurtful things my mother would say in to people in front of me and the things that she would say to me in front of them, even to this day. Mean things. And as I wrote that I realized ~ what does her having done it in front of anyone have to do with anything??? The fact that she did it, said it, meant it is bad enough!
Glad you are here Cindy!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, it was a very small pivital point, a ah ha moment after a lifetime of abuse towards me. Two more things, and I will stop. I have an unusal memory. I remember conversations I had in Kindergarden, and times when I was small enough to fit in a stove drawer (2yrs old). I remember very clearly other pivital points throughout my life. Looking back, into my childhood I survived by telling myself that I was loved by my father. I was his favorite, because he told my mother, when I was born, that I was the prettiest baby in the family. It was the tiny thread that allowed me to feel good about myself. That was a bit of information that I used to survive, until the day my father asked my mother in front of me, “Why did you have so many children?” pointing at me and my sister. At the time I felt ashamed. I was not loved, or wanted. My existance was questioned. I tried to forget thoes damning words, bury them, march on. That was a moment that defined me until I really grew up and began to separate myself from them. As an adult, if my dead father did that to me today, I would respond with, “Why did I get you and mom for parents?”….two way street, baby!


Some of the posts of the abuse that many of you have exeperienced are
very heart wrenching. However, I have a different side of this coin being the Mother of a woman who is in her mid 30’s who has taken me to task and severed all ties with me. Stating that no matter what she does for me it is never enough and that she can never please me. She will contradict me in front of her friends, other family members, would schedule a time to meet with me for lunch or dinner and have one of her friends join us and they would take about their work etc etc. I sat back like a 5th wheel. She would never tell me about a serious problem in her life until she had resolved only by her actions the problem resolution did not turn out the way she had anticipated because of the way she acted. She would often times call me at work and get frustrated with me if I was not able to speak with her. She will discuss me with her friends and sometimes a few of mine but heaven forbid if I should ever discuss her. One thing for sure is I know that I raised my daughter and instilled in her the traits that she has used to be a very successful person job wise, independant and
and assertive. But for some reason I am not the Mom that she thinks I should be and it became that I felt I was walking on egg shells when I ever I was around her with guarding my words very carefully so as not to upset her. Now what I need to find is a board where Moms share the hurt of their daughter who has disowned them for reasons that they imagine to be factual but are not. This is not saying anything against nor directed to these posts. When my daughter was in college so many of her friends told her that she was so fortuanate to have a Mother like me who cared and was there for her as thier’s was not. I am dumbfounded over how our relationship wound up being the way that it is. It is fine for her to expect me to do what, where and when she wants i.e birthday dinner for me of her choice of ethenic food as she does not get that good ethenic food where she lives. She will take a conversation that we had and turn it around when that is not what has been said by me nor anyone else. So perception and how one sees and hears changes things. Also, my daughter takes medication for depression and anxiety and began when she lived with her boyfriend. I often think that medication (s) has a major effect not only on feelings but on reasoning.
And on that note.. I am off to find a mother board.
Wishing all healing from your hurts and happiness.
God Bless Each and Everyone of You.


Thank you so much for sharing. I would love it if my mother was open to healing from our relationship issues. I wanted to work it out with her, but she refused to talk about it. So many mother do not offer any chance as it sounds like you are doing. There are a few others here that are on both sides of the coin.
This blog is about emotional healing, and the parent difficulty stuff just happens to come up quite a bit. BUT there are mothers and daughters who really get to the bottom of the pain and heal. I do not condem my mother at all. There is no healing until the roots of the issues are brought to light. In the end I understand my mother and wish her emotional healing also, but she won’t speak to me.
My mother says similar things about me, that you have posted here about your daughter. That I have rejected her. The point is not who is at fault here, the point is in valueing her feelings as much as you would like to have your feelings valued. For my own mother, it is too painful for her to listen to me. She has never listened to me and I finally stood up to it. Most daughters do not want to lose a mother but want more then anything to have relationship with their mothers. But it has to be two sided. I know that if my mother faced her own pain, that things might be better between us.
Thank you for sharing, I hope things work out for you.




Hi Candis,
Welcome to EFB,
Thank you for sharing and for being here. The guilt is part of the belief system that was set in place by those that use guilt to control. It goes away as long as we keep realizing that we deserved more then they could or would give. The main thing is that you are healing!
Hugs, Darlene


I feel for you Candis. Your Mom treated you horribly.


Thanks to all of you for posting on here. It is a difficult job being a mother and today, I have finally decided to give up on my daughter after 30 years of patience.

It’s one thing to bring a child into the world.

And quite another to have enough.


Hi Judy
I hope that you will find healing and peace. Although this post and it’s comments are usually about grown children who are facing difficult relationships with parents, untimately it is about personal healing.
hugs, Darlene

July 5th, 2011 at 8:29 am



Hi Candis
I can relate to this post. My mother said / did stuff like that too. Some of these stories are shocking; that our own mothers don’t’ seem to care and constantly act as if WE are lying about our own health dangers and everything else. I have a few of these stories too even when I needed help with one of my kids in the hospital, everyone acted like I was being dramatic. I was just dumbfounded that no one would help us. But today I realize that is all about the way they control and I don’t need that insanity in my life anymore.
Thanks for sharing Candis,
Hugs, Darlene

July 6th, 2011 at 6:24 am



Hi Candis
It is very common for parents to react that way about a child seeking therapy. Isn’t that strange? And isn’t it interesting that you were afraid they would tell you she was poison? (as though deep down you KNEW the answer already)
Thanks for sharing and for your encouragement.
Hugs, Darlene


Mother and Daughter relationships are so complex, it is often difficult to put into words what is so troubling..either for you or your mother. You certainly have summed up my relationship with my own mother. It’s all a very long story…and the interaction between love and obligations are critical in my situation. Thank you for taking the time to share. You have done an old heart a world of good.


Hi Jeanie
Glad you are here and that you enjoyed this post. I have written a lot on this dynamic. It is kind of sad how many of us can relate to it but talking about it is very healing!
Hugs, Darlene


WOW your insight is profound. IT IS NOT OKAY to let anyone abuse you. AND it is natural and OKAY to grieve the loss of something you do not and never will have. I have been a “victim” of my MIL for 20 years but NO MORE… here’s another article / post that wakes me up and I realize I am ENTITLED to feel happy. I am entitled NOT to be abused nor tolerate it at any and all costs! That I can be a good person and still refuse any communication with my MIL and the extended sick family. THAT my role … that was decided by the MIL upon my marrying my husband is NOT a role I NEED to accept. I am not their victim. I am NOT their ‘thing’ to kick when they’re feeling crappy. I am a woman with children and a husband with needs and desire for happiness and love. Not to be someone’s scapegoat because they refuse to face themselves and their demons and the fact that they are abusive harmful sick humans.

Thank you for this. Thank you Thank you. I walk away feeling more empowered and peace-filled 🙂 <3


He RefuseMILabuse
Welcome to EFB! YAY, love what you posted. It is not okay for anyone else to decide who we should be or the way we should be. We do not have to be kicked around. Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


People will treat you the way you allow them to treat you. Don’t allow it…..and it stops.

It is a very simple, but difficult formula to enact. What I did not allow my mother to do to me, later in life….I did allow my MIL to do, for many years. When I stopped ignoring her bad behavior, and took the reins…..it stopped, too. I try not to interact with people that treat me poorly. Life really is too short to be in a constanted place of bother. When my MIL would not stop harassing me, blaming me for her sons decisions….I stopped answering the phone. My husband would answer, and she never confronted him on his decisions. She always blamed me….always. I took myself out of the equation. When she could not get to me….she would attack me at family gatherings, in quiet ways…underhanded, really. So, I looked at my husband, one Christmas day, and said, “I am going to let your mother have it, in two seconds, if we don’t leave.” He grabbed the gifts, called for the kids, told his ‘old’ family we had to leave….NOW….and we left. The men in the family did not know what had happened…just my MIL and SIL who ganged up on me at any chance….always ruining the holidays for me. This was the last crappy holiday I ever had to have with my husbands side of the family. I should have put my foot down sooner. And, my husband should have taken my side, sooner and told my MIL to back off, these decisions he made, were his alone, blame him, have words with him if she did not like his decisions. He hid behind me, avoiding his mother, like a child.


I am still following this website looking for some answers and got these messages this a.m. I speak openly and forgive me if this is confused, but am trying to understand a pattern. I have been concerned after hearing the stories here and how people are empowering themselves, whether I have a pattern of seeking approval from people, women in particular, which started with members of my own family and continued into the community. I also went to see a councillor many years ago about some of the issues and became almost childlike (for approval) from the councillor and I am worried that that situation became abusive and controlling. I am not sure about this but there has been alot of damage from that situation and I have a feeling that is a carry-over of the approval seeking behavior that may have started within the family. I don’t know if it is safe to say that that is what happened but i actually remember this person speaking to me in an aggressive way which destroyed my self worth. These are the issues I am trying to understand and deal with. If she didn’t, that is fine, but if she did, then it gives some idea on how to rebuild. Thank for any help and insight you can provide.


Hi Missn
Have you read any of the other blog posts on this website? There are many that might help you get some insight into this issue you speak of. The process takes time and I try to write in a way that exposes the truth that was hiding under the lies that were living in me. The approval seeking in my case was about survival. The only way that was safe for me. I took at look at what “safe” really was and changed the way that I thougth about it.
Hugs, Darlene


I have, I have read them many times but what I am amazed at is how the situation keeps repeating itself over and over again with me putting other people, and usually women, on pedestals and doing everything to “please” them or get their approval at my own expense. It is like seeing the pattern and how destructive it has been and the inability to change it. That is why, as I have mentioned before, I try to understand the spiritual relationship, perhaps I needed to keep “pleasing” God or living by those rules instead of trying to get the approval of people…I had no idea how destructive it was. It is so wounding…amazing how we lose our voice and esteem. I almost think anyone will abuse you if you let them. But the thing is, maybe it isn’t even their fault….or maybe it is.


Oh my gosh…your story is my story. Over the years, especially upon reaching adulthood, I have been trying to break away from the painful relationship with my mother. My mother who loves conditionally, and loves best those children of hers that do as she says. Unfortunately, my two surviving siblings have based their lives around gaining her approval, leaving me to be defined as the “troublemaker” because I have been trying to find my own voice. My youngest brother became an alcoholic trying to handle the stress of our family and has since passed. Thankfully, I have the love and support of my husband on this journey of finding myself. But with that there has been trouble for my immediate family over the years. My mother has tried to inject herself into our lives time and time again, becoming homeless (not due to finances, but due to house hunting) and when we brought her into our home to offer assistance, she became angry when she couldn’t run the show at our house. She became dramatic and angry and left screaming, tearing out of our home, telling my son (at age 16) that he was evil and not talking to him since (he is now 23). Over the years I have bought a house for my mother and put her up in my own, each time it not being good enough for her, and each time she moved on. Recently, my sister bought her a home and my mother will soon leave that home due to dissatisfication, moving out West to go live in my sister’s cabin. My mother seems to put herself in positions where she needs to be saved. Where things for her become dire-and what child would turn their head when life is dire for a parent? Only a bad one. So we are guilted into helping her and when we do, she turns the tables and gets ugly, saying it isn’t enough, trying to control our lives. She controls in many, many ways… and these problems of my mother’s tends to extend beyond our family as well because my mother has trouble making and keeping friends, essentially rejecting anyone that crosses her in the slightest way. Just recently I asked her why she cropped my son (who was 2 at the time) out of a family picture she posted on Facebook and she told me I was creating drama. It really hurt me to see that my beautiful baby was cropped out of a picture and I told her it made me sad, hoping she would just say she was sorry, or didn’t mean to hurt me. I mean what grandma crops an innocent baby out of a family picture? Enough! I don’t know. This recent situation over the picture, while small in nature I suppose, is the straw that has broken the camel’s back and is what has told me I am done. I just can’t go on trying to get approval from someone who will never be satisfied. My mother has hated my son for 7 years and I haven’t really called her out on that. But now I am done. The problem I am having is figuring out how to walk away from my mother, and having to accept that she will never be the mother I have always dreamed of. I feel like I am in mourning…grieving for the mother I want but can’t have. I need to leave to preserve myself as well as the lives of my family. I haven’t talked to my mother for 3 weeks but I know she will call soon enough because she can’t go long without needing to control someone again. I don’t want to make this into a fight that takes up lots of energy. I just want to walk away peacefully. Any suggestions?


Hi Willow,
I had to draw strict boundaries without fearing the consequences and I had to remind myself that this was about ME and about taking my life back. When I drew them, strangely enough there was not a fight ~ I think because my mother knew that I was dead serious; I was no longer going to be treated that way by her. After I told her that I would no longer put up with that treatment, I didn’t hear from her again. I grieved that too. I felt all the same rejection again, but eventually, I realized that I was free from the oppression that I had always lived under. This is not easy and it is not even quick, but the way that I dealt with this whole thing was by realizing what was wrong with the relationship and doing what was right for me. I have written a lot about mother daughter and relationship stuff and realizing that I have equal value to all others, here in this site. You may find more value by reading a few others.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for you insights Darlene. I appreciate your words and will take a look around your website some more and see what else pertains to my situation. I think the boundaries part you mentioned in your response is important. I have not done a good job of holding my ground, continually sucked in by my desire to have my mother love me. Funny thing is, up to this point, I have felt that my mother has always loved me but this morning, I realized she really doesn’t FULLY love me, only those parts of me she agrees with. To love someone means you love ALL of them. Thanks again for you help!


My teen step-daughter is in this type of relationship with her mother. She has turned her back on everyone in hubby’s family including him to profess her love to her mother. She cannot have a relationship with her father as it will hurt her mother and she cannot have anyone hurting her mother including herself. Step-daughter was raised by dad and only had visits with her mother. At 15 she decided to move in with her mother cause mom needed her. I mean after all Dad has me, the wife but Mom has no one. It quickly became a very perverse relation, with both mother & daughter professing their undying love for each other. Taking photo’s reminiscent of wedding photo’s together, dressing identical, mom going on the dates with the boyfriends. Truly sad daughter has to go thru this.


Hi Chris,
Yes, this is exactly what goes on some times. I was a victim of such tactics too, and then also a victim of my father. It is very sad.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene;
Just hought I would try and get some insight here and will probably talk to others as well as this situation needs to come to an end. Have written here before, same problem, but it is not getting better. I have come down to see my mother for the first time in two years and have been around her for four days. I am ready to burst. I can’t help but feel like I am being used. I don’t know if this is true or not but she never did anything till I got here to visit and now she gets out and talks and everyone notices what an improvement there has been. My problem is the resentment and suppressed anger is going to kill me and that is the thing I need to get on top of. I know that part of the problem is that I asked her about key questions in my life, including career, marriage, even separation and divorce and that kills me. I have this terrible feeling that all of the feed back she provided was for her, not for the benefit of the other person. I can’t blame her for my part in that, i.e. asking questions, having that type of relationship, but the question is, is she responsible for the answers, the outcome…I don’t know about that. She is a very cold and frightened woman with no spiritual leanings and my feeling is that she just didn’t want to be alone. I have told her about the resentments but they just go over her head.
I don’t know what to do, I don’t. Have been trying to work this through and get some balance and sanity for a long time so that I have peace in me, which I don’t have now. I know we all have to accept responsibility for our part in any situation, but I don’t know how to make sense of this. Any suggestions?


Hi Missn
I can only suggest that you read the other posts and comments in the mother daughter and family categories for some insight into this. This is a really complicated thing and I can’t answer specific questions like this just here on the blog.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for the feedback Darlene. My husband has taken the advice of his daughters counselors, that is, give her space. He has. Since she moved out, her mother has moved twice and will be moving again at the end of the school year. Mother has moved 15 times in 14 years. Supposedly mother has fibro, she’s a cervical cancer survivor, had Crohn’s (sp) disease, had 7 miscarriages while married to my husband & has debilitating migraines. Now I say supposedly as my hubby was never told about the many miscarriages during their 9 years together, the fibro only came into play when she had to do something with daughter, she found out she had cervical cancer when her stepdad was diagnosed with cancer but didn’t tell daughter for 5 years (even thought daughter knew other adult things, but we’ll save that for later). She told my hubby she had Crohn’s while they were married but was never treated for it & was cured after the divorce. To me it all seemed like a pity-ploy for attention. And now that daughter is with her only….she has no symptoms of anything!

Getting back to hubby….he has done exactly what has been suggested. Give daughter space. He has seen her to take her to doctors visits (mother won’t..she would have to pay co-pay). He even mentioned to daughter that he has a surgical procedure coming up. She never even asked him what it was for. She doesn’t ask him how he is, how I am, about my kids, our grandkids, how his work is, nothing.
He said it best the other day after taking her to an appointment.
“my time with her wasn’t good, wasn’t bad, really wasn’t anything.”
That just breaks my heart.

So my question to you is….will daughter ever see what is really going on? Is it possible that she is also borderline? And what can I do for my husband…it’s his only child. Thank you


I have no idea if daughter will ever see what is going on. I do not diagnose so I can’t tell you what she might be and I am sorry but I also don’t know what you can do for your husband. This site is about personal healing from abuse and other struggles not so much about what we can do for someone else so I can’t offer any answers to these questions.
Hugs, Darlene


Chris…..Darlene is right. This site is about the relationship between a daughter and her mother. Your step daughter, with age, might…in the future be writing on this web site about her life with her mother. I can see you want to help everyone involved, and it is tearing you apart, because you have age and wisdom…which is what your step daughter has to achieve….and will only come after spending time with her ‘abuser’. Hard as it is….time is sometimes the healer. Be supportive to your husband by confirming the truth that he sees with his own eyes. It can be the best thing you can do for a person sometime. Good luck.


To everyone. My mother is 88 this year. Her memory is spotty at best. I still remember. I am resolved to the history I have had with my mother. I do not dwell on it, like I did in the past. There is no going back in time, only forward, in the limited time I give her. She is kinder with me, so I am with her. I believe in God. I believe that God has given her a long life so I can come to some peace about our relationship. This is what I believe. Peace and healing be with you this holiday season. Forgiveness only helps if you are mindful and carry a watchful eye to your own contentment and safety. Surround yourself with loving people and friends to make the hole in your heart….less. It helps. Really…be kind to yourself, first… strength to deal with your troubled relationship follows taking care of yourself…first. This worked for me.


Thank you Darlene & Cindy for your input. I sincerely appreciate it.


Hello Cindy…I have been trying to work out the relationship with my mother for many many years and one of the reasons I liked your response was because you did talk about your relationship with God. I figure that things got mixed up with me because I put dependence on my mother ahead of the relationship with God which lead to problems with abandonment, obsession and addiction. I am back seeing her again for the first time in two years and really trying to find a path. Sometimes I think I end up in the “husband” role, caretaking role, worried about everyone except myself, it is very confusing. I pray everyday for direction and amm constantly trying to figure out what I am expected to learn from this situation. I know that God brought us here for a reason and my job is to figure that out. My relationship with my mother, through no fault of her own, has cost alot since I consulted her about all my major decisions in life instead of practing the behaviors that connect us with God. What does God want me to do in this situation. I find that is the one I have to ask


Always. And, we always have free will which places the burden on our shoulders. All of us have the choice to stay, or go….interact….or not…..take time, or deal with it now…you can only control yourself, not another human being…and this takes time and age to understand. Once I learned this life lesson the happier I got. And the less I let others control me and my decisions. Everyone around me had to learn to react to me differently, because I changed myself,first. Like they say, “every action creates a reaction”. Purposeful change in behavior IS difficult becaused of learned behaviors from a young age…..but I know, everyone has the ability to change as long as you are willing to take the tantrum everyone around you will display because you are changing the ‘game’. And that is their problem, not yours. You/I can only control yourself/myself. Start small, growing to larger issues. Here is a little example: I had a boyfriend that could never tell his controling mother how much he hated eating her creamed corn…so, at every holiday unbeknown to her, she would make creamed corn for him, and he stuffed down creamed corn to make her happy, but made him ill. I said, tell your mother you do not like creamed corn and don’t make it on his account. He said it would make her unhappy. I told him this is riddiculous to suffer at every holiday meal, for his mother’s happiness over CORN. I watched him put aside his own contentment for his mother’s. How odd, I thought. I thought if his mother had such control over such a small matter, what was she doing on the big stuff. I found out when she told him to ask me to marry him!!! Dodged that bullet. I said no. Are you ‘a secret creamed corn hater’,too? By the way, I think he married someone that could keep making the creamed corn for him….how sick is that?



I don’t think I’d read this post before. The last two paragraphs especially gave me a lift. Here’s hoping I (and everyone else here who needs to) can get to the stage of feeling the oppression lifting!!!

Thanks again so much for sharing!



Thanks J.
Hope for me was the first key that set the stage for healing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Cindy, Darlene…as I try to figure what this dysfunction is in the relationship, I try to remember that we have to put God first. I do not know whether this has been dependent or codependent but because of the nature of approval-seeking, I find I have spent a better part of my life either running from it or too it. But the answer, from different 12-step groups I have participated in is to walk with the Creator, God, all the time. So, for example, this time, I travelled a very long way to visit and the visit is becoming testy again but that is because there is some part of me that feels responsible for all the difficulties the other person is in, so detachment has to come into play. We can empathize, but in the end, we all have the opportunity to be responsible for our own lives and live up to the expectation of some power greater than ourselves, which is not a parent…and if it is, we are in big trouble. I think this has been a huge source of confusion which I have trying to work through. God is God, there is a big difference.


I got really trapped in that whole putting God first thing and used that to avoid the roots of the problems. And also to beat myself up some more because my faith was so faulty. I spent years in bible studies and the whole nine yards and it was only when I set that all aside and got to the foundation of the whole problem, saw the truth for what it was about the abuse in my life, figured out what I beleived about myself because of it and began to heal, that I was even able to apply and understand the message in the bible that I had been studying all those years. It was as though I had to put “god” aside in order to find him.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, like I said…free will is all part of everything. We have choices to make to put our lives on the path of healing. The Bible says honor (not be a doormat) your parents,…..but I could not do that for many years, too, in order to straighten everything out for myself. I came full circle in the end, to some degree. Some call it luck, some call it devine intervention. This year, I finally was given an apology by my 88 year old mother. The year my father was dying, he finally said he was sorry for the destruction he reap on our family. I was happy to hear him say the words, but sad that it took him a whole liftime to utter them. There was no more time to rebuild a relationship. I might have some time with my mother, now. I swore I would NEVER wait that long to apologize to my children if I have wronged them.


I have waited most of the day thinking about what was written above and it has been the key thing I have been trying to understand and get in order to be whole and well. It is different for everyone. Darlene, you said you had to put the God thing aside in order to have a spiritual relationship….me, it is the other way, I believe I have to put the mother thing aside in order to have a spiritual relationship and more than that, I had to put me aside in order to have a spiritual relationship. I know some people will not understand, but when I was young, because of what was going on, I cried out to and got help from God all the time. And throughout my teenage years when I first left home I kept in touch with God at all times, and that is hard work in a very, very complex world. There was a point when I went back to the family of origin and a mother that had been abandoned who told me that I was special for going back to “save” her. I have explained in this thread before that it is that point that made me really sick because then I started working to get her approval instead of God’s and as a result, became quite egotistical and selfish and a few other yucky things and alot of people got hurt. I got sick. It was not her fault, necessarily. And as Cindy said, it was a free will choice. Now I choose to have a relationship with God first and that means doing things for “His” approval instead of my mother’s which essentially kept me in the position of an adult child instead of a healthy, fully functioning, self aware adult. Now, in the role as caretaker for the last couple weeks, the old martyr complex, and being special complex have all comeup again and I don’t want them, can’t do it. It is not my job, my job is to be a spiritual, loving and caring human being. To be in touch with the Creator. I don’t want to be dependent on her and am more than half way through my own life and do not want to lose anymore of it. It can be a confusing relationship, but we must make those choices. This might not make any sense to anyone, but I am starting to get it figured out, just having the courage to do it.
So much more to say on this but so little time.


Hey again. I believe God has been by my side, my whole life, and answered prayer in all kinds of way. A friend of mine once said God is not answering her prayers. I told her….”God puts people in your path sometimes to help answer your prayers….and God told me to tell you that you are screwing up your life by focusing on….blah blah blad….” She laughed…but saw the light. The people in her path have helped her so much these last two years and she did not see that as an answer! Wake up dear friend. Anyway, my prayer to hear my father utter, “I am sorry.” was long coming, since I had not asked God for the apology until the day before my father, who had had a stroke, so could not dial the phone, made my brother call me and said the words. I was stunned how fast prayer was answered. I had not gone to God before with the request….ever….just a general “help me”. So forming the question is half the battle and knowing what you need is the realization that has to be reached. Hope this makes sense. Be kind to yourself first, the rest will follow. I forget this mantra, often. When I do follow my own advice, life gets better. Unlearning old patterns of operation is difficult, but doable. Kinda like dieting! This is what I know and believe after 56 years.


I too was raised by a woman who is incapable of love. Your blog blew me away because it describes how I feel to a “t”. My dad struggled with this his whole life never wanting to cross her path. I recognize that the problem in our family is generational sin and it helps me in my quiet moments to ignore the messages of worthlessness. When I was a child and teenager, I spoke with my dad about the way she spoke to me. And he would respond, “she means well, it just comes out wrong”. Ouch…. my dad knew. He traveled for work and whenever he was away, she would vomit all her pain onto me. I could not escape it (I did manage to leave as soon as I graduated from HS). When he came home and she was not hovering, he would discreetly look at me with the eyes that said “I love you”. I have wasted so much energy on trying to be someone that would make her happy. Thankfully, in 2004, I gave myself to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He saved me! I cannot imagine going through life without Him. I still have work to do as my dad has passed away and she is 84 and requiring assistance, but I know that I am loved by the Creator of the heavens and earth and He is coming back just for me!


Dear Laurie;
I cannot believe how many of us have been affected by the female head of the households and the impact that has had on us. I also cannot believe how many of us have tried to turn to something greater than us to find relief from this problem. I feel for all of those who are trying to work this trhough and am glad there is support.


Dear Missn:
Yes it is so encouraging to speak with people who understand and not to get the “you gotta let that go”…. I kept thinking what’s wrong with me…. My family of choice knows that I will not be alone with her anymore and thankfully they understand. She still tries with her “emergency” needs or let me just “pop on over” for a visit with you. My sister is the golden child who lives far away and is just such a busy women. I am sure you all can relate. I am grateful for the ability to share and release the pain in a safe place. I would encourage people to “check out” Jesus as He can heal you.


I don’t know about checking out Jesus, but I do know that it is important for me to take control of my life and not let someone else do that. I try to remember that I am here for some kind of higher good. I have been amazed at how I have reverted back to a more child-like state since staying with my elderly parent for the past few weeks and that is not right.


Hi Laurie
Welcome to EFB I am glad that you can relate! You are not alone here. Please understand that in this site, many have been abused by christians and other spiritual abuses so your comments saying that Jesus is the answer actually offend some. Not saying you are wrong, just saying that many have been abused by bible stuff but what works is just to model that love you have found from him. Thanks
and there are lots of articles in here about the saying “just let it go” ~ hope you enjoy it here!!
Hugs, Darlene


This is an issue that many of us suffer from. I do as well. i tried to love her and my grandmother but they were so mean to me. one day i decided not to be their dumping ground nor obligated to be their dumping ground. so for 2 years i didn’t come around them and they changed the way they treated me but for all purposes i had changed who i was and they no longer are able to make me feel like less than a person. but now their is a double-edge sword to it all, i can t go to them when i feel i need them. my daughter on the otherhand treats me with the same kind of obligation to her but gives me none back. i want to let her leave my life but it is hard because she is my only daughter out of 4 but the reality is she doesn’t appreciate me i’m like a comfortable hat she puts on when she doesn’t want to mess up her hair and throw it on the floor until she needs it again. i wish she cared about our relationship like i do but my desires come from not having a good one with my mother and grandmother. i guess it’s just me that wants one with her and not her with me and i guess i will have to accept that…..it is killing me but i guess all relationships come to an end one day


Hi “broken mother”
I understand where you are coming from. This cycle has a tendency to repeat itself. I think you may get some more insights as you read through some of the articles and comments here. When I started to come out of the fog, I realized that because of the way I was regarded “with no value” by my own upbringing, I didn’t regard myself with much value, so I was actually communicating that message to my children; and when my son was 12, I realized he was starting to treat me the same disrespectful way that so many others in my life were treating me… What I did was I concentrated on healing me and as I healed, my children began to see a different me. I no longer treated myself with disrespect and I didn’t accpet it as “right behaviour”.. I was very gentle with them in this process because it was the message that I gave them about my value in the first place (they had seen my mother walk all over me and I didn’t do a thing about it) so it was up to me to change that message.. This takes time. I hope you will stick around with us here.
Hugs, Darlene


I actually cried when I read this, not just because I could relate but because it had never occured to me that SO many women have endured the same toxic relationship with their mothers that I have. For SO many years I’ve felt alone with my anguish over my mother and how becoming a parent myself forced me to put distance between my mother and I. When I met my husband he had this expression that made perfect sense to me. “Some people become parents BECAUSE of their parents…bc they want to raise kids just as their parents did…bc they loved their childhoods THAT much…and then some people become parents IN SPITE of their parents”. My husband was one of the first people…I am one of the second kind.
I grew up thinking I had this great relationship with all my extended family; aunts uncle etc…but looking back this last year or so I find myself growing more angry that everyone SAW and KNEW the type of person my mother was and did nothing for me. I’ve tried letting that go, but now that I’ve had enough and have started putting MY children first and have kepy my kids from my mother, those people I used to think I was SO close to have turned their back on me and think I’m full of all this hate.
And I know you ladies know, it’s NOT hate…it has nothing to do with HATE. I love my mother…more than she ever loved me, more love than she could ever understand, but I choose to love ME first…I choose to love my husband and my children next, and that means refusing to let her toxic nature influence my children and poison their minds like mine was for so many years.
Thank you Darlene…you give me hope and I now have a comfort in knowing I’m not alone afterall!


My first and so far only post on this site was July 16, 2011. On March 25, 2012 my mother died. I would like to tell you some sort of grand understanding between my mother and me occurred prior to her death, but that didn’t happen. 2 nights before she died we talked a little. I cried, for soooo many reasons and she did her best to comfort me. But overall my mother died not recognizing the pain she had caused, nor me dealing with it any better than I ever did. Was it her fault or my fault… I don’t know. Life is just so short. I hope with the passage of time I will put in perspective all the things that troubled me and I can find some sort of peace about life with my mother.


Hi Meghann
Thank you so much for sharing this. There is something certainly strange about the ways family doesn’t do anything about this stuff and even pretends not to see it. I think it is really amazing that you decided to distance your children from letting her “toxic nature” influence them. I love that! I feel that way about my kids when it comes to my mother also.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Jeanie
I am so sorry for your loss. I think about the event of my own mother dying all the time, wondering how I will feel because we don’t have contact and I have thought of the same questions that you express here. I always come back to the same thoughts ~ that I was the child, and that it has been by acknowledging, facing and then healing from the damage that has enabled me to recover and not any kind of understanding from her or about her that helped. I have found peace that way. I hope that you do too. Thank you for sharing. I know this is very hard.
Hugs, Darlene


I too have a mother who is abusive. I read so much of me in your story. I have have a sister and brother who are both married and living well with their spouses. I have never been married and have no children. My mother told me once I would make a horrible mother and that she never wanted me and wished I have never been born.

When I tried to tell her my dreams of being an author, I actually wrote a book and I am now waiting to get it published because I am out of work and have no income. I am unable to receive anymore unemployment.

My mother could afford to help me publish my book, but she does not want to see me succeed at anything.

I also want to take fencing and she said that was stupid. I no longerer talk to my brother and sister because of her, divide and conquer.

I am usually by myself because I am afraid to get close to people because I know that she has warped my thinking on relationships.

Last week she got upset with me and so to punish me, she has not called me in about 7 days. I am actually feeling better, more calm. I would really like to have friends, I am just not sure how to get started.

My mother also told me if I ever got married it would not last a year because of my personality. I now spend every holiday alone, which I would like to change, but at least she is not putting me down if I am not within hearing distance.

I wish I knew how to change her heart. I know it’s not me, but I would like to have a support group, I just don’t know where to get started.

I will also be glad when my book is published, it will mean that I have some income coming in to support me, and that will give me back some of my self esteem that I have lost over the past few years.


Hi Penny
Welcome to emerging from broken!
This website is about how I got started on just about everything by finding out the root of all the problems and beliefs that were in my way when it came to living! I learned that my mother didn’t get to decide what I could do or what I would be good at doing. I learned how to re-parent myself in all the ways that I had been missing a loving parent. I can’t change my mothers heart. That is up to her. Knowing that was a huge freedom for me.
There is a lot of support here in this website. Thank you for sharing and I hope you will share often.
Hugs, Darlene


OMG….I just came across this blog! This so for me! I grew up knowing my mother disliked me….I’ve always known.Never could I do anything to please her! Believe me I tried so hard! Luckily I had others in my life who did love me…..including my father! I too have people who tell me now@ darn near 60 they so hurt for mr as a child. But, at that time….you minded your own business….never interfered! I vowed to do better for my children. I find that I overcompensate and I know it. The best thing I did was rid myself of is toxic person about ten years ago! Now she cries to everyone that she does not understand why I hate her…..I don’t hate her…..I just want her to stay out of my life . I have tried repeatedly to reconcile …..it is impossible to reconcile with someone who never has done anything wrong! I have even apologized form being born…..I still am an awful person! Well, guess what..I am not an awful person! Thank god I have a wonderful husband great children and grandchildren! I am comforted when someone tells me how they hated the way she treated me…..it validates me….that she did treat me awful! Recently my cousins told me stories of things my mom would do to me…..none of which I even remembered ! There is no fixing this. I do hurt so bad for the mother I wish I had…..but, it’s never to be! I know there are so many people in the same situation I am…it is so sad isn’t it?


Hi Lynetta
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I think you are going to like it here! I and the commenters here share a lot about how all of this effected us and how we overcame the damage it casued. It is sad that there are so many but it is healing to find that there are others too. (way more than I thought when I first started this site about overcoming aubse and depression by looking at the roots… I had no idea that so many had their roots in dysfunctional relationships with parents!)
It is amazing that people are even telling you about things that happened to you. Validating I bet!
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


I too have grown up feeling that I have never belonged. I only ever felt accepted and valued when I was at my mothers grandparents. Looking back I suspect that my grandparents compensated for my parents.

Despite looking after my children all the time whilst on a family holiday with my brother and his family and my mother, my son (13) finished the holiday digging ever deeper holes in the sand and sobbing in the bottom. I was so angry that I confronted my mother. Needelesss to say she could not remember any of the hurtful comments and told me that it would be better if we had separate holidays. The injustice of the situation is still making me really angry. I can’t seem to stop myself reliving the memories. I have tried thinking of happy events, distracting myself, forgiving her but I am stuck in a loop! Can you offer any advice?


Hi Jackie
This entire website is full of articles and discussions about stuff like this. As you read through it you may find some clarity about your own situation.
Glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
When it comes to my mother, the control and manipulation is subversive – setting my boundaries has been, and will probably be, an enduring challenge. The threat of her falling into dementia, Becoming crippled with devastation or losing her mind by having rejection from me is a measure for her to try and exercise her mind over me. My sisters take a view that I am ungrateful and mean-spirited, when for me, it is about standing in my own space, one that my mother, and to a measure my sisters, have no point of relation to. I also feel as if i am not conforming to a pre-cast pattern of acceptable behaviour, and by that, I have no common point of relating. It ihas been frustrating, even debilitating, and I know that my mother will never be able to conceptualise, or as Jackie said (above) will never see her own contribution. Trying to engage with my mother is the ultimate vicious circle of trying to get interactive ownership from a denial it’s. My mother is on the greatest denial, which is extradinarily ironic, as that is what was presumed of my father!

Thank you for this page – I hope there’s still active content but I will keep this page as a reference.



Hi Jeanne
Welcome to EFB ~ This is one of the most popular topics in this website; dysfunctional relationships with our mothers. You are not alone.
This blog is very active and generates over 1000 comments a month is the discussions here. You can browse around by catagories (buttons under the header graphic) or join the current discussions by clicking on the home button (little house button) and reading the more current posts.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene

I did not read all that was written, but I am a mother and want to tell my side of the story.

There are always two sides of a story. I had Major Depression and it was not as well-known and written about as recently. I knew something was wrong and went from one doctor to another, and never found anybody who could tell me what was wrong, I just knew that I was not myself and did not want to be the person I was. I saw different Psychologists for the best part of 20 years and nobody diagnosed what was wrong. I recently started studying narrative psychology and now fully realize what my family went through. I had NO support (seeing doctors or psychologists) or just try from anybody, they just saw me as this “mad” person, to such an extent that the kids were told that I will have to be admitted to Tara because nobody will be able to look after me.

Well, I am now 63, have NO relationship with my daughter, because she would not allow me. If God can give a person a chance, who are we to scold someone that did us wrong to receive abandonment. I asked her more than many times to please tell me what I did to be alienated , and she just replied that there she had nothing against me. Why? Talk things through and fix what can be fixed, nobody is perfect.

I so much long to learn to know her as an adult woman, but she denies my existence. I am sure that she can’t be happy in herself, but does she want to punish herself for the rest of her life for things that I had no control over, let alone support. I have been my old self for a number of years now, no, better than my old self, because I now know and understand what I went through myself. It is frightening and sad, but if this is the way she wants it, what more can I do?

She lived in Maseru, and I wanted to go through to see her. I was not welcome, so I never went. I went through such a stage where I would do anything to help her, even if it meant to go to Maseru and sit on her doorstep until she was prepared to talk to me. I would have slept there under a tree until she decided to open herself to me, I was so desperate.

It is against God’s will that people live like this. I realize that our children are only lent to us to rise, by the Grace of God, to the best of our ability. I know that they don’t belong to us and never will, but I also don’t understand how a person that carries grudges year after year till the end of time can be happy. I was the best mother that I could have been under circumstances, and cannot made undone what I did wrong, as you cannot undo something if you don’t know what to undo. I have a statue in my garden of a girl, and whenever I long for her, I sit at the statue and I have made a lovely garden around it. Motherhood does not come with a manual, and every mother tries the best she can with the knowledge she has. I stopped crying, because I realized that it is her that is missing out, not me, because I have found myself, and she is still searching. If she was not searching, she would have found forgiveness.

I hope you read this Linda, I do not want to live on your doorstep or in your pocket, I just want to have the freedom to wish you a happy birthday and a happy new year and know that I am not irritating you when you see my name appear on your email or cell phone. If I see you once a year, or just hear from you, I would be happy

I love you and always will. Think of you every day and hope that you have found happiness. God gives more than one chance, and forgiveness and bitterness causes illness, that is not the reason what we were created for, to hate – but to love.


Perhaps you should read ALL that was written;

This really isn’t about “two sides to the story” this is about healing from the damage that was caused. I am sorry that your situation is not working out in the way that you wish. I don’t know the details so I can’t speak to that but perhaps your daughter is not ready to move forward with a relationship because of the damage. Although you express your desire to have a relationship with your daughter, you also include a lot of judgement in this comment. You use guilt and shame by bringing god into it. We are not god, we are children who were damaged by our own parents. And how do you know the will of God in this situation? You also judge your daughter to be unhappy, (perhaps she is very happy) and then you say it is her loss and you hope she is reading this! Is this what you would like to say to your daughter, because I read “I am sorry but…” Perhaps your daughter needs more time to heal from the damage or needs a message without judgement attached to it. Perhaps you might have better results if you just admit the damage you did and your regret without the justification and all the baggage of guilt, the god stuff and the forgiveness stuff and presenting as though you know the will of God.

You say that you are not the one missing out… I think that you are wrong about that.

I wish you all the best,

Hugs Darlene


Mother-daughter relationships are definitely a challenge. My daughter and I have experienced the yelling matches and have had the not so nice exchange in words. For me, as a mother, tough love can be tough itself. I love my daughter very much. Although many of my “guidance” may seem controlling to her, they are to raise my daughter with love, protection, moral values, responsibilities, self-respect, and to value internal rewards rather than external, material rewards. Children, especially teenagers, can be very defiant. They can easily interpret good intentions as manipulative and controlling, especially when against their “wants”. For my daughter, everything is fine as long as she hears “yes” to her requests and doesn’t hear a word pertaining to chores, cleaning her room, or reminding her of any responsibilities.

What is “loving the right way”? Avoiding conflict? Avoiding “no”? Avoiding any guidance a mother should provide that might be viewed as controlling? In protecting my daughter, she even perceives me as being over-protective. As a mother sometimes I feel like “damn if you do, damn if you don’t”.

As mentioned, my daughter often views my intentions as controlling; sometimes I view her actions as manipulative. Her tongue often gets her in trouble. She considers her “strong” opinions as communication and I consider them as conveyed with disrespect. There is a fine line between communication and disrespect. I think our society have successfully managed to stretch that fine line and successfully promote self expression with little or without self-control or respect: It’s all about the loud message and the “ME” factor. More children are growing up to be disrespectful.

In possibly failing to realize my guidance are for her own good, I wonder if my daughter will grow up to blame me for everything she will become and will not become. As a result, feeling broken and in need to emerge from brokenness. In the absence of many fathers or lack of involvement, mothers have to play the role of both parents. Because I am in the picture 24/7 my daughter will more likely than not view me as the parent responsible for her outcome.

I love my daughter. I know it because I feel the guilt of not being the “pushover” mother and the guilt of providing tough love. I know it because of the tears I have cried (behind closed doors) following hurtful things I have said that I did not mean. I know it from the apologies I give her. I know it for the prayers I have for her. I know it because I tell her I love her so. These are the things I remind myself that just maybe I’m not such a bad mother after all. I have to look at my actions and good intentions, not by my daughter’s lack of appreciation or by my daughters definition of love – my daughter seems to feel loved when she gets what she wants and gets away with irresponsibility.

I think every generation will find fault in parenting. I know a woman who resented her mother for not stressing the importance of education to her when she was a child. I know another woman who resented her mother for expecting her to excel in high school; in defiance decided to dismiss college and to raise her children differently from her mother, later to find her own son struggling in school. When I was a child I found fault in my parents’ absence and lack of involvement. I try to raise my children differently. Now my children get annoyed because they think I am too concerned and protective. I have heard them say they will not be like me, therefore, they will be more like my parents – which will make their children raise their own children more like the way I raise my children. Yup! It can be confusing.

Maybe, we are just all confused and broken and in need of healing.


By the way, Darlene, I am sorry you went through such a horrible experience with your mother. Congratulations on your recovery.

I guess, for me, as a mother I wonder if my daughter will eventually realize the sacrifices I made and the love I have for her. I wonder if her reflections will take her back to a mom who only wanted her daughter’s best interest or to a mom she will think was less than ideal.


I am not sure how to take your comments. Do you realize what this website is about? We are discussing recovery from emotional abuse, neglect, and many of us were also physically and sexually abused. In this particular post, the abuse was at the hands of our parents and I am not sure but are you are sharing from a point of justifying that as a ” parental right”? What you have posted here will be seen as discounting instead of supportive to the many readers here who have legit reasons for being angry with their parents. And as far as I know, there are no teenagers on this blog.

I have three kids, two are adults now and one still a teenager. I have a fantastic relationship with all of them. I don’t feel guilty that I didn’t give in to their every wish at all. There were boundaries; I was never a push over mom but rather I taught my kids respect by respecting them. I taught them love by loving them. I allowed them a voice in their own lives. I empowered them to be the best they could be and to be the individuals that they were born to be. My mother did none of that. She demanded respect without ever respecting me. She demanded love (compliance to her) without loving me first. She didn’t protect me from men in fact she put me in danger and the one time a man was caught by another adult, she blamed me. (I could go on but much of it is already written in this site)

My father never noticed me. Why is that okay? why do I have to deny the pain of that fact? Why am I supposed to understand his lack of interest in me instead of feeling the pain of it so that I could move forward?

You come back in your second comment and say you are sorry for what happened to me?? But you clarify that you only hope that your daughter will realize the sacrifices that you made for her… I don’t feel that way as a parent. I did not sacrifice my life to do right by my kids. I wanted them, I loved them I was blessed beyond belief to have had them in my life. Each one of them has been a gift to me. It was no sacrifice.

I don’t know your story. Perhaps you are a wonderful mother and I have reacted the wrong way to your comments. If I did it is because of what this website is about and I am assuming that you know what we do here and the work we do here is not about teenage tantrums or the “normal struggles” between parents and kids. We are talking about abuse. We are talking about our rights as people to talk about the damage that was caused and the right to feel the pain of rejection of our personhood by our own parents.

I am curious to know why you are even responding to this post in this way considering what this is about? This is the kind of comment that most of us have fought and lost our voices over our whole lives. These are the comments from our own parents and other people that kept us in pain and in prison.

I would love your feedback to what I have said.


“Mom,” in reading your post I was struck by the terrible irony in the fact that you on the one hand predict that your daughter will “blame you” for the outcome of her life, yet on the other you wish to shame her for all the “sacrifices” that you have made. Children don’t ask to be born, whatever personal or financial difficulties you’ve had are your own business and your own responsibility, not hers. Yet you want her to take on responsibility, guilt, and shame for your life while you, the parent, deny that you played any causative role in hers. The fact is, when you decide to emotionally abuse, use corporal punishment, ignore, and repress your child’s voice and feelings, it has lasting impacts that can stretch over an entire lifetime. There are consequences to the decisions you make as a parent, and nothing you’ve been through, no sacrifices you made justify or excuse abusing your kids.

This is the typical logic of an abusive parent who has not worked through their own issues. My own mother could have written this exact post.


Darlene, I had a grandmother who disliked me, a step-father who molested me, a mother who never disapproved of a relationship I had with a much older man when I was in high school because she did not want to care for me. He ended up sexually and physically abusing me and I left as soon as the abuse started. I, then, married a husband who emotionally abused me over 15 years until he found God and Jesus. This is not even half the story. Yes, I grew up in a very dysfunctional, hurtful environment.

When I took the opportunity to reflect on the stories I heard growing up regarding my grandmother and my mother, I realized that they had there own painful experiences. Realizing this provided me with some level of understanding. Although their actions were not justifiable, I could not completely place blame for their lack of ideal parenting skills. I could learn from it and try differently with my own children. In regards to your experience and other victims, the abusers’ hurtful behavior was not justifiable. My intentions were not to discount any victims of abuse. If I have offended anyone, please accept my sincere apology.

Regarding your statement about your mother: “…She demanded respect without ever respecting me. She demanded love (compliance to her) without loving me first.” and practically every description of your mother: This sounds very much like my Asian upbringing, so I can definitely relate to it. It is very much the culture I grew up in and accepted while growing up.

Once again, I can not entirely place blame my grandmother and mother for the neglect I felt given the circumstances in which they, themselves, grew up in. But I refuse to dismiss the right to feel hurt by it or the hurt I experienced from my previous relationships with my ex-boyfriend and my current husband. However, I do feel the need to forgive though.

I have four children: 3 boys and 1 girl. I ended up on this site looking for some understanding and help with my relationship with my daughter (never with my sons because we do not have nearly half the issues I do with my only daughter). The title captured my attention. I wanted to know whether I was exhibiting false definition of love and where I might be wrong. I made my earlier comments about my relationship with my daughter because I wondered whether my protectiveness and strict nature will be misinterpreted by her as emotionally abusive when she becomes an adult. I do not want this to happen.

Caden, you are correct: “Children don’t ask to be born.” But they should be raised to have some sense of appreciation, responsibility, and accountability. No, I do not want her to take on responsibility, guilt, and shame for my life. However, I do want her to be responsible, accountable, and feel a sense of guilt for not following rules, for decisions she makes that negatively affect others (not necessarily talking about me), and for being disrespectful. I do think guilt can modify/reduce/prevent wrongful behavior. I can attest to this myself. I would like my daughter to grasp the concept of cause and effect (which our family counselor have tried to explain to her). As her mother, I feel it is my responsibility to try to instill, in addition to the qualities mentioned above and in my initial post, morals and values. I don’t want her to look at me one day and resent me for never trying.

Again, I apologize if I offended anyone. Maybe I should have refrained from making any initial comments. Good luck in everyone’s healing and recovery. God Bless You All.


“Mom” you ARE on the wrong website. Like Darlene said this is for all of us who struggled with neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse from supposedly ‘love one(s)’. I really don’t want to rehash what I went through but I will so you get the point….just know…. at the age of 8,I laid on a couch for two weeks in plain site almost dying until my father asked my mother what was wrong with her, “don’t you care about that kid” (of course he was one to talk, he had left me at a Walmart like store,after I had asked if I could go look at toys and he said, ‘yes’ to teach me a lesson at the age of 7…it taught me to not trust him ever again)….so she carried me to the doctor because by that time, I was too weak to walk into the office….the doctor reamed her in front of me. I am guessing now, but I bet he told me to get fluids in me (I had been throwing up for 2 wks)or I would go into the hospital. I was cooking for myself from 1st grade, over a gas stove. I ate PB and J’s for 4 years for lunch and dinner most of the time from the age of 9 on…I envied the kids that got to stay at school and eat…fruit, veggies, hot food and got to talk to one another and play with each other and learn how to interact with one another….My mother told me school food cost too much…then she would go shopping with my sister, pay for my other sisters college life, aid my brother in his building projects of hot rods….I still remember begging for one can of Chef Boy R Dee and being grateful for it…and trying to make it last for two meals instead of one…my mother never NEVER told me she loved me…she never touched me….no hugs, no kisses….I tried to hug her when I was five and she pushed me away and told me I was too big for that….that was the last contact I had with her until she hugged me when I was 21 years old. I was that Rheese monkey they experimented (written about in Phy 101 courses in college) on to see what deprevation of contact, would do to a primate….it killed the baby monkey over time. Lady….we all went through childhood hell….this is not back talking, or whining….this was survival for some of us. Think Slum Dog Millionaire without the happy ending for many. And the worst example of the abuse I dealt with…..my father held a gun on me and told me he would kill me if I was ever late from school. I had been working on the high school year book, called and called to let a empty house know I would be late. No one was there, as usual, and when they were, they were hell to live with and deal with everyday. This is not a whining website, this is a “I barely survived,website….now,how do I go on?” “How do I deal with the current reality and not the fanasty of what could have been.” Like they say….truth will set you free….it does…distorations do not help. Because we have lived it, we believe others that have lived it and survived. This is why this web site helps. We get it. We know it can happen to innocent children. And we know it can happen to just one child in a family and not the other children. Again, distortion is what brought us to this web site.


OK, “mom,” while I get your overall point that it’s important for kids to respect their parents…

1. The parent has to not do things to lose the right to respect, and

2. There are other important things the kid needs to be learning. If you get all hung up in demanding respect and that’s all you care about, your daughter will be in big trouble someday.

If you only got into parenting to get your ego stroked then I recommend you go get some therapy because you are in it for all the wrong reasons. This is NOT ABOUT YOU. Not one bit.

Teaching our kids things like the importance of a clean room shouldn’t be about getting our egos stroked. Guilt has nothing to do with it. The natural consequence of not cleaning your room is that your room looks like a pigsty, all your friends will think you’re dirty and you will never be able to find anything. The point of cleaning a room should be that you want to have a nice-looking room, your friends will think you’re responsible and take care of yourself, and you will be able to find things when you want them.

Period. Guilt has nothing to do with it. It’s a dirty room, not serial murder.

There are lots of ways to neglect your kids’ needs and not all of them look like abuse. You need to be thinking about this whole parenting thing in terms of preparing your kids for adulthood. Adulthood is not about feeling guilty because your mom might not like the fact you only vacuum the living room one day a week instead of three. It’s about being able to vacuum your living room competently in the first place.

If more parents understood that, maybe filial relationships would be a lot less dysfunctional.


This is so inspring. I realize that I still have the same problem with my father. Feeling that I need to have a father when in fact I have survivied and been better off without his controlling influence in my life.


Firstly, thank you Darlene for the work you’ve done. It has helped me IMMENSELY as I move toward healing and continuing the CO from my own NarcMother. I check here often and save things that I read that are moving and relative to my life at this time.

At the precipice of becoming a mother for the first time at 32 years of age, I am horrified by some of the shenanigans I see here from ‘mothers’ posting about their supposedly wayward daughters. I see blame shifting, manipulation, guilting, shaming and wrath of God-ing… and, quite frankly, it makes me ill. For these are the same ‘loving’ tactics my own mother used and continues to use to this day. The other thing that I see that further disturbs me is the constant and consistent use of ‘I’. These epic ‘two sided stories’ are beleaguered with what YOU want and how YOU feel and what YOU believe your daughter should be doing for YOU and giving YOU second chances and YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU…. WHAT ABOUT HER? Why is there is constant denial of your child to feel the way she feels? This downright disrespect and disregard of her own emotions? Have you asked yourself – have you TRULY asked yourself with HONESTY – what YOU may have done to result in these cut-offs and breaks? Have you thoroughly examined the situation with respect to the part YOU may have played? I see this notion of accountability being thrown around – but what about your accountability as a parent – as a mother? Is that all null and void based on the deification of your title of mother?

These are the things that perplex me and always have. And in these posts, I can see the shadows of toxicity. It makes me sad.

The emotional abuse I’ve suffered at the hands of my own mother make me LONG to see my own daughter as an individual. Make me long to do away with these old, outdated and archaic parenting ideologies of somehow, because I ‘brought’ her here, my daughter OWES me. Owes me what, exactly? This was a CHOICE. It makes me long to give her all of my unconditional love; to hear her, to understand her, to allow her to be who she chooses to be. To protect her from any and all that would harm her – even if that person should somehow become ME.
I want to give her all that my own mother did not give me. (I too am one of those ‘in spite of’ parents I guess. LOL) I do not aspire to perfection. I do aspire to have my daughter know that she is respected and loved as a PERSON. She is not an extension of my glory or wrath. She is not ME Part 2. She is of equal value in our relationship – something that I’ve NEVER been in my own dysfunctional relationship with my mother.

I came to realize I was nothing more than a tool. And as long as the tool did what it was supposed to, when it was supposed to, with no fuss – I was valued. Should I deviate, I was nothing. Less than dust. And never valued when it came to being a WOMAN. For it was boys my mother wanted. And, as her only child, I never heard the end of it. Even as I handed her mothers day gifts she would look in my face, her eyes brimming with tears and lament that I had not been born a boy; that she did not have a son. Ahhh, there’s more. Much more. Molestation she ignored and the rape at the hands of a family member that she swept away without concern. Without question. Money manipulations (I learned early to not mix with her and money – the emotional cost was overwhelming) and lies of all kinds.

After 31 years of the insanity, and upon finding my husband and I were expecting – I made her last Narc Rage my line in the sand. I stood up for myself, for my unborn child and for my husband. I made a demand for respect as an adult. And that was simply against her MO. We have not spoken since and I am quite fine with it. No longer do I have anxiety at her calls. No longer do I have to deal with guilt trips, gaslighting and manipulation. No longer does her narcissism leave me in a sobbing, hyperventilating mess; wondering what *I* did wrong and what what *I* did wasn’t good enough.

I am free in all the ways that count moving steadfastly into healing and parenthood joy.


“mom” – It is obvious to me that you have dismissed your own pain and in turn you dismiss your childrens pain. You lack balance and resort to extremes. That is not healthy. I suggest therapy. And your selfishness is classic. You can’t expect others to respect you while disrespecting them, just because you are a mother does not mean you deserve respect. You fail to realize that children are human beings to be loved and respected. The cavalier attitude is also a sign of denial of your own pain. I suggest you apologize to your children for being so disrespectful and start acknowledging your own pain. You are missing the point of this blog, it is about validating and acknowleding the pain that we were conditioned to ignore as children. Your parents may have their own problems, but you cannot use that as an excuse to dismiss their choices in abusing you. I’m sorry you fail to grasp this concept, although it is common when a child is abused (as you say you were) to believe that there parents couldn’t really have chosen to be so wicked. Something that is very difficult for parents like you to do is to realize you have become your own abuser, and you misplace the blame onto your own children instead of rightfully placing it onto your own abusers.

Doemsie – You are full of selfishness and guilt-trips. My husbands mother is like you. He has written her many letters expressing his pain and openness to work on their relationship, and she only responds with “what did I do?” He’s told her over and over again and she responds with claiming she has absolutely no idea what he is talking about while guilt-tripping him with her own problems. She goes as far as fabricating health issues to try to guilt him into going back to the one-sided selfish relationship. She refuses to accept him as he truly is and continually tries to force him into a role that fits her needs. That shrine you have was scary to me. A nice shrine of what in your fantasy is your daughter. You start out with saying you were depressed, but you give no thought of how that depression negatively affected your child, you just keep blaming her for acknowledging her own pain and choosing to stay away from that. I don’t blame her one bit.

The commonality I see here is the lack of recognition of your children as human beings, and the lack of respect you have for them just because you are blood. That is inherently abusive.

And I may be off on my opinion of this, but maybe you both need a wake-up call as to how offensive this can be to people who were emotionally, verbally, phyically and sexually abused and neglected. I may be totally off, but I am sick and tired of hearing the “poor me” cavalier attitudes that seem to go along with abusive parents. Your chidrens pain is not about you. They are human beings who deserve to be human beings, not property. You are not entitled to their love or respect – both are earned.

And that’s what a trigger looks like in written form.


Point taken. Although my first and third paragraph (posting #122) clearly stated I have experienced neglect and abuse as a child, I’m not quite sure why the responses implied lack of understanding on my part.

Cindy, in addition to the emotional, sexual, and physical abuse I mentioned in my previous post, I remember attending school while sick and shivering in class because I did not have a jacket (and I was sick a lot). I remember one toy growing up (a barbie doll) while my siblings received much much more. I wore second hand clothes and had no more than 7 shirts and 3 pants which I wore alternately for school. I was fortunate enough to have free breakfast and lunch at school (Thank God for programs like these.) At home I remember cracking an uncooked egg to eat with rice or a couple slices of mango with rice. I ate veggies because they were cheap. I was malnourished and weighed 87lbs. in high school. I never went to the doctor, never went to the dentist. Never had a raincoat or umbrella, so I was often soaking wet riding the bus to and from school during rainy season (one of the reasons I got sick often). Growing up I never heard “I love you” and was never given a hug. However, I am thankful there was a bed to sleep in and shelter over my head.

Yasha’s Twin, no it’s not all about me. It’s all about my daughter and her best interest. This is the reason why I tell her I love her; she is the reason I pray for her safety when she’s out with friends; she is the reason why I spend time reading sites like these to gain a better understanding of what is expected of me as a mother; the reason why I told her about this site and how the women here were abused and asked her if she felt abused (for those who curious of her answer, she said, “no…except for when you tell me I don’t have common sense and can make things difficult.”) we had a discussion and said i love you to each other before she left for a church function; she is the reason why I want to try to instill positive attributes so she may have the skills to deal with life as an adult.

Alice, responding to your statement: “And I may be off on my opinion of this, but maybe you both need a wake-up call as to how offensive this can be to people who were emotionally, verbally, physically and sexually abused and neglected.” Again, I have also experienced all these form of abuse. Please re-read my previous post.

Most who responded have an opinion of me as an abusive mother. I cook everyday for my family, usually what they request; aside from expecting clean rooms (which hardly occurs) they have one chore a day and only three times a week which takes 20 minutes to complete; my children have far more clothes than I do (they wear brand names, I don’t and mine are from mark down racks) They are taken to the doctor, dentist (regularly), and orthodontist; driven 80% of the time to and from to be with friends or for sport activities. I helped my daughter fill out her job application, provided interview advice, and help her get a part-time job. I spent hours teaching them so they will excel in school (they are all honor students), etc…So none of these things matter? You all pretty much judged me as an abusive mom because of trying to instill some sense of appreciation, responsibility, accountability, values to my daughter.

This will be my final post, some of you stated I should not be posting here even though I have shared the same abuse as a child. A final note I would like to add: In reading everyone’s posts I have learned how fragile children are and that a mother must be especially sensitive to a child’s emotional needs and how important it is to ensure my children understands wholeheartedly that they are loved. Thank you for sharing.

Good luck on everyone’s healing and recovery. Once again, God Bless You All.


“mom”….I think it is tough to parent when or if you yourself was not parented in a tolerant, accepting, and compassionate way. I was raised in an EXTREMELY controlling way, and when I thought about becoming a mother, it scared me that I would also be that way. That I would damage and injure my child. I have a daughter and I fell in love with her the moment I knew I was pregnant! I can’t say my way of raising her was the only right way, but what I did try to do was to be to her the kind of mom that I would have loved to have had. With high standards in manners and respect, but also a mother who did fun things together and shared things together. A mother who listened to her and respected her requests for space and independence without SMOTHERING her. I have been very protective and watchful….probably because of my own sexual abuse . I forced myself to be kind and have a kind tone of voice when I felt like yelling and screaming and I felt like I was going to fly out of control. I can’t tell you how often…even now sometimes…but especially when I was a new mom, that I had to require from myself a measure of giving and act happy when I didn’t….but I wanted her to know joy in her world even if it meant I had to force it. When we did things together, it felt so unnatural and even very uncomfortable because I did not experience that in my own upbringing….but I acted like I would have wanted my own mother to be. So….it isn’t too late with you and your daughter. You clearly adore her and worry about her and have made sacrifices for her, but can you stretch yourself to become more understanding and compassionate? Let her “win” on issues that will empower her and strengthen her and will draw you two closer together? She will always want you and need you if you can show her that you like her for who she is….and let her see some of your sweet side too…not just the mom who demands the respect. I am extremely close with my daughter and she is extremely respectful. I do feel for you….and know it isn’t easy to change generations of an Asian families patterns between mothers and daughters, but you can have the relationship that makes you both close! Good luck to you!!!!


People are responding to your first comment about how you parent your daughter. If you had joined this website as a commenter who had been abused and were here about healing from the abuse you suffered, this whole conversation would have been much different. It seems like you are trying to make everyone feel bad because you were abused yourself and that you don’t feel welcome here even though you are a survivor. Again, all the responses to you have been about your parenting style and the way you seem to justify it.
Your list of all you do for your family ~ why do you feel the need to post such a thing? You think we judged you for trying to instill some sense of appreciation, responsibility, accountability, values to your daughter? That is not how I see it at all. Instead of telling everyone to read your comments about how you were abused yourself, re-read the comment you made that they are actually responding to.
And if you want to post about your own childhood trauma, don’t mix it in with the way you parent as though you are saying that your daughter doens’t know how good she has it because your childhood was so much worse.

The comments that were made about your posting here, (that you might be on the wrong blog) are about your parenting views and have nothing to do with the fact that you yourself are a survivor. My mother was a survivor too. And she in turn abused me. And that cycle stops with me. I feel that most of the comments to your were self validating to the people who wrote them. And they are trying to express to you how devauling it is when a mother makes a tally of all she has done for a child as though that child owes the parent respect or devotion ~ when really, a child needs to learn those things from the parents in the first place.

I appreciate the comments from everyone about your posts because addressing this stuff is really hard. It is triggering.
I hope that this clarifies.
Hugs, Darlene


Yasha’s Twin, I love your response, excellent points.

My own mother also believed (wrongly) that there was some constructive nature to randomized guilt, when in reality it only leads to self-hate, low self-esteem, and inhibition. My mothers hypercritical guilt-tripping did not provide me with calm, easy-going problem solving skills that are the healthy way to deal with life. Guilt is poison. If you tell a child from birth that they are incompetent, they have no common sense, they are ungrateful, lazy, irresponsible, etc. then how do you expect them to become? Even if you don’t exactly say this but harbor these hateful suspicions of young children, it will be communicated in other ways.

Just because you don’t criminally neglect your child’s medical and food needs doesn’t make you a healthy parent. There is something called emotional abuse, and it is not less serious or painful then what you describe from your own childhood.


I think it is the sense of martyrdom that came through on your first post that set me off. When I read your first post an alarm in my head went off “danger, danger”. This is my take from what you first wrote.


(One more response.)

My first post did not belong here. Feeling frustrated and seeking advice I googled mother-daughter relationship to get some information on how to improve my relationship with her; the title captured my attention. I scrolled down, read a few comments, and unaware of the scope of the situation, wrote a comment. Feeling insignificant, I just wanted a little appreciation from my daughter, that’s all. Overall, what matters is I love my children and are raising them unlike I was raised…I am doing my best. Please note I did apologize to anyone who was offended but my apology did not come across, therefore, once again, I am sorry. The more postings I read, the more I understood.

Darlene, you provide a wonderful tool for reaching people in need of support for victims of abuse. I could not help but to share my experience and learn from others. I shared the members’ experiences with my daughter and asked if she felt the same way. (Her reply was mentioned above.) I know what I need to work on. She knows how important our relationship is and how important she is to me.

Good luck and God Bless You All.


Hi Laurie,
Welcome to EFB and thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Yasha’s Twin ~ Welcome to EFB
Yesterday was such a crazy day! My apologies for not welcoming you to emerging from broken. I realized today when I read Caden’s response to you that I got so caught up in what was going on in this post, I neglected to welcome the first time commenter’s!

It makes me ill too. I get comments that I refuse to even publish from mothers who can’t stand what I am doing and saying in this site. (how dare I empower the children, adult or not!)

Your comments are excellent. Thank you for sharing them here.

Hugs Darlene


Great points thank you for sharing. I also view parenting that way; we are preparing our kids for adulthood. What I see so often is that parents are preparing thier kids to submit to the parental authority forever. That the grown children will never be equal to the parents, that they will never be valued as the individual they were born to be. This is all about power and control and deeper than that is about the self esteem (or lack of it) of the parent.
Thanks for your comments,
Hugs, Darlene

I love your comments too. I love your comments about “this is not a whining website” ~ I have been told a few times to “get over it” as though talking about my past means I am not over it. I find these types of comments are almost always from parents who want to justify the way they parent, so they try to accept the way they were parented. Your comments validate what I am really doing here, what WE are really doing here. This is about learning to go forward and I have been very intentional since I began this site, about that.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Alice
Thank you for your voice here as well. My first thoughts when I get a comment like the one from ‘mom’ is that she missed the point of this blog. I felt “reprimanded” and that isn’t the worst of it. I am so concerned for the way that the readers will feel because this is the kind of thing we have been told for so long; that we are ungrateful for all “they” have done for us. And because that conditioning starts when we are very young, it is hard to get rid of.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Diane
LOVE your comments as well. I can relate to what you have shared and had some of those same difficulties but in the end I knew that if it was up to me to teach love by loving and to teach respect by respecting. And the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
Thanks for your voice here.
Hugs, Darlene


Again, it is all about power and control and the misuse of power. And yes, we learn about ourselves exactly what they teach us about ourselves. Thanks for your voice in this website; the clarity you have and share is wonderful and empowering. (the proper use of power)
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene – Her response to me dismissed and ignored what I said to her. I acknowledged her abuse and she ignored it. I feel sorry for her. I do not feel comfortable addressing her anymore.

I have a LOT of anger I am working through. I find it hard to post here because I feel that my anger is going to devalue my words and hurt others, and I don’t want that. I feel like I need to apologize for my comment, but I can’t decide. I can’t trust myself. I feel like my anger gets in the way of rational thought.

Her post was a trigger for me in many ways. The way she dismissed her own abuse because her parents were abused is something my parents taught me to do to myself. The way she feels entitled to her daughters love and respect while talking down about her daughter was a way my own mother abused me. The way she ignores her daughters feelings because she herself was abused. My mother put me through a living hell while rationalizing it by telling me that she had it worse. My entire family told me this whenever I tried to speak up, “but your mother had it really bad” – is not a free license to treat others poorly. I was taught to dismiss myself. My father did this as well, instead of hearing me out, he was more concerned about himself, no way I could feel the same pain as them, I was irrelevant.

I am so very grateful you have this blog. I was literally shaking after I hit “submit comment”. I always get really messed up like that when I hit “submit comment”. I thank you sooooooo much for acknowleding me. To me it is HUGE.


Hi Alice
I’m really sorry that this whole thing got pubished and upset people but I hope it was validating in the end; there were a lot of comments that really stuck up for what we are doing here. Sometimes I publish these types of comments and most times I don’t. I missed the red flag on this one. Her post was a trigger period and not in a good way. (I usually welcome triggers, using them as a way to progress in my growth by what they indicate, but this one was pretty devaluing)
I too was taught to discount the abuse I suffered as my mother had dismissed her own which was worse in her opinion. I too was constantly told that I should understand what a terrible life my mother had. I say “so what?” what does that have to do with ME?
Anger can be a really good thing Alice. I had a tough time allowing myself to feel it so when I finally did it was validating and then freeing. Sometimes we need to just ‘vent’. and sometimes when I am writing in anger I have amazing breakthroughs.
Thank you for sharing and please feel free to join the more current discussions in EFB by clicking on the home button. (this comment thread is a really old one; the comment from “mom” caused it to come alive again.)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi All
Sometimes I think that it is too hard to have a website that people comment on. I give way too much of my time to it, and sometimes I think I should give this up and just accept more clients in place of the time I spend here. I spend about 15 to 20 hours a week just reading comments and some of them are not even something I can permit to be published. But in this case I see how much insight that we get from having some of these comments here. For one thing, they are in writing and can’t be changed. When a commenter gets confronted they can try to say that they didn’t “say that” or they can try to twist the words and jugements they posted but it is in writing. There is something to be said for that.
I am currently writing a new post about some of the things people say to get me/us to stop exposing the truth and the real motives behind that.
Thank you everyone for your willingness to respond to comments that seem to be discounting and devaluing or when they seem to stick up for the old dysfunctional relationship system. This is how we heal and can make a difference in the world.
Love to all,


Thank you. I did gain insight regardless of the triggers, and it was validating. Thank you for givig everyone a place to be heard. I sincerely appreciate the effort you put into this, I hope it doesn’t run you ragged. There are a lot of touching things shared here and I usually have to take a break for a while after I’ve read a post. I think you are amazing for being able to do this regularly.


Darlene,thank you for your time and insights.

They have helped.

Everyones input has helped. I only wish the internet exisited when I was in my 20’s and 30’s so I would not have felt so alone with this issue, and isolated during thoes years. Some of my entries were easy to write…some very difficut…(like the gun thing that I just shared this year with my sisters and now the whole world)so difficult that I too stared at the submit button for five minutes before pressing the button.

You are giving all of us a voice and speaking up is healthier than some of the other alternatives.

Thank you, Darlene


I can relate to so much of what you said in post #139. My parents dismissed my feelings & pain too, based on my mom having it “worse” then me. She had lots of childhood trauma from her FOO, however, that is not about ME. Yet, I carried her shame & guilt, while being abandoned emotionally. My mom actually told me that she did not understand my depressions, since I was not abused. That comment triggered my anger, because she rationalized her emotional abuse of me, based on her horrible childhood. I have empathy for her abusive childhood, yet that is not an excuse to continue the cycle. She has not healed. She would say she has by forgiving her abusive father, yet I don’t believe it based on her comments & actions over the years. When I’m justified in my anger over some of my parents’ actions, I’m accused of carrying a grudge & that I’m not healed. Lots of Projection going on there!…I have lots of anger too, which has been hard to express for me. I learned early on that my feelings didn’t matter. My feelings were & are invalidated. I’m validating my feelings now & I’m finding my feelings are valid, understandable & justified in regards to FOO!
Thanks for Sharing!


Back again. There have been lots of posts coming into my e-mail from here lately and I have wanted to stay away as I try to work this thing out but I went out with a friend tonight who works in addictions and he was talking about borderline personality disorder. He said that he sees lots of it in women and usually it relates to the relationship between mother and daughter. Arrrggggg. So want to put all this behind me. Have wondered what the problem is for many years and have not known whether it is BPD or something else equally serious but now the concern is that both me and my younger sister are working with BPD. If that is the problem, it is okay to the extent that I know what we are dealing with, but it comes from having a mother who relied on her children for emotional support after her divorce many, many years ago. The “children” became parents, caretakers, special because we were there to help…that is the way I see it, but it is not our job and thinking is all twisted. I know I have talked about it on this site before but I did mention that I thought the role was in spirituality (not religion, I need to be clear about that) and that it is not our job to take care of our parent but for all of us to have a relationship with ourselves, and with something greater than our selves. (And yes, our parent has to do that too.) It is important to have empathy and understanding, but not to be caretakers. I noticed that the last time I went to see my aging mother that she treated me very much like a partner, or a parent, it was very wierd. But the thing is, it is not my job. My job is to take care of myself and to have a relationship with something greater than me. Actually, that is everybody’s job. I cannot save her…we weren’t put here to save people in that way.. I believe we were put here to walk a spiritual path which is about helping and loving, but not “saving.” I know that got pretty messed up with me and my sistern too. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some BPD stuff as the abandonment has been so intense, with both of us , but it seems to me that is why it is so important that we have a right relationship with ourselves and someone higher. That is my take on what is going on…but good luck everybody….it sure has been tough to sort it all out.



Most of us become our parents keeper when they reach an older age…80’s and 90’s…or seriously ill.

I agree it is not fair to a child to be the caretaker when their parent is perfectly capable but not willing.

How old is your mother?


Yasha’s Twin,
#126 ~ A huge standing ovation to you!! So well put, and so much wisdom. Huge applause for all you do as a mother. For your very sane perspectives. I think I wish I had a mommy like you!! And, I’m probably older than you, LOL!

Applause to you too for being an outstanding and understanding mother!!


I have felt so much love and support here. I just want to mention that your posts really touched me and I hope you share as often as you feel comfortable with. I have shared every emotion here, anger included. I have learned (here) there’s no shame in anger. I believe for myself, it’s been a long time coming, this anger. I had angry outbursts at times in life. I know why now. I have let it out and expressed so much here that it’s finally dissipating I think. I needed to express and be heard and understood, before the anger would be allowed to seep out through the walls I’d built. I feel so much better now. To think, in my life, all I needed was to be able to express and be heard in order for the anger to dissipate. It’s been a slow process, but, over the past year, it has begun to leave my body and mind. I feel for you Alice!!

I don’t know if you’r still reading but here are a few points I picked up on.

1) You told your daughter she doesn’t have common sense. WTH? If you’re trying NOT to damage her, you’re going about it in the wrong way. I think it’s an incredible lack of common sense on your part, to tell your daughter she has none, and think it’s okay.

2) A red flag for me was the re-emergence of the word “appreciation”. My mother holds that over my head too. As well as the sacrifices she “never” made. This is how it is in my mind, and how I phrased it to my own mother ~ If you didn’t want to make sacrifices, you shouldn’t have had children. Frankly, I don’t give a flip what sacrifices she made. In my eyes, they were few. Even if they were abundant, I would feel the same way. It wasn’t MY choice to burden her. It was HERS!! In no way did I have a responsibility in that. She should have figured out that whole “sacrifice” thing before she even considered having kids. Not my problem. It’s not a mother’s job to lay guilt for “all they’ve done” for their children. You might as well say to your daughter, “look at me ~ how fabulous I am, and you stink because you don’t see it”

I believe it IS good parenting to teach appreciation. I’ve met few parents who knew how to do that, however. Do you want your daughter to appreciate YOU, or appreciate grace, abundance, love, beautiful creation, gifts, talents, etc. I believe there is a way to teach appreciation, but, not necessarily of YOU and all you do for her. I have learned so much about how children model their parents. Are YOU grateful to the people around you? Do you show appreciation to your daughter as well as others, so she can SEE what that looks like? Demanding that she appreciate you will likely get you nowhere. It didn’t with me. All it did was make me bitter toward my mother’s demands. How about you take the focus off of what you’re not getting and place it on what she needs?? You say you know it’s about her, yet, you make it about you. I’m not trying to be mean, I hope you understand that. You did ask in your first post how you could avoid damaging your daughter (loosely quoted).

You have stated some of the injuries you suffered yourself. In my personal opinion, (and this is exactly how it is with my own mother who’s chosen a similar path as you) it’s much easier to excuse our abusers in hope we too will be forgiven. It’s easier to perpetuate the abuse by excusing the people who abuse us. If you truly held your abusers accountable, you would have to hold yourself accountable as well. My mother excuses, even defends her own mother, whom I believe was the primary abuser in her life. If she held her accountable, she’d have to face the reality that she passed it down to my siblings and I. She in NO WAY wants to be accountable for anything. She tries to model excusing abuse by excusing her own mother. In her deepest twisted thoughts, I feel certain she thinks that modeling in this way will somehow STICK to me, and I will grant her the same leniency. It doesn’t work that way for me. I have a need to be heard.

Mom, if you’re reading this, I do believe you love your daughter and I commend you for telling her so. If she’s angry, there’s a reason. If she battles you, perhaps you should dig deeper and find out what’s going on in HER mind and heart. That’s what I wish my mother could have done.

Thanks for sharing,


Wow – thank you SO much for this website!

I have always felt so alone, that it HAD to be my fault, because whose mother DOESN’T love them unless they are inherently unloveable?

Nothing I did or said was ever good enough, and was driven to achieve more in order to be accepted.

Eventually, after yet another argument, I withdrew (self preservation), in the hope that this would help.

Today I received a Christmas Card with the sentiment ‘For Someone Who’s Like a Daughter’ on the front, and then signed it ‘From Mum’

My children (with whom I have a wonderful relationship, I’m blessed), were extremely angry to hear about this. My son messaged me saying ‘I love you enough for both her and me so don’t dare let it bother you!’

(apologies for my rambling, I’m usually much more succinct than this)

I feel that I have been disowned, I don’t know why this surprises me as this probably has been the status quo for a long time now.

I think the most hurtful thing is that she’s not like this with my older sister who can do no wrong (even though that is patently not the case).

This website has shown me that I am not alone, and that other people have experienced the same toxic relationship with their mothers.

Thank you again for being here


@ nette, u exactly spoke what i am going through… we both share the same story…it hurts and it hurts bad to be born to such abusive, neglectful parents. I wish I could undo this portion of my life.


I went home two and a half months ago to help out my aging mother. I was there for two months trying to help and mostly stayed because there was no one there and she was by herself. I have sometimes been accused of being the unhealthy daughter, but then about three weeks ago, she provided me with the plane fare to leave and go north where I have suffered from frost-bite twice. I did not necessarily want to go as I had no where to go and nothing to do but she seemed desperate to have her space even though she seemed desperate for help. I honestly dont know what to do and who the one with the problem is…is it me Was I spoiled. I am supposed to be grateful for the flight even though it left me homeless and alone…who is the one with the problem…I honestly dont know the answer to that. Maybe there is nothinng anyone can do, maybe I was spoiled, dont know, dont know how to solve it or make peace with it. Just think it was kind of mean or was I not empathetic..dont know…all very confused.


Sorry, dont know what happened



Thank you for replying to my post. I don’t know about you, but it helps me to know that in this pain.

Basically we are all still children inside, no matter what age we are, continuing to seek approval and love from the people who we want this from the most.

I am trying very hard to redefine who I am and to learn to love myself, although I keep coming back to the fact that it’s somehow my fault and that I’m just not worthy of this love from my mother.


i agree, I think that is what alot of it is…inside some of us are still that child looking for approval and it eats us up when it doesnt come…maybe because we have not learned or forgotten how to provide that to ourselves. A good point.



I’ll try to answer your previous post although I’m by no means an expert. These types of people are basically selfish and egocentric.

It sounds as though your mother resented the fact that she needed your help and accepted it ungraciously. As soon as she was strong enough, she gave you the ticket to leave because she needed to reassert her authority over you.

You ARE empathetic and thoughtful as you took the time to read and reply to my post, it’s not surprising that you doubt yourself as we tend to doubt everything in case we’re wrong.

It’s NOT you that’s at fault, please believe me.


Hi Nette
Welcome to emerging from broken,
What a nasty card! The things that ‘parents’ will do to never cease to shock me. You are certainly NOT alone! I was pretty surprised when I began to realize how many millions of adult children have been treated or are still being treated this same way by their parents. It is like there is a script that they follow!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Missn
I went around and around with this question until I was well into my fourties. And there are hundreds of articles in this site that I have written to express how I found the answers to that question. It wasn’t me. Remember that before you were an adult, you were a child. So was she, yes, but when it comes to you, SHE is the mother. It was so important for me to start to validate myself and begin to heal instead of being stuck on figuring her out.
Hugs, Darlene


We have to get to that place of forgiveness otherwise we get sick. Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do.


Forgiveness is a result of the healing process, not the solution itself ~ forgiveness as a directive is like being re-abused for many.
Hugs, Darlene


I dont know what to say, really dont. Been through this a million times…this morning have been praying to figure out what to do because every time I have been involved with this woman something terrible happens. But I dont want anger in me yet dont want to be hurt anymore. Very confusing….


These comments are all very sad to me. I didn’t have a mother like this per se, but I did have a mother in law that has told me off, ridiculed me, told lies about me and even told my daughter that I never loved her and had nothing to do with her after her brother was born-all lies (and too much else to list here).
Mother in law’s are a different topic usually, but when I married my husband we lived near his family and I had no family and no friends and no contacts there. So his mother was the only person I had to interact with to a large degree.
Her daughter, my sister in law could certainly write a comment very much like you are all writing here. I could list nearly endless injustices that I faced at the hands of this woman.
I am still dealing with all the lies she told my daughter many years ago because my daughter and I don’t have the relationship I would like and I know it is in large part due to that woman. If I had known what she was like I would have NEVER let my children be alone with her.
The worst part is that she comes across with and authoritative air that makes you really think that what she says must be the truth. And she always made my daughter promise “not to tell”.
I can definitly relate and am so sorry anyone had a mother like the ones described here.
I did recently find out that my mother was molested by her dad and that she allowed my older siblings to be alone with him and I am really having a hard time dealing with that. She even told my sister that she “hoped” he hadn’t done anything like that to her. I just can’t understand a mother putting a child in harms way. As soon as I found out (which was way too late) what my mother in law was doing to my daughter, I put a stop to any time alone between them.
My daughter is grown and married now and I am still dealing with the after affects of that woman, but my daughter has told me that she “know’s how grandma is” and she never goes to visit her. So I know somewhere deep down she knows the truth, still old wounds leave scars.
Best of luck to you all.


Well….I had a first.

My mother sent me, and insisted (to my two sisters) on sending me a Valentine Card.

She will be 90 this year. She needs help doing everything, including getting to the store to buy a card, picked by her own hand. It was a great effort on her part physically. It was a long due kindness on her part. My husband noticed and commented. I have always sent my children a card, or gift. I do what my mother never did and know that I am doing the right thing because it is the opposite of what she did in my life.

So you either learn by example or by ommission.

I am, and always have been kinder to her than she was/is to me. I can live with myself because of my actions and in the end that is what counts.

This does not mean I allow her to hurt me anymore. I don’t.

I will end conversations and I will end visits on my terms and not get drawn into verbal battles or rants. I deal with now, but then I have resolved my past mostly. Resolution…peace..contentment is a good place and does take time to get to.

I think/believe most people reach it in their late 40’s and 50’s.


I loved reading this. I sometimes feel obligated to love my family of origin. Growing up in a closed family system where outside friendships were forbidden it’s been hard to not feel like I am going “against” them by exploring new relationships. I honestly don’t know if I have a solid definition of love because I haven’t been taught the real definition of the word. I absolutely love my husband and children and I understand love in that sense, but I think I still have some warped ideas in and around love that exists from the past. Discovering who I am is a part of this journey I am on, and I don’t think I really woke up to finding myself until I came here and saw that others have found themselves and have grown into a wholeness that I can only dream of finding.

That maternal ache or hole inside of me has existed for so long, just as you described it for yourself. I always knew that I wanted a mom–and that my own mother could never quite possibly give me the love needed to fill this abyss of emptiness. I am gradually learning to allow others to help fill it, and also am learning how to fill it myself. It’s not easy, is it?


Hi Discoveringme
No, it’s not easy but it is doable! You are in the right place!
Hugs, Darlene


I thank you all for writing. I am not the only one. I try to be strong. I am very independent. I can take care of myself but I feel a sadness. I am 41 and I don’t know if I am capable of having a healthy relationship. I have a 37 year old sister who has epilepsy that cannot be completely controlled. My Mom scares me. She told me when I was 18 that my sister had cancer (false) She tells me I am responsible for my sister. She called me when I lived in another province to tell me my sister would die( false) Before I went away to Asia to teach she told me the house would be gone when I got back(false). Before I went backpacking she handed me a brief case and told me I was in charge of all legal matters when my parents die (I was 21). My parents have done everything for my sister to make up for her epilepsy and her being adopted. She is spoiled and entitled. I have had two jobs since I was 17 and lived on my own since then. A few years ago I found out from my sisters birth mother that my sister was doing artificial insemination to have a baby even though she cannot care for herself and is on benefits. I protested. I panicked. Since my sister got the epilepsy in her teens every phone call is about she and her suffering. My mother says she is my responsibility. Now it will be two. They were going to surprise me with their plans but I found out. They moved to a different city. I finally cut off contact with my mom and sister as I did not want to be affected by the constant worry and chaos. My father speaks to me but is stuck in the middle. My mother only cares for my sister. She has now had the baby and my mom and dad in their 70s care for the child. It has been four years since I had contact with my mom. Now that the baby is a year old my sister wants me to be part of her life. I have felt guilty for being healthy for many years. When this happened several years ago I cried everyday in my bathtub. Now that my sister is contacting me its back. I have no mother. She is only mother to my sister. I feel very alone. I will be loved if I do what my parents do for my sister, if I take responsibility for her. I resent my sister. I feel like I have no mom. Nobody will ever reassure me that I will be okay,or ask how I am. I have lived on my own and worked two jobs since I was 17. I have friends. I help and serve people everyday. I give my all. My mom says I already have everything. Her love is conditional. I choose to care for me first. I have no mom. I don’t deserve a phone call love or care. She only has anger for me as I’m not doing enough for my sister. I am so numb that I don’t think I love her anymore and I am trying to accept this is how it will be. Don’t they care if I ever have a family. I wonder if she wants me to suffer like my sister. I am afraid I am not a good partner. I can’t believe anyone will ever help me or be there for me to lean on. I feel I am the only one I can depend on. I feel sad. I go to work everyday and I don’t talk about this. I try to be cheerful but deep secret in my heart I feel so sad. How can a mom not love her daughter? Am i this bad? Other people love me, but isn’t a moms love most important. She will love me if I do what she wants. Right now she hates me. How can I get to a good inner place on my own?


“Forgiveness is a result of the healing process-not the solution itself.” This was true for me, too. But until I actually experienced it, the words did not make sense.

It makes total sense now.

I am just glad I lived long enough to come to understand that sentence and act on it.

Thanks Darlene for putting into words, what I too, experienced.


Hi Cindy
Welcome to EFB
Thats awesome! I know what you mean about it not making sense before it happened. So much of the process was like that for me. It was the hope that it was true that often kept me pushing forward.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mae
Welcome to EFB
I hear you and understand your pain. I used to think that my mothers love was the most important, but the truth is that her actions towards me were not love. And that kind of ‘love’ is hurtful and not healthy and it kept me in the muck.I had to learn what love really is in order to stop feeling like a failure because my mother didn’t love me unless I was what she wanted. That is about her, not about me. This entire website is about how I got to a great inner place on my own!
Hope you will keep reading,
Hugs, Darlene


Mae, I am definitely on your side about you having a right to take care of yourself first. I want you to understand that point first before you read the rest.

Like your mother,I am a mother, too. From a mothers point of view, a disabled child being left in the world on their own would be heartbreaking and an extreme worry to me. Maybe….your mother is so guilt ridden and worried about the ill child that she does not see how your sisters illness effects you, too. There are many helpful services for your sister if you search around. My mother in law was like this, but towards herself. She made her life everyone else around her their responsiblity. It wasn’t until my sister in law complained about the burden of her mother and the lack of her brothers help with her, that I made it clear there were resources out there to help her and her mother. I put her in touch with a Senior transportation service, my MIL got pissy about it and did not want to ride with ‘strangers’ (she wanted to suck the energy out of everyone else instead of take a few steps to be self suffienct)…I backed my SIL, told her to MAKE HER DO IT FOR HER OWN GOOD….and you know what? My MIL loved the service and the friends she ended up making from the bus rides. It enriched her life. Then my SIL kinda got jealous of not being the center of my MIL life!!! Co-Dependent!!ugh.

Get more people into your sisters and nieces life. It scatters the burden, and will enrich them, too.

You sister is NOT your child. She should be your friend in life. And your mother has created a division between you two by not remembering you needed a mom and help in life, too. Being the strong child does/did not mean you did not need a mother, too.

I do not know what I would have done, or been without my two sisters in my life. But they were not burdens. They were friends to me.

Maybe a few calls to social services to see what kind of services are out there in your sisters location to help her, would be a step forward for you AND your mother. You parents will not always be around to help her. Start weening them apart and if they get stubborn…you did your part and nothing will change until your mother is no longer in the picture. Your sister and mother could have the ‘ill child syndrome’ which is co-dependency like alcoholics and hard to break to make them both well and whole people. I saw it in my husbands family…and oh boy, they can fight you to stay co-dependent…like little three years olds that you have taken their blankie away from them.

I hope this helps you.


I think you missed the point of what Mae shared. Please do not try to give advice to others on this blog ~ it is so much more helpful when we just stick to sharing what works for us leave out directing others, which feels so much like all the judgement we have lived with for so long. It may be true for you that your sisters have been your friends but you don’t know how it is for Mae. When you tell her how to go about this, you are invalidating HER decisions in how to deal with it.
Thanks, Darlene


Wow. I thought it was just me. I haven’t looked up anything like this before but with Mother’s Day coming up, I always feel quite distressed that everyone else has this wonderful relationship in their life and I griev for the mum I should of had evn though she is still alive. Nobody understands why a daughter would want to sever all contact with her mother and I find when they find out they treat me differently, badly, because they think I must be horrid not to lovemy mum. Ironically, I do love her but only because I can’t help it. The older I get the more things happen that remind me of things she has said or done that I didn’t even realise had been effecting be but the age and experience gives me anew adult perspective and its just clear now how wrong it was and it wasn’t my fault. Unfortunately, the damage is already done but not having her in my life for last few years has enabled me to discover more if myself and choose to be less like her when I realise I’m doing it. Thanks for sharing your stories, it make me feel normal.


Hi Ginette
Welcome to EFB ~ You are certainly not alone! This blog gets found several thousand times a day by people looking for information on this very subject. I did a lot of grieving for the mom I should have had too and that is a good part of the healing process. Everyone HERE will understand!
Thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks so much for your honesty. I relate so much to all you said. I think my rlationship with a narcisistic mother left me with low self esteem and afraid of my own femininity. Best of luck to you*


Hi Rita
Welcome to EFB
There is tons of info here about how I overcame this whole mess.
Hugs, Darlene


Valuing yourself. I get the idea that most of the people reading this may be married. But if you are still single and dating while reading this blog, I really suggest that you also read (Darlene, I hope you don’t mind this suggestion:) baggagereclaim.com in conjunction with reading Darlene’s blog.

On baggagereclaim.com, the author says that you pick people for relationships based on your family dynamics. WHOA! And this blogger also talks about valuing yourself. I looked back on all my relationships (I’ve decided never to marry by choice) and I really see that was what was going on. I was trying to seek love from people who couldn’t give it to me because it was all I knew. If I couldn’t make Mom love me, maybe I could make someone else love me. Ok, to be honest, of all my relationships, I have had about three really good ones, but they broke up for whatever reason, and it was ok. (I broke them all off.)

If you are single and dating, read BOTH blogs. It will help you connect the dots.


The preceding was meant as “suggestion” not advice. Bad wording.


Dear Darlene,

Thank you for the work of writing the blog and the courage to share your story and thoughts. I know it’s a platitude, but it helps greatly to know people like ourselves are not alone in being “screwed up.” And most importantly, that we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of our parents, we are not helpless.

There are things I will never get from my mother (respect for my choices, acceptance that I am not a copy of her), but until very recently I was too afraid to speak up and upset her. As soon as I moved out, I started editing out 95% of my life from what I told her, feeling that she neither wants nor deserves to know the truth about my life. Realizing that my choices have not driven her into an early grave despite her hints, I made the first step and stopped feeling guilty for making those choices. I realize that I upset her even more when I stay silent and bottle up my resentment. In a very clumsy and unpracticed way I have started to face up to her, at the tender age of 45. There is absolutely nothing to be lost 🙂 I will never get what I daydream of (mother living in happy harmony in the same house with me and my boyfriend who is of course never good enough), but it’s in my power to establish clarity and stop hiding from her discontent.


Hi Veronica
Welcome to EFB!
That is how I feel too; that there was nothing to lose. I had to start to think about things differently in order to take my life back.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


OMG! After reading the above blog it was like a revelation! I “finally” (after 61 years) found someone that wrote something regarding their relationship with a co-dependent mother that I could relate to. YES!!!—there was “always” that something “missing”. AND… now too I realize it was not me—not my fault for “who I was”—it was “who” my mother was/is—and as much as I want it to change or be different that is not the reality of it. I too “finally” after reading “all” the info on the internet am making the final “break”—and she my “mother” is still trying to suck me back by writing me and trying to contact me on the phone. I have turned my answering machine off at times and always check the caller ID before answering any calls—if worse comes to worse may just have to get a new number. Not only is my mother a co-dependent one but a mother with depression and hording behavior as well. Thank you for the chance just to relate and express myself.—Robin


Hi Robin
Welcome to EFB!! You are certainly not alone in this! Glad you are here and good for you for drawing a boundary.
Hugs, Darlene


From the blog

I learned that I was obligated ~ I was supposed to love her and that loving her meant doing what she wanted and never upsetting her. Love was about ME carrying the entire burden of the relationship.

Darlene, you nailed it again! Oops, now I see I have already read this post, but good to read it again!

My mom would rather live without hearing from me than to listen to my issues (which, of course, are all MY fault…..)


Oh my yes,–means to an end for my mother!!! I was her maid, cook at times, therapist when she had to unload about her own upbringing (her “own” mother told my mother she attempted to abort her by drinking quinine water—and this was the “Lutheran” grandmother I had). My mom talked too about how she was known as Nita’s “little sister”—so I guess given those two issues she felt she always had to “prove” her worth and when I was born I was supposed to be the daughter that would live up to her expectations. Well, instead I came to be known as the “difficult” child. She told me I was a colicky baby and she had problems with me as a toddler when she was left alone while my dad was working. She “still” used the term “difficult’ to describe me as an adult and told me recently she tries to love me despite our differences, etc. When I attempt to bring up events in the past and/or hurtful/nasty things that were said to me she pushes it aside and says I am dwelling in the past and I chose to feel that way about things and I should count my blessings instead. Yeah, well I DO count one blessing—that I am an adult and no longer have to live with her. Oh, and as for my mother she is living as a “depressed compulsive hoarder, who refuses to see anything wrong with herself and tells me I SHOULD be more understanding of her and she is “disappointed” in me. YEP!—always about her!—Robin


Hi Darlene,

Was refreshing to read this piece.. I have been struggling with my mother my whole life – and I never knew why- thought it was me. My opinions never counted and my needs came last so that I find it hard at my birthday when I have friends over & a cake etc- I feel much more comfortable giving & making a fuss of others the way I have done of my mother for 40 years. Things have gotten worse since I became a mother – he selfishness during my pregnancies – lack of emotional support- lack of practical support – all magnified. And the tension has increased since my expectations of how a Mother should be have heightened. My mother is a highly spiritual, generous, holy woman to the world – but I get the other personality – the one who hangs up on me when I need to talk- the mother who doesn’t come to celebrate my birthday but instead goes to a church function being glorified for all her “good deeds & talents”. So- it’s very abusive as if she was downright nasty & horrible I would have a good reason to “get over it” & have no contact – but my mum is “magnificent” to the world… I even think she is “magnificent”- but she lets me down, betrays me, doesn’t care about me, my birthday, if I need help with my children.. And she doesn’t care that I have told her that I can no longer be in her life due to the mind- game abuse that I get. The whole family has been trained to worship her – and my dad is an enabler so I feel let down by him too. I see all my friends with supportive mothers & wish with all my heart that I had that. I even dream that a mother would “adopt” me at this age of 40!!! (I know women do that.. Not a bad idea)… I read all of these comments about “self love” but how does one grieve and move on from not being loved by a mother who is actually “magnificent”, holy, spiritual , generous – but reserves her Narsism for me .. Her mother had 8 children and neglected them due to overload – but my mum is not on “overload” – she just thrives on being adored by the community but neglecting her own daughter.


Hi Molly
Welcome to EFB ~ You have found the right place! Self love for me was something I learned to do ‘after’ I came out of the fog about the reality of what was going on. The grieving process is also a time thing. For me I had to really see and validate the damage that was done and know it was not my fault. I created this website to share with others how I saw the truth and what that truth was. It takes time ~ glad you are here and I hope you will keep reading.
hugs, Darlene


Dear EFB:

I have found your website by divine intervention or accidental intervention 🙂 I love your statements about Self Love and I have had to learn over the course of 50 years how to “Love” myself because in all honesty the type of love my parents were capable of is not truly unconditional love. I am the daughter of two people who probably should have NEVER married to begin with due to becoming pregnant with me. They married because it was expected of them by their parents and I can’t truly say that my mother ever really loved my father because if she did I never saw that part of their life. I know my father loved my mother deeply but he was incapable of showing his love in the correct ways. He came home from Vietnam a different man than when he left addicted to drugs, alcoholic and an abusive bully who used any reason to beat me and my mother on many occassions. My problems with my mother are that she had to leave the marriage when I was barely 2 years old and she left me with my father and his inability to take care of a child or himself. He would not allow my mother to take me and I was basically kidnapped for the next 2-3 yrs. I was shuffled from extended relatives homes cousins, great aunts, uncles and hid from my mother during that time. I know she looked for me and came to find me several times but a part of me has always wondered why it took her so long to divorce him, take him to court and get custody of me. It took until I was 7 years old and in the mean time I was raised by two sets of grandparents who all gave me the love that my parents were not capable of giving me. I am an adult woman now almost 50 yrs old and I see things now I never saw before in my mother. I see a deep resentment in her that I consider my grandmother her mother to be my “mother” role model because I was with her and my grandfather the longest. I notice now when we go home to see my grandmother every few months that she starts to get very rude, hateful, sarcastic and just really disrespectful in the way she talks to me. My family back home are not very well off and mother helps them a great deal with money to survive. I find that I am noticing more and more that my extended family expect her to help them financially but then on the ride home she will vent about how much money she had to spend and help them with bills and money like it’s my fault she did this for them.

The truth is the older I get the less I want to be around my mother. I know this is terrible thing to say but it is the truth. I rarely hear from her as we live a couple hours apart and I see her even less. I see her usually only when we are having to go home to another state to see my grandmother or the holidays. Yet, when I am doing well with work and college within the idea of what she finds upper class acceptable she will want to see me all the time and show me off to her friends and brag like we see each other everyday and talk everyday. But, now while I am only part time employed and going to college and I am NOT pursuing the college degree program that she seems to find acceptable or worth her time to even ask about. I have seen her only 4 times last year and this year I haven’t seen her or when I call she is too busy to talk or says she will call back and I don’t hear back from her for over two weeks or more. When I do hear from her it’s to ask me if I am alive and alright. I have tried countless times to get her to come to our new home and spend the night and go shopping or just let me cook dinner for her and there is always an excuse as to why she can’t come. In any home or apartment that I have ever lived in she has never spent the night except when I had a major surgery and she left the next day.I have truly often felt like I was an orphan because neither of my parents were there for the majority of my life time.When the divorce was over and I went to live with my mother and stepfather permanently my father decided to stop being my father and left it to my stepdad to do. He married a woman that from the day they married was emotionally, mentally and often physically abusive to me and would lie to my father and tell him I was lying when she locked me in closets and only let me out when she saw him coming up the road to turn in the driveway. She was demeaning and a bully and I have no ounce of love in me for her in any way or form. I have been essentially broken my whole life until I found a PTSD and Bipolar website that honestly saved my life. I have repressed my emotions and feelings so much in regard to my mother and father that it has taken me the last 8 years to be comfortable in the skin I am in and to truly “love” myself and to accept myself the way I am and who God made me to be. I was raised by my grandparents to be kind, loving, respectful, kind to animals, intelligent and to know that to live a good life it takes hard work, dedication and keeping God in my life. I hate the feeling I have that my mother is my mother but the truth is I do not really like my mother that much as a person. I love her because she is my mother but I do not like that when we go home that she flaunts the success she has had in her businesses, marriage and life yet has to downgrade the lives of our extended family and often includes my grandmother in this who I will defend everytime til the day I die because she and my grandfather were there when I could have been put into the Foster or Adoption Care system. I can honestly say that even after all these years in my life I am angry and basically the farther I stay away from my parents the better my mind is at peace and my life is not full of excessive up and downs with dealing with how my parents interact with me. I am in therapy when I can afford it but with continuing my Bachelor degree and being able to only work part time I have been unable to go to therapy in the last few months. Yet, through ALL I have been through I keep my motto “I am NOT a victim. I am a SURVIVOR”. I know I am not the only one and know that I can only “Fix” myself and work on being a better person for myself and those in my life that love me unconditionally. I praise you and thank you for starting this website and I pray that what we all find here no matter what are reason for finding it that we find above all PEACE here.

God Bless You and Keep You



Hi LeDavia
Welcome to EFB ~ I don’t think it is a terrible thing to say that the older you get the less you want to be around your mother.. what comes to my mind is ~ well why would anyone want to be around that kind of person just because they are the person who gave birth to you? I had to validate my reasons for FEELING the way that I did; I had to validate them to myself, and really hear and validate my own pain in order to overcome the damage that was caused to me.
Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


Boy I get it! I have nc with my mom cause she was always and I mean always at least verbally abusive! Who needs it! I’ve heard it all before ……and don’t want to hear it again! My life is so much better without her….I can’t even tell you! I’m tired of being belittled, stupid, comments about my children and things I need to do with my life according to her! Free yourself and you will blossom and grow! Some people were not made to be mothers…..and giving birth does not make you a mother! Love yourself first!


hey. am 27.
finally finished campus last year n I haven’t been able to secure a job. I’m living with mom n I identify with 80%of this vibe. I always thought I’m the problem. that I’m the one who doesn’t do enough. she values me for my ability to keep her house clean n do domestic chores, help her on the farms… for free labour in short… she does it so much that she ensures i remain reliant on her n wont provide basics, soap, toothpaste, sanitary towels, etc unless I have “earned” them by working for her. n even then there’s no guarantees of her support. she’ll buy based on her mood. to her even 50 shillings is a lot to spend on me.
my friends bail me out a lot. especially when I have interviews. I thank God coz they understand. but I still feel the void of no momly support.
we aren’t a poor family. she’s always flying places drives a big car but if u contrasted her lifestyle to mine u could deny that we are related. she complains coz I don’t have nice clothes, n I am embarrassing her when going somewhere. there’s no real reason for mom to incapacitate me from building my life. but I know she is afraid of me gaining some independence of her. I’m always doing for her. but it takes miracles for her to do for me.
I’ve tried talking bout it she simply doesn’t get it. according to her she is the best mom she can be n feels attacked, resorts to tears if you push it, so I’m forced to withdraw before my point is home. I feel guilty for days after making her cry.
I know that even if I got a job I’d still feel the void of lacking unconditional motherly support. it’s something I may never have.
my dad’s death never gave her an ounce of guilt for the many years she neglected n abused him. he had been sick for years but she was more engaged in making her millions. he worked even when sick to raise hospital fees, and schoolfees for us. if you saw mom n dad together you’d deny they were married. even from the dressing alone.
only reason mom wa able to invest is coz dad educated us.. education in Kenya wasn’t cheap then. but if u asked her she’d say it was his duty. im glad he did it. I’m proud of him.

this blog has taught me a few. mom can’t love me by her own definition of the word. she can’t love anyone. n it’s a thing of pity. for her. but she won’t drag me down that bottomless pit.
I’m learning to accept That I’ll never know a real mom. it hurts but the sooner I let go the sooner I am able to be me. to think for myself n be an adult. to say no to her when she asks of me n feel no guilt. to be selfish with love for me.
I only pray to get a job soon. I need to move away from this toxic relationship.
the comments let me know that I will struggle with the mom issues for life. but I’m glad I’m not the first to Have this battle. n I’m not alone.


Hi Kiki
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
It is great to read of your conviction that your mom won’t drag you down to the bottomless pit! I don’t think I even knew my mom was part of the problem when I was in my twenties. I knew that I didn’t want to be like her but other than that, I thought something was wrong with me. I hope you get a job soon too and I hope you will share with us often.
Hugs, Darlene


Wow! I found this after googling…my mum was in hospital overnight and I just felt nothing. No sympathy, empathy, just wondering how long she’d string out the issue with gall stones.
I’ve always had an odd relationship with my mum. We argue whenever I have a different opinion (!), she says you don’t understand me, you’re just like my mother, you can be hard to love etc. then falls about crying and enlists my dads support in making me feel terrible.
My dad is 13 years older and in his 70’s, a kind man who ‘failed at business’ so he works for her (yup I hate that too) he has had cancer for 12 years and had a stroke 6 months ago, yet she won’t let him retire. They hoard and their house(where they work from) is a disgrace. She is mean constantly to him, uses a special tone of voice for my dad and I catch her demeaning him ALL the time. My children love her, my husband does too-she adores my husband and makes him feel good about himself (he has a very narcissistic mum), we moved in 2 doors away from them so I guess you could call it love hate?
I want to love my mum, but she can be so spiteful and manipulative, it’s like I’m always walking on eggshells not able to predict her mood. When she’s nice-I’m like a grumpy teenager (I find myself feeling so guilty about this, but it’s like that’s the most I can give) then when she’s foul (especially since I was about 25/I’m 35 now) I am very assertive and try to turn the mirror on her…..it always bites me as my dad will phone me/see me and be in tears asking me to be nice to her…..when I explain my feeling and actions he has empathy-he knows and understands and is grateful for me-but he says I have to live with her……it’s so frustrating.
Just yesterday I went to find some salt, several things fell out so I looked at the sell by dates (I do this every few years (which they appreciate but hate at the same time) out of about 80 spices and condiments 6 we’re reasonably in date and most were 5-10 years out of date so I started to recycle the glass and mum threw a wobbler, wanting to keep some for a ‘project’ and when I raised an eyebrow she went mad saying she works harder than any one she knows (she doesn’t-she gets my dad to do a lot and she works no harder than any other childminder I know-her friends are mostly all in the same profession) she doesn’t have time (she goes swimming/jacuzzi 5 times a week and at weekends goes to their caravan). Her whole house is like this. Why does it bother me? I suppose I’m embarrassed and worried that eventually I’ll have to clear it all anywAy.
There are way more examples and issues; her mum and brother were vile to me as a little girl-she wouldn’t believe me although she does now-but chose to stand by and do nothing!!’ So guess I’m angry about that firstly, but I remember as a young girl all the shouting she used to do and think she was depressed, but took it out on us. My ex husband who she adored also Was physically abusive and emotionally, so at 24, after 4 years of marriage, I left and told her everything-she liased with my ex right there and begged us to get back together…..he almost killed me, yet she thought I was best off with him!!!! So guess I’m angry about that too. I remember as a teenager she disliked allll of my female friends and was never nice to them, they knew it I’m sure, and tyres to make me believe they were out to hurt or humiliate me…..where she may have been right in a few instances, she totally overwhelmed my natural instincts and friend making ability by being so negative and hostile about my girlfriends…..she fall out with so many people also, I feel embarrassed now living in my home village (which I adore btw) but there are so many people that she’s shut out, I don’t agree with her choices but wonder shy she has fallen out with so many people from our childhood (parents of childhood friends mostly). Any ideas what’s going on here?


My mom is gone now – she died in 2011 – she disinherited me from her will just weeks before her death but never told me that while I made visits to the hospital, told her I loved her and asked for forgiveness. So twisted – I asked for forgiveness and I was the one treated so poorly all of my life. I was called: an empty hole, a person who’s skin she would have dreaded to live inside, selfish… I was the person always trying to help, be “good”, be more lovable & ultimately – none of it worked. I was punished even from the grave. My dad has just used to me get my siblings to help him out financially (my parents divorced 35 years ago). The huge estate was divided between my siblings and I was told by each of them in different ways: you are a bad person – mom didn’t care about you & we don’t either. Wow!! Needless to say, I have broken contact with all of them – my dad, included. My family – all the secrets & lies. The last thing my dad said to me was: I wish all my children could be in a room together & pretend to love each other – even though they don’t. That kind of summed up how we were taught to behave – to pretend. Darlene – my anger & resentment is so in the forefront of my mind. How did you release that anger? I know in theory that I have to let that go – it’s only hurting me. But how? What did you do? Prayers, no contact, rational thoughts have not helped. When does the anger go?


Hi Suzy
In a nutshell, the way to the other side of anger for me was that I validated my right to have it. I wrote (journal) about how angry that I was and why and I saw that my anger was justified. I was hurt and they did things, said things that were so one sided and so inconsiderate. I validated the damage that their words and actions/inactions caused to me. And the anger dissipated. I learned how to take care of my emotions and to love myself and all the rest is right here in this website. (My first book contains the foundational work)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
I also had this fantasy that my mother loved me when i was a baby in diapers.But then she herself told me the truth.Right after i was born,she was supposed to breastfeed me.Back then she had a strong craving for lemons,so she ate them raw,without thinking of the consequences.Nurses told her that her milk would go sour,but in vain.Naturally,i refused to suckle.As a result,now she accuses me of being toxic to her and rejecting her since day one.Oh,how she likes twisting the truth!


Darlene…don’t post this if it comes off too preachy.

Hi All,
I will try and say something that might ease your pain and disappointment in your mother daughter relationship. I am 59 and I have accepted that my mother was never, and will never be mother of the year, for ME….ever. I accept that in the lottery of parents I was not very lucky…and that will never change. It is a fact for now and into the future. How I choose….”ME” is the only aspect of the relationship I have control over. Taking control gave me power. Changing the past will never NEVER happen for me…unless someone builds a time machine. And when my sisters tried to say…”that did not happen” I would ask them…”Were you there?” (unfortunately I have a very good memory back to being two…it is a curse sometimes) and their answer is always, “no”. Their reality was not mine even though we lived in the same house because my parents responded differently to each one of us. I would like an apology from my mother…but that requires that she remember and understand her actions and how they effected me. This would require a lot of thinking on her part and self awareness. I don’t feel enough for her, at this point in my life, to inform her..AGAIN. I tried at the time…50 years ago…and the response was…nothing, and lack of concern and care. And now, I am a daughter that does not care very much for her. So there it is. These are the facts and I can not be made to care about her now. So…as they say, “you reap what you sow”. My sisters believe mom was and is a caring person because she IS that to them. So what little I do for her is driven by my relationships with my sisters than with her. If they get too pushy with me, I hit them with the truth…”I don’t care about her. Do what you want…she gets what she deserves.” There is a silence. They try to manipulate me with….”you don’t know what it was like to raise 4 kids” and I answer, “I know that she never said a kind thing to me, or cared, or paid attention to anything in my life…..so it is hard to care or be concerned about her life.” Silence…that was not their reality. Funny that I can see their reality, but they can not see mine.

I am lucky to be alive and that is due to the caring of other families, two sisters, good friends who gave me refuge, my husband, my children AND as Rush says…talent on loan from God.

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