My Parents did the Best they Could According to Who


Dysfunctional family relationshipsMy Mother made me do a lot of housework and dishes when I was a teenager. I cooked supper almost every night from the age of 13 years old.  I didn’t get allowance. I didn’t acknowledgement unless it was because I was grumbling against being the one that had to do it all.

But that is not what I am talking about in my blog when I talk about dysfunctional family relationships and mother daughter relationship difficulties.

I am not blogging about how life was unfair because my mother took advantage of me, didn’t let me stay for after school events because she needed me to cook and didn’t give me an allowance. That was a very minor part of my difficulties.  Although those were the resentments that I could recall easily, those were not the real roots of the problem.

The real roots of the problem were much bigger than that. The real roots of the parent child dysfunction were about things that I could barely remember and the things I could remember ~ I couldn’t think about long enough to really comprehend the truth that they pointed to. There was lots of confusion to work through first.

My mother used me as a magnet to attract men when I was as young as six.  My father watched her do it without saying a word. I don’t think that my parents did the best they could. When I was seventeen, my mother took me to bars with her where we got “picked up” and hit on by business men who were looking for some action.  She put me in danger.  Those are the kinds of things that leave a real mark.  My mother taught me my value was in how Men reacted to me. That doesn’t sound like “doing her best” at all.

My mother advised me that losing my virginity was a small price to pay to get everything I wanted in life. I was seventeen and being groomed by a 32 year old multi millionaire when she told me that.  She was really interested in the “millionaire part”.  Instead of realizing or being concerned about the danger I was in, she only saw the benefits that she might have if I had a relationship with him. I can’t see how that shows that my mother did the best she could.

And speaking of my being a “virgin” She didn’t believe that I was a virgin anyway… she had been publically accusing me of being promiscuous since I was 16.  She had been accusing me of flirting with her boy friend’s since I was 14.  That doesn’t sound to me like things a person who is “doing the best she could” would say to her daughter!

Those kinds of things leave a mark.  Self esteem doesn’t grow in that environment.  My parents didn’t do the best they could.

I have been labelled as a difficult daughter ~ selfish and self centered and those statements cut me deeply and they kept me trying harder. I wasn’t difficult when I was going out to bars with her, helping her pick up men.  I remember this one time; this married man took me out to the lobby with him to make a phone call home to his wife.  He had his arm around me and rubbed the small of my back, while he told his wife that he missed her and loved her and asked about their children.

Where the hell was my mother while I was leaving the bar with this guy??  We were in a hotel bar. He was staying in the hotel. Why did she let me walk out of the bar with him? Was that BEST for me?

I was seventeen and these men were in their forties; married with kids! These men were away from home on business, hitting on an underage teenage girl who had been snuck into a high end bar by her own mother. What the hell was my mother thinking?? Well it is obvious that she wasn’t thinking about me.  I don’t think I was the difficult one. I don’t think I was the one who was selfish and self centered. She knew I was a minor. She knew the drinking age was nineteen where we lived. She knew how old and how married those men were. I wasn’t the problem here. I was the disregarded and devalued one. I don’t see how I can agree that my mother did the best she could! How could that have been the best she could do?

It isn’t my resentments about doing all the dishes and cooking and not getting any money, that is at the root of all this.   It isn’t about her not going to parent teacher interviews, and not mentioning post secondary school or the fact that she never listened to me. Although these things are true, it isn’t about not getting the shoes I wanted or not going to the school dance or any of those “normal teenage resentments”.

It goes way deeper than that. It took me years to realize that having all the emphasis on all the wrong things was getting in the way of my healing. I thought it was me. I thought I was deficient. I thought I was a failure as a daughter. I thought that I needed to change. But it wasn’t that at all. When I looked deeper, to see where the foundation of this difficult dysfunctional mother daughter relationship really had its roots, then I started to see a different picture.  I’d put all the weight of the relationship on my shoulders. I was filled with guilt for things that had been “DONE TO ME”.  I believed that I was a bad person because she said I did something to attract these men. I believed that I was bad because I stole my clothes and forgot that I stole them because she wouldn’t buy them for me. I was 14 years old.

And where was my father while all this was going on??  My father ignored me. I can’t say that my father did the best he could. Very simply, the message he communicated to me was that I didn’t matter.  He was emotionally unavailable, emotionally absent (and when my parents split up he was physically absent too) and disinterested in me and that communicated some very difficult messages for me to accept.  He often mentioned that he paid child support. I guess that is all he thought he had to do as a father. He communicated that child support was the BEST he could do. Ouch.

I also believed that my emotionally and psychologically sick mother was too weak to carry any of the burdens of being a mother and in justifying her that way I believed that my mother did the best she could. I wanted to believe it. I HAD to believe it. The truth was too painful to face.

But my mother didn’t do her best. And the fact that she had fragile mental health or the fact that she came from a dysfunctional family and had abusive parents herself did not lessen any of the damage caused to me and that damage had to be faced. Emotional healing didn’t happen for me until I faced where I got broken in the first place.  And although I can’t change the past, I can face it. I can stop lying to myself about it.

Writing about this hurts. It makes my chest hurt. I have a lump in my throat. It has been devastating to face this stuff. This is my mother I am talking about. These were my parents. They said they loved me. My mother said she wanted a daughter more than anything. She said all the things that I think daughters would love to hear.  But the reality of it was very different.  The truth was not in those words. The way she showed that love was not love at all. We were the definition of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.  There WAS NO relationship and there was no love. Her actions proved that. And her actions also proved that she knew better then she pretended to know. I can say the same for my father. My parents didn’t do the BEST they could.

How can I say and why should I accept others saying to me that my parents did the best they could? It is clear to me that they did not. I am not talking about perfect here. I am not talking about having “too high of expectations” of my mother and father. I am talking about being taken to bars and being offered to men and stealing my jeans while my mother bought evening gowns and diamonds for herself and my father built a new life with a new family oblivious to what was going on in my life and showing NO interest in me.

And actually, I am more upset about the fact that it got blamed on me, that I was labelled as the difficult one, the emotional one, and the over reactive one ~ than I am about the things that happened to me.

Today when I hear people say that their parents did they best they could, I wonder…..

Please feel free to share your comments and feedback. Please remember that you may use any name you wish, your identity is safe unless YOU want it known. You may change the comment form any time you wish.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

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Categories : Mother Daughter



No, Your parents did NOT do their best, my mother was the same in the sense that all i did was chores yet she did not allow to me do school activities, and she never praised me for anything i did. and if I did anything wrong she would turn completely on me. They told me i was a failure and worthless even when i would do everything i could to be perfect. I have never had a sense of self. and at 25 i am not sure where to start.. All the women on my mothers side are/were physically and emotionally awful. I know they did not do their best because none of them tried to change or grow from their experiences. I am now a mother (thankfully a boy) and he already has more love then i ever did, and because i CHOSE not to follow the same patterns he is a wonderful sweet boy. I think parents only “do their best” if they can see their problems and faults and choose to move past them instead of forever blaming everyone else.


‘I did the best I could’ does not even rise to the level of an appropriate response, it s a non-response designed to stop you from expressing your true emotions about how you were treated. It is a continuation of that abuse.

How does one process the excuse/retort ‘We did the best we could’? Check it for universality. Was the excuse ‘I did the best I could’ an acceptable response FROM YOU when you were a child?

“You didn’t clean up your room”

“I did the best I could.”

“Your school grades are unacceptable”

“I did the best I could.”

There’s a special level of contempt I have for people who employ this abusive non-answer when being confronted with their prior bad acts.


This is my first comment. I wanted to say thank you to Darlene and to all those who comment here. I’ve been here reading and reading and reading these posts and comments over the last few days, and I believe this “community” is AMAZING, as are each of you individually. I’ve already received much help from “being” here. Mostly hope. Hope that things can get better, significantly better.

Katie (or Katie Lee) is not my real name. I hope you’ll bear with me on this. In my history, there was physical, sexual, and emotional/verbal abuse. By far, the verbal/emotional/mental abuse was the worst. My mother often said things like: I wish you were never born; your ruined my life; I am going to kill you, I am going to kill you; you’ll never amount to anything when you grow up (and also: you’re just like your father; you’ll never amount to anything); I hate the sound of your voice (and also: you sound just like your father, I hated the sound of his voice and I hate the sound of your voice, and I never want to hear it again). My parents were divorced when I was 12. My father was not the sexual abuser–rather it was an uncle and an older male cousin. My aunt knew of the abuse and did nothing to stop it. My Mom, I believe, knew as well (she says not, though) and did nothing to protect me. I pleaded and pleaded with her for me to not have to go “to the cabin” with my Uncle J., but she would always say that what I wanted didn’t matter; she needed her “peace and quiet” and that I had to go so she could have her peace and quiet.

My father died when I was 16. I became very depressed (more so than usual) and became suicidal. Although I knew my mother had not been a very good mother, I knew this was serious, so I decided to tell her. She said, “Go ahead and do it, Katie” and got up and walked out of the room. Side note: When I read in here–in some other place–from contributor Lynda Lee that her mother said the same thing to her, I was floored. How could a mother, any mother, say such a thing to a suicidal child/teenager? Lynda, so many of the things you have written have helped me so–I wanted to let you know that. I think you are AMAZING, and I would be honored to have you as a friend. Also, I think your husband is great, too–I like how he took that horrid letter from your Mom to the junkyard (where it belongs!) and tore it up and put it in multiple trash dumpsters. Yeah, to him! And I’m glad you have your aunt, and I’m so sorry to hear of your cousin’s passing.

O.K., to all here, I am sorry this is so long. I don’t mean to monopolize. I’ll try to bring this quickly to present/to the current. I could REALLY use some support right now. As a child I knew the mean things my Mom (and oldest sister, but that’s another story) said to me were mean and wrong. I knew that hitting, slapping, kicking kids was wrong. Part of me, I think, believed I was OK, but that they were wrong and mean and bad. I have had counseling off and on. I put myself through college in the 80’s and grad school in the 90’s. In my early professional career, I (competently) held jobs. Have always gotten good work reviews (of course, I’m a “good girl”). But to make a long story short, about 15 years ago or so, I lost it. Job stress was too much for me. Jobs, friends, self-esteem–I had been managing OK to well on all these fronts, but then things started to unravel.

(Although I’m not sure if this was the actual trigger or not), there was one ugly episode in 1994 — sort of like Lynda’s 62-page letter, but the letter I received was not nearly as long–filled with hate, though, and spoke of how my sister (“Angry Sister”, A.S., as opposed to “Mean, Controlling Sister”, M.C.S.) and I were doing such a horrible job with our lives. At that point, I was doing a, I believe, “good job of my life”, but it was if all that early programming (that I thought I had negated, but obviously not) came to life. Actually, it has felt as if it was a time bomb (and that the bomb and danger were there all along, and then it went off, and all those ugly proclamations became manifest). And then a few years after this (letter thing), when she thought I had inconvenienced her about something (but I didn’t even do the thing she thought I did, not that that really matters), she screamed at me over and over again: “I am going to kill you. I am going to kill you.” When I tried to protest and said, please don’t say that to me, she nastily said she can say anything she wants to me.

I haven’t worked a full-time job in years and years (and I’ve moved so much, job-hopped so much . . .). I lived off–first, savings, then the proceeds of house sales (I’ve never been married – – the two houses I owned and sold, sequentially, were done on my own), then I cashed in a small retirement fund I had. I couldn’t/can’t bring myself to get a job (or I would find one, and the stress would be so overwhelming and I would quit). Darlene, you wrote previously about self-sabotage and procrastination – – I have this big-time. Long story short (I said that before–sorry!), a number of years ago, I started borrowing money from my mother, and now, since October of last year, I have moved (from the opposite coast–I had been so pleased to be so far away) in with her (mother), and with critical, passive-aggressive, fundamentalist Christian brother (who also lives here, in my mother’s house). Agh! Please help me.

I am currently 49 years old. I told you I was suicidal at age 16. In my 20’s and early 30’s, s. may have crossed my mind, but nothing significant. I can’t really recall when this happened/started, but I have been suicidal (regularly, and consistently, and now near-constantly) since around 2004. NOT actively-active right now, but I read about suicides (3 or 4 in the local newspaper in the last few months, just in this area alone, & I think “they could do it/they did it”), and when I read recently that someone got struck and killed by lightening — I thought “lucky soul”– I wish that had/would happen to me.

I feel trapped. I need a job, but can’t keep up a consistent job search. I am currently not in counseling. Two past therapists, but not the most recent one, strongly suggested that I consider breaking all contact. Several times, over the years, I did (break contact), but I always went back. (This has happened with a not-so-good-for-me friend as well–breaking contact and going back; other “friends”, though, I have gotten out and kept out). I regret having gone back, and now, financially needing her. (In the past when I stopped contact I was doing O.K. financially, not now, however.) My “angry sister” broke contact with everyone in the family (including me L) about 4 years ago. My passive-aggressive Christian brother says “honor your parents”, and my oldest sister denies there’s a problem (oh, no, in her mind there is a problem–with me. A number of years ago she told me that until I stop thinking she’s controlling, I can’t have contact with her daughters. I told her I could stop “saying” she’s controlling, but I couldn’t stop “thinking” it–she said that was not good enough, I needed to stop thinking she’s controlling . . . .). Oh, the insanity. I am surrounded by lies and insanity.

I know this has turned into a book (and there’s still so much more that could be written). I turn 50 in 6 months. I’m not sure how I’ll make it happen, but I want to totally break contact with the WHOLE family on or by my birthday. [Have this—-no contact with family– be a most glorious and wonderful gift I give to myself.] I owe her (her–Mom; I like how someone here refers to her mother by her first name, I may try that!) now a significant amount of money. I’m not sure how I will ever pay it all back (and she’s very old and with a number of health problems, and could die soon . . . or years from now . . .). Also, I am feeling guilty–she is not nearly as horribly verbally abusive as she has been, and she has loaned me money, and let me move in . . .She has never, though, REALLY, truly, sincerely apologized–she’s made half-hearted (no, less than half) attempts–I’m sorry, but you kids were mean to me; you’re talking it to death; I said I’m sorry, what more do you want?; I never did that; do you fight like this with everyone, Katie?; Just get over it, Katie . . .) .

I feel it’s my mental well-being (and actual life/existence) OR contact with my family. And I choose mental well-being. Please help me get there. I feel hopeful, because of things you guys have written, that it can happen, that things can get better, significantly better. I’ll welcome and appreciate your ideas/thoughts/concerns/validations . . .

Katie Lee


I read your words and my heart goes out to you… i dont have many words just wanted to say i read and am your witness


You know, someone very near and dear to me once said while I was venting and ranting about the shit childhood I had: ” I think if we gave out a manual on how to raise successful, confident, well-adjusted and happy adults with child born, every new parent would read it”.

My only change to this statement is that I believe *most* every parent would read it because after all there are some really fucked up individuals out there; but for the majority of us, I do believe it holds true.

For me, I believe that my parents did the best could at the time. it was just piss poor. I don’t believe they could have done anything differently because they just didn’t know how. It’s not fair or just, it’s just they way it is and that acceptance was a long time in coming.



There’s no easy way to break off contact. There’s also no good time to do it. I broke contact last year for a period of time. I needed to get my head together and get a different perspective. I refused to see anyone over Christmas in order to give myself some space.

I’ve since made contact. I’ve had the space I’ve needed. We are running under different rules now. Things are not like they were before. Some family members might think I’m the bad guy. I keep in contact but see everyone a lot less now.

I feel like I’ve broken a toxic link, one based on me being a child. I’m middle-aged and yet in some ways this has felt like leaving home. The cost was high but it now feels like I’m free to be a man and live my life any way I wish and if they don’t like it then tough!

It’s a subtle thing when your own feelings and opinions are invalidated. You only really notice when you step outside of it. One consequence is that I’m now careful about how muchof my life is disclosed to family. They cannot criticse or try to ‘understand’ what they do not know.

You cannot choose family but in fact as an adult you can. Blood does not have to be thicker than water. Every request does not have to be metwith a yes. Adults can make choices. As adults they should be able to respect a ‘no’ even if they don’t like it. But it’s not always like that. Sometimes a ‘no’ is worth the flak it’s healthier for you.


I lost track of how much It was between 3-6 months. I wasn’t counting.


on the day I filed for divorce, my mother’s words were, “What about your house?”
oh, I lived in the same neighborhood as Garth Brooks and she could bring her friends by my house and tell them how “successful” “I” was so that must mean SHE was a good mother….

When I walked away from an abusive, godless, inadequate man who used me for his self esteem … I’d rather live under a bridge.

DANGER? my father took all his daughters to bars. My mother was out of town with some man leaving me home alone (with teen boys at age 15-18)
It was my oldest sister who asked if I wanted to learn how to do drugs.
It was my mother who “offered” to give me birth control!

Yeah, I guess they were NOT doing THEIR best…. but I did MY best!
drove me crazy… but my granddaughters have different choices for their future!


Hi Ava
Welcome to EFB ~ I agree with what you said; thank you for sharing

Hi Katie Lee
Welcome and thank you for your comments; never worry about the length it is fine with me. Say what ever you need to say.
The whole process for me has been about healing from the damage in my past.. and as you know, I had to acknowledge that damage first. That is what it sounds like you are doing ~ just try to keep coming forward.
I am so glad you are here and thank you for sharing all the encouragement that you have posted!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi UnmotheredChild,
Welcome and thank you
Hugs, Darlene

Hi David
Thank you for sharing this from the other side of the coin!! Excatly,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Krishanna
Welcome to EFB.
I spent years trying to accept things that way and for me it contributed to the ongoing chronic depressions and dissociation issues that I struggled with my whole life. I think my parents could have done things differently but my point is really about facing the damage more then it is about who caused it. I just had to face the who caused it part, before I could face the damage. This is not about acceptance for me ~ I tried that for years and years too.. and finally I accepted that I had a right to be angry and that the truth needed to be looked at and all that finally set me free. I haven’t had any depression or dissociation for years now. I think I will continue to do this my way. It works really well. 🙂
Hugs, Darlene
p.s. I don’t believe that many parents would read that manual… it might make them too accountable. I used to be on of several facilitators of a free course for parents with kids age 0 to 5 in the county where I lived and few wanted to take it. I found that rather interesting.


Hi Mike
Love your comments, thanks for sharing your thoughts here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Redaunt4
Thank you for adding your voice here too. I would rather live under a bridge too!
Hugs, Darlene


(it’s a long one, just to warn you in advance…)

You know how I know they didn’t do the best they could? Because if I acted outside the house the way we all did inside it, I was scolded beyond belief.

My distorted feelings about men are certainly directly related to how I was brought up. I couldn’t learn anything about men from personal observation. There were no men in my household, or in my family…other than my brother, who was made to be “man of the house” in many unhealthy ways by my mother.

And from him, I learned some distorted messages too: that sexual contact is frightening and wrong. That men are violent and unreasonable. That men are scary.

From mom I learned that men are unreliable and only want sex. And if you have sex, then you’re a slut and can never be forgiven by God. (Seriously, even now, a person can have a litany of good deeds to their name, but if sexual purity isn’t one of them, they are going immediately to hell according to my mother). That they cannot be counted on. That they are all liars and cheats and sneaks and will never really love you anyway.

And that’s nothing to what I learned from observing her in action. She was inconsistent and volatile. She broke promises and never stood up for us. So, men could not be trusted, according to her. And women could not be trusted, according to my own observations of her and her mother (both of whom raised me).

I distract myself constantly with books, games, TV, cigarettes and food because the noise in my head from the confusion of the voices in it is so loud I’m surprised others can’t hear it.

Yes, I made the “choice” to take myself out of the game (meaning the dating/relationship game), out of self-preservation. Yes, because I was afraid and didn’t know how to relate to people in any kind of healthy way. But I didn’t realize at the time that it was a permanent choice. I didn’t realize that I would never learn the things I didn’t learn at home. Because I would consistently choose people who would reinforce my sense of worthlessness. I would choose friends who were incapable of being supportive and who made suggestions to “improve” me. Maybe because they couldn’t stand to see me in pain, but probably because they needed to feel superior. And those who I wouldn’t necessarily consider “friends” but were part of my life also felt the need to tell me all the things I was doing wrong in my life. I am a magnet for unsolicited advice. So I took myself even further out of the game. Clearly, every time I entered the world, I annoyed or irritated somebody. So I took on the idea (as an adult, mind you!) that I was taking up too much space in the world. And that anything I could do to make myself smaller would be an improvement.

Instead, I got bigger. I got fat and lazy and angry. Very, very angry. Of course, I haven’t touched (even still) the real source of my rage. I’ve come close a few times, but I always run away because it’s too scary to face it on my own. I’ve come to this page and poured my heart out and gotten lots of support, and I run away from that too. Anyone who likes me or approves of me is automatically suspect. What the hell kind of screwed up thinking is THAT?

Now I’m 43 years old and the only sexual encounters I’ve ever had (very few) have been with men who are drunk (and unavailable) at the time of our encounter. Having made the decision that I’m never again going to go to bed with a man who lets the booze choose me – again, a “choice” on my part – has led to an even more distorted view of men and what they want and don’t want. I’m only attractive to men who are drunk. I won’t go out (or I should say go home with) men who are drunk; therefore, I’m not attractive to any men at all.

It doesn’t help that I’m not a “typical” female. (Another thing that absolutely makes my mother crazy). She never taught me how to be feminine, but now she bemoans the fact that I’m not feminine. Here are some things that are true about me: I love sports, I hate shopping, I don’t care a whit about clothes or shoes, am often disheveled, I can’t cook worth a damn, and I’m not much of a housekeeper. I know it’s a stereotype, but that sounds like more like a male bachelor than a single female.

But sitting here I’m evaluating why some of these things are true. I love sports (particularly American football) because Sunday afternoons while the Redskins were on were about the only times that we didn’t fight as a family. I can’t remember any fights during a Redskins game. Love for the Redskins was about the only thing we all had in common in my house. I got in the habit of watching sports on TV to soothe myself when I was feeling out of control. Then I just found favorite teams in other sports and really do enjoy rooting for them. I hate shopping because we were forced to shop every weekend as kids…spend the entire day shopping and we were never allowed our own money. (Even though we all worked, we had to turn our money over to our grandmother to “manage”…yes, it was stolen from us, every penny.) Anyway, whenever we shopped for clothes, it didn’t matter what I liked. My grandmother picked out everything I ever wore. Thank God, she had halfway decent taste, but I never was allowed to have an opinion about anything I wore, so I stopped caring. This also explains my third truth about not caring about clothes or shoes. I am often disheveled because I have old clothes and I can’t afford to buy new ones, don’t know how to “repair” my clothing (like sewing/stain removal) and again, don’t care much about my appearance. I can’t cook. Every time I asked my mother how to make something, her answer was “use your common sense.” Which I took to mean that I was stupid because I didn’t know. Also, mealtime was monstrous in our house. I do not remember a single meal (I am NOT exaggerating here), not a SINGLE meal in my entire life that I sat down to with my family that did not involve serious arguments. Sometimes knock-down drag-outs, usually about nothing. Sometimes I would even start the fight because it was easier than sitting through the meal wondering what it would be about or who would start it or when it would start. I’m not much of a housekeeper because we (kids) spent every Saturday morning and EVERY morning in Summer cleaning a house that never had a chance to get dirty. And no matter what I did, it was never good enough. If I vacuumed across the rug, my grandmother would come in and make me revacuum the entire room because the vacuum marks were going the wrong way. I’d clear out one whole cabinet of dishes to move them to another cabinet and then as soon as it was done, she would make me move them back. I understand the value of chores. But we never got any credit for the chores we did. Not verbal, not financial, nothing. And it was never good enough. They always had to be redone. And by the time we were allowed outside to play, it was almost time to come home. So I equate chores with wasted free time and I get angry when I think about it. My grandmother would meet my mother at the door with the litany of things we had done wrong during the day. What outraged me about this (and still does!!) is that my grandmother wasn’t exactly lying and wasn’t exactly telling the truth. She distorted the stories so that she came out blameless and we came out as monsters. Every. Single. Night. And my mother never once, never ONCE stood up for us and told her to back the fuck off.

Anyway, I think that list of things (even if the reasons I learned them are clearer to me now, so thanks for letting me work through them on the page) makes me unattractive to men. The only men I have in my life now are friends (certainly better than nothing and I wouldn’t trade it for drama), because I’ve learned to adapt and become “one of the guys” before anything can happen. But I don’t know how to “put myself out there.” That was hard enough when I was young and cute; now that I’m middle-aged and fat, it really does seem impossible.

I know I’ve wandered away from the point of “my parents did the best they could” and I’ve gone on far longer than I originally planned, but this is what is on my mind today and I appreciate the chance to get it all out there. Any feedback you all can provide would be very welcome.


I don’t have any kids, but I would read that manual! I think, though, so many people here (myself included) could do a pretty good job of writing that manual. We know, experientially, what the wrong/bad/damaging things are, and what we would have liked to receive instead. I have never and would never slap or kick a child (as I had been slapped and kicked). And, if I ever did lose it and physically (or otherwise) harm a child, I would fall all over myself telling that dear, sweet child that he/she is dear and sweet, and that I was wrong, and that I was the problem–not him or her.

Thank you for your kind words and for being my “witness.”

Thank you also for your comments, and for sharing your breaking contact/taking a breather story, and I am so glad for you that there are different rules now. I think if either of my two remaining siblings would acknowledge the truth and validate my feelings (instead of making me out to be the bad guy), I would consider staying. But what they have done/said (recently and over the years) felt/feels not only non-supporting, but toxic and abusive as well.

Thank you for the welcome and for saying that whatever length/and whatever needs to be said is FINE.
“Keep coming forward” — I like that. I know it’s only semantics, but I like that way (coming forward) better than “going forward” as it conjures up in my mind: come this way, come towards us–we who have been there, and are now on the other side; healing is possible.




Hi Lisa B
Love your first line!! Thank you for adding your voice to this post Lisa. You highlight very valid points and really expand what I am sharing here.
One of the things I always go on about is our right to be who we are. Who says you have to be a feminine woman?? Why do you think it matters? One of the things that I see running through your entire post today and I will relate it to my own past:~ is that because of how much oppression (of the real me) that I suffered.. I gave up on me.. All the things that were not good enough, all the faults, all the evils, all the distorted stories ~ all of that is what I looked at in order to get to the truth! So it is all good Lisa!and I didn’t think you wandered off topic AT ALL. This is the topic!
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Not the best they could…the best they chose to do. Big difference.


@Darlene, I have heard all my life that “I did the best I could”. My mother said this all the time. I can relate all to well to your blog post. I used to think my father did all he could… It wasnt until therapy that I realized he could have done more…much more to keep me safe.

But I move on to healing…. moving thru the sadness and regret helps to move to the joy and apprecation for my life today.
God Bless and Thank you for sharing this blog.

@Katie Lee… I read your post… I could feel your pain… just wanted you to know.. You are NOT alone… Please know that. Keep reaching out… there are many (including myself) who will reach back..
**hugs** to you


It is truly miraclious that you survived those traumatic and abusive times. You were tought to put the needs of others in front of your own basic needs and that is so damaging. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. There is power in numbers and it makes us louder with each and every voice. 🙂


Oh my, Lisa, there are so many things in your post, I can relate to, especially: <>

Years and years ago, during one particularly stressful period of my life, unlike you, I actually got smaller. (And I was already thin to begin with.) I lost my appetite, felt like I was going to throw up if I ate anything, and had recurring early-morning diarrhea. When I talked with my (good) nurse practitioner about this/what was going on, she looked back through my chart, and said, “Oh, my God, Katie, you have been losing weight this whole time. You are the incredible shrinking woman.” She then referred me to a nutritionist (“eat ice cream”– not helpful; I knew what to eat, I knew which foods had the most calories–all of it made me nauseous) and to a stress management guy (very helpful). He was ex-military and not someone I would have wanted to sit down and have a beer with, but he said one thing during our meeting that stuck with me: “I believe that in every situation we are either growing or dying, and in this job of yours, which do you think it is?” I put in my notice to quit shortly thereafter. Once I was out of there, my normal, healthy appetite returned, the diarrhea stopped, and the weight came back effortlessly.

Oh, and by the way, when I told my mother what was going on, and that I was going to leave that job, she said to me, “for the money you’re making, Katie, I’d put up with a little diarrhea”. To get back on topic (smile)–this was not doing her best!!!! Years later, when she and I were talking about this (and in general, Darlene, about damage that was done), my mother said, “Oh, I would never have said anything like that. I would have told you to quit that job!” Agh!! This is the (same, continuing) invalidating crap! What–I made it up? What–I said you did something you didn’t do?

Now, in the (hypothetical) good parent manual (previously discussed), it would say–respond something like this: “Oh, my God, I said that!? I really blew it! I should have said ‘quit that job, take care of yourself.’ ” Oh, well . . .

Oh, and Lisa, one more thing. No wonder you hate shopping! I don’t care much for it either, but I think I would hate it, too, if I had had your grandmother! I’m not sure what (other) feedback I can offer, other than–I hear you.

Hi. <> I totally agree!

All we need to do is look at ourselves–sometimes we put our best effort into things and sometimes we don’t. It is a choice! Mowing a lawn–OK to not do it the best we could. Raising children–for Christ’s sake, it should be a no-brainer, put your best effort here–Choose to do this well.

And another thing that shows it’s a choice, many of our abusers didn’t pull their crap in front of other people–if they could choose to refrain (from harming) at certain times, they could have chosen it at other times, as well.

Bye for now,



Oh my, I tried to put brackets around/set off the things people said, and this material got deleted instead. Darlene, what is the best way to quote someone (obviously, it’s not using the less than and greater than characters!)?

What I tried to quote:

Lisa: “So I took myself even further out of the game. Clearly, every time I entered the world, I annoyed or irritated somebody. So I took on the idea (as an adult, mind you!) that I was taking up too much space in the world. And that anything I could do to make myself smaller would be an improvement.”

Wendi: “Not the best they could…the best they chose to do. Big difference.”


touched2mysoul–THANK YOU!


“I have been labelled as a difficult daughter ~ selfish and self centered and those statements cut me deeply and they kept me trying harder.” That’s my life story in a nutshell. My mom thinks I’m the one who ABUSED HER! How? By obeying her every word? By bowing to the queen for 19 years? For sacrificing my self (and almost my soul) to try and please her? She still labels me the ‘spoiled brat, self centered, selfish’ one. (She said I was more difficult to raise than my three older brothers combined! And I was the GOOD child!) I never asked for all those toys and THINGS. She felt the need to spoil me because it appeased her guilt. She used to take me shopping sometimes and spend money on clothes for me, but berate me the entire time. As I sulked to the car she’d criticize me, “I just spent yada-yada-yada on you and this is how you act?” I told her, “I don’t care if you spend a million dollars on me, it doesn’t give you the right to verbally abuse me.” At least I always knew she was the crazy one.


Katie Lee: Bless your heart for being so open and honest here. You are in a safe place, so share as much or as long as you want! Don’t apologize! Sounds like your mom is a lot like mine. She tries to sabotage any happiness or good thing in my life. If my job was going well, she would call me at work and cause chaos just so I’d be all stressed out at my job! Now she questions my happy marriage and calls my precious son a terror! That was the last straw. I’ve decided the only way to keep my sanity is to sever all contact with her. Two of my older brothers and her sister (only sibling) have all done this. She has never been a loving mother to me, never will be. I had to give up that fantasy that ‘maybe one day…’ if I just keep loving her enough. Nothing will ever be enough because she has a hole in her heart. Whatever love I give just falls right out. The Bible says ‘Honor your father and mother IN THE LORD.’ I struggled with that verse too, especially since my mom often quoted it growing up, until the ‘IN THE LORD’ part. My mother doesn’t act like a Christian, even though she claims to be one, so I’m done. Also, the next line after that says: “PARENTS don’t exasperate your children!!” Except they NEVER quote that verse!! I choose to respectively walk away from any contact with her. You can honor her and still walk away. She is ABUSIVE. God doesn’t call us to be doormats for others to wipe their dirty feet on! Your brother sounds like he is spiritually abusive. I have a brother like that, too! I am a Christian and feel strong in my heart that God has called me to leave my mother otherwise I would never have had the courage or strength to do it. I read this recently: “Loving God and following Christ in an unsaved family will undoubtedly cause some level of division within that family. Christ knew He would be a source of division for families who have some saved and some unsaved:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ (Matthew 10:34-36, NIV)”

I was placing my mother in a position of importance above my relationship with God. That’s not Biblical. God comes first and she has kept me in bondage and has only become a stronghold in my life that God wants to break. He promised “the TRUTH will set you free.” As long as she continues to control my emotions, I am not free and never will be. The truth is my mom is incapable of loving anyone, but herself (and she sucks even at that.)

Please try to find a support group of some kind or counseling. It has been so helpful to me. I have a wonderful group of women friends at my church and women at the Center for Women’s Ministries. They have been my life savers. It’s so tough emotionally to disengage from our mothers. I know. I’ve been there. But you need to ask yourself “Am I better off with her in my life or without her?” You can make it on your own! You have before!! Don’t let her self-defeating words rule your life. They are LIES! Surround yourself with words and people that build you up, write down positive affirmations or Scriptures that remind you of your strengths and possibilities. You can be FREE. You deserve it. Sounds like your mother will suck the life out of your very soul otherwise. Don’t let her. Take your power back. Remember, she only has as much control as YOU let her. Blessings!


i love this post, will comment later, mind is so overwhelmed, ahving panic attacks.:)but am ok..


I understand everyones posts. I had many of the similar stories. A horrible, unbelievably sad thing happened to me from 14 to 18 when I married and left. My dad was sexually abusing me that whole time. I forgot some. I put some away on my cd stored only mind. Thought of it daily. Mom and I were always fighting. I was so angry because she was unstable,abusing prescription meds.I cared for my three younger brothers and most importantly (in my young mind). I protected her…she was always jealous of me. She was only sixteen years older than me. My marriage was severly abusive from the beginning. I tried for 34years. I was my dads hospice nurse. I cared for him in a exceptional way. He passed in my living room. It was a wonderful experience. I was able to genuinely forgive himduring this time. God is good. After he passed. I immediatly decided to get free from my abusive husband of 33years. Long long story short. I left took my mom to live with me. In our mountain vacation home. My dear mom and I spent her last three years in this life. Loving each other. Forgiving each other and bondind. Ultimately made our peace as mother and daughter. I said goodbye and told her how much I genuinely loved her and appreciated her….about 10 minutes after I told the doctor to unplug her from the life support….I miss my mom so much. I thank God everyday for that special time he gave us together. Mother/daughter time that I longed for as I was growing up. Thank you for listening.


Yes Wendi,
That is a very big difference,

Hi Katie lee,
The best way to comment is just to use quotation marks around what you are saying that the person said ~ some of the characters create code.
Thanks for sharing more of your experience with us.

Welcome to EFB
Yes, the goal is to realize what happened and move on to healing. Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sandy
Welcome ~ thank you for your encouragement and for adding your voice too.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Karen,
yes, this stuff gets really messed up. It really is important to see it the way that it was in order to move forward. Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Everyone Please note: This is a reminder; Please remember that on this blog I ask that no one give directives or advice to anyone else as it interferes with the natural process of individual healing. Each person has their own process. What works best is if each of us share our own experience, allowing each other individual to come to their own decisions about what path they wish to take. Therapy or church is not the only way to heal and many here have been abused by both. SO, it is better that we just support each other through our own experience.
Thank you so much,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi g,
I look forward to your return ~ hang in there and be gentle with yourself.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Debi
Welcome to EFB
Yours is not a common story on this website; most of the readers who have problems with their parent relationships have been rejected by their parents, so therefor have little hope of resolution but none the less there is hope for personal healing. Thank you for sharing your story.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for your message. Yes, I have made it before and can do it again, thanks for the reminder. Right now it feels hard to go from A to B, but I will get to B again, and then to C. And yes, positive words and positive people – – important to the process.

Oh, and in/with your comment “Christ knew He would be a source of division for families who have some saved and some unsaved”, I changed it in my mind to–there will be divisions in families when some members are loving and some are not (and then it worked for me!)

Take care!


Katie Lee, You are stronger than you think! (Sorry for possibly giving ‘advice’ and not just speaking from my own experience…) You will make the right choice in your timing. Believe in yourself! My mom tried to sabotage me and make me feel like I could never make it on my own, so I would come crawling back to her and allow her to maintain control over me (that’s the M.O. of most abusers.) Yes, if we are loving and others aren’t, they will be jealous of our heart. I only showed my mother grace upon grace, yet it only made things worse because I didn’t react to her drama. I thought I could love her into loving me, but that was futile. I realize that NOW, but it took years to process what her illness really meant. “I can’t change the wind, but I can adjust my sails.” So can you! TAKE CARE OF YOU! – Hugs, Karen


Hi Karen. Thanks. “I can’t change the wind, but I can adjust my sails”–I like that! And, you, too, take care of you.
All my best,


Karen and Katie Lee
I LOVE that

Karen said “I can’t change the wind, but I can adjust my sails.”

Karen, (and everyone) about the giving advice thing ~ it isn’t about encouragement or empowering someone else, (your comment was fine) it is about not telling someone what they should do or try such as telling someone to find a therapist or find a group. For example, it is fine to say “I found a wonderful therapist which helped me so much” vs. saying “try to find a therapist” It is just that slight difference that gives another person free choice in thier own recovery. Most of us have been told all our lives what to do so it is important that we are not told what to do here. I hope that explains what I mean more clearly.
(** note: Having said that, if someone is theratening self harm, that is when I always tell them to seek professional help)


Darlene: “My bad.” 🙂 I’ll be more sensitive in the future and I hate it when people tell me what I should do, also, so I should have caught myself. When someone tells me I should do something now, like my mother used to, I’d tell her: “I don’t SHOULD on myself anymore!” LOL


Not sure where I read this, but I like it: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Also: “When something traumatic happens in our lives, we have a choice to let it defeat us or to complete us. It can be the fire that consumes us or the fire that refines us. It can be a tragic last act or a joyous new beginning.”

Amen to that!!


My sister-in-law told me recently: “Why don’t you focus on the things you have in your life instead of the things you don’t. You seem hyper-focused on your bad relationship with your mother. When I got divorced I thought, ‘I’ve wasted enough time on this jerk, I’m moving on.’ Oh, this comment made me livid, although I don’t think she meant to upset me. I told her I wasn’t hyper-focused, it’s called HEALING. We victims of abuse have minimized our pain all our lives and not faced it, so don’t try and make us feel more GUILT and SHAME for dealing with and addressing it in our adult lives. Sheesh. And this is my MOTHER, the one who gave BIRTH to me, who is SUPPOSED be nurturing and loving. I can’t just ‘move on.’ It takes time to grieve my losses, to process the hurt and HEAL. (It’s a different relationship than a spouse, but divorce still needs to be grieved also. I think her definition of ‘moving on’ is just plain DENIAL). I think my sister-in-law may have some unresolved issues of her own she doesn’t want to stir up and face. “Feelings buried alive never die.”


Hi Karen
I think you are right. When someone tells us things like that, it is always about them. She might be uncomfortable with your expressing yourself about your mother and she wants you to stop doing it. That is her problem though. That was my whole life. I was always bugging someone else with whatever I was doing or saying. I learned to live trying to guess what others wanted me to do or say so that they would be “not bugged” never thinking about myself, never thinking about what I wanted. When I wanted recovery and found this new way to go about it, everyone was VERY uncomfortable. But finally I saw hope for me and I didn’t give that up. Finally I decided that I was going to do something for me! And here I am. 😉
Thanks for sharing! and yes “feelings buried alive never die” That’s a good one!
Hugs, Darlene


I read this yesterday and I just felt sick. It makes me sick that your mom used you and allowed you to be used that way. She treated you the same way that the men who had control of me when I was 16 treated me and my parents allowed it. They all should have been put in prision and they definately could have done better.

I wish that hadn’t happened to you or me and I wish it wouldn’t happen to anyone else.


Karen — good points!

I had an aunt tell me once to just forgive my mother, that she was doing the best that she could (that’s this post, LOL). She also told me to just put up with the things she says and does; she’s your mother. This aunt had an abusive first husband who she left (thank God). (I’m glad, of course, she left that husband), but I asked her–what if someone had told you at the time–just forgive him, he’s doing the best that he can, just put up with the things he says and does; he’s your husband. My comment did not seem to impress/influence her at all, but one of my past T’s really liked it when I told her!



I totally agree, your parents did not do their best…It doesn’t even sound like they tried to be better parents. It is insanity. I myself grew up in an extremely abusive household with a mother who was insane and while she did not offer me up..she made it real easy for 9 men to molest me. And perhaps in some way she did offer me up. I have gone back and forth with that one.

I’ve said these words before, she did the best she could and to some extent I really still believe that, knowing her history. I can see how her brokenness allowed her to think that feeding me was enough and that beating me was for my own good. I can also feel very acutely that her best just was not good enough. It had no kindess in it, no reverence for me as a human being and so that is why I choose not to have a relationship with her.

I think saying, they did the best they could brings some comfort to some of us because the alternative is too difficult to face. I also think the phrase, is like a slap in the face to others.

This makes me think more about it and how I use it and what I am be using it for.

Thank you


Hi Pam
It makes me sick too. But it used to make me sicker! Facing this stuff has set me free from sickness. Now it is just disgust for the way that it was.
Thanks for sharing! hugs!

Hi Stephanie
I too said this to myself for years… and I too have said this to others about their own parents, but I didn’t realize how much that statement discounted me (and others) in the process. She didn’t do her best. I come from an upper middle class family. (it just dawned on me that I have never shared that before) In order for my parents to be accepted in that society, there had to be a lot of hiding going on. Hiding indicates that they knew better. We don’t hide what we think is acceptable or normal. What I am getting at here on this site is that the truth is the only thing that set me free. I don’t care if my mother meant to hurt me or not anymore, the fact is that she did and there was damage. The truth set me free to deal with the damage. As you say, “no reverence for you as a human being” and that is so hurtful. That is very damaging to the person. That is wrong.
Thank you so much for adding your voice here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hello Darlene. I just discovered you website today while looking for some help. I am in a very bad emotional state right now. And so tired of feeling this way.
I don’t communicate with my mom, which was her choice. She changed all her phone numbers and said if you need to reach me, e-mail me. I thought that was very unfair and didn’t e-mail her.
I never felt that mother daughter love. I was born in Russia and at the age of 4 she left to America leaving me with my grandpa and abusive grandma until the age of 12. At 12, she brought me to America where I got sexually abused by her new husband for three years.
I finally had the courage to tell her about my experience at the age of 21. She did not take it well and said “I can’t believe you f***ed my ex-husband.”
The only blood family that i really have now is my dad who is in Russia. We communicate through e-mail most of the time.


Hi Natalia,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken. I encourage you to read some of the other posts in the mother daughter category and some of the comments. There are so many of us who have suffered as children and adults. This site is about how I overcame all that hurt and overcame the depressions, anxiety and dissociative disorders that manifested because of my past. It is about how I took my life back and learned to validate and re parent myself. I hope you find hope here!
This is a great community, please share often. Sharing this pain with others is very validating too.
Hugs, Darlene


The best they could? Darlene, I’m so saddened by what you experienced. It is the worst.


Darlene, I’m finding that feelings of disgust are replacing the feelings of hurt and rejection that I was experiencing a couple of months ago. I think that is a good sign.


Back in Sept. 2010, I wrote my own blog article on this topic “Your Parents Did The Best They Could.” The link for that post is here:

I first heard that said in 12-Step meetings. I would usually let it go by in the beginning and not say anything. Then one evening someone said, “Your parents did the best they could.” and I exploded. I said, “No they didn’t. How could my dad sexually abusing me and my mom not protecting me from him be doing the best they could?” A few years later a new friend responding to someone saying that by adding on new words. She said, “Your parents did the best that they could with the tools that they had and it was not good enough.” I could partly agree with that statement. I was still a long way away from forgiving their actions or lack of actions on the part of my mother. As I have said here before. My parents are reversed of Darlene’s. My dad was the active abuser in so many ways. My mom was the passive abuser who was emotionally unavailable to the point that my sister doesn’t even remember our mom being around during her childhood. Mom was always there physically but never emotionally available.

Thanks Darlene for bringing this topic up again for discussion. So many of us benefit from your words.


Hi Lynn

Pam ~ you bring up a very important point! I was very aware when my hurt feelings turned to disgust… I felt like I was in a vortex or something… it all felt fuzzy. I felt like I was waking up from a long sleep.. and wow, YES it IS a very good sign!
Thanks for posting! I should write a whole new post about that topic!
Hugs, Darlene

YAY Patricia,
Thanks for sharing your blog post link! Your comments on this post today are RIGHT ON! Like I said in another comment ~ they didn’t even do the best they did with the tools they had to work with.. that to me is some cryptic deflective message tactic that means nothing. They HID things they did. They knew better. I think that most of the people who say this stuff are just afraid to face the pain that comes with the truth of it. I am not giving my parents any more excuses. I find no comfort in those sayings anymore… They are meaningless because the depth of the truth points elsewhere.
Thanks for sharing! ~ We don’t have to agree with any of those statements.. it is in facing the damage that we have found our freedom.
Hugs, Darlene


I have tried time and time again to heal by those words ” my parents did the best they could ” and time and time again I suffer from the thoughts of the things my mother did to me and continues to. No she did not do the best she could when I went to her for help with an eating disorder and she told me all I needed was to get layed and my problem would dissappear. When I showed her the gift my first boyfriend gave me ( a coat) and she grabbed it, threw it on the floor and stepped all over it. When she called me a whore a 13 and continued through out the years. When she told me I was ugly, was not woman enough to give birth naturally and wished she could have killed me when I was born.
I thought, really thought I was healing and forgiveness took place, but that is not the case. recently we had another blow out and like always she calls me crazy and that I take things overboard, I am always wrong, Point blank. I’m in a lotta of pain for the things my mother did.


My feelings changing from hurt-to-disgust happened some this past year when I viewed the photographs my parents had of me from birth to age five. What memories and feelings and validation these brought back. I could see the same smirk I thought I remembered on my mother’s face! Towards an infant!!! So many thoughts, feelings, and memories unfolded this past year. And a lot of disgust was the result, along with tighter boundaries.


What if your parent says on his/her death bed, “I did the best I could.” I don’t feel any obligation to appease the guilt of any parent who beat me, shamed me, blamed me and left me to rot in their abuse. There was a time when I would have felt a duty to make THEM feel better. At this time, I would just let the comment “I did the best I could” lie in the air, awkward and unanswered. Why would I change my attitude to soothe them when they are dying? They did not soothe me when I was trying to kill myself because I couldn’t bear the pain. Darlene, my father took me to bars, so little he had to place me on the bar stool while he was placing bets and being a bookie. Or, I had to wait in the car. I was entertained by the colorful glassware bottles, but not the bar brawls that ensued.


Eve–I’m so sorry you’re in pain. Darlene has written here that she has found asking Why? is not helpful. Reading your post, I find myself asking another questions–How?
How could a human being do to another human being (yet alone a child!) the things you write about here?
All the acts/statements described here that your mother did are despicable.
How could someone treat someone else like this? How dare they?
My heart goes out to you, me, and everyone else here.


Another phrase like “they did the best they could” is one I’ve been told often, “It could have been worse”. Yes, it could have. I could have ended up dead. I know people have suffered worse things than I have but those aren’t the things I have to deal with and they aren’t the things that made it impossible for me to have a relationship with my parents. Added to this is “it is very common”. Yes, abuse of children is very common but that doesn’t make it any less evil. I hate all of those (down-playing evil) phrases.


–“I hate all of those (down-playing evil) phrases.”

So do I.



Hi Eve
Welcome to EFB ~ sounds like our mothers were a bit alike. So hurtful. I got really sick of always being the problem too.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

I have seen parents who seem to resent their own kids from a young age. That is very sad.
Thanks for sharing, Hugs,

Hi Lynn
Why would a death bed make a difference unless the guilty person is genuinely sorry and wanting to make amends before passing. My role in life is no longer to fill the void in others either.
Thanks for sharing Lynn.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Pam
You bring up another great one! OH yes, the saying “It could have been worse” ~ What the heck is THAT supposed to mean? That is what I say now… I ask “what do you mean when you say it have been worse?” “what is YOUR definition of worse? and WHAT does that have to do with what I happened to me?” I can’t stand how discounting those statements are. And as you say, “common” doesn’t make it right!
Thanks for sharing! I could write another post based on some of these comments today!
Hugs, Darlene

Katie Lee
There is no answer for the “how” question either. Alice Miller (books) says that these people want to see their own childhood pain reflected on the face of a child. They dare because someone dared do it to them. But even if that is true, it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t excuse the damage done to us. We are facing the truth of the damage in order to heal from it… and that is powerful.
Thanks for being here,
Hugs, Darlene


My parents did the best they could but that does not equate to the best a parent can do. Their best was less than humane for me. I forgive them in that I accept their limitations, their dysfunctions, their craziness as theirs and theirs alone! I forgive them in that I don’t want revenge and I accept who they are, as broken and damaged as they are… they thankfully, are not me.

I depended on them as a child and given what they provided I need the protection from outside of my family. It isn’t fair what bad parents/people do, it isn’t fair that they chose to make me responsible for my own mistreatment. It isn’t fair that I have a sack of troubles that stem from their parenting… I could go on and on… it just isn’t fair.

What my parents did was wrong, so very very wrong and I wear the scars today. But I don’t make the same kinds of choices they did, I did a better job of parenting… all I can conclude is that I am better than they are, not less broken because their damage was significant, but I’m a stronger more capable person than they ever were. I am capable of feeling empathy for another and it helps monitor/control my behavior toward others, something my parents were lacking.

My crime, unlike theirs, is I don’t take care of myself, I don’t do the best I can do for myself. Why? Is it because I’m burdened by the heavy grief and mistreatment by my parents? That would be an excuse and I’m sure my parents were guilty of constructing their reality with excuses, too.

My children say I was a great mom, they only wish I was a happier person, took better care of myself… they feel such guilt about me…

I was a kind person, yet the abuse my children received (having to see their mother mistreat herself) is looked at like the hoarder you talked about in another section… “Poor mom, she had a rough childhood”… they excuse my behavior but it’s still damaging and perpetuates the cycle of dysfunction in our family.

Coming to terms with “the best they could” and “forgiveness” or even “survivor” has been a journey in and of its self. I saw these words as something that defined them. They aren’t. They define me, I’m the one that knows their best was horrible, that forgiving them doesn’t mean I don’t hold them responsible and being a survivor is suppose to validate the trials and tribulations I’ve been through.

The real problem is terminology. We live in a society that doesn’t like to talk about pain, hahahahha… its too painful! We blame victims because we want to hold on to a false sense of security that it can’t happen to us. We do whatever we can to move away from pain… as it should be, a built governor for safety.

I haven’t any suggestions for better language… your parents were piss poor at raising you, helping you and loving you. “Doing their best” is like saying, “I’m fine, really” and “have a nice day”… they are polite phrases that are inappropriate for discussing the kind of parents we had; consider the source rather than the letting the comment have a footing in your thinking about your experience.
another wounded soul


HI Darlene,

I like to put a twist here.. I had to break a bit and finish a 10 page paper that was due but saw this post yesterday. I sometimes have to think about things as I don’t want to say the wrong thing; which is so very easy for me to do without trying.

I must say there are things my mom did her best at!! She did her best to ruin my little life. She did her best in scaring the heJJ out of me and keeping me on the straight and narrow.I was so afraid of heJJ that I searched my body for black marks that might look like mortal sin!! I didn’t even understand what mortal sin was but thought it was something visible..

Now, what she didn’t do her best at .. is providing me proper clothing. We wore bread bags for boots and often times would come home in the winter to find the door locked . .Imagine little ones. .freezing their toes off . I still feel how painfully biting it was when my toes were becoming numb from the cold.. how i hopped from foot to foot to keep the blood moving!!

My fingers froze as well. we wore socks for gloves .. not only didn’t it keep us warm but it made us get laughed at alot.

Since she was worried about money so much . .doctors were only consulted on last resort . .so you had her removing broken glass from a broken beer bottle someone tossed down a hill and hit me with as I walked from school..

SHe wasn’t even there when we got home, we had to go to our neighbor who washed my hair but didn’t take out the broken bottle. Mom did but to this day I have something there where the bottle hit..constantly it scabs over like something is still there.

She didnt do her best to live the religion she made us so religiously keep .. while we knelt so perfectly and said prayers by heart in church she used religious articles to hurt me in her assault on me at night and God always said what she did to me was ok since I was a mistake and mistakes should be gotten rid of!

She didn’t do her best when trying to smother me with the pillow as if she intended to kill me she stopped short so now I live knowing my mom came so close to killing me.. When we were to hospital all she said was my siblings were playing too roughly!! I only remember struggling and blacking out . I see that constantly now in my sleep.

She didnt do her best to ready me for life since I am learning now that somewhere in life moms and dads talk to their children of life and dangers..somewhere in life they teach them what to be afraid etc.somewhere they teach them love and acceptance and self worth..

I never had any such motherly talk. .nothing that told me what life would bring or what to watch for.. rather .. my whole little childhood was being afraid of her being afraid that something I would do would get me more beatings. all i ever knew was hate and hurt.

I had to work from age 13 too. for 3 hours after school .. through a youth program. I never saw a penny. ONce I got home I had to watch my youngers siblings. When the family went on vacations i had to stay with my aunt so that little bit of money i earned from my child labor would not be lost!!

I never knew what fun was .. I remember how I longed to color and play but I was suppose to do what moms do. take care of the little ones. .when they cried at night i had to get up and sing them to sleep .

My mom did her best when it came to putting me in my place and her worst when it came to showing me what a daughter is or a mother is. .I never learned anything and school . .. i did what I had to but I honestly remember nothing I learned.

Sorry for long spiel but there is nothing good I can say my mom did other than doing her best to make me feel worthless and hated. that he did!


Wow Darlene. As I was reading I could feel this was a powerful and non-easy (not that any of these subjects is easy) piece to write.

One of the paragraphs that sticks out for me is:
“I also believed that my emotionally and psychologically sick mother was too weak to carry any of the burdens of being a mother and in justifying her that way I believed that my mother did the best she could. I wanted to believe it. I HAD to believe it. The truth was too painful to face.”

I am still at that point. I didn’t realize growing up that my mother had mental illness. I learned about it in my adult years.

As a young person, I was told by her that she was hospitalized (when I was a toddler) because of a car wreck. I didn’t find out the truth until my late 30s, when I rescued her when she tried to commit suicide. It was then, in the ICU waiting room sitting with my older sister and one of my Mom’s sister, that I learned that Mom had been institutionalized for manic depression; she wasn’t hospitalized due to a car wreck. That was in the 60s. She received (lord knows how many) shock treatments and drug cocktails during that time. My Aunt and sister were shocked I didn’t know.

Switch gears to about 11 years ago as I sat with my psychologist after we had reviewed some stuff from my childhood. He stated, “Do you recognize that you are a victim of neglect?” Boy did that piss me off. *lol* I responded adamantly, “I am not a victim of anything.” He calmly responded with something that I don’t recall and we discussed something else at the time.

Later, I dared to peek inside a book at at book store on the subject of neglect. Oh my. I had to close the book; it scared me. I had suffered/was suffering from almost every symptom (including physical illnesses)listed in that book.

I later brought up the subject with the psychologist and have pulled off the veil and now agree with the assessment. But at the time shortly after I began to dare to broach the subject, one of my responses was, “Well, everyone is neglected.” He said, “No. They’re not.” I realized for me, it was normal.

I still can’t relate to a mother relationship. I am close with my own adult daughter, and we share openly. But I quite literally feel nothing…nothing…nothing when people bring up relationships with their mothers.

Maybe someday I will feel something.

Anyhoo, thanks again for stirring thoughtful inquiry. Prodding about in my own heart and life.


Joy, I hear your anger flowing in the right direction!:0)Doesn’t it feel good to take all the blame off of yourself and put it where it belongs?



Hello Ambushed by life
Welcome to EFB.
It was in facing all this stuff, and then validating myself, finally rejecting the definition of me that they assigned me with their disregard for me and realizing where the damage happened to my self esteem and self worth, that i was able to finally look at self care. I just did a radio broadcast about this topic ~ you can listen to it here: Breaking Free from Broken with Susan and Darlene
You are so right about society not wanting to face the pain, but I have a different theory. I think that “they” can’t validate our pain because if they did, they would have to also face their own. Not that that excuses people for invalidating others…
So glad you are here and thank you for adding your voice to this topic,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy
I agree, that wasn’t BEST at all… and where was this “church family” while you were running around without boots and mittens? This is exactly what I am talking about in this blog post.. that it wasn’t BEST for children. And that in recognizing and facing that damage, we can heal from it. Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Pam.. I don’t really have any feelings.. I simply feel that my mom didn’t do her best.. and i dont know what else to feel. other then i feel inferior to others who have had a real mother and felt loved and learned lessons of life.. I am still afraid to be angry although i recognize mom did wrong. .maybe I will ask my T . to help me ..I just dont understand my feelings. .I don’t hate my mom.




Hi Darlene

Church family.. well they were praying for me ..since I had displeased God by my actions so they felt i needed to do penance can only get forgiven by doing penance..suffering for one’s wrong. I know the church could see my bruises and hurt eyes..

Hugs Joy


Joy, you said, “i feel inferior to others who have had a real mother and felt loved and learned lessons of life.”

I feel this too. I feel there are so many lessons, big, philosophical ones, and small, practical ones that I never learned from my mother and now I’m embarrassed that I don’t know and don’t know where to turn to learn them.


Hi Carol
I reacted to that kind of thing too! I defended my parents like crazy in spite of some of the things I knew were very wrong that went on. It was my “normal” and I realized in my process of recovery that as a child, I HAD to defend my parents because if I blamed them, I had no chance. It had to be me because I couldn’t make them change. If I stood up to them, they reject me… so I had to try to change ME so that I could be good enough for them. I was sure as a child that if I could be different, they would love me. As an adult, I had brought those beliefs with me.. still defending them and trying to change me.
My mother had “breakdowns” from as young as I can remember. That was why I didn’t ever want to upset her and why I excused her dysfunction as a mother. How I finally healed was by realizing that the damage to me was “the point” that had to be faced regardless of blame.. blame is a very small part of this whole thing.
Thanks so much for sharing Carol,
Hugs, Darlene

I don’t hate my mother either. That isn’t a bad thing.
Hugs, Darlene



I know . I still feel like a little child. and people have told me all my life I am too immature . .too immature. but I dont know how I can change that because I missed my whole childhood and don’t know how to fix it . I think that is one thing of many that T will help me know how to fix..

hugs :JOy

am glad that hating isn’t required since I don’t want hate in me ..I have lots of mixed up feelings inside..something being mixed up is very hard.



At 17 months old, I got a baby brother I didn’t ask for. I changed diapers from day one… made bottles… rocked the baby to sleep… by 6 I was responsible for getting my brother ready for school, and my sister ready for day-care while mother slept the day away after another night of partying… by 8 years old I was doing the banking and the family shopping, and most of the cooking… and at 10, she left the 3 of us alone from the middle of January until the week after Easter so she could have a holiday in Mexico with her molester-boyfriend…

No, not all parents do the best they can… some don’t even try


My mother says that to me ALL THE TIME. Then she cries. What I don’t understand is how you can leave a little girl – ignore that your husband has cut off all her hair to make her look like a boy. then when it all come sout – yes she stood by me – but she also threw me out of home – i was homeless at 17 because she didnt knw how to cope with me. She never actually spoke to me though. Then when i used to call her from my council flat (i called her at 3am in the morning because i was so scared once) she used to scream down the phone at me. My mothers best was keeping it all going – doing my washing – but never being there for me. Then when i tell her how i feel she acts like a child and sulks. She should never have had children in my opinion. I feel allienated from teh family as I’m always the emotional one. I wonder why. Well i dont’ speak to any of them any more. They’re a crap family so why bother. Does my self esteem no good. I hate them.


Lisa, and Joy,

“i feel inferior to others who have had a real mother and felt loved and learned lessons of life.”

I feel this too. I feel there are so many lessons, big, philosophical ones, and small, practical ones that I never learned from my mother and now I’m embarrassed that I don’t know and don’t know where to turn to learn them.”

I SO have felt this throughout my high school and beyond years. I used to complain to my friend in junior high about it, and my parochial school teacher told me that if I didn’t stop complaining about my mother that he would spank me. From there I went to high school and just reeled at the distance between me and my peers. My mother was absent except to call me a little girl until I was 21, to criticise me at every turn, to sit up until I came in at night, her “anger” and abuse just increased as I aged. What a blot. My high school boyfriend said that if we never married at least he helped me through a hard time in my life, namely, getting away from her! How absolutely humiliating it all felt. And combine that with poor close up vision, I struggled so much to get through the increased workload in high school, and she would yell at me to “LOOK at it…” “You have to LOOK” at whatever, and it NEVER dawned on her that perhaps I wasn’t an idiot, I just really couldnt’ see UP CLOSE. When I got glasses for the first time, in my forties, I BAWLED at what I had been missing and could now see! Fabrics (my mother sewed flawlessly) flowers (my mother gardens in large quantities) dirt, (yeah, she is a neat freak) etc. Her talents were my struggles. And then I felt so beaten down by my adulthood that all I could connect to was what my dad had to offer, RELIGION!!! So I continued to follow the religious crowd to college and got nowhere but with an abusive husband, 20 years of it. It was ahard fall, but I got back up, and there are years left to live!!


Hi Darlene
Thank you for sharing this with us. This is what I am talking about too. Some don’t even try is right!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Becki
My mother cries too.. and I think the crying is a very effective way to make me feel bad. (I have another post coming up about this ~ It is called “I never said I was perfect… or something along that line.. I didn’t do the title yet.) Crying is a great way to make someone “back off” and “get back in line”.
It is so important to talk about this stuff so we can heal from the damage it has caused. I didn’t even acknowledge the damage until well into adult hood. And the depressions etc. continued.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Oh, and junior high, my mother told me that I was stupid, didn’t have a brain, and couldnt’ learn. And to this day, my dad will make a point to tell me that I see just fine without glasses. Like it is his place to tell ME how I see!! He used to tell me about my chronic stomach aches growing up, “your stomach doesn’t hurt; you just think it does.” How would you expect your stomach to feel if your mother looked at you through every meal and yelled, “EAT” over and over, and kept you in a toddle high chair until you were 5? I couldn’t do anything right it seemed to me. I even got yelled at, when a toddler, when I pooped. She was “ashamed” of me, I heard over and over.


This is exactly what I am talking about! How the heck does a child cope with that kind of treatment?? THEY don’t because they CAN’T. This is the foundation of all other struggles that I have had and the only way that I overcame all of it was to look at it. SO when people tell me that my parents did the best they could, it is like they are saying once again that it is ME that has a problem. It offends people that I expose the truth this way, but this is about healing, this is about LIVING for the first time for so many of us. SOMEBODY has to talk about it.
When I think about how I used to envy other people who seemed to have such great mothers… I didn’t know that most of them had this same dysfunction! It looked all fine on the outside…. but MY family did too! Did you know that 80% of all adults in North America are on or have been on Anti Depressents? There is a reason for that! I’m talking about the reason. (in my opinion of course!)
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Oh yes, my DAD decided to cry and guilt trip me for moving out of their house after four months with my four children post divorce. So his “feelings” are more important than a mother in her 40’s living on her own with her four children? He didn’t know that my mother had punched me and lied about me to him, and that I had to get out. I can’t remember when he found this out, but I told him at some point. She obviously wasn’t going to bring it up. The only reason it would have “hurt” him is because of how it would look to his church group when prayer meetin’ time came!


And it is SO good finally recognize that a child CANNOT cope with abuse.


Joy, I don’t hate my mom either but I’m angry at the things she did and didn’t do. You aren’t inferior, Joy. You had inferior parenting.

Maybe I misunderstood your comment but I read it as your placing the blame on your mother instead of on yourself. I see that as a good thing.

I think when we express our anger appropriately that we are less likely to hate. I think hate is anger buried alive.



Hello Darlene. ### An excellent article. One of your best I believe so far as it addresses again amongst many other things the statements that are so often expressed by well meaning people with good intentions, but which in fact are Very Limiting, Hurtful and Damaging. Those type of statements are a large part of the denial arent they; the minimalisation used often and to regularly distract from admitting to, recognising and addressing the true nature of and the reality and the degree of abuse of a child (or adult when they finally speak about what happened; about what was done to them).

Honouring the parents always irrespective of what they have done to their children has been a large and fundamental part of all societies that I know of; the Honouring of your Father and Mother always, so therefore we are not supposed to speak ill of them or be critical of them or of how miserably they failed you as a child.

When those words are uttered, that ‘they did the best they could’ they automatically silence and diminish the/a victim in my opinion; meaning that whatever your parents may have done to you, their behaviour is excusable. When I hear them, to me that means the person saying those words does not want to really hear or know about what happened to you anyway. They rush to defend the parents to prevent you from speaking your truth, the truth; to silence you again and to try and part of doing that is to try and make you feel guilty for speaking il of your parents.

My mother did the best that she could from her perspective an enormous amount of the time, not mine, or that of most of my siblings. Her interests too often were about only her, about what was important to her, her image. She did once put me first for a brief time when I was three. My father and grandfather betrayed both of us and after that first sexual assault I was lost to both parents forever more; that there was never going to be a close relationship between us because of that gut wrenching, deeply hurtful first betrayal.


Kate, I have a void where mother should be also. I think I am my own mother now but I still remember all of those times when I needed a mom, reached for her, and found nothing there. If anything, she expected me to mother her and I also remember feelings of revulsion when she would come to me crying about her life and then I would feel guilty for how I felt. I didn’t understand that I was reacting to the inapropriate boundaries that my mom had

My parents didn’t go to church when I was little but they still used me for how they appeared in the community. I never took lessons in things that I was interested in but I was forced into 4H because my dad wanted to be in with a certain group of people. When he fell out with them, he always has new friends that don’t last for long,they pulled me out. None of it was for me. When a pedophile lured me away from home, they were ashamed and just let him have me. They wouldn’t allow me to drive a car at 16 but deciding to go live with a 28 year old man who I knew very little about and they knew nothing was okay and my decision so I should live with it. Now my mom tells me that I need to forgive him and bemoans the fact that everyone needs forgiveness. They are in church now and religion has taken the place of the bottle and they have a whole new language to abuse me with but nothing in their minds or hearts has changed.



Hello Darlene. ### An excellent article. One of your best I believe so far as it addresses again amongst many other things the statements that are so often expressed by well meaning people with probably good intentions, but which in fact are Very Limiting, Hurtful and Damaging. Those type of statements are a large part of the denial aren’t they; the minimalisation used often to regularly distract from admitting to, recognising and addressing the true nature of and the reality and the degree of abuse of a child (or adult when they finally speak about what happened; about what was done to them).

Honouring the parents always irrespective of what they have done to their children has been a large and fundamental part of all societies that I know of; the Honouring of your Father and Mother always, so therefore we are not supposed to speak ill of them or be critical of them or of how miserably they failed you as a child.

When those words are uttered, that ‘they did the best they could’ they automatically silence and diminish the/a victim in my opinion; meaning that whatever your parents may have done to you, their behaviour is somehow excusable. When I hear those words that means the person saying them does not want to really hear or know about what happened to you anyway. They rush to defend the parents to prevent you from speaking your truth, the truth; to silence you again. The words used are an attempt to shut you up and are expressed to try and make you feel guilty for speaking ill of your parents.

My mother did the best that she could from her perspective an enormous amount of the time, not mine, or that of most of my siblings. Her interests too often were about only her, about what was important to her, her image. She did once put me first for a brief time when I was three. My father and grandfather betrayed both of us and after that first sexual assault I was lost to both parents forever more; that there was never going to be a close relationship between us because of that gut wrenching, deeply hurtful first betrayal.


I prefer not to think of bad boundaries as being “well meaning”. What is none of their business, intruding into others’ business is not well meaning.


Hi Kathryn
Thanks for your compliment! This post was a hard one to write… the truth can still sting sometimes. I am a parent too, and that can be a trigger in itself ~ (as in, what if my kids feel this way about me!) I think a lot of parents don’t want to look at this topic because of that fear. My mothers mother was very dysfunctional. My mother stuck up for her.
Thank you for adding your voice to this too. This is exactly what I am communicating here.
Hugs, Darlene


Pam. I am the same. I am the mother of the little girl; the mother she should have had and didn’t. It enables me to speak up now and defend myself. Me becoming the mother I should have had will not allow anyone to abuse her again. I am still learning how to do this though and getting better at it day by day. (=8)

Well said!!!


“But my mother didn’t do her best. And the fact that she had fragile mental health or the fact that she came from a dysfunctional family and had abusive parents herself did not lessen any of the damage caused to me and that damage had to be faced. Emotional healing didn’t happen for me until I faced where I got broken in the first place. And although I can’t change the past, I can face it. I can stop lying to myself about it.”

Thanks for saying that. Sometimes I want to give her an excuse because of her background or her illness, but this gives me the okay to not give her an excuse, or to lessen my hurt, anyway. Your statement gives me the confidence to know that it’s okay to say that just because my mom was ill or had a bad childhood herself doesn’t mean that what she did didn’t hurt. I can say that it did hurt and it was damaging.

My mom has Borderline Personality Disorder. I’m only now beginning to see the effects of that illness on a person and I must say that it is very difficult to live with someone who has that disorder, especially a parent. My mom thought she did her best. I thought she did her best. I used to think the world of my mom, but not now. Now, I’ve begun to see her for what she really is. This is going to be a long comment, so I apologize in advance. Only in the last two weeks have I begun to see that things weren’t the way they should have been. My dad sexually abused me the first three years of my life. My sister has abused me verbally and physically off and on throughout my entire life. And now, I’ve begun to see that my mom was mentally, emotionally, verbally, and maybe even physically abusive. It’s a stunning realization to come to and I don’t know how to deal with the fact that there was not one person in my immediate family who loved me enough to protect me and not abuse me. I have asked and asked and asked people if the following things were abusive…and they all have said yes. I wanted so badly for someone to tell me that it’s not abusive and that it is just normal discipline, but no one has. I lived in such fear as a child…fear no child should be living in.

My mom used to spank me if I brought rocks home from the playground. I lived in such fear because of my dad and mom that if she told me that I was going to get spanked, I had to go to the bathroom first or I knew I’d wet my pants. One time, I must have said something, and she slapped me so hard that I fell back onto the floor and hit my head on the wall and wet my pants. Another time, her boyfriend was over. I must have been in anywhere from 3-5 grade. I was in my room and my sister kept coming in and bothering me. I just wanted her to leave me alone, but my mom told me I wasn’t allowed to shut my door. My sister kept coming into my room and bothering me, but my mom wouldn’t do anything about it. I finally pushed her out and shut my door, but her finger got caught in the door. She was screaming and crying, so my mom came to see what was wrong. When she saw my door shut, she opened it and came in and slapped me. I wet my pants. Even her boyfriend told her she should have let me shut my door.
At times, if I was being really bad or ‘out of control’, she would threaten to send me to live with my dad (despite the fact that he sexually abused me). I think she did that to be controlling, to get me to submit or cooperate. Other times she would say she was going to knock my teeth down my throat or beat the shit out of me.
I have a thing with rocks, and have since I can remember, so I would pick them up on the playground at school and bring them home in my backpack. One day in first grade, I brought home some rocks from the playground. I was taking a bath/shower after school and my mom was going through my backpack, which she did on occasion. She found the rocks and came and spanked me while I was in the bath. They were just rocks…I don’t see what was wrong with them.
I often took on the role of the parent while growing up. One time, we were at the circus and my sister had to go to the bathroom. There was an act getting ready to come on that I really wanted to see, but I was told to take my sister to the bathroom, instead. There were countless times I had to wipe my sister’s butt when I was growing up. It was always, “Mindy, take care of your sister.” “Mindy, take care of Molly.” But, who was taking care of me but me?
My mom used to call me her best friend. I think it started around middle school. We were in a counseling session one time together and my counselor heard her call me her best friend. When we were alone, my counselor told me I needed to tell my mom that I needed her to be my mom, not my friend. Later on, I told my mom that I needed her to be my mom, not my friend. She went off on me, saying, “Well, I’ll be your mom. I’ll do this, you’ll go to bed at 6 every night like I did, you’ll do that, and I’ll be just like my mom.” It scared me because I realized it was going to make my life hell, so I backed down and told her she could be my friend. But I just wanted a mom.
She’s always guilt tripped me and has been very manipulative. When she started dating the summer after my freshman year, I had a really hard time with it. It was partially the fact that he was sleeping in my house the week after I met him, and I was scared and couldn’t handle that because the last time a man slept in my house, he sexually abused me. My mom didn’t understand any of this, and I didn’t understand my problem enough to explain it to her, so it caused strife between us. He picked up on it, and apparently wanted to break up with her because he didn’t want to get in between my mom and I, which he was because she was letting him. The next day after he told her he wanted to break up with her, but didn’t, she told me about it and said that if he would have broken up with her, it would have been my fault and she never would have forgiven me.
There was one time, I was probably in middle school or something, and she had gotten these letter decoration things. One spelled peace, another spelled joy, and yet another spelled love (the three things we didn’t have in our family or house). The joy and peace ones were mounted onto a base, but the love letters were freestanding. They were very easily broken if they fell over and the v had broken and she wasn’t happy about it. One day, we were doing something on top of the shelf and she was already mad, frustrated, upset…which made me anxious and afraid and stuff (I always get anxious when someone is upset or mad or something like that). She told me to put something on the shelf or something like that and to do so required me to reach over the love letters. I did, but was already shaking and nervous and I accidentally bumped the l with my arm and it fell over and broke. She got so pissed that she came at me, so I moved far away, and she grabbed all of the letters and started throwing them on the floor, smashing and breaking them. She was yelling and screaming. I was so terrified…I’ve begun to realize how much fear I’ve lived in my entire life. I’m so angry with my mom right now that I really want nothing to do with her for a while. But, it’s hard to allow myself to not contact her because it means I’m alone. She was the one person who I thought was safe, but it turns out she’s not and wasn’t.


Kate, you make an excellent point. People who say things like that are not necessarly well meaning people are they. Often their intentions are malicious; are anything but well meaning.

Thanks for pointing that out.


Kate, You’re right,it isn’t well-meaning it is controling.

Kathryn, I protect myself now too. That is exactly what my mother would never do.


Mindy: My mom, too, has Borderline Personality Disorder and probably suffers from Narcissism, too, because everything has to be all about her. Yet, she calls me the self-centered one! BPD’s are the most difficult people to have relationships with and we, and I’m sure a lot others here, were RAISED by one! If your mom is like mine, she never believes she is wrong, blames you for everything and then calls you the crazy one. I have high anxiety and for a while needed sleeping pills to sleep. I’ve always had a nervous habit, like twisting my hair, etc. She acts ‘concerned’ by criticizing me and my ‘issues.’ She says I have worry line wrinkles in my forehead. I told her I’m almost 50, then she goes “I’m 78 and I don’t have worry lines!” How do I tell her she’s the one who probably put them there in the first place???!!! She criticizes the way I color my hair. She asks me why I can’t be more like my bubbly sister-in-law. She asks why I can’t sleep at night. She has NO CLUE I’m a nervous wreck because of her!! I’m done. I used to feel like a little girl who still needs her mommy, but I realized recently she’s NEVER been a real mom to me. I’ve just been someone she can abuse, manipulate, control… The light finally dawned on me. I’d be sadistic to allow her in my life again! I choose to give love those who appreciate it now, not throw it down the drain or give my heart to someone who will just shove it in a blender and push frappe.



My son collects rocks, too. He is majoring in geology. I just packed some of the beautiful rocks he collected from a unique area of our country. I am going to display them in our home.

Your comment: “I had a really hard time with it. It was partially the fact that he was sleeping in my house the week after I met him, and I was scared and couldn’t handle that because the last time a man slept in my house, he sexually abused me. My mom didn’t understand any of this…”
made me think how I have learned to observe those that abuse me…like my ex, he would listen VERY closely and use everything I said against me and for himself in some way…when I told my parents that I couldn’t see up and finally got it corrected after age 40, they still maintain that my eyesight is fine, I notice that these people always “err” in their own favor, never in mine


Hi Mindy
Don’t worry about the length of comments. Part of the process of recovery is “getting it out”. Once it is OUT we can look at it and when we can look at it, we can see the truth for what it is and for me it was that truth that set me free. The abuse you are sharing here is not normal at all. Even the verbal stuff is really horrific ~ that she threatened to send you away to live with your sexually abusive father as a control tactic. (I wrote a blog post somewhere in this site about my mother constantly threatening to send me to live with my father.. but I asked him if I could come and he said no… ouch and I think my mother knew that so when her threat backfired, she threw it in my face to remind me that he said no) MEAN. My mother is mean. But I am free now. I got really strong in spite of her efforts to keep me down.
Thanks for sharing. Welcome to EFB and I am really glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


Oh my gosh Darlene. These words “I did the best I can” are such an issue for me. While my father would use them (my mother had been gone since I was like 8. long story) but my father would use these words to brush off my confrontations about his behavior, his constantly pawing my behind and groping my breasts…not to mention all the stuff I didn’t remember until after he’d been dead 10 years…yet when I was struggling in the drugged stupor after being told my brain was broken and being given enough drugs to stop a mac truck….I remember holding myself up on the kitchen counter because I couldn’t stand up straight..through the drugged veil that took my ability to think, feel or rationalize anything….telling him I was doing the best I could.

His response? “It isn’t enough Susie. You have to do better, try harder”. And he was MAD at me and walked out along with my self righteous sister who usurped my authority with my children and beat me down verbally for saying “THANK YOU” when she housed us after my house went into foreclosure and I lost my job because I could no longer work because the drugs had completely disabled me and made me non functioning.

Imagine that. Even if I WAS “sick” – which I wasn’t, I was drugged out of my mind…my “sister” screaming at me and telling me “you are not (appreciative)” of all SHE had “done for me” that I had never asked her to do but accepted because I felt so powerless and at the time was incapable of doing for myself in that drugged state. This sister was also my surrogate mother when my own mother was to busy to be bothered with me as an infant/small child. She is actually old enough to have been my mother so you see the conflict I had there.

My sister/my mother and my mother and father….treating me since I was tiny and the first memories I have…treating me like that and screaming at me to the point that I couldn’t move, was afraid to breath or speak. The perfect victim for all the pedophiles and abuse that would come later. Grooming perfected.

He did not do the best he could. He was a wimp and excuse me….a fricking perverted bastard.

Ugh. This stuff – even I have struggled with believing what my life was like. So it was easy for me to put it all away because no one else believed it either. So grateful for this safe haven and forum Darlene.


word weapons,
my sister and parents were a gang against me when I was single with children as well. What a nightmare. Talk about feeling like I would never get anywhere with my life. But during that time, I never gave up. I had my own support. I just kept going with my kids. I found a letter my dad wrote or tried to write to his beloved elders of his church thanking them for all that they had done for me. Only problem with that was that I never knew they had done anything. Very small town. Very awkward. Sounds to me like his church donated money that I never knew about.
Mt sister screamed at me to get out of her house when I asked her to look at the porn on their computers so my kids wouldn’t see it. Then she got our parents to believe her side of the story and I was told to write an apology to a man that is “far too fine of a Christian to have porn on his puter.” I wrote, not apology, but what I should have said to them long ago. She has abused me all our adult lives, and our parents do nothing to stop her. It is hell. I stay as far away as possible. When I look back at what I’ve been through, it is mind boggling. It is absolutely horrible, from my experience, to be an adult and have your prior abusers have to come to your rescue!!

My dad told me for years to stay with my abusive ex, (and the church certainly didn’t “allow” divorce, not that it was any of THEIR business) and then when I finally divorced (after having been treated-not diagnosed-for std’s four times over the years)my father’s words to me? You have to admit your part in staying with him for so long and going along with what he did!! Yeah, I think he was really talking about himself, though. I have to now admit my part in “staying” with my dad in thought, word, and deed! No, I don’t need you to tell me how to run my life, if I can divorce or not, etc.

I remember realizing, when I was less than ten, that my mother spanked me every day of my life. So, I can imagine that if I brought rocks home, I would have been spanked. I never knew what reason she would use to get angry and spannk me, but I am sure that she felt the need to do it daily. Yelling style.


Geez Kate; sounds really familiar. My dad was great at playing the martyr. He had the entire family and people I’d never met believing he was victim to my selfish brattiness especially when other men in the community would mess with me. Also small town. One of the local bartenders told me when I was about 12 or maybe 13 that my dad had been in and he was sorry but he’d called me a whore. 13. How does a 13 year old become a whore? Thats the role I was given as a little kid.

We sure have a lot in common. My dad also told me to stay with my abusive ex. And told me that I was being “too hard on him”. I stayed another 8 years after that. Mom? I can still see her, me and my little sister the day she bitch slapped me to the floor and screamed at me for arguing with my little sister.

Yes. The yelling style does a lot of damage. There were times I was hit physically but what I remember the most is the yelling. And being afraid. All the time.

I’m so sorry you had to deal with all of that Kate. It is so wrong and it so sucks. Its hard to over ride all that comes with that kind of abuse but in the end it is very much worth the effort. Its just so sad that this is our reality. Yet its really great that we are able to talk about it and get beyond it.

Grieving and letting go was a huge part of the journey for me.

I”m glad youre here and talking about it Kate. And thanks for listening to me:)



I am so so emotional this week it takes me longer to respond.. am really hitting some raw nerves. I am so confused as i have been taught never to blame anyone for anything . .and so hearing i can is not normal for me though i know its ok . i am so lost as i have all my recordings tapes all tied together in one big mess inside my head..


Thank you Darlene! I have been in both places feeling that my parents did the best they could and then not believing they did the best they could. What I have come to realize is there is so much more information available to us now that was not available to my parents. Does that mean they get a free pass and I don’t hold them accountable for their actions? No, I hold them accountable and I am not comfortable being around them. I think about my daughter and I didn’t abuse her in the way I was abused but, I was limited in loving her because of my wounds and my negative beliefs that I was not consciously aware of at the time. I make amends about this to her when I feel inspired. For me now it is more about what my parents fail to do today with the information that is being given to them. That is why their is the distance between us yet, I have given up the need to punish them for punishing me. That released a
lot of freedom for me.


As for you being taught not to blame, that is a one-way teaching, or brainwashing. It doesn’t apply to them. They blame poenty on you??
where ever there is action, there is responsibility for the action.


thanks for your words. The yelling is the thing that feels like it reaches anywhere, anytime. That feeling.

I knew when my dad said that I had to admit my part in staying with the ex and going along with his activities that THAT would be the LAST time I was ever alone with my dad. And it was.


Joy,I’m sad that you are having such a tough time. It will get better. It is more than okay to blame people for the things THEY did. My family always twisted that around on me too.



This hits right on the spot again. I posted the link on my facebook wall and then used the title as my status. And my oldest sister left a lenghty comment on it. I’m going to share what she said because I don’t know how to respond. Any suggestions are more than welcome.
From R.*
Kia, Please! So……do you think its just an excuse for me to say that I really truely am doing the best that I know with my kids?? Its not an excuse because ITS true! I can’t do or be something I don’t know anything about! Seriously Kia, My kids will have plenty to be angry and hurt from things I said or did (they already do) But I just hope that Gods grace and forgiveness in their life wil be able to be extended to me. I hope that they will be able to love me and forgive me in spite of the hurt and pain I’ve knowingly (yes I said knowingly) and UNknowingly caused them.

I am really sorry if I made you mad. I just wish you could see that bitterness and hurt are eating you and everyone around you alive. Jesus is the only one who can and will take the pain away You can’t use your parents as a crutch for your feelings anymore. They are your responsibily and yours alone!

Do You believe that GOD EXTENDED his love and mercy to YOU? If you do then HOW can You not extend it to others? What did you do to deserve His (Gods) mercy and forgiveness? Nothing! Many people have wronged me and hurt me but I have learned that bitterness, anger, hurt and unforgiveness can eat you alive. I have also learned that letting go of all of those things does not come by feelings changing but choosing to let go and forgive. Forgiveness IS NOT A FEELING (we get) BUT A CHOICE.(we make) Forgiveness is NEVER for the person who wronged you but for yourself. Ever heard of that before? We also can’t wait for them to ask us forgiveness first……thats why forgiveness is not for them but for you because they may never ask you for it. Forgiving others without them asking for it is freedom for you!! Also unforgiveness an not letting go bind you to that person……..Ack!!! Heaven forbid!!

Don’t hold Gods grace and forgiveness to your self BUT extend it to others!!!

I DO LOVE YOU KIA and I hope you can forgive me. ( I am NOT attacking you AT ALL……I am just shaing my feelings)

*names changed.
what do I say? I don’t believe that Kent did the best he could. He sat and had a triumphant grin while the minister tore me apart and accused me of things I never did. He said we could go to a wedding then changed his mind. And he knows what he did. He hemmed and hawed around trying to tell us we could not go. He put me down, to my face and behind my back. That is love? Yet, he did the best he could – not. The best for whom exactly? His ruputation with the church? maybe. Me? not at all. I believe that phase, “they did the best they could” is a way to excuse the abuse and I don’t fall for it.


Don’t you hate it when it seems like these words just roll out of their mouths faster than you can think? And your or my own words? They come slowly over time, with effort. We don’t talk on the same pace or even think on the same pace, for one thing.

Why do think (what are their support groups, churches, etc.? who teach them how to think?) that they can just repeat the same old stuff at you no matter what you say and that we all just agree that what they said actually applies to what you just said, AND that it is better than what you just said?? This is just major boundary crossing and disregard for others.


And likely, I fear, that so often, these pet phrases which we are all not MYOB minding their own business!


Kia, your post made me furious. First of all, I automatically get my back up when anyone tries to beat me over the head with God’s love. Demonstrate it, or shut up about it. If you have to force it on me, then it’s not as obvious to me as it is to you, and no amount of words is going to make it so. Sorry if I’m offending any evangelicals out there, but actions speak so much louder, as we’ve discussed endlessly in this blog.

I agree that forgiveness is a choice and is not earned (as I read once, if we deserved it, it would not be forgiveness, but justice). However, “I did the best I can” does not show contrition or even desire for forgiveness. It evades responsibility. Also, how can you forgive something you’re not even allowed to acknowledge occurred???

If I can’t be real about what happened to me for fear of offending my abuser, then how can I ever forgive it??? I’ll just go on punishing myself for daring to be hurt and bewildered instead of putting my anger (then my forgiveness) where it belongs. It has taken me a very long time, but I finally realize that I need to feel what I feel before I can transcend it. Because if I don’t, it becomes just another way to repress my emotions.

Sorry, Kia, I’m not shouting at you. I’m reacting to your sister’s words. 🙂 Hugs to you!


YES! Love that! It always feels bad when others are minding your business instead of their own. And we can feel the difference, no matter what words are used. Miding other peoples’ business feels terrible to the ones being offended.


When it is ever enough to just say to the person, “If I wanted to talk to you about that, I would let you know.” or “This is none of your business.”


Kate, thank you. Yes, I hate it. I really hate it. That is sooooo out of place. Why would anyone just say all these things. I really think that she is in denial about what happened.
Lisa, “However, “I did the best I can” does not show contrition or even desire for forgiveness. It evades responsibility.” Exactly!!!! Yes!! We have said all that you said. It gets kinda confusing.
I get soooo frustrated with all the people who say all these things. And that is love. No wonder I close myself off from love.


@ Kate

I lived my whole life around that faith system. I was not merely doing routine. I believed . it was in every ounce of my being. and then to have all the lies being exposed. I am so so weak from tears.. I just don’t understand how they can lie to so so many. I am just one of how many embraced that way.

Once I believe something, I make it my life. so taking out all that old stuff.. telling me inner self ..this was all lies.. it’s traumatic..leaves me breathless. I have followed a lie all my life. .thinking it was the way.. i have been so so blind..

Blaming ..not taking responsability.. was a big bad sin. .double sin. . .I am afraid even . blaming was very badly punished.. yet I know it’s not me .it can’t be . .I did all I was told.

I was a little kid now am an adult with my little girl still governing . I am so stuck…


@ Pam

I hear everyone sayings its ok. my mind is trying to make it part of me. but it’s hard.. pushing all that stuff aside that has been told me. . i was the cause of the family problems because i was born and wasnt suppose to be. it’s so crazy . to think one little child could do so much damage.. It’s what they say.. I know it can’t possibly be but they believe it.. its me the bad one.



Hi Stacy!
Excellent feedback! This is exactly what I am talking about. When I first went back to school I wanted to be a parenting coach for parents with teens. I have a huge passion for this subject. But through working in mental health for 3 years I quickly realized that parents are children who were badly… hurt, so I realized that the real key is to help the parents resolve that hurt so that then they would become better parents; by understanding themselves as children, they could understand children better… (sounds complicated!! but it worked for me!)
Thanks so much for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Susan KS
“After all I have done for you” is another one of those sayings I could write a blog post on one of these days… the obligation involved with “love” makes me sick. I don’t buy it anymore. I took a good look at what “the all” was. That was part of my truth seeking while I sorted all this out.
LOVE your comments Susan. Love the “energy” you express here. These kinds of comments really empower others and give permission for us to see and realize we are not the only ones this happened to and that what happened to us was wrong.
Thanks! Darlene


Hi Kia
Thanks for sharing this! Such a typical reaction from a family member. First of all, I think that when people say they unknowingly caused pain they are not talking about what I am talking about. They seem to block that stuff out. I have caused my kids some issues too, but I didn’t beat them, I didn’t put them in dangerous situations… I didn’t go out to bars picking up men with my 17 year old daughter. And secondly, the God card…… well I could write a blog post about the way that card is used to throw the whole issue off the track. “Forgiveness is a choice” is also a tactical statement. I personally think it is very linked to guilt and shame stuff. It always made me feel BAD when someone brought that up… like I was deficient in my “faith” because I was “upset” about the past. The whole forgiveness lecture… which I don’t buy at all anymore. Forgiveness came for me as a result of facing the truth about this stuff… not by any choice I made.
And yes… “they did the best they could” is used to excuse.
Thanks again for sharing this…
Hugs, Darlene

Lisa B.
EXCELLENT Feedback! I love this!
Lisa said ” I automatically get my back up when anyone tries to beat me over the head with God’s love. Demonstrate it, or shut up about it. If you have to force it on me, then it’s not as obvious to me as it is to you, and no amount of words is going to make it so.”

~This is what I believe and this is how I try to live my life. As an example of Gods love. I love how you put it! AND I love the rest of your comments so much that I am going to repost them!!

Lisa Said:
I automatically get my back up when anyone tries to beat me over the head with God’s love. Demonstrate it, or shut up about it. If you have to force it on me, then it’s not as obvious to me as it is to you, and no amount of words is going to make it so. Sorry if I’m offending any evangelicals out there, but actions speak so much louder, as we’ve discussed endlessly in this blog.

I agree that forgiveness is a choice and is not earned (as I read once, if we deserved it, it would not be forgiveness, but justice). However, “I did the best I can” does not show contrition or even desire for forgiveness. It evades responsibility. Also, how can you forgive something you’re not even allowed to acknowledge occurred???

If I can’t be real about what happened to me for fear of offending my abuser, then how can I ever forgive it??? I’ll just go on punishing myself for daring to be hurt and bewildered instead of putting my anger (then my forgiveness) where it belongs. It has taken me a very long time, but I finally realize that I need to feel what I feel before I can transcend it. Because if I don’t, it becomes just another way to repress my emotions.”

Hugs everyone! Lisa I am very proud of you and excited for the breakthrough you are having!
Love Darlene


Thanks, Darlene! I think that earthquake mighta shook some sense into me! :))


Joy, I know it’s hard. It took me fifty years to start taking the blame off of myself and putting it where it belonged. I wrote a letter to my mom and sent copies to my siblings. It was the first time that I called what happened to me as a teenager sexual abuse. It was the first time I talked about my parent’s role in that happening to me. I gave the letter to my mom, went home and shivered under a blanket for hours. I never heard any reply from any of them. Just silence and then they wanted to go on as if nothing had ever happened. That’s because it didn’t happen to them and they didn’t care. That was a major, what Darelene calls, truth leak. It was hard to face the fact that anything horrible could happen to me and as long as it didn’t rub off on them then to them nothing happened. The last five years have been hard but also very good. The struggle is worth it. Someday, it will feel totally natural to lay the blame at the door step where it belongs and you’ll have no guilt what-so-ever in doing it. Those old tapes will be rewound and re-recorded over with a new, healthy way for you to view yourself and others. It will happen in its own time.



The God talk with demands of forgiveness is all wrong. If one wants forgivness it has to begin with remorse for the wrong that was done and should start with the words “I’m sorry” for specific injuries. When people demand forgiveness and make the injured party feel deficient they don’t really want forgiveness. They want the injured party to let it slide.


Not all Evangelicals use God as a club to make someone do what they want. In fact, I would say that most do not. People of faith are just as varied as any other group of people. If we are hurt by a person who claims the name of Jesus, we shouldn’t turn to hating all christians anymore than if we are hurt by a person of a certain skin color does it make it excusable to become racist. Predjudice is predjudice and it is wrong. It is also possible to be just as spiritually abused by an atheist or agnostic as a christian. I know because it happens to me all of the time.

I’m sorry but since we are discussing abuse, I couldn’t let this pass. I don’t like it when people use God to abuse and I don’t like it when people use an abusive christian to slam all christians or christians of a certain denomination. I’m hoping this isn’t what you intended, Lisa. I agree with everything else that you said.

I do believe that forgivness is an important part of healing but it comes in its own time. I have tried to choose it and been able to get past one layer of injury when later another layer emmerges and I have to find my way to forgiveness all over again. Forgiving someone also doesn’t mean I will have a relationship with someone who never acknowledges how they have hurt me.


I don’t believe I mentioned Christians at all. I certainly didn’t “slam” them. Evangelicals the way I meant it exist in all faiths. Those who quote the bible (or any other holy book) to justify their own bad behavior or to point out mine, but do not practice what they preach. (If there is a Christian denomination called “evangelicals” I did not know that. I know people who evangelize who are Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Lutherans, etc. I’ve also known a few who love to “evangelize” agnosticism, such as it is.) I know many wonderful people of faith (in all religions) and they are people that live the word of God, not just talk about it. One of my favorite quotes speaks to what I’m saying here: “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” If I can’t tell you’re a person of faith by the way you behave, no amount of words are going to convince me. That kind of hypocrisy is everywhere. Certainly not in any one religion.


One other thing, Pam, you said, “If we are hurt by a person who claims the name of Jesus, we shouldn’t turn to hating all christians anymore than if we are hurt by a person of a certain skin color does it make it excusable to become racist.” In no way did I say I “hated” anyone. I do hate the behavior. And I won’t apologize for hating the behavior.


Ok, now I’m doubting myself. Am I really, as my sister says, bitter? Duh, I’m hurt, but bitter? If i am don’t I need to be able to feel that and take care of it to move on?


It is “normal” to have those self doubts ~ I still get them sometimes! I look at my motive for what I am doing/saying. Am I standing up for myself to hurt anyone? Or am I trying to heal? I look at that stuff when I have self doubts. Accusing you of being bitter is just a way to get you to focus on YOU again instead of on the injustice towards you. This is about her, not about you. And yes, if you are bitter or any other emotion, the only way that I was able to move on was to face the emotion and try not to discount it. There is nothing wrong with feelings.
Hugs, Darlene


Lisa, I’m sorry if I was being oversensitive. Evangelical describes the way person views the Bible. There are evangelical Baptists, Methodists, Charasmatics, and many Community non-denominational churches are Evangelical. Evangelicals are very diverse and not given to any over-riding bad behavior. Being evangelical doesn’t mean a person is abusive.

I agree that there is a difference between people who are sincere in their faith as opposed to people who use it as a tool to control others or brow-beat others. I condemn that kind of behavior also. However, it does seem that people commonly lump all Christians together and critisize them as a group when they wouldn’t dare do so of any other group. I often, as a Christian, am made to feel that if I don’t just quietly endure ridicule (and I’m not saying that you were ridiculing)then I’m not being a very good Christian. I am often treated as if I am mentally inferior because of my faith. I see Christian politicians questioned by interviewers in such a way that would never be tolerated if the person were not Christian. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be involved in politics because of my faith. I’ve had psychologists and psychiatrists view me with suspicion because of my faith. The list goes on and on.

I’m not dumping all of this on you. I had no problem with what you were saying until you apologized to Evangelicals as if all Evangelicals would condone using God as a club or manipulative tool. I just want people to understand that it cuts both ways. I think that much of it comes from ignorance but the only way to end ignorance is to speak up against it. I’m not angry with you. I was hurt and felt lumped in with people that I have nothing in common with other than possibly, the label, Evangelical. Labels don’t apply to people very well and about all they are good for is hurting people. I’m not fishing for an apology, I just want to enlighten.

I used race because at 14, I was raped by a Latino. It was hard for me to get over my fear of Latino men but I did. I’m glad that I fought it because there are a lot of Latino men who are good people. There are also a lot of Evangelicals that are good people.

Now I’ll hush and I’m happy to drop the subject.



Hi Pam
I took this whole thing a different way and I have to disagree that only Christians are targeted. I think lawyers and politicians are targeted this way, I think Jewish people are targeted this way. sometimes “rich people” or “poor people” are targeted that way. I don’t think that blanket judgement is unique to Christians at all. I also think that abuse is everywhere and in all organizations, institutions, sports teams, dance teams; blacks, gays and lesbians… well you get the picture and when we talk about it, everyone is sensitive. But there is no individual group being trashed here. I think because we are talking about abuse, we need to allow people the freedom to express themselves in whatever ways they need to for the sake of recovery. There are bad people everywhere and in everything. If someone actually said “dang Christians” or something like that, I wouldn’t blame you for being upset, but the generalization comes from their pain. I talk about all sorts of things here, my parents, my teachers, therapists, siblings… “men” I don’t mean “all of those people are abusive”. I am not using the generalization as a “club” And also, I never knew the term “evangelical” meant what you just said, and I formally studied greek and hebrew word origins for 8 years… I am no slouch when it comes to bible study stuff… so I doubt that everyone knows the meaning of that word. I don’t think that Lisa meant it as a “label” but rather as a term. I took what Lisa said as an after thought “expression” for lack of a better word.. but even if she had said “Christian” I would not have understood why it was wrong for her to say it. I don’t think the people here are lumping anyone in with anyone. We are all just trying to move forward with our growth. I hope this makes sense!
I am glad that you posted Pam. I am all for working things out and I think misunderstanding can be on both sides.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I’m not a lawyer,gay,or a member of any other group that you mentioned. I do go to an Evangelical church and I chose that church because of the how open the movement is to individual points of view. I don’t bag on any group. I always try to take each person as they are indiviudally. I spoke out because I didn’t think Lisa knew what an Evangelical is. Ignorance is the heart of predjudice. I listened as the news media portrayed the terroist in Norway as a “fundamental christian” and that was the height of ignorance. I am not a fundamental christian but I know many of them and none of them think they are a Templar knight and none of them are murderers. This kind of ignorance is dangerous. It is the kind of ignorance that led to the haloucast.

I have faced a lot of predjudice because of my faith and I guess I was speaking out about my pain too. I have been hurt and yes, spiritually abused by non-christians. I don’t want to hurt anyone but only make them think before they apply a blanket statement to any one group of people. I don’t expect anyone to be reprimanded or squelched in any way. I’ve had my say on the matter and I’m content with that. I don’t have hard feelings but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel singled out. I can’t help how I feel. All I can do is express it and move on.

You make sense and I hope I do too.



I understand why you shared your feelings and that you felt singled out, but what I am saying is that you weren’t singled out. (or I couldn’t figure out where or why you thought you were) I wrote what I wrote because I felt like you were singling out Lisa. I didn’t think that she was saying anything related to what you were feeling she shared. It is fine if you feel like sharing about your pain, but I thought you were accusing Lisa of causing that pain. I guess I got defensive too! I felt like you were suggesting that people “here” are attacking you and I didn’t see where that was being stated. If I misunderstood you, I am very sorry.
Hugs, Darlene


I always wondered why my parents couldn’t see my obvious needs. Now looking back, I see that their loyalties were elsewhere. The hidden and not so hidden loyalties that are so much easier to maintain, loyalties to heros, groups, media, fantases of all types stood in the way of seeing their own child as a real person with real needs.


Darlene, Lisa, I’m going to write this and then read your comment, Darlene. I have my triggers too and though I don’t react with rages they still can set me on a path of sabotaging relationships. I was triggered yesterday and I was up all night with flash-backs. My son, my family, my pastor and his family, and a friend and her family were subject to a severe form of spiritual abuse. We were targeted by a group of Satanists, five covens of 12 mostly young men and a few women. We were targeted for no other reason than we were Christian. I can’t tell the whole story, it would take a book but these people made our lives a horror movie and I feel blessed that we were able to keep my son alive. There were four murders (that were proven and others that were suspected)and one of them was the son of my friend. He and another young man were decapitated with a medieval type sword. Another young man was beaten with a shovel and thrown off of a cliff and a young woman was raped and beaten to death with a shovel.These covens targeted teenagers and formed what they called a “brooder” coven. The young girls, 14-16, were all impregnated. They had control of my son’s mind in a way that I can’t describe, it reminded me of Manson. He was 16 and these people would decend upon my house and take over…my husband and I weren’t able to protect our son the way he needed to be protected. I still don’t know what else we could have done but it wasn’t enough. We did the best we could…my son is alive but still, over a decade later, he suffers from the experience as he was led to do things against his conscience. He hasn’t fully forgiven me for not being able to save him. There is so much more than I can possibly write. It happened in the late ninties and I’ve pushed it far to the back of my mind because it is still so painful and I feel like such a failure as a mom. This has been building during this whole conversation about spiritual abuse and I’m sorry for losing my self-awareness and not realizing that I was being triggered. I still think it is wrong to broad brush any group of people but, Lisa your remark didn’t cause the full weight of my pain and I’m sorry for laying that on you.

I’m a basket case this morning as I want my sons forgiveness and wholeness so badly. Again I’m sorry for losing my self awareness and laying my pain on people who didn’t cause it.



My parents probably DID do the best they could, as far as repeating what they were taught, and believed, in raising us. I struggle all the time with this concept when trying to find closure.

But they used the kids as their testament to the world that tey were ‘ok’, and of course I as a kid failed at that. When I was seen as a failure my mother saw that as her failure, and shame and it was a source for her martyrdom to the end of her life.

I know I was not anywhere near the perfect mother. I too, used my child to be seen as ‘ok’, and she suffered for that. I don’t really know how to get past that. I can work on forgiving myself, but can I forgive myself for my failures as a parent, and not forgive my parents?

This is a huge sticking point for me.Peace of mind and closure has been hard and slow.


Wow, I am so sorry and it just makes me cry. I cannot imagine such tragedy, but have experiences bits and pieces of what you describe. Thank you for sharing what you could.


I love this question:

“I can work on forgiving myself, but can I forgive myself for my failures as a parent, and not forgive my parents?”

That may be the only thing you can do. You know yourself in a way that you do not know your parents. So it makes sense.!/notes/maribeth-wright-curry/the-forgiveness-fallacy/10150271044977762

I really liked the article on this subject.


Hi Pam
Thank you for explaining! I certainly understand. Wow, what a nightmare! I am speechless. Thank you for sharing what happened to you and your family. This is horrifically severe abuse.
I understand your feelings and your pain so much better now. I am stunned at the depth of evil that some of us have had to live through.
Thank you so much for sharing this.
Love and Hugs, Darlene


I was stuck there too. I have to remember that it isn’t about blame, it is about acknowledging the damage in order to heal from it. It doesn’t really matter if they did their best or not, as much as if there was damage, that we validate ourselves in order to heal from it. I was caught in the spin of guilt and denial and protecting my parents; feeling like I had no right to say there was damage.

As far as my own children go there is a difference there too. I am willing to say that I caused damage with my funky belief system. I have expressed my regret and spend my life modeling a better way to parent and modelling healthy relationship as I know it today. (and I continue to learn) My kids all talk to me often. We talk about what they want or need to talk about. I am making living amends. I did not do the depth of damage that my parents did at all and there are no “cover ups” like my mother did with me. There is a difference yes, but if my mother was willing to look at what she did, instead of her denial and continuous blaming it on me, we might be able to have a real relationship based on truth, like I have with my kids now. But she is not interested in that. And I am not going back to victim again.

Hugs, Darlene


Darelene and Kate, Thanks for understanding and again I’m sorry for losing my self awareness yesterday. That hasn’t happened to me in a long time.



You know, I am really impressed with everything that has been shared ~ I do accept your apology, although I don’t even think it is necessary. I am not concerned with you losing self awareness at all; not many people would have the maturity and guts to come back and explain that kind of thing ~ how deep it goes and how horrific it was. But because you did that, it all makes sense now. I know you are not making excuses, you are modeling REAL relationship! Real Truth and wholeness. None of us is perfect but it is the willingness to “go there” that sets us apart. It is the willingness to keep looking at ourselves, to keep validating our own humanness, that is wholeness. Looking through the grid of truth for me is in all areas of my life. I often feel like a failure as a mother. That seems to go with the territory. Sometimes I feel totally ill equipped to BE a mother, I didn’t have the best role model… but I keep going. I keep striving, I keep looking at the truth, and apply it to my life. I keep looking at my belief system to see what still needs to be tweaked. That is what makes me who I am.
I feel honoured to have a relationship with you Pam. You are amazing. It is special to have had this exchange here on my blog and to have this example of health. Thank you so much.
Hugs, Darlene



As Darlene said, ” if my mother was willing to look at what she did, instead of her denial and continuous blaming it on me, we might be able to have a real relationship based on truth, like I have with my kids now. But she is not interested in that. And I am not going back to victim again. ”

In the above article on forgiveness, THIS is the essence of forgiveness. Separating yourself from harmful behavior and NOT being like the abusers.


Pam, I am so sorry that you have had such a hard time and such cruel persecution for your faith. I am sorry that what I said triggered all of that for you.


That’s okay, Lisa. I’m really sorry for dumping it all on you. I haven’t thought about it much recently and the whole time we’ve been discussing spiritual abuse, I have been bugged. It all came to a head yesterday and it really wasn’t even until I laid down last night and all those memories came flooding in that I realized what was really wrong. I have a lot of bad feelings about what I could have done differently and part of that is fighting harder, standing up for myself and not thinking that because I’m a Christian, I have to take that kind of stuff. Sorry, that I chose to stand up for myself with you…I really thought I was past this kind of behavior but some wounds can’t be talked away. Thanks for not being mad at me.



Kate, what you said is so true. I forgive my parents but if they never acknowledge any wrong doing, I can’t continue in a relationship with them. They have to apply my forgiveness. I can’t do it for them and our relationship can’t be healed if they don’t do their part.

I had to respond to that but I’m pooped and I think I’ll take a break for a few days. Love to you all.



a nice break with whatever makes you feel removed and in your own space! Enjoy!


I still have a hard time seeing myself in any other way than my family does- the selfish brat who wants everything her way. That made me a great family scapegoat. And if anyone ever asked why I was so unhappy, ‘well I have to work a lot’ was all I could really think of right off the bat but that was not the root cause at all. If my family treated me well I would have had no problem working hard with them, not for them. I related so much to this post, wishing you healing from the hurt. That was not the best any of them could do. They could do better.


Hi Annette,
It is hard and it takes time to see ourselves differently than the way we have been trained to see ourselves. For me it was in the persistence of pursuing the “truth” that I was able to change my self view. I no longer have that hurt. I have overcome and I am free today!
Please share often
Hugs, Darlene


I do not, in any way, feel that they did the best that they could. Rather, I like to look at it as: They did what they did. Clarity here is important. They did what they did, and I was affected by it/damaged by it/hurt by it, but it is not and was not ME; it is and was them.

I believe that KNOWING the truth about this is imperative, and having others (social support) knowing and seeing (and validating) the truth is also extremely important. Regarding the abusers and others who deny what happened, minimizes it, makes it all about that we are the bad guys–this, again, is as it is. In denying the truth, and in saying that we somehow caused it, or are “bad”, or that there is something wrong with us–is certainly not doing the best that they can.

I believe that the best (and that it is available to any of us) is in seeing and knowing the truth about what happened (the real, raw ugly truth, as it is), and in seeing the damage caused by it. Anything short of this, in my humble opinion, is not “doing their best.”


Hi Katie Lee
Well put! Love your comments, thank you!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone
I switched gears in order to come at this from a bit of a different angle. I wrote a post about bullies and bullying. This is another area of abuse where the kids are blamed and the kids are being encouraged to “fix it” or find the solution for it. Like in all abuse, society thinks that the kids are to blame so the kids need to learn better behaviour. I think that the adults model this bullying behaviour in the first place, and that we need to look at that if we are going to get to the root of the bullying problem.
You can read the post here : Bullies and Bullying; Where the bullying really starts


reading this has given me so much perspective in that statement “My Parents did the Best they Could According to Who”

my heart goes out to children we all were…to all of us who ever heard from our parents “i did the best i could considering what i had to work with” i did the best i could considering u didnt come with a manual” “i did the best i could even though u did everything u could to get under my skin”

ive learned that its best to hold urself accountable, even with ur kids…if u want them to be a good, loving, fair adults when they grow up then it starts with the person looking back at u in the mirror


I have just spent the last hour and a half reading these comments…. 130+ comments, in one sitting…. and I am overwhelmed. What an amazing community of survivors this is!

Katie Lee…. I am speechless. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the very kind words you said about me. I needed that…. it’s been a rough couple of months. Three months, actually. A really rough 3 months. That’s why I haven’t been here, reading and commenting. I’ve been hurting, but also growing and learning, through this painful time. Learning a LOT, learning some very hard, but very important, lessons.

Every single comment that I’ve read here, brought SOMETHING to my mind, something I wanted to share in response….. but there’s so much, there’s no way I can do that right now. It’s almost 3 in the morning my time, and I should be asleep.

But I just had to say, before I shut the computer down and go to bed, a great big thank you to Katie Lee, and WOW do I ever relate to so much of your life. I think it’s AWESOME that you are about to turn 50! That was when my life REALLY began to be worth living, around the time I turned 50. Even though there’s been some serious ups and downs, during these past 8 years since my Big 5-0, because life stuff will always still be happening, we aren’t in heaven yet~ Still, all things considered, these past 8 years have been by far the BEST years of my life, So Far. And that’s all because, 8 years ago, I began to heal, at long last, from the horrible wounds of my childhood. I didn’t even KNOW, until 8 years ago, that the problem wasn’t just ME being born all wrong, the problem was my horrible abusive childhood, a childhood that BROKE me, by destroying my self-esteem…. and having no self-esteem, crippled me in every area and every endeavor of my life. My childhood traumas broke me down so completely, that MY best, was pretty darn lousy, until I finally began to heal from my shattered brokenness.

Pam… wow. How you worked through being triggered by the “evangelical” comment… that was a beautiful thing to behold. The horrors that happened to you and others in your family, I’ve experienced some of that, in years past. It is very real, the spiritual battle between light and darkness, and there is a light that is a false light, too, the wolves in sheep’s clothing. That has been my experience, anyway. Some parts of my life could be made into a real-life horror movie, and not be exaggerated one bit. It sounds like the same is true of you, Pam.

I have so much more I want to address in these many wonderful, moving, deep, poignant, heartfelt comments, but I am very tired and probably not making a lot of sense right now, so I will shut down the computer and go to bed and come back to this another time.

Love to all of you wonderful SURVIVORS/THRIVERS,


I couldn’t go to sleep without first looking up the word “evangelical” on Here it is:

1. Of, relating to, or in accordance with the Christian gospel, especially one of the four gospel books of the New Testament.
2. Evangelical Of, relating to, or being a Protestant church that founds its teaching on the gospel.
3. Evangelical Of, relating to, or being a Christian church believing in the sole authority and inerrancy of the Bible, in salvation only through regeneration, and in a spiritually transformed personal life.
4. Evangelical
a. Of or relating to the Lutheran churches in Germany and Switzerland.
b. Of or relating to all Protestant churches in Germany.
5. Of or relating to the group in the Church of England that stresses personal conversion and salvation by faith.
6. Characterized by ardent or crusading enthusiasm; zealous: an evangelical liberal.
Evangelical A member of an evangelical church or party.

So, as Lisa B. explained it, she used the word EVANGELICAL, according to the 6th definition: “Characterized by ardent or crusading enthusiasm; zealous: an evangelical liberal.” But Pam interpreted that word according to definitions 1, 2, and 3, in which EVANGELICAL does indeed refer to Christianity.

Not just triggers, but semantics, can totally change how one interprets what another person has written. It’s easy to misunderstand, to be triggered, and offended, by something that another person in no way meant as an offense… particularly when we cannot see or hear the other person’s body language and tone of voice.

Yes indeed, I am learning some very important lessons, these days!


Hi Lynda. You’re welcome, and thanks for the nice words back to me. And I’m sorry to hear that the last three months have been so rough. I had noticed that you hadn’t been posting and was thinking about you! Since I wrote my initial post(s), I read back through even more older posts, and other things you have written (in the past) also resonated with me. I didn’t comment, however I had wanted to, and actually I had wanted to email you about some of it. Would that be possible? If I send an email to Darlene, perhaps she could forward it to you, and then you’d have my email address and could jot a note back to me? Would that be something you’d like to do? And Darlene (if Lynda wants to) is this OK with you/would you forward something to her? Thanks. [Oh, and I’m not on FaceBook. Have been in the past, but purposefully decided to get off.]

Oh, and one more thing. Lynda, I think you and I are alike in a lot of ways–I, too, looked up the meaning of evangelical (and read the same definition you posted plus some other similar ones), and came to the same conclusions you did. Triggers and semantics–‘tis an interesting world.


Linda, Just a side note: Even dictionaries make mistakes with words and I have to take exception with Evanglical being defined as Protestant. To be a Protestant one has to be a member of a church that at one time protested within the Catholic church and then split off from it. Evangelical belief is largely Baptistic (mostly differeniated by baptism through sumbemursion, a hot topic at one time)and were never part of the Catholic Church. Baptistic belief can’t be fully traced and have no human founder or hierarchy as the tradition is of local church autonomy. However, simular beliefs have been traced back to the Paulicans, Montinist, and Anabaptists. Anabaptists were heavily persecuted by the Catholic Church and branded as heritics and many people branded as heritics became Anabaptists. Baptist churches first formed in America and later split into two camps of Fundamental and Evangelical points of view. They share many things in common with the main difference being in personal practice of faith. Fundamentalist tend to have a lot of rules that their members follow while Evangelicals believe that each individual should govern themselves according to scripture and their relationship with God. Now there are many churches that are Evangelical but different denominations. The same is true of Fundamentalists but most fundamentalist churches have died and the ones that remain are Baptist. I’m part of a Community Church that is Evangelical that welcomes people from many theological backgrounds while agreeing to agree on five basic tenets. Evangelical is a movement and not an institution. That makes it hard to define. I hope you aren’t bored. I like church history.

Thanks for supporting me in working through what makes me feel very embarrassed. I least I caught myself before I went too far down the rabbit hole!



All, My personal experience with spiritual abuse is still deeply painful for me. I can write about it analytically because that is how I’ve put the pain down and enabled myself to move forward. I have objectified the people who abused my family and me. When the conversation gets close to home that objectification vanishs and the pain, confusion, and out-right fear comes flooding back. I have been spiritually abused by wolves in sheeps clothing but that time in my life when the wolves didn’t bother to disguise themselves and came after us full force was a far greater attack that caused greater harm. The wolves in sheep’s clothing only wanted to manipulate me, whereas, these Satanists wanted to destroy me and my family. When people die that is the ultimate abuse. I can’t talk about it online in any detail because it just isn’t safe. I’m sorry for over reacting.



Hi Katie Lee,
It’s easy to connect with me. Just click on my name that’s at the top of my comments, next to my picture, click on “Lynda ~ Out of the cRaZy Closet,” and that will take you straight to my own little wordpress blog, with my whole… 4 posts I think? 😉

You can leave a comment for me on my blog, which will then privately give me your email address, and then I’ll send you an email so you’ll have my address.

By the way, I have been off and on facebook several times… facebook can be a very triggering place, as well as a blessing. I have a note on my facebook page called “When Facebook Hurts.” I can share that with you via email after we connect through my blog, if you like.

I really need to get back to my blog! I haven’t posted on there since July 14. But, now I finally have air conditioning in my own private writer’s studio in our backyard ~ we’re still having temperatures in the high 90s to 100s F, every single day since mid-May, an unprecedented heat wave for this area. So AC in a 24 foot RV trailer is a must! Thank goodness its a true 4-season, fully insulated, so it doesn’t take much to keep it cool, now that the electric has been run to the trailer.

So, now that I have a nice quiet peaceful COOL place to do my writing in solitude, I have no more excuses, it’s time for me to buckle down and do some serious therapeutic BLOGGING. I have about 115 blog post ideas already put together, I just need to rewrite to get rid of typos, and then get them online.

Thanks again, Katie Lee, for your kind words. I’m looking forward to getting to know you better.



Hi Pam,
I understand what you mean about the interpretations that people and organizations give to a word, that won’t be found in any dictionary.

I’m reminded of the word, APPARENT. It is it’s own antonym! It can mean that something is apparent, as in, it is obviously so, because it IS so. It can also mean that something only seems to be so, but is NOT in fact what it seems to be…. confusing!! I got in trouble once on a job, for using the word apparent. I was using the word according to that second definition, as seeming to be something it was not. But my boss was offended, because she took it to mean the first definition, that it was OBVIOUSLY, and TRULY, so…. Argh!

I, too, often go into my analytical, emotionless left brain, as a way of escaping the PAIN of my emotional right-brain side. I also use humor a lot to cope with the ups and downs of life. That’s how I came up with my bumper sticker creation, which would make a good t-shirt saying, if I do say so myself:

Q. Are you in your Right Mind?
A. No, I’m in my LEFT.

As far as my own experiences with institutional religion, and religious abuse, I have had… LOTS. My dad was a very strict fundamentalist, Pentecostal-type preacher of a small non-denominational church, in the Ozarks of Missouri. Very… intense, he was, about his beliefs. But when I was 12, my dad dissociated and became a totally different personality, an atheist. He quit his church, gave up his conservative Mr. Ward Cleaver business suits, grew out and bleached his hair, got a motorcycle, wore hippie clothes, smoked pot, and ran around with women young enough to be his daughter… as well as his best friend’s wife. My dad’s “new” personality was very violent and abusive at times, almost killing my mother, molesting me… he was arrested and then put in a psych ward after he came so close to killing my mother that I thought she was dead, and there my dad was diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder. The “good daddy faithful husband strict fundamentalist preacher” personality never came back, not that I ever saw. His church decided that my dad was demon-possessed.

Some of my dad’s later personalities had various religions. One was a Zen Budhist, and, shortly before his death at age 53, my dad was in the process of joining the Catholic Church, to which his 3rd wife, who was just 2 years older than me, already belonged. It was shocking, because for years as I was growing up, my dad had adamantly preached against the Catholic Church, as being the church of the anti-Christ! When the first Catholic, John F. Kennedy, was elected our US President.. and then came the Cuban Missle Crises… my dad was in his holy-roller glory, preaching that the END TIMES were HERE. I had so many vivid nightmares about nuclear war, the world ending, Christ coming, and battles with Satan for my soul… that was my childhood, in a nutshell, pun intended.

When I was a little girl, we lived across the street from a church that called itself “Evangelical Methodist.” We occasionally visited that church, too. When the elderly minister was asked what they meant by calling themselves Evangelical Methodist, he explained they were Methodists in doctrine and practice, and “Evangelical” because they had altar calls for salvation at the end of every service, which you typically do not find in a traditional Methodist Church. They would drag those altar calls out forever, it seemed to a fidgety 5 and 6-year-old, singing “Just As I Am,” over and over and over again, until your heart would BREAK from the sad sound of the lyrics and the slow mind-numbing melody. I answered my first altar call there, at the age of 6, because I just couldn’t TAKE it any longer!

So… interesting history, both church history, and personal history, and interesting semantics. I think it is possible that many of our words can mean something slightly different, to everyone who hears or uses that word. What a word MEANS to any one person, derives from the context in which they LEARNED that word. I LEARNED that “apparent” means: something SEEMS to be a certain way, but close scrutiny will reveal that it is not in fact what it seems, on the surface, at first glance, to be. But my long-ago boss “apparently” learned that apparent means: It is obvious that this is truly what it appears to be, because that IS what it IS! Thus, I used the word in the way I had learned it, and she heard the word in the way she had learned it, she became angry, because the situation WAS NOT what I had initially, wrongly, assumed it to be… and when she became angry, I became defensive, and then she took my statement, and my defensive attitude, as insubordination… and I couldn’t understand what she was so MAD about, because I was AGREEING with her, that the situation was NOT what I had initially believed it to be!

It was only later, when I went home and looked up the word APPARENT in the dictionary, that I realized what the heck had happened.

Throw trauma triggers into the mix, and YIKES, you can have a real mess of miscommunications, and misunderstandings. I think it is WONDERFUL that you caught yourself and realized what was happening, before you went into a full angry boil! AWESOME, and INSPIRATIONAL.



Linda, It seems that you’ve had a taste of everything religeous. However, it wasn’t any of those religeons or God that was at fault but your dad’s DID. A lot of people give up on God because of the actions of someone who is sick or just plain evil.

I agree with you on words. Communication is really hard because none of us define words in exactly the same way. Part of what was going on with me last week was how the news media’s ignorance about christians causes them to misrepresent people. There was the incident in Norway, where a man who is anti-Islamic and thinks he is a Templar Knight was called a fundamental christian. To the media, fundamental doesn’t mean basic, it means extreme,weird, and murderous. Then I watched David Gregory interview, Michele Baughman (who I’m no particular fan of)and the way he tore into her beliefs was horrible and I don’t think he would attack anyone else from a different faith than hers in that manner. It’s unnerving. Lisa didn’t trigger it all,it was boiling underneath and I wasn’t paying attention. The pot boiled over and then I realized what the problem really was when the flash-backs started. The problem is I don’t usually get angry when triggered. I go into another state that I don’t have a name for and I can be set off on a path that destroys my relationships with others. I’m in another zone, reacting more to the past than the present without being conscious of it. I become hyper vigelant and obsessive. I am doing better and I’m determined to conquer it even if most say that PTSD can’t be cured. I’m the one who activated all of those coping mechanisms and I believe, I can find a way to recognize them and turn them off.

I think I’ve told you about my house dream. The last time I dreamt it my house was one house but the second floor is haunted and I avoid going up there or living in that part of the house.The door on a very scary room on that haunted floor flew open last week. Maybe I need to call ghost-busters! Yeah, I use humor too.



Hi Lynda. Thanks. Will do. I did actually go to your blog a while back, and looked for a “contact me” box or something like that, and didn’t see one. It didn’t even cross my mind that my email address would show up (to you) if I posted a comment. Duh. Well, now I know. Thanks for all that you do (and have done), and I’m looking forward to getting to know you better.


Katie Lee, thanks, you’ve made me realize that I need to add a “contact me” box to my blog! Duh… 😉

We’ve had a busy day, so I haven’t been online to see if you’ve posted a comment on my blog… wow, I just looked at the time, it’s almost 9 pm and we haven’t even had our dinner yet, yikes! My husband and I both struggle with time management, it seems to be a part of our respective PTSD dsyfunctional issues… his PTSD is from Vietnam Combat, and my C-PTSD is from domestic wars, going back to earliest childhood. The great thing about us both having PTSD is that we have the advantage of UNDERSTANDING each other, completely… we respect and love and ACCEPT each other, AS IS. However, with both of us being somewhat dysfunctional, more or less, depending on the day, life can be extra challenging for us, too. We both lose track of time, we both tend to get so focused on small tasks, that we lose sight of the big picture, we both stuggle with social anxiety and trigger issues, AND we both get easily overwhelmed at times, just by ordinary day-to-day life responsibilities. When that happens, we get bogged down and don’t get things accomplished that we really need and want to do… things like household choirs, and keeping up with emails, etc.

So~ if I don’t always respond quickly to a post or email, please know that I am not being rejecting or neglectful or ignoring you, the problem is ME and my C-PTSD, not YOU!

HOWEVER, like Pam, I am DETERMINED to NEVER GIVE UP on working toward a TOTAL CURE for ALL of my C-PTSD symptoms. I do NOT agree with the so-called “experts” who say that PTSD cannot be cured! Where there is life, there is always hope. I may not yet be fully cured, but WOW, I have come a LONG WAY, believe me, from where I was at my very most broken, and I am definitely getting better almost every day.

Now… I need to get off here quickly and go feed us, and our dog!



Pam… before I get off the computer, I just want to let you know that I TOTALLY understand what you mean, about the MULTIPLE TRIGGERS going on, how it wasn’t “just one thing” that set your trigger off.

That is exactly what happened to me, in June, when multiple severe triggers in my life happened virtually all at once, and I got so triggered, that I did 2 things: ONE, I became FURIOUS… furious that God had “ignored my prayers” for my emotionally struggling precious young cousin Elaine, and let her DROWN under very suspicious circumstances, while with her male friend, in a hot spring in northern New Mexico where the water didn’t come as high as her shoulders in the deepest part. The night before she drowned, as I’ve shared here before, my cousin and I were on the phone for almost an hour, and she validated me, during that last phone conversation, in a way that NO ONE in my WHOLE FAMILY, had ever validated me before. I am 58 years old, and the vast majority of my relatives still treats me like a social embarrassment and an outcast, because at AGE 14 I was MISdiagnosed as schizophrenic, which was the catch-all mental illness label of the 1960s, back when no one knew what Post Traumatic Stress was all about… and my mother committed me to a state insane asylum (which has sense been closed and torn down), where I went through HELL for almost 2 years.

My family has never let me live that stigma down… adding deep insult to the horrible emotional injuries, that put me there in the first place, when I was still a child. But on the night before she drowned, my sweet cousin, whom I had always felt inferior to, because HER parents always loved her and treated her the way parents SHOULD, and because HER life was always successful and golden and good, and our matermal grandparents, who had made no secret of their great disappointment in ME, their eldest grandchild, had loved and doted on my cousin Elaine, as though SHE was THE GRANDDAUGHTER they had wanted ME to be…. so, I always loved Elaine, yet felt inferior and envious of her, and always felt like she was kind to me, out of a sense of family obligation, and NOT out of genuine affection. I always felt that behind my back, she probably talked about me the way my other relatives have talked to my face, about how “weird and crazy Lynda is..”

BUT ON THE NIGHT BEFORE HER UNTIMELY, TRAGIC, INEXPLICABLE DROWNING, my 38-year-old cousin told me, that she had recently been on the phone with her mother, my mother’s only sibling, and that her mother, my aunt, had told Elaine about the copy she had just gotten in the mail, from my mother, that 62-page HATE letter that my hateful mother had sent to me, a few days before Elaine drowned, my mother also sent a full copy of that letter to her sister my aunt, Elaine’s mother. My mother was obviously hoping to make my aunt HATE me, by sending her all those pages detailing every thing that was ever “wrong” about me, my entire life long.

But it had the oppposite effect on my aunt. My aunt, who has always loved her two imperfect children UNCONDITIONALLY and PROUDLY and PROTECTIVELY, who has always magnified her children’s good qualities and minimizes their faults, and accepts and allows them to be their OWN persons, with their OWN values, and their OWN lives…. my aunt was totally HORRIFIED by my mother’s rabid, crazy long letter of Pure Hate. And, two days before her only daughter drowned, my aunt sent a letter to my mother, telling her how horrified she was that any mother would send such a letter to her daughter. And then, my aunt called and talked with her own daughter, my dear cousin Elaine, telling her what horrible thing my mother had done to me.

So Elaine called me on the night before she drowned. I was still reeling from the deeply painful knowledge that my mother had sent me, yet again, unprovoked, a horrible, long, hateful letter… although my loving husband and kept me from reading it, knowing that it had been written and sent, and that a copy was sent to my beloved aunt, and read by her… after having received similar crazy long hate letters from my mother in the past, I KNOW the kinds of evil crazy lies and half-truths and distortions and misunderstandings it said, and I WAS (and still am) HURTING so badly about that, when my cousin called me that last time.

My cousin, who was an RN, also had a BA degree in Psychology. My cousin, who had personally known my mother, her aunt, all her life, told me during our very last conversation, that “it would explain everything” if my mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

For the first time in my life, I felt completely UNDERSTOOD and VALIDATED, by a blood relative… for the first time in my life, I had someone from my family of origin, who was smart enough and educated enough, to SEE THROUGH THE PHONY MASK my mother presents to the world. I felt loved and validated and understood, in a way I had NEVER been before, not even by my aunt, my mother’s younger sister, who does LOVE me, but has always seemed to hold back some, because of the bad stories about me my mother has told to the family all these years.

I found my cousin….. and then, the next day, I lost her. In that final phone conversations, we bonded in a way that we had never bonded before, we connected in a way that I had never before connected with anyone from my family, for the vast majority in my family have always believed my mother’s lies about me, her crazy justifications for having me locked up in an institution, right after she married my sweet stepfather when I was 14, and my jealous mother, fearful that he might be sexually attracted to me as my own dad had been, told me to “stay away” from my stepdad, and said “No house is big enough for two women.” But I was 14, I was shy and modest and very non-sexual, my stepfather was nothing but a perfect fatherly gentleman around me, ALWAYS. Yet my mother in her insane jealousy couldn’t handle my blossoming body and good looks, and so she had me locked away at the first sign of emotional instability, the PTSD that SHE had caused by her ABUSE, trying to gas us all to death after her marriage to my dad ended, etc….

My life was one big rejection after another, and it all started with my MOTHER. And when, thanks to her horrible 62-page letter, my cousin’s eyes were finally fully opened, and she saw the truth, and told me what she did, I felt so WONDERFUL…. AND THE VERY NEXT DAY, ON JUNE 3, ELAINE TYLER STEWART DROWNED in Montezuma, New Mexico.

Triggers upon triggers upon triggers… a few days after my cousin’s beautiful but unbearably sad memorial service, I read a post that showed up in my facebook newsfeed, about the Slut Walk controversy, where some people seemed, to my trauma-triggered mind, to be BLAMING RAPE VICTIMS for the rapes, and I shared how I had been drugged to the point of near-death… my heart had stopped… drugged with the “truth serum” drug by my 42-year-old married psychiatrist, with daughters in their 20s, when I was 15 years old and his patient in that insane asylum, he drugged and raped me 3 times, and that last time when I almost died, he was caught, and fired, and committed suicide… and two of his colleagues and friends went out of their way to talk to me privately, and BERATE me HORRIBLY, for having “seduced” a wonderful man and ruining his life…. I shared the details of this true and horrible story, as my way of saying, “PLEASE do not even IMPLY in the slightest way, that a rape victim is responsible for being raped” ~ and the response that someone came back with, TRIGGERED ME, and I GOT FURIOUS… I was already furious, that God had let Elaine DIE!!!!…. and then, I became so completely and totally ASHAMED of myself, for my very inappropriate angry comment that I had left on the slut walk post that was on someone else’s wall, that I went right back to the old default position that I had learned from my mother, the default position of HATING LYNDA, BECAUSE LYNDA IS BAD… and then, I wanted to seriously kill myself. I thought I should have died, instead of Elaine……

Trigger upon trigger upon trigger. YES, I KNOW. It is NOT an EXCUSE for my bad behavior on the slut walk post, but it IS the REASON, and I have learned from it, I have apologized very sincerely with all my heart for the wrong that I did, I have apologized in the only way that was available to me to apologize, because it is very hard to say I WAS VERY WRONG AND HURTFUL AND I AM DEEPLY SORRY, to someone who has BLOCKED you on facebook, or who does not accept messages from non-friends.

So I have learned…. NO MATTER WHAT is going wrong in my life, NO MATTER HOW triggered I may be, NO MATTER HOW JUSTIFIED in my “righteous wrath” I may feel at the time: DO NOT E*V*E*R POST A COMMENT IN ANGER, DO NOT E*V*E*R SEND AN EMAIL IN ANGER, JUST DO NOT DO IT. Write it in my private journal, talk about it on my private video camera, talk it out with my therapist or my loving understanding and very supportive husband, but DO NOT POST ONLINE OR SEND MESSAGES IN ANGER, NOT EVER. It only makes everything so much WORSE. I NEVER want to be like my abusers, hurtful, abusive, rageful!!! I want to help HEAL those who have been hurt like I have been, not HURT them further! Lord have mercy….

Pam, due to the multiple abuses I went through with my very religious parents (and in my DID/MPD dad’s case, sometimes irreligious)… althought I fervently believed in Christ as a young child, I was just as fervently AGNOSTIC for most of my adult life. My rabidly religeous mother has sent me pages over the years that were nothing but: “Dear Lynda,” followed by page after page of handwritten Bible verses, then signed “Love, Mother.” Her latest 62-page hate letter to me, according to my aunt who read it, said that GOD had TOLD HER to send it to me… for my own good… because she loves me… and I need to “face the truth” about all my faults and failings.

OH SPARE ME the self-proclaimed saints and do-gooders and their “good intentions.”

For the past 8 years, DESPITE my parents and my history of religious abuse, I have been a believing follower of Christ. Yes, I was temporarily MAD at God for letting Elaine drown, just as I was temporarily MAD at God for letting my precious baby grandson, Kyle Justin Thomas, die in February 2006. I don’t understand these tragedied in life… but, overall, I know the One who is LOVE and GOODNESS and GRACE and MERCY, and I trust in HIM. I am a Christian today, with all of my heart and soul and mind and being.

But I learned from my years of religious abuse and my resulting agnositicsm, to RESPECT the FREE WILL that I believe our Creator has given to us all. I repect everyone’s right to their own beliefs. If God will not force anyone to believe, who do I think I am, to try to force my beliefs down anyone’s throat? It was my mother trying to do that to me, over and over and over again, that kept me AWAY from God for most of my life.

The peace that I have in my heart, most days, because of my relatively newfound belief in Christ… that PEACE is worth more than all the riches and fame and talent and beauty and popularity in the world.

Yikes, now it is almost 10 pm, and we need to eat…

Love to you, Pam,

PS No time to proofread, I know there must be typos, and run-on sentences, sorry!


Hi Lynda, Grieving is hard and it can cause a person to be even more sensitive to triggers because a new trauma sets off a domino effect with past traumas. It’s hard to stop the dominos from crashing into one another and falling. Every trauma seems to be related to each other. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t.

I try to remember when I get triggered that the person who said or did whatever wasn’t trying to trigger me. They were just expressing their opinion. What they said or did isn’t what is overwhelming me emotionally, it is the past that has suddenly, loomed up in the present (for me)and my reaction is to it and not them. There are few people who are intentionally trying to hurt me, they are generally consumed with their own lives and their own problems. I’m not the center of their universe and my problems, past or present, aren’t upper-most in their thinking. When I am triggered and emotionally overwhelmed by something that happened in my past, others can’t understand what is going on. They only see the present and my over reaction whether angry or not doesn’t make sense to them and they may feel threatened. I try hard to look at how others may feel and it helps me put my own feelings and reactions in a better perspective. What I’m not completely able to do is keep from being triggered but I am working on recognizing it and putting the situation back into perspective. I haven’t really dealt with the trauma surrounding my son’s and my family’s and my friend’s attack by that group of people. I locked my feelings away because I needed to help my son. It is my responsibility to deal with my feelings and it isn’t anyone elses responsibility to tip-toe around me to keep from triggering those overwhelming emotions. I’m not ashamed of my reaction last week because I was able to get a hold of myself and come back and do the right thing. I will use it as a reminder to do a thourough check list before I confront what seems to be a threat to me.

I’ve had a lot of religeous abuse too. Letters filled with Bible verses and christian idioms in response to very open hearted and direct communication on my part. It is frustrating and sometimes, infuriating but they can’t take God away from me no matter how they abuse His name and His words. People have hurt my children’s faith with these kind of actions. I pray they will see through it in time. I know God still loves them and is waiting for them in the very same place that they left him. What that group of Satanists did was far worse because they were also a threat to our lives and that made for much worse trauma. I’m not afraid of demons but people who worship them and believe that they will have greater favor in hell if they take life are a huge threat. When these people had control of my son, my baby…I have no words. I was unable to protect him the way he needed to be and as a mother, I can only say that it made me feel as if both breasts had been cut off, I was such a failure as a mother to my son when he needed me most. I know we are blessed that he is alive and that he wasn’t manipulated into doing something that put him in prison but I didn’t get the son he was before this happened to him back. He came out of it as someone else and he still has a lot to overcome. That’s the lingering pain. My child has not fully returned from the captivity of the enemy. The spiritual abuse we suffered is not the typical kind that most people speak of and that makes it hard too because it is hard to talk about and be fully understood. I still don’t fully understand God’s purpose in allowing this to happen but I know that I’m not the only one God is concerned with and His plans are much bigger than me and even include these people. I also know He loves my son more than even I do.

The traumas I’ve suffered in my life aren’t the sum of me. There is much more than that to my life and that is what I am trying to hang onto now. Both hang onto it and promote it. I’m trying to count my blessings while also dealing honestly with the traumas and abuses that have occurred in my life. I know I’m not alone in my suffering and there is nothing that has happened to me that hasn’t happened to someone else also. I’ll pray for you and you, please, pray for me. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to keep walking toward that light.



Hi Pam,
Ok. I’m feeling, not angry, but a little bit defensive here. It may be that I am feeling this way, because I am being triggered, I honestly do not know. I like you, admire you, respect you, and I’m glad I’ve gotten to know you, through the miracle of the internet. So I hope with all my heart that what I am going to now say, will NOT offend or trigger YOU, in any way.

Here is what I am feeling defensive about. In your last comment to me, you wrote:

“I try to remember when I get triggered that the person who said or did whatever wasn’t trying to trigger me. They were just expressing their opinion. What they said or did isn’t what is overwhelming me emotionally, it is the past that has suddenly, loomed up in the present (for me)and my reaction is to it and not them. There are few people who are intentionally trying to hurt me, they are generally consumed with their own lives and their own problems. I’m not the center of their universe and my problems, past or present, aren’t upper-most in their thinking. When I am triggered and emotionally overwhelmed by something that happened in my past, others can’t understand what is going on. They only see the present and my over reaction whether angry or not doesn’t make sense to them and they may feel threatened. I try hard to look at how others may feel and it helps me put my own feelings and reactions in a better perspective.”

I feel defensive, because you are now the 3rd person, to tell me this. To tell me, in so many words, that when one is triggered by past and/pr present traumas, one needs to remember: “…that the person who said or did whatever wasn’t trying to trigger me. They were just expressing their opinion…” and that one ALSO needs to remember “I’m not the center of their universe…” AND FURTHERMORE, when a person is feeling triggered, we need to: “…try hard to look at how others may feel…”

Pam, I KNOW that in those sentences you were speaking about YOU and YOUR experience, not “telling me” what I “should” or “shouldn’t” do. However, I am starting to feel like I am being preached to… because, as I said, you are now the 3rd EFB commentor, to tell me these things, almost word for word, in response to my telling about how TRAUMATIZED and TRIGGERED I got in June, after my mother’s 62-page hate letter, followed by a deep understanding and closeness and validation by my cousin, the only blood relative from my family of origin to ever validate and understand me and my mother, in all my 58 years, and THEN, the very next day, she DROWNED in highly questionably circumstances. When, a few days after her heartbreaking memorial service, I commented on someone’s fb slut walk post, about how horrible it is to be 100% innocent in being raped, and yet be ACCUSED of CAUSING the person to rape you…. the left-brained, unempathetic, devils advocate response, to my terrible evil trauma that happened to me when I was 14, did indeed cause me to become ANGRY, and to post a comment in reply that made it clear that I was angry, because I asked the person, “Do you not know what Emapthy and Compassion means?” Because that person’s terse, condescending response to the details of my being drugged to the point of death and raped, did indeed come across to me as being extremely insensitive, unempathetic, and utterly lacking in compassion.

My husband, and my therapist, and a few of my fb friends, after reading that slut walk post, the comments on there, my detailed comment about my rape, and then the terse condescending comments that were in response to my comments… my husband (who of course is prejudiced on my behalf), AND my therapist, and, as I said, several of my personal close fb friends, have ALL told me that they thought my angry response on that slut walk post WAS TOTALLY APPROPRIATE AND RIGHT.

However, *I* disagree, I think that I was inappropriately angry. I think that I was WRONG in judging this person as having “NO empathy and NO compassion,” simply on the basis of how they responded to my rape tragedy. And because *I* decided that I was wrong, I apologized to the woman whom I felt I had wrongfully offended by my angry response to her terse comments that she had directed at me. I apologized to her, in the only way that was available to me, since we were no longer fb friends, and her account was set up in such a way, as to not allow personal messages from non-friends…. I apologized to her HERE, and on my own fb wall posts as well, hoping that she would read them, and know that I was sorry, that I realized I had wronged her (even though, as I said, my husband, therapist, and several fb friends, all told me that in their opinion I had NOT wronged her. *I* felt that I had, and therefore I felt the need to tell her I was sorry for hurting her.)

When I made my apologies to her here, I did it in such as way that she would NOT be identified by name nor by any details, I did not want to further hurt and embarrass her by doing that. I also sent her a friend request on fb, as a further way of showing her that I was deeply sorry. Her response was to block me immediately on fb.

OK, that’s fine, no one has to accept my apology. No one has to accept any messages from me if they don’t want to, and no one has to accept my friend request. The whole freakin’ world has every right to block me, to hate me, to decide that I am evil and toxic, based on this ONE MISTAKE of getting angry and judgmental, towards someone whom several other people have told me they think DESERVED for me to get angry with (tho I disagree), and during a time when I was traumatized and grieving to such a huge extent, that I told my husband, “I am afraid that I am going to give in to the strong urge that I keep having, to commit suicide. I really do want to die. The only reason I DON’T want to die, is because I don’t want to cause YOU, and my other loved ones, my children and grandchildren and my grieving aunt and my friends and neighbors, to feel the deep PAIN and GRIEF over my death, that I am now feeling over my cousin Elaine’s death. I don’t want to cause that kind of pain to anyone! Yet the urge to commit suicide is so strong, I am seriously afriad that I am going to give in to that urge!”

When I told my husband that, on June 27, the day before what would have been my cousin Elaine’s birthday, and we were going to see he that day… I was afraid I would not survive the grief of her brithday… that was when my husband rushed me to the emergency room, to Save My Life.

Meanwhile, here on the internet, I was portrayed by 2 women as being horrible and toxic, due to my ONE inappropriately angry post… inappropriate in MY opinion, not, as I’ve said, in EVERYONE’S opinion… and not only has my deep sincere apology to these two women fallen on deaf ears, they BOTH now have me blocked on fb… I am being told, in so many words, in response to this whole miserable situation, that what I should do, is NOT get angry when I’m being triggered and traumatized, and UNDERSTAND that the other person is not trying on purpose to hurt me, and REALIZE that I am NOT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, and try very hard to be empathetic of the OTHER person’s point of view…

Again, I KNOW, Pam, that you were not telling ME to do these things, you were, appropriately, using YOURSELF as the example, saying that YOU YOURSELF try very hard to do all those things, to not get angry, to understand that the other person is not trying on purpose to hurt you, to realize that you are not the center of the universe, and to be empathetic of the other person’s point of view. You are talking about YOU, not about ME. I know that, I get that.

However, because you, and two other people, have said these things, the three of you using almost the same words, in response to my story about how I got so traumatized and triggered back in June, that I got angry at someone with whom *I* believe I shouldn’t have gotten angry (and a couple of other people, the two women who have refused my apologies and blocked me on fb, they also believe that I was wrong in getting angry. However, they, and I, are in the minority, of those who have given me their opinion, after reading the actual slut walk comments, which I copied and pasted in their entirety into my word program).

So, I feel, rightly or wrongly, like I am being preached at, in a sort of backhanded way…. please please please forgive me if I am reading you, and the other 2 people who have said what you said, wrong!

I just want to say this, about this whole crazy PAINFUL a HELL situation, and then, I want to STOP TALKING ABOUT IT: Everyone who personally KNOWS me WELL, knows that I am the LAST person to think or behave like “I am the center of the universe.” Everyone who personally KNOWS me WELL, knows that I am so extremely empathetic of other people’s feelings, I am forever trying to put myself in other people’s shoes, because of my lifetime of multiple abuse and traumas, I am SUPER-SENSITIVE to the feelings and the rights of others, I am known by those who know me well, as an EMPATH. Most people who truly know me, use that word to describe me. I am known as being the person who is the FIRST to give other people the benefit of the doubt, because I grew up N*E*VE*R being given the benefit of the doubt. I grew up being treated as though my feelings NEVER MATTER. I learned, to be the extreme opposite of that, to always put other people’s feelings, FIRST.

My husband came home from his weekly counseling session at the Veteran’s Clinic a few days ago, and told me something that his therapist said to him, about me. His therapist knows me, because he has counseled with both of us jointly several times, when my husband needed/wanted that, but most of the time he sees my husband alone, because I have my own, woman therapist.

My husband’s therapist told him, during their last session, “The main problem with your wife is that she is TOO kind, TOO caring and giving, TOO willing to give the other person the benefit of the doubt.” And my husband told me, “I told Terry (his therapist) that I agree.”

I am not one to want to toot my own horn and proclaim how great I am. I am a FLAWED HUMAN BEING, I have made many BAD mistakes in my life, especially when I was at my most broken. But when I say that *I* have tried my best, and that I continue daily to try my best, it is TRUE. It is NOT an excuse. I do NOT use my C-PTSD trauma issues as an excuse to be abusive and inappropriately angry, NOT EVER. It may be the REASON, but it is NOT an EXCUSE. If someone stabs me, it is NORMAL that I will bleed. But I will TRY MY BEST to not be gross and rude, to not bleed all over other people, or all over their furniture or carpet. I try not to use my traumas as an excuse, to hurt anyone or anything. If, on a rare occasion of me being human and imperfect, I DO make a mistake, and emotionally “BLEED”, due to my traumas, past and/or present, on someone, once I realize what I have done, I IMMEDIATELY admit/confess, repent/apologize, and try if possible to make amends, to give restitution, to try to repair any and all damage that I have caused.

If that is not enough for some people, then that is their character defect, not mine. NO HUMAN BEING IS PERFECT. That is not an EXCUSE, that is REALITY. When people say, “Sorry I’m not perfect,” or “I did my best” ~ as Darlene rightfully says, that is deflecting from the issue. That is so NOT THE POINT. If I have wronged someone, the point is that I NEED TO MAKE IT RIGHT. I need to confess, repent, and try to fix/restore whatever it is I did, that hurt the other person.

But if they will NOT receive my heartfelt confession, repentance, and attempts at retoration… if they, or anyone else, decides that on the basis of my ONE HUMAN MISTAKE, which I committed during a time of EXTREME pain…. THEN I WILL say, “Let him, or her, who is perfect and without sin or fault, cast the first stone. Let him, or her, who has NEVER wrongfully gotten angry and told someone off and hurt their feelings, be the one to “preach” to me and tell me what I should, and should not do.

I KNOW that most people, when I feel triggered, did not intend to hurt me. That is why I admitted I was wrong and apologized, despite my husband urging me NOT to apologize, he said, “Your angry response to that (bad word), was very MILD compared to what I would have told her.” But I disagreed, because I AM empathetic, and because I DO NOT EVER think that “the whole universe revolves around me,” and, MOST OF ALL, I N*E*V*E*R use my C-PTSD and my history of severe multiple trauma and abuse, AS AN EXCUSE TO HARM OTHERS. Never. When my husband, with his Vietnam-combat-related severe PTSD, and I first married back in July 2004, when he started immediately, like the day after our marriage, RAGING at me when something on the news or whatever would TRIGGER him, I N*EV*E*R allowed him to use his PTSD as an EXCUSE for raging at me. I had finally grown and healed enough to know that I never have to take rage and verbal abuse from anyone, no matter WHAT their problem or illness is. I refused to stay in the same house with him whenever he raged at me. So, he went into a 9-week in-house PTSD program at a Veteran’s Hospital, where he was taught how to DEAL with his PTSD triggers, WITHOUT RAGING. That saved our marriage, and now we have one of the happiest marriages in the world.

So… I feel that I have been “preached” to here, and I just need to stand up for myself and say, even if I misunderstood you and the 2 other people who have said similar things to me, I do not need to be preached to. I typically DO give people the benefit of the doubt and not assume they are trying to hurt me when I feel triggered, I never think that I am the center of the universe, and I am the most empathetic person I personally know of! I made a mistake, which not ever who knows the full details even thinks was a mistake, but *I* think that I did, and my judgment of me is the one that matters the most. I have confessed, apologized, and attempted to make amends in every way I know how, but have been rejected totally for this mistake, which I made while I was under EXTREME SUICIDAL PAIN.

People who can’t empathize with THAT, have either never been in that much pain, or they have never faced the reality of their own faults, when they have been in so much pain that, like a rabid dog with their leg caught in a trap, would try to bite the people who are trying to help him. I was in so much pain in June that I barely survived it. My hurt and trauma and loss was virtually unbearable. Anyone who has no compassion and understanding for THAT… what can I say? I just want the feeling that I am being judged, misunderstood, preached to, and not empathized with for my severe grief… I just want it all to stop, NOW.

I am not going to continue to apologize for my one mistake. I truly do feel that I have since been hurt, in a FAR GREATER way, by the two women who feel that I did them wrong, and have me blocked on facebook. So, no more apologies, that, as my husband’s therapist said, is one of my faults… NOT that I DON’T empathize, but that I empathize and apologize, maybe TOO MUCH.

I guess I kept hoping that someone here would read about this situation and say, “I empathize with YOU, Lynda. Your loss and pain and grief and trauma during the end of May and the month of June was HUGE. What you did, was really not that bad at all, it was understandable, all things considered, we have ALL done things wrong like that, especially when we are deeply grieving and hurting, and you need, not more condemnation and preaching at, you need to be LOVED and FORGIVEN, you need EMPATHY and COMPASSION, you need to be given a BREAK, for heaven’s sake! You have done all that you could to admit your fault and to apologize and make it right. Now, stop worrying about the fact that you made a mistake and hurt someone, while you were hurting so much that you wanted to die. FORGIVE YOURSELF, and take care of YOURSELF, because we can see your heart is Good and Caring, and you deserve to be happy and to stop beating yourself up, and to not be beat up by anyone else, ever again, for this one mistake. If you were a bad person, you wouldn’t have apologized, like 50 times! If you were a bad person, you would have agreed with those who told you that your anger was appropriate. But you are a CARING person with a LOVING heart, and anyone here who cannot SEE that about you, is the one missing out, by blocking you on facebook.”

Yes… as I wrote those words, I realized that is exactly what I need to be told. SO… I am telling it to MYSELF. I am validating MYSELF. I will not even come back here to this particular post again, to see if anyone else has agreed, or disagreed, with my validation of ME. I spent most of my life looking for Other People to tell ME that LYNDA IS OK.

No More.



Lynda, I wasn’t preaching. I was sharing what I am trying to do in my own life. My problems aren’t that important to most people. They are important to me and sometimes, overwhelm me and cause me to see things as they are not. I know very little about what happened with these other women in June. I’ve purposely not read much about it because it isn’t my business. I was empathizing with you about grief and I know how it makes me over sensitive. I have a lot of grief over what happened to my son. I was talking about me not you. I don’t know who the other two women are who said what I said and I’m only saying what I think not what others think. I don’t know you very well and I wouldn’t dare think I could fix you. I apologize for coming across that way. I can’t be anyone but me and I can’t communicate in any other way but the way I speak. I don’t know what else to say so I’m going to stop because I don’t want to make it worse.


Dearest Lynda-
I haven’t been on here for awhile so didn’t know you’d writing here again – as well as keeping ME sane this week!

Lyn I want to say to YOU because YOU deserve every word of it:
“I empathize with YOU, Lynda. Your loss and pain and grief and trauma during the end of May and the month of June was HUGE. What you did, was really not that bad at all, it was understandable, all things considered, we have ALL done things wrong like that, especially when we are deeply grieving and hurting, and you need, not more condemnation and preaching at, you need to be LOVED and FORGIVEN, you need EMPATHY and COMPASSION, you need to be given a BREAK, for heaven’s sake!

You have done all that you could to admit your fault and to apologize and make it right. Now, stop worrying about the fact that you made a mistake and hurt someone, while you were hurting so much that you wanted to die.

FORGIVE YOURSELF, and take care of YOURSELF, because we can see your heart is Good and Caring, and you deserve to be happy and to stop beating yourself up, and to not be beat up by anyone else, ever again, for this one mistake.

If you were a bad person, you wouldn’t have apologized, like 50 times! If you were a bad person, you would have agreed with those who told you that your anger was appropriate. But you are a CARING person with a LOVING heart, and anyone here who cannot SEE that about you, is the one missing out, by blocking you on facebook.”

You’re one of the most caring, empathic, rational and kind people I know- and I long for the time when you can finally put the slut-walk comment and all that followed to hurt you away and it not hurt you any more.

I thank God for giving me your sister-friendship!!!

Love you so much!


Hi Lynda,
From what I can see here, Pam is trying to support you. I think you and her are talking about two different things though. She is saying that they are not purposely trying to trigger her/you. (I agree ) You are talking about your pain being invalidated. (I agree with that too)

Having said that, and aside from what Pam wrote, I am writing directly to you now Lynda about your most recent comment to Pam. There are many ways to talk about our own experiences depending on the way that we are thinking about them at the time. One of the things that I try to do here on EFB is to recreate the way that I recovered; I was heard and my pain was validated. I can honestly say that I have been discounted to the extreme by people telling me that no one “meant to hurt me” or that my reaction was “wrong” ~ so I know what you are talking about. But here is the other thing I had to learn; I don’t have to have everyone understand me or agree with me in order for me to validate myself and my pain and the hurt that I am feeling. I know people don’t TRY to trigger me, but that doesn’t lessen the pain of being invalidated. I could not try to understand the others feelings ~(like my mother for instance) because that was where I was so stuck in my healing for so so so long. I had to come through the self validation stage first. In some situations (such as the letter from your mother) it is really a bad idea to try and understand where she was coming from. SO for something’s it helps to understand where others are coming from, such as the slut walk situation; and you have done that. And for other things such as your mother, it is not helpful because we invalidate ourselves when we do it. Does that make more sense?
Hugs, Darlene

One last comment. I would really appreciate it if everyone would stop posting things about the FB slut walk stuff on my blog. I don’t want readers to think that FB stuff is allowed to be sorted out here. It really needs to stay in FB. EFB is supposed to be a safe place for everyone ~ and there are other readers here who were involved with that and I don’t want to deal with it again. Thank you for understanding.
hugs, Darlene


Your comment came in while I was writing to Lynda. Thank you for your lovely comments in support of Lynda.
Hugs, Darlene


Lynda and I became friends either thru EFB or thru Rise Brown who I met through you so I am grateful for your forum that provides so much for us survivors on our recovery rd.

I understand why you don’t want ‘that’ issue dealt with any more here- think it hit here because of the blocking that was done on fb no?

I guess one thing I try to remind myself every so often is that ‘hurting people, hurt people’ whether we mean to or even realize it or not and as wanderers on this survival/recovery road we must try to be as gentle with each other as we need them be with us.

?•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸? ?*¤*? ?¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸?
?*?*?*?*? EVERYBODY? ?*?*?*?*?


Oh well- my graphic failed big time!

It said Happy Weekend Everybody!


NOW I discover that it’s only Thursday which I SHOULD have known- but Happy Weekend anyway- whether it starts today or tomorrow, it should end Tuesday right?
hugs to all,


Darlene, Sorry for my contribution to the confusion. What a crappy week. I’m glad it is nearly over.



Hi Pam
No worries. I don’t see what you did wrong. I think there was just a misunderstanding.
(and yes, what a crappy week!)
Hugs, Darlene


Hugs to you too. There’s definately something in the air. I’m hoping for a good stiff west wind to clear the air. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.




As usual your candor is a great gift to us all. I have to stop myself, however, from saying things like “I didn’t have it half as bad as Darlene.” As I know you would agree, my abusive childhood was just as yucky as anyone else’s, just different circumstances — but really the same general results of no self esteem and the inability to form healthy attachments to this day.

Here is one thing I’m struggling with this week as my grandmother apparently lays dying in her bed at home: why can’t they just let me alone? I mean, even my grandmother was harsh and unloving toward me when I was a child, and I have no sense of sadness or loss when I think of her departing this earth. I’m not trying to get back at her or anything, I just don’t feel sad. I’m on Facebook with a lot of my family members, who all have happy memories with her. And, I guess I’m glad for them, and I’m sorry for their loss, but my grandma was less than sweet to me, especially after I reached that “difficult” age of 8 years old when I had the audacity to go into a depression after being molested by a 16 year old boy. I mean, how dare I have unmet emotional needs?! When my grandma had no clue what was making me so unhappy, she basically treated me like my mom (who knew about the abuse and did NOTHING but swore a pact with me that we wouldn’t tell anyone). They gave me all those “get over it” type directives instead of trying to figure out why I was so miserable and HELP ME! I mean, we’re talking third and fourth grade! I needed support from my family, not a royal shunning that would send almost any adult into a full scale psychological breakdown!

So, now, I get all these messages from various family members who have no idea how my mother has treated me, or how my grandparents both treated me. It just makes me look like a total bitch that I don’t engage in the floral display of affection for my grandmother and people don’t even know from my perspective that my mom and I are estranged. I can only imagine what she is telling them — how her nasty daughter won’t return her phone calls at this devastating time in her life. I feel SO FRUSTRATED — really, all I want to do is be left alone. I mean, no one is going to believe or accept that I had a different kind of experience with these people than they have, even if I did share it with them. I just come off looking like a bitter person with an axe to grind. Since there is no way to resolve this, I wish I could just disappear from their landscapes altogether. There is no winning!

Ugh, well, I have all this frustration, all this anger, hurt, sadness, and mostly just feeling cut off from the one thing most people value — family — because there is no willingness for others to observe the truth about the situation. It’s just an awful place to have to be.


To add on to that, I am also feeling confusion (always) about what God truly expects from me in response to all this devaluing behavior from various family members. I mean, all I hear from fellow Christians is that it’s my job to forgive (and they really mean forget it and never speak of it again), and honestly, I just don’t even know if I have any desire to do such a thing. I mean, more than anything in all the world, I just don’t want them to treat me that way any more — ever again! So, if I just sweep everything under some gigantic rug and act like it never happened and go back to trying to have a relationship with (mostly) my mom and other family members and try to meet their expectations once again, what is the point? I don’t want to forget, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to forgive (not that I really know what that means), and most importantly, I don’t want to go back to the way things were before, where the painful wounding took place. *sigh*


Hi Kellie
I hear you! As long as I was willing to keep sweeping it under the rug, (the RUG THEY wanted me to keep sweeping it under) I was stuck. Relationship is a two way street, and it took me a while to realize that. Looking at the truth about everything set me free from all the ways the abuse made me feel about myself. I didn’t deserve to be treated the way that my family treated me. If I treated them in kind, they would have kicked me out… so why can’t I stand up for myself? Today I validate myself where they never did.
Also, about feeling like others had it worse ~ I got stuck there forever too. I still read things that commenters write and I think “oh my gosh, what the heck am I complaining about??” and then realize, abuse is abuse is abuse; there is no worse or better. All of it is wrong. All of it does damage. It is the damage that we are dealing with here and it has to be validated BEFORE it can heal.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


You are such an incredible inspiration and I sure am glad that I found your blog this morning. (Incidentally, I found it by searching: “I keep waiting for permission to live my life”) and your blog hit on the first page!
I have been battling with depression and disassociation all my life and to tell you the truth, I have had a hard time finding anyone who has worked through enough of this personally to lend any real, meaningful, valuable information and insight…until today! It is giving me hope…something that I have been sorely lacking for quite sometime now. (OK – getting choked up now)…..
Alright….as to the topic of this blog…first of all, right off the bat, coming straight out of the chute…that old adage: “That parents did the best they could” and you correctly add…according to who? – is spot on!
What amazes me the most about this is not only how it is enforced by families of origin (which is enough in and of itself to have to tackle) but by most of society in general to boot…which makes it doubly hard, IMO, to counteract.
Up until now, questioning this seemingly immutable “law” that our parents did the best they could has been one tall order and largely left to courageous individuals such as yourself coupled with maybe the books by Susan Forward (Toxic Parents) who kind of “shook up” the therapy world by calling a spade a spade and in my observation, a few so-called “outspoken” comedians along these lines. Takes guts to go against the grain like this and proclaim…well, er, no, actually…they did NOT do the best they could…they made choices and must be held accountable for their actions and/or lack of actions. Bottom line.
Of course, I am preaching to the choir here and I am moved by all of the other posters in sharing their stories so openly and honestly.
If I were to be totally honest here, I must say that on one level, a certain portion of me feels an old twinge in reading some of these posts…old conditioning and programming which wants to INITIALLY (HUGE emphasis on initially, here) tell me…oh, these people are just whining and complaining about their problems etc…PLEASE…before anyone gets upset about what I have just said, let me immediately add that by thinking this way (initially) has alerted me to just what incredible degree I have been brainwashed into thinking and believing this myself! That by placing blame & accountability squarely at the feet of others, where it rightfully belongs is one hard nut to crack and that I guess I never realized what strong external forces support this backwards notion that for some reason, it isn’t OK to blame!!!!
I’m thinking…it is not only OK to blame, its downright necessary and vital TO BLAME, by skippy!
Gosh, sure felt good to write that!!!!! 🙂 Ahhhh.
I remember when I was getting ready to graduate high school, my mom came into my room and said, “Your father and I have been thinking that we would like to help you pay to go to art school…” At first, I was elated. Wow! Cool! That lasted about 2 seconds until she added…”of course, that would mean that it would take them longer to complete the construction of their second, vacation home in N.C.”
Huh? What? See, this is the thing that gets be about this. Did I see this for the selfish manipulation and guilt-tripping that it was? Heck no. Nope. Not for DECADES! Naive me deduced…so, OK…for me to
do something constructive and beneficial in my life….takes something away from them. How whacked is that??????
Then, not too long ago I had the most incredible, cathartic dream. No holds barred, I mean to tell ya. It started out by looking for my driver’s license, which I thought I had in my back pocket, but couldn’t find it…then I went back to MY suitcase to search for it…and what do I find? All MY clothes were replaced with THEIR clothes (my parents) and she wouldn’t tell me what she did with my clothes…and then I let loose. I started screaming how selfish they were and was biting and hitting and scratching and kicking them and my oh my, how much better I felt when I woke up. (Doesn’t take Freud to connect THOSE DOTS!!!!) That shadow side emerging…you know? I couldn’t feel guilty about it, I mean, how could I? It was MY dream after all!
Anyway, too much information? Again, many thanks for your awesome blogs, Darlene and for everyone else posting here.
Thanks for reading my little sliver of experience and for allowing a safe place to share.


Hi Brenda
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! I started this blog because I wanted to give hope to others. I almost gave up when I found the answers… and the answers were about facing the truth.
You would be surprised how common that “twinge” you talk about is! Sometimes I read a comment to me, and I think to myself that I AM still A WHINER… ha ha.. it is not easy to break that old default mode of thinking and maintain the new “truth based” one. One of the main things I try to remember is that this is not about blame. (blame is more like a stepping stone) This kind of recovery is more about truth. It is about healing by facing the damage and it takes placing the responsibility for what happened where it belongs… but blame is not the goal at all.
So glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
Thanks for that clarification surrounding blame. Nope, I really didn’t think in my heart of hearts that blame was the goal here…only a stepping stone as you have pointed out.
Yeah, old habits die hard don’t they with respect to this whole “whining” stuff? But at least, for me, they can begin to f a d e …. Thanks for mentioning that.
You said: “This kind of recovery is more about truth”. This reminds me of a quote by Gloria Steinem: “The Truth Will Set You Free…but first, it will P*ss you off!”



I got a facebook post from a cousin that my grandmother passed away this morning. I will keep you posted if/when I start getting the ugly messages about not attending the funeral and who knows what else I can look forward to.



Hi Kellie
When I was in my twenties, my grandmother passed away and I lived on the other side of the country from where she and the rest of my family lived. I didn’t go to the funeral because it was too far away. My mother called me a few weeks later and started to yell at me because I wasn’t expressing my feelings the right way. GOOD GRIEF… how did she even know my feelings. I remember sitting on the other end of the phone, silently, looking at my feet… and wondering how to express my feelings so that my mother would be happy.
Keep me posted. Stay strong.
Hugs, Darlene


Another compelling post that hits home, Darlene…thank you for what you do:*)I’m also so happy to see more survivors finding this site.
I’ve been quiet for weeks (months?). My mother, who I’d not spoken to in exactly 2 years (took me to nearly 38 years old to find that strength),had a massive stroke. Since the only sane member of my mother’s side of the family is my baby sister (33yo) it was left up to us to make sure mother was taken care of properly. I’d always said even if she’s on her death bed I won’t go but when faced with it, I fell apart. I cried and I cried and I worried and I felt so much compassion for her, sympathy, pity that at age 55 she’s had a stroke that nearly killed her and will spend the rest of her life unable to really use her right hand or communicate. The aphasia makes it very difficult for her to understand letters/numbers (when typing/reading or trying to dial a phone) as well as difficult for her to sort her thoughts let alone speak what she intends to say. So sad. I hurt for her. I genuinely hated to see her suffering…to know she’ll suffer the rest of her life. She loved to read and to write…she wrote a lot and had her own website. She’d recently taken up gardening. Now what will she do?
I guess my point is the entire experience was so stunning to me; so triggering that I am still trying to process it all. She had the stroke July 12th. I flew to Memphis (I live in TX) early the next morning. My sister picked me up at the airport and we made the 2 hour drive to the small town mother lives. When I walked into the her room in ICU I had to take a deep breath several times. She looked so old, aged so much the past 2 years. the right side of her face was slack, hanging and she was drooling on herself. Her right eye droopy. Entire right side paralyzed. I stood to her right, my sister to her left. She attempted talking with mother then realized mother didn’t know I was there. My sister whispered to me “she can’t see from her right eye or hear from her right ear…she doesn’t know you are here” then she said, loudly, “Mom, did you see who is here? Look over there…”
Once mother got her left eye focused on me she began reaching for me with her left arm and crying, wanting to hold me. I let her. I cried too. I told her how much I love her. All she could say was, “I-I-I” but I knew what she was trying to say and it broke my heart.
I found that she is living in a hovel of an old trailer that must be 30-40 years old with a sewage line that runs out onto the ground about 150 feet from her back door. It has all kinds of rigged up wiring and is absolutely infested with brown recluse spiders. There’s trash all over the property and an old abandoned trailer next to it. I can’t even begin to tell you my horror at seeing how she is living. And this place is so far back into the woods that we lost GPS signal/directions several miles out. It’s so far back in the woods that there isn’t a telephone line let alone a cable line and no one can get cell service out there. It was like a really bad dream…a sick joke…my sister and I couldn’t believe it. We just sort of stood around staring at the place and each other.
Mother’s finances were a horrendous mess. The whole nine yards…you name it and we found it falling to pieces.
Mother only has 2 older sisters and a brother in law. They are all insane as far as I am concerned and just as abusive as mother. They all just take turns abusing each other. It’s insanity! There are two other children (my other sisters) but they’re worthless. Clones of mother really (in the personality sense…however, I am her clone physically) Those people are part of the reason mother wound up in the situation she’s in…that and she’d long ago beat out of my baby sister and I any hope or want to be involved in mother’s life in any way.
So, we are immediately overwhelmed with intense GUILT! Yes, that’s right. We spent nearly 2 weeks with her, bathing her, feeding her, consoling her, working with her on speech therapy, etc…working on her finances and home situation, brushing her teeth, washing her hair, massaging her with the best lotions, meeting with doctors/nurses/therapists, buying her all the things she needed (the best nightgowns, robes, non-slip slippers, things for her garden, best coffee/teas, etc etc)…this list really could go longer. We did absolutely everything we could. Mother went to the Physical Therapy floor and I had to get back to TX for my job…especially since I was quite sure I’d be paying mother’s bills up. Long story short…as soon as I was gone mother’s crazy sisters swooped in and also I think mother was getting back to her normal self in her thinking/personality(?) but we’re right back where we started…only now the only reason I’ve not had to deal with mother is because she cannot communicate. Most of the time I am so thankful for that…then I feel incredbly guilty for feeling that way. Ugh! I didn’t mean to go on and on…just wanted to give a quick update and mention how easy it is to get sucked back in. I feel like I almost need to start all over again with my healing…therapy, everything. And let’s not miss the fact that my sister and I went straight into “take care of mother” mode and I’m sure some of that was the child like hope that she’d change after such an intense experience. We are are both 2 months from our 34th and 40th birthdays and yet we not only still hold love & compassion for our mother regardless what she’s done (how is this possible!?) but clearly we needed mom’s approval and love STILL so much that we dropped everything for her. Ok…better stop…love&hugs to you all!


Ah Stef- my heart goes out to you. I can relate. In spite of all the abuse from my mom throughout my life, when my dad died 2006 I threw myself into doing whatever needed to be done for her- then had my brothers screaming at me that I didn’t need to interfere, they had it under control (this after Mom and the bros told me they were all just going home after Dad’s funeral so we might as well too) then all went out together and spent the evening together… and other nasty stuff better forgotten.
I made sure every anniversary and birthday she was taken out, sent out her Christmas cards, wrapped her gifts- whatever I could- then she had a bad stroke but took 2 weeks off life support to die- we travelled every day to be with her- I’d been fortunate to have Mothers’ Day in 08 to feed and laugh with her like her old ‘nice’ self- then when we came back she’d had the stroke- I had one big cry about knowing she was basically gone, only to find out that in her will she’d given away the things she’d promised me from childhood as the only daughter- yada yada- can’t talk about it too much or I’ll lose it here-
— Just sayin I understand… I think there is that little daughter buried deep inside who will always want mom’s approval no matter how clearly adult me knows it will never happen. – I think it’s a tribute to your character that you did all you did for her. You’re a much kinder and healthier person than she and the ‘sisty uglers’ (remember them from Indercella and the Sisy Uglers camp version of Cinderella?)

I hope you can maintain friendship with your sister.

It does seem that if we reap what we sow she may be reaping… just sayin…

Blessings and big compassionate hugs from


Hi Stef
Wow, thanks for sharing all this! I am so aware of how easy it is for this to happen. I really appreciate the “snap shot” of what it was like for you going through this and some of the conclusions that you have come to.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much. No matter how unhelpful it might be…I want to share new insights/experiences though that isn’t to say that it’s not therapeutic for me to come here and share with people who get it. That’s probably the number one reason I’m here:*)
Maribeth, you reminded me of something I failed to mention. Mother has a $150,000 life insurance policy (why, I do not know…20k would cover her affairs) and my baby sister (I’ll call her Anna) and I were the benficieries. Well, while trying to sort through mother’s horrendous financials we discovered that the same month (in 2009) that I shut her out she changed the beneficieries to her sisty uglers! Yet as always it is Anna and I taking care of everything and surely will be the same when mother dies. Good lord. Those crazy women will take the money and run off to the nearest casino or take a cruise. freaks.
Oh and Anna and I are very close. We always have been and always will be. We have 2 other sisters (actually it’s 1 other sister & her daughter but mother took the daughter from her…so confusing) so four of us girls sort of raised by mother…the other 2 are worthless. Anna and I treat them with compassion but avoid them. Anna was born one month before my 5th birthday and I immediately made her mine. I practically raised both my sisters, but only Anna bonded with me. For the longest time she referred to me as her mother. I tucked her in and told her bedtime stories, I cleaned her skinned knees, potty trained her, fed her, taught her to tie her shoes, etc…Anna and I will always stand strong together. Nothing will ever keep us apart. I tell her all the time that she is the absolute best thing my mother ever gave to me.
Anyway, hope that cleared it all up…I know it’s a big ‘ol mess of confusion. Phew!

Yes, several people said they thought this was mother’s time to reap what she’s sewn. I have a similar take on it…I tend to think Karma follows us from one life to another and we are given a chance to learn/grow/change even through the bad stuff. So yes, I think she’s lived the bad Karma she’s earned, but was saddened to realize she’s never going to change/learn or grow.

lots of love&hugs!


Hi Stef,
Thanx for sharing again. So very glad you have your sister – I have to think having her in your life must have helped quite a bit… even if only validating what you experienced.
Bless you,


I feel Risé’s blog

is a beautiful counterpoint to this blog- showing by example what ‘doing one’s best for one’s children’ really is all about.


🙂 Thanks for sharing my blog, Maribeth! After reading other posts, perhaps this one might be of use too:



I cannot even put into words how I feel when I read each blog post, and then each & all of the comments. It makes me so sad to know there are so many of us as, adult daughters who have very broken or (in my case) completely non-existent relationships with our mothers.
This is my 2nd comment on this site, but I have read many of the posts, as well as the comments that follow. I have felt so alone throughout my life, in that I never had what one would think of as a loving mother-daughter relationship. I always felt that I was a burden to my mother, and was constantly reminded of this by hearing “I have been a mother since I was 17 years old. It is now my time to have a life”. My mother was 17, unmarried, uneducated when she had me. She reminded me of this any way/time she had a chance.
I also heard my entire life, “she did the best she could/I, being a young single mother did the best I could”. However, now I finally feel brave enough to say, actually, no – no she didn’t. Yes, she worked, she provided a home for me, a warm bed & food to eat. Yet, does that make her a good mother? I have always told myself, yes, she did her best. she worked hard. She was busy working & tired when home to be emotionally and/or physically there for me.
Yet…. when I dig deep (which I haven’t really done, as it is so painful or instances that I honestly cannot remember), she always had time for men. I have no idea how many men where in/out. Ido know she has been married/divorced 4x, and is now engaged to be married for the 5th time.

I never recall a time in which she spent TIME with me. I remember begging, crying for her to stay home, and she would scream at me telling me that I was too needy, and that she needed a life that didn’t involve children.
That is what I remember the mist of my childhood, her voice, screaming. Screaming horrible things, that a child should not here. Along with hearing her sexual relations with men I didn’t know or had never seen.

I find myself so torn. Feeling that as a mother myself to 2 very young children, I would never do or say the things she did. Yet, I also have a wonderful & supportive husband. I waited to have children in my late 20’s, so maybe she did do the best she could? I am so confused in my feelings of this.

She has since continued to say this is her time to have her own life (I was under the impression that when living your best life, it would include the family & friend’s you love). My 2 children are her only grandchildren, whom she doted on at birth & now has no contact with them (or me & my husband).

I’m sorry this comment is all over the place, rambling & not really sticking to topic.
I just feel that this incredible hurt will never go away. We have not had contact for over a year. She has called me the most horrific things one could ever imagine, made up awful lies about me, and in turn I have lost relationships with just about all of my biological family. Some days I feel it would be easier, less hurtful if I just let go of the boundaries I have spent the last year building, to have those relationships back again. Yet, I know it’s not even MY mother I want in my life, it’s a mother. A mother who loves me unconditionally. Who wants to be a part of my little family’s life. Again — apologies this is all over the place. Sone days are so much more difficult than others. This is one of them. I am grateful to have found this site & cannot express my gratitude for all of the incredibly brave & honest comments. Like I said, I have been reading so much, but in all honesty I do have so much fear that someone may read this & identify me. I hate that I am in my 30’s, am a mother, a wife – yet still feel scared.
I do see a wonderful therapist, but as I wrote in the beginning – my family dynamics are incredibly isolating – and a situation I don’t feel comfortable in discussing much with others – besides my husband and some very close friend’s.
I thank you if you’ve made it this far – to the end of my rambling comment.


Hi Brooke
It is really difficult for a child to hear the words that your mother expressed to you. It isn’t the words, it is the message behind them that hurts so much. As though it is YOUR fault that she became a mother so young. As though YOU ruined her life. I felt so bad, guilty, ashamed and ungrateful that I was disappointed in my parents until I realized that the truth was setting me free. I finally looked at my childhood the way it was. I stopped feeling sorry for my mother so that I could heal. Today I feel grateful for what my mother did do, and I also feel sorry for her, but not at my expense anymore. I have rights and value too. I did not destroy her life. I needed parents and they failed me. I did not fail them. I had to sort that out and when I did, I found all freedom and recovery. My mother also always always always found time for men. And she was jealous of me when it came to men. She didn’t have time for me unless it had to do with her. That was the truth and that was part of the damage. The hurt and pain DID go away for me when I sorted this stuff out and saw the truth. There is a lot of info in this blog about how I did that.
Welcome to this community. There is freedom on the other side of broken.
Hugs, Darlene
.P.S. don’t worry about length of comment or rambling or even about staying on topic. There is so much healing in getting this stuff out! I read every comment ~ sometimes I run out of time to answer each one, but I read every one. Hugs!


Hi Brooke,
I just want to tell you that I really appreciate the courage it took to share your story as well as your feelings. I read to the bottom and had no trouble following or understanding.

From my experience, I understand the feelings of being motherless though your mother is there. That longing drove me into relationships with other women that became co-dependent and painful also –

I hope you continue with your therapist and find the courage to share there what you’ve been able to share here- maybe just print out your post and take it-

Rest assured that you are not alone and that there is a big family here of us who know what you’re talking about and are at different stages of working through our pain.

Darlene is such an encouragement…. “There is freedom on the other side of broken.” Some of us are still just trusting that she is telling the truth… others are there with her. I trust you’ll join her there too.

Blessings and hugs,


Thank you so much for the kind, thoughtful & encouraging words. They really mean a lot to me. I pray every day for this hurt to go away. I really feel that sometimes I’m so fake in walking around with a smile on my face, yet I feel so BROKEN inside. I do not want my 2 very young children (3.5 & 2) to see or ever feel my sadness. My son, who us almost 4, asked me this past weekend “who is mama’s mommy? since daddy’s mama is nana (my MIL)?”. It broke my heart that he would ever have to ask that question. I tried to keep my emotions in check & just told him she lived far away & we didn’t see her often. He then asked if she didn’t come see us, b/c she didn’t want to see him …
That is when my heart felt like it truly had broken. I, reassured him that he had so much love around him, and she was sort if like a stranger that you don’t really miss or love b/c you don’t know them. He has no recollection of her, and I keep reminding myself that is probably best. I will never let my children feel for 1 second the way in which I feel in regards to her. I wish I could de-tach myself from her & the feelings I have. I just cannot comprehend how she could cut off all connection with me, my husband and our children. Shouldn’t that have been me? How does one do that? Just walk away from those closest to them?


What I don’t understand is how nature/biology allows 2 people to successfully procreate in the first place who don’t have at least the MINIMUM wherewithal to rear their young sufficiently.

That’s what I don’t get!

Up until this point, I have always looked to the vast array of creative, unusual and fascinating examples in nature to help me out with whatever it is I am struggling with and up until this point…have always found a solution that I can live with.

But this one…has me stumped!

Any ideas anyone?


Hi Brooke
When I went through my process I worried so much about my 3 kids.. and really they were a huge part of my motivation to do this work. Looking back, I think that I didn’t hide my sadness and distress very well. But my kids saw me overcome my obstacles! They saw me fight for my happiness. They witnessed my husband and I work out our relationship and we truly want to be together today. They grew right along side of me, although I did not see it at the time.

My mother also is the one who walked away from me. It is very hard to understand, but I don’t have to understand her anymore. I am free now. I have written about this stuff too in this site. My mother could not face the truth, but I did and I am so much happier now. Hang in here Brooke, you are not alone.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Brenda,
The only thing I can come up with is that we are human and not animals. Animals don’t have the emotions that we have ~ they rely on instincts.
The thing for me was that I had to let go of trying to understand that and I accepted that I would never understand it. I had to move beyond that stick point and take my life back regardless of what the “reason” was for the way my parents were. I have written a lot about this in this site too.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


[…] of this goes into what makes up the self esteem of the child. All other abuse or devaluing treatment is added to the grid that the child will see himself or […]


I published a new post about how the belief system is formed through the messages we get in childhood; messages that contribute to damaged self esteem. There are some examples of how this happens.
You can read it here ~
Belief system Formation via the Messages received in childhood

Hugs, Darlene


I also have had a dysfunctional relationship with my parents. A mother that was overbearing, overprotective, super critical, verbally and physically abusive, etc. I am now 50 years of age and have been in a recovery program for the past 3 years (a program for people who are addicted to control, fear, eating/body image issues, anxiety, etc). I was able to be clear about the origins of the struggles that I was having and I believe that it started with my relationship with my mom. Through the course I have realized that it was and wasn’t what happened to me as a child and young person but it was the way I interpreted what happened to me and the false beliefs that were formulated. I no longer blame my mother for my wounds and I have been able to forgive her. In the last few years, I have been hyper sensitive to anything she says to me – even when she would compliment me or when she was really happy because these things would bring up the past. I would think ” why didn’t you compliment me when I needed you at 6 or 8 or 10 years of age or why are you so happy when you have caused so much destruction”. It wouldn’t matter what she did in the present, I would misinterpret it because I was being triggered. I realized that I had to get rid of my triggers before I would be free to forgive her truly. So I figured out why I was being triggered – underneath the trigger was the pain which was that I wasn’t good enough, that I never would be, why would I even try, there was only room for one queen (my mom), I didn’t matter, I was unloveable. I had to realize that these were lies that I had believed in my head so I went through the process of disputing the lies with the truth. The healing can not happen in the intellect, it doesn’t matter how much I say it to myself, I won’t believe it. It had to happen in my emotions so I went back to the incidents in my life and allowed God/Love/the Universe to speak the truth to me and show me the truth. It’s a process but I can honestly say that nothing my mom does now can trigger me – I can tell that I’m healed because in the past I would freeze or run or fight with her. Now I am able to calmly give my opinion. For instance, I have been on a healthy eating plan for 4 days because of health issues and my mom saw me and exclamed how beautiful I was, well of course that brought up old feelings of I’m never good enough, I have to be thin to be loved by her (she has been trying to get me to lose weight for years), etc. I didn’t feel the pain in my chest or gut like I used to, I just said to her, “Oh, I thought I looked beautiful before” with a little snicker and I’m sure she got the message without starting a fight or sucking up my feelings and stewing about it for hours. I love how I feel now, I have complete forgiveness for both my parents (my dad didn’t protect me from her and was very isolated), I don’t have any pain in my chest or gut when they make comments and I see them for who they really are – people that do the things they do because these behaviors protect them. Just as my behaviors of control, anxiety, and fear protected me. I had to take huge measures to understand why I do the things I do and lots of therapy and lots of accountability. They could do that too I suppose but I can’t force them if they don’t have the inclination to get into recovery. Anyways, all this to say that freedom is possible, forgiveness is possible. Go back in your mind to the places where the wounds were first formed and allow truth to come in and replace the lies. Bless you


I have a question for you and maybe you have addressed it in other parts of your blog but I was wondering about what I can do to repair my relationship with my 20 year old daughter who has stopped speaking to me. I wish I had realized that I was broken earlier because even though I also tried not to be like my mother, I think I was in some ways. My daughter and I have tried working on our relationship but at this point she won’t respond to me through email or text or letters. She has been rebellious as I was in my younger years. It’s definitely generational issues that have been passed on. What do I do now? I have apologized to her, and have tried to make amends. This past summer was mostly great until an incident at the end of the summer in which I triggered her (which is almost always) and so since then she hasn’t spoken to me and is in the East at university and I live in BC. She is speaking a little with her father. She is coming home for Christmas and I have to admit that I’m not relishing the time because it could be awkward and strained. Since I have been in recovery, I have changed alot but I’m not perfect and I know I never will be. I’m trying to find where the line is between loving her unconditionally and being treated as a door mat. Any thoughts?


Hi Avisel
Welcome to Emerging from Broken;
I encourage you to keep reading articles in this site for more insight. My recovery and my own conclusions are much different than what you describe about your recovery here with your relationship with your mother. My interpretation of my relationship with my parents was NOT wrong and trying to convince myself that it was kept me stuck for YEARS. The way that we process our relationships with our parents affects and reflects in the problems that we have with our own kids (your daughter) and in my own case it was doing all the self work that I did that enabled me to straighten out the relationships that I now have with my own kids.
hugs, Darlene


My mother accused me of seducing her husband when I was about 13 or 14. I was still playing with Barbies for heaven’s sake. We were on a camping trip and she pushed me off a jetty onto a heap of rocks covered with oysters. Ouch!


That is horrible. I am so sorry that happened to you.
glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


Very powerful stuff here; it meant a lot to me. My father forcefully sodomized me and then accused me of being gay. He beat me, and then yelled at me for crying. He ridiculed me and knocked me down, and then asked why didn’t I stand up for myself. He was the personification of contradiction and anachronism. He was also evil, as far as I can tell.
My Mom, God Bless her, did finally get him out of the house when I was 9, but the trauma led her to self medication and denial. For the last 30 years of her life, she was a rarely-sober alcoholic. When I was 18 she married a man who again ridiculed me, verbally abused me, and routinely threatened to “kick-my-ass.” He called me every profane name there is for the purpose of belittling and shaming me.
Did any of these three adults REALLY try. I think not. I think they found shortcuts to make it easier on themselves. I think they probably had low self esteem and took it out on me to make themselves feel better. I think I was parented badly and with little regard for my health and well-being. It hurts me to say that, but it is probably true.


Hi Mike
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
What happened to you is horrible. Of course he was evil. I agree that none of them really tried. I too think that they blamed me to make themselves feel better. I am glad that I know better now.
Realzing that I was let down and treated wrong, that some of the things that happened to me were illegal, that I deserved NONE of it, has been a difficult but amazing path to freedom for me!
Glad you are here, thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


*************WARNING POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING MATERIAL**********************

for the first time i met you

for the times i saw you in bed with my mother

for the times you told us to ‘outski if you dont want to see pornography’

for the times you thought you knew best,

for the time you smashed my mothers face with your fist

for the times you did leave and then come back

for the times your huge hands come crashing down on our little bodies

for the times you unleashed you cowardly evil on my little brother
DO YOU FEEL LIKE A MAN NOW? (i love you B)

for the times i saw the pain and humiliation on his little face

for the times my little sister hurt herself fighting you off

for the times my mother called out to me in the middle of the night

for the times i was scared when you went in to my baby brother

for the times he wanted to love you
YOU LET HIM DOWN ( I love u j)

for the times you fed me alcohol and drugs

for the times you stole my innocence

for the times you lied

for the times you blamed me

for the times you tried it on my neice

for the times she hated me

for the times i locked myself in my bedroom

for the times i have to open my eyes in the dark
IT’S OK, ITS MY HUSBAND (I love you G)

for the times i felt you all over again

for the times i hated myself

fpr the times i wished i was dead

for the times i had to breathe your putrid air

for the times i felt rage and disgust

for the times i was lost for words

for the times i fell apart

for the times i couldn’t get to sleep

for the times i couldn’t get up

for the times you broke into my dreams

for the times i felt completely alone

for the times that i cried

for the times my head throbbed

for the times my stomach hurt

for the times i tried to be you’re friend

for the times i had to look at your face

for the times i shuddered at the dreadful thought of you

for stealing our childhood

I have only just read this post. It has done so much for me.
Thankyou Darlene.

They did not do the best they could.
And my mothers clapping at my victim impact statement after they put us through all of that.
If that was her best I’d hate to see her worst.

Love to all xo


Hi Michelle
wow. Thank you for sharing this. The things that we go through and survive; it’s really a miracle. I am so sorry that this was the nightmare you and your siblings lived. I am so glad that you are healing now. The thought of your mother clapping at your victim impact statement makes me sick. That is such total rejection. None of your story here is about BEST.
So much of my recovery was delayed because the fear of facing that total rejection is HUGE. But I am so glad that I did.
Hugs, Darlene


The rejection was what held me back from doing what I knew deep down I had to do. I thought I had to forgive, which in my mind means ok, you are excused. But as u can see they r not sorry. So therefore there is no room for forgiveness. The fact that my mother stayed with and then married this creep even though she would ALWAYS tell us ‘he’s a weirdo, there is something wrong with him’ is what has made me finally realize she has made her choice. And to think that after they were married she found him ‘in an inappropriate position with my beautiful niece’ .. Broke up with him over it for one week: then took him back when she found out he was staying with a guy she had an affair with when they’d been together for a little while.. She couldn’t bear the thought of that.. But invite him back into the house after she found the compromising situation with my niece!!! ( btw, she came to me when that happened with my niece and told me ‘I believe u now..) that’s when my half brother ( his biological son) first found out about what his father did to me.. But that was probably only to back up her story about what she found with my niece) I never wanted my little brother to know that about his dad, he wanted to love him so badly even though hed already started to see aspects of his asshole personality…. we have a very awkward and quite toxic relationship these days, unfortunately he has a lot of similar characteristics to his father… I swear sociopathic qualities are hereditary somehow..
I AM RAMBLING NOW! we just got a new puppy 2 days ago and I am worn out.. Also I’ve had 2 major panic attacks in two days, triggered by events the last few weeks I might talk about later but now I’ll leave u all as I think I’ve said enough…

Love to all xo


so much of toxic relationship is really “learned behaviour”. Kids grow up learning how to do relationship by the example of how relationship is modeled to them. I had to look at how it was taught to me in order to see the dysfunction I wanted to stay away from. Lots to this topic too!
Hugs, Darlene


Wow! This really gave me a lot of food for thought! How many times have some of us defended our abusive, dysfunctional parents by saying “They did the best they could”?


Hi Victoria
Exactly!! welcome to EFB. I am glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Reading these posts and comments, I finally feel validated after 61 years.
Thank you wonderful women for sharing the deepest, darkest places of your wounded souls.
This topic is so politically incorrect, it’s inconceivable to most people. If you don’t “honor” your mother, then YOU must be the problem. Why don’t grown kids visit their parents? Because the parent do not provide an aura of love and acceptance that the grown kids want to come back to.
Actually, I do think my parents did the best they could; however, they both were/are incredibly ignorant and damaged themselves.


Hi LilyFaye
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
I was so afraid to write about this when I first started this blog, but I reached this point when I had to start sharing about it, because it was such a huge part of my healing process. It turned out that when I did start writing aobut it, my traffic went way up! A lot of people out there are looking for others who feel this way.
Your comments are right on. Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much, Darlene. I feel very safe here.
It is very hard to hold this inside, and it affects every aspect of my life.
Thank you for this site….I know it will help me 😉


Wow this could not have been more timely for me. I was trying to convince my therapist today that my parents did do the best they could, that it was not their fault. The reality that it was and that they did NOT do the best they could is incredibly painful and difficult to grasp. But what a freeing concept it is.


Thank you for sharing this today. I’ve been subscribed to your facebook for a few weeks and a lot of what you have said has really spoken to me on a deep level. Thank you


Hi Lynne
welcome to EFB
It IS incredibly painful and difficult to grasp. I totally agree! and yes.. I also found that it was a freeing concept.

Hi Katy
Welcome to the blog part of EFB!
Thank you for your encouragement. I am glad that this is speaking to you too!
hugs, Darlene


The way I see it, *parents* did NOT do the best they could. They knew all along that something was not right and yet – made the conscious DECISION to NOT seek outside professional help. Easier that way – doncha know? Let’s be honest.
So much easier to just go ahead and let the child carry all the shame and guilt rather then look their OWN SELVES in the mirror and *fess up* to where THEY went wrong!

bottom-fricking line ~

Quote: When ya mess up – fess up.


When I say, “My parents did the best they could” I also add, “with the knowledge and abilities they had.”
What that means to me is, and in my case, my parents didn’t know what happened to me at that time. Did my parents do stupid things that put me into difficult situations. Yes, but my parents were two broken people themselves.
I’ve read a lot of the posts here, and there are a lot of people who sound bitter and angry. While they have a worldly right to be so, holding onto that anger and bitterness squelch the healing process. Forgiveness frees up the emotions in your heart and allows you to be healed from the issues and effects of childhood sexual assault. Forgiveness does not let the abuser/or the parents allowing it to happen, off the hook…forgiveness is about you being healed. Period. They will still have to stand and give account for what they did.
One of my biggest downfalls was wanting those 8 men who took advantage of me (as well as my brother) to FESS UP, to Apologize, to Rot in hell, to go to jail, to do something that acknowledged the pain and anguish I felt inside. I just knew that would help me…unfortunately that did not help me at all. It made me crazier and more depressed. When I was well into my 40’s I discovered the need to forgive those men who harmed me and when I did get my first apology…I was able to really stand there and accept it.
God bless each of you as you journey toward healing.


Hello All!
I am deeply saddened by all of the dysfunctional mother/parent – daughter relationships.

I am blessed to have had a mother who pretty much did do the best that she could for me. She was a single mother who worked full time outside of the home from the 50’s through the 80’s when she finally retired. By then I was home with her again after having been married and separated, and expecting my first child. She was not perfect, but she was home with me as a child when she wasn’t working. She didn’t drink or go out with friends (male or female). We spent time together and were friends. When she passed away in 1987 I truly lost my best friend.

She didn’t know about my abuse by our neighbor, but she was not home during the day. She was in her mid to late 40’s by then, and she was tired after working. I didn’t want to hurt her or lose her by telling her about it, so I kept quiet. I did rehearse telling her in my head, but the words never came out of my mouth until I was 30. Except when I told her not to let me go over to this house any longer, which she didn’t question. I wish she had, but it’s one of those things that I can’t go back and change, just move forward. I forgive her for this.

One thing I never did understand was that she told me I wouldn’t need to go to college, as I was going to get married and have a family anyway. I guess it was wishful thinking on her part that I would not end up like her. I ended up going to college in my 30’s, after my divorce, with three young children in tow!

I ended up raising my two families, 2 boys and 1 girl, and then two more boys, pretty much as a single parent. I feel that I did ok under the circumstances that were given to me. I was not perfect, nor was I always as emotionally available as I would have liked to have been for them. I felt at times like I was in a tornado of emotions myself, having to make all the decision for all of us, and wanting to make the right ones. But I worked and I was home when not working. They tell me now that I am a wonderful mother, but I have never claimed to be myself. I know that I have had many shortcomings.

The issues we had to work through, and are still working through, are related to different types of abuse from both of their fathers’, one toward me and the other toward his step-children. Both of their extended families are dysfunctional as well, one rich and one very poor, so there you have it! Perpetuation of abuse…. I tried to stop the cycle and hope I have succeeded with my children. Only time and relationships will tell.

I managed to marry four men who had abusive or addictive personalities. I am divorced from all four and have children with the last two. I don’t plan on having any more romantic interludes!

My biggest mistake over the years was not caring for myself, which now at 56 I am learning to do. This was probably a carry over from the early abuse by the neighbor, my parents divorce and the fact that I was not going to be deterred from putting my kids first once they came along. I never really addressed the issues of my abuse with a counselor until much later in life, when the abuse cycle started in my home as noted, and I began to think of how I had gotten myself and my children in this mess in the first place.

Everyone has had their share of anxiety and/or depression; we have all had counseling, sometimes intense at times. Family based, wrap around, individual, group – all of it. My youngest two boys have been hospitalized for depression, one more than once. At least I have raised four young men who are willing to talk to a counselor about their feelings, and my daughter (28) has found God to be her comforter. The two older boys are now turning to God as well (now 25 and 31). I think I only stayed as sane as I did because I prayed throughout my difficulties, sometimes more devoutly than others. I always felt that God was with me, even as a child when going through the abuse.

Well, I am long winded again, and I am sorry. God Bless all who have had less than good parents, and I will pray for your healing!


To Cheryl, Comment 201

My abusive neighbor talked of retiring to his home town in the country when his wife quit working. He had already retired, thus had way too much time on his hands.

I have to say, I was happy to have heard that he had died, and he had not made it to his retirement dreams!

A little bite of revenge! Felt good at the time!



Good for you for finally getting that apology. That is rare. I think one has to be very, very careful here in spouting off words such as *forgiveness.*

Though, I do sense that you mean well in your context, I would like to ask you to please try and refrain from passing judgement about some of the posters here whom seem (according to you) to *hold unto their bitterness and anger*, as you put it.

I sense that you really DO mean well…thing is – no one can really know, for sure EXACTLY, what kind of specific/anguish anyone else feels or has lived through and at what point they are at in terms of said *progress* according to someone else’s standards.

To me, said *forgiveness* is a very personal, very private matter – period.

It CAN happen as just a natural by-product of sorts as a result of truly hard work. Personal hard work. Private hard work. An eventual personal decision/result without any and all influence(s) from any kind of outside/external sources.

Overall – I just think that it might be respectful for you – all the way around to keep this in mind – however *well-meaning* you may be ~

p.s. – as far as you comment about: “They will still have to stand and give account for what they did.”

Ummm – to who, exactly?

You DO realize that there are agnostics/atheists here – right? (Myself included.)

Just some gentle food for thought.

Like I said, I sense that you really do mean well in the end Cheryl, – just please – DO be aware that not everyone just automatically subscribes to the same sense of reality as you do and…to me…it seems that the most respect which can be given all the way around is by stating and admitting that everyone eventually figures it all out on their own. Eventually. In their own time.

Just (in the end) a simple respectful and natural *given*.

Hence, respect for each others’ individual process in the interim – however long it takes.

(Ya follow me?)

It’s all good, gurlfriend 🙂


Have you read Darlene’s thoughts on “forgiveness” when it comes to having been abused?? You might find them interesting;
Here is the link to one of the posts


Hi Brenda,
Exactly, thank you for sharing,
And thank you for your comments to Cheryl. Forgiveness is not the catch all answer. I have written a lot about that subject in this site too.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Margie
Yay for stopping the cycle. That is exactly the purpose of this website. To heal from abuse in order to stop the cycle!
Hugs, Darlene

Thanks for posting that link to my post on Forgiveness. This really is a sensitive issue among survivors.
Hugs, Darlene

Perhaps you could offer a bit of clarity on HOW you forgave? That might help a bit more than just telling people that forgiveness is the answer.
Forgiveness in my case was a result of the healing work that I did. I faced the truth about the damage done to me. My parents didn’t take care of me or protect me from it. They put me in danger and I it was by actually facing that and being angry about the years that I lost to abuse, that I was able to take my life back and live fully. For years I tried to skip straight to forgiveness and only felt shame and guilt that I could not seem to get over the abuse itself. Forgiveness did not come first for me.
Thank you


to each and every person who had written
thank you

we need to speak
we need to put it out there

i have found it SO difficult to put into words what i went through
i use the words of others
it has helped.
slowly but surely my words are coming to me

my own story

thank you to each and every one of you.

it makes to SO much easier to speak up about my abuse…

i would like to ask – has anyone read anything or has anything to say about how the abuse of parents towards the children, affects the inter-sibling relationships??
i would so appreciate your thoughts on that.

blessings to you all!!!



oh yes, i did want to say

about forgiveness

you can forgive

but you cannot – i believe you should not – restore relationship – carry on as though nothing happened – until and unless there is
RESTORATION of your name, to all those they profaned your reputation to,
RESTITUTION of whatever kind you need.

If this does not happen, i will not make contact with them again.

that’s all there is to it.

sounds harsh and unchristian, but i am prepared to stand before the judgement seat of GOD on this one.

thank you!!!


Hi Laura,
Welcome to EFB and thank you so much for sharing. I like your thoughts on forgiveness.
Yes we do need to speak out. I think that so much of this, as hard as it is for so many to face, is where the healing begins. It is really just the truth that sets us free.
About siblings, there is lots in this website (from commenters mostly) about the effects on sibling relationship. It is certainly very often part of the overall equation.
Hugs, Darlene


Why should I, the one in pain
Forgive instead of hate;
The ones who stole my innocence
When justice is so late?

And why should I extend to them
The opportunity;
To be released from what is their
Don’t You see the damage done
And don’t You even care?
How can You ask of me this thing?
Forget the pain I bear?

How can You ask me something that
I’ve not the strength to do?
Forgive the guilty of their sin
Give vengeance back to You?

And so the argument went on
Between His heart and mine;
Until by grace, I understood
Forgiveness in my mind.

It wasn’t for the guilty; No
The benefit was mine;
That through forgiving every one
Then I could finally find.

The peace my heart was longing for
And hope that would endure;
Release from bondages and chains
Forgiveness was my cure.

No longer bound internally
By men’s ungodly deeds;
And only by the grace of God
Today I live as free. (c) 1/2/06

My abuse began when I was 7 or 8 years old and stopped when I was 15. When God began dealing with me about forgiving those men who had harmed me (through a sermon I heard) I wrote the above poem. I’m sure you can see the progression of thought.

For the majority of my life, until I was 47 years old, I did not want to forgive those men/boys for what they had done. I didn’t want to let them off of the hook. I wanted each one of them to go to hell and rot. I envisioned running into them on the street and stabbing them with a red hot poker while ripping their scrotum from their bodies and gagging them with their own testicles (used to think like this). If I could have, I would have slowly killed each one of them with my bare hands making them suffer for all the years I suffered.

My parents. I was angry at my father because he should have known by my behavior (running and screaming through the house saying I didn’t want to go spend the night at this mans house at 8 yrs of age – he had 3 daughters I was friends with and they made the plans and then told me about it.) My father should have noticed the changed depressed behavior in his daughter the next day when I was brought home after his friend raped me with his daughters asleep in the bunks above me and his wife asleep across the hall. The mans wife should have gotten out of bed and noticed me crying in the bathroom afterward wanting to go home but afraid to call my parents. My father should have noticed his daughters soul had died. God should have intervened and saved me from that horrible man, and the 7 others who damaged me emotionally & spiritually, because God knows I screamed to him in my head every time it happened…but none of those things happened and I was angry. I lived in anger, hatred, self destructive behaviors (issues) that filled my own heart and spilled out onto my relationships, my children, my family, friends, etc.

Those emotions ruled my life and the only person they hurt was me and my relationships.

Anger has a place, yes, but to stay in anger hurts the one who is angry. Bitterness is a poison that rots your soul. For all of the energy I wasted on being angry, bitter, and wanting to kill those men, not one time did my emotions cause any good to come to me. For the most part my life was pure hell. Those men were living their own lives and probably having a good time while I was depressed, anxious, fearful, always reacting from the issues of my past (responding to external stimuli from the aspect of that wounded little girl instead of as a rational adult who can think and reason and react in a normal behavior).

Forgiving those men came down to me making a conscious choice to give up my anger and my need for retribution & vengeance, which began the process of healing in my heart. Yes, I worked through my anger issues by facing the reasons of that anger. It was a process. Nothing happened overnight. Every time I felt that twisting in my gut and could feel that murderous feeling welling up inside of me I had to literally say, “NO. I choose to forgive them for what they did to me.” Eventually my feelings aligned with my will.

Does that mean those men were off the hook? Does it mean they are no longer guilty of raping/molesting me? Does it mean I need to go knock on his door and bake him a cake? Heavens NO! What it does mean is this; The ONE [God] who has the true right to vengeance WILL make sure that justice is done [you can trust Him with that], and done in the right way [in the way that will be good for everyone], and ultimately, vengeance is His right, not mine. Forgiveness also means that stuff will no longer have the same grip on me that it did before. Sorrow, depression, pain, anguish & terror no longer could control me. I was becoming free!

Isaiah 61 says that Jesus Christ came to set the captive free, to open prison doors to those who were bound and to restore the ruined places. Forgiveness puts Isaiah 61 into motion.

Forgiveness was also extended to my parents. My parents were broken people who came from a long line of broken people (none of us are immune) and while the cognitive approach says, “Adult Parents should know better” the spiritual approach says, “Satan runs around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” My parents had a very rocky relationship and were so immersed in their own struggles they could not see past their own pain. One result of their issues spilling over onto their children was the fracture in the family unit. There was no longer any strength found within that unit, which gave Satan an opportunity to fine tune his destruction on us.

If I would have waited for my abusers to admit what they had done to me I never would have found peace in my heart. Human nature is to protect ones self. Out of the 8 people I can mentally recall only 1 of them actually came to me and apologized for what he had done. I thought it would be the icing on the cake, but since I had already forgiven him, there was no big deal about it. In mercy (not giving him what he deserved) I told him I had forgiven him a long time ago.

Did my forgiveness cause his repentance? Maybe, but, he first came to Christ and repented of his sin and then he came to me about 6 months later. Now, I can rationalize my brothers abuse of me because, like me, he too was abused and instead of internalizing his abuse (like I did) he became obsessed with sexual pleasure and by the time he reached the teenage years, he could no longer control his urges (you may think I’m a little nuts here, but I think that is spiritually based).

Choosing to forgive in spite of the emotions you have is liberating to the one who forgives not to the one to whom forgiveness is extended (they don’t even have to know…this is something between you and God alone. Of course, unless you feel telling that person is what God wants but I usually don’t recommend that as the majority of results aren’t favorable). Forgiveness begins the process of leaving behind the prison of dark, horrible emotions and spiritual lack that victims of abuse live in and operate out of.

God bless each of you.


@ Brenda;

Yes, I do mean well. Part of the work I do is to help those who have been abused (one of the reasons I have written a book) not just sexually, but all areas of abuse (spousal abuse). yes, I do understand that there are some atheists and agnostics here and I do respect what you have been through personally, just as I respect what others of faith have been through.

God has been very central to who I am and my healing. The references to Him are not a sword wielded at anyone. This thread is not a debate about whether or not God exists, but how people deal with the abuse they have suffered, and their parents (although forgiveness is the sub-topic). God is very real to a lot of people, Brenda, even here.

My use of God in my post is not a dig at those who do not believe, but a comfort to those who do. I assume that anyone who does not agree with everything I write has the opportunity to disregard what I say. I am not proselytizing, but sharing a heart-felt expression based on the experiences I have had through healing and in finding freedom from the issues of my past.

I do thank you for your comments Brenda.


@ Jimmy B.

Yes, I have read that post. Thank you.


Hi Cheryl
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I can only share from my own exp. and this was not the way that it worked for me. I have never advocated for understanding abusers OR for needing them to apologize; that was a trail leading no where. I think that God spoke to me in a different way. Forgiveness was not the beginning for me. As I wrote before, forgiveness was a result of the healing work that I did.
Hugs, Darlene


I’ve always said that I could forgive my mother for not having the capicity to authentically love me. Severely damaged people can’t love. – But it is far more difficult to forgive her for blaming me. That is what these types do – they blame the “difficult” child for their inability to love them.


Hi Teresa
Yes I agree. It is worse that I was blamed for her inabilities to be “a mother” ~ that I was sullen, difficult etc. another thing I had to realize and keep realizing was that it was not by understanding my mother or by forgiving her that helped me get where I am today. What helped me was focusing on the damage all of that caused me and finally validating myself.
Glad you are here.. thank you so much for all your sharing today!
Hugs, Darlene


But what if your parents did want the best and try to do their best for you?

Despite my dad molesting me and sexually abusing me until I was old enough and strong enough to silently kick and push him off me at night, he still does so many things a regular, “loving” dad would do; of course I ask those “Why” questions, like, WHY does he put gas in my car some days and makes sure I have more than enough to eat and clothes to wear if he devalued me as a child? Does he feel guilty? Is he just crazy? I don’t know. My parents were never neglectful or even bad as Darlene’s parents, and that belief is stopping me from cutting ties from my abuser and my mother. I run the scenario through my mind ever once in a while, if I exposed what my father did to me and told my parents I never want to talk to them again, how devastated my mother would be and how betrayed my father might feel (I’m not sure how he’d feel), and lastly how guilty I will feel for putting them in such a position. But they already lost their daughter a long time ago…I want to so badly because I am tired to pretending everything is okay and our family is whole and healthy and this couple raised a healthy, successful young woman. I want to scream at them I AM NOT HEALTHY NOR SUCCESSFUL. I AM DEPRESSED AND MY SELF-ESTEEM SUCKS BECAUSE THIS ABUSE HAS BEEN HAUNTING ME SINCE I CAN REMEMBER!!!

…what do I do then??


Hi Lucy,
Welcome to EFB
You started off by saying “but what if they did want the best and try their best”… and then you go on to talk about the actual relationship. How can sexually abusing a child be what is best for that child? I understand what you are saying because I was there too. I had to realize that “the good” never cancels the bad. My parents fed me and clothed me and actually I had the best of many things in life. But that does not mean that they loved me. They didn’t do their best. I had to stop thinking in terms of protecting them and think in terms of honouring me. You might be surprised to realize how many people tell me that I had it worse then they did, and that my parents were much worse then theirs, but in truth, that is how all victims of child abuse feel. My parents were no worse than other parents. It was a big process for me to validate myself and stop worrying how it would effect them. I finally had to think about the way all of this had effected and was still affecting me.
I hope that you will continue to read the articles and comments here. There is so much stuff in this site that will help you sort through some of this stuff and realize that it is time for you to come first. Thank you so much for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lucy,
I had a similar problem.
I only really dealt with the issues at the age of 43.
I cannot tell you how painful it has been.
But i want to tell you – I am truly a NEW PERSON…

I am not living a lie.

Making as though it was all OK and nothing wrong – taking of THEIR guilt – you are playing the role that the narcissist has trained you for – the victim and the scapegoat….

And the way i ‘dealt’ with it was:

Try and see that little girl (you) as your daughter or your best friend – at the age that you were – how would you have felt for her? and what would you have told her? what would you have done for her??
Then ask yourself why that does not apply to you too??

Watch this video and listen to what he tells Oprah…

I dont know if your mother was aware of the abuse – mother generally ARE aware – they just prefer to pretend they dont know – for various reasons.

You can forgive them – really really forgive them.
But not without them acknowledging their guilt and SAY SORRY…
and in some way making amends – restoration – as you need it.

Blessing and i hope you can live in truth, light and real freedom!


Thank you for your responses, Darlene and Laura.
Darlene, I am reading through your site and it is just blowing my mind…all these beliefs that I have grown with and have infused, deeply rooted into my soul is being shaken and stirred and I am filled with a fear that what I am recognizing, is a NEW BELIEF that I can and will make it out of this dark cloud surrounding me. True that although my parents fulfilled the role of “parents” in terms of my physical needs(food, education, toys, etc.), my emotional needs were never fulfilled and I feel my emotional development is a bit impaired because of it.

Laura, not sure if you are aware but the link you posted does not contain a video for Oprah…
As for my mother being aware, if she is, she does not act like it. I know there were moments where it should have raised suspicion at least, but it was never acknowledged, and I do not know if she is just naive about these things (as in, she never thought a father could do such things to their children?) or she really just turned the other cheek. I will never know until I confront, and I am honestly afraid of the answer being the latter.

I don’t believe my father will ever apologize. He told me once when he converted to Christianity (baptized and all!) that he was encouraged to confess/share any sins in his past and my eyes lit up, thinking he was finally going to share with me his guilt for abusing me, but instead he smiles and tells a false story about something he did wrong in the past-I forgot what the story was but I remembered being FURIOUS!!! How could he lie to the Church!? He’s a fake! I wanted to scream. But of course, I am silent, and nod along to his stupid story. There is no hope for this monster.

Sometimes, as his seed, I am afraid I am a monster too…

Thanks a lot for your support, ladies!!


Hi Lucy
I too was afraid that I might be monster just because of some of the things my parents had done… but I know I am not!
I could really relate to your anger about your father talking about confessing and then telling some B.S. story! WOW. That is like being abused all over again! I am sorry that happened, that is really horrible~!
Hugs, Darlene


sorry about that Lucy!
hee hee hee!!

here is the CORRECT link…
the actual interview starts after about 58seconds..

My father is the same – he gets SO SO upset and offended with me, that i have written my story and have a blog and that i give all the details of my abuse – physical, emotional, psychological – the details, the people they affected with their lies about me.. etc etc

HE gets offended…. ?????

So what HE wants is for ME to LIVE THE LIE….

now that is a total and complete psychopathic narcissistic personality…

What made me take their BS for SO long, was the belief that without them, i am a NOTHING…

And that is 100% successful conditioning on his part….

Still to this day, he is 81 years old!! – the still does it to my sister and myself – all the time.
he just cannot stop.
so we just stay away and keep him out of our lives.

we have to, BECAUSE WE ARE WORTH IT!!!!!!


Thanks! Oh my goodness I literally started applauding when Mr. Vachss said the part about how we feel about other abusers and what makes our abuser so special that he/she doesn’t get the same reactions. It makes so much sense! Whenever I see or hear similar stories about abuse, I just become so enraged,those people deserve all the ill will we can throw at them! and YES I am enraged when I think about my own abuse as well, but just like Oprah, I am so hesitant about showing this anger to my abuser. Just like her, I put on an act so our family as a whole can function…I was the human child sacrificed so the family can continue on…my innocence, my voice, my mind was taken away…I grew up with the notion that NOTHING belonged to me, especially not my body. It’s amazing to realize this! And now that I am older (22 years old) I give myself the ok to be treated as someone else’s property. How scary.

When I finally find the courage to let it all out…and if my father does get offended/disappointed/angry with me for “telling”…he can suck it.

Is it possible that he might react differently? become remorseful and beg for forgiveness? Because that would be kinda nice…but it looks like I might be in the same boat with you; when my dad’s 81 and still living a lie.

It was a huge slap in the face. Not that our entire relationship isn’t already!!!
Still steadily going through your site and learning more and more about myself everyday. xoxo

lots of love,


Hi Lucy
If I could make a suggestion…
Start a blog – make it private – so only you can see it.
Start writing your story…
It took me almost three years to have the courage to make my blog PUBLIC….
But by then i was ready to LIVE THE TRUTH myself.
You don’t have to tell a soul.
Just put it out there.
As things come up – don’t keep them in you – in your mind – write them on the blog.
Just as you want to….
Then when you are ‘ready’ – which can take a month or a year or a day??
Make it PUBLIC.
Tell one or two special, close friends.
and then let it go…

You wont believe the difference it makes in your psyche.
Something happens in the ‘air’ – i tell you it is powerful stuff….

Bless you Lucy!!
the ALMIGHTY CREATOR wants us free and true… to ourselves and to others.


What worked for you may not be the answer for everyone. I have seen many people start a private blog and fall apart as soon as they were ready to make it public. I agree that telling makes a huge difference but there are all different ways of going about that “telling”. For some doing this in a private journal is more powerful, or writing in a small group is more powerful, or being in therapy is more powerful. I am an advocate of each individual deciding what the best way is for them to go about the process of healing.
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene
Mine is just a suggestion.
I have journaled for years and years.
It made no difference for me.
But perhaps that’s just me…

As i said, it took me three years to find the courage to make my story public – and even now, certain pages are only open to certain people….

But what was key for me is that I found the blog on-line, gave me much more of a sense of off-loading.
Almost like speaking to a therapist.
Unburdening myself of these terrible secrets.

And I know people who have a blog but have never made it public.

Thanks for your reply and yes, we are each different.
And I in no way want to force what worked for me, on others.

Lucy, hope you hear that – you must do what you feel is right for you.

Blessings to all of you!!!


I can relate to so much of your experiences. After much counseling, I can look at my parents and say they didn’t have the tools to raise children. They brought their baggage into the relationship and dumped their pain on us. I had a hard time relating to my therapist when she said that they did the best they could. I had to think about that one for a long time.

I finally got it. They did the best they could with what they had. It actually made me a better person. I took all of that bad stuff they dumped on me, made a choice to heal (which is not easy) and used it to help others. I forgave them.

Believe me. It’s not easy. Yes, I still have residual stuff that creeps up. If I feel I need to talk to a therapist, then I do it. Or I use the tools my therapist and the books I have read to deal with it.

If any of you have not done any inner child work, I suggest you do. I will most likely be healing the rest of my life, but I will not be like my parents and blame them and everybody else for what happened to me. They are who they are and I am who I am. It is not my fault. None of it is my fault. Just like what happened to them was not their fault.

I have much to be thankful and grateful for. I hope and pray that those of you who are having a difficult time healing from your pain find a competent therapist to help you through this. John Bradshaw has some excellent books on these very subjects.

I am grateful for “Emerging From Broken”. Thank you for sharing and providing a safe place for us to share too.


What a week! I have spent the last week falling apart inside and out. Somehow biological parents got a hold of my phone number and current address. The first time they called me, was early in the morning. Kent called and woke me up. I was so shocked and all the pain came rushing back at me full force. He said: I love you. I said bye and hung up. Couldn’t handle that. I have been critisized for hanging up. “that was so rude”. Really? I don’t even care. Then I got a letter from them: “o we are so concerned for you. Are you ready to meet Jesus in peace?” Hell, yeah, I am. But they can just stay out of my life as far as I am concerned. I don’t feel as safe. they know where I live and knowing them the way I do, they will start harrassing me. I don’t like it. And then I found out about a friend of mine who is in a situation like I left. I have no way of talking to her. She is being seriously controlled and I’m so angry about it. And really, again, it has brought all my pain back. I have spent the last 3 days doing nothing, but class, cry, and be on the phone. My phone is off today. I’m so sick of being on it. To top it off, my counsellor is making me go in to the school nurse once a week to get weighed because I have lost to much weight. I’m beyond frustrated right now. With my friend, there are so many illegal things going on, but i’m so far away (9) hours and I can’t do anything. I’m super concerned for her though. Her safety is in question.
And i need to get off and do homework that I can’t even concentrate on.


Hi Dawn,
Welcome to EFB
The deeper issue that I came to understand here is that although my parents didn’t have the tools, and all that stuff, the damage was not any less because of that knowledge.At the end of the day, I had to heal from the damage and what was so much in my way was skipping the step of aknowledgeing that damage.
About blame ~ blame was a huge stepping stone for me. So much of the abuse was hidden. Never done in public. (so they knew that couldn’t do it in public, that it was wrong) There is a very big truth in realizing that fact.
I am no longer the person that they defined me to be. That is the bottom line when it comes to freedom. I don’t have any resentments left because I faced all the damage. Forgiveness was a natural outcome of the work that I have done. I too have so much to be grateful and thankful for. That is so amazing!
thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kia
Wow, there is a lot going on in your life! If your family is harrassing you, don’t forget that you can report it. Families are not exempt from the rules of conduct. We have a right to be safe and when there is a history of abuse, we are often not safe. Sometimes these “family members” need a stronger message (then just our verbal messages) that they are NOT welcome to keep bugging us. Thank you for sharing.
Blessings and love,


Back again!

Great suggestions, I too, Laura, have been journaling on and off throughout my life since I can remember. I think it’s how I kept myself sane. I haven’t touched my old blog in a while, but this morning, I got up, logged on, and just poured my little ol’ heart out. It felt good. I am happy to say that just in these few days of reading Emerging from Broken, I’ve already broke through a tremendous barrier…the one where I am finally validating myself and finding importance in myself. I am destroying the belief system I grew up with…keep it up everyone. I am proud to be a part of this community of healing.

I don’t know if I will ever make it public, but the journal itself is not set on private, so if anyone really wanted to read it, they can. It doesn’t bother me, however I will not just openly share with with people I know. That may have to come later…or never. Doesn’t matter as long as I am happy with me 🙂



Hi Everyone!
I want to point out that we have a new page on emerging from broken. I am introducing a new EFB and survivor community event called “Freedom ROCKS” You can read all about it on the freedom rocks about page (button under header graphic) to see what it is, how it came about and how you can participate!

I have also created a new category (called “freedom rocks”) for this event and all the posts, stories and comments will be found in that category. I hope you will check it out. The first post by Larualee is published and can be viewed here:

If you belong to or run a survivor community or if you have a like minded blog of your own, please share this positive and self-empowering event!
Hugs, Darlene

May 1st, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I’m going to share this site on my blog. I’ve recently just started blogging and would love to have you all join in. Whispers is biblically based, but, even if you aren’t “into” the bible, you can still join us.
I will definitely share the new site, “Freedom ROCKS”!

Thank you for your continued work in helping survivors more than just survive. Thank you for helping them to overcome!

Cheryl~Whispers From My Heart.


Lots of counseling and inner child therapy helped me to realize that my parents didn’t have the tools to do any better than what they did. Did it hurt? Yes. Does it affect me now? Yes. Not as much because of my change of thinking. Do I blame them anymore? No.

One day during a meditation I saw the truth about them. I felt as though I was them looking at the world through their eyes. They saw things and did things differently and they believed in what they did. They passed down to their kids what they only knew. We are all different. I have siblings who behave the same way and I made a conscious choice not to do what my parents did. I can only pray for them and their families and not think that I am a better person than they are. Only enlightened. I cannot judge them anymore.

Yes there are things I do not remember that happened to me and I will carry some damage around with me the rest of my life.

I feel that the work that Darlene is doing here is wonderful and much needed place for survivors to vent. I never stayed in that place of anger and pain for long. I got tired of it and wanted to at least live the rest of my life with lots of happiness and joy which is where reality is. I only hope that for all of you who post on Darlene’s blogs. Yes, there is true peace and happiness for you.

Prayers are going out for healing for you all and for peace of mind.



I forgot to share that during my meditation and also in talking with my father before he passed away, I saw the hurting inner child. These people that I am hearing about are not behaving like adults. They are acting out their pain onto their loved ones. I learned to forgive but I will never forget; yet I don’t dwell on it anymore. When my inner child starts to act out, I pay attention and talk to her. I don’t want her to rule my life and to hurt other people.



Hi Cheryl
Thank you for sharing my blog on your blog and for your lovely comments.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Dawn
The goal is only to stay in the place of anger and blame only long enough to validate it and to validate the self. When I looked back over my own life I saw a huge effort to deny what had happened to me was even damage causing. Finally placing the blame where it belonged set me free from the past, AND from the pain. I had never really been angry. I NEEDED to get angry ~ I needed to validate myself so I could live in the present without the chains of the past.
I too see the hurting inner child in abusers; all abuse has its roots in abuse. I had to set that part aside long enough to heal because I felt so sorry for abusers that I could not stand up to them. When I validated my pain and the damage that was done to me, forgiveness was a result of the work that I did to heal.
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Ah yes – another ABUSE EXCUSE. Best they could…my ***.

LOVING your blog lately Darlene – right to the root of the problems! 🙂


Great article in psychology today!..It put words on what I have done in terms of forgiveness. I have chosen to unforgive my s-i-l & brother for spiteful & purposeful behavior towards me & my family. This choice is not “vindictive” on my part. I have the capacity to forgive…absolutely!…I took a strong stance like the morally & psychologically detached unforgiver. My family doesn’t acknowledge the abusive behavior, yet expect forgiveness from the victim. Great example, about the girl conditioned by family to accept & forgive the malicious behavior of a sibling. Her parents where neglectful for Not protecting or validating her! She was repeatedly bullied. I was conditioned to let bygones be bygones & forgive those who wrong you, however, there are circumstances where unforgiveness is an “Authentic” & “Healthy” choice. Thanks for sharing this article!


The lack of empathy & meanness on my family’s part is what I don’t forgive! That is the root of the problem in my FOO!!! Had to get my anger out about this.


The last, of many, times my mother excused every crime she ever committed by saying “I did the best I could”, I thought to myself “Well, if you really did the best you could, you should have been sterilized”. The end. 😉


Hi Michelle
Thank you! I appreciate your comments and your compliments!
Great to have you here!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] next time someone says “your parents did the best they could” ~ consider that they are wrong. Period.  You don’t have to prove […]


Wow…I’ve been reading this website all day. I’m overwhelmed and somewhat drained at this point. The similarities are incredible.

Reading this article makes me think back of all the horrible messages my mother gave me in regards to myself, men, love, sex. I had similar experiences with men at a young age…including one where my mom went upstairs to have sex with a man she had been having an affair with for years. She left me at age 13 or 14 with his 20 something married friend who then abused me.

She used to bitch about my dad not paying child support. Not paying child support could send the message that we weren’t worth it. And I just realized that was exactly the message she gave by making comments like that.

My mother used to always say “all I ever wanted was to love you girls”. If that was love…that was messed up.

My head is swimming right now.


Hi Lorie
Welcome to emerging from broken!
yes, it can be overwhelming! Be careful to take some space for yourself as you read. My mother put so much importance on ‘men’ too. I never felt safe emotionally OR physically. Her words and actions were so careless and as you have said, the definition of love was all wrong. It was so helpful for me when I found out what love actually was and looked at her actions through THAT grid. (there is lots of stuff in this site about the false def. of love)
Thank you for sharing. Please feel free to share often.
Hugs, Darlene


I am finding this area hard to work through. My abuse was at the hands of my birth father and grandfather. My mother contributed to it at different stages but was mostly dissociated. I have trouble in processing all this as I believe my mother suffered longer at the hands of my grandfather than I did. I believe that she was controlled by him somehow and it makes it hard to know where to put blame. I don’t know, I am still far away from putting any of the blame on anyone other than myself but I still struggle with how it should work.


Hi FragmentedHistory
Something that helped me a lot was to realize that I had to deal with MY damage. Not anyone elses. It is the damage that we need to face for ourselves. Blame is just a stepping stone on the path. I needed to see the truth about blame to stop blaming ME for what happened. I can feel sorry for what happened to my mother today, but NOT at my expense anymore. Hope that helps
hugs, Darlene


I went past a sign out the front of a church on mothers day, and it read…

‘Revere your mother, she does the best she can’.

Needless to say I felt irate at the stupidity of the sign writer. They often write emotionally destructive things like this. It really complicates things for people who are emotionally injured and who are looking for answers on their path to recovery.


I grew up as the 5th of 6th children. I was called “The Caring One,” the one who could be depended upon to do things without complaint, and to be sacrificial. I was compliant, eager to please, so I was the favored, second to my oldest sister. I had no idea that I was favored and that others weren’t. Manipulation was subtle, sprinkled with partial truths, and it wasn’t easy to see what was under the surface. Although it might seem good to be favored, any role in a dysfunctional home is dysfunctional and damaging. I tried not to fail, not to disappoint.

I sort of knew that there was some problems in my family but I didn’t really understand how great they were until I got engaged when I was 27. My Mom had called my fiance “pure gold,” when we first got engaged but then she began exerting more and more controlling demands on me. I was calling her at least once every day and visiting her at least once a week, but she wanted me to visit her every day, even though she knew my fiance and I were busy trying to plan our wedding. She refused to help me with my wedding, telling me to look in a wedding planner book when I asked for her help. At the same time she told my fiance’s family that I refused to tell her anything about my plans or let her help me. She lied about me, accused me of not deserving to wear a white gown (untrue), and turned my Dad and siblings against me. We didn’t know if my family would even show up at my wedding. It was really bad, and my pastor said in all his 30 years in the ministry, he’s never encountered a family as awful as mine.

After my husband and I were married, we visited my family, tried to include them in our lives. They got mad at such things as how we arranged our furniture (how DARE we put the TV against that particular wall!), how we spent our money, how we spent our time. They got made when I mailed birthday cards from work instead of the post office. They even got mad when I didn’t answer my door because I was in our apartment building’s basement laundry room and didn’t know they had visited. When my husband and I did anything nice to anyone in the family, my Mom told them it was because we just wanted people to think we were nice. I can’t even tell you how bad it was.

My Mom told me that I was a daughter from Hell, the worst daughter a mother could have, worse even then one of my middle sisters, whom she had once said had inherited all the bad characteristics from both sides of the family and none of the good. At the same time, my mother-in-law was introducing me as “a gift from God” for her son. This has happened to me all my life: some praising me and others villifying me, some acting as if I have no weaknesses and others as if I have no strengths. It has left me struggling to know who I am: an angel or monster? I know I am a mixture, and I wish people would understand that I am not always strong and not always weak, neither angel or monster.

My husband and I tried for 20 years to reach out to my family and reconcile. I invited them to our son’s major events (1st birthday party, etc), and they refused to attend. One Mother’s Day I wrote my Mom a nice letter, thanking her for all the good things she had done and taught me. I never heard if she even received it. Whenever we decided we had enough of the drama and pulled back, my Mom would send me a nice birthday card or a sibling would tell me my Mom was ill with a vague “it could be a major health problem.” We’d think, ok, maybe she really wanted a relationship and I truly cared that my mother was possibly ill, but when we re-entered their life, the manipulative games began again. The “our Mom could be seriously ill and she won’t be around forever…” was a ploy that was used repeatedly to bring us back into my family’s lives. (In fact, I once heard my Mom plan to write letter to my unfavored sister making it sound as if she had cancer, when she actually had a broken leg, to see if my sis “cared enough” to respond. She didn’t write anything that was an actual lie, and she made it sound as if she was being loving by doing so.)

Confusing and hurting, I reached out to friends and mentors, who kept telling me to “love and forgive more,” because my poor mother was just wounded and probably was doing the best she could. She probably really loved me, but didn’t know how to show it, poor thing, and I shouldn’t be so petty. Their advice kept me trying and trying, and just allowed the emotional abuse to continue. But I knew deep inside that this was not about love, anymore than rape is about love. This was about power and control. I finally told one friend, “If this is love, I don’t want it! This is NOT love!”

In 2010, I called my Mom simply to tell her that I loved her. No strings attached. She yelled at me, listing all the good things she had done for me in my life, condemning me for my failures and betrayals, and horribly insulting my husband. I did not accuse back, but I did tell her to never dare insult my husband again because whether she liked him or not, he was my husband and I love him. She replied repeatedly, “Oh, I dare, I dare, I dare. I will dare to insult him, I dare, I dare…” Until I said our relationship was over and hung up. A few days later, my younger sister left me a message, telling me that my Mom was in the hospital with a (vague) disease that could be serious and that I shouldn’t be bitter and unforgiving. A few months later, my Mom sent a nice birthday card as if nothing had happened. I wrote my Mom a letter telling her that we all have weaknesses and failures and let’s just forgive each other and let the offenses go. Let’s start over and be friends. She wrote back, “How have I ever hurt you?” So for the first time in my life, I wrote my Mother a letter detailing how she had hurt me because I was tired of the manipulative drama and felt that maybe I had enabled her by never confronting her. My family kept me in a constant state of turmoil and a cycle of abuse by drawing me back with “niceness” if I withdrew, then trying to establish control over me, and punishing me with anger if I didn’t get in line. I heard that my Mom has said that she considers my greatest efforts to reconcile to be “a mere drop in a teacup” and she will never ever forgive me. She told me that the “burden of reconciliation” rested solely on me, since I was the one who had betrayed her. In other words, I had to prove my love her by submitting to her control while she judged my actions as “never enough.”

Meanwhile, I had early in my marriage become friends with my two “outcast” middle sisters. When I saw the lies being told about me, I thought that maybe lies had been told about my two sisters as well so I reached out to them. For 20 years we had not-too-bad relationship–or so I thought. However, it was mostly one-sided. My sisters never called me, never invited me to their house or visited me, and would tear me down in subtle ways. I bore it, knowing that they had never felt loved and were “very wounded.” I called them every week or so, invited myself to visit them or invited them to my house, included them in activities, encouraged them when they struggled. One sister in particular prided herself on being “brutally honest.” She’d tell me I should be as honest as she was, but she got offended at the slightest imagined slights, accusing me of trying to deliberately her hurt when I “knew she was wounded.” I could try my hardest to not hurt her, but couldn’t imagine all the things that offended her. Meanwhile, she said very hurtful things to me without remorse, blowing them off with a “oops” if I mentioned them, which I normally didn’t. She refused to answer her phone for 9 months because she was jealous of the number of friends I had on FB, and because I made the mistake of replying to one of her friend’s comments on one of her posts. She used to yell at me for hurting her, and then say “There. Now that we have talked this over, let’s promise never to mention it again. Let this be in the past…” without ever letting me say a word. I let it go because “she was wounded” but the last time this happened, I refused to agree, saying that “WE” had not discussed the problems, SHE had, and that if we didn’t BOTH have a chance to speak, the problems would simmer underneath and ruin our relationship. I said I loved her too much to have that happen so I was going to also speak! (Boundary set.) We resolved our difficulties, I thought, but a week later she complained that our brother didn’t call her, and I made the mistake of saying, “If you want to hear from him, why don’t YOU call HIM instead of always waiting for him to call you? EVERYONE likes to feel people care enough to call.” She didn’t pick up the phone for another three months, even though I called her repeatedly, leaving messages that I called just to see how she was doing, and that I loved her, and was she ok. When she finally answered her phone, she said that she had merely “gotten out of the habit of picking up the phone when I called.” Then she tried to blame me, saying she thought we had resolved our problems months ago. Exasperated, and refusing to take the blame, I finally said, “I thought we had resolved our problems months ago too…so imagine my utter confusion when you refused to pick up the phone whenever I called.” She hasn’t spoken to me since, and when I encounter her daughters in the store, they don’t even acknowledge my presence. Thus, the dysfunction affects the next generation. Three generations of family is split, half supporting (and controlled by) my Mom and half on the outside wanting our mother’s love. I’m the only one who has broken off completely, although I still love them all. I’m either stronger than the others because I shut the door or I am weaker because I can’t endure it. I’m not sure which.

Shortly after I got married, I decided to teach myself to sew, and I found myself standing in a JoAnne Fabrics store wondering how to choose a pattern, which color looked good on me, what material to buy and WISHING MY MOM WAS THERE TO TELL ME WHAT TO CHOOSE. I realized in horror that I had been so controlled and manipulated that I had no idea what I liked or how to make choices. I had no identity of my own. I was also manipulated by friends who came into my life and were just as manipulative as my family. This made me sick at heart. Would I never learn? But manipulative people can appear very nurturing and caring until you stop pleasing them. At that point, they reject and accuse.

In 2010-2011, all my relationships with manipulative people ended. I closed the door against my Mom and family for the final time, knowing I cannot endure such abusive relationships. My relationship with my sister died when she stopped answering the phone when I called, and when I finally stopped calling. My relationship with trusted mentors died when I finally saw that they were as manipulative and and deceitful as my parents. My relationship with a friend who wanted always to be comforted and taken care of when we were grieving the death of a nephew who had been killed in Afghanistan. When we couldn’t give her emotional support, she dumped us and found someone else to take care of her.

I have been fighting to overcome the damage of the emotional abuse in my family ever since I first recognized it when I married. I have overcome and grown much. In many ways, it is a relief to have these emotionally abusive relationships finally gone. I am striving to set healthy boundaries. However, the loss of relationships in 2010-2011 left it’s mark on me and dragged me backwards a bit. In my mind, I can understand that it was not my fault, that what they did was emotionally and psychologically abusive, that I tried in the relationships and they rejected and punished, but in my heart I struggle with the feeling that to lose so many must somehow be my fault, that if only I had been more loving, more forgiving, more SOMETHING…this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe I am all the bad things they said I am. I feel like a failure. I know I am not perfect and did the best I could, and yet if I could have done differently….? I feel split between thinking that I did the right thing, the healthy thing, and regret that it all happened. I am still fighting to overcome and heal, but I feel tired and sad.


welcome to EFB ~ you have certainly found the right website! I can relate to so much of what you say here. There is hope! I have overcome and taken my life back. I know what I am interested in, I know who I am now, I don’t live to please others, I have wonderful relatioships based on mutual respect but best of all, I know that I was not the failure in the relationships that I had with my family. The dysfunction that I was born into was never my fault and the fact that they were dysfunctional is not an excuse that helps me to deal with the damage that they caused. It was very important for me to see the damage and validate it. The exhaustion lifted for me once I saw things through a grid of truth and not the grid that I was brainwashed to look through. I hope you will keep reading.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you, Darlene. After all these years of hearing it’s all my fault, it’s a relief to find a site that understands where I have been and what I struggle with. I will keep reading.


My mother tried to make me do the household work but I did not budge because I did not like the way she told me to do so. I did not like being treated like another pair of hands to ease her burden when she had not invested anything positive in me. She had not cared for me nor my feelings and I was adamant that I should not help her out. Most of the time she behaved as if she were my evil step-mother.

It was a funny dynamic she had with me and I did not know what I had done wrong (being born I guess, but that too was not my choice). She would take me to weddings or parties but would forget me once she got there and some kind relative would look after me. I personally don’t think she should have been allowed to have kids but here I am dealing with all the brutality that goes with being an unwanted child.


Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post after a long and lovely break from writing!
This new post is related to this one in that it is about those people who ‘don’t understand’ how we can consider standing up to our parents and even defend our parents and the reasons behind those judgements and statements.
You can read the post here: “Why People Discount the Adult Child and Defend the Abuser”
hugs Darlene


I’m so glad you did not stop writing. This is 2014 and I am reading posts from 2011. Although it is freeing to help others, I can imagine why your chest hurt recalling some of your story.

Something you bring up frequently is the fact that your behavior did not happen in a vaccuum. My family brings up things that happened 40+ years ago, but are not interested in the reason for my behavior. I was angry…sure, and I was 9 years old! and I was beaten with a belt buckle or any other hard object my mother could find. I was scared! But noone took the time to find out why the 9 year old girl was so sad and angry. But they sure felt the need to shame me.

Thank you for giving of yourself….


My goodness me. This mirrors my childhood and my mother saying she loved me when in reality she just wanted to feel she was a good mother. Saying they took me to a psychiatrist to find out what was wrong with me.He found more wrong with them. Doing all the housework,me being taken for granted. Pretending she was the loyal,faithful wife and ignoring my suicide attempts as her marriage was the most important thing. And it wasn’t severe emotional abuse it was just me and my father not getting on??!! Me answering the phone late at night to her men friends.Me not realising it was affairs until she said something years later so naive and indoctrinated to these people being perfect. Always telling me I had the best possible upbringing like I should be grateful for the trauma and misery they caused me.


My goodness me. This mirrors my childhood and my mother saying she loved me when in reality she just wanted to feel she was a good mother. Saying they took me to a psychiatrist to find out what was wrong with me.He found more wrong with them. Doing all the housework,me being taken for granted. Pretending she was the loyal,faithful wife and ignoring my suicide attempts as her marriage was the most important thing. And it wasn’t severe emotional abuse it was just me and my father not getting on??!! Me answering the phone late at night to her men friends.Me not realising it was affairs until she said something years later so naive and indoctrinated to these people being perfect. Always telling me I had the best possible upbringing like I should be grateful for the trauma and misery they caused me.She never stopped telling me she’d done her best for me. Its not til I became an adult that I realised how terrible they were. In fact one incident they could have been charged with. I replied to her if that’s the best you can do you should never be allowed to adopt as your best is everyone’s worst. She looked aghast as though the penny had finally dropped. I said the whole family is dysfunctional. She calls individual characters just difficult and everyone thought children should be seen and not heard and in those days everyone thought this. Just despair at one idiotic excuse after the other.


Hi Moria
It is both tragic and wonderful (freeing)to realize how wrong it all was.
The truth may hurt but wow it also heals!
thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


One reason people say “they did the best they could” to others is because they think it will ease your pain. Another is because they can not accept the fact there are those people in their OWN lives with impure motives who misuse/abuse children. If they admitted this fact they would find it difficult to live with themselves for having taken no action. Overall it is just an attempt to avoid guilt or responsibility. I commend you for not letting them “get away with it”. GFU!


Hi Diane
Welcome to EFB and thank you! I agree that most people who say those things are not willing to face the truth about their own lives. And also to add to what you said ~ for people in present situations ~ they would also feel obligated to take some action..
hugs, Darlene


A story from my past!
When I was 5 years old, my mother placed my life in grave danger! It was very early one cold winter day and the frost was hard on the ground. My stepfather was a truck driver and he was home that day. My mom didn’t go to work and I guess that she was playing hooky in order to stay home and have sex with my stepfather. They came up with a plan to get me out of the apartment so that they could be alone.
My older brother had already left for school; he was in first grade. My mom told me that he had forgotten his lunch money and she told me to go and take him a quarter. I got myself dressed and set out on my mission. But, being a 5 year old, I forgot to put on my shoes. Or, maybe, I did not have the cognitive ability yet to be aware of the fact that I needed to be properly dressed for the freezing cold morning.
I set out in a hurry because of the importance of my mission. I was very determined to do what I had been told to do.
I had to cross a very dangerous and very busy two lane highway to get to the school, which was about 2 miles from our apartment. After I crossed the highway, I had to walk down a two lane road, past a mile of four-plex apartments where many poor people lived. These were subsidized housing apartment for the poor. Housing that we had once lived in.
There was frost on the ground on that very dark overcast winter morning; it was bitterly cold. I crossed the highway and made it half way to the school when a bus came driving up the road toward me. The bus driver stopped her bus and made me step up on the stairs. My feet were so cold that they were hard and the stairs hurt my feet. I am sure that I was in danger of frost bite. But, never-the-less, I was intent on my mission and I was very upset that I was being detoured.
Then the bus driver did the craziest thing that I can imagine, she stopped the car behind us and asked the male driver to take me home. How unthinkable that would be now! She made me get into his car and asked him to take me to my apartment. I remember how scared I was because I was not doing what I had been told to do.
The man was a nice guy and he drove me home. He was even brave enough to walk me up the stairs and knock on the door. I remember seeing my mom peering around the corner from her bedroom through the glass window pane in the top of the door. She had been in the bed with my stepfather and wasn’t dressed! It took her a few minutes to slip her robe on and get to the door. My feet were so cold on those hard cement steps and the cold cement porch. He waited there with me until my mom came to the door. I don’t believe that he didn’t say much at all. I believe that he pointed to my bare feet and mumbled something. I remember what my mother said to me. Instead of speaking to him, she looked down at me with anger and contempt and said, “I told you to put your shoes on!”
This is one of the stories that I think of when I remember how valueless I was to my mom. Sex with her abusive husband was more important than my life!


Beth, how terrible that you were put in such a dangerous situation, and by your own mother! It’s getting me mad just thinking about what she did to you! I don’t know how long ago this happened, but she would be in a heap of legal trouble in today’s world.but whether it was 15 years ago, 25, or 50 years ago, what is striking to me is the utter disregard for the well being and safety of her own child. You deserved so much better. And you are valuable regardless of whether your mother was able to see it. Sending you healing thoughts, Amber


Amber, Thank you for your kind words, they are a healing balm. <3
We all have our stories and I have heard some that are far more horrific than my own. The most difficult part of healing from this kind of abuse is that it is not so obvious. My bones weren't broken, I didn't go to the hospital, this was not a beating and there were no bruises. Nobody saw this for the abuse/neglect/maltreatment that it was. Nobody called DSS, nobody brought me hot soup, and nobody cared. It was difficult for me to know that this was abuse.
This is the kind of abuse that is difficult for the victim to identify. So, I walked on the frost with no shoes on… what is the big deal? Do you know what I mean? Many people might sluff this off as a minor infraction of thoughtless parenting. If there were not many more of these kinds of stories, along with the more obvious forms of abuse, I might not have thought much of it myself. But, it was an event that was burned deeply into my memory that I could not forget.
I was a child who slipped through the cracks. I didn't have the marks to show my abuse, at least not where anyone could see them. And, I would have been afraid to tell anyone anything about my home life. Besides, when I was a child, I had no idea that some parents were nice to their children. And, I didn't know that I was being mistreated.
Around the age of 12 years old, I began to have the cognitive ability to start seeing and understanding the difference in my home life and the lives of my friends. I began to see parents that really cared for their kids. That was when I began to get angry and I stayed that way for most of my life.
I would like to excuse it away and believe that my mom was just young and stupid, but she treated me that way for my entire life. Gosh, it hurts! I have never loved anyone as much as I loved my mom. I was so vulnerable and fragile.
Now that she is dead, I am beginning to heal in a deeper way than I ever knew was possible. Now that I am not hurting for her attention, love, and care every day of my life, I am turning my attention on my healing. Now that I am not pouring out my love for her every day, I can turn some of that love back to me! <3


I too have been told how my mother did best she could. I was always treated different than my other siblings. Growing up I had a lot of chores, do whole family’s laundry (even dad’s underwear) and clean, cook, watch over younger brothers and never ever hearing “you did a good job or I am proud of you”. Never allowance either. Just expected. Other siblings had only one chore whereas I had many. I was considered the pretty one but never felt like I was. No one ever said “hey you look nice”. It was always derogatory comments. When my parents divorced i was just told that I was like my dad and not to talk. It’s like I lived there but my mom didn’t talk to me. Like something was wrong with me and there wasn’t. I was good student, followed her rules, did everything right while the others did wrong stuff it was me who was treated like black sheep.
It’s sad that the behavior emotionally between my mother and I is still so dysfunctional and unhealthy. I was sexually abused as a very young girl by a trusted family dentist and after few years of saying how terrified I was to go to dentist and even saying he choked me once because I cried too much nothing was done. I was unable to say then about exactly what was happening but I told of my fear of going and the choking and how he said he would get my mother if I didn’t stop crying. I told her this and nothing was done. I had a breakdown few years ago and the horrific memories flooded back. I told her but she says she remembers nothing. Who knows. How can you do nothing when your child tells you someone choked her. And then make her go back to same dentist. Or when I was 14 I was very sad, probably depressed and the school counselor suggested I see a therapist. I went once with my mom and after in parking lot she said “thanks a lot for wasting my money” and we never went again.
I moved out on my own at 19.
I’m a survivor and it’s an everyday process to have self esteem and be happy. I’m happy to be alive. I have 3 children. I am blessed with a good therapist. I’m so glad you all share your stories. From reading them, finally I know I am not the only one and I’m not alone, not crazy.
Thank you.

Greg the Explorer
July 30th, 2014 at 1:55 am

As a parent who kidded myself that I’d ‘done my best’ for my children, it came as a groundbreaking turn in my own healing and that of my children, to acknowledge that I’d failed them. We have been able to build on that, but it will never be what it could have been.

Although I knew I’d failed my own children it was only recently and in fact possibly finally with this article, that I’ve been able to acknowledge that my own parents had not done their best.

Our personal history does not free us from having to do our best for our children.

I am now doing my best.

I wish I’d started and continued in that manner.

Thank you for your words.


Beth, I grew up thinking something was wrong with me, because although I fell victim to hard slaps and the stinging belt, most of my wounds were emotional and unseen. I think emotional/ psychological abuse is underplayed because it’s invisible to the eye. But I can speak firsthand that it is very very damaging. As I’ve written on here many times, my mother was primarily an emotional abuser. She hated females and I was treated far differently than my two brothers. More chores, treated as inferior, called ” ugly” stupid awkward, not bathed enough, hand me downs, dirty stringy hair, basic needs not met. One thing that was triggered this week was that she refused to purchase my high school senior picture because she said it was ugly. She proudly displayed my two brothers pictures in the living room though. What triggered this memory was that I went to my reunion this weekend and on the name tag was that very picture she called ugly. I looked at it closely from ” the other side of the fog” and my reaction was, there is nothing at all wrong with this picture. I had a nice smile on my face and it was kinda cute. It certainly was NOT ugly. But it also made me ask, how much hatred could a woman have for her daughter that she didn’t want this picture? This might seem like a minor incident to some, but I can tell you the damage and the feeling of rejection went very deep for me.

Another thing, Beth, about not knowing we were abused. Because we were so young and the only family life we knew was our own, we tend to think that that is ” normal “. It was only when I got older and into my teens and depending more time at friends’ houses that I felt that things were so much nicer than at my house. People actually talked to each other at meals, and my friends parents would ask me about school and my life; something my mother had no interest in and infact considered it an annoyance to hear about anything I was doing. I also tried to excuse my mothers behavior away because she had a bad childhood. But wait a minute, MY childhood sucked too, and I treat my kids well. If I could manage to to the right thing for my kids, why couldn’t she?

My mother is deceased now too. And there is no chance that she will see the light and miraculously start to love me. But I realize now that the no chance of those things ever happening did not come about from her death; there was no chance of it happening ever! It is sad, it hurts, but it is not my fault. It is not because something is wrong with me. It is all about her. And though it hurts, there is something freeing about realizing this.


Carolyn, I am sorry you were abused by your dentist and then forced to return there. How horrible when you try to tell a parent and are not heard and no action is taken. If my kids ever told me something was wrong I would investigate immediately. I did this with my sons soccer team when kids were bullying him, and ended up telling off the coach who was doing nothing about the situation, and removing my son from that awful team. People have to take it seriously when their kids say something is wrong. Kids don’t make these things up ” for attention” or any other reason.
I’m glad you are a survivor. Stay strong and keep moving forward. That is what I am doing.


Hi Carolyn
Welcome to EFB ~ This is the thing that I will never understand ~ how can they do nothing? And there are millions of us who have been hurt this way. I have found that validating my own feelings and knowing how wrong it all was, has helped so much.
Glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Greg the Explorer
Wow, it is always so terrific when a parent comes on here and tells a story like yours!
Thank you so much for sharing here and please feel free to share your insights often! I didn’t do this to my kids either and I am willing always to try harder and to think about ‘what is best’ as a parent!
Hugs, Darlene


Wow this article could not have come at a more perfect time.
I went NC with my stepmother last week. After 26 years of belittling, degradation, humiliation at her hands, I finally found my spine and said enough. In the persuing argument she said I should be grateful for all that my father has done for me.
I replied the following in an email. ‘There is nothing in the world I wouldn’t do to defend my child’s happiness. There is no mountain I wouldn’t climb to make sure he knows every day that he is loved, respected, wanted and above all, cherished for who he is. That is every parents responsibility to the children they have, by blood, by choice or by marriage. And I do not expect gratitude from him for it. I’m not doing him a favor, it’s called UnCONDITIONAL LOVE.’
Thank you Darlene. For helping me find my courage to finally see my own truth. I deserve happiness as much as everybody else if not for any other reason than because I am a human being.


Wow…the most used phrase to explain away abuse:

“Your Parents Did the best they could” HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA!

Like the blog says, it was when I really examined that statement and understood just how false it was…that is when I realized just how much I abuse I lived through as a child. Being the 9th of 13 children who grew up in extreme poverty these are some of the things I came up with as to why my parents did not do the best they could:

I never remember once being tucked into bed and read a story
I never once remember either of my parents telling me they loved me
I never once remember either of my parents telling me I was special in anyway at all
I never remember either of my parents making a big deal that I got straight A’s on my report card
I remember stepping on a needle that broke off in my foot. Three days later my mother realized I was limping, had the other children hold me down while she performed surgery to get the needle out of my foot…she succeeded and then promptly got up and walked away! No comfort, no hugs, no “I’m so sorry I had to hurt you, but the consequences of not getting the needle out would have been worse.”

These are just a few of the things I realized when I realized that “the best they could” was nothing more than a lie. Someone doing the best they could would not totally ignore their child and not give a damn about anything their child does, says or feels.

Another great one Darlene. Thanks.


I have a list of hated lines and the “they did the best they could” is one of those. When I break down for seemingly no reason(I found that my parents’ stupidity was to blame), people would shut me up by saying that. I now understand why, thanks to this blog and several others who care about the abused child. These people have suffered such abuse and are clearly held back by it today. Yet, they are the first ones who say this line and strongly hold that they owe their “poor” parents care and love. It makes me very sick.

No, my parents did not do their best. They subscribed to a religion that they never tested or researched, put us into a bubble world, homeschooled us so that we wouldn’t learn science or be around gay people and cut off every member of our large family because they all stood up for my brothers and I. They were lazy, blaming everyone else for their issues and taking credit for things that they had no part in. They claimed to love me, but treated me so badly. I tried killing myself at age 13 due to the horrible emotional stress and they made me work to regain their “love” and “trust” after it. They sent me to christian therapy because the church advised them that the real therapists would just lock me up. That was a lie. The so called christian therapists told me that I had demons and all that I loved were evil. All my art and things were destroyed. I had written journals about the real reason I wanted to die which included not feeling worthy of living, being neglected and feeling as if I didn’t matter. My dumb, unquestioning parents allowed the leaders to take my journals and “interpret” them for my parents. Demons and not getting enough bible shoved down my throat(which was one of the reasons I wanted to die in the first place) was the cause. I have just recently allowed myself to be angry for that injustice.
Out of all the people who came to my hospital bed to talk about irrelevant,stupid compliance stuff, only one said something that will stay with me forever. She said “Until you are safe, pretend and play the game. Be a good girl. When you are on your own, safe and secure, run fast and far from this foolishness.” I have no idea to this day who said that to me, but I have done just that. I finally dumped their shitty asses and their cruelty at age 30 last year.
It’s been a hellish 1.5 years dealing with this stuff, but honestly, I wouldn’t trade the progress for anything. I could not be paid to go back to that life. I know why I felt so depressed and suicidal. I don’t believe in god, have always been very inquisitive, I like males and females and love the beauty of science. I am a very feeling person. All of this, I was never allowed to be. The best they could do?! I can’t imagine shutting a little precious girl down like that. I can’t imagine making it so she can never make any friends. I could not imagine telling her that everything she is, is evil. I can’t imagine not dealing with all this shit my parents put on me. They knew they had been broken as children and did nothing to fix and work on themselves except lazily “pray.” They never wanted to do the work because it was too hard. They did everything BUT their best. They claim to have sacrificed so much for us, but we never asked for such a life. All we wanted was to be loved and validated as human beings.

They will never be allowed in my life after I have done all the work to set myself on a path of goodness. They don’t deserve it. They can continue just as I left them, moaning and whining why god won’t save them from all their problems since they raised us “right” and according to their church teachings. They put something not proven in priority to a flesh and blood human being trusted into their care. Now, let’s see this precious being of theirs give them love, warmth and kindness. Let’s see their bible give them hugs and kisses. Let’s see their beliefs that they literally beat into me take care of them when they are old. Yep, I am still mad about it. It’s about time too.


Hi Moving Forward
Welcome to EFB ~ It makes me mad too. No matter how often I see / hear this type of family dysfunction, and I know the damage it does and how hard it is to overcome it, it just upsets me so much.
Thank you for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


My mother was very mentally ill and beyond that narcissistic. My father carried out her every whim. My mother was sexually abused by her father for many years until she married my father at 18 and left. When I was about 9 all of this came to head for her and the dam in her mind that repressed everything broke. That’s when the physical abuse started. The mental abuse was my entire life. My father was so distraught over my mother that he willingly believed everything she told him as far as why I deserved to beat daily in our basement with every object imaginable. At least, that’s what I think anyways. There are so many incidents that my mind tried to hide from me. I used to disassociate during the beatings. I had to, to survive. When I wasn’t being physically hurt I was called every name you can think of. Loser, whore, bitch, slut, worthless, stupid…. One day my father beat me within an inch of my life with a metal pipe. I was hospitalized and put in a foster home. My father was arrested but it was called an “isolated incident” because of his clean record and it being the 80’s. I lost myself in drugs and alcohol from 11yrs old to last year at 37. By the time I was 20 I had a pretty severe drug problem. My depression got worse and worse over the years. Last year I tried to get sober to keep my marriage to my partner of ten years. She was over it and couldn’t take my drug addiction anaymore despite how much she loved me. After two days of being sober for the first time in over 20 years, something in my mind just snapped. I literally felt it and I could not handle it. All the things I had been self medicating and running from came to the surface full force. I tried to kill myself and landed myself a few weeks on detox in a mental institution. After that a few months of intensive outpatient treatment. Turns out I was suffering from PTSD for years but had numbed myself so much I didn’t even know it. Also a few years ago I cut off all ties with the people who call themselves my parents. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Now, I am proud to say as of last Saturday I am 11 months clean and have started facing my past. I am also a full time student majoring in psychology. I plan to be a substance abuse counselor. I know I’m a little late starting college at 38 but hey, better late than never right? I decided to become someone who will help others going through what I’ve been through. Not just for them but for me as well. Turning my shitty life experiences into a positive is vital for me. Because if I were to think all of the abuse I endured was in vain then I wouldn’t be able to continue climbing out of this hole of self worthlessness and misery. I started volunteering for the National Runaway Safeline which was life changing for me. I take phonecalls from kids who are homeless, runaway, or in crisis. In a way it’s kind of like giving my inner child a big hug. I was a runaway many times as a youth and at times even homeless because living in the streets or in abandoned buildings was, to me, safer than living at home. To help troubled kids is so theraputic for me. I did 6 months of marriage counseling with my partner to learn how to communicate again. I lost 60 pounds and gained a little bit of self esteem. More than I’ve ever had. And I maintain it with weekly therapy, antidepressants, support groups, and loved ones who support me. I know I’m lucky. Not everyone who has lived how I lived for so long has a happy ending. And I am truly grateful to have been given this chance at an actual life. I will spend the rest of my life returning the favor and trying to help others in need.


Also, Darlene, I forgot in my post above to say thank you for this blog. It has been wonderful to read your inspirations.


My father almost left me when I was little, as Mom could no longer stand him (Damn it why didn’t he!?). But he felt the need to ensure that as I was growing up, that I would not have to experience being called a bastard by the kids at school (We originally lived in the Philippines prior to moving to Australia, where things like children not having fathers were the talk of the town). So as a result, he decided to go back to my mother even if their relationship was already doomed. He also told me that he worked hard to get himself out of fast food to get into a more prestigious job, so that I wouldn’t be ridiculed at school (Me or you?) in situations where I had to communicate what my father’s occupation was to my fellow students. Okay back then I kind of felt a little grateful for his efforts, but not to the point that I would be giving him the “Best Dad ever” treatment. But I was generally cool with it. However as the years went by, my thoughts on his decision to return to my life started to change. I mean okay that was quite honourable of him, but why did he have to shout at me, call me stupid when I couldn’t hammer a nail properly or perform a roundhouse kick to his standards, talk about my shortcomings as a son to other family members, hit me unnecessarily, give me meaningless apologies, constantly pit me against my younger sister and cousin, make decisions for things that I wanted to do as well as compare himself and his hardships to me, to justify his bullshit parenting? This person who he hurt so badly just happens to be the same one who he wanted to return to after being rejected.

The things that other people within the family would probably cover up for his actions via the words from the article: “He dis what’s best for me” or “He did the best that he could” The only supposed thing that I chose to see as the best thing was his decision to come back and see me grow up throughout the years. Strangely enough though, as a result of the scars he has left, I can’t help but also ask: “Why did he even come back?” I mean it’s not that I didn’t want him to, but I wasn’t expecting him to torment me either! As I am writing this, I can’t help but feel like the answer to this question, if ever there was to be a right one, was the fact that he wasn’t returning for me but for him. My father has communicated that Mom could be difficult at times, which in some occasions has made him feel inferior. Perhaps there was a little bit of me in the picture in his decision, but it sucks to even consider or accept the fact that it was mostly leaning towards him. My participation in this whole “honourable act” of his is that he wanted me to elevate him via his efforts to change and succeed. He wanted to feel superior through me via his criticisms and disciplinary actions. What he couldn’t get from my mother, he wanted to get from the one person who he also severely crushed in the process. Thanks for coming back Dad? Are those even the right words to say?

Whatever happened to those words that you wrote on my 21st birthday card, telling me that I fulfilled your dream of becoming a father? What the hell did that even mean? That I have fulfilled your dream of giving you a chance to be able to parent me the way that you weren’t, yet you still failed anyway? I honestly don’t know anymore and I probably don’t even care either. But do take into consideration that I now know how to separate what was good and bad about you. Yes coming back into my life was what you thought and what I chose to believe as an action that could be justified by the words: “You did the best that you could” But that’s already history and that can no longer be enought to eradicate all of the misery.


My mom did the same thing with after school activities. I had to cook dinner almost very night. If my dad liked what I cooked, my mom got mad at me. I tried it to fight her but I had to help her. My dad didn’t stand up for me.


Hi Michele,
What a nightmare! Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


My very short response to “they did the best they could is “NO. They did what they did.”

Do you think for a second if I had said, “Mom, I did the best I could on my Geometry Regents exam” that would be acceptable? How ’bout, “I did the best I could when giving you advice as a 7 or 8yr. old on whether or not you should divorce Dad?” Or maybe, “I did the best I could to take care of your adult whims, demands, withstood your endless withering criticism and physical and emotional abuse without understanding why you did those things?” Hmm. Maybe this, “I did the best I could not to loose bladder control when you would literally “spank” the piss out of me-for what I have no clue?” Or what about, “I did the best I could” while testifying honestly in court after I had begged you not to drag me into your divorce? How come that wasn’t good enough? Because you couldn’t force me to lie, to violate my own conscience to allow you to use me as nothing more than a Tool in your insane Scorched Earth War against Dad? Oh, that’s right-a Tool is an inanimate object. And you had no conscience. The subsequent beating and endless haranguing was so very worth it to me: I didn’t become like so many others, suicidal or existing in a state of anomie in sacrifice to your moral and ethical bankruptcy.

So I call bull shit: No, this is not about “I did the best I could!” It’s about being accountable for your pattern of behavior over decades. It’s about expecting a child to meet your demands while ignoring the reality the child is not ABLE in any way to do so.

I “did the best I could” to be a “good girl” and “good adult” and faithfully kept all your secrets for decades-until I didn’t: I finally understood what that phrase meant by refusing to cover for you and your relentless abuse, neglect and continuing to enble you to paint yourself as a pitiful, put upon, victimized martyr. I refused to live in your delusional world of an endless grandiose pity party. I simply stepped away and watched you pull a decades long temper tantrum until your physical death. I didn’t “have to do” anything but allow you to unmask yourself. And in this I certainly can agree, you did-“the best you could.”

I made a conscious decision to live in reality. Reality is like gravity: In the end, gravity always prevails.
And so have I.


Wow! Thanks for writing this, and I see so many similarities with my story as well. You are strong!


This story is so inspiring! Thank you for this.

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