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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277 response to "My Parents did the Best they Could According to Who"

  1. By: Amber Posted: 29th July

    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

  2. By: Beth Posted: 29th July

    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!

  3. By: Diane Massey Posted: 29th July

    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!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th July

      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

  4. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th July

    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

  5. By: moira Posted: 29th July

    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.

  6. By: moira Posted: 29th July

    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.

  7. By: Colleen Posted: 6th February

    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….

  8. By: sahitha Posted: 31st July

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st July

      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

  9. By: TJ Posted: 28th January

    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.

  10. By: TJ Posted: 28th January

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th January

      Hi TJ
      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

  11. By: Annabelle Posted: 23rd January

    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.

  12. By: FragmentedHistory Posted: 3rd January

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th January

      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

  13. By: Lorie Posted: 7th December

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th December

      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

  14. By: Michelle Posted: 31st October

    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. 😉

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st November

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

  15. By: SMD Posted: 22nd August

    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.

  16. By: SMD Posted: 22nd August

    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!

  17. By: Dawn Posted: 2nd May

    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.


  18. By: Dawn Posted: 2nd May

    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.


    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 2nd May

      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

  19. By: whispersfrommyheart Posted: 1st May

    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.

  20. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 1st May

    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

  21. By: Lucy Posted: 2nd April

    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 🙂


  22. By: Kia Posted: 29th March

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th March

      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,

  23. By: Dawn Posted: 29th March

    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.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 29th March

      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

  24. By: Laura Posted: 29th March

    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!!!

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