Psychological Abuse and Dysfunctional Parenting





psychological abuse, dysfunctional family
emerging alive

I received a comment on the post “More on Mother Daughter Dysfunctional Relationships” from Pam, and it began like this;  ~ “I have lots of bad memories from my childhood but what is worse is what I don’t remember. I can’t remember my mother ever holding me. I have no memory of my mother ever supporting me in anything or encouraging me. I don’t remember my mother ever siding with me against someone who had hurt me. I have never felt that my mom liked me. It seems that my mom was angry with me from the time I was born.”

I can totally relate to that with my own mother.  I felt like I was born to fill something in her and I failed to do it.  And I believed that I was a failure; that I was defective and unlovable.  Realizing that was only a fraction of the process to recovery however. The belief system problem was that I believed those things about myself and they were not true about me.  I can’t stress this part enough ~ I was NOT born to fulfill a need in my mother. I was NOT a failure. I was NOT defective and unlovable.

Today, I use this comment from Pam to explain the progression of emotional and psychological abuse and dysfunctional family upbringing; how those beliefs are born and incorporated and how they become cemented and why they are so hard to realize and then let go of.

~Pam goes on to say that her mother resented her for being born sickly (not the perfect child of her dreams) and then used that as a means to garner sympathy from others for the burden of having a weak child.

Once again, I also believed like Pam, that I WAS a burden to my mother.  I believed that because I could not fulfill her wishes for me fill the longing she had in herself ~ then it was true that I was a burden. I failed and that was the proof that I was useless.  But that is also a lie.

Growing up believing these kinds of things in the first place creates a very fertile ground for other false beliefs to take root and grow. False beliefs flourish when the foundation is primed that way. 

~ Pam was raped at age 14. She had been told that it was impossible for a woman to be raped and once again, having no choice, she believed that too.  She blamed herself, and took on one more lie which added to her already low self esteem and further diminished her self worth.

And as with ALL cases of dysfunctional family teachings, and falseness taught and accepted as truth, one lie rooted in the believe system builds on another;

~ Pam was raped and believed it was her own fault. On top of that she had been taught that if she lost her virginity, she would be “used merchandise” and that she was ruined.  And she believed that too.

Why wouldn’t she believe that? What other frame of reference did she have?

~ So Pam ran away.  And as these things so often go, the focus of her parents was never about why she had run away or what would cause her to run away. The focus was once again on how much she hurt her mother. It was all about her mother.

Keep in mind that the child in the situation accepts everything that the parent says because the brainwashing that the parent’s value is much greater than the child’s value is already cemented in place from such a young age.

~ Her mother never stopped berating her; emotionally abusing her for running away, constantly asking when she was planning to do it again. Remember the original cause was never addressed. This child had to endure the knowledge of her rape with no support, no understanding and she believed it was her own fault.

~ Pam was in so much pain (and understandably so!) that she turned to drugs as a way to cope. As a way to dull or numb the pain. The drugs led to associations with dangerous people. Therefore, this child was raped again. Once again, drawing from her already cemented belief system, she blamed herself.  He offered her a place to live, and since she needed the drugs to dull all the pain, she went to him.  Her parents did not protest; they did not investigate this man’s background, (he was a man, she was a child.) BUT her parents felt sorry for themselves and used this situation as a way to garner support and sympathy! That this ungrateful and out of control daughter had done this to them and is causing THEM so much pain. AND STILL the child herself was never considered. Still the child is at fault; both parents say it and the child herself believes it and is willing to accept that this is something she brought on herself.

And this is how so many of us grew up! One lie, one more false belief piled on top of another, the first one feeding and supporting the birth of the next one.

All the while their daughter is in extreme pain, grief and needs to use alcohol and drugs to cope with it all; to escape the constant pain, believing that the failure is all hers. She has believed it from birth.

~ The man that Pam went to in order to escape the pain of her dysfunctional childhood, the pain of being raped and blamed for it, used her and raped her for six months and then passed her to another man who did the same and even worse.  Her parents did nothing to help her though they knew where she was. They continued to blame her. Furthermore, as is so common in these cases, they held it over her head for her entire life and used the guilt and shame that THEY planted in her in the first place, to manipulate her.

Pam lived with the false truth from this psychological abuse and these lies in her belief system for years, her self esteem was diminished; the value assigned to her by her parents, by the traumas and events and then by her own self, was nothing.

~ At the age of fifty, Pam realize what happened to her was a crime. She went to her parents and confronted them about it. The offered excuses and lies but never acknowledged the truth. In the end, Pam told them that if they wanted a relationship with her that they had to treat her with respect and to acknowledge to her that what happened to her was a crime and take responsibility for their part in it.  She never heard back from them. And that in itself, speaks volumes… about them.

When our belief system still accepts that it is our own fault; that we failed, that we are to blame, returning to that belief is the default method. That is why we don’t stand up to abusers who still abuse us. We are convinced that we have some part in it. That is the same reason why we don’t/can’t stand up to dysfunctional parents or see where they did the damage. We were convinced very young that had we not failed them or disappointed them in the first place, then we would have been loved.

Writing this article was slightly surreal; there were times when I wasn’t sure if I was writing about Pam, or if I was writing about myself.  I had to remind myself to stick to the comments that Pam made, as I was tempted to add information of my own that was not included in her account. This is my story too, only the details are different.

This is the story of millions of children around the world who have not been listened to, have been falsely taught, and who have been discounted. This is psychological abuse.

Please share your feelings and comments.

Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

Click to read “more on mother daughter dysfunctional relationships” Pam’s comment is # 84

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

127 response to "Psychological Abuse and Dysfunctional Parenting"

  1. By: Fi MacLeod Posted: 21st May

    So glad you’re here Laramar and everyone else!!

  2. By: Laramar Posted: 21st May

    Just happy to be with my Wounded Warrior Tribe, sharing and caring!

  3. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out Of The cRaZy Closet Posted: 20th May

    Laramar, thank you so much.

    Every one of your comments that I’ve read here on EFB, have struck me as being exceptionally kind, caring, intelligent, and thoughtful. I really appreciate you.


  4. By: Laramar Posted: 19th May

    Lynda –

    Great words from a great person! And congrats on being able to go under without fear of abuse. That must have been a real breakthrough!

  5. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out Of The cRaZy Closet Posted: 19th May

    Dear Fi,
    Thank you for being so BRAVE. Thank you for being so REAL.

    To my way of thinking, it only makes SENSE, that you are so badly fractured. How could any human being go through the extreme horror and trauma and abuse of your childhood, and NOT be extremely fractured as a result? To my way of thinking, the more severe the abuse, the more severe will be the “brokenness” that results.

    It’s like I was trying to explain in another post… if a person is stabbed one time, they are going to bleed. That is a perfectly normal response to being stabbed. If a person is stabbed mulitple times, they are going to be bleeding even more profusely, from multiple wounds… and, their healing will be correspondingly more difficult, because they have so very many wounds that need to heal. It’s just common sense, really, in my personal opinion.

    As horrible as my childhood was, Fi, there was still SOME good in it. In truth, there was more than just SOME good, there was actually a lot of good in my childhood… but, the horrors of my childhood very much outweighed the things that were good.

    But, Fi, you had NOTHING that was good in your childhood. You have said so, and I believe you. So, I believe that for me to try to say that my pain, my wounds, my trauma, my abuse, and my resulting brokenness, was equivalent to yours, would be a gross injustice to you.

    However, your extreme pain, does not lessen, in any way, the severity of my own pain, either… I hope you know what I mean. If a person is stabbed one time, they are going to be HURTING. If a person is stabbed four times, they are going to be HURTING. If a person is stabbed 100 times, they are going to be HURTING. It doesn’t lessen or negate the pain of the person who has “only” been stabbed 4 times, to learn that there is a living person who has been stabbed 100 times. You don’t just say, “Oh, well, my 4 stab wounds feel like nothing, now that I know about someone who has 100 stab wounds!”

    Fi, I have been fractured too, very badly. I was diagnosed schizophrenic, when I was 14, because I was dissociating and hearing voices. I have since been told that was a misdiagnosis, and that what I actually had was Complex-PTSD. But I am in agreement with Darlene, I don’t think these “labels” are helpful. I was BROKEN, that’s what I was. I had ZERO self-esteem. I was unloved, and I took it to mean that I was no worth loving. And, I BROKE, as a result.

    I felt at the time that I had “spirits” living inside me. In fact, I felt like I had MANY spirits inside me…. hundreds? I don’t know how many, I have no idea, there wre too many to count, it was a crowd, that is all I know.

    I was deeply ashamed, Fi, of this. I thought that I was truly “insane.” When my new psychiatrist took over the ward after my rapist psychiatrist was caught and fired for what he had done to me, my young, progressive thinking psychiatrist told me that he was going to get me released from that institution where 97% of the people committed were never permanently released, and he told me he was going to do this, because I was perfectly sane and should never have been put there in the first place.

    I thought HE was delusioinal, for thinking that I was SANE! I reminded him that I had all these voices, “spirits,” inside me. He shrugged and said, “Everybody hears voices. And with the kind of family you have… after talking at length with your parents and grandparents, I know what I am talking about… THEY made you sick! Anybody with parents like that, would be sick!”

    I then reminded him that I had recently HUNG myself… HELLO!…. THAT’S not “normal!” But he said that in his opinion, it WAS normal, considering that I had just been RAPED by my other psychiatrist, and then locked in solitary confinement for simply CRYING about it.

    In time, Fi, my “voices,” or spirits, or multiple personalities, or dissociation, or schizophrenia… whatever it was… faded away. I don’t know how or why, but they did. However, to this very day, some of the voices will, on very rare occasions, briefly come back… this typically happens when someone I love has died, it somehow triggers that whole seance-memory, when my high school friends and I were playing with a oui ja board, trying to contact my grandfather who had recently died, back when I was 14, because he was the only relative who seemed to truly love me for me… and that is when my “voices” started. So when someone I love dies, I typically go through a brief period of time, of thinking that I can hear their voice talking to me. But I try to ignore it, and when that doesn’t work, I ask them to please leave me be, and eventually it all fades away once again. the most recent time that this happened to me, was when a relative died in March of last year.

    That’s really hard for me to admit. It’s also hard for me to admit that in February of this year, when I had to have a colonoscopy, just as I was about to be given the anesthesia in my vein by a male anesthesiologist, I began to dissociate. I could feel myself leaving my body and lettng someone else take over, because that is how my psychiatrist raped me when I was 15, he put an anesthetic, ‘truth serum’ drug in my vein.

    I am 58, dissociatating over a rape that happened to me 43 years ago. My doctor who was there to do the actual colonoscopy was a woman, so I knew I was safe. After all the healing and therapy I have had over the years, I “shouldn’t” still be dissociating. “My life wasn’t as bad as yours, Fi, so ~ what’s my problem?”

    But you know what I’ve figured out? MY LIFE WAS BAD ENOUGH, THAT IT CAUSED MY PARTICULAR DEGREE OF BROKENNESS. Like Darlene says so often, I was NOT BORN BROKEN. I was broken by my abusers. HOW broken I am, and how LONG it takes me to get completely over it, is NOT MY FAULT.

    This is what I believe: My life was bad enough that it caused my level of brokenness, and YOUR life was bad enough, that it caused your particular degree of brokenness. There is no SHAME, not for me, nor for you. The SHAME belongs to the evil monsters who abused us and broke us so badly. There is NO SHAME in bleeding when you are stabbed, the SHAME belongs to the evil murdering monster who stabbed you.

    Fi, I am telling you this from the bottom of my heart: I do not see one single thing in you that you have reason to be ashamed of… but I do see so much amazing strength and caring and honesty and beauty in you, that you can be PROUD of!! Your abusers caused the brokenness that is in you, and that is to their shame. But YOU, Fi ~ YOU are responsible for the wonderful miraculous caring beauty that is in you, and for this, you have every reason to be PROUD. You amaze me. I look UP to you, Fi!!


  6. By: Laramar Posted: 18th May

    Fi –

    The biggest thing for me is not disbelief, because my late husband had been so brutally abused that I learned that nothing is too aberrant for some abusers – it is a drug to them and they need a stronger and stronger fix, and depending on their background, that fix can be almost unimaginably evil. Whether I can deal with knowing about it or not does not negate your experience of it, and you are so articulate – it is a gift that we all appreciate.

    What concerns me most is just saying stupid or inappropriate stuff simply because I still don’t understand or know how to articulate what you have been through. I just hope that you can be patient with those of us who have never dealt personally in ourselves with DID/MPD, and give us guidance for how to learn more when things come up for you regarding something we said or posted. You really are a powerful being, though I don’t know what term is appropriate to you.

  7. By: Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Posted: 18th May

    Yes, we are forever changed by our abuse. There is no going back to childhood innocense before the incest. There is no reclaiming the woman that I would have become if the incest had not happened.

    My friend on Facebook asked me if I thought I would be so serious if the incest had not happened. My answer to him was probably not because Saggittarians like me are usually more outgoing even as children. They enjoy change and adventure.

    Change, even today, scares me until I can think about what is going on. My initial reaction to change is fear and then anger. Once I take the time to look at what is happening, I can then deal with it without the fear making me want to hide behind my husband like he is a human shield or without the anger making me stomp my foot like a little girl in a tantrum.

    Without the incest, I probably would have been taking on the world and wringing out every bit of travel and adventure that I could find. Instead I am cautious and think things through before taking a step forward. I have learned to be confident and outspoken but as a child and as a young adult I was too insecure and frightened to let you know what I thought about much of anything.

    Can we get better? Can we heal? Can we have a better life? I believe we can. I know that I do even with the grieving that I have found myself doing recently, I am still in a better place than I have ever been before because of the healing work that I have done on myself.

    Why was I willing to struggle and hurt? Because I am worth the effort. We all are. Don’t let anyone tell you than you can’t be cured. Whatever you believe will become so. It may take years. It may take an instant – that hasn’t been my experience – but who am I to deny your your chance to prove me wrong. We are all worthy of being healed. We deserve to have a life of wholeness if that is what we want for ourselves.

  8. By: Vicki Posted: 18th May

    It may FEEL like she can’t be cured, but even people who ARE cured will never tell you they haven’t been changed by an event. Changed in terms of how they view the world.
    For example; I could read murder mysteries without thinking about it before what happened on September 11, 2001, happened to my family. Afterwards, I noticed that SOME writers care only about gore value in their murder mysteries and don’t ever mention how the death affects the victim’s family.Suddenly, I was no longer able to read these gore stories for reasons I still don’t understand. But before that happened, I never even thought about it; so I was changed through that experience, and it isn’t going to go away. I can only read murder mysteries that take into account that the victim has a family that will react to it.
    Even after I’ve learned to “handle” what’s happened, I don’t believe I’m going to change back. Maybe that’s what she means. I don’t know for sure, that’s just an opinion that came from my own life example.
    So you can recover, but certain things will be different for you as opposed to someone it’s never happened to.

  9. By: Fi MacLeod Posted: 18th May

    Hi everyone, thanks for your support, encouragement and hugs.

    I felt very terrified owning up to the level of DID/MPD that I live with.

    Although I knew it was the truth I was waiting for someone to say something along the lines of “you can’t have that many child alters” or “you can’t be that fractured because surely you wouldn’t be able to function as well as you do if you really were” and things like that. I took a huge risk.

    There’s something scary about it being ‘out there’ so thanks for your understanding, love and support.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th May

      Hi Fi,
      One day I am going to do a blog or an audio about the fear we have around this~ what you just wrote! I know exactly what you mean, and I felt those same fears! I was afraid to start this blog. The first few months I was sure everyone was going to tell me to “JUST GET OVER IT” and that I was crazy. I even thought people would think my insights were crazy. And look at what happened with this blog! Look at how many people find comfort and understanding here. (the readers only see the comments, there are hundreds of readers daily, that don’t comment)

      I was so afraid that “they” were right about me. Everyone who ever said I was crazy, stupid, “a little off” dramatic, and exaggerator and oh so many other things ~ I was afraid that if I took a risk that I might find out they were right. BUT, they weren’t!
      Thank you so much for being here!
      Love (I know that word scares you, but just this once, I really want to send you love)

  10. By: Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Posted: 18th May

    Lynda, you and your husband both have some very valid points in your conversation. I am the kind of person that tends to take statements like you have this or you have that and it is uncurable with a gain of salt. I do believe that our bodies and minds have the ability to cure themselves. I even believe in miracles.

    If someone told me that because I am an incest survivor, I would have to struggle with it the rest of my life, I would listen to what they have to say and ask, “Is that true for me?” Sometimes it feels true but other times when I am laughing and happy, it doesn’t feel so true.

    On my Facebook page this morning, a friend asked me if incest survivors feel guilty about feeling happy later in life. I told him that might be true for some survivors. I can’t speak for every survivor but I told him that is not true for me. He asked several other questions too which I took the time to answer. They were valid questions from someone who is not a survivor. Because of his questions, he and I and several others are having an amazing ongoing conversation about the effects of child abuse and how it doesn’t just go away because we want it to. He didn’t ask his questions to be offensive. I believe that he truly wants to understand as much as anyone who isn’t a survivor can understand.

    He asked me why I didn’t start a Fan Page like Darlene has on Facebook. I told him I have thought about it. He is the second person to ask me that in the past month. I didn’t figure out why I hesitate to do that until later in his and my discussion. I post what I do on my regular FB page just so that I can have conversations like this one today with people that are not incest survivors so they might gain some understanding about us. I know that several family members do read my FB posts rather than my blog and they are benefitting from it. In personal emails, a few of them have told me so.

    I am so glad that I can come here to EFB to share with other survivors who know exactly what I am saying because of similar experiences or feelings that we share but I also want to reach others who are not survivors so I probably won’t change to a Fan Page any time soon. I am so glad that all of you are here and so supportive.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th May

      Hi Lynda,
      Thank you for your feedback. Here is what my “take on it” is. If I didn’t have hope I would not have persisted. My persistence paid off because I am living proof that it is possible, and no one can tell me that it isn’t. Anyone can believe whatever they want, but if you believe it is impossible, then it is. People never believed that one day we would have a telephone, never mind the whole internet. All that started because someone refused to give up.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Patricia,
      Thanks for your comments about this subject and your feedback too.
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out Of The cRaZy Closet Posted: 18th May

    I am amazed by you. I am deeply touched by you, by your life history, and by the awesome person you are.

    I don’t even know what else to say to you, Fi, I am so overwhelmed. There are no words to describe what I’m feeling.

    Like Jeffery did, I want to give you a BIG HUG:

    ((((((((((((( Fi MacLeod ))))))))))))))

  12. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out Of The cRaZy Closet Posted: 18th May

    Hi Darlene,
    I wrote my last comment to Vicki, referring to her heartbreaking comment #84, before I read the rest of the comments, including your last one, comment #99, in which you asked Barbara why she says she will never be able to recover.

    I hope that Barbara chooses to answer that question. I, for one, will be very interested in reading her response; especially as I have found everything that Barbara has posted here so far, to be very insightful and intelligent.

    Darlene, as I’ve shared here before, my best-friend-husband of almost 7 years, has been diagnosed with severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which was caused by his two tours of combat in Vietnam, which occurred when he was 19 and 20 years old. My husband is now 62, and for the past few years has been receiving a partial VA disability for his PTSD. He has also been receiving 100% disability from Social Security since 2005, for his PTSD.

    I was never in any “real” war… just the combat that went on in my childhood home, and then in my former abusive marriages. (You were so right, Barbara, I was “pre-tenderized” by my abusive childhood, for my subsequent abusive marriages.) In 2003, when I finally found a good therapist, I, too, was diagnosed, by a renowned psychiatrist, with PTSD. A few years ago my new, local psychiatrist, ammended my diagnosis to Complex-PTSD.

    My best-friend-husband and I have had several lively, but loving and respectful, debates about whether or not PTSD is “curable.” Stan firmly believes that PTSD can NOT be cured. I firmly believe that ALL forms of “mental illness” are potentially 100% curable….. yet I also believe that many people with mental illnesses will never actually be CURED… not because they CAN’T be, but for a variety of reasons, such as not having GOOD therapuetic help availble to them. Another reason that I believe many people with various mental illness labels won’t ever be cured, is because they have been told that they could not be cured, and they BELIEVE that LIE.

    What we BELIEVE about ourselves is Very Powerful ~ Right, Darlene?

    A couple of days ago my husband and I were once again discussing this difference of opinion, and I told him that I think it is actually ABUSIVE to be told “you can never be cured.” Being told that you cannot ever be cured, robs you of much-needed HOPE, I said; it makes you want to just give up on doing the work necessary to become healthier and happier and, eventually, WHOLE.

    My husband replied: “When you think that you can be cured of something that is incurable, it is like putting a carrot on a stick out in front of you, that you can never reach. It makes you feel frustrated, when you keep trying but never reaching that dang carrot. And then you start wondering “What is Wrong With Me, that I am not becoming CURED?” Then you can begin to beat up on yourself for not being WELL, when you need to relax and accept yourself just the way you are, and give yourself a break. Having PTSD after you’ve been through hell is NORMAL, and not being CURED of it, when people think you “should” be over it by now, is Not Your Fault.”

    So then my husband and I agreed to disagree, because our sweet little Cattle Dog was getting upset at the TONE of our discussion!


  13. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out Of The cRaZy Closet Posted: 18th May

    Vicki, I’m sitting here with tears pouring down my cheeks, after reading about your former husband dying in the World Trade Center. The scream at the end of his phone message on that horrible day. I’m so, so, so sad. OH how I HATE the EVIL that can commit such inhuman acts.



  14. By: Barbara Posted: 17th May

    Laramar – gotta laugh or I’d never stop crying

    Fi, Darlene, et al. – I was told I was a burden… and a freak; no man would want me; sick on purpose; a hateful baby; full of hate; smelled bad all the time; ugly; lived my life ONLY to hurt my NMother.

    It was clear to her that THINGS mattered a lot more than me. Always.

    I’ll never fully recover and I know that but as my counselor said I will adapt & integrate.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th May

      Hi Barbara,
      I don’t know if you read all the comments on this thread, (I know there are nearly 100 so that would have been a ton of reading) but there has been a conversation about when people say that they will never recover and that it is discouraging to some to hear that. And I never say that and I feel that the reason that I made a full recovery is because I believef that I could. So I was wondering, would you be able to tell me “why” you say that you will never fully recover, just for the sake of clairty?
      Thank you (but if you would rather not, please don’t worry about it)
      Hugs, Darlene

  15. By: Vicki Posted: 17th May

    My mom literally DIDN’T feel anything. We’d be getting kicked out of the house, and she’d go about putting on our coat and buttoning it, doing all the physical tasks, but never consoling us when we were crying and upset about it. We might as well have been ghosts three planes above my mom’s world for all the emotion she showed. It was almost like-to me anyway-it almost seemed like she wasn’t even a human being. IDK for sure, but I’m POSITIVE she was dwelling in a separate world from us, and it felt literal to me when I was all upset b/c he kicked us out of the house.
    The best description for how it was came while I was reading the book ‘Insomnia,’ by Stephen King. He explained that cutting yourself off from everyone around you in such a magnificent way that I found it hard to believe he never felt that feeling before.
    My former therapist told me my mom couldn’t help how she reacted, that she (my mom) was being beaten by her husband and had gone beyond being broken by what he was doing to her.
    I just don’t CARE about what it was like for her, b/c that’s all anybody ever cares about is her. I don’t see how it’s a 5-yr. old’s fault that she was being beaten, and why should I be the one acting like an adult by not crying or being allowed to be comforted through the situation while she sits there feeling sorry for her SELF and simultaneously disappearing into a fantasy world where she doesn’t see anything that’s happening. And so never has to deal with us.
    Am I too unforgiving in the matter? IDK. Maybe I’m being a little selfish to no longer care. But we’re supposed to write what we honestly feel, and I’m willing to do that even at the risk of looking selfish.
    I just wish I knew where all this confession and revelation were going to end me up. I hope it lands me in a better place emotionally; that’s the main reason I’m doing it.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th May

      This is what I am talking about on this blog all the time. The fact that your mother could not help how she was has nothing to do with you. I had to stop looking at “my poor mother” and why she was the way she was and finally look at things through the lens of what happened to ME in order to recovery from what happened to me. It is okay that you don’t care what it was like for her.
      After I did my healing process, (which took a few years) I was able to understand that my mother (family and other abusers) were broken too, BUT that is not an excuse for what was passed on to me. As long as I was looking for what was wrong with them, I was not validating my own pain and the way that I was devalued. That was the healing part for me.
      Hugs, Darlene

  16. By: Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Posted: 17th May

    When I was 3 years old, I remember thinking that my mom didn’t feel anything. Everyone around us was crying. I think someone had died but I don’t remember who. I can see myself standing and looking up at my mother and deciding that I needed to protect her from her feelings so she couldn’t be hurt. I was 3 years old. What does that say about my family that I took on that responsibility so young? I became the parent to my mother’s wounded child long before I had any idea of what that meant. Even though I healed in many areas of my life, I didn’t let go of that one until about 4 years before my mother died. When I stopped being my mother’s protector, she went to live with my sister and youngest neice.

  17. By: Fi MacLeod Posted: 17th May

    Hi Vicki – I was explicitly told by my mother that I was a burden, that I was not wanted or welcome – as well as being explicitly told that I was told in less obvious but just as real unspoken ways.

    I think sometimes the unspoken messages we receive can be more powerful than the spoken ones but also harder to pin down and turn around.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th May

      Vicki and Fi
      I was not really told directly, (although many of us here were!) but it was more in her actions and her looks. She indicated that I was a burden, that I caused her distress. That it was my fault that I made her freak out and yell and hit us. So the conclusion that it must be me came about that way.

      Great point Fi. It can be harder to pin down the unspoken ones, but the spoken ones are harder to argue with, and when we are talking survival we want to deny that a parent would ever feel that way, so I think that BOTH of these types of abuse are very hard to deal with! ALL Abuse is hard to deal with!

      Hugs, Darlene

  18. By: Vicki Posted: 17th May

    I have another question. When you say you believed you were a burden to your mother, I was wondering if that came from her telling you in direct words you were, or did she do things to show it? Or was it both?
    I’m asking b/c, for me, I believed it not only b/c she acted like it. She came right out and said it, or my Aunt Rosemary (probably named for the book, she’s truly the closest thing to pure evil I’ve ever had the misfortune of knowing) said FOR her. That woman told me I was useless and a burden, in those words, every single solitary time I ever saw her. She made it obvious that she hates me more than everyone else, and I’m not saying that to make it sound like I’m special. One of my co-workers, who was never abused by her family, decided to tell everyone one day that people who are abused speak of it so they “can feel special.”
    I honestly have no idea how she made it to Registered Trauma Nurse. She says such stupid things it astounds me-but, unfortunately, fails to stop me from worrying that other people may agree with her. I even wonder myself sometimes, b/c it almost SOUNDS like I’m saying it for that reason. I’m not, but I can almost see how it can sound that way.
    I wasn’t the one who was “different.” Another of her favorite words; there’s feeling special, feeling different, feeling like one of a kind. The people who decided they hate me b/c of my eye problem, which caused the constant arguing scenes, at least in term of getting surgery, for my mom and dad-those people are the special, different ones.
    A. Rosemary is like that to this day. She never speaks to me unless she absolutely has to and that’s to say one word, then go on her way. She talked my brother out of having me as his emergency contact, so she could be his contact-and then never tell me if he’s okay, but that’s at least half his fault for listening to her.
    I’ve just never met a person who has more black hatred seething from every part of her soul than my Aunt Rosemary, and she always blames anyone else around her as the reason she has to be that way.
    Beyond that, I can’t say much more. The only time I tried to talk about what she’d done, I was quickly and efficiently told to pray for her “Pray for those who persecute you” and that was the end of the conversation.
    To me, Aunt Rosemary is exactly like Osama bin Laden. Her answer to every problem is “Beat the shit out of them or kill them.” I mean that literally. She sounded like a fool when she said it but she said she would “beat the shit out of anyone” who claimed our mom was ever abusive.
    I never prayed for her. They might just as well tell me to pray to the devil himself; I’ve noticed that nobody asks you to pray for the devil, but they’ll ask you to pray for Osama bin Laden’s soul and A. Rosemary’s live self, who almost assuredly is going to be next to Satan’s right hand when she gets there. Her and Osama bin Laden, who think the answer to any problem you have is to beat it or kill it.

  19. By: Laramar Posted: 17th May

    Fi –

    So relieved I didn’t alienate you! You truly seem an integrated whole, though I know we all can project whatever we want when we are writing. I am amazed though, truly amazed at your ability to transcend that – I would have had no idea what you were dealing with had you not just courageously shared that.

    I’m so glad you have an inherent sense of your intelligence – I think that also helped my late husband. No matter what was going on he knew he was very smart, and that was the anchor point that kept him from believing all the lies they put out to alienate him from outsiders and to make him doubt himself.

    I don’t want to make you too self-conscious, but you really are extraordinary in how you have been able to cope with this. I am very humbled by your articulateness and your lack of self-pity. Also your willingness to let us in on what is possibly the most difficult journey there must be in life, which is living and functioning with DID/MPD.
    Anything you want to post to help us remain aware and compassionate as to what that is like, please feel empowered to post. It also helps me to come to terms with what my husband must have gone through, and maybe start to fit more of the pieces together of his crazy, impossible life growing up.
    Many thanks

  20. By: Fi MacLeod Posted: 17th May

    Hi Laramar

    No your comment about your late husband did not frighten me away. I’ve just had a busy day and been away from my laptop so couldn’t reply. Thank you for your comforting and reassuring words.

    In response to the DID/MPD question – I am severely fractured. Some of the fracturing was deliberately done and programmed by my grandparents in their sexual abuse of me and use of me as fodder for their paedophile friends using satanic rituals as a cover for it all. In that kind of abuse there are specific things done to ensure the child splits.

    I continued splitting just to cope the horror and reality of the abuse, incest and ritualized torture that took place within the family.

    I have over 500 child parts of both genders from tiny babies through to stroppy teenagers. I spend a lot of my life trying to work out who I am, where I am and how old I am.

    I have written about the fragmentation a bit on my blog but I don’t talk much about it much because such extreme fragmentation is so complex to understand and complex to express. I sound more whole than I actually am!! Probably due to my intelligence and understanding of what’s going on and how it works.

  21. By: Fi MacLeod Posted: 17th May

    Hi Patricia, thanks for clarifying that, I didn’t think you were discounting what I was saying, I thought I knew you better than that but I just found it very hard to read your comment, so I had to ask the question to settle my own confusion!

  22. By: Nico Posted: 17th May

    To Laramar and Darlene…thank you for your support.

  23. By: Kate Posted: 17th May


    This is a place to share your stories and feelings about your life. That is not offensive. We only benefit when we share in these ways. We benefit when we truly listen to another, enter into their pain, and offer support that is respectful and building for where a person is positioned.

    I know what you mean about counting the years and wondering if the triggers will ever go away. I only seem to be more aware of the triggers now!

    What was it like with your first therapist? Were you with this person a long time? 20 years?

  24. By: Vicki Posted: 17th May

    The only “survivor’s guilt” I have is related to my former spouse being brutally murdered while I-and 9/10 of the country-watched as it happened. Okay, so I didn’t actually SEE him in flames; but we heard it. He called into his home on the day it happened and, at the end of the conversation, we were cut off after a scream I’ve never heard from anyone I personally know-and never want to hear again, even from someone I don’t.
    I’ve never been able to get rid of the recurring nightmare I’ve had since 2002. I don’t feel guilty about it when I’m awake, only when I’m asleep. Which doesn’t make sense, but I’m not even interested in trying to make that seem logical.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th May

      ~ I am so sorry that this happened Vicki. That must have been horrific. I don’t know what to say, but want to send you “hugs”.

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