Psychological Abuse; if you don’t like it LEAVE


psychologically abusive mother

After my parents split up a couple of months before my 13th birthday, my mother started to get even more impatient.  She got even more blunt about stating where I “stood” as a member of the family and communicated my value to me in some new ways;  She started saying “If you don’t like it, leave”.  Just like that. If I didn’t like the way things were, then I was free to just “go”.

This is not a rare expression; many kids have heard it lots but have you ever thought about what that communicates to a child?

These statements are really hurtful;

If you don’t agree with the way that I do things ~ get out.

If you don’t like the way that your life is here ~ go away.

If you don’t approve of the way that I treat you ~ leave.

If you don’t like MY rules, then you can just go find your own place to live; find your own way.

Some kids did; they left home and lived on the streets. They got picked up by pimps and put on the street selling themselves to strangers, just so that they could eat. Drugs and alcohol were “normal” coping methods in those situations too and often “forced addiction” is a great way to control a teenager. Some parents remind children that this could happen to them if they don’t comply with the rules of the psychologically abusive environment at home.

It is common for a teenager to trade an abusive home life for life with another abuser, this time having a new person in charge of their lives and responsible for their survival. At first it looks a lot better than life with parents; there is usually the illusion of independence. But when it all goes wrong, the child gets blamed for the results because they “chose” to run away, or leave.  Other kids who left or ran away may find an older person to give them shelter, but rarely without a huge price to pay.

If you did manage to get out, what lesson was learned?  For me it was the same lesson that I had already learned; that if I want to survive, I better do things the way the “chief” wants them done, and I better accept it because I don’t have a say.  Since this was the message that I had always known it was an easy transition for me to fall into the same rules in every relationship I had.  I never considered that these relationships were one sided and psychologically abusive because I was so used to it. It was all I knew.

My mother used to say “like it or lump it”.  I have no idea what that means but I accepted that it meant I had NO say and No choice.

Another favourite expression my mother used was; “if you don’t like it, go and live with your father”. This sounds like a viable option but it was more psychological abuse.  One day when I was around 14 and didn’t think I could take it with her anymore, I asked my father if I could live with him.  I was so sure that would be an option and I didn’t even feel nervous asking him. But he said no. He was remarried by then and had a new child, and there was no room for me in his life. Looking back, he had made that rather clear to me already, but being accustomed to not being valued, I didn’t catch on that quickly.

So now I had a mother who told me to leave, (communicating that she didn’t care about me) and a father who told me that he didn’t want me either.

I felt such a panic over the depth of what this meant.  I was not wanted or needed for anything more than the chores I could do and the meals that I cooked. My value was defined by those things. I had to comply or lose what little security I had ~ a place to live and food to eat. That is what was communicated to me. If I didn’t “like it” then I could just leave. Find a better way. Find somewhere where I could have some say, some value, and find some acceptance. I can still see her sneer, because at 14 years old, where was I going to go? My father didn’t want me. I don’t remember telling my mother that he said no; I doubt that I would have given her that satisfaction but I bet she knew.

These truths defined me. Saying these types of things to a child is psychological abuse and it works; I believed the implications. I took them to heart. I believed that because I wasn’t wanted I wasn’t loved. The sayings and actions of my parents defined me as not worthy. I couldn’t blame that on them; I had been convinced from so young that it was me. It was easier to believe it was me. If it was my fault, I could try harder to change it. I thought that I could prove my worth somehow in order to be loved and wanted.

The truth was that I could never get the desire to leave off my mind! But I didn’t know how to escape. I had been convinced that leaving was the answer but also convinced that I would not “survive”.  A child knows that he or she won’t survive without food, shelter, and clothing.

“If you don’t like it then let’s see if you can do better on your own.”  More psychologically abusive sneering. Or “I suppose you think you could do better on your own”.  And “you think it is so easy to live in the “real world”. I wonder what she meant by the “real world”.

And you know, about that saying “if you don’t like it” well I didn’t like it ~ there was nothing about it to like so eventually I started to look for a way out. Since I was not raised to believe in myself and believed my survival depended on someone else, I tried to find “someone” who would want me. I had also been raised to believe that my value was sexual so I put that power to work. I wasn’t sexual and flirting wasn’t sexual to me, it was just survival. It was all I thought I had and all I had ever been told that I had. Men were my mother’s answer for everything, and surely they would be my answer too.

One night I fell asleep and didn’t come home till the wee hours of the morning. She made all the typical accusations about what a tramp I was telling me that was my last chance; that the next time I decided to do something like that I would have to get out. A few weeks later I stayed out all night on purpose. When I came home she asked me when I was leaving, I told her that I just “came to get my things” At first I wouldn’t tell her where I was going. It was an attempt to try and make her prove that she cared. I secretly hoped that she would worry. She was the one that taught me how to “prove” love after all. She taught me these psychologically abusive tactics. I don’t think she was worried at all, she was just mad because I found a way out.

And that was how at the tender age of 17, I ended up starting my “adult life” living common law with a man who turned out to have a drinking problem and a violent temper.

I went from one frying pan into another fire; I was “rescued” by another captor.

Please share your thoughts

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time

Darlene Ouimet

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

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Categories : Family



No, I was never told, “If you don’t like, leave.” Sometimes I used to wish that it was said to me. It would have made me feel that I had permission to get out of a madhouse!


All that your post has said is true of me.My mother said those things and i was nothing more than a slave.You see,there were red flags from the age of two.Too young to know she had married a pedophile.The deal for her was a life of comfort in exchange for access to her three daughters.My older sister left home to live with our so called father when i was eight.I did not know until my memories from age three surfaced later just how much damage had been done to her.I was raped,beaten after she left,but i endured for i could not abandon my younger sister.I thought my younger brother was safe because my stepfather was his father.I carry the guilt of being too young to know the many faces of evil.I only sprung into action when i saw my younger sister in danger.I had to beg the law to help.She and i were taken into protective custody.One week later,she was sent back home while i stayed locked up.Court came and so did reality.My caseworker was not there and my attorney came in the last minute and said “bring me up to speed”.I was alone.On the other side of the courtroom stood my mother,both of my sisters and their high priced attorney.They all went into the judges chambers.Only the judge came back.He told me my choices were a foster home,group home or go back home.I was twelve.I said i don’t care where,but not home.I went through 22 foster homes and two group homes.One always worse than the last.In between i would be checking on my siblings.I lived on the street,but no drugs or booze.Tried to stay in school and work,but always picked up for being a runaway.Of course there is horror that i am not writing,it would take up too much space.As it stands today my older sister is a carbon copy of my mother,now passed.She hates me.My younger sister has been missing since 1988.My younger brother,now passed.I have been an advocate most of my life before i knew what one was.If i have accomplished anything,i broke the cycle.I am divorced mom of 3.Divorced because i would not tolerate my children in nothing but a loving home.But others have abused my kids.I learned how to make the law work and what it lacked i did on my own,the rest i leave to God.I have many stories in time to tell.I’ve been told to write a book,be a speaker all my life.As i said to Lynn and Mack there are many books,films..our voices become white noise.Our voice needs to be louder,a next level?.I will be one of the many homeless soon.But i will carry my heavy boobs with me thanks to my family on FB.You know what i mean Darlene.


From the first week of our marriage I was told, ‘you don’t like it get a divorce’- that’s been the chorus of our 38 years together- stupid me- I’m still here.


Wow, did that ever trigger stuff…..


I think Yvonne’s comment must have come in just as I was writing mine- I can’t imagine a life like that- what a glorious survivor you are Yvonne!


Hi Ronnie
Being told “if you don’t like it leave” didn’t make me feel like I had permission, it made me feel rejected. Even when I did leave, I felt guilty; I felt like I was still doing the wrong thing, and by then I felt like everything that I did was the wrong thing. At least today I realize that like as you said, it really was a madhouse. Nothing I could have done would have changed that.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Yvonne
Oh my gosh, thank you for sharing your life struggles, trauma and your victories. Yes we have a voice and sharing this stuff does make a difference.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Maribeth
It isn’t that you are stupid, none of us are stupid. For me it was that I didn’t know any different. I went on to be in abusive relationships and never thought that I deserved better treatment. I had learned to try harder and accept that I was the problem. In recovery, I learned that I deserved to be respected. I learned that love was not expressed in the ways that I had gotten used to being treated or regarded. Love is equal value and I had never known that.
I know that this stuff is triggering. I think that is what the expression ” the truth hurts” means. But for me it was also knowing the truth that set me free. I learned to refuse to accept certain treatment and I got stronger. My husband was one of the people that treated me with much less than the respect and equality that I deserved. I thought that I was stupid too, but when I started to realize that I had been treated that way all my life, and that it was familiar, I started to draw my boundaries. Some of the family refused to treat me any differently, and they lost me. My husband saw that his attitudes were very wrong and hurtful and he changed them. Don’t lose hope and don’t be too hard on yourself. Healing means that we look at this stuff through the grid of what is true, and go from there.
Hugs, Darlene


Growing up in a minister’s home the damage was all verbal/emotional. So I learned well how to slice and dice with words- so when I was offered divorce I fought back- so mostly I feel so guilty for the abuse I’ve hurled back that there’s just no way out of the maze of anger and distrust.

I feel like I gave up everything to marry him- my parents were completely against him but I was so sure God was telling me to marry him- I see the parents’ point of view now and it’s entirely possible they were right but it’s too late for that. It has certainly cost me everything I knew as ‘normal life’ – instead of being in a middle class home where people work etc we live on the system because of his inability to hold a job- blamed of course on his health of course but many people with his illnesses work and live normal lives…

I live on this tightrope never knowing for sure when I’m going to get blasted for something- or more likely ‘hooked into something’ because his game is more passive/aggressive and while he’s awesome helping me when I’m sick at the same time he completely ignores the emotional pain he leaves me in virtually daily.

Sometimes he is just overwhelmingly kind and sweet and others- just plain nasty. ie – he won’t wear his hearing aids which tells me he doesn’t WANT to listen and he doesn’t moderate his own health well- yet if I try to make sure he takes his meds etc, I’m the bitch- it’s kind of like childhood all over again except now -thank God- there’s only one youngest child I have to be responsible for instead of my younger sibs.

So while he is physically stronger, I have to keep life together- the bills paid, etc etc- and it’s just too heavy to have to always be the one in charge. He’s a youngest child and just never grew up – and now has reverted to his childish behaviour.

Things lately have been so good- in many ways- the move is almost finished and the new place is heaven- yet I know we take our junk with us and will sully that place with our dysfunctionality as we have everywhere else.

Tonight I said something and again was offered a divorce and then read your article and it just knocked me over.

Lynda talked about being seen as strong because she’s mentally strong and good with words, which hides her emotional weakness- we share that- I am adept at using words to shore up my walls and hiding the pain but for me at least my body completely reflects the anguish I live internally.

I know this isn’t exactly on topic of the post but it just seems to be pouring out-

thanx for listening.


I was told “If you don’t like it, leave” multiple times…the only problem was, the leaving came with the condition that “we will cut you off and disown you if you leave…but you’re free to go!”. Bounded choice.


Hi Darlene and all

Am actually coming here on a rebound a very hard night.. vivid dreams and images but wanted to come here and be around people who care.

I know too well the words “if you don’t like it leave” .. I was 17 when I left as well and wanted to so many other times; but I was terrified of the outside word..I still am I guess ..

Having been beating into nothingness and thoroughly brainwashed into seeing myself worthless and incapable and stupid . I dared never venture away from the abuse into the world I was never allowed to see ..except briefly to and from school..

I envied my brothers and sisters who ran.but also felt somehow my life as a “martyr’ was creating a mansion for me in Heaven. I wonder how big it is now?

I left only after graduation from high school and i as nowhere near ready to go anywhere so I latched on to jobs that held room and board as part of their benefits” I was too immature for anything and I feel still am as i have no tools to approach all the nonsense that is out here. i still live quite a reclusive life and dont’ know how to deal with so many things that come my way: hoping to learn!

The last time mom self if you don’t like it or leave was when i had come back home from my time in Portugal and was needing a place to stay. How lucky could mom be. Here I would pay the mortgage, buy the food and clean house. . her price for me staying was 900/monthly which in 1994 was alot for me.

I did it though as I wanted to try to make it there with her. That was the longest 3 monnths of my life . .In that short time I caught some pleurisy or something and was told to drop one of the jobs. I wanted to push on and started coughing blood and the doctor said i had to stop the job or else. I stopped ..and my mom told me if i didnt keep the 2 jobs and pay her the 900/monnthly for cold damp basement room ..really small space. I would have to leave.

I was a very sick girl. she didnt care.. it was the money or out . I couldnt give money and out i went and never returned back.

She had the nerve the last time she got through, before I had completely blocked her from my landline to say I could come back if I apologize for how I have been acting and if I would stop seeing quacks.lol she calls people who help you heal quacks. She even tried to sweeten the package and said she let me come home and stay there.. if I apologize and change my ways.

Only thing, I don’t know what i was to change as I can’t see anything in my life a doing wrong and to apologize for having been deathly ill . and she knew I had been a sickly child from the past. I found it all too heartless.

I could choose to say am still no value, still an object, worth nothing and go home to her or choose the path of healing and wholeness and one that will lead to a brighter tomorrow.

Maybe am foolish but I choose to keep going solo without family or support and choose healing and all the hard work that comes with it. I dont know one day to next how am going to make it.. as tears are so often my companion now..as i open up more and more. I feel totally undone ..but i hear you all that this is all healing. I choose healing and reject that path of abuse and lies from now on.


Susan Kingsley Smith
July 4th, 2011 at 7:16 am

Awesome post Darlene. I’ll have to come back and read/comment later but another perfect pitch:)


I have heard many stories of growing up, harsh realities that forced so many to leap unsupported and inexperienced into adulthood. I too remember knowing that I had to get out from my disturbing (home) situation and become fully responsibilty for myself at an early age. Having to do this certainly meant that I learned quickly that if problems occurred , I had to solve on my own and did not have the benefit of involved loving support. As i matured and found my way in life , always sensing something missing along the way, believing that the problems I faced in life should never involve others, a sense of burdening others as though this was an unacceptable expctation within any relationship. The need to be fearless and stronge no matter what conditions or life circumstances I faced. Through many years of an abusive marriage I denied support to myself, until I began to understand that through my silence my children were also suffering. For the first time in my life I told a friend of my circumstances admitting that I needed help for myself and my children. I then asked for help from my mother, and she turned away, blaming me for causing a disgrace of divorce and shame upon our family name(my mother suffered with bipolar , growing up in a home where long periods of her manic episodes caused dimension of chaos with elements of prolonged conflictive relationships between all family members). A turning point in my life came for me when I asked for help from a close friend and my eldest brother. Here is where through the strength of both friendships I began my journey home, not to my familiar childhood home, but to a home that I had always believed exisited. The battles and conflicts with my Ex. escalated and still continue 8 years later, but the small home that I have provided for both my children and myself continues to be a place where love and support are openly expressed, no limitations, no restrictions. a place that holds memories of lifes struggles that each of us has faced, there is no silence here but emotional growth a thriving and ever changing learning space, where my children and I have learned that our relationships are about the sharing of continued loving support! Most recently my son has been diagnosed with depression (a family legacy passed on to him), another life challenge for our home to embrace with oppurtunities to provide for him love and support!


Hi Maribeth
I realized that the biggest thing I had given up when I got married was ME. I gave up my individuality, my personality, what little bit I had left of me, and I conformed to what was expected of me as a wife. I had to take a stand against that and become a person again. I made him responsible for his moods, and the rest of the stuff that he needed to take care of himself. I took my life back and now our whole family is happier including my husband. I realized that when I gave myself up for others that I was of no use to God because I was no longer the individual that I was born to be. That was a huge revelation for me! (just one of the many)
Thank you for sharing, hang in with us!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy
Recovery itself is terrifying because it is all new, and all unfamiliar. I was a martyr too, and had so many misunderstandings about how relationships worked. My definitions were all wrong. But as I got stronger, I got that sorted out too. Love doesn’t have the kinds of conditions on it that we have experienced with our families. Love does not have “ifs” on it or those kinds of conditions.
I am glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Cownamagee
I had some of those same realizations too, and my whole family is so much better and stronger now. My children saw me stand up to all the people in my life who used me and disregarded and disrespected me. They saw me emerge from broken and they saw me take my life back and they know that they too have a say, and deserve equal respect. They know that we all lived within the confines of control and not real love. Today they know real love, and like you said, they know love and support. Life is so much better. \
Thank you for sharing. Hugs, Darlene

Everyone ~ All my children are still here at home but two are leaving in the fall. They have never once been told “if you don’t like it, leave”. 🙂 I know that I could have been controlling just like my mother, but thankfully I saw the light before that happened.

hugs, Darlene


Awww thank you!.But i really have to give the glory to God.He was always my father.Before i knew him,he knew me.
My aunt right now is in a similar marriage of 37 years.Rena’s book has helped her.”His Puppet No More”.I never thought she would leave no matter how bad it got.No matter how much she acknowledged.But at sixty years of age she is and boy is her light really shinning!.

You touched a cord with me.I come from one of the largest families in the south.Not one has ever been there for me.I hear the frustration from you and the lip service you have probably heard about you are not alone.Your mind believes your eyes,you are alone.I’m sitting here right now,i have my two pretty much grown boys stuck with me from circumstances for the moment,i have a daughter in Texas.I have my FB family and one friend that i am helping.I thank God for all..but i am still alone.I hear ya girl.

Having said all the above,i don’t discount the blessings afforded me.
You,Lynn,Mack,Rena,Louise are all Godsends.


I think this is pretty cyclical. My parents both left home at the ages of 16 and 17. They never had any support from their families. They worked multiple jobs and put themselves through school. When my siblings and I turned that age, they didn’t know how to relate to us. Any time we got in an argument, it seemed to be evidence that it was time for us to move out. We all got the speech about “under this roof, you follow my rules or you are gone”. We all moved out young and made mistakes on our own with little to no emotional support. We survived but I am sure there is an easier way to learn.


Hi Darlene,
i respect so much this space you have created provided for myself and others to reach out and provide support much like a trusted friend. i have had so many oppurtunies throughout life to extend a helping hand but i am forever thankful for the that inner strength that continues to pull me up regardless of forces that push me down. Learning to forgive the past is a long journey towards each of our healing destinations. Your site encourages and brings hope that this is possible. Through a constant refusal to believe in limits proving that each generation must challenge the status quo of ignorance through the constant awareness of each victims courageous struggle of personal emotional growth, we each find our inner strength to speak out against and end the silence of abuse in our families of origin. A purposeful and worthy endeavor in any life time! Thank you so much Darlene!


Wow, ‘like it or lump it’ that is a familiar saying along with ‘you’ve made your bed now lie on it’ in our family.

I left home went travelling, and then when I was working as an instructor my boyfriends were often a lot older, my first one went to jail, he had been a policeman turned private detective; he just told me one day he was going to court – I presumed it was as a witness, he went down as an example in a national fraud case. Seems like the fog was pretty thick there too. Starting to see this fog going way back is pretty tiring!


(((Hugs to all of you))). After dealing with a physically and emotionally vicious mother all my life, I married a control freak who went from being a jackass to being a rapist and wife beater once my dad died. (My very gentle dad would’ve killed him if he’d known. Seriously.)
After 19 years, I realized I was going to end up dead and my sons were going to end up monsters if I didn’t get out. The ex warned me he’d take our boys and make sure everyone thought I was a slut who abandoned her family to chase men. That was utterly untrue, but he made good on it. It cost me everything; my career, my home, my sons, my car, and a lot of other things, but I got out alive.
I later married a man who was the ex’s polar opposite in many ways, but is incredibly verbally abusive. I have put up with his nonsense for 7 1/2 years.I’ve moved out 5 days a week for a couple of years (ostensibly to be near work), but now I’m home working from my computer full-time, and have had enough.
I should (hopefully) be out of his house and out of his life within a couple of months, and couldn’t be more hopeful and upbeat. I have nothing left to lose this time, and my soul to gain.
Regarding God’s view of divorce, it was permissible in the Old Testament in certain circumstances, and the New Testament doesn’t say much about it. It occurred to me recently that as a loving parent, while sometimes I have to allow my sons the freedom (free will?) to make their own mistakes and learn from the natural outcomes of those behaviors, I certainly wouldn’t watch my child burn his hand and make him leave it there. That’s not love or compassion, and after all I’ve been through, after 47 years of following the rules to a “T” and still reaping the rewards of a lifetime of loss thanks to my mother’s abuse and the ensuing lack of feeling worthy of being loved and treated well, I have decided that if God loves me, He does NOT expect me to “leave my hand in the fire”.
I’ve heard “The sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the children.” It took me my whole life to figure out that maybe this could be touching on the fact that when a parent is abusive and destructive, their children, and possibly generations after them, are the ones who are on the receiving end of the outcomes of the cruelty.
Not a religious nut. God and I have been at odds because of this ever since I lost my sons.(My egg donor justifies everything by saying Jesus wants her to do it.)


The only time that threat was offered was when I was old enough, although not ‘trained’ enough to take them up on it. When I was young, and would have done anything to escape I was told if I ran away or tried to leave I’d be locked up in an institution and my ‘life would be ruined for ever’.

So I stayed until I was in my 20’s and the choice to stay in that abusive and controlling world or leave for what seemed an escape (but was actually an entry into a 7 year abusive marriage)…I took the escape. It was the first time I had stood up for myself in such a long time, maybe ever in that fashion, and it changed everything.

I fled, ran, darted, jetted and ran smack into another sticky trap of abuse and control. When I escaped from that one I managed to go back home, where else was I going to go? And i started to heal a bit, then it took me almost another 10 years to actually really begin healing again and starting this journey.

I knew kids who tried to get away, who were told to leave, and when they actually tried it was so bad for them. Caught and brought back. It seems like a bad movie now, looking back upon it.

Another great post Darlene, and to everyone who commented I’m praying for you.


I was for 20 years (and four precious children) married to a guy who told me if I didn’t like it to slit my wrists. The most amazing things are spoken in secret.


I think it is on topic.
You said:
” He’s a youngest child and just never grew up – and now has reverted to his childish behaviour.”
Yes, mine, too, the ex, that is. I feel for you!


Where does it feel best to you, or better to you, to be? On your own, or more connected to relatives?


ME TOO!! Awesome post, thank you!!



On my own it feels best..if I am with them I feel worthless, bad, no value,worst mistake, inhuman, lower the dirt i walk on. they don’t love me . they want me to come be their slave



My dad was too much of a dictator to even voice the words, “Do what I say or get out.” The words were “Do what I say or else.” The else was left to the imagination. My biggest fear was that or else meant a beating or death. In my family of origin, getting out was not an option that we were offered.

I would have left home at 17 when I graduated from high school but my parents wouldn’t sign for me to go into the Air Force like I wanted to. I couldn’t sign up on my own until I was 21 years old.

Then I started going to a small junior college and stayed there for two years riding back and forth with my mother to work. She would drop me off on her way to her job and I would get a ride to her job when classes were over every day. Near the end of that college year, I applied for student loans at the four year college of my choice and as soon as I received confirmation of the loans, I started making plans to leave home.

I had no where to go but I knew that my mental state was so bad that if I didn’t leave soon, I would have had a mental breakdown. I also knew this was my first and only chance to escape my dad’s control. He was not going to willingly release me from his control. I had to take drastic steps and run away, even though I had been considered an adult at 18 years old. I ran away at age 19, the day after my last tests at the junior college.

I was 19 years old when I went on my first date. It was with a boy that I met at the junior college that I was going to. I had known this boy since we first met in 8th grade but my family moved when I was in the 10th grade to another town. I met this boy again in my freshman year of college. We would talk in the student union during breaks between classes. The second year, he asked me out. He came and met my family. He and my dad instantly hated each other. They recognised each other as dictators and abusers. I went on that date and was sexually abused that night. I didn’t say no. I didn’t know that I had the right to say no. Even though he hurt me physically I didn’t make a sound of any kind just like I had silently endured the sexual abuse of my dad for 6 years. I think we went on 3 or 4 dates after that but I never asked my dad if I could go on any other dates after that first one. I knew my dad would have said no so I didn’t ask. I had a girlfriend who let me stay with her on those nights. My parents never knew.

On my first date with this boyfriend, he took me to his younger sister’s house and asked her to give me some of her clothes to wear because he didn’t like the pants suit that I had put together for our date. I was so proud of that pants suit but he didn’t like it. I thought I was “in love” because he talked to me and paid attention to me. I couldn’t see that in many ways he was like my dad holding in rage and wanting someone weaker that he could hurt. He made the statement to me on that first date that he should take me away from my dad. I thought it was an odd statement but I didn’t realize it wasn’t about me. It was about them, not me. They both thought that they owned me as a possession, not as a person. Both wanted to chain me to them and never let me go. Only by the grace of God, did that boyfriend not ask me to marry him. I would have said yes and become a battered wife. He never hit me but he did sexual things that he shouldn’t have. I was too afraid to say no. He never once asked me to have sex with him. He just assumed that I would go along with whatever it was that he wanted to do and I did because of the incest. I didn’t know what normal was especially dating normals. I had never been allowed to say no so I didn’t even think about saying no.

Just before I did leave home at 19, God put a lady in my life who gave me a place to live and helped me get my first job until I went off to my 3rd year of college. That lady saved my life. I knew that if I didn’t take the chance to leave right then that I would never have gotten out from under my dad’s control.

Walking out that door knowing that I wasn’t coming back was the most frightening, most courageous thing I have ever done in my life. My dad never intended for any of his children to get out from under his control. A year or so later, my sister ran away too. I don’t know the story of my brother leaving. I will have to ask him the next time we talk. My sister wasn’t as lucky as I was. She did fall for another abuser -one that verbally and physically beat her for years before she finally walked out.

I had two other dates before I met my husband. Both of them, unknown to me at the time, were probably well on their way to becoming alcoholics. I saw one on Facebook in the past few years and he is divorced and totally alone with no responsibilities of family (his words) now. I thank God that I didn’t get in deeper than a few dates with him. Until we learn otherwise, we tend to repeat in our adult relationships what we saw and learned from our parents and our relationship with them.


Walter Callison’s Divorce: A Gift of God’s Love, support for all divorced people, BEST book!!!


Hi Chloe
Yes, history does seem to repeat, doesn’t it? I believe if we realize why that is, we can stop it from happening. This is one of my motivations for writing what I do.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Thank you so much for your encouragement and compliments.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Louise
Oh yes, the old “you made your bed now lie it it”.. I am familiar with that one too, but the thing is I actually DIDN’T make my bed, the circumstances of my childhood made it for me! SO when I was in my forties I had to RE-MAKE the whole thing, no thanks to anyone who said they “loved me” in my family of origin. BUT yay anyway, I am living life to the fullest now.
It is hard to go way back, but way back is where the keys to freedom are!
Hugs, Darlene



Happy 4th.. am glad am here too.. yep terrifying big time and
am still very much surrounded by the gremlins that got me last night but wanted to say thank u for your response and for all u do Darlene.. you are a super inspirational person..

AM in a difficult space right now but .thats ok. am taking it all in.



What you said about the many ways your mother told you to leave was a record replaying from “my past”. I did leave then my mom followed me and my 3 younger brothers and my little sister lived in my moms car until I put the money down on a house. Then for the first year we split the payments so mom could get a job and was able to get on her feet. I felt it was what family did you helped each other out. It just so happens I was the only one that thought that. It was ok I wanted my sister to have a home and I would do it again for my sister.


Hi Laurie
I totally agree and came to that same conclusion myself; that if God loves me he would NOT expect me to keep my hand in that fire. Absolutely. About the sins of the fathers; I take that one step farther today; I think that the sins of the fathers means that parents “teach their kids” as in modeling behaviour. (And they teach kids coping methods too ~ such as addictions) . Not all kids that are abused grow up to be abusive, however most grow up not realize what abuse is; especially psychological abuse. So I that is how the “sin” is passed down from one generation to the next.
Thanks for sharing. by the way, I think that saying “Jesus told me to” or “God spoke to my heart about this” are also very often abusive and manipulative things to say.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Shanyn
It has always been interesting to me how different families use different methods to control. Some even us different ones of different kids in the same family depending on which one works best. There is so much to all this stuff.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Patricia
Oh yes, the “OR ELSE” that one was just implied in my house, but yes another popular one. It is amazing the different degrees of control that some of us have lived under. My mother didn’t care if I left or not in the end, but she didn’t let go of the control anyway. After I moved out she still did things that I have not shared yet. But the fact that she didn’t care was a large part of HOW she controlled me. I kept trying to get her to care.
Thanks for sharing Patricia. I love the comments coming in on this post!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Joy,
Yes there are many of those difficult times but they all lead to a better place in the end.
Happy 4th to all my American friends! I am in Canada and our Canada Day celebrations were on the first. Today is my daughters birthday and we are doing birthday celebrations! I just came in to answer comments and then we are getting ready for the “chicken wing party” we are having and then a big fire outside at our fireplace complete with smores and all that jazz!
Glad you are here too,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Renee
I was just thinking about you yesterday! Thank you for sharing your story too. All kinds of tough stuff happens, that is for sure.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, you wrote;

“It is common for a teenager to trade an abusive home life for life with another abuser, this time having a new person in charge of their lives and responsible for their survival. At first it looks a lot better than life with parents; there is usually the illusion of independence. But when it all goes wrong, the child gets blamed for the results because they “chose” to run away, or leave. Other kids who left or ran away may find an older person to give them shelter, but rarely without a huge price to pay.”

That is what I did, after my mother told me to leave, at age 16 I married an 18-year-old abuser who told me, after we were married, that he only married me to escape the draft to Vietnam. From the frying pan to the fire.

I really love what you said in comment #12, Darlene:

“I realized that when I gave myself up for others that I was of no use to God because I was no longer the individual that I was born to be.”


For everyone here who has experienced the horrible PAIN of not being loved, wanted, and protected by the people who brought you into the world ~ I’m so sorry you went through that. You deserved to be LOVED, CHERISHED, and PROTECTED.

Every child deserves that. Without exception. Every child ever born deserves to be loved, cherished, and cared for.



Charlotte Antee
July 4th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Wow what a post *hugs* to everyone I have a lot to think about now !


When I was a young teenager, I told my mother one day that I was feeling like killing myself. She said, “GO AHEAD AND DO IT!” and then she walked out of the room, leaving me with all the pills. It was only my fear of dying that saved me. I almost did kill myself that day, especially after my mother said that; her cold hatefulness hurt me so bad. (And, in case you are wondering, that was the only time I had ever talked about feeling suicidal, to my mother; it’s not like I was always “crying wolf” and she was speaking out of frustration.)

A week ago, for the first time in many years, I felt very suicidal again, because of my grief, sorrow, guilt, and anger over the drowning death of my 38-year-old cousin Elaine on June 3. She was my only blood relative living in this state, my closest family, very dear and precious to me. Elaine and I were talking on the phone the night before she died, we talked for almost an hour that night, crying and laughing and making plans for a future that now will never be.

After my initial denial and numbness wore off, when the horrible reality of Elaine’s death finally hit me, one week ago, my PAIN and my GRIEF became so unbearable, that I wanted to die to escape all the horror that I was feeling.

But I also DIDN’T want to die, mainly because I didn’t want to put my husband and other loved ones, my grown children, my teenaged grandchildren, my close friends, and my precious aunt, the mother of my late cousin Elaine, who has lost her only daughter ~ I didn’t want to put these people I love so much, through the same horrible hellish grief that I have been feeling over the tragic loss of my sweet cousin Elaine. So I told my husband, one week ago today, that I was having very strong suicidal urges, and I was afraid that I might give in to those urges. My husband helped me get dressed, and then took me to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

I am now back on a prescription antidepressant, and no longer feeling suicidal. I had taken myself off of my prescribed antidepressant back in February, because I didn’t like the side effects. I have had great success in treating my menopause symptoms with natural herbal supplements, so I decided to research and try some herbal natural supplements for depression. I tried St. Johns Wort for a while… I tried 5-htp for a while… I tried a couple of Chinese herbal blends that are said to help with depression and anxiety… and finally, in the past 3 – 4 weeks, I was taking Sam-e.

I thought the Sam-e was helping me, and on “normal life” days, I was doing just fine, I had no depression, no anxiety, and I was enjoying having a lot more energy than I have had in years, getting a lot of spring cleaning done around the house.

But the Sam-e supplement wasn’t enough when my world fell apart at the end of May, when my mother sent me a 62 page hate letter out of the blue, with NO provocation, and then, a few days later, my cousin, who was talking with me and empathizing with me about my mother, during our last conversation, on the night before she died… my cousin Elaine, a registered nurse, also had a BA in Psychology, and she had known my mother all of her life, because our mothers are sisters… my cousin Elaine said to me, when we talked on the phone on the night of June 2, that “it would explain everything” if my mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The next morning, my cousin sent text messages to our cell phone, saying that she and her friend were driving up to the hot springs in Montezuma, New Mexico. Elaine texted “YAY!” and she put a smiley face, she was so excited about their trip to the springs. Then, that afternoon, while I was writing a long loving email to my cousin, Elaine somehow DROWNED in water that wouldn’t even come up to her shoulders, if she stood in the deepest part. HOW could that happen? So far, the experts investigating her death say it appears to have been an accident.

I will never stop missing her. Elaine’s death has left a huge empty space in my life. I felt more like her big sister than a cousin, almost motherly toward her, because I am 19 years older than Elaine. I keep thinking how unfair it is, that she would die, while I am still alive. I felt like I failed her…. it’s a long story, and I won’t go into it here, but I had reason to think that I had failed to keep her alive. And then I became suicidal last week, and told my husband that I wanted to die. My husband did the loving and right thing, by taking me to the hospital to get the help that I needed.

Last week, if my husband had said, “GO AHEAD AND DO IT,” like my mother did when I was a teenager, I probably would not be alive today.


Lynda- your heart beats with such compassion “Every child deserves that. Without exception. Every child ever born deserves to be loved, cherished, and cared for.” in #32… You set such a fine example of Jesus’ love.

I read your post #34 and wanted to weep with you. I’m so glad Stan was the man for you and took the absolutely best care of you! Think of all of us here who would be in deep mourning right now had you not been able to carry on with life-

I’m sitting in my new living room awestruck at all the work that has been done for me – tho parting shots like, “if you’d gone on that diet 2 years ago you wouldn’t be in this mess now’ left me so devastated, angry and frustrated! I DID start the diet and lost 40 lbs- then got cellulitis and had it 9 times in 11 months- I gained 7 lbs every time I had it because my body can’t tolerate drugs and so makes fat to store the toxins- and because they upset my stomach so badly I had to eat far more than I normally do to avoid that agony…. then after 5 months of being infection clear – I came down with it again on Saturday night- Talk about frustration- am finally in a place where I can walk and even use stairs carefully as exercise (the ones where we were were too narrow to balance on and several rocked when I stepped on them) and now I’m back on those horrible antibiotics- feel awful and have fibro symtoms flaring up all over the place because of the extra stress— yet I really WANT to keep focussed on God’s goodness here because once the boxes get put away and we get settled it will be the nicest place we’ve ever lived I think.- at least in the past 30 years anyway.

I’m sitting here thinking about the saying, ‘actions speak louder than words’ and I see how much my one son put into making it nice for me- yet what rests on me is his condemnation and judgement. I ‘see’ the effects of his love and consideration but what I hear far louder is his condemnation.

I so wanted to be able to keep my cats- they at least love me unconditionally (as long as they are fed of course 8^) and he threw at me that the cats will wreck everything so making it nice was a waste of time. I cut their nails, got them a beautiful cat-tree with scratching posts etc – and thought if I covered the furniture with sheets except when we have company that we should manage ok. It means so much when they crawl up for a cuddle and a purr with no ulterior motive! Cheap therapy for one who has lived with rejection and conditional love all her life!

I know my son- he is me 30 years ago- pushing thru to do whatever had to be done- regardless how much pain he’s in or how awful he feels- never accepting excuses.

That lifestyle made me so ill- I managed fibromyalgia for 18 years before I realized I had even had it! I was well trained as a musician:”The show MUST go on!” and go on it did! I just pushed and pushed and lived on adrenaline, caffeine and codeine ’til my mind just stopped working and that was that.

I was judgemental and critical; being a music teacher is a great job for getting paid to be critical!!! 8^). I wasn’t always nice but was well known for getting what had to be done, done. And if no one else would do it I did it myself.

I really hope that he finds a soft and gentle wife who is yet strong enough to stand up to him and help him see that life isn’t always black and white and that we don’t always really know what the other person is living through.

I’ve wandered all over the map but thank you for the forum to speak here. My hands hurt too much to write any more but know this:

Joy, Louise, Pat, Charlotte, Renee, Kate, Lynda, Darlene, Shanyn, Laurie, Chloe, cowanmagee, Yvonne, Susan, Anne, Ronnie and anyone I’ve missed that I am grateful to God for each of you, for your willingness to be part of the sisterhood here and for listening with love.

bless you all,


Hi Darlene,
This is the hardest of all for me to talk about. There is so much that I’ve never said outloud to anyone. When I was raped at 14 and thought it was my fault, I just ran. I didn’t think about where I was going, if I’d have food, or shelter. I was just a little girl. I left with two other girls who had problems at home. We got about 500 miles away before we were picked up as runaways and put in jail. That was an education. The next year at home was miserable. My mom made me miserable be constantly reminding me how I had hurt her. I became so depressed that year. When I tried to get up in the morning it felt as if I had to move a lead slab from off of me first. I spent most of my time at home just lying in bed. I spent my time at school cutting class and getting high. No one noticed the state I was in or tried to find out what was going on. Just before I turned 16, I met the creep. I don’t remember the sex but I knew it had happened and again, I knew it was my fault even though he was 27, divorced with a child. He said he wished I could come live with him so one I got up and instead of going to school, I went to him. I never really even considered going back home. I knew that if I did there would be hell to pay and I had all the drugs I wanted. My life for the next year was as a sex toy. He worked in a porn theatre and would take me to work with him to ‘educate’me. The only way I had to survive was in being a good sex toy. I lost myself before I even had a chance to be.

I feel like I should feel anger toward the men who used me but I really don’t feel anything toward them. I think I needed to survive and in a way, I objectified them as much as they objectified me. I did fall in love with the second man and I am sickened by how he used my love for him to manipulate me into doing things I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing on my own but I still feel numb when I think about him. I don’t understand why. After him, my self abuse kicked into high gear and I know men took advantage of that too but I don’t blame them as much as I blame me. I was in complete self destruct mode. My behavior was mindless.

Where my anger is directed is toward people who blame girls (including me) for these situations. Being sexually abused and exploited the way I was is like being lathered in the evil, shameful acts of another and what they should suffer as judgement from society their victims suffer instead. The scarlet letter has never been done away with. When this happens to you then you no longer have any value in the eyes of anyone. Girls like me are murdered all the time and no one even bothers to check into it. This isn’t right. Most out of wedlock pregnancies are teenager girls being impregnated by grown men.

I’m stuck. I know this needs to come out but I can’t get there. I don’t know how to express most of it and for me, that’s saying something. I really do appreciate your posting on this and again, I am amazed at the simularities between us.



Oh Pam,
What heart break you’ve lived!
How I just wish I could hug that 14 year old girl and tell her how special she is. -and STILL is!
I hope and pray that you will find a safe place here to begin to release the pain and heal.
I want to shake those people who abused you- well actually hit them up the side of their head with a brick-
We pray for justice for you.
Blessings and hugs


Both of my parents said those comments to me all the time while I was growing up. So at 16 yrs old,I became engaged to an 18 yr old alcoholic who was physically abusive.I wanted to get away from my parents so much that I justified the abuse,saying he only hits me when he’s drinking.I broke off the engagement when I was 17,met the sociopath at 18.I married him and lived a life of being ignored.Both of my sons were pretty much ignored by their father too.He’s always had a gambling addiction so my children had nothing,not even food,while they were growing up.He used to make comments to my sons like,”do as I say,not as I do” yet never got involved in anything in their lives.Just like my parents did with me. My sons are grown,27 and 19,I hope they will have healthy and happy r/s.



This is another heart-wrenching post, Darlene. Everyone’s story makes me want to somehow join Maribeth in comforting those aching, confused, threatened, scared, scarred children. I guess that’s why being here is so special — because one does feel cared for and one does feel safe.

My first recollection on reading this is a memory of me with a cowboy hat on my head riding a tricycle with a little suitcase balanced on the back. I was going to find that “someplace” safe to go after mom, in one of her tirades, told me to just “get the h**l out” of my sight. At different points in time, I holed up in an empty camper shell, the upper shelf in a friend’s closet, a cabinet at school, and an orange tree “fort.” From those vantage points, I tried to observe the world from a safe vantage point — hearing if not seeing. Eventually, I was always dragged home — beaten within an inch of my life, told to never do it again. Only to be told, once again when mom was in a rage, If you don’t like it here, leave. . .

Leave, stay. Do this, don’t do this. . . every aspect of my life has been torn in two directions. They say there’s no place like home. . . in my life, it’s been more like, There’s no place. . .


Hi Anne,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! I am sorry that I didn’t respond to your comment yesterday, somehow it got lost!
Thank you for highlighting that other half of the saying, which is also so common! You can go but if you do, that’s it…. oh yes.. I am familiar with that one too.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Charlotte
Yes, this is a thought provoking one!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Lynda,
That is a terrible thing your mother said to you! These statements have an effect. Your own mother told you that it was “fine” if you wanted to kill yourself. She told you to go right ahead! That is what I am talking about when I say that low self esteem comes from somewhere. YOUR own mother said that to you! She “endorsed” your thoughts about killing yourself. Thank you for sharing this Lynda.
It is so great to hear that you are feeling better, and that you found the help that you needed too! It is great to have you back!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Pam
Well I could write a book about your comments. This is why I write what I do. Because I thought it was all my doing. And I want people to know that it wasn’t. That we got this way somehow. Things happened that we were blamed for and because of our ages, we didn’t know how to fight that blame. We have to fight it now. I had a depression like that too, where I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning when I was a teenager. It was after my mothers boyfriend came into my room in the night and she blamed me for it. Dealing with that all alone, and no one even realizing that something was WRONG with me, was devastating not only then when I was only 14, but for the rest of my life until I got some help dealing with it. I never realized back then that I should have had some support. I was just numb, hurt, sick. I think that the more WE talk about this stuff, the more awareness that there will be and we will be able to reach the teenagers when it is happening to them. I believe that it will be the survivors who heal that will change the world on this issue.
Thank you so much for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Diane
Thank you for sharing and highlighting the cycle of exactly what happens.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Ultralite
That is the thing! As children we don’t understand those mixed messages and there are plenty of them!
and Why didn’t anyone (even outside the home) think about WHY the child kept wanting to leave? Because everyone was blind and everyone blames the kids for everything. Good grief this stuff makes me sick.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene



“every aspect of my life has been torn in two directions”
a real signpost here,boy do I relate to this one in so many ways



My whole musical experience was torn in ‘two” by negligent parnets, cold/abusive teachers, but my music is for me. I am starting over with a new voice teacher, a phD, and I think that you about have to get to the phD level to be able to learn what YOU need AND pass that on to your students. Before that, you are just part of the education “machine” meatgrinder experience, where some shine more brightly than others, performanced based, etc.


When I was about 8-9 yrs old,I remember feeling incredibly sad.My mother and I got into a fight because I didn’t clean something the right way…(her way).She just kept telling me I couldn’t do anything right,I was lazy,etc.I remember picking up a butter knife,holding it to my chest and telling her I want to die.She said…”go ahead,but don’t expect me to clean up your mess” and she turned and walked away.
When I was 20,my parents went through a really nasty separation,constantly screaming,fighting….my father moved in next door.I was trying to go to college,work,study and they put me in the middle. I couldn’t deal with so much and attempted suicide.You know the sociopath ignored me for 2 weeks after that?He said I was selfish,I only thought of myself and not him. He never held me to comfort me,never showed one ounce of compassion for me.Neither did my mother.That happened 32 yrs ago and she doesn’t remember it!



wow, my parents divorced messily when i was about 8 or 9. he moved his girlfriend in and she brought her boyfriend home, ooo the rows. yet it took till i was 16n 1/2 before i gathered the courage to leave the family home. the family home that had included my real father as she went back to him, him that was so bad to her, and that was my fault. i was 12 when they got back togewther and moved us across the city, so the neighbours didnt know what had happened. mmm yet the control and emotional abuse carried on, and with my mothe rwould still be going on if we hadnt cut strings last year.
when i left hom eit was the 1st time i had stood my ground and defied my father and left. i didnt see him for 6mths after because i thought he wouldnt love me cos i had moved out. yet when i mentioned it to him i was told i was being stupid. sorry this is how you made me think and feel but i am stupid. it was this kind of reaction that started me off on my road to recovery and i was very selfish at the start, and didnt let my family stop me from finding out what had happened to me, and they werent telling me the truth, just their veiw of the situation. well that is not how i saw it as a child and that is not how it was factually, but if you cannot accept that then im sorry parents you are not worht it.
breaking these ties has been worse with my mother than my father, mainly cos as adult i was duly bound to look out for myself now and that took the responsiblity that he couldnt handle off his shoulders. leaving him as a occaisional visitor. yet he never called me a lair and never told me how it was, usually he denies knowledge of events or forgetfulness, unlike my mother. she constantly chanllenges how i see things cos it puts her in a bad light. so i am made out to be the abuser to her recent friends and husband.
i am trying to break the cycle and when my child is with others she is a delight to be around apparnetly. it only when she comes home that the battle sstart. ooo how i struggle and can see how hard it might have been for my parents but i am striving to find ways to do things differntly and as time goes by i am getting better at this parenting job


OH my gosh Diane
That is quite a thing to have been ignored AND then punished for! This is what I am talking about. What kind of MESSAGE is that?? (both your examples!) And people blame us for our self esteem issues! These were our parents saying and doing that stuff. And they think WE are the crazy selfish ones??
Thank you for sharing!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Carol
I can see how hard it might have been for my mother in some ways too, but I am still the parent and devaluing my kids is not the way to raise them. In the case of my mother, it was as though she wanted me to fulfill the parent role HER mother never filled. So I never got to BE the loved child. I was not taught my own value. I think parenting is really hard regardless because we are dealing with a young person, but we can still be the best example we can be… which my mother never was.
Great comments!
Hugs, Darlene


I think the worste of it is that it wasn’t just that I felt that I had no value, I didn’t have value because at that time, no one including myself valued me except for sex. I know I’m not the only young girl that this has happened to. There are lots of kids out there who have no value and it is a problem that most are willing to ignore. I actually think it is worse these days than it was when I was young. Slavery is alive and well and most slaves are children being used for the sex trade. I do hope that what you do here does have an impact. I want to heal myself but I’d also like to see our society change and truly begin to value children.


Hi Pam
Yes, I know what you are saying and I agree, BUT what I am saying is that it is a LIE that we had no value. I know that it was more then just feeling that way, that it was that way, but it was still a lie that we bought and carried with us usually for a long time. And I think that so many are willing to ignore because they might have to look a little closer at themselves and their own childhood history if they engage too much with these truths. If that includes selling their own kids down the river… then that seems to be just fine with them.. but not with me.

I hope to see society change and value children too. This funky stuff has gone on far too long!
Glad you are part of this Pam!
Hugs, Darlene


It’s funny,now my mother is competing with me to see who’s marriage was worse.The times I have told her what the sociopath has done to me,how he’s acted over the years…she always tries to one-up me.Being devalued and discarded was so incredibly painful and heartwrenching.She just wouldn’t even try to understand and told me to “move on” and “just get over it”.Then proceeded to tell me that she didn’t want to hear it anymore.Yet all the while I’m supposed to listen to her trash my father.I was devalued and discarded twice by 2 people who were supposed to love and care about me.

LOL…life is certainly an adventure! 🙂


I hear you! Like I say, another case of when our own mother wants us to be HER mother. No one could listen to you or validate you ! My mother wants me to validate her too; to listen to her and agree with her that she had is so bad and that I have no reason to complain. Such total invalidation all the time.
I wonder why my mother didn’t ever ask HER mother for that instead of expecting that kind of understanding from me. It is so backwards. I know that my mother never came out of this fog when it came to the way that SHE was treated. It is like she put ALL of it ~ the burden of her whole life on to me, as though she thought I should be able to restore her low self esteem. And I was such a disapointment.. (but I am free of all that now and living life to the fullest, thriving along! )
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for working tirelessly to expose the lie.


Hi Pam,
when I wrote that it crossed my mind that I repeat myself a lot.. that people must think I am nit picky. Thank you for saying it like it really is and reminding me that really, I just work tirelessly to expose the lie. LOL I really am passionate about it!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kate:
replying to your post: “My whole musical experience was torn in ‘two” by negligent parnets, cold/abusive teachers, but my music is for me. I am starting over with a new voice teacher, a phD, and I think that you about have to get to the phD level to be able to learn what YOU need AND pass that on to your students. Before that, you are just part of the education “machine” meatgrinder experience, where some shine more brightly than others, performanced based, etc.”

First I’m really sorry your musical gift which is such an important part of your soul wasn’t nurtured and valued. I hope you find a truly nurturing environment for it from now on.

Second, I’m assuming that your comments were in response to my: “I was judgemental and critical; being a music teacher is a great job for getting paid to be critical!!! 8^). I wasn’t always nice but was well known for getting what had to be done, done. And if no one else would do it I did it myself.”

That paragraph referred to a time in my 30’s when I did teach music, was very successful as a performing musician, choir director, music arranger, newspaper columnist, writing about music and I was active in the community. I was pretty much just free-associating- and writing in response to pictures that floated thru my mind of that time of my life.

I didn’t know anything about abuse at time- had no idea that I was a survivor of it but I did see myself as judgmental and was still close enough to my formative years that I lived the life I’d seen lived in many ways. I was frustrated by my ‘glass is half empty’ outlook and found it ironic that my vocation demanded that I be able to analyze what was wrong/not so expressive or musical/what needed improvement in my student’s work so they could learn to LISTEN to themselves and then make the changes their ears demanded. You don’t have to be abusive to make critical analyses and I worked very hard to couch the improvements needed in encouraging language.

The other part of that paragraph referred to how self-abusive I was. I made sure things got done, no matter the cost and the cost was my health. Others were always happy to let me sort out the messes and make sure everything went well and I complied for the approval but I was destroying my body until now I am virtually a cripple.

I feel defensive from reading your post but maybe my flippant comment about critical teaching triggered pain in you and for that I am sorry.

I’m not prepared to receive what, in the part of your post I copied, feels very much like an attack on me and my profession. I studied with successful performers from Europe, master performers who taught by example how to perform and how to teach.

I was not destructive to my students and really the ‘paid to be critical’ was said ‘tongue in cheek’ because I realized how easily I saw how much of a ‘glass half empty’ person I was than a ‘glass half full and how ironic it was to me as I tried to become more positive in my life that my job required me to be critical= objectively assessing not critical in the abusive destructive way but in the way of considering what was good, what needed improvement and how to implement those improvements.

I worked very hard with my students to teach by encouragement and I guess I managed some success since several of them are still performing musicians, with recordings etc who had no other training than mine. Others went on to other teachers, universities etc and are working performers.

I personally do not believe that PhD’s make the best instructors. In most disciplines, including Music (unless the doctorate is in pedagogy) the Doctoral degree is very narrow and specific which that does not necessarily prepare one for the broad understanding needed in teaching neophytes. Personally my choice of teachers and coaches, when I actually had a choice, had to do with how successful they were as performers and how successful their students were.

Before I realized I had a choice, at Seminary, the music students were horribly abused; we were expected to be the ‘advertisers’ for the college- out singing every Sunday representing the school to recruit the youth of the churches. We also paid much higher tuition to cover lessons, did 15 hours of extra practice per week added to the hours normal seminarians did. I would never want anyone to experience what I did there.

However, after meeting real life musician/missionaries who were performing and working with performing musicians in Europe, I determined to become a Musician who is a Christian as opposed to a ‘Christian Musician’. I switched from being trained very narrowly as a certain kind of church musician to attending university and working exclusively with performing musicians who were leaders in the community. My entire musical outlook and experience changed and stayed changed.

My parents had ground into me that while I prepared my brothers to sing together when my dad preached, across the province, I personally was never allowed to offer to play or sing because that was being conceite. To this day I do not play or sing for anyone… I have written over 30 worship songs that have rarely been heard much less sung.

I have no ability for self promotion for it was beaten out of me. It used to and even today still does kill me to see mediocre musicians self promoted and well paid for their mediocre work when I know in my heart my gift is bigger and my ear is better- and that I would have done a better job but the rejection lies so deeply buried that only the hurt is mine. In fact I have only just this week got my piano back after 15 years of living in hell without it; it didn’t fit through the entries to the house where we lived… and even now, I’m just finding my music a bit at a time.

So this part of me still needs healing and restoration

I hope you find the right teachers and the right venues for performance- whether only just for yourself or whatever you desire. Every gift deserves to be valued and expressed.

Your last sentence is difficult for me to understand. I wonder if the ‘you’ was a common you rather than me specifically?

My years of studying with Master musicians- that is master performers not people with Masters Degrees, from Europe, were the best years of my life vocation-wise. I was blest that my university is in a city where European culture is valued and thus benefitted especially from my opera school experiences and master classes with such accomplished performers/composers/pedagogues.

Abusive music teachers cause huge damage- I’ve experienced it and know it well.

Please, any parent of musical children reading Darlene’s blog here, be sure to sit in on children’s lessons enough to be sure that your children’s gifts are being nurtured with love not beaten into submission with manipulation and performance orientation (the need to perform a certain way to get approval).

Good luck Kate. I wish you well.


When you say that your mother doesn’t remember it, it makes me think how they will never recognize your viewpoint, no matter what it is. It is as if you don’t exist. Me, too. I have been there, too.


Sorry if you felt defensive as a result of what I said. I was only speaking from my own experience.


Was that defensive? Could be- so often I don’t know- just on one hand identified with you on the other felt I tried not to perpetuate THAT cycle-
My first piano teacher told me I was like my dog because I wouldn’t do as I was told! He has me playing my whole first piano book in all 12 keys- he just told me where to start but never once told me what a gift I had! He would even bring other musicians over and ‘show me off’ but never told me that was special! I had no idea til 5 years ago when I was asked to work with a worship team where no one read music and most couldn’t even read the lead sheets- so they played the piece and I just picked it up on piano and filled in all the necessary stuff- took me 55 YEARS to realize how I’d been blest.

Interesting that when there is abuse in one area- especially our own family of origin that it just seems to seep into so many other vulnerable areas of life.

I hope you are well applauded for your continuing dedication to your craft and that it floods your soul with joy!


My older son is a landscaper.He will tell me about something he created or built and I see his eyes light up and hear the pride in his voice. My younger son plays the guitar,he loves photography and he’s an artist.His drawings and paintings are hung all over my house.I absolutely cherish the fact that my sons come to me to talk about their accomplishments.I am so incredibly proud of both of them.I could never,in a million years,not be interested in them and their lives.I could never make them feel as though they don’t exist or that they are invisible.It makes it so much harder to try to understand how my own mother could make me feel that way.I feel sad for her because she’s never experienced what I have with my sons and it’s too late for her and me.



you said: #53,
“I feel defensive from reading your post but maybe my flippant comment about critical teaching triggered pain in you and for that I am sorry.”

So, I said: #55,
“Sorry if you felt defensive as a result of what I said. I was only speaking from my own experience.”

And my first teacher got me playing in all the keys as well in the Robert Pace method, a little simpler, but maybe simliar to what you described by playing your peices in all the keys. I would play for the high school students; they would say, “play us your hardest peice…” that was a thrill that I needed, because the years ahead were not so great that way.

Working on getting my emotional baggage out of the way so I can sing. I need a little more relaxation in my body. She is a great teacher. We just focus on the learning. I have had a few teachers over the years, and I find her the most productive.

Just read the when going through menopause, a woman may need a year or so to kind of be “alone” and sort through her life, SORT of like we do on this site! I thought, “WOW, we are doing that here!” The peace that results from it benefits everyone we know, and taking artificial hormones to keep ourselves from experiencing menopause, Could also keep us and others from experiencing the peace that could result from the process. (I am not a doctor, I am not diagnosing, I am not speaking for every woman in every situation, and I do not know what I would do in YOUR situation, I am only talking about mine.)


I can’t think of anything more exhilarating that having a house full of my children’s art work! when my daughter left home at 16, (I didn’t kick her out) I bawled for many reasons, but one was that I wouldn’t ever her play the piano again, as she did daily.

When I subbed in the art classes in grade school, I begged the children to take their art home to their mothers. The school hosted their meaningless contests (meaningless because so FEW “winners”) and so many students were experiencing those first realizations that there just aren’t enough prizes…and I said that mothers LOVE their chidlren’s artwork, please take it to them!


My parents said that, so I left and got put in juvenile jail for leaving, then was called “incorrigible” by a judge of the county, who’s an elected official (not just any adult, but one who supposedly had status in the entire community) and, from there, I was kicked out of the entire small town I lived in. Given orders never to return, b/c there’s “nothing at home for you.”
I’m just not going to let what they said determine how I do or don’t feel. I mean I don’t GIVE a shit what they say or think of me, b/c it’s never in a million years going to change.
I was never allowed to carry a bag of eggs, b/c nobody trusted that a half-blind person could do it without dropping them. I was never allowed to do any work b/c I was “too weird to get along with any other workers,” and all this was decided beFORE I was even given the chance to prove it to myself. Like they could have let me try to work then, if I failed at it, say that. But they said it beFORE I even tried.
And they’re still doing the same thing today, except Asthma (trust me, it’s gained capital status in my life) is the culprit.
I was doing gd fine for YEARS. Then, suddenly, I start working for two weeks in food service (I lost my job as a health care worker) and I go and have FOUR ATTACKS within 10 days.
Sometimes it feels like there’s some gd cosmic force that’s dead set against my ever working and being a useful member of society. Not just a “burden and mendicant,” as Robb’s former friend called me when I didn’t fall down and worship the fact that he works on Wall Street and is “highly regarded, so give me my due.”
What a surprise, a wealthy person who thinks I’m “poor on purpose.” I think he should look in the mirror if he wants to know where the negative treatment of impoverished people is coming from.
I’m sorry for ranting, but suddenly I have no idea if I’m going to have my job, all b/c of my asthma rearing its ugly head. I need money. I have bills; and, come to think of it, since they’re health care bills, the guy who snubbed me can look in the mirror for that too. They’re the ones who get so goddam angry at the thought of regular people being allowed to have health care coverage.
Health care is a service not a goddam business, and everyone deserves the basic service.
I like everything about the United States except that attitude.
Now I’ll be quiet. But, at least when you rant online, you can avoid an asthma attack altogether.
I’m grateful for that and sites like this, although I’m having trouble finding a site for grief that doesn’t demand monetary payment to be a member.


Well I don’t believe all the people I meet online. I just met someone who thinks saying you were abused by your parents is a “way of excusing your own negative view of life” and that what we “don’t understand is that our parents never set out to give us a faulty map on our journey to adulthood.”
First of all, I think it’s none of her business to make any comments about one or two incidents that someone has shared that, as usual online, were NOT even directed to her. I also think she’s being judgmental about “people who have no cheerful outlook on life.”
She’s acting as if she’s been elevated to some ‘special’ status just b/c she’s happy more than these people she’s referring to.
That annoys me when people “get happy” and then start putting down anyone who hasn’t gotten their brand of happiness and cheerfulness.
IDK I wonder what others think of her thoughts about what constitutes happiness.


Hi Vicki
In EFB I only share what worked for me in my healing journey. I had been trying everything else, every other way for years and years. It was when I faced the truth about the past, that I was finally free to live. I tried to avoid the past for years, believing that all that stuff was negative. BUT I was stuck there anyway. Today I try not to concern myself with people who say that “I am doing it wrong” because I found the answer and I have been happy and living in wholeness and depression free for years now.
Hugs, Darlene


You’re right- I’ve been taking breaks from unpacking to chat here and it looks like my mind is as tired as my bod- thanx for bearing with me.

For months I’ve been in too much pain/stress etc to read and contribute- not wanting to dig up anything more but now the security and blessing of a new place seems to have brought me to a place where facing the past is easier since the present is ok now.

bless all of you for being willing to be transparent and patient with each other.

Thanx Darlene for creating this place online where we can be free.


Vicki, I had that happen to me a few years ago, I started a new job and I was having asthma attacks on my job just about every day. I think there was something in the building, one day two of my coworkers passed out, and they evacuated the building immediately and brought in a hazmat crew, but they never found anything wrong.. yet I kept having asthma attacks there, so I finally got a job somewhere else, doing the same kind of work, and, no more asthma.

I understand how angry and frustrated you must feel. I hope everything works out for you.


Maribeth and Kate, I think it’s really cool that you were able to talk out your feelings here in the way you did.

Especially Maribeth, with the big moving stress you have been under, and that horribly hateful thing you were told the other day by someone who helped you move… I really hurt for you, when I read that. You have every right, Maribeth, to be a little confused about what you said in a post. I get that way just on “normal” days! Then, I blame it on menopause.


Ah Lynda, I can always depend on you- have done a lot this week in spite of the cellulitis- but keep taking too little pain meds and then up half the night- right now my head is just about nodding off- tho the pain parts are saying, ‘good luck with that’!

It will be nice to undecorated our splendidly box-decorated home!


On your comment about the lady who puts down people who say depressing things, and only wants to read “happy comments” I agree with you, it’s none of her business. People like that I want to smack them along the side of the head and say look in the mirror. My family said that for years, I wanted to bring up the dysfunction no matter how mynute and was shut down. In fact I was told that If I was going to be their certain members of my family was not going to go. So I either had to shut up or not attend. To this day it affects my relationship with every member of my family. I am treated “special” like I am contaminated. I beleive those types of people can not find the strength to look at their dysfunction. It triggers their inner world so by not looking at what work they need to do they give lala advice. “Dont be sad be happy”. Keep doing what you feel you need to do because only you can determine what you need.


Yes, and the thought occurred to me that another word for these type of statements:

On your comment about the lady who puts down people who say depressing things, and only wants to read “happy comments”


It is a LIE we can ignore hurt and be happy!!
YOU don’t WANT to be unhappy, YOU would like to be happy too! We would all BE happy IF truth was acknowledged and dealt with!!
They are telling YOU to LIE too!


This is a good point. it IS a lie that we can ignore hurt and be happy. AND I agree, it was only through realizing the truth that I found true happiness and freedom from the opression and depressions that I struggled with for so long!
Very good points Kate!
hugs, Darlene


I’m not even sure that woman is truly happy. I don’t believe that a genuinely happy person, or someone who is completely comfortable with herself, is going to care what other people do and say.
I have a friend that I think is truly happy and comfortable with himself, and he’s never judged anybody but Osama bin Laden.
He worked at One World Trade Center (what everyone else calls Tower 1) when the plane hit the building, and he was burned over 60% of his upper body, had amputations from burns that were so severe they had to take the parts affected, had his face completely reconstructed and has had several operations since it happened. He thinks he’s allowed to judge bin Laden, but he never says much about anyone else. He said he doesn’t care what mood somebody is in as long as the person doesn’t take it out on him.
When I think of a truly happy, that is to say content, person I think of him.


I believe I can feel joy and grief at the same time, b/c I live with that situation every day. I know somebody who was murdered and, so far, I’ve never been able to find happiness from that specific situation. Like, for whatever stupid reason, almost everybody wants me to do (I’m talking about people I meet on a daily basis.)
Anyway, I feel leaps of great joy just by looking at kittens and cats; IDK why, I just accept that it’s okay to feel joy or happiness when looking at kitties, especially when they do something like purr or meow.
Anyway, that’s how it is for me. I can’t for the life of me find a good reason for why he was murdered, and it kind of pisses me off that people think it’s necessary to do so. But I can smile when I see kittens, cats and bunnies; and Sheltie dogs (and some other dogs.) I’m not the biggest dog person, but some are all right.
I like small animals and nature. For some reason both those things can calm me.


Yes, happiness is seen (in behavior), not necessarily heard in words.


as a child, my mother was both emotionally & physically abusive. i survived child sexual abuse from a neighbor, my step-grandfather (that was on a continual basis for sometime), and my mother’s fiance. she would tell me when i expressed that he was gonna try something, that i just didn’t want her to have anyone. she found him coming to my room one night, and this same mother who’d blamed me at eight years old for the dissolution of her marriage to my father and who told me she should’ve had an abortion more than once (i was 8), she beat him until the cops were called. later she’d- when i’d tell her that she never apologized, her response was “he didn’t put (or stick) it in you”.

we’ve since mended our relationship in some way, but i won’t deal with her abusive tactics and she’s stopped using them so much. and yes, while initially staying clear of relationships after seeking a savior in a partner at the age of 16 — i ended up in 3 abusive relationships. one psychological, another psychological and spiritual & the last – psych, spiritual, physical, financial.

i have only NOW gotten to the place of knowing my worth. how i don’t deserve any of the abuse any of those partners (and sometimes their communities, in efforts to either clean up or discredit me) gave.

i also witness how others get biting towards one another in conversations and remind myself that those aren’t relationships i wanna be in. that yes, people argue but there are ways to get one’s point across and being abusive is not one of them.

your article definitely resonates with me. now, i am in the midst of healing these parts that got created over the years and am grateful my creator worked in ways that made me able to survive. i am definitely working to thrive nowadays, still.

be and stay well blessed —


Hi H Saron
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Thank you for sharing your own exp. here. These are terrible things that happened to us and very damaging to be treated that way. it sounds like you are on the right path now! Glad to have your here with us.
Hugs, Darlene


[…] Psychological Abuse ~ if you don’t like it, Leave. […]


I too hated the abuse. At 18 I was told to get out. I had no plan but to
me anything was better than what I came from. I had no money,
experience, no clue about anything. I knew nothing about sex. I
wasn’t ever given any life info. Later when I got pregnant of course
my mother called me a whore. Going home to live I was only a servant
with less value than before. Now my badness was proven. And round
it goes. I wish I had had one person in my life that cared about me then.
One caring adult would have made a great difference but we
were kept isolated from everyone. He controlled everything.
My Dad built himself up by destroying his wife and children emotionally.
He was so evil. It was a choice with him.
What you said exactly described how I was treated by my parents.
Its very helpful to understand.


There is something very cathartic in admission. Unfortunately, we are all too willing to admit to being fragmented and heaping more judgements and self blame on ourselves rather than the admission that our fragments are the remnants of people who broke us.

And that is the reality. We were broken. We were not born fearful, rejected fragments. We were born whole beautiful complete beings. It IS another’s fault we are this way.

The current mantra of the self help movement is one of no blaming and taking responsibility. Well that’s fine, however, it often becomes one more arena for self abuse as we berate ourselves for “just not getting it…yet”

Well…I am pissed off! I am Fing furious that these aholes from my childhood didn’t care for me, disregarded me, abused me, handed me around like a sexual plaything to their friends, and rejected me everyday of my life…and still do. But now my Fury is directed at THEM for their mistakes, THEIR responsibilities, THEIR worthlessness…not me. As women we are taught to forgive and not be angry, be compliant and men rule. Well what we were taught and the messages we received were WRONG!!!!!

The next time you feel bad about yourself or get angry direct it where it belongs…at THEM whoever and whatever “THEY” are. You are allowed, you are justified. You will not disintegrate or become a raging axe murderer if you are angry…you’re angry anyway…just stop believing it’s yours…for once put it back where it was generated…and feel in your body how it feels..

I am NOT bad
I am NOT and never was the whore
I am NOT stupid
I am NOT worthless
I am NOT unlovable
I an NOT selfish or ungrateful…and neither are you…

that person is my mother…and my legacy is not to carry the burdens of her crap…I’d like to create and deal with my own thank you!!

If it helps, as it helped me, remember that your F’ed up parents used you to deflect from and project outward their own Sh-t. That’s what messed up people do..they project their crap onto the most vulnerable because they themselves cannot possibly cope with themselves and having you as their outlet gave them power and control. IT WAS WRONG!!!! THEY WERE AND ARE WRONG!!!!!
And as difficult as it is to emotionally comprehend…the abuse and neglect you suffered at their hands had and has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU….so give it back. I don’t mean repeat it or perpetuate it EVER!!! just stop thinking it was you…because that is an impossibility.

You are smart enough to look at a child and realize their limitations and vulnerabilities…well….that child is the part of you that was abused. Not your big grown up thinking rational self. If you knew of or saw a child enduring what you endured would you protect them? Of course you would..so start protecting them now by realizing the little person in you can be saved by you..

Believe me, I relate to every comment and every thread of all that is stated here before me. What saved me was separating myself from the child in my head and the adult who kept telling herself she should have been different. It’s just simply illogical that a child could have protected themselves or done anything other than what I had to to survive. I wouldn’t expect it of any child so I was able to release myself of the guilt and shame and disgust I lived with and the belief it was me who in fact was so intrinsically bad that I created it. BULLSH_T!!!

And all of us have one caring loving person to support and care for us…it’s ourselves…so stop perpetuating abuse on yourself. Empowerment comes from not allowing any more abuse, especially that voice in our heads that we just can’t stop believing.

I find it is the simplest behavior changes that help and ground me the most. Like no more apologizing. I walked around saying “sorry” more than I said hello, like I was constantly a walking burden to this world. Never under value the small things you do every day that set you and keep you healing.

As you have likely deduced by now my biggest challenge is anger and it is my focus now to realize I have justified anger but it cannot rule my life. Nor can it be a cannon waiting to fire at inappropriate times. And I am and have made great strides. And so will you. We all will.

Never give up. You are worth it. Believe it.
I believe in you and I don’t even have to know you.


Hi Nancy
Welcome to emerging from broken.. sounds like you will fit right in here!
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


This is where I feel like I’m at now. I recently just turned 18. I want to get out, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to make it on my own two feet.
I’m constantly struggling with issues and I feel as if I will have more of a burden (taking care of myself) if I get out, and that the weight and responsibility will be too much for me to carry. Like you, I kept on hoping and praying someone would come along and be offering a place of shelter. But I feel like that’s not even possible because I don’t have many friends, and the friends I do have, I don’t talk to them about all the problems at my house.
I’m trying to find strength and stamina to get out, but I just feel so exhausted from fighting and being strong so long.

Chances are my mom won’t let me get my license, though she’s never blatantly said it with her words, she “doesn’t like me getting out.”
And I can’t depend on my dad either, despite the fact that he barely has any interest in my life at all, he wouldn’t help me because she pretty much controls him.
I feel trapped. I want to get a job, and maybe once I do that I can start saving up money for a car or a place to live.
The only problem is, I just don’t think I’m gonna be able to make it on my own..


Hi Gabbi
I was so afraid that I would not be able to make it on my own too; I had to look at the root of that fear. It was what I had been taught, groomed to believe. My parents had been set up as “god” over my life and I didn’t think I could survive without them. Lots of fog had to lift before I was able to see the truth about my own strength and skills. There is no ‘deadline’ for personal recovery. Getting a job would be a great step to take! Healing takes time. Hang in there and please share often.
Hugs, Darlene


I’ve been thinking about it and praying a lot, digging deeper I’m finding that the real problem is deep-rooted feelings of abandonment (along with a bunch of other stuff).

I was taught to depend on my mom and essentially I didn’t have a will or choice, and whenever I would stand up on my own she’d reject and leave me.
Also, all my life I was taught that Jesus was my crutch, that’s why whenever I think of having my own power and standing on my own it feels wrong because I was taught the opposite.
I see now that she used things in the Bible, like depending on God for your strength, as a way to brainwash me into thinking that I’m not supposed to have my own power–And she used that for her own purposes.

I guess that I feel as if I stop depending on God, that he’ll completely leave me. Though, through this process of uncovering the truth, I’m seeing the tremendous difference between who she taught me God was and who he really is; that he doesn’t wish to control me.

I think that after feeling so “owned” without the ability to choose or rights of an individual, recognizing that I’m supposed to have my own power and strength–my own choice and that I am my own person, are really big steps in healing.
It’s like this whole process is sorting through a huge pile of garbage, looking at everything she taught me about God, life, and myself and throwing it away.
It’s gonna take me a while to sort through it all, but I’m pushing through, regardless.

And thank you, by the way, for believing me and taking me seriously even after seeing my age. Most people don’t.


Hi Gabbi
Excellent insight! This is the foundation that got me started healing. To see the truth about the ways that I was brainwashed to comply.
I too was so afraid to ‘leave god’ but I ended up putting everything spiritual aside including prayer for over 2 years so that I could clear the old rotten foundation, and build a new one. And sometimes I ‘felt’ that God was cheering me on, that I had full permission to do that, that it was what I NEEDED to do if I was going to be free. And it worked. And now I can make a difference in the lives of others; isn’t that what God would want??
It does take a while, but wow, it is so worth it!!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

Before I hit my teens, my mother used to tell me that they were “stuck with me because no one else would put up with me.” I was adopted soon after I was born which made me a reject already. My birth mother had chosen to keep my older sister. I was unworthy of my birth mother & my adopted parents. My adopted mom reminded me that no one really wanted me.

By the time I was 13, mom really didn’t want me around anymore. She’d often threatened to kick me out. Funny thing was, I called her bluff. I wanted out as I was already fed up with being mistreated. When I was 14, mom told me she hated kids. I asked why she adopted me, & her exact words were “I don’t know, it was a mistake.” I learned not to show hurt, but those words cut me so deeply. However, when I called her bluff, she’d turn it on me & expect me to stay. Stay I did…I put up with the abuse for many years after I turned 18. Mom found me a “suitable” man & expected me to marry him. I did, just to please her. I didn’t want to get married. Wish I hadn’t because he turned out to be every bit as evil as both my parents. 🙁 I’ll never understand why I was adopted in the first place. Unfortunately, I’ll never get a real answer from her (passed away) or dad (have gone NC with him because he is still as much of a jerk as ever).

It always seems that someone wants me until they find out who I am…then I am never good enough. No matter how hard I try, I am always the one at fault. I was set up to behave this way from a little girl. I’ve had so many relationships that have ended badly because I didn’t measure up. Not just romantic relationships with men, but even friendships or jobs. It’s always the same, I am not the person they thought I was. Then after I’ve had enough of the abuse, the abuser goes on a smear campaign against me. As if I hadn’t already been through enough? Maybe instead of being loyal to my original parents, maybe I should have moved out & found my own way.

At least I know now there are many others who have had similar lives. I am no longer alone.

Thanks Darlene for opening my eyes!



I heard a lot of this is the law in this house, and when you move out you can do things differently, and under my roof this is how it is. Pretty much compliance is the only option. I dreamed of being old enough to move out and decided 16 was the age I should be ok to leave, so I waited. I endured a collection of abuse, different types & from different people, my parents meanwhile had decided thats enough of my misbehaviours, sick of me not coming home for days, weeks. Which was my way of protecting myself from my brother. So my parents dropped me off with my brother on the side of the road outside of the city saying “if you want to live in our house you have to follow our rules.” Since I had no where else to go, I made my way home and that’s when full disociation kicked in. I ended my brothers attacks by staging a victimization so he would see me like a little sister instead of a blow up doll, then my subconscious took over. I pretended everything was ok for years to avoid punishment, rejection, &the reality that the people who were supposed to care for me…didn’t, and that what I wanted to believe was just nightmares actually happened.
I can definitely relate, Darlene. It seems that our stories differ, but are connected to the same root causes.
The important thing is that we are all on this path of healing, acceptance, recovery, and safety together!


The sneer, oh how I remember the sneer. I have it caught on film. From a baby shower, and someone snapping photo’s. I assumed she was mad because the world wasn’t revolving around her.

I too moved out at 17 after constantly hearing ‘if you don’t like it you can leave.’ It was the beginning of my senior year of high school, but I couldn’t take it anymore. I started packing my things. She wanted to know what I was doing. I said, “leaving, you keep telling me if I don’t like it I can leave.” She was running into my room every 2 minutes with some excuse why I couldn’t/shouldn’t go. Looking back on it with the wisdom I have now, I guess it was because I was the baby of the family and the last of her narc supply, and now I was going, and it set off a panic in her.

I too learned my worth was using sex. That is what she taught me. I moved in with a guy, who by all accounts was a decent fellow, but I didn’t really love him. He was just a means to escape.


Thank you Darlene for this post. This was my life! There are only a few minor detail differences. One being age. I was 20 almost 21 when I moved out and in with a man. I didn’t believe I could do it on my own even though I had been working since I was 15. By the time I moved out my mother had even let me know what type of tramp I was when she found out that I had been having ‘sexual relations’ with my cousin since I was 12 until I was over 16 years old. Now mind you he is 16 years older than I am, but according to her I must have wanted it since I had not stopped it or told anyone. Here final words to me the day I left was to get the f*** out and to not come back until I grew up. I had set aside some things that would help to move into an apartment, but she claimed them as “hers” and would not allow me to take them. Things like pillows and sheets. Nothing that cost that much, but when you work for minimum wage it is huge. She did all she could to make me fail. I walked right into an abusive relationship. I only got out after my daughter was born because I thought SHE deserved better than what we were getting. That led back to my mother’s house for a time which was extremely hard. I stepped into a second marriage that seemed as it would be better. In the end the were secrets that he kept for a long time that hurt deeply. When I told him after 10 years that I would no longer put up with it the domestic violence started. My own mother, whom has always needed a man to take care of her, asked if I would stay for the kids sake because he made a good living. By this point I had a son also. I decided that day I would no longer be the slave to anyone for any reason. I lost a lot of ‘friends’ and ‘family’ that didn’t like the new me. They had enjoyed the doormat for so long that they still wanted to take and take. I refused to go back and instead started walking to freedom and health. It is difficult to break free from the chains we grew up with, but it is possible. Thank you for helping shed light on some of these dark places!


Hi Laura
Welcome to EFB!
Wow. Thank you for sharing your story; this is an awesome account of exactly how this all goes! First you are being sexually abused by your cousin right under her nose, but YOU got blamed for it, and then comes the lifetime of punishment and more abusive relationships which of course you also get blamed for and were even encouraged to stay in them! Think about what all this communicated to YOU about YOU by the woman who is your own mother. (it was by seeing the things that were communicated to me that I was able to change the resulting beliefs that I had about me) YAY for you that you broke free and are now walking the path to freedom and health!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Delia
Thanks for sharing! yes, another great account of exactly how it goes!
Yay for being on the healing path!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sharon
That’s terrific that you caught it on film!
I remember my mothers lectures about how I was going to find out what it was like “in the real world” and all that “you think you are so smart” stuff. ugg.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I don’t think that there is any greater pain than the pain of rejection by your own mother and father. It’s a loneliness that nothing can fill. No wonder so many of us have gone out into the world and straight into another abusive situation.


Here I am 5 years later and all I can say is that knowing that the man you married has no regard for you or your feelings, he can’t be bothered to have sex even etc and whenever he hurts you justifies it by ‘I’m just a jerk’ comes close. On top of that is that I’ve been doing my level best to build him up but all he does is trash me and then beat me up verbally. Should I tell the bishop that THIS is the man he lets administer the eucharist?????


The entire family kowtows to him- trying to keep him alive- when he will not comply with that is needed – but then using his illness as something to glory in when he wants to be the centre of attention. He actually LIED to the ambulance driver last week and then a few days later actually told the opposite- the truth to a neighbour— it’s beyond rationality. When even antianxiety pills cannot keep me even….


oh, and did I mention the porn????


I heard this constantly. I also had a father that did not want me. The thing I have never figured out is how she could threaten for years to kill herself if I left, or wasn’t perfect etc. and thentell me too leave if I didn’t like it. I was caught between a rock and a hard place. If I leave like she says, she will kill herself. So I stay and bend all of me to her will. I’m 44 now and she has passed away and I still can’t get my head around it. I can’t get my head straight. My thoughts are so powerfully negative. I need help again.


Dear Darlene,
I have been told youre to be seen not heard . thinking about some of the programming of our parents . when my father would introduce my 2 sisters and myself to any of his male friends these are my three sons. we would correct our father by saying we aren’t boys ,we are girls. we have been also told you are to be seen not heard . meaning you don’t matter .when I was 16 years old I had enough of the abuse mental physical and sexual abuse . then when i called my father to come back home from another state . he said you hurt me leaving me ,me me was all i hurd then he said you wanted to be adult so you made your bed now lay in it . I told him the 27-year-old man i was with was beating me . I begged to come home saying i was sorry every other word to my father , telling him I would pay him rent anything if he would send me $50.00 for a bus ticket to come back home . he wouldn’t budge . so i hung up the phone . I didnt speak to him for years . I was a throw away I really didnt matter . out of sight out of mind ,thats another saying . wonder why I dont have self esteem . ive caugh myself telling people that tell me I work like I was a man. then I tell them my father thought he had 3 boys . now I de value myself , brainwashed well . now I will not say that any more . can anyone relate to how parents call you boys if you were girls? I feel like I am pealing off my skin one layer at a time pealing off the lies that sink into my skin . my parents gennaration are so into them selfs we dont matter . its so sad they were so self absorbedand narissistic, I see why they only loved my older sister she was a carbin copy of them . the world revolved around them . oh and its worse to be told that your parents had to get married , almost bragging that you was a mitake . I beat myself up cause mothers day and fathers day I couldnt honer my mother and father . so messed up ! then if you didnt get Mommy dearest or daddy dearest a card for celebrating thier big mistake (YOU) people treated you like a peace of crap ! for not threwing mommy and daddy a praid . oh and lets not forget when you get depressed wanting someone to just care or hug you ,then they say you have nothing to be depressed about you have food and a place to sleep ,like its paradise island. trying to clear the fog and heal . Karla


Hi Everyone
Grieving the losses is defiantly a big part of the healing process.
Thanks everyone for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


This is another tactic parents like to use on teenagers and young adults in their early 20s. Many parents like to use the “my house my rules I pay the bills” to justify being a bully. Just because you live under someone’s roof doesn’t mean they can treat you like crap. A parent can provide the basic needs and still be abusive either its physical, sexual or verbally and this is what a lot of people tend to overlook.


I’ve been on here for years but it’s the first time I’ve read this post. I feel sad, Darlene, reading of your experience. How awful to experience the panic of a mother who doesn’t care if you leave, and a father who won’t let you live with him.

When I was a child and pre-teen I used to cry a lot, and my mother would say “I have no sympathy for you”. I still don’t know how to interpret that and I’m open to ideas from anyone here. I do know that I felt the animosity in her words when I was in pain, rather than empathy and caring.

I was generally met with criticism when I “complained” or was upset; I was told I shouldn’t be complaining, that I had it as good as anyone — therefore my feelings were devalued.


Hi Light,
I totally empathize with you for the way your mother treated you. Only I got the “If you don’t like it…too bad” or “If you don’t stop…I will leave”. None of those reactions helped or comforted me. I think it doesn’t matter which way you look at it, our mothers just didn’t make sense. Fear was the only thing in their mind.

I was HUGE on crying for most of my life until the day I said no more. No more to the abuse and no more to the devaluing. I still get most people in my life who try to break my boundaries and over-step them with their controlling ways to me but I feel much stronger for the way I feel in general. I still have anger for not being able to do this at least 20 years ago but I now say it is better late than never.

I say, don’t even try to understand why your mother acted and reacted the way she did as that is such a waste of precious time. The more you live a happy life the less you will ask why. There is no answer.
I hope that helps.
Cheers xx


Hi Light,
Thank you for your comment here.
I would take your mothers comment at face value; she didn’t have any sympathy for you, which is really brutal. We live in this world that makes excuses for all the carless people and asks the victims of such carelessness to “understand” the person that is communicating that they don’t care about you. Ugg. We are told to stop “complaining” all the while being told that our complaints are invalid in the first place. So messed up!!!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Cori
Yes, exactly. Well said,
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


I appreciate your story and I know exactly what you mean. I live with my grandma and father. Sometimes my grandma says that to me when I don’t like the way she says things to me or if I get mad about something she’ll say “you so quick to get an attitude”. I don’t like when a person tells you if you don’t like it then leave because its basically saying that I don’t care about you or your feelings. If you live with someone whether its your child, relative, or whoever you should take their feelings into consideration instead of making it seem like they don’t have any say so.

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