Seeking Validation and Understanding from the Wrong People

seeking valadation

Take my Hand

Why do we care so much about what everyone else thinks? Why did I NEED to be believed especially by the very people who invalidate me in the first place? I think it is because I was brainwashed very young to believe that everyone else knew better then I knew and that “they” had the ability and the right to define me. They “owned me”. I didn’t belong to myself.

There was a comment on Susan Kingsley-Smith’s post ~ Dysfunctional Relationship with Mental Health Providers ~that has been simmering in the back of my mind since I read it about 5 days ago now.  This comment, although simply put, is really profound and I want to expand on the whole concept of what Mountain is writing about because this aspect of recovery has been so key for me and as well as being a result of doing my recovery work, it was the beginning of the process of transitioning from surviving to thriving.

A note from “Mountain”

“With regards to need and the need to be understood ~ I stopped giving my energy away to people who didn’t receive my love.  I stopped trying to convince other people of my reasons why I did things, the whys of things don’t matter to other people and often leaves us open to judgment which is very painful for sensitives.  Most don’t want to know and most don’t really care.  We do here; I’m talking the outside world.”  You can see Mountains full comment (#59) on Susans Post.

I personally had a huge need to PROVE that I was right. I thought I had to prove that I was justified in being hurt, that I had been devalued and that I had been mistreated. That I was NOT crazy, that I was a good person with good intentions… continued.. I never realized that I was in a deadly and never ending spin; a spin that always served the purposes of those that wished to control me and those who wished to have power over me. As long as I was fighting to be heard and to be right, they had my power. And the bottom line is that I was comfortable believing that they were right; I had always had to prove my worth. That was my definition of love. I didn’t even realize that what was going on was unfair or wrong. Just as Mountain said in her comment, ”I gave them my energy” and for me, my energy was really my life blood.

You may be wondering how I got to the point where I was able to stop giving my energy and my power away? How did I stop that never ending lifelong spin of trying to prove that I was not crazy, that I was not “BAD” that I was not “sick” or lying?

I learned to validate myself. That is what Emerging from Broken is about. I learned that not being believed did not make me wrong. I learned that being invalidated by others does not mean that I am invalid. If people don’t believe me, it doesn’t mean that I am lying.

This might sound easy and I do not mean to imply that all I had to do was decide that I was right and that was the end of that.  I had been brainwashed and convinced over and over that there was something wrong with me, that I was “dramatic” that I exaggerated, that I had misunderstood the intentions of others and all sorts of other lies. As I got older, it was inferred that I was “crazy” and that I was “sick” and that my thinking was backwards. I got married and my in-laws questioned even more than others had done. Even the way that I fed my children was wrong. They knew exactly how to make me stay under their control. I struggled so much that I believed these lies about me were true thinking “how can everyone be wrong?”  When I had serious depressions, those were used as the “proof” that it really was me who had the problem and me that was in the wrong.

Those lies were not undone overnight. This whole thing is a process.  It took digging into the faulty foundation and excavating all the rotting mess that was down there, exposing it to the light and setting it right. It took me looking at certain situations, realizing what really happened, realizing that I had been manipulated and unprotected and then blamed for the results and for my own reactions.  

This was a new beginning for me. I didn’t need them to believe me anymore. I believed me.

Once I established that I believed ME, I finally started to be able to grow in my own self esteem. As that happened, (and it took time) I realized just how much damage was done to me, just how invalidated that I had been and just how wrong that it was. But none the less it happened and the damage had been done and it was time for me to face it and undo the lies that came with it; the lies that manifested as my belief system as a result of it.

And my reactions to all of that were NORMAL. I shut down, developed dissociative behaviors and many depressions manifested in my life, I had a several addictions, I put myself in dangerous situations, I dressed like a hooker; was attracted to dangerous men. I devalued myself and never even noticed it. I had all kinds of reactions and behaviors that resulted because of the lack of self value and from trying to constantly prove my value. All normal reactions to the things that happened to me and the fact that I was not taught that I had any value. And I used all those things as proof that they were right about me.

The beginning of the end of broken for me was when I realized my OWN value and began to really OWN that value without letting anyone else define it or define me anymore.  I no longer  honor the opinion of the very people that defined me as invalid and discounted me in the first place. I no longer give my energy or my power to those people who only want to use me or to keep me underneath them, defining me as less then them so that they can feel better about themselves. 

Today I use my power to empower others and I live with the knowledge that I am a wonderful, caring, sane, smart, valid and worthy person who makes a difference in the world. I am lovely and lovable and no one gets to decide otherwise.  And therefore I live each day to the fullest; with joy and an abundance of energy and happiness as my sidekicks.

Please share your feelings, reactions or your process. The conversation here is always full of healing so don’t forget to subscribe to comments or check back.

Darlene Ouimet

This post was also inspired by the (over 85) comments on “False Normal Systems about love and self love”

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


Categories : Self Esteem




You rock! I know it doesn’t matter if I validate you or not 😉 but I still think you are great 🙂

Every word is absorbing right now…I still want validation from others and sometimes I see it and sometimes not….actually just yesterday I had gotten a haircut and my daughter thought it was cute and then this morning I was at work and my boss said something about my hair and I just said thanks, I like it too instead of really putting so much on what others thought. I had decided I liked the updated me and it didn’t matter what others thought…I am in training in this area but every time I practice it, it feels good. After all, I have to live with me everyday, my opinion is really the one that counts most. The abusers and manipulators try to keep you from seeing how beautiful you really are…because if you really knew your worth they wouldn’t be able to get away with their shit.


Hi Jenny
We all want validation from others, we all want to be loved too, but we want to be loved for who we are, not for being who someone else wants us to be. Now having said that, your comment is RIGHT ON ~ that your opinion is what counts. it is the knowing that I am okay and valid and worthy, if someone else thinks so or not, that is the goal. The goal is not to never wish for a compliment agian. And you last line is brilliant! YES I am going to post it agian

Jenny said: “The abusers and manipulators try to keep you from seeing how beautiful you really are…because if you really knew your worth they wouldn’t be able to get away with their shit.”

Thank you for your compliment Jenny! I know you mean it from your heart and it means a lot to me. I know you don’t say it for any wrong motive. Thank you for sharing. I think that you rock too!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene!!! OMG!!! The timing of this one is PHENOMENAL!!! I just went through the most exasperating exchange with someone this afternoon because he WOULD NOT ADMIT he hurt me and nothing I could say could make him relent. I became the one who brought too much ‘drama’ to the whole deal! haha And honestly, I have never been one to be dramatic in relationships, as I have always deferred. But this time I was not going to defer. But in trying to make my case, to prove my pain, I got NOWHERE and I was totally drained. And what you have said makes so much sense to me. WHO CARES IF HE UNDERSTANDS??? It doesn’t change the fact that I WAS HURT and that is that. I don’t need him to understand it in order for it to be true!

Thank you for this, I am feeling totally stoked right now with so many insights I am receiving today. 🙂



Well Said Darlene!!This was very inspiring and I hope others will see this about themselves, too. 🙂


Learning that my validation as a person didn’t come from others – that it should come from me – was the most freeing thing that I was ever told. I watched the few healthy people that I met in 12-step meetings and saw how they treated themselves with respect, care and even love. I started to treat myself the same way. As Darlene said it was a process. All healing is. I have never found any instant fixes in my healing journey. Most of my healing has been two steps forward and one step back. I have been worth every step that I have taken.


Darlene wrote: “Today I use my power to empower others and I live with the knowledge that I am a wonderful, caring, sane, smart, valid and worthy person who makes a difference in the world. I am lovely and lovable and no one gets to decide otherwise. And therefore I live each day to the fullest; with joy and an abundance of energy and happiness as my sidekicks.”

YES you ARE ALL THAT. Darlene…. and SO AM I!



Darlene!!! Awesome!!! The timing of this post for me could not have been better. I was stuck in this spin for almost the entire day because I felt I needed my understanding of what was taking place in a relationship to be acknowledged in order for it to be true. I didn’t realize that my beating my head against a brick wall in all of this was ultimately unnecessary because my validation was actually in my own understanding, not in the other person’s understanding or lack of it.

I feel very free in this moment. I don’t need that kind of acknowledgment to be validated. My gut and my reasoning was telling me I was right, I could have saved myself the torment. But it was all part of a lesson for me, to be able to see it played out so perfectly and then have this post come up right on the heels of it all. Totally stoked about learning this!

Carla Logan


i can really relate to this article- i have always had an issue with needing validation for nearly everything about myself which is important to me, but especially the abuse which happened to me and was so minimised. i think thats what pushed me over the edge and made me break down mentally- trying to find that validation


would love to know exactly HOW you learned to validate yourself though. what steps do i need to take to get this for myself?


realizing that I had value, without doing ANYTHING other than breathing, has been extremely hard for me…and I still question it somewhat, I still feel like I have to “do” something to be valued, but at least I see now that its not true and its something I need to work on and that some day I will see my true value apart from my accomplishments. I applied for a job last week and they never called (granted its only been a week, so maybe Im just being impatient) but to me, just applying for the job at all is a good step, and its hard not to beat myself up for not having a callback for an interview when I want it to happen so much, its hard not to take that personally, and all of that is entirely NORMAL for anyone, no matter what kind of life they had, its not indicative of my “brokenness” (I no longer think I am “broken” but I still dont think I am “normal” either) and the fact that EVERYONE in the world gets discouraged when they dont get an interview for a job they want,

and I think just last week, I had a normal “heartbreaking” feeling (Im not 100% sure, but my husband and therapist both said that what I was feeling sounded like that) which was so scary, but awesome at the same time, to feel “normal” emotions that everyone else feels at times, and not be sooooo over the top or non-reactive, to not be extreme in my feelings for the first time ever maybe. We all have our own path, and we make our own choices (sometimes as coping mechanisms, sometimes out of ignorance, and sometimes because we are lied to, and then there are times we make fantastic choices because we are awesome!) and no one path to healing is right for everyone, but the one thing that is universal is that without loving ourselves, we will never heal completely…I am sure of that.


Thank you so much for this post. I have struggled so many years with this problem. I still try to get approval from certain people. But, I no longer need the approval of my family of origin. I finally had to put them out of my life, which is sad in a way…but I was growing and changing and they were staying the same. They refused to acknowlege their “issues” or work on anything. They considered me crazy and ‘out there’. I decided that I would no longer be the one to hold up the relationship with them because all it did was push me under the ground. I did not deserve what happened to me, I was a child. I should have been protected and loved, that is the right of an innocent child. So now, instead of continuously looking for someone to protect and love me, I have learned to protect myself. I am still working on loving myself. But the progress I have made in the last 22 years has been worth every tear, every pain that I have had to deal with.
I am so glad I have found your blog. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Thank all of you!!


I relate.
For more than half my life I sat in total horrified awe of watching all the people around me, HIS family, His followers ( I hesitate to call them friends, he has no “friends” in the sense normal people understand them but useful morons}, as they all would either justify or glaze over his bad-horrifying behavior. At many of those times it caused me to feel crazy, lacking in some area. I felt like the typical abused person feels. For years I felt like there was something wrong with me, ashamed, crazy. Thankfully I stopped believing that bs a LONG time before I got out. It saved my mind, if not my life, and probably his as well. For sure I can see I might have “snapped”. Awareness for our own selves is so important. Dont worry about convincing anyone else. Accept that it was what it was, take what education from it you can, dont dwell on remembering it and MOVE ON> dont look back.
For me this is what is working.
Even if I do have to leave alot of people behind. The sad truth is, they have no loyalty to me. They never did. It was all part of the illusion, the lie he portrayed. THey actively choose to stay in that, mostly hoping for monetary gain Im sure, some just because it IS exciting to be around them (short term), there is NEVER a dull moment etc. I realized this truth a long time ago about all the followers, it was hurtful, but I reached a comfortable level of acceptance. This doesnt mean we allow them in our lives. We just accept they are part of him and steer clear of them as well. Thats the best advice I can give on it.
Peace and Blessings to all of us.


YES! I’m so tired of hearing, “Just stop caring what other people think”. (I hate pretty much anything that follows “just”.) When I was a child, it was a matter of survival for others to think well of me, since love wasn’t freely granted and my value wasn’t established other than by performing in some way that pleased others. Attempting to control other’s thoughts/feelings about me became my way of trying to preserve my life. I found myself in abusive systems for most of my adult life, too, where I had to figure out what the power-holders wanted and valued so I could try to do and be those things. So when others would tell me to “just get over it” or criticize me for being stupid enough to care what others thought, it just heaped more of the same stuff my abusers poured out on me that led to me being unempowered in the first place. I’m so glad to be out of that cycle! Now I know my value and if people disagree with it, that’s their issue, not mine.

Thanks for another great post!
Hugs, Christina


I can so relate to this endless spin of seeking validation from others who could not or would not validate me.

“I personally had a huge need to PROVE that I was right. I thought I had to prove that I was justified in being hurt, that I had been devalued and that I had been mistreated” – that describes it so well.

I remember my experience in a couple of churches. People were realising what a messed up human being I was, that I had huge mental health issues and I didn’t fit any of their boxes for how a “real Christian” should be. Their way of dealing with this was telling me I should be over it, it happened a long time, I should just forgive and forget, put it behind me – backed up of course with their pet doctrines – it just made me feel so bad, I couldn’t tick their boxes, I knew I wasn’t mad but thought there must be something really bad about me that I can’t put this behind me and be a “real Christian” like they wanted and expected me to.

Over and over I said to people it isn’t as simple as that, what was done to me was terrible and the trauma affects me very deeply, it affects me as if it only happened yesterday. Over and over I was told that talking about the past was part of my problem and that I should “just leave it in the past and stop bringing it up”. Over and over my day to day experience of living with what was done to me was invalidated and I was told I was the one who had it wrong and there was something really wrong with me that I could not conform to their ideals. Over and over I wasn’t heard. Over and over I was invalidated, discounted and blamed.

I eventually realised they were never ever going to “get it”. I realised that they were never going to validate the truth of what had happened to me and it’s effects upon me and my life.

I eventually realised what a waste of time it was seeking their validation. But problem was I was not accepted as I was and could not be accepted because I could not conform. Nor could I prove to them what the real situation was because they refused to see it because they were blinded by their own beliefs and brainwashing. I was pretty much damned if I did and damned if I didn’t.

I so much wanted and needed to belong and be accepted but in the end had to accept that was never going to happen, that I was worth more than this constant battle, that I could not continue to give them power over me so I had to walk away because I could not conform.

I’m still struggling to gather a sense of worth but it is slowly coming.


Hi Amira!!
Love what you said! Thanks for your honesty and courage here. You are inspiring.
I especially want to reprint your last line:

Amira wrote: “We all have our own path, and we make our own choices (sometimes as coping mechanisms, sometimes out of ignorance, and sometimes because we are lied to, and then there are times we make fantastic choices because we are awesome!) and no one path to healing is right for everyone, but the one thing that is universal is that without loving ourselves, we will never heal completely…I am sure of that.”

Hugs, Darlene

Hi Carla!
EXACTLY! You wrote exactly what I am talking about. I don’t need anyone to understand in order for it to be true.

Hi Justme
You will find lots of information that will help with your questions while reading this blog. (lots of it)
glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Alisa!
You highlight a great point, that they have no loyalty to you. We are not talking about a two way street, which is what mature relationship should be. That is sadly what I found out too; that as soon as I said “no more” most of them walked away from me as if to say “if I can’t treat you like crap, then I don’t want to bother with you”… but I still said no more.
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Nico
You also highlight a great point; that they refuse to acknowledge their own stuff and the biggie; that you decided that YOU would no longer be the only one to hold up the relationship. That is something that came to understand and it was such a HUGE revelation to me. That the responsibility of the relationship was all mine! And why should it be all mine?? Once again as I said to Alisa, as soon as I said “no more” most of them walked away from me as if to say “if I have to make an effort with you, forget it… you are not worth it”. OUCH. but I am glad that now I know!
Great to have you here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Christina,
LOVE what you are saying here! No one gets to define our value anymore! That is true freedom!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Fi,
Thank you for sharing this part of your story ~ this is exactly what I am
talking about. People say “let it go” but they never tell us how… and
those same people are all messed up too (which seems funny now that I know
that) and really when everyone told me how to think and feel it was further
invalidation just as you say. I too felt that I was not accepted because I
could not conform to the standard that they deemed was “the right way”…
but when I think about that now, I remember that they did not live by the
rules or suggestions that they gave me either… so how could I have even
had hope that their way would work?? AND also they were not people with such
high self esteem either, if you think about it ……..so I was seeking
validation from people that were seeking validation from other people.. LOL
(round and round it goes!)
SO glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


This need for validation – ESPECIALLY from the very creatures that abuse & invalidate us – was VERY hard to get past for me… I was in my 40s when I finally did. Looking back now I can see how their brainwashing of me created this ‘need.’ Every time I tried the abusers would trigger me or further harm me in some way. I even finally told my NMother that I was “no longer interested in the opinions or views of people who I not only didn’t like but didn’t respect.” (You can imagine the reaction)

(Glad you found my One2One4Victims Facebook page Darlene)


This post is very good and I will probably need to read over it many times – its where I’m at. I can really relate to Jenny’s comment too. I’m starting a new job and did sort of a makeover on myself too. The hair, etc. I’m nervous about starting this job. I think I had some PTSD with my first job out of the military. I seemed to be afraid of everyone. I had just had many experiences of being bullied and sexual harassment on the job. My supervisor’s behavior was inappropriate. He once said, “That’s the way guys are. You can get away from them, but you can’t get away from me cause I’m your supervisor.” I didn’t know how to take the comment. He seemed to be half joking, but it was an inappropriate comment. I don’t think many supervisors would say that, would they? He got fired anyway cause of a lot of things I guess, not me. I have to take this day by day right now. I am a little bit afraid that I’ll do something stupid, show my own insecurity, etc. But I’m on my way out of this. That’s the good news.


I think I’m still in the spin but I’m not trying to prove anything to others – only to myself – I can’t get through to me let alone anyone else.


I love it!

“If I can’t treat you like crap, then I don’t want to bother with you…” Darlene

“no longer interested in the opinions or views of people who I not only didn’t like but didn’t respect.” Barbara

Fi, you couldn’t conform because you were not in denial, like the rest of them…


“If I can’t treat you like crap, then I don’t want to bother with you…” someone said this, in effect, to Darlene


Darlene – the people who want me to “let it go” are usually the people who are hoping I’ll forget what their behavior told me about them so they can crap all over me again.

My first bfriend (a Narcissist) still tells people he left me because I am a drug abuser. He found out I was on tranquilizers from the trauma of what he did to me (1976). You know what? I’d rather be a ‘drug abuser’ than a PEOPLE abuser…


oop — hit submit too fast…

anyway my point was that he told me to LET IT GO a number of times. Did I mention he’s on marriage 2 or 3 now, with girls he met all around 1974-77… never let marriage interfere with his sex life either. Talk about NOT ‘letting it go.’ LOL Why let all that brainwashing go to waste even 35 years later??


“never let marriage interfere with his sex life”!!! LOVE this!!!!
When someone like this says he wishes he was still “married” to you, you really wonder WHAT that means!!!!


~ Yes I can imagine the reaction! Good for you!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Bonnie
This is great news!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Louise
That is good that you are focusing on self!

Hi Barbara,
Great point!
Thanks for sharing!

Hugs, Darlene


Fi, i can relate to your comment, being a Christian with mh issues myself. fortunately im now in a church where people can understand a lot better and are very patient with me- that really is a blessing


To the original question in this article, “Why do we care so much about what everyone else thinks?” I would re-state as follows: Why do we imagine that we can know what anyone else thinks? We don’t know what anyone but our own selves think. In fact, it makes more sense, if I word this in the singular. I can only know what I think, not what anyone else thinks, and especially I do not take at face value what someone who is toxic to me claims to think. In other words, toxic people are not to be believed except for their habit of being toxic to me. What the toxic person is actually thinking is something like, “I have won again..intimidated again,…etc…”

If behaviors are any indicator, I can count on NOT knowing what they are thinking, but I CAN count on more toxic behavior. I can think of specific scenarios in my life right now, where it is NONE of anyone else’s business WHAT I do, and therefore whatever they “think” about me (thanks to their church’s dogma, or whatever toxic substance to which they cling)


sorry, forgot to finish last thought:

If toxic behaviors are habitual in the relationship, I can count on NOT knowing what they are thinking, but I CAN count on more toxic, controlling, manipulative behavior, and my own resulting pain and confusion.

I can think of specific scenarios in my life right now, where it is NONE of anyone else’s business WHAT I do, and therefore whatever they “think” about me (thanks to their church’s dogma, or whatever toxic substance to which they cling). Usually when I think of “what someone else thinks” it is often in a situation where the boundaries are broken, and they have no right to be opinionated about my life, and I don’t need to be wasting my energy on them by imagining what t hey might be “thinking”.


try again with this sentence:

I can think of specific scenarios in my life right now, where it is NONE of anyone else’s business WHAT I do, and therefore whatever they “think” about me (thanks to their church’s dogma, or whatever toxic substance to which they cling)is nothing more than a violation of boundaries, it is a lie, the “thoughts” are abusive, and they are not honest enough to say what they actually think anyway, which is, “we tricked her again, we won again, we dominated again …”.


Like I should be spending my energy imagining how I have offended the sensibilities of those who endlessly cut me down!!


Hi Sheryl,
I totally get what you are sharing. I think that for most of us though there is a problem in our own thinking that has to be discovered before we can come to these understandings that you are talking about. ~ I didn’t wonder what someone else thought for the purpose of figuring them out, as much as for figuring out why they seemed to have so little regard for me AND to figure out how I could get them to accept me, how I could become acceptable! That was the spin. I didn’t really think about MY thoughts at all, I was too messed up to validate my own thoughts anyway! I also was to messed up to realize that those people WERE the toxic people in the first place! I was so sure that it really was me; that I was wrong and they were right. I had a lot of fog to get through before I was able to see the truths that you have posted here.
I am so glad that you shared this stuff today; it is very important for so many to realize the thoughts and beliefs we have BEFORE we come to this more healthy thinking that you are sharing.
Hugs, Darleene


it is like a bad dream or a fog that you come out of eventually. The fog of not knowing your own thoughts or self, and the fog of inserting yourself into someone else and being totally lost to pleasing them.


or just to imaging that you are pleasing them, or at least not dis-pleasing them quite so much,


On this issue we tell folks “Don’t let others define you.” Period. Not in appearance, behavior, thinking or feeling processes. You are you, something special. Allowing others to influence that makes you someone else – and no one is comfortable living in someone else’s skin (being MPD I can really relate to that, LOL!)
WHY do we do it: Easy – survival. The odd colored chicken is the one that gets pecked to death. Put a white rat in the sea of black lab rats, and you’ll find bones the next day. So yeah: it’s called “Blend for survival – be like them – lest they ATTACK you.” Real simple. The hard part is realizing that in today’s society those qualities (while still inherently dangerous in some parts of the world) – are less so now.
Kinda like a blog post I wrote says: ask yourself: will this kill me? – before you get upset – or bend to the will of others.

Be yourself. Another small goal on the path to healing . . .


Interesting comparisons here. I think that humans need to remember that we are not part of the animal kingdom. 😉 and that part of the problem is exactly what you have said here Jeff. We just don’t realize that we don’t have to conform in order to live.. in fact it was when I finally said “no more” that I gained my true identity and found true freedom and wholeness. I didn’t realize the power of just standing up for myself, but wow, what a revelation!
Thanks for sharing Jeffery!
Hugs, Darlene


justme – thanks, I’ve had to give up on church for the time being until I’m strong enough to face it again and further down my healing journey – even just facing the social questions of who are you? who’s your family? etc – are too much for me to face


Sheryl – thanks for that validation – the message I got was I couldn’t conform because I was rebellious and there was something very wrong with me – but I realise that I was far more aware and in touch with my feelings and my needs than they were


Before considering going back to “church”, you might want to look at Pagan Christianity, Viola, a timeline of paganism, which happens to be found in churches for centuries, I know it really helped me and my son in 2007 when we found the book. I feel completely free now in that department.


wow this is another good one. i struggle daily with what I want to do and what THEY want me to do. i am stuck in the finding me phase which makes living with a bit tricky at times, but i am getting there slowly.
jeffery you said “Don’t let others define you.” Period. Not in appearance, behavior, thinking or feeling processes. You are you, something special. Allowing others to influence that makes you someone else – and no one is comfortable living in someone else’s skin
i have tried so hard to give my child options and then backed her if it was approriapte and a few times husband said no because she looked like a rainbow in pink snow boots on a hot summers day. yet it wot she wanted to wear to a party so who am i to stop her. she was 2 or 3 then. at 8yrs old she is opinonated and caring about the world around her. she is bossy and wantys her own way, which isnt good and other issues are showing up in my radar for her. though i dont always think i am worth having an opinion as everytime i express it i get into trouble somehow. the reinforcement didnt push me back into silence like the person was trying to get me to do, i adjusted and learnt how to say what i needed to say in a way they could not take offence to but still clout them with the truth as it is for many survivors.
it has been the same for me since started uni2 yrs ago. mainly because i didnt fit in with thee others, had too many sharp edges which i hadnt managed to smooth off, yet when i got upset at how i felt i was being treated i was told well that only your preception of the situation and there are others.mmm i deal with my life on how see it and how peoople affect me by their reactions to me and my personality traits. to be fair i am hard work but it has always been me and my behaviour which has been called on and not the reason i was having that reaction.
im all for personal responsibilty for your individual actions. i also believe that the more offensive behaviours are the ones that i have been trained and conditioned to accept as normal, so NO i will not take the blame for a conditioned reaction to a given situation, but what i will do is go away and think about why it happened but i
bet the other person wont care about the pain ans upset they have caused me just how it has afffected them. not cool but that is how the majority of society sees someone with issues


This blog and comment stream is fantastic. I’m seeing myself in all this. I know I have found peace as I’ve progressively stopped seeking validation from others. However, just the other day my 3yo son started to pet my hair while I was putting his shoes on. He said ‘Mummy is soooo pretty’. I scooped him up and kissed him. I smiled, he giggled. It was a very cute moment. I had tears in my eyes. He had made my day. Afterwards however, I wondered about what lesson I had just taught him. How to validate Mummy, how to validate a woman, how pretty = happy. Perhaps I do this more than I think I do….


Darlene; another great post that is right on target! One thing I wanted to contribute that was so vital for my own healing journey…

“And my reactions to all of that were NORMAL. I shut down, developed dissociative behaviors and many depressions manifested in my life, I had a several addictions, I put myself in dangerous situations, I dressed like a hooker; was attracted to dangerous men. I devalued myself and never even noticed it. I had all kinds of reactions and behaviors that resulted because of the lack of self value and from trying to constantly prove my value. All normal reactions to the things that happened to me and the fact that I was not taught that I had any value. And I used all those things as proof that they were right about me.”

Over the years I’d turned to others for help to understand what was “wrong” with me, why I struggled so in my relationships and my life. And when I’d turned to mental health professionals and they once again reaffirmed that if I was having problems in my life, then “I” must be the problem. I was told that my “problem” was in my brain – and it was – it was buried in the belief that had been confirmed time and time again in the original abuse and then confirmed time and time again by those I’d turned to for help.

I believed that when so many others – mental health professionals and pastors no less – were telling me something was wrong with me…that something was really “wrong” with me and I continued to carry responsibility for my very NORMAL reactions to some very ABNORMAL life experiences and that deep sense of worthlessness and shame that had come to consume me.

It took a lot to leave behind the dysfunctional helping systems that insisted that I was somehow defective and “disordered” (in the religious abuse it was that I was not “submissive enough to my violent husband and that if I was more submissive he wouldn’t “have” to hit me) but it was in leaving that behind and finally connecting with that rare helper that validated my experiences and my coping mechanisms as NORMAL responses to ABNORMAL life experiences that I began to be able to validate myself and find freedom from that deep emptiness that left me feeling so hopeless and powerless.

For me the beginning of the end of broken was at the same place you describe as when you began to identify your own value; it was when I left behind ALL the relationships that told me that something was wrong with me, especially the “helpers” who were not so helpful, that I began to really emerge from that broken place.


Great article, as usual.

A question, as usual. What if the abuser doesn’t criticize you all the time or tell you you are worthless, but actually does praise you from time to time? Ex has been so covertly intimidating and harassing and suddenly yesterday, he was pleasant and “normal”. I should be very well-versed with the cycle of abuse, so why is it “trapping” me into believing that maybe I was wrong, and that he just was very hurt over things, or if I were more friendly instead of detached, I wouldn’t trigger his fear of rejection or abandonment?

I think that I must have very much “identified with the aggressor” in my marriage to him and took on a lot of his thinking, just like I identified with my mother, and even now don’t feel a lot of anger toward her. I guess my mother taught me to “take on”, or agree with her thoughts whenever she excused herself for her narcissistic/abusive ways, and I had to agree to avoid her abuse, which was instead heaped on other siblings who didn’t have the “smarts” to be compliant. So I guess I was primed to identify with powerful people even when they are oppressive and destructive in their relationship with me.

Is that kind of what you mean that you believe something that is false about yourself? I have heard you say that over and over again, and I keep asking myself, what false thing did they tell me? Now, I think it is that their (mother’s and husband’s) behavior was excusable and I still had an obligation to be nice to them, even if it damaged me because they were right and I was to blame if they got abusive. Now I have to tell myself that MY feelings and opinions DO matter, and if they tell me I have no right to stand up to abuse, that I am now abusive, cold, uncompassionate, bitter, etc, then THEY are wrong, because their reality is warped. And I don’t NEED them to understand or validate me. OK, sounds very basic, but I need it to sink in!!


Hi Susan K.S.
Great comment! It didn’t occur to me either that maybe it wasn’t something that was wrong with me but that something had happened TO ME. I needed help to resolve it, to realize it was not something that I deserved, or that I had brought on myself. It wasn’t my brain!
Thank so much for sharing, and I LOVE your last line:

Susan Kingsley Smith Wrote:
“For me the beginning of the end of broken was at the same place you describe as when you began to identify your own value; it was when I left behind ALL the relationships that told me that something was wrong with me, especially the “helpers” who were not so helpful, that I began to really emerge from that broken place.”

Hugs, Darlene

Hi Bapesaurus and welcome to EFB

Here is what I think. Your son said something true and from his heart. You didn’t teach him to manipulate. By validating his compliment, you also validated him. We don’t want to teach our children NOT to give compliments. Abusers learn manipulation in all sorts of ways, but usually it is out of a need to survive, just like we learn survival. It is out of having learned the false definition of love in the first place. And I know that you are saying that him making you smile and happy and that a compliment might be all it takes to make someone happy, but if there is no motive in giving one, IT DOES MAKE OTHERS HAPPY! It genuinely made you happy! Lovely! I don’t think affirming him, or loving that he said something sweet, is something to be discouraged. I respond to my 3 teenage children with all the love and enthusiasm that I can. My love for them has no motive, and that is the truth that they pick up. (and hopefully the truth they take forward with them!)

Thanks for being here and for bringing up this very important aspect!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Krissy!

Abusers know the grooming process and when things go wrong, they return to it. When I stood up to my husband and we went to therapy together, he changed his little tactics over and over again, trying to keep things the way that suited him, instead of working on how he could treat me with equal value to him. It was as though controlling and manipulating me was his life blood. And I questioned myself every time, because all my life I had been trained to believe that it was ME who had the problem, and ME that was wrong, so it was easy for him to turn the focus off himself and back on to me. And he KNEW my weak spots.
Long story short, I had to really stick to my new knowledge about what he was doing and another thing ~ I told him that I didn’t trust him anymore because of the history of him always blaming it on me. He actually understood that, because he had real moments of clarity about his actions. History is a great source but it seems that abusive people use it way more then I ever did. I learned pay attention. Eventually as I got stronger things sorted out and he did change. BUT it was not like a sudden thing. He tried everything to get me to stay the one who validated him by my compliance, and subservience.

About your other question Krissy; “what false thing did they tell me” in the post that I am publishing later on today I am am more specific about how I was “told” false things about myself. That post gives a few examples of just how those false things get communicated.

Thanks for sharing! Hang in here.
Hugs, Darlene


[…] see ~ Seeking Valadition and Understanding from the wrong people  Categories : Father […]


Hello Everyone
I just published a new post that sheds light on what I mean when I say that “they defined me”, and what I mean by “fasle things I am told” and the some of the ways it was communicated that I didn’t matter. (Not all communication is verbal)

Please read this post here: Passive Abuse and Emotionally Dysfunctional Relationships Hugs, Darlene


CHRISTINE: In comment #13 you wrotre: “I’m so tired of hearing, “Just stop caring what other people think”. (I hate pretty much anything that follows “just”.)”

~ and ~

“…when others would tell me to “just get over it” or criticize me for being stupid enough to care what others thought, it just heaped more of the same stuff my abusers poured out on me that led to me being unempowered in the first place.”


Maybe the next time someone gives me one of those unsolicited “just” statements, I will come back with “JUST shut UP!”

My physical survival as a child literally depended on me being able to figure out what people wanted, so I could PLEASE them. Worrying about what others thought of me was a survival skill that I learned from the cradle, and it has taken me decades to unlearn it. All of those “well-meaning” people who kept telling me to JUST DON”T CARE, only added to my feeling of being WRONG and DEFECTIVE.



WOW. After I responded to Christine’s comment #13, I then read all of the rest of these posts….. and, WOW.

Thanks, everybody, for being here and being so AUTHENTIC.


Renee/A Resurrected spirit
April 24th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I remember about 30 years ago, I wanted to buy my mom a console tv for christmas, her first one. The owner of the store said: Renee is this the one? I said yes but I would have to put it on monthly contract. He stuck out his hand and I took it and he shook my hand and said it’s a deal. I thought ok I need to sign a contract. I left then turned around and went back in and I said Mr. Hughes we didn’t sign a contract, he said Yes we did We shook on it! I stood there dumbfounded. He said with just this look of respect he said Renee you are one of the few people I know that takes integrity to heart and lives it. I hugged him and left in tears. That was the first and only time out of the blue who saw true goodness in me! Me who has been through hell and back, someone saw GOOD in me! I will never forget that day or that man, he validated me as a person of value. And wheither some do not think you need it, and really I guess you don’t but when it comes unexpectantly it is truely a priceless gift.


Renee!!! Wow wow wow, I could just FEEL how good and healing that must have felt to your soul. Better than winning the lottery!

Renee/A Resurrected spirit
April 24th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Thank you Lynda,
Yes the power of words!!! It made all the difference in the world to me.



I was brought up to believe that everyone else was right and even if I did have an opinion that I was not to be believed unless it concurred with what everyone else was saying. Everyone else was believed to the detriment of my own self!. I had to agree with what everyone was saying, which meant my beliefs changed like the wind back when I was a child, as i would take on each person’s beliefs as I was talkign to them, and then getting contradicted by other people – this really made me self-conscious! and confuddled…

How do you find what beliefs are instilled in you? I have my parents so strongly influence me, that even when I was arguing with them, they splintered and made my arguments destruct!.

so when i see the usual help from the therapists I know that I have already tried those things on my parents and have been rejected by them for it.

Next, my mother wanted to be intimate with me – not sexual intercourse, but everything else related to it, the cuddles, the hugs, the neverending touches when I was out, and when I was 34 I was in the cinema with my Mother, and she touched my hand. I shaked her hand off but she was vigorous and strong and held my hand! – interlinking the fingers!..

Anyway, I don’t know how to be kind and loving to myself, because when I do, it feels like I’m being manipulated or sexually abused again. I was raped on a school holiday when I was in france, where i was coerced to move closer to my school peer and he mast*rbated me whislt I thought of a beautiful woman…

that and my Mother never allowing me to speak unless spoken to, has ended up in my running away from women i could have been with, whilst when they want me to speak to them, I’m silent, mute and immobilised…

so I searched for my american wife online, and had 6 years recovery…

my dad phoned me at 2am in the morning yelling and seething with anger at me…

….and he wonders why I can’t do anything and ‘what’s wrong with you nick’?


Hi Nick,
You have found the right place ~ I was shocked to realize that my parents were wrong about almost everything! I had been convinced from a very young age that it was me, always me who was wrong. But they lied in order to control me and manipulate me, and realizing that was the beginning. I never thought that they were just plain wrong! I thoguht I was dumb, stupid; I coudn’t think straight I had been so confused by everyone all my life. Keep reading Nick, the fog lifts in stages. (read the comments too, or some of them; you will realize you are not alone. There are millions of us!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi, I don’t have much time now but just had to say many thanks. I was searching today for some help and everything written above was written for me today. thankyou, thankyou, beezy


Hi Beezy,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken, I am glad that this resonated with you,
Hugs, Darlene


Beezy, I was so miserable last October when I went desperately searching online for something to help me, and I stumbled upon Darlene’s awesome Emerging From Broken blog/community. Reading her posts, and the affirming, validating, and enlightening comments from fellow trauma/abuse survivors, is the most healing thing I’ve found. EFB has totally turned my life around. I’m glad you found this healing place, too.



You are wonderful in always making new readers here feel welcome! I thank you for that and I aknowledge you for that. You are an encouragement to the others here, and you inspire with your own honest sharing from your heart.
Thank you for being such a big part of this effort!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene…. now you’ve gone and made me cry…




But it’s a good cry right??
Just as I was pressing the submit button on that last comment to you, I noticed the name of the post “seeking validation and understanding from the wrong people” and thought that it was fitting. (that I am not the wrong people and that you don’t do this out of seeking validation, but what is wrong with getting some!??? )
We can use our power to empower others… that is why we have it. That is the right use of power. That is my intention. I wanted to recognize you for doing it too!

Hugs, Darlene !


My parents loved to tell the story of how my dad rubbed my gums with wiskey while I was teething. He gave me to much and got me drunk at 6 mos. old. They thought it was so funny that I was sitting in my high chair half conscious with my head rolling. My life was in danger at that point but that didn’t seem to cross their minds.

When I was four, I had strep throat. My parents didn’t take me to the doctor and I developed scarlet fever. When I developed a rash they decided I had measels and still they didn’t take me to the doctor. My granny came over and was adament that they take me to the emergency room. If she hadn’t decided to visit, I probably would have died. As it was, it took me a year to recover. I had to learn to walk all over again.

They made me feel like trash. That is the way I learned to think of myself. In the end they threw me away and I threw myself away.


Sorry, I got interrupted. I wanted to finish by saying that when others treated me like trash, I didn’t think it was anything unusual. My parents raised me to become a victim of abuse.


This is exactly what I am talking about. I am so sorry that this happened to you ~ all of it. It was wrong, and by definition in North America at least ~ it is illegal. This kind of mistreatment is so wrong and so damaging, and as you say, they taught you your value. It was in facing this kind of stuff that I was able to take my value and my life back.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Yes, Darlene, it was a GREAT cry. That’s why I put the smiley face. Thanks!

I like what you said about the title of this post being “seeking validation and understanding from the wrong people”…. you said: “I am not the wrong people and… you don’t do this out of seeking validation, but what is wrong with getting some!???”




I have only just found this website and every word you write resonates with me. I am currently going thorugh exactly what you have described: realising that what other people think and feel is not my responsibility. It is so liberating realising that there is nothing wrong with me, that i don’t have to justify myself, but requires a lot of work to keep reminding myself that it is true.

It’s comforting to know that I am not alone in my struggle. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading the rest of your website.


Hi Carolyn
~ welcome to emerging from broken!
Yes, it is liberating to realize it is not you! (me) it is them! I had to remind myself for several years, but eventually that brainwashing came undone. You are certainly not alone, there are millions of us. (and as you will see when you read more, there are hundreds of commenters here sharing the journey too)
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene, thank you Linda,
I just can’t tell you what finding this site has done for me. I had a few moments of peace and happiness the day I found it.
It has given me hope.
I have some things I have to go through in the next few years and I am hoping that by the time I have finished reading all on this site I may be better able to handle it. Thank you for that, beezy


[…] too. File your paperwork. Go home. Enjoy your house, your television. Collect your paycheck. Allow those you serve to suffer in silence, continue this for years. One day, before you die, in the last moment of your […]


I can’t believe the similarity of our experiences and the low self-esteem that resulted. My recovery from low self-esteem has included many therapies. Dialectical behavioral therapy has been invaluable – the ability to stay mindful and to radically accept things as they are instead of as I wish they were. I also have learned to stay active in the various 12-step and other recovery groups.
I also stay busy doing things I love that make me feel good about myself like singing, playing guitar, writing and creating this website that I’m just getting ready to launch to my whole state of Montana. Creating it really made me feel good about myself.
Thanks for you post. It was awesome!


Hi Tammy
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Thanks for sharing your victories and some of the positive things you do for yourself! !!
Hugs, Darlene


Boy I know how it feels to be invalidated. I felt like a puppet. I kept writing letters to the people who abused me and I’d send them articles and my sister would tell me that my words were poison. No matter what I wrote, she told me it was poison. She said she didn’t remember, that it didn’t happen and then made up lies that I did things right to my face. She was horrible and violent but so was father and the family was one big invalidating group. I stopped writing letters. I don’t need her to validate me. I don’t care if her friends say I am bad. I don’t care if people say that I turned my back on my family. They don’t know and they don’t want to know. I stopped needing them to say, “sorry, we were horrible. We shouldn’t have hurt you like that”. I stay away from all of them now. I’ve made a new family. Lots of people invalidate, not just family. If they start invalidating and you are getting nowhere, why bother explaining yourself. It’s better to say, “Let’s agree to disagree” and walk away.


Hi Emy
I can relate to having felt like a puppet. I think it is great that you no longer need for them to validate you. That was a huge measure of healing and taking my life back for me. The truth is that I didn’t turn my back, they turned their backs on me. And it certainly is not only family taht invalidate! This site is about all abuse and recovery from abusive/controlling people. Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


I`m not sure where to begin … I came across your website by accident when I was surfing for something else,I think it was the best “accident” to happen to me in a long while!

I hit rock bottom a few months ago, my personal situation left me nowhere to hide, I had to look the truth in the face, namely that all the relationships I had ever been in were abusive ones, including a teacher when I was 10 and an alternative medicine practitioner who was supposed to help with my self-esteem issues.

I broke up with the only man that ever showed me caring, respect and true affection because I didn’t believe I deserved it, and I felt like an imposter when he said he loved me.

I have memories of my mother telling me how I was unplanned, “a spoke in the wheel” of her plans for the future and a financial drain on the family.

I was brought up to believe that my opinion counted for nothing and that all adults knew best, from there it was a step to being a target of abuse from a teacher, and my parents said it was my imgination anyway even though I had the ripped clothes to prove it.

It is a relief to be able to write this and I feel I am among friends here. Your website is a lifeline for me. Thank you.


Hi Jackie,
Welcome to EFB!! I am so glad that you are here!
From what you have shared with me you and I have lots in common! This is a large sharing community; you are certainly not alone!
please feel free to share as often or as much as you like!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene, you and so many other wonderful people here have echoed my thoughts and feelings and have given me the courage to add my voice.

I now carry a small laminated card in my purse with the words

“If others try to invalidate me, it does not mean that I am invalid. ”

Your words are a reminder that I have intrinsic value simply by being ME. I am finally starting to believe it.

Every step I take, however small, is a step in the right direction.




That is awesome! That was something that really empowered me; when I finally realized that the opinions of others didn’t matter whatever they thought OR said about me didn’t make it true!
and I too told myself everyday that every step I took, no matter how small was a step forward and towards ME and my new life!
Hugs, Darlene


Wow!!! This is exactly what I have been working on. Thank you for such a great article. I was raised in a cult. I am the youngest and only girl in a large family. Women in my family were there to ridicule and emotionally abuse. My mom choose men who abused us both. So finally at 38 I understand after all these years I am a good person. I can love myself. I don’t need anyone’s approval. There are family members who will only have a relationship with me if they can abuse me. Well I don’t need that nor will I allow that to continue one minute longer. And it’s okay to walk away.


Hi Mary
Welcome to emerging from broken! YAY for you and thanks for sharing your empowering statements!
I am really glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for explaining to all of us these wonderful revelations….I learned from them and remember them well. I think you have hit on some key points that are necessary to look at in order to heal from “brokenness” and so THANKS SO MUCH! Your writing is great too, by the way!



So much of this resonated with me. The the line that really stood out…

“I struggled so much that I believed these lies about me were true thinking “how can everyone be wrong?”

Not only was I receiving the invalidation from my Narcissistic, controlling mother but also from other family members and outsiders which reinforced my invalidation. I realize now that the daily bad-programming just set me up as a target: the way I spoke, what I said, my body language, my actions… all conveyed a sort of “I’m not worthy, go ahead and disrespect me,” message. It not only attracted the control-freaks and insecure bullies, but taught even the nicer people to disregard me as well. The vicious circle perpetuated all the false beliefs causing a steady stream of negative reinforcements. I couldn’t possibly feel better about myself with the onslaught of negative reactions I received. Now that I understand WHY I kept getting that bad reinforcement is a big step towards feeling better about myself, which will convey a different message to others. Of course, this won’t happen overnight, but it’s a start.


Hi Karla,
Thank you so much for your comments and encoruagement!
I hope you will share your discoveries often!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Drained,
Me too… I got the message from everyone and then when I grew up I got it from people who never knew me before. No wonder I thought they were right. But it was belief system that attracted the same kind of people ~ just as you say, you were programed. Your words are wonderful ~ I see such clarity in them. You are certainly on the road my friend to healing and feeling MUCH better!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you so much for this article. You are right, we know who we are and why what happened happened and we shouldn’t be needing validation from the people who didn’t even support us when we were IN the relationships and trying to escape it. How you wrote this really spoke to me.

We are not who they said we are, we are the salt of the earth people they stepped on to try to raise themselves up. We belong to ourselves and it is us we need to be true to. The more healing the more I realize just how far I fell. Getting up and standing up gets easier through the process. So thankful to God for sending me forums like this to help put the pieces in proper perspective. God bless you!


thank you Darlene, i am always hearing myself when you “talk”..i love what you are doing..my fault is that i am always kind in a wrong way..me and my siblings were trained to be “kind” in the wrong way of being kind by my mother and our elders in our family .i am the only ONE exposed now standing up for abuses which stemmed way back our younger years by some manipulative people in our circle ,we were trained NOT TO TALK …and now that i am talking and exposed,unlike before that i was already talking about abuses BUt within our circle only, NOw it is bigger because the abuses are more exposed and out to more people, if i had the strength like mine now , i would do talk and talk and talk STILL. I WILL NOT STOP talking no matter what especially now that i am STRONGER.THANK you darlene..G


Hi G
You are proof that we can break out of the dysfunctional box we were raised to be in. I am so glad that you have found your voice, you are stronger, and you are talking now!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lauren
Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~ somehow I missed your comment the other day! Sorry for th late response.
I can relate to what you are saying too. The more I tried to go forward, the more clarity I got. One bit of clarity served as a new foundation for the next bit.
Thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you and God bless you forever. You just wrote my story.


This was an amazing reading for me, I´m in awe! thank you very much for sharing your journey with so much detail, I feel reflected in every single paragraph of it and I´m realizing that I´ve been alone for a really long time. Reading your text and all the comentaries is in itself incredibly healing, you´re not alone and I´m not alone, none of us is 🙂
Thank you.


Hi Ana
Welcome to EFB ~ We are not alone! That is for sure. Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


GOD DAMN IT!!!!!!!!
it has been a year and I am still replaying the same story in my head over and over adding an alternate ending. It drives me nuts.
It all started from a panic attack after I broke up with my bf. We were under a lot of stress, none of us was a saint ….. a week apart I called him up to reconcile. Yes it was mainly driven by fear and anxiety as I had no one but him for the last 4 years. He was my bf, my lover, my friend, my brother, my family. I know not very healthy but it worked and I needed him. He accepted me the way I was and the fact that I was not in contact with my parents. I had my sister but the bond has never been strong and no female friends. We were 2 kids, immature and imperfect but he was no abuser and I was lucky our paths crossed. I trusted him. However for about 3 months under severe stress his personality changed dramatically, I could not recognize him. But again I did get back to him quicker than you could say your own name. Than…HUGE mistake I shared what happened with my sister who shared it with my mother…and they talked me into breaking up with him for good. They “made me” realize how silly imnmature and blinded I was. When I look back I think my mother did it on purpose. Every abuser wants to first isolate his/her future victim. She knew that as long as I had him she could do no harm to me. She started playing nice, for the first time in my life, I thought she changed, it was quite pleasant for a while, still abusive but bearable…haha…I know I have low standards, don’t I? She wanted to “take care of me” after the break up that she created. I really have no idea why I got myself into this situation. I was very weak and vulnerable and at the same time because of the bad time I had with my ex bf I really thought it was for the better. BUT I was going through a transit period in my life and I really NEEDED someone who did know me, someone I could trust. My arguments did not work with my mother. Don’t ask me why I did not do what I wanted to. For the first time I was paralyzed, as if hypnotized, I was doing exactly what my mother wanted me to do, I moved in with her for 3 weeks, I felt like a helpless child. And she used it. She rearranged my whole life, made me literally quit my job (Who does that? and what kind of a mother would impose such a classless behavior on her child?), a job that I loved.
Don’t ask me what happened to me as I keep asking myself this very same question every day ever since. I know she wanted to ruin my reputation she wanted me to become her servant. I know she is a revengful person. Several months ago she told me things like “how could you quit your job?”, etc. I could not believe. My panic attacks got worse while being under her “care”, once she yelled: “shut the fuck up or you will end up on the street, you have NO ONE but me”. and I did shut up. I do not know why someone like me, who survived chilhood abuse from her hands, became a self- sufficient, confident woman, a go getter, could possibly have such a melt down, a vicitm mentality, allowing her to do and say anything she wanted. She must have had so much fun.
Any explanation? I got out of the haze eventually but it lasted 6 months- me calling her and telling her everything and than doing every insane thing she was asking me to do, not reacting to her verbal abuse etc. The next 6 months until now …well I am depressed and cannot belive what happened to me….my life is a mess….


my sister kept telling me: “why can’t you just be single for a while?”
WTF? When was the last time she was single?
NO I am not crazy this is normal, yes it is not okay but it is our survival instinct. When you have no family and friends and you find a guy you can trust, no matter how much he aggrevates you, no matter how childish he may be, you stand by him.
At least that’s how I feel. I know I am capable of great things but without someone I can rely on stanidng behind my back, I cannot do much. Maybe I am prone to dependent personality disorder. Or maybe I am trying to self diagnoze myself with a help of Dr. Google haha.
I just know that this is how I am. You cannot just have friendly acquaintances, you need at least one good trusted friend, a person you cann call every day, or someone who knows your situation, your weaknesses, someone you call to bail you out when you are in jail 🙂


Therapist and I talked about feeling valued by other people. I told her how I had more people invalidated than me validated me. I had a very small, minute number of people who truly believed me while the rest wanted to burn me at the stakes! I made up my mind to never speak about it anymore because it causes nothing but arguments.

I was always going to the wrong people for validation and it was always upsetting getting into battle with them all because they couldn’t stick their ideologies in my head and brainwash me some more! As victims, we are already brainwashed as it is, why do these people think they can keep brainwashing us some more? This one support site which is suppose to be an adult site has lost its purpose. I have started seeing 3 yrs ago that these users are calling other users liars, making up crap, etc I saw their nasty abusive traits from their own abusers yet these people are suppose to be helpful!

One particular family group on there has called me every name in the book and recently they got me so upset that I went off on a lot of them. I told them don’t ask me questions if you’re gonna call it excuses and told them you don’t live in the same state as me and if you’re a visitor that doesn’t count!! It was bad and ugly which lead to my account being closed for a short time and was able to get back on. I asked them do you people miss your abusers or something? You sound just like them and I’ve read your posts/journals your lives are no better than mine don’t care how old you are!

I love this site and another one similar to EFB that I read which has no back talk or people calling you a liar! Also, people want to be validated and heard who wants to be called a liar all of their lives? Like I said all the time people and their fictional, white picket fences! I watched an old video from Andrew Vachs on Oprah in the 90s and he said why do people feel sorry for someone else’s kids that were abused, but when it comes to your own kids in the family, you don’t believe the abuse? He had a very good point, a point nobody wanted to challenge. He also said it’s the “it can’t happen to me syndrome,” that’s what it boils down too. http://www.wallsofsilence.com/musicvideo.php?vid=de8bac478

The problem who can we trust and speak to our problems with? That’s pretty difficult especially when people simply don’t care about other people’s lives. My boyfriend is the only person who truly understands me yet never went through what I went through and still going through as he doesn’t undermine me like other people have done. It sucks I keep seeking validation from people who just make me so angry, I am not the type who controls my anger easily I am always the one with the battle ax ready to pulverize the person and get the last word. It just wasn’t easy for me to control my anger.

I get tired of talking to such negative people out there and would love it if they stopped asking me about my parents. What is there to say? I will be 28 in two days not 12! Why do people always ask me how are your parents doing like I am 12? What am I suppose to tell them? I have told them honestly how they are and these people turned against me!

People out there seem to know what’s best for you, uhhh, no they don’t!! I wish my parents’ nasty aura would stop following me and wish I could get some real friends who actually don’t believe in what society tells them! I just wanted to be believed, what is so wrong with that? I am gonna learn not to try and give my energy to people who don’t care.


wow. thank you everyone for talking here so openly, it is helping me have continual breakthroughs. I recently became aware of a voice watching my actions ans commenting as though I am talking to some observer ( my mother perhaps?) where I am saying… see I am a good person I have just done this and that, or see I am liked I have friends, people talk to me! its as though I am talking to a ghost trying to prove to her even now at aged 54 that she was wrong about me , that I am ok after all and worthy of love and respect, and not the person she made me believe I was. The fact that I have this self talk shows me how much I am still searching for a witness to my existence to validate my worth. ironically though I spend most of my time alone as having company seems to bring out this trait which I find distressing and privately embarassing.
The legacy of the complicated abuse of childhood has left me on automatic mode with regard to trying to impress people, so its easier for me to spend time on my own as I cannot seem to help myself in my behaviour and speech when in company. I still seem to either subtly or very obviously crave other’s validation. I understand from what darlene has said and others that this has to come from ourselves first but I find it challenging to turn it around completely.


to johanna,
I cannot believe someone has written how I feel and so eloquently too. I was beginning to think I was the only person inthe world who felt this way. Unfortunately I have no real answer either so I also tend to isolate myself.
I am having some small success with just trying to accept myself even when I feel I have behaved in a way that comes from such a needy place, it seems each time I become aware and accept that this is who I am right now, there is a (very small) relaxing of the need to have others validate my existence. My guess is that the small vulnerable child inside of me does not need any more reason to feel ashamed.

Thank you so much for sharing, for myself I find it so much easier to cope when I am able to tell myself see its not just you who has trouble with these issues, other people suffer too. many thanks beezy


thanks for validating me! haha , I wonder deep down if that is one of my motives in posting here, still seeking approval from others, especially darlene, (projected mother) gosh its so entangled , and I agree about the self acceptance, I actually just had a really big depressive bout, couldnt get out of bed etc, for two days of agony, refused to answer the phone and then made up stories to those friends about why I was out of range, thought about it and realized that this is part of the shame not wanting to admit to openly to this condition which comes and goes in its bouts despite all my efforts to control, so intead I sent tose few friends an email “coming out” about these episodes as I didnt not want to have the lack of integrity by lying anymore, plus I really want to own this part of me rather than be disgusted and ashamed at my weakness of not being able to pre empt the triggers of the depression and thereby avoid falling into that hole. Any way I felt better, wasnt a big dramatic email, just factual as though I were someone having a diabetic attack. And I agree , just knowing you others out there can relate, as you have kindly done by commenting on my comment, is very valuable to me Breezy and I thank you for taking the time to do so. best wishes jo


Hi Johanna-I think you’re totally allowed to seek validation from us, we will always give it to you, and Darlene is like a mother, or rather, to me she is a conduit helping me to become my own loving mother, to comfort and heal the broken child inside. I’m sorry you have such debilitating depression, it’s just never ending and so damn unfair!! I hope your friends are as awesome and supportive as mine have been, and are there for you without pushing you to ‘get better already’! I sometimes feel I have the opposite problem-I over share, and that puts me in a vulnerable position. I tell even strangers about my difficult relationship with my parents and that opens me up to a lot of extra abuse, and I also sometimes can’t seem to get off the subject of my mother with my friends, and I worry that I’m being narc myself, or that they’ll get fed up and leave me…lol can I send you some of my eternally open mouth so you feel easier to talk?! Sigh! It’s so not a joking matter is it?! Hugs xxx


I am not stupid, incompetent, foolish and most of all I am not a f*****g son of a b****c. Those cuss words were the ones that really hurt, which happened to be what my Dad uttered, when I couldn’t help him re-align a mirror we were placing on the wall. He also raised his hand during that time signalling to hit me, but he didn’t as my Mom was with us. I cried so much in my bedroom tucked under the sheets, for several hours only to have the man himself come and appease me afterwards. At the age of 16, never had I felt so scared towards my Dad. But that, along with all of the other sins he had done, are slowly dying. I admit that I still occasionally picture some “soap-operatic” like confrontations between my abusers but I am thankful towards the Lord for not letting it get to that point (Not very good for the health either).


Thank you for writing this and Sharing your story. I’m stuck in the proving just how wronged I was stage. I needed to read this. I’m killing myself, just trying to make everyone see what really happened. Convince everyone of who my “dad” really is. I’m struggling seeing how so many hardships I’ve faced were a very real direct result of him. That I’ve begged for his approval for so long for a while I did think t was all just me. Thank you. You just might of honestly saved my life.


Hi Melissa
I totally understand. It was when I put my energy into validating the damage done to me, that I began to stop trying to prove to them that there WAS damage and I was able to move on to the healing part! I learned to give myself the approval that I didn’t get from them.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


I have been thinking about this again. My validation got ruined by now ex-friends made me feel like shit, something about my past which is not something I care to remember. It’s like I am still talking to those who don’t care about validating my needs. My male friend/partner told me I still seek validation, we all know it’s nice to hear how someone cares/listens/etc.

I don’t even talk about the abuse anymore with people, I may make references about it but that’s about it. It’s like now I am saying ‘well, that’s what happened not sure what to tell you’ is what I am telling people. People shouldn’t ask us anything if they really have no intention of caring or have some kind of understanding it’s just wasting time.


i think there is a reason why vampires are such a popular fixture in the culture—they symbolize people who drain the life energy out of you

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