Survival Mode and an Alternate View of Narcissism

narcissistic abusers

by the light of the truth they will hang themselves

“Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence or strong self-esteem, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence and self-esteem into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal. In contrast, people who have healthy confidence and self-esteem don’t value themselves more than they value others”. ~ The Mayo Clinic

I would like to add that people who have healthy confidence and self-esteem don’t value themselves LESS than they value others either.

I was not drawn to this quote because it helped me to understand narcissism or narcissistic behaviour but because it reminded me of how much I was willing to see myself as ‘the problem’ when I first began the healing process that I write about here in ‘emerging from broken’.  So many ‘victims’ of dysfunctional family systems or any type of abusive or one sided relationship see themselves as the one who might be the narcissist.  Narcissistic people groom their victims to always look at themselves and make every effort to avoid letting anyone look more closely at them.  They make sure the flashlight of self-examination is always firmly on the victim both from the view of the narcissist, AND from the view of the victim.

And because of this abuse tactic and grooming style, very often it is narcissists who accuse other people of ‘being’ narcissistic. As always there is a way to sort out the truth from the false in this. As you read, keep in mind that narcissistic people or abusers rarely ask themselves if they are the problem.  There are several key differences between victims and abusers. (I am aware that some are both victims AND abusers; victims to the people who are in control of them and abusers to the people that they control but that is a topic for another day.)

It is easy to groom children to regard the adult with reverence. And if that child grows up in the belief system that the child is always the one at fault, it is easy for any other adult to step in and continue inflicting this insistence upon ‘reverence’ on this now grown up child.  Children don’t just reach a certain age and suddenly the blinders fall off. If no one ever empowers the child to realize that their worth is equal to all others, the child (adult child) will never come to realize it. If the false belief remains operating as ‘truth’, then the adult child will continue to believe dysfunctional relationships are ‘normal’.  

This quote highlights the concept of understanding ‘equal value’.  

My survival mode was all about examining my motives and checking to see where I had been at fault, what I could have done better and why the whole problem must have somehow been caused by me. I was willing to believe that I was self-centered when someone called me self-centered and then I was willing to try harder to change that ‘problem’ about myself. I was willing to accept that I was being selfish when I was accused of being selfish and make the necessary adjustment because that is the way I learned to ‘survive’ when I was a kid and I never learned any other way to be.  When I was accused of being ‘narcissistic’ I examined that too. I had come to see ‘everyone’ as having MORE value than I did.  And if ‘they’ were more valuable then they must be right.

I made survival decisions in a world where I believe that the only way that I could ever be safe was to adjust myself to the demands of the adults who were responsible for my food, shelter and clothing. As I got older that belief didn’t change when people who I saw as being more important than me or as having more power than me demanded the same type of compliance from me. When I became an adult I saw and reacted to the world through the same ‘it must be me’ grid that I saw it through in my childhood survival mode and I made survival decisions based on the same understanding that I always had. There was no truth OR equal value when it came to me, in this (false) understanding of how relationship works. 

Finally understanding what equal value is, was the most freeing and important concept that I learned in the process of emotional healing.  I was never treated or regarded with equal value and therefore I had never considered that I actually had it or even that it was an option ‘for me’.  I had to change this false belief. I found out how to repair my self-esteem and take my value back by finding out where and how it got broken and falsely defined as ‘less than,’ in the first place.  I had to see the truth about who the abuser actually was and what false messages that I had been given and that I accepted as the truth.

Looking at how I had come to ‘learn’ to always look at adjusting myself and my behaviour and the way that I related to others and seeing how much of it was about my childhood survival mode helped me to see the truth about equal value and that although I had never been treated as though I had it, that didn’t mean that I didn’t have it.

Everybody has equal value. We are all born with equal value. It is what happens after that that will determine the way we view ourselves.

 “Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence or strong self-esteem, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence and self-esteem into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal. In contrast, people who have healthy confidence and self-esteem don’t value themselves more than they value others”. ~ The Mayo Clinic

I would like to add that people who have healthy confidence and self-esteem don’t value themselves LESS than they value others either.

The purpose of this website, ‘Emerging from Broken’ is to restore self-esteem and the knowledge of ‘equal value’ by understanding where it went missing, was not communicated or was never set in place in the beginning.

Please share your thoughts about how you put your difficulties through the grid of self-blame, how narcissistic or people in a higher power position than you were made you think it was always ‘you’  or anything else this article caused you to realize or react to. Please feel free to use any name you wish in the comment form. (The URL line is optional and is meant for people who wish to share their own website.)

There is freedom on the other side of broken;

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


For related posts please see highlighted links in bold print throughout the post.

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Categories : Mother Daughter



Narcissists may make declarations about you as if they were 100% true beyond doubt and yet they can be amazingly wrong. At the same time they are often completely blind to how they appear.

You can feel like an actor in someone else’s play.

When talking to them you may see their eyes are unfocussed. They are not talking to you but an image – usually unrealistic – in their head. If you step outside that image god help you!

If they are an authority figure or close to you it can be very difficult to disentangle who you are from who they say you are because their simplistic ‘clarity’ can be louder than your own complex truth. At other times the reality-check they receive on discovering you are not who they think can be shocking for them – leading to anger at you, tears or withdrawal,

Narcissists can be very dangerous. If you are weak or pliable they may gravitate towards you because you can easily be made to adopt and so validate their worldview.

Sometimes ir is possible to get a narcissist to see you differently – the trick is to set up a scenario where they can ‘discover’ or ‘realise’ something about you in a way that they think they did it – in that way you haven’t invalidated or attacked their worldview. This is not something you might want to do with strong narcissists – getting it wrong might end badly!

Narcissism is a trait, like others. It doesn’t make someone a bad person,

Do you want them in your life?
Are they worth the effort?

Two questions to ask about anyone, not just suspected narcissists. Be careful, you may be one and nor know it! If everything is about you or if you are aways sure about who everyone is and what they should do then maybe you have these traits. A book called “Emotional Vampires” describes Narcissism and other traits when they are sub-clinical. It describes how they appear, how to cope and what they might feel like if it’s you!


In a couple of cases friendships either broken down or I terminated them when the disconnect between their image of me and reality met. In another case it took me a long time to separate out their concept of me from reality – because of course their view had some truth in it.

Being mentally stronger and more grounded helps. Being able to push back and question their views about you helps. Narcissists NEED an adoring audience and if it’s not going to be you they generally leave you be…,,


I’m glad you put that caveat at the end of the quote–it made me uncomfortable to read for just that reason. If you believe you have less worth then other people, and always put “the family” first before yourself, that isn’t healthy either. I usually don’t like all of the narcissism stuff material because it becomes too abstract–to the point where it’s not seen as a learned emotionally abusive behavior anymore, but something else.

It is so true though that the abusers will accuse you of being narcissistic. My own abusive family reverted to this tactic whenever they felt their view of me as someone lesser–that they could talk down to, define, and abuse was threatened or challenged by my asserting myself, saying what I think and who I am according to me. With my sister, it was always completely innocuous things that she would use as a pretext for intruding into my life and spreading more of her poison. She was so sure that she was “more intelligent” and therefore “better” then I was that she would repeatedly say things like, “I bet you even think you’re smarter then me!” “You think you’re so great, but you’re actually nothing!” etc. She certainly wasn’t an advocate of equal value, she just wanted to make sure she was on top.

Because my sister told her twisted views of these encounters, and because my mother worshiped my sister so long as she wasn’t in the room, my mother would also constantly exclaim, “you think I’m so stupid!” because of her own issues, insecurities, and standards. I couldn’t care less, what I thought was that she was manipulating, shaming, and putting me down yet again–and I thought so because it was the truth! They also accused me of being selfish, unreasonable, stubborn, etc. etc. Living in that nightmare of constant verbal abuse and insults on the one hand and loud, angry, hypercritical accusations about how I’m so wrong and I’m always the problem and it’s always up to me fix it was so unbearable that I couldn’t really deal with it at all. I just spaced out, dissociated from all the poison and tried to keep going. I must have gone past my breaking point so many times being constantly abused in every single way for those two decades I lived with them that I came out of it a totally shattered person.

I didn’t “think I was better then everyone else,” I ranked myself below everyone and everything. But the idea that the very people who had neglected, physically, sexually, and emotionally abused me would come back and think they had a right to define what my thoughts were and then attack me for them was really too much. I was supposed to be a healthy, And then if I responded in a certain way to their goading, I would also be judged for that and they would use that as proof they were right all along. And even if I said nothing, I was screamed at for “making that face” which showed my emotions. This method of attack was so deep and so overwhelming and insidious…it’s difficult to even think about it now. I badly hurt myself a month ago because I went back and read a chat log with my sister I had saved in a journal from eleven years ago…it was so conniving and poisonous what she said, but it brought up all the self-blame and confusion about whether she was actually being reasonable and I was at fault…and I had to fight that all over again and try to win this time, but do I know how to win yet? I try, but there is still insecurity.


Comment #1 says “Narcissism is a trait, like others. It doesn’t make someone a bad person.”

How is that possible? So much is written about how dangerous the narcissist can be, and how you have to be on guard and look out (and I agree wholeheartedly with this), so where does this sentence come from out of the blue? Explanation please.



Holy moly. I could have written half of your post. Very scary. Except it was my mother who used to say “I bet you even think you are smarter than me”. Wow. I’d forgotten about that oldie, but goodie. The best one my mother ever said was “I’m a better lawyer than you”. Which you have to put in context. I am a licensed, practicing attorney. My mother is not. She never even graduated from junior college. Unfortunately, I was stunned and didn’t think about a good response til later, which should have been “That’s ok, I’m a better mother than you”. The context on that one is I don’t have any children. 😉


I picked up on that same line that Catherine has pointed out. What do you mean “Narcissism is a trait, like others. It doesn’t make someone a bad person” Are you saying we should regard them as ‘normal’ or in a neutral way?

It is really important to remember that this site is about validating the damage caused by others. The damage caused by people like this is huge and it only by validating the damage that we can move forward and heal. All my life I heard that my mother had a really tough childhood. I used that information to excuse her nasty mean behaviour towards me. It was when I started to say “so what?” about her childhood, and “does that mean that she had a right to do the same to me?” that I started to overcome.
Hugs, Darlene


What is a bad person?

what is bad behavior?

you are SO right in your response!!!


michelle, loved your response (even if it´s belated to good ole mom!). LOL!!!

Thanks, Darlene. Will look for a response from Bobby to both our questions (same question).


michelle, loved your response (even if it´s belated to good ole mom!). LOL!!!

Thanks, Darlene. Will look for a response from Bobby to both our questions (same question)…


Hi Caden
I had written most of the post when I added that caveat. Something about the quote bothered me too and suddenly I realized what it was!
Thank you for sharing all that you do and what you have in this post. It really takes time. There are days when I am down (weak) that I still question myself too and I have to remind myself of the things that were criminal to get myself out of that old self doubt. I always thought that if ‘everyone says it is me, the common denominator is me.. how can ‘they all be wrong’. But the truth doesn’t require a majority vote! I think it is so important that we look at the depth of the truth ‘because’ that is what helps me in those times of self doubt. The self doubt is like a default mode; I had it for years and years and I had to find a way to cement in the new truthful way of thinking.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Michelle
Excellent response! 🙂
Hugs, Darlene


And Darlene, you are exactly right. I am so sick and tired of hearing about how “tough” my miserable cruel parents had it. They made sure I had it even tougher. And guess what? I don´t treat people the way they do. That´s when I stopped realizing I didn´t have to keep making excuses for my abusers. As you said, that´s when I have (barely) started to heal.

I am so sick of bad behavior being constantly and automatically excused. No wonder they never change, and we are told we have to do all the changing, forgiving, letting go, ad nauseum. They belong in jail as far as I´m concerned and should never have been allowed to have children in the first place. End of story.


“the truth doesn’t require a majority vote.”

AMEN. I´m going to remember this one.


Caden, I could have written all of your post. I have gone back and re-read a few emails and letters I´ve received, and they have thrown me back into PSTD in the most severe ways. Any contact at all with these demons (and that is what I really believe they are= leaves me, as you describe, “shattered” beyond belief.

Especially communications with my youngest sister who is married to a pastor! Those two have done more damage than all the rest put together. So I know how you feel. All I can say is “hang in there, this too shall pass.”

I´m in bed right now recovering and thank God for this website. Until I came here I really was starting to wonder if I was the crazy one!

Gracias, amigos. Amen.


Darlene, you’re totally right, the truth doesn’t require a majority vote. I’ve often been afraid of calling these things out, that someone who shares the “value system” of my mother and sister would suddenly pop up and say they were actually right and tell me I look stupid to bring this up, that it’s normal and I’m the one who’s wrong. But not only is there no one in my life who would say that, I guess it shouldn’t matter so much if there was a deluded stranger out there who would try to defend my family. The bigger picture, the bigger context shows they couldn’t possibly be right or have a place from which to say those horrible things to or about me. And validating my truth and feelings, and my right to both of those things definitely doesn’t require a set number of people to agree with me first. Thanks.

Michelle, that is a great comeback to your mother’s insane comment/accusation. My mother also liked to ‘steal’ qualities or accomplishments of mine, often to give them to my older brother. She told me once that my brother was a better writer then I am, despite no evidence indicating that since he never wrote anything and I had put a great deal of effort into completing a novel and several other projects. It’s so often just complete nonsense, but back then I also couldn’t find anything to say.

Catherine, thanks. I deleted that chat log after reading through it sent my mind racing so much. Funnily at the time I had inserted it into my journal with the comment that it had been a great discussion. I couldn’t connect at the time with just what she was doing, that she was actually attacking me in the worst possible way when I was so fragile and trying so hard. Shame and self-blame were so familiar to me back then. But now I see it for the poison it was, and that’s great!


My soon to be ex husband used to tell me “you are so messed up and so much of a pain, there’s no other guy out there that would stay with you”. Or “do you know how much you’ve hurt me through the years? I’m empty because of you. You have no friends. Everybody leaves you including me.” I have lived my whole entire life trapped in the claws of narcissists. Their number one priority was to demolish me so they could shine in their fabricated glory. My father, my husband, my mother, they all pushed me into the darkness and made it look like it was my fault. You’re stupid, you have issues, I’m tired of your crap. You’re impossible and you will never be pleased because you’re borderline. It never ends. I had lost my voice in childhood, I lost my identity before I could even get one for the fear of being smarter than my dad. He was the puppeteer, the ring leader, the director of the play. We were just his tokens whom he carefully and strategically placed on the board that was our lives. Being a witness of all this manipulation and not being able to express it verbally made me feel powerless. So I taught myself another language. The language of pain by self mutilating.


This is such an insightful article….one I can relate to well because of growing up in a family where my ” mom” was the narcissistic adult who groomed me to believe that I was much less than almost everyone , and convinced me that my world had to revolve around hers. She actually had everyone racing around and walking on eggshells to try to make her happy and keep her calmed down. I lived to try to figure out how to adjust myself for others in order to survive too.I was as compliant as I possibly could be for a child, and learned early on not to go to my parents for help or suggest things or to make waves. Of course that didn’t happen 100 percent of the time, so “mom” always punished and got me into big beatings from my dad. As it is today, I more and more am understanding how much of myself I had to deny and how little I ever thought of myself as being of any worth at all. My thinking was trained to be all about worrying and hoping to please the woman who would never be happy or pleased for any length of time. Her self soothing techniques were to vent on ppl around her, to control them, and to go shopping…..and to do and have everyone around her do whatever she wanted them to. I haven’t had any contact with her for about two years or so at this point and I am really coming into an understanding of what equality in relationships vs. hovering around a narcissist and sacrificing myself and my internal life . I now can actually say that I want equality more and more in ANY relationship. I feel guilty saying this, but I have begun to feel anger again at how unfairly people will sometimes try to control, manage and how they try so hard to always get attention and have control. I see this now in so many places …in public, in families, in friends and even with my husband from time to time.
I have always had some anxiety as long as I can remember. I have never been treated for it. Tonight in a discussion with my husband, I allowed myself to be vulnerable and to admit to having anxiety about the christmas party in three weeks that his company has every year. I dread these holiday parties in an irrational way, I know, but it hits me every single year. He is the GM so he actually plans and executes the party for the owner of the company. Me not going is tricky, and I feel the pressure to conform and comply. I actually grew up going to so many of these formal events that on one hand I am comfortable, but the social tension and dread I have throw me into terrible anxiety. My husband does not know what to say, he doesn’t act compassionate and instead, tonight, he became angry and said now HE doesn’t want to go….he hadn’t been thinking about it, but now he hates the thought , but that I shouldn’t go! It was horrible having him raise his voice and put a guilt trip out there. I am into equality now, so I told him that he wasn’t helping me, he wasn’t compassionate, and in fact, he had made it worse by what he just said. I don’t have a balance yet in these situations,but I was not going to be treated as though my feelings didn’t count….like I always used to. I am sick of being treated like I am less than, and it has taken me a lifetime to get to this point and I am not quitting no matter how difficult the situation feels at the moment! We have not resolved our tiff, but I at least am learning to listen to MY body…which was shaking and my breathing was weird etc etc….in a way I never did until this year, and I am giving myself a voice….even if it upsets the other person. My husband can be the sweetest guy, but even he has so e narcissistic tendencies…and that makes me angry. I feel for everyone here who has suffered because of self serving, narcissistic ppl! Now I want to stomp THEM down!


When I reread what I posted, I realized that something I wrote didn’t come out clearly. When I wrote that “I am comfortable” at events….what I meant is that I am able be in the environment and know what to say and what to do and I am able to pretend that I am comfortable on the one hand, but in reality, I FEEL the anxiety . No one can guess …which is probably the main reason my husband doesn’t take me seriously about this.


I liked your comment, “The Truth doesn’t require a majority vote”. I can relate to that. Just because others don’t See my FOO are NPD, doesn’t mean that they are not. I know they are. There are many examples of their mean behavior. I was made to feel less than & mistreated for my so called sensitivities. I was called “too sensitive”, when the put downs & control tactics were directed towards me. The focus was about me adapting to their way & I have to say I believed that for yaers. Thinking that my anxiety & depressions were proof that I was the problem, when in reality, they were symptoms of abuse. I’m far from crazy. Just recently, I was diagnosed with PTSD, which I believe I’ve had since a childhood. I had to be a survivor and I continued to be my own person. I’ve never the one to cast the popular vote. I’ve always had my own compass per say, despite being looked down on. I have come to realize I have a core sense of self that has sustained me & given me strength. Also, my Faith in God.I have genuinely wanted to make a difference in my life working with others’in need & in many ways I have been able to do that. I’m my own person and embracing that now, after really looking at the Truth of my false beliefs about myself. NPD people look through sick eyes, based on their false beliefs of reality. My FOO does not see me as I trully am with strengths & weaknesses.

I was conditioned to be fearful. My anxiety was real, because my fear was real. The anxiety of what will happen next in my FOO. They taught me to be fearful of others to take the focus off of them. In reality, most people outside of my FOO have treated me better, in regards to my feelings. I’m speaking up & feeling my strength these days and it feels good! I feel like I’ve been brain washed & just Seeing Myself & the World in a more Truthful Light.
Thanks for this Post. You always get me thinking on a deeper level 🙂


@Catherine, Darlene

“Narcissism is a trait, like others. It doesn’t make someone a bad person.”

“It is really important to remember that this site is about validating the damage caused by others. The damage cause”

Narcissism is not an on/off thing. In some people it can be mild, in others it can be strong. Strong Narcissists can be very dangerous people – I’ve been badly burned by one myself. For a strong narcissist the best thing you can do is stay well away.

A weaker narcissist can be the center of attention at a party – they might be fun to be around. Or they might be the Debbie Downer who is always sick or sad.

If you are being sucked into their world it might be best to steer clear.


I struggle with this every day. Even though I understand the abuse from my entire family and have cut off most all contact, I still feel like a lesser human being, like I don’t belong on earth. I get caught up in being bitter towards society. I was laid off of my job last year where I worked very hard and literally clawed my way out of being raised in poverty only to find myself working a shitty customer service job that makes me feel even worse about myself. I am struggling right now. This post reminds me that none of this crap is my fault outside of the poor decisions I’ve made by being completely uninformed in the past, but my situation in life right now feels like a relentless opression to make me think I am worthless. I don’t know what to do with my brain to get through each day without feeling like I’m being punished for some freakishly unrealistic thing my mind may conjure up. I am so tired of being rejected.


Hi Celine
The things that have been said to you are such typical lies said by abusive people designed to tear your down. What kind of people say such mean and hurtful things? You never had a voice in childhood. And we take this out on ourselves in so many ways (as you said you did via self mutilating) because these bullys are so good at making us accept our un-worth. But they are liars. They are only projcting on to us the way that they feel about themselves.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Diane
I can relate to this too. The more aware I became the more I was aware of how social events made me nervous. For me it was about no longer disociating and the anxiety was about not having “an escape” if I needed one. Sometimes I was afraid of what I might say. (because today I am a pretty outspoken person and if someone brings up stuff like bullying for instance, I will quickly say that it doesn’t start with kids. Parents don’t really like that and it doesn’t make for polite party talk so I was afraid of the new me, uncomfortable with the ‘new me’. )
I think sometimes when that anxiety came up that all I wanted is for someone to understand that I was dreading going and it wasn’t that I wanted anyone to let me off the hook (like it may have come accross) but just someone to say “ya.. sometimes those things are really tough and I can understand the anxiety”. Just someone to hear me and understand.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sonia (SMD)
You said “they taught me to be fearful. My anxiety was real, because my fear was real”. This is profound because the way these people communicate and teach fear IS the way that they control. It is their vehicle. It is tactical and part of the grooming process. They teach fear of others so that you will not be ‘enlightened by others’ since you will not trust anyone long enough to listen to anyone esle. This is a huge part of the grooming process in many dysfunctional families. by the way all, this really has nothing to do with Narcissism. It has to do with power and control. Not all families that do this are narcissistic.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Bobby
I still am not clear about what you are communicating in relation to this post. This article is not actually about narcissism, but about how easy it is for victims to accept blame because of the ways that they are taught and communicated to. Understanding narcissism isn’t part of the solution in fact it can just be a rabbit trail leading away from the solution. I think your comment that it doesn’t make someone a bad person sounded like you were writing in defense of narcisssim and that is why I asked for clarity.
Thanks, Darlene


Hi Alice
It was so important for me to stay close to the truth about how all this happened. There was a tough and dark time where I wasn’t sure that I would ever believe in myself. The clarity was brutal and didn’t set me free at first at all. The clarity was exhausting and depressing but I stuck with my work and it paid off. The most difficult thing for me was re-defining myself.
Hang in there!
Hugs, Darlene


This has switched on a major lightbulb for me today.

“Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence and self-esteem into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal”

That’s it exactly – I’ve resisted the whole being urged to get higher self esteem and self confidence for as long as I can remember.

Much as it made sense I couldn’t take it on at a soul level because (I realise now) my belief was that, to be confident about myself, to give value to my opinions, feelings and all the rest of it would mean being an unbearable, overblown ‘look at meeeee, aren’t great’ ‘noooo, look at meeeee’ type of person.

Now I suddenly realise that’s mainly because I have known/know so many narcissists in my life (who do and did put themselves on a pedestal) that I thought that’s what valuing yourself meant (and looked and sounded like)

Whenever someone says to me ‘you just need to have more confidence and know that you’re great at x,y,z’ I always used to be baffled as to how on earth I was supposed to arrive at that belief unless someone (anyone) else either told me first or agreed with me (not sure how they’d have agreed with me though since I don’t think I’ve ever voluntarily gotten my light out from under its bushel)

I realise now I was convinced that I would be completely deluded and be putting myself on a pedestal if I valued anything about myself that had not first been confirmed by at least two other people
(voluntarily and completely unprompted otherwise it still didn’t count)

Realise this is a bit incoherent, just needed to get this down to make sure the lightbulb stays on 🙂


Hi R.
I hope everyone reads your comment! (# 27)
Every so often I publish a post when I still have this ‘feeling’ that something is missing from it. You just filled in that missing blank. I have written a lot about how I went to almost any length to avoid being anything like my mother ~ including not ever putting myself first and when I work with my clients there is always a break through moment when they too discover that they avoid certain healthy things that remind them of some unhealthy part of an abuser that they don’t want to be like. And it takes all kind of examples to hightlight how that happens!

What you are saying is so important! The example that you use here in really brilliant. If we ‘think and believe’ that abusers had high self esteem and confidence, then why on earth would we seek to heal OUR self esteem!
Thank you so much for highlighting this example! I hope that everyone reads it because it. In order to be set free from my fear of self esteem I had to realize why those fears were there.
Thank you for posting this light bulb moment!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene. It’s difficult to see my own self-worth when everything around me seems to tell me I’m worthless, and it doesn’t help one bit that I was raised to believe this about myself.

And R – this is totally a big part of it. I am terrified of being my mother so much that it gives me nightmares. I once even had a nightmare that I was her. It was awful. It’s like every single time I tell myself to have confidence I find a way to doubt myself. I am also afraid of being a failure, so sometimes I just don’t try. It’s like a vicious circle that I get caught up in and it holds me back. I can’t seem to think I have any value unless I hear it from others, and even then there is a voice in the back of my head telling me they’re wrong.

I’ve gotten away from my family so I don’t have to endure the bullshit anymore, but I am still struggling with how to deal with this kind of behaviour in others. I have met some very unhealthy people in places of work where I have no choice but to endure, and I am trying to figure out how to cope with it without letting it get to me.


Thanks for your comment & for pointing out that all dysfunctional famililes use power & control tactics, and it’s just not Narcissism. My family is dysfunctional for sure, with the power & control tactics. It’s not a functional & loving family in the true sense of the word. I usually say that, “they love me in their way”, which fits the dysfunctional word.
BTW, comment #27 is insightful especially the part when R. says, “I’ve resisted the whole being urgered to get higher self esteem & self confidence for as long as I can remember.” I have done & find myself doing this automatically. I have the fear that if I feel good about myself, I will be seen as conceited & above others. I’ve been called that when I’ve shown confidence in myself & that hurts. I truly don’t see myself as any better, it’s been more the opposite with self doubt & second guessing myself, as opposed to other’s warped perceptions. Healthy self esteem comes from liking yourself without putting yourself or anyone else on a pedestal. I’ve found myself putting certain people on a pedastal, usually perceived competent, authority figures. Just because someone is in higher position, does not make them any better. I learned that with some former bosses alright. They were abusive in their control & misuse of power. Similar to my family..lightbulb inserted here….I’m happy for you R. in your hard work & insight! You are healthier than the abusers, since you can SEE the dysfunction. I recently, realized that although I’ve been sick with anxiety & depression most of my life, that does not mean I’m weak or dysfunctional like my FOO. I know the true meaning of Love and that does not include power & control!


Oooops….I meant to say R not J in comment #30. I think there is another person here named J, so a bit of confusion on my part. Sorry….


Hi Sonia,
I edited it for you! Great additions to this post in your comments to R. Thanks!
Hugs, Darlene


What you said “It’s difficult to see my own self-worth when everything around me seems to tell me I’m worthless, and it doesn’t help one bit that I was raised to believe this about myself” is exactly what we are dealing with and is the biggest process in overcoming that default thinking mode.
Hugs, Darlene


I’ve been dealing with way too many N behaviors in my life, especially in the last few years. I suspect I was groomed for it, too—with the abuse I received from my FOO as a child, & teenager.

It’s only recently dawned on me that I have a knee-jerk reaction to accept & internalize blame & criticism, without thinking it all the way through, first.

One of the more insidious aspects of accepting devaluing & blame, is that a lot N’s have a knack for adding a kernel of truth to their missives. (which is what happened with me)

That one, small kernel of truth turned into a whole big bowl of popcorn. (blown hugely out of proportion)–both in my former N friend’s view, AND my own.

She was criticizing & condemning me for being upset & angry “all the time” according to her. She even went so far to issue a dire warning that I would alienate everyone, and end up alone.

I did have things I was upset about at the time, but I hadn’t been sharing them with her, as she was going through a huge crisis herself, and I’d been supporting her emotionally, without expecting reciprocity. (so, I was understandably drained by being “the infallible rock” after almost a year of playing that role, & helping with her needs)I’d had a falling out with a different close friend, six months earlier, but I didn’t share it with my N friend, because I didn’t want to burden her with “my stuff”.

So–there was the kernel of truth.I mistakenly assumed N friend would understand *why* I was upset, and have some compassion & empathy. Feeling relieved that she’d finally noticed *my* emotional state–and thinking it was finally my turn for some airtime (also thinking maybe she’d begun to heal from her own stuff to see past the end of her own nose)I told her that I’d fallen out with the other friend.I was expecting to be comforted.

I barely got that sentence out, and she pounced on it—“See?See? I TOLD you so…You’re losing friends already…….” (

(all spoken with a “look how messed up YOU are tone)

I hadn’t even explained what had happened with the other friend –(nor was I going to go into detail, and disparage my other former friend–I had enough respect for the years of friendship, not to do that to her….)

So–without one iota of detail, about what had transpired, my N friend instantly assumed *I* must have been in the wrong. I had an inkling that she’d been building a case against me for awhile—she was mad that I warned her about getting involved with a man I knew to be an emotional abuser. So she seized that tidbit, and decided it helped to “prove her point”.

The heartbreaking thing was, I bought into it for awhile.I’d lost one friend of many years, & I was losing another–so it must have meant that I was unlovable, and too damaged, and that my feeling were a burden to everyone. Plus–it was coming from someone I considered to be a close, dear friend.

It took a long time to step back, and really, really look closely at the dynamics that were at work—and shake off the projection that had happened. I had to realize that a true friend wouldn’t be so quick to condemn me, without even allowing me to speak. There was a few other phone calls , when she called me, and started talking AT me, instead of WITH me, and I was left with the distinct feeling that she was reading from a rehearsed script.Of course, when it was my turn to speak, she had to end the phone call out of time. I finally realized that she was inventing a narrative that suited her emotional needs—and my input was irrelevant. What a complete mind f*ck t was.


Hi Darlene

All my life I’ve been in survival mode, barely able to make eye contact in public (in case people see the ‘real’ bad me I guess), trying always to please them, and if they have a problem with me they are right and I am wrong. It stems from this deep down feeling of badness in me—it’s hard to admit, but this feeling of badness gets to where I think I’m evil or the devil himself and that I will go to hell when I die. This has caused me a lot of distress and I wonder if feeling such a degree of badness is normal?

Here is what I struggle with—that I’m the ‘exception to the rule’, that yes other survivors deserve healing and are essentially good but NOT me. Perhaps this just tells me how ingrained my sense of badness is.

I have no choice but to work to heal or to die. My entire life has been greatly diminished due to childhood. It hurts so much to see the extent of the damage, but inside I feel, to get better I have to face this. Essentially I have been in hibernation since about 15. And I have thought that this was because I am weak, bad, unmotivated, etc.

I remember last year I took a form in to my doctor, he had to write a brief description of my condition. He said I had PTSD, that “poor motivation was witnessed frequently”. That sentence struck me and inside angered me. I have done nothing but fight and struggle inside all my life. All my life I’ve been hanging on refusing to let go of life and he says I have no motivation.

One of the biggest albatrosses around me is that my parents must have known me better than anyone, they were my parents after all. Last night I sat down and a thought struck me, “How could these people have known me when they didn’t even know themselves?”

So I took a piece of paper and wrote down everything I knew about my parents early lives. Almost all of it was negative and traumatic. I know little about my mother’s early life and all of it is negative. Both rarely talked about their pasts and never got any help because such a thing was ‘shameful’ to do.

I didn’t do this to excuse their behaviour because there is no excuse. They made choices, and always the easiest ones for themselves. They were self-centred and never considered their children’s specific needs, or their needs as individuals. For example, we never got dental care at all even though my Dad had dental insurance, because they wore dentures and didn’t need that care themselves.

The feeling from my parents was that they had been through so much crap in their lives before, now as parents they got to be ‘king of the mountain’. Everything centred around their needs. And we were extensions of them, not individuals. Dad took the third bedroom for his drugs, food, porn and whatever stashes he had, me and my sister shared a room, and we always shared a bed, right up til I left home at 22, and my sister was still at home at 30.

So when I wrote down all their background, and how we never had much contact with extended family, who basically avoided us, I did it to remind myself, my parents didn’t have a clue about THEMSELVES as people, how could they have any insight into me? They didn’t want to know who I was, they showed no interest. They knew what books and food I liked, etc, but not who I was as a person. They never talked about or asked me about my dreams, what I wanted to be. They never talked about our futures, except in regards to having grandkids for them. They never asked about our opinions on anything.

If they didn’t know themselves and never tried to know me as an individual, how can they be so right about me? If I wasn’t an individual in their eyes I had to be reflections of them. When I became a teenager and got outwardly angry at the way things were, that’s when they started to pathologize me big time, calling me weak and sick in the head.

I didn’t see it then, but what I was doing was healthy. I was expressing myself as an individual. Even the drinking, I had to get out of that madness somehow. But sick people aren’t going to accept health when they don’t want to make changes or really look at themselves. They were in no way ever going to look at themselves honestly, so they had to turn me into the sick one. I was threatening the way things were.

Now I am 48 and only in the last few months have I realized what is in my head is their teaching. I am starting to feel really angry at the time lost, the opportunities lost because I have internalized their sick, distorted views of myself. I cannot do anything about that time gone. I can only show compassion for myself and start the work of healing so that I reclaim the rest of my life. I have been beat down and downtrodden all my life and I have had enough. I want my place at the banquet of life. It’s going to take a lot of work, but it’s so worth it, rescuing myself, finally getting to know ME.


There are total strangers who would actually defend your family. Every so often I get comments that tell me I am wrong, and they defend my family. There are people out there who think sexually abuseing children is not abuse, but a parental right. There are people who believe that children ask for whatever they get and that they are the cause of most problems. That is the sick world we live in. And all these people are speaking about THEIR lives. They are truth leaking their own sickness. It isn’t that they don’t understand or even that they believe we are wrong; it is that they can’t stand to face what ever lurks in the darkness of thier own minds and belief systems. I had to cement that truth so firmly in my mind in order to overcome my desire to prove ‘my truth’ and move to just knowing that I never have to prove anything. I know what happened. I spent hours and months and even years researching definitions of abuse and the laws about neglect etc. to ‘prove to myself’ that I was right and ‘they’ were wrong and all of that had to be applied to validating myself so that I could be free. It took awhile and it was continual evaluation of where my default mode of thinking comes from that set me free in the end.
Thanks for your fantastic comments.
Hugs, Darlene


Nodding away in agreement with everyone. The conceited impulse when thinking good things about myself has always been very strong. And accompanied by a vicious voice asking me in a scathing tone ‘who do you think you are you arrogant cow” which then sets off a stream of self criticism to ‘prove’ how wrong I really am to get any ideas ‘above my station’

Won’t be long now before the present tense of the negative messages will be past tense and how I used to think and react.

Was also chewing over the very true point of how abusers are such experts at deflecting the responsibility for their actions immediately back onto the victim.

I never really thought about it as clearly as that.

Whenever I think of speaking up for myself all i can hear is the person i need to sort out a problem with asking ‘but what about you? ‘you do xyz and abc so you have absolutely no right to critise me’

Basically the message I seem to have gotten was that I can never voice any unhappiness with anything anyone or anything unless I’m ‘squeaky clean’ myself. Pretty impossible really isn’t it.

And the thing is, I can honestly say that I’ve never sought to annihilate the person I have a problem with, all I’ve ever been interested in is honest conversation and finding a resolution. The complete opposite to my abusers and the narcs still around me where it all seems to be about winning at any cost.

Incredible! Needless to say I think I will be turning this subject over in my mind very thoroughly for a while.


Hi Twinkles
YAY for taking a step back and seeing this through a new grid of understanding! That IS the process! Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Doren
I can assure you that I felt exactly the same way re your first 2 paragrahps. This is actually common! It is part of the brainwashing and grooming process that we have been though. I might write a new post about it using your first two paragraphs as the jumping off place.

I got angry too when I read what your Dr. said too. “poor motivation”… jeeze.. and you know it is because so few professionals are willing to shine the flashlight on the family or the roots of where these disorders originate, that they say stuff like that. More judgement and more devaluing defining of the individual is heaped on to the alreay devastated individual!

GREAT work on the parent stuff. Thanks for sharing!
Hugs Darlene


There are so many comments that I want to comment on! Twinkles, you are definitely not alone about the way you were raised and your lop-sided friendships! It is so difficult to stop and not do a “knee-jerk reation” to situations when you have been thrown under the bus by N. people and were raised to feel you are less than! I think that N. people LOVE to throw out and project onto others in their lives that statement”you are angry all of the time”. My family did that to me until one day I woke up and realized that I wasnt the one angry. I was actually finding more and more to be happy about in my life and I did have some healthy relationships, etc….but THEY were the ones who were angry every other time I talked to them…and THEY were chronically unhappy. Also, if I was acting happy they would call me “fake”. All of the labels that N. people use are amazing! I loved what you said about stepping back and looking at the dynamics in your friendship(s). I had to realize the same thing…that there were a LOT of “friends” who were simply takers…wanting me to listen, comfort, do for, but whenever I would try to share my life, they would have to get off the phone or get going. So unfair and lopsided!I am brand new at this, but when I see it, I dont put up with that and it has caused a few waves with ppl, but just to encourage you…if there is real love and friendship there, your friend will come around…and with a healthier respect for you and your feelings and life. I recently had a friend that I had that same dynamic with …and as I began to change how I related to her, she backed away because she wasnt at all used to me in the “new way”…but now she is calling me frequently and it is a give and take relationship. She truly listens and gives me the same respect that I have always given her. I still have others that I havent dealt with yet, but I can only do this one at a time right now! It is so freeing! One big thing that I have changed…that was ingrained in me by my parents way of treating me and expecting me to behave…is that I dont aplogize and explain myself…why I think or behave a certain way. THEY dont, so why should I? I have one friend who is very sweet, but when she gets unhappy, she tends to become passive-aggressive with me and she will make little jabbing comments about something I wear or something I did or something I said, and it is a sweet put-down…I always ended up doing the knee jerk reaction and would begin to explain myself while she “laughed” or made another sweet, but sarcastic put down remark. Now I know exactly how to get her to stop that with me because I question her. I turn it around on her and ask her “what do you mean?” and if she says something sarcastic, I will say, “so you think that is funny?” and I keep throwing the ball back into her court. If it gets really weird, I say, “are you unhappy today?…you seem like it”…and that always ends it because she is! She admitted recently that she even feels jealous sometimes..and she has never said that to me before in nearly 30 years. I am new at this, so it takes practice, but it actually is working! I totally relate to you on this issue!


Hi R
Another extreemly valuable insight ~ thank you for sharing this: “Was also chewing over the very true point of how abusers are such experts at deflecting the responsibility for their actions immediately back onto the victim”.
and then this: “Basically the message I seem to have gotten was that I can never voice any unhappiness with anything anyone or anything unless I’m ‘squeaky clean’ myself. Pretty impossible really isn’t it”.
I had to think about ‘who’ taught me that I had to be perfect before I could judge for myself about abuse from others and HOW I was taught that message.
Great comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Catherine Todd said:” I am so sick of bad behavior being constantly and automatically excused.”

This was the absolute way I lived in my N dysfunctional family. Anything my N father did no matter how awful was tactfully forgotten. He got a free pass to any kind of destructive abusive behavior he did. He
was never called to account by anyone. And if he felt he had to justify himself than his behavior was my mother’s fault because…(fill in the blank, it doesn’t need to make sense.)
If, however any of us did anything “wrong” than it was brought up over and over and over again. We were
the worst people in the world next to his perfection.
Thinking back, even as a young child I knew he was dangerous, violent, angry, hot tempered. He literally
did and acted any way he wanted within our house with complete autonomy. And yet he thought he
was a wonderful provider, a good Dad and a good christian. Even as a child I saw this “truth leak”.
I like that term. What he said was very different than his actions.
His behavior was always excused. Narcissists really mess up their children. Growing up in that false system was all I knew. I have always excused any bad behavior towards me by others. I learned very young not to have a voice. I learned to never speak up. That I had no right to say no, complain, or ask for fair treatment. THat’s what growing up in the Goss family did to me.
Thanks for listening.


Diane—thank you SO much for the validation of my experience.
I’m glad to hear you were able to preserve your old friendships, with healthier dynamics in place. The passive-aggressive stuff is so hard to deal with—because they’re not being straightforward about what they’re really feeling.I used to fall into the ‘explaining myself’ trap, too. (You did a great job of describing that, BTW. )What an epiphany it is,to learn that we don’t owe anyone an explanation (or an apology, OR a justification) for what we think & feel & decide for ourselves. I remember feeling gobsmacked when that realization hit me.

In my case, the earth has been too badly scorched to ever return to the N friendship. Sadly, and infuriatingly.

In true N fashion–my former N friend launched a smear/distortion campaign against me. I just didn’t get the memo,until almost a year later.So, I was laboring under the delusion that we still had a friendship of sorts—unaware that I was being defamed & disparaged in my absence, along with anything personal I’d ever shared with her becoming fodder for gossip in the wider social circle.I can’t get past the fact that she would be friendly to my face, and ask me for favors—at the same time she was talking me down. I was still bringing her plates of food when she was sick.She even tried to turn my SO against me. I swear, you can’t make this stuff up—it’s mind-boggling.So, I can’t imagine ever feeling emotionally safe with her again.

It’s been a year since I found this out, and I’m still feeling the pain,shock,anger,injustice, and deep betrayal. It really pulled the rug out from under me. I learned to expect this kind of behavior from various FOO members–but I assumed my friendships would be safe, considering she was someone I chose to have in my life. So I got blindsided by this.

The bright side of this very dark cloud has been that it shined a spotlight on my old wounds that needed to be addressed—the truth was, I had very poor boundaries, and not a very strong grasp of what constituted ‘normal’ or healthy behaviors.(thanks to my FOO) When my N friend played victim, and complained about other people, or subtly put them down behind their backs—I never saw the red flag that it was. I certainly never expected to be in the crosshairs, myself.Now I look back at all the times she griped about others, and wonder how much of it was actually true……. And I do feel ashamed now–that I’d allowed my opinion of others to be influenced by that. In the future, I hope to be be far more discerning—and I hope I’ll recognize triangulation when it’s happening.

It’s uncanny how we can end up attracting people into our lives that end up mirroring what we grew up with. And replaying the same relationship dynamics, over and over again. (until we put on our “new glasses” and start seeing things more deeply)

Ever forward–and on to healthier relationships! (and greater self-awareness) 😉


P.S. “Equal Value” IS the missing link in my relationship with FOO. It occurred to me the other day that I’ve come to a place where I need to communicate this to my brother in particular. I’ve been contemplating writing a letter to my parents, however, it’s more clear to me that it’s my brother & his wife that are the issue last year in my children & I being shunned at Christmas. When I confronted this, I was the one who offended them. So backwards!…So, I will write a concise, effective & self respecting letter to my brother regarding the incident, how it made me feel, & that I’m open to a equal & mutual relationship. I’ve needed to say this for so long, just didn’t know how. First my s-i-l, falsely accused my husband of hurting their kids, he was humiliated & then she brought my parents into it(triangulation).
I had the right to be Angry. My feelings are justified & understandable. My parents bought into the accusations. My father has come around to seeing my husband & I, when it involves the kids. My mom goes along, yet still expects me to keep in contact. It’s has not been mutual. I’ve done what was expected of me most of my life, although I chose a different path in helping others in the work that I’ve done. I’m feeling a strong desire & need to write that letter. I can predict & expect it will not be received well, despite how respectful & assertive I may be. This will Hurt, however I’m will be doing it for me & my Self Respect regardless of the outcome. I’m not buying into their way of relationship anymore!…As with my parents, I may do the same yet want to tackle my s-i-l & brother first & see how I feel. It will be hard to let go of their rejection of me, yet I’ve already been rejected/shunned. I just know I have to do this for My healing…This feels right to me! I know I’ll have doubts & second guess myself, however, I can’t let the fear hold me back. It’s time to do something. Wow!…I’m feeling empowered today…Think it has something to do with this post LOL


Hi Sonia
So many times I have thought about having trouble with ‘pending rejection’ only to realize that I had been rejected by my family for years. It does hurt to be disregarded when we are trying to actually sort something out. Sometimes I think about how crazy it is; and it is as though no matter what, I am always the one that is or was wrong and no matter what I got punished either way so standing up for myself and drawing a boundary really just put a stop to that crap. It was painful but it wasn’t any different that all the other times I had been ‘shut up’ and disregarded.
Thank you for sharing, keep us posted!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Karen
My brother called a couple of months ago. He had been reading my blog and called because I re-printed some email between my sister, my daughter and myself. Although he was pretty neutral and seemed to understand and validate my right to speak and he didn’t say that I was wrong, he said some things to try to get me to understand. As though I should just accept them the way they were, (our parents) because they were not going to change. They were too old to change. (so?? that isn’t my problem) And I can’t help but think that he is just dismissing their behaviour the way that I had learned to. There was so much about ‘no right to complain, say no, or ask for fair treatment’ in the relationship that I had with my parents ~ your comments reminded me of all this..
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks so much Darlene, I needed to hear that about other survivors feeling this way about being ‘bad’. It has really caused me wretched pain to get down to these feelings of badness in me. I have feared for what awaits me, I have thought that someone or thing is having a cruel joke on me in life, and I’ve also battled feelings that this is all a dream, or I am real, others aren’t real, just cosmic senses of reality that always mean I’m in for it. This has intensified in the last couple of years. I like to think maybe this is me getting more and more to the root of the ‘bad’ message, and it just feels overwhelming.

I was also raised in a Catholic home by parents who got angry at me for not attending church when they didn’t go either. They didn’t talk about God except in ways of condemnation. They kept a crucifix on the living room wall and pornographic material in the dining room and living room bookcases, I think it warped me. My young mind couldn’t put these two together but nobody said anything or pointed that out, and they still haven’t to this day. My sister has the dining room bookcase in her home today full of knick-knacks and it always reminds me.

I cannot whitewash things this way and for that have been labelled the problem—for not being ‘mature’ and letting it go. I know my sister needs to handle things this way. But because she needs to make things ‘normal’ I must be pathologized again, in her mind. I’ve actually bought into this on a deep level until now because it hurts me so much to see the damage done her, that I have rathered been complicit in the family’s ‘truth’. But I cannot take on all this blame and shame and sickness anymore. She still casts me as the angry one when I feel lots of unstated anger from her, her conversation is full of f this and that all the time, never used to be. That’s ok but my feelings continue to be invalidated.

As I wrote last night about my parents’ own traumatic pasts, I tried not to have that excuse what they did. I’ve heard people say that the difference is, today we have more knowledge and understanding of child abuse, so, you know, give them more of a ‘break’. But there have always been good parents, even ‘back then’, who chose not to do this stuff. And with all this awareness there remains many abusive families. So, it comes down to being a choice. There’s some deeply inbedded cultural conditioning that says give parents the free-est pass. Gee, wonder where a lot of that came from.

And as you say Darlene, it doesn’t matter how wounded they were, the damage is done. Nobody goes around excusing what a serial killer did because his mother lit his shorts on fire every day, you know? Nobody asks those survivors to focus on that. I’ve been so damaged and need to focus on me. I’ve been ignoring me for a long long time, just like they did. I am also beginning to learn that the only truth I need follow is mine, that I am not before anyone else, and that I’ve been on the ball the whole time but never felt secure enough in myself.



I can really relate to what R, Twinkle, and others have shared about these abusive relationships. My family was also extremely eager to shove something back in my face if I ever revealed an emotion or a problem with someone else. They were perpetually scanning through what I said looking for anything they could point out as a supposed “hypocrisy,” often without even letting me finish my sentences or bothering to ask if they were correct about what I really meant. Yet at the same time, they lived by a different set of rules (they didn’t have to be perfect!), where they were allowed to vent about whatever without feeling self-conscious.

Darlene, thanks, you’re right, there are so many people like that in the world. I think my issue has been that I’ve been so exposed to the ones who would defend and excuse all manner of parental abuse so many times that I internalized some fear of their voices popping up in front of me again. Like I became afraid to validate myself and speak my full truth after seeing these people attack others for doing the same. Perhaps I’m actually afraid to get close to some people because they might wind up betraying and judging me like so many have in the past.



This topic is one that resonates with me on so many levels. I was raised by a Narcissistic mother and Enabling father. And yes, I was accused of being the Narcissist! Over the years, I became convinced that I was indeed the problem. I was labelled as selfish, spiteful, callous, hardhearted, malicious and thoughtless. I was in fact NONE of these things, while strangely enough, my mother was ALL of them!She did what all Ns do – she projected her own crap onto others. I was definitely groomed to revere my mother unquestioningly, by both her and my father, and to see myself as always being the one at fault. And of course, it left the door wide open for other abusers. As the years went by, whenever I encountered a Narc, I subconciously “snapped back” into compliance. I was abused for decades by N partners, friends, bosses, etc. This perpetuated my belief that I was the problem, that I was doing something to “make” people behave that way. And yes, I was the common denominator, insofar as having been trained into high tolerance of abusive, inappropriate behaviour. Narcs picked up on this and targeted me, because I was easy supply for them.
From very early childhood, I was trained to believe that the only reason I was on this earth was to meet my mothers needs. I was NOT here to be a unique individual, I was NOT here to have hopes, dreams, goals and ambitions of my own, and I was NOT here to be happy. When I was 10/11 years old, my father told me – “Your mothers happiness should be the only thing that matters to you. Doing what she wants you to do, should be your top priority.” Another case of projection. His happiness depended completely on being my mothers doormat. This bullshit was to severely damage and wound me spiritually, emotionally and psycologically. Anyone who has tried to make a Narc happy will know that it is an impossibility. They dont want you to get anything right, they want you to be “in the wrong”, so that they can demean and criticise you, in order for them to feel superior. For years I tried harder and harder to get it right with the Ns in my life, jumping through more and more hoops, being nicer and nicer, more compliant, more subservient. Trying to please people with mental health issues dosent work! And Im sorry, but Narcissism DOES turn those afflicted with it into bad people! It can cause them to behave in unbelievably cruel, destructive and damaging ways. It can have devastating, longterm effects, especially on the children who are unfortunate enough to be in their less than tender loving care. I am a living testimony to this. Thankfully I woke up, and started to heal.
Love to all, Sylvia xxx


Doren….I can relate with you on many issues! The feeling of the word “bad” was that I felt like a “freak”. I only shared that one time with my youngest brother years ago and I was at the bottom of the barrel emotionally and he didnt know how to take it of course, or what to say, but that was the honest truth I had never spoken out loud…that I looked and felt like a freak…so warped and ugly and weird. I think now as I look back and it makes me angry that I was allowed and even conditioned by my parents to believe that about myself! I have a beautiful daughter and cant even imagine how devestated I would feel if she thought that about herself! To see you write those words makes me believe that you have been through some horrific and traumatic abuse! I also relate with you about being 48 yrs old…I just turned 49…and getting angry for the first time about everything! I wonder if there is something in our age that we reach a certain place emotionally? I dont know, but I can relate! And I was raised Catholic and my father kept porn…not in the living room, but he was the kind of guy to make comments about women in front of me and my “mom” over the years….” I would love to go over and lick her legs” was one tidbit I heard over the years, for example. YUK! I had to go to church and Catholic school and mass and confirmation classes and my parents attended church at the holidays. It is weird mixed messages! And I also relate to you about your parents not knowing YOU…who YOU are as a person. My parents didnt know the real me either…at all! My “mom” attended one of my baby showers that a friend threw for me and I acted more myself around all of my friends, and she couldnt ever get over that “she had never seen me act this way before…or she didnt know that about me” etc…and I was thinking at the time that she DID NOT know ME. That is one huge reason that I cut them off a couple of years ago. They never knew ME and didnt want to! They didnt particularly like me anyway! I feel for you going through this but be encouraged! It is amazingly brave of you to face the truth that your own parents and family have been projecting their crap onto you…and devaluing you….and I think it is equally as difficult to realize that you have been the “normal”, healthier, nicer one instead of the opposite…to realize that you were NOT the angry, bad, horrible person in the family. It isnt easy to realize that truth! It is freeing and can feel like a relief, but it shakes the family pattern up for you and for them! The more you are realizing that you actually do have the right to be happy and that you are healthier than they are is an amazing time! I can also relate with your anger about the doctor’s words….how can he REALLY know? I think sometimes these people just spout things off the top of their head without thinking and are not aware of the impact of their words…and they dont bother to explain and how can you question them?! You sound like a very strong, very motivated person to me!


Sonia (SMD)wrote in #19:

“I have come to realize I have a core sense of self that has sustained me & given me strength. Also, my Faith in God.I have genuinely wanted to make a difference in my life working with others’in need & in many ways I have been able to do that. I’m my own person and embracing that now, after really looking at the Truth of my false beliefs about myself.”

Wonderful, and thank you.


Thanks, Bobby, for the further explanation of narcissistic traits in #20. Makes more sense now.


Alice, #21: This might sound silly or inconsequential, but I work with Mayan Indian artisans at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, in Central America. My husband and I sell their beautiful beadwork to help raise money for education and medical care. I work with the artisans to create the most beautiful designs out of small seed beads, and even though these women live in real poverty, they are so creative and their work is just gorgeous. I get so much positive feedback at the festivals and fairs on the weekends we do that I´m starting to come out of my shell, and think that maybe, just perhaps, I am doing something worthwhile, and therefore AM worthwhile.

Doing anything you really love makes all the difference in the world. Some days I can hardly get out of bed or I can´t sleep all night, my grief and anger and distraught just keeps torturing me so. But I end up on my knees begging God to save me, to help me, to show me The Way. And by morning, I´m still here.

My rejecting family can go right where they belong. Because I know I´m doing something of great value for others, I am learning that I have value too. I hope you can find something you enjoy doing that you can share with others, even if it´s just visiting at an old folk´s home. I taught a gardening glass there and ended up writing down oral history stories for all the old people there and they just loved it and so did I. One old fellow remembered taking the boat out with his father to see the Wright Brothers take off on one of their first airplane flights, in the middle of a raging storm! My time with them was one of the best times in my life.

So like I said, it might sound trite, but it really works. There´s plenty of people out in the world that NEED a helping hand and a smiling face, or just someone who cares about them. And as I care for them, I end up receiving that which I missed so sorely all my life. That which has driven me to this forum, among others. And that grace from giving and receiving is what has kept me alive to this day.

Note “and” receiving. That´s the part I´m learning to do. And it sure wasn´t with my miserable family of origin! But it can be with many more people in this world.

Dear God, please show us The Way.


Dear R #27: well said. I´ve felt that way my entire life, and I´m really good at a lot of things! But what good was / is any of that with a mother and family that hates you? When nothing I ever did or accomplished was ever “good enough?”

So I know exactly how you feel. Now to go finish reading Darlene´s post to see what response she has. Thanks for writing. How are earth are we supposed to magically think highly of ourselves, when we were put down all our life?

For me, it´s been by piecing together the puzzle, and seeing just how many lies my mother told me about myself and told to others about me. She really was a devil in disguise. I ask God to save me and heal old wounds.

“There is no hurt on earth that heaven cannot heal.”

Dear God please show us The Way.

And now on to read the rest of the responses. All this writing and reading is like doing a giant jigsaw puzzle, and I am amazed at the picture that is emerging! Gracias to everyone here and Darlene for this wonderful forum. Changing everything for me… Big Hugs to all!


Doreen #35 wrote:

“I want my place at the banquet of life. It’s going to take a lot of work, but it’s so worth it, rescuing myself, finally getting to know ME.”

How wonderfully and well-put! There are so many gems in this incredible discussion, I feel so lucky to be a part of it all. Thank you Everyone!


Yes…I have always asked myself what did I di wrong whenever something didn’t work out I always would try to think…what did I do now…it’s such an ingrained way of thinking…that it just seems natural to assume your to blame. My parents never apologized for anything…it was they who were above me and we all knew that. Then you go to school and someone doesn’t like you and then their friends also dislike you…and you think we’ll it’s me here. No wonder I always felt so alone in this world cause I just see people hanging up in me whether they are or not…get defensive and attack.
I am happy to report that at age 48 I have come a long way and I try very hard nit to think the worse if people or situations…and it has gotten better since I healed some. Right now a lump in my throat as if I just want to cry but I may not stop… Scares me so I hold it in…I try to find peace in being in solitude. I do have one good friend in life in another country and without her well I don’t think I be here today. I have a good husband and a sweet daughter and two fluffy puppies…I have a roof over my head and food. I need to be thankful for what I have cause I think if I neve met my husband I would of went down some wrong paths if despair and I think bad things would if happened to me.
I love being outdoors and animals and being a mom is a dream I thought was for other people…having a marriage was for others…a college degree was.
I can remember living at home with so much violence and fear and wondering why age 27 was so unwanted…such a failure…yes even with my college degree I still felt so bad about myself. At times I still do. I beat myself up alot. I find fault with myself and my appearance daily. I never got that inner strength that people talk about…and I wonder why not? Then I feel so bad to have this pity party fir myself cause things can be so much worse and then I feel more guilt.


With all the words being used here (like N. and power and control), I have to comment. I have been working with a therapist for just over a year now, and about one year ago I was curled up with a bottle of liquor (the second in a span of an hour or so) on my bathroom floor wishing I wouldn’t ever be able to get back up. It was yet another reaction to my parents’ extremes in trying to control me. I can see now that their extreme measure was due to my unwillingness to submit to their usual ridiculous demands. This was, however, only the beginning.

My therapist has tried again and again to pull me out of the fog, but I wasn’t able to understand and connect the pieces until I found this site only a couple of weeks ago. This, despite the fact that my therapist predicted a year ago all that came to be in the last year. Sometimes I swear I can hear the doors opening in my brain and the puzzle pieces locking into place as I read here.

I have always had a hard time with the N word…sometimes I swore I fit the definition. My mother diagnosed her father about a year before he died, and she cut him out of her life about six months before his death. Recently, I began to wonder if this is what I was seeing in my mom’s behavior, but I was having a hard time reconciling because her behavior was so much different from my grandfather. However, reading Bobbi’s comment about the “woe is me” type, it finally clicked….I have often said that my mother is only in her early 50’s but behaves as if she is dying. When one potential diagnosis, either her own or her physician’s, is ruled out, she goes into a bit of a melancholy until she finds some other “symptom” or excuse (the doctor is an ass), pulls out her trusty 1950’s medical book and starts anew.

The woman was always big on church…another part of the issues I have to deal with…but she hadn’t been in regular attendance for some time. In fact, she had been church-hopping and was in between churches when she fell and broke her leg. Wouldn’t you know, she not only had to go to church every Sunday, but she went back to her original church she had left 10 years prior! Special concessions had to be made to get her out of the house, into the car and then back again…it was a huge production every Sunday. Of course, none of this clicked for me at the time, but I recall thinking…why in the world doesn’t she just skip going to church until she can get around better?

But it doesn’t end there. I was always told little tidbits about her life growing up. I know now it was to make me feel bad for being difficult when I had it so much better than she did. I felt bad about everything…all the time. Even when my cousin fell into a fire pit while we were camping. I cried and cried and felt so guilty…even when I had been in the camper when it happened and all the adults were by the fire ring. When I was 15, I met a boy at a church function who had a home life similar to my mom’s. He and his mom used to love telling me about life with his violent, alcoholic father. That boy raped me when I was 16.

When I was in my 20’s I finally told my mother this. Her response was “I thought that’s what happened.”. Then once, some years later, she said (with no emotion whatsoever), “I feel partially responsible for what happened, but it wasn’t all my fault, you know.”. For the record, I don’t find her to blame for what happened at all, but a little compassion or support would have been nice from my own mother.

She was, however, very angry and upset about the boy who exposed himself to me on the bus every day when I was 13. I told her about this around the same time I told her I’d been raped. This has been brought up frequently, each time with so much anger and resentment. And now I understand why…she would never fail to say, when the subject came up, that she wishes she had known earlier so she could have rubbed his devout christian mother’s nose in it. It was never anger at something horrible having happened to her was about the fact that she never got the chance to take someone else down a rung or two.

As if it is not apparent, I am rather angry. I made the firm decision, along with my husband, that my mother would have no further contact with me or my kids. Very recently, she again pulled the poor me card with my dad, prompting him to say during a conversation with my husband, “…if she doesn’t want to be a part of this family…”. Well, then. I don’t recall having ever said that, nor even thinking it. All I want is to be treated like a human being. To have parents who love and accept me for who I am. To be there for me when I need them and give me the space to do my thing when I don’t. I never said I didn’t want to be part of the family….why would I when I’ve only ever wanted the opposite?


Catherine Todd in comment #51,
Thank You so much!!
I also liked what you said in #53, “that grace from giving & receiving is what has kept me alive today”…profound & true…the give & take isn’t there with dysfunctional people, since it’s not about equal value or mutual respect with them……


Wow Diane, thank you so much for taking the time to write that wonderful supportive post to me. {{{Big hugs to you}}} I am so sorry for what you went through and how your mother never knew is such a loss and this has to be mourned, doesn’t it? It is such a loss when parents don’t see the treasures they’ve been given. I take a lot of inspiration in how you’re firm in no contact, because I still battle guilt not wanting to see my mom. She’s 85 and childlike with dementia but when I see her I cannot forget her past treatment and words. She was usually miserable and totally thoughtless in her words and she would say, “I don’t care about your feelings, I’m the mother”. That was her justification for everything, “I am the mother”. She was a big time shopper too, very materialistic and I so disappointed her when I started to gain weight and it stayed. She was ashamed of me and I really internalized that. She’d tug at my underarm fat and say, “We gotta get rid of that”. When I became a teenager she’d say I ate like two grown men, gesture with her arms out about how big I was, say she was afraid of me. But she was the bully and I began downgrading my appearance severely, partly because I didn’t want to be anything like her. I still do that but want to change.
And she blamed me for what was going on, “If it wasn’t for you we wouldn’t have problems” LOL OMG OK then.
I prayed that the fruit would fall far from the tree, because of that fear I never had children, nor my sister.
Diane, I can also relate to what you say about one-way relationships and having knee-jerk reactions. I’ve usually been an unpaid counsellour and say little about myself because of my poor sense of worth and thinking no one would care anyway. And a lot of people don’t care, but I can work on being more discerning and self-protective, more selective in who I give myself away to. I’ve always thought I had to give and give emotionally or listening wise because that’s being a good ‘spiritual’ person, but my spirit has been neglected in the process. And I catch now how instantly I’m ready to take blame in interactions or readily apologize without thinking things through. You show a lot of strength and determination and your words give me incentive to fight through the big fear of relating to people differently.

I’m sorry about your father’s disgusting comments, that’s gross and abusive. Abuse of this sort comes in all guises and I thought until recently only the physical stuff counted, but that is a violation too.
I have minimized my dad ‘accidently’ exposing himself many times over the years while asleep on the couch because it wasn’t physical but he knew what he was doing and it was a ‘safe’ way to do it. When inappropiate behaviour is presented as ‘funny’ or jokes or accidents that’s really manipulative; only now I’m starting to understand it’s also intentional grooming.

48 seems like a good age to begin the healing! Having talked to my doctor many times, he sees me as ‘unmotivated’ cause I don’t look for a job or go to school. I might do so in the future, but this process before me now is real work in a way he doesn’t understand, unfortunately.

Thanks again for your support Diane, I get a lot from your caring and insightful posts.


And to Catherine, thank you so much as well….

“There is no hurt on earth that heaven cannot heal.”—that is one of my favourite expressions, God bless you


Thank you Sonia and Doren… my real response just disappeared – darn! So we will leave it at that. God bless and good night. You all and everyone here just makes my day(s)!

As Darlene says, Hugs! Catherine Todd



That line reminds me of a hymn.

1. Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish.
come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

2. Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot cure.”

3. Here see the bread of life; waters flowing
forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
earth has no sorrow but heaven can remove.

I used this hymn as the basis of my first musical arrangement in attempts to heal from a religious organization. If I listen to the recording 30 years later, I can still relive the emotions that I felt at the time. Thanks for the reminder!


Hi Jerri
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
I am so glad you are here! I can relate to what you are sharing in your story. When I read that your father said “she doesn’t want to be part of this family” that struck a profound chord with me too. Isn’t that an interesting little manipulative sentence that is used SO often! It is as if they are saying that the fact that you are drawing a boundary, asking to be treated with a little respect and acceptance is somehow proof that you don’t want to be part of the family but the truth is that they don’t want to change and people say stuff like this to deflect off the truth. Imagine speaking the following words back to them; “so because I want to be treated like a human being and to have parents who love and accept me, you have decided that I don’t want to be part of this family! Is that because YOU can’t or won’t treat me any better and you are blaming that on me too?” See how according to them it is always about YOU but it is so obvious that this is about them.
I actually told my mother what I wanted; equal value and mutual respect. That was the last time she spoke to me. Is that about ME or about HER? Seems pretty clear to me!
Thanks for sharing Jerri
Hugs, Darlene


Yes…I also experienced this. It somehow became my fault that we were not speaking anymore. I told them that I wanted to be included properly in family holidays…and was told …. No one wanted to pick a holiday once a year to come to my home. Not one. The excuse I got from my sister was…I have a husband and he has parents…we can always come the week after Xmas or before…never on that day. So I get the bones from the dinner…I get it. They can all go to hell as far as I am concerned. I don’t need this bullshit.


And it wasn’t just Xmas but Easter and thanksgiving…no one was willing to meet at my home. But everyone else could. So I get the message loud and clear. I get a fin bone…well they can keep it. If I am not important enough to have just one holiday at my home but everyone else has one…I rather just stay home with my own family…without the drama and pain of not being good enough.


Hi Sylvia
WOAH wow about your father telling you that the only thing that should matter to you is your mothers happiness! What a weird dysfunctional thing to say to and expect from a child! You were groomed to be ‘beneath’ others. There is a pecking order system in society based in the false definitions of love etc. and that pecking order in dsyfunctional families is at the root of this whole thing. People mistake compliance and submission for love. (a love that doesn’t go two ways) I am so thankful that you are starting to heal!
Hugs, Darlene

Everyone~ Something I want to address is that Narcissism is not the problem. It doesn’t have a mind of it’s own and it doesn’t ‘turn’ people into anything. My mother was not a narcissist. I know this because she was not the way she was with me, with everyone else. She was only like that with the very few people she could have control over. This having control over others was the way that she was able to feel good about herself. True narcissism cannot be controled by the individual that has it. My mother has narcissistic tendencies at best. I have met real narcissists and they are the same with EVERYONE. True Narcissism is not that common. It was helpful for me to read about these disorders to a point, but it was even more helpful and 100X more healing for me to see that it wasn’t because of these disorders that people treated me this way. It was about their false belief that if someone (I) complied and was obediant, if I tried harder, if I accepted mean and nasty behaviour and still tried harder then that meant that I loved them. That is how they got thier self esteem.

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kimberly
This is all about power and control too. This is what I mean when I say that ‘they defined me by their actions” they defined me as “unworthy”. I was sick of being defined that way but the only way I could overcome it was to look at it for what it was, how it was done and realize that it was all lies. I was worthy. They just kept asking me for more compliance and more “proof” that they were the most important ones. This is how they got thier ‘order restored’. This was about them and not about me at all. I wonder who makes them feel better about themselves now?? LOL
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene…I suspect people who work in the service field are probably targets…I grew up watching my mother bring people to tears from mere slights she felt were personal attacks…and in my case. My dad is and always was a target. He just sulks and gets passive aggressive with her. My sister actually turned out to be Bully and she now bullied my mom. She still tries however…me I am done with being the peacemaker and their scapegoat…and I been happier away from that…in sense they did me a huge favor.


Darlene, thank you for clarifying narcissism. I can see how strong tendencies can be confused with the actual disorder. One of my parents had been so controlling and abusive, and she appeared to be totally narcissistic in everything, everywhere, and with everyone to my “adult child’s” persepctive. I had never heard much of anything of narcissism until I found EFB, and my own parent has many of the disorder traits, so it easy to throw that label onto her! But she probably doesnt have the true disorder.

I wanted to thank you for the sweet words in response to my comment. I did want to hear those kind words of support and understanding from my husband that night. I tend to pick up when others are uncomfortable ..and I actually dread being around other ppl and trying to make everyone around me comfortable this year. I am working on ME this year and I dont feel the energy anymore. I just want to get these feelings out today and be done with them: I go to these parties and because the owner and his wife are flying in for the party, my husband is the one who orchestrates it and makes certain that everything goes well and runs smoothly, while I feel obligated, and quite honestly , am expected to talk with people and make them feel comfortable. I am fully “qualified” to do this, and am comfortable in knowing what to say overall, but I absolutely dread it! Noone told me that this was going to be a mandatory thing for me! I never signed up to be or do this.I dont work there at the company, and I was never asked or given a choice .If it isnt a good time for me , it doesnt matter! I still have to “perform” and be there. I feel trapped in that I have to comply and it makes me feel rebellious and I also dread it because I feel anxiety to begin with…that goes back to my upbringing. This is absolutely terrible, but last year I lied and told my husband that I threw my back out in order to not have to go and have a valid excuse. I felt terrible guilt, but you know what? I was relieved to not go! Anyway, the other night I did talk to him and he agreed that he had not been sensitive and supportive….which is tiring too because it hasnt been easy to be consistent with letting him know that I expect us to be equal and equally respectful and supportive with each other. He is like an old dog learning new tricks and I get tired of trying to train the old dog! I know this is completely off topic and I dont expect you to respond, but I do appreciate just being able to have a place to go where I can simply vent out my feelings and emotions and not have judgement or someone trying to reason with me or someone getting angry with me because in their eyes I am whining! Thank you for this safe place!


Doren, I appreciate what you said..thank you! I also appreciated what you have shared! I was thinking about what you wrote how you internalized the feelings that your mother was ashamed of you. That really hit me because I havent thought much about internalizing messages . How humiliating it is to FEEL from your own mother that she was ashamed of how her daughter looked…to the point that she would make those comments and grab your arm etc. I am so sorry you suffered that. I can totally understand and relate with you about the whole body image thing. I was teased and made fun of and put down off and on until I was in my mid-20s by my parents about my looks. I knew that I didnt measure up to their standard of beauty….and it wasnt always by what they said with words…it was the feeling I got when they looked at me or talked about me. A child KNOWS. If you arent shown by your parents that you are pretty it is devestating! I know now that I did internalize those issues too. That is one huge reason I felt like I was a freak! I am so sad that your mother made those statements and told you such lies about yourself!!! And that is what she was doing…so were my parents and family members…they were telling us LIES about ourselves. I have never seen an ugly baby or child in my life. Are there children who are heavier? yss..and are there children who may not end up with a job to become a model? Yes. But they are all so perfectly adorable no matter what! So when your mother was telling you those things and expressing her ‘disgust”, it was HER issues and HER feelings. Those were total lies! It sounds like maybe she hated her own life and herself so bad and was dumping out her feelings about herself onto you! That is how it was with my parents too. As far as you downplaying your looks and maybe not feeling worth the effort…you dont have to anymore if you dont want to….and you dont have to work on playing them up either if you dont want to…I think it is my personal choice if I do or if I dont! Noone has ANY right to tell me how to dress or how thin or heavy or what color I should wear or be or any of that! If I dont choose to wear makeup or if I do…it isnt anyones choice but MINE! One more thing… I was afraid to have children…I thought I would abuse them as I had been abused, so I can totally relate with that fear you had and understand your decision not to have any! I hope I didnt ramble too much! peace and comfort and joy to you! 🙂


Wow Darlene…good post it made me think here. I never thought abouty body image but when I hit 24 I gained about 30 pounds and I carried it on my mom would hug me and then pat my fat and tell me that I had extra fat around me…not sure what her mindset was but she told me not to hang out and look for guys dressed in a miniskirt till I got some weight off if me…so I got the message that I was not enough enough cause I was 30 pounds overweight. She often told me I looked like a fat German girl…I just accepted it and I was not even insulted at her but upset with myself for the weight gain.
My mother was heavier than myself. I think she was jealous of me.


Doren and Diane
My mother gave me all those messages about body image etc. too. I came to understand that in HER belief system all she had were her looks. Her only value was in her looks and sexuality. Her only power was over men. (or women who were jealous of her ~ and of course over her powerless children) She passed a lot of this false belief on to me where it got all mixed up with the fact that it was NOT SAFE to be pretty or attractive. This was a huge thing to sort out. My mother was jealous of me but at the same time she was trying to help me become acceptable becasue that was her belief system. This is why it is so important to find the roots of our beliefs. NOT to understand the controllers or people who gave them to us, but to overcome the lies and set them straight.
Hugs, Darlene


The thought of having children and repeating the abuse never really registered cause I didn’t know I was abused after I had my child…I thought my life was normal. It was later after my child was born I had these weird thoughts…scary ones..I knew I would never hurt anyone let alone a child cause I was always a peacemaker and hated fighting and the thought of hitting anyone just sickened me. Even the thought if hurting someone in self defense oddly bothered me…people could never understand that -about me…I even let me sister beat me up and just stand there and cry causing physical violence just replusive to me.
Then I think my baby? Where us she? She ok? I would run to the dryer in fear she was in there…and she would be perfectly fine in her crib…I got very anxious and depressed and years later I sought help for my anxiety if fear if driving..then I learned the truth and then it started to make sense.


A woman’s hair is her beauty often…I often wonder if my hair pulling disorder…pulling out hair to the point if baldness was more a wanting to rid my beauty more than an self harm issue…I was 13 when I started pulling and still do but it’s 90 percent better today…anyone ever hear if this or had personal experience with this? I now wonder if her jealousy had something to do with this.


Darlene and all,

This post was really timely for me. I have just been looking at some information about narcissistic parents and it all described my mother very well – However, I think she is a histrionic parent with narcissistic tendencies. In any case, this is something I have dealt with my whole life and as an adult have tried to ‘mend’. Even as I read this part of your post, Darlene, “Everybody has equal value. We are all born with equal value. It is what happens after that that will determine the way we view ourselves,” I could hear the little voice in the back of my mind saying ‘yeah, well, except this and except that..” Fortunately, I couldn’t hear exactly what this and that was! I could have written Post 27 myself. I have always had the feeling that if I ‘tout’ my worth that I am conceited or will be perceived as conceited. Or, I have this nagging feeling that I’m behaving just like my mother – something I will go to great lengths to not do.


Also, wanted to say that I spent years thinking it was me. I always asked myself “why me? Why do/did they pick me?” It wasn’t until I realized that they had ‘groomed me’ and I used survival instincts to get through it that I finally understood the answers to those questions.


Kimberly and Darlene…It is so true that my “mom” only had her value in her looks. She was very beautiful and had been sexually abused by her own father, and was always fawned over by men and I have to believe with my dad’s somewhat perverted sense of women and porn that he probably married her a year after my mother died mostly because she was beautiful. She never was valued for her intelligence or anything else about her that I can remember…from anyone, so she focused on appearances..herself, her home, her possessions etc. I am suddenly remembering the amount of creams and makeup and hair supply and beauty items that she had….drawers and cupboards filled with them. Once I went into her walk in closet and couldnt believe it. We werent allowed in the bedroom, but had to be invited in, and this was when I was in my 30’s…and it was a large closet with shelves and hooks and it was stuffed from top to bottom. What actually hit me that time was the amount of tee shirts. Multiple shelves of them in various colors. My personal feelings at that time were that it was crazy! I think that was about the time when I began to realize that I had been neglected in the family. I used to sew up the holes in my socks because I never got new ones, and the seams used to hurt my feet. That sounds so odd! I think now that I have a different perspective from a place of healing, that the messages that I received were almost always that “YOU arent good enough” Not your looks, not your personality, not your feelings….and you arent even worth buying new clothes for unless absolutely necessary…and she was the one to decide all of that. I am learning in leaps and bounds this year to unravel all of those messages and am finding that they were all lies! I am beginning to become comfortable with my body for the first time and realizing more and more that I was never ugly…that I was never deformed looking…and especially that I was lied to because of HER issues with herself. Those lies kept me in a prison emotionally in regards to body image. I am crawling through the open prison door to a place of accepting and liking and loving my body. I think it will be awhile…and I will probably have some bad days and feel like I have reverted back and then some “overcoming” days where I feel great. I am glad that it is a process. Kimberly, I have had friends tell me that their heavier mothers tried to make them feel badly about themselves and they knew it was because their moms were insecure and jealous. I am so sorry that you have pulled your hair out…and that you used to just stand and cry and not fight back when you were getting hit! I dont know anything about hair pulling, but you sound like you were the sweetest little girl and very sensitive!


Diane…thank you SO much for your kind comment to me. I appreciate that! I could imagine how you must of felt with feeling deprived of your basic needs and realizing how selfish she was…I find its a pattern among abusers to be selfish… From the people I met online and in real life. There was a girl I went to school with who always smelled bad and wire ugly clothes…I could remember being shocked to hear how well dressed and beautiful her mother was…looking back I see now and it makes sense.
I am also sorry you had to do without things…I hope today you treat yourself to things you missed out on. I try to do that when I can…
Hugs kimberly


Thank you so much Kate #62 for the hymn…I’ve written it down. It makes me cry.

Also to Catherine #53 what you do with the artisans is wonderful and not silly or inconsequential at all…quite the opposite! I catch myself saying things that may be dismissive of myself and it hurts when I do but I try to be very compassionate with myself and the little kid in me speaking. I can feel the little me inside crying all the time, and so docile with people yet so angry too! And she is so used to dragging herself around ever so thankful for people’s scraps of attention!

A few weeks ago a neighbour made chit chat and told me I looked good. Well I’ve put on a lot of weight recently and downgraded my appearance since and didn’t feel too attractive when she said that—so I said Thank You but rolled my eyes—well, I’ve gotta change that! Next time, no dismissing, just gonna say Thank You because that’s treating myself like I’m beautiful. And I am, 300 lbs of beautiful! I’ve put a body affirmation on my bathroom wall and make sure everyday I stand there nekkid and tell it to myself. It will take a lot of work and I may still catch myself deflecting compliments but part of my work is also being very compassionate with myself and understanding, “Hey, this here is showing me how much I’ve been hurt and put down and how much I’ve internalized it all as the truth”. It’s all so automatic and ‘normal’ and that shows me how deep it goes.

So I’d say you do wonderful work helping your fellow man…and when you say, “I am doing something worthwhile, and therefore AM worthwhile”—the truth is you are worthwhile because you ARE you—whether you did this work or laid in bed, your worth is inviolate and not dependent on action. It just IS.

Somethin for me to remember too!

Hugs Doren


Kimberly, this has become a day of intense thinking and remembering! I was thinking about you hair pulling and your anxiety ….does it maybe make you feel less anxious when you do it? Maybe it used to be a way to cope for you? I know that there are all sorts of ways that ppl find to try to cope, and from what you wrote it sounds like you were such a sweet little girl with a gentle spirit, and I thought maybe you somehow found that it helped at the time? It sounds more severe than biting your fingernails, but as a little girl you would not have even understood.
You were so sweet in what you wrote to me, and yes, I mostly treat myself, but you know what? It is hard for me to spring for clothing. I tend to wear things completely out before replacing them….including socks! Lol. My daughter just made a request that I buy some new socks and replace a shirt I love to wear. It is just such an ingrained habit. I have some nice clothes, but my “everyday…around the house ” stuff are hard for me to replace. It isn’t that I don’t value myself…it is just a habit. I am glad that you treat yourself when you can too! 🙂


Hi Kimberly
Hair pulling can be both about self punishment/self harm and about trying to get rid of beauty when the child believes that the reason they are hated is about their beauty. Eating disorders are very often rooted in the same thing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lisa
I am writing a new blog post about the “this and that” lol. I started it yesterday but I have some editing to do on it.
I can relate to going to great lengths to not be like my mother and some of them were very harmful; I saw her as selfish and thought if I took care of myself that I would be selfish too. Stuff like that. (I have written whole posts about this too!)
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Caden, I can relate to what you said in your last comment:

“Perhaps I’m actually afraid to get close to some people because they might wind up betraying and judging me like so many have in the past.”

Very recently I thought that might be happening with me. I have gotten rid of some toxic friends but haven’t made new ones yet. I realized that when people show interest in me, I shy away from them, and I think you have come up with an important reason why. It seems that it’s really difficult to even imagine that some people are different from our abusers & their defenders. Even knowing that, it’s hard to actually believe it.

Darlene, thank you for your extra note on narcissism. I didn’t like the comments about it being a ‘trait’ when it truly is a disorder (when actually present).


Thank you Diane;) I do that too…wear basically the same things. How old is your daughter? Mine just turned 15…she used to have me buy Abercrombie and similar lines and this past year it is hottopic and whatever us more affordable…thankfully she is tasteful with her style and I try hard to have a sense if humor. My mom used to pick out the cheapest clothes for me and I had two pairs of jeans when I was my daughters age…people figured it and it was embarrassing…so I suppose I learned understanding from that…I feel your only young once and you should enjoy your youth!
I also had a rough time raising my daughter cause I am a push over to a huge degree…I can’t argue or fight. U had issues with teachers about homework and etc…nothing bad but the teachers in our community are very demanding and the Area is upper class and high stress. We are solidly middle class and I believe kids should be happy as well as educated. I don’t place Hugh demands on my child and u never want her to feel as if she has to be perfect. I live her as she is…she gives me no trouble and is also my friend…people think I am weak and I don’t agree..I feel you can be a parent and a friend to your child.
And yes I have been imperfect but no one is perfect either. I try to pass on the best information and advice I can give her..I allow her to have her own values and opinions even if they agent mine…I tell her it’s ok to be your own person…cause I was told what to think feel and believe and I never hady own mind.
Anyone thanks again for seeking me out and telling me that..some days all I need is a kind word and I can smile! Hugs kimverly


Sorry fir my spelling errors!


Hi Cheryl…I know how you feel about bring judged by people…I got so disgusted by that that I just have up trying to make any where I live. I had two flaws friends who were very impressed by people who have money and they would brag about all the fun times with their upper class friends and their kids were all friends and everyone got together but us…we were excluded and I was that one hour lunch date friend and was never good enough to be fully included…I felt like my issues with my family were now issues with my so called fair weathered friends. I just never called them back to have lunch and they didn’t care either…I was the fill in friend. I rather have no friends here than be someone who is called when they are bored…and my daughter felt left out as well… We don’t need people like that


Hi Diane

no you don’t ramble at all, thank you for your lovely words and your warmth and kindness which shines through…a lovely soul.

I’ve never in my life met a person like my mother, and I think she was the real N deal because she offended people wherever she went. Total foot-in-mouth disease! And not a hint of care or self-consciousness about her effect on others. Last year she needed help finding an office in a medical building. A large woman came up and asked what was wrong and kindly walked ahead to take mom there. As they’re all walking my mother talks, loudly within the woman’s earshot, about how big she is. My brother in law who was there told me he was so angry at Mom….that was how she was with everyone, always.

I don’t even care now if she could help it or not—the damage was done, and she didn’t have to ever lay a hand on me to do it. Terrible dismissing of her children. She may not have had control…in my pictures of her with me as an infant she holds me like a sack of potatoes and stares in space. A few months later in my first Christmas pictures she sits with me and my sister and looks completely bored and disengaged from her kids. But she’s nicely dressed and very into the camera when she looks into it. Whenever she looked into a camera she was completely unattached to those besides her.

It doesn’t matter though what is in her brain cause the damage was done. All those years, when I had no choice but to absorb her version of truth, I had to see it her way, and Dad’s way. That’s all a kid can do. I am so pretty and lively and big-eyed in early pictures and after age 6 I’m teary in pictures or generally sad and withdrawn looking. My sister’s light went out too and her smile became painful in pictures, and then gone completely after her teeth began to rot. And neither mom or dad beat us physically. It was major crippling of the head.
I remember as a teenager, they worked nites, and I would sit there and hope they’d get into a car crash and not come home. Then hearing them come down the apartment hallway and the key in the door and feeling down they were back. I’m prone to guilt but have no guilt about that, cause I don’t wish that on people, it just confirms to me how bad it really was.

Diane, my mom was very big on fashion and makeup too and it was a major disappointment to her when I got bigger and she had to make chubby clothes. It was a blame and shame thing with her, she was mad at me cause she couldn’t, in her mind, parade around this very pretty girl anymore. I couldn’t be the reflection she accepted anymore. Nobody was concerned about why I had suddenly changed and turned to food excessively, my mother just blamed me for my changes. I couldn’t understand why I was eating more I just needed to, and that too meant I was bad.

It was all about her and how her daughters could reflect how great she was. But they kept me in decent clothes and I am so sorry Diane you were neglected that way. There was no excuse and it was just criminal. But I am so glad that you are coming into yourself today! Helps to give me great hope…

And I like when you say “I am crawling through the open prison door to a place of accepting and liking and loving my body”. That’s a great way to put it! This is years of conditioning on top of our society’s continuing body image distortions, but what courage we have, to fight this and claim ourselves back from other people’s illnesses.
I tell myself, “I am not this….I’ve been deeply affected by this, but it’s NOT me”. The real great me has never even had a chance to come out into the world yet…never…I was influenced by my parents as soon as I came home from the hospital…finally the time has come to discover myself…it is daunting but exciting that I made it, and we all made it…
And this body which is supposed to be so bad (the way we talk about good bodies and bad bodies) has taken on hundreds of drunks and hundreds of overdoses of pills (in my life I’ve taken hundreds of doses of Tylenol 1 codeines at 50 or 60 each time just to get numb and out of my head)that body I still feel ashamed of though I’m working on it, has carried me through so that I can live to see this time when I finally start to get out of prison too.

Thanks again Diane and also Darlene for your comments, and everyone else for reading.



doren..I am around 210 pounds and I can understand how you feel…I carry my weight well and people are often surprised I weigh what I doctor told me I am morbidly obese and should get my stomach stapled and highly recommended it..there was a very judgmental tone and attitude towards me even though he himself was close to my weight…I know I have extra weight and I have been on a diet and exercise program for a year and list five pounds…I am still a failure even though I try and am made to feel as uf u am half a person because if it…society really is awful too..I was not always heavy and people treat you differently and exclude you…they do but people live to lie Nd say oh no we don’t! Yes…you do discriminate against us…you do.
I have thought of refusing to be weighed fir now in to send a clear message that the weight issue is not one we will discuss. I am the consumer. I pay the doctor bill and I employ them to help me…not judge me…thank you fir bringing this up!


thanks, Doren. You wrote:
Thank you so much Kate #62 for the hymn…I’ve written it down. It makes me cry.”

Me, too. I love the quote and say it and write it all the time, but did´t know it was also hymn! Thank you Kate!

Doreen wrote: “Also to Catherine #53 what you do with the artisans is wonderful and not silly or inconsequential at all… quite the opposite!”

Thank you! But I didn´t mean to imply that the work I do with the indigenous people was silly or trite. What I meant was that hearing this can sound trite, because we hear it all the time, and it can feel like empty advice.

But since I´m actually living it now, it´s finally making a difference and starting to sink in. But I also liked what you said about the fact that we have value regardless of what we do. That´s a place I would love to be. Not able to see that far ahead yet, but working on it. Gracias, amiga.


And just for the record, I always had a “perfect body,” having been a swimmer and dancer for years. What that meant was that all the women hated me and all the men wanted to sleep with me. I was treated like an outcast by the females who would bare their teeth the moment I would enter the room, and like an unpaid prostitute by the men who all couldnt´t wait to try and get me into bed. It was a nightmare.

I always tried to figure out “what I was doing wrong to be treated this way,” Just like when I was beaten as a child. Finally, the solution came. I turned 50 years old. Gray hair and wrinkles – and guess what? For the first time in my life I have real female friends!
They don´t say “I´m going to have to hate you, you´re so slim” the minute I walk in the room, and I am practically invisible to men. If they notice me at all, it´s to open a door or help me with a package. I am finally treated with respect. I´m seen as their mother or grandmother, and what a relief that is. I´m no longer a threat to other women whose husbands always looked at me, even though I always dressed modestly and never “flaunted myself.” Years and years of being hated for the way I looked, and I never understood that I was beautiful.

Looking back at earlier photographs of me, I can hardly believe I was so unhappy, but almost every female alive made sure I felt miserable, they were so envious, jealous and just plain vicious. Just like my mother and sisters. I learned to stay away from women most of my life and made friends pretty much only with guys, and younger ones where I could be the big sister or the employer, as I always had my own business. It was the only way I could keep mens hands off me and catty women away from me. Being in a group could be just hell for someone like me. I always wondered if I had to gain weight and be ugly just to have some female friends, and to not be hit on by every man in sight. I just didn´t know what to do.

And just think: the solution was waiting there all this time, and it only took 50 years to do it. Gray hair and wrinkles and being past breeding age. And all along, it was ne3ver my fault. All those years of being tortured by both sides, and believing there really must be something wrong with me as I couldn´t find peace anywhere.

Now I have it (some peace, anyway) and I would NEVER want to go back to being treated like a piece of meat, another conquest, or an enemy too vanquish. Thank God that age has finally caught up with me.

One down, how many more to go?


Catherine…in my twenties and thirties I also had that same issue. I had an fantastic figure and had alit if beauty…I did flaunt it and it was myself esteem cause it was all I had going for me or at least that is what I thought!?i never got invited out with coworkers cause all the guys were falling over me…I was the butt if jokes and I still to this have nightmares about working back at the old company I worked for…but I want to take this a step further here…even when I gained my weight…I still had these issues with other women..even today to some extent but now being 210 pounds and 48 well I guess they just ignore me now…thankfully I am a stat at home and don’t have to put up with the meanness anymore…where I live now I am invisible…I not thin or rich or have a circle if friends who all grew up here…I am still an outcast.


Doren, Catherine and Kimberly ….I hope I am able to remember to write everything I want to! You all have brought up so many great points in your personal experiences!

Catherine, I was given pretty average looks, so I never experienced personally what you did, but my “mom” did some modeling and was even in a t.v. commercial, and I have had over the years some close friends who were very gorgeous and would say the same things you have written….and it doesn’t take much to notice when other women are behaving as you described. You are so right that woman do that to other women who make them feel jealous or threatened! I am so sorry for you and for you too, Kimberly, for that. It IS another form of mistreatment!

Doren….OMG that your mother would talk like that! I get a better picture of how you must have been feeling at those kind of things she would blurt out….and like you said…even if she couldn’t help it for some reason, what that must have been like for YOU! Wow! No wonder as a little girl you found some comfort in food…you described it perfectly…your mom was into the camera, and not into YOU. I can absolutely relate to turning to food for comfort as a little girl. I used to sneak it. I started thinking something was wrong with me because I literally couldn’t help it. I would have a feeling come over me if I was at a cafeteria or anywhere there was a line to stand in to wait for food and I would try to rush forward so that the food wouldn’t run out or try to get extra somehow. I used to do all sorts of things to get sweets especially….I would even eat sugar cubes! The back story on food with me is that my parents were extremely controlling about food….i wrote all about it a few months ago on another posting….so I was very confused and felt a desperate need for food to feel better inside. I was also being molested by two neighbor boys off and on for two years every time I went outside to play and some other things all seemed to happen in the same timeframe, so I know now that I did the best I could do as a child in order to survive and cope. Eating disorder issues…of various kinds are very familiar to me! And after I had my daughter, I went from one extreme to he other and ended up with a bingeing problem…again….and gained a lot of weight. I feel like an unofficial expert on bad body image , low self esteem, and eating disorders sometimes! The really great thing about healing and becoming more and more aware of everything,Is that I do feel like ALL of this crap was not my fault! I was blinded as to how NORMAL I am, and how many things that are fun and decent and likable about myself that I was TRAINED and TAUGHT by beatings and punishments and cruel words and actions to crush down and not believe. That makes me a little angry today . But the process of reparenting myself and finding things I can practice to become better at, and things I like….and learning to pay attention to my own feelings and to expect respect and to be treated with equality makes me happy overall! I feel so free now…even though there is always more progress to be made and it IS a journey. I love it that you are here and have shared so openly. Oh…and about the clothing…I Really didn’t understand for a long time what was going on, and there were so many other things going on too, so that one issue actually was very low on the scale for me as far as being traumatic! I will say this….and I am able to laugh about it….my daughter has her drawer FULL of socks! Lol.

Kimberly, you sound like you are such a loving and caring mother, and it seems like you have a really close relationship with your daughter! I am so happy for you about that. My daughter just turned 18 last month and she and I are really close too. She calls me her best friend, and I have to admit that sometimes she makes me cry because of how sweet she is. If there is one thing in my life I feel proud of myself for, it is her and our relationship, and it sounds like you have had a similar experience and I am so glad for you! I am so sorry that you suffered so much because of men …and women be ause of your looks! It sounds so ridiculous that it doesn’t matter if we are heavy, or thin, or in-between , you can’t win with some people no matter how nice and kind or intelligent or whatever you are!! That really is weird when I think about it. We get treated with approval when thin….yet there are people who can’t handle that…but we get treated with disapproval if we are overweight…and a whole other set of people can’t handle that! I hope you won’t take this the wrong way…I know I have a different kind of sense of humor, but I about fell over laughing when i read what you wrote about the doc wanting to staple your stomach and saying those things. It really is outrageous! It makes me think he was hoping to shame you in order to make money for himself!
Whew…my fingers are numb from typing……! Thank you so much for sharing……all of you have been so encouraging and sweet and this has been so thought provoking for me in such a good way today! Hugs and joy to all of you!! 🙂


Karen #42: thank you. I landed squarely on your response when I came back here tonight, must have missed it before. You could have said this was my story, practically word for word, except everything was MY fault for (fill in the blank). Thank you Karen for putting it so eloquently.

I can´t tell you what a relief it is to see so many others “in my shoes.” Not that I´m happy about what happened to us, but at least I can finally see it really WASN´T MY FAULT. And all those disordered messed-up monsters will have to pay the price, in this world and the next. That´s the one thing that sets me free.

I ask God to heal these wounds that have not healed, and please Dear God show me The Way. Amen.



I’m sorry about your doctor’s attitude. For myself, I put my doctor on a pedestal for over 20 years because he is a great doc generally and has helped me to a good degree in all our chat times. It’s still hard for me to fully accept, but he’s as human as anyone and subject to all the prejudices of society. Many times over the years I came back from an appointment angry or bothered by something he said, or his attitude. I’d vent a bit and brush my feelings aside. As I never learned to validate my own gut feelings he ‘had’ to be right. Come to find out later, yeah, I was right.
I once considered gastric bypass and today I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad I listened to myself as the last word. Just speaking from my experience. And I’ve told my doctor too, I don’t want to be weighed. If he’s had to for a procedure and I didn’t want to know, I told him not to tell me. Sometimes I don’t need that information! Got enough shit to deal with! I’ll know when I wanna.

And you are not a failure! This is a very complex issue and you are right there is so much discrimination out there. What works for me is listening to my inner voice. I have so much ingrained messages inside that are negative and oppressive, but I can still hear that still quiet voice inside that is my truth. As I understand what happened to me more, I am trusting more in my gut, but it’s a scary thing to take that leap of faith in own self. But I’m urged inside to do it now for whatever reasons.

{{{HUgs}}} Doren

Bronwyn - South Africa
November 16th, 2012 at 9:25 pm

So I printed out all 32 pages of the above – and took them to bed to read. Suffice to say that I didn’t sleep well.

I identified with so much.

The most overwhelming feeling is that we all grew up with such mixed emotions and such mixed messages.

I am the only child of a NM who has dominated, manipulated, controlled and manoevered ever since I can remember.

I am learning to detach and not be affected by her. It has taken a long time – together with 21 years in a 12 step program for friends and relatives of alcoholics. My saving grace – having been married to an alcoholic for 11 years.

I am so grateful that all of you are around. Thank you for allowing me to say my little piece.
Lotsa love and hugs


To Bronwyn – South Africa:

Thank you! I never thought about printing this conversation out. What a great idea. I stay up way too long online re-reading it but it would be so much better to have it as a “book.” So glad you´re here!

Catherine Todd


And thanks to the others about comments about what can happen with other women and “body image.”

No matter what size or shape we are, we are not alone!


I can relate to this topic. Both of my parent’s are Narcisstic. They have alway’s been like that. I thought I was the problem. I remember when I was a teenager my parent’s found out I had lost my virginity to a boyfriend whom I thought I was going to marry, only it didn’t work out with him, he changed his mind. But they were mortified, so when I meet my now husband, my dad actually said to me, how do you know he want’s to marry you, you are used, I don’t think anyone will want to marry you. This happened 32 years ago and it seem’s like yesterday. Who say’s this to their daughter? Did he ever think of me and my feeling’s?

I never knew what boundaries were until a few year’s ago, I never knew I could stand up for myself until recently. I allowed my family and friend’s to talk to me anyway they wanted. Why didn’t I tell them I didn’t like what they were saying to me? I was afraid of conflict with them, afraid they would be mad.

I have two friend’s, one whom I’ve known all my life and the other eight year’s. The problem is that when they are with other’s and I am also present they ignore me. I don’t know why. This bother’s me terribly. I don’t understand why they do this. When we are alone we get along great. They have also said that we should keep our friendship a secret from outsider’s it make’s it easier. I don’t understand this, I don’t feel this way and I’m sad that they feel this way.

So I guess it’s know different with friend’s or family. They seem to make up the rules and you either go along or your left alone. I am beginning to think alone is better than all these rules, rules that other’s make on my behalf, but not my decision.

I used to think self-worth meant I would give all my time, energy and money to people I love and it showed what a wonderful person I am. Yet deep inside of my heart I hurt. No matter how much I gave it never seemed to be enough, then I stopped, and when that happened nothing else changed because I was the only person doing anything, then I realized that I was on a one-way street all by myself.

Is this lack of self-esteem from my parent’s being narcisstic and the world revolving around them. I alway’s tried very hard to make them happy and it never worked. They have put themselves on pedestal and have never come down.

Last week was it for me. My dad and I were having a conversation and he started yelling at me and telling me to shut up. I told him I’m am done with him berating me for anything I say. He’s been trying to be nice but I’m not buying it. I also informed my mom that I will not be at her house for Christmas this year and she said no problem. No fight, nothing. Actually I wasn’t sad I was relieved. I don’t know why, but maybe actually telling her what I wanted and not backing down was being truthful with me. And that made me feel good.


I haven’t had the chance to read all the comments yet but hopefully I will be able to within the next few days. I just wanted to comment about something this article made me think of or realize. My husband and I found out we were expecting our first child nearly 2 years after I went no contact with my mother and sister (both narcissists). Once we told friends it didn’t take long for them to find out about it from long time mutual family friends that I still kept in touch with. Within two days of letting friends know, I had an email from my sister claiming that she wanted to try and work things out “for the sake of our newly growing family” (or something along those lines) so I gave them both another chance. Keep in mind this was all before I had any clue what was going on or about Narcissism, etc.; in a way I still questioned if they were right and it was me? After all, there was two of them blaming one of me.

Anyway, it didn’t even last two months. The first time I spent some time with my mother she had the nerve to ask me if we had planned the pregnancy or if it was an accident. Long story, but basically none of her pregnancies were planned so I’m not sure if that had anything to do with it. Anyway, at one point when I was spending time with her and my sister, they both basically turned on me and claimed they hoped I never had a daughter because I would “be a horrible mother” based on no other reason than I was always a ‘tomboy’ and never had much interest in the things they did or that they thought girls should. Basically I never fit THEIR idea or box of what they expected a girl should, therefore I was automatically labeled an unfit mother by them because they assumed that just because I wasn’t into those things (like dresses, shopping, spending money, etc.) that I wouldn’t make a good mom to a girl. Well we had a daughter and I really enjoy doing all kinds of things with her, even shopping. It’s amazing how you find out you like something when the narcissist(s) in your life aren’t involved in it with you anymore! I no longer have my mother dragging me along on shopping trips picking out my clothes and sitting in the dressing room with me while I tried stuff on pointing out everything she thought was wrong with my body. I let my daughter make choices in clothes and I don’t decide every little thing for her. I not only allow my 3 year old daughter to voice her opinions on clothing and everything else, but I listen and take it to heart; something my mother never did for me, even as a married adult and mother.

I’m not entirely sure why this came to mind other than maybe my mother felt as though people would think she was a bad mom for me to “walk away” like I did, so she wanted to make me feel like less of a person/mother in any way she thought she could to get back at me. Obviously like anyone else who has experienced any kind of relationship with a narcissist, it was more than just this that she did to put me down, devalue me, crush my self esteem, etc. but this is the one thing that came to mind first. Possibly because it has bothered me each time I remember it, not because I’m worried about being a bad mom to my daughter for not being their standard of feminine, but because I’ve always wondered why in the world someone would claim such a thing as though they really believed that would be the case. Now I think I know! Thank you!


Thinking about naracissim today. I personally believe its more common than most believe. From my research I also found it to be something we are born with. I also believe that sociopaths are also more common than we first thought too. There is a very good book out there titled..The sociopath next door. I believe it’s written by Hare. Not sure about that. It examines how common it is to run across them and usually they fly over the radar because we are socialized to trust people and think the best…which I think is a set up in that is not how we should approach people…I feel people should prove to me who they are and that process should be a slow one. If this is how our society was then I believe the rate of abuse would drop. The death rate and the like. They have been found to lead a trail of years behind them for 10 years or more before being found out. Taking advantage oif people’s goodwill and need to be accepted . It never crosses their mind that someone has feelings or rights…that kind of thought pattern just doesn’t merge. They try hard to fake emotions and I believe they aware they are not like everyone from birth. I had read about scores of people incarinated who said they felt no emotion whatsoever when they killed people. And that they never thought of how someone may of felt being their victim…it just never crosses their mind. Knowing my brainwashing sets me up to be friendly and kind…wanting approval and etc. I have to more less stay away from people cause I am the perfect target for them…they usually are the ones to encourage me to do good for others. To keep sharing myself and keep thinking if others. I have come a long way. Life lessons taught me that people I don’t know are dangerous. Having a child I feel I owe it to her to teach her not to be a victim. Also the book…the gift of fear is another good book. It teaches us to listen to that gut feeling we have inside that tells us that maybe this person or this situation is not ok and could be deadly. I have even trained myself not to smile at people . I know many will disagree with me but it is my right And my responsibility to protect me. I have this tendency to want to do too much fir others. I have met many people in my life who were down in their luck and would confide in me that they were in need. My first response was always to do something fir them…yet when I ever needed help well I was standing all alone. After 40 years of one bad experience after another…I don’t allow people to use me. I woke up and I never been happier or more at peace with myself. In fact u feel I have grown to a more mature wiser level. I don’t go looking for answers anymore in church where I was always used. I stopped believing in the sky fairy. I started to believe in myself. No offense to anyone but what I have learned us that I alone in this world. No one really cares if I were to due tomorrow except three people. I am forever grateful for them.i know many have no one. So I am grateful for my life and what is good in it. I don’t see the bad as being a blessing…really? I mean I had people tell me well maybe your pain can be a blessing to someo e else? Really? So I have to suffer for you? It’s twisted in my opinion. Just my two cents for what it’s worth.


Diane…I also find it difficult to respond and remember things in here! Typing on a iPhone has been an real challenge for me. I have been trying to stay off the laptop as its a time waster and I get nothing accomplished. I happy you to have a close relationship with your daughter. I know drastically many of us who were abused don’t. I am really glad I didn’t have that knowledge before I had her cause I would of been afraid to have her and ruin her life. I already had enough challenges with my low self esteem and issues from abuse. I met a wonderful friend who came right out and to me that I was abused and that my treatment from my family was hurting me and would also destroy my future family. At first I hated her…but over the years as I got to k ow her I learned she was right. She is my only friend and fir 15 years has been my rock.
I put my family and anyone with a title or power over me in a pedstool they did not deserve to be on. I defended them with every ounce if energy I had. They could do no wrong. I catered to my parents cause they raised me to do that. I stopped doing that and they were like..we don’t know you anymore! Yes…their brainwashed child finally got her own mind.
I can remember once watching a woman being hit by her own child and the terrified look on her face. It was as uf was being abused by her own child and she was in fear and then these nasty women judging her and making mean comments. How dare they! They don’t know her or her pain…I seem excatly what was going on human nature at its finest. The abusers enjoying their web work.


Hi Bronwyn!
You are not alone here that is for sure!
Thank you for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Phoenix Ashes
It’s awful when we are defined in those ways and it sticks with a person a long time. Even when I knew they were wrong it really hurt when I would think about it. This is part of the control they have and they come to know exactly how to make you ‘spin’ about something they say about you. It is great to hear the differences between the relationship your mother had with you and the one you have with your daughter! Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


I just scanned these last few posts and wanted to quickly add…yes it is all about them and how things look for tthem…I have protected my daughter from them and I believe that us why she is as strong minded and kind hearted as she us today. I am sad to hear what I have cause I could if written so much of what most have on here! Trust me…your so much better off out if their webwork. I been there but got out quickly and I would never go back again. When you do or if you do go back…they will hate you more and disrespect you more. Abusers love to band together…get people together to band agonist a common enemy…most people are actual like this sadly. Had that happen all my life at home, school, work. Tread carefully and laugh much! Enjoy your life without them!


Darlene…I also have used my mothers terrible childhood as a way to excuse her current behavior and that is how I think I survived. Thankfully I no longer allow that to ruin my life! My daughter says to me once…but mom you had a horrible childhood too and your not like your mom! We laughed and it was an epic moment for both of us…and my daughter also learned its not ok to tolerate abuse from anymore…not even your own parents and in my case them and my sister who is excatly like my mom today. She nowbullies my mom. I think this is where much elder abuse happens. Not all cause I do believe some children are born sociopathic.
They all get what they deserve. I no longer swim in the poison pond…I found my own pond that is not polluted with mind alternating chemicals.
And that is my last post of today! Promise!


Hi Kimberly
Yes, that is how we survive childhood and in childhood we really have no choice but to find a way to adapt/accept whatever is going on. That is what is so hard about this whole healing thing; our minds still believe that we need to accept abuse in order to survive. Changing that belief is so key and can only be done when we see the lies we accepted in the first place.
About your comment that people are born with narcissism~ for the sake of the other readers I want to post that in all my years of training and study I have never run accross any evidence of that. Medical science does not believe that people are born with narcissism. Of course you are free to decide for yourself; one of the key things that I learned in my healing process is that everyone in authority is NOT right and there are a lot of books out there making false claims.

p.s. I love the book you mentioned; “the gift of fear” by Gavin De Becker. I refer to it often in my work.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Cathy
Something I learned about ‘trying harder’ is that it is a part of the learned victim mentality that goes with this whole thing. I realized that with people like this trying harder is what they want ~ it restores thier self esteem. It’s really pathetic.
Thank you for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene wrote: “with people like this trying harder is what they want ~ it restores their self esteem. It’s really pathetic”

That´s it! Wow. I have a friend who says her Narcissist “likes to stand there and watch her struggle.”

That´s it too.

I have to make some major changes in my life, but I don´t know how. Will plan my escape now.

Although that´s ridiculous, as the door is always open, now that I´m an adult. All I have to do is JUST SAY NO and WALK ON THROUGH.

Easier said than done, but I will spend the rest of the day seeing how I can do this. Because I know it can be accomplished. “It´s all in my mind.”


Phoenix and Cathy, I almost started crying, reading your words. I know just how you feel. My family treats me exactly the same. God bless us all and heal these wounds that have not healed.

“There is no hurt on earth that Heaven cannot heal.”


Reading this entry I draw a connection between attempting to please (or stay out of trouble) with a narcissistic parent (in this case, father) and dissociation resulting in the shattered self. I neglected my true self to fill the role that was demanded of me by my insecure parent which of course was never enough. But, for me, now, the truth is what is enough. It is what endures, builds positive emotional development and a solid sense of self. I still go through long phases of doubting and questioning what in my heart is true. More and more, though, I act from my heart and each time I am accepted I can let go of so much pain and alienation I’ve lived with and not have to return to all the doubt and struggle.

Another observation: I too recognize this “inward” gaze of the narcissist. I certainly don’t experience that I exist as an autonomous spirit in the eyes of my family. It is more like I am a place holder for a phantom. The cycle seems to persist when the abuser deflects focus onto the abused and the abused is forced to look inward for the problem and the solution. Then they too acquire the inward gaze. It is certainly a lost and painful place to be. Many times I have felt like the abused animal so terrified of the world that I expect any contact to result in more abuse. Healing from this world view still seems unfathomable even though I have healed enough that I can begin to focus my attention on creative and loving things.

For me the healing comes when I accept and identify with my own pain and my own circumstances. For example, having the strength and clarity to say, “I have been narcissistic and I have hurt people this way.” In this way I become conscious and capable of moving on.


Hi Daniel
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
Excellent comments, thank you for sharing. About the inward gaze, it helped me so much (not for the purpose of shifting the blame but for the purpose of my own recovery) to see how I got that way. To see where I learned the pecking order stuff in society and to see that I was taught that the one with the most power wins. Seeking a little power for myself (sometimes resulting in hurting others too) was the only way I knew that just might validate my worth. Then I could see not only where I have done some harm but how I learned that causing harm was ‘acceptable’ in the dysfunctional family system I come from. (The whole process for me was about healing and then making amends to my kids and then more healing and making amends and making adjustments to the way I reacted to others as I saw where those reactions originated… as you say “in this way I become conscious adn capable of moving on.”
It is great to have you here! Thanks for your contribution to this discussion.
Hugs, Darlene


Cheryl, thanks. Like you, I’m also in a period of transition and am still trying to feel things out in terms of meeting new people and discerning who they are. It’s difficult considering what warped perceptions my abusive childhood left me with, but but I think I’m making progress. Good luck to you on that,
take care,


Hello Everyone!
I haven’t been able to read all the comments, maybe about half.

My mother once said to me that she thought she had a pretty good grip on nursing because I am a nurse and her mother was. She didn’t actually say she outdid me, but, it was as if my education somehow mystically penetrated her brain. I have to laugh at that now. How ridiculous. The woman sells real estate.

I too was conditioned to be fearful. Recently, I told my husband I’m thinking I’m about ready to fly… as in get into an airplane. I’ve never done it before. He responded, “I think it was your mom who had you scared”. I have no idea how he could observe this, and I really can’t make sense of it, but I know in my heart he’s right. It occurred to me in the recent past, before he ever said it. Some of my fears are waning. I love that progress. There is no worse place than fear, in my humble opinion. I have lived with a truckload of it, all my life. I’m sick of fear crippling me. I think I’m finally moving past it. I loved what you wrote about the conditioning. I never thought of it in that way. I WAS conditioned. Thanks for pointing this out.

You wrote, “And the thing is, I can honestly say that I’ve never sought to annihilate the person I have a problem with, all I’ve ever been interested in is honest conversation and finding a resolution. The complete opposite to my abusers and the narcs still around me where it all seems to be about winning at any cost.” I have felt this way too R. I have felt like I’ve done everything in my power to try to get along with my irrational mother. I gave up trying to rationalize with her a long time ago. Somehow, even though I didn’t know her whole truth, I DID know that discussions with her would always be a losing battle. She turned it into a battle when it didn’t have to be. I know now why she did this. I would try to find resolutions, and I can look back now and realize it was clearly hurting me more than her. She could sleep the night away and I’d be awake in the night in all out turmoil at the things she’d said, accusations, silent treatment, the “looks” of disapproval, etc. UGH, I hate even going there in my mind. Thanks for pointing this out.

Bobby Dale,
I had to wonder what you meant in your posts also. I have to say that, although I can’t speak for anyone else, I can tell you that whatever narcissism my mother has, was born with or not, has made her a bad person. She hurt me very deeply and robbed me of a life of thriving and joy. That makes her a bad person in my eyes. If no one on the planet agrees, it’s okay with me. I was there, and I lived it, and she nearly destroyed me. As I sit here and type, I can realize that it’s not really about whether she’s a bad person, or even if she’s “narcissistic”. She put me through mental and emotional torture. That’s what it’s about, and these days I couldn’t care less what that makes her. My mission is to heal me, and I gave up trying to figure out whether she’s bad or good, narcissistic or not.
It makes no difference.

Darlene, and all,
I had some clarifying moments yesterday. First, I spoke with my dad on the phone. Then I spoke with my grandma, (mother’s mom).

I’m always enlightened when I speak with my dad, about our family history. My mother has always said we lived in poverty. My dad was speaking innocently about 3 brand new cars we had. That doesn’t sound like poverty to me.

I haven’t spoken to my grandmother much, since the “aha” moment when it all became clear that my mother gets her traits from my grandmother. I’ve been disinterested in talking to her, and feared she would lay on the guilt trips when I finally did call. She has said in the past, “where have you been?” or “why haven’t you called?” I am the only grandchild in the same city, but I want to reply with, “I call as much as any other grandchild!”

She touched briefly on her son. The youngest of her kids. I too am the youngest of my family. Her son doesn’t go and see her much, but, there is a reason. She really hurt his feelings earlier this year. She started to tear up on the phone. I was literally UNMOVED. I know what she did to my uncle, I was there. She treated me with the same disdain as she did him. He is now an outcast with which she cries on everyone’s shoulder. Likewise, I am the outcast with my mother, with which she also cries on everyone’s shoulder.

Several things happened all at once in my mind as I spoke with my grandmother. I didn’t fall prey to her tears about my uncle, and I didn’t pretend to. I know now where mother learned it. I also know that she forgets how much of their problems I was a witness to, so, when she pulls things out of left field, I know they’re lies. I remove my rose colored glasses, and it doesn’t hurt to see the truth anymore. I’m so so thankful for that. I’m thankful I cannot be moved by the manipulation either. SOOO thankful. My grandmother also bad mouthed her sister a little bit. Nothing new. She said, “my sister has a new boyfriend ~ if my mom were still alive, she’d say I would be the first to have a boyfriend after grandpa died, yet, my sister’s had three since her husband died.” What a light bulb moment that was. This has carried down from as far as my great grandmother. She also didn’t know who my grandmother truly is. Just the same as my mother doesn’t know me. It has trickled down through the generations. I felt some strange connection with my grandma when she told me that. Because, I’m there with my own mother.

On an even darker note, she said, “what will your uncle do if he comes in here and I’m dead someday?” All the while, I was thinking, probably the same thing I’d do if I found my mother dead. I’d step outside and call the coroner. My mother, and my grandmother fail to acknowledge that their words and actions actually HURT others. My grandmother mentioned my mom and I need to sit down and talk before something happens to one of us. I thought, well, if something happens to mother, I will have no guilt whatsoever, and she’ll be lucky if I even visit her casket. My grandma has NO IDEA that pain and abuse leads to this consequence. She thinks that I (as well as my uncle) would pay dearly for life in the form of guilt, if we don’t step up now and start kissing asses. What about the pain she has caused? My mother has caused? Don’t people realize that eventually, the only option is to walk away and take care of self? My grandmother truly believes that my uncle will live a life of mental anguish and hell, if he doesn’t start coming around more. My mother also expressed this to me in an email several months ago. Her words, “I’m not going to live forever”!

Recently, my mother sent an email to all of my siblings and myself. I didn’t get it however, because I have blocked her. Her days of stirring me up have officially halted. I did eventually get the email because one of the siblings replied “to all”. It was sickening. It has come a long way since 10 years ago when she would make demands about time, etc. She said something along the lines of, I hope we can all get together this year. She has toned down her approach, but, I’m ever aware of the angry lion lurking beneath that facade.

I am looking forward to Christmas more than I have in 20 years or more. This will be my second year not going to mother’s. I am so looking forward to hosting a party of our own, with all my stepkids, and spouses, children. A few years ago, I didnt even put up a Christmas tree. I’ve been chomping at the bit to hold off putting up my tree this year.

Things are going well and getting better by a tiny fraction each day. Not having my mother in my life is a huge relief. I like being my own CEO. There is healing on these pages. Thank you Darlene!
Peace to all in the Holiday season!


Happy holidays to you to Mimi!
Wow! Your post sparked something in me! My mom has used the lines of shame too! What would you do if I died and I didn’t have your new address? And the time she was only allowed to email me cause if her behavior she sent all our Xmas presents to my husbands employer.
Very very manipulative behavior !


I bought a book recently and finished it last night called “Women Who Love Too Much”. Many things stuck out to me ….one of them was about a dysfunctional family , and even though the word narcissism wasn’t used, there was a description that I related to, and that was about rigidity and how rules are what are constantly focused on in the family unit. No one was allowed to grow or change with age from the rules and assigned roles in the family and nothing was allowed to be discussed openly. There were family secrets that had to be kept. I think it also , looking back, created the perfect environment for abuses to flourish, and for grooming me to be compliant and anxious and for my ” mom” to be able to do and become whatever SHE wanted. I could see why more clearly I was the perfect sitting duck for people to take advantage of me…and as the book said, for me to get hurt over and over again through the years. A lot of the book seemed to read in stages, and it was interesting to see ….in some ways….how I went through various stages in my 20’s and 30’s…..and the dynamics between my husband and I began to shift in our late 30’s when he kicked his gambling habits and we both were trying to find new ways to change and hang onto our marriage and family and get healthier. I can see that I am still in the “recovery” stage right now, and still learning. I really related to one of the steps….about getting selfish. I am still working on giving myself permission to BE myself and buy and do things and experiment with what I like…even finding things that I like. I am beginning to realize two things…one is that I make excuses for why I can’t try new things I really would like to try…and the other thing is the opposite of that because now there is something inside of me feeling like I deserve to give myself that chance. I do fight with feeling selfish, and am only realizing how much I make those excuses. I am going to be working on that.

I also had a long discussion with my husband about my feelings and his reactions etc, and it was very helpful. He told me that he is beginning to understand what he has been doing …in that his responses to me are many times not very warm or sensitive….and I could see that he is trying to relate with me more and more the way I need. We discussed the Christmas party again, and explored the reasons for my anxiety. It seems to have really begun when I was about 16 yrs old and my two closest friends…and family….moved away. My cousin moved away when her mother remarried and I rarely saw her or spoke with her in the years following, and my brother went into the military and I felt so incredibly alone and lonely. I was heartbroken and they had really been the only two who really knew me and loved me and we shared everything with each other. Then I had to go to all of the family holidays and with our strange family, I felt entirely alone and lonely. That feel g never seemed to end every holiday party or event….and I always felt such pressure to attend and I was miserable and the tensions in the air seemed so thick and heavy between the relatives. So….we discussed all of that and I could see that my husband really heard my heart…and that was such a great feeling when he told me that he understood and how much he really missed me at last years party and how he appreciated it if I would go with him. I felt like a weight had been lifted and this may sound weird, but the only way to describe it is that I feel like an old door closed and a new one opened after our conversation…and I feel like I can go to this party and give it a chance. I feel more open to enjoying it even though I would prefer not to go. I think I made peace with some of my past this weekend in some ways. It is really anew thing for me this year to feel more equality in my relationship with my husband….I was always afraid to tell him the deep, dark stuff and be vulnerable and he was too closed down….and now I can see and feel the changes we both are working on, and it is one of the biggest reliefs and joys.


Hi Mimi
Great to hear from you! I enjoyed reading the part about how your grandmother said “what will he do if I die” refering to her son. I heard that stuff too and I am close to positive that my grandmother used it on my mother. As always in this dysfunctional system, they don’t consider that the nasty stuff started with them and they just heap the blame for the fall out on the adult child. I think the question is a guilt trip and its deeper meaning is ‘how will you ‘feel’ if I die after YOU have been so nasty to me and then it is too late for YOU to say YOU are sorry” That whole thing is such a brainwashing thing. The truth that I found out when I stopped putting up with all that is that I didn’t miss ‘them’ at all. What was to miss?
They have every opertunity to find the same truth that I found so that they too can be free and alive. I feel sorry for them that they are too scared of it to even go there.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Diane
This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing about your conversation with your husband; it is such a great example of relationship based on equal value! Mutual respect and listening! That is awesome!
I also like your first paragraph, about that book you read~ the word narcissism wasn’t used because narcissism in our society isn’t the problem. It is the misuse of power and control that is the problem, and that summary in your first paragraph discribes exactly that. I gave this post the wrong title. I liked the quote which included the word narcissism but I think narcissism is rarely the issue. (narcissistic behaviour or tendencies, well now that is a different story!)
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi everyone,

When I had my breakdown, I called myself a narcissist. When I came back home from spending about a month’s “vacation” with extended family in another province (I still lived at home with my parents at the time), the guy I’d fallen in love with and whom I more or less considered to be my saviour, asked me how I was doing. When I said alright, he made allusion to the earthquake and tsunami that had just happened in Indonesia—like in comparison, I was doing pretty darn good. My emotions were still pretty insane at this point and I had very little understanding or control over what was going on with me. I very briefly tried to read the book, Shake Hands with the Devil, I think just to show myself how much worse others had it, and how I should care about other people and not be so self-absorbed by my petty problems. I think I read about 20 pages or so, but the level of pain in that book was so hard for me to read about, my core self was in shambles and I just had too much pain and emotion on my own plate, that I had to put it down—which, though I argued with myself, I basically took to be proof of how uncaring and self-involved I was, and chastised myself for that. It was what I was taught. Not to comply with my parents’ wishes, which were all about caring for my mom’s wants, needs, and emotions, was akin to saying “I don’t love you, I don’t care about you.” It meant that I was the bad person, who only cared about myself. In reality, it was they who were sending the message, “we won’t love you, we won’t care about you, not if it gets in the way of what we want.”

Neither of them are narcissists but my mom certainly has tendencies.

When I broke off contact, my mom said, “How can you do this to the people who love you the most?” (even though I specified it was for my health). I don’t know what that means anymore, if I ever did—about their love, I mean (clearly it was a guilt trip, I understand that). I never felt their love. I felt their need and their possessiveness.

With Xmas coming, I realized I wouldn’t be able to handle the undefined relationship with my parents. I couldn’t just silently pull the plug. I chose to reconnect with them without ever getting real acknowledgement. I opened the door for them and it didn’t happen and I’ve realized I can’t live like that. Xmas is hard for the obvious family reasons, but also because it’s the last time I remember my uncle before he killed himself, so it’s just an emotionally loaded holiday, even though I enjoy the time here with my aunt and uncle and cousins and hope to start my own traditions, just to take back the holiday for myself. Anyway, I thought I could either tell them this isn’t working for me and leave it at that or I can say something—to give them an opportunity to change, for one, but also to take a stand, I guess, out loud, so I sent them this:

“Dear Mom and Dad,

I’m not sure exactly what to say here, but I’ve come to realize that the relationship, the way it is now, is not going to work for me. You are my parents and there is my whole life history behind us, which I cannot dismiss. I do not wish to “rehash” the past, and certainly not to live anymore inside it, but I do know that if we are ever to build a good relationship, there must be a true understanding and acknowledgement of the past, which has yet to truly happen. This is not just about my childhood and adolescence, but also everything that went on after my breakdown as well. The more I understand of the past, how I was treated and the messages that were sent to me over and over again about my value and purpose within the family and as a person on this planet (via your actions and inactions), the more I feel ill about it all. As neither of you have felt compelled (of your own spirit and free will) to write anything to me in regards to the past, I can only conclude that you have yet to really understand it, or else that you don’t actually care, that perhaps there were and are more important things to you than the wellbeing of your child. When I do look at the past, at the series of actions and inactions on both of your parts, it seems to me that it absolutely was true that my emotional wellbeing and what was best for me, your child, took a definite backseat to your own wants and expectations. And that remained true even when I was barely hanging onto my life and you were made aware of my emotional struggles and how they connected to your treatment of me. There were very real reasons I had to cut off from you guys. I believe that you have all the resources now to put yourselves in my shoes, to understand everything that went on, and that has been true for quite some time, but for whatever reason you have not done so, and that hurts. It hurts especially because, if not for outside support, I fully believe I would be dead today. It makes me wonder what I’m actually worth to you as a person in my own right and not just as a body born to fill the role of daughter within the family unit. And it makes me wonder, too, why it is I have come back to reconnect.

I write this with hope for a future together.
I love you both.

I haven’t heard back from them. I sent it Wednesday afternoon. If I don’t hear back, I will take it that they’d rather live inside a system that would have me dead, and I simply cannot have anything to do with them if that’s the case. It’s up to them.


WOW ~ that letter is beautifully articulated and so full of genuine love and respect for them but especially for yourself! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. It is painful to read this account of the truth, I feel your pain and I feel my own pain again too, but there is so much self love and self validation in this letter that it makes me feel joy as well. It reminds me that the truth set me free. They lost the opertunity to live in truth and wholeness and to have a real relationship based on mutual respect and equal value and I gained everything; my life, my happiness, my freedom.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


(((Alania)))) I am so sorry. I just read your post. I think your letter is good but I caution you to have any hope that abusuve people like this have the capacity to care…they are not like us. I don’t believe they are capable and I doubt they will now begin to feel bad. They will respond the way most do probably here…with hate and blame into you. I remember when I write my letters ten years ago. Part of me was hoping for a conscience to surface. After 40 years of remembing who they are…I have to realize that anyone who can abusers an child is nit someone who will turn around and change and go omg…your right! I did abuse you! Or if they do they start to give endless reasons why…oh we were poor or we were going through this or that…so please keep yourself grounded and maybe find someone who you can trust to keep you in place. This is rough and it is always a shock to their core to them cause you are exposing who they are and abusers don’t do well with that! I think writing a letter is awesome asing as you don’t expect a sudden turn if events…just want to put out my experience and knowledge if what ysy happens and to give you a hug and let you know what your in for.
Much happiness to you! Kimberly


Thanks so much, Darlene—for everything. I’m in a lot of pain right now, but I do feel that freedom, or the opening up to that freedom, especially after I first sent it to them. I know that even if they didn’t care for me like I needed them to, I can care for me now. I can trust me. I will take care of me. And that is the truth and the most important thing.

Thanks, Kimberly, for your support and concern. I have almost no hope, to be honest. I’ve worked my way here. When I said, “I write this with hope for a future,” it was really for the gesture and so that I could make it as clear as possible to them that this wasn’t about being angry and vindictive. I’m not holding out for much at all. I wrote letters to them quite a few years ago and got the kinds of responses you were talking about. I’d had no contact with them for 2 & 1/2 years. When I got back in contact (mostly because I wanted a relationship with my new nephew and my brother took their side so it just seemed “easier” or possibly the only way to do it), they agreed to go to counselling for themselves and said that they wanted a future with their daughter in it, but then everything was all surface level (friendly but superficial) and it was very obvious that they had done no real work to change, etc. They thought it was for me to change. I am in pain but I don’t expect anything different than what history has told me. Pigs may fly… but the pain here is just from the articulation and surfacing of the truth that’s always been. Whatever happens, it’s not going to be some deep, shocking blow out of left-field. I expect to lose my mom, dad, and most probably eventually my brother, nephew and sister-in-law. It’s a deep, deep pain, for sure, but I’ve set up my life to handle this. I have caring people in my life now, and I can be caring toward myself, too… All that said, thank you so much for your words and the hug, support, and word of caution. I really do appreciate it. And the wish for happiness—-the same to you, too! Best, Alaina


It is in our nature to want people close to us and to be forgiving. Abusers are not wired like us. They see us as an means to end or someone to use and to help them. If they do di something nice its usually for a reason. Abusers are full of motives and weaving their webs. Sadly when you do speak up there will be many in your family who will hate you for having that voice. Either they wish they had one or are also the same way.


Alaina….I have to admit that I am blown away by your letter to your parents..and I really loved the sentence that you wrote….” I believe that you have all of the resources now to put yourselves in my shoes…etc.” Wow! That is a powerful thing to reach the point in your understanding and to be bold enough to actually say that to them! I think your message was crystal clear, very validating for yourself, very respectful to them…and to yourself…and I feel like I am cheering you on from over here! It comes across that you are DONE with being treated the way they have …and that you are putting up new, defined boundaries for your relationship with them. I never had the courage like you have to write my parents, so I totally admire you for putting yourself out there to do so.


Hi Mimi! I loved what you wrote that you enjoy being your OWN CEO! Love it! I am so glad to hear that you are doing well, and each day fraction by fraction…and that you are looking forward to Christmas instead of dreading it. 🙂 When I read your comment, it reminded me of a ping pong ball going back and forth over and over with your mother and relatives trying to get you to join back in and hit the ball with them! I am glad you are experiencing relief and freedom! I hope you have a wonderful time with the family you are gathering around yourself this holiday season….hugs to you!!!

Darlene…thank you! 🙂


I don’t exactly agree with you, Kimberly… I know what you’re saying, to an extent, but I also believe change is possible. We all have the capacity to choose. At core, my mother has had very similar “wiring” as I. Her relationship with her mother is the same as mine with her (worse, I think, but the same). I do believe that her ability to see me in my own right and truly care for me is contingent on her being able to see herself that way—i.e. I believe she has to do the work I’m doing for myself for herself. I have seen mothers comment on this website, where they’ve realized they’ve been using their children to meet their own needs (I’ve also read ones who don’t/won’t recognize the abuse and think it’s the other way around). I’ve also seen my own capacity to become abusive, brought to the surface the under-the-surface desire to emotionally and physically destroy another person. I believed I was a psychopath. I wasn’t and I never acted in any violent way (physically or emotionally) but I saw my very real capacity to do so, should I have left my “work” undone (and have empathy for myself, for the pain and repressed rage that existed below that urge). But I chose to face the truth, to do the work. It may or may not be true that some abusers aren’t wired like us, but I think that saying that sort of excuses them, too. I choose to hold my parents to a higher level. They can change. Whether they are going to or not is up to them. I think because I can see so much of where I got certain things from them and where they got things from their parents, if I believe that they can’t change, it would then follow that I can’t change, and that’s just plain wrong.


Alania…no..I am not excusing them by saying they are wired differently. I guess u failed to coney to say what I meant here;( I am working in that! I feel that if anyone can abuse a child they are not really like us. I feel that only evil people abuse children. I do believe in evil and good even though I am not religious or spiritual I have seen pure evil and good in people…but never at the same time. I am not saying good people can’t have faults…that is not my point they do. I have to agree to disagree about evil people however with you cause I believe some people are born evil and I know that is not a popular opinion here or in life..I been slammed fir making that statement. But it’s mine to make. It’s what I believe. It saddens me to see good people give hope to anyone who is evil…cause I know that anyone who would abusers a child would never feel bad about it. They will just rationalize it and throw themselves a pity party knowing that we will say oh I will give you another chance! They often get behind religion to fir their cause and tell you if that Jesus can forgive us you can do it too. I guess I am just too old and too much in he know when it cones to the dyucs here for my own good. It’s just my thoughts…nothing more.


Thank you so much, Diane! Yes, I am DONE with that treatment… absolutely! NO MORE!!! Thank you so much for your cheering. I so appreciate it. It’s made such a difference in my life to have all the support here on this website. When I finished writing that letter, I thought to myself maybe I could be a good mom, if I ever wanted to.


Alaina and Kimberly
I had a lot of trouble with some of these same beliefs (that you are sharing Kimberly) in my healing process. I like the way that Alaina has addressed it and I will add to that that I have seen abusive parents stop and listen to the adult child and make the effort to change for the sake of NOT losing the child. My mother also had the same relationship with her mother that she had with me. If we belive that these people are born evil or born this way we run the risk of missing the whole turth about the cycle of abuse. My mother was not born evil, her little baby heart/self was filled with abuse, lies and she was defined as unworthy same as I was. Her self esteem was never set in place. She believed that her only value would come from being in power over someone else same as her mother and father before her believed. (BUT I had to say ‘so what’ to all of that in order to hear myself and recover from the damage that ‘I suffered’.) Her wireing was the same as mine, but I chose to change, recover and do whatever it took to stop the cycle of abuse in my own family and she didn’t. I believe she still could, but she doesn’t want to and therefore I have no contact.
Hugs, Darlene


[…] can help so many others. This is one such time! This comment from Doren came in on my article “Survival Mode and an Alternate view of Narcissism.” Doren has given me permission to re-print her comments for the sake of highlighting this very […]


Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post in answer to the comments that Doren made (I got permission from Doren) here in comment #35 of this thread. The new post contains the definition of brainwashing ~ you might be surprised to read what it is! I was! Even though it is mainly addressing organizations, it is crazy how much it relates to the dysfunctional family system teachings.
Looking forward to the discussion ~ Here is the link; “Brainwashing in Dysfunctional Family Systems and that deep down feeling of Unworthiness”
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kimberly,

I believe you are right that there are evil people but I personally have never met one (that I’m aware of). When I was speaking of myself, I didn’t mean to say that inside a real psychopath is someone like me; I don’t believe that at all, if that’s how it came off. I just saw a part of myself that was very ugly, that if I didn’t deal with, might in some way have some kind of negative, abusive impact on the world. I don’t know. Have you ever seen the movie Shine based on the australian pianist? It’s one of my favourite movies. My experience was different, but the feeling was similar. The father in that movie was not at all “evil” in my opinion but he was emotionally abusive. We might be talking about different things here when we use the term abuse…? Like Darlene, I think you can always choose to recover, etc. Anyway, no worries about a difference of opinion, nothing personal here. I’m sure there are evil people, but I really don’t believe my parents are evil at all. Mostly, they are wounded. My dad is a passive wounded person and my mom is the angry, controlling wounded person. They pretend like that isn’t true, or at least they flipflop about it, and that is maybe the biggest problem—if they could really admit that and where all that comes from and hold their own parents accountable, then they’d probably see exactly what they did to me—because it’s more or less the same. As long as they’re justifying, excusing, denying, accepting or somehow making it “okay” in their heads, what their parents did to them, then they will continue to abandon, betray, disrespect, etc. me, without even “getting it,” even when they have EVERY reason to get it. Their abuse, in that sense, is loyalty to their own upbringing. It’s that, in my opinion, that they have to dismantle in order to break the cycle. In that sense, “evil” is the product of the system, as opposed to a core personal trait… not that I’m saying that such a thing doesn’t exist. Though, if we’re talking about genes, here, I think they’ve done studies to find that certain traits that they used to think were written in stone in DNA, can actually be latent and then triggered on by experience and abuse in some people and then never manifest in others who never went through such bad experiences or abuse, and, I think, can actually also be turned off. I’m no expert, so don’t quote me, but I heard something like that somewhere… Anyway, these are just my thoughts, as well, and I totally respect your right to your opinion. Take care and thanks again for your words of support and kindness. Best, Alaina


Diane, #92: Well, I´ll be. So it wasn´t only me! I had a girlfriend in Paris who was a model, and was “the most beautiful girl in the world.” She said I was the ONLY female friend she had ever had, because they were all jealous of her and hated her. I have never been jealous in my life, until my own boyfriend got stars in his eyes over her! I looked at her and said “STOP!” and I looked at him and said “DON´T YOU DARE!”

My boyfriend said “I didn´t do anything!” And I said “Not yet, but I know what you are thinking!”

She said “Stop what?” And I said “I don´t know, but TURN IT OFF!” Her charm was inescapable. I´ve never seen anything like it before or since. She ended up being someone´s trophy wife and she´s not all that happy with him, but she´s made her own life and I´m proud of her for that.

We stayed friends, but it wasn´t easy. Especially when all the men would crowd around her, literally making an impenetrable circle around her, and I was left sitting on the sidelines like a wallflower, completely ignored. But I never blamed her because it wasn´t her fault. She was simply gorgeous.

I wonder if this jealousy is at the root of a lot of our female including mother troubles? People always said my mother and sisters were jealous of me, but until that one incident, I never knew what they were talking about. I just couldn´t (and still can´t) comprehend it. They made sure to run me down so consistently from the day I was born that I had no self-confidence at all, for what good were any of my “gifts” if my own mother and sisters hated me so?

Could this have meant I might have been Cinderella, without the glass slipper and the prince?

LOL but who knows, maybe it was (and is) true. And I need to carve my own pumpkin coach to carry me home!


You sweet sweet lady!! Your letter really touched my heart. I wish I had the capacity to write in such a poignant way to my mother. I’m nowhere near that. I have felt like (in the past 18 months) that my mother is a viper and any inkling of emotion attached to an email/letter, she would play on. I still believe she would. I agree with your statements though. Like your parents, it’s her wounded place. She got it from her own mother. I can’t forget that she’s had a choice to change it all….. many many times. It prevents me from emotion filled exchanges with her. It prevents me from having compassion for her.

I’m so thankful you shared your letter. It let me see there can be compassion in the midst of accountability. In my humble opinion, it takes a pretty extraordinary person to come to where you are. My edges are tainted with bitterness in a way. Yours are tainted with understanding. Perhaps I’ll be at that place too one day. I still feel “fed up” so to speak. Not really angry, but fed up. I feel such freedom in my mother’s absence. I can’t imagine reaching out to her in the way you have your parents. I have deep respect for what you’ve said in your letter. I truly hope things turn out the way you hope they will.

Very best to you in the coming days/weeks.


Thanks for sharing your success with your hubby’s conversation. Isn’t it a great feeling when things settle to a place where everyone is comfortable, and you feel understood at the same time? Your accounts with your husband are inspiring, so thanks for sharing them…. and, of course, congrats on the progress you’re feeling about going to the company party. I hope you have a fantastic time!! 🙂

Thanks for your response. It still amazes me all the same “lines” people use (who are in positions of power). It’s almost like they read the same playbook!!

Peace and love,


Thank you for your interpretation of the statements, “what would happen if he found me dead?” I think you’re so right. I tried to put myself in my grandma’s mind. What she was thinking to bring herself to think about how my uncle should feel if she died. I think you’re right…. those comments seem to have that hidden meaning, “you missed your opportunity to spend time with me, to kiss my butt, to apologize for all YOU’VE done”. So much sense Darlene! Thanks for responding!
Love and Hope,


Doren and Darlene – spot on – and at exactly the right moment. Here in the UK we are in the grip of a huge expose of a celebrity paedophile – it is gathering pace – and spreading to other areas and other public figurees. It is pushing so many buttons for me – and presumably others. I have done SO much therapy in the lst two years – group work and one on one – and have been close to a place of calm and stability – but now I am back wobbling again – feeling that I cannot look at people, feeling I must be the only one with such filth in their hearts, that other people deserve to heal – but not me…. so now that I DO know better, that inner agitation is more than I can bear, I have decided that it is MY time. My time to talk to the police, and let them take over …. it has taken me over 40yrs to reach this place. I am feeling nauseous and my head is banging – but it is only because I am about to violate that prime injunction pounded into me by my abusers – “don’t tell”. I am now in the place where I cannot not tell – I have been silent and cowed for far too long. I am sick of just surviving I want to THRIVE!


Everyone…this makes alot of sense to me. I think this is probably way I always made people…ESP boyfriends and close friends so important. I had put them up on a pedstool and they could do no wrong! As I look back on my life and think about it…it now makes a lot of sense!


I forgot to add but I now see why my sister makes her abusive husband so important…he has taken over the power that my mom had on her. She caters to him and he basically ignores her and belittles her and she a vents it…oddly enough my mom hates it. I used to think that is was because she cared about her the way I did…no she was jealous cause she was not the one who had the power anymore. And when I sit and think Bout it…it also makes me think there must be mire dynamics going on here that I have never realized.

139’s all good we just see things differently. No huge deal.;) hugs to you! Kimberly
I never seen the shining..personally I don’t care for those kind of movies. Triggering to me. ESP one I did see about where a mother was poisoning her child. My mom tried to off me with poison when u was three. I wasn’t suppose to live. Any movie that touches in evil or gore is too upsetting for me.


Yes Mimi…they are all excatly alike in many many ways…I have done an extensive study on that..I may not be a therapist but I do have a brain and I know how to use it!


I haven’t ever studied similarities between abusers before, but, when I first started coming here over a year ago, I remember how completely stunned I was when I would read others’ entries, and how the words were so often the same. It blows my mind still. It’s so crazy that for 43 years, I had no idea that others heard these same things. That the twisted nonsensical things my mother said were actually common, and there was a reason for her to speak in total nonsense. I don’t buy into it today. I don’t buy into anything today. She still has my phone number, but, she can’t email me anymore. I know she won’t call because she’s too stubborn and doesn’t want me in her life bad enough to actually call or text. She sent an email about Xmas, and in her eyes, that was enough. Truthfully, it was plenty for me too. I don’t have a desire to try to excuse my own plans for Xmas. So, it’s working out well so far. 🙂

Peace and Love,


Hi Kimberly. Hugs to you too… but no, not the shining… Shine, it’s a different movie. It’s about a pianist who has a very controlling, perfectionist father. Eventually he breaks away from his father to go to the london college of music, but loses his mind while driving himself to perfection of a very difficult piece of music. He is never the same and is made to quit playing for a while. It is very moving. He eventually comes back to playing, first just in a diner, where he surprises them because the workers there just think he’s a crazy street person. I connect with it personally on an emotional and artistic level, both the drive to perfection and madness in art but then back to healing with it as well. There’s no violence in the movie, except one time when the father slaps his son across the face, if I’m remembering correctly. Absolutely no gore, though… Anyway, I am so, so sorry that your mother tried to poison you. I have never experienced anything like that at all and I think it’s probably because of the context of where we come from that we see things differently, too. I’m really, really sorry. Hugs.

Mimi, thanks so much!! Your comments mean a lot! I think my situation is quite a bit different than yours and that’s why I could write that letter. I moved provinces 4 years ago and was cut off for 2 & ½ years. Detachment and distance can help a lot! My parents have shown me that they do really want a relationship with me. They were happy to have me back… except I’m not that “me” and I will not be her. I really don’t know whether they will meet me on my terms or not. Anyway, thanks again! You are so sweet, too!! My guess is your mother probably doesn’t deserve any of your sweetness! It’s really too bad for her! Because you’re pretty great! Xo, A


Hi Mimi…you sound as if you are in a strong place…I think you have to be in order to see the trail of years left behind it or maybe just educated in this field. I have done alot of research in abuse over the last 15 years of my life…I am a stay at home mom so I have dedicated much time to this. I have a friend who is also very experienced and she has helped countless victims over her life…not for money. She also has no degree but I feel she knows more and has helped me more than any other t I have paid to help me. I seem her help others. She is amazing . What I know I learned from her. But yes there are patterns on both sides here and if you were to put all abusive people in a room…they have an awful lot in common! I don’t claim to have all knowledge but I do feel I know alot here cause often help to see it for what it is. I also believe naracissim is not uncommon but has degrees within it and that sociopaths are also more common.
Think about can someone rape a child and then just threaten them and then have breakfast the next morning as if nothing ever happened? We know that at least one in six kids are abusers this way. Persinlly I disagree I think it’s more one in three. Alot of children don’t remember and repress it and many more will never admit it to themselves let alone another human being…I believe all rapists who ESP abuse children are naracisstic and guess what alot if them exist.


Alaina…don’t ever be sorry to have your own have nothing to apologize for! I didn’t see that movie but it seems to be one I would like too for information collecting. Black swan is a movie that comes to mind…I highly suspect her mother raped her in that movie e en though it was never mentioned.


I can remember when I started to heal and develop my own mind and started to see things as they really were and not as I wanted them to be…they absolutely hated me! It was like how dare you think for yourself or stand up fir yourself! I was also not welcomed to be in my sisters wedding party anymore…she made up a really weak excuse and told me that my daughter would cry for me and ruin her wedding! I sadly did to to her wedding as a guest. She was my maid of honor in my wedding…I was not even wanted hers. At her wedding I felt like I was neighbor. My mom left the reception for two hours…which was odd. I should of never went.


And if you put a of us victims in a room you will also see many similarities as well. The extremes of being is one..either a need to be perfectly good or bad. We don’t seem to be in the middle most if the time. Thus us why I cringe when institutions like Hugh schools and etc only focus on kids who skip school and drink…um..the kids who are straight a students and over committed in clubs who feel they can never be good enough have to often been abused. Yet they are held to an impossible threshold. I see it where I live today. This artificial upper class town of over privileged children who are expected to attend Yale or Harvard are numbing themselves with booze and etc…their parents are more concerned with how they look to the women’s gardens club than what is going in at home…it’s heart breaking. Ok I talked to much now…will shut up now!


I have read through some of the topics here and I have at time’s wondered, when we need to vent to the point of telling the same story over and over to as many people who will listen, is this being toxic?

I have read articles saying that people who always whine and complain are toxic people, is this true?

I do not want to be considered toxic for needing to talk with people about situations within my family that hurt me.

So I ask are people who’ve been abused and talk repeatedly about their stories, toxic?


Thank you!! It’s so nice to hear good things. I used to just turn my head at compliments. I knew they weren’t true because my mother convinced me I was nothing. These days, I think about when someone says something nice to me, and I try to absorb it, rather than brush it off. I want to see good things in myself, rather than always being so harsh and critical inside. It’s one heck of a battle, calming that inner voice. But, there is hope!!

I hope you are inclined to share if/when you get a response from your parents. I am interested in knowing the outcome, but, I understand if you don’t feel comfortable sharing.

Very best to you!


Alaina and Kimberly,
I just watched Black Swan about a month ago. I loved that movie. Lots of hidden meaning in there.

Shine sounds like an awesome movie too. I will remember this and see if I can stream it on netflix, or at least get the dvd.

Peace and Hope,


Kimberly, I was actually just apologizing for your experience of your mom poisoning you (both sorries). I find stories like that so horrific (as they are) that all I can say is I’m sorry but feel like it doesn’t really mean much of anything. Like anybody can flip off an “I’m sorry” and not actually mean it, but then I can’t think of anything else to say so I say sorry again—really, really sorry—like a couple extra really’s will get it through. (Can you tell I was the emotional care-taker for a mother who was abused, whom I could never care for enough, or what?!)

Yes, I saw Black Swan, too. I liked it but it triggered me a bit at the time because of the mental imagery the character would have. It was definitely emotionally and psychologically incestuous and I could connect a lot to that (I was my mother’s “baby girl”). Shine isn’t so… dramatic, I guess… You’re not inside the heightened imagination of the character, closer to biopic…. Anyway, take care!

And, Mimi, yes I imagine I’ll let people know how it works out. I can’t see why I wouldn’t want to share, any which way… I’m glad you’re taking in the good stuff or trying to. I used to sometimes want to cut myself when good stuff was happening to me or to isolate myself—particularly on a social level with others (my mother was supposed to be the most important person in my life), so opening up and having good experiences and really taking in compliments and such socially so that I really, really felt it was difficult, so I’d resist it. It was conflicting while I was so mentally bound to my mother’s possessiveness.


I think the message we got as victims was that when we speak we are toxic? I can’t see how it could ever be wrong for someone to talk about their abuse? But I could see how an abusive person could think that about us! So no you and I and anyone else who reds to talk is not toxic! As long as we are respectful and upfront and not being passive aggressive or down right mean…no!


Your last sentence, “As long as we are respectful and upfront and not being passive agressive or down right mean, what does this mean?



(((Alaina)))) I know…I see that in you cause I used to do that but now I fight it.
I use to obsessively worry I was a naracisstic person. Because I was told I was shush for not wanting to share one if the few Xmas gifts I had just received ten minutes ago. When my dog chewed up my Barbie doll..I got beat for it. Cause I didn’t shut the door to the living room where the presents were. It was always my fault…so you begin to believe if something happened it was your fault! Trust me I do this on a daily basis! I immediately think oh it’s somthing iI did! I too was the peacemaker…seeing people fight is very very hard for me I try very hard to avoid confrontations with people. I want everyone to like me..and most don’t. Today I really don’t care who likes me…I went the other extreme maybe…it’s hard for me but I force myself to talk cause it gets out the poison. I think that is why I pull my hair out…cause I want to get rid of something inside of me. Gish black swan also triggered me but I needed to watch it for my research. Heard it had horrible effects on many people too.
I can’t even wear a belt today cause I have so many memories of my dad pulling off his Beltane then I forget after that. My sister told me that during the beatings she would cover her face cause the belt would sometimes fly up that way and make marks on our faces…I can’t remember the beatings…just him taking off his belt.
I am sorry fir being so long here…I prolly talk too much on here…


Basically Cathy…what I meant to say here is that asing as people share their stories with respect to other posters its all good. Surprisingly I never seen anyone here do that. This is a pretty good site as far as mutual respect goes..I think it’s healthy for people to share because it gives a voice. I hope that explains it better!


Hi Cathy
It isn’t toxic to need to share and we all need to share what we need to share as long and as often as we need to. My parents used to tell me that I ‘talked just to hear myself talk” and I found that a big part of how I got shut down. In this process I did need to hear myself talk though! Sometimes over and over again!
Hugs, Darene

Hi Kimberly
I like your response to Cathy’s question too. By the way you mentioned that you probably ‘talk too much’ on here; I want to assure you and everyone else that the length of comments is of no concern! Share as much as you wish.
Hugs, Darlene


There is so much saddness here, I feel for everyone and their stories.

If I really want to find myself and heal my life, it isn’t here.



I did not mean disrespectful or mean towards someone who amused us but someone else here on site. I hope that clears that up! I was trying to figure out what you meant because you sounded angry towards I apologize fir nit being clear. I have been on hundreds if sites where trolling people would come in and bash people for sharing their story…telling them to just get over was horrible. I have never seen that here so that us why I stay.

I wanted to also make a comment about something you wrote about being with two friends and being singled out and feeling left out. This always always happens to me as well…but what the common thing here is that since we are wounded people we seek out and allow abusuve people in…that is why we may experience this…I also believe women love to di this to each other..I prefer make friends and have only one female friend.
I don’t know if its just women or our Abuse here..must mie a combination of both.
I am very picky these days who I allow in and mostly I just don’t bother anymore.
I have one good friend and my own family and this site. Fir me that us enough fir now!


Omg Darlene! My mom used to tell me that too! Thank you for having such a safe open site here! I guess sometimes I get lonely and having very few people who want to hear what I want to say…well..I guess I get kinda chatty! I am however trying to balance myself! So on that note! No more listing today! Will be back tomorrow! I will read the in oming posts however cause I find them interesting and helpfulyet so sad…so many of us here;( however its good to have each other…cause fir so long so many of us been very alone.
Love and hugs to all! Kimberly


That is fine. This place isn’t for everyone. Although there is a lot of sadness; only because people share so much pain which is the only way to heal~ there is so much more joy in the process of emerging from broken because it is the process of healing..
Hugs, Darlene


Oh…I get it. Now it is clear to me. I don’t appreciate things like that and I will now exercise my right to block people who troll. That was actually quite unnecessary. This us the very reason why I often have trouble in life because if people who play mind games. Cathy that was quite clever of you and now your on ignore. I extended my hand to you Even tried to have a conversation with you. You must get some dirt if sick satisfaction from this..I feel sorry for you. I could tell your tone was rather mean and I should of listen to my better instincts… Well you can’t do that again to me cause now you blocked.


HI Kimberly,

That was truly unbearable treatment you received. It’s sickening. I’m very sorry you had to endure that. This is a great place to talk and heal, so I hope you continue however much you feel. I’ve certainly been quite long-winded many times myself.

This isn’t a big deal to me but I just want to say that I feel like maybe you’ve gotten the wrong impression of where I’m at in my life right now—if you were implying that I “worry” about these things like you said that you used to. I really don’t worry about these things or seek people’s approval. It’s where I come from, not where I am. In the past, my compassion, and the way I expressed it, came from a neediness and insecurity, a lack of self-value and having to be “caring enough” for the sake of approval and love. That really isn’t the case anymore. I just feel compassion for people and want that to translate through the words I express.

Take care, Alaina


Hhi everyone.
I am on the road (I’m not driving)and it is a nightmare to comment with my phone but I have written to Kimberely privately and I want to say here I am very sorry tht I missed what Cathy was up to. Her comment go through moderation but this morning I had 70 comments to go through and I didn’t notice what she was doing. It won’t happen again I will post again later. Kimberly again I am sorry. My mistake was in giving cathy yet another chance. Hugs darlene


I clearly missed something…

Just wanted to say, Kimberly, that my comments were in response to your comments to me about your father, etc., not about Cathy. I didn’t quite catch what was going on there… but, anyway… crappy that she had to act up again and that you got the brunt of whatever happened.


Hello everyone,

Sorry I have been gone for so long. I’ve been dealing with a lot of medical problems, trying to get my career off the ground, and dealing with a lot of stress in my life. I’m now on medical leave from my job because of all the symptoms I have been having. I already have fibromyalgia, polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypothyroidism, and I get sick very easily. I’m a third grade teacher and that doesn’t make things easier. I had what appeared to be kidney infections, only to find out that the urine tests were coming back clean, and no one was telling me. So, now I’m being tested for lyme disease and lupus. Crazy situation.

Anyway, enough about my medical situation (although it is giving me some more time to focus on myself). I recently discovered that my mother is a narcissist. Many of you already know my past battle with my mother, and how it “all” stems from her hatred of my husband. She feels he is brainwashing me, when in all actuality, he is helping me realize that I don’t deserve to be treated like the scape goat. Even when I was a child I realized something was wrong with the way I was treated. I have specific memories that just hurt to even think about. I’d never treat another person this way, and don’t understand why I was.

Well, after my cousin’s wedding this summer, I have taken a break from all family on my mother’s side. They only care about her side of the story, and still contact me to go to events when I have SPECIFICALLY told them that I am not interested in going to events with my mother there unless she agrees to counseling. Through my work as a teacher, I have free counseling offered to me by the district. In October I decided to take advantage of it. I went to one session, explained what was going on with my mom, and my desire to have a counseling session with her so that I could express myself in a safe place. The counselor said she’d be willing, but from what I had said, to not expect much change. My main motivation here was for an objective party to see how my mom behaves, and to be able to tell my mom that it wasn’t ok. She tells everyone how horrible I am, but I keep my mouth shut.

Well, she did show up to the counseling appointment, and it went fine until she got on the subject of my husband. She totally just went crazy on how horrible he was. The counselor had to ask her multiple times to stop, and to reflect on what she was doing, and how she was forcing me to choose. My mom got so mad that she left the room and went outside saying that this was going no where. The counselor and I were left sitting there, and the counselor said “I’m sorry. I’m going to ask her to stay to so I can talk to her alone, but I really think that there isn’t going to be any fixing of this until she changes.”

My mom did come back in, but I think it was only because she forgot her huge mug of diet coke, and the counselor asked her to stay. My mom was crying and said “I just love you. I hope you know that.” I said “I love you, too, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Please stay and hear what she has to say.” Due to my multiple medical problems, I haven’t been able to go to a follow-up appointment, but my mother is no longer attending counseling with me, as she really needs her own help. She isn’t willing to pursue it though.

This has been happening all my life. I calmly try to explain how I feel after months of feeling like walking on egg shells, then my mom blows up, calls names, says things that hurt so deeply that I can’t even believe I was birthed from this person’s loins. And, she gets to walk around like she is the victim, while I’m left respecting her privacy.

My sister hasn’t been in contact with me since August. She’s mad because I didn’t attend a wedding (not hers mind you, but a cousin that I haven’t seen in YEARS). My mom’s birthday is tomorrow, and I got a phone call this morning from my meddling, both sides playing grandmother. I let it go to voicemail. The stress they put me under is HORRIBLE for my health. Yet, they won’t just let me go. I’d be so much happier if the toxic family members would just wash their hands of me and hold on to their dysfunction together (expect my sister, as her and I recently lost our father in a car wreck, and I feel like our relationship had really grown. I also have a niece and nephew that I’m unable to see because she is choosing my mother’s side). My grandmother left a message on my voicemail saying that my husband and I should go have dinner tomorrow with my mother and the family as it is her birthday. So, my mom gets to leave me at a counseling session with NOTHING changing, and I have to go to my mom’s birthday? The same mom that wrote me a horrible letter on MY birthday stating my transgressions against the “family”?

I’m just going to keep working on me. My marriage is solid. My husband is my biggest cheerleader. He cares for me and treats me wonderfully. I smile more, I’m happier, and I actually FEEL loved. Why would I choose HELL over HEAVEN on Earth?

How do I get these people to just leave me alone for a while? They always say “Life is short. I thought you’d learn that by losing your Dad. Your relationship with your Dad wasn’t great.” Well, I realize that because my mother was brainwashing me my whole childhood about this man. Before my dad was killed, we had decided to start over and I had even told him that I felt I didn’t know the truth about everything that had happened when I was a kid. Yet, my mom tells people “Oh, it’s so sad that Carli wasn’t talking to her Dad when he died.” I was, and that makes me so mad that she is saying that. She even said it in front of the counselor, and the counselor had to explain that I did make amends with him. It’s seriously like my mom just likes living in delusion where everyone around her is evil, and she’s the freaking angel. My mom used to get on the phone when I was teenager and tell my Dad to stop calling me and such. She aided the dysfunctional relationship my Dad and I had. She is not a saint by any means.

Ok, I’m ranting. Advice?

truthbtold (PS My name is Carli. I’m done hiding in fear that my family will see this posting).


Hi Alaina and everyone
I missed something too! Cathy went after Kimberly in a pretty sneaky way and I missed what she was getting at and published the comments. Whenever this happens the whole community here feels ‘unsafe’ and even somewhat let down and I am so sorry for that. I try really hard to keep this place safe, but sometimes I just can’t keep up with everything and I miss something. As far as Cathy is concerned, I have kept several of her abusive comments from ever being published in the first place because they are so disruptive and upsetting to everyone who is trying so hard. And this time she used some sneaky tactics to disguise her motives. I won’t let that happen again. Cathy has said good bye (in a way that makes people feel bad) to this site 3 times now. I am not going to give her a forth chance.
Hugs to all, Darlene


Hi Carli!
That is awesome that you have ‘introduced yourself’!!
My only advice is keep reading. Most of all the answers that I have ever found are here within the thousand pages of this site but we don’t always ‘see’ them before we are ready. The process takes time, the fog lifting takes time and clarity takes time. Thanks for sharing.
Hang in there!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for all that you do for us Darlene! I appreciate the fact that you care enough to give someone three chances…and that you also say enough is enough! This is as safe as you can get for being online here! Hugs to you!

Welcome truthbtold!

It took me years to be determined to let them go. I suffered as everyone else did in that process. I think there may be a part of you that does not want to full disconnect? Which happens to us. As its not easy to just say goodbye forever to your family. When you are mentally ready you will put plans in place where they won’t be able to reach you.

I always did this half way for years…I would change my phone number but give them email or I would move and let them call but not give my address. What I did was not helping my was really only hurting me and yes even them,I was like the abused wife who filed charges then told the police officer that all us ok now!

You really have to get to a place of apathy where you don’t care what they say or di and where you don’t know about it cause they can’t locate you and if they come to your door…you call the police. I been where you are and the last two years I really changed things. I have a good husband who fully supports me and even my child…who I tried to hide this from come and say thank god mom you woke up!
There are some days I miss them but I realized that I only miss who I thought they were. Cause for most my life I had seen them and made them out to be people they never were.
I suppose that is what a child would do? Magical thinking? I am glad you have your husband cheering you on! That is something to be grateful for! I met people who had to do this all alone…who were very poor and had no one…there families had money and throw carrots at them and took advantage if them and they had to choose self respect over food or hear at times.
I am sure I am not in my parents will..they have me back my birth certificate and write a nite on it that they were moving on now..along with every tape I ever made ify child fir them and just threw it in an old paper bag left on my front porch..and note telling I have to hope I don’t get lost kimberly and find my way home.
The old me would of felt bad…i would of felt bad cause I would envision her getting lost! Oh my she is a grown woman! Lol! I would of felt so guilty. This is who she is and this us how she attacks people.
Instead of thinking wow…my mom just have me backyard birth certificate disowning me…I would of felt bad fir her!
Well…not anymore. I see right through her and her motives.
This is what they do truthbtold…they make you wear who they are!
And if we let them..they will!


Carli … I also have fibro and hypothyroidism among other issues. These diseases are stress related. When I was in contact with my family I was on 60 g of Paxil and in bed most days with pain. My mom told me at one point well unlike you kimberly…who is in bed in pain…I am not! She actually used my conditions against me. Her jealousy and hate for me is something I don’t feel any t could change. She has hated me since birth. Tormented me and yet I was always the child who stood up for her and stayed out if trouble cause I didn’t want her to feel anymore brother was in and out if trouble all his life…so I made sure I didn’t cause her anymore pain than she already had..I was a nervous wreck.
I guess we all gotta do what we gotta do to get to whatever point we wish to be at. I will caution you to guard your health. I am now off my meds and I haven’t had a real serious set back for years except my panic disorder..which I have to be watchful of…kimberly


Thank you Kimberly! Your comments brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. If you can do it, so can I! I´m going to print out and save your responses and read them every day to give me the courage I need to find. I´m “almost” there and I too, like everyone here, “just want to come home.” And HOME is INSIDE OF US. Nowhere else, and home is HERE.

Thank you all for being here! Catherine Todd

PS: And thank you Darlene for giving Cathy a number of chances. From that one “real” letter she wrote, obviously she is in a great deal of pain. But just like our abusers, she chose to take it out HERE, on “safe” people she didn´t even know that she knew couldn´t and wouldn´t retaliate, attacking left and right, snide and insidious. Just awful, and just what so many of us grew up with.

It was quite a lesson for me to be able to see this behavior in action, but from a safe distance instead of directed directly at me. (Sorry Kimberly! But you stuck up for yourself very well! Made me very proud of you and hope I can be the same way one day!)

Can you imagine how awful it must be to be in her shoes? But thank God she´s gone and we are not going to be her punching bag. I find nothing but JOY here, STRENGTH and DETERMINATION. It´s just the combination I need. Everyone in different stages of letting go and “re-wiring ourselves.” It´s just what I need, and the first time ever I´ve seen an online forum like this function so incredibly well.

Gracias, Amen!


Darlene, and all,
I completely missed the whole Cathy thing too. I didn’t think much about the presence of someone named Cathy, until she announced yet again that she wouldn’t be back. She needs someone, something, unfortunately, her answers lie inside her, I think.

No harm!

Love and Happy Thanksgiving to all!


I can relate to the control tactics & projections your mom directs towards you. My mom sounds like her twin. Expectations put on you, despite what they have done wrong. No accountability & you are made to feel guilty. It’s backwards. Mutual Respect & equal value are important to any functional relationship. I don’t have that with my parents & it saddens me to say that. It’s taken 40+ years to recognize that & to accept the the truth. We will always have a push & pull relationship, as long as I continue to engage. I’m not engaging on a regular or consistent basis anymore, & I’m happier in my life. My energies & head space are reserved for me & my family (kids & husband). My mom’s tactics have been withdrawal of any emotional support and pushing (taking control, when she wants her needs met, like she did with coming to visit my son on his birthday. I don’t hear from her in months, then all of a sudden, she calls saying she wants to visit that day. I was gracious to allow her & my dad to come visit my 14 yr old son. They were there for him, not me. I believe they will continue to push for some contact with my kids, however, it will be limited. I have my boundaries & I will not allow them to take control. My boundaries are set. I think they got the message, however, I will continue to be consistent. BTW, good for you deciding to use your name. I came out on EFB the same way. I still use the SMD yet use Sonia after my comments. I had to let the fear & anxiety go. So what if they know. It’s not wrong to talk about my pain. Noone knows them here anyway. It’s not like talking about them to mutual friends or family. Although, there are certain relatives I can share with knowing they have similiar issues & feelings that I have towards my parents & that is validating for others in the family to See the dysfunction too. My siblings are wrapped up in denial & buy into the dysfunctional family system. I’ve felt alone for so long, yet this forum has been a saving grace & blessing to me.


(((Catherine)))) thank you so much for your supportive comment to me! I don’t consider myself to be strong and I usually never defend myself. In fact. I was worried it was me here…as I usually do taking the blame at every turn so easily…and then self doubting takes thank you for your affirmations and kindness..that usually never happens to me! Hugs! Kimberly


Darlene..thank you fir being fair and yet providing a safe environment…many sites I been too where not as nice ad you have been! Some actually encourage that…I appreciate all that you do here!


Kimberly, I was really proud of you and still am, and I “want to be like you” when I grow up! I so rarely get compliments or recognition too, so I know how you feel. You stood up for yourself so well, and not by attacking her. That´s what impressed me the most, and what I am trying to work on in my own life. Over and over and over again.

God Bless!


Catherine and everyone…
I have been where Cathy is…I am not proud of that. I do know she is in a very bad place where she has to choose between going along with the abusers in this world or facing her pain and working in it. My sister choose this route and she ended our relationship because she would rather side with the winning team. Most abusers and their silent victims and cheerleaders are very scared and wounded. On one hand I di feel sorry fir them…they are held captive to a lie and to fear of what happened to them…they go on to expose their children and further generations to the poisoned pond.
People who face the truth and either make amends fir what they done…which I believe us very very slim here and the victims who break free and relocate to a new chemical free pond have chances in life. They are working in their issues whether it is food..drugs or shopping or whatever it is they use in place to comfort them. They are raising their own to have a voice to love people and to be strong..
Some of us don’t make it to the new pond…we got out of the old one and stop making deals with devil and we are in our way but haven’t found our way cause we haven’t figured out the road map signs. Cause it takes time. Sometimes you have to get stung enough…thrown down and kicked just a few mire times befire you see what it is. I know I been shot at a million times and it took me quite some time to pick myself back up and start packing!
I am in the new pond but I am like everyone else who first came in…I am broken but I have hope for a better life…I see others who are amazing who help others who are hurting and it makes me cry…I want to someday be who they are. And the only way you can di that is by working on who you are And who you weren’t And learning how to moderate and take out those things which harm you. In the end it is the hope we have to heal…without hope and without healing…it will never happen.
So I choose hope. And I hope one day everyone like Cathy sees this befire it’s too late. Because I believe there is a door open but it does not stay open long…it shuts and locks after a time frame..we become cold and hateful towards those who WHINE…we make our own beds with that decision.


Excellent comments in #174
Thank you for posting! It is true that so many see the majority as the winning team; (but that is their fear of rejection ~ and the belief that the one with the most power is the one to be feared the most. But the truth is that majority has nothing to do with truth. They can vote you off the island but it doesn’t make them right. If anything it is about their fears more than anything. (and esp. the fear of losing their power position in the pecking order)
I like the poison pond vs the new clean pond stuff!
Hugs, Darlene



I think you’re already amazing and are helping people more than you know. How I wish one day we all realize just how wonderful we are and have always been. I like your analogy of the poisoned pond and how we are choosing to relocate to a pure clean one! I think that pond is our true selves and each day it cleanses…like aging, we don’t notice the changes until one day you go whoa what happened! But in a good way this time 🙂

You have such a compassionate and wise heart. People like you show me I am not alone, and that the damage done me is not at all about my somehow “uniquely flawed” individual self but about very common patterns of others’ abusive behaviour that I as a normal healthy human being responded and adapted to in normal ways.

Of course the damage occurs in childhood when we cannot but believe our parents’ truths. I railed against my parents, especially my mother, as a teenager but by then the damage was done. We know that abuse of any kind affects brain development at a young age and we had no choice but to adapt as we did, it’s survival.

And it seems us who feel so broken are actually wired to survive outstanding challenges and are courageous in a way we often can’t appreciate yet. Something in me has never ever given up. I will die reaching the other side of the mountain. Aside from childhood I had a pedophile husband, neighbours who threatened to kill me repeatedly, 30 years of addiction, and I am a powerful woman and am going to get whole. We are courageous and willing to do the work, and despite a life of misery I’m so glad to have made it to this point. You all help me very much with that. Wish I could respond more but it takes me like an hour to write a post, eh 🙂

{{{{HUgs}}}} to all


Thank you Darlene;). I agree fear is something they live with everyday..oncey mother asked me if I remembered a friend if hers…told me her first name and I said no. I honestly didn’t think my mom had any friends. She then dropped it and oddly I did too. Now why didn’t I ask her why she asked me? Fear most likely. My mom always asked me if my brother ever talked about her sister…my aunt. I said no. But then I remembered him telling me about her neighbor who lived downstairs..a woman who taped him at age 8. My mom was kind of transparent on one hand and yet very scary on the other.
I think she thought she had more control over me than she realized and thought maybe I was too dumb to catch in to her…even after all the talk about me bringing up uncles who were not right…I never once mentioned my parents or what I knew about the church we grew up in… I was actually disowned fir bringing up one uncle who raked me when I was really little and that they would beat us with mom says she paddled us with belts..really now! Gish she is so delusional.
But yes I agree Darlene it is fear that rules over them…and it feels like its everyone to me cause my entire family sided with my mom…I am the crazy brother too and also stole him from me as well as mysister..she and I were close as kids..we covered for each other…even though she beat me up alot she at a used and scared like me.
Once my brother pulled me and my sister aside and he was do scared…he said there was something wrong with mom and dad…I remember not being able to ask what and I just remember being scared and crying and not thinking straight. I guess I will never know what he wanted to tell us;( I feel sorry fir him cause I believe he us the way he us today cause he lost his mind.
So yes…fear I do agree us something they use to keep their victims in line.


(((Doren))) oh my goodness! I could imagine what you went through with your husband! I am so very sorry. Yes…you should never give up the fight! I know I won’t! Thank you fir your kind compliments…that was very nice of you. All we can do is our best…;). I feel every good decision I make whether it is starting to change my lifestyle or be kinder and not let anger ruin me…is my true self coming out and claiming who I was meant to be. I still struggle with self acceptance and not self a using myself…but we all struggle in life;)


Carli…I had responded to you but I am not sure where…it may of been on another page? Welcome back!


Carli…posts 166 and 167 was my two responses to your post.. Welcome back;)


{{{Huggies}}} back Kimberly. I feel a lot of tenderness in your posts and I just find this whole site a very warm and affirming place to be. Everyone here are real warriors of the soul…

I’ve gone through life believing, “I am what you tell me I am”, never having formed an individual sense of identity. Like a light switch, my self-esteem would go up or down depending on how others saw me. That light switch, I’m noticing, isn’t moving quite so much these days. As my therapist said, I don’t know who I am. While I’ve focused so much on feeling disconnected from others, it’s MYSELF I’m most disconnected from, and my relationship with myself I need most to rebuild.

That is the worst thing that happened overall, my parents destroyed my relationship with my own self. It was not only in the overt messages of “she’s sick in the head” but in the indifference shown and the anger when I expressly needed them. This taught me that I was not worth caring for and led as an adult to accept loads of disrespect toward me, and be grateful for any crumbs thrown my way.
And I sought out encounters which reinforced the message that I was insignificant, though I certainly wasn’t aware at the time.

I believed men when they told me online they loved me. “Oh, he thinks I’m special”, I’d think, “he can see how special I am”. I still have this need to be seen as SPECIAL. This desperation for love…”You can see how good I am right, you can see it”. Maybe because if I’m just me, that’s not good enough…I don’t know.

Whether they were aware or not, my parents broke that connection with myself. Everything had to be about their needs. I can see now that when I’ve abused substances I was primarily pushing myself away—again even in that sense, they succeeded in being my focus.

Living all about the other, and yearning for their gifts of attention has been a continuation of the child seeking her parents love and time. I have been lost in all of that.

One time with my ex I went through another one of my depressions, and I told him I wanted to kill myself. And he said calmly, “Well go ahead and do it”. Another time I asked him how long it would take him to find someone else if we broke up, and he said, “About a week”. I’m looking back with all the compassion I can and ask, “Why did I stay?” I thought I deserved this. It hurt greatly, but I thought this was all I was gonna get. After all I was so much of a burden, being an addict. Like I was a burden to my parents, being such a screw-up, I see now was my deep down belief.
This all took accountability from abusive people’s behaviour and reinforced original messages. I continued to create a world for myself which reflected ingrained “truth”.

I know I have more power today, and more choices, but it’s going to be a lot of painful uncomfortable work on an emotional and action level. I gotta let that inner kid out of the driver’s seat and say, “It’s ok, it’s ok now, you go play, I’ll take care of you”. She don’t trust me yet, but with every healthy self-affirming choice, more and more she will release her distrust and expectation of pain. It’s like, she won’t be my voice anymore, I will be hers.



Darlene, I just don’t know. I’ve been No Contact with my parent now for 8 months. It felt like a relief from the pain for while, but now it’s all back. The pain, the depression.

I just don’t understand. What can I do to get over the trauma, to heal? Simply having the out of my life didn’t help. So now what? I need help.


Hi Miranda
Standing up for yourself and drawing the line in the sand is only part of the solution. The bigger part of the solution is in seeing the false messages stuck in the belief system caused by the dysfunctional relationship and changing them back to the truth. I have written a lot about this but I know it is hard to do it without one on one help.
Hug, Darlene


Miranda and Darlene, I’ve been working on all this for over 20 years with and without help, and with every self-help book known to man.

When will it ever end? I’m not sure, but the one thing I can say is that I’m not an alcoholic, drug addict or suicide and am am functioning human being, even if I’m at half mast some of the time.

I guess that’s something to be said. So many girls end up dead when they were raised the way I was, so I suppose that’s something to be grateful for. But I compare myself to an emancipated slave. Some wounds may heal but the scars remain. I can only hope to help others coming behind me and ease their pain.

I am so grateful to have finally found a forum where people can really share without being blamed or judged. It’s a first for me. Gracias.


Catherine and Miranda
I can honestly say that using the process that I talk about in this website I have fully recovered from the pain, the oppression, the low self-esteem, depression, dissociative issues including dissociative identity disorder and I have a full life, great relationships with my husband and kids and a whole lot of other amazing hope filled stories. I did have help and it was expensive, and now I help others one on one (and I guess some think I am a little expensive too) but the results are a lot faster that way. Since I did get help, I am not sure how fast this works when you are only using this website for help (however I have had feedback from hundreds who have told me it is way better and faster than some of the therapy they have tried)but one thing I do know is that there are ups and downs.. and it takes time no matter which method you use. The main thing is to stay persistent! Don’t give up, keep reading and keep journaling (privately or in this site). Just keep trying to move forward. It took me 3 years with specialized professional help and then I went back to school to learned how to work with others outside of theraputic practices.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone
In honour of the American Thanksgiving and as a way to kick off the upcoming holiday season in apositive and inspiratioal way, I have written a new post with a glimpse of the way it is today for me.
I hope that there will be some conversation there!
you can read the post here:
The Opposite of a Dysfunctional Family System Dinner ~ a glimpse of hope
Hugs, hope and Love, Darlene


<3 Darlene and C. Thank you so much for answering. It really means so much. I just don't know what to do anymore. Therapy, but where, with who? I've tried so many things, so many therapists. It is so hard living with this, memories, flashbacks, depression. I had a really bad childhood. Sometimes I think that using things like "The Secret" or Abraham-Hicks is the way, but it only works for a while before the anger and depression comes back. Thank you for all that you do though.


Darlene I hope I can have a life like that some day.


I had a stranger online reach out to me and I believe it was her mainly who helped me…it took me get where I am and I had a few set backs. I can share what she shared with me…it will just be suggestions not theraphy. I had a few relapses but quickly sought help and was ok. My last one was five years ago when I moved and settled into a new community. It is a High stress community as most here have money and their lifestyle reflects that. When I moved back to my home state…it was a very cold January day. We rented a very beautiful home that somehow was affordable to us…we got our child into a great School and I was overwhelmed by how friendly people were…I then deveploed pneumonia. And husband worked alot and had to work out if town. My car broke down. The school has no busing. So I had to walk her to school with a 106 fever. I should of been in the hospital. When I was oddly invited to a neighbors home for mom lucheon.. I almost didn’t go but felt since my steroids were working I should give people another chance. Bad idea. I sat alone. Everyone was thin and beautiful. A few people spoke to me but it was to cut me apArt. People were amazed a rental home existed in their block. After awhile no one would allow their child to play with mine cause I had an issue with a teacher who was upset that I did not call her back quick enough. I explained my husband was out if town and I was not feeling well and did not think my child missing her socks fir gym was a huge reason to call back right away. She explained that my child dud nit seem to be accepted by others cause she did not warm up quickly…oddly she always made friends well befire till now. I cried in the phone and told her that I didn’t know what to do and that I tried to be friendly but I felt not very wanted here. I literally broke down and hung up on her… So much was triggering me living back at close to my hometown.
I got so depressed and thought this teacher is right…di are these other moms.. I am an awful mom..I almost took my life one day thinking how she told me to be the parent and how the other mom would snub me.. I almost took my own life…I even went as far as planning it. I was loser and bad mom and I really thought I was not deserving life or my child or life.
But I didn’t…I cried on the subway and some random stranger talked to me. She says dint you listen to other people u can see that you are a very wounded person and I can see your daughter here lives you. I then called my best friend who helped me before and she help me lift the fog of self hate and self destruction and again she saved me… Her and this random stranger.
For years I had strived to be perfect and just wanted acceptance And to fit into somewhere. But that is an illusion you see…I had to image if what I felt my life should be in order to feel as if I was ok and it was like putting a circle org into a square hole..,I had to learn to love me with my faults…so that is what I will share today…
Learning to love yourself with flaws…this one was a mirror exercise and today I still struggle and cry when I do it but I am much better at it.
I stand in the mirror and tell myself I love myself without having a breakdown…hardest thing fir me to di but I found this helps me…I hope it can help you
Happy thanksgiving…love Kimberly


Oh, Kimberly, I want to give you a hug. I can so relate to your story on the subway. It reminds me of the days/weeks before my breakdown. I wasn’t planning suicide; I was terrified that it would just happen, that I wouldn’t be able to stop it. I think so much hope is in not being alone anymore—in relationship with others but also with oneself, too, eventually, with learning to love one’s own company. Thanks so much for sharing that story; it touched me. Happy thanksgiving to you.


(((Alania)))) so sorry to hear that. It was hard to share that…the last time I did the mom who I thought could trust with this told a mutual acquaintance that she felt I was off and didn’t want to be around me. Me and her friend dud be one friends but she refused to be near me.
Later in she told me that suicude was a selfish act and that she felt I was a horrible person. I agree ended with her cause I di feel horrible for thinking that..I am not proud if that..I honestly thought at that time I was the disease and that I was not good or deserving…
But people judge you…and most don’t care to hear about your life and blame you. I now don’t bother with anyone much anymore…cause I can’t take the judging. The blaming…I do that enough myself…I don’t need someone else to chime in.
I will try to write something everyday fir whoever wants to read it…I di know the mirror exercise is good. Just writing this all out helped me…I cried..I rarely can anymore di that us good…;)


I’m so sorry people treated you like that, Kimberly… and you’re so right, so many people do treat others like that, it’s sick. I felt the same thing, that I was the “disease”, that it was inside me, rotting me from the inside out. Sometimes I think that’s what others think too—that it’s a disease and they can “catch it” or something so they want to run away from you. So many people have a very hard time being real about depression and suicide… or anything real, really. They’re too caught up in being who they want to look like they are…. I think that people who think suicides are selfish have no idea what they are talking about, that they are repeating something they’ve heard said a million times before without actually stopping to think about it. I think it’s a way to cut people down and end conversation. And it’s terrible because, yes, suicide does do incredible damage to those left behind, but the first victim is the person him/herself and that must be remembered, too. Something brought them to that place. Shame doesn’t help anyone… I send you my love and hopes for healing, as many tears as it takes. Each and every one of us here.


Alania…so very well spoken. I am sorry you know how this feels and anyone else reading this who can relate…I am also sad you too understand this. Today…I would never do that cause I think my daughter needs me…she tells me that I am the strongest person she knows and that it could of been so easy for me to follow what was done to me…that she sees me as her best friend and her mother!
I wish everyone in this world had just one person who really truly loved them. That no one ever felt di damaged beyond repair that they had these thoughts…sadly that is not the case. When I think of my child and daughter plus my best friend in Canada…the resources I had…and I felt this low…I can only imagine how awful it must be fir someone who is all alone…I my wish is that they find a place like this and that they talk and chime in and fund they are not alone. We don’t have to be alone…none of us.


Doren, you put it so well in #181:

“I’ve gone through life believing, “I am what you tell me I am”, never having formed an individual sense of identity. Like a light switch, my self-esteem would go up or down depending on how others saw me. That light switch, I’m noticing, isn’t moving quite so much these days. As my therapist said, I don’t know who I am. While I’ve focused so much on feeling disconnected from others, it’s MYSELF I’m most disconnected from, and my relationship with myself I need most to rebuild.”

I have NEVER had any sense of “self.” Because whatever I did, I was told it wasn’t good enough, or I was lying, or I was wrong. Black was white and red was green… and whatever they SAID or WROTE about me MADE IT TRUE. Facts didn’t matter then.

So I’ve spent the last six years trying to not “rebuild” but build from scratch a picture of what I am. What my SELF actually looks like, acts like, does, thinks and feels. I have no idea who or what I am because the lies about me from my family just keep coming, and I am 62 years old! Even without contact, I still feel the hurt and the damage they do. I stayed away for more than 25 years and only re-established contact when my mother was dying. What daughter wouldn’t? But NOTHING HAD CHANGED. In fact, it was WORSE.

So now I’m back to square one, fighting a losing battle with a family of 10 all of whom believes whatever they were brainwashed to believe, and now that our “loving mother” is dead and gone, the “beatification process” has begun. I would have thought that by now my sisters would have wanted to know some of the truth, at least… just a few details perhaps? They might have some questions at least… but NO. Nothing doing. They all made sure to keep me from my mother’s deathbed and she went right along with it. These people are just plain EVIL.

And now I have to figure out how to undo the damage done, and I haven’t got a clue.

HOW TO DEVELOP A SENSE OF SELF, when every little bit of me that was individual and unique was and is crushed to smithereens at every turn? Staying away kept me from going back into PTSD with all the attacks they make on me, but I can see that the DEEP healing has never occured. All it takes is one bad apple to throw me back into that deep dark well that I can barely climb out of. One abusive individual nowadays cheating me or gossiping about me or lying about me… whew. I’m flat on the ground again.

How to change this pattern? I have been working on my blog which is my “coat of many colors.” I can see all the good and I don’t think that I am bad anymore, the way I did all those many years ago, but I still don’t think I am of much value to anyone when the “popular people” or just the remainder of my family of origin are abusers or believers or deniers, and make my life miserable. When will I be able to accept the hatred or enmity of others and not let it affect me?

A Shoulin monk would not be moved or phased by the negative energies thrown his way. I on the otherhand am completely disabled. I have spent my entire life standing up to abusers and it’s so destructive for me. I always win, but at such a cost. But perhaps the only destruction taking place is the destruction of the old lies and the old ways that said they were right and I was wrong and I deserved all the bad treatment I received. I hope this is the case. I hope the only destruction taking place is the destruction of my fear of standing up for myself. I always do it in the end, even if it’s very difficult at the time.

And so I carry on. Thank God for this forum where I can feel myself getting stronger and stronger. I am getting ready to tell my truth even louder soon. Dear God please give me the strength and the grace to do it well, and let it be productive for all concerned. And gracias to everyone here. Amen.

“The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”

Dear God please show me The Way.


And as Doren put it, Kimberly is a real sweetheart, isn’t she? Thanks for being here, my dear!


Alaine wrote it so beautifully:

“I send you my love and hopes for healing, as many tears as it takes. Each and every one of us here.”

Gracias, amen!


Darlene wrote:

“Standing up for yourself and drawing the line in the sand is only part of the solution.

The bigger part of the solution is in seeing the false messages stuck in the belief system caused by the dysfunctional relationship and changing them back to the truth.”


Dear God please show me The Way.


Darlene wrote in #119:

WOW ~ that letter is beautifully articulated and so full of genuine love and respect for them but especially for yourself!

Thank you so much for sharing it with us. It is painful to read this account of the truth, I feel your pain and I feel my own pain again too, but there is so much self love and self validation in this letter that it makes me feel joy as well.

It reminds me that the truth set me free.”

WOW IS RIGHT! “It makes me feel joy as well.”

That’s why I love this forum so much. I am able to share in everyone’s accomplishments, baby steps or giant shoes. Thank you both and everyone here! So many gems, diamonds and pearls let loose in this treasure chest that we have all opened and filled, over and over again, with angels wings and butterfly rainbows and blue skies and clouds over head. The Silver Stream sings in our words and our souls. Joy!


Hi Miranda,

I can remember, when the movie “The Secret” came out, I was so joyous and hopeful, I thought that all I had to do was watch the movie 100 times, focus on what I wanted, and it would happen! It didnt. Similarly, I read most of the Abraham Hicks books and thought I had discovered the secret of life! I hadnt. While you have false, limiting, subconcious beliefs about yourself and the world, NOTHING will change. Its like putting a new coat of paint on a derelict house, and expecting the dry rot, the rising damp, the subsidance and all the other major structural issues to magically disappear. They wont. Only when you heal your relationship with YOU (not your abusers, you cant change them), will the magic start to happen. Only then can you start to put Law Of Attraction principles into action. And I believe in this stuff so much! But only when I started to excavate the rubbish first, did I see results. For instance, if you have a false belief that you are undeserving, no matter how much love and abundance you visualise, your default setting will kick in and it will sabotage anything good that comes your way. If you have an old programme running, then you must replace it before you will see new stuff!
We dont celebrate Thanksgiving here in the UK, but I hope everyone had a wonderful time!
Love Sylvia x


Hi Sylvia and everyone else. I believe a positive attitude goes a long way but I don’t believe the secret is some magical answer that will just wipe all our problems away and that from that new peace and great human potential will follow. I was quite insulted by this fallacy in that book. In fact there are some who believe…I am one if them that these new age tactics can hurt a person and do great damage…just like religion. The whole premise if…well you just need faith and if you had enough you be this or that and if your not well its on your head. I had been in churches and groups of all sorts who blame the victim…then shun them cause well um it just didn’t take. So books like the secret have some truth…I take the rest of it with a grain if salt.
I am just so wary of anyone who has some snake poison to sell me and then blames me if desired results don’t somehow magically appear out if thin air.
It takes time and it takes alot if self exploration and a willingness to go there with yourself and maybe trusted people. And I suggest to work on yourself first or without your abusers first or at least till you are in a good place if you have to go that route…most abusers when they go into theraphy are not going to just say oh I wrong! Please let me say I am sorry and let me make amends…who knows maybe a very small percentage do and maybe they really mean it but I personally feel that would be a miracle and I never see or heard of that yet… But I don’t fault people either. I been there myself…sometimes all we have us hope and our dreams…understand that very much and not knocking anyone. We all have to di what we gotta do.its our lives.
From all the shows and books and people I met…it usually goes down like this. Well the abuser will say. I am sorry fir what I did…my part in the abuse. As if there is some other missing part which by the way is you and how you played a role in them abusing you! Yes you will also be partly responsible fir their actions. They will use gaslightint and red herrings and Mimizations and a whole load of psychological crap to make you feel crazy, ashamed.
Alania…your letter was one I could if written and elements if it were in my letter once too. Have you head back? Please please try to read it with a t in person if they actually respond. What I got where a serious if calls from my sister and mom asking me if I got myself in drugs or alcohol or if I was having marital issues… None of those issues were going on but they asked me that…then they said what is wrong with you? Why Are you attacking us? So you never meant those words you said in all those cards to us that said his much you loved us? Kimberly you lied to us! I had quite a few people use that one with me…they seem to live that one.
Then I got hang up calls all day long. My sister then called back again and said hey bitch why do t you and your t go to the mental ward and check yourselves in? Cause you fin nuts
My letter was actually quite surface mind you and I only brought up a few issues nit everything…I had my reasons as I don’t feel safe bringing up everything cause I was told some things by my brother that I feel might get me taken out. Very organized and very underhanded events.
Like Darlene said…it takes time and work on yourself. Personally I say please do that with yourself as much as possible. And if your abuser is willing let them work on their own. There are t out there who may not have your best I retest at heart..they may of never worked on their issues and they too could be an abuser and I could imagine the fun that kind if group armed with a t would have with you.
I would be very selected who my t was and I would keepy abusers out if just starting theraphy. Myself? No way in hell they would ever be in a room with me.
But I am at a place of righteous anger and that is my personal stage if being. I am angry fir what they stole from me and how I had to work to piece back my life. Some things can’t be repaired fir me…like a tree that got nails in it and dies…you can take out the nails but the damage is done. I have never been able to have an female long term friendships where it was not healthy…I been denied friendships all my life as I attract women like my mom. She stole that from me.
I had not one friend in high school…not one. I sat alone when I did eat Lunch and no one ever spoke to me that was not abusing me…the sign on my back said, ignore me I am a loser…not one teacher…one person ever tried to befriend me or care…high school was awful. On my graduation day I watched everyone hug someone and I didn’t know you were to throw your hat up in the air… I felt like I was invisible. I just felt surrounded.


Hi Miranda and everone re: using the abraham hicks and “the secret” to recover
I too loved all that type of stuff. I studied ‘the science of mind’ (very similar to the secret) and I read Napolean Hill and I tried positive affirmations but until I actually saw my true belief system none of those things worked. They lifted my spirits for a while but that was about it. My belief system always overrode any of the new things I was trying to put in it. So for me, the answer is finding the lies that I believe about me; the messages that were communicated to me through trauma and damage and how they falsely defined me. (my earlier work is very much about this stuff) Once I knew what that stuff was, I was able to change it back to the truth and NOW I can do the secret stuff or postiive affirmation stuff with much better results.
Hugs, Darlene


about “changing the lies back to the truth” stick around, keep reading. It takes time but clarity comes the more the truth emerges.
Hugs, Darlene


Well said about the old programming! exactly. I had to change my default setting and it was hard. After all, it had been there for over 40 years!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Me too Darlene! I am 48 and I been on my journey for almost 15 years!
Yes Catherine! Time and commitment of wanting to change those are very possible! But there are slips…where you fall back but as time goes by it becomes easier to stop it and say no to it!


Thanks, Catherine, for your comments! I love it here, too. It has helped me so much! (Thanks Darlene!!)

Hi Kimberly,
I actually received an email from my mom today but it was a forwarded email from my grandma announcing the birth of my uncle’s new son (my uncle is estranged from everyone in the family except for my grandma and I don’t have a relationship with my grandma anymore, either, but those are two whole other stories). Anyway, my dad works out of town but will be back this weekend and my mom said that they would respond to my email soon. I have extremely low expectations at this point. I believe I will get a response similar to what I got the last times I stood up for myself with letters after my breakdown 8 years ago and before I cut off contact with them. All I can say is that I need to do this. It’s not about how they respond. The times in the past, I’d get confused and end up falling in line again until I realized I couldn’t continue things the way they were, so I cut off. Now I’m ready to deal with them—I feel that I have to and I want to, not for them but for ME, whatever the outcome. I am strong enough for this and what I hope for here, in communication with others, is support, faith and encouragement. I am working hard and I am doing this. I appreciate your concern and worry on the one hand, but on the other, it does cut me at the knees a bit. It makes me question the strength I know I have and my ability to take care of myself, which I also know that I can do. Again, I appreciate where you’re coming from, but at this point, it’s not really helpful for me. I know what I’m doing, and if I don’t, I’m figuring it out as I go along and that’s good, too. I’ve been through quite a bit of therapy for the last 8 years. I have a support system. I have a peaceful, good life right now. Everything is in place for me to handle this. I’m not saying it won’t be hard and there won’t be pain. It will be, there will be, but I’m ready and wanting to do this. I see peace, freedom, happiness and health in my future and for me, whatever happens, this is part of the path toward that.
Take care,


Hi Kimberly
with regards to your comment #200 and what you are saying to Alaina, this is what I call giving advice and as Alaina states in comment #205 it isn’t helpful. It is more of a judgement about the way Alaina is proceeding and the way she chooses to proceed is up to her. All my life people told me how to think, act, re-act etc. and I found my healing by learning how do to all that for myself. We don’t know what is best for anyone else. I do say that it takes time and work on yourself, but I have never said that confronting your parents or abusers isn’t a good idea. It is very important for many survivors of dysfunctional families to confront. We do it for ourselves. For me it was about hearing me and sticking up for me. The outcome hurt, but it didn’t set me back at all. In fact the outcome (which was complete rejection in my case) showed me even more the depth of the truth about them. It helped me even more to see that it really wasn’t ‘me’ that was the problem.
It is really powerful when we share our own experience and it is fine that you shared what happened to you in this case, but please refrain from ‘directing’ or ‘correcting’ others. We all reach the the goal in different ways.
Thanks, hugs, Darlene

I am sorry that I didn’t catch this and address it this morning. (I am having trouble reading every comment ~ I run out of time) Your response is really excellent and full of self value and self-support! I am really glad that you posted what you did ~ it is such a great example of confidence and self-care. And I love your last line; whatever happens, this is part of the path forward! oh ya baby!
Hugs, Darlene


Alanua…I am sorry. I think being online is not working out for me. My intentions are good but yet somehow I stick my foot in my mouth and bad things well all and thank you fir listening but when I do more harm than good then it’s time fir me to go..peace to all. Kimberly


There’s really no need to go. I’m not hurt. You did no harm to me. I understood your intentions. I just needed to speak up for me. I hope that you’ll reconsider your decision as this is a wonderful place. And really what happened was not such a big deal. It’s just about communication and finding understanding between people—what so much of life is all about. Hugs to you and please take care, whatever you decide.
Best, Alaina


Please don’t go! It isn’t that bad things happened,it was just a communication adjustment that was needed. I have had to tell lots of people about this same thing and thats why this site is usually so safe, productive and supportive. I myself have made communication mistakes in this site more than once and had to apologize to the whole thread and I felt embarrassed and even mad at myself but as Alaina said, it is all part of life. This is how we grow and learn. You are a valued member of this community and I hope that you know that. I don’t want you to go! I hope you will reconsider.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Kimberly,

I sure hope you don’t go. Everyone here contributes so much, more I believe than we can ever realize. You’ve certainly contributed greatly.

I find it incredibly hard to face my mistakes with people. I’ve been so put down and criticized that one more mistake is like confirmation of how wrong and bad I am. The distortions in my head allow for very little balance in how I see myself, and this is a good part of what I must challenge.

I became acquainted this year with a man who was abused as a child. He told me he had self-esteem issues. He excused his father’s behaviour and said he was too old to deal with childhood now. I don’t socialize with him, he’s a bus driver I’m a rider, but he told me his birthday and I gave him a card. In it I wrote, “The first thing we have to do in healing from the abuse is understand it was criminal and there were no excuses”. I wrote some other “Hold your head up high” stuff. He never spoke to again, he was very angry.

It’s taken me months to realize I had no right to tell him how to deal. Sure I believe the words but I had no concept when I wrote the card that I was preaching or undermining his own sense of strength. Quite the opposite, my heart was totally loving and I still care about him. I miss talking to him.

It’s very painful to realize what I did was wrong. ESPECIALLY about this very topic and when I just wanted to HELP.

This is being human. I get to make mistakes. Sometimes they are big ones, sometimes they are small. I know this intellectually, but emotionally, I can still get the whips out and flog myself inside for what I did. My head can go all aswirl, “Oh I’m a mess-up, I can’t do anything right”, etc etc.

As painful as it is, my way out is to face when I make a mistake and realize it doesn’t reflect at all my overall character or worth. The mistake is about that action alone. I can say I’m sorry, I didn’t realize, I will endeavour to not do that again. I will learn just like everyone else is here to do, no shame.

We are tender-hearted folk and feel deeply for others. The true bastards out there don’t torment themselves inside. They couldn’t care less.



Kimberly, please dont go! Heck, I have been corrected on here at least 3-4 times already and one or two of them were REAL BIG misunderstandings! Everyone on here tries so hard to word things just right in a helpful way to others, and some days it doesnt come out the way we intended. I am not a shrink or have any background education with therapists or from a therapist so I probably do this more than anyone…and that is the truth! Noone has ever wanted me to actually leave that I am aware of because of it. I hope you will reconsider leaving…you have been a breath of fresh air and your experiences that you have shared have been quite helpful! Please keep sharing…. 🙂


I just didnt mean to hurt anyone and I did and I did not even realize it, so that bothers me alot, I do like this site and I will try to say less maybe, I am kind of long winded and I am kind of opinated on healing and people in general, I cant say something that I feel is wrong and to not say how I feel also seems wrong. I meant what I said but I did not intend to hurt anyone, that is truly how I feel about healing and etc, but I wont go there anymore, honestly I just see it that way but I will just clam up now!
I am just going to talk about my own experiences for now and give no advice, I think that may be the way to go! Again, my apologies for the disrutpions!
I had a very good day today, got alot done and I am going to try to lose weight again for the how many times? I feel rather disgusted that I keep failing in this dept…I lose ten and gave it all back like a milliom times, I just cant control myself I guess…:(
Hope everyone had a good holiday!


Hi Diane! It is nice to see you again,
I enjoyed our conversations on here alot! I hope you had a nice holiday! Kimberly

Doren…me too, I am really really awful at confrontations. I have a hard time with shame…even when people arent trying to shame me, i feel that they are, I think I have ptsd and my reactions are way off…In the past I would just avoid avoid avoid, me having an opinion just never happened, I was silenced and ashamed of myself.


Hi Kimberly,
I just want to reiterate that you didn’t hurt me. Honestly. I am not hurting, and since your comments were addressed specifically to me, I can’t imagine that you hurt anyone else by them. They were just not helpful for the reasons I said and the reasons Darlene said. I understand where you were coming from and that you meant what you said, but at the same time, each person’s life is their own; there isn’t a blanket solution for everyone on how to go about their healing path. For me, in my life, in my circumstances, I have chosen this route and know that it is exactly what I must do for me. It is the right choice. It may not be for you in your life. But it is for me in mine, and that is what I am asking to be respected. To allow me to know myself, to make my decisions, to go my own way based on what I believe and feel to be in my best interests—this is the only way to live…. because I know me better than you know me and while all victims have similarities, just as all abusers do, we are all different, too, with our own unique paths, similar but different… Again, I’m really, really, really not hurt, and I certainly don’t want you to leave here or to beat yourself up about it! I was glad to have the connection with you yesterday and wouldn’t want to see you go or for you to hurt or shame yourself over this. I only hope that you can understand where I’m coming from and why I needed to speak up. That’s all.
Take care,


Doren…I am not so sure I agree with that but this site is not mine so I must obey the rules but I have a very peronal story to why I feel that this is ok…
I met a woman online who told me things that I hated her for, things about my family and myself and we had gotten into a few really nasty arguments cause I was highly offended and hurt, but she did this to help me and if she didnt, I would still be in that same wounded place thinking why doesnt my mom love me?
She was very point blank and she held nothing back and i am glad she cared enough to tell me what was wrong and what was up, cause I would of never grown and leanred from it,
I would stll be in the cycle of abuse, just a story of my own here, this woman literally saved me life, but that was my experience and not everyone agrees with that, that is ok!
I am just saying sometimes it is ok to do that, but on a site like this, you must follow the rules of the creator and that I agree with, I hope to respect that and I try to be much more careful!
I today dont see my friend as I used to see her, I dont blame her anymore and I know she was only trying to be helpful and honest.
And I do promise to never chime in my two cents unless asked and then even, I will be very careful to be kind!


Alania, we all do what we must and we have that right, that was none of my business and I promise to never do that again, again, i am sorry. Hugs, Kimberly


Thanks, Kimberly. Hugs to you too.


(((Darlene))) thank you and I have re-learned something very valuable that I needed to be reminded of……hugs! Kimberly


Hi Kimberly! I have been “hanging out” over on a couple of newer articles…but it is great to chat with you again. I am about the most long winded on here…and I more or less write as I am thinking or as I talk! Long winded is good! 🙂 .


Yes…It is Diane! I have no contact with anyone outside my family and my two dogs and I really have taken a huge dislike for most people in this world, I really have found that it is not so much if they like me but if I like them and lately in my life, I dont like people so much! HA HA! I swore off online sites for years but this one I felt was really good and so far I really can say its been a nice experience. I have also started using my laptop more often cause my spelling is horrible on my iphone, I think I really need to also apoloize to everyone here for my horrible spelling errors! I think as I use this device, my messages will hopefully be much more legible! Hugs Diane!


I think I need to go find some newer articles on here, branch out some and see what else is going on! great idea!



I’m nearing 40. In a conversation with my father tonight, I thought I was going to explode, but once again those trained childhood responses kicked in. He mentioned to me someone being upset because my daughter’s birthday gift was still in the bag. After having been under a great deal of other stress lately, I was ready to respond that I was just going to dive in a hole and hide. Before I even finished my sentence, I was told that I’m just so I’ve the top on everything. i nearly burned a hole in the man with my eyes and stated I had good reason to be lately. I was just told to quit. It’s been that way with him my whole life. I’ve NEVER been allowed to get upset. And it still bothers me now as much as it did as a child. I think I’ve developed that reputation in my family and elsewhere because of it. If anyone sees me be anything other than calm, you’d think the world was going to end. Everyone else is allowed to express upset, but God forbid if I speak up, then I’m out of place. It’s my role in the family to cheer everyone else up when things go wrong, but when I’m down or need help, I’m on my own island. I’ve tried to take what’s happened to me, and not do the same to my own children and even the kids in my classroom, in telling them they have every right to feel each and every emotion they have, and at the same time talk them through how to think through those emotions. But me, I’m about to lose every absolute part of gray matter within my head. I understand the post above that read staying away from othe people, but home with the dogs instead. I’m just so tired of it all. Just sick of people knowing I will bend over backwards for them, but they don’t think twice in screwing me over. I’m tired of being the good little girl who won’t speak up. I’m tired of feeling like I’m a prime target for uncaring, manipulating people. I’m just beyond fed up!


Having figured out a few short years ago that it WASN’T me, I have been tempted to go “no-contact” with my narcissist. I don’t know why I don’t. Probably the local society’s expectations of how mothers should be on a pedestal, looked up to, catered to. I know, I’m a wimp.

Anyway, she wants me to stop over because “she’s got a lot of things to talk over with me” and “don’t come when (her home health aide) is here.”

Whoop! Whoop! Red lights flashing! Siren blaring! What will it be this time that shouldn’t have a witness? Another shame attack, trying to manipulate me into visiting more or doing more for her? Something about what one of my children (who are not allowed to be around her alone) did or said? Perhaps it will only be article after article she’s clipped and saved for me to read, not understanding that I’m really not an extension of her and don’t necessarily care about the same things she cares about. Perhaps she will again be accusatory of the church I attend because she believes they told me to not be around her anymore and I meekly complied. (Yup, that’s me, I just do what I’m told.) Perhaps it will be another complaint about my brave friends who have tried their best to befriend her but have failed–certainly not through lack of effort.

So I am going to buy myself (a birthday present for myself; she ignores my birthdays unless they’re a major milestone) a voice recorder and use it at our meeting and dissect what’s been said. That’s one way I know to dispel the fog that envelopes conversations with her. (I know I’m not the only person who goes, “wait, what?” after a session with her.) When I hear a put-down, I can dispel any power it might have over me by telling myself the truth about myself–that I’m not the problem. I’ve taken my value back, the value that God values me with, and I’m not going to give it up easily.

(Off-topic, but the mention of the movie “The Shining” made me smile. I was watching it with the kids, no idea why. I was slouching apathetically, finding it rather dull–I’d been there, done that as the wife of a narcissist. Yup, I’d lived with him in an isolated rural area with little contact with other people, I believed on at least one occasion that he was actually going to kill us, what he said sometimes was so strange that it bordered on the insane, though it was “crazy like a fox” to keep me off balance and dependent on him. The scene where the wife has the gun and the drop on the guy made me sit up suddenly and yell, “Kill him! Kill him!” I knew then I still had some issues with my late marriage.)


Hi Suzie
Welcome to emerging from broken;
I can relate to what you are saying here. I think you have found the right website! We talk a lot about getting our voices back and giving ourselves permission to have these emotions and feelings by finding out how we got shut down and seeing the truth about how wrong it is. There is tons of stuff in this site about all this. I write about how I took my life back.
Hugs, Darlene


It isn’t that you are a whimp, it is just that you are not ready. It is okay to be IN the process. I knew I ‘should’ stand up to my mother for a very long time before I actually did it.
Great idea about getting yourself a birthday present; many times I wished that I had thought of recording a conversation so that I had ‘proof’ of what had been said and even better that you are going to use it to dispell the fog!
Hugs, Darlene

Bronwyn - South Africa
November 26th, 2012 at 4:12 am

MZC #223 – I am so glad that your neon lights are blazing and the sirens are screaming in your head.

A while ago my Narc Mother wrote me a letter and suggested that we get together to “right the wrongs of the past” – over a cup of tea!

I knew that what she really wanted to do was have a finger-pointing session with me – so that she could point out all my bad stuff – and yet again, I end up apologising for simply being me.

I knew that this exercise was totally futile.

I spoke to my best friend who has been with me since 1983. She is wise and wonderful. She suggested something that I actually did – and it made a HUGE difference – to me.

I wrote to my mother – apologising for all the things I have done in the past. I asked her forgiveness. I said that there was no need to sit down and go down that road. I asked if we could please move forward with forgiveness in our hearts.

She agreed (amazingly).

That was the end of her ignoring me from June till September 2011.

I have seen very little of her since then. Nor have I communicated with her much.

I have been set free from her shit!!!! I do not have to feed into any of her stuff any more. It is not about me. It is about her. And I no longer feel that I belong in any of that stuff.

She doesn’t have much power over me any longer.

Fortunately I also belong to a 12 step recovery group – I was married to an alcoholic – and Al-Anon tells me that I am powerless – over everything and everyone except me. The only person who can change is me – and I deserve the absolute best.

So I am giving it to me!

Thanks for listening. Today is a good day! I send my love to one and all!
Bronwyn – Scottburgh – KwaZulu-Natal – South Africa


Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post about the origin of self blame using an example from my adventures driving in the snow! It’s a day in the life of Darlene complete with what goes through my mind and how I do self talk and turn things around for myself today!
Please read it here; “A day in the life of Darlene ~ Recognizing the origin of self blame”I am looking forward to the conversation!
Hugs, Darlene


My narcissistic mother has always tried to keep ‘under her thumb’ making sure that I get too grown for my own good; even though I am a 36 year old married mother of two. She absolutely detests me outgrowing her and has stated on many occasions that “she’s going to just let me be myself”…like I was looking for HER permission to be myself? Narcissists are so delusional that it’s not even comprehensible. You can state the absolute truth and reality of your stance with them yet it’s just like talking to a brick wall…they don’t nor will they EVER hear you. So I’ve stopped talking and am now living my life for me; without her being a part of it. I tried and pleaded with this woman to change so that she could remain a part of my life; she’s refused and I’ve decided that I’ve had enough. The time has come for me to simply walk away. And walking away I have done. I’m done with her. No more.


***Is my Mother narcissistic or is there something wrong with me?***

(First up, I apologize for the length of this. I hope some have the patience to read it. I could use some educated opinions.)

Hello to the “Emerging From Broken” family. Let me start this post by saying that I came to Darlene’s website when I googled “why are mother daughter relationships so difficult”. This search was spurred by unpleasant interactions with my own mother over the recent holiday season.

I have read through a few of Darlene’s posts and many of the corresponding comments, and I was struck by how similar some of the stories are to my own. For years I have struggled with my feelings towards my mother. I just turned 40 and cannot remember a time in my adult life when I felt love for her. I have experienced hurt and resentment, anger and frustration and emotional exhaustion, but never love. I yearn not to feel this way, but I’m at a loss for how to change it. And, “fake it ‘til you make it” has never worked for me in regards to relationships. I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I am a terrible actress.

A year ago, a friend asked if I’d like to attend a “Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” weekend-long workshop with her. I declined, stating that although my Mom was many things, “Narcissistic” was not one of them (not to mention that the workshop was too expensive). My friend attended, emerging with a sharper focus, better approach for healing and an understanding that she was not alone. I was happy for her and wondered if I had made a mistake in not attending. I really have no clue if my mother’s behavior sits anywhere on the spectrum of narcissism. I could certainly use some “educated” opinions in this area. I’m hoping if I give some examples of her behavior I can glean some insight from the group? I’ll focus mostly on our adult relationship since that is where the bulk of my frustration and resentment lie; but first I should mention a few things about my childhood, especially in regards to the subject of abuse.

Growing up, my step brothers and I were spanked (with metal or wooden spoons, belts and hands), our mouths washed out with soap and, at times, sent to bed early without dinner (not dessert, mind you, but actual sustenance). Occasionally, more creative punishments were employed. One brother was forced to eat a large bowl of a cinnamon because one of us had been sneaking it and none of us would admit to it. I can remember my brother’s tear-streaked face as he shoveled it in, coughing and gagging as my mother supervised. Years later, the other brother admitted to me that he’d been the one sneaking it- not the brother who took the punishment.

Despite the physical “consequences” dolled out by both my parents (which society did not consider abusive back in the 1970’s and 80’s, but rather acceptable punishment for bad behavior), it’s been the consistent verbal and emotional negativity dolled out by my mother over the years (both in adolescence and adulthood) that has cut my heart to the quick. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard her proclaim that I (her daughter)am a rude and inconsiderate person. If I were to say it happened a few hundred times, it would not be an exaggeration. Mom would often make remarks such as “You think you’re such a Princess!” and “Why can’t you be more like your friend (insert name)?” and “Why are you always so unfriendly (or inconsiderate)?” My mother ruled our roost and my friends would often comment on how she “wore the pants in the family”. During my high school and college years, many of my friends admitted that they did not care for her overbearing style. My brothers and I feared our mother’s anger; never our Dad’s. I suspect it was because hers came with a heavy dose of shame.

In all fairness, I should point out that my childhood was a decent one. Both my parents were engaged in our well-being, fun and there were plenty of accolades and hugs and kisses and “I love yous”. But, unfortunately, the good stuff also came with a copious amount of criticism (solely from my mother; Dad was (is) not the criticizing type). I was good, but never good enough. And, in my defense, I was a very respectful, well-behaved kid. My parents had it very easy with me. I didn’t lie, I didn’t party, I didn’t drink or do drugs, and I didn’t have sex. I didn’t sneak out a night or come home past curfew or anything like that. I got good grades (honor roll) and played sports. I was easy. And that was a good thing because my parents needed to spend their disciplining energies on another (more on that to come).

It is interesting how I can get past the poorer treatment I experienced in childhood, but I cling to the resentment created by my mother’s treatment of me throughout my adulthood. Perhaps I feel I’ve earned the right to respectful treatment, and it’s frustrating as hell that she won’t (or can’t?) give it. As a result of her consistent lack of respect, and blatant (and subtle) attempts to guilt, manipulate and control over the years, I have built a thick, towering wall between us. We have a relationship today, but mostly because I have a 6-year-old daughter who adores her “Nana”. So long as her Nana treats her well I will allow that relationship to flourish- despite how disrespectful Nana is to her granddaughter’s mother (and at times, her father).

About three weeks before this past Christmas, my mother called to ask my opinion about what gift to get her granddaughter. One would consider that gesture a sign of respect; with my mother, it’s never that simple. Several months ago, she and I had had a discussion about the absurd amount of baby dolls my daughter had acquired in her five short years on the earth (ten or so dolls of which she still has – many already donated to Goodwill- and only one of which was purchased by me and my husband). I politely asked my mom to stop sending baby dolls and made other suggestions on what she could buy. My mother generally has an argument against any request I make, especially if it goes against what she wants to do. So, when she called me before Christmas, she informed me that my daughter had asked her for a baby doll (interesting since my daughter had been reciting multiple “want” lists over the past month and never once mentioned a baby doll to us). I asked my mother again if she could forgo buying the doll and gave her a list of inexpensive, alternative options (as she’s on a tight budget). She agreed to look for other things, but I could tell by the tone of her voice throughout the call (and during her argument that her granddaughter asked her for a baby doll and she didn’t want to disappoint her granddaughter whom she loved so very much), that she would be sending the baby doll against my wishes. “Oh, forget it,” I thought. I expected nothing less of her.

When the gifts arrived in the mail (both Christmas and birthday as my daughter’s birthday is the day after Christmas), I knew that the big, colorfully-wrapped birthday box housed none other than (you guess it) a baby doll. I knew this and said nothing to my mother; that is, until the day my daughter opened it. Along with the baby doll, my mother had sent the following note:

“I changed my mind. When you were little, I made every effort to get you what you wanted. The year I couldn’t get you the cabbage patch doll- you acted as though you were disappointed. A doll is a little enough thing to get for a little girl who asked for it. Soon enough she will be on to “boobie Barbie” and you will wish she still liked baby dolls. Another year or two is all we’ve got of her “little” childhood. I don’t care if you say she doesn’t play with it- please don’t make a big deal out of this- let her be happy about it.”

Some will read this and think “oh, big deal”. And some will read it and get it. They will get it because they understand the lack of respect that comes with it. They will empathize because such confrontation and lack of regard is a constant, affecting part of their relationships with their own mothers. This isn’t an occasional occurrence, either, but rather a typical example of the type of relationship I and many others have with our mothers.

When I read the note, I handed it off to my husband and asked him what he thought of it. He told me that he thought it wasn’t very nice and that I should let her know how I felt. I went into my bedroom, shut the door and called her. I let her know that I was upset and that my anger was not about her sending another cheap, plastic Walmart doll made in China, but about the lack of respect that came with it. I felt that her note was surly, condescending and completely untoward. She told me that she had “no choice” but to send the note because she “knew” me (she loves saying that whenever she is defending her own behavior) and “knew” that I would “make a big deal out of it.” “Just exactly like you are doing,” she said. Defending myself, I replied that I would’ve said nothing about the doll if it hadn’t come with such a disrespectful message. She proceeded to tell me that I was only hurting my daughter by displaying my anger (she often tries to use my daughter as a source of manipulation). As usual, further back and forth ensued, old issues came up- she told me that she “accepted” that I was “high strung”, always upset with her, and “still” loved me- and I ended the conversation stating that there was nothing to resolve as our relationship would always be the same; she was right, I was wrong and further argument was pointless.

My anger was not about the doll- a cheap piece of plastic with a creepy face that eats orange and green “formula” and pees and poops all over the place (and by that I mean that the diapers don’t work for crap and I’ve had to implement the rule that the doll can only be fed in a sink or in the bathtub) – it’s about the continual disrespect I’ve endured from my mother my entire adult life. Sending the doll had nothing to do with not disappointing her granddaughter. My mother knew that my daughter would have felt little if no disappointment at not receiving yet another baby doll and would’ve been happy with anything she sent (honestly, my daughter has a short attention span and is always on to the next best thing). Sending the doll was about me asking her not to. The note was her way of telling me off and trying to manipulate my reaction. I “know” this to be true because I “know” my mother (see, I can play that game, too).

So, let me move back in time and establish some history; without it, the above story has less impact. I’ll try to make this quick and compact, but with enough information for someone educated in NPD to make an educated determination on whether or not my mother is afflicted.

My mom left my biological father when she was pregnant with me. They had a confrontational, stressful marriage and neither was happy. According to my mother, my father cheated on her, ultimately ending the marriage. My father was in my life from the time I was six months (she wouldn’t allow him to visit during the first few months after my birth- threatened that she would sic her Dad and brother on him) to the time I was six-years-old. Then he disappeared. My mother did not want me to have a relationship with him and made that very clear. The only stories she shared of him was how he cheated on her and how he often used visits with me to cheat on his various girlfriends. She alluded that he was violent and once told me that it would “break her heart” if I contacted him. I won’t get in to this too much except to say that I reconnected with my biological father when I was 27-years-old. He contacted me when I was 21 (and finally no longer living my mother), but I was still ensnared in my mother’s psychological net and felt that I didn’t have the right to know him. At the time, my mother was dating my boyfriend’s father, which gave her more access to my personal life (which she would not have had if she hadn’t been dating him). By the time I was twenty-seven I was finally removed enough from my mother and mature enough to understand that I owed it to myself to get to know my father. I also had the invaluable support of my soon-to-be husband (whom I am still married to today). Anyway, it turns out that my biological father had his side of the story and was not and is not the monster my mother had made him out to be (go figure).

I was raised by a stepdad who came into the marriage with two sons. One of the sons (the one who had to choke through the bowl of cinnamon) was a kleptomaniac and compulsive liar. It was hard for all us with him in the household and because of his extracurricular activities he eventually became a ward of the court at the age of sixteen. My parents didn’t know what to do with him and they didn’t have a lot of options in the tiny town we lived in. A lot of physical and creative punishments were employed on him, a couple that my youngest brother and I witnessed in fear. (I do believe that my parents did the best they could with what they had at the time- lack of education and options and all). My mother had spent so many years in an exhaustive fight against the bad egg, that when he left, her anger turned on my little brother and my Dad (as I see it, anyway). At the time, I went off to my first year of college and the remaining brother became a junior in high school. When I returned to live at home and attend the state college the following year, my parent’s marriage was in its last throws of death. It was an uncomfortable year, to say the least (in hindsight, I should’ve stayed away). I can remember the evening my mother told me that she wanted a divorce. We went for a ride in our minivan and she explained how miserable she was. It was the only time in my life that she had ever apologized (before or since) for the poor treatment she had doled out to me over the past few months; and, I truly believe the only reason she did that was because she wanted me on her side. I supported her in her decision to divorce because I saw how miserable they both were. But I was not going to take sides. Dad did not ask me too. Mom tried her darndest to make me understand that I owed it to her to end my relationship with him. She alleged that he had been unfaithful, and more than once. The first time he cheated it occurred the night he asked for her hand in marriage (I was four). She responded to his proposal by saying that she had to “think about it”, they parted ways for the night and he went off and “screwed” an old girlfriend. Mom found out about it before the wedding, but decided to marry him anyway because, in her exact words, “she had to think about me.” (Just a side note: my mom had a solid job with the state of California and her own house when my dad proposed.) The second alleged cheating occurred with the sister of my mom’s friend when I was in middle school. She found out about it and stayed with Dad (again) because she had to consider the financial well-being of her daughter. The message I took from all that: You, dear daughter, are the cause of my unhappiness. Everything I do, I do for you. You owe me. Funny, though, I didn’t feel that I owed her; and as a result of this, I spent the next few years experiencing the constant guilt trips and accusations that came with her angry heart. By continuing a relationship with my dad- the only Dad I had ever really known- I had betrayed her. I was a disloyal, uncaring daughter and she let me know that.

Telling story: In addition to my parent’s divorce agreement, my Dad agreed to give Mom an extra $500 a month under the conditions that 1) I stay in college and 2) that while I was in college I continued to live with her. While living with her that first miserable year, I met a guy that would become my first long-term, serious relationship. When I informed Mom a few weeks later that I would be moving in with him, she responded by saying that I had “lied” to her because I had “promised” that I would live with her until I graduated from college (What?!!). When it became clear that the dishonest guilt trip would not manipulate me into staying, she asked me not to tell my father that I was moving out. I told her I wouldn’t, but eventually did as I felt bad about the deception. Dad gave that money to me for a while to put towards tuition and books. Interestingly, when I brought this to my mother’s attention a few years later (as an example of her dishonesty), she told me that nothing of the sort had ever happened- that it was only a story I had made up in my head. I remember it as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. I have no doubt if I asked my Dad he would remember it, too. Over the years, I’ve come to understand that much of what I remember about my mother’s bad behavior is only stories I have made up in my head. Little of what I say is true, and if it is true, my mother was (is) always justified.

Throughout my adult life I have tried to keep my mother at arm’s length (and it was so much easier before I gave birth to my daughter). It seems that much of what I do, of who I am, elicits criticism. Apparently, I have retained my rude, inconsiderate and disrespectful ways long into adulthood. I can’t tell you how many times my Mom has been embarrassed by me and my poor manners. I enjoy lectures and eye-rolls, grunts and nasty faces around every turn.

Funny story: A few years ago my mother decided to move back to her state of origin. My husband and I and some of her friends helped her pack up the moving truck. She had sent me out to buy fast food for her friends earlier that day- Arby’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken. At the time, my husband and I were on one of our periodic health kicks. Not wanting to partake of the fast food, we brought some leftovers to reheat in her microwave. After a while, I took a brake from loading and sat down to eat. When my mother caught me in the kitchen scarfing down the leftovers from my Tupperware dish, she lost it. I got a grand lecture on how rude I was to everyone and how my rudeness caused her such embarrassment (she was the only one who had seen me eating as the others were loading the truck). The remainder of the evening I was treated to a cornucopia of nasty scowls. I was 32-years-old. Fast forward a few years later: Mom and I are at Wholefoods with my daughter (she is 4). I have ordered a burger from the grill. I had intended on asking the employee if they had whole grain buns- but I forgot. When I came back to retrieve the burger, I asked the griller if she had any whole grain that she could swap for the white bun. My mother, standing beside me, groaned and threw a scowl my way. As was usual I had been rude and she needed to put me in my place. This type of thing happens almost every time we are together.

My mother’s claim that she had “no choice” but to send the note with the doll because she “knew” that I would ruin my daughter’s happiness by making a big deal over it is a prime example of how she treats me on a regular basis. I can’t count how many times she has had to ward my imminent bad behavior off at the pass. She always seems to “know” that I will behave badly. An example: When I was pregnant, my husband and I drove over two states and twelve hours to visit with her. The relatives in her area decided to throw us a baby shower. Before the shower, my mother informed me that one of the relatives was going through chemo and looked very swollen and sick. She let me know that I was not to stare at the woman as it would be rude and hurt her feelings. After the shower, my mother told me not to forget to thank the family for my gifts. She said it to me more than once, as if I were an ignorant child. When I later told her that her treatment of me was completely inappropriate, she responded by saying that she “had” to say those things so that I “wouldn’t embarrass her”; that my behavior reflected on her.

I can’t tell you how many times my mother has embarrassed me in front of my family and friends by treating me like a child in need of direction and scolding. I have bad memories from both my college graduation and my wedding. When my daughter was born, I asked my mother to refrain from visiting for at least a couple of weeks. I needed to get into a groove with my baby and enjoy being a new mom without her interference. I needed at least one sacred, joyful time in my life to be free of criticism and disrespect. I wished then and now that I had a mother I would’ve wanted by my side from the very moment my precious daughter was born. I know some women have that and I envy them. But unless I learn to accept and enjoy her continual disrespect, I will never have that. My mother will never change; because as she puts it, she is not the problem. I once suggested (after she moved) that we needed counseling. She responded by declaring that there was nothing wrong with her, that our problems came from my side and that I was the one who needed help. Well, I figure anyone can talk to my dads, my brother or my husband to get the truth on that.

Understanding that my mother is who she is and will never change made me realize that our relationship can never be saved. All I can do is save me. All I can do is learn from the relationship and try to do things differently with my own daughter. I am not a perfect mother- this I will readily admit. My behavior is not always righteous and justified and I have apologized to my now 6-year-old daughter on several occasions. The times I have caught myself sounding like my mother (cringe!), I have wanted to dunk my own head in the toilet- the one in the men’s bathroom at the truck stop on I-70. No one can be a perfect parent or person in general. We are human. We are full of anxiety and hormones, aches and pains, and regrets and insecurities. And, some of us carry bigger baggage than others. But to claim that our actions are always justified, that we are never wrong in anything that we do and that we are the consummate “victims” of others, is not only dishonest, it’s perverse; and I wonder if it must involve some level of illness.

I know that I’ve hurt my mother by keeping a wall between us. I have no qualms about exercising my right to say “no” to some of her requests- which upsets her greatly (sort of a “how dare you say no to me” scenario in which I am only showing disrespect). I have even gone so far as to inform my mother in all honesty that I don’t like the person she is and that because of her treatment of me I am unable to feel love for her. I have no desire to “chat” with her and typically share little if anything from my life (except for occasional information regarding my daughter). There have been many times in my adult life (before my daughter was born) when my mother and I have stopped speaking completely- the glorious hiatus lasting for a few weeks to a few months. And, I’d have to say that those periods of time were the most peaceful of my life. I never returned to my mother. She always returned to me. Unfortunately, that return never came with any apologies or discussion; and I always felt disappointed at the resumed contact because I knew another conflict was right around the corner.

I could easily write a novel listing all the nasty exchanges my mother and I have had over the past 20 years; but there would be little point in that. I’ll end this post by citing only two more examples (or possibly three, or four or five). There is an element of sad humor to one and another will lead me to my final point about death and the “physical” end of a dysfunctional, hurtful mother-daughter relationship.

A couple years ago, my husband, daughter and I met up with my mother in Nebraska for a camping visit. One night we were cooking baked beans in a pot on the camping stove. The stove sat on the end of the picnic table. A persistent, annoying wasp insisted on buzzing around the underside of the table, directly beneath the stove. I kept a watchful eye on the wasp as I stirred the beans, but wasn’t overly worried about it. My mother, deciding that the wasp needed to be vanquished, retrieved a can of wasp spray from her truck and walked over to spray the underside of the table. I asked her not to do it, explaining that I’d prefer not to have the poisonous chemicals in our food. She told me not to be “ridiculous” and commenced spraying the wasp. I had to jump out of the way. Both my husband and I witnessed the spray particles as they floated under and around the table and then into the pan of beans. We looked at each other, rolled our eyes and I said: “Well, great! Looks like we won’t be having beans with dinner.” Mom responded with her ugliest scowl: “Don’t be ridiculous! I’ll eat the beans!” I returned with: “No, Mom, you’re the one who’s ridiculous!” Anyway, for the next several minutes hostile silence ensued until my mom said:

“Oh, honey, you’ve really grown a tummy. I never noticed you had a tummy before.”

Get my point?

Oh, quick side note: On the same camping trip, we introduced our daughter to fireworks. It was the 4th of July and she had never seen a big show or played with sparklers. We set off some “approved” fireworks and then cleaned up some of the mess. It was dark and we couldn’t see the tiny pieces of paper left from the poppers. My husband threw a couple more poppers to ground when my mother said, “You ARE going to pick up that paper, correct?” Pointing at the ground, my husband replied, “You mean those miniscule pieces we can’t really see?” My mom huffed, “Yes, (husband’s name), WE don’t litter beautiful state parks!”
(Just a fun example of the negative tone my mother often uses on my husband.)

At the time my friend asked me to attend the “Healing Daughters” conference, I really didn’t think my mother suffered from narcissism. But, now I’m not so sure. And if the negativity and self-righteousness, constant needed to criticize and judge, and emphatic belief that everything negative in her life is someone’s fault (I have a lot of examples of that) isn’t narcissism, then what is it?

Before I get to my final example and point, I’d like to share a couple instances of my mother’s self-righteous hypocrisy. It seems to me that these two examples fit in perfectly with a narcissistic personality.

I met my husband when I was twenty-six. We married when I was twenty-eight and he was thirty. When we met, we were both living in condos in the same complex. At the time, my mother and I were not on speaking terms and had not been for a few months. If I remember correctly, it was our longest period of estrangement. Anyway, I met my husband in May and we became a couple at the end of October. The day of my birthday (mid-December) he and I had spent the afternoon having sex (as many newly bonded couples do). We were at my condo to which my mother showed up unexpectedly (remember, after several months of silence). She had her boyfriend (the father of a friend I had in high school) and birthday gifts in tow. When she knocked on the door, my future husband and I were cuddling. When I looked through the eye hole and saw my mother, I thought “you’ve got to be kidding me!” (or something like that)and ran back to the bedroom to get dressed. I told my future hubby to get dressed and I went to answer the door. I wanted to keep them outside, but knew it would be “rude”. So, I invited them in. When my FH came out of the bedroom (fully clothed and hair combed), my mother’s face dropped. She fidgeted nervously and seemed very uncomfortable. She and her boyfriend shook hands with my FH, handed me the gifts and quickly left. We barely spoke for sometime after that as well. Two years later, during preparations for our wedding my mother, out of the blue, says, “Now it’s okay that you’re having sex with him. It wasn’t okay before.” Whether or not she was joking, I don’t know. We had many negative, hurtful exchanges during the week before my wedding that left me reeling. But, I do know that if she wasn’t fully serious, there was an element of seriousness to it. Throughout my early to mid-twenties my mother seemed overly preoccupied with the possibility of my losing my virginity. She would often tell me that if I was having sex, I was not behaving appropriately. Her attentions to that seemed almost unhealthy. But what gets me the most is the hypocrisy. At the point she met my FH, she had had two relationships since her divorce, both in which she had been unmarried and had had intercourse.

My mother does not have a healthy view of sex or of men in general. She is a man-hater to say the least. She recently told me that she believes that ninety-eight percent of all men would rape a little girl if they thought they could get a way with it. She prefaced that statement by saying, “Now, I know you won’t agree with me….” She’s right. I don’t agree with her. There are a lot of sick and icky men (people) out there, but ninety-eight percent (Good God, I hope not!)? In accordance with what my mother believes about men, the majority are cheaters as well. Both of her husbands (allegedly) cheated and the last relationship she ever had (with the father of a friend I had in high school) flirted constantly with other women and looked at inappropriate material. He also made love like “a twelve year old” (her words exactly and way too much information!). My mother rails against men so often that it’s no wonder she’s been alone for the last ten years.

The year I lived with my mother alone- the year after her separation from Dad and before I moved in with my first serious boyfriend- she eavesdropped on a conversation I had with a girlfriend. The friend was single, but was having an affair with a married man (our supervisor at the sporting goods store where we worked). The conversation with my friend made it clear to my mother that she was cheating with a married man. When I got off the phone, she asked me about it and I admitted that my friend was in such a relationship. My mother told me that I was “just as bad of a person” as my friend because I was “condoning her behavior by remaining friends with her”. Fast forward several years: The father of the friend I had in high school whom my mother was living with had another daughter from a different marriage. My mother and that daughter became good friends. The daughter eventually cheated on her husband and then divorced him to marry the man she cheated with. My mother has remained friends with her to this day. I’ve seen the Christmas cards.

Now on to my final point:

Every time my mother and I have one of our fights, she claims that I have wished her for dead. The story behind that: Not too long after I graduated from college, I bought my first place. Although Dad helped me with the closing costs, I was working a full and part time job and was finally on my way to true self-sufficiency. Shortly after I moved into my condo, my mother informed me that she wanted me to take over the monthly payments on her life-insurance policy. Her argument: I would be the beneficiary of that policy; therefore I should be making the payments. She didn’t want to simply close the policy because she had been paying into it for a few years; and even though she was working, she claimed she could no longer afford it. I reluctantly took the payments over because I felt I didn’t have a choice. She had laid on the guilt (as usual) and I didn’t have the ovaries for the conflict. I did, however, share that I thought life insurance policies were a waste of money because the payout wouldn’t come until she died (and that was if I continued to pay on it for the remainder of her life). Perhaps that wasn’t the best way to articulate it; but still, there wasn’t one hint of a death wish in my statement. Mom has really had to stretch far on this one and brings it up every time we have a serious confrontation. I want her die. I said so.

Do I want my mother to die? No. Will I dance on her grave when she goes? Of course not. But, I will tell you this. When the time comes, I have no doubt that I will feel a sense of liberation… a lifting of weight from my spirit, so to speak. This is not uncommon, by the way. There are books written about it. When my mother passes, whenever that may be (and assuming I’m still around), I will finally and for the first time in my life be allowed to be authentic without guilt. It may take a while, but her voice will fade; the criticisms and judgment will dissolve into nothingness (I hope) and I will be free to be ME. It’s a sad commentary on a relationship that should be sacred and I wonder if it’s more common than not. I pray to the heavens that my daughter never feels this way about me. If there is one thing I have learned from all this it is that it’s the parent’s responsibility to set the right tone for a healthy, life-long relationship. I didn’t bring my mother into the world. She chose for me to be here. But, to what end? I am tired of being my mother’s daughter. Do I owe it to her to feel guilty about this? My heart says “no”…..but the voice in my head (the one that sounds an awful lot like my mother) says “yes”.

Thank you for the listen. I would love to hear from anyone with insight or from those who hear themselves in my story (as I have recognized myself in yours).

All we can do is move forward with love for ourselves and a steadfast determination to heal,

Sara from Denver


Hi Sara,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken,
Please don’t worry about the length of your posts! I am fine with it.
Sounds like you found the right website. This is all about healing from the damage by seeing the truth. The truth might hurt but is has set me free and opened a world of joy and life that I never knew could be so wonderful.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Dear Sara, thank you for telling your story, no matter how long it was! If having to apologize for “length” was an issue, then I owe everyone here an apology just about every single time! So glad that it doesn’t matter to Darlene. Thank God, in fact. Gives us however much time we need to get it out.

I haven’t finished reading your story yet because it keeps hitting so close to home. I was ALWAYS told what an awful, uncaring, unpleasant person I was by my mother, who would wait until there was some family event with EVERYONE sitting around the table: and her favorite story which “proved it” was how when I was “two years old I walked across one of my other sisters and just kept right on going!”

I GUESS I WAS SUPPOSED TO STOP AND APOLOGIZE? Or what? What was a two year old supposed to do when another child was playing in the room – what did I “know” when I was two years old?

She told this story into my late 30’s until I stopped attending family functions. I used to have to get up and leave the table time after time almost in tears when she would be telling this story to great laughs and guffaws from everyone there, or stunned silence with me saying “Mom, I was two years old!”

The woman was a Narcissist Witch and there’s a book review discussion on Amazon about women like this. Can’t remember the title right off, but I participated for quite some time until I found this website.

Look up Narcissist Witch or Narcissist Queen, and you will probably find both our mothers, and plenty of injured daughters right here on Emerging From Broken (EFB). Until I found my way here, I thought I was ripe for the loony bin. Now I’m starting to heal, just by getting some real perspective on things, and putting the puzzle pieces together, piece by piece. As Darlene puts it, “re-wiring myself.”

Now I’m off to finish reading the rest of your post.

Good luck and God bless. You’ve come to the right place! It really is a Happy New Year because FINALLY, we’ve got a chance!

Love to you and yours, Catherine Todd


Sara, I am reading more of your story and I’ve gotten to the doll part. All I can say is Thank God my mother cut me off for most of my life, and they did little or nothing for my son either. It hurt my son that he wasn’t invited to spend time in the summer with his grandparents, but thank God we didn’t have to put up with the 9#$%^&*( you and so many others have had to go through.

I don’t know if your mother is a Narcissist or not (although I have my suspicions) but does it really matter? If someone is disrespectful, mean and cruel, I choose not to be around them. I made the huge mistake of sending my son to family gatherings when he was old enough to attend on his own, thinking I did not want to stand in his way of having a “loving relationship with the rest of his family,” never dreaming that they would poison him against me, which is apparently just what has happened. How could they do this to him? I was told by other family members “We have always treated your son well,” and my response is “and you think talking this way about his mother is treating him well?”

My whole family is toxic and poisoned, and I hope and pray it’s not the same way with yours. I dread the thought that people will begin to say cruel things about you to your daughter, and put he in the position of being in a tug of way. I watched my parents brainwash my niece, and they can’t keep a relationship any better than my own son can (i.e. can’t). Most of my sisters couldn’t keep a relationship going and married controlling, abusive husbands just like the ones they were raised with. Mother and father controlling and extremely abusive.

I don’t know what is wrong with my family, as you would think that they could see for themselves how much pain and unnecessary suffering they are causing, but I think they feed off envy, grudges, drama and control.
I can tell you that the day I stopped visiting my parents and finally stopped talking to them and went “no contact” was the saddest day of my life, but the most tranquil twenty years of my life. Once I got used to it, I had peace for the very first time.

When I came back in contact with them, for the last two and a half years, when my mother was dying of cancer and I thought “finally everything would be resolved,” NO, THINGS WERE EVEN WORSE.

And I’m still paying the price and praying for the wounds to heal. I’m not sorry that I “came back” because I had to, to give it “all I’ve got,” but it didnt’ work. Even after 20 to 30 years of no contact with these people, they were just as mean as before. If not meaner, if that’s humanly possible!

So now the only “advice” I can give (and we’re not supposed to give advice, but just our own experience), is TREAD CAREFULLY.

We all learn from the adults around us, and NO ONE IS EXEMPT.

The day may come when your daughter starts coming under your mother’s thumb and finds herself coming in for a barrage of criticism. And once the bonds have been formed, they can tighten into a noose. I did that myself by staying around for my first 16 most formative years, having to live in that house, living with them, and always “trying to please” and always failing, until I was legally allowed to leave. And even the nothing ever changed. I’m 62 years old now and STILL trying to get loose!

The biggest mistake I made was enabling my son to have a relationship with them, because he’s turned out to be just like them! I don’t know if it’s genetic or not, because he wasn’t around them that much, but the contact he did have affected him deeply and he was very hurt at times and I believe he blames me for all of it. It’s heartbreaking to the extreme. As is your story.

I can’t believe the note your “mother” included with your daughter’s doll. And this is supposed to be a gift?

Beware of “Greeks bearing gifts” and the Trojan Horse they may leave outside your city walls.

I took the bait every time from my mother, father, sisters and brothers and I have to scars to prove it. It’s NO CONTACT for me now, forever more. I’ve done all I can do and I won’t do anymore. I want my life to be peaceful and harmonious and I can’t have that with people constantly throwing bombs. Physical or Verbal, I “just say NO.”

Good luck and Amen! Let us know how you are getting along and what you decide to do. It’s a New Year and I for one want to start things off RIGHT. Dear God, please show us The Way.


PS: Or the day may come when YOU come in for a barrage of criticism TO your daughter FROM your mother, as is what happened with my son via some of my sisters. The vile, hurtful things they said to him about me where just unbelievable. He was crying so hard and wouldn’t tell me what she had said on the phone. When I called this sister of mine and said What was going on and why was she hurting my son like this, she said because she “Wanted him to know what his mother was really like.”

Those were my own mother’s favorite last words. My mother said this about everyone who came under her ire, and of course, jealous b$%^&UI that she was, much of that ire was heaped onto me.

But it was inconceivable that my own sister and my own mother would treat my son in this way. But they did. And by the time I found out about it, the damage was done. I thought I had “undone it” but boy was I wrong.

Words can cut like a knife and words have more power than blows.

How many bruises do we remember, but how many years later do we remember the cruel words people have said to us?

I wish I had never let my son around those people for even one day in his life. That was the biggest mistake I ever made. But how could I know, at the time? There was no internet, no support groups, no books about mean and cruel mothers… it was all “Your mother loves you, you just don’t understand.”

Goodbye Mom; goodbye pain and suffering. She’s dead now and can’t hurt me anymore.


Sara, I just finished your story. I am absolutely speechless. I think you already know the answer to your question all too well. And don’t be too sure of the “will I dance on her grave?” “Of course not” response. It took me YEARS to realize that I no longer wanted to “dance on my father’s grave” when he was gone. That’s as close to forgiveness as I’ve ever gotten, and it’s close enough for me. It’s God’s job to forgive, not mine. I just have to understand, and if I can’t understand, I can at least leave them to stew in their own juices, and to understand that they made their own bed and they have to lay in it. Not me.

All I wanted from my mother was for her to care. Not even love me, just to care and say goodbye. She surely wasn’t going to do that. And she trained my sisters all too well in the art of the “cudgel and sword.” And they gladly lifted the flag against “the enemy” once their sainted mother had fallen. They’ve started the beatification process now.

Sara, I wonder what kind of work you do. You are quite a writer. This could be a mini-movie, as well as it is written. I felt like I was actually there, experiencing some of these things right along with you. Even though they were very unpleasant things, you told it so well. I’d like to see other things you have written, both the good and the bad. That’s the one thing these witches can’t take away from us: the inherent goodness that every soul is born with. We are born with both good and bad and we turn into the one we are exposed to and the one we feed the most. The Indian saying about the “Two dogs within us.” The cruel one and the kind.

I for one would ask myself very carefully how much exposure I would want any child of mine to be around this kind of behavior. I stayed in a miserable marriage for many years “for the sake of my child,” and all I did was teach my son to disrespect women by example, from seeing the way I was being disrespected. Verbally, not physically, as I was beaten so much as a child I thought I was coming out ahead because my husband “never laid a hand on me.” And in my own abused mentally, I thought I had “married well.” When you come from -minus one thousand, I guess – minus one hundred seems like you are coming out ahead!

In hindsight, I didn’t do much right by own child apparently. But now with so much support and understanding and identification of personality disorders and mental illness, we have so many more options when it comes to raising and protecting our own children. Don’t let your child become a casualty in the “mother wars.” You have stated your daughter is already being used as a pawn in the manipulation game.

Your mother stated that she “HAD to send the note with the doll because she “knew” you would ruin your daughter’s happiness…”

This is the most scary of all. You, your daughter’s mother, will RUIN HER HAPPINESS? What kind of message is being given to your daughter when you are not around? What kinds of messages will she be receiving about you for the rest of her life? What is going to make this behavior change if it’s already started out that way?

I saw a show by Dr. Phil, and even though I don’t like a lot of what he does, there was a mother just like this who taught her granddaughter to call her own mother a “CUNT.” This was on TV. The evil witch’s son was in tears telling DR. Phil what his mother was doing to his daughter and his wife. Everyone was so upset except the grandmother. The grandmother thought it was funny, and said she taught her grand daughter to say this “because that is what her mother was.” She laughed about it right there on TV.

Dr. Phil said that if she couldn’t learn to keep her mouth shut, then the whole family should stay away from her and cut her off. No two ways about it.

For that one admonition, I gave him 5 gold stars for his advice. What else can you do when you are dealing with bullies, guilt-trippers and corrosive gossipers? And that’s what it sounds like here. It’s just heartbreaking to read, and I’m sure this is just the tiniest “tip of the iceberg.”

My biggest regret in life (and I have very few, believe me) is that I gave “too many chances” and allowed bonds to be formed with destructive people in my life. I recognized the problems from the very beginning, but always denied the impact they would have or were having in my life. I could have “nipped it in the bud” immediately by cutting off contact but I didn’t. I gave more and more and more chances, thinking I could behave differently, or they would “open their eyes and see,” or I was “exagerating it and it wasn’t really that bad,” or I could control it next time…” all the nonsense I had been raised with to keep me under control. Under the abuser’s thumb(s). If I had just learned to recognize and admit that these people did NOT have my best interests at heart, and the things they did really DID hurt, I would not have stayed and they would not have become more embedded in my psyche and more attached in my heart, thereby making it even more painful when I finally did have to separate.

If only I had learned early on to “Just Say No.” And to give destructive individuals a wide berth. That’s all it would have taken. Instead, I stayed in there, fighting and stressing, trying to make things work. Trying to fix things and make them peaceful, trying to make them loving and kind. Can you “fix” a poisonous spider or a pit viper or a rattlesnake?

No. Best to learn to recognize them and leave them alone. That’s all that it takes.

I always say “Maybe I didn’t create my own monsters, but I surely fed and watered them.” And I am learning now how easy life is when I just say No. No to anything that hurts me, and Yes to that which helps me come alive. It’s that simple. And let the others “go their merry way” and I will go mine. Singing all the way.

* * * * *

Sara, what do you do for a living?

Where can we read more of your work, and your life? I bet you’ve got plenty of stories just bursting to get out! A writer you are, and a writer you shall be. It’s so incredible to read this story of yours like riding a wave in a lifeboat on an ocean liner, from someone who has somehow managed to keep their little boat afloat. It’s a miracle you have survived, and so kind, well balanced and conscientious to the extreme. It’s really incredible. I would not have the words to describe these situations as courteously as you have. Not in the least.

You remnind me of Darlene, and Emerging From Broken, who can put things so well in a way that even I can understand. Her gift is apparent in everything she writes and everything she shares. Thank God for all of us here, and the internet and forums like these, which helps us all to be all that we can be.

“The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”
Dear God please show us The Way.

Happy New Year – as I know in my heart and in my soul a New Day Is Coming. I can feel it in my bones!

Bronwyn - South Africa
January 1st, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Happy New Year Everyone.

Once again I am blown away by how much I identify with each and every one of you.

I have so much stuff running around. At some stage I will get to sharing it.

For now, I would like to thank you for stirring up stuff which needs to be dealt with.

I send my love to one and all
Happy New Year


I can tell you really needed to get that out. It probably feels like you’ve really never been heard by your mother. She reads her own meaning into everything you do or day.
I was horrified to read of some of the punishments you and your siblings received as children. FLAT OUT CHILD ABUSE. No doubt about it. I can completely understand why your step brother became a compulsive liar. He was afraid the truth would yield some horrific punishment. The punishments you and he received horrified me.
Whether or not your Mother is a Narcissist? I don’t know. I’d say a PhD would have to make that assessment, but she sound very dysfunctional and toxic, which will continue to always affect you negatively. Hopefully, someday she’ll realize it, but I would not hold my breathe.
We all know here what it is like to deal with toxic family members…it leaves deep and long-lasting negative effects on our lives.
I’m new to these pages, but I will tell you, I wish I could have started understanding about how abuse from my family greatly affected my life outcomes alot sooner. Don’t wait another 10 years…keep reading the posts here…you will be able to judge for yourself if your relationship with your Mom is a toxic one. God Bless and Happy Healing!


Bronwyn #236 wrote: “For now, I would like to thank you for stirring up stuff which needs to be dealt with.”

THANK YOU SO MUCH. I have come under so much attack by my family of origin (both sides!) telling me I should shut up and why am I still talking about it and it belongs in the family only and more and on and on ad nauseum, even to my being “diagnosed” via email by a cousin with a psychology degree… and I believe these are things that need to be dealt with. Not with silence, lies and denial. Thank God for this website and all the people here. I feel like I can finally breathe again. Welcome!


Hello Catherine and Connie,

Thank you so much for your responses. I really appreciate that you took the time to read the mini-novel I posted. When you are in a toxic relationship, you can easily go on forever with examples. I do agree with Connie that the punishments doled out during my childhood were abusive. My brothers were the recipients of most of those “consequences” as their behavior tended to be naughtier than my own. It’s unfortunate that my parent’s repetoire was so based in the physical. Knowing what a mellow, easy-going guy my Dad (the stepdad that raised me) is, I truly believe that most of those punishments were instigated by my mother. I remember how she would often say, “Just wait until your father gets home!” My Dad would come home after a 10-hour work day and Mom would immediately lay into him with details of our naughty escapades. Dad would get riled up and a punishment would follow (sometimes given in tandem). It was a weird dynamic. At any rate, I have forgiven both of them for any physical abuse that occurred during my childhood. In fact, I have an excellent relationship with my stepdad. So does my step brother. And, lucky for my step brother, my mother divorced him when she divorced Dad. So, he hasn’t had to deal with all the dysfunction that comes with having a relationship with her. I wish I could figure out a way to get her to divorce me too!

Catherine- I appreciate your careful consideration of all that you read. I feel for you; you are 62-years-old and still hurting as a result of the toxic relationship you had with your mother and father (and other family members as well?). I hope you can find peace and sooner rather than later. I believe that you only get to do life once, and you owe it to yourself to do it right (whatever that means to you). From the time I was a teenager until I was thirty-four (when I had my daughter), I constantly dwelled on my mother’s treatment of me. Having my daughter allowed me to focus on something much more important. I don’t want to spend my life thinking about my mother and her dysfunctional ways. I want to move forward in good psychological health. I must do that in order to have a good relationship with my own daughter. Problem is, my mother is still around doling out her negative, critical, manipulative treatment. And, I can’t change her. As much as I’d love to have no contact, I don’t feel that I have the right to remove her from my daughter’s life. I agree with both of you that there is a good chance my mother will begin to treat my daughter as she has treated me. For now, their relationship is all hugs and kisses and love. My mother calls her once a week and will spend up to an hour on the phone with her. Luckily, I can hear the conversation (we live in a tiny place)and nothing inappropriate has occurred. My daughter adores her Nana. It would hurt her immeasureably if I removed Nana from her life. I figure this: It’s easy to manipulate a young child’s feelings, but it will be my daughter’s teenage years that will be the most telling. (Of course, those years will also be the hardest between her and I and a time when my mother could try to turn my daughter against me.) Knowing my mother and her innate negativity, her true colors will shine through at a time when my daughter will be most sensitive to it. And to my benefit, I have a healthy, respectful relationship with both of my dads. So, if I need to employ their help (should they still be around), I won’t hesistate to do so. The whole thing is a confusing conundrum to say the least.

On a side note: Darlene’s most recent post about her in-laws really hit home for me. My husband and I are no longer in contact with his parents. Last December (2011) my husband and his father had a fight in which my husband laid down boundaries for the first time ever. As a result of this, his father ceased all contact. My husband’s mother (stepmom) is one dysfunctional gal and has never show love for my husband. I won’t get into the story on all this, but they never liked me and showed their dislike and disrespect often. They are very disrespectful to others as well- especially those family members they think they have entitlement to. Even though they were lousy parents, they truly believe that they are owed.

Regardless that we have had no contact with them since mid-December 2011, my daughter wanted to send them a gift for Christmas this year. She asked me, “Don’t they know that I’m still their granddaughter?” I didn’t know how to answer that. So, she decorated a card and I mailed it to them. They sent her nothing. When we were working on thank you cards yesterday, she told me that she wanted to send them a thank you, too. I explained to her that we send thank yous to those who have sent something. See why I don’t feel that I can remove my mother from my daughter’s life? She has already experienced the loss of her paternal grandparents. Regardless that they really are not worth knowing (very entitled, self-absorbed, arrogant people), I feel sad for my daughter’s loss. So, I will just have to accept being hyper vigilent in regards to her relationship with my mother. At least I am aware that I am not the one with the illness (as my mother has tried to make me believe). I understand that she is the inappropriate one and I have no qualms about applying extra “controls” (which my mother of course views as blatant disrespect).

Catherine- Thank you for the compliment on my writing. I have a degree in journalism, but little experience in the industry (other than as a coordinator at a tiny publishing company). I am a wanna-be-writer. I have been a stay-at-home mom since my daughter’s birth and am currently in the process of trying to figure out my path. As a part of that, I am working on a fictional novel.

I will continue to read the entries on this site. I’m not one for constant lamenting myself, so I’m not sure that I’ll add too much more to my story. But, I think it will be theraputic to read about other’s experiences.

Thank you!


Hi Sara
Something that I realized when it came to my own kids is that they saw the way that my mother treated me and that communicated a lot to them about ME and about relationship etc. My children were starting to treat me the same way that they saw me accept treatment from my mother, my in-laws and even from my husband. I looked deeply into the past in order to heal from it but also in order to make sure that I didn’t repeat it and to make sure the cycle was broken.

My mother walked away from me when I drew my boundary, and I felt really bad for the kids, but today I see this much differently; I am the mother to my kids. I had that same fear, that my mother would turn the kids against me when they got older and that ‘fear’ came from somewhere. Today I know where it comes from; she does that to EVERYONE! Divide and conquer is one of her favourite abuse tactics. She pitted all of her children against each other, she did it with her siblings as well. But today I also know that I am in charge of my life. My kids saw me stand up to my mother and they saw me stand up to my in-laws and take my life back. All I asked for was to be respected and the fact that that was too much to ask is very telling. (about them!) Today I still feel bad that my kids don’t have loving grandparents, but I am NOT sorry that they don’t have THOSE grandparents. They (grandparents) were all adults that made their choices when it came to all these relationships. That is the truth that set me and my kids free.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Bronwyn!
Happy New year to you also!
I see it that way too now, things that NEEDED to be stirred up!
Hugs, Darlene

Bronwyn - South Africa
January 3rd, 2013 at 5:10 am

Thanks Darlene.

I fall into so many of the above stories – it scares me – and also enlightens me.

My mother has separated me from many of the family – and for years I couldn’t work it out. It was the way she wanted it. She is continual competition with me – and I didn’t know / understand that.

It has taken a number of years with a therapist to work it out – and understand it – accept it – and move on with that information.

Now I create my own relationships with the relatives and am doing it just fine.

I have as little to do with my mother as possible. She is toxic. I wouldn’t bother getting her diagnosed – I KNOW that she is narcissistic – and if she isn’t – then she is insane. So I will go with Narcissistic Personality Disorder right now!

Her behaviour and attitudes towards me are completely unacceptable – but no-one else ever sees it – except my husband and my son. So … with that in mind – I know that I am not crazy; not imagining unacceptable behaviour – it is not all in my head – I am not exaggerating or dramatising – it is real.

I don’t have anything to prove. All I need to do is detach myself and understand that I am not to blame and that no matter what I do – she is never ever going to approve of me – who I am or what I have achieved – so I am going to be me and achieve anyway.

My self worth and self esteem are far too valuable and she can no longer crush them as she did in the past. She no longer has that power. I have removed it.

I am grateful for the Twelve Step program of Al-Anon for my restored self worth. I married an alcoholic. Divorced him after 11 years and have been a member of Al-Anon since 1991. It has been my saving grace – and has pissed my mother off immensely! Too bad!

She loathes that I am not affected by her stuff. I refuse to be.

Thanks for all your shares. I so identify – in so many ways. Darlene you are amazing. Thanks for being there.
Lotsa love and hugs to you all


I see this pattern so well with FOO. Biological parents invalidated me and treated me very bad. Now they have poisoned the minds of extended family members against me, biological father in particular.

When I look at how the extended family treats my cousins differently to me, it occurred to me that their parents treat them reasonably and hence everyone else. Extended family members think it is their right to treat me badly because they see my own biological parents treat me badly.


The hardest thing with Narcissism, and dysfunctional families et al is that there is no closure. There is no “sorry” for all those years of treating you like you were a problem… or non-existent. I’m 55 years old and only in the last 4 years have I been coming to grips with all of this. My parents are both now dead. My earliest memories are “YOU are a problem Wendy”. Period. I was ALWAYS a problem. Neither parent spoke to me – shared anything with me… said I love you… or hugged or kissed. My father was the raging abusive alcoholic and my mother was the stoic German very very organized proper mother. They were always fighting and there was always so much drama/verbal and physical abuse. Thank God no sexual abuse. But that HUGE hole that I have within – that lack of IDENTITY that I have carried my WHOLE life is still there. I have chosen to be single since 5 years ago, after I realized that though I had divorced the Sociopathic husband of 21 years… I was still choosing them to date. So for this last 5 years I have been learning to understand what happened (thank you DARLENE!) and learning to be “OK” with being single – possibly for the rest of my life. I do have PTSD… and I do have flashbacks and sometimes ALOT of inner pain that seems to be inescapable. Then I will feel better a little bit of time – and lately the ‘better’ has been staying a bit longer. But its a long haul, and some nights I still cry myself to sleep. I have no family that I grew up with that are connected with/to me. My 3 children are pretty much avoiding me, or treating me with great disrespect, which I no longer allow – so we don’t see each other.


Hi Wendy
I totally hear what you are saying here ~ the healing work is about replacing those false beliefs that resulted from the damage that their behaviour caused. Only when I recognized the damage and validated it, was I able to own the truth; IT WAS NOT ME. It is lonely sometimes, however once I came out the other side, I realized that there was nothing to miss. I also had the strength and confidence to make new friends and begin to build a new life.
(It was also important for me to keep reminding myself that there is no solution in understanding them.)
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Kimberly @74

Hair pulling is called trichotillomania and it’s genetically linked. You can look it up on Wikipedia or the Mayo clinic or National Institutes of Health websites.

Some people pull out their eyelashes or all of their head hair, so it can be devastating. All of my life I’ve twisted and pulled the hair behind both ears to the point that it’s broken off to an inch or so. I do it more when I’m under stress, then it grows out a bit when things are calmer. I should stop but don’t feel like I could. I have lots of hair so the broken off strands don’t show but it always shocks hairstylists the first time they see it!


My mother is so jealous of me. I’m just starting to realize that now, and how she can not even acknowledge anything good about me, When i graduated college, on my own, after years of night school, she said, “why would you want to do that”, and she looked at me with disgust and didn’t want to talk about it ever. Like I did something really wrong, which I thought I did at the time. She never has come to visit me in 20 years, although I have always gone out of my way to visit her, she told me her daughter in law, was the daughter she always wanted, it wasn’t me. She says often, I wanted a daughter, instead, “I got this thing”, no matter what happens to me in my life she disregards it or laughs at it. She always says, “I don’t know how you can live with a life you have”, her last comment was. “Your nothing and you’ve got nothing”. For years and years she calls me and just complains about her life, she never asks me how I am doing and gets upset if I even talk about myself for a second. She makes me sick now, I hate her. Its like this person who I have in my life who is always against me.I have 4 brothers and she doesn’t allow them to even talk to me if she doesn’t initiate the conversation. She is so jealous that I may have a relationship with a family member, I moved so far away. Her sister came to visit me one weekend the first time i had a visitor in 15 years from a family member, and she was so jealous, now the aunt no longer talks to me, and my mother sends her money. She has made it impossible for me to have a relationship with anyone in my family. So I don’t Im all alone, and she loves it that way. She loves it when i am alone and struggling and unhappy just like her. She hates anything that does not support me being unhappy.


And the weird thing is, that i feel on some level I support her in that I am nothing, so then she won’t feel bad or jealous. So weird, sick and twisted. I’ve tried so hard to get out of this pattern but it wakes me up at night and plagues me during the day. No matter what I do I can’t shake it, its life destroying.


Re: Cathy (147):

I’m wondering where the cut off point is too. I’ve been NC with most of my family for 13 years but still thinking about everything everyday and needing to talk about it with friends and remaining family. I wonder though if I need to do thought-stopping and spend my energy on more fruitful pursuits.

I’m still evolving in my thinking and have recently let go of an abusive friend and cousin. But I feel like the energy that I use thinking about my past should be going to moving forward in other areas of my life and wondering if I need to try thought-stopping techniques.

Maybe it’s cementing my determination not to be abused any more, but I feel like my endless thinking about everything is keeping me from moving toward my goals.

I had met an intelligent new friend recently and she listened to my stuff patiently and thoughtfully, but I said to much and it wasn’t fair to her. She seemed to like spending time with me; I’ll probably be seeing her again soon but am planning not to bring my stuff up next time.

A reader in a newspaper column about parental abuse commented that friends are not counselors and urged people to “enjoy your friends”. I agree with that and in the future am going to take his advice.

Meanwhile, I’m still wondering if my almost constant thinking about my awful family is excessive. I left when I was 17, have been NC for 13 years and am now 58.

Any wisdom on this out there?




I’m so glad I found this site! I am 58 and dealt with a narcissistic mother mentally & physically until I was 18. She didn’t like the fact I ways going to live with my husband before we got married so she divorced me from the family and even convinced my brothers and sister from ever talking to me again or they would be divorced from the family also. To this date no one has talked to me or my children. My daughter turned everything back on us at 16 and it’s still that way to us and now her children. She is so self-centered and self-absorbed that she has left her children with my husband and I to raise (and, if course, it’s the oldest ones fault because she doesn’t like to see this guy keeping her mom in tears all the time with his abuse… She’s 12 yr old now has bad image problems from my daughter about being abandoned by first her father at 4, then her mom at 10, to be with a boyfriend that continues to beat her down. I don’t know how to help her or what to do. She use to respect us (in the true terms of the definition) but once her mom threw up her hands and moved in with this guy, she sees herself always as THE bad person even tho we do and say everything we can that is positive to her and her life. We are trying to understand but she doesn’t want to talk or be close to anyone anymore… She’s a wonderful girl but she’s starting into her teens and it’s pushing us away and thinks she only needs to do for herself And everyone else needs to leave her alone. She doesn’t want to accept any responsibilities around the house, even to herself. All of her friends have partying single moms or single fathers and she’s trying to shape her life as if she was still with her mother and we weren’t here. She was a good student in elementary but fighting to keep her head above water in mid-school. I’m so totally opposite of my mother but,
How can we help her have a positive outlook in life and soften the hurt and pain she feels??? PLEASE HELP! Thank you!


I am understanding the various issues with folks and weight. I was a competitive swimmer growing up, and when I quit “june was busting out all over”. Even people that weren’t abused as badly as everyone I have read about in this blog, have body issues. When society as a whole ONLY places value on bodies, it is hard to get passed the ads that promote all that baloney. Even with a healthy sense of self, one has days that aren’t as good as others, but what I would like to point out is the word DIET. The first 3 letters in that word is DIE. And ALL OF YOU HAVE PROVEN TO BE SURVIVORS! Instead of DIET, EAT to be healthy. Food is your friend not a crutch. I speak from 210lbs at 16, to now 52 years old and weigh 140lbs. I take care of myself and eat when hungry. I also reward myself when it has been a brutal day. What I want everyone to take away from this is that you have already started on the road to healing, don’t stop treating yourselves RIGHT, not DIET. Keep moving forward, with much respect, Kelly


Meanwhile, I’m still wondering if my almost constant thinking about my awful family is excessive. I left when I was 17, have been NC for 13 years and am now 58.

I’m not a psychologist, but I don’t think it’s excessive. If you are still thinking about it then something isn’t “closed.” You have something left “unfinished.” That’s what I have been dealing with, issues that happened in my childhood and “why can’t I put them behind me, etc. etc. etc……”

I can’t put them behind me because I want an admission of being wrong and a sincere (not just say the words) apology. I think I’m asking for too much.


The admission will not set you free. When I realized that what I KNEW that they were wrong, I was able to begin to take my life back. The apology (if one ever came) would be like a band aid and although it would be really awesome, the damage would still have been done, and it is the damage that we need to heal from. I rarely think of my old family anymore; I am free. (and I do this work with others every single day, I talk about it every day, and yet I am free)
Hugs, Darlene


Yes, my dad was a narcissist, and everything revolved around him. I finally was able to see that, but there are still remnants of a lack of self worth especially since a sibling is still trying to put me in that place of “being less than”, and not mattering unless I can be of some use to them. We always just tried harder to please when we were thrown away. I have had enough.


I had enough too. And the farther away from it I am, the more clarity I have! We are not valuable for what we can do, we are valuable for who we ARE. I learn this more every day and I grow in freedom every day too! Being ‘less than’ serves their low self esteem. uggg
Hugs, Darlene


I was often called narcissistic by both my mum and sisters. (It was me who introduced ‘Why is it always about you’ by Nancy Hodgekiss. My therapist said that I needed to read this, in order to understand what was going on within my FOO) My stepfather accused me of trying to make him feel sorry for me. Even when I was in pain, due to my accident. I was told that I was selfish and narcissistic so many times, that I actually went in the complete opposite direction. I became so non selfish, that I ended up actually seemingly ‘volunteering’ to be used and so open that really, anyone could take advantage of me. I have spent a life time of ALWAYS thinking of others, so much so, that I have lost sight of myself.
The worst thing in the world isn’t being poor, hungry, it’s being Narcissistic like my FOO, I’d rather die than be like them, because if I was ever like them, then all the things they have ever said about me must be true. I’m so bloody non-narcissistic that without understanding it or knowing it, I’ve given too much of myself away, given my things away, even put myself in harm’s way. I felt/feel like that I didn’t/don’t have any value. I meant nothing. It’s still hard for me to value me. I try really hard, and struggle with god forbid, being called or mistaken for a NARC.


So relate to this! I have been sexually abused by my grandfather who was known for his ways and still put under the care of this man and my parents “so surprised” when my sister and I finally told them we were molested. My mother was physically and emotionally abusive towards me only so I grew up thinking I was always bad and believed them when they said I was such a horrible child. What you said I so related to I was always even as an adult, “I had come to see everyone as having more value than I did. And everyone was right because they were more valuable.”
When I had my own children deep inside I felt that I didn’t want to make the same mistake my parents did and tried to limit contact with them and not leave them in their care. Because of this I was ostracized and bullied more and became even more the family scapegoat. I am now in counseling and find that even there I am constantly saying it was my fault and now I think the counsellor thinks I am at fault too. Not sure what to do..I have no support and am constantly alone and nobody believing me now that I’m sharing my story.


When I married my husband, I came up against the biggest obstacle of my life.. my in-laws. It started on our wedding day, my sister in-law ran off the night before.. Her dad wanted my husband to go looking for her right after the festivities. 2 kids later, he was practically raising my kids, while basically telling everyone I couldn’t do it. The day of my daughter’s birth, they practically dragged my mother in-law out of the hospital room screaming.. Because she didn’t like the name I chose, I almost changed it. Everything came to a head when she swatted my 2 wk. old daughter’s butt, when she embarrassed her because she wouldn’t stop crying. I didn’t handle it well, I told her to f off in a scared quiet voice so no one would hear, (we had taken her out for her birthday). It ended in her screaming at my husband, I hate her she’s a no class bitch. Why can’t you find someone anybody else? & various other insults. Interestingly, they never said these things to me always through my husband, when I was in the other room to hear, of course. These types of incidents went on through about 13 yrs of our marriage, when I FINALLY realized they were not only doing this to me but to my kids too. We were going hungry, dressing poorly, & basically barely meeting our needs, because we were meeting theirs. When I finally put an end to this, my mother in-law quit visiting us for years. My father & sister in-law waited a while, but when they did come around & start trash talking they were met with a united front. My husband was happy with it, he had always told me not let them get to me, that we were important not them, & they would never change. I still put up with insults & put downs, but now I’m not so quick to believe it. It is harder to stop thinking about other’s needs & how they’ll react. During my lifetime, I have dealt with rape, stalkers, verbal & physical abuse.. Those didn’t SEEM to compare to the damage they did. It was like they fed upon those fears & instinctively know what to say/do to amplify it. I don’t know if that’s narcissistic or not. I do know that for a long time I believed myself unimportant, & that I HAD to think of them first. My life is easier without them in it, but I can handle it when they come around. I even love them, I just CAN’T let them have ANY power or they’ll start it all over again.


I feel like I have taken a hit on my self-esteem the last few months and am fighting for it again. It isn’t in every area, but I always slip in the self-care area of my life. I lost quite a bit of weight after getting free…and have actually kept it all off, which is a total first, and to me it emphasizes that I am healed from the eating disorders…..BUT….ever since my husbands friend moved in 3 months ago to help him get back on his feet, I have been emotionally on a roller coaster. I had no idea how many issues this guy had…issues that mirror members of my bio family I have cut off …for very similar reasons. I never would have agreed to him living with us had I known. I have had to daily work with myself to sort through all of the emotions. It has been through tears and searching myself and allowing myself to feel my feelings, even the ugly, mean ones. I have also had to confront and put up extreme boundaries in order to keep myself and my family first priority in our own home….which has been exhausting. Things are much much better for everyone because we had a room built for him off the garage so he isn’t in the house very often anymore….thank goodness! He isnt allowed in the house unless my husband is home, so that also helps tremendously.However, I now feel beat up emotionally from all the head games and passive aggressive behaviors and obnoxious attitudes from the prior months. I thought it might help if I wrote out my feelings here. My husband has been very supportive of me, but he also wants to keep helping his friend. I see this guy through very different eyes now and think he is probably a free loader based on his priorities and behaviors. I think on one hand this situation has made me stronger in some ways…I hate confronting, but will and can do it when necessary…I have been able to cope without eating disorders, and my husband and I have been able to stand together…he didn’t abandon me emotionally like he would have earlier in our marriage. I do, however, feel very vulnerable and anxious at times…even depressed at others…because of all the chaos and even though it is calmer now, I am not able to fully shake it this time. I think I might need to concentrate on myself more than I have been in terms of having more fun and physical activities or something. Ugh…I hate feeling this way, especially when I was feeling for the first time in my life so great and happy!


FinallyFree, I am so glad to find you here! I just asked “where you had gone” on the original “hurt mother” post, and then I saw a “recent comment” made by you, so I was able to come here. I have re-read all your comments on the original post (hurt mother) that made so much of an impression on me (positive and negative comments by others, but ultimately positive) and appreciated then and appreciate now your giving me so much support “when I needed it most.”

Now I’m going to read your comment right before I made mine, as I am so thrilled to see you here. I hate confrontation too and avoid it at *almost* all cost, and it took me a long, long time to come back to this website but I’m glad I did.

I hope you – and everyone here – finds a way to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday! I’m making plans to do something interesting for myself, as I’ve been no contact for years now and I am determined not to let it “get me down.” I will live in the Present instead of wishing for a different past, and that will be my Present to me!

Looking forward to reading more… and thanks to you and everyone here for commenting all the while.

“The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”

Dear God please show us The Way.


Oh my goodness. You wrote: “My husband has been very supportive of me, but he also wants to keep helping his friend. I see this guy through very different eyes now and think he is probably a free loader based on his priorities and behaviors.”

Reading your post, FinallyFree, sounds so much like what I went through for a good eight years, off and on, with my own tormentor / freeloader that my husband insisted on “allowing him to stay” even though it was destroying our home, my own well-being and our financial situation. The freeloader owed my husband money and he thought if he kicked him out he would never get it back. Well, he would have never gotten it back regardless until I took the guy to court! And then he threatened to burn our house down when he was forced by court order to repay his debt! To this day I don’t know why my husband cared so much more about money that he “might” get back despite what was happening to me and our home, but that’s the way it was. I am so glad that this person is finally out of our lives and I did not welcome him back, despite whatever sob story he threw my way. And I refused to allow him back into the house and called the police to make sure he stayed away.

To this day I can’t figure out how or why I tolerated it… I guess the way I “tolerated” all the abusive things that were done to me all my life, thinking that if I did things differently or responded differently or changed xyz “all would be well.” Well, no they wouldn’t. I finally had to say “I am leaving if things don’t change” and really mean it for my husband and everyone else to finally understand and believe me. I was prepared to leave and I actually did, and that is when things changed. Who was more important? To this day I feel like I was being punished for God knows what but I accepted it and allowed this person to stay, regardless of whether it was my husband saying “let him stay” to get the money back, or me saying “let him stay” due to whatever codependent craziness I had going on. Who knows? I still can’t figure it out.

But I do know that I still need to learn to recognize abuse when it is happening and that I don’t have to put up with anything that makes me sick, unhappy, miserable, or makes life “not worth living.” Depression is NOT supposed to be something we should have to deal with every single day! I’m so used to it at some points I think it’s almost “normal” for me and it is NOT.

And when I finally said NO, NO MORE, and put a real stop to it by changing what I was doing… I guess that means CHANGING ME… all I could wonder was “what took me so long?” When I said I was leaving, he left too, and I made sure he left and stayed gone. It was like the devil leaving because he had no more power over me. It was that difficult and that simple.

I feel like Tina Turner, who FINALLY found the strength to say “NO MORE” to her extremely abusive husband Ike Turner, and left with no money, no security, no nothing. But leave she did.

I am NOT saying you should leave your husband… I’m just comparing this situation to the similar one I was in about ten years ago. After the bum was gone (drug addiction too) all the conflict and theft went with him, overnight. Peace reigned. And all those years of torment magically disappeared! “Poof” they were gone! And all those years I kept wondering what I was doing wrong, why I couldn’t get through, why no one was listening to me, what could I do differently, and on and on and on… and all it took was for me to say NO and MEAN IT. NO MORE.

I still can’t cope with conflict very well. When I am attacked verbally I fall to pieces. PTSD kicks in and paralyzes me. I can handle physical threats very well with no retaliation on my part, after growing up being brutalized by a violent parent and protecting my seven siblings… but I can’t handle being called names or lied about or accused or blamed, as my mother did all my life… and I literally hit the “suicide slide.” So I feel like those devils that come are similar to the Carlos Castenada “monsters” in the book who find out our weaknesses and use them to the fullest. So in that sense, we are being trained to handle conflict of any kind. And it takes longer for some than others. I am almost 65 years old and have yet to learn! But there’s plenty of cruel angry people in this world who lash out without hesitation, so there’s plenty of “practice” to be had.

I almost had to laugh about your “building him a room off the side of the garage” as I bought a small cabin/ shed for my monster to live in, fixed it up really nice even with a TV, and it worked to keep him out of the house part of the time, at least until it got cold. Then it was back in the house until I finally said NO.

He wasn’t the first freeloader in my life, but hopefully he will be the last. It’s been nine years since I made a promise to learn to take care of ME and stop taking care of the world, and I am doing it to a reasonable extent. Meaning I am on my own list, not on the bottom of the list or even missing from the list (and this is “the list” I write for myself about what my priorities are) and even when it’s scary beyond belief, I make myself do something for myself “once in awhile” and it gets a little bit easier each time. I have been well-trained all my life to be a servant and a slave to everyone else’s needs and give little to no regard for me. I accepted it as “normal and correct” since I was raised this way. So I ended up in relationships that “fit the bill.”

Finally I am taking steps to take care of myself, and it shouldn’t be hard since I have always been so good at taking care of myself. I just hope I can learn to handle the terrific PTSD that kicks in when I am verbally attacked, as I find myself on the “suicide slide” almost immediately when I try to explain myself or stand up for myself and I am accused, blamed, lied about, scapegoated, attacked from all sides, or whatever else abusers like to do. But this time around I practiced breathing and meditation and even though I went “in and out” of dissociation, it seemed to work. I was able to see the “others” as suffering in their own way and lashing out at the world, or at least at me, and I DID NOT DESERVE IT.

Any more than you deserve a freeloader in your house! I hope you continue to write about this situation as I’m sure we all have had freeloaders of one sort or another like spiders in the corners that need to be swept out. I’m so glad to read that your husband “didn’t abandon you emotionally like he would have earlier in your marriage.” I know that feeling all too well, and now that it’s going on thirty years for me, my husband is finally there for me too. But we all have so far to go! Three steps forward but only one step back at times. That’s what I look for and that keeps me going some / most of the time, and I hope it does for you too. Sounds like you are coping fairly well and I’m so glad you wrote about what was going on.

Please, let us know what ends up happening. You and your family’s peace of mind come FIRST. And the devil always finds a way in and like a vampire, can’t come in unless we let them, and leaves when we finally say GO.

Love to you and yours, and I’m glad to read anything you write anytime at all. Gracias, amiga… you have contributed so much to so many here. I’m glad you are still here!

Lost without my Child
January 27th, 2015 at 6:33 pm

I am happy that I have found you guys.. My girls’ (13 & 15) step mother is a fanatical narcissist. For years she has made me feel like everything I was doing was wrong. Long story short and fast forward about 10 years, she has my youngest daughter in her care and that daughter won’t talk to me anymore because she (my daughter), now too, believes that I am at fault alll of the time. Their father and I were never married, and subsequently never went through the courts to do the custody thing (biggest mistake of my life) and I have no power over my child. The worst part? My daughter, the one that lives with the step mom(“monster”) seems to be turning into a narcissist as well. I still pay for my daughter’s phone every month (always have) and now it’s not even her phone anymore. The step mom has it most of the time. If I cut it off, then I’ll be “cutting off your only communication with your daughter.” I don’t know what to do. I am so frightened that my daughter will end up positively dysfunctional due to the step mom’s “illness.” For the longest time, I questioned everything I was doing because of that woman… and now my daughter is stuck in it. I have over 10 years of emails and texts … when I read them it takes me back and makes me question myself all over again.

Thanks for letting me vent.

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