Take the Good with the Bad or the Bad with the Good?

family depression

trapped like a fish on a hook

A couple of weeks ago, on the thread for the father’s day post in the emerging from broken facebook page, someone made a comment that bothered me.  Everyone was sharing about emotionally unavailable fathers, and difficult father daughter relationships, and someone asked why we couldn’t find something NICE to say about our fathers.  The writer posted that it could not possibly have been “that bad” and that there must have been “some good”.
Her comment seemed to suggest that sharing something good might help in some way. As though sharing “some good” would negate the bad.  But why would “some good” cancel out the kind of “bad” that we are talking about? On that particular thread we were talking about being hurt and the emotional pain caused by having an emotionally unavailable father. Some of the readers had been sexually abused by fathers. Why did we have to include something good about them? Why did we have to have a good memory to go along with the bad memories? What good does it do to include “oh but he used to buy me ice cream on hot summer days?” I don’t get that.
A whole flood of thoughts went through my mind in reaction to that one comment.  My default thinking and self talk mode came up. The default mode is those voices that remind me that I “should not speak ill of my parents” and “I am being so negative” and the “even worse” voice that says “oh it wasn’t that bad” and “you are such a whiner”. I also hear my parents and teachers and the people that I considered to be mentors voices saying “why do you have to dredge up the past all the time?”  But I reminded myself that I don’t write about anything except the truth.  My motive for writing this blog is very positive and for the greater good of all.  And once again I started to question why I have to include something positive about the very people who caused this damage to me? Why do I have to include the “good bits”? Would it make me a better person if I said that my father drove me to Brownies every week, or if I said that my mother curled my hair sometimes? Or would that just make my story less painful to others?
Does my writing cause others to cringe? Does it poke holes in the unexposed truth and carefully concealed pain in their own lives?
I write the way that I write, because after years of searching for some way to overcome the depressions and dissociative disorders that I struggled with, I found freedom by facing the truth about my childhood. Why shouldn’t I share my recovery with the world? Why should I protect “their” reputations? Why is it wrong to talk about MY childhood and MY life? All my life I had been told to focus on the good things and forget the bad things. But the bad things seemed to rule my life, hiding in the dark under the surface of what appeared to be fine! The bad things didn’t leave me alone!
My belief system was taught, trained programmed and brainwashed into me and resulted in my believing that any complaint I had was wrong and that any thought I had related to the past was “negative” and usually distorted. I was taught that my memory was false and that my pain was due to my selfishness and self centered personality. I naturally concluded that my depressions were also due to my selfishness and self centered personality. That was a natural conclusion for me to come to because I was told that everything that happened to me was my fault. I either asked for it or I deserved it and that all my negative feelings were caused by self centeredness and selfishness.  I concluded that my depressions were my also my fault and could be overcome by my accepting that I was selfish and self centered and that by putting everyone else before me, I could lead a happy life. The problem was that that is what I had been trying to do all along and it hadn’t helped yet.
At the same time I was not permitted to have my real emotions nor was I correct in naming them. Everything I felt was unjustified by others so I learned not to trust my own feelings, and I learned that I didn’t really have any right to them.
All of the above is a total recipe for depression but I never realized it. I also never realized the root of it. My depressions came from suppression of the truth about my childhood. My depressions came from trying to sort things out without looking at the truth about my upbringing. My depression came from trying to overlook the bad by covering it with the good.
I was taught to always look for the good, but not for the purpose of positive living; for the purpose of accepting abuse. I was taught to minimize my own value, I was taught to hold the abusers in high regard all the while accepting the little regard they had for me. I was taught that they had value, but that I did not. That system is bound to destroy everyone in its path, because it is built on rotten lies. That system is not related to love and it is not positive.
I don’t have to include the “good things” or “good memories” about anyone in my website about emotional healing. That is part of the old system and that system just kept me sick. I don’t have to honour my mother and father in any way different then the way they honoured me. They taught me the rules of love in a very unbalanced (one sided) and unfair way and I don’t play by those rules anymore. I opted for the truth instead.  The air is better here. There is a brightness that I never saw before.
I realized that the commenter was reacting to her own issues. Not to mine. Her comment was about her own pain, not about my pain or the emotional pain being shared on the EFB facebook page and I totally understand that.   I spent years avoiding facing my pain too and after years of trying to avoid, it only makes sense to have finally faced all of it and be done with it!
Although I write about the past almost every day of my life for the purpose of helping others overcome their demons, I am done with my past.  I am finally free of it.
Please share anything you wish to or need to;
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

Categories : Depression



Hello Everyone

~ Sorry this post didn’t publish properly ~ there are no paragraph breaks, and I can’t seem to fix it!

hugs, Darlene


He bought me ice cream on hot summer days. YEAH!!! IT was a great memory of him taking me and the nextdoor neighbor girls (who won’t friend me on fb) for sodas and none of us liked sodas and I had to hear about that for years. He griped about us not liking sodas. SO, how is THIS a “good” memory.

Tell ya what; it is up to ME to determine what is good in my life and share it in whatever context and whatever day of the year I want to share it!

WHOSE idea was it to buy sodas? NOT MINE!!! HE knew for YEARS that I HATE soda!! SO, he did this for ATTENTION from other females.
“I can literally put my daughter down in front of her only playmates while she hates the treat I am forcing on all of them.” He knew that I complained of stomach aches all my life elatted to what foods I ate. YET, we HAD to have ice cream sodas that day, and he KNEW I hated them!! He was the one to tell me, YOUR stomach doesn’t hurt, you just think it does!” You are so stupid that you don’t even know your own stomach. Talk about constipation and emotional issues out the wa-zu!



Yes, driving you to Brownies every week and curling your hair, that is behavior that gets THEM attention from the general public.

It is what they do to you in PRIVATE that is really telling, is it not?


We are really on the same page today! LOL Just as I hit the publish button I had that same thought! (that the driving to (letting me go to) brownies, curling my hair, buying my clothes, all of it was for the sake of what others would think. And I used all those examples to “prove to myself” that I didn’t have anything to complain about because some kids never got to do anything and only wore hand me downs. My mother LET me have long hair ~(but boy did I ever pay for it!) on yes.. it goes on and on…
Hugs, Darlene


the payment for long hair was high? LOL


If you were only allowed to remember the good it makes sense that the bad also needs to be remembered.

My brother believes ours was a perfectly happy family. He doesn’t remember things that I remember or see thongs today that I see.


The payment for long hair was high, yes. First of all, I had to wait to grow it until I was “able to take care of it myself” so I started to grow it in about grade two. I had to brush it 200 strokes each night, which I never minded. But it was the b@%$ing about it that got to me. My mother didn’t like to “take care” of my hair so if I had a problem with it, it was horrible if I had to get some help. Like a few times I missed the very back underneath part at the nape of my neck and a rather large tat would form there. She would yank and pull and complain and be mad at me the whole time she was trying to deal with it. I felt like my hair was such a burden to her. Even something that I wanted (like long hair) was making her life harder. Stuff like that all adds up to the way that I viewed myself.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mike
Everyone has their own way to survive a dysfunctional family. I blocked things out for a long time too and even when I remembered, I questioned all of it, and I questioned my right to even be upset about any of it. That was the way that I was raised (brainwashed) My siblings don’t have the same complaints that I do either. I figure that I am more highly evolved than they are. 🙂 The was I see it is that they are still stuck in the dysfunction, and I am not. They can have it. I am free!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Same here. I couldn’t have hair until I was ten. Every summer getting it butched off was just the most depressing thing of all. All the scowling and sighing about my hair until it was whacked off, and then, she would just GLOW with happiness.
And if she had to help me with the hair, yes, yanking and complaining. I figured I was very selfish to want my hair long since she didn’t need hers to be long, and neither did my sister. My sister picked on my hair well into adulthood.
In high school, my mother would monitor my bathroom use every morning. I could only wash my hair every third day. And she would keep a calendar. She would always enter the bathroom as soon as I got out in the morning. Then, always, it was, “GET back in this bathroom and clean your HAIR up out of the bath tub and/or counter.” “I already did.” “NO, you didn’t!!” “DID YOU WASH YOUR HAIR TODAY?? TODAY WAS NOT YOUR DAY TO WASH IT!!”

I would put my allowed two inches of water in the bathtub and lie down in the water and at least wet my hair and then, after towel drying it, bend over upside down to fluff dry it in the register on the floor in the bathroom. This had to be timed each morning to the exact time that the heat came on.

One year out of high school, I had staff/strep skin infections, a dermatologist told me in front of my mom, “WASH YOUR HAIR EVERYDAY and TAKE A BATH EVERYDAY.” That was after a year in a religiously abusive environment–bible college, I was worn down, so had some immune problems.


There are so many unresolved issues between my parents and I that I don’t know if there were good things to remember or not. If they would face the truth and talk through things, our relationship might have been salvaged. However, they refuse and their refusal over the decades of my lifetime is as abuses as the offenses that I remember. When I would try to talk to them, the first thing to come up was that I don’t forgive them. That threw me off for a long time but then I finally pressed them by naming some of the things they’ve done to me. Then it was denial of those named offenses. I knew then that forgiveness was not what they want, they want me to let it slide and cover it up. I know that to be fully recovered, I have to stop covering it up for them, completely stop. It takes a long time to break those habits of “protecting the family honor” and I have to keep reminding myself that there is no honor in lies and lies and abuse should not be protected and hidden. I’m getting there…



I never had lessons in anything like other children did except when my dad wanted to impress a certain group of people. They had their kids in 4H so I had to join 4H too. There were no other kids my age so I ended up doing projects that I was too young to handle. I remember struggling and crying most of the time. Then when my dad had a falling out with this group (the falling out always came eventually)then I was immediately jerked out. I never had any other extra curricular activities because it was just “too much bother”.



Isnt it incredible when you can tell WHY your dad wants you involved in outside activities and where that is all leading? And HOW it impacts you and your invovlement? WOW. What food for more thought there!! And talk about falling out. Now there is a theme. A church split and how it impacted my socialization compared to my sister’s.

And being thrown off by one line that they use, whether it is the forgive line or some other line, WOW, doesn’t it feel great to finally identify that line and go from there? Which was that they NEVER ASKED to be forgiven when the offense was named?? WOW


I spent so much of my life trying to figure my dad out. He was my dad and he was supposed to love me. I made it really complicated because I thought there must be some good reason as to why he acted so badly. Then one day it hit me that his motivations are all very shallow and not complicated at all. I also saw that he had almost no empathy and it is impossible to truly love another without empathy. After that everything was clear.

A demonstration of his lack of empathy is his cat. This poor creature has been out of its mind for years. It yowls continually, pees all over the place but he just can’t have it put down “because he loves it too much” All of his love starts and ends with him. It was always all about him.


GREAT insight about your cat. Thank GOD they didn’t do that to you or to us, have us put down, literally, like a cat. What a great image! OH, I love it so much that I drove it crazy. MY dad goes muts around cats and absolutely HATES them. He talks hatred of cats. I think I was afraid to have one when I was married (!) for fear of him not approving. FUNNY that you shared that!

And I spent far too much of my life trying to figure out my dad. I hate to say how long it took. (How old were you when you saw his shallowness?) And it is SO painful, now that the mas is off to go anywhere in public and watch him continue to act this crap out.


I was about 40. It was when my parents moved their mobile home onto my property and I spent time around them as an adult. Up until that time, I had blamed most of the problems on their past alcohol abuse but it wasn’t long before I saw that the drinking was only a symptom of much deeper problems.


This is worth saying again.To sugar coat the ugly truth is not telling the truth,it’s not being honest.It takes courage to be honest.How is one to know and feel and then possibly acknowledge their own pain if it is not written in raw form.One might as well stay in denial,saying i got ice cream so i don’t mind the abuse.I for one encourage you to write the way you write.Matter of fact,i think you should really use the proper words of description,some wake up calls if you will.That is only my opinion of course.The day you stop writing the way you write is the day i will stop reading what you write.Victims,survivors,abusers all need to see the truth and reading imprints on the mind better than words to the ear.


“MY dad goes Nuts around cats”
I meant to say that he goes nuts around cats.
He calls most all dogs “Muts” demeaning
i had a dog from age 7-17 that he yelled at
my sister had a pedigree dog when she was 16-up, and I don’t recall the same synamic in that home over that dog, and I am thinking how much more sanctified my parents had become, when it was perhaps that THIS was HER dog, not mine, and it was pedigree, not a mange-eaten runt of the litter, free dog that I had


We are so on the same page Darlene, I’m working on a post that just resonates with this one you did!

When you wrote, “Does my writing cause others to cringe? Does it poke holes in the unexposed truth and carefully concealed pain in their own lives?” and then mentioned “their reputations” I just started to laugh, at them of course, because finally I’m at a place where if their stuff mattered I might care, but it doesn’t so I don’t!

I’ve tried, really tried, to remember the good things (and there were some) but the tragic, horrible thing is they are bright spots bracketed by such overwhelming nastiness that it’s PAINFUL to remember them because they drag all the other stuff along with them. I loved riding my horse, so when I think of that, I recall the painful coaching times, the ‘get your lard ass in that saddle’ or ‘don’t be stupid out there people know who your parents are’ and so on…nothing really GOOD could ever be on its own – it always has to bring along the whole dysfunctional bunch of baggage that each memory carries. If I could separate them like pages in a scrapbook I’d do that, but it’s almost too hard to try.

And I have to share about the ‘hair thing’! I had long hair, until the curling, combing, yanking ‘beauty hurts’ made me fuss too much and it got cut off, and permed, so I had a short fuzzy red helmet. THAT worked so well in school! Might as well have put a bulls eye on me too. Then the ‘make us famous and be the winner of the Little Orphan Annie contest’ which went down badly because I fully FREAKED out and refused! My hair cuts and choices caused them more grief than you would guess – and it was JUST HAIR! That’s how much control meant to them…

I write, I speak up and I share. I’m amazed at how much people will share if you can in even a little way show them you’ve survived too. I’ll take my good and bad but I’m not dragging it up to pretend that the good shines all alone and the bad somehow fades away. It doesn’t work that way. Not for me. Not yet anyway.

Great conversation going here…thanks all for sharing!


Loved this:
“nothing really GOOD could ever be on its own – it always has to bring along the whole dysfunctional bunch of baggage that each memory carries.” It feels like they are theives, stealing any joy that you could possibly have, as in riding horses–WOW



This reminds me of my best friends ex best friends and even some present friends who told me that mom never meant to hurt me. .that she was not able to love me.. that i should over look her weaknesses.. that she couldnt help what she did

I think about the scars on my neck .. the scars on my body from boiling bath . my panic at being closed in. and my bad ptsd and other and ask myself how can all that be by accident?

Did she accidentally turn on the boiling hot water and throw me in . Her hand slipped into some drawer found some scissors and then accidentally went into my neck and then ..Accidentally she took a pillow and held it over me..

This is all accident. and all the beatings. .how can this all be accident.

My friends told me God is displeased with me for not letting all that go and not keeping in touch with her. . ex friends.. who sometimes meet me in food stores and make me feel like the worst sinner in the world..

I just don’t understand why I cannot be allowed to feel to cry and to live without people thinking it their business to cast judgement on me .. I am the one who carries the battle marks on my body.. and mind .. the scars on the body no longer hurt but am no where near healed in my mind from all the abusive language and hurt..and shame..

I am glad you put all this hear Darlene because am battling in side me about all this stuff.. I keep running into people who want to tell me how to be Christian.. yet they themselves aren’t even acting Godly.

I have been crying buckets of tears this week. hope they slow down or I will have to get some special permit for the lake that is forming.



Between Susan’s inspiring quote today and this great post with all the wonderful comments I’ve done a new post as well – thankful for the writer’s block vanishing!

I’ll post the link on the EFB Facebook page!

Bright blessings, and thanks Kate.


how you suffered yet your poetry is so so beautiful
I love all your blogs.. 🙂



<3 you Joy, thank you. Your poetry is wonderful too. Everyone who shares and is healing has such inspiring courage. Bless you!


Holy smokes Kate!
Two inches of water? Talk about “control”! There are so many examples of how we were made to feel WRONG. And people wonder why the teen suicide rate and child depression is so high? Nothing has changed that much from when we were kids.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

The first thing that comes to my mind about the phrase, “why can’t you forgive me” today is “so you admit it??” and of course, usually they don’t but that is my first thought anyway. And yes, they want to sweep everything under the carpet; the last time I talked to my mom she said “can’t we just put it behind us” and I said no that this time I wanted to deal with it. She said “we have always resolved our differences in the past” and I said ” NO we didn’t, I backed down” She had no argument or response for that, but she never called again.
You said ” there is no honour in lies and abuse should NOT be hidden or protected” and I say YAY. That is so very true and there is much power in that statement.
Hugs, Darlene

Oh and Kate
I call the one line thing “the rabbit trail” ~ a trail going no where designed to throw you off in the wrong direction.

Hi Yvonne!
Don’t worry, I have no intention of writing any differently then I do now… I wouldn’t know where to start. I don’t know how to write any other way… I didn’t even know I could write before this. What do you mean that I “should use the proper word of descriptions, some wake up calls??”
I agree that THIS is the truth that sets people free.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Shanyn
Yay, thank you for sharing this victory!
I know what you mean about the bright spots that were covered (over rode) by overwhelming nastiness. I know what you mean about separating things into separate pages… I think of it slightly differently though ~ and this helped me more: I think part of my problem in the past WAS that I separated all the painful events from each other, so that I didn’t see how they fit together in one big nasty pattern. When I went through this process, I finally connected the dots, and saw the big picture finally.. It set me free.
Just a different way of looking at it.
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Joy
YES what a load of hooey. That you should feel sorry for her, and look over her weakness. That type of thinking kept me stuck almost forever. You are right Joy.. some things are not accidents, and some things can be controlled and ALL things need to be looked at through the grid of truth so that we can finally come to terms with what happened. It doesn’t really matter if your mother is out of her mind stark raving mad ~ the point is that in order to recover from it, you /we must see the damage that it caused and the way that it defined our very existence.
I think that God will be displeased with your friends for giving you such bad advice. 🙂 and for presuming to know what GOD feels like and placing HIS judgements on YOU. (how do you think that would grab your “friends” ??
Ask them if they want to talk to ME about sin?
You are doing great Joy, cry those healing tears my friend. You are IN the process and ON the road!
Hugs, Darlene


It really upsets me that people treat you this way. You are right in m,aking them exfriends. Their behavior toward you is apalling. I can’t believe (yes, I do believe but I am sickened by it)how your mother treated you. I’m so glad that you are alive.



I agree with, Darlene. Job had more supportive friends than these people who say they are your friends. I have doubts about them being friends with Jesus also!



Remembering the good memories, if I have any, do not cross out the bad. Most of my good memories come from the time that I spent with my maternal grandmother from age 2-6. I didn’t live with my grandmother all the time but I did spend long stretches of time staying at her house up until I started to school just before I turned six. When I turned seven, my dad would not let me visit my grandmother except on holidays when the whole family went along. Something changed that year but I don’t know what.

Just before Father’s Day, I wrote 2 guest blog articles that appeared on the other blogs the week after Father’s Day. Father’s Day was horrible for me this year because of writing and remembering for those two guest posts. I have been blogging for 4 years. Those two posts are the hardest ones that I have ever written. They were about my first memories of the incest happening first with an uncle and second with my dad a few weeks later.

I don’t know how it would be possible to remember anything that would be good enough to erase those few memories of being raped when I was eleven years old and still a little girl who hadn’t even started developing into a young teenager yet. My body was not that of a woman the first times that I was raped. I was still a child. Neither of those men cared that they were raping a child’s body and mind.

How can you possibly replace those memories with something good? That woman on Facebook is buried so deep in denial, I don’t even know how she sees any daylight.

For anyone interested in reading those two blog posts, here are the links on my blog that will give you the links to the guest posts:



I warn you that both of these posts are intense and can be triggering. Let someone read these posts and then dare to tell me to replace those memories with good memories.


well, it might be good stuff…if it wasn’t just a set up for the bad stuff…and that hurts.


I should have included cover up along with set up. All the good seems to have been in an attempt to manipulate…either me, or anyone who may be watching or be told about anything not good.


Another mind-blowing post, Darlene. And fellow travelers — your hearts are in my hand. . . thank you so much for sharing. You continue to bless and encourage me. — And Joy, we may have to get together and build an ark because I’ve been crying a river, too.

Once again even my dreams are taking me to places my heart can’t go. I tried to post about my mom yesterday and lost an epic [guess some things are best left unposted — :-)] I’ll probably make up for it here. . .

Darlene — and everyone — I am so glad you are here amidst the chaos — because am finally beginning to see why I have been unable to get rid of so much of this stuff (again, I am “boxed” in in this house literally and figuratively, dealing with my dad’s, mom’s, kids, grandmom’s and granddad’s stuff). I have been so depressed, exactly as Darlene describes above (and worth repeating here):

“My belief system was taught, trained programmed and brainwashed into me and resulted in my believing that any complaint I had was wrong and that any thought I had related to the past was “negative” and usually distorted. I was taught that my memory was false and that my pain was due to my selfishness and self centered personality. I naturally concluded that my depressions were also due to my selfishness and self centered personality. That was a natural conclusion for me to come to because I was told that everything that happened to me was my fault. I either asked for it or I deserved it and that all my negative feelings were caused by self centeredness and selfishness. I concluded that my depressions were my also my fault and could be overcome by my accepting that I was selfish and self centered and that by putting everyone else before me, I could lead a happy life. The problem was that that is what I had been trying to do all along and it hadn’t helped yet.

At the same time I was not permitted to have my real emotions nor was I correct in naming them. Everything I felt was unjustified by others so I learned not to trust my own feelings, and I learned that I didn’t really have any right to them.

All of the above is a total recipe for depression but I never realized it. I also never realized the root of it. My depressions came from suppression of the truth about my childhood. My depressions came from trying to sort things out without looking at the truth about my upbringing. My depression came from trying to overlook the bad by covering it with the good.”

I didn’t realize how, through my beliefs about being the obedient, dutiful daughter and eldest child in the family, mom on her deathbed had saddled me with a Herculean task: Take care of your father. I believe now she knew exactly what that would entail, and she knew what it was going to cost me. And dad, I have been devoted to you all my life, and you treated your dog better (that dog has a nicer funeral urn than my mom). And when, in your demented mind, you decided you wanted to get married — I jumped through hoops to make sure you were medically cleared, physically protected, your assets and livelihood were protected, and you would live a long, safe, happy life — and somehow all my care and concern and daughterly duty got twisted into my mental, physical, legal, social, financial ruin — with legal charges of elder abuse, and a $1/4 million dollar judgment against me — because I simply could not stand up against you, my dad — whom I love and swore to my mom to take care of. Where I find myself at this moment has all been based on lies. Doesn’t matter whose lies — they’re still lies.

And now — I am finally realizing the truth (or at least am in the process of knowing my truth –). Darlene has come to know it. You are all coming to know it. It’s who we are — We are good, kind, hopeful, helpful (shall I even say loving?) human beings who deserved — DESERVE — to be cherished and protected, honored and valued — LOVED — simply for who we are and not for whom those blood relations thought they could design us to be.

My dream last night was another nightmare that woke me up shaking. It was my mind telling me a story about forgotten things I love (because I’m at a place where I don’t seem to love anything anymore, and certainly don’t feel I deserve to be loved right now). It was also a story about a man with whom I believed I was in love — who (as always)left me for another woman. My brain was trying to show me how my choices had once again been manipulated by this individual: you like this — but isn’t this better?; you want to do this, but wouldn’t this be much more fun? The dream: It was like a tour of our 6-year relationship. Granted, there was so much other stuff going on in my life at the time that I know now I didn’t “see” what was happening between us as being manipulative. And yet, when I awoke, I realized that in my other relationships in my life — My bosses did that. My ex did that. My mom did that. My dad certainly did that. [Thank God, my kids aren’t at all like that :-)].

Darlene — once again, you have opened my eyes and my heart. And yes, these really do feel like healing tears. . . there is such a lot to grieve. . . and I am finding your words, everyone’s posts — and the truth contained and revealed here — is making the giving up so much less difficult and ultimately so liberating. And it’s not just surface dirt this time — it’s a deep down clean!!!

Blessings everyone. You are precious to me.


Just one more thought. . . I just got up and made a cup of coffee before getting to work here. And it took me back to another memory of my dad. . . the policeman.

As a child and later as a teenager, I did not sleep well. . . slept with a lamp on beside my bed. . . I would play endless games of solitaire until I could not keep my eyes open. The sound of cards being shuffled could make my dad nuts. . .

He needed to get up at 5:00 a.m. to get to work at the sheriff’s office in So Cal on time. I would get up at 4:30 every morning and make a fresh pot of coffee. Percolators — can anyone even remember how to perk a pot? The smell of percolating coffee would drift through the house — and I could finish a hand of solitaire in time to turn off the stove.

What I remember now is I would always get the first cup — the best cup. . . in the morning. No one up in the house. Everything seemingly cozy and quiet. . . Real milk and real sugar and the first cup of coffee in the quiet early morning. Now that was a good memory —

And all these years I thought I was doing something special for my dad —


Hi Patricia,
Thank you for sharing. Did you know that some therapists encourage clients to “remember things differently” ~ to change the belief system by replacing it by trying to tell yourself that the memory is wrong and changing the ending (memory) of what actually happened. That sounds exactly like what the abusers and controllers want us to do to!
It is really horrific when a survivor of child abuse is first used without consideration for his or her personhood. It is another abuse when that person is denied a voice about their own life. Today I realize why I always felt like I couldn’t breathe or that I was being held under water. Always fighting for some “life”, and not allowed to have any.
There is nothing that we can remember that would HELP sooth the pain. It was when I finally faced the pain without trying to gloss it over, that I found my freedom and began to live again.
Thank you for sharing your links!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Wendi
Yes, “cover ups” are exactly what goes on. I also realized that so many “good things” were about more manipulation. As an adult I see this SO clearly now when I look back.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Ultralite,
I love your coffee story, I read it out loud to my husband this morning. I love the ending! Thank you for sharing.
A lot of my healing work was triggered by dreams. It was as though my mind would “prompt me” through the dreams, that my mind would tell me what it wanted me to look at, and show me what it was ready to face through the dreams I had.

My heart breaks for what happened to you with your father and you summed it up so perfectly ~ “because I simply could not stand up to you, my dad”. Being discounted, doesn’t end in childhood with these kinds of families. We are the only ones that can stop it and the only way to stop it is to stand up against it. Not easy I know… but doable and very worth it. Our definitions of so many words are so wrong; I had to re learn so much. Love was so one sided and I never saw it. I was too busy being compliant.

You DO deserve to be cherished. We all do. We are good and kind and loving people, who have been told that we are not. We have been falsely defined by others and we accepted those labels because we didn’t know how NOT to accept them but we can learn how now. I learned how to stand up to it.
Thank you so much for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene. . . I’m crying again!!!!


Dear Ultralite,
I believe I am hearing you begin to say to yourself, “I love you.”

I have tears too…



Just the title of this post reminded me of something someone said to me a couple of months ago – “it doesn’t matter what they did, they’re still your family, you shouldn’t speak about it and you shouldn’t cut yourself off from them and you certainly should never have gone to the police about them, things like that should be kept within the family”.

As I read the post I was reminded of the indignation and invalidation I felt when I heard those words – this post brought up the same feelings in me.

First – it does matter what they did – it really does matter, big time matter, what they did – and not forgetting what they did to me were crimes but somehow because my family did those things to me I’m supposed to pretend nothing happened? That is exactly what perpetuates abuse. Also I was told as a child “never to speak outside the family of what went on in the family” and was threatened with dire things if I did. Because of that it is SO important for me to speak out and keep speaking out!!

Second – they were my family, which makes it far worse, incest is so destructive!!

Third – if I choose to cut myself off from them for my own safety then I choose to do that – however that missed totally that my family beat me up and left me for dead but somehow that doesn’t matter because they’re my family I should work for reconciliation – oh get real!!

Fourth – I will speak about it and it will carry on speaking about it until I don’t have to speak about it any more

Fifth – there was no good in my childhood, but even if there was it should never be proposed that the good some mitigates the horror of the bad – the abuse – no way!

Sixth – not talking about what happened to me did me no good, just led to depression after depression, talking the truth about the past however horrible and however painful, is healing, keeping quiet is not!

Finally – my feelings, my memories, my thoughts, my hopes, my broken dreams and my emotions are mine and need to be given space for expression, for too long they were squashed down by many of the belief systems that lay behind her words


Hi Fi,
GREAT comments. It makes me cringe when I hear people tell other people that when people are “family” it means that they have some special privilege that includes being able to abuse us and we should just take it. That is INSANE. So what law says that family is “permitted” to do what they want to you, illegal or not, and you have no choice? That is INSANE. How can people not hear themselves in suggesting this stuff? I am really vocal about this now. I put it right back on them. I ask them “so what you are saying is that I should just have a relationship with people who make it very clear that I am just an object that they can beat and torture and I am not entitled to any protection nor do I have the right to say no? ” and I don’t even stop there. People turn red. When people say “but that is your family” I say, “what does that mean?” and they can NEVER answer me! They never know what it means not even to them. (other then the senseless mumbo jumbo about blood etc… what ever that is supposed to mean)
These people are in the fog that we escaped. They can have it, I like freedom and wholeness better.
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene:

I was busy doing homework..i find it so very hard to do my work. I do it well when I get it done but it takes all my energy to focus. My mind wanders on everything but school work. I have to do it though. I sometimes think it makes me more irritable as my mind is so overloaded with things.

I wish you were around to tell those bad people about God as they like to tell me all the time how I should heal and do things. Even those who mean well don’t know what they say is putting salt into some very painful wounds.

I had such a terrible nightmare lastnight after that little bit of fog busting, it literrally left me shaking . .. iI wouldn’t go back to sleep at all. Sometimes all the things done to me come all bundled up in a nice nightmare double feature in my dreams and I hear my mom cursing me telling me its my fault. I shouldnt have been born. Why was i born. I am stupid am the worst mistake. on and on. I see and feel all the awful tortures . All this as one special feature of nightmare. I dont know why sometimes it comes all bundled togethre. ..

This week I think 3 or 4 nights of the 7 nights I have fought monsters from my dream. and its exhausts me. I did do what someone said to me on the group and wrote down last nights dream so that I can share it with my T. it was one of a kind.

I have been 3 months in therapy and feel like I am still just crawling around the floor. hope



Three months is not that long at all. The beginning seems to be a long stage. I found that things speed up more as some of the fog lifts when the truth is exposed. Give yourself time. This process is exhausting becasue it is going against all the brainwashing that we were ever taught.
Hang in here!
Hugs, Darlene

maureen cowan-magee
June 30th, 2011 at 11:17 am

There is something cathartic about being able to openly speak about the private hidden secrets that were so staunchly denied and firmly disallowed by those that held the autoritative family positions of power. The full picture is never captured in the frame, only the well rehearsed always smiling images of a perfectly seemingly normal family in most family albums.
Life becomes much more interesting, much more meaningful when the full story is told, the characters no longer are lifeless but have depth. Each time one tells their story to a compassionate and caring audience the narrow frame of distorion opens a little wider stretching and expanding the perceptions of both story teller and audience. As each story teller develops and learns acceptance of their lives and of themselves, each step towards healing becomes a new page within their remarkable story and can no longer be held within any narrow frame of ignorance. The pain and dispair certainly deserves a greater portion of focus in the begining stage of every great healing story. The strength of any story is the human connections between the story teller and his/her audience. My story continues to expand and unfold leaving behind the unspoken fearful past to speak openly and unashamed of my personal life story.


I’ve been thinking about joy’s “friends” and how people want us to protect the people who abuse us. I think they don’t want to believe that true evil like that exists. That is what kept me from facing the truth about my past for most of my life. I didn’t want to look evil in the face and say, “There you are”. I made up excuses for them because I wanted to believe that humans were better than that but there are people who give themselves totally over to evil and it is dangerous for us to see them otherwise and excuse what they have done.
It is also wrong to let such abuses slide because people who abuse will see their ‘work’ as successful and never face the truth.

I know a man who sexually abused his children and grandchildren. One of the grandchildrens’ mother stood up and pressed charges for her little girl. I watched as this man and his family (who had also been sexually abused by him)manipulate an entire church to go to his trial and support him. He got off. There was no factual evidence that this man was innocent and no reason for the church to take his side, they barely knew him but I think people didn’t want to think that this friendly, affable man was truly evil. The didn’t want to see it.People can be like children thinking that if the light is on the boogey man under the bed can’t get them. When the boogey man is real, you’d better turn on the light and also get a club because pretending that evil doesn’t exist doesn’t keep anyone safe and it is so very destructive to those who have been damaged.


Great post. It’s so empowering to speak the truth, and people who have been abused need all of the empowerment they can get. How can I say something good about someone who never made me feel good?

I remember once when I was younger, crying and telling my “best friend” how much I hated my father. She hugged me and told me “But deep down you really love him.” What a slap in the face.

There are good things about my parents, but like others here have said, those good memories are so overshadowed and tangled up with the abuse and manipulation that it is hard to see them as good. Remembering the good things feels like trying to quench my thirst by drinking salt water.


I have many thoughts on this topic. About the cats. Yes, they did drive us crazy, including the pets. Pets mimic the atmosphere of the home. And yes, they could put us away, or put us down, just like the pets. After all, isn;t that what psych wards were all about? Oh, now they call them rehab. Just get rid of the identified patient of the family, the one who is acting out, the scapegoat… That is how they put us down!
Now, as I was writing Beyond the Tears, I sometimes read aloud to my husband. He balked at the character that is my father. He said, you can’t make your father all bad. I was taking my husband’s feedback to heart; because he had been an English teacher, delving into the literary value of Moby Dick and the Catcher in the Rye. But the only good thing I could think of about my father was that he killed himself. Decades after his death, I stand by that. There is not one stinking good thing about my father. Before my now husband, when I was in my twenties, I had married a carbon copy of my father, shortly after my father’s suicide. This is confusing, but fast forward to when I was writing said memoir. An editor told me that I could not paint the mad man that I married as all bad. After all, he said, there had to be a redeeming quality. There wasn’t, not a one. I had married my father. Plain and simple, can’t you all see that? I cannot say one good thing about my father and I won’t make it up and I can’t say one good thing about his clone the man I married because I was still under the spell. I won’t even pretend to make myself look better. I’d rather look stupid in truth than smart in pretense.


By “can’t you all see that?” I mean those who wanted me to find redeeming qualities in 1) my father 2) the man that I married after my father died


Im a bit confused after counselling today (which has been going on for the last two years. Ive came to a greater understanding of the impact on me of have been molested as a child, by my Dad. Im clearer that his heavy drinking/alcoholism also had a lasting detrimental effect.Ive had a lot of anger at both my parents. However Im facing that I too often used alcohol to cope and that now in my fifties have issues with spending/debt and unwise choices in the relationships Ive had with men. Im trying to take control of my life Ive had a good education and am getting a lot of support from the books/websites that are available now as well as free counselling,concessionary homeopath, state benefits etc.I have a sense of guilt over my issues, especially over out of control spending, and as Ive usually tried to hide it I had a feeling this week that I was just like my Dad,repeating a cycle of secrecy and I actually felt some compassion for the trap he found himself in. My Dad grew up in an era when poor working class men did not get help with their childhood traumas and he did not have any of the opportunities Ive had to even conceive of healing. I was aware even as a child of how he seemed so troubled and damaged and unconscious that he was ‘acting out’ at times.Just like him, Im realising that shame was at the root of my issues.My parents are both dead now and I realize I want to take responsibility for my own issues and life now. Maybe the anger is passing I dont want to get lost in the fog again tho and hope that this is a stage in healing that I am accepting the past and turning towards a future


Hi Darlene.. I know 3 months am barely crawling. and so much to learn to let go of. I am so full of junk and fog and brainwash .. but I think am going the right direction since I know that what people say to support abusers is wrong and when people tell me what was done to me was accidental. I don’t believe that. My mom went on to college she was smart. She just hated me . i was the big bad mistake . .hopeless and never will amount to anything.. that is what they say of me.



Hi Maureen
There is something cathartic yes, and oh so healing! Yay for telling our stories without fear.
Thank you for sharing and for being part of this post!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
This kind of story is all too typical. (and disgusting and it makes me sick)
Thanks for sharing it though, because this too helps others to know that they are not alone in having something like this happen to them.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Carolyn
OUCH. This is also one of those stories that is all too typical. When people tell us how we “really” feel because they can’t comprehend or relate to (or want to try to relate to) how you REALLY feel.
Thanks for sharing. I know what you mean. I have some good memories of having fun with my mother in a bar when I was 17, we were picking up men together and somehow that seems SO wrong now that I have a daughter older then I was then! Not fun. Not normal. NOT right. I suspect that my mother didn’t want to go to the bars alone, and I was thinking we were having some bonding time! ewww
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lynn
Great comments. You put it plain and simple and full of the truth and that is all we want here, that is all that matters.
Thank you for sharing,
Hugs Darlene

P.S. everyone ~ Lynn is going to guest posting here on EFB blog tomorrow so stay tuned for her post.

Hi Layla
It does take time to sort it all out. I spent a lot of years feeling sorry for my mother and although she had lots of therapy, it didn’t seem to help her be a better mother but what really helped ME was not trying to understand her or feel sorry for her, it was to totally understand what happened to me, regardless of what was wrong with them, so that I could heal from the damage. I think I was also always aware of the damage that my mother had done to her too. I still feel very sorry for her and wish that she would find healing through the truth like I did, but my own healing happened when I separated her issues from mine. I hope I understood what you are saying here correctly. Although it was very hard for me to acknowledge any anger that I ever had towards my parents, (still have trouble with that believe it or not) It was a wonderful thing for me when the anger passed too. the process to freedom was not a cake walk but as long as we are on the road we will proceed! !
Hugs, Darlene


Joy, I read in your post the word “accidental” and it makes my skin crawl. When people talk about “what happened to me (you)” I like to remind them that “something didn’t just happen like an accidental, unforeseen fender-bender on the freeway.” Abuse is deliberate. It is pre-meditated. It is intentional. It is a calculated deed motivated by evil.


Hi Lynn,

I so agree.. but that is part of making us devalued similar to or less than an object.. we were accidentally hurt.. or they really didnt mean it. You should over look it. My gosh I would overlook it if it didnt hurt so much. .my wounds are so deep that a tiny touch of them makes me burst into oceans of tears.. i have a long way to go before I am healed. 🙁



Joy, I am so sorry for your pain. I honestly don’t know if there is a finish line to the healing. There are places along the way where I can say hooray, I moved through an obstacle, and there are victories. I am healed, and still healing. The process of healing is possible. I co-exist with pain and process. I have used the ocean analogy before. I’m so sorry for your tears. I am 57. This year, I learned that those “accidents” amounted to 5 felonies on the abuser that he will never be held accountable for, and ALL family members do not recognize those accidents as criminal behavior.


I’ve told my family that I’ll let go of the past when it lets go of me. It doesn’t matter if they did it on purpose or not they still need to take responsibility and my parents just won’t. They want me to carry all of their responsibility for them.

I feel so sad for you right now. I want so to comfort you and its so hard to find the right words. I think you’re doing great. You’re putting blame where it belongs and learning to think for yourself. The rest will come in time. I haven’t lived through what you have and I’m not going to tell you what your experience was like but in my experience, healing is like removing the skin of an onion, one thin layer at a time. There are stages that have gone faster than others and there have been times that I was past it but in truth, I didn’t fully understand what had happened to me. There were so many little things that I accepted as normal that weren’t. Those little things shaped my image of myself as much as the bigger traumas. You are much more mindful of what is happening to you than I was when I was young. You are doing what is right, Joy. Take heart in knowing that you have had to courage to face your pain and hurt. You are a brave, intelligent, and very sweet girl. You will get past this and you will become a very dynamic woman. I’m sure of it.



I agree with you about the finish line. I get excited when I have a major victory but then time passes and something else unearths itself. I’m going to quit worrying about it and just let the process be what it is. Even if I do reach a point where the past is not a part of my daily thought life, I will continue to grow. Because of the things that happened there are parts of me that have never been allowed to develop. There are parts of me that need to be grown up. Trauma and not dealing with it correctly stunted my growth as a person. I think there will be work to do for as long as I am alive.


Pam, I can relate to that. What is the “correct” way to deal with trauma? If a correct path had been offered to me, I was too blind with brainwash to see it. I too see the ways that growth continues, and I also see the ways that I have “arrested development.” I push myself sometimes, and sometimes I try to be gentle.


Hi Everyone!
I just published a new post by Lynn Tolson about learning to feel feelings.
You can read it here:

“Learning to feel feelings isn’t always easy” by Lynn C. Tolson


Hi Pam:

It would do me no good to say anything to my family..they see me on a lower level than everyone else. am in their eyes..nothing..was not suppose to be born..

I don’t know that i knew at 6 years old what they were doing to me but now as an adult i realize and feel so much shame for it. I knew what beatings were ..everyone knows what a slap a punch a kick a shove..is.. I didnt understand why she threw me in to the boiling waters or why she put the pillow over my head..other then forever and ever she has told me i was her worst mistake..I wonder though if i was her only mistake..

I feel so bad right now. the holidays have the tears all over my face..even innocent visits from people who care about me have me in tears as they start talking of their plans ..their relatives and me what am I going to do. .they ask.

I try to smile and pretend am going to have a grand holiday..but this is the first 4th of july i wont be celebrating with anyone .. will be with my kitties.. I have an assignment due .so I will make sure I try to keep busy not a fun way to spend the holiday but a way to make it through without too many tears..which I know will come. . .as they have been here already today.

My friends who invited last 4th wont have nothing to do with me and I really cannot do much with them either since they insist that I am displeasing to God … mostly because I hvae backed away from the old belief system but also because they were confidants at one time and i had told them of my family and they put all over facebook wall that God would have me forgive my mom as the devil made her do it …

I dont not forgive my mom .. i would love for to be my friend my mother.. but she dont want me or to be my friend. . I have tried so hard to make peace with her . .I am the black sheep of her famliy ..



I love kitties. I was sick for years and my tom cat was my best friend. He always knew right where I hurt and would lay on me in that spot,comforting me with his warmth. I’m glad you have your kitties. They are true friends, offering comfort instead of trying to control you. I feel angry at those people on so many levels. No one should place themselves between anyone and God. That is a highly personal place. As for emotions, don’t they know that Jesus wept?

I am thankful for my heart, for my emotions. My head was so twisted up because of the psychological abuse of my parents that I really couldn’t understand what happened to me with my head but I’ve always known the truth in my heart. When I began to trust my heart, my head began to straighten out. It’s okay for you to cry. You have a lot to mourn. It isn’t pleasant to mourn but it is the first step to healing.

I’m the black sheep too. I’ve tried hard also. We can’t fix our parents. Your forgiveness is also personal and it is up to you when that happens. Forgiveness isn’t cheap and it can’t be produced upon demand. I do forgive my parents but they don’t really want my forgivenss, they want me to let it all slide. They don’t want to be held responsible. They want me to be responsible for them. They have done that to me ever since I can remember. They can’t have my forgiveness because they won’t say they are sorry. I can’t take their responsibility for them. That is just another lie they believe in.

You aren’t a mess in my eyes. You are very deeply wounded and responding in a normal way to what has happened to you. You aren’t a mistake. You are a living, breathing, feeling human being. When you hurt you cry. When someong has tried to murder you, you feel the anger that is natural for self-defense. Its okay to feel the need to protect yourself. That is healthy.

Hang in there, sweetie.



Hi Pam

You are so very kind always in your words: thank you so very much. I am happy that you had the experience of having a cat..do you still have one. .My kitties do comfort.. they get right up near my face.. My p/t kitty even hugs me in his kitty way.

I am sorry you suffered so much from your parents too..that you felt a lack of their understanding and care. I undersand how you feel .. but each of us had pains that were painful to us.

My mom would never say she’s sorry as it’s all my fault.she says..the last time she spoke to me..before I blocked her number.. she said if I apologized to her and the famliy and if I would stop seeing a psychologist she would forgive me and even let me move back there.

I know what moving back there would mean. .paying 900 / month to sleep in cold damp basement and do all the work. I got sick doing thar.

I have to apologize to her for finally wanting to feel good .for finally wanting to let out all the deep deep hurt inside. .

I feel like such a hyprocrite..all my life telling people they deserved goodness and love and I denied it to myself..I hid all the brokenness and kept a smile to the world, to that faith community and to all who knew me.

I am still so messed up Pam. I am so broken inside. .I have so much stuffed down there in my box of secrets.. yet little by little they are coming out.

I do feel and do cry but am still so afraid. .I have the best “T” in the world.. and I am not able to open up everything yet.. lots of little things..compartments . .holding things. .i still have locked there..

I am still held by tiny threads of the old system and brainwashing..that insists i hold on to this or that.. It’s all lies and need more courage..

(hugs) to you Pam if ok



No, I don’t have my cat anymore. He died and I can’t find another to replace him. I had him for 14 years. I went through nearly a year of chemo therapy a little over 2 years ago and I dreamed he was with me a lot of the time. I really needed him then. Now I’m healthy for the first time in decades. God is healing me inside and out. Even though I’m getting older, many things are brand new. Your day will come also.

Your mom is pulling out the big guns to get you to carry her shame. You are wise not to. It is your time. She blew hers. I also know that it is very hard to break those ties. Sometimes, I don’t understand why because I certainly wouldn’t have a hard time staying away from someone I wasn’t realted to if they treated me the same way. Family ties are strong even when the family is unhealthy for us. I find myself falling back into old habits too but now I’m mindful of it and bit by bit I’m changing. You are too. I still have many things I haven’t said outloud either. A lot of the time, I don’t really even remember them consciously. If I had to sit down and make a list, I doubt I’d get it all. The memories come when something reminds me of it. If it is a really bad one then it takes me days to recover. I wonder if that ever really goes completely away. When I went through treatment, I had a mental break from the high powered medications and I relived the sexual abuse. It was so intense that I thought is was happening in real time. I was surprised by how much evil there was locked inside of me and I knew I had to start talking a let it out. I don’t have a therapist as there are few of them here and none that I connect with. I’m on my own doing this. Some of it I can say to my husband and some I’ve not been able to. I think when we are abused it is like being lathered in the shame of another. It is their shame but somehow, we carry it and its hard to get rid of.

You are alive and you are sane. You have courage, the rest takes time. I’m scared too.



I DON’T have to include anything good about the first father, b/c there’s nothing good to find.
Someone said something similar about Osama bin Laden, when they asked me to pray for his soul. They also asked my friend, Robb, to do the same thing and Robb, who was burned over 60% of his upper body in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center and lost body parts to burns so severe they required amputation, said ‘Dear God, let him pay for what he’s done. Let him rot and die in some outer circle of hell with the rats gnawing at his soul every second.’
I just don’t get it at all. This guy did something horrible to us, and we have to PRAY for him? After he’s already dead?
Well, I can’t find anything good about my first dad either. I don’t even understand what the hell the point of trying to do so would be…



This I love. Sums up how families use forgiveness in a deeply twisted and evil way.

I have a lot to mourn. It isn’t pleasant to mourn but it is the first step to healing. I’m the black sheep too. I’ve tried hard also. We can’t fix our parents. Your forgiveness is also personal and it is up to you when that happens. Forgiveness isn’t cheap and it can’t be produced upon demand. I do forgive my parents but they don’t really want my forgivenss, they want me to let it all slide. They don’t want to be held responsible. They want me to be responsible for them. They have done that to me ever since I can remember. They can’t have my forgiveness because they won’t say they are sorry. I can’t take their
responsibility for them. That is just another lie they believe.

This is amazing. So brilliant. We are fed the added guilt of ‘bearing grudge’ this is a deeper wound than a grudge. I wonder what then would be the true purpose of forgiveness. Is it for self or to live up to being a good child? Even more amazing is according to our abusers, constant forgiveness is needed on demand along with silence, shame, denial and flat out manipulation of what happened. In truth I don’t owe you forgiveness, you have no right to ask for any more considering I was never treated. As a human, as far as I am concerned, the forgiveness will come when I am ready but first I need you out of my life. I need to give myself permission to see you as you are


Dear Pam

Sorry that you don’t have a kitty anymore. they are so kind and understanding and keep secrets really well .. Am glad you come to heal from your illness; I know from driving someone back and forth in the past..that chemo is very hard on a person. You must be a really strong person.
Am glad God healed you as I am able to know you now.

I know it’s my time to heal. but in my heart. no matter how much someone hurts me I want them to not to be so mean and want them to turn around and give me a chance..Some write me off and they don’t even know me. Mom never knew me. I was a “thing” ..something to get all her anger out on..

I seem to keep attracting such people and I dont know why. .There is something wrong inside me that I have no courage. to stand up to those who hurt me. I cower before a bully and shiver if am corrected. since ever correction at home was followed by heavy painful blows to all parts of my body.

How she made me clean up if I made a mess on the floor when she beat me makes me shamed .. like an animal she made me clean it up.

I catch myself, even now, wishing she love me. but why should i want her to love me after all the bad things she did. .I feel contradictions in me. I want her love and I am shamed of all she did. and feel hurt anger upset.

I wonder why I was the “chosen one” ..everyone else ran.. why didnt i.. am the stupid one?



Hi Vicki
I sometimes wonder if the people who say stuff like this actually think about what they are saying? To tell someone that they “should” love someone or find something good to say about someone who is abusive and has destroyed life ~ it makes no sense and the biggest thing is that it isn’t productive towards our own healing.
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene

Hi Celeste
I love your comments, great food for thought in them. For me, before I understood forgiveness, I had to realize that the definition that I accepted about it was NOT the truth about it. SO, I had a skewed definition of forgiveness just like I accepted the wrong definition of love. When it came to my family, I had a HUGE fear of not loving them and I think that I believed if I stood up to them (which I related to not loving them) might cause me to go straight to Hell. Why was I so afraid of hell? (that fear is actually just more of the belief system and brainwashing that I am talking about all the time. ) Each belief was attached to other beliefs, most of which were all lies.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


It seems to me that your mother decided to use her daughter as a slave. She also decided to treat her slave with cruelty. You aren’t stupid, Joy. Our parents teach us who we are. If you are a slave, you can’t freely leave at your own discretion. Slaves have to run and hide. Its scarey to leave because it could make things worse. I see you as protecting yourself in the only way you knew how.

I was singled out from the rest of my family also. My parents were musical people and my mother taught me that I couldn’t sing(I found out later in life that I can)and that I was tone deaf. She said it over and over and said she felt soooo sorry for me. This is one example. Music was the guiese and the intent was to make me different from my siblings. All the shame in the family was cast upon me. It was my fault that my parents drank too much. When one of my siblings did something wrong that was my fault too. My reality was continually denied and I was told that I just remembered the bad things and that I was too sensitive and made too big a deal of things. My mother said repeatedly that she loved me but just didn’t understand me, I was just so different. I ended up even taking on their mental illness as my own. Whatever happened, I saw it as my fault. I saw myself as defective because I was taught that I was. Even the anger that I should have had at others was turned inward and I became my own worst abuser.

I don’t see myself that way at all anymore. I know all that I was taught about myself is the evil that comes from my parents sick minds.
You aren’t the defective one, Joy, they are. We have the power to wash off all of the crap that they lathered upon us through their evil actions and words. That power is truth and you are on that pathway now.

I attracted all the wrong people too. I was trained to be abused and abusers seem to smell it. When you start thinking in truth about yourself, you will begin to grow stronger and stronger. Abusers can smell that too and it keeps them away because all of them are really cowards. You my dear, are no coward. You are fighting back now and you are going to win.



Hi Pam..

Sometimes I think slaves would have been treated better…slave.. seems synonymous with what my boss did. .. made me do all his work while he collected all the glory.

Like you Pam.. when something bad happened with siblings I got it.. I was responsible for watching the little ones..if they woke in middle of night mom didnt go to the it was me if I didnt get them to quiet down i severly beat.. If one of the fell and skinned their knee .. i was beaten for not making sure they didnt fall. . my user brother. .use to always fall . always run tell something or other..some days were not just one beating but several.

I never hear I love you from mom. not once. and not once a hug. .not even when i left for my adventures . …I know it must have cut you deep to hear your mom say i love you and yet treat you so opposite of one who loves.

I am sorry Pam how your mom told you that you couldnt sing.. Mine told me I was stupid..even though I got the grades she demanded I was stupid and would never amount to anything.. over and over ..but stupid was not her favorite word for me. mistake was ..and we talked enough of that. .

Thing with our family is mom decides something everyone follows.. you are suppose to . so she hates me and says am bad and all the other nice words I don’t include in my daily vocabulary..then so do they..

I have had relief though from most that now. as I have blocked numbers and put in email filters and set facebook filters.. all things T taught me are really helping me.

In myself i dont feel strong. i feel very vulnerable and weak. and unworthy. I know am not suppose to say that stuff so i will follow with i feel that way but its not true its just how i feel ..because thats all I was told till i left and after

IF I didnt do all mom said even after leaving i was curse.. its kinda crazy that mom quoted the 4th commandment of honoring mother and father to me .. telling me what to do every step but never spoke of the other commandments. .

I wonder though .. why didnt God make a commandment to protect children? Why didn’t God say children are precious and valuable and worthy of love and not hate..somewhere in the bible?



I can only understand forgiveness as I’ve experienced it. I know that God forgives me but I can’t apply (receive) that forgiveness unless I acknowledge what I’ve done wrong. I forgive because I have that forgiveness but it can’t heal our relationship unless they apply it through acknowledgin how they have hurt me. At this point, my forgivenss does them no good. It is however, good for me because it frees me from being hurt over and over again by their treatment of me. It is a part of healing my own heart and mind. I don’t want to live my life filled with anger and hate. Anger is healthy in its place but it is not a state to remain in. I was once in a nearly constant state of anger and I was freed from it through forgiveness that I gave without waiting for them to say, “I’m sorry”. If I waited for the apology to free me, I’d probably be waiting all of my life.

I didn’t get here overnight and I couldn’t force that forgiveness to come. It came at its own accord, layer by layer as I acknowledged each painful blow inflicted upon me.


The second part of that command in the New Testament does talk about how parents are to treat their children. Old translations read that parents aren’t to provoke their children to wrath. A more modern way of saying that is that parents aren’t to frustrate their children. When our parents mistreat us the frustrate us in giving them honor. How is it possible to honor those who are so unhonorable? I get upset that so many place the heaviest weight of responsibility upon the child when it is the parents who are to carry the greater weight. Parents who abuse and demand honor are trying to steal the honor they don’t deserve and are unwilling to put the work in to earn. Whenever I hear someone demand that parents be honored without also recognizing that it is the parents responsibility to be honorable and not frustrate their children, I remember that Jesus is Truth and whatever goes against the plain truth, no matter how traditinal the teaching, is a lie. People twist what God says to their own understanding and purposes that’s why we have to seek out our own answers about God one on one with Him.


I also am very sad for all the things you have suffered. It is tough to learn to have reguard for yourself when it has never been demonstrated to you. I have high reguard for you, honey. I want only good things for you. I desire to see you heal and then go onto thrive. Even in your broken state,you are a blessing. When you are whole, you will be an awesomely strong woman and you will bless the lives of many. I don’t like the suffering in my life but I have survived it and if I hadn’t suffered in all the ways I have suffered, I would not have the capacity for compassion that I have. All that was done to me did not take away my empathy or my compassion. Even though I was treated as less than human, they couldn’t steal my humanity. I see that in you too. You could have chose to become like your mother but instead, you have chosen the good. You have chosen to pursue truth.

You are more than allowed to say how you feel. We aren’t responsible for our feelings only our actions. It is healthy to express negative emotions verbally. It isn’t healthy to act upon them and hurt someone else. You can only be in the place that you find yourself, Joy. As long as you don’t deny it but experience it and push through it, you’re doing fine.

I used to beat up on myself daily and then one day I just stopped. I finally knew deep within myself that I wasn’t responsible for everything that went wrong. That knowledge came in its own time.



My two cents…I hate father’s day! So many painful memories surround that day for me. My dad is an alcoholic, was terribly emotionally and physically abusive all during my childhood, and the emotional abuse continued until I put a stop to it several years ago as an adult. Just last year when I called my dad to wish him the obligatory “happy father’s day”, he asked me if he could cash in a burial insurance policy that he had taken out on me as a kid. I was so dumb-founded by just the morbidity of him asking this when all I had somehow hoped for was pleasant conversation. I told him that I wanted to be cremated, so whatever he wanted to do with the policy was fine. He then suggested that I spread my ashes across the lawn of one of his neighbors who happens to be his worst enemy. When I got really direct and said, “Daddy, that is just not funny!”, he proceeded to do as he always did, start making gutteral noises to indicate my opinion didn’t count and I was making a big deal out of him trying to be funny. Except now…he doesn’t go into the verbal side of his criticism of me because he knows I won’t take it off of him anymore. The truth is this…I got tired of being expected to say stuff like, “Sure, my dad is an abusive alcoholic, but…he had such a hard life and tried his best to provide for us.” He did have a hard life growing up too…and here is my “but”…but, HE chose to take out his frustrations and emotions on HIS family, and HE still does that! Well, you know what? I had a hard life too at his hands, and from living with a mother who enabled him and doled out guilt on me if I ever defamed the family name by calling out the secrets openly! I choose to deal with MY problems and not use my negative past experiences as an excuse to terrorize my daughter. I went through the stage where I mustered compassion for him when it appeared that he was trying to make changes, only to find out that he hadn’t really changed at all…he was just putting on a good front while I was around so that I wouldn’t rock the family boat! So…saying something positive about my dad…well, I just don’t feel like I have to do that anymore to feel justified as a daughter and as a person. I don’t know that I hate him, but I can tell you that I don’t love him and I definitely don’t like him…he isn’t “likable”! I guess ambivalence is the best description for how I feel toward my father. I’m finally okay with saying that…I’m not less of a person because I don’t practice that blind loyalty any longer. Like Darlene, I grew up with a skewed view of forgiveness…it meant excusing the behaviors of others because if you don’t you’ll go to hell, especially if the people you don’t forgive are your parents. And oh…by the way, you should definitely forget what the person did to you to warrant your forgiveness, because if you don’t you are a terribly disloyal and unloving family member. It was all about control…and things were so out of whack in my family that if you tried to set healthy boundaries, you were sinning against someone! I do understand the concept of forgiveness, but I do much better with acceptance. I don’t wish my father, mother, or brothers any harm…that is not not in my nature as a person. I accept that things weren’t the way I would have liked them to be growing up, and I have worked all of my adult life (I’m 48) trying to overcome the emotional wreckage. I’ve made a life for myself, but I still deal with the painful remnants of especially the emotional abuse. Just because I am willing to be honest and open by acknowledging that my father is the cause doesn’t mean I’m hanging on to the past or stuck in it…I think it says I am finally trying to free myself from the self-hatred that was imposed on me to try to keep my parents from feeling the guilt of doing this to their children. So no, I don’t feel obligated any longer to say nice things about my parents just because it is supposed to be the “loving thing to do” or simply because they are my parents. I feel like I have grown beyond that at this stage in my life.



Love your comments in comment number 68.
Joy ~
It was really important for me to take a look at what THEY were supposed to teach me and how they were supposed to take care of me. They let me down. I didn’t learn respect so that I could respect them in turn. This was such a foundational truth for me in realizing that all the failure in my life was as a result of a faulty foundation. The foundation that THEY were supposed to give to ME in the first place but they skipped right over to blaming me for all the problems that they had. I HAD no responsibility in the relationship as a child. I was just a child. This is the fog busting necessary work!
Keep hanging in here!

Hi Karen
ME TOO. I totally hear you! I got tired of making all the excuses and somehow I realized that I wasn’t the one who did the damage in the relationship. It was all so one sided ~ there was never any equality, no equal value. It was so wrong. I love your comments. Thank you so much.
Hugs, Darlene
p.s. I think standing up to them IS loving. I think that it does them NO good to let them stay in the delusions they have that they are always right and can do / act however they want and get whatever they want (love/respect/forgiveness or whatever) from me. It isn’t love to me or to them.



Thank you for continuing to walk with me through all this fog and explaining things as you have come to see them. It really helps me to read your perspective and what you come to see in time. I am grateful for your continued help. I am slowly trying to take all this in and figure out how am going to learn all this that i am suppose to learn. I am glad you are here and willing to lend a kind word or two in my direction. I understand all you are sharing with me and it all makes so much sense. Thank you .

((warm hug) if ok



It makes me a little triggered to read the sentence “what they should have taught me and didnt.” “they let me down” I feel so upset that am so lacking in so many things because I learned nothing..not a think from my mom about life. I learned nothing about nothing. I have no idea about anything. of how I should be . I never learned virtues or niceness .. I had to learn that on my own.
All I learned was fear, worthlessness, do what am told. Am moved to tears as I write because ..like you said. i have failed at all I tried because i never had the tools of how to succeed. I have no confidence in who i am . I always think i have to do better ..change me ..so others will like me. am thinking always am not good enough. that people wont accept me . because. that is how I was treated. I do have lots of work to do. and how heavy my heart is to think of all this.

You inspire me though Darlene. .Am hoping someday i can feel confidence and worth something like you do.

So grateful for all your words, Darlen

((warm hugs)) if ok



Hi Joy
I mislead you with my comments; I meant to say that they blamed me for the failure ~ referring to the relationship that I had with them.

I thought I had to change me so that others would like me too and it turned out that when I found out who the real me was, everyone liked me (except the people who wanted to be “above me” or regarded as better then me. They are not all that fond of me.. but I don’t care about that! I know it is a huge undertaking Joy, but the alternative is worse! The alternative is to continue to feel this way! YUCK
keep hanging in!!
Hugs, Darlene



I think u explained well but i understood wrong.which has been a bit of a pattern. I tend to read a bit backwards and so need to reread things again..

i dont see how you can be blamed as you only took to life what you were given and if you were given nothing..like i was..then you have nothing to approach life with..You are so lucky though, you are all healed now and are able to reach out.

I dont want to stay in the yuck. no way. .but it sure is really creating quite an ocean hear with all the tears are fallng. I get pass one trigger then get another..it’s only because of where I am in my healing i suppose..everything is triggering me to all the hurts.. ..and the little girl inside is really making herself felt and heard.. she is wanting out.

Thank you ..for being you Darlene . you’re inspirational




How about this classic mantra: “There are two sides to every story.” Oh really? Yeah, and sometimes, one of those “sides” is a freaking LIE!


Hi Kellie
Oh man, I forgot about that one! That is so true! You know it’s interesting today speaking of “the other side of the story”; I know that my mother has a whole different version of everything. She would say that she’s had enough. And in the past I never really considered what that meant. I felt bad that I caused her to feel so “pushed to the end of her limits”. But it was when I realized that she had a part in it! That she never wanted to look at that part in it, that she always blamed it all on me that I began to recover. So really I don’t care about HER side of the story anymore. I wish that she would have “had enough” when it came to her own family history and the way that she was treated, but for some reason she never “had enough” of that.
(I could write a blog post on this one!)
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


[…] Purpose of facing the Past and Childhood History By Darlene Ouimet In my blog post “Take the good with the Bad or the Bad with the Good?” I talked about my feelings regarding not sharing anything positive about my childhood. The post […]


Amazing conversation here… I’m learning so much from everyone’s comments. The biggest thing I’m learning is that I am not alone~ for most of my life I felt so horribly alone with my painful life.


it’s kinda lonley this recovery thing, my mother has so much control over my very small family, i stood up to her, but lost my whole family as a result. going through some pretty big stuff at the moment, I’m really missing being able to have someone to talk to, it’s like everyone in my family is in denial.


Hi Nikki
It is kind of lonely sometimes, but I am not as lonely now as I used to be.. and it has nothing to do with people. For me it had to do with never being heard before.

Everyone in my family IS in denial too. When I had big things that I wanted to talk about and realized that my family was no longer an option, something that helped me was to think about how the conversation would actually go. That made me think twice about actually wishing I could talk to them.
hope that helps,
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, you said that your loneliness ”had to do with never being heard before.”

That’s it, exactly! Never being heard, never being believed, never being validated and affirmed. Never receiving any genuine compassion or empathy for my EXTREME PAIN. Getting nothing but CRITICISM and BLAME, having my “moral inventory” taken by others, and being told everything that is wrong with me “for my own good.” Being told that all my problems are MY FAULT, caused by me being “crazy,” or “hormonal” or “too sensitive,” or “over-dramatizing,” or “imagining things,” or “making things up,” or “making a mountain out of a molehill,” or being “lazy,” or “selfish” ~ the list goes on and on. Being told that I have “made my bed and now must lie in it.”

It all boils down to this one sentence: I was lonely, because I had never been HEARD.



Hi Lynda
I am writing a blog post based on the comment that I made that you are referring to here! I might publish it tomorrow!
Hugs, Darlene


I remember my brother’s response to any discussion being that “it wasn’t that bad.” and “others have it worse.” So to say that because my father never put any of his children in the hospital or broke a bone, that the pain and emotional damage is therefore minimized and doesn’t count. Abuse is abuse. He got away with it because we were scared kids who were told all our lives not to tell and because he managed to not send us to the hospital and draw attention.

I don’t discuss my childhood with my family. The response is the same and my response remains, “It was done and it was enough. Abuse is abuse no matter what level it is at.”



Hi Bethany
Welcome to EFB
That statement completly invalidates what happened. I get angry when poeple say “oh it wasn’t that bad” because I used that statement to comfort myself for years… and I could never get over what happened to me because this was one of those statements that taught me to invalidate myself. YES abuse is abuse and it is the damage it causes that we have to heal from.
Hugs, Darlene



Another great post, shedding light on the dark places in people’s lives that need to be exposed and rooted out.

What I find interesting about the post you reference here — and always find interesting about anyone who comments on things that you write about in a “negative”, or fault finding with your desire to bring hidden abuse to light — it’s really just another form of judgment isn’t it? What I mean is, what exactly does a person mean to accomplish by going on your site or posts and commenting how mean people are to talk “badly” about their parents or other abusers? My deeper question is, Why do people feel such a burning need to question people’s experiences and judge them for sharing? What is that in people that want to sort of kick a person when he/she is down? Honestly, I don’t understand it, but the only half-way logical explanation is they get some sort of self satisfaction from it. What a bunch of sick people in the world who have to seek out the hurting and then judge them for it again! I tell you, it light a fire in me that makes me want to just punch somebody out!!

I hope the person who posted that reads this and understands that they are in absolutely no way adding to the conversation by sitting around judging broken people. Sheesh!!!

Thanks again, Darlene.



Hi Kellie
I think that the bottom line of anyone who tries to shut me down is rooted in their own inability to face their own pasts. If they can say that I am wrong, then they can justify not facing what they don’t want to face. Parents who devalued their own children, excuse their own parents believing that because they do, their own kids will excuse them too. It is a huge mess but at the root of all of it, is all about what the individual is willing to face or not.
Thank you for your comments!
Love, Darlene


I have only got to the first part of your post and as soon as someone said “there must have been something good”I felt my feathers fluff up. I get why we say nothing to a person then later wonder why were so upset and didn’t say anything back when the time was ripe. Happens all the time, oh to be witty enough to put peoples minds in a whirl. I get why you questioned why we should even be thinking positive, I do this thing where my mind wont shut off because something doesn’t make sense, and I cannot grasp my own reality when someone puts a feather up my nose. I found out one of my triggers is being shut out, nullified, unvalidated…. basically this statement would have been shutting me out.I would have reacted and why it is nice to see another say the same things I feel. When were adults, as an adult, if someone cant handle the answers, they shouldn’t ask the questions. I hate being shut out. A pattern I refuse to bow down to any more. Thing is, I dont like seeing this pattern play out with the younger generation.


I’m not on facebook so I can be more open and family wont see. I did not know I blocked out things, until people recall things to me and they wonder about me. I was in a full day of assessment and was asked why I went through school and never got my diploma? The testing showed I was smart so he asked if anyone ever said I was standing before others, or anything. I said no, I was called stupid, faked my own signatures for the report cards every year so my parents wouldn’t know my grades or why I skipped. He asked if I did any sports or music to explore the creative side, I said no because I had to be home… I was very controlled. I did not do well at all in math, spelling, or problem solving but I guess he was shocked at my other abilities. I went home and realized I skipped class back then because I never did my homework, would have been shoved to the side, teased, humiliated and I had enough of that at home. I was afraid of my teachers, the ones who got you to sit on there lap or give you the strap if you didn’t do homework too. Even going to counselors about abuse at home just made more secrets and embarrassment as my parents flew at teachers. I was punished for my family. I was like so many here have said, been conditioned… I know because when I skipped class I sat in the washrooms talking with other kids who were raped by fathers, abused, and like me had no person they felt safe enough to talk to. I know I blamed myself for dads alcoholism because I know stress triggered him. I really do the see the good but it all that blocking out that got me in trouble with all my other relationships. So it is important to talk about abuse, I was abused so badly and people even saw the strap marks on my back bleeding through and said nothing. I know why I said inappropriate things as a youth… because i didn’t know. So where were the supports? No one wants there perfect bubble of fun disturbed! And being treated nice came with conditions, all through life, even religion. Good post because Ive been put down for expressing myself, and been alone for most. I told a woman who calls twice a year I was alone for most and depressed and she said … indignantly and defensively… “I asked you over for dinner many times”. This from a woman who shuts me out when ever I expressed the truth. AWARENESS and self expression about depression, abuse in many forms is not a crime, silence is. To all of you who were beaten, devalued, invisible emotionally, and physically…. find the good in yourself first.


Hi April
Welcome to EFB
Very well said; I love your comments! One of my very biggest triggers is the same as yours. Being so discounted by people is like being defined as “nothing” and that is how I was controlled, by constant reminders that I was not that important. UGGGGG
Glad those days are gone! Thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


P.S. April,
More great comments! Thanks for sharing again.
One more thing; This blog is not connected to Facebook. I have a facebook page, but I do not link the comments to it and the comments are only viewed here. This blog is totally private and only the name that you use in the comment form is seen by others. (I don’t want anyone who reads your comment to think that there is any danger if they are on facebook.)
Hugs, Darlene



You are free of your past because you dealt with it. You’ve written about it. You’ve made it public instead of keeping it private. you searched for a core that was separate from your abusers projections. I totally understand what you’re saying about others comments and that they’re projecting their issues, in avoidance of their pain. It is often defensive of posts as well. My thought is that if they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it. My motive is to help others as well. I have received many of those comments on my page and I have reacted to them, which also speaks to my own unhealed (as of yet) issues.

One of the things that I find the most difficult about this process is not listening to those external voices that tell me to “get over it” how the hell can you “get over it” when you’ve barely touched the surface of dealing with it? I’ve realized that this too is a projection, one of someone else’s pain unresolved or avoidance of it. While I’m willing to face it others are not.

What I find very interesting is that when I post about looking within, DEEPLY, the page slows down. WAY down. I also receive comments or personal messages about why I shouldn’t be “digging up the past” or “that I need to move on and that “ruminating” about it isn’t helping me or anyone else”..

I have reached the point where I’m quite tired of it. I’m also tired of it on behalf of those who do read my page and DO have abuse histories and DO want to heal from it and DO want validation for their pain and Do want to know why they made the choices in life that they did, how it pertains to the present and how they can GRIEVE IT AND CHANGE it for their futures.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m not stuck on “numbers”. If the page dwindles to those FEW who really want to heal from the inside out, then this is the page for them to do so without feeling invalidated or told to GET OVER IT. It isn’t about the abusers anymore, it is about the DAMAGE DONE and how to fix OURSELVES. I am in agreement with you about saying anything good about our parents…about my parents too. They didn’t give a shit about me when I was growing up, didn’t love me, and don’t now, even though one of them is dead. THAT is my reality and THAT is the one I choose to face with COURAGE and with my DIGNITY intact. I KNEW I WAS NOT LOVED. I knew it with all of my abusers. The men I chose in adulthood, were nothing more than what I was TAUGHT to believe, that nearly destroyed me. My parents NEVER apologized and never were concerned about their affects upon my life. There would have been a great deal of difference had I known and FELT that they loved me and even if they were abusive, yet changed their own lives and genuinely apologized to me, things would look MUCH different. Why must I deny that reality and be DISHONEST about what they did and what it has done to my life? WHY?

Consider me one of those who is GRATEFUL for your honesty and sharing about your abuse and what it has done to you. I’m happy for you that you have your past in the past, but this is just the beginning for me and my last psychopath catapulted me there.


And no more projections either, even though I understand them. There are a million ways, people, pages and forums where you can LIVE in denial and have LOTS of support.


Thank you for sharing this beautiful post, Darlene and all the effort you have put into your work and your healing. You are an inspiration to me and unbeknownst to you, you also validate for me the direction to which i need to go with my page and with my healing.


Thanks again for your encouragement Kelli!
I was an “advocate” before I healed and I must say that it was very different and much more difficult for me then. Being solid in where I am at makes a huge difference in the impact that I am able to have. My page slows down too when I am talking about certain subjects, but that is not my problem. Like you I am much more interested in the people who want what I have by listening to HOW I got it.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I think it can be overwhelming for those who have not dealt with the truth of their past to read all the negative comments. Perhaps fear of being saddened by it all and remaining in the sadness is there, or staying “stuck” in the sad memories could be the motive. I for one do not want to “live” in the past, but I do recognize the need to acknowledge the truth of past hurts. As you have said, you want the truth, and we should all want the truth too. I for one do, but also recognize the need to forgive myself when I see mistakes I’ve made and hope those who have been victimized by my mistakes will forgive me. If one harps on the mistake that I’ve apologized for, it hurts with condemnation. But I do recognized we must own my mistakes and not only apologize for my mistakes and the hurts I’ve caused others, but CHANGE my behavior. You remind us that those hurtful mistakes on children shape them, therefore the responsibility to those who have made them is GREAT. We must not take it lightly. Thank you for reminding us that hurting others is not a small thing, especially when it’s been a parent.


Why should I say anything nice about my abusers? So what if there were “good times”? There were supposed to be…. my parents were supposed to nurture and protect me, I was their responsibility. IN the same way, my teachers also had a duty and resposnisbility to protect my best interests and keep me safe. But they didn’t. THEY CHOSE to be abusive. They chose to hurt and violate and maim my body, my mind, my spirit. They had all of the power and they made ALL of the choices. I had no say, I was just a little girl.
I did my best to be good, to be quiet, to stay out of the way – and still they chose to inflict the most terrible things on me and my child’s body. My “good” memories are of other times/places/people…NOT my parents or teachers….whatever good they may have done pales into insignificance beside the evil that they did. I now understand the gaps in my memory are about trauma – those gaps are HUGE – take up years of my childhood. Remember the good things, the nice things?? What were they then? I recognise some of the “nice” things I was told I had, were actually what my parents wanted to believe and had/have nothing to do with my own thoughts and feelings on the matter.


I recognize a lot of what you’re writing about. That recipe is one many survivors share, I believe, and we do good by recognizing it and dealing with it, not hiding it.

One of the things you write about, covering up the bad with the good bits, is not only the predatory way of the abuser to twist your mind and occasionally make themselves feel better about the abuse, but even scarier is how this seems to be the default reaction and coping mechanism of society. Healing to me, has meant I have to learn to face up to tough truths, both about myself and others and it’s only when you can sit with it, face it that you can overcome it. And when you do, it’s wonderful and such a relief.

I used to try to focus on the good too, but no good can ever make up for taking my innocence away at 4-5, nor does the candy make up for the long drive with me strapped up in the seat belt, trapped, listening to if his twisted fantasies about my girl friends I played with. No presents make up for neglect or abuse, only learning to recognize it and dealing with it does. And that’s also how you break the cycle. It’s only when you can draw that line in the sand, for you, that you can start to take care of yourself and those you love. That’s when you start to know right from wrong, and that’s when you recognize and value your own heart.

I get such inspiration from your postings, Darlene. Bless you.


Hi Merry
Yes. I know what you are saying. For me it was in finally facing the bad things without making excuses and glossing them over with the good things that I was finally able to move forward and beyond the pain of the past. It all had so much to do with acknowledging and facing “the damage” that was caused.
Thank you for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


“so what?” became something like a gift to me. Being able to say “so what about the good times???” and even just the phrase “so what” when people justified or excused things that they or others had done. Things that were WRONG. When someone said “well I am sure they did the best they could” I started saying “SO WHAT?” that does not change the facts about what actually happened.
You are so right Libby.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Anja
Yes that is how I broke the cycle. Thank you for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


“I was taught they have value and I do not.” My EXACT family dynamic. I believed that all my life until several
months ago. I truly believed it and lived my life by it. The training in my youth was constant and all encompassing. I could never figure out why I was so bad.

“At the same time I was not permitted to have my real emotions nor was I correct in naming them. Everything I felt was unjustified (and belittled) by my family so I learned not to trust my own feelings, and I learned that I didn’t really have any right to them.”

This statement is also how I have always been treated. I began to have terrible moods and all encompassing anger by the time I was 9 or 10. It was always self directed as I was not allowed to express feelings of any kind.
Three years ago I actually went to anger management therapy. Trying to understand. That led me to counseling and reading a lot of online psychology articles. Finding out I have borderline symptoms. Some meds.
Side effects..then to EFB. Ah, finally an understanding of what was done to me and the fog/spin.

The good times? there were no measurable good times in my family.
There were bad times, really bad times and really really bad times. But you are right. The more time passes since my Dad’s death, the “better” the past times are to my mother. No one brings up the abuse, as its best forgotten. By them. Not by me. You make a valid point.
I was always told to be so grateful that I had a home, food and clothes. I was punished if
I was not grateful enough. The thing that bothers me the most was my Dad screaming at me over and over that I was no good. NG. I was an A student, no trouble. At 17 that is a horrible thing to say to a daughter with no self esteem. He was an evil man.

I would not be surprised that now that I am speaking up about past abusive treatment, if I am not vilified and called crazy by my family. I will be watching how they respond.


Kate ~ (post #3) … “It is what they do to you in PRIVATE that is really telling, is it not?” That is so key! This is what so many don’t understand – they had their public persona and their public persona was exemplary as a rule – its what went on behind closed doors, its about what happened in private that no one else saw!

I have good memories – although few, but never do they negate the abuse. Ever. As I shared with someone before, I can look past her idiosyncrasies, I can overlook her favouritism to a sibling, I can overlook a lot of her lying, and I can overlook many of her decisions that I thought were unwise. But what I cannot overlook are the lies that concerned me, the lies she told to me about me; I cannot overlook the abuse – the icy death stares and unreciprocated hugs, I cannot overlook how she would tear me down with the full intent of humiliating and degrading me in front of other people which came across as ‘subtle’ in public but because I knew where the stabs came from, because I knew what she meant while others looked on and excused her behaviour in one way or another – and the abuse was always much worse when she and I were alone. There were times that I am sure they could see my pain and the message I got was that is was not qualified – that how she treated me was ‘all in my head.’

To the outside world, no one – including my family or origin, can understand why I cut ties with my mother, they cannot understand my pain because most of what caused the pain went unseen and when I told them the full extent of her abuse, I wasn’t believed. She successfully made me out to be the ‘crazy person.’ And so, as of this day, I have no relationships with my family of origin. And to my surprise, I am happier.

This kind of abuse no one talks about – you mention it and its frowned upon. For YEARS, I though I was the only one with such a mother (NPD mother) … and someway, somehow, I found EFB … I cannot tell you what a relief it was to meet others with same mothers (and fathers) … to be able to be validated that I am NOT crazy. Painting us crazy is what abusers do to protect their facade of being caring and loving … they fool a good many, while their victims are the only ones who truly know.

Great post, Darlene!


oh. I forgot to include too that a lot of my abuser’s niceness was all just for show. It was to maintain the illusion that she is fair and loves all her kids. I can’t tell you how many times I was bought things, given gifts that were never really gifts. I remember owning a 10-speed bike. It was old and I wanted to trade it in on a new bike, paying the difference out of my own pocket. She wouldn’t let me because ‘she paid for it.’ I recall I lent her my microwave – she sold it in a garage sale without my consent and kept what she sold for it. Everything she gave was used as leverage to get what she wanted out of me, to keep me her slave. She bought me a ring once … sapphire with a few diamonds – and when I wanted to do something that did not meet her approval, I’d get, “I didn’t have to buy you that ring you know.” Everything was held over my head like that, “I didn’t have to get/buy ____ for you, you know.” Gifts given in such a manner are not gifts at all – they are an assurance of one’s slavery/submission.


I wonder why people have kids just so they can have personal ego boosters, and do experimental mental abuse? I mean doesn’t anyone one listen to the children when they act out or become withdrawn? No everyone listens to adults. Of course I know kids who have lied as well,and that’s another story but again, why? There s a reason a kid vents out on another to get them in trouble, otherwise known as being a bully. Adults just have different ways to bully, passive aggressive ways. It seems the norm to always ignore things as though its no ones business. Avoidance denial, and apathy. The family cycle never stops when all those around the source protect the family honor, or keep secrets. Protect Gods name, family name, reputations, the things protected will be outwardly the most honorable ethical, looking people. So no one dare question them, instead they call down the crazy one, the person who was set up to be the B***, or jealous. Yes, people will actually support the jerk and protect them from the real victim, you… so sad and twisted. The victim in all this has no way OUT UNTIL THEY COME OUT AND HAVE A SAFE PLACE AND PERSON TO TALK TO AND SEE THAT THEY ARE NOT SO BAD AFTER ALL. Children need a safe place to go and talk and they need a safe place TO STAY WHEN HERE IS EMOTIONAL ABUSE. The whole family needs help and followup. My heart goes out to you all. And I admire the people who want change and who were willing to look inside and make the changes needed to turn things around. It is then that forgiving themselves and healing all round seems to happen.


If the chocolate chip cookie recipe (analogy of your childhood) is:
A few delicious chocolate chips (the good) mixed into a poisonous batter(the bad, and larger portion of the cookie) the whole cookie is still poisonous.
The chocolate chips can’t make the poisoned batter safe or nourishing. In fact the chocolate chips picked out of such a batter are not safe to consume, having crumbs of poison attached, or having some poisons absorbed when they melt while being baked.
You cannot eat chocolate chips out of a poison cookie!


Hi Karen
Being told to be grateful ~ oh yes. And I tried SO freeking hard to be grateful when I grew up. All the “self help” that I went after in an effort to heal my low self esteem was all heaped upon the lies that I was trying to swallow. Everything changed when I finally faced the truth because I tore down that foundation of lies I was trying to build everything on and was finally able to build on clean solid ground.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Karen!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Rise
Thank you! ~ you know it is really astounding how many people share that they thought they were alone in this. The numbers of readers here and the time on site stats that I get (about 65 people a day spend over an hour reading this site) For the first year and a half I tried to avoid the “parent discussion” because I thought it would be a big turn off, but the largest amount of traffic actually comes from those posts!
Thank you for your voice Rise and for your voice here in EFB.
Hugs, Darlene


EXACTLY ~ My husband was emotionally abusive ~ not verbally, but emotionally he discounted me, put me behind him etc. When we were working on our marriage he would treat me with equality for a while and then mess up and I would point it out and he would say “give me a break!” and I would always say, so if a man doesn’t hit his wife for a few months, but then he does, should she excuse that just because he hadn’t done it for a few months?? Is it okay to hurt someone “once in a while?” and get away with it? NOOOOOOO
I LOVE your cookie analogy!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Gale
I know exactly what you are saying. Personally I think that many people have kids for exactly that reason ~ they need a love source. This is the “cycle of abuse” and the only way the cycle will stop is if children are raised with love, acceptance and empowerment and if children are taught boundaries, are taught their own value and treated with equal value (not equal authority but equal value). You are right; the whole family needs help. My whole family (me, husband and 3 kids) all needed to heal and to be supported in the truth. (we were not always the parents that we are today either) Thank you for sharing your passionate thoughts!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene! That analogy popped into my head reading about people who ask why we can’t just savor the good and forget the bad. The bad stuff poisons the good, cause no matter how sweet the good seems to be, it has “poison crumbs” attached, and you can’t help that cause you didn’t bake the cookies!

Okay, now I’m getting hungry for some real cookies…;)


Sometimes I think parents start telling cute stories about their babies, comparing notes on screaming fits in supermarkets, or overflow diapers in public places. Just supporting one another through the trials of new motherhood. But then they forget to stop that sort of conversation when those babies become children, seeming to forget that those little people deserve NOT to be talked about in humiliating stories as if they are not capable of humiliation. And they deserve NOT to be talked about negatively as if they were deaf or unable to understand these conversations. So many parents do it! So many children get humiliated at very early ages by this. Why can’t the parents stop and think what they’re doing to the child? My Grandma used to say, “little pitchers have big ears,” to shush my mom and aunts. Too bad she wasn’t there all the time.
This ignoring of the sensibilities of children sometimes leads to discounting everything the child says, as if he/she is unworthy of listening to. Then when the child does some wrong thing, “WHY did you DO that!?” they scream. The child is automatically at catch22: if she answers, it’s back talking; if she doesn’t, it’s defiance. Geesh.


Such great points! Thank you for sharing. Children are people from the moment they are born. Thanks for those comments! They are awesome food for thought and great insight!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,
I had a monumental experience with my family on the Fourth of July. I say, “monumental”, because my husband who has been estranged from my family for about 4 years, decided to go to a 4th of July Party thrown by my Aunt & Uncle, knowing my parents & sister where going to be there. This was a giant step for my husband, since my family believed a lie about him. The history is too complicated to get into here, but the gist of it was my s-i-l pointed the finger at him & ran to my parents crying, who in turn, bought her story, before they heard both sides of the story. There was more to the story. Even when I told her my side, I was not believed. My mom choose to believe my s-i-l over me. I felt betrayed & devastated from that time on & went LC with my family. My husband & I were hurt and that was not acknowledged. There was serious & false allegations made by my s-i-l & my husband was made out to be the bad guy.

Now, years later, my husband is willing to visit my family. I’m proud of him for stepping up. I asked him & did not pressure him at all. Before the party, my dad invited my husband,kids & I to his pool. My dad has shown more interest in my kids this past year, and he has extended himself to my husband. This makes me feel happy but also anxious, since my family will “do the right thing”, only when it seems to benefit them. Like I’ve mentioned in other posts, they want to be in my kids’ lives.

My mom said more than once how “glad” she was that my husband came. I said, “yes, that was a big step for him.” She then proceeded to tell me why he came. Her guess was because my s-i-l was not there. She wasn’t too far off from the target. I replied, with “that may be part of it”. The reality is that the problems with control & abuse haven’t gone away. I’ve pulled away over the years, to protect myself & work on my healing. I’m done trying to fix the damage. The truth is that time does not heal all wounds, especially when the damage is swept under the rug. What rubbed me the wrong way was that my parents were gracious but I can’t help to think it was for show & to get what they want, which is this sense of “family”. They have not been there emotionally for me & my husband. The contact has been one-sided, with them inviting us to family things. They can always say, “We invited you”.

I’m confused about whether their actions are genuine or for show. I know they haven’t really changed their ways, however, I want to believe they love me. During the party, when my sister was drunk, she told me, our dad is really a “good guy” & he will “never say no to us”. It has been my dad holding out the olive branch not my mom. My mom was not mentioned. My sister also made a comment to me, that when my dad & her “get mad” at each other, they tell each other to shut up & then it’s done. How juvenile is that! I laughed, with how my sister nonchalantly said this, like she knows how to handle my parents. That’s her! She accepts the dysfunctional ways.

My eyes were opened just by listening to her comments. I didn’t have to say much to understand the dynamics and this time I didn’t have knots in my stomach. Yay for me! For years, I’ve taken the bad with the good by complying & trying to fit in. I never felt like I fit in, because I don’t dismiss or mistreat others. My sister also told her dtr & mine to not let bullies see you react. Well, I said, that if someone keeps bullying you, knowing that it is upsetting to the other person, that’s the problem. I’m viewed as mean, when I don’t comply or accept their ways of relating. Covert abuse is hard to pin point sometimes, because it is done in private & in so many indirect ways. Am I on track here? Can you define covert abuse & show examples? I know I’m trying to understand them again, but by seeing the truth of their damaging beliefs & behaviors, I can prevent being hooked in or brain washed anymore.
This is heavy stuff & I’m struggling to understand. I want to be free & whole.


I’ve had another day to process what i wrote in the above comment and the issue for me is trust. I don’t trust that my family will really be there for me. I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around my family’s change in behavior towards my husband & I. My instincts tell me to continue keeping my boundaries & limits, since they have been working for me. I feel more grounded & safer that way. I don’t want to be naive & think this is a major turning point & we are now going to have a loving relationship. Is this even possible with all the damage they’ve done to me?….Maybe the Fourth of July is a just a step towards some relationship but I don’t want to get my hopes up too high. Is this part of the process in reconciling?….I’m confused & don’t know what to think….Please shed some light on this for me…I’m really struggling


Hi Sonia
For me I had to learn to think from the baseline. You have brought up several points. Since things worked out with my husband and I , I will use that example. I didn’t trust him and it took a few YEARS. One reason was because our history showed that he was all about him. I had reason not to trust. Second reason is that when I drew my boundaries, he changed his tactics. It took me a few weeks to catch on the first few times he did that, but after that I started watching for it. It almost made me sick with nerves to keep calling him on it, and at first he denied it every single time, but I did it for me. I was not going to live that way anymore.
Another thing was that in ALL my relationships I had to understand the other person has a choice and reconciliation may not be the result. That IS scary, but it is also true. In the case of my mother, when she found out that my boundary was serious and that I was going to stick to it, she shut the door on our relationship. When my husband recognized a boundary that I had set, he just tried a new way to get around it. I knew for a long time that he might tell me that I was “not worth the effort” but I had to tell me that I most certainly was and I was willing to fight for myself even if that meant losing him. Without me, there is no me.
Hang in there! Hugs, Darlene


Thank You for your words of wisdom. You made a good point when you said, “I didn’t trust him & it took a few YEARS”….Yes, it will take time to trust my husband & my parents. What I understand you saying is, that I’m going to have to trust me first. I will have to continue listening to my instincts & my feelings in regards to how I’m being treated in these relationships. They both have their controlling ways & I’m sure they will try to get around my boundaries. I know that I’m worth it but are they worth my effort?…I suppose only time will tell, if their intentions are genuine towards me. They have a “choice and reconciliation may not be the result”. I will have to keep reminding myself that I deserve better & I am worth the effort. I don’t want to fall complacent to them. It really is about putting me first. Of course, I’m anxious in this process because it’s unmarked territory for me to have a relationship with my abusers, who are my family. I’m stronger now & I’m going to believe in me!


Hi Sonia!
I am so glad that it helped! Time always makes a difference. I still SEE things more clearly as time goes on. I see more of the truth and my understanding increases. It is a process!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] excused her from all accountability. What about BEFORE she became a single parent?  I finally said “whatever” I am not buying it anymore.  I finally stopped drinking the poison […]


When Darlene and someone else mentioned about hair and the price to pay for it. It reminds me when I was little how my mom did my hair, always yanking it so damn hard, and twisting my head in a mean manner (not sure what to call it). Told people don’t you find that abusive? A stylist wouldn’t do that unless they want to get sued. My mom was never specific as to which way to turn my head so she can do my style my hair and it’s fault for her poor ass English and her lack of communication!

“Why did we have to include something good about them? Why did we have to have a good memory to go along with the bad memories? What good does it do to include “oh but he used to buy me ice cream on hot summer days?” I don’t get that.”

Amen! How many years have I been saying this? My ex-therapist and others said surely you had a good memory of your dad and said that’s suppose to erase the other traumatic hell I’ve endured? They said not what I am saying and said exactly what you are saying indirectly speaking! An example is I had a woman tell me ‘but your dad paid for your college education and if he didn’t, you wouldn’t have gone.’ Excuse me?!? What makes you think I wouldn’t go? I told her I didn’t ask him to pay for it he was “forced” to pay for it by my mom by “trying to make him be a dad when he clearly never wanted to be one from the very beginning.” She looked at me all puzzled, shut her damn mouth, and walked away. I should be happy he paid for my college tuition, I was miserable when he paid for it.

Another example is he would take me out to Disneyland every Saturday. I had fun on my own, but he refused to buy me the products in the Disneyland stores or buy me any food for that matter. I had to watch families buy stuff for their kids or food. He would always get me a big cookie and a soda that’s suppose to fill me up. I ended up getting sick from that, one time he did buy me a hot dog. His excuses are everything is too expensive and there was no point in buying the food at all go without food, then you don’t take someone to Disneyland idiot!

My ex-therapist said your taking that memory and trying to make him out the bad father that he isn’t. I cut her short and said excuse me? Did you not hear what I just said? He made himself to be the bad father by making babies he didn’t want, an extension of his bruised ego, and running around with sluts! Such an idiot that therapist is her background of abuse isn’t helping her since she hasn’t said if she lived with abuse or not like talking to a statue.

I tell people my dad, both parents, aren’t what you think they are. My nieces asked my sister, their mom, about what were our childhoods were like any good? My sister told them nothing in our lives was even remotely good or interesting as there’s very little to say. Nothing but abuse, violence, name calling, etc yep my sister is right. I have told that to people and oh god, another verbal fight with them. Told the truth, but when there’s violence and abuse there are no good memories. My memories consisted of fighting verbally and lots of crying with severe depression, what good “family memories” are people out there talking about?

Taking the good and negating the bad is also another form of abuse making the victim think everything wasn’t that bad, but sure some parts were bad and then they still live with guilt, shame, fear, etc. It also makes the victim everything was happy go lucky! I saw an episode on Steve Wilkos show where a girl was being abused by her boyfriend and she said but he is a good father to our daughter and we have good and bad days. Steve said and that is suppose to make all the abuse go away, right? The girl talked about the good times they had before he started to beat on her and I could see my ex-therapist saying take the good memories and use that to grow and heal!

” And once again I started to question why I have to include something positive about the very people who caused this damage to me? Why do I have to include the “good bits”? Would it make me a better person if I said that my father drove me to Brownies every week, or if I said that my mother curled my hair sometimes? Or would that just make my story less painful to others?”

True. I could tell people my dad took me out to Disneyland every weekend, but does that make me a happy person? No. My mom gave me candy but there was terms and conditions that went a long with it! My dad drove me to school not that he wanted to and it wasn’t to make sure I was safe or anything. People have said he took you to school to make sure you’re safe. Wrong! Everything he “had to do as a father” was such a burden on him same with my mom told mom stop making him to be a “dad” when he clearly never wanted to and she yelled then why did we get married? You’re part of the problem too you also married him, right? Takes two to tango.

“I found freedom by facing the truth about my childhood. Why shouldn’t I share my recovery with the world? Why should I protect “their” reputations? Why is it wrong to talk about MY childhood and MY life? All my life I had been told to focus on the good things and forget the bad things. But the bad things seemed to rule my life, hiding in the dark under the surface of what appeared to be fine! The bad things didn’t leave me alone!”

Agreed. For me, tired of talking about my life it causes nothing but verbal fighting with people and everything I say is the truth. I told people my parents aren’t everything that it seems and got so many people who disrespected me and refuse to even speak to me. I lost friendships due to telling the truth and not “protecting my parents.” Why not? They didn’t protect us like they should have. I have a right to speak about my life as well but nobody out there has the right to disrespect me just because “it interferes with their fictional white picket fence lifestyle and their false ideologies on what a family should be.”

The way how I see it is if these types of truths bother people, I tell them they shouldn’t ask since they are wanting to hear a happy family story anyway. You don’t wanna hear truth, then go speak to someone who lives the white picket fence! I told people tired of protecting their reputation as well and they yelled at me that’s your parents bullshit and how dare you do this to your parents. I cut them short saying no, how dare they do this to us? I got told they don’t owe you shit and said they OWE us the truth about everything that happen all the family lies/secrets, why they did what they want, yep, they do OWE us something.

Take the bad with the good and yea living a lie, an illusion like Darlene said while everything appeared to be fine when nothing was fine anyway! That’s what made my ex-therapist so damn gullible about everything she said everything has good and bad and said to her so that makes it all better? Why do you and others out there insist on justifying what my parents did? She said not justifying I said listen to what you just said, take the good with the bad and they are still your parents – that is justifying in case you don’t want to admit it. Ooh, she was hot when I got through with her lol!

I told people it’s my story and I have a right to speak the truth about it, why do you insist on keeping me in child mode? You can’t say be an adult and make up your own decisions yet they are still your parents and how dare you can’t have it both ways! I lived my life under illusions making people think everything is fine just so they can “respect me” because I know now, if I say something truthful about them, people will disrespect me and want nothing to do with me. I told them go live with the lies that you hold onto so dearly as if they are the truth!

“And resulted in my believing that any complaint I had was wrong and that any thought I had related to the past was “negative” and usually distorted. I was taught that my memory was false and that my pain was due to my selfishness and self centered personality. I naturally concluded that my depressions were also due to my selfishness and self centered personality. That was a natural conclusion for me to come to because I was told that everything that happened to me was my fault. I either asked for it or I deserved it and that all my negative feelings were caused by self centeredness and selfishness. I concluded that my depressions were my also my fault and could be overcome by my accepting that I was selfish and self centered and that by putting everyone else before me, I could lead a happy life. The problem was that that is what I had been trying to do all along and it hadn’t helped yet.”

I was told my memory was lying to me and did believe it at one time and woke up when I got at it with my parents. Other people concluded that my memory was distorted I am like were you there?!?

“At the same time I was not permitted to have my real emotions nor was I correct in naming them. Everything I felt was unjustified by others so I learned not to trust my own feelings, and I learned that I didn’t really have any right to them.”

Growing up, I had a very hard time trusting my own feelings and still do this day since living with the narcs. I can’t trust my own gut feelings simply because I am suppose to trust the narcs. Real feelings in my home was being such a crybaby and my mom said trying to be so white (race always played a part in something even if something was normal to do like cry). My parents made it clear that they don’t give a shit about our feelings as the world doesn’t give a damn either, wow isn’t that more abusive? funny, a lot of people didn’t agree, but agreed with my parents.

“All of the above is a total recipe for depression but I never realized it. I also never realized the root of it. My depressions came from suppression of the truth about my childhood. My depressions came from trying to sort things out without looking at the truth about my upbringing. My depression came from trying to overlook the bad by covering it with the good.
I was taught to always look for the good, but not for the purpose of positive living; for the purpose of accepting abuse. I was taught to minimize my own value, I was taught to hold the abusers in high regard all the while accepting the little regard they had for me. I was taught that they had value, but that I did not. That system is bound to destroy everyone in its path, because it is built on rotten lies. That system is not related to love and it is not positive.”

I always wondered if I still suffer from depression, think I still do because of my living situation. Yep, I was taught the same thing accept abuse and put my parents in high regard because they are the parents. Other people out there said we should honor our parents, I said even if they are abusive? They said yea. So stupid, no thank you! That’s the problem we place people out there in all job fields who are abusive in high regard just for the sake of xyz. Like I told people, covering up the bad with the good is lying to yourself. Funny how they agreed then contradicted saying it wasn’t that bad at home.

“I don’t have to include the “good things” or “good memories” about anyone in my website about emotional healing. That is part of the old system and that system just kept me sick. I don’t have to honour my mother and father in any way different then the way they honoured me. They taught me the rules of love in a very unbalanced (one sided) and unfair way and I don’t play by those rules anymore. I opted for the truth instead. The air is better here. There is a brightness that I never saw before.”

Agreed. People have told me I better or else, I said or else what? God will punish you is what they tell me now that is using religion as a guilt trip. Everything that is taught at home is part of a belief system good or bad and abuse is just part of the old system like Darlene is saying. Oh wait, my ex-therapist said but abuse makes up one part of you and said no, it doesn’t. It was something that happen that should’ve never happen, that is not a good trait to have as part of me or 3 parts of me or whatever. My sister doesn’t include any “good memories” of my parents as she hates them and I don’t have to either. I get told you should because they gave birth to you the usual shaming people use nobody asked to be born!

Yes, definitely agree the rules of love being unbalanced and very one-sided. That’s the part that irks the shit out of me how people don’t even see that part and tell me I am wrong. Love is balanced when everybody is in alignment and there’s mutual respect and nurturing, where is that in any of our abusive families? Like others said oh, they put a roof over your heads, you had food, water, medicine, etc not everybody in a abusive home got that – you were lucky if you got a roof, food, water, clothes, medicines, etc. People out there live under false illusions it’s not even funny.


My Dad fixed my shower door, assembled my bed, paid for my college education, resolved my computer problems, took us to spectacular places during the holidays and on top of that he lifted our spirits when we were down.

But as good as those things may have been, they will never be able to change the fact that he also called me stupid, hit me, compared me to my younger sister and cousin, tagged along with my maternal grandmother to initiate the abuse (Which he just does because she’s his in-law and he really didn’t mean to do it, like seriously? More lies?), talked about my lack of independence to others, compared his own achievements to mine (Congratulations for the down payment you lodged for an apartment at the age of 15! I should have been doing the same thing, even if finding a job is so difficult!), constantly talked over me when I attempted to converse with him, disrespected my time on the TV (Bit shallow this one, but hey I was watching, excuse you!) and so much more. Add to the fact that he rubs all of the good that he has done from time to time on your face. Disgusting.

This post reminded me of a quote I came across on Facebook written in my native tongue translated:

Regardless of the good that they have done, the bad remains to be the ones that are seen.

Well can you blame me? My father and maternal grandmother are still self-righteous and narcissistic, regardless of the many times I tried to play the “repair man” in my relationship with them. Why should I be the one to always change? Why should I give them medallions for the good, when the effects of the bad were just as great as the former? When will there be a time when they will do their share of the work? It’s frustrating!


Hi Carlos
These are the questions that when I was finally able to answer them I realized the truth. They have chosen NOT to do their share of the work and there is nothing I can do to make them choose to do it. That leaves me with a choice as well and I chose not to accept unacceptable treatment anymore. The way I put it, the good doesn’t ‘cancel’ the bad. I acknowledge the good, just as I finally also acknowledged the bad. The key for me was that no one was willing to STOP doing the bad…
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

I don’t even remember the good anymore, all the useless running around I did for my FOO and instead of getting a thank you or some warmth and love I got BITCH slaps in the face. All the years and things I gave up for them amounted to me losing myself. All the gifts I gave them not appreciated one bit and by the next time I was back at their house they had sold them. All the expensive clothes my NM stole from me and then denying it even if I caught her in the act. And then she purposely put red clothes with my whites so I would have to throw them out. All the nastiness and lies she spread around about me to make herself look good. All the times they all ignored me after they used me for their favours and all the times we got together and all they could do is give me hell because I am a happy person.

Why should I care about people like that? What good did they do for me? I can’t even fathom doing these things to strangers, let alone to my own family.

To top it off, all the hypocrisy from my NM, never letting my sibling and I ever drink coffee…COFFEE of all things! It only clicked in my head since reading your blog Darlene that that was her sick and twisted way of controlling us. And the weirdest one she did in front of everyone we knew was when she caused the BIGGEST scene EVERY time I lit up a cigarette in my 20’s and 30’s, until I quit just as she wanted me to comply and then bragged about it to all those people and show them how weak I am for complying…did I mention that she was a smoker for 30 years?

I went LC for about 6 months since learning about all of this and the last month I have gone NC as my NM over did it. She pushed me too hard. I am so sickened by the “games” that they all play. I am not taking part any more. I am done with it.

You have been my rock, thanks.


“Why should I be the one to always change? Why should I give them medallions for the good, when the effects of the bad were just as great as the former? When will there be a time when they will do their share of the work? It’s frustrating!”

This reminds me of when I’m told things like, “that’s just the way so-and- so is,” or, but that’s your (relative’s name).” When do I get to be just me? When did being “just them” become more important than me being “just me”, and in this case “just” is not a minimizing word, it is being me and not anything harmful to me that anyone else expects me to be. When it is my relative, I expect unconditional love and a higher leve of committment between us so the betrayal and injury is much worse to me making statements like that even more crushing than “that’s just the way so-and-so is.”

I don’t believe we should be the one’s to change to placate them. I believe the only changes we should make are ones we choose to make for our own benefit and health and that we should be allowed to “just be me”.


Really well written! For me I needed the reminder of “I realized that the commenter was reacting to her own issues. Not to mine. Her comment was about her own pain, not about my pain or the emotional pain being shared on the EFB facebook page and I totally understand that.” I really get attacked by not so well meaning Christians especially pastors who have issues of their own maybe of abusing others I suspect. It is a good reminder to realize it is not really about me but what I represent to them!


I still cannot believe how nice my step-monster was to the neighbor kids or friends.


Hi Johnny
Yes and on top of that it hurts to realize that they CAN be nice when they want to be…
Hugs, and welcome to EFB


I can totally relate to them being nice when they want to be. My mom had good qualities. She rescued stray animals before rescue was a thing.
But it was her high pitched fake super sweet voice that she used with people she wanted to think she was nice.
My brothers ex girlfriend is on my page and my mom went out of her way to help and be nice to her.
I dont know the woman who she was with her. Now that ex-girlfriend doesn’t get what my problem is with my mom.
I do want to stay in touch with this girl. She stayed at my apartment when I went on vacations.
But she is in denial about a lot of things in her life. My brother trashed her in such a terrible way. He brought his new girlfriend to her moms funeral at age 19 and broke up with her at the funeral in front of everyone. I feel so bad for her. He got married she never did and is a single mom and never got over him. Anyway just sharing a story about how nice my mom was to others.

I have a new neighbor that does the same thing my mm did. I hear her at home through the walls she sounds like she is possessed like her head will spin and vomit green vomit at any moment.
She has 3 kids. 2 toddlers and a new born. She is so mean to the toddlers. Unbearably so.
We cant report her it isnt illegal to be mean and yell but my husband actually cries sometimes for the kids.
But when she answers the door she uses that same fake high pitched voice. It is sickening!
Then her husband works long hours. He is nice but never heard this. She pretends to be nice with him but I think he knows. She does a lot of things behind his back. I digress.
The fake thing, I dont get it and cant stand it! Why pretend? Just be yourself!
But I guess that is how they fool people to do things like marry them.

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