That ~ Makes Me Angry by Darlene Ouimet

anger at abuse,
Darlene Ouimet ~ on vacation!

Greetings from Beautiful Puerto Vallarta Mexico!

I have trouble with this topic. I didn’t feel anger the way that I understood anger to be. I saw others express their anger, and I couldn’t relate to that kind of feeling. I was afraid of anger. The few times that I got angry before my process of recovery, I remember quickly going from feeling anger to feeling powerless. I did not give myself the right to be angry. In my mind’s eye I see a spineless, droopy shell of a person, rather like a rag doll, void of any real emotion.  Tossed about by the world and its people; everyone had more rights than I did, everyone was more important than I was, everyone had a right to their feelings except me.

That makes me angry.

I don’t remember ever being angry as a child. I did not have a temper. I was quiet. I was often labeled sullen. I was withdrawn. I had no confidence, no spark; I was afraid to be noticed.

I was afraid to be….

That makes me angry.

I remember as a young adult being told that there are only two emotions and all other emotions fall under the heading of one or the other. I was taught that there is only love and fear. Anger comes under the emotion of fear and I was taught that if I was angry to ask myself what I was afraid of. Because of this teaching, just when I might have gotten in touch with my anger for the first time in my life, I shut it down. The truth is that I was afraid of everything including life itself. Asking myself what I was afraid of was WAY too big a question.

That makes me angry.

Looking at things that way also puts the focus on what is wrong with me. For someone who knew her whole life that the reason I was how I was, was because something was wrong with me, was just heaping more guilt, blame and shame on myself. I needed to get to the root of the WHY I was so shut down, why I was so afraid, before I cut straight to the “get rid of it”. No one ever helped me with actually doing that. Everyone wants to skip the WHY steps.

That makes me angry.

I was not heard. I had no voice. I stopped trying; I gave up. I put myself behind everyone else. I got more and more depressed and had more and more emotional struggles. And I got blamed for them. I got more labels attached to me. Crazy, reactive and over reactive, incompetent, emotional, stupid, unwilling to forgive, holding grudges……

That makes me angry.

When I had to go on anti depressants because I couldn’t get out of bed anymore, some people acted like they finally had the PROOF that it was ME who had the problem all along. “See, she is crazy”…. I was embarrassed and ashamed at what I thought was my inability to cope with life.  And actually with a medically treated depression, things got worse. My family looked down on me, as though now they had a right to treat me like I was “nothing”.

That makes me angry.

I was so compliant, I was so easily manipulated, so willing to do what they wanted, and yet I was so unimportant and so disposable. I was a good victim, a great victim actually; the PERFECT victim. And that wasn’t enough. Nothing I did was ever enough or good enough. And when I said enough, they said goodbye.

That makes me angry.

My anger (when I finally did get in touch with it) for the most part was for the life that I lost. It was about the fog that I lived in and was kept in and about the lies that we swallow and because we are groomed for the lies as children, it is easy for us to continue to be easily fooled. It is anger for you, for me, for the children and for the broken world.

But today I have my life back. I don’t live in that fog; in fact I am a “fog buster” now. I know the truth. I know that my anger is justified, I am not afraid of it anymore. I am not easily fooled anymore; I don’t believe those lies anymore!

I have hope for you for me and for the children and I rest in the knowledge that there is indeed hope.

Please share whatever is important to you to share and thank you for being part of this blog.

Exposing truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

As always, please feel welcome to share with us.  I am on my way home in a couple of hours from now, and will answer the comments sometime tomorrow! 

Related Posts: What is my Anger telling me?

                              Emotional abuse and Anger  

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness



OMG – Are you sure that we’re not twins separated at birth? You have echoed our history to the “T”.



Wow Darlene this is very powerful I am just now within the last year or so realizing that there is good anger and bad anger and the difference in the two. I think that is what these past two years have been about facing my anger … it makes me angry at how much was taken from me at how much I gave away not realizing I had a right to stand up for myself. Thank you for posting this ..


I never saw anger appropriately expressed as a child. My father would scream and slap us, whip us with belts. My mother knew how to slice you up with her words. No wonder I tried to stuff my anger. It scared the heck out of me. They got angry about the stupidest things. One time when I was about 8 I walked into a pole absentmindedly (disassociating probably) and my mother’s response was to slap me in the face. Sad thing is I did not know how abnormal a response that was until I was in my 40’s. After spending months of actively getting out my anger I was finally able to react appropriately when things would happen instead of suddenly accessing that storehouse of unexpressed rage and exploding uncontrollaby. I am no longer afraid of anger. It tells me I have to take action, which I do after the angry feeling has passed.


[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Darlene Ouimet, Splinteredones. Splinteredones said: RT @DarleneOuimet: New blog post: That ~ Makes Me Angry by Darlene Ouimet … […]


I needed to hear this. No, really. I NEEDED to hear this. Thank you. THANK YOU. I cannot get the depth of it across. If you could see me, perhaps you could understand. If you could see the look on my face, the tears in my eyes and the relief in my spirit; if you could feel the fierceness of the hug I would give you, then you might have some idea of how so very much your words spoke straight into my soul. T.H.A.N.K. Y.O.U.


It makes me so angry to see all the damage and dysfunction in my life – to see the mess – to think of all that could have been and wasn’t because of the abuse – to see the powerlessness, fear and helplessness I’ve been trapped in all these years – to know it’s me who has to do all the work to heal and get back my life when I didn’t create this mess – it makes me so angry that I’ve been denied justice – I’m angry at the mess my life is – I’m angry I have to take meds every day just to get through – I’m angry that my abusers have not been exposed – I’m angry that no one seems to be willing to do anything about that – I’m angry at all that was taken from me that I can never get back – I’m angry at the life I’ve lost – I’m angry at the lies that have kept me captive all these years – I’m angry about all the people who’ve blamed me for the mess I’m in, who accused me of being an angry ***** who should just forgive and forget, reconcile with her abusers and stop being angry – I’m angry at all the rubbish I’ve had preached at me every time I’ve found the courage to cry for help – I’m angry at the hurt and confusion that caused me – I’m angry that there is no justice in this life – I’m angry about my lost childhood – I’m angry that I survived – I’m angry that I have to live with this stuff – I’m angry that my abusers live in a world of lies and delusion where all this stuff is normal and they did nothing wrong while my life’s been destroyed by what they did – yeah I’m angry – I didn’t mean to type all this stufff, it just came pouring out, sorry!


I’m angry that I have had so much lost time… I’m angry that I have had no childhood, and that I only have memory of less than 1/4 of this life because of amnesia/switching. I am angry that I have a 20 year block of lost time in my marriage. I am angry that I feel like I am a six year old in an ancient 61 year old broken down body.


Darlene.. Susa.. Nikki.. Fi.. virtually every word written here, I could have written.

Susa: I am angry that I feel like a 12 year old in an ancient 57 year old broken down body.

Fi: It makes me so angry to see all the damage and dysfunction in my life – to see the mess – to think of all that could have been and wasn’t because of the abuse.

Nikki: it makes me angry at how much was taken from me at how much I gave away not realizing I had a right to stand up for myself.

Darlene: Tossed about by the world and its people; everyone had more rights than I did, everyone was more important than I was, everyone had a right to their feelings except me. …. I was afraid to be. …. For someone who knew her whole life that the reason I was how I was, was because something was wrong with me …. I was not heard. I had no voice. I stopped trying; I gave up. …. I got more labels attached to me. Crazy, reactive and over reactive, incompetent, emotional, stupid, unwilling to forgive, holding grudges …. I was embarrassed and ashamed at what I thought was my inability to cope with life. …. My family looked down on me, as though now they had a right to treat me like I was “nothing”. …. Nothing I did was ever enough or good enough. …. My anger (when I finally did get in touch with it) for the most part was for the life that I lost. THAT MAKES ME ANGRY.



Exposing truth, one snapshot at a time I Love it Darlene.

I am angry for not having a childhood, I am angry for not being allowed to be angry, I am angry that still to this day people will refer to me as crazy and that I make things up in relation to my abuse, I am angry that I cant seem to find the right words to describe how I feel at times, I am most of all angry that my abusers were abusers and my parents. Most of all I am angry that my healthy relationships have been affected, my children my husband my friends, I am angry that I am so suspicious of peoples intentions due to how I was raised. I am angry that more is not done about abuse to expose the lies and the pain so no one has to experience any abuse. I am angry that I know about this subject first hand :(.

I am working on healing and even that makes me angry at times, I have days I don’t want to work on healing that I want to just curl up into a little ball and for the world to go away. I wish at times that my life did not have this amount of anger in it that I feel. It hurts and I do not wish anyone to feel the hurt I feel :(.

Darlene, Fi , Lynda, Susa, Nikki and other people who will comment later. Thanks for sharing and in a way I am sad we all feel anger that we all were abused that we comment and can relate on such a sad and painful subject.

I am thankful for Darlene’s blog and others like Fi’s and OSA’s and others who I am sure I have forgotten but would not have found if it was not for this blog. It has helped reduce a little bit of anger for me by being able to find a voice to express things. Especially anger and hurt.


Anger… has defined who I am lately. Oh, on the outside to others I have my normal happy, kind, caring facade, but on the inside I am so angry.

Fi, you not only wrote about how you feel, but exactly how I feel. Looking back at my life, I am so angry at what it could have been and how they took it away from me. And not only the abusers did this but the people who stood by knowing it was happening and didn’t want to get involved. If I would have had only one person who would have stood by me and told me what was happening to me wasn’t my fault, that I wasn’t a throw-away person or that I was actually worthy of living, it would have made all the difference in the world. So, to my relatives, teachers, church workers, ER doctors and neighbors, yes, I am very angry at you. Thanks for being part of ruining my life.

The problem is I don’t know what to do with this anger except let it eat me up inside. I am in such a bad place.


Darlene, I am so happy you are so far along in your healing. However, that healing just doesn’t seem attainable for me, ever. I am so angry at myself.


Darlene ~ I love the way you articulate some specific statements around your anger….and me too. The majority of my own anger circled around the life that I never had and the one that I should have had. There was a time that everything was a “trigger” for my anger; commercials on tv that showed happy kids and a mom baking cookies, seeing parents with their children – if they were happy, I was angry that I never had that. If they weren’t…I was sure that the children were being abused in some way and was angry that parents get away with this travesty. Until I reached my anger and SAID it out loud, felt it in my body and freed myself to even allow these feelings, I was held prisoner to my past. Thanks for another great post and showing us another way that we can validate our experiences and find the power to live beyond that pain.


how long does it take to get angry about what you really should be angry about (and do so in a healthy way) vs. being angry about things that are insignificant, or anger that is totally blown out of proportion and volatile over something minor that should just be dealt with rather than a full scale emotional war?

I am not angry about any of these things that Darlene posted about, at least not consciously, but that in itself makes me angry, because I know I “should” be angry about these things, and I should be mad, and Im not, which makes me feel “bad, wrong, broken, defective” etc. and then I get angry with myself for not being angry, and then get angry at the kids, my husband etc. for something extremely minor (or something totally in my head because I took it the wrong way because I always perceive things to be lies and dishonesty and cant deal with criticism even in the smallest amount, especially when Im already beating myself up for something unrelated and react as though these perceptions are truth, when they arent always the way I interpret them, but I dont trust my interpretations and I dont trust others not to lie to me) when in reality Im just mad at me, and it has nothing to do with them?

Im furious over nothing, or over things I think I should have done differently (or not done), and not furious over things i need to be mad about. I am afraid of being angry, I know that….but how do you get past that fear and express anger appropriately without actually just letting yourself rage like crazy over what should have been (or was and shouldnt have been) and possibly doing something extremely destructive?

I was so angry at myself the other day that I literally wanted to bash my own face in with a weight, and I tried to, but I wasnt strong enough to do it, because the weight was too heavy…and that type of anger at myself is NOT OK and that type of physically violent anger at someone else is NOT OK, which makes it easier to be angry like that at myself….and Im afraid of that level of anger….because I dont want to lose control like that and do something irreversible to myself or someone else, when I dont want to hurt anyone, its just uncontrollable rage, that I dont know what to do with.

I know getting angry like that isnt helpful, but ignoring anger isnt helpful either, how do you get angry appropriately, at the right times, about the right things, at the right people, and not be overcome with violent rage and/or lash out at yourself or someone else who isnt actually part of the problem…how do you learn that, how do you put it into practice?


Darlene…this is a great post! Thanks for sharing your insights on embracing all of our emotions whether negative or positive. Suppressing how we feel never allows us to heal. Welcome home and I can see by the picture that you had a great time!


Welcome home! Anger is still this huge bugaboo for me. I seem to need to turn it inwardly. We’re taking it in small bits,’C and I, but it still engulfs me at


Not permitted to show anger, not permitted to live outside the realm of us, there is no me, we’re either another or non existent. Anger was somethin if shown, it would hurt us more. Today we don’t know how to show it still but when anger wells up inside us, we cry, we get frustrated, we scream in silence b/c we know if we show it, we’re in trouble.





We might be long lost twins! When there is a past like ours; full of deceptions, who knows???????? LOL

Hi Nikki
Yes! We have a RIGHT. It isn’t that I stayed there, (in the anger) but it was such a necessary stepping stone to freedom.
Great to “see” you Nikki!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Fi,
I am angry at all this stuff you posted too ~ with the exception of the part about that you are angry that you survived! I am SO grateful that you survived and that we have connected. All the rest of what you said ~ YES ~ and good that it came pouring out. It will do that lots on this journey, and each time you will be a little bit closer to healing, each time has a benefit. Thank you so much for sharing this “list”. This is excellent and each of this things is justifiable anger! We SHOULD be angry.
(p.s. everyone, I will be answering all the comments as the day goes on today)


I didn’t become angry until I reached the age that I understood what was happening to me was wrong and then I got angry because I could NOT tell. I turned all that anger inward and blamed myself for many, many years. I’m still breaking those cycles of self-blame and gradually re-gaining my self-confidence. It’s not easy work, that’s for sure!


Hi Lynda
So glad to have you here!
It amazes me to this day (although this blog is a year old and I started speaking in mental health seminars 4 years ago) how many of us have such feelings in common! Wow.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Clare!
The truth is so shocking that I can only expose it one snapshot at a time! LOL (and that is because we were SO efficiently brainwashed away from the truth. )
Thank you for sharing your own anger list. YES me too! And there are days that I don’t want to work on this either!
Thank you for being here!
Love Darlene

Hi Mary,
You bring up a very valid point here; when we are raised with this kind of “inappropriate anger” we really don’t know what is appropriate. Thanks for sharing this!
(I walked into a few poles in my time too by the way ~ also likely dissociating)
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Zoe!
Wow, I am SO glad that you liked this and that it resonated with you! This is why I do what I do with this blog, because I CAN feel the fierceness of the hugs when my words resonate with others who like me have been trapped in all this stuff. I feel like some days I have this HUGE pair of garden sheers and I am cutting ropes made of the lies.
I am really glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


Hold Fast;
I understand what you are feeling. I felt that same way myself & I didn’t think that healing was possible for me either, (not that I thought it was possible for anyone else either because I had never met anyone that had healed to the degree that I have now healed) and I was also angry at myself many times but today when I look back I think the anger at myself also grew from the lies that I was told about myself ~ that is was my fault; that it was my defect that caused the problems and my defect that I couldn’t “get over it”. This is a big part of the process ~ so please ~ as your name says ~ HOLD FAST ~ hang on, keep going forward. I very often think that I recovered because I met someone that made me believe that I could.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Susan!
YES ~ I had to say it out loud too. I had to acknowledge specific things that I was angry about AND I had to validate myself that I had a right to be angry. This was a process, as you say here.
Thank you so much Susan ~ for all you do for the healing community and for your involvement in EFB as well.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Amira
You always ask the hard questions.. LOL =)
a) For me it happened suddenly at some point in my conscious process of recovery. Suddenly I just finally felt ANGER. Suddenly I just knew that what happened to me was WRONG and was not my fault. I also got angry at minor things before… I was all mixed up. Sorting this out in my own process effected huge changes in the way that I do relationships today.
b) once again, it is a process. I started by looking at the abuse and mistreatment that I grew up with. I looked at what I believed because of it; what I believed about myself. I realized that I believed a lot of lies.. I got angry at those things, and I was able to focus my anger on JUST those things. My moods didn’t flow over onto others for the first time ever. I worked through journaling, therapy and talking to one friend. It was not the quickest process, but I was able to keep coming back to the truth of the matters, and know that I had a right to be angry at those things.
So glad you are here sharing with us. You are not alone in this Amira. Many can relate to what you are saying here. I might write a whole post in the future about your last question.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Dolores
Thanks for being here. You are so right in your comment that supressing how we feel never allows us to heal.
I had a wonderful vacation and it is great to be back now too!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Splinty,
It is such a big process but as long as we are looking at it is can progress forward! I am thrilled to be able to say that I have not been engulfed in it for a couple of years now which is really a miracle that I am so grateful for. (not saying I will never be consumed by it again, but I know, I know, I know that I will always be able to handle it in the future now!
So glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi UnEk_DiMoNz
This is very true, this is how I felt exactly. And I finally began to understand (in the process) that I was not in trouble anymore. This is so key. I believed that if I showed it I was in trouble because I always was in the past, but I am not that person anymore, I am not in that world anymore. I am an adult now and I have rights. When I saw that and I took hold of those rights ~ just a bit at a time, I began to be able to feel those emotions and realize that I was not going to get blasted or beaten for them.
Please hang in here, with this. You have a right to your emotions and you are not the child who got punished for them anymore. My alters carried those beliefs because they were created in the first place out of that abuse, but eventually we all came together in this process.
Love Darlene

Hi Kathy,
It is great to hear that you are breaking those cycles. That is so important. And it is a process but as you say, it can be done. I am so proud of you.
Hugs, Darlene

Everyone! It is so good to be home and back on EFB!
Thanks to everyone who reads, writes and shares!
love Darlene


Hold Fast – i find the name you use interesting. i really hope that means that you are holding on to a hope that you will one day be able to express your anger. ‘hold fast’, dont give up, be as kind to yourself as you would to a dear friend in the same situation. (BEST advice i ever got).. i have hope that u will achieve inner peace, you are certainly heading in the right direction by expressing your anger in this forum. xo

i also was once too afraid/not allowed to show or feel or even LOOK like i had a problem re- the abuse. (yes, my dear mother ‘KNEW ME BETTER THAN I KNEW MYSELF’ ) so if she even suspected i was suffering because of HIM and HER well then didn’t all hell break loose. and to think i tried to talk and guide and support her through MY pain. (i once decided to let my guard down and trust her, thinking she might be able to console me.. i told her (in tears) that i just felt like scraping my insides out, she said ‘well how do you think i feel..) hmmmm…. [she was married to the mongrel even after she knew everything]

anger will manifest itself in one way or another, because as others here have said it is a reaction to SOMETHING BEING WRONG. the problem is we have never been taught/shown:

1. what happened to us was WRONG.
2. the appropriate way to express anger.
3. the fact that there is RIGHTEOUS anger.

my buried anger started to come out in ways that were unhealthy for me and my family. IBS, depression/anxiety/suicidality, migraines, stomach ulcers, alcoholism and last but not least, the inability to connect/ learn my true and healthy self – identity. (which is the foundation on which we all learn to exist and survive.)

it IS so frustrating to be unable to connect the person you were/are – to the person you want to be.
but i kept plodding on, albiet spent a lot of days in bed shut away from the world, but maybe i needed that, (and from time to time still do).

thanks so much for this blog darlene.. it is a godsend.


Anger is a good emotion. It shows we care about what happened to us, that we were violated by those who knew better but were interested in only themselves. I too kept my anger down for many years but no longer. Since I am not trying to suppress it I have control of it. It has become a powerful drive to help others who have been abused. Yes I am angry every time I find another lie that I have believed all my life. Just found one the other day. I have been allowing myself to think about any question that pops into my head. The question was “Am I happy?” My first gut response was NO. As I thought I realized I have much to be happy about, but why did I respond with a NO? I realize we were told that to be happy we had to be doing what God wanted us to do, and that we were to be missionaries if we wanted to be happy. So all these years I have been “unhappy” when in reality I was just not allowing myself to be happy. Angry yes I could have know I was happy. I know now, I find happiness by my definition not someone else s. Anger can bring out the good things.

Darlene I love your ending “Exposing truth, one snapshot at a time;”



Yes, that is what HOLD FAST means: “Hold Fast, help is on its way”. Sometimes I feel it takes more energy than I have to “Hold Fast” but I keep doing my best every day and so far have been successful.

These blogs are so helpful. They have helped me persevere.

Hugs to all. Sorry you didn’t have a better life.


The problem I am having is I can’t get out of the anger, it continues to flood over me like huge billowing waves and each time I feel as though I am going to drown. I am so freaking angry with so much these days all I can do is just keep going hoping that eventually I will work my way out of it. I am so tired of being the one that carries the weight of this crap. I am so tired of having to be polite about how I feel. I am so tired of trying to find my real self (that in itself is a confused mess).

I am angry and I am tired I feel as though my soul has been ripped out of me and someone has shot me in the heart. And the person that I am angry with the most is myself …


I knew this anger series would be interesting.

What I didn’t know was how much anger would come to the surface. Not just from childhood but from a lifetime of bad choices and bad decisions, all of which can be traced back to being so completely devalued and unseen. And then anger at myself comes up for not being able to stand on my own two feet and stop “blaming” the past for everything that goes wrong in my life. So I don’t blame the past. I blame myself. And things just get worse and worse. I tell myself I must be defective because so many people survived so much worse than I did and got ON with it. And I’m stuck. And I’ve been stuck for YEARS. Just getting angrier and fatter and unhealthier and more resentful and more bitter. And every time I START to get unstuck, I see everything that has to be undone, all the work I have to do to get better and I just feel exhausted and completely unequal to the task. And I stop. And I sink further. Then I feel a bit of hope and the cycle starts all over again.

So what do I do now? This cycle has to stop. But I have no idea how to stop it. This anger turned inward is killing me. But the anger turned outward has ruined friendships, risked my job and all kinds of other problems. If I turn this rage loose, I have absolutely no idea what would happen, and I’m not sure I want to know.

I felt something break in me during the past week or so while reading these posts. I was journaling and responding to the posts and feeling empowered by the survivors’ stories. Now I just feel broken. And alone. And weak. And sad. And pissed off. So what now?


Oh. Forgot something. I read something on the “Vision” tab of the website “To Write Love on Her Arms”: “You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you’re part of a bigger story. You need to know that your life matters.”

Yeah, right. Sounds beautiful. Maybe it even sounds true. But it certainly has not been my experience. I have spent the last 10 or 15 years isolating myself because every time I try to be “known” I end up either misunderstood or invisible. So I stopped trying. And I went from FEELING invisible to BEING invisible. The ironic thing about spending life trying to be whatever everybody else wants is that when you stop, there is no “you” underneath all that.


This is so powerful, every post here has something valuable and affirming and thought-provoking.

I particularly like what Shary said: “I too kept my anger down for many years but no longer. Since I am not trying to suppress it I have control of it. It has become a powerful drive to help others who have been abused.”

I think that is the key. In not trying to suppress our anger, we can learn to have control over it. Then, we can find ways to channel the passion of our anger, and use it as fuel to help those who have been abused… including ourselves.

It takes energy to help ourselves, to do the hard work of healing/growing/self-nurturing. I believe we can use the energy generated by our anger, to help us do that work.

One thing I need to say here… I learned years ago, the Hard Way, that anger, and self-medicating, such as through drinking or mind-altering drugs, does NOT mix well. In 1977, when I was 23 years old, something happened that broke my heart. I had left my second very abusive marriage to be with someone I had fallen in love with, risking the loss of my 2 precious children in the process. Then I discovered that the person I thought I was madly in love with, had another girlfriend.

All the miserable feelings I had fought to overcome since my traumatic childhood, came flooding back. I felt unloved, and unloveable, unwanted, and unworthy. I was in so much emotional PAIN, that I thought I couldn’t stand to keep feeling the way I was feeling, for one more minute. So I guzzled down an entire bottle of vodka, straight out of the bottle, as fast as I could drink it. Then I immediately guzzled down an entire bottle of scotch. I was expecting to pass out, which is what I wanted to do, in order to stop FEELING my PAIN.

I was so naive when it came to drinking, I didn’t even realize that it was possible to die from alcohol poisoning. I drank so much, so fast, that I should have died! But, I didn’t even pass out! Instead, what happened next is, that I went into a full-blown RAGE. My pain, my self-hatred, my belief that I would never really be loved by anyone, because I wasn’t worthy of love… all that hellish PAIN welled up inside me, and then it suddenly switched over into a HUGE BLINDING FURY. Then, in my fury, I set about to destroy everything that was in the apartment I was in.

I have never done anything so violent, not ever before, nor since. Even now, more than 33 years later, I am stunned, and ashamed, at the memory of how CRAZY and HUGE my ANGER was, when it was mixed with a whole big bottle of vodka and a whole big bottle of scotch. I destroyed everything in that apartment, that I could destroy… I busted in the tv, I broke all the dishes, I slashed the furniture, I broke the lamps, I ripped up the clothes.

I also wrote all over the walls, in huge letters. I wrote about how men were all scum and cheaters and abusers and liars. (I NO LONGER BELIEVE THAT!) I also wrote about how my mother had tried to gas me and my 4 much-younger siblings to death way back when I was 12 years old.

Someone asked me later why I was writing on the walls about something that had happened 11 years before! I didn’t know why; PTSD wasn’t anything I knew about, in 1977. I don’t think it was yet even a diagnosis for war veterans, back then.

I am embarrassed to write about this episode… I wasn’t going to! … but then I thought, if I can help prevent someone else from thinking that the answer to her pain and anger is to get drunk to numb the feelings, I just wanted to say, PLEASE DON’T DO IT! The only thing that drinking or drugging will do is scramble your thinking, and shortcircuit your inhibitions.

You wouldn’t want to drive a big fully loaded 18-wheeler with no brakes, down a steep mountain. In the same way, trust me when I say this, drinking or drugging when you are full of PAIN and ANGER is as risky as taking off the brakes on an 18-wheeler before you go driving through the rocky mountains.

Feeling anger because you have been abused is normal and RIGHT, but what I did, when I was too drunk to even know my own name, was terrible and shameful. It’s a wonder I didn’t go to jail over that! I should have! At least I didn’t hurt anyone physically, I only hurt things. But, STILL!

BTW, I haven’t had an alcoholic drink in over 20 years, and I don’t miss it one bit. I take herbal things to help me with my menopause, depression, and anxiety, and that works great for me. Best of all, my mind stays CLEAR, and I stay: IN CONTROL. Now, when I need to hit the brakes, my brakes work just fine.



This is such a good post, and everyone’s responses are so great.

I have finally accepted that my place in my family’s life was – and is still- conditional. Even my daughter’s.

I am angry. Angry that I was the only one who cared enough about any issues to get some counselling. I’m angry that apparently if I am at all around any of my family I get blamed for things I haven’t said or done and especially for intentions I never had….The ‘crazy’ card is always getting brought up.I’m getting tired of it.

I am not ‘crazy’. My entire family is extremely ashamed of me, apparently, and is reluctant to let that ‘crazy’ label go.

Tonight my daughter told me I bring it on myself.

I’m angry I can’t just be me; a regular person to these people. I am angry I get ganged up on.

I’m angry I still get called ‘crazy’, and ’embarrassing’….by my family. I don’t deserve this shaming.

I’m angry but I am also DONE.
I have had enough.

I don’t have to be ‘perfect’ enough to be accepted …by ANYONE.

I can make mistakes.I don’t have to be called on the carpet everytime I do or say something someone doesn’t like.

My anger won’t kill anyone, cause them to harm themselves, or anything else. It is just an emotion. It tells me I have had enough abusive garbage from certain people.

I do matter. I do count. I DON’T have to be ‘good enough’….That is THEIR garbage, their stuff, their judgement….not mine. And I am shaking myself free of it. If I have to live in a cave for awhile to feel ‘safe’ again I’ll do it. When people call me ‘crazy’ it brings everything back again; it really hurts.

I am finding myself wanting to get away from all those people who jumped on that ‘crazy’ bandwagon, and just disappear from their sight.

When my daughter sent me a text telling me I had embarrassed her and her boyfriend because I called his work last night trying to get his number I felt sick and ashamed. We had an ice storm here and she was not answering her phone and I didn’t know his number. There were hundreds of wrecks all over the area, the streets were like glass. I was worried about them. Her boyfriend’s boss told him to tell me not to call anymore asking for his number.

My daughter told me I came off looking CRAZY to everyone; embarrassed HER, her boyfriend…etc. I felt sick when I read her text.I should say all 8 of them.

It all brought back the church situation when I protested an inappropriate chaperonibg situation my daughter was in. The church leaders called me ‘crazy’, ‘unchristian’..and spread rumors to the next congregation we tried to go to, saying I was against God and the church and making accusations. I wasn’t. I just wanted the youth trips my daughter to be on to have female chaperones.

It went on and on. The church tried to get my daughter back, telling her I was being mean to her, taking her away from her friends in the church….They encouraged her to believe I was’crazy’ and mean to her.

Its been so hard to try to have a relationship with her since then. I walk on eggshells.

I see I have a long way to go. I AM angry, at what was taken from me.At what was done to my daughter and to me.


elizabeth – you can be yourself here, and you will one day find people who are deserving of you.
your daughter doesnt get you, hopefully in time she will.
meanwhile seek out those who let YOU be YOU..

isn’t it great we have this circle of friends here??


Hi Michelle,
It is amazing to me how the comments are hitting ME with this post. All the things that I am remembering because of other peoples stories. My mother used the line “how do you think I feel” too. And that is another deflection tactic! We can no longer talk about how I FEEL, because we now have to be more concerned with how SHE feels. This is so discounting. I could write a book about these common little every day statements that pop up and take our attention away from the issue.
Thanks for sharing Michelle. I am so glad that you are part of this blog!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Shary,
Some of my anger has become a powerful drive to help others too. I like how you put that.
And I like your discoveries in this comment too! Thanks for sharing them.
So glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Nikki
As long as I was angry at myself, I was stuck in anger and I was also stuck in the guilt and shame. So much went together with all of that. And all of that is exhausting. I went back and forth for a very long time about being “fair” and making excuses for the people who discounted me. That was really key for me; to realize that it was okay for me to be angry ~ period. YES the people who discounted me had huge issues of their own, but SO WHAT? That doesn’t take care of my anger and I had to take care of my anger. I had to VALIDATE myself ~ period. The reason I was angry at myself was because I was skipping those steps. My heart is so close to yours Nikki… I wish I could sooth you today but this is all I have. I know this is hard and painful and exhausting. But I also know that there is the other side, the other side of broken. And you can get there! Keep going!
Thank you so much for sharing.
Love Darlene


Hi Lisa,
What you describe in your comment I call “the spin”. What I had to learn to do to stop that cycle was identify where I get off the right track ~ and from what you said here it is when you get angry at yourself “for not being able to stand on your own two feet”. what I learned to do was to “catch myself” and not go there. You are invalidating yourself. (which is picking up where “they” left off.) I learned to stop doing that and keep going with the devalued and unseen stuff, so that I could stay there long enough to learn what happened to me was wrong and that I had a right to be angry and to learn what I came to believe about myself as a result.
I learned to stop the downward spin. Self validation is vital.
Thank you so much for this post. You share so well what happens to so many of us.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lynda,
Thank you for sharing your experience with self destructive coping methods. This is valuable information because there are SO many coping methods out there. None of them lead to the freedom, recovery or wholeness that we are seeking.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Elizabeth,
I took an idea from your post here (about the crazy card) and started a conversation on the EFB facebook page… and wow, that is a hot topic! There is a big discussion going on over there. Here is the link to the Facebook Page for EFB
I had this issue too; it was so easy for everyone to just say that I was crazy. BUT it is a deflection tactic. As long as I am crazy, THEY don’t have to face anything. They dismiss it because ~ well ~ she is just crazy. This is once again all part of self validation. We have to validate ourselves, ~ exactly as you are writing here ~ in order to realize that none of the past was indeed our own fault. This was key for my recovery.
So glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

YES ~ I found that finding supportive people and others that “get me” helped VERY much in the whole process of recovery.
Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene


I have trouble putting my thoughts into words straight. I write poems because I find the metaphors make it easier. Here is a short poem I wrote about facing the truth. I include it here because I feel like it is happening all over again, reading about anger – I think I am standing at the edge of something. If that makes sense.

Restless snarls of circling thoughts,
endlessly pacing, ravenously seeking
to devour anything in their path.
Hunger-whipped, pain-maddened, enraged.

The sleek bars of correct politeness rot from within,
the putrid stench of muffled lies and hypocrisy
oozing through the carefully polished silver.
Gleaming, they crack under the strain of truth too great to bear.


Love the blog!!! I used to get angry at not getting angry. lol. I would beat myself up so much, and talk to myself…. ” I should have said that, I should have done that!!” Maybe that is why I understand it so much now and am a firm believer in how important it is to get angry. I got tired of beating myself up about it.

Thanks for painting the picture of where I was and how far I have come. Anger is my friend.

Love ya, Patty


I love this, it resonates deeply with me. “Oozing through the carefully polished silver… ” oh yes… absolutely. We are so trained not to expose the lies and the truth, but it seeps out. and in that seeping is where we can find out own voices. Let it ooze.
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful poem.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Patty,
OH MY GOSH! ME TOO. I was always doing the “I should have said, wish I said,” dance. Ha I had forgotten about that. LOL
I am so glad that you are here Patty and that you you were one of the guest writers in this anger series!
Hugs, Darlene


Oh Lisa,
I hear you! I was talking with a friend about this very issue just last night – about being afraid to start to feel that anger because I know it has been repressed for so long that I am scared of the damage it will do. About how as soon as I start to feel angry about ANYTHING (not even what happened to me but any time someone injures me) I turn it on myself and fire hatred on myself as a child. So Lisa, you are NOT alone – and you are not weak! My friend told me that I need to go slowly and gently. And that the first step is finding a safe place for that child to feel anger. She suggested a creative outlet, but the thing that resonated most with me was she suggested I go to the beach, write my anger on the sand and rant and stomp as long as it is there but once the wave washes the words away, let it go. And write the next thing. I am not sure I will do that yet – but I know it will involve water. I will pray that you find some safe place too. HUGS Zoe


Thanks for your poem above. That’s exactly how I feel! I feel like I’m in a big box made of that two-way glass (like they use in police stations…at least on TV…;)), and I can see all these people milling about, laughing, talking, leading their lives, and I am SCREAMING, and no one can see me and no one can hear me. It also reminds me of a recurring dream I have had for years. I am walking down the street and all of a sudden the sidewalk is going straight up and down and instead of walking on it, I have to CLIMB it. Yet everyone around me is walking like it’s a normal sidewalk.

Thanks to everyone here for helping me feel less alone.


Its great to read these posts. I am SO grateful for the freedom we have here to speak our truths.

It has been such a weird week. I guess I am abreacting, or reacting to the past this week.

Its almost Christmas…I’m still a nonperson to my sister and her family…and that is weird.

I told an old friend a few weeks ago that her wacko religious fanatic father who I have know for decades needs to stop stalking my daughter at her work..He’s been coming in to the restaurant she works at, requesting to it in her section, and inviting her to come visit he and his wife. He even got her emsil address. His invitation did not include me. He was instrumental in the church weirdness we went thru a few years ago- telling me at that time I was holding on to my daughter too closely, and I needed to go forward at church and repent. Crazy.

Now my daughter has told me that ‘everyone thinks you’re a joke.’after I called her boyfriends work trying to contact them during the ice storm….

I have begun to wonder again….is it me? Am I really this bad? But I realize its an atmosphere that has been recreated involving the person dearest to my heart- my daughter…She’s been caught up in that nutso atmosphere again to.And darn it, it started with this fanatic preacher coming back around….Suddenly my daughter and I are walking on eggshells again….

Being told I am ‘just a joke’ really threw me. I think that was the worst thing I could have heard. it hit the jugular.I went through all those weird horrible emotions I have gone through before in the worst of times…like I’m being invited to jump off a cliff.

This time I dissected the feelings, realized that even the words of someone I would give my life for do not equal truth, and faced the fact that no mstter who is saying this garbage- its very destructive for me. I need to stop worrying about her so much and take care of me…I don’t think I can go another decade of going through the meatgrinder….and for what?

my recovery means too much to me.I won’t let other people’s meanness and hatefulness destroy my life.


I questioned if it was me a million times when stuff like this happened, but every time I thought about it, I knew it wasn’t me. Rest assured that I had to think about it a lot because remember I had believed those lies my WHOLE life. It takes time to undo and to rebuild the belief system. You are doing great!

The kid thing is so hard and painful. I had to just cling to the hope that eventually my kids would see the difference between “then” and “now” when it came to people thinking I was “crazy”. And I can honestly say that it took a few years, but they did begin to see the difference. They began to see the true from the false too. Because I lived it. I stuck to my guns, I believed in what I was doing, I validated myself. This system that we have lived in for so long is so mixed up, so full of fog and brainwashing, so misleading, that it is no wonder it takes so much time to sort it out. Hang in there with your daughter. She has lived in the sick system her whole life too. It takes time to model the truth when the lies have been so powerful for so long.

Hugs, Darlene


Elizabeth… when I read in your post the words that your daughter said to you, “everyone thinks you’re a joke,” it hit me HARD, like a punch in the gut.

Being told such a mean thing by ANYONE would sting, but, as you said, to hear those hateful words from someone you would give your life for ~ how awful.

You said you felt like you were being invited to jump off a cliff… I know exactly what you mean, that’s exactly what it feels like.

I have more that I want to say on this subject, but I need to collect my thoughts first before I can go on. This really is a subject I can relate to completely, being totally discounted and devalued by the people you love most.



Darlene and Elizabeth, I am so glad some people understand the pain when it comes to your kids. My young adult daughter suffered a lot of abuse and has resorted to attacking me a lot. She did that all through her teen years, probably because she had no one else to vent her anger on. It really hurt because it was covert and crazy-making, and felt just as distressing as the abuse from the ex.

Now I try to be a bit more honest with her and I think she is trying to be decent, but at times her venom pours out and the other day she told me that all her life she has known me to be doing nothing worthwhile (because I didn’t work and “only” looked after the kids). She accused me of scabbing off my ex because I get child support. And she riled at me for selling our assets (because I am trying to settle our assets).

It sounds like she has been brainwashed by him but I don’t understand why she just accepts it and attacks me when she knows I was the victim too, not just her. I would love to be close to her and help her through the journey but I have to keep my distance because she is old enough to be on her own now and I don’t need to take abuse from her as well. Yet I feel obliged as a mother to not abandon her because I didn’t help her enough when she was young. How did you juggle that self-love and standing your ground with trying to help children who suffered childhood abuse?


Krissy, I relate so much to what you are saying about your daughter. I know how badly it HURTS. I have a similar problem with my own daughter, and my elder son. They are grown with teenagers of their own, and still they will jump on the bandwagon with those who have hurt me, abused and lied about me, and it really, really hurts. Just last night I ended my facebook account, because some posts showed up on my newsfeed, posted by my daughter, and it hurt me So Bad, that it was not just emotional, but a deep physical pain, too. And I kept telling myself that I was being petty and stupid and CRAZY for “lettting” her post hurt me so much. I kept telling myself that I should be bigger and better than that, that I shouldn’t care. It’s just that, after years and decades of being devalued by my family of origin, and then going from one abusive marriage to another, my 3 children grew up in an atmosphere where their mother – me – was crazy and didn’t deserve and respect or kindness or loyalty. I understood when they were kids and teens and even young adults that they didn’t know any better, that they were just going by what they had been taught as they were growing up. But my daughter is 36 now, my elder son is almost 40. And I keep thinking, Everybody can’t be wrong and me be right, if my mother said I was crazy and no good when I was growing up, and then after she threw me out of the house at the age of 14, then my much-younger siblings all took on her belief that I am crazy and no good, and then I married abusers who said I was crazy and no good, and now my grown children are treating me like I am crazy and no good, then I must really be crazy and no good.

I have been diagnosed with Complex-PTSD that goes back to when I was 12 and my dad came so close to killing my mother, that I thought she was dead. It was so awful, hearing my dad killing her, hearing my mother begging for her life, that I went completely deaf, and it wasn’t until I saw that my mother was still alive, that my hearing came back on like someone had flipped a switch. Then, a few weeks later, my mother, who had gone into a deep depression after dad almost killed her, tried to gas us all to death. She tried this several times, but couldn’t figure out how to over-ride the safety on the gas furnace. I thought the pilot light was going out all by itself, and that one of my little sisters was getting out of bed and turning the thermostat all the way up, because the house was cold. I would wake mother up, to turn on the furnace. One day she told me that she had to confess, because she couldn’t live with the guilt all by herself — then she told me that she had been trying to gas us all to death in our sleep, by turning off the pilot and turning the gas and the thermostat up as high as it would go. She said she thought she would be doing us all a favor by killing us, because the world is such a terrible place, and she said she had brought us all intothe world so she had the right to take us out of it. She said that she had finally given up on the gas idea, and was planning to drive us all off a cliff, only there weren’t any cliffs nearby.

I lived in fear every day and every night after that. I couldn’t tell anyone, because my mother said that if I did, she would go to prison forever, and the 5 of us kids would go to separate foster homes and never see each other again. Remember, I was 12 when all this happened. The really weird thing is that, from the moment my mother told me her confession, from then on she treated me so hateful, so mean, always finding fault with me and putting me down and telling everyone else in the family that I was crazy and disobedient, and lying about me… it was as if, in telling me her awful secret, she then hated me for knowing her awful secret. And her attitude toward me has never changed, I have been the black sheep and the scapegoat ever since.

When my mother remarried when I was 14, she told me right away that “no house is big enough for 2 women,” and that she wanted me out of the house. At the very least, she said, she wanted me to stay away from my new stepfather. He was never anything but a perfect gentleman and a father figure in his attitude and actions toward me. But I had developed already by then, physically, and I was very pretty, so my mother saw me as competition… even though I was very shy and self-consious about my “big breasts” that my mother complained about me having. So finally I got married to the first boy who would ask me. My mother had to sign for me, becasue I was so young. It turned out that he only wanted to marry me, and to have a baby right away, so that he could avoid being drafted to Vietnam, as he had just turned 18 and the Vietnam draft was in full swing then, but if you had a wife and child you could avoid the draft. He told me he was too young to settle down with just one woman, especially one that he didn’t love, and he wanted to still date other girls. He also beat me, many many many many many times, for everything from I had overcooked the sausage or undercooked the spaghetti, that he was “working his a** off to buy,” …. and so my children grew up in an atmosphere of me being verbally abused and physically abused and cheated on because I wasn’t “woman enough to keep him happy.” And now here it is, all these decades later, and I am still the outcast and the scapegoat and the black sheep of the family, because I have complex-ptsd and therefore I am Crazy and Weird and an embarrassment to my children.

I know this is rambling and crazy-sounding. Well, that’s just how I am feeling right now. Rambling, and crazy. I am 57 and 1/2 years old, and I still feel like a little girl inside, crying, and wondering, WHY doesn’t my family LOVE me?


PS – I have a wonderful husband though, who loves me very much. We have been married going on 7 years now. He is a disabled Vietnam Veteran with severe PTSD. He doesn’t think that I am crazy, because he has the same thing that I have. Only his triggers are all different from mine, being that his are from combat, and mine are from years of verbal and physical abuse, and rape. So thankfully we have very different triggers, which I think is a good thing.

We also have a wonderful rescue dog named Lady, she is our “fur baby,” she lives with us and goes everywhere with us. She was abused and abandoned as a puppy, and even though we have had her for almost 4 years, she still frequently cries in her sleep, she sobs like a baby in her sleep, it is the most pitiful sound. And we hold her and pet her when she does that, and tell her what a good girl she is and that we love her, and she wakes up and looks at us with her sweet sad eyes and she MOANS, loud and long, like she is trying to tell us all about her bad dream, and about the terrible things that happened to her. So, even a dog can get PTSD.


Hi Krissy and Lynda
This is such a huge area ~ one that I will expand on one day ~ but for now I will say this; Children often take the side of the abuser because in victim mentality we believe that we are safer if side with them ~ this is a huge concept that I don’t expect you to just “comprehend” quickly but that is really very true. There are MANY aspects to this of course, but it does all go back to victim mentality. Krissy, it is a juggling thing ~ as you say and I learned it a bit at a time. I had to take a close look at each situation and put it through my new grid of truth when it came to the kids. My children we willing to blame me for everything for a few years in recovery, because that was all they knew. Everyone had blamed me as they grew up. I barely even fought it, so it was familiar to them. But the truth won. Just stick tot he truth and live in that truth ~ I know that sounds SO hard!
Krissy I am so glad that you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

None of what you are saying sounds rambling OR crazy. It sounds like you grew up in the sick system that most of us grew up in. I understand the dynamics of all of what you have shared, including the part about the little girl who is heartbroken and wondering why her family didn’t love her.
Your mother sounds similar to mine ~ (I hope you read some of the mother daughter and family posts ~ just click the category tabs to access them) My mother saw me as competition too.
The foundation of my healing has been going back to these events (and even younger) and realizing the beliefs that I accepted because of what happened, and where those beliefs are wrong so that I could “re-wire” my brain so to speak.

When you wrote “And I keep thinking, Everybody can’t be wrong and me be right, if my mother said I was crazy and no good when I was growing up, and then after she threw me out of the house at the age of 14, then my much-younger siblings all took on her belief that I am crazy and no good, and then I married abusers who said I was crazy and no good, and now my grown children are treating me like I am crazy and no good, then I must really be crazy and no good.” WHY can’t they all be wrong?? This was a huge issue for me, but in the end when I began to get better, I realized that they WERE all wrong about me… but there were many factors that contributed to why this was the way it was too.

Thank you for sharing so much of your story and please know that this isn’t your fault, and you are not the crazy one. You are a product of a sick and abusive system. So glad that you are here.
Love Darlene


Darlene, thank you so much. I REALLY NEEDED what you had to say.


Everything that is said here is so heartfelt. I relate to many people, and Lynda. We are the same age. I could drink a bottle of Southern Comfort or Jack Daniels back then, with Quallude chasers. Anything and everything for oblivion. I was denied anger toward one of the abusers, which was an older brother. At 13, I said “I hate Eric” and my mother and grandmother were aghast! “It’s not nice to hate your brother!” It was not nice to have more anger than we can handle, enough to call it hate. So, I turned the infinite anger onto myself. Instead of destroying an apartment, I laid on a dimly lit street at midnight while on a brain soak in alcohol to destroy myself. When that didn’t work (the night sky saved me) my body tried other methods: It wanted to expel the anger, and that resulted in implosive migraines and exploding colitis. Every suicide attempt was anger turned inward, or the awareness of that deep set anger that I want to kill off because it is not nice. I’m angry that I wrote poems at 13 disembodying myself: I am the stem, without the bud.


Hi Lynn,
1953 was a very good year… or not.

Thanks for your post. I’m so sorry you went through so much hurt, like I did. I’m glad tho that we are not all alone anymore. Who would have thought that there would be this way to find people all across the country and even around the world that we can relate to, and reach out to, and communicate with, from inside the walls of our own homes.

I am struggling right now. Holidays are really hard for me… I don’t even want to get into that right now. But what is really hurting me at this moment is feeling like a complete failure as a mother to my own kids. Did I do the best I could with what I had? Yes, absolutely. But, So What? My best wasn’t nearly good enough. Was my childhood much worse than my chidren’s childhoods? Yes, again, absolutely, but, again, So What? If I had known then what I know now… I would have given my children up for adoption at birth, to the best, most wonderful, and mentally stable parents that could be found. And I would have missed my children terribly forever after, but at least then they would have had much better lives, than I was able to give them, in my brokeness and craziness. I was not mentally or emotionally well enough to be a mother. I didn’t know that, when I was having my 3 babies, in the 1970s and 1981. I just didn’t know.

Family dysfunction is the gift that keeps on giving, down through the generations. I was so determined to be the best mother in the world to my babies! I failed miserably.

Right now my 36-year-old daughter and I are on the outs, and I don’t even had a single clue how to fix it. I feel crazy and worthless and hopeless.

I’m sorry to be such a downer. A big ptsd trigger of mine was set off last night, and now I am a mess.




Thanks for sharing your story. My kids are younger than yours but your feelings are exactly how I feel. Like you, I feel guilty and all I ever wanted was to be the best mother in the world. In fact it was a passion of mine to impart the very best to the next generation. And to have my eldest tell me that I have not done anything good to them – it hurt but strangely, now that I am out it doesn’t hurt quite as bad as before. I am stronger and refusing to take rubbish from anyone, even my own children. Maybe when they are older things will be different. They say that kids who have been alienated from their parent by abusers take an average of 20 years to recognize the truth. I myself have only just realized that my mother alienated us from my father and I am 45.

Lynda, it is a reflection of how bad and abusive your parents were that your children are affected. None of it is your fault. The fact that you can say that IF you had known they would be messed up you wouldn’t have subjected them to harm shows that you are not responsible. How could you have known back then? And if you didn’t know, how could you be held responsible? It is called hindsight bias and contributes to crippling guilt that we should have, could have done things differently. (I am talking to myself here too – I feel bad for my eldest but I cannot be blamed and punished for the rest of my life.)

You know you are not crazy because you have found a loving husband and can share life with someone special who is not abusive. I have only escaped a very long term violent marriage and am not even thinking of love again. But with or without a loving husband, I know I can learn to love myself (thanks for drumming it in, Darlene!).


Krissy, and Lynda
I like this conversation ~ very healing and very wise things are being contributed. Krissy ~ I agree with you that when we don’t know any better, we do things out of our own defective belief systems. This whole concept caused me to go round and round as a parent because I wanted to excuse MY parents for what they did because they also didn’t know any better. (although I didn’t do anything to my own kids that was even close to the abuse in my own life) but I had to separate the two. My parents were sick victims of their own childhoods, BUT I still had to put the blame where it belonged in order to recover. When it came to looking at myself as a parent, and knowing that emotionally I didn’t know any better, I had to realize that that was true, but that I could start NOW, I could start healing and taking care of myself, and learning to model love and truth to my children. I talked to them about the mistakes that we made with raising them, we made amends but bigger then that, we lived it. We kept trying to model the truth and the new definition of love. At the same time I had to stand up for myself and not allow them to mistreat me both for my own health, and for the purpose of modeling love and truth.
Lynda ~ I tried not to think of myself as a failure as a mother because that was the self abuse that I was also so used to living with. I had to somehow live each day new. Yes I made mistakes, but that was over. This was a new chance and the kids didn’t make it easy so it was up to me to just keep going even when I wanted to give up. My recovery (I realized) did not depend on if they accepted me or not. I know it is very hard. But if we do not take care of ourselves our kids learn that by example too. My kids treated me the exact way that they learned relationship ~ from me and my husband. I was the bottom of the importance list, and they believed it. I had to own in my heart that it wasn’t true. I was equally valuable and so are they.

( I posted the following comment on Susan’s anger post, but I wanted to add it to this one too.) ~ The parent/child area is such a huge one; When I decided to take my life back, my kids fought me. They took sides with their father, who was a bully at that time (as some of you know my husband also went through the process and learned to treat the rest of us with love and equality) and they raged at me. They had so much fear of their father and of standing up to him. They didn’t want to take sides with me for fear of getting in worse trouble then usual. They were afraid of change. They were accustomed to the way things were and I realized that I too had contributed to the belief system that they developed and it wasn’t that I had to “put up with abuse from them” because I had a hand in causing them to be angry, but I had to be patient and I had to model the truth for a long time in order for them to really see that this new system was better then the one they were used to living in.
I now have a fantastic relationship with all three of my kids, two of whom are older teenagers and one is a younger teenager.

Thank you so much for sharing your journeys in this very difficult area.
Love Darlene


As always it is great to hear from you! I can really relate to this ~ (like in my post) I also turned anger inward. I started writing very disturbing poems when I was around 14 too.
Thanks for being here!
Hugs, Darlene


Wow everyone! These posts are amazing.

I can relate so much to all of it. The one thing I did, that I realize now, was a very smart decison, was from day 1 of moving to a new town away from my family, I got my children into therapy…they were 9 and 10 at the time and have special needs of their own(in addition to being my children and raised in my household which has obviously impacted them on some level) and I know that since I started this healing journey last year, them being in therapy has been very good for them…and may (I hope) save me and them from going through some of the things that you all are dealing with with your older children.

Thats why this anger issue is so hard for me, I dont want them to see it, feel it, experience it or anything else….because its not fair for them (or my husband) to suffer just because I did….and so Im trying to find that balance between all out rage and suppression, and I dont have it. I know it will come eventually, but I dont want it to be at the cost of my children’s happiness and my marriage, but I dont know how to deal with it, or express it in a way that my husband doesnt just walk away (he has his own struggles in dealing with us…I think they call it “caregiver burnout” or something like that) and its not fair to him to have to put up with this forever. Yeah its getting better than it was a year ago, but how long before its actually better consistently? Is it ever going to be?

I push myself wayyyy too hard, I know that, and its not good, but if I dont…then I will never get better, and things wont ever be ok….or I will be alone, which isnt any better emotionally. I know its unrealistic to fix 20 years of various types of abuse in one year, and try to get a job, be more mature and responsible and more adult, raise two special needs kids with various diet restrictions that make me have to cook every single meal from scratch, be a good wife, lose weight,exercise,pay the bills and not overspend, take care of a grandparent with alzheimers and expect to do it all perfectly, I know that, but that doesnt mean that it doesnt need to be done at least without me seriously hurting myself or someone else, either physically or emotionally.

I know I can get better, I know I will get better, I know this will all be worth it in the end, but not if the end is me in prison or dead…so how do I keep that from happening while Im trying to be supermom, and keep my family intact?


I am so grateful to everyone here. I can’t even begin to put into words, how I feel. Darlene, you are absolutely BEAUTIFUL. I’ve been reading through your blog posts, yesterday and last night I read until my eyes couldn’t focus any more. Your blog is a life-saving oasis in the barren desert.

Krissy, thank you so much for your very healing, kind, affirming, understanding words. I can’t thank you enough.

Amira… wow, you have a LOT on your plate. I hope you are making YOU a #1 priorty. It’s been a few years since I’ve flown in an aircraft, but as I recall, during the pre-flight instructions, the passengers are told that if an emergency happens that causes the oxygen masks to drop, parents are to put their own oxygen mask on FIRST, before putting one on their children, because if the parent isn’t able to breathe, they will die, and then be of no use in protecting their children.

When my kids were young, I tried to do it ALL. When I was in my early 30s, I was working a full time job at night, homeschooling my 3 kids during the day, and also going to college full time. I got very little sleep, and no relaxation. I finally broke, and broke HARD. Then, I wasn’t able to do anything. That was when my kids learned to look down on their mother and be ashamed.

Today I feel a lot better about myself, and life in general, than I did yesterday. I know who I am… I am Kind. I am Caring. I am not heartless, cold, abusive, none of those things. I’ve made mistakes, Yes, lots of them. In my pain, my despair, my confusion, my “Craziness.” I’ve looked for love and rescue in All the Wrong Places. I’ve had a problem with anger, of being triggered by things from my extremely traumtic past, that drove me to lash out in anger in ways that were wrong and hurtful to others, when I projected, due to triggers, things onto people that wasn’t rightfully theirs. Like when I would see my abusive ex-husband in my elder son, or when I would see my cold selfish mother in my own daughter. I’ve struggled with these periodic feelings, off and on, for many many years.

But that is the difference between Me, and my Abusers… I’ve struggled, trying to do what was Right, trying to make amends when I would realize that I had been Wrong. I would admit when I was wrong with my kids, while my abusers always were intent on excusing and minimizing and blaming. One time when my eldest son was in his 20s, I called him just to say hi, and he was probably smoking dope or something, he was on a big manic-like talking jag, and he started in talking about all the ways in which I had failed him and hurt him and not been there for him and let him down when he was growing up. And I LISTENED. I mean I really, really LISTENED. For 5 and 1/2 hours, I listened! I know it was that long, because that was what it said on the long distance phone bill. It was a $70 phone call, in which I listened for 99% of the time, and spoke only about 1% of the time. I did if FOR HIM. I did it, because that is what I would have LOVED for my mother to do for me…. OH how I would have LOVED to have her be willing to LISTEN to me, while I poured out all my hurt and anger, WITHOUT making ANY excuses, WITHOUT ever saying to me, BUT HOW DO YOU THINK I FELT? My mother would never in a million years give me that gift, not for 5 and 1/2 minutes, let alone for 5 and 1/2 hours… AND PAY $70 on her phone bill while she was at it!!!

THAT is who Lynda is. Diagnosed schizophrenic in 1967 when I was 14, locked up in an insane asylum for almost 2 years, marrying 2 months after I got out of there at the age of 16 to an 18-year-old who only wanted a wife and child to avoid being drafted to Nam, beaten by that husband many many many times, told I was crazy and bringing it on myself, told that by my mother too of course, having my first son in the middle of all that, then going into a second marriage to a much older man-father-figure who abused me even worse than my first husband did, raping me, and coming within a fraction of an inch of killing me by almost breaking my neck… that was right after I had given birth to my daughter.

My life has been one long crazy series of trauma, one trauma leading to the next trauma leading to the next trauma, like a series of car accidents in the fog on icy roads, a domino effect. But thru it all, even the year I drank to medicate, even the years I turned to waco controlling religions trying to find salavation… thru it all, I have loved my 3 children so much that I would have laid down my life for any one of them in a heartbeat, and that is the God’s Truth.

I will end with this quote that I read recently, in Michael Connelly’s book “9 Dragons”: Happy is the man who finds refuge in himself.

I find refuge in knowing this: I would rather be “crazy” and “broken,” than be heartless and cold. If I had to be broken to be who I am, then I am glad I went through the traumas.

I love you beautiful women, every one of you.




thank you so much for that. I can relate to what you said immensely. I had that “break” that you spoke of when I was in my late 20’s, after two failed abusive marriages (I so relate to the cheating husband because you arent “good enough”..that alone would have been hell without the extra crap added to it) after being a single mother for four years and working and going to school and living on my own and being everything for everyone and not giving myself a second thought and drinking and using and every other unhealthy coping mechanism that exists just to get through the day, at times not sleeping for weeks (which is one reason I was diagnosed bipolar…never mentioning the rape that was weeks before one of these incidents happened, and that the flashbacks were keeping me from sleeping and I stopped eating and was living on espresso because I had no money for food…its no wonder I didnt sleep, but I never told the doctors that because there had been so many instances of rape and sexual, physical, emotional abuse, that it ceased to be important or of signifigance, because I wasnt important or significant)

So when I married my current husband almost six years ago, I “broke” because I knew he was a good man and would take care of me and the kids (and he has, thank God) and spent years in bed, literally. I didnt cook or clean or even shower most days…and my kids and my husband have lost a lot of respect for me because of that…I never mentioned the abuse to anyone until this year, I just didnt figure it mattered, I thought I was crazy and that was that….only when my kid’s therapist mentioned PTSD and asked about my history, did I mention it to her, and she said to tell my current therapist (who thankfully specializes in rape/sexual abuse therapy…talk about a Godsend–I was seeing her just because I asked for a woman therapist and she was available)

so after several hospitalizations and the whole medication runaround, I realized that maybe my abuse DID matter, and WAS important in some way (I didnt mention it through the first two hospitalizations…I thought my ADHD was the problem at that time) so after the THIRD hospitalization…a week after I told my current therapist about the first instance of abuse as a child that I remember (I have suspicions there were others before that, but its just a gut feeling, no proof of anything) I realized that there was indeed a connection….and I told, and told, and told, and told..and then I started to heal…and its been hell, but I know that its going to be ok in the end, I just want to make it that far, with my husband and my children as part of my life and all of us sane and not needing a lifetime of therapy because of my bad choices, even though they arent my fault.

One of the hardest things I ever did was during PHP (partial hospitalization–daily therapy after a hospital stay) I had to do an art therapy assignment and draw me the way I see myself…and everyone else had pictures of people with smiles or happy faces or some kind of person, I had a tiny “x” in black ink in the corner of my paper…and I realized that “that” really was how I saw me, and that I had to do something to make me important, and that is HARD, but soooo worth it. Im so afraid Im going to become self centered and mean and stop caring about anyone but me if I do that, but I cant let fear keep me from healing, I just cant.


Hi Amira

I can really relate to you here. It took me 2.5 years of really hard work on myself just getting deep clarity (and then another year to get “grounded in the new way” before I had any kind of balance. Don’t get discouraged at the one year mark. the thing about the process is that it takes time and there are many levels to it. I didn’t worry so much about my family because I kept telling myself that what I was doing was truly the definition of “best” for everyone. I reached a point where I had to realized that my husband had his own problems and my recovery wasn’t really effecting him as much as he wished I thought it was. A lot of it was in my mind because I was so sure that I was so bad ~ such a mess etc. All of what you described as “your goals” I had to let go of. That is “doing” stuff that really was the fantasy box of perfection as a wife and mother that I had to let go of. No one person can expect that from themselves. My kids today help around the house, they contribute to the cooking and dishes, the laundry and so does my husband. I was at the end of my rope still thinking I was a failure and I put so much pressure on myself. I had to take some of it off myself. I had to rethink what was possible and as you know I had to put my recovery first and not skip the steps of doing what it took because in the end, there was the definition of BEST for everyone. And today we live in harmony together and I never imagined a life like this, but it was born out of my efforts to heal.

I love your honesty and courage Amira. Please give yourself a break.
Thanks so much for being here. Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lynda,
Yes, I finally broke too, and I broke hard also. I did too much, I pushed myself too hard, and I never considered my own needs. (and everyone was willing to go along with that ~ why not??) Thank you for your willingness to share so much of yourself with us; it means so much to me and to the readers. Sharing our struggles, stories and journeys is powerful.
Hugs, Darlene

P.S. one last thing Amira;
I was afraid that we would all need a lifetime of therapy too… but we didn’t. It finally settled down, but not in one year. I was also afraid that I was going to end up self centered, mean and not caring too! (and it didn’t help that I already believed that I was those things because well, my mother always said that I was)
But what do you think happened? You read my blog.. you know that Jimmy comments on it. Do you think I ended up not caring? OR that I am self centered? I suspect that you “know” I am not. And I can almost guarantee that you will not end up that way either!
Love and hugs, Darlene


OH, Amira… we’re getting really, really REAL here. This is so HEALING.

I relate totally to what you wrote: ”So when I married my current husband almost six years ago, I “broke” because I knew he was a good man and would take care of me and the kids (and he has, thank God) and spent years in bed, literally. I didnt cook or clean or even shower most days…”

I have broken more than once in my life, when I said that I broke in my 30s after a few years of working, homeschooling 3 kids, & go to college full time during part of that… that was just ONE of my breaks. My first one happened when I was 14, when, as I said before, I was diagnosed with acute schizophrenia and institutionalized, which is what they did to “crazy” people in the 1960s, they locked you up and threw away the key. I have been told by very many doctors in the years since then that I was badly misdiagnosed, that I never was schizophrenic, but it wasn’t until 2003, just a few weeks before my big 5-0 birthday, that I took my settlement money from my last miserable divorce and checked myself into a renowned psychiatric clinic where I paid thousands in cash, having lost my insurance and all my support in the divorce. Anyway, it was then, in 2003, after a full battery of phsyical and psychological tests, that I was told I WAS NOT CRAZY, that I WAS NOT “MENTALLY ILL,” but that I had complex-ptsd from my lifetime of trauma, and that it was a normal thing to have, when you have been severely traumatized, just as it’s normal to bleed when you are stabbed.

But here is the point that I was getting at… in 1967, when I was 14, I “broke” for the first time, when I was misdiagnosed with acute schizophrenia. I had never had any kind of a symptom of mental illness prior to then. Prior to that time, I was the strong one, I was the eldest child by many years, the one my mother leaned on. I was trying so hard to take care of my mother and my then-4-preschooler little siblings, trying to keep everybody at home fed and clean and SAFE, trying to keep my mother from killing herself, as she threatened many times, by various means, and also, most of all, trying to prevent her from ever again trying to gas us all to death, or to drive us off a cliff as she had said she would do. I was 12, and 13 years old, and doing all that. When I would go to school every day, my mother would lock my 5 year old twin sisters, and my 3 year old and 1 and 1/2 year old brothers, all in one little bedroom together. They would actually have to use the bedroom closet for the bathroom, they went on the floor in there, because she wouldn’t even let them out to go to the bathroom. I would come home from school and let them out and clean them up and get them water and something to eat. And mother would either be lying on the sofa crying, or in her bedroom crying, and often she would ask me to stop taking care of the kids and come and hold her, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that, she literally stank, and when she wanted me to hold her, when I did do that, she moaned in a creepy way, so I wouldn’t do it any more.

Then after she had confessed to me about trying several times to override the safety on the gas furnace so she could do us all the “favor” of taking us out of the evil hard world she had brought us into, in the night in our sleep, or driving us off a cliff, since she couldn’t override the furnace, I was so very afraid that she would flip out and kill herself and my little sisters and brothers while I was in school. Unable to sleep at night, for fear of being gassed to death, I would go to school and sit there all day so exhausted, and unable to concentrate, with terrible fearful visions going thru my head of what might be happening at home. The fearful imaginings would grow every day as I rode the bus home, the fear that I would walk into the house and find them all dead.

I would walk home from the bus stop in terrible dread, then stand outside the back door, listening, waiting, for some sound on the other side of the door that would tell me that they were still alive. Hearing the tv wasn’t good enough, because that could have been left on, I needed to hear a live voice from one of my siblings, or my mother, before I could bring myself to turn the knob and open up the door.

When there are 4 preschoolers in a house, it usually didn’t take long for one or more of them to yell or scream or cry out, they were always squabbling, which was why mother said she couldn’t bear to have them running all around the house when I wasn’t there to keep them all quiet and in line. But sometimes I would have to stand there and wait for several minutes, with my dread and terror growing bigger every second, until finally, one of the “kids” would call out, whine, yell, cry, something, and OH the blessed RELIEF that would flow thorugh me, knowing it was safe to go inside the house, my family was still alive.

This went on, day after day after day. I didn’t dare tell anyone, because I was 12 and my mother had told me that if I told, that she woulod go to prison forever and the 5 of us would be sent to 5 different foster homes and never see each other again. My family was my WORLD, my heart, my soul, my LIFE. The thought of that happening was a fate worse than death, to me.

Then, my mother started dating, got pregnant with my half-sister Kristy, and married the wonderful man she was dating. Like you, Amira, I knew that he was a GOOD MAN, I knew he would take care of the family, come hell or high water. Mother was almost normal when he was around, she was cooking and cleaning and bathing again. She wasn’t going to kill anybody, anymore….

AND, I relaxed my fierce vigilant day in, day out struggle to keep my family alive and healthy… and that was when I started hearing voices, I thought I was haunted by ghosts, I was dissociating, falling apart, living more in a dream than in reality, because I didn’t have to be STRONG anymore.


PS~ WOW. I just read this entire blog post, with all the comments, mine included, out loud to my husband. It took over 2 hours to read it all. He stopped me several times to ask questions or make comments.. all very helpful, healing things. I can’t believe how HEALING it felt to read everything a second time, this time aloud, and to have my loving, understanding husband, listening and commenting.

I’m sorry I took up so much of this with my personal horror story! I didn’t realize how much I had written here untl I read it all out loud!

But thank you, ALL, so much, for being here, for being YOU, for sharing your stories and letting me share mine, WITHOUT JUDGMENT. Your acceptance and kindness and understanding and LOVE, deeply touches my heart.

My husband said at one point, when I was about halfway through reading all 55 comments: “What they all need is to be LOVED, and ACCEPTED, and UNDERSTOOD, by someone who knows that they aren’t crazy, that it’s normal to have PTSD reactions to what they’ve gone through.” My husband is a Vietnam Combat Veteran with PTSD, so he KNOWS.


Your Sister,


Sorry for wanting clarification, Darlene, but I don’t get why being patient and modeling the truth to our kids can see them change, while we should give up on our parents or abusive significant others in our lives? I mean, when I met my ex, he was in his early 20’s and already was abusive (to his mum and ex girlfriends). You mean if his mum had decided to go on a healing journey of truth that maybe he would have changed? If not, then why should I bother with my daughter in her 20’s and not go “no contact”? It’s not that I WANT to – after all, I have a mother’s heart, but what if it exposes me to the kind of abuse that I tried to get away from?

Someone mentioned that now their kids do the chores, etc. And that’s exactly what I was trying to do after my ex left – instill a sense of responsibility, but that’s where things fell. My son always gets triggered when I try to put some boundaries there and he gets aggressive, and when I put my foot down some more so he doesn’t “get away” with it (as my ex used to convince me I was doing, letting him get away with it), he self-harms or explodes. So I back off to just love him and let him heal, but then after a while, I feel guilty for not requiring more from him or letting him grow up lazy. But when I start to talk about doing a chore or reminding him when it is not done, he gets so triggered he wants to commit suicide. (He locked himself in his room to die and tried to burn his room down last week.)

Sorry if you have to repeat yourself. I am trying to really understand what you are saying.


Hi Lynda,
Please don’t ever worry about the length or the content of what you share here. It is healing for you and for everyone else too.
Thanks for being so open,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Krissy,
This is REALLY complicated. What I am trying to tell you, I learned over 3 years of therapy and a few more years of practical application. I can’t explain it in a comment. Each situation is dealt with on a individual basis. There is a lot of belief system stuff that comes into it. I drew my boundaries in stages, not all at once. I drew them as I was strong enough to draw them. The ages of the kids have a lot to do with so much of this. I am not saying that when a parent goes on a healing journey that it always makes a difference in the decisions that the adult child makes but that it can. The bottom line is that it was imperative for me to do what was right for me and in my case it has made a positive difference in the lives of my entire family and I believe that we can model the truth to adult children, but if they don’t want to live in truth or in “the new system” with us, and if they want to be abusive, then we have a tough decision to make. It took me 4 years before I even had the thought that if my son became abusive to me as a young man, (thinking about it then because of his teenage devaluing attitudes towards me at the time) that I would have to take some action and might even decide “no relationship”‘ I am not taking responsibility for HIS choices now, even though I know that our sick family system contributed to his belief system. When he was a minor, (and with each passing year) I had to try to model something different then I had done before. Again, this is a very complicated subject.
I hope that makes some sense.
Hugs, Darlene


Lynda, thanks for sharing your experience with your husband. I always wondered what war vets had to say about the commonality of PTSD to interpersonal violence and combat violence. It’s good to hear that no one is comparing notes and symptoms, but I thought I should never complain because at least I was not in a war. Yet, guns were involved. I had to learn survival skills. I had to hold my breath, hold my pee, keep younger kids quiet while huddled on one chair in a den, afraid that we would be our father’s next victims of a tirade. Anyway, it’s good that your husband is supportive, and that the understanding is reaching out.


Lynn, it’s interesting that you would make that comment about having wondered what war vets would say about the commonality, or difference, between combat-related ptsd and ptsd from other causes.

Last night, when I was reading all these posts to my war-veteran husband, he made a comment about someone here saying that she thought she didn’t have the right to have problems, because “other people have had it worse.” Stan, my husband, said that one of the things he learned in 2005 while he was going thru 9 weeks of in-house ptsd treatment at a VA hospital, was that it is never helpful to compare or say, “Well, your traumas were worse than mine,” or “your ptsd is not as bad as mine,” because they were told that PAIN is PAIN, TRAUMA is TRAUMA, PTSD is PTSD…. Period. There is no “worse,” when it comes to pain, it just HURTS.

I’m not sure that I totally agree with that. Some traumas are worse than others, some pain is worse than others, some ptsd symptoms are worse than others. I’ve had 3 children, and each birthing experience HURT like the dickens, but they were all different. The last one hurt far worse than the first two put together did, and the first one hurt a lot worse than the second one… until the very end, when it was about equal. Anyway, it really doesn’t matter, they all HURT.

On the other hand, I’ve had toothaches that hurt so bad I almost wanted to shoot myself, so…. yes, it’s true, thaat pain is pain. And I do agree with the general principle behind what Stan said, that it’s not helpful or productive to try to figure out who may have had it worse, or whose ptsd is worse.

Stan did tell me about a week ago though that he and his best friend, our neighbor Cesario, who is also a Vietnam Veteran with severe PTSD, were talking recently about me, and Cesario’s wife Emily who, like me, has ptsd from a previous abusive marriage. Stan said that he and Cesario agreed that Emily and I are a lot more “crippled” by our ptsd from abuse, than Stan and Cesario are from their combat ptsd. They came to the conclusion that, while war is hell, it must be even worse to go thru abuse at the hands of someone you loved and expected to love you, such as your parents or a spouse, than it is to go thru the hell of war!!

But then Stan was quick to explain to me that he and Cesario don’t think that they aren’t just as “sick” as Emily and I are, they just think that they aren’t quite as badly crippled, in their ability to function in day to day life, than Emily and me. Because Emily and I often can’t, or won’t, leave the house, for example, while Stan and Cesario go somewhere, though usually together, almost every day.

I agree with you, Lynn, it is interesting to see how veterens with ptsd look at non-vets with ptsd.

By the way, there is a BIG difference between a veteran with combat-related ptsd, who has NOT gone through any in-depth treatment, and one who has gone through treatment for ptsd. When Stan and I first were married, in 2004, he had never been in treatment for his ptsd. Before the ink was dry on our marriage license, he was screaming and yelling at me for every little stupid thing, and bullying me, and belittling me… so I left him. I was finally well enough not to stay and take it.

Long Story Short, Stan then went into the psych hospital at the local VA, then from there he went to a 9 week in-house treatment at the VA hospital in Topeka, Kansas, for ptsd, and since then he has been in regular counseling, plus going to a weekly therapist-led group for veterans with ptsd, and it has made him a whole new man, and literally saved our marriage. I wish we civilians had a program to go to, like the vets do!


PS~ I just read these latest posts to Stan, and he asked me to clarify my interpretation of what he learned in his veteran’s ptsd treatment program. He said they didn’t try to tell them that all pain is the same, they said that Trauma is Trauma, and no one should compare or judge how bad their truama is, compared to someone else’s trauma. They emphasized that it is extremely harmful to ourselves to say “Oh this person went through something so much worse than I did, so therefore I don’t have the right to feel so bad.” When we think that way, we are belittling ourselves. Stan says we are, in effect, abusing ourselves, beating ourselves up by saying, “I shouldn’t be this bad, I didn’t go through what others have gone through.” We are actually creating even MORE trauma, against ourselves, when we talk to ourselves in this way, and that will make us sicker, and prevent us from being able to get well!

Trauma, says Stan, can be DIFFERENT, but it’s not WORSE.



Thank you (and Stan) for these clarifications. I know them intellectually, but I still beat myself up for feeling bad. I think it might be another secondary effect of trauma. And, in my case, I might be using it as a reason not to continue – not to go through the pain – because I don’t have the “right” to “indulge” myself that way. I appreciate the explicit and tacit permission I’ve gotten from everyone here.

I do feel more of a right than I did even a few days ago, and I can only hope that gets stronger as I move forward. It’s mighty inconvenient to feel all this repressed anger during the holidays. Then again, it might be the perfect time to feel it and I need to just let it be what it is. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Christmas (those that celebrate it). 🙂


Hi Everyone!
There are two sides (and several problems) to this whole subject of analyzing our abuse and putting it in some sort of order of importance or trauma in relation to what someone else has been through. I never saw myself realistically when compared to someone else so I never validated myself. Someone could have been abused the EXACT way that I was and I would have not seen even the similarities.
The other problem is that we don’t understand that ANY kind of abuse had long term effects. Carla, who co authored this blog with me for the first 6 months of its life, had never been sexually abused or physically abused, but she had been emotionally abused. (and not even the kind of emotional abuse where they called her stupid or dumb or anything like that) Some people are told how to think, what to wear, what to do, who they are, who they should be or shouldn’t be, and they find themselves with the same degree of depressions, or struggles as someone who was physically abused their whole life.

So my abuse is mine. yours in yours. None is worse or not as bad. Stan was taught right. It is very important that we realize these facts for our own recovery and it was very important for me to stay out of the spin of thinking about it in terms of comparison. That was like getting off the healing path and getting on a little path that led NO WHERE. =)

Thanks for sharing all of this Lynda and to each of you that has contributed to the conversation!
This is very important foundational stuff!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, you said ” I never saw myself realistically when compared to someone else so I never validated myself. Someone could have been abused the EXACT way that I was and I would have not seen even the similarities.” and I totally agree. I can see abuse on TV and read comments and posts like these and cry for each and every one of you, but to feel the same way about myself, it just doesnt happen. I am STILL “not important” enough to warrant compassion like I feel for others, but reading posts like these and knowing that its common, albeit sad, helps somewhat, because for me, knowing im not “crazy” and that I really am valuable (although I only know it intellectually, I still dont “feel” it) no matter what may or may not be true, makes a difference.


its very interesting what Stan said about you and your friend Emily. I have often thought that about incest victims vs non incest sexual abuse, that their incest was far worse than my abuse was, because mine was by “boyfriends/husbands/strangers” and not my family (speaking strictly of the sexual abuse, not the other) and how bad it must be to live with the people that abused you and feel betrayed because they were supposed to love you and protect you and they didnt, and just now, writing that sentence, I realized that I DID LIVE WITH and DID LOVE some of the people that abused me, in the same context as an incest victim loves their parent/relative that is abusing them….so see how I “dont see the similarities” just like Darlene said.

I want to feel the anger, pain, sadness, grief and loss for myself that I feel for every other abuse victim I have ever come across, I want to experience the emotions for myself that i feel for others.

I want to care about me, like I care about you all. I love coming here and knowing that someday I will.


Hi Amira and everyone;
Have you read my new post on the importance of Self Validation? The motivation to write it was born out of the comments from this post, so I thought I would mention it here. You can find it by clicking on this title: Self Validation for Emotional Healing from Abuse. This was a vital step for me. =)
Hugs, Darlene


OH and something else that I just remembered that has helped others and it helped me too. If your child came to you and told you your story ~ except that it had happened to her or to him, how would you feel about that? Some people find it easier to find a pathway to self validation when they think about their story in these terms; as though it happened to their own precious child.
Just a thought.
Hugs, Darlene


I just read you latest post, and OH how I want you to care about you, too!

Here is one thing that has helped me greatly to learn to care about myself, and to respect myself, enough to have the courage to stand up for my rights, and even to LIKE, and LOVE, myself.

Several years ago when I was going through my last divorce, I was seeing a therapist who suggested that I keep a daily written journal about my feelings and thoughts. I tried, but I was too emotionally wound up, during that time, to write. The simple task of putting words on paper was beyond me. So one day, in total frustration, I decided to TALK into a tape recorder about the feelings and thoughts that I was in too much turmoil to write about. When writing was too hard, talking came easy. So I “journaled” into my tape recorder.

Later, I went back and listened to the recordings I had made, fully expecting to hear a ranting, raving, neurotic, crazy, emotional mess. I expected to hear that, because that is what my abusers had told me about myself, ever since I was a little girl, anytime that I was being emotional about something: “YOU’RE CRAZY! YOU’RE NOT MAKING ANY SENSE! YOU’RE TOO EMOTONAL! YOU’RE OVERLY SENSITIVE!”

But, to my amazement, I didn’t hear anything negative or crazy or out of balance, at all. Instead, I heard a woman who sounded kind and caring and humble and thoughtful, someone who was sensitive, but in a good way. I heard a woman who sounded hurt, but with very good reason, someone who had been through a lot, and had a lot on her plate, and yet was doing her very bes to overcome, and not let it destroy her. I heard someone who was honest, and introspective, and willing to do whatever it took to be a good, healthy, normal, loving person. To my shock, I heard a woman that I really LIKED, someone I would love to have for a FRIEND. WOW!!!

A couple of years after that eye-opening experience, I decided to be batptized in my new church. It is a very large church, and they have made it a practice to do an videotaped interview of every potential new church member, to show up on the huge tv screens to the congregation immediately before you are baptized, so that the church members can get to know who you are.

So there I was, standing in the baptismal water, waiting to be dunked, when suddenly there I was, on the gigantic screen behine me, and on screens to either side of me, and in the back of the church. I was telling about myself, telling the story of how I came to be where I was at that point in my life, at the age I was then, which was 52.

I looked at myself in amazement, and as I listened and watched myself talking on the giant video, I thought, “WOW! Is THAT really who I am? Is THAT really the way I look, and sound, and present myself to the world? Is that how other people see me??” And once again, I wasn’t ashamed of me or my demeanor or my manner or my way of talking, as I had expected that I would be…. I LIKED ME!

I still struggle sometimes with low self-esteem. When my sister and my niece posted some comments on facebook a couple of months ago, calling me “weird,” and “no big loss,” etc, it triggered all my old, lifelong feelings of hating myself, because I am “less-than” everyone else, in the eyes of my family of origin. I heard that stuff for decades, from the time I was tiny, mainly from my mother, but from others, too, so those feelings of being inherently unworthy run very, very deep.

It helps me to remember: I know who I am! I live in my head and in my heart, I know ME. I have heard my own voice, I have seen myself, as if from the outside looking in, and I LIKE who I am. I am not less than. I am beautiful, in the unique way that I believe my Creator made me to be… beautiful, in the Image of Beauty, beautiful, in the Image of Love. I am not my own workmanship, I am a one-of-a-kind handmade original, created by the greatest artist of all. Anyone who dares to treat me as though I am LESS than ANYONE ELSE, is a LIAR. I won’t listen to those ignorant, hateful lies anymore… especially not inside my own head!

You might want to try it, Amira. Talk into a tape recorder, or better yet, into a video camera, then introduce yourself to you. I believe you will be happily surprised!



I will try that Lynda 🙂 I posted on the other post about it!!


I think I might do something like that (thinking in terms of my own child being abused) by getting a picture of myself at the age when the overt abuse started and putting it up on the wall, and thinking/feeling/saying positive things about that little girl in the picture, and then kind of mentally reminding me that she is me and that Im all the things she is/was/will be and that there is still hope for the future and I think seeing a visual picture like that will make a difference for me, its less abstract that way 🙂


What a beautiful idea, Amira, about putting up a picture of yourself as a little girl when the abuse started, and saying positive things about that little girl in the picture. I’m going to do the same thing! Thanks for the idea! Wow we are giving each other ideas, how cool is that~

Darlene, this is the best healing community I have found for abuse survivors, thanks to your great balance and wisdom and being so REAL.


I am looking forward to the updates about how this works for you! I did so much of this kind of work in my healing.

Thanks for the compliment and all the encouragement. I am really blessed knowing that this blog resonates so well with you and that you are finding some comfort here!

Hugs, Darlene


Lynda, I just wanted to let you know that I did read the comment about PTSD and Stan. I guess trauma is so devastating it is beyond compare, and sometimes, I fear, beyond repair. But we keep on….


Hi. I saw the comments about embracing the little girl inside. My mother sent me pictures of me from my childhood when I was 43. It took me a couple of years to look inside, and when I did, I did not identify with the girl in the picture. I took a workshop on the inner child, and the exercise was to draw yourself as a child. I drew a ghost picture, just an outline of a human, but no facial features or limbs or belly button. So, I was invisible. Still in my forties, I went on a quest to honor that child and bring forth her personality. My mother sent me outfits I wore as an infant, as well as booties. As silly as it sounds, I made shadow boxes with pictures that matched the outfits, and one with my “First Holy Communion” pictures and the head veil I wore. To do this activity as an adult reflecting on the child did feel self-indulgent and self-absorbed. But I put them on my walls and peered at them, as if to get in touch with the little girl re: osmosis. It was helpful.


Hi Everyone,

Knowing that all of you are here, on this healing blog community, helped me get through Christmas. We had an unusual Christmas… it was wonderful and hard and healing and exhausting. Through it all, I kept thinking of the many great posts and comments here on Darlene’s blog, and that helped keep me strong.

My husband Stan and I spent the day with our neighbors, Cesario and Emily. Like my husband, Cesario has severe PTSD from Vietnam, and like me, his wife Emily has PTSD from past domestic abuse.

Both Stan and Cesario were in Vietnam over Christmas, but with different units and in different years. They both have some hard memories this time of year, especially Cesario, whose unit was overrun on Christmas Day. He has never celebrated Christmas since.

The four of us drove up to the Vietnam Veteran Memorial in the mountains in Angel Fire, New Mexico. It was about a 4 hour drive, each way. Long and tiring, but with beautiful scenery and great company, it was also enjoyable. Then, when we got to the Vietnam Veteran Memorial, it was very emotionally intense, for all 4 of us, but in a healing way. We stood in front of the Huey helicopter and hugged and cried. Then I thanked Stan and Cesario for their service to our country, and told them, “Welcome Home.”

There is a monument there that says that soil from Vietnam has been mixed in with the soil at the base of that monument, and soil was taken from there and mixed with soil in Vietnam. I knelt down and touched the ground at the base of that monument, and thought about my husband, when he was a very idealistic young man, who wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather and be a war hero, and I thought about all that he went through in Vietnam, the horrors that changed him forever.

After we left the Memorial, we stopped to get gas in the town of Angel Fire. Stan and Cesario were both wearing their new ballcaps that say: Dysfunctional Veteran – Leave Me Alone. The cashier at the gas station saw their hats and told them that there was a Christmas dinner being held in town that was free for all Veterans. So we went there and had a delicous meal with prime rib and turkey.

We saw a wild turkey on the way back down the mountains, in fact we almost hit it! We also saw countless deer, bucks and does, some huge elk, and many pronghorn, which is a type of antelope. And more beautiful scenery, along with a beautiful sunset.

Now it’s 3 days later, and I’m still tired. But it’s a good tired. I’m not really sure why it was so healing to spend our Christmas the way we did, but it definitely was. Emily and I talked a lot in the backseat of the van while the men were driving, we talked about how lonely it is for both of us, with our kids grown and gone and seeming to have no time for us. Like my 3 grown kids, her 4 have all taken the side of their father, her abuser. Emily doesn’t have a computer, so I told her about this blog, and the recent comments about how our children are affected. It seemed to help Emily to know that she isn’t the only one.

Thanks Darlene, and everyone, your posts here mean so much.



Hi Lynda,
Thank you for sharing your Christmas and the healing that came with it with us here. I am really glad that you had a wonderful day. =)
Hugs, Darlene

Everyone ~ the posts and comments for the following titles are generating comments related to the ones in this post. Please feel free to visit them by clicking on the post titles

Self Validation for healing Emotional Abuse
Tomorrow I will start to face the pain


Lynda, that sounds like an amazing day of synchronicity. What are the chances that the 4 of you would have so much in common? I have been to that Memorial in New Mexico, so I could envision your trip. Themes I got from your day is that Christmas is what we make it, and family is who we choose.


I agree, Lynn, it is very amazing that my husband Stan and I have so much in common with our neighbors Cesario and Emily! It seems almost miraculous to me, how we ”happened” to move into the house right next door to them last March. This is just one of several incredible experiences that have made a True Believer out of me. After being staunchly agnostic most of my life, in the past 7+ years I have come to believe that there really is a Creator, one who is good and loving and who has our best interests at heart. I believe our Creator has given us instincts to guide us in our pursuit of healing, IF we will allow ourselves to be open to that guidance. Seek, and you shall find. We were given a free will, so we have to be open, and we have to seek; it won’t be forced on us. That’s what I believe, anyway.

This is a prime example of how something Really Wonderful, can come out of something Really Awful. Almsot a year ago, we lost our house to foreclosure. It was a scary, devastating time. Where would we go, where would we live, with our once-pristine credit ruined, and very little money? My husband cried so hard. I was beyond tears, I was too terrified to cry. Then we prayed, and then the idea came to my husband to look for low-priced, owner-financed, low down, no credit check homes for sale in Craigslist. We knew to be careful, there are a lot of wicked scams out there. We found some horrible houses that were depressing just to drive by, no way could we actually live in one of them. But then we found this house, almsot 200 miles away from where we were then living, in a sweet, peaceful little town, only a half hour drive from a larger town with all the amenities, and just an hour and a half away from a very large city. This house seemed way too good to be true… it is cute and charming and just the right size for us, and it cost about 1/4th of what the house that we had lost originally cost us back in 2006, but we like this one so much better. We closed through a reputable title company, so we know that everything is legit. This house is exactly my taste, it’s a 1930s Craftsman bungalow. It needs some cosmetic fixup here and there, but even without that it is perfectly sound and cozy. AND, it’s right next door to our new best friends, Cesario and Emily.

The bonus is that we will have this house paid off completely in less than 5 years, paying about half each month of the amount we were paying on our old place, and that had a 30 year mortgage. SO, the best thing that happened to us, was losing our house to foreclosure, even though at the time it seemed like the worst thing.

Life is a Mystery! You never know what’s around the next bend, or what’s going to happen in the New Year.



[…]  “that” Makes me Angry Categories : Self Esteem […]



Anger is a great pain-killer. I spent years being angry. If I hadn’t of been angry, I would have come to a dead stop. I would have been overcome by the pain. The problem was that my anger never showed itself at the appropriate time or at the appropriate target. Some small thing would set me off and the massive amount of anger inside of me would spill over. My poor husband used to say, “I don’t know why you are angry at but it isn’t me.” When I finally started facing my past instead of running from it or hiding from it, my anger began to disipate and become more managable. I hate that I was angry like that in front of my children and I’ll always remember my oldest saying, “Mommy! What are we going to do about what is broken in your head?”

I’m not so angry anymore but still I have a problem in thinking that I should have anger at the men who sexually abused me but I feel nothing. I don’t understand that. On the other hand, I’m afraid of what might happen if I do begin to feel when I think of those things that they did to me. They were bathed in shame and fear of their discovery for decades. Most of that is gone now but I am surprised by the nothingness that is left in its place.


Hi Pam
The anger only serves a purpose for a time in recovery. Then for me it left. It was a good sign!
I too was angry at the wrong times; I was messed up! But I am not doing any of that anymore.

I have read three of your comments on three different posts this past 20 min or so here, and I think you remind me of when I was at a turning point in my recovery! It felt to me like a stall, but it was more like a rest before the next level! (and it only got better from that point on!)
Hugs, Darlene


[…] Anger is healing. Until I acknowledged my anger and until I felt it and affirmed my right to it, I could not let go of the past.  […]


What makes me angry:

I had no say in my life (Consider these situations)

-Maternal grandmother: Seriously Carlos a chef!? Why can’t you be like your Aunty who is an engineer in a mining company, who earns a lot of money. (Whatever happened to your it’s not about the money talk?)
-Dad: You say you don’t
want to do karate, but do you want to be more confident in terms
of your appearance, do you want to be able to protect yourself? (And with those “scare tactics” I gave in to karate. Fortunately when he realised that I wasn’t getting anywhere, he gave up.)
Dad: You better finish your degree this year okay? (In a threatening tone)

The double standards

-Dad and grandma uses their own spoon and fork to get food out of the serving dish instead of the designated serving spoon (If my sister and I did it, we are apparently promoting cross-contamination! Tssk hypocrites.)

Being held back when I was pissed off

-Maternal grandma: Haha Carlos, you’re so fat that’s why you slipped near the clothes line!
-Me: It’s not because I am fat, it’s because the ground was slippery!
-Dad: Carl, that’s the last time that you’re going to rage out like that to her okay? (Um what do you want me to do Dad? Hold a party for her “helpful” advice?)

Being talked over and not being given the same respect as those “above me”

-Dad I could barely drive with Mom around what if grandma reacted the sam…
Dad: It doesn’t really matter how your grandma would react, let’s just keep driving
-Dad while I was watching a program I was catching up on in our set top box: Should we watch something else? This program or that? (I didn’t respond as I was too busy watching)
Dad: *Grabs set top box’s remote and immediately exits my program* (Jerk. Oh right the top box’s company debits from his account, so that gives him a right oh okay, I’m so sorry I just realised).

Being incriminated

-There was a time in which we were dining at my maternal uncle’s house and my cousin’s room was next to the dining room. So if you were to hit the wall in my cousin’s room, the counter in which the food being served is on, will feel the impact. A couple of my other cousins were mucking around and hit said wall, and my ever so loving father comes storming into my cousin’s room along with his signature death stare exclaiming: “Was that you Carl?”

Being told that the elders have “special rights”

-When I told my Dad about how pissed off I was when his “Side kick” (Evil mother-in-law) said my degree was worthless he said: “She shouldn’t have said that because only your Mom and I have the right to say something like that about your life”
*Firstly don’t involve my Mother in you and your sidekick’s toxicity.
*Secondly I can’t believe how incredibly two-faced you can be.
*Finally are you saying that “adults” have a right to ridicule!? Whether it be a parent or not, you don’t have a right to do that!

My father’s excuse for all the wrong? It’s basically summed up by this message on my 21st birthday card:

“Your Mom and I were very young when we had you, hence some of the terrible mistakes we have done (By we meaning you right Dad?). If we were a lot more mature then perhaps, we could have been the parents that you wanted.”

So are you trying to say sorry that you chose your “designated path” over “what could have been?”

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