The Best Advice for the Healing Journey by Christina Enevoldsen


Horsetail Falls, Columbia River Gorge

I am excited to welcome Christina Enevoldsen, founder of the popular blog and facebook page “Overcoming Sexual Abuse” and published author of the book “The Rescued Soul” as my guest writer for Emerging from Broken. Christina has a wonderful message and I am thrilled to have her voice on my blog this week. I hope you will help me welcome Christina and please feel free to share your comments with us. Darlene

 The Best Advice for the Healing Journey by Christina Enevoldsen

At the beginning of my healing process, my pain oozed out of me. I didn’t seem to have a shut off valve to contain the memories and emotions that were surfacing. Consequently, without intending to talk about my abuse, words or tears would leak out before I knew what I was saying or feeling.

My friend, Claire, had been abused as a child and had been raped as an adult. At the time, I thought someone who had been so wounded and violated would be a good source of the understanding and compassion that I sought (without knowing that’s what I was looking for).

Unfortunately, that’s not what I found. While I sat across from Claire, crying and trembling, she cited scripture and told me I needed to put things in God’s hands. She believed that if I applied my faith to my abuse, I wouldn’t have to waste my time being so sad or negative.

The way Claire dispensed her rational information left me feeling like there was a barrier between us—like I had shown up at her doorstep with a contagious disease and she reacted by throwing her religious rhetoric out on her lawn, quickly slamming the door behind her, hoping I would go away.

Claire didn’t want to hear about my past or about my pain. She wanted me to put a smile back on my face and to be “fixed”. I was left feeling empty and frustrated. Sharing my pain with Claire only added more pain.

I know that Claire was trying to be a good friend and was only passing on what she truly believed. Coldly offering me that empty advice, the same “wisdom” she tried to live by, was all that she had. The trouble was, her advice wasn’t even working for her. Her own life was a huge struggle.

Around the same time, I met Julia, who had also been abused. She also considered her faith to be instrumental in dealing with her abuse, but she didn’t consider her faith to be a replacement for facing her past or as an excuse to bury her feelings.

Julia listened to me, empathized with me, cried with me, and embraced me. She poured out her own stories with her pain and fear and anger.

Telling my story to Julia was the gateway to feeling compassion for myself and to acknowledging the depth of my loss. I finally felt heard. When I saw her response to my experiences, I believed that what happened to me really was that bad and that I wasn’t making a big deal out of nothing.

Julia didn’t offer advice to me, at least not in the form of “You need to…” or by telling me what was best for me; she offered information that had helped her—books she’d read or techniques she’d tried. Mostly, though, she shared herself. She shared her presence. Julia was there for me.

I learned a lot from Julia. She modeled the value of “feeling what I feel” without judgment. She showed me that shouting obscenities can be really good therapy. Mostly, she created space so I could learn to find my way back to me.

Many years of my own healing process and reaching out to other survivors of abuse have only confirmed what I learned from those two friends:

  • Only those who have dealt with their own pain can help me deal with mine.


  • When people reject me for sharing my pain, it’s because I remind them of their own pain, but that doesn’t mean I’m a pain.


  • Their rejection doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve comfort; it means they can’t offer it. 

There’s a greater lesson that I learned from my two friends: As lost as I felt in the beginning of my healing journey, I didn’t need advice. Living in abusive power and control dynamics throughout my childhood and most of my adulthood, I had very little power over my own life and decisions. I didn’t need one more person to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do. I needed the freedom and encouragement to sort through my feelings and then to decide for myself without guilt or pressure.

Love doesn’t say, “You need to listen to me because I know what’s best for you.” Love says, “I’ll listen to you so you can figure out what’s best for you.”

Part of my healing has been the transition of being directed by others to being directed by me. The healing process has revealed my own inner wisdom and I’ve learned to trust in the answers I have for my own life. I’m open to wise counsel from people I trust, but I have the most trust in myself. It’s been a process to get here, but I started to learn that when I was finally heard and validated.

 No, I didn’t need advice. Opinions or information aren’t what healed me. Human connection was where I found healing—connections that encouraged me to reconnect with myself—my own experience, my own emotions, my own expression. The best advice isn’t advice at all: it’s the permission to merely be by being with me.

Christina Enevoldsen is the author of The Rescued Soul: The Writing Journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal. She’s the cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse survivors looking for hope, inspiration, encouragement and tools for healing. Christina’s passion is exploring new ways to express her new life and freedom. She’s recently discovered the joy of waterslides and peach and basil salads. She and her husband live in Scottsdale, Arizona and share three children and six grandchildren.

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness



I’m very familiar with “Overcoming Sexual Abuse” through the facebook page and reading the book. Thank you Christina for everything that you share! It’s been very helpful for me.

I understand what you’ve said in this article from the side of needing to share my story and what kind of a response has been helpful. I feel like I’m still in the process of learning to be that kind of support for others. Sometimes I think it’s hard to know when someone is ready to talk, or how to keep sitting with them when they’re stuck. Sometimes I feel like I just need to get further along in my own process of healing. They may be addressing something in I haven’t because the order of their healing is that different from mine.

This is a great post.



One of my favorite parts of your article is where you said “Their rejection doesn’t mean that I don’t deserve comfort; it means they can’t offer it.” It was a long road for me to take back any idea of the wonderful things I deserved and one of the ways that I took it back was by realizing that when people deny me it isn’t my fault or my lack that caused it.

I love all of this post!

Thank you for allowing me the privilege of having your voice on my blog. Thank you for your wisdom and your friendship. Thank you for being you.

love and hugs, Darlene



I love this phrase that you wrote:
“… the wonderful things I deserved…” What an affirming way to put it! Yes, when people used to deny me, I believed it confirmed (and served as a harsh reminder) that I was undeserving. But NOW I see it as an opportunity to remind myself of my true value and what I really deserve. That motivates me to keep looking for ways to provide those things for myself. WooHOO!

Thank you for hosting my guest post! It’s great hashing over all these things with you. I love that our friendship is so fun and fruitful!

Love and hugs, Christina


Hi Hobie,

I’m so pleased to hear that Overcoming Sexual Abuse has been helpful to you! Yes, I understand the process of learning to be a good support to others. I struggled with that for a long time. I really wanted to get it right! I agree with you that getting a little further in the healing process will likely help you with others. I learned that the more I supported myself, the more support I could offer to others. It’s sounds like you have a very generous heart. You deserve to be the first recipient of all the love you have to offer!

Thanks for your comment!



I think that what I needed most was to be heard and validated by someone or more than one person who understood. I spent too many years thinking that there was something inherently wrong with me that made me not likeable, and undeserving if the things that other people seemed to deserve automatically.. I was afraid to open up to people in my life but somehow felt comfortable opening up on EFB. That was because from reading Darlene’s blogs I knew this wonderful lady DID understand, and Then when I started commenting and reading comments I found many that understood. That initial validation got me questioning lifelong false beliefs. I love what Christina says about ” I will listen to you so that YOU can figure out what’s best for you” because I know that even with outside validation and reading others journeys, ultimately it is me that will lead myself to freedom. Thank you for a great article.



That’s so awesome the EFB has been a place for you to find understanding and to find your voice. EFB is a very special place!

As much damage as those false beliefs cause (and how impenetrable they seem at first), it’s amazing how powerful it is to hear just a little validation. It pokes a hole in the facade, which is all we need to take the first steps toward the truth and freedom. Yay for freedom!

Thanks for your comment!



You’re welcome, Christina. I am a little over two years into the ” process” that EFB is about. When I first got brave enough to post a comment on EFB (and the courage came because I sensed people here would understand)it was there that I got validation for deeply buried feelings that I did not feel comfortable sharing with anyone in my life; not even those close to me. A few months later I called my brother and said I needed to have his listening ear because I wanted to say some things. We talked for about three hours and although we sometimes talked about issues with our parents before, I went much much deeper and told him lots of stuff I never before voiced out loud. He was supportive; he also had wounds from our dysfunctional family. He also said to me that looking back, he felt I unfairly got the brunt of it being the only female child. It as a very validating phone call, especially voicing things that at most I might have journaled about, but never ever confided in anyone about.
I’m currently at the stage where I realize the lies and manipulation a I grew up with. I know why they are lies. But Im stuck when it comes to getting out of the old survival mode coping mechanisms. For example I will still freeze when someone is nasty just as I did as a child. The fear that greater harm will come to me if I say something still takes over even though I am an adult instead of a four year old child cringing in a corner while a woman three times my size is standing over me with a belt. It was safer then not to react and bring on worse punishment, but not reacting to a bully now as an adult isn’t serving me well. It’s so hard to break out of the old defenses. I also still get deeply wounded by rejections. They are big triggers for me, even if it is from people not that close to me. All of a sudden Im right back to being a young girl constantly rejected by her mother, and also the one at school who is picked on and not invited to birthday parties. It is hard to reconcile that rejection from a coworker or acquaintance in the present is no where near as devastating as the rejection from a parent, or even from classmates when I was very young. The trigger seems to make the current hurt seem just as bad even though intellectually I know differently. So that is where I stand now. I’ve made progress in saying no to unreasonable people, I understand the false beliefs I held for many years and can spot manipulative people much more easily, but in other areas I have a ways to go to freedom.


Hey Amber! The same for me. I freeze when someone, especially a stranger is nasty. The extreem feeling of danger is there for me too. My father was extreemly violent and terrifying.
Its my instant response. If the abuse continues I run, literally. Confronting is just too scarey. I also am hypersensitive to rejection being rejected and made fun of all thru school. Amazing that at 61 that still bothers me. Working on all my issues but its a struggle. I have some great friends who just listen when I need heard. Hugs. Karen


Dear Karen, as always I am amazed at how similar our experiences are. Yes, the freezing is because I feel an extreme danger that any action on my part, verbal or whatever will put me in further danger. Of course it can be traced to early childhood and my mother. If she was yelling at me or hitting me, if. I dared say something she would escalate. It was safer to literally make myself smaller by going into a corner and crouching with my hands shielding my face. I remember one time in the front hallway being crouched in the corner as my mother alternated hands smacking my left and right cheeks very hard. I had no choice but to not cry,scream or say anything and try to protect my face with my own hands. I was all of four years old at the time. Another time when I was in elementary school and I was afraid of telling her about needing money for something at school, she cornered me behind the kitchen table lashing at me with a strap as I ran back and forth trying to avoid the whipping. This made me even more fearful of revealing my needs, because needs inconvenienced her and made her angry. Finally I was able to rationalize that my not speaking was causing more danger than if I forced myself out of my silence and revealed what I needed. She then stopped chasing me but even at 11 I realized she was not one bit sorry about how cruelly she had treated me.
So Karen, I can really understand how your experience with your father was terrifying and how you came to freeze up. Like you, I transferred the freezing to other people I froze when my classmates teased me. I feared saying anything would make it worse. I froze at age nine when a salesclerk falsely accused me of trying to steal something. I was so shocked by her accusation that I just stood there frozen and I knew that I couldn’t go home to anyone safe and tell them what happened because they might not believe me. I still freeze sometimes now, but not all the time. I had an incident a few weeks ago with the woman who watches my daughter once a week. She made a request in a phone message (sounded more like a demand) that I give her a few weeks advanced pay and when I called her back and said no, I only pay her after she actually works ( how do I know she won’t take the money and quit! and besides!I don’t have the luxury of advancing her that much money) anyway she got very pushy and wouldn’t back down and then her husband got very nasty in the background. I held my ground, and I let her know that if she ever pulls this again or if her husband is ever disrespectful again her job is finished.
I’m rambling now and it’s because I’m writing as thoughts are coming. I am glad you have some supportive friends. I don’t talk in person to very many people about this stuff, so it’s good to have blogs like this where people understand. Hugs to you. Amber.


Yes, the freezing is because I feel an extreme danger that any action on my part, verbal or whatever will put me in further danger.

I have this same “freezing.” It’s because….. if I stand up for myself, the other person escalates, and continues to make ME the “bad” person. My mom does this. But she does it covertly. I’m getting to the point where I can spot the “covertness” but I am not sure what she is being “covert” about.

I still cannot stand up to machismo guys and mean women. They make ME the bad person.


Although I had all my physical needs met (and I am supposed to be LUCKY about this???), my emotional needs were an “inconvenience” to my mom, who kept trying to TELL me how to feel.


DXS, I have trouble standing up to people who get really loud or really vicious, though I finally did it recently as I described in my previous message. I greatly fear escalation, and All these years later, there is still the fear of something physical happening, thanks to my belt wielding mother.
You are right about these people twisting things and making us the bad person. These people are experts at manipulation and twisting the truth. They aren’t going to change unfortunately so I guess we need to stand our ground or avoid them as much as possible.


Seems like a lot of us experience the freezing thing which goes with the feeling of extreme danger in confrontational situations yet I can never find much reading material on this issue. Maybe I am just looking in the wrong places. If anyone knows of some good books on this please let me know. Thanks Amber.


I so know what you mean about emotional needs being inconvenient to your mother – just makes you shut down in the end, doesn’t it.

I lived with a church culture like that for over 15 years – any problem and they’d pray for you, quote verses of scripture at you and then you were ‘fixed’. If you weren’t it was your fault because you didn’t have enough faith! I think it’s partly to do with the fact that they can’t (or won’t) face up to pain – probably their own? – and so they can’t cope with your pain. It just does so much damage and is actually nothing to do with God!

I’m just so grateful to have found EFB where pain is recognised and validated and there’s a way forward!



I read a book called Complex PTSD, From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker and it talks about the Flight, Freeze, Fight, and Fawn coping mechanisms and what precipitates us falling into these types of responses. There are combinations of them as well like Fawn-Freeze types also known as the Scapegoat, Fawn-Fight: smother mother!!! etc. Now I understand the complexities surrounding WHY I react the way I do. How the abuse of me manifested into all of these sick mind sets that I projected onto other people outside of my conscious awareness as a means to protect my self but how they robbed me from the life I deserved as an adult in the process. It’s hard to break free from the mind sets surrounding a helpless, abused 5 year old little girl when you believe that you are going to die if you do it. This book talks about the inner and outer critics and how being abused manifests these thought processes in our heads. If you look on line you can take a look at the index to see if it is something that would be helpful to you. I have referred back to this book many times throughout my recovery process and I am actually re-reading it now because I am at a different place in my recovery. It is so validating.



I can relate to the struggle of assertiveness, too, especially since I was raised hypocritically. Expressing anger or disagreement labeled me with an “attitude problem”, but I was still expected to stand up to bullies. When I failed because I didn’t want to seem “mean” it was my fault for being bullied. Yet, it was okay for my mother to blow her top over small infractions or take her issues out on me because it’s my fault for not understanding her since she worked a job she hated and was a low-income single mother. I’m also working on it now that I’m no longer under her punitive, hypocritical influence. Several weeks ago, I once asked a man in my neighborhood “Why is it any of his business?” when he bombarded me with nosy questions. That shut him up. A small victory for me. (Though, loud, vicious people intimidate me, too, thanks to my mother and other adults.)

Anyway, my mother’s choices are not my fault, and it’s not my responsibility to rescue her. (I don’t think my older siblings would ever get this. They can stop being her saviors if they want to, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.)


I’m so there right now. I got rid of the boogeyman family, they all were heinous and controlling. I confided in a friend when Mom first died because I was lost, she was helpful at first. She got though to the point where she wanted total control over my thinking and day to day activity. I got very agitated because she wouldn’t ease off, in fact she got worse when I tried to explain where I was coming from. I resented being so directed, she has a very strong personality and treated me as if I were a child who couldn’t go forward unless she guided me. I’ve pushed away as much as I could, she lives near and tries to be all up in my business. My husband at first had a hard time with my independence. I have lyme’s disease and for years he had to take care of me. That dynamic changed when I got better, he had a hard time letting go of control until I blew a fuse. He is trying hard now to understand but she is another matter. It is her personality to tell others what to do and if they don’t she is very vindictive. I’ve seen that in action with others since I’ve gotten to know her more, so I tried to tread easy, but now I can’t. I want me. I want to make choices I feel are best for me without asking her permission. She isn’t happy that I won’t share, if I do share a little bit with the smallest of things she is all over it. I can’t even have small talk with her, she’d find a way to tell me how brush my teeth if she could if I told her I got a new toothbrush. That’s exaggeration, but that’s how it is with her. She lives next door and when I go outside she immediately rushes over to “chat it up”. to be nosy, meantime I’m out there to work in my garden. I get a headache from hearing her sometimes and end up back in the house to lay down and the work doesn’t get done. I ignored her this past 2 months, if she came out I went back in, her husband is in tune and I know he’s tried to talk to her. I have to spell it out because I’ve reached my limit and if she wants to get ugly, that’s her problem. I don’t mind suggestions but don’t address me like a 2 year old who can’t function without being told what to do. I had enough meltdowns from my past and the people in it and that’s the point she has brought me to. She is the block warden in her mind, it’s everyone she that way with. I appreciated her help in the beginning but now she is a pain in the ass. The only thing I can do is be silent where I need to be silent and try and keep any conversation light and smile and get on with my day. I refuse to let anything hold me back and if I have to blow up to get her to back off… well I have to do what I have to do. I don’t need a babysitter.


My mother does not “get” that something said by Person A may be interpreted entirely different by Person B from what Person A “meant.” She thinks whatever she says I should just “get” and “understand.” Well, it would help if she would stop being covert and talking in obfuscation. For example, she would phrase things as “would you like to….” (which to me, means “optional”) and then she throws a fit if you say “No.” So basically I was blackmailed into saying “yes” all the time because I feared her wrath if I said “No.” Everything was “optional” but NO was never an “option.”

Is this love? No! It’s fear! Mom claimed that she didn’t want to be “demanding.” Oh no. She isn’t demanding. She just does emotional blackmail. She then said she didn’t know how to phrase things any other way. Ok, am I supposed to “compensate” for that? NO! I am only responsible for what you SAID, not what you MEANT!


@Ms Christina,
Thank you so much for your inspiring post. There are too many statements that resonated with me to single just one out– I needed to hear it all. It was a gentle reminder for me for when I listen and when I am seeking to be listened to.

Before I found EFB whenever I tried to share my struggles and experience with a trusted friend, even a therapist, my situation seemed so bizarre and outlandish that I felt the need to explain the back story each and every time. I did that hoping to find a solution until I just got tired of hearing myself talk. I felt I couldn’t speak to anyone about this situation and the truth is I really couldn’t.

Reading Darlene’s posts, identifying with so many of the people who comment here and joining the conversation gave me the validation I so desperately needed to become unstuck and move forward in my healing.

This is a wonderful place of shared compassion, validation and, most of all, at least for me, hope.


OMG, Kris your post really resonated with me! What you said about the frightened five year old girl who thinks she is going to die, and the mind sets we develop just to survive, yes, it is hard to stop living in those mind sets that were absolutely necessary to keep us safe at that young and vulnerable time of our lives. But being in that mind set as an adult has held me back. I still behave like the frightened child who thought that any move, any request, and even things coming from outside sources like if someone else said I did something wrong, could set my mother off. I feared her flying hands and the belt and still remember how the sting of the belt felt to this day. Your post gave me more clarity. Yes I really did fear that I might not survive my mothers hitting rages, but I didn’t realize until now that I really feared death. Today is the first time I came to terms with just how much fear I had and carried all my life.
Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ve heard of the fight and flight before, however articles on the freeze and fawn responses are harder to come by. I think I am a combination of fawn/ freeze. Sometimes too I’ll react with the flight, but so so rarely does the fight response kick in. That was squelched out of me decades ago. Thanks again for all your help today. Xoxo, Amber


S1988, I also experienced not being allowed to express feelings, especially displeasure and anger. And I also was expected to magically know how to deal with bullies. Did my parents teach me how to deal with bullies?? No!so just how was I supposed to know how to do something I was never taught to do. And wasn’t their own behavior bullying towards me? I had been taught to just shut my moth and stuff my feelings inside. Gee, that really helped me deal with the bullies in the school yard, didn’t it!


Oh yeah. If MY feelings got hurt, I was “too sensitive.” But if MOM’s feelings got hurt, it was my fault, I should have known not to say whatever….. yeah right. How come it’s ok for her to lash out at me if her feelings are hurt, but I’m not allowed to say MY feelings are hurt? Just because she didn’t INTEND (she claims) to hurt me doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt.


And Amber, yes, my parents never taught ME how to deal with bullies, all they did was say “stand up for yourself.” Well, HOW do I do that?


.Oh yes Amber. My father didnt rage at me til I was a teenager but I watched him abuse and terrify my mother. She taught me “don’t upset your father” and that translated to dont upset anyone. Dont speak back or speak up, bow your head and accept til its over. Oh boy did that teaching cause me problems both with zero self esteem and acceptance of bullying.
The day I finally spoke up, shouted back, said no more, I was thrown out so it kind of reenforced all the false beliefs- as I got what I deserved.
I did not deserve any of it ever. I know that now.
Pete Walker’s articles are really informative and an eye-opener to me.
Im still so amazed I lived under these mis-beliefs about my self for so long. But I never had one close caring “functional” person to give me positive reenforcement or feedback. Everyone in my circle wasnt that close, either came from dysfunction themselves or were part of my uncaring family. So my persona of being ” the problem” was never questioned. I just could never prove that I wasnt the problem no matter what I achieved. I never considered it was them. Amazing in hindsight.


Amber my mother said to me ” why didnt you know better?”. Talk about denial. She never taught me anything and was always abandoning and non supportive. I was just suppose to magically have self esteem, boundries, a voice, value and a great future when being kept totally under control and in servitude to her. Geeze!


Karen R
Oh yes! Don’t upset your Father! How often I heard that particularly in my teens. My Mum was so shut down and fearful and she taught me well. It’s a long time ago now but I’m still dealing with the consequences.


Karen R,

Everything you wrote resonated with me. I still can’t believe this is my life. I never had a clue that I was abused and now all I see is the abuse. We were so brainwashed. Our mood was determined by what my father’s was. Everything revolved around him and his alcoholism. My two biggest bullies were my father and my brother and my mother who told me to just ignore them as they both ridiculed and condemned me to death right in front of her face along with being physically abused. They used to double team me and wrestle me to the ground while my father had me in a choke hold where I could not breathe and my brother would hit me at the same time and I would scream for help and try to hit my father to get off of me but he was too big and he didn’t budge. I still can hear both of them laughing at me. It was just one big joke to them. I thought I was going to die. All of this happening with my mother standing right in the next room not saying a word and it happened over and over and over again. That is how you get DID. I literally could not breathe and no one came to help me. It blows my mind how I never once considered this abuse until now. I don’t know who to be angrier at… my father for physically abusing me or my mother for brainwashing me into believing that his behavior was ok.

It still hasn’t sunk in just how terrified to death I was as a little girl. I cringe when I read other people’s stories but when I tell mine it still doesn’t register that I was that little girl who was being suffocated to death at the hands of her own father no less. I just want to cry.




I’m also familiar with being brainwashed, except in my case it was more overt. I was told over and over again how I’m lucky to have a family like them because dysfunction only exist in “other families”, not in ours. A truly healthy family doesn’t need to prove to anyone (or themselves) that they are functional. Real healthy families concentrate on what they do without the need to convince the world.

At times, I’m slow to realize that I’m being abused, but I’m getting better at that. It took me until after I left undesirable jobs for it to click that I endured abusive management. I would tell myself that it’s “tough management”, not bullying, because after all, at home, I wasn’t being abused; it was “discipline”. (It’s very sick for an abuser to tell you what’s abuse and what isn’t. Thanks for the brainwashing, Mom!)


All the stories resonate with me. I am amazed at how exact someone’s story or experience can be similar to mine. I have not been able to write my story yet because I still second guess myself a lot.


All these comments resonate with me! I am amazed at how exact someone’s story or experience can be similar to mine. I have not been able to write my story yet because I still second guess myself a lot.


They used to double team me and wrestle me to the ground while my father had me in a choke hold where I could not breathe and my brother would hit me at the same time and I would scream for help and try to hit my father to get off of me but he was too big and he didn’t budge. I still can hear both of them laughing at me. It was just one big joke to them. I thought I was going to die. All of this happening with my mother standing right in the next room not saying a word and it happened over and over and over again.

Oh, they are just playing with you. You are being too serious. Can’t you take a little play???????

I bet that is what you got.

Well, THEIR right to “play” or “tease” ends with YOUR right to YOUR feelings!

I didn’t get that physical stuff you did. But I feared my mom, as HER feelings seemed to matter more than mine did. If I showed “feelings” I was “too sensitive” but HER feelings MATTERED.


Kris that is beyond awful what you endured. It’s terrifying. And for them to treat it as a joke is disgusting. And to not have your mother intervene. You were so little and helpless. I really feel for you!! Sending you great big healing hugs, Amber


DXS, I despise that ” can’t you take a joke ” or I was just kidding, playing” or ” you’re so sensitive “. This nasty shifting the blame tactic was used on me many times by people who knew I would absorb the guilt and blame and they would get away with their cruelty. Disgusting.


Oh Amber,

Those weren’t DXS’ words. She was poking fun at what abusers would say to exculpate themselves. Kind of like in my last post, I was being sarcastic when I thanked my mother for brainwashing me.



My mother would always comment about how “lucky” I was to have a family like them to count on and how other people didn’t have that!!! Now I see they were all just tactics to keep the blinders on me so I would never look and see what was really going on in that house. She was the master manipulator and brainwasher. My father was too drunk to know the difference and he didn’t care what he looked like. He never saw anything wrong with what he did …she did… and that’s why she tried to cover the whole thing up.


You are right. I can hear my father’s voice till this day: “Awe come on now. Stop being such a baby” with that shitty ass drunken grin on his face only I didn’t know that he was drunk at the time. We never talked about that. I am sorry your mother smothered how you felt as well. Emotional abuse is so damaging. To teach us that there was something wrong with us for being us is so wrong on so many levels. That’s the kind of fodder that manifests into all of that self hatred down the road.


Thanks for your kind words. Thank you for saying how disgusting the whole thing was because I needed to hear that. It was disgusting. The two people I should have been able to count on to protect me did nothing but hurt me. Both of them. I needed that hug!!! Thank you for that.

I am sorry that all of us had to endure so much abuse. I remember when Darlene wrote about how we as abused share so many commonalities. Time and time again I can totally relate to what people write in their posts. It is like I lived in their house with them!!! Our narratives are so alike in many ways. I see how the pattern of abuse is the same amongst us and how we were affected in the same ways because of it.


Those weren’t DXS’ words. She was poking fun at what abusers would say to exculpate themselves. Kind of like in my last post, I was being sarcastic when I thanked my mother for brainwashing me.

I think Amber knew what I meant. I find those words disgusting, too! It’s what everyone does to me, the “you’re too sensitive, can’t you take a joke” thing. Used to show power over you. Devalue your feelings.

And I get the “you are lucky to have a family” stuff. My beloved cat passed away a month ago after 17 years. I felt more love from my cat then I did from my family. My family just went through the motions.


S1988 and DXS, yes, I knew DXS was pointing out what abusers say to try to pass off the blame on to the innocent person. I was often the innocent person people did this too. But I have started calling people out on the ” just a joke, you’re too sensitive” crap. Imagine how those people would fly into a rage if we ever said any of those things to them! All of a sudden the ” jokes” would turn into meanness and disrespect which, in fact they are, but in the abusers minds, it is only disrespect if it is done to THEM.

Kris, you’re welcome! Glad the words and virtual hugs helped you! Yes, their treatment of you was horrendous, and yes, you should have been protected. And back to your post 27, I also found it easier to relate to other people’s’ stories of their mistreatment than my own. Someone told me to pretend I’m watching from a few feet away my mother smacking me around at age four. How do I feel about what I am seeing? I connected more easily to feelings of anger about what was happening when I was the ” observer”. Then I needed to tell myself it was me it happened to and I had every right to feel all my feelings about it: fear, anger physical pain, feeling bad, unloved, rejected etc.

DXS, I am very sorry about your cat. I feel very close to my dog and it is such a pure love, so I totally relate to feeling more love from an animal than from most people. Hugs!



Oh, okay. I didn’t know whether you were condemning her or not. Sometimes it’s easy to misinterpret messages in “faceless” communication. Thanks for clarifying that.



I’m also sorry about your cat. At least it lived a long life. I can kind of relate because I too have a cat. I almost lost him to kidney failure last year when he was two. Thanks to medication and fluids, he was back to his old self. I hope he lives that long. In spite of his annoying habits such as jumping on the stove, chewing on things, and biting me, he’s more of a trusting family member than my blood members.


S1988, I am glad that everything is cleared up now. It is true that electronic communications can be misunderstood. DXS and I go back a long time on these message boards and she knew that I knew what she meant because we are familiar with each other’s way of communicating.

DXS, I think we bonded over the erased homework papers a couple of years ago!


DXS, I think we bonded over the erased homework papers a couple of years ago!

Yes! Because I was completely FLOORED!

And I should have put those words in “quote” might have made it clearer as to my intent with those words. Without the quotes it looked like I was personally saying that.



I am sorry for the loss of your beloved friend. If it wasn’t for my cat Seymour I don’t think I would have made it. He is the one who provided me with unconditional love not my family. So difficult losing a pet. My heart goes out to you.


I thought about what you wrote in post 37. Thanks for the great visual. Made me cringe!! Sorry you had to go through all that abuse. For me having dissociative identity disorder complicates things. I have been in the process of trying to overcome traumatic memories over a year now. I figured out that part of that fear is due to the belief system that I will die if I allow my self to see the full scope of what happened to me because that was the whole purpose of me developing DID to begin with. I believed that I was going to die when I was a little girl. Until I am able to personify what happened to me I am constantly going to relive aspects of that abuse that I can’t even see due to dissociating it out onto what we call alters who in my mind were the one’s who were abused, not me, so that is why it is so hard for me to make that connection that I was the little girl who was abused.

If anyone out there has DID and was able to overcome the fear of traumatic memories please let me know how you did it. I am stuck. I know that it is different for everyone but any input would be greatly appreciated.


S1988.. I heard over and over growing up, from my Dad how lucky I was. He would prose on and on about all the things I had, a house, food, clothes, schooling. He truly believed I had it so good and I should be forever grateful. Gratitude was super important. If you weren’t groveling in gratitude, you were “no good” or the worst..”just like her”, meaning my mother.

They each had their own terrible issues which they tried to punish each other for. It was a horrible place to grow up. It was a dysfunctional, dishonest, abusive hell. But if that’s all you’ve ever known and you are deliberately isolated to keep the control and the secret, you just make due.
There is absolutely no escape, (I ran away age 8 but went home before dark) you just try to survive until you get away.
I never saw that until this website. I never saw that it was that upbringing, in that terrible house that caused my issues. Not until I was 58. 58.
I am healing, am more self aware, see my strengths, and esteem myself, but I am so stunned by what I now realize was done to me deliberately and intentionally by my mother to keep me under her control.
Kris.. I have no words to express my anger at the way you were treated. I was also deliberately harmed in front of my mother and she didn’t open her mouth.

The most positive thing for me has been seeing my bad coping and stopping it.
Finally seeing all my good points and strengths.
Saying no more to belittling, put downs, and other unequal treatment. Its a struggle certainly and I still get triggered, but my trigger now signals positive awareness of the issue instead of numbing, ignoring and silencing my self awareness, which was how I coped since childhood.


Amber.. they would tell me I’m “acting crazy again” when I would respond to abuse or something that was really bad that happened, like a car accident or injury. They skipped right over too sensitive or too emotional right to crazy. Then would come demeaning remarks and punishment.


Karen R, any time anyone says how lucky or fortunate someone is because they have a roof over their head,clothes, food, education and on and on….I have YET to see on that list things like love, support, loyalty, someone to listen to them, validation. And if the list doesn’t include those things, then the person was not fortunate or lucky.
I don’t remember them ever calling me crazy, but my mother certainly poured on the demanding remarks and punishments.


That should read ” demeaning remarks”



That’s true. I never really thought of it that way. Did these people have children so they could guilt trip them for living? Why didn’t they seek out adoption or why did they have children in the first place?


Karen R,

You wrote:
“I never saw that it was that upbringing, in that terrible house that caused my issues. Not until I was 58. 58”

It was the same way with me too. Still blows my mind how you can live your whole life believing a pack of lies but that’s what brainwashing does to ya. When I realized how my mother was the master manipulator behind all of this I said now I get how people kill each other!! Such a huge betrayal. I didn’t see any of this coming either. Totally blind sided.I still can’t believe this is my life.


I think my mom had kids because she wanted “payback” for “devotion” to her mom.


My mom had kids because her method of birth control failed. I had the privilege of being the first accident, then there were 3 more.


I think my mother had kids as a way to carry out her unfulfilled dreams, so that she wouldn’t be alone, and other insecurities I don’t know of.

I think my brother, the first born, was “accidental” (I don’t believe in accidental pregnancies since the main purpose of copulation is conception.) since she married while pregnant with him. Usually, “accidental” children are despised, but ironically he’s the golden boy since he lives up to her standards in spite of being an abuser to his wife and sons. My older sister is a younger clone of her. I’m the “bad” one because I’m my own person.


I believe my mother wanted me because she waited until she was 30 years old to have me but she was the only one who did and that was the problem. My father hated my very existence because I took time away from him. I think she really did love children but she just didn’t know how to show it. I was too close to her. She taught 2nd grade and loved it. You only had to get so close to them. Me, she didn’t know what to do with. Fear of any kind of intimacy got in her way of being able to show me any kind of love. The outcome was disastrous!!



That’s so sad to grow up in an environment when one parent wants you, but not the other. Why assist in creating a baby if you don’t want to be a parent?



I don’t get it either. He did what he wanted to do with whom he wanted to do it with and we never could count on him for anything other then being a thorn in our side. My mother would wait on him hand and foot while he would go out and cheat willing to leave us all behind and that’s who she brainwashed me to be loyal to. What a catch!!! lol


I was under 5 the first time I clearly remember mom telling me that i was an accident and the reason our family wasn’t what it should be. My fault for being born. I was middle kid. Oldest was mostly invisible. Youngest was GC.
I could go on for days about all the things… you all know how that is. And I don’t remember a time I did not know something was deeply wrong with our family.
Mom is incredibly covert. All very deniable. She is the master.
Still – I was 49 before I realized that the clear, obviously hateful things ALL took place when it was just me and her. No witnesses. That is when I really started to piece together what is happening to our family. All info comes through her. ALL of it. And so far I am the only one willing or able to look. I don’t want to cause an open war, so I have removed myself. I no longer say anything meaningful and don’t initiate any contact.

I don’t think they miss me at all. Oddly I miss them. But not mom. I don’t miss mom, but I grieve for who she might have been…


Sending support and thanks to all of you for sharing.
It is so courageous to take these steps in our healing. Some days I can’t.
But I look in places like this to remind me that there are others who can see.
Blessings to you all!



Thank you so much for sharing your story and your wisdom here. My favorite quote from your post is:
“No, I didn’t need advice. Opinions or information aren’t what healed me. Human connection was where I found healing—connections that encouraged me to reconnect with myself—my own experience, my own emotions, my own expression.”

To have someone bear witness to our hurt and pain is the greatest gift we can receive as we heal. I’ve had many experiences like the one you had with your friend Claire. People think to just focus on your faith is all you need, but I don’t think that’s God’s way at all. It’s been very difficult for me to really be heard by my friends and family, and I’m at a point now where the people on this blog and on Darlene;s facebook page are the only ones I feel truly understand the hurt, pain and shame that I feel.

It’s wonderful to hear from someone who has made it to the other side. Because, just as you said, people can’t help you until they have processed their own pain.


Hi Bast
Welcome to EFB! I was shocked when I realized that my mother was careful not to get caught doing and saying certain things ~ it was a huge ‘truth leak’ about her accountability. I had been brainwashed never to question anything about her, and I felt sorry for her and all of those things contributed to me thinking that maybe it was me but when I think about how I was never once hit in public and how certain things were not said in public, I realized that she actually WAS in control of her actions.
I am glad that I don’t live in that fog storm anymore.
Glad you are here!
hugs Darlene


Hi Sue P,

Yes, I remember the accusations of not being “in faith”. I heard them directed toward other people for so many years and guarded what I said out of fear of being on the receiving end myself. 1 Cor. 13 says that out of faith, hope and love, the greatest is love but you wouldn’t know it by attending my former church. It’s too bad that EFB serves the wounded better than most churches do, but thank God for EFB. I’m glad you found Darlene and the community here!



Hi Mary-Grace,

I’m so glad my post resonated with you and that you have this place where you feel validated and heard.



Hi Callynt,

I agree that the greatest gift is bearing witness to the hurt and pain of another. It’s truly the giving of ourselves. I’m glad you found witnesses here for you!



Why assist in creating a baby if you don’t want to be a parent?

Although it was S1998 that said this, Kris, I’m sorry only one parent wanted you and the other didn’t. People just don’t discuss this before they get married. I don’t understand this.

I had to break up with the best boyfriend I ever had because he SAID he wanted kids, I knew I didn’t. But years later he figured out he really didn’t want kids, he just felt pressured to have them, family pressure. But I don’t regret the breakup.

@Bast, I know about the “covert” thing. My mom is SO COVERT even SHE isn’t aware of how covert she is. She manages to fool herself. When my cat died, I cried and cried. But I’m not going to feel anything when it’s my mom’s time, and I feel sad that I’m not going to feel sad. I am hoping that before it’s her time, she will realize what she did wrong and do something that will make me feel sad. And isn’t it sad that I’m WISHING to feel sad?


Maybe you are right that you won’t be sad when your Mum dies. But grief is a funny thing – when my mentally ill narc ex-husband died 10 years after we were divorced I hadn’t expected to feel anything but relief! But in fact things turned out very differently and the year after it happened was a really complicated time of grieving, with much pain and very mixed feelings. In fact I’m still sorting out some of the fallout from his death as it seemed to release a number of things which I couldn’t deal with while he was still alive. It’s just possibly that you may in fact be sadder than you think…?


Sue P and DXS, I felt a surprising amount of awful grief right after my mother died. It surprised me because our relationship wasn’t good. Maybe a good part of the grief was the finality that the relationship would forever remain unfixed. Maybe some dreams died along with her and I needed to grieve over what could have been or what I wanted the relationship to be like. There were some good times with her; it wasn’t ALL bad, so some of the grief was over those things. But now, three years later, I don’t find I miss her much at all, specially as I have been coming out of the fog and realizing how much she damaged my life. The only thing I am feeling is anger over this injustice to me. But sadness, no I don’t feel much of that at all now. Grieving will be different for each one of us, but I wanted to share my experience with it.



That was a very mature decision you made. It was better that you and your ex realized that a child wouldn’t be fit for you two sooner than marry and bring a child into a family that couldn’t provide what he/she needed. It’s very sad that many adults cave under the pressure of having children when they really didn’t want one. If they do have a child they don’t want, they can always give him/her up for adoption instead of continuing to raise a child they don’t love.

About grief: I’m not sure how I would feel when my mom dies. She refuses to hold herself accountable for her actions and continues to make herself a victim and blames me for not understanding her. Why should I understand an unrepentant person? I don’t think she would change. She’s 65 and set in her ways. (Though it’s possible for her to change, but it’s not very likely, and I’m not wasting my life hoping that she changes.) I do have a paranoid feeling that my older siblings (the golden ones) would partly blame me for her death. At least I’m being honest. I’m not going to pretend to miss her when that happens.


Bast.. my mother is very covert. Good word as it describes her actions. ALWAYS in her self interest but with lots of denial. She has always been a victim of circumstance. Her horrible actions were always in response to someone else’s actions, never just initiated by her just because she chose to do them for her own interest. GC brother thinks he’s using her but she’s using him.

To the general discussion of why I was born…I guess my father decided one day it was time to have kids without any before hand discussion and so I came along. My mother always told me the story with resentment. I did not realize until I thought about all her various stories, that that resentment was the cause for my emotional neglect and abandonment.
It wasn’t because I was bad, or ugly or noisy. She just never wanted me from day one so just put up with me and later exploited me when I was old enough to be of use. It explains her lack of concern, attention,emotion, touching, protecting, everything.

What makes me angry is how hard I tried from very young to earn her love and approval. Always trying to “prove” I wasn’t bad or a burden until I walked away more than 3 years ago.
I always thought there was something lacking in me that my mother clearly didn’t love me.
She verbally compared me to my younger GC brother very unfavorably when I was 6 within my hearing. Boy I took that to heart.

She’s 84 now and in declining health ..when she passes, I will feel relief, but then will have to deal with flying monkey GC brother who has made it oh so clear that I’m something broken to be used and discarded as needed. I am looking forward to him trying that one on me again.


I don’t think there is any way to know how you will react until someone actually does die. In many ways I feel like I have grieved the loss of my mother while she is still alive but that isn’t the same thing as knowing in your heart that there really is no chance of ever reconciling or hearing the words that you longed to hear because now they really are dead. I believe it will be a mixture of both relief and pain but I think the more you deal with the reality of your situation in the here and now the less you will have to sort through when they are dead.


Amber and Kris

Amber said:
‘Maybe a good part of the grief was the finality that the relationship would forever remain unfixed. Maybe some dreams died along with her and I needed to grieve over what could have been or what I wanted the relationship to be like.’

That was so true for me too! Grief is about loss, and I guess the final loss of what we were unable to have can’t fully be grieved until the person concerned is no longer with us. It’s like you said, Kris,’knowing in your heart that there really is no chance of ever reconciling or hearing the words that you longed to hear because now they really are dead.’ There can be such a mix of conflicting feelings when an abuser dies – relief, guilt at feeling relief and then all the feelings we have spoken about. And as you said, Amber, a relationship isn’t necessarily entirely bad, and then there can be love in the middle of it all as well!

And that’s where this initial post from Christina comes in, too, isn’t it? We need someone who will sit with us and give us space while we work through the muddle and pain of our grieving, because until it happens, as you said Kris, we just don’t know how it will be for us.


Grieving will be different for each one of us, but I wanted to share my experience with it.

Thanks for sharing, Amber. Who knows what I will feel. SueP, you could have a point. Who knows what I will feel. S1998, my mom is 87 and I’m still hoping she will change. Like your mom, she refuses to be accountable. I once asked her why she felt she was so special that she felt she was above being accountable. She has not yet even addressed an answer. I remember when I went to therapy in my 20’s, that’s the first thing the therapist said, he said, “You want accountability.”

ALWAYS in her self interest but with lots of denial.

Same with my mom. But if I play Law & Order SVU interrogation, I back her in a corner and get her to admit her hidden agenda. I’ve gotten a surprising amount of “truth leaks” from doing this.


Sue P Kris and DXS, I could not predict how I would react when my mother passed on. It was different than I had imagined. I grieved more than I thought. Maybe a little of it was for the fun times and the times she was nice. But most of it was for what we didn’t have. For the love I wanted but never felt I got. For the end of the chance to prove to her that I was worthy. This was three years ago. It was almost a year later that I discovered Darlene’s blog and the realization that I can heal without having had her love and without her coming to the realization that I have value as a person. Sure there are things I can’t ever say to her now that I have my newfound knowledge. But I write things down and even ” verbalize” them by talking out loud as if she was in the room. I will never know how she would have reacted, but I’m realizing that I can heal with these things forever remaining a mystery.



Thanks for sharing your experience to give those of us who didn’t go through the loss of our mother some insight as to what we may go through ourselves. I wanted to tell you 2 ½ years ago I did confront my mother face to face about how being abused affected me throughout my life and all I got was a bunch of the exact same thing I got from her my whole life… deny deny deny, a bunch of blame and no emotional support what- so -ever. I am glad there are other ways to work through what we need to do and it isn’t dependent on any of them or we would be in trouble!!! I am trying to accept the fact that my parents are more interested in proving that they are right then having a relationship with their own daughter but my Dissociative Identity Disorder doesn’t lie. Ultimately I see just how senseless this whole thing is but I am not willing to sacrifice one iota of “who” I am for anyone else ever again so for now it will continue to be NC with my parents who live 3 minutes away from me. I get more support from the people on this site then I ever got from my FOO. I am so thankful for everyone here and for Darlene having the courage to “step out” and “find out” and share how she did it with all of us and for other guest speakers like Christine who do the same thing. Very much appreciated.



Kris, wow, I bet the DID stuff is a result of what you went through. About a year ago, I found a web site describing my experience. Alexithymia. It’s the inability to connect to emotions. I have been plauged with this my entire life. I don’t understand how other people know just how they feel and I have to process and it takes me from three days to two weeks to figure out what I “feel.” My mom TOLD me how to “feel.” That’s why I cannot connect to my emotions. So I spent my whole life “faking it.” My mom said she was “told how to feel” by her mom. So, my mom continues to “fake it” but she isn’t aware of it, she thinks she is being real. She is NOT real!


Hi Kris,
My main point that I wanted to share was that we think we know how we will feel when our parents pass on but it could be different than you thought when it actually happens. I was surprised by the amount of grief I felt, but Looking back three years later, I understand that I was grieving for multiple things. I grieved for the things that were good, I grieved for what should have been that I missed out on, I grieved for the unresolved things, for the love I felt I should have had from her. It was very intense for the first three or four weeks. I didn’t understand some of the grief back then, but understand it better now, because I don’t suppress things as much. Now, since I can’t actually tell her how I feel, as I come out of the fog, I write it down or verbalize it to her as if she was in the room. Of course I won’t see her reaction, but I do get to express my feelings. Perhaps in a way it is good I don’t see her reaction, because she would probably twist things into being my fault. I’m saving myself some aggravation!
I understand your frustration with getting the denial and blame from your mother. I always had the hope that next time she would see the light and it would be different. I know now that it is not my fault ( and in your situation it’s not your fault) that she never ” got it”.
I too am very thankful for Darlene, Christina and all of the supportive people on here. One of the best discoveries I made was that there are people who understand these things. They are so few and far between in my ” real” life.



Yes DID is the result of both of my parents abuse. You develop it from ongoing abuse at a very young age when you believe that you are going to die and you don’t have the emotional support of anyone helping you through that trauma. I was terrified to death of my father and my mother was no where to be found and that is why I have DID.

I read about Alexithymia too. Makes sense with what we went through. I remember when I first figured out what the heck a feeling was at the beginning stages of my therapy. My feelings terrified me half to death because my parents didn’t allow for me to express how I felt without there being some form of punishment attached to it. If I was sad that meant I was weak, if I was mad that meant I was a bad little girl, and if I was happy my father rained on that parade making it very difficult to share anything with anybody my whole life for fear of being condemned like my parents did to me. Our parents didn’t allow us to be able to make that connection because they didn’t allow us to feel anything at all that they didn’t deem fit.

I also see how I was robbed from the peace, joy, and comfort that goes along with sharing my feelings with other people as well as being robbed from the ability to discern who is safe and who is a user and abuser by never being able to express my anger to show people that they can’t walk all over me that set me up to be abused time and time over again.

Our parents really put us at a disadvantage the day that they decided that having feelings was a bad thing when in actuality feelings are what make us all human.



“Perhaps in a way it is good I don’t see her reaction, because she would probably twist things into being my fault. I’m saving myself some aggravation!”

Thank you. That was what I was trying to say!!! When I finally figured out all the ramifications of being abused all I wanted to do is share my new found knowledge in hopes that I would lead my mother to freedom like I was doing for my self but that isn’t how she saw it. She clung onto her denial and blame game like a life preserver and she is going to do that until the day that she dies rather then face the truth about her role in the demise of her own children but the proof is in the pudding. All of us were affected in one way or another and we all lost out is the truth. I grieve because my mother didn’t even try and it cost us the potential of having a really good mother daughter relationship based on mutual respect rather then the pack of lies ours was based on. I grieve because I never got to know who my mother really is and nor she me. She would like me if she gave me half a chance but her own fears and insecurities get in the way of her ever being able to know her own child and she robbed me from the opportunity of getting to know her as well and that makes me sad because I want to know who she is.


I don’t have any disorders, but I do have insecurities such as low assertiveness, an inferiority complex, and the tendency to trivialize my own abusive treatment.

Thanks to the sick brainwashing and hypocrisy I was raised with, I always thought since I was never treated in ways that warranted CPS intervention, that I wasn’t abused. Even my mother herself would tell me what was “real” abuse and what wasn’t. I said to myself, “I was never a sexual abuse victim. I wasn’t beaten black and blue (though I was hit). I never was left in ragged clothes or starved, so why am I making a mountain out of a molehill?” No wonder I tend to be snagged into toxic situations. (Which I was able to escape from eventually.) Now I’m learning that me being treated in hurtful ways is wrong, no matter how “mild” it is.

One of you stated something that is true for most of us here. I find it sad that I get more support from “faceless” people, than I do from those I’ve known most of my life. They’re more bent on trying to prove how right they are than admitting to being wrong. After all, our mother was a single parent who divorced from an abusive husband and provided for us in spite of growing up poor. Why am I being such a whiny ingrate? She never finished college or got the chance to play piano, so why did I give those up? Maybe because I want to be left alone to live my own life instead of being her savior. My siblings can stop trying to be her messiahs if they want to, but I’m not sure that’s likely to happen. I constantly remind myself that having a life of my own isn’t a crime.


There was one person I would often find supportive in some areas, but when I would tell them that my mother said some cruel and insulting things to me, they would tell me that just because she says it, it doesn’t mean that it’s true. The frustrating thing about hearing that was that I didn’t believe that what she said was true, but it hurt that she said it anyway. I never learned from that person how participate in a relationship with my mother. Even I didn’t realize that’s what I really wanted to know.

Because I’ve found it more of a problem to see the situation in terms of which of us was good or bad (it stirred up resentment that I just don’t want), I’ve started seeing it in terms of the relationship being broken and I can’t fix it by myself.

It’s a matter of making the reality of it manageable. I don’t feel like I’ve explained it well, but maybe someone will understand and find it helpful.



You nailed it with what you said. You don’t have to be in tattered clothes and filthy for it to be considered emotional neglect. Never hearing the words I love you and never being there to comfort your child and never providing them with a feeling of safety are all forms of emotional neglect. We need to stop believing the lie that unless we are beaten to a bloody pulp with a gash across your forehead that it’s not considered abuse because emotional abuse is just as bad as physical and sexual abuse. They all just affect us in different ways that are all detrimental to our well being in the end. So glad you brought this point up.



Thank you. But, what made it confusing for me was I was told “I love you”, and hugged, and I even have memories of being taken to fun places when my mother was “nice”. (And she would use these acts as “proof” of being a good mother.) I think that’s why it took two estrangements to leave my family because she was so volatile. She would be hurtful to me one moment, and act loving the next.

I read some literature on the Internet about how abusers would be nice sometimes as a way for their victims to stay with them. People who are kidnapped and held against their will are great examples of this. They are unsure about escaping because their captors give them food and a place to sleep, so in their minds, the captors aren’t that bad. It’s similar to how I thought until I realized truly loving people are because they really care for you, not so that you can second-guess yourself.



I think what you were talking about is called Stockholm syndrome. It is a mind game. There was no consistency or predictability in my house either which caused me to second guess my self too which ultimately caused all of that fear and anxiety to build up inside of me because I never knew what to expect from day to day and I never felt safe of secure because there was no consistency in their parenting.

Sorry your mother played head games with you too. I think my mother’s emotional abuse and neglect of me was the worst thing for me to have to overcome because there were so many sick mind sets that I developed because of it. I struggled so much with whether or not my mother was really being “nice” to me or was it all just an act and when I looked at things closer I realized there was usually something in it for her. Some void that she was using me to fill but sometimes she really was a warm and caring person and there is where the mind f*ck begins!!!

Until I was able to see both the good and the bad qualities in my mother at the same time I wasn’t going to be able to see who she really was.The truth is she is both a manipulator and a kind person at times. So hard to wrap my mind around these two qualities at the same time but it is the truth about who my mother really is.


I always thought since I was never treated in ways that warranted CPS intervention, that I wasn’t abused. Even my mother herself would tell me what was “real” abuse and what wasn’t. I said to myself, “I was never a sexual abuse victim. I wasn’t beaten black and blue (though I was hit). I never was left in ragged clothes or starved, so why am I making a mountain out of a molehill?”

S1998, nope, we didn’t get any “physical” abuse, which is what they claim. What we got was emotional abuse. Emotional abuse leaves no “visible” scars other than our varied reactions to situations.

And my mom tells me to “stand up for myself” but I cannot/not allowed to stand up to her!

Kris, you said it all!

My mom had this wonderful habit of always phrasing things as “optional” and then getting mad when you said “no.” The word “no” was NEVER allowed! That’s freaking covert!


S1988 (16),

Your words here are a mirror of my childhood, and my current response sometimes to loud and aggressive people. I get into a bad rumination cycle of why I didn’t stand up to bullies, and it’s precisely because I was cowed at home. I am going to spend some time today really sitting with this, because I think I may actually be getting some freedom in this area.


Hi Everybody,

I’m still dealing with my father’s death. They had a full veteran memorial service for my father way back and I did not attend. I made the excuse of having car troubles to not drive down to another city, like a two hour drive away. Someone emailed the photos from the service but I did not open the photos and deleted the email. I felt angry and not sad. How come my father got such a fancy military funeral service? Now my father was treated as if he was a total hero. His name is forever on a veterans’ memorial wall with his remains in a box. A neighbor lady painted the box and hot glued faux sunflowers on the box. I am glad that I was not there at the service and my Narc mom and cousin could not fight with me. There were neighbors who attended this service who were taking pictures and asked where is the daughter?

The truth is that I never really had any love for my father. It made me angry that I must pretend to be an actor who cared for my father. I am angry that my distant cousins and relations wanted these funeral photos. I am angry that I have no voice and no one knew about what actually happened behind closed doors!

Then there are moments when I feel light and free as if a tremendous burden has been lifted. We have lost all karmic ties forever. I never have to deal with him again and I am safe. It’s never over until my mother has passed away. I cannot do ‘No Contact’ with my Narc mom and adopted cousin because there are some business and legal issues with them.

I ask how come these Narc parents can be such good actors? My father was the enabler who could have stopped the abuse, but not. My father gaslighted me into thinking that I was the crazy one and the one who was provoking my Narc mom. He shamed me and gossiped about me to the distant cousins. I was just so tired of both of them near the end. I never understood how abused I was until I studied online websites, youtube videos, and EFB. Everyday, I have searched for any good memories and there are too few. I can’t remember if I ever had any love for my father as a child and I think so but I’m not sure. It’s like a newlywed couple who believe they’re in love, but after years of serious fighting they simply feel nothing. I think that I’m wanting someone to reach out to me and give me a big hug saying that I’m OK. There is NOTHING wrong with me for feeling no emotion toward my father. There are others who would like to shame me for having no emotion like I’m a terrible sociopath. I am NOT and I am just tired. There are women who have never known their own father and they somehow do not miss what they don’t know.

It’s ironic but in the end my father is admired as a hero. He had an important career after being in the service. He built a luxury house and was so concerned with reputation, but not me. It was never about raising me or caring about me.

There are others whom I have dearly loved and lost, but not parents. I had a close friend’s death about ten years ago and I keep his picture in a frame by my desk. I have a picture of my Cousin Dean also by my desk and I secretly call him “my real father” because he was there for me as a kid. I always wished that I could have been adopted by him but it was not possible. Why is it that only the good die young?

My Narc mom is now age 82 years old. She is the same person with her same bag of nasty tricks. I don’t trust her and Narc cousin. My BFF coworker friend does not want to hear any of my story and I have no one to talk to. I just hope and pray that I’m strong enough to make it until she passes away.

Blessed Be,



Catching up and absorbing all the sharing wow.
The brainwashing, the neglect, people able to step in but chose not to.

So much comes up for me, and it is good.

I am so relieved to know that at 48 I am not alone in realizing so “late in life” that I have been under a horrible spell, mature in a life I had been groomed for by terribly broken people.

I could no longer make excuses for their insane behavior. I am not a child any more, and being away from my FoO was best for my sanity; so I could live out the rest of my days in peace–chaos free.

When my dad, whose abuse was neglect and emotional absence, died quite expected my I might add we were on very good terms. I had accepted that his ability to love was not there–stunted by being raised by an abusive alcoholic deep in grief of his own. The damage is so generational.

But when the day came that he died I was quite stunned by how deep my grief for him ran. He was my father, after all. It was a physical experience which surprised me greatly.

Because my healing from my families insanity hadn’t began and I was still so brainwashed I was a mess. I was in despair and it was during this time that I had become suicidal. It only lasted for a few hours but during that time I reached out to a sister I trusted. I later realized that she was a primary abuser and gaslighter. As I was reaching out to her for help, suicidal she said coldly that before she could help me I owed her an apology–for what she would never to this day say.

I hung up on her…and she never called me back, even to check to see if I was ok.
That was the beginning of the end.

My point being: you never know how you will feel when the day comes.

My mom is also in her 80’s and I am nc with her. When she goes I know I will grieve, because we aren’t resolved or on good terms.

But it is as it should be. I won’t go back…just so I can attend my abuser/neglecters’ funeral.


Feel free to continue sharing your story here. I might not respond much but I do read, listen and continue to pray for all who reach out here on EFB. Thank God for Darlene and her bravery.



Sorry that you are in so much pain regarding your father. I get what you are saying because I felt that way about my own father for a very long time too. I wanted to share this with you because it really helped me and maybe it will help you too. What I found out is there isn’t a little girl on this planet who didn’t want the love from her daddy and the longer I denied this truth the longer I remained in pain using anger and resentment to cover it up. It was when I acknowledged how my father was never there for me and how that made me feel like a worthless piece of garbage that I was able to finally see that none of this junk was my fault and with that I was able to release all of that penned up rage and resentment I had towards my father for not being there for me when I was standing right there in front of his face when I was a child. Then I was finally able to see how much he hurt me and then I was able to grieve the loss of my father’s love while he is still alive till this day and now I am not so angry or resentful in my heart which set me free in the end.

My father did me wrong period and now I know it and now I worked through the PAIN of my father emotionally rejecting and abandoning me and the guilt and shame that goes along with the false belief system that somehow all of this mess must have been my fault in order to survive his abuse and now that I was able to work through all of this mess my father can no longer hurt me that way ever again because now I see the truth and now I won’t let him do to me what he did to me back then because now I am a grown woman who has choices so now I am not so afraid of my father anymore although I still have some work to do in this area!!

Feeling numb is a cover up for pain as well. I encourage you to dig a little deeper and get to the root cause of all of that numbness and see where it leads you. I have a feeling it will lead you to the same place as me and it is very hard to admit that all I ever wanted was my father’s love after realizing just how abusive he was towards me and what his abuse cost me throughout my life. It felt like I was betraying my self for saying it but in actuality it was the beginning of setting my self free.

Peace & Hugs,


It’s hard for me to relate to most here because I grew up in a single-parent home. Maybe that’s part of the reason I’m the “controversial one” in the family because in my sibling’s eyes, I’m being an ingrate to a mother who raised two kids alone. (My brother was in his early twenties when the separation happened.)

The last time I had contact with my father was about four years ago. This was during estrangement #1. I thought that since I was on outs with the rest of the family, I could at least have a decent relationship with him. But, I was wrong. Every time I spoke with him, he would talk so much that I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Most of the things he would speak of included how much he hated my mother and brother, and implied that he wanted me to be on his side. I’m far from being a fan of them, but I don’t want to wage war against them. After some time, I stopped talking to him because I refuse to be snagged into a feud.

It’s really ridiculous that even as an adult, I’m treated like a child in a custody battle. My mother said he left us, while he said he was prevented from seeing us. I’m not sure who to believe and couldn’t care less because I’m too old to be dependent on a parent.

The odd thing is that my mother, brother, and sister despise him because of what he did to them in the past (I was favored by him until the separation occurred when I was 3.), yet they still associate with him from time to time. Why do they continue to speak with someone they hate, yet don’t want to acknowledge their own sick behaviors? Their hypocrisy makes my head spin. Anyway, they can have their weird soap opera. I just want to be left out, thanks.


Hi All,

Thanks for your comments. I will try to write more later.


Hi Kris,

My computer was just acting up again—sorry—I will make this short. I think that I was not seeking my father’s love but only protection and kindness. I gave up on “love” years ago when I was little. I was able to get kindness from adult school teachers, neighbors and others. They helped me a lot to know what normal adults were when I was growing up.

Hi s1988,

I felt like a freak when I joined EFB. I was an only child with both parents, so I never got the sibling thing, either good, bad, or indifferent. I got the entire abuse from my “Mommie Dearest–Joan Crawford—type mom” with no one else for attention. I was afraid that my Narc mom could even kill me and there were no witnesses and she could say like it was an accident. I had no one to believe me and no one to talk to. The plus side is that I always had my own bedroom and not a half-bedroom shared with a sister. My heart goes out to the abused women who are the “molested by their own father type”. I felt as if I had to apologize for being on EFB and my problems were not as a bad. Maybe I was not as bad as these women, but my stuff was still hard. I have come far with healing my past.

I’m trying to take one day at a time. There are days when I’m good and days when I’m down. I would love to hear from others about how they have dealt with a parent/abuser’s death. I know that my Narc mom will not last much longer, age 82 years old, and someday she will be gone. I can survive some more if I have to. Thanks for sharing.


I don’t know what to say since both of my parents are still alive. (I forgot to mention that they divorced when I was 11.)

I’ll probably be neutral about my dad’s death since he was absent for most of my life. (And because of that, I don’t have as much resentment towards him like I do my with my mother.)

Here’s something that no here mentioned: What about a death of a sibling? Has anyone here experienced that? I haven’t went through that yet, but I may sooner or later. (Unless I die before they do.)


S1988 #87,

I had that same sick dynamic in our house too but we all lived together. My father would play us against my mother by giving us what we wanted and letting us stay up late at night to watch TV and when my mother thought he was winning us over that is when she would reveal the things that he did to her like putting out all the chopped up dried flower arrangements he would mangle up in his machinery downstairs and put them out on the dining room table just to show us that we don’t know who we are dealing with causing me confusion in the end because my father chose me to go with him to buy my mother new flower arrangements so now in my mind “is he the good guy or the bad guy” and ultimately I ended up feeling sorry for him and taking on his poor behavior as if it was my own because I was the one who liked it when he let me stay up and watch TV late at night. No matter what I did I was always the one who ended up feeling guilty. Shame on them!! Such a mind game. The whole scenario was sick.



That IS sick.

What everyone on this site went through shows that some people SHOULD NOT be parents.


Hi Everyone!
I have published a new post today on the home page. This article is about “When People Treat you Like You are Crazy, Stupid or Frustrating” Understanding the concept of this post is key on the healing journey. I am looking forward to the conversation!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi,really interesting article, thanks. Its strange to hear your contrasting experience of both your friends,because i am a Christian, which i came back to late in life.I have experienced domestic abuse, i was an unwanted child,suffered sexual abuse,Raped as an Adult, so i have been there! My Faith was what has Healed me,just to know i was loved unconditionally,those people made their choices to treat me badly,that’s their problem! not mine or my fault! I know i have a healthy, fruitful productive life, despite all the abusers ‘opinions’ that i wouldn’t ever do anything!!,Life is good,and i am very grateful to God to even be alive, because so many times i doubted that i would make it through alive!..Yes i cry and share with others who share with me, i am there for them as long as they need me,I am proud of your friend who was there for you, and worry for the one who wasn’t. Its a real pleasure to hear about your happy life, God bless you


So much wisdom, strength and courage in these comments. I love the strong, brave adults here raising their voices up and Telling what the brutalized children inside us all were forbidden to speak of. Nearly two years ago I ended contact with my parents. I had been sexually abused by my grandfather at age 10. At the same time I suffered peer bullying that only intensified as I got older. It wasn’t until I began reading EFB that my memory cleared, childhood memories made sense in a different way, and I understood things I never did before. Why I had no self-esteem, was because of my emotionally rejecting, hypercritical, overcontrolling four-foot-eleven-inch tyrant of a mother. I was too afraid of her gaslighting and accusations to go to her when grandpa began sexually assaulting me. he was my father’s father, and here is the kicker, I didn’t put two and two together until I was in my late fifties that my father knew the whole time his dad was a child molester. But hey, the folks had to go out bowling every Thursday night and had a dandy live-in babysitter. “Dad” told me to respect and obey his father. I lived in abject terror, I remember having to give my abuser what he wanted before I could go to my room after school and do my homework. I was failing mathematics, my father screamed and my mother beat me. My mother chain smoked, never taught me to clean then complained that I couldnt do anything right. My issues throughout my life make perfect sense to me now, and I’m so thankful to know at last that my mind was clouded by abuse, it was never because of me. I ended up in the hospital at age 12 with what I now know to be ovarian torsion, it was misdiagnosed, I had horrible pain with my periods but my mother never took me to a doctor. My Fallopian tube had separated from my ovary, decreasing my fertility by fifty percent, but I didn’t learn about this until I was in my forties. I have one child, a daughter, she is 25 now.
I will never know if this pelvic trauma I suffered was a cumulative result of what was being done to me. I remember times when my mother was kind, even loving, but because it was the exception rather than the norm (which is why those memories stand out). And beneath my father’s smiles and easy-breezy bullshit, beats the heart of a true sociopath. The last time I spoke to him, over a year ago, he informed me I was never to speak of the past if I wanted to be part of his family. Since that conversation, I haven’t bothered to acknowledge his existence. Contact with my mother is by mail, and GC brother doesn’t bother with me anymore – just as well, he is an abusive addict with a personality so toxic I am repelled by him. It’s hard to believe the insidious effects of lifelong abusive relationships. I am still trying to overcome them. I know I’m not alone, though, that we are here to lift one another up. You do that for me. I have made some wonderful friends through EFB and on Facebook. I love you all. Stitch


After a pretty big break from writing on the blog I have published a new post!! Check it out on the home page or at this link ~

“How abusers and Perpetrators Get Away with It.”
hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene..its been awhile…I tried reconnecting with my NArcissistic M and it was going well for awhile. My Father in law was dying of cancer and so I was spending more time with hubby’s family. I called her one afternoon to see if she needed me to watch my Dad so she can run errands and I could tell from her voice that she was not happy. My Father in Law passed away in May and we were trying to get my mother in law situated at our house or my Sister in Laws…it was a sad Spring, but it brought us all closer together. Back to the phone call…she seemed angry and it all came out…she was mad at me for spending more time with my In Laws during my FIL sickness…..who says that? She also told me that I was never there for her..the rest is a blur…I can’t say more than this because it gets me very upset and I start shaking….after all the accusations I was done…I had nothing left to say or do or explain or defend…this woman was draining the life out of me. I was a mess…that day will forever be embedded in my mind…my daughter trying to snap me out of my breakdown,,,I was talking and sobbing and making no sense,,,,my hubby was yelling at me to stop pacing the floors and to stop repeating myself and using my hands as I was trying to push out the pain….my son called a hotline to see if I needed to go to a hospital. I was aware of the whole thing but I couldn’t stop the pacing, the crying and the repetitive talking and hand gestures. I looked like like I was going crazy and it scared the hell out of my family…my poor baby was downstairs not wanting to be part of what was going on….she didn’t deserve this.
How do u explain this to your friends or family who can’t understand what u r going thru?
That was it….no more…I told only a few people would listen and who I knew who try not to fix it. I told myself that I didn’t have to explain why I had to leave my parents and my brother who are trying to control me. I’m 52 and they still treat me like I’m 14…I’m sorry for my Dad but he has dementia and it is almost a blessing because he got the brunt of her Narcissism. I just need to find a way to answer to these family members who are going to judge me again.
The people who don’t try to fix me and just listen, are the ones that I grow the most from. I don’t need to hear their advice


I just want peace and freedom…peace in my heart that I did all I could to be a good daughter. Freedom to let it go with the knowledge that I tried MY best…not THEIRS. She wants to control my life and she always has.
I want to live whatever time I have left on this earth with my Husband, who is going thru his own journey, and my 3 kids, who I love and adore but refuse to suffocate. I need to go forward from here….with Hope and Faith and Love.



I just read your post and my heart goes out to you. I get what you are saying. I am sorry that your mother did this to you. I am at the same point as you are. I am about to give my own mother a second chance of having a relationship with me after being estranged from her for the last 3 years. I am terrified to death that my outcome will be the same as yours but at least you know in your heart that you did everything in your power to try and make things work out and that is how I feel about this whole thing too. I need to do it for my self..for my own peace of mind…so there aren’t any what if’s or regrets down the road…to have closure from this thing once and for all no matter what the outcome is.

My heart goes out to you. I can only imagine the pain that she has caused you all over again but know in your heart that you DID DO the right thing. It is HER loss. SHE is the one who is missing out on being a part of your life not the other way around. Shame on HER. You don’t owe anyone any explanation about a darn thing because anyone who can’t see just how sick and toxic your mother is being doesn’t need to be a part of your life because it means that they are thinking just like her which is sick. You don’t need it. Focus on your self and your own family and the heck with everyone else!!

You were a good daughter. She just wasn’t having any of it due to her own issues getting in the way. She has to live with herself not you. Just remember, like you said, you are a grown woman now, no one gets to tell you what to do anymore… but you!!!

Peace & Hugs,



I wish you luck with your venture with your mother. I gave a second chance to my mother, and that was one of the biggest mistakes I made in my life. I refuse to have a relationship with someone who “apologizes”, yet blames me for her actions, and treats me like a naughty 8-year-old at one moment, then her substitute therapist/personal assistant the next. I don’t want to be anyone’s scapegoat or messiah. I hope your experience turns out better.



Thnx for the well wishes and sharing a part of your life with me and I am sorry that things didn’t work out for you and your mother. I know that this thing probably has disaster written all over it but this isn’t about me doing this for my mother. This is about me doing it for my self…so I know once and for all that I can stand up on my own two feet …where I am no longer afraid of my mother still allowing her to call all the shots from afar because at the end of the day that is what she has been doing as I sat her in limbo with her over the past 3 years and now I want my power back once and for all and I can’t do this without seeing my mother again!!! She has to see my face in order for her to finally get that I no longer need her to survive anymore and she is just going to have to find a way to live with that or not be a part of my life.

My peace and freedom isn’t based on reconciling with my mother it is dependent upon me believing in my self and I know that if and when this whole thing blows up in my face that I will have the compassion and support of all the people on this website because so far I have never heard the words “I told you so!!!”…thank goodness! Lol We are all just trying to do what we think is best for us but sometimes that is hard to know what that thing is unless you go out and try it and that is what I am gong to have to do if I want this thing to be over with which I do. 3 years of this bullcrap is long enough not to mention the 46years I lost prior to my recovery. It is time for me to move on.


I want to thank you for your kind and supportive words. It is a comfort to know that I am not alone in this. I do feel bad however, for anyone who has a mother who doesn’t hold herself accountable for anything she has ever said or done to hurt other people. Be strong Kris and do what you have to do to help,you thru this healing journey.
I also thought that in order to heal, I had to reconcile with her. I don’t. My well has run dry. I have nothing left to give.
All the best to you and to all us victims of our mothers abuse.



Thanks for you last post because now I see that I was trying to reconcile with my mother without taking the necessary steps in order to be able to do it with and that is why something inside of me didn’t feel right and it was because I was still operating out of the old sick warped belief system that told me that all that mattered was how she felt and her being happy not taking into consideration how I felt or what was best for me that only ends up with me feeling bad about my self and enabling my mother to stay in denial that doesn’t help either one of us.

Now I see that extending someone grace doesn’t have anything to do with letting them off the hook. It has to do with believing that there is something worthwhile to salvage between the two of you that makes it worth giving them a second chance because you too will have something to gain out of it not just them.

Now I see that reconciliation is a process that needs to be taken in steps. Not just inviting them back into your life acting as if nothing bad ever happened before because you are still telling your self the lie that they won’t get it anyway when the truth is they don’t want to get it and you are letting them get away with not getting it which my mother would be more then happy to do but that isn’t going to help her or me in the long run and I was about to repeat that same sick pattern my self until I read your post where I said to my self “what am I getting out of this thing??!!!” It seems to be all about her and it was because I made it that way by skipping the most important step about how this thing needs to be about me too not just her that my mother taught me to do all of my life that led me to be everyone else’s doormat until now.

The next time I talk to my mother it won’t be about seeing my Christmas tree!! It will be a conversation where I finally have the courage to lay down my boundaries in front of my mother and see how she responds and that is how I will be able to discern whether or not there is something left to salvage here.

Thanks again for your support.


I have been NC w/ my mom for 5/6 yrs now. She called a few weeks ago to announce that she was moving. I was caught off guard by her & ended up saying she could phone to see how I was doing & gave her my email address. Just last week she sent a second email saying she’d tried to phone & here’s her new address/ph #. Talking as though everything was normal. But it is not normal. She is not normal. The whole reason for NC was that she & her new husband bathed with my 9 & 6 yr old kids in their home while babysitting. I sent a hard email back, short & sweet telling her not to call & email only for necessity. Have another relative phone in case of emergency. I know it is the right thing to do, so why am I sad & crying about it. I don’t want contact with her whatsoever. I really don’t even like her. What the heck is wrong with me.
I keep reading the posts on here & I am so frustrated b/c I know I was brought up not healthy. That she is the cause, & yet I don’t have any clear memories why. I have always seen my mother as “black” as in bad. But I cannot remember why. She would talk to me as though I was a wonderful friend to support her. But she was no friend to me. We were not close, it was a bunch of bull. I left home ice cold. As in unable to even express emotion. The only feeling I had was depressed. Sad. I had a beautiful baby & good husband & all I could feel was sad, bad. It took 8+ yrs to even start to feel good, like I was valuable to anyone. It took a good 4 more to cut off contact with the toxic people.
I guess maybe I just feel guilty. Like I should reconcile, after all… look how good she is, how innocent. I must just be exaggerating the situation, being unreasonable. Mean. It is like my mind knows I must disconnect, but another long ago part of me is wanting to please, to be good. As though it is the safer thing to do. They just never go away for good, do they. In some cases there is not anything left to salvage, is there.


Thank you. This is just what I needed to hear today. I have lots of people who want to give me advice. It just hurts. And my mom always wants to point out how if I handled my pain differently we could all move on. Neither of those “supportive” processes actually help me at all. You summed it up so beautifully. What we need and want is simply human connection that encourages us to be present with ourselves and with others… honestly and authentically. It is sometimes terrifying and overwhelming to open up and to share the depths of what we feel and experience. But that’s where the healing is. As long as those that we share with are safe and willing to equally show up.

I recently broke up with a boyfriend who was so supportive in many ways. He helped me to confront my childhood abuser and was very willing to hear my memories. He wasn’t supportive of some of my life goals, however. It has been incredibly painful to not have him in my life anymore. But he was trying to convince me that we would be happier without children… and I have a strong desire to be a mom. Sometimes I feel so guilty for having this desire. I feel like if I could make this desire go away then I could be with this sweet man. It’s just back to that old cycle, though, of believing that something is wrong with me. If I could just “fix” myself I will be “ok” with the rest of the people in my life. I wish that it were easier to find myself and to find those who want me just as I am. But it’s not.

I appreciate you sharing this article. And I appreciate this community. I find so much strength and comfort here. Even though it’s not always easy.


I am also struggling with dealing with positional power. Both of my parents were teachers when I was a kid. My dad was the assistant principal of my middle school and alter became the principal. My mom was my 5th grade teacher, pre-school teacher, and kindergarten music teacher. My mom is now my boss. She has a business that I have worked for on and off for over 10 years. It has been incredibly difficult to differentiate from my parents and to stand on my own two feet. I always feel like I am dependent on them and can’t take care of myself. It has been particularly difficult because my dad was sexually, emotionally, and spiritually abusive. And my mom left home when I was 13. I have a lot of anger at both of my parents and shut my dad out of my life a year ago. I want to stand on my own two feet and to quite working for my mom but I have a pattern of feeling like I need support. I want to separate and haven’t succeeded yet. I know that I thrive when I am surrounded with supportive people. I also know that I have lots of ability. But I have incredibly low self-esteem when I am around my mom. It’s like I believe that I deserved for her to leave me… and that she somehow was helping me by making a better life for herself. Anyway… thanks for listening. Life is so confusing and complicated sometimes.


Oh…if ONLY the myriad numbers of UNINFORMED and ignorant family, friends and so called therapists understood this….I kept looking for that unforgivable, unredeemable flaw inside…the one they said they saw so clearly but could never quite define so I could just change and fix it so I would be loved and respected. I gave them love and respect and put them so high above me …. I wanted to believe in anyone BUT me. Oh I wish I knew what I know now then.

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