The Black Hole of Emotional Neglect by Pam Witzemann


Please help me welcome guest blogger Pam Witzemann as she shares about Emotional Neglect. Emotional Neglect is a form of psychological abuse. Pam is a frequent guest blogger here at Emerging from Broken and contributes her voice to the comments in almost every post here on Emerging from Broken. As always please add your thoughts and comments. Darlene Ouimet Founder of Emerging from Broken

Psychological Abuse and Emotional NeglectThe Black Hole of Emotional Neglect by Pam Witzemann

Emotional neglect is largely, invisible. When one is emotionally neglected as a child, it is impossible to understand what is missing because it is impossible to understand what one has never known and can’t see. The emotional neglect of a child, places within them a black hole. It produces an insatiable loneliness that can consume the spirit, body, and soul of a child. As a child, I was a victim of emotional neglect.

My most familiar emotion as a child was loneliness. I was prevaded and often overwhelmed by it; but I also couldn’t name it. At the center of my being, was a darkness that often pulled me under and left me in such a state of depression as to paralyze me. I was filled with a deep longing for someone to notice my pain and help me. This core emptiness followed me into adulthood and ruled over the choices I made. Inside me lived death and I longed for the final consummation of death. In that deep night, I was made blind to happiness, joy, and life itself. I was a dark child who didn’t expect to live past fifteen. When I outlived my expectation, I was careless with my life and did everything possible to hasten my own demise.

I was a tiny girl. I was often sick and spent many hours, days, and weeks alone in bed. I spent the bulk of my fourth year of life sick, in bed recovering from Scarlet Fever that was left untreated for too long. I lived in a kind of nether world, suspended within my own inner darkness that enveloped my thoughts and dreams. All of my childhood memories are set within that dark void. I was sick so often that illness became the main feature of my identity. I knew myself as small, weak, and sickly. My demeanor was pouty and morose. My companions were books and paper to draw on(front, back, and every blank space so as not to be scolded for wasting paper) and the books I read were far beyond my years and suitability for my age. I loved Edgar Allen Poe as the black hole within me recognized a spiritual companion. I accepted the void inside as normal and never understood that I was lacking the interest, love, and nurture of my parents. I saw the problem as me. I was too small, too sick and weak, too clumsy, too mopey and pouty. No one could love or like me because I was unlovable by design.

I grew to be an angry and rebellious teenager. My rebellious acts were my desperate cries for help as the pull of the black hole, sitting in the place of my true, undeveloped identity, threatened to consume me, forever. I wrote poems with lines such as follows: “My souls illusion, Your souls illusion, Named love, The never ending dream…” because by my late teens, I was sure that love was only a dream. It was an illusion that taunted me and frustrated me as I moved from the emotional neglect and psychological abuse of my parents to the sexual abuse of men. By age eighteen, I had experienced so much personal destruction by those claiming to love me that I became as a dying, bitter, old woman with no hope for any future. The only comfort and relief from the constant emotional pain, that I felt physically in my chest, was my drugs. It seemed to me that my drugs loved me better than any human being because they relieved me of having to feel the emptiness inside that grew more powerful by the day. My drugs loved me and I loved them. My drugs closed over me in death and I welcomed the darkness as a refuge that empathized with my inner being; but also, as the final and eternal comfort that my empty, shriveled heart desired.

There are many theories about black holes and one theory states that when a black hole fully consumes a world, it emerges from the other side, whole and made new. That is how I also experienced my final consummation that came by my own hand in the form of suicide. When the doctors brought me back from death, I was sorrowful to find myself alive. I don’t know how many days I laid in that hospital bed but I do remember the tears I shed at the thought of returning to a life that was little better than being one of the walking dead. A junky’s life is lived as a vampire in constant pursuit of the substance of enslavement. When my systems stabilized, I was admitted to the mental unit for three days observation and then released back into the world that held no promise or future for me. I continued in the pursuit of my love until I weighed 75 pounds and became sick with hepatitis. This was my bottom and the moment when there seemed no way to go but up. I completed my passage through the black hole and began my rebirth on the other side.

There were so many things missing inside of me that even as I became a spiritual person and began to see life as a solution rather than death, I couldn’t name what was missing. The emptiness and aloneness were still the major markers of my character. No one, besides my grandmother, was ever interested in who I was, what my talents and dreams were, or what I thought about anything. As a child, I was to entertain myself and not bother. I was a big bother when I was sick and I knew not to expect anything more in the way of attention or nurture. I wasn’t encouraged in anything unless it was of benefit to my father. Then I was to perform, admirably, on cue. If I didn’t, I would displease him and displeasing my father was the household definition of wrong-doing. It was sin. There was no God, no outer authority to measure morality by but instead, the whims and pleasures of my dad were the moral code we lived by. The ranch I grew up on was isolated and my family was a world of its own with little connection to society. The world revolved around my father and no one else’s needs mattered. The mother I needed belonged to him and he jealously guarded her from me. I don’t remember my mother holding me; and she told me once that it made my dad too jealous. I have one sweet memory of her singing to me but mostly, I remember her disgust and disapproval of me. I remember the anger and disappointment that seemed constantly aimed in my direction. I ran away from home on a regular basis but there was nowhere to go. I would run the mile or so to the eastern gate and stop, and wait, but no one ever came. Tired, thirsty, and cried-out, I always returned home and no one ever cared that I had been gone or that I had returned. Sometimes, I felt as if I didn’t exist and wondered if my dreams were real and my life the true dream.

If not for my grandmother, nothing that is me would ever have had opportunity to live. I wanted to live with her and no matter how long I was at her house, I never wanted to go home. With my grandmother, I was someone. I had substance but with my parents, I was mostly invisible as I felt the someone I was with my grandmother disappear upon entering my parent’s home. I lived in the make-believe world of, “Heidi” or “The Wizard of Oz” and other books I read. I found new definitions of me in assuming the roles of the main characters, who were strong, and loveable, and acting out their stories as if they were mine. What I experienced of the world outside of our ranch and school was through the characters I read about. Playing the roles of others became the way I dealt with life and the emptiness that was, me. There was never any thought given, by my parents, to introducing me to the world outside of our family to prepare me for adult life. My talents and interests were not worth developing. The only things that mattered about me were those attributes that would someday, please a man. My life didn’t matter and neither did I.

I no longer live with the void that I experienced as a constant pain in my chest; but now, as I write about it, I feel the memory of that pain. That empty place has gradually filled in and it began with the faith in God I found when the black hole consumed me and I was reborn on the other side; and I began to see life and not death as a solution to my problems. The light of life began to shine for me and lead me into a better way to live. It is common for people to say that we all have a void that only God can fill. That is probably true but the emptiness I lived with and inside of was greater than any natural, inborn need for God. It was the void that nurturing parents are assigned to fill as they love, protect, and encourage their child. By this they teach their son or daughter who they are, and of their importance, and place in the world. I didn’t have that and though I managed to survive, I had no fully developed identity of my own. I hid inside myself and assumed the role that best fit my current situation. I survived as a changling and when one role no longer served me, I discarded it, disconnected from everyone I knew, and assumed a new role to play while locking away, deep inside, any trauma connected with each act of my life. 

The filling in of the black hole of emotional neglect has been like the rebuilding of a faulty foundation beneath an old house. It began with God and has ended with my own identity developed and in tact. I played many roles as the real me was nurtured through the love of God, the love of my husband, children, and a few dear, old friends who saw something in me that was constant, no matter how many people I tried to be. I didn’t do this consciously but since I have confronted myself, my past traumas, and accepted the girl or girls and women that I was ashamed of, this pattern is clear to me. The people I’ve been don’t always agree and have little in common with one another, other than protecting me while I became. I am the constant that held them together. I am, Pam revealed by the power of truth and love. The black hole that once sat in the seat of my identity, no longer exists and the roles that I’ve adopted as a way to live life are falling away as I shed them and emerge fully, me.

Pam Witzemann

Pam Witzemann was born in Santa Fe, NM and is now 54 years old. She has been married for 33 years, raised two boys and has two grandsons. Pam and her husband have had their own business for about twenty years. Pam is a painter and a writer and hopes to make these pursuits more than a hobby in her later years. Pam authors the blog Boomer Back Beat; a place where baby boomers find inspiration in the process of aging.

Other posts by Pam ~ How I learned to Self Abuse ~ Profile of a spiritual abuser ~





Categories : Depression



Pam, this grandmother of which you speak, was this your dad’s or mother’s mom?

amazing article!!! THANK YOU!!!!


This rings so many bells for me. I was an only child – for which I am glad, at least no other child was sunjected to the emotional vacuum I lived in. I should have been a twin, but the other baby did not survive. I think my Mum probably suffered with post-natal depression , but I will never know now. Both my parents were psychiatric nurses and prided themselves on using applied psychology in my upbringing – what a falacy THAT was. In truth I was invisible. Once I had learned to read my mother disengaged almost totally. My father was more like a rival sibling than an adult and certainly unwilling/unable to be a proper father to me. Unconscious choices have impacted on every part of my life, and the consequences of some of those choices, based on false thinking, will last forever – if only in the form of reduced pension in my retirement. Why save for a pension when I am not going to live to collect it?
I too can recall the well of loneliness and despair – when would it ever end? Longing for death is a thought process as familiar to me as deciding what to wear today.
The life choices I made were those of a life half lived. I have never realised my potential adn have felt that frustration keenly – but stayed with it because……that was all I could have, all I deserved.
So here I am , aged 55yrs, finaly beginning the healing journey – reading these amazing posts – and at last realising that (sadly) there are more people like me out there. My healing has come about following life-threatening illness – which I welcomed at the time – but when I didn’t die and started to have flashbacks, finally I knew I had to do something different. I got into therapy -and it has definitely saved my life


Hi Pam,
I found your candor and honesty very refreshing. Emotional neglect can have a profound effect on a young child and create the black hole that you describe so well. It’s so wonderful to hear that you escaped to the other side and found your true self. Not all are as fortunate as you to survive a suicide attempt. A success story always warms my heart. Thanks for sharing yours.


Kate, She was my fraternal grandmother. My dad treated his parents the same way he treated the rest of us. He was an only child and he had a deformed arm. He had to spend a lot of time living with his grandparents so that he could go to school. I know he was teased because of his arm. Both of my grandparents were wonderful people and I don’t think any of his problems were the result of abuse by his parents. There was never any evidence of that.



Pam – your post resonated, haunted, clarified and ultimately encouraged me. Thank you for sharing this. The strength and courage you showed, your depth of faith and the way you are now was a message I needed today. Thank you so much for your courage.


Libby, I also am 55. I have been on a healing journey since I was 19 but I didn’t fully face my past until five years ago. I haven’t wanted to die for a long time but I certainly remember when almost every waking thought was accompanied by wanting to die and be set free from my misery. I was wrong in thinking that death was what I wanted. What I really wanted was more life. A better, fuller life. I know you can have that also. It is never too late and when we reach the point of confronting our past, the healing goes much quicker. I hope your therapy goes well and is the support you need to face your truth.



sorry, by fraternal, do you mean your dad’s mom? (fraternal refers to brothers? Maternal to mother, and paternal to father?)

Anyway, I was just curious, as my dad’s mom died 14 years before I was born, and my other grandmother really didn’t show interest in the way you described. I SO longed for my dad’s mother, as I could see that I looked like her, ALL my life. Her friend, who married my grandfather after she died, was good to me, but it wasn’t my grandmother. Thank you for writing about your grandmother!


Just briefly, how did you confront your past?


Dolores, Thank you for taking the time to comment and encourage me. It is only recently that I understood that I had been emotionally neglected (and sometimes, medically)and it is a realization loaded with revelations of my own behavior. I think it had greater impact in damaging me than any of the abuse I suffered. It was hard to write about and find the words to express it.



Shanyn, My courage comes from God through,Darlene and the people who comment here and write blogs of their own. The more I speak outloud about my past, the stronger I become. I kept so many things buried and hidden for so long…the last few months have been a time of gaining personal wholeness that I never imagined possible. Even my sons have commented on how much better I seem and that I now seem “whole”. I believe that all victims of abuse and neglect can achieve that wholeness with the right kind of encouragement.



Sorry, Kate, I meant paternal. Too many words fly out of my fingers these days. Sometimes they get confused.lol!

Facing my past was really as simple as believing myself about the truth of my life and not listening to my family of origen tell me that I was wrong. They kept me shut up for a long time by telling me that I was too sensitive, I exagerated, lots of people had it worse than me, etc. They convinced me that the sky was yellow when my eyes said it was blue. When I realized that I had been sexually abused as a teenager, everything inside of me flipped. I lived most of my life with an upside down view of the world, and suddenly it flipped right side up. That’s when I began to throw the lies away and embrace my truth. I also went through a year of chemo therapy and dissociated because of a horrifying fungal infection that lasted for six months. When that happened, it was as if doors that I had locked and sealed shut long ago, all blew open at once and I relived much of my past abuse. Afterward, I was horrified by how much evil lived inside of me because of the things I kept secret. I knew I had to start talking and let those locked away memories out. It is hard to describe all of that and I still have work to do.

My grandmother was the most influential woman in my life. I miss her every day.



Grandmother, a truth teller and a truth seeker, Yes, you do miss her!!


I store the memories of anything that my dad or anyone else has told me that my grandmother ever said, since I never got to meet her. And those statements do have that ring of truth to them. They are just fleeting bits of stories, statements, conversations, etc.


wow, so much of this resonates through my past. not that i lived ona ranch in rural america or the use of hard drugs, but the pain and loneliness i went through as the only girl of 3. they had each other to speak to and play with the long weekends shut in our beds for one misdemeanour or another, there from hometime friday tea time till monday school. only allowed to the toilet or down for food. never starved us if the basics like roof, food clothes all the material things that said our lives as children was so bad. mmm it was my fathers mother who was my role model too. she gave me hugs and unconditional love. though she kept a convicted peadophle has her husband till the day she died. she was the sort of person who helped others no matter how little she had, and in the small hamelt my father grw up in, she was much loved by those who knew her and pitied by those who only knew the outside veiw. as an adult i never understood why she stayed with him, especially as his past came out but that her story not mine. and as she died i have no way of ever asking her.
also when i left home at just over 16 to sleep on a friends sofa rather than put up with the repressive regime at home and the constant verbal and emotional pain i was going through because of my home life, i didnt see my father for 6months. not because he would hurt me but because i thought he wouldnt love me anymore because i had defied him and moved out. when i finally did meet with him and spoke about why i hadntbeen to see my parents, he told me i was being stupid and of course he loved me. but how ws i being silly when it was how he had made me feel. ooo this has raised so many things i dint think affected me or realise have sway over me by the numbness i felt when i read what i have typed. it might as well happened to another little girl


Carol, My parents kept me clean, clothed, and fed but spent little time with me. When they weren’t working they sat at the kitchen table and drank. My siblings and I were left to ourselves and as long as we didn’t bother them, we did what we wanted. We did have to go to bed at 8 no matter the day, or how old we were. This gave them more solitude to drink in. It was worse for me than my siblings because I spent so much time being sick. When I was sick, I was kept in bed and when I think of myself as a little girl, I remember it as if being suspended in a black void, alone. It’s so hard to describe those feelings. How can I describe an emotional vacuum? For decades, I had such a deep longing for a mother.My mother was and is a little girl and has seldom responded to me as a mother. Both of my parents are very immature people and I believe they think their children should meet their needs rather than the reverse.

I know what you mean about the numbness. It’s as if the pain was so great that I would die from it so I stopped feeling it. It was also dangerous to express pain. When something bad happens to me now, I still don’t have an emotional reaction to it until three or more days afterward. I learned to freeze and bury my emotional responses so as not to trigger an emotional storm from my dad. We all lived walking on egg shells around him. My mother constantly admonished us to be careful, quiet, etc. so that we wouldn’t hurt my dad’s feelings. His were the only feelings that mattered and we all bore the responsibility of keeping him on an even keel.It was a strange world that I inhabited as a child.



Hi Pam

There is no doubt about how much emotional trauma I knew since to let out emotions was not something we were allowed to do.. I had to hold in how I felt so my normal emotions were never allowed to come out at the proper time.. WHen being beat .. I was not allowed to cry..When wanting love some sign of affection, no hugs or kisses.. Every part of me that cried out for some recognition was ignored. If I come home humiliated, needing someone to sympathize I found no one who would tell me things would be ok .. that life goes on.

Now I am emotionally behind most my age and I suppose this really affects all my life. Whlle I had lots of emotionally charged situations as a child.. all my emotions were checked with severe punishment.

I was pretty much a poor little girl who knew only the lashes and hits but never the hugs, love and kisses.. Strangely enough those things which I had nothing of . I so want to give . I want to love every one and if I could I would hug every one and kisses . .too ..

I know I took this self – test on emotional maturity and I am really pretty close to the basement on my scores.. I don’t know how one grows in emotional maturity .. where one begins . .perhaps some day I will learn



I don’t know what all that test actually tested, but it didn’t test your ability to express what your emotional history was, which you did beautifully! That is worth a LOT.


HI Kate,

It was something I found online. I am pretty much running around like little orphan Annie right now..pitiful sight. lol. Looking for a hand and can’t find one anywhere.. but I have sure let all my emotions out these past two weeks.

Actually on a scale of 1- 100. I sat at a miserly 58 points.. sigh. It didn’t say much I didn’t hear all my life. Most people I have encountered in life have told me I am immature.. haven’t grown up . o well . sometimes I consider it a blessing when I see how the “grown up
mature people” behave..;)

Thank you for your very kind words. They mean so much to me.



Thank you for your story Pam. Quite a bit (feelings, or results of abuse I think more than specific happenings) that I related to.

Joy – I definitely relate to low scores on self-tests!! I was identified early as a “gifted” child and spent most of my school life relating my worth to my parents to my grades. I’m currently having to try and re-adjust (or perhaps expand is a better word) my view of myself to come to terms with being both intellectually intelligent & at times quite self-aware, yet also brainwashed and as a result blind to many things (both about myself and others) and also that in many ways my development and growth never took place (emotionally, sexually, relating to others, self-worth and so on). Maybe we’ll find a way to decorate that basement and turn it into one of those sitcom-style funky hangout kinda basements! 🙂

Pam, to jump back to your article, I’m feeling a bit antsy thinking about god/religion. I was raised as (and took on board for myself for many years) the worst kind of hyper-judgemental “holier-than-thou” christian. I think a lot of this was a kind of diversion tactic (or pre-emptive strike) due to the guilt & shame I was made to feel over even the most innocent stirrings of attraction to girls mixed with the hypocrisy over discovering my father’s hardcore porn use & my own guilt and shame at following suit (but attempting to keep secret).

When I think back, I can’t remember not having the fear of eternal damnation (well before puberty & porn came into the picture). Once it did, my worst nightmare was a story I remember hearing several times either at church or church camps etc about when you die, having everything you ever did displayed on a movie-theatre size screen for everyone to see. I’m still afraid of judgment/damnation deep down. I kinda responded to that by shutting off completely from any form of christianity (or any religion, really). But it’s weird, because I don’t consider myself an atheist – in fact my gut tells me there is some form of creating power – but I also strongly suspect that the majority of religion has very little (if anything) in common with whatever that higher power is.

Pam (and anyone else who is religious/christian etc) I hope this isn’t coming across as personal attacks. I have a huge amount of bitterness about the key role religious thought & religious institutions played in my emotional abuse (pretty much all my bad experiences were at the hands of people who claimed to be christians), so it’s very hard to see past all that. I guess I’ve never seen or experienced “healthy” spirituality (for want of a better term), so I can’t specifically imagine that being the case for anyone else or what that might look like. And I have personally seen far too much use of religion to control and emotionally/mentally terrorise people, and I feel very angry about that (especially in terms of children having to grow up that way like I did).

Perhaps a more positive way for me to try and think would be to try and separate individual people and their personal spirituality from the “institutions” of organised religion (which I can’t imagine being able to see as a positive thing any time soon). Again I apologise if this is attacking or personal (or just plain offensive) to anyone. I’m not really sure how of where (or how) to draw the line between speaking my own truth when it’s almost entirely negative in an area. I can at least say this for myself — I definitely have times when there’s nothing but pure hatred and venom in me for anything even remotely connected with religion, and I’m at least managing to resist letting that out.

Pam, I’m really glad that you’ve found a spirituality that helps you, and I’ve decided to try and think of it like this — just like I can’t currently imagine what an emotionally healthy relationship would look like (because I don’t think I’ve ever had one), I can’t imagine what a healthy spiritual life would look like… but I’m going to try to hold on to the hope that since other people have found ways to build them, maybe with time I’ll be able to as well.

Thanks again for sharing!



I am also trying to understand how I could be so stupid all my childhood in my mom’s eyes yet always have done so well in school . Even now as I try to finish what I started years ago: college. I am shocked at my grades.. meaning they are really good grades. I don’t believe they are mind. I have a hard believing I earned them. I go in circles with myself. about them. How can they be mine. The professors must feel sorry for. me. I don’t understand why I don’t feel good about my grades and when the finals come . am such a mess. All worried. all frightened. . then i get my paper and final grade and I tell myself ..that’s not your grade. your stupid.. how could you claim that grade.. one time I was even tempted to tell the professors to change it. But really all those feelings. I know they are all my moms words put deep inside me and playing back every time the trigger hits the play button.

I thank you J for sharing.



Joy, Even though I wasn’t beaten the way you were, I often hear me in your words. I didn’t grow the way I should have because I was born too early and then I was sick so much of the time. Physically, I was underdeveloped and emotionally too. When I was sick I was given alcohol and put in bed. They say that when people abuse drugs or alcohol as teenagers that their emotional maturity stops. I was consuming alcohol from the time I was an infant. By the time I was twelve, I was stealing pills. By the time I was 18 I was a joy popper and adicted to heroin. I didn’t begin to mature until I got away from substance abuse. I wasn’t only immature, my personality never had a chance to develop. I put on the personalities of others that I read about or that I thought would please the people I was with but the real me was always hiding inside. I know God sent my husband into my life and he just loved me. It is like he could see the person inside. He has always supported me and helped me to become even without knowing what he was doing. Everyone needs to be loved unconditionally. That’s what parents are supposed to give their children. I think we all have to be loved before we can begin to love in return.It was my husband giving me that kind of love that helped me grow into who I am today. God loves everyone unconditionally, but He gave me a living example of that love through my husband.–I know you are alone right now, Joy. Maybe you could start by loving yourself unconditionally?–I don’t know what to say. All I know is that human children need love as much as they need food.I hear love in your words and maybe that is your special gift and the first one you should give that gift to is your self. I don’t want to preach to you, you know how I am, but God loves you more than any human being ever could and Jesus loves you through me.You will grow, Joy and you will become the person you were meant to be. You are a blessing to me.



Joy, you said “sometimes I consider it a blessing when I see how the “grown up mature people” behave..;)”

I’ll raise a virtual glass to that! 🙂

Now you’ve got me thinking about being “child-like” vs “childish”…

“Child-like” feels like a good thing to me — laughing, loving, smiling, patting dogs, going on the swing at playgrounds etc etc. And I definitely still have a lot of that in me. (In fact, I feel particularly priviledged when either an animal or a very small child seems to trust me — I recently made friends with a ten-month-old girl and her parents at a local cafe and got a big self-esteem boost when her parents told me that she was just getting over being sick, and usually didn’t like strange men at first meeting, so they were quite surprised to see her smiling at me!)

“Childish” feels like the negative one… but I think for me, and quite probably for most people here, this is a direct result of what was done to us growing up. Not entirely sure if I had a point in mind as I started writing, but I guess I’ll say the words I’m so bad at applying to myself but so desperately need to — “be gentle to yourself.” (It’s so much easier to say it & feel it for someone else!!)

Yes, we are at a massive disadvantage compared to people who were brought up in more healthy ways and learned these skills from a young age, but right now I’m feeling positive (see, miracles DO happen!!) 🙂 so I’m going to claim every tiny, faltering step any one of us makes in a positive direction as a HUGE victory – our own personal miracle.

OK I’m done for now. Must be channeling Tony Robbins or something!! Or maybe Oprah…?? 🙂


HI Pam

I feel loved alot by my virtual online friends and I know some people will scream at me “that’s not the same” but really I think it is just a good and consoling to have. .Sometimes you can lots of 3d people around you and still be very much alot because they really dont “get you” and so they try not to approach you.

I feel alone as right now am self directing myself which I equate to being like have a fool for a guide as I am not ready to guide myself.

I don’t think relationship like marriage or dating is presently in my mind . I don’t want to bring someone else into a mess I need to unmess .. because I might be adding more mess to my mess..lol . I am content flying solo for now. ..

I appreciate your kind words. Pam.



Hi J

I think am very childlike because i love simple things like you say . i do like to run and dance and skip.. I love to color, draw and cut out things .. create things. I can appreciate a flower a rejoice to see butterflies, bees and four legged things..

I have my very childish moments too when I get that little temper goig and stamp my feet and “i show them’ attitude. once I cool down I see my silliness and childishness and try to undo all my little tantrum has done.


am quite a potpourri of stuff and me and my stuff are running around trying to figure out how to sort ourselves;)




J, I don’t feel attacked at all. I hate the religions built around Jesus too. Very little of it comes from God. I’ve heard the thing about everyone knowing everything wrong we’ve ever done too and it is all fantasy and psychological tricks to scare people into church. I’m trying to be more careful with my words because I am learning the real depth of abuse people have suffered because of these kinds of controling tactics. I’m not a religious person, I just love, Jesus. I don’t want to control anyone. I do wish everyone could experience the love that I know that is Jesus in my life. I don’t want to force that on anyone though and I don’t judge others for what they do or don’t bellieve. You don’t know how sick it makes me feel when I read all of these stories of spiritual abuse and that which is most precious and life affirming for me has been turned into something that I can only describe as anti-christ. Forgive me when my words hurt you and know that when I speak them, they aren’t with the same definition as they had when they were used against you.

I know exactly what you are talking about when you describe the psychological control and abuse that you endure. I experienced it also, but I was an adult. I became a believer when I was nineteen and I didn’t attend church until I was 29. When I accepted, Jesus, I didn’t even understand about different denominations and thought they must have just developed in different parts of the world. I didn’t understand the difference between religion and spirituality, or what I now call,faith in Jesus alone. After I spent a few years in church, I’ve been thoroughly educated and now realize the stark difference. I spent some years in a fundamental church and they weren’t good years. I’m glad to be free. Boy, am I glad to be free!

J, thank you for being honest. I’m a firm believer in the truth and I think you and I both know that what you have experienced at the hands of religion isn’t truth and it isn’t pleasing to God. I also believe in judgement because I believe in justice; and I think there will be a good number of pious, judgemental, controling, religious people who will not hold up under that judgement. I believe that day will be a surprise to many and I view it as the day when God will set all things right.

I hope you find peace and the spiritual health you seek. I also understand about wanting healthy relationships. It was my unhealthy relationships that led me into such a dark church. I’ve gotten better and though, I don’t have many relationships right now, the ones I do have are healthy. In any event, I would rather be alone than continue with the relationships that I had before. I’m in a healthy relationship with me now and I look forward to adding to that in the future.

You’ve made me cry, J. I hope my words help and don’t hurt.



Joy, I’m glad you feel that love. I think it is real, also.:0)I do however, disagree that you are a fool. Maybe you haven’t completely grown up yet but self-direction is a very good thing. It leads to independence. Just think of all the things people in your past depended upon you to do for them. You were the strong one and they were weak. Controlers are very weak, dependent people who’s only strength is the ability to manipulate and bully people into seeing it the other way around so that they will take care of them. Abusers are terrified of being alone.

I have a lot of confidence in you, Joy and I know someday, you will too.:0)



J, I’ve thought about your comments some more and I realize that I once was angry at a group of people, just as you are. After being, ignored, terroized,manipulate, and tormented by my dad,raped at 14, sexually abused and exploited at 15-16, sodomized and robbed at 18, I hated men. I couldn’t see anything good in any of them because my pain made me blind.It took a long time for me to work through all of that but I did. I married and gave birth to two boys, I had to work through it. My children taught me the humanity of men and my love for them and their love for me, enabled me to disconnect the inhumanity I suffered at the hands of men, from individual male people. Again, it seems to me that love is the only thing that set me free of my hate. That hate was worse than anything done to me, it nearly ate me alive.

There is hope and healing, J.



i too had many illness andoperations to correct a defective ear, spending time in hospital throughtout m childhood, and it always being used as a way to control me or embaress me. ive mention before in other posts about how my parents used to bind our hands so our skin cream wotk at maxium capcaity, but it also left us without hands for atleast 12 hrs a day which wasnt cool. but it was all for our own good. my mother chasing me around the guide camp because i had nt put my skin cream on, oo the list is quite long, actually longer than i thought. how my health was treated by them was correct but over the top. and i resented them so bad for it and hated to have to use medications for years, used booze instead. didnt eat alot and had bad phases where id fixation on a certain food and that was all id eat for days or weeks. never enough to feed a sparrow let alone a person. but i got through it and still struggle to eat when i uber stressed. but have managed to get to a stablish weight that doesnt draw attention to my issue. another hidden problem to deal with


Hi Everyone,
I wanted to add to the comment from Pam about Love being what set her free from hate. I found that for me it was self love that was the key. My hate came from the way that I learned self hate. Because I believed that everything was my fault, I hated myself. Myself had gotten me into this whole mess. Myself had caused all those problems that led to depression and self abuse and addictions. If myself had been more acceptable and more what others wanted, then my life would have been so much better. That is what I believed.
When I looked at the actual truth about my life, and HOW I had learned to hate myself, (that was a process!) I began to have compassion for myself and to see myself and my past in a new light. When I began to regard myself with love and respect, THEN I was able to start to love others in a new way too. I don’t like or accept everyone instantly. I might make some people wait for my trust, but so what? Who gets to say what the time frame is for love or trust? I had to put myself first… something that our society frowns on, but that was the answer for me and even today it still is. I can only treat others with the same love that I have for me. I thought differently before, but I have learned this to be true, for me.

Pam, thank you so much for guest posting! I wanted to comment on the post itself, but so far I have not had a moment to do so. I hope to return to do that before I leave for Mexico!
Love and Hugs, Darlene


Wow Darlene

What a reply.. Taking time before trusting. sounds like a way. I trust everyone too easily. and so in that mix of everyone comes some I should never had trusted..

But even if time elapse how would I know I can trust someone.. what happens when you allow time to unfold and finally trust and are hurt by that person you finally begin to trust..

I think there something you learn inside that somehow I havent that lets you see mean people for who you are. .as I don’t seem to ever figure out people who will hurt me till they do.

I know I don’t love myself as I ought because all I knew at home was that i was hated and that everyone else was better than me.

I do feel loved now by so many of my internet friends.. and by m y landlords and by my kitties. .but my love for me really needs a good makeover.

Hugs and love



This is my story, too, in so many ways. My abuser was my mother, and my father died when I was a child. I first attempted suicide at age 11. I eventually became a writer & now have a wonderful connection with God & a lovely family (husband & children), but my family of origin is more hateful than ever, and my siblings have never been there for me. I wrote a novel from these emotions, but I’m also working on a memoir, too, now that things are getting intense again. I just want to be free of the abuse/neglect and the pain of the escalated meanness. I have so much in my life that brings me joy–I don’t want to carry this burden anymore. If anyone on this thread wants to read the novel, get in touch. I’ll send you a free copy.


Hi Joy,
What I am trying to say is that it wasn’t till I went through this process and learned to love me that I got it. I can’t really explain it. In some ways I realize now that I LET people walk on me becasue I didn’t know my worth. It isn’t so much that I spot untrustworthy people as much as I no longer attract them. Hard to explain. It isn’t that I learned about them, I learned about ME . I learned to set my boundaries by realizing how I had not set them. I let myself down, and I learned how to take care of me, all in the process of learning self care.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Red Tash
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
This website is about overcoming the pain of the past. Getting to the real roots of it. I am glad that you are here.
Hugs, Darlene
Founder of Emerging from Broken


Every time I come to this site, so many comments! Darlene, I am dealing with people who hate themselves. I learned to love myself and they do not understand it. They have been so hateful, and I have been kicking myself for letting them back into my life. My head aches, my bones ache, I grind my teeth–all of this because my abuser is now dying and that is such a powerful fulcrum for flinging guilt, hatred, non-love onto me. When I cut her off, she sics others. Then, my step-father died & now I have been ostracized completely. It has been both depressing & hurtful, like being that forgotten child again, and a relief to see their true colors out. At least I know how to deal with bare faced cruelty & lies. It hurts, but I know how to reject it. It was a lot scarier trying to do my duty as a Christian to my DNA donor, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m just so sad to learn how far the denial, lies, and hatred have spread. In reality, I am no lonelier than before, because I have filled my life with love, and I am blessed to be mindful of God as a discipline (not perfect, but it’s a practice), so I never feel unloved or lonely–but I do mourn the loss right now not just of a person who has died or who is dying, but of the eight people who have attempted to gang up on me since my abuser’s most recent manipulation technique hit the fan. I know I can’t speak for them, but it very much looks like a lot of people who hate themselves. I am grateful to be on the other side of that chasm. I am sad I can’t show them how to cross it, because they are too busy villainizing me and playing victim (to nothing).

Thanks for listening.


Hi Darlene

IT’s hard though when it’s not a matter of boundaries . when its a matter of people being in your life for a reason. they are there to help you or are suppose to ..I get confused.. stuck.. when I am put in the care of or under the direction of someone I see as above and higher than me .. and then find their treatment of me is not right. I think that that’s my big problem because then I freeze.. I don’t react because its so much like home . so much like what happened there.. after all my mom should have been trustworthy and nurturing. i was brought into the world by her.. so not being to react then when she didnt do what a trustworthy nurturing mother would do also somehow has crept into how I react to people with power who have some kind of relationship with me .maybe working relationship ..maybe healing..maybe spiritual. I am like a little child in those relationships no knowing how to get out of them when they become what they should not be . i am afraid. I freeze. and I don’t feel it’s that I don’t love me but am afraid for me. that me ..little me .will be hurt by those people in power if I don’t do what they want.. i dont know if i make sense or if I am just making myself look that much more stupid and helpless




Thanks for the welcome. I have been here awhile (this is my pen name), and you have been a big inspiration for the memoir I have started. I really was doingso well, had purged so much pain until January of this year, when I let my guard down because of her illness. I was pregnant & my defenses were down. Live and learn. Thank you for all you do. You never fail to inspire me. I feel understood here.


You have described “victim mentality” I have written about it in this site. It is totally making sense. Victim mentality is thinking that when we do what ‘they’ want, we will be safe.. but it doesn’t work. However, I overcame that and so can you. It won’t be a quickie thing. One of the things I learned along the way is that NOBODY is higher then me or above me. That was part of my self esteem recovery ~ again not a quickie thing. Part of the process.
Hang in there!
Hugs, Darlene

Red Tash,
Ya… we are all dealing with people who hate themselves… so sad. I am sorry you are having such a tough time. Hang in there though! Sounds like you set these boundaries once, you can do it again!
Hugs, Darlene



Thanks but also that if I don’t do what they want .. and they have so much power what will happen? When I didn’t do what my mom wanted I was severely punished. . I have seen smaller versions of punishment by people with power when I don’t do what they want.some belittle, some threaten and some abandon. I know its a learning process so am not going to tire my tired mind on this one tonight. Will work on it and read your blog on it;)

Hugs back and love:



Oh, here is a quick funny:

My 60-something sibling shows up on my doorstep unannounced in the early AM. She lives out of town, I let her in, thinking there is some emergency. I am welcoming despite the fact we have not been speaking due to a huge fight over boundaries. (I have them, she doesn’t understand the concept.). We end up in another fight because she tells me it’s not fair that I set boundaries for her, when she has none for me. I tell her that is unhealthy & she is screaming at me from my front porch while neighbors are leaving for work, as I am in PJs & holding an infant, about how “It is NOT unhealthy!” to have zero boundaries.

If it were not so sad & pathetic, I’d have laughed. And this was the *nicest* confrontation I’ve had from that pack of jackals.

Okay, I am done for the night. Boundaries are essential, for me. There will be blood or fire on that front porch before I open the door again to any of those people.


Carol, My mom fixated on my poor health too. It was a way for her to get attention. She paid more attention to me when I was sick than when I wasn’t sick but I still spent a lot of time alone in my room, in bed. In some ways, I was spoiled and in other ways neglected, and other ways abused. Whatever suited them at the time and kept me out of the way so that they could focus on their drinking. I’ve had problems with my health most of my life and it is hard for me to tease out what was organic and what was psychological. I’m healthier now and feel better than I ever have.



Darlene, Self-love has been important for me too but I’ve only accomplished that lately. I think I had to experience love before I even knew what to give to myself. It was a long, slwo process but my hatred toward men began to fade when my husband told me during one of my rages, that he didn’t know who did that to me but it wasn’t him. I had to start looking for the real reason why I felt the way I did and be more specific as to who hurt me. It is never healthy or correct to hate a whole group of people but pain can make us blind. My husband and my sons showed me that men are individuals and they don’t all act like animals.

Thanks for your support, Darlene. I’m happy to be able to give something back to you as you have given so much of yourself to me.



Red, My family is still a mess too because they choose denial and pretense over the work it would take for us to become a real family. It just isn’t worth it to any of them and I can’t fake it anymore. I used to think that divorcing my parents was wrong but after having them live on my property for 11 years and trying to ‘rise above’, I realized how dishonoring to my parents, God, and myself it was to just go along with it. Truth is very important for good mental health and spiritual health. I’m tired of the burden too and recently, I laid it down and walked away. It hurts but not as much as living a lie.

I’ve started a novel, as well. I would like to read yours. How do I get in touch?



Thank you so much for sharing this… you described the feelings i had as a child, that i could not find the words for.. that emptiness, that yearning for attention, love from my mother, that i never got.. i had a close relationship with my maternal grandmother… from what i understand, she was not nice to my mother and her siblings.. but to me she was my escape from my mother.. i spent a lot of time with her, and like you, hated to have to go back home to my parents.. when she died when i was 10, my world crumbled even more.. i felt at the point that i no longer had anyone to love me, care for me.. i was truly alone. My first suicide attempt was when i was 13 i believe.. when i came to, i was so upset, so devestated that i wouldn’t speak.. the hospital called my mother, i heard the Dr say to my mother that i would not speak so they think i attempted suicide but it could have also just been a drug overdose… the Dr left the room.. my mother came close to me and hissed in my face.. ” This had better of been an attempt at killing yourself ” .. i guess to her that was less embarrassing then an overdose.. not sure, as she never explained that to me… the next words were, “you best not be blaming me when the psychiatrist talks to you.. this is all you, no one else”… i did not see her for the next month while i was in the hospital..
i struggled with addictions as well.. which coupled with the abuses of my childhood put me in more unsafe situations.. i was gang raped, in abusive relationships, all this in search of filling that void, dulling the hurt, stopping the ache……. wanting to be loved, while feeling i did not deserve to be.. i do not have a relationsihp with God.. my father brought me to church as a child.. i tried to be a good girl and went back to church as a young adult, which just made me hate myself more, i was never good enough, i never did enough there either.. it was just the same as i felt growing up.. i walked away from the church, away from God.. entered more abusive relationships…….. until now… it is my time now.. i am single by choice… my kids are pretty much grown now, but i am focusing on me and them and my precious 2 year old granddaughter.. she is the light of my life.. i want so much for her see me healthy, for my kids to finally see me happy, stable and healthy.. this is so important to me.. as i want them to strive for that to, it has to start somewhere, that somewhere is me…… well i hope it is..


Kelly, It was hard for me to describe, also and there are parts of it that I just don’t have the right terms for. Sometimes, in my worst depressions, I feel like I’m upside down in space and that is also, how I felt as a child when I was all alone. In those really bad depressions, I believe now, that I’m reliving that isolation and disattachment. It was just me and I wanted so badly for someone to notice the pain I was in and reach in to pull me out but they never did.

My mom hates my grandmother and even after she died, she can’t say anything good about her. I’m a lot like my grandmother and I think that is one reason my mom is so disapproving of me. I’ve tried to see it from my mom’s side but I never saw my grandmother be anything but kind to her. She wasn’t perfect but she wasn’t what my mom saw her as either. I’m also not what or who my mom sees me as.

I think I am blessed that my belief in God isn’t connected with church, or other Christians. My faith is just in, Jesus and always was and that protected me from a lot of the abuse that gets dished out in God’s name. Christians are just people and it isn’t faith in God that makes them do rotten things, people just do rotten things and when you put a bunch of us together, it can get pretty nasty. I try really hard to take people as individuals and hope others will give me the same lee-way. I know it is worse when people think they are better than you are and I hate christian snobishness. I think people like that are filled with fear of the world so they barricade themselves in samll groups where they feel safe. I know it stinks and it makes me sad that people made you feel like you weren’t good enough. I believe that God loves all of us right where we are at and we are all equal before Him.

I’m glad to hear you say, “it’s my time now”. Good for you for reclaiming your life. I know exactly what you want for your kids because I’ve had those same desires. Things can get better.



I am in such shock and awe. . .what a trigger! I couldn’t read all the responses because. . .wow. . .I wasn’t an only child and ignored by the whole family, pretty much. Doesn’t help that I was adopted. And it was my Mom, not my Dad that was so depressed when I was growing up, that she was hospitalized several times. And was so ALL about herself that the rest of us just kinda faded into the background. My dad was an alcoholic, but still more there for me than anyone.

Annnnyway, the things that you talk about describes me a LOT! About the only difference is the drug abuse. I experimented in high school, but knew with my addictive personality to never touch the hard stuff. I don’t even really drink. Everything else was exactly ME! I was a chameleon. Read all the time. Started before I was 4. Reading waaaay past my age level. You didn’t mention an obsession with death, which I have. But by the time I was 16 I had unsuccessfully suicided 3 times, first time when I was around 13. I was confused by the mixed messages of we don’t want you to die, but we won’t pay attention to you. I was living in that black hole that you describe so well. I was writing dark poetry and lived in the books I read. I wasn’t sexually active, being raised Christian I didn’t believe in it. But I was looking for love in all the wrong people, caused when you are starved almost anything looks tasty. I made different stupid mistakes of my own, but there were plenty of them.

I NEVER really saw the connection to all these things that you talked about in my life till now. Thank you!!! It’s almost scary how much I have in common with ALL of you. It’s like connecting the dots and seeing that I was waaaay more messed up than I thought. It’s no wonder that I couldn’t get past the past. Now that I can see how everything relates to everything else I’ve discovered, it’s so clear. Thank you Pam! You are awesome 🙂


Lisa, It seems that certain experiences in childhood cause simular responses in all human beings. We aren’t alone, there are lots of us.
I was obsessed with death in that I was sure I was going to die young and I saw death as a solution to my problems as I equated ending me with ending my problems. These days, death and symbols of death are prevelent in the popular culture. If skulls, piercings,self-cutting, etc. would have been popular, I would have done those things too.Substance abuse was as normal to me as breathing. It was a part of my life, every day, from the day I was born.I was shocked when I learned that there were people who had never even had a taste of alcohol.

Thanks for the pat on the back. It is nice to be encouraged and know that my pain and my words touches another.



I never thought I was going to die young but I did see death as an ending to my problems. I think seeing everyone in the family drinking scared me away from it. Makes me glad though, cause I’d be an awful drunk. I know what you mean about learning that there were people that didn’t drink. I almost felt as though I had to.


Lisa, I chose to use drugs because I thought it would be better to be a head than a drunk. I really didn’t see a third choice. I think back and I don’t know why I didn’t decide to be like my grandparents… I was fed alchohol from the time I began cutting teeth. The story goes that was the first time I got drunk. My parents told and retold that story of how I was sitting in my highchair with my head rolling half conscious and my grandmother scared to death about what was wrong with me. They would laugh and laugh over that story. I laughed at it too. It doesn’t make me laugh anymore. It makes me angry. Substance abuse wasn’t even really a choice I got to make. There are lots of kids like me now days. Only it isn’t just alcohol that their parents give them. It is such a huge problem.



Pam, Thanks for your comments and support.
Like you I had a wonderfuls et of grandparents who made all the difference in that emotional vacuum that was my parents idea of family. I was luck enough to have to live with them on a few occasions when my mother was unwell. While with htem I had a totally differnt life – the environment was warm and and kind and engaged with me totally. They were also consistent and stable – they were the same people every day – predictable – which was not what I had at home with my parents. At my Grandparents’ I felt truly loved, no matter what. Always. But I always had to go back to my parents house. So while at my granmas I had to try and fill myself up with their warmth and love and truth – in order to be able to cope with the cold at home. I remained close to them throughout my childhood and as a young adult – unitl their deaths. They never changed in their relationship with me – I was always welcome, always loved. When they died I was devastated – I lost so much more than just the people when my grandparents passed. When my parents died I felt upset – but not in the same depth – indeed whn Dad died I was just relieved – I was finally free of them. And then I could prepare to heal. Its not easy – but my life is gradually changing – not sure how I feel about that yet, but I am sticking with it – and I am so grateful form my friends and therapists – I have been truly blessed in finding such good people.


Libby, I was in my early thirties when my grandparents died and I was devistated. I lost my family, my real family. I loved the same things you describe, their interest in me, in life, and their consistency. My parents inhabit such a small world with so few outside intrests. It was always about what my dad was feeling and drinking. I guess it will always be a mystery to me as to why he is the way he is. I wish my family would see themselves and their situation for what it truly is but they can’t stop pretending. They never read anything or expose themselves to any ideas outside of their own. They live in a dellusional world, cold, and isolated. I freed myself before they died but it is the same affect. I just couldn’t live as the scape-goat any longer, it didn’t to me or them any good.

Thank you for your support also, Libby.



i have just turned 44, i have struggled with myself for so many years, struggled with addictions that have grown and changed as life went on.. i always called myself a controlled addict, as i would set up rules for myself, then when i broke my rule, i would beat myself up… once i was a mother though, i stayed straight for quite sometime, until i had to go to court to testify for my exes attempt at my life.. at which time i was put on medications to stabalize me so that i could testify.. anti depressants, anti anxietals, anti psychotics, etc.. from there i went back to drinking and pain pills and and and.. but would not ever do this in front of my children.. my rules of not letting my children see me drunk, or stoned out of my mind.. i would wait until they were sleeping.. i have been clean now, of everything for going on 3 years, even though, people keep trying to offer, keep trying to convince me that only this once won’t hurt..
Now, now that i have decided its my time now, there are people who do not like it… as i have walked away from people, distanced myself, stopped focusing on them, which has left them not knowing what to do.. as i was always there for anybody, if they were having a rough time, no matter what time of day or night, if they needed me, i was there.. no matter what they had done to me in the past, how much they had hurt me before, if they were hurting, they knew, my arms were always open.. so there are some that are hurt, some that are angry, some that are confused.. so much so that at least one of them has gone to my oldest child, and told her there is something wrong with me, that they think i am back on drugs.. telling my daughter they are concerned.. well to me, if they are concerned, they would come to me.. not go to my oldest, especially my oldest, as she is the most angry of my children.. and if she thought i was on drugs again, i would no longer be able to spend time with my granddaughter.. this person knows this… my granddaughter spends every weekend with me, and usually one or 2 nights during the week.. this person knows, that if i lost my granddaughter, i would be devestated.. yet, she goes to her with this “concern”.. now, when i am probably the healthiest i have been in my life.. which is not that healthy, haha, but truly i am stronger, healthier, more grounded then i have ever been.. so the only reason i can gather for this happening is that this person is angry, scared of the changes i am making and trying to make, so is trying to get me back under control? does that sound right? or is it just my mind playing tricks on me? this is where i run into trouble, as i start thinking this, then i start thinking i am being stupid, i am being mean spirited, that i am thinking negatively about someone else and that i am so horrible for thinking this way.. ugh.. i don’t know what to think..



I don’t know if this is actually helpful to say; in aid of “full disclosure” I’m starting from a very cynical mindset, and I’m yet to see evidence of it actually HELPING me (in terms of avoiding negative people, getting myself to a place of hope, love etc). But I guess I’m thinking that trying to see what’s REALLY going on has to happen before you can realise that you’re not the problem, and then (hopefully!) start finding ways to change things.

Anyway, what I wanted to say was that for the last ten years or so (since I started to challenge the indoctrination I received through my parents/religion & the belief I’ve had instilled that I’M to blame for it all), I’ve worried at times that I’m become too sceptical, too cynical, too pessimistic etc. But then I keep discovering that things are actually WORSE than I thought (I’m thinking specifically of my parents here – my mother attempting to control me by saying that it’s been really hard on them because I don’t interact with them as much as they’d like, and don’t do much to help around the house. And this was after finally seeing no choice but to tell them I’ve been close to hospitilisation for my depression [I usually try not to tell them anything at all – partly because they don’t want to hear if anything’s not how they want to see things, and also because my mother historically pumped me relentlessly for information about where I’d been, where I was going, who I saw etc etc and I used to just go along with it, so I’m finally trying to see that for what it is (CONTROL) & just not tell her].

Damn that rant got away from me… Kelly I’m so sorry that this is going on. I suspect the self-attacking you describe (which I relate to all too well) is probably very common among people here, and I also suspect it’s a deliberate tool used by our parents (or at least, a result of being raised with control/abuse etc) so that they can have us on “remote control” so to speak… as in, if we internalize their negativity, blaming, judgments etc, then they can have control of us potentially even after they die.

I’m trying to bear in mind that advice is a no-no, but I hope it’s ok to say that I strongly suspect most people on this site are (or have been) very much geared to blaming themselves first & foremost, and also to doubt their own thoughts/feelings/intuitions (not to mention their own WORTH as human beings)… and I guess I just want to say, try and trust yourself and maybe to think if there are any things you could put in place to help protect yourself (just in case people ARE trying to get you back under control).

Now I’m worried that the above counts as advice. Apologies if it does. I guess I’m hoping it could be a kind of “balancing viewpoint” to blaming yourself for everything. Think I’m going to post anyway.

don’t worry about not making sense – you were pretty much writing for me there too. And as for feeling stupid – well I would tend to class “stupidity” as the people who go on doing the hurting and abusing and never stop to look at themselves or (god forbid) actually CHANGE themselves. And for helpless, I can say for you what I find so hard to believe for myself — maybe right now you do feel helpless, and maybe in some ways your are right now, but I have hope for you that you’ll be able to find your way beyond all this. And for the moment, I can at least tell you that you’re not alone – I’m right there with you!

Currently living with my parents, completely financially dependent on them, and feel completely unable to support myself (I’ve felt this way since pre-teen — finally starting to open to the possibility that my upbringing caused this, rather than ME). And I can’t see any way to have a positive relationship with my parents once I manage to get myself out of here (now that’s a HUGE win to state that in the affirmative!!) 🙂 so I’m very afraid to make any moves towards achieving independence, because my current thinking is that if (hmmm, that was a quick slide back into negative) I do manage to find a way to earn enough money to move out and support myself, I’m never going to talk to my mother again. And that will lead to alienation from the rest of my family, and all of their friends (unfortunately I’ve only got a handful of my own, and all of them now seem flawed to my mind because they were formed when I was living to be what everyone ELSE wanted rather than myself — and also, I’m worried some of THEM would side with my folks rather than me), so it’s just so damn hard to make any positive changes in my life (especially because I only have occasional bursts of energy, and they don’t always correspond with being in a mindset where I can block out all the s**t to actually harness the energy to do something towards moving out/earning money etc — in fact, it’s a huge win at the moment if I can do even the smallest thing for myself that’s positive even for the moment I”m doing it). Blah. I’m so tired and drained and stuck. But that’s ok. Still clinging desperately to the hope that WHEN (back to affirmative again – hooray!) 🙂 I manage to move out, that I’ll discover just how much of my energy was being sapped by living in this horrible, horrible house and that (fingers crossed, knock on wood etc) I’ll actually be able to gradually start harnessing that energy back and using it on creativity. (I’ve got pages and pages and pages of creative ideas waiting to be unleashed — currently stuck due to the vast number of them that feel negative, angry etc and also being afraid to claim my own voice and speak my own truth — feels like I have to get to a place where I’m supporting myself first so I can’t be kicked out on to the street if I start saying my truth about my parents, upbringing, hatred of religious/parental/societal control etc. And that is a fairly major bridge to cross, and I don’t feel like I have many resources available to me (energy/motivation/hope in particular). I do know I have a lot of creative talent, so I’m also kinda holding on to that — but I need to learn to stand up for myself first, or I’ll just keep attracting people who’ll take advantage of me (like I have so far).

I’m hoping this is a healthy sign, how much I write when I let myself start – feel like I could just write forever. I never really saw myself as a writer, but I’m starting to feel like it’s something I need to do in some way. (And hey – I’m doing it right now!!)

Darlene, I’d been meaning to say I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing and rejuvenating time on holiday!!!


Thank you for your words.. and just wanted to say, i saw nothing in your words that i would see as advice, so no worries.. i see only you giving your thoughts, thoughts that make sense to me, so thank you


Hi Kelly, I was just like you, taking whatever people wanted to dish out and still being there for them. It was more than that. I was responsible for carrying all of the weight in so many of my friendships. They were one way. I think I wanted and needed love so bad that my arms were open, as you describe, to anyokne, everyone. I didn’t love from a place of strength but of need, like a child. It isn’t uncommon for people to love out of that need for the love of parent when that need was never met. Though,it’s unhealthy for everyone involved. When I began loving myself and setting boundaries for relationship, I confused many of my friends, also. Most of them aren’t around anymore. The few I have left were with people who participated in the relationship in a reciporcal manner. I think this person is behaving in a way that is destructive to you and very disrespectful. Those are two important boundaries for relationship. I don’t know what their motive is and it really doesn’t matter. None of us can be responsible for changing the motives or actions of another. We can only do our own work.

I’m hoping you’ll continue to winn in your battle with drugs. I’ve been clean for almost 30 years. It can happen for you too.



J, I think writing is an excellent way to get in touch with true feelings and begin to set life in order.



Hi everyone

It’s almost 6am and I can’t sleep. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep on the couch for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. Right now I’m in that hazy state where I can’t remember what day it is or what I’ve done in the last couple of days. I hate that feeling.

Also been reading about borderline personality disorder, dissociation and other related stuff online… I keep getting confused over what’s actually “wrong” with me, and what to do about it. I tend to relate to lists of symptoms of various mental disorders, and I don’t even trust myself enough to know if I actually have those symptoms, or if I’m just clutching at straws & fooling myself into believing I have symptoms/disorders that I really don’t.

The only thing I’ve ever been diagnosed with is depression. But I know I have anxiety issues, and at various times I’ve utterly convinced myself I have bipolar disorder (the type with lower level mania), borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative symptoms, and probably others I’ve forgotten.

I think it was BPD I was reading about that mentioned being hard for mental health workers to deal with, and I think also for BPD it mentioned seeing people as saints/heroes then flipping sharply to seeing them as the enemy etc. Noticing that in myself so much lately.

Also was reading some more of “The Highly Sensitive Person” (HSP) by Elaine Aron. I strongly identify with much of what she describes, but I find it quite a depressing book becuase it seems like the answer is to have to stand up for yourself more in terms of creating a life / relationships that work for you, and I feel like that’s only going to alienate the few remaining relationships I have.

It also talked about “transference” re therapists, and said to be especially careful for physical therapies (eg massage) where they also provide emotional support. My masseuse does that, and I think I do have a transference thing going on. I also felt really upset recently because she asked me not to lie down on the couch in the waiting room (she’s said previously I’m welcome to hang out there even if I’m not having a massage, and I’ve napped / lay down to rest there several times before, but only just now said she doesn’t think it’s professional etc). And while I understand that, I felt like it was a rejection of me personally, and also just sad because massages are pretty much my one completely self-indulgent thing but I often feel really tired after (especially if I’ve also been talking about deep stuff) and don’t feel safe to drive for a while after, and often feel like I need to lie down and rest.

Also it had been like a safe place for me to go, when I don’t even feel safe in my own (well, my parents’) house. I mean emotionally rather than physically unsafe, although as I think about it, I find it almost impossible to relax or unwind here, and lately I’ve just been leaving the house as often as possible so I don’t have to be around them. But then I feel uncomfortable sitting in the car for a long time (if I don’t feel confident enough to go sit somewhere public, which is reasonably often), and also have to deal with the feeling like I don’t belong anywhere.

This feels really negative. Feeling bad about writing about myself so much too, like I’m desperate for attention or sympathy. (And maybe I am. And maybe that’s not the end of the world, and this is a safe place to talk about problems). But I’m super-tired which never helps. Btw I meant to ask earlier if anyone else identifies with the HSP (highly sensitive person) thing?

Hope everyone’s doing well.



I understand your hesitancy to move away from your family unit since it would result in alienation from your family. I have been written off…erased…blacked out from the list that states family members. I have been keeping boundaries but to hear from a distant relative that I no longer belong to the family tells me am really really alienated..

The only contact I had, my sister, cut me off when I refused to buy her stuff as I used to ..

It’s an awful feeling. I sometimes ask myself is my healling worth such . .but there is no reversing now …

All my friends..which I had many . deserted me the moment I decided to stop going to that church.. So I have had one thing after another. .then losing my T . .which is still an awful sore spot.. makes me wonder.. am I doing something wrong? Am I suppose to be hurting so much?




J, I sought out labes as a way of gaining understanding of myself and my family structure. Darlene says that she avoids diagnosis and I see the wisdom in that now. It has been good for me to just work on my problems and understand how my past and my coping mechanisms became my way of life and were no longer healthy for me. This approach has helped much more than the endless diagnosing of one disorder after another and nothing offered to me as treatment but pills.



Joy, No honey, you aren’t to blame. The problem is them. You’re hurting now but you will get strong. You are getting stronger every day. You are worth so much. You are very valuable, a treasure worth guarding. It’s good that these people are no longer plundering your person. Keeping your boundaries in place and not allowing relationships with people in the past or present to get close to you when they don’t honor those boundaries will keep thieves from stealing your self-worth. Maybe this is your time to ponder your own value and acknowledge it. Hang in there.



When I was 5 years old, I just knew I would die young which to a 5 year old that meant before the age of 20. I don’t know why I thought that. I don’t remember any life threatening situations that I was living with at the time. Another strange thing about my childhood that I have no explanations for.

Emotional neglect and abuse are worse to me that the physical abuse of the incest that I lived with as a child. At age 3, I took over as protector of my mom’s feelings so she wouldn’t be hurt by anyone. No child should ever take on the role of parent to their parents but so many of us did that as children. For me, it was part of that “If I take care of them, maybe they will love me.” When I started healing and learning to love myself, I had to accept the fairy tale that I had created and believed in about my family. They weren’t ever emotionally there for me. My dad was a rageaholic who was only ever there for himself. My mom just didn’t feel anything and used silence as a brutal weapon to manipulate those around her into doing what she wanted you to without ever admitting that she was angry. She used cigarettes, coffee and romance novels to shut out her family and the world.


Patricia, I think I thought I’d been born to die. I almost died soon after I was brought home from the hospital. My parents said they put too many blankets on me (they were worried because I was so small, 4 lbs.)and found me not breathing. My dad resussitated(sp)me. Then I almost died when I four with Scarlet Fever. I almost bled to death again at about six because of a bloody nose when I had the flu and again, hadn’t been taken to the doctor. We lived 50 miles, of mostly dirt roads, from town and my mom had no idea of how to pack my nose and stop it from bleeding. My parents were and are children. I not only bore their responsibility emotionally (and later financially)but I came close to death several times because of it. I think my life was on the edge so much of the time that I couldn’t fathom a long life. I was also a failure because, I truly believe that my parents view their children as their care-givers instead of wards of their care. I was not physically able to deliver what they wanted from me. My mom says it is my dad who was jelous of me but I think they both resented me from birth. I was pretty, like a doll and that was my only value. The only good stories they told me about myself, were about my physical appearance. As I grew older, my dad would comment on how photogenic my feet were or how shapely my body was. If I gained a little weight, I was asked about pregnancy. I could go on and on but the way I was taught to view myself and the way I was educated about sex was psychological incest. I agree that the invisable nature of emotional and psychological abuse is worse, simply because it is so hard to understand. I was made a part of my parent’s mental illness. As my dad taught us, we were all a part of him. There is no way to survive that kind of emeshment except through surgical separation. It is impossible to have a healthy relationship with people who only see you as a part of themselves and never as the person you are. I’ blessed to have made it out alive and whole. My siblings haven’t got a clue.



Hello Pam

In no way will I stop doing all I have learned even if there is a pause in the lessons;) Boundaries and quiet places are still very much part of my life and attempting to be creative when not busy about other obligations is also.

I love to write poetry so I often run to my silence inside where I can ponder all the things that are happening.. Too much as one time leaves me feeling helpless..

I wish I could make sense of some thing but they are beyond my ability to understand ..

Thank you for supporting and encouraging me ..as I am finding the need to take many long extended deep breaths lately. So much nonsense going on.. .. I will be so happy when some things tamper off and disappear..

I find myself thinking how much am going to say to God when I see Him face to face . .but for now ..God is getting plenty of tears.!



Joy, I don’t know if you realize how surer you sound about things lately. You’re getting there. I don’t consider myself a poet but during the most painful and confusing time in my life, I wrote poetry. I think rhyming helps harmonize and make sense out of inner chaos. I’ve read that rhyming calms and cools the brain. There is so much that we can’t understand but I think we each have our own portion to understand. I know God cares about your tears and counts every one. You are grieving but your new beginning is closer than ever before.



Pam I don’t feel very sure of much. .I thought for the past 6 months I was feeling kinda sure about things .and that was all dashed to the ground..Sometimes am tempted to believe what my mom said. that I wont amount to anything..I think being dropped by such a professional has really brought my self – esteem really really low.. but I know I am not a nothing.. just someone who keeps getting in the company of the wrong people..

Rhyming has see-saw soothing effect. good rhymiing just flows.. ..

Thank you for all you day Pam



Joy, I know you were hurt but when I think back to when you first started commenting here, you’ve come a long way. What the therapist did was just awful, beyond unprofessional. You already amount to something, you amount to, Joy. It seems to me that your mom looked at you and saw all of the things that were wrong in her. My mom is like that too. Professionals are just people and having a degree doesn’t make anyone a good person. Sometimes, it just makes them better able to harm. There’s nothing we can do to change a predator’s heart. There is no bending or shaping of one’s self to please them that ever satisfies. People who feed off of the pain of others have an insatiable need for that pain. I don’t know why and it really doesn’t matter because few people like that want to get better.

Keep writing and rhyming and someday, it will all make sense.



Hi Everyone,
I just published a new post about this whole emotional and psychological abuse thing. This new one is about how we are taught things in a backwards and false way which adds to all the confusion.
You can read it here:
We are Taught Don’t get Raped instead of Don’t Rape
Hugs, Darlene


This is totally were it like reading me…i am trying to find my love i need to accept what happenend to me was not because of me but htis is very hard concept. i hate everyhting and me so much for what i did to make this all happen i at 5yrs old when my uncle caused the abuse then again by others when i in my childhood to teenage years this happen to me because i am inherntly bad and how i was the black sheep of the family to make my mum(although did not know i was being abused my my uncle and family friend) emotinally abused me and hate it is all my fault because i am bad and i hate me i dont trust people and struggle with the “black Hole” i am sitting on the edge just looking in and I sometimes wounder if I made my uncle and the other two men do this why did I not have the power to stop it this is a thought I have lots..because to say I could have stopped it and I couldn’t have stopped it makes me very unpowerful as a kid to think I let this occure and did noithng at all to stop, I can see how me telling dad the monster comes ect was not really a way to say what was happening but i was only little without words for the things that happened and I know intellectually that this is not the case how i could not have told I had and have no worth and was and am powerless but this still is somewhere holding on very tightly inside and i need to change htings so very much i just cannot get past my “protector” in therapy to get much past all the negitive self belifs i hold but i have a light of hope because here so many people have got past were iam and are making it I may one day get there as well. If someone else has faith in me then maybe I can have some too .


Jane, You were just a child. A child who should have been loved. There is no fault in you that caused those things to happen. I thought I deserved to die and if I died, I thought the pain would end. Really though, I wasn’t longing for death, I was longing for life. When I reached for life, I found faith. My faith taught me that I was loved and the one who created me had faith in me also. You are no different than me and that which was there for me in the moment I needed it most is there for you.



Hi Jane
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
My faith came from the hope of actually overcoming this stuff, rather than from someone or something else. I got past my protector (the survivor mode wall) when I had a glimpse of that hope. My protector was guarding very strongly when there was no hope. When I realized (the things that I write about in this site) that facing the truth was the way to overcoming, and after I faced the first mixed up trauma event and sorted it out, I had that hope and then I began to have faith that I too could overcome.
Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry that this happened to you and for the horrific damage that it has caused.
I am so glad that you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


I should have added all of the work I had to do to overcome all that I had to overcome. I did have to face the truth about my childhood in order to overcome my depression and anxiety. There was a point though when I was glad to treat my depression and anxiety with drugs because I liked the drugs and nothing else mattered to me, anyway. Emmerging from Broken would have made me laugh because I didn’t think there was any good in the world and I didn’t have the desire to get better and be a part of it. I was like a vampire, hiding from the sun, afraid of the light of day. I was used to the dark.I was part of the darkness and I was at home with the things that lived there. Faith wasn’t something I generated from myself or studied to find. It was an intervention. It didn’t solve all of my problems in a magical moment but it changed my attitude. I had to want to live and be a part of life before I was ready to do all of the hard work I’ve been doing all of my life to get better. If someone really want to live and begins reaching for life, there is hope. If they are content with a living death, which is drug addiction, there is no hope. The truth does set us free but each of us has a slightly different road to walk to find that truth or to even begin to think that truth is anything but a joke. I had no real desire to live until I was 19 years old. Maybe it was some buried spark within myself that finally ignited when I hit bottom, it doesn’t matter. What mattered was wanting life instead of death. If I would have had someone then to help me uncover the truth from all of the lies I’d been told it seems things would have gone quicker. I’m not sure that help existed, at the time. I’m thankful for all of the crutches, wheel chairs, etc. that were available for me to use until my time to uncover the truth came. I’m thankful for you, Darlene and for everyone that shares their experiences here. I try to be as honest about what happened to me and what helped me as I believe everyone else who shares here does.

This is a poem I wrote at 16 that expresses my view of the futility of life and how I felt about my life:

A turtle fell out of its tank.
It spun around, and around, and around,
on its back and
Then it died.

In my mind, I was no more important than a turtle and futility colored my every waking moment. Truth to me was futility. I was born and from that moment on, I was slowly being sucked into that black hole and I didn’t give a damn.



Hi everyone

Feeling really crap. So tired again today. Pretty sure I got a reasonable sleep last night, but I can’t remember actually waking up and feeling refreshed and energized etc. Maybe as a child. Body just feels so drained and it feels impossible to do anything. I hate days like this because it feels like there’s nothing to do, but just try and distract myself so I don’t get stuck in a super-negative spiral, but it’s so hard when everything just feels so heavy.

Also feeling really stressed because I’ve got a milestone birthday coming up, and my family’s going to want to celebrate, but I don’t want to. I’m really worried that they’re going to turn on me because they’ll think that it reflects poorly on them that I don’t want to do anything (or that other people might think it does). Feels like it’s going to be the point where I won’t be able to hide my anger at them any longer. And as much as I hate having to pretend that everything’s fine and that I don’t hate them, there’s no way I could support myself right now, so I can’t let that happen (reveal my anger). But my mother especially tends to attack when something’s not as she wants it, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to hold my anger in if she does that. I’ve had times when I’ve felt pretty sure she’d physically attack me if it came down to it (or if I started saying some of the things I’ve held on to for so long).

OK, rant over. thanks for listening! (well, reading actually)

Hope everyone’s well!



J, I can really sympathize with what you are feeling. I’ve been going through a few rough patches lately myself. I just keep telling myself that I made it through worse, and I will get through this too. Hard part is just believing it. I hate that you are going through all that, and hope you have lighter days ahead :O)


Thanks Lisa Marie.

Hope things pick up for you too.



this is almost exactly my story. I almost want to say it was from birth, but I dont really think in the beginning that my parents set out to neglect me emotionally. I think that there is some truth to what they say about birth trauma and children who are isolated at birth in hospitals and not held and loved and such. I have come to realize that going through that from birth changed me psychologically before I ever had a chance to learn anything other than isolation, and I think that my life later, only furthered that loneliness. I think it may have been easier on my parents to ignore me and leave me in my books because I didnt seek out their affection or attention. My mother is very narcissistic and wants to be needed and loved and praised for every single minute of her life, and I didnt give her that and my other siblings did, and my father was an alcoholic and very uninterested in my life as a child, and so I faded into the background and never really wanted anything else for myself…you cant miss something you never had I suppose.

Not that I think any of that is an excuse for how I was treated as a child, its just how I make sense of it in my head. This was all set in stone long before the “real” abuse (I know thats not an accurate statement, its all abuse in reality, but in my head, its not) started, at least what I can clearly remember of it.

For me, the biggest problem with this is just that emptiness that Pam talked about here

” It is common for people to say that we all have a void that only God can fill. That is probably true but the emptiness I lived with and inside of was greater than any natural, inborn need for God.”

how can you fill a void that God can’t even fill? It has colored every single minute of my life, from before I can remember, and I have never been able to put it into words, until now. I have this image of a clear glass pitcher, and I just keep pouring a transparent pink liquid into it (thats how love looks in my head I guess) and its like there is a hole in the bottom, it just never fills up no matter how much I pour in, and I can’t fill it, my husband can’t fill it (and now after almost a decade, I have realized that its unfair to expect that from him) and God can’t fill it, and its caused so much damage in so many relationships.

I am still in the process of figuring out who I am, without that changeling me that I thought I was for so many years, but I am glad that Pam was able to articulate that she is not consistent in who she is all the time, and that its okay to be that way. I have been struggling with that a lot, with being one part of myself one day, and a totally opposite part the next, and having that be acceptable and allowed to occur.

I hate never knowing how I am going to be from one day to the next, but slowly I am seeing patterns of things in life…I love bright colors and flowers and hedgehogs (who knew :)) and I have accepted that there are certain parts of me that may never grow up…I may always love things like Rainbow Brite and the Smurfs from my childhood and want those to be a permanent part of my adult life, and that is okay. I dont need an excuse to love those things. I dont need to be ashamed of that. I dont need to feel immature and childish. Its okay that I love to color and love rainbows and things that many people associate with children. It is a part of me that I really love and it makes me happy, so how can that be bad?

I dont want to be ashamed of myself anymore…and I dont want to pretend to like things I dont, and pretend to dislike things I love, just because it fits someone else’s idea of what a “grown up” or “wife” or “mother” is supposed to be. I am going to be me, and I am going to love me and accept me and slowly but surely I am going to plug that hole in the bottom of that pitcher, and one day….I will write a post for EFB about how it felt to heal and not be a chameleon anymore (although I love lizards and geckos and the like…I don’t want to be one)

Thank you Pam, you really articulated things I have in my head and couldnt put into words.


Hi Amira,

thanks for sharing! I can relate to feeling like nothing can fill the void inside. Religion was intricately bound up in my emotional abuse. So it’s very hard to separate the two. Right now I don’t even try; I just hope that if there is a higher power, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with what most of the people I’ve known growing up claim to follow. (Lots of bitterness still, sorry).

On a more happy note, I completely relate to still loving many things from my childhood. I’m pretty sure it was Joy in another recent post comment also talking about that. I hope to one day get to the stage of being completely unashamed of that, but right now don’t need to invite any more “friendly teasing” etc so tend to keep it hidden. Only fairly recently discovered via youtube etc how much old clips from Sesame Street that I remember from childhood can just about bring me to tears – so gentle, and loving, and caring.

Thanks again! From one big kid to another! 🙂


Amira, It is only in the last few years that I’ve begun to understand and confront the neglect that was the atmosphere of my childhood. The hole itself filled in gradually and I think a lot of it was having a husband who loved me, a few friends who loved me, and growing as a person. That was the worst aspect of the neglect is that I never developed as a whole person. My parents are both narcissistic. My dad needs constant attention and will do anything to get it. My mom is narcissitic but she serves my dad. It is complicated but there was never anything left for me. If I had been healthy, I would have, at least, been outdoors doing things like my sister and brother. My world was all cerebral and it was easier to just adopt a personality from a favorite book in place of being me which in many ways, was nothing. I made it a way of life. God is an important part of the filling but what I needed comes from parents and what we don’t get in thsoe first few days, weeks, months, and years can be gotten anywhere else. I did begin to get better when I told myself that I had a Father, God and that He cared about me and wouldn’t manipulate or abuse or ignore me but wanted what was good for me. I read the Bible a lot and I gained a healthier perspective on myself and others. It all took time and work though. There was nothing mystical about any of it.

I think accepting yourself is a wonderful place to start. No one can grow up without the process of growing. I’m still growing. I’ve changed a lot in the last few years and right now, I’ve few friends. Healing is lonely sometimes. I’m no longer adopting the personalities of others though, I am just me. The friends I make from here on out will be those who like me and not someone I was trying to be. Its worth the work and the lonliness.



J, I think that void is filled with me. Part of my healing was just being able to live and not die. Then I had to change my morality because it was deadly. In that process, my view of myself, others, and the world changed. I found purpose in my faith and for the family I created. Then when I finally faced my childhood, I accepted parts of myself that I tried to bury and hide. That in its self cave me a feeling of being more whole. I’m not saying this is the same process for everyone but it is the one I went through. I couldn’t have completed the journey if I didn’t acknowledge and understand what happened to little girl that I was and stand up for her. We stand up for what we value and the moment in which I began to stand up for me, I found my value. There was no longer a black hole in me sucking the life out of everything.



“The Black Hole of Emotional Neglect…” Thank you Pam for writing such a transparent article through which I feel so connected to you and others here who have suffered and endured the ravages of emotional neglect. The article and responses help to occupy “the hole” with personal voices, and access to other personal histories that counter the inner isolation for me. Thank you to all those who have contributed the preciousness and meaningfulness of your lives. I have literally been on a decades long journey seeking personal healing and transformation. My most current breakthrough has been to
begin to understand afresh the depths of that wound and to experience the reality of that forlorn, forsaken, dear little girl internally making her fears to proceed with life known to me. I located this blog while looking for links to help me understand whether my most recent experience of an “inner child” is an indication of a dissociated condition. The best I can tell is that yes, it is. It is hard for me to believe that after almost 40 years of seeking answers through every possible avenue that I am faced now with the most profound image internally of this desolate despairing dear girl child. Her message to me is that she will refuse to proceed in the direction I want to go in professionally as an adult unless I assure her that she will not have to do so alone. She wants to be assured that she will have adequate emotional support and sustaining love before she will move ahead. Her stance as I understand it is so dramatic because she cannot bear to face any more isolation on her own. Despite my best efforts at self-parenting previously the strength of her protestation and the inner cry of her heart suggests to me there remains an overwhelming fear of the abyss
(the hole). The place where she is all alone and where she fearfully has to fend for herself. I want to assure her that I do love and care for her. I want to do what I can with God’s help to provide the assurance and loving protective presence that will cause her to feel connected to me and God and therefore, not isolated and afraid to venture out into the adult world of business. Thank you again to all for being voices in the wilderness to me at this critical time on my journey. All the best as you seek all the Loving Goodness and restoration in life you so deserve.


Laura, For me, healing comes in pieces. I manage to work through one area of damage, experience the elation of it, and then find another area that needs work. I’m not sure if it will ever be completely finished but I think the secret is to keep moving toward the goal. I too am still working. There were a lot of actors that handled what the real me inside couldn’t handle so now I’m working to find what was consistent in all of those roles I played and who I really am. Since I was 19, my faith has been a constant and I believe that if I can see myself the way that God does then the inner me will have a fighting chance. Isolation is tough but it can become a way of life. When I hurt, I still seek it out. Habits formed in childhood are tough to break but I think I’ve come a long way in recent years. I had to face the pain in my childhood and reclaim the peices of myself that I left behind in it. I think the hole can only be filled with myself and not all the other things I spent a good deal of my life chasing.


Neglect takes so many different forms–but the result is always repugnant. Loneliness was a prevalent theme in my childhood as well and I spent a lot of time trying to be invisible to escape the wrath of my mother. I was denied the usual opportunities for normal socialization and emotional development. I became suicidal at a very young age. It’s just so wrong for a human being, or any living creature for that matter, to careen towards self-destruction. How people can look at their own children and not ache when they are in pain (be it physical or emotional) is beyond my understanding. I am just so grateful that I have not repeated the pattern. I deliberately did not have children because I wasn’t sure I could nurture a child. However, I am pleased to say that I got an oppotunity to become part of a family through my spouse who brought three children to our relationship. To my great surprise, I learned that I was actually a very compasssionate and nurturing person. The children accepted me and I now have 2 grandchildren to whom I am “Gammy”. I never knew what it meant to love and to be unselfish until I held those babies for the first time. They have given me the drive and determination to continue on the road to emotional wellness and wholeness.

Thank you!

Thank you


Hi Victoria, I was a suicidal child and I don’t think my parents even noticed. I did get reprimanded for moping and pouting. If I would have understood my childhood better, I wouldn’t have had children either but I didn’t understand and I desperately wanted family. I made mistakes but I did a lot of things right too. The family I created is healthier than the one I came from but there are still painful things we all have to work through. The difference is that I care when my kids hurt and I do whatever it takes to make it better. Of course, they’re grown now and what I can do is limited.

I’m “Grammy” also, and I love being a grandmother. If I knew back then what I know now, I would have been a better mother. I am blessed though because my kids love me and tell me that I was a pretty good mom, anyway. The Bible says that “love covers a multitude of sin” and I’ve found that is true. When there is love in a family, there isn’t much that can’t be worked out or healed. Love is what the family I was raised in was lacking in. I’m glad I survived and lived long enough to experience the power of love. I’m glad you have love in your life too.



Hi Pam I know all about ‘The Black Hole’, mine is rather painful and howls at times. Both of my parents were emotionally absent and never hugged me, mother was emotionally and verbally abusive and sometimes physically abusive too; my father was just useless. My grandmother was an industrial-strength version of mother so I had no-one. I did not go down the drink or drugs route probably because my mind had developed an odd coping strategy: my subconscious would pick out people it regarded as good substitute mother material and I would become obsessed with them, (strangely the majority were men, this started when I was 11; I was wishing my parents were dead by this stage. From that age up to now I think there has been almost 20 of these ‘obsessions’. I grew up craving hugs so in my imagination one of these ‘obsessions’ would give me hugs instead. I have to say it is this that stopped me from attempting suicide as I was always hoping the dream would come true. With one of them it did but six years into the relationship these feelings come back so there’s proof that I have to fix myself somehow, no-one can fix me. I have a Christian faith but it’s taken a severe hammering over the years, not least because I found it so hard to believe God loves me; I grew up not knowing what love was and I only know it now in a sexual relationship sense so saying that God loves me is like water off a duck’s back. At least I’m not frightened of God any more. I consider myself extremely fortunate that I didn’t end up in any abusive relationships as an adult because as someone said further up the comments, “when you are starved, almost anything looks tasty”. I do wonder if I’ll ever manage to fill/close up that hole and I consider it to be the biggest problem I have to deal with – having ‘obsessions’ at my age is not cute!


Sam, I do know what it means not to know what love is or be able to recognize it. I thought it was an illusion at one point in my life. I’ve also, thought of it as an emotion but I know now that love is really a choice. God loves us so much that He chose to die for us, even when we were lost in sin and not worthy of His love. Love is giving a person what is good for them and fills their need without asking anything in return. That is exactly how a parent should love a child. It is a choice to love God in return and be receptive of the unconditional love that He offers freely. Love that is for your good and not for your harm. Love isn’t negligent. All of us can choose to love ourselves as God loves us and then when we are filled with God’s love, we can choose to love others, unconditionally. This is how I learned to be loved and love others. The hole can be filled by choosing love. I’ve never found God to magically solve my problems but when I embrace the truth and the priciples of the Bible, I have been empowered to overcome many things. I still struggle with isolation. There aren’t many people whom I allow very close to me because being alone is what feels natural. I do however, have a few people that I love fully and they love me in return. However, if they didn’t love me, I would still be okay because I choose to love God as He loves me. No one can take that from me and it doesn’t depend on any human relationship. This has been a long process for me. In my thinking, my father and mother were replaced by God long ago. When we don’t receive what we needed to develop in those first three years, it takes a lot of work to rebuild who we are but I know that I never would have found what I needed in another human being. I found it in God and myself. I hope you are able to find what you need, also.



Thanks Pam I am pleased that you have found a healthy image of God, so many people on here have had appalling examples modelled to them and then there’s sexually abusing priests – I like to think there’s a special corner of Hell reserved for them. The image modelled to me was of a distant God who got angry easily and was hard to please – rather like my parents in other words. I am very fortunate now to have found an Anglican minister who models God’s love and now that I have pulled down my ‘false belief system’ I can start to believe that God is ‘for’ me and that He wants me to find who I really am and be able to grow.


Hi Sam, I think I was blessed in that my parents neglected my religious training.lol! It has always been a personal relationship with God through, Jesus for me.I know people often view God in their parents image but He is His own person. In my experience, my walk of faith has been about becoming the person He created me to be and not the damaged person that a sinful world made of me. Faith for me has been the process of healing and becoming Darlene is doing a good work here that helps many people to heal by applying the truth to their lives. I have grown by leaps and bounds since coming here about a year ago. God bless you, Sam as you seek to end your ‘aloneness’.



and all these years i thought i was the only one with the insatiable black hole within. thank you for your story. I also was saved by the grace of God who graciously ‘found’ me and has been my reason for living
ever since. hallelujah 😉


Pat, I think emotional neglect is very difficult to reckon with because it is nothing yet, it consumes everything. I’m glad you have God in your life and also, a good understanding of yourself.



Ive never posted before but I just had to respond to Sam-
I absolutely relate to your experience with the “obsessions”- I developed the exact same coping mechanism, except mine were women-teachers, coaches, friends’ moms-they were all someone I perceived as a “mother” or even a big sister. I too had fantasies where these people would hug me, say “I love you,” or rescue me. Worse, I sometimes wrote about these feelings which later resulted in immense shame and embarrassment when my mom and my cousins humiliated me because of it. It made me feel like I was weird, abnormal, defective, that I had these strange obsessions and no one else did (or seemed to). Mine too carried on into adult life and led to further embarrassment when people around me thought because I craved attention and affection in this way, I must be a closet lesbian. (mind you I have absolitely no prejudice


Ive never posted before but I wanted to respond to Sam-
I absolutely relate to your experience with the “obsessions”- I developed the exact same coping mechanism, except mine were women-teachers, coaches, friends’ moms-they were all someone I perceived as a “mother” or even a big sister. I too had fantasies where these people would hug me, or just… care about me. Worse, I sometimes wrote about these feelings which later resulted in immense shame and embarrassment when my mom and my cousins humiliated me because of it. It made me feel like I was weird, abnormal, defective, that I had these strange obsessions and no one else did (or seemed to). Mine too carried on into adult life and led to further embarrassment when people around me thought because I craved attention and affection in this way, I must be a closet lesbian. (mind you I have absolutely no prejudice toward LGBT individuals but I did grow up with parents who considered it some kind of disease or defect). I have never known ANYONE who shared this experience and although Im not glad you had to endure the pain of abuse/neglect, I wanted you to know that sharing your story has given me unbelievable comfort. Thank you, and thanks to all of the others who have shared too.


Sorry, I didnt mean to post multiple times 🙁


Welcome to emerging from broken!
I can relate to what you have posted here about seeking woman to fill that empty mom role. It is so sad that people used that info against you in the way that they did. It doesn’t matter what they decided to accuse you of, its the fact that they saw your need as inferior and somehow ‘wrong’.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Pam……I have only just read the first few paragraphs of what you wrote, but I am surprised and shocked that there was another little girl on this planet who experienced the type of inner darkness and loneliness and emptiness that I, too, experienced! I can hardly believe that I am not alone!

I also had Scarlet Fever when I was a little girl. What you’ve written expresses eloquently what my own childhood was like. I also read voraciously, though I don’t think I even knew who Edgar Allen Poe was at the time. Reading offered me an escape from my painful family life. I also drew constantly. To be honest, I lived inside my own “inner world” because it was much less painful and traumatic there. I also understood what you meant when you explained that as a child you had no way of understanding WHY you felt that void inside of yourself and, as a consequence, accepted the void as being normal. I did, too.

I was so desperate for some type of human connection, in fact, that I fantasized and pretended constantly that my dolls were real. I prayed for them to come alive so that I could be close to them and love them and nurture them. I remember vividly at the age of eight, during a particularly stressful and chaotic period, dreaming of my dolls being alive. When I woke up (and I can remember this as if it happened yesterday), for a brief 30 seconds or so I actually believed my dream! I was excited and thrilled beyond belief. Now I had someone to talk to, to connect with…..someone who would be there with me and for me.

You can only imagine how I felt once reality hit me and I realized that it was all just a dream.

Our teen years do appear to be different, but I am guessing that what was going on inside of both of us was quite similar. I felt dead at a young age, too. I secretly wished God would let me die. I saw no hope. I’d been hurt so many times by my parents and bullied so often in school that I yearned to leave this painful world….many, many times. I cried, always alone, and quite often, from the intense loneliness, sadness, yearning, grief, and horrendous pain. Life was hopeless in my very painful world.

Having been sexually molested by my father, and having felt unlovable and unlikable from birth, I had no defenses at all to use against men who would use me. I had no concept of personal boundaries. I lived in a dissociated state, anyway, so it was very easy for men to manipulate me into having sex. I felt I “owed” it to them if they were even halfway kind to me. I was so desperate to be cared for, to be truly SEEN, that I would have sold my soul during those years in order to get even “fake love” offered to me. Sex and love were intermingled. I had no value, no worth. After all, who could possible want me?

For about three years, I drank heavily. I was lost. A completely lost soul, floundering. I had no place to belong, nowhere to fit. I wasn’t wanted at home. I wasn’t connected to anyone else. So I was on my own. A dissociated, numb, lost teenager who was depressed beyond belief. But I didn’t even know I was depressed. I guess depression had been the norm for me since my earliest memories.

Like you, no one was ever interested in the real me, either. I was simply parentified to be a surrogate parent to my three younger siblings, a confidante to a narcissistic mother, a scapegoat and victim to a cruel father. I was simply on earth to be whatever my parents wanted me to be at the moment. I had no outlets, no respite, no relief. No one ever considered my feelings. No one cared if I was ill, or sad, or angry, or hurting, or bullied. No one cared if I cried myself to sleep alone at night. No one cared if I lived in such terror that I developed IBS and anxiety issues. I was suicidal all of my life. Maybe not actively, all the time, but certainly wishing that life was better and wishing that I could just leave this earth and either go to heaven or simply vanish into a billion atoms and just disappear into the universe.

I had no one.

It sounds as if you had a re-birth. I have been a Christian for many years, but I still have the void inside. It’s not a spiritual void, for God was my only “friend” during childhood. I talked to him constantly. If not for him, I don’t think I would still be here.

I feel very close to God, but I still have the emptiness and loneliness inside. I still feel the pain. I don’t know why, really. It’s not like a spiritual void at all. It’s an emotional void, instead. I don’t think I’ve explained it very well.

I’m glad I found this topic because it lets me know that my experiences were less about ME as a person and more about the neglect and abuse I suffered as a child and teen.

Thank you for writing and for sharing.



Hi Marore, The emotional neglect was the hardest part of my childhood to define. The ‘nothing’ that happened was really worse than all the bad things that happened. It’s been awhile since I wrote this and it is something I’m still thinking about. Now, I believe that void is the absense of my development as a social being. It was hard for me to learn how to connect to others in a healthy way. I too gave myself completely, away to anyone who asked, for a long time. I did learn to say no to men after I met my husband but I still couldn’t say no very well when others asked for other things from me. I didn’t understand that it was okay to do so. I didn’t know where I ended and others began (all my boundaries had either never developed or been trampled)until I was nearly fifty. Personal boundaries were an amazing revelation to me.

My faith did play a huge role in filling that void in me but it wasn’t magically, filled at first belief. It filled in over time and I attribute that to how my personal relationship with God helped me to develop areas in myself that never had a chance to develop. I’ve learned to love myself and give myself nurture but I’ve also, learned better ways to connect with others. My past state of constant ‘aloneness’ is no longer with me. Church socialize me, both the good things and bad things that happen at church helped me understand how to connect to others, by observing and participating. We are social beings and when we’re kept isolated from others for too long, we lose a part of ourselves that makes us fully human. However, there is always the hope of still being able to develop those undevelped social skills. I will never be a social butterfly but I do have an inner feeling of contentment where that huge hole used to be.

Don’t give up Marore. You aren’t alone. I understand fully, what you’ve written because I too have lived it. That void in you can be filled.

If you’d like, you may contact me through my website. Just click my red hat and send me a message throuth the ‘Contact’ at the top of the webpage.



Hi, Pam…..thank you so much for responding to me. It means the world to me.

I won’t give up. I always seem to maintain hope. I guess that’s part of God’s help. He knows how much I need him in my life.

I always knew that my father was a sadistic, cruel man. But until a few years ago, I really had no idea that it was my mother’s narcissism, and her neglect and parentification of me, which probably damaged me as much as my father’s abuses. I had known that I was abused, but I honestly had not realized that I was also neglected. My father’s abuse was of an overt nature, and my mother’s neglect was more of a covert thing. But I honestly now believe that being neglected and ignored did something to me, and I did not have the opportunity to develop and learn things as a normal child does.

My children grew up and moved away and they have their own lives. I miss them terribly and have had a really rough time with the “Empty Nest Syndrome.” It’s as if I’ve lost all sense of usefulness. I realize that I was groomed during childhood to only take care of others and never of myself. So much there is for me to learn, alas. Things I should have learned years and years ago.

Want to hear something kind of funny? Well, to me it’s funny, in a way. Now that I know that my mother is a narcissist, I can see her behaviors in a whole different light. Well, today she called me to chat. She talks incessantly, and she is a horrible listener….just horrible. So she talked on and on and on, about buying Christmas presents, about herself, about my siblings, etc.

I usually just say, “Uh-huh,” and “Really?” and “Oh, how nice,” because she doesn’t really listen or care what I have to say anyway.

Today I took a leap and started to tell her about receiving some text photos from my daughter, of her decorating her Christmas tree, and I was going to tell my mother how pretty the tree looked. But you can probably guess what happened. My mother didn’t even let me finish my sentence, but she interrupted me and ran on for 3 minutes nonstop about her own tree, how ugly it was, how my sister had gone out and bought her lights, helped her decorate it, how much better it looked, how she dislikes trees when the branches don’t come all the way down to the floor, and on and on she went. I just hold the phone two feet away from my ear now. She’s not even noticing whether or not I get a chance to talk. All she’s interested in, as usual, is listening to her own voice and having a captive audience.

It’s funny, in a sad sort of way. But for a daughter of a narcissistic mother, it’s the norm. She’s not interested in me as a person. And she never has been.

I’d like to get back into church, but I deal with PTSD and a lot of shame issues. I am really happy for you that you have filled the void through church.

I will try to contact you through your website, as you suggested. Thanks, again, Pam! Just talking to you has helped me to feel hopeful and less alone. I do need to take steps to “get back out in the world,” I suppose.

Thank you for sharing so authentically from your heart. You make a difference.



Hi Marore, Church didn’t fill the void in me but it helped to socialize myself and I learned alot about how people relate to one another. I had a really hard time knowing how to connect to people. I start school at seven and I didn’t know how to talk to other children. I would say things like,”Did you eat all of your lunch?” to try and start a conversation. Of couse, they thought that was weird but I was talking to them the way adults talked to me because I hadn’t been around very many children. I was also, isolated from my siblings alot because I was always sick. What filled the void was me, all the parts of me that never got a chance to develop as a child. One of the most important undeveloped skills was how to relate and connect to others. I’ve only recently, learned that most all of my relationships have been based on what I could do for the other person. Expecting something in return is new for me. I’ve always been protective of others but I’ve only recently learned that it is okay to protect myself.

I understand how hard empty nest is. Even if people havn’t identified themselves solely upon what they do for others, empty nest is hard. It can be a great time to do some inner work though and maybe. It can be used to nurture ourselves in the same way we nurtured our children. I know when I embraced the abused, broken, little girl inside of me that I tried for so many years to hide, I was blessed with a wholeness that I didn’t know was possible. Gathering up the pieces of myself that I’d left behind did alot to fill that hole at the center of self. Learning to see myself and love myself as God does has made all the difference. I’ve learned to be my own mom and God is my Father, Who always cares about my well-being and has the advice and guidance I need to heal, grow, and thrive.

Don’t be all alone, missing your children. I’m usually, to be found at my website or here. I’m glad you haven’t given up hope because with some work and faith, miracles still happen.:0)



Hi, Pam….

I love what you said about filling the void by discovering all of the parts of yourself. Those parts were ignored when you were a child, and I feel really encouraged by your ability to now pay attention to all of those aspects of who you are. You deserved to discover those parts when you were young, and your parents should have helped you. I’m sorry that you were neglected and ignored. It’s very painful.

Yes, learning to connect to people definitely sounds important. I am afraid that I only learned to “connect” by thinking about what I could DO or GIVE someone. I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want me around just to have fun with me or to enjoy my company! My mother definitely parentified me, so it seems quite natural for me to think in unhealthy terms. But I am very willing to learn new ways. I think I deserve a better way of life, Pam. I’m glad you have had success.

I want to learn how to be my own mom, too. I’m very poor at self-care, but I really do want to learn. Would you mind sharing some ways that you mother yourself? I’d very much appreciate it, so that I can get an idea of how to do that for myself.

I want to feel close to God, again. I talk to him every day, and I always have, since childhood. Sometimes, though, I don’t think he really cares about me. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it is sadly true.

You’re inspirational to me. Thank you so much for being willing to share with me, Pam. I just can’t thank you enough for your kindness and your very caring words.



Marore, I mother myself by giving myself all things I needed as a child and didn’t receive from my mother. I give myself acceptance, encouragement, nurture, protection, approval, and I stand up for myself. I don’t crisize myself, anymore. “Beating up on myself”, as my husband used to call it, was something I used to do whenever anything went wrong for myself or people I love. When I was able to get rid of the inner critque, it became much easier to care for myself. I do slide back, at times, it takes time to correct bad habits but I have made progress and so can you, Marore. You’re kids are grown and have left another void in your life but that extra time can be used to nurture and train the little girl inside of you. Finding her interests, talents, and special gifts and helping her grow can fill that old familiar void. Now that I think about it, my most intensive inner work took place when I like you now, was going through empty nest. It can be a time of amazing personal growth and healing. That’s my hope and prayer for you.:0)God is interested in you. I know because He told me so!:0)He only made one of you and you are precious and valuable in His sight.



Hi, Pam……..I love your nurturing ideas! Yes, I will try to do those things for myself. Since I never recall even being hugged or tucked into bed or comforted by either parent, I really haven’t been very good at providing myself with self-care. Strangely, though, I provided my own children with those things. We would lie in bed at night and I would read aloud. I would sing to them and stroke their hair. I never wanted them to feel the dark, empty loneliness that I felt.

Since talking to you, I have felt a deep desire to connect with God, again. I guess I have gone through a period of anger and deep disappointment the past year or so. I thought He must not love me if He allowed me to be so hurt and abused. Now I am seeing that it wasn’t His fault that my parents made the choices they did.

I feel more hopeful……even excited!…….You are right……this time of my life can be full of newness and creativity. I was feeling that life was over. But now I see that it is full of promise.

Thank you for sharing with me. You have helped open a door which had been closed the past few years…..a door I closed due to pain and disappointment.

I am grateful, Pam. Thank you for being so gracious and for showing me the love of Christ.



Marore, You’re welcome, sweetie.:0)The great thing about God is that He really is always, right where we left Him. I have great hope for you too.



Hey Pam,

Thanks for sharing your story, I was adopted by unloving / uncaring parents and minus your sickness, I had an almost identical childhood.

I am over 30 now and still deal with many, many of the problems that stem from this.

Just wanted to thank you for sharing your story, it made me feel better to know that someone else had gone through the same thing. It was eery how similar your story is to mine.



Hi James, We were all alone but we don’t have to be now. All the stories here echo with the stories of others. I’m not happy that there is so much suffering in the world. All children should be loved and treated with respect. However, I am thankful for EFB because victims are given a voice here and through our voices, abuse is exposed for the huge problem that it is. This is a good place to find validation, a path to healing,and the understanding to do things differently.:0)



Wow, I can really relate. Thank you for sharing. I suffered neglect from my mother and if it weren’t for my grandmother on my father’s side, I wouldn’t be the woman and mother I am today. I’m not perfect, but at least I don’t treat my children the way I was treated.

I am struggling with completely letting go now. I am 41 and tired of being the one to carry the relationship. She fails to take responsibility and continues a pattern of not caring, lying and excuse making. I no longer wish her to be someone she is not. I no longer grieve my childhood. I no longer carry anger towards her. I just feel like I want to let her go, but I wonder what kind of person can do that?

We are moving to the other side of the world soon for an undetermined amount of time. 2-4 yrs. minimum, but could be permanent. Only time will tell. My mother’s response was, “Well this will probably be the last time I ever see you or the family…” followed by excuses/reasons why. I know she must be feeling like I am abandoning her, but she is the one who moved 10 hours away when I was a 22 yr. old single mother. Anyway, if she doesn’t want to make an effort to see me (or even call or write for that matter), then why should I?

Thanks for listening.


Christina, It is hard to feel anything for people who put nothing of themselves into you. My kids have felt guilty for feeling nothing toward my parents and I know it is because my parents take from others, emotionally but won’t, don’t, or can’t give anything back from themselves. Even when they give presents, it is for the purpose of keeping the receipient tied to them. My parents are ulta-dependent, children and they never functioned very well as parents. They were too self-involved to even notice any lack in their children or what we needed. I don’t hate them either and when I’m not around them for a long time, feelings of love come to the surface but when I’m around them, I go numb because I have felt so much rejection and pain as a result of their treatment of me, or no-treatment. It took me a long time to define the emotional neglect because it is so hard to describe the damage caused by nothing. However, I think it was the greatest damage they caused me.

I also, had great grandparents and without them, I don’t think I would have emerged from childhood with any kind of self-identity. I don’t understand why my dad, their only child, is the way he is when they were so terrific. That is something I guess, I will never have a full answer for.

I try my best to enjoy my life and not worry too much about what they are feeling. They’ve never lost any sleep worrying about how I feel about anything. A relationship requires two. It isn’t possible for one person to carry the responsibilities of relationship for two.



Thanks Pam. I deeply appreciate your reply and support.

With love and gratitude,


Hi Pam.
Everything you wrote was beautiful. I feel like I have never been able to understand another persons experience quite like this in my life. I stopped briefly wondering if I actually wrote it and dont remember…
Our experience with this is absolutely identical.
When I Overdosed I died too. I came back brand new just like you said. I somehow came back restored with the motivation to finally get better. This was several years past and I am still struggling in life.
When my grandmother passed when I was 18- My world has felt lonely confusing and destroyed ever since.

I cant even get out of bed some days. I have felt so alone and abandoned. I dont speak to my dad anymore he wont let me come visit my mother or talk to her. It hurts so badly- and I feel more alone than ever before. I dont know what I did to deserve this. Im so exhausted and I really am trying so hard- I have always tried so hard. So when my dad called me a faliure and told me I was in denial and needed to just admit it- I had had enough. I told him not to call me that- then he made me leave, blocked my number on both the phones and I am not allowed to contact either of them until I apologize. I refuse to apologize because I didnt do anything wrong.
Since then the sadness has just been overwhelming and I am desperate to make it not exist. So I distract myself from it constantly because its too painful.

Just know I understand you and I am sorry you dealt with these things. And I am hoping you have some encouraging words for me. I hope I can be where you are one day.
Thank you for sharing this.
I dont want to be this person… Whoever she is… I want to heal so badly.
God is in my life and I have a wonderful relationship with him. Infact I think I stumbled across you because I asked him in prayer I didnt know what to do anymore and to please help me.
Again. Thank you so much. I hope you are well.


Hi Lauren,

I can understand what you are going through. Your father is a heartless and horrible person to rejet you like this.
I ran away fom my own home when I was 19 where I was treated like garbage by this father I hated.
I send you all my courage, and remember, you are right, you have done nothing wrong.
Can I ask you some questions ? Do you live in your parents house ? How old are you ?


Hi Lauren, It makes me sad to hear that you are in such deep pain and what I would have you know from my experience, is that the problem isn’t in you but in your dad. When a child is put through the kind of emotional disregard that our parents put us through, it can cause us to fall into a state where we feel we aren’t part of the world, or even that we don’t exist in the world we were born into. It is hard to move if you feel that you don’t even exist. However, that is a lie that my parent’s abuse taught me about myself and others and I’m here to tell you that you don’t deserve any of the bad treatment, disregard, and abandonment your parents have shown you. Abusive parents are blind to who their children are because they view their purpose and reason to exist, as being for the parent’s benefit only. If we don’t fulfill that assigned role (and that usually happens when we try to become individuals and fulfill the purpose God has given each of us)then they have no further use for us. Such parents miss out on ever knowing who their children are but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t good people or that we are useless. I know God loves you for who you are and wants nothing more than to see you become the woman He intended you to be. He wants that for everyone, that’s what I believe. He wants all of His children to love Him and themselves as He loves us and then love others out of that place of inner security. Learning to be my own parent and giving myself what my parents didn’t, has gone a long way to helping me be who God wants me to be. The person I’m supposed to be; and the role my parents assigned to me isn’t who I am. I don’t belong to my parents. I belong to God. I passed through their care, for a short time, and they didn’t give me what I needed to grow into a healthy, functioning adult. They flubbed it up and they are the ones who will have to answer for their irresponsibility and cruelty.

If you keep reading here and apply the truth you find here to your life, you will be able to set yourself free from the emotional shackles that bind you and prevent you from moving forward. Emotional pain is no small ailment. Pain that immobilizes is crippling pain that can become chronic. The good news is there is a cure and I found that cure in confronting myself and the truth about my childhood and then replacing the lies I was taught about myself back there, with truth. Knowing and embracing the truth makes all the difference in the world. It isn’t a painless process but it leads to a life free from the lasting consequences of childhood abuse.

You aren’t alone, Lauren.



My parents are and continue to be emotionally neglectful & abusive and were also physically neglectful in many ways and for those reasons I have cut my father out of my life. I also limit contact with my mother who to this very day only wants to talk about herself and her own needs and is not at all interested in my life and never was.

It was really hard to grow up this way especially as an only child and it has affected me greatly. I’m very jealous of normal families and parents who love their children and have often wished for a surrogate family to adopt me into their fold. I’m in my 40’s.


Tricia, I know how frustrating and painful it is to reach for a mom or dad and find nothing there. In my own situation, I don’t think it is possible for me to try and maintain such a one-sided relationship with my parents because they aren’t capable of being a parent and even though I became an adult long ago, I can’t be around them without wanting them to be there for me and fulfill the role of parent. When they are in my life or even when I only had limited contact with them, our relationship is a black hole that sucks the emotional life out of me. They are so emotionally, needy themselves that any kind of ‘love’ relationship for them, is a matter of feeding on the emotional energy of the other. No parent should ever feed upon a child for any kind of personal gratification. I’m much happier since I no longer allow that to take place.



Good day Pam.

I a a wife to someone who has lived a difficult life being hated by his mother from birth. I cannot understand him, he is unable to connect emotionally and often comes across as not being attracted to me to the point where I initiate sex 95% of the time and it is just sex, not making love. He comes acroSs as lacking empathy in that if I feel sad or cry, he remains numb and dissociates. It’s a painful way for me to live as I myself truly lived an opposite life.

Now, my husband is a wonderful man and father to our infant daughter. He tries his absolute best to be a wonderful husband and provides for me and my daughter. But I crave an emotional closeness with him more than anything, but it seems he really doesn’t know how to be in an mutually satisfying emotional relationship.

He is very scared of conflict and the methods he chooses to use sabotage the relationship but he doesn’t even realise it. He withdraws and instead of facing problems, prefers to sweep them under the carpet and move on to happy times. The problem is that by never addressing problems, they just grow.

His seeming lack of sexual attraction has me afraid that he could be a gay man but I don’t know whether this is far-fetched. I’m also afraid that I am feeling neglected in this marriage and will also end up in this black hole you describe.

I Am not even sure what my question is, but just wish the gaps could be filled in for me to help me understand my husband and how I can be supportive but without sacrificing my own emotional health but accepting his neglect. Thank you for sharing your life.


I meant to say without sacrificing my own emotional health BY accepting his neglect.


Loago, I feel for you,loving someone who isn’t capable of loving or hasn’t developed that capacity. I think it is possible for your husband to do so but he has to have the desire to become healthy. People who are neglected and/or abused as children either choose the path that requires lots of hard work that ends in emotional good health or they choose the coping mechanisms they learned from their parents. My family also, chooses to ignore problems rather than work on them. There are always problems in any relationship that need to be worked through and if one person is unwilling to do so, the relationship is doomed even before it begins. I don’t want to be so negative that I bring you down further but it is impossible to maintain a healthy relationship when only one person is doing the heavy lifting. None of us are able to heal another person. We can only choose what is healthy for ourselves or settle for the make-believe world that people create for themselves when they avoid embracing the truth, at all costs. You’ll never be able to fill the emotional black hole, left by neglect, in another. It can suck the life out of you trying to do so. I hope your husband will choose emotional health for himself by facing the truth and building a healthy self-esteem by doing the right thing and work toward becoming the man he was intended to be. He isn’t beyond hope if he is willing to put in the work. I hope that helps.



Pam, thank you for your response. It is just what I needed to validate the intuition that I felt deep inside since even before we were married. I knew it was not going to work if I would be required to be the only one pulling my weight. I was pregnant when remarried and I was so confused because I wanted my baby to grow with both parents but I also felt there was something terribly wrong. Instead listening to that still small voice, I went ahead and got married. It’s one year later and I am ready for a divorce.

Your response, coming from someone who understands my husband, validates for me my decision to divorce and cut my losses before I myself through emotional damage.

I’m glad to have come through Emerging From Broken. At first I was going to read it to understand my husband, but now I’m reading it for my own journey of healing.

Thank you! 🙂

As I have


I keep making mistakes. I was pregnant when we married.


Loago, It is natural to want to give your baby two parents and it is common to think that if we choose the correct form then things will be the way they should be. However, family in form only and not in spirit can never be anything more than the image of a family. It will be better for your child to have one emotionally healthy parent than to have one emotionally ill parent and another so overwhelmed with his illness that there is nothing left to parent the child with. I hope you and your little one will have a brighter future.



I am 51 years old and am still trying to come out the other side of the black hole that engulfed me when I was 10 years old. Almost an entire lifetime ruined because of emotional neglect. My father died when I was 9 and my brother committed suicide when I was 11. My mother did not openly grieve and taught me that it is not ok to show your emotions. She was riddled with shame. She made me feel that there was a lot to be shameful about. I believed that to feel shame, meant that I had done something shameful, so I felt shame about feeling shame. She had no time for me both physically and emotionally. At age 12 I began to hate myself. Somehow, in my immature twisted mind I felt I was to blame. I began self destroying. I took drugs, I drank alcohol, I self harmed, I nearly died. I did stupid, unfathomable things that I am ashamed of. I retreated into a lonely, dangerous drug fuelled fantasy world. I lost friends, I lost my self worth, I lost my identity. I became nothing. My mother remained absent, in denial and at times vented her anger and fear towards me with spiteful and hurtful words, but the thing that hurt the most was her emotional absence. All along there was one drug that I desperately needed that I couldn’t get. The most powerful drug ever produced …. it’s called love.
In the core of my being, I still believe I’m nothing.
I used to abuse myself. I don’t do that anymore. I found someone else to abuse me instead. I ended up marrying a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder who has confirmed every negative thing I have ever believed about myself and who is also emotionally absent. I am in therapy now on a lonely, painful journey back to my true self. I have so much healing to do but at least for the first time in my life I am giving myself what I have always deserved – love and attention.


Julianna, I’m saddened to read of the pain you have endured. When parents are engulfed in emotional pain and or mental illness, their child grows up inside of that illness. If there is no intervention, that illness causes the child to become emotionally misshapened and ensures a troubled future.

All drugs imitate natural chemicals in the body and what you wrote reminds me of that fact. We both craved love and attention and we turned to drugs to fill that void. Drugs are all smoke and mirrors. They promise relief but in the end, create greater pain and damage. I’m glad you are in therapy and doing the real work that can end in your finding the love you weren’t given as a child.



Dear Pam,
I found your site when I was exploring the topic, filling the emotional hole in your heart. I was searching to find any un-done emotional work I might need to do in order to prepare for my desire to foster to adopt. My goal is to help a little person, to provide for them and save them from a life of loneliness and suffering, to give a family…
Your story resonates with mine, starting with narcissistic parents who divorced when I was 16. My childhood was a life that was vulnerable to the circumstances that prevailed. My parent’s divorce freed me to accept Jesus and truth. I attended church at 26, married to supportive, loving husband, mother of two boys. I’ve been able to work through a tremendous amount of confusion and pain, set up boundaries, find general health, both spiritual and physical. I’ve developed a beautiful life with my family, indeed, not without diligent work and tremendous loads of love from above. Your words, especially the subsequent comments, have confirmed all my experiences, witness to the truth of it all and fill in the gaps I was hoping to explore. This is not easy to find!
I’ve found that churches I’ve attended lack a true depth/maturity which my life has required. Their words have been a starting point but have often left me frustrated to fill out the true meaning… I suppose this is common.
While I am deeply saddened for the circumstances that have been laid out above, I am truly overjoyed for the light that has been kindled in your heart and has developed to save from any further suffering or assaults. I am also thankful for the light that is shed on others. Thank you for sharing.
I’m not sure whether our family will add another little one to the mix but I know that this search will not go without fruit.
Blessings on your work and your wisdom.


Hi Laura, I’ve only contributed a few articles to this site. I’m not an expert, just a fellow survivor.:0) Emotional neglect was the most difficult form of abuse for me to identify and I’m still coming to grips with how it damaged me. I spent a great deal of time alone in my room as a child, kept in bed because I was sick. I always accepted the family narative and it is only lately that it has dawned on me that keeping me in bed so much quite likely contributed to my ill-health. I spent the fourth year of my life in bed and had to learn to walk all over again. In some ways, I relate to children kept in closets. At age seven, I weighed 22 lbs. I had a very hard time relating to others especially, children. I always thought there was just something weird about me and there was. I grew up in bed, in a dark room, often medicated with alchohol and alone. I didn’t understand social cues and didn’t think like a normal child. I did teach myself to read during that fourth year and I think if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to over-come what I now view as my social disability as the result of emotional and medical neglect.

I’m glad what I’ve written here speaks to you and I hope it helps in your own healing journey and also, in creating a healthy, nurturing, and loving environment for any child who passes through your care. We can’t fix our childhood through our children but we can make a difference to future generations by doing all we can to end the cycle of abuse in the families we create.



I agree to you laura, it’s really painful. The friends that you have are stabbing you at the back and its really-really frustrating to hear it from people who are concerns to you. I lost a lot of my friends due to my addiction and my friends they were like don’t come near me, it’s like I’m a carrier of a contagious disease.


the first part with your quote:My most familiar emotion as a child was loneliness. My most familiar emotion as a child was loneliness. I was prevaded and often overwhelmed by it; but I also couldn’t name it. At the center of my being, was a darkness that often pulled me under and left me in such a state of depression as to paralyze me. I was filled with a deep longing for someone to notice my pain and help me.
really made me emotional because its the story of my life


My story is hauntingly similar to yours. I was the 9th born of 13 siblings, and loneliness, yes loneliness was the prevailing feeling of my childhood….all that came after is strikingly similar to your story…the abusive men, drugs, psycho-medications….still trying to break free and heal.


“My most familiar emotion as a child was loneliness. I was prevaded and often overwhelmed by it; but I also couldn’t name it. At the center of my being, was a darkness that often pulled me under and left me in such a state of depression as to paralyze me. I was filled with a deep longing for someone to notice my pain and help me. This core emptiness followed me into adulthood and ruled over the choices I made.”

Pam, This is my story too and it is still a story that I am working to heal from. I am still that lonely depressed child who is struggling to fill the void that was left in me by emotional neglect.

I am so glad for you that you had that grandmother to give you the feeling of being visible and cared for. I didn’t have that. There is a part of me that is wistfully jealous.

I have waited… all of my life, for someone to ‘notice and care’, but no one has. And, finally it dawned on me that ‘I’ could be the one to ‘notice and care’. I can’t wait any longer for someone else.


Wow. Pam. As I read this, I swear I could have written it. At age 16, after spending weeks at age 15 in bed, sick, I became convinced that the only way I would survive was to look straight ahead and never look back. I did. I went on to marry and have 3 great children. You see as a mother and parent, I vowed my children would not grow up neglected. Or abused. My young adult children will attest to their wonderful beautiful childhood and I am proud of them for never taking it for granted and for being thankful to their father and me for raising them with love, security, morals and ethics.

Now as I am in my mid fifties, I have fallen prey to being sick with Cancer. The hardest part and the part that not one person understands is that although I had 35 years of good health and happiness, I am now being sucked back into that black hole of sickness. I am feeling every mental condition imaginable from anxiety to depressed to paranoia.

My children and husband stand fiercely beside me as I work to attain full recovery and once again walk the path of wellness. I believe that growing up with out proper nutrition, being cold and abused is playing on my mind. I know people get Cancer every day. They work through their treatments because they know they deserve to live and/ or give it their best shot.

My emotions are all,over the place. And it is wrong for me to place my awful childhood as a burden for my loving family to also have to deal with. The mother figure that birthed me is now 87 and insisted through the years that I be responsible for her and her health as she aged. I dutifully did it. At the time I was diagnosised, I decided that Cancer can be amongst you in the form of relationships and finally I was able to cut the last tie that bound me to that crazy woman. The father died 6 months before my daughter was born, so I never had to worry she would be sexually abused.

In closing all I want to say is that a Cancer diagnosis is something I could have lived with out. Everyday is also a fight to stay away from that black hole of despair that was my childhood. I loved my Life. I want it back, just for a little while. Please and Thank You God.


Im a christian and was doing better after I became one. then Got some counciling from a church, which ended up abusive…because they didnt know what they were doing…back to the empty, loneliness.


I know this is an old post but I guess I found it at the right time. As I was reading I kept on thinking “this is me, this is my life.” It’s 5am and I haven’t slept because of a drug binge…I guess I keep thinking that I don’t deserve to be happy…healthy…loved. Anyway, the void is so real…I remember feeling that way at a very young age.
I know that I do not love myself the way that I should, but I’m getting there. I don’t want to be another person that vents about how sucky their life has become…nor do I want to be validated by others (I feel that’s my responsibility).

This seems like a disjointed rant…only because it’s the first time in my 26 years of life I get to let it out and it’s conjuring up emotions I haven’t felts in a long time. Sigh.

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