The Dreaded Mother’s Day Card Purchase

My Flowers

My Flowers

Yesterday someone asked me for guidance on the “dreaded mother’s day card purchase”. Flashbacks of trying to find just the right card went zipping through my mind. I remember reading dozens of them trying to find something that my Mother would like, but that didn’t make me feel like a liar. I wanted to make her happy and I wanted approval but I also wanted to feel good about myself. Joke cards were fun, but my mother didn’t appreciate them at all. Mushy cards that said “thank you for being the most wonderful mother in the world… for always taking care of all my needs, for putting yourself last” and all that other stuff wasn’t truthful. Not getting a card was even more risky than buying a less than perfect card. Thinking about that whole dreaded mother’s day card shopping nightmare resulted in the following thoughts;

This week in honor of Mother’s day, don’t forget to acknowledge the Mother that YOU have been to yourself. I am talking about everyone who has survived any kind of family dysfunction, emotional neglect or psychological abuse. I am talking to everyone who lived in a violent home, and to everyone who was spiritually abused and told that even God is disappointed in you. I am reaching out to every human being who was taught to believe that they were less valuable than any other human being and to anyone who felt shame that was not theirs to bear, and to every individual who came to the conclusion that if actions speak louder than words, my mother didn’t love me. I am referring to everyone, man or woman, who has persisted in moving forward in spite of the baggage and false beliefs left over from child abuse that we have tried and tried to ditch although this has always been so much easier said than done.

I remember feeling horrified and even panicky at the point in my process of emotional healing when I realized that I was going to have to be the one that had to do the work of healing myself. I was going to have to learn to validate myself the way that I had not been validated by others. And I was so tired already. It just didn’t seem fair. In some ways I felt like I was being asked to take care of yet ONE MORE person when I wanted to scream “WHO is going to take care of me for once? When is it going to be MY turn!!!?”

One of the first things I learned in my recovery process is that it wasn’t my fault that I arrived where I arrived as an adult in such a state of pain, depression and overwhelm. I didn’t BREAK me in the first place. I wasn’t born broken. I didn’t do any of this to myself and I was tired of being the one that had to take care of everyone else and all their feelings. I felt like I had been struggling to survive the shipwreck that was my childhood my whole life, a child taking care of a child and now I had to learn to re-parent the lost child that was me in order to take my rightful place in the world as an adult. It seemed like an impossible task. I didn’t think there was enough energy in the world that I could access in order to accomplish what I have since accomplished.

So this week when someone asked me for guidance on the “dreaded mother’s day card purchase” my first reaction was “Oh ya ~ I can totally relate to what you are talking about!” My second reaction and the one that I replied with was; “I sure don’t miss those days!”  

My third reaction is this: Before you decide what you are going to do for your Mother of origin, consider acknowledging yourself.

Buy yourself a mother’s day card. Acknowledge yourself for everything you have done to take care of yourself in spite of adversity, neglect, abuse, fear and terror. Make yourself a special lunch or take yourself out to your favorite place. Buy yourself flowers and write the card to yourself. Treat yourself like a King or a Queen in gratitude for all the times that you have picked yourself up, for all the times that you have suffered in silence, for all the times that you took the blame and for all the times that you cried alone ~ thank yourself. Love yourself.  You deserve to be loved and you especially deserve your own love.

Although I am sure that a higher power was behind my recovery, pulling for me, gently urging me, whispering to me that I could do this and softly encouraging me to get on the right path to overcoming abuse, I was the one that had to listen to that urging and do the work. I was the one that found the courage to face those terrors. I was the one that decided to unpack that baggage and take a look at what was weighing me down. I was the one that tackled it. I was the one that had to learn what a boundary was, how to set them and why I had a right to have them. I had to face my fears of standing up for myself when deep down I believed that I had NO rights, that I didn’t deserve and the fear that I really was unworthy because that is what I had been taught by the abusive, neglectful and dismissive actions of others.

And I did it ~ I learned to validate myself in all the places that I had been invalidated and I continue to do it. I am learning to be a loving parent to myself; the loving parent that I’ve always wanted. I am celebrating that I am a person with value and with needs and that my needs are not something to be rejected and dismissed. My needs are not bad or wrong. My needs are not selfish. I can take care of my needs and be proud of myself for it. Every human being has needs. I am celebrating my humanness this Mother’s Day. I am celebrating letting go of tons of false self-judgment and embracing the truth about me. I am worthy, deserving and lovable. I am lovely and loving. I am the person that I was born to be and I did the hard work to get here.

Over 22 years ago I became a mother to my first born child. Several years ago I decided to become the mother I never had to my neglected self and both these events are worthy of celebration.

This year I am grateful that all three of my kids will be home for Mother’s day. I feel really blessed that I have beautiful, intentional and co-creative relationships with all three of them. I am celebrating the mother that I am and the children that I have raised.

And this year I am also going to take a few minutes to acknowledge the Loving Mom that I have become to the lost little girl that I was and celebrate the mother that I have been and have become to me in my own life. Please consider sharing with me and with all the readers here how you might do the same for yourself.

Happy Mother’s Day to each of us. (including the Men!)

There is freedom on the other side of broken;

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

Categories : Mother Daughter



Taking the phrase from a book…”it was a little like releasing a helium balloon. I had no idea the world could be so light, the flight so internally propelled.”…your post is wonderful,Darlene…up, up and away!


Hi Judy!
Love your comment! I feel that way too.. so much lighter! Oh wow, I used to sing that song to myself when I was a kid.. perhaps out of the longing to escape! 🙂
hugs, Darlene


That’s a great idea to buy cards for ourselves. I think I’ll do that. It’s perfect because all I have to do is go to work – I work at a store that sells greeting cards, among many other things. I’ve been ringing up mother’s day cards recently and every time I do I wonder what it’s like for the person buying them, having a good, truly loving relationship with their mother (if they even do, who knows). It’s especially tough because a few hours after having that experience, I have to go “home” to my mom and dad’s unloving house because that’s where I’m living right now. There’s a mother’s day display up in the store right now as well, and something about it just feels false to me. I am not happy to “celebrate” mother’s day.

The paragraph starting with “Although I am sure that a higher power was behind my recovery…” resonates so much with me right now. I just had a really good, snotty, drooly, honest cry and every time I do, I feel I get closer to the truth. And while I’m in the middle of it, I know that somehow I’ll get through this. Don’t know how, but I will, with some force guiding me. It’s been really helpful to me to remember that I am always exactly where I need to be, even when I’m somewhere horrible.


I smiled while I read this; thank you Darlene, this is a revelation! I had never thought of rephrasing mother’s day like that; making it no longer a reminder of past guilt, obligation, and dread but one of celebrating my process in re-parenting myself. I had two mother figures growing up and both were very abusive, but today I don’t abuse myself, and I take care of myself and stand by myself and take my side the way no one did when I was a child. I am much more nurturing then they ever were.

I remember the last few mother’s days I selected a blank card and wrote a really vague poem inside that could be interpreted in many different ways to try to get around the fact that I didn’t love the monster who gave birth to me, but after I left home thankfully I never participated in her birthday or mother’s days ever again. But I like the idea of giving myself a mother’s day card, or something I’d really like. I certainly don’t judge or hyper-criticize the gifts I give to myself the way my ex-mother did.


This is a beautiful and uplifting post. It helped me focus on the pride I feel for how far I’ve come, and the optimism I feel for ongoing, continuing healing. It is almost exactly a year to the day that I first visited your website. I came across it as I researched healing for the daughters of narcissistic mothers. Little did I know all the amazing discoveries I would make this year. For the first time, I began questioning the idea that something was very different about me that made me feel inferior to others and unworthy. For the first time I explored the idea that maybe I erroneously took on all the blame and responsibility for what was wrong in relationships. For the first time I really started probing deep down to find out the real truth about things that happened to me. And what discoveries I’ve made! Lies, manipulation, being groomed to be a certain way, false beliefs, survival mode, victim mentality. A year ago I was not aware of any of this! I feel that my load has been lightened a lot just by realizing how much is actually not my fault, and by discovering that bad things I believed about myself are untrue. I still have a long journey ahead. Building up my confidence, reparenting and healing the damage, and learning to set boundaries are still ahead of me. I want yo get to the point where I can respond to an insult or a crossed boundary without trembling and having my heart beating a mile a minute.
Thank you Darlene for your wonderful work and for the loving guidance you give to everyone on here. If everyone gets as much as I have gotten out of your work, you will truly have changed the world for the better. If anyone deserves a very happy Mother’s Day it is you Darlene. Have a wonderful and amazing Mother’s Day. Much love, Amber


When I look at the overall picture, the message I am still getting from my family is that I’m expected to take care of all their feelings by not having any myself. They have said that they don’t want to know my problems and they don’t want to respond to me if I’m not doing well. They are angry and offended that I’ve told them that their words and behaviors have hurt me. They tell me that I’m being mean to them to make them consider their own mistakes, while I’m NOT supposed to be hurt by the criticism they have a habit of pouring out on me. I’m supposed to “forgive” and “let go” because God says that’s what I’m supposed to do, but they don’t do any of that themselves!

I can’t get anyone any kind of nice card for any occasion. I think of how many cards somehow say something about how “you were there for me” and none of them were. It was always when I needed them most that they kicked me out of the fold, expecting me to shuffle back when I fixed myself.

I have heard from people who really do mean well that I have to accept that my mother isn’t going to give me what I need, so I can’t expect more from her than she’s already given me. In my own mind, what follows is this implication that it’s NOT SUPPOSED TO HURT. It’s like a simple solution to just turn off the desire for a loving mother who actually WAS THERE when I needed her.

Even when some place in my head I recognize that some people are just trying to get me to face reality and I suspect they don’t mean that I just need too much, what I feel is that I’m a greedy selfish attention sucker that will drain even the most generous and empathetic people on the planet, and remain empty.

I feel like I would be OK if I would just exist without needing anything at all from anyone at any time. If I could only kill that evil desire to be loved as if I have right to be here.

I’ve heard that I do have a right to be here, that I have a purpose, and well…whatever follows. I’ve been told that even though my mother didn’t give me what I needed, that doesn’t mean I didn’t deserve to be treated with love.

And I can’t seem to get that part about belonging or deserving to mean enough to stick, or to take root and grow and overpower this relentless echo that I intruded on the lives of everyone who has had the misfortune of making my acquaintance. No one will ever have enough to meet my overwhelming needs.

Where’s the short circuit?


Hi L.
That is how I felt.. like a force was guiding me. I remember feeling ‘guilty’ one day that I was writing a blog and speaking in public about my childhood and I had this feeling that God himself was right beside me, telling me that I was on the right track and that I was not doing anything wrong but that what I was doing was going to make a difference and to keep going. It was really cool!
Thanks for sharing. I would have found it hard a few years ago to be working in a greeting card place during mothers day! hugs to you!


Hi Caden
As always, your comments enhance everything that I write and I appreciate you so much for that. 🙂 I like your expression “rephrase mother’s day” I have to thank the woman who wrote me yesterday and asked me “for some guidance on the dreaded mothers day purchase”. While I thought about it, it occurred to me that I had to re-parent all the places that were neglected and missed and it would be SO positive to acknowledge that for myself and for others!
I like my own gifts too!
hugs to you Caden. Thanks for sharing!


Hi Amber!
Thank you so much! Your comments and support have touched my heart. Sometimes I see myself as a mentor mother to the people who comment here. This is one such time! :/

I love your list of the things that you didn’t know a year ago that you have come to realize! That is awesome! Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Hobie
I found myself nodding in agreement with what you are saying here. YES it isn’t a two way street with most of these people. They don’t follow the rules that they demand WE follow with them. There IS NO mutuality. And that is the hard truth of it all. It is also the beginning of freedom for me. Once I began to see the truth about the way it was, I began to question why it was ‘right’ and realized it wasn’t.

I learned that there is a difference between accepting that my mother isn’t going to give me what I need, and letting go of the longing for her to. I accepted that my mother wasn’t going to change long before I stopped wishing for her to love me. Today I see it even more differently; today I see it as that I am not asking for her to change I am just saying NO more to that treatment and have removed myself from it, but that was a process.

We have a right to our grief and our pain, and we have a right to be loved and treated with respect. My desire to be loved was not dependant on being loved by my family of origin. That was the difference for me. It isn’t that my needs were overwhelming as much as that it was communicated to me that they were. That was just another lie!

Keep persisting!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene,

There seems to be a process between the beginning of recognizing the lies and adopting the truth. It’s hard to give up the hope that my mother will love me, and if I didn’t cause the problem, then I can’t fix it. I want to believe that I can be lovable enough for her to love me. I want to have THAT control over the situation to change it.

I feel something like I’m in a labyrinth and I’m going from one wrong turn to another and back again. I’m beginning to recognize what the obstacles are and frustrated with the knowledge that conquering those obstacles will take TIME!

The truth is not always the opposite of the lie. Maybe there are pieces of truth still to be discovered that will help destroy the lie for good.

I will persist 🙂


I just gave myself a long, long hug with the NEW idea of being my own mother. It felt good and it felt right. Yes yes yes. Thank you Darlene for a fresh way of looking at this issue!


Your words are so wise ~ Perhaps more wise than you realize! All of what you wrote has been true for me. I was frustrated by time and I too found that there was bits of truth in those lies.. just enough that I believed the lies (that’s how grooming works) and partly because believing those lies about me is how I survived my childhood; if I could blame me, and find the fault with me then maybe I had a hope of fixing it.. 🙁 It’s like solving a 10,000 piece puzzle; at first it looks like a jumbled mess, but as your sort it out the connections begin to reveal the whole picture. And what an amazing picture it reveals!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kathryn
YAY for giving yourself a long hug! It does feel good to make the decision to love myself!
hugs, Darlene


This is a really nice post, Darlene. Thanks for sharing it! Since I have no mom to say it to, and since you’ve helped me give me back to myself, I want to say Happy (early) Mother’s Day to you!

I think my ability to let go of my family’s “love” correlates to my ability to love myself. I’m picturing acrobats swinging from opposite sides. I can’t let go of the lies of my family if I’m not close enough to the truth. If I don’t have my own love and faith in myself and in a life outside the lies to grasp onto, if I can’t even SEE myself at all, how can I make the leap to reach me? And so actually for a while, those lies I held onto kept me alive in their own way, which is right, though they also nearly killed me, but now that I can see the truth, and myself, I can let go of the lies and make the leap over to the other side, to myself, to real love and real life, which is also right (though scary, too!). I’m starting to feel (and not just know intellectually) that I deserve love and want to love and be loved and that’s okay, that’s good, not a weakness! Life is much too hard, not to mention probably pointless, if not for love, and I’ve been living this long trying to be okay with the denial and deprivation of it, trying to make that “right” so that I could have hope of fitting into my family, which has made me so sick and is no longer something I want to do. I deserve and want love, real love, in my life. Otherwise, all this that I’ve gone through is not worth it, or rather it would simply be the same as if I stayed inside, just my own personal variation of it, and that is not what I want at all.


Hi Alaina
Thank you so much for your mother’s day wishes! I treasure you Alaina and your comments feed my soul. I love the picture you paint of the acrobats! That is exactly how it is! It was scary for me (and sometimes in new situations with new people it still is!) to know that I did deserve love and that I wanted it and I think it gets scary because of how much for me it was related to all the pain of wanting it before and the denial and depravation as you mention.
Great comments,
hugs, Darlene


Thanks, Darlene! I was reminded of something that happened at the job I just quit, the day before I simply stopped going. One of my coworkers gave me half his orange, saying something about the “healing power” of oranges, then joked about wanting some of it back (he was having a rough day, too). And then I said, “Oh, I hate it when people do that—give you something and then take it away.” He looked at me like I’d said something really disturbing (maybe b/c I said it so non-challantly). He told me that there were names for people like that, that psychologically speaking… and then he trailed off. I wasn’t sure what the names would be, other than a**holes, except that in reality, when I thought about it, I realized that underneath it all, I would just say that “people” are like that. I feel like to some extent, even when I’m being very open, on another level I always keep one foot in and one foot out just in case. Or maybe not out, so much as I remind myself that there’s always an exit should I want to use it and I do have that part of me that is always willing to cut and run, should I have to or want to… but I feel like that’s healthy, no? At least to an extent… It’s also a sign/reminder that wherever you are, whatever you’re engaged in, it’s a choice—for yourself and whoever else is involved—and that you still remain a separate person, and that’s a good thing, I think. Maybe as “survivors” we’re closer to this truth than people who haven’t gone through all this. There’s something that makes you different than others, when you’ve crossed that line, that you’re willing to walk away from your family (or if you’ve simply never “had” them to begin with). When you can pull out your roots, knowing you can transplant yourself elsewhere, when other people could not even conceptualize this. There’s sadness in this reality but I also feel like maybe there’s something that we have, that we know, that others don’t. Maybe just a consolation but… something to do with having nothing to lose, the courage that comes from knowing you’ll survive, even if you’re scared and cautious in how to move forward. You can’t stop yourself now, not after all this—I guess that’s what you’re left with.


Hi Darlene,

Always such great articles from you! I knew that there were others who felt like me regarding the holidays. For child abuse victims like us, the worst holidays are Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Mothers Day and Fathers Day and I think in that order. I used to select a Mother’s Day card with a cartoon character featuring an inside line that was just slightly funny. Trust me it was a chore that I did not look forward to.

The truth is that this year it’s especially bad for me since my birthday is exactly on Sunday, May 11—Mother’s Day! Yes, that’s right and I turn an amazing 46 years young! So, I am experiencing totally mixed emotions. I celebrate the fact that I am a survivor of so much abuse and pain. My mother NEVER wanted me and she was a Narc. mom who was jealous of me. I want to pinch myself and wake myself up as if this life has been some kind of a bad dream. I look at my photo album and I see photos of me as a little girl and teenage girl who dreamed of just “growing up really fast” and leaving behind that parent’s house forever and never looking back.

I can’t recall where the time has gone and how I miraculously crossed over from point A to point B and somehow I have arrived at the present moment. I know that the average people can lie about their birthdays and brush them off. Nothing is “average” for abuse victims and our lives do not commonly fit into a simple box and a set pattern where everything happens on a neat timeline clockwork. But then I tell myself that I have accomplished more in a lifetime than some of the non-abused people do. I earned a BA degree as an older student in 2000, and I own a small house in a model home community, and I have traveled, and met interesting people along the way, and have interesting hobbies.

It used to break my heart whenever I saw the collection of kitschy Mother’s Day gifts of coffee mugs, signs, pillows, costume jewelry, with forever sentimental engraving. Then there were the matching mother and daughter gifts—even worse. I felt as if I was a ghost observing the scene and not being really here or there.

I feel that I DESERVE all those kitschy “daughter gifts” like the coffee mugs, signs, bracelet charms and so on. I WAS A GOOD DAUGHTER and I have never received a good daughter gift in my life.

So now I am celebrating two holidays on the same day. I have renamed Mother’s Day to “Daughter’s Day” and this can also be “Son’s Day” for a man! I have no family left and I’m not seeing a man currently, so I do my own celebration home alone. My tradition is always going out to see a movie and then I come home and have a piece of birthday cake and open presents. I want to buy myself a “daughter gift”, too. And I’m happy with all that.

I don’t know but I think that these non-abused, average people totally diss their birthdays since their lives are so bland and boring. They are afraid of aging, but I celebrate the fact that I’m still here and I have lived through so much. I can’t believe how much that I have survived.

Thanks All!

P.S. Love your flowers, Darlene!

Blessed Be,

Yvonne )0(


Hi Darlene

What a cool and helpful way to see Mother’s Day for the first time in my life, to celebrate the mothering I had to give myself all these years. Wow, the holiday doesn’t seem as upsetting suddenly as I can see how nice and RIGHT of a concept this is for some of us, who didn’t have the mother we deserved, needed, wanted.

I too still wonder what it is like for people who do celebrate their mothers and feel love from those mothers.

As with many holidays I am now used to not sharing much or saying much when asked what we are doing for any holiday. Just sort of nodding and smiling in agreement and hoping this holiday part of the conversation is over immediately.

I remember too well, struggling to find a gift Mom would like and a card and always being met with the message that I had failed, and having gifts from my siblings be lauded as so thoughtful while mine got put in a closet or thrown out.

I do not miss those days. I no longer miss my mom or family though I am still a bit haunted by them including in nightmares I still have, 10 plus years after going NC with most of them.

I still don’t fully understand why they all didn’t like me and felt they had to be abusive, but I also know I don’t have to fully understand every piece of it to work on healing myself.

Anyway thank you Darlene and Happy Mother’s Day to you for all you have done for countless readers.

Happy Mother’s Day to fellow readers and those brave folks here who share so openly with their experiences and feelings that make me feel less alone, less crazy, as my family wanted me to feel.

We were not born broken. Not born unlovable.

It is not wrong to be a loving and sensitive person, or to want to be loved and understood. To be validated, to be accepted, and genuinely hugged by someone who cares, not just pretends to care when people are watching.

I still struggle with things at 47, fear of rejection, PTSD remembering traumas of abuse, but I am still here and stronger than ever, trusting myself more, when I never thought it possible.

It has felt like a giant jigsaw years ago, that I could never solve, but with time, persistence and the support of Darlene and others here, it has gotten easier and so much better.

I do feel that lightness I didn’t even know existed long ago.

Gosh I feel I am rambling on in 10 different directions.

Just want to say thank you and Happy Mother’s Day to all again.

I hope we can all learn to accept and love ourselves.

Over and over reading comments here I feel like this is a wonderful and intelligent and gentle group of people who may not see what I see, which is that I think you are all worthy, special and good people.

Hugs to everyone here from this guy who is emerging from broken, thanks Darlene and each and every one of you sharing your comments.



I never saw myself as mothering the little girl of me. It feels I have always been a woman with grave responsibilities. The constant abuse in my childhood separated me and all was left was a woman. I have taken care of many and I feel exhausted. Today I thought about all that you speak of in this post. I have come such a long way in the healing process and yes its hard work. I still get panicky at times. The trauma seems overwhelming sometimes with triggers. But my faith grounds me with the power of love. Love for myself and courage to move forward. This year, next month I will be fifty. I have been a loving mother for 25 years. It’s a wonderful miracle for me to be able to say this with joy. I’m still growing and have more healing as I go. I am thankful.


Darlene, I’m so glad you decided to write a blog post about this. You’re right, it does hurt a lot when reminders of Mother’s Day are everywhere and I am in the first year of NC with both parents. Just wanted to add “me too” to the annual hunt for the right Mother’s Day card which was always such a hassle and at times those flowery gushy verses about Mother being “always there when needed” were heart breaking – we all deserved that kind of mother. Coming to terms with reality and loss is the soul work that the past 25 years since I sobered up has set the stage for. Anyway, I followed your advice. At the post office today I saw a blank card with beautifully colored art on it – something I myself would love getting – and bought it. I couldn’t write anything more perfect to my mother-self than you did in your post, but part of my Mother’s Day celebration with my loved ones will be remembering the things I did to create a “me” out of the garbage and lies I grew up hearing about myself and believed for such a long time. I went halfway around the world twice in pursuit of my college education while my daughter was growing up. I tried my utmost to give her the nurturing and healthy self esteem I didn’t get and am grateful she wants to be in my life today. I realized something recently. My mother is almost 80 and she has smoked since I was born (I’m 58). She has also had an eating disorder all of her life and has starved herself since her 30’s. Now she is very frail with respiratory problems – still addicted to the nicotine – and her diet is very unhealthy. It occurred to me that I was hoping she’d treat me better than she treats herself, and that’s like expecting a sane reaction to disclosure from an insane system. Thankfully I found a way to overcome all the unhealthy substance addictions that were “de rigueur” in the sick home I grew up in. I have not had a cigarette in over eight years – that’s another thing I can feel good about any day. I’m rambling, but I find strength in everyone’s words. Happy Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to all of us! xoxo


Lovely idea, best yet. I had decided this year to spare myself the hassle of picking out cards for both parents. I have almost no contact with them, they ignore me and my family. I am the convenient scapegoat for all their dysfunction. So why should I bother to find just the ‘right’ card for them? It won’t make them love me, it won’t stop them from vilifying me, I won’t get that 30 minutes of my life back. And if history tells me anything, sending a simple gesture of love to them often backfires and creates some new drama for me to deal with. BUT the idea of treating myself like a queen, picking out a card for myself?? PRICELESS. THANK YOU Darlene!


Hi Yvonne
My 23rd wedding anniversary is on May 11th, same day as your birthday! Happy Birthday on Sunday! (our family is going to celebrate both mothers day and our anniversary on Sunday. I will think about you!

I love how you are going to celebrate the fact that you are alive and have survived! So positive! I never thought about daughter and son gifts! I am going to have to look for some for my 3 kids! That is a cool idea.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene

Hi Dave
I love what you said here; “It is not wrong to be a loving and sensitive person, or to want to be loved and understood. To be validated, to be accepted, and genuinely hugged by someone who cares, not just pretends to care when people are watching.” I think that it is wonderful to be loving and sensitive and EVERYONE (at least deep down) wants to be loved, heard and understood.
I don’t miss those days filled with reminders of my ‘lack’ either.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Will
I love what you wrote here: ” But my faith grounds me with the power of love. Love for myself and courage to move forward.” The power of love ‘leads to’ courage! I totally GET that!
I also love your statement that you have been a loving mother for 25 years! Awesome acknowledgement!
Thanks for sharing, hugs, Darlene


Hi Stitch
The first year of not having contact was the hardest for me. I felt guilty and wrong and had to remind myself constantly all day long that I had tried my hardest and that the alternative was acceptance of whatever treatment she dished out because I told my mother what the problem was and she chose not to respect my request for equal respect. Even though I didn’t call her that day, I felt bad and it ruined my own mothers day. But last year I don’t actually think I thought about my own mother. Freedom is pretty amazing!
Congrats on 25 years!!! and love your share about how you are going to celebrate YOU and how far you have come this mothers day!
Thanks for sharing! Hugs, Darlene

Hi Elise
You make great points here too. I also noticed when I got away from the mess and stood back to take a look that very often when I increased my efforts to ‘win their love again’ it backfired as you say in that it was as if my trying harder validated to them that I was willing to keep trying harder to prove that THEY were worthy. ugg. I don’t miss it.
Thanks for sharing! have a great day on Sunday!
hugs, Darlene


Wonderful article Darlene. I loved it when you said, “When will it be my turn”. It use to bother me when I would hear wonderful stories about a mother’s love; it doesn’t anymore. At some point, I think we all come to terms with the hand we were dealt with. If I still had contact with the demon/mother perhaps I wouldn’t feel so strong. Years and years of therapy, constantly working on the relationship with my own children and striving to be a great wife and friend has sometimes put me in the frame of mind, “when will it be my turn”. Your words reminded me once again, to rely on God, love ourselves…and if that means buying ourselves a card (sounds like fun), lunch, balloons and flowers then go for it. It’s my turn…


Well, it’s been a long time since I was here…felt unsafe for a while because of a Facebook incident, but that might have just been an excuse to stay away because the work I was doing here was just too damn hard.

Now I’m back again, because I mailed the dreaded Mother’s Day card yesterday and I go through this struggle every year.

And because the chaos in my life has increased since my sister has arrived to live with me (because she lost her job and couldn’t find another and was one step away from homeless), and is settling in nicely. My sister and I are very different in every aspect of life and I’m finding myself silencing myself so as not to hurt her feelings all the time (as I always did with my mother), but she does not seem to have the same scruple. On some level, she has convinced herself that her more-or-less permanent presence in my one-bedroom apartment is somehow doing me a favor.

I’m having a lot of trouble coping again. So this post showed up in my in-box in a very timely way. Maybe I can reach out to a loving community again for support rather than lashing out at my sister or my mother or whomever is tickling a trigger in the moment.

I want to be above it all. I want to believe I’m past it. But it rears its ugly head again every single day.

Anyway, sorry I went off topic.

I hope I’ll be participating here again in a way that serves my recovery and I hope that my own experience can also inform others. Which is what makes this community so rare and special.

Thank you, Darlene.



Thank you for this post. I remember picking out Mother’s Day cards for my mother and my mother-in-law. The card had to say something nice, but not too nice as that would be lying.

Lisa B.-

You did not go off topic. Your sister with you in your apartment must be a huge strain. I had my father in our home. I understand wanting to be above it all and past it, but watching it rear it’s ugly head every day. I wish you well in coping with your sister.

Wishing all here a Happy Mother’s Day!



Hi Kelly
Ya.. it’s my turn now (in a co-creative way with others) but I had to take matters into my own hands.. after I stood up to my mother, I had to stand up for me all over the place because I pretty much put me last in ALL my relationships.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Lisa B.!!
It’s so great to hear from you!
I hear you about how hard the work is! It’s a process and that is a fact!
I think that attitude about (your sister) doing you a favor is about them too. It’s a control tactic. Have you tried talking to her about how YOU feel?
Hugs, Darlene


I just shared your facebook like to “Happy” even though I’m not quite there today.

There is Happy on the other side of broken. There is happy on the other side of each time I put two more pieces together. Very REAL happiness comes from working through the mess until I know what to keep and what to throw away.

My FOO wants me to “be happy” but they don’t want to encourage or support the work. They don’t want to know that there is work to be done. They don’t want to take responsibility for whatever crap they contributed to the work I have to do.

Because they have rejected me in my truth which is sad and scary, There is a stubborn part of me that doesn’t want to give them the satisfaction of seeing me happy.

Maybe if I can put enough distance between them and me, I can be happy or not without caring what they think. And when I have enough pieces put together, THEN I can decide whether or not I want them to enjoy my happy or not.

Darlene, you have mothered a lot of us here, I think. You have helped us mother ourselves. Celebrate the mother that you are for the whole month of May!!



Hi Andria!
Thanks for sharing.. I agree that Lisa was not off topic too!

Yes Happy ~ this is my jam today ~ it’s the music video called “happy” by Pharrell Williams ~

There IS happy on the other side of broken!
hugs, Darlene


I have not taken the MATURE step of telling her how I feel. I have been too worried about her emotional fragility. I think it’s time to take that step. 🙂


I remember growing up and making my mother cards. They were never opened and often just trashed. The lessons I learned growing up about mothers were some real horrifying ones. Today though I know I myself am a GOOD mother so I will lavish myself with a hot soak in our garden tub once in awhile and treat myself to minor gifts as well. No matter what type of mother I had growing up, I know I am not that person. I am a good mother and no one can take those words from me 🙂


I just found this place today, and I will be 38 on May 14th and I have to say Thank you to everyone of you posting on here. I have always wondered when the “void” would go away or that to a point I never grew totally up because of it. Without a lot of details. I am curious though, for those that still have contact with their mother, what kind of gifts have you given. Mine never gets the funny cards and every gift I have never seen again.


Hi HollyL
Welcome to EFB!
You have discovered a huge supportive community and we are happy to have you join us!
hugs, Darlene

Hi W4L
It is so hurtful to a child when a gift from the heart is trashed or disregarded. 🙁
Yay for being a good mother to your own kids and treating yourself to gifts! Awesome self care!
hugs, Darlene


Great idea! It was just yesterday that I stood at our local walmart looking at the mother’s day cards with tears running down my face. I did find one that I’m thinking about going back and getting. The outside says “Mom, I am the way I am because of you…. Thought about writing inside “Bitter and angry”. Hahaha. But seriously. I am still slightly angry but working towards forgiveness for myself. It was her AND my father who chose to turn their backs on me when I divorced my abusive ex and they chose him over me. Me, I choose to be the best mom I can to my boys. I’m actually getting to the point where I like and don’t hate myself like they want me to. Thank you Darlene for your letters and support! God Bless You!!!




Hi Miss Laurie
I have to admit that I laughed when I read what you were thinking about writing inside the card. 🙂 It is so painful when parents choose someone who is harming us! Yay for you being the best mom YOU can be!
Hugs, Darlene


Two thumbs up Dave! 🙂

Stitch:” remembering the things I did to create a “me” out of the garbage and lies I grew up hearing about myself and believed for such a long time. ” really spoke to me. I guess we ARE survivors for I had no guidance from my mother to lead me to be a successful adult. The daily invalidation, lies, and belittling were crushing to me as a child. As a teenager you are suppose to learn about relationships and boundaries, self care etc. My mother coped with my Dad’s abuse by eating. She neglected her health and her teeth. She also neglected my brother and I in the same way. This continued for 40 years. All the time she always would say..”look how healthy I am.” (And Id think what??) Denial. She never did a “healthy” thing in her life. She modeled what not to do or be.
Now she sits in a chair age 83, can’t move or walk because the extreme obesity caused arthritis in her hips. High blood pressure and on many meds.

My father had a weird hang up on you better pick the right one for whatever occasion or you were “ungrateful”. Yuck..

I send a lovely card to a wonderful daughter in law, a super loving Mom who deserves the best!

Mother’s Day is both joyous and sad. It was sadly the last Day I spent with my son that passed away.
It is an occasion of joy to speak with the son I gave up for adoption who found me after 33 years. Hugs to all! Karen


Thank you, Darlene, for once again writing SO much. It’s been a couple of years now since I stumbled onto your page through my online search about childhood sexual abuse. It was at that time I gave in to the fact that three therapists had told me that they are surprised I have any kind of relationthip with my mother at all. In the past, I didn’t know what to feel when they said that – I just kept working on me and the current issue I was dealing with when they said that to me.

I think it was around mother’s day when I found your site and read and read and read and then contemplated looking for hidden cameras in my house – LOL! You are always spot on in your writing. It was through your website that I came to realize that I owe my mother nothing. Yes, she provided a roof over my head and most of the time, provided proper clothing, etc. But beyond that, nothing. Everything in our house revolved around my older brothers and their needs or the current man of the house and his needs down to the food we ate.

In any case, since finding your site, I’ve gained more courage and love for myself. I see and talk to my mom when it’s right for me – oh, there are people in my life who do not understand that and she tries to lay a guilt trip on me about never returning her calls, etc., but I don’t let it bother me any more. She has asked for forgiveness on a number of occasions while at the same time, using her manipulative ways to point the finger somewhere else instead of taking responsibility for her actions and/or in-action. My response to her last attempt to get me to forgive her was that I was doing the best I could with what I was given. If she wants to take all the glory for my accomplishments (self-made MBA, etc.), she can take credit for the fact that we have no relationship, too.

The fact is, though, that she doesn’t get it and I don’t think she ever will. She’s as dysfunctional as they come – sort of like what I once read “you can’t expect a functional response to disclosure from a dysfunctional family”. So, I choose to buy a card if it makes ME feel good and if it doesn’t, I choose not to buy a card. I’m getting better at doing what is right for me because its right for me and NOT because its right for someone else.

Thanks, Darlene, for helping me learn to validate myself. And, Miss Laurie, I can totally relate to the part about sarcastic cards. I’ve actually done it – let’s just say, she didn’t get the joke. 😉


P.S. Have you read the book “Beyond Betrayal”? While I didn’t experience a lot of what was suggested in the book, I did experience a lot of what was in the book. It was a brutal read for me but it also helped me to realize that I need to detatch from my mother and NOT feel bad about it. I am doing something for my well-being and I should NEVER feel bad about that.


Welcome HollyL this is a safe place with lots of articles and posts. It has helped me so much to know that I am not alone. Again WELCOME!


The last gift I gave my mother, she not only gave away but every time I use to visit she would tell me how she gave it away, to whom, and “you don’t mind do you?” Grrrrr
She had to be rubbing it in on purpose. Who DOES that?


I went through exactly what Darlene described. Not wanting to send words that made me a liar, but finding……. something…..

I sent a “joke” card. Mom makes everything about my life into a joke, so I will make Mother’s Day into a joke.

Since I “resumed” some “limited” contact with Mom, she admits to “mistakes” but then she goes back to, “YOU can turn your life around.”

ME? Turn MY life around? She doesn’t get it. She keeps acting like I am the one who is wrong! I don’t need to “turn my life around.” She is the one who needs to face her issues! Why do they keep acting like YOU have the problem? (Ok, I do have Darlene’s post on “When You are the Problem” bookmarked, guess I need to read that again.)

She SAYS she made mistakes, but she is just giving me jibber jabber hoping I’ll end this “Stuff” and make things go back to her rose colored glasses thing. NO! I need her to see that SHE is the one who is wrong! Not just give me “jibber jabber” about “making mistakes.”

Mom is “coucher” and “pretext-er.” She “couches” things and does a lot of “pre-texting.”

She will “give” me stuff, but it isn’t about “giving” it’s about… “Getting rid of something she doesn’t want.” But it’s “pre-texted” and “couched” as “giving” me something. I HATE THIS! THIS IS WORSE THAN REGIFTING!


From Lisa B.:

I have not taken the MATURE step of telling her how I feel. I have been too worried about her emotional fragility. I think it’s time to take that step.

Lisa, I know this is hard. It makes you the “bad” person. You just have to swallow this, and just do it! You have to tell her how you feel and D**N the consequences. Yes, you will be the bad person for doing it. But it’s necessary!


I’ve never related to a blog as much as I have to this one. Every year I struggle with Mother’s Day, my mother/father were so neglectful, and I was sexually abused off and on throughout my life and my parents did nothing, barely acknowledging it.

I have not bought my Mom a Mother’s Day Card ever, and I just want the day to come and go. I hope one day I can overcome that anger/sadness. In the meantime I will be the best mother I can be to my 3 kids, they are my focus today and forever.

I still have a hard time taking time for myself, one day at a time…Hopefully that day will come.

Until then, thanks for a great blog!



I am so overwhelmed by this I really cannot put it down in words. Thank you Darlene for the validation that yes I have always been the mother that takes care of me cause my TM was sure never there for me. And still to this day she makes every thing about her. There will be no card bought this year…second one in a row. And I feel more freedom every time I do this for my self. I had my husband read this as he was also the mother to himself and I have decided that we need to treat ourselves on this Mothers Day. We deserve it.


Oh dear, is it that time of the year already?

I will not be sending my mother a card. Like others here, l dont do pretending very well. I have in the past, agonised over which card to send, after reading all these mushy mothers day cards. I made the decision a few years to to cut all ties.

Mothers day is quite triggering for me, as is Christmas and my birthday.

To all the lovely mums here, l wish you all the best for Mothers day. I know how hard this day is!



Mothers day is quite triggering for me, as is Christmas and my birthday.

I have decided I hate Christmas, due to all the phoniness of it. Everything is all for “show.” Nothing is real. I have also stopped doing my birthday and it’s not about age. When I turned 50, I told my Mom I did NOT want any type of party.

Her: “But you MUST have a party.”

ME: “Why?”

Her: “Because we want to give you a party.” (At this point, I’m wondering why I am REQUIRED to “put up with” enduring a party that means nothing to me.)

ME: “Who is the party for?”

Her; “It’s for you.”

Me: “How can this party be FOR me, when I’m trying to tell you, I DON’T WANT A PARTY!”

She got the message at that point. Do you see what I mean? My mom was all about “appearance.” “What does everyone else do, thusly, we must do it.”


Lisa B
(regarding what DXS said) Standing up for yourself by having that conversation with your sister does NOT make you “the bad person”! Your sister might think so, but that doesn’t make it true. Why would it make YOU the bad person?

DXS ~ this is one of those “leftover brainwashing things” if you think about it. Feeling like the bad person because we have always been made out to BE the bad person is a leftover from years of living in that kind of dysfunction. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Hi Karen R.
My heart goes out to you for your loss, and having that happen on mother’s day must be difficult. Special hugs and love to you my friend.
Thank you for sharing your joy and your pain!
Hugs, Darlene


Lisa ~ in reference to “she doesn’t get it and she never will” ~ I had to let go of trying to explain because the fact is that she didn’t want to get it. I had to finally look at what was best for me moving forward in my life and for my children. I had to think about the person that I wanted to be and to be an example of. I had to think about my own worth and how hard it has been to believe in that worth when someone was treating me like I was not worthy.
Hugs!! Darlene

I hear your frustration. My father always says that he hears what I am saying and that he is sorry and that he will try harder OR that he has been trying harder etc. (and then if I don’t cave, he explains why HE is the victim..) But it is the action that counts. It is the change that is the proof.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Shelley
Welcome to EFB! This is a tremendous community! It is a re-abuse when parents know about sexual abuse and don’t take any action against it. It’s like doubling and tripling the abuse itself. You have certainly found the right place when it comes to talking about family dysfunction and overcoming the pain that this stuff has caused.
Please share often.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pamela
YAY for you and your husband celebrating each other! That is awesome!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kylie!
I want to encourage you that it gest easier. Each year for me got easier as I grew in clarity about the truth. Each year the freedom and wholeness I gained from standing up for myself and validating my worth for myself, expanded. There are days that I feel sad, and there are even days that I question my own decisions but then I ask myself “what is the alternative” and “what was I really asking for” and then I can return to the peace that I have found via being my own advocate. Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Yes, getting the clarity about the truth is so important. I need to have more patience with myself. I think I should already be more healed, but while the problem was always there I did not know of its full existence. I still feel sad and I have questioned my decision about going no contact. But when I examine what it would be to have contact again, I can see that is a losing proposition.

Like someone wrote in an earlier post: it is always about “them”. There is only so much of that self-centered behavior that I could take. After I had gotten my family out of my life, I reexamined some of my friendships and found dysfunction and had to cut more ties. I had learned to look at myself as less and put more into the relationship than the other person had to.

I like DXS’ comment about getting “gifts” from her mother, i.e. “getting rid of things she doesn’t want.” I have experienced this for years with my sister-in-law. She doesn’t even ask if I want it. She just sends it home with my husband. I just donate it if it is not usable for me. But there is this sub context that she is doing me a favor by letting me have her cast offs. It is good enough for me, but she has something better now. It just rang a bell for me when I read DXS’ post.


My wonderful sister (Tarynne Cass) shared this on FB … I’m at a loss for words … The truth is that the hard work, once begun never ends, but is worth it, every single day! Thanks for sharing!


Oh my gosh, your story is so like my own. I hate Mother’s Day for the very reasons you cite, yet it was with your help I was able to free myself from the guilt of not being that perfect daughter. You, Darlene, helped me realise I didn’t have to placate my mother in the present, I could voice my version of my childhood and not feel I had to protect her feelings anymore. Must admit, mother didn’t take kindly to this growth spurt and wants me not to post on social media how my childhood made and makes me feel on a daily basis. I never did stop posting even though she has cut all contact and said she wishes I’d never been born. Something I wished many a night as a child due to how I was made to feel by my birth family, yet I made it through it then and somehow have managed to get as far as I have.
So many thanks for releasing my need to purchase any cards celebrating my mothers role in my life


Darlene I am all smiles after reading your message #9! Yes, you are like a mentor mother! you are showing many of us how to take care of ourselves and how to navigate relationships with others; something that our parents should have been our guiding light for. Have a beautiful Mothers Day!!


Hi Andria
Being sad is not a bad thing! I feel sad sometimes too, I have a reason to be. When I wrote the post “my mother doesn’t love me and the process of grieving” I thought the pain would swallow me up. (and that post is still the one that gets the most traffic, year after year) but the pain didn’t swallow me up, it taught me to listen to myself. Today when I am sad I try to remember to talk gently to myself and validate my feelings. 🙂
Love your comments!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Deedle,
Yes it is worth it. The work is always worth it!!
Thanks for sharing, and welcome to emerging from broken.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Carol
The weight of that statement (when a mother says) I wish you had never been born.. oh man. I don’t think my mother ever said that, but it hits me like a nightmare and as the ultimate invalidation and rejection. And I liked how you added that this was something YOU wished many times as a child.
But here we are! healing, moving forward and breaking free from all that!
hugs, Darlene


Lisa B
(regarding what DXS said) Standing up for yourself by having that conversation with your sister does NOT make you “the bad person”! Your sister might think so, but that doesn’t make it true. Why would it make YOU the bad person?

DXS ~ this is one of those “leftover brainwashing things” if you think about it. Feeling like the bad person because we have always been made out to BE the bad person is a leftover from years of living in that kind of dysfunction. 🙂

I stand corrected! Thank you Darlene! I had to deal with the emotional “fragility” Lisa was talking about via the “Mom is 80 years old, why do this to her” thing.


Thanks Darlene for this article.

I too have struggled with all the Mother’s Day hypocrisy. Two years ago I was at a Dollar Store and found a card that did not mention love, gratitude, being there for me, etc. It was a religious type card that said something like “May God keep you in his care on Mother’s Day.” I bought 4 (2 years for my mother / 2 years for my mother-in-law). It wasn’t a lie for me like the others. This will by my 2nd year mailing the exact same card.

I have also dreaded making the obligatory phone call to her (I live in a different state and have called every year for the past 20 years). In my panic / anxiety mode I hope that she doesn’t answer and it goes to voice-mail. When she calls back I won’t answer but technically I fulfilled my duty and left a message wishing her “A Happy Mother’s Day.” Last year I thought I would send a text message with the excuse being that I was going to be so busy I was not able to speak on the phone (a lie). As part of my life-long guilt, shame, and being responsible for my mothers feelings, I thought it would embarrass her and make me look cold & callous when the relatives asked if I called and she would say “she sent a text.” If we did talk it would be all about her and her mothers day and what she was doing and how important / popular she is and all that my siblings wanted to do for her. There would be no mention of me being a mother or what I was doing for the day or my spouse and children.

I have already spent way to much time / energy thinking about what to put in a simple text message, etc. I have already spend years of my life worrying about her and her feelings but it hasn’t been reciprocated. I have spent years trying to recover from the damage of her verbal, emotional and physical abuse and neglect.

So the truth is my mother has not been a mother to me for a long time if ever. If it wasn’t for feelings of guilt and obligation there is not one cell in me that wants to acknowledge my mother. It is like giving a card, flowers, chocolates, gifts, and loving phone calls to a mean bully and rewarding them for being such a great bully. Happy Bully’s Day.

I am not calling my mother to say “happy mothers day.”



I totally relate to dreading making the obligatory phone call. I was also the recipient of the guilt and shame trip by my family. I understand feeling anxious about what to say and how to say it.

I had to laugh about rewarding someone for being such a great bully. Unfortunately, this is a truth for so many of us. Good for you for deciding not to call your mother on Mother’s Day.


Thanks for sharing again! I am glad that you understood what I said.

Hi OnMyWay
I especially loved your paragraph about how much time you have already put into a relationship without reciprocation from the other person and how you have spent YEARS recovering and trying to recover from the damage of her verbal, emotional and physical abuse and neglect. Those words are validating and telling as well. Those words are part of the exhaustion and a huge part of my freedom!
hugs, Darlene


Hobie, I KNOW what you are going through! I am very fresh at this realization that my mother never loved me. I have gone no contact with her on several occasions, only to have her worm her way back into my life. My divorce was finalized last September. My mother lured me to move in with her. I left everything and drove 1700 miles to reconnect with “family” and in her words, “start living for myself.” Well, it has been 6 months of hell with her lies and tearing me down bit by bit. It all climaxed yesterday, where I spent my 50th birthday, alone crying in a restaurant, phoning my therapist. I came home to the final insult – the SILENT TREATMENT from my mother. So, after one day, I finally realized that she will never change. NOW, I have to accept the fact that I was never wanted. I spend days on my computer reading blogs like this to help me feel like I am not alone and I am not the one to blame. I agree with you, Hobie that I do not trust this process completely, but from what I am reading/hearing from Darlene that it will eventually be liberating when I finally leave my mother for good. I just wanted to reach out to you, Hobie and let you know that you are not the only one frightened. My self-esteem is non-existent, but I keep believing the other people who left messages that it will get better! If you stay strong, so will I! 🙂


Hi Spence!

Thank you for reaching out to me. This is so hard. My Mom is a nice fun person to other people. My brother in law says that she was a mother to him when his own mother wasn’t and it doesn’t surprise me at all.

Why could she not be a mother to me?

I just turned 58 years old. I am still wishing that there was something I could do to make myself into someone she could love, but I think I would have done that by now if it was possible.

So I am now asking myself over & over again what she is doing that hurts so much and why can’t I get over it?

It’s past time for me to trust my own reality. I’m inching out into that territory, I really believe that I am.



Oh, Hobie!
I can SO RELATE! My mother used me as a scapegoat, and emotionally and physically abused me when no one was around. Meanwhile, my older brother was a “golden child” who still does no wrong! My mother is sooo friendly to EVERYONE else!! In fact, if I told family members and acquaintances the TRUTH about her, NO ONE WOULD BELIEVE ME!! I would sound like the ungrateful demon child that she thinks I am! I spent my whole life wondering what I did I do wrong? Why am I so bad? I know the truth about her, but I will be the only one who knows it and that is a VERY LONELY thought!

However, some outsiders DO believe me – a good friend and of course, my therapist. I REALLY understand how you and I have been forced to believe that we are no good. And, after so many years, we have difficulty believing that we are GOOD PEOPLE!

I think it is the child in us that is still looking for that nurturing mother. I feel like there is a hole or a void where she should be. I also don’t understand why I was given this parent in the first place! Did I do something so horrible even before I was born to deserve her? But, we have to be our own nurturing parent. This idea really sounds GREAT to me, but I worry that I am still a 10 year old child inside, and this 10 year old is going to have to become my mother. That is a scary thought! So I try practice getting out of the mind of my hurt 10 year old and try out the idea of nurturing myself and look at the situation through grownup eyes. I’m still new at it, but here’s hoping that it’ll become second nature and I will feel the weight lifted off and a NEW life will be waiting for me! So, again I say, stay strong, Hobie! I believe in you!!



you said: “I feel like there is a hole or a void where she should be. I also don’t understand why I was given this parent in the first place! Did I do something so horrible even before I was born to deserve her?” – Boy did this resonate for me!

But we both have gotten to wherever we are now, and that includes finding Darlene’s blog. I love that she doesn’t pretend there are shortcuts or quick fixes. She lets us know that it’s painful work, but that it is work very worth doing. She is a great example!

We can get to the other side of broken too!



Thank you for your validation Darlene 🙂

marquis (female)
May 7th, 2014 at 10:59 pm

Awesome blog as always! I have been trying to find a blog on Mom’s Day and abuse for years thank god you wrote this one! When I was in elementary school, I made a mother’s day card shaped like a tea pot that she still has. My mom gave me a hug and a kiss, then the next day a barrage of screaming and arguing. I am still surprised she still has that tea pot I made out of paper in the photo album claiming she was so appreciative of it yet calls her a daughter a whore.

I hate “Mom’s Day,” it is just another lousy day to me. 97% of moms out there don’t deserve a day for them if they never took the time in the world to care for their kids same goes for dad’s on Father’s day. When I was a kid, I had cats and a dog (dog was given away cuz my parents mistreated her) and I felt like I was a “mom to cats.” The animals gave me such great joy than looking at two dead beat parents who didn’t deserve a gift!

The problem with Mom’s and Dad’s days are it’s more like an entitlement attitude instead of ‘you are the best mom and dad I ever had etc.’ I had friends in school who told me ‘you need to honor your parents,’ don’t think so what have done for us? I hate saying and picking out a card Happy Mom’s day and it is not even from the heart. There’s nothing to be grateful for and I told my ex-therapist that I only say it to get something out of it – hey, parents used us so what’s fair is fair.

I am not at the process of living in peace and serenity yet and buy my own card. Hmm, parenting the inner child within you. The stuff I am doing at home on my own, I have been trying to talk to my inner child and I feel like I am failing because if something gets difficult; I just get upset and not sure myself like I am not sure of myself. It’s like how can I possibly parent my own inner child yet nobody parented me?

It’s fine if other people have good parents, but count me out on that ridiculous day. I get tired of looking at it everywhere and like I always say my parents never loved us, so why do they deserve anything on Mom and dad’s day?

“I think it is the child in us that is still looking for that nurturing mother. I feel like there is a hole or a void where she should be. I also don’t understand why I was given this parent in the first place! Did I do something so horrible even before I was born to deserve her? But, we have to be our own nurturing parent.”

Agreed, my sister said that too. I still look for that nurturing mom and dad, a huge hole that will never be filled. I have been trying to tell me encourage my inner child to do the things my parents refused to teach growing up and been speaking to my inner child. I have been reading Codependency No More to help me out too….


Hi Spence
Welcome to Emerging from Broken! Happy Belated Birthday.
I didn’t trust that I could heal by looking at how I got broken either. Eventually I decided to try it because in my view I had tried everything else first. 🙂 It wasn’t leaving my mother that set me free ~ it is standing up for myself and learning my value that has set me free. It is that I finally realized that I had a choice just like everyone else. I gave my mom a choice about our relationship and she didn’t want to hear me. That was her choice so I made mine based on the results that I was getting and had always gotten.
I am glad you are here and hope you will share often.
This is a great source of support and healing information.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Marquis (Spence and Hobie re: the conversation about “did I do something even before I was born to deserve this”)
I have learned a new way to communicate with myself. I did that by hearing the way that I HAD learned to communicate with myself. The more clarity I received, the more I was able to hear the little voice in the back of my mind, reprimanding me, picking up where ‘they’ left off. Even asking myself “what’s wrong with me, what did I do to deserve this?” was a reprimand. Once I became aware of the way I thought about myself, I started to answer those thoughts. I even had conversations with myself in order to dig deeper into the roots of what led me to wonder that. I found the roots and slowly very gently, changed those lies back to the truth.
Thanks for sharing. It isn’t YOU. It never was your fault.
hugs, Darlene


I am laughing and laughing when I read about people giving away their castaway items as “gifts.”

My family has had a habit of doing this to me. That, and not accepting my gifts. Even though they sometimes also tell me I have very good taste in clothes, furniture, etc. whenever I give something, it is handled strangely. For example, for years, whenever I gave my mother something, she would often give it back to me whenever I visited. About 90% of the time, within six months, she would tell me if I bought it for her, I must really like it, she cannot use it, its not her taste, etc. and she would return it to me.

So I came across a new strategy. I gave her a gift, and told her that I bought it for her because I really loved it for myself, and usually when I buy her gifts, I try to buy things that I think SHE would like, but that I obviously fail in this, so I decided to only buy her things that I LOVE, so that I will be so happy to get them back from her when she decides they’re not “her taste.”

The irony, is now she “loves” my gifts. In fact, she displays them prominently in her home, wears them, etc.

I get quite a kick out of it.

It does not quite make up for all the childhood gifts I tried to buy from her, some which she openly told us she did not like or appreciate. This goes to most of my siblings as well, except for one sister, whose gifts she always loved. I remember her scowling or declaring that they were not her taste, or she resented getting kitchen items that she only used to “serve other people.”

I feel so sorry for my mother. I treasure in my mind several children, adding up their spare birthday moneys and going to the local store looking for something for their mother, our little blonde heads and the thrill of the scheme and the surprise. And then the let-down.


Hi Eira,
I feel sorry for my mother too. 🙁 just not at my emotional expense anymore. I actually cannot imagine what it would be like if my only daughter (I have two but my mother only had one daughter) decided that I had hurt her so much that the relationship was not going to be maintained by the rules she has set in place anymore.. I also can’t imagine not taking the time to listen to her and try to do something to fix it!
Thanks for sharing, 🙂
hugs, Darlene


Darlene, me too! I cannot imagine if my son(s) (I have a stepson too) decided I had hurt either one of them so badly they felt they had to distance themselves from me. I would listen, and try to do everything in my power to hear them and apologize and even ask them for ways that I could fix it. I would tell them how much I love them. I would try to put myself in their shoes and I am certain there would be sleepless nights of soul searching on my part. However, I think our mother’s reactions to further scapegoat and triangulate others who have anything to do with us is out of their own sense of guilt. In my family, they see me in addition as an unbeliever since I left the family religion (Laestadianism) they feel everything they do is right and ordained by God and so everything I do is “wrong.” But I recall when I was once part of their fold I was also wrong, my views were wrong, and they always questioned my faith. I had one cousin who I was still close with, but later I heard in one infrequent conversation with my sister that everything I told her she repeated through the family system. I told that cousin that I didn’t believe my sister and that I did not believe she would ever do that to me. Our once near-weekly coffee dates dwindled to the point I have seen her only once in the last six months! However, I am no longer angry. I am no longer interested in what they say about me. They can say whatever they want! I feel so free now. When another sister triangulated one of my other remaining relationships, I told her that I did not care, that I no longer “live in your world, I only visit it from time to time.” I think that through staying strong, I am actually gaining respect. I went to my uncle’s funeral a few weeks ago, and family members either pretended they did not see me, looked fearful or stricken to see me, or reversely–came and talked to me and treated me respectfully for a change.

As my therapist says–it’s not fun for anyone to gossip about people who don’t care they’re being gossiped about. Takes the wind right out of their sails.

Congratulations on your film deal. Scapegoating is common, and fluctuates in some families to being mild to being severe and intolerably cruel. Reading stories on this blog has an uncanny sense of familiarity, like someone had read my own private diaries and exposed the truth for all the world to see.

Most people from my family are not able to see my Facebook anymore. I allowed my teenage nieces and nephews to view my page until I found out that my sister had access to the entirety of her daughter’s account and read all my posts, determining falsely every quote or proverb I ever posted as a status was a direct slam on her, my mother, or extended family. Sad, but true.


Thank you so much, Darlene for the birthday greeting! It was very much needed!
As for “It isn’t YOU. It never was your fault,” I will treasure those words and use them as my first mantra to start healing from broken!

marquis (female)
May 8th, 2014 at 9:53 pm


I even find myself arguing within me like I am still arguing with others like they are there but they are not. It sounds strange to explain it, too much negativity going on within my own head! Someone on here mentioned about the lack of nurturing we didn’t get and that we must give it to ourselves. I was finishing up a chapter last night on Codependency No More by Mellody Beatie.

She was talking about nurturing in the chapter and she said something how she had to nurture herself which is a path to growth and acceptance. I have been trying to nurture myself and don’t feel good at it thinking ‘how could I “parent myself” when I can’t seem to be a “good parent” to my own inner child (which is why I don’t want kids)? How could I talk to my inner child and I keep beating myself up? I had no one to show me stuff yet I am trying to talk to my inner child about do it yourself.’ How interesting someone on here mentioned nurturing and I read the chapter about it last night. My parents have no appreciation for gifts, throws them somewhere, and it gets broken or ruined then I am blamed for it.


Hobie, I have learned that people don’t like seeing their own issues mirrored in you. It causes them to resent you, and make YOU the problem. (“You’re too sensitive.” But when their feelings are hurt, it’s OK for them to be sensitive…. I don’t get this.)

Eira, holy cow! At least my mom was a good enough actress that she could put on a show of liking something. But what you said, made me realize my FATHER did that. He would return everything I gave him! Wow. I suddenly realized from your post my father did that.


I will chime in on the gifting subject. I am cleaning my house today and realizing there are so many things that were gifts to our parents that are decorating our house. I never minded getting it returned to me. I liked the items. That’s why I bought them. But it did bother me that they didn’t even try to use it. It just got put away.

I have gotten many gifts from family that I really didn’t like. Especially clothes. I don’t like getting clothes that are not my style. I am a t-shirt and jeans person. I don’t dress up. But that did not stop my mother and mother-in-law to pick out clothes they thought I should wear. But being polite, I did not say anything. I at least tried to wear the clothes. Both of these women have passed away so no more clothes gifts.

I guess this is just another little thorn in my side about the family.


HollyL Post 35 (and anyone else)

Some years I give flowers and no card. That way I don’t have to figure out words other than saying “Happy Mother’s Day”.

To all: I too struggle with how to tell my mother about how HARMFUL it was to not have her support in the face of my father’s sexual abuse, as well as the emotional neglect and emotionally barren world I grew up in. I look at her now, very elderly, and part of me doesn’t want to hurt her. I think she minimized to keep herself in a bubble of “we’re a happy family”. She can be loving as long as the rules are followed and we don’t talk about the crap that happened/was happening and she doesn’t have to take action. We didn’t have a leader in our family.

Actually, I have told her, I’m sure, over time as a part of my outbursts…but I haven’t really gotten the response I wanted. I’ve never told her that I wanted a different response. I wanted her to “get it” on a deep level, to hold me and show me how deeply she regrets what she did/didn’t do – to say “I’m so, so sorry – what a huge mistake that was”…but I don’t think she does regret it. I am also afraid that I will hear something damaging yet again.


Regarding “What’s wrong with me?” “Why did I end up in this family”

Lately I’ve been seeing it as simply bad luck (while I do treasure the good things that were part of my family). I think about all of the awful things that people on this planet have to deal with. Not that it’s a pleasant thought, and I try not to minimize my experience (there was a lot that was painful) yet it helps me to detach from taking it so personally.

I also was not a good match for my mom. I am a sensitive person, like to talk about feelings, like being close, and my mother is quite stoic and a stiff-upper-lip type. We are very different.


This is my 27th Mother’s Day since my mom died. There have been no calls, no cards, no last times. Those are past for me. I don’t send card or flowers to my stepmother. I text. One simple line. Happy Mother’s Day. I still give the respect I’ve never got, the acknowledgment or recognition that will never come. The lies will always be there, the hurt, the betrayal, the sense of powerlessness and frustration of the words and pain inflicted. She gets a text so I don’t have to lie. I can’t lie. I pity her small hearted ness, her need to control and break down all those who cannot follow blindly. I see so many comments above where I think that’s my life, that’s my story, how could I not have seen it sooner?
Today I will do better. My sons happiness depends on me breaking a 3 generation cycle. I fight it every step of the way, the hurt of undoing is greater then the constant numb life has trained me to fell. Today I will try harder.
Happy Mother’s Day. I will celebrate being a mom conscious of my flaws, of my brokenness, and for the courage it takes to simply own that.


I guess as mother’s day gets closer I dread having to fake it. Today was not a great day emotionally. I felt fragile and like a lot was stuck. Then had a sob and got angry and asked myself the “why me?” question.

The good part is, after my sob, I had a couple ideas on how I can get myself out of this house. I acted on one of those ideas (tomorrow for the other one) and it seems like it could work out. AND. For an hour tonight I went door to door in my neighborhood selling my art greeting cards and made a little bit of money! More per hour than I make at my regular job. Haha. I’m really proud of myself. The sad part is that I’m not telling anyone in my family about any of my new art endeavors, because they don’t value my art like I do. Once I get out of here I don’t have to hide it any more.


Dear Darlene,

Happy Mother’s Day! Your writing and everyone’s comments here have kept me going over the past year as I have been rethinking my relationship with my family and been NC for most of the year. When I feel really alone I think of all of you (in my good moments) and I feel comforted.

Lately I’ve tried to share my experience growing up with a Narc Mom with my friends and church and I have felt sorely misunderstood some of the time and supported other times. I am finding most people can’t relate to my story because it isn’t the way most people experience their Mom’s. It’s hard feeling misunderstood by my family and then my community as well. Do others encounter this as well? I’d like to develop a new support group in my area. Anyone have examples of how you’ve done this and where you go to find folks who won’t try to minimize your pain or tell you to just ‘love your Mom.’

I’ve been dreading Mother’s Day since last month. My stomach gets all twisted in knots when I think of whether or not I should reach out to her and what I will say. I resonate with what you wrote about finding a card that didn’t have a trite saying or that wasn’t a lie. I’ve always felt like I had to be so careful with editing what I did and didn’t say in cards to my parents. If I said I loved my parents it would be interpreted as ‘I love everything about you’ and then get a sappy overly emotional response and a yucky, forced hug. I feel like running just thinking about it. :/

I was excited and relieved to see your suggestion to write a Mother’s Day card to myself as my own Mother. It feels like Sunday may turn out better and more hopeful than I planned. Thanks for the idea. I am becoming a good Mother to my little self. This is a great way to acknowledge my role in my recovery and growth.

I’d love to see everyone’s cards.. I would love to see what you will write to yourselves. I wish I was a mouse in the corner…


I sent my mom a “joke” card. She called me up last night to thank me for the “great” card. She thought it was cute. Mom doesn’t seem to mind getting a “joke” card. At least I can fake it with a joke card. I kept the conversation short, didn’t volunteer anything, and skirted any questions that were asked. I hate her “questions.” She claims she is “showing interest.” Nope. Her questions are a way of manipulating information out of me. One of my sisters was good at eluding the interrogations. I never was. I always felt “had” when I answered her “interrogations.” It was hard, but I managed to elude the interrogations last night. My mom is good at the “didn’t you say….” game. Where she acts like you have said something before (when you haven’t) and she “forgot” thus you must inform her “again” (when you never informed her in the first place…..). But once you thwart one of her “tactics,” she just comes up with another tactic. My mom should have worked for the CIA.


OOps, just realized I messed up my email address, That’s why my icon was yellow and not green.


OOPS, my comment didn’t post because I messed up my email address. Ok, here goes again.

I sent my mom a “joke” card. She doesn’t seem to mind getting those. At least it allows me to not have to fake it. She called me last night to thank me for the “cute” card. I kept the conversation short. Didn’t volunteer much, and managed to skirt her “interrogations.” My mom is good at the “didn’t you say…” game (when you didn’t say anything). This is where she pretends you have said something before (when you haven’t) and she “forgot” thus you must inform her again…. This is her “tactic” to manipulate information out of you, so she can run to her friends and act like she is “close knit” with her daughters just like her friends are. One of my siblings is good at avoiding her “interrogations.” I’m not. I have to try hard. But trouble is, when you thwart one tactic, she just comes up with another one. Mom should have worked for the CIA.


Mother’s day is more about memories for me. I’m NC this mother’s day but I do remember how much of a huge deal my mother would make of the occasion and getting thanks from everyone in the family for “being a mother” as if the word itself made her what she wasn’t. Us kids would bring her breakfast in bed that day (with help from our father). And she would bask in it. I enjoyed seeing her happy. As years went on, I stopped remembering mother’s day and it annoyed her so much. I couldn’t stand the floral cards that were on sale either. It was all untrue that she was this great mother. What she did was feed, clothe and house us and for that we were supposed to be so grateful. I mean, isn’t a mother supposed to feed, clothe and house her children as a basic necessity? I was made to feel that no. It was this huge sacrifical thing she did and for which I should eternally be grateful.


For 14 months, the messages here have helped me through my decision to be “almost” NC with mother and FOO. When setbacks occur, I come here. This M’s Day blog is most helpful, especially with the idea of being one’s own mom.
I hope I’m not too much off topic, but expanding on the subject of holidays being painful, there is something that has bugged me forever. Those of us who have chosen not to have children, and who have also chosen to separate from uncaring moms and FOOs are constantly being bombarded with messages like – “Family is everything.” “Love will get you through.” “Being a parent is the most important role in life.”
It seems to be a universal “given” that love and family and good friends will get us through tragedy, illness, hard times. This message is way overdone around these “greeting card holidays,” but it’s really out there ALL the time. So what if you don’t HAVE family or close friends to help you? Just feel bad? Just go ahead and die?

When “they” see you as “independent” they think you have no feelings. So you are dismissed as “different” and it’s threatening to them. So you get ignored.
Too much rambling… but honestly, it seems that love and empathy are given a lot of lip service, and the masses go on practicing obligatory social rituals like purchasing cards – not sincerely, but because it would take too much energy to be real.


Kathryn R, I don’t have kids either and that choice was made as a direct result of my upbringing.
My mother didn’t like that I didn’t have kids. It’s none of her business whether I do or I don’t but she felt entitled to criticize that aspect of my life (like the rest).
I’ve also had friends who were just as harmful as she was so no I’m not buying that only family and friends get a person through. What’s getting me through is love for myself (shock-horror at such selfishness!) as well as some bloody good therapy and going NC.


Hi, Kathryn R!
you said, “It seems to be a universal “given” that love and family and good friends will get us through tragedy, illness, hard times. This message is way overdone around these “greeting card holidays,” but it’s really out there ALL the time. So what if you don’t HAVE family or close friends to help you? Just feel bad? Just go ahead and die?”
I felt that way too. I agree with Alice above, that you should love yourself, therapy and going NC>

I also got some good advice from my therapist that I would like to pass on to you. She suggested that I create my own family with good friends. As I thought about it, I realize that I have a good start with two friends back home. I hope to gain more friends as time goes by. I also have my therapist as a guide to help with my healing. So, Eventually, I WILL get that family that gets me through tragedy, illness and hard times. After all, we are “breaking the rules” by going NC with our destructive, blood relatives. Why not go further and hand pick our new family that will love us for who we are? 🙂


Hi Spence –

My therapist gave me pretty much the same advice along with some tips to avoid new friends who are just like my family! As we become more comfortable with loving ourselves and trusting ourselves we can find and build better relationships.

I also recognized people I had been getting close to in recent years and leaned in some. I think it’s working out well. My mother’s voice in the back of my head is still poking at me, but I don’t pay attention as much (she told me that no one would ever really like me, they were all just being polite). Sometimes I just decide that I’d rather believe the polite people than family criticism whether they were honest or not!


Thank you for sharing this with us. I always felt bad for not feeling happy over mothers day. Not being able to wish her with all my heart… She isn’t a bad person and she definitely sacrificed for us but I was a sensitive/Introverted child something they didn’t understand and always judged as wrong, which is why I disconnected myself from her and the rest at an early age. Their ways is one of the reasons why I never felt like becoming a mother. As I was scared I wouldn’t be able to be a good one.. It’s funny because yesterday I was even telling my friend that it seems that I raised myself. Even more so, I think God magically raised me as I don’t understand how I could help myself so well, when I was technically always alone ever since I was a child. Just had to share this with you. Thank you again for sharing this… Thank you for making us all feel a bit better.

Today I will celebrate the mother in me. And perhaps celebrate a new thought that if I still want to become a mother, then I might actually can be a good one, as I did raise myself to be a beautiful lady 🙂

Thank you <3

marquis (female)
May 10th, 2014 at 10:26 pm

I was told the same thing by my ex-therapist to not make friends similar to my parents. I made one new friend who is younger than me and is nice, I was shocked she offered her hand for friendship as she has no girlfriends and is married. I have a long term boyfriend and no girlfriends all because my old friends deserted and blamed me for the kind of parents I have. Too many women in the 20s are having kids and that leaves me out because I am not close to kids because I didn’t grow up with kids in my old neighborhood until later on.

I don’t want friends like my parents anymore tired of it and making friends, you won’t know until later on into the friendship you will see for who they are.


Alice and Spence, thank you for your replies. And to all of you. My mother often said, “I hope when you grow up that you have a daughter as rotten as you, so you know how it feels.” That definitely turned me off to having kids (“I’ll show her”). I was a good child, but the conflicts occurred because I was very verbal, and her frustration tolerance was very low and easily triggered. And I could throw the nastiness back in her face as quickly as she could dish it out. Then my face would get slapped. Ugh. Bad memories, for which until my ‘older’ years I blamed myself. For being a nasty kid! Mainly through this forum I have learned how these constant conflicts were not my fault as a child, and how I cannot change the fact that she never has and never will address her role in shaping my often angry responses to life.

The concept of making a family out of friends is nice, and I’m working on that. But as a retired couple far away from the old home town, we’ve learned that it must happen organically, not forced, or we’re back in Jr.High School again! There are pushy, predatory types in the older years as well. Sometimes I’m lonely but I have seen that just by accident of address or signing up for some activity, lifelong friendships are developing.

Well, it’s time for this rotten 67 yr old kid to make the dreaded mothers day phone call………. Afterwards, I’m sure I’ll be back here for reinforcement and reminders that I AM OK!
(I find it amazing that in my 60’s I still have the same old issues. If only this forum was here decades ago…… thanks for NOW though, Darlene)


Hi Everyone!
Welcome to the new people and Happy Mothers day to all! I am having a wonderful day with my family! It is also my wedding anniversary today so it is a double celebration here!
Have a great day all!
hugs, Darlene


Happy Mother’s Day and Anniversary Darlene!
I am waiting for my orange nail varnish to dry before I grab a light beer and sit outside in the evening sun:)
Kathryn R, my mother also said to me “Just you wait until you have kids” and she was so set on me following the “normal” pattern of mariage and kids that my choices have been a real disappointment to her. Almost as if she knows there’s nothing left to get out of me. And get this, even if if I did end up having kids, there’s not an iceberg’s chance in hell that I’d allow her to mistreat them the way she did me.
And you’re dead on about the predatory types continuing into old age. My mother loved to tell me that she didn’t feel a day over 20 and I never found it funny until now. She hasn’t matured a bit is what she should actually say:)


Closed my eyes and felt for a Mother’s Day card on the rack. Done. Does it really matter what it said?


Happy Mothers Day and Anniversary, Darlene!
Thank you so much for creating this blog for all of us! 🙂


DARLENE, this is absolutely wonderful and a great idea!!! You are the bomb.


Thanks everyone for the Mother’s day and Anniversary wishes! We had a wonderful day!

Alice I got a giggle out of your comment about maturity! lol
hugs, Darlene

103’s been a while since I have been here.. I have really gone through some emotional challenges lately.. Especially during the mother’s day thing and before that during the Easter season..

I lost my older sister Vicky who was 50..She and I experienced more than anyone else in our family the wrath of our mother.. It hurt me so much that I wept and cried and cried and wept..The hardest part about it all was not having a sibling to turn to who will cry with me.. Instead one of that used that time to hurt me more..with their words..

Somehow I thought maybe my mom would have an instant turn around and reach out to me knowing how close me and vicky were.. But, maybe she was blinded to that fact .. I don’t know but I dealt with Vicky’s death alone.. I do have a friend here.. who is helping me but family wise.. no one consoled me..

I did have to try to mother myself..but its hard when one doesn’t really know what a mother is suppose to be like or do…

Anyway.. Great post.. Darlene.. all your posts are always filled with nourishment and help… You are truly an inspiration for many survivors..

Mother’s day is never a day to reach out to my mother ..but I do make a statement for all mothers.. I never felt loved by my real mother.. never heard that she was proud of me. never was hugged with warmth by her.. too many bad things cross my mind when i think of her.. even now..can’t find anything good.




Hi Kathryn R and Alice,

You’re both so much like me—I have no kids and I’m not planning on having any. It’s my choice and I am perfectly content with that. All these holidays with such a big focus on family hurts people like us. I know that there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with me or my single lifestyle. The old me used to feel hurt and believed these lies that other people placed on me. These hurtful and rude people are rather envious of my lifestyle I believe. No, I’m NOT average with a not-so-good husband and barely there marriage, and a couple of teenage “monster” kids! LOL! Although I have peace and quiet and comfort in the privacy of my own house. I work and earn my own money. I have friends and interesting hobbies. And best of all, I have my wonderful religion that I’ve mentioned many times of Druids/Wicca. I am happy. I view men as men and I don’t hate my past men relationships. I will date for as long as it takes to find a good partner for a commitment—but not the first one that I see!

I have NO FOO, no husband, and I’m extremely LC with both of my elderly parents (now in their 80’s). I feel so much happier without all the toxic people in my life. I really don’t get lonely since I’m always so busy with many hobbies and friends.

The only real issues that I have dealt with are others who have emotionally abused me by saying that I am “different” for being so independent. Why are they so threatened by me? Do I remind them of their own personal demons of fear and conformity? Got to follow that status quo! On this Mother’s Day, my birthday just happened to fall on the same date, May 11. I am now 46 years young. I tell myself that I can’t believe how far I have come and how much I have survived.

Anyway, I create my own “family” through very close friends. Most of my “family” come from my spiritual groups since we think alike and choose to be together. I did not do last Christmas with my parents. I think that even my LC parents’ relationship is fading away. My elderly parents will pass away soon and I’m prepared for when it happens. I’m actually quite lucky since there is no emotional loss after they’re both gone. It’s strange but I’m beginning to feel a lot lighter and more free. I’m proud of my healing work and I can’t wait for the next chapter in my life.

BTW: I have also enjoyed the youtube videos and website by a former psycho-therapist named Daniel Mackler. He left traditional therapy and empowers people with their own self-healing.(He has a new youtube video).

I also like a site called: Mind Freedom International and anything by Dr.Peter Breggin who is a leader in the anti-psychiatry movement. I am a self-healer and I have have enjoyed the EFB site.

Blessed Be,

Yvonne 🙂


Yvonne, I also used to drive myself crazy (and get driven there by other people) around the whole kids and a partner thing. I saw myself as a complete failure in that area. Sometimes I still do but it’s hard to tell whether it’s coming from me or the bombardment of messages from outside. I think it didn’t help that my mother didn’t approve of my choices. She had a knack for saying “It’s your life Alice” or “It’s your choice Alice” and simulataneously conveying her deep disapproval of those choices. Why I wanted her approval is a whole bag of worms but I wanted it. I don’t want it any more.
Why do people attack others for their choices when those choices have nothing to do with them? I don’t know why. There are theories out there about monkeys killing the one who tries something different or the “crabs in the bucket” analogy where the crabs will pull any crab trying to get out of the bucket back in. But maybe none of those apply and the difficulty lies elsewhere. I guess I’m still working on getting MY approval for my choices around kids and partner but it’s a choice that by definition seems couched in negative terms and the positives bear all the hallmarks of selfishness which is what I was (mis)labelled all my life by my mother and to a lesser extent some of the others in the family. Why it’s “selfish” to not want kids still doesn’t make sense to me but part of me still believes it anyway. Rationally I think it’s more selfish to have kids just because it’s “normal” or “the done thing” without any regard as to what kind of parent you’re setting yourself up to be towards a future child who may be like you but may not be. Having kids to be little extensions of yourself and mistreating them when you realise they aren’t is criminal.


I never understood the “you’re selfish if you don’t want kids” thing. Being “kid-less” allows you some freedoms. There is a website called “The Childfree Life” but get this! They are very much against singles. Oh, they welcome you if you are “single and looking to date” but if you go on record as being “single and happy” the moderators look for any reason to boot you off the board.


I raise my hand as another childless woman. There was more than one reason that I did not have children. But one of the reasons was that if we had children our parents would be coming to visit more than they already were doing. My husband and I did not enjoy our parents company because we were not treated well. We disappointed both sides of the family by not having kids. That never really bothered us. What bothered us is both of us felt like we were never accepted in our own families.


Hi Darlene, I’m glad I’m not going on those card searches anymore either and my experience was exactly what you described because so much of what my relationship with my mom was, was a lie. That is made most evident by the fact that the truth is what killed that relationship.

What I want to share isn’t about mothers but it is still about abusers. I recently learned that the man who coaxed me away from home as a teenager and sexually abused me, died of emphazema. When I was told, my initial reaction was, “YAY!” and then when I saw the shocked look on my friend’s face, I felt guilt. However, later on, I decided it wasn’t the “YAY” that was inappropriate but the guilt. My hearing that he had suffered and died was my moment of justice. This man shattered my soul but I survived him and went on to build a decent life, while he abused himself to death with smoking and other actions from his corrupted lifestyle. It isn’t like I want him tortured in hell for all eternity. I don’t. But it is good to know that even monsters get old and die and that they don’t get out of this world without suffering as they made others suffer. When I heard he was dead, it was release from all those years that I carried the guilt for what he’d done. It was freedom from the fear that I’d run into him somewhere again. I know he can never hurt another young girl. Even if he never had to pay a legal penalty for destroying my life, it was good to know that God got him in the end and his own evil was turned on his own head. Now, may God have mercy on his soul because God has had mercy on mine. It’s over and I’m free, healthier than ever, and living a blessed life. I won.



Today my mother supported me on a family dynamic. It created some brief friction between her and a sibling. For once, the conflict was not “on me” – I am not the shock absorber this time, or the blamee for the conflict. That one small gesture of support has me in a much better mood, I feel more solid that the family problems aren’t all my fault, and that I’m a good person – not a bad person.

I am realizing so many things: that the lack of leadership on my parent’s part created siblings running amock and I am/was the scapegoat; that one tiny bit of support can affect a person and their life so much; that my FOO and the ripple effect to nieces/nephews really is quite dysfunctional and I can’t fix it; that it will probably get worse once my remaining parent (mother) dies; and concern that my mental health changed so much because of her support but it again points to the dysfunctional system.

I can’t believe how much more grounded I feel. It makes me sad that so many of us did not receive crucial ongoing support from our FOO, especially our parents. It changes a person without it. I wish for all of us that we receive lots of support from lots of places, and especially from ourselves.


I gave my mom her gift. She said it “made a difference” because of all the “attention” she got. She talked to me like a child and told me all the reasons she thought the gift was a good choice, as if I needed her validation and approval for my choice. Then she gave me an icky kiss which I wish I could have pulled away from without causing a stir. I felt gross and violated after, to be honest. I hate that i feel obligated to just sit there and “take” it because it makes her feel like she’s being a loving person. And now I realize, she only showed me affection when I did something for her, as a reward. Not just for being me. Another reason I want to get out of here.

Things have felt “normal” living at my parents’ these past few days, and that makes me feel suspicious. I feel I’ve slid back a bit in enforcing boundaries. I will have to work more on that. But at least my awareness of the real family dynamic is growing every day.


Hi all. Darlene re post 60 what you said about being sad… I have always known my mother didnt love me I just never really looked at how knowing that has shaped my behavior towards her and others. I think it is a major reason for my people pleasing behavior.
When I came out of the FOG I felt and feel anger at myself for accepting it as my fault and trying harder for 40 years!


Hi Spence! I am 60 now. Ditto post 68. You are describing my relationship with my mother and golden child brother. Bet my moms new friends dont know shes a Bank robber! Ha! They all think shes a sweet old lady and Im the nasty crazy daughter but I know who and what she really is. Shes a manipulator and a completely false person. Hugs Karen


Ha ha ha Andria! My mother bought me a skirt with ball fringe. Really.


Hi Everyone!
I have REALLY exciting news! Check out my new post on the home page! I’m going to be in ‘the movies!’
hugs, Darlene


This is the first year that I did not send a card, flowers, or call. I finally called it quits.


Hi Joy
Great to hear from you here! I am so sorry for your loss and my heart goes out to you. It is horrible that no family has been there for you over the loss of your sister. Hugs and love to you.

To all those in the “childless woman” thread here.
I vowed that I would never have kids and I LOVE kids so it was strange not to want them. And it was all rooted in the same things you are all talking about. I did have kids and somehow that was when I let my mother get back in! This is a huge topic that I plan to write more about in the future,
Hugs to all of you!


Hi Pam
Great to hear from you! I can relate to what you are sharing too. Very powerful comments and insight! Thank you for sharing ~ this is such a huge subject with a big need for a light to be shone on it!
Hugs Darlene

Hi Light
Thanks for sharing this story and your insight!
hugs, Darlene


Hi L
wow… thanks for sharing this. Even though it feels horrible, your insight as a result is really valuable!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen R.
It was certainly a huge part of MY major reason for people pleasing, that’s for sure. I felt anger at myself for a while too, but I just kept realizing that trying to accept that it was my fault and blaming myself was all about how I survived.. so when I was in the fog that was the best I could do at taking care of me!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Ann
Wow.. how do you feel now?? That is pretty big!
hugs, Darlene


My mother took back her support.

While it was a big step for her to even question my sibling, she started backpedaling about what it meant and explained away my sibling’s hurtful behavior toward me. My mother said “I can’t believe she did that on purpose”.

I should have known it was too good to be true. Now that my mother has had time to think about it she backpedaled.

This has been a real learning experience.


My above comment was about my post 109.


Hi, Darlene.

I feel OK.

All through my life I honored my mother in spite of her lack of love for me, my sister and my dad. (I am 63).

When I walked away I didn’t lose anything because there wasn’t anything there to begin with.


Hi Light
When I first read your comment #109 my first thought was “don’t trust that!” ~ the first thing that usually happens when someone senses that we are changing is that they alter the tactics. It’s so common you could almost swear there is a guidebook about HOW to have power over another person.
Sorry that happened Light. hugs, Darlene


Hi Ann
That is how I feel too.. there was ‘nothing’ to lose.
hugs, Darlene


I struggled on the night of Mother’s day and the next day. I feel this grief of failure, not as a personal thing against myself, just the fact of it. It has taken me several days interpret what was going on. I felt this danger of potentially being, or becoming, a bad person, not because I was wrong about the truth of the past but because of the paradox of knowing that because my family can’t or won’t see what I see and won’t join me here, my boundary becomes another layer (or multiple layers) of not just pain but dysfunction. I was the person who buffered the pain. Now, I’ve left, so not only do I not buffer the pain, the loss of me is another pain (though it’s nothing special about me; they don’t know ME, but there’s still pain, loss, etc.), for which they’ll need something else to buffer the added pain as well. You see? This darkness I felt came from the doubt that there was maybe something else I could’ve done that would not have become yet another component, where something healthy didn’t, through their system, become another layer of their sickness. Do you know what I mean? Except, after turning it around many times, maybe in some other universe, there’s some other way… but in this one as far as I can see, I made the best choice available. At least here I can stop the sickness and become part of the good and constructive in the world outside my family. It’s really they who certainly haven’t made the best choice available and whatever ifs I can come up with in terms of my own behaviour (if I had done this or that or been like this or that, etc.), I did my best to try to help fix a problem I didn’t create, that stole my life and spirit. I failed to fix that problem—in them at least, not in me. It’s hard, though, letting go, knowing my limitations, knowing how my departure becomes a part of their sickness, adds to it, essentially because they let it. Darlene, you’ve said that your family sees themselves as the victims in all this, and from their angle, you can see how they are, except that it’s their choice, even if they don’t get that, and it’s a very narrow view of what’s really going on. But not to have made your choice would mean you would still be in that system, being a part of the destruction, and being destroyed for certainly no good reason. Something I just have to let go of—that frustration. There are no real options inside the sickness, when I’ve tried and tried, except get out and hope that others will have the strength to do so, too, and to see that it’s a lie to believe that my choice is part of the sickness—they’ve chosen to make it a part of the sickness. I don’t have to. There’s grief here though, and not just about myself and my losses, in terms of the “could have beens,” but the sadness of knowing their brokenness, just as people in their own rights, victims of a system they could get out of but won’t, so cut off from the truth, which is love. They are entirely cut off from love, what real love feels like. And I can’t do anything about it. It’s sad. I’ve been in pain too long, though, and for nothing. That’s the worst of it, that it has been for nothing. It has accomplished nothing to sacrifice myself to guilt, to pain, to trying over and over, to ruminating on all the possible ways to “try” harder, or differently. Nothing comes out of it. Can only let go now and keep making those leaps of faith.


I just thought or reminded myself… that I suppose by making me a scapegoat for all this, they’re still able to use me to buffer their pain. Which is sick—both that they do that and that there’s this weird kind of consolation that I experience on their behalf, that they have that coping mechanism available. They’ll get by the way they get by, which a) makes me angry and b) releases me… if that makes sense. They can keep using me, with me not there to feel it, knowing that they are wrong. It certainly makes a person feel vacant, though, unimportant, but then that was always there.


Hi Light-

I have been there and had that happen to me too. I found Darlene’s comment “don’t trust that!” very enlightening. There was lack of leadership with my parents too. My sister was never at fault for anything, and she can display a bevy of ugly behaviors. But if I brought attention to it; I was called out and I was wrong. When it looked like my father was going to be on “my side” it was just a “rouse”, a “lie”. I was never going to be in good graces. Forever the scapegoat.


You wrote very eloquently about how many of us feel. As you realize, you can’t make people know what they don’t want to know. I don’t think your pain has been for nothing. It is part of the journey to get to where you are now. I “tried harder” too. Now we know. There is no more we can do. It has been hard for me to let go, but the pain lessens little by little.


Thanks, Andria, I really appreciate your words.

Light, when I think of my experiences of looking for people to be on “my side,” I feel like I was bouncing around in a pinball machine. It’s exhausting going through that experience of waiting to see if you’re going to get validation and if so, how much and is it going to last. To be given something, have your hopes up, then have it taken away, it’s awful.


Thanks, everyone, for your support. I am stymied by my mother. She says she loves me, and in her way I think she does. However, she either can’t or won’t see the truth about my abusers (father/siblings) which is so invalidating and makes her an abuser too. She didn’t fulfill her fiduciary duty as a mother – to make sure her children were safe and back them up in the face of abuse. This stance of essentially sticking her head in the sand is so infuriating, especially when I do believe that she also loves me.

I am realizing that one reason I find it hard to get close to people – in an intimate day-to-day way – is because the closer I get the more rage I feel. That happens with my mother too. When I spend more time with her, let my guard down, feel the impulse to connect with her – up comes the rage. It’s based on the thought of How dare she not be there for me! We do best when I don’t see her as often, but it’s not the relationship I wanted. She seems bewildered by it all i.e. why does Light have all these outbursts? She doesn’t seem to recognize what she did/does.


You are expressing my feelings as well. About the emptiness now, the concern that “they” are still living a lie, and the feeling that all your efforts were for nothing. But I haven’t been treated like a scapegoat – I am basically ignored! Nobody seems to notice I have backed off to almost no contact. Emails and occasional phone calls are painfully (to me) superficial.

Andria, I appreciate your response saying that our efforts weren’t for nothing, and the journey gets us to a healthier place now. I do agree with that in my head, and it IS true in “the big picture” sense. But when I think of the years and years of reaching out, trying every single approach I could think of to please FOO, the rejection rejection rejection and my never knowing why – I too feel that not only was it for nothing, but now I must work to eliminate that dark cloud that built inside of me when I repeatly “failed” and blamed myself. AND try to UNbrainwash myself from that “given” in our culture that “Family is Everything.” Ugh! It is a one-day-at-a-time process!

And thanks for being here, everyone.


Kathryn R-

I also had the same experience of reaching out and getting ignored. They probably notice that you have backed off, but if they are like my FOO they just don’t care. I struggled with feeling rejected over and over and not knowing why. It doesn’t matter why. We will never know. I experienced the sadness of rehashing what went wrong…why did this happen to me?

My husband and I did a lot for both of our families. It didn’t change a damn thing. We were just used and sometimes abused. I don’t know what my family thinks of me, and frankly I don’t care. I get mad that I still have to put energy towards them to help heal myself, but like you said it is one day at a time.


Whew! Thanks Andria


I hit ‘send’ too soon. Andria -“I get mad that I still have to put energy towards them to help heal myself…”
Yeah! Whenever I feel I must make a phone call or send flowers, etc, I feel guilty for betraying my commitment to my Self. I guess it’s part of that step by step process.



I watched two videos by Daniel Mackler: Truthteller and Cleaning the Psyche. They were both very interesting. Thank you for bringing attention to Mr. Mackler.


I sort of feel like the pain of sorting through where I was damaged and understanding the truth is essential to the journey and all, but I’m not sure I can shake the feeling that the pain of trying harder was for nothing, that that was part of the damage they could have put a stop to. I get a feeling of being “duped.” I recently quit a dysfunctional job where I kept trying harder and harder and have now understood that my boss underneath it all couldn’t care less about me or anybody, just about whatever he could get from you. I want to think my family wasn’t that bad, that it was that in a sense but also more complex than that… yet I do wonder. They could take responsibility but they wait for me to come back around and understand how they have a greater understanding of what happened and how to go about dealing with the relationship than I. They’re the better people, waiting for me to come understand—they’re so “generous” they’ll even admit to the fact that I was the victim of the family dysfunction (but it’s a version that lacks a lot of important details and sees them as being more or less healthy now where I am of course more dysfunctional than them and having to catch up).They scapegoat me with false compassion. It’s maddening….

Anyway, what I understood from my experience at this job was that trying harder was all for nothing because all the stress and anxiety did me no good and he didn’t deserve to reap the profits of it. He didn’t deserve me as an employee because he didn’t recognize me as someone deserving respect in the first place, after he’d torn down my confidence, then acted like my friend as he exploited me, had me as his kind of special pet while he still continued to say things and do things that poked holes in me, always keeping me under his wing until I broke down after 6 months. I “earned” his respect apparently, as though my work had really evolved over time, when in fact I was consistent from the moment I started. The whole thing was a ruse and there were times where I felt like I was going through my whole life story because it followed the same pattern of my life. This guy probably didn’t have it all mapped out but he also knew what he was doing; everything was adaptation to control his employees/environment and he made enough sideways comments to make it very clear that he was aware of himself (he also obviously saw me as a small town girl with no connections to anyone, quiet, people pleaser, so he basically trusted me to say whatever around me; I now have enough info that I could probably ruin him if I wanted to but it would cost me). He was also totally in over his head and couldn’t really control things but didn’t care enough to put the work into fixing things, just into trying to take whatever he could get from people, control them as much as he could so as to get by keeping things running the way they were. Sometimes I was aware and sometimes I was completely brainwashed. Always when you were just about to quit, out came the nice guy; start to feel too at ease, out came the jerk…. The worst part is that in my “trying harder” I violated my own principles, giving away a recipe from my old bakery. We changed it up and I couldn’t even remember the recipe correctly so it isn’t even the same, but it really bothered me. I’d got into a fight with him right at the beginning before I was even hired about the recipes—I hadn’t even meant anything personal by it but managed to offend him. I realized that if I didn’t just play the little girl, saying sorry, etc., I wouldn’t have a job. I didn’t realize what I was signing myself up for. I was supposed to come up with my own recipes and the one time I came up with my own concoction, it took him hours before he tried it, said nothing, then later talked about having to make another kind of cookie for the store (my recipe had been a kind of cookie), without any reference to my recipe, as if I hadn’t even made them. I went home and cried, feeling like I was 5 years old. Later we needed a savoury item and for maybe two weeks he hummed and hawed, asking me what we should make. I kind of knew what he wanted from me. I was so tired of listening to him that I showed him a recipe we made at my last bakery (which we then adapted). The second I did, it was “perfect, start that right away.” Fast forward a couple months while I’m making them, he’s taking a photo of me making them to post on the facebook page, says to me, “I don’t know why but I really like taking pictures of you making these.” My last bakery is in a different city so it wasn’t competition and it is quite common to use/adapt recipes but the circumstances in which this happened has left me feeling disgusting and ashamed… I LOVED my last bakery; they were so good to me and I feel like an a**hole… The whole experience with this guy, though, going over what all happened, figuring it out, and how much it reminded me of the roles I went through with my family does make me wonder about things. I know the “trying harder” is about wanting love, approval and validation but there’s also a kind of naivete or innocence in actually buying the idea that we need to do this in the first place. With my job, I’d felt okay with the idea of using and adapting a recipe from my old place if this new bakery was a place where I’d be appreciated, respected, where I could put my love and loyalty. That should have come first, though, and instead I decided to give the recipe in some leap of faith of future prospect, that my doing it would show him I was willing to put myself into the job, that I didn’t come in to be antagonistic, etc. That’s where I was duped, and allowed myself to be, and I felt physically ill for doing so. I was coming from some idea that underneath it all he was a good person, that he had misunderstood me when I’d offended him, and that if he saw that I was a good person willing to give him this, he’d return in kind. I think that’s where so much of the “trying harder” comes from—in the false belief that others will do the right thing and be a good person “if only” when maybe they were never inclined to do the right thing and be a good person, that there was never any misunderstanding. For example, I thought my mom didn’t understand that I loved her. Now the fact that I loved her seems somehow beside the point, that maybe she wasn’t even interested in love, real love at all—just having people give her what she wanted, what she felt was love, trying to make them fit her ideas of relationship, and of course it never paid off—her essential unhappiness remaining, sucking people (or at least me) dry…


Kathryn R,

I still think about my FOO even now that I have gone no contact. That is how I put my energy towards them. I would love to go a whole day without thinking one thought of them, but it is still too soon. I am low contact with my sister-in-law. I don’t think of her as much as my FOO. My father still tries to call me every so often, but he really does not care. He has shown me his uncaring ways many times. My sister has pretty much always ignored me, so going NC with her was just a “formal” change of status. We never had much contact over many years.


To all,

I have been out of pocket for a bit. My birthday falls at the end of April. I have received a card from the brother that my mother controls every year but this year. I guess she has finally brainwashed him enough to drop me altogether. My younger brother emailed his usual “Happy Birthday” to me. Because I turned 65, he added “old woman” to it. That is great. Our relationship has always been one of a dry sense of humor, not too mushy. He is 14 years younger than me. We have an understanding that works.

On Mother’s Day, I received flowers from my little family and a funny card with messages from everyone. Just about perfect.

My younger brother’s wife texted me a beautiful message. She treats me like a mother, older sister, whatever fits the moment. My mother is still working hard to break us all up. But she is polarizing the family. I am either loved extremely or hated extremely. For the first time, I really don’t care.

I watch a show called Criminal Minds. One show was about a male member of the team who was sexually molested by another man. At the end, he talked about those who are molested who do not turn it inward, do not become violent to ourselves or others, but rather become caregivers. They always have a quote at the end. This one said, “For darkness restores what light cannot repair” by Brodsky. I always take something positive away. It is well written.

I am getting better. I pray that I live long enough to enjoy the change.

A happy whatever to everyone.

Hugs to all,


Another favorite quote of mine that addresses an issue we all face,

“When truth is buried underground, it grows. It chokes, it gathers such an explosive force that on the day it bursts out, it blows up everything with it.” Émile Zola.

When I finally told the truth in 1986, my world blew up with all the energy of an atomic bomb. The fallout is finally beginning to settle…..maybe.

Love to all,


I just caught up on the conversation here on this post and it is really great!

the most painful part of healing for me was in realizing that ‘trying harder stuff’. I remember speaking in seminars saying things like “I was a good ‘victim’, the most compliant ‘victim’ in the world even!! and it was all for nothing. They still looked down on me! That was horrifically painful and I had to feel that pain and go through the grieving for those things. I don’t write about it much (yet) but I ended up working for the same therapist that helped me get free of the dysfunction in my own life.. and he too did not ‘see me’ for who I was and I found myself in yet another one sided relationship this time with the person who I believed had empowered me in the first place! At the end of the day it only matters what I know about the truth. “they” don’t want to see me in any other light because (as you have noted in one of your comments) it SERVES them to see me the way they do. And they WANT me to be the scapegoat and the problem as it absolves them of guilt or responsibility but that is also about them.
As for me, I am building healthy relationships today based on equal value for everyone. and I don’t miss the way that they defined me. (no matter what I did). I live in freedom, and I love it, but there are no shortcuts or easy way around the healing process when it comes to grieving that pain.
love and hugs, Darlene


Hi Linda
Happy belated birthday!
Judy (the woman that makes the posters for EFB on FB) just made a poster out of that Emile Zola quote earlier this week for the EFB Facebook page!
In a way my world blew up when I stood up but the end result has been the most beautiful work of art, and more than I could have ever imagined has come out of the ripple effect. This website and it’s amazing growth and all the healing going on here, and now I am going to be a featured expert in a new self help movie (The Key Movies website) and I will have the opportunity to reach more and more people. I am grateful for the fallout now.. 🙂
hugs and love, Darlene


To Pam re:#108,

My father died peacefully in his sleep last May. He had sexually violated me almost daily from age four with my mother’s blessing. The odd thing is, he realized years ago that what he had done was wrong and told other family members how what he had done, how badly he felt and his sincere wish that I could forgive him. He never asked for forgiveness for my mother’s treatment of me. He said that he loved me and wished only the best.

Strange as it may seem, I can forgive him. I never saw him after 1997, but he wrote and called occasionally to my husband and me over the years. We went to his funeral.

My mother, on the other hand, is still trying to tear my life apart. She and my father each smoked three packs of cigarettes per day. She has terrible emphysema and is miserable. I could not care less. The more miserable she is, the better. Some people may not understand that feeling, but many do. She has caused everyone around her to suffer, including her own parents, who were the kindest, most loving people you could know.

My younger sister is just like her. I truly do not care any more, what happens to them. Saying Yay when the person who hurts you the most is not a bad thing. Families are made, not born, and blood does not trump caring. They did not love me before, why should I care now?



You bring up something really valid here about forgiveness. Your Father ASKED to be forgiven and expressed regret and understanding about what he had done to you. That makes such a huge difference.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs Darlene


I don’t know where to write this, but my niece just had a baby and I am out of the loop. Her mother, my sister, and I can’t seem to have a constructive relationship. I often feel “punished”, with attacks coming from out of the blue. When I pull back to feel safe, my sister takes it as another slight, probably “reports” to her daughter and then her daughter withdraws from me. My sibling seems to have an internal list of all slights, real and imagined. I say “real” because I’m not perfect and don’t communicate perfectly in response to her passive-aggressive style. But I do apologize when needed.

I am heartbroken, because my sister is the go-between between me and my niece. If it’s not going well with sis, my niece backs away. It is a no- win situation. Either I put up with disrespect, or lose my niece. We used to be close, but not anymore.

How do I turn off my heart and not care anymore? How do I survive at family functions and do the expected thing like give a baby gift, ooh and ahh etc. when it is so obvious that I am being kept out of the loop?


I watch a show called Criminal Minds. One show was about a male member of the team who was sexually molested by another man. At the end, he talked about those who are molested who do not turn it inward, do not become violent to ourselves or others, but rather become caregivers. They always have a quote at the end. This one said, “For darkness restores what light cannot repair” by Brodsky. I always take something positive away. It is well written.

I saw that episode. It made me burst into tears at people who would do that to kids. The actor who played the part did an excellent job. I don’t cry easily (unless animals are involved…. then I cry!).


After reading all of these articles on Darlene’s blog, I’m convinced that most people live a “lie” and pretend to feel what they are “supposed to” feel, just like I did, and am now rebelling against it.


To Darlene, DXS and all,

Thank you for your feedback. I was 37 in 1986 when I first said the words that opened the Pandora’s box of the lies I had lived. I had never told my husband or anyone else about what my life had been. Instead of the rejection my parents promised me, I found love and validation, for the most part.

That was almost 30 years ago. Some things fade into the background. Most don’t. But I have gained a greater understanding of myself and my worth. It takes time. I may not live long enough to find all of the answers and complete peace with myself. But the good that I have found makes the hard work worthwhile.

I found Darlene’s website almost exactly one year ago. The search for answers is what keeps me grounded. No one should ever give up. We are all worthwhile people and deserve comfort and happiness.

Hugs to all,


Hi Light
I don’t think the goal is to turn off your heart and not care. What you are talking about is the hardest part and it is unique to each person. (and also part of the process. We make new decisions every day as we get stronger in the truth) It sounds like your niece is under the control of her mother so if her mother is the controller in the situation, that is the truth about the situation and the decision about what is best for you, comes out of those facts. I know this answer sucks.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Linda
Very well said! Never give up! and yes “We are all worthwhile people and deserve comfort and happiness.”
love it!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene. They are both controllers. My sister controls where she can, but her daughter has her mother wrapped around her finger – ultimately whatever daughter says goes.

All: Does anyone else experience this? You bring up hurt feelings, etc. and the FOO tells you you’re making this all about you and you’re being selfish? It has to be about us sometimes doesn’t it? I was notified about the birth of my niece’s baby on day 3…just one notch above the general email that went out …it leaves me feeling like I’m third tier and more like a peripheral family member or acquaintance. I can’t see how saying anything could possibly help the situation and I will only appear selfish.

If I’m going to be peripheral, then I’ll embrace that role at the holidays and NOT be one of the hostesses/cooks/shopper/server for days on end for 8+ people!!!! So Done.


Hi Light,

I can tell you that I experience exactly what you’re talking about. There is absolutely no way to even suggest to my family that anything that they’ve done has been less than wonderful that they don’t make me the bad guy.

On the other side of the coin, everyone is free to criticize me in any and every way and I’m supposed to take it in stride. They insist that they are trying to help me and that “the truth hurts”.

I have the hardest time understanding how they don’t see their own hypocrisy.

I’ve been shunned by most of the FOO, and recently stopped speaking to the rest. My 2 daughters have both adopted my FOO’s dysfunction, and only my son is still speaking to me, sometimes.

I have to admit that I’m relieved and somewhat at peace with the situation at this point. I get sad sometimes that I don’t have a relationship with some of them, but most of the relationships weren’t what they appeared to be anyway.

It gets a little easier with time.

I agree that you you might as well get off that hostess/cook/shopper/server train. Applause!

Hobie 🙂


OMG, YES!!!!!

The two things that are the hardest – knowing that I am an outcast and that I will never have that feeling of belonging in my family situation. Second, sometimes I catch myself believing what they say about me, that I am the one with the “anger issues” and that I will never fit into this so-called family. That perhaps there IS something wrong with ME.

But, when I think it through, I realize that my mother is a narcissist who has others believe that she is a saint. Also, my “golden child” brother is acting just like her, therefore, he is more accepted by her and fits in this sick situation. Either way, I will never be allowed to express my feelings of hurt and be validated by them. The more I think about it, the more I feel that validation from these people should not be important. At least I am willing to seek therapy and heal the hurt from my abusive childhood while they refuse to acknowledge that there was ever a problem.
Light, you are NOT alone! You have others that BELIEVE you and believe IN YOU! 🙂


Spence – you’ve got it when you said that validation from these people should not be important. I’m at the point that I believe I can heal without their validation. I ask myself a lot if I want these people in my life without their validation.

I feel so much like I’m not a genuine participant in the relationship, but instead they see someone they imagine I should be taking my place in the relationship. I’m not sure if they get angry at me when I fail to keep up that image, or if they are just automatically inclined to be angry at the person they imagine me to be.

I don’t doubt for a second that none of them actually know who I am. I’ve never had a chance to show myself. I’m tired of the game.


Light, Hobie, Spence,
Ditto to most of what you each said. I have chosen to back off from them, they have chosen to live in LaLaLand, I am therefore the strange one. My “mother” dismissed my honest attempts at discussing how she hurt me by saying I was lying. My brother and family’s reaction to my being offended by the way they’ve treated me (“friendly teasing”) is just “Huh?” It broke my heart to have to beg for pictures of the little kids, and send the emails “I haven’t heard from you in a long time – what’s going on?” So I’m trying to live on the “periphery” like you Light. And invitations to my home on a lake in the mountains…. well I’m tired of being ignored. I’m not sure I even want them here now. But I do miss the kids. 🙁


Hobie, Spence, Kathryn – thank you for your comments. I can relate to what each of you said.

Spence “knowing that I will never have that feeling of belonging in my family”. It’s a sad and painful thing, isn’t it, for us to miss out on that? Belonging is so important and to feel like an outsider does so much damage.

Hobie I am so sorry that two of your children have turned away from you. The ripple effect through the family is very powerful. I didn’t have children for various reasons related to the dysfunction, but I hadn’t considered (before reading Darlene’s blog) how it could touch one’s own children. I am so, so sorry and am glad you have found a bit of peace.

Kathryn, your reference to pictures reminded me of two instances. One when I asked my SIL for a school picture of a niece and rather than be enthusiastic, she suggested I ask her myself (it was in the voice tone). Another when I directly asked my nephew for a particular school photo, he said yes when he could find it, then he gave it to my mother and said it was his last. “Sorry” to me. Third tier again. These past two years I wrote heartfelt letters to some of my family – practically nothing has changed and at times I didn’t even get a response. It’s hard to face that they don’t give a shit. Sorry for my language. Ticked off.

This whole thing about living on the periphery… It makes me feel like a beggar, waiting for crumbs. For me it’s also like being in limbo, not in and not out. Very unpleasant. I have made some changes this past year however with a few family relationships – I am pulling back. I am proud that I have done that much. I would consider moving away, and deep inside a voice is telling me that I should, but two friends are in the area, along with health professionals and my therapist…I just don’t know if I have it in me to move to a whole new area by myself knowing no one. On the other hand, I do wonder if I am continually retraumatizing myself by living so close by, and going to these family get-togethers where I am overlooked or something painful happens. And I am starting to wonder if something physiological happens with the retraumatizing that keeps a person in a “pain loop” making it harder and harder to extricate.


I am thinking about the physiological bonds of trauma that make it so hard to leave. I’d like to read more about this if anyone has any book ideas. A while ago I read The Betrayal Bond by Patrick Carnes…maybe it’s time to pull that out again.


Wow Light – you speak for me too. My SIL suggested I look up pictures on Snapfish. Ok, thanks a lot. My husband and I moved to another State, and honestly I can’t say if it is better or worse re my feelings. Probably better. Distance has its advantages. But I didn’t have any super-close ties with anyone else ‘back home’ at the time. My lifestyle in a rural mountain environment is 100% better than rat-race urban. And they ignored me just as much when I lived closer.
Stay strong.


Hi Everyone!
I have published a new post on the homepage! It is called “Defined as the problem by the age of four” by Carrie H. There is a great conversation going already!
Hope to see you there!
hugs, Darlene


Great article, and such funny timing for me! My mother is almost 84, and has increasing dementia now. The past several years have been very stressful and difficult. In the past 6 months or so, she has stopped being aware of holidays, birthdays, etc. I did visit her the week before Mother’s Day (out of obligation), and then joyously celebrated my first Mother’s Day that I had all to myself! It was fantastic! I had a great time outdoors, stayed the heck away from Facebook, and it was wonderful.


Thank-you for your site. I have been searching for confirmation and strength to “get through” the current drama with my Mother and Sister. You give me strength to hold my ground and care for me, this time.


Hi Looloo and Janet,
Welcome to EFB!
I am so glad you are here! There is so much power in the unity we have here, and so much insight and info within these pages!
hugs, Darlene


I just published a NEW article on the homepage!
This one is about Victim Blaming and it is about when YOU are blamed for the core of your pain. This is a huge issue for children who grew up in dysfunction and didn’t actually realize how deep the brainwashing went, which makes it easier for other people to blame them (for other people to make you think maybe it is actually YOU that is at fault) for the difficulties in their relationships!
Hope to have a great discussion there! “Victim Blaming ~ When you are Blamed for the Core of your Pain”
hugs, Darlene


I don’t know if this is the right area or not but I have been reading your site for about 6 month and is very uplifting

A little back ground:
I have 1 sister that is 2 yrs older than me and has spend her life tormenting me. I have always wanted to be her friend. When we were young and in school she would tell everyone that she did not know who I was and that she did not have a sister. When ever I found join in anything she would destroy it. Example: When I was 7yrs old, down the road from our house was an empty lot where I use to go to play, I discovered an ant hill and started bring the ants candy and water. I was the kind of kid that loved everything. When she discovered this she covered my ant hill in ant killer and killed them all. These are only 2 example, the list goes on and on. A year and a half ago I finally went no contact with her. It has been a blessing but also very painful, I am in mourning for the sister I always wanted and will never have.

My mother: She has spend her life going from 1 tragedy to the next and I have been her only support. When I was in the 5th grade I was the one she would have sit at the table while she cried and served me alcohol so that she would have someone to drink with and that was my life going forward. She never wanted me to leave home. At the age of 30 I finally broke free or I thought I had. I moved 1500 miles away and she would come and stay every other month for an entire month. I have an at home business so I was stuck there with her all day every day for the whole month each time she came to stay. I am a very social person and love to do things with my friends, When ever I was going out she would look sad and lonely, which in turn would make me feel guilty for leaving her.

After years of this I couldn’t take it anymore and told her she can not come that often or stay that long. I told her if I had to I would leave my home and live in a tent in the woods to have my freedom, Now those were my exact words. Her response was ” I will find you”.
How terrible it was to discover that my mother did care how I felt. After these blow-ups of mine I would always go back to what she wanted me to be.

At the age of 41 I got married to a wonderful man, He is truly my best friend. I still continued to have problems with my mother visiting all the time and stay for a month. My Husband and I are very busy people, He works 6 days 60 hrs a week and our only day together is Sunday, I have told my mother this and that I wanted to spend Sunday alone with my Husband and that she would have to find something to do outside the house, She agreed. Then Sunday came, She sat on the back porch visiting with my husband until 2 in the afternoon when I finally told my husband “Lets go, we are going out to do something” at that point when we were getting ready to leave she finally left because she knew we wouldn’t be there anyway. She was only gone for a couple of hours and then came back. I have told her she can not use me for her life entertainment and that she needs counseling, she said she would get a counselor but has not in the 3 years after this. When I finally put my foot down, again and told her she could only come 2 time per year for 1 week she bought a house across the street and is always popping in.

How do I deal with the chest pain associated with this? when ever I see her or speak to her my chest hurt and all I can do is try to hurry it up so that I can get away.

I really don’t know what to do anymore.

Thank you for listening


Hi Sherrie,
Welcome to EFB ~ I think you are going to find lots of insights and info here that will help you see this in a new light.
I had to see things in a new way before I found the answers that worked. I have written tons about this esp. in my earlier work.
hugs, Darlene


I forgot where it was posted, on the person that shared their story about going through and talking to relatives and finding a common theme.

I didn’t know until recently that Mom’s mother (Grandma) didn’t graduate from high school. She left home because she didn’t get along with HER mother (Great Grandma). I also found out recently that maternal Great Grandma and Great Grandfather had a lousy marriage and barely talked to each other. Yet, as a child Mom insisted we visit these people “because they are family.” (“Because they are family” is still a concept I do not understand! My reaction is… “SO????”)

I didn’t know GGF and GGM much because GGF died while I was very little, I barely remember him, and GGM ended up in a nursing home with Alzheimers, but we still HAD to visit her “because she is family.”

I also found out recently that Maternal Grandma took in “stray kids” during my mom’s growing up years. AHA! Light bulb moment! This shed light on two things:

1. I never wanted to have children of my own, the thought of being preggers is nauseating to me. (no offense to those of you that have children!) BUT, I enjoy “mentoring” high school kids. I did sub teaching for awhile after retirement and loved it. Now, I’m working a temporary job where I’m around high school kids a lot, and I try to “mentor” them when I can by telling them now to word their resume for this job to fit whatever career they want to do. I don’t try to be their buddy, I don’t want that. I just try to “mentor” in any way that I can. So, Grandma taking in strays is where I get the “mentoring” thing from.

2. Because Grandma took in “strays,” I think Mom felt neglected. I’m just guessing this. But she may have been told “buck up” or something. Who knows. Thus, she didn’t learn to love us. Or, the “love” she claims she has is just a forced and faked thing. It never felt real.

I remember when I would come home from a week long summer camp in the summer, and mom would ask if I “missed” my family. I would say, “no.” She would get mad! Um, I really did NOT miss my family. In fact, I didn’t want to leave summer camp!


I can so relate to finding out things about your extended family that help to put the pieces together.

When I visited my extended family in Ukraine, I discovered that one of them doesn’t speak to his mother. We actually had to hide him because his mother was going to come to the same place so they had him go to the floor above and leave when it was safe to avoid her. Said mother reeked of cat pee and was not a healthy person in any way, so I understand why he doesn’t speak to her. And my mom sympathized with her. Ugh.

I also found it weird that my grandmother (day’s mom), who is not speaking to me because I set boundaries, avoided visiting with my mom’s side of the family altogether. I have a feeling she is not well-liked by them, for good reason. On her side of the family there are mafia criminals, which seems to be a point of pride. Kind of helps me understand why she’s so ok with lying and stealing. Runs in her family I guess. She also hasn’t spoken to her sister in decades and blames her sister. I barely even knew she had a sister until a few years ago.

marquis (female)
June 20th, 2014 at 11:49 pm


“Yet, as a child Mom insisted we visit these people “because they are family.” (“Because they are family” is still a concept I do not understand! My reaction is… “SO????”)”

Agreed. My sister and I say the same thing and was told “they are family.” She also said how they never felt like family just strangers grinning in your face and putting on a great show! This is all about appearances which is something people can’t seem to understand at all – oh well!


The e-book ~ “Emerging from Broken ~ The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” is finally almost ready to publish!! One of the big things left to do is collect the endorsements. And how better to get them then ask for them from YOU ~ my readers and the commenters here on the website!! Please help me by sharing the impact that this website has had on you on my new post here:
Thanks everyone, hugs, Darlene


Hi ,

What happens when you actually have really done the best to love your daughter and she is unpredictable in her sudden attacks on you and claims you scapegoated her. What happens when you beloved daughter calls you passive aggressive because you just won’t scream and fight because you never could do that. What do you do when your daughter screams and shouts in front of her children about being scapegoated by you and blaming that for all her wild behaviour in her teens. I wasn’t trained to be a mother, I tried my best, had four children , one girl and three boys and my daughter was very demanding once she reached puberty and at 37 still treats me badly. I could walk away but I won’t do that to her. What if the scapegoating is not true. How do you deal with it, I love my daughter and there is now a rift in the family – she wanted me to choose between the others and her, and I won’t because they are all easy to be with, respectful and kind ,


Fortunately, I’ll never have to buy a card for her again because she’s dead. And I have no problem saying I’m GLAD for it.
But I have to listen to everyone else in my family make dimwitted statements like “She should be considered for sainthood.” And by that, the person means LITERALLY regarded for being canonized.
That’s what you get when you bang someone’s head into a wall so many times that the person becomes mildly brain-damaged from it or gets a blood clot?

I don’t care if everyone ELSE wants to sit there and call her an effing saint but they want MORE than just to say it; they want ME to aGREE with it, and I’m not going to do it.
I’m the one who had a tumor in my head that they just found and is a direct result of having my head smashed into walls. If it bursts I’ll die in a stroke. I asked the doctor if that could possible have anything to do with its formation and his answer was “It ain’t going to help.”
For some reason, they can’t give me a straight answer, but that’s neither here nor there.
I have no idea what the “appropriate way” is to tell my sisters and brothers that I’m NOT going to agree with them just because they want to make her out to be a victim for the rest of their lives. I only know that what I WANT to say ISN’T acceptable.
They have no idea I even have this thing in my head because I decided not to waste my breath TELLing them. The last time I told them it happened, they decided to say “No it didn’t,” and that includes denying what she did to THEM. They have the scars of head-banging on their bodies.
They can do whatever the hell they WANT to but I can’t ignore an MRI reading that shows a hemangioma tumor that was probably worsened because of having my head banged into walls from the time I was 3 until I left the home 4 years later.


Wonderful!!! Reading this filled my heart with hope:)
I struggled with this X4 for a few years lol. My Gramma got the heartwarming, loving card, my stepmom and real mom got simple, “enjoy your day” cards, and a wonderful woman who helped turn my life around got one like my Gramma.


My mom didn’t get ANY Mother’s Day cards – AND she had the nerve to be totally offended, eternally affronted as well as managing to turn every single person in the family angry at me for being “such an unforgiving person to her, who was only a victim her entire life.”
Which wasn’t untrue, but not by me. No child under 5 is going to be able to physically abuse a woman in her 30’s. Her husband did it, so maybe I AM unforgiving. An unforgiving person with a traumatic tumor in my head that the moment it breaks will 97 times out of 100 will die. And the other 3 times will go into a major stroke and be a vegetable. Unless medical science comes up with something in the interim.
Since only 1 percent of the entire world ever gets what I have, I’m doubting the advance of medical science coming through in my lifetime.


thanks for your website .Ive been feeling angry at my mom all day without really knowing why I so angry. An some of your things you’ve written in here gave me the emotions an reason why im feeling them. I guess its because im an adult an I felt ashamed I still want an need attention an affection from a mom that was never good at it but ive always longed for it. Five years ago she adopted two babies an her life has been pretty much about them an their needs, I cant even have a normal discussion with her without her interrupting me to point out something cute they do or something,she also does this when im need of advice for things that I feel important. She wants me to help her but I receive nothing in return,an im left heartbroken an lost ,hurt an angry. So thanks for this website its good to know im not alone in feeling this way.


Hi Samantha
Great to have you here and I am glad that you found some clarity. We all want to be cherished by our mothers, there is nothing wrong with that. When we are taught to try harder all the time it makes that craving worse. You will find so much info here
hugs, Darlene


I hate my mother. I hate mothers day. I have always gotten her a card at the very least. I usually get something with a nice picture on it, though and says Happy Mothers Day and nothing else.


I thought I was alone with my dilemma on Mother’s Day and her Birthdays. It’s comforting to know that I don’t have to feel guilty for my feelings about my mother. It’s just pretty sad that I have to say: I don’t have any relationship with my mother.


Has anyone noticed that there’s no son’s or daughter’s day? Even in Japan, where elder worship is stronger than in Western countries, there’s a Children’s Day.

I guess that’s evidence that society is more biased towards progenitors than offspring. Sad.


“I guess that’s evidence that society is more biased towards progenitors than offspring. Sad.”



Father’s Day for me.



What a great post, it really hits home! I am very proud to say that i am my own father. I love me and i am taking care of myself the best way i can. My NF dropped me easily when i decided to go no-contact! My life is sooo good without him, he is evil anyway. We are three siblings between the age 21-24 and we have pretty much no contact. NF made sure of this. Growing up everyone had their own stuff and we were never allowed to share. At the same time he talked behind everyones back, so that we would dislike eachother even more. Our mom is amazing though, thank God! Pages like yours is exactly what those of us who have been through horrible things need. Not every parent is actually a parent! HUGS and LOVE all the way from Europe, Sweden! ??


Hi everyone!

It seems like Mothers Day is just around the corner…..again.
Like other holidays, this would have to be my worst. I cant ever really remember giving a card to my mother for Mothers Day. I may have. To me, l’d feel like awkward as though l was a hypocrite. It was only 2 years ago when my sister (GC) text me and told me to ring our mother for Mothers Day. To which l replied ‘Go **** yourself’. How dare she command me to ring our mother, of whom lve been NC with for years, just so she could feel good that she got me to call. Just unbelievable!!
Im not playing any part in pretending everything is okay, when clearly our family has been dyfunctional for many years and l am the SG, the black sheep, whatever you want to call it, but l WILL NOT play anymore pretending to be happy families. I knew something was wrong way back in my teens. I didnt know what you called it back then, but lm well aware now. All l knew was l was the problem and whenever l tried to speak out to others, l got told l was a liar?? For speaking out about our Catholic, loving family? Im not real sure how to stop feeling guilty, or how to change my belief systems, as they are firmly entrenched. NC has helped but its cost me in other ways. My relatives would have all heard my mothers side of the story without hearing mine as l left and moved to the other side of the country. I like living where lm not known, where l didnt grow up so others cant get a negative impression of me based on my mother/sister/family.
To all the mothers on here, l wish you a happy mothers day and hope its not a day filled with shame, regret or remorse. You may be nothing to someone, but to others, you are their world.. Never forget that!


“It seems like Mothers Day is just around the corner…..again.”

Oh, thanks for reminding me. And I don’t mean that in a good way. Having to see mother-worshipping propaganda in public when I run errands makes me cringe.

The last time I (kinda) celebrated Mother’s Day was last year. I didn’t have much of a choice to not celebrate it because I was living with her, and couldn’t afford to move out. During that day, my brother and his family came to visit. He can’t do anything wrong in the family. He berates his wife and sons and believes in strict discipline of children (which he insulted me for contradicting him and has yet to apologize for it. I didn’t speak to him for five years.) I don’t feel sorry for his wife because she just takes it and at times participates in the abuse of my nephews. I noticed that he hasn’t changed and treated me like a criminal when I said that after I move out, I will limit contact with family. Then a few hours after that he said that he still loved me and that one must choose their own paths in life. (Which was strange since he berated me for that earlier.)

Now that I’m not living with her anymore, I don’t have to worry about putting up with him or feeling forced to celebrate the holiday. I still live in the twin-city area, but no one in my family knows my exact address. My brother will be coming again, but he won’t find me. I just hope he won’t be given my number and bully me into having a relationship with our mother.

I, too, wish truly loving mothers a happy Mother’s Day. I just find it unfair that offspring seem to rank lower than parents.


About your last sentence; offspring seem to rank lower than parents “to the parents”.. but that doesn’t make it true! Children are NOT any less valuable and it was embracing that truth that has enabled me to disregard all the actions that suggest that I am NOT as important than other people and really know that I am!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kylie!
Nice to hear from you again! The think I found about people not hearing my side is that they never wanted to! If they did, they would have asked me instead of just listening to everyone else. I stopped feeling guilty when I really understood the truth most of which was (in a nutshell) that I NEVER deserved the way I had been treated.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mulki!
Great to have you here and welcome to EFB!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene



“Children are NOT any less valuable and it was embracing that truth that has enabled me to disregard all the actions that suggest that I am NOT as important than other people and really know that I am!”

Thank you for your comforting words. I know that in my head, but emotionally, I’m still trying to sort that out. Again, thanks.


Thank you so much-I am so glad I accidentally found this. I grew up with a mom that had mental issues and was a tad abusive and a hoarder-I left her home when I was 13 and saw her a few time and talked occasionally-she is now at the end of her life in the late stages of lung cancer – I am trying to find a way to come to terms with everything from our past and forgive and let go. This article is very helpful- thank you again


After reading your article on Mother’s Day, I felt it would help to respond to some insights about another impending, or what feels like, obligatory holiday. I could also say that I feel less terminally confused and unique. I also accidentally found this site and it has helped me come to terms with some of the many triggers from my past that still affect my present.
For example, I made the decison years ago to not be a mother. I now find that I did not dodge any bullets or change the trajectory of my life. In my twenties, I held the belief that i could create a much better life for myself (again, not like a single mother on welfare,) and not hurt another child with my own unresolved issues (again, not like mother.) In fact, it felt more like I was the mother and I may have taken on the parent role as opposed to being a child when I was supposed to be a child. There were always other more pressing issues like dealing with poverty and or alchoholism and an absentee father. My mother may have thought that she made herself my world. Yet she abandoned me as a child on numerous occasions to situations of which were beyond my control. How different things are now. My father passed away five years ago and lo and behold, my mother became needier than ever. Instead of being there for me she became angry and bitter about how he was never there for her. Again, the sounding board did not work both ways. Hence, the dire need for boundaries which I have never been able to enforce without some kind of threat from her end.
I will be turning fifty this summer and I could end up feeling completely ripped off (now that victim mentality!) Yet, when I reflect on my past (especially my early twenties,) I can poignantly see how my need for people pleasing completely preempted the reality and need to prepare to live life on life’s terms. In an attempt to rebel (to be nothing at all like my mother was,) I became just like her. Or at least that is what it feels like. Not having a child or life of my own, yet remaining a sounding board into perpetuity just adds insult to injury.
I have made myself as useless to her as I possibly can be aside from just saying something like, “Would you rather be alone and completely cut off from me? Is that what you want? Because I for one cannot take it anymore.” Like I said about being useless: I am either underemployed, or not employed at all so I have ‘nothing to give.’ I find that I end up using other people as buffers as I was used as a pawn in her relationships in the past. I am an only child, so I am ‘it’ so to speak. I have never felt safe enough to discuss any of these matters outside of the long term relationship that I am in, even with extended family as she made them into the enemy camp many years ago. It was soul crushing to have to go through every single Christmas with her crying about ‘not having a family’ since her family of origin had moved away (her own abandonment issues.) Basically, that made me feel like my presence counted for nothing. I just did not realize it at the time. Now that I am an adult I know that I have choices. I can choose how I respond to people, places and things. It has taken courage to change and time to heal. I try to keep it simple, but more often than not, easier said than done. With awareness comes some acceptance and then perhaps change? It is a painfully slow process.


How are people dealing with Mother’s Day this year? Card? NC? or….?

I was thinking of sending a note or card saying that I am sorry to say that I can’t comfortably be with her for Mother’s Day this year. Not sure how to sign it, or whether to actually wish her a happy MD.


Hi Light, I’m convinced l will go NC. Yet lm starting to feel inclined to at least send a brief text msg wishing her a happy MD. it’s a dilemma. Not real sure she deserves it, do l really want to feel crappy or at least feel remorseful if l don’t? Then l think of my own children as l am a mother myself. How would l feel if they did this to me? Considering l do have a good relationship with all my children, l don’t expect this to be an issue. Although they are still quite young (9,11,16). I was already out of home by 16 and living in foster care, so l must be doing something right? My children were all wanted and are my own biological children.
I’ve mentioned in posts here before that l thought my situation was unique as us kids were all adopted. I’ve come to realise that family dysfunction happens a lot in biological families, that it’s not unique to adoption. I’m thinking that must be so much worse in biological families. With adoption it seems almost a given, as you are not biologically related as cannot love someone else’s child/children as you would your own.

Darlene, l think you are right, if relatives didn’t ask me, then they didn’t want to know the truth. I guess my mother won in succeeding at tearing me apart and making me the PROBLEM child without looking at what she did and how she contributed to the dysfunction. I often wonder in the wee early hours of the morning or in quite moments, if she ever reflects on her self? I wonder ‘does she hurt like me – ever?’


Hi everyone
Tomorrow ( may 5th) I will be publishing a new Mother’s Day post and I think this new one will provide some great food for thought.

I will also be launching a contest where someone will win an hour on the phone with me for a free consult or conversation!

Hugs Darlene


Hi Kylie
Getting the child to see themselves as ‘the problem’ is how the grooming process works in emotional abuse and it serves the needs of the careless parent. About adoption ~ I think rejection hurts the same as far as the depth of it goes because it is our very being that is rejected. I have read stories of how adoptive parents wanted children SO bad they would do anything and they were SO grateful to the birth mom for enabling the adoptive parents to have children and yet in many cases, these adopted children are abused! It doesn’t make sense but what abuse ever does?
Thanks for sharing! (great to “see” you!)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi K and InSpirit
Welcome to Emerging from Broken.
InSpirit ~ you said a mouthful when you said “the sounding board didn’t work both ways” and in these dysfunctional relationships it is never a two way street. The good news is that seeing it the way it really is goes miles towards healing!
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone ~
My new mother’s day post is published now
You can read it on the home page of the blog or through this link; “Estranged from my Mother ~ Still a little Sadness on Mother’s day”
Hugs, Darlene


I almost broke the tradition of giving Happy Birthday and Happy Father’s Day cards to the one and only, but the Jiminy Cricket in me decided to conjure up potential scenarios as to how my father would react if ever I did stop. Images of him crying, looking shocked and what not all played up inside of me that I decided to take the bait and once again be reeled into the never ending bullshit (Carlos, Carlos I tell myself. You are starting to become like one of those goody goody protagonists in Filipino drama, who have decided to just cover up the shit with stars and stripes and rainbow unicorns. Like when will you learn?) So here I am after my blunder, still trying to conjure up a message to write within those cards that actually sound decent, which makes essay writing look like child’s play (Kidding damn you Harvard author date and critical analysis). I am really only lying to myself when I write “I love you” and I really want to break that cycle this year with no guilt whatsoever. As it is really no longer the case of thanking him for all the good whenever I write to him. The essence of which I wanted to project through those countless messages was really: “I love you, but I know that in my heart that I do need to protect myself from you.” If that makes any sense.

I fear being a father every single day I’ll be happy if I get the chance, but also thankful if not. I’ve read stories of grandparents filing for custody and winning and furthermore I’ve also read or seen stories on TV where no matter how good the parent is, the child still ends up turning bad anyway (Which is probably what the abusers meant when they told their own children, that what goes around, comes around). A drama filled life from the current generation is not one that a parent should ever give to children.

As I’ve decided to see through the bullshit and hate on my father, I am afraid that this will all now come back to me when it’s my turn. What if my child or children complains about me in a forum one day? What if they hate me to? I’ve tried to convince myself that it’ll be okay, by saying that I will never be like their grandfather but it’s
scary. I guess it’s just not for me. Maybe one day (Although I’d probably just adopt as that would limit toxic behavior to carry on for further generations, I don’t know). But for now I will take that piece of the article and work on that, which is to be a parent to myself. Rebuild myself to be that person I always was but was only clouded by darkness in the form of toxic voices and actions that are clearly no longer being entertained anymore.

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