The Fear of Good-bye if You Don’t Comply

problems with parents
if you don’t comply ~ good-bye

Today I was thinking about how many emails I get from people who sincerely want to find validation. Unfortunately most of them want validation from the people who invalidated them in the first place.  I am always thinking about ways to communicate WHY hurt people seem to think that if the people who invalidated in the first place would finally validate, then life would be so much better.  It is the way our belief systems have been fed and formed that is at the root of this dilemma. And there are MANY hidden false truths back there that govern the confusion we are dealing with.  

It occurs to me that the people in my own life who invalidated me had this kind of “if you don’t comply ~ Good-bye” attitude towards me. In realizing that truth I remembered that my mother always said “if you don’t like it, lump it.” I don’t remember if I ever wondered what the hell that meant but I always took it to mean that if I didn’t like it, too dang bad. And that means the exact same thing as “if you don’t comply, good-bye”.  When I got older she started to say “if you don’t like it you can leave” which is exactly what I thought she had been saying all along anyway.

To “lump it means “to accept or tolerate a disagreeable situation: In northern English  the word “lump” also means to carry, especially something heavy so in other words you can like it OR carry it anyway. In even more other words  ~ this is a blunt reminder that YOU HAVE NO CHOICE, and that is what I grew up with. I had no choice. I had to like it or lump it ~ comply or good-bye and that is pretty scary to a child when the true implication of “lump it” is the biggest fear a child has; It means that if you don’t want to like it, if you refuse to carry it, perhaps you would prefer the alternative;

Which Is Rejection

And rejection to a child means death.

I discovered on the emotional healing journey that there were leftovers to this whole dysfunctional upbringing and from these unhelpful threats disguised as some sort of loving parenting statements. I learned to fear rejection for one thing and I carried that fear well into my adulthood without considering that I might be better off without these people that I was so afraid of rejection from.  I had a boyfriend who was physically abusive when I was in my late teens. I was so afraid to stand up to that abuse because of that fear of rejection.  The ways that I had been treated as a child had primed me to define myself as “unworthy” and the ways of society as I grew up taught me to be accountable for my life. It was pretty easy to draw the conclusion that I must have done something to have deserved this man in my life to be so angry with me. I was willing to share in the accountability for what he was doing because of the conditioning of my past when I was a child with no choice. I had learned to “lump it”.

Emerging from broken is all about learning WHAT the conditioning was in the first place by learning what the belief system is about certain things. With statements like this there was such a double standard. I had to become aware of that double standard so I could overcome believing in it. For instance, I had to like it or lump it but that statement only applied to me just like the definition of love being compliance and obedience only applied to me ~ the oppressors had a different definition of relationship and even of love or respect that applied to them~ and that was how I learned relationship worked. The one with the most power wins. The truth is that ISN’T how relationship works. That is how dysfunction in relationship works. I had to look at how all these truths I believed in malfunctioned together.

I had not ever been empowered by anyone at any time in my life to receive the knowledge that I actually HAD a choice OR that what happened to me might have been wrong in the first place. I had learned to “like it or lump it” and I continued to abide by that expression even when it was unspoken because I was so afraid of “good-bye.”

Please share your thoughts with me and with this community of men and women who are striving to overcome the belief systems set in place in childhood. Together we are so much stronger. Your identity is safe here. Please feel free to use any name you wish to use including only a first name or a screen name. Although emerging from broken has a facebook page, the comments on this blog are not published on facebook.

Exposing Truth one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

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480 response to "The Fear of Good-bye if You Don’t Comply"

  1. By: Katlee Posted: 20th June

    Wow. My dearest friend found you and pointed me here, and I think she was right to do so.

    I started my “break” from my mother a few years ago after our last stay with her on our yearly family visit (my hubby and I both grew up in NY and go back every year to see our respective families). After staying with her and her husband (who I do love very much), I realized I couldn’t do it again. She was not welcoming, she “put down” one of our dogs (our pets are our kids, we chose not to have children) because he didn’t get along with one of her dogs, a dog that has bullied every dog we’ve ever had except one (even in my home). It was, of course, our dog’s fault because he “stood up for himself”. Yes, her words exactly. He didn’t like being snapped at and growled at every time he moved, and when her dog got close to him and growled, he’d growl back. All of our other dogs (except our old lab who apparently got a pass because… Mom liked her? dunno) cowered from her dog, wouldn’t move, and would run away if he growled or snapped or lunged at them.

    Then she brought up how I was a bit of a “nasty child”, having told my best friend (then AND now, we are still very close) that I didn’t want to be her friend anymore. We were 7. I’m now 43 (was 39 when we were visiting). I just blinked at her because I didn’t know what else to do.

    A few days later she gave our dogs the same big chew bone she gives her own dogs. Our dogs don’t get that kind of thing at home. They occasionally get treats, but nothing like that. Our other dog, my “sensitive” boy got sick (as he has other years when she’s done that, and I’ve asked her not to because of it) partially because of eating something he’s not used to having, and partially because of the constant bullying from her dog. And it was, of course, my fault he got sick, and my fault he messed on her carpet.

    On the drive home, I told my hubby that we were never doing it again. We would find a dog sitter and stay with someone else.

    Then there was a “blow up” where my mother took something I said jokingly as if I was a mean, vicious, vindictive person trying to hurt her (and my step-dad, although I get the feeling she was really the one that felt hurt). Innocent comment. No one could understand why she got so nasty about it.

    Finally, our old lab (our baby girl) passed away suddenly. I called my mother (first time I’d done so in months) to let her know our “baby” was in the hospital, and then texted her and a few other friends that she had passed away in the night. Her response? “So sorry hugs”. That’s all I heard from her… except for lots of comments on Facebook where other people had posted about how bad she felt for us and how hard it must be. Nothing to me personally.

    That was my final straw. I crafted a long letter to her, carefully telling her my feelings, how much it hurt, how I wished she would get help again (we’re both bipolar), and how I wouldn’t take the disrespect anymore. The first line of her response to me? “Well, I read yours, now we’ll see if you’ll read mine.”. Really didn’t need to read the rest of it to know I was going to be scolded, belittled, my words dismissed. And that was it.

    I haven’t verbally talked to her since. That was in 2013. However, I have contacted her a few times, once to tell her about my MS diagnosis (to which she told me “I know Jon [the hubby] will be there for you.”), one of our “we’ve moved” cards, and a recent email to let her know about my back surgery. Why? Because I don’t want to “deal with her attitude if she finds out from someone else”. Yeah… still not free. And I KNOW I’m not, but I’m at least more free than I was, so I’m taking it in little steps.

    I had that “if you don’t comply, goodbye”. The last thing I did before I went to live with my Dad was push her off of me when she knelt on my chest to yell at me about something ridiculous. I pushed her off, she looked at me surprised, then glared at me and called my Dad to come get me. And I’ll never forget that day. But it actually took until my most recent psychologist said “No wonder you don’t stand up for yourself! You’re afraid of being abandoned because you have been already!”. It was an eye opener. But it’s still a long road to recovery…

  2. By: Amy Posted: 14th February

    The “if you don’t comply, goodbye” rings a bell with me. I had that (or something similar) thrown at me on so many occasions, and without fail the follow-up comment would be along the lines of “And you can’t choose ‘goodbye’ because you have nowhere else to go; nobody else would put up with you. We only put up with you because we have to.” So I was taught that I was a burden they HAD to carry because there was nobody else that would. So I had to comply because I had no choice. I had to put up with being emotionally abused, rejected, invalidated; I had to accept I was misinterpreting events, dramatizing ‘normal’ situations, making a fuss over nothing; I had to learn that I deserved what happened to me, that it was my fault, that I had no right to be upset or angry about distressing situations, that if I stopped sulking and feeling sorry for myself I’d understand that what was done to me was necessary and/or for my own good. I had no choice. If I had a problem with an incident, I needed to think about it, consider it from the other point of view; I had to realise I had forced the other person to do what they did and understand it was my fault.
    To this day, so many of the people that either emotionally abused me or facilitated the abuse by not taking me seriously still maintain that I’m the problem. I’m a troublemaker, a s**t-stirrer, a liar, a drama queen, I’m in the wrong. I’ve cut contact with them, but they still seem to find ways to get messages to me. In their mind, by cutting contact I’ve proven them right; I’m denying the truth. My head knows this to be false. It’s my heart and gut that doesn’t…

  3. By: cat Posted: 20th June


    I have the same fucked up view exactly. I am just discovering that all that “work” on myself just led me to here, to know that it isn’t me after all. Thank God, because that shits exhausting and I want to do other things with my time. I am so grateful I found this site to straighten me out. I really have to spend some time cementing that in my head, because if I do this could mean a tremendous about of freedom is coming my way. I want to emerge from broken so much.

  4. By: Lora Posted: 20th June

    Hey Darlene! always love your articles and they bring out the truth in such an honoring way.

    I can honestly say that the toughest part of my healing journey has been having to face how I treated others. Sadly treating myself like crap was acceptable, but heaven forbid someone gets hurt because I behaved poorly. I seem to always behave in ways that upset others or caused some kind of distruption. I felt exceptionally flawed and I actually felt sorry for my parents that they had to take care of me.

    How’s that for a fucked up world view. I felt guilty for being born and through my own guilt I thought I “owed” my parents something. I didn’t know what the something was and I did my best to follow all their misguided rules. I’ve spent 20 years of my life trying to put me back together. Books, therapists, seminars, support groups…you name it, I tried it. I was motivated by fear. I thought if I could be the perfect human my parents would want and accept me. Well I failed miserably. I accept my failure because the truth is they are the ones that failed me.

    They failed to provide the love and nurturing I required to be a well balanced, functional human being. I had to do some deep grieving of all the losses I experienced. I had to accept my mom is a Narcisst and is incapable of loving me the way I desired and needed. I’ve learned to be a parent to myself which is a very lonely process. I will continue to be a work in progress and that’s ok…we all are, that’s what life is all about. Learning, growing and discovering the brilliant beings we truly are.

    I am no longer a victim to my upbringing, I am a victor because I choose to face my demons head on. I like me, I like me because inspite of what I come from, I got me through some pretty nasty stuff and I still have the ability to love. I’m truly grateful that this group exists and more people are sharing their stories. This is the only way things will change if we all come together and share how abuse has changed who we are. We all deserve to shine, love to you all and never, ever give up on yourself. If you really want to piss your abusers off….shine as bright as you can…:-)

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 21st June

      Hi Everyone!!! The e-book ~ MY 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

  5. By: DXS Posted: 20th June

    Miranda, I’m in my late 50’s. I started to figure it out in my late 40’s. Prior to that, I just kept “running away” from it. Translation: Move across the country and see your family once a year at Christmas and even that felt to me more like an “obligation.” I was always happy to “get that over with” each year.

  6. By: Hobie Posted: 20th June

    Comply or Good-bye is exactly the threat that has hung over my head for a lifetime. I guess I am ready for that Good-bye because I got it. I go through some hours that I have to just cry.

    And I go through hours when I feel relieved and finally unhooked from the dysfunctional family machine that was designed to destroy me.

    I have to admit that there are times I wish I’d seen the machine for what it was a long time ago and let go of it then. Fortunately, I realize pretty quickly that lamenting that doesn’t move me further from the dysfunction any faster. The work ahead is to keep from getting entangled in it again, and recognize what feels like a loss is actually the recognition of what I never really had.

    I’m finding moments of peace in this process and I’m grateful for them.


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