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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Categories : Survival



oh my gosh darlene, that was my mother to a tee. how i hated her attitude towards me, but had no way of escaping it. no-one would of believed me anyway, not in them days. yet she still has the same effect on me even now. that if i dont conform she will cut ties. well i did that this time, and even so i have been guilted into inviting her to my graduation party in july. my daughter and friend said that i should invite her because im a bigger person and that my daughter wanted to show me off to her nana. me i was hoping she would be away, but she is coming/ after telling me it would only be for a short time as she not well, but would put herslef out to be there. why she didnt just say im not well sorry, im not sure. maybe she thinks i am backing down and will let her back in my life, well i really aint ready for that yet. even seeing her texts set my heart pounding, even before i have opened them. and if i react so badly to that, there is still stuff to deal with in my eyes. i dont want or need the percieved condemnation or upset for not achieving more, doing more, being more. though more than what ive never been sure.
hell she told me i abused her from the age of 11 months because i was so demanding and she’d just had my brother. mmm head-wise i know that is uter garbage and have told her frequently that thinking is so twisted it unbeleivable. but she could not and now will not understand that i wasnot attenion seeking i had needs that needed to be filled and she was thew person who was meant to fill them. wasnt my fault she had another baby to look after, nut i took the blame as a child and even now struggle to remember that i really wasnt at fault


Hi Darlene, We are on the same page today. I wrote about abandonment today and there is no deeper rejection as a child than to be abandoned by your parents. When my parents said “don’t like it then leave’ they meant it. Running away as a teenager was my way of crying “help” when I was to immature to understand the bad things happening and unable to give voice to them. Even if I had been able to, I don’t think I would have been heard. So my cry of ‘help’ in the form of running away was ignored and I was abandoned. I was the scape-goat, sent out into the wilderness carrying the shame of my parents. I know I’m not the only kid treated that way and I know I’m not the only kid pounced upon by wolves in the form of sexual predators. In fact, what happened to me back then is even more common today and more sophisticated(if that’s the right word)than what I experienced. Belief systems definitely need to change. Like you said, we are so much stronger together. Coming here taught me how to stand up for myself and the strength I gained from the stories here, gave me the courage and the fortitude of knowing that I was doing the right thing. I hope this doesn’t end with just making my own personal life better. I hope it spreads with survivors speaking up and out, putting shame and blame where it belongs, on the adults who use kids for their own gratification and off of the victims. I think that the power of our voices can change the world and make it less toxic for children.

I guess that was a bit of a rant. I’m kind of wound up about it today.:o)



“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.”

This realization was the ONE thing, if I had to limit it to one thing, that allowed me to begin to heal and take back my power and my life. Knowing that it was MY life, and MY choices were important, and even for a time saying “like it or lump it” to others (not that I think its appropriate, but I needed to go through that phase for my own healing) and being able to say, you know what “I MATTER TOO” and not accepting anything less than what I deemed fair treatment (which has changed over time too, with more healing and more knowledge about what is really fair and what isnt)

That is what started it all. I have probably talked about this one incident a dozen times here, but it was really my first act of “my choices are important too, and what I want matters”, it took me nearly a month of partial inpatient therapy to even make the decision to do it, and “it” was make a meal that “I” enjoyed, that no one else in my family would want to eat, as a way of saying to them “this is for ME, because I AM IMPORTANT TOO” so I made a tempeh stir fry for myself for dinner, and they all couldnt figure out what in the hell had made me do something like that and why I was so damn happy about that meal….but it was the beginning of my life, for me.

Things have changed dramatically since then, some good, some not so good…but its all been uphill in one way or another, because I am making fewer and fewer choices based on the fear of rejection and more and more based on my wants, needs and personal values…and that feels awesome!

Thank you Darlene for being here <3


Hi Carol
So she is going to “put herself out” to be there? What an insult! That kind of stuff drives me up the wall today. It is such a “truth leak” about how she really feels and how she can make it all about her. When I first stood up to my mother I jumped everytime the phone rang for MONTHS! and then it was only on special occasions like around christmas, new years and our birthdays. (but she never called agian not to her grand children) so I understand the pounding heart! I didn’t sort all that out till I had time away from her but I had to figure out exactly what that fear was before I could get over it. It is the fear of death. Rejection really meant death to me and I was still in my childhood thinking that my mother held the rights to my life. That he could decide if I lived or died and the thought of standing up to her was freeking scary. I slowly realized that this thinking was a huge lie. Getting rid of the lie was not as easy as it sounds though. That was the real process of healing; changing what I believed about what might happen if I…. (became an individual.. stood up to her… told her NO…. )
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Pam
Well yay for your rant! It is important and it is the only way that any of this is going to change. When my mom said “if you don’t like it leave” she meant it too. (as long as it was her idea) I called my father and asked him if I could live with him when I was about 15 I think; he said no. shit… that hurt like hell. I think my mother knew he would say no or she never would have threatened me about sending me there. But when I did move out at 17, she was really mad because it wasn’t HER idea and I didn’t have HER permission. I felt pretty good about standing up to her in that tiny way but today I know that the only reason I was able to do it was because of the guy that I was moving in with. He became my new owner and I had lots of guts for a few months… (and he is the one that was physically voilent so it turned out to be a nightmare ~ I wonder if my mom was pleased that my rebellion caused me so me so much difficulty?)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Amira
Great to hear from you! I know what you mean about certain saying have thier time ~ it all depends on the context! I told my husband that I was going to put my emotional healing first and pursue it for as long as it took, and I didn’t say “like it or lump it”, but I sure meant it! But when my mother said it it was demeaning. It was a statement about who was in power and who wasn’t. There is a huge difference! (and yes what you said about the process and how it changes too)

I had a very very difficult time as well when it came to believing that my choices mattered too! I was certainly not the way that I am today, overnight. It was so so hard for me to make these changes and keep the balance of not becomming an abuser to my own kids. I love your tempeh stir fry story! I have some funny stories about things I did too that signified to me that I was going to listen to myself for once too!

And I LOVE your last paragraph esp the line “but its all been uphill in one way or another” YES everything for me has worked together for good even some of the mistakes. If I learn from them then it is good!
Hugs, Darlene


WOW! You say it so well. I lived my whole life – until I was about 45 years – old trying to comply with my parents’ ideas and trying to please them. They wanted me to marry at 15 so I married. It lasted 2 years. My mom chose a boy from her first student teaching class to be my next husband. So, I married. We stayed together for 15 years. I was not a good wife – I had no good role model. He left me for another woman. My parents didn’t know what to do then. They blamed me. I tried to take my 3 children and leave my parents’ property one time and they had me sent to the mental hospital for instability. They called DFACS to watch my children. Fortunately I got a passing review. They controlled and controlled and manipulated for years. They mistreated and abused my children. I was such a fool! Finally 3 years ago, the situation reached a boiling point and thanks to my oldest daughter, I had the courage to leave. The fact that my mom evicted me from the property was the push I needed to walk away from their “Goodbye if you don’t comply”.


Amira – you just blew my mind with that meal reference. That is awesome!! My sister and I always made dinner and it was “Mom’s dishes” funny that we were the ones making it – not her. I remember complaints mostly – those carrots were too hard – or that celery is stringy…Not enough onion/garlic/salt pepper… Preparing roasted chickens and giant beef roasts with an underdeveloped 13 yr old palate…Now I am glad that I can cook.

Getting back to that my way or highway thing – I like to grind my own coffee;etc.Visiting my parents a few years ago (they had 2 coffeemakers) I made my own coffee which inspired an unexpected morning wake up of a hurled coffee pot and grounds – Oh ours isn’t good enough!! We would only visit for a couple of days and they always stirred up crazy sh*&..felt like being evicted…


Darlene – once again, thank you for the ever evolving chance to express and be part of a group that reminds me that I am not alone in this!!


Carol, I noticed your other family members asked you to be the “bigger person”. My daughter said that to me once. She, who was abused by her dad, thought I should be the bigger person and be “amicable” to him. I told her we had a right who we chose to be part of our lives, and her answer was that if we had kids together we obviously had a lot of history and had lot in common. It seems like the argument is no different to those who think that just because someone is a parent, he/she has the right to not to have boundaries set.

Fortunately, some of my kids have made the decision (of their own accord) not to have any contact or relationship with their dad. They are being stalked and harassed for it, but standing their ground. Those who have to see him (due to family law) are suffering for it, and under different circumstances, they would have child protection services involved. But because the law says they must have meaningful contact with the father, they have to be subject to continual abuse, without me as another adult protecting them.

What a lie that if you don’t comply your life would be worse off. It’s just hard for me to relay that to my kids. They think if they don’t comply their dad will get angry, then he will harm them, and because he has been in trouble with the law before, they don’t want him to get into trouble. So they want to protect him from the consequences of the law. Which means they have to comply but they hate it. If I tell them they don’t have to go, they will repeat that to the dad (they tend to repeat everything because he interrogates them and they are afraid of being caught lying so they don’t say “I don’t know”) and although there are no present court orders, it will definitely work against me in court when he starts proceedings and the judge will order a more liberal visitation schedule than the one they are on. And they will be breaching if they don’t go. At present, they are not breaching and sometimes they don’t, and of course, we all suffer for it.

So it’s easier as adults to go look back at the damage but it’s hard to model that for kids and ensure they don’t go through the same thing of disempowerment when they are forced to be exposed to it and virtually told by adults that they have no voice and whether they like it or not, they will be abused.


I was consistently told all of the years I lived with my parents “you will do this because I said to do it!”. and ” if you dont do it (whatever it was at that moment) then you will be punished” (punishments were either beatings or writing sentences 500-1000 times) and”if you don’t eat all of it you will eat it for breakfast” etc etc. I wasn’t given many choices at all, but if I was, it was something already picked out for me to choose…..”which color do you want your new bedroom to be? Red or yellow?”. I actually didn’t li,e either of those colors and wanted my fav color, blue, but I suggested it one time and it was again told to me that I could either have the red or yellow. When I went to a shrink as a young adult, I was told that I had “learned helplessness”….so I can understand the “you can like it or lump it” dysfunctional way of relating. It truly was THEIR way or the highway. I look back now….just in the fairly short time that I have been here on EFB….and since that day a few weeks ago when I discovered the truth and healed ….and it has blown me away at the types of power and control issues that my parents exercised on me for so many years. So that they could always win! The mixed messages of love and rejection were completely hinged on if they were getting their way…if I gave to them in the way they expected, or spoke to them the way they expected, or did things exactly the way they expected. It was black or white with no room for gray. Since in their minds I was less than what I should be or what they expected me to be, I was constantly in trouble. It was sheer terror so much of the time! Sheer rejection. Now I look back and thank God I cut them out of my life forever. I don’t feel angry or sad anymore…..just relief that I am totally out of the crazy zone! I can absolutely relate to anyone who is still confused about the messages they were brainwashed to believe about themselves and life…it isn’t easy to unravel the lies for what they are. I am now dealing every single day with processing how others treat me in my life. Each interaction. I try to look at the underlying messages there might be and how I respond. Sometimes I am triggered to react in the same ways I used to…or I am tempted to. My discussions with my husband about my healing and changing have been very enlightening. I have noticed with some friendships that the person wants to one-up me, or “win”. That same you can like it my way or lump it is also in some of those relationships and I am wondering how to respond appropriately. No matter what….even if I go overboard or temporarily fall back into the familiar past ways, I am fighting for my equality and healing and to nurture myself to be ME. Not what anyone else thinks I should or shouldnt be. So those old messages of rejection…and the abusers …can go far away from me now! 🙂


One more thing……they might have thought I would never leave their control or lives….and they might have given me that message that I could leave and that they would be the ones to tell me goodbye….BUT…I am the one that left and have told THEM goodbye forever instead. They know they lost their control and games.


As I read all of these comments I find myself shaking my head. I do that quite often. I just get stuck at the same thought over and over. I know that people behave like this. So I’m not surprised. I just end up wondering how people end up so cold and evil. What the hell has gone wrong? Why are they so twisted? I still sort of seek the answer, but its mostly rhetorical because it doesn’t matter. They “are” that way and how they got that way is no excuse.

I had a 50th birthday gathering at a friends house and we had it catered. I couldn’t believe I had the nerve and callousness not to bring my elderly mother. After all, she sure loves to eat and be waited on. Well I felt guilty and I told those that knew her and that i was caring for her that she couldnt make it. Is was too much for her. Truth is, it was too much for me. I brought food to her afterwards. I just felt that i owed it to myself not to let her ruin my birthday. I know without a shred of doubt that she would have. It would have become about her. The birthday was disappointing to me. they always are. because they always were. I never had any sense of entitlement and felt bad about celebrating me. All I can say is that it would have been worse if she came. I am glad I had the courage to say “NO” I dont owe her anything.

when i was growing up she would call us collectively, the little bastards. I always cried because i tried so hard to behave and always help and do the right thing. but at the end of the day, i was lumped in. I was a little bastard. and again, i shake my head.

thanks Darlene. I’ve been getting stronger every day since i find this site. I feel hope for the first time, i think in my whole life.

keep going everyone. xoxo


Darlene and everyone,
When my mother said it, her words were, “if you don’t like it, get out”! I didn’t dare say she kicked me out either. She would get really fired up and angry and say, “Oh no I did NOT KICK YOU OUT ~ IT WAS YOUR CHOICE TO LEAVE!!” Technically speaking, I suppose that’s true. But, I don’t live by her technicalities anymore. OJ Simpson ran free because of technicalities. My mother did as well.

Something that stood out in some of the comments was “being the bigger person”. I had to stop for a second and try to process that. I’m not sure where I stand on it in my own situation. At first I asked myself, “bigger person according to who?” Who would I be answering to or comparing myself to, if I decided to be the “lesser” person? It wouldn’t be my mother, because I’ve stopped all compliance. I think I’m approaching the “I don’t give a damn if I’m bigger or not” mindset. It must sound so selfish to say that my sanity, freedom, and happiness are more important to me than being bigger than anyone/anything. Honestly, how much does it matter, and who does it matter to, if I make an effort toward being bigger? If I were thinking strictly of my mother, any effort toward being bigger would be misperceived by her as a having a grip on me again. I can’t go there with her. It opens a can of worms that involves more contact, manipulation, confusion, lies, and gossip.

Please understand that I don’t presume to know what works for anyone else. The comments just sparked a line of thinking about what I would do if I were faced with similar decisions with my own mother. The place I’m at right now ~ I would be content being lesser. FINALLY, I am able to put myself before her….. and it feels good!
Peace and Love,


Like I’ve mentioned in other posts, I still have LC with my parents. Limiting my exposure to them has helped me to get a better perspective without the stress. I’m glad I stuck it out with my boundaries & limits. The contact is now based on my desire & if I feel up to it. I’ve gotten away from contact, as an obligation just because they are my family. Personal Boundaries are so important with toxic people, since they can suck you into their problems. I’m an empath, so I’m naturally sensitive to others’ pain & feelings. I pick-up on negative vibes quickly, so in order to protect myself, I have to set up boundaries. As a child, I wasn’t given a choice, but to shut up & put up. I remember compliance & loyalty to family was the most important thing to my parents and it still is.

They used to guilt trip me into things, but not anymore. I make my own choices. They recently mentioned to me, three times, about a family wedding I was invited to. After I told them I was not going, the first time. I don’t owe them an explanation or apology. I have my reasons & it’s really about them. I don’t want to be in the middle of their drama & stress, that usually happens at family gatherings. The last family wedding I went to was about 5 years ago and it was a bad experience. My family was one upping me & showing favorites. My s-i-l played right into the game playing, by dancing next to me with my sister’s dtr. It was so obvious that she was being spiteful- twirling her around & laughing & showing no interest in my dtr. I learned her true colors that day!

It was also a double standard, that when I was grieving a loss in pregnancy, I understandably set up boundaries & limits, when her son was born. My family did not understand or like the fact that I was taking care of me. My mom was like you have to come to your s-i-l’s baby’s baptism. It was painful for me & it wasn’t about jealousy. I was grieving a loss. My s-i-l actually said to me, that she can’t get rid of her kids. Well, I said of course not. It wasn’t them it was about my fragile emotions. I ended up going to the church & dinner afterwards, but drew the line of going over my parents house afterwards.

Basically, the message I’m conveying is that you do it my family’s way or it’s the highway. They expect compliance & loyalty, even at yourown expense. Recently, my gut is telling me to stay away, since I’m feeling more anxious & physically sick to my stomach being around them. I have pulled back more recently, and I’m so glad I did. My mom has been in a lot of pain & I was beginning to feel her pain. I found myself getting weepy thinking about her in pain. I would not allow myself to get sucked in this time around!

I’ve went NC with that spiteful s-i-l & my brother in the last year. I can do without the drama & stress they stir up! It’s just a matter of time that I go NC with my parents. I think I’m waiting for a good opportunity to walk away & keep walking. I did have the opportunity last summer, to walk away from them, & my kids witnessed it. However, I backed down, when my mother & father wished me Happy Birthday days later, and said “no hard feelings”. I saw them reaching out to me as an apology. They never did that before! I made it easy for them to get back in. I’m determined to take a stronger stance, if they demean or dismiss me again. I’m stronger now & I won’t be so forgiving this time. I can live without the drama & stress in my life. Thank You Very Much!
Sorry, this was a bit of a rant….


Dear Darlene !! YES…..again you write exactly the right words to express what it is sitting in my heart since so long time …..” AND REJECTION TO A CHILD MEANS DEATH !!!! ” …yes this is onether TRUTH!!This TERROR to BE REFIUSED …..NOT LOVED NOMORE by my mother , AFTER I told her what was happening to me with my cousin,this DESPERATION that this could happen to me , because the part of her family they have immediatly discriminated me , refiused me …..yes this TERROR has brougt me to put in practice , my desperate STRATEGY OF SURVIVAL ……slowly ….slowly…day after day ….without beeing consciouss or really knowing what i was doing , I started to DEPRIVE MYSELF OF ALL MY FEELINGS OF LOVE , that I still had for my mother , BELEIVING that doing in this way ,i would have suffered LESS… If really also she would not have LOVED me nomore ……BECAUSE( Other BELIEVE!!!) i had done something WRONG !!! I think that for a child, the first association if the persons around him say that he has done something wrong , it is that in such a case THE MOTHER WILL NOT LOVE HIM ANYMORE!!! It is difficult for me to explain what i have done , to find the right words ….but i want to try to do this ….here i feel it is the right place for me to learn to do this!!!Day after day i DEPRAIVED MYSELF OF MY FEELINGS OF LOVE TOWARDS MY MOTHER in such a way …..that after years of hard WORK, really i was not felt anymore loved by her ….i really managed to BELIEVE all that ……but because all what i had to do was not consciouss to me , i did not known what i had done…i was feeling that SHE WAS NOT LOVING ME …..And i became very furious and Hatefull to her because of that !!!Now i project all this staff in my relations with women friends cloose to me …and that I LOVE VERY MUCH and that are really important for me!!!! And this it is
me to live ….it is so painfull that i am not able to stop this meccanism ….at least up to now….even if i wish to stop with all my heart!! THIs, dear DARLENE it is exactly what it is happening to me with my BEST FRIEND …Kavita ….I have allready sheared with you about this !!!!Now Kavita has gone out since ten days , to give me the possibility to feel myself not constantly in this conflict inside myself ……BUT I WANT TO TELL YOU , DEAR DARLENE , that really I feels your communication has really given to me what i needed ……so THIS IN RELATION WITH MY MOTHER HAS BEEN MY GREATEST PAIN OF MY PAST ….so in these days , again with my i pad , i had the possibilty to exchange with all of you , and i feel , i wish , i hope that all this, when My friend Kavita will come back, i could write here ,to all of you, that i have managed to stop finally this meccanism of DEPRAVATION AND AGGRESSION , this ABUSE!!! THANKS TO BE! Roshani


Hi Teresa
Welcome to Emerging from Broken!
Wow! your mom had some major demands! Thank you for sharing your story. This is exactly what I am talking about. People might think that it is extreem that your parents had you sent to a mental hospital for standing up to them but it is more common than anyone realizes! I am shocked when I think of the “outrage” that some people have because someone DARES to go against their wishes.
Hugs, Darlene


Another great example of consequences of being an individual. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Krissy
Your story is a great example of exactly what this whole website is about. This whole belief that it is “safer” to comply is victim mentality. Looking back it is never enough anyway even though I did comply. I was never “safe” even WHEN I complied. I understand that kids are afraid of parents getting in trouble and deep down it is usually a fear of the parent. If they don’t want to go to see him, it is too bad that they are still protecting him anyway. If he got angry and broke the law then he should pay the consequences. Abusers rely on victims being too afraid to report them. That is how this thing keeps going round and round. These people groom compliance with fear and they keep the control by using the same fear.

Why did you say “when HE starts proceedings”? Why can’t you start them? I hope you are keeping records of everything your kids tell you because I have a friend who won her court case with an abusive husband because she had kept such great records of the things the kids told her and everything he said to her on the phone with dates and times.

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Diane
I love the expression “learned helplessness” ~ it goes so well with what I am trying to show about the belief system and how it develops. We learn to be helpless. (and then the people who teach us to be helpless hate us for it. It is such a vicious cycle!)
My mother also said “because I said so” ~

YES the messages of love depended on if they were getting their way. (well my mom and other abusers anyway. my father however was a passive abuser and he communicated his control by not showing any emotion toward me at all. The opposite of my mother but the result was just as damaging)

Yay for fighting for your freedom! I too had to decide that I didn’t care anymore about the things that everyone said about me because I wanted to heal, be an individual and have peace and real relationship in my life. They reason they didn’t like it is because they didn’t want to lose control over me. They are going to think the way the want and today so do I. I think many people were shocked that I was willing to say good bye. Controllers get so cocky that as time goes by and they have so much control they really never consider that anyone would DARE go against them.
Hugs, Darlene

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Cat
I can tell you how they end up that way. That is exactly the way they learned to be. Anyone who comes from an abusive situation can choose to stay a victim or become an abuser or BOTH. (My husband was very mistreated and controlled by his father ~ when we got married he controlled me but he was still a victim of his father) I fought not to be like my mother so much that I almost became a victim of my children. I don’t like to get into this part of it too much because I was stuck so long making excuses for all the abusers in my life instead of plain looking at right and wrong. This is a huge huge subject that only became clear to me later on in the process and after I worked for a counselling and seminar company that teaches this stuff. I took a course in the global misuse of power as well.
I am sorry that you were called that nasty name. I totally get what you are sharing about that. Gosh there are so many ways that compliance is achieved!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mimi
That statement “be the bigger person” can also be used to manipulate and control someone else. I found that I had to really dig for the truth in every situation. You are right asking “bigger according to who?” exactly.
It must sound selfish TO ABUSERS and manipulators to hear that your sanity freedom and happiness is more important than being “bigger” than anyone else. There are a zillion ways to get sucked back into the system and you are totally on the right track about how to stay out of it. The truth, the truth, the truth. I stick with that and when I can’t figure that out I do what is best for me.
Love your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sonia
Thank you for sharing your story. Yes, we have a choice. We can say no more. I told my mother exactly (well I only got three examples out) what I was done with in our relationship. She never called again. She has a choice. I told her to stop making me prove that I like her husband and that his insecurity is not my problem anymore. I told her to stop saying that it was my fault that her boyfriend came in my bedroom and molested me when I was a teenager. And she never called me again. My conditions were too high I guess. And I felt guilty for a long time! I did nothing wrong but that belief system is a tough one to change. My mother has sent a clear message to me by deciding NOT to work on having a relationship with me; but it was what I suspected all along. her way or the highway and I got the highway. But it is a beautiful journey. I love this highway! Freedom sparkles and the sunshine is brighter than it ever way before! I found me and I love myself.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Roshani
Thank you for sharing. It is shocking how many times I hear that when a child (or anyone else) tells they are the ones punished! It is so sick. I am glad that you are feeling your feelings Roshani!
Hugs, Darlene


Brilliant post, Darlene!

These sentences from your post especially jumped out at me, right off the computer screen, and they HIT me, WHAM, right between the eyes:

”…people… want validation from the people who invalidated them in the first place.”

OH YES, that has been ME, for as long as I can remember. When someone rejects me, my new Goal In Life is to get them to see that they were WRONG to reject me, because I really am a good and worthwhile person!

”…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.”

WOW-WOW-WOW… I remember saying that very thing, almost word for word, 11 years ago when my heart had been broken by my last abusive Significant Other. A friend told me that the way my boyfriend had treated me was horrible, that he was abusing me, and that I deserved much better. My friend did not understand why I still wanted to get back with my abusive boyfriend, after the despicable way that he had treated me. My answer to my friend was: ”ONLY HE (the abusive ex) can take away the wounds that his rejection caused me. By taking me back, he will take away his rejection of me.” !!!! It’s hard for me to believe that I really thought that, at the age of 48, but I did!

For most of my life, my primary goal was to make my mother proud of me so that she would UN-reject me! I truly believed that if my own mother could not/did not like or love me, that meant that I was fundamentally unworthy of love. I thought that the only way that I could be made worthy of love, would be by winning my mother’s lovee.

As you said in this post, Darlene, ”I learned to fear rejection…. 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.”

YES! I am so much better off without the abusers/rejectors in my life.

9 years ago, when I met the man who is now my best-friend-husband, and he fell in love with me and treated me with kindness and consideration and respect, and even the way he looks at me says that I am someone special and worthy in his eyes… his attitude toward me was so unfamiliar, that I did not trust it! I thought he was only so good to me, because he did not really know me yet. I believed that I was not worthy of such love and kindness because, as you also said in this post:

”The ways that I had been treated as a child had primed me to define myself as “unworthy””

How amazing it is that 9 years later, my husband is still in love with me, and still looks at me and treats me like I am a Greaat Prize! I spent all of my adult years, until the year I turned 50, going from one abusive relationship to another, because my abusive parents, my narcissistic mother most especially, had brainwashed me into believing that I did not deserve simple kindness, consideration. and courtesy!

Today, I can’t even imagine wanting to be in the same room with my abusive ex, the one whose abusive public rejection of me ”could only be healed if he took me back.”

I am SO MUCH BETTER OFF without the people who have rejected me! It’s truly a whole new WORLD! I can just Be Me, not trying to ”PROVE” anything to anyone. I just don’t CARE anymore, what abusers and rejectors think of me.

Although I do my best every day with what I have, in accordance with my abilities and understanding, I am not perfect. Like any other human being, I sometimes make mistakes, regardless of how hard I try not to. Life’s hardest knocks can be very hard to deal with sometimes, and still keep an even emotional keel. But every time I realize that I have made a mistake of some kind, I immediately do what I can to admit my mistake, apologize, and try to make it right.

When Abusers/Rejectors turn against me because I have… *GASP*… been human and made a mistake, I used to think they were RIGHT TO REJECT ME, because the fact that I am imperfect, the fact that I made an error in judgment or was in a grouchy mood or whatever, PROVES that my mother was right all along, that I am truly UNWORTHY. For most of my life, I have beat myself up endlessly for every mistake I’ve ever made, while also trying so hard to win back the favor of the person or persons who rejected me for my human failing.

This is when abuse and rejection is the most painfully effective, I think: when there is some truth to the abuser/rejector’s accusations, when they are pointing out a real fault or error of mine, and using THAT as their justification for treating me like I am 100%, totally, and hopelessly, unworthy.

But… even the very best of us are imperfect. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and even more so when they have recently had a horrible blow, such as the unexpected death of a very close, precious, young loved one, as happened in my family one year ago. The difference between the abusers and the non-abusers, though, is that when non-abusers realize they have made a mistake, they have been too harsh or whatever, we apologize and try our best to make it right, and to guard ourselves so that we do not make that mistake again.

But the abusers and rejectors can never accept our sincere apology and attempt to make right whatever wrong thing we may have done or said, because they want to feel SUPERIOR to everyone else. They can’t feel superior, if they accept our apology. They can’t feel superior, if they admit that they are fallible humans, too, and that they don’t always have it all together, all of the time.

Yes indeed ~ I am so much better off without such people in my life. I cringe, now, thinking of all the time and effort I have wasted in trying to win back people who have rejected me and treated me like they despise the fact that I even exist!

I also got so much out of all the comments on this post. Carol ~ you are ALWAYS a ”bigger person,” just by being your wonderful real true self! Pam ~ I loved the rant, it was Right On.

Every comment here is insightful and worthy of a reply, but I am running out of steam. Time for some coffee.

I love Emerging From Broken!



Hi Elania
I should write a whole post on “the proof thing”. There is so much to that and to the the why we feel like that. Like everything else it is a result of the grooming process. I can relate to what you said about “for as long as I can remember. When someone rejects me, my new Goal In Life is to get them to see that they were WRONG to reject me, because I really am a good and worthwhile person!” I realized that same thing about myself exactly when I was coming out of the fog. AND I realized it about some of the people that I was tyring to prove my worthiness too! They didn’t bother with me because they HAD my approval already. They were busy trying to prove themselves to the ones who rejected them! (that is why I so often refer to the pecking order system) Round and round! It seems so crazy to me now that I spent all that time giving all my attention and love to the people who rejected me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Today I know that it was ME I was trying to convince of my own worthiness. I just didn’t know how to go about it.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Elaina, and everyone,
I’ve gotten so much out of everyone’s comments. So much validation. I just want to give a collective thank you to everyone ~ the validation and TRUTHS stated here are so important in helping me remember my value! Thanks for that!!
Hope everyone has a great day!!


Amira, Darelene & Diane (re: #3 #5 & #11),
I knew exactly what you meant Darlene when you said that your mom got mad when you left because it wasn’t HER idea. This is what I’m expecting from my husband. When we fight he’s always saying, “why don’t you leave?” or “when are you going to leave? I know you want to.” But now that I’m finally making plans to do so, I think he’s going to be very upset. He’s been setting me up to be the bad guy saying he won’t ever leave (physically-because fact is he’s emotionally left the relationship and been actively pushing me away).

Diane, I feel this ties into your comment about your parents always needing “to win”. Your statement “The mixed message of love and rejection were completely hinged on if they were getting their way” really spoke volumes to me. Again, I apply this to my husband (not my parents)-but it’s the same verbaly abusive, controlling message. He rationalizes his behavior that because I had the audacity to do something he so clearly disagreed with that I deserve to be punished. This is consistant with Patricia Evan’s (author of “The Verbally Abusive Relationship”) theory of the dream woman for men…they’ve extended themselves on to their partners and refuse to acknowledge them as seperate idividuals with their own free will.

Speaking of free will..I have also had a “food of my choice” moment Amira…only it was one of discovery not victory. I was on a work trip and my co-workers (men) insisted we go wherever I wanted to go and I couldn’t even identify what I wanted. I was so used to “picking” the option that would cause the least amount of objection from my husband, that when given free choice, I was dumbfounded. Trying to get to know me a bit better these days as I push off the weight of people{read husband}pleasing prioritizing.


Mimi, your precious comment brought happy tears to my eyes.

Oh, Darlene ~ what you said in your reply to my comment: ”It seems so crazy to me now that I spent all that time giving all my attention and love to the people who rejected me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Today I know that it was ME I was trying to convince of my own worthiness. I just didn’t know how to go about it.”

~~~ Today I know that it was ME I was trying to convince of my own worthiness. ~~~

YES! We all need to believe that we are worthy. That is a basic need of life, no less than the air we need to breathe and the food and water our bodies need to function.

When our caretakers, the ones who, in most cases, brought us into the world, teach us by their words and actions (and inactions!) that we are unwanted, we are all wrong, we are nothing but a big MISTAKE who should never have been born ~ we internalize these beliefs about ourselves, especially when it is taught us during the years when our minds and personalities are developing.

As I’ve said before: NOTHING hurts worse than Not Liking Yourself.

To escape that horrible pain of not liking, or even hating, ourselves, we typically turn ourselves inside-out trying to be whatever our abusers/rejectors want us to be, to try to make them LIKE us ~ so that we can then like ourselves.

That’s my life story in a nutshell, Darlene. Trying to win over the Haters, so that I can then like myself.

Eww! Who wants to be friends with a Hater, anyway?!

I had a revelation while I was taking a coffee break and thinking about this post and these comments: When the PAIN of our life becomes unbearable, the PAIN of being rejected, of not being loved, and of believing that we are unworthy ~ what do we often want to do, to escape that unbearable pain? Very often we then want to murder ourselves, to commit suicide, in other words, because: 1. putting an end to our existance would put an end to our pain (we hope), and 2. If nobody else thinks that I am worthy of love and acceptance, then I can’t love and accept myself, and if I can’t love and accept myself, then I should kill myself because…. I am not worthy of being alive, I am a mistake who should never have been born, and I am so awful that I can’t stand to BE WITH ME.

OH… I am SO GLAD that I never gave in to that horrible twisted temptation to do away with myself! THAT is the ultimate annihilation. Bullies Kill Our Souls, and the end result of having our soul murdered, is very often that we want to kill ourselves ~ UNLESS we put a stop to it and say, No More! No More will I seek validation from a hateful judgmental impossible-to-please mean bully. I don’t care who the bully is: my mother, my father, my sisters or brothers, my neighbor, someone I went to school with, or someone I “met” on the internet in a support group who later turned on me ~ anyone who treats me as though I am not worthy of basic courtesy, kindness, and consideration, is a MEAN HATEFUL BULLY, and I will NOT allow Mean Hateful Bullies to define me, not ever again. They can think what they please about me, but it does not make it so.

I apologize to ME, for not liking ME. I apologize to ME, for not giving myself a break, for not giving myself the benefit of the doubt, and for not allowing myself to be human. Most of all, I apologize to ME for ever for a moment seriously entertaining the thought of murdering myself.

I am alive, and I am no less worthy of being alive, than any other person. No one has the right to judge me a unworthy of BEING.




Wow Elaina…. very empowering what you just wrote. It really spoke to my heart. I too was in that place of total self hatred. It’s beyond words how that feels. I couldn’t even really articulate why I felt so horrible. I know I was in deep confusion and losing the will to survive. It was a horrible horrible place to be.

I am emerging….Thanks to Darlene and all the friends here at EFB. I am becoming whole finally. I can’t express how that feels. The relief is amazing. The ability to at least try to love myself and believe I’m worthy is also amazing. I believe now that I’m an equal. Amazing!! I believe I have choices, and I’ve let go of being stifled by my mother. Truthfully, I had no idea I WAS being stifled, until I started to come out of the Fog Darlene speaks of. I had no idea about a LOT of things. This learning process has been one hell of a road. I wouldn’t change it for anything now!! I’m so grateful for the transitions I’ve experienced. I wish this approach would spread across the world like wildfire!!

Elaina, I don’t think about ending my life anymore. I can’t put into words how wonderful that feels. I love how you put it…. you apologized to yourself for hating you, etc. I don’t want to say I’m completely through the process. I still have a lot of work to do in self parenting and self love. I don’t hate myself anymore though, and that feels terrific!!

J Marie,
I had the biggest AHA moment reading your post. You know sometimes you read or hear something and it doesn’t really strike you any particular way, but then one day someone says it, and BAM…. like you got hit in the head with it!! LOL! Your statememt hit me in the head. Last paragraph, post #26. I now know why I have such a hard time with DECISIONS!!! I had NO IDEA!! I’m not yelling, I’m totally excited though!! I know what I like generally, in terms of food, etc. But, choosing a restaurant is brutal!! Haha!! Choosing almost anything is brutal!! Thanks for the AHA!! I’m going to really think about this the next time I’m faced with a simple choice. And, I’m going to commit to a choice! How liberating that will be!!

Although emotionally I feel so much better than 6-12 months ago, I am still learning great new things!! This is a great new thing!! Thanks for sharing… you don’t ever know who you’ll touch!!

Love and hope,


PS – Elaina,
Happy tears!! Soooooo much better than sad ones, right?? 🙂


Oh yes in our house it was his way or the highway. I hated living
at home. When I was 18 I stood up for myself against my fathers
abuse. To his face. Something my totally beaten down mother would
never do. I watched him physically, mentally and vocally abuse my
mother the whole time I was growing up. She manipulated behind his
back but never stood up to him. When I went head to head with him
he backed down. But he threw me out with my suitcase and nothing
else. Out of sight out of mind. He then did not care what happened to
me. Later when I married we had yearly vacation visits but I was always
treated like I was 10 yrs old. And I still tried and tried to be what
he wanted to get that approval. Never got it. Now I see that nothing
I could or would have done would have been enough. It is
truely brainwashing. Part of me wanted to always do my thing and
it was guilted out by the brainwashed part that was obedient and
compliant. But the bottom line was, when I stood up to my abusive
parents because of the way they were treating me, both of them
in separate situations dropped me like a hot potato.
My Having a voice about their abuse was so unacceptable
to each of them that I was no longer part of the family.
Sonia. I understand now your compassion. You know first hand the
loss of a child. I also had another son that I had to give up for adoption
without ever seeing him. They did not allow feelings or grief over that
either. I was not allowed to express any feelings about anything from
a little child. By 10 yrs old all those repressed emotions were bursting out
in moodiness. Imagine they said it was genetic and I was labled
damaged and bad and further punished. My teenage years were
just aweful. I am so gratefully to everyone here for freedom to
express. Thank you.


Everything you said about suicide was true for me. The reasoning
was spot on. I felt such self hatred I just wanted the pain gone.
I truely dont feel that anymore since EFB. Im still a work in process
but much calmer now.


Hi J. Marie!
I read 2 of Patricia Evens books during my first year of what I call “coming out of the fog”. I found the way she explained things to be very helpful and while I saw how much they applied to most of the men in my life, I also realized that they applied to my mother and the way SHE wanted/expected me to be too. There is a patter in relationships where one person is more valuable than the other (according to who ever is “on top”) and it is amazing how similar all of it is!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I suspect you are exactly right about your husband. I used to work with married people going through this stuff and there was a joke that all these men followed the same script. It was almost predictable! My passion was what I do now though so I stopped doing that work but I draw from it all the time. Most people that misuse their power also follow the same script; only the details are different (and a few distinct different kinds of “abusers” and “controllers”
Hugs, Darlene


When the message your whole life has been “you don’t matter” and “you don’t get a say or a choice” and all that sort of stuff it is pretty hard not to believe it. I agree that this is the root of suicide. when the brainwashing is done that deeply, people don’t see anyway out. There is a way out and when I found it I got very passionate about talking aobut it! (which is why I do what I do!)
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, Thanks for your comments. You reply to so many – I wonder how you remember who you are talking to sometimes! I haven’t been on for a while, and I do remember when I first found the blog, I really felt drawn to the regular bloggers (some of whom aren’t regular any more) and felt so inspired by their stories they were like my family when I had none. I refused to believe that I would never have friends (which was the case when I left my marriage), and my first start was online. Since then, I have found support groups IRL and found wonderful survivor friends. And friendships now are much deeper than all the myriads of superficial friends we had as a couple.

Anyway – to your question, why can’t I start proceedings? Because for the truth to come out, my kids would have to be questioned, and I know many times the judges don’t order that to happen. And if it did, it would be quite traumatizing for them. The other thing is, if they did believe the abuse (because I have statements from previous criminal court cases but they may not be admissable), they would still order more time than the current arrangement. I am accompanying a friend to her court cases, and she has broken bones (witnessed by the child, who vomited, wet and soiled her pants upon seeing the father) but the judge said that the law said the child still had to see the father. He was never charged for the broken bones, which he committed when he had a restraining order. My other friend is on criminal charges over stabbing her ex-husband, when he stabbed himself. The judge interrogated her during her family law proceedings and said he didn’t know who to believe, even with the evidence!

Even for myself, I did take him to court over breach of property orders when he refused to pay bills, and got reprimanded by the judge for wasting his time! My ex lied to the judge about me not wanting to talk to him (I do by email, and keep all records) and the judge decided he was right. He then wasted the judge’s time for 20 minutes waffling over not understanding the orders and I had to stand there taking his accusations. My conclusion is that many judges are misogynistic, and I really have to weigh up whether it is worth it exposing myself to more abuse from the ex and from the judge just to have orders that will be liberal, and that he won’t comply with anyway when he doesn’t want to.

Right now I’m focussed on recovering my life and discovering for the first time who I am. I never even knew there was someone to know!


Coming Out Of The Fog really should be the title of a book! It is such an appropriate statement because when I have begun to see the truth and wade through the fog of lies that I used to believe, I am hit with a twinge of embarrassment that I truly did not recognize certain things! J. Marie and Amira wrote about food and control and not even knowing what they wanted……and it amazes me that others have experienced such twisted ways of being forced to relate to someone and something so basic as FOOD! I won’t go into the control/abuse around food in my childhood, but I also felt controlled by my husband in our marriage in the first 12-14years. I seriously to this day have never met another man who complained or fussed or criticized or insisted on his food being served to him a specific way and temperature….etc. My husband is extremely stubborn, and I could not reason with him.. It got to the point year after year of always fixing everything his way, and noticing that our daughter was also becoming picky that I didn’t even remember what it was li,e to eat a meal that I liked or wanted be ause our tastes were so different. I started fixing myself separate meals! All of a sudden they wanted what I had! things have changed around here now because I don’t cater to them…like a servant…any longer. Especially about food.
I used to be terribly embarrassed about that term of “learned helplessness,”because I couldnt understand what the heck it meant. I felt like I fought for everything and has little support from anyone ever, and if something was going to be done, then I did it…and God knows how hard I tried to please everyone and win approval. I eventually realized as I got a bit older that I was very stunted emotionally in many ways. I feel that parents are to teach and train and help their children and I didn’t e er have anything explained to me and I learned very early to not ask for much or even ask them questions or go to them unless it was a last resort. So now I have more understanding about it all….but when I escaped the lies and the fog, certain things have suddenly hit me and I see how I was and the way I behaved trying to please and pacify….and now I don’t even want to….but I do feel a twinge! Sometimes when I see something clearly these days it makes me wish I would have smacked someone back in the day and ended all of their bullying nonsense long . And when the truth hits me, I can now recognize it and realize that I don’t need to feel embarrassed that I was so helpless and stunted ….this is the abusers shame and embarrassment.
My husband said something to me a few years ago (he genuinely loves me….we have had issues to work out though)…..he said he believed that my parents would never change because they could never face up to what they had actually done. If they did face it, it would be unbearable to them because they would have to admit that they were monsters. They “need”to believe that it wasn’t that bad….and it is all in the past……here is what I think….my husband was correct, and my parents were full of BS.


Wonderful discussions, here. (And yes, Mimi, happy tears are much better than sad tears!)

Krissy, sadly, I agree there are some misogynistic judges. My divorced daughter is caught in an ongoing series of court battles initiated by her ex-husband, and it seems to me that the judge in their case is a misogynist. They are now going through a court battle over Facebook! My daughter’s ex-husband has recently sued my daughter for having a completely private (family and close family friends only) Facebook account for their 14-year-old severely disabled son. Petty Craziness is what it amounts to, legal harrassment, and it all just seems designed by my daughter’s ex to beat her down for every little move she makes. Her favorite song these days is called ”I Just Want To Live,” and no wonder! I feel so helpless… all I can do is love my daughter, and tell her how truly wonderfully awesome she is.

That’s something my own mother would never have done for me, she ALWAYS took the other person’s side against me, in any fight. In fact, when my daughter and former son-in-law’s marriage ended approx. 8 years ago, my mother ~ who has only ever seen my daughter three times in her whole life ~ once at birth, once at age 6, and the last time was when my daughter was 22, and they visited for about 30 minutes ~ my mother, who has alwys been very uninvolved as a grandmother, and who had no idea of why my daughter left her husband, took it upon herself to call my daughter’s extranged husband as soon as she heard that they were getting a divorce, to offer her shoulder for him to cry on!

That is exactly what my mother did, way back when my first marriage was falling apart, she immediately took my estranged husband’s side in everything, even to the point of saying that he had every right to beat me all those times, because ”the Bible says if you spare the rod, you spoil the child. If you are going to act like a spoiled child, your husband has every right to hit you.” My mother always did take everyone else’s side against me, on the rare occasions when I had a problem with someone when I was growing up. And then, she did the same thing, in taking my son-in-law’s side over my daughter, when they divorced, even though my mother had never once even met my daughter’s husband. How sick is that? At that time, 8 years ago, I was still in low contact with my mother. So my mother called me and asked me if I had also telephoned my ”poor abandoned son-in-law” to offer him my emotional support for having been left by my ”selfish” daughter! I told my mother that I most certainly had not called my son-in-law, nor would I ever do what she was suggesting. I told her, “He already has a mother. My daughter needs for me to be her mother.”

My mother said, “Oh. I never thought of that.” Well, Obviously Not!

Diane, what your husband told you, when he said he believed that your parents ”would never change because they could never face up to what they had actually done. If they did face it, it would be unbearable to them because they would have to admit that they were monsters. They “need”to believe that it wasn’t that bad…” Yes, Diane, I agree with what your husband said. I definitely believe that is the same dynamic of what is happening in my own mother’s case.

I have not been here for a few months, I felt I needed a break from all online support groups for a while. But I very much admire Darlene’s EFB, and all the good that is accomplished here! A couple of people here may recognize my photo, Elaina is the pen name I now use for my blog, PTSD-is-Normal.com, and for my other online posts. I had some family of origin issues around Christmas, my youngest sister, who seems to be almost a clone of our narcissistic mother, and who wasn’t even born when my childhood traumas happened, I was 18 and married when she was born, this young half-sister was harrassing me on Facebook for telling the truth about my own life on my own blog. It got so painful that I ended my FB account, ended my old blog, and then I started using a pen name. Before all of that happened, I had written here on Darlene’s blog before, but under my own name. I don’t care who recognizes that it is me, otherwise I would not use my picture! But I prefer my pen name because I don’t want any of my hateful family of origin to be able to do a search online of my real name, and then find a way to get back into the business of harrassing me. I am still not healed enough to take it, or to risk using my real name on my blog and my comments.

So anyway, as I have shared here on EFB in the past, my mother was one of those worst kinds of mothers that you hear about in the news now and then, the kind of mother who goes completely insane and kills her children. My mother tried to gas us all to death when I was 12, among many other abuses that she did ~ believe me, when you have a mother who is crazy and abusive enough to try to gas her 5 children to death while they are sleeping in their beds, you have a mother who is crazy and abusive enough to do a LOT of unspeakable, unthinkable, horrible, abusive, crazy things.

I definitely believe it is true, that my now-widowed elderly mother cannot bear to face the reality of just how horrible she was as a mother, because to face all of those horrors that she did, she would not be able to live with herself. So she keeps pointing the finger of blame for every little thing, everywhere, but at herself. As the eldest, and as a female, I have long been my mother’s number one scapegoat. Just over a year ago ~ and I shared it here on EFB at the time that it happened! ~ my mother wrote a 62 page letter and mailed it to me, filled with everything that was supposedly ever wrong with me, my whole life long ~ 62 pages of Pure Hate! ~ and she sent copies of that lie-filled delusional letter to my aunt, her sister to whom I am close, and also gave copies to my siblings. (Which is basically where the online Christmas-Hate-Campaign against me got its start, I am sure, it was a fallout from that evil 62 page letter. Which I did not read, by the way, my husband got the mail that day, and he knows the history, AND, he truly loves me!)

My mother is 77, I am 59, and she is STILL trying to abuse me. They do not change, these worst kinds of mothers, they only become more like themselves as they grow older, or so it seems in my mother’s case.

But here’s the thing ~ and I really truly do believe this! ~ there is very little difference in the DAMAGE that it does to a young child’s developing psyche and sense of self, when their parent is treating them like they hate them, constantly finding fault with them, never being genuinely loving and compassionate and nurturing, always rejecting their child, in one way or another ~ the damage to the child’s psyche is THE SAME, or very nearly the same, as the damage that is done when you discover that your mother has tried to kill you, and that the only reason you and your siblings are still alive is because she could not figure out how to override the safety shut-off valve on the gas furnace, although she tried it at least half a dozen times, as she later confessed!

SOUL MURDER is what it is, when any parent, or set of parents, or primary caretaker, will not/cannot treat their child with even a nominal amount of love, compassion, and kindness.

Like Darlene said in this post: ”…rejection to a child means death.”

Absolutely, that is true! I am understanding that, more and more, ever since I began visiting blogs and online support groups in the past couple of years. I used to think that I was unique in my childhood woundedness. But I am seeing that any child who was not loved, who was not joyfully welcomed into the world, and who was never nurtured and never protected, these children grow up to be just as deeply wounded psychologically as I grew up to be, even with my extreme of having a mother who actually went so far as to try to kill me and my sisters and brothers. Rejction by Mother = Death.

I have also come to realize this: I also made a lot of mistakes as a parent. I was so badly broken by the time my children were born, that I really and truly was not fit to be a mother. I loved my 3 children enough to die for any one of them if need be, and I still do. I did the best I could with what I had. But even so, I made a lot of mistakes. I did not know what healthy nurturing, loving parenting was! I was never anything close to the horror that my own mother was, but, nonetheless, I was not at all an ideal mother. NOW, my children are 31, 37, and almost 41, with teenage-to-age 20 children of their own. NOW, I am belatedly doing my best to reach out to my grown children, to tell them that I now know that I was wrong about a lot of things, and to apologize with all of my heart, and without making excuses or minimizing and without saying “Oh but MY parents were So Much Worse!” Because my kids do not need to hear that! They have already heard that! Now, they need to be validated for what THEY went through, they don’t need to hear me keep going on and on about how horrible it was when I was a kid!

Here is the thing that I have realized, through my attempts to facen up to, and admit, to all of my parenting mistakes, and to make REAL ammends to my kids: IT FREAKING HURTS to admit that I was a screw-up as a mother! It really seriously HURTS. I don’t want to admit it, not even to myself, let alone to anyone else. But I am doing it because I know that I need to do it, for my kids’ sakes, because I love them that much to do for them, what I wish my own mother would do for me.

I have my loving husband’s help, and our awesome therapist’s help, and my close friends help, to get me through it. But my mother has never, to my knowledge, admitted her need for therapuetic help, and her husband died 2 years ago, so she has no one. How could she possibly admit to what she did, and still live with herself?

It’s sad, really. I almost feel sorry for her. She was far more broken than me, and I have no idea of why my mother was the horror that she was. I don’t know. She doesn’t seem like she has a real full conscience, or something. Something deep inside of her is just not right. Maybe she can’t help it. But it’s not my job to judge her, nor to make excuses for her, neither to try to figure out why my mother was so bad. It is my job to stand up for myself and to say, No More. I will NOT accept any more abuse of any kind from my mother.

I did that, in January of this year, right after I ended my Facebook and old blog accounts. I called my mother and told her for 9 minutes and 37 seconds, what I needed to say. I’m so glad I did that. No more! I will not accept any more abuse, not from my mother, and not from any one else. I’m not talking about expecting perfection, I’m talking about not accepting abuse. There is a difference.



Yes, Elaina! I recognize you! You are one of heroes! Your daughter is so blessed to have you as a mother when she is going through all this terrible post-separation abuse (judicial and ex-partner).


Loyalty, Honor, Respect, Dignity, Honesty, Duty – those are some of the words i see posted on signs all around this military base that i have spent a lot of time on the past six months as part of my job.

What it really boils down to is compliance – you do things our way and you will be fine. You step out of line and God knows what might happen. I see the soldiers in their uniforms head to toe, pledging allegiance to these men who verbally abuse them and rant and rave and yell and scream and bark orders to “make them better soldiers.” – all in the name of serving our country. The military is the most abusive establishment i have ever seen. I never served nor did i have any desire to. I see what these young men and women go through as they are berated up and down. Its totally “my way or the highway” – but there is no highway for them. They cant just leave. If they go AWOL they will be brought up on charges. There is no way out. They are trapped. – at least for four years until their “service” is done. By then the damage is done. Their minds, hearts, souls and spirits have been deeply wounded and in many cases hurt beyond what will ever be repaired. You cant have a soft and compassionate heart and be in the military. You will never make it.

I hesitate to speak out against the military but i feel safe here. this is my hiding place. Dont get me wrong. I respect what our soldiers have done to help secure freedom for us. But at what cost ? At what price ? How many millions of damaged lives, families, neighborhoods ? All inflicted from within their own ranks. The vast majority of our military get way more damaged from within than from some “enemy” they are taught to hunt down.

This has been on my heart for some time. Unless you witness it first hand you would have a hard time appreciating how demeaning and how utterly disrobing it us. It strips men of their manhood and women of their womenhood. Its like they are ripped to shreds by a combine in front of everyone else to hear and see. Its sickening and disgusting and it goes on every day at hundreds of establishments all over the U.S. Their manipulation tactics work well on the minds of the young and naive – “come serve your country.” – “come see the world and get paid for it.” – “the few, the proud – do you have what it takes” – no control or manipulation there at all. The sales pitch is too hard for many to ignore. Especially now with jobs being hard to come by. Sometimes i am in a recruiters office and i hear them working on their sales pitch that they will give to the next 18 year old who walks through the door.

I think you get the point. I hate what it does to these young kids and they have no way out. Basic training is brutal. What they go through should be outlawed. It would be a crime in any other area of life. The abuse is daily and its relentless and they have to endure it otherwise the shame associated with dropping out drive some to kill themselves because they cant handle it. For the vast majority its the first time on their own and away from home. Nothing can prepare them for what they have to endure. Its so sad. All in the name of serving and honoring and doing your duty. Comply – do it our way and you will be fine. Screw up and God help you. How did we ever get to the place where this not only became acceptable it became the norm ? Oh the things i wish i could change…


Dave, thank you so much for that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My best-friend-husband is a Vietnam combat veteran, with severe PTSD. He joined the US Marines when he was 19. He was just a ”Junior Adult,” as my 37-year-old daughter says. My husband is 63 years old today. He is 6’3″ and weighs almost 300 pounds, but he is still a boy at heart, a softy, a sweet, tenderhearted, gentle, loving man. If you remember the children’s TV show Captain Kangaroo from the 1950s, that is how my husband is. Children, and animals of all kinds, love him on sight.

My husband went through the hell of boot camp as you describe. I have seen what you describe, in the movie Full Metal Jacket, which my husband had me watch shortly after we started dating. He told me that the harsh boot camp depicted in that movie was as bad as it really was.

He was trained at the age of 19 to be a sniper. The last person in the world who should ever have had a rifle put in his hands. He was sent out against specific military targets. He did what he was trained and ordered to do, because he had been taught all of his life that going to war was his Manly Duty. He was following in his father’s and grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s footsteps, serving our country, ready and willing to make the ultimate, selfless sacrifice of laying down his young life, in order to make this world a safer, freer place. He was so young and naive. He bought the political line that was widely believed in the 1960s, that communism had to be stopped in Asia, so that the domino effect wouldn’t allow communism to take over the entire world. He thought he was doing the right thing… until his last kill when, through the scope of his rifle, he looked straight into the eyes of the young Viet Cong soldier, a split-second before the bullet that he had already released blew that person’s head off. Then, he put down his rifle and said, ”I’m Done.”

My husband has lived with his hideous memories for over 40 years. For the first couple of decades he lied and told people that he had run away to Canada to avoid the draft, because he did not want to admit that he was a Vietnam Veteran. Even after he admitted to being a war veteran, he told no one the specifics of what he had done as a USMC sniper, until he told me the terrible story, in 2003. (I almost walked out the door and never came back, it was so horrible to hear. He was sobbing, saying over and over, ”I am not a monster! I am not a monster!”)

In January 2010 I sat beside my husband in Federal Court as he told a Washington DC judge that, although he had fervently believed at the time that he was a hero doing the right thing for the cause of justice and freedom, he now believes he is a murderer, that the Vietnam War was a crime, and that he is guilty of committing war crimes.

Nothing hurts worse than hating yourself. The tenderhearted are the ones who suffer the most in combat. Boot camp is intended to tear young people down, destroy the softness of their hearts, and then rebuild them into coldblooded killers. They are groomed to be killing machines.

I believe that the ones who go through combat, and kill, and do NOT get PTSD afterward, it may be because they never had much of a conscience to begin with. They can kill, and never bat an eye. But the tenderhearted are wrecked by combat, and rightfully so.


thanks darlene and Krissy, i know if i hadnt broke away when i did years ago i wouldnt be as strong as i am now, and to be truthful if it wasnt for the help i recieved from here i would have guilted myself into staying the duitful child, even through it was tearing me apart inside.
i have put boundaries in place, and knew that inviting her would be a massive issue for me. and i had stated to my dad that i wasnt going to give her the chance to make it about her as i had made the descision fo rher. but because of my dauhter i gave in and sent the invite to the party. i had hoped she would be away but at least she wouldnt be able to call me badly cos i had made the effort to invite her, but that back fired. god i wish she would make her mind up. either i am to blame for her train wreck of a life or she is. i aint having this constant swinging. she loves me and is proud of me well she sure has a funny way of showing it. and always with the threat of banishment if we dont comply, mmmmmm
i live my life my way, and though i say i dont care, the lil gril still wants her mummy to love her and not hate her


Dear Darlene and Elaina !Something different instead happens to me and this has happened also in my childhood meanly in relation with my mother, when someone REJECT me or i begin to feel the FEAR , THE TERROR that someone i love , can do this !!!!Unconcioussly i am so SURE that I DON’ T DESERVE TO BE REJECTED , BECAUSE I know that i HAVE NOT DONE NOTHING WRONG……but this TRUTH i take inside myself without shearing with no one and makes me react so VIOLENTLY to the UNJIUSTICE, TO THE ACCUSE , TO THE LIES of the ones who reject me , that at the end , with my aggressive reaction in words or in acts, i have always the result that i prove to them , that they are right , if they reject me…..I make them a FAVOUR , because I prove to them that I AM REALLY WRONG ……SO I DESERVE THEIR DISCRIMINATION!!!!My truth expressed in this way , it is never lissened… Because my COMMUNICATION comes from a space in me of ANGER, DISAPPOINTMENT , RESENTMENT ….but under all these NEGATIVE EMOTIONS ….there is My PAIN ….MY SUFFERING , never UNDERSTOOD ….but only MISSUNDERSTOOD!!!! NOW i have arrived to this REALIZATION …..but often i fall back in my OLD WRONG WAY OF COMMUNICATION!!! I think that i am so absolut that I AM NOT WRONG , really come from my past of sexuale abuse from my cousin …..i that TIME I WAS SURE INSIDE MY HEART THAT I HAD NOT DONE SOMETHING WRONG , BUT I HAD BEEN HARMED?????BUT In that time i had to soffocate all inside myself ….i was just a child….and i had to take the discrimination and the accuse of the mother of my cousin , who told me in front of my parents , that if i don’t have spoken about what was happening to me after the FIRST TIME ,this means that I LIKED THAT !!!! But I KNOW THAT I DID NOT LIKED ALL WHAT THE SON Was Doing to me ….but also there i HAD TO SOFFOCATE THE WORDS IN MY TROUGHT ……and after one month, i have really lost my VOICE for two months ….but i remember that i wasfeelings GOOD inside not having the possibility to speak …for what to be able to speak , if when i want speak THE TRUTH…..I CANNOT DO !!!I am SO GLAD That now i can share all this with all of you!! LOVE AND LIGHT! Roshani


Hi Karen
Your comments brought some memories back for me too. I was very moody I was always told, and in my opinion even as a child I was depressed. I wonder why no one wondered WHY! They wanted to believe that I was born that way. (and that is how society is too ~ wanting everyone to just accept that there is no reason for unhappy or depressed ~ people can just be born that way!) They wanted me to be this sunny happy carefree and robotic child.
Thank you for sharing Karen.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Diane
I felt that same way; embarrassed because some of the things I realized about the way I had been treated and how wrong it was were so OBVIOUS when I came out of the fog. but I realize now that brainwashing is brainwashing. It wasn’t my fault that I didn’t see the truth. I was raised to believe a lie.
There is a weird thing in our world about parents. They set themselves up to be “god” and we worship them or risk “death”. They were raised the same way by their own parents. So they wait for their turn to be “god”. and the cycle continues. They don’t want to risk death by seeing the truth about their own parents and they teach us the same thing. Stopping the cycle means facing the truth about our own dysfunctional upbringings and not repeating the cycle. (The biggest stick point that I have seen is the part about seeing their own dysfunctional upbringings.) When people are discounted to the degree that we are talking about here, the desire for impact is so strong that children become targets as they are unable to fight back.
Thanks for your share.. I have considered writing a book titled “coming out of the fog”.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Dave
Your post here is exactly what I am talking about ~ this is another example of “the pecking order” and now power and control is wrongfully used. The military is no different than what most of us are talking about when it comes to our parents. Government is run the same way. All these people set themselves up to be “gods” in other people’s lives. Worship them or die. Imagine a world where organizations were run by empowering people instead of disempowering them! But in a world like that, equality and equal value for all people would have to be accepted and that means giving up individual power. You ask how did we ever get to this place… well when were we ever NOT at this place?
Thank you for posting your comments on this Dave. These are excellent examples of what is happening and the accepted belief that treating people that way IS the way to accomplish what they want to accomplish.
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene…thank you for your insights…they are so helpful as I am still learning and growing! As I read what you wrote about parents seeing their parents as “god”…it brought back a few memories of extremely tense situations between my parents and theirs at family gatherings and holidays.
You have such a gift for putting into words what people are struggling with. I will “feel” a lot of things, but am sometimes completely unable to articulate them, so I never fully have understanding, if that makes sense…and then you will come along and your words clear it all up for me and I feel a measure of peace. It all makes sense, I know what it was, and I am understood! It is powerful…..I hope you do write that book and title it COOTF…it is YOURS and you came up with it, and it would become a wonderful tool to help others!


Carol ~ yes we all want to be loved by our mothers! I don’t have that “craving” anymore but it took a long time for it to go away and I know the only way that it went away was by learning to love myself and fill the hole in me that had not been filled by her love. I became my own parent and “filled in those blanks” and I am still doing it sometimes. Always growing!
p.s. have a wonderful grad and congratulations again!!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Roshani
And getting down to that pain that is underneath it all is where the answer is. Facing it has let me on the path to the most amazing and wonderful freedom that I never imagined ever having!
Hugs, Darlene


When i went to my mother, asked her to explain to me what my dad’s penis being inside me meant, she told me I was wrong, called me a whore and then told me not to tell anyone. I wasn’t angry with my dad, I was confused and I felt lost, looking to my mother I believed she could bring me back, she could bring me clarity and understanding to what this devastation meant. But instead she put in me the feeling of stupidity, she gave me the feelings of guilt whenever I didn’t feel good about something or whenever something is done wrong to me it’s my fault. My mother conceived me outside of her marriage. I was blamed for her actions. I was made to feel that my life, my very existence is wrong. Her and her husband raped and molested me, harmed me physically and abandoned me because I was the ‘bastard child’. I, for years couldn’t differentiate between being wrong and having the right to be alive. With every mistake I made it triggered the feeling my mother gave to me that my whole being is wrong and I deserved not to live. With this, I struggled with suicide and I know that God has used the love He’s given me for people and for myself to keep me all these years. My foundation as a child was very foul, mean, and evil. Every belief system given me as a child had to be uprooted and replaced. Replaced with the truth about my existence. I’m worthy and even though I was conceived from deception and cheating my life is not defined by that. I am a honest person. I love people and I love myself. I did not give them permission to do what they did nor have I ever been the reason they did what they did to me. I take no responsibility for their evil actions nor will I become what they did…Through my faith in The Creator God and His love for me I have all of me now. Some days I cry and it hurts so deeply that people I love and trusted could be so horrible to me but even those days I see sunshine, I see light, and that gives me the power to keep growing, keep moving out of that dysfunctional space. They cant define me, control me, nor keep me from living a complete and beautiful life.


Elaina – so sorry for what your husband went through. Anyone who says that what the military commands them to do is normal or that it brings honor is just lying to themselves. God did not create us to treat each other that way. Your husband sounds like a great guy. So sorry he felt so much shame for what he did. I hope he is getting some help from the local V.A. Hospital. I know the one here is very good at providing support and help for veterans with PTSD.

Darlene – thx for validating my post :). It took a lot for me to write that. It did not come easy or without a lot of forethought. But i know what i see and i know what i hear and its terrible. the military is much more in the business of destroying lives and families not building them up or helping them especially when they transition out. Many former soliders have killed themselves because they had no idea how to adapt to life outside/after the military. Thats how bad the brainwashing is. Its very sad. This blog you wrote totally validated my thoughts about the military. Glad you wrote it !



Will, the childhood you describe is pure horror. I am so sorry those unspeakable evil things were done to you. What a miracle you are, that you are alive, and healing, and able to see the beauty that is in life!

This part of your comment touched me the most: ”Some days I cry and it hurts so deeply that people I love and trusted could be so horrible to me but even those days I see sunshine, I see light, and that gives me the power to keep growing, keep moving out of that dysfunctional space.”


Reading through these comments I feel so much compassion and empathy for us because of that which we have suffered. Some of the abuse that is communicated here is just…makes me feel so much. I cannot always relate with it in a personal sense, what is written here, but that doesn’t matter. I feel it nevertheless. Abuse is abuse and we’ve all been abused here.

My own experiences have been insidious and very, very difficult to pinpoint. It really was the most simple thing to blame myself for the abuse I suffered because the actual situation is very complex and transgenerational, hard to see such a big picture in middle of the fog. The manipulations have been so subtle that I feel, so much, that I’m losing it when I’m around my Mum, or my sister, or my Dad. Being together with all of them at once is just too much. So fake, such a facade. Something that I’ve been doing that’s actually working is I repeat to myself all the time that there is nothing wrong with what I’m feeling. Whether positive or negative, my feelings are my feelings and they’re trying to tell me something. I guess it’s a reminder to always respect what I’m feeling, despite how bad it hurts. For example, I went out with my mother for ‘our birthday’ and I noticed for the first time that the few times she asks me about myself she will either: interrupt me shortly thereafter, ignore what I’m saying all together, or she does this really nasty thing where she compares me. Everything she did that day was devaluing and was completely about her. We didn’t do a single thing that I wanted to do. She didn’t get me a gift, or a card, but she kept talking about it too. She said it like it was joke. She said it like a hook to draw me in, like at this point I’d beg her for a gift if she talked about it enough (cause she meant to hurt me), which would be a physical token of her ‘love’ cause physical proof counts so much more than actually doing it. Then she’d win. What happened was I told her I didn’t want or need anything. To the outsider I would look like the ungrateful person, Mum wants to get me a gift, I say no then complain how she didn’t get me a gift. It just feels so BAD to accept anything from her, I’d rather not fall for a trap like that. She just wins both ways and I feel like crap both ways. I’ll say something like ‘I really like ___’ and she will say oh me too, and then either talk about herself or others with the same thing without ever, EVER, asking me further what I think or feel or want about anything. I realize now she’s undermining me with this behavior, and she’s always done this. I was completely in the fog for a really, really long time, so afraid of being rejected. I look back and I was like those little dogs that just get so excited when they get a little pet. I was the little dog who was happy to get the scraps of ‘love.’ Anyways, it’s so much easier not to listen to myself, to not see or feel the evidence of the devaluing behavior, to believe that I’m still loved by people who for all their actions DON’T love me. Denial was a big part of my fog. By reminding myself constantly to respect that my feelings are happening in an attempt to feel them spontaneously, I sit here very upset sometimes, and anxious, but I know that I’m ok. In other words, I think I’m really on the right track with it. It still hurts that she compares me, or ignores me, or generally doesn’t care about me, how could it not? I can live with the non relationship my Dad and I have, and my sister allowed her boyfriend to do horrible things to me, so don’t mind not talking to her, but Mum is still a tender spot. But the truth is that her rejection doesn’t affect me the way it used to. It doesn’t kill me. I don’t feel particularly troubled anymore because I don’t take it personal (it’s not about me to begin with) and I’m not gonna die, nor will I tolerate being treated this way anymore (as long as I catch it, if I don’t, I make strategies and plans to deal with it next time). All the bad stuff that happened isn’t who I am, and who I am doesn’t want to follow a script anymore to gain the affection of people who prove every time they open their mouths that they just don’t see me. But who I am needs a lot of protection still. Again, it’s wonderful having this community here who gets it. The people I am close to now don’t really get it. They haven’t been manipulated like this, they just don’t know what it’s like to be treated like this every time since always by your own Mum!

Anyways, I saw how I’d be rejected by standing up for myself (against my family’s very unfair, devaluing and invalidating behavior), and I thought I’d die. When I was 6, my other sister left because ‘she didn’t like the rules’ and I didn’t talk to her again for many, many years…same old story, right? She didn’t like the rules, was true enough, but she actually left because my Mum hit her and didn’t believe her when she said she was being sexually abused. She left as a last resort to save herself, and it worked to some extent. I learned though that love = acceptance, acceptance will happen when I obey, thus, to get love I need to obey. Therefore, I, the 6 year old, will obey and obey and I did for a long, long time. By the time I was old enough to see it for what it was, I was already very caught up in my internal programming. I obeyed two grown adults who just sucked as parents (and kind of suck as people, depending on who you’re talking to), who demanded I be someone I’m not ‘or else’ and then constantly relived this in friendships and romances, ugh. This is another excellent post that really puts how I feel into an idea that I can work with.

As much as it hurts to see so many hurt by abuse, because it is wrong, hurtful, and so unquestionably unnecessary. I mean, it robs people of themselves and millions are robbed, have been robbed, will be robbed; I am still grateful that I am not the only one walking this direction. It is not an unused path, which is very sad, but I will admit that it is comforting to know that there are people ahead, shining light for those of us just starting forth. For myself, it is a validating boost to my sense of purpose to know that while I’m not alone and that is sad reality, I’m glad I’m not alone because removing this thorn from my side…well, hurts.


thanks darlene


Dear Will!!! How much SUFFERING that i also know for my story of Incest with my cousin in my childhood ……the same Pain i feel caused by people that i LOVED AND TRUSTED !!!!! But in your letter comes out also a lot of LIGHT , a lot of HOPE that we can all menage TO GROW and to come out of THE DARKNESS of our past experience!!!!THANKS ….with all my heart!!! Sure now we are adults and we can see finally the TRUTH …..but when we were Children harmed in the family ….we were completely depent from our parents practically, emotionally….so we had no other chooise than to TAKE all what they were put on our shoulders and this has made us Confused and Desperate!!! THANKS to be here!LOVE AND LIGHT ! Roshani


Thank you for your article. It makes so much sense! My daughter was abused by my husband for 8 1/2 years. He is in jail with 20 felonies against him, trial is set for September 10. I read your blog to help me understand what she is going through so I can help her. Comply or goodbye. Sexual abuse or rejection. What a horrible and unfair choice! Thanks for helping me understand one more piece to this disgusting puzzle.


To Roshani and Elaina,

Thank you for mentioning me. Please continue to remember me in your thoughts of goodness. I feel like I’m being reborn, this newness of life and healing becomes strange sometimes but it’s so liberating. One step, on day at a time, and I’m so grateful. Thank you once again for seeing me and thank you Darlene for giving us this platform to share love and light to encourage each other. We all are healing, we all will experience a full and prosperous life. I really believe this with all my heart..Love all of you.



I am astonished at what you suffered. I’m so glad you continue to come here and share. I wish the very best for you…. and deep and lasting healing from all you’ve suffered.

#35 ~ I wish I would have smacked some people too. My mother smacked my face repeatedly one morning before school. I was like 16-17 years old. I said a bad word. She smacked my face. I said another, she smacked my face again. It went on like that until she’d smacked me at least 3, perhaps 4 times. I think of that and wish I could smack her face!! It wasn’t the physical act that was so degrading…. it was somehow, when someone gets that close and invades your face, it has very belittling consequences. It sends an unspoken message that someone else has complete unharnessed power over you. To just sit there and take it, several times in a row ~ whoa… I wish now I had returned the favor to her. Incidentally, she loves to tell that story to people ~ in my presence of course!

Your story really emulates my mother’s tactics. She is very VERY sneaky. Such that other’s can’t see it. Only I could feel it, see it, suffer it. It is very common for my mother to boost other people to me. I have a cousing who’s a doctor. I’ve heard a lot of crap about her over the years. She’s basically the daughter my mother never had. She would almost take credit for her success, although she had nothing to do with it of course. I have another sweet young cousin who just got married a year ago. She’s a really cute girl, and struggled with her weight for a little while. She got it under control, and has maintained it for several years now. My mother just goes on and on to me about how adorable she is, and how her weight loss is so becoming. It takes a really observant and experienced person, to catch onto what my mother is doing there. And, most people wouldn’t believe what her true motive is. They would simply perceive her as being nice. It has SUCH a deeper ulterior motive. I know it to be a slam toward me. I gave up trying to explain these tactics to anyone else. I know the truth, and finally, it only matters that I know it…. no one else! How liberating!! Here’s to healing and TRUTH!!

Love to all,


Hi Will
What a nightmare! This is exactly what I am talking about here too.
And what a wonderful victory that you have had! Thank you for sharing that too. I Love your last line ~

“They cant define me, control me, nor keep me from living a complete and beautiful life.”

Hugs!! Darlene


Hi Jackie!
Excellent comments! You present a very complete picture of how this happened to you and how parents achieve this kind of control over a child and how they go on into our adulthood making sure that we are kept down in “our place”. I totally relate to the puppy dog analogy. I remember when I realized that I was like a puppy begging for scraps and I almost hated myself for that. It was so painful to realize how much I BEGGED for the love of someone who didn’t care. But it was another beginning. Realizing the truth and feeling the pain is always a beginning.
Thank you so much for your comments and for sharing your insights, your pain and your hope.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Lisa
Welcome to emerging from broken! It is excellent to hear from a mother who is reading this blog to help her daughter and to help her understand what her daughter is going through or went through!!! I am so sorry that this happened to your daughter and so glad that her father is in jail! This makes my heart sing! (both that he is in jail and that you are being a loving mom to your daughter) Thank you so much for sharing here. I just love hearing from parents who CARE and show that care. Being a mom is the biggest job that I have ever or will ever have and the most important one too in my view.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for this article.. it hits my very core..


Thank you Darlene for the post. I’ve been coming to EFB for about 6 months now. NC with my father and all my ex’s for about the same amount of time. I feel thankful. When I first started reading the blogs here, I thought they were harsh and couldn’t relate. But, as I’ve separated myself from the abusive people in my life, I’m starting to see reality and life differently. Of course I thought these posts were harsh! I was trained to see giving of myself as my only worth, betraying the abusers in my life as not an option while betraying myself as a norm. When I started reading I remember having thoughts that I’d rather die or kill myself than betray my sexually abusive (among other types) father. How distorted my perception was!!

I still struggle quite a bit. I am still trying to sort out which relationships are good and which aren’t. It’s amazing how entangled my perception is. I even realized it was time to find a new therapist – one that doesn’t take personal calls during our sessions.

The concept of being the bigger person is so important. I have found many people in my family pressuring me (directly or indirectly through what they are not saying) to be the bigger person with my father. Why?!! How is accepting verbal abuse without change being the bigger person? How is sliding abuse under the rug as though it didn’t happen??? Really the way my family uses this phrase isn’t about sucking up your pride and admitting your mistakes. It’s about not rocking the boat so my abusive father doesn’t have to face the consequences of his actions. It has everything to do with keeping silent and being what they want me to be. No more. I’m done trying to chase those that don’t love me. As another poster wrote, it is harder when you do something that contributes to the situation. But, I am human! And, I am permitted to make mistakes. So are my parents. However the issue at hand rests in BOTH parties admitting their part and seeking reconciliation that is mutually beneficial and healing.

Again, thanks Darlene. I’m still struggling, but it helps to know there is a place to help reset and step out of my perceptions when I’m bombarded with the fog.


Thanks so much dear. I am still remember the fear of rejection….that shadowed all my relationships. When I have faced the true that fear gone….THe rejection was always there I just was false hoping I will do something and I am able to earn change for rejection not happen again….. but I am afraid….. Its happens on and on.
…..I am not any more in fear to call things as they are… my abusers don’t like it…that want me co shut up! and behave as nothing happens.. but I am not gonna hug anymore cactus pretend that is not hurting. Regards Roza


Hi. Im from Australia. I just wanted to thank you for helping me understand myself a bit more. I have rencently been to police & currently some of my abusers are being interviewd. My parents put me through Sexual, Mental, Pysical, Drug, Spiritual, abuses for about 15 yrs. So your site along with my counsellor really help my healing journey 🙂


Jackie & Mimi,
The fog for me is about not facing the truth. Although while in the fog, I was aware of my dysfunctional family’s ways for a long time. I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was, until I acknowledged it was not about me but their abusive ways. It’s a pecking order with them & not really about a loving relationship. My mom’s behavior is “insidious”, like you said Jackie. The other day, my mom was talking down about my aunt (her sister)to me. She brought up how my aunt has financial problems & unable to sell her condo. She had to mention to me that she gave her “$5,000.00” to pay her utilities recently. Wow!…I got an earful, without even asking.

Mom first asked me, if I spoke to my aunt and when I said no, then went into it about her. Sometimes, I think she tries to bait me to get info or find out what I know. My intuition is telling me that she’s onto my relationship with my aunt. I don’t hide the fact, that I speak to my aunt. I really think my mom is curious about what we talk about. Could she feel jealous over my aunt & I’s relationship?? After my mom stopped putting my aunt down, she then opened up to me about her suicidal thoughts. She already told my aunt, who then told me out of concern weeks ago. I did not mention to mom I already knew, since I’m keeping my aunt’s confidence. Anyway, my point is my mom has her tactics on what she will reveal & to whom she will say things too. I used to think it was an issue of trust for her, but I’m beginning to see it is more about CONTROL.

My mom was crying to me about her health problems & pain. It’s like she is playing the martyr to me & my aunt. She grins & bears the pain, and then when she can no longer function, she tells someone. I learned from her to keep going no matter what, even when your driving yourself into the ground or stressing out all the time. I guess this is a big part of the drama & stress with my mom. She doesn’t know how to provide self care & set healthy boundaries. I’m so glad that I’ve kept my boundaries to protect myself from being sucked into her misery! I feel like I went down a rabbit trail & I’m Alice In Wonderland sometimes, when it comes to my dear mother.
Thanks for listening,


P.s: what I meant by rabbit trail is when I pick up on my mom’s tactics, I then go on to make the connections with my aunt & I. Sometimes I doubt if I’m on track or not??? I’m not in the fog but confusion sets in.


thanks for posting this! Alot of what ur saying is hard for my brain to understand but i know it makes sense and the only reason its hard to understand is because i am standing in the depths of emotional manipulation. I am untangling myself from those lies bit by bit “that if u just do what I say I’ll love you” My mother is very good at that concept of love and living w/ her makes my life rocky but i dont have to put up w/ her fake love anymore than i have to eat slugs.


The one with the most power or influence controls the amount of pain and rejection is inflicted as punishment towards another person trying to be free, themselves or stand apposed. A person can literally disappear when no one notices anything but what the alpha person wants them to see or hear. Choice is a generic term people like to use to escape the fact that some people have had no choice, and been so conditioned or abused that they were invisible, of no worth to even themselves. Choice only counts when you have options other than the options allowed from the abuser.


Hi Kimmy,
Welcome to EFB! Thanks!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Chris
It has been a real fog busting out of brainwashing for me too. I can totally relate to what you wrote. It kills me when the “victim” of a huge CRIME is told to “be the bigger person”. Thanks for your comments Chris!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Meerkat!
I hear you and I am with you all the way! No more hugging cactus!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Sarah
Welcome to emerging from broken! Good for you for having the courage to talk to the police about the abuse in your childhood! That is fantastic.
Thanks for sharing and please feel free to share often as you progress with this. There is a lot of support here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Gale
Welcome to efb. It is true that controllers determine even what someone else believes and the definition of many words. (such as love, respect, and yes even choice) Through the process of coming out of the fog about all that, I realized that while I didn’t have a choice as a child, I had one now as an adult. That was when I started to see things a little differently. It took me a while before I made any choices though because the fear was so huge.
Your comments are very true,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Morider
I totally understand what you are saying! I have been in that depth of emotional confusion! There is hope! Untangling takes time but it is doable.
Glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene ~ ‘the fear of good-bye if you don’t comply’ … I can’t tell you how much I still live with this and when it surfaces I feel like its a struggle to breathe and I want to scream and yell when I feel like that.

My mother always taught me this and this was the message from the rest of my family only two years ago. Comply, or its good-bye. I chose ‘good-bye.’ I couldn’t take it anymore. Even now, I feel as though if I don’t comply and go along with whatever my loved ones want (who are still in my family) – I feel as though I’ll be threatened with good-bye, because I always was. Always. Even if it wasn’t said – there was body language and facial gestures which communicated the very same thing. It’s hard for me to get past – that I might be accepted and loved for just being me rather for what I can do or be for someone. Its a really hard thing to get past.

I have grown a lot in the last few years – in the last decade even. I have become less tolerant of people who intend to make you feel like crap that is their fault. I flat out do not allow that in my life anymore. I don’t allow myself to be used like a doormat either – but I still feel as though I cannot be loved if I am not who other people want me to be. It’s been really hard for me to overcome this thinking. It’s like I’m always treading water on that principle – I am either staying above water somewhat, until I get too tired and feel myself starting to drown – its not a nice feeling either way – barely overcoming, barely drowning. Its no way to live. It’s not easy re-programming one’s brain and thought processes! 🙂


“Choice only counts when you have options other
than the options allowed from the abuser.”
Wow that sure speaks to me. My choices were carefully
controlled by my father. My choice of friends, school, occupation,
even my choice of words in conversation. I never learned how
to make any informed life choices which set me up to make bad
choices when I finally broke free. My poor choices were used as
proof that I should have choices made for me. I was never allowed
to just be me. His choices for me were limited to what he wanted.
I cannot remember even one time I was praised for anything.


I actually won a national trophy and my family never said a
word or acknowledged it in any way. – Karen


Rise….I totally understand what you mean when you wrote ” I still feel as though I cannot be loved if I am not who other ppl want me to be. It’s been really hard for me to overcome this thinking. It’s like I’m always treading water on that principle.” I personally dont believe that it is YOU…or me….alone that still feel that way. I believe it is very true that there are a huge number of ppl in the world who WONT love us unless we are still conforming to whatever it is that they want us to be like. I have had to weed out MOST ppl in my past and life because they were simply unable to respect what I have to say and how I say it….or maybe another way to put it…they dont like it that I am unwilling to pander to them. I think there ARE truly many many ppl that are so damaged themselves in some ways that they dont even realize how much attention they are constantly trying to get from everyone around them. So when you or I are trying to relate in healthy ways, they are unable to…and it feels that they cant love us! I am not sure if I am saying this correctly, but I have dealt with this same exact issue….and come to the conclusion that it isnt anything I am doing or not doing….but they are stuck! I walked away from what I started out believing was a very close relationship because I realized that my friend was constantly trying to compete and “one-up” me….and when we tried to work it out, I did the usual old pattern of mine and tried to be more understanding, but she did this with everyone in her life…and it also drove everyone away from her. I walked away too. She was a truly delightful person in so many ways, but she could be very cruel when she was feeling that thing come on her. She couldnt love me the way I am and she couldnt respect how I felt. Anytime ppl try to cut me down and outdo me and oneup me….it hurts! I grew up with that “I will win at all costs” attitude of my parents, I didnt want that in my life. And here was another clue that I was healthy for walking away…she didnt try to see if we could work it out…she actually became furious and tried to break into my accounts on the computer and she called me names and accused me of things that I had never done. It was VERY odd and frightening and I still dont completely understand…and I have never gone through anything like that before. That was two years ago…and only this year she seems to have given up. There are others too that I have let go out of my life because I felt that I couldnt be ME…and that is so important to me right now in my life! For once! I truly would rather have noone in my world right now than ppl who make me feel like crap because I cant be myself around them…and they cant value me for me. It sounds very harsh, and I wish it wouldnt have had to come to this, but I dont know any other way. So, I dont think it is all about my thought process….I think you and I are amazingly AWARE and it can truly be the other person..persons…who are the ones unable to actually love and be respectful in a healthy way. I would love to hear what Darlene believes on this one?


Beloved LISA!!!How much I would have liked to have a MOTHER LIKE YOU , who PROTECT AND TAKES CARE of her HARMED daughter!!!!My God …..I can not believe that existes a MOTHER like you!!! You have really tauched the CORE of the DESPERATION of a child who finds himself in this terrible circumstance …..in this life time!!! “COMPLY or GOOD BYE ; SEXUALE ABUSE or REJECTION ;WHATA HORRIBLE AND UNFAIR CHOICE!!!!!! ” …..but this is the BITTER TRUTH!!!!YOU ARE A WONDERFULL MOTHER…..and if i can give you a small suggestion , coming from my experience of INCEST , never RECOGNIZED FROM MY MOTHER AND MY FAMILY , but on top discriminated from them, it is this : ” LISA …… NEVER BE TIRED TO REPEAT AGAIN AND AGAIN TO YOUR DAUGHTER , that SHE HAS NOT DONE NOTHING “WRONG” BUT HER FATHER HAS DONE SOMETHING WRONG ……AND THAT YOU WILL ” LOVE ” HER ALWAYS LIKE BEFORE ……AND EVEN MORE MORE THAN BEFORE , BECAUSE SHE HAS BEEN HARMED!!! And that you LISA will not REJECT OR DISCRIMINATE HER FOR WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HER !!! IT IS NOT ” HER FAULT ” WHAT HAS HAPPENED !!!AND SHE IS NOT ” WRONG ” FOR THIS!!! “. It is so IMPORTANT …..LISA ……in order that your PRECIOUS DAUGHTER has not to suffer, when she will be adult , this TERROR to be REJECTED and not LOVED, mostly in her cloose relations with other woman , where before o later she will project the PAIN OF REJECTION suffered with the mother !!! I had not a MOTHER SPEAKING NEVER NOTHING OF THIS KIND , and the result , also now in my life , is a devasting FEAR To be NOT LOVED NO MORE , from girlfriends that I LOVE!!! AND it is so PAINFULL TO LIVE THE RELATIONS OF FRIENDSHIP IN THIS WAY…..and zhis FEAR ends really to destroy even every GOOD FRIENDSHIP,,!!! I am so sad for your daughter but on the other side i am so happy that at least she has a mother like you!!! LOVE AND LIGHT!! Roshani


LISA….I want to explain a little better , if i manage , what has happened at least inside me , because my mother has never spoken anything like this!!!I I was feeling THAT I HAD DONE SOMETHING WRONG, SO I began to be in FEAR that for this my MOTHER WOULD NOT HAVE LOVED ME NOMORE , and this REALITY WITHOUT THE LOVE OF MY MOTHER IT WAS SO THRETTENING ME THAT I STARTED TO DEPRIVE MYSELF OF MY FEELINGS OF LOVE TOWARDS HER ……BELEIVING THAT I WOULD HAVE SUFFER LESS !!!! But now i know that it is not TRUE THAT I SUFFERED LESS ……BECAUSE TO GO AGAINST YOUR HEART IT IS SO PAINFULL….MAYBE MORE PAINFULL THAN TO FEEL THAT SOMEONE DOES NOT LOVE YOU NO MORE !!! Because you have to betraide yourself!!!And live going against my feeling it is not LIFE!!! THIS IT IS also now a big WEIGHT that i am carring , afer my past of SEXULE ABUSE NEVER RECOGNAIZED!!! LOVE ! Roshani


I completely agree that re-programming yourself is not easy!…Just when I think I got the hang of it, I find myself going down a rabbit trail or in the spin. I have to repeat certain beliefs, thoughts, and talk out loud to myself to reinforce my new way of seeing my dysfunctional family & myself. I’ve also have a lot less tolerance for my family’s behavior. I’m more aware of how it affects me. Too much drama! I can also relate to the drowning feeling too.


Wow Karen!
Not being acknowledged for something big is a huge statement and it is about them not wanting to communicate your “value”. I am sure that controllers are so dang afraid of validating others because they see validation as empowerment which is a threat. It was the relationship that my husband had with his father that was the most glaring example for me of keeping someone in “the spin of not good enough” and I learned so much about the reasons behind “NOT acknowledging”. The reasons are pathetic and certainly NOT any excuse.

Congrats on your award!

Hugs, Darlene

Hi Rise

This is all over the world and I still live with it too. (rarely in my home life but all kinds of everywhere else.) It isn’t just a threat that people will say good bye if I don’t comply, very often they actually do! (not that I care anymore because I don’t really want those kinds of relationships in my life anymore.) I have come to realize that it actually is a valid fear! I am not always liked OR accepted for being the new me any more than I used to be when I was compliant. Many people find my attitudes very threatening because many of the things I say expose the misuse of power. I have lost several girl-friends because their husbands don’t like that I have an equal value based marriage and that I encourage equal value which leads to the person who always had 90% of the power in the past losing some of that power…. and we all know that no one actually wants to lose ANY power in that world system. BUT I think about the alternative and I am NOT ever going back to the way things were before. Relationships are tough. I have come to realize that many people are way more comfortable with being “under” someone or “over” someone but because “equal” is not as common as the pecking order is, it is a foreign concept to most!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Hugs, Darlene


Rise and Sonia ~ I totally relate to the drowning feeling or that somoene was holding my head under water and I have also used that example many times. One time I became very aware of this feeling that someone was sitting on my chest and looking back I think I was having an anxiety attack ~ finally I asked myself “who” it was and that led me to a LOT of discoveries about who was holding me back and how they were doing it.
Hugs, Darlene



Great comments. I also wanted to add (again) that I had to love myself where I felt so unloved by others. People who want to rule over me do not love me. We are certainly not alone in that! I weeded out a great deal of the people in my life too. It was really hard but like I said before I constantly had to take a look at the alternative. I had no idea that family occasions would be wonderful and happy when I finally stood up to the sick system. I like your deductions! I think the same thing. It really is about them and not about me. For so many people, equality is misunderstood. When people overpower and try to control other people, it is a pretty big truth leak about their insecurities. I did my work to overcome my insecurities etc. and they can do theirs too. Until they discover the real meaning of love and relationship and the fact that all people are actually equally valuable and individual ~ they will not love and there will be conflict in their lives. I feel so sorry for them that they don’t see how much better life could be!!

Hugs, Darlene


Diane ~ I so relate. I too have come across others who would attempt to treat me like my mother did. It’s like when we are parented by being abused I get the impression we are stamped somehow as targets for other abusive people. I have come across other women who would attempt to be friends with me and because I didn’t conform to how they thought I should do things or how I should say things, it created havoc – I ended those relationships quite promptly when these women would react like 4th-grade girls. I don’t have time for on-again-off-again friendships. It’s like they never grew up.

As we heal and thus change, I think we start to attract more healthy people into our lives. At least this has been my experience. I think when we’ve been abused (and this is just theory) that somehow our demeanour shows it – when we become more confident and put on the demeanour that we’re not going to take anyone’s crap then we seem to attract more healthy people around us.

I feel the same – I’d rather have no one too if I had to choose between abusive people or no one at all. And yeah, there are people out there who just don’t know what love is – they don’t know or its just not in them. My mother, where I was concerned, had no love for me at all. Everything she did communicated hatred.


Sonia ~

Yeah, not easy – the reprogramming. Not easy at all. How I see my family was always WAY in my face so have never had to give any thought to that. What I have a hard time with though, is who I see myself. And when I beat myself up my old name pops up – talk about blatant. When I correct myself, I used my new name. Goes to show how much negativity and hatred were associated with the name my mother gave me – there was a lot of self-hatred associated it. My mother taught me how to hate myself – it was easy for her to do because she hated me first. And yeah, sometimes it does feel like you’re falling down the rabbit hole!

But maybe while we’re in that rabbit hole we will once again find our muchness! And when we do, we’ll find our way back again. 🙂 <3


Darlene (#76) … I often get anxiety attacks even still. I hate them and when I have them its my mother’s old accusing voice that hides behind it. Whenever I feel ‘less than’ – like how she used to make me feel, that is when anxiety rears its head. I’m having a hard time overcoming the ‘I have to earn the love’ thing. I know its wrong to think that – just having a hard time getting it burned into my brain!


I just noticed that when a person’s name is in dark blue, like Darlene’s – and you hover over it, its actually a link to her website. How cool is that?!


As we heal and thus change, I think we start to attract more healthy people into our lives. At least this has been my experience. I think when we’ve been abused (and this is just theory) that somehow our demeanour shows it –
My emotional issues started around age 9. That is also when I “noticed” that no one liked me at school. I was always made fun of, not chosen for games etc. (I thought I was ugly) I have always felt I was “marked” in some way that others saw so that they would immediately dislike me. I always went to new job situations thinking and watching for the “dislike” to start. I always talked too much and seemed never to know what I was saying wrong. I now cut my talking back a great deal when I meet new people. I still don’t fully know what it is about me that folks so dislike.(I’m respectful, don’t swear, am not loud or rude) Upon reflection I have always been a doormat (in jobs and friendships). No boundaries. I’m not quite sure how to fix that. I have been reading on the subject. At least I am now aware of the doormat part. I am very compliant. I see that was my early training. I am trying to find a job now and hope to use this knowledge to keep the situation from reoccurring. My mother causes me to feel like dirt when I talk with her. I have said no more (gone NC) and feel so much lighter inside. She’s such a toxic person to me. And you know I don’t feel guilty at all. Just relief. She’s always made me feel so obligated while there was no love or even simple consideration towards me. I thought that attitude was all I deserved and I let her belittle me. I have always been a little child inside wanting Mom and Dad to love me and they never did and I thought it was my fault. I never saw the brainwashing until EFB. Thank you Darlene.


Hello everyone,
So many comments I want to talk about above.

Diane and Rise’,
I totally get that it feels better to be without people, than to spend time with people who try to suck the life out of you. Friends who are jealous, or all knowing, or treat me with contempt in a sneaky way. I’m onto it. I was actually onto them before the crap about my mom came to the surface. I knew my circle was growing smaller. But, I wasn’t sure why I had these needs to flee from people. At the first sign of weirdness, I RUN!!!

A few years back I had a coworker try to befriend me. She started taking it outside of work, texting me all the time about work, and about coworkers. I was aware she wanted to suck me in so she could feel empowered, and so she could repeat anything I said, with her own embellishments. I had never even paid for texting service before. She took it upon herself to start texting me. I finally added a 200 text package to my plan because each text she sent was costing 15 cents. Then, it got to the place I was going over 200 texts. I had to revise that plan. The final straw came when she texted about work while I was on vacation. I had tried everything I knew to get the message to her that I didn’t want this type of correspondence. I stopped replying, she didn’t get the hint. When I got home from vacation, I changed my phone number. She hasn’t had it since. It eats her alive and she talks about it to other people. That alone sort of freaks me out a little, since I changed my number over 2 years ago. Anyhow, my point was, it was before I figured mother out, that I had started figuring others out and began to run! My mother was a tough nut to crack!! She had me snowed COMPLETELY!! I’m only now able to make the connection that it’s people who show signs of my mother, that I run from.

The conversation with you and Rise’ (and others) about not being able to fully wrap your brain around being loveable. I have the same struggle. I had friend over the weekend tell me what a fantastic person I am. She is a fairly new friend. My mind was saying, “what does she want? I know she’s not saying this because she believes it, there is another motive, there HAS to be another motive. People don’t say these things because they’re true.” It’s funny, I was always willing to believe the CRAP my mother said about me, but I really struggle to believe when someone says something nice. It’s like Elaina said (here or somewhere else), self hatred is the world’s worst feeling!! I have to work on it a LOT. I also forget, then find my auto-programming has taken over. After 43 years hearing the same thing, especially from family, one tends to believe it. It is incredibly hard to turn that around. I have made progress. I can tell because ending my life doesnt occur to me anymore. My battle now is, getting to a place of JOY and happiness with myself. Really LIVING!!

Some of you know/read the letter I wrote to my mother a few weeks back. I asked her to explain the “mistakes” she’s said she made. Her statement was, “of course I’ve made mistakes, and I’ll make many more before I leave this world.” I took the opportunity to maximize that statement and asked her to explain which ones she’s talking about. I’ve gotten nothing in return. She texted me happy birthday on my birthday. I wrote back “thanks, and thank you for the gift card” (she had mailed me one). She didn’t respond to my thanks. I find that so funny now. If you don’t know her, you wouldn’t suspect her motive. But, since I know her well, her non-response to my thanks was a big unspoken message that screams, “I am mad as hell at you.” She still doesn’t really know that I don’t give a flip if she’s mad or not. Actually, I hope she is mad. Like you said SMD, it’s drama and toxicity that I don’t need. Until I’m further along, I don’t want to see her, or hear her voice. I need space still. I need things to be more concrete in my mind.

When I read that stuff about your mom talking about your aunt, it brought to mind a discovery I had not too long ago. I might have mentioned it here already, but, when I was typing a letter to my mom, it hit me that not all families are like mine, although I assumed they were. I have been around many families who don’t bash on each other. My family, however, is different. My mother has covered every single person in my family, immediate and distant, hundreds of times. I literally never have a conversation with her without her bringing up someone and talking smack about them. Sadly, when I took my grandmother (maternal) out for dinner in May, I observed the very same thing. She bashed her son terribly, and one of my cousins. I couldn’t take it. When we were done with dinner, I dropped her off at home. I couldn’t even stay and chat. That sounds horrible, even to me. She’s been good to me. I just couldn’t listen to it. Even moreso, she looked me in the face and lied to me FOR my mother. That really turned my stomach. She is old enough that she forgot I was present when the event took place that she was lying about. I called her on it though. I said I was there, and that’s not what happened. She said, well, blah blah blah….. making up nonsensical unrelated comments. It makes me feel yucky to know this about my dear grandma, because she has been good to me. I’m a little stuck with this one.

Well, there’s my babbling for the day!! Hope everyone has a great week!
Peace and Hope,


Risé, Karen Ranes, diane, Roshani, Sonia, Darlene, and Mimi, I’m loving this conversation. I am physically ill right now and therefore don’t have the ability to add to the conversation, but I just wanted you wonderful women to know that I am deeply moved, and enlightened, by your words. <3



Thank you all for sharing!

It has just been in the last two months where I’ve found myself untangling my Mum’s actual intentions in a serious and true fashion. I find myself examining my own reactions to her manipulative and insidious behavior. I’ve been thinking a lot about things she said to me my entire life. She would say things like ‘it’s better for the children if their parents stay in a bad marriage’ and ‘you make your bed, you sleep in it.’ The last time I spoke to her I said that my Dad may not have abused me the same way he abused her, but that growing up watching her being abused by him, and then her saying that the abuse was worth it to keep the family together, really messed up how I see myself, how I see her, how I view relationships and mostly, I figured, I just didn’t develop any boundaries for all kinds of abuse because it was a normal thing growing up. That, and the whole rejection if I didn’t obey. She didn’t say much when I said this to her. Then, I said, she stays with my Dad because of the lifestyle. He treats her like crap, and she used my sisters and I to justify it all by saying it’s worth staying for the kids, when really, it was all about her not wanting to leave the lifestyle.

She told that line to my sister who has been in a very destructive relationship for 12 years. She has four kids and every time my sister talks about leaving my Mum repeats to her that what about the children (who have been moved 5-6 times the last 3 years between 2 towns, one time of which their house was well, destroyed because someone threw a molotov cocktail through an open window after breaking in and turning on the gas oven, I’m not lying when I say my sister and her children are not safe). My Mum has also said to us things like ‘you make your bed, you gotta sleep in it.’ I see that now as fallacious. As an adult I got myself into some really tight and dangerous situations, but just cause I got myself there doesn’t mean I need to stay just because I made a series of really poor decisions. But for a long time I believed it. I stayed in an incredibly abusive relationship for four years because I thought that I deserved it, after making this bed for myself.

Anyways, she didn’t deny any of it. She kinda of smirked and looked away actually. Again, proving, it’s all about her. She doesn’t get that saying something and doing something are completely separate things. Something I’ve realized upon reading all these comments and the comments of other posts is that she will do ANYTHING to make herself feel better, which is what this is all about. She had a really horrible upbringing, it wouldn’t surprise me if my Grandma was full blown narcissistic personality disordered. So I get why she lives in such denial. She never even thought about what I’d think of my Dad abusing her cause she thinks nothing of herself. But still the reality is that she stays with an abusive husband because of the lifestyle, but she can’t say that because it isn’t very noble saying I subjected my children to financial, emotional, physical and sexual abuse because I like having nice things. So, she says instead she stayed for the children. About a year ago, I was trying to crack this egg and she actually said that staying with my father wasn’t worth it for the children, but that was the first and only time she said that. I think it was a truth leak.

Anyways, I really like what you said Mimi, about how you were the only one able to see, feel, suffer from your Mum’s insidious tactics. I am so, so, so glad that this isn’t just me. I don’t talk to anyone else in the family, because of my own choices but also because of my Mum triangulating and manipulating it all, so I have no idea where they are or how they see it. Getting outside perspectives is really a grueling task. Earlier this month I had an ovarian cyst rupture and had to go to the hospital, and when my bf called my Mum to let her know what had happened she said oh, I’m so worried, I’m coming right now. Hours went by and nothing, I found out when I got home from the hospital that my Dad had actually driven to the hospital because he was in town. My parents live about an hour away. But, he got impatient trying to find a parking spot and just left without saying anything to me, or calling me, or anything like that. Now, at the time, they didn’t know it was an ovarian cyst, they thought it was my appendix, so I was REALLY scared. My Mum told my bf on the phone that my Dad left without seeing me. Despite their deep concern, they never saw me that day at all or for a couple weeks after. Mum was talking about it though like I should be grateful and happy that they were even concerned, so concerned, that my Dad even came to the hospital. I told her yeah, but then he left. She said ‘oh, but we were so worried but you know how your Dad is…’ My bf didn’t tell me until we got home that my Dad had left cause he didn’t think I needed to feel even worse than I already was. Then, next time I spoke to Mum she told me the story again. We were so worried about you, blah blah blah. She was really saying she was so worried, because that’s a noble thing to say, but since we’re not gonna do a single thing worried people do, you just have to believe that this little scrap of ‘love’ is really, actually love. Better treasure it and hold onto it with a death grip, cause it’s all you’re gonna get (it’s all you’re worth).

Again, to the outsider, even to someone like my bf who hasn’t experienced this kind of thing, I appear like the ungrateful daughter for not holding onto that love scrap with a death grip. But I did for a long time and got treated the same. This manifested itself into my keeping every single little ‘token’ of love. Was so afraid of not being loved or being rejected that I would keep Easter chocolate my Mum got for me without eating it because I felt when it didn’t exist anymore, that chocolate or that grocery list, or that whatever, the love didn’t exist anymore too. It got to the point where if I got a gift and it got ruined somehow, I’d feel like I should just go kill myself now. I never dot-connected it all together like I have been.

Anyways, long post but all this discussion is really making my brain wrinkle.


Hi Jackie
Excellent comments ~ thank you for sharing your examples. One of the things that I have realized in my own life is that the more I can articulate (not long winded justifications about why I am right to disengage from my dysfunctional family) with little statements like “are you saying that love is about putting up with outright disrespect and abuse?” the less people argue with me about my right to stand up to my family. (I suspect that they still talk behind my back but not to my face anymore; perhaps they fear what I might say! Perhaps they fear the truth.)

I sometimes get nasty letters about my blog though. (people who call me disrespectful etc. but those numbers are nothing in comparison to what I get in support of what I do) On the internet people often have more guts. They can use a fake name etc. The things they say are such huge truth leaks about the reasons why people accept the abusive ways of thier parents. Sometimes they go on to talk about the ways that they make thier own adult kids “tow the line” ~ more truth leaking. I feel sorry for the people that think what I am doing is disrespectful instead of seeing that what my parents did was actually the wrong doing.

Hugs, Darlene


When I have had conversations with my Mom concerning the abuse, why nothing was done etc..her
standard answer is “well in the 60’s we didn’t think about those things, or we thought differently about it
back then. I use to accept that line. No. I don’t think so. That doesn’t hold up. I think there were many people in the 60’s who grew up in loving homes with loving families. Its her way of just pushing it aside.
My mother also had and has unkind things to say about everyone else in the family. Her sister’s, her mother, the ladies in the bldg where she lives now, …now that I think about it she used to analyze everyone else and then tell me why they were to be looked down upon. Oh in our family (the holy Goss family) we “looked down” on everyone else. My father initiated the behavior. No relative lived the right way, so we didn’t associate. Friends were chosen by my father for their social status. We were better behaved, ore conscious of the rules then others. There were so many rules of behavior.


Hi Karen, I totally relate to the lack of boundaries in relationships. As I’ve started implementing boundaries, I’ve noticed a new type of people in my life. I still have a long way to go, but if I can learn boundaries (and accept the relationships that fall away because of it), you can too.

Congrats on your trophy! That must have felt great! I’ve been really successful at school (grades, awards and a national scholarship to study abroad for my Masters). My family and friends do say things about my success, but I’ve noticed it’s not that they are happy for me and my experiences. They are happy because of how my success makes THEM look. It’s great that THEIR daughter graduated Summa Cum Laude, etc… The funny thing is that there were even times when my step-Mom told me I work and study too much – I need to relax more. Which I find very ironic when she sends out personal messages to everyone about how awesome I am. It’s annoying to have this type of attention, because again, it doesn’t let me be me. I felt so much pressure to be successful – it was the only way my family had honor, pride… I have a right to fail and not be perfect all the time. So, whether it’s through praise or lack of it, our families need to value us for who we are and rejoice in our success for how they impact us (not what it does for them).

I hope you’ve been able to see how amazing your accomplishment was – regardless of the external praise you received.


Oh, and I didn’t mean to sound arrogant with the statement ‘how awesome I am.’ I put a lot of stock of my value in my success and believed all the hype that my family, among others, told me. But, when I’ve had down times, I’ve noticed everyone flees and so do my successes. My worth is independent of my academic and career success, or lack thereof. It was a painful lesson, but one that showed me who and what matters.


My mother would say the same ~ that’s what we knew back then, that’s how things were handled. I remember having friends in grade school that had loving mothers, so that pretty much blows a big hole in mother’s story. She’s said divorce wasn’t common like it is now; she stayed for the kids; family problems weren’t discussed like they are now, although she was telling everyone she could pin down long enough to listen. My siblings and I just weren’t allowed to tell anyone. (about my drunk, violent father and the poverty we lived in). There were times I was a basket case in grade school. Once a teacher pulled me out of class and asked why I couldn’t stop crying. I told her I would get in trouble if I told her. Other teachers asked questions and when I told my mother, she called the school and ripped on them.

The truth is, she stayed because she was waiting for my dad to get rich. He came from a very wealthy family. He just didn’t carry on the tradition. He fell in love with alcohol instead. Imagine the let down when you marry for money, and end up paying for it. She was expecting a white picket fence and she waited for it for 17 years with him. She also didn’t want the image of perfection to be shattered. How would it “LOOK” if she was divorced. And, she couldn’t support herself and three kids. Her next husband came along before she was divorced. Repeat ~ she was after money. She has paid in that marriage too. No one can stand the man and he’s been a bitter embarrassment to her since the beginning. She also says that my dad had her brainwashed and so beat down that she couldn’t think for herself anymore. She believed him when he said no one else would want her. I don’t know if he ever said that. I don’t remember. She has had me believe that her self esteem was so damaged she couldn’t leave. Now that I know her true person, I doubt her self esteem EVER suffered.

Your statement, “As an adult I got myself into some really tight and dangerous situations, but just cause I got myself there doesn’t mean I need to stay just because I made a series of really poor decisions. But for a long time I believed it. I stayed in an incredibly abusive relationship for four years because I thought that I deserved it, after making this bed for myself.”

This statement is so well articulated!! I heard the same line, you made your bed, now you must lay in it. You’re absolutely right…. because I made a bad decision, doesn’t mean I am obligated to suffer. I really love the way you explained this. It’s so true!!

Peace and Hope to everyone,


Elaina ~ {hugs} … and I do hope you are feeling well soon!!


Karen (post 87) –

I can’t tell you how much I heard that line too … “We didn’t know then what we know now” or “We didn’t have the resources we have now.” … What?! Really?! People back then didn’t know how to love??? or protect?? Really?! {Note the sarcasm!} I cannot tell you how much these statements angered me – its the perfect thing someone says when they don’t want to be held accountable for their actions!!

Abusers like our mothers are insidious and devious and they are genius at it. They are masterminds at guilt tactics and manipulations. I can’t believe they aren’t exhausted doing all this stuff. It took me a long time to realize that how she treated me was no fault of mine. Once I realized this pretty little truth – it was the beginning of freedom for me.


Perfect point!! (in the 60s people didn’t know how to love or protect!!) I will remember this. My mother would also say, it’s all she knew, it’s the way things were done back then, etc.

This conversation has been eye opening for me.

Something else my mother has said. She didn’t breast feed any of us because of the social stigma. In the 60s, apparently a mother would appear to be living in poverty or a less priveleged life if she had to resort to breast feeding. I have no idea if that’s true. What I DO know is this ~ if there was any outward appearance that we were struggling financially, my mother would sell her soul to prevent it. So crazy!! Although she had FREE breastmilk, and we were broke, she still insisted on buying formula to avoid “appearances”. That cracks me up now. So shallow!!

Hope you’re doing well Rise’!


Mimi, as someone who was born in 1953 I can tell you that it’s true, where I grew up, in the 50’s and 60’s, it was considered “low class” to breastfeed. Divorce was also unheard of, you promised “til death do you part,” and you were supposed to die rather than break that promise.

I also heard “You made your bed, now you must lie in it,” a lot growing up.

Our society is very different now, in a lot of ways. Many of the changes are for the good, but some are not, in my humble opinion. 😉

Thanks, Risé, I am feeling better now. I’m on an antibiotic for an upper respiratory infection that I’ve had for nearly a month, and the antibiotic is upsetting my stomach. Also I have been aching terribly all over, from a very bad reaction to my new cholesterol medication. I’ve stopped taking it, but I am still aching, although now quite as bad as I was yesterday morning when it literally hurt my hands to type!



Chris, I hope I am understanding you and your last comments. I was a bit confused, so forgive me if I am not on the same page? I have a brother who is extremely “gifted”..in the intellectual sense and while growing up, he was very much held up as the “Golden Child”…by my parents. He didnt have to struggle in school and he was very handsome and my parents worshiped him for those two things especially. They didnt really take the time to see what HE wanted or how HE felt, or to encourage anything else about him…such as his musical and artistic side. My parents were definitely emeshed with him and to fail was just not an option. He was PERFECT in their eyes. They played favorites in the family, and he was the favorite. They did for him everything and if he failed at anything, which of course he did because he actually is a REAL PERSON , it was quickly swept under the carpet. It was disgusting. What ended up happening to him because he was never allowed to become a well-rounded individual, is that he changed the “rules”. He was so suffocated by all of the praise and “glory” and not being heard and appreciated for who he was, that he shut down. He tried to commit suicide once, and he withdrew from everything that would be considered as something that would make my parents “proud”. He also became a mastermind at manipulation and control. He had great examples in my parents, but he began to do the head games on everyone because he IS so intelligent. He was puffed up about it on one hand because that is how he grew up believing he should be and that was about all anyone seemed to care about ….and how good looking he was…and he began to use his intelligence as a weapon. I dont know if anyone knows others who do that, but they will throw out random comments that appear to make themselves look absolutely brilliant, and the other person they are with has , of course, no idea what the heck was just said, so they ask the question and are given a very “intelligent” answer. It is all a weapon of control and manipulation. He also began to adopt really dirty ways of dressing to rebel against the very super clean…and clean cut…clothing my parents bought him…and on and on it goes. It was …and is …very very sad..and maddening. It crushed his self esteem! He has so much anger and pain over it all. I feel sorry for you Chris…you have been done an injustice to…and I think it is a type of abuse that ppl dont talk about much. Another way of devaluing a person….because they are over valued for the wrong reasons. Not for who they are, but what they DO or how they LOOK. It is very sad and disgusting and I am so happy for you that you are learning to put up bounderies in your relationships so that you arent emeshed with your parents abuse and their pipe dreams. I hate when parents put on a child a certain responsibility to fulfull. It isnt fair, and I am happy that you are getting free and that you will one day have peace of mind…and appreciate ALL that you are…not just being “the smart girl”. I hate those labels…they kill the spirit.


Rise – i am so glad to see you post today. I have been trying to find you the past few days. I clicked on your name on a post a few days ago and it took me to a dead link (sigh) – i thought maybe you were gone. I have not seen comments from you or K Ella in a few days. I have had some very severe trauma surface the past few days and its been really hard. I need your support and prayers right now please !




I am sorry everyone ~ my internet has been down and this is a very busy week here as well, so I am behind.

You have brought up such an IMPORTANT thing here. Abuse comes in many forms and this is absolutly one of them. (I have written about this in some of my earlier work but I don`t remember the exact post at the moment) Many families have a golden child and the pressure and abuse is no less for them and neither is the damage that is caused by that kind of abuse. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is so important for parents to encourage children to be individuals and to communicate love and acceptance no matter what the child does or does not do. ALL children have gifts but they very often only come out when a child is encouraged. What happened to you is not the oposite of a squished child however. It is the other extreem and the damage it causes is just as huge.
Hugs, Darlene

I just read your comments to Chris as well and yes, exactly. People raised with this stuff grow up to either be victims or abusers (or a combo of both). When someone uses thier intelect to put others down, that is a pretty big sign of low self esteem. (and we know how that happened by your story) I am sorry for your brother. (but I still adovocat that you have to stand up for you now and he has his own work to do)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Karen
(I am trying to catch up with everything – I missed this comment yesterday)

YES Your post is very correct! That doesn`t hold up! that is B.S. and I don`t accept it either anymore. If my mom thought so `differently`about it, then why did she try so hard to make sure nobody SAW the dysfunction in our family? I see things differently “that” way now!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Dave
Hang in there! you are working hard and it will pay off!
p.s. I can reach the link to Rise blog fine, perhaps just try agian??
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, I appreciate now that I do need to stand up for myself…and I also believe that I have to nurture and care for myself. I decided a year ago to cut off all of my family members, including the brother I just commented on. He IS an abuser and a victim, and I was unable to forge any kind of a healthy relationship with him because of his need to try to control and emotionally stick it to me and hurt me. My parents brainwashed him to “see” me as they chose to see me. I did not want him in my life if he was going to be that way anymore! There were trust issues too, but I see a lot of problems trusting when there has been abuse! I am so enjoying taking GOOD care of myself these days…protecting myself in certain situations, nurturing myself by light exercise and getting enough rest…and not feeing guilty…and really paying attention to my feelings. I have recently had a few days where the stress was intense and I had the choice to give in to old ways of coping…using food and going on a huge binge episode, or to try and calm myself and listen to myself and figure out what I really needed to feel okay. I never had a choice before! Now I find I do, and I didn’t NEED the food! Major difference for me, but it came down to honoring and placing value on my needs and feelings…and then caring for myself in a healthy way. I have been eating normally for the first time in my life…so you are to be thanked and given so much credit for this site! Being healed at the core has healed me in that place where I was always hungry, empty and lonely. No more eating disorders for me! Sorry I went on and on about this, but it feels weird not to express the good stuff now. I am still learning, but the pain..and the sting just aren’t there anymore. I can discuss…so far, anyway!…all of my past and it just doesn’t hurt. Thank you everyone and Darlene! 🙂 this is what loving myself feels like to me now!


Dave ~ Praying for you right now. Prayed and will continue to do so! Trauma loves to rear its head in various ways and intensities – praying that His truth and your truth is revealed for you, Dave. Yeah, I have been having issues with getting a blog up and struggling with blog names (if that is the link you were referring to) – part of my strange indecisiveness! Anyway, I have a blog up and am hoping to keep it ongoing now. Taking more an encouraging approach to help others who’ve been through what we’ve been through!

Hang it there Dave … I remember going through and sorting through so much pain – I still do get trauma triggers and its hard even still. I have to remind myself to just stop. Breathe. And logically think it out. It didn’t come easy for me, and I can say its easier now – but I am still no expert at it. I am praying wisdom for you too, Dave – I hope you don’t mind.


Mimi (#93) … Yep … I guess they just didn’t know how to love and protect back then. Of course, if they were hurt or abused, you can understand that to a point. To a point. I mean, at what point does someone have kids and then choose to repeat the hurt and abuse all over again with their own kids?? And even when confronted about it, they still have no desire to make it right. It makes me (anyway) feel like I was just never worth it. So she didn’t love me (or didn’t know how) … okay. So if she didn’t know how, did she not care about me enough to go figure it out?? Obviously not. Again – their attempt to make it our fault, not theirs because they didn’t want to confront it, get educated about it, and change it.

When I started having kids this is when her abuse was IN my face – it was something I could no longer ignore or excuse as, ‘well, that’s just her.’ I took parenting courses. I went searching to find out what real love looks like and every day my life is ‘loving my kids’ (and my husband.) I went great lengths to put healthy parenting and healthy love into my kids (and others) – and I’ll admit, I’m far from perfect – but one thing I have never done is degrade, humiliate, tear down or give my kids ‘I hate you’ looks. I have never called them names and I’ve never swore at them and I’ve accepted them ‘just as they are.’ I guess I just don’t get how someone can not love their kids – I mean genuinely love them. Being kind to them, not envious or jealous of them, not keeping records of wrongs, celebrating life with them, – that kind of stuff.

And you know, that breastfeeding thing being taboo in the 60s or 70s (or whenever that was) – I think that was actually real. I remember my mother-in-law as well as my mother mentioning that – apparently they made breastfeeding out to be a sexual thing, a sick thing. As for breastfeeding in regards to appearing poor or living in poverty – that I don’t know. Goes to show that some things they say can have truth to it – other things have lies attached to it, but because of their lying and stretching truth as well as fabricating truth – we get to where we can’t believe anything they say. And because the lies are so great we then have a hard time believing anything they say.

xo, Risé


Elaina ~ (#94) That sounds nasty. Glad to hear you’re feeling better except for your reaction to your new meds. My body aches terribly with MS drug therapy – I HAVE to take pain pills – I tried to go once without taking pain meds and I wanted to die I hurt so bad – and touching my skin felt like the sensation one gets when running fingernails across a blackboard – yikes. I hope you’re over that side effect SOON!


Thank you. The award was at a national scooter convention for best of show. I had pink hair and a pink feather boa when I went up on stage….not exactly something my staid family approves of, after all I’m 58 and should act and dress my age..What!!!. Never. My radical choices to be myself have always met with criticism. But thats me. Theres always been a battle inside between the obedience and compliance and trying so hard to get that family approval and the real me. Not anymore. I’m OK and though it will take awhile to overcome all the demons, at least I can be myself without the hiding.
There was very strong pressure when growing up to achieve so that I could make the big bucks. That seemed very important. Much more important than the child as a person. I was never seen as a person,
an object to be managed and controlled.
I always knew my Dad was an abuser, always. He hit and screamed and broke things and punished, but I never saw the emotional manipulation and only recently have I really looked at my Mom thru different eyes. Her abuse of me now that I really look at it goes way back to at least age 5 or 6 when she just didn’t
care about me or , there I said it..she just never wanted or cared about me. I always knew she liked and treated my brother better, but now I see it as it truly always was. Going back over some conversations I am piecing it together. (About the breast feeding, I could not even imagine my mother holding me that close!) Thanks for all your insights!!


I think I mentioned once before that I asked my Mom why she never held, hugged or kissed me. My grandmother actually commented when I was a teenager that I wasn’t affectionate. My mother said, “well you always wiggled away”. At the time I accepted it, then later said well, I was 2 yrs old. What about when I was 5, 15, 40? But I didn’t notice at the time that she had shifted the reason back to me, the child. I was the reason. What I wasn’t huggable?
When I later pointed this out to her, she said that she is not a huggy affectionate person. I never learned to
show affection as none was ever expressed to me. I guess your parents are supposed to show you? Interestingly, my husband never got hugged or kissed or told he was loved either. Lucky we found each other! But I know I did not hug my son enough.- Karen


I LOVE THIS!! oh my gosh that is fantastic. Thanks for sharing how you won and for what and what you were wearing! That rocks! I am a huge advocate of being who I am and others being who they are. I had my hair all cut in spikes when I was in LA in the spring. Best hair cut I ever had! My regular stylist couldn’t repeat it so today I went to a new salon and showed pictures and asked “who can do this?” I am alive! I am me! and I am not going to care who doesn’t like it ever again! yay
Hugs, Darlene


Rise ! I need wisdom !! I pray for it every day if i remember. Sometimes if i dont pray for anything else, i pray for wisdom. Do i mind ? You are reading my mind !!! NO – of course not !! Please pray for wisdom for me. You too are a godsend. I thought maybe you were busy w/something else. i have some deep seated issues related to abandonment because my mother left me alone a lot when i was 2. She had a complete nervous breakdown and there was no one to take care of me. When someone disappears from my life i have a hard time. I have lost all family and almost all of my friends. No one can handle what i have been through. I feel like i have been in my own garden of gethsemane at times. the pain just keeps coming and coming and coming like the waves in the ocean during high tide. A few days ago i thought i was not going to make it. Thats how bad the pain has been. Intensity like a tornado. Deep, gut wrenching pain. The pain i imagine Jesus felt on the cross. Pain like i never knew existed. I am off work for a couple of weeks. Transition. I quit my job last week. I could not do it anymore. It was sucking the life out of me. The healing work is hard enough let alone trying to work full time and be a good husband and take care of our house and our dog. I was completely exhausted. Thanks for your prayers and support. I need it !!




Elaina – glad you are feeling better. Praying for you !! Praying for God to heal your body. Hang in there Elaina !

Darlene – yes the link works now. I tried it a few days ago and it didnt work but now it does 🙂

Karen – congratulations !!!!




Thank you for the validation on my previous post Diane and Darlene. I felt hesitant to write it because of the way it might have been interpreted.

Actually, I’ve played several roles in my family; the hero, scapegoat, failure… It seems I’ve tried everything to win the approval of my family for who I am – none worked. In high school, I became an alcoholic, promiscuous and almost dropped out of school. After much shame and a short period in juvenile hall, I joined the US military 4 days after I graduated HS so I could make something of myself and get away from the toxicity. I sobered up and stopped sleeping around, but then I became hyper religious (yet, another attempt to fix myself and find acceptance) as well as exactly who the military wanted me to be (again, a highly abusive environment – although I do want to say it’s not that way for everyone). Finally, I got out of the military and became a work-aholic at school. I would spend hours doing everything I thought I had to do to be successful and beautiful (in the eyes of everyone but my own). I had achieved everything I thought I ever wanted and was completely miserable (‘popular,’ successful, ‘attractive’). It’s exhausting constantly trying to DO instead of just BE me. I still don’t really know a lot of things and have crazy insecurities that come up, but after over 4 years of therapy, a divorce and a few other things, I feel I’m finally seeing the truth.

My parents still don’t accept me the way I am. My Dad holds me as the hero, but he really could care less if I’m in his life. I am slowly realizing he never really loved me, only married my mother because of me (he adopted me when I was 1.5 years old – which also lead to incest) and doesn’t know me at all. I know logically that is about him, but I struggle with extreme rage at him and all men. I tried everything to be what would make him proud – my success only brought temporary attention (it can’t and won’t make him emotionally available or be able to admit what he has done to me).

I am thankful that I’ve been successful, but I think success can be an illusion. I received so much positive attention from so many people – I built my self-concept and esteem on it. Peers wanted to be around me, people gave me opportunities and helped me – yet, when I went through my divorce and the rebound relationship after (which was with an alcoholic), I completely fell apart, sort of self-destructed and ruined a lot of what I had worked for (I had no idea how to cope). All the people, attention and support I had before went away. People avoided me, told me I had issues, asked why I wasn’t over everything yet (this one came within a month of my divorce being finalized, and the separation before it had only been 5 months!). I hadn’t focused on building a relationship with me or with people that actually cared about me. It was mostly superficial – I bought into the hype.

The point to what I’m writing is that hard times really reveal what matters. Abuse, neglect does take many forms and leads to poor life decisions (even if on the outside they look like good ones). I’m happier now that I’m not as successful, that I don’t have as many ‘friends,’ etc… I’m learning to put my energy into relationships that are mutually rewarding, aspects of my career that I actually enjoy.

Diane, I’m sorry to hear about your brother – I’ve only been the hero in my family for about 11 years, but I feel immense pressure and can’t imagine having it my whole life. Thank you for sharing and seeing.


Karen, I also love that you wore pink – who cares the age! It is wonderful that you are finding peace within yourself to just be you regardless of what everyone else thinks. It is something I am striving towards and think it must be essential if we are to heal from the trauma of the past. Un abrazo! – that’s spanish for hug and is the typical way Mexicans sign off (I live in Mexico right now for my Master’s)!


YES Chris! I behaved exactly like you. I tried to BE what THEY wanted. I was the perfect student. I was the perfect daughter. I have tried to live my life my way, but always trying to get the approval and acceptance from my family. I sought approval from others in my teenage years in a bad way. By doing anything they wanted. Letting myself be used. I just did not know how to relate to anyone. I did not understand why until recently. Gosh its amazing anyone had anything to do with me. I was just so screwed up.
Dave..I can so relate to the emotional pain. Its agonizing. I only have one or two days a month like that now.
Two years ago it was every other day. My doctor had me taking Celexa and while I was more stable I also get addicted to stuff quickly so for the last 4 months Ive been off it and the self realization has had the same effect. Actually I’m better than Ive been in a long time.
Lately I have been the dutiful daughter. I would travel north 4X a year to stay with my Mom and do everything she needs done. The entire time I visit I hear how wonderful my brother is. He has done nothing for her and he lives 20 miles away. I live 1300 miles. I have stepped away and let him pick up
Moms care. I found her abusive attitude made me upset with myself. I guess all these years not being allowed to express emotions as a child, I coped by abusing and punishing myself. I never understood my moods. They started at about age 10. I guess I was a sensitive child. I see the self abuse was triggered every time someone disrespected me. Soon it became my default. I would give away or break my things.
Always thought it was a weird response, almost a compulsive behavior when I was very upset. Only my things. I see it was the only way to express my anger as only I cared about those things. The behavior didn’t cause further parental abuse. I have carried it into adulthood. Now I think I see why I do it.
Reading about borderline personality disorder I saw parallels to cutting or physical self abuse as a form of expression. The destructive damage of items was my way to vent. You can imagine it was seen as a sign of my badness by my mother. Part of the crazy that I was always seen as. My dad never knew or cared. Totally self centered abusive NPD.
The pale pink hair was a hit when I went to a rally in CA. I was surprised how many guys my age came up to me and said love the hair! I do it for scooter rallys, weddings or other social events.
Its funny after AmeriVespa rally I went to Moms and the first think out of her mouth was “you are going to change it back.” She didn’t want me to embarrass her. To me thats waving a red flag at a bull. LOL


Comply or goodbye – resonates with me right now. As does Like it or Lump it. Although my parents said I could be/do anything I wanted the truth was that their strong disapproval if I made – or attempted to make the “wrong ” choice was overwhelming. The one with the most power wins. Totally – over and over and over… from being 5yrs old – to being where I am now, 56.
We are having couples therapy – my husband still feels that I should be making faster progress, still wants to know “when will it be over”, “when will be be able to get back to a normal life” (by which he means, when will I be able to let him have sex with me again). Recently things came to a head – I am struggling with the new therapist, and loathe every second I have to spend there… I recognise that therapy is not about feeling better, but about having better feelings, but sometimes I have whole weeks when I am recovering from the impact of a session. My husband confronted me, saying he was at the point where he was feeling like leaving, “because” he felt I was not making any real progress… Comply or die. Again.
I don’t want to lose my friend, my husband because of what was done to me as a child, I have already lost so much. But this, this was horrible. Someone who says he cares, someone who behaves like he cares, like he loves me, is still able to say this. I feel crushed, manipulated. I do need him…. he has been the only man I have ever trusted – and we have been together now for 20yrs…. I have been on my healing journey for 2years. I feel lost again…. I don’t want to lose him, but I am not sure I can stay with him now.


What a painful thing to hear when you’re in the midst of so much already.

I have been in the process quite some time too. My days are much more productive than they were even 6 months ago. I felt a lot of guilt for not eing my “usual” self. Then, I thought well, this is something I have to do, with or without my husband. He was also a part of the problem…. that led me down that path of total truth and healing. His affair of four months did not help.

Although I don’t remember ever telling him this, I thought at the time, if he wants to experience a happier healthier me, I guess he’ll stick around. He has been supportive. I’m sure part of that supportive attitude is rooted in guilt. I think to myself, “whatever it takes for you to man up!!”

If he told me he was thinking of leaving, I’d have to open the door for him. It would be incredibly painful. I would survive.

For my husband, his words don’t always hold a lot of water. I would view that as a threat ~ a message that he feels tossed aside. I would have to see him moving things out to believe he really meant it. Maybe one day he will. It would be incredibly painful, but I would survive.

Peace and Hope to you Libby,


I totally agree with your last paragraph Mimi.
I find change threatening and with the one person
changing, the other must change too. Thats
might be scarey too if the other person doesnt
see their own issues.
My husband of 38 years is supportive in that he
doesnt hinder, but he also doesnt actively
jump in to help. No one in my life except
one close lifelong girlfriend actively “supports.”
I wish he would be there, really be there, but
on my journey, he just kind of drops me off and
I have to wing it on my own. Because this
was always how I was treated I never expected
support. I’ve just had to be there for myself
and now that I look at it, it shows a strength
I never attributed to myself. Hang in there!!
We are with you. Your friend online-Karen


Risé and Dave, thank you for your get well wishes! I am feeling better, but still not all the way back to good health yet. I’m sorry for the extreme emotional anquish you’ve been gong through, Dave. I’ve been there; I remember a few years ago saying that I was experiencing a depth of emotional PAIN that I didn’t even know existed. It was like I was drowning in my emotional pain. I thank God I am not feeling anything close to that, any more!

Risé, BIG HUGS and LOVE and Prayers for you, for the awful physical pain and your MS medication side effects. I, too, was worried when suddenly I could not access any of your past blog posts! So glad you are writing a new blog. I, too, have changed my blog several times over the past couple of years, from Coming Out Of The Crazy Closet, to Out Of The Crazy Closet, to Complex-PTSD, and now it’s PTSD-is-Normal.com — I think I’m sticking with that one, but who knows?! 😉

I hadn’t been back here to read all the new comments on this particular post for several days. Just didn’t feel physically or emotionally up to coming back here, until today. I just finished reading all the posts, and really got a lot out of all of them. There’s some good conversation and great insights here.

With regards to the comments about having a Golden Child sibling, it seems to be very typical that when one parent or a set of parents have some degree of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, such parents will typically choose at least one Golden Child who can do no wrong, and at least one scapegoat who can do no right. It’s all about narrow-minded black and white thinking, and it’s also all about them (the Narcissist). An NPD seems to be incapable of truly SEEING and UNDERSTANDING their own children; they see their offspring through distorted lenses, and it’s all about the N, ot’s what the N WANTS to see.

My Narcissistic mother made me her scapegoat when I was a child growing up in the 1950s and 60s. The 62 page hate letter that my mother sent me a little over one year ago, and sent copies to my aunt and my siblings, was all about how horrible I have been my whole life…. ??? Horrible? ME?? Hello! I don’t want to sound vain or like a braggard, but I am honestly one of the most generous, caring, and kind people I have ever known. Of course I am not perfect, no one is, but I am very good at being able to acknowledge and sincerely apologize for and make amends for my faults and wrongdoings. I SOOOOOOO do NOT deserve for my mother to write a 62 page letter of HATE filled with distorted half-truths, misunderstandings, and outright LIES, about me!

But in my mother’s eyes she does Not See ME, in fact I am positive that she has never seen ME…. she sees HERSELF, when she looks at me. She sees all of her disowned badness, that she has projected onto me, her eldest daughter, her scapegoat. She brought me into the world 59 years ago and she honestly believe to this day that this means she OWNS me, and can treat me however she wants to treat me.

My Golden Child siblings have bought into our mother’s lies about me. None of them really know me, because I haven’t lived in the same state with my family of origin in decades! My siblings are all 7+ years younger than me. I married at age 16, when my siblings were all aged 7 and younger, all but one, who my youngest half sister, who wasn’t even born yet when I got married the first time in February 1970. When I married, I moved away, and I have only been back for very brief sporadic visits in the past 42+ years, and NONE of them have ever come to see ME. So no, my sisters and my brothers Do Not Know Me, they only “know” what our lying narcissistic sadistic sociopath mother has told them about me in the past 4+ decades.

I left my family so long ago, at the advice of my therapist whom I was seeing at that time. He spoke with my parents and grandparents at length, and then my therapist urged me to get as far away from all of them and to stay away, because, he said, they, my family, were the cause of my problems. I did what he said, to Save My Life and Sanity. I literally had no viable choice! I would do the same thing if I had my life to live over again, I mean that I would still make that same extremely hard choice to NOT live anywhere near my family of origin.

But… there are no words to describe the pain, the loneliness, the huge LOSS, of being made the scapegoat by my mother and being literally thrown away by her when I was only 14, and then having all of my much-younger siblings turned against me by my mother with her evil projecting LIES, ever since. It is lonely. It is sad.

Life isn’t fair, that’s all. But I am finding my own happiness, my own loved ones, and making my own way in this world.

All things considered, I am greatly blessed to be where I am today.



Oops, correction, I mean that when I got married at the age of 16-almost-17 in February 1970, my siblings were all 10 years old and under (and one was not yet born). Also I had been thrown away by my mother in 1967 when I was only 14, when I first began to have symptoms of complex PTSD from my childhood trauma. PTSD was not yet known then, and my hateful mother jumped at the chance to out me in an insane asylum when I was 14, to get rid of me, because she had just remarried and told me that it bothered her very much to have me and what she called my “big breasts” living in the same house with her new husband! So she threw me away, and when I finally got out of that horrible instittution at the age of 16 in December 1969, 2 months later I married my first husband, who as a high school dropout needed to get married right away to keep from being drafted to Vietnam, because he was 18 and that was the way the world worked in 1969-1970. (THEn he beat me and cheated on me, even getting involved with my then 35-year-old mother, because I was just a crazy person and not worth being loved or treated with kindness, don’t you know.)

Anyway my point it that my siblings grew up without me being around. They only “know” what our N mother has said about me. Sad.


Libby, how difficult this all must be for you! Hugs and comfort to you today! I recently sat on my front porch with my husband and talked for hours about the changes that I needed…the support I needed and everything I had been dealing with in my brokenness and in my healing process..and then being healed. I had never been so transparent with him before and I held nothing back. He really heard me this time around….AND he ended up sharing about himself and his feelings like he never had before too. (which had been part of the problem since he is naturally more reserved and quiet and withdrawn) He had felt left out and a part of him had felt rejected! I could suddenly understand where he was coming from because my ways of feeling, relating, hurting and loving in many ways came from my brokenness and sadness…and confusion…and from my past ways of relating with my unhealthy parents. It opened my eyes to how he had been behaving and how I had been behaving once I discovered what Darlene writes about….finding that place and cause of my brokenness…uncovering the lies and finding the truth.
We ended up finding a way to breach the gaps between us and forge out a new, healthier relationship. It is a daily process. There have been situations that have come up. Yesterday, in fact, he was trying to subtly put me down in order to make himself appear “better”. ( I have had a history of ppl in my life who are competitive by nature and across the board they all seem to do the “one up” thing from time to time) I stopped him and pointed out what he was doing…which I never would have before. He denied it, of course, but I also didnt let it slide. He is trying so hard to change what he needs to change, and I am trying too, so we both were able to easily work this one out without major hurt feelings. I just wanted to say this because there can be hope. My husband said some really unsupportive things in the past…and he was sorry later that he had said them, but he was feeling helpless to help me and didnt know HOW to be supportive. I cant give you advice, but please dont lose hope! Healing isnt easy , but it is praiseworthy that you are seeking to be healed and seeking to find truth and dispell lies from your past! That is so brave and courageous and one day you will be free from the pain! It IS all worth it for ourselves.


Hi Libby

I had a lot of problems with my marriage when I was finally ready to face the past (in the way that I write about facing it here) My husband was really impatient too and also thought that my process was interfering with “his life”. As always in my life, everything was about everyone else and never about me. I always came last and that is pretty crappy. I finally had to decide that if I wanted a better life I had to do whatever it took. FOR ME. Eventually as things got more clear I was able to point out to my husband the things he said and how clear that he made it that he thought he was more important than me. I also made it clear how wrong he was about that. His impatience with me was not love, it was disregard. My husband was more interested in how I could serve him, how I could make his life more comfortable than he was in ME. I had disregarded my needs for so long that I didn’t know I had any and he resented it when it all caught up with me. BUT I told him that if he didn’t feel like staying he was free to go. (and take care of his own freeking needs either way) and long story short is that he took a good look at the imbalance and unfairness in our relationship and he too had to make some changes within himself and in the way he “regarded me”. It took a few years but we are happily married.

P.S. I would never stay with a therapist that I am having trouble with. It is counter productive. Just my thoughts….

Hugs, Darlene


Libby, what Darlene just wrote is also exactly what I went through! I dont articulate things the way I wish I could, but those are some exact words that I use with my husband when he reverts to what I described above. ( I took them from this website!) I now tell him that he is disregarding what I have just said, or that my feelings are as important as his, or that he is devaluing me as a person. He is learning to rephrase things,and think before he speaks, but I do point them out to him! When we sat and talked on the front porch, that was our breaking point in our marriage as far as we both were concerned. We did discuss leaving and we did discuss how we both felt. Like Darlene, and many others here, I had absolutely disregarded my own needs for so long that I didnt know I had any. Now part of my healing process in all of this IS confronting him. It feels great to stand up for ME now…and it feels great that he is working on being more supportive. The years of “serving” him and waiting on him hand and foot and always meeting HIS needs still can make me angry/sad inside. Noone understands what a miserable physical and emotional and mental prison that can be unless they have been trapped like that. It is being devalued by the one person you should be able to have an equal partnership with. My husband was very self absorbed and the more I gave, the more he took.He was emotionally unavailable, and not very affectionate, but wanted sex when he wanted it. I always thought he would one day change somehow….just like I thought my parents would one day change and suddenly value and love and appreciate me for myself and my qualities. They never did and my husband wasnt about to change things the way they were until that day. He thought he was comfortable with the way things were. He actually was miserable too. I think being selfish is miserable, but you dont really understand why! I stopped putting up with that and I changed the “rules” in our relationship so that I now can feel just as important and equal and waited on and served…and happy! This may sound harsh, but I also “weigh” the balance of give and take with him every day. I dont want to fall back into giving and serving at the expense of losing myself ever again! I think it sounds funny as I write this, but I always either met my own needs and wants or they went by the wayside for so long …my entire life…that I have to be aware and alert to keep the balance between us because my needs and wants still arent as great as his, if that makes sense? I know how to be happy by myself and I love a lot of alone time,and I also genuinely love to help others and make ppl comfortable so I have to some days come up with something for him to DO for me so that the balance stays there between us! lol.


Libby, I just want to add my total agreement with what Diane and Darlene are saying.

When my husband and I met in October 2003, and married in July 2004, we were both multiply divorced, and both in our 50’s. We met at work, and became good friends as we discovered that we have almost everything in common. I thought I had finally found my soul mate with whom I could live happily ever after.

But the very next day after our wedding, my new soul mate was YELLING at me at the top of his lungs over dumb, nitpicky things. It’s ridiculous the stupid things he found to yell at me about, such as walking into the room and hearing me singing along with an old Beatles song that was playing on the radio: “DON’T YOU KNOW THAT THE BEATLES WERE DRUGGIES AND GODLESS COMMUNISTS? HOW CAN YOU EVEN LISTEN TO THEM, LET ALONE SING ONE OF THEIR SONGS?”

I had been diagnosed a little over a year before our marriage, with Post Traumatic Stress Diorder. By the time I met and then married my husband, I’d had enough therapy for my PTSD to teach me that I was not crazy, because having PTSD after extreme abuse is normal. I had also learned that I am not a second class citizen, I am not less thn, and I do not deserve to be treated badly, ever, not by anyone.

I was heartbroken and confused when my husband changed so horribly right after we were married. But I told myself that I got along without him before I met him, and I knew I could just as easily get along without him again. However, even if I had been incapable of working and supporting myself, I would rather live in a cardboard box under a bridge and eat out of garbage cans, than to live with someone who YELLS at me over every little thing! I told my new husband: “If the house is on fire and you need to YELL at me to notify me of that fact in order to save my life, then you may yell at me. But unless it is a genuine life-or-death emergency, You May Not Yell At Me, EVER.”


I replied: “The Bible also says that husbands must love their wives enough to die for her. So, here’s the deal: If you aren’t dying, I am not submitting. End Of Discussion.”

I left him when he would not listen to reason. But today, almost 8 years later, we have an awesome marriage. What happened? When he saw that I would not stay with him and be treated with disrespect, he went to a therapist, and took the therapist’s advice to check himself into an in-house 8-week PTSD program at the VA Hospital in Topeka, Kansas. My husband is a Vietnam Combat Veteran with severe PTSD. He came out of that program a whole new man. I now call him my Best-Friend-Husband.

Our society teaches women to be doormats and servants, and teaches men to be domineering and selfish. But I agree with Diane, I don’t think that being selfish feels good. My husband was miserable when he was like that. Today he is a loving and loved, happy, peaceful man.

It didn’t happen overnight, though, Libby. I left my husband more times than I can remember during the first six months of our marriage. I left every time he started the yelling/badgering hatefulness, and only came back when he would cry for forgiveness into my cell phone, and promise to get help and change. All those times that I left, if I had the money I went to a motel, and when I didn’t have the money, I slept in my car in a Walmart parking lot, at times when it was below freezing out. I kept my sleeping bag and necessities in my vehcile so that I could leave at a moment’s notice. After my long history of abuse beginning in early childhood, being yelled at is a huge trauma trigger for me, I always left immediately when he started screaming.

I wish you the best, Libby. I know how bad this hurts, and how hard it is to make hard decisions. But I also know that there is HOPE. We don’t have to stay stuck in misery, not ever. If I hadn’t stood up for myself and refused to be treated badly, what would have changed? Nothing, that’s what. I am so glad I drew my boundaries and stuck with them!

God Bless,


Libby – sorry things are so tough right now. I agree wholeheartedly with what everyone else has posted esp that i would NEVER stay with a therapist that i didnt feel comfortable with whom i had issues that forced me to have more stuff to deal with !!! I would be looking for a new therapist if my therapist made me feel like yours makes you feel. Therapy is hard enough let alone with a bad/unhelpful one.

This is off topic but i wanted to strangle a cab driver tonight ! So angry – when he came after me for money i wanted to knock him out ! He was half my age and clueless and provided horrible service so i got out of the cab and didnt pay him. He would not even tell us how much the fare was (no meter in the cab) and he expected a tip even after he could not find the restaurant he was taking us to and he would not even call the restuarant to get directions !!! My wife had to call and give him the address and he still could not find it. He was absoluetely clueless. I got out and opened the door for my wife and we went into the restaurant. I immedidately called the cab company and was on the phone and he came in looking for me. He called the cab company to. After about 10 minutes he came back in looking for me to pay him. I went and got the manager of the restaurant and told him to get the guy off of the property or i was going to cold cock him. I would have ended up in jail for assualt. He was a complete idiot. by that time he finally gave up and left.

I am teaching my wife how not to give her power away. she lets other people walk all over her and treat her like a doormat. I am teaching her how to be empowered and to stand up to people and demand service/justice when there is injustice. I am teaching her to believe that she is important and what she wants matters and is important. While teaching her i am also teaching me cause i need it to ! I am still learning that its MY life and i am in charge and i make the decisions for me and we make decisions together for us. Its a huge learning curve but we are doing well and have a very good marriage. I have not hit anyone for a long time but i came close tonight. I need to find a good martial arts class to enroll in !!




The furious “righteous anger” you describe is exactly what I was experiencing last June after going off my psychotropic meds very fast. I took 2 weeks to taper off and at first I felt GREAT! Then life stuff started happening, rude indifferent people etc, and I would BLOW SKY HIGH and think that I was totally justified.

After going back on my meds, then taking about 6+ months to do a super SLOW taper, now I’ve been off my meds about 3 months, and, speaking just for me, the righteous wrath I was unleashing on people a year ago was Not Appropriate.

I’m concerned about you.



I give you credit for not acting on your anger. Instead, you empowered yourself by using your righteous anger to call the cab company & get the restaurant manager involved. You stepped up! Congrats on not cold cocking the guy LOL!!


Sonia – thanks !!

Elaina – i am not going back on meds. It has been supressing my anger and pain way too long. I have to get this stuff out. I cant keep it in anymore. It will keep me bound up the rest of my life. My wife is pretty good at stepping in when i am getting really angry. I am not going to back down anymore from rude, insensitive jerks who treat me like crap. Those days are over. I have the power now. I wont jeopardize my clearance because i need it for my job. I just wanted to knock the guy out because he was such a jerk. My feelings were totally justified. If you must worry then that’s on you Elaina. I appreciate your concern. I will not give in to fear or live in fear any longer. It has dominated my life way too long – no more !! We had a great dinner and enjoyed the rest of our evening. Before i went to bed i forgave the guy and put it to rest (dont let the sun go down on your anger) – I feel much better about it today and my reaction was justified.




Dave, I am sorry that you had such a frustrating cab experience…rude ppl who have no manners are so difficult! I loved what you wrote about empowerment to yourself and your wife…I could feel the FREEDOM in your words! It is amazing for me and still a bit weird feeling…to walk up out of the ashes of what was my life and into being ME. It sounds like you are also experiencing this and I am so happy for you! Empowering ourselves is such a huge deal! God Bless! 🙂


I believe that the basis of my concern may be misunderstood. I think it is a matter of semantics and degrees. I am coming at this from my painful personal experience, and others are coming at this from their own different personl experience. I don’t see this as Wrong or Right, or Black or White, again, it is a matter of degrees. Dave, my concern was based not only on my own painful experiences, but also on the other comments you have been leaving here on EFB over the past few days, comments about extreme emotions of all kind. I apologize if my concern is inappropriate. I hereby, and with a friendly smile, withdraw my concern.

Standing up against rude people is HUGELY important. Not being numb, and being able to feel all of the full spectrum of human emotions, is also hugely important. Making your own decisions as to what is best for YOU, is paramount. I tend to cringe, however, when I read language about wanting to Cold Cock someone, and about coming close to going to jail because one is that extremely angry. But that is ME, that is not Dave, not Sonia, not Diane. Again… concern withdrawn.

Elaina, aka Lady Quixote


PS: I am finding it ironic that almost 1 year ago to this very day, I was being blasted, yes, literlly blasted, right here on EFB, by two women (whom I do not see posting here anymore) ~ these two women were blasting me on EFB, because approximately 1 month after I had done the fast 2-week taper off my antidepressant and antianxiety meds, my Narcissistic mother sent a 62 page hate letter to me, and sent copies of it to my aunt and siblings, and for the next 5 days I spoke severat times on the phone with my dear close cousin, my only blood relative in this state, and my cousin was totally in my corner regarding my N mother, one of the very few in my family of origin who ever has been in my corner, and THEN, the day after we last spoke for an hour on the phone, my cousin DROWNED….!!! About 2 weeks after she drowned, I wrote on a facebook post my opinion about why rape victims should NEVER be blamed for being raped because of “the way they were dressed.” I stated my opinion in a nice, polite, non-angry way, and I went on to describe in some detail how I had been drugged and raped by my own psychiatrist no less, when I was 15 and he was married and in his 40s, and the 3rd time he overdosed me when he drugged and raped me, and 2 nurses found me unconscious and with no pulse… those nurses Saved My Life. Then they reported the rapist doctor, police detectives investigated, and they found Tape Recordings of his Rapes in his office desk drawer!! He had recorded rapes of other patients, not just me! So then this doctor was fired from his job, and his wife left him, and he lost his license, and… he committed suicide.

So THEN, TWO of this rapist doctor’s colleagues came to see me in the state mental institution where I had been kept since I was 14 years old and my abusive mother had put me there, because I had PTSD due to the childhood abuse but PTSD was unknown in 1967, and my mother had just remarried and she TOLD me: “No house is big enough for two women, I don’t want you and your “big breasts” in the same room with my new husband!” I obediently stayed away from my new stepfather, who by the way was a wonderful fatherly man and never even gave me the VIBE that he was being the least bit sexual toward me, and I was a very modest GIRL, not WOMAN…. BUT… my jealous insecure hateful unloving narcissist mother could not stand the fact that I was very pretty and had filled out very fast, SO, approx. 3 or 4 months after she married my kind stepfather, when I began to have my very first obvious PTSD symptoms of panic attacks, etc, my mother immediately put me in the state insane asylum, where, a few months later, my psychiatrist tried to molest me sexully, but I pushed his hands off my body, so then he had to drug me unconscious to rape me, and the third time I nearly died, I actually felt my soul leave my body and it was hovering in the air when the nurses’ found me and revived me and kept me walking between them for hours until I was fully awake. Then I went to the bathroom and I could tell by my underwear I had been raped. I had no conscious memory of the rape, because of the drug.

So after this rapist doctor was fired and committed suicide, 2 of his colleagues came to see me in the institution. They came to me separately, not together. And they each got me alone and then CURSED ME OUT for having RUINED a GOOD DOCTOR with my SEXUAL WILES. They BLAMED ME for being RAPED! They BLAMED ME for having lured him or come on to him in some way! They BLAMED ME for having ruined his life. I was 15! I was a mental patient! I had pushed his hands away and reported him to the nurses but had Not Been Believed, that was months before he finally resorted to drugging me in order to rape me!

Being blamed for being raped hurt me SO BAD… that…. when the second psychiatrist accused me of having lured the good doctor to his ruin and ultimate death, I went back to the ward and I HUNG MYSELF with the bedding.

I wrote all of this on the facebook post that had started off talking about a cop somewhere in the northwest of the USA blaming the way women dress, for being raped. I had said that No One Should Ever Blame A Rape Victim.

So then, a woman posted this under my comment, I don’t remember word-for-word, I just remember the basics of what she said, “I just like to play the devil’s advocate. I think that the way these young women sre dressing today, they are asking for it.” So then I came back and said something like, “Well I guess we are just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. In my opinion, in this kind of a situation, the devil does not need an advocate. :)”

And the woman came back with “Excuse ME?” and then she went on to tell me, as though I am an imbecile child, what “Devil’s Advocate” means.

THEN I BLEW MY STACK. I posted, “I KNOW what Devil’s Advocate means! Do YOU know what COMPASSION means? I don’t think you do, because I just described in detail the horror of my rapes that happened when I was 15, and I nearly died, and I was blamed, and I hung myself… and it did not even occur to you to say these 6 little words of comfort and empathy: “I’m sorry that happened to you” -? Instead you talk to me like I am an ignorant 5-year-old about semantics? And I know that you know that I am right now emotionally REELING from my cousin drowning earlier this month, and my mother’s 62 page hate letter that she sent to me and to my whole family 3 weeks ago…”

SO THEN, I was called “a blaster.” Not just on facebook, but here on EFB, where I had originally met the 2 women who were ganging up together and calling me an angry blaster. They were saying things, on FB and here on EFB, both, about how they were “sorry for the grief I was going through” but that it “WAS NO EXCUSE” for me to BLAST that woman by telling her that she HAD NO EMPTHATY when she does TOO have empathy….

The very day that that happened, that I was being blasted on FB and here on EFB for being an angry dangerous person, I told my husband, “I am right on the brink of committing suicide,” and he took me to the ER and I was put back on my meds.

Now here it is 1 year almost to the day later, and in a very much less hostile way, I feel like I am being subtly “put down” here on EFB for wanting to be TOO PEACEFUL against rude people!

It was like that in my abusive childhood, and my past abusive marriages which echoed my abusive childhood, I could not “win” no matter what I did or said, it was always in some way “wrong.”

And yes I know this about myself ~~ I know that I am sensitive. And with good reason, all things considered! I am working on my being overly sensitive!

This is why I go for months not reading or commenting on EFB. Then I think I am better now, stronger now, I am not so sensitive now, I can come back here and try again… and again, I somehow put my foot in my mouth and find myself having to explain and justify ME.

I’m done. I will not come back here again, I will not read any replies to my comment here again, it’s not YOUR guys’ fault, it is mine, I am too BROKEN for Emerging From Broken.

Goodby, good luck, God Bless, and no hard feelings I hope, I really do mean that.



PS: I apoligize, no one here said anything wrong or inappropriate to me this time, I am just flashing back I think to how badly I was blasted here 1 year ago. Darlene did eventually, after about a week, remove the comments by the 2 women who were calling me an angry blaster etc, and Darlene did send me very nice apologetic private emails, and she apologized to me here on this forum also. I do not hold Darlene responsible. But the memory of how I was blasted one year ago here to the point that I felt it was the last straw and I literally wanted to die… I am being triggered. So I will now end my subscription to EFB. No one and no blog is perfect, but this is one of the very best blogs for mental health. I am just not well enough for this give and take in-depth commenting back and forth, this is why, on my PTSD-is-Normal blog, I do not allow comments. I am not like Darlene, I could not handle all these hurt people and all these comments!



It isn’t that you put your foot in your mouth; in my opinion it is that you are very sensitive and you react to other people. When things are all in writing they can get misunderstood so much easier. I understood your concern for Dave completely. If Dave doesn’t want to hear it the way that you intended it, that doesn’t mean that you are wrong to feel it. We are all just people. None of us is perfect and all of us are in a healing process. Things get difficult; that is relationship. We don’t have to be friends with everyone in life. (I used to think that I did, but that is yet another lie that I believed)
Hugs, Darlene

In all fairness to the other readers here, I want to add that in the situation that Elaina is talking about Elaina ~ you brought the problem from facebook HERE to this blog and the other women were defending themselves, just as you were defending yourself and the whole thing got out of hand. I didn’t want to mediate but I was forced into dealing with it until I deleted all the comments. I did NOT leave comments “blasting you” on my blog. I have never done that and I wouldn’t do that. And don’t be so sure the other women are not here. This is the Internet, a place where it is very easy to change your identity.


It is fine to stop supressing anger and to feel it AND express it as long as we don’t “lose it” ~ there is such a fine line between victim and abuser. Elaina was just sharing her own (valid) exp. with going off meds.
Thank you for sharing and congrats with your progress with meds!
Hugs, Darlene


Speaking only for myself I feel compassion
and a kindred spirit for everyone whose posts
I have read. We each express in our own way.
Our shared experiences have allowed me a
non judgemental place to speak. It is the first
time I have ever felt heard. Sometimes I agree
sometimes I dont. But I value what is said because
it is said from the heart.


I’m sorry to see you go. I appreciate that you have to do what’s in your best interest, however. If you hadn’t suggest D.I.D., I may have never been taught, or thought about dissociation in a young child. That bit of information has been so helpful.

I wonder if the cab driver was new to the job, or the city??

I have had to remind myself often, that children are as important as adults. The way I was raised, (and believed) children or young people were to be disregarded, by virtue of their age. Since coming to EFB, I realize I was less important, and I’ve been guilty of regarding children as less important in certain situations. I have done a personal inventory to make sure I no longer disregard ANYone, for ANY reason.

I couldn’t help but notice you said this cab driver was half your age, and clueless. According to what I’ve learned HERE, age is of no consequence. Lack of knowledge (“cluless”) is not punishable in my opinion.

What I concluded from your comment was that you were angry because he didn’t have knowledge, and because he was half your age. I also concluded that it made you so angry you wanted to hit him, and that you involved other people in “your” problem.

Your comment I’m sure didn’t paint the “whole” picture. If you had said this guy was rude, disrespectful, cocky, etc., I would congratulate you for standing up for yourself and your wife.

The way I read it is, he was young and lacked knowledge. In my humble opinion (which, in my understanding, we are always free to share here), this was a misuse of power, based solely on what you’ve said so far. Obtaining self affirmation/validation on the backs of others IS a misuse of power in my opinion.

Like Darlene said, there is a fine line between victim and abuser. Getting angry enough to really want to hit someone who is “clueless” is a misappropriation of anger to me. Your description of this incident reminds me of a college teacher I had. She misused her power because I was “clueless”, and she sensed my vulnerability. It was a painful thing to endure.

I hope I’m wrong about this whole scenario. This just doesn’t sound like the kind and sensitive Dave I’ve come to know here on EFB.

It’s not my intention to criticize. It did strike a trigger for me, and I felt compelled to comment. I hope my opinion doesn’t make you angry enough to want to hit me too.

With HOPE,


I was simply responding to Dave and his words. I don’t comment to everyone or everything here at EFB . I love reading everyone’s comments…they ALL have been very valuable and I respect everyone’s journey and process. It is too easy to misinterpret meanings behind what is written sometimes. I am at a place of experiencing a lot of changes and I was relating to what Dave has written that he is also experiencing for the first time and wanted to express my joy.
That is simply all that I meant.


Elaina, please continue sharing….but no pressure. I didn’t think anything at all about your comments other than you were expressing how YOU personally felt at the time….which is exactly what I do and why I appreciate this site so much. Blessings to you!


I really appreciate you sharing what you just did. I am pretty sure that what you shared is exactly what Elaina picked up too.
is exactly my point about why it is really hard to give advice on a blog like this. We don’t know all the details when someone shares and we can only respond from our own exp. because really, that is all we have.

Diane, there was nothing wrong with anything you said. I love having your voice here!

Everyone ~ Typically, when something like this happens on EFB people leave. I wish people would think about WHY they leave a place that they feel gives so much support because that is where the answers are to another set of the questions. I wish that people would not give up what they feel is helping them because of something someone said. (if that someone is ME who said what they felt was offensive, then I understand but when it is another reader/commenter, please remember, these are just people in the process.) I hope people thing about if it is going to make things easier or right in their lives if they just leave. Isn’t that all part of the process of re-growing up and recovery? Well, it has been for me anyway.

I have been very busy at home this past few weeks and I am going to be for the next few weeks. EFB has become a full time job for me; one that I pay out of my own pocket to do. I am so grateful to the 3 people that have donated this past 3 months including one yesterday but the majority of my expenses still come out of my own pocket, and I hate to ask for donations because I got hate mail last time I did it but the fact is that I paid thousands of dollars for my education in order to DO this work, and I put my heart and soul into it but I am crazy to keep doing it for free. Donations are obviously NOT the answer so I need to re-think the way that I get my message out to the world. I am having a tough week too.

Hugs, Darlene


Karen and Diane
YES that is what I have tried to create here; a place where people can share how they feel without feeling judged.
Thank you for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Elaina, I hope you won’t be leaving for good, I’ve enjoyed reading what you share here. Perhaps after a few days or week you’ll feel better about coming back.

Great post Darlene. My parents never used those exact words, though my father was fond of saying things like “you live in my house you’ll live by my rules,’ or at the dinner table, “you’ll eat it and you’ll like it.” But what I was really forced to eat was the implicit message that I had no choice and simply had to go along with whatever they did, no matter how horrible. My mother was actually fond of suggesting or demanding that I do things in a way that she knew I couldn’t stand, like it gave her a perverse pleasure.

Incidentally though, my mother didn’t really want me to leave; she preferred to have me around so she could use me via her continued emotional incest. She openly sabotaged my efforts to move out when I was 18. But when this helped cause a breakdown where my eating disorder went out of control and I became unstable, THEN she wanted me to leave. But this message of ‘lumping it’ taught me to silently tolerate and accept anything for years afterwards. It’s taken me a long time to see that I do have a choice and do have control over my life situation now–I don’t have to ‘lump’ everything.


Elaina, From the first time I read your posts, I have admired your courage and I have been inspired by your story of overcoming abuse. After everything that you have been through I am not surprised that you are “sensitive” – I am sure I am too. I respect whatever you decide to do, but I do hope you come back and keep posting because I enjoy your sharing.

Dave, your story about the cab driver reminded me of something that happened to me last year. I was just thinking about how much the anger had subsided, until I was crossing the road one day and my son pulled his hand away. Suddenly, a man came right next to me and criticized me for being stupid and I tried to defend myself by explaining (as you do!) but he talked over the top of me, and I found myself yelling at the top of my voice, among the crowd of people, “F*** OFF!” It took me a while to cool down but if he hadn’t taken off, I think I might have strangled him. How dare people comment on what a mother does without even knowing the facts.

I’m just glad I have never crossed the line and actually acted out. I know a young man in jail for shooting his harassers. He had warned them to leave him alone when they were yelling racist abuse and they kept following him for a long time and he finally snapped.

My ex used to always threaten kicking out the kids but in fact he didn’t really want them to leave. Now that some have cut off contact, he keeps hooking them with gifts. He really needs people to control. My poor son who has no choice but to see him says Dad hates him, but that’s only because he doesn’t need to lovebomb him. The minute he is old enough to put his foot down and detach, he will be pursued.

I’m so glad I don’t have to live that way. If people don’t want to relate with respect, then I don’t really need them. It does cut down the pool of people to be friends with dramatically. So many people are manipulative, coercive, dismissive, etc. but what do we gain from being friends with them? If it’s goodbye just because we don’t comply, then good bye it is, or rather good riddance.


Mimi – the driver was rude. he was disrespectful to me and my wife. he was also clueless. He didnt even know how to put an address into his GPS and he is a cab driver ! My wife had to call the restaurant to get directions and then when she tried to give him directions he would not listen to her ! She was still upset about it tonight. I was not the only one who got upset. She was very mad and so was restaurant manager. Yes i should probably not have referenced his age but at his age he needs to learn how to show respect to his customers, especially those that are older than him. That’s common decency. He didnt give a damn about us or where we were going. And it was the second time this week we had him as a driver. the first time i gave him a pass – i tolerated his lack of courteousness and his seeming lack of interest in us as customers. i showed him grace. I thought – maybe he is just having a bad day. Not a big deal – i wont say anything. But the second time was much worse. I wont tolerate that type of repetitive behavior from anyone ! I am not going to allow myself or my wife to be treated that way anymore. Hope that sheds more light on the whole experience. Sorry i didnt paint the whole picture the first time.



Darlene/Diane – thanks for your feedback and support !!

for those of us that pray – PLEASE lift Darlene up in prayer. I have seen after i come back from vacation like Darlene just did, that often things can be really tough because now you are “back in the saddle” so to speak.

I am praying for you Darlene and getting ready to donate to this site. I would encourage others also to donate to help keep this site going. Darlene is not going to come out and ask for $$. She is just not that type of person but if we want to see this blog continue and to receive support and be able to help each other than i would encourage everyone to think about trying to help Darlene right now if you can. this is a major lifeline for me and one i am willing to donate to in order to help keep it going. thanks for all you do Darlene !!!

hugs and love,



Krissy – thanks for your comments and feedback ! I really appreciate you sharing and your support !!



Just want to thank everyone for their support and kind words….Re: the therapist – again I am between a rock and a hard place with him…. I am being challenged appropriately – but it is triggering and very uncomfortable, but it is helping at the same time…the sessions also help my husband to see clearly what is going on with me when I cannot clearly articulate some things at home. Transference is a difficult thing and I do recognise it for what it is – but I don’t have to like it..
I cannot avoid the whole male community because of my past. Nor do I have to expose myself (metaphorically) to this therapist if I don’t feel OK about that – and in some instances I won’t – I view this as one aspect of recovery – I have other therapeutic help too, where I can take some of the issues raised in the couples sessions. I take each meeting with the couples therapist as a one off, each one may be the last one I agree to, one at a time, one day at a time, like a step in recovery from addiction. Some days its one hour at a time.
Re: my husband – well, if he goes, he goes – I have already survived so much…..I really don’t want him to leave. But I won’t stand in his way and I won’t beg.


Certainly you were not obligated to elaborate on our experience with the cab driver on behalf of my opinion. I’m glad you did though.

In the city where I live, we don’t use cab serice. I have only experienced it when I visit bigger cities.

The whole scenario the first time you wrote it did trigger me on several different levels. I am sensitive to making a scene in public ~ either because of being ridiculed by my mother, or because my dad would be drunk and draw attention to us.

I am also sensitive to being perceived as a “less than” in jobs that I had when I was younger, before I got an education. I was treated disrespectfully by my family for being a “failure”, because I didn’t hold a corporate position, but rather, barely over minimum wage.

Although I know you didn’t hit the man, I understood you to mean it was all you could do to hold back. All I could see in my mind’s eye was a big angry man, raising hell in public. It gave me the heebie jeebies, for no other reason than my history and experiences.

I have been the victim of misuse of power and I’ve been overpowered by my mother for 43 years. As a result of being a “less than” and shunned my whole life, I feel a lot of empathy for other underdogs. I am the one fighting for equal treatment, and have done so all my life. It hits a deep nerve when it “appears” like someone is being mistreated because someone else is perceived as more powerful.

Having said all that, I know the work ethic in our society has taken a nose dive. I don’t understand how that came about ~ why people don’t take pride in their work and at least TRY to do a good job. I run circles around 85% of the staff I work with. I don’t complain, I just do it. I feel enough gratification for giving my best, that it doesn’t matter to me if others are beside me. I completely understand being in the presence of people who don’t give a flip about their performance. It sounds like, with your elaboration, you had one of these people on your hands and it is frustrating when they’re in a position of public service.

Finally, I am able to process what it was about your experience that caused triggers in me. I believe I reacted because I had some things to process. If nothing else good came from this exchange, at least I was able to draw up some junk from deep within, to examine closely ~ to look at the WHY of my thoughts and triggers. For that I am thankful. I’m also thankful you didn’t hit him!! 🙂

Peace and love,


#138, last paragraph. I sooooo agree. It does drastically cut down the cirlce. At the first sign of manipulation, lying, envy, triangulation, etc. It’s like I become an instant shut in. Lock the doors and pull the blinds, and shut off the phones. Haha!!

Interestingly, people who do operate in these ways, tend to also be a little intrusive, seeking out information about me/us, to use in whatever fashion that entertains them. My own mother is a classic example of this. When she was speaking to me, she would send an occasional message ~ “I am interested in what you’re doing, what’s going on in your life”. The truth is, she didn’t give a flip what I was doing. She simply wanted dirt or info to either 1) Use against me, 2) Use for her own glory, as if she did the work to ascertain my accomplishments, 3) Feed her insatiable envy. All very sickening from a mother.

Anyhow, my point was really just that I totally get where you’re coming from. When I began to study the dynamics of my relationships with people, some of them fell by the wayside. I’m okay with it. I’d rather have a few faithful friends than 100 fake ones.

With love,


The goodbye is happening to me right now.
2 months ago I went NC with my abusive mother.
Yesterday by phone my brother attacked me
with a put down guilt trip. He is now fully responsible for
her. He has reaped the monetary benefit for years
with no responsibility. Now that he has to step
up I have again become the bad guy in my family.
As he is my only sibling wow it was hurtful.
When ever I stand up for myself they slap me
down. I do not deserve it and now know I never
derserved it but it is very hurtful.


I’ve been working on no contact with my mother also. I actually only had to send a simple letter of accountability ~ she RAN!! It’s what I had hoped would happen since I needed space to process all I’ve learned about her in the last year.

Only in the last few months have I realized that, even though my two sisters see the truth in my mother, they neither one are willing to rock the boat, so to speak. They’re neither one willing to hold her accountable. It was only in our conversations last year that all my mother’s “crap” came to the surface. I thought we were in it together. We’re not. I realized I was alone in this battle. I realized my battle is different than theirs. They both have kids, I do not. And, I was the scapegoat for the majority of the time, although they’ve both been in the hotseat a few times as well.

I was so lonely and hurt when it came to me like a vision, that they weren’t in the same place as me. I thought they were my fiercest allies, because I was theirs. I learned that because I chose them, does not mean they chose me. That was a seriously painful realization.

Karen, I finally came to a place where it didn’t matter anymore if I’m the bad guy. I’m finally at a place where blood means nothing. That was so so tough to swallow. Incredibly painful to see that they don’t have my back. Painful to be so alone in the midst of it all.

After going through a period of grieving, I realized that I have friends who would go further for me than anyone in my family. It’s my new reality, and it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it once did.

I hope peace settles in your heart very soon.


Dave and everyone
Thank you for your note Dave and for your intention to donate. I am going to write a separate article regarding what you said but I wanted to clarify something here about donations that perhaps I should have said in my post. It costs me 200.00 per month to run this site. It is huge so I have to hire a tech person to do security, updates and back ups (so I don’t lose any of the content) for me. I also pay a monthly hosting fee and a monthly fee for the auto responder. I am only asking for donations to help with that. When I get exhausted from EFB I realize how much I devalue myself by NOT asking for help with this. I have an average of 1500 readers a day and I get an average of $30.00 per month in donations. This site costs me $2400.00 a year and it is 2.5 years old. All I am asking for is the price of a fancy coffee. If even 20 people donated 10 bucks each it would cover my expenses. The last 3 months I received 105.00 in donations but my expenses were 600.00. On average I get about 5 emails a day from people thanking me for this site and this space but the unwillingness to help me PAY to keep it going (just to cover the expenses) is invalidating.

Thank you to the 2 people (both of whom have donated in the past) for your lovely emails about this.

As I have said before, I am working on a book but I have been too exhausted from this website to even look at that book this past year. I could drop this whole blogging thing and return to my coaching practice where I made $150.00 per hour but I wanted to reach a larger audience. I know I have to rethink how I am going to do this but in the meanwhile it just seems crazy to me that hundreds of people express such deep gratitude for what I am doing, but that unless I make them pay (other than a few who have donated) they won’t help support it.

As always whenever this comes up, everyone withdraws and gets quiet and avoids the subject which reminds me of all the other times in my life when I tried to stand up to myself and was not heard. And the biggest reason that I rarely ask for any help here is because I don’t want to make people think that “if they don’t comply, goodbye”. But this is about giving back. This is about something that I need. I am not asking for compliance, I am asking for assistance.

Love Darlene


Darlene…thank you for clarifying how this site is run, what you have to do to run it, and even that you have had to hire someone to help. I honestly didnt understand that process or how complicated it is. I personally think it is crazy to absorb all of the costs on your own! I will only be able to donate 5 dollars at this time, but I thank you that you also clarified that even a small amount is GOOD ENOUGH! I appreciate that! I also think you should definitely do what so many others have had to do out of necessity…set a low fee for what you do. This is truly unlike any other help out there, and I know it did change my life. I would be willing to pay for that too! Please dont take a lack of donations as invalidating or devalueing your work and efforts and education….or YOU as a person. Truly, it isnt intended to be that. I think that people are hit up for donations at every store, corner, mall etc and it can be intimidating….but NOT meant to devalue you. When you set a fee, it lets ppl sort out their finances and find the money! Thank you for explaining! 🙂


Hi Caden!
Yes, I heard all those expressions too. And YES to all the rest of what you said! I too was forced to “eat” the message that I had no choice which transfered to the message that I had no value either. My mom didn’t want me to leave either and she was quite shocked when I did. I was only 17 when I made all the arangements to get out before I told her I was going. (so she couldn’t do anything about it) and lucky for me she was in a bad mood when I got home that day and she said “when are you leaving” and I said “I just came to get my stuff” and with that I packed up and left. I still didnt know that I had a chioce, but I certainly do today!
Thank you for your comments, hugs, Darlene


Hi Libby,
Thanks for clarifying. I totally understand.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen
I know how hard this is too. One of my brothers I was happy to stop talking to but the other one I was really close to. (I thought anyway) but it turned out that everyone was happy with me when I was the compliant one in so many ways and no one liked it when I didn’t want to do what they wanted. You don’t deserve it and yes, it still is very hurtful. Hang in there! The fog clears in stages and with the clearing the pain lessens.
Hugs, Darlene


Mimi and Darlene, thank you for your comments. My mother always gets her digs by manipulating
someone else to do her dirty work. She never directly attacks. She’s not fooling me at all. But my brother’s attack hurt. I know why he did it too A) He made big points with her by attacking me (by phone) with her sitting there in the car with him and B) he now is feeling the brunt of her care and he’s
angry that I am not the doormat anymore. You all prepared me for what was to come, it just blindsided me.
I am really better now that I understand what has been driving my depressions. I also read a lot on the subject, but a person is not just a diagnosis, I also see that.

I have had my own website since 1997 and fully understand the costs and upkeep. I gave it up about 6 months ago. I still maintain and write two other business sites. Actually because of this blog I stood up for myself and asked to be paid for one of the sites I had been maintaining for ten years!
They could well afford to pay me, but doormat me never complained.

Jimmy B your new post was really to the point. My husband worked his butt off in his teenage years. He got no recognition and, was forced by his mother to give up what he earned to his lazy brother. She held his bank book. He was told he didn’t deserve anything and what was his was taken, stolen and
given to her golden child. He finally got away. He went in the Navy and never went back. She was the worst Narcissist. He now reads EFB. Sometimes I think, its so much harder for the guys. Women talk.
We try to talk it out and it helps. I really feel for the guys. Now he and I talk more about these issues and I hope its helping him too.


Darlene please don’t get stressed out in trying to keep this blog going. You have served effectively here and everyone appreciates it I do believe. You have given us an opportunity to share with each other but I don’t think you should be taxed emotionally and financially in the process.I do wish that I was in the position to make it lighter for you. I do worry that you will take on more than you should and then this will become stressful to you…Do be careful Darlene…Thanking you for all you do…Will


Mimi @138, My family was like that too–they always wanted information, and for their own nefarious purposes. My sister would send me a curt message asking me to ‘send her an email’ to tell her all about how I was doing. Then she wouldn’t even respond, just sit back in silent judgement and glee at having new things to gossip with my mother about and use against me later. They were vampires! Back when I had a website, my sister even sent anonymous (but obvious as to identity) hate mail to it after I had cut off contact with her. I’m so happy to read your other post about leaving these poisonous relationships and feeling better for it. Good for you!

Darlene, Thank you! I used to have fantasies about how much better it would have been if I had just escaped in secret one day, but now I understand that I simply wasn’t capable of that at the time, and knowing why that was the case, I don’t really need that longing for a different scenario in the past anymore. Anyway, I just sent in a donation; I’ve benefited immensely from finding your site, and since I would buy a book you had written, I see donating to this as something similar. Take care.


Hi Darlene, Have you considered asking for monthly donors? For instance, having most people give even $5 a month (considering you have so many viewers) would certainly provide you with funds. I also have to say this is the most comprehensive site and if you receive hate mail for asking for donations, obviously that is about the other person’s issues not yours. The service you provide through the site is immensely helpful and worth a donations based on a person’s resources.

I hope you are compensated justly.


Thank you!! BTW, I’ve been to your website. I love your writing. You have a beautiful gift. All you’ve been through is tragic. Congratulations on the strength to overcome!!

I am sorry you’re having a tough week. Since your message is so much about taking care of oneself, I hope you do whatever is best for YOU. I will always credit EFB for pulling me out of the depths. I’ve been richly blessed by this, my seemingly second home, for nearly a year now. I would hate to see you go of course, but completely respect whatever it is you need to do.

I am guilty of taking so much from this website and only giving a couple of times. I would be more than happy to be one of 20 people who donates monthly (and hopefully more). I don’t know how much it would cost to add a gauge to the site which shows what percentage has been fulfilled each month, and how much is left to meet the needs. If it’s on the front page, it’s tougher to ignore. I’m working a little again, so, I am promising to make a monthly donation. I hope there are others who will make this commitment.

However, if it’s the stress that has you discouraged, I agree with Will. You must take care of yourself.

Whatever you decide, you have my respect.
Love and Peace,


Mimi and Caden,

The things both of you have said resonate deeply with me; my mother is strikingly similar. My mother once asked me how I was doing, I kid you not, 4-5 times in a 10 minute conversation ‘so, how are you doing?’ and when I don’t deliver she will change the subject into something I’ve been calling fishing topics. Fishing topics are what my Mum uses to engage me in conversation with her; basically, I equate it to fishing me into a conversation under the guise of being interested in me, but the conversation is always all about her. This is the first thing I noticed when I finally started to work out this ball of yarn.

Caden, I have called my Mum an emotional vampire too and that is how I know she is bad for me. There should be a certain level of energy rejuvenated after a social encounter, I should be eager to see my Mum, to talk with her and share life with her. But I don’t, I feel like crap after no matter how ‘well’ it went, and I always, always, always have, but before I couldn’t figure out why. And these are things I used to feel so guilty and ashamed about because I just can’t be the perfect empty person she wants me to be. I felt like a bad daughter and she was perfectly okay with letting me feel that way, and making me feel that way. My sister, as well, is fully integrated into their system. I decided, after finally realizing that my sister and my Mum gossip about everyone and everything all the time, that I too also use gossip as a way of connecting to others. Something I’m sure I learned from the system. It’s really a turnoff for emotionally healthy individuals and is very attractive to emotionally unhealthy individuals, which I feel has contributed to my choice of friends and lovers. I’ve stopped gossiping at all since then, and I’m especially mindful of if around my family. It’s one of those things in that it’s something I can stop doing, because I don’t like that I do it, and by abstaining from it it’s something that has caused my Mum to have some truth leaks in her dealings with me. I now know that gossiping is on of the only ‘real’ forms of communication I ever had with my Mum. Now that I don’t gossip she doesn’t feel a need to let me have a word in. She feels no requirements for me to do anything but sit there and listen. Obedient, a shell of a person is how she prefers me. My sister too, absolutely will not speak with me because my Mum is doing whatever behind the scenes, being mad at me for not giving her gossip anymore and being dodgy when it comes to unnecessary details. Since I’ve realized the gossip thing and stopped gossiping, and not tolerating it as much as I can control in my dealings with family, I’ve noticed a drastic improvement in my mood, in my outlook. I think this is me finally accepting that what I desperately wanted from them for so long and was so willing to slander other people for, be cruel, shallow, all sorts of nasty things, wasn’t who I am but it was what they wanted me to be: an empty vessel just absorbing them, or reflecting their good parts of a combination of both. By looking inside I have found myself, a mute, tired little girl. But, she’s doing okay. Now that I have a better sense of who I am and what they are doing to me emotionally and I’m aligning my behavior with what I am gradually starting to feel and see as the truth; they don’t want me and I’m okay with that. Still very hurt by it all, I don’t see how I couldn’t be, but it’s not a source of shame or guilt anymore. Instead, I feel much better about myself even just doing this one thing, by not gossiping. It’s okay if I mess up too, just try again for next time.

That’s just what your guys’ comments made me think about, joggled some ideas round my head a bit.

Also, Darlene, I too hadn’t realized how expensive this is for you. I am very grateful and thankful for this place, to you and to everyone here, it would be a real loss if it were to ever go down. I will donate what I can when I get paid. 🙂


I just realized not too long ago that my mother’s conversations are all about gossip as well. I wrote about it here somewhere. It is disgusting. I also monitor myself very closely to ensure that my conversations aren’t at the expense of others. I was recently thinking about what conversations with my mother involve. She always has someone else’s name in her mouth. That is so unbecoming to me. I hope I’m not like that. Sometimes I try to think over what I’ve said over the course of the day. I don’t want to be one of those people that only has conversation if it involves someone else’s name. I hope my mind is much more encompassing than that. I hope!!

The real AHA moment was that it’s usually someone in my family who mother is talking about. She will venture out into the lives of outsiders, but much of the time, it’s her own family, distant, and immediate. She far prefers to slay her own loved ones. I had a sudden realization that not all families are like that. I was taken aback. I thought, “you mean it’s NOT natural to verbally slander the people we love?” Wow, what a revelation.

Ahhh, the things we learn in the process!!
Thanks for sharing!
Love and hugs,


Mimi, thank you!

Jackie, that is exactly the type of relationship my mother wanted with me–she was only interested in spreading malicous gossip about other people, complaining about her day at work, unloading her troubles etc–no interest in me as a person. I didn’t want to be her therapist and I couldn’t gossip with her when I knew she was talking about me behind my back in the exact same way with others, so I refused to even talk to her on the phone after I moved out of her house. She was uncomfortable with email, so I had the upper hand, though she would still ‘fish’ as you say all the time–she was especally interested in asking me for my street address again every few months or sometimes weeks (supposedly because she had to mail something to me, but of course these ‘packages’ rarely if ever arrived) so she could covertly find out where I was living. I’m glad you’re refusing to play their games, and feeling better for it.

take care,


Hi Karen
Yay that your husband reads here too. That is pretty cool. My husband had a twofold struggle with having to see where his self esteem was broken and then having to realize how he was continuing the cycle in our family with me and the kids. I am so happy that he did it though!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Will
Thank you for your thoughts and concern.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you for the donation! I like your point about buying a book and that this site is like that. I am going to use that example when I write about donations in the future. As a result of this thread, I recieved 5 donations and I appreciate the help so much!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Chris
I am considering asking for donations monthly, yes. I had intended to start a membership site here, but the amount of work is astounding. There are problems that the readers may not see, problems with the comments that take so much of my energy and time and some of those get sorted out behind the scenes too. There is a LOT that goes on behind the blog in fact. I have had two readers send me private emails with concerns over a commenter this week. When I don’t “correct” a commenter who seems mean, people see it as consent or that I don’t realize what is happening. What people don’t realize is that I have a minimum of 5 active posts at a time. I can’t deal with every problem on the blog but if I charged a member fee, I would have to. So that is one of my problems. Asking for a donation each month however, is a great idea!
Hugs, Darlene


I have torn feelings today between anger, sadness, and conviction. My “mom” just emailed me a message just a few minutes ago and the first words will show up on my email, but you have to open it to see the entire message. I deleted it without opening it but I could see the first words, “Diane, I guess we didnt emphasize enough”…….and that was all I could see. I have not been in contact with anyone from my family for well over a year now. The beginning words were typical coming from her…she is incredibly narcissistic..and I noticed that there was no “hello”…or anything nice…she was going to pull either an angry message to me or one that would be trying to show that she is nice enough to forgive my misunderstanding of the situation between us….but never really apologize or admit that she and my dad have been anything but reasonable with me. It made me angry. I have worked so hard to put them away from me and keep them away from me…and it makes me sad that I have to be this way because for some reason I understand them and still have love for them…and I still feel convicted that for ME I am doing the only thing that will keep me feeling FREE and happy …and that is to continue not being in any relationship with them. It is easy on the one hand because I honestly NEVER want to go back into that way of relating with anyone ever again, and it is difficult on the other because they are growing older and frailer and of course, I still do have a place in me that cares…I even feel a twinge of guilt..which makes me angry too! So….once again, I am grateful to have EFB to turn to and vent out and sort out my feelings….and get them out and not keep them crushed down inside! I have been having an excellent day and am not going to let this one bring me down…in fact, I should have expected it! I am now going to set up for the 4th of July and decorate a bit and move on…..I am free and I want to stay free and so I choose not to respond!


One of my fears has been as still is that people will feel obligated to contribute and if they can’t they think they should NOT post and participate. I don’t want anyone to be or feel obligated. I don’t want to communicate “obligation” either. So I would never want anyone to feel that the amount of comments they post should reflect the amount they donate! One has nothing to do with the other! I really hope that everyone understands that I am just expressing that although this is my website it is also a community that is helpful and that I don’t want to bear the burden of the expense by myself anymore. I am really happy that a few people were so receptive to my asking for donations and I thank you so much for your donation too Mimi!

Everyone, the reason that I have been more quiet is because my husband and I are getting ready to sell our ranch! ~Well part of it anyway but it is the part with the house on it, so that is a HUGE thing to get ready for and I have just been really busy with personal stuff. And I am taking care of myself ~ I really am. Even talking about this blog expense thing helped me in a huge way towards self care! (I will write more about it soon)

The next couple days is busy because of family stuff, but I should be back with a new post really soon! Please keep the conversations going everyone. I do read everything but I am having trouble commenting on everything! (and again, please understand that just because I let something slide in the comments does not mean that I didn’t see it or that I agree with it. It just means that I only have so much time in a day)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Jackie
I am running out of time for today but will try to comment tomorrow on your comments. (it is my daughters birthday tomorrow and I have to go shopping to get ready for it!)
You would not believe what a relief it has been to have people say that they will donate and to have a few come in! I am so grateful! And mentioning donations was not nearly as scary as I thought it would be! (I did get some negative email but there was so much support of me here that the negative is just not a big deal and I know it is about them and not about me.
Hugs! Darlene

Hi Diane,
Hang in there! My heart goes out to you! It is so great that you stayed strong and have resolved to take care of you. Drawing boundaries is not about not loving, in fact it is more loving to stop letting people mistreat me. It is not only self love but it also sends the message that they are not showing love and that I don’t have to accept that. My husband actually learned that the way he did our relationship was NOT love and he changed. If I never drew the boundary, he never would have changed. It was my love for him that pushed him and now he is so much more happy himself!
Hugs, Darlene


I never stopped to really look at it until recently when I saw a discussion here, that my mother only gossips too. Bad stuff about everyone. Mostly her sister. But mostly the people in her bldg. Really everyone. She taught her young grandson to spell her sister’s name “bragart”. She is a very jealous person. Everyone and everything. Her first words in my brother’s new home were..”this house is better than mine.” Not wow what a great home!! Her first words in mine were…”it looks like Dark Shadows”. I have antiques,
but by no means a dark Gothic mansion.
I would get that same emotional vampire thing each phone call. No more. I am lucky in that she won’t try to directly contact me. She will use others to guilt me. She never comes at you straight on its always a sneak attck.
Darlene..oh no!! not moving!! I did that after 23 yrs in the same house. It does help you weed thru the “stuff”. Have a great 4th Everyone!!


I just went through this for the past 2 years and it ended in my physical harm and emotional hurt…from early in the marriage it was always that he would leave and this is not worth it and leave me alone statements…finally I had a few drinks and when he yelled I told him off and to leave …he hurt me and did have to leave that night ….better to be alone alone than in a one sided marriage where I had all the burden he had none and played ill to keep me there….at least now I don’t cringe when I go in, nor do I knock on my bedroom door….but I do still feel the need to say I’m sorry all the time when I do most things or assert my self..hopefully that will reduce soon…


EFB is a God Send & I would definitely contribute to a monthly donation to keep it up & running. When I came to this site about 6 months ago, I was not in a good place emotionally. I was lost in the fog & spin of anxiety, depression & confusion. I prayed to have my eyes open to the truth and this site has given me just that! I appreciate your Wisdom & Caring Heart!
Thanks so much for all you do!


I can totally relate to your conflicted feelings about your parents. On the one hand, you know they are not good for you but you also care about them. I realize I will care because that is the kind of person I am, however, it doesn’t have to come at my expense. I used to get caught up in their dysfunctional ways, but I’ve limited contact for me. I have a lot less tolerance for the drama & stress they stir up. I feel & do better, when I remain separate & stick to my boundaries. Yay for staying free & making your own choices!! Happy Fourth of July….Freedom & Independence to everyone!!


Happy Birthday to your daughter & Happy Fourth of July!..Yay for Freedom & Independence!!!! Have Fun celebrating!


Happy Birthday to your daughter!! (Is she a firecracker?? heehee)

Clarification for you and everyone ~ I don’t feel obligated, I feel GRATEful. That’s why I WANT to give. Nothing else. 🙂

Thank you for reminding us/me that Darlene has been a life saver, and our financial support is essential to the survival of the home she’s created for us to be ourselves and support each other. It is soooo much my safe place and I know it’s yours too. I just needed to be reminded now that I’m working a little again, so thanks for that.

Happy 4th of July to you too!!!

Happy 4th of July to everyone. Hopefully, today will mark the day that you can be free of the financial burden Darlene, for all you do!! Your personal independence day!! Yay!!

Love to everyone,


P.S. Darlene ~ RE: the nasty emails…. “screw their courage to the sticking place”
~ Lady MacBeth


Darlene – the hardest thing for me to learn in recovery is that i have to take care of myself first. i think we are programmed to help everyone else first and help ourselves last, if at all. Thats the way i was taught and programmed. I never thought about what i wanted, what i needed, what was best for me. It never came up in conversation. I dont think i ever gave it any thought until i started counseling about 20 years ago. Its easy for me to fall back into that mode. I can go help 100 people and totally neglect myself and my needs. I have gotten better the last year or so. I have gotten my wife to work on it too. I convinced her to take a year off from teaching after 15 years of teaching special educ. kids. She has been completely burned out the past 2 years and bringing all the issues home with her. I finally put my foot down and said “no more” – i told her that if she was going to teach another year then i was going to leave. Finally the message sunk in. she is taking a one year sabbatical to figure out what to do with her life.

I think i mentioned this before but i will say it again. I dont need/want you to respond to all of my posts. Its your site but unless i am way out of line or unless you really want to reply, i am not expecting or wanting a reply from you. If you do reply – great. If you dont’ then thats fine too. NO expectation here from me.

When you were on vacation the blog posts went really well i thought for the most part. Personally, I would like to see you spend less time commenting and more time just moderating and writing. You are a gifted writer. I cannot imagine responding to every post. I could never do that. I think the lively conversations among us, especially the sharing of stories is a big part of what makes this whole thing special and unique. We each have a story to tell and you provide a place for that to happen. I am not trying to say “dont respond to every post.” – its your site. Its your blog. but i think that your time would be better spent doing moderation of comments – looking but not responding every time, writing, working on your book and perhaps do a little coaching on the side. I do multiple things to make a living. Its not “all or nothing” – you can do it too Darlene. I will help you with the book anyway i can. I have 25 years of writing/editing experience. I am very good at editing copy.

I am encouraging you to get back to the book and get back to coaching. There cant be many other people out there that have the knowledge and experience in coaching that you have. I would consider having you as a coach on an as need basis. I would like to see you add a “coaching” link at the top. Even if i could call you to get your advise on a situation i would be willing to pay you for that. lawyers charge for every 6 minutes of time ! They bill in 6 minute increments. I would certainly pay for 15 minutes or a half hour of your time to get some feedback from you by being able to talk to you on the phone. We can grow this together Darlene. It does not have to be all your undertaking. You are not in this alone. You started it. Let us help you make it become what you want it to become. Share your vision ! I want you in my life as more than just a responder to my posts. However we can make that happen i would be thrilled with.

We are all in this together. You guys are more like family than any family i ever had. I have a wife and a dog and a few friends – thats it. No kids, no grandkids, no parents or siblings or cousins or aunts or uncles or co-workers – no one else. Thats how dysfunctional my family and my wifes family is. I had to go No contact with everyone to presevere myself and my marriage. And working on the pain from being abused is exhausting. I work every day on getting better. Every single day.

hugs and blesssings to all. Hope everyone in the U.S. has a safe and happy July 4th ! I dont know what they call it in Canada but I am sure that Canada has something similar so Happy Independence Day to all the Canadians too :).



Hi Alie
welcome to efb. That is great that you got out! Thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Hey Dave! Yah to everything you said!! Darlene, I’m with you! Happy 4th!! -Karen


One of the things that I have learned in my process has been that I don’t have to explain myself so I am not going to say all the things I “want” to say to justify the way that I am doing things now or the direction that I always intended to go with this site. Where I hit a snag was when the vision I had got bigger than I anticipated it would it all got way more complicated. I have been trying to adjust it for about a year and a half now. Part of this “going slower” right now is about getting a new vision! I will bring everyone in on it when make my decisions about it.

My needs right now are just to have help paying for the website costs. Those costs are separate from coaching or any other endeavour that I undertake. My family and personal life IS in balance. I know you are trying to help but in actuality you are giving me advice and I feel as though you are judging me and although your suggestions are meant to help, with all due respect Dave, you can’t begin to know what works best here in this website and I have been working on the balance and the vision for over 2.5 years now. I know what makes the magic of EFB and how I got this site to where it is. I thank you so much for your concern but there is so much more to this then I have time to write out.
As for my coaching practice, I don’t have a coaching button for a reason. Having said that, I do take the kind of consult calls that you are talking about ~ my fee is $150.00 per hour and you may contact me through the contact form if you would like to pursue that.

Right now I need to go a little slower so that is what I will be doing. Thank you so much for your concern and for your intention to donate at some point.
Hugs, Darlene


I have finally said goodbye about 2 weeks ago. I posted on the last entry and since then have had 0 contact with my Mother. My sister also unfriended me on facebook. No loss there anyways. I kept avoiding from her to see my statuses and now I don’t have to 🙂

A part of me thinks that I should contact them and the guilt is there, but only a smidgen. When it does creep in I feel something inside me come up like a wave and it just says NO. I know they’ll never change. They’ll never love ME for ME. After the wave I just feel an immense sense of sadness at what “should” have been with a twinge of regret. In the end I know I did all I could and that I am mourning an idea I hold in my heart. I may not have it with them but I can create that dream for my children to be safe and loved and held close.

Today I was digging around in some junk from my teenage years and I found a magnet. I remember picking it out at 16 because it reminded me of a newspaper clipping my Father gave me of Dear Abby when I was about 13.

“1If I speak in the tonguesa of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,b but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13

I never really thought about it. Today I did. My Father loved me when I was little and through my Mother’s abuse changed slowly. He gave me small pieces of himself like secrets that my Mother couldn’t take and pick apart. That was the only way he could love me safely without her help to destroy what was there or left. This makes me sad because he died 4 years ago in August. I miss him so much. If wishes were raindrops…

Either way the verse makes absolute sense now to me. It’s almost like my Father gave it to me all over again. Now as an adult and the ability to know the difference with the life experience I have I can understand so much more.

I’m learning who I am and it’s the oddest feeling. Parts of me are making sense and other parts are a complete mystery. Thanks for letting me babble 😀



Oh yeah, just wanted to add one more thing that my Mother was never patient, never kind, she envied the relationship with my Father, she boasted to the world her picture perfect family. She is rude, she is self-seeking. She was always angry, easily or not. She remembered everything I did wrong in her eyes. I don’t know if she delighted in evil but the closest I can come to is watching her fling cat poop over a fence into a little Princess wading pool for her low-income neighbors little girls to swim in (that sight broke my heart). She rejoiced in anything she was right in. She never protected me, never trusted me, and never hoped for anything except what I could give and she always persevered for herself.

Now I’m an adult. I talk like an adult, I think like an adult, and I reason like an adult.

Through this realization I can assimilate my Mother did indeed never truly love me.


Sonia and Darlene…thank you so much for the encouraging and understanding words. It was very comforting to me!

Alie….I think you were very brave to walk away from a relationship that was hurting you! I agree with you that I would rather be alone …and feeling lonely…than be in that kind of relationship! With a husband or family or friends! It isn’t easy to bring a relationship to an end, but to comply and be trapped and unhappy was much worse for me! I am so sorry that you have been hurt!

Jessie, I felt that my mom absolutely interfered with my relationship with my father too. She deliberately worked at keeping us apart, and turning him against me over the years. I am so very sorry that you also experienced that in your life because it is damaging and sad, and disgusting, I understand the sadness of letting go of something you badly wanted to happen in your family…and I understand all about complying to try to gain love, acceptance and approval….and not ever feeling that I measured up. I feel for you!

Dave, Happy 4th of July to you….and everyone too! I love your spirit and heart. I did love what you said about us all being in this together, and I know it was directed at e everyone here, but I needed to especially hear that . I have appreciated how hard you are trying to overcome and how much you …and your wife…are growing. Amazing!


Darlene – i dont pretend to know what works best. I have never pretended to know and I AM NOT JUDGING YOU ! You said you “feel that I am judging you.” Feelings can be very misleading. Feelings can lead us astray. I have not said anything negative about you or about this site. I have been nothing but complimentary and positive. It hurts my feelings that you think i am judging you. I don’t judge anyone on here let alone you.

I made a couple of suggestions. If I am not free to make suggestions here then i wont share them anymore. If that is one of the rules then i won’t share my opinion about this site. I believe i should be able to share my opinion about this site because i contribute often and have contributed $$. Therefore i am invested in this site. Its your site but if you don’t want me to share my opinion about it then i wont share it. But in the meantime please dont misunderstand my statements as being judgemental. I am not here to judge anyone. When something i write is misinterpreted i am very quick to clarify and if i say something that was wrong then i own up to it. i take responsiblility for what i say and what i do.

No one else on here has accused me of being judgemental so i will chalk that up to being your issue with me that you have to figure out.



I really love everything you wrote. It really got me thinking about my mother’s ways of “love”.

My mother has recently said goodbye I believe. I designed it such that she would RUN. I held her accountable without backing down. I really put her on the spot in a way that it would be very tough for her to fast talk her way out of it.

I have not heard from her since then, about 6-7 weeks ago, give or take. I am relieved that I don’t have to constantly battle the confusion she caused. I don’t miss the mixed messages. I feel freedom. I am ejoying it. It’s sort of strange though. I must be cold at heart because I rarely ever think of her.

I’m sorry you lost your dad, but I love the connection you seemed to have with him. The words he cut out for you. That is so awesome.

Thank you for sharing! It really made me think about some things.

Love and Hope,



I have had 4 complaints about the way you share in this past week. This is not my issue. People have asked me why I don’t block you. This is not “my issue”. People felt uncomfortable that you asked why others had not responded to you. I had two emails about your comments in this thread about the very comments you are mentioning now. One person said that she thinks you are her mother in disguise. Someone else called you a bully and asked why I don’t block you. (and I just got another private email about this comment that I am addressing right now) Even in your statement, “I believe i should be able to share my opinion about this site because i contribute often and have contributed $$. Therefore i am invested in this site” you tell me WHY you should be able to tell me stuff about how I should conduct it? This is not a company with shareholders. This is the very reason that I am afraid to start a monthly fee membership site. Contributing comments and $$ does not give anyone special privileges. That is the old system and I don’t live in it anymore. What I said to you was absolutely true and MY opinion. You don’t know what goes on behind the scenes here, you don’t know what is best for EFB OR for me. You said you would like to “see me” do certain things. And I said that I needed help with the expenses and that is all I am asking for.

About feelings ~ don’t use that mumbo jumbo on me. I am the queen of finally learning to listen to my feelings. The reason that EFB is so successful is because I write about exposing all that old system bull shit and all those sayings that people used against me to control and manipulate me.

Since you mentioned you donation publicly I will thank you for it publicly. I appreciate it so very much! (Everyone~ I do not thank anyone for their donation publicly unless they mention it on the site.)

Hugs, Darlene


Hi Jessie!
I read your comments last night on my phone and I love them. Isn’t it crazy how the true definition of love is OUT THERE (in so many places actually) but we were brainwashed not to recognize it. We are taught to accept false definitions because that is what makes us so much easier to control and to manipulate. I base half my writing on the subject of false definitions (which I often refer to as “the brainwashing”) and it is righting those false beliefs that I found so much freedom and wholeness.
Thank you so much for sharing this. (I wrote a whole post somewhere in this blog about those verses on “love is patient”. My mother (and countless others in my life) did not show love in those definitions either. Each day I check myself and my actions through the grid of the true definition of love.
Hugs, Darlene

Everyone ~ hope you all had a wonderful 4th of july if you are in the states! (dave ~ our celebration in canada is on the 1st) Yesterday was my youngest daughters birthday so we were celebrating that and our family had a wonderful time. Last night we watched the fireworks on TV from New York. Wow, they were something. We went to the fireworks here on the 1st and that was awesome too! Life is for living!
Hugs, Darlene


I was not going to say anything, but I am now. I personally must be interpreting Dave’s posts extremely differently than a lot of ppl, because I have not once taken what he has written as a judgment or a criticism or mumbo jumbo or negative in any way. When I have thought about what he writes, it comes across like a man would say something, and as someone who might not phrase things the way a sensitive woman might, but I also have seen the encouragement that he has intended behind the words. I am going to throw this out there….he hasnt been abusing anyone on this site, and if it triggers something in someone about their past, that isnt his responsibility. My personal thoughts on one of his last posts was totally different than what others perceived and I simply do not see what the big deal is that is being made. He might not be “perfect” in the way he writes it and it might have come across as advice, but we dont know if that was his intent because no one has asked him. If there is anything that has been confusing to ppl on here, and I do NOT mean this at all disrespectfully…it IS about the donations. If Dave had an opinion or feelings or encouragement about them because he was caring and wanted to help, then it shouldnt be bashed for the way he said it….or read more into it than what he intended. Noone seems to have asked him what he meant…they assume they already knew. I feel very strongly about this issue today…it is unfair. I believe the comments from the beginning about donations were conflicting and confusing and showed frustration and that was picked up by all of us here on EFB.. I dont even care except for this latest issue with Dave. Some women have issues with men and hate men…and that can be understandable, but that isnt anything to do with Dave. I think there are ppl here who are out of line in some of their comments, but it is overlooked because we try to be tolerant and understanding and patient and kind. I have to say that of all the things on this site that have been negative…this is the most difficult to get past. Darlene does a brilliant job and everyone has benefited enormously from it. What she chooses to do or not do is up to her and I believe that has been made very clear…and I do not believe that Dave thinks he has special entitlements…he never said anything of the sort…and when I read his comments , I dont even sense that. This is my opinion about everything I have read.


I totally understand where you are coming from, but I don’t think you understand that this conversation has a history. I am the only one here that has the entire picture of what goes on here. I can’t post all the history so that everyone understands where I am coming from. I hate these kinds of things because people “think” they know what is going on simply based on one comment thread etc. or even on a few comment threads. I am VERY careful about the way that I conduct myself here and the way that I deal with people and situations. I see red flags and many other things that other people don’t see at all, and again, I am the only one that knows the whole picture or history.

I agree that this has been very negative and I am sorry to everyone for that but I am not jumping to conclusions nor am I a man hater and the complaints that I have had are not from man haters. In fact I have heard from men on this too (on other threads) ~ mostly people asking me if I am aware. (and I am) I am not going to try to explain any further, I just hope that people will trust me to know what I am doing. I have been doing this work for a long time. (way before I started this website)
I value everyone and I want healing and wholeness for everyone and that includes Dave. I am not attacking him in anyway even if it seems that way.
Hugs, Darlene


ok, so if this was an “in real life” group therapy session…I think we need to do a breathing exercise together right about now. LOL. I truely hope any an all post going forward will only build up those that so many other forces have beat down. The thing we have in common is exactly that…we’ve been torn down. Let us not rip apart the safe haven that has been built here for the sake of being right. Hi, my name is J. Marie and I’ve been a peacemaker most of my life. LOL. That’s my reality…it’s a double edge sword. It’s what’s kept me in a verbally abuse marriage for 12 years, and it’s what motivates me to plea with each of you to let this dog lie and move on to more productive things.

So, what would we like to see the talented Ms. Darlene write about next? Something more on inefective therapy? Processing our anger in healthy ways? Lessons learned from ranch living in beautiful Canada? Setting healthy boundaries with in the virtual world of social media?


Hi all
I have difficulty understanding the boundry setting thing.
I can see its so important. I know I have never
had any. Everyone encroachs on me. Bosses,
friends, especially family. I have read about
it but like curved space and object programming
I just have trouble visuallizing it. So any and all
info is great!!


J Marie
Your post brought a smile and even a giggle ~ I thank you for that.
It is very true that we have all that in common. I understand your plea, but if this was a real life therapy session, after the breathing session, I would not just sweep things under the carpet. Peacekeeping is good but not at the expense of the truth. Peacekeeping is not often condusive to healing!

I was just working on a new post about accceptance and the way it is used to get victims to let the abuse go. I started that post a month ago and for some reason I forgot to edit and publish it! I hope it is up by tomorrow. I am starting to run out of time today because of the stuff that goes on behind the scenes at efb that I mentioned earlier!
Hugs, Darelene


Hi Karen
I learned to set boundaries by realizing where they were missing in my life. (I might write a post about this subject!)
I learned where they were missing in my life by seeing the truth about abuse etc. As long as my value was in question (by me as a result of the way I had been defined) I could not set boundaries.
Hugs Darlene


Hi everyone. I feel embarrassed at my “outburst” earlier…in my comment earlier today. I feel I overreacted without knowing the history and having understanding as I should have before I went off like I did! I am not taking anyones sides, even though I did feel at first there was an unfairness with Dave going on here. I now dont think I want to say that because I dont know all of the history here on EFB since I am fairly new compared to Dave and others. Darlene, I do trust you and do think that you handle yourself very carefully with what you say here and how you say it….and I want to apologize to you for what I said or implied. It wasnt fair to you….and there I was complaining about unfairness! I know there must be a good reason why you choose to say something to Dave the way you do, and I am sorry for doubting you. I overreacted without even asking you or Dave where you both were coming from. So, Darlene…I am retracting what I wrote because I dont understand everything…and I will completely leave it to you to sort out with Dave! I am so sorry everyone for any negative feelings I have personally sent out here on EFB today, and hope that you all will forgive.


Hi Diane
I admire you for checking with yourself in this way and coming back to say so. This is the hardest part of running this site; the dynamics when something goes wrong and knowing that no one knows everything that happens here (and behind the scenes here) other than me. I know that many people will question the way that I spoke to Dave. I respect that everyone has to make their own opinion of what is happening but I thank you for acknowledging that so very often we make our judgements without knowing all the facts. I really appreciate you coming back to post what you have.

This whole situation reminds me of what happens in families and what we are talking about in this site all the time. People sometimes refer to facetoface groups as ~ “in real life” but online groups are just as much “real life”. There are people and mix ups and things we don’t know. There are bullies and enablers, peacekeepers, truth seekers, helpers, advocates, predators and people with entitlement issues. There are ego’s and there are scapegoats. I started this site after working professionally in mental health advocacy for 3 years. I bring that exp. to this site and to these discussions. I really honestly want wholeness and healing for EVERYONE.
Hugs, Darlene

Everyone ~ I have run out of time to post a new post! Maybe tomorrow! Meanwhile have you read this one?? “Psychological Abuse ~ If you don’t like it leave” http://emergingfrombroken.com/psychological-abuse-if-you-don%E2%80%99t-like-it-leave/


Karen ~ (#185) I don’t know if this helps or not, as I had to set boundaries in the past. And correct me if I am understanding you incorrectly. Boundary setting is basically distancing oneself from another person or situation. To give you an example, when my mother was still in my life, I would make a point of contacting her less and seeing her less – this is a form of boundary. Another is making a point to not invest oneself too much into another person. For instance, someone at work is a real bother – a boundary might be simply avoiding them.

Boundary setting was not effective with my mother (my abuser) – because when I did see her it was like she made up for lost time. It was completely ineffective and made matters worse. One boundary I had was that she would not be permitted to humiliate or degrade me in my own home. I made a promise to myself that if that happened that would be ‘it.’ And it was. I couldn’t have her in my life when she would even violate me in my own home.

I hope this helps – that this is the information you were looking for?? 🙂


Jesse ~ (#176) … this reminds me so much of my own experience with 1 Corinthians 13 – I didn’t come to know what real love was until I was 26 (20 years ago). I went through this same thing – my mother didn’t know love and didn’t know how to love. She did the opposite of everything in that passage – even the keeping a record of wrongs to use against you at will to control and manipulate, to blackmail. My mother never loved me and my aunt affirmed that for me as well. She said, “Your mother never loved you.” I writer her back saying, “Tell me something I didn’t know!”

And learning who you really are is quite odd isn’t it?? And so many folk don’t understand where we come from when we share that. When you have a parent who tears you down your whole life and who tells you that you are a wretched person – because they are our parent, we believe them. Sad thing is, they never knew us at all … and the result is we didn’t know who we were either because we believed the facade and lie they brainwashed us with.

It’s been 12 years since my mother has been in my life and its been quite a journey … but man, I am so much happier and have more an idea of who I really am, especially in the last few years. I know breaking ties is not for everyone, but it was quite necessary for me. 🙂


Hi Everyone,
I was called in to work today so I’ve only had the privelege of reading from my phone. I was drawn in emotionally by all the things I read, and I felt a lot of different stuff. Some things to process for sure. Great learning for me from this particular discussion.

I hope I’m not kidding myself when I say I try to be open minded to input from others. I try not to take accountability as a jab. That is my mother’s way, and I so do not want to be that person.

I long to be whole and happy. I want to be integrated and solid. I believe in my heart, for that to happen, I have to be open to others’ suggestions, and respond to accountability in as positive a way as I know how without getting defensive. I want to KNOW what I need to do to be whole. I do not have these answers inherently. If no one holds me accountable, I am ultimately not making progress. I want progress, even if it stings for a little bit.

Having said that, I felt perhaps readers might look down on me asking Dave direct questions about the cab driver. I told the truth back to him, as he described it. I don’t know if I was wrong to do that. He has cried out for help in utter desperation, as have I. In his first comment, I did sense a few things rising up in me. I know that is MY problem. I wouldn’t ask someone to refrain from commenting because it triggered me. I did have the desire to voice my opinion, with hope that I wouldn’t be attacked for it. I’m still of the opinion that it isn’t appropriate to hold power over someone who is perceived as a “less than”, or a peon. And, I will always believe lack of knowledge is not punishable. These things I did sense from his comment. I am not intending to offend anyone. It’s just my opinion.

As a product of my upbringing, I agree with Rise’ so much, in that I don’t know myself that well. I am still very much in the discovery stages and it is very odd. I don’t know where I fit in, in a lot of ways. I was always the person my family said I was. When that is taken away, there is a sense of floundering. Not that it’s a bad thing to finally discover myself, but it’s a hell of a mess in my head sometimes.

I’ve been forced into positions lately, that have me wondering if I’m being abused and manipulated. Now that my vision is clear about my family, it seems it’s been a natural course of action to have my eyes open to people outside of family. I feel like I’m running everyone through a filter that I can’t describe. My husband included. I am afraid to trust myself, and others. The only thing I really trust in my heart right now is EFB. There has been too much betrayal for me to jump in with both feet… with anyone.

Wow, sorry for rambling. I want to conclude by saying I feel for everyone who spoke on this subject. I do trust your wisdom Darlene. I need your wisdom because I’m sooooo not finished yet. The beauty from this exchange and the many viewpoints is learning. I’m thankful for that.

Peace and love to everyone,


Please don’t beat yourself up for expressing your feelings and insights here. Your instincts are good.

We all come out of the fog and into a misty day.

Lookin’ for sunshine…


Diane, that last comment was for you too! We all come from the fog into a mist.

I don’t really like myself to quote Bible passages, because too many times people have used them out of context to commit abuses. (Spare the rod, spoil the child? Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live? Women should keep silent?)

But one comes to mind for those of you that like Bible references: “Now we see through a glass darkly.”

I too am a recent immigrant to EFB-country. But I wouldn’t hesitate to say that no one wants to go from being abused to being abusive. I dont know Dave, but I get from his writing that Dave doesn’t want that either.

It’s a risk that while recognizing our suppressed anger that the anger might come out inappropriately if we aren’t
cautious and thoughtful. Most of us are very sensitive to that, and rightly so.

The opposing risk is that as we recognize our suppressed anger, we become so fearful of becoming abusive with it we might continue to suppress it, even when it is right and justified.

It’s a fine distinction for something powerful and a split second decision when it comes up. We all have to fine tune that for ourselves, I think.


Dave, you said you told your wife you would leave if she did not comply with your demands regarding HER health and HER career.

This, in the “Fear of Goodbye if you Don’t Comply” section?

If I were she, I would’ve said, “Fine, don’t let the screen door hit yer butt on the way out the door.”

But that’s me.

I would suggest to anyone not to threaten goodbye to someone you want to keep close.


Thank you for your kindness and understanding. I do appreciate it.

I am floundering a little. A lot has happened in a short period outside of EFB and the things I usually talk about here. It has me questioning myself, and other people (near to me, but not my family). I’ve been a volunteer at a prison release home. Many of the women struggle with addiction, which is something I am passionate about. I have become pretty close to one of the women. I believe she’s using again, and without going into a lot of detail, I am questioning my every thought and her every word. It has my head spinning a little because it so closely mimics the manipulation I endured from my mother. A few other things unrelated to EFB and family are going on too. Just a lot to sort through and a real test in trusting myself.

I so agree with everything you said about anger. It is a risk, an asset, and a necessity, and such a fine line. I have been angered before at people and I knew I was angrier than what the situation warranted, but I didn’t know why until I came here. I didn’t know who the anger SHOULD have been directed at all along.

Dave, I was never angry when I commented to you. I am not a man hater either…. quite the contrary, haha!! I picked up on the way you say you “finally convinced” your wife, and a few other things regarding her. I agree with Karenina…. this falls under the heading of “fear of goodbye if we don’t comply”. It’s a double whammy when you’re speaking to a forum largely composed of women who have been abused in some way or another. I was not attacking you, so I hope you didn’t perceive it that way. I am only telling the truth as I see it through my own vision. Darlene has expressed the importance of truth in healing. I want healing, therefore I want truth. For myself, and for you.

It takes a beautiful person to look squarely at themselves with objectivity. I think I have spoken here at times, without thinking it through very well too. IMO, most people who have been abused have compassionate and forgiving hearts. It’s been my experience with people anyway. I have enjoyed reading your perspectives and insights and I hope you continue to comment. No need to feel embarrassed. :o)

Hope and healing to everyone,
PS – Darlene, I love the examples you set here of the message you are passionate about. I admire your integrity, consistency and wisdom. I so appreciate you modeling this.


Thanks for all you do and for setting things straight.

I also felt a profound irony about what you told your wife.


Just a laugh…
My hubby was leaving just now to do some errands, and quipped, “Bye, I’m off to see the Wizard.”
I started saying, “Okay, bye, don’t…”
He finished my sentence, laughing, “let the screen door hit me on the way out?”
I had to laugh, but said, “Don’t let the flying monkeys get ya.”

He wasn’t reading these posts, either, just on the same wavelength I guess. 😉


Hi Rise and Karen
I find that setting a non verbal boundary is confusing. Just avoiding someone was like avoiding dealing with it and contributed to the invalidation of myself that I was already struggling with. In some cases I removed myself from the person completly but in most cases I first spoke up for myself about what the problem was. I don’t care if my mother didn’t understand or agree with what I told her when I finally drew my line in the sand. That isn’t my problem. I told her for ME.
Hugs, Darlene


(re comment #192)
This is how it happened for me. This is the natural progression of recovery. I began to put thing through a new grid of understanding which is the same as the filter you are referring to. This is a very good sign! I was also afraid to trust myself. I was also very aware that I did not know myself. Everything was new and the ground felt “unstable” and I felt like I was walking in a vortex (distorted gravity) and that my balance was really off. AND it was uncomfortable. BUT it was part of the process and it led to amazing discoveries. Today I do know myself. I do trust myself. I am not uncomfortable anymore. I love myself and others and strive to live each day in the true definition of love, with my family, my kids, and with all of you here.
Thanks for sharing ~ I love reading about the process and how it is working!
Hugs, Darlene


Re: comment #194
This is a very good point about anger. And while we are in the process of learning, sometimes we make mistakes both on the side of abusive and on the side of suppression.
You mentioned that no one wants to go from being abused to being abusive; something that I have learned in doing this work especially in this website is that it is actually common for people to come out of victim mentality and gravitate to wanting power. (because of the belief system and the fact that so many people have only had an example of either being under someone or over someone and the belief is that the one with the most power “wins”) What I have noticed is that no one “consciously” wants to go from being abused to being an abuser, but it happens all the time.

I am not sure how much of this site you have read but one of the most difficult situations on this blog for me is when a parent who is dealing with standing up to their own parents justifies abuse towards their own children. They want to get out from being victims of their own parents but still want to misuse their power over their own grown up kids and will justify the exact same actions that they are trying to stand up to. I believe this has its roots in the belief that parents have “rights” that entitle them to abuse or devalue their kids etc. (or bosses have rights or elders have rights etc.) It always comes back to the original belief system. This is a really important subject when it comes to healing and wholeness.

Hugs, Darlene


Yes, Darlene. I did write a letter respectfully stating how I felt about at least 8 issues. I wanted her to be able to reread it and then called to discuss it. She blew everything off except the very smallest thing and declared that thing to be unimportant.

I have discovered that the abuse in my family is gender based. Females are abused and males are not applauded but are not subjected to direct targeting. This spans at least 3 generations and includes cousins, husbands or wives that marry into the family and grandchildren. Until I started to really look at everything I did not notice how specific this is. Anybody else notice this in their family?
It included my maternal grandmother, my mother, her sisters, my husbands wife and myself. Both of
my parents actively did this abuse and degradation based on gender.


Yes Rise’ thank you! That was a very good description.


Karen – So glad you found that helpful. 🙂


Darlene, regarding comment 201,
I agree wholeheartedly. One of the things I am attempting to do very gently and unobtrusively, is to correct some of my “inherited” errors passed on to my daughter. I didn’t really begin to come out of the fog until she was already through college and out on her own. I didn’t beat her, but some of the “sayings” that get passed down I did unfortunately, say to her.
I also regret letting my mom talk me into “helping her out” by paying her instead of daycare to keep my daughter while I supported my litle family when she was small. I didn’t recognize my Mama’s abuse as abuse then, it seemed aggravating, but “normal.” So Mom was able to pass along a lot of screwy stuff directly too.
Regarding comment 199: My last conversation with my Mom was when I tried to explain some things, and she turned her back and walked off (again.) You “did it for you” when you had the final confrontation/conversation. I waited too late. She is never without her new husband, so a heart to heart would have to be in his presence. He is a retired minister who seems to feel that it is his special gift to mediate, bringing the presence of God (or at least his opinion about God) into the room to shine His Holy Light upon sinners (like me) who don’t follow the rules to honor their parents and obey their parents in all things…(His own daughters and granddaughters are a mess psychologically while his GB son and grandsons are quite perfect.) I think you get the drift…
I could not possibly deal with her gas lighting, her denigration of my father’s memory, her refusal to hear me, and her new imaginary holy reality (which she swears even to those who KNOW better was HOW SHE ALWAYS THOUGHT AND WAS.)
An example: before-preacher her: “I despise people who think they have to be in that church every time the doors
open.” After-preacher her: “I wouldn’t miss a minute, we are at the church more than at home some weeks.”

Before-preacher her “Well sh-t fire to save matches!” “If you bear you arse the gnats will leave yer face alone.”
After-preacher her when sis said “damn” : “I taught you better than to talk like that! You embarrass me!”

Before-preacher her, re my dad: “We loved each other so much for so many years! Never unfaithful! How will I do
without him?” After-preacher her: “You think your dad was a good man, but you just don’t know. Let me tell you a
thing or two…(and) “I FINALLY have a good man now.”

So much more, and much much worse, but you get the drift. She doesn’t even face the truth of the past at all, and has created a new past for herself, which she apparently has decided to believe. Talk about gas lighting! She even gas lit herself!

So while you did what was best for you, I have to do what’s best for me, and for my daughter, and even for her. She doesn’t need to be lambasted, it will do no one good, including me. I do not need to be subjected to her lies and disrespect. So for vociferous me, paradoxically, a quiet exit is best.


Well, I said I couldn’t possibly face her, when I meant I couldn’t possibly face visiting and pretending everything is peachy while she tells lies about people I care about WITHOUT letting loose the anger I have about it all. not a “truth leak” lol, just a failure to complete that thought. If I did that I would be lying by my actions. She’s 84 yrs old, legally blind, and lives in a made up world of her own choosing. Sorry, folks, I cannot see myself lambasting an 84 year old blind person just to make myself feel better. That would not make me feel better about myself. I will keep a bit of honor.


Darlene (#199) … Yes, I should have included that part, my apologies – the setting of boundaries was not done blindly or non-verbally. I confronted my mother on many occasions to not treat me the way she was treating me and when she would not change or at least make an effort to change, the boundaries got set.

Setting boundaries comes after confronting the person and when they don’t change and especially when they show no desire to change because in their own mind they’ve done nothing wrong. I gave my mother tons of chances and many years for her to change her behaviour toward me – but nothing changed and it did in fact get worse. Boundaries got set and when those didn’t even work I had no other option but to omit her from my life. But that’s me – I know omitting such people is not always necessary, sometimes the boundary setting works – it just didn’t work for me.


HI everyone,

Something I have recognized about myself:

Many times over the years people have told me that I think too much. It has often driven me bonkers to hear this over and over (on top of the fact that thinking too much drives me bonkers, too!). Sometimes it has felt like getting punched in the same spot again and again to hear this—as another thing to be ashamed of, another thing wrong with my personality. I think I do this because I want to have complete control on whatever situation is at hand—to know where I stand, to know the meaning of everything, all the nuances and details, to get it all right in my head. Why? Because if I wasn’t sure of things, if I was wrong or ambivalent, that left a gap for my mom to come in and take control of everything—for her to be right, whatever it was she thought, and everything and everyone else wrong, so being a know-it-all, for me, then has been a coping mechanism to try to protect my identity. I had to know it all because if I didn’t know it all, I risked having my identity snuffed out and taken over by someone else. But I carried this defence out into the world as if everyone could do this to me and in the process of trying to take my power back and speaking up (instead of quietly knowing it all in my head), I can see how then I, myself, repeat the cycle, having an “always right” attitude like my mom has, and wanting everyone to see how much I know, (also how great I am), etc., when really it’s only because underneath everything I have felt my identity under threat. (I imagine that is exactly where my mom got stuck because of the way her mother treated her, without respect and boundaries).

I do see that not knowing is actually essential to becoming who you are. Otherwise, you just become fixed and your life stagnant. I have this wish to be able to approach the world with curiosity, as something to explore and learn and observe (i.e. to shed the know-it-all-ness), especially when it comes to my relationships with people. With other things like travel or taking up new activities, etc., I don’t have this problem to such a degree, but with people it is there. It is fear. I guess the thing for me is to start realizing that it is okay to be wrong and to not know everything, that my childhood is over and my parents can’t control me anymore, that I am a grown adult, fully capable of drawing boundaries and removing myself from people who wish to control and have power over me so that I have the freedom to walk through life, not having to know everything, rather to be open, even if it is more vulnerable. To be strong enough to be vulnerable like that. It’s scary but I’ve been through so much and have come a really long way since I had a total breakdown eight years ago, that I think I have every reason to believe I am capable of doing this. I have been afraid of people telling me that I can’t, either directly or indirectly, because that was what my family taught me; it was how they controlled and kept me dependent and quiet; it was also how they were each controlled themselves. But I don’t have to live like this. It is a lie and a waste of life. I am so tired of being afraid of so much.

I suppose the irony of this post is that it has come after a whole lot of time thinking too much! …like days, weeks, months and years on end 😉


Hi Dave, I think it’s great that you are trying to be open and expressive. That is not easy, and I know culturally it’s not easy for men. However, I believe you may be misguided on how you perceive situations. There is a book you might find helpful for why people here are so offended with what you’ve written. It’s called ‘The Verbally Abusive Relationship’ by Patricia Evens. Even if you don’t agree or view other’s perceptions as ‘off,’ I think it could possibly help you to understand.

Darlene, in response to post #192:

Thank you for describing a bit about your process – it’s very encouraging. I have been setting up boundaries with people and have started utilizing more discernment. I feel very confused at times and have these mini epiphanies that make me realize how deeply I was wounded, how I ended up with such messed up thinking, why I have had repetitive damaging patterns in my life, etc… I end up feeling a large amount compassion for myself that I never could before. I do feel like I’m in the center of a vortex and that no one around me can be trusted. People I have known and trusted for years are no longer in that same place, so I highly relate to Mimi. I even see my Grandfather in a new light – his insistence that my Grandmother (me at times as well) stop everything to cater to his needs and wishes. I never noticed how absurd it really is.

I’d really like to get to a point where I have more confidence in my own judgment, self and opinions. It’s exhausting to be consistently fighting being defined by not just everyone else, but the negative junk in my head as well. However, as I’ve become healthier, boundaries are becoming easier to set – the idea of responding or accepting someone’s idiocy is just no longer an option. I feel repealed by such behavior, not suppressed – which has been very empowering


Alaina, for me it is not possible to “think too much.” I think all the time. Can’t imagine a state of “not thinking.”

However, it is possible to “obsess” about an issue, where one thinks about a certain issue to the detriment of all else running your mind in circles trying to find an answer to something that *you don’t have enough information* to answer.
For example: “Why did he do that?” or “What was she thinking?”

To these types of questions I might get some possibilities to help me introduce further conversation with the person involved.

But I can’t get sound answers, because I cannot crawl into someone else’s mind, personality, history, memories,
traumas, and thought-processes to ferret out truth from their point of view. Going round and round trying to answer unanswerable questions like these is not usually helpful, and can be detrimental.

So I just ask myself, does my brain have adequate input to get a valid answer? If not I must seek more input, or shelve the question until more input is volunteered. And then move on to other thoughts. There’s always plenty to think about other than that one thing…

This is my way of seeing things, for and from my perspective, but maybe it can help?


Oh, Alaina, I forgot to say. One time I was told, “you think too much, by someone who was just not wanting to address a particular issue. My response was, “perhaps you think too little.”


Hi Karen
I only had the guts and presence of mind on the phone that day to tell my mother 3 things. She didn’t respond to any of them but that was our last call so the message is pretty clear. It is very hurtful when this serious stuff gets blown off because it makes such a statement; the statement was that I was not worth “it” to her. Today I realize that knowing that actually made me realize that I had to fight for me even more. I was very defined by the ways I was treated and in order to overcome that I had to dispell all those wrong messages I had been given. I might not have been worth it to her, but I AM worth it.

About gender, what I have noticed is that for the most part males are manipulated differently. Tactics are used differently to control males (both child and adult males) but abuse is abuse. Tactics work differently for different people.
Hugs, Darlene


My mother married an abuser too. (after she divorced my passive abusive father) My mother was MY abuser, but her husbands (both of them) were hers.
About your last line, I think EVERYONE should do what is best for them. I am not sure why you think I am reccommending “lambasting” ~ I didn’t even do that with my own mother.
Hugs, Darlene


Karenina and Alaina,
If I remember correctly, the only person who ever said I think too much is my mother. I wish I would have thought of your response Karnina. I love it!!

I think when I was a kid, there were so many unanswered questions, and I needed answers to feel consoled. As a result, perhaps my mind was in constant motion. When there isn’t anyone to calm fears, maybe that is the result?? As a child, the imagination is so vast. I remember hiding out in a room with my sisters. Complete silence. They didn’t know answers either. The things we were hearing left a lot to the imagination. My mind would be reeling. I’m glad you brought this up Alaina. It has brought me to an answer I didn’t have before. My mind still does the same thing sometimes today. I call it the dwellies. Constant searching and ruminating over something that’s better left alone ~ usually something out of my control, or something in the future and I hash over every possible outcome.

My husband seems similar to what you describe. He is the youngest of 3 boys and it was total chaos in their house. He always had to fight to be heard. Everyone spoke over the tops of each other, as if the loudest would be the one who was heard. He still speaks over people today, but not nearly like he did when I met him. He still interupts people, me included. He is also incredibly knowledgeable. I’m double glad you brought this up because it gave me insight into what could be the root of his issue as well. He likes to sort of monopolize conversations about all he knows on any given subject. Almost like a self appointed teacher. I have tried to reassure him that he’s incredibly smart and knowledgeable. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. You gave me a little peek behind the scenes of what might be going on in his mind. I always thought it probably stemmed from something about not being heard. BTW, in my opinion, it takes a ton of courage to write what you wrote. Thanks for the insight!!

I’ve had revelations about my grandmother the past several months too. I see her realistically now. I see her dysfunction, and it’s made it difficult to want to spend time with her. She has always been good to me and I try to remember that. I hear her badmouthing everyone in my family though, and I’ve always overlooked it until this year when a lot of truths came to the surface in my family. I don’t like to hear that stuff. I am still working on a way to be a good granddaughter to her, despite her dysfunction. She has done these things all my life. I have been her subject matter at times, I’m sure of it. I just thought until this year, that all families function in this way. Not true. It’s not natural to bash on your own loved ones. It’s not appealing either. 🙁

So, I’m right there with you Chris. I think we will overcome!! 🙂

With hope,


Yes, I love what you said “sometimes the boundary setting works – it just didn’t work for me” but I rephrase it this way; when someone doesn’t respect my boundary, the relationship doesn’t work for me. There is nothing wrong with that. It isn’t that the boundary didn’t work for you, it was that your mother didn’t respect it. It didn’t work “for her”. And sometimes non verbal boundaries work too ~ I was just saying that if there is relationship and we don’t clarify the boundary it can be more difficult.
Hugs, Darlene

Excellent comments re comment# 208 ~ Much of my way of life before was about protection and survival and coping. I had to re learn everything including letting go of the unhealthy part of control with myself. Yes, it is okay not to know everything. (I too had that fear but it was mixed. In some areas it worked for me not to know anything)

There have been a lot of “areas” of healing for me. The social area has been a big one; I had to give myself permission NOT to trust before I was able to look at new relationships. I had to learn why I didn’t trust and validate that “no wonder I didn’t trust!” and I also realized that I didn’t trust myself either. It was through the building of my relationship with ME that I healed in the social areas of life. I trust myself today not to take it when I am mistreated. I don’t seem to attract abusers the way that I used to either. (I think my victim signal has been replaced with a “you won’t get away with it” signal through the recovery process.)

I was constantly told that I “think too much”. I love the response Karenina shared “perhaps you think too little” and I would use that one… LOL I am really big on answering those kinds of remarks. Usually I ask for clarity, such as “what does that mean? why do you say that”. I don’t usually get an answer though.
Thanks for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for your explanations about trust issues. I am looking forward to trusting myself now. I felt I might be stuck in never trusting anyone ever again. Myself included.

My friend that I wrote about from the prison release home has had the classic physical symptoms of using her drug of choice again. I saw those signs several times over the last few months. She is asking me to believe her words, that she hasn’t used at all, and asking me to ignore the dilated pupils and jitters that I saw with my eyes. It is so reminiscent of my mother asking me not to believe my own ears, when I heard her bashing me to other people. She would straight out lie and say I didn’t hear it.

In this particular situation with my friend, I am honoring what I saw. I have withdrawn from the relationship based on what I feel are lies, not based on relapsing. She has been a hardcore addict for a very long time. I know that produces the perfect liar. She has asked me to believe what I feel are excuses for the physical signs. ie, she’s been taking a new diet drug, another drug she’s on causes pupil dilation, etc. I just can’t bring myself to believe it. I hope it’s not just my trust issues. And, I hope I’m not making a mistake trusting my own eyes and instincts. Here is where I have trouble trusting myself. Even though I’m questioning my own judgment, I am still walking away with hope that I’m right. I would feel horrible if I’m accusing an innocent person because she has no one. No family, and no friends here ~ this is not her home city, and she’s only been out of prison for 6 months.

Anyhow, that’s the current news in my world.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!!


Hi Chris
I may have told you this before but I read two of Patricia Evans books in my first year of healing. She really opened my eyes to all kinds of abuse and abuse tactics.
It is great to hear about discovering compassion for yourself and for sharing your progress!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, oh! It was not that you recommended lambasting anyone! Just that I might end up lambasting her due to my own frustration with her narcissism and imaginary/denigrating version of the past: hers, but inclusive of the past of me, my sibs, nieces, nephews, daughter and late father. When she changes “HER” past, she rewrites every memory of every person associated and repeats it until her followers begin to be brainwashed to agree, or for those younger, to accept her version as true. I’m not accepting that, and she will not accept any persuasion or correction, so I would likely explode. So I stay away, and let her have her imaginary world without me in it. Best all around.


The definition of “lambast” includes “to chew out, to have words with, to chastise” which is what I meant in re my mother. The definition which means “to beat up” isn’t something I would ever consider for anybody that didn’t attack me physically ( in the present.) BTW, I’m 5’4″ and weigh less than 130 lbs, so I’m hardly a threatening figure physically speaking. (although like the Incredible Hulk,I could say “don’t make me angry, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry LOL)

I am usually careful to be more clear in what I say here. However the situation w /my mother has been refreshed this past week when my daughter visiting me from out of state briefly went to visit my mother, and then questioned me about doing “the right thing” in regards to my mother. We talked it over and daughter was able to understand my POV.

Anyhow, it’s rather raw and fresh currently, so I may not be expressing anything about it very clearly as I am still processing it. NC doesn’t keep me from indirect exposure, and that can be insidious coming from my mother thru my daughter to me. Painful, maddening, frustrating. But I’ll manage it.


Hi Karenina!
Ah.. I understand now! Thanks for clarifying!
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Karenina, Mimi and Darlene! I really appreciate your thoughts! I wrote a response but then I accidentally pushed some button on my keypad and was sent back and lost everything I wrote! Ah, well! It was quite cathartic to write it and maybe good enough just to write to myself because, well, I don’t really feel like typing it out again and it’s all okay anyway…. so… I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend! And thanks again!


Thanks everyone for your kind words. My Grandmother decided I needed her advice which was to get some medication for what she told me she believes I have. She also told me I don’t remember the truth of things. I find it funny because she has a Grade 6 education and wasn’t there in person with me. I called her and told her on MY terms that I do not want to talk to her anymore. I told them all unless someone dies, don’t phone me. Even then I just want to know. I’m not showing up to these things and honestly have no want/need to know them anymore. Sad but true. I’m feeling a little rebellious now with my liberating feelings!


New update: I now talk to no one on my Mother’s side of the family save one cousin who is the most like a sister. I am overwhelmed and amazed at all the people I know from my childhood who knew my parents and myself, friend and acquaintance alike actually show some support for me during this time. I’m kind of at odd because I need it and don’t really know what else to say except “Thank-you”. All I have is this feeling of finality that “it’s finally over”. The only difference in this break up is I’m not alone. I have an amazing husband who is very supportive of my choice and three children to help me take my mind off it. It’s the weirdest feeling of peace I’ve ever had…. Kind of confusing too.


Darlene, I do remember you writing that you’ve read her books. I’ve found them extremely helpful to clear out the junk in my mind.

Mimi, We will overcome! 🙂



When I first read your comment about thinking a lot, I meant to share this, and now I see others have added to it. I used to find that I thought a lot too, and feel that there was something wrong because my ex used to make out like that there was something wrong in me for thinking too much. He told me I was the weirdest person for thinking so deeply. It was to his advantage if I didn’t analyze or think too much.

Since leaving the marriage, I have discovered that people who are abused have that symptom. It only makes sense – if we are psychologically attacked, we will be going through cognitive dissonance and crazy-making feelings. We will be forced to analyze and think more because we have to be more careful as well. It is a defensive measure.

Now that I am detached from the abuser, I am able to stand back and manage my thinking and work through what is helpful and what is not. Trying to figure him out is the least helpful because the whole reason for doing that was to help him change, but if he is not wanting to put in the work, I am wasting my energy. Knowing and recognizing the effects of his words and actions are essential – nobody has the right to tell a survivor not go there and work all that through.


I, first of all, am so thankful for this website. I am going through a horrible estrangement from my mother which is now starting to cause other family members to confront me negatively. I am writing this from my phone and plan on telling my story via computer in the a.m. I am so thankful for my husband and his parents… I don’t know how I could do this without their support and encouragement. Until tomorrow… when I tell my story of “goodbye”.


I am 30 years old and have a 32 year old sister, who is usually my rock when it comes to all things related to
Mum. My Mum’s an only child. Over the years we’ seem to both interchange playing good cop (means that you listen, never challenge, just suck it up and do nice supportive things) and bad cop in cycles (means holding her to account, challenging her behaviour without caring about the consequences). My Sister is in good cop mode currently as she’s worried about Mum’s mental health; a constant source of worry for many years. Firstly, no matter what happens, and what has happened, I cannot feel anything but love for her. My family has always been very closely knit, despite being a bit dysfunctional at times. I’ve grown up with this feeling that love in a family is unconditional and fundamental. That’s why it’s so heartbreaking when love is questioned, or when you feel yourself on the receiving end of manipulation and games. I wish sometimes that I wasn’t so empathetic, but I have a great deal of sadness for my Mum. She was the only child my grandma managed to deliver full-term. I see that as a miracle, she doesn’t. My Grandma gave her the same name as the previous still-born baby. My Mum never felt good enough, like she was the lesser replacement and would never quite live up to expectations. She was bullied at school for being overweight.. It was her Mum who fed her up and didn’t stop. Her old headmaster was physically violent to her. My Mum was born in the 1950s, by the time she was 17 she moved abroad for a couple of years, she was ambitious and a free spirit. Something which probably scared the hell out of parents at the time. So I think Grandma struggled with her drive for independence, but we still saw a lot of her Mum and Dad once Mum had her own family and was living 200 miles away. When we were born, my Grandma would come down and clean the house and tell Mum how she should do things. That was undermining. A word I hear a lot from my Mum. She feels a constant need to be accepted and validated by people who mean nothing to her. Like she has some point to prove. So it’s easy to see where her major issues have come from; negative body image (she’s obsessed by appearance and weight and at ones will get worryingly thin), intelligence (thinks people view her as thick), and constantly needing to better herself.

I could not until the other day accept and embrace what my sister told me.. Which was that you just can’t live with the guilt of being her daughter and that she’s an emotional abuser. For me I considered an abuser to be somene that knows what they’re doing and I guess I struggle with the fact that she would knowingly put me through this. You somehow feel you’re a puppet in some kind of play that’s going on behind your back and the more I thought about it, the more I began to think. I’m at crunch time now. I had one of my end of tether moments at Christmas after I had to move in with her temporarily after losing my job. 3 weeks into my stay I told her it all had to stop. I cried so much and she seemed a bit humbled for the first time in my life. She listened rather than just threw everything back at me. She hugged me and told me how much she loved me, and for a few days there was peace. Given my Mum’s in social work, she finds perfect excuses not to get help for her problems (e.g. The counsellor was just telling me things I already know, remember I am trained in counselling).

Until the day she chooses to realise, every time I so much as raise my voice, speak sarcastically, pull a face, don’t come through the door smiling and beaming, leave anything out in the kitchen, leave an appliance plugged in, try to have some harmless banter with her, am faced with the prospect of self-loathing. Those regular family tiffs that happen end up being a moment to question my love for her and our entire relationship. So you are forced to choose to try your best to walk on eggshells all the time and suppress your emotions or have a hard life. My mum never says it’s her way or the highway. She uses guilt to make sure you understand that’s how it is. Her favorite thing of the moment is telling me our relationship is so fraught because I used to be such a lovely child (kind, innocent, compliant, intelligent, thin, attractive and destined for great things) until I was 17 and got taken advantage of by a 30 year old family friend. I didn’t see it happening at the time but instead was seeing him in secret and I started to realise I needed to get out. He ended up emotionally abusing me without anyone knowing and it took me a while to recover, but I did. She claims that’s the part of it that upsets her the most; someone she knew, taking away her child’s confidence and happiness at such a crucial time and how I’ve changed ever since. Fact is that it was at that moment that I fell off the pedestal that she’d put me on. I disappointed her by hiding it from her, and she’s never gotten over it. She pretended it was about the abuse I suffered from this man who also didn’t feel loved. She was the victim, not me. She lost control of the daughter she had always been effective in moulding. So now, 13 years later my entire adulthood is wiped out. My career choice, the way I dress, the way I look, the way I challenge things, what I’ve achieved. When I left home for university I vowed I would never let anyone again enable me to feel I have to change and be someone else. The line is “I just want my daugher back”. Those few simple words are the most effective to stab at the psyche.


Hi Truthbtold!
Welcome to emerging from broken!
I am so happy for you that your husband and his family is supportive. I know what it feels like to have everyone else pick sides against me telling the truth. I look forward to hearing your story.
Hugs, Darlene


I felt a sense of relief and peace once I got past the hurt with my mother. I mourned the loss of her intensely last year. I thought I might never stop crying. When I did, it was like she was a shell of the person I once knew, and I don’t love the person that’s left. It is a relief. It is peaceful. And, I agree, a bit confusing. My siblings were another blow later on. My two sisters and I are on speaking terms, and we are now at a place where I feel settled and comfortable with the new reality. It was painful also, but I realized I was alone in holding my mother accountable. I’ve come to realize it’s okay to be alone in it. They have their reasons, and I have mine. The biggest part is, I don’t seek them for approval of my actions with mother anymore. I do what I need to do for me, and I try not to judge them for their approach. They see what I see in our mom, but, our approaches are different. They have kids, I do not. My feeling toward them and their actions is, “whatever”. The whole process can be described with so many different words, yet, it’s nearly indescribable, if that makes sense.

Krissy, thanks for that explanation of “thinkers”. Your description of why makes a lot of sense to me. As a child, with no answers to the chaos, just sitting and worrying…. that’s my coping mechanism. Wow, this is a real aha moment for me. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Chris and Darlene,
I am going to check into this author now that I’ve seen a few people bring it up. Any titles you would care to recommend first??

Thanks, peace, and love,


My mother made it very difficult to discover her alter ego as well. And, I loved her deeply for many years. She was actually on a pedestal in the eyes of my sisters and myself. She designed it that way, and we fell in head first from birth. I hope clarity and strength continue to come your way.



The one that I liked the best was actually “Controlling People” by Patricia Evans. (How to recognize, understand and deal with people who try to control you” ) There are a LOT of husband examples, but I saw my mother and every other controller that even touched my life, in that book.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mandy
Welcome to emerging from broken. I think you have found the right place! I encourage you to read the articles in the category “mother daughter” ~ I have recovered from the ways that I was defined and discounted. You said something interesting to me; you said that you are forced to walk on egg shells all the time and suppress your emotions OR have a hard life. I found that it was because of all the suppressing of my emotions and walking on egg shells (compliance to her) that I developed serious depressions and major problems and that is why I HAD such a hard life.
EFB is about healing from the damage that has been caused. It is about taking our lives back. I am really glad that you are here!
Please feel free to share often.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Jessie
My mother always said that I don’t remember things the way they really happened. and of course she told me that. it is a brainwashing tactic. The truth is that she was / is terrified that I might actually remember and expose the truth about the way things really were. A huge part of healing for me involved validating myself and taking my power back. I KNOW the truth and I don’t need them to admit it anymore. Hang in here!!
Love Darlene

p.s. everyone, I have been off line a lot; we are getting our farm ready to list and sell a part of it, (but it is the part with the house and yard so huge job!) and I have been working pretty hard at that. I have a post almost ready to publish but each day seems to fly by so fast and I run out of time. Please bear with me and feel free to keep the discussions going while I am working on that over the next week or two.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene, thanks for the encouraging words. Yes the bit you picked up on about the eggshells is absolutely right. I cannot do it anymore, which is why I took 2 years distance from her. My Sister complies better. Her 1st year of motherhood was made hell by mum (Mum’s expectations of being a grandmother weren’t met)and mum was ready to cut her right out, much to my dismay. When you’re not the one in the hot seat, it’s easier to say suppression is the better option. From the point where I came back from the 1st term at uni, I let her get away for 2 years with the nasty comments about my weight. I started throwing up meals at uni for a couple of months before realising what an idiot I had been. But in my mind I had this type of attitude where sometimes I’d think, nevermind the near bulimia, don’t want her to know in case she starts questioning if she’s been a good Mum. It’s crazy! I’ve read a lot of these comments today though and it’s given me strength. Thanks for helping!


Hello Darlene,

Thank you for the warm welcome; it is greatly appreciated. I have started to write my story, and I am realizing just how long it is. I am now realizing that it is probably not fit for a message board due to the length! 🙂

To summarize my situation- I politely requested that my mother start treating my husband with respect. She is of the mindset that when you marry someone, you marry their family. I have been away from my family since childhood and returned when I was a young adult (lived in a different state and came back). Needless to say, all of the family get-togethers and holidays really start to smother me, as I am not used to it, and am not completely used to these people, either. I don’t feel like I fit in, and never, ever have.

My mother spent the next few months telling everyone how horrible my husband and I were, and when I told her I was ready to talk, she was invited to our home. She has said some horrible things about my husband, completely unfounded and ridiculous allegations, and says that because she doesn’t know him very well, she is left to make up her own assumptions. This had been going on for SEVEN years before I finally said enough was enough. While she was at our home, we started to make great headway. I had set the boundaries of no-name calling, raising voices, etc. She kept saying that I am her “little girl” and rationalizing why she can treat us this way because she is the adult. I am nearly 27 years old. I think I also qualify as an adult. I began to get frustrated but didn’t raise my voice. She grilled us on our decisions as a couple, and even though we don’t need to justify our actions to her, we did. We had come to a mutual agreement when the subject of Christmas came up. We had friends coming from Canada to stay with us for the holiday, as we are their “family”. I told her we would not be attending. She came unglued, telling me that my Dad (who had died about 16 months earlier) was rolling over in his grave at the way I was spending his money (uh, what?!), that I was selfish, that I must hate her because I won’t be there for Christmas, etc. My husband asked me to go to the bedroom as I was crying very had by this point (bringing my Dad into it was a low-blow as she divorced him when I was 4 and pretended he was this great person after he died even though she had caused friction between us for MANY years- we had reconciled before his death, which was sudden, unfortunately). My husband said “How dare you come into our home and say such hurtful things to my wife?” This is where my mother started playing like she was scared and said “Oh, now we see the real (husband’s name).” During this whole thing, my stepdad and my husband had both been these peace makers. Well, the conversation ended with my mother saying that all I need is money (I showed her my Decedent IRA statements that I can’t touch without penalty until retirement age) and that I didn’t need family. We have not had meaningful contact since, and she said she didn’t want to contact me anymore.

Well, my mother has put my sister in the middle by talking to her about it. I kept it away from my family as I believe in privacy. Granted, I do not attend events right now that include my mother, but that is also her choice of having no contact. Now I am being blamed for not forgiving, and I’m getting texts saying that I have pushed everyone away, that I am selfish, etc. I stood up for my husband, our marriage, and my right to make decisions as an adult. Now I am the scapegoat.

I am dreading the next family event where we do all have to be together for a wedding. My mom refuses to agree to go to counseling with me, yet I’m the selfish one.

I guess I just don’t understand. I don’t honestly even know if I want to be a part of this family anymore. My mother is very manipulative and she gets everyone in her arena and always has (she has done this to other family members, too). Not only did I lose my dad, and the relationship we were rebuilding (I had a mother that did not want us to know the truth about our father), but I have lost my mother, too. I guess I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t agree to go to counseling with a family member that honestly wanted to try to fix things. I just keep getting told that the relationship isn’t broken, and that I’m making a bigger deal out of things than I need to.

So, in a very small, concise nutshell, that is the roundabout version of my story. I do not feel that for one second I was wrong in defending my husband who is my biggest supporter, cheerleader, and confidant. I have never felt more at peace than I do with him, and I think this scares my mother somehow.


Hi Truthbtold,
I read your 3rd paragraph and thought to myself, despite what the gossip and texts say, it sounds like you’re doing good things to preserve your sanity. I personally need space from my mom too. I don’t care who she tells how horrible I am. I used to get heartbroken over it. I finally realize I was dying a slow painful death under her “authority” – at age 43. I want and deserve to LIVE, like anyone does. I am getting there and the peace I’ve felt without her contempt, lies, manipulation – unimaginable. I had no idea what I was missing until I let her go. I think spouses are supposed to come first. Our coocoo mothers just don’t see it that way. It’s an injury to their power. ….. In my case anyway. I hope peaceful days are right around the corner for you.
With hope,


Sorry, I meant 4th paragraph. (doing this from my phone….eeeek)


Thank you, Mimi. I often wonder if the reason she doesn’t understand is because she has had so many failed marriages, and has never felt peace within herself. The hardest thing about this situation is the blame I am receiving from my sister (when this all happened, I asked her to not let this get in the way of our relationship and she said it wouldn’t) and the fact that I may very well just be removed from the family. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the mob. Hahaha! But, I guess when you get right down to it, who wants to be in the mob anyway? 🙂


Another thing- I just realized how scared I was to type about any of this on a public comment board. I am so terrified that someone within my family will find it. What exactly am I afraid of? Well, I guess that would be “goodbye”. I aired a small portion of the dirty little secrets.


Hi Mimi, I’ve read quite a few of her books (sort of a book nerd). I tend to agree with Darlene about ‘Controlling People.’ I have another one called ‘Victory Over Verbal Abuse’ that I haven’t read, but reading her other books have been so eye opening. It’s amazing how distorted my perception of appropriate behavior – I deserve soo much better! 🙂


truthbtold … and Mimi … I cannot tell you how many times I read stories of such mothers and it amazes me how alike our mothers are! truthbtold, I used to get scared about family finding out about me commenting on a public thing too. And really, why should we be when we are just choosing to not cover a lie. With that said, there is something about not wanting to fuel the already raging fire that we are somehow ‘selfish liars’ that are ‘crazy.’ It’s not something I care to be tagged as.

I feared good-bye for good too … but since it having been done, I have been happier. I feel disjointed sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I would rather live this life without them than be manipulated and made to feel like I’m the pee-on because I refuse to put up with and endure my mother’s abuse. No more walking around on tippy-toe afraid of stepping on someone’s toes. I don’t miss the ‘if only she’d get over it’ looks. I certainly don’t miss being manipulated, guilted, shamed, degraded or humiliated. I don’t miss the icy death stares and unreciprocated hugs from a stiffened body. I am free – and even though I am free from their shackles … freedom is a little scary sometimes when you’re living it for the first time in your life!


Okay the mention of these books have intrigued me … tomorrow will involve visits to the book store. “Controlling People” and “Victory Over Verbal Abuse” by Patricia Evans. I have to admit though, experience has enabled me to spot an abusive person right quick. It doesn’t take much to be an expert when you’ve experienced it and overcome to some degree (therapy helped a lot to help me see just HOW abusive my mother was – which was far worse than I initially thought.)

I love this site. A few years ago – I went from thinking I was the only one with such a mother – none of my friends could understand why I couldn’t have my mother in my life; then, I come across EFB … and here we are – not alone AND helping each other. 🙂


… validating each other!


Oh and Mimi – you do too!!

My situation seems to be reversed to many other peoples. My Mom left my adopted father because he was sexually abusing me. She’s an addict and never has recovered. She’s now on prescription drugs with a pain pump (which makes her high almost all the time). She as legitimate pain, but has always abused. Anyway, her role in my life has many been one where she ignored me or my needs. She has never been hateful or spiteful. Mostly she’s just unavailable and probably the most needy person in my life. My step-mother on the other hand – she is just fricken nuts. My adopted father is still an abuser and I am positive he abuses her (he raped my mother and tried things with me – though not sex, why would he magically stop?). I cut contact with my father and it has been her that is trying to reconnect everyone. It’s annoying. For years, I was under her thumb and felt passive and shy (and I am so NOT a shy person). I finally said enough and she’s not happy about it. What worked for me is just accepting that neither her nor my adoptive father ever really loved me (in a definition of love that is healthy and not manipulative or damaging). That has made it easier to walk away – it still hurts like hell and I haven’t totally processed it. But, I’m done trying to shape shift for them.

Rise – I love your response (n.241). I’m happier without the toxic people from my family in my life too. It’s amazing how validating it is to be here and not be alone. Those books are really great – I hope you like them!

One of my greatest struggles right now is fully admitting and accepting just how terrible my childhood actually was and how my parents really haven’t (and won’t) change. I’m amazed when I realize how it’s not normal for a child to spend their weekends at the bar or parties with adults. Or how it’s not normal to live in a house with random people coming in and out of the house at all hours of the day and having sex. It’s not normal for a father to mention to his 29 (at the time) old adoptive daughter that technically, we could date and be together. It’s not fucking normal!! And, because of being here and a lot of personal time invested – I am able to see that even if it is shitty and painful. I can protect me now – and so can everyone else on EFB. 🙂 Again, thanks for the encouraging posts.


When I first came to EFB, I was also very terrified someone would find out. I still don’t want to go totally public with my friends/family. Part of what fuels that is, this is MY place of comfort and respite. I can write anything here and know that I’m not being judged and people reach out to offer comfort. That’s not how my family operates really. We don’t comfort each other generally speaking. I didn’t want to lose the opportunities I saw here. I knew in the beginning I had found a gem, and the more I read, the more apparent it was that I needed to be here.

I wrote a little piece on freedom rocks. I sent a link to my sister so she could read what I wrote about our mom (which took courage at the time). She knows I’m here and she read the entire thread under my article. I know it’s possible that she has read my posts in other places. The truth is, she would have to care to do that. So, I’m not feeling much of a threat there. I understand your fear. Mine is not nearly as intense as it was when I first came here. You are in the right place, IMO. 🙂

Darlene, Rise’, Chris,
I browsed the titles and got a sample (just enough to intrigue me, haha) and then I bought the control book. The other one you mentioned Chris, has really high reviews. I’m planning to get that one next. First several pages of the control book has me hooked. Rise’, it still amazes me too that so many mothers use the same words and tactics. I haven’t heard a word from my mom since I wrote her last. I think it’s been about 6-8 weeks. FREEDOM!!




comment #239 by Truthbtold really resonated with me. I still sometimes will have a bit of fear hit me if I think of anyone I know reading my comments…especially family. I started thinking of why I had fear, and I also realized that when my “mom” tried to contact me through email last week, that I also had felt a stab of fear that she might have “found me out” here on EFB. Just like I used to feel terror of being found out for anything when I was younger…or even when I was older and went against what I worried she wouldnt approve of. I thought more about it and realized how much I was controlled by my parents who used fear as their main tactic. Fear of being hit, fear of being punished, fear of failing…etc…FEAR FEAR FEAR. I used to be so bound up with a knot of anxiety in my stomach to where I couldnt breathe properly if that makes sense? So I found myself recognizing the fear for what it was and then I began to realize that I actually dont feel real fear anymore! That it is leftover memories of terror because I truly dont give a darn what she thinks of me today. I realized last week that my “mom” has no rights anymore in my life…she also has no right to be in MY business anymore about anything…so if she ever did read something that hurt her or offended her, that is her problem. I am free of taking on myself the responsibility for her happiness, or chronic unhappiness or her temper outbursts. I feel I was brainwashed and trained to be responsible for her level of joy in this world….and it was a lie! I think she may have tried to contact me after two years of not being in touch because she misses our “relationship”. What SHE got out of it. The games she used to play and the control she liked to use. In her mind that was “love” to a degree. Narcissistic love. The best thing that happened to me was discovering the truth of why I broke in the first place….because of the lies I was believing …and when I could accept that she and my dad were incapable of loving in a healthy way…that I actually had been in the way…and that they did not value me enough to treat me better than one of their pets in the home….it set me free! So goodbye to fear and anxiety! I actually am happy that I was in a situation where I had to think about how I really felt about her possibly reading these comments and/or finding me out! It is airing the family’s dirty laundry and “secrets”. In my parents minds, it would be seen as being cruel to THEM. They believe that to forgive is also to be magically healed and delivered from memories and flashbacks and to move on and put the past in the past since they did actually say they were sorry at one time or another. They also tried to make it up to me by giving me “things” over the years. I can so relate to everyone on here to some degree or another! The parent/child relationships just arent all cut and dry …they are so complex!


As per the last few posts … it is uncanny how alike our mothers are in their tactics. I remember a few weeks ago my husband asking me if this could be about an imperfect person (my mother) who doesn’t know any better (in so many words). It was a question that deserved an answer. He knows what I’ve been through and I know his asking this question was just him trying to understand the magnitude of it all because folk who have never had such a mother or father cannot even begin to relate – they have a terrible time wrapping their minds around it.

Some could read these posts and think we are shallow for distancing ourselves or obliterating ourselves out of our mother’s and father’s lives. I explained to my husband that I could overlook my mother’s idiosyncrasies, her could-a-should-a-would-a’s. I could overlook her downfalls and negative personality traits and her many unwise decisions. I could even overlook that she had a favourite and she didn’t even try to hide it. After all, her life is her life and we are all imperfect beings. WITH THAT SAID, It’s a whole lot different when it comes to how they treat you as a person – how my mother treated me as a person. And when confronted with it, her response was (and I’m paraphrasing) that she could treat me however she wanted because she’s my mother. As you can imagine – this didn’t fly for me for long. Just because they are our parents, it does not give them the right to abuse us in any way or whatever way they choose, it does not give them the right to humiliate and degrade and shame and all the rest of it, both with words and actions. It’s not okay for them to be emotional vampires who take and take and expect you to give and give until you literally have nothing left (hence the empty shell person) … and even worship, to pay homage to them while we get NOTHING in return. When their abuse leaves us feeling empty, worthless, downtrodden, this is when you don’t put up with someone – no matter who they are.

I am convinced that my mother has Narcisstic Personality Disorder (NDP) – she fits the bill where I’m concerned. Of course, no one else in the family will likely notice because she is a totally different person with them than she ever was with me. My point is, as Mimi pointed out – they use the same words, phrases and tactics – all for the purpose of control – a control they care not to relinquish. And I know they know they’re doing it but because they have to look ‘good’ to everyone else, there is no way they could ever admit they did anything wrong. Meanwhile, they make us look like we’re crazy. And I’d rather be ‘crazy’ than abused.

I always hope that when I hear stories of other peoples’ mothers (parents) that they will end nicer than mine did. Sometimes they do – sometimes they get worse. It’s like they seem to think that admitting fault for how they treated us somehow means they have to give up power – and in my case, she didn’t want to give that up. It would mean she’d have to change and she didn’t want to. I gave her many chances to change over and over again over the years, to make amends, to make things right – and nothing ever changed.

She hasn’t physically been in my life for 12 years. There has been total silence from my family now for two years. And it is freedom – no, more than that! It is EMANCIPATION!!

CHRIS (#244) … What you are going through – realizing just how terrible it was, was realized even more for me by seeing a therapist. I was so ‘stuck’ that I had a hard time processing anything effectively and I needed help sorting it all out which was not an easy thing for me to do on my own. My therapist pointed out things that I had never even considered to be abusive – they were things I had just accepted, and blindly so. She also helped me to be able to let go of a lot of anger and hurt. And it was painful. I learned after my first visit to not wear mascara! 🙂 It’s painful going through it – but the pain that comes from healing feels a whole lot better than the kind of pain that exists because of an open wound (that our abuser keeps rubbing salt into) that never heals. It’ll keep getting better. 🙂


I agree people can read this stuff and still not get it. Not unless they have been through it with someone so sneaky and insidious as my mother is. My husband even struggled to get it at first. I know he never will fully understand. I believe you have to go through it to fully get it. Like a panic attack (which my mom used to say I created for attention). If you haven’t been through it, it’s really tough to understand.

My mom, like yours, has many different faces. Of course people wouldn’t believe the things she said and did to me. I wonder what they think….. that I would make this stuff up?? How would I benefit from that? It’s taken what feels like a mountain of processing to get to the point that I don’t care who she tells what anymore. I thought I would never be at the point where I didn’t care what venom came from her mouth.

The thing I’m struggling with right now is negativity. I have become fairly negative in my thoughts and even words, which I don’t like. I am at a place where I don’t expect anyone to do the moral thing, or tell the truth, or be genuine about anything. I feel myself saying in my head, “pft, he/she is probably lying, self serving” etc. So many lies over the past 18 months, by people who should love me. Why would I think friends or acquaintances would be any different. Even people on the street. Jeez, I hope I’m not becoming all out paranoid.

Peace and Hope,


Welcome truthbtold..you are in a good place.
Hi Mimi..I am in that place with the negativity too right now. I think it is just dealing with the realization of
the true lack of love or caring from any family except my grandmother who passed in 02.
They don’t care, they never cared. I was the obedient compliant doormat that did and did for approval
but was belittled for my emotional problems (scapegoat) as the crazy one in the family. Since EFB, though I can
see that the whole system was actually quite textbook. The controlling NPD father, the emotionally unavailable, abused, and demeaned mother who loved and protected the golden child, my brother.
I don’t really have anyone real except one girlfriend I talk to about every 10 days. My husband has NPD
and is not empathetic about anything. So a bad day for me is a bad day alone.
Through this site I can see how damaged he was as a child, way worse than me. At least I am still me.
He is a fake front, a compulsive giver who never shows himself. He doesn’t see it and as
an arrogant, always right Narcissist will never see it.
So as I try to deal with all this, my companion of 38 years is not helpful. Another emotionally unavailable person.
About the fear of being found out on EFB. Actually my son read some of my posts up here and
said what??? I gave him up at birth and only 5 years ago were we reconnected. Wonderful husband and father with a loving/caring family. So I sent him a brief email explaining that I grew up in an abusive home and am trying to deal with it. I had not really brought that into the picture while trying to
establish a relationship. I guess I was ashamed and thought they might not want anything to do with me if they knew the real me. I know them better and they are not judgmental in that way. Like I said normal.
The best thing I ever did in my life was giving him up. My family would have damaged him.


What I just read about mothers who are narcissistic and are so careful around others…and that they look “good” to everyone… and never truly admit to doing wrong…and making us look crazy is so true! I was always looked at in my extended family and among their friends as lacking something…or like I was overemotional or something was wrong with me. It is interesting to find out how many other ppl on here have experienced the exact same thing! Last week when my “mom” contacted me, I told my husband about it and we both started laughing so hard because I did end up retrieving her email after deleting it and I couldnt resist reading it…and it was so off the wall and filled with words like “shame shame shame on you!”. I havent had any contact whatsoever for over a year so I immediately was trying to figure out what the heck she was trying to throw shame on me about because the message was a short two sentence one that seemed so weird to me. Anyway, we burst out laughing together because of how odd it seemed, but especially because I told him that now I have been officially lumped in with my father’s two sisters in everyone’s minds….one has a problem with chronic lying and making up some wild stories, and the other one has withdrawn from the world and lives to be on her medications and be waited on hand and foot by her husband…and that is all she will talk about. (Her health issues). Now I am …for whatever my “mom”s reasons…to be one of the “crazies” in the family. It was amazing to NOT care and to laugh. I have never been in that place before, but it just seemed so ridiculous to me so I had to laugh. I also realized that she contacted me right before a holiday..the 4th of July. She had told me several times that she hates holidays…especially the bigger ones. I never understood why and I am not sure she did either, but it also made sense that she was contacting me the day before a holiday because she was upset and trying to stir up some chaos and drama. I grew up with that nearly every holiday…talk about tension in the home! I never understood why she would become agitated, begin speaking badly about some of our relatives and be in an especially nasty mood and pick fights or pit ppl against each other so that there would be a fight. I now understand a bit more and so it dawned on my that she was contacting me because once again SHE was upset around a holiday and who better to try to pick a fight with? I never responded to her and never intend to , but I have learned so much from this last week!


Firsst of all…my computer locked up on me so I pushed the “submit” button again…oops! Sorry everyone about the same message posting twice!

Mimi…I am so sorry that you have hit a rough patch and feel those feelings of negativity…and all that goes with them! I can relate to feeling like you at times with even ppl on the street or other friends…and they end up lying or using head games or trying to oneup or compete with me. In fact, I have probably cut off most of my old friends because I couldnt be myself with them and I felt they were taking advantage of me or lying or head tripping. I feel for you! I dont believe you are paranoid ..I think there really are a LOT of ppl who are unhealthy and unhappy and have problems connecting and relating in positive and healthy ways! And it IS difficult when the ones who were supposed to be unconditionally loving and supporting you have bailed on you and hurt you instead. Peace and comfort to you!

Karen, I am so happy for you that you and your son are connecting so well! I admire your courage in telling your story …or part of it..to your son and his family and taking that risk…and then finding out that they are normal and dont judge you for anything. Wow! I am so sorry that you also are going through the sad feelings that you are about being unloved! I have total sympathy for you and what you are going through. Sending you peace and comfort and hugs too! I went through very difficult days for a few years off and on when my Grandparents all died within about a year or two of each other…all four of them. I had felt loved by them too. It would hit me in waves and I would cry because I grew up feeling like they were more like parents to me than my own. My heart goes out to you!


I would like to thank those that have paid me a warm welcome: Mimi, Karen, Diane, and Rise (I don’t know how to accent an “e” :)). I am feeling very welcome here, and I greatly appreciate it.

It’s funny that many of you have mentioned NPD and your mothers. I have done quite a bit of research on the topic, and I too feel that my mom has many of the traits. I have been so emotionally invested in her life and her problems for so long. She wanted to keep me enmeshed with her, and finally I started to back away. Once that began, I was being “secretive”, hiding things, and no longer a “loving” member of the family. Ridiculous.

I’d like to share a little story that is happening as of late. I have a sister that is 9 years old than me. Due to this fact, she has always shared her opinion with me, and expected me to obey. She was the type of sister that was abused right along with me, but took the aggression out on me, instead of the people that were causing her trouble. When she grew up, she left to go back to our homestate, and I was left with my alcoholic mother and drug using stepfather. I was alone so frequently that I rarely knew what it was like to have a mother home in the evenings. Well, my sister and I haven’t always been extremely close, but there is love there. I always felt like she was treating me like a child, and I resented that. When I stood up to my mother (in a very respectful, loving letter as face-to-face conversations were explosive), I informed my sister. I asked her to please not let this come between us. She said that it wouldn’t.

Well, apparently 7 months later it has now come between us. My sister and I recently became quite a bit closer after dealing with my father’s death together (we are his only children, and he wasn’t married). But, she didn’t trust me for some reason, and kept me out of the loop of a lot of things going on with the estate. She eventually apologized, and of course, I let it all go. It hurt, but the death of my father (who I was in the process of getting to know truthfully after years of brainwashing from my mother) hurt far worse.

My sister sent me a text 2 days ago. The text came after she called me from her home (she lives in a different state, and I live in the town with ALL of our family) and asked me if I’d like to babysit my niece and nephew for a few days while she went on a business trip with her husband. She asked me this with very little notice. She had to go quickly, and told me to think about it. Since she was busy, I sent her a text explaining as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t as we are a one car family (my husband and I), and if I bring my husband, I will not board my cat as she doesn’t have do well in that environment. My husband and I have only been on 1 vacation as a couple and that was because we had a close neighbor that could take care of our cat. We don’t have that any longer. Even our honeymoon (we eloped) was one night in a nearby town.

My sister didn’t reply, and I got the feeling she was mad, so I sent a short text saying that I hope she understood and that I hope she wasn’t mad at me. The response I got the following day was astounding. She said she wasn’t mad, but she was disappointed. She said that she had given me plenty of opportunities to spend time with her children and that I always had an excuse to not be with them (whenever my sister visits, which is nearly every 3 months, I do something fun with my niece and nephew, I always remember their birthdays, and I have been to her home, but not since my father died). She said that I was pushing everyone away, not just her family. She said that she thought I would have learned from when my dad died, but I guess I will keep on (people hang my dad’s death over my head a lot, as if I should forgive everyone and everything because they may die someday and I will regret my actions). She said that she is saying this from a place of love, and that she is my biggest fan. She said that if I rejected her too, like I did my mother (pfft, my mom said she didn’t want to talk to me any longer), that I would hurt her to her soul. She then said that I need to let go of all the bitterness, forgive the family, and regrow the relationships that I have tried so hard to push away. Then, in all caps, she said “NO MORE EXCUSES”. Hmmmm…. okay… so, needless to say, I was blindsided. She will be here in 2 weeks to help with preparation for my cousins wedding. My cousin is stationed in Italy, but will be here in our homestate to get married. We have family coming from Canada as well. We don’t see the Canadian family much, and it is expected to be a big deal. After thinking for a bit, I replied to my sister that I didn’t understand where this was coming from and that I didn’t understand why me not being able to babysit her kids meant I was pushing her away. I also explained that the issue is with my mother, not with her or anyone else and that I would never reject her. She replied that she needed to say what hurt her and that she didn’t want to be in the middle anymore. She said she talked to my mother and told her that, too. I am being so honest here when I say that I didn’t talk to my sister at all about this issue unless A) she brought it up, or B) to let her know that I was taking a break from my mother and that I hoped it wouldn’t ruin our relationship. My sister also said that I didn’t just have a problem with my mom and I needed to stop saying that because I have a problem with everyone. I replied “Who else do I have a problem with?” I also said that I have told mom what I want, and that I want to go to counseling, and that my mom knew that. She then asked “What does Mom have to do to help you?” I said that she needed to recognize her outbursts, and that we needed to attend counseling together. I then told my sister that she can’t fix this problem and that it isn’t her job, and asked if we could stop this. She never replied.

I spent the day crying, not knowing what to do. I eventually got enough courage the next day to say what I should have said in the beginning. Word for word, omitting names, here is what I said:

“This has all been weighing on my mind. You may think I am cold, callous, and bitter, but you haven’t been a part of my relationship with Mom. I have tried so hard to keep everyone out of it, but I guess I am being left with no choice. I don’t have to justify my decisions to anyone as I am an adult. I love (my niece and nephew) so very much. I hope you know that. I don’t need people to see my side to have confidence in what I am doing. I am breaking a negative, emotional roller coaster. I never thought what I was doing was going to be easy and wasn’t going to have an effect on others, but there comes a point in people’s lives where they just aren’t going to take it anymore. I refuse to be the punching bag and scapegoat. I am just getting the impression that I should just let this whole thing with Mom go because it would make it easier on everyone else. Well, what about what I want? For once in my life I am saying what hurts me, and when I do, I am told I am wrong and that I should forgive. I forgive those that work on being forgiven. Mom has not done that. I just wanted you to know how I also feel. I don’t know where to go from here, but I would still like to be a part of your life.”

I have gotten no response. I know she is getting my texts as other people are getting my texts. I don’t know what to think at this point, as I love my niece and nephew with every ounce of my soul, and it would crush me if I wasn’t allowed to be a part of their lives.

If I’m not mistaken, haven’t I been the one who have been rejected? Been given the “goodbye”? Just because I won’t comply with what everyone else wants, I am the scapegoat. All problems can be blamed on me, and no one has to see the roles they actually play in the situation. I haven’t been perfect and never claimed to be. But, I think I’ve done enough time in the corner, and now I want to go outside and play. Damn it, I deserve it!

Thanks for reading. Boy, that felt good.


I just wanted to clarify a few points:

-I don’t know what will happen when all our family is together. Everyone says it will be like a family reunion. My mother will be there all the time, as the family from Canada is her favorite sister and closest friend. I have been invited to the wedding, and have RSVP’d. I am worried about going, but I will also get so much flack for not going to every family function, which will be each evening for 2 weeks (you think I’m exaggerating, I know). LOL

-My sister never did reply back as to who else in the family I have a problem with.

I reread my posts and realized some points didn’t make sense. Sorry!


Truth told…..the first thing that comes to my mind when I read your comments is how absolutely amazing it is to me that no one will validate how YOU feel and what YOUR thoughts are. It seems to be a somewhat common thread here at EFB in our families too! Your story is similar to mine in that. I can’t tell you how many years I chased after my family members and tried to reason with them, or explain myself (since they apparently were unable to understand the most basic things about me or what I would say or feel), or apologize if I has misunderstood. All of the time wasted crying and worrying that I said or did something “wrong” or had displeased them. Their lives were more important than mine…or so they had me believing for most of my life. Their time and their problems, their successes were much more important than mine….etc etc. They would also ignore me many times when I was trying to figure things out and looking for answers . Every so often I would back off and that’s when my family seemed to band together and do what I have called “go fishing” for me…to draw me back in. They would begin reaching out to me and speaking words that were meant to show me how much they cared….in my thinking that was throwing some bait on a hook and tossing it out to me…the fish….to bite. I usually fell for it because I loved them and desperately wanted a real family…and real love. Once I fell for it again (old habits of thinking sometimes are difficult to change!)…then they woul reel me in. Then after I was “back” and oh so happy for a brief time, believing in love and things surely would change this time…..they would cut me and gobble me up again! Back to the same old same old family dysfunction.

I absolutely feel for you! Do you have a plan for dealing with family at the long reunion? Peace and comfort to you about your sister!!!


I am so sorry to hear this. I am not at my computer, only my phone, but I will be home late tonight and I will comment. Your story made me weepy. I had such deep trust and love for my sister(s). I will be back to share later. Be kind to yourself, especially at a time when nobody seems to know how to b kind – the people who are supposed to love you/me/us!
With love and hope,


Hi Diane,

Thanks for replying so quickly. You are right when you say that my feelings and thoughts have not been validated. I have struggled my entire life with the lack of validation I have received, from an ignored eating disorder when I asked for help, to the smallest of concerns. I have never, ever, EVER felt heard, but I have always heard everyone else! The only people that hear me and care are those that haven’t created this environment of chaos to begin with. How I appreciate my husband, his family, my closest friend, and you all that I am learning about here at EFB, but all I truly want is for someone to say “Ok… I hear you. Let’s fix this.” That’s it.

When you tell me of your tears, Diane, I so relate. I have this problem where I feel like people are always mad at me. It doesn’t matter if I even did anything at all, but I can always still feel it inside. I never want to stir the waters, but now I don’t give a damn. I guess you could say I’m “mad and I’m not going to take it anymore”. But, as my family sees it, my husband is brainwashing me against them, and we must be hiding something. Makes me want to slam my head against the wall sometimes. My whole family is this way. “Oh, you have a problem? Well, let’s just let some time go by and eventually you will get over it, we can act awkward, but everything things will just return to ‘normal’.” Sorry, but time does nothing for the pain; nothing for the years of role reversal with my mother, and nothing for the repeated trespasses that somehow always magically reappear despite being told they won’t.

I am waiting for the “fishing”, Diane. I told my husband the other day that I wouldn’t be surprised if they planned an intervention for me, like I’m some drug addict or alcoholic. Funny, because I don’t drink after all the years of alcoholism I watched first hand. And, I certainly don’t do drugs!

It is a never-ending spiral. “I’m sorry, well kinda. I guess if you took it that way. Can’t we just all sit in a circle and sing ‘Cumbaya’?” 20 mins. later… another veiled dig is said, where we are left going “HUH? Did they just mean what I thought they meant?” Gets sooooooo old, and my mother is the flippin’ master.

Well, my plan for the family reunion is interesting. I saw a cousin at a store the day before Easter. He said “See you tomorrow at dinner.” I said “No, you won’t, I wasn’t invited.” Apparently that got around, so my grandmother felt it necessary to call me and state that I haven’t been invited to things because no one wants it to be awkward for me. Granted, no… I wouldn’t go if my mother was going to be there, but… well, I can’t have the best of both worlds. But, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I won’t be invited to all of the little dinners and crap, but I am invited to wedding. I am staying at a different hotel than everyone else for the wedding, and my husband is going to drive me, but might not attend due to his frustration with my mother as well. She said some things about him that you can’t really take back. And, truthfully, he wasn’t born into this crazy family and doesn’t need to take their s***. I don’t blame him at all, but he will be on speed dial in case I need to get the heck out of there. I truthfully don’t know if I can do it without him by my side, however.

For once, I wish people would realize that none of this is fun for us; we don’t take pleasure in breaking up these “relationships”. But, we have to do it for our own sanity and self-preservation. What is life if it is not spent with those that TRULY love us for who we are? And, I know for a fact my deceased father would actually agree with me.


I look forward to reading your story. Sometimes I feel so alone. I have my husband and his parents, but I still sometimes feel like no one understands what it is like to be born into a family that feels more like the mob than a source of unconditional mob. Once you are a part of the family, you never get out alive. 🙂 I can smile about the mob jokes, but I think we might be secretly Italian or something. LOL



Oops, that was supposed to actually read “what it is like to be born into a family that feels more like the mob than a source of unconditional love”! Man, I need to read my posts first!


Hi Truthbtold, Diane, Mimi, Rise & Karen,
I’m in awe of the discussion going on here! I can relate to so many things being said & I don’t even know where to start. First, I just want to say how honest & brave you all are for sharing. It’s so eye opening to read everyone’s posts. I’ve been having more family interactions this past week that have been intense to say the least. I’m too tired to go into specifics, but I feel drained with any contact with family. It doesn’t matter how aware I am of their toxic ways, I realize it’s the “Trauma Bond” that is the hardest & strongest pull for me. I just learned this word & it explains so much of what I’ve been dealing with all my life. The Trauma Bond with the family abusers is made of Fear, Obligation & Guilt. It leaves you in a fog like Darlene says. It’s not really about confusion for me lately, but more about the drama & stress being too much in my face. I can communicate with family without reacting, however, no matter how limited my contact is with them, I’m finding I can’t deal & heal at the same time. It takes loads of energy for both to happen & I’m pooped!!! There is a book called “The Betrayal Bond by Dr. Patrick Carnes”, that I’m going to pick up to help overcome this insidious Trauma Bond. Well that’s my goal anyway. I just want to heal & feel whole!!
Truthbtold, Welcome to EFB!


Mimi … (#249) … So true – unless they’ve experienced it, they cannot know what we’ve been through. My husband too has tried to understand, but like I told him, “Unless you’ve experienced it, you can’t understand it.” Their behaviour is incredibly surreptitiously devious.

I went through that too … and I’d say this to relatives, “What does it benefit me to make up stories against my mother?” Nothing. People only see what they choose to see.

I can be quite negative too – and it bothers me. I have to consciously not be that. I know that a lot of negative things get said about me (amongst my family of origin) – I know it. But, the way I look at, at least I can sleep at night in good conscious knowing that I am NOT the one whose lying. And for me, this experience with a mother with NPD has put me on edge – its also made my judgment or evaluation of someone very keen. I can know within seconds of meeting someone (most times) if they are manipulative or not and if they are NPD or not (which doesn’t happen often – but does happen on occasion.) And body language speaks volumes as well. A few times now I have picked up on things right away with people – and I would say, “Watch for this” and “Watch for that” … and ‘stuff’ would happen as I said it likely would. If I had not been raised by such a mother, I would never have been able to pick up on their abusive natures. It’s amazing how being abused this way makes us keenly aware of their tactics, that we can pick it up in seconds!


truthbtold (#253) … Thanks so much for sharing and I am so glad you’re here – you are in the right place! EFB has been a real turning point in my healing and getting the validation that I’m not the one whose crazy or delusional was literally life saving! What you shared brought back many a memory of what I’ve dealt with in my own family. And if you don’t mind me interjecting my thoughts on what you shared, here goes. This is my experience.

As surreptitious and insidious as our mothers are – I would get this same reaction with my siblings – this same kind of questioning you got from yours. So I don’t know if this is something you already know or knew or if its something that will add insight – but at any rate, this is my experience with like ‘confrontation.’

So here is what had been going on behind my back with mother and siblings. When a sibling or relative would confront me and tell me to just get over it and that I should forgive and put it all behind me or ask me the same like questions you got from your sibling, I’d cringe with great fury. What was really happening is that my mother was setting the stage to show how I was the one who was abusive and mean … and probably ‘not right in the head’ was also likely a part of that as well. When your sibling came to you and is telling you how all these things are ‘your’ problem – did you ever stop and wonder where she is getting this information from?? Upon reading it, I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘where did she get that info and how did she arrive at that thinking?’ Chances are – there’s some insidiousness going on. (My experiences anyway proved it was.) In my case, this stuff coming out of my sibling’s mouths originated with the mother source. And I couldn’t take it anymore. They couldn’t even see how they were being used as a chess piece. Sad.

My mother was ‘genius’ at turning my siblings (and even my father whom my mother divorced 17 years ago) against me. So any time something like this got said to me, I knew EXACTLY where it was coming from. I recall one time at my sister’s place and we somehow got onto the topic of my mother (this was shortly after I omitted my mother from my life) and she used this one me, “What about where it says you have to honour your mother and father?” Knowing EXACTLY where this came from, I looked at her and said, “You can tell our mother, ‘what about parents who are not supposed to exasperate their children??!!'” You should have seen her face turn white! I knew exactly where that came from as this is a statement that would not have come out of this particular sister’s mouth without the words or idea having already been planted. (In my mother’s world – honour one’s parents means doing whatever they say and put up with whatever they say and do to you – in her thinking this meant that because she’s the parent she can treat me however she wanted without consequences and me being the kid was expected to just put up with it and love her anyway.)

Their insidiousness is INCREDIBLE! It makes me so angry – and its a righteous anger which feels just so darn good to feel sometimes! I could always tell how something originated with my mother by how or what people would bring to me and say to me.

I loved how you confronted your sister on it – cuz now she has to go back and try to get it figured out what the mother planted in her head beforehand – which likely means another visit or talk with the mother. At least this is what I ran into. NPD mothers are so good at what they do that no matter who they talk to, the are so convincing that anyone just blindly believes them – and I think they are easily believed because they play the victim and ‘cry’ to everyone else that I/we are the ones who are calloused and crazy and abusive. Furthermore, they put on their public persona as the well-loved martyr type. They turn their behaviour into ours and we become the scapegoats. At least this was my experience.

I will never forget when I ousted my mother 12 years ago and only ONE person called me to get my side of the story. No – my father also asked me about it – but he didn’t seem to want to hear about it – so not sure that counts. Anyway, it was my mother’s sister. I tell her some things and then she tells me, “Your mother loves you, you know.” I said sarcastically, “No she doesn’t!” Aunt says, “Well, she said she does.” I say, “She’s lying. She can’t treat me the way she’s treated me and call it love.” Silence. Then she says, “Well, she is wondering how you can be so cold – she said she’s been sending you letterS and gifts …” I interrupt her saying, “WHAT?!!” She repeats what she said and I interrupt her again. I said, “Aunty, she’s lying to you!” She gasps, “What?!!” I said, “She’s lying to you!! … She hasn’t sent me letterS – plural, nor have I received any gifts!! She sent me ONE letter demanding I apologize to her for me sticking up for myself in my OWN HOME! And I’m not doing it!” I could tell my aunt didn’t know what to think. She replies, “Why would your mother lie about something like that?” I confessed that I had no idea – she’d have to ask her. We talked a bit more and she said that she was sure my mother loved me, I told her I was SURE she didn’t. I said to my aunt, “You live in another province – we rarely see you and you think you know who your sister is,” I continued, “I assure you, the woman you know and the woman I know are two totally different people!” I told her that I would understand if she chose to not believe me – I mean, her sister is her sister. I also told her that she can never know the real truth. But there is only one truth. My mother lies and I told her I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t believe me. This was my mother’s game and man, was she good at it.

truthbtold – it makes me want to stand up to them on your behalf. The insidiousness of this abuse is deep and evil to the core. I truly believe their (our NPD mothers) abuse stems from hatred. I really do. I have asked my mother so many times what I had done to warrant her abuse. I never got an answer … until two years ago when I wrote to see if maybe she’s changed at all as there was a wedding coming up and I wasn’t going if she was her same old self. Her response, “You were always so hard to love.” And I’m like, “WHAT??!!” She actually said it by her own admission. I was hard to love?! – me?! – who bent over backwards trying to make this woman love me by being incredibly compliant?! for years??!! Really? And that was hard to love?! As you can imagine, I was furiously angry.

The wedding was my brother’s. He was marrying a wonderful woman (whom I loved like a sister) with whom he had a brand new baby daughter – and his bride was dying from cancer. Stage 4. I really wanted to go. But I didn’t. My mother hadn’t changed and she figured that by me showing up to this beautiful affair would automatically translate to mean that ‘all is under the bridge and forgotten’ and I couldn’t let her have that. And by going and all this stuff not being brushed under the bridge – it would only fuel the ugly more. Furthermore, knowing there was no change in my mother – the thought of going to this wedding would bring on anxiety attacks that felt like heart attacks – severe chest pains and difficulty breathing – it was awful. As much as I loved my brother and his soon-to-be new wife at the time, I just couldn’t go. My husband said he’d go with me but even having him there would still not be enough for me to feel protected by him (and he’s a tall muscular guy.) I wish I could have been a fly on the wall though, to be able to witness them exchanging their vows while going unnoticed and unseen. I could almost hear the whispering going on behind my back by my choosing to not go. And the whispering even went so far as to the wedding photographer (my husband and I paid for) – who did the wedding photos beginning to end, who would not return my calls so I too could order a few portraits for myself! I was willing to pay extra and she wouldn’t call me back. And she was supposed to be ‘professional.’ 🙁

When it came to my family, and all this abuse stuff was getting unearthed, I know my husband was likely to blame too with my family of origin – but little do they know it had nothing to do with him. Before I had kids I had this thinking. I could not for the life of me understand why my mother would treat me the way she did. I truly thought that when I had kids of my own (and I explained this to my aunt too the in conversation mentioned above) that then I would understand why my mother treated me the way she did and then I really thought I’d have this profound respect and awe for my mother. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I’d look at my baby (first one) and think, ‘oh, how I love this little guy.’ I couldn’t imagine treating him the way my mother treated me. But then I thought, ‘Okay, he’s a baby – maybe it will hit when he’s older.’ A few years later, my daughter was born and a few more years go by … and I am CONFUSED! I cannot for the life of me understand why on earth my mother would treat me this way. And since I got married, her abuse of me got worse and worse. I finally couldn’t take it anymore. Something wasn’t right. I prayed about it because I knew there had to be a name for ‘this’ and I wanted to know what it was. The next day – I browse a book store and a book pops out at me, “Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse” by Gregory L. Jantz – WOW! This was the beginning of my journey. I’ll bet I read that book 4 times – highlighting and making notes in the margins.

Being abused this way is not okay … and even though they’ll use the words, ‘I love you,’ it is but a big fat lie. Real love is shown through action and that is how I know if someone loves me – its through how they treat me – that’s it. The phrase ‘I love you’ bears little weight with me – those three little words mean absolutely nothing to me if not backed up with the action to prove it.

My kids are ages 11 to 16 now … and I still cannot imagine treating/abusing my kids the way my mother did me. You don’t treat someone like that when you love them. My mother’s abuse told me she hated me. I even had another aunt (from my father’s side) tell me that, “She’s always hated you.” I replied, “Tell me something I already didn’t always know.” 🙂

Sorry its so long guys!



Hi, I just wanted to extend my heart out to you. I can really relate to a lot of what you are writing, and I hope that when you attend the wedding, you can take the support from people here with you. I attended my brother’s wedding 5 months after cutting off contact with my parents. I had a friend with me, which helped a lot, though I had to really assert myself with my brother to let me bring a date (it was my role to be my mother’s pet and so psychologically bound to her as I was, it was as if I was betraying her to have anyone more important to me than her—dating was never a part of my life; no doubt bringing a date threw the status quo out the window and that’s probably why brother had a problem with it). I hope that your husband will be able to come with you. It was difficult but in my circumstances, I was glad that I went because it was something I wanted to do for my brother (and for myself). I did not attend the other functions, my own choice. Do only what you can and don’t feel bad for what you can’t, that’s all I can really say. I want to write more but I have to get ready for work (night shift). I am also in the midst of wedding stuff, with my cousin getting married, too, and having some extended family stay with me. It will also be the first time I see my parents and brother in two years (my brother ended up taking sides and last year I cut off contact with him too… I am now, though, trying to see if I can reestablish a relationship with them, something manageable, as I’ve sorted out a lot of personal stuff in the past couple years without them and feel that I am strong enough to maintain boundaries… and hopefully—if they want a relationship with me–they will respect them. We’ll see. It is especially because I now have a nephew and it was breaking my heart to think I couldn’t be in his life and vice versa)… Anyway, I really feel for you. Take care of yourself.


I’m sorry it’s taken me so long but thank you for your reply! I appreciate it and totally agree with what you were saying.


Everytime I read your posts, I swear we have the same mother. I recall an instance that happened in the fall of 2011. My grandmother (maternal) called and it was during a time that I was mourning the loss of my mother (although she’s alive and healthy as a horse). I was very deep in the discovery phase and when my grandma called, she said something I knew came from my mother’s mouth. I was so angry ALL over again because my mom was still at it, hard and fast. I started to cry on the phone. My grandma said, “Mimi, you need to go see a doctor and get things out ~ talk everything out that’s on your mind and get it behind you.” What others may, or may not be able to pick up on there is, I’ve always been portrayed as the unstable one, the one who can’t handle things very well, who is emotional and angry. My grandma buys into it too, because it came from her own daughter.

Although that conversation with my grandma hurt my feelings a little, it also opened my eyes. I FINALLY knew without a doubt, that my mother won’t change, she doesn’t love the way I define love, she doesn’t respect me in any way, and she doesn’t care if she’s sticking a knife in my back and twisting. As long as she comes out smelling like a rose, that’s all that matters to her in her grand scheme. Rise’ people don’t believe my mother is a liar either. She does exactly what you described above. She has so many people fooled. You are so right about seeing a different person than other people see. It’s not because my perception is wacky…. it’s because my MOTHER is wacky!! I don’t miss her Rise’. I don’t miss the drama and implications, contempt, lies, manipulation, etc. What is there to miss, right? The only thing I miss is my innocence. I miss the person I was before I discovered all of this crap. I am so different now. Acceptance is upon me…. now, I long to be me again. I actually felt whole because all that dysfunction was my normal. Embracing my new normal with open arms isn’t all that easy. The whole thing has changed my soul. I don’t cry from missing my siblings or mom. It’s not that. It’s that I’m damaged and I see things through different lenses now. Anyhow, enough gloom!!

I heard that little phrase somewhere recently ~ perhaps you? Maybe Darlene, I’m not sure. Interesting that Fear, Obligation, and Guilt spell out the word FOG. Any easy way to remember it. The trauma bond. I totally get what you’re saying about healing and dealing at the same time. I am no contact now with NM, and looking back, it was much tougher to get through days when I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. I applaud you for hanging in there and being a loving and committed daughter. I don’t have it in me to do that I don’t think. I can imagine that you’re exhausted, so take super immaculate care of yourself. So easier said than done. I hope the stress lifts soon.

Such wisdom in your words. I am excited to be in the place you’re in. I want to be whole. I want to realize my worth one day. What you said about fishing…. classic. I never dreamed my sibling(s) would do just that. But, my sister that I was sooo close to did just that. About a month or so ago we were texting and we don’t do that too much now. Anyhow, she came out with this statement that kind of shocked me. We’ve been through a lot in a year and our relationship has been strained for the majority of that time. I was blindsided when she said to me, “in my mind, all we have is each other.” Diane, I was so elated. For a moment, I thought we could get back what we once had. I missed her so much and I just flat out treasured her. She was my twin soul. Then about a half hour passed and the reality that she was baiting set in. I swear, I never thought she was capable of that, but, she’s proven me correct. After she made the statement that brought me immeasurable comfort for a minute, she failed to contact me. She hasn’t acted on that statement at all. Those words mean nothing. Like you said Rise’, those three words mean nothing (I love you) when they aren’t backed up by any kind of action. Same goes with apologies for me. Anyone can say it. It takes courage and an empathetic heart to really back up a apology and try to correct the wrong. Incidentally, this same sister gave me a heartfelt apology about a year ago for an incident that happened at her house. After she apologized with genuity, she dropped off the planet. That was painful too. It proved that her words were empty. How painful it is to love someone so deeply, and learn they don’t feel the same. It’s funny because in some christian circles, they say it so frequently to each other. My niece says it to everyone she perceives as “good christians”. She doesn’t say it to me though. I have watched this girl grow from birth and been one of her biggest cheerleaders. All the birthday parties and dance recitals, where I was so proud to say she’s my niece. It meant nothing to her. Only the people she’s known for a week seem to matter…… provided they go to her church or they’ve fooled her into thinking they’re all HOLY. She loves them “tons”, as she says. Not me. I have heard from her once since she went off to college and that was to secure a donation for a mission trip she took to Honduras. Okay, take tht back…. she’s contacted me twice. Once for the money, and a newsletter following the trip which outlined all she did, and put a bug in my ear to prepare financially for her next trip.

I have accepted all that with my sisters now, and my momster. I don’t dwell in those places in my mind anymore. For that I am so relieved and thankful. I got so sick of hurting in my heart. One painful revelation after another. Now, it’s pretty much behind me. (a BIG thanks to ya’ll)!! 🙂

Without going into the drawn out details of all that happened with my siblings, mother and myself over the last 18 months, I will just say that my heart goes out to you for the tears you shed over your sister. You seem like you’re thinking quite clearly to me. Setting boundaries and taking care of your emotional needs is something I learned to do here at EFB. I’m glad you’re here and thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry, it’s getting super late and I can barely keep my eyes open. I will write more tomorrow.
Peace, hope, and Love,


Wow, there have been a lot of comments here in the last two days!
Truthbtold, Your story is much like mine too. My sis also presented to me as a best friend and staunch supporter. I lived 12 hr drive from the family and she lived a mile away, with extended family all round. She was telling me terrible stories about mom on the phone, the lies mom was telling and so on. I never told any of that to my mom, just kept my sisters confidences to myself. Then when I moved back to my state, sister set me up to be outcast by the entire extended family. I had planned a Christmas party for the family at my new house, after asking by email if a certain date and time was good for each member: they all replied yes. Then two days before the party (with 40 people invited, Many from out of state) my mom decided I should change the time and the day to make it more convenient for her. I had all these RSVP’s and a few who said they weren’t sure but would try. I had food enough for all that wouldn’t all keep til the date my mom wanted. But as matriarch, what she said always went! I said no, I couldn’t change the date, but offered to have anyone that feared to drive back home in darkness or bad weather to stay overnight. (this was sent via email to all who did not say RSVP “no” to the invite, so it meant buying breakfastfoods and blow up beds too, but I wanted her worries about that issue resolved.) It was sooo frustrating. Iwrote a private email to sister about how mom was trying to take over the party and change it and how I could not change it. I said mom was so manipulative, and how mad it was making me. I said “wow, what a welcome home this is turning out to be,” and how I had been so happy to get everyone together because I missed them.
Then sister sent my private email (with criticism of Holy Mom) to every family member, and one to me asking, “Why do you think you have the right to be so stubborn about the time and the date of a family gathering? Why should we welcome you back, we didn’t tell you to leave?” Betrayal absolute.
All my family who lived near my mom who had said they would come did not come. They just did not show up. Only my younger brother and my nephew his son came.
Thus ended my friendship with my sister. I called her (no emails!) and told her she had betrayed me, when I had never betrayed her trust. That she had no right to criticize me for saying mom was manipulative after saying to me for so long that Mom was a liar and crazy. And that I was never going to trust her again. Also that I knew all her secrets, and still had all her letters which I had never revealed to anyone.
The year before this, my mom had had a family party to which I was not invited, too. So I know how it feels to be
the only one not invited to a family gathering.

Anyway, I am just telling you that I understand how hurt you are by your sister. And how I know how it is to be the “outcast” one who doesn’t know what to do about extended family gatherings after being hurt by some family members. Some had said they couldn’t come to the RSVP, and were not to blame. So when they had family celebrations, should I go or not go? The ones who had slighted me would be there too. The family grapevine would have been abuzz about what I had said, and what about leaving me with food for forty people to throw out? Did they laugh about that, or not even consider it? GB, the oldest brother, even called the night before to say his family was coming. But they didn’t.

No one came to my house for two years after I moved back. When they did it was to visit my daughter who was visiting me from out of state. They were not invited, but came anyway. I was, for my daughters sake, a gracious hostess, although I did not invite anyone to stay overnight. No use feeding those sharks who thrive on painful family drama at the expense of my daughter. But don’t you think that shows great disrespect for me?

I should have said, no one except my mother had visited me in two years, whose manipulation started the whole painful episode. She had asked me (as if nothing happened) near her birthday(note the guilt trip) if she could come to my house for her birthday(note that it was special to be the one she would be honored by on her birthday.) I caved. Then I found out she and her husband were going to be visiting his son for two days before that, and would need a place to stay on their way back so they could stay late for a family function there. (I was just a free bed and breakfast.) They came late and left early. She got her birthday gift from me. So once again she had managed to fish me back in acting as if nothing had happened bad to me.

This past Holiday season, 6 years later, I got a phone call from brother GB’s wife, asking if I could come to a family Christmas party they were having the NEXT DAY. Everyone else had been asked a week in advance. They live 3 hours from me. She said GB had sent an invitation on Facebook message. I said he should have noticed that my last post on FB was a year ago. She said she told him that FB was not good enough, and she had decided to call me. Needless to say I did not go. I was polite about it though, which was more than they had been to me. SIL sent me photos of my family and extended family all having a great old time. I don’t know about her…she has to live w/
a narcissist. But were the photos meant to hurt me or to include me? I cut a few in little pieces and used them like a freedom rock.

In February this year, Mama insisted my husband and me should come to their beach condo for a weekend. She said all the other children had been several times, and now it was (finally? Last and least?) “my turn.” I was not wanting to go, but was still trying to do LC, and “keep the peace.” We went. She disrespected me incredibly (after receiving my birthday gift of course) and it was the last straw. It was not, by far the worst thing she had ever done, but just was my breaking point.

We are three hours from the beach. We spent two hours there, and started the three hours drive back home. My husband left his Rx there, so we turned around b/c he had to have that. I stayed in the car while he went up. He said my mother asked him: “Is she over her little huff yet? She really was mean…you’ve seen her do that a lot haven’t you?” He said, “No, she is not over it” and “No she does not do that at all.” and got outta there. I have not seen her since nor talked to her. Not surprisingly I also have not heard from any extended family since. I did call my
younger brother on his birthday in May, but the conversation was a bit stilted, and we “didn’t go there” didn’t talk
about mutual family members at all.

Most recently, my daughter from out of state (and I mean half a continent away, not just across a state line, lives by the rocky mountains, while I live near the east coast) came to visit at my home. She went briefly to visit her grandmother. All I said was ” please don’t allow her to talk badly about me to you.” When she came back, she asked me why I had said that. “She never talks badly about you to me.” I said, “That’s good. Do you think I talk badly about her to you?” “No, but maybe you misunderstand her.” I said, “I understand her. Are you asking for my perspective? Are you wanting to know what happened to me with her?” She got distracted by her three sons and didn’t respond. She didn’t bring the subject up again. Later, I told her we needed to talk when we wouldn’t be distracted. We finally did, but it wasn’t really easy. Still she listened. I didn’t tell her everything about my whole life, but simply about the more recent actions of my family towards me. It didn’t seem to fully register, except she couldn’t accept what my mom was saying about my late father (This is typical:like all other family members she was taught by my mom that my feelings were not very important. But her beloved grandfather denigrated? She could fully understand how that could make me upset enough to break contact.) We have a way to go. It is my own fault for allowing my mother to keep her while I worked during her most formative years. She told me, “I used to think my Nana didn’t love me when she didn’t let me feel sorry for myself. But now I think she made me the strong person I am today.” I responded, “Your tenderhearted side is as important as your strong side. I am glad you have both strength and empathy for others.” She looked at me in some surprise, as if I had said something to negate her statement, or take credit for her being “the empathetic person she is today.” I smiled and repeated my statement, reiterating that I am glad she has both tenderness and strength. This idea that tenderness is a good thing seemed to be a new idea, not that I didn’t ever say it before. I guess since I didn’t take any credit for it, or apply it to me, but just complimented her on it, it was possibly of value and something new to think about. I hope she does think about it and ceases to devalue her tender side based on my mother’s teaching/direct emotional abuse of my child. I hope it takes root in her raising of my grandsons too, that strength and tenderness are good to have together.

NC is not an easy road, as most of you know. It isn’t easy to finally admit you are not valued nor that your family’s toxic. NC is just the lesser of evils. It allows you to remove from emotional manipulation and abuse so you can gain a modicum of peace. It helps you face truths which helps you begin to heal your heart. Eventually you learn to be happier and healthier, because you are not being continually traumatized by their toxicity. But it is not easy or fun.
No one would choose to go NC who had a loving family, not even an imperfect but loving family. An imperfect but genuinely loving family is what we all see as the “easy road.” Unfortunately as children we didn’t build the road we had to walk so didn’t have this easy road as a choice. We had to stumble and fall and walk through the mud of betrayals and pain until we were able to take a better fork off the bad road.


PS. I am still not over my ” little huff. ” Are y’all over your “little huffs?” lol


Mimi, You sound like you are feeling so much clearer, so much better in this post than a week ago. I am so glad!

Darlene, many triggers here made for many responses, and many long ones at that, including mine!

Rise, I so relate to the insidiousness and “stage setting” thing. How much your post resonated with me! Also the “I love you” is a big fat lie thing. My mom called a few weeks aft the beach trip to tell me that a friend of the family had died implying that I must attend the funeral of this person I had not seen nor heard from since I was about 18 (I’m 60 now.) I didn’t answer, and she left it on the recorder. After her message with dates and times, she said, ” I love you, Karenina.” The tone I knew so well…she had deigned to forgive me for my little huff, and if I obeyed her imperative to attend this funeral, I would be accepted back into her fold. I said out loud to the answering machine, “No you don’t!” didn’t go, didn’t feel guilty about it.

Alaina, with the wedding stuff and first time seeing folks for awhile, my thoughts are with you, as I know you have anxieties if you are like me. Hope it all goes well for you.

SMD, Sonia, hang in there and get some rest. We are here for you when you can post more.

Diane: me too! I am not important in my birth family either. My POV is not sought, my feelings not considered important enough to matter, no matter how obvious the abuses are, no matter what. It hurts. But the realization is clarifying, and I am important enough to me that my feelings and opinions finally matter…to me.


Karen Ranes, I know what you mean. The fear of thoughts being read here almost stopped me from writing anything. It’s odd, in a way, though that I who wanted people to listen should be afraid if they listen by reading.
Nowmthat I have no contact with them I think it matters because my daughter is not NC with them, and has lived far away through all the worst of the abuses of me as an adult.

She doesn’t get it partly because she isn’t here to see it firsthand, partly because she hears some of it from extended family secondhand, and partly because my mother’s actions and my seeming acceptance of her actions over the years before my daughter moved far away taught her that my feelings were “sorry for myself” or “a huff” or “my misunderstandings” or in short, that I had no right to feel bad when I was treated badly. I get little or no sympathy from my daughter as my mom taught her that strength means holding ones feelings inside (unless one is the Matriarch, who can cry at the drop of a hat, and expects everyone’s understanding comfort and allegiance to her cause.)

She asked me, “Our relatives know her too. Don’t you think they know how she is? Why do you think they might talk about you?” I said, “I don’t think they talk about me anymore, and I doubt they think about me at all. They don’t call, don’t write, don’t visit….they all have my phone and email address…I have no reason to believe they think of me at all. But they DID talk badly about me when things were happening. And I have no reason to think they would not again if I kept going up to see my mother, because she will act out and things will happen to feed the family grapevine drama. And if nothing happens, mama can always make some remark about me true or untrue to start some lIttle drama. If they want to know my story, or even how I am, they can talk to me. I have not closed my door, nor changed my number.

But if there’s no big drama, they are not interested. When there was, they never asked for my perspective.

Other than my mother’s comments…and if she denigrates Daddy now he’s not there to defend himself, I have no reason to think she wouldn’t do the same to me…They only hear of me through you. I hope you tell them I am
happy and doing just fine, and if they want to they can call me. Wanna place a bet that if you say that no one will call me? Honestly they ask you about me as a courtesy to you, honey. If they were REALLY wanting to know about me they’d call me. I am their aunt, their cousin, their niece, their sister. You live far away. They should be able to say “your mom is doing well, or unhappy,” or whatever to you. But they don’t even know about me at all, even though I text a happy note to them once in awhile( neices,nephews ) i rarely get a response. That tells you something about how much they value me. Think about that.”

“But I am a valuable person, and might be helpful to them, and love them if they cared enough to keep in touch. They don’t. Their loss.”


Mimi (#263) … you wrote. ‘My grandma said, “Mimi, you need to go see a doctor and get things out ~ talk everything out that’s on your mind and get it behind you.” What others may, or may not be able to pick up on there is, I’ve always been portrayed as the unstable one, the one who can’t handle things very well, who is emotional and angry. My grandma buys into it too, because it came from her own daughter.’

I swear … we’re siblings! LOL! When you wrote this I could so relate – I too got painted this way and I know this by how I was treated by family members. I got treated like I was naive and mildly retarded. And I am neither. My one sister – the only one in my family I was really close to said this to me via email – I knew where it came from when it follows with, “You’ve upset everything – now I have to make things alright with mother all over again!” (It was something like that anyway – can’t remember it verbatim.) The point is, she was more concerned about my mother than she was about me – as if my mother was the one who was the victim. I knew then, my mother had completely succeeded in turning against me the one family member I thought would have my back. This sister would tell me that I really needed to get over it and yet, NOT ONCE did she ever consider asking me WHY I couldn’t get over it. I found it incredibly odd. Their eyes are open but they cannot see! But I knew … she had fallen into being my abuser’s disciple, she seemed completely oblivious to the fact that she was brainwashed. And I’m the one with the seemingly ‘weak mind’! (note the sarcasm!) I was so hurt – I knew I could never be close to her again because anything I said would get back to the mother figure. I couldn’t trust anyone in my family. During one of our last face-to-face visits she told me, “Mom never says anything bad about you, you know. She loves you.” I flipped. I told my sister, “She never says anything bad about me to YOU because if she did, she’d be giving herself away and there is no way she’s going to risk that – and she doesn’t love me – she only tells you that to make you think she’s this beautiful person when in reality she flat out hates me – she has never done anything to show she loves me. That ‘I love you’ means absolutely nothing to me when not backed up with action.” I continued, “You have no idea – none! The person you know and the person I know are two totally different people!!”

Of course, I’m the crazy one. I’m delusional. (there should be a special font for sarcasm!)

And just like you – its been 2 years, as I have mentioned before, and I don’t miss them at all. Not one little bit. I have experienced nothing but relief – no more watching what I say (not that I was ever rude but you just didn’t know what could get used against you) – no more pity looks (yeah, I’d get those!) I mean, what does it say to us, Mimi when we can be severed from family and we don’t miss them, or at least miss them enough to mourn them. I guess it shows that there just wasn’t anything there worth cultivating. I so feel for you and can totally relate. I am so glad I found EFB two years ago – meeting other women like you and me who ‘get it’ is so validating and that validation is so crucial to healing and moving on (the best we can anyway.)

I should say I did mourn my mother as you did too – I mourned the loss of never having that healthy mother-daughter relationship that would never be more than a dream out of reach – but when it came to everyone else – no mourning.

I have no contact either with extended family – my choice, because I don’t know who I can trust or not trust, and thinking about and wondering who I could trust makes me crazy. I won’t take the risk of anything about me, good or bad, getting back to them. If I wasn’t good enough to be protected or stood up for and I wasn’t good enough to build a relationship with – why on earth would I want them to know anything about me or my life?? I don’t want my family knowing anything. Besides, even getting together with extended family was weird – its like everyone talks behind your back and you know they do when they’re all giving you that, “If only she’d just get over it” look – and because they think this of you, everyone withdraws – no one talks to you anyway. I’m just so done. Like I said – dealing with this stuff started 12 years ago – that’s a long time to give a mother a chance to make things right and she won’t and I refuse to be the ‘parent’ – its not up to me to ‘fix’ the family. How can I fix something that no one else sees as broken?? You can’t.

I know I’m not stupid or delusional. I recall when I started facing this stuff 12 years ago and I was telling my husband about how my mother would treat me making me feel like I was utterly stupid. I was sobbing. He looked at me and asked, “Don’t you know your worth?” I lost it then saying, “No, I don’t.” He said, “Do you really think I would have asked you to be my wife if I thought you weren’t worthy … to me?? One of the reasons I married you was because you’re intelligent and can carry on an intelligent conversation – do you know how many women I’ve dated that I couldn’t have intelligent conversations with?!” It was the validation I needed then to keep going. It hasn’t been easy – but man, its been worth it!

And anyone who finds this site isn’t ‘stupid’ or delusional either – I read many of the other posts and I read some pretty sane people – hurt and heartbroken, yes – but sane! If we were truly walking around with stars in our eyes, oblivious to the things around us – we wouldn’t be here on EFB seeking help and healing and closure, we’d be still trying so hard to accommodate and love our abusers in the hope that one day they’ll love us back. They won’t.

This has prompted another memory at how my mother would try to make me feel ‘stupid.’ We were driving somewhere and I had come across this insurance claim the day before and was surprised at what was covered and not covered. The scenario was this truck was pulling a horse trailer with a horse in it. The truck was involved in an accident (damage to both truck and trailer) and the horse was injured. I was a relatively new Insurance Agent then and I found this fascinating. Even the agents in my office thought the liability from the other guy’s insurance would extend to the damages to the horse. So to try to pull my mother into conversation, I asked her, “Telling you this, do you think the horse would be covered by insurance or not?” She says with bite, “Well, of course it would be!” I said, “That’s what I thought but it isn’t,” and then I continued to explain why it wasn’t. Well … she actually starts arguing with me!! Me. The Insurance Agent. She’s telling me quite emphatically, “It has to be covered!” I said it isn’t – that is what livestock insurance is for. This is how much she cannot stand being ‘wrong.’ In her mind she was right about everything. I finally had to drop it. She gave me the cold shoulder and no eye contact the rest of the day.

I remember once she, and my brother, came into my office to get insurance for him (all the way from a smaller community that has insurance agencies and that is a 40 minute drive away! Why they drove all this way is still a mind boggle.) I cringed when they walked in. I did not want to be my family’s insurance agent – especially for my parents!! My brother was the one who actually needed the insurance but my mother was the one with the chequebook. I hoped that this wouldn’t prompt the others to bring their insurance to my office. The two of them sit at my desk – I asked all the questions, worked up the quote and am about to fill out the application when suddenly my mother starts berating my brother – loud enough and bad enough that the whole office can hear – right at my desk. I was HORRIFIED. They then bicker back and forth until she storms out of the office crying – he’s embarrassed and slowly follows out after her, NOT buying the insurance. As soon as they left I profusely apologized to my fellow employee who was in the desk beside me – and I said, “This is why I do NOT want my family’s business!!” I think she was embarrassed for me. I was so humiliated by their conduct. She asked me if they are often like that and I said they were. Oh, the things we remember!


Karenina (#264 & #266) … yep – the ‘I love you’ sentiments were just a put on. I have experienced this too – the ‘I love you’ being used as a manipulation tactic. No one else gets it when our mothers talk to us ‘this’ way. I recall saying to my sister once, “I know our mother better than you do – you’ve only ever seen her good side. I’ve seen the good side and the dark side!” They don’t get it.

Oh, and the family stuff – getting left out til last minute and all that crap – oh, have I been there! Don’t you just love the drama and the games they play?! Grrr. I knew that when I ousted my mother from my life 12 years ago – it took me about two months to weight ALL the pros and cons of doing so. It was not a hasty decision. One of the things I had to consider was that I would no longer be a part of my nieces and nephews lives in that my little family would not be able to be at birthday parties and other special family occasions where my mother would be present – which meant pretty much all of them. It was hard, but it was also necessary and I don’t regret those decisions. With that said, I would still see my siblings and their husbands, and nieces and nephews, as well as my father and his wife when my mother wasn’t around. My father would occasionally take me and my sisters and our kids out for lunch and it was really nice.

But about three years ago or so, something happened. This is when my sister (the one I was actually close to) started distancing herself from me – she was distant when we’d even be in the same room. I learned soon after that – that my parents were finally able (years after their bitter divorce) to be in the same room together which happened by accident – kind of. My sister apparently invited everyone (except me of course and rightly so) to a special occasion dinner – I think it was Easter. She invited both parents without telling the other one they were coming. It went well enough that ever since then – they all attend such gatherings together. So much so, that I got completely forgotten. I would also hear about my father taking my siblings out for lunch (without my mother) and I was never invited or considered. This happened more than once and it hurt when I found out about it. I get that I wouldn’t get invited to a lot of them – I do live in another community (a half hour drive away which isn’t long) – but ALL of them!?

So … move up a year (now two years ago) – I had finally had it and the pressure of ‘just swallow it and endure the bitter taste of your crap for the sake of the family (and brother’s upcoming wedding)’ got the best of me. I finally confronted all of them with a long letter, finally telling them all the stuff my mother did and said to me (as none of them ever asked) – telling them that they are no longer allowed to pressure me into a toxic relationship with my mother (in so many words). I kept the letter as objective as I could. (Of course, they read more into it than was there – they’re infamous for trying to read things between the lines that wasn’t there!) It was time. I knew it would most likely end in being rejected in a ‘disowned’ kind of way – and I was ready to accept that at that point – I mean, I kind of already was rejected and I thought, their response to my letter will tell me if the rejection is real or not. It was. Then the sister I was close to writes me, “We don’t want to hear about or talk about anymore of your crap!” … hmmm, ‘we?’ I was FURIOUS, because no one never did ‘hear’ and they certainly never talked about it – not with ME. And I know they talk about me because I then hear this exact statement, verbatim, from two other family members! “We don’t want to hear about it and we don’t want to talk about it.” My sister (the one I was close to) also tells me off telling me that she thought writing to them was immature. I wrote her back, “By whose standards is that immature?!” I continued, “Do you know I edited that letter five or six times before sending it? And how else am I supposed to tell everyone this stuff all at once when we can never get everyone together?? Furthermore, its best you got it in a letter because had I done it to your faces – it would have been far more uglier and there’d be a lot worse hurt feelings!!!” Man, I was angry. Writing a letter – immature! Whose frickin’ idea was that?! How idiotic!!!

I am so glad for this community. If it does nothing else – just the venting alone is a healing! But I love the feedback from others here and their experiences. It is all so VALIDATING and EMANCIPATING to know – at least for me, that I did all I could possibly do. I have learned two very valuable things in this journey and its this: You cannot make someone love you and you cannot make someone believe you. Both these things are choices folk have to make on their own and they cannot be forced.

I tried for years to try to make my mother love me. She won’t. It was futile. I wanted so much for family to believe me. They can’t. Or they don’t want to – because if they did it means now they have to take some kind of action which would cause upheaval in the family and I know they don’t want to ‘rock the boat.’

I do hope they’re happier though – I know I am. 🙂


Karenina – post 267 – I so agree … if they want contact – I feel the same, they know my phone number. We are valuable and it is their loss.


Mimi – what you said about the pedestal that your Mum was on is sooooooo true! I had forgotten that as a child, you very quickly know who you’ve got to aspire to be and who you’re going to be the most scared of disappointing. You also learn that the imperfect behaviour of the person on the pedestal is OK. But it’s not OK for you. I got wise to the concept of Hypocrisy quite early on because of it.


LOL, little huff!! It’s so funny, my mom and stepdad have a beach condo too. They bought it with the idea my siblings and their kids and I would take our vacation time and our money and spend it there with them every year. It did fly for a few years. Then, I caught my mom talking crap about me to my siblings one year while on vacation there. My husband and I left. I was in more than a huff. I was enraged and couldn’t stop crying. I was heartbroken. It’s a five hour drive for us and we stopped at a hotel on the way home. I remember crying for the whole drive and the majority of the night at the hotel. It wouldn’t happen that way today!! For one thing, I wouldn’t go back there if she paid me. For another, I’d probably just tell her off…. ghetto fashion!! I would hate that too because she’s always said I have such a bad temper. I would be proving her correct if I let her have it. I don’t like to be angry period.

Rise’, I think it was you that said above that you believe NPD or NM is fueled by hatred deep down. I totally agree. Hatred and anger is what keeps my mom going. She’s so clever at disguising it though. People would never know she’s so full of bitterness and envy. I know it’s there. I’ve seen it too often to pretend I didn’t. She made ME out to be the angry one. She’s ever so cautious about who she allows to see her anger. I have had my angry days for sure, but, with what she put me through, it would piss anyone off. It was a natural reaction in my opinion. And, I too feel like my sense of detection could be a little sharper since being raised by her. I can generally see through people, but, I sometimes wonder if I’m being too critical. My internal messages can be a little harsh and I sometimes question if I’ve given someone enough of a chance before I size them up mentally. Sounds rude to size someone up, but I do it with people who come off as suspicious.

I know how it feels to not be invited to a family gathering too. It feels awesome!! LOL!! No pretentiousness, drama, trying to fit in or impress. On the serious side though, my mom would always accuse my sisters and I of keeping secrets if we got together without her. I think she was paranoid that we would compare notes. And, we finally did. Aside from that, she thinks she should be the queen of every gathering and I honestly think it doesn’t occur to her that people don’t covet her company. I think she truly believes that people think a gathering wouldn’t be complete without her company. Cracks me up!! If my sisters and I ever did anything without her, she would cry around to EVERYone about how we left her out and kept secrets. PFT!!

I’m sorry about last night. I got home so late and when I was sitting here typing, I was seeing a long string of E’s, haha!! I knew I had to wrap it up or I would stop making sense altogether.

I am familiar with what you describe about upcoming family events. My grandma turned 90 in May. I was so torn over the whole event. I wanted to spend it with her, but avoid the drama of my mom being queen for a day because she organized a big party. My extended family from other states whom I rarely see, were all going to be there. I was freaked out about going. I don’t know how I feel about my cousins, etc. They have no idea what my mom is about. I feared being judged and looked down upon. Right in the midst of healing and making progress, I thought it could mean a huge setback.

My mother made a big mistake however. She told everyone about the party, but me. Long before she sent invitations she told both my sisters. So, I had a heads up. She did that on purpose BTW. She wanted me to feel left out. Anyhow, it was to my advantage actually. It gave me time to develop a good plan that would suit myself, and my grandma. My stepson was graduating that same day and he was in college 3.5 hours away. The graduation was at 10:00 in the morning. My grandma’s party was 2-4pm that day.

I got the invitation in the mail and called my grandma immediately and told her about the schedule conflict. My husband came up with the brilliant idea to take my grandma out ON the day of her birthday because her party was being held the weekend after. I arranged it with my grandma so we would go out and I gave her my gift then. I told her I would try to make the party, but just in case I didn’t make it back in time, we would have this time together. The graduation lasted 3 hours, so I didn’t make it back in time. I was relieved, but a little sad that I couldn’t get there for HER, no one else.

I remember during that whole process of worrying and trying to develop a good plan, I thought a lot about what others would say/think/do. How would it look if I didn’t make it to my grandma’s 90th bday party. It hit me one day that it was HER that we were celebrating. Not everyone else. The only person I had to make it right with was HER. My husband came up with this fantastic plan to take her out. I was thrilled. It was liberating to not call or message anyone else and make excuses, be held in contempt, etc. I called the only person that mattered. She was fine with it. We went out on her birthday and she was genuinely okay with me going to the graduation. All the family coming from out of town had no idea what I was doing. My mom had no idea, nor did my sisters. I felt at peace settling it with the only one who mattered. It was no one else’s business in my eyes. I have a home the extended family or siblings could have stayed at. I didn’t offer it up to anyone. I am the only one in the same city with my mom and grandma. It’s my choice who gets to benefit from free lodging. In this instance, no one did. I was happy too. Not because I wanted to punish anyone, but because I wanted to honor me and my wishes. I didn’t feel comfortable having ANYone at my home, so I honored that.

A lot of people have expressed being left out of family gatherings here. It does hurt. What I focus on is all the crap I’m not obligated to swallow when I don’t go. The freedom and peace I experience while they are all talking about everyone and everything ~ it’s liberating. I don’t welcome the BS anymore. I don’t want to be a part of the pecking order. I have a cousin who’s a doctor. She’s the daughter my mother never had. She had opportunities to be a model as well. My mother pretends to be close to her and she’s very flattered to be spat on by her. Okay, that’s an obvious exaggeration, but, power and money are very impressive to my mother who’s married to a blue collar halfwit.

Here is my view of not being invited to the many gatherings surrounding the wedding….. maybe you’ll be at peace not being involved in all the “stuff”. I hope so. I know that worry and knotted stomach I get when a family gathering is looming. I just feel better if I don’t attend. Last Thanksgiving and Christmas I did my own thing. I didn’t miss anyone or anything. It was my first year to branch out and not be obligated to my mother’s annual gatherings. I look forward to holidays this year. I will be doing the same thing.

I am really sorry your sister hurt your feelings. Some of the things she said don’t make much sense to me, but, since I don’t know her, that’s easy to conclude. I didn’t understand the “NO MORE EXCUSES” comment. Excuses for what? Being broken? Trying to heal? Setting healthy boundaries? Things that make you go Hmmmmmm!!

BTW, my mother bashed my dad too. He’s no prince, but she put every effort into making sure we knew he didn’t love us and never would and we’d be stupid to believe otherwise. (she divorced him when I was 11). He is an alcoholic. The past few years I’ve been getting to know the REAL him…. outside of the opinion my mother formed for me since I was very young. It too has been liberating. I am enjoying getting to know the other part of my makeup.

One more thing on sisters….. I am the youngest of three girls. My husband is the youngest of three boys. We have talked about what it means to be youngest/younger. The older siblings in our cases seem to have a sense of superiority…. that’s not the word I want to use, but I cant think of a better one. It’s like there is a hint of authority there. They likely know better by virtue of being older. They have more freedom to give worldly advice because they have since we were born. They are self appointed role models. It just seems ingrained in my case, and in my husbands. I always really respected my oldest sister and was very very close to her. All that changed last year. She moved away, and then she and her daughter really disrespected me when I went to visit. Spoke and looked down at me among quite a few people. Some family, some not. It was so reminiscent of my mother’s ways. I was heartbroken immediately. I hid it for the rest of the stay (as well as I could) which was only 12 hours more. Then as soon as we got in the car to come home, I cut loose and cried nearly the whole way home. If I wasn’t asleep, I was crying. It really broke my heart.

I have come out of it since then. That was September, 2011. I realize it was necessary in order to see the dynamics clearly rather than continuing in a fantasy that I mean as much to them as they’ve always meant to me. God showed me in dreams and while awake, that I wasn’t an equal. I’ve processed it now, and I don’t have that same hurt anymore. I just don’t want to be a part of it too much now. It’s dysfunction, and I cringe at the thought of being put in that position again where I can be embarrassed and judged. I doubt I will be in that position again. I’d be silly to invite that. This sister lives 500 miles away now. Who knows when I’ll see her again. And, further, I don’t care much anymore. She’s not who I thought she was. She doesn’t have my back. She’s not my greatest ally like I thought. I don’t really have one of those anymore. Just me. And, that’s enough.

Peace and hope to you,


When you told the insurance story, I felt I was there with you. My mother is exactly like that.

Discussing the cause of my Dad’s death, she told me “He did not die from Congestive Heart Failure. He had that ascites. That only comes from cancer!”

Ascites means fluid especially in the abdomen. It is a symptom of several diseases, including congestive heart failure (which my dad had for 15 years, and outlived the predictions of docs by 7 of those.)

I started my work as a Clinical Medical Laboratory scientist in the seventies, and we had to learn how to diagnose from symptoms and laboratory work. I recently retired from teaching these subjects in college, and one of the
courses I taught was Medical Terminology! A career spanning >forty years, ending as a college professor, not acknowledged by my mother. 40 years!

Of course not! Mama, educated to the tenth grade, with no medical knowledge, knew much more about “asCI-tees” than I did. Her reasoning was that she was present each time the fluid was drawn out of his abdomen, and I was only there a few times when the fluid was drawn out, therefore she knew more about medical terms than I did.

And my dad she claimed, died of cancer,not CHF, because he had ascites, end of subject!

And then having stated her decree, she turned her back to me and walked away. Her final word was “well he’s DEAD, so HE does not matter anymore, so that’s that.”

She was right about one small thing. THAT WAS THAT! It was the last day I spoke to her.

Your story and Mimi’s are so like mine in so many ways.


Mimi, and Rise,

We were all writing to comment on one another’s posts at the same time! We really are on the same wavelength!


Very true!! The double standard that “it’s okay for me to lie, but not you. It’s okay for me to talk to anyone who will listen about the chaos in the house (with my alcoholic father), but don’t you breathe a word of it to anyone…. not even a grade school teacher, not your friends, NO one.”

What were my sisters and I supposed to do, keep it all bottled up?? I think the truth was she wanted to make sure it was HER story so people wouldn’t extend a hand to the children. She would have to sacrifice some of the attention if that happened.

I remember my dad wrecking a vehicle while driving home drunk. We lived out in the country in a little town with about 20 homes. He walked home from the accident and left his truck in the ravine he had driven into. He had sliced his eyelid open and it was bleeding. He looked a mess. I was about 8 years old I think. I went to school the next day and I could not stop crying. Right there in the middle of the classroom, I wept and wept. My teacher, a gentle older lady, pulled me out of the class and asked me what was wrong, if I was okay, etc. I had to tell her I couldn’t talk about it. My mom made me promise not to tell anyone. That sure wouldn’t fly these days!! I don’t know if teachers were mandated reporters back then. I would think a teacher would see red flags with an 8 year old who couldn’t stop crying right in the middle of class time, in this day and age.

I hope you’re doing well Mandy!!
Peace and hope,


I noticed that too!! What can I say ~ great minds…

OH, p.s. ~ thanks for noticing an improvement over last week, and commenting on it. I did have kind of a bad week. I am still in the process of weaning off of Effexor too, so every few weeks I’m cutting back a tiny bit. It seems to keep me on a wee little roller coaster. Not horribly noticeable, but it IS there. I know it’s just my brain trying to figure out how to balance without chemicals. I need to go post about my experience in that post that Pam wrote. I think I’ll do that now!!



Mimi, your mom was on a pedestal? Mine was on a throne, I think, and that throne was on a pedestal. LOL

We were all the Queen matriarch’s subjects. Some were princes and princesses. Others mere slaves good for cruel entertainments and servitude, not fit to speak aloud before the royals, but always readily available to serve, to comfort, to cajole, or to be foot wipes.

I am, as I said, 60 now. I have an older brother who is a narcissistic sarcastic a–.
I have an older sister who is now on so much psyche med, greatly overdosed via her self, she cannot stay awake for her own granddaughter’s baby shower. Her daughter barely speaks to her.
I have a younger brother who is also taking a lot of Rx drugs, and was told he fell asleep at the happy Christmas party I did not attend last holiday season.
Then there’s me, no meds, also no contact, former foot wipe to the queen. Often derided by the extended family court at the queens decree.

Sounds like the queen mother did a real good job, huh?


Thanks Mimi & Karenina for your support. I just need a little time to decompress & reflect on the family drama. I’m deciding what my next step is going to be. I will post again, when I’m feeling up to it. For now, I’m where I need to be in my recovery- sorting & letting things sink in. There is much to process in this last week. I’m trying to not dwell on my crazy making family!!


P.S. I more concerned about my cousin than my mom right now. I need to talk to my cousin to find out what happened. My intuition tells me my mother is behind my cousin’s recent post on FB. My cousin basically posted that It’s “So Sad” that a “family member is sick & hurt her” & that she is can’t wait to get home. I visited two days ago & the drama started then, with bad mouthing other family members and My mom was so miserable. I’m afraid my mom blasted her!…That’s all she needs, when only months ago she attempted suicide!!!


Sonia, take your time. We’re here for you when you want to talk.


I totally get that throne/pedestal thing. My brother and I have joked about it – that our parents should have been born in a different era.
I have been no contact for a couple of years. I just turned 50 and I kind of thought, well if they were ever going to reach out this would be the time. I had some wonderful times of celebration with my husband and friends. I must admit I thought they might send me a card. I was not crushed in my spirit like I used to be so I can see that the healing in my heart is really happening. Sometimes I don’t write even here because I feel my “stories” are not important. I know this is a lie but I am still growing in freedom….


Thank you all for your insightful comments and support.
Gosh Rise’ it blows my mind that you describe
so exactly how my family has always treated me…
emotionally defective, like Im lacking in
intelligence and understanding. In such a
put down way. For 50 years! It has always
been backhanded. Subtle Demeaning Raised eyebrows and
outright ignoring me when Im speaking in a
group setting like Im speaking gibberish.
My mother also told me I was hard to love;
so she just didnt.
But Im valuble if I can provide useful service.
No one in my family left except her and my
brother so atleast I dont have to deal with
family get together drama. We were not
allowed to associate with the extended family.
My father outright refused to attend graduations
weddings births anything so that everyone
felt badly but he kept control. So the most
important life events were spoiled.
Im glad its in the past but because of his control
he ruined many lives. I see his NPD now.
Only he mattered. I had that trauma bond for
years. I dont have a normal married life as
my husband is also an N. His mother was
one of the worst narcissistic mothers Ive
ever met. The women N’s seem to be even more
sadistic than the men. Im so glad hes dead
and Im NC with the rest of them. They live
only to hurt you. FOG oh yes that describes
my relationship exactly. No more. Not since
I have been here. Thank you all.
On a side note. .. all of you must type with more
than 2 fingers LOL!!!


Karenina & Mimi,
Thank You!! I’ll come back to post at a later time. The support & validation I’ve received from EFB has been a God Send!!! Tomorrow, my 7 yr old dtr & I will be spending mommy & me time together, just relaxing & swimming.


Karenina, Mandy and Mimi … what?! Your guys’ moms were on pedestals too?!

Its no surprise really – all NPD mothers are … they can do no wrong and they seem to think that their kids can’t function without them and if we can – now we’re ‘causing trouble.’ And failure to ‘worship’ meant ‘no love for you!’ Not they ever do love – but I’m sure you know what I mean by that statement – the hatred gets stepped up.

Karenina (#273) … are mother’s are alike – what is it that they seem to have such a problem having intelligent kids?? Why do they hate us knowing more than them?? I don’t get it. Even my 16 year old son knows things I don’t and am awed at what he knows – it makes me proud that he wants to learn things and do stuff with his life! It’s so weird having a parent that in one way can’t stand it to see you exceed, and yet – in public you somehow wouldn’t be who you are without her! It’s a no win situation.

Karen Ranes (#282) … I experienced the same as you – I was only good as long as I was a service to her. I had to clean my mother’s house pretty much every Saturday – the only Saturday I didn’t was the one the preceded the Friday my father came home (he worked overseas for a month at a time.) So once every two months I would get one free Saturday. My friends remember very well how I could not spend Saturdays (during the day) with my friends. The favourite always got out of it. There’d be the odd Saturday she’d help, begrudgingly – and even then, still ended up doing most of her work. Saturday cleaning was cleaning the whole house, bathrooms, vacuuming, laundry and ever few weeks that laundry also included bedding. I felt like friggin Cinderella! And where was my Prince?? Out having a good time I’m guessin’! 🙂 Anyway – my parent’s home was a 2 1/2 storey – five bedrooms and three baths. It was huge and it took all day to clean. I hated it. This likely explains why now, at the age of 47, I absolutely hate housework. I realized just today that I beat myself up for my house not looking the way my mother’s had to – and I thought to myself, ‘I really have to let that go – why am I hanging onto that?! So stupid!’

Karen Ranes, I also got the disapproving facial gestures that had the capacity to shame more than words did. {hugs} How hard I work at not doing this stuff to my kids!! Every day I am cautious at what I say and what I do, my tone of voice (which can be caught off guard if I’m having a bad day, but thank God those are far fewer than they ever used to be!), how I say things and facial gestures. It doesn’t mean I’m a pushover, I’m not that – I am stern, yet kind and I try very hard to be fair.

Getting back to when I had to clean my mother’s house almost every Saturday – I remember talking to my one sister (the favourite) about it once and she said, “I had to clean too.” I said, “Yeah, … sometimes.” She looked at me puzzled. I explained, “Remember all the times when your friends would show up by 11am or noon on Saturdays and you guys would go off ski-dooing or quading or you were going to the mall or the beach?” She just blankly looked at me – I continued, “Well, while you were off having fun I wasn’t ALLOWED to.” She had no idea!! I told her in so many words that the rules were different for her. And on those Saturday mornings by mother would bang on my bedroom door about 8am, yelling, “Get up! You have work to do!” Then she’d go and crawl into bed with her favourite where they’d talk and giggle until her friends showed up.

Fast forward a few years when, get this! My mother moves me out of her house when I was 19 because … you ready? … because I was lazy!! Yep, cleaning her house and doing her laundry almost every Saturday and I’m the lazy one. Anyway, after I’m living on my own for about two weeks and loving the freedom – oh, my gosh! What freedom! My mother decides to visit. She wasn’t even there 5 minutes and she asks me, “Do you think you’d like to move back home?” I asked her why, she said, “Well, now I know whose been doing all the work around there.” I was flabbergasted! And ANGRY! This woman made me clean her house and do her laundry almost every Saturday (except 6 in a whole year) and she says this to me. It goes to show that all that ‘earning her affection’ wasn’t even noticed. I did it all for what?? It was a slap in the face.

And yes, Karen Ranes … I can speak for myself anyway … I type with more than two fingers! 🙂 {hugs}


What an amazing discussion! Thanks to everyone here for “holding down the fort!”
We have been getting part of our farm ready to sell for the past 8 weeks. It has been an incredible amount of work and I am pretty tired, but today we listed it and put the for sale signs up. I appreciate everyone for understanding my limited involvement in this post but I am really glad that it is still going so strong! I do read all the comments (they are delevered to my phone too) and I have so much I would like to add!

This week the most popular mother daughter post (“My mother doesn’t love me and the process of grieving”) hit 500 comments! There is some huge activity going on in EFB even when I can’t keep up. I do have a new post written and I will upload it ASAP!



J Marie (#26) –you talk about restaurants and picking the least offensive option to please your husband…OH MY LORD! I spent YEARS doing that too! Your other comments about your husband mirror my marriage in many ways too. “If you don’t like it, leave” ugh. If I hear that one more time, Im going to explode!

Mimi–(#29) –it was an AHA for me too (about the decisions)

Darlene–(#32)–LOL I was just thinking the same thing (all the husbands follow the same script)

Diane (#35) –I can relate so much to your post. That whole thing about not changing because you dont want to face yourself…my husband is like that, and my family invented the mindset I am certain! Im sorry you (any of us, which there are a lot apparently) can relate to that kind of thinking…how did we all get so sick? I mean as a society, not as individuals, how did it become so widespread and pervasive and still so behind closed doors?

Elaina (#36)–I remember you also, and have been gone for a while because I had to take a break as well, sometimes its all too much…but I am so grateful to EFB and Darlene, I can’t even express it, this blog has changed my life in so many ways, and I am so different from the person i was when I posted the first time….seeing you saying the same is really wonderful too, because it shows others that Darlene’s message and this group support model is VERY powerful and life changing and can do so for them as well!!!


Amira…I understand what you mean when you were asking How did we all…as a society…get so sick? I dont have the answer to that one, but I sure have that same question! I have often wondered if this has been going on generation after generation and noone thought it was sick before ? I know that there are far more educational books, therapy, programs, etc that are extremely enlightening these days vs. other past generations…but were this many ppl so twisted in their thinking before?!!

Rise…your cleaning story with your mother and sister brought back memories for me. I am sorry that you were your narcissitic mother’s maid and servant growing up and that you had such a burden placed on you too young! No wonder you hate housework! It wasnt fair to you as a child and then later on to hear that you were “lazy” and never valued for what you did..! My situation was somewhat similar, but she was not my biological mother, so I do know that it made a difference for me. I always had that in the back of my mind and just figured that she didnt love or like me because I wasnt hers even though she had legally adopted me. The cleaning wasnt as bad for me, except for cleaning the kitchen and doing the dishes. Every single night after dinner from the time I was 10 yrs old, I had the responsibility of doing all of the dishes for six people for the entire day. I also had to set the table every night, clear the table, and clean the kitchen after the dishes. I remember some nights ( not every night, of course )being in that kitchen for 2 hours if there had been a heavy cooking and eating day and being exhausted and longing for my dad to come in and help me. He never did but once on a holiday. So..that same feeling of being the maid…being used…was what I used to feel too. There was no thank you or good job….in fact, I would have to write sentences as a punishment if a dish was left with a speck of food left on it after I had tried to clean it, or if someone else in the family had left dishes and I hadnt gotten to them. Or I was charged money after I got a job as a teen. It was really weird. Her eyes were almost always very cold when she looked at me, so I dont remember many other facial expressions, to be honest. I can also relate with you about being careful how my facial expressions, tone of voice and choices of words that I use around or with my daughter. I heard when I was in my 20s something about if you didnt have the kind of parent that you wanted, then be the kind of parent you wished you had had to your own child….(something similar to that.) That really touched my heart, so I have tried every single day. Some days not so great, but most are okay! When it comes to cleaning the house for her….she does do the kitchen and dishes the last few years, but I pay her very well and thank her and give her many days “off”! I HATE doing the kitchen more than anything! lol. I would pay her whatever she asks if knew to ask for more just so I dont have to do dishes!
I still marvel when I read such similar stories and feelings as my own here on EFB. I used to feel like such an oddball and very isolated because my family was not a family…and it was such a huge mess. Since I had what I am calling my “breakthrough” recently and reached a huge place of healing, some of these memories ….because they dont cause me pain anymore…actually make me want to almost laugh because they are so ridiculous now that I do have understanding of why I wasnt wanted, appreciated, loved, valued etc….and it seems like I am looking at these memories and going over them and getting even more understanding of each situation that had caused me suffering and pain or depression or sadness. I dont mean ANY disrespect to anyone who is still in pain and going through their own individual processing…this is simply what I am feeling now. It is an amazing new process to me and I feel like pinching myself nearly every day because I feel so differently . Such as my “mom” used to count the cookies in the cookie jar and then go back later in the day and take them all out of the jar and recount them. Of course I ate some without asking permission, so she would ask me in the tone of voice that I knew if I answered truthfully I would get punished…and then I would lie about eating them! Honestly! Who counts the cookies and wants to punish a kid for not getting permission first? It is so silly! Did anyone else here have a parent who did those kind of odd controlling things with them? I am curious about that. Hugs and blessings to everyone!


Sorry I haven’t replied yet today; we are having a bit of a heat wave here and it has been extremely hot in our office (only AC is in the living room). My husband is a computer tech and insists that we use desktop computers, so I’m one of those weirdos without a laptop. 🙂

I don’t have much time to respond, but all I want to say is WOW. I honestly feel as if I could take over in some of your families where you guys left off and it would be almost EXACTLY how it is currently in my family. How is this possible? Are there really that many mothers out there that want to hurt their children? And, I find it quite amazing that so many of you have have said that your maternal grandmothers are very similar to your mothers. My mother even tried to write my maternal mother a letter about 8 years ago and it was met with total disregard. My mom had to pretend like everything was ok in order to be a part of the family. And now, my mother is doing the exact same thing to me. Well, the cycle stops with me. At least my future children will grow up in an environment full of support, love, validation, humor, respect, and courtesy. And, if I don’t think we can provide that, we won’t have children. Children aren’t belongings; they are people with feelings and fears just like anyone else.

Thank you everyone for all of your stories. I want to read them in more depth tomorrow when I have some time. I really hope it isn’t a million degrees though. I hate getting sweaty. 🙂 I had to wait until 9:00 p.m. to go grocery shopping and it was still 95 outside. Bleh!!!

<3 to all of you. You have created an EFB believer out of me! I will emerge from broken, and I know you all will only help me along my journey!



Just a few quick points for Mimi,

Thanks for the story about your sister and all of the stuff you had to say about not being invited to social gatherings. I am still on the fence if I am actually going to the wedding, and I have until August 3rd to decide. I don’t want a room cancellation penalty. But, I also want to find a way to say my piece to my aunt (the mother of my cousin that is stationed in Italy and getting married in our homestate) and to my cousin. I don’t know how I will do that as I don’t know when people will be here or not. I could call my aunt and tell her my thoughts, but she is also my mother’s best friend. My aunt will talk about me in a loving way, but she will not turn her back on me, so to speak. She calls me occasionally and always tell me how much she loves me and totally steers clear of the situation with my mom. Still not sure what to do. I also want to see my niece and nephew, but it’s now been 4 days since my sister sent me all those texts and stopped replying to mine. So many thoughts going through my head right now.

I noticed in another posted that you mentioned coming off of Effexor. I have been there, and it left me with horrible dizzy spells that I really had to toughen through. I hope you aren’t experiencing those as they are not fun. I am currently on Paxil for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anxiety, and I find this pill to be a much better fit for me. If I was even an hour late taking my Effexor, I would get these weird “head zaps” for lack of a better word. How I hated that pill!

Will talk to you more soon. Thanks for all of your responses. I am flattered that you have taken the time to reply to me so frequently. I often don’t feel that I’m “worth” that. 🙂



I’m so sorry for your poor cousin. I hope you are able to get to the bottom of it. I know exactly that feeling she described, “I can’t wait to get home”. It stinks so bad to be in a place where you’re judged or treated poorly and you’re stuck there. Happened to me last year at my sisters 500 miles away. I didn’t even have a vehicle to at least go to a hotel. If I’d had one, I would have left in a heartbeat. Not even said a word, just left. I hate to say never, but, I think I might never go back. Why would I? I can forgive, but, I won’t forget that feeling of not fitting in among my own sisters. I felt like I was ganged up on sort of. They both sat and looked at me like, “what’s wrong with you?” They neither one got it. That alone tells me that this way of treating me is their normal. They didn’t suspect it was mean or disrespectful. Matter of fact, they didn’t GET IT at all. I suppose it’s all good…. I don’t GET them either. It’s hard to catch on when words aren’t aligned with actions. Anyhow, wasn’t trying to make this about me. My heart goes out to your poor cousin and to you Sonia. It’s such a tough road. You have such a kind and caring heart. I hope you know that!! Enjoy your mom/daughter time. That sounds fantastic!! xoxo

It’s so ridiculous, the threat to our mothers when they have intelligent children. The golden child in my family was boasted about constantly. How smart she was, she never had to try, things just came to her. I was the stupid one. History was particularly difficult for me all through school. I was okay in other classes though. But, when I went to nursing school, my mom did everything to negate that. I was up against another girl as top two students. My mom would do anything to try to take my focus off of school. She didn’t want me to succeed. OR, be top in my class. That would mean all the crap she spread about how dumb I am wouldn’t be true. Now that I’m even older and in classes again, I have maintained a 4.0 GPA. The last class I took I got a “B”. Much disappointment, but, I can say that the golden child wasn’t keeping a 4.0 GPA in college. I was so shocked to discover I could actually do that. Just goes to show, when my mom said something about me, I believed it. (My new motto ~ when she stops telling lies about me, I’ll stop telling the truth about her). She has an unfortunate disadvantage. She married my dad and he is an incredibly smart man. WAY smarter than her. My sisters and I all got an edge from him. Even if he’s a drunk, he’s still a naturally smart person. His memory is amazing even after all these years of drinking.

All that cleaning you did….. ugh! I would hate housework too. The thing I do hate is making my bed. When I get up, it’s like my feet hit the ground running. I don’t even go back into the bedroom usually. My mom had such a hangup with making beds. We had to do it from very early on. Now, I rarely do it. Why?? Because I can!! haha!

My mom’s way was to leave a list of chores on saturdays. And, they BETTER be done. She would be off somewhere doing who knows what. I hated those stupid lists. She even does it to her husband now. She would call and check in sometimes to see if we were getting our chores done. I tell ya Rise’, sometimes I wish I could go back in time, armed with the knowledge I have now, and blast her. Haha!! I just had this fleeting thought of her making that call and asking if my chores were done and me saying, “Eff no they’re not done, and I’m not doing them. What do you have to say to that??” It was always crap jobs that she didn’t want to do. She didn’t clean her house for years and years. We also had supper meal duty. Before and after. She cooked, so I guess she can slide on that one. 🙂

The insurance story…… so classic. My mother also knows more about medicine than I do. She will talk OVER me, and interrupt me if she has to, if someone asks me a question about nursing. It shows how insecure and needy she really is. I just shut up and let her blab her nonsense. Hopefully the other people in the convo see her elevator isn’t hitting top floor.

She has also told me before that she has an edge over most people in that she knows a lot about nursing because her mother, and her daughter are both nurses. Hahahahahahahaha!! I want to see her titrate a heparin drip, better yet, enemas ’til clear!!

You are sooooo worth it!! I’m glad you’re here. I can’t tell you what a blessing EFB has been for me. So much understanding here.

I have not had the brain zaps you’re speaking of, but, Darlene explained those very things in another post. I feel lucky that I haven’t experienced it. I am going VERY slow though. The first reduction, I did feel dizzy and off balance. Not all the time, but it was definitely noticeable. I had forgotten that happened. My biggest hangup I think is my short term memory seems to have vanished. I don’t remember conversations, or parts of them. I have repeated things to people. I feel like I must appear to be a lunatic. I was fairly jittery too with the first reduction. That and the dizziness only lasted a day or two though. I’ve been reducing by 18.75 mg every two weeks. It has kept me a constantly adjusting. I think I might extend it this time to 3 weeks. I’m ready for a little break in adjusting to a new level. All in all, I’m doing pretty good, and so thankful for that. I have read horror stories, so I know I’m lucky.

Happy Friday to everyone!!


Hi Darlene,
Thanks for posting this. All too often (even in present day) many of us survivors of abuse do still carry this fear of rejection from when we were children and do comply with others who use that sort of language.
Perhaps they learned it as well as children, therefore they have used it and found it worked for them too when getting others to comply with them.

Often people will comply, even if they know what they are agreeing to (or complying with) is and feels ‘off’ … fearing that the friend or person will leave them or exclude them.

Many people would rather not make waves, or speak up for fear of losing friends, jobs or family, so they simply comply.

The people who are using the ‘comply or good-bye’ threat believe they have the power, and in believing and acting as if- they are actually using their power to manipulate or abuse others.

Giving others this power takes away our power…and this takes us right back to the days of parents, partners, spouses and even school friends who did this sort of thing to gain control over us.

(If your friends with him or her, you cant be friends with me)

Knowing what is right, doing what is right, speaking up and speaking the truth or confronting these abusers will often help in regaining our power- and could give the ‘power person’ an opportunity to examine what they are doing and saying…hopefully.

Walking away with heads up high and not complying to others demands or threats is often the best thing we can to for ourselves.
We may not have been able to do that as children because the fear of rejection was so intense.

If we lose people who demand compliance, there are always others who will accept us for who we are, and what we stand for- or wont stand for.
(Once again, you and I were raised by the same mother!)



Everyone ~ I have been reading comments this past two days and I am just going to give a general response.

I guess that is why it is called “the cycle of abuse”. It repeats from generation to generation because it is learned; we see it and learn to accept it as children from people who learned to accept it as children too. My mother was much better than her mother and she changed her tactics enough to assure herself that she was nothing like her own mother. I can hear her saying “well at least I am better than MY mother” Like that excused everything. This is why I believe that understanding the belief system and how it forms is a big part of the solution. This is also why I talk about the false definition of love (that we learn and also accept) and when we change these definitions within our own belief systems then we break that cycle. About the misuse of power; I think the problem has roots in the false belief that when someone submits to “their power” it proves “their worth”. I believe that abusive and controlling people get their “order restored” when everyone snaps to attention at a mere dirty look. So when a child grows up believing that having power proves worth, it is learned behaviour to seek power over others. Power becomes proof of worth and is mixed up with love and respect. And some don’t seek power as much as others but instead follow the system of compliance; the belief that compliance and servitude will “win” the love of the person IN power.

About mothers (parents) who are threatened by the intelligence of their children; that is about control too. It stems from the belief that if the child ever realizes that they are smart, they might get away or they might realize how pathetic the parent is in the first place. Kids can get straight A’s and the parent will constantly disempower them anyway for fear of losing control. Abusive controlling people after all, are not confident or secure. They live by the false definitions of love and their self esteem is not in tact.

About disorders ~ there is a lot of talk about personality disorders and I just want to mention that a true disorder cannot be hidden from certain people or aimed only at certain people. My mother has the symptoms of many disorders ~ but she hides them from most other people. My mother was totally compliant to her mother but was really narcissistic towards me. My mother certainly doesn’t have the upper hand in her marriage either. I had to concentrate on the damage that was caused to me by abusers and controllers and set those false definitions of love and respect back to the truth in order to find healing and wholeness. It is very hard to stand up to a parent when our belief systems is so skewed and warped about what love is and about what respect is and even about what “right” and “wrong” are but that is where a big part of the solution is.

Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene for explaining this! The understanding that “power becomes proof of worth and is mixed up with love and respect” REALLY makes sense to me. I can absolutely see that about my parents and different relatives and other ppl I have known over the years. Following the system of compliance and servitude to win love from the person in power also makes perfect sense since that is how I was. And the understanding of parents who are threatened by children’s intelligence too! I always made good grades, but my older brother made straight A’s and was highly talented in art and music…but we were both treated like “idiots”…and I can understand WHY now. I think that is what I mean when I say I feel like laughing at a lot of the things that my parents did which were so ridiculous…now I understand how hard they struggled to keep control over us by using fear and abuse and neglect etc . And that word “pathetic” is exactly how I see it all now. I also can understand and see that they learned this whole way of controlling and power games from their parents…who probably did learn it from THEIR parents…on and on. It feels great to break that unhealthy, sick pattern and cycle!
“Setting those false definitions of love and respect back to the truth in order to find healing and wholeness” are powerfully true words! When I was finally able to see the pathetic lies and realize that I had nothing to be blamed or to feel guilty about for the way I was treated and not loved , not respected, abused and neglected and manipulated….that is when it all clicked for me! Their need for power and control would have been exerted on any other child …not because of me or something I ever did because THEY were so unhealthy, not me! I was able to look squarely at myself …and the false definitions of love.. realize that it wasnt true, healthy love at all…and be able to admit that I was not actually the one who was at fault or the problem. I also realized that if I was going to be totally free, I had to let go completely of false hopes that my parents would one day change and begin to like and appreciate me in a HEALTHY “normal” parent-child way…the same way that today I now want and am expecting to be treated. For me personally, I made the choice to let them go out of my life ocmpletely. There simply wasnt any type of relationship between us that meant anything to me anymore because they are still so caught up in those same patterns of behavior. Yes, they became “nicer” to me over the years in some ways, but the games were still played and the things were still said that were not appropriate or loving..and the loving things that would validate and value me as a person were simply not there and not shown…..and certainly not enough for ME to want to try any longer. There was no point to it for me. I sound harsh, but the head games absolutely wore me out emotionally, so I feel a bit determined to not fall back into any of that crap ever again. It is amazing to me how simple and uncompicated it all really is when you get to the truth of why I became broken…at the core…and then the moment I realized that OMGosh..this truly had NOTHING to do with me as a child/person/daughter etc…these ppl truly did not know how to love in a healthy way at all. So simple, but so difficult to reach that point and wade through all of the lies and smoke and mirrors my parents had placed all around me and forced me to ‘believe” and to behave and forced me to look to them as the ultimate sources of power and control…and to comply with everything they wanted because what I wanted wasnt intelligent enough or important enough. I dont hate my parents anymore…I actually find myself wishing them a happy life ..as long as I am not a part of it! I can truly look at them now and see them for who they really are and I feel so sorry for them …not because of the self pity crap they used to pull, but truly sorry for the hell that they have been in and not gotten out of…for what they must have endured…and also for the heavy loads of guilt that I know they must carry for themselves and for what they did to me. I know it is a heavy load because they cant face it and truly admit to it. I pity them for it. On the other hand, I am SOOOO glad to be free of them and their control and the pain they inflicted on me! 🙂 I am never going back to that or to them! I used to plan as a little girl to run away ( I never did though) and how it would feel to be free. I am now that little grown up girl…finally run away and escaped and free! I hope it is okay to post my good feelings on here about this? Sometimes I think I am coming across like a Pollyanna or something, and for others who still have the deep wounds and pain, I feel so much compassion! I have lived most of my entire life with suffering emotionally and mentally and deep sadness, so this is new for me to feel free and express it.
I have one question about the personality disorders. I dont know too much about them, so when a parent has symptoms of different disorders, they can hide them? If a person has been diagnosed with an actual disorder, then they are unable to hide the symptoms from anyone? I think my mom might have the symptoms of the narcissitic, but maybe not the disorder. She would never go to anyone to find out or even think there is something wrong with HER. Your mother sounds like she has a mental disorder of some kind…but I dont fully understand? Sorry!
I hope you can sell your house/land right away so that you and your family can sail off into another chapter of your lives! 🙂 I know how difficult it is to pack and clean and fix things and move them! Peace and hugs to you!


Hi Mimi,
Thanks for sharing what happened to you. It helps a lot to read others’ stories/experiences!…I plan to get to the bottom of it all. I messaged my cousin last night saying, I was concerned about her posts. She did message back & let me know she doesn’t want to dwell on it & whats to forget what happened but made it clear she wasn’t going to visit my parents anytime soon…Wow!…That’s a truth leak…I really wanted to get her side of it, before I called my parents. I have a strong urge to tell my parents off!…I’m so angry with their mistreatment towards others! They think they can say anything to people without consequences & that’s not right! I’m such a fair & diplomatic person that I’m willing to hear my parents side. I’m going to believe the Truth, whatever that is???…My parents are masters at pointing the finger & taking no responsibility!…My blood is boiling now!….I’m waiting for the right opportunity & time to confront them….It will most likely be on the phone or by way of a letter. My intuition is telling me they were abusive towards her. Of course they will minimize her feelings like they have with mine all these years. I want to stick it to them & hold them accountable!…I’m just trying to figure out what to say & how to go about it! I thought I can call up with my mind already made up that they hurt my cousin & say that. I already know she is hurt!…My mom was giving her dirty looks the whole time I was visiting, before this incident happened. My cousin was calling her on it too!…I was secretly cheering her on!….Also, when my mom was repeatedly yelling at her dog, my cousin told her to “Let it Be”…I said the same and I’ve said it at other times too. It’s all just drama & dysfunction!…Say sorry & take responsibility for your actions already! I’m on a roll now & it feels empowering to vent! I don’t want to back down from what I have to say either like I have in the past, so if you have any suggestions on what to say & how to say it…I would be appreciative….I’m just trying to line my ducks up for the confrontation….


I think there are a few people who cannot comprehend that their actions are cruel and self serving and therefore cannot/don’t hide these actions.

I think there are some people who vaguely comprehend that their actions are selfish and cruel, primarily because they realize that most other people would condemn it if they were found out, and they do not want harsh consequences to themselves not because their consciences bother them or they feel much for others, which is just another evidence of selfishness.

I think there are some people who are fully aware that their actions are selfish and cruel, either do not care or take malicious pleasure in the pain they inflict, and would not stop though they could stop, to cover their own skins.

I think the word “sick” should be reserved for the sick, and the word “evil” should still have a place where it is warranted. For me the word “sick” means, “poor person, we should help him.” Evil people don’t need help, they need to be stopped. Their victims need help.

When serial killers or despots enjoy the killings or genocides, people say “he’s sick!” or “that’s sick.”
I say that’s not sickness it’s pure evil.

Okay sort of a rant, but twisting our language sometimes twists our minds, and our cultural mores. This is all MHO!

Diagnoses should be left to experts, but the word “narcissist” and “narcissistic” with a meaning “utterly selfish” aren’t for me diagnoses of disease, but descriptions of attitudes or actions.

The “disease” “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” came long after the word “narcissist” and the single word is a descriptive term not a Dx.


Sonia, I hear you! I understand your rage and how you need and want to confront! Boy have I been there!

But your suicidal cousin seems to say she doesn’t want a confrontation, and since you are worried about her right now…well, what do you think?

Do you think a big blowup confrontation would help her fragile state or send her into a downward spiral?
Hey, you know her, and I don’t.

i just think if I told someone “I don’t want to dwell on it, I just want to forget it.” And they didn’t honor that, but went ahead and confronted anyway, I would feel somewhat betrayed by my defender/confronter/confidant. And might feel
worse not better about the whole thing. It would be confusing and it would get me down.

Me, in your situation, would go pound a punching bag a while to get out my rage, and save what remained for fighting a battle that was mine. Only to honor the wishes of my friend and cousin. But that’s me…


Hi Sonia
I don’t know as much about the people or the situation as you do but my take on it is that you are supporting your cousin; she may not want to talk about it because she is not sure what your motive is and that you are dealing with issues of your own with your parents. If you decide not to ask her more about it, you can confront you mother using only the examples that you saw with your own eyes. It might be a way to bring up your own issues with them too using the thing with your cousin as an example.

if you do talk to your cousin I always find that the truth works the best. You could tell her that you are concerned because of your own issues. She might be willing to talk to you if she knows your motive is supportive of her. If she doesn’t wish to engage then fine.
I hope that makes sense.
Hugs, Darlene


Tamara Gill,

What you say is important!

I just wanted you to see that in writing…Cause it’s true.

I know what you mean about thinking that if they were ever going to do something it would be on your 50th! That is an important landmark in life! I hope it is your best year yet, but that each year after is even better!



Hi Tamara
Everyone and all these stories are very important. WE are important and healing comes when we start talking or writing. We need to hear our own stories; it is the valadation that we never got. It is very hard to understand when our own parents don’t show any sign that they care, but it is also healing to get away from the reminders that they don’t. Each year it gets easier for me. This year on my birthday I didn’t even think about them. I have a wonderful life with my husband and our kids and our friends and the truth is that nothing is missing except all the tension, obligation and abuse… and I don’t miss any of that.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for responding back to my recent post here. You are right! I want to support her & she does not know I have similar issues with my parents. I do think my mom has told her, that I suffer from depression too. I did send a message back to my cousin saying, I respect her choices & was just genuinely concerned about her. I did think about what she may think of my motives, since it’s about My Mom. I don’t think she even knows my issues with my parents.I’ve never talked to her about it but both our mom’s have been abused by our grandfather. My heart just goes out to her because I know how it feels to be abused & suffer from depression. I’m going to tell her I’m concerned because of my own issues. I’ll keep you posted. Hope she will talk to me.


P.S. I’m excited! I just noticed I hit the 300th post here!!!


My cousin did respond back & told me, “mean things were said” & when she confronted them it got “really ugly”…So glad I wasn’t there!…I would have been so tempted to joined right in against my parents. I offered support by saying, I have issues with their mistreatment of me over the years & I would not be surprised by anything they said or did. She appreciated my support by saying that my support means so much & that she Loves me. I’m leaving it at that & I will ask my mom what happened. Two sides to every story…Right?.. Just that my parent’s side is usually the bad side! These incident may give me the opportunity to let them have a piece of my mind! Any suggestions?


Sorry! You already answered my question re: my mom. You said I may want to bring up my own issues with my parents by using the thing that happened with my cousin. I can give examples of what I saw, when I visited. That makes a lot of sense, since it does tie in. It’s not just me having the issues,now another family member outside the immediate family has seen it too. It’s actually more validating then my sister & brother, who choose to turn a blind eye & appease our parents. Thanks again Darlene for helping me see a clearer picture.
Hugs, Sonia


Hey Darlene.

I haven’t had time yet to really sit and read through all the posts. but I have read a few, and want to read the rest.

Reading this stuff is really hard, STILL. I’ve reached the point in my recovery where I know what my damage is and how/why my parents were responsible for it. But for a long time, I denied that my parents were the issue, that I was carrying my stinky bag of garbage right into adulthood. I didn’t realize that my behaviors, attitudes, dysfunction and toxic self was at all attributed to my upbringing. It was like separating the mind from the body, well ya can’t do that! I find myself a bit on the snarky side these days in asserting my boundaries and not putting up with toxic bullshit. I suppose that’s part of the process, but while still working it out in therapy and will be for a long time, it’s understanding that my behaviors, choices and attitude before i had awareness WERE directly tied to my pathological parents and upbringing. I knew I had to face the absolute truth of that and deal with the grieving, anger that is still present and that I’m still processing, along with managing PTSD. There were so many who would discourage me from attributing anything about myself to what happened to me and that my choices, behaviors were about my unhealed childhood. I would be accused of “digging shit up”, “wallowing in the past” if I dared discuss it in that maybe, just MAYBE there was truth in it. Now, I’ve turned into a huge annoying advocate for addressing these issues, and the opposite is happening LOL! I stopped putting up with mistreatment and I”m called a bitch, a narcissist, you name it. Since I started focusing on this on my page as to why some of us with toxic childhoods got involved with a psychopath, many survivors HEAD FOR THE HILLS. What I’m also noticing that those that use to be on the page, are not any longer, yet it’s growing again but with an entirely different set of people who ARE dealing with childhood stuff. I know it’s hard to believe, and even harder to accept. It is very painful and it DOES hurt like hell! I never got validation from my family. I never needed it once I realized who they were, it didn’t matter to me. Why would I seek out validation from the very people who worked so hard to REPRESS any validation at all, let alone anything good about me. I can’t figure out why the validation is so important either, because as adults, we can really only validate ourselves. I also came to the screaming realization in therapy after writing out my abuse history, that my parents really DID NOT love me and never did. Even writing that hurts a little still, but I did notice that I had this behavior with regards to FAWNING. I would suck up big time, fear of rejection. I would manipulate those who had perceived authority over me because I wanted them to like me. It was such incredible self sabotaging behavior. I remember doing this constantly in childhood to win the approval I was never going to get and feeling like I was “fake”. The only thing I can say now, is that I feel more authentic than I ever have in my life. My choices now reflect that authenticity as well. It is markedly different than my OLD behavior. I wanted to heal and I wanted badly. My determination won out over dysfunction, even though I have MILES left to go, I am FAR from done, but what I’ve also realized that since I dumped my pathological family three years ago, ever since, I have been slowly progressing, making huge strides this last year and a half. There is no way I could have walked this far and still been involved. It is my opinion that no matter how hard I tried, I got instantly sucked into the dynamics, like on automatic pilot. I was so sick of that feeling, the phone rings and someone says it’s my psycho daddy! OH YAY! CAN”T WAIT to talk to the bastard! Wonder how many times during THIS conversation he’ll tell me I’m a fuck up! **getting on phone** “Hi, Daddy! How ARE YOU? Ohhhh, you’re sick? I’m so sorry, do you need anything?” GAG. ME. WITH. A. SPOON! So glad I am aware. It is a God given blessing and gift.


Karenina ~ (#295) … Narcissistic Personality Disorder … yeah, I have a hard time thinking this as a ‘disease’ – really, its a personality flaw, very much a descriptive term … for someone who isn’t right in the head. A disease is something that someone cannot help. I believe that being narcissistic or someone who exhibits the traits/characteristics of someone with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) could possibly change – if ‘they’ wanted too. But they don’t – they are too wrapped up in themselves and how much ‘worship’ they deserve to care about what they do to others. I view it as a flaw.


I’m glad your here! There are many survivor here, that so are aware & insightful. This is where I started facing the damage from my dysfunctional/disordered family. I was not able to say my family was “abusive”, until I came here. There are so many eye opening & validating posts to read. BTW, I love your page! What you are doing is valuable too & your far from a bitch LOL


I believe in my heart that my awareness was God given too. I was in a horrible place and had been there for a while. I can look back and see that God showed me so much of the stuff I know today. The biggest thing he showed me in healing was EFB. I have played out that same scenario you describe with your dad calling…. I know it’s not funny, but your statement made me laugh a little. I’ve done the same thing with my mother. It’s not comfortable to have these feelings about someone and simultaneously feel like I have to STILL suck up, and pretend it’s all okay. I don’t do that anymore. 🙂

I am happy for you and your cousin both, that the doors were open for you to communicate. It must be validating to both of you to see the same thing. It’s so lonely if no one else sees it. Perhaps you have a new confidante, and so does she?? Another thing that came to my mind when I was reading your posts ~ at least you know without a doubt, it’s not YOU. They handle many people this way. That says a lot about who REALLy has the problem.
ps ~ hope you enjoyed your day swimming with your daughter!! Oh, and congrats on posting #300!! This post is nearing the Mother doesn’t love me one!! (Dang Darlene, you write some good stuff!!) 🙂

Rise’, Karenina,
I am a little confused about the whole NPD thing. I thought that the word narcissism was coined after the man Narcisse… a group of behaviors that describe someone who is like him. I have read that treating this “disorder” is nearly impossible because they have the professionals snowed too (my mother). There isn’t a drug for it, there is no test for it, and apparently no treatment. It seems like it COULD fall into the category “disorder”. My mother is certainly disordered. I don’t believe it fits in the disease category though. Maybe it falls under the heading of it’s own category… perhaps A-hole disorder??

Well, I guess that settles it. My mother has A-hole disorder! A disorder she is free to self treat, but which she refuses.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!


Hi Everyone,

Diane, your words are exactly my life described in a nutshell. Dysfunctional family systems are almost robotic and rigid in the way roles are assigned to family members. Like so many here I have been assigned the role of scapegoat, its all my fault that everybody is so negative and unhappy!!

Darlene, I always learn more and more from your powerful words and I love reading everybodys posts. Mimi, kelli, SMD, Rise, every single one.

My own life, I am NC with my mother, brother, sister, stepfather, very very low contact with my father, stepmother. I tried to get validation from them because for years I really believed if they could admit responsibility for their bad behaviour, they could recognise they have a problem, they could then heal and change and then become the kind, loving, compassionate family/people I desperately needed them to be.

For years my relationships with people were not based on who they actually were, but the dreamy “potential” if they could just heal we could all just be so happy…. Bad habits for sure were learned. I finally stopped twisting myself into fixing the dysfunction and instead fixed me and faced the truth of what I was born into and raised into.

Now after being NC for over a year, and LC for over a year I feel so so much better and peaceful and EFB is such a solid foundation to build on for my mind and my beliefs system which I am still relearning and rebuilding at the age of 43.

Peace to everyone and thank you.


I couldn’t say my mom was abusive either until I came here. And, this is where so much discovery happened.

I didn’t notice you were blue. Now that Sonia brought it up, I’m gonna go have a look at your page.


SMD, Sonia,

I am so glad you have been able to talk to your cousin and that she was able to confide in you! When I read your post, #294, I was afraid for your cousin, because you had said she had been suicidal very recently, and sometimes a person in a suicidal mode is extremely fragile and often confused. (Which makes your mother’s attacking her even worse, for this reason alone!) It makes me so glad that you found a way to reach out to her following your mother’s abuse of her.


Your description “robotic and rigid in the way roles are assigned to family members” struck a chord!

My mother assigned certain talents to each, and even wrote them down in a little verse. My GB was the smart and artistic one, my sister was the songbird, I was the quiet one, my younger brother was the funny one.

The rigidity was that no one else was allowed to have the talent assigned to another.

(Darlene, I see this seemingly sweet poem as a “truth leak.” her wish for me was to “hitch my wagon to a star” and while she noted a real talent for each of the others and wished each a particular success, she wanted me quiet and
gone. This was written when I was six.)

My art was not good enough and I could not be smart, my singing was not good enough, and I was never funny when I tried to joke. (But in school I was chosen for high chorale choir, made A’s, won school prizes for art, and my friends and teachers found me clever and funny. I did get report card remarks of too much talking.)
I was assigned as ” the quiet” one…which meant “Shut up!”

I recall feeling sad that I was born third, after my older brother and sister had already “taken” the best talents. As if
talents were treasures in a treasure chest, and only one of each.


The “stinky bag of garbage” is such an accurate term! I got pretty “snarky” too…or maybe I was so trained to be ultra polite amongst family who were not, any standing up for myself sounded “snarky” to my own ears! Not really sure, as after so many years of carrying the stinky bag, it had a particularly snarky smell when it was opened up! My family sure did not want to look inside..


It’s weird reading all these things that parents have done, or the way that they are, the way they handle situations etc and I sit there thinking, wow. A lot of the things I was observing are all about the same thing. Even down to small things.

One of the posts mentioning birthdays resonated. In one week, I’ll be celebrating my 30th, and I really wanted to actually do something nice. One of the ugly things I’ve always done around my birthday seems not so ugly now. It’s not like me to dream up things that aren’t there, or to act like a jealous child in any way. But as kids, me and my Sister would both get presents on each others’ birthdays. My Sister, the eldest, had birthday parties. I remember ones when she was 7, 13, 18, 21, maybe 25 and 30. I had some friends round when I turned 16. Otherwise it was up to me to make my own arrangements. My birthday always fell right at the start of the summer break. There were so many times I sat there on my own at home watching TV, because Dad was at work, Mum was at work, my Sister might be around, but it never felt like a day to celebrate my existence. I remember leading up to my 21st, it got to a few days before and I said, “is anyone not going to mention what we’re doing for my birthday?”. My Mum said “oh, didn’t know you wanted to do anything.” I felt deflated. I wondered if they had planned some kind of surprise party. Instead I had to make all the arrangements and ended up going out for the day in London with my friend, Sister and Mum. My Mum never said, your Birthday’s coming up, what do you fancy doing.

I’ve learned not to expect anything, so last year, just arranged to have a BBQ with my friends. This year, with it being a milestone, and one which should officially state I am a full grown adult, I have booked a table in a restaurant for my friends and invited my family. I know now that I just have to not expect them to take it in their hands. Oddly enough, Mum and Dad (not so odd with Dad..he takes an interest in my life, he’s met a lot of my friends and generally likes to be involved) didn’t really say much, but my Sister was the one who brought a black cloud over it. Rather than just respond to my invite, or speak to Mum and Dad about whether they were going, she turned around to me when I was having a bit of a bad day with everything and said, “I won’t know anyone there, I don’t really like the type of food and it will cost me money to get the train, and to have the meal”. I cried, and had to go and hide my face, I was scared of being ridiculed for my emotional response. She said, “sorry, didn’t think it was going to upset you so much”. I said that I’m only 30 once and had stupidly assumed my family would be there if invited. She said “you know age is just a number”. Yes, she’s right, but it just sucked the wind out of my sails. Why hadn’t Mum spoken to her and mentioned it at all what the arrangements would be. Mum didn’t know this conversation had happened and lied to say that her and my Sister had always been planning to go along together. Maybe they think, oh it’s that time of year again when she’s going to be a complete princess over her Birthday. My Sister is married, with a 4 year old, with her home life. I don’t have those commitments, I go out with friends, we have fun, and there’s a perception that we just drink and act all aggressive. In a way I can’t wait for them to see the reality. But, have I just subconsciously tried to get validation for my life that they have no idea of, or have I genuinely wanted my family and friends to be together in one place? This is sooooooo frustrating!!


You are right, the man Narcissus loved himself so much he could not stop looking at his reflection in a pool of clear water, so much so that he drowned in it trying to reach his wonderful reflection. It’s Greek mythology. So the term “narcissistic” came along, I suppose, with the myth in ancient history. I think it originally had a primary connotation of extreme physical vanity, although it meant extreme selfish actions towards others too.

The NPD Dx has not been around long at all. Since narcissistic people usually refuse to accept anything could possibly be wrong with them, or that their behaviors are not right, they don’t often come back after diagnosis, which is why it is not treatable. (Hard to diagnose too, b/c like you said they snow the docs.)

The new book listing diseases and disorders will have even more disorders to choose from so that more people (especially youth) can be diagnosed (and drugged.) There is much controversy about it.


Hi Karenina,

I just got an interesting thought when reading your post about your mum and how she assigned her children certain roles.

I thought of how a little girl assigns roles to her dolls and her toys, each toy has certain qualities, like the beautiful one, the nasty bad one, the hero, all so the little girl can play her game which gives them emotional satisfaction. My own mother (aged 60+) actually speaks in a little girly voice which she did more and more as as she got older and older.

I had to be ultra polite too, and if I stood up for myself I would be severely punished and no, I didn’t comply and it really was Goodbye. Everything is so rigid, the roles, the control then the rejection if non compliance.


Karenina – I feel me and my Sister were assigned roles and traits too which have been set in stone forever and non changeable. My Sister told me it was weird for her to watch me go from shy introvert to bold and assertive and my sometimes dark, satirical and sarcastic humour I’ve developed. I said, well actually you’re kind of similar, so why is it a problem. In fact, I feel happier having managed to come out of my shell since leaving home at 18 and this is mum’s influence of talking all the time about how I was a child, when my sister responded “but it’s you, you’re not like that”.


I never got birthday parties either! It hurts so much when you are a child, especially when the others all got celebrations arranged by your mother, birthday cakes, ice cream, friends invited…

Now your thirtieth comes along, a real landmark in life, and you have to plan it yourself? And when you do, your sister says it’s too much trouble to get there? If she didn’t want to take a train, she could have planned a party for you, couldn’t she!

I am glad you are seeing these things, and validating your own self. I hope your birthday is wonderful anyway, with or without those who are not showing delight in celebrating your coming to the world and your coming to full adulthood. Happy happy happy birthday, Mandy!


Thanks Karenina. Honestly I go away each year from pre-birthday conversations feeling like an egotistical maniac! This year I said nothing, I just spoke to my best friend, and we discussed options and she said she wanted to help me with it. I was on the phone to her in front of my mum talking about different restaurants, and it’s so funny the way the minute my Mum cottons on the fact that someone else who loves me thinks a big deal should be made, she’s suddenly interested because otherwise she might look bad.


What a great and telling insight about little girls and dolls!

We are not dolls to be assigned personalities, talked for, and put on a shelf or thrown away or left behind in a sandbox!

Children naturally go through a selfish-seeming stage when they are still developing moral values. Maybe some get stuck at this stage and never complete full moral and emotional development? Hmmm…my mother is very very childish.



Egotistic? Isn’t it about time others who say they love you consider your ego, and not just their own?

Funny, if we speak up we are egotistic. When they speak on their behalf, it’s right and fair and just and normal.



My mother, in any argument where she could not defend what she had said, (especially w/my Dad) would whimper and cry crocodile tears and say, “I was just a lil’ ole country girl!” she and my dad were married when he was one month past 20, and she was 16. She always accused him of robbing the cradle. I found and read their love letters from WWII, and I don’t buy it! She also sent VA-VA-VOOM (as they would say it) photos, posed like a movie star or pin-up girl, or sweater-girl.

Some years ago I confronted her asking why she had allowed my older sister to abuse me (kicking, hitting, biting) by not coming when I screamed for her in a very small house. She immediately teared up and said in her baby voice “I was just a lil’ ole country girl.” I said,”You were 27, and had two older children when you ignored my cries. YOU were not still just a little girl! *I* was just a little girl!”

“Furthermore, you said (my nephew) who is 22, is not mature yet! But turning 21 a month before you married, my Dad was an old man robbing your cradle? Think again! you used that line with Dad, but that line does not work with me!”


Hi Karenina,

Sounds like your mum doesnt want to take any responsibility for her behaviour and just throws in whatever line she can to distract you or move away from what you are trying to confront her on. I think that you see right through your mums reasons and excuses and are not going to make excuses for her bad behaviour anymore.

Thanks for the compliment re: my little doll insight!! Good for you for seeing through the crocodile tears!


One memory about dolls: I loved my dolls so much! I think I treated them the way I wanted to be treated, and remember worrying about whether they were afraid in the dark after bedtime. I don’t recall spanking my dolls, or making them have bad behaviors.

Looking back, I think I projected my fantasy of a good mother onto me, and my fantasy of happy little girls onto my dolls.


Lines from song “Elsewhere” by Sarah McLachlan (Album “Fumbling Toward Ecstasy”)

“Oh the quiet child awaits the day when she can break free
The mold that clings like desperation.
Mother can’t you see I’ve got to live my life the way I feel is right for me
Might not be right for you but it’s right for me…

I believe…I believe…
this is Heaven to no one else but me
And I’ll defend it long as I can be
Left here to linger in silence if I choose to
Would you try to understand…”


I have a difficult time accepting NPD as an official diagnosis myself. It seems to me that if the psychiatrists cannot keep potential NPD patients in their care for more than a visit, how can they adequately diagnose? I think most are diagnosed from the stories others tell, and not from direct contact with psychiatrists. Sort of a “diagnosis in absentia,” I think.

This is a real problem. Think about it. Some on here have been diagnosed with psyche disorders based on what abusive parents said before they were even seen by the psychiatrist! Others are told they have NPD themselves by their family members when they try to confront abusers. So I do not like the label NPD, though I know there are definitely narcissistic people!


I am sorry I have not been on in a while I am going through a difficult time. I was just invited to an entire family dinner and I had to tell my grandma that I don’t think I will be attending. Basically I got an earful of how I will regret things, my mom will never change, people just want to see me,etc. All these people that want to see haven’t contacted me, so I really don’t know if I believe that. I left a message with my aunt from Canada that I would like to speak with her. I plan on telling her that I will not be attending events with my mother and that I would like to see her before she goes home. I do not want to talk about my mom with her as she doesn’t need to hear this b.s. from me too. I will reply back after I talk to my aunt. I hope she is understanding. I am so sick to my stomach.


I don’t remember what post this was on but you were talking about your mom taking you to see “Kramer vs Kramer”, during the time your parents divorced. I had a similar experience, except it was that sad & grieving movie “Terms of Endearment”. I remember feeling sad & confused watching this movie with my mom. She took me out on a day pass, while I was receiving psychiatric treatment for depression to watch this movie. I remember her saying how the mom really loved her daughter & she would miss her when the daughter passed away. I was confused then about her intentions. I just thought she was spending time with me, as a loving mom would, but I could not understand why she would take me to that kind of movie, which only made me feel more depressed. I now understand it was her way of keeping me close & under her control- Her definition of Love! I stayed in the Fog & was not aware of her tactics. Although, I knew there was something Wrong with taking your clinically depressed daughter to a grieving movie about a mother & daughter! I can’t believe that she was that blind? & What was she thinking? It’s just one example of what I went through with my mom’s narcissistic personality. Another buried memory of mommy dearest!
When I returned to the hospital, I remember a staff person asking me what movie I saw & when I told her, she said, “She took you to that movie!??” That statement validated my feelings that it was not a movie for a depressed girl in treatment! Movies can be so triggering & when your emotionally fragile it can be traumatizing. Maybe, I’m pushing the trauma part, but I was not in a good place emotionally to see that movie! I suspect you weren’t either Mimi, with Kramer vs Kramer. In a lot of ways I felt emotionally unprotected & then when I suppressed my sexual abuse at 12, my sense of security was really shaken. I grieve for that lost girl! Sorry for the gloom & doom! Another painful reminder of the damage done by my Narc Mom. It sounds like I’m pitying myself, but my mom was not there for me emotionally, when I really needed her to be. That theme of emotional abandonment runs throughout my life with dear old mom.


Sonia and Mimi…I saw what happened to my cousin who was taken to see the Exorcist by her mother, my aunt, when she was going through a particularly difficult time in her life as a child. She ended up traumatized after that…the movie absolutely became a trigger to send her into a horrible spiral. My aunt is a compulsive liar…for real….and it seems unusual to think about, but she seemed more like the “child” and my cousin was the “parent”. I have not seen that dynamic anywhere else, but the type of things my cousin had to endure and the way she seemed to have to take care of her mother….and be her companion at that movie and other adult situations was too much for my cousin! I saw what resulted from seeing that age inappropriate movie too. I am sorry both of you were put through that and I am sure it did do some harm to you….how on earth can a child process adult issues and material? I feel for you both! It isn’t just a movie….it is trauma when you are already having to deal with sad and difficult things in your world and you are too little and don’t feel safe to begin with! And Sonia…I don’t think you sound self pity-ish at all….That surely has to be a form of emotional abandonment….! I know my cousin certainly felt that way. My cousin has been in extensive therapy on and off over the years….she had to become aware of the manipulation and lack of boundaries in her relationship with her mother….and one thing that she has always said did a huge number on her was when she was at that movie because her mother wanted to see it. I dont know if any of you remember the old days when all there was on the television was just a few channels? You were in the big time if your family had the cable channels…with a box on top A/B and you would push the button? Lol. Anyone who subscribed to HBO in those days really had the movies! My aunt subscribed to all of that and allowed my cousin to watch any and all of those adult type movies. Absolutely age inappropriate! So she was exposed to too much too soon…and I wonder now if her mother was deliberately trying to force her to grow up too quickly so that she could control her and have her take care of her…..and justify it all somehow in her mind?


Re: the “diagnosis”….. my mom keeps going to her counselor. It’s way past one appointment. She’s been going for well over a year. Her reason ~ the counselor is a good supplier of validation and affirmation of all her “behaviors”. She is a terrific narcissistic supply for my mother. I went to her too for a while. It began when I discovered my husband’s affair. But, not much time passed before I was knee deep in conversations about my mother. I believe she and my mother are sort of “twin souls”, although she was able to show compassion and empathy to me, and my mother cannot. Toward the end of our time together, she spent a lot of time focusing and talking about my lack of forgiveness and insisted I hadn’t forgiven. A result was that I would never be happy until I did. I would always end up asking, “do I have to do this TODAY?” Then she would exclaim, “no of course not!” I found myself wanting to say, “then why do we keep wasting my money on it?” I’ve never been blessed to pray and have forgiveness supernaturally appear. It’s a process for me. She couldn’t grasp that for whatever reason. I stopped going to her. Anyhow, for my mom, it wasn’t a single visit and done. She goes back weekly to have her narcissistic tank filled, haha!!

I so feel for you. I’m sorry you’re sick over the whole thing. It does create knots in the gut!! UGH!!

I want to tell you something that’s been hard for me to swallow. My maternal grandmother has always been good to me. I don’t ever want to overlook that. Early this year she got sick (and has since recovered) and I was able to spend a lot of time with her. I was her caregiver nearly 24 hours a day at first because she was very sick. When she began to recover, I was able to go home, although recovery was slow. I continued to go to her house daily for a while, then was able to taper that down as well. It gets me in the stomach to admit that I saw firsthand where my mother’s issues came from. My grandma lied to me on several occasions about several things, even her own care. She lied FOR my mom on some issues. She was pretty handy at keeping things stirred up between people too. She and my mother are allies now. I do think she is the source of my mother’s childhood injuries however. It’s so twisted, really. How they went from enemies to advocates is beyond me. I remember my mom ripping on my grandma when we were growing up, not to her, but to my siblings and myself.

This has been a saddening discovery because my grandma’s been my only grandma my whole life, and she and my grandfather were both good to me. It’s made it very difficult to have a desire to keep company with her, unfortunately. What I have had to do is let her words leave my head the minute they enter, and continue to focus on my healing. I was very happy not knowing these things and having my sweet loving grandma. Ignorance was total bliss. It’s not so easy now.

The point you made about the people who long to see you, not contacting you…. I’ve experienced that also. I have concluded that actions truly do speak louder than words. I read something recently ~ “If your presence can’t add value to my life, your absence will make no difference.” One of the hardest stumbling blocks for me was realizing I was holding up the weight of the relationship with my sisters. When it hit me to not reach them anymore, the communication stopped altogether. They have since texted me. One time each after around two months of hearing nothing from me. It did my soul good to see that truth, but it was painful.

Peace sent your way! My heart goes out to you.

Wow, isn’t that horrible?? I think it is!!! That movie is VERY sad. It invokes tears in the emotionally healthy people, what did she think it would do to a struggling, depressed child who’s trying to heal??

Sonia, I can’t figure out what they are thinking on this. Was it just a subtle form of torture?? I think, “is my mom slow?” How could she do that and then pretend she’s oblivious when I become uncontrollably upset? How did she THINK I would react to that? At the very very least, she didn’t think it through very well beforehand. Baffling!! Both those movies are tearjerkers!! The things she said to you are baffling too. I don’t remember my mom’s words except that afterward when we had to go to the women’s room so I could gain some composure, she said, “what is wrong with you?” I didn’t blame her at the time. I was very confused by why I SHOULDN’T be upset. She acted like she couldn’t figure out what was so upsetting to me. And, I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get my crying under control. She implied my reaction was wrong. I’m implying (now) that she was wrong for doing it. BTW, I posted that on the “mother doesn’t love me page”.

Hope you’re doing well Sonia!!


I remember watching the exorcist for the first time. I was young and for years I said it was the scariest movie I’d ever seen. It was/is a very scary movie. Your poor cousin.

The thing that was traumatizing for me wasn’t necessarily the context of the movie (I dont think anyway) but more the fact that it was right in the midst of my dad leaving and it was a tumultuous and chaotic, scary, bitter divorce. So, right in the midst, my mother took me to see Kramer vs. Kramer. Brilliant idea!! Haha!! I think perhaps I could have handled it if we weren’t all going through a heartbreaking time anyway.

Speaking of age inappropriate though, my mom took me to a visitation when I was about 8 or 9 years old. My best friend at the time had a little sister who contracted Reye’s Syndrome (from taking aspirin during an illness). She passed away less than a week after her diagnosis. She was four years old. I remember my mom talking about amputations and shaving her head, etc. Then, she passed away and she took me to the visitation. Her hair was taped to her head. It was horrible. Her head was very swollen, etc. I was very traumatized by that. It scared the crap out of me. I don’t know when is an appropriate age to let kids see dead people, but, apparently it was too soon for me. I was terrified when I went to bed that night. I remember it so vividly. Scared to go to sleep.

Anyway, things that really do make ya go HMMMMMM!!
Peace and love,


Well, I got an earful today. No one can accept my decisions and I know I am weak in my delivery with them. I feel like I lack a backbone. I am writing from my phone so I can’t say too much, but I wish people would stop trying to solve my mother’s problems for her. Today I heard about how week she is, barely living (emotionally, not mentally), beside herself with grief, anxious, about to lose her job…. you name it. No one is going to worry about me except for me. It is always about her because they say I am stronger than her. Give me a break.

My aunt asked me to think more about going to her daughters wedding… that she would be disappointed, but not mad. I just don’t know what I will do. Hubby won’t attend he is too mad and doesn’t want there to be a scene. I am conflicted. And, of course, I got to hear about how people die and I will regret things. What if I die? I have to forgive, move on, and let things go while my mother gets off scott free. I call bulls***

Mimi, thank u for the reply. U are a huge help. Will write more soon.


That’s so sad about the movies people have been made to watch! I think it just says it in a nutshell really, just how self absorbed and self serving they really are. They just can’t stop themselves it seems and they don’t want to stop themselves, because everything is purely about their suffering and poor me routine.

On the wedding stuff and family occasions, I seem to have convinced myself I’ll never get married and I won’t have kids. I’m probably going to try and spend Christmas next year in Australia. Because of all of this potential crap. I think for me, the family get togethers are the most painful part of it all.

I’m enjoying a little break from Mother – she has gone on some weekend away with some poor sucker who thinks he should be trying to win her heart. I felt like posting a note through his door telling him not to bother. She’s been stringing him along for weeks, allowing him to wine and dine her (but all the time moaning about him). The fact she lets him think it’s a nice game of chase. Little does he know she just wants a new worshiper. She said “urg, I don’t want to have to go away today”, I said, “don’t then, if you don’t want to”. She says, “I just can’t handle all the sulking”, I said, “oh, what’s this, he’s being sulky with you? Why is that?”. Silence. I then said “if you don’t like it, just bin it. Seems simple to me”. i.e. set him free now lol. She also kept saying whilst she was getting ready, “oh I could really just do with a chilled white wine or a cold beer”, about 5 times. I was off the supermarket and asked if we needed anything for the house and of course she delightedly thought I was going to go and fetch her a beverage. I just told her I would be a while and wasn’t going to try to get there and back in 20 minutes just so she can drink a drink before going. Yesterday morning she also expected me to get up a stupid o clock in the morning and help her with her printer. She’d left her college essay until 11th hour as usual, pulled an all-nighter. I ignored her, went back to sleep, and surprise, she got it working 2 minutes later. Just these little triumphs are really pleasing right now!! Just can’t wait to get out of this house.

Thanks all for so much inspiration 🙂 x


You’re welcome. I hate being in the place you’re in right now. It consumes all my thoughts when there is a big event approaching and things aren’t all that well with the fam!

I hope I didn’t misunderstand the dynamics with your grandma. If so, forgive me. I don’t want to mis-state how things are with my grandma either. I still made her number one on her 90th birthday, and did what I could to arrange a schedule that suited both her and myself (since my stepson was graduating college the same day as her party). I only mean to say that I’m aware now. I handle it one day (or family event) at a time with my grandma. I still try to honor her as much as possible. If it gets to the point that it threatens my own healing, I back off and try to do the next best thing. I hope that makes sense.

Peace and wisdom sent your way.


Oh no, Mimi, you were very RIGHT about my grandmother. I have known my grandma’s true colors for years, as do most people in my family. She plays both sides and is very manipulative. You are just fine. 🙂


Hi Truthbgtold
Hang in there; what you are expressing here is a typical example of how it goes and what I talk about all the time here in EFB. They will not accept your decisions; (means that they won’t listen to you enough to hear you ~ they refuse to hear you.) (it isn’t about your delivery) And they make excuses for the other person. I was always told that I was “the stronger one” or advised to be “the bigger person” but yet I was also told that I was the one with the problem, that I was the crazy one, that I was always wrong. These two things contradict each other and they are actually just more manipulation.
I heard that whole “you will regret it thing” and I believed it for years; it controlled me for years just like all that other manipulative b.s. (and if you have to “forgive” why are they denying that you have a right to be upset???)
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone
I wanted to send an update about donations to this thread since this is the thread where that conversation was!
I recieved 5 donations and was able to get my expenses ($200.00 for security, back ups, hosting and autoresponder) covered for one month. I appreciate it so much!
Hugs, Darlene


Great News about the donations! Isn’t it wonderful to be heard & have the need meant….EFB is so worth it!!
Have a Great Day!!



You are so right. I guess I have always thought if I was “stronger” about what I was saying they would leave me alone about going NC with my mother. I am so emotionally drained right now that I just feel numb and angry.

There has been a recent development to the story. After my sister sent me texts saying I was hurting so many people, I began to believe that. I have even said it to my aunt from Canada, and she said I was absolutely not hurting her. My aunt states that she understands what is happening, but wants me to realize that the upcoming events are about my cousin and not about myself or my mother. I never said they were, and this is the second time I have heard this in my lifetime at a wedding and I wish I could understand why it was said. The first time was when I attended my former step-sister’s wedding just months after my Dad passed, and she dedicated a portion of the wedding to him and I cried. My former stepmother felt it necessary to tell me at the end of the wedding when I congratulated her with a hug and I said “I wish Dad was here” that the wedding wasn’t about me. Wow. I feel like people think I’m the Narcissistic one or something. I don’t understand the reactions many people have to my choices or life.

The new development in this story is that my aunt did tell me she would be talking to my mother, but only telling her what she said to me on the phone, and not what I said. My mother called me this afternoon after 7 months of no contact. Ultimately, my current situation is that after years and years of abuse, and finally having the last straw be her horrible treatment of my soulmate and husband. It is bad to treat me like crap, but it is REALLY BAD if you treat my husband horribly. It makes me feel attacked on an entire new level. Well, after many arguments, discussions, and even an invite to my home to bury the hatchet, things were far worse. I decided I didn’t want to have contact with my mother unless we were in a counseling session, and I wasn’t going to budge. I know counseling probably won’t be the answer, but at least I will have someone there to see her crazy reactions (or she will put on a show). So, when I saw her name on my caller ID, I didn’t even panic. I let it go straight to voicemail. She left a message that pretty much went like this, “Hi, this is Mom. I just called to tell you I love you and I always will. I am not mad (what does she have to be mad about?!!!). I want you to attend your cousin’s wedding and the get-togethers when your family is in town. Don’t stay away because of me. I love you and you can call me back if you want.” Again, no apologizes (I don’t expect one), and I am being called at as the reason SHE should be mad. WHAT ABOUT HOW I FEEL???!!!!

I’m not ready to be around her. I have pretty much decided I will go to the wedding. I was afraid I wouldn’t be strong enough to stand up to those that want to pester me about my decisions at the wedding. If they want to make a scene, let them. It won’t be me acting crazy. I will plan what I will say, and I will say that over and over again until it gets to the point where I call my husband and have him pick me up. We have a different hotel than the rest of the family. I’ll be fine.

I haven’t even really felt upset about my mom calling me. I KNOW WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that this is one of her classic manipulation tactics. Now she can turn around and go “Well, I called her. I reached out. Now the ball is in her court.” I want counseling. Nothing more, nothing less. I will not settle for a relationship with her without a mental health professional. End of story.

It actually kind of makes me laugh. Do people really think I will just go crawling back after a few “I love yous”? Wow, people must really find me naive.

All I can say at this point is RAWR. I’m at a loss and just shaking my head. Only a growl shows my frustration. LOL



Mimi, do you think the “fishing” has begun? 🙂 I’m thinking so!!!


Hey, all! Took a little break from EFB, school has been very time consuming! Done in 16 weeks, tho, will have my degree!
Well, I coudn’t come back to a more appropriate post. Lately, I have been waking up,in the middle of the night, feeling angry, at the treatment by family members.Always painting me as a “bad person”, when they themselves are mean, conniving, and nasty. Both sisters are viscious back stabbers.
And I have to realize, this is never going to change. They will always feel superior to me, in their pathetic lives of desperation and deceit, and they will fool some of the people. I do believe they have turned my brother against me, because I haven’t heard from in a few months. My older sister has always been insanely competitive for his,and any other family members affection. She never had it growing up, that’s for sure.
It really angers me, b/c I feel a though my mother, the root of all the problems, thinks she has “won” in her insane game to prove me to be a bad person.
I have been thinking lately, what would happen if I “let it all go”? If I didnt feel the need to defend myself when they bad mouth me, turn other members of extended family against me? What if I said, to heck with them all? I have contact with my brother in South Carolina, but I think they have turned his daughter, my niece, as well, because she does not contact me anymore, either. It’s funny, they all couldn’t stand her, called her all kinds of names behind her back, spoiled, freeloader, selfish, lazy, etc.
It’s just overwhelming at times………….it is like dealing with a relentless machine!


The phone call from your mother is similar to what my mom did when I first held her accountable. She thought she could sweet talk her way out of it. She sent me things in the mail and texted me sappy messages. Once she figured out it wasn’t working, it all stopped. All communication stopped…. I don’t even get hate mail, haha!!

I applaud your strength! 🙂

Happy days,


OH, Truthbtold, almost forgot ~ Yep, sounds like fishing to me!! When my mom did it and pulled up an old nasty tire, she quit, LOL!! Well, she ran out of good bait too!! 🙂


I’m feeling discouraged tonight about my progress in recovery. I feel as if I’ve been slipping, since having contact with my family. There has been much drama & I find myself ruminating over what to say to them & what to do next. Since being on EFB. I’ve come to a greater awareness of my triggers & the damage done to me. It’s overwhelming sometimes & it feels like I’ve just hit the surface of all the dysfunction in my life. The push & pull of the Trauma Bond is strong & I’m tired of fighting it! Well, that’s enough for tonight. Don’t want to dwell anymore tonight. Just felt a need to Vent!


Sonia, I think ruminating over what to say to them is a good way to put it! Had you been No Contact with them for a while? Well, I’m glad you are not going to dwell on it,sometimes night time seems the worst. I guess that is when we have time to think about it. Hope you feel better!



Hi Janie, yuck, that’s sickening. Sounds like an effective machine. I can’t even fathom in my lifetime the idea of cutting my whole family off, so it must be an incredible burden, especially when you’re studying. I’m finding it impacting my job interviews, because my head just isn’t in the right mindset. Reading comments on here about both parents, grandparents and siblings and nieces etc doing it would quite frankly send me insane. Are you close enough to your brother to just ask him outright? Or would that have bad repercussions? I tried it with my Sister, after I felt our relationship had started to change, and coincidentally, this was since I started to be non-compliant with Mum. I think I had assumed, that’s it, even my Sister is lost. She turned around and attempted to justify some of the grounds of Mum’s “despair”, but it was plainly obvious Mum forms a triangle and just ensures 1 of us is kept on side at any one time and the other is shut out until the other one screws up. Although I’m a bit miffed I’ve had to hear the justifications again from my Sister,at least she can acknowledge that she knows the divisiveness of it all. Hope you’re managing to sleep and not have horrid dreams.


I can identify. I have had periods of time where I thought I must have just taken 10 steps back. It was very discouraging at the time, but, I did eventually come out of it. When you’re in it though, it seems quite hopeless. But, if it helps at all, I have hope for you. Sometimes we have to stand in the gap for each other, in my opinion. You and others have held me up when you didn’t even know it. Sometimes it was the only hope I had. I’m sure my setbacks aren’t over. It seems to be part of it. There have been times where I thought, well, this is it, nothing else can happen…. then something else happened. UGH!! I survived it though. I hope peaceful days are upon you in a hurry!!

Something you said, “sometimes night time seems the worst”. It just struck me so hard that it’s suffering. It really is. It’s heartache, tears, and pain. I wonder, what in the world people are thinking when they try to negate, deny, or say get over it. Or, the worst, say we’re lying or making it up. Do people actually think any one of us INVITE this kind of pain? We would make things up such that our night times are the the worst? Baffles me! I’m finally closer to just letting them talk. They will anyway. If I’m not around, and they have little information about me, what will they talk about? If they still find something to run over me with, well, I’m a heck of a lot closer to not caring. The dysfunction becomes more clear all the time. That alone takes a heck of a lot off the victim’s shoulders.

Congrats on your school progress. 🙂

With Love,


Hi Sonia
I found that the process is exactly like that. There were times I was exhausted and times I regretted even starting to look at the truth. Each time I concluded the same thing; the alternative was worse. It often felt like I was dealing with all those suppressed emotions at once. (In some ways I was) Like if you never cleaned your house for 30 years ~ imagine the dust etc that you would find.
Hugs and love,


So familiar…. my mom does the same thing. Triangulation between my sisters and myself. Someone is always out. It’s sickening really. What kind of mother wants to shun one of her flock, all the time. Make the shunned one feel so low about themselves that suicide seems like relief. It can never be harmony because someone is always out. It was me for sooooo many years. The irony of it is, now, I want to be out. I don’t want any part of that ridiculous elementary game. And, it is very elementary. It’s like my mom still operates at the 8 year old level. UGH!!
Peace to you,


Mimi, your mother has been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and her psychiatrist is acting as an enabler? That’s terrible! No wonder you are not seeing this person!


Another spot on post. Thank you Darlene.
Here’s another problem to how this “don’t comply then goodbye” upbringing (with further abuse and neglect, etc that then leads many of us into the arms of abusive lovers, etc)can effect our lives. In therapy, why of course! Because finding the right therapist…one who doesn’t do more damage is quite tricky as many of us have learned.
You get “diagnosed” with something like borderline personality disorder because you are afraid, beaten down, don’t know anything but that anxiety of not being good enough, not being worthy, fears of more abandonment, etc that follows us into adulthood. And THAT is also akin to death…to be diagnosed with some kind of awful “disorder” (which IMO don’t see these personality disorders as DISORDERS but a product of conditioning, but I digress;)
To the psychologist or counselor…if you are diagnosed with one of these personality “disorders” then IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT…still.
Talk about a slap to the face (and mind) of someone already beaten down since practically birth.
Good grief!
I’m so grateful for your site, for the work that you do and the information/rational thinking you are able to share with us. Otherwise…I’d still be googling every mental “disorder” ever shot out of some knee-jerking counselors hind-side obsessing and beating up on myself that THIS is WHY i was treated so badly because I was BORN BAD and DESERVED it. “Look, it’s right here, I responded badly when beat me up billy finally left me…”
And the whirly-gig ride continues from there. Phew!

Just sharing my thoughts for today…hope to catch up soon.

Much love&hugs to all,


birthday/holiday greetings to my parents are now done via email. Short and to the point.

This father’s day I sent my dad a poem I made up about Bobby Knight, the basketball coach that he worships to this day. Bobby Knight had some abusive behaviors that impacted my life due to my dad’s devotion to the man. So, I found a picture of Bobby Knight throwing a chair across a basketball court, and put his famous words, “I’m f—— tired of losing to Purdue…” in the poem, and my dad just had very little to say since and I like it that way.

Imagine telling your daughter to say “BOO” everytime anyone says the words Purdue or Notre Dame, add a whole lot of other dysfunction, like only certain Christian colleges are legitimate forms of higher learning, and is it any wonder that I ended up NOT attending a school that taught me anything useful??


Janie and Mandy,

One of the hardest things about NC with a “major player” in the family dynamic, like a mother, is never knowing whether other family members are joining in with negative opinions of you or not. It’s easy to assume, if someone doesn’t contact you in awhile or doesn’t get back to you quickly when you email or text or leave a phone message, that maybe they have been turned against you.

This has happened with me several times, and it’s pretty painful and frustrating when it happens. Then if they get in touch later saying they’ve been busy, or away, or whatever…you either wonder if they are really telling the truth, and if they are, you feel bad for doubting the ones who still keep in touch (however sparsely.)

I recently emailed my aunt on my Dad’s side as she is the last surviving sibling, asking a question about genealogy due to something I read online. She has studied family genealogy for 25 years. She sounded delighted to hear from me and we decided to talk about family genealogy via email, and maybe also plan a visit this summer.

Then for several weeks…nothing…not any response to emails. i wondered if she had been talked to by my mother. Since my uncle had been very sick, I was afraid something had happened, and I didn’t know about it. I looked on FB (I unsuspended my acct to look) to see if she had been on there. She had (brief comments, but nothing about uncle getting worse.) I tried once more, and voila! She responded very sweetly. A church friend had just died of cancer, and besides cargiver of my sick uncle she had been busy with all that.

My niece hadn’t responded either, but then a couple weeks later, she did. She had finished her nursing exams, so she had been busy too.

Meanwhile, I got myself upset that extended family has chosen to go NC with me, when they have not. To just say, “heck with all of them” is silly. Should I have no family at all due to my Moms abuse? Should I throw the baby out with the bathwater?

I am going to try to be more patient and less suspicious with those on the outside of the original drama. Taking sides is what Mama would want them to do, hers, of course. But they might choose not to, or might not even know if they also haven’t been in touch with her… and it’s not my way to ask them to take my side, or even to drag more distant relations (to mom) into this nonsense. So I need to cool it, stop jumping to any conclusions, and realize that people are sometimes frantically busy, and not trying to ignore me. Funny, I was always accused of being “too sensitive” when I was not, before NC with mom, now I have become too sensitive about other relatives because of
NC with mom.

It’s sad really.


PS: rereading I realize “this nonsense” might not sound right. I guess I should have said “this hurt” which can be very confusing for extended family people mostly seeing things from on the ouside, enough to seem nonsensical to them, especially if your abuser was very insidious.


Hi Stef
The “diagnosis” information can be helpful but the more I think about it, the more I don’t understand WHY it is helpful. I mean, it is all about comping methods anyway. Abusers are diagnosed with these “disorders” so that they have an excuse it seems. OR so that the people they hurt can “excuse” them or “forgive” them or “understnad” them. I prefer to concentrate on healing the damage by first validating the damage (that was “invalidated” for my entire life) ~ I was diagnosised with a few disorders too but I was never allowed to use them to excuse anything that I did even though I had to understand all the other peoples actions. When I healed, none of my “disorders” actually came into the discussions that helped me to heal except to understand those disorders as “coping methods”. Even my multiple personality disorder went away when I concentrated on the reasons why I had and needed several personalities to cope for me. And yes, we are so often blamed for our own depressions etc; people tell us that we are weak or defective for not being able to cope with life, and it really does just go round and round until WE decide to get off the roundabout. ahhhhh life feels much better now that my feet are on solid ground. P.s. none of the issues that abusers had came into any of the healing discussions either. My mothers depressions etc were left out of it while I validated the damage. )
Hugs, Darlene


Everyone~ About my last comment; I am not trying to say that discussion about the way that our abusers are is not helpful! It is VERY helpful for us to be able to compare notes about our exp. and abuse etc. I am just saying that in the end, disgnosis was not part of the solution for me.
Hugs, Darlene


Karenina, Thanks for that response! It was really helpful and helped me to see things differently. And that’s okay, sometimes it is jut “nonsense”. It is nonsensical, anyways, to feed my mother’s illness…
@ Stef, it is difficult to find a therapist that’s not inappropriate and is inexperienced with this family dynamic, to say the least. I could tell some horror stories, and some experiences that were funny , even, boy oh boy!



Hi Everyone!
Finally~ The newest article is published. This one is about “Acceptance”; such a hot topic for some of us!

You can read it here: When Acceptance is NOT the answer


I was told I could leave if I didn’t like it all the time. Didn’t help that my brothers were removed from our home when they were 11 & 12 years old, never to live at home again. I used to wish I was someone else, that I lived with some other family somewhere else. I would wish that friends’ parents were mine and that I lived with them. At night, if I was walking down the street and some family’s living room window was lit up and I could see in, I would wish that I lived there. There was a chance when I was about 13 to tell, but the authorities decided to interview us together as a family instead of individually. I wish I had had the courage to speak up, but I was afraid. I try not to blame myself for not speaking up, because as a result of that family interview my brothers were removed from our home. Thank goodness they do things differently nowadays.


Just to clarify, my mom hasn’t been diagnosed with anything. She doesn’t see a psychiatrist. She sees a Christian Counselor. The symptoms of narcissistic behaviors were really discovered as a result of my own in depth research. The counselor is completely snowed by my mom. She continues to go because it’s a good source of sympathy and confirmation that her effed up behaviors are somehow justified. She fails to tell her the “whole” story – you know, HER sneaky, crap stirring maneuvers. She only goes to cry how poorly she’s being treated by her children. Sorry, I didn’t make it very clear on my earlier post. 🙂


Ps – Karenina,
I appreciated your perspective on lack of contact as well. I can easily fall into expecting the worst, or jumping to conclusions if there’s no communication. I am even more this way since discovering the truth about my mom. It really did something to my foundation. It’s like building from the ground up, all over again, with new guidelines. Hard to explain really. I’m not doing a very good job articulating. Just wanted to say I appreciated your perspective on it!
Peace and Hope,


Thank You for your continued support & having hope in me! I feel more hopeful today. My counselor told me I’m doing very well dealing with my dysfunctional family and I’m healing at the same time. I’ve been doubting myself, so I asked her about being able to heal, while having LC with family. She validated that I can be with family, because I’m very aware of my triggers & their dysfunction, which enables me to side step & avoid putting myself in harm’s way. She explained that there is always going to be situations that are triggering, so being able to cope is important. I do agree with that! If I feel a situation is too triggering for me, I will limit contact, set boundaries, or walk away. Being able to make my own choices, without pleasing or complying with family rules, has been a big step in my process.
Peace & Hope to you too!


So a work friend shared an interesting perspective the other day. Her mother operates in a similar manner. So, she went with her family on their boat, to Nantucket. She has asked her mom to come along. for like the past 5 years. No,no cant stand the boat. Dont like to take the little plane over there, etc. So this time, as soon as my friend and her family goes,she checks right into our hospital and then the franticcalls are made,you must come home for my chest pain!! When it doesnt work, she starts bad mouthing her daughter to her coworkers! SSDD, eh?
So my friend says to her mother, you know, mom, you really shouldnt do that, as now everyone thinks you brought me up wrong, and you look like a bad parent! Now you wouldnt want that, would you?
Great turn around! Love it.


That’s good news from the counselor. It can’t be easy, but you’re a strong lady. My mom had some strange power to weaken me. It might be different if she were sick. But, she’s healthier than me I think. Amazes me that someone as mean as her is so healthy. She likes to brag about that a little too. She also likes to point out how chesty she is when she sees pics of herself. Says it drives her crazy her chest has gotten so big. I think she loves it. She is her ideal weight and always has been.

That was an awesome answer from your friend. I am going to add that to my repertoire of comeback sayings for mother. 🙂

Peace and Love,


Hi Darlene:

Thank you for this blog! I have dabbled in therapy (never seemed to get a good explanation of what I was dealing with), read books and danced with the devil(s) (aka my Mum and Stepfather) for far too many years to count before I stumbled across this blog and reached a new level of clarity.

I am a 34 year old, married woman with 2 children and when I step into my parents orbit, it’s like I’m a child all over again, every single time! Comply or Goodbye is the name of their game. I am quite disposable and have been discarded just recently (for a final time) as a file in my mothers life she is going to close. Simple as that. All this because (she wrote all of this in a facebook rant but never said any of it to me directly in any way) I spent 2 days consume with my sick daughter. She felt that by being out of communication with her for a couple of days (after she had refused on 2 occassions one of those days to help me with watching her while I got meds or to watch her brother while I took her to ER) that I was pushing her buttons and “shame on me”.

I have reached a new level this time. I now know for certain that there is nothing I will ever do that will be good enough, right enough or timely enough for them. They are emotionally unavailable people.

Each of your blog entries chimes with me in much the way my smart phone chimes with the receipt of an email. I find myself going YES YES YES!!!!!

The only unique problem I have, well hell maybe it’s not unique, is that my Mother and Stepfather aren’t content to just let me (and their grandchildren) go, but rather feel they have to obliterate me in the court of public opinion in the process. They will set out to be punitive and ruin any family friend or acquantaince opinion of me in the process. This is the part that is hard. So many of their friends are sycophants or don’t care enough to enlighten them or withdraw so just nod in agreement to their vitriol about me (all the while, I’m convinced, not knowing that they are feeding a monster).

I am sorry this post ended up being as long as it did. I have so much reading to do here and I am just starting my journey of not having a parent in my life, so I know it’s going to be beyond hard. I do keep trying to remind myself though that i’ve sort of been on my own all along.


You made me laugh when you mentioned your mom’s chest!…Maybe she feels she has to compete with other women on that level…Haha!…She could learn from you that Soul searching is more valuable. In regards to my mommy dearest, she has spilled about the blow up with my cousin. I asked her how the visit with my cousin went & she proceeded to bad mouth my cousin about everything from her marriage problems to her manipulative behavior. My mom’s take was that my cousin was the whole problem. Well, that sounds very familiar- I can relate to that & being put down by her too. What rubbbed me the wrong way, is that she told me she called my cousin (who is 35) a “spoiled brat” & “insecure”, only after my cousin was bad mouthing everyone in her immediate family. My mom had lots of examples of who she put down & what was said. Anyway, I was overloaded with info to say the least & feeling confused. I didn’t take sides & just said, “I’m glad I wasn’t there”…sounds like a lot of “family drama”. Isn’t that the Truth!…..It sounds like there was a lot of bad mouthing from both sides & now there is one more family member not talking to each other. I wanted to so badly call my mom out on her bad behavior but how could I, when she painted my cousin out to be the bad guy. I wish I was a fly on the wall that day, just to observe the dynamics. I don’t totally believe my mom, based on my trust issues with her & knowing she has a mean streak. The one thing that stands out in this whole situation though, is that my mom told me my cousin was drinking all day. I did see her drinking the day I visited, which was the day before this incident happened, and she said mean things about our aunt. Sorry about being long winded, I’m just processing this mess. I was so convinced my mom was behind this & now I doubt it. My mom was no angel either, so I’m not thinking she was the victim either. There was more to the story & I got an earful!
Drained,Confused,& Angry,…All families feud & squabble but my family does not make up or forgive. They say they forgive but don’t forget. I can predict they won’t talk anytime soon.


Tangie, that is a horrible thing to deal with. Your mother is self-centered, manipulative and unempathetic, to a sick child (Her grandchild!), and also to her own daughter. How very sad! Did she show any empathy when you yourself were sick as a child, or did she tell you it wasnt that bad, or accuse you of faking it? Or crying crocodile tears? Those were some of the things I was accused of. I remember it felt like getting slapped in the face.
You say you are getting used to the idea of not having a parent, and that you never did really have one. That is a painful realization. But you know, you are getting stronger! Making healthy choices for you and your children! Congrats to you!
@ Mimi, your mother’s obsession with her bust size, makes me think of a very cruel and narcissistic friend I have recently let go of. She has always been obsessed with her bra size, and saw it as a road to riches, lol. She unfortunately does the same thing to her own teen daughter, who happens to be well endowed. She was forever commenting on it, stating her new bra size, as she grows. Her FB photo is that of her daughter, sitting on a horse, in a postion that emphasizes her bust size. She didnt pose that way, it just came out ike that. She is still pretty innocent, at 16, probably because her dear mother finds a way to keep her out of school, feigning illnesses, convincing this girl she is sick. That’s sick!
Co-incidentally, I ran into ex-friends brother and wife, and he told me she dropped him like a hot potato when he stopped helping her financially. He says, ” I love her, but I sure dont miss her!” Something along the same thing as many of the posters here. We can have love for the family members that abuse, but not have them in our lives.
Anyways, we are talking about having an intervention with the child’s grandmother involved, as I am convinced this woman has munchausen by proxy (after what the brother has said to me in that conversation). I also think she has munchausen herself, but more concerned about her teen daughter.
Well, thanks for listening! I awoke from a nightmare, where my mother was on the phone to me, and refusing to tell me my new nieces’ names that my bully little sister had given birth to (she didnt, I just dreamt she had twins). It was all the dsfunctional moves, one after another, including NM ranking out her sister, and telling me how much she hates her (she’s 80), then involving my older sister who is my YS’s puppydog. Both had to check with YS b/f giving me any information. Interestingly, the dream took place with me on a cell phone, in town square, and my older sister confronting me in town square. The funny part, I started shouting “triangulation! triangulation!” and making triangles with my hand (you know, how it is in vogue to make hearts with your two hands in photos? I make trianges, lol). Then I said, all these triangles, I feel like an architect! (do they use trianges? or is that carpenters?).
I woke up feeling dizzy and out of balance. Drank big glass of water, took 2 tylenols, and now with cool cloth on my head, feel so much better!
My S.O. is taking my away for 2 days, starting tomorrow evening, so looking forward to it. That’s my reality.To have someone to love and care for me, and surprises me with a little impropmptu get away!!!
Thanks again for being here! Thank you Darlene for all your hard work and wisdom in having this place to come to. You are truly a Godsend!!


@Janie – wow – I LOVE the triangle references, something new i’ve never looked @ before, but indeed my parents relationships ARE triangles (always them plus another).

Actually my Mom (she’s a ball of issues in one) is a munchausens type. She had my butt in the doctors more times than I could count. She still reminds me ever so often about a surgery that was apparently recommended when I was younger. My aunt corroborated the fact that I was always at the doctors. Her behaviour was the same with my sister (there is 12 years between us) and she has a list of ailments you wouldn’t believe. Sadly, my Mom (I’m almost certain) is abusing prescription drugs now too. This muddies the waters. My sister even admitted to me that she used to be scared to come downstairs in the morning lest she find Mom dead (my stepfather travels all the time).

My Mother is a narcissist (though she hasn’t always been this way, I’m convinced it comes from living with my stepfather who is a HUGE dictator/narcissist himself). For as long as I can remember she has never managed to be less than a size 12 (no matter what diet she went on) and now she’s a size 4!!!! She has lost her teeth too (they just wasted) and has had major dental surgery to have false teeth put in. She keeps showing me a photo of herself circa 10 years ago that she says she carries in her purse as her “fat photo” so she doesn’t end up there again. She neither eats nor exercises so I’m thinking she’s got this small via her med abuse.

Growing up was a series of push and pull – my mom pulling me in until I thought I would suffocate and stepfather trying to wipe me off the face of the universe. Push pull push pull. When I left home, that’s when my Mother became insanely upset and wanted less and less to do with me. She still reminds me how my leaving home ruined my sister. I left home for the man I married and have been married to for 13 years now. In fact, I went all the way to another country, some 3000 miles away (I love my husband, but my therapist pointed out that I may have been extra attracted at how far away I could be from my chaotic family).

My Stepfather hates my existence. He went as far as to yell me out of their home at his birthday because I showed up an hour late (two kids and a late night before) and had a disagreement with my Mother because she was giving me horrible faces behind everyones back and ignoring me. He ultimately called me a piece of s*** and told me to go home and threw his gifts in the trash. NO ONE BUT NO ONE is allowed to disagree with my Mother (even growing up) and if we do, he flies into a rage that either intimidates her or the one she is arguing with into stopping. His phrases growing up to me (when there was adversity) were “this is not a democracy” and “adapt and overcome”.

I know everyone gets affected by these things differently but I am always asked if i’ve been sexually abused. I have not, but I must seem as deeply affected by my parents as one who has been sexually abused.

My sister is another ball of emotional and mental mess and has just broke free of them. I hope she manages to never need to go home again. She is a clumsy 22 and hates my Mother with a passion – she told her as much before she left home. And while my sister doesn’t court my Mother’s attention (quite the opposite in fact), my Mother cannot stop chasing her. The meaner my sis is to her, the more inclined she is to keep her around. This is hard because when it comes to me, I am not allowed to be mean or disagreeable or have differing views without disapproval and cutting off. If I do, I am gone, make no mistake. I don’t know why she’s so keen to keep my sister around at all costs (my sister has hit her on three occassions, swears at her and outright told her that if she were to walk in on my mom dying, she’d gladly help her out of this world)!


I wish I could confirm that your parents are unique in publicly obliterating you. Unfortunately, my mom does the very same thing. To anyone who will listen. The thing I don’t understand about all that is, why don’t the listeners think, “wow, who talks smack about their own kids like that?” Nope, they just take it all in, believing I’m some kind of mentally unstable monster. And, I guess I am when I’m treated the way she treated me. I have a little flame inside. When she thought she was blowing it out, she was actually adding fuel. At times I didn’t realize this, but, I sooooo do now. Hope to see you here again.

Keeping in mind that I don’t know your family at all, I can say that if my mom said someone was badmouthing, it would translate to, they told a truth and it ticked her off. That’s just my mom though. With her specifically, I would have to really hesitate to believe the WHOLE story. Even if it did hold some truth, with what I know today, it would go in one ear and straight out the other. My mom has done so much manipulation, triangulation, and lying, that I would have to dismiss it altogether. I tend to get what I call the “dwellies”. Ruminate and worry until I think I have it figured out. Then, my stomach hurts, lol!! Maybe even my head!! And, it never gets me anywhere. That alone has been a big sticking point for me. I used to worry about my mom’s relationships with others. She hasn’t spoken to her brother in 10 years. I remember this time last year just longing for my family to be whole again. My mom and her brother included. I cried because so much was falling apart before my eyes. Now, after such a reality check, I don’t worry about them getting along anymore. I know who the instigator is, so that helps. Please understand I don’t suggest any of my approaches, should be yours or anyone else’s. We each have very similar experiences, but pretty unique dynamics, IMO.

Awesome that your S.O. is taking you on a getaway. Last august my husband and I took a rather impromptu vacation for a week in Door County Wisconsin. It’s a beautiful place. I was in such turmoil at the time. The vacation did me world of good. Have a great time!!



I’ve often been asked if I was sexually abused as well. I wasn’t either.


Went looking for a definition of triangulation, as I know what it feels like, but thought, what is it in words? Wiki described it as:
“Triangulation is most commonly used to express a situation in which one family member will not communicate directly with another family member, but will communicate with a third family member, which can lead to the third family member becoming part of the triangle. The concept originated in the study of dysfunctional family systems, but can describe behaviors in other systems as well, including work.

Triangulation can also be used as a label for a form of “splitting” in which one person plays the third family member against one that he or she is upset about. This is playing the two people against each other, but usually the person doing the splitting, will also engage in character assassination, only with both parties.”

My mother uses this beautifully. For example, she was pissed b/c my sister was limiting her interaction with her as she was catching her in lies, and she didnt like the way she interacted with her children. So, she kept telling me,”Your sister only calls me when she wants something. Only calls when she needs a babysitter, or someone to watch her house when she goes away. When I see her on caller ID, I always say to Daddy, there’s Joyce! Wonder what she wants now?” I must have heard it 20 times. I was angry. b/c I could see how she was subtly trying to turn my Dad against my sister, painting that negative image. So, I finally told her, so in my mind, she would have a chance to defend herself. What I didnt know, is that NM knows her marks well, knew I would tell Joyce, and knew Joyce could be manipulated by guilt. She actually increased her interaction with my NM, out of guilt!!
And who was the bad person there? ME!! Why? because I told Joyce a week before she had elective surgery, gastric bypass, and I purposely wanted to “upset her before surgery”. And of course, I was “carrying tales” according to my NM, when I had done exactly what she wanted me to do. Brilliant. My only consolation here is that NM still gets stuck with all the babysitting, and she really doesnt like children!

@ Tangie, I kind of guessed your mother was narcissistic as she has no empathy for small children who are ill, and tries to publicly humiliate you on facebook for not being at her beck and call. It sounds like you are in the Scapegoat role with your mother,definitely a no win situation. Your stepfather sounds like a monster! Your NM (narcissistic mother) definitely chose herself a good little soldier there!!! Will not tolerate any disagreement with NM. Aren’t these people amazing?



Thanks so much!…I was also thinking the same thing about my mom being the instigator & how my cousin most likely spoke the truth & my mom got pissed. I needed to hear that!….It helps to have this place as a sounding board. I’m done figuring the situation out & I’m not going to dwell on it anymore. Thanks for keeping me on track! My mom will attack if she is feeling threatened with the truth, that I do know for a fact.


Thanks for posting the info about triangulation. I also like the term “divide and conquer” which is almost the same thing. The manipulative person tries to make sure that everyone follows them and believes them and gets the other family members, co-workers or friends in the situation to go against each other. They will use ANY means that they can think of and very often they will take advantage of each persons weak points in order to accpomplish their goal which is always to be the king/queen of the castle.
Hugs Darlene


Hi Tangie
Welcome to EFB! Great to have you here with us.
I smiled when I read your first message ~ that first line is oh so true for me as well. (excpet the part about stumbling across the blog.. lol)
That “oblerate in public” thing is very common. I had to constantly remind myself that this is about THEM and the fear they have of the truth being exposed. (the truth that it is them that are at fault here and not you) So they have to try to make sure that all eyes and fingers are pointed at you to deflect any guilt off of them. This is how the cycle works. We are here to break that cycle. People agree and listen to this stuff to validate their own dysfunctional family systems, not just because they can’t be bothered finding out the truth. Dysfunction loves to hang out and be validated by dysfunction.
Never worry about the length of a comment! you will notice that some are longer than my articles and that is just fine!
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene


After reading the comments from Janie & Tangie, I can relate to the triangulation and divide & conquer tactics. My mom has said things to me about my sister’s behavior and has painted her out to be the bad guy for years(triangulation). I definitely see this with the situation between my cousin & mom. She painted a horrible picture of my cousin. Bashing her for most likely speaking the truth,”deflects any guilt off of them” (dear old mom), just as Darlene says in #373. I love the discussion going on- it’s so eye opening & validating to me!


P.S. My mom was using divide & conquer to get me to go against my cousin. I haven’t taken sides & I will continue being friends with my cousin on FB.


“If you don’t like it, you can leave” – heard this all the time. My father’s philosophy – “might makes right”. He was the perfect mate for my enabling narcissistic mother.

I believe that absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, but that absolute power attracts the corruptible. It is a matter of choice.

Some people go thru life not questioning authority, and become brainwashed into whatever is promulgated by those in authority. Maybe this might have been an easier life, but I am glad to have been able to have had the freedom to select what my beliefs were after thoroughly investigating and not just “accepting”.


Was there a series of “mom” pics on the wiki page that described triangulation? Hehe!


Re SMD response #361
Loved this part:
“…there is always going to be situations that are triggering, so being able to cope is important. I do agree with that! If I feel a situation is too triggering for me, I will limit contact, set boundaries, or walk away. Being able to make my own choices, without pleasing or complying with family rules, has been a big step in my process.”

I am feeling empowered by this very thing right now in my “relationship” with my husband. I moved out last week and he has been grasping at straws trying to exert control on so many levels using a mulititude of tactics. Yet because I took the time to identify and own the feelings and urgings I had to love myself enough to leave this verbally abusive situation…I have the courage to call a spade a spade and promplty remove myself from his presence when he is implying that I’m not following his rules. He’s pushing me for a list of things I expect him to do to “take him back/move back” and I refuse to give him one. Because his motives do not appear to be to learn more about how to love me, but instead have a check list that he can check off and say, there I’ve done my part now what are you going to do? He deflects so much that I am likely to quickly fall into defending my choices, which he is able to quickly use against me to invalidate my reasons for making those choices. This is where I need to work on coping with triggers. We have an 18mo old son so I’m not going NC, but am going LC for at least 6 months to give each of us space to see what we do when left to our selves. Will I heal and move on or miss him enough to want to try again? Will he disolve into a puddle of self pity and become self distuctive or will he start to re-think how he does things and take responsibility for living an emotionally healthier life? In the mean time, I’m doing my best to be in the moment, respond in a healthy way, not live in fear and get to know myself a little better again. Sounds like some good first steps down the road to healing. EFB has been so encouraging as I take those first tentative steps. Blessings to you all!


Re SMD response #361
Loved this part:
“…there is always going to be situations that are triggering, so being able to cope is important. I do agree with that! If I feel a situation is too triggering for me, I will limit contact, set boundaries, or walk away. Being able to make my own choices, without pleasing or complying with family rules, has been a big step in my process.”

I am feeling empowered by this very thing right now in my “relationship” with my husband. I moved out last week and he has been grasping at straws trying to exert control on so many levels using a multitude of tactics. Yet because I took the time to identify and own the feelings and urgings I had to love myself enough to leave this verbally abusive situation…I have the courage to call a spade a spade and promptly remove myself from his presence when he is implying that I’m not following his rules. He’s pushing me for a list of things I expect him to do to “take him back/move back” and I refuse to give him one. Because his motives do not appear to be to learn more about how to love me, but instead have a check list that he can check off and say, there I’ve done my part now what are you going to do? He deflects so much that I am likely to quickly fall into defending my choices, which he is able to quickly use against me to invalidate my reasons for making those choices. This is where I need to work on coping with triggers. We have an 18mo old son so I’m not going NC, but am going LC for at least 6 months to give each of us space to see what we do when left to ourselves. Will I heal and move on or miss him enough to want to try again? Will he disolve into a puddle of self-pity and become self-distuctive or will he start to re-think how he does things and take responsibility for living an emotionally healthier life? In the mean time, I’m doing my best to be in the moment, respond in a healthy way, not live in fear and get to know myself a little better again. Sounds like some good first steps down the road to healing. EFB has been so encouraging as I take those first tentative steps. Blessings to you all!


Hi J Marie!
WOW ~ you sound great and you have articulated very clearly what is going on which is really huge when dealing with this kind of manipulation! This is awesome and I am so happy for you and proud of you too.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi all…
I have been browsing this and another website for about a year now, after googling the word Scapegoat. A light bulb went off in my head after reading posts on it. I’ve known for many years that I was not mother’s favorite out of the kids. Not that I wanted to even be favorite, but just a child that mattered. I veered off in my teen years and became quite a handful. But bad attention is attention non-the-less right? Mother disliked me even more at that time. I remember noticing my best friend going out to eat with her parents and shopping etc. I couldn’t figure out why mother never wanted to spend time with me, but would with my sibs. No hugs, no encouragement, I just had chores to do and would be in huge trouble if I did not comply. My brother had none to do and I would clean up after him. The first sign of a boyfriends’ interest in me and I was off. I ran away a couple of times due to fights with my parents. Now I know from these websites I have a NM and a father that enabled her. I am not, nor was I bad. Long story short I am set to marry off my oldest soon, one of the best times in my life is right now. My NM has been at her worst. I have read that abuse gets worse near special events or funerals. So true! NM threatened to not go to my daughter’s wedding and put a fake smile on her face for me. I was devastated. Just recently we talked I needed an apology for that comment before I see her at the wedding, she seemed receptive. The conversation didn’t go well and her apology wasn’t sincere, then she commented that I also need to apologize for all that I did in highschool. The old I’m sorry, but with strings attached. At the end of the talk she also said to me “If I upset you so much, maybe you should stop speaking to me.” She was trying to upset me so that I am the one to end the relationship. It’s always me, me, me, to blame. She tells my sibs and my entire family only her side of the story. She has labelled me a liar for many years. It’s her word against mine and she does her cruelest things when on the phone or with no one else in the room. If you call her on things she says, she denies she said them. I truly can’t win. The worst part is that this whole can of worms has been opened so near my daughters wedding, it is not fair to my girl. A normal loving grandparent would never utter those words and threaten to not show up to a wedding. Thank goodness for this site, it’s my sanity at a crazymaking time in my life…


Hi Melody
Thank you for sharing your story with us; yes this is pretty typical of the things we talk about here in EFB. These kind of people use whatever they can to hold over your head and in this case it is your daughters wedding. She knows she can push or pull you with the threat of not going or of wrecking the day or any number of other things. My mother said all the time “if you don’t like it, leave. One day I decided to take her up on that and she didn’t like my decision at all. The truth about that is that she can’t kick me around anymore. I had nothing to lose in drawing the boundary.
I hope that things go well for your and your daughter on her special day. If your mom pulls anything, remember that it reflects on HER and not on you. I would not protect her or cover up for her because that was always when it got blamed on me. I learned that lesson the hard way over and over again before I “got it”.
Hugs, Darlene


Melody….A parent who is narcissistic will pull things around special events or funerals…that is very interesting! My mom did that to me around my wedding. One example was that I was having a VERY low-key wedding because I wanted it to be MY day and the way I wanted it and I knew she would try to interfere with my plans, so I asked everyone to wear either a white or purple top, dress, shirt to go with the colors I had hoped to have. She showed up in a dark cream because she said she didnt look good in white. Every single holiday or family gathering was always laced with tension and issues and problems and gossip that she would create. Chaos always….so I have deep compassion for what you are experiencing with your mother right before your daughter’s wedding! I am sorry you are going through this! I agree that whatever nonsense she will try and pull on the wedding day or up until the day, will reflect on her! The day of the wedding the thing she will hate the most is seeing YOU happy and elated at such a wonderful important moment in your daughter’s life! Attention loving narcissistic ppl are chronically unhappy I would imagine….my mom is..and a few other ppl I have known are…so to try and pacify them wont make them any happier than they already ARENT! Have a beautiful time at the wedding! 🙂


Hi J Marie,
Wow! You’ve taken a huge step in your recovery by leaving your abusive relationship. I think that would be a hard thing to do. I know how hard it is with my own parents. It’s been hard work identifying my triggers, so I can Limit Contact & set boundaries. I haven’t been able to go NC, since I think it has something to do with breaking the push & pull from the Trauma Bond. It’s certainly not easy and there are times of rumination & discovery. It’s worth the work & I’m feeling Free from going LC. The obligation isn’t there anymore, it’s really about my choice. Your doing well! & EFB is a great place to be in recovery!


J. Marie,
You are an amazing example of strength!! Very very best of luck to you on your road to recovery and your new normal. It sounds likes you are taking immaculate care of yourself. GOOD for you!! 🙂

Sickening what your mom is pulling. So tough to not let it bother. BUT, it’s your daughter’s day. I would do everything in my power to turn my head against the stuff your mom is pulling. Let her tell her OWN story of truth by not showing up. I agree with the above statements…. it shows her character and is no reflection on you. If I put my mom in that situation, I think she would be just yanking my chain… she wouldn’t miss it, but she sure wouldn’t mind threatening to if she could get her way on something. Such a rat race!! I hope you find peace in it all and go ahead and hand her the rope. She will hang her own self by not going to her own granddaughters big day! Enjoy the day with your daughter!! 🙂

LoL at the sentence, “to try and pacify them wont make them any happier than they already ARENT!!” So well said. I believe you’re exactly right when describing their underlying unhappiness. My mother pretends to be happy. Everyone would think she’s happy and well rounded. It takes an insider to figure out she’s really full of envy ~ bitter, twisted, premeditated lashings out at, people who have no idea what her motive is. She always manages to coat it with a thick layer of sugar so no one is any wiser. She hates that I’m onto her too. I know she’s wallowing in vengeful thoughts and meticulous plans to destroy me. I have discovered just yesterday some of the things she’s been up to. Oh EMM GEE!! So glad I’m removed. SOOO glad!! Just feel a little sorry for the poor suckers she’s dragging in on her drama!

Peace and Hope,
PS – SMD, I agree, this IS the place for recovery!! 🙂


Mimi…I understand the bitter, twisted and premeditated lashings out! I havent had any contact with her from my side for over a year now, but before that even outsiders could tell something wasnt pleasant. She was never able to connect well with other ppl in an ongoing way. I know that she lost some friendships over the years because of the way she was treating me and my older brother….which hurt HER deeply. I even heard members of the extended family say certain things about her behavior from time to time because she was so into herself. I always felt that she was playing “head games” with me…in fact, that is the main reason I cut her and my dad off last year. Another head game and trying to stir up something between my dad and me…and I was sick of it! It is good to be “gone” from all of that! What you said about your mother looking to others like she is happy and well rounded….that is also my parents. They have always looked impressive to the outside. Everyone would think by looking at “things” and appearances that they were healthy emotionally and in all ways. After I cut my parents and my brothers off, I remember telling my husband, “let them feed off of each other now”. It is funny to me because my parents would say to me from time to time that I needed to quit being so angry. My younger brothers also said that to me at one point…undoubtedly because my parents were saying that to them and they both believed at one point I had a deep anger problem. I always thought that was so weird, but proved that they didnt even know me! I hate shouting and yelling and I do get angry, but I have rarely ever had anger outbursts…if anything, I NEEDED to get angry! I realized after awhile that THEY had anger issues..bitterness issues and that THEY were chronically unhappy and I believe now that they wanted me to be unhappy and angry acting to justify what they were making themselves believe about me. It seemed to me that someone had to be the “scapegoat” in the family, and my older brother had already cut everyone off. I could be wrong, but that is how it appeared to me and felt to me……is that what you think your mother has been trying to do to you? Somehow force you back into being the “fall guy” for the family? I think I remember reading years ago that one person has to be the scapegoat in a dysfunctional family so that the “family” can keep up the dysfunction. If all the focus is on the one person…or child…and makes them the “problem”, then the family can continue in its patterns? Something similar I believe! Do you feel that you have been the focus for that? I know my older brother definitely was, and then when he left, I got that “title”.


Hi Diane,
I have so much to say on your comment, but unfortunately, short on time right this minute. I will get back to this later. 🙂



Post 385 is sooooo true that if they are the ones that don’t turn up, it says more about them than the person they blame for making their lives miserable. They think they are acting so normally and rationally and justified, but this is where they really screw up for themselves!! Every Christmas since my niece was born 4 years ago involves my mum’s worst toys out of the pram behaviour that she can muster up. One year she was saying she was going to sit in alone as she didn’t agree with having to share Christmas day with my niece’s paternal side family (even though my Sister’s husband had sadly lost his Dad to cancer that year). She ended up coming along at the last second, because in her self absorption, she somehow told herself that my Dad(who she had been separated from since 1999) would not go and I would stay home with her. I just calmly said that Dad and I have no problem with my Brother-in-law’s Mum and Sister and felt they had gone through a terrible ordeal that year and it would look like a snub. That was what made her turn up (but she still made a scene within minutes). As much as it can be quite fun these days to plant the seeds and wait for the predictable reactions, I think from now on, I’ll just say, ok Mum, do whatever suits you.

Incidentally – I’ve been speaking to my Dad about all this. He kind of does a funny little laugh when I tell him about my “support group” and considering Mum always labelled him an emotional retard, he has such amazing clarity when it comes to her. Both of them were hippies that used to smoke pot in the 1970s. He said, the moment she found out she was pregnant, she never smoked again, and in his mind, she changed instantly. He says it was the pot, I say it was motherhood. He also told me she had post natal depression with me; the youngest of 2. I might probe him further this evening 🙂


Oh, and my Mum told me when I was younger that she stopped being in love with my Dad in 1982. That was the year I was born (yeah that hurt to hear as a teenager). I am very close to my Dad and have taken on his real and human qualities unlike my mum’s superficial and surface driven ones. She HATES it.


A note about special occasions ~ all abusers/manipulators and controllers will pull things around special occasions. The more they can keep other people in “the spin” the more they feel their power. And if people put up with it OR cater to them in the case of people who get “sick or don’t feel well during someone else’s special time, they think that is love. It is a sick and dysfunctional system. I had to learn how to take my power back in order to stop other people from ruining my special occasions.

Diane~ your comment “to try and pacify them wont make them any happier than they already ARENT!” is excellent! and these sentences “After I cut my parents and my brothers off, I remember telling my husband, “let them feed off of each other now”. It is funny to me because my parents would say to me from time to time that I needed to quit being so angry. My younger brothers also said that to me at one point…undoubtedly because my parents were saying that to them and they both believed at one point I had a deep anger problem. I always thought that was so weird, but proved that they didnt even know me! I hate shouting and yelling and I do get angry, but I have rarely ever had anger outbursts…if anything, I NEEDED to get angry! I realized after awhile that THEY had anger issues..bitterness issues and that THEY were chronically unhappy and I believe now that they wanted me to be unhappy and angry acting to justify what they were making themselves believe about me. It seemed to me that someone had to be the “scapegoat” in the family, and my older brother had already cut everyone off.”
This is EXCELLENT insight!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene…thank you so much for validating what I wrote and how I felt! I also appreciate what you explained about abusers/controllers keeping ppl in “the spin” so that they can feel their power. I have to say that when I read that it hit me like a ton of bricks and I feel really irritated about it. When I think of the wasted hours and days and weeks and years of MY life being upset, heartbroken, depressed and the high levels of stress and feeling that something was wrong with me and that I must be unlovable somehow…it makes me feel total disgust! When I see the truth that they think it is somehow love to create that amount of unhappiness between ppl….to break apart relationships and create chaos etc…and that I didnt have a clue until recently…it disgusts me! Not just for me personally, but for all of those that come to EFB who have this same issue! It IS sickening and twisted and I am so grateful to have gotten free of it all. I am glad for you , Darlene, that you learned how to take your power back so that now you can enjoy your life …and those special moments and occasions that mean so much! I am glad that I also took back my power and that those twisted games can no longer be played using me. I do feel used. I am healed at my core, but when I think about it and process even more memories from my past, I definitely feel used. Gosh it is great to be free from all of that!

Mandy, it seems that you are really going after the truth for yourself now and not allowing your mother to dictate her version of “truth” for you about your life and your father! That is a huge deal to question your dad and put the pieces of your life back together with the truth! I am happy for you that you are taking YOUR power back! You are much younger than I was when I began to figure a lot of this out, and I am very happy for you that you arent letting another year drift by! I hope it is okay to say that….I think you are very brave to tackle your feelings about your mother and to work on yourself this way. I wish you the best in finding more truth and finding more healing.


I just want to bring up one more issue I have about “the spin” that controllers/abusers use to feel their power…..It is sickening on another level that they feel so much satisfaction when the family members around them are enabling them and kissing up to them and denying themselves to the point of real harm frequently (depression, anxiety, split personality, low self esteem, etc etc) just so that they can get a “fix”. It seems it is almost like some kind of drug to them? A “high” to feel the power exerted over another person that THEY control.


It is exactly like a drug to them and it stems from thier belief that the one with the most power is the most valid. A false belief. They invalidate others to validate themselves. I call it “getting their order restored” (I write about this a lot in my earlier work) and it is very sick.
Hugs, Darlene


Tangie, I was thinking about my post the other day, and just wanted to clarify what I said about the scape-goat role being a no win situation. It only is, IMHO, if you choose to remain in it! Many people never find out that they are in a role in a dysfunctional family, and confuse how the family defines them ,with who they really are! We are so lucky to be able to have insight, and guidance, and be able to do something about it! (that’s my opinion on the subject, anyways! Others may see it differently, which is ok by me….)I just didnt want to discourage anybody here!


Melody, a cretain amount of rebellion is a normal part of the teenage years. Teens are seeking a way to differentiate themselves. I was the same way. When I look at my sisters, one under my mothers thumb, and one locked in her room, moping that no one else liked her (she stil hasnt figured out that being a tattle tale is not a friend maker), I see now grown women, unable to separate from their sick, manipulative mother. Sick, manipulative grown women!


Okay. So an update. Please realise that while i’ve had LONG standing issues with my parents, that this is the first time i’ve tried to set boundaries (in a healthy non angry fashion). As I said in a previous comment, that my Mom had cut me off or threatened to do so via Facebook and just ignored me for over a week (I didn’t phone or chase her though either).

Well, yesterday, I got a text from her saying, “I am ready to chat. Just you and me in person at your home? I am out running errands.” This put me in a spin because I didn’t feel at all ready to talk to her (I knew she’d have me in a virtual half nelson before I could blink). I reluctantly agreed and said what time. At that point she said she was home and could no longer come so it would now be tomorrow at 11’ish (so the dance begins I was thinking). She never left home on errands that day, I knew because my sister called her at home during all this, so she was lying again and trying to let me know she was in control! This annoyed me because I felt that icky “used” feeling I always feel when they do this stuff to me.

I decided enough was enough and that text wasn’t a perfect medium but it was one I felt comfortable with and decided to draw my boundary then and there. She didn’t reply until this morning where she cancelled coming over on the basis of “my anger” and she wasn’t going to bicker with me. I sent another non accusing message setting and re-affirming my boundary. Her reply was that perhaps by Monday I will have settled down enough to talk to. I replied again that I wasn’t angry but that my boundary wasn’t going to change by Monday or ever for that matter and that I wanted a healthy relationship with her that I was more than happy to work with her on. Do you know what her final reply was? Her single final reply? And this says IT ALL…..

“No not your boundary.”

I replied with this, “Yes. My boundary. I am alloweed to decide what treatment I will accept in my life. That choice belongs to every human being.”

I’ve not heard another word. Not sure I will. Not sure I care if I do anymore. If she can’t abide by the few things I asked her (not to threaten me out of her will all the time – I don’t care if i’m in it, I just don’t need to know until she’s no longer with us, not to call me out on facebook and to treat me as an adult with mutual respect). If she can’t do this, then is she worth having in my life? I don’t mean to sound flippant because I am all too familiar with losing this relationship as she missed the birth of my first son during one of her “blackouts”. It is painful and very hard, but I really am tired of feeling like the worthless dog who needs her masters permission to exist.


Wow,Tangie! That is “comply or goodbye” to the max! Notice, SHE set decided it was time to meet, SHE decided when and where, and what mood she would accept from you. And, it is up to HER to set boundaries? wow! She ceretainly does not see any equality in your relationship. Bravo, to you, for setting boundaries! It is scary, but it is a human right, yes!
Darlene, thanks for bringing up the divide and conquer routine. It made me look at my family in just a little bit of a different way, and this is how my mother orchestrates it, for people to distance themselves from me, then for me to cut them off, out of hurt and anger. So, I have decided not to communicate with anyone who disrespects me, but to respond calmly and rationally when there is a door of communication open.
My brother is hapless in all of this, thinks my mother is a saint, though she talked dirt about him, and was behind him not getting to go to college. Her and my father shake their head, and say, “Joe, he was the smartest of all of the kids. Too bad he never made anything of himself!” Yes, he could have gone to school on his own, but I think he felt so devalued by them all, that he gave up his dream to pursue his artistic talents. Of course they were not valued!! Sigh……..


Darlene (#390) ~ Do they ever!! Reading this reminded me of weddings – my own, and my brother’s. At my own I did NOT want the big poofy white dress!! She said that if she was paying for my dress then I had to wear this poofy white thing. From the time I was engaged to the set date of our wedding date was 5 months. She and my sisters took me bridal gown shopping and my heart was NOT in it because I was being manipulated into a dress I didn’t want to wear. In hind sight, I should have told her to keep her money and get the simple elegance I really wanted!! So … we go shopping – I have five months – wedding dresses need to be ordered 6 months in advance to be safe – so you can see we had deadlines. I think we only hit one bridal store – it was something like the third dress I tried on (none of which were in my size because they carry only size zeros!), I just said, “Order this one.” My mother said, “Don’t you want to try other bridal salons?” I said, “No. I don’t want the poofy white dress with a train. And I’m short on time here – I don’t have time to go ‘shopping’ – ordering this dress is gonna be tight as it is! Just order this one!!” As it was the dress came in a week before my wedding. And I looked like a poofy white mess! It wasn’t ‘me’ … I was never allowed to be ‘me.’ I should have stood up to her and said that I’d pay (go into debt) for my own damn dress! But I swallowed it to ‘keep peace.’ Even now, I look at my wedding pictures and I love the man I’m standing beside – but that white poof business – YUCK!

Then my brother’s wedding … at this time my mother hadn’t been in my life already for years and she made it clear in an e-mail that me showing up (as she knew I was invited) would mean that all is well – all is swept under the carpet and her words, “I can finally have all my kids under one roof again.” Grrrr. I started to have anxiety attacks at the thought of going. By my showing up, in her mind it meant she could resume control and I refused to give her that.


I’m finally back, LOL!! I’ve been much busier than usual lately. But, I’m enjoying getting back to life finally. I had to take it pretty slow when I went back to work a few months back. Now, I’m getting back into the swing of things at a more normal pace.

Your comment above struck so many chords ~ so so similar to what my mother has done.

The “head games” you talk about. So difficult to pin down, it took me 43 years. It was exactly that, Head games. It made me reluctant to say I was abused. How is it possible to equate head games with pedophilia, etc? I was never molested or severly beaten. My mother stopped short of severe beatings. She is so crafty that she always managed to slide right under the radar. Hard to prove head games. Hard to get others to believe it’s happening when she appears so well rounded.

Also agree, it is soooooo good to be gone from it. I held my mother accountable and she fled. I’m so happy to have this space. If she never comes back, well, I think I’m better off. Isn’t it amazing how “healthy” they appear to others. It’s like if you look the part, people believe it. Actually, what “look” does an emotionally healthy person possess?? Society has some standard, but I don’t know what it is.

My mom has recently extended her chaos even further out the limbs of the family tree. I said the exact same thing…. let them feed off each other!! I have trouble believing that it’s what brings everyone involved TRUE joy.

My mother has also coined me as having anger issues. I was pretty angry when I was younger, in growing up years. I have learned that if no one cares to listen to our hurts and concerns when we need support as children, that energy can come forth as anger. In my teens, I knew my mother was trying to ruin me among my family members with her tongue. Of course that made me angry. I never cursed her or hit her or anything near that. But, yes, I was angry. It’s been believed by literally everyone in my family, that I have anger issues. I got angry when I was backed into a corner and needed a confidante, a place to vent, I needed to be heard by my mother, I needed her to quit alienating me, to hear me, to stop the abusive lies and the chaos she created. It’s human nature to become angry at those things, IMO. Perhaps not everyone reacts with anger. But, I had a lot of stifled anger at all those things. When something pushed me over the edge, all that stifled energy would come out. I don’t like to be angry at all. I can have conversations without being angry. My mother cannot, but she certainly doesn’t see that. It’s more fun for her to project it onto me. I hate yelling too and I can’t remember the last time I did.

I think you’re right. Someone always has to be “out” in my mother’s circle. She loved for it to be me for sooooo many years. She had to have a scapegoat ~ someone to release all her own self loathing on. It was me. I was certainly the focus for years. All in the family took part in, “what will we do with Mimi?” I agree that this helped remove the focus from all the crap my mom was doing/saying. She raced to people to spread venom before I could ever have a chance to be heard. She’s still doing that today. That way, no one will notice she’s pathological.

Like your brother, I occupied the hotseat for many years. My mother prefers me to be there I believe. However, both my sisters have been punished in this same way recently. My mother is very uncomfortable with harmony. If things start to appear harmonious, she will create something to disrupt it. Purposely leave someone out, or shun, make them feel left out, singled out, etc. That way, she is controlling the ring. Everyone in the group is like a puppet, and she holds the strings. I can’t express how far she is from holding my strings these days.

In the things I discovered recently, the people she’s reaching out to, lying about me, it just didn’t have the same effect on me that it has in history. I wasn’t angry, hurt, didn’t cry, dwell, etc. I was just thankful that it’s all going on without me. Creating my own peaceful life is a beautiful place to be. I don’t mind letting everyone else be her puppet. I am thrilled to have the freedom to walk away from drama and chaos. I do not care what she says anymore. I don’t care what anyone in my family says. I already sank to the bottom of the pain barrel, and now I’m heading back up. I feel fairly safe saying that I don’t think any of them have the power to pull me back down to the bottom.

I have finally accepted that I lived in a fantasy about nearly everyone in my family. There’s no loyalty or love. Only twisted views, half truths, and facades. That’s not the way family is supposed to work. Not in my opinion. There was a time I would have given my life for my sisters. They were my heart. They are deeply injured too. I am sorry for that, but, there isn’t anything I can do. I would have went to battle for either of them over my own self. Not today. I had bad dreams about my mom for years (10 years, give or take). My oldest sister who is the most spiritual, said she believed God was trying to prepare my heart for the big reveal of my mothers ways. Then, I started having the same dreams about HER. I wonder how she would explain that? I imagine she would consult her pastor friend…. the one that pushed me down at the altar years ago. The one who I feel God showed me was a master manipulator years ago. (Too much evidence to ignore). Evidence I’ve kept under my hat out of respect for my sister. If she asked me, I would be honest. But, she wouldn’t DREAM of asking. She is fiercely loyal to them and would never suspect a thing.

My middle sister…. poor thing. Since mother doesn’t speak to me, (and apparently she’s ticked at my oldest sister), suddenly the middle child is no longer invisible. She says that has been her role in our family all along. I believe she is right. Her daughter is also invisible, even shunned by my mother. Now, suddenly, they are acceptable in my mom’s view. I feel sorry for my middle sister because she soaks it up like a sponge. She would say otherwise, but, it’s very apparent to me what’s going on. The attention she never got is now being piled on. I think she falls for the sappy suckings up of my mother. I wonder how she can ignore the truth about it… that she and her daughter have actually come in dead last. What an all out insult!! She’s in denial still. She would say she isn’t, but it’s obvious she is. And, not my problem. Let the drama and BS continue….. I’m out!!!

Thanks for your comments Diane. I enjoy reading your perspectives and wisdom. Sorry I got so long winded here. Maybe too much coffee this morning!! BZZZZZZZ!!! 🙂

Peace and Hope,


Hi Tangie
I love how you are seeing “the dance” ~ That is HUGE!! This is so typical too. My mother was almost exactly the same, always showing HER control and accusing me of being the one that has the problem. It is and was painful and very hard, but facing the truth and the pain has also set me free to be me, and not to be under such unfair degrading rules! Some abusers don’t respond because they are so sure that the victim will “come around” they are so sure of their power that in their minds they are thinking “well I’ll show you who is boss” as though their withdrawal is a punishment. This is all because they have “ruled” the relationship for so long.
Love your comments and your insights. Hugs, Darlene


Excellent comments in # 397

I want to point out something really important that you said. Your mother said that because she was paying for the dress then she got to decide what kind of dress it would be. Obligation is not actually part of love and as you said you should have told her to keep her money but who knew then what we know now! This is all part of the brainwashing. Controllers use these kinds of things ALL the time to prove they “own us” ~ some people can’t break free because the parents hold the mortgage or because they own the car the adult child drives.. there are a million examples of how controllers keep control.

I was jealous when I first realized that my mother didn’t have to buy me like other parents bought ownership of their kids. I felt like I got ripped off! LOL I was such a wimpy compliant victim that my mother didn’t even have to hold material goods over my head but in some ways it actually made it easier for me to draw my boundaries. No matter what situation we are in, it is very important to see the truth about it so that we can make decisions about where and how to go forward.
Thanks for sharing the wedding dress story!
Hugs, Darlene


Wow, thanks for sharing your breakthroughs! Emotional abuse and misuse of control is every bit as damaging as all other types of abuse. It was when I stopped trying to “prove” that there was damage caused and just validated and faced that damage that I began to heal from it. Your comments are really excellent!
Hugs, Darlene


In your comment #400… the part about “I’ll show you who’s boss.” I had to wonder then, if that’s what my mother is thinking right now. If she plays silent treatment, I will eventually cave. Oh my goodness, she’s so off the mark if that’s what is going through her tiny little mind. I do imagine that she thinks she’s really making me suffer. The “I’ll show you” attitude. I feel like such a smarta$$ because I have a tiny inclination to laugh at that. I don’t know what that comes from. If it’s a place of joyous freedom that she has no control, or if it’s a vengeful feeling, like, all those years it worked and she has no idea it doesn’t work anymore. Like I pulled a fast one on her finally. I don’t know… doesn’t matter I guess. I just like the distance!! She for sure has no idea the gift she’s giving in the silent treatment!!

ps – thanks for comment 402.


For me I started to think about it in terms of “what worked for her in the past”. And actually it was my father in law who was the more blatant example of this “punishment” style of control. In the past I would comply exactly as they wanted, (unless I misunderstood what they wanted, which was very possible because nothing was actually communicated in words and when I looked back I saw several times where I didn’t catch on!) and they were used to me “getting back in line” and of course restoring their order. I think that my father in law was shocked that his punishments and threats stopped working on both his son and I. I had that same feeling too, that he was sure we were suffering without contact from him. (and maybe my mother felt that way too, I am not really sure but in the case of my father, he likely didn’t notice or feel anything. The neglect had been going on my whole life and he didn’t even notice anything enough to even try getting me to comply so totally different type of abuser there) My father in law and my mother both I am sure didn’t realize the gift they gave us by withdrawing.
Hugs, Darlene


There is a new post on the home page everyone! This one is about that saying “love and you will be loved” and how it infers that it is your own fault if you are not loved… more about what is communicated by parents in this one! ~ Darlene


This is exactly where I’m at in my life right @ this moment in time. I have NO relationship w/my sperm donor. I have gone NO contact w/my NM (Narcissistic Mother). I am taking deep inventory on my ‘thought life’ and in the process of deprogramming my belief system. Darlene-I’ve felt alone in carrying the history of my abusive childhood for over twenty-six years…until recently. I came across your blog. It’s like you’ve written about my childhood almost down to every detail. Yet I’ve never met you and don’t know you. I was on the brink and with reading your posts-the burdens become lighter and lighter as I read. The more I read-the more validated I feel. My childhood abuse was NOT a figment of my imagination and I thank you for validating that with me. You have helped save my life in ways you will never know. Continue to speak YOUR truth. And thank you for giving me the confidence to begin to speak MY truth and start on a journey to Emerging From Broken…


Welcome to emerging from broken! I am thrilled that my work resonates with you. I have a passion for sharing this message. You are certainly not alone. This blog has 1500+ readers a day and generates over 1000 comments a month. We didn’t imagine this stuff, that is for sure! There is a lot of healing and support here; glad that you are here too!
Hugs, Darlene


Buttafli ~ I’d like to say, welcome too! I felt the very same too until I found Emerging From Broken. I thought I was the only one with such a mother. The validation from this site and what I’ve learned is a gem. I had been no contact with my NM for 12 years – knowing I could not have her in my life, yet always beating myself up and always questioning myself about my sanity – until I would recall things that you cannot excuse. And then I would think I was, or must have been a terrible person. I wasn’t that either. Finding out that there are others like me felt like I found a lifeline. It helped me to realize that there is NO WAY that I’m the crazy person. 🙂


Thanks all for the helpful words! Yes, the wedding will go on as planned and truly be a great day. Certain family members are getting involved due to the backtalk behind the scenes, the familiar blamegame of me of course. For those of you who have been no contact for a long time do you run into family members that have taken sides against you and you weren’t aware of it? With loyalty to the mother who hadn’t treated you well? How do you handle that? You can never explain fully to anyone why you feel your mother hates you. But, that is where I am at. No one believes me, my sibs are again saying that “I” have to forgive her. (For all of the trouble she’s causing to me near my daughters wedding?) They will not go through this with their family because it’s me she dislikes, for whatever reason. They just don’t understand and feel it’s me just caught up in anger. Sometimes I think they like to see me in the hotseat because the alternative could be them. No one on my side at this time. Thanks again.



I just wanted to let you know that this same situation is happening to me as well, and I feel absolutely STUCK. People are calling/texting me everyday about the situation with my Mom. They have turned the situation into something about them that I don’t like, and my Mom is fueling that fire, I think. I have asked these family members to lunch and have been ignored, or told that they don’t have time on their visit. I, too, have an upcoming wedding to attend, and I am dreading it. When I told my sister that I was going to the wedding and that I was also no contact with my Mom unless her and I started counseling, I was met with “So how are you going to go to the wedding then?” I have uncles that I barely talk to calling me, saying “I love you, and I’m missing you being here. Everyone’s here and wants to see you.” Everyone wants me to just drop my boundaries regardless of how I feel and what will make me well. Sometimes I dream about moving away, but I’d miss my husband’s family so much. They are the parents I never had. They parent me in a way that makes me feel so loved. I can turn to them for ANYTHING and get zero judgement.

Where do we go from here, Melody? Any ideas?

Take care (and I know how you feel!!!!!)



I had to share this quote from another post comment!
These words were given to one of the other readers here and she found them very empowering; I find them very empowering too!

“Your mother is an adult. Her life is her own, her choices are her own, and you do not need to take care of her or fix her, or do anything. She is a grown woman who is responsible for her own decisions, and she is free to do that however she sees fit, and you are free to protect yourself from her unhealthy influence by severing ties and not feeling guilty.”


Hi everyone!
There is a new post published on the home page about the sayings we hear that sound so great but somehow when we can’t live up to them we so often feel like “a failure” and they actually cause more damage to survivors instead of inspiring them. You can read it here: “Make Better Choices and Other Directionless Directives”

Hugs, Darlene


Hi All
The newest post just published on EFB is about why it is so hard to set personal boundaries in the first place ~ it was inspired by the discussion on the last few posts including this one.
Here is the link: http://emergingfrombroken.com/why-setting-personal-boundaries-is-not-as-easy-as-it-sounds/

Hugs, Darlene


‘like it or lump it’…That’s hilarious I thought my mother was the only one to use this phrase.Wow this article makes so much sense.Especially the current arguements going on with my family.Apparently they all perferred the old me,who sat quietly and never questioned anything.And ever since I started delving and questioning what was done to me.I am now purposely upsetting the ‘dysfunctional apple cart’ so to speak.And if I dont like it I can leave,after everything they have done for me.

Its hilarious my mother sits crying her usual crocodile victim tears,my father turns to his bottle of whiskey for solace.And my brothers and sisters circle around them protecting the very people who caused all the damage.Nobody can see the crappy same old drama n roles being played out..And Im being told Im the crazy one.

If it wasnt so pathetic this would be funny.. Im sure it will one day..

Thanks Darlene this is exactly what I needed to read.Have you read any of Alice Millers books?She was a psychologist and has written many books on childhood traumas and the ripple affect into adult life.Her books are a real eye opener into toxic families and poisnous parents.

Its time to cut my poisnous toxic family out of my life in order to thrive.

Love Always


Hi Sinitta
My family liked the old me too… I never made any waves and it made everything so much easier for them. I am glad that I saw how much harder it made everything for me! I am glad that you enjoyed this post.
I have read about 5 or 6 of Alice Millers books. They were introduced to me just over a year ago by a colleague who thought that I must have studied under her! Her books are wonderful and when I read them I knew why I had been asked if I studied her work!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene,

Yes that is exactly why I asked you if you read her books :). As you both have similar straight to the point no BS writing styles. I have just pulled her books out and am re-reading them again with a better understanding.

Clearing the past for a better future one step at a time.I have literally told my brothers & sisters not to contact me either. Its too freaky that they can not see the dysfunctional patters. And would rather stick with the “Oh its always been this way”.

Its amazing what a freeing experience it is when we realise ” NO” we dont need to do anything we do not want to 🙂

Love Always


Hi Sinita
I just published a post that might interest you about the grooming process and how children become “the black sheep of the family”
You can read it here:


Hugs, Darlene


My mom was extremely negligent and lenient with me when I was a kid. I never had a rule or a curfew. I had a boy spend the night in my house, in my room, when I was just 12 years old. That was a surrogate form of love. I had to have a boyfriend to get my needs met, including my need to eat food. I always ate at his house. He was 17.

Anyway, I had zero rules. None. I was on my own. She was never home. When she was home, she allowed me to talk back to her, which caused tremendous shame and guilt and worthlessness to manifest in me. The only thing she would get mad at me for was when I said to her, “Get off my case.”

Why is that? Why did she say, “Get off my case?” She would go nuts when I said that. I remember it being bizarre, even as a kid. You mean, I can tell you to jump in the lake, but I can’t say, “get off my case?” What gives? LOL

I’ve since figured out that she was incensed when I said, “Get off my case,” because it defined me as a separate person. It implied that I have a case that is different from hers.

She would hear nothing of it. I was an extension of her, or nothing. Her way or the highway… Like it or lump it was a regular expression as well.


Hi Ladybug
The kind of childhood that you are talking about, a childhood filled with neglect communicates the same message that other abuse communicates. Thank you for sharing this side of it.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi, I have been scrolling through quite a few of the posts and they all resonate on some level with me.Thank you for sharing post 411 and the comments there-that one was a biggie! It is hugely comforting to know that I am not alone in my need to have No contact with my Mum. During the first few months I experienced a fair amount of anxiety , but that got better in time. As an epiliptic I also noticed that the level of my fits decreased which has had a huge impact on my personal health. One of my stress factors had been removed.Altogether it has made me a healthier and better person and more at peace with myself. I could no longer take her “woe is me” attitude anymore and her total dependency on me to validate her all the time. I also grew up fearful of upsetting her and one of her favourite phrases was ” If you dont behave I am going to pack my bags and leave”

When I was older the phrase turned into “I wish I had packed my bags and left”

I had a “eureka” moment when I was about 22 that our roles had reversed and that I was the parent and she the child and that I was constantly worried about her and watching out for anything that me and my brothers may do to upset her and trying to head it off. This occured very early on in my childhood, probably from the age of about 6 or 7.

When confronted with my stepfathers abuse of me from the age of 8 she was more upset with knowing about it than what had happened to me and for years we circled around the issue and she stayed married to him for a further 17 years.What can I say!

Thank you for providing a safe environment to share our thoughts and issues.


Hi KateN
Wow. yes, that is how it goes for sure! I have heard of mothers who threaten to leave. That message is terrifying to a child and blames the child too so that the child believes that it is up to them to KEEP the parent in the home. The message is that if the child makes one wrong move, the mom will leave. This is SO damaging!
It is also horrible that your mother was more upset knowing about the abuse you suffered than she was concerned about doing anything about it! That sends a huge message too. That is what I refer to as “the damage” that we are facing.
Thank you for sharing
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene, the other issue that I received from this constant message was that if I did let her know about the abuse while I was younger then that would be the last straw, she would leave and that I would be left with the man that was abusing me.

One of my mechanisms as I grew older to cope with the guilt I felt, I can only describe as having a box with a lid on that I tried very hard to keep on. It would pop off and all my monsters would come out and I would struggle to get the lid back on.

With the aid of a good counsellor who specialised in CBT, I was able to take the lid off, let them out, take a good look at them and realise that I had no reason to feel guilt, it wasn’t mine to feel. Still have the odd twinge but now know how to cope and deal with it- ITS NOT MINE!
How clever abusers are!!!!

As I said in my previous comment I am in a much happier place, have had no contact for approx 5 years except for family get togethers (rather rare and which tend to be uncomfortable)and have superb support from my immediate family and great husband.

Love to you all 🙂


Also, gotta ask as come from across the pond and have tried to work it out with no success, what does FOO stand for?


Hi KateN
FOO stands for “family of origin”.
I didn’t know at first either and I don’t know all of the little short forms people use so you are not alone!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Ladybug,
Wow, I can totally see how the type of childhood you describe is every bit as abusive as the smothering variety that I received was. Its almost as if your Mom was so enmeshed with you, that she did not see you as a seperate entity who had needs of your own, to the point of not meeting even the most basic of your needs. Which is exactly what my mom did, albeit in a different way. Before I was even born, my mom had decided that, as the last child she could ever have,( I was the youngest of 5), I was going to be her lap dog who would never leave her side. My dad, who hadnt had any kids before me, made up his mind that I was going to be like an impeccably behaved pet, who never gave anyone a moments trouble. Their disappointment at having their dreams shattered knew no bounds. I was made to feel wrong, dirty, selfish and deceitful. Almost like a con man or “con child” who had cheated them in some way. As a result of this, I was never able to trust myself, and still struggle with this, in spite of the progress I have made. I was made to feel “disreputable” for want of a better word, and there is still a part of me that feels that way. For years, I felt that once people found out what I was really like, they would be as disappointed and let down by me as my parents had. To this day, I feel that people think I am lying, when I am absoloutley telling the truth. I have to “back my story up” with irrefutable evidence. I have always hated seeing a doctor, in case they think I am lying about my symptoms, as I was always accused of exaggerating. This is the legacy of being made to feel that who you are is defective, that you have let your parents down. But this has become my quest, my crusade. To reconstruct myself after being taken apart by these damaged individuals. I wish everyone luck, we are all on a quest here.
Love, Sylvia x


my comment is easy. i’m the friend of the person who was abused as a child. there is nothing out there teaching the friend what to do and/or say. what words or actions of friends helped you in your recovery?


Ali, so funny that you would post this. I was just about to write something about how one of the most difficult things about being a child abuse survivor is the way you are misunderstood. People just can’t possibly understand the depths of the pain. It’s deeper than you can reach unless you’ve actually been there.

So, I would say, just BELIEVE your friend. Don’t try to give her simple, pat answers or antidotes. Don’t try to solve her problems for her. Just BELIEVE her. Don’t tell her about the time you said a prayer and God came in and gave you just what you needed–believe me, your friend has done that too if she’s a victim of child abuse.

Child abuse is like being kicked when you are down, all the way down low. Think of a puppy, cute and cuddly. Now, think of some mean person coming in and kicking it, punching it and/or being mean to it day after day…

Still that puppy, as scared as it is of the owner, still loves the owner. The owner is all that it has.

How would you treat that puppy? Would you tell the puppy a Bible verse? Would you tell that puppy how it should feel? If the puppy was scared of big people, would you tell that puppy it should not be? Of course not! What would you do?

You would hold the puppy, pet it and tell it that everything is safe now. That you are here and you’re not leaving its side. You would respond when the puppy cries, and you would be patient, loving and understanding.

That’s all victims of child abuse need. What we need most is someone to LISTEN, and someone to understand.


ladybug….wow…i love your reply to ali. My story is much the same as far as my mother goes.
Your reply echoed my thoughts exactly every time my aunt would tell me to pray over these issues. Please understand…I do believe in God BUT many times when i was so torn and hurt,,,that just was not the answer i needed. Sadly my aunt ‘my only support …the only one who was always there for me… passed away in may. It was unexpected and such a shock i still can’t believe she is gone. As much as i used to cringe every time she said that…you know right now i would give ANYTHING to hear it again from her.
I am not sure what my point is….i am sort of just rambling. My mother is/was a horrible person who raised me to believe i was not worth anything. I do not speak to her any more…not even for my childrens sake. I wont pretend it’s ok when it wasn’t. and she doesnt get to say i am sorry and it’s forgotten…because she is not sorry. Just like my ex … who was just like my mother… But you know … I am the bad one… my mother, my sister, my brother and my ex … tell me to get over it for the sake of the kids… LOL I just don’t speak to any of them… but then it makes me look like i am the one with the problem. How do i make my kids under stand…that i don’t have a answer for. to my children those people are such wonderful people. It breaks my heart. My aunt would listen to me for hours,,,but she’s gone now. and i don’t have one single person.
sorry…ladybugs answer just brought all that to mind



Thank you for your post. I understand how you feel. I am so proud of you for not talking to people who don’t respect your feelings, and what you went through. That takes a ton of courage. Who cares if people think it’s your fault? You have to do what you have to do to take care of YOU.

The experts say that the effects of child abuse can be lessened if the child has someone to talk to, someone who understands. In my case, there was no one to talk to. Everyone, including my beloved grandmother who passed last December–the only person in my life who gave me true care–she didn’t even believe that I’d been abused. After all, my stepfather was a good disciplinarian, bla bla bla. My mom was neglecting of me, but everything went under the radar, right in front of everybody. I was being neglected, beaten, abused and mistreated and it was all legal, and it was easy to say that it didn’t happen at all.

This KILLED the person that I was. I had no inkling what to believe. I knew for a fact that I was abused, family members confirmed that they literally called CPS, but they couldn’t do anything about a father who wouldn’t let his stepdaughter play games, laugh or experience joy. (I got belt spankings for displaying happiness…) That was arguable. No one believed me.

So today, I take time to listen to myself. Whenever myself wants to express itself about the pain and the abuse, instead of ignoring my own heart, I rest and allow the feelings and the scenarios to play in my mind. It’s my way of reparenting myself, and learning to take time with myself, so I will know how to do the same for others.

Every time I replay what happened, new feelings surface. In those new feelings I find keys to opening new levels of hurt and disappointment. These keys open up the next layer and the next. I always feel so much better–like a whole other level better–when I go through and listen to my own heart. It’s like I’m free to grow and my emotional mind is free to develop when I take time to process what happened.


Hi Sylvia,

I can recognize myself a lot in what you wrote in post 425.
I was not allowed to exist on my own too, to have the least little voice on my own, I was just expected to be a puppet in their hands never think, never do anything by myself, just a quiet obedient and always smiling pet, obey, accpet everything with smile. That’s make me very sad and I cried a few hours ago.
But here is the real truth.

My parents liked to tell me how I was a great child, obedient, calm, adorable, charming, very very docile, easy child, they lived a dream thanks to me because they have a wonderful child. They was very proud of that.
But when I became a teenageyer, they totally changed their minds and told me how I was ugly, rebellious, a bad seed just because I had my own personnality and existence and couldn’t stand to be their sweet little pet anymore.

I got the message that I was a failure in my teenage years and I deserve punishement. And it was totally my fault if the relationship with them failed.
They send me the message I am the one who screwed up things in teenage years, because they were so great parents in my childhood. It’s my fault if they were naughty in my teenage years, I provoked it.
As a result, I idealized my childhood which was great towards them. A way to dissociate.

Hugs to you.


Sorry, “according to them” instead of “towards them”, in the end of the paragraph.


Hi Sylvia,

Can I ask you how was your teenage hood ? Did they start to reject you during this period unlike they seemed to be very proud of you when you were a child ?

Thank you, I hope everything goes well for you, ;)). I like to read you.


Hi Aurele!

I am sorry to hear you have been feeling upset, but I believe that tears are very theraputic, its when we hold our emotions inside that we store up trouble for ourselves. You are doing so well. Your story sounds incredibly similar to mine. My parents were fine as long as I “earned” their approval by being docile, timid, silent, subservient, withdrawn, and didnt show any emotions, or any desire to have friends, or play with other kids. But like you, when I started puberty, thats when the shit really hit the fan. They knew they could no longer prevent me from growing up, developing an identity and socialising with other kids, so they decided to punish me for it. I was no longer given lavish amounts of pocket money, or clothes. I was called names, given the silent treatment and grounded for the slightest thing. They would use any excuse to keep me in the house. I was ruthlessly emotionally blackmailed and gulit-tripped. I started my periods at 13, and my father never really spoke to me again after that. He would only talk to me if he absoloutley had to, and then, only in monosyllables. I could clearly see the dislike and disgust in his eyes. He died when I was 14, but I felt as though he had abandoned me long before that. My mom was just an out-and-out nutcase. The pair of them were an absoloute joke as far as parenting went. They were equally abusive in different ways. The thing is, we are so vunerable when entering puberty, so full of strange feelings and insecuritie. We SO need positive feed back and encouragement, and yes of course we need our parents to create boundaries, but in a healthy, loving way. It is unforgiveable for them to have destroyed our already fragile self-esteem the way they did. What the hell were they thinking about? I am glad mine are both gone. Had a situation ever arisen in which I had to care for one or both of them, I dont know if I could have done it, if I could have found the compassion to do it. After the way they behaved towards me, I would have struggled. Having said that, I am not like they were. I would have felt a sense of duty toward them, and wouldnt have wanted them to suffer in any way. Which is a hell of a lot more than can be said of their attitude toward me! Keep up the good work, Aurele, you are really going places!

Love Sylvia x


Thank you Sylvia for your answer :), it gives me some real relief.

Does the expression “you are really going places!” mean that I make some progress in recovery ?

Love too.


Your father was so wrong.
Mine also rejected my feminity and I also saw the disgust in his eyes in my puberty.
One day, I forgot some packet of period towels (which were clean and non used) in the wc and he said with extreme disgust and anger that I must remove them because it was dirty !!

Great father, isn’t it ?


Hi Everybody!
I have been reading along here and appreciate the conversation! I just wanted to include something we had studied in nursing school, so you all know that your behavior and choices in your teen years was totaly appropriate, and you were doing just what you should have been, to grow as a healthy individual. It is a little exerpt from the Eight stages of development by Erickson. This is stage 5, ages 12-18, where you are asserting yourself as an individual. Here it is:
5. Adolescent: 12 to 18 Years

Identity vs. Role Confusion – Fidelity

Up until this fifth stage, development depends on what is done to a person. At this point, development now depends primarily upon what a person does. An adolescent must struggle to discover and find his or her own identity, while negotiating and struggling with social interactions and “fitting in”, and developing a sense of morality and right from wrong.

Some attempt to delay entrance to adulthood and withdraw from responsibilities (moratorium). Those unsuccessful with this stage tend to experience role confusion and upheaval. Adolescents begin to develop a strong affiliation and devotion to ideals, causes, and friends.

This helped me alot when I learned this. We were not “bad children” for being disobedient, anf not folowing the family mores and sicknesses, we were good children, trying to define ourselves and how we related to the world. If you rebelled,it was actually a healthy response, especially with all of the insanity going on around us.

Love and hugs,


Hi Aurele!

Yes, it is a terrible thing when the first man with whom you will ever have a relationship,(your father), makes you feel that you are dirty and disgusting. This is how we go on to have relationships with other men who treat us badly, it feels familiar to us. I have a theory about my father. I think he was attracted to very young girls, but felt ashamed of this. When I started the process of becoming a teenager, he projected his shame onto me in the form of disgust, making me feel as if I was defective, so that he didnt have to look at himself. This, combined with a complete lack of interest in me as a person, made me feel unworthy and unlovable. While he himself never did anything remotely sexual abusive to me, I think his attitude contributed to me becoming a rape victim at 13. I felt shameful and “less-than”, and I believe the rapists picked up on this, in the way a predator will target a more vulnerable creature. My mother also, had made me feel very ashamed of my body with crude, humiliating remarks. I was made a target for further abusers. But, I am getting better and better at caring for myself. And yes, when I said you were going places, I did indeed mean that you are making fantastic progress!

Love, Sylvia x


Hi Ali
Welcome to emerging from broken
~This article was pretty popular on this topic and has a good discussion~ http://emergingfrombroken.com/adult-victims-of-child-abuse-still-need-to-be-heard/
How wonderful that you want to support your friend! I also like what Ladybug has posted.
Hugs, Darlene


I really like your puppy analogy! Thank you for posting that. It really sheds light on the way children need to be taken care of even if those children are adults now.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Janie,

I found your comment really interesting. Yes, I too, believe that it is perfectly normal for teenagers to rebel, to have mood swings, to want to spend more time with friends and less time with parents, etc. Also to experiment, to find their own preferences, this is how we develop our own unique identities, and it is all part of the totally natural and correct process of seperating, of individuating from our parents. This is how we prepare to live independently in the world. All of these things were what I was punished and reviled for. I received so many mixed messages. They called me babyish and immature, while attempting to keep me as childlike as possible, and accusing me of being a slut in the same breath. They made me feel disliked and unwelcome in the family home, while trying to keep me a prisoner inside it. No wonder I was out of touch with my emotions. I struggled for years, to actually identify what I was feeling at any given time. It was like having my inbuilt emotional navigation system removed. I am now much more profficient at listening to myself, but it has taken a great deal of time to get to this point.

Love, Sylvia x


Hi Janie
Love what you have shared here. My daughter studies Neuro Science in university. It amazes me what they are teaching the students and yet the world is in such denial about what happens to kids who are shut down by abuse, neglect or mistreatment. It is a well know medical fact that what happens to a child in the formative years leads to the problems they have later on, and yet, you would be shocked at the response from so many people that I get when I suggest depression comes from “somewhere” and isn’t something we are born with.(and it goes way farther than this even) It is this missing link (such as you have shared here) that I work so hard to communicate.
I really appreciate you posting this!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Heather
Something you said struck me; when they told you to get over it for the sake of the kids ~ what does that mean?? That you should cover up for your abusive mother so the kids can ‘what’??? be abused by her too? or watch you be abused by her which communicates a message to them about your worth and about how we do relationship! They (your family) can say and think that you are the one with the problem all they like but that doesn’t make it true. My family thought I was the problem too and in the end I told them they should throw a party because “their problem” was leaving… ha
Hugs, Darlene


You know, in reading the Erikson quote over, I remembered the teacher told us, that those who didn’t try and differentiate themselves in that 12-18 stage, that didnt do all those things that normal teens do, would most likely have mental illness later on.
My sisters did not dare and do these things. No social lives. No testing boundaries or questioning the world. That is why they are extensions of my mother today. Wow, an ahah moment!



I grew up in fear,fear of my surroundings,fear of people,which included family members. I had no voice I said very little only enough to get by.My mother told everyone and anyone that I was very shy and I didn’t speak, People accepted that teachers,relatives,etc…I even accepted that.That’s the way it was. Every time I wanted to break out of this mold that my mother put me in I couldn’t do it. I would start to shake,I would turn beet red,I would get hives,my voice would quiver,I just fell apart. I wanted to cry I would think why can’t I be like everyone else so vibrant and full of life and not afraid to talk. What is the matter with me!My mother never used the words like it or lump it. It was more like get the hell out you son of a bitch. Everything was her way I don’t remember a day that it was my way. She always denied me as if I was never really wanted I spent 23 years in that house with her and I don’t remember ever having a meaningful conversation with her at all. She never even discussed womanhood with me I was 11 years old the day I started my period I screamed at the top of my lungs that morning when I saw all this blood in the toilet I thought I was dieing she said nothing is wrong with you,stick some toilet paper in your underwear and go to school. My aunt worked at the cafeteria at my school,she showed up took me to the restroom because she had a belt and a pad for me that was the most humiliating day of my life and I still had no clue as to what was happening to me.To top it off one of my classmates was in the restroom and she was peeking into the stall making fun of me she was a mean girl with a smart mouth, again that made for a horrible day.My mother was probably the cruelest person I ever met. I have to go through the rest of my life undoing the damage that she has done to me. I am thankful for this site because everything that was pushed down inside me finally has an escape to freedom. Thank you Darlene for the work you do to help others get their voice back! Hugs, Jane


Oh my gosh! What a horrible thing to have to have gone through! That was a heartless thing for a mother to do. Wow. I just want to encourage you that once I found the right path to healing, it only took a few years of intense work. I no longer feel as though I will have to spend the rest of my life undoing the damage. I feel whole and free now and I feel that I HAVE the rest of my life to live. I am grateful for each new day! This process set me totally free!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Sylvia,

It’s the same for me, I suspect my fahter being attracted by babies and by very young children.

I remember one night to be scared to sleep alone and to ask him if I could sleep with him like I used to do it with my mom when he was working outside during the night. I was 3/4. I remember his reaction of reject and disgust towards me : “no, parents never sleep with their children, I never will do that” because he had bad memories of his chidlhood, like what I was saying was horrifying, like I was abusive with him making an abusive propostition !
I only wanted a father who comforts me and show me some affection, that’s all ! How could I understand his reaction at my young age ? I feel very very rejected and bad about myself.
He protected him self about his feelings of attraction he had for my body this way, with rejecting me and made me feeling ashamed too.

Thanks for this discussion,


I would like to add, that today I feel horrible pain.
It’s really hard for me to wait for my unemployement benefit, which I couln’t have until 1/2 months. I feel very guilty for being unemployed, and doing nothing all day, I feel like a failure.

I haven’t seen my mother or sister or granmother since 2 months and it’s really, really hard.
I so struggle to be on my own. I have so much fears, the most important is concerning my body.
I always have issues of illless with it, result of this huge distress and anxiety.
For example, yesterday, I took a lesson of Qi Gong to help to deal with my chronic joint pain. But the Gi Gong teacher was abusive, I hate her, she hurt me a lot ! There was an exercice in duos where one of the person had to tap with a lot strenght, from the neck to the lombar vertebraes. But I have problem with neck vertebraes, and he teacher taped me so strong that now my neck is totally blocked and I have again horrible pain in my neck and my jaw :((((. I can open my mouth only 1/2 centimeters. I have problem to eat, to turn my head, I feel soooo exhausted and tired. Pff…

Hugs to everyone.


I have rotation of my neck vertebras, as a result of the beatings I received and the doctors don’t listen to me…:(((

I have all my body is unbalanced, my joints are damaged.
And it’s a real battle to find a good health professional and it’s expensive… I am so discouraged,


Hi Aurele
I am sorry that you are so discouraged today. I understand how hard this must be for you. I want you to know that there is hope even when we don’t feel like there is hope. Hang in there.
Sending you love and hugs
Hugs, Darlene


Jane, my heart goes out to you today. You are very courageous, as a child, and now, to get through the abuse and neglect dealt out by your mother. Hang in there, and I hope you practice exercising your right to speak everyday!

Aurele, I hope your neck gets to feeling better. How terrible! I am so proud of you, for staying strong, and not contacting your abusive family members.

Darlene, What your daughter is studying sounds so interesting. What types of things would she like to do with her degree?

Hugs all around,


Thank you Darlene. Fortunately, you are here :).


Love and hugs to you too, Darlene.

Janie, thank you, it’s great to have your feed back and support.


Hi Janie,

I love what you said here “We were not “bad children” for being disobedient, anf not folowing the family mores and sicknesses, we were good children, trying to define ourselves and how we related to the world. If you rebelled,it was actually a healthy response, especially with all of the insanity going on around us”. Thank you.

I read again the drama of the gifted child by alice miller which is very enlightening for me.
There is an example of a boy who was creative, intellingent, compassionate. His parents destroyed him because he was able to see through their lies and mad behaviours. They were jalous of his gifts too. They try to destroy him and punish him by sending him in a correction house. That way, they can avoid looking inside theirselves. They were proud because with that treatment, in killing his personnality, he was more easy, make less “problems” than anymore.
Pff, what losers. Exactly the same for my “father” who was proud of himself because thanks to his beatings when I was 3/4, I obeyed and ate quickely my meal without saying a word to protest.
I recognize myself a lot in this example.



Hi Aurele,

I hope you are feeling better, I know you have had a difficult time just lately. I havent read Alice Millers book yet, but what you say about parents trying to kill their childs personality certainly makes sense to me. Something profound has happened to me. This morning, I woke to the revelation that I NO LONGER CARE that my parents didnt love me. And they didnt – my mothers Narcissistic Personality Disorder rendered her incapable of loving anyone or anything, and my father didnt love me enough to protect me from her abuse. And I simply dont care anymore! In fact, on reflection, I am rather flattered, because the only child they could ever have “loved” and approved of would have had to have something wrong with it. By this, I mean, it would have been like a minature robot, a deaf and blind mute, or one of Pavlovs dogs, so well trained that it would salivate on demand! It would have had to have been silent, repressed and totally compliant to the point of being afraid to speak, or even look them in the eye. A healthy child, like me (Christ knows how) who was full of curiosity and intelligence, who had likes, dislikes and a budding unique identity was an infuriating inconvenience to my father and a terrifying threat to my mother. So I have concluded that I must have been too “normal” to be lovable to them! Yay! You know what? I think I may have just EMERGED FROM BROKEN!

Lots of love from Sylvia! xxx


Hi Sylvia,

I am very happy for you, that’s great ! I imagined it’s the result of a huge work.
For me, I think it’s sad we had to rebel. I didn’t want to, I just wanted to be loved as healthy parents do.

Hugs and love.


Sorry I “imagine” and not “imagined”.


Hi Everyone!
I have published a new post. Today I decided to publish an abusive comment in the body of a new article. I get comments like this once in a while and today I decided to use it as an example of how and why people try to make us shut up about the past. Here is the link to “People who try to silence victims interfere with emotional healing”
Looking forward to the conversation!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Ladybug,

I love your “puppy”anology. Its soo true Just because I am older when the emotions rise I know to treat and talk to myself as a child as that is what I am experiencing in that moment

. Im bored of people giving positive affirmations when they have no idea. Like I had not spent years living in denial doing positive affirmations. As I thought they would make a difference,because that is what the books said… well books are not always right and neither are people.

I think people are afraid to listen as they think it will rub off on them.You know with all this info about forgiving ,letting go and letting god ..blah blah blah… Maybe it brings up emotions in themselves they dont want to face,I dont know. After all its better off to live in “denial” go spend christmas with your family and pretend.Than to rock the boat.

Love lots


Wow Sylvia thats really wonderful. I am glad for you. I too am
beginning not to care either.
After 5 months NC (i had written 3 x stating my issues and
saying I no longer sought contact) out of the blue my mother
calls me. Chatty about things going on, stated she didnt want to talk
about family issues. Back to exactly the same devaluing phone
calls she always made. I was polite, gave up no personal info
and got away as quick as I could. I dont want to have contact. none.
But it was impossible to say to her face. I felt like I would be
acting rude. But she can pretend everythings fine, not discuss
her behavior towards me and it made me feel like a bad person.
i wanted to say.
.. I dont care how friendly you act towards me, its all
a lie to draw me back into the family so I can be put down, and
used. Im just not interested in being part of that now that I know the
I guess I’ll have to write it down and set it by the phone.
I wanted to say it so badly but she went on and on about
herself and her friends. She went out of her way to ask me about
what I was doing and how Im doing physically? (not mentally
she said she doesnt want to hear that) Shes never asked that before
thats how I know its all fake. In the past the calls were always
Everything thats happening to my brother, her health issues, and
unpleasant things that happen to her friends. If I opened my mouth
to speak she would immediately say “let me tell you this before I forget…”
Its a hook to drag me back. Funny the abuser doesnt like you
but they seem compelled to keep you around.
Years ago when I spoke up and said no I was dropped. Now she
only has me or my brother. No one else. Now instead of being cut off
in anger when I go no contact shes pretending everythings fine,
essentually ignoring my “bad behavior”.

She doesn’t hear me. That is my number one problem.
To her nothing ( I hate to speak in absolutes but here its true)
I say, think, do, or accomplish is of any interest even in conversation.
OK. I understand it. I see its not me. I live far away and do my
own thing. So calling me and acting that way is deliberate. I
guess she thinks I am fooled by this and will jump back into the fire?
Its confusing. Thanks for listening.


Karen Ranes,
I like what you said ~ “funny the abuser doesn’t like you but they seem compelled to keep you around.”

So puzzling isn’t it? I think the truth behind that with my own mother is, she needs someone to measure herself against. Someone to boost her, in her own mind. In the past (before it got to this level) my mother has stated she’s interested in what I’m doing/wants to hear from me and what’s going on in my life.

The problem with that is, she makes everything I tell her into her own story. It’s either something she gloats about to others, ie. my successes, or, it’s something she cries about, ie. my problems. Perfect example is my husband’s affair. She told about 8-10 people the very day she found out. AND, some were people we know. But, she will come right out and say, “you know I don’t tell people things you don’t want me to tell.” WTH?? That makes no sense whatsoever.

In my 20s when I had horrible panic attacks, she told everyone she knew, and made it out like she was the doting mother, saving me. She had RESCUED me. What people didn’t know was she was also browbeating me in private. I needed to get my shit together, pull myself up by my bootstraps, stop seeking attention, etc. She could say she rescued me because she let me move back home when I became nearly debilitated by it. In her eyes, that was a heroic act.

Recently, she said she wouldn’t be around forever. Then she asked, “who’s going to save you then?” What an insult. That truly insulted me. That was over 25 years ago, and she wants to bring that up now? It’s her way of stating how far ABOVE me she is. How fragile and mental I am. How broke I am, etc. The funny thing is, I know approx. what she’s worth. (it’s all about money to her) I know her lifestyle as well. I’ll be shocked if she has a dime left when she dies.

A year ago, her stupid husband came to me on several occasions in private, asking me not to tell her. He said in one of those conversations that my mother wants to live hollywood style. Fly here and there, etc. The funny thing about that is, I don’t think that’s her hearts desire. I think she just wants to be able to tell people she’s flying off here and there. So ridiculous. She must be miserable!!

She turns 70 in a few weeks. I am sending a card. I’m contemplating writing a letter and spelling out some things I haven’t had the chance to say. I know it won’t make a difference in her. I feel like I might get some level of freedom for at least telling her. Maybe I’m wrong about this. Darlene, do you have an opinion about this you’d like to share? Please?

Peace and love to everyone,
ps – my mother didn’t really attack until I was a teen either. Actually, I was around 11 years old. When my dad left, she unleashed on me and it just continued from there. She can call me crazy… I don’t care. I know who’s crazy!! 🙂


Thanks Darlene and all contributors to EFB. I have been reading through this site for a couple of months now and this is my first comment. As I read, I remember more and more incidents where my true self was dismissed, ignored, invalidated, devalued or abused by my parents or step mother. I am going to take some time to write my own story in a journal at home so that I may finally start to heal from living in the ‘fog.’ There are so many parts of all your experiences that I identify with, too numerous to mention and I get overwhelmed trying to put it into words. I am grateful you are here.



Welcome to Emerging from Broken
I am glad you are here too! I am sure that you will see through lots of ‘fog’ as your write it all down! I look forward to hearing from you again.
Hugs, Darlene


[…] about the truth and got to the bottom root of all the dysfunction, I was set free from that fear.” ~ Darlene […]


I was looking for the most appropriate post to put this comment.

The one thing I haven’t seen Darlene address is M-O-N-E-Y (other than her child support post).

Is the real reason you don’t stand up to your parents due to a fear of being cut out of the will? If this is your fear, it makes it real messy. So you have to mitigate it.

PARENTS DO NOT OWE CHILDREN AN INHERITANCE! It’s nice to get one, but it is not “owed” to the children. This is the mindset you have to take. Then, do whatever it takes to save some money so that if you lose a job or something, you don’t have to beg your parents for money. Believe me, if you are already having issues with your parents, and then you have to beg them for money, it puts you in SUCK UP mode, and you cannot get out of it.

If you are having issues with your parents, the last thing you want is to owe them money. Make it your number one goal to not “need” them for anything! Then they can’t hold it over your head.


Hi Darlene! I’m having a bitter, angry day today and I thank you for the opportunity to vent. I’m having those feelings I get quite often when I hit deeper layers. I just want to check out of this life. I’m done, I don’t want to face this crap anymore. I’m tired of the layers, the memories, the ingrained beliefs that have tormented me all my life.

I feel like was poisoned all my life and I’m doing my best to flush away the poison with love. Learning to love myself has been a roller coaster ride or should I say more like a pin ball game. I slam around against old beliefs and get woken up to release them and create new ones. Sometimes I just want to be still and with draw from the world because I am tired of the triggers and mirroring from others. I have learned some new ways of coping with I am grateful for and then sometimes I really just want to through in the towel.

I have deep layers of hate towards people in general sometimes and I release the energy that is behind it all. I have been guided to read so many spiritual books that it makes my head spin and they trigger more crap. Taking responsibility for healing myself sometimes feels like I am being punished on a whole new level for things I have done in a past life time. I am reaching higher levels of spirituality that challenge me to the point where I do want to give up and then I seem to be drawn to your web site where I have an opportunity to give a voice to my hidden pain.

I don’t feel like a victim anymore because I have taken full responsibility for my healing. What I find incredibly complex about all this is how the patterns of dysfunction are created. I can humbly admit that I too have become an abuser, mostly to myself but what’s the difference. The pain it creates for myself and others is the same. I realize through my own healing process why people choose to stay abusers, I don’t support them for their choice but I do have compassion for them and choose to stay far away from them.

This healing journey takes courage, strength and committment and I believe self worth is what keeps people from healing. I know for myself when I reviewed my own behaviour there are traps that can keep a person from moving forward. I have times where I don’t feel worthy of love and support and I have to trudge through those layers.

I am grateful that I found the right teachers and healers to help me in this process and I realize that if I continue to hate my abusers or continue with self loathing then I keep myself hostage to the dysfunction. Forgiving myself for hurting others has been my greatest challenge and blessing. Once I forgive myself I find forgiving others just happens naturally. I am not less than or more than anyone else. I am a soul who is just trying to learn and grown into the person she truly wants to be.

I have no idea how many layers exist within me to heal, all I know is I will continue learning how to love until I leave this planet. I continue to be grateful for healing, wholeness and love everyday and I find it always takes me to a better place within myself.

Thanks to all of you for sharing your stories, it helps me to stay focused on my own journey. Namaste to you all!


My abuse by my brother (8 yrs my senior) started so young, that I thought that was love. I never told because he told me he’d kill our whole family. At the age of 4, I took on the role of protector for my family. Fast forward 30 years, and my parents have known a few years now. He’s been financially supported by them for 45 years, while I’ve been on my own since 18, and never been allowed to come back home. When I told my parents I was going to prosecute him if they didn’t keep enabling him, my dad said, go ahead and kill me, and you can live with THAT for the rest of your life……. I disowned him in that moment. I’ve tried my whole life for his love, and he showed me in that moment that I never had it, and never will. I was crushed, but I’ve learned that it’s ok. I don’t need him. I have the family I’ve chosen and created, and I’ve chosen to teach them right from wrong, and not even think of them most days now. I never thought I’d get here, but here I am… ok. I let go of the hurt and the hate, because Jesus carries it for me. Vengeance is mine, said the Lord. It was really hard to give it to Him, but when I did, this burden has been relieved. It feels so good to let it go. If you still hold on, I encourage you to find someone spirit filled to pray with you, over you, for you. It IS possible.


Hi Mountain Mama
Welcome to EFB
Thanks for your comments!
hugs, Darlene

I have written about this but it is a touchy subject and it is really complicated. It is something that comes up in one on one work a lot but the client has to realize for themselves that the ‘money’ is a tactic that many parents use to keep the adult child ‘stuck in the system’.
Having said that, it is very true that parents are not obligated to give children money or inheritance but there is way more to this subject than just that.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Lora
Thank you so much for sharing here. There is a reason this whole thing is called a ‘cycle’ and I too had to deal with the way I was repeating that cycle. I too have had times where I didn’t feel ‘worthy’ and had to find a way to keep going. Sometimes it was only to stop the cycle that I DID keep going! And it gets better and more clear all the time.
Hugs, Darlene


When I was young, my mothers favorite tactic was to tell me she was sending me to a detention home. Scared me to death. Left huge emotional scars. I hate the panic I feel when I think my son is upset with me. I’m terrified he will cut me off and prevent me from seeing my little grandsons. I feel so needy and weak.


Hi Coleen
That is horrific! Those kinds of things leave long lasting scars. There is lots in this website about how I dealt with that fear and overcame it. 🙂
hugs, Darlene


This is me growing up definetly. To this day I am that person that does all the things asked for fear of rejection. If I don’t do just as asked I feel as if I’ve failed the whole day.”don’t like it? Too bad” was what I heard from my dad all the time. Middle child and oldest female didn’t get off too easy…


I read your story Darlene and it is a mirror of mine. I found that as I grew into adulthood I lived in a state of perpetual confusion. I thought there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t ‘sort’ my life out. I had no self worth nor any knowledge on how to exist as a person.

The ‘don’t make a fuss’ ‘don’t moan’ ‘don’t answer back’ were so deeply rooted in my early conditioning that I endured grooming by a paedophile, 2 rapes, physical and domestic abuse culminating in several mental breakdowns and alcohol dependence. I self medicated to hide the misery and horror of a life I still didn’t understand.

I will always mourn the loss of those years I spent in confusion and the good people I pushed away unknowingly because of fear and the fact that I had no idea how to cope with kindness or love. But looking back no relationship could have worked until I had sorted myself out, found out what was ‘wrong’ with me in a psychological sense and found help.

Years of therapy and antidepressants have enabled me at the grand age of 54 to understand what happened to me, how it happened, that it wasn’t my fault and that I am worthy and I can go on now with my head held high. That I have an opinion and the right to voice it, I also have the right to say ‘No’ and to walk away which, once I had the courage to do it gave me my power back. But your mind will only allow what it can cope with. Every week or so some part of the jig-saw will fall into place and a little more of my life makes sense. Its a lifelong journey and I wish all of you courage and strength in your respective journeys.


I’ve read this before, but read it again after you reposted it on Facebook. Being an adoptee had me dealing with fear of rejection from day one. Add in a mother who sent my brother to boarding school when I was 5 because “he was too hard to handle”, and then her telling me, “if you don’t behave, I’ll take you back and trade you in for a new model”, definitely left me feeling like I had no voice and I had to turn myself inside out to comply. Not having boundaries in our family also left me so confused as to what complying was that I became hyper-vigilant. It’s taken a lot of inner work to see it for what it really was – her stuff and not mine. And years later I am still working on it.


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.



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.


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…:-)



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.


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


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…


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…

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