The Fear of Not Being Loved Ruled my Life

False definition of love

Learning self love

“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost” Anonymous

I came across this quote the other day and it caused a multitude of flashbacks to rush through my brain all at once. At first glance I thought “yes” this is true, but very quickly my mind was filled with all my old fears; I learned to FEAR losing love and at the same time realizing that this was not the way that I was loved at all. It was communicated to me that it didn’t matter if I was lost or if I was never to be seen again and I lived with the fear that I might find that out to be the truth.

And if that were the truth, did it mean that no one loved me?
I was a good victim. I was so compliant. I was so willing to please. In my victim mentality, my survival mode, I believed that was the only way to be loved. But in the end when I faced the truth, I found out that I wasn’t loved by the definition that I was taught love. Like this quote, I loved in fear of loss.  I loved in fear… that statement alone sounds very wrong.

As I got older and sought love from outside my dysfunctional family, I believed that it was how much the object of my desire proved his need for me, his longing for me, his fear of losing me, that PROVED his love for me. This was how I had been taught love. And most of my boyfriends  sought to possess me more than to love me.

My life long quest had been to be loved. I learned to pursue  being deserving of love from such a young age and my seeking to be “good enough to deserve love” was met with persistent requests to try harder. I tried harder. I withdrew as a child.  In my twenties, I came back, willing to try as hard as I could again, but in my early thirties, I began to withdraw again; trying hard not to give up and not realizing that I was living in a false normal system; all my trying was never going to get me anywhere. I was in my forties when I was too tired from the constant depressions that plagued me, to fight much longer.  I was tired and I wanted to give in to the fact that I was never going to be valued by anyone. I wanted to run; to just disappear… It was possible that I would realize that I was not loved and I believed that no one would care if I was lost.

It was a depressing thought.

But I was tired of fighting and tired of trying harder. I decided to face what I had been trying to run from for so long.  The fact that perhaps no one cared… and perhaps it was time for me to stop trying to make them see my value. Perhaps it was time for ME to see the truth.

And so I began.

The truth is that I had the wrong definition of love all along.  I had been taught the definition of love the wrong way from the very beginning.  Love is not facilitated through FEAR of loss.  Love is not determined by “being good enough” or “not good enough” for someone else. Love is not based on performance. I was taught to love unconditionally by people who conditionally loved me. In truth, they didn’t love me at all.  They owned me and they taught me that as long as I complied with their wishes, they would value me. That is not love and I was too young to pick up all the mixed messages.

The truth is that people cannot determine my value. I had to learn to determine my own value by realizing just “HOW” I had been defined as less valuable. The truth is that people do not have the right to define me as good enough or not good enough. Each human being has equal value; I just had to look at lies I believed in order to realize they were in fact LIES. I believed that people, my family and my friends could determine my value by the way they regarded me. But this isn’t a truth. I had to stop believing that people could validate me or invalidate me. The truth is that personal value is not based on what I can do for others especially when there is no mutuality involved as had been the case in my life.

My damaged self esteem began to heal when I realized that it wasn’t ME who caused the damage to it in the first place.

Learning to love started with me, learning to love me. It was about being good enough for me. It was about accepting myself but I couldn’t do that until I faced where the “not good enough” messages came from. Little did I know that through facing this truth, I would find my value and my lost identity.  Through that process I was able to embrace myself the way that I had been longing for others to embrace me.

Please share your thoughts. Remember that you may use any name you wish in the comment form and that no one will see your email address other than me.

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time.

Darlene Ouimet

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

Categories : Self Esteem



Fine way of describing this, and pleasant post to take facts relevant to my own presentation subject matter. I am scheduled to convey it shortly in my college and now it will be improved because of your piece!


Oh my gosh…yes Darlene. I firmly believed the lies I’d been told from the beginning; that if I tried harder maybe then they would love me. I carried that with me into my adulthood and perpetrated this in my own little family before I learned about this stuff.

The healing point you mentioned: My damaged self esteem began to heal when I realized that it wasn’t ME who caused the damage to it in the first place.

Yes; there was a reason I felt so horrible and couldn’t make my life or relationships work and that was because I’d lived in what you call that “false normal” and believed the lies that told me it was my fault (whatever “it” was – it was my fault), that I was less than, not good enough, had to try harder….that I was POWERLESS. It was when I began to put the puzzle pieces together that I the puzzle began to make sense and my life was no longer a puzzle to me.

As always – you are identifying so many core issues of this journey and as always I am grateful for this space where “it” is no longer my fault.

Much love, admiration and appreciation.



Darlene, I think the worst lie I believed about love was that people who love each other can’t live without each other. I’m so blessed that my husband is so independent and self-contained and didn’t allow me this misconception. I had no indiviation in my upbringing. There was no set identity to, Pam. Love meant being a part of someone else and being what they wanted or appeared to need me to be. I couldn’t really love until I began to see myself as an individual and love as a gift that I as an individual could choose to give but my survival didn’t depend upon it. This is hard for me to express and I think my husband loved me for a good number of years before I was truly able to love him in return. I have grown to become indiviuated and my love is a gift I willingly give to him and he does the same. However, when one of us goes the other will continue and the love we shared won’t die but if that love was a needy love only, it would die with the one who was needed for survival. If I had continued to love my husband out of the need for survival then I might actually die if he did because I wouldn’t know that I was my own person and able to take care of myself.

I think I may have made a mess of that but…I was very confused about love also.



oh my goodness. it is truly amazing when something like this happens, when i read something that i *could have* written. i am amazed because -while others were hurt in ways similar to me- it feels like creator working. working through someone else’s pain to get others to see what they can do to heal.

this is what i consider being a healer is. one of the ways. i thought i was there once, but in my pain i’d split apart and hadn’t truly faced it. not in the ways i have now… with the reality that perhaps none care, some thought me a fraud and undeserving of healing even. once i faced that, and confronted the pains that broke me apart (that i’m still confronting), i found love *of* myself despite all of that.

i wanted to thank you for this… be & stay well loved & blessed always!


Thank-you for writing such a wonderful piece on such an important topic. It is very important that we all learn these lessons you speak of. Or have an epiphany of this. There are too many people in this world that would take advantage of those of us who had the wrong ideas about love and being loved and valued.
This was just such a great article I cant’ say enough about it.


Hi Susan
Ya, it took some real searching and digging and truth seeking to really get to the bottom of this but WOW, what a difference it makes! This was such a core issue for me!
Thanks for your comments!
I appreciate your voice here too.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Pam
I totally get what you are saying here. I had so much of that too. In my case, both my husband and I were really mixed un and misinformed about love and relationship. We both believed that fairy tale that love means dependence on each other. He believed that the man of the house was more important then the woman, and I went along with that. He thought that I should support his dreams.. (that I would do whatever it took for him to achieve his goals. He was a great businessman, but he needed me to do the boring stuff. I lost my identity and in the end I felt like a non person or like a slave or as I put it to him ~ like his “back up program”.. this all had to be worked out and our relationship had to be re established when I started to realize that I had been misinformed my entire life about what LOVE is. His love was needy, mine was supportive but it was never enough. I sacrificed me and he was fine with that back then. That kind of relationship is exhausting ~ no mutuality. I am glad we got through all that! Today we are equally valuable and both share responsibility in maintaining our relationship.
Thanks for adding your voice here too!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Ronnie,
I love it when I get comments like yours! It is great when something I write resonates so deeply with someone else that they feel that they could have written it! I am so glad that you are here! Please share often!
Welcome to EFB
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Elizabeth
Welcome to EFB
Thank you so much for your compliments and encouragement! I agree; this is a very important topic and so many people are so misinformed about this subject.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Dr. Prentice
Welcome to EFB
Thank you for your comments regarding my work.
hugs, Darlene


“as long as I complied with their wishes, they would value me.” Complying for me went keeping everything secret and pretending that we had such a happy little family. Raise your hand if you lived in that place too….

Thank you again, Darlene and all for sharing. I’m so glad I found you today!


Hi Robin
Yes, that was a big part of it too! I always wonder when I see a family that “seems so wonderful” if they are just good at the “presentation” like my family was. I try very hard not to judge ohter peoples outsides since I lived in that situation where on the outside it all seemed so terrific… I am still friends with my childhood best friend. She was shocked to find all this stuff out. She never suspected a thing…
Hugs, Darlene


How much I relate to this blogpost!! And am so reminded of a scripture verse, “there is no fear in love.” Fear puts us in bondage. Facing that fear releases us from its bondage … this I know very well in this past year. I hope that I am never again enslaved be fear – fear of being unloved, fear of being rejected, fear of not being accepted. There is so much freedom when we break the bonds of fear. 🙂



This post speaks to me like never before.. what freedom I have now, knowing that I could never make a difference as a victim.. Now that I have released the power that held me bondage. I am so happy knowing that I wasnt able to change anything, the fear of others is not who I am..
I agree Rise.. there is so much freedom when we break the bonds of fear.



I think maybe this is the hardest part of healing for me. I know intellectually that “being good enough” shouldnt be a condition for love, and some days I feel like thats true, but it never actually seems to stick. I am wondering if part of that is that my husband is constantly criticizing everything I do, its never enough for him to be happy….and as much as I know its not “my job” to make him happy, the things he is unhappy about are things I am in control of (ie. the dishes, the laundry, dinner, the kids stuff etc.) and as much as I want to be happy with me, it seems impossible when all I hear is how Im not doing enough, and Im really not sure if its me, or him, or both, but I always feel one step away from losing him and Im tired of wondering everyday if he is going to come home, or if Im going to get yelled at for some small thing because he is unable to deal with things in any way other than being furious all the time, but try to bring that up and I become this evil monster. I know that that is NOT love, but I have no idea what love is, because to me, just the fact that I am not forced into sex or not beaten, is pretty damn good, at least most of the time, and the times that it isnt, I feel selfish and inconsiderate and like Im expecting too much from my marriage, and that thinking about leaving is wrong and I shouldnt even think about that because he is good to the kids, for the most part (he yells at them all the time too, but not like he does me) and he says he wants to work on his crap, and then in the next breath says he doesnt know if our marriage is ever going to work because he cant deal with me…and it makes me crazy….

and it all goes back to how much is “okay” or “normal relationship stuff” and how much I am expected to “be good at” and how much is too much and i just have no freaking clue, and no one tells you “this is okay and this is not”. I dont understand what love is supposed to be, I never have, I just hope someday it will all make sense.


Hi Amira
This is one of the hardest parts for me too. I relate to your post deeply. Those were the things that I questioned and pondered when I was coming out of the fog about my past and noticing that the way that things were with my husband wasn’t good. I had learned to take all the blame and my husband didn’t even have to say much. If he was in a bad mood, I searched my brain to see what I had or had not done. I was going to leave my husband and kids because I thought they were better off without me. I felt so ungrateful and constantly reprimanded myself for it… but when I looked at the truth, (first about my child hood, and my belief system) I realized that his anger and his “order” was unfair and devaluing to me and the kids. He acted like he was more important and so did we. He controlled us with his moods, and his needs. I started to think about what he would do if I treated him the same way? Or how he would feel. Or what that might indicate about my regard of him. I had to take a hard look at what definition of love that I accepted and was it true for both sides of the relationship. It wasn’t. I accepted the role of being “just the wife” and his back up program. This stuff can be worked out, (my marriage is 100% different now) but it takes two and it takes seeing the whole thing through new eyes. I was not the cause of my husbands mood, he just used me to make himself feel better. It was as if he could yell at me, and blame me for stuff, and if I proved that I would take it and fix it, then his “order” was restored. He felt better about himself. and I felt worse. That isn’t love. SO in a way, my happiness also depended on him. If he was in a good mood I was okay too. When I began to be happy no matter what mood he was in, at first it made him crazy! He really believed that love was me conforming to his wishes. Our marriage recovery was a long road, (about 4 years of awareness, discussion and change) however, it was very worth it.
Thanks for sharing. I know it takes courage to write that stuff.
Hugs, Darlene


I relate to the idea that if I was good enough or if I did what my parents wanted they would love me, but, I never felt that love because if that is what it took to get love, I was never good enough anyway. Their “desire” for my “goodness” was insatiable, as was the church’s “desire” for my “goodness” or my school’s or teacher’s desire for my goodness. Or any where or any place that I felt operated with the same prinicple of me being good enough, I never reached the goal of obtaining love or feeling it. And I really didn’t think I would, at least for sure not from my parents or family.

My dad lost his mother suddenly when he was only 19, and has never gotten over that and 12 years later married my mother, whom, I am told, has never told my dad that she loves him.

Then I had a boyfriend in high school who was sexually abused my a neighbor at age 6, and at age 13 lost his older brother (five years older) in a tragdey. He told me about the sexual abuse when we were 18, around the time of his first heart episode, fainting and finding a heart murmur as the cause. (I have read that the number one health issue plaguing sexually abused people is heart.) He and I were close, but the abuse and grief he experienced got in the way, and I mistook his (right sounding) words and needing me for proper adult love and I was not able to tell him what was really wrong with my childhood and where I wanted to go with my life. He was not able to ask me those questions because he was trapped in his grief and family mandate to carry on their family business at a very young age. But, even more, the confusion that plagued us came from our church that we attended, the time we gave it, the allegience we gave it, the enrgy that we gave it. The “church” drained us of our energy and our relationship, of our abilities to look at our lives at that point in our lives, because the church also drained our parents of their very lives as well. The church gave us an alternative high, a cheap easy thrill of doing things “God’s” way, so nothing else really mattered. And we do things “God’s” way in church, that is where it happens. I mean, God does come first, right? (LOL) THAT is not who God is, but I didn’t know that then.

I continued on God’s “path”, by attending Christian colleges. I met my ex-husband there. He didn’t have the hang-ups that my dad and past boyfriend had, so it felt more free. He was older, so it was intimidating, but only for my “good” and he must be more right than I am. After all, he knew how to cut an onion the right way, and I didn’t, just like my mother was always right in the kitchen and I was always wrong, and needed to be yelled at and corrected. 20 years of abuse, lying, and cheating hell later, and in my 40’s, I began to learn to trust my own intuition and care about how I feel about things, all things, anything! Our first son, when he was five and I was 31, asked me if I ever told his dad all the things that happened to me when I was a little girl. I found this in a diary just the other day. I told him just the other day, 16 years later now, that, “No, I never began to deal with my childhood until just this past year, so never told your dad these things.” But now, I stand up for myself. When this son was only one, we vacationed with the ex’s parents (I don’t recommend this) and my ex-mother-in-law told my husband to beat me, that THAT would be the only language I would ever understand!!! I completely lost it and demanded that he get me out of there. We were always in church, by the way.

And now my mother tells me that she can’t go to sleep in a bed at night (yes, I’ve noticed this all my life), and my dad tells me that they haven’t slept together in years. Yeah, I think I am starting to get some things. She was obviously abused somehow to have that kind of impact on her sleeping ability. As I said above, I have read that the number one health issue plaguing sexually abused people is heart. My mother had an aortic anuerysm repair a few years ago that was more severe than we thought. The surgeon said it was the smallest adult heart he had ever seen. The heart was so displaced by the anuerysm that he couldn’t find her heart when he cut her open. She recovered for weeks, after taking days to come out of the anesthesia, and has fully recovered, gained all her weight back, her voice sounds higher and more free, and she is gardening in full bloom again in her late 70’s now. They continue with their church committments.

Meanwhile, through eharmony, a good communication tool, I meet a new man, we are able to say who we are and what we want and need; we get married, my parents are negative to him about marrying me (I don’t recommend introducing a new spouse to abusive parents.) He works with me in the kitchen and my dad makes deragatory comments about that! He says that I am making a slave out of him, and when my dad talks to me, tells me that I stay in bed all day long. He is completely, and always has been, out of reality when it comes to me. I have never known when my own stomach hurts, (chronic problems) when a friend has hurt me, when I am hungry, etc., and my accomplishments are not seem by him, but credited to my spouse or someone else. He is the king of offending. He literally does not see me, and compliments his favorite Christians routinely to my face, acting like I don’t even exist. He saw us for the first time in months last month and after rudely coming into the back of our house, wanted to tell us how wonderful his other son-in-law is. The one with porn on his computer during the hoidays a few years back, and when I told my sister, she screamed at me to get out of their house. My dad told me then that it couldn’t be true because that son-in-law is “far too fine of a Christian man to have porn on his computer.” Once again, my senses fail me. I don’t even know what I see.

NO, I don’t ever expect to be loved by these people.
When I got divorced, they said that they would buy me a house. They not only didn’t do that, but proceeded to undermine and put me down, and even physically abuse me all the while writing love letters to their beloved elders at their church thanking them for “helping” me. I have no idea what help was given to me.

Then I meet a man on eharmony and we get married. HE buys us a house in that town. A good house that depreciates much in the last three years. A house that we finally sold for FAR less than we paid to a man who is, guess what? A man is buying our house to give to his 56-year-old daughter, whose husband left her, and who is losing her home. And my husband just looks at me and says how much better things would have been if my parents would have done what they said they would do for me in the first place. The last time we saw my parents, my mother had a physical complaint, and I once again suggested liquid chlorophyl, and my dad rolls his eyes and looks at my husband and says, “You don’t go listen to her dietary suggestions, do you?” and he kept telling my husband that he does not envy him!! We always go away just in shell shock, dumbfounded…just get me out of here.

What I’ve seen in life? Abuse? Denial. Take me to church…let me forget it all and live in an alternate universe…pass on the abuse


Shocking truth.. 🙂 Thanks Darlene. I also excel at trying – with such crappy rewards. 🙂 Think I’m going to replace trying with thinking now; thinking bout ME. 🙂 Thank you for this and for sharing your truths.


I’m through trying to gain the love of unloving people! And I hate it when others tell me ‘your mom must have done SOMETHING right because you turned out OK in spite of everything.” NO THANKS to them!! It was my own determination, strength and the GRACE OF GOD that kept me mentally stable. People say the darndest things. Bleh.


Hi Kate
That is the thing… we may have gotten the message that we were not good enough, and NEVER did get the message that it was finally good enough. I had to learn to give myself that message. I think that when people control other people by making them feel insufficient, are afraid to ever confirm sufficiency because they might LOSE CONTROL over you if they did. That is how it seemed to me when I finally took a look at all this stuff honestly. And organizations often work the same way; if they control you by making you try harder, then why would they ever validate you? It is a sick system. I was only validated when it was part of the overall manipulation. My husbands family made promises of financial gifts, but that was also part of the manipulation.
There is a lot to “see through” when we start to come out of that fog in order to understand “love”. Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Retha
Yes, we all excel at trying. Read what I just wrote about to Kate; the same comments apply.
Thanks for sharing! Great to see you here!!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen
I wonder why everyone is such an EXPERT on how “we” turned out! I hear that all the time too. At my brothers wedding, my mother said to my father (they were long divorced) “well we must have done something right…” and my father said (possibly the only truly accountable thing he ever said) “well I take no credit”. but I think he said that because he intensely dislikes my mother not because he truly gets it. And in truth, (I won’t speak for my brothers) but I was not OKAY and it had a LOT to do with them.
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Most of my life I have lived in fear that I am not good enough. I have been married and divorced three times, each time it was the woman who left me. I am always fair and hard working. There has never been abuse of any kind. But eventually, they could not reside with the deep sorrow that is in my being. It became a weight for them as well. I am from a deeply dysfunctional family and I have learned to cope. My greatest accomplishment is that I raised three children that have good self esteem and know that they are loved. Very few people could understand how that means so much to me, when perhaps it comes so easy and naturally to them. I will die happy because of that accomplishment, but it would also be nice to feel that kind of love from another human being, especially a woman. I have in the last two years, begun to love myself in the ways that I was never given, and that feels good. But sometimes the loneliness is a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, each day is a new beginning. Thanks for the post, Darlene. There is a lot of truth there.


This has been so helpful and moving reading these posts. THANK YOU TO ALL! So glad to know I am not alone. I have been crying all evening – and glad at the same time I am facing myself and my feelings. I want this immense sadness to go away – and then I feel anger. But how can I be angry at a mother who is dying of cancer (at least she claims to be) and was beaten for years, which I witnessed every time… Poor woman. I have to feel sorry, don’t I? Everybody else does… Her friends say, oh your mother is so tough and brave. I could throw up when I hear that.
Well, I have always been good at hiding behind my sarcasm…
She was so appearance conscious nothing else mattered, especially not her daughter who was in the way of her new family. So let’s put her in a boarding school at the age of 8. That she lied to me how my father killed himself when I was 11. I didn’t even get to go to the funeral because I wasn’t informed. Well, who cares, he was an alcoholic anyway… She always told me what a good life I’ve had compared to others. Of course she never knew I was sexually abused. And I never told her I know. By now she has forgotten everything anyway. But, when I stay over, she still barges into my room without knocking and when I object to that, she admits she does not respect me! I have to say, that was in fact a relief to hear. Finally she put in word what I have always felt.
I could continue this list but what’s the use.
I want to go on with my life and have a fulfilling relationship. My current one is about to end because I can’t seem to find the right partner. But at least he shows me what is still going on inside me. This hurts so much, I hate it having to go through this again.
This pain in my heart and confusion in my head…
Glad to have found this blog.


The fear of love is what has ruled and ruined my life. Love to me speaks of hurt, pain, obligation, horrible things. So I’ve spent my life running away from it. I couldn’t let love in because it’s too dangerous. It’s kept me safe but also kept me alone.


Hi Robert,
It has been so important for me to love myself. Sometimes when I am aware of loneliness (married people feel extreme loneliness too, and I don’t think it is about being “alone” but more about the journey is always lonely to some degree) I think that someone else will fill that void. But it is never the truth. That longing always seems to be related to my self value. It always comes back to my regard towards myself. I continuously have to remember to take care of me and that I am enough. My deepest hope for you is for you to heal that deep sorrow within yourself. It was through my healing that I am able to have meaningful relationships today.
Mucho hugs! Thanks for sharing

Hi Helga,
Welcome to EFB ~ the healing process is not about understanding for someone else. It is about validating the pain that we are in. It isn’t about blame or not blaming our parents, it is about addressing and even just facing the damage that has been caused to me. When I am confused about having permission to be hurt and angry I remind myself that the damage was real. I don’t have to feel sorry for my mother at MY expense anymore.
When you say you could “continue the list but what is the use” I have to tell you that it was amazingly powerful for me to say it all. That was how I faced it. That was how I finally validated myself and validate that damage WAS done. TO ME.
What you have shared in this post confirms that you had an abusive childhood. You describe neglect. You were set aside. and that is never a good thing and when this stuff happens to children, it is not without results. It is those results that I had to heal from. You are not alone,
I am so glad you are here.
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you, Darlene, sometimes when I talk or write about this I feel so ridiculous about what I have said or written. And then I remember (as a feeling) that I must have tried to tell people about the abuse as a child but they probably told me I was lying or phantasizing. I hardly have any memory but sometimes I get this particular feeling and it strikes me as being so true. Does that make sense? I think this is the reason I don’t write or talk about it. And I am still ashamed, too. As if, “maybe I am lying and doing them unjust.” Crazy, isn’t it?
I am so grateful to have found this blog. I am also happy to have EFT. Whenever a thought comes up I tap on it. It’s as if a lid opens up and intense feelings emerge. It is a relief… piece by piece…


Hi Fi
Yes, that is a similar conclusion that I came to also. It kept me safe but kept me alone and also it kept me malfunctioning and unable to grow up.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Helga
Not crazy at all! I have written so much about all this right here in this website. You will find lots of comments from others who have felt the same feelings too. It is very validating!
Hugs, Darlene


After reading your post the song “Greatest Love” by Whitney Houston popped into my head. (Music – the sound track of our lives) The line that specifically stands out from it is “Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.” Thanks for another great post 🙂


Hi Sandy!
YES! I love that song and yes, that resonates with me too! Thank you for sharing this!
Hugs, Darlene


I feel as though i fought my whole life for love, i fought to feel loved, i fought to feel love, i fought, i fought til i was so tired, so exhausted, but i fought on.. To be good enough, worthy enough to be loved by my mother, to be and do what i thought my mother wanted of me, to have her love me, accept me, acknowledge me. Which, i am sure, made it easier for my other abusers to draw me in.. Show me a little attention, a little love, a little tenderness and i would follow you anywhere, do what you wanted for just a moment of something human. As an adult, Relationships seemed to move so fast, it seemed before i even knew someone, before i thought about liking someone, those words were thrown out to me, those three words, “I love you” ..those words always shocked me when spoken.. confused me.. i would then see this look in their eyes, this look of anticipation, this look of need, nervousness… in my fear i would not know what else to do, what else could i do? who am i to hurt this person,i must love them, right? they said they loved me, nobody loves me.. so out of my mouth would come those words.. “i love you too” from that moment on, my life was no longer mine.. with those three words, i give myself to them.. i now belong to them.. and i fought, i fought to keep their love, i fought to love them, i fought and i fought, i’d grow so tired, so exhausted from fighting.. to find out once again that i wasn’t good enough, i could not be who they wanted and needed me to be…. and once again, i was alone.. until, until.. the next ” i love you”.. and i fought some more..


Through out all this, through out my whole life.. through all the fighting, the clawing, the wishing, the hoping, the clinging, the crying, the silent screaming within me, through out the complete and utter desperation, the desperate pain, the one thing i wanted, needed, wished for above all else was to actually feel REAl love, to feel SAFE, to be able for once in my life to have a lap to crawl into, arms to wrap around me, somewhere i could finally rest, rest for just a little while… a place where nothing ugly, nothing hurtful could touch me, for just a little while.. for just a little while, to not feel so alone, to not feel so lonely, so small in this huge world, to not feel so different and to finally, finally feel at peace, to be at peace and to just be OK.


It hasn’t happened yet~~ don’t know if it ever will ~~ or even if i would recongnise it if it came….. probably not…..
Today is not a good day.. i apologise for my rambling, desperate writing.. please forgive me..


What does it look like…to love yourself? What is it that so many of us seem to be missing? What would it look like if we had that self love?


Hi Kelly
Please don’t be sorry for what you shared. I can’t begin to tell you how much I could relate to feeling that way for so long ~ for sooooooo much of my life. You described my life before. I recognized love when I exposed what it wasn’t and faced that the way I had been raised and regarded by most in my life, was NOT love but a manipulation. When I began to do for myself what had always been missing in my own life I began to feel something I had never known. self worth. I became my own parent. I filled those longings of my heart. I validated my abuse and I validated myself. I owned that what happened to me was wrong and that I didn’t deserve it. I took my life back. This is possible for everyone. I had to love me first. (and I don’t mean to make it sound easy or quick, just possible) By looking at where my self esteem was crushed in the first place, I was able to see that it wasn’t anything to do with ME.
What you shared is (in my view) a huge part of the process and it is what we are all about here! Please don’t stop. This is how I “got it out”
Hugs, Darlene

That question is answered within all the blog posts on this site. I guess it looks like ME today… how I write, how I live. I believe that I am equally valuable to everyone on earth. I believe that life was meant to be wonderful and amazing. I believe that what happened to me, and to US was wrong… and that it has taken enough of our lives. I had to “do the work”. We all have to do our own work to get to the bottom of our own belief systems. The key is in what I believe about myself becasue of the abuse/trauma/damage.
Huge question Robert!
Keep reading! hugs, Darlene


Yes, that is a huge question. How can I possibly love someone if I don’t even have any feelings for myself? Every single morning, I feel bad when I get up. It has gotten better but still. I have never told my family about the abuse. I am afraid to because I don’t want the confrontation with them. My father had committed suicide 30 yrs ago so I can’t tell him anymore. Luckily I live in another country.
Since I don’t have real memory about the abuse I wouldn’t be able to give them examples so I would just be put to the stand as being a liar, the bad girl as always, and that would be it. Is it worth it? Does that solve my problems? Does that make it any better? And above all, does it make my pain go away? I don’t think so. But it does feel good being able to express my feelings here. I am now establishing a new business for myself and find I can not “go around” these issues anymore. How can I be confident about marketing my services when I’m not even confident about myself?
Darlene, how did you manage to fix your marriage? Did you go to counselling, together? I have told my boyfriend that I can’t go on like this anymore. He is not a bad person but he has been taking me for granted. Went on vacation without sending any messages, then coming home with his dirty laundry… As if I were his mother… Above all, I can’t even blame him since I went along with that. I let him decide stuff in my own apartment. I was always overruled in my life, decisions were made for me. I am so used to that and in a way it does feel comfortable since I don’t have to take any decisions. Others did that for me… I know I need to TAKE my own power. Nobody is going to give it to me since I have to take it instead of having given it away all my life. What am I afraid of?
I am afraid of people coming too close to me. I want love and attention but when I get it, I send them away again as if I were protecting myself.. Does that make sense? Sometimes I can’t figure out how I feel. So many contradictions. Thanks for “listening”.


Beloved Darlene!!For me too the most devasteting consequence of my sexual abuse it is the BIG MISSUNDERSTENDING of LOVE!!! My cousin was allways telling me that he was giving to me those ATTENTIONS because he LOVED ME ….I also loved him , but I knew that I did not liked what he was doing to me!!!!!So since that time ( I was from 7 to 12 years old!!)I remember I began to be CONFUSED about thish concept of LOVE!!!I knew that also my mother LOVED me so much but I also knew that she would never approuve what he was doing with me!!! SO ….I began to question what it is about this so called LOVE!!!!After 5 or 6 years of abuse, finally I maneged to speak to my mother about all, and the resulthas been that since that time I have been descriminated from all the family on the side of my mother (I don’ t know nothig anymore about them ssince that time!!!!) and my father asked to me to PUT A STONE ON TOP of all and not to speak no more about it!!!My father was an AUTHORITY for me , he was in the POLICE…and so as A GOOD EDUCATED LITTLE GIRL, I have followed the rules of my father, beliveing for all my LIFE to be the one who has done SOMETHING WRONG!!!!BUT nowI know that was not THE TRUE!!!But I have BELIVED IT !!!My conclusion coming from this BELIEVE ,has been that to LOVE someone it is wrong and also to do the THINGS that my cousin was doing to me are wrong ….so the fatal consequence of this though of a little girl has been that I have promised to myself in SILENCE, that I shall not so no more THESE TERRIBLE THINGS !!!So since that experience, I have never used MY SEXUALITY NETHER WITH A MAN NEITHER WITH MYSELF!!!IIn that time I did not knew the consequences of this CHOISE…but now ,trying to heal myself, I begin to understand that has been really a wrong choise for my life, because No one can KILLthi VITAL ENERGY!!!!Darlene…do you know other woman who have done this choice???Now I feel very inferior and different from all the other woman!!!This shearing itis very confidential !!! Thanks for your ATTENTION!! LOVE!! Roshani


Hi Helga,
My parents have nothing to do with my healing. No one does but me. It
matters not to me if they believe me or not anymore.
My husband and I did go to therapy together. I thought that same thing as
you ~ that since I had put up with certain behaviour, how could I ask for
anything different or complain about it now… but then I had to ask myself
WHY NOT? Just because I tolerated things a certain way doesn’t mean that I
can’t say NO now. It was hard, and my husband was in shock and he was not
happy that I wanted to change the game plan but I decided that either we had
a real relationship based on mutual respect.. or NO relationship.
It does make sense that you feel like pushing people away when they get
close… if we were hurt by people who seemed to get close when we were
children, then we have that fear at the bottom of relationship. That is
what i refer to as the belief system.
Keep sharing!
You make sense and you are not alone
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Roshani
That is how it all gets started. we are told lies. That abuse is love, that
we will like it or that we should like it. We are told not to speak of it.
We are told that we are wrong, that we are lying or that we should just shut
up about it. This is devaluing and sends the clear message that we don’t
matter. As a child we accept the blame. Because nothing is done about it,
we believe we must be bad. That is how our self esteem gets so damaged. This
is all the stuff that I looked at to understand how my beliefs formed and
how I went on to live my life with those false beliefs and lies about
myself. I understand what happened to you. I understand your choice. Yes.
many make that same choice. (there are other comments on this blog about
this same thing)
Hugs, Darlene


p.s. Roshani,
you mentioned confidential; I took your last name out of the comment box. The next time you come to share, it will automatically come up in the form with your last name. If you wish to have only a first name, just delete your last name out of the comment box and then publish.


I have always felt dissociated, out of place, wanting to go home when I am at a party, insecure. Not knowing how to behave or what to say. Although I am often not perceived as such. But I do.
I am standing in my apartment looking around and wonder, where am I? Who am I? I don’t feel myself. Now that I’m starting to face myself and my feelings and want to get in touch with my inner child. The image shows my inner child lying on the floor and my parents standing somewhere on the side. My inner child lying motionless on the floor as if dead or asleep. I just lay myself next to it, put my arms around and cry my heart out. I have no specific feelings but it hurts so much… So much sorrow we have experienced and which has separated us. This is what makes me feel so empty. And I feel that when I can unify with my inner child I will feel complete again. Does that make sense?
I guess it takes time and work to continuously establish contact with my inner child so that I can slowly revive it again.
Hugs, Helga


Yes that does makes sense. I had an image of a child who was dirty and silent, (around age 2) and abandoned in an attic. I didn’t know that “she” was me for many years. I know to day that this was how I saw myself. This was the way that I related to myself and everything changed when I began to take care of myself.
Hugs, Darlene


What is love? or rather, what is it about love that can bring one to their knees? what is it about love that either melt ones heart or turn it to stone? what is it about love that can make one spin in circles, climb mountains, crawl on their knees in order to feel it for just a brief moment? Love is such a powerful tool, powerful weapon, if used for evil.. It is, i am sure, a most beautiful and radiant being, if used for good.. The problem it seems, is that one cannot recognise from which it comes, evil or good, until it is too late, until it has broken you, shredded your being and left you wondering what happened and why… I don’t even know if it is love that i crave, or just, something as simple as tenderness, kindness, somethiing as simple as being human..


My 17-year-old son, will be 18 in 30 days, has written me, his dad, and three siblings that he has run away from home today. He apparently has walked (biked) away from his home with his dad, the car that he used, his cell phone, his computer, his JOB, his high school. We are completely devastated. He kept telling us over and over that he loved us, each one, but to his dad, he said that he NEEDS to know what it FEELS like to be his own person.


Aww, Kate…I’m so sad to hear this. I’m sure he does love you. Boys that age go koo koo sometimes. They are half child and half man and it’s impossible to tell which when will take the lead and when. I wish I could do more but I will pray that he comes home soon. My youngest put himself and us through the wringer at that age and it was the hardest phase of parenting. I think God gives them extra grace as border-line men and usually, it all works out. I’m going to be thinking positive thoughts for him and you.



That must be scary! I am sorry that you have to go through this. I hope your son lets you know how he is doing so you can rest a bit easier. I hope he finds what he is looking for.
Thanks for sharing it with us.
Hugs and love, Darlene


When you live with a narcisist who controls you, you do NOT KNOW WHAT IF FEELS LIKE TO BE YOUR OWN PERSON. The narc steals everything.


Kate, yes, the same happened with my mother. She had to always be in the center of attention. Appearance (physical as well as to what people might think) is everything to her. And I let it happen. She had a bad marriage and has been ill for many years so I wanted to support her. She didn’t leave the bad situation to get well but held everyone else responsible. She sucked all energy and I forgot all about myself in the process. That’s what makes it hard for me to forgive myself because I let her get away with it. Of course I didn’t realize and couldn’t change that as a child but for many years I thought I should have done something. Now I want to take my own power so I can go on with my life but I don’t know or feel who I am. A lot of pain still in me.


So sorry to hear of your situation with your son.. I know you can’t help but feel worry and fear for him… I am unsure of how i would deal with it.. i hope though, that i would take a breath and try to support my son in this adventure into his healing.. He is young but already he seems to be trying to break the cycle and find himself… Congratulations to your son for taking the first steps into claiming himself. I would hope that i could say to him that i understand how he feels, show him much empathy, allowing him to know that i am here for him and will support him in his journey… I feel for you Kate, i send you positive thoughts and will hold you and your son in my heart. Love yourself and your son through this time Kate.. You will both make it through this turbulent time..


Kate, You are right about narcissists. That is exactly how my parents raised me to have no identity of my own. Is that what your son is looking for?


Pam and Kelly,
Thank you.
Kelly, your comments just make me cry. I agree with what you said.
Pam, In my opinion, yes, his exact quote: “The best way I can put it as to why I am running away is I need to know how it will feel to be my own person.” And, yes, I totally understand. And I told him that I understand and would give him more space if he wants to live with us. I told him that he can make his life be whatever he wants it to be and he doesn’t have to answer to anyone for his choices. (of course, this is not a license to abue people–but he is not abusive). I told his to just say “no” to Christmas or anything else he may not choose to do.


Kate, You’re a good mom. It’s important for kids that age to question and begin to set the peramiters of their life. I bet he’ll be on your doorstep before long. I’m sorry he has to go through this but I’m glad he has you and your understanding.



Darlene, when I posted that quote to inspire others I never realized what impact it would have on you. How very wonderful that you are able to see what the truth is about love and the lies you learned about it. The best thing of all is that you make your journey come alive in both you and others. Thank you for sharing your discovered truths with us.


I feel like you have just looked into my soul and read me and my life. I have cried while I read “my life”. Could you possibly help me with learning to relearn how I am suppose to be? I AM looking forward to reading more of you letters. Thank you for this much.


Hi Linda
I couldn’t remember where I read it, I just knew it was on facebook! Thank you for the way you describe my writing!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Marybeth
Welcome to emerging from broken
I have written a lot in this site; I try to express how I relearned the things I learned wrong the first time, by writing little pictures of how it happened. There is a lot of information here in this blog! You can use the category buttons at the top to find the articles that you find interesting.
I am glad you are here,
Hugs, Darlene


I understand everything you wrote…except for “that process”. I have amnesia and although I do feel I have to gain confidence and find out what I want, can, will, could, … I have no clue how to heal or how to take care of myself. I’m still hard on myself, I’m still unable to communicate to “regular folk” and -as you just saw- I still fall back into survival and hero-mode. The process surely has started…but when does life start?

Greetings and thanks for this lovely text! 🙂



Hi Karen,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken
For me life started about a year into the process of learning to love myself and face my the truth about my childhood history and the belief system that I had developed as a result. It was a few more years in that process before I felt really solid, confident and strong but the adventure of life itself had begun.
Hugs and thank you for your comments


This is also true for me. I am 55 years old and only in the past 8 years have I finally been loved for me. My husband does not try to possess me. He lets me do what I want. Many times I do not feel well and he does the cleaning and cooking. He does not hold it over my head that he did something for me. He feels I am worthwhile and deserving of his love. I have gotten to the point where I don’t question it. When we first dated and he did and said things, such as “you did not answer your home phone, so I thought you were out doing something. I was not going to track you down on your cell”. I would ask him, “Where did you come from?” I grew up in such an abusive, controlling family that I could never speak my mind or confide my thoughts or feelings. Most of the time I thought my feeling were wrong and I was bad because no cared. But through the patience of this man, who was raised in a very loving home, I have learned that I am valuable, I am worthwhile, I have a right to my feelings.


Hi Just Me
That is great! Thank you for sharing this victory with us here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone,
I forgot to mention here that the post that I most recently published is a follow up to this post.
If you have not read it yet, you can read it here: “After a lifetime of Invalidation Self Love began with Self Validating”
hugs, Darlene


I am so grateful for your site Darlene. I think you just gave me an explanation that I really needed right now. I’ve suffered with low self esteem for years and, while understanding generally why, I didn’t know how to fix it. Now I’m going to work on validating myself and letting it sink in that I was trained that way. I’ll look at the specific lies I was taught and unravel them. Thank you! In my case, as far as I’m aware, I was sexually abused once but the verbal and emotional abuse and neglect was continual. I can really relate to the posters who talk about narcissistic parents. Nothing was ever really enough and I still am not really heard. But I’m encouraged by everyone here to keep moving forward.


Hi Still Trying!
That is what worked for me! Unraveling the lies… looking at the roots. It has little to do with the diagnosis of others OR the types (times amounts or frequency) of the abuses either. It has to do with the damage that was done.
Keep sharing,
Hugs! Darlene


May I ask what were the first baby steps you had to take to begin to pin your own worth down, despite what you’d been trained to think? I don’t think I know where to start. ALTHOUGH, I did find myself not stepping aside when some rude person at a store came barreling by as if she were more important. I thought, well, I was here first and you aren’t moving me!! I kind of laugh at that now! Any other time, I would have gracefully excused myself for being in her way, and immediately stepped aside. The words “screw you” come to mind these days! Although, I don’t really want to be that way per se.


Hi Mimi
I have written so much about this already ~ just keep reading my website and you will find the answers but remember that the fog gets in the way. I worked on this stuff for years before I started writing about it so it stands to reason that you might not “see” or “get” what I have written at first read.
I found my worth by digging into my past to see where and how I lost it. (or where it had never been given to me)
Hope this helps a bit!
Hugs, Darlene


[…] and blame towards my parents. I realized that the fear is based on my childhood understanding that if they reject me, I will not survive. Eventually I realized that the truth isn’t always pretty and that anger and […]


Again, a wonderful post and so timely. I am going through a point in my healing process of missing my mother so much. We haven’t spoken since March, when I told her I needed to share my hurt from the neglect and emotional abuse I endured all my life. We had been best friends since my mid-30s, or so I thought.

She refused to allow me the opportunity to share my hurt. Instead of being there for me, and allowing me to bloom into the person I am becoming, she chose to reject me and emotionally abandon me. Looking back, I see that she has been on the verge of doing this my whole life. Finally, I gave her an out, and sadly, she took it.

I’ve never gone 5 months without talking to my mother. We were enmeshed. I didn’t make a move without discussing it with her. I’ve always been depressed and dealt with feelings of worthlessness, and I would share this with her in every detail. As I started coming out of the FOG, I started suspecting that she wanted me to be miserable. When I was unhappy, she would listen to me and comfort me. When I was happy, she clearly distanced herself.

That doesn’t stop me from missing her. I miss our daily talks, and having someone to share every detail of my life with. I miss her laugh and the way she seemed to care about me (as long as I was in 100% agreement with her way of thinking).

In the last 5 months I’ve grown so much as a person! I’m getting stronger in myriad ways… Overcoming emotional obstacles that I didn’t even know were there. I’m finding that I can get my needs met with other people, and quite surprised that I’m so capable.

That doesn’t stop the pain of abandonment. The pain is debilitating. It screams to be tended to.. Like a baby inside me crying, refusing to be comforted. I don’t know what it needs!!! I know I need my mother, but I can’t go back there because it’s not healthy for me to keep running after one who is running away.

I figured out last night, that it is better to hurt and know the reason why I’m hurting (childhood wounds), rather than to project the wounding on some outside source, or worse, to blame myself for my own pain.

So that’s where I am… Dealing with the waves of pain, trying to find out what my soul needs, while at the same time trying to provide it. What a mess I’m left with!!!

I’m grateful for the small progresses. I know I’ve come a long way, and I know I’ll find my answers some day.


Hi Darlene,
As I read your posts, I am always amazed at how the thoughts in my head come flowing out of your fingertips, and become the printed word!
My mother was my friend and greatest supporter, as long as I was the “good Girl” and followed the rules. This was also encouraged by the nuns at school. My father believed that his role was to be the best provider he could be, and at home, it was his personal quest to berate and hit the females, and make them feel as useless and worthless as possible by screaming, swearing, telling them they were fat and lazy,…
I made a conscience decision to marry someone completely different from my father. And, at the age of 19, I did just that! I was dazzled by this quiet, gentle man,( I didn’t know that his mother was a carbon copy of my father) and we started a family (3 boys in 4 yrs), as he climbed the corporate ladder.
Fast forward 30 years, and this man has become my father. Screaming (which I HATE), swearing, name calling, cheating, (which my father also did), telling me I am too fat ( I was), lost 75 lbs, and now I am “too skinny.” He has never hit me, but I do tell him that his words are the same as a punch in the face. I have Fibromyalgia, and a part of me thinks it has manifested itself from all the years of abuse that I just shoved down within myself. When I confronted him about the 8 year affair (which, on some level, I knew was happening) he told me that he “is only human.”
Our nest is empty, and we live very close to one of my sons and his family. My greatest joy is my grandchildren! On the home front, we coexist, in yet another custom built house. The trappings are so the world will know how successful he is. I have not found the courage to leave, tho I have left for short periods in the past.
At this point, I have resigned myself to take one day at a time, and pray for the least amount of conflict. I have neither the physical or emotional energy that it would take to be divorced. Because I was always the corporate wife & stay at home mom, my education has fallen by the wayside. I would be hard pressed, especially with the Fibro, to be able to maintain any sort of job. I am feeling very stuck…












Hi Tinkr
My heart goes out to you. Your story is one that so many of us share; a nightmare of a childhood becomes the only “normal” we know and we look for something different in the areas that we realized were a “little off” not realizing that there is so much more to it than just that. When I first came out of the fog I was so overwhelmed by the reality of my life that it really felt hopeless; I believed it really WAS hopeless. But I kept going forward and found new ways to understand, especially to understand what had actually happened to me and what I believed about myself because of it. Those were the false beliefs that were making me so sick. and through that seeking I found strenght to do self care and self love. These are the things that set me free. I didnt think about anything but seeking the truth and recovering from the life long damage. There is hope.
I am glad you are here. Please share often, this is a wonderful community.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Ladybug
Being emotionally rejected and abandoned by our own mothers is the most devastating thing. It is so hard to understand. I love your comments. They are filled with the truth about the pain and they include the victories that you are exp. now. There is so much hope in your words. Thank you for sharing them here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Cat
Thank you for sharing your heart. The loneliness was horrific in this process. I went round and round with wondering if I had made a mistake in standing up for myself but I kept coming back to the truth about what the alternative was. I had to fill the emptyness in me; I had to find a way to love myself enough to keep going and make a new life that included new people. The bruise is not you that you are cutting away it is “them” the hard pit is the beginning, not the end. That beginning was the lonliest place for me too, but today my life is really terrific.
Hang in here! Love Darlene


LadyBug, I’m so happy to hear of your new successes. It has been a year now since I’ve talked with mother and going on five years since I’ve seen her. I don’t think my mom ever forgave me for growing up and I also, think that she was comforted by any dependence I had on her because it kept me available to take care of her. The abusive people in my life keep their victims beat down and feeling as if they are the dependent ones when it is really them who are dependent. In my mothers eyes, my purpose in life is to take care of her both physically and emotionally. It was hard for me to face the fact that she doesn’t even know who I am let alone, love me for who I am. When I was no longer available to tend to her needs, she had no further use for me. That kind of rejection hurts but it’s like the pain from a much needed surgery. When it heals one finds themselves much better off than before. Mourning is a personal process and I believe, it is best delt with by allowing its full course. I feel for you because I’ve been in a simular situation.



Tinkr, I think the worst abuse I got from my parents was watching the way my dad treated my mother and my mother doing nothing to stand up against it. By modeling such abusive behavior on a daily basis, I was taught to accept all kinds of abusive behavior from a man, as love. I also, adopted my mother’s extreme dependence and I still struggle with knowing deep down that I have what it takes to take care of myself. However, I do have what it takes and even though I wasn’t always out earning income, I worked hard at home. My husband wouldn’t have what we have without me. I’m intelegent and talented. I have a lot of valuable life experience that I’m sure would be of value to someone. My health isn’t very good either but if I were forced to focus the energy I do have on a job to suport myself, I could do it. I also, know now that I’d rather die all alone than put up with abusive behavior. I’m blessed because my husband isn’t abusive but others in my life have gone by the wayside because they didn’t treat me with the respect I know I deserve now. The change in me didn’t happen overnight and I haven’t fully arrived but as I heal, the self-confidence I never had before seems to be developing, naturally. Abusers keep us available by convincing us that we are depen
dent on them but the reality is, they depend on their victims. You deserve just as much of what you and your husband have built together as he does maybe, you deserve even more. There’s a lot more to gaining and maintaining wealth than earning the money to invest.Women who work at home deserve respect because we have a tough job that is every bit as important to our families and the world we live in, as any job we could do outside the home. It sounds like your husband doesn’t deserve you.



Cat, Love is a verb and requires loving actions. For my family, love is just a warm, fuzzy feeling. I had to come to terms with the fact that they are incapable of true love and any kind of action that is for my good. I know they could expand their capacity for love but that would require them to take responsibility and they avoid responsibility like the plague. The hardest part of facing my past was accepting reality when it came to the kind of people my parents are and the lack of honest feelings they have for me. I think they feel very little, I know they lack empathy, and I think they are mostly, numb. I know they hurt me so much without recognizing my pain that I became emotionally numb toward them. It was the only way to survive around them. Now that they aren’t a part of my life, one of the things I enjoy most is allowing myself to feel fully and not think there is something wrong with me because I have feelings.



Tinkr,,,I totally feel compassion for you! If there is one issue that gets me irritated, it is when ppl are meant to be in a “family”, but actually place higher value in things and what their possessions say to the world about their level of success! (in their way of thinking!). I agree with Pam….husbands would not have become what they are, and they certainly would not dress, decorate, and choose the million and one things that wives end up choosing to create the “look” and the “image” that has helped them obtain their higher ring on the corporate ladder. Here it is….thirty years later and you feel trapped and stuck , and probably lonely in your house…and maybe you feel helpless and worn out and not needed? I think Darlene also said it perfectly in her comment to you…..we are all here sharing such similar issues…and they all go back to the way we were taught lies to believe about ourselves…and how to learn to uncover those lies we believe about ourselves, and walk out of the fog and denial into freedom. Emotional and mental and even spiritual freedom…regardless of money, possessions, and even anyone and everyone. I have discovered the lies that my parents abused me over and over to get me to believe….and they manipulated and contorted the truth so I would believe I was helpless, worthless, less than, and ,of course, totally to blame and over emotional. Now I refuse to believe them….and I actually don’t believe them. I have also struggled in my marriage with being a homemaker while my husband travels and manages the company and I have known such loneliness even though I seemed happy . Nowadays…since being healed has only been for the last few months…I am finding new ways to regain and develop my SELF, and also to cultivate new interests of MINE. It is a wonderfully self-ishy kind of time in my life that I am not allowing anyone to interfere with. It isn’t too late for me….and I truly don’t care if anyone else approves or cares…I am beginning to do things my way for once and loving it. I am not highly skilled at anything…literally…and that used to depress me and I felt so lonely and left out. I didn’t see any point in even trying anything new….I already “knew” that I would never be as accomplished as anyone…everyone! I was trained as a child that I was worthless, you see? Now I am worthy of trying and making my own mistakesAND discovering that I actually do pretty well at certain things I try and end up enjoying. As for my health…I don’t know what it is about ppl who have been abused, but there always seems to be health issues….probably from neglecting myself for too long…but I have ended up with a lot of issues. It used to make me feel even more of a failure! Nowadays, I go for long walks…with my bad back and my bum knee….those two things alone take a lot of physical strength away from me being able to endure….but I go anyway because I absolutely love hiking and walking. I take a lot of ibuprofen for the pain and I just GO! I hope that will be encouraging in some way because other ppl have really encouraged me to start by taking that first step. So….hang in there…there is absolutely hope for YOU and a brand new beginning too! Take care and peace and comfort to you….


Pam, I haven’t had the time until just recently to read everything new on EFB, but when I read some of your comments, I was very moved by how utterly immature and irresponsible your parents were! I got the impression that you were abandoned and left to raise yourself by yourself. I am so sorry you had that upbringing. Parents who party are so stunted and immature to begin with, and I can imagine the confusion and hellish life you undoubtedly had. Your last comment about them avoiding responsibility even all these years later makes me believe that their growth stunted way back when and you had to find out….again …for yourself that the reality is that they will not change no matter how old anyone becomes. I am very very sorry that this is your reality with parents like these. I have no compassion on parents who didn’t want kids because they wanted to do whatever it was that they wanted to do without any “hassles”….and they are too selfish and unenlightened and brain dead to find a decent and loving home for their children….and even worse…keep having more than one child! It is no wonder that you feel numb just to survive. Having an abusive, angry father and watching him with your mother was indeed yet another layer of conflicting lies to break through. You have been very brave to open your heart over the years and grab healing and the truth for yourself! You are amazing!
Comfort and peace to you!


I love the validation in this but to be honest, I do not feel immense pleasure in reading this…
This makes me incredibly sad.
Only because I know it’s true.
How do we learn to love ourselves though?
I feel lost…


It is interesting that this post has opened up again. It is a vital subject, and one not easy to remedy. Darlene, I am happy that you have been able to learn to love yourself, and I believe you when you say that you did. I am not convinced, however, that this is a universal capacity. I am leaning more towards believing that some times, self degradation can be so severe that one needs to experience by personal example this love that you speak of. One might need to be loved, to feel lovable. I am not such a religious person, but there is Bible verse that I like. It says “We love, because he first loved us”. I think the idea here is that we ourselves do not generate the love, but we can serve as channels for this love that is inherent in our world. It has been my experience that I have been able to channel this love to other people, both to my own children, and as a teacher. But there still resides in me a longing to be loved. Where is the person who can love ME, I wonder, and I feel sad. I have had three wives divorce me. I think perhaps they would all say, as you do, that I need to learn to love myself. I have been unable to do this, despite much counseling/reading/praying/ chanting/ yoga/etc. The idea expressed seems to be that because I cannot love myself, no one else can either. I feel that this is a sham. I know that I can give love, but I am unworthy to receive it? That is not how I feel. It is interesting to think about Mother Teresa, and her ministering to people who might be considered unloveable. Are you aware that in her autobiography it is written that for the last 50 years of her life, she felt abandoned by God, yet she continued to minister to her beloved Christ in all of his distressing disguises. Amazing, that she continued to channel this deep abiding love, yet felt thwarted in receiving it herself. It may be that there are some people who are not destined to receive this blessing. Just a thought.


J…I am only speaking from my own personal experience, but I only learned to love myself when I discovered the total BS lies that I had been trained to believe were total crap. I also discovered love instantly the day I accepted my families reality…in a nutshell, I had truly been rejected by my parents and they did actually abuse me….and it wasn’t because of anything that had to even do with me . If they had had another child, ANY other child, they would have treated that child the same…..because THEY were flawed and they were selfish and they were the ones with severe issues. Not ME. All of that crap they abused me with were lies, not the truth about me as a person. Once I could get past my excusing them, trying to win them over and placate their immature emotional egos, and could get past my denial and really face the painful truth about myself and FOR myself ….I was healed, free, and felt immediate love for myself… a miracle. I hope that makes sense.


Robert, I read your comment and I understand what you are trying to say. I used to believe like you are saying….that some ppl have been so damaged that there can be no healing for them…..and I respectfully disagree with you. I was horribly abused, rejected ectect and very damaged by it all. Yet I am healed today as I write this, and I do actually love myself…and even feel love for myself….and I actually now believe that I am as worthy and equal as anybody on this earth. This isn’t a wish anymore, but reality. I wrote to J ….above comment…. And explained in a simplified story of HOW this came about. It can happen for you, and you can be loved for who you are….if you can be brave in digging back to where you first became hurt…damaged…where the lies about not being lovable began. It did take me a LONG time to get to where I am today….years and years, but once I was able to see where it began and to realize the specific lies were lies about me….and who it was who had fed me those lies….it did set me free. I could see the reality and I was so sick, so tired out of all the patterns…the same patterns in my life that I let go of my denial and faced the reality. I wish you the very same!!!


It makes total sense. I think I understand anyway. It’s just that once that is stripped away the nothingness that remains is hard to feel love for. I don’t know if that makes sense or not, and it comes and goes. Just is hard to deal with I find.


That nothingness you mention…..that is what I feel as well. It is similar to what the existential philosophers speak of, and it is real. It also seems to be the case that the love is just as real as the nothingness. I think as a child I was exposed to the nothingness, and once seen, it is hard to forget, or find a way to fill that space….that lack of what we never got. The only respite that I have ever found was in sleep, or when I was in a personal love relationship, or when I was parenting. Then I could find diversion. But now that my children are gone, and my wife has left, there is something missing, it seems, that I cannot find. Self love? Maybe. Maybe it is just life, and the best I can do is go to sleep. It is good to be kind to ourselves in times like these.


That is very true Robert and I agree with being kind to ourselves.
I appreciate both of your comments, it helps. Thank you.
I found this entry too, it makes sense and I think it might be what Diane means as well…? Hope it helps.
Emotional neglect might be where the nothingness stems from for me to be honest.


Diane, Thank you for such a sweet comment.:0)It has taken me a long time to dig all the way out of my childhood but God has been good to me too. People just can’t grow up without taking responsibility. That’s what moves us from the state of being a child into adulthood. I know alcohol abuse stunts emotional growth and that’s part of the culprit but they quit drinking a long time ago but never progressed beyond being dry drunks because they still refuse to take responsibility for their actions. They seem to be totally blind to the pain they cause others. The only pain that matters to them is their own. My children feel numb toward them too and I think it’s because they never put anything of themselves into their children and grandchildren. They take and don’t give. Even when they give gifts, they are for the purpose of buying favor. They are to be pitied but when they are your parents, it’s just a very unhealthy situation. I’m glad to be free of it.



All, For me it is helpful to remember that love is a verb, an action verb. For me, learning to love myself came with doing things that were for my good. Like quitting drugs and cigarettes. Doing nice things for myself and taking care of myself. I do believe I have this ability because, Jesus loved me first. My faith helped me to understand that love is not earned but unconditional. My husband is a very unconditional lover. His loving me has also, helped me learn how to love myself. Then comes the next step of loving others as myself. I think because of the emotional neglect that I knew as a child that I spent a lot of time waiting for someone to reach in to me and love me. There is no action in waiting and it was my faith that started the action of love in my life. I don’t know if that makes sense but it was believing myself to be loved by God that made it possible for me to accept my husbands love and then also, begin to love myself. To my parents, love is just an emotion, a warm fuzzy feeling. My experience of love wasn’t real love, which is much more than just an emotion. Love is what we all need to heal.



Robert, Sleep has always been an escape for me too, Robert. I never connected it to the emotional neglect. I was also, kept in bed for so much of my early childhood and my dreams were the place where I could run and play like other kids. In fact, I often dreamed that I could fly.:0) In sleep there is freedom. You’ve given me something new to consider.



hi all,

Darlenes comment 17#, about people controlling you by making you try harder certainly resonates with me. And yes of course, why would they ever validate you and risk losing control? For me, love was about changing yourself in order to be lovable. I was taught that who I was simply wasnt good enough, and that I always had another mile to go to before I could be truly acceptable. This, of course, started in my childhood home – where else? I was conditioned from an early age, to believe I would only be loved if I behaved exactly as my mother wished me to. My father played a huge part in this by going beserk with rage if I did the slightest thing to annoy her. Keeping her happy – and therefore off of his back, was of paramount importance to him. And the goal-posts would constantly move. If I succeeded in one area, mom would immediately find something else that wasnt acceptable. It was a road to nowhere. And of course this followed me into other relationships. My ex-husband kept me on a permanent knife-edge by criticising everything about me. He once said – “Please dont ever give me cause to think that I married beneath me”. The sanctimonious asshole! He constantly ridiculed me for being overweight, and when I lost 4 stone and reached my ideal weight, he said “Now you can concentrate on sorting out everything else that is wrong with you”. He took all the credit for my weight loss, stating that it was his put-downs that had motivated me to do it and that I should thank him. After we divorced, other relationships and friendships followed the same path. I always had to do more, be more, give more. And OF COURSE no-one was ever going to tell me I had ever done, been, or given enough, because thats how they retained their power over me. Today, I only have to be good enough for ME! And if people dont like it, they are welcome to go elsewhere! I spent so many years of my precious life jumping through hoops, trying to be good enough for people, who, if I could only have seen it, werent good enough for me! But we attract what we believe, and I because I didnt feel I was enough, this was mirrored back to me by those who showed up in my life. I now believe that I only have to BE, not PROVE!
Love Sylvia x


Diane, # 74 was very powerful for me to read. When you said it could have been any child they did this to, you are so right. It made me angry, to think that I was the one who had been chosen to be scapegoated and dumped on, and so many of my own personal issues were because of my parents choices.
You said this “Once I could get past my excusing them, trying to win them over and placate their immature emotional egos, and could get past my denial and really face the painful truth about myself and FOR myself ….I was healed, free, and felt immediate love for myself… a miracle.”
For me, it is more of a process. I know when I realize these things, I feel light inside, and my stomach hurts less. I tend to take better care of myself, which is a form of self love.
I had developed an unhealthy way of trying to do for other people in my life who had been abusive. Doing nice things for people who had not been so nice. I catch myself now, and say, what a minute! That is insane, that I would want to bake for someone, buy this person a book they wanted, listen to someones problems when they talk behind my back. No!! That’s the old, unhealthy way…..
And yes, it does feel lonely at times! My family members that I interact with, the number has shrunk, people I socialized with, that number has decreased also. But I like what Pam says, I would rather die alone then with abusive people in my life.
I think that when I engage in healthy behaviors for myself, those new positive relationships will come. But I still need to do the work to free myself from the false baggage I have been forced to carry, by the system of lies, my FOO. I like that picture. Tossing a suitcase off of a bridge! I think I will use that in a releasing meditation!
Rambling this morning, thanks for listening!

Hugs, Janie


One of the things that was so important to me (when I look back) was that I took my hope back. I decided to believe that I could fill the void in me. I decided that I was going to try and I first had to stop telling myself that although this might work for others, it wasn’t going to work for me. I had to stop protecting myself with the doubts that I could overcome what had happened to me that caused me to “lose my life and individuality” . Today I know 100% that it is not in being loved that I have found wholeness and freedom. I believe that anyone can do this; Yes we might need some assistance along the way; we might need a “guide” but I didin’t accomplish this huge feat of overcoming the void by being loved by someone else. I accomplished this by learning where the broken began, replacing the lies I believed about me with the truth about me and learning how to love and accept myself ~ and to even ADORE and appreciate myself. Then I was able to welcome love from others in a way that I never had before.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene, I’ve been thinking about what you wrote above. Love is basically, a connection with ourself and others. I think we are born with a craving to be loved because that connection with our parents is basic to our survival. The way we are cared for in infancy is how we come to understand love. When parents don’t love us in a healthy way, I think it causes an inner disconnect and until we understand that the quality of love we received from our parents was insufficient for healthy emotional growth and development, we will remain as disconnectd with ourselves as our parents were when we were infants. Facing the truth and assiessing our needs allows us to reconnect with ourselves and tend to our needs. That action in itself, is an act of love.

I’m sick now and I’m just realizing that the way I tend to myself when sick is the same way my mother tended to me. I lock myself away from everyone and stay isolated until I recover. The neglect part of my childhood abuse is the hardest for me to reconcile because it is facing and dealing with nothing. I don’t know how that nothingness should be filled. When I’m sick, it just swallows me whole.



Hi Pam,
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. We seem to have grown up in very similar households! I had always desperately wanted a daughter, but gave up on that when I was drowning in toddler boys! About 10 years ago, I realized that it was probably a very good thing that I didn’t have a daughter, as I would have been a terrible role model. Our mothers were vey similar in that they put up with their husbands abuse. I always made it a point to tell my boys that what they were seeing and hearing was NOT the way to treat a woman. Thankfully, they are all married and have become wonderful husbands and fathers. Each of them has a very strong spouse, and their marriages are built on love and respect.
I chuckled when you said that it sounds as if my husband does not deserve me. Many friends, over the years, have said those exact words to me! I am working on the self confidence, self love, and have actually said, more than once,”You do NOT have the right to speak to me like that!” He was quite surprised, and his jaw dropped. Unfortunately, his behavior is modeled after his mothers behavior. Somedays I wonder what the percentage is of people who did NOT grow up in dysfunctional families…
Agagin. thank you for your comment. It’s good to know that I am not alone…


wow, some of the prior comments made so much sense. i too have always used the adage best form of defense is a good offence, took me many years not to beleive that anymore and try and let people in. was hard because i spent alot of time in my bedroom as a child, and being the only gal i was alone except for mealtimes for weekends at a time, i slept or read as they were the only things i could do. as a result words fascinate me, and led me to heal intellectually rather than heal my heart; that when i sleep not alot wakes me until it is time to get out of bed. though my hubby has often complained of me waking him in the night n having chats with me, all things i know nothing about. i also cannot sleep with limbs hanging over the edge of the bed, as an after effect of being punished for being out of bed when i was not meant ot be. mmm books and sleep my escapes as a child, and even as an adult because what happened is obviously having an effect on my unconscious mind.


Tinkr, I have all boys too. Even my grandchildren are all boys. I’ve also, thought that it would have been harder for me to raise a daughter. My boys don’t have perfect lives and I see some of the dysfunction that’s been passed down to them but they are much more stable than I was and they know their parents love them. All families have some dysfunction but it does no good to ignore it just because it’s common or someone else has it worse than we do. The dysfunction that is most important to deal with is our own.:0) I hope you are able to break through to your husband. We all deserve to be treated with respect!:0)

carol, I so relate to what you wrote about books and sleep. I also, loved to draw. I grew up to be a painter and writer, not that I’ve gotten rich that way but that is what I do in the world.:0) Books were my contact witht he outer world and I’m most comfortable communicating through the written world. I have hard time going to sleep because of traumas. I’m on guard duty and I almost always have to have a pill to knock me out. Then when I’m asleep, I never want to wake up. I often, just want to stay asleep and not have to face the pain in life. When I’m feeling stronger, physically, I do much better but when I get sick, I collapse. I really think that is learned behavior related to being sent to bed and made to stay there for the slightest sniffle. Only in the last couple of years, did I begin to realize how abnormal and damaging that was. Add neglecting to take me to see a doctor and bourbon as medicine…no wonder I only weighed 22llbs when I was seven. I don’t know if I’ll be able to completely break the habit to isolate or not. Too much of too many people, overwhelms me. Alone is my natural state.



Tinkr, and all,
I’ve read all the 2012 comments and found something to ponder in each one. I am sorry for the pain everyone here has suffered. Pam, I’m sorry to read you’re not feeling well.

Tinkr, I mentioned your name because I relate to feeling stuck. Some here already know that my husband had an affair last year for four months. We are still together. I also learned a LOT about my mother right after learning of my husband’s affair. I am no contact with my mother, as of about 3 weeks ago, which was our last email correspondence.

My husband and I are planning a trip several hunded miles away and we are to leave in less than a week. We will be gone for about 10 days. His son is getting married and we’re going to the wedding, and making a vacation of it as well. I took one of his suits to the dry cleaners last week. When I dropped it off the lady pointed out makeup on the front near the lapel and said she wasn’t sure they could get it out. Kind of put my world upside down again. He bought this suit when he was working out of town. He says he bought it for an interview at work when he came back home. I have never been with him while he was wearing this particular suit, except he says he wore it to a funeral we went to. I simply can’t remember if he wore it to that funeral or not. I think about the trauma involved in wondering. The way it makes me crazy. It makes me crazy to not have any stable ground to reach for. To not know what’s going on, and to not know if I should believe him or not. My mind swirls with thoughts of leaving, where I would go, etc. Thoughts of my life being upside down as I start all over.

Today, I recalled that when I discovered the affair last year, my mother and I were still on speaking terms. She came to my house the day after I found out, and when she was here, she said to my husband, “when my kids hurt, I hurt.” I thought to myself, “did you just make this all about you?” My husband also claimed how badly he was hurt by having his cake and eating it too. As I pondered that today, I thought, well, both you a$$holes had to make it about you!! Did anyone in the room realize what it did to ME?????? Each person had their own pity party about how badly it hurt them. I don’t even think anyone noticed me.

I have cried for two days. The makeup sighting just did something to me. I’m not sure I can even articulate it. It could be memories stirring, it could be the idea that I need to start all over, it could be that I don’t know the man I married, or that he seems more like my mother every day. It could be that I wonder how many affairs there were, or when I should leave. Should I finish school first, or after I leave, so I’ll have something to occupy my mind. Should I move to my dad’s state, or down the street?

I’ve gone to that place in my mind where I want total isolation. I want to exist in the world alone. Go to work, come home to an empty house, and do my thing. That presents a problem too. I haven’t worked much since I found out about my husband’s affair. In order to buy a house where I’m from, you have to be employed for two years at the same place. I would have to pay cash for a house. I sure don’t want this one. I sold my house when we moved to this one. I think I should get my downpayment back from him if I leave, but I don’t know for sure how that works. UGH. So much to think about, right before a joyful trip to see his son wed. And, we’re driving. 14 hours in the car with him… each way. Should be interesting.

Thanks for listening :'(

Love to all,


Awww, Mimi, I don’t blame you for wanting to be alone. You’ve no one but yourself to invest trust in right now. I suppose there are innocent ways that the makeup ended up on the coat but when trust has been broken, already, it sure doesn’t look good. Whatever you do, be good to yourself. Think of your needs first. You deserve much better treatment than the people in your life have given you. I’m so sad to hear that so many problems in your life are coming to a head, all at once. I think the hardest part of cutting contact with our families of origin is losing the stability we all grow up believing our families should be. The end of a marriage is also, the end of a relationship we thought we could count on, forever. I know you’re strong, Mimi and you can count on yourself. You will survive this and when you are able to make new relationships again, you’ll be able to set much better terms. I wish there was something real I could do to help. I’ll pray for you and feel free to email me, personally if you need to.



Sounds like the make-up triggered Fear & Anger, which is totally understandable & justified. There is a lot to think about for sure. I know that I would have racing thoughts and my emotions would be firing left & right. Stay grounded by finding ways to tolerate the distress. One way for me, is self-soothing, which is basically doing something good for you. It can be anything from getting your nails done to going to the spa for a day. I say that yet, it’s not an automatic response for myself. Also, try to Tolerate & be Mindful of your thoughts & feelings, while driving with him. You may have strong Urges to lash out or say something you don’t really mean. I’m only saying that, because there has to be lots of anger inside. Stay Strong & Rise Above. Good Luck with your Trip!


I am so sorry that you are feeling this pain. Its bad enough having been betrayed, without the betrayers turning everything into a drama centred around how hurt they are. YOU are the injured party, and it should all be about you, but those of us from abusive families know that its not always that way. My mom did this all the time. Its as if she was automatically tuned to spot opportunities that she could turn to her own advantage, no matter how much pain others were in. What a shame our moms werent able to put the same amount of energy into raising their kids in a healthy, loving way! Its interesting that you feel your husband is becoming more like your mother. I think patterns repeat. I definitely attracted the same kinds of abuse, betrayal and self-centredness from people over and over again, until I dealt with what was really going on. And for me, what was going on was that I EXPECTED poor treatment, it was all I had ever experienced. I hope the trip is as good as it can be and that it all works out for the best. Often, our most painful experiences are the gateway to something so much better, or so I have always found,
Love and best wishes, Sylvia x


Hi Everyone, This is froma class I am taking to deal with fear of flying. I have bad claustrophobia, and am determined to be able to fly and get into elevators again. The author of this exerpt of the newsletter is Captain Tom Bunn, LCSW. There is another link in this piece discussing the effects of psychological abuse to children. I thought someone else may be helped by this information. It is interesting indeed!
Here it is:

In the child’s first year, the mind of the mother downloads the operating system for relatedness. Relationship is all-important, for only if the child values relationship with the mother, can the mother – when the child is able to get into trouble – say “no” and teach the child what is allowed and what is not allowed. If the mother tries to use “no” before first establishing a relationship the child values, problems develop. The child sees no reason to comply. Then, the mother – having not done her job of establishing relatedness with her as something that is valuable to the child – resorts to (let’s call a spade a spade) violence (physical or psychological) to get compliance. Two weeks ago, I included a link to an article on research that shows spanking – and other forms of physical punishment of children – are associated with mental illness later in life. Now additional research shows psychological neglect and abuse puts children at risk.

Psychological abuse includes belittling, denigrating, and even being emotionally unresponsive. The research report, which can be found at says “The effects of psychological maltreatment during the first three years of life can be particularly profound.”
When a child does not get the full two-year human operating system download, the child does not develop the advanced systems. Instead of using Executive Function and the Social Engagement System to regulate anxiety, the child – now as an adult – must rely on the primitive Mobilization System. Then, when on a bridge, in a tunnel, in an elevator, or on a plane where escape is not possible, he or she is subject to high anxiety or panic.
When the sophisticated systems are not well-developed, and use of the primitive Mobilization System is blocked, the person has no way to control emotion. They may elect not to cross a bridge, go through a tunnel, take an elevator, or fly.
As much as we might want to not blame our parents when there is a problem regulating emotion, the problem is – in most cases -that the software needed to use the sophisticated systems was not downloaded. Yes, there can be genetic issues. But genetics is not just genetics; we now know there is “epigenetics”. There is a genetic blueprint in the infant, but whether the blueprint is followed or not depends upon the relationship with parent.
An architect can give a house builder a blueprint. But that doesn’t mean the builder is going to carry it out. We now realize genetics work in a different way that was previously thought. How the genetics blueprint get expressed in the final human “product” depends on the builder, the child’s caregiver. That used to be the mother. Now, it may only be a person who herda a group of children while the parents work.
Could it be that this is why we have an increase in autism, ADHD, and other prefrontal cortex related problems? It seems so to me, for we now know that for the prefrontal cortext to physically develop – and to accept the download – the child must have a dedicated downloader, an empathically attuned caregiver who treasures the child as a separate and unique individual and who is treasured by the child in return. That mutual treasuring allows the second year (and subsequent years) to work, as the child follows the caregiver’s direction – and thus learns from the caregiver – because relatedness is valued.

Darlene, I hope it is okay that I share this here.I thought someone might find it useful!



re: comment 85 ~ excellent comment! You have inspired me to respond to it in a new post.
Sorry that you are sick and I hope you are feeling better soon.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Janie
Thank you for sharing this info. This is what my work is based on. This is exactly what I communicate about how the self esteem gets damaged in the first place. EFB is about HOW I rewired after the damage was done. Most of the re-wireing had to begin in the discovery of HOW the wires were set in place wrong so that is what I write about. The problem started somewhere and was not a defect in the child.
My daughter studies Neuro Science in University and what she is learning is amazing and backs up (as does this article that you have shared) what I have discovered this past 7 or 8 years.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Mimi
Wow, lots going on for you. I think that it is really positive that you are making these connections even though it is really painful. Seeing the ways that I was devalused went miles towards my realizing that I didn’t deserve that treatment which led to deeper self care and self love. Seeing that people made my pain about them or competed with my pain and that I actually would give in to that and agree to discount myself was a huge beginning in taking my life back. I screamed at my husband “why does it always have to be about you?? When do I get to have feelings that stand alone?” This was a very big part of our relationship recovery; he had to learn to stop doing that and I have to learn to stop letting him. I would say things like “we are not talking about your feelings right now” and I would tell him how devaluing it was when he made comments like that when I was trying to express my feelings and validate that I had been hurt.
Looking back today I see that it starting over didn’t mean that I had to stay with him OR leave. I started over right where I was. I took my life back while I stayed in a dysfunctional marriage. I decided that if he wasn’t going to try to have a mutually respectful and loving relationship with me, THEN I would leave. (and I was dead sure that I would leave it that ever became what was BEST. It was very important that Jim acknowledge the pain that he caused me and that he allow me to feel that pain when it would come up even after he expressed his regret and had tried to make ammends. He would get impatient about having to re-visit it, but that was his problem. I had to do what I had to do to heal; and so do you. I hear you putting yourself and your needs more in front and that is fantastic!
Hugs, Darlene


Wow, yes, Darlene, I see the connection! I thought it was in tandem with what you share here. I have conquered the tunnel and the bridge issue, now onto the elevator and the airplane.
Yesterday, while walking by an elevator at work, I almost wanted to get in and try. Also, I am renewing my membership with this counselor, to begin the intensive work to fly again.
It is very interesting, it seems the more I try and participate here, to learn and encourage others when I can, the more conquering these issues seems do-able. It can be crippling. And embarrassing. I didnt’know if other members of the EFB famiy struggled with these issues…..Thanks!



My daughter struggles with this same fear. I used the same techniques with her (finding the root of where it started) that I talk about here in EFB to help her through it. It came out that she was trapped in a locker at school when she was 6. She was alone in the hallway and it took a few minutes for someone to hear her cries for help. It was so traumatizing that she didn’t even tell us at the time it happened. I suspect that she blocked it out and also she blamed herself. She can take elevators now although she has to do self talk. She has to take medication (gravol) in order to get on a plane. She has to take it before we even get to the airport or she has an anxiety attack. We validate each time this comes up that there is no shame in her fears. YES it is doable!
The reason that I started EFB was because of my passion to communicate that there is hope!
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone
I finally got that new article published!
This article was inspired by some of the recent conversations about forgiveness.
You can read it here.
I am looking forward to the new conversation!
Hugs, Darlene


Darlene, Pam, Sonia, Sylvia,
Thank you so much for reaching out. It’s such a comfort to come here and be heard, supported, understood, and to read the views of other people.

My husband and I talked last night. We had a genuine conversation. Those conversations always make me feel better. I do feel better today. I haven’t cried yet today, so that’s progress. 🙂

He has worked at making it up to me since the affair. He calls on his breaks and lunch. Sends pictures when he is out doing stuff without me. Even if it’s going to the store. He hasn’t had that suit on hardly ever. I know of one morning he wore it to work, and the girl he had an affair with works in his building. He said it was for an interview. I know he was interviewed because of the letters that came in the mail about it. I just can’t remember if he wore it to that funeral. He told me last night that I even suggested he wear it to the funeral because it was his daughter’s grandfather that had passed away, and I said at the time I thought it would be nice for him to dress respectfully, for his daughter. I can see myself saying that. But, I sure don’t remember it. My memory is not very reliable.

All in all, I think there was some buried emotion about the affair. I didn’t really have a lot of emotional energy to give to it at the time. Immediately thereafter, I started discovering so much about my mother. I went headlong into that. The affair went to the back burner sort of. I did mourn of course, but the majority of 2011 was about my mother. I think of this thing I once read, “don’t make permanent decisions, based on your temporary emotions”. I try really hard to remember that because in my youth, I would make snap decisions that ultimately, I would end up paying for.

Much of the emotion has subsided now, since I slept good, and we talked. I also wrote yesterday, which is a huge help for me.

He suggested going to a counselor last night. He’s very willing to do that. He always has been. I think I will take him up on the offer. There is a great one he used to go to when his mother was murdered. I went with him too at times and we both really liked her a lot. When we come home, I think I’ll check into that.

A vacation could actually bring healing I think. Getting away from my hometown, where my mother is, could be helpful.

No matter what, I hear you all when you say take good care of myself, or do self comforting things. I am going to do that today. Thanks for the reminders. Darlene, yep, it’s painful. I know you’re right though. It’s a path that will bring freedom and wholeness. Thank you for that. Thank you to everyone. Your words are so so helpful!!

Love to everyone,


I just started to read #93. I had to start typing because I too have a fear of flying. I’ve never been in an airplane. I dream about it a lot though. It’s always a flight to Europe. I always take xanax in the dream. The insides of the airplane are often exactly alike in every dream. We never crash or anything. It’s just a strange dream I have a lot. Now, I’m going to the site you posted. Thanks for sharing it. Hope your class is helping!!




Thank you for the link, I have just read the article(s) with great interest. They make so much sense. Also, what Darlene said about re-wiring ourselves is so true. I certainly did not have a healthy “downloader”. My mothers psychological abuse of me consisted of smothering and enmeshing. She did not want me to individuate from her and did everything to prevent any independence on my part. I was diagnosed with a dislocated hip when I was two and a half years old, a condition that had apparently been present since birth. Because of the delay in the problem being detected, I had to go through 3 years of painful surgery. Years later my grandmother told me that when I first started trying to walk, at about a year old, my mother would pick me up and say “its too soon for her to walk just yet”. Eventually, I stopped trying to walk, and would just shuffle around on my backside at top speed. When I was finally allowed to get onto my feet, it was discovered that I had one leg shorter than the other, and urgently required surgery. She simply did not want me to grow up. She knew she couldnt have any more kids after me and was determined to keep me in a state of arrested development. When I started school, I was not allowed to stay for lunch with the other kids, I had to come home and eat with her, and was not allowed any contact with other children outside school hours. On the rare occasion that I did make a little friend, she would take a dislike to them and stop me playing with them. The excuses she made for doing this were incredible. One budding friendship was ended because “the childs eyes were too close together”, another playmate was dispensed with because she lived in a house with an overgrown garden, and apparently people who failed to tend their gardens couldnt be trusted. In my opinion, this was every bit as bad as neglect, and physical or sexual abuse. To try and halt the natural individuation and socialization of a child, by attempting to isolate them is EXTREMELY abusive. When I did go out into the world, I was totally unprepared for life, having no boundaries, or any means of standing up for myself. What she did to me was akin to removing a cats claws, then throwing it to a pack of dogs. I have often wished that I had been neglected – that way I may have at least become street-wise, and been able to look after myself a bit more. The ironic thing was, that people outside the immediate family used to tell me I was lucky to have “such a doting mummy who loves you so much”. It had nothing to do with love – just posession, ownership, and what I have come to recognise as severe mental illness on my mothers part. There are so many variations on abuse, and they are all equally as damaging to the child in question.
Love Sylvia x


Darlene, that is encouraging, that your daughter has conquered these issues! I have medication to take as well, I think in the same family as gravol, just different names in this country. That closed in incident must have caused her claustrophobia. I identify with what the article, but I think being tied up and having panic attacks at age 4 porbably just adds to it!
Mimi, I dream that I am in a plane, and we are flying, but when I look out the window, it is actually like a train, and we are on land, going really fast! My therapist told me that my mind was preparing me to fly! Can I ask, are you afraid to crash, or don’t want to be closed in? I hope you do get to Europe! Anywhere special that strikes you, where would you like to see over there?

Sylvia, Wow! You were really smothered by your mother! I feel so badly, that she would not allow you to have friends, or lunch with your peers.And didn’t that hurt, having a dislocated hip? I know adults we treat in the ED are in severe pain when anything dislocates. She was extremely abusive! How long have you been on your own now?

Well, tonight I am finishing my last paper for Pathophysiology, I didnt even get to see the light of day! Just 10 more weeks, and I’m D-O-N-E!!

I hope everyone is having a good weekend, and am going to check out Darlene’s new post tonight!



Hi Janie,

Thanks for your validating comments, I cant rememeber being in pain, but must have been. I had probably gotten used to it. The point is, if I had been allowed to walk, it would have been detected much earlier. Mom has been dead for over 30 years now, but I went on to attract abusive partners and friends for 3 decades before I finally fitted the pieces together, and got into recovery. I am single at the moment, I needed to be out of relationships while I worked on myself, but have never been happier. I have a wonderful daughter and for the first time in my life, I have emotionally healthy, supportive friends. Before I started my healing journey, I seemed to be stuck in a loop, where I could only attract people like my mom. I run a small soft-furnishing business, which I enjoy, but am also training to be a therapist.I have completed several courses in the Mental Health and Working with Vunerable Adults field. I want to put my experiences to good use, however, I dont feel as if I should be grateful that I was abused, in order to be doing this work. I would have preffered non-abusive parents, and a much happier life. But I do believe in turning a disadvantage into an advantage. Good luck with your paper! The 10 weeks will fly!

Love Sylvia x


Hi Janie,
I’m not particularly fond of the idea of crashing, but, I don’t think that’s the big issue. I’m not at all claustrophobic. I’ve always loved small spaces because I feel protected and safe. It used to be fear that I would get sick on the plane in front of a bunch of strangers. Now, since there are fairly good drugs for that, and I don’t get sick easily, it’s more that it seems unnatural to be that far away from earth. To not be grounded and to look out the window and see any form of stability…. 10,000 miles away, AHHHH!! Just freaks me out. I think now more than anything, it’s the height and the sensation of not being grounded.

I think I always dream of Europe because my aunt lived there for so many years. I had many opportunities to go and stay there free. I just never did it because I was afraid, or broke, or both. In my dream, there are usually the same people along. Mostly, women in my family. My sisters and mother, and maybe a few others. I think the most commonly identical thing is there is always drugs involved, lol! I usually get to Europe I’ve slept the whole flight, but, then when we get ready to come home, I either forget to take the drugs, or I’ve lost them, or something along those lines.

I’m happy to hear what your counselor said. It’s purpose is to prepare you to fly. I think it’s true. I have less fear now, than I have in the past. I’m almost ready to do it now. And, I’ve dreamed about it often. Very often. I don’t think in reality I would survive a flight to Europe though. Maybe someplace a little closer.

In my 20s when I was in the throes of panic attacks, I had a period of time when I was freaked out by elevators. It wasn’t the small space though. It was the movement. So, I guess I can deduct that I don’t like not being on stable ground. I overcame that fear by just forcing myself.

Heights aren’t really my friend either. My husband and I walked the pedestrian bridge from U.S. into Canada. My knees were shaking, and I was a little freaked out by getting near the edge. BUT, the good news is, I told myself that my fear wasn’ going to rob me of the experience and I muscled through it. I’m so glad I did now. I have a photo of my feet ~ one foot in Canada, and one foot in the U.S. ~ Just to prove to myself I guess, that I did it.

Congrats on finishing up school. Ten weeks isn’t long and it always flies by, for me anyway.

Best of luck as you wrap it up!! 🙂
ps ~ maybe the next time I walk to Canada, I should check into the drug Darlene mentioned! I wonder what the equivalent is in the U.S.? 🙂


I want to thank you for posting this blog.

I am a twenty-two year old who has lost her way due to this great fear of never being loved or needed by someone. It’s crippling to have this mindset. Everyday I’ve been asking myself, “What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I get it right?” Needless to say, the feeling of worthlessness settled deep into my bones and I haven’t been able to break it for years. But this blog has allowed me to crack this shell of fear and hopefully, I will be able to start living again. I don’t want to sound dramatic but I hope I am able to explain how much I needed to hear this from someone I don’t know. Someone who is not obligated to tell me these things because they’re either family or friends.

Your words have soothed my soul. Thank you again.


Hi Esra
Welcome to emerging from broken!
YAY for cracking the shell! That was the beginning for me too. Just a litte crack in the fog ruled by my belief system and I was off and running.
Thank you so much for sharing your breakthrough with me, and for your expression of gratitude for my blog. I hope that you will share often!
Hugs, Darlene


From the bottom of my heart, thank you!


Hi Karen
Welcome to EFB! You are welcome!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene for a wonderful website. I am learning why I have a need to be loved. When I had boyfriends, if they showed any sign of disapproval in any way, I felt threatened, and “complied” with what they wanted me to be so they would not break up with me. Faked it. I have finally figured out it’s because I never felt loved by my mom. I’m connecting the dots. When I would get bad performance appraisals at work, I would go home and worry about being fired, while other co-workers just said, “PPPPTTHHHHHH” and kept on going.

During my working life, I learned that people act out their childhood issues in work. I could easily figure out what someone’s childhood issues were. Mine were not being loved. So, any criticism would send me in a tailspin.

Mom does not want to believe she is at fault. No, it’s all my fault, I’m the one with problems.


You know I have been fighting and endless battle myself. I have often misunderstood my husband’s messages as “I’m not good enough. I seek to hard and too long for his approval and seek validation from others if he doesn’t give me what I’m looking for. I haven’t cheated physically yet. In a lot of ways I treat others the same way though because I was brought up to do so. I make them feel they need to earn my love or affection. So in turn I fight for the same. I have a constant battle day to day now with just finding my own self worth and letting it grow. I feel almost guilty sometimes. I try my best to just let others be who they are right or wrong and the same with myself. It’s a mystery as to how it will go each day but each day I try to find something about me that I love. I no longer seek his approval and work at not making him seek mine. He has these issues too because he sought all his life for his father’s and family’s love. Thank you so much for this blog. I can appreciate the truth about me. As long as I know and remember this about me I have something to work on and strive for.


Hi Stephanie
Welcome to EFB
The cycle that you are describing continues in some form or another until the belief system is changed. For me I had to change the deeply rooted false beliefs about what love actually is. At the end of the day, I had to learn to love myself as well through the true definition of what loving action is. I had been taught that my value was defined by others, so I sought to be approved of and loved by others. It was when I realized that they don’t actually define me, that I began to grow out of that dysfunctional belief.
Thank you for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


I appreciate this article. To know I am not alone. I feel alone, a lot. I don’t feel loved or wanted. I feel of I were to leave this earth this instant, no one would notice nor care. I had am abusive childhood too, in my early 30’s and sick and tired of battling with depression. I want to love myself to the point that if I didn’t receive love from anyone else, I would not get depressed and have bad thoughts. Thank you for sharing


Hi Darlene

Thank you for starting this post. I like many others grew up with the wrong idea of what love is. I spent numerous relationship buying the guys I was with or doing things I normally wouldn’t do or wanted to do for that matter just so they wouldn’t leave. I ended up in an abusive marriage for 11 years. Where he just wanted to control me and for years I thought that was just how he showed he cared and loved. Remember thinking I didn’t want people to talk about me failing in that marriage so that held me there longer. After he cheated on me I decided that was it. And I left. Slept with many men to try to fill that void. I was raised by my parents in the same household but didn’t have that love relationship with them through my important years of development. I began to build that relationship with my dad and it was great. For years. Then he passed. Then I built it with my mom and we were awesome best friends for years and she recently passed. I’m remarried now but my husband has he’s own problems from when he was a kid and he has never really shown up for this relationship but he stays. He’s never physically abused me but he has cheated multiple times and made me feel low about myself through he’s times he’s “just being honest”. He’s told me he’s never really been in love with me but he loves me. We should have never gotten married. But I think we both wanted that person who would be there. So now that my parents are gone I feel extra alone and can relate to your story. I’m stuck in my life right now. I can see myself picking myself up and doing better but then the pain of taking that journey alone scares me and it hurts to my core. I’m not sure what me telling the world my deepest secret is gonna get me. But I’m hoping someone out there can lead me into the right direction or agree and say I’m domed. Either way it felt good to get this off my chest. Since I walk around in this world smiling and faking my confidence.


after many therapist group. indivtdusl sessions and painful expereinces your article changed me completely… iam no longer a victim …fpr the first time in 66 yrs i am at peace and i do love and value myself
GOD bless you for your words of wisdom and setting me free of negativity about myself. as long as i love me iam loved


Hi Elaine!
That is awesome! Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Right now this expresses where I stand in that tirning point. Im tired of fighting to live and wishing to die. I am taking a few days to decide my next step. Ive had recent traumas and rejections and am trying to decide if I should hospitalize myself or just take a long train ride cross country and figure out how to love me. Thanks for a great post


Six years into really understanding what happened to me and I am still coming to terms with the fact that my abusers are never going to love me, that my healing is completely my own and that I have to learn to do it without their acknowledgement or help. An incredible feat for someone who was taught I was nothing without their approval, for someone completely incapable of doing anything without them.

Looking for love in all the wrong places has been my theme song. Always trying to be worthy, always compensating for my lack to the point that I am gone, swimming upstream for the right to exist.

I can say this now, knowing I am still struggling, with a smile. I know where this feeling originated. I have so much more now just in the truth of where this horrible place I have resided in comes from. Sometimes now, I am aware of my worth and that makes everything I have been through somehow worthwhile even if I am the only one who ever knows this.

Thank you Darlene, you have been the light in my darkness, the one who has put the footprints out for me to follow and the place I can always go when I feel completely alone.


This was really refreshing to read and to see that there are others who also deal with this sort of internal struggle and conflict. I feel constantly as though I’m not good enough, and that I must be better, be a perfect ideal of a human before I can be worthy of forgiveness and love. But then when I mess up and make a mistake, its so so hard to work through it because I feel as though its proof that Im a terrible person and that I’m not worthy of love and forgiveness and understanding, and a lot of this roots from the fear of not being liked or loved by other people. Im terrified by it, and when someone doesn’t like me, I feel as though I did something terrible and there must be something wrong with me. But its ok if people don’t like me. Its ok. Its ok. Its ok. That doesn’t make me an unlikable person, and it doesn’t make a bad person. No one is as bad as their worst deed or as good as their best, and so if someone doesn’t love me because of my worst deed, it still doesn’t make me undeserving of love. And i have proof of that – I have friends who I know will always love me and forgive me and whom i will always love and forgive. I have family who will do the same. I am loved in a good way by some people, so, like you talked about in this post, I don’t have to keep chasing after the people who will give me cheap love and gratification in the form of possesion and my compliance to their spirit. I have my own spirit and if others can be deserving of good love, then maybe so can I. Thank you for writing this. Its really hope inspiring to me that there are others who feel the same thing as me, it means Im not alone – not weird in my fears and insecurities. Thank you


Hey it’s so nice to know that after all these years you managed to bounce back and free yourself from the shackles your brain has convinced you to stay in it gives me hope that I can also fight that dreaded idea that love is conditional throughout my early childhood I was sheltered and I genuinely believed that’s how the world works but now that I’m in college I realized that love doesn’t work that way being like that only opens doors to people emotionally blackmailing you and using you I hope as the years pass by I learn how to free myself from that system I created

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