The First Time a Boy Roughed Me Up and Why I Took the Blame


christina 11The first time a boy got a little rough with me I was 14. I had been swimming at our community pool and Mike the 17 year old life guard let me wear his diving watch in the water, which I thought was so cool. My boyfriend Rob showed up and called me over to the gate and I forgot to take the watch off when I went to meet him. I could tell he was angry.

I grabbed my towel and as we were walking away from the pool I had a sinking feeling in my gut. Looking back it was a familiar feeling, one that I had had often in my lifetime; it was the feeling of impending doom.

My internal dialogue went like this; “I have a bad feeling. Something bad is going to happen. Something bad… my tummy hurts, I don’t feel good; I don’t like this feeling.”

I remember my boyfriend started questioning me.            

Rob: Who is that guy?

Me: He’s just the life Guard

Rob: Why are you wearing that watch?

Me: Because he let me wear it to dive in the deep end. It’s so cool!

Rob: Give me that watch.

Me: NO, I have to give it back to Mike.

By now the feeling of impending doom is almost making me throw up. I am scared; I feel like I have done something really bad but I am not sure what. I want to hide and there is nowhere to hide. I want to disappear. I want Rob to stop breathing in that angry way. I want him to calm down and listen to me.

I can see that Rob is getting more agitated. He grabs my wrist with one hand (OW, stop it, you are hurting me!) and he rips the watch off my wrist with the other hand. Then he goes back to the fence surrounding the pool and he throws the watch over the fence and into the pool. I am just standing there dripping wet, feeling scared and stupid and starting to give myself shit for being so dumb. Earlier in the year Rob had beat up a boy at school because he said something flirty to me and it took three teachers to break the fight up and now I am really scared he is going to beat up the life guard. But he doesn’t go into the pool area.

Waiting for him to come back from throwing the watch in the pool I am really nervous. His nostrils are flaring, he is visibly angry and it doesn’t occur to me that maybe he is out of line. All I can think of is how stupid I am for wearing another guy’s watch. All I can think about is what he is going to do ‘to me’ because I was so stupid. He hasn’t even touched me yet and I think that I deserve his anger which is focused and directed at me although I tell myself he is angry at Mike and that if I can explain to Rob that he has misunderstood, then maybe all will be well.

On the walk home the silence is deafening. I feel sick. Once we get to my door he starts firing questions at me again. He starts off asking if “that guy” the life guard, is hitting on me. And I am defending as fast as I can; “NO, we are just friends, he is just the life guard, he is really nice, it was just a watch….” Then Rob starts calling the guy really nasty names including “fag” and “wimp” and starts threatening to go back and beat the shit out of him.  All the while I am defending making excuses, apologizing and begging Rob to just let it go. 

And then, Rob turns on me.

The wall outside our front door is made of those rough bricks. With regular bricks, the front surface is smooth, but our bricks were rough and pointy on the surface like rocks or broken bricks. Rob grabs me by the wrist again and I realize that his anger is now directed at me. He starts yelling at me and accusing me of cheating on him. And his anger is intensifying. He is right in my face saying “admit it, you like that guy” and “How dare you fool around with another guy; I am going to kill him”.

And I am begging him ~ “Rob, please don’t hurt him…. Please don’t hurt me. You are hurting me. Let go of my wrist. I didn’t do anything, we are just friends, I would never… he is too old…please please please….”

As his anger grows, Rob throws me up against the wall into the jutting out bricks. My back screams out in pain but I don’t scream. I don’t cry. I don’t say anything. I am concentrating on not letting my head smash into the sharp bricks.  I lower my eyes. I have learned to disconnect when I am scared from having been hit by my mother. I can take this punishment. I have learned to take the blame for someone else’s emotions as well. I figure that I have been bad and that is my fault that Rob is so angry so I must deserve his wrath. With one final push up against the bricks and one final crushing squeeze on my wrist, Rob warns me that if he ever catches me talking to “that guy” again I will be sorry. And then he gets on his bike and rides off.

I didn’t tell anyone what happened that day. My back was bruised and in some places bleeding but I didn’t tell. My left wrist was black and blue but nobody noticed.

Rob never apologized and I never asked him to. I stopped seeing him and I stopped taking his phone calls. When he showed up in person I just didn’t talk. I lowered my eyes, looked away and I put up a wall. I shut down. I never told him why I didn’t want to talk to him anymore.  He didn’t seem to know why either.

When I look back on this event in my life I realize that Rob thought I belonged to him. In my messed up world, I wanted to belong to someone. I was crazy about that kid. I thought he loved me; he thought he owned me and I didn’t know how to disagree. My mother hit me all the while I was growing up. She told me that it was my own fault, that it was for my own good, that if I hadn’t done (fill in the blank with whatever made her angry that day) that she would not have had to hit me and I had no choice but to believe her. I had to survive and surviving meant going along with her. She was the adult, the mother, the authority. I was taught to believe that I was “a bad kid”.  I learned to try harder and harder to earn her love.

When Rob turned on me that day something broke inside of me. From the time I was about 6 years old I had so many hopes that one day a boy would love me and that he would be the answer. I thought I would be rescued. I thought that love would rescue me. It was heartbreaking to realize that “love” was not going to be the answer.

Today I realize that I didn’t know what love was. I had been “owned” and objectified by my mother, and I had never been taught mutual respect. I was never empowered to think for myself. No one ever taught me my own value. I was not empowered to have healthy boundaries and I didn’t know that I didn’t deserve to be treated like a possession. I didn’t know that I WASN’T a possession.

When Rob threatened me, I didn’t know that his behaviour was wrong. All I knew was that I had done something to make him really angry at me and from what I had been conditioned to believe as a child that I got what I deserved.

I was only 14 when I realized that I was tired.

Four or five weeks before the day that Rob assaulted me because I was wearing the life guard’s watch, my mother’s boyfriend came into my bedroom in the middle of the night and sexually assaulted me. When my mother didn’t believe me, I drew similar conclusions as to why that happened too.  Maybe I did something wrong? Maybe I asked for it? I didn’t know that I had any rights because no one taught me that I did.

I grew up a lot that summer. I shut down a lot that summer too. That was the summer that I realized that the world outside my family was not any safer than the world inside my family.

Please share your thoughts or your feelings about this article. Even if domestic violence or physical abuse was never a part of your life, can you relate to the way that I learned my value or lack of value?

Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time.

Darlene Ouimet

Emerging from Broken is about how I healed from childhood trauma and abuse and took my life and my value back by seeing where it had been lost or never put in place from the start. There are over 450 articles in this website all with discussions. The comments total almost 40,000.  In addition The Emerging from Broken bookThe Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” 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 : Survival



HI Darlene,

This part of the article stood out to me: “I grew up a lot that summer. I shut down a lot that summer too. That was the summer that I realized that the world outside my family was not any safer than the world inside my family.”

It reminded me that I didn’t realize that my family wasn’t safe. It reminded me how often I was told that the world “outside my family” was full of dishonest people who were only nice because they were polite. My family’s relentless criticism was supposed to help me because they cared about what people would think of me. And outside the family, no one was ever going to like me no matter how much it seemed that they did.

Eventually I decided I’d rather believe that polite people may actually care enough to be nice, and that if my family couldn’t stop criticizing me by now they never would.

There are cruel people in the world outside my family, but not being family I can decide not to maintain relationships with them. And I decided that the word “family” didn’t exempt anyone.

Now things are finally starting to get better!



Hi Hobie
It’s really hard to realize that your family isn’t safe when all you know is how it is in that family. We do what we need to do to survive which in my case had a lot to do with denial. It’s a big deal to come out of that fog storm and take a closer look!

I love your last line where you said “There are cruel people in the world outside my family, but not being family I can decide not to maintain relationships with them. And I decided that the word “family” didn’t exempt anyone”

YES, Me too!
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


I remember realizing the people in the outside world were actually a lot nicer to me than my family. Although I still have trouble equating my upbringing with what you had to go through, I can relate to not being valued, to realizing that even I felt that my life didn’t actually belong to me. I think I have come to realize also that if people(family and otherwise) want me in their life they will show me by their love and acceptance. If they do not, then they will show me also and I can survive it if they don’t.
Thank you for sharing.


Wow, Darlene, what a horrible thing to have happened to you, and on top of it, right after another very traumatic event. This is a very powerful article. When you were describing the feeling of impending doom, the feelings of dread, the physical symptoms, The wanting to hide. I felt like you so accurately put into words those feelings Ive often felt myself that something bad was going to happen. My heart actually started beating faster as I read it ; it is THAT familiar to me!! And absorbing the blame for someone else’s horrendous actions! How many times I have done that too. It was SAFER to take the blame. Who knew what else might have happened if I didn’t accept the blame. Although the events in my life that. triggered these feelings were different from yours, the feelings were just as you described. And the absorbing of the blame. Just like you I didn’t feel I had any rights. I hadn’t been taught that either. The good thing is, that we both know now that THEY were wrong, we are not to blame, and we can kick all these nasty people to the curb.


Darlene your post reminded me when an ex-boyfriend of mine wanted me to tell him that I loved him after I just went out with him on a first date. I went along with it when I knew that it didn’t feel right. That relationship escalated from verbal assaults to him punching me in the face and me having to get an order of protection against him which he broke showing up at my work place and at my front door step when I got home scaring me half to death but in an eerie kind of way it all felt so familiar to me at the same time because the truth is it was.

It was just like being at home where no one respected me either. It wasn’t until this year that I was finally able to overcome most of the lies that I had to tell my self in order to survive my parents abuse and the lies that they brainwashed me into believing about my self that were never the truth, that I was finally able to come out of isolation long enough, to take a risk at trusting someone else… after repeatedly testing them out… that I was finally able to build a mutually respectful relationship that showed me the difference between how I felt being around them and how I felt being around my disrespectful family members. I didn’t know that a mutually respectful relationship even existed because that’s not what my parents abuse taught me and I was too scared to go out and find out on my own.

Now I love me. Now I respect me. Now I don’t get involved in relationships where the other person doesn’t have my best interest at heart and now I am able to tell when they don’t unlike before which perpetuated that sick cycle of being abused all over again.

Thanks for this insightful post. I have learned so many things from you and your e-book I can’t tell ya!!


I liked what you said too… about how our families no longer get to be exempt from us not having them in our lives just because they are family members. It took me a long time to come to that realization my self but so glad I did. We don’t deserve to be disrespected by anyone…ESPECIALLY not by our own family members. Due to being abused they ended up being the exception to that rule which is so wrong on so many levels. Glad we are able to see through their lies now. No one gets to disrespect us …PERIOD.




I never experienced the specific situation you have, but I know what it’s like to feel lower that a negative number.

It was bad enough to be raised by a punitive, volatile mother. It was even worse to live with a short-tempered dictator PLUS go to school where I was the “ugly, weird, quiet girl” who the “cool kids” loved to pick on, and little to nothing was done to stop it. And when I complained about it to my mother, I was scolded and blamed for it. Talk about a mixed message: to raise someone submissively, yet expect them to stand up to bullies. My older sister was able to manage this somehow. Like our mother, she’s short-tempered, but was able to stand up to bullies, but still sucks up to our mother. Because of our three-year age gap, we went to high school together for one year, and she was pretty popular. Some of the bullies wondered why I wasn’t “cool” like her. (Sigh.)

Thank goodness my K-12 years ended almost a decade ago, and that I’m no longer living with my mother. (We still are in the same town, and I can’t wait for her to leave so that I wouldn’t keeping worrying about running into her.) I’m on round two of estrangement and so far, I’m not getting pressure to return. Maybe because after the first time, they think that it’s not worth the trouble anymore. I’m still struggle with self-worth after being belittled by family members and school peers most of my life, but like some posters stated here, shared DNA doesn’t give one a pass to mistreat others and call it love or “for my own good”.


For my case the attacker was my big brother who raped me and then beat me up, my parents turned a blind eye and nothing was done to him. They said I provoked him!


Oh boy did the part about being hit at home resonate with what happened with my first husband and a subsequent relationship re being a possession and not being valued unless I was putting everyone else in my family first.
I questioned much as a teenager both at school and home but arguments with my dad usually ended up with me getting hit often across the head.I never cried – Id stopped that when I was little fro being called a cry baby, but boy did I bang doors.My ex called me boring and I think because I was so compliant and at the time happy to be until I found out his cheating on me and somehow I founds the courage to leave much to the dismay of my family who blamed me.
Number 2 echoed the jealousy and possessiveness followed after a couple of years with pretty bad ‘hammerings’ until I ‘saw the light” and knew I had to get out of there before I got killed. It took me 11 years and then many many more years to work on me and realise I was kind, loving, honest and generous and still people TRY to take advantage but my boundaries are now very clear.
Wonderful Blog Darlene Thank you


Oh Darlene! I know that feeling of impending doom. Its awful. Waiting for the explosion of rage.
You are set to hyper-awareness. I think thats why I always over reacted to small chaos.
Your body tenses up and you are hyped – ready to react to whatever. You know its coming.

I grew up with it every single day at home. As my father was extremely reactive to anything, anything could bring on his rage. I have now come to realize I was terrorized much of my childhood. I too was taught to believe that when people treated me badly, it was my fault and I needed to try harder to be better, quieter, whatever they wanted. That I was the one that caused the abuse by my actions or lack of action (subservience). It was dangerous to blame or hold accountable the violent person so you learn to accept that its you. That you are the bad one. And punish yourself. (but that’s another story)

I could never “get it right” so anything bad that happened to me was of course, my fault. That I somehow “controlled” the older, bigger, stronger, smarter people who harmed me.
Absurd thinking really.
When I was 17, a 26 year old mechanic at a dealership where I took my Dad’s mustang to be serviced noticed me and asked me out. My mother thought this was great and let me go out at night with this person she had not met.
I asked him for a ride home from school one day. He did it but it pissed him off so he stood me up on my birthday when we were supposed to go out. I was so hurt.
My mother’s question was ‘what did you do to him so that he stood you up?’
She made his behavior, his choice my fault.
To me, abusive treatment was always my fault. My mother taught and modeled this.
It has caused me to be blind to obvious abuse.
Im learning to value myself now, so at the first sign of belittling, invalidating behavior, Im gone.

S1988: I too was the ugly, weird girl who never knew how to be part of the group. I was bullied and (worse) always excluded.
It seems my dysfunction at home, caused my dysfunction at school.
I just read that and it makes so much sense.
How could I act “normal” at school if I was required to act so “abnormal” at home just to survive the terror. It was never my fault. It was how I had to be to live thru it. And that’s very vindicating to me.


Kris, I can relate to not having mutually respectful relationships. Most of my relationships were skewed the other way. I give and give and the other person takes advantage until I get fed up and break it off. Then I’m hurt and look to myself…what did I do wrong? Until recently I would never really consider how I was disrespected.
Its a fine line and I’m struggling with how to be friendly but not put too much out front. I just never learned how to judge behavior towards me. That sounds weird but I was taught (strongly) to accept any treatment, overlook what to most people would be abuse as just the way it is. Sometimes I feel too old to learn all these new skills.


Great points Darlene, I can really relate to this. The first time when a boy I liked roughed me up was when I was eleven. Since I was abused at home by my mother, (who loved to brag about slamming my brothers head into the brick wall outside our house) father, brother…I was isolated and ‘used to it’ so I stuck around regardless. I made excuses for him and just tried to ride the situation out. My sister was very against my hanging around him, but she was just fine with what our family (including her) did to me, which was worse. So her hypocrisy was not really supportive and just drew me closer to him. I had no one to turn to.

I’ve spent too much of my life mood-reading and trying to placate the irrational rages of abusive men and women. Too much time trying to avoid that impending doom. With my long-term partner who died several months ago, it was “just” emotional violence (yelling, silent treatments, hair-trigger rages complete with punishments,) and quite a chore to live with. But it’s not something I’m interested in doing any more, with anyone.


Karen R,

My father was the same way. He was a raging unpredictable alcoholic. You never knew what you were in for because there was no rhyme or reason to it. I was always on edge too and I still am. I developed PTSD because of it along with DID due to my mother’s choice to not help me through his abuse and in turn she ended up abusing me even more by her emotional neglect of me. Living your life always thinking that something bad is going to happen to you sucks!!! It drains so much energy out of you. Sorry that you had to live like that too.


Darlene, I look forward to hearing you tonight. Blessings.



the feeling of being powerless , afraid and sick from it , not seeing the truth for what it is , all known to me . feeling dead inside, not being able to protect my self, or having the gutts to get up and go, a horried feeling of loseing my self …..thankyou and thank god for healing


what is it about the dinail that the family has around abuse issues?
is it just because it too hard to except the sevearness of neglect or there brain cant understand this?!?!


Hi Heather
Great comments. Yes, love is an action, a two way street and has to do with mutual respect. Mutual being the key word!
hugs, Darlene

Hi Amber,
I have read things that caused me to have that same reaction. Sometimes when I write things I relive them, but it always increases my understanding of what actually happened to me and the damage that it caused!
YES ~ it wasn’t ME that was in the wrong!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kris!
Thanks for sharing your victory comments!!! whoo hooo! That is awesome!
hugs, Darlene

Hi S1988
Yes there is no special entitlement rules for family! Love is love, and the definition/action of love doesn’t change because of the title a person holds.
Thanks for sharing!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Princess,
Welcome to Emerging from Broken ~ I am so sorry that happened to you and I am glad you are here. I know only too well the scars that BOTH those things leave. (being assaulted and then being blamed for it) This blog is about overcoming and healing from the damage those things cause! Thanks for sharing
hugs, Darlene


Hi Pat
Welcome to EFB ~ I hear you! Yay that you know you are/were kind loving honest and generous and that you have developed clear boundaries today!
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Karen R.
Nobody is ever too old! (I have clients in their 70’s!!) For me these new skills developed naturally the more I realized that the way I had been treated was wrong and I empowered myself with a choice about what I would and would not put up with.
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


Hi Caden
Oh yes, the family that says we should stay away from abusive people or bullies while they themselves have permission to bully, abuse, hit, etc.! ugg. I will never be interested in living that way EVER again!
Thanks for being here Caden and for sharing your story and your insights!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Kris
That is awesome that are going to listen in. For those of you who would like to join me here is the link to register for the event. (I am being interviewed tonight ~ see the previous blog post for details or here is the link. If you get this note too late, there will be a replay at same link ~ http://www.hehitme.info/
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Laurenne
It’s all about power and control. These people have their worth mixed up with power! They don’t want to understand.
Welcome to Emerging from Broken~ I am really glad you are here!
hugs, Darlene


I understand that sinking feeling all to well. I had it a few days ago when my mom started to Email me less and less. I knew I’ve done something wrong, yet again.

Just to give everyone my story… I grew up in a very volatile home. At times things were nice but not all the time. So it left me insure all the time.

I always had this impending doom feeling. Sometimes even at late night when I can’t sleep… I feel it. The knot… Yes.

I have just battled stage 4 cancer and it’s been a little over a year. By some miracle I am alive and doing very well.
However because of this my mom felt it was time to put me in my place.

She emailed me and told me she wanted to come over and help me with a task and I told her that wasn’t possible. I have told her very valid reasons why she can’t visit during the daytime… And because of her past behavior I set up email cause she used to scream at me for caing her everyday when I first got married and moved away.
She has racing thoughts, high anxiety and has been violent with a gun towards me and my sister years ago…
So when I got sick and contacted her… My heart broke for her… I actually worried about her more than myself and I was the one literally dying.
Well she has been awful. From telling me that Mother’s Day doesn’t have the same meaning to her when I wanted to take her out to breakfast… To attacking me when I just got in from a nasty round of cancer treatmebt… Making me cry and take the blame for her actions…
It amazes me how ensnarled she made me take the blame. I guess under all the stress of cancer… I got caught up in wanting my family.
Now ever since she pulled her usual mind games, attacked me. I no longer hear from my sister… Who oddly is her best friend and advocate.
My dad is just very distant and he believes her and won’t even call me to hear what happened. It’s just laziness and not caring about me…
I feel really awful right now… She really have it to me and again she says it’s me who has issues and is crazy.
I honestly don’t know how to calm down… I do fear her coming after me with her gun… So I can’t really say all I wish I could…


Great interview Darlene. When you talked about how people want us to get over things that no one even acknowledged to begin with that really resonated with me. How are we supposed to do that when we are still believing all the lies that our abusive parents taught us?? Not so easy!! It’s a process that’s for sure but no one is going to get over anything without acknowledging what happened to them first and it doesn’t matter what the whole wide world has to say about it. We need to do what is best for us. Find our own way in our own timing.

Thanks again for sharing your expertise.



Then she said mean things about me… That oh you keep cutting us out of your life… Again and again… That they are used to it.
Do they even care why? No. They just hate that I go no contact… As if it’s me hurting me…
I just give up… It never dawns on then that maybe I have reasons… And when I give them.. It’s as if they can’t hear my reasons why…
I think they are both narcissistic…
But I’ll just go to bed now… Cry alone.
I’ll just stop complaining… No one cares anyhow.
I should know that by now I guess.



It’s not quite the same as having face to face people in your everyday life, but most of us here can relate to how you feel. It helps me a lot to just know I’m not entirely alone in the kind of things I’ve experienced.

We care.


Kimberly( me too)
June 30th, 2015 at 8:17 pm

Thank you very much;)
I have read so many sad stories Here.
I had trouble posting… Created an new account. I’m me too but I rather use my name….
I appreciate it!



I recognize your story. You used the alias, “me too”. Hobie’s right. People on this site have similar sentiments, and you also have your husband and daughter who care about you. Even a few healthy family members is better than none. With me, family members either support my mother or (like my dad) they want an ally to assist them in his grudge war against her. I don’t want to get involved in people’s fights. My nephews (my bully brother’s sons) are minors, so it’s too early to tell with them. I just hope that they grow up and stop the cycle.

Speaking of cycles, that’s another accomplishment of yours. In spite of growing up in dysfunction, you manage to break the cycle with your child. Too many people from abusive environments rather continue sick patterns than stop them. One would think that an abusive background would inspire them to not repeat it, but those people are cowardly bullies. Your family is fortunate to have a wife and mother like you. Never forget that.


Thank you for reminding me;) I’m forever grateful for them but I don’t lean on them to understand… It’s not something they can understand and it’s prolly unhealthy for me to expect that from my child…
My husband is much like my dad… He is very Inward and he just can’t relate.
So I thought I come here. Cause you all know how it feels…sadly too.
I was just thinking how there are millions of us who suffer this way.
I should of known she was pretending… I told her as I have many times… I’ll never understand why you hate me so much…
And she confesses how much she loves me and how I’ll never understand.
She told me she blacked out when I told her I had cancer last year and that she didn’t want to worry me about her health and only told me now…
She told me she has serious health issues…not sure I believe her actually.
But she never had cancer… She gets around quite well.


Your very wise to not throw yourself into that. I’m sorry I thought I could somehow tolerate things, that a bad situation could change people. Sadly, I have to say, I think people rarely change.
It’s better to be away from it all… It only hurts you in the end. I hope your counsins will learn from your example and not get drawn in… Sadly, we get sucked in… Cause we miss that.
All around us there is this message that we should tolerate abuse…
And when you are surrounded… It’s like a poison.



“Thank you for reminding me;) I’m forever grateful for them but I don’t lean on them to understand… It’s not something they can understand and it’s prolly unhealthy for me to expect that from my child…”

That’s true. I wasn’t insinuating that your daughter should be your confidant. Parents should support children, not the other way around. I’ve been my mother’s therapist since I was a minor, and I wonder if that’s part of the reason why I enjoy living a loner lifestyle where I don’t have to answer to anyone.

About your husband: I’m glad that you don’t hold that against him. You mentioned that in a previous post that he was the first person you met that treated you very decently, and that’s why you married him.

It’s nice for all of us here to discuss and relate to each other, like an online group therapy.


Yes, I could see where that would lead to wanting to have peace and quiet, away from drama. Absolutely.

I used to have friends… But in my old age, I see that it’s better not to bother. I don’t mind online support groups;) lol! But I’m pretty much done with “people” 😉
Darlene.. I find this current topic too exhausting… But I understand the need to talk sbout it.
I do know and agree that abusers love to control us…my mom is extenrmly controlling and very jealous…. Bitter woman.
And she says she loves me but she has a funny way of showing it.
I’m very sorry about you exoerience.
Didn’t mean to cut into your conversation here.


Darlene: Today I realize that I didn’t know what love was. I had been “owned” and objectified by my mother, and I had never been taught mutual respect. I was never empowered to think for myself. No one ever taught me my own value. I was not empowered to have healthy boundaries and I didn’t know that I didn’t deserve to be treated like a possession. I didn’t know that I WASN’T a possession.

What I got at home primed me for further and more damaging abuse in the world. As I read this post, I was overwhelmed with how many points I relate with you on and also, how well I define what happened to me, thanks to your work. I didn’t know how I could respond to all the points but when I got to the above paragraph, I realized it not only summed up your experience but mine, as well.

Thanks for doing what you do.



I loved your interview last night, and I love this blog post. Not knowing our true value sets us up to continue the cycle of taking responsibility for other people’s toxic behavior. I didn’t get physically abused by my high school boyfriend, because there was emotional abuse. Sadly I didn’t realize it at the time, but I wouldn’t have known what to do if I did.

I am feeling so angry these days. I feel like so of my life has been wasted because of the trauma I experienced, and it just seems so unfair. I didn’t deserve this. None of us did.


I have tolerated a lot from others too because it was normal growing up to do that. We learn what we live. I seem to attract narcissistic women and unavailable men in my past.
I have huge issues with being hurt in groups. I feel most are predatory in nature.
When your hurt, people sense that on some level. Every group needs their scapegoat and I just naturally assumed that role without even knowing it.
I don’t think people set out to do this. I think it’s unconscious. Maybe some do too. With guys, they knew I give in them, well to point I would…I craved attention from a guy and women I have learned just abuse in other ways.
Sadly… This is why I don’t bother with people. I can make small talk and have nice conversations in line while buying my food… But anything more…
I’m at too much risk.
Even online I’m not always safe.
How can we avoid being the victim?
We can watch our body language. It’s huge. Are we giving out messages we can be hurt? Yes! But we can change that.
I no longer shrudder when someone gives me a dirty look… I look through them as if they don’t exist. I don’t allow that anymore.
We have the power in us… We have to just use it. It a way that doesn’t promote more issues but keeps us safe.


And I have noticed that I am way too quick to answer to strangers, to help them, I remember once a creepy neighbor asked me to sit beside him on a railing outside his house…
I barely knew him… I didn’t hesitant… I walked over and sat right beside him..
And he talked over an hour…I felt uncomfortable.
Like a bug in the spider web… I was stuck there. We are very much like animals in the wild.
Today… I see that a mile away… Taught my daughter better. Yes, we are groomed from the get go. But we don’t have to stay there.
There are millions if things we can do to help ourselves… We just have to do our homework!


Isn’t it WONDERFUL that so many of us have experienced this kind of treatment yet we now know we were not the only ones nor were we the ones with the problem other than being sensitive and kind at heart. I send LOTS OF BIG HUGS TO ALL OF YOU


((Pat)) back at you!
Yes! Funny how when we do take our power back the reaction we get.
My mom told me that I just don’t understand them, my parents. That I just don’t get it. Insinuating that I am wrong and that something must be wrong with me!
She then actually had the audacity to ask me where they went wrong and how was I hurt?
Omg… I couldn’t given wrap that around my head let alone respond.
On Mother’s Day she told me that the day just didn’t mean much to her anymore. I was there with a card. Wanting to take her out to eat. Being rejected, told well maybe some other day I could… And that day never came cause she told me she eats at 7am!
So why tell me I could take her and make plans to go?
For 2 months I been asking her and it was never a good day. Why do that? It’s odd.
Anyhow… I’m done being the bottom of the totem pole. Her values my wealthy sister, yet she even talks behind her back.
And my sister. Where is she? No where to be found… Prolly afraid to talk to me.. Mom most likely told her to avoid me.. And she’ll do what mommies dearest wants.


Since I was about 7 I started sewing and it was obviously a gift for me watching my mum sew. I knew from before I went to high school that i wanted to teach PE ( I was good at sport in primary school) and sewing which was my gift.
It took me until I was in my mid 40’s, 2 marriages, out of work, over qualified, blonde,not so bad looking after all, smart mouthed but deeply insecure, that I realised I wanted to teach sewing and I had never done it.SO I took a risk and applied to teach adults, then began lessons in people’s homes and after an inheritance from my parents death built my first sewing room as an owner builder – the first of three 🙂
That was 1991. Since then, I took charge of my own needs and did thing many women will never try, had a third relationship and gave up my dreams again but five years ago started again and am about to hopefully pass my 62 years of sewing knowledge on by advertising on a local community radio station – cheap – and a large car sticker. I am 70 next birthday but i have to find out if this is my purpose despite being single again. All I can say is we must keep going and never give up – it is never too late to at least attempt with what you have to follow those deep drives which often make no sense – by other people’s standards. only our own


This topic is so timely for me.

I was just remembering–last night and this morning–a time when I was in high school. My mother had come to pick me up from school (she never did this, so she must have been angry that she had to) and I had been talking to a boy outside while waiting for her. Well, when I saw my mother pull up I hurriedly said goodbye to him and ran to the car because I didn’t want to be yelled at. When I got in, my mother was white-lipped and furious. She let me stew in anxiety for a few minutes, and then yelled, “Why don’t you ever introduce me to any of your friends?”

NOW, I understand this is ridiculous. She didn’t want to know any of my friends, she didn’t care. Yet, she was angry at me for my very existence, and she had to find SOMETHING to yell at me about. After she yelled at me, I remember sitting in the car in a fugue so deep that even tears were to happy for it, thinking, “why can’t I EVER get it right? It never occurred to me to introduce my friend to my mother, I thought she wouldn’t care. I must be the STUPIDEST person ever.”

Well, this belief of “I can’t EVER get it right” permeated my life for many years. My first several relationships with men were of the emotionally abusive type. Luckily, I am tall and strong and have always been fit, and I was furious about the physical abuse I’d suffered at my mother and her husband’s hands, so that if any man had PHYSICALLY abused me I believe I would have gone ballistic and I think those men who loved to be physically abusive sensed that. However, those emotional abusers saw that I was desperate somehow, and were all over me. How do they do this!?!?!? Is this some sort of magical abuser skill!?!? 😮

Anyway, I just chose to end a friendship of a few years because my former friend wouldn’t ‘allow’ me to disagree with her. She chose to take my disagreement with her as a cue to act like a mother/teacher and disallow me to tease her about it. So, I am finally standing up for myself at 45!!

My relationship with my husband is something I cherish. We both have our moments :D, but in general we treat each other with mutual respect and also share our feelings about everything. Yet it took so many relationships for me to figure this out.

I am often sad about my missed potential, yet less and less I’m sad about that and more and more I’m happy about my future. It’s taken a long time, but all that work I did was worth it to not FEEL THAT DESPERATE, SICK, ALL-ENCOMPASSING SHAME ABOUT MY MERE EXISTENCE all the time.

A big hug to everyone who has shared their stories. It truly is a great help to me to be able to read everyone’s stories and write my own. It validates my own experiences in a way which I cherish.


That is amazing! True.. It’s never too late! I went to college at 24 and earned my 4 yr degree at 29.
I also had an interest in fashion design.. But I was not encouraged to go for it. Instead to took 2 min wage jobs and had to rely on my mom to drive me caste no one would teach me how to drive!
I was 32 when I learned. My husband taught me. It have me a sense of being independent. It really helped my confidence to drive like other people!
But fear and anxiety still plague me at 50 years old today! I still have panic attacks while driving but I press on!
I’m so happy Pat that you followed your dreams anyhow!
I was told I would waste my money and not to go to college. I not only went, I found out how to fiancé it and I also had many years of being on the honor list!
I didn’t do well in high school. I was abused by my peers and teachers sometimes too. I have no idea how I made it out alive.


Hi Callynt #34

I experienced extreme rage throughout my recovery process too. It is a good thing. To me it meant that I was finally facing the reality of what my parents did to me and the losses that I incurred because of their abuse, allowing my self to express all of that penned up anger and rage that I had to stuff down when I was a child, in order that I could be free from the damaging affects of their abuse in the end.

When I realized the depth and magnitude of what my mother did to me and the losses that I incurred because of her actions I was ready to kill!!! I said to my one friend now I “get” how people kill each other!! I would take the remote control and pretend that it was a knife and I would pound the pillows over and over and over again screaming at the top of my lungs I hate you I hate you I hate you. I went through this process many times throughout my recovery until one day I finally got it all out of my system and now I can say I no longer carry around all of that anger and resentment towards my mother because I was willing to allow my self to go to that place inside of my self and realize just how heinous her actions towards me really were out of no fault of my own I might add. So many betrayals to overcome. This was a huge point in my recovery. I no longer took on her poor behavior and made it my own anymore. Sounds like you are doing the same thing.

If we would have been allowed to express our feelings to begin with we wouldn’t be in this situation right now. So allow yourself to get angry. You are right. You deserve to feel this way after what they did to you. The truth is we DID lose many years of our lives due to the damaging affects of our parents abuse but we are not dead yet!! All we can do now is regroup and learn a new healthier way of thinking to replace the sick mind sets that our parents taught us and move on with our lives free from the burdens of our past. Sorry you have to go through this too but think of it as a stepping stone to your freedom. It will pass if you keep on working at it.



Yes, they do like to find reasons, any one will do to stir things up. My mom thrives on stirring the pot too.
When she wasn’t able to rummage through my home looking for something that my sister have me… Was a gift but decided she wanted it back, she got angry!
I just moved to my new home here about 2 months ago. I had everyone over for Father’s Day for a steak dinner… I cooked myself.
That wasn’t good enough! She wanted to be able to see me during the day, that morning and find my sisters gift to me.
It wasn’t ok. She got insulted! Said that normal people get invited during the daytime not just at night or weekends to people’s homes and that I was not being normal.
She also is angry I’ll only talk by email. Because of many reasons, one with her being abusive on the phone and slamming the phone down cause she didn’t want me calling her everyday…I was just married and moved to a new town 1000 miles away and just had my child… Reaching out made her angry… And with my mouth cAncer last year I am not able wanting to talk.
She knows this but threw it my face and said I wasn’t normal.
I don’t need this crap.


Kris #42,

Wow, I love your way to get rid of the rage against your mother. That must have felt quite cathartic.



I also felt I could never get things right too Danielle.
And when I expressed that to my mom the other day…
She was like? What are you taking about? My GOD Kimberly… What is wrong with you!


Kimberly #45:

That’s why I’ve given up with my mother! And I’ve never been happier! She’ll never love me, and never give me what I want (which is basic human respect and a mother’s love) and I just have to deal with that.

The benefit of this realization is that I never have to see her again. I’ll never speak/write/see/acknowledge her existence.

I understand that we are all at a different point in our journey. It took me a long time to reach this point and it was a struggle, one might almost say a years-long battle. It hurts me to read about your unbeneficial exchanges with your mother. Disengagement is sometimes the best.



Sadly, I too must go away and stay away. This time for good. I wanted to be sure, esp with my late stage cancer… But now I know.

She actually brought up me agreeing with her while I was sick, I didn’t want to agree that it was my fault.

She hits way below the belt. She is so bitter and cruel. My daughter keep telling me she could feel an angry person but I tried to see the good.

I was told after I told her I didn’t want to talk to her anymore… Well she said… Your dad will be sad but you do this over and over. You don’t understand us, basically saying that there is something wrong with me and I’m not normal.
I can’t fucking believe how mean she can be… Even still. I just am astonished. I have an 29 percent chance of being alive within the next 4 years…
And she picks this fight with me cause she can’t have her own way… Then she goes on and on how things aren’t her way and sad her life is.
She has always been jealous of me… And very controlling.
Since she can’t control me… She will tell me I’m not normal.


You are lucky that your mom is moving… I sadly moved within 4 miles of her. And 5 miles from a sister who I see just took her side again…
Yes, she can throw me under the bus quite quickly…. In fact when I was diagnosed with my stage 4 cancer last year… She only came to see me a few times over the year.
Her husband and his family… No visits, calls or cards… That should of clued me in right there.
But yes… Dealing with running into them is quite stressful.
But I tend to shop in the city anyhow… And they won’t go there.
So it is what it is.


Pam, RE: your comment# 33; such an accurate description if my own life both with my FOO and then how it affected the way I related to the outside world. I relate to being owned and objectified rather than seen as a person. I felt unwanted and unloved by my mother unless I could be used for something like cleaning, and then as an adult she was not there for me but would call if she wanted to use me for something. I didn’t learn to think for myself either. ( of course when I hit adulthood I was supposed to know how even though I was not taught how) mutual respect didn’t exist with my mother. She was supposed to get all the respect and I got none. No wonder I felt I had no right to respect and was walked all over my whole life. Yes, the way we are brought up primes us for how we are treated later on. People seem to know who to zero in on.
Things started to change for me a little over two years ago. That’s when I first found EFB, and it was the first time I was exposed to the possibility that maybe there wasn’t something wrong with me; maybe what I learned to believe about myself was false. Maybe I was lovable after all. Maybe I had been trained and brainwashed to think less of myself and to take the blame for things I shouldn’t, and to keep trying yo please others to somehow earn their love. It is a slow journey, and I always wondered how deep into the process I would need to be in order to gather the courage to stand up to people. Well, I think I finally overturned enough if the lies, and gained enough respect for myself two years into the process to pull it off! In the past two weeks, I said no ( and didn’t waver) to an unreasonable request from someone, and in another situation with different people where I needed to say no and held my ground, this couple became verbally nasty. . I let them know that their behavior was out if line and if it happens again the relationship is over. and I kept my ” no” in place.
Many thanks to you and Darlene; you both have been very helpful through my journey!


Amber, I’m glad sharing what broke me has helped you relearn who you are and how to be in the world. None of us are born knowing everything and a lot of what we learn in childhood, is false. Everyone has to unload that baggage and figure out what is true. Those of us who suffered personal damage in childhood have to do a deeper work and learn what is true about ourselves. I don’t think any of us are able to do that totally, alone. You also, help me by validating what I’ve suffered and overcome by using it to better your life and taking time to let me know about it. You’ve given me a sweet gift this morning, through your comment.:0)




Yes, I’m lucky that she’s moving, but I don’t know when. She doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry to leave. I hope it’s within a year or two.

She’s retired on a limited income, but doesn’t want to get a job because she’s bitter about the last one she had for about 30 years. I wonder why she didn’t find a new one during that time. She blames everything on the job she had including her COPD, her hearing loss, and her mean behavior towards me as a child, and it was my fault for not understanding her.

She retired three years ago, but she was still a volatile control freak when I moved in with her almost two years ago because of hard financial times. She would get in conniption fits for small infractions or because I didn’t want unsolicited help. Well, she no longer has her job as a crutch to lean on; it seems that she enjoys dominating people and blaming other things for her actions. My two older siblings live in other places, but are much more sycophantic. Sometimes I wonder why she can’t move in with her golden boy and his family (my golden sister’s place is too small) or one of our well-off family member’s place, especially how she goes on about the importance of family. Why complain about finances, but not move in with someone she likes to save money? I don’t get it. Like I said, I hope she leaves ASAP.


Hey Darlene! it’s been a long time since I’ve commented on your blog. I’ve been doing a ton of healing and my self confidence is growing daily.

This article takes me back to when I was 15 and my first relationship with a boy was abusive. He actually threated to kill me one time and I was so messed up back then I wanted him to do it. He said if he had his knife he would have and that it was my lucky day. Prior to that day we had a volatile relationship.

Looking back now I realize my self worth was nil and dying was starting to look really good. I grew up with a mentally ill mother and an enabling father so my sense of value was really off the charts.

I’ve come so far since then and it still amazes me how we all seem to tell ourselves that we somehow deserved to be hurt and abused. My parents were too young, uneducated and both came from homes where chilrden had very little value unless it was to serve their parents needs.

I am so grateful to myself and all the healers who invested in my healing journey. I love myself more than I ever have and each day as I heal I discover a new part of me that I truly adore. I don’t see my self as a victum or a survivor anymore. I see my self as a Soul who is on a journey of self love and self discovery. I’m not defined by the way others treat me, I understand that being human means there will always be learning and growing.

I am more gentle with myself now and it feels awesome. Thanks to all the Souls out there who share their experiences, it’s very clear we are not alone and if we choose to save ourselves we become our own hero’s. It’s very empowering to know that I have all the courage and strength already inside of me. If I made it this far that says a lot about everyone else out there. The power of choice is like having wings that take me to a whole new level of loving myself.

Thank you Darlene for all you have done for all of us and Congratulations on all your success, you deserve it my Sista, keep flying! Hugs!


Pam, you’ve given a sweet gift right back to me! Although I am learning to self validate, it is still sweet to get validation from others. Xoxoxo!


Omg… My mom just called. My dad has cancer… Turns out one of his polyps was in fact cancer. I’m crying.. I’m scared… And I told my mom I love him and to not tell at him anymore. Oh god… What do I do?


Kimberly, sending you some big hugs! I know how hard it is to receive this kind of news about a family member. And it is a scary thing. I just took things one day at a time, helping my family member get the very best treatment. And remember to take care of yourself. It is easy to forget about our own needs at a time like this, but oh so important to do some self care. Xoxoxo, Amber


Thank you Amber;)
I went to see him and he seemed very happy to see me. He pleaded with me to not fight with my mom…
He asked me to do it for him… To let it go. How can you say no to your dad who just had bad news?
I told him about the day I got the news. He genuinely seemed to appreciate me.
I really hate letting it go…my mom always get off the hook in life… But he is 80.
I tried to tell him I don’t want visitors during the day… He is not unable to hear me… He has been trained or is
Just not able. He said that when she gets upset she takes it out on him.
She has also threatened him with a gun too.
I’m still not inviting anyone over but I will go visit and I’ll pick up now and then and do half email.
I’ll do that for him. He isn’t and wasn’t anywhere near as mean as my mom. I just feel so sad today.
He’s 80… I can’t see him surviving cancer at his age… And he has really bad diabities… But I’m going to pray anyhow…thank you amber… Very much.


Hi Danielle,

All I can say is releasing all of that penned up rage and anger I had towards my mother was a process. It took me 2 ½ years to do it. Each time I would discover more betrayals that she did to me it would reignite all of that penned up rage all over again. It was emotionally and physically exhausting!!! But in time that rage began to dissipate as I continued to release it throughout my recovery process and I am still discovering things that my mother did to me but it doesn’t nearly affect me in the same way as it did before. Now its more like I am “just adding one more thing to my list of betrayals by my mother” type of thing


Hi Kimberly # 56,

My thoughts and prayers are with you regarding the news about your father and I understood how difficult it would be to say no to your father when he asked you to let things go regarding your mother but when things settle down and you have some time to think try asking your self this question: Is it fair to you for your father to ask you to allow your mother to continue to disrespect you by telling you to just “let things go”???

I want what’s best for you and sweeping your mother’s disrespectful behavior under the rug isn’t the answer. Dealing with it and setting up your own boundaries is how you will feel better about your self, not by letting your mother “off the hook” which is enabling her to be disrespectful to you all over again. Your father doesn’t see this truth but you can. This is how you can stop this sick cycle of abuse. Your mother gets “left off the hook” because everyone lets her. I just wouldn’t feel right my self if I wasn’t being honest with you. Don’t mean to put more pressure on you now.




Kris is absolutely correct! That’s terrible news about your father, but exculpating your mother only helps her, not you or others who are being abused by her. I don’t even know why he’s still married to her. I have a great feeling that he didn’t do a very good job of protecting you and your sister when you were children. I have a difficult time sympathizing with a weaker parent who stands by and does nothing to take action to defend children from the dominant one. He should’ve gotten a divorce a long time ago. You and your sister probably would’ve grown up in a healthier environment. Your parents’ old ages doesn’t free your father from seeing the truth nor your mother for holding herself accountable.


Thank you Kris,
Your right on all accounts. They been married over 50 years and we all had it from every front it seemed in life.

His cancer triggers my cancer last year… They are both around 80 years old and they live in a home that is very old and crumbling…

I hate to think what will become of them if one passes the other will barely survive. And the location has many steps and is in the woods.

My brother I think had it the wrist and the.n he was in a tragic military accident and he is very unstable too.
I have to worry about him too.

No matter what happens it’s going to be awful here. I’m trying to have a life I deserve and things just got better again for me. Yet I have my own issues too.

I’m just so very much overwhelmed and my daughter needs me too. I can’t fix rings and I feel doom. As this article here is about. I feel it.

So I’m just going to take care of me as much as I can as well here. Live my life as usual, take it one day at a time…
Thank you!


Yes 1988…
I was screamed at 24/7 by my mom and pretty much ignored by my dad.
He tells me it’s her way and I shouldn’t get worked up over things.
I tried to tell him I had boundaries, that I don’t want her coming over during the day, but he couldn’t hear my thoughts, feelings…
I kept trying to tell him how I felt, but he didn’t want to hear my side. He told me that when I argue with her… She is awful to be around and it makes his life miserable.
And I’m sure it does. When I was young I tried to tell him this too.. He said to leave the room and go into another room but she would of been mad! And she would if followed me too and it would of Made things worse.
Thankfully I got married and moved away around age 29. Found someone who helped me learn to drive, encouraged me. Etc.
I’ll just have to maybe just not respond to her and be silent. In stead of arguing back I could just say, I’m busy today. I can’t talk. I’ll call back.,., etc. Cause no one cares to hear me, no one respects my thoughts, so I’ll be silent.
I usually go over to visit once a week. I think that is all I can do… It’s enough. It’s more than they deserve. But I don’t mind. I have love, compassion for them… Somehow.
Buy yes, I must not love myself less in doing so.
My sister is silent as usual. I know she plans to move out of state as soon as they can both retire. Never mind me here, the one who has a 29 percent chance if being alive in5 yeas and now this…
Leaving me with our brother who is dangerous and now sick abusive parents.
Yet they admire her. Depend on her.
She has barely been there during my cancer last year. I think she seen me a few times…
She has a right to move, it’s not my call… But it will leave me alone, sick and burdened.


Kris, Regarding your comments baout Kimberley’s mother, I agree that by not addressing the problem by Kimberly will keep re-enforcing to her mom that her behaviour is ok. Breaking the cycle of violence is such an important part of reclaiming one’s own power which must include bundaries.
Kimberly, I and no doubt many others on this forum understand the fears you may be facing at the moment but you can still love your dad but not take on board his values. You are not him or his choices. Trust your own instincts nd try not to be swayed by other opinions.
You can listen to your heart and ask yourself how would you treat someone in this situation, does it feel ok for you and if so then honour your own integrity.
Love and blessings on this journey


Thank you Chris, I do agree with you.
I decided to try to be civil… No more thoughtful daily emails… To my mom.
Only responding when getting updates from him. No more… Love Kimberly’s at the end.. I’m letting her know in the nicest way possible. It was not ok.
And when I went over yesterday to comfort my dad… She took awhile to cone downstairs. Not much eye contact but she talked nice. No hug goodbye.
Oh she talked about funny things that happened with her and my sister when they took him for his colonosoy.
Knowing hiw hurt I feel caste she always calls and relies on my sister.
It’s like she is so jealous of me… Wants me to be on the outside and wants her and everyone else to be close and throw it in my face.
I see excatly who Abd what she is all about.


Kimberly ~ It isn’t fair for your father to blame you for the way your mother treats him. When he says that when you stand up to her, she takes it out on him ~ that is HIS problem. It isn’t YOUR responsibility if your mother is nasty to your father. He has a choice too. He says that it is “her way” ~ What does that even mean?? That is just accepting unacceptable behaviour and if he wants to do that, that is his choice.

Love and compassion does not put up with abuse, disrespect or hurtful behaviour. I believe that the most loving thing I did with my own mother was tell her that she couldn’t treat me that way anymore. And when she didn’t listen, I made a new choice.

Having said all of that, I understand that this is a hugely stressful time in your life right now and my heart goes out to you.
hugs, Darlene


Hi Lora!
I love your comment!! I love this sentence you wrote ~ “I don’t see my self as a victim or a survivor anymore. I see my self as a Soul who is on a journey of self love and self discovery. I’m not defined by the way others treat me, I understand that being human means there will always be learning and growing.”
And I agree that the power of choice is like having wings! I am so passionate about everyone getting those wings!!!
Thanks for sharing,
hugs, Darlene


I am not putting up with her abuse… If I were I never would of stood up for myself but there comes a time when your beating an dead horse.
I do have much compassion and love. Just because I struggle doesn’t mean I have none.
I’m trying to be kind yet keep my distance. Cause no matter what happens…
It’s me not being allowed to have feelings…
It’s not going to change after 80 years.
They think I blow things out of proportion. That I’m too


Hi Pam
Thank you so much for your comment. That was and is my goal. I want people to be able to relate in a way that they realize what happened to them and that it is logical that our self esteem was damaged.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Callynt
Thanks for listening to the interview! I enjoyed doing it; Liz is so much fun and I love her energy.
I think anger is a really necessary stage. I think that anger indicates that you are finally validating that what happened TO YOU was wrong and that it caused damage. And no, you didn’t deserve it.
Thanks, for sharing.
hugs, Darlene


I have been no contact off and on all my life.
What I had done wasn’t working. So now I have to
Do something else. Which is keep my distance and be civil.
I see exactly now why no one listens…
Or ever will… They see me as the problem and always have.
And they will not change at 80 years old.
I will be there but when I can… How I can. I won’t talk much…
I won’t share my thoughts anymore.
Cause they refuse to listen.


Loved reading your comments about your sewing and your dreams to teach and the accomplishment of those dreams!
YES we must keep going and never give up! Thanks for your comments!
hugs, Darlene


Hi Danielle
Thank you for sharing your story! I completely relate to that feeling (which was a belief!) of why can’t I ever get it right.. having freedom from that lie is so freeking wonderful!
hugs, Darlene


and she won’t be invited over… Twice a year is it.
I’ll help them when they are sick. But it won’t be at my expense.
I need to learn the 5 minute rule.
Some get an evening, others an hour, and some 5 minutes.
And done talking, it’s abusive to me and them to keep beating a dead horse
And it’s not healthy for me.
I’m done trying to be heard.
No phone calls from me. Will cut emails in half.
Yet I’ll be civil. If this doesn’t work… Then NC.
I see no other way.


Hi Kris
Thanks for listening to the interview! Yes, validation is such a huge key in this whole thing. I first was told by someone else that what happened to me was not my fault, and then I learned to tell it to myself. That was where all the magic happened! That is why I work one on one with people today!
Hugs, Darlene


I could relate so well with what you wrote. About a boy meaning the world to me and how everything is wrapped up in that. My first love was at 14… When he left me at age 18…I fell apart. I didn’t get over him till after I married around age 30. I still think of our time together as he was the first person outside my family who ever paid attention to me and loved me.
But looking back, he wasn’t very healthy. And I had no idea at the time cause he was actually healthier than anyone else I knew. He turned to selling drugs and drinking later on… We started to fight a lot and then he left me. All my dreams of being his wife, having his kids were gone.

I worked a few dead end jobs and I’m not quite sure how I survived. I started to drink a lot on the weekends and would hook up with Anyone who paid attention to me. Not sure how I lucked out today. I feel very grateful to Jesus for that and for curing me of my cancer.

I guess we all had these things happen cause we were ripe for the picking.
I’m glad you overcame, that we all have. We all have much to be thankful for.
I never would be as healthy and well adjusted as I am today if not for my husband.
He’s been am godsend to me.


I made a big step forward with boundary placing today;)
I had informed my mom that me being online everyday was taking too much valuable time from my life…
And it is. I nicely told her that I will only be checking for messages once a day from 8-10 am after my breakfast
And morning walk cause I have to get my cleaning done and I am going to find a few hobbies to enrich my life.
So just once a day… Not all day long will she be emailing me and then expecting am email several times a day.
That ends now.
After much thought, I have been too open and kind with someone who is very hateful and ever since she made those remarks to me…I had reconsidered that. To tell me that if I love my dad I will respond back to her about my dad’s cancer news, was really an terrible thing to say to me. It was bad enough to get that news. I think my mom is evil. I don’t think she is mentally ill anymore. I think she is possibly evil.
Cause I can’t wrap my brain around how she can say that to me…
And I won’t be emailing… I’ll be responding to only my dad’s progress.
I have my eyes wide open now. The gloves are off. Things will be on my terms only.
I won’t argue… I won’t fight. I’ll just won’t respond.
I’ll be kind and compassionate as I do love them…
But it won’t be at my expense.



Good for you! You no longer need to obey an abusive parent at your age. (You’re old enough to be MY mother for crying out loud.)

I just hope that your father gains the same courage as well. He’s more vulnerable now that he’s ill. Of course, only he can make this choice. No one else can do it for him.

It’s creepy how your mother acts. She definitely shatters the common belief that people mellow with age. One would think an octogenarian would be too old to be much of a threat.

Continue setting boundaries. You don’t need such drama, especially in your condition.


Re Kris #42 Yup.. Everything you said about anger and rage towards dear old Moms treatment I have experienced. I have been hanging on to it because I never want to forget, because I have a habit of letting it go then the abuser sees an opening and off we go again. I am permanently no contact with her and my brother.
Im finding the anger release to be similar to grief. It is slowly settling.
At first with grief its overwhelming – so painful you don’t think you can bear it.
Realizing the abuse and exploitation for that’s what it was, were deliberate, a choice she made, was enraging to me. Partly at myself for not seeing it. Being groomed to always accept, made me a perfect target.
I am reading an amazing book called
The Betrayal Bond by Patrick Carnes which has explained my childhood to me and how it set me up to repeat toxic relationships and why. Easy to understand and it has question/answer areas so you can understand your own situation better.


Kimberly..I could talk forever to my mother in a reasoning tone, giving valid proof and seeking compromise. She will always see me as the problem, because to her I was. I stopped trying to prove myself to someone who does not care. She only used me when she needed something. Nothing more. Im not like that. Couldn’t be that way. So I could not see it, after all she’s mom.
One day I realized she’s just a woman who gets her needs met by using others. She likes it that way. She’s very intellectual so I thought I could reach her, but no. The dysfunction is too set.
So I gave up giving her my life and my energy for I finally saw I have a right to them for myself.
Hugs Karen

marquis (female)
July 2nd, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Hmm, back in high school, I was searching for “love” to help leave my situation. I remember a guy back then who was a college age would provide me a home if I gave him sex whenever I wanted and said you’re the one who wants to leave home so badly as you’re making the adult decision. He stipulated I wouldn’t be allowed to work or have my own freedom, really? Same crap at home! I stopped talking to the guy he became dangerous in his own mind.

I didn’t know what to do how was I suppose to leave without some kind of funds or have that warrior spirit to do it for myself. I wasn’t taught about self respect all I saw was a lousy little girl who ran away from her problems allowing my dad to abuse her any chance he got and basically said oh well that’s how you solve your problems with people – oh really?

“It was bad enough to get that news. I think my mom is evil. I don’t think she is mentally ill anymore. I think she is possibly evil.”

I feel the same way with “that woman.”


I think when we think change can occur we set ourselves up to be hurt even me. I have never in my life known or had witness to people who are most likely narcissistic/evil change.
I honestly don’t believe that can ever happen… I seen people find God and fool people. I see people say what others what to hear only to change for awhile.
And yes when we grow up not knowing what is ok and what isn’t… What the hell do people expect? What point of reference do we have? There are many bumps in the road till we reach where we should be. At that healthy place. Absolutely;)
I just want to thank you guys for being there for me .. I have no real life friends… I’m isolated in my home cause that’s where I’m safe. Happy.
I need to save myself, be a mom, a wife… Pet owner… I need to care about myself cause all my life… It’s always been about others.


((Hugs back at you Karen)))) and everyone!


1988… Your making me feel old! Lol! Were you born in 88?



Yes I was. My username is my first initial combined with my birth year. I didn’t mean to make you feel old.


Lol! Thought so! That was a pretty good year for me! No! Don’t be sorry! Lol! I happy to be old… It means I beat cancer, yet another day!!!


I think many do mellow with age. However I think that’s the difference between evil people who were born that way and mentally I’ll people who may of been predisposed and/or abused in life…
After time, some learn, her this is not ok… And maturity sets in. My mom is like an 8 yr old stuck in an 78 yr kids body.
She can be very nice, charming… But underneath she is very bitter, jealous, controlling and very very angry.
And I’ll never know what I did to her… Why she hates me… She claims to love me… Tells me everyday in her letters to me. Has done nice things…
But there are very dark twisted things she has said done to me…
Things I can’t even write about.
I’m shocked I’m not like her.



“I think when we think change can occur we set ourselves up to be hurt even me. I have never in my life known or had witness to people who are most likely narcissistic/evil change.”

That’s an ugly reality that I’m waking up to as I get older. I guess that’s a part of growing up. I’m grown up physically, but internally I’m still learning things that I haven’t noticed before. I notice that the older I get, the more cynical I am. I’m not as hopeful of cruel people changing like I was when I was in my teens/early 20’s.

The only time I’ve seen vicious people change is in fiction. In some movies, TV shows, and books, the villain starts off evil, then has a change of heart later in the story. (Even in some of the stories I write as a hobby, a cruel person changes for the better later on. I guess this is a sign that I still have a bit of hope of abusers changing in the real world.)

Of course, abusers have the ABILITY to change. The question is do they have the DESIRE? Most don’t seem like they do because in their eyes, there’s nothing wrong with them, and their victims are the ones with the problem.

The important thing is to focus on changing ourselves, not try to change others.


Ha! That’s the key! To work on us and not trying to change others…
Yes! Because we can’t anyhow… And if they can… Yes… There must be desire, yup.
Oh the eyes are a dead give away.
Once, when I was a teenager my mom gave me some nice perfume for Xmas… And a few other things one year.
As soon as I unwrapped it… She wanted to use it. I didn’t have much.. And I hesitated… She told me my eyes were the window to my soul and that I was greedy.
I felt so much shame. But she always had a way if shaming me. Shame has done much damage to me over the years.
I still have issues with sex even after 20 years of marriage…It’s like i can’t even talk about what I would like. Cause of shame.
In fact, I felt more shame after being married having sex than I did before I got married. If that makes any sense…
She once called me a whore cause I thought I was pregnant at 17… Which was a flase alarm. She has told me to go f&ck a tree. Just a few things I remember….
I am quite surprised I even still talk to her.


Kimberly, my mother was also very very immature even into her senior years. Like your mother, mine could be very charming. She was especially sociable and charming to people outside our home. But she had a dark side, very jealous of others, unrealistic expectations, very demanding and could be very mean. I bore a large brunt of her meanness. She put me down so much, calling me ugly and loved to tell me that guys I was interested in were not interested in me. And a couple of times when we were at parties at a relatives house and she noticed that guys were paying attention to me, she got very envious. She wanted to be the center of attention and resented getting older and having a daughter that people were showing an interest in. She also wanted me to be the family slave, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, and ironing and vacuuming as a young child, and as an adult she wanted all the family burdens to be on me, always making excuses why my brothers should be doing nothing and I should be doing everything, including flying across country to take her to doctors appointments that she could have had an aide from her assisted living take her to. She was not interested in my proms, wedding, and later on, showed no interest in her own grandchildren. She never helped me out, yet she thought it was my duty to be there for her. I’m getting mad as I type this; she was so unfair to me and so many times I complied, thinking she would finally love me. She didn’t, she just used me. Kimberly, I am sure you did nothing to your mother, just like I did nothing to mine to make her dislike me. It was something within her that made her that way, nothing that I did. But in her eyes, I was a disappointment to her, I fell short of what she thought a daughter should be, not pretty enough, or whatever. She didn’t love me. But atleast I’ve come far enough to realize that just because she never saw my value, it doesn’t mean that I am not a lovable and valuable person.


Absolutely Amber;)
I was a house salve too. Yup. And I can relate about no interest in the wedding.
Since I moved in with my husband before we were married… Mother’s Day she won’t accept our gift… We were planning on getting married within a few months, planning our wedding… But no!
She told me that she would have my wedding for her, not me. That she would be doing it not for me.
I’m so sorry Amber, I know how that feels.
My mom also had no interest in my daughter… And the few times she was around her, she wasn’t very nice or adult.
My daughter told her at 6 that I allowed her to have her ears pierced and that unlike me… I had to wait till I was ten!
Children are like that… But she told high offense to what a 6 yr old would say.
If a child would give her a snooty or mean look… She would get very much offended.
Most adults laugh things off or just ignore that. She is stuck on immature.
And she argues with everyone. Everyone at almost every store, esp poor sales clerks…. Oh, they would get an earful.
She has been mean bad nasty to almost every neighbor… Then wonders why they don’t like her.
I had one neighbor girl growing up who was really snotty who would never talk to me, say hello cause she was very mean…
When I told my mom… While even going through cancer treatmebt this…’she was like… Oh she’s ok… She was never mean to me!
Really? That’s how you talk to your daughter?
I could never say such a mean thing to my own child… In fact, I wouldn’t say such a thing to anyone…just seems very catty.
And yes I agree amber… We didn’t deserve this and I seriously doubt we did something to deserve this…
You just don’t treat your child like that!


When my daughter was born, I swore I would never be the mother my mother was. (There is always a sibling -eight of us- not on speaking terms with my mother. She’s a difficult person.) Yet, it is 37 years later and my oldest daughter will have nothing to do with me. If I didn’t have another daughter (who I have a loving relationship with) the pain would be overwhelming. I have offered to pay for counseling for us but my oldest daughter has rejected the offer. So I understand the intense pain from a lacking mother but I also understand the pain from a daughter who is convinced I am the worse mother on earth. I truly feel beat-up by my daughter. I wonder how many people on this site have ever attempted to go through counseling. There are two sides to every story.


Welcome to EFB ~ I agreed to go to counseling with my mother but she didn’t follow up. You would be shocked at how many of us here have tried to do that. Not all situations are the same. I hope you will read more of this site, especially my articles, before you make a lot of false judgements about what is going on here. It was through healing the wounds of my childhood that I healed the relationships with my own children.
hugs, Darlene

Hi Everyone,
I have discovered a blank spot in my vision and went to emerg last night. I have to meet with an eye surgeon this morning. They suspect that I have a torn retina. Please send some positive thoughts my way! I may not be commenting for a while.
Hugs, Darlene


My mom could of written that last post. She cures to everyone what a terrible person I am.
But she leaves much info out. How she pulled a gun on us, calling me a whore. Playing mind games.. Even when I had cancer and still may die.
It’s up to the parent to raise a child who is loving and communicate. It’s never the child’s fault. I’m sure your other child is favored by you? Bet money on that. Your post is insulting to everyone here. Your acting like my mom!


I’ll pray for you this morning Darlene… That must be quite scary!


Coming in late, I have a summer job, been busy.

I can relate. It’s always our fault. We made them angry.

Oh, and the boyfriend who beat me up had NEVER hit a woman in his life so it was OBVIOUSLY my fault.

And this goes back to my mom, who made everything my fault because I didn’t have the same opinions and feelings on things as she did.

I’m slowly learning that my mom is a “covert” narcissist. Some of my issues with her are a difference of opinion but other things she is plain WRONG! I have now realized she cannot admit she is wrong. She still gives me the “I would have done things differently if I had known” line. Um….. you were WRONG! Where is the admission of being wrong? I once got her to admit she didn’t like being held accountable (I had to back her in a corner with a Law and Order Interrogation to get her to admit this…) Not being willing to be held accountable is a symptom of narcissism. But she is “covert.”


My parents see no issues, the only thing they feel is wrong is ME. I’m supposed to shut up and accept mean things said to me, and when I speak up I’m told I’m wrong… They don’t even listen to me. My entire life I had learned not to speak. As I grew up and got around healthy people, I noticed people let me have an opinion and if I was hurt they at least hear me out and won’t say… You shoukdnt feel that way, your wrong, your too sensitive… YOU YOU YOU!
Really, I’m suppose to not get upset when my mom calls me a whore? Tells me I’m fat and shouldn’t wear an mini skirt? I was even fat. But that’s the point.
I think you learn much if you would stop judging and read the stories here…
I feel bad for your daughter whom your scapegoating… I hope she has someone who listens to her, who loves her…
I see a very apparent agenda here… And I don’t like it.


Heather, when I read your comment (#3), I realize I still have issues with “big pubas” (high ranking people at work….)

Kris (#5), guys would tell me I LOVE YOU after like a third date. What was I supposed to do? It was too early! I would rehearse and rehearse “lines” to get out of it, but I would always “cave” when it happened.

Kris (#24) the worst part is to admit there were lies! I’m struggling with that myself.

Gotta catch up later.



Sending hugs and prayers your way!! Sorry you had to go through this. Quite scary to say the least.



Hi Winterfell,

I must say your comment hit a nerve so forgive me if this sounds harsh but this is how I truly feel. Like you said there are two sides to every story and this is mine.

It is my experience that children who felt loved and respected by their parents don’t want to leave them when they are an adult. If I had a child that didn’t want anything to do with me then I would be looking at my self to see what the problem was and not them. There is always a reason why and I can tell you the reason why isn’t that your child felt loved and respected by you or they never would have left you to begin with because THAT JUST DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.

I am sure my mother thinks the same way you do wondering what is wrong with me after all she did for me when the truth is that woman brainwashed me into believing a pack of lies about my self in order to make her own self feel better crippling me along the way. HER fears and insecurities got in the way of providing me with a loving and safe home and she still can’t see what she did wrong till this day and she never will because she isn’t willing to do all the hard work and suffer through all the pain like I am doing right now so she WOULD be able to see the TRUTH about how she used and abused her own daughter for her own sick selfish purposes all stemming from fears and insecurities that were planted in her head by her own mother that makes it next to impossible for her to see just how much damage she has done to her own daughter for what???????

To me if my mother felt that bad and that hurt she would do anything in her power to make our relationship work yet she does absolutely nothing but say the ball is in my court and I can tell you I don’t feel like playing ball with someone who can’t ever admit that they are wrong after they cost me YEARS and YEARS of my life due to THEIR own issues getting in the way OUT OF NO FAULT OF MY OWN.

Get over your self. If you love your daughter stop bad mouthing her and look for a way to make amends with her and that means taking a look inside of your self instead of looking for things that she did wrong because any way you slice it YOU were the adult in this situation not her. It was up to you to make sure your daughter felt loved and protected and somewhere along the way she didn’t and that spells something that YOU did wrong.

Nothing will change until you stop putting your needs before your own daughter’s. You playing the “woe is me” card won’t bring your daughter back to you. Looking inside your self and figuring out what went wrong along the way will. I wish you the best but you have to start being honest with your own self first.



I find Winterfell’s post odd, too. Children who were raised well don’t grow up disliking their parents. I know what it’s like to be the “bad” one. My two older siblings are favored by her because they cater to her and defend her unquestionably.

During my first estrangement, I received emails from her with non-apologies like, “Please forgive me for not being perfect.” and “Don’t be negative.” I felt like such a fool for disregarding them and moved in with her when I had financial hard times. Nothing had changed, and said that she “forgave” me, but scolded me for leaving and condemning the family. She even said that she yelled at me when I was younger because she was stressed out from her job and working as a single mother, and that I should’ve been understanding of her. What? It’s not a child’s job to understand adults, and implied it was my fault for being mistreated by her. She continued to treat me like a bad child over small infractions or for not accepting unsolicited help.

After over a year, I finally was able to move out. During this second time of estrangement, there isn’t heavy pressure to join the family (so far), but every now and then, I receive texts and emails from her, acting as if nothing happened and that we have a relationship. I don’t respond, giving her the silent treatment. Why she pulls these shenanigans is beyond me.

Something’s funny about the situation. Maybe Winterfell should stop and think about what she’s doing wrong instead of making herself out to be the perfect mother.


If my mother made an honest attempt at making amends with me I would be more then open to try and work things out with her but she does NOTHING and I can’t help that she refuses to get help despite me telling her exactly what the problem here is. She rather continue on the same sick toxic path then have a relationship with her own daughter. That is HER choice just like me staying the heck away from her is mine but that was never what I wanted. That is how she made it by choosing to continue to disrespect me by never acknowledging the truth about what went on in that house and the pain that she has caused me, still continuing to put her own needs first without any regard for me and how I feel and that’s why I no longer see her. She made that choice not me.



I’m in a similar position to yours. I didn’t want to be anything like my mother, but my relationships with my daughters are extremely strained to say the least. I felt sympathetic when I first read your post, until your last two sentences:
“I wonder how many people on this site have ever attempted to go through counseling. There are two sides to every story.”

That came across as judgmental and invalidating. Is that what you meant to do?




Hope your eye will be OK and your eyesight will remain healthy.



Darlene, sorry about your eye. I hope that this will get resolved quickly. Big hugs to you, Amber


Hi Hobie,

That’s what set me off as well!! I know your situation from reading previous posts. I get that there are some mother’s out there who are willing to admit when they are wrong and truly want to make amends to their children and their children still don’t want anything to do with them and that is one tough pill to swallow but I also understand where that child is coming from too. It’s scary when you have been hurt so badly to give your abusers a second chance knowing the potential of pain that they can inflict upon you.

You have to be strong enough with inside of yourself to be able to do it and many times these adult children didn’t get the help that they needed to overcome the devastating affects of being abused so they aren’t strong enough to stand up on their own two feet having the ability to set up their own boundaries and know that their parents will never be able to hurt them like they did before because now “I am an adult and I have choices” and “I won’t let them do that to me all over again.”

My heart goes out to everyone in these situations. I pray for God to soften everyone’s hearts enough so they can put themselves in the other person’s shoes and not pass judgment on them but instead focus on how can we make things better for one another in all of our relationships where abuse came in and infiltrated our lives.



Hi Everyone!
Thanks for the well wished about my eye emergency! I have a small lesion on my eye but there is no fluid under it so they are not worried about retinal detachment. They are not sure how it got there though so I need to have all the tests done over again in 2 weeks. Meanwhile I have been advised to take a break from the computer for a few days. :/
I will update when I can!
love and hugs, Darlene


Thank you for your response. I started crying when I read it. No, it was not meant to be judgmental. The very angry responses and assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. This site is probably not meant for me.



The downfall of written communication is the absence of tone.

Most of us here have heard the last two sentences that you wrote with a tone that made it clear that our side of the story just didn’t count. The words are triggers for most of us.

I guess this site isn’t for everyone, but it makes me a little sad to think it’s not for you. It’s been a great place for me.




This site is exactly the right site for you. Read all of Darlene’s posts. Learn from them. It would help if you could try and understand that we are dealing with people who are suffering from complex trauma and many of us have been in and out of therapy for eons so when you said: “I wonder how many people on this site have ever attempted to go through counseling. There are two sides to every story.” …as if we are a bunch of liars and we don’t know what we are talking about, that is what I found insulting because I am the one who did all the hard work not my mother, and I am the one who read umpteen books trying to find a way to overcome the damage that my parent’s abuse caused me and I am the one who pays to see my psychologist twice a week and drives a hour and ½ one way to go see him because no one around here treats DID, while my mother has done absolutely nothing, so when you say “I wonder how many of us have ever attempted to go through counseling” it is laughable to me but more importantly it shows me that you don’t understand the complexities of what being abused does to a person and the lengths to which we go through trying to overcome it and the pain and heartache we have suffered throughout our lives because of it and the losses that we have incurred right along with it.

I suspect that you and I aren’t so different except for the fact that I did all the hard work and you are just getting started. It doesn’t matter if your daughter wants to go to therapy with you or not. Why not go your self and see where it takes you??? I am sorry if I hurt your feelings and made you feel like you were being attacked. That was not my intention but you can’t make a comment like you did on a site like this without expecting some kind of back lash because many of us were more then willing to give our parents a second chance but THEY are the one’s who chose to throw us away all over again rather then facing the pain from their own pasts that caused them to cripple US for the rest of our lives and that is just one of the many realities that we as the abused have to deal with.




I could take a lesson from you on tone. Thanks for the input!! I needed to hear that so I can work on it my self.


Yes Amber my mother was like that. I existed to be her domestic servant. If I spoke up I was being ‘crazy.’ She had me so conditioned to believe I was bad at everything, and I wasn’t. I never realized I am good at a lot of things. I thought I was a bad diver. I’m not.I can drive a 34′ Rv dragging a 16′ trailer on the interstate. (and think its cool)Yeah! I rocK! What kind of person does that to her child deliberately? Someone you do not want in your life.
She just held me back with her fear, control and personal beliefs.


I question myself every day.
My son committed suicide.Yes there were drugs.
Yes there was dysfunction.
But if I was a better Mom would it have made a difference?
Was the dysfunction in my marriage a part of it?
I don’t know. Will never know. He was 31, an adult.
But we all know that the problems start so much younger.
It is something I live with each day as I become more aware of how my upbringing in an abusive family shaped me.
At least you have a chance in the future to work it out when both of you are ready. Hugs Karen


I’m so sorry. I can’t even begin to imagine how that feels.
The fact that you don’t blame him and are here… Tells me you
Were accountable and have an conscious.
It’s the parents of children who are numbing themselves, acting out
Who blame their bad children…who would never even question their part.
They are too busy blaming their child and feeling sorry for themselves.
There is def a difference… And there are no perfect parents.
Sometimes children are molested and never tell anyone… Turn to drugs and then
OD. Whole different story. Or it could be mental issues and things the parents had no knowledge
There are 2 types I believe. Those who care and try to help, and those who just blame
The child for everything.


“There are 2 types I believe. Those who care and try to help, and those who just blame
The child for everything.”

Ah, yes. I can relate to that. My mother belongs in the latter category.

True, there are no perfect parents, but it’s painful to hear that statement from an unrepentant parent as a way to absolve themselves from responsibility. After all, as my mom would say, I’m being negative for condemning her.


Karen R,

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your son. How horrible.

What you wrote here is key: “It is something I live with each day as I become more aware of how my upbringing in an abusive family shaped me.”

One day you will be free from the damaging affects of your own parents abuse because you are willing to take a look at the truth. Don’t beat your self up over things that you can’t do anything about anymore but instead learn how to forgive your self. I liked your accountability in your post. I think that’s all many of us here are looking for. Acknowledgment of our pain and an attempt to make amends for hurting us. No bells and whistles. Just common decency. Sounds like you are already doing that in regards to your son. I am sure he is listening and is happy about what he is hearing from his mother.

Peace to you,


Winter fell…
Why not search your heart and accept responsibility?
Don’t cry in pity over yourself, maybe think of your child?
Stay and grow….



Most of us here are finding ways to come to terms with the dysfunction of our family of origin. I’ve focused a lot on recovering from that because I believe that it will help me become a person who can accept responsibility for my part in damaging the relationships with my daughters.

I also have actually had a tendency to accept responsibility for things that WEREN’T my part in most of my relationships. I still look back on how I raised my daughters with the recognition that I really did mean well, but didn’t know how to practically demonstrate my good intentions.

In counseling I’ve been reminded that I’m not the only person to have influence on my children. My family of origin also had influence, and my ex-husband had influence. What I’m hoping to point out is that accepting responsibility doesn’t mean you have to take all the blame for how things have turned out so far.

I’ve also learned that I need to take care of myself within this process. I need a lot of my own healing to reach the point of being ready to try to restore relationships with my daughters.

I hope you’re still reading.



S1998 (#98, still trying to catch up….), my mom won’t apologize. She says she has, but all she does is say, “If I knew what I know now I would have done things differently.” THAT’S NOT AN APOLOGY!

I’m discovering my mom can’t admit she is WRONG!

Kris (#99), my mom refuses to believe the problem is her. Having to “see somebody” is terrifying to her because she might get “seen” accidentally by one of her friends.


When I was going through cancer treatment my mom cornered me right when I got home, exhausted and pale in bed… Had me in tears. I was dying btw.
Well I didn’t hear from you in 4 years!
As usual I blame myself for what others do… So I cried. I told her I was sorry I never called. What I meant in my heart was I was sorry things were so awful… That I should have a living mother… No.
I had to go nc cause her and my sister were bullies. I had to breathe. I didn’t see anything having a chance to improve. All I seen was more drama and pain coming my way.
So she threw that in my face last week when she had again attacked me and I was told to let her be who she is, that’s her way.
It’s really awful but it also makes me see why I was so unhappy all my life. It actually clued me into my dad’s heart. He couldn’t possibly love me or himself even…it’s cruel to say that to me.
I mean I just survived stage 4 cancer. Do I really need this? Then my mom threw it in my face! You were wrong! You told me several months you were wrong!
I think she is an evil person. I really am keeping my distance as much as possible. And it was her again, who lashed out and started it all but now she is the victim of her mean daughter.
Now I perfectly see why I was so messed up as a child, teenager with no real friends, depression, anxiety and wanting to kill myself.
Now I see WHY.


Oh forget to add this in…
She also told me, I heard when your going through the end of treatments.. Last few weeks that cancer psi tents can be hard to be around… So maybe I shouldn’t be there those last few weeks.
And I ended someone to help me up the stairs and she was the only one who could help me up when I got off the cancer center bus..
But I ended up in the hospital the last few weeks cause I was starving to death.
So you tell me again winterfell again.. I’m such an Bad daughter?


Thank you Kris and Kimberly for your kind thoughts. I have been working hard to stop self-destructive practices, stay in the moment and make better personal choices. I don’t beat myself up over my son but I do see now where dysfunction in our home helped to contribute to his attitude, actions and choices as a teenager and young adult.
I was extreemely supportive of him even after he did a couple of terrible things to me. Later as I saw the trend continue, I backed off and let him bear the result of his bad choices. It was tough love, very hard to watch and not step in again. But every time I helped, he used me or stole from me. By that time he was 29 and on the road with his girl friend, scamming others along the way.

When my husband retired 5 years ago, we moved because it was heart-breaking to drive down the street where we lived remembering every time how he would be sitting selling drugs on the corner. I just couldn’t live there any more with the bad memories.

I have grieved, come to terms with it and am OK. But on top of years of parental abuse (now no contact) and an unsupportive husband, pulling myself up is a struggle.
I still feel as though I should have known better about all the dysfunction in my life. I feel like a stupid child that never grew up and took adult responsibility for myself. I don’t know if I can fix that.


(((( Karen)))))
I’m so sorry. That must of been heart breaking. I’m so glad you are working on things with him. It’s sad what happens to us and our children because of our past hurts…at least we work on our issues, communicating…
Many children don’t have parents who care and who try and it’s even more profoundly taxing on them cause they don’t have that in their lives.
I can remember having issues, problems in my life when younger and I remember being alone… All alone.
Felt awful. It took me a long time to reach out and get help.
Glad I did eventually when we first got married and my child was an infant….
Having depression and seeking help saved me cause I found out it’s source’…as I always blamed myself.


That is sad to hear, but it’s difficult for me to relate because I’m not a parent, and don’t plan to be one.

I think it’s better to focus on healing and self-discovery than to have children to pass my insecurities on to.

“Many children don’t have parents who care and who try and it’s even more profoundly taxing on them cause they don’t have that in their lives.”

What if that “help” was for a non-issue? I was left alone to deal with bully problems at school, but I was threatened to be taken to a psychiatrist for my loner behavior. My mother (and other adults) thought of me as a problem to fix because I wasn’t “normal”, but didn’t do much of anything when I really needed help.

As recent as several months ago back when I was staying with my mother, after I told her about how I was hurt from how she treated me, she didn’t apologize, but hid behind excuses, and told me to get therapy. I saw where she was going with this. She wanted me to get therapy, not to recover, but to stop criticizing her. I want therapy to heal from abuses, not to understand the unrepentant.

I have a feeling that I might be judged for not having children sooner or later, but I rather stick with this choice than to have children, and regret not being able to raise them properly.


Karen R.,

I suspect that you went through some things with your son that I now face with my daughter. I didn’t realize that I was carrying dysfunction forward when my children were young. When the problems with my youngest began, I really didn’t know what to do. I asked for help, but the help I got only seemed to make things worse.

Addictions and bad company seemed to take over and my husband & I ended up manipulated and used out of more money than we even had. Some of the manipulation was my daughter herself, but even more of it was from her friends. It hurt when she maintained loyalty to people who had done so much damage to us.

Now I feel like we tried to model an excess of generosity and lack of self-preservation. We actually valued ourselves too little, and gave too much benefit of the doubt when it truly wasn’t deserved. As I have chosen to stop behaving that way, my daughter in particular seems to see me as becoming bitter and unforgiving. I believe I’m recovering from codependency.

The reality is that we have nothing left to give. Our own future is at risk. We are in that awkward financial situation where we don’t qualify for any kind of assistance, and don’t need it to survive, but we do have to be cautious with our resources, or that could change radically and quickly. And that is the smaller problem, because it’s a bigger deal to recover from the heart issues that have resulted from this.

I’ve been trying all of my life to make sense of so many things that really didn’t make sense. I believe I did the best I could with what I knew at any given time. The help that I’ve needed all along was hard to find. It may not have even existed in time for me to have been a better mother to my children.

At some point, when children become adults, they do have to reach a point of being willing to join us in mending relationships with them. They need to take responsibility for their part in rebuilding, or it’s just not going to happen. This is where we DO have to stop beating ourselves up for what we did and take responsibility for what we have ability and opportunity to do now. Healing ourselves brings us the ability, but our children need to provide the opportunity when they are willing and able.

My heart goes out to you because your situation leaves you with a finality that I haven’t had to face yet. Your heart shows in what you write, so be gentle with yourself.



Darlene, I’m so sorry to hear about the way this person mistreated you. I can definitely relate to having “the blame” imposed upon me by my mother “You OBVIOUSLY MUST have done have done something to upset him/her/them” and a very direct consequence of that has been that I would blame myself internally for all kinds of things that had nothing to do with me.

It also had the effect on occasion of my total and abject refusal to accept responsibility for things in which I did in fact have a hand (however small). I mean to say that sometimes it felt like the best thing to do was to rebel totally. To have a scrap of myself alive in front of these people.

And faced with no acceptance of any kind of responsibility (“it was the done thing”, “I’m not perfect”, “I did my best”) on the part of my mother when I asked for accountability, there’s a kind of resignation and anger and a certain amount of “Well, if she won’t, I’ll be damned if I’m going to” and then seriously WAS IT REALLY? -IS IT REALLY? My place to take responsibility for her actions towards me as a child and young adult? I don’t believe it was nor that it is, however hard the drumbeat tries to convince me otherwise. I do feel responsible for estranging myself.


As recent as several months ago back when I was staying with my mother, after I told her about how I was hurt from how she treated me, she didn’t apologize, but hid behind excuses, and told me to get therapy. I saw where she was going with this. She wanted me to get therapy, not to recover, but to stop criticizing her. I want therapy to heal from abuses, not to understand the unrepentant.

S1998, My mom hides behind excuses too, and won’t apologize. All I get is “I wish I had done things differently.” That’s not an apology. That’s not even an admission of wrong doing. She doesn’t think she did anything wrong. Like you, she wasn’t “there” when I needed her, she was only “there” for stuff SHE thought I “should” need (which I didn’t….) and my feelings were an “inconvenience” to her because they weren’t what she WANTED me to feel.

I still want the apology! I want her to understand where she was wrong and to admit she was wrong. But she won’t admit to wrongdoing.

She has never “judged” me for not having children, except to use it as an “excuse” as in,”You don’t know, you have never had children.” Doesn’t mean that it’s ok to invalidate children’s feelings….. I got my mom to admit she doesn’t like to be “accountable.” How vain is that?

Hobie, I appreciate everything you say. You are trying to understand!
I watch the TV show SCORPION. I can relate to the Scorpion members.



Thank you for hearing me. I love SCORPION too!

Given that I can’t change anything that I did years ago, I really don’t know how to deal with my daughters. I have a son who seems a little more understanding and willing to work with me.

The hardest part is that I’ve tried to apologize, and all I got from it was screamed at.

My children have all been embraced by my mother and siblings SINCE I have been No Contact with my mother & siblings. That’s sure not helping.


Hi Hobie!

I’m in awe that you’re trying. I’m thinking that if you can identify what would be an apology for you – let’s say a parent apologizes to you for their mistreatment of you – and identify what would be a ‘well-received’ apology for you, maybe you can approach your daughters in a similar fashion? And no it doesn’t help that they’ve been taken under the ‘family claw’!

For me, an apology has to be specific. I can read a few of the posts above thinking that the mother probably *thought* they were apologizing but by not specifically identifying for what, I can see that being taken otherwise.

I think it would also be helpful if (in the case of my mother anyway) she actually felt sorry. I don’t think she feels sorry for anything – I mean other than for herself for having a rotten daughter!

I don’t think she has any idea of the impact of her mistreatment on me. Besides when I’ve tried to explain it she’s denied it, so I don’t know how a genuine feeling of sorrow could come from denial.

She has told me “I can’t change anything about the past” and I didn’t take that very well at all. I felt it was a sort of a cop-out. But she didn’t accompany it with much else apart from what I call her typical ‘non-apology’ that I described above. “Mistakes were made…”


“She has told me “I can’t change anything about the past” and I didn’t take that very well at all. I felt it was a sort of a cop-out. But she didn’t accompany it with much else apart from what I call her typical ‘non-apology’ that I described above. “Mistakes were made…””

I received similar non-apologies myself. “I’ve made mistakes.” “I have regrets.” “We all have crosses to bear.” What mistakes were made? What regrets did you have? Please be specific and cliches don’t count as apologies.

Seriously, why apologize at all, if you don’t feel remorse? I rather that someone not apologize at all than to give so-called apologies that exculpate themselves or blame me. At least no apology means that one is honest about being unrepentant.


Hi S1988!

“Seriously, why apologize at all, if you don’t feel remorse? I rather that someone not apologize at all than to give so-called apologies that exculpate themselves or blame me. At least no apology means that one is honest about being unrepentant”

I do feel that way but I also feel like it would be possible (for me) to go from feeling no remorse and then being touched by whatever the other person tells me about the hurt I caused. I mean to be able to go from feeling no remorse to being convinced of it.


At this point, I’m really not sure what they are upset about. And as non-apologetic as I know that sounds. I honestly feel remorseful because the last thing in the world I ever wanted to do was hurt them.

My oldest was angry that I divorced her dad. I can understand that, but if I had the chance, I don’t think I could have stayed married to him. I’m not sure that it would have made anything better anyway.

I specifically sat down with her to respond to everything she was angry about about 10 years ago. I asked her forgiveness for everything she said that I did. I really wanted to do what I could to set things right. But she stayed angry. And nothing I tried to do made anything better.

She’s 33 now. The closest I got to her was when she needed me to babysit her kids when she was going through her divorce. After she told me what a horrible mother I was I was shocked she trusted me with her kids, but I enjoyed being with them. When that situation changed and she no longer needed me, she avoided me.

I tried to communicate with her well over a year ago explaining that I felt like I didn’t really know her and that she didn’t really know me. I wanted to try to have a relationship with her but I knew that I needed her to be patient with me and help me understand what she needed and wanted from me.

She ended up telling me that I was the most self-absorbed people she’d ever known. I wasn’t ready to deal with that then, and I’m not sure I am yet.

I suspect at this point in my healing that while I tried to respect my children, I wasn’t modeling self respect. I wasn’t standing up for myself with people around me. I don’t believe it would be good for either myself or my daughter to have a relationship that is based on something less than mutual respect. Ironically, my attempts to apologize may serve as an excuse for my daughter to continue treating me without respect.

I don’t know – I’m getting sleepy and rambling now. Thanks for your thoughts.


That’s great you knew having chikdren would not be ok and that you didn’t have them.
However, many of us who were abused do not go on to abuse our chikdren. In fact studies show most don’t.
I fell in love with my baby… I loved every minute of being her mother. I never had it in me to play mind Games, yell or beat her. As many others who were abused Also feel the same too;)
Just because you were abused doesn’t mean your end up being an bad mother.
I love being an mom…I do it again! It was hard at times… But it have me the greatest joy… Raising my child.
I couldn’t imagine my life any differently.
I understand the bullying at school and being alone. High school was very hard for me too. All my life I felt alone. Except for my hubby and child.
I learned to be my own best friend cause I didn’t have a choice!
I think you wanting to be alone in life… Is you wanting peace. We all have out reactions to abuse.
I can totally get that.



Thanks for your kind words, but being a mother is not my calling. It’s not only the fear of ruining my own child in some way, it’s also other things that worry me. Like, I’m afraid of my family getting whiff of me being a mother, and demanding to see him/her. I don’t want them near my kid, and don’t want to spend the next 18 years hiding his/her existence. Also, I’m low-income and can’t afford to take care of myself and another person. Even if I could financially afford a kid, what if I’m in a position where I can’t take of him/her? Scrambling in search of babysitters takes a lot of time and frustration. And, I just don’t want the responsibility. I can’t imagine spending the first couple of years losing sleep to change diapers or feed them when they cry. I guess there’s always my cat, who’s like a human two-year-old inside an animal’s body, but at least he’s low maintenance. He’s enough for me. As they say, though, “To each his own.”


Yes, it not for everyone… Sometimes being an fur mom is best;)
I have two furry pups and I can attest being their mom is rewarding too!
To each their own!


What hit me was, “That was the summer that I realized that the world outside my family was not any safer than the world inside my family.” Safety! At 67, I’m finally beginning to feel safe. Interesting that I breezed past what you wrote about shutting down. After reading some of the comments, I realized that I began shutting down by age 4, the 1st time I was sexually molested. I will spend more time exploring your website.


I received similar non-apologies myself. “I’ve made mistakes.” “I have regrets.” “We all have crosses to bear.” What mistakes were made? What regrets did you have? Please be specific and cliches don’t count as apologies.

My mom claimed that parents make a lot of “sacrifices.” I asked her what “sacrifice” did she make? I couldn’t tell that any were made. What, did she sacrifice a good figure? I doubt it. Did she sacrifice a wonderful career? She said she hated the job she had. All she can give me is cliches but she can’t be specific.

Hobie, I think it’s rotten that your children are angry with you, yet still expect you to give them “Free” babysitting. I’m glad I didn’t marry or have children. This way, I don’t “need” my mom for anything and don’t have to “fake” things. I have spent most of my life trying to set things up so I wouldn’t “need” her.

One time when I flew from back east to visit, I rented a car so she wouldn’t have to make a 45 mile drive to pick me up, or do the same thing at 5:00 AM to take me back to the airport. I caught **** for that! “Why would I pay money to rent a car when SHE can pick me up?” Nope, that is NOT what the issue was. The issue was….. I had a car, it meant I could LEAVE any time I wanted, and wasn’t her “captive” prisoner while visiting.

Not only did I not have children, I also chose not to marry. Being single means less baggage.


“Hobie, I think it’s rotten that your children are angry with you, yet still expect you to give them “Free” babysitting.”

Yes, that doesn’t make sense. I wouldn’t want my family near my child if I had any. (No offense to you, though.)

That kind of sounds like my family members. Before I was born about 18 years later, my older brother and mother was abused by our father. When my brother was turning 15, my sister was born, then I arrived three years later. When I was three, my mother separated from our dad, then divorced him when I was 11. That didn’t stop her from constantly complaining about him to my sister and I. She would go on how monstrous he (and all men in general are), but expected him to be in our lives. Why would you want a monster around your children? Years later, now my brother is a father of three teens (and is no better than our dad, but get a pass for some reason) and about a year ago when I was staying with her, she told me how she expected my father to be in his grandsons’ lives. Again, why expect a person you hate to be involved with his grandsons, AND treat me like a live-in marriage counselor? Weird how my mother, sister, and brother hate him, but still talk to him. (I don’t because even though he favors me, he wants me to choose sides, so I have no relationship with him. Sad to be treated like a child in a custody battle as an adult.) Well, they can have their soap opera. I just want to stay out of it.

“This way, I don’t “need” my mom for anything and don’t have to “fake” things. I have spent most of my life trying to set things up so I wouldn’t “need” her.”

I highly agree. Occasionally, I get letters/emails from her saying to contact her if I need anything. I can’t help but wonder if it’s a slick tactic of hers to persuade me into having contact with her again. I’m not falling for that. Besides, I’m an adult and free to seek help elsewhere. I hope to never get in a position where I have little choice but to seek her help again. Staying with her for a year and three months was practically prison.


Hi Darlene. I hope your eye is improving every day. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Hugs, Light.


Hi Light
Thanks for asking about my eyes and for the speedy recovery wishes! I see the specialist again on Friday. So far no improvement but it isn’t getting worse either. Hope to know more on Friday. I might have to start a video blog!
hugs, Darlene


Winter fell,
My prayers are with you. I only woke up to my families true, stealthy insanity 5 yrs ago. I was 43, and a late in life mother, so much of my family beliefs were very much in action. I’ve slowly been able to break free and heal. A few years ago I went NC with all of my 3 sibs, nieces & nephews; and finally with my mom (the keystone of the sickness) just last year.
I am raising two teen girls and so far all is healthy. My husband is grounded in reality, thank God.
I pray that with my growing health away from my abusive adult family of origin and continued emotional recovery I will be able to break the chain of hurt that I was raised in.
I was the scapegoat. And I took on that roll; always apologizing and trying to do more to fit in.
Finally, after I could see just a glimpse of their hypocrisy (asking for the moon to prove my love for them but they not lifting a finger in return) I finally said “to hell with this”.
I have everyone blocked and my stress level has plummeted! I have peace in my life!
I realized that these people have a lot of self loathing, and their wanting to hurt me and others has nothing to do with me.
Now when I meet a person who I perceive as a bully or a bit sharp in their words and/ or actions I say “oh, avoid that one” instead of trying to be nicer so THEY will be nicer. Today I call em like I see em, and guess what? Bullies avoid me, I am not friends with people I don’t like, and I enjoy my own company!
I had to go through a long dark journey of grief; mourning the family and friends I THOUGHT I had. I loved my family, but they were/are liars and con artist…I just never saw it…they were that good, or should I say, sick.
It has been a long, therapy filled journey, but today I am so grateful that God allowed me an escape from the hell I didn’t even know I was in.
The final straw was when the ring leader, my oldest sister, said in a group email: “We all really WANT to love you, MARY (she KNEW I hated being called that, but did it just to bug me–my legal name is Mary-Grace) but you keep doing things that are sooo hurtful.” Those hurtful things were telling the truth, pointing out lies, and saying “no” to being involved in family triangulation over another, weaker family member–my sisters’ own daughter.
“WE really want to love you, but…”
What a shitty, psycho thing to say.
If only I would “behave” I would receive the “love” of the family.
“That family” was in a figurative insane asylum and I was the only sane one. There was/is no point in talking to an insane person expecting them to see the insanity of their actions or the situation.

Thank you Darlene for this blog. I have learned there really are evil, mean people in the world who prey on people’s niceness and naïveté. I’m glad I am no longer the scapegoat.
I am free!!


How did your appointment go??


One more word about therapy:

My family is a group of bullies. Female, adult bullies who are good at not getting caught in their meanness. I’m having to unlearn this meanness. It was how the “pecking order” was established. I was the least mean so I was deemed the weakest…easy target.
After I went NC I began to go through a deep grief because I had truly, at a gut level, severed all ties with family. They are truly dead to me. No weddings, no funerals. It is that off the hook. But i love the idea of family so to let it go, I grieved deeply.
To deal with that grief (losing all 8 family members in one swipe) I sought out counseling to get a handle on it.
My counselor, bless her heart, really didn’t believe all I was telling her. How my family, en masse, attacked me and my husband with lies and false accusations and when presented with facts they refused to apologize, but were actually incensed that I would be angered by being attacked!! How dare I?? Lol
It was only after my therapist talked to my husband and he confirmed the insane story did she put aside the idea that I might be making all this up. She had never HEARD of adult sibling bullying. In fact many therapist have no idea how to deal with situations like we talk about on this blog. And the bullies KNOW it. It’s horrible. The world talks of “no bullies allowed” campaigns when the adult population is full of them, flying just below the raider…picking on little kids and nice people who can’t believe someone could be so INTENTIONALLY mean. It’s mind boggling. This blog is, for me, a godsend. I’m not alone!


HI Mary-Grace,

I’m glad you spoke up. I’ve been through very similar stuff with my family. It’s hard to loose so many people in your life in such a short time! Even if they are bad for you, there is grief, most of it for the relationship that never really was and probably will never be. Even when you feel like you’ve nearly gotten over it, sometimes the sadness creeps up on you again.

I don’t think any of us want to believe that there are people who can be so intentionally mean. It is a huge relief to know we’re not alone.



Mary Grace!
Yes! Adult bullies are somehow tolerated and we wonder where children learn this from?
I seen it all the time when I used to work as a sub. Omg, it’s really awful in the school system. There is all this talk of bully presentation but it’s all just talk.
It literally broke my heart to see it. Now I understand why I was so miserable throughout school.
Most of us in society are either the bully or the bystander. And the few are the scapegoats cause we don’t play the game.
My sister who is a bulky still. Told me that I need a backbone. That I’m too sensitive, all my life it was me who had the problem. I blamed myself for a very long time.
And they can sense this… On a very real but unseen level, they know. I had a teacher pick me apart. She was the picture of perfection. She told me ally faults, she was adored and honored by everyone.
She bad mouthed me and got everyone to talk behind my back. She picked me apart. I couldn’t defend myself. I was also very sick at the time with pneumonia and was recovering.
And when I spoke up just a little, I was shamed and told off. You can’t win and you can’t even defend yourself. Cause the many just crush the few.
You really do have to walk away and stay away, sadly.
If you can hold up strong boundaries. You may be ok. I just never could. So I stay away from people in general.
I just think most of society stinks.


I can name one advantage about being grown-up and bullied. Unlike children, adults can walk away from hurtful relationships while children have to endure it until they reach a certain age to leave. If one is being mistreated at work or in a relationship, they can leave. Kids can’t leave school or walk away from an abusive caretaker. In many cases (or at least in mine) if a child expresses anger to a parent/guardian, they would be punished for “talking back”. It was no wonder why I was such an easy target for bullies during K-12. I was chided for showing anger, but was expected to stand up to bullies, and because I didn’t stand up for myself for fear of “being a bad girl”, my mother blamed me for it. I mentioned this mixed message to her years later, and the only thing she told me was to get therapy. Some apology.

As an adult, I’m glad I was able to get away from my toxic family (Twice!), and I was able to leave authoritarian bosses. The bullying at the workplace wasn’t as bad as what I suffered in school, but I didn’t like being scolded for small mistakes and threatened with termination. I felt like a naughty child all over again! Now that I make a living remotely, I can’t imagine working in brick and mortar again. I love having a flexible schedule and working alone without being nitpicked for it.

I just keep that in mind, that I’m no longer a defenseless child, and I’m free to leave a hurtful environment without punishment.


I also have to agree on how much attention is given to bullying in K-12 and to some extent in the workplace, but adult bullying in families is too taboo for many to touch with an 100ft. pole. There’s the idea that the only dysfunctional families are ones that make news headlines. It’s sad that so many people live in denial that a bully can be one’s own kin, even if it supposedly doesn’t warrant news attention.

When I was a minor, I thought once I turned 18, my mother would be off my back less. Boy, I was dead wrong. Just because I couldn’t be hit or grounded anymore, it didn’t mean I couldn’t be hurt by her in other ways. The only thing that changed was the weapon used. Fortunately, there are sites like these to meet survivors of abusive families who bring this issue into light.


Hi All,
I would love to comment on this conversation but I am on limited computer time still. My eye appointment didn’t go that well; I have to see another specialist this time a retinal specialist as there is a new development and some sort of pulling in my eye in addition to the blank spot. I will keep you posted.
p.s. Mary Grace ~ you had the wrong therapist. It’s very sad when that happens. I get this vision/memory of feeling like I was shouting “why can’t anybody just listen to me!!” I got caught in a huge spin of trying to prove that I wasn’t making stuff up. EFB is about stepping out of that spin. I stopped trying to prove myself when I believed that the people who suspected me of exaggerating WERE the ones with the problem and they certainly were not going to help me to move forward.
hugs, Darlene


Hobbie, Kimberly, s1988, Thank you all so much for your feed back!! You are my people. I read every word of what you share! My heart is healing from the loneliness of ostrisize toon and NC. Thank you, Darlene, and yes, I did have wrong therapist for this issue, she did help with others but she really couldn’t understand my unwillingness to NEVER speak to my family again, at least not without at least two trustworthy witnesses.
My husband and many close friends wouldn’t have been able to believe all the events that took place–hurtful things said, the gas lighting, isolating, shaming, outright lying & two faced behaviors–if they had not witnessed it for themselves.
I sought out help from Kaiser when my greif was beginning to effect me and my relations at home but even the PhD had no idea how to help. He referred me to a codependency class. The only problem is I am already a member of Alanon AND I have 19 years clean & sober through AA, so believe me , I’ve worked “my program” around this and have owned all I could of the insanity. What my part boiled down to was my willingness to go back again and again, expecting different results. Insanity.
When my mom said about my relationship with my estranged siblings (who are nuts), “You just aren’t trying hard enough,” I realized she was not ally of mine, but part of continuing the problem. That day I went no contact with her…and instantly the noise in my head and heart stopped. I had no idea that SHE had been the stronghold for all this evil. There is just no other way to say it. It’s just plain evil.
I kinda felt bad that I didn’t/don’t feel bad about breaking up with my mom, but I just don’t. I grieved my sibs more. I’m pretty sure I know what it means as I come to terms with just how horrible a mom my mother was.
She’s been a great cautionary tale for me on what not to do as a mom.


Mary Grace,
That’s because she needs the other children to keep her power base going. I always wondered why in dysfunctional families why mothers will Shame you into making amends with your siblings. It’s because they need them to keep the unhealthy structure going. I don’t think people consciously do this, maybe. But I think all these dynamics are not prr planned. It’s an unhealthy pecking order when one person has all the power. Then you wonder, why does this person value so much need for control? Not a good rabbit hole!


I went through something similar. When I was leaving my family (for the second time), my mother asked me if I would keep in contact with my sister. (I was surprised she didn’t mention her son, who is her golden boy.) My response was, “That’s between me and her.” Why is my relationship with my sister any of her business anyway? We’re adults, and we’re free to choose our own relationships. It’s ironic because when my sister and I were kids, I was in that annoying, tag-along little sister phase, and our mother scolded me for it and wanted me to have my own friends. Now, we’re adults, she makes our relationship (or lack of one) her business. Hey, we’re adults. I grew out of that phase years ago. I’m my own person, not just [K’s] little sister.

I believe that since no one chooses to have siblings (or to exist period), that one isn’t obligated to have a relationship with someone just because they share some genetic material. I didn’t ask to be born or have two older siblings, so why should I be with them even though I didn’t consent to being in a family? It is a bit sad, though since I have memories of spending hours playing with toys with my sister until sunrise, and then our mother would come in our room and tell us to go to bed. I was closer to my sister because our brother was in his twenties when we were kids, so we spent a lot of time together. We can no longer be close because I notice that she’s becoming more and more like our mother, right down to the thick freckles on her face (Creepy!) Like her, she talks a lot, doesn’t want to admit to any problems, and feels that she’s her savior. Our mother has dreams that she didn’t accomplish, so my siblings are living in a way to somehow make up for what she didn’t do. Sometimes I wonder if they secretly wish to follow their own paths instead of feel like they have to be her personal messiahs. I don’t know; I’m not a mind reader. I feel a bit sorry for them, but not very much since they could be like me and stop anytime they want, but they’re too craven to do that. I do hope they gain the courage someday, but I don’t think it’s very likely. I can only save myself, not anyone else.


@ Rose

From post earlier this year, re:your sister breaking up with you.

I’m sorry that happen. Did it resolve??

My sister, who I also adored, did same thing to me over a completely normal everyday situation.
I spoke my mind and she didn’t like it so she said goodbye. I thought she was joking because we had been best friends as adults for 12 years and best sisters my whole life!
But, 8 yrs later we have only spoken briefly around the time of our fathers funeral, and even that ended badly.

What astonished me was how much healthier and happier I was without her influence in my life! I Thought I would die of my grief over her but that soon changed to a huge sense of relief.
Every time she was mentioned in my family it was in regards to some chaotic event.
Me growing just a bit healthier being away from her helped me see how whacked my whole family system was.
I am now no contact with all my siblings and my mom…
…it’s been an interesting road. I’d much prefer a healthy family but I didn’t come from that. Getting away from them, even at my age of 49, was the healthiest thing I could have ever done for myself and my own, amazing family.


My sister hasn’t invited me over to her home since Xmas. I moved 4 miles away from her after living on the other side of town which was 45 and it’s still too inconvient for her. We were also very close growing up and 18 months part. I had her and my entire family over on Father’s Day.
I’m just not important. Even with stage 4 cancer and almost dying.
But she is a bully… She has been all her life. She’s really doing me a favir here. I been to her home twice this year cause I invited myself over.
I need to stop that… Cause she really doesn’t want to see me she says come over whenever you want too.
But wants to keep inviting then selves? When she got her huge tv fir Xmas she said she have us all over. That never happened.


Hi Darlene, How is your eye? I hope there is a treatment for it and you have a speedy recovery. xoxo Light


Hi Light,
My eye is a little better ~ I have to avoid texting and reading email on my phone and I have to balance computer time. I am still waiting to see the new specialist. I am hopeful that the suggested muscle injections will be the answer! Thanks for your concern!
hugs, Darlene


I grew up without physical abuse, except for my father chasing me with a belt one time for not going to school, and one time my sister kicking me when I slipped on the floor while we argued. She threw a typewriter at me once as well. Because I wasn’t hit or beat I spent most of my life minimizing my experiences. I didn’t think they were abusive but rather indications of how wrong and bad I was as a person.
Years later when my husband gave me a black eye I slumped to the floor and said “I’m sorry”. I called my mother and she said, “What did you do?” I gave no thought to leaving because I needed him to take care of me, and I would be alone without him. I must have pushed him too far and made him snap. I felt deeply ashamed. He never hit me again but he could rip a door off its hinges, punch holes in walls, or take my arm and make me hit my own self. Not hard though. “Oh hon, lighten up”, he’d say when I wasn’t laughing with him about it. I was convinced I needed him. Growing up I was told I was weak, and that I’d never get a man because I was fat. So I held on for years despite such unhappiness I constantly took pills and drank.

I learned early in life two conflicting messages: that I was on my own (emotionally) and yet, I was so weak and “sick” and couldn’t take care of myself. I know now I was a threat because I spoke up to my parents about their behaviour, and they were too sick, and too unwilling, to take responsibility. More and more I can see today that I always was special, that nothing was defective about me, and I have the strength to break the cycle. I expect respect and good treatment from others and when they show otherwise they have got to go.


Hi Darlene, I just found your site this weekend and have been poring over it. I am amazed by how identical our dysfunctional belief systems are (were). I actually realised these messed up beliefs a while ago, especially the one about love and how it’s two different things for them and for you. However, when I tried to communicate it to people they didn’t seem to get it and I feared I would get more of the ‘but they’re your parents’ and ‘they were doing their best’ crap, so I sort of left it there. I’ve come back to my healing work now and you are such a wonderful encouragement. You and I speak the same language 🙂 I look forward to reading more of your posts, I feel validated and encouraged by your words.


Hi Cherry
Welcome to EFB ~ That is wonderful that you have come back to your healing work! I am so glad that you find my work here encouraging!
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Everyone!
I have published a new post today on the home page. This article is about “When People Treat you Like You are Crazy, Stupid or Frustrating” Understanding the concept of this post is key on the healing journey. I am looking forward to the conversation!
Hugs, Darlene


After a pretty big break from writing on the blog I have published a new post!! Check it out on the home page or at this link ~http://emergingfrombroken.com/how-abusers-and-perpetrators-get-away-with-it/

“How abusers and Perpetrators Get Away with It.” this is another example of how this so often works in favour of the perp!
hugs, Darlene

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