The Fog of Dysfunctional Adult to Child Relationships

parent child dysfunctional relationship
when darkness falls……

When I talk about the fog, I am talking about the state of confusion that has been created by the adults in my life which began when I was a child. The confusion was created in order to keep me from figuring out that what was going on in my life, was not normal. I was taught false definitions of love, false definitions of being cared for and being kept safe. I was taught that I was not as important as others. I was taught that I was wrong about my feelings. I was discredited in so many ways so that if I ever did figure out that I was not actually wrong, the emotionally abusive adults in my life could remind everyone that I had always been a bit “off”. And I didn’t correct anyone because from a young age I had begun to believe that I was the one that was a bit “off”. The fog hides the blatantly obvious truth.  

In this state of confusion and with all these false definitions of love and respect, I had trouble seeing the truth. I had trouble realizing that a mother, who dress a 6 year old child up in her little black lace teddies to “dance for a visiting man), and a father who doesn’t do anything to stop it, are a little bit abnormal. A mother who sticks her tongue in a 9 year old daughter’s mouth, to show her the way men will kiss her, is not behaving in a normal way. I had trouble realizing that a loving mother would not take all the joy out of every single accomplishment that I had ever achieved. I had trouble comprehending that when a father shows absolutely NO interest in a child’s life or in that same adult child’s life, that is a strong indication that said father just doesn’t care. When someone doesn’t show in any way that they care, they don’t care.  Continue…… When someone degrades another person, they don’t love that person.  When someone constantly tells you that you are stupid, weather with words or actions or by inference, they really DO think you are stupid. They really are telling you that you are stupid. But the fog hides the blatantly obvious truth.

When I was 16 years old I had to go on the birth control pill for medical reasons. Soon after that my mother started to tell men that I was on the pill, and therefore it was okay if they wanted to “sleep” with me.  When I was 16 she said this in front of all the people at an office party, to a young man that I actually had a crush on. I was so humiliated. Consequently, a 31 year old married man in the office grabbed me and shoved his tongue down my throat in the garden of the house where the party was. I guess he thought that since she was offering me, he could just take advantage of her generosity. When I was 19 she said those same words to my cousin at the rehearsal dinner for another cousins wedding. This was mortifying for me. It was degrading and humiliating.  But the fog kept me from confronting her. The fog kept me from realizing that there was something wrong with my mother, that she would treat me this way.  And these examples are only the tip of the iceberg but the fog hides the blatantly obvious truth.

My parents divorced when I was around 13 years old. If I ever complained to my mother about anything at all she would tell me that if I didn’t like it, that I could go and live with my father.  One day I asked my father if I could come and live with him.  He said no. I was not given any explanation. I thought it was because I wasn’t worthy of his love. But in reality I know today it was because he couldn’t be bothered with me. He couldn’t be bothered being my father. He couldn’t be bothered with me when he lived with us so why would that have changed? I was in my forties, still trying to get my father to notice me, when I realized that I never really HAD a father. But the fog hides the blatantly obvious truth.

The fog is exactly that. It makes things foggy and misty and unclear. Emotional abusers create a fog through mixed messages, inconsistency, and by indicating that the person with the problem is not them. They are the model of normalcy. As for ME, however, they say that I have some obvious “issues”. I need to get my head together. I need to change. I need to smarten up. If it weren’t for me and my problems, everything would be fine.  And the message is always, if it weren’t for me, then even THEY would be fine.  This is the grooming; the training; a process of damaging the self esteem until there is no chance that I would ever get the strength to rise up or stand up to the lies and break through the fog that hides the blatantly obvious truth.

And the reason that I didn’t want to believe that it wasn’t me that was the problem, that it was in fact them, was because they had convinced me that I was not worthy of love and acceptance AND I believed it. I worked harder and harder for their unobtainable love and I believed that it was my defects that prevented me from having it.

I believed them for so long because I was afraid that they were right about me, and if they were right about me and I stood up to them anyway, that they would reject me and then my only chance of being loved would be gone. If they were in fact right about me, then no one would EVER love me. So therefore, the relationships that I had with those dysfunctional people, including the false hope and fantasy that I had for so long that one day they really would love me, were better than no relationships at all. I thought that dysfunctional family was better than no family. “Blood is thicker than water” “Family is everything” And those statements and beliefs turned out to be lies too.  

So I busted out of that deathly fog that hid the blatantly obvious truth and instead of the death that I thought the ultimate final rejection from them would bring, I found life. And I found it to the fullest.

 Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time,

Darlene Ouimet  

Are you aware my of my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you and you would like to find out “HOW” I broke out of the oppression I lived in, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. I’ve received hundreds of thank you notes from people that have bought my book. Get yours here for 9.97 through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

51 response to "The Fog of Dysfunctional Adult to Child Relationships"

  1. By: Wanda Posted: 8th May

    Dear Mom,
    Over the last two years I have lived with you I have figured out that some things were very wrong and have been for a really long time. People used to ask me, “what’s wrong with your mom?” And I just always brushed it off but I know what it is now. You have never been good with emotions or sharing or connecting for that matter so I’ll start with the facts but you will have to deal with my emotions over them, even though I know you are glad you don’t have to live with my moods anymore. Most normal people are not emotionless, like you.
    The way you never interacted with my children in a positive way unless you were directed by me on an activity to do with them made me remember the same thing when I was little. Only, I had no one to be an advocate for me, to direct you into being a mother to me. Let’s start with the beginning shall we…

    I remember being a baby sleeping on a twin bed in a dirty room. I was waken up by something being put in my arms. I was tired but it seemed like being tired was the norm for me. My brother was coaxing me awake and all I understood was the word Christmas. He had placed a baby in my arms and it was a Christmas gift. He motioned for me to come with him and I did. I remember, my sisters playing amongst some presents in the living room with no one else around. No mom or dad and it was very dark like it was in the middle of the night. I sat on the couch with my new baby in my arms and I remember just… loving it but i knew it was different from the way I always felt loved.

    I remember wanting you so bad, I remember just needing you all the time. It was probably the reason I was with you one weekend when you went to visit your mother when I was three years old. I can think of a million reasons that were my fault about why I was there. But i can’t think of a single reason why you left me there with him. You knew what he was like, you knew what he already did to you. You knew what your stepfather did to me and you never once asked me if I was okay. Instead you hid behind your forgiveness just so you didn’t have to deal with it. You erased it for me, at least my feelings about it and tried turned me into a robot. No feelings just like you except I began to cry a lot more than usual and say things like no one loves me… because you didn’t. You don’t love me. You benefit from me and always have and that’s the truth.

    You left all four of your children when I was 5 years old. You left us with a broken man who separated us but that wasn’t the first time, was it? I grew up hearing how you pulled up to our grandparents house, let us out of the car all the time and pulled away until you never came back.

    What I can’t figure out was why you came back years later. Was it because that’s what mothers are supposed to do? Was it to appease your new boyfriend? Was it to hurt daddy? Was it for money, to claim your three daughters to get a tax relief you could spend on yourself? Was it so you wouldn’t have to pay child support? The reason doesn’t really matter. What matters was that even though we were struggling with dad, we were okay. He got us to keep things clean and made us laugh. He interacted with us by playing games and having BBQs. He protected us, mostly… he even threw his friend out of the house when he took us to the park all day instead of taking us to school. Which is more than I can say for you. He wasn’t perfect at all and we certainly would have grown up with wounds from an alcoholic parent who drove drunk but we were more okay than getting sexually abused by the man you chose over us.
    Even losing my cat made me remember how you couldn’t even console another child over losing her cat when you took us to another miserable life in California and refused to let my sister have hers. It was so easy for you to say no like it was easy for you with my daughter and me. My cat was our family that helped me through my divorce the way my sister’s cat helped her when her mother left.

    I keep thinking about the way you never brushed my hair or made me brush my teeth. How you just let me walk to school with only my fingernail to scrape plaque off my teeth and hair bent in awkward places from sleeping in a dirty room. I imagine the clothes you dressed me in and I think about how much time you didn’t spend grooming me with care. The first time I have ever felt like a normal child in style was with a family that wasn’t even mine in a foster home.

    You sent us to be with a broken angry alcoholic father for a summer and then chopped all our hair off because you couldn’t be bother to clean out tarnished hair as if we weren’t traumatized enough after our dad tried to kill himself in front of us. You just sent us to school as tainted bald children so everyone would know we had bugs.

    You never knew half the things we did as children because you never paid attention. You never knew that as soon as you left for work at the but crack of dawn that we would wait for the right moment to run across a four lane busy as hell highway at the corner of our apartment at 7 years old, you never knew that my twin burned my face with a match, you never knew that my brother would put us on our bicycles and have us follow him through the dangerous highways of Coronado to the park next to the library and that I was scared to death all the way there.

    You never knew that we were desperately afraid of your husband. How could you not see the fear in our eyes every time he called us to the kitchen table to give us our punishment to ground us to our room for weeks at a time just to get us out of your way. I see the fear in my daughter’s eyes every day. How could you not see that? You never paid attention to our cries for help when our stepfather would creep into our room late at night to have oral sex with your 10 year old daughter. You never knew that she acted out what he did to her on us. You never knew that she would try to seduce men at 10 years old and if you did know, you’d think there was something wrong her, not with the situation you had us living with. I know because I remember your accusations when my twin confronted you at 16 years old. “You caused it by the clothes you wear. You want it… I have caught you looking at his penis.” Well, it’s easy to look when he pulls us on his lap in front of you with a hard on for your teenage daughters.

    I look back and I think you let your daughters get taken away and you couldn’t even be bothered to clean our room. I know, stupid right? But that’s what I would have done, anything just to make up for being selfish.
    I certainly wouldn’t have let my baby girl come home to climb over mounds of rubble just to collect her things to live with someone else. No, I traveled all the way across the US to fight for my daughter. I left my husband just as soon as I knew he was trying to come between my children and me, to hurt them. I chose my children. My children have always been target for me to find my way back to the light. Why wasn’t I ever yours?

    Instead you let us break in silence while you didn’t believe. You put me in a position to need you, to depend on you so it could happen again and I couldn’t have feelings about it because I became a teenage mother at 14 years old. No… I had to keep my mouth shut so my baby and I would have a place to live. You made me learn how to say “no” to your husband. You taught me that I couldn’t say “no” to mine. I had to dodge his advances while defending you to my siblings and completely ignore my feelings about it so that my son could have what you never gave me… a childhood.

    Oh… but things got easier after my twin sent our stepfather to prison and left home. I made it easy for you to pretend nothing ever happened. I made it easy for you to pretend you weren’t guilty for letting another man hurt your children while one was living on the streets at the lake. I never spoke up. I lived in silence while you kept me in the dark of this trauma bond you helped create for control so you could take money from me. I remember you claiming us on your taxes and spending it all on yourself. You used it for down payments on cars every couple years and then complained because i wanted to learn to drive so I could take care of my son. My son’s father was the one who had to teach me to drive because you wouldn’t. You absolutely refused to teach me… why?
    I know why now… to keep me dependent on you.
    I remember you buying computers and computer desks. I even remember helping you put them together and then you’d cry because our electricity would get shut off. You watched me work my ass off while going to school to try to make up for being a teenage mother when I should have been a child.

    My college room mate was the one who clued me in on what you were doing with the taxes even after I moved out. I confronted you and as soon as you could no longer benefit from me, you pushed me out when I needed you again. You pushed me out with two kids and nothing… while trying to make it through college, feeding me with crumbs to keep me dependent… acting like you were trying to help me but then I’d have to pay you back knowing I couldn’t. You left me vulnerable to a narcissist and watched me struggle every day until it destroyed me. If I actually had been lucky enough to find a healthy marriage after what you put me through, I could see how John was right. You did come between us.

    Everything you ever did for me was disguised with your benefit. Going on my family vacations, guilting me into choosing you on family holidays made it absolutely horrible for me. From buying my house… after all, you did it because we offered you money to do it. But again, I spent so much time trying to make up for that. So much that it almost destroyed me… I almost got prosecuted for taking all the money out of my husband’s business account trying to make it up to you. I went backwards so much that I worried about feeding my kids trying to live in it for you.

    But I never saw any of this, not until this last incident that woke up old wounds you say never happened. Why? Because you lived like it never happened. You never even tried to make up for any of it. You never tried to make up for it with my sisters or me or even my brother. But it was easy for you to push your religion on us. As if God could forgive you we should too. Mom… I never had the option to forgive you. I was so completely broken by your choices that I became a teenage mother, that my sister became addicted to cocaine and both of them lived on the street.

    I watched you this past year, talking to a man who said he lived in Africa. He came up with this story that he was a widower and business man stuck overseas because he owed back taxes. I watched how easy it was to get you to believe him with a simple phone call from someone who said they were from immigration and all he had to do was dangle cash in your face. That’s all it took was money but honestly, I didn’t care what you believed. I was happy to see the smile on your mouth again until my son told me you took $500 from him and told him to keep it a secret. And then the lies started… I specifically remember asking what you thought he did with his money and you swore up and down that you didn’t know. When you asked me to help send the money to Africa to random people is when everything clicked into place for me. The way you acted like nothing happened at church after your bank account was frozen from having $99 million sent to your account and threatened with an investigation. You’re really good at that, acting like nothing happened and turning on the tears when you want something which was probably what happened when you asked the church for grocery money. Which is also what happened when we had a counseling session after I got pregnant. I just never knew that using tears was a form of manipulation to avoid responsibility until you told me how Ann did it in court. You would know right?

    I’m glad you did what you did. It allowed me to confront you for the first time ever and I just can’t get past it. At first I thought it was guilt I saw in your eyes but I was wrong. It was blame; I only saw guilt in the reflection of your eyes. My own guilt staring back at me. Guilt for being born, guilt that you had to take care of me, and the way you started to make me feel guilty for feeling mad at you. Telling me everything you have done for me as a reason for letting me go again for making things hard for you… for feeling.
    Giving away guilt is easy for you but me… I avoided it. I made things easy for you and never spoke up, never asked any questions because i believed that everyone walks around with the same guilt I always did. But I finally got to ask you a really hard question and you didn’t even flinch. I asked you if you stayed with our stepfather after what he did to us for money. All you did was deny like you always do. Deny…Deny…Deny. But I know one thing for sure now. You never felt guilty for anything.

    You can say that you were just a single mother just coming out of a rebellious marriage and that you did the best you could. But that’s not true… what about all the other things you didn’t do, more important things. I know you never protected your daughters and I know you never spent a minute trying to make up for as much as you tried to guilt me into making up for with my decisions. It was hard to see that from the inside when I needed you. But oh… other people from the outside looking in have been very clear. The way I see it, I just removed 2 very toxic people out of my life – My husband and you.

  2. By: Carlos Posted: 31st March

    If blood truly is thicker than water then how come my father is seeing more of what he expects from a “proper son” in my 16 yr old cousin. “Oh why can’t you be more like hin.” Boy did I comply with that voice to the point that when I looked back at all the actions I did to be the “model son”
    I was like oh how disgusting. Love how I am told to be myself but to also “copy and paste” what’s in the hots in his eyes, only to be criticized because I can’t think for myself (Geez make up your mind, I am not multi-faceted Dad).

    Thankfully my cousin sees through the treatment he’s given by me old lad, to the point that he even bluntly told me: “Hey man, how come your Dad loves me more than you, is that normal?” Ouch to hear that from him, but at least I not only have a best friend in him, but someone who actually validated the damage I received and did not tell me to act my age (6 yrs his senior) and just move on. I have since also been his confidante whenever he feels any form of hurt from his own family. Our passion for this subject is so huge that we even put ourselves at risk, when we decided to talk about the abuse we received inside the family car during a trip to the city! (My cousin was not only a chatterbox, but I also had to tone his voice down as it was that bad).

    I am slowly appreciating the me that I wanted to be or, rather should have been ages ago. Yes I still cringe at times, whenever father dear decides to do something “loving”, but I have lovely people in my life who have heard and supported me. Though I am not going to “milk them out” to rewire me, as that is a task I have given myself to accomplish.

    For those who have tried to point him out for his disgusting behaviour, yet he still didn’t change, well we could only do so much. (Mom I really don’t care anymore if what Dad said about you being controlling is true, because the amount of things he has done to me, outweigh the only issue he has with you even more. His disgusting behaviour is not on you, it’s on him. So the next time I hear another “sob story” from him about you being “iffy”, I’ll be like in my mind: “Ain’t karma a bitch”. Though I still don’t like driving when you are in the passenger’s seat Mom, but if that’s my only issue with you, well I am not ashamed to be in favour of you over Daddy dearest. To hell with society’s Mama’s boy tag).

    Righto time to recommence on rebuilding myself as that is bound to take a very long time.

  3. By: sandy Posted: 25th December

    darlene, what are your fees for life coach sessions and do you offer sessions via phone? thank you, sandy
    happy holidays!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th December

      Hi Sandy,
      (I don’t have a page to advertise this as I rarely have openings! )

      I do work one on one with clients either on the phone or on skype.
      My fee is $175.00 per session and I work in 2 hour sessions through the
      following format; 1 hour on the phone or skype and the second hour(of my
      time) is for reviewing and sending some feedback for homework assignments
      that I assign the client in the phone session. The client can work as long
      as he or she likes on the homework without having to pay for session time
      with me. I have a very high success rate with this format.

      I have one opening coming up in the new year; if you are interested, please let me know. (I am also going to send you note through a private email).
      I offer a half hour intake session (free) to see if we would be a good fit.
      I look forward to hearing from you,
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: mimi Posted: 15th July

    I cannot thank you enough … this website and the utter honesty you speak with is SO liberating… I’ve spent years trying to get past my past but I could never really make it out of the FOG, but I’ve sat here for 2 days straight reading many of the entries on this website & crying & journaling about it all & it has given me a clarity that years of trying to “accept them for who they are” has not. You can’t accept someone for who they are unless you see them for who they are! Then you know what you have to work with OR NOT! The truth really does set you free. Truly Darlene I am eternally grateful to you for getting past the bullshit, the pretence & hypnosis …. you are doing this world a GREAT service.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 16th July

      Hi Mimi
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken
      I love your statement; “You can’t accept someone for who they are unless you see them for who they are!” That is such a great way to put it!
      I am so glad that you like my work and I hope you will share your thoughts often.
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Aurélie Posted: 8th July

    It resonates so much to me.

    I was also convinced that I was crazy, the rebel teenager, selfish, even abnormal. I even doubt of my intelligence. I thought i was autist, a failure too. They let me believe that and it was ok for them, for them I was the crazy one. This hurts huge until today.
    my genitor said to me that he will conduce me in psychiatric azylum.
    So gentle to him.

    For me too, it was not his blows who were the most hurtful, it was that he tremendously hurt me and let me think that I was at the orignin of his treatment and I was crazy to not accepting this kind of treatment.

    For me too, there was no room for developp a sel esteem and it’s not normal.
    My “father” rejection is something that broke my heart. Until today, this feeling is so so huge and it prevents me to talk to make new friends as I long for. And I have always the fear inside me to become or to be crazy.

    It is more easy for them to put the blame on us, to treat us as outcast, whore…than to questionning their attitude towards us.

    I was described too as overreactive, rebel, even agressive and hurtful towards other. Of course sometimes I have this attitude to them but it was because they really drove me mad.
    And at the outside teh home when I was a teenager, I was defensive and react very strong and replay the role I have in my family so people rejected me and hurt me. So I didn’t know what to think if finally after all, I was not crazy and naughty.

    Thanks for reading.
    I helps me a lot to read your articles :)thank you.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 8th July

      Hi Aurelie
      Yes, this is exactly what happens. The grooming process begins when we are very young and making us believe that we are the problem is a big part of that process. always indicating that “you are the crazy one”. When we blow up or get angry that it used as “proof” that the problem really is us and all the while NEVER addressing the actions of the abusers.
      Thank you for being here and for sharing. We were not and are not the problem here.
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Bipolar Bear Posted: 4th March

    This is painful to read. The older I got the angrier I got because I could see that there was a fog. The more that people would reinforce that I was the problem and that “nothing was happening” to me and I was just being “hysterical” and “whiny” and an “attention seeker” (for asking questions and becoming upset at the lies and deceit and manipulations,) the more I believed that yes *I* was the problem. I was making trouble and needed to shut my mouth. Even now my sister will tell people that I was trying to usurp her power as older sibling. I had 3 different people degrading me daily: the babysitter, my parents and my sister (and sometimes brother.) Only now do I see the disgusting dysfunction that goes on and am strong enough to say “I have the right not to put up with your SH*T. Now bugger off.”
    I hurt for you Darlene and although I am not responsible I am sorry that these things happened in your life and in so many lives of others. I don’t want to hate any one. It turns out though that the years of put downs, bullying and BS has made me bitter and disgusted with the ignorance that was originally attributed to me as stupidity and uselessness. I work daily to clean out my soul so that I can become the person I thought I never could be because I believed that I was incompetent and subhuman. And I put the anger and disgust to work by using them to fuel my own wounded child to stand up and defend myself since I was left vulnerable and unprotected.

  7. By: Michelle Posted: 4th March

    The “fog” is exactly how I explain my situation to the few people I have shared my story. The fog is all around and covers everything. No one, including me, can move the fog and no one really sees what is going on inside the fog. I know now that a strong wind of belief in myself and others as well as confidence that I don’t HAVE to live in the fog, and IT is hindering me, and that I am not the hindrance in my own life can move the fog out. It is a slow process but one I am determined to conquer and be better for it instead of continuing to slowly let it eat away at me.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th March

      Hi Michelle
      This whole site is about breaking through that fog. (Some even joke about fog busting!)
      For me the fog lifted when I was able to see the truth through new eyes and not through the lies that I believed most of my life about myself as a result of the abuse and trauma. It is a process as you say and YAY for determination to Conquer!!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Bipolar Bear
      Its interesting that your sister thought she “had power” as your older sister. That was one of the “fog things” that I came out of. The pecking order system that was so dysfunctional making people think they had positional power and entitlement. UGG
      I don’t hurt any more. I could never do a site like this if I was still in pain. Thank you for your soothing comments towards me. My past pain is over and I only use it to show others that there is hope. It was important for me to feel that anger and disgust for a time however; it was validating, and it helped me a long way towards self love and self validation. Thank you so much for sharing.
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Karen Ranes Posted: 4th March

    To Lynda
    Sounds like exactly how I have been treated all my life by my family. I mean truely.
    Bad,wrong,crazy,too emotional, etc
    I now know thru counciling that its no all me.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th March

      Hi Karen
      Welcome to EFB. You are not alone with having had those feelings.
      Hugs, Darlene

  9. By: J Posted: 7th January

    Hi Renee,

    just found this post – very sorry to hear about the loss of your “raft” Danette (that’s a lovely way to phrase it!)

    I hope you’re doing ok through the grieving process.

    thinking of you


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.