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: Dendera Posted: 7th January

    Thank you so much for your site! It is gentle, soothing and freeing!

  2. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th January

    You have a way with words! I remember exactly what I was thinking when I wrote that line in the post. I was (and very often am) thinking about the whole social interest in “forgiveness” and that if I am too strong on my conviction that “divorce” is the only option, that I will scare people off. And I too am still growing and tweeking the way that I present things.

    Having said that, you are right. SO very right and I realize that my message, when I say that I would like to have relationship with my parents, is a contradiction to my message of “why would anyone want to be around that kind of treatment!” And I see today another bit of fog in myself that had not lifted quite yet. I think that this bit is related to that “wishing that I could have had a mother that loved me”, and the fantasy of how it could be different.

    Thank you for sharing. I appreciate it so much. I might write about this conversation with you.
    Hugs, Darlene

    • By: Shirley Bates Posted: 27th March

      I too long for a relationship with my dad, but realistically the toxic contribution would be counter productive. I have to concentrate on my daughters and I role modeling healthy boundaries

  3. By: Dendera Posted: 7th January

    The post was March 27, 2011 and you spoke of how you would love to have a relationship now with your parents but it is up to them but they insist on living the lies. For a long time I would have let “Mother” in the door. I had run away to London, England. She wrote me light-heated letters. I nearly fell for it. But dark memory took precedence. I had to ask myself if I was that desperate for family. I waited for an apology from her and everyone. No apology came of course. I can still hear her screech “You deserved it!” She always jabbed her index finger at my face when she delivered that one-liner. I noted that her finger nail was immaculately emory boarded. Funny how memory is! When she hit me across the face and blood ran out of my nose I went to the sink to clean myself up. My blood dripping on the porcelain was remarkable. I had to pause and admire the contrast between my blood and the white sink. I thought it was beautiful. I was meant to be an artist. An abstact minimalist But I degress. I found out after she had died that she was on her way to London to ring my doorbell. And I knew I would have let her in and made a pot of tea. We would have sat there talking of this and that and she would have smoked her Marlboro cigarettes and blown smoke rings on the exhale. Sure of herself. Tapping her little fat fingers on the table-the same fingers that held the belt, the broomstick the fingers attached to the open palm as it slammed against my face. The woman died one fine day in May. She never reached London.

  4. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 7th January

    Hi Dendera
    I am not sure which post that you are speaking of, but you make a good point. Sometimes I think that if my mother were willing to change that I would be willing to give her a chance. If she were willing to admitt that this was how it was, that I would be willing to talk to her. But when I think about this the way that you put it, and knowing that I don’t miss her manipulative crap in the least, I certainly see your point.
    Thanks for posting this,
    hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Dendera Posted: 7th January

    I have been perusing your wondeful site. But I have a question. You spoke of your wish to have a relationship with your parents on your March 2011 post. I have seen other people who survived horrible childhood abuse want to be friends with their former abusers. My sister was beaten terribly by “Mother” but when she was an adult wanted to be friends with this horrible woman! I was appalled. Especially appalled because I listened to those beatings and will never get over the sounds. I reminded my sister that “Mother” was no different-in truth she was the same she had only lost her power over little kids. Why in the world invest any time with an ogre? It is not forgiveness it is more like joining the ranks of the petty tyrants. But that is just my take on it and I have always wondered. Perhaps this thing called family ties or a sense that finally one can have a parent. As for me I’d rather be an orphan!

  6. By: Renee Posted: 17th September

    My heart is so heavy right now. Why is it those that impack your life in a good and healthy way seem to leave us. Like holding onto a life raft that is not sea worthy but yet is strong enough to hold you together. My raft was Danette. She was an intervert and a hoarder. Yet though she had faults the kindness and genuine friendship made nothing else matter. I just found out yesturday she went to be with the Lord in March. No one could find me and so it wasn’t until yesturday that I was finally told. I can’t stop crying. I have kept every letter she wrote me. As I reread them I can imagine her telling me the very words with so much kindness. I know I have to go through the grieving process and it hurts. I spoke to her husband and I feel his sence of being lost. My heart hurts.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th September

      Oh my gosh Renee
      I am so sorry for your loss. Life can be so dang hard sometimes! Please take care of YOU and please feel free to share as often as you need to during this diffficult grieving process.
      Love, Darlene

  7. By: Renee Posted: 21st May

    Is it typical for a person who has done 8,10,13, years of work on healing to now feel nothing? I have been reading your blog for a while now and when I read your title subject I am void of feelings. Then when I read Vicki’s or Fi, or Lynda’s comments something just rises in me and I want to explode!!! Is it compassion,or a trigger of something that has happened to me? What ever it is I guess I am glad for it. I was hospitalized and shipped away when my daughters were young. My exhusband was so convenced I had all these demons in me. He felt it was wrong for me to fight him when he raped me, he thought it was wrong when I would disagree with him when he wanted to beat my girls instead of disciplining them in a healthier way. ON and on. My therapist sent me to watch the color purple when it was newly released. He asked me my reaction when the girl was raped and treated so horriably. I told him I cried, I asked why he said had I not had a reaction to what happened to her he felt I was going to need more professional help than what he could give. The key was “reaction” I guess there was hope for me after all 🙂

  8. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out of the cRaZy Closet Posted: 5th April

    DEAR Kia,

    My heart is literally aching for you. Every word you wrote, I could have written in the past. I understand only too well, that horrible feeling of WHY ME? and WHY DOES EVERYTHING GO WRONG ALL AT ONCE? To me, the worst question always was, WHAT IS IT ABOUT ME THAT CAUSESE SO MANY PEOPLE TO REJECT AND HURT ME?

    You know what I think it is, Kia? This is a HARD WORLD. The world is full of greedy, self-centered, narcissistic, cold-hearted JERKS, who will use every opportunity they can find to make themselves seem bigger by climbing on the backs of those who are vulnerable.

    You are vulnerable, because you do care. You are vulnerable, because you have a heart, and a heart can be broken. You are vulnerable, because you have already been broken by abusers and users in the past.

    I like what someone said on one of Darlene’s posts a while back. I wish I could remember who said it, so I could give her proper credit. What she said ~ I can’t remember the exact words, but it went something like this:

    If a mad pitbull tries to attack me, I don’t think, “I wonder what is wrong with me that would cause this animal to want to hurt me?” Instead, I say to myself, “WHAT A NASTY BEAST!”

    The world is full of nasty beasts. Those of us who have a heart, and are capable of feeling concern and compassion for our fellow human beings, don’t want to believe it… but it is very evident that it is true, when you look at the world around you. Yesterday I found a website that shows the locations of all the nuclear power plants in the United States, and the likelihood, at each location, of an earthquake occurring within the next 50 years.

    I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw how many nuclear power plants are scattered all over the USA. I REALLY couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the ones that are located in areas where a devastating earthquake is virtually guaranteed to happen within our lifetime, or our children’s lifetimes.

    WHY would ANYONE with the power and authority to decide where to build these things, choose to build them in earthquake-prone areas??? HOW can these people with the power to make these decisions, care so little for life ~ ALL life ~ for the future of our entire planet. Is it stupidity, or just plain cold selfish GREED?

    I don’t know, Kia. But I am not going to waste my time any longer, worrying about what might be so wrong with ME, that the powers that be don’t care if they are risking my life, and my children’s lives, and my grandchildren’s lives, by building nuclear reactors all over our country, even on the fault lines. They aren’t doing it because We the People of the United States aren’t good enough or worthy of LIFE. They are doing it out of greed, and/or ignorance. They are doing it because they are nasty beasts.

    We need to take our lives back, and we need to take our world back. It starts at home, it starts with you and with me. Hateful people, phony friends who use you and then turn on you, aren’t worth crying over. But YOU, Kia, YOU are worth it. Take care of YOU. Don’t let the bastards win.

    I know you need to grieve the loss, grieve the pain, grieve what little good you had for a time with these people. Grieve the illusion, that it wasn’t real. But please don’t blame YOURSELF, for other people’s bad behavior. They had hurt you enough already, you don’t need to hurt yourself by taking on blame that isn’t yours.

    I know what I’m talking about, because that was the story of my life for 50 years. But not any more. NOT ANT MORE.

    Hugs and Love,

  9. By: Kia Posted: 4th April

    I don’t know how to tell you all this unless I just blurt it all out. I had two friendships go to nothing on me this week. It hurts like crazy. I didn’t feel as though it was bad friendships, but they ended in verbal abuse. Now I can’t help but ask myself a bunch of questions. Was I wrong to say that they were not pushing me out of my comfort zone to fast? Am I the black plague, so to speak, to marriages? Is it wrong of me to need the positive influence of both a man and a woman – each individually – in my life? All I have had is negative. Am I not an adult if I can’t face abusers by myself? Haven’t I had enough relationships go sour? Why more? How come so few know about the major affects of emotional abuse? I was told by another person a few weeks ago that I should never be alone in facing the people who abused me badly. Yet, I got accused of not being an adult cause I wouldn’t face this couple alone. I’ve been asked if I really want to have a friendship again with this couple. I’m so confused and hurt so much that I really don’t know what I want. I can’t beleive this happened. It feels an awful lot like betrayal. I was very close to these people, and had shared alot of my heart and struggles with them only to get it thrown back in my face and in some of the ways they know that I am the most vulnerable. What scares me the most is that I feel they are being another Brad to me – and Brad is one of the people in the cult I left. He abused me alot.
    At the time this happened I had just had a long conversation with my biological mother that did not go well. She attacked me also. She told me I couldn’t be a Christian because I don’t live in thier house anymore. And I told her that I wanted a mother-daughter relationship with her. She said she wants that to BUT… I told her that my biological father could not be in the picture and in our relationship. That ended it right there. I don’t know how to keep going. My kids at work are what are keeping me going right now. I don’t feel like I have a whole lot left to keep going on for. This is just a fraction of what happened in these situations and all of it took place in two weeks. I can’t help but ask why is it all at once? I’m exhausted trying to deal with it, be cheery at work and keep up with my school work. I don’t know how much longer I can hold on to a cheery composure. I feel as though my heart is in a thousand pieces. I also feel right now like I am pretty much alone and on my own to pick up the pieces of my life – again.

  10. By: Kimberly Posted: 3rd April

    It’s mothers day today and I can’t say I know what that means anymore. Commercially it’s a time to buy her gifts and let her know how much she means to me but I can’t say she means anything anymore. To me she is just a vessel in which was used to bring me to earth and as harsh as that sounds, that’s all I feel anymore because I’m tired of the burden I have had to carry all these years.

    Since being a child I have witnessed my mother in an abusive relationship with my father and have felt obligated to protect her. Whether it’s cause he wouldn’t hit her in front of me (and soon began directing the punches my way) or because she indirectly blamed me for the fact that I was to blame for them being together (afraid of single mother stereotype), I felt responsible and guilty.

    She was involved with another man during one of their frequent breakups and had a child by him – my 7 year old brother. That never lasted and has since been back with my father and they are now separated – apparently getting divorced.

    My parents have always had a dysfunctional relationship and that has left our family lost and broken. They are now in the process of a divorce (about 25 years overdue)and I haven’t spoken to my father in over a year (he simply doesn’t care about any of us)and my mother is going through a depression which she is yet to realize. I rarely speak to her and when I do it’s always based on what she needs me to do for her. The ironic thing is she was used all her life by my dad and now that’s all she bases all her relationships on – what can you do for me? It’s like she’s forgotten her responsibilities as a parent. My dad never really had any – I knew he was messed up from an early age but they (my parents) brought out the worst in each other and we (the kids) suffered heavily for it.

    Rather than face responsibility for their (my parents)actions and fix it, they have hidden behind their so called faith (claiming to be Christians) and created a thick cloud of FOG that still hovers above me and my siblings.

    My older brother is just a delusional as my father and hides behind his faith as a Christian musician, but dates numerous women who fund his so called lifestyle – a lesson well learned from my father.

    My younger sister who I can clearly see has been affected by their bad decisions is so confused and battles with her emotions daily. She held them in such high regards and that all came crushing down on her which has been hard for her to deal with. She’s dropped out of a really good uni and gets her satisfaction from useless men and clubbing – she’s also highly materialistic. We live in the same city and do not communicate – things have been rough. I was dealing with the turmoil myself, and couldn’t support her in the way she needed to be so now my guilt has shifted from being a good daughter to a big sister – the cycle continues. She’s totally distanced herself from everyone in the family (including me)and I don’t blame her, but the worse thing is my parents are carrying on with life like everything’s okay and act like they don’t care. How deluded can one get?

    My little brother is the worst of all – or will be. He still thinks my biological dad is his dad, and is abroad (when he lives less than 20 miles away) that’s why he’s not living at home and to make matters worse, my mum recently stared dating his biological father who then showed up at her house announcing to my little brother that he’s his father despite never seeing him his entire life!Confused? Imagine how he feels. So here he is, wondering where his dad is, then being told by some random stranger that he’s his dad and what does my mum do – nothing! I spoke to him recently and his words were-‘Kim, we have two dads!’ – I broke down in tears. I realized just how selfish my mum can be and how she’s using the fact that she wants my little brother to have a father a way of filling a void she has within herself – she’s afraid of being alone and will get with any loser and expose her kids to dysfunctional relationships to not feel that way.

    I know we cant change the past, but I want to change the future and stop this craziness. I don’t have a ‘normal’ relationship with my parents and honestly don’t give a damn anymore. All I want to do is be supportive to my younger brother when he needs someone, because he’ll one day realize as we all have, how messed up parents can be. We can’t change them, but we can help those affected by their immorality.It may be too late for some, but as long as we have such parents, they’ll be more affected children to come who’ll need our help and love !

    So finally, thanks to you all for making me feel not alone in this. As bad as the situations we have all faced are, it is reassuring to know we are all in this together and we should continue to support one another.

    God Bless

  11. By: Stef Posted: 1st April

    Another powerful post. I love the safe forum you have created here for information, truth, support…Thank you, again.

    ~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.

    Absolutely Right!

  12. By: Wendi Posted: 28th March

    That’s why I have a problem with the “doing the best they (you, me, us) can”. Even while I was “in the fog” I still kind of knew…you could know that by challenging me. For example, if I say to my husband something that they said or did to me…I would be saying it as a complaint, and as if there was nothing that I could do about it or do differently to protect myself from it…but, whooaaa, if he would say the same thing as me…I was the only one allowed to say what was going on, and how it was hurting me, and how it was affecting those around me…but I was uninterested (even angry) at anyone who would say what I could say…or try to suggest anything different to me, or God forbid suggest what it would mean when someone could treat someone else that way. I wasn’t doing the best I could, I was doing the best I was willing to do to keep my own emotions safe (comfortable, so I thought), at the expense of my actions and emotions being passed on to the rest of my family that had to deal with me.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th March

      Very powerful comments Wendi..
      I knew a lot of this stuff when I was in the fog too, but I was too scared to face it. Thank you for sharing this.
      Hugs, Darlene

      ~I also felt badly about some of my own reactions to my kids, because I knew that they were less then my best; I blamed the depressions, but didnt think about where the depressions came from in the first place. People set themselves up as God’s in my life, and I didn’t know how to stand up to that. When I look at the elders in my life since childhood, so many of them acted as though it was thier turn to become a “GOD” in thier own world, as they had to submitt to the “gods” in thier own childhoods.. and on it goes, as though having power over others is the only way that they could have any value. The cycle has stopped in my family.
      Hugs, Darlene

  13. By: Shellie Paparazzo Posted: 28th March

    I still struggle with thinking that maybe I’m the one that’s wrong. Maybe I should have just accepted their assessment of me. I also still struggle with expressing myself for fear that I will prove that I am stupid. I can’t work outside the home, because I’m afraid to even try anything new. I’m afraid I can’t learn. That I really am stupid and worthless.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 28th March

      ~You said a lot in your comment! I think that it is so hard for us not to believe it was us because there is no hope if it is them. We can’t change them and even as children we understand that. BUT we think that if we can be better, try harder, get it right, then they will love us and I think that is why we readily accept that “the problem is me” I agree that doing this work in the end is far easier then the old way.
      Thanks for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

      ~ NO MORE! YAY! Great comments!

      ~It is so common to struggle with still thinking that they are right. Remember that this was set up from such a young age. But no one is born worthless and stupid. NO ONE. So they can’t be right. I had all these same fears. ALL OF THEM.. and it took time, but I kept going forward by looking at some of the events for clues about where the lies were actually born and adopted by me. Eventually, I realized that I was valid, smart and totally wonderful! I found the real me. And you can do this too. We all can.
      Hang in here!
      With Love, Darlene

  14. By: Lynda ~ Coming Out of the cRaZy Closet Posted: 27th March

    I am overwhelmed with all the truth and wisdom here ~ the fog was so thick in my life thst I didn’t even begin to see my way out of it until the year I turned 50. The fog was all I had ever known, I didn’t even know I was in a fog. For 50 years I believed that I was the problem, that I was crazy, and too crazy to know it, too crazy to know what was WRONG with me, I only “knew” that I was WRONG. I tried everything I could find to trt to fix my crazinee-wrongness. I tried self-help books, pop psychology books, religions, counselors, many prescribed medications, pretty much every psychotropic rx out there, a doctor has had me on it.

    NOTHING helped any better than a bandage on an amputated limb…. until just before my 50th birthday in 2003 I finally found a psychiatrist who told me that I WAS NOT AND NEVER WAS CRAZY, that I had a crazy childhood, I had crazy parents, and they had broken me, wounded me, and that did not make me WEAK or STUPID or NUTS, it made me NORMAL…. just as it is normal to bleed if you are stabbed.

    I had spent my whole life being put down by the stigma of being “mentally ill,” I had spent my whole life putting myself down for being mentally ill, I had spent my whole life accepting what little crumbs of “love” any abuser would toss my way, because no normal healthy person could ever love a crazy person, so why even try for one of those…. I basically spent my whole life being put down, and punished, and berated, and unloved, and berating myself, for being so GROSS as to BLEED all over the place, after having been stabbed.

    No More, Dammit. NO MORE.


  15. By: carol Posted: 27th March

    hi darlene, yep my skin was an issue for me for most of my childhood and finally cleared up to almost zilch when i left the family home, mmm wonder why that was then? me i think it was the stress of living in the house thta caused some of the flare ups and even when my knuckles were split and finger joints couldnt bend i was still expected to do the household chores and do dishes in scalding hot water, sort makes you go beyond your personal limits if they were never accepted as a reason not to be able to do sonething, and my nan actually hit my father for rubbing salt into it one day when i couldnt stop scratching, so no it wasnt good. just another way to control and abuse us. yet knowing all this doesnt help me slow down and accept ow that i am ill, i just walk slower or do domething to hide the fact i carnt do something. ooo parents can be so much hard work when they broken before we got here

  16. By: Wendi Posted: 27th March

    I needed to believe it was me for a long time…because if it wasn’t me…that meant something worse than it was me…how could they? The alternative to it not being me, for a long time, was more devastating and unbelievable to me than just accepting that it must be me. Eventually, and thankfully, the pain of trying to achieve all the success points to prove it wasn’t me, or that I overcame, was too tiring and the truth was actually less painful than continuing to try and achieve what never really was achievable.

  17. By: Kellie Posted: 27th March

    When I was little, we used to watch the Rankin-Bass productions of holiday shows. I remember the one about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer– the toys and fellow travelers all considered themselves “mis-fits”. I remember feeling — very young , mind you — that I could relate. I so wanted to go live on The Island of Misfit Toys. Did anyone else have a similar experience?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 27th March

      Hi Rainbow,
      Thanks for venting. I think that people that say it isn’t emotional abuse are in a fog of their own. I think it is also scary to admit that your own parents might have been abusive, because it implies so many things that are so hard to face and I think that is why it takes so long to come out of that fog to see the truth. Today I am sort of on the logical side of it; I think that most depressions and mental health struggles are caused by some sort of abuse or having been devalued as a child. I don’t really care anymore WHO did it, just that when I realized that it had in fact happened to me, and that I developed a funky belief system because of it. The key was not in blaming anyone at all, but in discovering where and how I had adopted those lies about myself and how I got so broken. The problem is that I couldn’t seem to discover all that truth, unless I really looked at my parents role in the whole thing. Today I am not so invested in the part they played at all… because I am free now. (not of them, of the lies) I would love to have relationship with them, but that is up to them and they insist on living in the lies. (which brings me right back to “I was the problem” and I am not living there anymore….)
      Rainbow, thanks for being here… you’ve inspired me this morning!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Kellie,
      Oh yes I remember the island of the misfit toys too! And yes I wanted to be there as well. I could always relate to the “rejected or the underdogs”.
      Thanks for sharing,
      hugs, Darlene

  18. By: Rainbow Posted: 26th March


    “Emotional abusers create a fog through mixed messages, inconsistency, and by indicating that the person with the problem is not them.”

    This is so true! My parents loved using their children to glorify themselves. They would proudly describe how much they did for us while we had to sit quietly and listen, torn between misplaced feelings of obligation and feeling like there was something wrong with our parents. Their help always felt wrong because their motives were selfish.

    I think since an early age, I carried around feelings of responsibility for making my parents happy. My brother and sister didn’t seem to feel that same kind of responsibility. I was definitely the obedient one.

    I remember when my sister and I were 10 or so, my parents had their heart set on us learning to play the piano. Naturally, we had no say in it. They didn’t care what we wanted. My sister went to ONE lesson and then said she didn’t want to go anymore. I didn’t want to go either, but I never said anything. I went for over two years. Incidentally, the piano I had to practice on was old and had many keys that didn’t work. I told my piano teacher this, and even she said (repeatedly!) that they really needed to get me a decent piano. So they were sending me off to piano lessons without showing me the respect of buying a decent piano for me to practice on. Could someone please explain this warped behavior?

    Even after I went no-contact, it took another six years for me to see through the fog of lies and distortion. I see a lot of questions on forums and question-and-answer sites where people (sometimes young people) will describe horrible behavior and ask if it’s emotional abuse, and some people will answer that it’s not, it’s just their parents having a hard time or under stress and they should be understanding. It makes me want to scream! If I can, I post an answer and tell them HELL YES and explain why.

    Thanks for letting me vent on this one!


  19. By: Bonnie Posted: 26th March

    @Darlene – I am at peace. Thanks so much for your site and all that you do. I’d like to see everyone on this site full of smiles and joy. We deserve it!

  20. By: Bonnie Posted: 26th March

    I remember expressing anger and then being chased and then locking myself in the bathroom. The bathroom door was taken off and then I was hit with a belt. I think my anger was legitimate, but it was unacceptable. I remember at that time thinking that someday I would be far away. Somehow I already knew then and then later there was the FOG. Obligation, guilt. Called not family oriented. Always wanting to stay away. I felt I needed to return to deal with issues. I sort of did that, but things are the same and I’m at peace being away.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th March

      Hi Darlene
      YAY for doing what is right for YOU! Thanks for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Bonnie,
      OH yes… NOT family oriented! I wondered what would have happened if we had asked for an explanation of the word “family” ~ well I know what would happen because my mother told me once that my aunts that I refused have anything to do with again (for the same behaviour that I ended up standing up to my own family for) were “family” and that you only get one family… and I asked her “what is that supposed to mean?” and she had no answer. Usually when you ask a fog busting question, there is no answer, because they CAN’T answer. The answer would reveal the truth, and the truth is that they think they OWN you.. and you should be grateful to have a owner.
      I am glad that you are at peace!
      Hugs, Darlene

  21. By: Monica Posted: 26th March

    Darlene (comment #4) – though my dad and stepmom are now both dead, I always knew that I never wanted to live near them! This was AGES before I understood the truth of the abuse; I’m sure I thought it was still ME and my fault, but my gut told me to be far, far away from them. I think you are doing a wise thing to be far from your abusive and dysfuntional family; you must protect your own heart and life, and I’m so glad you have a wise therapist who is supporting you!

  22. By: Darlene Posted: 26th March

    {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.}

    I can completely relate to this particular post, especially the above quote… I now live 3500 km from the bulk of my family, and rarely contact them, and in fact, I DREAD the phone ringing because it might be someone calling to tell me something I won’t like to hear from or about them. They still live in the FOG and I refuse to, so it’s still me with the problems, me who is negative, me who is delusional, me who is ALWAYS WRONG… I realized, with the help of a wonderful therapist, that moving so far away is the RIGHT thing for me, and to hell with the people who call me selfish-bad-wrong-delusional for distancing myself from their disfunction

  23. By: Susa (Art Cathartic on FB) Posted: 26th March

    Oh yes… the false definitions of “love”, and how that word was used as emotional blackmail by dad. For punishment, he would say over and over on a regular basis: “I love you”… “I don’t love you anymore”… “Okay, I love you”… then, ” I don’t love you anymore”… on and on.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th March

      Hi Carol,
      Sounds like you had quite an ordeal with that eczema growing up. That is a very difficult story ~ It was horrible enough that you had the problem, but to be humiliated over it it really really awful.
      Thanks for sharing.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Monica,
      I didn’t know about that Acronym! All these years in Mental Health and I had not heard that; Thanks for sharing!! I don’t think either of my parents had BPD but wow… I can really relate to your comments!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Susa,
      That kind of on and off stuff really generates some huge false beliefs about what “I love you” means.
      Thanks for being here!
      Hugs, Darlene

      By the way, Susa and everyone here ~ there is a guest post coming in the first week of April about a coaching session that I did with Carla Dippel about her belief system regarding Love that you might find interesting. Stay tuned for that.

  24. By: Monica Posted: 26th March

    In the world of dealing with parents with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), FOG is an acronym standing for Fear, Obligation, and Guilt (F.O.G.). These are the means used to keep others confused and dysfunctionally tied to their abusers. You speak to all of these things Darleen, and it is very true.

    My dad used to tell me outright that if I would just starting acting right/doing better/quit being so irresponsible/etc, then HIS life would be better and HE would be okay. Sadly, I didn’t know what else to do but believe him and keep trying to ‘fix’ whatever it was that was so broken in me. I thought it was absolutely my job to make sure my father’s life was okay, that as his daughter the problems he experienced were all my fault. Interesting that we are set up to believe that we are unworthy and unlovable, but when we then choose a dysfunctional spouse (because we falsely believe we are lucky to have ANYONE), the abusers are still against it. Too many self-contradictory behaviors on their part, but the F.O.G. is too thick for us to be able to see clearly at the time.

    You said it so well ~ “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.”

    Thank you Darleen!

  25. By: carol Posted: 26th March

    sounds oh so familar, though things were slightly different for me, my mother never paraded me around as i had really bad ezcema so didnt think that i was a threat that way but having to put the creams on and the other meds i had were used as tools to embarass and abuse me. my father used to bind our hands with flannelette sheet stripes and wrap sticky tape all over them so we couldnt use our hands for 12hrs a time, left me unabel to pull pj bottoms dwn to go toilet and all sorts of other things that kids use their hands for overnite. all done in our best interests, and it probably was but the loss of my hands for those mornings i was awake for hours before my parents and couldnt do anything cos we werent allowed to wake them up, not cool

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